Art Attack

“Enter.”

In her 23 years teaching art, Matilda doubted she had ever faced such an intimidating group. Principal Bee, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the District Counsellor, looked ready to announce a death sentence.

Pushing her shoulders back, she walked in and tabled the strange old painting.

“What’s this,” the councilman sniggered.

“It’s proof that art matters. It’s why you should not cut the school’s art budget.”

“This masterpiece is supposed to convince us?”

“No,” came the gentle but firm voice of Police Chief Brandon from the doorway.
“I am. Me, the artist who painted that. Anger therapy was what Miss Matilda used to call it. That is the reason why I uphold the law instead of breaking it.”

In response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday: Week 37 challenge.

The hunters

She looked gorgeous in black. With her cascade of obsidian hair in sharp contrast to her alabaster skin, those high cheek bones and sharp nose, she may have been the grieving widow, but she was still the sexiest woman in the room, and she knew it.

From behind the veil, her kohl lined eyes scanned the room, finally coming to rest upon the young man in the fourth row, taking in his muscles, clean shaven square jaw, the fine lines of his bespoke suit, and the subtle glint of his Rolex. He was probably at least ten years younger than her, but that only made the chase more exciting. She decided right then that she wanted him, and what she wanted she always got. One way or another.

*

She stared at the pictures before her. This was not the first time that he was cheating on her. He was young, rich and handsome, women threw themselves at him, but he always came back to her. Normally she didn’t care. But this bitch was obviously pregnant. This time she was scared.

*

She had nothing. He had been slowly and systematically transferring all their assets into his name and she hadn’t even noticed. In her crazy whirlwind life of parties and holidays, she hadn’t realised when the ground had disappeared from under her feet.

Loading her husband’s old pistol she could not help but scoff at the irony of the picture hanging above the mantle…

Time is like a ravenous lion – he devours everything.


In response to the Photo-Fiction #102 challenge

Tales from the great wild garden

In the great wild garden lived a frog named Tad.

He was a tiny little frog, so tiny that he was still called the ‘Tad’pole.
None of the other young frogs wanted to play with him, and poor Tad spent many a days all alone.

One day Tad decided to go out exploring.
Hippety-hop hippety-hop, off he went, jumping on his tiny legs…

Until suddenly he stumbled upon a grasshopper.

Now Tad knew that frogs ate grasshoppers, so in his most fearsome voice he croaked, “Who are you? Why have you come near the frog colony? Don’t you know that I can gobble you with a flick of my tongue.”

“I’m Rusty,” replied the terrified grasshopper. “I have no friends and my family is ashamed of me because I’m a dull brown and not a leafy green. Even if you eat me, no one will care.”

No friends! Tad knew that terrible feeling.

“I’m not going to eat you,” he replied, and from that day on, Tad the frog and Rusty the grasshopper became the best of friends.

“You shouldn’t be friends with a grasshopper. They are just meat. You should eat him,” admonished the other frogs.
But Tad would not listen.

***

One day Rusty was awakened by the clamouring of many wings. “Fly away, fly away, the great wild garden is on fire.”
Off Rusty catapulted – towards the frog colony. He was going to save his friend.
Despite the mayhem, Tad soon found Rusty. “Quick, hop on my back,” he instructed. With another big catapult, Rusty flew them to safety.

The fire raged on until all the grass was burnt. Most of the frogs died.
“I wouldn’t be alive if it were not for you,” exclaimed Tad.
“I wouldn’t be alive if it were not for you,” exclaimed Rusty.
“Hooray for friendship,” cheered everyone else.


Written in response to Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #101 challenge

Walk into the sunset

It wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last.
For some inexplicable reason her kind had the habit of straying into his lands and then acting surprised to see him. Normally he would have let out a roar designed exclusively to frighten, but there was something about her that stopped him.

What a strange species! Her people had stripped the green lands almost bare, and yet this female was so thin and malnourished that she had lost all her body fur. All that remained were those bleached limp strands that hung from her head. The bones in her cheeks and slender neck stood out and her skin was almost translucent. Pale eyes, shaped like almonds, stared at him in a daze. With the next waft of breeze, she swayed, and almost swooned into his arms.

Gods! A female needed to be strong, tough, to be able to fight and defend. Not meek and helpless like this one.
Yet her vulnerability gave her a beauty he could not ignore.

His mind warned him that it was imperative to maintain the façade that ensured the delicate inter-species balance. The council would surely take him to task if he broke the rules, possibly even excommunicate him. But she looked so sad. It would not be the first time that a male went against his better judgement for love. And yes, as scandalous as this were, it was love. Perhaps not of a sexual kind, for there could be no mating with one as fragile as this, but it was still love.

“Are you lost, my lady?” he asked her in the tongue of her people.

Flabbergast, she shook her head. “Am I so exhausted that I am hallucinating?”

“Ah, but is it not a wondrous hallucination.”

“Perhaps!
Will you take me home? The sun shall set soon, and I fear the dark night. My cabin stands in the meadow across the stream.”

“Wont you stay awhile?”

“Not today. But I can return when the sun rises in the morrow.”

So they held hands in the sunset and walked towards the meadow.

*

The huntsman in the cabin adjusted his focus. He had always known the bait would work.

In response to Michelle’s Photo-Fiction 100 challenge

Scattered

Something was wrong.

He knew it before he even opened his eyes. His head was in a dense fog, his arms and legs were lead, and alarm bells buzzed in his every synapse. With a gasp of dread he shot up and the entire world tilted on its axis. Clenching his fists he waited till the walls stopped swaying.

What the hell? His room was thrashed. Fractured furniture, torn clothes, and smashed glass lay scattered all around like the aftermath of a hurricane, while he sat there adrift, confused. The fire on his skin made him look towards himself. Was that blood?

The maelstrom in his head got louder the moment he tried to move. Fear, like a pinball, bounced against his heart, his head, his throat, and finally settled in his gut like dead weight. Did he get into a brawl in his own bedroom? That’s ridiculous, but then again, what other explanation could there be for this devastation.

Blurred images seeped through the safety valves of his mind assaulting him with memories of plump breasts and creamy white thighs, the synchronised undulation of bodies, the satin heat of skin on skin, the unbearable need, the pain…No.
The buzzing in his head got even more unbearable. He squeezed his eyes closed, willing the memories away. No, he cannot remember, would not remember.

Dragging himself to the shower he stood under a cold spray. He dared not be late for practice. Coach would go ballistic. Shit, his parents were coming in tomorrow to watch him play. The room better be cleaned before that.

A banging on the door interrupted his thoughts. Wrapping himself in a towel he answered. His parents stood there, agitated, confused, concerned. “Weren’t you supposed to pick us up?”

Fuck! It was already tomorrow.

Written in response to Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #95 prompt.

The scene is written in the style required by Neil’s Scrivener’s Forge Exercise No 7 where we are required to go into the plot late but come out early.

Awkward encounters

There is no mistaking those moans and grunts. Is this what The White Horse had come to? A place steeped in history that was once a landmark of the community! No wonder the previous management had gone bankrupt.

Well things were going to change now.

“OPEN UP,” I roared, pounding upon the locked door.

Terry peeped in hearing the commotion. “What’s going on boss?”

“Bloody shaggers!” I inform him. “GET OUT or I’m calling the cops,” I continue pounding.

The door was hastily opened by a red nosed lad and an obviously inebriated woman.

“It’s not what you think. The lady was feeling a bit under the weather and I was helping her out.”

“In the gentlemen’s toilet? I can imagine what you were helping her out with.”

“You can’t talk to us like that. We are paying customers,” the woman slurred.

“You and your money…OUT… NOW…”

“How dare you,” she balked, continuing her shameless protests.

It was Terry’s iron grip that led the belligerent couple out the door, and finally out of the establishment.

I was still simmering as I shut the door, only to turn around to face a well dressed portly gentleman.
“Excuse me,” he asked, “why did you shut the door on my wife?”

 


In response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of 9th July based on photo prompt by A Mixed Bag 2014

 

The running boy

The car slows to a an almost halt.

“Who lives here?” she asks me, staring at the strange derelict structure that appears to rise from the shrubbery and dissolve into the trees. “Do you know that old man?”

I jerk around to find a sickly face looking out from the broken window.

“No.”

There had been a man, tall, strong, who lived on this land, with his young wife and son. During the day he would tend to his fields and cattle, while she tended to the house and the boy. It was when the sun sank that the devil came calling.
He drank, and swore. He beat and pillaged the woman. The little boy knew that he must hide in the closet until the devil went away and his mama came for him. She had told him so.
One day the devil was much too loud and far too mean. The boy hid in mamas skirts and waited. He waited but mama never came.
So he sneaked out to look for her.
There she was, lying on the wet red floor, with a knife sticking out, while father snored upon the bed. The boy knew what he must do. The devil had to be exorcised like in the movie. Pulling out the knife he went and struck the devil. The man woke up with a great big roar. But boy jumped off and ran and ran and ran.

I don’t know where these strange memory flashes come from.
I do not know the boy. I do not know this man.

She slips her hand over mine as I start the car up. “I really don’t know why I came here,” I mumble as I drive away.

Beside my car I see the little boy still running.

 


In response to Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #94

My man and I

I’m sitting here in my car watching my man.

I love him, and he loves me. He’s shy, and says we can’t walks together or hold hands. That’s OK. We always hold hands in my dreams. He’s my man and I will always take care of him. Like the lunches I pack for him everyday, or the little surprises I leave by his door, and the sweet nothings I whisper into his phone.

He says I shouldn’t, but I know he loves it.

Yesterday some lawyer sent me a restraining order.

He didn’t do it. It’s his wife. But I know he doesn’t love her. Look, he’s not even holding hands.

In response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday challenge of Week 26.
My apologies to all the nice people in her photo for my creepy stalker story. I swear it’s just fiction 😉

The Door

The blackness was creeping in slowly but surely, obscuring colours, obliterating life, engulfing my thoughts, weighing me down like death. I gasp for breath, running around in circles, stuck in a vortex of nothingness. I am as alone as I would be in the bleakness of space and cold. How much darkness can I take without any hope of light?

It is then that I see it, the door that leads to nothing, that leads to something, the only possibility of escape, however faint. I run towards it, but no matter how much I run, it does not get any closer. Its a race against the darkness, a race against hopelessness, a race against desolation, because somehow I know that if I don’t reach it now, I may never.

Then I hear the caw, I see the crow, seated atop the door, at the precipice of something. She’s staring at me with lazer sharp intelligence. “Help me!” I implore.

“What do you need?”

“To reach the door.”

“Why?”

“To get out.”

“Why?”

“So I can breathe.”

“Are you not breathing now?”

“I’m panting.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m running.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m scared.”

“Why?”

“I’m scared of the dark unknown.”

“Then stop and know.”

Something in her tone gives me the strength to stop.

So I stop, sit down, open my eyes, open my mind. I look. I feel.

The leaves are a soft cushion below me, the winds have calmed down into a gentle caress. Around me graceful shadows wave like ballerinas stretching, dressed in gowns of black, and charcoal, and slate, and pewter, and greys. I am suddenly awake to the beauty hidden in their subtle differences, in their textures.

I do not even feel the heaviness lift, or the sun rise, or the door open.

Suddenly I’m not afraid.

 


In response to Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #93 challenge.

Life and Living

That all my worldly possessions fit into the trunk of a car should mean something. But it doesn’t.

Not much means anything any more.

The tears of the sky fall upon my wind-shield and the wipers brush them away with nonchalance, a nonchalance that has now settled deep within my mind.

For forty years I worked as an accountant, bent over a desk in a 4 by 4 cubicle, returning to a house ransacked by two hyper active kids, who I love most dearly. What got me through was the mantra – ‘when they are off to college, I’ll be off to live my life.

The elder one graduated last year, the younger one graduates next year.

So here I am. I’ve settled my affairs, cashed in my chips, and am off to live my life, or at least what is left of it. With stage three carcinoma, the doctors really couldn’t say.


In response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge of 23rd June prompted by a photo by Ted Strutz