Friday, 24 January 2014

Friday Flash Fiction - A New Home

A New Home

I don’t like it here. 

Mummy says this is our new home and we’re staying, but I don’t like it. It smells funny, not like our old house. I used to have my own room and now I have to share with my brother, Dan. We have new beds called bunker beds. I don’t like bunker beds because when Dan moves I can hear the bed creaking and I’m scared he’s going to come crashing down on top of me. I asked Mummy if I could sleep on top, but she said it was too high and I might fall out. Dan’s only one year older than me, it’s not fair he gets to sleep on the top. 
I find Bertie buried under my Angry Birds duvet and squeeze him a little to let him know I’m awake. He’s awake now too. I whisper to him that I don’t like it here and he agrees. He always agrees with me. He has fuzzy green hair and big black eyes. 

I’m thirsty, so I take Bertie in one hand and inch slowly down the dark corridor. I can see light from under the living room door, so I know Mummy is watching TV. I hear the strange voices getting louder and louder. 

…A new campaign has been launched today by animal rights activists who have been protesting against this barbaric practice for many years. Some viewers may find the following images disturbing. 

Just as I push the door to the new living room open, I see on the TV a whale being sliced open and all the blood and guts spill out of it. I drop Bertie and scream. 
‘Matthew,’ Mummy says, jumping off the sofa and putting her arms around me. ‘What are you doing out of bed?’ 
‘I couldn’t sleep. I really don’t like the new bunker beds.’ 
‘They’re called bunk beds. A bunker is…something else. I’m afraid you’re just going to have to get used to it.’ 
I look at the TV again. Mummy walks over and turns it off. 
‘And I’m thirsty.’ 
‘I’ll go heat you some milk.’ 
‘With chocolate in it?’
‘No, Matty, it’s too late for hot chocolate.’ 
‘But Daddy-’
Mummy does a sigh. ‘Daddy’s not here, is he?’
‘Is it because he’s living with Auntie Sharon?’
That woman is not your auntie. She’s, well, let’s not go into that now.’ 
I know I’m going to cry and don’t want to. Instead I look for Bertie, but can’t find him and that makes me want to cry even more. ‘I can’t find Bertie.’ 
‘Your tennis ball?’
‘Bertie’s not a tennis ball. He’s Bertie.’ 
Look, there he is.’ Mummy points to a wall in the living room where Bertie is lying facing the wall. 
‘Bertie!’ I race over and pick him up. 
Mummy takes my hand. ‘C’mon, let’s go get you some hot milk.’ 
‘Okay,’ I say, and slowly follow her into the kitchen. 

©2014 Laura Besley


Flash Fiction Diary  

It's taken me a little while to get going this January, but hopefully this will be the start of regular blogging again. This piece was written for a competition and had to include the words: bunker, animal rights and tennis ball. Unfortunately it didn't get very far in the competition. 

My first collection of flash fiction, taken from the previously published 'Flash Fortnightly' collaboration with Artipeeps, will be available soon. Here's a sneaky peak at the front cover...

18 comments:

  1. Kids can be so needy, especially when their identities and patterns are disturbed. At that age I was into seeing videos of whales split open, but I was also a more sanguine kind of kid.

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    1. Very true! Are you still a sanguine kinda guy?!

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  2. Laura,

    Really wonderful to see this. It's looking good, and it was such a pleasure to have had you on ArtiPeeps for all that time and to have worked with you in the way we did. It gives me great pleasure to see you immanently publishing your work. Great. Here's to the first of many. All good wishes, Nicky. :)

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    1. Thanks a lot, Nicky. Likewise, of course.

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  3. We all need a Bertie in our lives!

    Wonderful news about "Snippets". Look forward to it.

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  4. Sweet story and you nailed the voice. Love that Bertie was a tennis ball!

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  5. Poor kid, it's hard enough for them to deal with childhood fears without having to make sense of a parental break-up too.

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    1. Indeed. It can be a tough time for a child who doesn't really understand what's going on.

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  6. You did indeed nail the voice here Laura, and the intense emotion that such a situation is fraught with, which is not easy to do.

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  7. Surprised that it didn't get that far. I thought it was sensitively written, and you made wonderful use of the prompt words. It was ingenuous to use the tennis ball as you did. Sadly, it reminds me of a child I once worked with who had an obsession with trash, especially snack food bags. Turns out that he and his Mom were desperately poor when he was tiny and that was all that he had to play with - empty chip bags, cigarette packs, etc. So I really found this story moving.

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    1. Thank you very much for your encouraging words. What a sad thought that the child you worked with only had rubbish to play with instead of toys. I know kids these days can be very spoiled, but that's by far the other extreme.

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  8. So difficult for little children to understand a situation, especially when not only their parents have split but they have had to change where they live too. Very well captured Laura. ^_^

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  9. The voice is perfect, as is trying to make sense of all the bits and pieces which refuse to make sense. Really well done.

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