Sunday, 30 September 2012

#SatSunTails - Just One Human

This weekend's prompts set by Rebecca Clare Smith are...

The following words may be used as a sentence in your story OR provide a basis for it:-
“uncommonly incredulous”
And here is your picture prompt:

 Just One Human

All it would take was just one human from this lousy planet to care.

Creeda surveyed the latest consignment through the mirrored glass. Each wired to monitor every emotional flicker.

 Varti was prosecuting today; he liked to put on a performance.

“This is your planet,” he began, spinning the glistening sphere in mid-air. “For many years you have abused its natural resources, polluted the ground with your toxins. You have not maintained the equilibrium and for that crime you world is on its final warning. If no one can be found as caretaker, your planet will be destroyed.”

The sphere cracked showing the extent of the toxic damage. Its molten core spewed out into a lifeless puddle. The stench was said to be overpowering to humans and yet most remained unmoved.

Uncommonly the monitor bleeped, Creeda scanned the faces with incredulity. Just one betrayed emotion, a single tear of compassion.

“Stop the trial!” She yelled.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Devotion

Lillie McFerrin

Now this was far easier to write than a zombie story, although my twelve year old declined the challenge this week!

This is actually a follow-on from this weeks Visual Dare - Frustration - also known as - Jack and the Cow.

Thanks again to Lillie (and Angela) for challenging prompts that always stir the imagination.


It was Jackson’s father who taught him right from wrong, his mother made sure he always remembered to say “please” and “thank you”, while Mrs Whitaker, his infant teacher, educated him in the mysteries of reading and writing.

However it was his grandfather who imparted the most valuable lessons; teaching him to open every wardrobe door in anticipation of reaching Narnia, to follow rainbows and dreams with a passion and most importantly to always have a bag of “magic” beans in your pocket.

Years ago he figured out that “magic” beans were made of jelly, although they tasted sweet he disliked the way they stuck in his teeth; he carried them anyway.

His grandfather had always lived a life dusted with make-believe but the lines between reality and fantasy were blurring rapidly like a camera lens being twisted out of focus.

Physically he was still fit and strong, Jackson enjoyed strolling beside him, never feeling too old to listen to his stories and share a bag of “magic” beans.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Only two things are certain Death and Taxes!

At the beginning of the school summer holiday an unexpected letter arrived. It was from the tax office saying they had not received a form from me when Andrew had died. The figures on the form will be used to calculate if get a tax refund or if Andrew’s estate still owes taxes. While I hope for the former I expect the latter.

In those first dark months after Andrew died all I did was shut the door on the mounting paperwork, to be brutally honest I’m not that much better at sorting it out now. Is anyone?

Eventually I turned all of my tax affairs over to an accountant. He filled in the forms and to the best of my knowledge sent them off.

He came highly recommended, my friend’s dad has been dealing with him for years, I am sure he is an excellent accountant, he reminded me of one of my uncles. However he is unreachable, he doesn’t have an answer phone let alone an email address. That’s frustrating in this day and age especially for someone who considers herself quiet adept at social media and keeping in touch. Emails are my lifeline!

I filled in my last tax form all on my own. I am an intelligent woman, I keep reminding myself when these problems occur, a tax form is not rocket science and despite my fears the Inland Revenue are unlikely to turn up out of the blue to incarcerate me for tax avoidance.

Taking a deep breath (remembering that - I am an intelligent woman) I downloaded the relevant form but when I scrolled down I discovered there were eight pages altogether. Perhaps I needed a little assistance, so I rang the helpline.

Working through the menus of options I got through to a dedicated line used to dealing with the bereaved. The man at the other end had a comforting soft Welsh accent, he was able to allay my fears and talk me through which boxes I needed to fill in.

Maybe he is used to hysterical women who burst into tears down the phone. I am way past that stage. From my end I’m sure I spoke clearly and my voice didn’t even wobble.

But then the guilt arrives in waves. Should I still get upset? Am I heartless after all? Illogical thoughts crowd in oppressively.

However I was aware of a small tugging sensation, somewhere in the pit of my stomach, a pulling of emotions. The best way to describe it is the feeling you get when you are under a local anaesthetic and although there is no actual pain you can sense skin and sinews being pulled taut.

Something is working at the deepest level and I guess that’s the stage that my grief is at now. No longer are my emotions on the surface for all to see, they are more personal and introspective but still there if I listen to my gut. 

Taking another deep breath I worked through the rising emotional tidal wave that a year ago would have washed me away. 

This then gave me the confidence to complete the form, to the best of my ability, walk to the post office and send it off.  A huge weight off my mind and a big tick on today’s to do list.

Absurdly I hope a bill arrives in a month or so because if a cheque lands on my doormat I will freak out that I did it all wrong!

Let's try again... "Jack and the Cow" take 2!

Ok I lied - I didn't take enough care and attention with my last visual dare story, I rushed it to be the first story posted and it's been bothering me all week.

So Angela Goff I give back my "Creative Cow Award" and offer you instead a story of 150 words, far better than the original because it doesn't miss out some important bits!

Hope you agree this is an improvement....

Jack and the Cow

Jack still believed in fairytales even at the grand old age of eighty two.
Trouble was he couldn’t always remember how they worked out in the end…
He had just swapped a handful of beans from his pocket for a cow and now his biggest problem was how to get the blessed beast home!
On the back of the tram he spied an advert for milk, taking this as a sign he led the cow forward. 

Her front legs were up on the step but she was struggling with her hindquarters. 
A crowd had formed, chattering loudly, but no one came to help him.
 Suddenly a young man was by his side.
“Grandpa, I’ve just sold Daisy for these magic beans.”
Jack was so mesmerised by the coloured gems that he quickly forgot about the cow…
While his grandson tenderly led him away the onlookers watched, frustration melting into pity.

 And the lesson I've learned is don't rush a story and make it fit a certain amount of words, some tales are naturally longer and if you over edit you can lose the plot! 

150 words is still FLASH Fiction!

And if you want to find out more read this weeks Five Sentence Fiction entitled Devotion.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Visual Dare - Frustrated

I have deleted my original 100 word Visual Dare story and reposted a better one here.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Learning to Laugh Again

For some time now I have noticed that I am laughing more and more. Others are noticing it too. The dark clouds of loss and depression are abating. I’m certain it is not just a result of the anti-depressants or even a stabilising of my overactive thyroid, there is a much deeper joy that I have managed to tap into.

Being a Christian I call it the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings lots of fruits, as they are called in the Bible, and JOY is just one of them.

I am still a work in progress but I have reached a plateau of contentment and peace where the joy bubbles up freely.

It is an understatement to say that I have had a very tough couple of years; my unexpected journey has taken me through the deepest valleys of despair. I have pioneered this foreign land constantly tripping and falling but with the help of friends, family and God I have picked myself up and persevered.

On my travels I have carried a sprinkling of guilt at being able to start things afresh but then I’ve hit a barren patch of ground littered with the frustration of being stuck in a rut.  Irritated at not having my fair share and compensation for all that has happened.

All finally building to this point in time when I feel at peace, satisfied with what I can and have achieved. I am finding my own way through this emotional maze, picking up the tools I need to survive along the way.

I am learning to laugh again – I have the old Sarah back. The bubbly Sarah who’s full of fun and great company.

That's not to say I don't cry anymore, just the other evening tears sprung up from nowhere as a memory reached my heart. But when I look into the mirror now I can see that my smile has at long last reached my eyes not just my lips.

At my last counselling session we reviewed how I was doing and I was let loose with the crayons to draw my emotions.

I had to draw my journey...

In the centre of the paper I drew a black rectangle representing the dark room where I was when I started the counselling process. On each side I added lines sticking out like a floor plan of my dark prison and these were the doors that had been unlocked and opened.

All around the blackness in the centre I drew flowers in beautiful colours, this was the potential I was reaching out towards and the beauty I was beginning to see in the world again.

When I’d added enough flowers and leaves I decided to transform my black box into a dancing girl. The doors stuck out at appropriate angles and I drew a head with wavy orange hair.

Well blonde hair with grey bits wouldn’t have looked as colourful as I felt and I was certainly the girl dancing in the middle through the flower meadow.

I then tried to make her dress blue rather than black and if I had paints rather than crayons I would have obliterated all the darkness but maybe sometimes you need the shade to emphasise and appreciate the light.

At the beginning of the year I made some new year's resolutions, ten altogether, I have just checked up on them and number 10 is “LAUGH  LOTS!” I have always known it is an immensely important thing to do. It makes you feel better.

Whatever you are facing today look for something that will at least make you smile, chuckle or best of all laugh out loud. It might not make your problems disappear but it certainly help along the journey.

Perhaps this picture will do the shows the madness in my head!

Dancing in the Flowers - self portrait