Flash Fiction: When They Were New



The harpsichord had woodworm, much of the ivory was gone and one broken leg was jacked up on bricks. Peter flicked out his coat tails, eaten into fine lace by moths, and sat.

Dressed in ragged petticoats and crinoline, Cara curtsied low and I took her hand, kissed it. As we danced I thought of those who’d played and danced before us; the people who’d worn these clothes when they were new. And as if from above I saw Peter sitting and us cavorting on the dusty floorboards, fading and turning, turning and fading until we too disappeared into time.


A Friday Fictioneers 100-word flash fiction inspired by the picture above, provided this week by Jan W. Fields. Click here to join in and write your own, or here to read other people’s.


If you live near Bath, England, you might like to know that Our Endless Numbered Days has been selected as The Big Bath read by the Bath Literature Festival. You can get a free copy of the book, read it and come along to open book clubs, and a couple of events I’m speaking at. More information.


Short story: Oboe solo for two players


The sound of the oboe carries through the evening, a melancholic invitation to come now. He has told his mother that he must be in the bandstand; something about fresh air and breathing technique. His mother likes that he is practicing.

At the first note, gliding in through her open window, she stirs and tells her mother she’s going to the meadow with the old portable gramophone, to dance. Her mother likes that her daughter is imaginative.

At the bandstand, in the dusk, she winds up the gramophone. And while Bach’s Partita for solo oboe plays out into the night, they practice, together.


This is a 100-word(ish) story for Friday Fictioneers brought to us by the wonderful writer Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and the picture this week is supplied by the fantastic writer, David Stewart. Click here to join in with Friday Fictioneers, or here to read other people’s.


Until Sunday readers in the US can win a signed copy of the UK version (left) of my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days; and readers in the UK can win a signed copy of the US version (right). The competition is running on Twitter and Facebook. Click the links and follow the instructions to enter. Good luck!

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