Category Archives: Fiction

Short Fiction

An Editorial Intermission – The Old Mill

reflection

(This is an editorial break in the series The Old Mill.  The previous chapter was  Lyndsey 2 (Part1).  The Table of Contents is here)

I have to pause the story for a moment.  As you know, this is a rough draft, and at the beginning I posted as I wrote, sometimes posting within minutes of writing the last word.  Of course there were times that I realized that I needed to go back and edit.  I did change a few little things in the posted chapters, but I’ll wait for the next draft for most of the changes.  In the mean time, I found that I need to talk a little bit about Gill and Lyndsey so you can understand some of what happens as we go on.  Over the course of their conversations they talked about their jobs (or at least they are going to have these conversations when I do the next big off-line edit of earlier chapters).  Here is a just a quick description of what you missed (because I’m adding it to earlier chapters offline and it isn’t part of what you read):

Gill is a first level manager/supervisor for a team of software developers at a mid-size software firm, LMDF (don’t ask me what it stands for 😉).  The seven developers under him each have between one and four projects, depending on size and complexity.  There is a pool of around 35 coders/programmers that work on the projects.  There are four others at Gill’s level.  His manager, Kunhal, is coming up on retirement and Gill has been shadowing him and will most likely take his place.  Three of his developers are local (Nashua), the other two are at a remote location in Brattleboro, VT.  The other two work remotely.  The actual coders are all over the world, though many are based out of the Nashua or Brattleboro offices.  Most of his time is spent doing administrative work, but he works with each team (seven developers) once a week using teleconferencing (videoconferencing) technology.  He also likes to sit in on a SCRUM meeting with each development team at least every other week. Continue reading

Lyndsey 2 (Part 1) – The Old Mill

Mill Building

(This is the latest installment of the series that starts with The Old Mill.  The previous chapter was  Sean (Part 2).  The Table of Contents is here)

(Note – this is part 1 of a two part chapter.)

— —

I took my eyes off of the road for a second to glance at Lyndsey.  Her face was slightly illuminated in the dark by the dashboard lights.  A surge of emotion ripped through my body, feelings I hadn’t felt since the early days of my relationship with Becky, almost 15 years in the past.  My right hand slipped off of the steering wheel and onto Lyndsey’s thigh.  I could see the smile out of the corner of my eye.  She put her own right hand on mine and caressed it while threading her left arm under my arm and putting her left hand onto my thigh.  Her left hand lightly squeezed my thigh in rhythm to the music.

“Oh, this used to be one of Jess’ favorites,” she said as a new song came on the radio.  She hummed along for a minute.  “Thinking of Jess.  I was met her for breakfast this morning and she was the old Jess.  I always wonder why sometimes she is so, well, present, and other times it’s like, well…”

“It’s like someone pretending to be Jess,” I said.

“Exactly!  It’s like someone going through the motions of being Jess so that nobody would know that it isn’t her.”

“I have a theory about that.”

“Ha!  I knew it.  Does it have something to do with Martha or the Goode mansion?”

“Uhm, yes.” Continue reading

Shore – #writephoto

shore

Shore – Photo by Sue Vincent

I looked at the faces around the dinner table.  There wasn’t a spark amongst them, they all looked tired and about ready to fall down on the spot.   It had been rough going and the future didn’t look any easier.

That was it.  Something had to be done to keep everyone upright.  After dinner I sat and thought about it.

It was obvious that we as a family were unstable and likely to collapse, and that we as individuals were almost as bad.  I knew that I was pretty close to that point where the gravity of the situation might take over.  I needed something to hold myself together, to prop me up.  I knew that if I was stable, it would be the first step in keeping us all upright.  One solid beam could do it.

But how do you fix the foundations of a person and a family? Continue reading

Great Aunt Isabel

shoes-and-books-by-magaly-guerrero

PHOTO PROMPT © Magaly Guerrero

Margret talked about her Great Aunt Isabel from the day I met her.  The matriarch of her clan had done everything, been everywhere.  Her family lived in this larger-than-life character’s enormous shadow.  Perhaps “great” was a title or description, not a generational mark.

I was nervous when I finally met her.   As we waited in the parlor, I noticed the stacks of oversized books here and there, and the random platform shoes tossed carelessly about.

When the giant of Margret’s family arrived, I went into shock.  She could barely see the table top, even seated on her stack of books. Continue reading

Sean (Part 2) – The Old Mill

(This is the latest installment of the series that starts with The Old Mill.  The previous chapter was  Sean (Part 1).  The Table of Contents is here)

(Note – this is part 2 of a two part chapter.  Part 1)

— —

A hand fell heavily on my shoulder.

“Hey Gill, having trouble finding them?”  It was Bill’s voice.

I was looking into an empty black space, no people were visible, no woman and no children.  I turned to look at Bill.  There was only him there, no other men.

“Uhm yeah, Bill.  Coming in from the bright outside my eyes just didn’t want to adjust.  I’m still a bit blinded.”

“Here they are.”

Several garden rakes, a hoe, a spade and a yard rake were leaning against the wall just inside of the entrance to the main building.

“Oh, I must have walk right past them.  No wonder I didn’t see them.  I was looking over there.”  I pointed past were the woman and children had been, into the dark far corner of the building.

“Here, I’ll grab a couple,” he said.  “You take the rest.  Let’s go, the air in here is unhealthy.” Continue reading

Sean (Part 1) – The Old Mill

Old Mill on two Rivers

(This is the latest installment of the series that starts with The Old Mill.  The previous chapter was  Bill Wallace.  The Table of Contents is here)

(Note – this is part 1 of a two part chapter)

— —

Bill pulled into my driveway at almost exactly 8:30. I was out of the door before his truck came to a stop.  I climbed in and set my travel mug next to his.

He almost immediately started talking about a neighbor of his that I didn’t know very well.  It was typical small town gossip and complaints.  He had barely gotten out of my drive before I picked up my mug and sipped my coffee, just nodding at the appropriate places and saying, “A-huh,” when needed.  I only half noticed that we were headed up to Amesbury Center until we turned to take the road that avoids the main village.

“We’re going to the Goode Mansion, aren’t we?” I asked.

Bill smiled.  “Ay-yup.”

I had wondered why he asked me to come with him; now I knew. Continue reading

Enigma – #writephoto

enigma

Tortor was a warrior and understood how the world worked.  He shook his head as he looked around the earthworks and the stones.  He approached the man who was obviously in charge.

“Hey you, what’s your name?”

The man slowly turned and studied Tortor as if he were an insect.

“They call me Tim, Tim the Enchanter.  What do you want, Tortor the Stonehead?”

Tortor’s mouth dropped.  It wasn’t just the insult, but he had no idea how the man knew his name.  Regaining control, he tried to drill holes into Tim the Enchanter with his eyes.  Failing that he said, “Look here, Tim, I know a thing or two about defense.   The ditch needs to be on the outside of the earthwork, not the inside.  What good is this going to do when the defenders can’t reach the wall and the attackers will just climb right over it as if they are out for a Sunny-day picnic?” Continue reading

Final Celebration

dale-rogerson-pizza

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

I knew there was trouble when she left a message that she was celebrating our 15th anniversary.

It had been 15 years since the divorce, not the marriage.

Hey lady, we split because you had the affair, not me.  If my second marriage worked and yours didn’t, well, I’m sorry.

She didn’t answer or return my calls.  That was bad.

I used my spare to key to enter her apartment.  It was filthy.

I found the partially eaten pizza with the powder on top, the empty medicine vials and the half bottle of wine.  Then I saw the body.

Word count = 99

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo provided by © Dale Rogerson.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky.

Bill Wallace (The Old Mill)

hollis-barn

(This is the latest installment of the series that starts with The Old Mill.  The previous chapter was  Jessica (2) (Part 2).  The Table of Contents is here)

— —

“Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, for having me over for dinner,” I said as we sat down to eat.

“What, are my mom and dad here?” Mr. Wallace said.  He glanced around, as if his elderly parents were hiding someplace in his house.  Then he looked sternly at me.  “How long have I known you, Gill?  Maybe 20 years?  I’m Bill and this is Nancy, OK?  20 years.  That’s a long time.  Yeah, I remember back then, Jess talking about you…”

“Bill…”

“…all of the time and Nancy and I wondering who you were.  Finally, Jess introduced us.  It was good to meet you.  I really thought you guys would get married…”

“Bill!”

“…and was surprised when her talk about you changed.  Back then I wouldn’t have minded you as a son in law…”

“Bill!”

“…and it certainly would have been better than what we ended up with.”

“Bill…”

“Of course, here it is, 20 years later and I might just get you as a son and law yet.  And I’d be proud to call….”

“William!”

“OK, OK, I’ll quit embarrassing our guest and our daughter.”  I looked over at Lyndsey.  She was blushing brighter than I was, but she winked at me when she saw my look.  I knew she was reminding me that she had warned me.  “I don’t understand what’s wrong, anyway.  Guys like plain talk, don’t we Gill?” Continue reading