Rosanna’s feeder hung stationary against a marshy grey sky but no birds came. The neighbouring garden; however, separated by a red cedar fence attracted all manner of birds. Swooping from great heights to land on a bird table in the centre, blackbirds, robins and even the odd green parrot would jostle for position as they pecked, squawked and nibbled their way through countless supplies of bird feed.
Rosanna watched the scene with sadness, wondering why the birds remained absent from her side. It seemed so unfair. Her neighbours were a couple with three lively kids and a dog while she was old and alone. She’d imagined the birds would be company of sorts, but perhaps it was her loneliness that put them off somehow. Nevertheless, every week she would empty and refill the feeder with seeds, in the hope that the birds might eventually have a change of heart.
One day, Rosanna heard a little whimper coming from the back of the garden so she ambled down to have a look. There, snuggled together on an old sweatshirt of her husband’s was a tabby cat and five black kittens, each mottled with white. When they saw Rosanna, they lifted their little heads and mewed in harmony. Rosanna laughed and gathered them up in her apron. And from that day she never felt lonely again.
This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction
He was an avid reader so they showed him their library. He should be safe in there, they said. But the shelf of books was anathema to Oliver; a haphazard mess of colour, size and genre.
His eyes ran along the titles on the spines. ‘Bird Photography,’ The Forge of God,’ ‘Cydonna…’
‘Not even in alphabetical order,’ he mumbled under his breath and his fingers twitched as he considered how to rearrange the books. As he did so, pinpricks of sweat began to appear on his forehead and his heart rate increased. He relaxed a little when he noticed that a novel by a man called Heinlein had been plonked next to a James Herbert but sighed loudly upon the realisation that a bunch of photography books were on the same shelf.
‘Different genre, different shelf,’ he muttered and began to chant it like a mantra as he emptied the shelves and placed the books in piles on the floor. He was soon so engrossed in the activity that he didn’t see his sister come in.
‘What on earth are you doing, Oliver?’
He glared at her. ‘Just arranging the books.’
She nodded and smiled then quietly closed the door.
‘The OCD,’ she whispered to her husband. ‘It’s worse than we thought.’
This post was for Sunday Photo Fiction
Happy to come third in Sometimes Stellar Storyteller Six Word Story Challenge this week after a long layoff!
After writing quite prolifically (for me anyway!) for the first six months of the year, I suddenly got stupidly busy with work and a cycling challenge, which has since developed into a wonderful hobby, and as a consequence I virtually neglected my writing. I’m terribly prone to procrastination so I need a certain amount of self-discipline and routine in order to get anywhere. It’s damn hard and even once I’ve established a routine, I don’t always find it easy to stick to it. I’m hoping that the dark, cold evenings will be conducive to writing – a period of introversion and solitude is long overdue I think.
Found at the bottom of some stairs (apparently)
There’s nothing more terrifying than waking up in a silent ward without any recollection of how you got there. It’s a natural instinct to stumble free of the starched sheets and stagger off down the corridors, trying every door. That’s what I did anyway
‘At the bottom of some stairs,’ said the doctor when I asked where I was found. ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself, love. We all make mistakes.’
But what was mine? Two pathetic glasses of wine?
Sketchy memories were one thing but total memory loss was another. Twenty years on and I’ve still no idea what happened.
Written for Friday Fictioneers
Happy to win Sometimes Stellar Storyteller Six Word Story Challenge this week 🙂 The prompt word was Tease and my story was ‘Maybe I will; maybe I won’t.’
Take part next week – it’s fun!
Sometimes Stellar Storyteller Six Word Story Challenge
Rob was obsessed with car-boot sales and every week he scoured the paper for new ones. There were so many now, popping up all over the place like pesticide-resistant weeds. They started early too, 6am in general. We gradually became accustomed to rising at 5 for a quick bacon sarnie and mouthful of coffee, then stumbling bleary-eyed out of the house to join the long line of cars snaking its way towards the muddy fields hosting the events. Each time we’d take a bunch of old tat, most of which we’d return with, along with a bootful of new garbage, which Rob insisted would make us wealthy. ‘One man’s rubbish is another man’s riches,’ he’d say.
One particular Saturday he picked up a painted skull mask for £2.00.
‘How creepy,’ I said when I saw it.
‘It’s unique, Mabel. Quite a find. Look at the markings.’
But I couldn’t agree and the eerie thing even started to affect my sleep. I’d lie there for hours staring up at the ceiling, imagining it lurking in the next room. Of course we couldn’t manage to sell it and the E-bay auction dates came and went without a sniff of interest.
Then one day at 3 am, I heard a scuffle downstairs then footsteps.
‘Rob, Rob,’ I whispered. ‘Someone’s trying to get in.’
I felt nauseous as I heard voices that seemed to be getting nearer.
‘Ssh,’ said Rob and tiptoed next-door.
The next thing I heard was a blood-curdling scream as the would-be burglars made a hasty exit.
Five seconds later Rob came back into the bedroom wearing the skull mask.
‘I always knew it would come in handy,’ he said with a wry smile.
This post was for Sunday Photo Fiction
The first one was a surprise. The second too. The third produced a snigger. The fourth a chortle. The tenth, a flinging down of the spade.
‘Whatever’s the matter, Henry?’ said Beatrice as she rushed into the garden.
‘It’s these bones. They’re flipping everywhere.’
Beatrice looked at the ever-increasing pile. ‘I see what you mean.’
‘Any idea what they might be?’
She picked one up and rubbed the smooth surface with her fingers as though it were a genie’s lamp. ‘Ostriches.’
‘And how did ostriches end up buried in a Scottish garden?’
‘I’m sure there’s a logical explanation, dear.’
Henry remembered the odd comment made by the estate agent when they purchased the house.
‘You won’t be able to plant anything there, sir.’
Poppy-cock, thought Henry, but he suddenly realised that the previous owner must have owned an ostrich sanctuary and buried each dead bird in the garden.
There was no choice. He’d just have to keep digging until he’d got rid of the whole damn lot!
And so he continued while Beatrice went to stay in a hotel ‘until he came to his senses.’
He never did and six months later was admitted to a mental asylum, where he was often heard counting. 1,567, 1,568, 1569…
Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Week #24– 2016