Thursday 26 May 2016

Flash: Forward Momentum

Flash: Forward Momentum

Stuart Page


Cathy is washing her dishes in hot, lemon scented water, idly staring ahead at the tiled kitchen wall, when she is suddenly overcome by the urge to be active. She drops a half-washed dish back into the sink and marches into her living room, eyes moving to and fro, taking in the space all around her. Then, stopping before a stretch of open carpet, she dives into a forward roll. It carries her much further than she expects. “Ahh!” Cathy yells as she crashes into a radiator. She deflates, stretching out on her back against the floor. “Stupid, stupid…”

About the Author
Stuart Page is an English and Creative Writing graduate from Salford University, currently living near Leeds. He has to write a piece of flash fiction every morning before 9am. If he doesn’t, his partner won't let him me play Pokemon.

Published May 26 2016

Wednesday 25 May 2016

100 Worder: Buzz

100 Worder: Buzz

Polly Sinclair

Absinthe – a visit from the green fairy

There’s a buzz somewhere. Not that close, but definitely in here. Enough to be irritating, not enough to drive me from the comfort of the sofa yet.
            Could be the fridge. Although that’s more of a hum. The television? Does that weird nothing-noise when it’s on standby but not a buzz.
            The radiators sometimes sound odd. No. Not my phone… the doorbell malfunctioning? I don’t have one!
            There it is again. Closer now.
            A bee? Sounds bigger than that. I’m going to have to move and find it, aren’t I? 
            Where’s the newspaper? It’s getting louder.
            What on earth…?

About the Author
Polly is a busy lady with lots of jobs, a couple of children and a dog called Jelly! Usually a short story writer, she’s diversifying with really short stories and a novel just to mix it up!

Published May 25 2016

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Flash: Push

Flash: Push

Jasmin L Jackson


'Push!' Paul shouted at his wife, 'You can do this!'
   Karen sat on the floor, back braced against the wall, pushing with all her might. Her face was flushed, her teeth gritted. She gave a violent shake of the head.
   'I can't, Paul, I just can't,' she gasped, sweat beaded upon her brow, 'I… I don't have the energy to push anymore.'
   'One more push, Karen! One more push! I swear that's all it'll take!'
   She threw back her head and let out an almighty roar. She was a tiger and she was gonna earn her stripes today. He was right. One more push and it would be over. She could do this. She gave one final push and cried out as her husband released her foot. It was over. It was finally over.
   Her foot was in the goddamn shoe.
   'And that, Karen,' Paul sighed, trying to catch his breath, 'Is why you don't order shoes online.'

About the Author
Jasmin L Jackson is a tea enthusiast who hails from the east of England. She spends her free time writing in coffee shops and swooning over fictional men.

Published May 17 2016

Thursday 12 May 2016

Flash: Play Fair

Flash: Play Fair

Stuart Page

Tomato Juice

Board game night. Five sit around a table with a stack of games on. First up: Cooperation in the Desert. “We won, no thanks to you.”
          “You what?”
Next comes Team Tower. “You’re gonna topple it, you’re gonna—”
            It falls. “You distracted me!”
After this, Moving in Circles Forever: Extended Edition. “Money, money, money,” the winner is singing. Someone flips the board and little pieces fly everywhere. The house dog eats a tiny metal car, gets a stomach ache.
         “Never again,” one person says.
         “See you again next week,” the others say.

About the Author
Stuart Page is an English and Creative Writing graduate from Salford University, currently living near Leeds. He has to write a piece of flash fiction every morning before 9am. If he doesn’t, his partner won't let him play Pokemon.

Published May 12 2016

Wednesday 11 May 2016

The Giraffe I Met Before You

The Giraffe I Met Before You

Elizabeth Cox

A cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso

‘If you must know, it’s not every day that you meet a giraffe under a full moon.
            The circumstances were odd, I’ll give you that,’ Gillian said, spooning up the froth from her coffee and licking it with her delicate pink tongue. Miriam, shifting in her chair, said nothing.
            The girls were sitting in their local Costa whiling away a rainy Saturday morning with coffee, cake and some juicy gossip, when Gillian blurted out this conversation stopper. Friends since school, they met every Saturday, and when the weather was good, they always sat outside so they could watch the passing crowd and intersperse their own opinions on the fashion sense of the great British public – and had done for years. Too many years if they cared to think about it.
            This morning, having already discussed their fellow customers, they were searching for something else to talk about while eyeing up the brown leather couch in the corner. Their favourite spot had been taken over by a group of teenagers who had draped themselves all over, shouting and laughing hysterically. Steam obscured the windows, and the rich aroma of roasting coffee failed to disguise the damp-dog odour of wet coats. A grizzled old man in a black gabardine raincoat struggled to rise from his chair, pulled up his coat collar and ambled towards the exit. As he opened the door a blast of cold air cut through the fug of a wet Saturday morning.  
            Miriam tightened her flower printed scarf closer around her neck, took a deep breath and broke her self-imposed silence. ‘Hmm, that’s a new one,’ she ventured, as she stirred her coffee and looked around the room, wondering why she hadn’t heard about this before.
            ‘No seriously,’ Gillian retorted, tapping her long finger nails on the streaky table, ‘It was a very scary night. Let me tell you about it.’
            Not waiting for Miriam’s response, Gillian leaned forward and lowered her voice. ‘I was walking down by the canal, you know under the bridge that crosses Rowlands Road. It was a beautiful night, even though David had just dumped me for that red-head who works in the Royal Oak on the High Street. Huh! Why he would want to take up with her, I can’t imagine. Such a scrubber!’
            Miriam nodded, she had also had issues with her boyfriend Gerald and the self-same red-head. ‘I think Bridget is her name,’ she hissed.
            ‘Anyway,’ Gillian continued, picking imaginary fluff off her purple pencil skirt, ‘I was walking along the towpath minding my own business enjoying the full moon, even though it was quite chilly and I was feeling devastated,’ she paused to pull a tragic face, ‘when I tripped over a log lying in my way. An odd log, I might add, seeing as how it was sort of ginger coloured with quite a fetching pattern and little horn type branches sticking out from one end.’ Gillian licked her spoon again, quite aware that she had drawn a small audience from the surrounding tables. Miriam dropped her gaze and stared at her own bright pink fingernails. ‘Go on,’ she said, picking up her cup and taking a deep slurp. Gillian’s coffee was now left to grow cold, as she warmed to her story.  
            ‘As I said’, she glared at Miriam, ‘I was walking along minding my own business, when I tripped over this thing on the path. I have to say, I did let out quite a scream. Anyway things got worse.’ Gillian paused for effect, her eyes wide. ‘The log reared up, and I was looking into two long-lashed brown eyes with tears slipping from the corners. I kept my cool.’
            Miriam snorted at this last statement, ‘When did you ever keep your cool? Did no one hear your scream?’ She laughed looking for support from the other occupants of the café. Now drawn to the women’s table, they nodded in agreement.
            However, not to be deflected from her story, Gillian dismissed their nods with an uplifted hand and a glacial stare. ‘The creature, whom I now recognised as a giraffe, began to make a low moaning sound deep in its long throat.’
            ‘How did you recognise it as a giraffe?’ Miriam was sceptical.
            ‘That’s easy,’ Gillian replied, ‘everyone knows a giraffe when they see one.’
            ‘Well, yes, in a zoo or a safari park or in a picture, but not in real life, under the canal bridge.’ A young girl with short blond hair, a dark brown coat and red leggings, now moved closer. ‘I mean, you wouldn’t expect to see one on a towpath in this town,’ she sniggered.          ‘Had you been at the booze?’
            ‘I most certainly had not!’ Gillian could see she was now losing her audience, as odd people left the group and returned to their cooling coffee cups, clearly bored. ‘I tell you it was real. In fact it licked my hand with its long black tongue; felt like my fingers were being rubbed over with sandpaper.’
            A hush fell on the room. All that could be heard was the hissing of the coffee machine and an embarrassed scraping of chairs.
            Gillian was almost in tears, ‘I tell you, I stroked it. Its hair was rough, and it had a lumpy ginger topknot between its ears. It felt like the hairiest of hairy blankets and smelt like one that had been out in the rain for months.’ Her hair had fallen out of the messy bun she normally wore and was hanging around her eyes. Black streaks of mascara ran down her cheeks. ‘I tell you! I found a giraffe on the towpath under the full moon!’
            Miriam, sensing her friend’s distress amongst the now hostile coffee drinkers, took her hand and asked gently, ‘What was wrong with the giraffe? You said it was moaning and crying. I didn’t know giraffes could cry.’
            ‘Well,’ said Gillian eagerly, leaning forward, her eyes shining, ‘neither did I, but this giraffe had a large tear dripping off the end of its nose, and its eyes were swollen.’
            ‘How can you tell they’re swollen?’ the girl in the red leggings piped up. ‘Have you seen a giraffe’s eyes close up before?’ She turned to the rest of the crowd and smirked. A few people were beginning to sidle up to the girls again.
            ‘Well, if you look at a giraffe, its eyes are brown and clear, but this one had huge bags under them as if he hadn’t slept for a week. If you were lying on a muddy towpath on your side, you’d be crying too. And it flared its nostrils, snorting horribly, trying to sniff back the tears,’ she added, now indignant.
            ‘Why was it on the towpath?’ Red Leggings persisted; she had her own audience now.
            ‘Well, it had fallen over on its side and couldn’t get up of course.’ Gillian pulled a face at her.
            ‘Did anyone else see it?’ The girl was not going to let go. ‘How the hell did it get there?
            ‘I was the only one under the bridge, apart from the giraffe that is, and I don’t know how it got there!’ Gillian retorted.
            ‘Did you phone anyone? How come we’ve never heard about it? This is a small town you know.’ She was poking Gillian on the shoulder with short sharp jabs.
            Gillian flinched and dropped her gaze. ‘I didn’t have my phone,’ she mumbled under her breath.
            ‘You didn’t have your phone! That’s a good one! Anyway, what happened to it?’ The girl’s flushed face was now within an inch of Gillian’s. Gill gulped, tears began to form in her eyes. Miriam laid a hand on her arm and squeezed it gently. ‘Come on Gill.’ She turned to the girl. ‘That’s enough now.’
            ‘I think you’ve lost it!’ Red Leggings turned towards her cohorts. ‘She’s mad she is, come on lets go.
            The group exited the café jeering, pushing and shoving each other as they left, leaving Gillian and Miriam sitting alone. Miriam shook with laughter. ‘That got rid of them, Gill,’ said Miriam, ‘now we can have that couch in the corner. Well done.’
            Gillian looked puzzled but agreed, ‘Yes, let’s go, before anyone else gets it.’ They gathered up their belongings and moved towards the couch, signalling the barista to pour them two more coffees.
            Miriam went up to the counter, paid for the coffees, and brought them back to the table, where Gillian had spread out their bags and scarves to deter other customers. When she returned Gill was scowling.
            ‘Thanks for the coffee, Mimi, but I have to say, it’s no laughing matter if you must know. I thought better of you. Still, now the others have gone, I can tell you all about the night I met the giraffe under a full moon on the canal towpath.’
            Gillian opened her handbag, took out a yellowing newspaper cutting unfolded it, and smoothed it out on the table. ‘Now,’she said, ‘where was I?’

About the Author
Elizabeth Cox has had a varied career which gives her plenty of experience to call on. She now loves to write poetry, short stories and is working on her first novel.

Published May 11 2016

Monday 9 May 2016

100 Worder: A Wishing Well

100 Worder: A Wishing Well

Dawn Knox


The distant hills become one with the night, but at dawn, they emerge from the darkness, silhouetted against the watery light.
            I rise, take my water carrier and trek to the well.
            One hour later, I am home with my precious cargo.
            I set off again.
            Three more trips are needed before my family has sufficient water for one day.
            Four hours after rising, I set off for school where I will be scolded for tardiness.
            I hear that strangers plan to dig a well in my village.
            On my walk each morning, I selfishly pray for such a well.

About the Author
Dawn's first book 'Daffodil and the Thin Place' was published in 2014. She enjoys a writing challenge and has had stories published in various anthologies, including horror and speculative fiction, as well as romances in several women's magazines. Dawn has written a script for a play to commemorate World War One, which has been performed in her home town in Essex, in Germany and will be performed this year in France. Married with one son, she lives in Essex.

Published May 09 2016

Thursday 5 May 2016

100 Worder: Royal Infirmary

100 Worder: Royal Infirmary

Lisa Williams

A shot of whisky

They were removed without question, with a startlingly brisk efficiency, as she snipped the umbilical cord. It was for the best but tortuously painful. Our joint cries rose up into the room and seemingly strengthened the maternal bond.
            I wondered where they were as I fed him that night in the hospital bed. Watching thin feathered wisps of smoke from the incinerator soar across the city skyline. I hoped they’d given them to someone who needed a pair.

Two years later. He was back there.
            Breathing complications.
            He never saw the sky again and I never got my wings back.

About the Author
Lisa Williams. Domestic slattern. Obsessive reader.

Published May 05 2016

Tuesday 3 May 2016

100 Worder: Working Out

100 Worder: Working Out

Stuart Page

Iced Milk Tea

Hiroki is showering. He feels and looks good today after his long workout. 'I’d date me,' he thinks, happily. Hiroki turns off the shower and, avoiding the eyes of the naked men around him, reaches out for his towel. He freezes when he looks at the towel rack, however. He hasn’t brought his own. 'Oh, no.' He swallows. Hoping that nobody’s watching him, Hiroki grabs the nearest towel and hastily dries himself. He returns it. It falls to the floor.
            'Is that mine?'
            'I don’t speak English!' Hiroki shouts, fleeing. Next week, he tries out a new gym.

About the Author
Stuart Page an English and Creative Writing graduate. He really enjoy writings 100 word flash fiction pieces.

Published May 03 2016