A Fair Wind

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A Fair Wind

The seventh of seven daughters, and all my sisters married, I was promised to a merchant of Moorish extraction in exchange for a cargo of Madeira.

The wine – sweet and rich, the colour of menstrual blood – restored my father’s fortune and I insisted on a male tutor, fair skinned but well-travelled. I mastered algebra and anatomy; the constellations and the continents; theology and food storage.

When my ship comes in I will not be locked in any fine palace, tending a full womb. There will be but two courses to navigate: to sail by my husband’s side or escape.

M J Lewis 2017

It’s Friday and so I’m late for Friday Fiction. I can only plead fantastic gardening weather. All hail to Rochelle, our indefatigable host, and to Fatima Fakier Deria for the nautical photo.

Thanks to all who visit and a huge thank you to those who stay and chat.

I dedicate this piece to all those (children and adults – you know who you are!) who have questioned the part algebra has to play in a well-rounded education.

Ambitions

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Ambitions

You caught the express train to the city, running down the steps two at a time. A shout to the guard – whistle to his lips – and you jumped on.

My ambitions are simpler.

I sit in the waiting room, listening for the reassuring chug of approaching steam, the slam of doors, the cheery greetings of the porter. I stroke the cat, sip my tea.

Not this train; not today.

I seem to be wearing a hat and veil; my full-length dress rustles as I rise to make my way back through the meadow to the house with the three chimneys.

M J Lewis 2017

Welcome aboard my 100 words of Friday Flash Fiction, hosted as ever by the gracious Rochelle and with a photo this week from the author of many a flash tale himself, C. E. Ayr.

Do come in, sit down and admire the ever-changing view out of the window here.

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

Sheep Walks into a Diner

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Sheep Walks into a Diner

(A radio play for three characters)

Sheep: Over here by the window, like a Dennis Hopper painting.

Squirrel: (Hooves on lino, chairs scraping.) Edward Hopper.

Sheep: Sorry? Anyway, I was thinking of pink for my fleece this Christmas.

Squirrel: Gods preserve us under glass cases.

Sheep: You really have absolutely no idea what it’s like for me do you.

Squirrel: I am officially vermin.

Sheep: But not part of the food chain.

Squirrel: Well some might disagree. And that nutcase president hasn’t helped – spitting image of the European red.

Waitress: What can I get you folks?

Squirrel: The pecan pie please.

Sheep: Is the chocolate milkshake gluten free?

Squirrel: You know what, pink would be lovely.

M J Lewis 2016

Here is my contribution to Friday Fiction – a cheeky 100 words, not including title and character names, but does include sound directions. For a world of fiction (probably, but not definitely, less surreal than mine) click here.

Thanks and best wishes for the holidays to our host Rochelle. Thanks also to Roger Bultot for the photo and to all who visit.

And a happy midwinter to all!

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The Owl and the Pussycat – the Cat’s Story

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The Owl and the Pussycat – the Cat’s Story

Granted my husband sang sweetly enough, but what the rhyme doesn’t even mention is his fowl temper. That and the regurgitation.  And that pea-green vessel? My beautiful face was pea-green maybe, under my tabby stripes.

Moonlight, a wide sweep of sand, a small guitar – it was all very seductive, but it wasn’t long before fur and feathers flew.  So it was twit twoo, toodle-oo and he flitted with a fiver and the runcible spoon – the latter all my invention incidentally.

No use crying over spilt milk; plenty more fish in the sea. And I can always invite the registrar over for dinner.

M J Lewis 2016

Must be the silly season – still in holiday mood and enjoying the last of the summer days as September approaches.

Thanks to all who visit and to our Friday Fiction host, writer and artist Rochelle whose productivity is an inspiration. To sail away, for considerably less than a year and a day, to a land where the Story Tree grows click here. Thanks also to Georgia Koch for the photo.

And I’ve also added this link to Edward Lear’s poem and illustrations.

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The Soft Young Down of Her

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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.

These Streets

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These Streets

We have walked these streets arm-in-arm these past decades of marriage – arguing, laughing, living. Carried fresh bread and morning flowers up flights of worn stairs to our bolthole above the rooftops; back down to our one o’clock corner table, a stroll in the spring rain with the scent of Horse Chestnut flowers, a quick nightcap.

Now you sit huddled behind the shutters. Too cold, you say. But bravery is not the absence of fear. So sweep up the broken glass, hose down the cobbles; I will walk these streets still.

They are my streets; this is my city, my life.

MJ Lewis©2015

Thanks to our Friday Fiction host, Rochelle congratulations on the new book. Thanks also too to C.E. Ayr for the photo and to all who visit. For a hoard of stories from around the globe click here.

The Blacksmith’s Wife

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The Blacksmith’s Wife

The blacksmith’s wife was once a raven-haired beauty. They say the Faerie King himself lured her from her marriage bed, where her husband snored contentedly, and flew with her up the chimney to the Palace of Stolen Dreams. And there, on a mattress stuffed with lilacs, beneath a chandelier tinkling with babies’ teeth, he treated her to a long night of brittle passion.

So now, her beauty faded, she dozes fitfully in the crook of her husband’s arm, one hand on the cradle of her blue-eyed daughter, and she listens for the soft tread of the debt collector.

M J Lewis ©2015

Very much missing my Sunday night fix of the BBC’s adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Highly entertaining, but also served to remind us – and we do need reminding – that fairies never ever, despite their misleading name, play fair. Put a saucer of milk on the back step at night, then stay well away.