Flash Fortnightly

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

This is a fortnightly Flash Fiction Feature we run  with Laura Besley. We hope you enjoy all of her pieces to date. 

A Little About Laura

Laura BesleyMy name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy these  ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entries.

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1. Runaway Baby

Under a starless night Madeline slipped out of her front door, threw the rucksack onto her back and walked the two miles to the local train station. For seventeen years she’d lived on the outskirts of Aberdeen, but now she needed to get away from this cold and grey city.

The first train to London left at 5:51 a.m. and she sat in a window seat listening to Amy Winehouse on her ipod. An hour later the ticket inspector came round.
“London, eh?”
“Yes.”
He smiled kindly. “You’ll be a long way from home.”
“Yes.” 
That’s the point.

At King’s Cross station Madeline bought a pop-up map of London, a chocolate bar and some chewing gum. Outside it was warmer than at home and she loosened her black scarf. The pavement was teeming with people, all in a hurry to some place or another.

By Big Ben at 3 o’clock. That’s what they’d agreed. “But how will I know it’s you?” she’d asked.
“You’ll recognise me from the photos I’ve sent you.”
“Yes, but you might look different in real life.”
“I s’pose. I’ll wear a green beret.” Madeline loved his kookiness.

At ten to three she could see the meeting point from where she was standing, waiting nervously, checking her watch every couple of seconds. And then she saw him. Tall, square shoulders, leather jacket and the green beret.

Childlike, she almost skipped over to him. “I wasn’t sure you’d come,” she said.

Of course I’m here,” he replied, his baritone voice so deep she felt she could sink into it. “Let’s go get a cup of tea. I know a nice little place not far from here.”

He took her bag, and later her life. In Aberdeen, the only clue the local police had was an open tab on her computer of an online chat room.

Laura Besley

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley
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2. Reflection

Reflecting from the gilded mirror was a face that wasn’t hers. It was long and pale with crimson smudges under the eyes. Dark hair with streaks of grey was unkempt and pulled into a low ponytail. The green eyes, once described as meadows, were faded. And angry.

Joanie?”
The reflection turned away from itself in the direction of the soft voice.
“Joanie dear. Would you like any breakfast?”
“No.”
“Please try to eat something.”
“No. I don’t think I can.” The reflection found itself again and put on a charcoal grey coat with big round buttons. It tied a moss green scarf around its neck and pulled a matching hat onto its head, pulling it as low as possible, nearly covering the eyes. “I’m going for a walk,” it said.
“Where to?”
“Not sure. Won’t be long.”
“Alright, dear. See you soon.”

The reflection tried smiling, but the lips on each side of the face didn’t know how any more.

Laura Besley

This piece was inspired by an Adele song (Someone Like You) & an interview with the singer which was conducted in her home. Whilst she is singing her beautiful and moving song, you can see her reflection in a massive gilded mirror. Click here for the link.

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley

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3. A Burnt Orange Sari

She wrapped the yards of silk around herself and thought, not for the first time that day, why am I doing this? The sari was burnt-orange with red, yellow and gold circles of varying sizes and gold stitching on the seams. It was beautiful, she couldn’t deny that, but she would give it back in an instant if she didn’t have to go through with today.

As she was clipping it into place, her younger sister bounded into the room. “You look pretty!” she said.
“Thank you, Rosita.”
“He will love you immediately, I know it!”
She smiled at her sister who knew nothing about the boy from school she loved. “Maybe,” she said. Hopefully not.
“Definitely.” Her sister skipped out of the room.

She turned to look at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were lined with black kohl pencil, her skin smooth with pale foundation, her lips painted deep red. To be a good daughter, that was a high price to pay.

Laura Besley

This piece was inspired by a picture I saw on facebook. I have no idea who the woman is or what her home situation is, but the burnt orange sari was beautiful and that was what made me write this piece.

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley

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4. Unfair Proposal

But I haven’t even known you for forty-eight hours,” she said.

But hasn’t this been the best weekend of your life?”

Yes,” she cried, “definitely!”

Same here. We could do this every weekend.”

What, stay in a luxurious hotel and eat out in expensive restaurants? Real life isn’t like that, Rafael.”

Ok, maybe not every weekend would be like this one, but we could build a life together.”

Yes, a life,” she said. “If we’ve got our whole lives to spend together why do I have to give you an answer now?”

I can’t explain it,” he said, “but I need to know now.”

Are you dodgy?”

Dodgy?” he queried.

You know,” she whispered, “a criminal.”

No, darling, I’m not a criminal. I’ve just fallen in love with you and want to marry you.”

But…I still don’t understand why we can’t wait.”

I need to know your answer before I get on the plane tonight.”

Then, I’m afraid I’m going to have to say no. I don’t know enough about you.”

That’s a real shame.”

This is the last call for flight VY250 to Milan.

I’ve got to go.”

Thanks for a great weekend.”

She would never know why he had insisted on an answer there and then. He would never find out if someone could love him for him, and not his money.

Laura Besley

This piece was inspired by a true story.

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley

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5. The Almost Perfect Plan

How did it all start? When Jerry roped me into this I had my reservations and I told him, but he assured me it would be fine. He knows far more about this kind of stuff than I do. I just took his word for it, you know?

How long have I known Jerry? Pretty much all my life. We grew up on the same road. His mum and my mum have been friends for ages, in and out of each other’s houses, that kind of thing. The funny thing is he never paid me much attention when we were young, seeing as he’s so much older than me.

When did that change? About a year ago. We ended up at the same New Year’s Eve party. It was dull as dishwater and we were in the kitchen all night raiding the larder and doing shots by the sink. We were together by the end of the night and haven’t been apart since.

When did we start planning it? Ages ago. We tried to foresee all the problems there’d be. I made lists upon lists of things we’d need, as well as making getaway plans and trying to predict where we might fail. The blood is the thing I forgot about.

The blood? We definitely hadn’t thought about all the blood. It’ll be done before you know it, he said. When you watch people being shot, stabbed, etc. on the TV there’s never that much blood, but man… there was a lot of blood. It went everywhere. Have you ever tried getting blood out of clothes? It’s impossible! Anyway, we had to buy new stuff and ditch the last lot hoping no-one would look inside that plastic bag.

What did we do with the body? Now that would be telling.

Laura Besley

This piece started out with the line: ‘We definitely hadn’t thought about all the blood.’ Initially I had planned to use that as the opening line, but that’s the not the way it turned out. I love it when the story has different ideas to the writer. The story always wins!

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley

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6. Tarot Reading

So,” Carly asked, leaning forward over the wooden table, “what can you see?”

The woman opposite had an orange headscarf keeping her untamed curls back from her face. “Actually, your cards are very interesting.” She looked down at the five cards facing upwards.

In what way?”

Well, there’s a lot of change on the horizon for you.”

Really? In my work?”

No, in your personal life. In your relationships.”

Carly leaned back in the chair and crossed her arms in front of her. “But I’m really happy with Hilary.”

This Hilary is not the person for you.”

Carly blinked rapidly, forcing the tears back. “But…”

**

Ten months later Hilary was putting the last few things into a cardboard packing box. “You know I loved you, don’t you?”

Yes,” said Carly.

I probably still do, but this isn’t working.”

Please don’t go.”

Looking back things have never been the same since you saw that stupid fortune teller. It’s all a load of bollocks, you know.”

I know.”

But she sowed a seed, didn’t she?”

I guess.” Carly reached out, but didn’t quite touch Hilary’s face. “Please don’t go,” she said again.

You say that now,” Hilary sighed, “but you’re not one hundred per cent committed and I just can’t be with someone like that.”

I wish I’d never gone that day.”

So do I.” Hilary picked up the box and glanced around the now half-empty living room. “So do I.”

Laura Besley

I’d like to stress that I’ve had a tarot card reading in the past and mine was extremely positive and successful. However, a friend of mine recently told me about her experience with a fortune teller and that was the inspiration for this piece.

 If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

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