All 75 words
All published on Paragraph Planet
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Yawning, he cautiously poked his head out of his soiled sleeping bag, wondering how he’d got to this point. But, he knew. His life had spiralled out of control when he’d lost his job, home, and marriage. He remembered seeing people like him, not caring that he was stepping on them to catch the tube. Now he was one of them. A wry smile crossed his sallow face. Karma really was a piece of work.
I saw you, but you didn’t see me.
You looked different. Still you, only not my you. The dog’s put on weight, and he’s not the only one. It must be contentment, or maybe too much pizza. I closed my eyes, and for just a second, wished we could rewind back to the beginning, not the end. Suddenly, she turned around and it was like looking into a mirror…but then, she is my twin sister.
Die by Sunday.
The rules of their game are very simple. I give them something they want. They give me something I want. Only, it’s not a game. It’s real life. My life. And, they want my life’s one regret…my sword of Damocles. I have seven days. The clock is ticking and they have my family. They think they’ve already won. But, I’ve never been one to play by someone else’s rules. My game…is just beginning.
When I was growing up, they were generally sported by fishermen, brainy boffins and wineos. These days they are a fashion statement that have been known to sprout in a differing shade to the wearer’s hair and a whole winter month is dedicated to their growth for worthy causes. Yes, they have certainly come a long way since the 70’s, but there still remains one person you don’t want to see with one – your Nan.
This was it. She had made it. Words swam inside her head. “You’ll never make it.” “You’re wasting your time.” Whatever. Well guess what? You were all wrong. Every last one of you. She grinned at the audience who all stood applauding. Nothing had ever felt so good. Obviously she would never reveal how she had blackmailed, bribed and cheated her way to the top. That was between her and the golden statue she clasped tightly.
I will never forget the first time that you said those three special words. We were sitting on a bench and I was that surprised, I dropped my ice cream down my dress. Now you’re gone, I sit on the same bench. Sometimes I see you, but it’s not really you. Your unit was deployed. You came back in a box shrouded with a flag. Ten years have passed since I heard you say those words.
An envelope skittered silently across the cafe floor. After a furtive look around, he casually bent down and retrieved his prize. He could almost smell the fifty pound notes. This was it; the scoop of the year and he was delighted with the photographs. He thought they were tasteful. His uptight wife had disagreed. The celebrity in question had broken his bulbous nose, but it was a small price to pay in the name of art.
Tills rang in card shops from John O’Groats to Lands End. Chick flick movie trailers played on an endless loop. She hated this day more than any other. Putting on her worn apron she entered the cold room. Soon after, costumers poured in collecting their extortionately priced bouquets. As darkness fell, she locked the door and trudged home. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” she whispered to her snoring husband as she dropped a card onto his lap.
The small grey boat slices through the darkened waters. Her name is Alexia’s Wish, but time and inclement weather have faded the scripted letters. The two rugged men aboard the vessel struggle with nets and ropes as the wind starts to gain momentum. They both grasp the wheel as water quickly surges onto the deck. She slams into the rocks and disappears. The tragic event unfolds every night since she was lost in 1970.
Home for Christmas.
The heavy front door opened noisily as our guests arrived. Their arms were laden with presents as they shook snow from their warm coats and boots. Laughter filled the heat-laden air. I couldn’t see him. I knew that he wouldn’t come. I can’t believe I ever thought that he would. Hot tears formed and slid down my cheeks. I heard the door open again. My heart thudded as I turned around. It was him.