Beautiful : Sunday Photo Fiction



It’s a weekday morning.

I knock our wedding photo to the carpet in my rush to silence the alarm.

We struggle for a place in the bathroom and race to be first to use the toilet.

Then, downstairs, a gulp of tepid coffee.

Occasional glances, quick smiles, no time for toast or conversation.

Then we’re off!

Different bus stops to different offices.

She texts.

“I’ve a surprise for u this evening”

The day is sluggish.

The more I think about my surprise, the longer the minute hand takes to reach quitting time.

My colleagues seem hell bent on detaining me but I manage to escape to the bus.

She texts again.

“I hope ur not late. I’m waiting”

I jump off the moving bus and scamper home.

When I open the door a grunting alien greets me.

I protest.

“Not what I’ve been fantasising about all day hun.”

Slimy dangly tentacles quiver as it nods its head.

It’s a cheap costume but I follow it upstairs to the bedroom.

Muffled giggles from within as we fall towards the bed.

I reach out to pull off the mask.

My heart sinks as I realise it’s not a mask.

Sunday Photo Fiction is back on my blog again. Time to regain my writing habits.

FFfAW – The Paddock


The Paddock

He was small, but knew that if he got onto the tips of his toes he could probably lift the latch, open the rusty gate and walk away, but here in the enclosure, he felt safe and protected from the outside world.

He couldn’t remember how long he’d been here, but he’d counted 1034 steps to go all the way around. He’d eaten the candy bars as slowly as he could and only taken small sips from the bottle, but the crumpled wrappers and empty bottle beside the drinking trough were a reminder that he needed to make a decision soon.

Perhaps just one more round to check that the fence was secure.

Then, with the setting sun, he spied the man in the long black coat coming back.

He knew what to expect.

After, he would get more candy and if he was lucky, some coke.

He took the blindfold out of his pocket and held it out, arms stretched and trembling, for the man to snatch from him. (170)

Today marks my return to writing after a pause, due initially to my trip to Myanmar but then prolonged after the passing away of my Mum a few weeks ago. She is constantly in my thoughts and I’ve been busy preparing her funeral which will be held next week.

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is an excellent weekly challenge.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Secret Code


Secret Code

Johnny’s a Hotel Manager, and every day I pass in front of his hotel.

We have our own secret code.

We take the week of the year as a base and add a letter of the alphabet.

As he knows what time I pass, he arranges to flash on and off some lights in the rooms facing the street.

The guests just think it’s a test.

Last week he spelt out ‘adore’ with 26+1, 26+4 etc from Monday to Friday.

I’m excited to discover this morning’s letter, but as I pass, I see three sets of lights, 26+19, 26+15, 26+19.

My heart skips a beat.

I call him, as I double back at the next roundabout.

It goes to voicemail.

As I get nearer, I see armed policemen falling out of unmarked vans, and the entrance cordoned off.

I abandon my car in the middle of the road and run to the nearest policeman.

“What’s happening?”

“They’ve taken hostages Madam.”

I bend in two and eject my breakfast.

The idea of Sunday Photo Fiction is to write a story with the photo as a prompt in around 200 words. The photo doesn’t have to be centre stage.

A look back to books I read in 2016

Books read in 2016
  1. Our Endless Numbered Days : Claire Fuller
  2. The Versions of Us : Laura Barnett
  3. The Sisters : Claire Douglas
  4. A Death in Sweden : Kevin Wignall
  5. The Vintage Teacup Club : Vanessa Croft
  6. The Girl With No Past : Kathryn Croft
  7. Follow Me : Angela Clark
  8. Asphyxia : Derick Hudson
  9. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep : Joanna Cannon
  10. Let the Light Shine : Nick Alexander
  11. The Sudden Appearance of Hope : Claire North
  12. The Red House : Mark Haddon
  13. Coffin Road : Peter May
  14. The Woman who Stole my Life : Marian Keyes
  15. My Husband’s Wife : Amanda Prowse
  16. Me before you : Jo Jo Moyes
  17. The Girl who lied : Sue Fortin
  18. Kill Me Again: Rachel Abbott
  19. Evelyne, After : Victoria Helen Stone
  20. The Girl in between : Laekan Zea Kemp
  21. The Winter People : Jennifer McMahon
  22. No Coming Back : Keith Houghton

I didn’t read as much in 2016 as I did in 2015.

It was probably because I didn’t do a 76-night cruise last year! It’s amazing how much you can read on a cruise ship.

Looking back over the list it’s almost two a month which isn’t too bad, is it? Some of these were for my book club and I’m always grateful to be ‘forced’ into reading something I would never have picked up in the Kindle store.

Some of these were for my book club and I’m always grateful to be ‘forced’ into reading something I would never have picked up in the Kindle store.

It’s quite an eclectic choice and I do love frequently changing ‘genres’. It’s a bit like tastes in food. Too much of the same thing becomes boring in the long run.

I’d love to hear from you if you have your own recommendations. Pleased whet my appetite. I know there are hundreds of gems on the shelf that grab your attention.

Right now I’m reading ‘Stories of Midwives’, by Sally Hepworth.


What Pegman Saw – Russian Romance

Russian Romance

Screenshot 2017-01-21 11.30.20.png

Anzhelika or Olga would have felt more appropriate. Her name was Cynthia.

We met on the plane from Frankfurt and she’d promised to show me Moscow.

From the hotel window, I could see it was another wet, winters day.

The front desk rang.

“Professor Blythe, a car is waiting in front.”

Downstairs the doorman shielded me from the rain and ushered me into the limousine. During the 15 minute ride to the Romanov Sinema, a short walk from Red Square, I sank into the plush leather heated seats and daydreamed of Cynthia.

On arriving, I was led to the front row. Cynthia was already seated.

We were alone. Soft music. Dim lights. High expectations.

“Taste the house speciality Don, Lemoncello Popcorn,” she said with a winning smile.

Two burly men wearing dark raincoats and single earpieces appeared from a side door.

One of them barked, “Please come with us, Professor.”

This week I strayed a few minutes from Red Square for my What Pegman Saw challenge.

Red Square, Moscow.

FFftPP – Jack and Jill


Jack and Jill

Jack was a darling baby. We knew it was just muscle spasms, but he smiled at us minutes after leaving the womb. We were prepared for sleepless nights and endless tantrums but he remained calm and cheerful, even when he was sick or frustrated. We would fight to read him his bedside story and as he progressed from nursery rhymes to children’s fiction we would often stay with him until he dropped off to sleep.

Jack met Jill a few years before leaving school. We watched, amused, as his body transformed itself while his voice broke. They spent long hours in his room, supposedly studying, and we exchanged knowing glances as we heard them laughing and giggling.

Jill had long blond hair, sparkling blue eyes and dimples every time she smiled.

They made the perfect pair.

She was almost unrecognisable when we saw her in the morgue after the accident, and the hit and run driver was never apprehended.

Now Jack punishes his body with tattoos and spends hours scowling in front of the mirror. We are often woken in the middle of the night by his screams.

Jack is an angry man.

This is my second week back to Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. It’s nice to be back.

Friday Fictioneers : Corridor

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson


The cell was intended for two but there were never less than five.

Behind the heavy locked doors, they had television, the only distraction from the stench of frightened unwashed bodies.

The stronger ate and slept whilst the others made use of newfound skills to get by as best they could, forced to live with their nightmares, night after troubled night.

Outside, the corridors were painted bright canary yellow and the floor, although a little worn, was polished and without blemish.

Tasteful artwork adorned the walls.

Yes, the authorities were proud to show visitors their model prison.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly Flash Fiction challenge proposed by the lovely and talented author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo prompt was provided by © Dale Rogerson. Thanks Dale.

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – The Tree

The Tree


The ceiling fan cut sounds through the air in the shade of the bedroom, curtains drawn.

Whop whop whop whop …’

 Sally sipped Mum’s homemade lemonade from one hand and texted with the other.

Whir Whop Scrirr Whop …’

‘U comin by later Brad’

‘Yeah, I’ll shimmy up around eleven once your folks have crashed.’

‘Sweet :)’

‘See u later babes.’

‘Sure <3’

Hum Whir Hum Whir ….’

A growling, brattling roar from outside, interrupted the soft sounds from above.

She drew back the curtains and stepped onto the balcony just it time to see their magnificent pine topple, and fall in slow motion to the side of the garage.

Below, Sam, her obnoxious brother, raised his fist slowly into the air and then savouring the gesture, gradually unfurled his middle finger until it was erect and menacing.

He turned to his mates and they guffawed loudly.

Sally swooshed the curtains closed and threw herself back onto the bed.

Now she regretted talking to her parents about those spicy, pungent odours escaping from Sam’s room late at night.

This week’s photo prompt is © Shivangi Singh. You can see the rules for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers by clicking on the link.

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Chalice

The Chalice


I’m uneasy with skulls. Although I trained as a nurse, neurosurgery was never my thing.

Give me a pus filled wound or invite me to an operating theatre to see open heart surgery any day of the week

The sight of blood doesn’t worry me at all.

Even human excrement is ok as long as the room is properly aired.

I looked to the mantlepiece and winced

It was time to draw a line and make a stand, so I turned to Simon.

I scraped up some courage and attempted to be polite and reasonable.

“Skulls are creepy and repulsive,” I said.

“Your chalice, with it’s macabre spinal stem, aggresses me beyond words and I refuse to share my mantelpiece with it any longer.”

“What’s this obsession with magic and the occult?  Please keep your Aleister Crowley books in your room and take this chalice as well. I don’t want to see them again.”

Simon grabbed the chalice from the mantelpiece and slouched back to his room.

I poured myself a stiff vodka and heard the usual chanting.

I sighed.

I suppose he’s going to go gothic next.

Sometimes it’s hard bringing up a teenage kid on your own.

This is my entry to this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction.