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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Lamppost – 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 – DETOUR

Click here to hear the author read his words:

The Lamppost

I was so nervous that night, because I didn’t know you at all, and that maniac, The Stabber the papers called him, was murdering women all over the city, but having you walk through the park with me saved me a 20-minute detour in pouring rain, and you seemed nice.

Yeah well, maybe I am nice, and you did get everyone to take photos of me so that if I did kill you and chop you into little pieces I wouldn’t get away with it!

I wasn’t worried because I knew it wasn’t your idea to walk me home, it was my friend Carol who suggested it because you told her which hotel you were in, and she thought you were scrummy and was so jealous when I told her we kissed under this very lamppost! It’s funny, you know, all those years ago, and there were never any more killings. Do you think he died or went away?

Maybe he found what he was looking for.

Copyright C. E. Ayr


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back to Glasgow

glasgow by c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

back to Glasgow

as I walk the beaches
of the Côte d’Azur
or swim in the warmth
of the Mediterranean
my favourite of all seas
my thoughts still sometimes
surprise me by drifting
back to Glasgow

I write every day
and most stories are situated
in Medville in the here and now
but on occasion
I base a story on my early days
and my mind wanders
almost unbidden
back to Glasgow

so much of what I left behind
when I slid into exile
still lingers back there
so when I waken
in the frightened hours
and the darkness tears at me
it’s then that my heart aches
and begs that I journey
one last time
back to Glasgow

my life is part poetry
and part fiction
with only one certain truth
I never will
I never can go
back to Glasgow

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Boiling a Frog – Six Sentence Story

Scotland in May by 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 – CONFETTI

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Boiling a Frog

Walking on the beach at Medville in a fierce, bitingly cold March easterly wind, I see a gentleman of a certain age (read ‘old’), clad only in a budgie-smuggler bathing costume, ambling serenely into the Mediterranean surf, which itself might best be described as agitato (or perhaps agitata as, in Italian, surf translates as schiuma, which is a feminine noun).

Now, I am aware that the water is pretty fresh (read ‘bliddy Baltic’), as I have in the past week ceased my paddling, a favoured winter pastime of mine which raises much curiosity and, indeed, eyebrows among the Provençals.

I ponder the natator, wondering which of the only three feasible approaches that I consider likely to enable someone to bathe in such inclement conditions apply here.

The most probable answer, I think, is that he performs his aquatics on a daily basis, throughout the year, so that his body adjusts ever so gradually to the changing temperature, thus ensuring no sudden shock to his ageing anatomy.

The other possibilities are that a) he is a Scot, and therefore genetically engineered to survive the Arctic conditions found in his (and my) homeland where, even in May, snow can often be seen drifting confetti-like from heavy grey skies or indeed crashing in icy fragments into ungritted teeth, or b) crazy.

These last two are in no way mutually exclusive.

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shadow in the mirror

copyright c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

shadow in the mirror

I glimpse the shadow in the mirror
as soft and dark as midnight air
my eyes are slow to see the outline
of the space where once you were

you took the sunshine when you left me
I live now in constant chill
I purged all trace of your existence
but your spirit lingers still

your face still hides behind my eyelids
your laughter echoes through my dreams
you don’t fill my every moment
I guess that’s just the way it seems

I understand you’re gone forever
that I won’t hold you close again
none of these things are a problem
the memories of here inflict the pain

the day will come when I’ll forget you
and my heart will stumble free
no more sorrowed tears of torment
and no water in the sea

my eyes are slow to see the outline
as soft and dark as midnight air
I glimpse the shadow in the mirror
it’s just the space where once you were

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Bannockburn – Six Sentence Story

Robert the Bruce by 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 – CONTROL

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Bannockburn

Although this isn’t my first trip in the Time Machine, it is The Big One, the reason I spent all those years developing it, so everyone is there to see me go: Sarah, my wonderful, patient, loving wife, my two great sons, my darling toddler daughter, and my three close friends and collaborators, Wee Tam, Slick Rick, and Big Hairy.

I arrive at Bannockburn on 23rd June 1314, suitably attired and drenched in pig’s blood, in time to see Robert the Bruce, the warrior King of Scots, dispatch Sir Henry de Bohun, a somewhat over-ambitious English Knight, with a mighty blow from an axe, in what might be described as pre-match entertainment, before circling the battlefield, observing the fray and taking notes.

After a fascinating afternoon, and very much looking forward to returning for the second and final day tomorrow, I head back to my transport in time to see an unattended toddler stumbling towards the bank of the fast-flowing burn and, forgetting the first rule of Time Travel, I instinctively catch her arm and point her towards where a group of women are tending the wounded.

Sliding onto my seat, I open the Control Panel, hit the Home button and experience the usual light-headedness and brief loss of consciousness before I open my eyes in front of Tam, Rick and Hairy.

As they help me out amid much back-slapping and a million questions, I look around in confusion and ask why Sarah and the children are not there.

My most trusted friends look at each other in turn, their faces mirroring my perplexity, before their three voices simultaneously ask the same question: ‘Who?’

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leaving

copyright c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

leaving

it’s still numpty o’clock
as the plane clambers awkwardly
out of Edinburgh
the sun creeps from the Forth
where the river meets the North Sea
showing the three great bridges
in silhouette

I smile
knowing that this afternoon
I’ll be home again
in my own corner of Paradise
on the Côte d’Azur
and my mind drifts
back over the past week

the highlight as always
was the day spent with my grandson
we walked along the Clyde
two miles in spring sunshine
from city centre
to the Riverside Museum
where we lunched
and revisited the once-familiar exhibits
before wandering through Kelvingrove
on our homeward trail

but there was also the kindness of friends
in Broxburn
on the tranquil Union Canal
and in Ayr
with its broad beaches
between two very different
but equally beautiful rivers
and its history of our Bard

I don’t know that
I deserve their unstinting kindness
I do know that
I can never repay it
and as I look down
at Scotland
disappearing beneath the clouds
I realise that
once again
I leave behind me
a flake of my soul

copyright c e ayr
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Murder Children – 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 – TERM

Click here to hear the author read his words:

 

Murder Children

Now I understand why people murder children, I say to my grandson.

We are lunching on chicken and bacon sandwiches, scones and soft drinks in Glasgow’s magnificent Riverside Museum, aka the Museum of Transport, situated at the confluence of the rivers Clyde and Kelvin, and home to an astonishing collection of trains and boats and planes, also bicycles, motor bikes and motor cars, carts, buses and trams, and any other contraption that can be used to carry people, animals or stuff from one place to another (including the world’s oldest bicycle, built by Gavin Dalzell in 1846, which is, somewhat bizarrely, made of wood).

Just outwith our line of sight but, unfortunately, on the edge of our hearing, we suffer the repeated beep-beep-beep-beep of a pedestrian crossing, followed by a conversation between a little girl, whose piercing voice carries clearly, and an adult who we guess is a Lollipop Lady, but whose words are almost inaudible.

We determine that the scene is played at the press of a button and, given that there are around 17,000 schoolchildren (mid-term, I guess) behaving pretty much as one might expect a vast number of savage Scottish schoolchildren to behave in a gigantic structure full of thingys that excite their fertile imaginations, said button has just been pressed for the 1,314th (great number for those who know Scottish history) time.

The aforementioned, and increasingly annoying given the younger participant’s chalk on blackboard voice, conversation goes Hello (mumble mumble) Yes, please (mumble mumble) Sorry (mumble mumble) Thank you (mumble mumble) Bye-ee, leading us to speculate on the ‘Sorry’ while waiting cross-fingered in hope for the screech of brakes and a loud thwump.

Now I understand why people murder children, I say to my grandson, a peace-loving young hooligan, who grins, nods, and hands me, in lieu of anything more lethal, the small plastic knife he has just used to spread strawberry jam on his scone.


*** An Apology:
The discerning visitor might have noticed that this week’s photo and story are both situated in Glasgow, Bonnie Scotland, where I have been for the past week, hence my lack of participation in last week’s SSS.
So, my apologies to the fine writers who grace this challenge; I will endeavour to do better.
But probably not this week.

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the last time

copyright c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:


the last time


I didn’t know
it was the last time
I’d ever hold your hand
or
I’d have clasped it longer
and more consciously
and treasured every touch

I didn’t know
it was the last time
I’d ever hear your laugh
or
I’d have tried harder
to be funny
to prolong the music

I didn’t know
it was the last time
I’d ever see your smile
or
I’d have done more
to please you
to bathe longer in its light

I didn’t know
it was the last time
I’d ever kiss your lips
or
I’d have wrapped you
more tightly in my arms
and savoured your sweet taste

I didn’t know
it was the last time
I’d ever smell autumn
in your hair
or
I’d have known
that winter
would be an eternity
of biting cold
and aching loneliness

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I Hear – 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 – TREE

Click here to hear the author read his words:

I hear

I hear them clamber over my high wall and move quietly under the weeping fronds of the pepper tree towards the back door.

I hear the younger boy’s tremulous voice ask his brother if there might be any truth in the rumour that the old man – he means me – was in the army, or even Special Forces, way back in olden times.

I hear the scornful reply that the decrepit old relic can’t hardly tie his bootlaces these days, so whatever he might have been doesn’t matter, does it.

I hear the oof of his last breath leaving his body as my double-edged Fairbairn–Sykes slides into his heart.

I hear the screams of his younger brother as he stumbles over the body in the dark, and growing even louder when I switch on a light.

I hear myself chuckle as I realise that for the next few weeks I’ll be dining like a king.

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if I could

highland meadows by c e ayr

Click here to hear the poet read his words:

if I could

if I could live my life
again
there are so many things
I’d try to do
differently

like spend less time
chasing rainbows
and more
just holding you

like stop
searching vast Highland meadows
for a unicorn to ride
and wandering round Scalpsie Bay
seeking mermaids
to dance with

I’d try to be with you
loving the one person
I should always have loved
instead of letting you slip
through my fingers
like golden sand
from the far-off beaches
of St Tropez

if I could live my life
again
there are so many things
I’d try to do
differently

but the truth is
I did try
and even if I lived a thousand lives
I doubt I’d ever change

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