Friday, April 30, 2010

#fridayflash: The Insurance Policy

I wrote this short for Laurita's Seaside Flash Fiction Contest over at Brain Droppings. It didn't win, so here's a ready-made #fridayflash for this week.

P.S. I loved her competition so much that I entered two stories - my other entry, 'Across the Ocean', won! You can check it out at Brain Droppings on Monday, 3 May.

(Image: William Murphy)

The Insurance Policy
Lily Mulholland

Song as sweet as his mother’s floated around Fletcher’s ears as he placed the tray on the musty passageway floor.

Oh I cannae tell ye of my name
Ya see to you we be all the same

Carried away o’er seven seas

Bringing good fortune to all but me

Half crouched in the dim, cramped space, he closed his eyes for a moment, savouring the clear, high notes. Remembering Curly’s warning, he rose abruptly and fumbled for the fob secured to the sash at his waist, iron keys clinking in his hands.

The singing stopped as Fletcher inserted the key into the lock and turned the rest of the bunch over itself. Retrieving the tray, he pushed the door open with his foot and entered the chamber. Seated at the wooden table taking up most of the room was a woman so beautiful she forced the young breath from his body. Taking a brush to her hair, she did not speak to him as he placed her meal on the table, instead fixing his gaze with lapis eyes. He nodded, stepped backward and left the room quickly, locking the door on the way out.

Oh I waste not sweet talk or charming smiles
For I ken my fate for the next t’ousand miles

Ye’ll save me up till the storm sets in

And then over ye’ll toss me for one final swim

He leaned back against the heavy door, closing his eyes and allowing the honey voice to wend its way into the vulnerable, hidden parts of his soul. A male voice jerked him from his daydreams.

‘Tell me ye dinnae look ‘er in the eye, lad.’

‘N-no, Curly. I did exactly as you said.’

The chief cook peered at Fletcher through squinty eyes.

‘Och, good lad. Ye ken there be no place for a bird on this ship. She’ll bring us bad luck. Now git along wit ya. There’s work ta be done.’

Fletcher scooted back to the galley, busying himself with a tub full of dirty plates and pans. The action of scrubbing the dishes was hypnotising and he was soon fantasizing about the woman.

Oh I cannae tell ye of my name
Ya see to you we be all the same

Carried away o’er seven seas

Bringing good fortune to all but me

She was snatched at the last port. Curly would not tell Fletcher where the first woman had gone, but he found out from the messman she cast a spell upon the bosun to aid her escape. Under captain’s orders he had been flogged senseless for it.

Almost as soon as the new girl came aboard to sell her perfumes and handkerchiefs, the order to make sail was piped. She was dragged below by the master-at-arms, her bosom having been judged to be ample pacification for the savage seas they would encounter in rounding the Cape.

Fletcher prayed for a mighty storm.

Friday, April 23, 2010

#fridayflash: Shop of Horrors

And now for something completely different...or light and easy at any rate!

Image: Jim

Shop of Horrors
By Lily Mulholland

Carly looked down at the shopping list, wondering why John was always so goddamned specific.


And on it went. Why couldn’t he just write ‘sugar’? Eggs? Milk? Red chilli? She wasn’t stupid, but he was treating her like a child.

‘I’m pregnant, not broken, you moron!’

‘Beg your pardon?’ asked a man behind her.

Carly wheeled, her cheeks scalding. ‘Oh! Sorry, nothing. I was talking to myself.’

She pushed the trolley viciously, determined to finish the shopping and get home. John was always bugging her to keep exercising. For the sake of the baby. But tonight he could lug in the bags; she was stuffed.

‘And tell me again why I’m the one doing the shopping? Eight and a half months pregnant? Doesn’t he have LEGS?’

Crushing the list, she tossed it behind a row of tinned peas and turned her trolley around. She pushed it toward aisle nine, the one aisle she never ventured down. Lollies were forbidden by John, who had been on a health kick since she told him they were pregnant. Saliva erupted as she tossed packets of chocolate coated raisins, musk sticks and liquorice allsorts into the trolley.

‘Feed me Seymour!’

The mad cackle died in her throat as she felt it – warm fluid dribbling slowly down the insides of her legs. She was leaking. Carly looked around, panicked and froze. Then the trickle became a flood.

Friday, April 16, 2010

#fridayflash: No way out

(Image: Nevit)
By Lily Mulholland

It winds down upon itself, doubling back, coiling and uncoiling, seeking out an alternative path, all the while descending relentlessly. Probing, searching for light in the oppressive dark like a subterranean engineer, it tests the circuit, ensuring the current holds strong. Turning back is impossible; on it drives unremittingly, its destination preordained. The pressure builds until it becomes unbearable, like molten flow behind a magma plug. Up and up the needle of the gauge rises into the red. The tipping point is reached and the words surge up his throat, perching, pausing momentarily on the precipice of his tongue. He can hold them back no longer; the lie must be lived.

‘I love you too.’

Friday, April 9, 2010

#fridayflash: Fire dance

(Image: Espencat)

By Lily Mulholland

Please contact me if you would like to read this story. I have pulled it to rework for submission.