The Refuge

Here’s a flash fiction story about recent events in the UK and my tribute to the victims and the survivors…

Image result for girls using hairsprayThe Refuge

When you opened the door, the smell hit you.

Hairspray, different perfumes and nail varnish – so thick and cloying, you had to breathe through your mouth to stop yourself choking.

Louisa knew the drill when she entered the women’s loos at an Ariana Grande gig, though the same applied to Little Mix, Taylor Swift and any other artist with that fanbase. The toilets swirled with chemicals, excitement and high-pitched chatter.

One group sang Ariana’s final song, miming microphones in front of the mirrors.

The toilets were to prove a refuge. Chemicals, laughter, chatter and finally safety from one with murderous intent.

©Emma Baird 2017

 

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Global Warming – Friday Flash Fiction

A little Friday flash fiction for you…

“I’m still waiting for global warming to kick in.”

“Not half. It’s been a long winter.”

British weather offered conversation for every situation. Our new neighbours—four small children and a dog—moved in last week. We watched, half-hidden behind curtains, as they installed a trampoline in their garden.

It had been cold and wet ever since.

“How old are your wee ones?”

“The twins are three, Alex is five and Karly’s six.”

The four of them had appeared, fanning out behind their dad. They regarded me coolly, shaking their head when told to say hello.

War was silently declared.

©Emma Baird 2017

Life on Pluto

I wrote some more flash fiction this week, but, wait for it, not on a Friday…

A fellow writer, Russell Conover, updates a dedicated Friday Flash Fiction blog and my story was in response to one he wrote. Both of us share a love of cats, and over the years we have created lots of stories about a fictional feline known as Alice’s cat.

Life on Pluto

If they send a cat to Pluto, its life expectancy increases by 20 years.

So, your average cat should live about 12 years. A Pluto-tripped cat has the potential to miaow for three times as long.

Unfortunately, the same doesn’t apply to humans. Their life expectancy decreases by 10 years.

Alice was yet to travel to Pluto. Though if she did, she could time her demise to fit in with that of her cat. A world without her precious pet didn’t bear thinking about.

She checked Rocket Flights 2Go. March’s special offers included half-price interplanetary travel.

She signed up.

 

You can also read more flash fiction on the flash fiction website here.

Flash Fiction – Two Examples

For more than two years, I wrote a flash fiction story every week. As I love alliteration, I wrote the story on a Friday so I could call it Friday flash fiction.

I stopped because I wanted to concentrate on writing books. My imagination is finite. If I use it up on short stories, there’ll be less left for books!

However, last Friday a member of a group I’m part of wrote a lovely little tale about the founder of a flash fiction group on LinkedIn. I couldn’t resist it… Here’s the original story and my response.*

The Painting Problem, by Russell Conover

The painting club was enjoying a weekly meeting, with one exception.

“Great to see so many faces here,” Bob said with a smile.

“Yeah, but I miss our founder Jill,” Ted lamented. “Wonder what happened to her?”

The painters looked at each other and shrugged. Jill had occasionally been in touch with brief updates, but compared to her flawlessly regular masterpieces before, she’d all but vanished.

“Hey–why don’t we work together on a tribute painting for Jill?” Betty suggested.

“Awesome!” Tanya exclaimed. “Then she’ll know we miss her.”

“Let’s do it. We owe our founder a shout-out.” Ray smiled.

The Wobbly Glass, by Emma Baird

“Jill? Jill? Are you there?”

In extreme circumstances, Ouija boards served a purpose. The glass whizzed across the board to the letter Y.

Ray smiled. “Okay, so she went over to the other side.”

Betty looked puzzled. “She sounded perfectly well the last time I spoke to her.”

The glass wobbled ominously. It moved from letter to letter so fast, it was impossible to keep up.

Ray nodded slowly. “I think I know what this other side is. Clarity and precision are no longer our founder’s watchwords. I think she’s been kidnapped by the stream of consciousness crew.”

 

For more Friday flash fiction, see the WordPress site, Friday flash fiction, and the website of the sane name.

*I’m duty-bound to report that there was a typo in my story. I wrote “steam of consciousness”, rather than “stream”…

An Alternative Argument – Friday Flash Fiction

junkieIt’s been a while since I’ve written any flash fiction but this piece came to me when I was in the supermarket the other week. (Supermarkets – as you wander the aisles, your mind soars freely.)

An Alternative Argument

“You look alright for a junkie…”

Over the years, many people tried to persuade Chris to give up. They used a variety of arguments – ones that cited what it did to his health (his demise the ultimate threat), to the impact it had on his finances.

Nothing worked.

She regarded him scientifically. “Those cheek bones are something else. And your eyes look haunted… that vulnerability makes you sexy.”

She stroked his cheek, regretfully. “You’d be devastating if you were in peak health.”

As she got up to leave, he felt his stomach lurch. “Please stay.”

No response.

This time, maybe.

100 Not Out – A Review

100 Not Out100 Not Out by Gordon Lawrie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Searching for something to read for your commute – whether that’s for work or for a flight out on summer holidays? Try 100 Not Out. The author has collected together examples of his flash fiction, i.e. very short stories, grouping them in categories such as love, crime, politics and more. Many of the stories will make you laugh out loud – they will certainly make you think.

A light, but satisfying read. I’d thoroughly recommend it.

View all my reviews

Annoying Habits

RockyDear oh dear oh dear… recently, I thought it would be a good idea to add another cat to our household. Now, cats are notoriously territorial and my resident cat in particular is King Bee of the Area. He took to the new cat like a duck to… a shotgun? The Sahara Desert?

Cats that are confined indoors, rather like the new cat we adopted, find all kinds of ways to amuse themselves. One thing they like to do is knock stuff off shelves – and it was this particular habit that inspired some Friday Flash Fiction.

Annoying Habits

“My precious – where are you?”

Sod it. Lucia had lost her wedding ring. Some might argue that her fidelity had gone eons ago, but the ring bound her to a long-ago promise. The naked fourth finger of her left hand was too obvious for her liking.

The Cat sniffed. One of his little – some might say cute, some might say annoying – habits was knocking things off shelves. Spectacles, kirby grips, the occasional wedding ring* taken off for cleaning…

The Cat didn’t judge, but Lucia’s last affair had pushed certain boundaries. Tom’s youngest brother.

Who also happened to have a dog.

©Emma Baird 2016

 

*My wedding ring went missing for a week. It tuned up six days later, resting near the toilet. Hmm