Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Paintwater

My mother’s eyes looked as though they were full of black smoke. They looked like this a couple of times a year. Ordinarily they just looked muddy, like the paint water I would always leave too long before refilling when I was a child painting at the kitchen table, for whole days.

She would moan at me then for waiting until the water was a foggy brown smudge before heaving herself up from the sofa, grabbing the glass, and emptying it down the plug hole where it would create a swirling kaleidoscope pattern on the cream plastic sink. She’d then run the cold tap while she looked ahead out of the window, nearly always filling the glass until it overflowed with clean clear water.

Perhaps it bothered her so much because it’s what she did too. Perhaps she waited too long herself before she grew tired of the smudge in her eyes and that’s why she’d empty herself of food and open herself up fully to all the narcotics she could stomach until her eyes were a solid black soot, thick and heavy like the tangled mass of hair that used to hang lank down her back like splodges of black ink on white paper. Her pupils were spreading in her eyes and I wanted to reach out to her with a tissue, pinch the edge into a point and dab it into those eyes to blot away the darkness.

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Unashamedly bragging…

…about the fact that the inimitable blogger behind the ‘Surviving in Italy‘ scenes has allowed me to place words that came out of my head, onto her little patch of cyberspace.

Grazie mille, and I hope you all like it. Click here for my flash fiction memoir called Spoonful of Sugar. Below is a little sample.

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Short Story – The Aisle

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Eyelash

No matter how many times she tried she couldn’t dislodge the eyelash from the sheet of paper. Every time she brushed her hand over it the eyelash got more and more embedded into the snow white sheet.

The eyelash was thick and black. Not dark brown or just dark because of being against the white, but black. It was like a jet black ink stain, a fresh tattoo on flawless skin.

Her hands grew clammy with sweat, and beige fingerprints started to form on the paper where she tried to lift the eyelash up by getting it to adhere to her skin.

She thought about getting a new sheet of paper from the pack but there would be no way to explain why she needed another sheet. She took pride in only ever needing one sheet to submit her designs, and asking for another would involve having either to say that she had made a mistake or that she had been careless with the expensive paper and damaged it.

So she incorporated the mistake into her design, picking out a long thick black eyelash for the other side.

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You were meant to be watching him

by Lucy Rose Williams

You were meant to be watching him’ she said quietly as she passed me, carrying the kettle to the sink.

I put my black boot on the rusting metal lever of the white plastic kitchen bin and held a plate over its whale-like mouth.

‘I can’t bear to throw this away’ I said to her on her return journey, staring at the last piece of bread and butter I would ever prepare for his supper.

‘What else are you supposed to do with it? ’ She replied, marking the end of the conversation with a forceful flicking on of the switch.

The cheap thin white bread, once perfectly flat, was curled up at the sides, and the thick margarine, already artificially yellow from the outset, was almost orange in parts by now, with an extra film of jelly-like grease starting to form on the surface. It glistened and glowed under the stark tubular light in the kitchen, and seemed to be the only colour I saw on that monochrome day. The dated kitchen was lined with stark white cupboards, with different shades of grey trim on the handles, and smatterings of grey flecks in the formika worktops. Weary mourners leant their grey and black bodies against the pale cupboards, their duty coming to an end.

I wanted to keep that last supper forever, that bread that I used to be embarrassed to buy in the shops, the spread that I warned him about every evening at 9.

I wanted to keep it in a plastic box to look at every day. I wanted to use it as my punishment. I would make myself stare at it every day as a reminder of what I hadn’t done.

When they’d come to take his body out on the stretcher I had snuck into the kitchen to make it. I’d covered it in clingfilm and put it in the cupboard. It was the only job I had been asked to do. I had to do it. No matter how late I was.

‘It stinks,’ she said as she snatched it from me, clingfilm, plate and all, and dropped into the bin. She elbowed me away so that my foot left the lever and the lid snapped shut.

I felt for the spare key in my pocket.

I would come back and get it tomorrow evening at 9.

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‘Fireplace’ A 50 Word Story

Her ginger tom sleeps, plump and foetal, by the fire. His lion’s mane glows red against the backdrop of flames, as does the blood, crystallised on his chin in glistening crimson droplets.

He purrs, the fire roars.

The vet phones to confirm the time, and suggests she brings a friend.

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