#Three Line Tales: Solitude

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales prompt.

photo by Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

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Sunset sea, the colours in the sky and on the water, peace and quiet, she could watch it for hours.

Beaches, mountains, forests, there were so many peaceful places, she thought, where it should be possible to be discreet, keep to the sidelines, let the wild things take over, just observe.

Yet wherever she looked, however peaceful and secluded, there was always some fool taking selfies.

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Lost moments

Two pieces for dverse this evening. The first is flash fiction, the second a prose poem, both are less than 144 words. The first responds to the prompt, including the line from Louis MacNeice:

There are moments caught between heartbeats.

The prose poem doesn’t, because it isn’t flash fiction and because I split up the quote.

 

For some people there are lifetimes of glitter and happiness, and for others there are moments. Caught between heartbeats were our moments, a brief time of happiness when the world stretched ahead into more futures than we knew what to do with.

I knew all about you, your name, the colour of your hair, how you would be wild and artistic and sing like a lark. It was for you that we took the apartment near the school with an extra room and bought a pile of useless things for you because that’s what people do.

Then suddenly, between one check up and the next, you had stopped being, the chain of heartbeats that linked you to me to life, a dazzling future had broken and the round pearls had rolled away into the dark place where heartaches gather.

*

There are times when there is no time to count the passing of seconds, when the world fizzes like fireworks with whirlwinds of wild happiness, the births and marriages, the fallings in love and the tumultuous giving and receiving of love, when the moments pass so fast there is nothing between them.

And there are moments that drop one by one, echoing loud as raindrops in a bucket, that we try to catch and hold, to pile them like stones, a dyke against the pounding of oceans and the suction of the ebb tide, the moments of single breaths caught between heartbeats until the last heartbeat misses, and the breath escapes on a fading sigh.

 

Stone tears

Rebel response to the dverse prompt. Rather than including a whole chunk of Maya Angelou’s words, which are hers and hers alone,  I have just borrowed three of the words that could be anybody’s words, including mine—the rock cries.

 

There was a forest here and rivers and lush green. There were birds and deer, and owls and foxes in the night. There were flocks of finches and skylarks in the day sky, and summer nights were full of stars. There were.

Instead we preferred our meat twice a day, our cruises round the world and phones and a new car every two years, a new kitchen when the fashions changed and monochrome went out. We wanted novelty and new and more than we needed because it was comforting to be able to throw things away.

It killed the earth and now it is just a rock and the rock cries.

Tactics

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales prompt.

photo by Michal Vrba via Unsplash

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There is something about the sight of children absorbed in a tactical game of skill, wits and intelligence that gives me the creeps.

I imagine them later, older, sitting together again, but this time around a conference table in a boardroom.

Older, the tactics refined and put to other uses, children who never acted the maggot at school plot with cold, dispassionate moves the fate of millions.

#Three Line Tales: First timer

For Sonya’s Three Line Talesprompt. A topical one this week.

photo by Josh Hild via Unsplash

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He had been walking all night, set off from his village at sunset and hit the outskirts of the city just after midnight.

The rain had been falling steadily for hours as he walked like a zombie along silent streets where only foxes were about, going through the bins, and by daybreak, he was dropping with weariness.

He found the signpost, slumped in a tired heap outside the door—just had to wait now for the polling station to open.

#Three Line Tales: Gothic

Microfiction for Sonya’s weekly photo prompt.

photo by Watari via Unsplash

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Inspired by the stories of Walter Scott, he built the house, mimicking the Gothic he never really appreciated or understood, believing vaulted ceilings and cloisters created a ‘sophisticated’ atmosphere.

When his cruelty to the womenfolk of his household shaped Gothic horrors that haunted the nights of the mock-up castle, his line dried up, faded, and he died screaming in a straitjacket.

Now junkies haunt the lonely rooms and fake cloister, weaving their own horrors, painting the walls with their own madness.

Never Never

Exactly 150 words. For Crispina Kemp’s creative challenge, inspired by this photo.

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She had always thought it was a magical place, the slow stream that babbled if you listened hard enough, and the wood that had somehow escaped the developers, where blackbirds sang and jays and woodpeckers chattered. The stream disappeared into a culvert, carrying its leaf-boats into the dark, and she had walked the length of the wood countless times but never discovered where it came out.

The town grew, estates sprawled, but the wood remained untouched. Pastureland formed one boundary, a lane another, and a low wall bounded the rest. Something drew her back to the wood that end of summer day, drew her along the stream that entered the domain from the farmland, to the culvert where birds sang and the leaf-boats disappeared.

Without hesitation, she stepped into the stream and followed it into the dark to find out where it came out. It didn’t, and nor did she.

They wouldn’t believe us

The ‘prosery’ prompt over at dverse is to write a story of exactly 144 words including this line from a poem by Jo Harjo:

“These memories were left here with the trees”

I haven’t used exactly the same words, just the sense from them. We lived for almost ten years among the French battlefields of the Great War and the atmosphere of the entire area is a very special and very melancholy one.

 

She had always found it a sad place, the landscape, the people—too rural, enclosed like the big fortified farms, no outlet for any feelings. There were mature trees growing around the foxholes now, and shell craters were filled with bracken. The mutilated and the broken lay almost hidden, but she imagined she heard their cries as they were blown from their roots. Men were turned to bloody soup in these woods that became cellulose soup, then oceans of bloody mud.

The fields were tilled again and flowers blew at their edges, but beneath the trees memories lingered. If she dug her hands into the deep earth she could pull them out. They whispered in the delicate woodland flowers, but it was the trees that held her in their spell, the horror of their stories, the unquiet memories that were buried in their roots.