Late April 2011 I discovered http://StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011.
And here we are a year later doing it all over again. Today’s prompt was to write a monologue. Having spent the morning on a dog beach overlooked by a formidable row of houses I had the perfect inspiration, so here is my 421-worder.
Stronger than he looks
They can’t see me, you know. I’ve been down there, on the beach, looked up. It’s impossible. Little round window, dark unless you put the light on. So they ignore me, get on with throwing things for their dogs, rounding up children when it gets cold. Really cold now so not many people there, just the ones who still think it’s romantic, even in November.
I like to pretend they’re up to no good, that they’re plotting to bump someone off, bury the body in the sand or in the shrubs that only the dogs explore. They don’t care about the weather, to them it’s only water, only wind. Not like us, we like warm, to be indoors when it gets really bad.
They forecast snow this year so we’ll get cut off and I’ll have no-one to watch, except for my neighbours but they get boring, predictable.
Mrs Jones broke her hip last time we had ice, never went out again when it was like that, would send her old man to run the errands. Then he died and she moved away. She was nice, the only one who didn’t think I was stupid… but then she didn’t know any better.
Dad called me stupid. “Stupid Stuart”, then he laughed. Stopped laughing when I grabbed his throat. Didn’t know how strong I was ’til then. Then he left and I was glad, had mum to myself and we got on good. Like a house on fire, she said. I didn’t know what a house on fire was like so found some matches and… well, she wasn’t happy. Shut me in here ’til I learned my lesson but I told her I learn slow so I’m still here. She’ll come for me. Sometime. She always does.
I wanted to go downstairs when I heard a noise, a thump, but she’d be angry and…
Look! There’s two men down there arguing. Look very angry. One of them’s jabbing the other one in his chest, like Dad used to do with me. Don’t look like my Dad though. Taller and bigger, this one. The other one’s weedy like me. I want the little one to… go on! Give him as good as… ah ha ha, he’s fallen over. Serves him…
He ain’t moving. Weren’t expect that, were you? Don’t get too close, he might…
You’re never going to move him… oh, stronger than he looks. Drag him into… that’s it, so no-one can see. I won’t tell no-one. Your secret’s safe with…
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks (including Story A Day May 2011) at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.
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.