Sound Bite Fiction

This on-going collection of stories has been and are being written in my current home on the Côte d’Azur.
Many of the tales are based in and around the town I call Medville, others are situated in Scotland, and the remainder take place in less exceptional parts of this and other worlds.

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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A While – Six Sentence Story

Copyright C. E. Ayr

This challenge is produced by GirlieOnTheEdge with the following simple rules:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – PATH

Click here to hear the author read his words:

A While

If you leave Glasgow heading west, then swing northwards along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, you travel through places like Crianlarich and, eschewing the Oban road, wild Rannoch Moor, ghost-ridden Glencoe and eventually picturesque Glenfinnan, probably my favourite spot in Scotland, and you might realise that during the past couple of hours things have not been quite the same, that people are more relaxed, and the pace of life is somewhat gentler.

This is because you are now in the West Highlands, where the very passing of time is regarded differently, where there are, in fact, only three measurements of said time, which I will attempt to illustrate by asking you to imagine yourself at a bus stop in, say, Drumnadrochit, asking a local when the next vehicle of transport will appear.

It’ll just be a minute, is the first possible response, accompanied by an encouraging smile and a nodding head, indicating that your wait will in all probability not extend past the next major mealtime, and that, with a little patience, you should be on your merry way relatively soon, and certainly before darkness drifts along.

Aye, it’ll likely be along in a bit, is the slightly less optimistic answer, usually with a vague wrinkling of the brow, suggesting that although it is confidently expected that the aforementioned bus will appear, you might take the opportunity to attend to any call of nature and perhaps partake of significant sustenance in the interim.

Och, that could be a while, emphasised by breath being sucked in through teeth, tells you, with great clarity, that you will in all probability die here of starvation or old age unless you take alternative action, such as hiring a unicorn or, less romantically, a car.

The upside to all this is that, before you succumb to the pull of ‘civilisation’ and call your nearest friend in Edinburgh, London, or Milwaukee to come and fetch you, you have the potential to briefly follow an alternative path, one of enlightenment, through life, to make any number of new friends, to discover the joys of single Malts, and perhaps, if you are of a musical bent, even to learn to play a pibroch.

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dreamer

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

copyright c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

dreamer

warm summer days mean naught to me
I don’t care for golden sunbeams
I prefer to dwell in moonlight
and to spend my life in dreams

I recall those nights from times long gone
seconds crawled and hours ran
I remember you were woman
and for fleeting moments I was man

so many fragments in my mind
they never cease I can’t begin
yet still I see the traces left
by your fingers on my skin

those days in number 46
when we struggled free from strife
enough to eat enough to love
the best days of my life

but all the joy you gave to me
I dragged blind through each bleak mile
and never more was I to see
your truth your soft vague smile

they strangely disappeared one day
near the brow of Briar Hill
a moment wide a moment bright
a decade of dark cruel chill

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La Bibliothèque – Six Sentence Story

Copyright C. E. Ayr

This challenge is produced by GirlieOnTheEdge with the following simple rules:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – BOOKMARK

Click here to hear the author read his words:

La Bibliothèque

I am standing, somewhat stunned, in the very limited English-language section of a small public library in a small town somewhere in darkest France.

This place is far off the beaten track, and the locals, most of whom have known each other their entire lives, are a tight-knit community, wary of outsiders in general and doubly so of foreigners, although they treat me, a writer and the sole anglophone, with polite curiosity.

The paperback in my hand purports to be a thriller, but the author is unknown to me, just one of the seemingly random selection in the poorly lit ‘Foreign’ corner which also includes, I suppose for educational purposes, a smattering of books in German, Italian and Spanish.

This is my first visit to the library, and the reason for my shock, which has my mind racing and my blood running cold, is the bookmark protruding from the top of the pages.

On it are written two words, which mean an awful lot to me but nothing, to the best of my knowledge, to any other person (or at least any other living person).

These words, scrawled in black ink, say, quite succinctly, what I did, and where I did it.

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mask

copyright c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

masks

the first time that I saw you
you hid behind your mask
and said I didn’t know you
that we’d never met before
and laughed

and I in my innocence
believed you
though you reminded me
of every love I’d ever had
and every painful loss
I’d suffered

each time that I saw you
you wore a different mask
but said I should know you
because you were still
the same person
as before

the last time that I saw you
you threw away your mask
and said I’d always known you
that we’d met a thousand times before
that I was every lover
you’d ever had

and every one you had discarded

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Fairy Tale Princess Six Sentence Story

Artwork by Phil Burns

This challenge is produced by GirlieOnTheEdge with the following simple rules:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – COFFEE

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Fairy Tale Princess

Even for a beautiful Princess, life’s not all handsome frogs and grass slippers, says the king with his usual tenuous grasp on unreality, you should never have divorced that charming Prince whatsisname.

That no-good silver-tongued cheating sexy conniving gorgeous cheapskate, retorts the Princess, he’s just lucky I left him his Crown Jewels, they were all he had that were worth anything!

Well, I’ve tried all the usual advertising, in the Royal Proclamation Weekly, the Dragon-Slayers Monthly, the International Herald Tribune and even the Ayrshire Post, as well as a Special Feature in the Official Programme for the Annual Lesmahagow Coffee Growers’ Convention, with no luck, my darling drain on my scant resources, so it seems that the hand of a slightly shop-soiled beautiful Princess is not the highly desirable prize it was Once Upon a Time.

Furthermore, and forsooth, my precious pernicious pestilence, we’re pretty much broke, penniless, skint, poverty-stricken, borassic, penurious, indigent, rooked and impoverished, also we have no money, and I really miss my Scotch Pies, so I suggest you reconsider the offer from the butcher for one of his sons, Hal, Al, or wee Porkchop.

But Daddy, there must be someone out there better suited than a mere tradesman, a meat merchant, a slaughterman, no matter how spectacular his black pudding, to marry the King’s daughter, who is, after all, the most beautiful Princess in all the realm and entitled to live, as in all the best Fairy Tales, Happily Ever After.

Yeah, about that, my little mustard and marzipan medley, maybe it’s time you invested in a mirror and realised that you currently have more chins than you do curves and that your delightful countenance is now oft compared by the last remaining servant, (who stays, incidentally, only because he is now infirm, being deficient in the leg division to the tune of at least one*, and therefore unable to hop off as the other 1,314 have done in the past few years) to a plate of cold, half-eaten Haggis, tatties and neeps, so, my swollen Pimple on the Buttock of Humanity, give your hair a wee brush, dicht your coupon, and get yourself down to the Pie Shop tout de suite.

*With thanks to Pete and Dud

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seasons

copyright c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

seasons

spring
saw you arrive
comme une plume vermeille
like a vermillion feather
beautiful elegant natural
ah the light my love the light

summer
you danced
with mermaids
and my heart
roamed free and proud
as the Great White Stag
in the cool mountain air
ah the warmth my love the warmth

autumn
was a single afternoon
of torrential rain
and bitter tears
ah the wind my love the wind

winter
wreathed us in an icy embrace
of mutual solitude
froze us apart
at arms length
splintered
every smile
we’d ever shared
ah the cold my love the cold

and all love and passion
swiftly melted
long before

spring
saw you leave
ah the dark my love the dark


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Adoration – Six Sentence Story

Artwork by Phil Burns

This challenge is produced by GirlieOnTheEdge with the following simple rules:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – EXCHANGE

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Adoration

I guess that every school has a couple like this, that everyone else envies and looks up to.

I watch them as they dance, so close, so natural, the way they move as one, the looks they exchange every time they move apart, and I burn with desire.

She is gorgeous beyond words, small but curvy with great legs, eyes that most guys would be happy to drown in, and a smile that lights the world, so I think it’s fair to say that she could replace him with about ten different guys and still be the Golden Couple.

He’s a rugby player, same as me, although much taller, close to two metres in height and still skinny, still growing, with huge hands and feet, an easygoing attitude and a quick smile, but even his mum couldn’t say he was handsome.

But she has the pick of the guys and she’s picked him, says that he’s sweet, that he has hidden charms, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

The thing is, I know they’re not right for each other, so I stay in the background, patiently suppressing my jealousy, waiting for the day when she grows weary of him, and then, when the dust and tears settle, I’ll be the one who’s there, ready to comfort my poor gangling love.

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bird

copyright c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

bird

waves rumble
round the rocks
in November sunshine

I sit
gazing at the Mediterranean
my mind
far away
across the planet
or somewhere
deep inside myself
when I see
overhead
a solitary bird

a waterfowl
perhaps
a Canada Goose

a memory stirs
I start to smile
and
my heart sings

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Axe – Six Sentence Story

Copyright C. E. Ayr

This challenge is produced by GirlieOnTheEdge with the following simple rules:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – LABYRINTH

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Axe

After pressing the doorbell I step back and wait patiently until the lady of the house opens the door, at which point I tell this pretty young mother, quietly and calmly, that I have an axe.

Oh, I’m sorry, sweetie, she exclaims, all smiles, we don’t need any wood chopped, our heating is all-electric, most of these new houses – she indicates with a vague arm the labyrinth of streets, avenues, roads, places, drives and crescents (all named after coniferous trees) which comprises the neighbourhood – are the same.

I see, I answer politely, smiling back at her, though with less radiance (I have neither the looks nor the teeth to match her delightful charms), that is rather bad news, to be quite honest.

Oh, if you really need the work, honey, maybe try the Clarks across the way… her smile fades quickly as her attempt to close the door is foiled by my large steel toecap boot.

I don’t need work or money, honey, I say, my wants are few, but my axe – and now I brandish it – craves blood.

I’m sure we can satisfy everyone’s needs, she says, the smile brightening again when she sees my eyes widen at what looks suspiciously like a Browning B525 shotgun – I know about these from working the grouse moors – appearing through the gap and pointing towards my throat as she gestures for me to step inside.


Note:
The photo for this prompt is taken from my delightful YouTube video ‘Limbo’.
Why not check it out here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-GHG99KLoU

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Scotland in November

copyright c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:


Scotland in November

looking back
it seems quite obvious
we were doomed
before we started

so very far apart
culturally and
geographically

but we had so much
together
laughter
and passion
and all that love

so many great times
and those special moments
I’ll always remember

but the passion faded
and the laughter died
and the love
just wasn’t enough
to cross the distances
or hide the differences


deep down
it still lingers
and sometimes
briefly flickers
but nothing can hide
the harsh truth

you were July
on the Côte d’Azur
and I was
Scotland in November

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