Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Short stories, less than a thousand words or thereabouts…

Just get on with it…

All the things I want to do: be a best-selling writer, enthral and amass thousands of followers and fans on my web blog, climb mountains, go wild camping in the Highlands, ride my mountain bike in the Welsh valleys, get really fit and muscular, load up my land rover and travel the country. I always have, since I was about ten. That was forty years ago…

Well, now I’m really going to do them, I’ve decided. Time to put to use the last ten years of subscribing to Writers News. I’m going to read it from cover to cover and do all the things they suggest.

I’ve bought a book on basic navigation; I mean, how hard can it be? I might go on one of those advanced navigation courses, all the outdoor magazines recommend them. I could of course just get myself a top of the range handheld GPS set, but I want to look like a proper adventurer, and I’m sure holding a map and compass will look better on my Facebook pics. Oh and you should see the tent I bought, the lightest and best on the market, the man in Snow & Rock told me so.

And I’ve joined a gym; I’ll need to be quite fit if I’m going to climb Ben Nevis. Maybe I should buy some protein shakes and supplements, to help things along. I wonder how long it takes to get huge muscles like all the top athletes. Shouldn’t take too long, I mean, it’s a really expensive gym, all the latest equipment and stuff. Then I’ll be able to start wearing all my new cycling kit; I wouldn’t want to look like a novice.

Would be great to make some money from my blog too, just to tide me over still I start earning royalties. I think I read somewhere if you let search engines put ads on your blog they pay you for all the ‘hits’ they generate. I’m still not sure what to write but I’ve got a book on order, ‘Ten great ideas for a Best Seller,’ and there’s loads of free downloads for Kindle about blogging, I must look into that.

It’s not easy being a writer; people think you just sit at home in the lap of luxury, that all your time is your own, to do as you like whenever the mood takes you. It’s not like that; you have to be disciplined, ruthlessly sticking to your meticulously planned work schedule. I mean, you wouldn’t just down tools if you were at the office or on an assembly line just because you wanted to catch the DNA results on the Jeremy Kyle show, or nip off for a cuppa until you felt like working again would you? Well, I wouldn’t either, not normally, but it’s okay sometimes; it’s not as though I’ve got a long commute or ‘owt like that so I can allow myself a few distractions – but not too many, wouldn’t do to get into bad habit – oh hang on, be back in a min, my phone just pinged, I’ve got a Facebook friend request, someone I got chatting to in the library the other day I think. Always good to have loads and loads of friends listed, shows publishers how popular you are. Now what was I saying, oh yes, not getting into bad habits…Yes, it’s important not to allow too many interruptions to your writing – Oh, sorry, my phone again, it’s an email from amazon, the latest Kindle Newsletter update… Ah, that’s awkward, it’s recommending you turn off your phone and internet whilst writing so’s not to be distracted. Well maybe, I’ll think about it. Anyhow, as I was saying, it’s important to build your readership for when you get published. But you still have to stick to your writing schedule, making the most of your free time, balancing your writing with all your other interests. Take this coming weekend for example; I was planning to get in some serious writing starting dead on 5pm and not finishing till at least ten, and then start again first thing Saturday morning right through till midday. That would leave me the rest of the day and all day Sunday for some hill walking and maybe get some material for a travel blog too. If only it wasn’t the X-factor finals this weekend and there’s a sci-fi film weekend on the TV too. It’s only the one weekend though, and it’s not like there’s a final every week. But enough talking, I really should be at my keyboard updating my blog. I’m going to write every night all this week… What’s that? Oh it’s the doorbell, hang on… Sorry about that, was the post man with a delivery, the final season of Dexter. Have you seen it? Great isn’t it? One of those series you can watch night after night…

I just have to watch it, I mean; it’s the very last season. I’ll definitely make a start on my writing next weekend…

A Silly Thought….

Well, blog no:4 – I wrote this short story a few years back when there was a lot of talk in the press about the spread of nuclear weapons. Now with all the speculation about when and not if Iran becomes a nuclear power I thought it might be time to give it another airing, enjoy,..

 

A Silly Thought….

 

 

It was just past the third sunset of the day, on a world far, far away, when the three of them began the long journey home from the Bi-Centennial fireworks display.

“Wow, that was the best ever!” the little boy exclaimed from the back seat of his parents shuttle-pod.

“It’s just not fair we can’t have them more than just once every two hundred years, and bigger too?”

He was still very young. His Mother turned and smiled, seeking to explain:

“Because of the radiation,” she said. “And you know how dangerous it would be if it was any bigger. We all do.”

The little boy fell silent, thinking about what his mother had said, knowing she was right: “I suppose so, but… it’d sure be nice to see it close-up next time.”

This time it was the Father who addressed the little boy’s innocence:

“If only that were true, but it’s not,” the father began, knowing the time for explanation had come: “You see, when the scientists discovered atomic power, everyone knew it was a gift of nature, a marvellous gift to warm and light all the worlds for ever and ever.”

“Just like a star?”

“Yes, in a way, but not quite – more like having our very own ‘little’ star, right in out hands. But like any precious gift, it has to be looked after, and treated carefully.”

“So?”

“Well, the scientists realized how, if the little star ever got away from us, it could destroy entire world; because it’s more powerful than anything else we know – more powerful than any earthquake or volcano. That’s why we had to wait so very long before we made the atomic power stations, until we knew enough to make them absolutely safe. So once every two hundred years we have the atomic fireworks show, not just to entertain us and to remind us of how lucky we are, but also to remind us how careful we have to be.”

The little boy understood. “I never thought about it like that. I suppose if we weren’t so careful, some people might even try and throw the little stars at each other.”

Ronnie! The little boys parents gasped, momentarily stunned.

Mother spoke first: “What a silly thought. That would be insane.”

Then Father spoke: “Even more insane than me aiming this shuttle into the sun and just killing us for no reason at all.”

The little boy was ashamed of his silly thought now that he realized just how insane it really was: “I’m sorry,” the little boy cried.

Mother and Father took him in their arms, soothing his fears: “I love you both. I love everyone,” the boy said.

“We love you too, Ronnie,” Mother and Father answered, smiling and forgiving. And in that far away world, life went on… happily and forever…

Not what you thought…?

It was so many year ago, I can’t remember the last real person who visited me, the only people I see now are the ones whose job it is to keep me alive, if you can call this living that is, imprisoned in a world without a future. I think back to the world I once knew, of colour, of fresh air, open blue skies… of freedom.

Twelve o’clock, time for my dinner. It’s Friday so it must be fish – and the boiled potatoes, steamed of course. I shake my head, thinking back to those delicious meals of the past, that other world. I wish I could throw this swill away but I can’t, not if I don’t want to go hungry. I take the food, as I do every day.

I ignore the slamming shut of my door, the snap of the lock, I’m used to it. I try not to look at the food, close my eyes, and dream of the real world. Then I remember, realise, there is no real world other than this one, at least not for me anymore. Back to reality, the four walls and ceiling that is my world, one that’s every nook and cranny I know intimately from the thousands of times I’ve stared at them hours on end.

My dinner’s still there in front of me. I push it aside in disgust. Perhaps hunger is the better option I think. What does it matter if my health deteriorates, or id I steadily grow thinner, locked away as I am. I get up and walk a few paces to where a tarnished mirror hangs lopsidedly on the opposite wall. I gaze at my reflection for the umpteenth thousandth time, noticing my hair’s a little greyer, a little thinner, my features more shallow, and a dullness of the eyes now. And my appearance too; what does it matter if I let things go a bit, not bother to shave, wear the same clothes as yesterday. I’d always looked before, but that was then, when I was free, when there was a reason to look good. But what does it matter after so many years, when you’re old no one cares. I continue to gaze, still dwelling on the past. But I know that’s all gone now, that other world I know I will never return to. I decide not to think anymore about what lies beyond my four walls; instead I turn to the bedside cabinet where I’ve been storing my daily medication, hidden in a little biscuit tin, lots of different coloured pills.

The doctor had said they’d help, just not in the way he probably had in mind.

It’s taken me a long time for it to come to this, but I’ve had plenty of time to think about it, far more than most in fact. I sit down in my chair to scoop the little clutch of pills, my escape from a society that keeps me trapped. It takes awhile for them to take effect but at my age and in my condition it isn’t too long.

It isn’t long before I drift off to sleep, away from the life within these walls, to a world behind my closed eyelids, filled with the colours that have been missing from my life for so very long. For the first time in longer than I care to remember an involuntary smile forms across my lips as I drift away to the only freedom left to me…

*****************************************

It was the social services who found him, meals on wheels to be precise. The woman who delivered them knew why he’d taken the pills. He’d told her often enough and all the others who’d taken the time to listen. In a way he wasn’t as alone as he thought. He was afraid of all the thugs and criminals who’d taken control of the world he once knew and loved, afraid of venturing outside for fear of them taking what little he had left. Like so many others, he was trapped by it, a prisoner in his own home…

Nicholas C. Rossis

dream-protecting author

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