Gossamer Wings and Bathing Selkies – Flash Fiction

It’s gossamer wings he sketches with a bright, brand new No. 2 pencil. Airy, delicate things attached to her frame. As she stands poised over the water, in a modest bathing suit, cherry red, and a red bathing cap, she’s from another age as she prepares herself for the cold punch into the mountain lake. For now, she’s warm on the granite rock, but the lake is fed by snow melt.

But as he sketches her, she’s a fairy, unreal and a pixie. She’s not just ready to leap into the water, but standing on a lavender bloom poised to take flight. His fingers smudge the oily pastels into the paper, spreading the fantasy as reality, with a whoop suddenly dives into the clear water.

He pauses for a moment, his fingers hovering over the paper as she surfaces, laughing and gasping. He’s tempted to grab another blank page and sketch in a selkie as she glides seal-like through the water. If only his muse would hold still, he might be able to capture the magic in her.

I pulled the prompts Gossamer, lavender, No. 2 Pencil, and yellow this last weekend at the writing group. Mel said this was a pretty good use of the prompts.  I think I’m inspired by Celtic stories still, hence the selkie. For those curious, the film Ondine with Colin Farrel is marvelous for the selkie tale.  And when I was picturing the fairy wings, I was thinking of Cicely Mary Barker‘s fairies. I’ve always loved them.  And old fashioned bathing suits from the 20s.  I had this vintage poster image in my head, but I’m not even sure it’s real. It’s funny how you can imagine something you think you’ve seen, but you’re not sure it’s real or made up.

On The Persian Rug – Flash Fiction

tumblr_mxqu06swUg1t5bhezo1_500He found her lying on the Persian rug in the old library. The late afternoon sun shone in through the tall windows creating rectangles of brightness on the old red and gold rug. She lay there in her green sweater and low rise jeans, worn so soft they moulded to her every curve. Her sweater, a bright leaf green, had ridden up revealing the shadowed indentation of her navel and a two-inch strip of smooth and toned abs.

Her dark hair was spread out in a fan around her head; a halo  of night. In her right hand, resting between the curved mountds of her breasts, she clutched her small, black mp3 player. The earbuds were in and she was tapping her tennis shoes in rhythm. Her eyes were closed, but occasionally her velvety lips moved as she lip synced.

He was amused as he watched her, so relaxed, lying flat on the floor. He round an arm chair and sank into the red velvet seat to wait for her to finish out whatever she was listening to. He wasn’t in any hurry. The day was done for him and there was something relaxing and soothing about watching her spread out on the floor.

It was a quarter hour longer till she stopped her toe tapping. He had just settled fully into the seat, readying himself for a nap when she sighed and took the earbuds out and opened her eyes.

She tipped her head back and saw him watching her with a slow grin.

“How long have you been there?” her husky voice asked.

“Not long.”

“Why didn’t you let me know you were here?”

“Because. I like watching you.”

She turned a slight shade of rose pink, but didn’t answer as she tried to gracefully sit up and wrap the wires around her player.

“Shall we go get dinner?” He asked as he grabbed her hand to pull her up.

“Okay,” she replied and they walked out of the old room, her arm tucked into his, leaving the golden rectangles to shift and fade as the sun slowly sank.

“I’m very afraid of dying.” – Flash Fiction

Just a little piece I wrote in today’s writing group. I had the prompt of Bossa Nova, mulberry, and page 157 which in Paul Coelho’s book , The Devil and Miss Prym, gave me the title of the piece.

The atmosphere of the room is smoky and dim as he sits in the worn leather chair sipping a glass of port. The port is aged and thick. Richer than mulberry jam spread on toast. The rich sounds of a bossa nova song come crackling out of the old speakers. The crackle is either from the scratched record or the ancient stereo. Who knows, and nobody cares. The music needs the static to tone down the oppressive beat, the trumpets hitting too high a note here and there.
“I’m very afraid of dying,” he says conversationally, to no one in particular.
The younger man, sitting opposite him sipping his whiskey eyes him with an arched brow.
“You are going philosophical? How much port have you had?” the young man asks. He’s not really young, but forty to his sixty seems practically juvenile.
“Phil, when you get to be my age, you’ll get it,” the man says.
“And what brought this on?” asks Phil.
The man sighs. Even he’s not sure. Maybe he has had too much port. Or maybe seeing his friend go through so many treatments only to waste away until nothing is left but skin and bones and pain and sorry. Till your mind gives up and one day you just don’t wake up.
Phil can’t understand. He’s never had to lose someone. Never hardly been sick.
Just wait till your sixty, thinks the man. Heck, wait till you’re fifty and you can’t get out of bed each morning without everything hurting. No, young people just don’t get it.

 

My parents always talk about how when you reach fifty it’s all down hill.  Boris said he felt it at 48. Honestly, at times I feel like I’m already feeling it, but I am dreading getting older. And other than that, this is just something that came out of the prompts. Nothing more.

Kate

Under The Clock Towers – Flash Fiction

clock tower

Circus Lane, Edinburgh, United Kingdom by Omar Yassen

Shafer nursed his pint of Guinness at the worn bar under the Clock Towers that sheltered the old tavern. The pub had been there so long the wood bar was dark and greasy from years of dirty palms and spilled drinks. Dents and gouges marked the wood giving it character and a sense of presence to the smoky interior. Old men of a certain age sat huddled in groups, round tables or in the hard wooden booths. There was an air of silent comradery to the mumbled conversations that filled the pub with a hum that had neither a beginning nor an end. It was as it had always been, ever since Shafer was old enough for his first pint.

That was long ago; though not so long that he was ready to join in with one of the groups of men. That and he was still a loner. Always had been. Maybe it was his occupation that kept him from joining in. He knew too much about everyone there. He knew who had been unfaithful to which wife, or who owed so much on their bill at the pub. He dealt in information, using it like currency. Though he never used it for favors. He was, at best an honest dealer.

People came to him for information, he gave it to them, and they paid, leaving happy with the news, or at least, satisfied, albeit disturbed at times. But he couldn’t help how people took his information. He never promised to sugar-coat it. He was blunt and to the point. If people didn’t want to know the answer, they shouldn’t ask the question.
Despite what he knew, people still treated him with a modicum of respect. He supposed it was because they were afraid he might report any illegal activity to the authorities, which he could have done numerous times. But he had a reputation of discretion and he liked to keep it that way. It was bad for business if you were a snitch.

The door to the pub swung open and an icy blast of January cold blew in through the door, biting at the heels of the charming woman who stepped in hesitant and unsure. She quickly shut the door behind her as some of the patrons emitted growls of displeasure at the cold surrounding their old bones

Shafer watched her as her eyes adjusted to the gloom. She was as lovely now as when she had come to him two weeks ago. Dressed in a long, forest green wool jacket, buttoned up to the neck with brass buttons, she looked very prim and proper. And so out of place in the pub that Shafer decided to be nice and rescue her from her fortress of uneasiness. He tapped his glass creating a slight ring and her eyes flew towards the sound. He saw a smattering of relief in her eyes as she recognized him and made her way around the tables to the bar.

Normally he would have met her in his office, but the walls there had ears, especially with the information he had found out. Here, at least, no one cared that much about secrets. Beer had a tendency to loosen the tongue and nothing was ever taken seriously.

“Mr. Shafer,” the woman greeted, her eyes darting around the room.

“Mrs. Ballington.”

“You said you had some information for me?” She questioned as if unsure of the message he had sent her telling her so and where to meet him.

“I do. Would you like a drink?”

“No. No, thank you.” She nervously moistened her lips

Shafer sighed. He hated to do this with such a decent lady.

“Could you just tell me?” she nearly whispered.

“Yes. Your husband is having an affair. In fact, he’s having three.” He sighed again as he saw the way the words hit her and she started to crumble.

 

Wow. So I don’t normally finish a piece of fiction thinking, “wow,”, but this time I certainly did as I read this on Saturday at my writing group. D and I sat there and I just knew it was a good piece.I want to finish it, but I’m not sure how, or where I’d go with it. But with the word prompts of clock towers, forest green, and Guinness, I went from being totally uninspired an hour prior, to being super excited at the end. I’m loving this flash fiction moments that hit. They are really inspiring.

I sort of saw this as a piece that could take place at any time, though with the coat the woman wears, I think steampunk. A long green jacket that goes almost to the floor, with those brass buttons that I picture as being shiny. And I see the woman as an auburn haired lady with her hair up almost Gibson girl style.

I do hope you enjoy and I’ll see if I can make this go further.

Kate

Purple Mountain’s Majesty – Flash Fiction

Here is a piece I wrote just this weekend during my local writing circle. I have been making up my own writing prompts using scrapbook paper  and a prompt, a color, and a number on the little slip of paper. For those wondering about great colors… Try Crayola colors on Wikipedia. I love the titles, always have, Midnight Blue being an absolute favorite, along with Mint Green and Chartreuse.   Or try paint chips. A wealth of color names and ideas come from paint chips. Well, the writing prompts went over great, and one of the ones I chose had Crayola’s purple crayon, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, on it. So here’s the inspired piece of flash fiction.

Via Robby Hare blog

She sat at her morning spot, the nook on the east side of the house. Not really a nook so much as a seat under the window with a wide enough ledge to set her coffee cup. It was her time of  uninterrupted moments. Her time without a husband calling for something to be ironed or where were his cuff links. It was before the mountain sunrise. It was almost before the stars had set. The time between time.

She sat reading Amar Singh’s Diary about Imperial India. She had picked the book up on a whim at a library book sale. Maybe the color had intrigued her. Or maybe it was because it was about India. She always wanted to go to India but had never really put the idea into motion. So she read about it.

While she read, she idly flipped one of her son’s crayons over and over in her left hand. Somehow, her nook had been confiscated recently to be an art studio. There were crayons in cups on the window sill and abstract drawings taped to the wall. Jeremy was a mini Picasso. Or just a very ordinary five-year-old boy.

She glanced at the crayon in her hand. Purple Mountain’s Majesty was the color. How fitting to be holding a color that matched what she could see and what was her favorite view. A shadowed purple, not as clear as Lavender or lilac, but so pleasing. The color was waxy and warm in her hands. She set the crayon down just as the first diamond ray of the sun peaked over the jagged mountains.

Yes, the view was most definitely Purple Mountain’s Majesty.

 

Enjoy.

Kate

Reality of Dreams – Flash Fiction

So there I was, sitting in my writing circle. I can say ‘my’ because I’ve gone twice, I know the lovely ladies, and I have plans to make it a ‘must’ every week.  So I was sitting there with my circle this morning (Saturday) with express plans to write some flash fiction.  I grabbed the piece of paper with the number 85 on it and went around the room pulling books off the shelf and turning to page 85 for a prompt. I found two that worked for me and this is the piece of flash fiction that came from it.  Incidentally, I was envisioning Andrew Lee Potts from SyFy’s Alice that was a few years ago.  I adored him as Hatter, a scatterbrained and kind of cute/sexy ‘mad’ Hatter.  He made the part so wonderful that he is what I picture when I think of the Mad Hatter.

So Hatter is who I picture in this piece.  Enjoy.

 

Timothy sat in one of the two Louis the Fifteenth chairs that were in the center of a winter garden. The early morning light was blue and frosted fog. He looked down at himself, startled and yet complacent to see he was wearing a mourning suit, complete with tails and a grey top-hat. All around a fine snow fell, not on him or the chairs, but around the circle of stone housing this hidden garden. The sun was a weak diamond in a milk ice sky.

“Oh boy,” he though on a sigh, “Now where am I?”

These dreams, or transportations, were happening more frequently these days. What was the dream? Reality or the dream itself. Did he really belong here or was there something dreamlike to be said for sitting in a garden on very expensive chairs?

Would he wake up back in his normal life with a stale cup of coffee in his hands and a deadline to beat? Maybe that was the dream. Or more accurately, a nightmare. At least here, all he had to do was think about something and it appeared.

He glanced down just as a snifter of brandy appeared in his hand. Yes, this was definitely a much better place to be. He wondered how long he would stay this time. But he wasn’t going to waste a good brandy on thinking about what ifs.

He took  a healthy sip, closed his eyes, and settled into his seat as the burning liquid warmed him in the cold winter morning.

 

So, there it is. Honestly, my first start was very different, but I am so happy with this and now it makes me want to continue and write about Timothy. What is he? Where is he going? What does he do? Who else might be in this dreamlike land? And is he dreaming?  So many questions!

Kate

 

The Nutcracker – Writing 101 Day 13

Ella watched in wonder as the ballerina’s twirled and spun around the wintery stage. For years she had wanted to see Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet. Now, here she was in a magnificent theater, not far from Rockefeller center and the magnificent Christmas tree. It was truly a magical, wintery wonderland time of year.

 

My flash fiction is always longer than about 200 words. This comes in at fifty two words. Whoa. I was listening to classical winter like music, and since Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet has been one I am dying to see one day… It was in my head.

And because I like this image I’m adding it to the post

Kate

Artist Mad – Writing 101 Day 12

“Gah, the blue! So stupid!” The woman railed and flung her arms wide, disgusted, at the painting hung under delicate lights to enhance its bold colors. She stamped off towards another painting, her red kitten heels slapping the  white, wood floors.

Behind her trailed the younger woman and man, her arm through his, as she leaned close to his bent head.

“And why did we bring her?” Janell muttered to Todd as they stopped at another painting in the very white, very austere gallery. This was another abstract piece. Slashes of olive green with bits of red, ocher, and turquoise dotted and swirled in an alarming pattern. It was not a comfortable painting. Janelle arched a brow, but kept her comments to herself.

An original Sharon Meyers piece titled "What Doesn't Kill You, Murders You In Your Sleep

An original Sharon Meyers piece titled “What Doesn’t Kill You, Murders You In Your Sleep

“It’s. . . ah . . .” Todd trailed off.

“Horrible! Too bold. To impertinent. Too Imperialistic.”

“Well, um, it’s not that bad,” Todd said, then flinched as the woman rounded on him, her long grey hair snapping, icy blue eyes burrowing into the tall man until he slouched in fear.

“It. Is. Disgusting.” The woman snapped at him, then whirled and marched off towards another painting, pushing through the groups of people holding champagne flutes. They had come to the opening gala of the artist, Sharon Meyers. A celebrated painter if one was to believe the critics. And one usually did.

“Imperialistic?” Janelle asked, but Todd just shook his head and sighed.

By all accounts, or as far as Janelle could tell, the evening had been a smashing success.

Several paintings had been placed in new homes and the curator of the gallery had been all smiles. Despite the railings of a crazy, mad woman who had practically insulted every painting there and the idiocy of the people purchasing the artwork.

Janelle sighed as she watched the other woman rail at another painting.  She tugged Todd to her side. 

“Next time your mother shows a series of paintings, leave her home,” Janelle requested and winced as Sharon Meyers pointed a sharp, red nail at a scared man who was admiring an abstract flower.  “She’s going to scare off any prospective buyers of her work.”

Todd just groaned and reached for another glass of champagne on a tray as a waiter passed by.  His mother was completely insane. But it was art….

I write a lot of critiques, what with book reviews and general opinions. So I decided to forego a traditional critique and write a bit of flash fiction. I had several ideas as I wrote this, and it was quite fun. Ah, those crazy artists out there. Me being one.😛

As for the painting…. Well, it is an original Sharon Meyers piece…. *wink wink*

 

Kate

 

Daffodils And Almond Cookies – Writing 101 Day 4 – Flash Fiction

photo-1436564989038-18b9958df72b

He knocked on the door, the bouquet of daffodils bright and cheery in his fist while the day was dreary and wet with low slung clouds. He smiled brightly as she opened the door.

“Henry! Those are beautiful. Are they for me?” Narcissus asked and held open the door for Henry to enter.

Henry nodded and  slipped in the door, slipping off his rubber boots before he tracked in water onto her pristine floor.  He thrust out the bouquet and was relieved when Narcissus took the flowers from him and motioned for him to follow her.

“Would you like some cookies? I just baked some almond drop cookies.  And I can put on the kettle for some tea.”

Henry nodded again and trailed after her. He loved her house. It always smelled good, like her. Warm, sweet, and a little bit like vanilla.  She always had pretty flowers everywhere, but daffodils and narcissus were her favorites since they were her name.

“You’re quiet today, Henry.  What kind of tea would you like?” She asked as she reached up on a shelf in the kitchen for a square vase that was bright turquoise.

“Do you have the Woolong tea?” He asked and sat down in his favorite chair at her kitchen table. It faced the stove and he could watch her fix the tea.

The Oolong?” She clarified, and he nodded. “I do have that tea.  I just had a new tin arrive, so I’m dying to try it.  Why don’t you get the poppy teapot down.”

Henry grabbed the step stool and got the cream and red poppy teapot down from the top shelf and filled it with hot water from the kettle. He waited for the porcelain to heat then poured out the water. Narcissus scooped four teaspoons into the pot and Henry filled it again with almost boiling water. They worked together quietly and perfectly as they had been making tea together for a long time. As long as Henry could remember.

While the pot was steeping, she pulled out an eggplant colored bowl filled with crisp cookies that were covered in sliced almonds. They made Henry’s mouth water. She pulled out mix-matched plates and set them on the table next to the vase of daffodils.

Henry filled the creamer with milk and found the little spoons she liked to stir the tea, then she was pouring the tea into white cups. Henry leaned in and sniffed the steam, fogging his black glasses.  Narcissus laughed and he smiled.

She fixed her tea and he fixed his with just a little milk and a lump of sugar she dropped into his cup with the little tongs. She passed him the bowl of cookies and he took two.

“Now, Henry. Tell me how your days was.  Tell me what you learned in third grade today?”

“Okay, Aunt Narcissus,” Henry answered and took a bite of cookie before he started to tell her about the horrible fractions he was learning in school.

 

So the assignment for Day 4: a story in a single image.  This is actually an easy assignment for me to do because one of my favorite things to do is to take a picture and write about it. Any picture, though I didn’t really like any of the ones suggested with the assignment.  Fortunately they directed me to Unsplash where the pictures are completely free and high resolution. I urge you to take a look because license free images are not easy to find.

I do hope you enjoy this piece of flash fiction. I could have gone so many different ways with this, but as I wrote, I started picturing Timmy in The Sea is Blue where he goes to visit an older friend.  It’s one of my favorite books.  Sometimes I think I might make a good aunt.

Kate

Leaving Him Hanging – Flash Fiction – Day No. 9

This is a piece of fiction I started about two years ago and haven’t finished. The book June is reading is Persuasion by Jane Austen.  I actually quite a bit more to this, but well, this is what was actually typed up. I had several topics I could have written about today, but I was feeling a little ‘jet lagged’ as I like to call running on only 5 hours of sleep.  I hope you enjoy.

June’s voice sighed out in pleasure as she stopped reading.  

“Is that it?” Craig asked glancing over at her.

” No, but that’s the end of the chapter and I can’t read anymore.”  Her fingers replaced the crimson ribbon into the book and she closed the cover.

“What happens?  Or have you never read it before?”

“Oh, lots of things happen.  And yes, I have read it.  I won’t spoil it for you,” June teased and nudged his shoulder.

“I am going to assume by the happy sigh that this is a good part?”

“Yes,” June replied, a smile gracing her lips and a devilish form of delight lighting up her eyes.  She caught Craig watching her with undisguised fascination.

“What?” she asked, self consciously brushing a lock of her hair out of her face.

“I can’t believe you would leave me hanging with that.  A simple ‘yes’ and nothing more.  It’s not polite.”

“You’ll have to wait until next time to find out what happens.  I can’t read anymore,” she protested.

“Mmm,” Craig’s noncommittal tone had her looking at him.  “I guess I’ll have to find something else to entertain you with then.”

 

Kate