Posts Tagged ‘sunday photo fiction’

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There was a time when the music hall was the place to be on a Friday night. Records spun; laughter rang; dancing shoes tapped; light glinted on sequined dresses. It seemed as if the nights would last forever, as if the dance could never stop.

But nothing lasts forever: not stone, not steel, and certainly not a dance. A dance is a fleeting thing, a patter of heart and feet.

A dance is movement and forever is so very still.

The records slowed; the laughter quieted; the dancing shoes grew fewer and fainter; the light glinted only on the tiled floor. The music hall lingered, clawing for life, but could not hold on.

By the time they shut the doors, it was bleeding money. A flurry of protests and indignation followed as citizens remembered for a moment that the music hall existed, then quieted down as they forgot again.

The building is empty now. There is no laughter, no dancing, no light. Cobwebs lace windows of broken glass.

An old woman enters. She has traded sequined dresses for wool sweater, dancing shoes for a cane.

She closes her eyes and lets memories flow.

For a moment, there is music again.


Word Count: 200

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge!

Photo © Susan Spaulding

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spf-july-1-2018-1-of-11

The family hung bells everywhere: upon the gate, above the door, along the curving bannister, from gutters and from windowsills, and on the branches of weary trees. When the wind came, they would chime away and all the air would be full of ringing.

“It’s silly,” the daughter said. Arms crossed, she leant against the wall, watching her father tie a bell around the mirror of her new car. It rang as his calloused hands bound the string. “Just an old superstition.”

The father shrugged. “Better safe than sorry.”

She rolled her eyes and made sure to slam the door hard as she could on the way in. The bells above the doorway clattered excitedly.

Her father sighed. He had heard the whispers of the wild wind. The scar on his wrist showed pale against the brown of his skin where his wife had bound him so that he could not follow the voices of the faeries.

The bells drowned them out, ringing above the wind. And yet still, sometimes, he could feel them close.

“Come home,” they whispered. “Come home to us, you wayward prince.”

They would never stop whispering. Not for him. And not for her.


Word Count: 198

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan to running the challenge and C.E. Ayr for providing the prompt photo!

bar-in-mexico

To say the island had a reputation for the unusual was like saying the ocean had a reputation for being wet.

Every shop was full of potions and spells, every doctor was a magical healer, every homeless women begging change on the street corners was a witch who’d give you a spell for a penny or a curse for a mocking laugh. When the mists came in, the lost walked the streets. Tourists came with their cameras and vanished in the dead of night or found themselves having conversations with strange women who turned out to have been dead for decades.

It was a place with no rules, or no rules that no mortal man could comprehend. (One mortal woman could, but she took a particular delight in not explaining them.)

Amongst this magic and mystery, the bar was utterly unique. Which was to say it was completely normal. The drinks were drinks, the food was food, the chairs were chairs. The barkeeper wasn’t the devil come to make a deal for your soul. The bathroom doors led to toilets and not to an endless howling dark.

The locals loved it. It was such a change of pace.


Word Count: 198

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction! Thanks to Susan for running the challenge! Photo © Susan Spaulding.

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Leonard sat on the bench, hat pulled low over his face, and tried to be inconspicuous. He failed. In his defense, it was his first covert rendezvous and nobody had ever really told him how they worked.

When he’d offered to fill in for his girlfriend Jean at work, he’d thought she was an accountant. Filling in for a CIA operative was a little trickier.

“Just take this drive,” Jean said. “And give it to a woman in a red scarf. Be careful. They have eyes everywhere.”

He fingered the drive and hoped the contact would show up soon. The bench was cold and the birds were looking at him funny.

Or were they birds? He squinted. Those black glassy eyes could just as easily be little cameras, the wings a disguise for a drone.

“You can’t have it!” he said, his voice shaking. “I’ll… I’ll die first.”

The bird craned its head to one side. Leonard swallowed.

“Well. Maybe not die, exactly.”

In a flurry of feathers, the bird flew onto the table, beak inches from his face.

“I don’t even know what’s on it!”

The bird squawked, Leonard shrieked, and, across the park, Jean laughed, filming everything.


Word Count: 199

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and Susan Spaulding for providing the prompt photo!

dscf1060

Do not separate! the paper sign taped to the flamingos read. The letters were a bold red, the handwriting emphatic.

Timothy sighed. One of his father’s eccentricities. He wondered how many “eccentricities” you needed before they started calling them “symptoms.”

He was certainly gone by the end. Wherever he was, it wasn’t here, Timothy thought, looking at the old brick house rising above him like the ruin of some ancient hall. The gardens were overgrown, the windows where shattered, and every square inch was overrun with forgotten things: tattered teddy bears, chipped china, peeling posters. He felt as if he was drowning in his father’s life, a life full of a million things he needed to set straight and a million debts swarming around him.

This yard sale was a start. It felt like tunneling out a prison with a spoon. There were too many items and not enough buyers.

“I only need one,” the woman said, pointing to the flamingos. “I’ll pay the full cost.”

Timothy longed to take the crisp twenty she held between her fingers, but he looked at his father’s note and shook his head.

“No. As a pair or not at all.”


Word Count: 197

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and Susan Spaulding for providing the prompt photo!

 

(Apologies for slow responses to comments and reduced posting this past week. I’ve been on holiday and busier than I expected.)

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A man lived in the half-built house, amidst bricks and plaster and dust. He wore a pair of hole-ridden boots and a coat of patched grey. His hair was wild and overgrown as the woods, a tangle of grey and brown. No living thing dared approach him save the rats, who ate from the palm of his long-nailed hand.

Once, three men decided to knock down the house and build anew upon the ground. It was valuable ground, worth the weight of the soil in silver, and a hundred buyers would have snapped up a house built upon it.

They came and found him standing on the doorsteps, his rats scurrying about him.

“You’re evicted,” they said. “This place doesn’t belong to you.”

He smiled a broken-tooth smile and whispered, “But I belong to it. The bricks are my bones, the stench my breath.”

They went away. The next day they would come back with police and lawyers.

They never came back. One slipped upon the stairs that evening and broke his neck. Another drowned in a puddle two inches deep.

The third went mad, shrieking about the rats inside his skull.

And the man remained in the half-built house.


Word Count: 200

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and C.E. Ayr for providing the prompt photo!

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Lantern light shone through the fog that hovered over the battlefield. Howls and barks echoed over the silence.

The battle was over, the enemy driven back. Now the hounds were searching.

They had been bred, trained, augmented, for this. They walked the battlefields, through the haze, searching for the wounded.

A dog barked, his nose nuzzling against the pale skin of a soldier. She coughed, reached up a bloody hand to touch its nose, then fell back into the mud, unmoving.

The dog bent down and licked her face. The soldier groaned. Every muscle in her body ached, every breath felt like fire, every bone wanted to lie in the earth.

“Leave,” she muttered. “Leave me.”

The dog didn’t leave. It licked her fingers, nudged her side, barked in her ear.

The soldier heard the voice of her mother ten years gone: “Get up. Get up, girl. This is no place for dying.”

She took hold of the dog and pulled herself from the mud. The dog wagged its tail.

“All right,” she muttered, leaning on the dog. “Walking a few more feet won’t kill me.”

And they stumbled together through mud and mist, the dog’s lantern shining bright.


Word Count: 199

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and Susan Spaulding for providing the prompt photo!