Every Cloud…

The Cliché Challenge was a little harder than expected. Then again, the others weren’t a piece of cake either. With a maximum word limit of 150 words, I had to cut my original draft by nearly 100 words. And, no matter how much I tried to think of one, it seemed harder to add clichés to the story than just getting on with the tale. This is the latest available challenge from Chris’ website (as of Oct. 2017) and my fifth contribution. If you give any of these a go, I’d like to hear from you and how you got on.

I’ll also be submitting some unpublished ones to competitions to see how they do. I will, in the meantime, be adding to my current list of shorts as well. This will definitely keep me busy.

 

Every Cloud…

By Gavin Biddlecombe

 

Where’d he go? she thought, finishing tying her skates. He’d vanished into thin air. Jane made her way to the ice rink.

“What’re  you doing down there?” she laughed, looking over the wall.

“I’m barking up the wrong tree,” he replied. He paused as she stepped onto the ice, sliding across gracefully, “Whereas you take to it like a duck to water.”

“You were chomping at the bit,” she said, skating over.

“I believe” he smiled, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Before having the chance to stabilise himself, his legs shot out from under him. Trying desperately to grab him, Jane lost her footing, ending up flat on the ice beside him.

“It goes without saying,” he groaned, “This is very painful”.

“If you think about it, every cloud has a silver lining”.

“Why do you say that?”

“We’ve already got ice for our bumps and bruises”.


 

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Watched

Watched

by Gavin Biddlecombe

My bruised hands support me on this rough branch high above the ground. I’m thankful to be up here and even more so that it cannot climb. It’s been a few days since I found my refuge but the unbearable heat works against me.

The sweat rolls down into my tired eyes, stinging them and blurring my vision. I glimpse it occasionally, stalking in cover. Watching me. Waiting.

Its odour is repulsive. It lingers, clogging up my nostrils more than my own unwashed stink. I know when it’s close as I fight off the urge to gag from its overpowering stench.

The random dropped nut which taps its way down the branches beneath it is no longer a distraction. I recognise its sound, just audible but ever present. Continuous.

I reach for my water bottle, rationing the warm but satisfying liquid that slides down my dry throat as I fight off the fatigue. I must hold on. Surely, one of the others must have got away and found help.


 

Sensory Writing Challenge. 175 maximum word limit.

 

Trampoline

Continuing with the series of flash fiction challenges, my next was for the Nonsense Writing Challenge, also on Chris Fielden’s site. “Trampoline” is my contribution to the challenge. Once Chris receives 100 authors for this piece, an anthology is published whereby profits raised go towards another chosen charity (details of which are available on his challenge page).

 

Trampoline

by Gavin Biddlecombe

“This bouncymathingy is defective,” shouted the Troll, dragging a trampoline behind him.

The flustered salesman, caught unawares, looked around him. Now the centre of unwanted attention, his other customers refrain from their spending activities, drawn in by the curious character.

“I’m sorry, sir, what seems to be the issue?”

“Just look at my horns. They’re bent.”

“Aren’t they always bent?”

The Troll pondered, “Good point. But still, look at my bashed head.”

“And this ‘bouncymathingy’ caused that?” asked the salesman, examining the item. “It looks fine to me. Did you fall off it?”

“Of course I didn’t fall off. I came in yesterday and had a recommended practice session before I bought it.”

“I see.”

“Yeah.” The Troll responded. “I was hoping to give those three gruffy billy goats a scare as they trotted passed. All I ended up with was this sore head.”

“And they did that to you?” asked the salesman.

“What? No. I had another practice before they turned up but it doesn’t seem to work very well under my bridge though.”

“You used it under the bridge?”

“Does it matter?”

“I imagine it’s a low bridge.”

“What’s your point?”

The salesman relaxed as his customers continued.


 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is my contribution to the Adverb Writing Challenge, found on Chris Fielden’s website, or to use its full name Mike’s Not-Entirely-Serious Wantonly-Rule-Breaking Adverb Writing Challenge”. Trying to recite this can only result in some tongue knotting, so I can understand why it was shortened.

Their aim is to highlight some common writing mistakes and force the writer to use them to create some seriously, or not entirely serious as the above name suggests, flash fiction. I was keen to get involved and there is a maximum 100-word limit for this one (excluding title).

With every 100 submissions, their team edits and creates an anthology where profits go to an assigned charity. In this case, First Story. You can learn more about this on my writing challenges page.


 

Cinnamon

By Gavin Biddlecombe

Sneakily, she snuck out of the corner of the room, slowly inching forward until she reached the base of the extremely comfy looking double bed.

Stretching her neck over the edge by their feet, she quietly peered at the two people sleeping restfully.

“Good” she thought cheekily, “this time I’ll successfully reach my target”. Stealthily climbing up, she crept methodically along until eventually finding the perfectly ideal spot.

In between them, she happily curled up, licked her lips and gave a final wag of her curly tail as she dreamily shut her eyes for a comfortably peaceful sleep.

 


 

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Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners

Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners is my contribution to the 81 Words Writing Challenge. I came across it on Christopher Fielden’s website as I needed a few extra prods to keep me writing and having bought his book on how to write short stories, I also checked out his site.

81 Words requires the flash fiction to be exactly 81 words, excluding the title. Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners has been greatly thinned from its original draft. It took several attempts to get there but I got it down to a coherent format. It’s incredible how much can be said with so few words. Just consider Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Six thought-provoking words…

Back to the 81 Words, it’s a great little challenge and well worth giving it a go (see link above for further information).

Also, good luck to Chris who’s also trying to achieve a Guinness World Record for most contributing authors in one book. The aim is 1000. At the time of writing, 330 stories have been received. 670 more required to publish the anthology.


Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners

by Gavin Biddlecombe

“Wind’s too loud. You need to speak up.”

“Jack, right?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m Dave.”

“Hi Dave. New to skydiving?”

“Pretty much. This is my first solo jump.”

“I figured. Haven’t had any lessons have you?”

“What makes you say that, Jack?”

“What you’re looking at isn’t your altimeter. That’s your wrist watch.”

“No problem. I reckon I can get the timing right.”

“Brings me to my next question.”

“Best be quick before I pull the cord.”

“Why the rucksack?”

“Ah. Now then…”