ISN’T IT ALWAYS

Jean-Louis watched the person in the water.

He had piloted his small coal barge for thirty years, travelling back and forth along the canal between Arles and For-Sur-Mer on the coast.

The canal was straight, had only one lock, and passed through farmland and a nature reserveIt was unusual to see anyone on the paths alongside the canal, let alone jumping into the water to meet his barge.

He picked up his pole with the mooring hook attached and held it out to the incoming swimmer.

The man gratefully grabbed the hook and Jean-Louis pulled him aboard.

Merci,’ the man said, having regained his breath. He wore only a shirt and underwear.

‘Pas de problème,‘ Jean-Louis replied.

‘You must think I am crazy.’

‘The thought had crossed my mind,’ Jean-Louis said, taking hold of the tiller.

‘There is a good reason for my strange behaviour.’

‘It is none of my concern,’ Jean-Louis shrugged.

Problème de femme,‘ the man explained.

‘Ah,’ Jean-Louis nodded his head. ‘N‘est-ce pas toujours.’


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Copyright BarbCT

Written as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in around 150 words, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thanks as always to the challenge host Priceless Joy. For more information visit HERE.

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

Translation:
Merci – thank you
Pas de problème – no problem
Problème de femme – woman trouble
N‘est-ce pas toujours – isn’t it always

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RETURN TO THE PAST

The heat was relentless. Even under his straw hat, Phillips could feel his scalp burning. The locals stayed indoors during the middle of the day, when the sun was at it’s peak. That was why he chose to take his daily stroll at this time.

His cane slipped on the uneven cobbles as he wandered through the empty, narrow streets. Rounding the corner he took in the view of the Mediterranean beyond the cliffs. Across the inlet Sainte-Tropez sparkled.

He had settled into the relaxed anonymity of the French Riviera. Too settled. It would be time to move on soon. To where he hadn’t decided. Perhaps somewhere a bit cooler. A bit less blue. His thoughts turned to home. He missed the grey and mild climate of Britain. The leaves would be turning now, from lush green, to crisp gold.

Never being able to return to his country of birth was just one of the sacrifices he had made. Faces of those he had loved, lost, befriended and betrayed haunted his memories. In the glare of the bright sun he closed his eyes and saw the ghosts again. Pawns in the great game, and he was just another one. Continue reading “RETURN TO THE PAST”

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

James stood against the railing, feeling refreshed in his tuxedo.

It had been an arduous fortnight.

Tomorrow, disembark at Alexandria, then a plane ride back home to London.

A woman approached, dressed in an elegant ballgown.

‘Join me?’ she asked, offering a flute of champagne.

A boy ran between them and vomited over the side of the boat.

‘Too much buffet, Dad.’

James looked at his son. Some of the sick had landed on James’ trousers.

‘Sorry,’ James shrugged at the woman.

On the deck above, Phillips stood in a tuxedo, checked a roll of film was safe in his pocket, and sipped champagne.


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Copyright Ted Strutz

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

You can read more short stories about the spy Phillips here: THE PHILLIPS SPY STORIES.

LOVE

‘Fifty-nine dead. Five hundred injured.’ Hannah says it more to herself than anyone else.

‘Terrorists again?’ the young girl playing on the floor asks her.

‘Just a man with a gun.’

‘It’s never going to stop, is it, Mum?’

‘It hasn’t stopped since time began. All this violence toward each other,’ she shakes her head. ‘All of it senseless.’

‘Then there is nothing we can do to make it better.’

Hannah looks at her daughter and sees the look of fear.

‘No, we never give up. We never let the violence win. Get your paint and some paper.’

Hannah helps her paint the word ‘love’ in bold blue letters. The ten year-old adds love hearts.

‘Come,’ Hannah says. They go out into the street and walk to the town centre, carrying the homemade sign.

Hannah lights the candle she brought with her and stands holding her daughter’s hand. The small crowd grows, standing together in peaceful remembrance and defiance.

She looks into the innocent brown eyes staring up at her. ‘Hate never wins.’


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Copyright Elaine Farrington Johnson

Written as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in around 150 words, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thanks as always to the challenge host Priceless Joy. For more information visit HERE.

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

FARMER BARRY

When he was a small boy, Barry loved playing with the toy farm his father made for him. He tended to the small cows, sheep and pigs, drove the tractor, mucked out the stables and fed the horses.

Sometimes his father would join him, but after his parents divorce he sat playing on his own.

Being from a working class family, Barry knew he would never be able to have a real farm. He was also put off by the hard work.

It had taken him a few years, but now he had the farm he dreamed of.

He worked in the abandoned warehouse as Farmer Barry,  tending to his collection of stuffed animals. The college course in taxidermy and a knack for livestock rustling had given him the means to create his life-size playset.

Lifting the stuffed fox outside the fence to protect the sheep, Barry sighed. The end of another busy day. He tapped his father on the head. His dad’s glazed, still eyes didn’t respond, just like when he used to play with Barry and his toy farm.

‘Goodnight, Dad,’ said Barry. ‘See you in the morning.’

He flicked the light off.


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Copyright A Mixed Bag

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.