Welcome to the two hundred and seventy-sixth in this series that is ‘5pm Fiction’.
Late April 2011 I discovered 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 have since published (as eBooks) the 2012 and 2013 collections, detailed on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories/story-a-day-may.
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 from the following sentence start: Ben shuffled down… Here is my 432-worder.
Annoyed at being pulled out of his book, he turned up the volume on his iPod and started a couple of paragraphs earlier to get back into the story.
Micki Temple was just about to confront the killer when Ben felt a tap on his leg.
“Nice weather we’re having.” The old woman smiled but Ben ignored her. “Sorry,” she mumbled, looking down at her feet. “Didn’t mean to disturb you.”
Ben grunted and went back to his book.
The woman started singing, so Ben clicked the up button on his earphones but the iPod beeped, indicating he was already at full volume. He turned round to the woman and glared. She was still looking at her feet so paid him no attention. She stopped singing so Ben went back to his book.
Micki Temple smashed down the villain’s door and charged into the room…
Whistling. Now she was whistling, not methodically as if to a tune but as if calling a dog, calling Ben. “I used to have a dog called Ben,” she said.
Ben then noticed that he couldn’t hear his iPod. He pressed the play button but nothing happened.
“I’ve paused it,” the woman said. “It’s one thing to be reading a book but it’s really rude to be listening to music as well. I don’t know how you can concentrate on both.”
“I was doing very well, thank you. And what do you mean you paused my iPod. You didn’t touch the controls.”
“Didn’t need to. Just find the right frequency. It wasn’t hard. They’re all the same, those pod things.”
“iPod. Hang on, how did you know my name?”
“It’s a gift I have. Besides…”
Ben waited for the woman to continue but she didn’t, she just stared at her feet.
“What?” he asked, losing patience.
“You shouldn’t have it that loud. It’s bad for your ears. You youngsters will be deaf in no time.”
“You sound like my gran.”
“Nice is she?”
“Died a few years ago and yeah, she was lovely.”
“Proud of you, was she?”
“What do you mean, ‘Mmm’?” Ben tapped his foot against the bench’s concrete foundations.
“You’ve gone astray a bit since then, haven’t you?” The old woman turned to face Ben.
“Oh my God, Nan?”
The old woman smiled. “Sort of. Never too late to turn your life around.”
As she, and her shopping, disappeared, Ben’s music re-started, shuffling to play a different song, and at a much lower volume.
Photograph above courtesy of morguefile.com.
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