Friday, 29 November 2013

Eighty Second Friday Flash: The Magic Pillowcase



 The air was thick with the smell of damp hay. John scooped up all the muck and grime off the floor. Hard work but it distracted him from the pain he felt in his heart. His wife was close to surgery, the doctors said it was touch and go on whether she would make it. Her mother was with her and she blamed the situation on him, which only frustrated him further, he only wanted the best for his wife.

Most of the animals were in the barn today, it was too cold for them to be out. With his work done, he went over and stroked the bull Moosby's neck. The bovine moved and stamped his hoof in appreciation. Moosby's eyes darted to the side and he shied away. John searched the room, it was a mouse sitting in the middle of the floor staring at them.

John gripped the handle of his broom. Ready to shoo it away, but it seemed to beckon his with its little paw, curious, John followed it. The mouse went up to the second floor of the barn, where the bales of hay were kept. It stopped to look at him a few times, as if to check he was still following it.

Dodging a few spiderwebs and climbing over some hay bales John found himself in the corner. There was a shaft of morning little shining through a hole in the roof. One day he would have to fix that. The mouse was sitting on something white and dusty. He couldn't believe it, it was his wife's favourite pillowcase. It had gone missing a week before she was rushed to hospital.

John got out some of his breakfast nuts and berries and gave it to the mouse. It sat there chewing as John gently pulled the pillowcase away from it. With the pillowcase in hand he rushed to the farmhouse.

The washing machine and tumble dryer seemed to take forever. He had to get it to his wife, he knew it would comfort her.

When he reached the ward she was staying in he was shocked to discover that she wasn't there. In a panic he grabbed the nearest nurse.

“My wife?”

“Oh, Mr. Johnson, didn't you know? She is in surgery, your mother-in-law said she would inform you.”

He would need to confront his mother-in-law later. “How is she?”

Just then his wife was wheeled in. She looked so tired, but he was so happy to see she was okay. He glared at his mother-in-law and she stared back. The nurse took in the situation.

“Come, Mr/s Arden, your daughter needs her husband.”

His mother-in-law began to protest but stopped when she saw the pillowcase with the rainbow design in his hand.

John sat down next to his wife and took her hand in his. It was warm, but unresponsive. The nurse's help he changed the pillowcase.

He felt a gentle squeeze and opened his eyes. Her other hand rested on the pillowcase. She looked very weak, but there was a smile on her face. It was all that he needed to see. It was going to be a long road, but everything was going to be just fine.



Thursday, 31 October 2013

Eighty First Friday Flash: Bump

 Ruza was filing away some dusty files, she was an intern, what else would she be doing?

“Boo!” said Bob, her fellow intern behind her.

Startled, Ruza smacked her head on a cabinet draw. She saw a whole sprinkling of stars before the whole world came back into view.

“Ow!”

“Oh, Ruza! Did you hurt yourself?”

Ruza turned and growled at him. “Damn right I did!”

Bob looked ashamed with his large eyes, fuzzy cheeks and button nose. Wait, something wasn't right. Ruza laughed.

“What is it?”

“You look like a panda bear!”

Bob's frown deepened. “Maybe you should see a doctor?”

“Nah, I'm sure it's nothing,” said Ruza.

“Go have a break, I will finish here.”

Rubbing her head Ruza went to the coffee room. A bright pink flamingo was standing on one leg drinking a latte and nibbling on a doughnut.

Ruza giggled. Maybe she did have a concussion or something after all.

“Don't look at me that way! I used low fat milk.”

That confirmed it, it had to be Angela from reception she was always concerned about her appearance. This was too much fun, she had to go see what the others looked like. Bill from accounting was a mole with thick glasses. Busy body Beatrice was a bumble bee. And showoff Ted from marketing was a peacock.

They all looked at her as if she was high on glue.

She only had one more person to see, Catherine her boss. Ruza burst into the main office. She had to see before the affect wore off.

Ruza laughed louder than ever before. She was right! Her boss was an old and hairy shrew! The giant shrew in a business suit squealed.

Moments later Adam the wild boar from security hauled her away towards the elevator. A confused Bob tagged along saying they must get her to the hospital.

Ruza looked at herself in the mirror of the elevator. She was a penguin.


Ruza liked penguins.   

Friday, 9 August 2013

Eightieth Friday Flash: Fresh off the Battlefield



Everyone was dead. All his friends, his horse, even the fearless general lay in a pool of his own blood. Mark Sheldon wasn't far from it himself a shot to his upper thigh. He was bound to bleed out sooner or later. It was all too much, to top it all off there was a scavenger moving among the dead. Grabbing rifles and picking pockets. Mark wouldn't stand for it. Wearily aiming his gun he got the plum shaped man in his sights and fired. Like a sack of potatoes the vulture went down.

The man let out such a wail. Not wanting to have to deal with the noise Mark moved closer to finish the job, every step more painful than the last. Within feet of the man Mark raised his pistol.

“No! Wait you don't understand. They didn't need them anymore. They are long dead!”

Mark spat. Long dead, just five minutes ago Leopold had smiled at him as he took his last breath.

“Scum.”

“They are priceless, I just couldn't bare to see them rot.”

The more the man spoke the harder it became for Mark to pull the trigger. Closing his eyes the thought of the man pick pocketing his corpse coming to mind.

“Here I will show you...” the man had a card in his hand.

There was a loud crack.

Fearing dark omens for not honouring the dead man's wish Mark leaned over and picked up the bloodied card.

It read:

Tim's Time Travelling Antiques Store.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Seventy-Ninth Friday Flash: Cylinder



It was a busy morning. The rains of the last few weeks had finally stopped. Everyone was doing their best to cram as much work into the dry time as possible. Toby and Don were digging the foundations. Toby by the dig site and Don behind the controls.

“Just a bit deeper now,” said Toby over their two way radio.

“Right, oh.”

The head of the digging arm went deeper into the rich soil, bringing up bits of rock at the same time. Don took a few more sizable chunks out of the earth before there was a loud clanging noise.

“Whao! We've hit something.”

“And we were making such progress.”

“I know, I hope we don't have to call in the boffins. The last thing we need is an archeological dig.”

“Let me dig around it to see what we have.”

Don was surprisingly adept with the large machine. Within in a few minutes half it was unearthed. It seemed to be a cylinder.

Don joined Toby be the edge of the site. “Do think it's a bomb?”

“Nah, look there's a window in the side of it. Maybe it's one of those time capsules.”

“Quick, let's check it out before the others notice. Might be something valuable in it,” said Don rubbing his hands together.

“Haha, I doubt it, but let's go look.”

Don was the first to crouch down and get eye level with the window. He let out a yelp and scrambled backwards bring down loose dirt on top of him.

“What is it?”

“There... there's someone in it.”

“Impossible!”

“Look for yourself.”

Toby tentatively went down, he had never seen Don shocked before, but maybe it was part of an act to scare him. Toby cleared away some more of the dirt and leaned down to have a look. Sure enough a man with bright eyes waved at him.

“Holy moly!”

“What should we do?”
“We have to get him out. Can't just leave him in there.”

By the time the cylinder was pulled out and placed on level ground there was quite a crowd gathering. The man seemed to be happy and cheery. The most miraculous part was that he seemed to be healthy. There was a long and thin hatchway that included the window. People had tried, but it wouldn't open.

Local media had gathered and some said the military were on their way. There was a loud hissing sound and the hatchway opened.

The main wearing only the most modest of clothing stepped out.

“Who are you?” asked Don, stepping forward, he felt that it was his discovery and wanted to make sure people remembered that.

“I am Adam. Part of the next of wave colonization. Where is my Eve?”

Everyone looked to each other speechless.



Friday, 24 May 2013

Seventy Eighth Friday Flash: Venus' Way

Pyro Flowers by Katie Cresswell. Image found here:  



There was another dust storm, and with near gale forces winds it was like being sandblasted. It pelted against the tram windows. The other passengers were grim too, bowed heads and sad faces. All except one. A woman with golden hair that seemed to shine. She had a glorious smile on her face, she tapped her delicate fingers on the seat in front.

Korvus was drawn to her. What was her secret? Why smile when water was rationed to a few cupfuls a day.

Korvus had to find out. He sat next to her. She didn't seem to notice him at all. Just carried on looking out the window.

“Why so happy?”

“Why not, there's a lot to live for.”

“You're one of them rich folk aren't you? One of those people who relish in showing off their water. I heard yesterday that someone was keeping a gold fish. Can you imagine that? A gold fish!”

“Gold fish are pretty.”

The girl leaned past him and pulled the string for the bell. He breathed in an enchanting scent. Korvus was still two stops away from the hovel he called a home.

The girl with the alluring smile hopped off the tram. Seeming to take any hope for happiness with her. Caught on a whim he chased after her and leaped off the tram as it got going again. Using a scarf to protect himself from the worst of the wind he looked for the girl.

The girl was already disappearing around the corner of the next street. Korvus dashed after her. For four blocks he followed her. Trying to catch up, to stop her, but she was too fast.

At last they reached a back alley. The girl in the yellow dress went down it. It looked a bit dodgy, but if she wasn't afraid why should he be?

He walked halfway down and could not find her at all. Maybe it was just a shortcut. Then he heard some some clanging. He looked up. She was climbing up a ladder. Within moments she was up on the roof.

Too late to turn back he went up after her. Short of breath and dying for something to drink he stopped climbing as soon as his head reached eye level with the roof. All before him was a green garden. Stuffed with flowers, fruits and vegetables. Not even the richest water hog could afford to raise so much agriculture.

“Amazing, isn't it?”

“Sure is, and I wasn't stalking you if you wanted to know.”

“I know,” she said with a smile.

He didn't know which was more beautiful. Her or the garden. The garden was surrounded by other buildings, protecting it from the worst of the winds.

“But how? Water is so scarce.”

“Let me show you.”

She beckoned him forward, deeper into the dense garden. A horrible stench reached his nose. He gagged. 

“Hey, what's that smell?”

There was no reply. Just laughter. Korvus turned around. The lady in yellow didn't look so sweet anymore. Vines were twirling around his feet and hands. Strong vines he had no hope of breaking.

The lady stopped laughing abruptly. “Did you know the average human being is 55%-75% water?”

Korvus couldn't reply. There was a vine tightening itself around his neck.

“Oh well, a woman's work is never done, I better getting going. I wouldn't want my little darlings to go thirsty.”

The last thing Korvus saw was the strange girl kissing a rose and sauntering off towards the ladder.




Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Matka Canyon, Macedonia

video
A video from Matka Canyon in Macedonia

Will be uploading more soon. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Skopje, Macedonia

Biser (Pearl) Shopping Mall

Aerodrom Boulevard Jane Sandanski 

Train Station, Skopje

Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Macedonian Flag

Vardar River

New Opera House

Faith, Hope and Love Willow Trees

Tose Proevski

Stone Bridge

Stone Bridge

Aleksander the Great

My sweetheart and I (First photo together)

New Theater

Arc of Triumph Makedonija



Mother Theresa 

Kale Fortress

Hand from old Yugoslavian Monument 

Old Ottoman Ammunition House 

Macedonia Street

Well at Mother Theresa's House

Breakfast Together at Four Seasons

Macedonia Street

City Centre

Warrior on a Horse

Art Bridge

Gratski Fraer

Friday, 8 February 2013

Seventy Seventh Friday Flash: Fire Fight


You can read the other parts here:

Fire Hair - Image Source



“So, how was your day?” asked Phoebe.

“Some drama this morning, a couple and their kids came in and moments later another woman comes in. She's friendly at first and then shouting and screaming that the guy ruined her life and took away her children,” said Tony. They were eating take away food at his place. It wasn't nice as Phoebe's, a small apartment above the convenience store he worked at.

“Drama for sure, the kids?”

“They seemed to be clueless about it all.”

“A shame, and I bet the woman must be in a lot of pain.”

“Indeed, sorry for bringing it up.”

“Don't be, life ain't pretty, hardly ever is, but when it is you must treasure those moments.”

“Like this one with you.”

Phoebe laughed. “It's hardly special, this food isn't the best.”

“I mean the company, any time with you is precious.”

“You charmer,” said Phoebe cracking a smile.

“I try my best,” he smiled broadly back.

Phoebe took the last sip of her coffee. “I better be getting home.”

“Are you sure you don't want to spend the night?”

“You need to get up early and I have things to do, maybe some other night, okay?”

There was a moment of sadness before the smile returned. Tony stretched and yawned. “I am pretty darn tired.”

“I will get my car.”

“I came on my scooter remember?”

“Yes, yes, I am tired. I will come down with you.”

The wind was biting outside and Phoebe's coat seemed inadequate. She hugged herself.

Tony took off his jacket and placed it over her shoulders.

“I...”

“No, I don't need it,” he said giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Th... Thank you.”

“Think nothing of it, now go, and be safe, see you tomorrow?”

“Sure,” she said with a smile.

She got on her scooter and drove off. Only looking over her shoulder for the briefest moment. Tony was still there watching her leave.

Phoebe drove on, thinking about Tony and what she was going to do about him. She was about two blocks from home when it happened. The woman, she was going to walk in front of a night bus, Phoebe could not let that happen. She gunned her little motor and hooked the woman with her left arm. Pulling her to the side.

Phoebe lost balance and they both went down. Seemingly oblivious the bus disappeared around a corner.

Before she could get up the woman came charging at her. “What did you do that for, cow!”

“Saving your life.”

“I don't need your help. I made my choice.”

“And want about the bus driver and the passengers, how will their lives be after they discover you squashed under the wheels?”

“I do not care, I don't have my man, and he stole my kids.”

“Whoa, slow down here,” said Phoebe pulling the woman aside and then her scooter, which she didn't know if it would work again.

“My like is ruined is what I'm saying!” screeched the woman.

“Wait! You were in Tony's store weren't you?”

“Tony?”

“He's a nice guy.”

“I'm sure he is,” said the woman with some resentment. Another bus came around the corner. “If you don't mind I have a bus catch.”

The woman moved forward, Phoebe grabbed her hand and pulled her back. “No you don't!”

“Leave me alone! Who are you to tell me what to do!”

“I've been there, I've been down. Don't give into it. Fight. Are you going to give up just like that?”

“What choice do I have? I can't see my kids. The bastard and the courts won't let me.”
“What about when they are adults? They will be able to make their own decisions then right?”

“And?”

“You build up your life, you find yourself, make yourself happy and by the time you are ready hopefully they will be too.”

The woman was silent for a few moments. “I guess I could get my old job back and do those courses like I wanted.”

“That's it.”

“But no! It's too hard.” The woman tried to move again, but Phoebe did not let go.

“Life is never really easy, you just have to work at it and do your best.”

“Okay...” said the woman looking towards a truck that was coming. It was clear she was not listening properly.

Phoebe had no choice. She had never done it with someone so close before. Closing her eyes she manifested River Fire. Opening her eyes Phoebe was taken by the beauty. Flaming hair and trimmer and sleeker body River Fire was the fantasy version of herself. It was the first time she had seen her alternative self while fully awake, but it was hard work and she doubted she could hold it for long.

“What... what is that/”

“Your worst nightmare if you don't do what I say,” said Phoebe and River Fire together.

The woman broke down and sobbed. “Alright, alright, for my children I will try.”

“Good,” said Phoebe taking off Tony's jacket and putting it around the woman's shoulders. “Let me take you home.”

The jacket was full of holes from the fall. She hoped Tony wouldn't mind.




Friday, 18 January 2013

Seventy Sixth Friday Flash: Penguin, Mr. Bear, and Cecil the Living Locomotive

Mr. Bear by DeathNoteRox




Mr. Bear was no ordinary bear. He was a train conductor and a damn fine one at that. He could take you anywhere you wanted. Anywhere. Not that he did all the work himself. His train Cecil did a lot too.

Oh the conversations they would have to the small hours of the night after work, recounting old fares, it was the best time of the day and Mr. Bear would never change it for the world. Their favourite was about a penguin.

The cutest little penguin you would ever see. Big eyes you could lose yourself in and a voice you could listen to for days.

It all started with a phone call.

“Hello, is this Mr. Bear's Train Adventures?”

“It most certainly is!”

“Oh, thank you, I hope you can help me, all the other trains, planes and vehicles are snowed in. I can't get to my family for Penguin New Year?”

“Hold a sec,” Mr. Bear peaked his head out the kitchen window and shouted out to Cecil. “Ready for some winter fun?”

Cecil tooted his whistle.

“Hello, yes, we can do it.”

“You are a lifesaver, when can I expect you?”

“Roughly seven minutes, I want to finish my tea first.”

oOo

The penguin's place was a tree house. Mr. Bear went up the spiral staircase and knocked on the door. The adorable penguin answered. There was a fire in the fireplace and paintings hanging on the walls.

“Wow, Mr. Bear, how did you find me so fast?”

“It's all Cecil.”

Penguin looked down and to the side. Cecil the living locomotive was waiting patiently at the bottom of the tree. His little boiler glowing in the gathering dusk. “Doesn't he need rails?”

“Rails are for rookies, are you ready?”

“Yes, there's not much time, New Year is in a couple of hours, and my family live near the north pole.”

“North pole?”

“I have an odd family.”

“Don't we all, even my chum Cecil down there is distantly related.”

Penguin scratched her head with a flipper. “Right, I better get ready.”

“That you should.”

Like a whirlwind the penguin went around throwing things into a pink suitcase on wheels. After a few moments with a smile on her face the penguin stopped. “Yes, that's about it.”

Mr. Bear waved his paws towards the door. “All aboard!”

Penguin jumped up and down in excitement.

oOo

It was nice and warm in Cecil's engine room. Mr. Bear liked to keep the old engine company. Within moments they swept away into the air. The furnace glowing a rich orange glow and a purple smoke pumping out of the chimney.

“Cecil can fly?”

“Just one of his many tricks.”

“I can toot the tooter?”

Cecil tooted.

“That's a yes.”

“Yay!” Penguin got a hold of the tooter and pulled on it. Cecil tooted a musical toot that filled the sky.