Flash Fiction: 318a South Dubuque Street

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At 3:17am August 12, firefighters responded to a fire at Barney’s Pub and Grill. The crew gained entry to the apartment above and rescued one adult male, one adult female and a child. They were transported to Iowa Hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.

The fire was extinguished after thirty minutes. Sixteen fire department personnel were on scene. The cause remains under investigation.

She kept the clipping in her purse amongst the bills and receipts for years, like some keep photographs of their loved ones. Eventually she lost the wallet and the piece of paper with it. Then, she mourned.

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This is a 100-word piece of flash fiction inspired by the photo above (this week supplied by J. Hardy Carroll). Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to join in, or here to read more stories by other writers.

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If you’re already thinking about Christmas, I have an offer you might be interested in. If you buy a copy of either of my books for someone (or yourself), I’ll send you a personalised card for free. Click here for more information.

Flash fiction: The Beacon

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The word had come when she was sleeping. A hammering on the door, loud enough to wake the dead. She was already dressed, only her boots to pull on, the flambeau leaning in a corner. Outside, she ignored the advancing cliff-face of sea-mist, refusing to think about the horrors it must contain.

Three tries to light the flambeau; four agonising minutes for the bonfire to catch. But as the flames surged upwards she saw smoke rising from the neighbouring headland, and the next and the next. And she thought that maybe there was still time for them to be saved.

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This is a 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers brought to us by the wonderful writer Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. I didn’t see observatories when I first looked at the picture, so I went with my first impression. The image this week is supplied by the amazing writer, Doug Macilroy. Click here to join in with Friday Fictioneers, or here to read other’s.

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This week Dawn Landau’s (a fellow Friday Fictioneer) book group is meeting to discuss my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, which they’ve been reading. Because of the time difference, I won’t be able to Skype with them, but I have answered their questions by email. If any other book groups are interested in reading Our Endless Numbered Days, I’d be really happy to get involved in the same way. Let me know!

Flash fiction: Frost and fire

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Richard laid branches in a wide circle on the frozen grass; then the skeletons of old Christmas trees which Flora’s father had stuffed behind the shed every January; and finally a layer of straw, like a bed. Almost comfortable.
‘Ready?’ said Richard.
Flora would never be ready, but she bent to lift her end. Her father’s body was heavier than she had imagined, and she and Richard had to swing it three times. Richard held out the matches, but Flora shook her head. Instead she watched the white grass around the edge of the fire melt into green and then blacken, as if seasons had passed in the space of a minute.

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A piece flash fiction which is supposed to be 100 words, but I’m 112 this week, oh dear. Usually I can slice and edit with no problem, but this week somehow everything here I wanted to keep. Friday Fictioneers is brought to us by the wonderful writer Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and the picture this week is supplied by the equally wonderful writer, Sandra Crook. Click here to join in with Friday Fictioneers, or here to read other people’s.

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Tin House, my US publisher has posted the first chapter of my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, on their blog. Have a read, if you like.

Flash fiction: For the love of squirrels

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My mother fed the squirrels left-overs: scraps of bacon rind, apple peelings, and the skins of grilled tomatoes that my father left on his plate. The squirrels would only go to her – sitting in the palm of her hand to eat. She named them, worried about them, loved them, more than her own child.

The investigating officer thought the fire had started in the attic. ‘The electrical cables were probably gnawed through,’ he said, putting his hand over mine.

‘Squirrels?’ I asked.

‘I’m afraid so.’

As he completed his report I bit my cheek hard and right on cue, the tears flowed.

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A Friday Fictioneers 100-word (or so) story inspired by the picture supplied by Ted Strutz. Friday Fictioneers is organised and run by the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to join in, and here to read other pieces. I’d love to know what you think of mine – please leave a comment!

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Click here to sign up to my newsletter to receive information on give-aways, competitions, events and updates about my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, which will be published shortly.

Flash fiction: Fire

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Naked, she crouches in the dark, watching the two men drinking and laughing beside the camp fire. Even in the poor light she recognises her towel, slung around one of the men’s shoulders. Her bag and its contents are spread at his feet.

Behind the marram grass, she growls.

‘Did you hear that?’ says the towel-man, standing.

She jumps forward, grabs at a burning stick, jabs it at towel-man, who howls as fire meets flesh. Brandishing the flaming torch, she scoops her belongings together, and is gone.  

It isn’t until morning that she feels the pain on her own skin.

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This is a 100-word piece of flash fiction based on the picture prompt above. It’s part of the Friday Fictioners group run by Rochelle Wisoff-Field (who also supplied the photo this week). Rochelle dedicates a great deal of her time each week to uploading, visiting and commenting. To join in with your own story, visit Rochelle’s website here, or to read some of the other stories based on this prompt click here

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And a quick reminder that I had one of my short stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 last week after winning a competition. It’s available to listen on iplayer, although I don’t know if it works in all locations around the world, and it’s only available for one more day. If it doesn’t work for you, it’s available to read online here. If you do get to listen or read, do let me know what you think!