Week 48 participating in the very popular #vss365 challenge on Twitter. The aim, to write a daily Very Short Story in less than 280 characters, a single tweet. Yes, that’s characters! Not words.
The prompts themselves are seemingly random single words, the whim of this month’s challenge setter. This months fun is organised by @Ayve in July (with a handful of helpers). I’ve taken some liberties with formatting simply because WordPress is not Twitter and to make it easier to read.
This week’s photo is of an Arum Cylindraceum I tripped over in the local woods. It’s unusual to see something so colourful in the Kent countryside. I’d love to see a field of them, sadly there was only a handful. In the news, the ONS January to June COVID analysis was published this week. Sadly it confirms the UK’s ranking as the worst-performing country in Europe with respect to its handling of the virus. The UK government was slow to act, which created the 2nd highest spike in Europe, and then did not go far enough in locking down the country, leading to a longer curve. A curve that even now (in England) has not seen a single day without deaths, e.g. yesterday, the last day of July, 120 deaths were reported. This has become the new norm, a fleeting statistic on the nightly news. Rarely recognised or discussed by the government. If it was a terrorist running around shooting people would we still be so complacent? Parts of the North of England have had half-hearted lockdown measures re-applied. i.e. you can’t visit another family member in their home but you can go to the pub and wave at them in a room with a bunch of other strangers.
I get it. It’s a difficult balancing act, one that requires finesse and real thought. It’s therefore unfortunate to find ourselves with an incompetent populist government. Especially one that’s decided to shoot itself in both feet my first alienating and then dismantling the civil service at a time when we needed a steady hand at the tiller. There is little doubt a second wave is looming and I’m afraid I see no reason to suspect it won’t be handled as poorly as the first.
Writing this week, on the other hand, has been productive. A drabble for a monthly competition. Two 500-word stories for a time themed anthology and a 5k short story for another fantasy anthology. I also rejigged a previously rejected submission for yet another anthology call. That brings my total word count for July to just over 8.5k. Not including these little vss365 bites.
Talking of which, August will be my last month participating in the vss365 challenge. I’ll complete my goal of writing 365 of these tiny tales. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s helped develop my writing with respect to efficiency. But my intention will be to use the word count to serialise twelve themed and ideally interconnected short stories. Details at the end of the month.
When I was a young child I suffered from autophobia, a crippling fear of being alone. My #phobia disappeared overnight the day Oscar arrived and took my hand. I’ve never been alone since. Not once. Even as I write this, he still holds my hand, a little too tightly now.
I’m #nostalgic for a lost world. The golden-green playfields of my childhood lay under towers of steel and glass; set adrift in time. In dreams, I can still find my way back to those halcyon days. But seen through weary old eyes, the skies are never as blue as I remember.
There’s a hypnotic #iridescence to the waves. I thank the gods the impact threw me clear of the ship, even as I hear the screams of those still aboard. My relief turns to horror as burning sailors leap into the rainbow sea and the hungry fire races towards me. I dive!
“Here he comes. Our #hero,” said Karl, dropping his axe. The silver knight rode valiantly across the battlefield, royal banner billowing in the wind. Tara wiped the blood from her daggers and face. “Looks like he’s missed the action again.”
“Yeah odd that,” spat Karl.
“What’s that?” asked Jay, nodding at the table.
Suzi smiled proudly. “It’s an origami tiger. I made it.”
“Really?” said Jay, picking up the tiny tiger.
“Ouch!” cried Jay, sucking a deep paper cut on his finger.
“Yeah, careful, it’s no #paper tiger.”
Al found Jed in the field staring up at the night sky, mouth #agape.
“What ya looking at, Jed?”
“Just saw one of them there fly’n saucers.”
“I reckon,” nodded Jed.
Al looked around at the burnt and flattened corn. “Sweet!”
“Nope, salty,” said Jed. “Want some?”
The solar flare had wrecked everything, their holiday, their starship and their course. With things hotting up and the computer offline, Alan calculated the orbital #math by hand.
“Well?” fretted Terra.
“Carry the 0, divide and…” mumbled Alan.
“I need more toes!”