#Writespiration 75 Write About The Rusty Thing

Write about the rusty thingWithout sounding dramatic, which I always do, I love an apocalypse. In fact, I’m sort of obsessed with them. Or more, obsessed with the settings that they give. I love dystopian novels, anything decrepit, broken down and battered. But maybe this prompt takes you in another direction.

I’m still going to write these prompts and publish your stories, but for the next month, I won’t be participating. I have gotten a bit snowed under, and need to readjust my time spent, so that I can finish the two novels I am working on. But I’ll be back, in a month. Promise!


Now to last weeks writespiration and your stories about Luscious red lips, anyone that knows me, knows I adore a bright lipstick, so I am chuffed to bits that so many of you took the time to participate. Thank you, I am humbled and honoured every time you do. Ok, slush over, to the entries.

First Jane, with a piece of writing so deliciously rich it will make you covet her writing skills. Check out the accompanying photo and her story here.

Esma slid the lipstick up her sleeve. There were no security tags on little things like that, and it was only a cheap one anyway. She cast a furtive glance around. The security guard was busy searching for bombs in backpacks. The girls around the makeup stand with their gentle pushing and jostling, laughing and joking covered the awkward movement as she wriggled the lipstick safely up past her elbow. The in-store music covered the pounding of her heart. Settling her headscarf straight and tucking the ends tighter beneath her jacket, she pushed out of the shop as swiftly as she dared.

The pedestrian street outside was full of Saturday shoppers. Esma melted into the crowd, only letting out her breath when she was certain the security guard was not going to shout after her to stop. The illicit chunk of plastic bored into her flesh with each step she took towards the bus stop.

Even seated at the back of the bus, Esma remained rigid with anxiety. As if there were security cameras on buses! Only in the silence of the room she shared with her two younger sisters did she dare shake the lipstick out of her sleeve, stroke the shiny case, slip the smooth, blood red lipstick out to admire the lusciousness of its colour, its unctuous taste and texture.


She shivered and touched it with the tip of her tongue. So many things were forbidden. The taste shot through her, a bolt of pleasure. The familiar pervading household smells of coriander and harissa evaporated, and her nostrils flared as she breathed in the cosmetic’s faint perfume. Red lipstick encapsulated all that was bright and exciting in the world outside. A world she was not allowed to enter.

The sound of the front door opening startled her, and she fumbled with the drawer, her drawer in the shared wardrobe, and pushed the glittering, fabulous object beneath a carefully folded pile of scarves and gloves.

Two days later, as she turned into her street coming back from school, a small figure leapt out of the entrance to her apartment block and ran towards her. Farida. Her face was pale, lips pinched, and her eyes stared, wide and fearful.

Esma knew. Her little sister didn’t need to tell her.

“Ommy found it. Abu is… wild.”

Esma stared into the distance, not seeing the apartment blocks, the paper blowing in the gutter, the grimy, anonymous cars that flicked past. Already the street belonged to the past. She smiled and hugged her sister, held her close for a moment. Then she turned and headed back to school. Someone among the advisors and social workers would know of a place where she could stay.


Geoff up with a short and not so sweet poem,

Lipstick is red
Dead lips are blue
Put them together
For a ghoulish one two

and Geoff decided to enter again this week with a longer piece of flash, that is superb, I was gripped right to the end and found myself smiling sheepishly at the ending 😀

Message me

Tyler split his eyelids and the first migraine of the morning exploded on his retina. He needed to cut down. Rolling out of bed, Tyler crawled to the door, feeling carefully for the beaker of water. Nothing. He always left a beaker for the morning. Frowning as much as his hangover allowed he crawled towards the bathroom and stopped. A memory flicked through the sludge of the previous night. There’d been a girl. He pulled himself up onto the toilet and pissed, trying to remember some detail. Any detail. This was not unusual except he knew this girl meant something more.

Desperate for water he stumbled to the sink and bent to drink from the tap.
A flash of red caught his eye. He stood back and squinted at his chest. Written across it in red lipstick
You’re good!
An outline of a girl’s face flickered and disappeared. Was he? Who was she?
He needed coffee and industrial amounts of pain relief. He turned and headed into the hall. He had taken the first step downstairs when he stopped and stepped back onto the landing. On the glass of his framed degree certificate, in the same hand he read
Was I?
Yes he was sure she was. With more urgency now he headed downstairs. Only at the bottom did it register she must have been here. He glanced at the front door, sure she must have left; it didn’t surprise him now to see another belipsticked message on the glass
Want more?
Yes he certainly did. He took a breath and nearly gagged. God his mouth tasted like cat litter. Coffee. Kitchen. The kettle sat on its stand, its shiny surface covered in yet more script
Black, one sugar
He flicked it on and watched the words blister and shrink. Without thinking he pulled out two mugs and registered with slight disappointment there was no other message. Next the paracetamol. Nothing. Where was she?
Click. The water had boiled. He spun the cafetière and smiled. Around the glass cylinder she had written
In bed, stupid.
He scooped out the coffee and added the hot water, adding one sugar to her mug. Once it had brewed he poured two cups, picked them up and turned. She stood facing him. Across her inticingly bare chest she had written.
Skip the coffee. Kiss me.


Ali is up next with an unbelievable story with a proper good twist – I actually see it coming – did you?

I find it quite by accident, squirrelled away at the back of his undies drawer. I place it gingerly in the centre of the bed and stare at it, mind racing. He’s having an affair.

Iconic black and gold packaging. Chanel. I pick the lipstick up, remove the lid and twist. Bright pillar-box red. Used. So she’s a harlot with expensive taste. I fling it in the bin.

I spend the afternoon pacing, vacillating between vehement fury, and cold self-pity. When he walks through the door, I descend on him like a hurricane.

“What’s this?” I hiss, shoving the offending item under his nose.

He blinks, not at first understanding, and then I see fear chase the shock of recognition across his face.

“Who is she?”

“It’s not what you think,” he stammers, and I sneer.

“Of course not. Is she a colleague?”

“No. Yes, well, more of a friend really.”

“How cosy. And how long have you two been carrying on behind my back?”

He sighs, and lets his briefcase slip from his hand. It lands with a hollow thump on the wooden floor.

“About three years, but I’m not having an affair.”

“Three years?” That sucks the air from my lungs. “I can’t believe it. How could you? I never had a fucking clue.” Suddenly, my legs don’t seem strong enough to support me, and I follow the briefcase to the ground.

He comes over all solicitous then, but I shriek at him. “Like you care. Don’t touch me.”

“You’re not listening to me. I’m not having an affair.” He sounds exasperated. He rummages in the briefcase and brings out a photo. I don’t want to look, but curiosity forces my gaze.

She is blonde, of course, and buxom. Quite heavy set, plain features, thin lips daubed with bright red lipstick.

“Huh. Downgrade,” I say. She’s not pretty, yet I am jealous. What does she have that I don’t? Why is he willing to throw away our marriage for her? Then my anger explodes, and fades into tears.

He sits on the floor beside me and holds me, and I let him.

“The woman in the picture is Cassandra. We’re not having an affair, but we are very close. I wanted to tell you for a long time, but I didn’t have the guts.”

“I don’t understand,” I wail. “If you’re not having an affair, then what’s going on?”

I feel him take a deep breath. He is psyching himself to tell me. This is it. The confession. The truth.

“The lipstick’s mine. I’ve been cross-dressing for three years.”


Next we have Kim with some gorgeous poetry, and a last line to die for.

Carmine caresses

Of creamy lipstick painted

Perfectly – blotted

With the passion of kisses

Tracing their hungry path


Now for my saddled up buckaroo pal, who, incidentally, is running a flash fiction competition this month if you fancy having a go, check it out here. Now to her stunning piece with a heartbreaking end.

1918 Red Lipstick by Charli Mills

Mattie’s face was pale, and Jen figured it was the result of the twit’s recent regime of lemon juice. Her sister sagged when she climbed out of Clyde’s truck and held on to the door like she needed support. Jen stood on the boardinghouse porch in her denim jeans, Pa’s old belt and a red flannel shirt. She wouldn’t give in to the girl’s dramatics. Taking off to Spokane with the camp mechanic was folly, and Jen wasn’t about to coddle her sister. Seventeen was old enough to know better.

Mattie reached into her coat pocket and pulled at what looked like a brass vial. “I got it,” she said and waved the brass at Jen.

Jen crossed her arms and leaned against the porch pillar. “You need to talk to Hilda. She’s none too pleased you ran off to Spokane for two days and left her alone to wash all the bed linens.”

“Oh, please. She can manage. Or you can help, Jen. You never help out around here anymore.”

“I got my own job, Mattie.”

“Playing in the woods.” Mattie smiled wide and opened the brass vile to reveal red. She then used the side mirror of Clyde’s truck to apply it to her lips. She smiled broadly at Jen. White face, red lips.

“You look like child’s doll or worse.”

Mattie sulked. “You’re just jealous because you look like a boy.”

Jen shrugged. “I’m strong, Mattie. I’m not afraid to bump knots with an axe and do the work now that half the boys have run off to Belgium to fight.”

“Stupid boy-girl.” She stepped away from the truck door and collapsed to the dirt in a full swoon.

Mattie never regained consciousness. It took three days for the sickness to kill her. She’d gone to Spokane for cosmetics despite the influenza warnings. When they buried Mattie beneath the rocky soil outside the logging camp, Jen tossed the red lipstick in her sister’s grave as if it were a rose.


Next Judy with a wicked tale that has a serious kick to its ending.

Jane strolled back casually towards the dorm.  She had given up a night of passion with Rob to babysit for one of the teachers at the last minute and had spent the night there.  Still being early on this lazy Saturday morning, Jane anticipated how much fun she and Rob would have making up for lost time.

As she drew closer, her stomach fluttered with excitement.  Rob was so gorgeous; she still couldn’t believe he had chosen to go out with her.  He had a gaggle of giggling admirers, not least ‘Slutty Sue’ the pouty blonde with the overdeveloped curves to counteract her underdeveloped brain!  Jane’s thoughts always turned spiteful when she thought of her bitter rival for Rob’s affections.

Rob had been a player, but Jane was convinced she had changed him, ignoring warnings from her friends that he was still messing around.  He was in love with her; he had even told her so two weeks ago when he was trying to relieve her of her virginity.  Of course, she gave in to him on hearing this, as he knew she would.

She entered the old building now, which was still, and quiet, and noticed that Rob’s keys were not in the door, as usual, waiting for her to let herself in.

“Rob, ROB, are you in there?”  Jane hammered at the door.

Eventually, she heard a ‘click’ of the lock and Rob called for her to come in.  He looked ghastly.  His face pale, hair messed up, and the room stank of stale beer and cigarettes.  Jane wrinkled her nose but leaned over to greet Rob with a kiss, trying not to recoil from the rancid blast of putrid air that emanated from his mouth.  As he reached up to put his arms around her neck, the sheets slipped off his shoulders.

There written in bright red lipstick across his back  was one word.  ‘ Sue.’


Dr R joins us again with a gory twisted tale of horror

The police broke down the door leading into the trap house and no-one could quite believe what they saw when they got in there. The drug smugglers, the ones they had been trying to catch for years were all dead on floor, each one of them killed by a single bullet shot in between their eyes. The police officers were stunned, they’d been tracking the smugglers for years and just when they thought they got to them in time, someone else beat them to it. Amongst the drugs, the huge sums of money and the paraphernalia found, there seemed like there was no trace of the person responsible for killing the crooks. Although there were guns found in the house, none of them were deemed to be the murder weapon. As heads were scratched and the gravity of the situation set in, one of the sergeants suddenly shouted “you need to come and look at this lads!” from the bathroom upstairs.

One by one, the squad saw what he was shouting about, strewn across a large mirror and all the walls in the bathroom, messages were written with a red lipstick laying inside of the sink. The mirror which was smeared with scarlet had in capital letters the words “you made me do this” on it, the writing slightly incoherent. Another message in large writing said “I’m sorry for doing this but they left me no choice” and another message by the window said “soon I will be free and we can be together again”. Mad scribbles of words were all over the walls, nothing seemed to make sense. It was clear to those who saw those messages in the bathroom that the madness of the situation had taken a twisted turn.


Next up, Hugh, who I’m starting to think has a rather questionable content to his mind. This is also a horror show and a half – bewared, your lipstick will never look the same again!

As Amy Lushwick squashed the umpteenth little creature with the front end of her eight-inch stiletto heeled shoe, she smiled again. She hated the little blighters and had no idea why there had been so many of them or where they were coming from.

She’d almost finished painting her lips with the brightest of red lipstick when she thought to herself how gorgeous she looked. No man or woman would turn her down tonight. She would have the pick of the bunch.

The lipstick had been a bargain. She had been hesitant to buy it from the online auction site at first because the seller had no feedback. However, not only was she now convinced that just by wearing it she was the sexiest woman alive, she was convinced it had brought her all the attention of both sexes. She smiled to herself as she knew she was now the envy of some of her ‘not so’ close friends.

Just as she was going to apply the last bit of lipstick to her lips, something caught her eye.  It looked like a very small piece of cotton that was sticking out the side of the lipstick.  With the tips of her brightly painted finger and thumbnail she went to pull at it and watched in disbelief as it disappeared into the lipstick.  Had she been seeing things or had it really just disappeared?

She hesitated for a moment before putting the lipstick back to her lips. With her mouth slightly open she spread the bright red substance along her bottom lip and then suddenly dropped the lipstick. Both her hands came up to her neck as she coughed and chocked. Falling backwards she hit the floor hard and rolled around until she was finally able to cough up what had entered her mouth.

Now only could she not quite believe what she saw, but it also made her feel sick. It was one of the small black beetles she’d been killing for the last few months, now on its back trying all it could to right itself so it could get away.

It was the sound of the lipstick rolling off her dressing room table that made her look away from the small creature. As it rolled towards her she suddenly remembered what she had read on the internet and what one of the ingredients of lipstick was.

Moments later she watched as another black beetle made its way out of the lipstick. As it hurried toward her she tried kicking at it, but to no avail.

Twenty-four hours later there was no trace of the body of Amy Lushwick or the thousands of black beetles that had emerged from the lipstick. Only the clothes she had been wearing remained on the floor, whilst besides them the beautiful red lipstick wriggled slightly.


Last, but by no means least, is my friend from outside of blogland, lets call her Scarlett, who has a secret desire to write a book, and I for one, think she ought to…

Her hands no longer shook. The nerves had moved from butterflies tumbling from her belly button, south, to a deep heavy pulse. She was ready, she knew it. She took pleasure in the smooth black lid and the curling motion as the blood red slip of lipstick, perfectly sculpted emerged. She looked at herself in the mirror through thick dark lashes, her mouth open, she curved the lipstick over the arch of her lips. The stark contrast to her light skin and dark smoky eyes gave her another rush of excitement. She drew the lipstick hard across her bottom lip, opened mouth a smile drew itself across her face. She puckered her lips together. She was done. She was ready. Tonight was the night she went to bed with her new lover. She rose up glancing a final time in the mirror and blinking, checking herself for any last flicker of doubt. She walked downstairs and rested a cool hand against the back of her husbands neck, his eyes barely glanced at her. Or long enough to notice the black satin dress or hint of lingerie underneath. She brushed her lips briefly on his cheek. “See you later darling”. A small half hearted attempt at a smile tugged at the side of his mouth, his eyes barley blinking away from the tv long enough to say “see you later”. She stood side on for the smallest moment looking at him and wondering who he was. She cocked her head slightly as if to see him ar another angle. “Bye” she said wistfully with no emotional in her voice, as she turned, no longer feeling the cold chill of loneliness, the type that comes from slowly watching someone stop noticing you, stop loving you, like the sun slowly fading behind a cloud. She walked to the front door, nothing, she felt nothing now. As she closed the door behind her and heard the soft click of the door her mind darted to how long it would take until he’d be speaking to his other woman. She shook the thought from her head and thought of where she was going and that deep thud of excitement and lust pounded through her.


      1. U think it will spark horror stories? Ergh maybe – I thought it might do something different but hey – all I care is that it works for people 🙂

        Horror seems to be a bit of an emerging theme in the last couple of weeks! Haven’t done that on purpose! Although only one actual horror story from me!!


      1. I doubt she’d mind. It would be for a good cause. You could do it at Christmas time, or next year. I dont mean right away. You’ve got enough on. But something to bear in mind. Its a shame not to do something with them. They’re so good.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Keep that cheesy grin 😁 Fits you very well! You are an amazing talent! You are writing from a place deep within and that is what causes the magic. I am sure your novels will be very successful, Sacha!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve only just discovered your Inspiration challenge. I saw last week’s lipstick one and read Hugh’s on his blog. I should be working – but hey, I reckon reading good writing IS part of writing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This story really touched me, Sacha. I can picture the old lady so clearly with her bad temper, and then joy at having ‘found’ the pound note, I also loved the relationship between her and the carer. It was very moving xx

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  2. How can I read further through the tears? Loved your piece! So gripping with real emotion, and the realization that she’d been hanging on to find that note. Sharp writing. Good luck with writing “snow”. If your snowed under, dig out and make apocalyptic snow castles. Great writing last week by all! I’ll be back. Jen has more to reveal here. And thanks for promoting the contest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. :O tears?! noway! Well that’s just about the greatest honour I could receive 😀 ❤ Thank you Charli. Haha, apocalyptic snow castles! you, Charli Mills, are on! I'm excited for more Jen, this you're going to end up with an entire novel written in weekly instalments!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I clearly set up my boundaries to focus on 2016 priorities of which I have many at the moment. I put up the “no more new work” sign on my brain. So coming over here is like sneaking off to smoke “just one cigarette.” 🙂 And, yes, I may end up with something! Get after those novels!


      2. hahahaha Charli you crack me up – I know exactly what you mean. I have several subgoals but four main goals this year, two of which are finishing books. But that doesn’t mean new ideas don’t pop up! So you are SO right and I bloody love the way you described it. Except for me, it’s sneaking off for a bar of chocolate!


  3. Rusty Axe Head by Charli Mills

    Panic flared and Jen hit the floor with bare feet before she fully woke up. Orange flames twisted toward the cold sky stars, casting reflections through the beveled glass window pane of her boarding house room. Awake now, Jen’s body slumped and she realized it was just a slash fire that had flared up in the night. Burning excess branches and unusable timber was safe in winter snow drifts, but Jen would never feel safe around the demon of fire.

    Knowing sleep would not easily return, she glanced across the room at Mattie’s empty bed. No use moping in empty space. Jen dressed, grabbed a satchel from under her bed and went out to the silent porch to watch the flames dance. In defiance to her buried fear, she lit her own match and puffed a rolled cigarette to life. Jen blew a stream of smoke and glared at the flames.

    “Got another?”

    Jen stiffened. How did she not see the man standing in the shadows? Most of the returning soldiers at the logging camp ridiculed her, the rest ignored her. She wasn’t used to sharing smokes. “Sure.”

    She reached into her open satchel and grabbed the tin that sat on a rusty axe head.

    “What’s that? Hope it’s not what you use to bump knots.”

    “No, just a relic.”

    He lit her offered cigarette and looked at her with blue eyes that reminded her of her own lineage. His accent was completely American, though, something she perfected, too. “You’re Bardrick Fatland’s daughter,” he said.

    Jen nodded. Then she added, “And that relic was his.”

    The man looked out across the meadow watching the slash fire. “Hard to believe the Great Fire was ten years ago. I heard he died saving a crew sent in to cut a fire line.”

    Despite her will to stay strong like steel and iron, Jen shuddered. “I found his body because I recognized the axe head at its side.”

    “You were working the line kitchen at the fires?”

    “In 1910 that’s what I did. What every woman did. Then I drug my father’s charred body to camp, claimed his axe, put it on a new handle and joined the fire line. Line boss was my uncle. No one said no. Been clearing limbs and building slash piles for him ever since.”

    “How’d it get so rusty?”

    Jen smiled, but more to conceal her anger. “My mother threw it away. Thought it would bring me to my senses. Make me behave more lady-like. I found it two years ago. It’s rusty but distinct. All I have of him except for what he taught me of living in the woods.”

    The man held out his hand. “I’m Wolfrick Krugman. My name makes me rather unpopular despite serving the US Army two years in hell abroad. What others think is overrated by those doing the thinking.”

    Jen estimated Wolfrick was 20, closer to Mattie’s age than her 30 years, though his blue eyes seemed older. She blew out another stream of smoke and grasped his hand as strong as hers. “Jen Fatland. Guilty on both counts of German heritage and unladylike conduct.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HER. LIKE SO MUCH. She is SOOOOOOOOOOO good. She is all there, like fully developed already, and trust me when I tell you, she is pissed at waiting for you to write her story!! I have never read a historical novel, but I have my arms WIDE open gagging for this badboy. I’m excited. Like REALLY excited. She’s a juxtaposition and that’s what makes novels SO good. I happen to be writing a post about this as we speak… You Charli Mills, are on to a winner with Jen. You have converted a true YA obsessive.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What alchemy have you worked here? I wasn’t going to write a new character! No new works! Ah, Jen was busting to get out. I’m glad you like her. I like her, too. She revealed her story to me and now I’m caught in her snare until I write it. Yes, I blame you. 😀 ❤


      2. hehe, Is it wrong of me to rub my hands evilly and cackle with joy that this has happened?! :p. Listen, Jen is magic. She has something, and you can’t stop. Maybe if you get snippets out it will prevent the flood gates from crashing open… at least, I hope thats what I am doing with your prompts!


    1. Aww Hugh, hugs, thank you. I tried to make it a happy ending, despite the content. It was actually based partly on a true story as it happens. I cannot wait to read yours 😀 😀 😀 Thanks for joining in again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, inspiring and touching. I just read Hugh’s and gave him kudos for you, lol. He chose to write with an LGBT character and I reminded him of your post saying you don’t find many of those characters in books. 🙂 xo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hey, Might be too long so don’t worry about posting it if it is, also if its too crap. Think I waffled on a bit too much. Looking at hisfather propped up in bed, dwarfed by billowing pillows and a cloudlike duvet,Russell couldn’t believe this shell of a man was the same bellowing giant of his childhood. The shrunken body and linedface did nothing to lesson Russell’s hatred towards him. In fact, a freshtwinge of anger surged through him as he sat and thought about the sheerinconvenience the old devil had put them all through over the last few months.  The twins, Max andCharlie, had been sleeping on Russell’s bedroom floor for the last 8 weeks.They’d thought it a great adventure to make a den at the end of their parentsbed, squirrelling away toys and books, cookies, the TV remote control. Only themost painful toy soldiers and stickiest of sweets seemed to find their wayunder Russell’s feet as he snuck in each night, long after the boys had fallenasleep. Hopping around, cursing under his breath, he tried to remember itwasn’t the lads fault; they’d so willingly left their room so that Grandpacould have his own space during his stay. In their homely, cosy cottage,perfectly proportioned for four, not five, there was nowhere else to put them,so they’d been moved temporarily into Russell’s sanctuary.  Sitting in the twinsroom, he turned his glare away from his sleeping father and looked slowlyaround the walls, the chest of drawers, the toy bins. His anger melted away.How could he feel anger in a room like this ? It was beautiful. Ash, hisclever, talented wife, had decorated it lovingly before the boys had been born.As soon as the scan showed twin boys, Ash had burst into action, never seemingdaunted or scared in the least about how much their lives were about to change.The room had been a labour of love for her, determined to get it completedbefore she was too uncomfortable and big to manage it herself. Playfulgiraffes, cheeky monkeys and colourful parrots cavorted around the walls, inamongst artfully designed numbers and alphabet letters. Stuffed animals hadfound homes in each corner and mobiles hung from the ceiling; the room wasperfect for his amazing, happy, beautiful boys. Except now he was in it. Ruining everything.  Russell dropped hishead into his hand and pushed his fingers against his closed eyelids. His eyesfelt scratchy, his head ached and he still had over 100 emails to read thisevening before he could think about calling it a night. He opened his eyes and lookedgloomily at the yogurt pot occupying his other hand. Rhubarb. Disgusting.  All he wanted to do was seek refuge in hisstudy, get his work done and hide away from all this annoyance. Pretendeverything was alright. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t all right at all.  The only thingstanding in the way of Russell retreating into his man cave tonight was therhubarb yoghurt and the cantankerous old git in his sons bed. The sooner he gotthe foul tasting lumpy gunk into his father the sooner he could leave him tosleep and get his work done, lose himself in spreadsheets and finance, accountsand budgets. Much less complicated than real life.  Russell took a deepbreath and turned his attention back to the task in hand. Looking at his fatherhe had a sudden pang of morbid curiosity. Was he breathing ? Hope bubbled upinside him. He couldn’t see his father’s puny chest rising and falling under thefluffy duvet Ash had so thoughtfully bought when she’d learnt they’d be havinga house guest. The new pillows, the mountainous duvet and the few knickknacksthat adorned the bedside table were all her womanly touches to ensure hisfather had a comfortable stay. Guilt crushed him as he realised he’d donenothing to help her prepare for this monumental upheaval in their lives. Heclenched his jaw and peered closer at this man who’d caused him years, no, alifetime of confusion, betrayal and hurt. Was this it ? Was he finally gone ?  Alf’s breath driftedslowly across his dry, scaly tongue, inaudibly, barely there at all. Up close,his open mouth released whiffs of stale air that caused Russell to wrinkle hisnose and turn his face away in disappointment.  Why wont you just die ?!  As if he’d heard hisson’s thoughts, Alf’s crusted eyes cracked open, revealing gummy red rims. Hiswizened fingers crept over the top of the pale blue duvet and he shuffled hisshoulders against the soft pillows. His coated tongue flickered over his lipsin a vain attempt to moisten them. He swallowed slowly, taking his time tounstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth.  “Kid.” Russell’s insidescoiled with anger. Why couldn’t he just call him Russell, Russ, Son ? Hell,even the lads called him Rusty in the office, that would do. Why must it alwaysbe Kid or Boy ? Alf knew how much it hurt his son, but he did it anyway. A tinyvictory each time the words escaped his mouth and hit their target. “Dad.” “Where’s Ash?” “She’s takenthe boys to their swimming lesson, we’re stuck with each other until she comeshome.”  “Hmmm.”Alf eyed his son grumpily and Russell could hear the cogs whirring in the oldmans brain. He saw his fathers eyes drop to yoghurt pot in his hand. “I’m supposedto help you with this, and to drink some water before they’re back. Drsorders.” Russell explained grudgingly.  “How long ’tilAsh is home ?” Alf whispered, his mouth was horribly dry and he eyed hisfavourite yoghurt furtively. Ash knew just the ones he liked, she was such agood girl. Too good for this eejit.  “About an hour,but this’ll go a lot quicker if you just let me help you and then I’ll leaveyou alone.” Russell’s heckles were already beginning to rise, why must healways be so difficult ? It was exhausting. Russell stood and started to shifthis chair towards the bed, it was awkward with one hand full of yoghurt pot andits accompanying spoon, so he accidently cracked his shin against the edge ofthe wooden bed frame.  “Goddamit!” “Watch yourmouth, Boy,”  Alf breathed. Atwinkle in his eye at his sons misfortune.  Russell’s headsnapped up to look directly into Alf’s face. He opened his mouth to give hisfather a short retort, but swallowed it, and sat down sharply on the bedsidechair, rubbing his injured leg.  “You wont haveto put up with me for much longer, Kid.”  Russell took a deepbreath and ran his hand through his wiry auburn hair. Avoiding his fatherspiercing glare he peeled the lid back on the yoghurt pot and purposefullypicked up the spoon. Loading it and aiming it towards his fathers cracked lips,Russell was determined to finish his task and get out of this stuffy,frustrating room.  “Well I guessif its just us, now would be a good a time as any to tell you about her.” Alf’s breathy words stoppedRussell’s arm in its tracks. A dollop of sweet purple gloop dropped onto thenew bed clothes. Russell stared at his fathers rheumy eyes, pinched lips andfurrowed brow. His bushy grey white eyebrows met in a determined frown andknitted together.  “What?”  Really ? Now ? Afterall this time, this was the moment his father had chosen to tell him about hismother ? This moment when he could barely talk, barely breath and they couldn’tstand each others company for more than a few minutes. Now, this was the moment? Years. For years and years and Russell had pestered, begged, argued for anysnippet of information about this woman that had ‘disappeared’ when he was just2 years old. Alf had determinedly dodged his son efforts and finally he’drefused all conversation about her full stop. She’d gone. She wasn’t hereanymore. That was all Russell needed to know. As Russell slowlylowered him self back into the hard wooden chair, abandoning the sticky syrupysnack on the bedside table, Alf dug his elbows into the mattress and shimmiedhimself up a few inches. He licked his lips and took a deep breath.  “Her name wasRusty. She was a lounge room singer. She had the most beautiful russet colouredhair that fell to her shoulders in waves, and her voice….her voice was likemolten butterscotch.” Russell exhaled andclosed his eyes. He listened to his fathers slow whispery story for the nexthour, and in that short time, he forgave him.

    On Wednesday, 13 January 2016, 15:01, Sacha Black wrote:

    #yiv9089795967 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv9089795967 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv9089795967 a.yiv9089795967primaryactionlink:link, #yiv9089795967 a.yiv9089795967primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv9089795967 a.yiv9089795967primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv9089795967 a.yiv9089795967primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv9089795967 WordPress.com | Sacha Black posted: “Without sounding dramatic, which I always do, I love an apocalypse. In fact, I’m sort of obsessed with them. Or more, obsessed with the settings that they give. I love dystopian novels, anything decrepit, broken down and battered. But maybe this prompt ta” | |


  6. Abi first noticed the nail on a Thursday. That’s when granny took her to school. It stuck out of the pole by the traffic lights. ‘Careful.’ Granny always told her to be careful.
    It was soft.
    Like a marshmallow.
    ‘Abi, I told you…’
    ‘It’s soft, Granny. Touch it.’
    She loved her Granny but she didn’t believe in fairies and she said it was hard and dirty.
    ‘It’s just a nail. Now leave it alone.’
    Abi didn’t want to be naughty but she couldn’t leave it alone. And each touch felt different: hot, slimy, dripping, sticky and rough.
    The next time she touched it it felt so smooth her finger slipped off. She pushed harder and, to her surprise the nail disappeared. As it did so a puff of silvery gas emerged before weaving into her school bag.
    ‘What are you doing, Abigail? Let me see your hand.’
    A dark red streak showed across the palm.
    Granny hugged Abi, surprising her. ‘Thank heavens it isn’t cut. That’s a rusty old nail and… Where’s it gone?’
    Abi looked where Granny looked. The post was smooth, the paintwork unblemished. There was no sign that there had ever been a rusty nail there at all.
    ‘Well I never.’
    At school Abi waited until break before she emptied her bag. At the bottom was the rusty nail but nothing else. Disappointed she put the nail back and forgot about it.
    That Saturday the family went to the seaside. Abi took her school bag as it held her current favourite book. While mummy slept and daddy built a sandcastle with her baby brother Abi took out her book to read. As she did so the nail fell by Granny’s feet.
    ‘What have you got there?’ Granny picked up the nail. ‘Oh Abi this isn’t that dirty old nail from the post, is it? I…’ She stopped before rubbing it with her finger. ‘Well I never.’
    ‘What is it Granny?’ Abi wondered if she should get mummy.
    Granny stared out to sea. ‘When I was a girl, I rode a horse. I loved that horse. One day it lost a shoe so I took her to the blacksmith. Your grandpa was apprenticed there. It was the first time I saw him.’ She smiled to herself. ‘Not exactly love at first sight. He was covered in sweat and smelt awful. But he said he loved me right from that moment. On our wedding day, he gave me a nail, the sort they use to hold on horseshoes, with his and my initials engraved on it.’ Once again she rubbed the nail. ‘When he died I put it in his coffin. I told him I would when he was ill, so he’d never get away from me.’
    ‘Granny, what’s wrong? Don’t cry.’
    ‘It’s alright dear. He told me, if I did, he’d give it back to me. I think he’s just kept that promise.’

    Liked by 3 people

  7. here’s mine…

    “I’ve sorted it,” you say, flinging yourself down on the seat beside me as the engine revs, and the ancient school bus chugs into motion. Your whole face blazes with triumph. “Big Bad Billy. He’s just a pussycat really.”

    I snort in disbelief. “Really? That’s not what you said yesterday.”

    You shrug your scrawny shoulders and lean in close. “No, but yesterday I hadn’t figured it out.”

    “Figured out what?” I lay down my book, trying not to let my scepticism show. “Ok, Rusty. Spill. What did you do?”

    You can’t hide your glee. “Aha, that’s just it. I’m Rusty no more.” With a dramatic flourish, you whip off your beanie hat which had been pulled firmly down to your eyes, and I can’t restrain a gasp.

    Sunshine beams in through the window and bounces off the pale gleaming skin once covered by your mane of fiery red hair.

    “Can’t bully me for being a ginge now, can he?” you say cheerfully.

    “No,” I manage, “But it’s not him I’d be afraid of. Your mam’s gonna kill you.”

    You look out the window. “Yeah,” you say after a while. “I’m so gonna get killed. Then she’ll ground me for a month.”

    And we both burst out laughing.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I thought it would be really hard to get my head around, writing in 2nd person, but actually it wasnt, I think probably cos it was such a very short piece. Dont know if I could sustain it effectively over a longer piece. It was fine, because it felt just the same as when you’re talking to a friend… we actually use second person quite a lot without realising.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on The Journal of Dr. R and commented:
    I’ve been at it again, writing another short story for Sacha Black. I definitely recommend you follow her if you want to bring the writer out of you. I suggest you read the other entries for this edition of Sacha’s Writespiration series, some very impressive entries on show by some very talented writers!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “I feel like the way things are going, the closeness in our relationship is going away” said a despondent Ella. She looked at Jon, hoping her words had not irked him, she did not say that to cause harm, more to get off her chest the feelings that she had been finding increasingly difficult to suppress. Initially, Jon was taken aback when heard Ella say this but after the initial shock, he knew that deep down what Ella had just said was the truth, he could deny it no longer. “I’m sorry” said Jon, his tone of voice sounding a little emotional, “I’ve fucked up, I should have seen this coming”, Jon said this with a lump in his throat, bowing his head at the table they were sitting at almost grief-stricken and the thought of the errors in his ways.

    As the tears slowly started to flow down Ella’s face, completely ruining her make-up which had taken her the best part of an hour to put on, Jon now with his head up again after regaining his composure sought to comfort his now visibly distressed wife. He got out of his seat and went towards Ella, taking her into his arms and caressing her in a way he had not done in months, he embraced her with a sincere passion and then look at her teary face and realised what a fool he had been to the woman that gave him the will to live, the woman he would run threw a brick wall for, the woman who managed to cast out the frost from his heart and turned it into warmth.

    “I just wanted your attention, I just wanted to know you appreciated me” cried Ella gazing at Jon. Before she could utter another word, Jon kissed her and in that moment, it seemed like nothing else in the world mattered, time stood motionless as the lovers’ lips embraced. The rust that had been building up in the relationship had been abated, all because of one kiss, a kiss that seemed to point towards a fresh chapter, a new beginning, a more pristine love. Now everything seemed to be clear to Jon, he had neglected his relationship with Ella and allowed the relationship to rust, now with some TLC, the two of them together could freshen up their bond and get to know each other all over again as if they were dating for the first time.

    Time commenced again as Jon wiped Ella’s tears away with his fingers, gently stroking her face which by now was a total mess, her face was smeared in various shades of red. Symbolically however, wiping away the tears (and the expensive make-up) signalled the wiping away of the rust, with time, the closeness between Jon and Ella would return. “I’m going to make things right” Jon declared whilst holding Ella’s hands in his grasp, feeling the warmth in her hands and quickly thinking about the warmth she had given to his heart. He felt he owed it to her to pay more attention to her and to appreciate her.

    Ella had stopped crying and suddenly she could not be any happier, finally it seemed like her life had gotten the freshening up it needed. With the rust that was surrounding Jon slowly dissipating, it seemed like now was the time to catch up on lost time and use the time they still had to make time for them to reminisce about the time when the rust almost signalled time for them to call time on their time being together.

    Hope you enjoy Sacha.

    Liked by 1 person

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