G is for Gang of Four

Based on childhood memories, this piece of flash fiction is inspired by my mother and her sisters. It’s based on a writing group prompt, Gang for Four

Gang of Four

They sat around the table every week, with strong opinions, loud voices, strict rules, and plenty of money. Purses bursted with coins. But no brown money. There would be no coppers in this game. On the table was a deck of cards and a bottle of brandy. In the fridge were salad sandwiches, and some fizzy orange for Aunty Teetotal.

They had grown up together in the same house. Shared a bed, clothes, pencils.  Then work and family life stretched their bond, sometimes almost to breaking point. It was never severed though; the tie of sisters rarely is. They were all married when they stared to meet on a Saturday night. Kids old enough to fend for themselves, husbands happy to watch the football or go to the pub. Over the years they became widows in turn and their connection deepened, returning to its childhood level.

Saturday nights were for playing The Queen, Trumps and On the Bus. The games were not to be taken lightly, though they laughed throughout.  They broke for sandwiches half-way through the evening, and it was time to sort the money out.

“I owe you a fiver.”

“Well I owe you seven, so you give that to her and I’ll only owe two.”

“But don’t you owe me ten?”

“I did, but then I paid for the raffle tickets, so you owe me six. Actually, you all owe me six.”

“I paid you for mine, didn’t I? I got you the round mince.”

“Right so, you give that fiver back and I’ll give you…”

The fiver would be passed around the room, more often than not, ending up back in the purse if came out of. When all was totted up, often only a pound or two was ever actually owed, but it had to be put right.

Watching and listening from the stairs, or if we were quiet, on a small stool near the table, we learned fairness, responsibility, the importance of fun and family, and the bond that four sisters can have throughout  a lifetime.

This gang of four did not change the world. But they made our world and we are grateful for it.

Coming to the end of NFFD

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed the mix of flash fiction on here today. It’s one of my fave writing days of the year, and though I spend a lot of time on longer projects these days, I do love a short and snappy story.

So the final offering for today, comes from me and it’s a little darker than my usual tales… let me know what you think…


A Dream Come True?
by Annmarie Miles

My eyes opened; my heart pounded in my chest. I sucked breath in to my lungs and tried to work out where I was. My eyes darted around the room. In the dark I could just make out the shape of my jacket hanging off the wardrobe door.

You’re at home. You’re home, it’s okay.

I turned my head towards the steady breathing next to me.  He was facing me. Smiling. He always smiled when he slept. It was one of my favourite things about him.

My breathing increased as I looked at him. He was the villain in my nightmare; again. For almost a month I’d been dreaming about him. Every night, his aggression towards me increased. Tonight he was throttling me. Strangling the life out of me. I was losing consciousness when I woke in search of air. I wanted to move away from him, but feared I’d wake him. I needed to be further away from those images before I would feel safe next to him.

I wish I’d never gone to that party. I wish I’d never stopped to eavesdrop on what his colleagues were saying about his “latest obsession.” It took a while to realise they were talking about me. I thought they were jealous of the car. They sneered and jeered and the more they said, the more compelled I was to listen. They disgusted me with their envy and bitterness. They were describing a different man from the one who now filled my heart and mind. I was considering walking up to one of them and slapping his face when he said, “She’ll disappear like the rest of them. Mark this day she’ll go the way the way of the others. Buried in the woods somewhere probably.”

My feet wouldn’t move. I pulled my wrap around my shoulders as the cold breeze of their laughter swept over me. I returned to the table and he smiled that glorious smile then kissed me. Every night since, he has tried to kill me in my dreams.

The memory of that night shrunk my bladder. I slid from the bed and walked to the bathroom. When I came back, he was sitting up in the bed.

“You ok, Peach?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, something just woke me. I can’t get off again.”

“Well, if you can’t sleep, how about I tell you about my day. That should bore you back sleep.”

I laughed. The sound of his voice dissolved my fears and after my second yawn, he said, “My work here is done. Come on, let’s get you back to sleep.”

I lay down and he moved towards me, draping his arm softly around me. He nuzzled my neck and I sank into the curve of his embrace. Sleep surrounded me, and as it did, I felt his grip tighten.


Some bubbly Flash Fiction from @hortonious101

Please join me in welcoming back Martin Horton to the blog, with a bubbly contribution to Flash Fiction Day.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to catch up more of with Martin’s writing, you can visit his blog Hortonious101. Or follow him on Twitter @Hortonious101


Lost in Lather
by Martin Horton

I knew there was something special about the house the moment I stepped into that room. Something in the air. That made me linger, not want to leave. I was sold. Jane and I moved in the next week. It was the first thing we’d agreed on in a long time. We’d been through a rough patch and this house seemed to be the sanctuary we were seeking.

The next morning, there was a knock on the door. Pat, the previous owner, stood there holding a wicker basket filled with glass jars. ‘A little house warming gift’ she said with a twinkle in her eye. And then she was gone. We looked at each jar, our wonderment and curiosity growing as we read each exquisitely written label. ‘Lost in blossom’, ‘One night in Paris’, ‘Rhubarb rhapsody’, Coconut Crescendo, ‘Sex appeel’, that one put a glint in our eyes, and many more.

Then Jane noticed a handwritten note at the bottom of the basket.
Get lost in the lather and find each other again.

We raced to the bathroom, shedding clothes on the way. Which one first? Of course we went for the Sex appeel one. Who wouldn’t? The scent was subtle. Like from distant orange groves in Seville. Then the more we lathered the stronger it grew. Next thing we knew, we were sitting down to breakfast with a crusty old colonel, drinking Earl grey tea from china cups and been encouraged to try a vast array of marmalades, each with more zest and zing than the one before. It was after the fourth round of crumpets we couldn’t hold our laughter in, and then we found ourselves back in the shower again. Each with a wider smile then we’d seen in a long time. Which one next?

Flash Fiction, with some truth in it, by @georgietennan2

Georgie is back! This time with a tale of how a Sunday can go gloriously wrong… 🙂 Don’t forget to catch up with her on her blog, and follow her on Twitter @georgietenna2



Not the Smoothest of Sundays
by Georgina Tennant

It had been the kind of Sunday that made me want to slam the church door behind me and post my resignation back through it.

It started during worship and went downhill from there. One of the more ‘quirky’ congregation members had a ‘word from the Lord’ that we should sing a song about ‘breaking dividing walls,’ holding each other’s hands and swinging them, symbolically, to ‘smash through spiritual barriers.’ The scene that followed, reminiscent of an Adrian Plass sketch, appeared to bemuse entirely the few visitors we had enticed in. Most of them exited discreetly for a toilet break, returning only when it looked safe to do so. As first impressions went, not the greatest.

Next was prayer. An old lady expressed to the Lord her heartfelt thanks for His hand on her life through the years, from the moment she – I quote – “exited her mother’s…” I’ll spare you the term, but suffice to say her scientific terminology was accurate. Eyes widened all around me and I stared hard at the floor, trying to make sure mine didn’t meet anyone else’s.

Sermon time arrived – an exhortation to yield to the holy spirit more. As I painted a picture of him as a peaceful dove, sitting on your shoulder, I realised too late the tongue-twisting potential of those words – the spoonerism was out; a memorable sermon in all the wrong ways.

Dejected and weary, I locked the church and turned to face the road home. “That,” said a kind, amused voice, emerging from the shadows with a face that matched, “was the best Sunday meeting I’ve been to in a long time.” Puzzled, I reached out to shake his hand, but he was already disappearing ahead of me, down the road, one small scar faintly visible on the palm of the hand that waved goodbye.

Tsunami – flash fiction by @lindy_greaves

Our next #flashfiction offering is from Lindy Greaves.

You can find Lindy on Instagram and Twitter @lindy_greaves and just search her name in Facebook and she’s top of the list 🙂


by Lindy Greaves

I cling on though the water is rising. My girls are with me. Tharushi and Kalpani shuddering against the surge. Tharushi won’t look at me. She knows – I think. I hang on. Kalpani, just stares wild into my face. My soul. Fear and trust searing me. Breaking me. Her hair is plastered across her tiny face and she blinks away swirling and filthy rivulets, holding her breath. My wrists are weak; my fingers brittle. I try not to see the body face-down amongst the debris that flows past. I recognise the red shirt. He is a neighbour. Was a neighbour. There is no neighbourhood now. I choke on a mouthful of silt and dread. That’s when Tharushi’s branch fractures. I snatch at her clothes with my one free hand. Grasping frail fabric. Wrapping my legs around the tree’s submerged trunk. She splutters. Holds on. To me. To the tree. Unspoken thanks in those deep wary eyes. She knows.
The water is rising. Nearby screams engulfed in the roaring. I hold on. I hold on. Tharushi is five. She knows I have to make a choice. Soon. My hands are weak. I feel my knees buckling under the tide. Leaves, limbs from trees, bits of houses churn by. A post cracks into my head. I look at Kalpani. Remember her scrunched up baby scowl. The painful pull on my breast as she sought her sustenance. Her grip is slipping. My fingers are weak. We will all die if I don’t choose. I look at Tharushi. Black eyes focused on the brown water. She knows. The choice no mother should have to make. I turn my face to heaven. And I let go.

More from me on this fine National Flash Fiction Day

Here’s another flash fiction piece from me. This one comes from my second collection of short stories, called A Sense of the Sea and other stories

Hope you’re enjoying the flash fiction today. Please let me know what you’re reading and writing today that’s flash-y 🙂


by Annmarie Miles

“Why don’t you drink the last mouthful of your tea?”

“Huh?” Her husband didn’t look up.

“The last mouthful, why do you always leave it?” She swilled the cup out in the sink.

“Dunno,” he said, chewing his pen.

“You never finish anything,” she said, rattling the cups in the sudsy water.

“What?” He put the crossword down.

“Well you don’t.” She kept her back to him. “The garden project, sorting out the spare room …” She slammed cutlery on the draining board. “You put that awful monstrosity in the hall. It’s been there two years, half of it sanded and the other half as mucky as ever.”

“That monstrosity was my father’s bureau.”

“And even the tea I make you – you never finish it.”

After a minute of silence, except for the dishes going back in the cupboard, he spoke.



“Leaves,” he said. “Tea leaves. I don’t want to swallow them, so I leave them in the cup.” He would have smiled at his fabulous joke had he not still been smarting over the bureau comment.

“I don’t use tea leaves.

“I know that,” he said, with a sigh of regret. “It’s just a habit. I never ever used to drink the last mouthful at home. My mother always used real tea leaves. She taught me not to empty the cup, so I wouldn’t end up with a mouthful. It’s just an old childhood tradition.”

The mention of his mother made bile rise in her throat. She closed the cupboard and opened the fridge. “Pork chops do you for dinner?”

“I suppose they’ll have to,” he said from behind his paper.

She began peeling potatoes.

“I’m going to have a go at that bureau, since you’re getting so worried about it. I’m giving up on this,” he said, waving the paper at her.

After he left the room, she walked over to the table. She picked up the paper and read the one clue left unsolved.

12 down. The longest sentence, just for two. (1, 2)

She picked up the pen and wrote “I DO”, before going back to peeling the potatoes.

If you’d like to read some more from ‘A Sense of the Sea and other stories’, you can get it for Kindle and in paperback from Amazon.
Just click here… x

Flash Fiction from @georgietennan2

It’s the turn of Georgina Tennant to share some flash fiction.  Georgie is one of those people I felt I knew cos of the magic of social media. Meeting her f2f recently was a double blessing. I’m delighted have have her on my blog.

Later today she’ll be sharing a Sunday story, but for now we’re delving into a jam jar 🙂 You can read more of her work on her blog, and follow her on Twitter @georgietenna2


The Last Jar of Jam
by Georgina Tennant

It had always felt as though the jam jars had a life-cycle of their own – a perpetual circle of being: Nan would spend hours in her kitchen, humming as she stirred bubbling saucepans and filled jars by the dozen, lined up like soldiers, with matching red and white berets, on the kitchen side board.

My boys (her great-grandsons) would charm and beg more jars from her each time we visited, hastily making the desired exchange: a clanking bag of empty jars, for two fresh jars, re-filled. They craved the jars’ sticky contents on warm buttered toast, dismissing the very idea of ‘shop-bought jam’ with utterances of contempt and disgust.

“Blackcurrant, July 2018,” the label on this one reads, in Nan’s spidery handwriting. I imagine her, on the day it was created, weaving her magic in the kitchen – stirring, tasting, checking the temperature and pouring the boiling, oozing liquid into the jars to cool.

If the jam wasn’t poured into jars, it was spread thickly between fluffy layers of sponge cake, baked especially for our too-infrequent visits. There was always a cake hunt; it was always hidden in the microwave. The children knew that, but still the game was on, the hunt never got old; eyes sparkled across generations.

Gramps would pretend the cake was only for him, feigning horror when Nan offered it, with milky tea, to the boys, or suggested we take the rest home. Tea and cake consumed and laden with even more jam, we would say our goodbyes and set off home. In recent months, only one goodbye was needed, since Gramps’ days of tea-drinking and jam-filled cake-eating had come to an abrupt end.

I wonder if I would have treated the moment with more gravitas, relished it longer, if I’d have realised, that day, that it was the last time jam would pass from Great Nan to great-grandsons. But these moments don’t come with warnings to linger, do they?

And yet, time passes, stealing from us that which felt immortal, unending.

Nan can’t make jam or cake any more, now. In the care home, the staff can’t work out why she curls her lip at the packets of jam, lined up on the breakfast table, uniform and tasteless in their gaudy, plastic packaging. But we know that she remembers how it felt to pop the lid off one of those beautiful red and white-topped glass jars, to taste the fruits of her labour on bread freshly sliced, to offer it, in cake, to excited children or a weary husband.

Robbed of her speech so suddenly, she can’t tell them any of this, but we know. We tell her how much we still love her jam, which we have to take, now, from the cupboards of her empty house, and how the taste will always linger in our mouths, long after the last drop is drained from the last jar.

The empty jars sit on my windowsill, lined up like soldiers with red and white berets. I can’t yet condemn them to the recycling, can’t quite bring myself to face the truth that the perpetual cycle is broken.

“Blackcurrant, July 2018,” declares the last remnants of Nan’s handwriting, stuck to the lid. The hot tears well up in my eyes. I can’t face the thought of reaching the bottom of this particular jar. The finality aches in my throat.

I know, when I do reach it, that the final drop will not taste sweet at all.

Some micro fiction from @hortonious101 for NFFD

Please join me in welcoming Martin Horton to the blog. Later today Martin will share a bubbly story, but for now, here is some micro fiction.

If you’d like to catch up more of with Martin’s writing, you can visit his blog Hortonious101. Or follow him on Twitter @Hortonious101

by Martin Horton

You were six when you first came to play below my branches.
I used to be your favourite place to escape to.
You’d come here, your heart would open and tales fall out.

But you grew up and forgot.

Forgot me, in your dictionary.

I will never forget you.

Willow x

I’m back! for National Flash Fiction Day

It’s been over a month since my last post and if you read it, you’ll know I got a bit disillusioned with the whole blogging thing, mainly as yet again, I failed to complete the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. I suppose I have to come to terms with the fact that daily blogging is just not something I can do anymore. That doesn’t mean I should quit blogging, and I’m grateful to those of you who have chipped in and said I shouldn’t. I also understand the plight of those who shared that they were feeling the same as I was.

I’ve decided to keep going and amongst other musings, and news, I will be continuing my series in Isaiah. But not before we have a bit of fun with National Flash Fiction Day. I had a fabulous weekend at the ACW Odyssey Weekend and met some ACW folk I’d only known via FB and Twitter, it was also great to be reunited with some old friends. I’ll post about that weekend another time, but for today I’ll be sharing some flash fiction of my own, and some ACW flash fiction too.

Hope you enjoy it… here’s the first offering, from er… me 🙂


by Annmarie Miles


Magda arrived in the middle of her story. The beginning was at the gate or down the street, not that it mattered. She struggled through the door, lifting one armful of shopping up and over, sending it ahead of herself. She followed it, bringing another bouquet of bags behind her.

“And the stupid bus driver wouldn’t accept my return ticket, so I had to pay twice.”

I eyed the bags and opened my mouth to complain but what came out was, “Cuppa?” 
“Oh yea, I’m gasping.” Magda walked past me, dropping the bags as she entered the kitchen. “There’s my girl,” she said to her daughter who was sitting in a high chair, sucking on a piece of toast.  

I tripped over a bag and followed her to the kitchen.

“Soooooo, I have something to ask you,” Magda said in her sweet voice. I grabbed a mug and resisted the urge to slam the cupboard shut. 
“I know I said I’d give you what I owe you today, but can you wait until next week?” Magda was eating the baby’s toast. “I had to get Shania a few bits, and I wanted to get stuff for her party. It just adds up. I can’t believe how much nappies cost. That guy will be banging on the door for his £35 and if I don’t give it to him tomorrow, he’s saying he’ll take the telly. So next week, definitely, alright? And I’ll give you something for having Shania again today. I know I said an hour, I can’t believe it took me two hours just to get to town and back.”
“Four,” I said, handing her a mug of tea.
“You were gone almost four hours.”
“No way. Four hours? I can’t believe that. Time just disappears.  But wait ‘til you see what I got Shania. EVERYTHING is on sale.”
I walked back to get my tea and glanced at the bags in the hall. 

“Magda,” I said gripping my cup, “we need to talk about this.”
“Yeah, definitely. Talk about what?” Magda was playing peek-a-boo with Shania. 
“I need…”
“Hang on, my phone’s ringing.” Magda rummaged in her handbag. “Just give me a sec. Sorry. Hello? Oh yeah, hi. Really? Brilliant, I didn’t think you’d still have it. And how much? Great. When can I collect it? Definitely, I’ll see you then.” Magda threw her phone back in her bag. 
“Remember that dolls’ house I wanted for Shania?” she said, putting her coat on. “The one I saw online with the shiny red door? Well the guy still has it, but I have to pay him today. I’m going to meet him now. I can’t believe it. She is going to love it. Mammy has the best birthday present for her best girl.” She kissed Shania and ran passed me. “I’ll be an hour tops ok?”

She ran to the front door and as she closed it behind her shouted, “Thanks Mam, I owe you.”