Monday, 31 January 2011

F3 - Cycle 16 - 'BREAKOUT'

The theme for this challenge from F3 was 'Possession' - as in ' nine tenths of the law...'. So, with the prompting 1st sentence in italics, here's what I came up with!


I stepped out into the frigged cold, instinctively I cowered into the depth of my heavy coat, shoving bare hands deep into its pockets.

A smile threatened to break out on my face alerting secret watchers to facts I’d rather keep to myself, so I slunk my chin down into the encircling folds of the red muffler I wore, concealing the truth.

Head down, I walked on concentrating on my pace; not too quick and not too slow. Not too even, either. I dodged around the oncoming traffic of people, also head down, avoiding eye-contact with their fellow lemmings as they headed towards the subway and the environs that lay beyond the city.

The unseen smile tweaked at the corners of my mouth and forced me to accept the indulgence of good humour and I relaxed a little, my heartbeat accompaniment loosening its rhythm and keeping time with my less urgent breathing.

Two blocks further I dared to un-ball the fist I’d plunged deep into the Worsted and silk lining of my left coat pocket. Relaxing the tension in my hand I allowed my fingers to explore the contours of the treasure that had been clasped so tightly.

It felt cold to the touch; smooth cold metal. As cold as this freezing New York evening. As cold as my heart

I fingered the intricate curves and recesses daring myself to handle it, hold it; feel its weight. Of course, I’d never really intended to use it. My motive was to employ it as a deterrent, allowing me to escape once and for all.

When I’d come across the small brown box at the back of Lawrence’s closet I’d been stunned at first, but slowly came the realisation that the end to years of being trapped in an unequal relationship lay in my taking possession of this small but deadly item and making a stand.

How could he know I’d not even worked out how to load the damn thing, he’d been too scared watching my gentle progress backing out of the door, his eyes riveted on the barrel that pointed directly at him.

Even now, I wondered if I could ever have actually pulled the trigger, but grateful all the same that I hadn’t needed to – the look of shocked defeat on his face told me he knew it was over and that I wasn’t coming back.

A siren halted me almost literally in my tracks and my head spun back to see whether or not I’d be stopped. Had Lawrence grown some courage and called the police and was I right now being hunted down, like some mere chattle to be returned to him and his controlling ways?

It took micro-seconds for my heart beat to ratchet up to full throttle, the deafening repetitive thud almost making me visibly quake; but the siren passed me at speed, its tone distorted as it continued on, leaving me far behind.

Three more blocks and I could descend to the comparative safety of the subway and be lost in the rush of faces and bodies and baggage. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time, I forced myself forwards to freedom.

The gun that nestled in my hand would find a new home later that night somewhere in the depths of the East River, perhaps, falling unseen into the silt and mud. And Lawrence would be forever silent in my mind, just a ghost in my past.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Lily Childs - 'February Femmes Fatales'

Lily Childs is embarking on a month-long showcase of female writers - thus, on Tuesday, she begins her "February Femmes Fatales"!

She deemed my writing worthy of inclusion and so I'm dead chuffed to see she's accepted three of my stories! I'm in good company, having read some of the authors before, but there are also some names (and work!) I'm not familiar with, so I'm looking forward to making their accquaintance!

If you have time, please drop into Lily's place and read the daily offerings - please leave comments, if you feel so inclined, I'm sure all the writers would appreciate feedback.

Lily puts a lot of time and effort into her blog and is a great source of encouragement to other would-be writers. Don't forget, she has her weekly 'prediction' on Fridays - why not join in next time? The more the merrier!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

...the next chapter!

Today - life begins!

Yesterday I shuffled off the restraints of employment and today I step out into a whole new (slightly scary?) world where the main currency is not the mighty £ or the $ but TIME!

A friend just Facebooked me to ask how I was enjoying my first day of 'freedom' - my response was that I now have the luxury of choosing when and how to spend my time and that the breakfast dishes will get washed up at some point, not determined by the constraints of time left before I have to be at Mammon's beck and call!

So, yesterday was a day of 'lasts' - the last time I had to log onto a work computer with my code key; the last time I had to shelve a trolley load of books; the last time I had to deal with difficult and demanding customers........the last time I closed my empty locker and handed in my badge and key.

A few friends/colleagues joined me for a celebratory drink and a couple more joined R & I later for a meal - it was a bit surreal I have to admit.

But now I've turned the page and it's pristine and clear and waiting to see what new challenges await and how the rest of the 'story' unfolds .... watch out, world, there's still a bit of kick left in me, yet!


Monday, 24 January 2011

'Before the Fall' F3 - cycle 15

It's a while since I did any of this style of flash-fiction - but in readiness for the coming long days of idleness(?) while I've been sat on the couch snuffling with a cold, I found myself writing this little vignette of times gone by, as prompted by Flannery Alden over at F3. Ah, nostalgia, the best medicine of all! ;-)


The days were longer then. The grass was greener and our knees, exposed to the fresh air in warm-weather shorts, were prone to cuts and scrapes as we ran and played through the sand dunes, the spikey grass whipping at our legs and arms. I remember the ‘holiday’ uniform of matching t-shirts and cardigans for myself and my sister, our black school plimsoles for running about; how I coveted my brother’s denim jeans and baseball boots.

The sky was bluer, too, as I recall. How vivid are the snapshots filed away in remembrance; the taste of ice-cream and the stickiness of it melting and running down across our fingers; the burnt smell of candyfloss and hotdogs and the screams and sirens of the fairground. I can still see the kites we made, rainy-day projects now brought out to take their maiden flights, to swoop and dive and fail to fly as we collapsed in heaps, laughing at each other.

Then, with sandwiches half-eaten and pop-bottles discarded on the family picnic blanket, we would cast off our shoes and run headlong for the water’s edge, feeling the warm dry sand percolating up between our toes until we left the dunes behind and found ourselves on damp and firmer ground.

Laughing, we left the imprints of our progress on the virgin, smooth flatness, until we splashed through the corrugated ripples of sand, etched by the receding waves, and fell laughing and shrieking into the cold foamy water.

Our world was simple then; our only worry lay in the anticipation each morning of waking to lift aside the curtains, fearing grey gloom but then frequently turning to ecstasy as the azure, cloudless sky promised a new day of exhilaration yet to be unpacked and examined in detail.

We ran and played and were never tired; or not for long, anyway. Filling our precious days with sights and sounds that would need to last a lifetime, we ran headlong into excitement and wonder.

Now looking back, everything seemed so simple, so black and white. I hold these precious dreams and cling to them in a world that is now so different and pine for youth’s impetuousness and spontaneity.

Maybe I need to go back to that beach and kick off my shoes before these old bones deny me my mobility and shriek as the cold waves roar in and threaten to soak my rolled up jeans. And who says I’m too old to wear baseball boots?

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Every picture tells a story....

After a restless night of trying to stay asleep and failing miserably, I finally gave in and decided to start the day at 5am! I still have a couple of hours to go before I have to head out to work (yay! The LAST WEEKEND!!!) so I've been flitting around reading other people's blogs etc.

Inspired by Yvette's blog (it's like an Aladin's Cave in there, so much to look at and explore!:-) ) I decided to add some new pictures here, as I've changed the background wallpaper ;-)

So, today, we have Norman Rockwell's 'Jury Room'. I really love Rockwell's art - like Yvette's blog, there's so much to see if you study the picture. This is the current picture on a calendar I have hanging in the kitchen and I was studying it (cup of tea in hand) during the wee small hours this morning.

Looking at each of the characters, they all seem to have something to say, whilst the girl is sitting determinedly defiant as they (perhaps?) try to change her mind. The discarded cigarette butts and scraps of screwed up paper strewn all over the floor suggest they've been incarcerated for some time; the hint of smoke collecting around the light adds atmosphere and when I look at the girl's face I realise her distant gaze is not directed at any of the men around her. Is she considering what they have to say - or is she just wishing they'd leave her alone and stop trying to change her mind? I wonder if she stuck to her guns?

It reminds me of that old Henry Fonda film "Twelve Angry Men", where one juror turns the entire jury round to his point of view. I wonder if Rockwell was inspired by that, as this painting appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, Feb. 14th, 1959 - two years after the film was released.

Back to the title of this blog-post - what story would YOU write, inspired by this picture?

Answers on the back of a postcard, to.......

......or maybe post them here?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Spring clean and redecorating

Well, with my new 'retired' status approaching I decided to have a spring clean and tart up the old blog. Can't make up my mind whether the new 'wallpaper' looks like wine stains or blood stains.........! :-o

Anyway - you will be pleased to hear I think I'm beginning to get my writing back into order in readiness for all that FREE TIME that will be at my disposal (eight days and counting!)

As well as changing the decor in here, I've been scouring out my digital filing cabinet and dusting off a few projects. I make no promises, but I hope to start posting some little bits and pieces here on a more regular basis.

In the meantime -

......I think those are definitely wine stains....... (hic)


Friday, 14 January 2011

A sort of happy(ish) ending

There is a lot of doom and gloom around these days, but this story at least tries to bring something positive from a very tragic situation!

I think this pilot and his organisation deserve at least a pat on the back for their compassionate response!

My faith in humankind has been reassured!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Not Long Now - 'BLOOD & ASHES' - the fifth Joe Hunter novel!

Three weeks from today I will no longer be toiling for Warwickshire County Council. After 17 years' service I am taking early retirement and moving onto the next phase of life!

How nice, then, to see that one of my favourite authors, Matt Hilton, has seen fit (well, his publisher I suppose!) to launch the next instalment of his Joe Hunter series, 'Blood and Ashes', on the very first week of my life as a lady of leisure!

:-) :-) :-)

If his previous novels are anything to go by, I'm in for several pleasant hours of escapist action and adventure as I turn the pages of JH#5 - bring it on!

Here's hoping the launch goes well - a good excuse for a jaunt 'oop North' too! Can't wait!!

If, by any chance you haven't read this author, click the link to his website (above) or click here for a review and seek him out (or indeed Joe Hunter himself!) on Facebook!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Go See!

Yesterday, I went to see 'The King's Speech', starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. I expected it to be good - what I didn't expect was that is would be quite so magnificent! If Firth and Rush don't get Oscars then there's no justice!

The beautiful portrayal of a man coming to terms not only with a debilitating speech impediment but also the weight of a kingdom being thrust onto his shoulders was truly amazing - Colin Firth worked so hard to make the stammer appear natural, not overdone. Geoffrey Rush's interpretation of the Australian elocution 'expert' who cajoled, prodded and pushed the 'King' into overcoming his fear which manifested itself in his speech impediment was a pure delight of cheekiness as the two men struck up an odd relationship between sovreign and commoner.

It is a visual and emotional triumph! Go see!!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Back to a new 'normal' !

Well, the decorations are all down, boxed and ready to go back up into the loft. The house is quiet as our Christmas 'guests' have now departed and the place feels empty.

A New Year and new beginnings await - and a new lifestyle, too! Thanks to my employer needing to cut back on staff I've been able to take early retirement, so on Feb 1st I shall sally forth into the world of not having to get up and go out to work! Hurrah!

Quite what I shall get up to is a bit of a mixed bag - at last there will be plenty of time to attack the TBR pile (good job, too, as it's starting to get out of hand!)

The first few weeks/months will be spent re-organising the house, as the vacated offsprings' rooms are to be utilised as 'his & hers' studies/workrooms - in my case, it means ALL the craft/painting/knitting/sewing/genealogy paraphernalia might be located in just the one part of the house instead of scattered about in different cupboards (and even the sheds!)

Anyway, once the novelty has worn off I plan to settle down into a new routine and hopefully get back to some serious writing!

(or maybe I'll start that sooner, as there are one or two interesting writing challenges out there right now......!)