Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Best Laid Plans: A Personal Update, and a Micro-Fic Story

The title of this micro-fic piece is apt, because my best-laid plans have not turned out as I’d thought they would! December was a challenging month for me in terms of pacing (something which is essential for people with #spoonie health conditions) but I’d expected that after some rest, I’d be ‘back to work’ in early January, as usual. I was looking forward to getting back into things!

The Universe has had other plans. 🙂 My health has forced me to make rest and recovery my primary ‘task’ for the time being. Although this means that working on new scenes for our third novel is pretty much ‘on hold’ for the moment, I have been able to write small unrelated pieces now and then. (Phew!)

While I’m really missing working on the magic of Lazuli Portals 3 (and finding out what happens to Keira and Jason and co. in chapter 27 and beyond!) I have made my peace with it. For those of you who are impatiently waiting for LP3 to be finished, I will return to it as soon as I am able, I promise!

Meanwhile, I’m also having a go at being more laid back about blogging and social media, trying to find a manageable balance. 🙂 ‘Balance’ is a theme which recurs over and over in my life, so I clearly need more practice at it lol.

The tiny story which follows is a piece I wrote many months ago in response to the image, specifically to be shared on the blog. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but we hope you enjoy it! 🙂

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BEST-LAID PLANS

The warning is there, plain to see; I made sure the cleaner left the bollard in open view. According to the steady red light, the security camera is on, so everything will be documented.

All I need to do is to make it look natural: let my feet slide from under my weight, land awkwardly, making sure I break a bone or two.

That should keep me out of the surgical unit for a few months. I need the break (pardon the pun). Maybe the time off will stop the shaking, the trembling in my fingers when I lift the scalpel. The responsibility over life … the damage I might do … I just can’t …

Deep breath. It’s all down to me, now.

But something curdles in my belly. I know this is wrong. It’s fraud, isn’t it? My mother would turn in her grave if she knew what I was up to. I’m sure she’s keeping an eye on me.

And what about me? I’m a good person; that’s why I became a surgeon. My vocation is to help others to heal; to cure, wherever possible. And here I am about to injure myself, deliberately, and to cause hassle and difficulty for others, to apportion blame to the blameless.

I can feel Mum at my shoulder, her flinty eyes ashamed of me, her disappointment like a shadow veiling my eyes.

I swallow, and turn away from the pool and its slick tile surround.

It’s time to own what’s happening to me. To deal with it in the right way. To talk to my boss and seek her help; Shelley will know what to do.

The dark weight which has been plaguing me lightens, the threads of it unwinding and weakening.

My mind is consumed with how to broach this with Shelley, how to tell her that I don’t have the courage anymore.

It’ll be hard to share this with her. Of all the people at the hospital, Shelley is the one with whom I feel the strongest connection. Maybe it’s because she’s so full of life and fun? Because she’s so different from my mother? And now I have to tell her of this weakness, this flaw.

My nape turns ice-cold, prickly, as though there is a mass of energy there. It seems to push at me, nudging me forward. Against my will, I step onto the damp tile, moving closer to the pool.

“No,” I state to the empty room. There is a rough shove at my back and I stumble awkwardly, slipping on the tile. I fall onto the bollard, and my leg twists horribly beneath me. I cry out, my darkening vision pinpricked by silver stars.

Silent words flow into my ear. “Be careful what you wish for, son.”

[463 words – copyright Joanna Gawn;

image by artur84, via FreeDigitalPhotos.Net]

One More!

Well, it seems a little story I wrote recently for an online competition was awarded an Honourable Mention! *happy dance*
You can read my story below.
Thanks to fellow author Anneli Purchase for running the contest. 🙂

Anneli's Place

The writing contest produced some very good entries. It was hard to choose only three. I ended up choosing four, and still I had to add a fifth – Joanna Gawn –  for an honourable mention. This does not mean hers was the fifth best. It’s just that I had to make the cut somewhere.

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I liked Joanna’s story very much. Here it is. Congratulations Joanna.

The buildings seem smaller than when I left thirteen years ago. Yet the land runs forever. I’d forgotten. The city does that to you, narrows your vision, restricts your focus to the height of things, not the breadth.

Hannah Mallory and I played on that ridge every time Dad and I visited. Hannah and I were innocents back then, drinking fresh lemonade in the shade of the trees while the sun baked the earth a pale gold.

I think of my town car back in…

View original post 230 more words

Farewell (micro-fiction)

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Farewell

I’m standing, but my legs are weak; my strength has bled into the concourse carpet.

I’m smiling, but my lips feel stiff, forced into this shape against their will.

I’m waving, but my hand feels lifeless, wooden, too heavy to move.

I’m waiting, but I don’t want to see the plane ascend, to disappear into that distant sky.

I’m watching, but my vision is hot and blurry, and my lips taste of salt.

I’m present, but the fragments of my heart are shards of loss, scattered and raw.

I’m alone, and I wonder how long each hour will linger, now that he is gone.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Words © Joanna Gawn

Image courtesy of potowizard via freedigitalphotos.net

Stains: a micro-fiction piece by Ron

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Stains

Through this closed window is the way to see it all. The lives of those past who left their mark inside.  The rabble who now infest the home of generations.  And, if you look closely, you may see the many futures open to each inhabitant.  

Those there must choose as their ancestors did before. Will their dreams materialise, if dream they still do!  Yet the action each takes, be it Sonic or homework; which food or which wine; to smoke or to not; to leave or to stay, can create a new world in which they then exist.  Though each can then change and move another way.  

The vibration they leave remains as a stain.  Each choice that is made sends ripples around.  Each swell, big or small, will move all it encounters.  Be it little or huge nothing is ever constant. Reactions may be the same: to be buoyed or deflect; to go under or to swim; bob around waiting or speed off under power; look to horizon or to the depths.

The choices they make can drown in the tide of others’ actions.

Where will the rabble be in ten years, or an hour?

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Words © Ron C. Dickerson, inspired by image, by bigjom via www.freedigitalphotos.net

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We’ll be using this image again soon, as Joanna has written a couple of haikus using this picture as her focus. 🙂

Cool, Calm, and Collected: dark micro-fiction

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COOL, CALM, AND COLLECTED

Toast; sausages; freshly-brewed coffee. Those are the scents which greet me as I walk into the restaurant. I have already shaved, my bathroom mirror reflecting a can of hairspray, a bottle of perfume. Female toiletries in my suite … a culture shock, really. But I’m becoming familiar with them.

She is already here, sipping from her cup in that elegant way she has, although I wonder if she is as aloof as she tries to make out. There is a coolness about her, always, as though she considers herself too precious to be touched.

She catches my eye and a slight smile is sent my way. I mirror her expression, wondering what she is thinking. I imagine her thoughts to be already in motion: the day’s appointments, the contracts to be signed.

And yet … I know how her skin glows in moonlight; how her fiercely red lipstick tastes. I know what perfume she wears, what size shoes are cupping those graceful feet.

I know her.

I turn to the breakfast bar but I am aware of her still. She drains her cup. She replaces it onto the saucer. She wipes her hands on a pure white napkin and discards it on the table. As usual, she departs without a backward glance.

Her table vacated, I sidle to it with my grapefruit and my Earl Grey. A waiter swoops toward me to clear her debris. There is confusion as my breakfast things mingle with hers. An apology; an acceptance.

I eat my grapefruit slowly. There is no rush now. She will check out today, move to yet another hotel. Once I have dyed my hair, removed my moustache and my spectacles, I will follow. She will not recognise me.

The clatter and hum of breakfast chatter starts to fade as patrons return to their rooms. My meal finished, I am among them, the napkin tucked into my pocket.

Upstairs, I add the napkin to my tally: the lipstick, the hairspray, the perfume.

I wonder … has she missed them yet? Does she blame the maids?

I laugh softly, and begin to pack.

I know her.

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© Words: Joanna Gawn, inspired by the image, by tiverylucky at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seven Sentence Story: The Breath of Life (Micro-Fiction)

Seven Sentence Story

The Breath of Life

The star pulsed but faintly, as though taking its last breath.

Then it seemed to vanish, blinking out of existence.

Deep within her dream, Keira sighed, the sound spreading far across the universe.

Such power, such vivid natural beauty extinguished, burned out, destroyed!

But something continued to breathe, to show life; something compelled her dreaming form to pivot.

Her heart filled, for ahead of her she saw the drawing together of matter, the startling flare as the nebula brightened with light.

The universe breathed … a new star would be born.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Please note that although I am a great fan of astronomy (I completed a degree-level course through the Open University), the above piece is fiction, and representative of a dream-state … it is not intended to be scientifically accurate. 😉

It is also intended to link in (albeit in a minor way) with an experience Keira has toward the end of The Cordello Quest.

Hope you enjoyed reading it!

~ Joanna

 

Creative Fiction Duet: Moondreams

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Ron’s ~

When the dreams reach to the highest and your eyes see no more
When your hands reach for something which you know is beyond
When your body just needs more touch with no satisfaction found
When your soul aches for something yet can find no solace

I will be there, waiting

© Ron Dickerson

 

Joanna’s ~

Reaching for you across
the expanse of darkness
feels like the first steps in
a new dance; a step toward,
the briefest touch; a glance,
before drawing away.

I sense you there. Do you sleep?
Are your mind and spirit searching
along shadowed paths?
Do my dreams belong in yours?
Or are your dreams held,
so gently, so sweetly,
within mine?

Are you illusion? Or are we together
in silent, softened reality?

I am here, waiting.

© Joanna Gawn

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Image used with permission from njaj / FreeDigitalPhotos.net