Friday 20 February 2015

Slippery Slope

Slippery Slope

Penny Rogers


The first bus leaves at 06.50. I’ll be on it.

Day before yesterday
Pack a bag and hide it on top of the cupboard. Just the essentials: change of underwear, warm top, socks, a towel, tissues, make-up, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and Ted.

Have a shower; not enough time in the morning. It won’t be difficult to get out of the house without them knowing. They sleep like logs.

Don’t look at anyone, must not be recognised.

Day before yesterday
Check connections. I’ll have about 40 mins to wait in Randlesford.

Mustn’t leave any trace I was here. Don’t get a drink. Waste of money and someone might remember. The coach is late and crowded. I recognise a face about half way down. Don’t make eye contact
14.55 Arrive Victoria. They’ll be looking for me now, and realise that I deliberately left my phone behind. Feeling lonely and risk buying a cup of tea and a sandwich. The surly woman who serves me hardly glances away from her magazine. Good.
17.00 I wonder if they are worried.
17.15 Man asks me to talk to him. Creep.

Last week
Row with parents. I do go: sometimes.

Day before yesterday
My tutor says he’s done all he can and I failed because I didn’t do the work.

Find hostel. Room £12.00. Burger and chips £4.50. Coke £1.20. Reassure Ted.

Meet Delvina, she says she can find me work. Go with her to Lolo’s.

About the Author
Penny Rogers writes short stories and flash fiction. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize for flash fiction in 2013, has been placed in the Henshaw creative writing competition and has had stories published in Writers’ Forum, Paragraph Planet and Bare Fiction.

Thursday 19 February 2015

100 Worder New Build

100 Worder

Linda Casper
New Build
Gingerbread Latte

Rather grandly they referred to it as the chalet, although in reality it was no more than a garden shed. It wasn’t the main reason for choosing this particular house, but it was a major contributing factor.
She thought that the chalet would be great for overwintering her plants, her husband wanted to commandeer it for a studio where he could paint, her son thought it would be a great space to practise his drums and her daughter had a Wendy House in mind.
In the event, it became a store for deckchairs, broken vacuum cleaners and suitcases.

About the Author

Linda Casper hails from Yorkshire and, after a long career as a high school teacher; she has recently begun to write and has had many short stories, poems and travel articles published. Linda has a keen interest in gardening and is a judge for Yorkshire in Bloom.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

100 Worder Her Journey

100 Worder

Amber Scanlan
Her Journey
Peach Ice Tea

And as she drifted from this world into the next, her soul was ignited by a sudden burst of life she hadn’t felt in years. She no longer held onto her fears; no regrets remained within.
She remembered the last words that rested gently on her lips. How she had let them linger a moment before slowly allowing them to escape her and lose themselves within the soft sounds of relieved and tortured sobs from her loved one.

She smiled at him sweetly for the last time and at that moment, she was finally free. Forever content. At last departed.

About the Author

Amber is a person who has always enjoyed writing but doesn’t often have the time to dedicate to it. She usually only writes poetry and one of her poems was published. She has dabbled with short story writing and has a few stories she is currently working on. One day she hopes to write down her life story (including all the gory bits) and would love to write a screen play worthy of an Oscar.

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Hot Chocolate Day

Hot Chocolate Day

Vanessa Horn

with sprinkles?

I think it was Forrest Gump who said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates.’ If so, I think he was right – almost. I’d just change it slightly – not much – to ‘Life is like a mug of hot chocolate’ and then it would be perfect. Just perfect. I’ll tell you why.

March 9th. A new day; cloudless sky of solid blue with a hint of ceramic shine. Just the shade of my best mug, I realise. I’ve had this for years – won it, in fact, for my ‘Springtime’ poem at school, aeons ago. So it’s special to me, not least because I haven’t won anything since. Anyway, as I retrieve my esteemed trophy from the shelf, I’m amazed at the perfect colour match; even the best artist would’ve been hard pushed to recreate the shade as precisely as this. A coincidence? No – it can’t be.
        I pause, hovering over the kettle, undecided at first. I don’t think I’ll use instant chocolate powder – not today. This isn’t a usual day; it is going to be poignant – I know that for sure – but, as yet, I’m not sure exactly how it will play out. Dark, light or mixed emotion? I won’t find out just yet – maybe in half an hour or so. But as it’s unquestionably a day which will warrant recognition, I’ll respect it by making it one of those rare occurrences – a special hot chocolate day. Yes. So, ignoring the kettle, I instead begin to gather my ingredients from cupboards and fridge…

Bittersweet chocolate. Just right for the sensations shadowing me since I woke this morning, knowing that today is the day we will find out the results. Make or break. I shave off a generous amount from the bar, immediately releasing its distinctive aroma. Closing my eyes I inhale it like a bee immersing itself in nectar. Bliss! Unable to resist, I treat myself in nibbling a little, savouring the sweetness that contains a tiny hint of... chilli? Similar to the doctor’s words turning round to taunt us when we’d been lulled into a sense of false security. Unexpected. Unwelcome. My breath catches and I tell myself to relax. We don’t know anything yet. Okay. I select a sharp knife from the drawer and begin to chop the chocolate even more finely on my old wooden board. The repetitive movement provides a welcome diversion. Chopping, chopping. After a few minutes I have a large heap of chocolate shavings ready, plus a little pile put aside for later.  
Cream and sugar. I ignore the high-tech mixer which sits smugly in the corner and instead use a wooden spoon to whip these together in my large and slightly cracked ceramic bowl. I enjoy the physical energy that I need to form the stiff peaks in the mixture. Peaks… Troughs. I like these words; they fit nicely into my beating rhythm: peaks and troughs, peaks and troughs. I’m exorcising my worries as I blend and then blend some more: sugar and cream, peaks and troughs. Finishing, I stand back slightly and admire the results which stand to attention in perfectly-whipped glory. A positive sign? I hope so.
Milk. Plain but necessary to the mixture – an essential part, even. It’s a basic element – bland, some would say; you might not always notice it’s there but you definitely need it; without it, life would be too rich and probably give you a tummy ache. Like the voice of common sense that stops birds from flying too close to the sun or fish from diving too deeply down into the ocean – it keeps life at a sort of a midway point. The milk blends in modestly, fraternising with the cream, sugar and grated chocolate. A dense texture.
        Now it’s getting to the tricky part; I need to keep the consistency smooth and creamy, simmering it to the exact point where the chocolate melts and marbles into the mixture before blending. I hold my breath as I do this because sometimes the concoction boils and spoils when it approaches this point. It’s important – really important – that this doesn’t happen today. It’s a superstitious thing, really, thinking that however this turns out might somehow affect what happens today. Silly, I know, but everyone has their own idiosyncrasies and quirks and I’m no exception. Thankfully, though, the ingredients combine successfully and I sigh in relief.
Vanilla and cinnamon: the final few touches. A drop of vanilla essence and a tiny pinch of powdered cinnamon to spike up the flavouring. Not entirely necessary but definitely something that enhances, in a sharp-intake-of-breath kind of way. Possibly a reminder that you sometimes need a nudge of anxiety to encourage you to appreciate the everyday things – or people – that you may take for granted? I think about this. It wouldn’t have to be too much of a nudge, though; just a hint every now and again is quite sufficient. I carefully pour the thick mixture into my sky-blue mug, and then take one more quick peek outside to check that the colours still match. They do.
Whipped cream and sprinkles. Essential or an indulgence? I don’t expect I really need to ask that question; I suppose, if you had the choice, you’d always go for the embellishments – the little extra-special finishing touches – if you could. Wouldn’t you? After all, they are the things you look most forward to; the little distractions from the everyday, if you like. I watch as the tiny sprinkles begin to penetrate the generous cream topping, sinking happily into its frothiness and creating minute dents as they disappear, never to be seen again…     
My mobile jigs a little on the counter beside me and then bursts into full song, abruptly breaking my reverie. I snatch it up, feeling my heart begin to pound painfully in anticipation. It’s time – time to face reality.
      ‘Mum? What did they s— Yeah… yeah… all clear? Oh, thank God!’ Thankful and grateful, I allow her familiar voice continue to reassure me as I pick up the mug with my free hand and take the first sip of my exquisite drink. Never before has my hot chocolate tasted quite so good.

About the Author
Vanessa Horn is a Junior School teacher who first became interested in writing a few years ago when she took a sabbatical year. Since then, she has written several hundred stories, some of which have been published in magazines, and others having won prizes in short story competitions. She enjoys reading, shopping and going out for meals.  

Monday 16 February 2015

100 Worder Sleepless in Suburbia

100 Worder

Roger Noons
Sleepless in Suburbia
Rum and Cocoa

For the second night running, 2 am found me gazing through the window of our front bedroom. On cue, Foxy followed his usual staccato route: darting; pausing; sniffing. He doesn’t like our chippings and is even less fond of the Pick Up which occupies four fifths of the driveway. As he passes, a black shape slithers backwards, beneath the Astra opposite. Once the brush has rounded the corner, Katy emerges. Arches her back, shudders and strolls nonchalantly across; taking up station alongside a rear wheel of the Nissan. Foxy sometimes retraces his steps, within minutes. Katy may know why.

About the Author

Roger Noons has delighted us with many of his offerings and is probably one of the most prolific contributors to CafeLit. You can read many of his stories here and in The Best of CafeLit books.

Friday 13 February 2015

100 Worder Filling the Space

100 Worder

Helen Laycock
Filling the Space
Aqua Libra

It was the red hat that gave him away. I would have recognised it anywhere. He had his back to me, but I knew it was him standing there, fishing, near the bridge. Fishing had been his life.
I recollected his smile… those dimples, those twinkling eyes. Now that I’d found him, I knew I just couldn’t leave.
            I straddled the fence of number forty-seven and scooped him up in my arms.
‘Time to come home, Norris,’ I whispered, kicking the head off one of hers as I leapt over the fishpond with the gnome she had stolen from me.

About the Author

Helen Laycock has written eight children’s mystery/adventure books, a couple of poetry books and three collections of short stories for adults, one of which includes flash fiction. She has had around thirty wins/shortlistings for poetry and short stories, successes including Words With Jam, The Ryedale Book Festival, Writing Magazine, Writers’ News, Writers’ Forum, Flash500, Thynks Publications, Erewash Writers and various online contests. She has a story published in An Earthless Melting Pot (Quinn Pub.), four pieces in the One Word Anthology by Talkback Writers (Alfie Dog Pub.), several entries in The Aspiring Writers 2013 Winners Anthology (Blue Dragon Press) and a poem in Songs of Angels (Thynks Pub.). She is a regular contributor to 100-worders on the CafeLit website and is featured in The Best of CafeLit 2013.

Thursday 5 February 2015

100 Worder Snowman

Judith Ouellette Bezaire

One Hundred Word Story
Passion Fruit Smoothie

December 21, 1638 – December 21, 2010

In the winter solstice, the snowman watched clearing storm clouds. Cast in grey, uncertain dusk, he stood secure now, bathed in the glow of the birth of his own season. Embraced circles of laughter had built him this way. With mischief siding against the tradition of black silk hat, romance's magic imaged itself in the snowman's eyes, where, planted on top of his head, he could spy on the eclipse of the moon. While the lovers slept, undertaken by passion's first heated glow, the moon penetrated earth's shadow, spiked each simultaneous sunrise with heart's hue and buried the snowman alive.

About the Author

Judith Ouellette Bezaire has had short non-fiction pieces published on the Canada Writes website. She loves Canadian history and hopes to contribute something significant to that creative fiction genre.  

Tuesday 3 February 2015

100 Worder Bloody Mary

100 Worder

Sue Cross

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Only his hard, cruel eyes could be seen. The balaclava hid the rest of his face. He was clad entirely in black and wielded a large sword. Behind him the empty desert stretched and, in front of him, his victim kneeled; a quivering wreck clad entirely in orange. He had read his statement, begging the western world to take heed – or else there would be more to follow.

The terrorist’s sword was lifted in preparation for the execution.

    ‘Cut!’ The producer called. ‘Well done. First take. Everyone have a quick break before we go ahead and shoot the next scene.’
About the Author

Sue Cross has written two novels, Tea at Sam’s and the sequel, Making Scents. She lives in the Cotswolds and enjoys spending time in Spain. Widely travelled, she uses her experiences abroad in her writing. Visit her on