My mother refused to sing lullabies or nursery rhymes. ‘Our lives are not that simple’, she said. Her preference was arias, laced with revenge.
Waves will carry The boats of men Who love me
Waves will crash Over the tyrants Who use me.
Wave goodbye. I am the sea. Endlessly.
Mother taught me that love can last a lifetime or a night-time. But it was a mortal who showed me that love can turn like the tide, leaving you stranded and helpless and alone.
He has humiliated me. Never again.
Beneath the full moon I watch him race to the shore, hand-in-hand with another, giggling with anticipation. As they enter the icy water I feel their bodies caress, merge, become one. I could do it now – knock them from their feet, crush them – but that’s too easy. I dip through the shadows to his fishing boat and drop a rope on the deck, innocuous but for three small knots; each a spell, born of a broken heart, passed down for generations.
The next morning, after casting off, he unpicks the first knot. Sunlight bursts through the clouds, waking the sluggish shoals. He undoes the second, and light rain ripples the surface, hiding him from the creatures below. Perfect conditions for my fisherman, but that won’t satisfy him. Right on cue, there goes the third, summoning the freak gust of wind that smashes the bow, breaks the keel, and snaps his neck.
Yes, it's that time again. We're back and we're getting ready to flood the internet with flash-fictions to celebrate National Flash-Fiction Day on Saturday 16th June 2018.
The rules are the same as ever, we are open for submissions for just one week. Stories should be no more than 500 words (not including the title) and should be on whatever theme you fancy. You can submit up to three entries, and there is no cost.
7 editors (one each day) will read your work, and make their decisions, and then the deluge begins at midnight on the 16th.
I’m going to ask her tonight, definitely. Dad said, you’re not even twelve son, what’s next – extra pocket money for johnnies? Mum told him not to be vulgar, then smiled at me; that smile that makes me want to yank her to the knees by the hair: shout, I’m not a baby, Mum.
It’s in the sports hall like always, but this year they’ve got a proper DJ, not just one of the dads. There she is, all curled hair and sprayed-on glitter. I go to tap her shoulder, but James and Jeremy, in the opposite corner, look at me all, why are you going up to a girl? So, before she turns around, I jump on her back: mime a lasso at them one-handed. Dig my knees into her skinny hips and breathe in marshmallows. Then I’m falling forwards. I put out my hands but my landing is broken. I roll off. And her blood’s on my knees. More of it trapped in the grooves of my trainers.
What happened? says Mr Miller, with a face like a father’s instead of a Head’s.
And she looks at me through the bloodied fingers at her nose. …
Marina’s lover delivers a mug of milky tea before his shift starts. She snakes her arm out from under the bedspread and grabs his wrist. He is ready for her: he clenches his fist around the sturdy clay handle and sets the mug down on a ring-marked, unopened paperback.
“Don’t go today.” She says that every day.
“I have to.” Always the same.
The top sheet is stretched across Marina’s lower face like a surgical mask. Her lover kisses the bridge of her nose. She holds her morning breath. He will leave. They all do, when days like this become weeks and months. God knows, she’d leave her miserable self, too, if she could.
“I’ll see you tonight.” They say stuff like that, when they’re just about to vanish. He smiles like a patient GP. Marina’s bowels twist.
Marina’s lover leaves the bedroom door ajar. She calls him her lover because he reckons he loves her to the moon and back. Plus, she’s too old for a boyfriend. He has created an unsettling draught. A vicious stripe of light interrupts t…