Oh it is good to be back! You all welcomed the return of #QUICKFIC with wit and verve and beauty, as always. Here was your prompt:
Let’s see who are winners are, shall we?
Runner Up: Alison Drury
Tiddly winks is dangerous
Whiskey and Cleo, brother and sister, were fiercely competitive. Since they were kittens they had always tried to be the biggest and bravest and bring home gifts to show their hunting prowess.
Wiggly worms hung, feigning death, like drooping moustaches under pink noses. The pile of gifts curiously remained the same size as the worms burrowed under the lounge rug. Despite their best efforts, they couldn’t escape through the polished parquet flooring and were unceremoniously scooped up into Tupperware and released back into the wilds of suburbia.
Mini field mice played ball until they spotted their chance to scuttle through the skinniest of gaps, taking refuge under kitchen cupboards. The kittens took turns to be on sentry duty; hours and days, eager to pounce.
A bat in the bedroom. A Mum under the duvet. A naked Dad with a shoebox. Both squealing with ‘delight’ at their latest gift.
A frog squeals too; a tap on the back, a squeal and a hop. Tiddly winks for kittens the greatest of games. A tap on the back, a squeal and a hop … and disappears out of sight.
Weeks later a flat fried frog is released from the VHS player.
Runner Up: Amanda Jones
On Monday, I painted a mermaid on the edge of the pool, giving her a razor-clam necklace. ‘You’re weird’ he said. I nodded, agreeing. It’s the best way. Then the day went on as normal. I showered in the evening, being careful with the tender bits.
Tuesday was Tanya’s day to go outside. I gave him my wrists for the handcuffs and he locked me to the usual radiator. She swam, splashing and giggling.
On Wednesday, I painted a wolf with huge claws. ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘ I am painting a bestiary of lethal creatures’. I said. He nodded but I knew he didn’t understand. Then, same as Monday. Went into town to the shop. Came back. Lay down when instructed. Showered. Went to bed.
Thursday was Tanya’s day again. They went into town, ate ice-cream.
On Friday, I painted a frog with big teeth. He raised an eyebrow. ‘All the better to eat you with,’ I said and he laughed, misunderstanding. Then, the usual thing.
The shopkeeper asked why I don’t leave. ‘It’s complicated,’ I said. ‘And it will be over soon’. He nodded.
Saturday – Tanya’s turn again. She swam. ‘Your paintings are odd,’ she said.
It’s Sunday, I am painting a sprite, pistol tucked into her tunic. ‘That looks almost real’ he says, coming over. When he’s close, I shoot him like the man in the shop taught me.
I unlock Tanya’s hands. She’s tearful, missing her ice-cream. ‘You’re mean,’ she says. I nod.
Winner: Natasha Davies
A Child Again
“What are they painting?” I smiled, whispering to Mum.
We stood for a while looking at the rich creations unfurling before us. I watched her eyes focusing, a moment of recognition, her mouth moving to shape a word.
“Can you see what they are?” I encouraged.
She searched hard, she knew, but the word was gone, misplaced somewhere, taken by the disease. She looked at me, all at once frightened, lost. This woman, her skin lined with age, her hair grey with the loss of immunity from time. A child again. She focused hard on me, contemplating her hand intertwined with mine. Then she scanned my face, nothing.
“Its Claire Mum, your daughter.” I smiled, but my eyes filled with tears. It was too much.
She nodded. “Can we go back? I’m cold.”
“Ok Mum”. I signaled ascent. We made for the car, I bustled her in, strapped her seatbelt safely across her tiny frail frame. “There we are.” I said keeping my tone light, sorrow disguised. We drove in silence, Mum watching the road, wincing occasionally, the pain of a memory coming and then fading. As we pulled in, I waved to the neighbour, “who’s that?” Mum asked conspiratorially. “Clive Mum, from 52, we don’t like his new wife, remember?”
“No we don’t” she murmured, leaning in to me. “No better than she ought to be.”
We laughed together and made our way in.
“Cup of tea” I called from the kitchen.
“Froggies” she said, “they were frogs”.
Congratulations to Alison, Amanda and Natasha! Tune in again next week for another round.
Bye until then!
For a look back at our previous #QUICKFIC flash fiction competitions, click here.