The Dress

10 September, 2011 at 14:01 (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

She kept tugging on her sleeve, hours after they had passed the shop-window.

“Please Mummy, please Mummy.”

Ella could feel the exasperation rising. Debbie had learned the word please only recently and seemed to think it was the magic word that unlocked everydoor. This wasn’t helped by Phil asking her everytime a ‘please’ was wanted – ‘What’s the magic word?’ Ella had grown more frustrated with that phrase as Debbie had grown more convinced of it’s literal truth.

“Please Mummy, please Mummy.”

Part of her wanted to turn around and shout at the pleading face. She wanted to shout ‘No! No Debbie, you can’t have it. It’s a dumb dress that you’re going to grow out of in months and it’s far too expensive what what it is. You can’t have it because I don’t want you to have it. You’re a horrible, whining little girl who doesn’t deserve a pretty sparkly dress. Now shut the fuck up and let Mummy pretend she doesn’t have a horrible whining child to satisfy all the fucking time.’
Part of her wanted to slap the child across the face. As she held Debbie’s hand waiting to cross the road she imagined accidentally-on-purpose tripping, sending the tiny girl sprawling across the path of the oncoming traffic. She imagined the tears she’d have to force to her eyes by digging her nails into her thighs and the sobbing way she would say ‘My baby’. She dragged Debbie hard across the road and looked, guiltily, into the eyes of a policewoman coming the other way.

***

“Isn’t it a bit expensive?” asked Phil, later on that evening.

Debbie spun around and around in front of him, delighted with her new dress.

Ella pasted a smile across her face.
“Anything for my little girl,” she said.

“I love you Mummy,” said Debbie, her joy evident in her eyes.

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The Hole

9 September, 2011 at 14:47 (Flash) (, , , , , , , , , )

Sam was angry. Sam was very angry. She was so angry that she had taken off the pretty party dress that Mummy and Uncle John had brought for her birthday and she had run up the garden in her vest and knickers. It would make Mummy shout, she knew, but Sam was so angry that she didn’t care.

Daddy wasn’t coming to her birthday party. Daddy had phoned to say that he had to stay on the rig for another few months. This hadn’t made Sam angry, this had made Sam upset and she had gone to the living room to have a little cry in front of the balloons that Uncle John had blown up. Mummy hadn’t known where she had gone, or else she hadn’t realised how loud her voice was, or how well Sam could hear, or, or, or she hadn’t cared.
Mummy had said to Uncle John that she had known that Daddy wasn’t coming and that Mummy and Daddy had decided not to tell Sam beforehand but to wait to phone her up on the day to say that Daddy had to stay on the rig. Sam was angry because they had lied and Sam was angry because she had been looking forward to seeing Daddy and now she felt stupid for doing so.

Sam was angry and she was running up to the fence at the top of the garden and she was climbing over it and running across the field in just her vest and knickers. She hoped that that would upset Mummy a lot, and, just as she hoped that she tripped. She fell over her own feet and tumbled, down and down and down, much further down than the ground because, it turns out that what she fell over was the edge of a hole. She fell right into the hole and tumbled and scraped herself going all the way down, it was a very long hole.

As she picked herself up she heard sounds, pleasant, gentle music, like her older sister Kelly playing the harp, but much nicer. She saw lights down the tunnel that it seemed she had fallen into and walked towards them. The tunnel widened out and she could see hundreds of people in beautiful clothes dancing and dancing to the beautiful music. To one side were tables upon which were set piles and piles of fruits and foods in a multitude of colours.
It occurred to Sam that she hadn’t eaten since breakfast and that she wasn’t going to go to her party so she edged close to the table.

A bearded man, a little shorter than she was, was filling his plate. He turned to her, “You s’posed to be here?” he asked.

“Um…not really,” admitted Sam.

“Ahh,” he said, nodding wisely and tearing into a chicken drumstick with his teeth. With his mouth full he continued, “If you eat any of this, you won’t be let leave.”

Sam’s eyes widened in surprise.

The man continued, “You’ll have t’stay here and dance with us’ns and you’ll never see your Mummy and Daddy again.”

“Good.” said Sam, who was still angry, and immediately swallowed a grape from the table.

Much, much later the ambulance crew were explaining that it might help Uncle John if he went on a first aid course.

“All that was needed was the Heimlich,” said the ambulance driver. “You’re lucky we got here when we did.”

Uncle John nodded in agreement, looking at his sister holding his tiny niece very protectively.

The driver continued, “You shouldn’t really serve such small grapes at a kids party, they’re so small they really are a choking hazard.”

Uncle John nodded again, “Yeah, I don’t really remember putting them out.”

“Kids eh.” said the other paramedic walking back from Sam and her mother. “Who’d have ’em, they find the darnedest things.”

“Yeah,” said Uncle John, dazed.

“Anyway, she’s safe and sound,” continued the paramedic, stroking his beard. “We’ll be getting off in case there are other little kids to save.”

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Bedtime Story

8 September, 2011 at 22:30 (Flash) (, , , , , , , )

“Daddy, just one more?” she asked, her big blue eyes looking up into his.

He smiled down at her. “One more.”
Then he looked down at the book in his hand and read the next story, ‘A Christmas Angel’, this one was about an angel who ate too many christmas biscuits. She fell asleep when he was about half way through reading it. When he heard her breathing become even and slow he put down the book and let the tears flow.

The nurse poked her head through the door. “Mr Chambers?”

He looked up at her.

“There are some more papers for you to sign.”

He nodded and got up, leaving the book on the chair besides the bed. It had been her favourite book when she was a kid, when she had been about seven she’d recieved it for Christmas and he hadn’t been allowed not to read from it for her bedtime story. Now she was thirty-seven and here in the terminal cancer ward he read it to her again. This time though, when she closed her eyes and slept he didn’t wish for her to wake with her dreams fulfilled, he just wished for her to wake at least once more.

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Vilcanota River

7 September, 2011 at 22:38 (Flash) (, , , , , , , , , )

I look out from the hillside. My stone gaze falls on the grasses, the condor flying above and the Vilcanota rushing below.

My eyes have gazed from this rock even as it has eroded and I have slid, slowly, gradually, closer to the valley floor. They painted me, thos people who ran across the mountain-tops. They who sought to tie me to the roof of their world. They shored my mountains, propped up the landslides and tried to turn back time in that way people have. Still the condors spread their wings and fly above me. They did not succeed, those mountain-runners and I have not seen them for years upon years now.

The ground of the Urubamba Valley calls me on, the grasses grow up around me and my rock face erodes. The passers-by still see me, and my heart calls to theirs as they pass. It is only a few who feel it, most simply stop, stare and pass on by empty of all that gives such short lives meaning.

I call to those who can hear, I call to those who stop, who turn at the passing of the snake and who seem to hear the puma, nestled in the craggy top of my stones. They feel my heart beat with theirs and wonder what it is, they see the passage of the condor and a part of them runs the mountain tops again. A part of them leaps into the air, high above the Vilcanota whilst I, in my silence of the thousand years, observe and continue to erode with the rest of the sliding mountain.

(Three Word Wednesday: Erode, Heart, Observe)

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Glitter

6 September, 2011 at 11:28 (Flash) (, , , , )

She cried, she knew she wasn’t being a good, brave girl, but she couldn’t help it, the tears just came. She sniffed, hard. Then she peered between the bannisters of the landing, that wasn’t anygood as the tears came again, harder, when she caught sight of the glint in Mary’s hand.

Mummy had given her the small tub of glitter that morning and she had put two small dabs of it on her cheeks. She had said it was fairy dust and it had made her smile, even though she had known really that it was just glitter and not really fairy-dust.

When Mary had seen the glitter on her cheeks she had wanted some as well and when she had got the tub out of her pocket to put it on Mary’s cheeks Mary’s eyes had glittered.
“Give it to me.” she had demanded.
“But it’s mine.”
“It’s my birthday.” Mary had said. “Give it to me.”
“But…”

Then Mary had started crying, very, very loudly and the nursery nurse had come over to see what the matter was.
“It’s my birthday!” Mary had wailed first. “And she won’t give it me back.”

It was the word ‘back’ that had surprised her, and that meant that when the nursery nurse had told her to give the tub to Mary she had done so.
Now she sat upstairs and tried not to cry because she knew it wasn’t really her Mum’s fairydust and she did want to be a big, brave girl. She just couldn’t seem to stop.

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Tomorrow

4 September, 2011 at 10:20 (Short) (, , , , , , , , , , )

“Blessed day.” he intoned. “Sacred night. Come forth what may, I charge this rite.”

She found the words terrifying, she wished that they were more sonorous, more grim, perhaps just less tritely rhyming.

He moved towards her.

She reflected as she saw the blade of the knife, that it was odd she was still so much of a snob when…

…the thought died as his knife plunged into her heart.

“I have it!” he crowed. “The power of tomorrow is mine!”

He began to laugh when something shifted at the edge of his vision, the knife blade seemed to shatter…no not to shatter, for each shard seemed still to be attached, it moved out as if it had become the edges of reality’s kaleidescope and each particle of the scene before him, each segment of her blood and skin and hair was reflected back at him with the urgency of the blade.

“Blessed day.” he intoned. “Sacred night. Come forth what may, I charge this rite.”

She found the words terrifying, she wished that they were more sonorous, more grim, perhaps just less tritely rhyming.

He moved towards her.

She reflected as she saw the blade of the knife, that it was odd she was still so much of a snob when…

…the thought died as his knife plunged into her heart.

“…Wait…the power of tomorrow?…Wait” he stuttered uncertainly into laughter when something shifted at the edge of his vision, the knife blade seemed to kaleidescrope out and yet he thought he had seen each particle of the scene before him, each segment of her blood and skin and hair reflected back at him before, somehow, as if the blade’s movement was familiar.

“Blessed day.” he intoned. “Sacred night. Come forth what may, I charge this rite.”

She found the words terrifying, she wished that they were more sonorous, more grim, perhaps just less tritely rhyming.

He moved towards her.
“Wait…” He said, again?

She rolled her eyes at his brief reprieve, she found it odd that she was still so much of a snob as to care about the quality of ritual that killed her when…

…the thought died as his knife tore across her throat.

“Don’t mock me bitch.” he said, then saw the blood, “No, I didn’t…I…The power of tomorrow is mine?”

The world mocked his uncertainty just as she had done and the blade shifted from his grasp, kaleidescoping over each segment of her dripping blood, torn skin and hair until it’s blade turned in opposition across his throat and joined their blood forever…never…forever…

“Blessed day. Sacred night. Come forth what may, I charge this rite.”

She laughed as the trite words came from nowhere, into her mind. Perhaps she could use them for a short story, then again, perhaps not. Even so, Tomorrow blew the words into a writer’s ears, perhaps they would form something after all.

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Priests of Mithras

3 September, 2011 at 18:50 (Flash, Lace and Steel) (, , , , , , , )

He basked in their adulation. The roar of the crowds had him throw up his hands and raise the bloodied daggers far above his head. Droplets of the beast’s blood blessed his face and hair as they fell from the blades.

Soon the crowd would return to their seats, soon the curates and the neophytes would come and take the bull’s carcass to the sacred chapel for butchering but right now he stood, proud, basking in his glory as a Priest of Mithras, fresh from his first fight.

Sunday mornings in the bullring were what he had built his whole life towards, ever since that first initiation as a boy into the first mystery, as the bull’s blood had rained down upon him he had known he wanted nothing more than to be the one in the ring, fighting the bull with wits and daggers, he wanted to see behind the curtain and to know who truly moved the stars with his heart-beat. And he had done it. He basked in the crowd’s adulation.

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Hell

2 September, 2011 at 23:52 (Flash) (, , , , )

She sat on a tree stump, on top of the rise at the edge of the wolds, surrounded by corn. She gazed over the flatness of the fens that stretched out into the blue of the distance. Above her the wide sky pressed down.

Soon she would have to get up off the stump. Soon she would have to turn around and walk back the way they had come. Behind her sprawled, pressing down upon the golden stalks of corn, lay the bloodied form of the man she had killed.

Whilst the sky pressed down on her and she looked into the distance for some hope of salvation she could ignore his blood feeding the dry earth. There was no forgetting him though, and no getting past the number of people who had seen them come out here.

She blinked as she gazed out over the fens and into the distance, soon she would have to turn around and go back the way she had come.

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Freedom

1 September, 2011 at 22:46 (Flash) (, , , , , , )

“Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum” said the little girl, tugging at her mother’s dressing-gown.

“Not now dear, Mummy’s talking.” said her mother, not bothering to look down, “Do go on with what you were saying,” she said to the very attractive door-to-door salesman who’d explained that he was only recently out of prison and was in fact a door to door salesman in an effort to get into the army.

The little girl gave up on trying to attract her mother’s attention and walked back down the hall. She clambered up onto the kitchen table and then lent out to reach the lock on the back door. With no small effort she pushed down and the catch moved allowing the door to swing back open. Hoisting herself off of the kitchen table she looked back over one shoulder, her Mum was still talking to the salesman but it looked as if her dressing gown had slipped a little bit. This often happened when Mum was talking to good looking men. The little girl headed out of the back door, closing it carefully behind her.

She walked into the garden and crawled under the hedge until she wriggled herself through the dirt and discovered herself in the field behind the house. Laying down in the mud of the field she saw the blue sky stretching wide above her and smiled whilst watching the birds wheeling, high over head.

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Corner Shop

31 August, 2011 at 23:06 (Flash) (, , , , , , , , )

“Spareabitofchangemate?” called out the old, homeless man on the street corner, running the words together as if they were one.

The girl ignored him, she wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers, and ran along the pavement, the wooden end of her skipping rope dragging behind her. At the corner she stopped running and glanced behind her, the homeless man was peering into his polystyrene cup, trying to count the loose change there. The girl stepped up the two shallow, concrete steps into the corner shop and peered over the counter at the sweets there.

“Whachoo wan? Wishwon?” asked the grey old asian woman behind the counter, her English heavily accented. The girl smiled up at her, over the sweets.
“Wishwons?” asked the woman again, smiling back over the sweets.

The girl pointed to the cherry chupa chup lollies and held up one finger.

“Won lolli,” said the shopkeeper, placing it deftly in the bag.

The girl’s front teeth bit down thoughtfully over her lower lip. She pointed to the blackjacks and raised two solemn fingers.

“Chew off those.” said the shopkeeper, smiling broadly now. “Thas twenny pee.”

The girl glanced down at the fifty pence coin she held in her hand. She pointed at one of the white chocolate mice, two fruit salads and a packet of parma violets.

“Thas fifty pee.” said the shopkeeper twisting up the paperbag with hands as crinkled as the paper.

The girl handed over the coin and took the bag of sweets with glee. Then she took off down the steps of the corner shop and back up the street at a run.

“Spareabitofchangemate?” called out the old, homeless man on the street corner, running the words together as if they were one.

The girl glanced at him as she ran by but said nothing. Then she made it to the terrace house she called home, dashed through the door, slammed it and took the stairs two at a time to her bedroom.

Mumbled words shouted from the kitchen below didn’t penetrate the room clearly enough to be replied to and she happily ensconced herself in the comfy armchair in the corner of her room. With her back to the door she didn’t react when it was thrown open and her father came stomping across the floor to her. She did however, jump a mile when he laid a hand on her shoulder and placed a small object into her hand. She fiddled with it and he waited until she had it in place.

“Please stop going out without your hearing aid.” he said.

“Sorry Dad,” she replied. “But I had to get to the shop before Mr Street did or he wouldn’t go in.”

“His name isn’t Mr Street, you should stop calling him that.”

“Sorry Dad.”

“And I don’t think it’s polite you watching him and Mrs Harishandra.”

“Sorry Da…ooooh there he goes!”

Her fingers delved into the paper bag to pass her father one of the blackjacks and she nibbled on the nose of the white mouse as they peered out of the window. There the homeless man finished counting his coins and drew himself up to his full height before walking to the corner shop.

“Where do you think they’re going to go this time?” she asked her father.

“I don’t know, her son caught her last time so they can’t go to the back yard again.”

“Do you think they’ll try the bus shelter? All the kids from the big school do it there.”

“No, it’s too open, they need somewhere no one’s going to walk in on them, especially not her son.”

The pair of them chewed away on their sweets until they saw Mrs Harishandra flick the shop sign to closed.

“They’re staying inside then,” said the girl.

Her father shook his head, “Surely not, the smell would alert her husband and I’m sure he doesn’t approve.”

“Maybe the yard again…”the girl trailed off as on the roof opposite them the skylight began to open. Soon out of it poked Mrs Harishandra’s head and the homeless mans, with one arm each able to stick out they passed their illicit cigarette between them as the little girl and her father watched, fascinated to see if anyone would catch them this time.

(Three Word Wednesday: Drag, Mumble, Penetrate)

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