Welcome to the eighty-sixth in this daily series that is ‘5pm Fiction’.
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.
I was nearing completion of the 2012 project when I decided that I didn’t want to stop at the end of May so 5PM Fiction was born. I put a load of prompts on the 5PM Fiction page and today’s was to write a story prompted by the word ‘disguise’, so here is my 318-worder.
Leona had thought it would be funny to visit a fancy dress shop in her lunch break, hire something to spice up what had become a rather mundane love life with Neville. Even his name bored her and she’d begun to wonder whether it was worth the effort, whether she’d be better off telling him it was over then escaping to the sun, when she’d remembered the shop and it’s colourful window.
As she closed the front door to the solicitors, she headed to the small shop at the end of the high street. She’d only walked past the newsagents and bakers when she stopped at the travel agent’s window.
There it was: six-inch-high letters, ISRAEL, next to a picture of an exotic beach and sun loungers with not a soul in sight, somewhere she could pick and choose her place, like selecting a desert from a menu card.
But life wasn’t that simple – she’d always ended up with the sunbed that squeaked or threatened to fold at any given moment.
She stared down the road, craning her neck to see the contents of the hire shop’s window, but it was the more exotic one that rooted her to the spot.
As she looked at the Mediterranean scene she pictured herself being pampered by a tall, tanned waiter and comparing him to Neville, she burst out laughing.
But that’s what she loved about him… he made her laugh and yes, she was sure she still loved him.
So she kept walking, picked out a nurse’s outfit, and walked back to work wearing a silly grin while imagining wearing the uniform.
She wasn’t to know as she selected the next tape and legal file, that Neville had been a sick child and that when he would come home that evening, see her bending over the dining room table in the shortest skirt she’d ever worn, that he’d start screaming.
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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 fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, 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.