Category Archives: Short fiction

New Short Story – ‘The Wedding’ – by Sally-Anne Wilkinson

Here’s my latest story on Storgy.

For some, the urge to marry is strong, regardless of the consequences…

THE WEDDING

by

Sally-Anne Wilkinson

typewriter love

That night, Obsita was swarming, which was comforting for us.  Exhausted after days of patrolling, hungry for food and company, it was gratifying to return to the tribe.   Raids from the vespers and avis were thick in Saltus recently; they stole from our oothecas, murdering our burgeoning young.  Of course, all of us were permanently at threat, and the knowledge of it lay thick amongst us – heavy as approaching thunder – but we were not afraid.  As warriors, we were strong, ready; our instinct to protect.

The sultry night air filtered into the club, leaving a residue of moisture on our flesh.  Strong drinks were required, and hopefully, if we were lucky, something more.  Many of us were experiencing the pressure of the season – of Tempore – which was so much more than our usual urge to defend the tribe.  Our mating instincts…

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The Very Inspiring Blogger Award 2014. And Seven Confessions about Me…

Woo Hoo!!! I’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Amazing!

As you’ve probably noticed by my introductory sentences, I’m absolutely chuffed to bits to be chosen by novelist Sandra Danby. Please click here to learn more about Sandra and about her writing and her novel, Ignoring Gravity. I’ve visited her blog many times, and in my experience, there’s always plenty there to inspire you.

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I’m inspired all the time. By the things I see, hear, touch, read in books and magazines, and watch on television. I’m inspired by countryside, and cities, and beaches, and sunsets.

Inspiration is in everything we see and do.  It's a path to something better.

Inspiration is in everything we see and do. It’s a path to something better.

I’m inspired by humour, and bravery, compassion and kindness, by dedication and tenacity, the innocence of youth and the ravages of age, as well as the beautiful and, sometimes awful, random events around us. Inspiration is everywhere, rousing and firing imagination and emotions.

But the thing I find inspires me more than anything is other people’s talent.  I’m always astounded by their abilities, what their imagination creates and melds together. It motivates me to do the same. It triggers my memories and spurs my senses. It produces a need to channel those everyday experiences and sensations into something that others can share. You know that feeling when you encounter a piece of art or theatre or writing that moves you, or makes you think about something in a different way? That’s the effect I want my writing to have on others. To produce that ‘Ah yes’ moment. ‘That’s how it is.’

So, it was a real honour to get nominated for this – that somewhere along the way, I may have stimulated or motivated someone else to write, or simply given a person hope or ideas to work with. The most encouraging aspect of creativity is that everyone can have a go, and with time and practise we all get better. There’s nothing more inspirational than that, is there?

Before I divulge any further (more disturbing) information about myself, I’ll list the rules for the award:

As a nominee, you must:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.

3. Share seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated. 

5. Optional: follow the blogger who nominated you, if you don’t already do so.

 

Okay, so here’s seven facts about myself. I hope you find them interesting.

1. Though I never originally had a desire to get married or be a mother, I now have a husband and two daughters (which just goes to show how life can take you on unexpected journeys.)

Who are these two children and why are they with me?

Who are these two children and why are they with me?

My daughters were born six years apart, and are very different in personality and outlook, though both are very single-minded. Sometimes being in the house with the two of them can be… er… tempestuous to say the least, but on the whole, I love that their characters and interests are so diverse. The eldest goes off to university in September 2014, the idea of which has left me slightly bereft. Though I have always encouraged her to be independent, I am now considering packing all of us into her suitcase before she goes, and seeing if we can get away with living in her room – in a box under her bed.

Lucy and Rosie and parrot

I wanted the parrot…

 

2. I grew up desperately in love with musicals and old films, as well as the actors in them.

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Doris Day, Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Gene Kelly, Marilyn Munroe, Burt Lancaster, Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacClaine, Tony Curtis, James Stewart, Jack Fonda, John Wayne, and so many others (as you can see, it’s a long list). I had childhood crushes on them all. They captured my imagination, enchanted me, and absorbed me in a different – magical – universe. (My love affair with film still exists to this day, and yes, I still get a little obsessed with the likes of James McAvoy, Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling). After I’d finished watching the shows, I’d re-enact them – alone – in the living room, with a burning desire to relive the magic moments over and over. I played out the individual characters, changed the intonations of my voice (in my mind, I could be man, woman or child, though if I’m honest, I was disappointed I didn’t have the gift to change my height, or the colour and style of my hair), stamping around the sofa gesticulating wildly, and using a cushion (cringe) for the more romantic moments. Sometimes I’d record the soundtrack of the movie on my cassette recorder, and woe betide anyone who scraped a chair, opened a door, or coughed while I reproduced the programme in its auditory form. After, I’d lie on my bed, listening intently, reassimilating the experience, allowing my imagination to relive the whole theatre of the thing over and over again. I’m sure it’s this obsession with re-creation that developed my obsession with writing today.

 

3. I live in Littleborough, which is a Lancashire town on the edge of the Pennines and the border of West Yorkshire.

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As far as I am concerned, it is the wettest place in the UK, unless, of course, you decide to relocate to the middle of the North Sea. I have lived here since 2003, which is the longest I have lived in any one town since I was a child, so I can only assume I like being permanently damp. As well as my husband, and two children, I live with a very smelly, drooling and toothless, grey-faced boxer dog, Fudge, and an arrogant tabby cat, Boris, in an old converted wool mill. It is possibly the coldest house known to mankind, and in winter, I live permanently in fleece pyjamas, gillet, dressing gown, thick socks, furry slippers, scarf and hat.

wrapped-up-warm

The entire ensemble is finished off with a brown blanket and sometimes a hot-water bottle. The postman is so used to me opening the front door in my eclectic (odd) costume, that he hasn’t blinked an eye in years. In the winter months, getting out of bed and dressing is an interesting experience, and the phrase ‘BRACE YOURSELF’ often comes to mind.

 

4. I spent two years as a holiday representative for a luxury camping company in France.

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Twice a week, I used to stand up in front of twenty families and lead a welcome meeting, and yet, I never got over my fear of public speaking. Later I became a primary school teacher, which bizarrely, is a job that also involves talking in public. In fact, that’s pretty much all you do. In the classroom, I never had a problem with this. However, my view on my sudden abandonment of my glossophobia is that kids don’t judge you in the same way as adults. Plus, they like it if you act like an idiot… and I do that a lot.

 

5. My first language as a child – despite being brought up in the UK – was not English, but Polish. For three years, I’d lived as an only child in a household of Polish speakers, in a wider community of Polish speakers. During this time, not one person thought to mention that we lived in England. Or that in this country, there was another language that everyone else used on a regular basis. They also forgot to mention that I might need it to function when performing ordinary day to day tasks in public. As it happened, I went to my first day at nursery unable to speak a word of the language of the country I was born into. Also, as my mother dropped me off that morning, she forgot to mention this fact to the staff. (To be honest, I don’t think she realised. When you’re bilingual, you slip in and out of languages so easily, you don’t realise you’re doing it. But anyway…) Obviously, when she picked me up later, she was met with consternation, and a genuine fear that I was deaf. Apparently, I hadn’t responded to anything that the assistants or children said to me that day, which was worryingly a sign of hearing impairment, or perhaps a learning difficulty. Yet, surely, this misunderstanding wasn’t the consequence of my mother’s oversight, but rather, a sign of their professional incompetance? I look back now and think: how did they not realise? Surely, in their line of work, an essential quality when working with children (both English speaking and not) is an ability to MIND READ? Pffft. Shocking. You just can’t get the staff.

(By the way, my lingual abilities were with me for life. By my twenties, I’d gone from being a fluent speaker of Polish in my early childhood, to pidgin Polish in my teens, to only being able to count to 20 and say a handful of random phrases in adulthood. Shameful.)

Strangely, on the same theme, some years later – by which time I was, thankfully, a fluent English speaker – there was another concern about my ability to hear; again in an educational establishment. This time I was sent for an auditory analysis because, as was my wont, I wasn’t responding as expected in class. As it turned out, my hearing was impeccable, but my propensity to day-dream meant I faded out the presence of the class teacher on a regular basis – usually for most of the day. What can I say? I was happy in my own world! And you won’t be surprised to hear, I’m still like that now.

 

6. During my childhood, I believed I had an amazing singing voice, until my parents selfishly ruined it by buying me a cassette recorder for my ninth birthday (please see fact #2). One day, in a bedroom solo-performance extravaganza, I belted out a show tune from Cats – ‘MEMORIES’ – in the style of Barbra Streisand. I could barely contain myself once the song ended – rewinding the tape, smug in the knowledge I was going to wow audiences world wide, unable to wait for my journey of fame to begin – only to play it back and, upon hearing myself, sit there in wide-eyed shock with my mouth open. For the first time since aged three in nursery, I was silent. Let’s just say the whole experience left me mentally traumatised and disappointed. I wasn’t the singing aficionado I thought I was. To this day, though I still dream of being able to perform an aria on stage, with audiences applauding me with endless standing ovations, I would never purposely torture anyone with my singing voice. In private though, it doesn’t stop me belting out a … er… tune. Though, nowadays, I am very careful about the volumes I reach. A few years after my Babs Streisand reality-check, I was singing in the bath when there was a knock on the front door.

Girl guide serial killer

My girl guide serial killer stage

I went downstairs in my dressing gown, to answer the door to our neighbour. She asked if my mother was in, to which I answered, ‘No, sorry – she’s out.’ The neighbour looked puzzled. ‘Are you sure she’s not in?’ she said. She peered into the house, looking directly behind me, where there was nothing but an empty room. ‘I could swear I heard you both arguing.’ Arguing? Gah!

 

7. I’m horrified by my age, and have always believed that I am a female Peter Pan figure. Until recently, I truly believed that middle-age only impacts other people, never me. Even to this day, I don’t feel like a grown-up, but unfortunately, my mirror, and my aches and pains tell a different story. As a result, I feel betrayed by the world, and want to know the way back to Neverland. Anyone got the directions?

halloween

Growing up? Too scary to contemplate! DON’T DO IT!!!

 

Here are my nominated blogs:

I love novellist EL Lindley’s blog.  She writes about all things now, with humour, wisdom and insight: men, women, friendships, crushes, education, even Morrissey… Anything you want an opinion on, you’ll find it here: ellindley.weebly.com

Paul writes about his experiences with writing.  His writing itself, and his procrastination: http://misterphipps.com

Penny Shutt writes amazing poetry, and blogs about how her experiences with therapeutic writing.  http://pennyshutt.weebly.com

On A Woman’s Wisdom, you’ll find reviews of a variety of books.  http://awomanswisdom.wordpress.com

Experience Stephen Thom’s speculative and metaphysical fiction here: http://stephenthom.wordpress.com

Sonya reviews books and interviews writers: http://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com

Cheryl writes serialised fiction to which she adds intricately detailed illustrations on: http://cherylmoore.wordpress.com and here is her blog with further writing: http://cherylmoorestoriesandpoems.wordpress.com/about/

I love the humour in this blog – something I keep trying to introduce to my short story writing, but somehow my themes are persistently bleak and SERIOUS.  One day I am going to write a character in the Skinny and Single vein: http://skinnyandsingle.wordpress.com

 

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The Heaven of Cannibals – ‘Landing On All Fours’ by Sally-Anne Wilkinson

My latest contribution to STORGY:

The Heaven of Cannibals – ‘Landing On All Fours’ by Sally-Anne Wilkinson.

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Ten Stories About Something – ‘Ether’ by Sally-Anne Wilkinson

New on Storgy. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

ETHER

by

Sally-Anne Wilkinson

typewriter love

The days and nights, I drift, like flotsam on the tide.

Soon I’ll wash away entirely.

Of course, there are moments when I grasp on, when I hear the stampede of life, and remember what I was; when all this started.

I’ll tell you about it, while I’ve got time.

*

Physically, I felt odd for a while, with lack of sleep getting the blame. I was recently a new partner at Fassett, Masters & Jones, and found it difficult at times, though nothing I couldn’t handle. Yet each day, I became increasingly off-kilter – a strange sensation, like losing myself.

Oscar laughed. ‘What? Don’t be daft. You’re just tired, that’s all.’

‘It’s more than that.’

‘You need a change… A weekend away. Me. You. No kids…’

That’s the trouble with Oscar. Things need to fall down around him before he takes them seriously – but I knew it…

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Sally-Anne Wilkinson’s New Short Story – Sunrise over Cappadocia

Here’s my latest story on the Storgy website. Inspired by the glory of hot air balloons in the morning sky!

Sunrise over Cappadocia

by

Sally-Anne Wilkinson

 typewriter love

‘Come here.  There’s sleep in your eye.’

‘Mmmm…That’s good to know.’

He leans closer, and with his fingertip, removes the offending article.  I can feel the softness of his skin as he takes the tiny haul from the corner of my eye.  He smiles, proudly, displaying the crustie, then kisses the end of my nose.  The room is draped in shadows, and the pale blob resting on his nail is barely discernible in the dim light.

‘How can you do that?’I say.

‘Why not?  It’s part of you.’  He wipes his finger on the side of the bed.

‘Gross.’

‘You wouldn’t do that for me?’

‘No way!’

‘Not squeeze the blackheads on my back?’

‘Absolutely not!’

‘Would you cut my toenails if there was ever a time I couldn’t reach them…’

‘You’d be lucky.’

He edges across the bed, so his face rests…

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I’m Not Hungry Thanks

What do you do when someone asks you to critique their work and you’re really not impressed?  Do you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?  Or do you lie?

As you’re a writer, it’s likely, at some point, that you’ve been approached by another writer to critique their work, probably because they know that it’s not quite right and need a second opinion.  If you’re familiar with them and their writing style – it’s a relatively easy task.  You’ve developed a relationship because you admire each other’s work, you’ve a mutual trust, and an understanding of what to expect.  The whole thing is straightforward – you can be honest, direct, and not tie yourself in knots as to whether you’ll upset them or not. However, it’s an entirely different matter if it’s someone you don’t know that well, but particularly, if it’s the work of someone who’s inexperienced.  Especially if there’s a lot that needs improving.  I don’t know about you, but for me, critiquing the work of someone I’m only vaguely familiar with sets off those anxious little voices in my head (yes, I have voices).  They call out:

You can’t tell them the truth.  

You’ll hurt their feelings.  

And then they’ll be upset.  

And you know who’ll be to blame!

YOU! 

When you’re in this situation (surely I can’t be the only one?), the first thing you should do is turn down the volume on those voices. (You’d never do anything if you took any stock of what they have to say).  The next thing is to consider the critique from the writer’s perspective (especially if they’re a novice).

It’s true that, after a few years of writing, I welcome (fair) constructive criticism, but when I started out, passing my work over for someone else to read made me want to:

  1. throw up;
  2. hide under a blanket;
  3. run away

I knew I was over-reacting. My rational side thought, get a grip woman – it’s only a piece of fiction.  I wasn’t confessing to a life as a prostitute in the window of an Amsterdam brothel (that’s another story)

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She wished she’d got some net curtains. She was sick of every Tom, Dick and Harry looking in when they walked past.

or kidnapping a busload of grannies in Torremolenos and keeping them hostage (best not go there).

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She knew she shouldn’t have left that open invite on Facebook.

Yet, despite this, as a new writer, I felt exposed and vulnerable, consumed by a very real and powerful fear.  My writing felt so personal, and I’d invested so much in it, that the possibility of any negative comments felt like a personal assault on me.  I’d set my creative bar so high, that if I lost my balance, I was scared the fall would be fatal.

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This circus trick course wasn’t all it was made out to be.

It’s this I try to remember when I feedback on someone else’s work: the huge impact we have on someone’s confidence when we tell them our thoughts about their creative abilities. As a reviewer, I’m not simply commenting on a story, but something that is personal to them.  The other thing I try to remember is the lessons I learned from others when I received critiques on my stories:

  • Show consideration for their feelings, and don’t be too blunt.
  • Even if it’s very flawed, it’s really important to make a big deal about the good aspects (pointing out things such as interesting story idea, strong voice, easy narrative style, good characterisation, natural dialogue, striking imagery, etc).
  • Only then, when you’ve buffered them to the hilt, do you describe the weaknesses (in my case, the usual suspects: not moving the story forward, too much irrelevant detail, unnecessary description, explaining too much, being too obvious, overuse of adjectives, cliched characters and cliched writing, too much telling, not enough showing.  I could go on).
  • It’s good to have two positives to every negative.
  • Don’t list TOO many negatives – especially if it’s a new writer.  You can always leave a few out.  The future of the Earth doesn’t depend on it.  It’s likely they’re going to send the story to you again, so you can always point out other issues then – once the writing is stronger.

Hearing the faults in a story isn’t pleasant reading for any writer, but if the positives are emphasised strongly enough, the negatives won’t make you want to scurry away, to hide for eternity, covered in cobwebs and cat wee, never to write again.  Instead, you’ll realise, your writing may not be perfect, but what you have instead is something solid to work with.

So, as a critiquer, what you should be serving to the writer, whatever their experience, is the classic shit sandwich.

Image

Tell me what the pros of writing are again?

Those two positives I mentioned earlier?  Those are the bread.  And the negative? Yep, that’s the shit filling.  You’ve got that, right?  The bread is a shock absorber to soften the blow.  You’re distracting them with something cosy and comforting to chew on (Mmmm! Thick white Warburtons bread)

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Mmmm, Warburtons. My favourite. What did you say that brown stuff was? Marmite?

before they realise what the smell is and the bad taste in their mouth.  (Do you need some water?)

It’s easy to see many negatives in a lot of new writing, and yes, you should tell the truth, but don’t be overly harsh.  Over-emphasising the positives is not being deceitful.  What you’re actually doing is giving a new writer the honesty they deserve, whilst simultaneously building up their creative confidence and self-esteem. It’s the persistence and practise that’s applied to writing – after an initial boost of confidence – that helps with improvement; the ability to apply the good, and to identify (and remove) the bad.

So, if we return to the shit sandwich analogy (yes, we must)…  Over time, if writers act on feedback, they learn to eliminate the shit from their sandwich until it’s nothing more than an occasional skid mark on the bread.

And maybe one day, if we’re lucky, there’ll be no mark left at all.

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Not that I’ll be eating that bread after I know what’s been on it.

 

 

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Filed under Short fiction, Uncategorized, Writer's resources, Writing

Sally-Anne Wilkinson’s New Short Story – The Birdhouse

My latest story on the Storgy website, with the stunning photography of Tomek Dzido as inspiration.

THE BIRDHOUSE

by

Sally-Anne Wilkinson

Stepping from the bus onto the estate, I smell bacon frying.  It’s years since I left, but nothing’s changed: the houses, clean and neat, overlook characterless gardens, and the street itself is airless; stagnant with marriage, kids, invisibility.   The bus drives away, and I’m abandoned with my rucksack, heavy on my back.

I look at the house.  Karen’s car is parked in the shared driveway.  She offered to pick me up from the station, but I said no.

‘Suit yourself.’

I see a bike, flung carelessly, to the right of Karen’s car, and I laugh, a small, indiscernible sound.

‘Seems to me, Charlie, you think the world owes you a favour.’

‘What -?’

‘Your bike. On the drive.’

‘Dad – I wasn’t…’

‘Money Charlie.  Hard-earned cash.  Bike’s aren’t free, you know?’

‘I -‘

‘You can’t look after anything – ’

‘Dad – I…

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All The Best Intentions…

Probably one of my most annoying traits is the inability to think before I speak.  I thought I’d managed to maintain some vestige of control over it where my writing is concerned. Until recently, when I discovered that, obviously I hadn’t… 

A while back, I asked a couple of writerly friends to critique a short story for me – Colin –  that I’d been wrestling with for ages.  You know what it’s like?  Sometimes writing is as easy as stuffing the contents of a can of Pringles in your face (or maybe two cans, right?), but at other times, the ideas in your head are frozen, like a type of stage fright, steadfastly refusing to make an appearance on paper.

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If only writing was always as easy as binge-eating.

Oh, come on – who am I kidding?  It’s not stage fright.  It’s constipation.  Pure and simple.  Rock-hard pebbles you have to push out with grim determination, that hurt like hell.  I’m afraid to say, I think I might even have that same pained, scrunched-up expression when I’m struggling with writing that I do when I’m trying to…  Er… possibly time for a subject change here.

I get this a lot (writing that doesn’t flow, not constipation.  I swear.  Please believe me), and usually when it happens I write the story regardless, ignoring the diabolical flow, hoping that eventually, it will all form a cohesive whole.  Though in this particular case, there was no ‘whole’ when the words were finally committed to paper: Colin was the writing equivalent of a drunk in a bar – jerky and incoherent.

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It’s best not to let your writing loose on people when it’s jerky and incoherent.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to my writing buds.

I knew them well – having done a few modules of a writing course with them – and understood that I could rely on them to be kind, but more importantly, able to pick out what worked and what didn’t about my, by now, hated short story.  In the past, I’d turn to them whenever I needed an honest opinion, and I knew they wouldn’t let me down.

Now let’s establish something here – something you may already know: one of the most important rules when receiving feedback is that you accept it without comment.  Even if you don’t particularly agree with the critiquer’s opinion.  I mean, as you’ve asked their advice, you have to accept it.   And, there’s a couple of reasons why.

Firstly, if you start trying to justify writing that needs improvement, you start to look like nothing less than an arse.  Yes, that’s right – an arse.

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Being an arse wouldn’t be so bad if only it meant being pert and shapely. I knew I’d get the short straw.

More importantly, remember the critiquing process is not just about you.  it’s hard for someone to give honest feedback, especially when they know a writer has put their heart and soul into a piece of writing.  And my two friends – let’s call them Ethel and Gertrude here, for the sake of argument – have given me lots of useful guidance in the past, helping to improve my writing no end.  The reason they’ve continued to help, is because I’ve accepted it without comment – simply thanking them, going on my way, and using the parts of their advice that I felt was relevant to alter my work.  Even if, at times, I’ve needed to have a little cry after.

So the rule for receiving feedback is:

Don’t comment.

I’ll repeat that again.  Do not comment.

Yes, I’ll say it louder in case you didn’t hear me.  DO NOT COMMENT.

women with her mouth taped up

Sometimes, when you can’t keep your mouth shut, only tape will do.

You know this rule now.  I know this rule.

In the past, I’ve followed it to the letter.  Even when I’ve really wanted to say something in my own (writing’s) defence.

But, unfortunately, not the time when I got the feedback to Colin.

Instead of my usual ‘thankyou, you’re so great – your advice has been a great help’, I took the list of adjustments – which I FULLY AGREED WITH – and decided to explain my thought processes for the writing as it stood.  I don’t know what got into me – I wasn’t arguing with their advice.  What I was trying to do was show my intention in writing it that way.  I don’t know, maybe I was embarrassed – I was used to having more creative success in recent times, and though I’d asked for their help (and needed it), there’s an element of pride being bruised when you’re told your writing needs so much improvement.  Anyway, all that happened was I ended up looking like an arse.  Did I tell you that you look like an arse if you respond back to criticism?  Here’s another reminder:

fat-thong-topless

Yes, I’m an arse for all the world to see.

But what was worse, Ethel was mortified.  (Gertrude was quiet on the matter, but God only knows what she thought.  Sometimes silence is more frightening than confrontation).  She apologised in great detail, thinking she’d hurt my feelings, and said she hadn’t meant to step over the line in her critique.

She hadn’t.  It was me.  I was an arse.

But I suppose there was a positive in the whole situation – it made me understand that the critiquing process is a two way thing: it’s not just about you trusting your reader, but also, about them trusting you.  Just as you need to feel safe in your creative relationship before you pass over your writing, they need to feel safe giving you advice, and understand that you’re not going to argue or nit-pick about the points they make.

So, basically, my point is, when you write, and when you ask someone to give you a truthful analysis of good and bad points, then take their advice, say thank you, and shut up.  That way, they might want to help you again.

I was fortunate because Ethel and I had already established a good relationship, so she understood this was nothing more than a blip.  But, in future, I’ll make sure I treat her with much more care.

That is all.

 

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Sally-Anne Wilkinson’s New Short Story – ‘A Forgotten Colour’

Another light-hearted romp from the Wilkinson imagination! Hope you enjoy, and please, tell me if you do. And if you don’t, please tell me why…! I only get better if I know how to improve…

A FORGOTTEN COLOUR

paint tins banner

by

Sally-Anne Wilkinson

*

Judith draws back the curtains, securing them with tie-backs; gently fingering the black beaded ends.  David chose them.  She glances around the room.  It could do with a polish, and a hoover.  Instead, she settles for smoothing the duvet with the palm of her hand.  Aubergine.  David’s favourite.

It’s purple, Mum, he said, snorting. 

 

That’s not what they call it on those design shows.

 

Well, exactly.

The conversation she remembers verbatim, but it’s a while since she’s seen him, and lately, she finds it hard to recall his features, such as the line of his nose, and the natural hue of his hair.

She likes to keep his room tidy. That way, it feels like he’ll turn up any minute, though the bedcovers are rumpled from when Frank stops in here.  Why can’t he clean up after himself?  It…

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Sally-Anne Wilkinson’s New Short Story – An Element of Surprise

This is my latest Storgy story, though really, it’s one of my earliest stories.

AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE

shhh

by

Sally-Anne Wilkinson

Though it was early, with the sun suspended low on the horizon, the sky was bright.  On the estate, a fine layer of frost coated the grass and cars.  Sarah, concealed by a tree, stood watching a house across the street, a hood obscuring her face and hair.  In her hand, she clutched the handle of a long, wheeled, black bag.

It was almost eight o’ clock.  Any minute now, Richard would leave.

As if she willed it, the front door of number ninety-two opened, and a tall man with dark hair stepped into the cold.  He fiddled in his pocket, extracting a bunch of keys – she could hear the faintest jangle from where she stood.  Double-locking the door, he tested the handle, then headed towards the station, his breath visible as a thin vapour. Sarah stepped back.  For a moment, as…

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Filed under Creative writing, Short fiction, Storgy