Armed with the picture prompt below, my first for online writing group Tuesday Tales, and a 300-word limit, I got writing and below is the result.
Tuesday Tales usually provides a new one-word prompt each week, but this was an extra and fun.
It follows the same format whereby the members write a story inspired by it and post it on our blogs / websites. Then we email the link and first two or three sentences to Jean Joachim.
She then posts them on the Tuesday Tales blog (on a Tuesday ), gives us the link **** WHICH IS HERE **** then we go out and shout about it. So, without further ado, here is my 259-worder ‘Badge of Honour’ (no surprises that it’s a second-person viewpoint)…
Badge of Honour
You know it could be anything, but you’re pretty certain it’s a body. You want to say something to Neville, but you know he’ll laugh at you, as he does. Never with you. So you leave him topping up his suntan lotion, escape before he asks you to rub factor 30 into his gorilla-like back. Again.
You head back to the long, narrow orange and white boat, to the cobalt-blue sacking, the human-shaped canvas that made your heart race when you walked past it yesterday, solo, during Neville’s siesta.
As you pull at the sacking, you scream and jolt backwards into a tall islander.
“Hello ma’am,” he says in his strong Jamaican accent.
All you can do is laugh nervously. You’re sure he’s the boat owner… sure he’ll overpower you if you try to make a run for it, that’s if you could get past.
He looks at the face. The woman’s. You think she’s a woman, you can’t really be sure, and he laughs. An indistiguishable laugh, but it makes you uneasy. You’re too far from Neville, from anyone, to make screaming again worth it, so you decide you’ll reason with the man, but before you can say anything, he speaks.
“You thought…?” and he laughs again, this time his green eyes sparkling, then he pulls away the sacking, revealing her body. Limp. Lifeless. Hollow eyes. Then you see her name badge, ‘Anne’, and you realise what she is. Beside her is a first aid kit and the man’s uniform featuring his badge, ‘Montego Bay Rescue Service – Trainer’.
The links to the earlier prompts, and resulting stories, and the forthcoming prompts can be found on this blog’s Tuesday Tales page. Do go and check out the Tuesday Tales blog – it’s a wonderful idea supported by talented writers.
So, not only can you read these stories but you could also write your own using the prompts given each week. There’s no word count limit. Single-word prompts are something I regularly give my Monday night workshop and it’s amazing how different our stories can be.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.