Of Mice and Men – 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 photo by my old friend Al Forbes, a multi-talented blogger and a great guy, provides the opportunity to celebrate this momentous day in the Scottish calendar.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© Al Forbes

© Al Forbes

Click here to hear me read the story, and more!

Of Mice and Men

‘Tis pity, thinks Rab, that the petrol engine is not yet invented.
Turning the rich Ayrshire soil with a horse-drawn plough is heavy work, even for a strong young man.
And Rab’s mind has a tendency to wander, as a braw lad’s does.
He does have an eye for the lassies!
The sound of tiny consternation before him brings him back to reality.
He is dismayed to see a family of mice fleeing from the destruction that his plough has wrought.
Seeing one of them hiding behind a daud of earth, he stoops and speaks.
Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie…

Robert Burns was born on 25th January 1759

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Love in the Afternoon – 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).
This week’s photo takes me back to another time, a fictional time, of course, when I lived a very different life from today.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

Copyright A Mixed Bag

Copyright A Mixed Bag

Click here to hear me read this 100-second story:
Love in the Afternoon

I stare out over the grey, god-forsaken town.
I am on the fourteenth floor of a Holiday Inn, almost anywhere.
It is Sunday afternoon, and it is dreich.
Does it always rain here, I wonder, or has this project made me cynical?
It has dragged on, the rules, the goals, the ‘deliverables’, constantly altered by my far away paymasters.
Even the local staff keeps changing, so time is lost retraining.
It is a dismal day, in a dismal place, when I should be at home with my family.
But this weekend I had to stay, to be hands-on at critical points during the testing phase.
I would be utterly depressed, if not for one thing.
Behind me, I hear her stir in the bed.
She is not a young woman, but still attractive.
I told her I was lonely, she told me she gets bored.
This afternoon was, I suppose, inevitable.
I am not sure how she managed to escape her responsibilities, but I am grateful.
This is not something that has ever happened to me before.
She starts to giggle.
I turn, smiling.
Then we both start to laugh.
What would our kids think, my wife asks.

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Trapped – 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 photo is by the delectable Dale, queen of the Eluvise Typo Pepole!
A delightful lady and a dear friend.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© Dale Rogerson

© Dale Rogerson

Click here to hear me read this 45-second story:
Trapped

We are not moving quickly enough.
We have to get out of this tunnel before they get men to the escape hatch.
I can hear footsteps pounding along behind us, know the first pursuer is close.
They have better weapons than we do, but if I surprise the first one, then I can use his against those who follow.
I step into a small recess, watch anxiously.
When I see him I breathe a sigh of relief.
Colour is not my strong point, but his shirt is clearly red.
Everyone knows he is only there so no-one important gets killed.

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Magic Competition – 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).
This week’s somewhat sinister looking object makes me think somewhat sinister thoughts.
So I write a somewhat sinister story.
Or do I?
Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

Copyright Al Forbes

Copyright Al Forbes

Click here to hear me read the story aloud:
Magic Competition


I am a magician.
Actually, to be more honest, I am a sorcerer.
So I can do magic, just much, much more effectively than any of these showmen and impostors.
I hear about the Great Magic Competition, sponsored by the royal court.
I decide to win it.
Not, I have to say, for the honour and glory.
I have no need of that.
And not for the Silver Chalice.
No, that reminds me too much of my mother-in-law.
But I will win it for the real prize, one thousand gold pieces.
The judge is to be the Royal Buffoon himself, our crown prince.
Who, I have to tell you, knows nothing about the arts of illusion and deception.
He would not recognise a Magic Dragon if it bit him on the bum.
I watch the other competitors saw women in half, make pretty assistants disappear, levitate.
All the usual tomfoolery.
I step forward.
Will I just take the prize now, I ask, avoid any unpleasantness?
They all start to laugh.
I wave my wand.
They stop abruptly.
I stroll across, lift the prizes.
No one moves.
No one speaks.
I amble off home.
A little Paralysis Spell is just magic.

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Boxcar – 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 photo is by C. E. Ayr (hooray for me!), taken at Coal Harbour, Vancouver BC.
And, for the benefit of Dawn, Alastair and some others with deeply suspicious minds, let me assure you that no Canadian Pacific railway employees were killed during the creation of either the picture or the story.
Nearly.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© C.E. Ayr

© C.E. Ayr

Click here to hear me read aloud this 60-second story:
Boxcar

The boxcar catches my eye.
It is just one among hundreds, maybe thousands, at the railhead, but I pause, stare.
I am not good with colours, but this is so vibrant that I see it clearly.
It is purple.
I understand immediately it is from another place, another world, another dimension.
I move to slide open the door, but my nerve-damaged arm finds it too heavy.
A gap appears, widens.
A small woman gazes at me.
She smiles, extends her hand.
She links her fingers through mine, and my hand responds.
Then, in 100 words, she teaches me to write.

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Teddy Bears’ Picnic – 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).
This week’s charming little snap takes me, unsurprisingly, to my happy place, where the sun always shines and the sky is always blue.
It is where I live!
And Happy Birthday to Mr Presley, wherever he is today.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and to see what others have written.

Copyright Al Forbes

Copyright Al Forbes

Click here to hear this 90-second story read aloud:
Teddy Bears’ Picnic

If you go down to the woods today
It is always fun in the toy department.
Children get so excited, squeal, shriek, throw tantrums.
All the normal emotions of growing up.
I watch the shoppers carefully.
They fall into different categories.
you better not go alone
You see the elderly ladies, sometimes with a reluctant man in tow, obviously looking for a gift for a favoured grandchild.
Then there are young women, who might be mothers buying for their own little darling, but perhaps for a nephew or niece.
And there are families.
These are my favourites, especially if they have more than one child.
The more the merrier, as they say.
It’s lovely down in the woods today
Some, of course, are just browsing, letting the kids amuse themselves for a while.
They are of no interest to me.
But it is of critical importance to see who buys what.
I want to be sure that the best teddy bears go to the most appropriate homes.
For maximum impact when they are activated.
but safer to stay at home

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Things – 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 photo is by Sandra Crook, perhaps the most talented writer here on FF, and a lovely lady, generous with her time and expertise.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© Sandra Crook

© Sandra Crook

Click here to hear me read this 1-minute story:
Things

I hear them every night.
They scratch and scrape with vicious-sounding claws.
And they gnaw, with what are probably great hooked incisors.
They breathe in eager gasps, as though on the verge of success.
I get the feeling that they are not very large, but there are hordes of them, working in shifts.
Trying to break through to where I lie, awake, terrified, waiting.
I imagine being swamped by them, their ferocious jaws, ruthless talons, tearing at my flesh.
The noise changes.
Their panting is louder, more excited.
I can barely turn my head.
Something is crawling through the floor.

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