Flash Fiction Project: Tube Flash with Joanna Sterling

As I begin my MA in Creative Writing I am going to try harder than ever to read and write something everyday for the term. I cannot promise that all of these pieces will make it onto my blog but I can certainly try. For this week I am focusing on Flash Fiction mainly because I suppose you could say it is my most recent success.

I won a spot in a Flash Fiction project called Tube Flash: http://www.thecasket.co.uk/tube-flash/

The creator’s name is Joanna Sterling, a kind, creative and eccentric character. The idea was to merge the map of the London Underground with her beautiful collection of brooches. Sounds mad, perhaps it is! But I loved the idea that when you decided to make a submission you could either pick a brooch, or your Tube station (depending what grabs you most) and then make a story based on either/or. I was attracted to a gorgeous brooch with just the head of a rooster. I was born in 1993, which according to the Chinese New Year meant I was born in the year of the rooster. I felt it fitted well. The station my brooch was paired to was Cockfosters, even more fitting I thought!

Cockfosters-250x223

Laughing, I told myself “Without a doubt my story is going to have to be linked to chickens in some way.” And having started a dissertation in Fairy Tales and Myths, it seemed only right that I find something to revamp! The Greek tale of the Cockatrice became my inspiration.

By the end I wouldn’t have minded if Joanna picked me for her project or not. She had given me two related stimulus and I had been inspired to write. But as it went, I won a spot on her map after all!

So for todays piece, I want to share with you my take on the legend of the Cockatrice. To view it, please go to Joanna’s website http://www.thecasket.co.uk/tube-flash-map/ and click on Cockfosters: the most Northern stop on the Piccadilly Line.

Tune in tomorrow for more Flash Fiction.

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3 months worth of work on Magical Realism

So it has been far too long since I made a post and I feel awful about that. Although I must admit to having lost my password and only just recovered it now, but then again, I wouldn’t have forgotten it if I had kept going on wordpress.com more often.

So here it is, what I have been doing for the last three months…

I have been looking into Fantasy, or magical realism as the posho’s like to call it.

Thinking about thresholds, girls on the brink of adulthood and lines being shifted between good and bad, magic and reality.

I took a power, of the magical kind, and thought if I could have one what would it be. Inspired by Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Mrs Midas I wrote a poem about granting wishes but how perhaps it could become a curse not a traditional “Magical Power.”

This is, by no means, a final draft. So be kind. I have a lot more I want to add – subplots about the girl and depth that I want to go into with that. but for now, here is a bit of microfiction.

enjoy,

Meg

I wish, I wish, I wish

Whenever I said those two silly words I’d flinch. I had grown to accept that something untoward would fall out of the air and hit me if I, or anyone around me, let the words slip out. When I was a young girl the North Star finally granted one of my wishes. And it was the biggest wish of all. Perhaps, the poor star had grown tired of granting wishes to those who didn’t deserve it. Maybe she had realised only those who hadn’t yet had an answer from God would use her. That they didn’t believe in working hard for something, but expect it to be given – if only they pray or wish enough times.

As a child my wishes would go unnoticed. A sparkly new doll, a fine pair of shoes or for the bully to go away. But as time went on my parents grew suspicious of their own activity. They would find themselves doing the strangest of things. Gone out on a limb to bring you a pony darling. We don’t have enough room for one but we just couldn’t resist. Here you go. Oh what fun.

At fourteen, things began to change. I wished for the boy of my dreams to turn up. He did. I wanted him to love me. He did. But I soon learnt the hard way that wishes involving others could not be easily undone. Love cannot be undone even with the help of magic. Toby McGuiness still sends me love letters nearly every day and he is stuck forever more in my shadow. I tried wishing for him to have a friend, a young lady, some company. The next day he went to the pet shop and bought a Pomeranian called Lady.

One day when I was in a store on Oxford Street a young woman said to her friend how she wished she could afford the dress she was looking at. I was just in ear shot. The sales assistant walked over and offered the dress to the girl for a discounted price. Both girls looked around as if they didn’t believe their ears. I quickly left the store before anyone else said anything.

I hadn’t turned sixteen when a gentleman caught on to my ability. He called me Genie. I called him Wallace. At first we enjoyed wishing together. But the novelty soon wore off. Wallace decided to bring in some of his customers from the beach. He had an ice cream van. At first it was just little children, with silly wishes. Soon the parents got involved. Some wishes were exciting. A woman wished for love not war. Soldiers were brought back from warzones all across the globe. Another gentleman wished for a cure to cancer. There was a breakthrough three days later. Some wished for their soul mates, whilst others were more materialistic. But I never judged anyone. I was still younger than most of my customers, barely a woman, yet I was granting wishes that were beyond my comprehension. A sister wished for her own blood and flesh to lose her husband. I never asked why. I didn’t understand jealousy and hatred. Not yet.

The wishes continued to get dark in this way and I had no choice but to accept them. I was a magically charged hit man.

When Wallace found me one night, trying to scrub the magic out of me in the river, he put a stop to the customers. But it was too late – the harm had been done. People could find me easily. Some would shout at me in the street, knowing that I had no control over my powers. Some would come to my house. I even started to get old customers return to me – unhappy with their wish’s outcome. The woman who wished for peace argued more than before and the man who wished for the cure still lost his wife. The soul mates didn’t show up on cue and the sister was riddled with guilt. They would try to undo the wishes, but what is done cannot be undone.

Eventually, Wallace left me. I was fed up with him and he with me. Over my sixteen years on the planet the North Star had drastically been fading and one night I noticed it had gone. No longer a muted spec but completely put out altogether.  I tried to wish for the wishes to go away and I wished that someone else would get my curse.

On my seventeenth birthday my grandmother told me I was young and that I would still have so many happy years ahead of me.

But before a month had passed my grandmother would choke on her words. The casket that sat before her was buried on January the 1st 1991. The grave was showered with flowers until ten years later – when finally people started to forget or forgive. It was around this time, that the North Star was spotted again, after having spent nearly two decades tricking planet earth that it had disappeared forever. And the wishes would start again.