Alors. Another round of QuickFic draws to a close; one by one, those fictional bikes are collected, mounted, their kickstands booted up as their fictional owners putter off back into the slushy swamp of inspiration.
We enjoyed it while it lasted.
A most hearty merci beaucoup to everyone who sent us a story – there were some absolute treats in there. Well, if you count revenge, murder and theft as treats, which we totally do. It was all brilliant. C’etait magnifique. Mange tout.
Anyway, a winner we must crown! Let’s do that.
RUNNER-UP: Z. M. Raymond
At first we didn’t notice them arrive. They came at night. One at a time at first and then more and more until it was impossible for us to say that we did not see them. They leaned against lampposts. They leaned against each other, tyres touching, rubber to rubber. The streets were full.
Their leather saddles whispered of soft exotic adventures and their wheels winked at us in the sunshine. I tried to ride one but the saddle bucked under me and the wheels jerked and shook until I fell off onto the hard road.
They moved at night but we never saw them. We found them leaning up against our walls, against our doors. Our own bicycles sensed their presence and became resistant to our touch. We heard their cries for freedom so we shackled them down. We locked our sheds and ignored their pleas to feel the open road beneath their wheels.
Someone decided that the bicycles needed to go, we needed help. The next day we heard the hum of the scooters as they collected in the lanes. They waited for darkness and then they breached the boundaries of our village. The sounds rose up to our windows. The screech of twisting metal pierced our sleep but we pretended not to hear. We closed our curtains against the flapping rubber and the hollow quiet.
In the morning we stepped outside to find the bicycles corralled, chained up into a pen. We left them there.
WINNER: Liz Falkingham
When She Came To Town
A rumour is a pot of jam, left out on a hot day. The first wasps are lucky; right place and time. Then, by some mysteriously telepathy, others come until the buzz becomes the draw, covering that first sticky-sweet siren call.
That was how it was when Bardot came to Paris. No-one knew who first spoke her name, dropped the pebble in the pond. Paul remembered traffic on the street, parps of car horns, some unseen boy shouting ‘Mama, attendez!’ Sounds lifted on rising air, slipping into the room where he and Camille lay on the bed, sweat cooling on their skin. He had begun to reach for her again when she had sat up, saying ‘what’s going on?’
Knelt together at the window, naked supplicants, they saw the weird herd of abandoned mopeds and bikes. Beyond, cars stood with doors open; their owners following others at some unheard command, dog-whistle pitch.
‘Que ce passe?’ Camille called down to an old man, who smiled and raised his cigarette in salute of her bare shoulders then shouted back ‘Bardot! Dans le parc!’
‘He says Brigitte Bardot is here, in the park!’ she said, pulling on her knickers. ‘Let’s see!’
Paul had watched her dress. The taste of her was still on his lips; what he wanted was here in this room.
Later, in some café, Camille shrugged it off.
‘Everyone gathered round, pushing, and then I heard it was just some old woman with a little dog. Maybe not even Bardot.’
A huge congratulations to both Z and Liz – but this is an especially special occasion, because Liz is our very first Two-in-a-Row winner! Well done Liz!
And a big thanks to everyone for their excellent imaginations. We do ever so enjoy you taking us out for a spin round the block on them each week.
Happy weekends, happy writing!