Perfectly Imperfect – Room 101

Trash cans spilled over, their contents whipped into the sky as the air fizzed and crackled. 

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Let’s do another month of M’s prompts shall we.  101 words allowed only.  I know I said I was done with them.  I lie.  Probably should have wrote this in October but hey ho, better late than never.  Think it works rather well as an idea given the prompt.


Joseph stood before the mirror, the face staring back a contorted mockery of his former self.  He tried to smile and he raised a trembling hand to his face, slowly running his fingers along the scars.

He still remembered the pain as the fire tore through his flesh, the smell as it cooked and melted his face filling his nostrils until they too succumbed to the heat.

He turned away unable to look any more, he was too grotesque and the memories too painful.

Grabbing his coat he headed outside, at least it was Halloween and he didn’t need a mask.

 


 

Photo courtesy of pixabay

Tortoise and Monkey

Inspired by a true story a good friend once told me…

The mid-day sun beat down as tortoise wandered slowly across the Savannah.  Approaching the old marula tree he noticed monkey, his fist lodged firmly inside a small crevice in the trees side.

“Good morning monkey “ he said, the trees canopy providing delicious pools of  protective shade from the fierce sun. “Is everything okay?”.

“I seem to be stuck” monkey replied straining to free himself. Bees buzzed around him and he swatted at them with his free hand.  “I wanted honey, I found honey, and now I cannot free myself.”

“Oh dear, oh dear” said tortoise pondering the predicament.  “That is for certain no good thing.”

“Yes, yes” said monkey excitedly “no good at all, at all.”

Monkey tugged and pulled, teeth bared and his feet braced against the tree, but his hand remained firmly inside.

“Whatever will you do?” tortoise asked, “have you tried calling for help?”

Monkey nodded “Oh yes I have tortoise but the others were unable to free me.”

“And where are they now?” Tortoise asked looking about.  There were most certainly no other monkeys that he could see.  He looked up into the tree, thinking that surely that is where a tortoise would find monkeys but again there were none.

“They have left me, left me alone” Monkey said stills training in an attempt to free himself.  “They said that Lion was about and ran off.”  He looked down at tortoise.  “I will not share my delicious honey with them now no way no chance.“

Tortoise stopped and looked about slowly.  They were not particularly clever beasts in his opinion, and in his many years on the savannah he had always found them to be quite foolish too.

“Are you holding the honey now?” he asked.

Monkey paused.  “Yes” he answered suspiciously.  He was uncertain whether monkeys ate honey.

“And have you considered releasing the honey” Tortoise asked, “that would allow you to remove your hand surely.”

Monkey looked at tortoise quizzically.  “But then I would have no honey” he said quite perplexed.

Tortoise was about to answer when he heard the distinctive roar of lion now not far away.

“You need to let go Monkey” he said retracting into the safety of his shell “lion is on her way.”

“But then I shall have no honey” monkey shouted back defiantly, “and I do so love honey…”


Photo courtesy of pixabay

 

Beads of Sweat – Room 101

 He ran his tongue slowly across her stomach, bead of sweat pooling on her soft pale skin. 

Thanks to Michelle for the prompt


He ran his tongue slowly across her stomach, caressing her as beads of sweat pooled on her soft pale skin.  He breathed deep, her perfume filling his senses and his heart racing.

“I’ve wanted this for so long” he said tasting her on his lips, “I knew we were meant to be.”

Running his coarse hands the length of her outstretched body he pulled himself on top of her.

“I love the taste of your sweat” he whispered in her ear.

He paused.

“God, what was I thinking” he said licking his lips and laughing “let’s start again.  Dead flesh can’t sweat”


Photo courtesy of pixabay

Incessant Dreaming – Room 101

Each night since he moved in the woman from the picture filled his dreams.  Her red hair, cherry lips and alabaster skin consuming him.  

Thanks to Michelle for the prompt


 

 

Each night since he moved in the woman from the picture filled his dreams.  Her red hair, cherry lips and alabaster skin consuming him.

“Stay with me” she would ask, and he would swear he would remain but with mornings advent they were parted.

“Why do you forsake me” she asked,  “don’t you love me?”

“I do” he insisted, “with everything”.

“Then you know what to do.”

As his limp hand dropped the bottle of sleeping tablets, his life ebbing away, she appeared one final time – her face now a mask of death.

“Sleep” she said smiling, “welcome to my home.”

 


Photo courtesy of pixabay

Malcolm

A fiction piece I did for the Carrot Ranch rodeo competition. 100 words on growing up and knowing then what you know now.

A cold wind blew through the broken window as Malcolm sat naked and alone in the dark, skinny bruised arms pulling his knees tight to his chest.  He rocked slowly on the stained, unmade bed and started to cry as he heard the sound of heavy footsteps.

“Bad man says fingers on lips, shhhh” he told himself pressing a grubby finger against his mouth.  A shadow obscured the sliver of light that crept under his door.

Malcolm reached beneath the pillow for the long sliver of glass he’d taken from the broken pane.

“Not this time” he whispered to himself.

Lens

Joseph was too young to remember what had happened himself, and those left behind never seemed to want to speak of it.  All he needed to know was that it was over, they had won, and they needed to rebuild. 

I wrote this for a photo challenge, but I misread and its a week early I think.  I will link to it when it’s time 🙂


Joseph adjusted the focus on the telescope ever so slightly as he made himself comfortable in the large battered red leather wing back chair.   He looked briefly through the eyepiece then pulled a small red cloth from his pocket and carefully wiped the lens.  Clear nights were still such a rarity and even though the war had ended ten years ago the remains of the destruction still hung in the air as a reminder, obscuring sun and moon alike.

In recent years, with the skies occasionally opening up to reveal their hidden treasures,  he would  head up to the old ruined house on the hill across the valley, and dragging the telescope he had salvaged in one of the endless destroyed homes he would clamber over what was left of the stairs to the top floor.  Where once there had been bedrooms now only weather beaten and rotting floor boards remained, and where there had once been a roof now there was only sky.

It had taken some effort to get the chair from the library up to the top floor but when the grey occasionally peeled back it was well worth it.

“You be careful up there” his Aunt would always tell him, and he would always tell here that there was nothing to be worried about because the war was over, they’d won, and the visitors were long gone.  She remembered the war better than he did though,  and he would often lie awake at night and hear he tossing and turning in her sleep– reliving the horror that had resulted in nearly 6 billion dead.

Joseph was too young to remember what had happened himself, and those left behind never seemed to want to speak of it.  All he needed to know was that it was over, they had won, and they needed to rebuild.

He knew that they had been invaded, that they had fought valiantly and that countless numbers had been lost on both sides.  He also knew that when the United Governments  detonated the nova bombs at the heart of the visitors fleet in a last desperate stand they not only wiped out the entire visitor command and control network but they vaporised much of the southern hemisphere.

Right now though all he really wanted to think about was the moon.  He loved the stars, they filled him with hope and excitement but it was the moon that stirred his soul.  Another rock, drifting through space and so very close, you could almost touch it.  His Aunt had told him how people had once lived there, before the war and he would often imagine himself up there, looking down on earth.

As darkness fell he sat back in the chair and pulled an apple from his pocket.  It wasn’t much but it would have to do as dinner thought.  He wasn’t hungry really, he was too excited.

As the sky turned dark, the stars poking through the inky blackness the Moon began it’s journey across the sky.  His heart leapt as he realised it was full.  He put his eye to the viewer and focussed and it grew large and clear.

He watched it travel across the sky, adjusting occasionally to ensure it stayed clear and in focus. He sat quite still as he traced the lines across it’s grey surface and each new meteor crater filled him with excitement and he hastily scribbled notes with a stub of a pencil on scraps of paper he unfolded from his shirt pocket.

As he studied the surface he thought, for just a moment, that he noticed a flash of movement.  He finished the last of the apple, wiped the lens again, and refocussed.

“Probably just something on the lens” he thought, but it was no mistake and there was something in the top quadrant of his view.  He adjusted again, pulling back in an attempt to focus on the object. As the dark blur became clear he could make out something angular, something man made.  He was too close still, and again he adjusted, whatever it was was closer that the moon.

Joseph squeezed his eye to the viewer, heart racing.  It was unmistakable.  Moving through space, back lit by the moon, were a small fleet of ships circling a larger vessel.  They were back.

How very curious

Just a thought or two

So, I wrote here about the busy week I had culminating in events of the weekend, and following that I found myself rather weary for a few days and catching up on things so had no opportunity to write.

The majority of the stuff I published in the last week and a half were written before last week commenced so I found myself having done little or no writing for over a week when I sat down to write this morning.

Curious it was that I really struggled.  I’ve been able to churn out up to 3 or 4 pieces a day for months effortlessly but when I sat there everything seemed very foreign to me.  I looked at my previous posts and they seemed wholly unfamiliar and whilst I have tried to keep up with comments I had to keep going back to look at what  I had written.  Lots of the ideas I had seemed rather empty and it struck me that my brain has been in a wholly different non creative place.

Browsing through my reader I wondered how much I had missed.  I have read a few things recently but so very little as I slipped back into the routines I had before I took up writing a few months ago and it struck me how very easy it would be for me to simply put down my pen and to not write again.

I had a few pointless conference calls at work today so I managed to scribble down a few limericks and haiku, and slowly things started to feel familiar again.  Tonight I have managed to plonk myself in front of the keyboard and I can just about feel the ideas starting to come back and thoughts forming.

I haven’t done this for long, so perhaps I do not have the muscle memory quite formed yet but I am now more aware of the need to keep feeding my brain and to try and maintain the creative processes because I didn’t much like the idea of not doing this again though it would be quite easy to let something else take its place because life can just get in the way sometimes.

 

 

Frog and Toad

Mr Toad watched Mrs Frog hop over to him.  “How delightful” he thought to himself. 

“Good morning Toad” mumbled Mrs Frog with a mouthful of the rather delicious fly which she had happened upon, “how are you this morning?”

Toad shuffled alongside the pond and looked across to where Mrs Frog sat on her lily pad eating.  “Good morning Mrs Frog” he replied and croaked, “you look well.”

Mrs Frog finished her fly before replying.  “Indeed I am Mr Toad, thank you ” she replied “the water is cool and the flies are plentiful.”

“Good good” Toad continued, his dark eyes blinking as he scanned the ground for juicy worms.  “it looks like another lovely day.”

“Oh most certainly ” said Mrs Frog.  He was a handsome Toad indeed she thought to herself.  “Would you like to join me for some breakfast?” she asked smiling.

“Breakfast?” Toad replied looking somewhat confused.  “Breakfast with a frog?”

Mrs Frog laughed.  “Mr Toad, we are not so different you and I, and it is only a spot of breakfast.”

Mr Toad was rather taken aback by the offer, he had never had breakfast with a Frog before.  “I see” he replied, “I would then very much enjoy that.”

Mrs Frog jumped from her lily pad with a splash and soon hopped out of the pond to join him.  Up close he was even more impressive, with his large round body, strong thick legs and such dry and bumpy skin.

Mr Toad watched Mrs Frog hop over to him.  “How delightful” he thought to himself.

As Mr toad shuffled Mrs Frog hopped alongside, and they travelled together around the edge of the pond chatting, stopping occasionally to gobble a fly or share a juicy worm.  Occasionally Mrs Frog would pop back into the pond for a quick dip before joining him again.

And so Mrs Frog and Mr Toad spent the morning together, and breakfast became lunch and lunch became supper.  When the end of the day came Mrs Frog slipped back into the pond and Mr Toad walked off slowly back to his log.

“Same time tomorrow?” shouted Mrs Frog as she watched him walking away slowly, her heart racing just a little faster.

“Oh no I cannot” replied Mr Toad, “Tomorrow I have promised Mrs Toad that I will remain home and tend to the young toads, and I do not think she will approve.”

Mrs Frog’s heart sank.

Toad spoke once more, but Mrs Frog had disappeared below the surface of the pond and did not hear him.

“Unless of course I could perhaps pop around once they are all asleep?” he shouted.

 


Want more stuff?  I have plenty of stuff.

The joy of saying stupid things 1.

Not a piece about Dr Who – Honest – Sunday Photo Fiction.

Mouse and Sparrow

 

Photo courtesy of Josch13@pixabay

A post a day for August

August was my first full month of blogging, so I thought I would set myself a target of posting every day, and yesterday I completed it.  So what did I learn?

August was my first full month of blogging, so I thought I would set myself a target of posting every day, and yesterday I completed it.  So what did I learn?

Here’s a quick list, because I know you’re busy…

  • Do not do it when you are taking a week’s holiday somewhere that has no wifi.  It will make you a horrible person and your wife and children will go for ice creams without you.
  • It is important to read lots of other peoples work.  You see some wonderful stuff and it will perhaps provide you with inspiration.
  • There are things that I don’t understand or enjoy, but I will give them a go.  I read every post on the ‘Magnetic’ daily prompt one day and learned tons about why people are hot for one another and how fortunate we are that ‘Lust’ and ‘Thrust’ rhyme.
  • There will be things you read that make you think “how the devil did they get so many likes?”  You have no idea what people will enjoy, trust me.   Google “hucow”.  But not at work, or where your partner or kids might see it.  Then delete your browser history.
  • At times it was like using a really dirty toilet.  The urge to produce something quickly was often more pressing than the need to produce something I enjoyed.
  • Engaging with the people behind the likes and the comments is hugely rewarding. There are a core of people who comment regularly who I truly appreciate because I know they are reading and enjoying it.
  • I have a suspicion that there are people who just like things to be polite or to get you to follow them.  One reader liked 79 posts in about 5 minutes.  I had to turn alerts off at that point.  I will follow you if I like what you write, not because you liked my copyright page.

Anyway, I’m sure there are more things but I wanted to keep this relatively brief.

Michael


Here’s some other stuff you might like

Sombre limericks 6

My 100th Post

Fatties in space – not one for the kiddies

 


Photo courtesy of pixabay

Farmer and Dog

A heavy farmhouse door opened and farmer, the girl with the fat bottom and dog stepped out into the crisp morning air.

Dawn scratched at the edges of night across the far off hill tops setting the darkness on fire.  A heavy farmhouse door opened and farmer, the girl with the fat bottom and dog stepped out into the crisp morning air.  A light blanket of snow had fallen and it crunched beneath their feet as they walked.

He did not much care for the fat bottomed girl, she was prone top anger and tantrums and never gave him scraps from the table.  He did love the snow though and leapt to catch a flake as it drifted through the still air.

Farmer laughed heartily.  “Looks like a lovely day girl” Said Farmer to dog ,ruffling the hair on her head as she trotted along side him.  He was a broad shouldered ruddy faced man with large hands, a round tummy and a thick shock of red hair atop his head.

The girl with the fat bottom complained bitterly about being out of bed so very early.  “Why do I need to do this” she complained as they crunched through the snow.  “I fetch the eggs each morning and help with the milking, can someone else not do it?  It is so very cold.”

“Hush Ruby” said the farmer looking sternly at her “He’s your horse, you need to do this thank you very much”.  The fat bottomed girl did not respond, but dog knew too well to stay out of her way.

“A good Morning to you” said Dog to the cows as the passed the shed.

“A good morning to you dog” the cows answered in unison, tails swishing “we are quite ready to be milked.”

But they weren’t heading out to milk, so dog trotted on, bristling around the farmers legs excitedly.  He did so enjoy being up and about so early in the morning.

As they continued they passed the chicken hutch.  “Good morning dog” said hen, pecking and scratching in the dirt between the small collections of snow.  “have you brought us our breakfast?”

They had not, and dog greeted Hen and trotted on alongside the farmer.

“We’re okay for now girls” Dog heard hen call out as they crossed to the far side of the farm yard.

Farmer and the fat bottomed girl approached the fence and farmer reached into his pocket and pulled out an apple.  With an outstretched arm he offered it up to horse as he wandered across.

“Morning horse” said dog excitedly “lovely day isn’t it”

Horse paused before he answered.  “Do you know what the fat bottomed girl has been doing to the chickens?” horse asked slowly as he ambled across.

“I do not” said dog feeling confused.

“Hmm” replied horse gobbling up the apple, “not good” he munched, “not good at all.”

The farmer opened the gate and the fat bottom girl walked inside.  “Now don’t take too long” he said to her pulling his coat tight around himself to keep out the chill.  “Bring her up to the house and we will get her ready, the farrier will be here in a short while. ”

“What did she do?” Dog asked as the farmer opened the gate wider.

Horse did not answer…


Want to know what happens next?  I wrote the piece below a while back, thought it might fit nicely and create a more complete story line.

One Word Photo Challenge: Horse


Want to read more of my stuff?

https://afterwards.blog/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-miserable-limericks/

https://afterwards.blog/2017/07/14/probing-a-cautionary-tale/

https://afterwards.blog/2017/07/03/first-blog-post/

https://afterwards.blog/2017/07/14/we-unlikely-few/

 

Photo courtesy of eskimokettu @ pixabay

 

My 100th Post

I started my blog about 7 or so weeks ago, and as it turns out this is my 100th post.

I started my blog about 7 or so weeks ago, and as it turns out this is my 100th post.  I had envisaged that it would be something special but mostly it is a reflection of my experience to date trying my hand at writing.  With the exception of the last week, being on holiday as I was and deciding not to write, I have had an absolute blast churning out whatever springs to mind.

I have not given any of it too much thought really, and seldom have I edited anything preferring instead to enjoy the pleasure of getting ideas out there and finding out what I enjoyed doing most.  Along the way it seems some people have enjoyed some of what I have done which I will admit has been hugely encouraging.  I am still unsure of what I really prefer writing so will continue to dabble until I decide what to focus on next.

Finding time to write has on occasion proven difficult but generally I manage to grab an hour or two at night and will type through my lunch at work if I am feeling really excited about an idea.  I am looking at trying to establish a better writing routine as my desire to write ludicrous haiku is now to blame for the amount of time it has taken to paint the hall.

When I started I would simply sit down and type, but of late I’ve started keeping a little leather bound book with me to jot down ideas and explore thoughts which has proven particularly useful.

On occasion my phone will beep away as people read and comment on my posts.  I haven’t paid too much attention to the numbers, but checking today I can see that I have generated more than 3200 views from 1040 visitors and 1330 likes.   Readers from 68 countries have taken a peek at what I have been doing which I thought was pretty cool.   I seem to have about 150 followers too but that includes about 10 from twitter where I publish things to but I don’t really understand twitter very well so really must take a look at that at some point.

WordPress has certainly lead me to reading a lot more too, with so many people to follow I’ve never been short of ways to pass the time and there are some fabulous writers out there which have given me inspiration.  I have also loved participating in a load of the challenges out there, and in July I did the Daily Prompt every single day which I find a real catalyst.  Each day I also try and respond to one of a number of challenges by other writers as they have given me great ideas too.  Ill be listing those out in a future post!

So what will be the next 100 be on I ask myself?  I’ve no idea though have a few ideas that I want to flesh out to try and do something more substantial whilst also continuing with the silly things like my limericks and haiku which I do so enjoy.

So, whether you’ve been part of my inspiration as a write or a reader, thanks so very much, I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey takes me next!

 

 

 

 

 

Sparrow and Snake #writephoto

Drawn to Sparrow’s not too distant chirps, snake slithered from his hole under the old oak, the summer sun warm on his scales.

Drawn to Sparrow’s not too distant chirps, snake slithered from his hole under the old oak, the summer sun warm on his scales.  “Sounds like trouble” he hissed to himself as he made his way through the meadow, the scent of wild flowers thick in the air.  “I do so enjoy the sound of distress.”

Through the long grass he wound his way alongside a trickling brook to a small thicket of trees where he came upon sparrow, sat on the ground at the foot of a broad, gnarled sycamore.   “Help me! Help Me!” she chirped.

“Oh sparrow” said snake, his little pink tongue flicking out as he spoke “whatever could be wrong that you would cause such a commotion?”

“It’s my egg” Sparrow said, most upset.  “It’s fallen out of the nest.”

Snake slithered a little closer “An egg you say?”  Snake did enjoy a good egg, they were quite delicious and sparrow eggs were a particular favourite of his.  “May I see your egg, sparrow?” He asked, moving closer still.

Sparrow did not trust snake one bit, and she most certainly did not like the sparkle his eyes as he approached her, his head swaying slowly from side to side.  “HELP” chirped sparrow loudly, spreading her wings over her egg “HELP, HELP!”

“Oh sparrow” said snake, his coils beginning to draw a circle around sparrow as she protected her egg, “you really should not fuss so, I only want a little peek.”

Sparrow reared up, wings flapping frantically. “No!” she chirped loudly, “Leave my egg alone you horrid snake.”

Snake eyed the small blue and brown speckled egg “Oh sparrow” he smiled hungrily “this is no time for name calling, I only want to take a little look.”

“You will eat it snake” sparrow replied “you’re a snake, and snakes eat eggs.  Every animal knows that.”

Snake inched closer and closer still.  “Dear sparrow, if that is my nature then surely you cannot blame me for wanting just a little look ” he replied.

Snake’s coils now completely encircled sparrow, and high up in the branches of the sycamore a chorus of frantic other chirps and cheeps joined those of sparrow.

“I ask only for a little look” Snake hissed and lunched forwards.  Sparrow Flapped frantically “Flee snake flee” she shouted “leave my egg be!”

Snake was now so close to sparrow’s egg she could almost taste it.  He lunged again with a hiss, tongue flicking out.  Sparrow flapped to avoid snake’s hungry mouth leaving the egg in full view of snake.

Snake was about to wrap his coils around the egg when there was a mighty rush of wind and a beating of wings, and in an instant large talons swept down and whisked him clean off the ground and into the air.  The birds in the trees chirped even more loudly.

Sparrow looked skywards as she settled back on the ground next to her egg to see the large silhouette of owl already disappearing into the distance with snake clutched firmly between her talons.

The birds in the sycamore chirped with delight.  “It’s Owl” they cried, “Owl has saved the day!”

A calm descended, sparrow remained with her egg and eventually owl returned, gliding silently through the green canopy of the wood and settling next to sparrow on the ground.

“Oh thank you owl!” said Sparrow gratefully, “whatever would I have done had you not rescued my egg.”

Owl blinked slowly, and quite gently picked up the egg.

“It is my pleasure” she said “but you really need to be more careful with your eggs.”

“I will owl, surely I will ” sparrow replied.

“Jolly good, jolly good” Owl continued, “now let’s get this egg back in your nest shall we, all this fuss does make one ever so tired and I would rather like to take a nap.”


Fancy something else?

Badger and Fox

Mouse and Sparrow

 Hippopotamus


Written in response to Sue Vincent’s write photo challenge

 

cracked1

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/3193846/posts/1569792792

 

Photo courtesy of winterseitler @ pixabay

 

Hedgehog and Mole – 99 Word Prompt – Music and Berries

You need to be careful when you go into the woods…

The challenge was to write something in only  99 words and to include the words berries and music.  It is 99 words on the button. 

The challenge can be seen here:

August 10: Flash Fiction Challenge


 

“Do you like berries Mole?” Hedgehog asked, emerging from the thicket to the sound of Sparrow’s morning music.

“Oh yes, especially plump and juicy ones!” Mole replied licking his lips.

“Then follow me” said Hedgehog, “I know a place where the juiciest berries grow!”

Hedgehog led Mole to a clearing where the bramble bushes strained under the weight of the dark fruits.

“I can smell them!” said mole excitedly,  “Oh Thank you hedgehog!”.

As Mole devoured berries hedgehog crept slowly away, passing Fox at edge of the clearing.

“He’s all yours” Hedgehog snarled “I expect payment in full tomorrow.”


 

 

More?  Try this or this

Photo courtesy of pixabay


I also decided to tag this in a daily prompt because I think it’s a great fit…

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/Delivery/