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The Return

The compartment was empty apart from Astrid, Grandfather and the echoes of the others who had sat here before. Outside, brown and grey stone merged into green fields, as blurred memories rose of her breath clouding vision and sculpting fragile hearts onto glass.

The carriage swaying, drumbeats of rail under wheel. Interrupted only by places that Grandfather spoke fondly of – Bristol – Taunton – Exeter, Astrid watched grey faces alight into a world devoured by grey rain.

Near their destination the sun banished the gloom. Astrid alighted onto the platform, the seaside town of Torquay. Holding tightly to Grandfather she navigated their way through the bustle of tourists and commuters.

The beach wasn’t far from the station, the world ending at the border of red sand and dark water. Astrid stood at the edge, time slowing as she watched white horses gallop, salt coating her skin.

Then she let Grandfather go.

Just as he had made her promise she would.

 

Local fisherman, Yugoslavia. CC photo by GothPhil.

Local fisherman, Yugoslavia. CC photo by GothPhil.

 

Subaqueous Homesick Blues

Seb adjusted his footing on the undulating rowboat as the net taunted his callused grip. His shoulders complaining from hauling another seaweed slick disappointment up from the depths.

‘Nothing?’ Arch asked.

Seb shook his head.

‘Fuck it,’ Arch spat into the sea, ‘so what’s that today? Ten fish, some plastic shit!’

‘The Senate will understand.’

‘Yeah and one day they’re going to get their hands wet. No, reckon the lash this time.’

Seb slumped, the boat rocking in response, ‘we could go …’

‘Where precisely? Hell boy if its not the lash its exile, now stop talking stupid and grab an oar.’

The rhythm of wood slicing water broke the silence as they followed the meager assortment of vessels that comprised the scavenger fleet. In the distance the Senate’s oilrig lay squat on the horizon.

Weary and anxious, Seb gazed at the dark shadows that glided beneath them. Daydreaming about living within submerged towers that had once pierced the sky.

 

 

The Waiting Game

Now watch me cast.

Christ I feel sick.

Notice how the rod reacts as the line dictates?

Breathe, its okay, a routine emergency cesarean that’s what the nurse said. Happens all the time.

Now we wait hoping for a bite.

A name. A name so they both live.

Shouldn’t be long I reckon.

What did Emma want … Thatcher, not going to happen, far too Tory.

Hmm, can feel something teasing.

Something else. Damn where is she?

Ah a bite, now gently we reel it in, gently, teasing.

What’s the nurse carrying, is that my son? Bloody hell he’s so small.

Easy now, this one’s struggling.

Emma should be out by now, then she can meet … Elliot … Elliot that’s what we’ll call him.

Gentle.

Where is she? How can I cope alone?

Gentle.

He’s so beautiful. Must stop crying onto him.

Easy now.

Please, where is my wife?

There, isn’t she a fine specimen?

 

 

Yominokuni

From the dockside Emma-O watched crested horses leaping over the lurching ferry’s bow. A grey cloak of rain concealed the rest of existence and, not for the first time, Emma-O wished she had more than her umbrella to shield her. Yet as father had reminded her, first impressions counted.

Her phone purred in her hand distracting Emma-O from the vessel’s struggle, her twitter feed exploding with doom-laden hashtags.

#Typhoon
#D3struct10n
#Tsunami
#Deathcount

So many lost souls, yet all Emma-O could do was keep to her routine, trust that people would survive nature’s onslaught.

For what was she without people?

The boat docked, ropes thrown, tethering the swaying vessel to land, a gangplank extending out. Tentatively the first of the passengers disembarked, rain slickening skin and clothing.

“Welcome everybody, sorry about the conditions.”

Silently they gathered on the dock, confused, uncertain.

“Are we all here? Excellent, well just follow my umbrella and mind your step.”

Emma-O led them away into eternity.

 

I Am Myth

The rain danced upon Hinata’s umbrella, the greying skies a refrain to the melancholy in her heart. It was foolish to mourn. For so long death and destruction had blighted the land. Yet as she had cast the last victim into the dark turbulent river below she felt only regret.

It seemed inconceivable that once she cruised for temptation in neon lit realms, flitting between gyrating bodies. The world filled to the brim with potential.

Now there was just her.

Hinata dropped her umbrella, rain slickening skin as she slipped the gas mask off her face. Her ally that had disguised her on those nights of hunting yet was now inconsequential within a realm of solitude.

Hinata breathed in deep, dead batteries filling her lungs, toxins rushing to corrode her veins. She knew she could have carried on, scavenging, eking out an existence.

Yet what’s the point of a serial killer when there was nothing left to kill?

John Talbot’s presentation of the Book of Shrewsbury to Queen Margaret of Anjou ca 1445 AD. Public domain, courtesy of the British Library Royal.

John Talbot’s presentation of the Book of Shrewsbury to Queen Margaret of Anjou ca 1445 AD. Public domain, courtesy of the British Library Royal.

So Flash! Friday forced me to tread that genre that, I sadly must admit dear reader, leaves me bereft of imagination, Romance. I blame the years spent watching my mother devour Mills & Boon tomes, the cover always replete with a maiden swooning over some gent of nobility or other. Anyway, as I get repeatedly assured, it’s good to push oneself creatively, so pen in hand I sat down to drawn inspiration from the photo prompt above and the theme of a wedding.

The result, well you can decide for yourself, (it got a mention by the judges so I’ll post that under!)

hope you enjoy (fingers crossed)

The Bride To Be

Luxurious fabrics and fragrant rose petals caressed Isabella’s skin. Today had been a triumph, thousands gathering to witness their union, the bells pealing across the realm, a feast of exotic wonders.

At the ceremony she had stood beside her true love, heart fluttering. She had never looked so beautiful, her dress accentuating every curve. Even the King had noticed, whispering lustful comments as they knelt in front of the Cardinal.

Isabella was prepared to surrender herself, becoming a queen through his conquest. Comforted that the goblet of wine, thrust into his hand as he ascended the stairs, was laced with something slow acting and untraceable.

He would be dead in the morning, a heart attack the doctors would declare.

The nation would mourn and Isabella would vow to honour her departed king by never taking another man again.

Thankfully her true love wasn’t.

She just knew that the reign of Isabella and Beatrix was going to be a joyous one.

 

Judges Comment

This wasn’t the only same-sex marriage entry this week, all of which were a fun surprise, but I loved the lines, “At the ceremony she had stood beside her true love, heart fluttering,” which of course we assume to mean her bridegroom. Then we get, “She had never looked so beautiful, her dress accentuating every curve,” because at first we think it’s describing Isabella, only to, at the end, learn Isabella was describing Beatrix.”

Matt’s pallid skin clung to the sterile sheets of his hospice bed. The room was even whiter, devoid of flowers or cards. Just his costume, red and orange, slung over the chair in the corner.

Phoenix.

He couldn’t recall bringing it here.

Another shudder, Matt began hacking up thick yellow sputum, into his hand.

Fights, victories, recognition. An existence spent balancing threat and triumph.

Unaware that his nemesis was already within.

Head pounding, Matt focussed weak rays, making the malignant scum in his palm bubble gently.

Pathetic.

He wiped his hand on the sheet.

No one could save him now.