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 Prison – 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.
I found today’s gleaming photo by Amy Reese somewhat foreboding.
So my mind went, not unusually, to a strange dark place.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© Amy Reese

© Amy Reese

Click here to hear me read my story:

The Prison

Urgent, come quickly.
I arrive within the hour.
It is a frightening place, remote and intimidating.
The chief guard hustles me to the governor’s office.
I glimpse long, empty corridors, shuttered cells on each side.
This is the most secure and the most brutal prison in the country.
It houses only the most dangerous inmates, men who kill without compunction.
We have an escapee, I am told.
But why call a private investigator, I ask, why not the official agencies.
No one can ever know, says the governor.
Names don’t matter here, only the numbers.
Welcome to your new home.

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Future Perfect – 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 his picture (below).
Today I thought, when I first saw Al’s rather belated photo, two very different things.
One, Al is a numpty.
But he is a friend, and a good guy.
Two, I know nothing about horticulture.
Well, I am a Scot, so anything with ‘culture’ is a different world.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and see what others have written.

Copyright Al Forbes

Copyright Al Forbes

Click here to hear me read the story:

Future Perfect

Everything is coming up roses.
I can see the future.
I am rich beyond belief.
It is too easy.
I can see how the stock market will move.
I can foresee the results of sporting events.
I cannot fail to make money.
Everything I was told was the truth.
He said he would let me see the future.
But for a price.
He promised my health would not be affected, nor any of my senses.
I would remain as active as before, still play rugby and my guitar.
He would not tell me the price in advance.
He said it was something I would not miss.
So do I?
It is hard to say.
You see, I can see the future, but not the past.
He took my memory.
I do not know who I am.

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Ma Belle Voisine

shining light

shining light

I wrote this piece almost a year ago.
This seems like the right time to publish it.
Click here to hear me read it:

Ma Belle Voisine

Every now and again we meet someone special.
My neighbour is just such a person.
Someone who makes life, and the world, just better.
She is older than I am, at least in her late seventies, maybe more.
She has a slightly over-enthusiastic spaniel, and she keeps birds on her balcony.
I can hear them singing as I write.
As is often the case, it is hard to say exactly what makes her so special.
She always has a smile, always greets me as though she is pleased to see me.
We break the polite rules of French social life together.
The norm is to exchange kisses only once per day, on the first meeting.
We do it each time we meet, and we actually make lip to cheek contact each time.
I call her ‘Ma Belle Voisine’, my beautiful neighbour.
She tells me I am adorable, the same spelling and meaning as in English, but with her northern French accent it says so much more.
She speaks no English.
When I gave her a signed copy of my book, she smiled at me, told me she couldn’t read it.
That doesn’t matter, I said, you can look at the pictures. It is a gift because I love you.
Her eyes shone.
I met her in the street yesterday.
She told me I looked tired.
I said I had been unwell, confined to barracks for the past few days.
Why didn’t you tell me, she asked, I could have helped you.
The look she gave me clearly indicated that this was no empty offer.
I thanked her and left quickly.
With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.
Because she recently told me, reluctant to share, that her specialist recommended chemotherapy.
She has pancreatic cancer.
When I asked her if I could do anything, she just smiled.
C’est pas grande chose, she said, it is no big deal.
Every now and again we meet someone special.

Monique Primault passed away yesterday, September 21, 2016.

Tu me manques, ma belle voisine.

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The Window – 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.
Today’s illuminating photo by © Roger Bultot certainly lit up my morning.
And a little light bulb of an idea popped up.
To be sadly extinguished, almost immediately.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© Roger Bultot

© Roger Bultot

Click here to hear me read this 52-second story:

The Window

I love living here.
I decide to pay her a surprise visit, just to say hello.
It is only a 30-minute walk to her house, and the views of the Med, shimmering in the moonlight, are magical.
I let myself in the side gate, and smile.
She is listening to the same music when she is alone as when we are together.
Then I see the car in the driveway.
I recognise it.
It is not possible, is it?
I look through the uncurtained window and know the truth.
I don’t love living here that much.
Time to move on.

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The Path – 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 his picture (below).
I thought, when I first saw Al’s rather curious photo, of writing something to explain the peculiarities of the wodjacallit thingummyjig whojikapiv which takes centre stage.
But then I decided to let folk do their own research.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and see what others have written.

Copyright Al Forbes

Copyright Al Forbes

Click here to hear me read my story:
The Path

Halfway up the steps I stop.
And sigh.
I can remember when we use to bound up them two at a time.
Of course we were young then, and in love.
Now, thirty years later, I love you even more.
My eyes mist slightly as I remember walking hand in hand along the top of the cliff.
We always followed the little path that led us to the secluded glade, where we lay for hours in each other’s arms.
We haven’t done that since our eldest was born.
Nowadays we don’t seem to spend much time alone, just the two of us.
I guess that Bill has been with us a lot since he lost his wife last year.
I was surprised when he said he couldn’t meet me today.
We always get together on Wednesday, when you go to the market.
I sigh again.
I can read the footprints in the sodden leaves as if they were printed in large letters.
I recognise Bill’s hiking boots.
And your much daintier pumps.
My heart is heavy.
And so is the gun in my pocket.

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Chocolate – 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.
Today’s curious photo by Shaktiki Sharma left my head spinning.
This is no way a criticism of the picture, more a joke about the state of my head.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© Shaktiki Sharma

© Shaktiki Sharma

There is no reading this week, because I rather think I lack the ability to make credible the voice in the story.

Chocolate

Yes, Daddy, I am sure that is the man.
And I recognise his car, that pretty blue colour.
He gave me chocolate, said he would take me to see his puppy.
He was very nice, honestly.
Why are you so cross, Daddy?
Okay, I will wait here quietly, I won’t move.
Please don’t be long.
*
Oh, there is that nice man again.
He seems to have had a terrible accident.
What a shame.
I wonder how long he will be in that wheelchair.
I probably shouldn’t have told Daddy that story.
It is so easy to make things up.

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Dressed to Kill – 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 his picture (below).
Is it just me, or is Al’s photo of toys a bit on the creepy side?
Whatever, it took me down a strange side street.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and see what others have written.

Copyright Al Forbes

Copyright Al Forbes

Click here to hear me read the story:
Dressed to Kill

I breathe deeply, prepare myself mentally.
Then I dress.
I put on the specially designed undergarments.
I put on the suit.
I pull on thermal socks.
I shove my feet into the heavy, inflexible boots.
I slip on the head covering, followed by the helmet.
I fasten it slowly, laboriously, into place.
My hands wriggle into the inner gloves, for warmth.
And the gauntlets, for protection.
I move like an ungainly, awkward robot, staring out through my little window.
I am ready.
Ready for anything the hostile environment can throw at me.
I breathe deeply, one more time.
Then it happens.
My worst nightmare.
Not decompression.
Not an attack from an external source.
Not even a lack of oxygen.
Much worse.
My nose starts to itch.

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