Welcome to the ninety-fifth 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 beginning ‘As he stared at the top…’, so here is my 361-worder.
A mountain to climb
Sally, his girlfriend of six months, grinned at him. “You’ll love it. It’s not as bad as…”
“No, I guess not but you do tend to enjoy chall…”
The smile fell from her face.
“But I do too… really,” he lied.
Having this conversation before they tried one of Sally’s adventures was becoming too regular an event for his liking. A romantic snuggle with a real fire, hot chocolate and an unseen DVD was as adventurous as he wanted to get.
“I’m sorry, Jack,” Sally said doe-eyed.
“No, it’s OK. I’m being mean.” He began shaking his hands and jumping on the spot as if he was a runner warming up before a race, except he had five layers of clothes on instead of their flimsy Lycra.
Sally laughed and watched him jump around. It was her laugh that he’d fallen for, how she never let anything get her down.
The moment they’d met replayed in his brain. A cold winter’s day like today only a packed high street instead of a Welsh mountainside. She’d been carrying a boxed cake past a bus stop when a businessman had run into her as he yelled for the bus to stop. Jack had watched the white cardboard box tumble, the three of them too slow to stop its demise. The 60th anniversary gift she’d ordered a fortnight previously now a white mound on the pavement, disintegrating in the wet January drizzle.
He was grateful it wasn’t raining now as it was bad enough to tackle Snowdon in the cold but to feel drips down the back of his neck would have been the icing on the cake.
As he looked at the snow-covered mountain, Jack laughed as the image of the forlorn present returned. He took Sally’s hand. “Right my dear,” he said. “Let’s go climb your mountain.”
As they started their ascent, Sally started to tell him about the last time she’d been there, recounting the moment when she’d fallen, broken her back, spent the next two years learning to walk again and never wanting to stop.
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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.