Overture

C.E. Ayr_22-04-2015 (bc)
C.E. Ayr – Creator of a new genre

C.E. Ayr is a pioneer of a new genre of short story writing.
He has his own name for it – Sound Bite Fiction.

This is an emerging style aimed at the fast-moving time-restricted 21st Century reader.
The descriptive text is pared to the bone, events move at lightning speed.
The intelligent reader visualises an entire scenario in glorious Technicolour.
The tales are short, sparse and to the point, many of them less than one page in length.
His writing takes the reader to the core of the action, the characters, or the moment of crisis.
Like the sculptor who said that the statue exists in the stone and all he has to do is remove what is not needed, this writer prunes everything until he gets to the heart of what is.

This collection of stories by C.E. Ayr, has  been written in his current home on the Cote d’Azur.
Many of the tales are based in and around the place he calls Medville.
Mysterious and enigmatic, served with a splash of humour, nothing here is ever quite what it seems.

Expect the unexpected.
There is always a twist in the tail.
Nearly.

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The Grass – Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge presented by my old friend Al Forbes.
The idea is to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by what you see in the picture (below).
This week Al provides us with a superb photo by Eric Wicklund, who bears no responsibility for the tortured convolutions of what passes as my creative process.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

© Eric Wicklund

Click here to hear the author read aloud this 90-second story:
The Grass

The Mediterranean soothes my soul.
I sit at the end of the jetty in evening sunshine.
Gazing across the port entrance to the little lighthouse perched on the sea wall opposite, I am at peace with the world.
Then my eye is caught by what looks like grass, in the middle of the channel.
I am confused, because it is not floating, just tips protruding above the surface.
I wonder if it might be a submerged log, which could be dangerous to small craft.
As I ponder this, I imagine that the grass is growing longer.
Then I see a leaf, or several, on a twig, rising higher out of the water.
Within minutes I know it is not my imagination, vegetation is sprouting out of the sea.
People on other jetties are pointing, shouting, running.
I turn to head for the shore, then stop in horror.
Between me and safety is a ten foot wide writhing mass of knee-deep thorny scrub.
The plants are taking over.

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Wedding Reception – Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge presented by my old friend Al Forbes.
The idea is to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by what you see in the picture (below).
Al’s photo this week makes me think of
armies on the march, so my thought process evolved fairly naturally.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

© Al Forbes

Click here to hear the story read aloud by the author:
Wedding Reception

Weddings are great fun.
Not the church rubbish, or the boring speeches and stuff.
No, the bit after that, when the dancing starts.
And the fighting.
Actually I have been told that this doesn’t happen everywhere, but in Scotland it is kind of a tradition.
Especially in small towns, where everybody knows everybody.
Grudges are held, so old scores get settled.
By this time there have been a few toasts.
That really helps.
Then somebody looks at somebody else’s girl, or a comment is made, and they’re off.
Like the Wild West, sometimes.
Or large parts of Europe when old Julius Caesar was having a tantrum.
So I’m down here in darkest Ayrshire.
And it’s a mixed marriage*, so a battle is guaranteed.
I look around for a bit, and I am glad I brought the Uzi.

*In Scotland this means that one of the combatants is Protestant, the other a Roman Catholic.

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The Last Goodbye – Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge presented by my old friend Al Forbes.
The idea is to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by what you see in the picture (below).
This week
Al has selected one of my photos as the prompt. It shows a statue in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street Bus Station, almost invariably my point of arrival in my home city when I visit Scotland.
My story below is a variation on one which appears in Medville Matters, my recently published book of flash fiction, still selling like tepid scones. I consider it cheating to do this, but could not shake the connection from my mind, sorry.

Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

© C. E. Ayr

Click here to hear the story read by the author:
The Last Goodbye

I know I have to do it, but I really do not want to go.
And I do not want to tell her I am leaving, this time for good.
I think of that first night, that first kiss under a lamppost.
Even then neither of us was young, and yet it has been the longest relationship in either of our lives.
Love at first sight?
Probably close enough, although we both laugh at the notion.
It has not always been smooth, but we survived everything, and stayed together.
And now I am going to hurt her.
I am going to say goodbye.
I see in her eyes that she already knows.
The tears are already forming.
I wonder if she will ask me to stay, make it even harder.
But she does not.
Instead she kisses me again, although this time there is no lamppost.
Wait for me there, my love, she says, pointing out across the Mediterranean.
The mermaids will take care of your soul until I join you.

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The Three Bears – Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by the wonderful Rochelle, the undisputed master of what I call Sound Bite Fiction.
She sets the weekly challenge, and the standard.
This week’s delightful photo by Karuna took me straight to the happy world of Fairy Tales.
Well, what do you want me to say?
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© Karuna

Click here to hear this 1-minute story read aloud by the writer:
The Three Bears

Once upon a time there were three bears
Life was good, and food was bountiful.
There was a Daddy Bear
The streams ran fast and clean.
We caught salmon.
There was a Mummy Bear
The forest was lush.
We ate fruit and berries.
There was a Baby Bear
The air was fresh.
We lazed in the sunshine.

Then the men came.
They dammed the streams.
Someone has eaten my porridge
They cut down the trees.
Someone has broken my chair
Their dogs ran through the forest, terrorising the animals.
Then they brought guns.
And they all lived happily ever after

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The Monster – Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge presented by my old friend Al Forbes.
The idea is to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by what you see in the picture (below).
This week our intrepid leader pr
ovides an entertaining image, which sadly took me to the darkest of dark places.
My apologies in advance, especially to UK readers.

Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

© Al Forbes

Click here to hear this 90-second story read by the author: The Monster

I stare out over the desolate moorland.
The newspaper slips from my fingers, falls to the ground.
The headline screams up at me.
The Monster is Dead
And there is the photograph of the face that has haunted me for five decades.
Beside it, as always, is the equally evil countenance of his blonde accomplice.
A tear runs down my face.
I am surprised, I thought I had cried myself dry long ago.
But now I realise they will only stop when I die.
It won’t be long now, I am over eighty years old.
My little boy would be sixty, almost a pensioner.
I would probably be a grandfather.
But no, he would probably be a grandfather!
But he didn’t even live into his teens.
Because of these creatures.
It has always been believed that he is buried out here, but now we will never know for sure.
That is the final, cruellest pain.
That even on his deathbed this vile being could not feel enough humanity to say where they had put my boy.
I stare out over the desolate moorland.
And weep.

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Market Day – Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge presented by my old friend Al Forbes.
The idea is to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by what you see in the picture (below).
This week
our intrepid leader presents a striking image by Sally-Ann Hodgekiss.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

© Sally-An Hodgekiss

Click here to hear the story read by the author:
Market Day

It is market day in the small town.
Women go about their shopping in bright afternoon sunshine.
Children play in the quiet streets.
At first the drone from the sky raises no more than mild curiosity.
Aircraft flying overhead is not a new sight in this increasingly troubled region.
Then there is an increasing awareness that something is different.
The planes are circling, coming back lower.
The first bombs fall.
People stare at the sky, transfixed by terror, as buildings are shattered around them.
Wave after wave of concentrated bombing reduces homes, shops and churches to rubble.
As mothers run searching for their children, and shocked men emerge from workplaces, they believe that they are in the midst of a nightmare.
But now it gets worse.
Incendiary bombs tumble from the heavens, and fires break out everywhere.
Then the strafing begins.
Low-flying aircraft use machine guns to butcher the panic-stricken hordes fleeing the mayhem.
The blitzkrieg is born.

Pablo Picasso screamed his outrage at this atrocity in one of the Twentieth Century’s iconic masterpieces.
Guernica.

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Gotcha – Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge presented by my old friend Al Forbes.
The idea is to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by what you see in the picture (below).
This week’s photo, again by the man himself, has only two elements, a phone and a carpet. I decided to be less obvious, and write about the carpet.
Pass the hoover, Al.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

© Al Forbes

Click here to hear the story read aloud by the author:
Gotcha!

My eyes are fixed on the small boat.
It is anchored in a secluded cove, lying in the shadow of the ancient citadel, just a couple of kilometres west of St Tropez.
The sun is shining on the Mediterranean Sea, and on my hopes.
I study the boat for some time, struggling to suppress the smile playing around my lips.
I need definite confirmation.
There is no one on deck, and I cannot tell who is inside, but I am optimistic.
But never over-confident.
I see movement.
And there he is.
Gotcha!
My grin is wide now.
I lay down the binoculars, reach for my phone.
One quick call.
One hundred thousand dollars.
Then I feel a distinctive pressure in the small of my back.

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