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This is a flash fiction story. Our writing group discussed ghost stories. The course tutor gave us the challenge of writing a story in exactly 100 words that would include the essential ingredients of this genre. The clue is in the title.

 

 

 

 

 

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The girl looked familiar.

Crouching , fingers feeling the sidewalk surface, glossy nails searching between the slabs, she looked helpless, as though blind.

“Can I help you?” Reluctantly, late for the meeting on the 95th floor.

She ignored me.

“Look, I’d like to help, but I’m late.”

“No, wait, please, you mustn’t go. You must help me look.”

“What are you trying to find?” Checking my watch.

A shadow flitted over us, her answer lost in an explosion of sound above.

Distracted, I looked up, “What did you say?”

“Myself.” She replied. “My life.”

When l looked down she had gone…..

Falling for you

 

imageThis is an exercise in ‘Flash fiction’. We had to write a piece of fiction in 150 words. We had to create the character, set the scene and give a sense of atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

Falling for you

It is a few short steps to the edge. It will soon be over.

It is exactly a year since he died. My twin brother, my best friend and soul mate. Knitted with the same pins our Grannie once said.

Standing at the very edge I look down. I brace myself, search for my inner courage. I think of Ben, I know he will be with me all the way. With me, like he always was.

I lean forward, slowly, then fall through the air. I feel it stream through my hair, rushing across my face, across my body. I tumble then straighten as the surface rushes towards me. This is it.

Sudden blackness, a silent void. Peace.

There is a light shimmering in the distance. It expands, grows as I move towards it. Then in a spray of water I surface. Flags waving, cheering, shouting.
That one was for you Ben.

Light is life

My first fictional story. Our creative writing group was given the task of producing a story or a poem on the theme ‘light’. I decided that the fighting Western Front offered a wide range of lighting effects that I could describe. Blindness is involves the loss of light and of course an artist would find the loss of his sight difficult to face. I used the names of my grandfather, grandmother and my mother. My grandfather did fight in the war but was killed at Arris.

 

Light is life

When he slept he suffered disturbing dreams of the Front. Star shells at night spreading a brief white light, illuminating grey ghostly shapes, the bodies and detritus of war that littered no man’s land. On the horizon, in another far off sector, the pyrotechnics of artillery sporadically smudged the somber clouds. Then, the sun, rising ponderously, a pale red orb, its light diffused through the putrid morning mist…….Sounds, the soft thud, plop of the gas shells, barely discernible amongst the cacophony of the high explosive projectiles. Like the shell that had landed near, too near, to the section of the trench that Clem had been standing in, collapsing the trench walls, partial burying him, but leaving his upper body exposed to the creeping chlorine gas.

 

imageAfter the attack Clem had been rescued, exhumed to join a snaking line of his comrades in the long walk back to the casualty station. They moved along, lifting their feet high to avoid tripping, each with a hand on the shoulder of the man in front, their unseeing eyes wrapped in bandages.

 

Only at night the horrors of the war invaded his unconscious dreams. In his daydreams he visited his home, thought of his other life far away in Norfolk. There, when the war broke out he had been an artist, a painter of landscapes in the impressionist manner. Standing outdoors at his easel he would try, with some success, to capture on his canvas the effect of the transient nature of the light of the sun.

 

For Clem, time was suspended as he lay still on his bed, trapped in a bleak black void. He thought of his loss, the colour and light that had been intrinsic components of his life; the subtle hues of the landscapes and the ephemeral shimmering seascapes. He thought too, of Laura, his beloved wife and Nell, his unseen daughter. Grief gripped him. He felt tears well in the corners of his blind eyes only to disappear, absorbed into the linen bandages that were coiled tightly around his head.

 

“Clem…. Clem.” The nurse touched his arm gently. “Doctor Sommerville is here, to remove your bandages and examine your eyes.”
Clem reluctantly emerged from his reverie. “Will l see again Doctor? Is there any hope?”
“We must always hope, Clement, we must.” The Doctor replied, his voice devoid of optimism. He had witnessed too much suffering in this long war to speak of hope.
The nurse supported Clem’s head as the Doctor slowly, with care, unwound the linen bandage but, as the final bandages fell away, the darkness remained, immutable. Moments passed, then imperceptibly, around the margins of the blackness, a faint light, an aura slowly expanded.

 

“Light,” whispered Clem, almost inaudibly, “ l can see light.”

The letter

Our creative writing group were given the task (our homework) of writing a short piece of fiction that continued on from the words ‘And the candle went out’. I found it interesting how a story, once you decide a theme, takes on a life of it’s own. I have continued the story as a personal project as I, the writer, wants to know what happens next!

The letter

And the candle went out. Extinguished by a draught that had slipped through the partially open window. Only the moonlight remained, casting an intermittent illumination through the the scudding clouds. It was not enough to see, to finish writing the letter, the letter that would change everything.
Without any means of relighting the candle she carefully set down her pen, stood up and carefully navigated a route around the unfamiliar furniture to the bed. There, in her uneasy sleep the past seeped stealthily into her mind.

In her dream it is spring time. The sunlight is shining through the canopy of diaphanous, bright green leaves of the beech trees, sentinels, lining the pathway. Musicians play, huddled in the small bandstand on the far side of the park by the river. The music has a strident military air, in tune with the troubled times. A clash of cymbals rang out, startling the pigeons which take flight in a flurry of feathers.
“Have you told your father?” she asks, “About us, our relationship?” she adds, as if there may be some uncertainty about the subject of her enquiry.
He stands in silence gazing at the cloud of cherry blossom at the far end of the path.
“I will do so, my love, I will. I promise.” His voice sounds less certain than the words spoken.
“But when will you Samuel? I have been imploring you to do so for many months.”
“I feel l must wait. I sail within the week, indeed l must attend the port on Tuesday.”
“So soon!” Miriam said. Suddenly the war seems close, enveloping their lives.
“With the future so clouded with uncertainty l am reluctant to raise the matter with my father…..”

Miriam woke, troubled by her dreams, the room filled with grey light and a sense of foreboding. Reluctantly she left the warm comfort of her bed and, wrapped in the counterpane she stood at the window, looked out at the skeletal trees floating in the the low mist, the lawn, in the foreground covered with the corpses of leaves. Her contemplation was broken by a sharp rap on the door. It was the maid, Jessie. The day had begun in the retreat.

Later, she sat at the small mahogany Davenport set in the window. The unfinished letter lay spread before her. Its words told of their first meeting in Portrush, told of her undying love for him. The letter spoke of the obstacle in their path to happiness; her Catholic upbringing. Miriam picked up the pen and charged it with the black ink from the pot. For a moment she hesitated, stared, unseeing at the garden, now washed with weak sunlight. Was Samuel still alive? He had not responded to her previous letters. The news from Crimea was pessimistic. Would Samuel’s father inform her if he had died? The pen, almost possessed with a life of its own, began to write across the cream paper.

My darling, l know not whether you are alive or a sad victim of this dreadful war. But, l must tell you of news, that in happier circumstances, would be joyful. You have a son. I have named him Samuel, young Sam…………

Seasons of a life

 

                                          Our creative writing group were given the challenge of writing a piece – a short imagestory or a poem – on the subject ‘The changing seasons’. Having never written
poetry l decided to give it a go. My poem is about 
Luwam, a lovely Ethiopian mother, and how she spoke of her life here, in a strange country, and of her longing for her own homeland.

 

 

 

Seasons of a life

It is spring
A season of life,
I am told, as they welcome me.
From this tower where I live
I look down.
The leaves of the trees are vivid green,
Some have blossom, pink and white
Flowers, a blue carpet among the trees
The sun is weak, grey clouds fly passed
Making shadows on the land
This is not my country, my home.

++++++++++
It is summer
A season of warmth
my neighbours tell me.
From this tower where I live
I look out.
On green tree tops covering the land
as far as I can see
as far as l could walk in a day
The sun is hot, white clouds rise,
ghostly shapes in the blue sky
This is not my country, my home.

+++++++++++
It is autumn
A season of the dying
my friends tell me
From this tower where I live
I look out
Across the brown cloaked leaves
Rain falls in sharp spears
Leaves in the pools of water
Corpses floating in a sea
Cloaked in a shroud of fog
This is not my country, my home.

++++++++++
It is winter
A season of cold
I tell myself.
From this tower where I live
I look out
Across a dark cobweb of trees
Floating in pale still mists
smothered in cold snow
This is not my country, my home
It is painful, too painful
But for my children I must endure.