Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

Baby on Board

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This is a District Line train to Upminster. The next station is Gloucester Road. It was lightly air conditioned and artificially bright. It was early but not rush hour early, a little later than that perhaps. Only a few people stood but every seat was filled, so she stood there with her long, wiry, white hair wisping around her golden-bronze face. She was bent over a little reaching and shaking. It was as though it were winter and she’d forgotten to wear a coat. Most noticeable was her head which was bobbing up-down side-to-side involuntarily. Her lips were thin and cracked and very pink with a brown outline. Pocahontas!

Her hands struggled to find the green pole as the doors closed and the train jilted to commence the journey. She stumbled forward but did not fall. She had grabbed the pole for safety. Eyes were on her from all over and from above. Everyone watched the show of the hundred year old Pocahontas.

I looked away from her to scan my surroundings again. Eyes flitting between the show and the cats. Between the show and the makeup mirrors. Between the show and the Kindles. Everyone hoping that she might not fall, God forbid they delay this train for her sake, but all the same, noone willing to give up their seat.

The next station is Sloane Square. The train stopped. She went chest first into the pole. Someone gasped from the far end of the carriage. The seat behind her became free as a young man got up at the last minute and ran off the train. But before she could notice, for she was soothing her bruise with gentle strokes from her aged brown fingers, another young man jumped in the seat. He quite literally jumped. He had been inches away from her ever since South Kensington, holding onto the same pole she struggled with, never thinking to give her a hand. Thoughtless.

The girl opposite me saw it as well. She tutted, and when I turned to look at her tutting self, she pulled an ugly face as if to say what a shameful thing that was to do. I glared at her, stood up and pulled my whale of an ass over people’s feet to the old Pocahontas. It’s been too long.

“Hi,” I said to her in the softest voice I could conjure up. I was fuming. A single drop of warm water fell from my tear duct and crashed into my hand. I wiped it away. She pulled her arms around the green pole, holding on for dear life as she turned towards me. My legs, as wide as I had positioned them, could no longer support us so I was grabbing for the pole too.
“Hello,” she said to me with a croaky voice.
“Take my seat, please.” I said to her turning to point at the ash-white girl with pink lips sitting prim and proper with her A-line midi covering her knees and her breast bulging up out of the corset she wore with it. She was smiling and fiddling with her almost invisible necklace.

I don’t know where she came from, or how she got to my seat so quickly but I would get her out!

“YOU…” I began, addressing every dumb, ignorant and selfish ear that could hear me. Everyone who was not pregnant, disabled or elderly.

The old Pocahontas rested her paw upon my shoulder. “Don’t worry about it my dear,” she said, “leave them be. They’re not so bad, just preoccupied.” she said. I spun around to look at her again and held the rest of my disgust in my mouth. Once I had swallowed it down again, I felt faint. I pressed my hand into my back and then the train pushed my baby into the pole. Still, noone stood for the old Pocahontas or for me, the child bearing whale. Although her age was well etched into her face and my bulge was bouncing around and bruising, it was not enough for them.

The next station is Victoria, please change here for the Victoria Line, national rail services and Victoria coach station.I found that Pocahontas and I had the same stop. We made it on our feet until Victoria. Although we shouldn’t have. As she stood beside me and we stepped off the train onto the platform, I flooded both of our feet and crashed into my knees. She slipped on my waters and fell to her end in a moment.

It is true what they say. As one life comes into this world, one must go.

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Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

Free

I placed my wine glass down before me. It clinked on the marble floor. Then there was silence again, and crakling.  The residue of the grape blood shimmered in the light of the open flames dancing wildly just beyond the brick placement in the wall. I rubbed my naked leg along the fur rug beneath me and licked my fingers. The crisp sound of the pages. My bible.

It had been a while, but not too long. I hadn’t had peace like this since, before I was married and then again just after the divorce. Inner peace is something that has always been so important to me. To me, it equates to freedom.

I did have freedom, but I couldn’t use it to my advantage. Now that would be wrong, I know that. So I didn’t,  at least not intentionally. It just happened that way. I was the happier one, and it made him unhappy. So unhappy, I was free and he was trapped in this unhappiness.

I am not entirely sure why it had to happen that way. But I am okay. It was my choice too, to end his pain. He left me all the good things.

He left me. He said, “I love you pet. But I’ve ruined you. I’ve lost you. I must go and let you be free.”

I was like a bird, he said, that had flown into a beautiful, medium sized room. And immediately the windows fell shut. At first I stood in a corner and examined everything, then slowly I stepped out of the corner. Once I had made it to the center of the room, I began to fly. I fell. I tried again. I fell. I tried again. I bumped backwards and forwatds off of the walls and panic set sharply in my puffed up little chest. I squarked and screamed and flew and bumped and fell. I had lost so many feathers, so much strength, but with that weakness only came louder, more painful shrieks.

And eventually he was so utterly dismayed with his new pet. He smashed through the windows and let her go. He did love her. How beautiful her songs were, when she was calm and kept to the corner he had prepared for her. But when she stretched her wings, the troubles began. But can you blame her for doing that which she was made to do?

I was okay. Besides the fact that I had wandered off with my thoughts again, and forgot completely about the fire and the wine and the bible.

I was standing on my porch, looking out into the face of the moon. I pulled my blanket tight over my shoulders. In all that darkness it still shone so brightly. The waves tumbled roughly in the wind, asking for me. I went out to them. I went.

I am a wanderer.

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Creative Writing, Flash Fiction, The Fine Line

Sarah Malingo

I’ve had those days, where I look at myself and a reflection of someone I do not recognise looks back at me. Then comes a slight resemblance. Some one I know very intimately reveals herself in glimpses.

Slowly, I become more and more comfortable with this new being before me. She’s here to stay a while so why not. We leave the sighting where we first met, each going in opposite directions. But she remains with me, closer.

I am finding that the music which used to penetrate my soul with electricity now merely numbs it. Where I used to be at peace with the meolodies and the harmonies and the spirits of it, I am now at a distance, hearing it only and feeling nothing.

The colours that used to seep into my heart and dance joyously with my spirit, they just – are. I recognised them, but nothing becomes of them, they exist just like everything else that does not matter. There’s white, yes, but it is very telling. It stains so easily. Then there’s black. It’s chic, it’s classy and it’s slimming, isn’t it.

The joys of life are what she lives for, what I live for. I have recently grown accustomed to not looking for them. That way when they come to me and I notice them, I can feel.

I have found the joy in simplicity, in moments, in pain. This will remain until she leaves. When I no longer feel her cold touch. When a new reflection surfaces along with the glimpses of myself.

Do you understand?

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Creative Writing, Fashion, Fashion Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction

ZigZags and Selma

Tulisa had only a few minutes to pick a pair of shoes. Her pre-booked taxi driver had called 5 minutes ago reminding her of his presence. The extra charge was not the problem, her company directly paid for the costs, if he decided to leave, that would be the problem. Drivers had left her stranded in her closet on a few occasions. They often placed bets on which unfortunate soul would be summoned to drive Miss T. Rose to and from work in the week. She used to have one permanent driver, but he died and since no one would settle to be her driver. It was Abdullah’s week again. Miss Rose did not like Abdullah because he was the first driver annoyed enough to leave her stranded, which then set the pace for all preceding drivers.

 HONK! Tulisa frantically spun around to face the full length mirror that stood at the entrance of her closet room.  She wore a Tiffany white, cap-sleeved peplum dress and her hair fell down on one shoulder, like a fountain of lush chocolate. She thought about tying it up. The cough of the engine awoke her from her trance. She grabbed the brightest shoes that she could reach, her Nicholas Kirkwood Zigzags and ran barefoot through the hallway to the front door. She forgot her bag; she turned back to go to her room but immediately turned again to pull the door open. She waved at Abdullah and chucked her shoes on the floor. Holding up one finger she mouthed, ‘one second’. Abdullah gestured something back and put his foot down on the accelerator, the sound startled her.

 “Please,” she shouted, holding her hands together as if she was praying to him. Before he could accept or decline she was already back in her closet room, pulling together all the bits she’ll need for her day, into a pile on her bed. ‘iPad. Blackberry. Bank card. Keys. Keys, keys, keys. Oh my god, where are my keys. Okay. Ruby. Filofax.’ She stood for a moment motionless. Should she take the mandarin Selma because it was already out? Or should she take the white bag because her Kirkwoods were statement enough?

She took the mandarin Kors Selma bag because Abdullah had made her. He started shouting something into the house. She threw everything into it and ran to the back to the door, frowning. Shaking her head at him she lowered herself to pick up her shoes. With her large Kors bag unconventionally clutched under her arm and her Kirkwoods dangling from the other hand she attempted to pull the door shut with her calf. But her middy dress would not let her separate her legs enough.

Abdullah looked on from the car. Tulisa dropped the pair of shoes onto the floor once again, while she slipped her foot into one of them she pulled the door shut with her free hand. She turned and smiled at Abdullah as though she had done something genius. With both shoes on she headed over to the cab. Abdullah pushed a button on the steering wheel and the back door automatically opened as Tulisa approached it.

“Miss Rose” Abdullah said.

“Hi” she replied. 

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Creative Writing, Momentary

Too Busy

I watch the busy people rushing through life.

They don’t have a moment to stop and notice that they are being watched,

Nor do they have the moment to notice that their daughters are becoming wrecked emotionally,

That their sons are on the edge, that their babies are not progressing,

Nor do they notice their dying mother and father or their forgetting grandparents.

They don’t have the moment to notice.

I take a step out from behind the coffee shop window,

I am on the corner of Baldwin Street, in the city of Bristol,

The sun is high in the sky and there are no clouds,

I suck in a gush of air through my nose

While I close my eyes

I blow out a flood of breath.

I am a busy person too,

I am busy relaxing and enjoying my existence,

Eating and drinking, loving and living,

I am two decades old but I have understood already.

I will not partake on the journey where I will be dying to live

When that life means really living to die

I approach a woman who has taken a break from the buzz,

She’s bent over by the bus stop, pulling at her heel.

I start, ‘Excuse me, Mam’

‘No, Sorry, I’m busy’ she says as she tries to run off.

Her heel gives way and I approach again.

‘I can see that and that is why I am here’

‘No, no I can’t talk to you now’. She throws her shoes off

And barefooted she re-joins the rush through life.

She hadn’t noticed that she had dropped her wallet and key

My returning it was unsuccessful because she was too busy.

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Creative Writing

Brenda,

There’s something I have been wanting to say to you but I just haven’t known how to say it.

I’ve known you for what, nine years –  and we have been married for eight of those years. I know you now, too well perhaps and that can never be a good thing.

In the early years of knowing you, my whole life changed. You took me away from the books and the desk and you brought me to the mountains and the oceans and you sat me under the stars and above the clouds. We flew, we ran. I was living life so close to the edge and it was like I could fall off at any point, but because I didn’t know if I would and when I would I wasn’t scared at all. I was drunk always, intoxicated by love and adventure. You made me love adventure and so I chose to embark upon a new adventure, with you as my wife. We wed, and we fought; our two souls, our spirits and our bodies became one, just as God had intended. It was great and it was terrible.

When we couldn’t have children I was really pleased, which sounds weird, but I just thought if we are not meant to have children now then so be it, one day we will – let’s travel. Then you took a dive, from the highest board in our matrimonial pool into the depths of your work. You swam in the swamp of career. I dived too, just about. I dived to find you in it all, but the mess of it blinded me. When I did see you, I could see all this was making you ill. But for some reason you were determined to complete your swim, and so you swam. Why?

Ha. Then you lost your job, I thought I would have my girl back now. Do you remember I had started writing and it was taking off for me? But that wasn’t enough for me. I needed my girl back. I stopped writing so much, so I could be with you. I would take you back packing, sailing, hiking anywhere in the world, to share with you its beauty that we had missed for so long. But you always turned away. Sweet bitterness. You gave me a taste of life on the edge and you ripped it out of my midst when we said “I do”.

I do love you and I do want to try, but I do want to travel and I do not want to live like this any more. I do, Brenda, I do, I do.

What I am trying to say is, that I would like for us to go away and try each other one last time. Anywhere you want, everywhere you want. We could try and make it work if you say yes. But if you say no, then I’ll know we made a mistake. After all marriage will not last on love alone.

As your husband, I would like to tell you “I STILL DO”. But I have to ask “do you still too?”

I Love You Brenda

P.S. – Please say yes.

P.P.S – Re-read our vows. I’ve left them on the living room table in the red envelope entitled ‘wedding vows, 1982’.

I Still Do

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Creative Writing

Scarlett Crimson

We were young and dumb. Yes, sounds a bit cliché but we were immature. I’m not trying to hint that being mature means you don’t make mistakes, but it is the best excuse for what we did.

Yes, I love you and yes we had fun. When we were married I couldn’t see anyone else. We often spoke about that being a good thing, possibly the sweetest thing ever but I have realised now it is that reason why I can no longer be around for you. I couldn’t see any other woman before, so I didn’t have the chance to strengthen my fidelity, I had no interests because I saw nothing to be interested in. It’s been four years and I’ve felt that way up until you had that accident. You have been in this coma for three weeks, and they don’t know if you’re going to make it. Since I’ve accepted that it’s like scales have been lifted from my eyes.

I see everything now, I see the beauty of the world, I see women and men but not in the same light anymore. I see couples doing things together and enjoying one another’s company. Then I go home to an empty house, and sit in the dark with a bottle of wine and three pictures of you. I flick through them over and over and over, as though I was going through a whole album.

It is the one I took, when you first got off the plane to come and see me for the summer, with your scarf wrapped around your head and clipped under your chin, your lips as red as blood, your shades as black as night and as round as a full moon. You are not smiling in the picture but I remember how you couldn’t stop grinning as you realised who was behind the camera.

The other one is when you were sat at the morgue, when we went to bury our three week old baby girl. The picture looks almost black and white, but that’s odd because it was taken in colour. The last one was taken on the final night of our wedding, when our families were leaving, yours to Ohio and mine to London. Oh dear, how you cried about their departure. You fought with me that night, actually you fought with me most of that week. I didn’t make them go, nor did I make you marry me. You decided it all and that’s what happened.

I don’t know why it had to be those three pictures, every single night. Tonight though, I thought it important that you know. I met someone. I only met her yesterday, but she’s still here. She sat with me last night, while I flicked through your pictures and finished my bottle of wine; she had her own.

We quit our jobs in the morning, and hired a pair of Barclays bikes and cycled around the Hyde Park. Then we went back to the costume shop and played dress up games. Then ran all the way back to the park and we watched the sun set. Today I got to be young and dumb. I declared you dead and remarried, sort of. She’s my wife; she’s called Scarlett Crimson now. I am going to bring her in to see you soon. She’s going to love you.

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