The New Woodsman

The New Woodsman

They said the new woodsman had broken the bank, crashed his Jag, killed his wife. And I said, they said too much.

Springtime I traded my ex-husband’s discarded jacket and a bottle of whisky for a sack of charcoal. Later he mended my fences.

They said the new woodsman slept on a bed of moss, never washed and had a tail tucked down his patched old trousers. When I saw him rise naked from the river, shaking ribbons of sunlight from his shaggy mane, I knew at least two of those were untrue.

And I said, second time lucky. Maybe.

Miranda Lewis

Welcome to Friday flash fiction here on a Wednesday, hosted by the indefatigable Rochelle and with a great photo from Alicia Jamtaas that sent me straight back to a little woodland tale/tail of yesteryear. So it’s Friday reprieve time – hope you enjoy it.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially those who stay to comment. For more woodland frolics from around the globe click here.

Under the Pier

Under the Pier

My older sisters were both stunningly pretty. I claimed awkwardness and the sort of shy cleverness that upsets most people.

‘Look out for each other,’ Mum would call as we left for the beach. As if.

He looked after the dodgems noon until midnight, breaks around four and eight. Sometimes I met him for both. My cheek against his ribcage, I’d listen to his heart. He smelt of sweat and damp caravans.

‘Reckon she fancies him,’ one sister quipped and the other flicked back her hair. They turned and as he winked I licked the salty taste of summertime from my chapped lips.

Miranda Lewis 2020

Welcome to Friday Fiction where, as we hunker down in the Northern hemisphere to our various (vastly curtailed) mid-winter festivities, a gentle summer breeze blew through my sitting room. For more salty tales from around the globe click here.

Thanks as ever to our host Rochelle whose story definitely inspired mine this week. What is it about fairgrounds and pleasure gardens, throughout time and location, that allow their visitors to cross class barriers and other taboos?

Thanks also to Roger Bultot for the phot and to all who visit, most especially those who stay to comment.

Dinner and Delusion

restaurant

Dinner and Delusion

You should have seen their faces.

Gavel parked the Rolls outside the restaurant – more of a pub really. He held the door and I lifted my silk gown high over the melting snow. We’d already had a cheeky sherry and giggled our way inside, Stefan so handsome in that old suit with the lapels.

I quickly realised how drunk Stefan actually was – a sherry or half a bottle of vodka? He could hardly sit up, let alone order. So much for our romantic dinner.

What was it that girl said to me? ‘You with Steve?’ ‘Stefan,’ I corrected and she laughed out loud.

Miranda Lewis 2020

Welcome to Friday Fiction and to my 100-word tale that can be read alone, or indeed in a small gathering of family members or friends isolating together. It can also be read as the third in a series, the first episode written in February 2017 and the second in February 2018. If I’m planning on turning this into a novel I probably won’t live long enough.

On that cheery thought, if you have been reading thank you. Do come right in and comment.

For safe travel around a world of stories click here. Many thanks as ever to our host Rochelle. And to Dale all hale for the snowy scene. (And actually Dale if you’re visiting, you also provided the snowy photo back in February 2018.)

My Life in a Nutshell

 

piano-anshuMy life in a Nutshell

My mother was a nut – a walnut. When my beautiful, polished form first adorned the drawing room I was joined by matching walnut bureau and piano stool. Alas, my mistress was consumptive and my master broke.

After the bailiff’s visit I adjourned to the pub, a lowering of status compensated by variety. Contemplative days followed by evenings of carousing and company. One penniless student of composition spoiled me forever with his sweet sad caresses.

Nowadays it’s just me, the woodlice and a tickling of marigold roots. I’ll not complain; we all return to the good earth one way or another.

Miranda Lewis 2019

It’s Friday, it’s five o’clock and it’s time for Friday Flash Fiction hosted by the esteemed Rochelle and this week adorned with a photo by Anshu Bhojnagarwala.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially to those who stay to comment.

 

Melancholic Tuesday

Melancholic Tuesday

chess-eyes

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

ronda-del-boccio

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 Princess without the Pea

dale-rogerson-snow-photo

The Princess without the Pea

Camping with ancestors you call it: corridors, attics, cellars; god knows how many bedrooms.

Mornings Gavel carries scalding tea up creaking flights to the bedroom, where we lie buried under heaps of eiderdowns. Through ice-frosted glass I look out over snow-blanketed fields to the far horizon. Not a soul.

Each afternoon I neglect to pack my suitcase.

Dinner is sardines with champagne in front of the fire, scent of mothballs rising from my stole, once owned, you claim, by a duchess who ran away with the under-groomsman.

Far away in a suburban cul-de-sac, a phone rings into the silence of my spotless house.

Miranda Lewis 2018

Welcome to Friday Flash Fiction!

We have not had real snow this year in London, for which I feel both grateful and jealous. Thanks to Dale Rogerson for the lovely photo and to our host Rochelle who travels the world of Friday Fiction through all seasons, all weathers.

Thanks to all who stop by to read and most especially to those who stay to comment.

For anyone interested this is a companion piece to this Friday Fiction, written almost a year ago. I’m not a quick worker!

Underneath the Chestnut Tree

 

tree-sandra-crook

Underneath the Chestnut Tree

(Genre: historical fiction)

Amy arrived at the barn flustered, cheeks flaming almost to the colour of her hair. The lambing man’s face in contrast was grey with exhaustion.

For once her words were bold, urgent.

‘The meadow, courting corner; ewe caught in the hawthorn hedge.’

His thoughts were muddy with lack of sleep.

‘Courting, caught?’

‘Under the old Chestnut. She’s birthing a lamb.’

It was the word lamb that did it. He rose, shaking himself to wakefulness.

‘Pass me them sacks,’ he said.

He took her hand and pulled her with him into the yard.

‘You’ve the hands of a midwife at any rate.’

Miranda Lewis 2017

Welcome to Friday Fiction and hello again after a bit of a hiatus. Thanks as always to our host, the writer Rochelle, whose own story can be found here, along with all the rules of play and Friday Fictioneers from around the globe. Thanks to Sandra Crook for the photo. (Realised I could have put a crook in the story, Sandra! Take the shepherd’s crook as read.)

(Please respect photographer’s and writers’ copyright. Join in, read and comment on other stories, but please do not use the photo for any other purpose than Friday Fiction.)

Sheep Walks into a Diner (two)

dale-rogerson4

Sheep Walks into a Diner (again)

A play for three characters: Squirrel, Sheep, Waitress

(100 words of dialogue)

Setting: A diner.

Squirrel: Two sheeps?

Sheep: Two sleeps, not sheeps. Anyway the plural is sheep.

Squirrel: I know that.

Sheep: And you thought I didn’t? Shh! It’s that waitress again, the one who looks at us funny.

Waitress: What can I get you?

Squirrel: The nut-burger please.

Sheep: Is the mango smoothie vegan?

Waitress: Sure.

Sheep: Anyway this article said two periods of sleep, not one long one, used to be much more common and even today some folks are probably programmed for more than one sleep.

Squirrel: And?

Sheep: Well it all makes sense, only I’m programmed for…

Squirrel: Four or five sleeps.

Sheep: There speaks the guy who dozes away half the winter.

Miranda Lewis (2017)

It’s been a while, but here we are back at Friday Fiction, hosted by the writer, diplomat, cat-herder and generally delightful purple-clad Rochelle.

And it would seem (possibly to some bemusement) we are back in the diner with my good friends Sheep and Squirrel. To those of you not acquainted they are just your average inter-species couple trying to get along in a world that is not always kind.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially those who stay to comment. For more stories try here. Thanks to Dale Rogerson for the photo. (Please do not use the photo for any other purpose than an entry to Friday Fiction.)

A Death in the Family

unnamed

A Death in the Family

Strangely death and beauty are often companions. Closed lids hid the milky cataracts of his decayed old age. Pearl-pink pads decorated delicately curled feet. I placed a cheek on his curved back and felt the last of his fur-wrapped warmth.

The grave my husband dug on that dark January night made criminals of us all. No, not my granny, I quipped to a neighbour. The old cat. Tears flowed freely as we said goodbye and buried the box, securing the lid against foxes.

Alone at last; silent house. I open the freezer, reach deep for the wrapped package and cradle the frozen form in aching arms.

M J Lewis 2017

Welcome to the world of Friday Flash Fiction, hosted by the talented writer Rochelle. Thanks as ever to our seemingly tireless host and also to Liz Young for the photo.

The above is partly true – I’ll leave you to decide what is fiction and what is imagination! Thanks to all who visit and especially those who stay and comment.

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