Tag Archives: Short Stories

Dandelions at Night

Dandelions at Night

Mary went to close the bedroom curtains, and looking through the window, she saw her neighbour wandering around in his garden. She glanced at her clock. It was almost ten o’clock at night, and a bit late for planting or pruning. Perhaps he was looking for slugs, it was the sort of thing he might do. Poor Mike, for the past year, he had struggled on his own as isolation didn’t suit him.

In the moonlight, the garden was a monochromatic scene where detail merged into the shadows. She saw Mike was now on his knees, digging with a trowel.
Mary closed the curtains. She would take a hot drink to him and have a neighbourly chat. Everyone likes some company and a gossip, since living on your own isn’t easy. 

Outside, a breeze rustled the branches of the sycamore and blew her dressing gown loose. She pushed open the side gate and closed it with a nudge from her bottom. In her bare feet, she tiptoed across the grass and stood behind him.

‘I know you are there,’ he said and continued digging.
‘Hot chocolate.’
He stood up. ‘Mary! you’ll catch a cold.’
‘It was the wind.’ She passed him both cups and pulled her flimsy gown together and fiddled with the straps.
‘This is lovely,’ he said.
‘Hot chocolate,’ she said, and sipped her drink. 
‘Yes, I know.’
‘Look,’ she said. ‘It’s a bit late for weeding.’
‘Oh, I can’t stand digging out the dandelions when they are in full bloom.’
The knot in the straps of her dressing gown slipped loose. She sipped her drink.
‘The flowers close up in the dark, so I dig up the plants when they’re asleep.’
‘Oh, I see,’ she said. ‘Mike, why don’t you come over for a nightcap when you’re finished?’
‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘I still need to close the shed.’
‘You do that.’ She closed her gown. She took the cups and ambled across the lawn. With a backward glance, saw him watching as she pushed through the side gate with her hip.

In her living room, she slipped a small log onto the fire and then fetched two glasses. She still had plenty in the bottle of her 12-year-old Macallan to encourage him.

She sat down on the sofa and waited.

Blind Perspective

Rochelle’s selection for the Friday Fictioneer’s prompt is a colourful picture by Na’ama Yehuda. The flowers remind me that spring is here, although the winter chill occasionally blows down the street to ensure I never forget my coat.

A beautiful and colourful garden can brighten our mood. Especially for us, who can see and appreciate the various flowers.

There is a small garden nearby designed and planted with plants, giving off powerful scents to stimulate our sense of smell. I have taken my inspiration this week from the idea of flower scents.

There are more Friday Fictioneers stories to read, HERE.

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

Blind Perspective

Come on Dad. My daughter, Tilly, griped my hand and pulled me around the garden.
Listen. She turned towards the sound. It’s a bumble bee. The honey-bee’s hum is softer.
Smell the tulips. That means it is May because I can’t smell the daffodils anymore. 
Mind the steps, she tapped them with her stick.
Can you hear the bluebells? She reached for the flowers and took a deep breath.
Beautiful.

Tilly is a wonderful woman; On Sundays, we meet in the gardens.
Her Labrador leads her around the flower beds, where she touches the flowers and breathes the air.
Beautiful.

Children’s Lives Matter

This week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt by Rochelle is an abandoned building that may have once been a lively place. Read more contributions HERE.

PHOTO PROMPT © Carole Erdman-Grant

Children’s Lives Matter

Her dream for this ruin was a restaurant as a picturesque stop on the journey into the mountains. Marlene squeezed my hand.

Derelict! My heart sunk like my bank balance flushing down the drain. This renovation project was Marlene’s childhood dream. A notion she started in the school playground, gazing at the view of the surrounding rocky peaks.

She led me through the burnt-out shell, and I heard children laughing and singing.
Marlene sang along, with tears rolling down her cheeks.

Let’s not do this, I shook my head.
Yes! I want a memorial, she said. To remember my dead classmates.

Orbiting the Moon

After reading Linda’s (Granonine) story on Friday-Fictioneers I recalled a piece of poetry I wrote sometime ago, for a specific reason.

Let me know if you enjoyed reading it or otherwise.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Orbiting the Moon.   (James McEwan)

Mother stood gazing out of the window
As I walked along the gravel garden path.
She looked through me as if I was hollow.
But I smiled and waved. I saw her laugh.

We sat on the veranda having tea with scones.
She asked where I had been all these years,
Were you lost in space searching for stones?
I can’t remember, she said and wiped her tears.

I passed her the album, pictures of our family. 
My children as babies then going on to school.
Who are these people? I can’t see them clearly,
Ah yes, she said, your father. The stubborn fool.

We walked to the park and sat by the lake.
She told me she was proud of her beloved son,
The first Scots astronaut who promised to take
Her sightseeing to the stars and orbit the moon.

Is it time to go? she said and held my hand.
I pulled up the blanket to fend off the chill.
How long will it take and where shall we land?
She rested on my shoulder and slipped away,
So peacefully, and silent.
Like the sunset sinking behind the hill. 

Convivial Wintry Chill

Thanks to Dale for the lonely winter scene, which is this week’s prompt selected by Rochelle. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the cold weather is over for this season, and looking forward to our annual day of sunshine in Scotland. Okay, maybe two days in July.

You can connect with Rochelle, click HERE, and read more stories connected with the picture prompt; HERE.

Convivial Wintry Chill

Good morning, a blue sky and glorious hot sunshine. I can’t resist sitting out in only my shorts and never mind the sun cream. Usually, I get a tanned face on the ski slopes, but today I am going for a full body glow, never mind the cold.

Samantha used this chair on picnics and trips to the beach. Ah, happy, wonderful summer days with tomato and ham sandwiches, Victoria sponge and mouthfuls of Pinot Grigio. Our boys splashed to tease and torment Buster, barking frantically.

I miss Samantha. Oh, why?

Tomorrow, I will burn this chair, with its memories.

Magical Emporium

A light hearted piece of old fashion flash fiction to raise a smile.
Inspired by stories from Philip K Dick.

Magical Emporium

Mary wiped the kitchen sink and stared out of the window at the dull, dark clouds. Rain was on the way. Her entire world seemed miserable, as if a screw was loose and she wasn’t sure how to fix it.

The fridge motor interrupted her despondency, and its humming became a rhythmic beat of da–daa–dum–dum. She imagined herself in a Viennese Waltz cavorting with a tall hussar, so she twirled around the table.

The hoover in the corner perked up. “May I have the pleasure?”
“Delighted.” Mary curtsied. She took the hoover by the handle and they danced around, flowing with the music.

Rain streamed against the window like violin strings as the fridge rumbled on; the slow-cooker gurgled, and the kettle whistled. Her washing machine shuddered out the bass of beating drums and the Dolce Gusto went whoosh, whoosh, sending aromatic plumes of percolating coffee into the air.

Mary skipped and spun, swinging on the arm of her handsome Mr Hoover, waltzing around her ballroom. A spectator in the clock sprang out and called cuckoo, cuckoo—just as the timer on the oven played an allegro bleeping in consonance with the kitchen orchestra.

She heard the front door slam. Her music stopped. Quickly, Mary shuffled the hoover into the cupboard. She strode into the hall.

“I am shattered,” her husband said, “and completely worn out.” He gave her a pitiable peck on the cheek. She hung his jacket on a peg as he slouched into the living room and slumped onto the sofa.

“Did I hear our white goods singing?”
“No,” said Mary. “We don’t call them white anymore.” 
“What!” He kicked off his shoes and laid back. “I am too tired to argue.”
“They are called appliances,” she said, reaching into his trousers’ pocket for a long flex cord and she plugged it into a battery recharging pack.
“Ah! That’s better.” He closed his eyes.

Mary returned to the kitchen and made a call on her mobile.
A loud voice answered. “Mr Wong’s Magical Electrical Emporium.”
“Mr Wong, it’s Mary.”
All the appliances rumbled, and the Dolce Gusto hissed.
“Yes, Mary, do you need a repair?”
“Sort of Mr Wong. Do you have any hussars?”

The appliances sighed. They were safe. She wasn’t disposing of them.

“A new man? Why not repair the one you have?”
“Mr Wong. My husband has degenerated. He’s worn out and completely flat.”
“We can fit a new battery.”
“It’s no use. I want one with style and stamina.”
“Okay, I will bring a fresh one tomorrow. Anything else?”

“Yes, I seem to have a screw loose in my head. It hurts.” 
“An emergency!” said Mr Wong.
“It is! Oh yes, an emergency. Oh, it really is.”
“I’ll bring some spare parts immediately.”

Mary grinned. Mr Wong was always gentle with her parts, and his tuning was so invigorating.
She smiled and felt so cheery already. 

Vigilante Street Cleaner

This week we have a very busy street scene photo-prompt, thanks to Rochelle.(click to visit).

More of our Friday-Fictioneer’s flash stories are available to read HERE.

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Vigilante Street Cleaner 

They retired my badge last month.
The Chief thanked me for my long loyal service, and the city gave me a pitiful pension for the years I patrolled the sidewalks.
Over time, I deplored how our streets became meaner.

Well, I am a free man; rise late and drink lattes at Antonio’s café. 
I enjoy the warm, bright days. Hell! I never noticed the glass tower block before.

The shoes are my message.
See, I collect them in the dark when bedlam stalks the alleys.
Their owners sleep life off in the morgue, and tomorrow there will be another pair.

Charming Tatiana 

Thank you Rochelle for keeping the Friday Fictioneers community inspired to write our set of flash fiction. The variety of stories presented indicates the wide imagination that prevails among us. Click HERE for more stories.

This week’s photo-prompt of a rusted grill in front of a door has sinister implications for me.

Photo Prompt by – Brenda Cox for Friday Fictioneers.

Charming Tatiana 

Tatiana is beautiful only at night, since the sunlight burns her skin.

In the Brecht Bar, her melancholy melodies inflame the passion in the minds of lustful drunks.
It is with these hypnotic charms she turns strangers into raging rampant beasts, who with a puckered invitation follow into the dark alley.
There, Tatiana embraces their aroma of sweaty testosterone and clasps her mouth on their neck, and sucks to leave a hickey.
Strangers disappear every week.

The rusted grill protects Tatiana, so she may sleep throughout the day. She does not fear the garlic breathed villagers who carry sharpened stakes.

Dream with the Stars

Thank you Rochelle for keeping the Friday Fictioneers community inspired to write our set of flash fiction. The variety of stories presented (click HERE) indicates the wide imagination that prevails among us.

This week’s photo-prompt of a stone-walled barn by Lisa Fox, indicates a certain pride by the builder.
I can imagine the rustic lifestyle and a storage barn for animals or just chopped wood.

PHOTO PROMPT © Lisa Fox

Dreams with the Stars

At first it was a small dirty cowshed.
At night, we would look through the holes in the roof to find Betelgeuse.
My twin sister, Annabelle, dreamed she would be rich and live in a chateau.

This made father laugh. When he rebuilt the barn, he declared it the castle of Queen Annabelle.
Hold on to your dreams, they will come true, he declared to us.

We held hands beside the barn and remembered father’s words.
‘His spirit is the inspiration of my dreams,’ said Annabelle. Her diamond rings glittered like Orion’s belt, but this barn was still her castle.

Architects in Love

Thank you to Anne Higa for the picture of the Bell Tower in Pisa and to Rochelle for posting it to challenge us with this prompt to produce a 100-word piece of flash fiction for Friday Fictioneers.

More contributions are available to read by clicking HERE.

PHOTO PROMPT © Anne Higa

Architects in Love

When visiting Pisa, I fell in love with Angelina.
We held hands and debated the construction mistakes made in building the famous bell tower. 

I loved the way she flicked the Fettunta crumbs from her chin. I watched over my Chianti how she puckered her lips around the Picipasta.
She leaned against my shoulder and promised to meet every summer in Pisa. 

Each August, I sat alone by the tower. I knew why.

This year she came. She smiled and trembled as I kissed her temple.
Laughing in her wheelchair, I pushed her around the tower.

For her last time.