Friday Fictioneers – Sorry

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

I wanted to say I’m sorry. But she wouldn’t listen. She ran. She fell and didn’t move. I was frightened. So, I never got to say sorry, and I never got to be forgiven.

Do you see? You are my second chance. That’s why I had to hurt you. So I could say sorry, and so you could forgive me.

You do forgive me, don’t you? You must.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

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Friday Fictioneers – The Message

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Photo Prompt © Roger Bultot

It was the kind of place you expected to see a ghost walk. A tragic heroine, perhaps, throwing herself from a tower in the despair of a forbidden love. Shadows lay deep, and the fresh morning air, scented with mountain pine, carried a shiver.

It was the kind of place that primed you for belief. When the cowled figure, silver-shadowed in the dawn, floated towards me, it seemed to fit.

I don’t expect you to believe me or the message I received. But, unless you release me, I know terrible things are going to happen. The message must be delivered.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Stardeath

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Photo Prompt © Ronda Del Boccio

The light was failing. And it grew cold, so cold. Hoarfrost crackled on dying limbs.

“How can this be? How can the sun abandon us?” Frank was shocked by how reedy and tremulous his voice sounded.

His granddaughter put a hand over his. “It’s just the way of the universe. Everything has its season, comes into existence, lives and dies. As with people, so is with stars.”

“Great,” Frank muttered. “Philosophy.”

She was wise enough to remain silent, knowing she could say nothing. When a grandparent dies, she knew, a world dies with them.

 

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Mill Girl

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Photo Prompt © Sandra Crook

Effie, crawling beneath the gnashing machine, tried to remember soft rain pattering on their turf roof. But the great shaft frames of the weaving hall had a different song: implacable, voracious.  The noise and the odour of oil and cotton dust choked Effie. A frame scythed just above her squirming back, rattling the heddles. The sharp shuttle flashed athwart.

“Mama,” she called through the clatter. “I have it.”

She lifted the trapped bale.

In the din, nobody heard the scream as the shaft took her hand clean off.

“How will we survive,” she thought, “without my daily tuppence?”

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – The Fan

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Photo Prompt © Dale Rogerson

The man behind the municipal desk looked municipal. Stanley knew the look—bored, unimpressed, implacable.

“Leave this with me,” the man said. “I’ll put it before the Council.”

He meant he’d shove it in a drawer and have a cup of tea.

“Listen,” Stanley pleaded, “it’s important. My giant fan will blow the miasma away. The city will be safe.”

The official straightened his cravat and nodded.

“Or we can all choke to death, I suppose,” Stanley added. Bitterness filled his mouth.

The man shuffled his papers and looked over Stanley’s shoulder at the next in line.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

 

Friday Fictioneers – Conundrum

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Photo Prompt © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

No mind is certain of the purpose this exhibit fulfilled. Our best analysis shows it to be a fusion of organic materials from both the sessile and motile sets, part shaped biologically and part industrially. The device lacks obvious outputs.

Since all trace of the planet’s dominant life form has vanished, we are forced to conjecture about many of the excavated artefacts. Most authorities believe this was a mechanism for food production though some hold that it was involved in social bonding rituals.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – The Package

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Photo Prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The first package arrived on my eighteenth birthday. In brown paper tied with string, as butchers used to wrap meat. A printed copy of Dermot Callaghan’s The Lighthouse. Surprising, because Callaghan drowned before he finished the novel. There was no return address.

I sniffed the aroma of fresh printers’ ink, then set to work, copying the whole thing out and submitting it to Callaghan’s publisher.

Every birthday, a new parcel. And every year I published a new sensation.

Now, a lifetime on, my steps falter in the sand by the lighthouse. I walk into the sea, leaving behind an unfinished manuscript.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – The Bad Thing

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Photo Prompt © J Hardy Carroll

When I confess to the bad thing, the very bad thing, you don’t cry out or scream. You don’t reject me with a surge of anger.

You just go very still, as if the world has stopped. As if you have to be very careful not to shatter.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

A Mentee’s Journey 3: Voyage’s End

A year’s mentoring with Cinnamon Press has concluded. My novel, The Tears of Boabdil, went through three new drafts. It transformed, in large part through the critiques from the scheme. This is the work of which I’m most proud.

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This is what my mentor, Adam Craig, had to say about the final draft.

This is a very effective, absorbing literary novel and Neil’s to be commended for his dedication and hard work—Tears of Boabdil is a much improved MS and Neil has dug very deeply into the narrative and managed to bring out aspects and ideas that were not present in the original draft.”

Adam also noted,

Tears of Boabdil is a thematically ambitious novel, interweaving multiple narrative lines around a central character who does not have a fixed identity. The manuscript in the form originally submitted for mentoring had several drawbacks in terms of structure, narrative pace and voice, and in the evolution of its central character, Zami/Vince. Neil’s dealt very ably with restructuring such a complex narrative, streamlining it while adding a great deal of pace and tension. The evolution of the psychotic nature of the central character is convincingly portrayed in this draft, not only through the device of mirroring the main narrative in various tales and stories (which was present in the original mentoring draft) but also creating a new thread based around the character’s parents that is extremely well integrated into this draft and is also both disturbing and arresting.”

All very encouraging. And they considered it publishable. More disappointing was that they decided not to publish it.  They preferred the voice of two other mentees’ works, and felt it was a hard genre, being both literary and a thriller.

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My task now is to make that complication a selling point. I had intended that the thriller/ romance frame story would make the more literary content accessible. One of my readers had this to say about it, proving the fusion of the genres worked for her.

I’m really enjoying your form of storytelling. It’s different than anything else I’ve read and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to follow. But it really works for me. Your story is very complex and layered, and you’re doing a really good job of balancing those layers. Most of the books I read simply hand me the story and don’t make me think, but you are and I like that. You’ve got me guessing as to what will happen and I very rarely even attempt to do that!  I don’t normally read anything remotely like this, but it’s been amazing, and a good exercise in the value of stepping outside our usual genres every once in a while.”

 

Friday Fictioneers – The Librarian

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Photo Prompt © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

In the silvered night, he steals down alleys, ferrying old books from the library to secret caches. The Pure are already calling beyond the walls. When they enter the city, they’ll root out heresy with a great bonfire and smashing of icons. Corpses will swing from the gates.

The librarian isn’t sure whether astronomical texts, and studies of verse are heretical. But he suspects they may be. He believes the invaders might find the land inventory useful. And this too he bears into hiding.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here