55 minus 46: Forlorn panstick

Posted: 2 July 2019 in 55 minus, fast fiction, fiction
Tags: , , ,

After yesterday’s long post about the trials of attending trials, something shorter today, or two somethings shorter, anyway.

I’m off this afternoon doing… stuff, and then attending one of my favourite evenings of the month, at The Distraction Club, so you get this week’s entry of old fiction today, a couple of stories that not many people will have read, and almost certainly, no one who’s started following me in the past decade or so.

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 always included the word, they always fitted the title, but usually in ways the challenger hadn’t anticipated. And they were always exactly 200 words in length.

Anyway, here are two from the vault.


Title: The Racket They Made
Word: forlorn
Challenger: Ade Brown
Length: 200 words exactly

The sky was incredibly blue. He’d never really noticed it before, but it really was as blue as in the storybooks he remembered reading as a child.

A wisp of whiteness drifted past in what seemed a forlorn attempt to remind him that clouds existed, then the sky was revealed again and he smiled at it.

A lazy smile, not unattractive under normal circumstances. He’d see her soon, and then they could spend some time together.

Laying on the ground, staring straight up at the blue, blue sky, he could hear noise of some sort, but he was entirely apathetic to the sound, concentrating on the now uniform blue that seemed so close. Uniform, but changing nonetheless. It was getting darker, but he didn’t mind, he could see deep into the colour. And he smiled.

He closed his eyes, then opened them again, suddenly remembering the flowers.

He remembered now: he was taking them to her.

And then he remembered crossing the road to the cemetery. And the car. And then flying…?

The sirens were quite loud now, he realised.

But t didn’t matter, for the sky was really, really blue.

And then he closed his eyes again. And smiled.

© Lee Barnett, 2009


Title: Driving Home
Word: panstick
Challenger: Challenger: Vix
Allchurch
Length: 200 words exactly

The cold night air only had a mild breeze pushing it around, but it seemed harsh in the moonlight as she leaned against the outside wall, her eyes closed. The brickwork against the back of her neck felt rough, and that was good in a way she couldn’t, and didn’t want to, understand.

Keeping her eyes shut though just might protect her from anyone else hurting her tonight.

That would work, she believed – just get through tonight. And tomorrow? She’d worry about tomorrow when the dawn’s light crept into the bedroom, discovering her, laying on the bed, her make-up still on, but panstick smeared onto the pillow, mixed with tears.

Laughter directed at her would have been a blessing, but she’d not been that fortunate. Instead, utter disdain had followed her around the room, clinging to her and increasing with each silent stare from those she had considered her friends. Each look had confirmed her humiliation, and had anyone told her the looks were those of approval, that the silence was that of awed appreciation, it wouldn’t have changed a thing.

A tear ran down her cheek while inside the club, music played and people danced; and life carried on.

© Lee Barnett, 2007


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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