55 minus 52: Vampires and dates

Posted: 26 June 2019 in 55 minus, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , ,

In previous countdown blogs, I’ve occasionally put up old fiction, stories I wrote long ago… People seemed to like them, so I’m continuing the habit. There’ll also be some new fiction, written on the day of posting, but yeah, there’ll be some previously written, previously published, stories.

So, there’ll be one post a week throughout this fifty-five day countdown consisting of ‘old’ fiction, stories that not many people will have read, and almost certainly, no one who’s started following me in the past decade or so.

I used to call them ‘classics’, but I’m pretty sure that to describe stories that not that many people would have seen as classics would be oxymoronic. or perhaps, merely moronic.

I should probably explain what the fast fiction challenge was, for the newcomers.

A decade and a half ago, I threw out a challenge. and then repeated it thereafter whenever I felt like it.

The challenge was the same in each case:

Give me a title of up to four words in length, together with a single word you want me to include in the tale, and I will write a story of exactly 200 words.

That’s it. The stories that resulted were sometimes funny, sometimes silly, sometimes horrific, sometimes parodic, sometimes in rhyme. But they always included the word, they always fitted the title, usually in ways the challenger hadn’t anticipated. And they were always exactly 200 words in length.

Anyway, here are two from the vault. (Note, [via Livejournal] as the chalenger merely means it was from a no longer current Livejournal user]

Title: Gloomy Kisses at Midnight
Word: memories
Challenger: Tony Lee
Length: 200 words exactly

The vampires left me alone as I walked the streets at night, always there, but never approaching. They knew better when I was striding like this.

I could hear a soft though reverberating keening from above and for some reason I couldn’t identify it reminded me of something. I’d heard that sound before.


Sometime before, when…

The memories slammed into my brain just as the leathery wings flew out of the alleyway, carrying with them the familiar stench and rank odour of the undead.

Her claws raked at my cheek, followed by her face, the lips obscenely seeking mine. I barely had the time to pull out the Holy Water and splash some at her, enjoying the thrill of the moment, the way what used to be flesh burned in the soaking. A shriek that could wake the dead (I knew, trust me) echoed around the street long after the creature had flown away in panic, cursing my name.

I made it the rest of the way home with few enough incidents and dropped my coat on the stairs before heading into the kitchen where my wife was waiting.

“Saw your mother again,” I said to her. “She’s mellowed.”

© Lee Barnett, 2007

Title: Confusion: That Night, 12/6/1986
Word: tablespoon
Challenger: Challenger: [via Livejournal]
Length: 200 words exactly

Two hours.

Sat at the table for two hours, shaking silently for the past ten minutes, playing with the tablespoon, holding back tears, staring at the empty chair.

Three years.

Three years ago next Monday when they first met. Waiting by the side of the road for the mechanic. Her third cigarette butt had just hit the ground when instead of the orange and white truck, his electric blue Toyota had pulled up; just a passer-by, concerned about her.

Four weeks.

Thirty days later, she’d moved in to his apartment, enthralled by his loveliness, in love with everything about him. They shared stories about their lives before they met: he revelling in her tales of growing up in Kent, she drowning in his reminiscences of Texan sunsets.

Five minutes.

All it took for their dream to end. The letter informing him that his father was dying. He left, she stayed; contact too painful. The potential meeting, planned for months later to see if love lasted: 12/6/1986.

Six months.

She thought June; he thought December. Of course they did.

A movement caught her eye as he returned to the table and she wiped her eye at what they could have lost…

© Lee Barnett, 2008

Something else tomorrow…

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-fifth birthday on 17th August 2019. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

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