Monday, October 28, 2013

All Good things Must End

We all knew this time would come. We had ourselves psyched up for it even though a kernel within us hoped for a reprieve. That, however, never happened, so we're here at the inevitable conclusion.

I am happy to present, as the denouement of 2013's Flash Fiction Challenge, a tale by a relatively new author who also happens to be another Brit - Londoner, to be precise. Patsy Middleton is hard at work on a novel that spans the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian eras in English history. She was kind enough to pull off that long enough to write this tale about a vase. I think you'll enjoy it.

Even though there are no more entries to my challenge, it will remain open until 15 December, so feel free to send more of these not-so-easy to write stories...if you dare.

The Sèvres Vase
©2013 by Patsy Middleton 

He walks into his library where she kneels, sobbing, and something pulls him forward. A tear-stained face turns. She stands. She wears servant’s clothes.

“I broke a Sèvres Vase. My father owned one. They will turn me away.”

Face buried in hands, she cries.

“They will not.”

“It is irreplaceable. The Master will be furious.”

“He will not.”

“Do you know him?”


“Who are you?”

“Who asks?” How does she know the rarity of Sèvres?

“I must not tell.”

“Who is your father?”

Her tears fall, her head bows. With pity and curiosity, he lifts her chin.

”Sir William Surtees. He is dead.”

He understands, takes her hands, “I see.”

“You knew him?”

“At one time. He was my father’s friend. An unfortunate accident.”

“I found him.”

“Oh, God, poor child!”

Her sobs recommence.

He embraces her, caresses her hair. Her crying stops. He kisses her forehead. She kisses his cheek. Their faces are close; their lips meet in a gentle, warm, compassionate, caring kiss.

He moves away. “Forgive me.”

“It was to comfort me.”

Another silent embrace. A rare, eternal moment; being in each other’s being.

They part. She stands. He keeps her hands.

“What is your name?” He needs to know.


Now she can move on.
So, like Patsy's heroine, Charlotte, we can now move on. I've greatly enjoyed this challenge; so much so, that I am cooking up another for after the first of the year. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Princess and the Beggar

We are honored indeed this week by a wee tale from the prolific mind of Suzy Stewart-Dubot. Suzy has written a thought-provoking vignette from Paris, but worry not, you needn't know how to read French. Enjoy.

Rue St. Honoré
by Suzy Stewart Dubot

"Look at that poor woman, Papa. Please give her something. She must be hungry."

The child sitting in the car with her father was upset by the old woman leaning on her cane. She didn't look clean and, in fact, everything about her looked grey. Her cloche hat and coat may have been brighter when new but now they matched her hair and skin.

The woman waited by the traffic lights until the red light required cars to stop. She shuffled over to them, left hand on the cane, the right held out begging. Guilt alone prompted each driver who stopped to give her change and sometimes more.

This was the poshest part of Paris, and she did well each day.

The regulars at the corner café watched her progress and guffawed each time she added money to her coat's pocket. They greeted her when she came in for a break from begging, asking her how well she'd done.

They were in the know.

She smiled when buying each one a drink in acknowledgement of their camaraderie.

She could afford to. She owned and lived in the luxurious building on the corner opposite the café.

She only begged from boredom.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Collateral Damage

Well, Barnaby Wilde strikes again. If you've read his works, you know exactly what I mean; if you've not, you've really been missing out on some great writing. So, hie thyself over to Smashwords and give him a look. Meantime, be warned: this ain't yer usual Wilde story.

Collateral Damage
©2013 by Barnaby Wilde

Farrukh adjusted her niqab and studied the indifferent fruit piled on the market stall in front of her. The fat stallholder halfheartedly flicked dust off the pomegranates and oranges and wiped his hands on his grubby, grey kameez. She glanced at the heavily creased shopping list in her hand. Her mother would be cross if she bought poor quality, or paid too much.

Neither of them noticed the dust cloud from the approaching truck.

Two soldiers leaned on the wall next to the fruit stall, smoking and laughing loudly, rifles slung nonchalantly across their shoulders.

"Are you buying, or just looking?"

She bowed her head with embarrassment at the stallholder's brusque interrogation.

There was a loud squeal of tyres, a burst of gunfire and the cry of "Allahu akbar" as the truck slammed the soldiers into the wall before the world around her exploded with sound and light.

Farrukh's eyes flickered open momentarily as she lay on the ground, a spreading pool of blood surrounding her head. She saw in the distance, lying amongst the smoking debris and other scattered body parts, a severed arm, still clutching a shopping list.

She felt no pain as her world went irreversibly black.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kitty's Bad Hair Day

Welcome to week 2 of my Flash Fiction 2013 challenge entries. This week’s story is by Tracey Howard, an aspiring author from Indiana, as well as an accomplished photographer and all-around great mom. Although it's the shortest of the entries, at a mere 190 words, it conveys a charming portrait of family life that I think everyone who has children can relate to. Enjoy.


Kitty’s Bad Hair Day
©2013 by Tracey Howard 

The scampering of little feet back and forth between the office and bedroom catch my attention.
“What are you doing, young lady?”

Freezing in midstep, she sticks both hands behind her back as quickly as she can.
“Nothing, Mama!”

I catch a flash of silver in her little hand as she jumps back into high gear, slamming the door to her bedroom as she runs through.

“Don’t come in!”

Walking to the door, I rattle the handle.

“Sissy? What are you doing?  I’m coming in.”

 There’s a solid thump against the door as a little body attempts to block my entry.

“No, Mama!”

Pushing the door open,I step in to find that all appeared normal except for a very guilty-looking child.

“Okay, Kidlet.  What are you doing?”

Silently she goes to her bed and picks a pair of pinking shears out of a small pile of fur and hands them over.

 As I open my mouth to scold her, I notice the family cat walking out of the room in a high dudgeon.  It seems a reverse Mohawk haircut was NOT on her list of things to do that day!