Drabbles

Drabbles are stories exactly 100 hundred words in length.  I have enjoyed writing these and have had a few published on the daily newsletter of the Indie Book Bargains website which you can view here.

There is also a Drabble Website where you can read more here and a Facebook page here.

The Lights of Heaven

The sun is just the sun but the moon is magical. The sun, as long as it isn't partially obscured by cloud, always looks the same. Moonlight, at its peak, is almost bright enough to read by, yet a fortnight later there’s the dark of the moon and only the stars give their tiny light. The moon grows and shrinks, waxes and wanes, tugs at the tides and pulls at the blood.

When the sunlight falls on your eyes you screw them shut, but look at the moonlight reflected in the eyes of someone you love. Ah, now that's magic!

Coming of age


The world’s population grew alarmingly in the twenty-first and twenty-second centuries and now we are hard pressed to feed ourselves.  There’s not enough land to produce the food.  Only the elite, the ruling classes, are allowed meat.  Meat production takes up more land than cereal growing so the vast majority of people are forced to eat a vegetarian diet.  It’s still not really sustainable. The children need protein to grow strong.  They are society’s priority.  I come of age tomorrow on my thirtieth birthday and I’m afraid.  To feed the little ones, those of us who reach thirty are killed.

DIY

Dave decided one of the kitchen cupboards needed a shelf. He'd got some of the little silver fittings for it to rest on and now he just had to cut the board to fit.

He carefully drew a line and began work. He was using a hacksaw because it was too much of a faff getting out his power saw. He wasn't making any headway though, and it was hard work.

Eventually he gave in and got out the power tools.

"Anne! Have we got any frozen peas?" he called as he packed his left hand into a plastic box.


Hairy Bear 

I'm scared of my teddy bear. I think it might be alive. Mummy says not to be so silly. Wherever I am in my bedroom, it's looking at me. Mummy says there are famous paintings like that. They seem to watch you because they're good pictures. I'm not sure my teddy is good. I turned it to face the wall and when I woke up, it'd turned back. Last week I decided to see if it was alive. I took the little scissors out of my manicure set and cut off a bit of its hair. It's started growing back.


Ribbit Ribbit

I was playing on the grass with my golden ball when it rolled away and into the pond. Damn! Oh, bugger, Nanny says I mustn't say damn! Then a huge frog hopped onto the grass with my ball in its hands.
"Princess!" it cried. Team point for noticing the crown. "I will return your ball if you will take me home and let me spend the night on your pillow."
Looked like the only way to get it back, so I agreed. Blow me down, next morning there was a handsome prince there.
At least, that's what I told Daddy!


Grown Ups


I'll never understand grown ups. They tell us kids off for telling lies but they have their own kind of lying. That's different of course. But if you tackle them about it, they can't explain the difference. Take last week. There was this big celebration and two fantastic fashion designers had been summoned to the palace. They were rubbish. Should have asked Gok Wan. Anyway, they disappeared mysteriously and ordered loads of expensive posh stuff ready for the procession. They needn't have bothered. The Emperor came out in the nuddy. They all lied about that till I pointed it out!


The Builders

I was sitting in the sun in my back garden, enjoying a read, when I was distracted by the conversation in my neighbour's garden. It was coming from Daz and Pete, the lads building his garage.
"Showed her last night though," grunted Daz.
"Did ya? What d'ya do?”
"I beat her didn't I?"
"Did ya? Yer’ve never done that before," said Pete, evidently in awe.
"I did! You shoulda seen the look on her face. That'll teach her a bit of respect."
"I'll bet it shocked her though," Pete mumbled.

"I'll say! She thinks she's so bloody good at Scrabble!"


Dancing Queen

I could have danced all night - and I would have if my feet didn't hurt so much. My sisters obviously don't feel the same. Look at them, with faces as long as a wet weekend. No wonder they can't get partners. And mine's the most gorgeous bloke in the room! I love this dress. It's like moonbeams caught in cobwebs - so light, so twirly.

Lord, my feet are killing me. There's no give in these shoes. I think I'll nip home for some comfy ones. Bum! I'll never find that in the dark.  What idiot makes glass slippers?


Bad Hair Day

She was immensely, inordinately proud of her hair. It was fair, straight and she had never had it cut. Naturally, her grooming routine consisted largely of shampoo, loads of conditioner and half a day each time getting it dry. The good old bedtime routine of brushing a hundred times was employed too. The longer it got though, the harder it was to sweep the brush impressively from her head to the end of each lock. It involved lots of hefting and tugging and by the time she'd done she really needed a kip.
Handsome Prince? Rapunzel lusted after a hairdresser!




Invasion


We are here among you now. Those lights you saw in the skies, months ago, were our means of travel. We needed a new place, new subservient creatures, and we have chosen you. We came peacefully but I understand you have a saying about making omelettes and cracking eggs. There can be no compromise. We needed hosts so we lay low and watched all Earth's children so we might choose. We found a hunter, a killer, a beast with basic instincts so like ours. We have taken them over and now have the power to dominate. We are your cats.


Foxgloves

Little Ellie was walking round the garden hand in hand with her granddad. She loved flowers and he was telling her their names. The ones she liked best were taller than she was and had long spikes of purple flowers. He said they were foxgloves.
"See those little oval shaped blobs inside?" he asked. "Those are fairies' slippers."
"Really?" she asked, wide-eyed.
"That's what people say, but really it's part of how the flower makes seeds."

Ellie skipped off happily. She knew something Granddad didn't. Inside one of the flowers, next to the slippers, was a little red felt hat.

The Builders

I was sitting in the sun in my back garden, enjoying a read, when I was distracted by the conversation in my neighbour's garden. It was coming from Daz and Pete, the lads building his garage. 
"Showed her last night though," grunted Daz. 
"Did ya? What d'ya do?" 
"I beat her didn't I?" 
"Did ya? Yer’ve never done that before," said Pete, evidently in awe. 
"I did! You shoulda seen the look on her face. That'll teach her a bit of respect." 
"I'll bet it shocked her though," Pete mumbled. 
"I'll say! She thinks she's so bloody good at Scrabble!"

The Painting

Bob was painting a group of friends from a photo he'd taken in the garden. He loved this house but his wife Julie said it was haunted. 
"By what?" he asked.
"Not what, whom. A little boy. I've seen him a couple of times."
Bob smiled. He didn't want an argument, so he dropped the subject.
He was painting in the figures when Julie brought him coffee. He accidentally smudged the paint and the effect looked like a child standing with the group. As the paint ran, the figure seemed to turn and smile. The mug smashed and Julie screamed.


Neo Surgery

It was a new surgical technique straight out of the science fiction stories. Microscopic robots were introduced into the sites of inoperable tumours where they sliced the growth into molecules which could be flushed, together with the nanobots, from the patients' systems. Experimental subjects showed no return of the tumours and the technique spread. Thousands of operations were performed. 
Then the original patients began to show extreme aggression and anger; to behave psychopathically. Scans showed the nanobots had refused to be flushed. They had coalesced, reproduced and made 'cities' in the brain. Taken over. And there were thousands out there.


La Fee Verte

I'd been reading about France during La Belle Epoque and was tickled at the idea of the little green Absinthe Fairy, who scrambled people's brains and rendered them mad.
"The French have such class," I thought.

That's when I heard shuffling and a chorus of throat clearings from my drinks cabinet. A motley array of little creatures introduced themselves. The Whisky Warlock was ginger, bearded, clad in tartan and fell over a lot. The Beer Baron was brown, wore goggles and was prone to flatulence. The Gin Genie was fun and practically see-through. She was a tonic and no mistake!


The Prime Minister's Last 100 Words


People of Earth, sorry, people of Britain. It is my sad task to inform you that our early warning systems have picked up the information that a large group of rockets armed with nuclear warheads is approaching our islands. We have perhaps a minute of life left. Spend it with your loved ones. I would just like to say what a pile of steaming ordure not only the opposition, but my own ministerial colleagues have proved to be. It makes me happy to know that although I die, they die along with me. What's that? A false alarm? Oh, bugger!

The Killing Bottle


Henry was an old-school hobby entomologist and unpopular as it currently was, he still employed a killing bottle to capture insects. He used ethyl acetate because it's less toxic to humans than ether, chloroform or potassium cyanide. His hobby was unusual, he knew, but he never sought to share it with anyone. He'd always been a loner, his days spent either at work or collecting. In the evenings he tried to forget his loneliness with the help of liberal doses of whisky, the drink that didn't make him feel wrecked next day. He died of cirrhosis of the liver.




A Recipe for Disaster

Take one summer holiday.
Add five consecutive days of sunshine and sprinkle with a general air of expectation.
Mix in a few sunhats, a couple of deckchairs and a portable barbecue.
Add three excitable children and agitate thoroughly.
Unlimited sugar may be added at this point.
Mix well and pour onto a windswept beach. Add a driving wind and a dash of squally showers.
Fill the chef with alcohol.
For added piquancy, ensure that the barbecue burns intermittently and the food is either charred or barely cooked.

This dish is generally served with a side order of blame and recrimination.


The Perils of Interplanetary Exploration

There was a burst of meteor activity and under cover of swooping light trails, their capsule entered the earth's atmosphere. It was well protected from the expected heat and though it got rather warm inside, the hull maintained its integrity. Deploying the braking system, they fell to Earth at night in an area of soft soil. This was a colonisation. Thousands of their people emerged from the capsule under cover of darkness. They made for a huge building in which to take shelter. Next morning, Alice shouted to her husband.

"Will you ring Pest Control? We've got an ant invasion!"


Adam

They say the first man was called Adam. Now that the sun had died, was about to explode, and life on this planet had become unsustainable, there had to be a last man on earth. Strangely, coincidence and balance decreed that he too should be called Adam.

Adam, gasping and starving, remembered the philosophical question, "Does a falling tree make a sound if there is no-one to hear?" He looked past the immensity of the splitting sun, at the light of the distant stars. Would they still shine with no-one to see? No matter. For Adam, the stars went out. 


Mr Gorgeous


He knew he was gorgeous. The trouble was, he expected everyone else to acknowledge it too. He would strut around and show himself off and he made a point of talking loudly so that everyone would notice him. Occasionally he'd catch sight of himself in a mirror and you could almost see the double take as he went back to bask in the view. Often, of course, he would stand in front of the mirror deliberately and just take in the wonderful sight of his gorgeous body, as he turned this way and that.
Budgies. Don't you just love them?


The Moon

"The moon's looking lovely tonight." They stood by the water's edge and watched the moon and its reflection.
"Don't you think the moon looks brighter than usual?" He stood at the door, looking out over the fields.
"Why is the moon bigger than normal?" She began to worry. This wasn't just a bumper harvest moon.
"You don't think the moon's getting closer, do you?" he asked his dad. "The government; they'd tell us, right?"

"This is a public safety announcement. Do not panic. Stay in your homes. It is almost certain that most people will survive the impact. Stay tuned."


Sunsets

Ewan loved sunsets. They were particularly stunning when there was an ocean to reflect and increase the light. He watched as the sun's disc slipped towards the horizon, the intensity of its fire deepening as it crept towards its rippled, golden reflection on the ocean's surface. Ragged tatters of wispy cloud stole the hot, furnace hues of the declining orb as he watched it gradually fall from sight. Ewan held his breath for just a second. The sun set. A few minutes later, he swallowed the lump in his throat as the second sun set. Hell, he still missed Earth!




Heatwave

It was the longest spell of hot weather that the villagers could remember. The verges were crisp and dry, the grass yellow and sere and the dogs limp and gasping.  Home Farm's slurry pit was smelling worse than ever. The wise ones diagnosed a temperature inversion causing the rank smell to return to the land rather than rise to the skies.

When the farmer looked more closely he saw something nasty in there. The remains of a leg, clad in denim stuck through the dreadful crust. There were seven bodies in total. No-one, it seems, ever really leaves this village.

Ghost Hunters

When we were schoolgirls we were keen readers of Dennis Wheatley's novels and decided we'd try to raise a ghost. We screwed up our courage, evaded our parents and went to the graveyard at midnight. Chris said we should say The Lord's Prayer backwards. Jenny said we should say it in Latin. I got the job of writing it out in Latin so we could say it backwards together. 
We ran for our lives when there was an almighty shriek and a white ghost swooped low over our heads. That dratted barn owl owes me a pair of dry knickers!

Chef!

Chef Henri (aka Harry) was a bully. He took great pleasure in using technical terms then despising his students for not understanding. He had reduced most of them to tears at least once by the time they left. The permanent staff didn't like it either but it was just part of your education, they thought. 
Then one day, someone did do something about it. Henri was found in the alley behind his restaurant, nestling on a bed of vomit, drizzled with a blood jus, decorated with saliva foam, and with his Sabatier sticking out of his chest. "Et voila! Service!"

Fever

She had felt ill for days but had finally collapsed. Her eyes were over-bright, her skin clammy and she coughed incessantly. Her bed of a blanket thrown over sacks of straw was no worse than most in town. It was soaked in sweat. She shuddered with the fever; her teeth chattered as she shook in the grip of the ague. The rats were shuffling and scratching behind the wooden wall. Was that what she could hear? That rattling sound? Eventually she discerned the source. It was wooden wheels clattering on cobbles. The plague cart would come for her tomorrow.



Fruit Picking Season


All the fruits were ripening. The warm sun made the scent from their flesh rise in the air and the couple's mouths began to water.  First came succulent strawberries, bursting with flavour, then the slightly sharper raspberries reddened on their canes. They shared them happily. Gooseberries came next, flavoursome when softened by the sun's ripening rays. Plums and gages sent streams of sticky juice down their chins and even the hard pears softened in due course. All this was theirs for the taking, as much as they could eat. Why wasn't it enough? Why did Eve give him the Apple?

Music

I ran my fingers over the keys. Their music was so very important to me. It had lodged itself firmly in the very deepest part of my soul and taken up residence there.

What else was there of beauty in my life? I lived, or rather, existed, virtually alone in this forlorn place, except for those wretches who did not possess my gift of music.  My music, my consolation, was the very thing that cut me off from others. My fingers caressed the keys once more as I jangled them loudly. "Slopping out time, then everyone back in your cells!"

Satnav

“I don’t know why you bought that bloody Satnav,” I complained to my husband.  “You just ignore it!”
“It’s giving me the fastest route,” he said.  “Mine’s a better one.”
When the voice said “At the next exit, take the turn,” and he blithely sailed on, I finally flipped.  “Oh, for god’s sake, turn the sodding thing off if you won’t take any notice!”
He pulled onto the hard shoulder, undid my seatbelt, leaned over to open the door and pushed me out, then drove off.

I rang the AA.  “I need a recovery vehicle.  My marriage has broken down.”


Ruby

I took my cup of tea outside.  It was a lovely, sunny summer’s day and too good, too rare to waste sitting indoors.  I sat on the grass and Ruby saw me.  She came up to me, sidled up, almost sat on my knee.  We looked at each other for a long moment.  She was beautiful.  Auburn, flirty and sassy with it.  She loved a drop of tea but it was always better stolen, apparently.  I held the cup loosely in my hand.  She stretched over and, tipping her head, she drank.
She was the cheekiest chicken in the flock!



Castle

She closed her eyes and leant against the chill stone wall, feeling the roughness with her outstretched hands.  A draught of frigid air blew from the arrow slit in the window embrasure.
The room behind her was a small chamber which led off the Great Hall, the scene of so many feasts, so many quarrels, so many precipitate deaths.  Women had withdrawn to that small, lofty room.  Babies had come into the world; the old, the mortally injured, had slipped from life there.  She felt it all – absorbed it from those blocks of stone. 
English Heritage membership was a bargain!



The Imp Alternative

From my eye corner I saw the deformed little creature, perched like a piratical parrot on my shoulder.  I tried to swipe it off but its horny little claws dug deeper into my clothing.
“What the hell?” I muttered.
“Good morning, Mistress.  I’m your new Familiar,” it said.  “Michael Brookes has an Imp.  It whispers ideas and performs… personal services,” it said, waggling its eyebrows suggestively, buffing up my earring with a tiny, grimy hanky.
“You’re my Imp?”
“Not telling.  You’ll laugh.”
“Tell me!” I commanded.
“Only if you promise not to call me Lemonade!”
I promised.

“I’m a Sprite!”


Name That Sprite

The Sprite bobbed up and down on my shoulder as I worked.
“Stop it Sprite.  It’s distracting.  I can’t keep calling you Sprite,” I continued.  “You must have a name?”
“I have.”  It sagged slightly.  “Ain’t tellin’ though.  It’s embarrassing.  Three guesses?” it mumbled.
“Who do you think you are?  Rumplestiltskin?”
“Nope.  That’s one guess gone!”
“Give over,” I chided.  “I demand that you tell me your name.  You must tell me.”
“Yes,” he said, sagging a little more.  “We all get given one in Sprite School.  Something that suits us.”
“And you are?”
He wilted against my shoulder.

“Flaccid.”


A Drabble for Kay  (who asked for one about elves)

No-one knew where they came from. Some said they were aliens while the more poetic opted for 'the hollow hills'. Suddenly there was an influx, an infestation, of small, slender, fey and pointy-eared creatures, pinching milk from doorsteps and poking sleeping infants into fretful wakefulness.
Finally it took the combined brains (both of them) of the Ministry of Strangeness to devise a method of trapping the pests. The creatures declared it 'no fun' so they went 'home'. Before that, though, there had been a radio announcement.

"Danger! Stay indoors. Do not approach the creatures. This is a Public Elf announcement."




Lunch with the Girls

White, silver, grey, dappled and chemically enhanced heads nodded and moved as the gang of village ladies caught up with the local gossip.  They ranged from the recently retired to the frankly rather doddery.  Out for lunch, they evidently enjoyed one another’s company as crows’ feet and laughter lines crinkled anew. 

“Any teas and coffees, girls?” the waitress asked and I smiled to hear them, us, so named.  Then I paused and visualised those same faces, free of the lines and cares of a lifetime’s concerns, those heads adorned with pigtails, as they played outdoors.  The girl inside still lives!



Charity Box

It had been a heavy night. Steve was tanked up, and of course, he absolutely, desperately, needed a kebab. Then the heavens opened and the rain lashed down like someone upstairs was emptying a bucket. He'd missed the last bus, drunk his taxi money and he was three miles from home.

Then he noticed the church with its invitingly unlocked door. Inside, out of the lashing elements, Steve was moved to make a contribution to the charity box set into the back pew. Instead, he threw up all over it. Then he saw the sign. It said, "For the sick."



My Granddaughter


My granddaughter's a successful indie author.  I help her. I give her ideas for her stories, whisper in her ear ways she can develop her characters. I find that if I speak to her when she is asleep, she never realises that the ideas are not her own. She wakes early, full of inspiration for the next chapter. That flimsy plan is suddenly fleshed out with lively dialogue, gripping action and cunningly woven plot lines. She thinks she gets her inspiration from a refreshing night's sleep but in truth, I'm her ghost writer. I have been ever since I died.

Marsha


Marsha was a real sun worshipper. She spent her well-earned holidays in exotic locations and even her lunch breaks at work were spent outside, soaking up the rays.  She despised those pallid colleagues who stayed indoors, and holidayed in the British rain. She was very proud of her tan, in spite of her mother's frequent warnings about the dangers of too much sun. It wasn't the sun that killed her though. She'd never achieved the shade of oaken gold that her murderer had when he immersed her flayed skin in the vat of bark solution.  Now she was truly tanned.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant... I absolutely love your drabbles.

    ReplyDelete