Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

Against all Odds

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Against all Odds

This is a flash fiction based on an exercise in writing group where we wrote stories based on song titles.  I chose a song I actually don’t like very much, just because I think the title transfers over to creating a story well!

Just a word of warning, the story contains content that some people may find distressing.

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Against all Odds

Early menopause. The words had echoed in her head every day since they’d been said. She’d been 32 years old. They’d been trying for a baby for six long unsuccessful years. Early menopause were the words that shattered the last of her splintered spirit. She gave up then. Curled under the blankets naked and shivering she had nothing left in her to produce tears. He couldn’t let it go. There were still options. They could still try. He stroked her hair trying to reach her but she was gone. Robotically she began injecting herself daily. They were still trying. The injections made her sick. Every morning kneeling on the bathroom floor. For years she had longed to be sick every morning. It worked. The doctor’s smile was wide when he told them. It worked. Two months later the same doctor held her hand after the miscarriage. He was so sorry. There are still options. You can still try. She gave up hope. There are still options. We can still try. Her husband’s hand felt strong in hers. Tears were streaming from her tired eyes. The doctor said it was a boy and placed her slick crying baby on her chest. It worked. She was 34 years old. They’d been trying for a baby for eight long years but it worked. It worked.

Copyright D M Day, 2017

Train of Thought

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Train of Thought

The rain is so heavy tonight. I’m cold and wet but at least the others can’t see my tears. It’s been all I can think about since it happened. His face, when he realised what he’d done. Apparently they all look like that. They’re there of their own free will, we reckon they’ll have thought about it for months, but that moment, before the impact, they stare at you in abject horror. And that three seconds, his face before I hit him and it was all over, will stay with me forever.

Afterwards, when my driver had been taken away wrapped up in a blanket, they brought me back here, and I haven’t moved since. We reckon my driver will have a lot of support and help until he’s back to his old self. That doesn’t happen for us though. We can’t leave the line, so they just put us out of the way, and leave us to rust. They haven’t even washed all the blood off my face.

I hear a whistling and know that the one they call Graham is coming to hide down here like he does every night. Apparently the stuff he smokes isn’t looked on well by the others with legs. Especially for a Railway Guard. I don’t care though. To me, he doesn’t look any less vacant than the rest of them.

He walks along with his head ducked down, water dripping down his uniform. He squeezes into the doorway of a shed and lights the white paper tube. Plumes of smoke leave his mouth and the smell filters towards me and I feel a little comforted. I feel like Graham would be one of the few who understood me. Always alone and not quite fitting onto the track in life he was given.

He grinds the end of the smoke into the wet ground and it disintegrates under his wet boots. He reaches into his pocket and takes out a peach. He’s always hungry after he smokes. He used to eat brown bars but then he started following round the one they call Angela and since then it’s always been peaches or little coloured sticks dipped into something that looks like the mushed up leaves that clog the lines.

He bites the peach and the juice drips onto his chin. I see the other one before he does. Creeping up through the rain, all in black. He wraps his arm around Graham’s neck and rests a shining sliver of metal against his throat. The peach, forgotten, drops into a puddle.

“Easy now,” this new one snarls into Graham’s ear. “Do as I say and nobody needs to die tonight.”

Graham’s eyes are spilling tears and a dark patch, barely visible amidst the rainwater, forms on the front of his trousers. “What do you want?” Graham stammers through his sobs.

More are appearing now. All in black, all creeping about. I’ve no idea how many there are, all I know is that there is only Graham who is free to move. Was free to move. I’m powerless.

“It’s very simple,” the one with gun mutters into Graham’s ear. “We have a bomb and we’re going to put it onto one of these trains. Then tomorrow,” he laughs now, low and sinister, “when it reaches Kings Cross, kaboom. All you have to do, Mr Matthews, is keep your mouth shut and pretend we were never here. Or, this pretty little thing”, he says letting go of Graham’s neck to retrieve a small black box from his pocket which lights up Graham’s tear soaked face, “will throw herself in front of one of them tomorrow. Understand?”

Graham nods slowly, his chest heaving with sobs.

“Good good.” The man with the shining blade smiles and nods at one of the others who uses something shiny to open up one of the other guys. None of them are waking up. Useless mindless lumps of metal.

If only there was something I could do.

Graham is stood shaking and crying and the others are faffing about inside one of the lads. I think of Angela. The way that Graham looks at her. Then her face is in my head, screaming the way that guy did, fear and terror, another guy rusting away in this yard, forgotten and blood soaked. It wouldn’t even be her choice. The sound of the screaming is filling my head. His screams. Her screams. Then out of nowhere there’s an ear splitting noise. Choo choo! All of the ones with legs jump around yelling and holding their heads. Choo choo! Is that me? Choo choo! It is! I don’t believe it. Then I remember. It’s the trick of our ancestors. Bus surely it’s not possible. The ones with legs took it away from us when it was no longer any use to them. And yet the noise comes over and over again. Louder and louder. Choo choo, choo choo, choo choooooooo! Graham stares at me open mouthed as more of his kind appear running and yelling. The ones they call police come then and the ones who threatened Graham are thrown face down onto the wet ground. All is saved. All will be well. I am a hero. No longer a killer.

Maybe they’ll even let me off the tracks.

*****

The noise fades and Graham sucks the last of the fruit from the peach stone and tosses it into the mud. He walks over to me, the same hazy look in his eyes that he always has. He pats the side of my aching head and smiles. ‘We’ll be getting you cleaned up in the morning old boy, he says. “No good leaving you here any longer. The inquest is done now. Back to work.”

He saunters off, whistling again. I’ve heard the others with legs talk about him. They think he’s weird, speaking to us trains as though we can understand him.

Copyright, D M Day, 2017

Soon

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Soon

This is a piece of flash fiction based on something I wrote for a writing group.  The prompt was a picture of an elderly couple walking along a street with their arms wrapped around each other.

Soon

Margaret shuffled along, her arm tightly wrapped around Harry’s waist. His arm was draped over her shoulders, protecting her from the winter chill. In his other hand he held a brightly polished cane which tapped the pavement, counting their steps along the chilly street. The sound made Margaret think of the passing of time, how things had been throughout their lives, how things were now, and what the future would hold for them. Fifty years together. Fifty years today.

‘I love you’, Margaret said, tightening her hold around Harry’s waist.

‘I love you too’, he said. ‘I always have, you know that.’

As they continued in silence, he knew she was crying. They reached the cafe that they had gone to every Tuesday at this time for the last fifty years. They walked in, sat at their usual table and their usual waitress walked over to them to take their usual order.

Margaret dabbed the tears from her eyes with the embroidered handkerchief he’d given her for her birthday thirty years ago. She laughed, the sound short and sharp. ‘Oh Harry’, she said. ‘How did we get so old?’

‘Meg’, he replied, pulling both of her withered hands to his lips and kissing them gently. ‘You are as beautiful as the day I met you.’

She cried again, silent tears streaming down her face. ‘Say it once more Harry’, she begged. ‘Just once more for old time’s sake.’ Harry sighed, looking up at the ceiling. ‘I know it isn’t true’, she continued, pleadingly, ‘but, well.’

He lowered his gaze and looked into her eyes. The same eyes that had stared at him with such hope in them every Tuesday for the last fifty years. He stroked her wrinkled cheek with the back of his hand. ‘Soon Meg. I promise. I’ll tell her our marriage is over. I’ll leave her, for you. Soon.’

Copyright D M Day 2016

Monkey Business

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Monkey Business

So since NaPoWriMo ended my life has been a bit crazy with finishing uni off (all done now – hurrah), moving house (not quite done yet – boo) and various other bits and bats so things have been a bit quiet on the blogging front.  But here’s a (very) short story I wrote for a little writing challenge.  The challenge was to write a 100 word story featuring the words “monkey”, “scarf” and “bench”.  Would love to see other people’s take on it as well, so feel free to tweet me @inkytitch.

Monkey Business

The monkey walked slowly through the park, rubbing his eyes, yawning, but not wanting to go home yet despite being exhausted.  He just couldn’t face yet another argument with his wife about employing humans.  ‘There aren’t that many left’, he’d told her.  ‘That’s their fault’, she’d screamed, slamming their bedroom door.  Sighing he sat on a nearby bench pulling his scarf tighter.  It was cold tonight.  It was always cold now.  The final war had almost blocked the sun out completely.  But Adam was a nice guy.  What his ancestors had done wasn’t his fault.  Why couldn’t she see that?

Copyright, D M Day, 2016

Godmother’s Fairytale Ending

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I got eight points in the first heat of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction challenge.  Hoping I can do well in the one this weekend and go through to the next round!  My genre was fairytale, my location was a senior citizen’s home and my required object was a disco ball.  This is my story.  Hope you enjoy it!

Godmother’s Fairytale Ending

Senile dementia they called it. A very serious doctor had told her in a very serious tone that she had senile dementia, then arranged for her to be cooped up in here, surrounded by very serious nurses. They told her what she knew wasn’t actually true. She had senile dementia and if she didn’t want to take her pills, there were other treatment options available. Senile dementia. If she ever got hold of those two sullen petulant girls…

Problem was no-one realised the stories were true and that they rolled over again and again and again. That’s why they thought she was mad. They all knew the story of the girl with the pumpkin carriage and the glass shoe, but when she told them about the others, well who would believe her really? Carriages made out of china teapots and disco balls. Girls running out of parties in Mary Jane’s and neon pink platforms. If she hadn’t known better, she probably wouldn’t have believed it either.

Either way she was stuck here, and it didn’t look like that would change any time soon. If only Fairy Godmother tears summoned someone to come and rescue them.

Staring at the remnants of the tea in her cup she didn’t notice the man quietly sit down beside her. ‘I believe you’ he whispered close to her ear.

She gasped as she noticed his face practically touching hers, but couldn’t take her eyes from his.

‘I’m the same as you,’ he said, quietly between laboured heavy breaths. ‘They told me I got it too, but I know they’re wrong. I know the old stories, the ones you’re in. I know them wolves was outside my house. ‘allucination they said it was. Nah, they’re wrong. Them wolves was outside my house and one day they’ll all regret not listening to me.’

She held her breath, her heart thundering in her chest. His story sounded crazy, but then, so did hers.

He glanced over his shoulder and leaned close to her again. ‘I can get us out of here,’ he told her now, a glint in his eyes. ‘I was leaving myself tonight anyway. If you want, you can come too’.

***

So now she was out in the gardens, under a full moon, waiting for this man who she hardly knew but had put all her trust into. She squinted at her watch. Ten to twelve. She was starting to panic now. She’d told him it had to be before midnight. No escape after midnight ever goes well. They always find you if you leave after midnight.

‘Don’t look so nervous.’ The whisper in her ear made her jump and she saw his eyes staring into hers once more. He lifted an apple towards her mouth. ‘Just one little bite’, he said, his lips barely moving. ‘Just one little bite and we’re gone, out of here, happily ever after.’

***

All the nurses found the next morning was one pink dew soaked slipper.

People Will Talk

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Amanda Barrett was unhappy. So so unhappy.

She was sick of cruises through the galaxy, touring gas giants that all looked the same, she was tired of staring at identical looking meteor rocks in Tiffany’s and she’d had enough of being in this damn hotel. And most of all she was unhappy being Mrs Barrett, Dominic Barrett’s wife. Dominic Barrett, humanitarian, environmentalist, all round good guy, and millionaire. Dominic Barrett perfect husband. Amanda Barrett luckiest woman in the galaxy. If only they knew.

She heard the en-suite shower turn off and groaned. She rolled over and laid face down in the pillows before he came back into the room, perfect white towel wrapped around his perfect tanned waist. It was funny how they still used towels. Showers hadn’t contained water for about fifty years.

She heard him walking around. Dressing. He didn’t speak to her. He never did. He didn’t care for her so why would he? She heard him stop. She could feel his eyes on her, as he stood there coldly staring at her. She sighed into the pillows, knowing he would hear her, knowing he wouldn’t really care. She rolled over and sat up, the sheet falling to expose her breasts. The focus of his eyes on her face didn’t move.

‘We have to go for breakfast now’, he said, his blank stare focusing on her eyes.

‘I don’t want anything’, she mumbled. ‘I’m not hungry.’

‘We don’t want people to talk,’ he stated, sounding like he couldn’t care less either way. ‘We have to go for breakfast now. People will talk.’

She massaged her right temple with her fingertips suddenly feeling very very tired. ‘Can’t you do something!’, she snapped at him. ‘Do you have to just stand there staring at me? Can’t you just read, or watch a blu-ray, or just do something?’

He tilted his head, looking at her with perfect uncomprehending eyes. ‘Very well’, and walked over to one of the massive armchairs by the window with the view of Earth. He picked up her e-reader and stared at the screen. ‘What would you like me to read?’, he asked.

She groaned, burying her face under the bedding and wishing she’d known on her wedding day that this was how it would be.

***

It hadn’t always been this way. When she’d met Dominic he’d been enthusiastic and excited, about everything, but especially her. His eyes had followed her around the site where they were rebuilding Paris. She’d fallen in love in what had been the most romantic city in the world. She hadn’t known about the money then. That had been a surprise when he’d knelt down in the wasted street with his mother’s engagement ring, the diamond the size of a fist.

After that had followed a whirlwind of cake testing, venue choosing, and ordering custom grown, real actually grown, flowers.

Then had come the serious talk with his parents. That moment when she was told about doing things for appearances sake. We don’t want people to talk. It would never do, people talking.

She’d been miserable ever since.

***

Amanda and Dominic had been prominently placed in the dining room by the hotel staff. Hotel Luna was obviously only frequented by the higher ranking members of society but still, having Earth’s golden couple providing free advertising just by being there wouldn’t hurt.

All waiting staff were androids now, but Hotel Luna had gone one step further and had their service staff fitted with wheels so that they glided about quickly, ensuring everyone who wanted caviar, canapés and champagne had it immediately.

The hotel owner had come over to their table. Dominic was smiling enthusiastically, he was able to when he put his mind to it. He was even managing the odd laugh. The owner was relating his plans for a covered garden so people could go outside for walks. Right now the hotel was an indoor affair only, as putting spacesuits on didn’t quite click with the luxury travel people wanted around here.

Amanda noticed the waiters were beginning to bring the soup around. Thank God, she was starving after refusing to get out of bed this morning for breakfast. No-one seemed to be talking. As she’d tried to explain to him, they probably actually cared as much as he did.

The waiter stopped at their table with the huge tureen of hot tomato soup. Apparently the tomatoes were even grown from seed. He spooned it into her bowl and then leaned towards Dominic’s. He rapidly raised his hand and said ‘none for me thanks’.

‘Very well sir,’ the robot replied and wheeled away. Amanda hadn’t noticed her handbag strap sticking out from under the table.

The tureen had emptied over Dominic before she’d raised her spoon to her lips.

The owner was up in a flash. ‘You stupid idiot robot! Do you have any idea who that man is? You’re made of metal! How the hell can you be so clumsy? Artificial intelligence! Artificial stupidity more like…’

The owner trailed off as he noticed Amanda leaning over her broken smoking husband trying to hide the skin melting off his cheek. Dominic had died in a building accident in New Paris before they were married. His parents had told her that they were having an android replica made. It had to be done. They couldn’t let their fortune fall into the hands of the government so she had to marry him still and then she would inherit everything. She only had to keep up the pretence for three years at which point the estate would become legally hers and they could create another accident and mourn Dominic properly. All she had to do was smile, pretend everything was OK, and keep up appearances.

But now she was covered in soup, in a hotel on the moon, while the crowd stared at her trying to keep the skin on the metal face of her cold unloving husband.

People will talk.

Copyright, D M Day, 2014

Now or Never

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“Two pints of lager please mate.”  Pete took the drinks off the spotty youth behind the bar and walked over to the corner where his best mate Martin was sat with tears in his eyes.

“Thanks pal.”  Martin took his pint and placed it on the table without so much as a sip and started to take deep breaths to stop the crying before it started.

Pete stared at the floor.  “How is he doing?”

Too late.  Martin shook with the sobs.  “Neither me or Abigail are a match and I’m sure it’s worse than I think because her and the doctors keep whispering and I don’t know half of what’s going on.  He’s fifteen for Christ’s sake!  He should be thinking about girls and school, not his next fucking dialysis appointment and what God damn songs he wants playing at his funeral…”

Pete looked around.  The spotty youth was staring.  He downed half his pint in one go.

Martin’s crying stopped after what felt like an eternity.  He started playing with his cig packet and Pete’s eyes moved to the floor.  “Oh God, I’m sorry mate.”

“Yeah, you and everybody else.”

Pete put his head in his hands and took a deep breath.  Never was no longer an option.  It had to be done now.  He looked into Martin’s still teary eyes.

“There’s a pretty good chance Christopher’s my son.  I’ll phone Abigail tomorrow and make arrangements to take the test.”  And with that he left the pub, leaving only the spotty youth behind the bar to see how many tears diluted Martin’s still untouched pint.