Alpine Flash Fiction by daintydora

'ALPINE' was the prompt for a 50-word flash fiction piece in my last mail-out of THE WORD - a *new* newsletter for writers and word-lovers. (View the 'Alpine' newsletter.) I love this image which I matched to the prompt, which (for me) evokes the beautiful serenity of a lake-side hideaway, whilst also hinting at the potential for mystery, intrigue, betrayal and danger.

Alpine Flash Fiction inspiration for THE WORD

All these elements are whispered under the breath of an autumnal (or winter?) sun, and echoed in the mountains. A picture speaks a thousand words.

I received some lovely responses on this theme, and also penned my own attempt:

Fresh air

At the checkout, seeing the five cans of pine-scented air freshener in her basket, he pictured her working in a care home, holding a frail hand in her own lovely fingers.

It was a pity the freezer had gone off, she thought. She’d have to move Peter to another location.

Isobel Horsburgh


Seeing Stars

Face damp, fingers numb, I lay back searching for stars. It was dark, cold and I could just make out Pegasus or was it The Bear, Ursa? I tried to move to get a better look and that’s when I realised: it wasn't stars, I was buried under the snow.




I felt their eyes bore into me; the silence of the forest pounding through my head. An involuntary twitch and I daren’t turn for fear of giving myself away.

When it finally came, the air shivered through my wings, the shot reverberating long after I could hear.

Rebecca Johnstone (me!)

Thank you to those who submitted - I was delighted to receive these responses to my 'creative inspiration task', and hope I can continue to inspire with my short, fun creative writing prompts.

Please spread THE WORD with like-minded writers and word-lovers - the next word is due out later today!

In other news, I read this article in the Guardian last week about a collection of F Scott Fitzgerald's previously unseen works which are to be published next year (2017) by US publisher Scribner. Apparently...

Rather than permit changes and sanitising by his contemporary editors, Fitzgerald preferred to let his work remain unpublished, even at a time when he was in great need of money and review attention.

I respect that, very much. And this statement from Scribner seemed so apt for the 'ALPINE' theme:

With the addition of a Hollywood star and film crew to the Smoky Mountain lakes and pines, Fitzgerald brings in the cinematic world in which he would soon be living.

Quite. Hollywood pizzazz at the Lakes. I can only imagine.

If you're inspired, share your own 'alpine' reverie below.

'Heartbreaker' - TubeFlash Fiction *Published* by daintydora

Today is perfect timing for my Flash Fiction piece to be published on the TubeFlash site - it's a real 'anti-Valentine'. Read my story 'Heartbreaker', inspired by the London Underground station of Pinner (on the Metropolitan Line) and a beautiful vintage brooch with scissors, threads and a heart-shaped pin cushion.

Here's a little extract:Pinner

It had to be perfect of course.  A seamless, symmetrical curve over the mountain summit; two peaks beating as one.
She pressed the seams together, the iron burning into every stitch right-side and wrong. Some might have called it love, others revenge, others still, obsession.

This story will be professionally voice-recorded and published as an audio download on iTunes on 23rd March 2016. Subscribe to the TubeFlash podcast.

Also published on TubeFlash and iTunes, my story 'The Pact'.


A midsummer interlude: "the cicadas ached and danced" by daintydora

The cicadas ached and danced and clicked as they made love, the tall grasses veiling their passionate embrace.

Midsummer - Jake Givens - Sunset in the Park

(Or perhaps it was just my imagination. It's Scotland, after all.)

Pansies turned their faces to the sky, disapproving of the marigolds who were not yet in full-bloom. The woman next door pushed a lawn-mower in horizontal stripes across her lawn; the grass-collecting compartment filling much too quickly with the lush growth of the first of July. An intermittent drill whirred from the garage opposite.

Such a jingling cacophony of midsummer sounds led me outside, barefoot, my feet inhaling the warmth from the hard flat surface of the patio flags, coming to rest in the deep-down dew of just-cut grass.

It was the kind of afternoon where you could imagine something happening. Something significant.

But it didn't.

Instead Vera Lynn trilled from a top-floor window, wafting through the too-tall hedge, irritating ladybirds a-quiver in their leafy realms.

A daisy pricked at my heel as an Easyjet flight - probably bound for the Canaries - flew right over my head.

And so. A cacophonous midsummer interlude.

Pointless really, except, well, maybe you needed a little interlude from your day?

To smell the smell of fresh cut grass and dream a dream of being high up in the sky forging the flight path through the clouds on your way to a place where they really do have cicadas. Perhaps you're already there. In your head. With your inside eyes.


100-word Flash Fiction: Christmas by daintydora

  The Christmas tree shone in the window, and the candles whispered on the mantelpiece. I hadn’t lit the fire. I stood a while watching for the headlights of your car, buffering myself between the thick velvet of the curtains and the cold air that fogged the window with its breath.

I waited there until my legs got numb with standing. Until I remembered.

I saw it in my mind; black ice on the road, the sharp bend, tyres, glass, smash. I stared into the fairy lights searching for you in their cheerful colours, but found only our bright, shining memories.


Observations on a City Street by daintydora

Look up. The shadows of sunlight on sandstone. The mouldings in the stone, intricate, but forgotten by those far below. A graveyard of design, engineering, history, effort and love.

Imagine the chiseler at work, in a workshop, with his tools. Then high up on a ladder, or scaffolding, sand slipping away into the hot streams of air, mixing with the workman’s sweat, melding with his thoughts.

Now, be-mossed, greened by damp and time, and the occasional encrustation of pigeon shit.

A billowing black plastic bag, tied roughly around a street sign, no longer for public view. The wind has pierced its synthetic strength and stretch, blowing holes in the substrate and allowing the sign to peep through. Soon people will be able to see the sign again, and perhaps be mis-directed by the wind and its work. The occasion of wind, an unseen marauder.

Clouds scuttle observing the scenes below, soaking up the emotions of the city dwellers; their anger and their tears.

Then lights appear as dusk beckons. Neon lights. Traffic lights. Repetitive and timed, lacking the beauty and the camouflage of the Victorian lantern. Everything lit up so bright and wide it hurts. No stars in sight.

But which street? Do you recognise it? Where the architecture and the art and the lights and the cars converge. Any street and every street. Your street and my street and every city centre street. Abundant with observations still to be had, there for the taking.

This one is in Glasgow though, of course. Imagine it with your inside eyes.



Waiting to cross the road in the rain by daintydora

It's raining. And it's Sunday. And I found this observation I wrote a few years ago about waiting to cross the road in the rain. It feels very apt for today:

Leave the train station and hope the lights are red for cars, green for me.

They're not.

Stand, shift, put one foot into the road, puddle, taxi, step back. Want to cross. Not yet. Waiting. It doesn't normally take as long as this. Lights change. Car in the wrong lane. Buses don’t care. Crater in the street. Full. Murky waters splash.

Finally cross. Run. Dart. Skim across slippery pavements dirty with oil and the pollution of the city. Footprints washed away. No trace.

Another road to cross.

Lights change to green - for them. Waiting again.

Teetering off the kerb. Criss-cross of flagstones and paving, an expanse to cross, nearly there. Boots letting in. Soggy-sock-sensation. Quick strides. Scarf wet. Tendrils of hair on cheek. Glasses dotted with blur.

If only the lights had been on green.

I love it when you find something that you didn't even know you had, didn't even know you had written, or capture something that you didn't mean to. That's when the creative magic is truly at work.

Midnight in Paris

This image is from a trip to Paris last year, taken on the night of my birthday. As I pressed the button on my phone, two droplets of rain landed on my screen refracting the lights in an artful blur of colour which I couldn't have recreated if I tried.

The observation was in Glasgow. The image taken in Paris. Yet they fit together like a rain-soaked street.