Friday, 19 April 2013

Friday Flash Fiction - week 42


He wasn’t tall, only a little taller than me, with short grey hair. His eyes were as blue as the Indian Ocean. I hadn’t seen that colour since I left Bangalore to go to boarding school when I was eight. 

“Morning Ma’am,” he said, in a heavy Texan accent. 
“I’ve moved in next door,” he said, pointing at the three-bedroom house to the left of ours, “so I thought I’d come and say hello.” He stuck out his hand. “Frank.” 
“Nice to meet you Frank,” I said, shaking his hand. “Beatrice, but everyone calls me Bee.” 
“If you don’t mind, Ma’am, I’ll stick with Beatrice as it’s such a beautiful name.” 

And that was it. 

As a self-employed fiction writer Frank was at home a lot and we met most mornings for coffee. We talked about travelling the world, modern art and living outside of your country of birth; all the things my husband knew nothing about and had no interest in. 


Two years after meeting Frank, almost to the day, I saw removal men entering his house. There was a knock on the back door and he came in just like it was any other day. “Just thought I’d drop by,” he said. “Before heading off.” 
“But I’ve made coffee.” 
He took two steps towards me. “Beatrice.” 
I stepped back towards the counter. It was as if something was clawing at the back of my throat. “Where are you going?” I asked. But I already knew the answer. 
“Back to the U.S.” 
“Why…why didn’t you tell me before?” 
He reached out to touch my arm. “I couldn’t.” 
“Will you be back?” I looked up and met his eye. 
He held my gaze. “No.” 
A gentle wave of seasickness rose up inside and threatened to capsize me. “I think you should go now.” 
“Please go. Have a safe journey.” 
“Go! Get out!” 

He left, closing the back door gently behind him and I was left fighting the rocking of the waves. A sea of tears welled up and spilled out.  

Hours later I got up off the kitchen floor, made a fresh pot of coffee and splashed cold water onto my face. I noticed a gift-wrapped package next to the sink and tore off the silver and pink paper. 

“His book. Of course,” I muttered. There was a photo of him on the back of the book. I supposed it would be the only one I would ever have of him. I opened the book and my heart stopped. 

I dedicate this book to Beatrice, a woman too beautiful – inside and out – to be known      merely as Bee. With all my love, Frank. 

I ran from the kitchen to his house, but it was locked and empty.   

Laura Besley

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Flash Fiction diary

This is an older piece, from 14th September 2012 to be precise, and to be honest I can't any longer remember what inspired me to write it. Currently I'm watching Jewel in the Crown and the mention of the Indian Ocean seems a good reason to feature this story this week. 

Flash Fortnightly #11 is based on a true, yet tragic, story. Click here for My Wedding Day

Of Gods and Mobsters is the latest anthology from the Hong Kong Writers Circle, edited by SCC Overton. 
Classical gods and heroes. Men and women of myth, legend and folklore. Characters from the greatest 19th and 20th century novels. All of them relocated, reimagined and retold in this collection of short stories and poetry. 
I have a story in here and wrote a modern day version of Aladdin. 

imprint 12 (the annual anthology of Women in Publishing Societywas launched on Friday 15th March and as mentioned before, I was asked to read my piece of flash fiction, Fractious Heat. I was incredibly nervous, but as I had practised a few times with my lovely husband, I think it went well. I got a good reaction from the crowd, which was a real boost! 
As always, it's an absolute thrill to see my work in print. As well as the piece of flash fiction, I also submitted a piece of non-fiction, Aspects of Home.  

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Flash Fiction is short enough to read whilst you're waiting for the kettle to boil. It's fairly quick to write too, but with it being so short, every word has to count. 

On 4th May 2012 I decided to embark on a project: to write a piece of Flash Fiction every day. I'm hoping this will keep the creative juices flowing and ultimately help me hone my craft. Every Friday I'll be posting 'the best of the week' onto my blog for you to read. If you have anything to say (good or 'constructive'!), I'm open to comments.  

Thanks, as always, for reading.


  1. Silly woman she wasted an opportunity to say goodbye to a good friend.

    See how involved I become in this piece! Good writing.

    1. She was a little silly, and will no doubt regret it forever!

  2. Ah poor Beatrice, a period of mourning the loss of Frank will follow :( xxx

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. this was lovely. i understand her reaction entirely, but writers are a funny breed
    marc nash

  5. Aaaaah, the tricks life plays on us. Beautifully set up.

  6. What frustrating repression! A reminder not to deny ourselves?

  7. Her next struggle would be "to e-mail? or not to e-mail?" :)


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