Maria’s Stuff: Flash Fiction: Mysterious Mirror

Lorna stood at the market stall sheltering from the downpour. Her mission was to find a mirror for her newly decorated bedroom. She scanned the assortment of jumble before her.   Her snub nose wiggled in distaste.    Lorna was seeking an unusual piece.

“Which item has attracted your attention, pretty lady?” The stall holder’s twinkling dark eyes regarded her.

Lorna knew she was pretty. A label she earned by merely entering into this world.

“I’m sure one of my special hand made pieces …..” His hands swept across the colourful hair combs, scarves swirling with colour and hand stitched purses carefully set out to attract attention.

She sighed, she suspected he would keep badgering her until she relented. Her cold blue eyes pierced him.  “I have enough tat.  You do not have what I am searching for – a special mirror..”

An elderly lady looking for  shelter jostled Lorna who snapped at her, “there is no room.”

Before the lady moved away, the stall holder  said, “please take this seat. You are welcome.”

When the rain stopped Lorna left with his words reaching out to her, “may you find what you are looking for, pretty lady.”

Lorna  tried every furniture store in the town but didn’t find her mirror.

Taking the shortcut back through the market hours later  a familiar voice asked, “did you find your mirror?”

She shook her head intent on walking home.

“Wait, you may like this one. It was given to me in exchange for some bags and shoes.”

With a sigh she turned. He was holding , her perfect mirror. Intricate surrounds in ornate gold completed the black framed mirror. It would look stunning in her room.

“A stunning piece for a stunning woman.” He told her.

Lorna didn’t haggle but paid the modest price . She was correct, it did suit her room. It sat on her dressing table. She frequently stared at her reflection.

She discovered it was addictive to stare at the frame, running her hands along it then touching the smooth glass which showed her perfect image .  In the following days, she devoted time to the mirror.

“Perfection,” she murmured.  “You and me, we were made to be together.”  The words were spoken with conviction.

The air hummed. Her arms and body shook. Gently she was scooped upwards to float  through time and space. She closed her eyes opening them only when she felt firm ground beneath her feet. Lorna shivered. Her world had changed. She was in a cold dank space staring out  of a window frame into a perfect room. She reached out but her hands hit off a barrier.

It wasn’t a window frame but the frame of a mirror. Her scream shook nothing but her thin body.

Time passed. No one came into the room.

One day the mirror was taken down and examined by a pair of familiar dark eyes. A gentle voice chided,  “now where shall I put you?  You look old and spent no one will enjoy looking in a mirror that is cloudy and glazed. I’ll put you in the dark cool attic for the time being. You will like it there.”

Lorna’s screams echoed but went unheard..

 

Flash Fiction: Flying Cakes.

 

Dear Kate,

Chris is lying in hospital.

The doctors don’t know what hit him. That is the trouble.

I know you are only 6,000 miles away but it might as well be the moon in moments of crisis.

I could do with a hug or a smack, I don’t know which would be best. You, as usual, would know and administer the necessary action.

How do I do it? I am married the sum total of five weeks, happy at last, and wham: my husband is lying unconscious on a hospital trolley. The fight for a proper bed is constant.

Right here we go, deep breath, the story begins like this.

I have been trying to impress him.

I’ve sorted his house, scrubbed and cleaned it until it has become so clean and sterilized it is a no go area for any insect or germ.  His wheezy chest has vanished. We are both delighted with his incredible stamina and energy. No need for details your vast imagination can sort that area out with delight, no doubt.

To celebrate I decided to bake his favorite, double chocolate fudge cake.

Me, bake? Why ever not? I decided to go for it. I bought the necessary ingredients and cake tin. Then I followed the recipe carefully. Placed it in the oven and went to watch my favorite tv program.

One hour later the smoke alarm woke me. I opened the back door, windows, skylights. I pulled the offending item from the oven. It was double all right, double burnt and hot. My burning fingers begged for mercy so I pegged it out the back door. This was followed by an awful sound.

I raced out. There Chris was, lying flat on his back and the hissing, smoking cake beside him. I called for help.

Checked no one was about then heaved the offending item even further away and there you go. What to do next? Please help.

 

Your loving but needy friend,

Maria

No Monsters Allowed.

Jessie was hiding under a chair. A shadow was chasing her.

“The monster can’t crush me here,” she whispered.

“‘Yes I can.” He roared.

Jessie raced into the kitchen shivering.

“Come on Jessie let’s go to the park.” Granddad said. Bob, her dog,  began to jump and bark.

“Wait till I put my coat on, Bob,” Jessie whispered looking around, searching for the monster. She didn’t want to be crushed.  A tear rolled down her face. Bobs sloppy tongue licked it off making Jessie giggle.

Bob walked with Jessie close to Granddad and Granny.

In the park Granddad went to get ice cream. Granny sat in the sun.

Climbing into the playhouse, Jessie felt safe. Bob was sitting beside her so there was no room for a monster.

“Jessie are you ok?” Granny asked.

“Yes. It’s nice here, try it Granny!”

“I’d get stuck in the door. Then you and Granddad would leave me.”

Jessie peeped out. “Oh Granny, I’d never do that.”

Granny smiled, “You might not, but Granddad would”

Granddad walked up to them carrying icecreams. He said, “One for you, Granny, and one for me.” He scratched his head, ” Was someone else looking for an ice-cream?”

Jessie giggled. Climbing out of the pipe she said, “Me, Granddad.”

“Who is this me?”

Skipping over to him she said, “Jessie.”

Bob was drooling. Great lumps of blob were hanging from his mouth.

“Thank you Granddad. But Bob is sad,” Jessie said. She stuck her finger in her ice cream and Bob licked her finger.

“It’s ok Bob. I have one for you.” Pulling a tub of ice cream from his pocket Granddad placed it on the ground. Bob looked at Jessie.

“Eat it up Bob.” She said. He did.

Jessie noticed a shadow looming behind her.

“You are tiny. I could swallow you in one gulp,” the monster shouted. He was huge, blocking out the sun. Jessie began to shake.

Bob was barking. Granddad said, “Stop, Bob.”

Huffing and grunting Bob moved closer to Jessie. She bent down to him and sat with her hands about the dog’s fluffy neck.

Later that afternoon Granddad handed Jessie a packet of crayons. “I am going to draw fairies and pixies but not leprechaun’s. They frighten me.”

“But, you are not afraid of anything, even spiders.”

Granddad said, “Do you want to know a secret? I’m afraid of lots of things especially nasty leprechauns.”

“Why?” Jessie asked.

“They want to take me away but I have a secret weapon – it’s a magic circle locking them out.”

“What is it Granddad?”

Granddad said, “Love! Leprechauns don’t understand love because their world is nasty. They don’t have you, Granny and Bob to love them.”

Jessie thought about all the nice things the monster couldn’t understand.

Granddad showed Jessie his drawing.

She laughed. “You drew funny coloured shapes Granddad.”

“They are fairies sprinkling butterflies everywhere. What did you draw?”

“You, Granny, Mum, Dad, and lots and lots of Bobs,” she whispered.

“Who will we bring to the park next time?” Granddad asked.

Jessie smiled and said, “We will, Bob and me. But no monsters allowed!”

 

Flash Fiction: The Hungry Polka

“I don’t know! Don‘t look at me like that. I just don‘t know, alright?”

The words hung in the air between teeth clenching mother and bored looking daughter. They turned and stared at the fabric.

Reining in her frustrations Gabby reminded herself she should be patient with her teenage daughter. “Well do you like it or not?” Gabby asked gently.

Chewing gum smacked about in her mouth as Ann considered her answer. She was tired of this hunt for the perfect fabric for the perfect dress and all for the perfect day.

The perfect day – her mum’s wedding. Ann tried not to think of it. She would prefer to run, from the house, from their perfectly planned lives and most of all, at this moment from this flaming tweedie shop.

With a shrug Ann said,  “Yes, sort of.” Silently she thought, it looks like the type of fabric that would drive a person dotty. The words made her smile and she repeated them in her head.

Gabby ignored the nit picking irritation created by the “sort of.” Instead she concentrated on the positive, the only positive word spoken by her daughter today.

They floated home on a cloud of relief via the number nineteen bus. Once inside their front door, they parted company.

Ann to her room. Gabby to the kitchen where she filled the kettle. Tea was needed immediately to help her recover. The fabric lay on the counter.

It was spotted by Martin. “Nice dots!” he commented.

Gabby grimaced remembering the work it took to overcome her daughters objections.

Martin  rubbed his hand across the fabric. “Reminds me of a haunting Polka tune I learnt at school.  He left the room whistling.

Gabby draped the fabric over the banisters that evening. Gabby insisted, inspiration for the cut, shape etc would happen if she kept it there.  Martin was continually whistling that tune. She found it irritating. He said it was comforting.

She woke at three in the morning. The room felt chilly. She got up to investigate.

The light on the landing drew her out of her room. She could hear the trace of dance music rising to meet her. She crept down the stairs. Curiosity forced her on, even as she saw the dark shadow on the stairs. Her heart pummeled in her chest, her ears were filled with the loud swoosh as anxiety raised her blood pressure.

Martin stood clutching  the fabric as he muttered softly to himself. The music played on. Gabby wondered where it was coming from. She looked at Martin, in fact she couldn’t take her eyes from him. His eyes were alight but his face was pale as he said over and over again…”Polka dot. Dot. Dot. Polka dot.”

The doctors insisted it was a stress related breakdown. Gabby didn’t know what to think or believe. Martin was no longer her Martin. He was a shadow of his former self, all he did was hum that blasted tune day in and day out. If he wasn’t humming he was singing about dots.

Ann offered her opinion. “Pre-wedding jitters and stress has turned his brain to mush!” With a pop of her gum she left the room.

The Dragon’s Secret. (Children’s story)

Finn hated being the smallest dragon in his village.

If I can’t be big then I will be famous. I will be a magician, Finn thought.

He gave magic a try. He set his magician’s hat on fire.

Finn tried hip-hop dancing.

“I’m dizzy” he moaned bumping into his mum. The pot of potatoes she was carrying, flew high into the air and landed on his dad’s foot.

With a roar dad flew into the sky and returned with a piece of a cloud. He wrapped his burning foot in the cloud.

Finn tried singing. “He sounds like a fire alarm,” mum said. Finn stopped singing when the lolly pop factory burned down.

“I’ll be a champion swimmer,” he said jumping into the pond. He splashed about so much he emptied the pond. Finn was followed home by a row of squawking, honking, homeless ducks and swans.

“If I were the biggest dragon then no one would laugh at me.”  He moaned.

Finn ate more vegetables, and exercised everyday but he didn’t grow.

Granddad went to visit Finn. “I know how you can be as big as a house.”

Finn asked, “why doesn’t everyone do it?”

“Because their surname is not Nogard” Granddad said. Bending close to Finn he whispered the secret of how to become a large dragon.

“I don’t think I could do it.” Finn said with a shake of his head.

“Don’t think Finn – just do it.”

Finn flew high into the blue sky searching for a cloud.  It was hard work beating his wings.

He remembered Granddad’s words,” keep going especially when you feel you can’t.”

Finn found a perfect small cloud.

He wrapped a silver thread around it by flying in a circle close to the cloud. He counted as he went, “one, two, three, four…” On the thirty third circle a large rumble shook the sky, followed by a flash of lightening.

Finn was thrown to the waiting stars.

“A dragon to play with,” the stars cried bouncing him between them.

The noise brought the other dragons out of their homes. “Where is Finn, how did he disappear?”  They watched the sky and waited.

“He’s gone,” sobbed mum.

“He will be back perhaps we have time for tea,” Granddad said.

Everyone agreed. Tea and cakes were eaten before they heard a light whooshing noise. It grew louder until it became a rumble like a jet plane.

High in the sky they spotted a swooping, diving spot growing bigger.

“It’s Finn,” Granddad said. Everyone began to cheer as Finn came to land.

Finn smiled and spewed flames into the sky.

Looking at his mum he said, “sorry I will need a bigger house.”

She just squeezed his foot, “it’s nice to have you back, I’ll go make an extra large dinner.”

Granddad said, “You will go down in our village history as being the largest dragon in the realm.”

And this was only the beginning of Finn’s fame, for he returned to the land of giants on many more occasions.

Bob’s Diary: My account of THE PARTY

 

 

Sunday lunchtime saw the Ogres and Fairies working together to prepare the center of the wood. When they finished they stood back to inspect their work.

“It looks amazing.” Breeze said.

“Not bad at all.” Tulip agreed.

Everyone was coming to the party, so the table needed to be extra long. It  zig zagged its way around the large trees near the center clearing of the wood. Tiny wooden bowls sat, in  a line along the center of the table. These were decorated with silver stars and red fairy lights.

At each Ogre’s setting there was  a giant wooden cup, a knife and a fork and a spoon. The chair was decorated in moss and spiderwebs that twinkled when they caught the  sunlight.

Each Fairy place setting had a glass knife and fork, a tiny glass shaped like a star with a squiggly straw peeping from one point. The fairies chairs were decorated in see through silk, with long red ribbons.

Place names were made from wood bark, names carved with fairy dust.

Guests appeared early, they were shown to their seats and sat down. The air hummed with conversation.

The menu was divided into two choices :Ogre stew, or Fairy Pleasant Pie. Ogre’s home brewed snow cone drink or a glass of chocolate strawberry milk, with an assortment of cream pies and fairy cakes to follow.

There would be music and dancing later, they hoped.

“Why did you hang lanterns from the trees? I banged my head off every single one.” Hamish, the Goblin, muttered lifting his hat to show a whole group of bumps and lumps.

“The fairies did it.” Breeze said. The other Ogres nodded in agreement.

“Well done Hamish stupendous lumps,  you would win a competition for them,” Elegant witch said as she arrived with her younger sister Lovisma following behind. Lovisma was closely followed by a giant cauldron which, floated close behind her. She led it with a dog lead. There was a lot of hissing and bubbling coming from the cauldron. A wooden spoon was spinning about, sending drops of liquid spattering the guests.

“We brought, devils delight, for those who don’t really care for milk or water.” Lovisma clapped her hands  in anticipation of the party.

There was silence while the guests and hosts wondered who might be brave enough to speak.

“Ahh what is in devils delight, it smells delicious.” Ellen an elderly tree nymph asked.

“There is a little bit of this and a lot of that but..”

“Nothing that was alive or walked through the forest.” Lovisma said.

“Did it fly?” Breeze wondered.

“No, it’s herbs spices and water, you fool.” Lovisma was starting to spin. When ever she got mad the tiny witch would spin so fast she created a hole in the ground.

The sound of a deep gong filled the wood. “tea is served,” The fairies declared and with a flick of their wands , food appeared in front of the diners.

“This is yummy, did you make it yourself?” Mrs. Groundsel asked Beaver an elderly Ogre.

“I did. Just something I rustled up.”

The Ogres found his answer funny. They giggled until their laughter grew to a roar. Any fairy sitting opposite an Ogre became airborn. Many landed in the trees or on the ground near the edge of the wood.

“Please don’t do that again.” Tulip snapped wiping moss off her best dress.

But they found they couldn’t stop laughing. The madder the fairies became the happier the Ogres were. Their laughter rang out throughout the wood, sending fairies flying through the air.

Finally the fairies got into a huddle. They whispered among themselves. When they broke apart they were smiling.

The Ogres’ looked at one another. “Is this good?” Breeze wondered.

The fairies sat down and began to eat. The Ogres relaxed.

Breeze was sitting opposite the tooth fairy. “Knock , knock, ” he said.

“Who’s there?” She asked

“Tooth!”

“Tooth who?”

“Tooth or dare!”

He smiled delighted at making a tooth fairy joke. When she was knocked off her chair by his laughter she jumped up on her feet shouting, “Ready fairies ?”

Each fairy pointed her wand at a cream pie. With a flick of  her wand a pie hit an Ogre’s face.

“Food fight,” Hamish roared.

“Hang on, Hamish, give us a mo, we can’t waste a pie.” Breeze shouted.

The party fight was on hold while every Ogre removed the pie from their face and carefully ate it.

The fairies picked up their drinks and flew high into the tree to watch. Soon the air was alive with laughter and the sound of faces being struck by pies and cakes.

Everyone declared it to be the best party in the forest. They went home tired and happy though there was no music or dancing. This was noticed by a few of the Ogres who agreed it would be a fitting excuse to host another event.

 

I'll do anything for jellies.

I’ll do anything for jellies. It was great fun to watch.

The Impudent Tattoo

I’m staring at my arm. I blink. Blink again, in the hope I will wake up. I pinch my arm to check if I’m dreaming. The expensive, painful, carefully drawn dragon has vanished.

This morning, while showering I noticed the ink was fading. Soap trickled into my eyes as I attempted to solve the puzzle. Had I been conned? Money taken for a cheap tacky job. No, I couldn’t call it either tacky or cheap. It hurt.

The tattoo was to mark the turning point in my life. I was free from my husband. I suppose it was an incredibly stupid act of rebellion but  I did it. I got a tattoo, at thirty eight years of age.

Once dressed I decided to return to the scene of the crime – the tattoo shop. It was small, crowded and busy. Despite the recession, many of us are escaping age or misery by acquiring a tattoo.

The door bell jangles as I enter.  The artist looks up. He scowls, then flicks the chewing gum from his mouth into a waste bin by his side. The current victim sitting in the chair is young, pale faced and clutching a tin of alcohol. I grimace, turn from the boy.
“Lo. You’ll have to wait.” He grudgingly acknowledges my presence and waves his implement of torture in my direction.

“I.” Clearing my throat I start again. “We have a problem. The tattoo you gave me is disappearing.”

He smiles. This is not a pleasant smile. It is a horrific metal smile. Cool and ugly. His voice canons into me, “I want whatever you are on.”

The boy in the chair glances at me,  “Can I have some? Does it make the pain go away?”
I ignore him and focus on the artist who is staring at my arm. I glance down. Disbelief washes through me because I have a tattoo of a dragon on my arm.
“I think you should go for a sleep and relax. It looks like a nice clean job, swelling has already vanished. You will be fine.” He dismiss’ me.
I feel the blood drain from my face. ” It’s back.” I whisper ignoring the giggles from the boy.

I leave as quietly as I can.
However two minutes later, cutting through the park, I glance down. No tattoo. This is madness. I head for a park bench.
“I must be crazy.”

“You are not but I wouldn’t class you as being un-crazy either.” The voice is elderly but pleasant. I look around and see nothing. Not even a cat lazing in the bushes or a bird tweeting in a tree.

I feel a tweak of heat on my arm and I glance down. The dragon stares up at me. He is approximately three inches tall and is breathing fire at an amazing rate.
“Please don’t do that.”

“Why? I’ve lain amongst the pages of that blasted book for ever and now that I’m free, why not?’
I shrug my shoulders and think. I can understand that. “But it’s my arm and I would rather not be burnt.”
He smiles at me . “I’m George, by the way.”
I lean over and pluck a leafy twig from the nearest shrub. “Try this.”
He does and is happy with the result. A black shriveled mess.

To prove his happiness he begins to dance, tap dance if I’m not mistaken all the way up and down my arm and along the seat I am sitting on.
A shadow looms above me and I look up. The park keeper is standing glaring at me. “Why would you do that?”
“Do what?”
“Set a twig on fire.” He has yanked off his cap and is mopping his brow with a white hanky. His bald head is a shining example of cleanliness.
“I didn’t..” I begin.
“It was me.” George explains as he jumps onto the arm of the bench. To reinforce his point he releases a bellow of fire that catches the end of the park keeper’s hanky. It goes up in smoke. He looks at me and at George. He faints, landing on the ground with a nice soft thud.
Standing up, I step over the keeper saying, “George, this is interesting.  Would you like to meet my ex husband?”
George smiles and I leave the park with him sitting on my shoulder.

Battleground. – Flash Fiction.

 

When Jane bought the house it was derelict. The garden a tip. Ten years on and it was a house buyers dream. The garden, a fantasy of jeweled color and activity.

However, this morning it was quiet. Too quiet. She shivered. No cat on the windowsill, no birds flitting about and singing their hearts out.  As sun filled as any postcard and as quiet as one too.

“Somethings up,” she muttered. Her husband gathering his brief case looked over at her and smiled.

“Lost your keys again?”

“No, but I’ve lost all sound in the garden. Like God has turned the Stereo off.” She smiled at the absurdity of her words.

He planted a light kiss on her cheek and left for work. Jane trundled outside to check .

Then she saw him.  The fledgling Mocking-jay sat on the back of the garden seat. Time moved on but he didn’t. Seconds became one minute, then two. She tiptoed forward and followed his line of vision.

Her heart wobbled, her body swayed. There on the old grey stone wall sat a line of crows.

Run for the garden rake to get between predators and the terrified bird or? She glanced back at the mocking-jay and for the first time noticed his expression.

He wasn’t terrified he was arrogantly daring them to attack. She wondered why.  The tiny rustle behind her alerted Jane. A glance over her shoulder revealed an army of mocking-jay birds.

Jane didn’t stop to think, she ran for cover….

Flash fiction piece inspired by photo on:

Flash Fiction.. Reeled in….

He wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming infusion of her.  The simple scent of citrus was driving him beyond reason.  He never wanted to let her go. His hammering heart warned him that if he didn’t do something soon, he would be tempted to push the boundary of their new and tentative friendship.

She smelt sweet, tasted like heaven and he knew he needed more than friendship. Her constant claims of not looking or wanting a boyfriend puzzled him. If she didn’t like men then why did she hang around with him?