Choices

Prompt: A young athlete

I look down at the football pitch from the second floor window. They’re already on it, kicking the ball between them. I know they’re waiting for me. They always wait for me. It’s sort of nice, to feel like I’m part of that team. A family. I just wish that sometimes they’d get on with it without me. What if I didn’t turn up? What if I was ill? What if I decided that I didn’t want to play?

Ok, that’s a ridiculous statement. I always want to play. I think. No, I do. Playing football is what I’m good at. I don’t know… it’s just something in my mind that clicks into place when I’m on the pitch. Like, I know exactly where I am, where I need to go. It’s easy. So, I might as well play. Anyway, if I didn’t, people would be really let down. That’s why they wait.

I didn’t ever ask them to wait. They started doing that on their own when I was made captain. I didn’t ask to be made captain. Apparently, it’s a top scorer thing, but that doesn’t seem fair either. What about Jonesy in goal? They’ll never get a chance. It’s not fair.

Someone glances up at the window and I duck away just in time. Not that I don’t want them to see me. But I should be down there, with them, not up here watching them. They’ll think I’m making them wait. I’m not making them wait. They could start without me. We’ll need to warm up before Mr Lewis comes out anyway. They could be doing that without me. They don’t need me to warm up.

I hear Mr Lewis come out of his office, the whistle loud, and I know he’s probably asking where I am. I could not go. I could go for a run instead. Maybe go and see what’s on at the cinema. I could just walk out of the school. I mean, I’d probably have to go out the back gate because they’d definitely stop me at the front gate, but I could still leave.

I can hear footsteps on the stairs and I move quickly. I nip down the stairs, taking two at a time, my bag slapping against my bum. I hit the bottom of the stairs and jog towards the door. This is it. I could just leave. I could be gone, and just not play today. I freeze, my mind racing, my legs itchy. And then the whistle blows, and someone shouts my name and I know. There’s no way I’m leaving. I sigh, turning towards the pitch and jogging into the sun.

Advertisements

The Heat

Prompt: A sunny Christmas

She didn’t mind the sun. They way it streamed in through the windows, the sky outside clear blue. She could almost pretend they were at home, where they should have been They still had sun at home. No, she didn’t mind the sun. It was the heat that bothered her.

Getting Married

Prompt: a wedding

The worst thing about getting married

is planning a wedding.

The best thing about being married

is never having to plan another wedding.

 

(this is of course a joke, I am very happily married and there are lots of good things about it. One being that I never have to plan another wedding)

100 Words: Secrets For The Wind

Prompt: First line – They stood on the edge of the cliff, the wind whipping around their ankles, the howling making their ears hurt.

They stood on the edge of the cliff, the wind whipping around their ankles, the howling making their ears hurt. They went their often, when the sea was rough and they could guarantee no one else would be there. When they could tell secrets to each other and know that only half of it would be heard. It was how they stayed strong. Their catharsis for the world. They would never talk about it afterwards. They wouldn’t mention what they’d heard. It would remain secret. Until the next time the wind howled and the sea churned. Then they would scream.

Lollipop Game

Prompt: Lollipops

My favourite game at my primary school fete was the one where you pulled out the lollipop and if it had a red spot on the end you won a prize. And if it didn’t have a red spot you got the lollipop. Which is basically a prize. Win-win.

The Choice – Prequel

Prompt: a world where everyone has to decide at 18 who they want to spend the rest of their lives with

This is a Prequel to The Choice

They sit huddled around a table in the common room, pouring over notes from one of their history lessons. The Uprising and Father’s Rule. That’s what basically all of their history lessons are about. Their mandatory history lessons. Felix rubs at his eyes, the words swimming in front of him. He glances next to him, to where Cooper is biting his lip and reading over a passage. Felix’s chest gets tight and he tries to take a deep, subtle breath.

“So, who do you think you’re going to pick?” Chelle asks them from the other side of the table. Felix feels Cooper stiffen for a moment before he looks up, giving Chelle a grin.

“Why? Hoping I pick you?” he drawls and Chelle rolls her eyes, flicking a pencil over to him. It’s Cooper’s birthday in four days’ time. He doesn’t think there’s been a moment where someone hasn’t been asking him. He’s the first in their year to turn 18, so he’s the first in their year to make The Choice. And he’s cute enough, cool enough, that people want to. No matter what Father says about tall and tanned, people still want Cooper’s baby. The thought makes Felix feel sick.

A soft press against his thigh brings him back to the conversation. Chelle is looking around the study room, trying to think about who Cooper might have chosen. Felix looks down to find Coopers hand resting against his leg, his long fingers almost white where he’s gripping the bench so tightly. Felix knows how he feels. Of course he does. There’s this… thing, between them. This unspoken thing where they occasionally hold hands, or go to the cinema together, or take a walk, or sleep tangled in the same bed. Sometimes, when it’s cold outside and no one else is around, Cooper will come up behind Felix, wrapping his arms around Felix’s shoulders, and nuzzle into Felix’s hair. It’s those moments where Felix feels the happiest.

“What about Lucy-Anne?” Chelle says and Cooper’s hand moves as he scoffs, running his fingers through his hair and looking back at his work. No. Lucy-Anne won’t do. No one will do. Because Cooper and Felix… well.

Four days. In four days Cooper will be the first in their year to make The Choice. Four days and their lives will change forever.

The Naming of Fruit

Prompt: Orange

Nothing rhymes with orange,

Not even hinges on doors

Which makes me wonder

Why orange at all?

Is it the colour?

I’d suggest no

A satsuma is orange

But its name isn’t so.

I think it’s because

Of all of the fruit

An orange is definitely

Difficult to consume.

And whoever named fruit

Had a particular vendetta

Called it an orange

Instead of something better.

The Collection

Prompt: Eight lost children

I collect them. Like stamps. And I remember the day I found each one. The first was crying, harsh loud tears. Scrubbing at his little face with the back of his hand, globs of snot running from his nose. He came to me easily. The second was harder. She wasn’t so trusting. Something about stranger danger. It didn’t worry me. She’d follow soon enough. And she did. Third was just as tricky, but for different reasons. He wanted to follow, but he just couldn’t fit. The forth and fifth were twins. Silly little things that had run off playing. The sixth had run away from home. He was older. But I still count him, because he was lost to someone. The seventh was the hardest by far. They knew where they should go if they ever got lost, and it wasn’t with me. Got him eventually though. And the eighth. The eighth is my favourite so far. Sort of lost, but sort of not. They’ll help a lot in getting others. My little lost children. Yes. Quite a collection.

Enthusiasm

Prompt: an old dog and a young puppy

The puppy follows

excited, wagging tail

moving madly.

The old dog sighs,

flops down and

attempts to ignore

the lump lounging

next to him.

Prompt: The coldest Sunday

Today is Sunday

And it’s pretty cold

the sort of cold

that pierces the soul.

Ok, not the soul,

but the lungs for sure.

And the nose and the eyes

and a little bit more.

It’s a Sunday

the coldest I remember.

Or at least the coldest

so far in December.