Literary Lion. How to say goodbye.

When it comes to blooms and eyes, two of my favourite tales from the last month have included Graham’s In His Mind’s Eye and Andy’s Her Flowers. A good excuse for some escapism if you haven’t read either already…

But the cat has put his poet’s hat on for this fortnight’s Literary Lion prompt, the word is “Limerick“. Being such a wordy writer myself, I decided to take the prompt literally, and have penned a limerick, but there are of course many other interpretations out there to find…

You have 14 days to tell your limerick worthy tale in 400 words or less. As always please tag your post with Literary Lion, remember to pingback to this post and point me in the direction of your stories on Instagram and twitter.

Here is my little limerick…

How to say goodbye.

The air moved a vacuum of sound.

With a blunt breath and eyes on the ground,

the mortal invaded,

through sunlight he waded

and silence was heard all the way down.

Advertisements

Literary Lion. Bloom.

I might be fighting off the temptation to play sleeping lions here today but my feeble fingers have just about managed to pluck a piece of paper from my little jar.

The word is the very beautifully penned ‘flower’.

There are some exciting things on the horizon for Literary Lion, but in order to make room for the approaching antics the event is now becoming a fortnightly affair. So from this week onwards I am giving you 14 days to craft your post of 400 words or less. Please remember to pingback to this post, include the ‘Literary Lion’ tag and of course give me a tinkle on Instagram and twitter.

As part of the new and improved Literary Lion I will be choosing a favourite tale each week to link to in my next prompt piece, so have your writing hands at the ready…

Here is my floral affair…

 

Bloom.

This time he bought me roses. Their razor thorns grazed his face when I cracked them across his skull. They swung so smoothly through the air, whistling as they went.

Twelve bunches of flowers in the last sixty-four days. But the roses were lavish. She must have been special. His guilt oozed from every petal.

The first time was a bunch of weak wilting daisies. Puny and pathetic. She probably had mousy brown hair. Plain Jane.

They got better looking each time. One day it was elegant, slender tulips. The next week was bright beaming amber sunflowers. That bunch hurt. I wasn’t the smiling type.

But the roses were the finest of them all. Blossoming pink spheres. Velvet to the touch. Plump, ripe and undeniably beautiful.

Literary Lion. I see you.

Good evening my writing lions. It seems our little jar keeper has been watching me this week…

The word is eye.

You have a week to craft your tales of ‘eye’, in 400 words or less. Remember to pingback to this post, include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ so we can find all your posts in the WP reader, and of course give me a shoutout on Instagram and twitter.

Here is my all-seeing tale…

 

Lunchtime.

It was burning my mouth much more than usual. Its flame whispered through the gaps above my gums and swam along the back of my tongue until it hit the tip of my oesophagus and stained my tonsils with its clinical tang.

I spat it out just as the tears threatened to spill over the lower rims of my eyes. I curled my lips as I stared into the mirror above the sink, ran my tongue over each enamel surface, smooth, white and stain free.

The bathroom cabinet reflected a similarly slick world through the window behind me. The sill sat below a frame of metallic towers, each shining a reflection of the next; infinite echoes of an endless cityscape of monochrome.

Karl was hovering by my desk once again. He had those dark brown eyes where the pupils bled into the irises so all you see is one enlarged orb of darkness flanked by bloodshot white either side. They pierced through the air and into my skull. I tried to divert my train of thought in case he was listening. I kept him in my peripheral as I stared at the cubicle behind me in the reflection of my computer screen. He moved his mouth like a fish several times before he decided to leave without saying a thing.

I was careful to check they weren’t watching before I opened the drawer. Their little servants were spying above my workstation. They would raise the alarm if they saw what was inside. I tentatively leaned down into my handbag, pulling the mass I had recovered from the side of the road earlier this morning. The feathers were still warm when I had picked it up then. Now they were cold and crisply matted with what was once the creature’s insides. One more subtle glance around me, and I thrust it into the drawer. The gluttonous lip smacks were muffled by the timber.

She would reward me for that in time.

Literary Lion. Happy Feet.

Bonsoir my lovely literary wizards. This week the lion has two pairs of pirouetting paws…

The word is ‘Dance’.

You have seven days to tell your dance inspired tales, in 400 words or less. As always, Pingback to this post, include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ so we can all see your story in the WP reader, and don’t forget to holler via Instagram and twitter.

Here is my tale of happy feet…

IMG_6517

The Audition.

The red door stood stark against a street of black counterparts. It was the exact shade of the virtual lipstick signature that sat at the end of the email she’d sent.

She called herself Darling.

I leant towards the lacquered wood and heard only space behind it. I glanced again at the piece of paper in my hand. There was no sign on the door and no number, just the potted topiary trees that she had described when she’d called to tell me to come to the audition. That word carried a certain chesty self-assurance.

I had told my friends I was going for an interview.

I knocked. The door swung inwards, revealing a dark hallway lined with leather cubes. Each foam filled box had a girl balanced on top. One sat empty and uninviting in the corner.

My heels ticked across the slate floor as I edged around the door. It was latched behind me by a man dressed in a suit that hugged his broad shoulders as though it was clinging on for life. I smiled in greeting but he remained mute and expressionless.

The hallway stood as silent as the void I had heard from the other side. My stomach growled in protest of my liquid caffeine breakfast. A girl with bleached yellow hair leered at my waist.

I should have had another cigarette.

By the time I’d been in London for a month I had convinced myself I was anaemic. Certain that my countryside reared blood couldn’t fuel my body in the way it did every other Londoner’s, I would chew on Pro Plus tablets with droopy eyes and a languid brain that had forgotten to swallow. I could still taste the morning’s dose; the bitterness had bonded with my taste buds as the coagulated powder sifted down my oesophagus unwillingly.

I heard her imminent entrance. The straightening of their backs and the fluffing of their locks told me that they had heard too. We stood to attention as she greeted us, her set of ghost white porcelain teeth flicking out from between rouged lips.

She marched us down the stairs and into a low-lit room cocooned beneath the city. A chequered floor stood at the centre, surrounded by tufted red velvet booths, each of which tilted towards a mirrored pole that stood at the helm.

 

giphy-5

Literary Lion. Dirty Laundry.

This past week has been packed with tales of time, but now to a new prompt, and the lion is thirsty…

This week’s word is ‘water‘.

You have seven days to pen a piece of 400 words or less. Pingback to this post to ensure I can see your post, include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ so we can all see it in the WP reader, and don’t forget to yell at me on Instagram and twitter.

Here is my H2O inspired fiction…

IMG_6484

 

Dirty Laundry.

The bell on the launderette door chinked as the man in the suit slinked inside. He was smartly dressed to the most meticulous detail; his cufflinks polished, the pleats of his trousers crisp, his finely crafted Saville Row suit not the kind one might usually see in a place such as this.

As he proceeded towards the corner of the room, his presence raised several eyebrows from the bodies going about their humdrum routines. He rested his attaché case on the washer and opened it; the mechanical clatter echoed throughout the room while his back disguised what he wanted only his eyes to see.

Gingerly he lifted an item of clothing from the case, while stealing a look behind him to see who was watching. Everyone. The regular visitors to this launderette were intrigued by this alien presence and they had no shame in displaying their inherent nosiness with their indiscreet eyeballing. He contemplated for a moment walking away, finding an alternative and imagining their stares if he were to do so. He predicted their hurried whispers as soon as his foot touched the path outside. Instead, he remained resilient, determined to do what was required and leave without a trace.

He jerked the washing machine open, hurriedly placed his garment inside and shut the door on what he no longer wished to see. He pulled a small sachet of powder from his case, poured it into the draw and took two pounds from his pocket and slid them into the coin slot.

After selecting the hottest cycle, he watched the water begin to drain into the drum and wondered if it would be enough to wash away the evidence of his sins.

 

 

 

giphy-4

 

Literary Lion. Clock watching.

Greetings my little lions and lionesses. This week I pulled from the pot a pretty piece of penmanship in pink, and it echoes the theme of a story I told last winter, which was published in Popshot Magazine.

The word is ‘time’, and you can read an excerpt of my original tale below, or you can find an online preview of the magazine here.

As always you have seven days to create a flash fiction story in 400 words or less. Include the tag ‘Literary Lion’, pingback to this post, shout at me on twitter and Instagram so I can share your literary prowess, and have a browse of each other’s tales in the WordPress reader.

IMG_6381

Waiting for No Man.

Mr Dufour looked at the line of people; several days worth easily, perhaps even weeks. They snaked between the weighty columns of the room and bent out of the door. He couldn’t see the end of the queue outside, but he knew it was forever growing.

When he first started taking requests from his visitors, his heart said yes to almost every appeal. Dying parents that needed more time, lost children that required longer to be found, even the young at heart that weren’t ready to grow old. But with every yes he gave, a hundred more of the same would journey to his door, and with every granted wish, his creation would be forced into overdrive.

When he discovered the bottling of time he made a promise that he would never take it for himself. But hundreds of thousands of requests later and he was weak and he felt old. The skin on his hands was thinning, his spine was beginning to curve, and his once coarse black hair was now an unkempt tuft of grey clinging to a line between his ears at the back of his head.

Initially he thought he had changed the world for the better. Over time he came to realise that he had just made it more arduous. The further he prolonged life the longer everyone needed to live, the more time he gave those who were failing, the more they needed to succeed. The days he granted to the dying meant the diseases became more aggressive, the hours he presented to the needy made them less able to survive next time. It was this very morning that he noticed more of his hair scattered across his pillow, and he knew a dark cloud was lurking in the distance.

clock

Literary Lion. King.

 

Last week’s challenge saw many tales of merrymaking, while this week’s Literary Lion prompt is as regal as it can be. The word is “king”.

You have seven days to create a flash fiction story in 400 words or less. Include the tag ‘Literary Lion’, pingback to this post, give me a mention on twitter and Instagram so I can share the words and have a browse of each other’s tales in the WordPress reader.

For my tale I looked to the animal’s kingdom’s royal lineage, and to the planet’s original crown-wearer…

IMG_6306

King.

I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe…

Mists hovering above flooded grounds, ripples rolling away from every footstep, trees soaring taller than I and into the sky to touch clouds. I’ve seen olive eyes peering up from within muddy pools, the wings of reptiles flicking between branches of feathery leaves. I’ve seen lizards clutching with claws to the trunks of trees, but over them I reigned, their Tyrant Lizard King.

I’ve seen an entire realm of kings; hundreds of pairs of eyes on the crown, steely in our stare from the second we felt the sultry air for the very first time.

And now I see you, human. You with your inquisitive eyes, you with your unenthusiastic frown, and even you with your expression of awe, just like the one who first saw me, the one who gave me his name. 65 million years underground and now again I stand tall, your Tyrant Lizard King.

 

 

giphy-2

Literary Lion. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

It’s official. I always thought I was quite adept when it came to all things technological, but apparently I am wrong.

I was off on a jolly to the Wimbledon tennis championships yesterday – something I have been wanting to do ever since I was small – and I had scheduled this week’s Literary Lion to post magically in my absence. Or so I thought.

Apologies to those of you who were gearing up to rise to the Lion’s prompt yesterday, I hope you can forgive me and my newly realised technologically challenged ways.IMG_6091

This week’s prompt was likely dropped into the jar by a festive visitor. Whether you chose to believe it was Santa that gave me the prompt is totally your prerogative, but I think this word has the bearded man’s name written all over it.

The word is ‘Merry’.

As always, you have a week to pen a piece of flash fiction in 400 words or less. Include the tag ‘Literary Lion’, pingback to this post, have a butchers of each others work, and give me a mention on twitter and Instagram so I can share the words.

Only 169 sleeps til Christmas. Here is my merry tale.

 

Kringle.

Those fluffs of white weren’t fooling anyone he was rosy. Glistening strands of silver hair that caught the firelight in their synthetic forgery.

I don’t know why I’d never realised. Yes his belly was round and his cheeks were flaming, but that’s what the diet of the inebriated will do.

Hold the mince pies but don’t forget the sherry.

I wanted to check my stocking one more time before some shut eye. I found him slouched in the armchair, buttons undone, beard around his neck, necking the bottle. Moments ago I’d tentatively poured a dribble into one of those small sherry glasses. It was crystal etched with florals and the ruby liquid sang between its light catching edges.

For sipping only.

As I tipped the bottle I envisaged the authentic festive father slurping between present placing, trying not to see pine needles all over the floor, leaving with crumbs in his beard. But this was not that, and he was not authentic.

I tried to wonder if the real thing was just waiting on the rooftop for the sleeping household, but then I remembered catching Mum slipping a coin under my pillow when my last baby tooth fell out and I realised it was all a lie. No chocolate wielding rabbit, no tooth trading fairy, and no man in a red suit being pulled by horned creatures across the sky.

The only man in red was sat in my front living room with a bottle of empty sherry and a head that would flinch at the slightest sound in the morning.

Merry Christmas to me.

tumblr_ngwzri2omG1u0zzozo1_400

Literary Lion. Rouge.

It seems as though Kitty’s hot and grumpy self has influenced the prompt I picked from her jar this evening.  The word of the week is ‘Bleeding‘.

IMG_5962

You have seven days to bleed across the page in 400 words or less. Remember to include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ in your piece and to pingback to this post so we can find your work in the WordPress reader. As always, have a read of each other’s work, the feedback is appreciated by us all!

Tweet me your stories, or tag me on instagram and remember the hashtag #literarylion

Here is my little tale of blood…

 

Emu

If Penny could have strangled him she would have. But it was hardly subtle.

This was the third nose bleed the old man had suffered with today. Whilst he was bent over his crossword puzzle, a drop of rose red splattered onto the page and spread through the fibres, growing larger as the paper drank it up.

He peered through his thick glasses at the spot. The tortoiseshell frames hung under his bushy grey eyebrows and clung to the tip of his nose as he bent at the neck, an emu stretching away from a hunched torso. He reached for the handkerchief in his left breast pocket, his hands fumbled with a trembling that had become part of his being. The rag he retrieved was freckled with dry bloody spots that were scattered between embroidered initials and lacy edging.

The old man twisted the fabric into a tight corkscrew and forced each pointed tip up a nostril, leaving the body of the handkerchief to dangle across his face like a bull with a nose ring.

Whilst mulling over the answer to thirty two down, the tang of copper started to grip the very depths of his tongue, spreading throughout the mouth until it had conquered every taste bud. The man reached for his glass of water and sucked in tiny mouthfuls from the edge of the crystal. Clouds of red span through the liquid with each sip, until the remaining fluid was a pale red tincture of tap water and blood.

Through a chink in the blinds the old man could see across the pool. The water shimmered the sunlight onto a naked couple that were slathering tanning oil across their leathery hides. The male one bent to retrieve his morning fill of beer from his ice cooler, giving the old man what was to be his last look of the living.

 

nnpt2

Literary Lion. Catch me if you can.

 

Thank you to everyone who has responded to Literary Lion so far. The kitty has meowed for another week, and the word is ‘Escape‘.

IMG_5841

 

You have seven days to craft a story of 400 words or less, inspired by the prompt ‘Escape’. Remember to include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ in your piece and to pingback to this post so we can find your work in the WordPress reader. I encourage you all to try and read each other’s work and leave some feedback, there are some wonderful stories being told each week.

Please do tweet me your stories too, or tag me on instagram and remember the hashtag #literarylion

And so to my ‘escape’ inspired tale…

 

No Way Out.

I thought her breathing techniques were flawed. That calm, velvet hued voice was trying to control my abdomen. I resisted for as long as I could.

The sleek synthetic strands twisted across my wrists, almost beautiful. The threads frayed, cracking into untidy tendrils as they snaked past skin cells, drawing rusty droplets that tainted their clean coils. My blue veins pulsed beneath the grip of the rope, staining the fibres further with every heart-powered throb.

When there’s no way out you either pray or resign yourself. Tonight, defeat. I was futile in the battle, witless in the war, completely hopeless against the takeover.

She edges towards me with her mirrored tray, empty but for one glass cylinder of clear fluid. Her closed fist nears my chest and she unfurls her fingers to reveal the mint and black capsule in the centre of her palm. She pleads with me for cooperation.

I imagine the muscles of her neck convulsing beneath my thumbs, but my hands are hopeless, bound to the white metal bars of the bed. I thrash my legs, but my body is shrouded by drearily patterned polyester.

She leans towards my ear. Whispering. Breathe in for seven, out for eleven, give the parasympathetic nervous system a chance.

The sleek synthetic strands twist across my wrists, almost beautiful.

 

lips