Happy and Glorious?

 

March

 

“You are trying my patience! As an Official Archivist, you have received many grants from the Glorious National Government to study this ancient photo. Surely after all these years you have reached a conclusion. We must have a true account published!”

“Lord Prefect, I am close to the truth, but I still need more time. I wish my findings to be as accurate as possible. For posterity’s sake.”

“Enough! The Ministry of Everything You Need To Know has prepared a statement for you that matches with our harmonised historical accounts of that period. This is the one you will release.”

“As you wish, Lord Prefect. But I have other similar photos in my possession. Would I be able to obtain grants to study them in depth for several years, before reading an official pronouncement?”

“I will make the arrangements.”

The official statement reads:

‘The much-loved Britain First (To Accept Diverse Culture And Give A Big Welcome For Foreigners) Movement hold one of their family-friendly urban strolls. In this unique celebration of cultures ancient and modern, there is room for all. Without any hint of bigotry, racism or any other unpleasantness, these ‘cheeky chappies’ seek to represent and celebrate all that is good with Britain in the early 21st century. Just one of many such happy, informal meet-and-greet sessions.’

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, February 28th 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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Rowten to the Corp

Rhinos

 

Deirdre Barr-Lamb, the new CEO of Rowten Corp announced she would be directing her talents to cutting-edge environmental improvements. If extra funding was secured, she planned to work with the Ecuadorians on a major expansion project in the rainforest.

Deirdre also announced the main focus of her plans was to open and stock a huge Bio Dome Safari Park on every continent. It was billed as being the crowning achievement of Rowten’s decades of research and development. For security reasons, the location of the parks would remain secret until they were up and running.

After only eighteen months, the world was informed that the simultaneous grand opening days had arrived. Potential customers were told only those with a high net worth need apply. Only the ‘One Percent’ were wanted at Rowten’s website. And it was payment upfront only.

Once the ticket was bought, it was a done deal. Despite costing a King’s ransom, the ‘Golden Ticket’ only gave access to a content-poor website. This consisted of grainy footage of a few 1960s safari tours. They were overlaid with a Commodore 64-style graphic representation of a bio dome. A few pixelated animals jerkily wandered around. The user experience was supposedly enhanced by clicking on a button representing each of the continents. The ‘Antartica’ dome had a few lazy snowflakes drifting down, and a penguin.

Unfortunately, due to the non-disclosure clause in the small print, no one could reveal what they had witnessed without further financial penalties.

Deirdre Barr-Lamb, is believed to be on extended vacation on her sprawling Ecuadorian estate – recently carved out of virgin rainforest – and is currently unavailable for comment.

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, February 14th 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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Leaving Office

Shard

Photo: © Al Forbes

I staggered forward, using the walls to keep me upright whenever I could. The corridors all looked the same, with smoked glass doors and deep, dark carpets that seemed to sap the strength from my legs. I pushed the abdominal pain and feeling of nausea to one side. I had to keep moving, and get out before it was too late.

What little I could see of my reflection didn’t look good. I chose to ignore the deep red stains that had soaked through a once white shirt.

I wasn’t consciously aware of making choices, and found my way to the stairwell purely by instinct. I jabbed at the lift buttons. Faint lights appeared but there was no sign of any movement. I couldn’t afford to wait. I headed for the stairs, and kept going, plunging ever downwards.

Loud voices echoed around me – shouts, and the occasional scream. The sounds followed me down, appearing to get closer. I forced myself to keep going, sometimes taking two steps at a time. The searing pain at the back of my knees was becoming unbearable.

I finally reached the ground floor and forced open a fire escape. An alarm blared across the lobby, but I wasn’t going to stop now.

Hobbling out into the eerily quiet street, the low Winter sun hurt my eyes. I waved frantically at a nearby black car. A rear passenger door slid open, and with one final effort, I scrambled inside.

The cabbie glanced in his mirror. His eyes registered no shock at my dishevelled appearance. “You’re lucky, mate. Another two minutes, and I’d have gone. Looks like you’ve survived another Shard Christmas party! I’ll run you home, then, pal.”

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, January 24th, 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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Take a Seat

 

Snow car

Photo: © Al Forbes 2016

I know I’ve done wrong, and for that I’m paying the price. But in those key moments to come, she can’t be by my side – and that’s what really hurts. Okay, we’d had our bumps along the road, but we’d always been together.

Then I went and made one mistake too many.

But as I take that long walk to the Chair, I swear she’s whispering to me – telling me it’ll be alright. And when they ask me to speak, though I fumble on my words, her soft voice gets me through.

I can’t see her face, but I imagine her being in the parking lot, sitting in her old white Ford, until it’s all over. She’ll be staring at the snow, watching it drift down to the ground. Just waiting.

I remember the snow falling, on the night we broke up. When I left her in the car, a strange look on her face and her neck at a weird angle. It was just a little fight – it shouldn’t have ended that way.

At least there was no blood, she would have hated that – messing up her seats. Footprints in the snow led the Police straight to my door. But I didn’t care. Without her, my life was already over. Since then it’s just been the formalities.

As I they settle me into the chair, I smile as I think of joining her. She’ll be waiting for me and I’ll apologise. And then we’ll both be happy again, sitting in her old white Ford.

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, January 17th 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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Downturn, Abby

Barn

Photo: © Al Forbes 2016

I’m Abby Downturn – a New Englander with trust issues. Recently caused by my Boston accountant moving to the Bahamas, with the majority of my inherited wealth. Who knew?

So, I’m moving back to the Old Countryside, near the village of Little Chuffing. Sounds so quaint – like those Sherlock Holmes stories by Dickens.

And I’ve sunk my last $1 million dollars into real estate. And its a real English stately house estate. Formerly the country seat of Lord Knows, like on that British TV show.

My great grandma would be so proud! She was one of those serving wenches to the aristocrats, back in the days when England still had Kings and Queens. She was that old – you do the math.

Anyways, the brochure said it was a great opportunity to gain a foothold into the high-life. I bought it sight-unseen in a silent auction. Like all good deals, I think they wanted to keep it quiet. And I really did like the picture of the barn and trees.

But would you believe it. I’ve been conned again! Turns out I’ve not bought the big house, the land or even the barn. I’ve just got an old caravan behind the barn – and they’re charging me rent to stay there. They said if you look closely its in the photo.

So I had to get a job – me! Would you believe, I’m working behind the bar at the local Red Lion franchise. Now I’m a serving wench just like great grandma!

She’d be so proud. Maybe…

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, January 10th, 2016. For more details click the logo.

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To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.