Audio of “Trials”

I think that from now on any flash fiction I write over at Litopia will also be recorded. I’m not the most confident when it comes to recording myself, whether on microphone or camera, but I think reading written work aloud is good for practice! In Trials, I hear myself jumble over a particular sentence, rewording may have prevented this.

If you want to listen, here’s the link. Or embed thing? Embed thing, I think!

After this post, I’ll put the audio in the same post as the flash fiction. I had wanted to do this earlier but I was unsure about how to attach audio to WordPress.

Oh, and next time I’ll also try to speak more slowly!

Until then,

A

Trials

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Onwards, onwards, onwards.

My feet land heavily on the dirt covered path, the trees that line either side of me the only other souls, the barrier between me and the fog.

They have souls, the trees. And branches that swoop down and grasp at your hair if you try to climb them.

I tried once, when I first became lost. I also tried to sneak between them when I thought they wouldn’t notice, when night had fallen and their burgundy leaves turned black. They move closer to each other if you try that, and if you get caught, well, you won’t be trying it again.

It isn’t a secret why I’m here. Okay, I’m not really lost. I just lied because I’m embarrassed. It’s a trial we all have to take. That’s the problem. I was never any good at trials and although I know why I’m here I don’t exactly know what I’m supposed to be looking for. I just know, without a doubt, that I’m alone.

Someone will have already figured it out though. There’ll be a hero back home drinking wine, dancing, doing the usual hero type thing. I suddenly feel pretty stupid for once celebrating what one day would be at my own expense.

The thing is though, right now, I don’t think that’s what I should be worrying about at all. Because the problem is, I thought I knew something without a doubt. That there isn’t supposed to be anyone else here. I said that, right? So now my question is: who is that?

Flash fiction exercise to write a 300 short inspired by the above picture, posted over at Litopia. It was fun! Gave me a chance to practice first person.

Wordsprint – Writing Rubbish for Twenty Minutes

Wordsprint…Wordsprint… okay, I get it, I’ve done this before. Although it wasn’t for twenty minutes, it was five. yes five. What did I write about then? No, it doesen’t matter. I need to write about something now.

Okay.

Wow. I’m empty. I’m drained. My head is a kettle today that the prick at the office forgot to refill. Aight, okay, let’s run with that.

“You didn’t do what they asked you to though, and you know what that means.”

Mr Francis sat across from Ben with his arms open. He didn’t want to embrace him, he was still seated behind a desk after all. He wanted to show him that he was trying to be honest with him, he was imploring him to understand why he was losing his job. It wasn’t his fault. The people had spoken and enough was enough.

“They asked me to fill the kettle after I had used it, they didn’t say that it would need to come before my work. Is that what you’re telling me now, Sir?” Ben was staying calm. He knew that this wasn’t just about the kettle, it was probably more to do with Mr Francis’ wife bringing him in a cupcake on his birthday. He didn’t even get to eat it. The Chief of the “who left the kettle empty?” brigade had found it on the side and eaten it. That’s okay though, because he’s assisstant to the boss.

Mr Francis stood from his chair, his long slim arms still held out towards Ben. He titled his head to one side and let out an exasperated sigh. “Ben, Ben, Ben,” he said, staring back at the calm brown eyes of his soon to be ex-employee. “We could have made a great man out of you.”

“If it wasn’t for the kettle,” Ben replied. He stood from the leather chair, ignoring its groans as he pushed himself free. “I guess greatness is measured in the units of coffee we consume.”

Mr Francis nodded in reply. A sad nod full of empathy, as though he really was thinking, “Yes, Ben, how much one drinks and speaks about coffee is truly the mark of their success.”

One arm dropped and another stretched out towards him.

Ben took Mr Francis’ hand and almost recoiled in surprise at how cold it was on such a warm day. He shook it confidently. He wasn’t going to be defeated. No. Not by Mr Francis, not by Cupcake the First, and certainly not by a kettle.

Along with the noise of the office, all eyes fell on him as he entered the spacious room with a picture of a palm tree on the wall beside each desk. No one had the nerve to say anything. Not even Jake. Damnit Jake, I didn’t think you were one of them.

His desk drawer clunked open and from inside he pulled out a few papers and pens, a ruler that had come with the stationery set, and a mouldy sandwich. On second thought, and after turning the sandwhich over in his hand, he pushed it back inside the drawer. It could be his own skull and cross bones, a warning to whoever took his place.

The exit to the office was obvious enough, big flashing letters informed any who had forgotten how they got in that it was okay, there was a way out. Ben had started walking towards it with the honest intention of leaving, not saying goodbye, just vanishing. He knew that they were waiting with anticipation for him to leave. They wanted to talk about him, they needed to. It would be their driving force through the day, it would rebuild the bridges of broken friendships and be the kindle to the fire of a new romance. Really, Ben thought, his being fired was doing all of them a favour. The people in the office hadn’t been able to talk comfortably to each other ever since the final episode of Last One Standing Dies Anyway.

He slipped inside the kitchen, smirking with an arrogant pleasure as from behind him someone gasped.
It wasn’t even plugged in. They had made this too easy for him.

His reflection wavered on the clean surface of the kettle and he imagined himself as Aladdin about to take the diamond. No, he was Abu. The minute he removed the kettle the entire office would crumble, they’d slither to the ground and only he would escape on his magic carpet of… This is ridiculous. It’s a kettle and I’m taking it.

The protests that followed him to the exit only pushed him further. He could hear people rushing around the office, talking loudly, and the door of Mr Francis’ room squealing as someone raced inside to do just the same thing.
By the time Mr Francis reached him, it was too late. He was already in the elevator, the doors were already closing, and no, Mr Francis, no. I will not hold them open for you, not this time.

Ben left the building pleased. He may have lost his job but he had not been defeated. He had won and was even taking home a trophy.

He was almost at his car when he heard a familiar voice.

“You can’t take the kettle, mate.”

Ben turned to find Thick Barry looking down at him, a small plastic stick held between his eerily large fingers. He pushed it to his mouth, inhaled, and then became a train. He was a large man, named for his size and not his mentality. Okay, that was a lie. He was childlike, and right now he looked at Ben with large, confused and hurt eyes.

“We need it,” he mumbled, blinking slowly as though he were holding back a stray tear.

The wind had been moderate but in that moment it turned and swept the hair up on Ben’s neck, wrapped around his face bringing the smoke from the vaper with it to momentarily conceal.

As the bubblegum scented smoke began to disappear Ben stepped out from its shroud and placed his hand on one of Thick Barry’s shoulders.

“No, Barry,” he said softly. “No, Barry, you do not.”

Barry watched in awe as Ben placed the kettle in the passenger’s seat of his car, and then with one last smile, took his own place as the driver.

“Goodbye, Barry,” he said as he crawled his car past him.

The sun was still high in the sky and with his new kettle beside him Ben waved goodbye to the grey walls of the office block.

And I’m going to stop writing this here before I start making the kettle speak and say thank you to Ben in a gruff voice because all the over-filling was causing him to develop some kettle type disorder or another.

I guess this was fun. It’s nice to just write and not really think about where you’re going at all. Kind of like that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scene. Let’s post that, too.

Vindictive

Gavin leaned over the sandcastle: it had turrets, a flag and even a small Lego man at the lollipop stick drawbridge.

Paul had done well, but Paul had also eaten the colour blue.

Clenched in purpling fingertips the spade felt warm, and Gavin believed that if he did not act quickly it would melt and be all the evidence Miss Yordel would need.

He brought it down much harder than when he had knighted his dog, and with a satisfying clomp the Lego man was buried beneath the avalanche of sand.

“Vindictive,” Miss Yordel said, pointing to the chalk board, “the strong desire for revenge.”

Five Sentence Flash Fiction – Writing Prompt “Vindictive”

Spoiled

She walked alone at midnight to ease her mind.

No man beside her, no escort to assure she retained her modesty.

“Spoiled,” they hissed with their eyes narrowed as if to shield them from her sin.

“Rape,” she whispered, her hand tightly gripping that of the one that shook her free.

She wept goodbye to midnight, she wept goodbye to all she wanted to be.

Five Sentence Flash Fiction – Writing Prompt “Spoiled”

Forgotten

She stumbled again, the wind grasping at her shawl and pulling at her white hair whilst the brambles she had fallen upon ripped open her thick brown tights.

Her veins protruded like wiry blue snakes with the pressure she placed on her hands as she pushed up from the ground.

The curved grey stone felt cold on her palms, and the lettering carved into it rough on her delicate finger tips.

“Never,” she said weakly, and brushed away the fallen leaves and creeping ivy that year after year had fought to take claim of her husband’s gravestone.

“You’ll never be forgotten.”

Five Sentence Flash Fiction – Writing Prompt “Forgotten”

Open

The door was tiny, smaller than any Tom had seen before and belonged to what he could only presume was a family of rodents.

“It conceals the secrets all wish to obtain, but only the bravest enter to find them,” whispered a voice into his ear.

“According to Ma, locked doors are locked for a reason and that reason ain’t of my concern,” Tom replied, but continued to study the stained dark wood of the door and the roughly cut metal keyhole.

The elderly man shifted his weight from his inward turned knees and onto the cane he held; a cane that in the dull light appeared to be made of finger bones.

“If you’re the key then surely it is of your concern,” he said with a slight grin, “Just close your eyes, feel the cold metal against your fingertip and take a deep, final breath.”

Five Sentence Flash Fiction – Writing Prompt “Open”