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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Night Noise – 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 – DISTRACTION

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Night Noise

Every night has its own sounds.

We hear internal noises, the creak of the water pipes, the groan of the heating system as it cools, and sometimes the drip of a tap, difficult to ignore.

There are also external distractions common to apartment blocks everywhere, like the click of heels in a corridor, the far-off music of a long-dead jazz pianist, doors being closed too loudly and, through the shutters, the wail of a cat hoping to escape the rain.

A motorbike engine sixty metres away drowns out the wind, now rustling silently through the parasol pines and plane trees that surround my home, my sanctuary.

Normally none of this disturbs my peace or, in fact, has anything to do with me.

But tonight, I realise with mounting horror, there is another noise, and it does.

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First Love – Carrot Ranch

Artwork by Phil Burns

The Carrot Ranch Challenge:
In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story inspired by “Home Town”.

Click here to hear the author read his words:

First Love

Grey. Dreich. Depressing.
Twenty years since I’ve been here, and I know why I left.
But it’s my home town, where I fell in love for the first time.
I wander down High Street, and my heart leaps.
She is coming out of a café with a good-looking guy, arms linked.
Her smile tells me that, even at this distance, she recognises me.
I cross over, say hello.
How’s your mum, I ask.
They look at each other.
Not long now, he says, and she nods.
This place’s still a dump, she says, taking my hand. Let’s go home.

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le vent

east wind by c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

le vent

the wind dances down
the valley of the Rhone
and kisses the Golfe du Lion
before turning eastward
and following the coast
to Medville

she comes in many forms
gentle soothing caressing
her lightness of touch
bringing welcome relief from summer heat
or
she arrives suddenly in anger
stripping the golden mimosa
blasting sand into the eyes
of beach-worshippers
hurling garden furniture into swimming pools
raging for three days and nights

which is why
although in French le vent is masculine
I cherish her in the depths of my soul
as a lady

but now
as weather patterns change
increasingly she blows from the east
from Italy and beyond
or from the south
carrying the dust of the Sahara

and as she meanders
further northward
she tugs at my memories
and tempts me
and my heart yearns to follow

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Night Shift – 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 – SHIFT

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Night Shift


I hate this shift.

When the alarm sounds at 2.15 a.m. I rise immediately, shower quickly, dress and leave, because I report for work at 3 o’clock, and to be late is unacceptable.

With the rest of the team, I am given my instructions, which are basically the same every time; only the details are different but, as they say, the devil is in the detail.

With meticulous care, I put on my uniform.

The team is well-drilled, well-organised, so our departure time varies, depending on our destination, to ensure that we always arrive at 3.55.

I breathe deeply and, at precisely 4 a.m., I kick in the door.

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Contempt – Carrot Ranch

Artwork by Phil Burns

The Carrot Ranch Challenge:
In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story inspired by “meltdown”.

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Contempt

Président Macron speaks of ‘Les gens qui réussissent et les gens qui ne sont rien’*, as he turns France into an over-controlled, over-surveilled police state.
Jacob Rees-Mogg jokes about ‘happy fish’ while the Scottish fishing industry is devastated by Brexit.
He also amuses himself by unfunny alliteration, like ‘bands of blighters’, referring to asylum-seekers.
This vile creature is part of Liar Johnson’s inner circle, as they rape the UK with blatant corruption and cronyism.
This level of contempt from politicians towards the general population presages a new generation of fascism comparable to 1930s Nazi Germany.
Democracy is in meltdown.


* ‘People who succeed and people who are nothing’.
Please note, not people who do nothing, or people who have nothing, but people who ARE nothing.

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destiny

artwork by phil burns

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

destiny

moonbeams enchanted by the waves
evade the midnight sky
the sea restless yet unperturbed
blows gentle kisses to the shore

Orion pauses not in his pursuit
till morning shadows hide his prey
then he must wait for worlds to turn
to fulfil his destiny

and we in insignificance
pledge our eternal love
as though our brief time
on this sweet earth
has reason need or worth

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Stalemate – 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 – CENTRE

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Stalemate

The gunman, trapped inside the bank, has sent out everyone apart from two women and three children, who he has kept as hostages.

Due to his preposterous demands negotiations are not going well, so his startled wife, a frightened little woman, is almost dragged from her home.

She is ushered into the mobile control centre where, as she fidgets and paces nervously, the situation is explained to her.

When she asks why they don’t just let him go so no one will get hurt, they shake their heads, trying not to laugh, and tell her that is impossible.

She takes her hand out of her coat pocket and shows them the hand-grenade, with the pin pulled, so that if she releases the trigger in this confined space eleven people will die.

Impossible, she says, are you sure?

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The Haggis

Artwork by Carolina Sartor

The Carrot Ranch Challenge:
In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story inspired by “feathers”.

Click here to hear the author read his words:

The Haggis

There are three different breeds of these savage creatures.
The Furry Hillside Haggis has two short and two long legs, and hunts bairns on the slopes of the misty mysterious Ben.
The Wild Marine or Sea-Water Haggis has a shell of steel and claws like daggers, and if you tempt them onto the rocks, you can sometimes trap them in a stout wooden box.
But the Three-legged Nasty Haggis has sharp teeth and feathers, and scurries around under the heather, ready to attack knees or anything else under the kilt.
Ah, the Highlands, the most romantic spot on earth.

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Death – 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 – BOWL

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Death

The night that Death came we were all sitting round the table at Sunday dinner.
He wasn’t what I expected, not at all like Monty Python’s cowled skeleton with a scythe, just a nondescript wee man in a grey nondescript suit, although he had about him, I admit, a certain gravitas and an air of finality.
He studied each of us in turn, with a seemingly regretful shake of his head, then paused when he reached Grandma.
He nodded, she nodded back and sighed, but when she asked if she had time to get ready he said nothing, so she put her spoon into her unfinished bowl of jelly and ice cream, vanilla with raspberry sauce, coughed politely to excuse herself from the table, stood, and went to get her coat.
He waited for a few moments, while we looked somewhat awkwardly at each other (small talk seemed rather inappropriate, even Auntie Annie ceased her inane wittering, a small blessing given the circumstances) but carefully not at him, and then he followed her.
We never saw either of them again, but I guess it’s just a question of time.

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in my dream

© c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

in my dream

in my dream
I walk
with the sun warm on my back
along a deserted soft pebble beach
where the Mediterranean
caresses the small stones
to the music of my soul

when I awake
the snow is gusting
in the bitter north-easterly
I find the kettle
for the warmth I crave

in my dream
papillons float gently
embracing the fragrance
of the fuschia-coloured flowers
whose name I have long forgotten
indifferent to all
except the murmur of the bees
which is music to my soul

when I awake
the clouds rest on the roof-tops
the snowflakes swoop
like demented butterflies
before driving determinedly
westward

in my dream
the aeroplane rises lazily
through the grey thickness
seeking and finding
the only thing
that finally
and abruptly
halts its progress

when I awake
I walk
with the sun warm on my back
along a deserted soft pebble beach
where the Mediterranean
caresses the small stones
to the music of my soul

forever…

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