There won’t be another day

This flash fiction is inspired by the following photo prompt. the challenge is hosted by Madison Woods. Head over there for more flash fiction action.

I welcome constructive criticisms. That’s why I am posting these pieces on a blog. 🙂 Thanks in advance for taking the time to comment.

Wordcount: 100

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Let’s take a dip to cool off before food.

My Blackberry vibrated.

Please don’t! You promised today would be just for us.

I apologised to her but answered the call. My secretary said that I was urgently needed back in the office.

I’ll walk back after lunch. Alone. Again.

***

I sit down on the grassy bank. I feel the morning dew seeping through my jeans. I watch the sun rise.

Its orangey rays illuminate the mist covered fields. But they are not strong enough to chase away the chill within me. Last night she told me she wants a divorce.

Flash Fiction Faction – The Excursion

This week’s Flash Fiction Faction by Quill Shiv is a picture prompt. Head over there to read more Flash Fiction Factions.

As usual, I appreciate your comments, feedback and constructive criticisms.

Wordcount is 105.

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Samantha raised her hand but Mrs. Sweet ignored her. “We will not carry on until someone tells me how a marsh is formed.” Samantha yearned to take off her rubber boots and wade into the murky waters. She imagined the mud oozing through her ticklish toes. However her classmates thought learning was for losers, which resulted in a silent standoff between Mrs. Sweet and the class. “Me! Me,” cried Samantha impatiently. “Give the others a chance…aw!” While talking to Samantha, Mrs. Sweet took a step backwards and tripped over a rotting bridge piling. With a muddy splash, she landed on her bottom. The class broke their silence with unbridled laughter.

Flash Fiction Faction – Abandoned

This week’s Flash Fiction Faction by Quill Shiv has the prompt:

Truly the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. –Anonymous

I made use of one of the plot ideas, I posted today for another challenge. Hope you enjoy reading it. As usual I am open to constructive criticisms.

Edit: Based on the feedback I have received from two readers, I have edited the tenses used in the original version.
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Pat throws a single red rose onto the shiny coffin, lying in its earthy grave. She wills her eyes to stay dry. A hand strokes her back; as gently as Jack had done 50 years ago.

That time she had been crying; mourning the death of her pet rabbit. A funeral was held in her parents’ garden. Jack, the neighbour’s son, had attended the ceremony. He had stroked her back – seeking to soothe her pain and hoping that she would stop sobbing. He could never bear to see her in tears. As a child, she had used it to her benefit many a time. Her reward had always been something sweet to eat.

It took another 3 years and a few broken hearts before their relationship crossed the platonic line. Pat has a clear memory of the day it happened.

She was at a classmate’s 18th birthday party. Unfortunately her ex-boyfriend was present too because his new girlfriend was the birthday girl’s best friend. She would have stayed at home had she known that earlier. But she wouldn’t give her ex the satisfaction of seeing her scamper from his presence. Biting the straw in her glass of unidentifiable sickly sweet concoction, she mentally went through different ways to get her revenge.

“If looks can kill, I sure am glad not to be on the receiving end of that glare. Who is the condemned soul?”

“Jack! What are you doing here? I didn’t know you were back in town.”

“Semester holidays started yesterday. My buddy, Steve, lives here. He wanted to greet his little sis before we head to my parent’s place for a Lord of the Rings DVD marathon. You haven’t answered my question.”

Pat contemplated lying for a second. But Jack would know, if she was telling the truth or not. There were times, she was certain he had the ability to read her mind. When it came to Jack, she was an open book.

“I was thinking of ways to get my revenge against Michael.”

“And Michael is who?”

Pat told him her story. She had been going out with Michael for 6 months, when she found out that he was cheating on her. He had laughed, when she had confronted him with it. He had accused her of being conservative. According to him, she should loosen up because open relationships are common. They both looked over to Michael after she finished her tale.

“He doesn’t look that happy, if you ask me.”

“See that blonde over there, the one flirting with the guy in the football jacket? That is his girlfriend.”

“You want to kick a man, while he is lying on the ground? You are mean. So what is your revenge plan?”

“Do you want the bloody version or…”

“Let’s hear a PG version.”

“I could make him jealous by making out with my boyfriend. Remind him of what he is missing.”

“How predictable! Where is this boyfriend of yours?”

“There is a catch in this scenario. I don’t have one. Unless…”

“Unless what?”

Suddenly Pat felt shy, as she was reminded of the numerous teenage fantasies she had involving Jack. It was during a phase when she had been terribly infatuated with Jack. Her crush had faded after he moved away to attend university. But she felt it return full force as she looked into his honey brown eyes. All at once blood was rushing to her head, her heart was pounding in her ears, and butterflies were wrecking havoc in her stomach. She quickly lowered her eyes but not before Jack noticed what was going through her mind.

“Oh!… I’m fine with it. But you got to make the first move.”

Michael was nowhere in her thoughts as she leaned in towards Jack. Pat wanted to squeeze in all her past fantasies into that one moment, lest there wouldn’t be a second time. Their faces were almost touching – she could smell the minty scent of his chewing gum. She closed her eyes and let instinct take over.

“Granny? We need to go now.”

Pat opens her eyes. The happy bubble  burst, exposing her to her ultimate fear. She is single again after 45 years of marriage! Her egoistic wish has been to be the first to die because she couldn’t bear the thought of a life without Jack. But the cancer has destroyed her hope.
She is afraid of being alone. Her children have their own families and soon they would go back to their own lives. What can an old woman like her do with the rest of her life?

A single tear threatens to roll down her cheek. Pat sniffs into her handkerchief and dabbs at her eye. She prays Jack is happy wherever he was. There would be enough time to be afraid of the future after the ceremony.

Love conquers all

This started out as a flash fiction for the Flash Fiction Faction prompt by Quil Shiv. But it ended up being longer than anticipated. I present to you, a love short story instead. As usual I welcome all feedback to help me improve my writing.

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Alan stroked the silky strand of hair; bundled together in a pink ribbon. It was a beautiful black, as dark as a cloudy and [added after edit] starless night in the outback. As he looked out of the aeroplane he imagined running his fingers through masses of soft, black tresses. Only this time they were still attached to their owner – Inthira. From the photographs she had sent him and their countless video chats via Skype, he knew that she had long straight hair. A quick glance at his watch told him that he would be seeing his love for the first time in less than an hour. After months of communicating over the internet, he was impatient to hold her in his arms; to touch her, to smell her, to taste her. If it had been up to him, he would have visited her earlier. However his only financial resource was his pay, plus tips, as a waiter at The Steakhouse. Nowadays, people were extremely stingy with their tips, which is why it has taken him months to save money for this trip.

Eyes scanning the crowd gathered in the waiting area after he cleared immigration, Alan felt a lump forming in his stomach. What if she did not come? What if it was all a lie? Before he could think another destructive thought, he caught sight of her waving enthusiastically at him. He was overjoyed to see her. She looked the same as she did in the photographs. There was no mistaking it. He walked over to her. Standing in front of her, he was unsure what to do next. He knew he was in a conservative country but a handshake felt inadequate to express his joy and love. Inthira smiled at him and stood on her toes to give him a big hug. It felt good. He would have loved to kiss her but a hug was definitely better than a handshake.

“Is that backpack all the luggage you have?”

“Yes.”

“Then follow me. I will drive you to the hostel.”

The ride to the hostel was pleasant. They talked about her plans to show him her country. They spoke about the weather, about the food in Thailand. She smiled at him a lot but he couldn’t help feeling disappointed. He had felt closer to her in their hour-long phone calls compared to the present; within the confines of a car, where a slight stretch of his arm could result in physical contact. He wondered if his expectations for the first meeting had been too high. Remarks made by his friends echoed in his mind.

You are practically strangers!

She only wants you for your money. To them all white people are rich.

You’ll see that long distance relationships cannot succeed.

It is not a relationship, as long as you don’t do what normal couples do.

“We’re there! This is your home for the next 2 weeks. Are you tired? If yes, we can call it a night and I’ll meet you for breakfast tomorrow.”

Alan snapped out of his brooding.

“I’m not tired.”

“I was hoping you’d say that.”

Alan checked into a single bedroom with shared bathroom. He couldn’t afford anything better but he hadn’t wanted to stay in a dorm either; not when he was there to visit his girlfriend. Maybe it had been a bad idea to come here. Maybe his friends were right. So stupid of him to be such a hopeless romantic.

Inthira walked him to his room, entered it after him and closed the door behind her. She let out an audible sigh, which caused him to turn to her.

“Finally! No more prying eyes. Now for a proper ‘Hello’.”

With that she embraced him in a hug and planted her inviting lips on his. Alan required no further encouragement to return the greeting in kind.

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The following days passed by in a blur, as if he was caught in a sensory whirlwind. One moment he was in a temple, where hundreds of tiny golden bells hung from every accessible corner. Even in his dreams he could hear their chiming sounds as they swung in the wind. The sound was comparable to the clinking of champagne glasses; the sound set to repeat mode as long as there was enough wind to provide the necessary push.

The next moment he was walking through a market selling multi-coloured produce. The mere thought of the salty, sour taste of a preserve caused the saliva to collect in his mouth and cringe his eyes. He did not believe Inthira that a plum could taste like that and it was one experience he was sure never to repeat.

Today they were watching the farmers harvest the rice fields. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath of the wonderful earthy smell of freshly cut grass. Inthira was standing next to him, holding his hand. He realised all of these experiences did not cause his senses to short circuit. But Inthira did. Being with Inthira in reality was better than in his dreams. He loved watching her mimic while she talked; the soft tones caressing him softly. He loved the jasmine smell of her hair and the way it slipped through his fingers. He loved the strawberry taste of her lips; enticing him to bite them. He loved her mind as much as he did her body. Inthira was clever, witty and humourous. She was kind and cared for others; especially those less fortunate. She had gotten under his skin and he wanted her to stay there. They needed to find a way to overcome the physical distance separating them and they needed to do it soon. He could not imagine a life deprived of these senses.

Alan felt Inthira stiffen slightly before withdrawing her hand from his. He opened his eyes and saw the worried look on her face. He turned around to identify the cause for her sudden change of behaviour. A man was approaching them with angry strides.

“So this is where your lecture is? I don’t believe you had the nerve to lie to me and meet him after I told you not to!” He looked at Alan wagging a finger at him.

“Stay away from my daughter. She is not a whore for you to play around with. If you see her again, I’d…”

Unfortunately Alan was not one for keeping a cool head.

“Did you just threaten me?”

“Yes, what are you going to do? Beat me up? You have a great taste in men, Inthira. I knew he was not good for you.”

Alan did not like where this conversation was heading. He looked at Inthira’s teary face and realised this was not the time for pride.

“I am sorry sir. I didn’t mean to be rude. I love your daughter a lot and I would never do anything to hurt her. My intentions are honest, I promise.”

“Inthira, you drive back home now.”

“But Pa, I love him!

By then a crowd of farmers had formed around them, curious to find out what was going on. Inthira’s dad cleared his throat.

“This is not the place to talk about family matters. Everyone is watching. Take him to our place. We will talk there. If you both are serious, then it is time he is introduced to the family.”

Alan swallowed in relieve. He would move mountains, just to be with Inthira. Meeting the family should be a much easier endeavour.

She was never yours to start

She is ripe for the taking

If you had gotten through the wall

Sleeping beauty won’t be waking

Just because you call

Make room for the next

Knight in Shining Armour

Who is game to axe

The enchanted wall with ardour

Why cry over a kiss

That never took place?

You knew that one miss

Would throw you out of the race

It would seem

It was not on the card

Outside of your dream

She was never yours to start

Springtime Blues

Irene squeezed her eyes shut blocking out the sunrays and pulled the blanket over her head.

“Wake up sleeping beauty. It is a beautiful day!”

M opened the windows letting in the sound of birds chirping and thousands of invisible pollen. Although she could not see them, she felt their presence immediately. She rubbed her tongue against the roof of her mouth. With closed eyes she groped for the packet of Kleenex she always kept on the nightstand. The itch spread to her nostril and she felt the pressure to sneeze growing within her. She was ready to give in to it.

M said loudly, “Achoo!”

“Why did you do that for? It is bad enough that you rip me out of a wonderful dream. Am I not even allowed the satisfaction of a sneeze?”

“Stop complaining and eat. We are going to make the best use of the first sunny day after winter.”

Without another word, Irene ate her toast with jam and drank her semi-hot cup of chocolate quickly. M was probably trying to make her agreeable by serving breakfast in bed. She dragged herself from the bed and into the bathroom.

“I assume you already have it all planned out. What are we doing?”

The hot shower caused the sore skin around her upper lips to burn; another reason why she hated spring. The following weeks she would be wearing a moustache of crusted skin, caused by the attrition of super soft paper handkerchiefs against her even softer facial skin.

“We are going to the mobile home fair. It is outdoors. What better way than to spend a day like this outside?”

“Afterwards I’d like to go to that newly opened frozen yoghurt place. I forgot the name. Michel was raving about how great it is the whole day yesterday at the office.”

“Fine with me! Now get changed quickly. The later we get there, the more difficult it would be to find a parking lot.”

“15 more minutes, if you let me get ready in peace.”

Irene washed down her allergy tablet with a big gulp of water. She packed her anti-allergic eye drops and nasal spray in her handbag. She was ready for the wild outdoors!

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Irene stopped in midstride and pressed her upper thighs together. Another watery glob of pollens came charging out of her nostrils. But she was ready to capture it with a new paper handkerchief. She folded the tissue in half and held it before her nose like a hygiene mask, ready for the next sneeze. The tingly feeling in her nose was a dead giveaway that she wouldn’t have to wait long for the next one.

She scanned the crowd around her. Where was he? She had only paused for a few seconds. He couldn’t have gone far. That is the problem with visiting an outdoor mobile home fair. On the one hand, the constant pollen attack was weakening her physical state of being. On the other hand, she kept losing track of M in the blink of an eye it took her to sneeze. She remained standing in the middle of the path. He had to come out of one of these mobile homes sooner or later.

She felt drained of all energy. Too bad she was too old to lug a schnuffeltuch around. She would love to curl up on her sofa with a comforter and give in to the feeling of sickness that overwhelmed her. But she couldn’t hide indoors all spring or could she? She contemplated the repercussions of such a decision when someone tapped her on the shoulder.

“Would you like some apple juice?”

“No thank you. My panty wouldn’t remain dry for long when I have to walk around with a full bladder and sneeze unrelentingly. Let us get on with this show. A frozen yoghurt is waiting for me.”

They walked down the aisle hand in hand.