Melancholic Tuesday

Melancholic Tuesday


In the library old men play at chess; polite handshakes, gently murmured notes of victory and defeat.

I take the long way home, darkness at five o’clock. Empty pavements, October roses, soft tread on leaves that smell of childhood. Past lighted sitting rooms, bonfire night poster tied to railings. Could be the sixties but for the old hospital newly converted; cars sit in ambulance bays, fitted kitchen where once the night nurse penned a love letter in a circle of soft light.

You never wanted to be an old man, gave up chess; never owned a dressing gown.

Well, you got your wish.

Miranda Lewis 2018

I love this time of year. The garden has (almost) been put to bed, clocks have gone back and ’tis the season for night walking and glancing into lighted windows – for the melancholic, to be fitted in between Hallowe’en and the first, way-too-cheerful Christmas trees going up.

As it’s Wednesday welcome to Friday Fiction hosted as ever by the writer Rochelle. Thanks to Jeff Arnold for the photo, to all who visit and most especially  to those who stay to comment.

And if you fancy a quick melancholic read my novella, Dream Girl, is still staggeringly good value at only 99p. Who says nothing stays the same?

dream girl cover right size

Tidying Up After


Tidying Up After

You left early, mid-sentence; grass uncut, the bird table you were attempting to mend face down on the patio. Mind you, you tidied away that last bottle to the very last drop.

Back home, I have taken to washing up teaspoons, burning old postcards, composting diaries.  Don’t be alarmed; I am but a finger’s stretch closer to the shadows. I won’t say anything significant, at least until I’ve cleared this cupboard.

My partner on the other hand is accumulating wood and screws, enough to open a hardware shop. Or build an arc. Or in the event, our coffins. Now that’s tidy.

Miranda Lewis, 2018

(Genre: unreliable memoir)

Welcome readers and writers to Friday Fiction, hosted by the indefatigable, inestimable Rochelle, with thanks to Ronda Del Boccio for the photo prompt. Now you might be thinking it isn’t Friday and this isn’t really fiction, but on the other hand it is 100 words.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially those who stay to comment. To graze on a whole pasture of stories click here.

The Jewelled Locust


The Jewelled Locust

The room was almost unbearably hot. A ceiling fan stirred the soupy air listlessly.

My grandmother’s face when she turned to me was yellow, skin taught over sharp cheek bones, eye sockets deep pools of purple.

She indicated the box of jewels. ‘For you and you alone. The very best.’

All I saw was the blood and toil of others, wealth won with deception and malice.

Outside, I opened the lid and handed a brooch to the child who guarded the decaying lobby. Fake emeralds, nevertheless valuable.

Unknown to my grandmother my half-sister and I still speak: different box, same lies.

M J Lewis 2017

Very late to the Friday Feast of Fiction this week, but such a stunning photo, thanks to Shaktiki Sharma. Thanks also, of course, to our esteemed host, Rochelle, and thanks to all who visit, especially those who stay to comment.

The Soft Young Down of Her


The Soft Young Down of Her

The days were short and the trees bare by the time he returned to the village in the valley. Twelve long months away, living hand to mouth: working the land, birthing lambs – whatever he could get.

He’d thought of her all year like no other – the soft down of her arms, her budding breasts, her spirit bright and nervous as a newly fledged Dunnock. But so young – and what had he to offer?

Now her face told it all: frosted ice over deep water. In his absence someone had taken what he hadn’t dared to touch. He was a fool.

M J Lewis

Arrived very late last week at Friday Fiction and apologies for doing hardly any visiting and commenting.

Thanks to Rochelle for all her hard work keeping us in order week after week and for also providing the photo this week.  To visit more stories inspired by this photo prompt click here.

The title of my piece is a line taken from The Farmer’s Bride by Charlotte Mew.

Go or Stay?


Go or Stay?

Two am: one last time, you ask the hollow-eyed girl in the mirror that simple question: Go or stay?

If you could follow it back, hand over hand, when did it go wrong? Was it one day, one hour, one moment when doubt crept in? Or was it built layer upon layer, the whole sad, human edifice of seemingly insignificant details?

Don’t come to the airport, I might die of sadness, I said.

Meaning: Come to the airport, I’m already dying.

He sleeps on; scrumpled face, mouth slightly open. Sweet, vulnerable. But then love was always the easy bit.

M J Lewis 2016

Flying in very late to Friday Fiction, hosted by the writer Rochelle Wissoff -Fields at Addicted to Purple, with photo prompt from Rich Voza.

This post is not an allegory, a metaphor, a whatever – it’s just a piece of fiction. On the other hand, I did go to bed Thursday night here in London, UK, Europe and woke up in Little England. Frankly, still stunned!

America – watch and learn. Donald and Boris? Don’t even think it, only now I have.


Young woman of impeccable character and neat appearance required as schoolmistress for village school


Young woman of impeccable character and neat appearance required as schoolmistress for village school

Must be: disciplined, self-assured, modest, patient. Skills to include: a fluent hand, flawless arithmetic, clear singing voice (soprano or alto), love of the bible and traditional literature of an improving nature, knowledge of the British Isles and her dominions. A passion for clouds and the still air at dusk; for bluebells in sun-dappled woods; your hand on my breast, a gasp in my throat. And forever a longing for the girl I left bare-headed under the wide blue sky, beyond the squeak of the chalk, the dusty depths of the ink wells and the high, barred windows of the schoolroom.

M J Lewis ©2016

Friday already, so this means of course I’m late for Friday Fiction. (I love a paradox!) And such an interesting photo, thanks to J Hardy Carroll. Not a school I’m assuming but, although the chairs are plastic and metal nowadays, I will forever associate wooden seating with schoolrooms.

Thanks as ever to our gracious host Rochelle and to all who visit. For more stories click here.

Spring Clean


Spring Clean

A picture-perfect spring day: brisk breeze and fluffy clouds, hanging high against a nursery-blue. I climb the ladder to the loft to unfold stubby limbs of softest cotton, descend to wash away decades of dust in virgin suds.

They’re flapping on the line in tiny congruence. This one, and this I never dared to name. Ignore the idle chatter of forget-me-nots, the brash indifference of the tulips. Attend the bluebells, who nod their scented heads and say, it’s time. And I agree, as every mother must.

So one by one, unpeg them all and let them fly. At last.

M J Lewis ©2016

This is my hundred-word story for Friday Fiction, hosted each week by the gracious Rochelle. This strange and enigmatic photo comes from Mary Shipman. For more stories from around the globe click here.

Thanks to all who visit and especially to those who take the time to comment.

No Title


No Title

Monday: Forgot my husband’s name. Surprisingly easy to cover.

Tuesday: Couldn’t remember the route to work. Somewhat trickier.

Wednesday: Stayed home.

Next day: Somewhere a wardrobe door swung drunkenly on broken hinges; a bookcase toppled, spilling its entire contents.

Another: Curtains sleepwalk from open windows.

And another: I am kneeling in the garden, someone‘s gnarled old hands holding my trowel. A young man bearing a beautiful mauve flowering plant is crossing the lawn.

He turns the label towards me and I read, ‘Phlox Paniculata, Purple Kiss. Names are so important don’t you think…’ He indicates the sticky label on his pullover. ‘Henry. What a considerate young man you are. Your family must be very proud.’

He grins. ‘Especially my Grandma.’

The wardrobe door gently closes; the bookcase temporarily rights itself. The windows are secure, the curtains still as I smile into his handsome face, recalling momentarily the first day I held him, rosy and new: my very own grandson, Henry.

MJ Lewis©2016

(Flash fiction 160 words)

Lost and Found?



Lost and Found?

Decades ago a face would have been reconstructed physically, painstakingly layered onto the skull, the techniques of theatre and make-up artistry as much in evidence as science.

Today the construction is in a computer program, the one running on my office computer; although of course the small skull itself is still handled, each tiny bump and indentation carefully calibrated.

I am in the canteen. I cannot move from my seat. Next to my office computer is the faded photo of my baby brother, with his halo of sun-bleached toddler curls. My boss is pushing open the swing door. I exhale slowly.

M J Lewis©2016

An atmospheric and provoking picture this week at Friday Fiction, thanks to Erin Leary, who gives us her hundred-word story and an explanation of those odd stumps. Thanks are also due, as ever, to our wonderful host Rochelle.

My story was written in a spirit of experimentation, to see if I could find something hiding deep in the swamp of my imagination and take myself in a different direction – I don’t usually add to the Friday Fiction body count! So what happens – I seem to have written about family, loss, love…in other words the same old themes.

Thanks to all who visit.

The Spinet and the Music Stool


The Spinet and the Music Stool

They were the words every lover dreads: I’ll always cherish our time together.

The spinet wanted to bellow out his misery, but his strings just gently vibrated with sadness. She was much younger; he’d always known their time together would be short, a song rather than a symphony.

But the new walnut pianoforte, with his rolling bass and piercing climax of high notes, his seductive dynamic range – it was too much.

Take care my love, whispered the spinet in moderated tones. May your heart be filled with happy tunes.

And his own heart broke within him with a jarring twang.

M J Lewis ©2016

Coming along very late to the party this week due to internet problems. I appear to be still in a Hans Christian Andersen mood – not sure why.

Thanks to Rochelle, our busy host at Friday Fiction, and to Jan W. Fields for the photo this week. For more musically inspired 100-word fiction click here.