Plugging a Plot Hole (Tales from the SSC&B)

An image of a painting of 'The Demeter' which hangs on the wall of the Manager's office at the SSC&B (origin unknown)*
A painting of ‘The Demeter’ which hangs on the wall of the Manager’s office at the SSC&B (origin unknown)*

The sound of a small explosion emanated from the Manager’s office, rattling the door and causing the lettering to peel a tiny bit more from its glazed panel.

The Bartender and the Supplier had been busy arranging the new stock on the mirror-backed shelves behind the bar, while Mimi, and her spatula-wielding assistant, Tom had been in the newly-refurbished kitchen preparing for Saturday night’s crowd.

They arrived at the office door together, Tom entered first, his eyes sweeping the room: the Raconteuse, quietly dripping by the fireplace, and the picture of the galleon hanging on the wall behind her.

Tom stepped forward, searching the red-haired writer’s face for an explanation, but none came; he reached behind her, running his finger around the damp picture frame: ‘I believe we have experienced a Dimensional Disturbance,’ he announced, glancing at the Raconteuse, ‘your escape route, might I surmise?’

The other Proprietors looked at Tom uncomprehendingly; Tom grinned, ‘it’s like a get-out-of-jail-free card for a blocked writer,’ he winked at the Raconteuse, ‘a stroke of luck that you introduced the Portal in here as a precaution before going to write yourself back in time.’

‘Luck had nothing to do with it,’ replied the Raconteuse.

~~~~~

This has been my second offering this week for Denise’s Six Sentence Story Challenge where this week’s prompt word was stroke.

*crafted on Canva by the author from an image on Pinterest

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The Jade Camel #21

Previously

Joey glanced at the carnage he’d left behind; an ominous silence pervaded the blood-spattered hallway.

Raising a hand to acknowledge Gary, Joey took a deep breath to quieten his thumping heart and shot back into the building; he burst into his flat and snatched up his back-pack, stuffing it with a handful of clothes and the small battered box which contained his ‘important stuff’.

Skidding back down the stairs, he paused by Ceridwen’s door; it opened before he could knock, revealing Ceridwen, clutching a bristling Cullen in her arms. Digging into his pocket, Joey pulled out a thick roll of notes and started to peel a few off, but Ceridwen shook her head; Joey was about to speak, but she silenced him with a look and with a nod of her head, gestured for him to leave. Giving Cullen’s head a regretful stroke, Joey fled the scene, only pausing to scoop a small shiny object from the hall floor.

Half an hour later, Ceridwen stepped sedately around the fallen bodies and picked up the pay-phone, wondering how she was going to explain all this to the emergency services; one thing was certain though, she wasn’t going to betray young Joey.


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: SEDATE, QUIETEN, SILENCE
Denise Farley of Girlie On The Edge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: STROKE

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Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

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The Perils of the Unplanned Plot (Tales from the SSC&B)

An image of a painting of 'The Demeter' which hangs on the wall of the Manager's office at the SSC&B (origin unknown)*
A painting of ‘The Demeter’ which hangs on the wall of the Manager’s office at the SSC&B (origin unknown)*

The red-headed writer, aka the Raconteuse, realised that something had gone seriously wrong with her plan to write herself back in time to find the key to the mystery of the Gatekeeper’s sudden disappearance and subsequent demise; mostly because she simply hadn’t wanted to believe that he’d gone.

While roaming around the inner reaches of her writer’s mind, jotting down what she’d thought should be her next step, events had overtaken her; apparently the Gatekeeper’s casting off of his mortal coil had merely been an elaborate ruse on the part of the Gatekeeper and his equally-imaginative collaborator, Ford the Supplier.

A clever misdirection – she should have known.

Meanwhile, mention being made of a mysterious coffin had sent her down another stupid rabbit hole, the curse of the ‘brancanneering’ story-teller, and now she was stuck on some god-forsaken beach, up to her ankles in chilly seawater, while a strange Gothic ship loomed on the horizon; a storm was brewing too.

A sudden gust of wind ushered in her own personal downpour, drenching her notebook; she applied her pen to the page, but it refused to mark the soggy paper.

How was she going to write herself out of here now?

~~~~~

This has been my second offering this week for Denise’s Six Sentence Story Challenge where this week’s prompt word was key.

*crafted on Canva by the author from an image on Pinterest

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Join us at the famous SSC&B for more Six Sentence Stories
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The Jade Camel #20

Previously

‘I lost him!’ Gary panted through the side window of the van, ‘I followed him into the park but he jumped over the wall… I think he’s back in the house,’ his eyes slid to the building where Patterson and his cronies were waiting; one of their number had also just pitched up, red-cheeked from running.

A nerve in Patterson’s temple twitched as he took out his keys and strode over to his car; beckoning to two of his crew, he indicated the now-open boot: one retrieved a crow-bar and the other a stubby-handled axe.

‘They’re going in!’ Gary’s voice rose half an octave with anxiety as the front door began to splinter.

As the door gave way, Joey launched himself over the banister, kicking wildly, taking two of the intruders down as he swung to the floor; spinning away from the man who was wielding the axe and snatching the crow-bar from where it’d fallen; with a mighty roar, Joey raised the crow-bar, smashing it against bone and flesh, Patterson was the last to crumple.

Joey stumbled outside, allowing the crow-bar to clatter to the ground.

‘In here, mate!’ Gary beckoned from the open back door of the van.

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: ANXIETY, CHEEK, NERVE
Denise Farley of Girlie On The Edge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: KEY

Three things challenge and Six sentence stories logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

Click on the Café sign for more Six Sentence Stories

Enter the Café for more stories

The Jade Camel #19

Previously

Ignoring the repeated ringing of the doorbell in the flat above, Ceridwen was distracting her attention from the menacing figures standing in the front yard, concentrating on the progress of a wheelchair-bound man being chaperoned across the road by a white-clad nurse.

A new feeling of foreboding tugged at the edge of her consciousness, accompanied by a gentle tap-tap on her door; she pulled it open, Joey stood before her emitting the disquieting aura she’d sensed before: ‘How did you get in, Joey?’

‘Through the window by the back door you leave open for Cullen,’ her young neighbour looked about anxiously, ‘I just came to pick up some stuff.’

Ceridwen’s eyes followed his, ‘I take it those people outside are after whatever it is you have; not that it’s any of my business, but I should get rid of it if I were you.’

‘Look, here’s the plan,’ Joey’s eyes darted towards the stairs, ‘I’m in and out quickly, then I’ll ring the phone downstairs from the call-box up the road; you go and answer then tell the man outside it’s for him; I’ll talk to him, draw him off, like…’

Joey was interrupted by the sound of splintering wood.

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: CHAPERONE, NURSE, WHEELCHAIR
Denise Farley of Girlie On The Edge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: EDGE

Three things challenge and Six sentence stories logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Link (Tales from the SSC&B)

Vintage Silver Ronson Lighter

The red-headed writer, aka the Raconteuse, was sitting outside on the small flat-roofed section of the old mill building, leaning her against the wall of the long-defunct elevator machine room; the upper floors of the large, storied building were derelict too, but the ground floor and basement were the busy hub of the thriving Six Sentence Café & Bistro, or at least they had been up until the outbreak of a small kitchen fire earlier that day.

It could have been worse; due to Tom’s rapid reaction and the prompt attendance of the fire department, the fire had been mostly confined to the sauté station, although the accompanying damage from the fire hoses had left the kitchen a soggy sooty mess; thankfully the rest of the Café had remained unscathed.

There was something else bothering her even more: the sudden disappearance of the Café’s doorman, the Gatekeeper, who’d subsequently been found dead in his apartment building, and despite communications from some female attorney, improbably called Finley Leana something-or-other, the Raconteuse was having difficulty accepting her fellow Proprietor’s demise; she sighed, if only she could rewrite that particular chapter in the SSC&B’s history.

She felt the reassuring solidity of the object she was holding, once described as a ‘non-functioning prop’, a purely fictional item, the silver cigarette lighter was now tangible, although granted, it didn’t actually work, which was probably just as well, since the lack of ignition fluid absolved her from any suspicion as to the cause of the fire, should there be an inquiry.

The point was, she had brought an item from one of her stories into her own actuality; maybe this newly-found phenomenon, where imagination and reality had collided to produce a tangible object, could be harnessed; as she slipped the lighter into her pocket her thoughts drifted to Jenne’s Time Travelling Tomahawk, still stowed on a shelf behind the bar, Jenne had said that she could borrow it.

She took out her notebook and pencil and started to write.

~~~~~

This has been my second offering this week for Denise’s Six Sentence Story Challenge where this week’s prompt word was fluid.

I would also refer my reader to the following linked Tales from the SSC&B: Why Exit Now? by Spira, Baptism by Fire by Denise and this week’s Six Sentence Story – The Wakefield Doctrine by Clark.

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The Jade Camel #18

Previously

Stealing a glance around a tatty blue van, Joey observed the man he knew as Patterson drawing on a cigarette and obviously awaiting his return; the man’s head turned to face him and Joey saw the hunger in his piercing blue-grey eyes for object he was carrying in the pocket of his parka.

With one nod from Patterson to his little crew of small squat men lurking in the driveway, the chase was on.

Joey spun around and sprinted back down the road; hearing a vehicle’s doors slamming behind him and a voice calling out his name, he ducked into the grounds of the nearest building.

In one fluid movement, he cleared the back boundary wall, landing heavily on the grass at the edge of Princes Park; he dove down the leafy corridor between the bushes, feeling like a fox with a pack of hounds at his heels threatening to devour him.

Joey was almost level with his own building; grabbing for the top of the wall, his feet fought for purchase on the shiny brick, then he swung himself over and stumbled towards the slightly open window.

Minutes later, Joey was knocking softly on the door to Ceridwen’s flat.

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: DEVOUR, HUNGER, STEAL
Denise Farley of Girlie On The Edge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: FLUID

Three things challenge and Six Sentence Story logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

Join us at the Café & Bistro for more stories
~ click on the sign to enter!

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Trigger Warning (a Jade Camel out-take)

a jade camel figurine

‘It’s about your Six Sentence Story serial, Ms Hall’, says Gina, plonking a steaming mug of coffee in front of me; she takes a little detour around the perimeter of the cramped kitchen, peers into the sitting room, then closes the door and sits down next to me, ‘I think you should let your readers know exactly what the Jade Camel can do: show them that scene in our book with Gary and me, you know the one,’ she glances meaningfully at the kitchen wall, ‘make them understand the danger it poses.’

‘You really want to go through that again? – all those readers picturing that scene at once… and what about Gary, wouldn’t it be better to use the later scene when you show the camel to Cynthia?’

‘That’s not nearly so powerful,’ Gina huffs.

‘It wouldn’t involve Gary though; he said he didn’t want to relive it all again,’ I feel my face flushing with a mixture of annoyance and guilt, ‘does he even know we’re having this conversation?’

‘But don’t you get it, Ms Hall?’ says Gina, ignoring my question, ‘if enough people read the scene and feel empathy for Gary, which I’m sure they will, Gary will finally stop blaming himself; I forgive him every time, but I hasn’t got the same impact as having readers involved in the scene… please Ms Hall?’

‘All right, Gina, just so long as you’re sure.’

~~~~~

This has been my second offering this week for Denise’s Six Sentence Story Challenge where this week’s prompt word was detour. It also serves to show that certain characters of mine are more than happy to offer their opinions outside the confines of their book.

You can find this week’s #SixSentenceStories here.

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Excerpt from You’ll Never Walk Alone – [trigger warning: domestic violence, sexual assault]

All was quiet in the flat when Gina and Gary headed upstairs having explained the events of the past few hours as best they could to a sceptical Connor and an incredulous Cynthia, who sat stroking Asmar while he regarded them both with bright golden eyes.

Lucy’s door was closed and no light was showing under the door. “She must be exhausted,” said Gina. “And what about you, Gary Marshall?” She took his hands and examined the bruised knuckles. “That was quite a fight.” She let go of his hands and walked into the kitchen to switch the kettle on. Gary followed her. She turned to him. “Do you want some toast or something?”

Gary grasped her around the waist, pulling her towards him. “I want you,” he said kissing her hard on the mouth and pressing her up against the wall. Gina struggled, but Gary didn’t stop. He pinned her wrists above her head her with his left hand while his right hand pulled up her skirt and clawed at her tights. Gina wrenched her face away. “Stop it Gary, you’re hurting me.”

“Come on G, you didn’t say no last night.” He nudged her face back towards his and covered her mouth with his, kissing her roughly and pulling at her underwear. Gina heaved herself forward, knocking Gary off balance. Arms now free, Gina pulled his hand away and fled into the living room.

Gary pursued her, grabbing her by the shoulder before she reached the bedroom. They fell to the floor. Gary pulled her around to face him and rolled on top of her, pinning her to the carpet. “What’s wrong? Don’t you want me now?” He grasped her by the wrists again and started to undo his jeans.

“Stop it! Stop it, Gary. Not like this!” Gina fought against him, trying to lever him up with her hips, but he was too strong. Gary wrenched her blouse open and tore at her bra; buttons popped across the carpet. “No, Gary!”

Lucy’s door flew open. She stood there, her golden hair like a halo around her head, staring at them in horror. “What are you doing?” Her voice rose to a scream. “Gary!” Startled, Gary let go of Gina’s wrists. She shoved him away and wriggled from underneath him. Gary sat up and turned his back on her. As he did so the little jade camel rolled out of his pocket and across the carpet.

No one spoke. Gina pulled her torn blouse together and looked up at Lucy, who crouched down beside her putting her arms around her. Gary had his head in his hands; he started to shake. His shoulders convulsed as he let out a loud sob.

Gary’s shoulders continued to shudder. Gina nodded at Lucy who tiptoed away to her room. She crawled across the carpet and put her arms around him. Gary turned to her, wiping his hand across his eyes. “I’m sorry babe; I don’t know what came over me. You know I’d never…”

 “Shush,” she said holding him against her. “It’s all right.” Her eyes fell on the jade camel. It wasn’t winking at her this time.

~~~~~

You’ll Never Walk Alone
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