Under the Carob Tree

There were once three men who used to sit on the bench shaded by the carob tree at the far corner of the square.  They were much younger than the tree, albeit as wrinkly and bent by age as its bark.

Everyday their vigil began right after the seven-thirty mass. They sipped English tea in a tall glass at eight-thirty, then bread and cheese at ten. The bench under the carob tree would be empty between twelve and two; which was precisely the span  of time it took the sun to graze the wooden bench before its rays were eclipsed by the second house on the left. Continue reading

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Journey’s End

A dark wave broke against the boat, tilting the starboard lip precariously close to the waterline; not for the first time, nor for the hundredth time.  The boat rocked on, cradling our nausea, nourishing our fear.

We were no seamen, not a single one of us. And yet, here we were; fourteen souls packed tight on a piece of wood barely qualifying for the term ‘boat’.

Adjoa screamed; a sound that cut through the thunder and made my insides hurt.

‘Shut that pie-hole, woman!’

Eniola sent a poisonous look in Paki’s direction and shifted slightly, barring Adjoa from Paki. He had been raising one hell after another since we left Libya, but Eniola had so far managed to contain him. Continue reading

Changing Shapes

clouds

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

Lying down hand in hand with a boy with no other intention except to gaze up at the passing shapes above, we used to hypothesise and ponder; were they strong enough to walk on?

A few years passed and I was up among them, looking at them.  I saw cotton valleys and mountains; a whole magical world made of white and I wondered; was there anything more beautiful?

Now, glancing up I see rain coming and when up among them, looking through them, all I see is my tomb thirty-five thousand feet below; is there a death more horrible?

 —

For Friday Fictioneers. No dark fiction from me this week; just stark, cold reality. Hope you like it anyway.

The Speed of Mouth

It all started when Emma told Donna that she liked Fred. At the time they both giggled and left it at that.

Later that day, when Donna was walking home from the bus drop-off with Pippa, Donna found herself at a loss for words.  Pippa, who was in with the cool crowd, only walked with Donna because she had to, them living on the same street and all, so when Donna felt that familiar awkward silence coming on, she fished frantically inside the innards of her brain for a topic.  And she found it; only, when Donna told Pippa that Emma liked Fred she scrunched up her nose and tried hard to sound all-knowing; “Not just likes Fred…she likes-likes him.” Who could blame Donna? This was Pippa she was talking to!  Pippa shrugged and allowed the silence to fester. It was not until the next morning that the little piece of news came in handy.

She was sitting in the aura of Maggie; taller, blonder, more beautiful than Pippa could ever be.  Gazing at the jocks walking by, Maggie disturbed the air with a high-pitched; “I dunno what you’re all looking at! They’re all little boys!”

“Hmm-mmm, we all know what your type is!” said Sammy, and Maggie smiled her I’m-so-grown-up-and-mysterious smile, which basically gave her a duck face.  Pippa, who in the two years of high school had become allergic to that smile, began to simmer; “If it’s Fred you’re talking about, forget it.  He likes Emma!”

And that was the last peaceful morning Emma spent at that school.  She was jeered at and bullied to the brink of depression until her parents dragged her and their belongings out of town.

Still, Emma got it better than Fred did.  His attorney pleaded with the judge that it was only a rumour, and the judge should know how rumours fly; especially ones so juicy.  But the judge didn’t buy it and Prof. Fredrick Simmons ended up in jail for abusing a minor.

mona-lisa-duck-face

For Trifecta.  The word given to us this Monday was FLY:

You know it actually took me two days to come up with a story?! But my mind pulled through in the very early hours of the third day (It’s 00:53 over here).  Hope you like this one.