A FLY IN THE KEYBOARD

He pondered the email on his screen.

His initial outrage had prompted him to write a thunderous reply, filled with ill-tempered language and dismissive ire. How dare they criticise his work? Who did they think they were?

‘Just ignore it,’ his agent always told him. ‘You don’t need to prove anything. Your a bestseller. Who cares what they think?’

He re-read the email and calmed down. As he read though, the doubts entered his mind. They actually made some  good points. That plot twist didn’t make any sense. Maybe they were right. The book was rubbish. His entire career was luck. He was a complete fraud.

He stopped himself. Enough of that sort of thinking. You’re a success. A literary star. They are entitled to their opinion. Don’t let it bother you.

How to respond? Should he take each point and offer a rebuttal? Or provide a general defence? But who has time for such contemptuous nit-picking. The cursor blinked at him.

He shrugged and typed:

‘Dear Sir,
‘Thank you for purchasing my latest novel and taking the time to write to me. I have exciting plans for the next book, and hope you are looking forward to reading it.
‘Kind Regards.’

He congratulated himself on rising above the criticism and returned to his writing.


198-04-april-30th-2017

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

This month I participated in the A TO Z CHALLENGE 2017 – a post each day based on the letters of the alphabet and theme. You can read my final story, a crime thriller HERE.

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Z IS FOR ZEBRA

The sun shone on Oslo, the signs of Spring finally showing. There was warmth in the sun and families sat on picnic rugs and played games on the grass. Sand and Gabi walked along the path. Gabi’s arm was still in a sling. The bruises and swelling on Sand’s face had receded. He moved stiffly with two broken ribs and the stitches in his shoulder.

It had been a week since Sand had been picked up from the yacht. Dag Moen was missing presumed dead. In the stormy sea the chances of anyone being able to swim back to shore were zero. In the sub-zero temperatures he would have frozen to death in less than a minute.

‘He stole the yacht as part of his plan?’ Gabi asked. Sand hadn’t been back to work yet. Although they had spoken briefly on the ‘phone, it was her first chance to get the full story.

Sand nodded. ‘It was supposed to be his getaway, I think. He should have killed me on the whaler and then got away before anyone missed me. They found the owner of the yacht in his apartment. Moen had followed him home one night, broken into his place and left him tied up in the closet. Took the keys for his yacht.’

‘He was lucky to get away alive. If Moen was evil or insane, why didn’t he kill him too?’

‘Nothing is black and white,’ Sand said. ‘I’m not convinced he was pure evil. There was motive to what he was doing, and he had a plan that made sense in his reality. I was the target all along.’ Continue reading “Z IS FOR ZEBRA”

Y IS FOR YACHT

Sand sprinted as fast as his aching body would carry him along the dock. In the storm he kept losing sight of Moen until the dark was illuminated by a fresh lightning strike and he saw the toiling figure ahead. They ran clear of the hulking whaling ships, now it was private yachts and sailboats that were anchored in a marina, bobbing about on the surf caused by the strong wind.

Moen turned sharply and leapt onto one of the yachts. By the time Sand had drawn level with him he had untied it’s mooring and started the engine. He looked back at Sand as the gap of water between the dock and the yacht grew. Sand could only watch. The sea water would kill him in minutes if he jumped into it, and Sand wasn’t a great swimmer.

Bakke arrived, out of breath. ‘He’s gone,’ he puffed, bending over, hands on knees.

They watched the yacht motor through the harbour. Sand followed the direction it was travelling. ‘It’s never over,’ he said. He left Bakke standing gulping in air as he sprinted along the marina walkway. Continue reading “Y IS FOR YACHT”

X IS FOR X-RAY

The doctor held up the x-ray to the light box for Camilla and Sand to see. He pointed with his pencil as he spoke. ‘You see these areas of darkness here and here.’

Camilla nodded. Sand felt her hand reach over and tightly grab his knee.

‘I’m afraid that means the cancer has spread into your lungs,’ the doctor paused. Camilla let out a small sob, her head bowed. She knew what that meant.

Sand wanted clarification before he could believe it. ‘So the chemotherapy has failed?’

The doctor put the x-ray down and clasped his hands, leaning forward earnestly. ‘I’m afraid it’s worse than just the chemotherapy failing, Mr. Sand. The cancer has spread from the bowels. We will run tests but it appears to be in the pancreas and the lungs already.’

‘Then what do we try next?’ Sand asked. He already knew the answer, but he couldn’t accept it. Continue reading “X IS FOR X-RAY”

W IS FOR WHALE

The night streets were deserted. The residents of Bergen knew better than to go outside when a major storm was blowing in from the Norwegian Sea.

Bakke managed to keep the car in sight. Dag Moen’s driving was reckless, hurtling through the streets as the driving rain reduced visibility to almost zero.

‘He’s heading to the docks,’ Bakke said, gripping the steering wheel. ‘There’s a spare jacket on the back seat.’

Sand discovered he was shivering, wearing only his vest that was soaked through. He reached round and put the jacket on.

After a further ten minutes the car in front jerked to a stop. As Bakke pulled up behind it they saw Dag Moen exit the car and sprint away.

‘Call for back up, then follow me,’ Sand shouted over his shoulder as he jumped out the car.

The cold rain lashed into his face. He saw Moen leap over a chain fence and scramble down the other side. Sand reached the fence and jumped onto it. He caught his jacket on barbed wire at the top of it. He managed to free himself and fell from the top. He landed on his back, grunting with pain. He staggered up and continued running.

The dock was filled with old whaling ships. They stood in rows, tethered to the crumbling concrete, their rusting hulks battered by the wind and rain. Sand could hear them groaning and straining on their moorings as he sprinted along beside them. Continue reading “W IS FOR WHALE”