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Very Short Stories II

Time for another stab at very short stories. For a reminder of the last round, click here:

They are essentially a story in 100 words. I’m not brave enough to try fewer words yet. Like last time, these are untitled.

She was caught somewhere between door and gate; first gear and reverse. “Mommy I’m hungry!” said Mickey in the back seat. “Mommy hears you” she said. She got a glimpse of her eyes in the mirror. Flat. Dull. The years showing. At least this time he didn’t try the trick where she reversed out and he closed the electric gate before she could get out. At least this time the police weren’t called. No one to call though, but at least they were alive. “Mommy, where we go?” asked her son. “I don’t know baby” she said, flat and dull.

*

He walked over amidst cannonballs and screaming. The kids in the pool in the background. Last night she hit him; he called her a crazy bitch. But their song started playing in the heat of South African Christmas, Bryan McKnight’s Crazy Love. What happened last night didn’t matter as he pulled her to feet and her head rested on his chest. They swayed as the splashing went silent to them. It was crazy, but it was love and it was theirs. “Daddy, he won’t give me my chance…” screamed Tatum. There was peace.

*

The dead tree was there, where it’s always been. In the middle of the shallow dam, the brown three-fingered hand extended from the life-giving liquid. Pat walked past, on the N1, that big road where pedestrians shouldn’t even be on. He couldn’t go on. He used to plant bombs. He ran from Casspirs. He fought alongside heroes of liberation. Now he had nothing left. The struggle was over. It had been over for decades. No sunset clause for ol’ Pat. He was tired of walking and sat down with cars at his back, the dead tree in front of him.

*

The ogre came in and looked at her closely, observing her. The girl was fearless. She stood up, her legs shaking, not with fear, but excitement. She ran through the valley and avoided the capture by the giant, her blond cropped hair blowing, blue eyes sparkling. As she approached the oracle which told of lands far away and winds that blow from east to west, she was captured. She laughed in their faces as they picked her up. They smiled back at her. “Who’s a pretty girl? Who’s a big girl? Who’s the best baby ever?!”

*

The black and yellow blocks looked like a square squashed bee. The little army spread out across the board. Books surrounded them as they sat in the café. He moved; pawn first, predictable. Safe. She moved. Knight jumped, L for Lee-Anne, brave and strong. His father told him always play from the outside, protect your king. He moved his castle forward. Brave and strong. Castle Ken. But he was more Trepidation Tom. He watched her hands, smooth like ivory. He sweated. It wasn’t even that hot. He turned away, it was one second. Just one move. The Queen had won.

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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Very Short Stories

Below are a few 100-word stories I’ve been attempting. They are really hard because that word limit always seems to get in the way just as you’re hitting a stride. So go easy on me.
Interestingly enough, Ernest Hemingway is said to have written what is known as the shortest story ever written. It was six words and went like this: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”
Now I won’t try to emulate that, but here are my attempts at very short stories (I omitted titles, except for one. I was not sure what the rules, if any, are on this)

*

There was talk of replacing the trains by the new government. The riots. Cape Town was not what it used to be. I stared out of the train as it came to a standstill, metres from the station. I could see it if I leaned my head out of the window. The grass between the tracks, head high. I was warned about that. The spill at the harbour caused something strange to happen. Things came out at night. When the lights went out and curfew approaching, we had to get out, before they got in.

***

It had been a year since we met. Since then it was the usual make up, break up, meet up, mess up. Tahir and I had been through it all in various states of order and intensity. We had agreed to meet outside the Bellville library, one year to the day.
“So, not gonna kill me, huh?” I joked, going in for a hug. He smiled. I guess I had finally been forgiven for my betrayal.
“Salaam Fatima”
“And no, no killing”, he smiled. “I wouldn’t bloody my hands on a whore.” That’s when I saw Zahir. Two secrets out.

***

“Merry Christmas julle!” It was the time of year that every teenager dreaded.
“Good moooorning”, Mummy came shouting in my room. Drunk already. The sherry for the trifle was being put to good use.
She sat down next to me and left a liquor-scented stain on my cheek. I pretended to be asleep a lot in that house. It was a survival mechanism. Possums do it, we learned in class.
Drop and play dead. It reminded me of school when I was teased for being sturvy, a uppity girl. It was going to be a long day.

***

One Last
I left a gift in your poetry book. There, my dear, a tear for you.

He slammed the notebook shut. Rebecca got it for Greg for his 30th birthday. It had a flap in the back which he never noticed before. He got to the end of it and saw something sticking out. A photo.
It was them, in Windhoek, on a sand dune. It had the poem on the back, with a drawing of a heart.
“Bitch!” he screamed and sat down, and sniffed. He thought the little gifts were over. Seems she had one more.

***

She heard the shot. Bang! Ek is bang. Bang! Was that a bullet? Car backfiring? Her mother always told her that it was a car, even though she knew better. They both did. They couldn’t all be cars! She pulled the curtain aside, just enough to reveal the outside. The shop was down the road. Roadside Café, she could see the sign from the window. Red and white. She hated everything about living here. Ever since they came in and took that part of her. “Ag, I’ll just go later” she said out loud, to herself, for the second week.

***

“Hello?!” said Toni when she flopped down, the waves crashing ever closer. She had a bag with a bottle of gin, rat poison, enough painkillers to knock her out, and the blades. She was always very thorough.
“Who’s there?!” said the voice, probably a few metres away. She squinted and saw a man.
His eyes also adjusted to the moonlight and there was an awkward stare-off. Was she about to get killed before she could, you know… the irony was making her head spin. But she looked down, he had gin too.
“Care to join me?” he asked.
She smiled.

***

She sat on the edge of the tub, her wet hair hung in her face making liquorice jail cell bars in her vision. She slipped back in, her sweat blending with the hot water, making her pink all over again. She lay on her front, head up and held onto the taps like handles. She reached back, rubbing her milky white buttocks. There was already a red paw print, too big to be her hand. She rubbed her hand between the snow covered peaks and looked back.
“Ok, maybe I’ll stay. Just for the night” said her husband.

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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