Welcome to the eighty-seventh 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 mixed bag: aunt, stranger, airport, snow, knife, new opportunity. Here is my 242-worder.
As the board flashed ‘Go to Gate 17’, Alfie turned round and peered out the expanse of glass – bullet-proof glass after the events of the previous Christmas. Or was it New Year, he couldn’t remember. He remembered there being snow on the ground and taking his aunt to hospital when she’d slipped and broken her arm.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” she’d said to him when he’d told her of the offer; a year’s contract leading to permanent.
Turning back to the flashing board, he picked up his holdall. He’d already checked it was regulation size but now half-hoped that he’d be stopped, that someone would tell him he’d made a mistake and his luggage would be found and taken off the plane.
He didn’t really care if it wasn’t found, it was only shirts and trousers. The things that mattered to him were in his holdall; photographs, rings… his and hers. His – he couldn’t bear to wear and hers – removed at the hospital and put in a plastic bag, along with the bracelet he’d bought her for their 10th anniversary.
He knew it was now or never. His aunt would say, “now”, his wife, Carrie, would have agreed. He’d always been the one to play safe; suggest Europe when she’d wanted exotic. So they alternated Spain one year, Egypt the next.
Exotic was waiting for him now and as the board read ‘Final call’, he and his holdall headed for Gate 17.
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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.