Category Archives: Flash Fiction

The Big House

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PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Would often stand here as a kid, peering through the railings at the big house, wondering what it must be like inside. Used to catch a glimpse of the people who lived there, big  flashy car, kids at the posh school outside town. People said the bloke what owned the place was worth millions, made his money from property, or something like that. Apparently he lives there on his own now. Wife left him for someone else, is what they’re saying, took the kids with her. Wonder if I knocked on the door he’d let me have a look round?

MikeJackson©2017

The Moon, The Stars and The Sun

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

We stood in small groups, huddled close to one another, in the forlorn hope that this might help us, and we looked up at the sky. A loud voice echoed from behind the dark clouds that were blocking the sun’s warming rays.

“Oh my children!” it cried, “Why do you ignore me?”

We dropped to our knees, hands clasped together in prayer, eyes fixed on the ground.

“I took away your moon and stars in the hope it would bring you to your senses, but still you anger me. You leave me no choice. Tomorrow I take away your sun.”

MikeJackson©2017

A 100 word story for this week’s prompt from Friday Fictioneers.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

 

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The sign in the flower tent had her name on it. There it was as clear as day, ‘Ms M.Mary – Gold Award – Best In Show’ and underneath it one of the judges had scribbled, “Just like a row of pretty maids.”

She should have felt elated but she didn’t, on the contrary, she felt extremely nervous. She looked around to see if there was any way out of this nightmare but, just as she was making a dash for the exit, a voice stopped her in her tracks.

“Mary! Mary Mary. Congratulations. I didn’t realize what a talented horticulturist you were.”

Mary looked behind her. To her horror she saw Jane Dobson, Chairwoman of the Women’s Institute, local snob and village busybody, bearing down on her.

“I was just talking to some of the ladies on the committee,” said Jane, “I was saying, we must get young Mary Mary to come to our next meeting and tell us the secrets of her hollyhocks.”

Mary felt quite faint. This was her worst nightmare. How on earth could she talk about something that she knew nothing about? They weren’t her hollyhocks. She had so wanted to enter this year’s village flower show but everything she’d tried to grow had just withered and died.

She realized now that it had been a silly  idea to go out to the local B&Q last week and buy some beautiful looking hollyhocks to enter in the show. She never dreamt that they would win.

“You’re certainly a dark horse,” prattled Jane Dobson, “I thought you didn’t like gardening. Why only the other day I’m sure I overheard you telling the Vicar that you couldn’t grow anything. My but you are a contrary one Mary. Whenever I’ve been past your garden it just seems to be full of shells, I’ve never seen any flowers.”

“Well, yes, but no, you see ………” stammered Mary.

“That’s it!” interrupted Jane Dobson, “That’s what we shall call your talk – ‘Mary Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?’ – splendid, we look forward to hearing what you’ve got to say. Will a week on Wednesday be OK?”

MikeJackson©2017

A Real Lady

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PHOTO PROMPT © Al Forbes

 

The ignominy of it all! The stares she was getting from passers by, the derisory honking of horns, all so utterly embarrassing. Didn’t they realise she was a classic, a beautiful example of an age when cars were cars. Yet they had the audacity to tether her to this platform and tow her along behind, what nowadays was laughingly described as a modern automobile. Oh, how standards had dropped. If only she could shake off these shackles and drive off under her own stream. Then she would show these philistines what a real lady of the road was capable of.

MikeJackson©2017

A 100 word story for this week’s prompt from Friday Fictioneers.

The Last Man On Earth

Apparently I’m the last man on earth.

It would appear that some kind of virus has wiped out mankind – well mankind minus me, that is. There’d been dire warnings about it but nobody had taken a lot of notice, we’d heard it all before. Turns out this one was for real. It was frightening how quickly it happened. You could be walking down the street and literally watch people drop down dead in front of you.

That was two months ago. Since then I’ve travelled around much of Europe. The same scene wherever I go, lots of dead bodies and an eerie silence.

I’ve no idea why the virus left me alone, lucky I suppose, or unlucky, depends how you look at it. I used to believe in God but now, I’m not sure. I’ve got so many unanswered questions. I mean if there is a God then why this? Why has he spared me? What am I supposed to do? Even Adam had Eve, I’ve got nobody.

Keeping myself alive is easy, there’s no shortage of food and drink and I can live wherever I like. The problem is the loneliness. There are only so many conversations you can have with yourself. Every now and again I think I catch a glimpse of someone in the shadows but there’s never anyone there, just my imagination yearning for the impossible.

I’ve started popping into any churches I come across. I’m working on the theory that I should find God in one of them, surely. In desperation I’ve even started talking to him again. In the old days it was something I did privately. Now I do it out loud. Once I used to be reverential now I tell him what I really think and I don’t hold back on the bad language. I just wish he would talk back, get angry even.

Once or twice, when the isolation really gets to me, I’ve been tempted to end it all. At those darkest times I feel as if I’m losing my mind completely. Then I stop and realize that if I go, if I give up, then that’s it, the end of the human race. I can’t let that happen.

So I’ve got no choice really. I’ve started leaving notes in each of the churches that I visit just in case God drops by when I’m not there. I’m hoping that he’s going to give me a sign soon, let me in on his grand plan. There has to be a plan – doesn’t there? I can’t just be the last man on earth. Can I?

MikeJackson©2017

Life & Death

It was officially the last day of his life.

It had started much like any other day. A quick jog around the park, stopping briefly for his daily chat with that woman with the ugly dog. Back home he had allowed himself an extra few minutes in the shower, he knew it was going to be a hectic day. He’d arranged for Edith, the lady who cleaned for him, to come in especially early. He wanted everywhere to be looking at its best. The caterers were due to arrive late morning. He hoped he’d taken into account the varying dietary needs of his many guests.

Then there was that damn speech. He wasn’t looking forward to that bit of the proceedings at all. Public speaking had never been a strength of his. He’d been over the thing a hundred times but was still frightened he may have inadvertently missed someone off the list of people he needed to thank.

As soon as the speech was over he’d have a short time to mingle. A few last goodbyes to some of his closest friends, then it would be time to leave. The company he’d hired to carry out the task had come highly recommended and prided themselves on being discreet. At the appropriate time a car would be waiting in the drive and he would quietly slip away.

The party would continue and he would be driven to the local facility where his life would be terminated – at precisely 9.43pm. He had been assured that the process would be both quick and painless. Once he was officially declared dead the authorities would allow a new baby to be born.

As the party at his house drew to an end, somewhere else in the city, another party would be beginning, welcoming the new arrival.

MikeJackson©2017

Dreams Inc.

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Peter Jenkins caught sight of himself in a shop window as he staggered down the busy High Street, he looked a mess. His suit was crumpled and his shoes scuffed and dirty. He hadn’t shaved in days and his normally well groomed hair was lank and greasy. When he arrived at the place he went in and made his way to the large reception desk. He knew people in the chairs around him were glancing up from their magazines and staring at him, he didn’t care.

“Hello Mr. Jenkins, back again?” said the pretty young girl behind the desk, “You seem to be coming quite a regular. What can I get you tonight? Your usual?”

Peter looked at her. The name badge on her ample chest said Zoe, he tried not to stare. “Not tonight, thank you,” he said, “I need to talk to someone. It’s urgent. I’ve got a bit of a  problem.”

“Of course Mr. Jenkins,” said Zoe, gently pressing the bell just below the counter, “If you’d like to take a seat I’ll see who is free.”

Peter backed away from the counter and slumped into the nearest chair. The woman in the adjacent chair stared at him, then got up and moved to the other side of the room. Peter didn’t have the energy to take offence.

A few minutes later a young man walked in through a side door and called out his name. Peter got up and was led into a small consulting room.

“Good evening Mr. Jenkins, my name is Doctor Barratt, I’m one of the consultants here, what appears to be the problem?

“It’s the dreams, they’re stopping me from sleeping.”

“Oh dear Mr. Jenkins, that is unusual. We pride ourselves here at Dream Inc. on being able to supply our customers with just the right sort of dreams that will help them have a good night’s sleep. You have been following the instructions correctly, haven’t you?”

“It’s not the instructions, it’s the dreams. I think I’ve become addicted. I find myself plugging in the Dreams headset at all times of the day. It’s got that bad that I’ve lost my job and my wife has left me. I don’t even bother going to bed any more. I just sit in a chair, dreaming. I haven’t slept for weeks. What am I going to do?”

“Calm down Mr. Jenkins, calm down. We see this occasionally here at Dreams Inc. where someone has been overdosing on our material. You’ve done the right thing in telling us. Let me just check our records to see what exactly you have been purchasing. Ah yes, I think I can see the problem. Too many happy dreams Mr. Jenkins, that the problem, too many happy dreams.”

“I don’t understand. How can happy dreams have this sort of effect?”

“Happy dreams Mr. Jenkins, in moderation, are fine but you been having too many. It’s diminished your sense of reality. Your mind has got to the point where it can’t cope with real life any more and needs to be in a state of induced happiness.”

“So if I stop having these dreams, stop using the Dreams headset, everything will be OK?”

“If only it were that simple Mr. Jenkins. From what you have told me I’m not sure you would have the willpower to do that. No, I’m afraid the only solution is for you to be admitted to one of our dream units and have your mind realigned.”

“Realigned! What exactly does that entail?”

“Don’t be alarmed Mr. Jenkins, it sounds much worse than it actually is. We would simply start to wean you off your happiness high by replacing your present dreams with a few more unpleasant ones, the sort that reflect life as it really is. There will be times when you will feel that you can’t go on living but our specialist staff will be with you all the way.”

“I’ve no choice. I can’t go on like this. When can I start?”

“It looks like you’re in luck Mr. Jenkins. We’ve just had a cancellation and there is a spare bed in Wing 5, I can book you in straight away. Now what exactly is it that makes you feel unhappy, I mean really unhappy?”

MikeJackson©2017