Wake-up Call

Claire was lost. There was a fire bell ringing somewhere, but she couldn’t find her way out. Each direction she chose led to another bare corridor filled with rows of closed doors, just like the last. There were no exit signs, no windows, no other people. The lighting was dim and the walls pale grey, like wet concrete. In a blind panic, she carried on running. There must be a staircase around here somewhere, she thought. I have to get out of here. But where am I?

Claire woke with the sudden realisation that her doorbell was ringing, and must have been so for some time. The insistence of its tone told her the caller was not going away. Confused, she dragged herself from her bed, swiping away damp hair stuck to the side of her face. She tripped on an empty wine bottle and lumbered through the doorway. A policeman broke down the front door at that moment.

The arrest was a relief. It was time to stop running.


How Not to End a Relationship

Further A-Z adventures of Candice, the serial dater.

For those who missed her previous adventures, they can be found here:

A Date to Remember

A Trip to the Zoo

After two years of life with Toby, Candice had had enough. But how could she break it off with him? Candice was sure he would be distraught- inconsolable perhaps. Dumping him was going to be difficult, but that would be the easy part. Extricating him from her flat would be the tougher challenge. ‘Flash Toby’ as he had come to be nicknamed by her friends, had well and truly got his feet under the table.

Granted, in the beginning his generosity and taste for the finer things in life had been attractive and exciting. Hotel weekends in stunning locations, meals in the best restaurants, lavish gifts and a taste for fast cars. It wasn’t long before he had moved in, and Candice dared to hope he could be ‘the one’ she had been looking for all this time. Just thinking back to those hedonistic early days of the relationship however, Candice cringed at how easily she had got swept up with it all, ignoring all the warning signs and her own better judgement.

Keeping their finances separate would clearly have been the more sensible choice, but Toby had insisted they open a joint bank account as a step towards their future together. Love had blinded Candice to Toby’s inability to live within their means at first, but spending £800 of their money on a robotic hoover had been a tipping point from which she could see no return. Men like Toby would never change. No, she was certain that today must be the day to tell him the party was finally over.

Once the decision she had been agonising over all day was made, Candice mixed herself an extra large gin and tonic and settled herself on the sofa to await his return from work. Perhaps he would cry and promise to change she thought with a twinge of sadness, wondering what was taking him so long.

Quickly downing her drink, Candice stood up as she heard a car pull up outside. Releasing a breath she hadn’t realised she had been holding as he opened the door, she steeled herself for ‘the talk’. Sooner rather than later would be best all round.

“Toby, there’s something we need to talk about,” she began as he took off his coat.

“Unless it’s how you plan to thank me for the gift I’ve got for us, it can wait,” he said grinning like a child with a new toy.

“Very thoughtful as ever I’m sure. What is it?”

“X6, convertible, the latest BMW,” he said dangling a set of keys in front of her nose.

“Yeah, I guess it can wait, let’s go for a spin!”

Zooming along with the wind in her hair, Candice decided there would be plenty of time to talk, another day.

Header image courtesy of Pixabay.com. And I am aware the picture is probably not a BMW X6, but I liked the cute dog 🙂

Two Thrilling Adventures

Here are two more flashes I had hanging about… enjoy!

Afternoon Delight

When Geoff goes on his golfing weekends, I leave the front door on the latch for Roger from number sixteen.

I take a long bath with scented oils and candles, shave my legs, and massage my skin with cocoa butter. The cat is shut out, carpets vacuumed and bedding changed. The sport biographies and loose change are tidied away from Geoff’s side of the bed. When everything is ready, I put the vase of plastic tulips in the front window. That’s the signal he’ll be looking out for; our secret code. I lie in bed and wait.

I remember being so anxious that Roger must lock the door. Not any more. The idea that Geoff could return early, his trip curtailed by an attack of golfer’s elbow, makes the whole thing that much more of a thrill. You have to take them where you can get them at my age.


The Thrill of the Chase

Frank lingered near to the bus stop, carefully assessing each person who waited there. It was the usual set of bored commuters. None paid Frank any attention as he skulked by a litter bin, except for the man in the blue puffer jacket who gave him a suspicious sideways glance, before turning back to his mobile phone. There was one woman with a smell of bacon sandwiches about her who carried a cloth bag, but Frank could tell there was nothing in there that would interest him.

Shivering in the chill January air, Frank wished again that he had his new red coat. In his haste to leave the house, he had paid no heed to the weather. Just then, a gritter lorry passed by, coating the icy pavement in a layer of salt. Frank barked and ran after it. He could never resist a good chase.


First Fist Fight

‘You must never hit a girl, or anyone smaller than you,’ his mother had drilled into him as a boy. The advice had always sounded odd to Felix, who would no more consider hitting a girl, than he would speak to one. Perhaps it was that he had seen enough confrontation at home. ‘Your Father and I don’t get along very well any more,’ his Mother had said, which had seemed a somewhat inadequate version of the truth, even to his eight-year-old ears. Or maybe violence was just not part of his nature. Whatever the reason, Felix knew that he preferred to avoid the possibility of conflict at all costs.

It wasn’t until the advanced age of thirty-seven that he first hit a man. That man was his wife’s cousin, Jonathan.

Jonathan was something of an expert at fixing computers, according to Felix’s wife, Clara. Jonathan also knew about the unblocking of sinks, the laying of loft insulation and the installation of additional plug sockets. Felix knew about coronal mass ejections and their effect on space weather systems, but he conceded that he did not know how to rid their home computer of the virus it was infected with. He was glad his wife had such a useful relative, one who lived so close by and was so happy to help.

Felix returned home that lunchtime to pick up his forgotten sandwich. Clara was at the kitchen sink, rinsing some glasses. Jonathan stood behind her, his hand unmistakably inside her blouse, cupping her right breast. It was quickly removed as Felix entered the room, and there was a moment when they all stopped, and waited for Felix to react, or to say nothing and to do whatever he had come back to do, and go on his way. When his fist connected with jaw, nobody was as surprised as Felix himself. Still, Jonathan had a good three inches on him in height, so he reasoned that his actions were entirely justified.


This story is a longer version of a flash I entered into the Ad Hoc Fiction contest a couple of weeks ago. I think this longer version works a bit better. Hope you enjoyed reading it. 🙂

Header image courtesy of Pixabay

Two Small Fictions

Sorry it has been a bit quiet on here of late.

I thought I would share two little pieces here to brighten up your Wednesday, and would love to know what you think of them. I seem to write a lot of hapless male characters. I don’t know what that says about me, or the men I know!


To Fall at the First Moustache

Eric strode up to the reception desk of the large office building and announced his presence. He flashed his winning smile at the seated man, who regarded him with indifference. Eric was thirty minutes early for the interview, but reasoned that this would demonstrate organisation, punctuality and general suitability for the role of Financial Controller of Smithstone and Hasselbach, major players in the sanitaryware industry.

The seated man wore a moustache so large, it could have been employed as a draft excluder in a previous existence. It was impossible to see his lips move as he muttered something derisory in Eric’s direction.

“I’m sorry, what did you say? I’m here for the interview.”

“I’m sure you are sir, but the office you require is at the other end of the street. I say office, its more of a portacabin really. Good luck finding it!” He shouted at Eric’s retreating form.


Box-Ticking Exercise

Russell glanced at his watch. He was pleased to see that he was a full twenty minutes early for the café meeting, giving him a decided advantage and the chance to assess the lie of the land before she arrived. He took out his laptop and ran over his list of essential criteria and specifications one more time, and tapped the business card holder in his breast pocket. With time to spare, he sat back to sip his coffee.

Ten minutes later, she burst into the room like a bulldog released from a leash, surveying the assembled patrons with wide-eyed excitement. Her cheeks were reddened, and large sweat patches were visible at her chest and underarm areas. He recognised her instantly from her online photograph. Noting that she had failed on point eight of his essentials list, he slipped unnoticed from his chair and left by the back exit.


©Rebecca Field 2017

Header image courtesy of Pixabay

The Holly Bears a Berry

Merry Christmas to all and many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and follow my blog this year and for all the helpful comments. I’m hoping to devote more time to reading and writing in 2017, especially once my youngest starts school in September. What are your writing plans for the New Year?

I wrote this story inspired by the festive season. I was planning to submit it somewhere in the hope of getting it published but never got around to it in time for Christmas! So today seems an appropriate day to post it here. Enjoy! Would love to hear your thoughts.

The Holly Bears a Berry

The sight of blood when not expected is always a shock. Marjorie coughed again; a further spattering of crimson appeared on the snow-white porcelain. Her face in the mirror was pale and insipid, as if she had been through too many wash cycles and her colours had faded. She felt a sudden lightness and tightened her grip on the side of the basin. She had always been squeamish about bodily fluids, even her own. She wiped away a smear of blood from her lower lip with trembling fingers and splashed her face with water. It felt as cold as meltwater from the snow which lay thickly outside, muting and shrouding the lane in its chilly embrace.

The water brought a little colour back to her face. She took care to remove all traces of blood from the sink and patted her face dry with the hand towel. It was the dark red one with embroidered holly leaves she only took out from the big chest at this time of year. The panic she had felt was beginning to subside. It was Christmas Day. No time to think now. There were jobs to do, cooking to get started. She must put on a smile for Monica, Steve and the children. Yes, that was what she must do. Get through Christmas first. Christmas was about family, not about yourself. That’s what mother had always told her.

Padding through the hallway in slippered feet, she went into the kitchen and put the kettle on to boil. It was almost too heavy for her to lift. She could hear the voices of the children in their bedroom laughing and shrieking as they opened up their stockings. The soft murmuring from the other room told her that Monica and Steve were awake too- she would take them tea in bed. They deserved to have a lie in today. In the pantry, the pale lifeless form of the turkey sat on the marble shelf. There was a trickle of blood collecting on the serving platter beneath it. She touched the pimpled flesh with her fingertips and felt a wash of nausea. The urge to cough returned and she reached for the handkerchief in her dressing gown pocket. Blood again, but only a little.

As the kettle boiled, Marjorie looked out of the window. A robin sat in the hedge opposite, its red breast feathers puffed up against the cold. A blackbird landed nearby and began plucking berries from the holly, gobbling them down eagerly and sending small flurries of snow down to the ground as it did so. Marjorie got out the bread sauce recipe and turned on the oven, deciding to set aside the crusts to feed the birds later. They needed help in weather like this. She wrapped her dressing gown tighter around herself, glad of the comforts of home. The tea tray was set out with china cups and saucers, a little jug of milk and a miniature Christmas napkin and mince pice for each of them. It pleased her to add these little touches to what was after all, a special day. She took it in to them and wished them a ‘Happy Christmas’ before returning to her room to dress for the day.

The green mohair cardigan was on the armchair where she had laid it out the evening before. She put it on, remembering the trip to Sweden when Joe had bought it for her. “It’s too expensive,” she’d whispered, turning over the price tag in the shop. But he had insisted, saying it was perfect for her, that shade of green suited her, and she’d had to agree. Now she kept it for special occasions, washing it by hand in tepid water, so as to preserve it for as long as possible. She smoothed the soft fabric over her breasts, cupping them as she did so. Was there something she had missed? Maybe there was something about the density that was different but she couldn’t be sure. It had been almost seventeen years since her operation. She’d never forgotten, but it had become something she thought about less often in recent years. Other things had taken over, drawn her attention away from the familiar threat that still lurked in the background, waiting for her guard to drop.

Marjorie touched the framed photograph of herself and Joe on the dressing table. It had been taken on their wedding anniversary at their local pub. They had hired the back room and Monica had made a cake with red flowers and leaves and ‘Happy Ruby Wedding Mum & Dad’ perfectly piped. She was good at things like that. All the children and grandchildren had been there. They had been happy. “Help me get through today Joe,” she whispered. She pressed her eyelids together and took a deep breath.


All day, it was as if the colour red was taunting Marjorie. It was Christmas, everything was red of course, you couldn’t get away from it. The red and gold lights twinkled on the tree, the red-ribboned gifts and paper hats, the flush in her daughter’s cheeks after she had consumed a few glasses of red wine. Marjorie herself drank more than usual. Nobody commented; it was a day for letting go, for relaxing and indulging. The children tore open their gifts and filled the room with heaps of brightly coloured paper and packaging. Marjorie sat back in her chair by the fire, until the urge to cough came back again, and she escaped to the kitchen.

The blood was there again. More so than before. She washed her mouth out at the kitchen sink then put on her coat to take the bread crusts out to the birds before it got dark. The robin was on the garden path, hopping towards the gate leaving perfect footprints in the snow. Marjorie threw him some crumbs and stood to watch as he pecked at them, the tiny black eyes darting back and forth, keeping her at a safe distance. She thrust her hands deep into her coat pockets and clenched her fingers around her handkerchief. The cold air seemed to knock the breath from her, she felt weak again, as if she could collapse and lie down, right there on the snow-covered lawn. Best to stand still until it passes, she thought. Soon she would have to go back inside. She coughed some more, turning away from the robin who seemed not to notice.

“Are you coming in Mum?” Monica was standing at the door shivering, with a large scarf draped over her shoulders. “You’ve been ages, come in, it’s freezing!”

Marjorie turned slowly, conscious of not making any sudden movements. Her daughter was smiling at her like she thought she was mad. Perhaps I am, she thought. “Yes. I’m coming now,” she coughed.

“That’s a nasty cough Mum, how long have you had that?”

“Oh, a little while.”

“You ought to see someone about that you know. Can’t have you getting bronchitis or something.” The two women linked arms and headed back to the warmth of the kitchen.

“Yes. I’ll go and see the Doctor next week. After the Bank Holiday. Now, who’s for a game of charades?”

Header image courtesy of Pixabay.