Life’s calling card.

She woke up, her alarm was ringing.

She’d overslept again. This was the third time this week! 

Luckily, she had only overslept by five minutes and she always allowed enough time to get ready for work. She would have to do something simple with her hair again, no time to blow-dry, just a pony tail. 

Walking into the bathroom she checked her face. 

Was that a new wrinkle? There just above her right eyebrow?

She didn’t remember seeing it before. She had a few frown lines on her forehead, but who didn’t when they’d passed the thirty mark?

After her shower she slapped on a bit of extra moisturiser, just to try to keep the lines at bay. She also promised herself a spa day in the not too distant future.

Her commute into work wasn’t remarkable. The usual traffic, the usual impatient honking of horns. The idiot who cut into her lane without any indication. Why did people insist on driving without bothering to let others know what they are going to do? They’ll end up on a slab one day in the morgue where she worked.

She worked as a mortician at the local morgue. Not a glamorous job but it was stable, there will always be a constant supply of customers, that was for sure. 

As she arrived at work her colleagues all greeted her. It may surprise people to know that people who work in the morgue were actually quite upbeat and friendly. She got on with almost everyone. Of course, she spent most of her time with the customers and they couldn’t answer back or get on her nerves. She probably had the best customers of any company anywhere in the world! 

Stan came up to her to give her the news.

“Morning Jenny, you’ve got two new ones come in this morning. Do your best to a make them look nice for their families. One is a lady in her early 90’s who died in her sleep. The other’s a girl in her early twenties, had an overdose, poor thing. See what you can do.”

She went into her studio and looked at her customers. What a contrast.

One was as wrinkled as a burlap sack. There wasn’t much skin that wasn’t wrinkled.

The other was as perfect as a body could be. Not a blemish on it. The face didn’t have a single wrinkle. It was flawless. 

And yet, here was a woman who had lived a long life. Who had had children and grandchildren and who, judging from the wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and around her mouth, must have enjoyed a good laugh. The wrinkles were like life’s calling card etched on her body for all to see.

And there was this poor, lovely, unblemished girl who had not really had much of a chance to live life to the full. 

She realised who she most wanted to be like.

Never again would she look at a wrinkle in the same way.

It wasn’t a curse, each was a little blessing.

She was lucky to have her wrinkles. So many people didn’t live long enough to get them. 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 16/March/2018

via Daily Prompt: Wrinkle

50 Word Thursday #111 – A World without the Word.

And the words: “Vengeance and retribution require a long time; it is the rule.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

He glanced out of the narrow window at the ships anchored in the harbour. This was the scene that had greeted his eyes every day of his life and it had inspired him to write several novels. Many of his books had Piracy as the main theme. He’d written many of the men who had come off those ships into his novels, embellished to represent a pirate king or a kidnapped victim.

The book he was currently working on was particularly challenging. It was a story or revenge and books about vengeance and retribution require a long time; it is the rule. However, he also knew that brevity was key. People’s attention spans nowadays were shorter and novels were often half the size they used to be. He decided to use a mechanism that was the retreat of many authors faced with this problem. He would use flashback to condense a long time into a handful of pages.

He began writing furiously and with a smile he placed his pen down at the end. He knew he’d penned another great novel. If only there were enough people around who could actually read. The Covid pandemic had killed all the teachers.

[200 Words]

This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge.

I have also included the following word prompts:

50 Word Thursday # 109 – Without an Apple.

and here are the words:
‘Although it was a simple thing to be doing, something strange was happening.’
– Paulo Coelho – The Valkyries

I’d decided to make the most of my freedom. I’d no lectures today, no tutorials or dreary sessions in the library reading about Einstein’s theory of relativity. This was my first real day of freedom since lockdown had ended and that deadly virus, so persistent, had finally rescinded to controllable levels.

It had left it scars. I still avoided crowds where possible and I don’t think any of us would ever feel the same again.

Today I went to Greenwich to bask in the history or my scientific forebears. I’d wandered around the observatory where scientists of old had gazed through their telescope and seen the glories of a distant planet.

Then I sat and had a picnic on the green.

I gazed in dreamy contemplation across at the building in the distance topped by a triangle, really a pyramid and although it was a simple thing to be doing, something strange was happening.

It seemed as though those scientists who had walked this ground were passing on their knowledge and mixed with my own studies of theoretical physics I suddenly had a ‘Eureka’ moment and, without an apple like Newton, I had worked out how to travel through time!.

[200 words]

This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday challenge posted last week. Today is the last opportunity to take part.

I have also included the following word prompts:

50 Word Thursday # 107 – An Obscure Dream

And the Words: “It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.” – H.G Wells, The Time Machine

She woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. The dream had been so real. She shook her boyfriend awake, who was snoring beside her and described her dream.

“I dreamt I saw a church with an obscure 8-sided tower. A priest came running after me and told me it was the end of the world. People started screaming and the sky turned black.”

Her boyfriend responded sarcastically, “It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”

The next day they left their hotel room to explore the town and walked down a side street they’d never been before. Her boyfriend held her hand tightly, in his overly protective way that she hadn’t made an issue of, but she stared back in amazement at the obscure 8-sided church tower and she knew what was going to happen next.

[150 Words]

This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge:

And I also included the following word prompts:


The Blushing Bride – A Short Tale

I’m Reposting this story as today’s Word of the Day is Groom

She’d had her doubts from the beginning. 

Henry had seemed to be the one. At least he had at first. 

Henry was the same age as her, they were both approaching their thirtieth birthday which they planned to celebrate together as part of their honeymoon in Barbados. 

They had been together for seven years and had been introduced through mutual friends. He had a high position at the Bank. Not quite on the board but not far removed.

Apparently, he was a bit of a financial whizz-kid. 

He was just over six-foot-tall and when she’d first met him he had a big mop of brown hair, which had now retreated to the fringes of his head. 

His bright blue eyes were the same as they always had been. They always seemed amused. Sometimes she felt they were laughing at her somehow.

He’d played rugby and polo when she’d first met him, but now played golf every Thursday afternoon and most Sunday’s. She’d had to fight hard to ensure that they didn’t have their honeymoon at a golf resort, which had been Henry’s preference. Actually, to say she had to fight wasn’t at all fair to Henry. Once she had pointed out that she did not enjoy golf and didn’t want golf to be part of their honeymoon in any shape or form, he did accept it. He just hadn’t realised that she did not feel the same way about his beloved sport. 

She’d had her doubts from the beginning because from the beginning there had been someone else. Steve. 

Steve was actually Henry’s cousin and one of his best friends. He was slightly taller than Henry, slightly beefier and he still played rugby and didn’t seem to like golf that much at all. 

Steve had similar blue eyes to Henry but didn’t seem to have that same mocking look about them. He also had dark hair, almost black. The typical Tall, dark and handsome guy. 

She’d met them both at the same party but whereas everyone had said how great Henry was, people had warned her off Steve. “Oh, he’s a bit of a Ladies man he is. Best be wary of that one dear”. Somehow that seemed to just add spice to the mix. 

Over the years she had seen Steve quite a bit, he’d often been staying at Henry’s parents’ large house in Hampstead when she’d been invited down for the weekend. 

One year they had all spent Christmas together, Her and Henry, Henry’s sister Abigail and his parents. Two weeks together in a large rented house in Cornwall. 

It was then that the real affair started. She and Steve had had the house to themselves, the others had all gone for a long walk along the front, but she hadn’t fancied it. Steve initially had joined the others but had doubled back. She had hoped he would. It was brutal lust but she had enjoyed every minute of it. She supposed she should have been ashamed, but somehow, she wasn’t at all. Of course, that was only the first time. There had been many times since then, until Steve was given a job, by the same bank that Henry worked for, strangely enough, to run their branch in northern Spain. Apparently, he spoke Spanish fluently and was just the man they were looking for. She remembered cursing fate at the time. That had been six months ago. 

She had been very discrete about the whole thing. No one suspected a thing. She was sure of that. Henry’s Mother, who was Steve’s Aunt, would have definitely changed her attitude, she was devoted to her son and her usual rather gushy friendliness would have been replaced by frosty coldness or outright aggression if she suspected anything at all. 

Her future father-in-law had said something odd to her once. About faithfulness and loyalty being the best attributes in a wife. 

There was only one person she had confided with. Her sister. She had told her, because somehow, she had noticed something. Strange how some people are so perceptive. Her sister was not considered bright or academic like her. She had been the one who had gone to university to study photography and had started her own successful photography business while her younger sister was always considered a little slow. She was introverted and shy but had obviously noticed something and had challenged her about it. It had actually seemed quite a relief to tell somebody about it. Sarah hadn’t made much of a fuss. Which had surprised her because she had always been a little miss goody two shoes and was always running off to tell tales about her to Daddy. She did tell her what she was doing was wrong and actually asked her what she thought of Henry’s feelings in the matter. She’d said she didn’t really care what Henry thought, what he didn’t know wasn’t going to hurt him any. 

She had thought a lot about this wedding for some time, whether she really wanted to go through with it. Then not long ago, two things happened that made her decide that marrying Henry was actually the best move she could make. Firstly, Henry was appointed as a junior member of the board. One of the youngest in the bank’s history, So Henry had told her. This meant a huge increase in his salary plus quite a few perks, like some company shares and also free membership of one of the more prestigious golf clubs in London. That was nice for Henry, but she wasn’t exactly dreading the lifestyle she could lead. She could sell her business and live like a queen. 

The other factor in her decision was receiving an e-mail from Steve. She had kept in touch with Steve over e-mail as she’d hoped that when he next came back to England they could arrange to meet. Steve’s e-mail was quite brisk. He’d met a lovely Senorita called Conchita and they were getting married and he’d hoped she’d be very pleased for them both. 

Henry had invited Steve and his new wife to their wedding. She’d made sure they were seated at the back though. 

Anyway, today was the day. Her mother and sister were helping her with her make-up and getting into the Swarovski crystal wedding gown. The morning passed very quickly as people fussed over her. In next to no time she was seated in the Rolls Royce next to her father who looked at her with moist eyes. If only he knew what she felt inside. The cold emptiness. 

Then she arrived at the church and her father was walking her down the aisle to the sound of Wagner’s Bridal March. There was Henry, her Groom, at the altar, wearing his smart and expensive morning suit with the lilac waistcoat. He looked at her apprehensively. His eyes lacked that amused glint they usually contained. 

The Vicar began. “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join together Henry Michael Rainsford and Laura Samantha Simmonds in holy matrimony. Into this holy estate, these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”

Henry then turned to her and spoke. “Actually, I do. I am sorry Laura but I can’t go through with this. It is a total sham. You don’t love me and now I am pretty sure you never have and certainly never will. I loved you very dearly and for that reason, I have hoped you would eventually fall in love with me. I know all about you and Steve but I hoped that by sending him away you would then fall in love with me. I know now that this is not the case. 

Goodbye Laura.”

With that, he turned and walked away down the aisle. 

Her sister actually ran after him and they left the church together.

She could feel the embarrassment rise up in her. The blush coming into her cheeks. 

 And she stood there, ‘the Blushing bride’, Only she wasn’t going to be a bride after all.

The End

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 19/March/2018

via Daily Prompt: Blush

50 Word Thursday #106 – Step Right Up

And the words:
“I stared at her as if she’d lost her mind.” – Louisiana Longshot – Jana DeLeon

“Step right up folks and shake hands with the star of our show” She said.

When it comes to making a fool of myself, I’m a pundit.

I stood right up and she laughed.

“I stared at her as if she’d lost her mind.” 

Behind me a queue was forming.

[50 Words]

This was written for the 50 word Thursday Challenge

I have also included the following word prompts:

50 Word Thursday # 105 – A Summer Surprise.


And the Words: “I have to remind myself to breathe – almost to remind my heart to beat!” – Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.


“I have to remind myself to breathe – almost to remind my heart
to beat!”

I said to my boyfriend standing
next to me.

As I stood looking out at that dazzling white snow, I couldn’t believe my

What a delight and a surprise for a fourth of July Celebration.

[50 Words]

This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge:

I have also included the following word prompts:

A Multiple Word Prompt Story – The Awkward Surprise

This story was inspired by the following word prompts

Today’s things are: circus, carnival, freak show

The Awkward Surprise

It was his wife’s fiftieth birthday and he had managed to convince her he had forgotten all about it.

When they woke up that Saturday morning, he behaved like there was nothing special about the day ahead.

He’d got up, had a shower, fed the cats and then went to the corner shop to pick up the Saturday paper.

On his way back he quickly accosted the postman who was about to post some birthday cards through their letter box. He took the cards and put them in his coat pocket and only allowed the bills to pass through.

The postman gave him a strange look as he continued on his round.

Hiding round the side of the house he heard his wife open the inner door and pick up the few measly bills and slam the door again.

Stifling a laugh he opened the door with his key and went in.

“Has the mail been love?” he asked, how he kept a straight face, he had no idea.

“Only the gas and electric bills and a letter from the council about the drains, that’s all. I was expecting…”

“What were you expecting?” he asked as innocently as he could.

“Oh, Nothing. Nothing at all” She replied then went into the kitchen and slammed the door.

Continue reading A Multiple Word Prompt Story – The Awkward Surprise

50 Word Thursday #104 – The Fixer Upper.

And the words:
“Cowards”, Ida Belle yelled out the front door. – Louisiana Longshot – Jana DeLeon

They’d viewed the property online at first. It was the only one that was within their price range but the photos were a little blurry.

When they arrived, Sharon looked at the property with the sloping roof that needed attention, then looked at her partner, Keith.

They were just turning to leave when the man from the Real estate office arrived in his slick suit and smiling like a crocodile.

“Hello there, I spoke to you the day before yesterday, or Nudiustertian, as it says on my word a day calendar!”

Sharon took an instant dislike to the man.

“Now let me introduce you to the owner, Miss Ida Belle. She can show you around.”

Ida Belle was an elderly, large lady with holes in her stocking and an odour of stale cigarettes covered by cheap perfume.

After a tour of the place, they had seen enough. It needed a complete overhaul. The bathroom was in a separate building in yard.

They had to wrest themselves away from the owner and the attentive estate agent.

He grinned at them and said “Look, It’s a fixer upper!”

Sharon and Keith ran for it.

“Cowards”, Ida Belle yelled out the front door.

[200 Words]

This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge – This week hosted by Deb Whittam.

I have also included the following words:

50 Word Thursday #103 – There’s no Dome like the one at home.

“But in the song there was a secret little inner song” – The Pearl by John Steinbeck

There is a song about the grandeur of the dome of St Pauls Cathedral. It was sung in many a London pub by voices raised over the click of beer glasses. It was sung by those filled with dreams and wishes by many who no longer called England home but longed to see it once more, but in the song there was a secret little inner song. For when viewed in dusky silhouette, the dome of St Pauls resembles something else entirely and this jolly song was a satire on the other sights seen in the quiet streets of London.

[100 Words]

This tale was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge:

And also included the following word prompts