Short Stories

#15 – Llanfair PG

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[Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch]

The two men had been arguing for 20 minutes, their sweaty brows gleaming in the mid-summer sun.

“No, I’m telling you it’s pronounced “Clan Vire”!”

The older man was jabbing his finger at the new sign with flailing exasperation.

“Then why is it spelt “Fair?!” The younger man moaned, scratching his head.

With a sigh, the first man called to a passenger, nearby. “Excuse me, love.  How do you pronounce the name of this railway station?”

“Bodorgan.”

The two men looked at each other.  Then at the sign.  Then at the tools they’d used to erect it, 20 minutes before.

“Bollocks.”

(c) Tim Austin 2016. Photo by Benn McGuinness on Unsplash

Today’s word was suggested by Liverpool songsmiths the Speakeasy Bootleg Band – purveyors of the “Finest Quality Bootleg Music Since Records Began…..”. You can find them on Twitter at @Speakeasybootle.  

For those not in the know, this is a real train station in Wales.  Yes, that really is the full name.  And no, most people can’t pronounce it.

If you’ve a word you’d like me to turn into a story, tweet me at @timaustin2k using the hashtag #onewordonestory or pop a note in the comments, below.  Oh, and share the blog with your friends using the button down there, too!

#14 – Archive

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Shadows smothered the vaulted halls of the General Register Office, a handful of grimy lamps spewing dim light into the stuffy air.  

Sam Desmond was at home here.  In the darkness, he would wander the metal maze of filing cabinets, reading and enjoying each document before slipping them into their allotted draw.  In those files whole lives were condensed to dry descriptions:

“Rhonda Jones: Died age 38, Teacher”.  

“Charles West: Died age 73, Retired”.  

Here they slept in ink and paper, neglected by all but him.  Smiling, Sam opened the newest file.  

“Sam Desmond: Died age 60, Filing Clerk”. 

(c) Tim Austin 2016. Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

Enjoyed this and/or another story?  Why not pop a link to Twitter, Facebook or wherever else you roam and let other people know  🙂

The word for this story was suggested by Dr. Abby Astle: A wonderful person, a trusted friend and a very good GP.  

If you’d like to suggest a word for me to write a story on, pop it as a comment below or tweet it to @timaustin2k using the hashtag #onewordonestory.

Don’t forget to follow the blog by hitting the button at the lower right.  See you tomorrow for *Breathes* “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”

#13 – Burden

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“No! ” James was angry now. Why did she keep saying that? Why did she keep insisting? 

Frail fingers reached for his, grasping: weak like a child.  Her pale grey eyes were begging.

“Stop it, Mother.  Please,… just stop.”  

A machine whirred and hissed as the old woman struggled to speak.  James closed his eyes, a tear spilling against his cheek. 

The forms he clutched crumpled in his fist. 

“I never loved you.” Her thin voice was desperate.  James turned and arranged the flowers in the vase.  

Without another word, he dropped the ruined forms into the trash.

(c) Tim Austin, 2016. Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Enjoy this story?  Please share, re-tweet and pop it on your Social Media.

This story is powerful to me personally for many reasons.  I apologise if it causes any upset in the reading – this is the kind of thing that occasionally swims in my head.  

A massive thank you to Emma Wallace – a kind and very beautiful soul – for suggesting this word.  If you’ve a word that you’d like me to turn into a story, pop it in the comments or tweet it to @timaustin2k using the hashtag #onewordonestory.

Come back tomorrow for “Archive”.

#12 – Sehnsucht/Dor

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His fingers caressed the silver pendant, slipping the dust free and letting it gleam in the dim light.  He hadn’t stepped into the room in over 2 years yet the ache that stole his breath returned, just as it always had.  “Move on” they’d urged him. “Find a new life.” And he had.  But here he stood and there it lay, and never had he wished for more.  He felt a hand on his shoulder: a kiss at his ear.  “I can’t help it,” he whispered, as he turned to leave.  His wife smiled gently.  “I know.”

(c) Tim Austin 2016

 With thanks to Maria C from rclexa.co.uk for the word suggestion!  A quite extraordinary word!  I loved it!  If you’ve got a word you’d like me to write a story on, tweet it to me at @timaustin2k using the hashtag #onewordonestory or pop it in the comments.

Don’t forget to share the blog with your friends and hit that follow button for tomorrow’s story: Burden.

Listen to “Fighting”

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I’ll be doing occasional audio readings of my personal favourite stories – or stories that you vote for as your favourites – every week.  I’ll pop a poll on here on Monday, please do contribute 🙂

Until then, please enjoy my reading of “Fighting”.  Share, like, subscribe and, most importantly, enjoy!

#10 – Rainbow

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The rain melted with Helen’s tears as she looked up into a yawning maw of scorched grey clouds, wheeling and turning in a tempest far above.  Were she able, she would have joined the thronging mass of blackening mists and lost herself to their fury. The green of the grass stretched bright as a challenge to the clouds above and she lay back, torn between worlds.  She waited, water soaking through clothes and shivering her pin-pricked flesh.  And there it was: the sunlight against the clouds – freedom in a prism of colour, her troubles tumbling free in laughter.

(c) Tim Austin 2016

Thanks to the tenacious Emma Rucastle for suggesting the word “Rainbow”.  Emma is a theatre producer and director based up in the North West of England – you can reach her at @elaru on Twitter and at http://www.elartproductions.co.uk/ 

Got a word?  Get in touch!  Pop it in the comments or tweet it to me @timaustin2k using the hashtag #onewordonestory.  Follow, share and get involved!  I can’t do this without you! 

Don’t forget to hit that follow button for tomorrow’s story: Knife!

#9 – Termite

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Don’t stop – no time. Keep hunting, keep going, keep working. No time. Don’t pause: they’re counting on me. What if I stop? No! Never stop. Stop and you die. Stop and you fall to the dark place below: to the mound of rotting corpses forgotten, spent; fodder for the roots of the trees on which we feast. No: keep going, stay useful, stay relevant. Never stop. Straighten my tie, switch on the screen, drink the coffee and rock no boats.  Protect the hive, protect the Queen:  a good little worker, always.

(c) Tim Austin 2016

What a word to be handed!  Thanks to the charming force of nature that is Aliki Chapple – Actor, Luddite, proud Grecian and Activist.  You can find her on stage with The Rose Company or on Twitter at @amaenad 

Got a word you’d like me to write about?  Tell me in the comments section or tweet me at @timaustin2k using the hashtag #onewordonestory 

Don’t forget to hit that follow button for tomorrow’s story: Rainbow!

#8 – Orb

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Starscape Jeremy Thomas

I saw such worlds that day.  Skies of burnt orange and mountains of glass: rings of glittering crystal stretching from horizon to horizon.  Seas made of joy lapped at sands of pain and loss: footprints of creatures unknown to me slowly sinking to nothing.  All of this captured in the dark of my master’s room, shining from the sphere I held in my palm.

A footstep on a stair shook my rapture.  A presence behind me chilled my spine. 

The jewel shattered when he struck me down.  

Now, in my blindness, those worlds live only in my dreams.

(c) Tim Austin 2016

Today’s word, Orb, was suggested by the magnificently talented Adam York Gregory – Artist, Animator and Thoroughly Good Egg.  You can find him at http://aworkinghypothesis.co.uk/ and on Twitter @Adam_Y 

If you want to suggest a word, pop something in the comments or tweet the word using the hashtag #onewordonestory.

See you tomorrow for “Termite”.

# 7 – Ache

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Tarmac flew beneath Stephen’s feet, the last mile inching to a stuttering, shuffling end.  He was in hell.  The heat was scorching against his face and his fuzzy owl costume sloshed with sweat.  A ball of pain welled and burned in his chest, his limbs leaden and gummed in treacly fatigue.  But now the finish line was in sight, the roar from the crowd dull and distant in his ears.  There she was: her watery gaze peeking over the top of her cannula, her banner waving over her wheelchair.  Stephen the Owl: Marathon runner, couch potato.  Hero.

(c) Tim Austin 2016

Today’s word, “Ache”, was suggested by the beautiful Lori Bannerman – Performance Poet, Storyteller and Liver of “The Dream”.  You can find out more about her at http://bardicatheatre.com/

I’m always searching out new words to write about: if you have one, put it in the comments or tweet it using the hashtag #onewordonestory.  See you tomorrow for “Orb“.