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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women are crazy

artwork by phil burns

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

women are crazy

a wise man once told me
that all women are crazy
and when I raised an eyebrow
he shrugged and said
you’ll see

a friend says
that ladies are different
from us mere men
and when I reply
vive la différence
he grins and says
you’ll see

now I’m not smart enough
to judge
whether either
or even both
of these statements
are true

but I had a mother
and a wife
I have a daughter
female friends
and the occasional romantic attachment
so I have loved
a few of the fairer sex

but never yet met one
I understood

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Nocturne – 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 – VIDEO

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Nocturne

I limp through the dark apartment back to my bedroom, cursing these nocturnal cramps that cause such discomfort to my legs.
Unsure if I have seen something move, I stare through the French windows that open onto my second-storey balcony overlooking the small residents’ car park behind the apartment block.
I lift my phone and step gingerly outside, immediately confirming that a shadow is skulking among the vehicles.
Intending to video the prowler, I instead take a photo, triggering the automatic flash which, of course, immediately alerts him to my presence.
As he turns his face towards me the moon appears through a sudden and unwelcome gap in the low clouds, and we see each other clearly.
My mind tumbles back through the years, and my heart freezes.

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The Jetty – Carrot Ranch

Copyright C. E. Ayr

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

Click here to hear the author read his words:

The Jetty

The rock-built jetty is so peaceful in winter, just the lapping of the waves, the whispers of the wind.
It is different in summertime.
Although few sun-seekers venture out here from the beach, the sounds drift.
Children laughing or wailing, boys arguing over ball games, girls squealing in mock surprise, I hear everything.
Occasionally a youngster clambers out to explore, usually with Dad, sometimes with a friend.
And shrieks with excitement at the clusters of crabs, or voracious fish, that can be seen down crevices, feeding in unlikely places.
Then I smile to myself.
Because only I know why.

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loss

artwork by phil burns

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

loss

while in Scotland this summer
even on those nights
when the dark heavens
sparkled with the eyes of a thousand lovers
I could not locate Orion

this left me strangely unsettled
for reasons
I still don’t quite understand

but it reminds me
in a way
of my feelings about you

because there’s something
I didn’t have or need
before I met you
and which I still don’t have
but desperately need
now that you are gone

I was always alone
but never lonely
so why
now that I am alone again
do I feel an aching loneliness
and the loss of that something
I never had



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The Candle – 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 – FOUNTAIN

Click here to hear the author read his words:

The Candle

In the mud sits a tin mug with, inside it, a candle, flickering weakly.
We stare at it in confusion, in disbelief, because it is the only sign of life in the small clearing where we are scheduled to meet our comrades.
It has not rained for some time now, but the still sodden ground looks smooth and undisturbed.
I signal to the others to spread out and search the immediate surrounds, but I expect them to find nothing.
There is an air of desolation, or more, a sense of death, about this place.
A light drizzle starts to fall, like teardrops from a fountain of misery, and the candle sputters and goes out.

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The Wind – Carrot Ranch

Artwork by Phil Burns

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

Click here to hear the author read his words:

The Wind

I arrive at the headland, exhausted.
The wind-driven snow in my face has made the trip long and hazardous.
These hills can be dangerous even in calm weather.
Across the water I see the lights of home.
Where she is, with the children, my love, and my life.
Not far by boat, but I am on foot.
Another fourteen miles hard trek.
Suddenly the wind lifts again, and I am instantly alert.
My hunter’s senses are keen.
Something is not right.
Bad tidings sweep across the bay.
The sound of misery.
The scent of fear.
The smell of blood.

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yellow submarine

artwork by phil burns

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

Yellow Submarine

I miss those lazy days at the beach
lying on hot sand
eating clementines and crunchy cacahouètes

I miss your ridiculous shrieks
as you encounter the first wave
if the water is half a degree
below bath temperature

I miss floating in the Mediterranean
the sea I love above all others
singing
Yellow Submarine
and the strange Scottish songs
from my childhood
that so fascinate you

I miss your company
the jokes and the laughter

I don’t miss your mood swings
your week-long sulks
your insistence that anything
that doesn’t fit your life view
is my fault

but
I do miss the cacahouètes
and
I no longer sing

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Fox News – 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 – HANDLE
This week, for reasons which utterly escape me, I have been invited to do a ‘walk-on’ by Clark, a guy on a different blog. As this does not involve any walking on that I can see, except on here, I’m unsure as to the purpose of the invitation, which I accept simply to poke some fun.

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Fox News

Defying all laws of literary logic and alliterative liaisons, Ian Devereux’s eyes narrow, then widen, much like the road to Achaphubuil in Lochaber, as he slips into his capacious pockets his well-oiled and well-used pistol, a haggis and hyperbole sandwich (vastly overrated, even with the crusts removed), and an extra sprinkling of ellipses which he suspects might be sorely needed this week, before venturing forth into the dangerous night…

His train of thought suddenly departs for an altogether different terminus as he catches a glimpse of a small, red, furry-tailed creature cha-chaing merrily into the misty distance, causing him to exclaim ‘Watt the Fox!’ before reminding himself that this is a family blog, and expanding his involuntary utterance to ‘James Watt, the famous Scottish fox engineer and inventor (it is a rule that all Scots are engineers even, apparently, the wildlife), because this means that she must be here too…

Yes, Sister Margaret Ryan, aka the nun with the gun, a devilishly clever adversary from a different story, highly dangerous (a black belt in origami), highly educated (degrees in Criminal Incompetence and Legal Lampooning), highly versatile (she plays wide receiver for the New England Patriots), highly polyglottal (she can, obviously, converse with parrots, and probably penguins, and now it seems she also speaks reynard)… but what is she doing on his patch, tonight of all nights…

Taking his life, or at least his sandwich, in both hands, Devereux strides purposelessly towards (or maybe away from, he is hopelessly disoriented by the fog) his nemesis, the most deadly foe he has yet faced in his short (it’s just the verbiage that makes it seem longer) and illustrious (is that how you spell lustreless?) career, until he sees the sign ‘Leopard-free Zone’ (which he always thinks might be a typographical error that should read ‘Leper-free Zone’ as he has never, to his knowledge, seen a leper anywhere near here) and he realises he has been utterly misled by the sly be-brushed vulpine…

He is bewitched, bothered and befuddled, but sadly without the quality backing that Ms Fitzgerald received (and richly deserved), so he stumbles haphazardly and half-heartedly into the devilishly cunning but as yet unexplained trap so carefully prepared by smiling Sister Sedition and so casually triggered by this one-off walk-on character from not only another tale and another genre (where he was also a trouble-making wee toerag), but an entirely different interwebthingy platform…

As our hero plummets, like Tarzan at the end of each episode of the Saturday Matinée, towards a death worse than fate, we ask ourselves these questions… at what point did you realise that I had no idea what I was supposed to do here…why did I bother re-introducing the Spinning Nun … what the Fox he doing here… does this make any more sense than Clark’s usual taciturn impenetrability… do you know that ‘Rire’ is French for the execrable ‘Lol’… will Devereux ride again (that was a good movie, gotta love Jimmy Stewart)… Will Smith (that’s not much of a question)… have you stopped reading yet… or will you tune in again next week to read The Wakefield Apology… can you handle any more excitement… and, as this is the penultimates ellipsis in the aforementioned capacious pocket, would you believe that this is… the end…

* * *

The Fox, in different national guise, usually hangs out here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsELmvd7YSs

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life and love

artwork by phil burns

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

life and love

it’s quite funny really

when we first met I was smitten
and pursued you

and you liked me
thought I was interesting
charming foreign different

and then it changed
you told me all the things
I longed to hear
you loved me

you told me
I was your last thought at night
and the first when you wakened
when we were apart
you ached for me
with a physical pain
and that you agreed
with everything I said
that we should always be together

and I smiled at your happy face
and saw your radiance
with indifference

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A Heap of Mince – 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 – METHOD

Click here to hear the author read his words:

A Heap of Mince

I’m here to discuss aphorisms and adages, epigrams and epithets, maxims and axioms, and various other high-falutin’ words that, if we are honest (a bit of a long shot, admittedly), really just scream CLICHÉ.

For example, I get really peeved with ‘no gain without pain’ (what a crock, I’ve gained lots of stuff without pain, especially back when I was a pick-pocket) and ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.

This one, with its implication that imminent death is a distinct possibility, always reminds me of the famous last words of General George Custer, viz. Injuns? I don’t see no pesky Injuns (okay, I know that’s unacceptable language, so let me apologise immediately for the great man’s appalling grammar) which, for me at least, significantly reduces its credibility factor.

Is there any method to this madman’s inane rantings and ravings, I hear you ask (or I probably would if we were at least in the same country), so I’ll come right to the point, more or less, because what I’m saying is that we need some new clichés.

So, for starters I suggest ‘Avoid pain, your body doesn’t need it, you cretin’ and ‘Don’t kill yourself, you’ll live longer that way’ and ‘What, chicken soup again?’

Sorry, that last one seems to have slipped in from another piece of drivel wandering around looking for a home but, please, don’t let it distract you from the serious message that I am trying to get across here, which is…ehm… Chicken soup, really?

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