Flash Fiction

Friday Fictioneers 100W – A Last Glance

copyright-erin-leary-2

He observed the frontier; his frontier, with scanning eyes, tired gloves holding the reins, but a heart still burning a fire of pride. With his back arched straight, muscles taut, he turned his horse gently. Just then he thought he heard a sound, and hand on saddle, twisted and glanced across into the mist. Not a troublesome sound. Not a clearly definable sound, more of a ‘twang!’ and a slight ‘woosh!’ And only once, no more. He relaxed. The arrow sped across the prairie, grass blades neatly carved in split seconds by glinting tip, before thudding, hard, into his chest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This story is 99W exactly.

Thanks to Rochelle! Picture this week by Erin Leary

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Flash Fiction

FF 100W FF: A Hand Down Under

“And now ladies and gentlemen, our next item, ‘A vessel,‘ painted by  I. M. Juoekin. Who’ll start at five hundred pounds, anyone?”

copyright_bw_beacham

“That’s a feckin’ shoppin’ cart mate!” the Australian next to me said, his accint almost getting the better of him.

“Are you making a bid, sir?” came the frosty voice back from the podium.

Too feckin right I am, ten pounds, ye pommie baasterd!” the Australian said, loudly.

“If you’d looked carefully, sir,” said Frosty, “you’dve seen a hand with paintbrush sticking up from the sand painting the cart.”

“Hand, whose hand?” sneered Aussie.

“The painter’s, sir.”

“How?”

“Nobody knows. He was never seen again.”

____________________________

For Friday Fictioneers

indomitably run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields – photo B W  Beacham

 

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Carpe Diem Haiku

Carpe Diem 2nd Ghost-Writer Week, Jen’s Tanaga

Jen at Blog It Or Lose It has introduced us to a new form, the Tanaga. Jen says that:

“Some sources call the Tanaga a “Filipino Haiku”, but that isn’t quite accurate.  Like an English haiku, the Tanaga counts syllables.  Unlike the haiku, the pattern is four lines of 7 syllables each (7-7-7-7).

The biggest difference is that the Tanaga rhymes; it has a pattern of AABB.  In addition, ancient Tanagas were handed down through oral history and contain advice.”

In addition to Tanaga, she provided a thought-inspiring tale. I shall have to do the same, and provide you here a retold, by me, tale of the Diving Woman of Oiso Bay, Japan!

A certain knight by the name of Takadai Jiro became ill in the town of Kamakura, where he had been on duty, and was advised to spend the hot month of August at Oiso, to give himself perfect rest, peace, and quietness.

Having obtained permission to do this, Takadai Jiro lost settled himself down in a small inn which faced the sea. As soon as he had secured his room he threw off his clothes and went down to bathe. Takadai was a good swimmer, and plunged into the sea without fear, going out for nearly half-a-mile. There, however, misfortune overtook him. He was seized with a violent cramp and began to sink. A fishing-boat sculled by a man with his diving-girl daughter happened to see him and went to the rescue.

The girl jumped overboard and swam to the spot where he had disappeared, and, having dived deep, brought him to the surface, holding him there until the boat came up, when by the united efforts of herself and her father Takadai was hauled on board.

Before they had reached the shore, Takadai saw that his saviour was a beautiful ama (diving-girl). Such beauty he had never seen. Takadai was in love with his brave saviour before the boat had grounded on the pebbly beach. Determined in some way to repay the kindness he had received, Takadai helped to haul their boat up the steep beach and then to carry their fish and nets to their little thatched cottage, where he thanked the girl for her noble and gallant act in saving him, and congratulated her father on the possession of such a daughter. Having done this, he returned to his inn.

From that time on the soul of Takadai knew no peace. Love of the maddest kind was on him. There was no sleep for him at night, for he saw nothing but the face of the beautiful diving-girl, whose name (he had ascertained) was Kinu. Try as he might, he could not for a moment put her out of his mind. In the daytime it was worse, for O Kinu was not to be seen, being out at sea with her father, diving for the haliotis shell and others; and it was generally the dusk of evening before she returned, and then, in the dim light, he could not see her.

At last his love grew so great that he could endure it no longer. He felt that at all events it would be a relief to declare it. So he took his most confidential servant into the secret, and despatched him with a letter to the fisherman’s cottage. O Kinu San did not even write an answer, but told the old servant to thank his master in her behalf for his letter and his proposal of marriage. ‘Tell him also,’ said she, ‘that no good could come of a union between one of so high a birth as he and one so lowly as I.

 ‘I will wait a day or two,’ thought Takadai. ‘Now that Kinu knows of my love, she may think of me, and so become anxious to see me. I will keep out of the way. Perhaps then she will be as anxious to see me as I am to see her.’

Takadai kept to his own room for the next three days, believing in his heart that O Kinu must be pining for him. On the evening of the fourth day he wrote another letter to O Kinu, more full of love than the first, despatched his old servant, and waited patiently for the answer.

When O Kinu was handed the letter she laughed and said: ‘Truly, old man, you appear to me very funny, bringing me letters. This is the second in four days, and never until four days ago have I had a letter addressed to me in my life. It is difficult for me to understand. If you gave my message to your master correctly he could not fail to know that I could not marry him. His position in life is far too high. Is your master quite right in his head?’

‘Yes: except for the love of you, my young master is quite right in his head; but since he has seen you he talks and thinks of nothing but you, until even I have got quite tired of it, and earnestly pray to Kwannon daily that the weather may get cool, so that we may return to our duties at Kamakura. For three full days have I had to sit in the inn listening to my young master’s poems about your beauty and his love. Oh, do marry him, so that we shall all be happy and go out fishing every day and waste no more of this unusual holiday.’

‘You are a selfish old man,’ answered O Kinu. ‘Would you that I married to satisfy your master’s love and your desire for fishing? I have told you to tell your master that I will not marry him, because we could not, in our different ranks of life, become happy. Go and repeat that answer.’

Poor Takadai! This time he was distressed, for the girl had even refused to meet him. What was he to do? He wrote one more imploring letter, and also spoke to O Kinu’s father; but the father said, ‘Sir, my daughter is all I have to love in the world: I cannot influence her in such a thing as her love. Moreover, all our diving-girls are strong in mind as well as in body, for constant danger strengthens their nerves: they are not like the weak farmers’ girls.

Takadai’s heart was broken. There was nothing more that he could say and nothing more that he could do. Bowing low, he left the fisherman and retired forthwith to his room in the inn, much to the consternation of his servant. Takadai that evening wrote a last note to Kinu, and as soon as the villagers of Oiso were asleep he arose and went to the cottage, slipping the note under the door. Then he went to the beach, and, after tying a large stone to a rope and to his neck, he got into a boat and rowed himself about a hundred yards from shore, where he took the stone in his arms and jumped overboard.

Next morning O Kinu was shocked to read in the note that Jiro Takadai was to kill himself for love of her. She rushed down to the beach, but could see only an empty fishing-boat some three or four hundred yards from shore, to which she swam. There she found Takadai’s tobacco box and his juro (medicine box).  She began to dive, and was not long before she found the body, which she brought to the surface, after some trouble on account of the weight of the stone which the arms rigidly grasped. O Kinu took the body back to shore, where she found Takadai’s old servant wringing his hands in grief.

The body was taken back to Kamakura, where it was buried. O Kinu was sufficiently touched to vow that she would never marry any one. True, she had not loved Takadai; but he had loved, and had died for her. If she married, his spirit would not rest in peace.

No sooner had O Kinu mentally undertaken this generous course than a strange thing came to pass.

Sea-gulls, which were especially uncommon in Oiso Bay, began to swarm into it; they settled over the exact spot where Takadai had drowned himself. Fishermen thought it extraordinary; but Kinu knew well enough that the spirit of Takadai must have passed into the gulls, and for it she prayed regularly at the temple, and out of her small savings built a little tomb sacred to the memory of Takadai Jiro.

Kinu died by drowning in a severe typhoon some nine years later than Takadai; and from that day the sea-gulls disappeared.

the way to a woman’s heart
is not the flight of a dart
but more of a labyrinth
of completely unknown length

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Haibun

Līgo Haībun Challenge – Polkadotted Memories

 
Belinda-Broughton2

Aye well, there I was, in Nagyatad, early 1990s, trying to do something for the Bosnian refugees. Nagytad, a town in southern Hungary, bordering Croatia and near Bosnia, and where busloads of Bosnian refugees were sent. Anti-tourists, staring from bus windows, not in shock, not in boredom, not in anything actually. War survivors are just like you and me, and are not a special breed of kittens needing petting, or incapables needing shouted at to stand in line. But one of the penchants of our western world is organisation and efficiency, so they do get shouted at, and organised. But what is almost worse is the sentimentality that afflicts many. And refugees make ideal people to coo at.

In Nagyatad new arrivals were locked in a cage for a week or two. The UN supplied finances to pay doctors to check for illnesses and disease, but the greedy Hungarians pocketed the cash and put new refugees in cages to see if any disease developed. If not they were chucked into the dorms or sent to the dark corridors of the psychiatric wing, in this ex-Soviet military camp with radioactive grounds and tiled paintings of tanks firing emblazoned on walls.

I befriended a young blond woman who lived in one of the cages, a few days before I left. It was a strange friendship, her, bubbly, glad to be alive, in fetching red polkadotted dress, about to suffer her breakdown, and me, absurdly and stoically upset, knowing more details about her family in Bosnia than her.

when I think of her
I hope she is free now
in all ways

Līgo Haībun Challenge here. Drawing by belindabroughton 

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Carpe Diem Haiku

Carpe Diem Haiku, Photographing

Ye gods, what a difficult prompt, that others will as usual take in their stride! I saw some beautiful haiku in yesterday’s prompt, here (Maniparna), here (Gillena) and here (Celestine). But also here (Ese) and many more…

‘Photographing’ seems tough. What clever imagery could we evoke? Striking the right balance in a haiku is difficult, and I think I’m going to find a vintage Japanese photograph to sprinkle with words.

geisha+hairstyle+portrait+2

photographing
a dream makes me
dream

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Verse

Magpie Tales: Graduation Day

Finland, 1968, photo by George F. Mobley

Finland, 1968, photo by George F. Mobley

before
they let the balloons go
colourful stories
filled
to flow
float
fly
almost endlessly
rip
on jagged branches
lie defeated
in the tumbling snow
blown
torn
on the jagged edges
of jagged stone

before
the balloons
were let loose
from the palms of our hands
from the psalms
of our defunct books
so much was left unsaid
on lips
already poisoned
by too much innocence
too numbed by cold

and anyway
with nothing
nothing to say
before we passed
the real tests
and regressed
moved to our caves
let our balloons take our stories
far from us
in sunset skies
and jagged branches
where even the snow had dried
and we wonder
if we ever really tried?

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Haibun

Latest from Līgo Haībun!

Fly Indie bookshop, in conjunction with 

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Williamson Books

a small publishing company, is collecting haibun for an upcoming haibun anthology.to be published in early summer.  Please visit here, where more details will be published shortly, as well as this blog site.

We are currently open for submissions. Please click on details on ‘About Haibun‘ in the link if you are not sure about requirements.

DRAWINGS/PHOTOGRAPHS  We are in need of artwork and photographs too. Be aware that in many ebook versions and possibly on the paperback version this will be rendered in black and white!

If your work is accepted, payment will be equal distribution of profits if this sum exceeds GBP500.00, and an automatic free copy of ebook. All paperbacks purchased by haibun contributors will be sold to them at cost, which is at about a 70% reduction on the listing price. Haibun authors are then free to resell these with no restrictions. Should minimum profits cover paperback costs then 1 free paperback will be allocated to each contributor.

Un-published material only please. Haibun previously published on a blog will be happily considered pending the publishing date, and upon agreement that the haibun be deleted from the blog upon acceptance All rights revert back to the artist after publication. All writing should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spaced, by pdf file.  Please include a five-line bio.

All submissions should be sent to williamson@flyindie.today

or by skype to fly.indie

Thanks!

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Carpe Diem Haiku

Carpe Diem Haibun – Beach

Beaches don’t come much colder than Aberdeen beach, in the northwest of Scotland. But before people bustled onto planes to get drunk abroad, Aberdeen beach was a popular holiday destinations for hardy Aberdonians. They don’t make folk like that anymore. Nowadays, of course, none venture in such cold waters when their are holidays further south to be had.

Advances in technology have brought a fair amount of improvements to our lives, but for every action there is a reaction. Isn’t that the first law of Physics?

Our food is worse now, not better. Our health and fitness worse. The food is less nutritious, and there is much less variety of it, a little known fact. There are many less varieties of apples around than there used to be 50, or a 100 years ago, for example, as industrial production seeks the cheapest to produce, the farthest away. One day we will learn more by looking back, except that many of these varieties have disappeared, forever. In fact there are storage centres desperately being arranged and built in an effort to preserve seeds of disappearing varieties of foodstock. It is that bad.

Our ancestors never got to see and experience what we do, but not everything they believed and lived by was wrong. Our social fabric is torn. Today we have what has become the propagandist aggressive negativity of Feminism, for example, while before we had gentlemen, and decency towards women. Even, maybe, in Aberdeen!

Scottish Comedian Billy Connolly gives an account of Aberdeen beach in his particular style which gives a fair idea of Aberdeen beach – start at 4.40 mins for his account of swimming in Aberdeen.

And the emptiness of Aberdeen beach today…

88beach_1

loneliness by the sea
what is found over horizons
is found here too

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Carpe Diem Haiku

Carpe Diem Haibun – Raindrop

Everyone remembers rain. I think rugby players have a special affinity for rain, when it is pouring down, and you are losing by 2, or 3 points, with as many minutes left to play. Chests are heaving after a break in play, trying, fighting to get oxygen and energy in, and vapour is rising in steam.

The rain pours, the drops skirting eyelids, sliding on the vaseline smeared there if you are a forward, part of the pack, but not noticed anyway. The captain making a secret signal, ball in hand, ready to take the free kick, the referee about to blow his whistle for the kick to be taken, but checking his watch anyway.

The ball about to be tapped, then thrown like a bullet into my chest, where I must grab it and hold, and be pushed over the line to get those 5 points. Must not fumble that slippery ball, or tumble when my team hit from behind to shove me over the line, as the other team line up, ready.

Then my team mate sees the butterfly in our path. Breaks away, scoops it up carefully, runs to a woman with an umbrella, watching, puts the butterfly on her arm. The referee looks on, bemused, then blows the whistle. The ball slaps into my sodden chest in the pouring rain. We charge, hit, hard.

But the butterfly is safe.

in the monsoon
one raindrop lands
on a butterfly

I learnt something that day. And life goes on.

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Carpe Diem Haiku

Carpe Diem Haiku Special, Soen Nakagawa’s “illumined by the moon”

As Chèvrefeuille says, the goal of this CD-Special is to write a new haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the given one of our featured haiku-poet. Here is the haiku, written by Soen Nakagawa, for inspiration:

how solemn
each patch of grass
illuminated by the moon

 

There is the visual aspect to this haiku, but the clear emotional attachment is also there, with the use of moonlight as a melancholic influence on each and every blade. My turn now:

a lantern dispatches shadows
where none existed before
-it takes light to see dark

 

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Flash Fiction

Friday Fictioneers: The Night Before The Morning That Will Not Be

image rochelle wisoff-fields

image rochelle wisoff-fields

In order to justify them killing you, you invent the crime. “I deserve to die,” you say to yourself. It doesn’t pay to get too religious on these occasions  —  the next thing you’ll be doing is repenting.

In our cells waiting to be shot we are a club with the same aim: to get out alive. Personally, I think of childhood. Maybe I should have played with dolls. Instead bullets will be my last medals.

If anyone finds this note; “I died a man.” That is, I fought till the end, and ran, blindfolded, hands tied behind my back, in my last faltering steps of freedom.

images

friday fictioneers 100 Word stories ¤ run so well by ms rochelle wisoff-fields

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Verse

If Jesus Was a Woman (For Magpie Tales)

el greco feast-in-the-house-of-simon 1610 (1)


Feast in the House of Simon, 1610, El Greco

If Jesus was a woman
and not a lesbian
Would there still be feminism?
Would religion start to make sense to me?
And would she have worn a bra?

Could she possibly have had
better hair?
Along with line in fine lingerie
for those seeking salvation
in the arms of a woman

Would her twelve disciples have been women too?
Would they have cross-dressed
or simply just had more style?
And would she have hung from the cross?

And would Peterina
Upon arrival in Rome
have been hung upside down?

If the Buddha had been all-woman
would she have sat under tree so long?

If Stalin had been a little girl
from somewhere deep in the Urals
would the gulags have functioned so well?

Its only Mick Jagger
that would remain the same
if history could be changed
To be herstory
And of course me
Though then
I would be une Lesbienne
-as I secretly am

magpie tales statue stamp 185

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Verse

Somewhere (for wedrinkbecausewerepoets.com)

there’s a place
in my past
that I passed by
with a smile
when I should have stopped
and taken that turning

perhaps then I would not
have dropped
swatted like a fly
and instead I would have hovered above
like an eagle dressed as dove
pretended to care
for the welfare
of those with too much love

I would have worn fur coats
paid politicians to sit in my pockets
employed slaves
for my factories
and from my big fat car
I would always gaze afar
and learn to ignore
those polluted streets

but as I look back on that place
somewhere in the past
at a crossroads in my life
I’m still glad I chose me
even if they stole my dream, in those years in-between

For I still feel the taste of victory
despite it all
they never destroyed my home
never droned
me, never bombed in shock and awe
and instead just took my health
slowly
bit by bit
those criminal corporatist rich
and their itch
for more of what I do not have

And I’m still
alive

crossroads

wedrinkbecausewe’repoets

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Flash Fiction

Friday Fictioneers – Teeth

Patterns.

“D-d-d don’t look like much to me,” had started ol’ Dawkins, but his job was to tether the mules.

“I’ll take a picture of the markings from above, and get a better idea,” said KZ, her white scarf fluttering across her face, disarming my thoughts.

“Tough flying through those mountains,” I replied.

“I do tough,” she said.

Her white scarf had flowed in the air stream as she flew over the high plateau in her prop plane.

She landed smoothly in the sand below us.

“So what are they?” I shouted down.

She motioned with her gloved hands.

“I think she’s sayin’ p-p-p-penis,” Dawkins stuttured.

“Probably ones that bite, knowing KZ!” I grinned aloud.

lengai_summit_from_crater-danny-bowman

Thanks very much to Rochelle! Pic this week by Danny Bowman. For Friday Fictioneers 100 word stories.

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