Powered Cycle – Julie Noble
1700 words General Fiction
A mum seeking escape from domestic pressure meets an elderly gentleman on a powered cycle making the most of his shrinking opportunities.
He’s caught me on a bad day, but just to see him makes my mood lift ever so slightly, like the corner of a page being pinched upwards in preparation for reading on. It’s the bike. I’ve always thought of cycling as the great leveller. As in: you might have the fancy framework, the gamut of gears, the trousers black or bright (always tight as tights) and the arrogant attitude, but if you didn’t have the dogged determination to keep going, then frankly, any old pedaller in jeans could do the same. But this! This is the future, and the future is fraudulent.
Sands in Time – Julie Noble
2000 words General Fiction
Mike is a divorced Dad taking his kids out for the day, but little Freddie is not feeling very well. His angry ex blames Mike for too much ice cream, but the truth will bring them closer than they have been in years.
As surreptitious as the crab creeping sideways under your patient observation, the sun has inched its way round the sky, echoing exactly the rugged curve of the Bay, and is now preparing itself for the evening slide. In its rich, golden light I try to catch one final, memorable snap. You, the youngest of my blonde trio of sons, glow like a gilded cupid as you crouch alongside your older brothers, three sun-bleached, wind tousled heads bending over the glittering surface of a perfect pool.
Too Pink – Julie Noble
1700 words Women’s Fiction
A chance encounter finds Laura, a single mum brimming with self-doubt, discussing love with two twenty-somethings as she contemplates her new life. However prickly daughter Holly has other ideas of what is appropriate when Mum picks up a bright pink skirt to try.
“Wanna hear the most random text ever?” The two youths burst into the shop like the surge on a river after a sudden storm, flooding the quiet atmosphere with noisy enthusiasm. The question, uttered a foot from her eardrum, jolts Laura out of her reverie. She is standing at the sale rack behind the door, but the boys pass by without recognising her existence. Her age and attire have made her invisible. Laura finds herself staring at a fuschia pink, beaded-and-sequinned skirt clutched tightly in her hands. She’d been drawn to the skirt’s bold brilliance when she first saw it two months ago, and now there is only one left in her size.