Paint Me

‘Baby, come on. Let me paint you.’

‘I’m busy.’

‘Come on, Eleanor…’

She dipped her finger in the paint, drew a red line down Eleanor’s forearm. Eleanor stopped what she was doing to wipe it off, but it only smeared.

Stained.

‘Stop it’, she pulled her arm away, and Nia pinched her wrist in purple, ‘Nia, leave me alone-’

She stepped backwards, and her foot slipped on the jagged edge of a broken glass. Nia barely looked up as she hissed in pain, smearing her hand in blue paint this time and dipping her fingers onto the duvet. Docile.

‘Blue looks better. We should get blue sheets…’

Cross-legged on the bed, easel in her lap, she stroked the marks on the bedding. Eleanor snatched an old towel from the end of the bed and wound it around her foot, gathering the shards of broken glass into her hand. Standing in the midst of a mess, she couldn’t see a path to the bin that wouldn’t cause her more injury.

Still, Nia sat in a nest of cushions, oblivious to the remnants of her latest outburst.

‘Nia? Could you help me?’

‘Later’, Nia rolled over onto her back, ignoring the broken glasses, the upturned furniture, ‘I’m painting first.’

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 08/02, merry muses, jagged)

Don’t Say You Love Me

Eventually, they ban the word “love”.

It’s harmful, they claim. Causes too much hurt. But people find other ways to say “I love you”. They say “Let me know when you’re home, I don’t want you to go, are you cold, how was your day?” Everyone gets used to it, and then comes the same hurt. The same disappointment.

So they ban speech entirely.

They give up when they realise people can be left just as devastated when all that came before was a blown kiss, or a hand held over the heart.

When they realise people can hurt each other no matter what.

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 10/02, censored)

Coward

She’d always known it would be easier to leave.

Easier than hiding in the bathroom for hours after she’d burned dinner. Easier than not being able to sleep without drinking. Easier than making excuses to their children.

But it would be hard, too.

Hard to bother feeding herself when she was only cooking for one. Hard to fall asleep alone. Hard to explain to the kids that she’d lied, that she didn’t fall down the stairs or bump her cheek on the doorframe…

So she stayed. For now.

A coward.

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 12/02, easier, ‘I Want To Break Free’)

Exposed

I wish I’d thought ahead.

It was just so easy, at the time, to be reckless. I thought I had the power; had him under a spell, but it was all just a game.

I didn’t realise I was giving him a hold over me.

It seemed romantic, that he could undress me with his eyes. I never thought there would be a time when I’d wish he couldn’t. When we’d be arguing, and instead of looking me in the eye, I could tell he was exploring my skin instead.

I never thought there would be a time when his gaze would hurt.

When it would burn.

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 13/02, foresight, exposure)

You’re Tearing Me Apart

The red jacket’s hanging where it always is.

On the back of the chair, next to the bed. The pockets are bulky with change, old receipts, cigarette packets. If I looked inside, who knows what I’d find? Maybe his car keys. Maybe a wallet.

Maybe his phone, with her number.

‘Can I borrow this?’ I shrug the jacket on without waiting for him to answer, and it’s warm, smells like him, ‘I’m going for a smoke.’

I do flick a lighter outside, but not for a cigarette. The jacket’s on the ground, and I want to drop the lighter on it. I want to watch it curl into nothing, for the phone with their texts to melt inside a pocket, I want to kick the ashes and tell him he never looked like a movie star anyway-

The lighter goes out.

I don’t burn the jacket. I leave it lying there on the ground.

It’s cold, walking home. My eyes sting.

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 14/02, rebel)

100-Word Challenge

In our latest workshop we gave our writers a 100-word excerpt and task them with finishing the scene in just 100 words themselves.

Here is the excerpt they were given:

Silvo groaned and opened his eyes slowly. The three monstrous dragons were amassing from every side, their huge shadows enveloping him. The blow he had been dealt had not only knocked him out long enough for the dastardly warlock to summon the dragons but had also severed our brave knight from his trusty sword. Warm droplets of blood trickled down Silvo’s forehead. The dragon to his right was red and winged, the dragon to his left was green and horned. The dragon behind him cast the largest shadow of all and its warm breath was encroaching upon Silvo’s neck. Suddenly….

 

 And here is what they came up with:


 

SUPER DRAGON HAZE

The vapes were charged and ready. Silvio preferred old-fashioned cigars, the fat phallic stumps of carbon; but he was being hospitable to his candy-crush dragons, whose penchant for vapes could be traced back to the saturated valleys of their infancy. Silvio matched flavours with the colours of each dragon: pastoral apples for the green one, cherry-cola haze for the red one. Together they smoked, each warm breath mingling delightfully in the air. Logos for corporate sports brands flashed like religious symbols in the darkness and suddenly the lights of the mall flicked on, drowning among dead muzak.

/ DJ Misty

[word count: 100]

 


 

PEE-EW!

Silvo turned around and shouted at the dragon behind him.

“Woah man, you need some tic-tacs or something ‘cause your breath stinks!”

The dragon, looking dejected sat back on his haunches and huffed a mighty puff. “You think so?” he asked glumly “I’ve been trying to eat healthier you know?”

The other two dragons had come put their wings around the largest’s shoulders.

“It’s okay dude,” said Silvo. “Here, try this.” Silvo ripped off a branch of a nearby mint bush and gave it to the dragon who ate it and instantly perked up.

He smiled toothily, “Wow, cheers man.”

 

/Tricky Dicky

[word count: 100]


 

LET’S GET IT ON

…the green dragon transformed into a bottle of champagne, the red one into a rose, and the large shadow cast behind Silvo fell as a blanket at his feet. From a cloud of smoke appeared an Adonis-like man with long flowing locks. His rippling bare chest was exposed and Silvo suddenly felt the strength of his ‘sword’ return to him.

“My name is Fabio and you are my hidden desire,” breathed the sexy sexy man.

Silvo tossed his armor aside and Fabio popped the champagne and then they lay down on the black silk blanket and had hot passionate sex.

 

/MC Bubble

[word count: 100]

Sunday Morning Osmosis

Sometimes on Sunday our sheets are like chloroplasts. We move in and out, a kind of miasma where our skin is completely permeable. She refuses to draw the curtains, always, and the sunlight is steadfast and golden. Have you ever heard of a rainy Sunday? Our bracelets clink together, the metal like ice upon glass as our lips upon flesh. The exchange of stamps and marks is fluid. Her skin is white and she is fish-like, slippery; the scales of her body betray no secrets. The world is indifferent. She lisps with her singing; it is like a kettle boiling with just that frisson, that amount of whistling. The sound of the radio fills the air with crickets. I am proud of how easily she makes me free. I embrace an alien quality, morphing into the shape of her body. You cannot clasp it anymore than you could clasp a handful of ocean. She slithers. Her sheets drip with the sunniness of Sunday.

Today I am starved of light. There is no photosynthesis. It is a gloomy Sunday and I listen to Billie Holiday, the rain making music of my window. I curl under sediments of quilt and Norah Jones is crooning to me, as if magic would happen if only this were a tin roof and I was the peaceful queen. They know nothing of this suffering. She is so far away and there are metallic sands which ripple with the languorousness of a dying jellyfish, a sweet diffusion into tiny particles. No answer to the water, no language upon the sound. A preservation keeps me from coiling completely back into matter. I too could be fish-like, surviving upon the one taut muscle that would undulate back towards the river. Westwards I stare at the glare. The key in the lock, its passionate rattle. I’d give up my life to avoid his entrance, to see the storms, properly on the sea, a vendor selling melted ice-cream, children digging holes in the sand. I’d cry into the colours. I’d want to mollify like that; compress this silken membrane, exact my own mode of decay. I would see her adrift like me: the purple one, bruised and stung on the cold white duvet.

/ Maria Sledmere

(fff prompts: non-binary, pride)

Going Loco Down in Acapulco

It was supposed to be business trip like any other.

 

Maureen had arrived at 6am, tight lipped and with an even tighter bun, fresh off the red-eye from Gatwick to Acapulco. Of course, the company had offered her a midday flight- business class, you would do no less for your hottest new sales executive who was just about to close a lucrative deal with Rexio’s Rubber Ducks Inc.- but Maureen had refused. Economy class did her fine and besides she liked to sleep on the plane anyway. All she requested was that she get to her hotel as fast as possible, and she did so taking a brief shower and then changing from her black pinstripe suit in to her grey one. She did toy with the idea of wearing her dark grey suit but all her suits were either grey or black, and she wanted to make sure it was obvious to the few hotel staff that might have seen her that she had changed.

 

The hotel room was adequate, the air conditioning a welcome touch in the humid climate. Maureen opened her calendar which clearly allowed her an hour for lunch before returning to the hotel to prepare her pitch tomorrow and finally checking her emails before an early night. She took a sharpened pencil from her breast pocket and skimmed it over her itinerary wondering if she might be able to pencil in an hour for a swim tonight but she decided against it. This trip must run like clockwork– she thought to herself- no time for idle distractions.

 

Just then the Bakelite plastic phone in the corner of the room rang. Maureen answered it impatiently, this call would cut in to her lunch time. Expecting it to be her boss ensuring she had arrived on time Maureen was surprised to hear the shrill man from the front desk telling her that a black limousine had arrived outside the hotel and the driver was insisting she come down. Maureen refused but the receptionist quite impertinently impressed that the driver was more-so demanding than requesting. Already behind her schedule Maureen decide to simply confront the limousine driver about his obvious mistake on her way out the door to lunch.

 

When Maureen took the stairs- lifts in Mexico were dangerously unreliable, she had read that in a paper somewhere- and made the lobby in no time. To her chagrin was not met by the limousine driver but the flustered speckly receptionist who told her the driver had returned to his vehicle and was parked out front. Maureen strode furiously to the limo- already they had wasted 17 minutes of her lunch time- and opened the back door to speak to the driver (the windows at the front were all tinted and the door locked).

“Look there’s obviously been a mistake,” Maureen began.

“Can’t hear you love,” the driver murmured. Maureen fully stepped inside the limo to get right up to the partition but as she did the door automatically swung shut behind her and the wheels started turning.

Maureen was less terrified at the prospect of kidnapping than she was furious at the prospect of missing her pitch tomorrow. Ever safety conscious, Maureen sat down and buckled her seat belt and tried as firmly (but politely) as possible to convince the driver to let her out. Barely 5 minutes passed before the car pulled to a halt but before Maureen could make a bee-line for the handle the door was suddenly opened from the other side. In stepped a glistening Adonis his golden hair was moistened with sparkling droplets of fragrant sweat. His scent was musky and inviting. He wore a tight white shirt that was unbuttoned exposing his bare bronzed chest. Maureen gasped, suddenly she was meant with a sensation she had never felt before she clasped her hand tightly in her lap.

“Hello Maureen,” the charming man said breathily. His white teeth glittering behind his voluptuous red lips. “My name is Fabio Rexio.” Maureen felt a quivering in her thighs.

“Mm..mm..Mr Rexio.” She stammered. “I thought our meeting was not until tomorrow. My pitch is…”

“Oh Maureen,” he sighed, pressing a finger to her lips. “I am not here to talk business. I wanted to show you the sights of course.” Fabio leaned over and instructed the driver to move on before switching of the intercom and locking the partition.

He then began to sensuously remove his shirt, exposing his chiselled abs. Maureen was overcome with frenzied desire and frantically removed her seatbelt. Fabio leaned over and kissed her passionately, their tongues winding around each other like two grass snakes in tandem. He unfurled Maureen’s tight bun. With her long hair following about her shoulders Maureen was suddenly transformed from dowdy sales rep to sexy vixen. He eagerly groped at her breasts and leaned over to kiss her neck. The kisses were like the ferocious suction of a plunger you had accidentally gotten stuck to a wall. She felt his ample rod against her thigh and he whispered to her “Maureen, you are my forbidden desire.” Maureen was not even embarrassed she was having sex in the back of a limo the warmth of their sticky love made her body slide up and down the seat. She wasn’t even bothered that she was missing her schedule at the sound of Fabio’s loud exultation she was sure she had closed the deal for the rubber duck shipment.

The next morning Maureen woke in Fabio’s four poster bed which had black silk sheets. She was covered in glitter. Her hair was blonde now and she had her make up all done so that she looked like an alluring movie star. Fabio was swollen with lust at the sight of her and they fucked like rabbits again. Maureen had spent all night (when her and Fabio weren’t having hot sex) drinking and dancing on stage with strippers. She thought to herself- I have certainly gone loco in Acapulco.

 

 by H.R.

(14/02/17, loco, rebel, <photo: Fabio>)

Foul-weather Friend

Sooner or later, everyone got tired of her. It was a novelty for people to watch the first time; to lead her outside when she started to panic, to imagine they could soothe her with a calming word or two. But anxiety can be boring when you’re not the one who has it.

Jess never got bored.

No matter what the problem was, she made sure she was generally nearby. Even stuck in a hospital bed, she remote-controlled herself into a sitting position and listened as Jennifer stammered her way through her latest worry.

‘I- I just keep panicking that something’s going to happen-’

‘Something has happened, Jenny. I had a bloody brain operation.’

‘I mean something bad. I don’t sleep at night-’

‘Don’t worry, Jenny. I’m fine’, she bared her teeth, but it didn’t look much like a smile, ‘Living til eighty, remember? Having the cute ginger twins? None of this ringing a bell?’

‘I just worry about you so much.’

‘Right. Jesus’, Jessica bit her lip, fumbling at the charm at her neck- and then, among the bruises, her eyes lit up. She scrabbled at the clasp of the necklace, let it drop loose into her hand and held it out, ‘There you go. Insurance.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I mean you take this while I’m in here, and then I’ll come and get it back once I’m home’, she twined the chain around Jennifer’s fingers, tucked the charm into her hand, ‘Don’t lose it, though. That would ruin the gesture.’

‘But it’s your favourite-’

‘Well, you’re my favourite too. You better run along now, it’s almost dinner time, and I’m not at my most attractive getting fed with a spoon…’

Even ten years later, it was unbearable not to have Jess anymore- but it helped, sometimes, to hold the charm around her neck.

 

By Molly Duffield

(necklace, 06/02/17)

Flash Fiction February Submissions

As you may or may not have noticed, it is no longer February. But never fear! GUCW’s favourite monthly challenge is not all over and done with just yet.

As we get to compiling our anthology we are still in need of flash fiction stories for many of our daily prompts. So if any of you still have some work in the pipeline you have until mid-April to submit your stories for the anthology.

As well of stories we would love submissions of your artwork to accompany any pieces or simply artwork to decorate the anthology. You can use the prompts on the flash fiction page for inspiration but there will be a general “kitsch” feel to the anthology (-think cheesy 90’s pop).

Submit your work to: gucreativewritingsociety@gmail.com

Find the prompts here: Flash Fiction February 2k17

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!



**Days/ Prompts that haven’t been written on yet:**

22/02/17

Non-binary, pride,

101009617

 

24/02/17

Inconceivable, Iridescent,

“You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”- Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

 

27/02/17

Negligible,  Damask,  

“This world that we’re a-livin’ in, is mighty hard to beat; You git a thorn with every rose, but ain’t the roses sweet!”- Frank Lebby Stanton