It’s in the look

for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Photo prompt courtesy of John Nixon

It’s in the look

Another loser crying foul play. Couldn’t admit his girlfriend had scarpered. This one insisted she had disappeared at the thrift store.

“She went in for a wedding dress. She didn’t come out.”

Ralph’s rent was overdue so he took the case. He got a description—tall, blonde, strawberry birthmark.

He went downtown for a look. The shopkeeper was a weirdo: hair like snakes, dark glasses. Ralph distrusted people wearing dark glasses indoors.

The dress was there, on a mannequin—tall, blonde, strawberry birthmark. Ralph felt a creeping chill as the shopkeeper turned towards him.

He ran. The rent could wait. 

***

Another mysterious case for this down-at-heel, befuddled private detective. This is case number four. Once again, Ralph has encountered something other-worldly and emerged none the wiser.

Click here if you’re also none the wiser, and check out my ‘Ralph’ category for three more stories.

Pumped

One more 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Photo prompt courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Pumped

Kevin was transformed. No longer the skinny, wimpy kid who kept his t-shirt on at the beach, next summer he’d show them all.

He shrugged off his parents’ worried nagging. He had found the secret and he wasn’t stopping. Dr Aire’s Amazing All Natural Muscle Maker had fulfilled its promise; it had made him a man.

Each morning Kevin prepared the apparatus and injected the recommended amount of the elixir. Today, feeling that he could take on the world, he quadrupled the dose, inserted the applicator, opened the valve and, with a whoosh, rose to the ceiling and exploded.

***

Leaving

My 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Thanks to David Stewart for this week’s photo prompt.

Leaving

She lies awake beside him, willing the morning sun not to rise.

Soon enough he’ll wake, eat, kiss the children goodbye, hold her close, and go.

They’ll watch him cross the rickety walkway suspended over waterlogged soil that was dry land before the ocean crept in, drowning their vegetable gardens and destroying their livelihood.

He’ll turn to wave where the track bends. They will all be a year older when he returns. Twelve months of his factory wages will have kept them alive.

She knows they must soon decide. Everyone must leave. Soon their village, their whole island, will disappear. 

***

For more on this, here is a list of endangered islands and here is a short film about the situation in Samoa.

Never forever

My 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to read all the other contributions to this week’s link-up.

This week’s photo prompt is by Lisa Fox

Never forever

Perched atop the fire escape, Peter paused to catch his breath. He had searched the city for a likely target. This one held great promise.

He forced back a surge of panic, focussing instead on the pleasurable anticipation that always preceded his first glimpse.

Through the open window he watched her sleeping. She was older than the others. Maybe she’d be more appreciative of the advantages he offered. Not one had lasted. Not one had measured up to the first.

Losing Wendy had nearly broken him. She’d moved on, grown up and died, while he remained, forever young, forever alone.

***

Voting day

My 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

This week’s photo prompt provided by Brenda Cox

Voting day

I place a bead in the leader’s basket. His guards watch to make sure I do everything correctly. I choose my reward from the stall nearby—delicious fruit. We will eat well tonight.

Nobody speaks as we return home. Guards listen for disloyal talk as the voters pass.

The leader keeps us safe from evil-doers among us and beyond the mountains. He provides labour for all on his vast lands, and huts for shelter. 

There is another. They say we can choose him, but who is he? Where are his good works? 

Our leader will be re-elected, we are certain.

***

Channel crossing

My 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Photo prompt by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Channel crossing

There was a time when I was content to play around in the shallows, pushing further out now and then for a stretch of overarm.

Until I wondered – What if …? Should I … ?

Until I told myself there doesn’t have to be a reason.

Until I discovered the mesmerism of long hours with the world a million miles away, and nothing to remember but arm over arm and my next breath. 

With bone and flesh pared down to a core of pain, I endure, past demands, distractions and complications, sustained by a single vision of getting there.

***

Opting out

My story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

This week’s photo prompt is by Dale Rogerson.

Opting out

Another brazen robbery—the latest in the city’s devastating crime wave. Clark stops to ponder, amid a buzz of voices and the clickety-clack of typewriters. He loves being part of this.

He recalls his younger self: starry-eyed, blinded by heroic ideas.

No more. He’s done with being a tall poppy, done with loneliness, the constant threat of those who would cut him down to size. Mild-mannered is how they describe him at the Daily Planet. 

He returns to his story—the key suspects, the big-name detectives. 

Clark writes about the evils of the world now. He doesn’t try to save it.

***

I know it’s a rose, not a poppy, in the vase, but it’s very tall, plus I wrote about roses last week. And ‘tall rose syndrome’ just doesn’t have the same appeal.

Here’s a little piece of stirring music by John Williams.This might just give Clark back his zing.

]][‘

Greener grass

My 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to read all the contributions to this week’s photo prompt.

This week’s photo prompt courtesy of Na’ama Yehuda.

Greener grass

She doesn’t believe he is unfaithful, not really. But who can say where the uncrossable line lies? Who can say if a little playful frolicking in the rainbow-land of his imagination is a deal-breaker? What if, where she finds comfort and peace in the rounded edges and smooth surfaces of their long years together, he finds only tedium?

Why else does he stay so long in conversation with Betty or Edith or Anne, on his morning walks around the neighbourhood? Just talking gardening, he says. 

But why does he find their roses so much more fascinating than hers?

***

Working the street

My 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Here is the link-up where you can find all the other responses to this week’s prompt.

Photo prompt courtesy of Ted Strutz

Working the street

I’ll tell him it was easy. I answered opportunity’s golden knock, like he taught me: Observe who’s slack with shop front security, sweep through when they’re distracted, then exit, walking. Never run. A quick commute to the pawnshop to offload, then off to the pub to celebrate.

I’ll tell him it was just a bump in the highway of success, like he warned me about. In future I’ll skirt round CCTV, and I’ll keep my big mouth shut when I’m plastered.

He’ll tell me I’m a chip off the old block. What a team we’ll make when we both get out.

***

The Testing Wall

My 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. All the other contributions to this week’s link-up can be found here.

Photo prompt by Carole Erdman-Grant

The Testing Wall

Garvit studied the crowded surface. He would choose an auspicious position for his message. His words would dazzle and amaze, obliterating the worthless scrawls of those who had come before. 

As he worked, the watchers concealed nearby waited anxiously. Garvit was their last hope. All of the king’s potential heirs had failed the test. If Garvit also failed, the kingdom would plunge into unrest and division.

Garvit’s painted words appeared, and the watchers’ fears turned to dismay. Just one sign of wisdom, humility, selflessness was all they needed. Foolish self-aggrandisement and pride were all they saw. 

There would be bloodshed.

***