Flash Fiction: The Poet and the Forest

Here’s a little flash fiction for Friday about the importance of nourishing your imagination.

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There was once a poet, who came upon an enchanted forest. The poet wandered beneath the towering trees, discovering hidden paths and flowing streams. The poet learned all the songs of the birds and the scents of the wildflowers. The forest crept into the poet’s heart, and when the poet sat down to write, words poured onto the page like summer rains.

But there was no living to be made in the forest, nor was there much to eat, so the poet went to find work in the desert, where the wind chafed the poet’s hands and stung her eyes. The heat of the sun burned away all smells and the landscape was too barren for birds. The people in the desert were harsh too. “Who are you?” they asked by way of greeting, “Are you rich yet?” They walked on and stared at the desert with despairing eyes.

At last the poet had earned enough to return to poetry. But as she tried to write by a flickering fire in the desert, she had lost all words. The desert had entered her soul, and her imagination had withered.

So the poet returned to the forest. As the branches closed overhead, her creativity returned. She had learned that imagination must be nourished, just as the body must be fed. One day she would return to the mines of the desert, but for now, she let the forest embrace her.

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Leaving Paris

Paris had never looked more beautiful than on that last run through the city. I had forgotten the squalor and smells of the narrow streets now and saw only the grandeur of the rooftops against the sky. Gerard guided me out of Le Marais and along the broad boulevards near the Louvre Palace. We ran through arcades and before churches, past statues and under stone carvings. We passed the scaffolds and skeletons of the new Paris that was being built. We saw sudden vistas of the Seine and the hills above the city. I had no idea why I thought this city frightening when the carriage had first rolled through the city gates. Paris was my city now and I knew all its lanes and colonnades and bridges.

– Elise flees across 19th century Paris in ‘The Alchemist of Paris’

Having left her idyllic country home, Elise has found herself in a web of greed, betrayal and deceit – and magic. Can she escape in time?

Leaving home

At twilight I slipped out of the convent and into the herb garden. Unlocking the gate, I strolled under the old stone arch to the fields beyond. The sky was blue violet, and a golden moon was rising over the hills. The air was sweet with the scent of the rustling grasses. Wildflowers, some blooming only for a day, shivered in the evening breeze. I walked through the fields, until the monastery and convent were only a dim silhouette behind me. I breathed in over and over, wanting to savour the scent and the taste of the countryside. The forest on the hillside was dim and silent and the tree branches were like lace against the setting sun. The meadows rolled out to the horizon, where the river glittered through banks of poplar trees. I tried to capture each part of the landscape in my mind, so that I could imagine it, wherever I might go.

– Story Excerpt “The Alchemist of Paris”

 

Like the character Elise, I grew up in the country before moving to the city. (Strange fact – I grew up next door to a convent!)

Are there places that you have left behind in your life? Do you think of them often? If you are a writer, do you incorporate those memories into your writing?

Flash Fiction – Social Media Anxiety

A sweet tale for this Valentine Day’s Month.

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Tim wants to be your friend.

Natasha sat before her computer. Sunlight peeked through the morning clouds outside her window. She sipped her coffee and stared at the screen.

Tim was the cute boy she had met at the party the night before, whose smile made her heart soar and whose shy eyes made her swoon.

Did Tim really want to be her friend?

HER friend?

Her FRIEND?

Did he WANT to be her friend?

Did he want to be MORE than friends?

Natasha tucked her hair behind her ears nervously. It was only a Facebook friend request, for crying out loud. How could such simple words cause such social anxiety?

Okay. Tim wants to be my friend. So what should I do?

I don’t want to accept straightaway or he’ll know I like him.

But I don’t want to wait because he’ll think I thought about him.

I’ve got to be cool, Natasha decided.

She hit accept, pulling her finger away as if the laptop was on fire.

She rested her head in her hands. It probably meant nothing. He just wanted to be Facebook friends. It wasn’t like it was the start of something.

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Tim sat in a cafe across town. Should he have sent Natasha the friend request so soon? He only met her the night before. Maybe he shouldn’t have sent it at all.

What would he do if she ignored him?

He shouldn’t have done it. He was an idiot. He was always an idiot.

A message appeared.

Natasha wants to be your friend.

Tim broke into a wide grin.

The day suddenly seemed brighter.

© 2016 M. C. Dulac

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Two Sentence Fiction

Two sentence stories exploring the pain of the writerly life.

Two sentence

Sally had a file full of articles on blogging, a date planner with a blog schedule, a master to-do list, a top priority to-do list, a micro to-do list, a thumbnail to-do list and a motivational poster above her desk. But the only way she was going to get any real work done, was to sit down and write.

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After he began, editing his novel, Bill discovered, he had a tendency, to overuse, commas. With his neighbours bellowing Bill took out all the commas to unfortunate effect.

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Richard refused to learn the rules of writing. Ignoring the warnings about unclear antecedent phrases, when he came home to his cat, he started meowing.

 

© 2016 M. C. Dulac

Flash Fiction – The Old Man Under the Bridge

A new flash fiction for the New Year.

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She ran fast through the city streets. The first fireworks were lighting up the sky.

She found him under a floodlit bridge. He stood, hands in his pockets, gazing at the lights reflected on the flowing river. A ball of red and golden fireworks rose over the city.

“It can’t be the end of the year already,” she said, “I need more time.”

“The old year is coming to an end.”

“But it was New Years Eve only yesterday. I haven’t done half the things I wanted to do.”

The old man shook his head, “Haven’t I told you to use time wisely?”

“But there’s never enough,” she bit her lip, “Could you stop time – just for a moment.”

“That I can never do. All I can give you is this,” he reached into the pockets of his shabby coat and drew out a glowing ball, so perfect and magical, she could not draw her eyes away.

“I cannot give you back 2015,” the old man said, “But I can give you 2016.”

She took the New Year in her hand.

“Make the most of it,” Father Time said as he walked into the darkness, “I don’t want you running down here next year.”

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May you all have a happy, safe and creative 2016!

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© M. C. Dulac 2016

Flash Fiction: The Undo Button

Flash Fiction returns! This week – what if life had an undo button?

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Jenny sighed as she accidentally deleted a paragraph in her document. She clicked the undo button and the text reappeared.

If only life was that simple, she thought as she closed her laptop and headed for the coffee shop.

Jenny had a new phone and while she was waiting in the queue, she began to look through the options.

Hidden among the settings was an “undo button” marked “test only”. What did that do? Undo phone calls or texts? As she stared at the button, she was aware someone was nearby. The drop dead handsome guy from the office, her secret crush, was right behind her.

“Taking a break?” he smiled.

“Yes,” she said, grabbed her coffee and scuttled away.

I feel ridiculous, she thought as her cheeks burned. Why didn’t I just say hello?

Curious, she hit the undo button. And there she was, at the counter again.

“Taking a break?” he said.

“Why yes I am,” she replied.

“Hey, I’m Jim. I think we work together.”

“I think we do.”

“Did you want to sit down?”

“Sure.”

She couldn’t believe they were talking. Every time she said something she regretted, she tapped the undo button and started again.

The conversation was perfect. At the end, Jim asked her if she wanted to catch up on the weekend. He looked so happy, he stumbled on the step as they left the cafe.

He didn’t seem to have an undo button. Was it a function on the new phone? Or was Jenny the only one to have it?

It said “test only”. What would it mean, if everyone had the chance to change their lives all the time? What would the world be like? Should she use it? What would she miss out on if she did? What were the philosophical implications of such a power?

She should forget about it forever.

Jenny stepped into a puddle.

Maybe not forever.

She pressed the undo button, reversed a few seconds and walked happily on.

© M. C. Dulac 2015

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