Clopping

Clop clop clop one way.

Clop clop clop closer.

The gait was irregular, unsure.

Each strike of the foot clicked against the laminate floor and echoed about the room, through the open plan layout and to their ears.

“Is there a horse in there helping out?” He wondered aloud.

A rapid flurry of clopping followed, a head poking out from around the corner. “IT’S NOT FUNNY, DAD!”

She clopped back into the kitchen, leaving him with a glare from his wife. Her mouth’s barely suppressed mirth twitching at the corners of her lips dulled the usual impact her looks had on him.

“She needs to practice for her new job.” She chided.

“Oh shit, the pasta!” Came from the one-girl stampede in the kitchen.

“I get that, but while cooking?”

“Aw sod, the veg!” Their daughter was at a gallop now.

“She was quieter in those old clod stompers she used to wear!”

His wife sighed. “The goth days are gone now, it’s going to be all business and heels.”

“Fuck, the fish!” Their daughter swore amidst the clanging of pans and pots.

Her husband chuckled. “She’s still got the mouth of a sailor though.”

That Lovely Girl

“There she goes, that lovely girl.”

She had an air of genuine kindness that the residents loved. Always interested in their tales from decades past, no matter how often they rambled on during their telling. When they sung her praises to their relatives, she was always modest.

“I don’t need to be thanked for that.” She’d smile while steering a tea trolley loaded with treats, all ready to be dispensed before Countdown came on.

“Isn’t she such a dear?”

Every once in a while when they were distracted, a ring or trinket would vanish.

But they’d never blame her, that lovely girl.

This week’s Three Word Wednesday words were: Distracted, Genuine, and Modest.

It Tolls For Tea

Her sword arm ached from the raging battle she had been fighting for the last hour. Blows were carefully parried, strikes avoided and thrusts countered. The sun had just started to set when a mighty bell tolled. The warring warriors looked up and around at each other as the sound hung in the air.

Sheathing her blade in the scabbard, the knight pulled the helmet from the top of her head. “The queen needs me.” She declared, before departing the field and heading for the castle.

There was no cowardice in her actions.

Even the mightiest knight could not resist the call of pizza night, and no plastic swords or rubber helmets were allowed at the royal table when it was time for a feast.

Helping Hands

From a young age, Kyla had been taught that on visits to the supermarket she should avoid the stock fillers. Walking down the aisles they could often be seen reaching out from the dark at the back of the shelves to hand products to shoppers, to straighten shelves, or plucking stock from nowhere to stack the display units with.

She’d tightly grip onto the shopping trolley as her father pushed it down each aisle, checking things off his list and stacking them carefully in the wire basket. Every so often she’d gain the courage to try and peek into the black recesses of the shelves. A glimpse of dark hands could be seen, straightening some box or pushing older product to the front.

As Kyla grew, she became less scared of the hands. She’d carefully take items off them and stand on tip-toes to deposit it in the trolley. Sometimes she would see the hands reaching for products that had been knocked off the shelf. Darting down she’d pick it up and pass them over. That seemed the right thing to do. A nice thing to do.

So when she saw one of the hands accidentally knock some canned vegetables off the shelf? Kyla skipped over to pick the tin up and pass it back, a smile on her face. The shadowy limb reached out for it before twisting to reach past. She gasped as she felt the cool digits touch her wrist.

Suddenly she was walking away. She could see herself walking away. Her eyes tracked herself until a tin of sweetcorn hid her from sight. It was the tin she had helped put back on the shelf. It confused her, to see herself walking away. In that confusion in the dark place she found herself, a bright idea came to mind.  She’d lend a helping hand to shoppers. It seemed the right thing to do. A nice thing to do.

Strike Team

The troop helicopter was hovering on flickering blades above the insertion point. With the side door opened and the cables ready to drop, the armed men and women on board readied to descend into combat.

“You know the target. Get in, grab the package and get out. You have permission to terminate anything that tries to interfere.” Their XO snarled through the comms system.

With the signal given, the team started their drop. Down cables they zipped, weapons raised and ready as they neared the hordes of enemies. The situation was chaos, the crowds riled.

Operation Black Friday had begun.

Author’s Note: Seeing as the stores in the US decide to start Black Friday sooner, I thought I’d drop this story now. A nice little drabble, now heavily discounted!

Home Cooking

A fierce craving for Mom’s (not really)patented chicken casserole drove her towards the kitchen. She stumbled a little with the weight of a night’s drinking making her strides anything but steady. Reaching the vast fridge that occupied one corner of the kitchen, she flung the massive doors open to begin browsing the shelves and racks.

Some fuzzy part of her mind knew that she’d brought some casserole home in one of the many Tupperware boxes that her parents dolled leftovers out in. Was it the red topped one? No, no, Mom had a system. Red was for beef dishes, chicken was…

Yellow! A flash of yellow caught her eye as she moved some assorted jars out of the way. Grasping the box with both hands she pulled it out and took it to the counter. Peeling the lid off to take a deep sniff of that rich, heady sauce.

A gag, a shudder, a lurch of her stomach! Putrid stenches assailed her nostrils. Retching, she clamped the lid back on the box and ran to the back door to gulp down fresh air. As the sobering and crisp night atmosphere settled her stomach and purged her nose of the violent attack, her mind focused. The last time she’d visited home to have chicken casserole… was two months ago.

Pulling a face, she steadied herself with the doorframe. Her craving had been crushed, her appetite abated. Come morning, she would clear the fridge out and write a big post-it note for herself: If she really wanted home cooking, she should really go home for it.

 

Author’s Note: Today’s 3 Word Wednesday words were Crave, Putrid, Shudder.

Lines

With hands resting on the bathroom sink, he peered into the mirror and saw the lines on his face. Years of studying scripts and going over lines had given him the slightest of squints, and crow’s feet had emerged around each eye. His skin was no longer as smooth as marble, and his crop of blonde hair was becoming silvery from the expanding numbers of grey hair coming through.

Glancing down, he was reminded how age had not just affected his face. A slight paunch resided on his stomach, little hint of the muscle he was known for in his early acting years still visible. It had been harder and harder to shift what he put on in recent years, but it had the upside of driving him to eat better, focus on his health.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the handsomest of them all?” A voice came from behind as his wife slipped inside the room, draping an arm over his shoulders. She was younger than him, and very pretty. She was barely in her mid teens when he first met her on the set of one of his biggest movies, and on their reconnection later in life… well, the rings on their fingers showed how that reunion had gone.

“I don’t think I’m Hollywood’s Most Handsome any more, love.” He said, self-depreciating trying to hide the worry that had been gripping him.

Her arm slipped down to lock around one of his biceps, pulling herself in close. “Is this because of that screen test?” His lack of response and a quick glance back to the mirror made that clear. “You dodged a bullet there, anyway. I’ve no idea how that director got that gig, but based on his past stuff, it’s not looking promising.”

“It’s not just that. Or the other auditions.” He said with a heavy sigh, his body slumping as he bared his feelings. “I’ve seen what they say on gossip sites about me, about how much I’ve changed, and-”

She stamped her foot down on the tiled floor. “You stop that right now.” Her voice was so firm, resolute about the matter. “You’ve gotten older. Everyone does. It doesn’t mean you’ve changed from being the funny, gentle, kind man who inspired me so much all those years ago. Or the man who I fell for when I was older, so passionate and giving.”

A smile touched his lips from her words, his posture straightening.

“So they didn’t want you for some action films? Find something else. You’re a fantastic actor, you bring so much to any role you take from big to small. Take some time to work in smaller productions, bring all that experience there. You’ve still got that energy, that charisma, and so much more now. Wisdom, knowledge…” She rose up on tiptoes to plant a soft kiss on his lips. “Distinguished appeal.”

“Distinguished?” He chuckled, an eyebrow raised.

“Statesman-like. The kind of man who makes an intern weak at the knees.” She said, before nibbling on his shoulder. “Also, there’s been something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”

“Yes?” He said, a little wary.

“I’ve been thinking about coming off of the Pill,” She whispered, looking into his eyes, “and I wanted to know what you-”

He easily lifted her up, letting her legs wrap around his waist as he carried her towards the bedroom. “I’m not off it yet!” She laughed, slipping her arms around his neck.

“What did I tell you during rehearsals for that shooting scene you were having trouble with on our first film?” He asked, gently lowering her to the bed.

“Practice, practice, practice?”

His head ducked in to nibble at her neck, his eyes bright and his voice full of energy. “Exactly.”

At The Beach

In spite of having to squint from the bright afternoon sun, Carol was glad to finally be able to sit down. It had been a hectic morning, herding three excitable children around town while dealing with their complaints, requests and the occasional squabble.

Sitting on a low wall, she stretched her legs out, happy to get the pressure off her sore feet. The three kids were running around on the beach. From chasing the tide to being chased by a small, scuttling crab, they were well on the way to burning off the ice creams they had wolfed down.

Taking a lick from her own ice cream, a 99 with Flake, she soon realised her mistake. Like sharp-eyed hawks, they had spotted their prey and descended on her rapidly.

“Carol! Can I have your flake?” Dan, the eldest asked with hopeful eyes.

“I want the flake, Carol, pleaaaaaaaaase?!” Lucy, the middle child, pleaded.

“Flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!” Rebecca, the youngest, drawled out, eyeing the crumbly chocolate treat eagerly.

Their looked to each other, and Carol knew a good old-fashioned sibling argue bout was coming.

She was cunning, though. Wedging the wafer cone between her thighs, she pulled the Flake out and quickly snapped it into three even pieces. Then she wiped the excess ice cream off on the cone, and presented them with three pieces. She fixed them a look.

“You can take one each, okay? No being greedy.”

In one moment, three pieces of chocolate sat on the palm of her hand. The next, they were gone and the kids were running off around the beach again. The crab soon resumed its chase of Rebecca, too.

A quiet snap could just be heard from behind, and half a Flake was placed in the vacant hole in her soft-serve ice cream.

“You’re good with the kids, Carol.” Martin smiled, taking a seat next to her with his own 99, and a bag of assorted groceries to take back to the caravan.

“Thanks… I did worry about how we’d all get on, our first holiday away together.” She admitted, letting her tongue catch a trail of melting ice cream that had been trickling towards her hand.

Martin slipped an arm around her shoulder, the pair sitting to watch his -no, their- kids charging about on the beach.

“You do know that this won’t tire them out at all for the evening, right?” Martin chuckled. “They’ll still be pestering us for change for the arcade machines, snacks and drinks.”

Smiling, Carol nodded. “I know,” she said before a pause to eat some ice cream, “I think I’d miss it if they weren’t.”

 

Author’s Note: Today’s Three Word Wednesday words were: squint, argue, lick. A 99 is a type of ice cream in the UK, a wafer cone with soft-serve vanilla ice cream. Often comes with a Flake, a type of chocolate bar, sticking out of it.

Sunning

The bikini had been broken out of its winter hibernation spot in the wardrobe. The sunglasses rescued from the pile of tights and warm socks it had found itself nested under. The sunscreen procured from the back of the toiletries drawer and the deckchair removed from the garage to be set up on the patio.

Her skin was all sun-screened up, a good book to read through clasped in one hand as she stepped out into the back garden to rest on the chair. She looked gorgeous, in her own opinion.

Except, maybe, for the goosebumps that had cropped up all over her body.

“You’re crazy, Hannah!” Her friend called from the back door, wrapped up in a comfortable jumper and carrying a mug of tea. “It’s only seven point one out!”

“This has been my week off, Kay! Four days of miserable, wet, cold weather! The sun is out, and I’m going to make the most of it!” Hannah replied, stretching out. “Just you watch!”

“No, I’m going to be sensible and curl up on the sofa.” Kay grinned, heading back inside. She gave Hannah five minutes out there in the cold spring breeze.

She was surprised that Hannah made it to ten before she was indoors, wrapped up in her snuggest dressing gown and fluffiest slippers. As Kay went to open her mouth, Hannah cut her off.

“Don’t even say ‘I told you so!'” She said with chattering teeth.

“I wasn’t going to!”

“Oh?”

“I was going to ask if you wanted a mug of tea.” Kay smiled, before her expression turned cheeky. “And that I told you so.”

The Drive

The machine roared under her, her knuckles white as she held on for all she was worth. It sometimes seemed to drive itself, merely taking her along for the ride instead of being under her direction and control.

Sometimes it flagged, slowing down to idle but never stopping completely. Then it would lurch forwards, keeping her hanging on as it charged ahead on a second wind.

Bit by bit, people would come to watch the driver, and her fear increased. To be on the machine by herself was one thing, no one would see if she came to a stop or it span out from under her. But when people were watching her, waiting for what came next?

She couldn’t stop. She feared losing control. But the worry was always there, that the machine would burn out. Its tank would run empty. That she would lose her balance and fall hard.

But the drive was all there was, and so she clung on.