Welcome to the one hundred and twenty-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 with a vicar, grandmother, tennis, post office, wolf so here is my 338-worder.
She’d expected a whooshing sound
No-one believed Izzy when she talked about the old man. She’d cried wolf too often, told people about her imaginary friends. This time he wasn’t so imaginary.
The Johnson family had moved into the Old Post Office a fortnight before Izzy had started seeing the old man. Him rushing from room to room, turning his head left to right, right to left, as if watching a tennis match. Izzy loved tennis. Her Uncle Frank had taken her to Wimbledon the previous summer but now that was a distant memory. The house was cold, old and Izzy missed their place back in Weybridge; the rambling vicarage that had gone with Daddy’s job except Daddy no longer went to church – none of them did.
Izzy was sitting on her bed playing with Ruby Rabbit when the old man ran from the bathroom to the back bedroom, the spare bedroom that was still piled with boxes.
The man came out just as quickly, and disappeared into her parents’ bedroom.
One thing that surprised Izzy about him was the silence. She’d expected a ‘whooshing’ sound as he ran. Everyone makes a ‘whoosh’ when they’re in a hurry although she didn’t think anyone was as rushed as the old man.
It wasn’t long before he came out of her parents’ room and headed for hers. He’d just reached the threshold when he spotted Izzy and screamed. A noiseless scream which Izzy knew should have been loud, as loud as Mummy when she sees a spider, shuts the door to it and waits for Izzy’s daddy to come home.
“Hello,” Izzy said calmly. The man stopped screaming. It was then that she noticed something in his left hand.
“What’s that?” she asked. He held it out to her and she went to look closer, to take it, but he pulled it back, held it to his chest.
Izzy could just about make out a figure; a woman about the same age as her mother, but old-fashioned, wearing clothes like her grandmother used to wear.
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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.