Corridors of power : Friday Fictioneers

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© Amy Reese

 

Corridors of power

It was a strange perspective — lying face up on the floor looking at the long row of neon lights.

The cold stone floor anaesthetised some of the pain, but further down his body, he’d lost all sensation.

Blood spurted from his right wrist, and he looked across the corridor to his estranged hand.

Behind him, he heard raucous laughter and above, a knife poised inches from his brow.

Don’t tamper with the fragile balance of power, his handler had said.

He should have heeded the message.

A shot echoed.

The knife clanked to the floor.

It’s Wednesday so it’s Friday Fictioneers day! Thanks again to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the challenge and to Amy Reese for this week’s photo prompt.

Thanks again to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the challenge and to Amy Reese for this week’s photo prompt.

The things you’ll do for love

The things you’ll do for love

 

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CJ cradled the glass of cold beer and surveyed the bar. It was his favourite place to unwind, hidden in a side street in the Old Town of Geneva.

As he took a swig he reflected on another working week spent in crowded trains, to and from business meetings in Suisse Romande, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. 

Swiss Trains arrived punctually and generally left on time, but the second class carriages, although clean, had hard seats, designed to be long wearing rather than comfortable.

CJ had tried to get his boss to pay for 1st class travel, but it was proving to be a long and fruitless battle, so when he was required to travel, he begrudgingly boarded the train and used the time to prepare for his meetings, laptop cradled on his knees.

Seats were hard to find in the early morning commute between Geneva and Lausanne, so most days he took another train in the opposite direction in order to catch his train at the airport in Cointrin thus avoiding the maelstrom of crowds at the Cornavin Main Station in town. Although he was far from being the only one to have the same idea, it was rare he couldn’t find a seat at the airport station although it added another half hour of travel time.

But it was Thursday night and the weekend was in sight. He scolded himself for taking his working week to the bar, drained the last dregs of his beer and motioned to the barman for another.

A flash of light caught his attention and he looked over to see three women seated at a table not far from the bar. 

One of them, an attractive blond, was laughing and waving her arms, attempting to say something over the noise of the club. As her torso danced, the lights of the dance floor caught her jewellery and sent fragments of light around the club. It was fascinating and he kept on looking, absorbing the details, the deep red of her lipstick, the curls of her hair tumbling over her shoulders, the bright purple of her blouse stretched tightly over her chest.

One glance too many, their eyes met, and she locked onto his regard.  Embarrassed, he smiled, but she shunned his attention and turned away.

Oh well, he thought, I’ll just finish this one and go home. He glanced at his watch, the club was going to close anyway and he had a meeting in Fribourg the next day at ten. He cringed at the thought of another early, crowded train.

As he got up to go he heard shouts from behind. Two guys were trying to leave with the blond he had noticed earlier, they were dragging her to the exit. The other girls were protesting and attempting to pull her back to the table. The house music drowned out the heated conversation but the few words he could hear were definitely not French. Things looked to be getting out of hand.

Then one of the men slapped the blond woman on both cheeks gripping her wrists together. 

He sprung into action, and in full knight in shining armour mode, he prised her wrists from the man’s fists and stepped in between them. He really should have thought before acting so rashly, and ignored the rush of adrenaline.

And then it was all over.

The other guy’s fist met his right cheek with a crack that exploded deep within his jawbone. He reeled backwards, lost his footing, and fell heavily to the floor.

He turned on his side to get up, but a sharp kick to his gut from a heavy boot expelled the liquid contents of his stomach and he doubled up in pain, only just catching sight of the women running towards the exit followed closely by his two assailants. 

A crowd of people towered over him and someone helped him onto his feet. He was a mess and hobbled over to the men’s room with the intention of cleaning himself up as much as possible.

Someone asked him if they should call the police, but he shrugged off the suggestion and told them he was just going home.

And that’s all he remembered, before waking up the next morning, head exploding, fully dressed and covered in stale vomit and sticky blood.

He had no memory of how he got home. 

He stripped off and stepped into a hot shower.

After dressing he made a strong black coffee, only feeling marginally better.

He checked his reflection in the mirror on his way out, his face looked as bad as he felt. He’d get some painkillers from the pharmacy at the station, he thought.

He climbed onto the train at Cointrin Airport, holding onto his sore belly to protect it and settled into a front facing window seat.

Looking at the clock on the platform he saw that there were just two minutes before the train was due to leave.

He caught a flash of purple and saw a woman running to catch the train. Her right cheek was bruised. Her long blond hair cascaded down over her shoulders and bounced as she ran.

It was the woman from last night.

The guard’s whistle blew and the train eased its way out of the station.

The carriage doors opened automatically with a whoosh and the woman walked slowly and deliberately along the aisle and then sat down opposite him.

“Does it hurt?” she asked, with an unmistakable Eastern European accent. 

 

    

 

 

   

Sunday Photo Fiction : Seasons

Seasons

 

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© A Mixed Bag, 2015

 

Autumn came early that year, but Steven didn’t notice.

He didn’t see the leaves change colour, or feel the slight chill as the sun set and evening descended.

He didn’t have time for the seasons, running from one meeting to the next, waking each day in a different city, in hotels that differed only by the colour of their bedspreads or the paintings on the walls.

Winter came and went, but he never felt the cold. The air-conditioned interiors of his hotel room kept winter on the outside, and while the blizzard raged, he drank vintage wine and ate fine seafood at his table for one, before going back to his room to prepare for the next day’s meetings.

Then one evening, as he lay on his bed, he felt his chest tighten, and a searing pain shot through his left arm. He managed to raise the alarm on his gold-plated mobile but had no memories of what happened next.

He woke up in a hospital bed and on his bedside table was a magnificent bouquet of daffodils and a card from the hotel that read, “Get well soon.”

It must be Spring, he thought.

Well, I’m back from my trip to Switzerland and my entry to Sunday Photo Fiction is a day later than usual. It’s nice to settle back into my morning writing routine although while I was away I wrote every day, in hotel rooms, in the car and in crowded theatres. Managing to write just about anywhere is a personal victory.

 

 

Daily Post Photo Challenge : Quest

Quest


This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is quest. 

These past few days my wife and I have been in Geneva visiting our children. Yesterday we had a few hours in our schedule and decided to take the cable car to “Le Salève” above lake Geneva. The sun broke out of the mist and we had a really nice time up on the mountain over 1000metres in altitude. It was a nice little quest because I lived in Geneva for 35 years and it was only the second time I’ve travelled up there!

Friday Fictioneers : Christmas

Christmas


“Only a hundred days ’til Christmas” said Claire .
“Mum’s decided to cancel it,” replied Sally.
“Wot, no tree, no Turkey?”
“Nah, she’s fed up with it all that rigmarole. We might be going away instead.”
“No fairy lights, no party hats?”
“Nothing; nada; zilch.”
“Come to mine, I’m sure my Mum and Dad wouldn’t mind.”
Just then Sally’s mother bursts in carrying two enormous shopping bags.
“Girls, I’m so excited, I’ve ordered the Christmas tree.”
“I thought we weren’t doing Christmas this year Mum,” Sally blurts out.
“I saw the lights in the Mall. Pure magic. I’ve changed my mind.”


This weeks Friday Fictioneers comes from France. I’m sorry but as I’m travelling, I won’t have the opportunity of reading all the other stories until after I get back at the end of the week.

Thanks to © Roger Bultot for this weeks excellent photo prompt. 

  

 

FFfAW : The Stairs

The Stairs


The Stairs

The door slammed shut behind her, and try as she might, the doorknob just turned uselessly. She was trapped in the stairwell and only had two choices, because even if she managed to open the door, her pursuers were mere minutes behind her.
She could either go up.
Or she could go down.
She went to edge of the stairs listened and looked up and down.
She couldn’t see or hear any movement in the stairwell and it rose and fell floor after floor without anything looking like an exit.
Hearing muffled voices in the distance she knew that she didn’t have any time left and must make her decision now.
It all came down to stamina.
It’s far easier to run down the stairs than to climb up them.
She took off her shoes and started to descend.
Halfway down the second flight of stairs, all the lights went out.
When they came back on there was thunderous applause and she was showered by confetti from above.
Her colleagues were laughing and cheering in the stairwell.
They all were having fun welcoming the firm’s new office temp.

I’m still on my travels this week and writing Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer from my hotel room. This weeks prompt is ©Joy Pixley. Thanks Joy!