Fancy – Judith Bruton
2000 words Mystery
Every town has its secrets, especially seaside towns set along a wild southern Australian coastline. Alice and Matt encounter more than Irish ancestral links and larrikins in the local pub; encounters that change their lives forever.
‘It’s only a barrel, mate,’ slurred the scruffy young man, through missing front teeth. Unperturbed, Matt continued to focus his phone camera on the hotel wall of memorabilia, taking several close-ups of the wine barrel and some of the surrounding sepia prints of pioneer families. The larrikin winked at Alice as he again tried to provoke Matt in an even louder voice. ‘It’s just a friggin’ barrel, mate.’ Alice sipped her portagaf, screwed up her face and added a dash more lemonade to the stout mix. The unsavoury character appeared to be the only customer in the saloon besides them, but he made noise enough for several others with his taunts.
Found Time – Judith Bruton
2700 words General Fiction
‘Found Time’ is set in Illiers-Combray, the French town of Marcel Proust’s childhood fictionalised in his novel ‘In Search of Lost Time’. Lucy, an Australian touring with her husband Tim, is trying to reclaim her own lost time.
Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were. ~ Marcel Proust The deep resonating chimes of the church bells reminded Lucy it was six o’clock in the evening. She parted the white lace curtains and peered through the hotel window; the quaint blue shutters were still ajar from her earlier observations. Place Du Marché was almost empty of cars and the café closed. A lone waiter was stacking cane chairs and tables against the time-worn stone building. The animated patrons Lucy had studied sipping their coffees in the dappled sunshine of a mid-autumn afternoon were now just another memory to add to her archive.
Glass After Glass – Judith Bruton
Family, love, loyalty and mateship are questioned as Tyson offers support to his French friend Anton who has recently been abandoned by his young Australian wife. A dark night becomes even darker as Tyson’s own fears are realised.
Again I see you, But me I don’t see! The magical mirror in which I saw myself has been broken… ~ Fernando Pessoa I thought I knew Anton. I had known him for over six years. Tonight, with each glass of red wine he consumed, his features seemed to morph into those of a stranger. Perhaps the cold Chenin Blanc sliding so easily down my throat was affecting my perceptions. I felt I was seeing him, really seeing him for the first time—no smoke, no mirrors.
Invincible – Judith Bruton
1800 words General Fiction
Vince has avoided travel for many years but recently has discovered a new way to conquer his fears and journey afar.
Vince slumped into his rickety cane chair. He pulled his uncut, greying hair back from his face into a thick, red rubber band, and began sorting the scattered envelopes, papers and pamphlets on his kitchen table. To his right, next to the saltshaker and ashtray, he had cardboard boxes roughly labelled with large coloured letters of the alphabet. This week he was filling L, M and P. In these he put the mail collected for Laura, the unmarried psychologist who lived in a unit across the street; Maria, the widow in the big white house at the end and the Peakes from two houses down.
Nice – Judith Bruton
800 words General Fiction
The Nice of Simon’s memories is no longer so nice when he revisits the Côte d’Azur to recapture his youth, love and desires.
This story is available in the collection Came as ‘Me’ Left as ‘We’
Simon simply waited for his pie, watched and wondered why his meal was taking so long to arrive, and why the hotel restaurant was void of other diners. Across a sea of black linen tablecloths he caught occasional glimpses of a lone waiter traversing the restaurant. Simon amused himself by noting how the white conical serviettes mimicked yachts sailing in a brisk wind; and the harbour view framed in the tall elegant windows was pure Impressionism, albeit overcast today.
Soup du Jour – Judith Bruton
2000 word women’s fiction
Sure to arouse the appetite. The process of cooking a spicy soup on a winter’s day stirs Juno’s memories and emotions. For some, the past may be a foreign country to avoid, but Juno dares to savour the secret pleasures that resurface with every aroma and taste of her potage.
Juno selected the stick blender and plugged in the cord. As she plunged the tip of its long white shaft into the softened chunks of sweet potato, butternut, onion and vegetable stock, she realised it had been fifteen years; fifteen years since their last meeting, their final rendezvous. She bought this stabber gizmo on the day they parted, the day they kissed goodbye, unaware they would never meet again. Juno selected the fastest speed and began pulverising the soup into a creamy, smooth consistency. She relived the buzz she felt when meeting him for lunch, that day in early spring.
Wake 2 – Judith Bruton
2500 words Mystery
Peter has an obsession, a very secret obsession that has his neighbours worried, very worried.
Peter ran his large roughened hands over her silken body defining the gentle curves of her sensuous form. With eyes closed he caressed her; she was cool perfection to his touch. He quivered at the thought of all she promised. A faint breeze aroused a bittersweet note from the shell wind chime hanging outside the double doors. As if waking from a long malaise Peter opened his eyes slowly. Deeply etched lines and folds of weathered skin gave way to watery reddened eyes with vulnerable blue irises—blue as the shallows of St Vincent Gulf in late summer, his wife used to say.