A Slew of Micro Fictions

Dear Reader,

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s been rather quiet around the Writer Girl blog lately. Aside from falling behind on my Writerly Aspirations due to my wedding and honeymoon, there has been quite a bit of Renovation Madness going on at my house.

With every weekend taken up with demolitions and rebuilds (along with the various injuries that come with renovating your house on your own), I’ve struggled to not only find time to write, but to find the energy.

Thankfully, whatever Muse keeps me company has also kept me in good quantity of Big Magic (if you haven’t heard of me talk about Big Magic before you can read about it here), and ideas are never too far away when I reach for them.

Sometimes they’re unexpected ideas, and they come from way out in left field (despite my concentrating my creative thought on something else). Sometimes they’re play – background fodder for current novel projects that give me more insight into my characters. Either way, I’m happy that I’m beginning to catch up again, and that I seem to be making progress.

So, here are the micro fictions for May. I’m quite happy with them, though some were a bit rushed.

Black Root Lane – Background character fodder for my WIP Riverwood / this idea came to me when playing x-box. I’ve gotten into the thriller genre in gaming lately, and I love that chill that creeps into you when they combine children’s nursery rhymes with creepy background music.

The Sandpit A prompt from a close friend asking me to write about an Angel and a Mermaid who meet as toddlers.

Strangers Meet – An old idea that I’d love to put more work into one day.

The Implant This one came from a workshop I did regarding…well, adult content. I did the workshop in an attempt to get out of my comfort zone and write outside my usual genre. While this micro fiction isn’t explicit, it is about contraception and does imply adult content. Regardless, I enjoyed the work and the idea, and I hope you do to.

Let me know what you think and which one is your favourite for this month; and be sure to keep an eye out for the next few short stories coming out soon.

Sincerely,

The Jade Writer Girl.

A Micro Fiction: The Curious Case of the Cookie Jar

His suspect sat in an oversized wooden chair that made him seem as small and insignificant as the pet fish. The suspect’s arms were tied down with a thick tie, bound tight around the small, puny wrists.Detective Tim Holt smirked, leaning in to give the suspect a fierce, knowing look. ‘You are the thief, aren’t you Mr Hart?’

Suspect Frederick Hart blinked back at him from his restraints. A tough one, eh. Well, Detective Holt would just have to up his game.

He lunged forward, grasping the suspect’s shirt and yanked him forward in his seat.

‘Did you steal from the Dark Queen?!’

Behind him, a faint giggle echoed out. ‘Dark Queen?’

Detective Holt whirled, glaring at his partner who flushed crimson from her porcelain seat, clipboard in hand.

‘Sorry,’ she muttered, and shrugged apologetically at his suspect.

‘No fraternisation Miss Hart, or I’ll have you thrown off this case!’

‘Yes, Tim. Er, detective.’

Detective Holt turned back to the suspect, his eyes narrowed. ‘Only a fiendish scoundrel would corrupt my most loyal agent. Who knows what else you’re capable of. Now tell me, fiend, where did you hide the booty?!’

‘Isn’t booty for pirates?’

‘Sh!’

The suspect remained silent in his restraints, staring at Detective Holt as if it were he who was crazy, and not the other way around.

‘Listen here, you uncut…that’s not right…’

‘Uncouth,’ supplied his loyal partner.

‘Yes! You uncouth…fiend. I will discover how you did it, and how you hid the evidence. We’ll catch you, with or without your confession, but let me tell you this: your consequences will be dire if you do not reveal the truth now. Now, once and for all, are you the thief?’

The suspect rose an eyebrow, and looked pointedly down at his tied up hands.

‘Uh, Tim—oh, I mean detective! Fred— um, the suspect can’t speak. Remember?’

Detective Holt paused. ‘Oh,’ he said, and fought the flush of embarrassment. ‘Well. I will release only one hand!’

The suspect rolled his eyes.

As Detective Holt began to untie one arm, the door to their dark interrogation room creaked open and the Dark Queen entered!

‘What on Earth? Timothy Holt, what are you doing?!’

‘Mum! You’re ruining my interrogation!’

‘Interrogation my foot, untie Freddie right now!’

‘But Muuum, he’s our main suspect! He stole from the Cookie Jar!’ he yelled dramatically, pointing at the suspect just like he’d watched the detective do in all the cop shows his mother—uh, the Dark Queen watched. ‘And I will get a confession.’

‘Well you can take your interrogation into the backyard and out of my bathroom! Are those my father’s silk ties?!’

‘We better go,’ Tim muttered to his suspect, quickly untying the rest of Freddie’s restraints and diving for the safety of the hallway, the twins hot on his heels.

‘Tim,’ said his most loyal partner, Miss Hart. ‘Is now a good time to remind you that you ate the last cookie from the cookie Jar?’

‘What? I never—oh wait…’

A Micro Fiction: Lighthouse

Why did we have to take our shoes off? Even halfway up the stairs, my calves burning, and the tingle of fear scratching at my spine (don’t look down, don’t look down), each step made me wonder.

The wooden steps were smooth and polished—maybe by hand, maybe by the countless tread of barefooted people traipsing up to the balcony above.

Above an elderly couple panted above me. Their feet slapped against the steps in slow, heavy footfalls—a stark contrast to my own light, steady trot.

I didn’t allow myself to match their steps. To slow down would be to surrender. The burn would creep in, taking away all my energy, and bringing my progress to a screeching halt. And so I kept on.

The sign on the little gate guarding the lighthouse had claimed it was one of the tallest in the world. I had peered up at it as the wiry Frenchman had come to take our tickets, insisting “no shoes, no shoes” and pointing to the other pair of unclaimed shoes by the gate.

Inside it was cool, and quiet. Hushed in a way that made you speak in whispers. I began my climb, keeping my steps light, and only occasionally peering through the protective netting lining the inside of the spiral staircase.

At the top, I groaned. More stairs led through a hatchway to a second platform. In there, I paused, looking up at the large bulb fixed into the centre of the room. It’s warning clear to all below. “Beware, land here!”

To the side of the bulb was another staircase leading to a metal door that stared at me. Questioning whether or not I really wanted to step out onto that high balcony.

The door was heavy, and I struggled to push it open. Then, as if someone had taken hold of the other side, it was yanked open.

Wind buffeted me from all directions, grabbing hold of my hair and my hat and threatening to sweep it all away. It took my breath and cast it aside, while at the same time pulling me toward the rail. Encouraging me to stare out at the vastness of the island below. It looked so small, so tiny, up there on the lighthouse balcony. Sweat cooled rapidly in the wind, yet, the clear blue water below still looked deliciously inviting.

I felt big and breathless and weightless all at once. Light and free. Like I could take flight from this great height, and join the birds in their twirls and spirals on the gusting wind. I took a deep breath, letting my lungs fill with the pureness of the air up there.

Wind tickled at my toes, biting them with cold. But the sun had warmed the rough wood beneath my feet, and I closed my eyes as I leaned out onto the railing.

‘No shoes,’ I grinned, wriggling my toes as wonder swept through my chest, filling it with light, delicious air.

A Few Short Stories

Dear Reader,

In a desperate bid to complete my self-appointed writing challenge, I am playing catch up.

So far this weekend I have completed two micro fictions, one short story, and begun a short Novella; and while that did impact negatively on my Camp NaNo progress, I am quite happy with my progress.

NaNo has been a bit hit and miss this year so far regardless of my Blog updates, so really, I’m just happy to be getting something done.

In case you’ve missed my updates, you can check out my Micro Fictions here, and you can find my latest short story below.

Sunrise

“There is a moment before the dawn when everything is quiet. A hush falls over the world, the wind is cold and soft and the whole world waits.

Then the first hint of orange spills over the horizon, and the world awakens with dappled shades of orange, red, pink and yellow. Warm, soft, and mellow. The world breathes out its breath in misty clouds and cool drops of dew and all is beautiful as the day begins.”

 As for the Novella I’ve begun, keep an eye out. It will be called Flight, and (if all goes according to plan) I’ll be releasing it in four parts – Rescue, Pilot, Anomaly, and Home.

This Novella is a little out of my comfort zone. Where I normally lean toward Fantasy, this story will definitely hinge toward Science Fiction; it will be based around a Fighter Pilot on a Star Ship called (for the moment, anyway) The Lullaby. I dreamt about half the story last night, and I’m pretty excited about it; but as I’m also attempting to complete the first draft of Riverwood, I didn’t want to let Flight distract me too much – hence why I am limiting it to Novella size.

Please keep an eye out, and let me know what you think of each Part of Flight as it comes out.

Sincerely,

The Jade Writer Girl.

A Micro Fiction: The Drive-Through Exchange

He sits tall in the back, happy to be invited, not left behind. His pink tongue lolls out the side of his mouth. The window is down, and occasionally the flash of pink disappears so he can sniff at the air rushing through.

Then it is back, and he grins, long and wide. Normally so serious, so stoic, he sits in the back like a king and grins a goofy grin.

Until we reach the drive-through.

The first time, I don’t notice until the flurry of sniffs that come my way when I accept my crinkly, brown paper bag—except I’m expecting those. The girl in the window grins at me.

‘Cute dog.’

The second time, I see him watching. His tongue is gone, tucked away in the face of seriousness. We are at the window, and as I hand over my card, he pokes his nose over the shoulder of my seat and has a good sniff. I try not to giggle as his breath tickles at my ear, and take my card back. The boy in the window is trying to hide his smile.

The third time I’m on the look out for it. I see him watching from the back seat, his head perked forward in intensity, his eyes focused on our hands as we exchange the card, his head cocked to one side.

The fourth time, I don’t even make it. I’m looking for my handbag.

‘You ready to go?’ I call absentmindedly.

But he doesn’t answer. There’s no patter of claws on the wooden floors. No scurry of movement as I invite him along. At first, I’m too distracted. Where is my card? And why was my wallet on the ground instead of in my handbag?

‘Jasper!’ I call, deciding that my card must be in a pair of jeans or shorts—lucky I have cash.

But he never comes.

First I check the yard. Then I run the street, calling his name. I’m not panicking. I’m not freaking out. I grab my keys and jump into my car, my tires squealing only a little as I skid out of the driveway a little too fast. The streets seem unbearably empty, but I find one person, and pull over.

‘Black dog? Yeah, I saw one. Collie looking thing.’

‘He’s a Kelpie.’

‘Yeah, might’ve been him. Down that way. Near the drive-through.’

For some reason, his words stick with me. The drive-through?

An inkling, an idea of where he might have gone.

As I pull into the car park, there’s a commotion. People are getting out of their cars, standing around, pointing and laughing. Someone has their camera out, filming.

And there, in the middle of the driveway, beneath the serving window, is a black dog. He sits there, one ear perked up and the other swivelling about—listening. He stares up at the girl in the window, who appears quite baffled.

In his mouth, is my missing credit card.

A Micro Fiction: Salt Water

The blue stretches out before me, deceptively cloudy once submerged. Though from above it looks crystal clear and blue, beneath the waves, there is an otherworldly feel to the depths. Depths that began as shallows and slowly grow deeper and cooler, gliding over my skin like a soft, cold, kiss.

Below me bright flashes of colour catch in the filtered sunlight, darting off before I can fully catch them in my sight. The faint click of the disposable camera echoes through the water. I roll the dial back, concentrating, trying to ignore the tangy, bitterness that creeps around my snorkel and settles in my mouth. No matter how much I readjust, the taste never leaves. It makes my teeth clench around the soft rubber piece in my mouth as I work on keeping my breathing even.

Further out we go. More bright flashes of colour. Some small and tiny, whisking away in schools; others bigger and more defensive.

Speckled with blue and purple strips, one determined fish swims right at us, warding us off his territory. I click the camera, and it whirs as I wind it forward, preparing for the small creature to make it’s return trip.

Larger fish, longer than my arm, swim in lazy grey circles in the cloudy distance, drifting in and out of view. The water becomes deeper. Far below, a giant shell beckons. It’s larger than the fish, larger than me, even. It’s faded and bleached and lies in two pieces. A colossal fossil lying on the sea bed. I struggle to keep my breathing even, taken back by it’s magnitude. There’s a strange sense of overwhelming wonder, and I stare, captured by this relic of the ocean.

My view fogs over. More shallow breathing. My heart rate quickens as I turn my head, trying to focus on something below. No use, my vision is encased in fog.

The air is as salty as the water. I breathe in deep gulps, staring about at how far we’ve come. A snorkel pokes up out of the water not a metre away, still trailing about in lazy arcs.

My legs work to keep me afloat, pumping double time as I pull the goggles loose, wincing as they tangle in my hair. Strands come loose, caught within the straps. A quick rinse, a bit of spit. A deep breath and another wince or three as the goggles go back on. Pressing down on the front so the rubber sticks, suctioning onto my skin—almost too tight and yet comforting in the near pain.

More salt. My legs are not used to this endless tread, and I dip too low. Water over my mouthpiece and in my mouth. My nose wrinkles. I spit salt and long for fresh water. Back at the shore is safety and warmth and water and food. But out here, there is more to be discovered. More clam shells, more bright fish, and turtles. There are turtles out here.

I take a deep breath, and put the snorkel back between my teeth, and delve back into the cool blue water.

A Micro Fiction: Mosh

Dear Reader,

I have been at CMC Rocks the past two days. I love country music. It speaks to me on a deeper level than other music (though I love many genres and bands).

So for this week’s Micro Fiction, I decided to write about my experiences in the Pit, which I normally avoid.

So here it is. I hope you enjoy Mosh.

Sincerly,

The Jade Writer Girl

Mosh

There is a moment of silence – brief and overshadowed – a hush that falls just before the rumble of noise begins. 

A feeling grows in the momentary quiet (which is not quite silence but rather anticipation). There is a noise to anticipation. A hum. A buzz that starts in your feet and builds to your chest, igniting in your soul.

Lights go up, the sound check crackles and a voice cat calls. A single, solitary call. But not for long.

Voice upon voice, fire upon smoke, elation upon joy. The crowd erupts. You close your eyes and scream, right from the bottom of your heart, dragging it up from your toes until your throat is raw and you still can’t help but grin and all the while – you can’t hear your own cry amongst the call of the crowd.

Bodies press in. Heat erupts. Summer is over, but not in the crowd. Hearts thud in time with your feet in time with the beat.

This moment lasts forever, and yet also no more than a single, ephemeral, nanosecond.

They arrive on stage and the noise, impossibly and beautifully and euphorically, becomes an eruption upon an eruption. 

Still, it is not yet the peak of noise, which comes as the words spill forth from speakers bulging past their limits. The ground pounds, boots thump, ears pop from the sheer volume of voices screaming the lyrics – half wrong and half right and all the while elbows poke into backs and feet stomp on feet and reaching hands bump heads in an attempt to catch that one perfect picture and a smell of sweat and heat and musk pervades the air that in any other circumstance would not be acceptable.

But we don’t care. YOU don’t care. You flow with a crowd you wouldn’t otherwise delve into. You scream words you cannot hear. You ignore the elbows you cannot feel. Because you are lost in the moment, in the pure, unadulterated sound of it all.

The intensity is almost overwhelming…and yet…it is not nearly enough.

Too soon, though it feels like forever, the lights dim, and the soundboard dies. Spotlights flare. Boots trudge down on crushed empties scattered across the ground.

Your muscles ache, your calves burn, you can’t feel your toes and your voice is making rasping noises it shouldn’t.

Yet you grin. You dance. You hum words to songs you heard hours ago.

Your world is at it’s highest height and nothing can bring you down.

Nothing… except perhaps the morning after.

A (Late) Micro Fiction: Literally

The speech had started about nuclear explosions and, in a way, that was how it had ended. It could have been the fact that the blonde twit before him had attached herself to his best friend’s face for the last three days. Maybe it was that said best friend was currently eyeing off the blonde twit’s brother. Perhaps it was the little pro gay rights badge hanging off her shirt. But in the end it was the thousandth misuse of the word “literally” that ignited the fuse.

‘Jesus Christ have you ever read a dictionary?’ he exploded, stopping the girl mid explanation. ‘It’s literal, as in the sky is literally blue. Or I will literally slap you if you don’t stop saying that word! Or literally tear that stupid pin from your shirt because you’re literally a vapid moron!’

‘Anthony!’ Mrs Goldberg gasped.

‘Do you really think you can just flounce around promoting gay rights when you know nothing about it?’ snarled Ant, ignoring Mrs Goldberg’s outrage – it was too late to stop, the fuse had been lit, and the built up explosion erupted. ‘You don’t even realise that your “boyfriend” is shagging your brother behind your back. No gay kid in his right mind will take up your ridiculous rally. Not in this town. Not when all their parents attend the same church, with the same pompous, hell preaching, homophobic minister! You think it’s so easy for a gay kid to admit how they feel? Like a crush won’t look at you like you’ve grown a second head and run screaming in terror? Like it’s that easy to ignore years of rules and examples and ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t say that’ and the countless stories of men loving women and women loving men and my Mother telling me that ‘boys don’t love boy’s like your father loves me’ and you standing up there preaching at me while you’re making out with my, with my, my…’

The explosion petered out. Realisation crossed the girl’s red tinged face and mortification crossed his.

He fled.

Red faced—in a potent combination of anger, shame and horror—he flung himself down on the front steps of the school and buried his head in hands.

Five minutes later, someone stepped down onto the stair next him, sitting in a swish of skirts and stockings and patting him lightly on the arm. ‘You know,’ said a soft, sympathetic voice. ‘you should start your own gay rally. You’re really very good at it.’

Muffled and mortified be asked, ‘Was it bad?’

‘It was quite spectacular,’ she said. ‘Although, I think most people knew about you and were just being polite about it. Except Tim. And if he doesn’t get it by now, I’ll skywrite it for you. And,’ she added, casting him a wicked grin, ‘just think how fun church will be this Sunday.’

He groaned, reburying his head and praying to whatever god was out there, to open up the ground and swallow him whole.

A Micro Fiction: Dosage

Dear Reader,

When I asked some friends for some ideas for this week’s micro fiction I thought I might get a few fun ideas or prompts that would inspire something quirky or experimental like I have been doing recently.

Instead I got some requirements that led to a rather odd idea.

Those requirements were: a bee, a tree, something unsettling and “I am the first sentient houseplant.”.

This, as you can imagine, was rather tricky but I actually enjoy how it turned out. It’s something different, and not at all what I would have written without those suggestions.

It is somewhat unconventional and I’m not entirely sure it makes sense or that it’s clear what’s going on in the story, but hopefully you get the idea and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Sincerely,

The Jade Writer Girl.

Dosage

‘I am the first sentient houseplant.’

Eve glanced up from her detailed depiction of a bee, raising her eyebrows as she surveyed the small bonsai plant sitting on her window sill.

“You can hardly call yourself a houseplant,” she said, tapping her pen against the pad of paper on her desk. “This isn’t a house, after all.”

‘I am the first sentient houseplant.’

‘Repeating it doesn’t make it so,’ said Eve, looking back down at her drawing.

Despite the drawbacks of having only a single blue, ballpoint pen, it wasn’t bad. It was one of her finest works, in fact. She liked bees. They were full of wonderful, anaphylactic wonder.

Like wasps and spiders and snakes. And the old frangipani plant she’d had, filled with it’s core of poisonous wonder. She sighed, missing Fran. After “The incident” they’d taken Fran away, and now Eve was stuck with an identity confused bonsai plant.

She had pens, at least, non-toxic though they were.

A sharp rap on the door pulled her attention away from the mechanics of the pen. The locks unclicked and rattled as the heavy, padded door swung inwards.

Eve dropped the pen onto her notebook and placed her hands flat on either side of the table as Troy entered, an easy smile on his face, despite his slow caution.

“How are you today, Eve?”

‘I am the first sentient houseplant.’

“Good,” said Eve. “George thinks he’s a houseplant. It’s laughable. He doesn’t realise he’s just crazy.”

Troy closed the door, nodding. He smiled, good-natured as always. He didn’t pretended like I was crazy. After all, we shared a mother, so he understood the situation. Mother was the whole reason I was here. With George, no less.

“George seems chatty.”

‘I am the first sentient houseplant.’

“It’s the new dose,” said Eve. “It makes me itchy, and it gives George an attitude.”

‘I am the first sentient houseplant.’

“You’ve been sharing your dose with George again?” asked Troy, crossing the room to examine George.

Troy shifted through the crushed up pills in George’s soil.

“They make him itchy too,” said Eve.

Troy straightened, shaking his head.

He gave me a wry look. “I can’t keep switching your meds. You know we won’t give you anything you can overdose on. Moth…uh, they are working on something new for you. Something that’ll clear your mind.”

Eve sighed. She stood and walked to the bed, careful not to cross within Troy’s personal space—always keep a one metre distance at all times. She flopped down onto the bed and glanced up at Troy from beneath her lashes.

“You’re very handsome,” she said, shifting her body on the bed.

A wry, somewhat uncomfortable, smile split Troy’s face. “Save it for George. I’ll talk to the doctors about upping your dose.”

“You’re a doll.”

As he left, the locks clicking back into place, George sighed wistfully after him. ‘I am the first sentient houseplant,’ he whispered huskilly.

“Oh, shut up already.”

A Short Story: Wilder

Dear Reader,

Wilder is a novel idea I’ve had floating around in the back of my thoughts for a long time. I’m quite fond of it, but with Extinguish and Riverwood being my current novel projects (and another one or two stories floating in the wings of those), I decided to turn it into a short story instead.

While not much has changed from what I originally wrote (and while I do still think there is potential for more) I think there is enough here in this piece to make do for a single story.

Pop Culture has taken such a strong hold of the Post Apocalyptic genre, that anything I’ve left out of this little snippet of a story is easily enough filled in by the reader’s own knowledge and familiarity with the subject.

The original version of this was written whilst I was in my second year at University. Later, I switched the tense to present and the POV to first, which was a bit of a challenge to begin with as I primarily write in past tense. However, I do think it works much better this way, particularly as a singular piece, rather than a novel. It gives more nuance to the “now” feeling of the piece, and thus is better suited to the snapshot style of a short story.

We were studying The Road by Cormac McCarthy at the time, so if you notice any similarities (as I did), that’s why – however, where The Road tends to show a lot of despair, I believe (I hope) that mine shows promise and hope.

As usual, follow the link (the story is 2,320 words, so a bit too long to post here in the blog), and let me know what you think in the comments section.

Wilder

Sincerely,

The Jade Writer Girl.