A Kiss to Remember Him By – A Short Story

That Kiss. It had meant something. She was certain. So why would he not reply to her texts? Why the sudden silence after all the talk, the sweetness, the fun, the laughter? And that kiss?

She had been reasonable. She had been fair. Her messages to him had been benign: How’s it going? Hope your hangover’s not as bad as mine LOL. Are you free this weekend to meet for coffee? But nothing: no response; not a silly emoticon; not even a curt rebuff. Where had she gone wrong?

She trudged back in to work on the Monday after the weekend that followed their after-work Friday-night jaunt, and that kiss. An empty text message inbox and overflowing mind still tormented her.

Mid-morning he appeared at her office door. ‘Hi. I think you’ve got something of mine.’

‘Uh?’ She looked away from her computer screen and up at his face. The face with which she had shared that kiss. Sensing how shapeless and humdrum she must now appear – make-up less, hair unwashed since Saturday morning, dressed in black jeans and black jumper – she couldn’t have felt more unworthy of that kiss.

Knowing her bravado on Friday night had been buoyed by alcohol, she nevertheless truly believed in the deep connection she had felt with the man who had just now walked into her office. She had not hesitated when he had moved closer to her on that pub banquette; hadn’t recoiled when he had whispered to her the secret of his strangeness. Instead she had leaned towards him and felt the sweetness of his breath send sensual messages skipping across her nerve endings. His tongue in her mouth had been like nothing she had imagined, not even in the fantasies of her many lonely nights. His kiss, like his secret, had been otherworldly; her whole body had responded as his tongue, his lips, had played on hers and she had felt a swell of sensations in her crotch as his hands had held her face to his.

‘I reckon you’ve got something of mine? From Friday night?’

‘Really? Like what?’ She became aware of how vacuous she must have appeared to him, as though he had been explaining the philosophy of quantum physics. For a moment the shape of his irises narrowed giving her the impression of the arrow slits of an ancient castle, equally disquieting.

‘My mobile phone?’

‘Uh? I mean, really?’ she frowned at him.

‘I spent all weekend checking the places we went to, even tracked down the cabbie we got. You probably grabbed it when we were rushed out of that pub,’ he said. ‘You’re my last hope.’

‘Oh, OK. Let me have a look.’

She rummaged in her cloth backpack, pulled out headphones, wallet, make-up bag. She didn’t pull out the spare tampon, or chocolate wrapper, nor the two used tissues or the dried apple core.

‘Oh God.’ Her hand felt the hard, smooth edges of what she immediately recognised as a phone that was not hers. Pulling it out of her bag cautiously, as if taking a Fabergé egg from a velvet-lined box, and with a physical sensation in her belly as though a sack of rotten eggs was about to explode, she knew exactly what was waiting for him, about her, once he had charged it, once he had accessed his messages, once he had read the trail of texts she had sent since Friday night, through the entire weekend and even that very morning: Don’t know why you’ve not replied all weekend. Was Friday night so awful? Really enjoyed getting to know you. Was hoping we could spend more time together. Cannot believe you’ve not replied. That’s just plain rude. Please don’t come see me for a while. But here he was with a cool outstretched hand, fingers slightly webbed, skin rippling drily. His hand hovered momentarily, then took the phone from hers. She felt her stomach gurgle – those eggs felt ready to explode. When she lowered her eyes and saw her belongings strewn across her desk she grabbed at them and started shoving them back into her bag.

‘Right. Thanks. I’ll be seeing you then,’ he said.

‘Yeah, right,’ head down, she continued to grapple with her things as she listened to his receding footsteps.

She threw her bag onto the floor then flopped back in her chair. ‘Oh God. Oh God, oh God. My life sucks.’ Immediately she remembered, that kiss. It had been a taboo-breaking kiss, but she had enjoyed the thrill of it and now wanted to dive into what lay beyond, the way a free-diver plunges into the ocean. She had liked her first kiss with a reptilian-human hybrid. She had liked it a lot.

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Unsung Shorts – For Readers & Writers Everywhere

Do you enjoy reading and writing speculative fiction? If so, Unsung Shorts are worth a gander.

Unsung Logo

As often happens, I was doing that sometimes helpful, sometimes time-wasting Twitter thing of clicking through links and connections (I love how I can discover new and useful people and organisations with a few clicks) and found someone else to follow – Unsung Stories. A couple more clicks later, my email address typed in and viola! I have another selection of interesting and quirky reads as well as an opportunity to submit my own work. Double-whammy delight.

Readers: The stories are fun, quirky, interesting, sometimes dark (I’ve only read a couple so far). I’m sure you’ll enjoy ’em all.

Writers: The writing is good, so put your best speculative work forward.

Here’s what they say about themselves on their Home page:
Unsung Stories are publishers of literary and ambitious speculative fiction that defies expectation. We publish stories that you’ll never forget, from the varied worlds of genre fiction – science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and all the areas in-between.

Why not sign up now – hop on over to their website – and get a  copy of their published goodies. Maybe you’ll also get inspired to write and submit your own fine fiction.

They’re in the business of providing: “Captivating short stories delivered every fortnight…”
Source: Unsung Shorts

A Montage of Confusion – a story

May 2011 seems like forever ago. That’s when the following story became my first successful submission winning first prize on the website Cazart. With the hindsight of writing practice and courses taken during the intervening years, I can see the story needs all sorts of improvements. That said, as Cazart no longer exists I thought it’d be fun to post the story here.

Caveat: I recently had a piece of micro-fiction that I thought was tongue-in-cheek cute get turned down due to ‘tones of eroticism’, so if you don’t want to read text containing any kind of reference to sex or human sexual anatomy I recommend you turn away now.

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A Montage of Confusion

A photography exhibition in an East London gallery. Only the young and fit need apply. Only boy-men wanted.

One friend asks another friend to take a photo of himself. The first friend has asked a lot of other friends to do the same. Take a photo. Use the first friend’s bathroom mirror. A reflected self-image. Semi-clothed to fully-naked. Rear view, front view, hard or flaccid; any pose will do. A montage of exhibitionism, vainglory, honesty.

Each friend comes alone, the camera already in position. When he is happy with his image he sets the camera in motion. Click. One friend has the head of his penis coyly peeping out from the top of his jeans. Click, click. Someone has a leg up, the light glinting off his neatly trimmed blond hair. Click. Prune-like, dark-skinned bollocks frame one friend’s light-skinned, semi-hard penis. Click. Another friend challenges and taunts the camera while keeping abs taught. Click.

A photographic montage of male youthfulness is mounted. The first friend’s girlfriend goes to see the show. She checks out all the photos, stands back, moves closer. She tilts her head this way, then that; she smiles a half-faced smile.

In the queue at the Brick Lane Bagel Shop she waits, but isn’t there. On her way back to the first friend’s flat, she nibbles and chews. The montage mounting in her mind. When she arrives, the bagels are gone.

Click. First her bare midriff. Click. White flesh against black and green lace. Each photo revealing more. More of her made explicit. Click. A finger-pinched nipple. Moistened lips. Click, click. Lips held wide and wet, her crotch laid bare, fingers pressing there. Click. Printing the photos from his computer she leaves them in a trail from front door to back bedroom. She wanks. She waits.

The first friend finds her, bit by bit, his pleasures rising. He knows not to hesitate. He begins to please her until finally he mounts her. Just before he comes she pauses, mid-thrust, to ask – What do you prefer, fucking me or perving over your friends? – Which direction is your swing at? – I don’t know if I can live like that.

His weight collapses on her tension. Both lie slowly panting, their intimacy lost to ambiguous confusion. The air heavy with more questions, fewer answers.

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Feel free to comment and (with due regard for author copyright despite the need for additional editing) share widely. Thanks for reading.

Friday Story Prompt

This morning I received a pithy one-line email message from my mother:
“If at first you do not succeed try doing it the way your wife told you.”

Although it’s several words longer than Hemingway’s famous one-line story -“For Sale: baby shoes, never worn” I think she has managed to write a telling tale in only a few words.

Q: What story can you weave out of my mother’s one-liner?
Answers in the comments. Limit your word count to 700.
No prizes, just the pleasure of your own creative output. Looking forward to reading responses.
If you use Twitter, why not add a link to your story in the comments here or your own blog using the hashtag #flashfiction or #microfiction.
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