100-Word Fiction: ‘Drop-stones”

Out he went again, tearing down the road with his mother shouting for him to stop and stay. He ran to the wooden bridge over the stream, gathering pebbles and gravel along the way and filling his pockets with them. Leaning over the wooden handrail, he gazed into the water, which was made murky by recent floods. Then he dropped the stones in, one by one, hearing them plop as they hit the surface, watching the splash, and seeing them disappear in the blink of an eye, never once asking himself why he had ever begun to play this game.

100-Word Fiction: ‘Dialogue Q [Contemporary]’

Q:

I do feel unhappy, yes, although it shouldn’t be unexpected.

Q:

Maybe the darker mornings. And television, maybe.

Q:

Hell, and it’s not even over yet, there’s next week. Tis the season.

Q:

Well they’re setting us back years. The general polemic across all of them just appals me. I don’t know what’s to be done.

Q:

Don’t start me. It’s not opting out. I’m a full participating citizen. I couldn’t escape them if I wanted to. And I do want to.

Q:

I haven’t done for years. Is it any wonder? You’ve seen them. They’re all the same.

100-Word Fiction: ‘Song of the Mountain’

When he came down from his mountain and ended his isolation he sang us a song so deep that the hill itself shuddered. In the high altitude he had escaped his history and greeted us with a smile that was sweet with innocence. But we had not forgotten the pasts we shared and, while his tune was generous and warm, we also remembered the lilting melodies of old and could not share his creation as equals as once we had done. He did not see that while he had turned away, we had learned our own tunes and were happy.

100-Word Fiction: ‘How He’s Talked Lately’

I try to shut the thoughts away but the words he says prise open my every defence. I can’t not hear it. He talks about his life, his friends, the plans we’ve made, the things we’ve achieved, places we’ve been. He talks about his grandmother, about my own family history. He claims he’s talked to the bank manager. He shows me photographs of us in the pub, laughing with his mates. One of me in a dress – says I look fit. But he never once asks me how I feel: never imagines that I could be the one in charge.

100-Word Fiction: ‘Those Moments of Doom’

Dark thoughts could creep in like a virus. Like if he got Ebola, if someone gave him it, or if he went and made contact with someone and got it. You couldn’t check all the people and the places they went, and the sanitary conditions of places.

People buried such awful fears.

On the news they showed aeroplanes and runway tarmac, doctors all scrubbed and polished wards…

…except it wasn’t about Ebola, it was just about fear, some terrible imagining that under someone’s fingernails was the possibility of real harm, real crazy harm. There were days when he felt doomed.

100-Word Fiction: ‘What She Gave’

Do you remember that she’d laugh but in that sharp manic way and then cover her mouth with her hand as if to apologise? She could tell you all about everything except herself; be your best friend and not ask for anything in return. Sometimes she gave so much it amounted to a barrier you couldn’t get over. I know some people said it was all an act, but it was just her and the only way she knew to get by. I worried for her sometimes. Worried that she’d one day lose the energy and the show. It happened.

100-Word Fiction: ‘And If I Do Not Speak’

I can’t get into it, said Alex, shaking his head, turning his palms upward. The conversation is one that is built around a vocabulary linked inextricably to a standardised and, yes, populist argument put forward by the ruling classes. It doesn’t matter which side you take in the argument, the fact that you’re using their words is always used against you to prove you’ve accepted their terms, accepted the proposal, the game. You’re midwife to the delivery of your own subjugation. But let me ask you a question: do you think silence is really just silence? Or something else?

100-Word Fiction: ‘If At Times There Is Not Enough Time’

Please please just stop it with this talk of tunnels and fences and walls and rubble and rockets and us and them and who is stronger and who said what first and what might happen only if and all about the media and bias and how you keep interrupting and making accusations and that everyone is wrong and that the terrorists are elsewhere and use civilians and not you and that there is right or wrong because it is not words not words and the real blood is there not words it is children the blood of children nothing else nothing.

100-Word Fiction: ‘The Graves Above’

That our lives are nothing less than fissile
is a blind spot on a blue retina.
We arc our actions, our thoughts, like missiles;
sing praise, hope the heavens make us better;
behold the sky and hold it high, careful
not to see the cracks that let the light in –
or the umbra, its foretelling, which, shared,
might point a compass towards compassion.
The shadows of celestial bodies
fall to earth with no poetry, reason
or goal. We are better than this, we say.
But when we play gods we soon discover
those graves we think beneath us are above.

100-Word Fiction: ‘The Missiles Over Gaza’

Soviet-era artillery rockets
Heavy mortars
Grad rockets
Qassam rockets
Longer-range Fajr-5s
Khaibar-1s from Syria
Israeli B-300 shoulder-launched rockets
Matador shoulder-launched rockets from Singapore
Mk 47 Strikers from the United States
Spike anti-tank missiles from Israel
M-47 Dragon anti-tank missiles from the United States
M270 Multiple rocket launchers from the United States
FIM-92 Stinger shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles from the United States
US Patriot and Hawk surface-to-air missiles
Israeli Spice glide bombs, Penetration bombs and cluster bombs
Israeli B500A1 laser-guided hard-target penetration bombs
US AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface anti-tank missiles
Sticks
Stones
Bricks
Rocks
Names
Phrases
Insults
History
Religion
Ethics
Ideology
Rhetoric
Lies