September 2019

About Forums Den of Writers Monthly Competition September 2019

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Baz Baron 4 days, 20 hours ago.

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    Right, many of you know I use paint samples as one of my writing prompts in creative writing sessions; now you get to have a go.

    The samples are all beige/brown in colour. Your challenge is to pick one of the following names given to the shades of brown and give me a max of 400 words, using the name as a title. Your choices are;

    Je M’Appelle Missy
    Dream Weaver
    Tortoiseshell Specs
    Seed Cathedral
    Battle Drab

    Go to it!



    What a fun idea. Who’d have thought there were so many weird and wonderful names for beige. I shall get my thinking cap on.


    Baz Baron

    Interesting prompt. Some call me, Baz. Some call me, Chris(real name).



    Squidge, you mentioned paint colours when we did the Lords and Ladies, and I’ve been gathering them as prompts ever since.



    Sandra, they are fun, aren’t they? Valspar (Other paint companies also available!) are the absolute best ones – much more imaginative than others I could mention!



    Early because I’m about to go on holiday (and yes, Squidge, definitely Valspar!)

    Battle drab (400 words including title)

    DS Fran Lloyd had visited Lucy before; remembered the picture window framing a stunning view of Edinburgh’s Castle perched on its volcanic mound; the stepped backsides of the buildings fronting the Royal Mile and a sliver of the Forth, Fife’s hills beyond.

    That time, Lucy very much alive and Fran, given what she knew (he’d mentioned it, before he said he loved her) struggling to maintain her confidence. No such problem now! Not that death too soon, was anything to rejoice about – but she couldn’t deny the new-lit flicker of a tiny flame of relief when she heard.

    The team sent to search her apartment – not the crime scene – an all-female one. Fran hadn’t needed telling male colleagues potentially problematic. No-one mentioned souvenirs, but all too easy to imagine the stampede and depletion of laundry basket and knicker drawer!
    Having also been told Lucy’s earnings came into the phenomenal, no surprise the place furnished throughout with both money-no-object and good taste. (He, not deemed one of the impartial, unlikely to forgive anything less).

    The surprise was in the dressing room. A once-square room narrowed by opposing mirror-doored wardrobes. Ironing board permanently set up in front of the window.

    Lucy was petite, kept herself in trim and, as something much more than a whore – ‘courtesan’ her tax-return job-title, though she’d told Fran she considered herself a mistress. ‘Times five’ she’d said. ‘Escort’ another of her titles – men liking to flaunt what they thought they owned, hiding from themselves they were one of several.

    Again no shock re the quality and quantity of working clothes. Dozens of dresses, outfits, for all occasions. Working, searching through them exclamations became repetitive. Silence fell. Nothing of significance found.
    Immediately opposite the dressing-room’s door, a similarly-sized white-painted blank. Took a moment to spot the covered keyhole. Many more to find the key, in a purpose-built box glued to the underside of the ironing board.
    Trying not to let imagination run amok, Fran unlocked it. Not trophies of lovers lost (Just as well!) but shelves of cheap-brand jeans and fleeces, trainers and a baseball cap. Scarfs and several pairs of sunglasses. Even a camo jacket. All ubiquitous, anonymous, guaranteed near-invisible.
    Fran recognised a downside to Lucy’s apparently glamorous life of luxury (apart from the obvious!). She had to maintain the illusion. Couldn’t be seen out with friends. Not unless she dressed to hide. Battle drab.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by  Sandra. Reason: spacing



    In my dreams I’m strong and fearless. My sword is sharp and silver, but I won’t stab you if I don’t have to: I’ll give you the chance to surrender and walk away.
    But only one chance, mind.
    In my dreams, there are green trees that smell of apples and yellow roses that fill the garden with sunshine. Vampires and monsters turn to dust when they see them, even if they’re only peeking over the gate.
    In my dreams, the snow is white but it’s never too cold to go out and play. I can make a giant snowman while the sun is shining and he’ll still be there a week later. Two weeks later. Maybe even three.
    In my dreams, there are chocolate biscuits that don’t rot your teeth and vegetables that taste of rainbows.
    In my dreams, I can run and run and jump over tree roots and dive into deep pools full of starlight fish and mermaids with green hair and voices that tinkle like Christmas decorations. In my dreams, no-one will ever catch me.

    But when I’m awake
    And voices explode in my ears What have you done, you filthy little sod? What was the last thing I said to you, eh?
    There is nowhere to hide.
    And footsteps stamp on the floorboards and hands squeeze and drag and shove, and slaps that sting and broken nails and bruises that spread like stains on the sheet
    Pain crushes me to tears and my throat burns and the cold curls around me, burying me alive.

    Please. Won’t someone bring me my sword?



    Tortoiseshell Specs

    It was always worse when you first entered the house – the smell that made you want to hold your breath till you’d opened the windows, and the stuffy heat because she wouldn’t let you.
    ‘She’s asleep, the poor love,’ Thelma picked up her bag. ‘Call me if you need me.’ The door clicked shut behind her.
    Mum’s knitting was in her lap, a jumble of colours – lime green, baby blue, red and purple and gold. Her mouth hung open and a rattly snore ended each breath. She was still wearing her specs. New ones. Tortoiseshell. I’d forgotten. ‘They don’t suit her,’ Dad had told me on the phone, ‘but what does it matter? She chose them. She had that kind when I first knew her.’ Her last ones were gold frames, with a zigzag pattern on the side arms.
    Three days after that phonecall he was gone. His heart had had enough.
    Sometimes I think all our hearts have had enough.
    When she woke, I was sitting on the sofa sewing name tapes into her clothes.
    ‘Hello, Mum. You’ve been having a lovely sleep.’
    Not a frown or a smile. A blank. Then – ‘Where’s Alan?’
    Normally it was He’ll be back later. Don’t worry. But how could I lie? I took her hand. ‘He died, Mum. Yesterday. Thelma’s been with you and now I’m here.’
    Her expression clouded, and her mouth trembled. ‘Those ones out there…’ She pointed to the garden. ‘Like this…’ She made a small waving movement with her fingers. ‘They need help.’
    ‘I’ve bought you some new clothes, Mum.’ I held up pyjamas. ‘This is a nice colour, isn’t it?’
    ‘Yes. Blue.’ Perhaps the hint of a smile, a spark of life in her eyes? ‘Where’s Alan?’
    ‘He died, Mum. You’re going to stay in Abbey House. You’ve been there before on holiday.’
    ‘Is Alan coming?’
    The next day, I took her in, and the day after that I went to see how she’d settled.
    She had the wrong glasses on – gold rimmed ones. It was clear she couldn’t see. The lady in the next chair, fast asleep, had a pair of tortoiseshell ones in her lap. Definitely Mum’s.
    ‘Can I borrow these?’ I whispered, taking them.
    When I swapped them, Mum smiled at me. ‘You’re a very nice lady. Where’s Alan?’
    Even with the tortoiseshell specs, she’d never see the world the way we did.


    Baz Baron

    Je M’Appelle Missy (384 inluding title)

    A sweet voice announced, “Je M’Appelle Missy”.

    I looked up from the menu and immediately two sets of Brown eyes burned into each other.

    An awkward smile later and my schoolboy French produced a stunted smile from the young waitress which turned into a guffaw, like that of surprising a toddler with a loud Boo!

    The summer evening and warm sound of laughter drew me to the small café on the Champs-Élysées. Marie, her real name – looked over her shoulder giggling as she floated away to bring my order. All I could do was wave my hand like a wary five-year-old.

    After paying my bill and a hilarious conversation, Marie grabbed my arm and begged me to speak in English. It was then I discovered she was fluent in the language. Reluctant to end the tease I asked if she knew of the nightclub, Lo Hobo. She told me it was close by and if I could wait around for fifteen minutes she was going that way herself.

    We never made the club, instead we ambled along the Avenues’ hand in hand toward the Jardine des Champs-Élysées Park when she told me of a bridge nearby known locally as ‘The lovers bridge,’ which crosses the River Seine – apparently couples would attach engraved padlock’s to the railings then throw the keys into the river below as a sign of their devoted love.

    This is no longer the case as the authorities banned the gesture for health and safety reasons owing to the several thousands of padlocks placed there. The Parisian Mayor suggested taking selfies instead which is now what happens.

    And yes – you guessed it. We took it, in turn, a selfie on each of our mobiles.

    That summer morning I made my way back to the café on the Champs-Élysées. My encounter with, Marie seemed a world away. The empty tables, the sound of laughter had disappeared.

    The maître d’hôtel was in tears when he told me how Marie had been caught up in an outbreak of rioting on her way home soon after we parted. She died of her injuries on the way to the hospital.

    Under the moonlight, I stumbled my way to the Pont des Arts and attached a padlock to the railings.

    La fin.

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