Sunday Photo Fiction – ‘The car boot sale bargain’

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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

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Sunday Photo Fiction – ‘The Return’

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Heidi remembers this place from her childhood. She remembers the brisk walks her parents insisted they went on after church and the cheery, school-related talks her sullen teenager self was forced to endure as they bounded over fences and pushed their way through creaky kissing gates; She remembers the eggs they stole from the field near the farm. Left by wayward hens, according to her father, and so they were entitled. And the scrambled egg they’d make afterwards with the yolks as bright and yellow as the sun.

She remembers thinking how mind numbingly dull this place was. How the silence made her want to scream and scream until the ancient oak trees screamed back at her. She couldn’t wait to leave this place. Rushed off to uni as soon as she turned 18, fell into marriage before she was 30 and became an eminent lawyer by the time she was 40.

Now as Heidi strolls through the verdant Yorkshire countryside in her Hunter wellies and Barbour jacket, she breathes in the blissful peace, punctuated only by the chirp of a bird and bark of a distant dog, and feels sad that she hadn’t visited her dad more often.

He died alone, said the doctor. Was found slumped in a chair with Scottie by his side. Heidi cries when she thinks of this; but then she sees Scottie racing towards her, stick in mouth ready for her to throw it once more and she smiles.

This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction – ‘One for the road’

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         The journey was tedious. Six long hours on an endless motorway and Reg refused to stop. Not even for the toilet! He’d just done a course on mindfulness and stubbornly believed that the only way to commit to an activity was to focus on it completely without straying for a moment, even for something as essential as a loo break.

But then he saw the writing. It was hard not to really. ‘The Pies’ was bold and brazen and scrawled on the bridge overhead. Reg speeded up slightly when we went underneath and his face changed.

‘What time is it?’ he said.

‘1.30.’ I didn’t need to look at my watch.

‘Hmm,’ he replied and kept on driving, but when he saw the next ‘Services’ sign, he indicated left.

‘I thought we were’t taking a break,’ I said.

‘Just a short one.’ His face was deadpan. ‘I’m rather peckish, aren’t you?’

I nodded, quietly delighted.

I picked up a sandwich in Costa, then watched in amazement as Reg strode over to a pasty shop where he stuffed a steak and kidney pie into his mouth.

‘I’d forgotten how much I loved them,’ he said between mouthfuls. Then he ordered another.

‘One for the road,’ he said.

This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction – ‘Colour Therapy’

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‘Don’t think,’ said Ella. ‘Just choose. Follow your instincts.’

It was difficult. I’d always been a glass half full type of person yet the glasses which were half full contained liquids with colours that repelled me: a washed out, insipid sort of yellow; the kind of yellow your undies might turn should an errant grey sock creep into the load; a deep burgundy that smacked of cheap 70s suits and a washed out pink; the colour of flighty candy floss.

My favourite colour was cobalt blue and yet the glass with that shade of liquid was virtually empty. It’s such a shame I thought. That glass should be full.

‘You’re taking too long,’ said Ella. ‘I can see your mind working. Use your heart instead.’
I couldn’t decide so I closed my eyes, reached forward and grabbed the nearest glass to me.

‘Give it to me, dear.’ Ella’s voice was so kind and encouraging that I tentatively passed it over to her and opened my eyes. The glass I’d selected contained the yellow liquid.

‘Oh,’ I said, really disappointed.

‘It’s the sun glass,’ she said. ‘Good choice.’

And as soon as she said ‘sun,’ I saw something different in the yellow. I no longer saw washed out underwear but positivity, optimism and a glorious future, and when Ella started the reading, I knew that things were about to change for me.

This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction -‘The Town in the Wood’

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‘There used to be a town there, you know.’ Jim waggled his walking stick vaguely to the left, but didn’t stop.
‘You mean to say people actually lived there?’ It was hard to believe as the place was a mass of gorse, brambles and bushes, the only sound the plaintive call of a distant cuckoo.
‘Yep, that’s right. Take a look if you don’t believe me.’
‘When you say ‘town,’ what exactly do you mean?’ I had visions of a thriving little place with pizza restaurants and department stores, squirrelled away from civilisation in the middle of this wood.
‘I don’t know exactly but if you look hard enough you’ll find something. Not much left though.’
‘Do you mind?’
‘Sure, go ahead.’
So I ploughed my way through the entangled bracken, forging a path with my walking stick, and after a few minutes I reached a clearing, with nothing apart from a large box and an unhinged door. I poked around a bit and a black cat sprang out. It hissed at me and vanished, its tail swishing as it went.
‘Anything to see?’ shouted Jim.
‘Not much,’ I replied and began to retrace my steps, wondering how an entire community could have disappeared overnight like that.

This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction -‘Cocooned in a festive bubble’

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On Christmas Day the rain came. There was no warning. Cocooned in our festive bubble, we didn’t realise till the evening when we looked out to find ourselves marooned. The oven was hurriedly switched off and the turkey shoved in the larder for a more suitable time. Firemen brought sandbags and words of advice but we slept badly that night and awoke the next morning to see the garden waterlogged and water gushing through the pipes surrounding the house.

We fished out dust covered wellies from the loft and trudged through the deepening water to seek help. The roads nearby were covered with puddles with huge Range Rovers steaming through them splashing any poor beggar in sight. We’d never seen Yorkshire like this. The water continued to rise until it was almost level with the front door. We looked in horror, but there was little anyone could do but hope, and pray, if that you were that way inclined. And then, as if by magic, the water subsided and kept on subsiding until the paving stones were visible again. The danger had gone and our house felt safe once more. It was time to eat the turkey.

This post was written for Sunday Photo Fiction