Wednesday 26 August 2015

Visual Dare - Safe

And here is the other late entry for Visual Dare This photo had to be written for, and although it doesn't have to relate to homeless children (it could be a child camping out on a hot night), it is what I saw. Enjoy.


Joppy was no longer on the ground and that counted for a lot. It put him one step above the rest and free from the fight over bedding.

He laid out his prize across the worn fire escape, and made a nest, ignoring the creak and groans of the rusting metalwork.

The boarded up windows in the building meant he wouldn’t be hassled by any residence and told, for the umpteenth time, to move along. People didn’t see a child; they only saw a pest; a scavenger ruining their pristine garbage; a parasite leeching off them; a stain marring their guilt free conscience.

But this location was safe from that, at least for as long as the iron held. 

122 Words

Visual Dare - Voice

I am late with these Visual Dare entries, because I hand wrote them during the school holidays and didn't get a chance to type and post them. Parenting got in the way! But as I am winding down my entering of flash challenges, due to bringing my novel writing and editing into focus, I wanted to share them anyway.

I particularly wanted to write for 'Voice' due to it personal meaning. Yes, this piece is autobiographical.


When the man from social services turned up at the door we thought the Johnson’s over the road must have called them, although the report of hearing a child screaming ‘leave me alone’ had been wrong – no one had been screaming that.

He asked to see all the children, so our stepfather lined us all up prim and proper in the huge entrance hall with its high polished wooden parquet flooring. And I kept quiet that it had been me screaming ‘leave mummy alone.’ But the man wasn’t convinced and asked to see our mother too, knowing there was more this story.

My stepfather called her, and I didn’t turn round as she came downstairs sporting the split lip she’d received that morning.

The man didn’t speak, he just wrote in his notebook and left, my stepfather following suit half an hour later, bringing an end to the nightly terrors. 

150 Words

Monday 24 August 2015

Daily Picspiration - Ebbing

The next set of pictures for my Daily Picspiration entry didn't give me anything to follow on the last story, so it gets left hanging. And the two photos provided were offering two very different stories, so I had to pick one. 

The one I chose is also my ending story. After over two years of writing for Daily Picspiration I have decided to stop, as I need to claw back time and get focused on my main writing aim - novel writing. I also need to concentrate more on editing - not only on my own work but on those of others who are paying me for doing something I love! (critiquing, editing and helping them with their writing).

I have really enjoyed my time at Daily Picspiration but I know that if I miss it too much I can return. Nothing worse than feeling like you are leaving the party right in the middle of it, but needs must. So for my closing entry we go short and dark to round it up nicely. 

Posted on Sunday 23rd of August - you can read 'Ebbing' here.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Walked - MWBB

Due to holidays it has been a while since I have entertained a Mid-Week Blues-Buster entry. Initially I couldn't access this song and didn't plan to write. Then another writing friend was persistent in offering all sorts of links to see if I could get it to work here in Holland, and finally he did! So then I listened and this is what arrived. It's more of a snippet I think than an actually complete story in a flash - I could have written on for ages. And it didn't rank for this reason I think. Anyway, I liked it and thought it worth posting. Enjoy.

Song prompt:
Say Goodbye, by Eva Cassidy

She saw him walk into the bar with his friends and ignored the flutter in her stomach as she finished polishing the glass she had in her hand, adding it to the shelf behind her. Would he recognise her? Part of her hoped he would, part of her hoped he wouldn’t. Either way he was heading to the bar and she was the only one to serve him.

She turned as he arrived at the counter, and his reaction was immediate: frozen, mouth half open about to give her his order.

“Hey Greg.”

“Melissa! Shit.”

She gave him a small smile. “What can I get you?”

He blinked, like a visual stutter, and said, “They’re looking for you. They’re worried sick.”

She sighed and gave him a resigned look. “I finish in fifteen minutes. I can talk then if you like, but for now I need your drinks order.”

He seemed a little shell-shocked by her response, and gave her the order, but when she handed him the change, he said, “Come over when you’re done, we need to talk.”

She watched him rejoin his friends, catching his eye a couple of times as he checked to see if she was still there. She finished up her afternoon shift, looking forward to being off her feet and not facing the hordes of tourists coming into tonight. With the holiday season warming up, it was getting busy in this little corner of Spain and it wouldn’t be long before the days would be the same as the nights, just one long party – except for those working.

She poured a drink and came out from behind the bar, heading straight towards him. “Shall we sit outside? I need some air.”

He was ready, and stood up immediately, glass in hand, following her out.

As they settled into their seats on the terrace, she asked the question that was foremost in her mind, “How do you know anyone’s looking for me? I shut down all my social media accounts when I left.”

“Johnny PM’d me a few months after you left, on the off chance you’d been in touch and said something.”

“Why would I do that?”

Greg shrugged. “It was a shot in the dark. He clearly knew you used to PM me.”

Melissa smiled. “Johnny knew everything. Him and Stacey are the only two I really miss.”

Greg pulled a face. “What you don’t even miss your own children?!”

Melissa’s smile dropped. “I’m sure they’re fine. It’s been three years. They will have adjusted by now.”

Greg gently shook his head. “I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t now. Why did you go? Don’t you feel any remorse?”

“Remorse? I didn’t commit a crime; I left my husband.”

“But you hurt so many people!” Greg was angry. Melissa found that incredulous.

“What do you care?”

“I always cared. You knew that.”

“Did I? How? From the one liners I’d get in response to several PMs?”

“You had marital issues, I wasn’t getting in the middle of that.”

“Exactly – so you do know why I left.”

Greg faltered. Melissa took the opportunity to sip her drink. Greg nursed his, but from his expression there was more to come.

“Tell me Greg, what is it you want to say to me?”

“I think you should call him.”


“Your husband.”


“To let him know you’re alive and well.”

“And how will that help?”

“He’ll know you’re okay, and the kids will too.”

“I repeat, and how will that help – if anything it’ll make it worse.”


“Hi Rich, hi kids, just calling to say I’m okay and alive, but I’m still not coming back.”

“But it’ll give them closure at least.”

“No it won’t, it’ll open old wounds.”

“Don’t you want to see your kids again?”

“Do I deserve to? They’re better off without me. I wasn’t making them happy – I wasn’t making anyone happy!”

“You don’t know that.”

“Oh yes I do.” There was an awkward pause. “Tell me Greg is that all you wanted to say?”

He looked at her and murmured, “No. I want you to know I missed you too, and I was worried sick too.”

Daily Picspiration - Pick-up

When I saw these pictures for my next Daily Picspiration entry, I couldn't really see them separately, so when I started to write the tale I wasn't sure what was coming. And what has arrived might well turn into a serial because I'm not quite sure where it is going to lead. But I do enjoy the journey. Hope you do too. 

Posted on Sunday 9th of August - you can read 'Pick-up' here.


Saturday 8 August 2015

Horror Bites - Scarecrows

A new  Horror Bites Challenge went up and the story arrived immediately in my head. Took a while before I had a chance to get it down, but I think it works. Enjoy!

 scarecrow cropped

George thought it a stupid idea at the time, but the rest of the family out voted him, so here they were and he wasn’t even able to say ‘I told you so.’

His annoyance flicked between those that stopped to take photos and have a good laugh, and his dad.

They all should have known better after last years fiasco, but no, his dad insisted that it was going to be good this year, his focus purely on outdoing the neighbours.

So his dad had asked the Dooley Brothers for help, being that they were the ‘Halloween Professionals’ … a name none of them knew the true meaning of at that point – even his dad who claimed to know them and move in their circles.

Maybe the Dooley Brothers had thought his dad was talking the piss, or someone further up decided to teach him a lesson. George didn’t know. He only knew that they’d grabbed them the night after, tortured them a little and then put them here out on the front lawn, stuffed and mounted too look like scarecrows, on display for the entire neighbourhood to see.

But the neighbours didn’t realise it was them. They thought they were stuffed effigies, seeing as their family always went mad on the Halloween decoration. They’d all been and taken their photos, and had a right laugh. No-one had wondered where they were - it was holiday week, everyone assumed they were away.

George wasn’t sure how much longer he would survive. He knew his sister was already gone – her body hanging limp, and his mum didn’t look far behind. He only hoped that they wouldn’t come again tonight, to inject whatever stuff was keeping them paralysed. George thought he’d heard his dad say he’d only wanted the display for two weeks. It wasn’t long now.  

306 Words

Monday 3 August 2015

Daily Picspiration - Frozen

I have been away on holiday so there has been a bit of a delay posting my last Daily Picspiration entry. The second story spoke to me immediately and this is how it came out. I hope you like it. 

Posted on Tuesday 28th  of July - you can find 'Frozen' here.