Last Chance

It was a strange weekend, it was always going to be but I hadn’t realized just how tense we would all be.  The last weekend of the summer holidays and the last days that we would all spend together.  We had done all the usual stuff of course, pledged undying friendship, expressed our love, said silly things, All for One and One for All.  We knew though if we were being brutally honest, the separation of university or work or travel changed things irrevocably.  There would be the first holiday and times now and again when we would probably all get together and go to the pub and then the meetings would become less and less frequent, one or other of the group of five would be committed somewhere else or in the middle of exams or, in the case of Dan, on a course with the bank and so this was it.

There was no discussion about where we would go, it had to be the cliff.  Since we had first gone to senior school and been given that tiny bit more freedom it had always been the cliff.  The farmer let us camp there for free providing we left it tidy and we all sort of knew that actually he kept an eye on us.  Whether our parents paid him for his trouble was never clear but it was the place of all our adventures, all our dreams and now with Alex and Tanya probably something even more “special”.  I did wonder what would happen with them most of all, they were going to the same college but would their relationship stand up to the buffeting of all the novelty and the expansion of their world, hmm, we would see.

I loved the place, the trees in the spring newly gilded, the shades in the summer deeply damp and the crisp bronzing of the autumn, it didn’t matter I loved it all.  All except for the pool.  The others had no problem with it, it was part and parcel of the time we spent there and the great dive from the top of the cliff into the deep green water was just another thing that they did, over and over.  For me though it was a torment, I was terrified of it, I couldn’t bear to even peer over the edge.  The tiny, deep swimming pond was okay, cold of course and weedy but pleasant in the high summer and even in the spring but the dive from the cliff from whence the place had its name was never pleasant, not for me. My head spun as I trod the springy grass towards the precipice and by the time that I could chance a glance down to the unbelievably small landing point below I felt physically sick.

My friends were kind, they tried to cajole me, to encourage me, to dare me even and Tanya once came up with a hare-brained double flight blindfold suggestion which thankfully was vetoed pretty damned quickly but I never did it, I never made the leap from the cliff to the pond.

This weekend was special, it had been talked about over and over, there was to be the last great leap, the jump into our future they were calling it, it had grown and grown until it was a big deal.  I had blanked it until now but I watched them psyching each other up, pushing and slapping at each other and I knew.  I had to do it, if I didn’t do this now, with my friends then it would set the tone for the rest of my life, when it’s too hard, too scary don’t do it.  Let others take the leap, sit on your butt on the grass and watch.

No.

I almost left it too late, they were standing shoulder to shoulder on the edge, drawing in deep gulps of air to sustain them on the way down and in the water below.  “Wait, wait for me.”

They turned as one as I ran towards them.  Dan grinned and held out his hand and I snatched at it and then before I had time to think about it any more we went, over the edge, “Oh God please don’t let me die”  The thought shot through my brain as my feet left the edge of the cliff and then, oh then.  I soared out into space and all the days I didn’t and all the times I couldn’t and all the days I walked home with a drag in my step and a nub of regret in my soul were obliterated in that one brief brittle moment, in that glorious hitch in time when I flew, when I broke the grip of the earth and flew like a great sweeping gull soaring over the sparkling water, one with the air, free, a magician defying gravity.  My one tiny moment when I was more than I am and more than I ever believed I could be.

For the others it was just another jump from the cliff to the pool for me it truly was a leap into my future.

 

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Free on Kindle

Bone Baby 

Lily is running out of time. There is a great wrong that she needs to put right before it’s too late.

She could never have known the things that she was prepared to do – for the baby!

bone baby3

 

Amazon reviews:

‘A heart wrenching tale of deception and betrayal, relationships tangled in lies and confusion. Revenge the only course of action to take.’

‘An unusual but very believable story. I enjoyed this book very much and will definitely be reading more from this author.’

Superb and scary thriller. All the characters are believable, especially Lily, and the web of lies in the family makes for an interesting drama. Great read. ‘

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Best Before End – Flash fiction

You woke me, something woke me.  A change in the temperature or the tension in the mattress.  I watch in the gloom and see you standing beside the window.  Your back is to me and the moonshine kisses your shoulders.  Though I know the weight is falling from your frame I am shocked at the edges and angles that look new to me.

Still you are, frozen in the night and the silver light gleams on the cap of your hair and I see you sigh.  I hear you sigh.

I know what you are looking at, looking for.  I know that you can’t see what you need to.  You are thinking of the children, of Sam and Trish and of Bobby.  I close my eyes and behind them I can see the track of tears across your face and the pain in your eyes as you watch in the darkness.

I will take you.  It is the only thing that you have asked of me through this whole sad, ghastly, dreadful debacle.

“Take me to the children.”

I told you I would, when the roadblocks have been cleared.  When the fires in the cities have died.  We are safe here, in our haven away from the worst of the horror and the fighting.  I told you there would be time and we would go.

How many days, I can’t count them anymore, how many weeks since it began.  How long since the phones went down and the radio and television were lost.

“Take me to the children.”

I will take you I said, when the risk of infection is gone.  They will still be there, they’ll be fine.  I’ll take you when we know that we won’t die of some horrible illness.

We are still safe here, the officials who came, was it last week?  They told us that we should be safe for a while longer.  Stay at home, wait for news they told us

“Take me to the children.”  You said when they had gone on their brown horses with the guns on their backs.

I will take you, when they tell us it is safe.

Now you are moving, your body a wraith under the flimsy nightdress.  I see you turn and there is the shine of water in your eyes and the gleam of metal in your hand and I know, I know.  I don’t push up on the bed, there is no point.  Your naked feet make soft sounds as you cross the carpet and now you stand beside me.

I wait for you to speak, to ask again for your one desire.  You speak to me through the despair but the words are new, there is no request there is only resignation and I know, I know I have waited too long.

“I have seen the fire in the sky, the world is lost and it’s all too late.”

“I’ll take you.  We’ll dress and go now.  We can be there by noon.  We will be with them tomorrow.”

You shake your head and as the thunder crashes and the sky turns red I understand that I will never take you to the children.

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Revisiting an old Flash Fiction

This was from a year ago. I wrote a part 2.

 

So,  was complaining about a lack of inspiration. A face book friend gave me this challenge. Thanks Polly.

****

“It was midnight and yet another walrus was making its way down Main Street. A trail of water sizzled behind it and the town band followed in its wake, weeping quietly…”

I changed it very slightly and came up with this:

*************************

‘It was midnight and yet another walrus was making its way down Main Street. A trail of water sizzled behind it and the town band followed in its wake, it was weeping quietly…

The sky was purple, yellow and green clouds fled before a diamond studded wind.

Charlotte tied her dragon to the hitching post. She wrapped her cloak around her and strode into the middle of the road. She held up her hand, she waited. Nothing happened. The crowd were singing Yellow Submarine, the trees swayed in time and the birds danced a Pavanne along the verges.

She had to stop them. She had to let them know. It wasn’t for her. She knew that she could climb aboard Stenflo and be away in moments, away to the rainbow mountains where the danger couldn’t reach her. But here, here on Main Street the laughing children, clutching cotton candy sticks and sucking on lollipops were in mortal danger. The happy teens, hand holding, hip touching, heart hoping, teens were in danger and the elders, mostly her fear was for the elders.

Their silvered heads, their wisdomed faces and their overknuckled, work worn hands, they would make them prey. When it came it came mainly for them, for the years of knowing, the decades of learning and the centuries of loving that they carried in their hearts. It needed all of that. The Walrus knew, the mermaid on the corniche knew. Though unlike her marine brother she didn’t try to tell them. She smirked and tossed her sea green curls and with nary a final glance she dove into the harbour and Charlotte caught just the edge of her laugh as she lost herself in the waves.

She ran to the bandstand and tore up the shallow steps, she tried to take the microphone but the Town Cryer was in full flow and snatched it back and pushed her roughly aside.

She ran to the wind section who by now had formed a semi circle around the percussionists. She chose the smallest musician, a small girl child and she snatched the gleaming instrument. Raising it to her lips she blew as hard as she could blow, she called on the north wind, the tempest and the hurricane. She implored help from the whirlwind itself and she blew and the note that she made left the end of the bugle and it flew into the air, a purple storm of sound, swirling and whirling upwards ever upwards until it met the feet of heaven and cascaded back to the town as the sound of a million weeping angels.

The people gasped, they screamed, they clutched and grasped at each other. They cowered in the corners and they ran down the alleys into darkness. Only the old ones didn’t run, they didn’t flee. They knew that it was coming for them. For eons this had been foretold and they knew that the only thing they could do was to wait, and to hold onto each other and speak words of love because letting it take them was the only way to save the young.

As she remounted her dragon and swept into the sky Charlotte took one last look at Main Street, at the elders, at the wise ones. They had turned to the west, their eyes were open, their faces were calm and as it came and they gave themselves to it she heard them. They were singing.

 

-Part 2-

Charlotte’s eyes were full of tears. She was gutted and empty. When the moment had come she had failed them.

The dragon wheeled and soared and carried her across the moon, and in the distance, she could see the roiling of the blood red and ink black clouds, pulsing as they moved ever nearer to the singing townspeople.

She glanced back and saw that now they held hands and though there were drops of sadness on their cheeks, they stood as straight as their worn out frames would allow and smiled at one another.

It broke her heart.

Many years before the Great One had gifted her a silver whistle. He had told her that there would be but one chance to use it. When it was placed to her lips then she was calling death upon her own soul. It was her destiny and though she had carried the knowledge with her always she had hoped for longer. The Great One had told her she would know when it was time.

It was time.

She leaned down and placed a kiss on the head of her beloved, winged friend. She glanced around at the realm of heaven, sprinkled with stars and painted with grey ribbons of light cloud, and she glanced down at the mountains where the snow gleamed along the summits. She sighed. She would have liked longer.

The old people in the town had raised their voices ever louder and the song soared above the tree tops and the chimneys and the notes flew like moths into the darkness. The were singing Imagine.

Charlotte raised the silver whistle to her lips. The dragon raised its head, it’s golden eyes glinted with moisture. Earth and heaven held their breath. … …

 

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Another Drabble drip

Into the Light

Kirsty flew down the alley behind Mr Khan’s convenience store. There was a doorway down here she could hide in. She’d used it before when the bloody gang with Pansy at the head and the baying bitches behind her, chased her into the dark. She couldn’t face it, the spitting, the hair pulling. She pushed in, leaning against the old door, blinked away tears. Someone had tagged the wall, Stevo.

Steve. Her hero brother, dead in Afghanistan. Steve who never ran from anything, who died saving his mates. She felt him there beside her and stepped out into the light.

 

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Love in the Sixties

A special magical time. A great cover

Claire Plaisted - Indie Author

It is time for the cover reveal for “Only One Woman.”  This is a story set in 1968, flower power days, romance, free love.  You get the gist.

This story is about two young women and a love in their lives.  A young man called Scott.  Two different meetings, two different romances.  What will happen? Keep your eyes peeled for this wonderful up and coming book by Christina Jones & Jane Risdon.

Only One Woman

Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties…

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The End – a drabble

It was the birds we noticed first. We knew it would happen but when the great flight of geese didn’t return that first Spring it was chilling. The crops failed that summer. Then we had to use the stockpiles. They lasted a long time, more than ten years. Now they’ve gone. The earth is dead, it can’t support the trees and so now even the ancient ones are fading.

We can never say that we didn’t have warning but it was all talk. Not much action and so here we are. Our kind is doomed. The birds never came back.

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A Dribble of Drabbles

You may have noticed that I have a small badge now calling myself a Drabbler. Book Hippo is a site for connecting readers and books and they have a lovely little feature where you can enter a drabble.

I have never done them before but they are fun.

These are a couple of those that have been accepted and featured on the site. Inkeeping with the site requirements it is a few weeks since these were accepted.

I am sure you know but for the avoidance of doubt – a drabble is a complete story of exactly 100 words. Great discipline.

https://bookhippo.uk/

Stanley: 

Stanley watched the rainbow. It was much cooler now, he had come out onto the porch. The darned Zimmer was a squeeze through the door and they always said he should wait for an assistant. But, he needed to be out here now, right now when the grass and leaves still sparkled with newly cried raindrops, and the clouds were not quite gone.

He watched the rainbow and he sat in the old rocking chair and he waited, because he knew that Sarah was coming today. He closed his eyes and waited for her to come and take him home.

 

***

The Tube: 

Wind rushed at her face. Wind from the tunnel, with that unique smell. Damp, chemical, age. Stephanie moved a little closer to the edge, her feet were half way over the white line. She let the strap from her bag slip from her shoulder. Perspiration slipped down her back, her underarms were clammy. She tried to swallow, but her throat was too dry. She coughed. She moved a half step further forward.

The gabble of the crowd faded into a muddled hum. She could hear the train. She leaned forward. That was when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

 

 

 

 

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My Flash Poetry entry for this week

Had to be about a journey and had to have a reference to an animal!!!

 

Road Trip

So, we climbed aboard the greyhound
No, not a dog a bus.
There was me and Sid and Erik
And mother made a fuss
We were off to tour America
The adventure of our lives
Before we settled down to jobs
And mortgages, and wives.

We settled in the dusty seats
and Erik rolled a joint.
I would have called for caution
But I didn’t see the point.
The driver caught the whiff of weed
And started in to cough
And after just a hundred yards
He made us all get off.

We trudged along the asphalt
Carrying our bags.
We looked just like some gypsies
Or a trio of old lags.
We heard a car approaching
And I stuck out my thumb,
But driving up behind us
Was Sid and Erik’s mum.

She’d seen on Skype and Facebook
And Instagram as well,
The trip being aborted,
And God she gave us hell.
It wasn’t just the smoking
That caused conniption fits
It was more that it went viral
With a hundred thousand hits.

So, Erik’s waiting tables,
And Sid’s just washing cars,
And me I’m stacking shelving
With cartons, tins and jars.
We have to work all summer
Without a weekend off
And all because a driver
Had a bloody cough.

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A Melancholy Moment

Just a melancholy moment, from a drowning, saddened eye

When my gaze was pulling seaward and my heart gave me a sigh

On a dim and misty evening, just before the close of day

A memory of my loving with a man who couldn’t stay.

And I saw him in the sea mist, on the strand below the dune

His being just a memory here and gone too soon

I remembered how he held me, how his body fit to mine

How we loved beneath the sea grass, our passion, true and fine.

Before old Neptune took him, took him to his breast

Deep into the greenness to find his endless rest.

I saw him in the magic of the soft descending night

But I knew it for a spectre and I turned away in fright

I have come again at sunset, at the rising of the moon

But my love is lost forever for I turned away too soon.

(c) D M Dickson 2017

 

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