Welcome to the ninety-fourth 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 with a mixed bag: camera, daughter, secret, silent, money so here is my 262-worder.
Rosie an afterthought
Joe is smiling, but tight-lipped like his son and they’re entwined, Joe not wanting to let go. It’s Rosie he feels secure about, knowing for sure that she’s his. Their dark skin, dark hair, funny teeth but Nate has none of these things. He’s as pale as the day he was born, stays out of the sun, burns too easily like his mother.
The boy’s eyes look dark as the shutter goes, as if he’s trying to belong, fit in to the foursome that never quite felt right.
His mother, Hannah, overcompensates; her focus on him, Rosie an afterthought.
Rosie sees how father and son are together and tries to replicate with her mother but she only feels ice where warmth should be.
Hannah’s tried. Since they were born she’s tried to love her children, but the feelings her mother had for her have skipped a generation. She knows the family is crumbling; Joe’s distant look these past few weeks, his shrug when she asks if something’s wrong. And she’s been missing money from her purse. She knows Nathan doesn’t spend the pocket money he’s given so it wouldn’t be him.
Rosie’s change of school hasn’t helped. She’s unsettled, distant, like in the photograph.
Hannah follows Rosie’s gaze out of the room and a figure appears at the door. A figure she thought she’d never see again, one to stir up old feelings, break hearts.
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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.