Flash fiction: The Choice

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In a hand-me-down swimming suit – sailor collar and bloomers – Alice sat atop the rock.  Charlie, Harry and Jack dived, their one-piece costumes sagging when they strode out of the water. Alice looked away. She watched them race each other on the sand and play tug-of-war with a chain. They demanded she select a winner, but there was nothing to choose between them: young, handsome men, full of life. She would have said yes to whoever asked first.

Two weeks later they were called up. Alice heard they didn’t even make it across the channel.

She should have kissed them all.

Swimming

This is a Friday Fictioneers story. 100 (or so) writers writing 100 words (or so) inspired by the top picture.

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Vote for Our Endless Numbered Days! The Reading Agency is holding a fun poll to see who readers think should win The Desmond Elliott Prize. Click here to vote for one of the shortlisted novels, including mine.

Flash fiction: Ophelia

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‘I used to follow her sometimes, in the early mornings,’ Gil said. ‘She never knew.’

Flora leaned forward beside his bed, waiting for her father to continue.

‘Once, I sat in the bird hide at Little Sea Pond and watched her shed her layers of clothes and emerge transformed into something ethereal, something not meant for this world. She stepped into the pond, lay back, and the water, it seemed to me, welcomed her, as if she had come home. She floated there as the sun rose – a naked Ophelia.

‘I never told her how much I loved her.’

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Thanks to our wonderful hostess Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who has been guiding and inspiring us Friday Fictioneers for two years today. If you want to have a go at writing 100 words based on the picture above (this week supplied by The Reclining Gentleman) click here, or if you want to have a read of all the other flash fictions, click here.

This week I managed exactly 100 words, and rather than thinking about the rather chilly-looking pond above, I rather had in mind this paining by Millais. 1280px-John_Everett_Millais_-_Ophelia_-_Google_Art_Project

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My novel Our Endless Numbered Days will be published in early 2015. Click here to find out more.

Short story: Morning swim

At first Ingrid only swam when she could get a babysitter, but eventually the call of the water was so strong, she left her children sleeping; always returning before they woke and never telling Rex what she had done.

She especially liked to swim in the early mornings after the river flooded. The idea of submerged paths and fences and even barbed wire lying beneath the still, grey water, thrilled her.

And when she returned home, goose-bumped and muddy, her hair would drip onto the cheeks of her sleeping children, and she would promise to never leave them again.

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Sorry that this week’s story is about wild swimming again, but I’m having a bit of thing about it in the book I’m writing. (To read last week’s, click here.)

For those who don’t know how Friday Fictioneers works, this beautiful picture (this time supplied by Erin Leary) is our inspiration for our weekly online writing group hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to read other people’s amazing stories or to join in. And please comment below with any suggestions for improvement on mine.copyright-erin-leary

Short story: Night swim

No one had looked up when Margaret had said she was off out. However, instead of going to book group, she undressed on the beach and stood, naked, under the vast arc of an inky sky studded with stars. At her feet was the sea, lapping the concrete steps with its cold, black tongue.

Margaret lifted her arms above her head and dived. She swam underwater as far as her breath would take her, then when she surfaced, Margaret turned and trod water, looking back at the string of town lights behind the dunes. She had never felt so alive.

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For those who don’t know how Friday Fictioneers works, this picture (this time supplied by Dawn Landau) is our inspiration for our weekly online writing group hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to read other people’s amazing stories or to join in. And please comment below with any suggestions for improvement on mine.