From a Hilltop

© Barbara W. Beacham, 2015
© Barbara W. Beacham, 2015

The Cemetery spread along the area known as Devils Abode.

A narrow road skirted the perimeter and afforded access to a green hill beyond.

During the short drive: Dad drove in silence; Mum fixed the road ahead; and I was alone with my thoughts on the back seat.

I hadn’t wanted to come, but they were adamant.

“It’s time.” Dad had insisted.

At the summit, he stopped the car beside a sign which read, SCENIC VIEW, and we all got out and made our way to a footpath, that led back down the hill.

Suddenly, overwhelmed, my eyes welled with tears.

“I can’t go down there.” I sobbed.

Dad laid both hands lightly on my shoulders and I looked up at him pleadingly.

I turned my attention to Mum whose eyes were puffy and bloodshot.

She reached into her handbag and extracted a white handkerchief.

“Come on Son.” She whispered softly.

“It’s time to say goodbye to Molly.”

Read all about Mondays Finish the Story here. It’s a challenge of 100-150 words from a photo prompt (above) and the first few words “The Cemetery spread along the area known as Devils Abode.” I hope you enjoy this weeks entry although it is a little sad.


The Stone Floor : Sunday Photo Fiction

© A Mixed Bag 2015
© A Mixed Bag 2015

I enter the property under the cover of darkness through the upstairs window, and find the jewels in the top left drawer of the dressing table.

Examining the largest of the opals, I’m taken aback when the door opens unexpectedly.

“What do you think you’re doing here my friend?” Growls a rather tall man in a quilted bathrobe.

I wonder under what misapprehension he considers me to be his friend, but am unable to pursue the reflexion, because a rather large flat object strikes me on the back of the head with considerable force.

This might explain why I’m here, shackled and horizontal, on an ice cold floor, in what appears to be some sort of murky basement.

It’s dark and dank, but sparse rays of sun filter tentatively through the dust laden windows.

Some hours have passed. The back of my head throbs.

I prop myself up on my elbows; swivel and sit; my back flat against the craggy wall. The tension on the taunt chains eases marginally.

The man from last night enters noisily, approaches, and unceremoniously unlocks both shackles.

“You tripped the perimeter alarm.” He berates.

“If you can’t get  it right, you might find yourself here permanently!”

Here once again is my entry to Sunday Photo Fiction.

“Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly writing challenge where a photo is used as a prompt for a piece of fiction using around 200 words. The piece doesn’t have to centre around exactly what the photo is, it can be just used as a basis for a story. This week’s photo is a top down shot of a room in The Roman Painted House in Dover, but you can use the image in any way you feel you want to.

If you have the time, please read some of the other stories that have been written via the InLinkz page below. Remember though, the main thing is to have fun, enjoy what you write, and write what you enjoy.”

The Green Lipped Mussels

Green Lipped Mussels

I was contemplating the Green Lipped Mussels, arranged tastily in a white bowl on the table before me, and felt my mouth beginning to water.

My cruise around New Zealand was sponsored by a foreign multinational and although I would have preferred spending time in the local Marlborough vineyards, my boss had scheduled an important business meeting.

The weather had been uncertain and my local business partner, Brian, had reserved a table under the sheltered awning of a rather nondescript Hotel Restaurant, not far from Picton Harbour.

He arrived a little late and it gave me the opportunity of looking on with pleasure. He obviously took care of his physique and his white shirt was unbuttoned casually and was tucked into slim-waisted black jeans that hugged … I hurriedly lifted my gaze and smiling, gestured him to sit opposite me.

“I took the liberty of ordering earlier to save time and because we both know why we are here.” He explained.

The sommelier brought the wine, a local Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and I half listened as he robotically listed it’s qualities while pouring two large glasses. As he was enumerating red capsicum and gooseberries, my attention was diverted by the incoming triple fried chips and I became far too distracted to learn of the wine’s passionfruit and tropical fruit overtones.

Brian grinned and placed a thin black file on the table next to his creamy Fish Chowder. I wondered why he hadn’t ordered the same. We could have shared a bigger plate. I was glad to have them all for myself though.

The table, was black and in a faux wicker, that looked as if it had been made exclusively for the restaurant trade. It was bare of any sort of decoration and this only served to draw my attention to the mussels, which were some of the largest I had ever seen. Their green lips were so striking that they could have been dyed or painted.

I looked over the table towards Brian and he smiled back as he presented the meal with a broad gesture of both hands before reaching for his glass.

I raised mine.

“Santé.” He said. “Enjoy!”

I returned my glass to the table. It was an excellent white wine and I savoured it a moment before seizing a shell with one hand. Delicately extracting the mussel I lifted it to my mouth in keen anticipation.

While savouring the morsel I discretely admired his handsome features, his full mouth and well proportioned face. While he was busy scooping the chowder onto his spoon I couldn’t help noticing those deep blue eyes that drew my gaze further and further in. Allowing myself the shortest of reveries, I imagined running my hand over the prickly stubble of his finely curved chin. Suddenly I felt flutters of excitement in my most intimate and private parts and a mounting flush of embarrassment.

I’m sure he’d noticed, but feigning innocence, he opened his file and started to read aloud.

“… and studies have found that Perna canaliculus, the green lipped mussel, inhibits the 5-lipoxygenase pathway and has inflammation-supporting properties.”

I’d already read the studies before leaving my office last week and had even brought a small library that currently occupied some of the wardrobe that my most extravagant cocktail dresses could have been occupying.

Life was tedious sometimes, I mused, but it was certainly not without its perks.

I cited from a recent study. “Brian, you know that a review of current scientific research on the green-lipped mussel suggests a lack of compelling evidence for its use in humans with inflammation associated arthritis.”

“True.” He replied.

His eyes were piercing as he watched me from across the table and I had visions of deep blue lagoons and images of steely blue sharks, navigating in warm waters.

“But from a marketing point of view that wouldn’t constitute a problem would it?”

He had made his point, and I nodded in agreement.

Now that we had accomplished the formalities, we both knew that we were moving on to the inevitability of what was about to happen.

”Take your time.” he teased, reaching and holding both of my hands in his.

“The room’s booked until 5, and I’ll make sure you’re back on the ship before you’re due to embark.”

Somehow, I was no longer interested in the Mussels, but I couldn’t resist finishing the Sauvignon Blanc.

No challenge today. Just the pleasure of writing in an unconstrained format, with no word limits and no set photos or word or a leading sentence.

I have prepared another blog for just this sort of writing, but it’s not ready yet and I don’t wish to force you to click once more to read.

Once it’s ready I’ll let you know so you’ll have the choice to visit or not. It will be a much quieter place. Mostly text with the occasional illustrative photo.

A very stripped down and focused site that I hope you will enjoy.

Table Mountain : From Every Angle

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is to photograph a stationary subject from three different angles. It’s entitled “From Every Angle”

I took a short film on my iPhone, of the clouds rolling off Table Mountain seen from our Hotel, and I’m accompanying it with some music I purchased on the waterfront.

Capetown is a wonderful place to visit.

The Archives : A Rewrite!

If you look to the comments of my last post you will see Rochelle’s comment.

She feels that I could easily take out 20 or so words without subtracting from the quality of my story and launched me a challenge to rewrite an edited version.

I like a challenge so here is the result:

The Archives

We were chilling at the Coffee Shop opposite the Library. I come here often to check out Gabriela, the dark haired Peruvian Barista with deep violet eyes, and ruby lips that curl up so suggestively.

You tap on the back of my hand.

“Just pick up the file from the Basement Archives.”

“But it’s closing in 5 minutes.”

“You’ve got time if you just get on with it”

So I cross the road, go into the library and, of course, the Archives are closed.

I rush back, but you’ve disappeared; and, so has Gabriela.

(94 words)

I would really welcome your thoughts on this interesting challenge. My thoughts are that sometimes you have a clear picture of where you would like to take the story so have a tendency to add superfluous details and back story which are perhaps unnecessary in such a short format.

I enjoyed writing both versions and am grateful to Rochelle for what I hope is a development of my amateur skills.

Just over two months on and I’m still having a ball!

The Archives

PHOTO PROMPT – © Claire Fuller
PHOTO PROMPT – © Claire Fuller
(Note: This story has been rewritten in the following post AFTER Rochelle’s challenge (Look In the comments))

The Archives

We were having coffee in the little Coffee Shop opposite the Library. I preferred it to the branded coffee shops but mostly because of Gabriela, the dark haired Peruvian Barista. Her upper lip curled sensually and suggestively on one side and it was so mesmerising that I’d often had to avert my gaze at the last minute to avoid embarrassment.


So you said “Just pick up the file from the Basement Archives.”

“It’ll be a doddle (*).” I grimaced at your englishness.

“But it’s closing in 5 minutes.”

“You’ve just got time”. He replied.

So I crossed the road, went into the library and, of course, the Archives were closed.

When I got back you’d left; and, so had Gabriela.

(120 words)

(*) Doddle : a very easy task: this printer’s a doddle to set up and use.

This is this weeks Friday Fictioneers. Thanks again to Rochelle for giving us such inspiring prompts to fuel our imagination.

Literary Lion : Heather

Heather in the North Yorkshire Moors © Graham Lawrence, 2014


“Can anyone tell me any cultural references to Heather?”

I get up from my desk and go to the blackboard.

I write HEATHER in bold strokes of white chalk and turn to face the class.

It’s the last lesson before the end of term and I’ve decided to take a break from the Canterbury Tales.

Paul raises his hand and I nod my assent.

”Robert Louis Stevenson : Bonnie Auld Scotland.”

“Yes indeed!”

I add ‘1. fragrant hills of purple heather’ to the blackboard.

It’s rather hot in the classroom and I start to sweat: I loosen my collar to get more air.

“What about you Jill, anything?”

She hesitates then shouts “Scarborough Fair, Sir”

This is going well : I smile and add ‘2. Gather it all in a bunch of heather’

Feeling a bit faint and dizzy I return to the comfort of my desk.

Andrew, at the back coughs, and I gesture him to speak.

“Kings of the Night by Robert E. Howard”

“Yes!” Excellent!

Rising again I feel my heart beating wildly and grasp the side of the desk. I take a long deep breath.

The class is staring but I turn and write ‘3. … concealed in the tall heather, lay a hundred picts with their shafts on string.’

My chest feels tight and there’s a ringing in my ears. Although I’m starting to shake, I signal to Samantha that it’s her turn.

She looks at me rather oddly, and I raise my eyebrows inquisitively.

“You’re not looking well Sir, you’re all white!”

Suddenly the dizziness returns, my mouth is dry and I’m shaking all over. My legs give way beneath me and I feel myself falling.

The fall seems to go on forever while the film plays out in my head vividly.

I’m back in my car: my wife is sitting in the passenger seat. I catch a glimpse of the van speeding towards us and hear a screech of brakes. I only have time to utter one word before losing consciousness.


The heavy curtain of darkness lifts and I open my eyes.

A paramedic is taking my pulse, and the children are huddled at the rear of the class, strangely subdued.

I prop myself up on my elbow and grin, trying to hide my embarrassment.

I really should have chosen a different flower.

(387 words)

Here is this weeks Literary Lion organised by the lovely  . She writes that Literary Lion will be changing to a fortnightly challenge from now on. I can’t wait to discover the changes!

The Bridge : (FFfAW)

The Bridge

Brad caressed his three day stubble and peered over the edge of the bridge.

Newly appointed Head of the local Police he was unprepared for what he saw. He’d forgotten his binoculars and took a photo with his mobile, zooming in as best he could.

The corpse of indeterminate sex was mangled almost beyond recognition.

A passenger on the 9.00 London to Edinburgh had phoned in the info earlier, but it had taken him and his team over an hour, trekking through the woods, to get to the bridge.

His shoes were caked in mud and his arms were marked with fine scratches from the dense foliage.

He felt self-conscious: unprepared; a real rookie.

“Look Boss! Down there! Right in the middle of the path.”

Sandy pointed excitedly, passing him her field glasses.

He focused on the object.

“Seems like a pair of boots!”

He checked his fuzzy photo again.

The victim was barefoot.

(155 words)

On closer inspection
Photo prompt : © Dawn M. Miller

This is my entry to this weeks Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW).

Please scroll back to my previous entries and also check out the other writer’s contributions by clicking on the blue frog above.