There are twelve of us sat around table which dominates the small wood-panelled room. It is covered in a thick red velvet cloth. Heavy curtains block the watery twilight. At the centre, a huge crystal bowl holds our belongings – a watch, a wedding band, a pendant …
Why is it always jewellery?
I clasp the strangers hands next to me. One a huge, sweating palm, the other a thin, liver-spotted claw, like dried out paper.
I concentrate hard on the military medal I have offered, wishing with all my bones that he will speak to me.
I have really missed taking part in the Friday Fictioneers the past few weeks but life got in the way. It’s good to be back.
‘It means that if you go round that corner you’re gonna die.’
‘Don’t be crazy.’
‘It’s called Witches Lane. See that mountain? See the pointy top? That’s Witch Hat Mountain. The legend goes that if you turn the corner your flesh melts from your bones and you’re thrown into a bottomless pit, never to be seen again.’
‘How can anyone know that?’
‘That the flesh melts from your bones if your body is never found?’
‘It’s a legend. People just know. Shall I test it out?’
There was just enough room for them both at the end of the jetty.
The boy had popped into existence, occupying the space beside her. She hadn’t realised how empty it was until he was there, filling it all up. It was almost enough to make her forget that her feet were submerged in the murky lake. Almost.
‘Now lay back,’ he said. Faith didn’t protest. What else would he convince her to do? Maybe he wasn’t even real, maybe he was a wizard holding some magic power over her, maybe he was here to tell her she’d been accepted to Hogwarts.
I may have cheated slightly this week. This beautiful photo reminded me so much of my work-in-progress that I adapted a section of it. I just couldn’t get it out of my head!
Old Mrs Bergman’s roses were the envy of the village. The bushes bloomed in a congregation of scarlet and coral, sun-flare yellow and delicious tangerine. They spilled over the walls and lit up the pavement with their scattered petals, like delicate wishes skipping along the breeze, destination unknown.
Mrs Bergman plucked and preened, watered and fed. She whispered sweet nothings. She told the roses all that she would have told him if he were here. And they bloomed.
At night she would take the fading telegram from the drawer: Missing in action.
‘What is Mr Bridgewater is doing? That’s a mighty big bag he’s putting in his boot. And in all this snow too.’
‘It’s a dead body, mum,’ Bailey said, not looking up from his magazine. ‘I told you months ago he’s been killing off the wrinklies in the neighbourhood. But you never listen. He can see you, you know. The light.’
‘Oh.’ She flicked the lamp beside her off.
‘It’s probably Mrs Gillespie, haven’t seen her for a while.’
‘Oh dear, I hope not. The annual neighbourhood watch meeting is next month and she makes the most amazing plum pudding.’
‘I have.’ Misty pulled a string of tickets from her pocket.
‘Where did you get those?’
‘I found them on the floor.’
The lie settled over Misty like a cloud. It crept under her skin, warming her blood. That lady will never notice. She was too busy eating her burger to pay any attention to her bag. It was easy pickings.
Misty’s sweet smile revealed nothing as she gazed up at her mother. Baby blue eyes blinking in the sun.
Misty ran off squealing with delight.
To my fellow fictioneers, I managed to have my first flash fiction piece called ‘Sometimes I Smoke’ published in the Cabinet of Heed online magazine. It’s just over 200 words. Click the link if you can spare a minute to have a quick read. Thanks!
Clodagh lay on the soft grass looking up at the decorative webbing that formed a roof between the trees. It was such a good idea of Noal’s to have a New Year’s Eve party here. Her idea for fancy dress was even better. It had been epic.
She turned to look at the mysterious angel laying next to her. He wasn’t from her school. His wings were magnificent. How did he make them?
When he kissed her at midnight she’d soared.
His bright eyes opened, his wings fluttered and wrapped around her, pulling her close.