audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, relationships, short story

Inktober 28 – Ride

woman facing ferris wheel while making heart hand sign
Photo by Garon Piceli on Pexels.com

listen:

Despite everything, Jo couldn’t help but feel excited. She’d come to the amusement park with four friends, hoping to forget about Ben. So far it was working, though she missed having Molly by her side to share inside jokes and angry rants about her ex. They giggled through the haunted house and ate way too many sugary treats. She even won a bright blue bear at the shooting range all by herself.

When they reached the front of the line for the Ferris wheel, Jo hung back at first. Then she swallowed hard, took a deep breath and got into the last car. She should be strong enough to conquer her fear.

The car rose and she was too fascinated watching the people below to remember she was alone. Her friends were laughing, paired off in the cars ahead. Jo laughed too, until she spotted them. Far below Ben and Molly walked hand in hand, then stopped to share a lingering kiss. Right out in the open, where anyone could see. Like they hadn’t a care in the world.

Jo stared down at the couple, her knuckles white around soft blue fur. Her heart slipped its moorings and fell to earth. From such a height, it was bound to shatter.


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Inktober 26 – Dark

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

He stood at the water’s edge poised between day and night, and pondered the meaning of his existence. He’d never been one to hesitate. He greeted everyone, young or old, with a quiet tap on the shoulder and let them gaze into his bottomless eyes. They always went with him. But the last one had made him pause.

When their eyes met, she pulled him into a world of laughter and pain, sunshine and storms. Quiet peace and gratitude radiated from her and bathed him in calm. Hers was a hard-won contentment, wrestled from the jaws of disappointment to be sheltered among tender moments. She had embraced life and followed her nature, never fighting her path.

She showed him how dark let her appreciate the light, how darkness could illuminate and refine, and how graceful endings crowned all that had gone before.

The sun slid from sight and Death took up his cloak and scythe once again. Understanding at last that his curse was also his gift, he moved on to his next encounter as stars revealed themselves in the indigo sky.


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Inktober 25 – Tasty

Illustration of a slice of cherry pie
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors via pixabay

There’s nothing like a home cooked pie, is there? It could be sweet or savoury; that’s not important. Glossy brown crust, fragrant steam, and delicious filling combine to create a flavour unlike any other.

You might try to recreate it in your own kitchen years later. But even though you follow the recipe to the letter, you’ll never get the balance of sweet memories and bitter regrets just right. Accept that and know that nonetheless, it’s still the taste of home.


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Inktober 24 – Dizzy

spiral_ArtZone
Image by ArtZone (edited) via pixabay 

He was a big man, my father, larger than life it seemed to me. He crawled into my blanket forts, built me a tree house and let me sleep in it, and always smiled at my silly jokes.

I think of him chasing me around the house, roaring like a bear or maybe a tiger. I’d scream in fake fear and run until he caught me. Then he’d throw me in the air and swing me around until I was dizzy, the world spinning past in a bright, breathless whirl of colours. I laughed until I could hardly breathe.

They were good days. But in the end nobody is larger than life.

I slide off the bar stool still wearing my black suit and my head spins. I can hardly breathe and I’m dizzy. But it’s not the same.


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry

Inktober 23 – Ancient

olive tree sunset_TeeFarm
Image by Teefarm via pixabay.com

listen:

I am that tree

blasted by vengeful lightning
gnarled limbs tortured by gales
weeping garlanded cloud lichen
wrapped in sighing mists
grey with memory.

But when seasons change
my roots sink deeper, kissing bedrock.
Fruitless branches sway and hold fast
remember ripened glories.
Sculpted by time’s angry knife
blooming green defiance

I endure.


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Inktober 22 – Ghost

washington-dc_David Mark
Image by David Mark via pixabay

listen:

I walked down a street that seemed much bigger in my memory. Where were the dangers our mothers warned us about? It was a perfectly ordinary row of houses. Small front gardens were tucked behind hedges in every stage of growth from tight restriction to careless abandon.

I stopped outside the wildest hedge of all, overgrown and formless. Branches glossy with recent rain reached damp fingers towards me. A faint scent of unseen roses blew past. The pale green front door was peeling and the windows were blank. Still, your voice drifted down to me.

“You’re early!”

“You’re late.” I tapped my watch in mock anger but my lips betrayed me. “As usual.”

“Sorry, wait for me.” You flashed that unforgettably brilliant smile, and vanished.

Alone again, I turned my collar up against light but persistent drizzle. Suddenly colder, I wished past and present would unite into the future you promised before we slipped through each other’s fingers, and were lost.

Wait for me.

That’s what you always said. And I did.

I came back, but all I found were ghosts whispering in the wind.


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Inktober 21 – Treasure

rose-treasure chest_Pezibear
Image by Pezibear via pixabay

listen:

“Are we in the right place?”

“Yes, definitely.”

“Am I getting close yet?”

“Go a little further north… and you’re nearly there.”

“How about…here?”

Her back arched. “Oh yes,” she sighed. “You found the spot.”


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Inktober 20 – Tread

hide_Sandra Karuna
Image by Sandra Karuna via pixabay

listen:

I can hear them downstairs, but I don’t think they’ll find me.

Daddy and me played hide and seek a lot. At first he would stamp on every stair so I could hear him coming, but later on he’d sneak so, so quietly. When I found this spot and stayed hidden for ages, he was very proud. He hugged me and gave me chocolate. He said I was his good boy, his clever boy.

So when he shouted Danny run and hide right now I did. My nose itches but I mustn’t sneeze or give myself away. It’s dark and too small in here but it’s not time to come out, not yet.

I can hear heavy boots on the stairs. My heart beats so, so fast. Tramp, tramp, tramp. Here they come. My eyes are wet. Please go away. I breathe fast, quiet as I can. Please, please.

Yes! The footsteps are leaving but now I can hear Max barking. He doesn’t like strangers. I’ll stay hidden until they’re gone.

Then the barking stops.

“Good boy, clever boy,” a man’s voice says. “Go find Danny.”


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Inktober 19 – Sling

island heart_Jonny Lindner
Image by Jonny Lindner via pixabay

Aimée hung her head and sighed. Where had it all gone wrong? She’d tried to be a cosmopolitan woman, and when that didn’t work she took refuge in sex on the beach next to a blue lagoon. That was possibly unwise and in any case ultimately unfulfilling. Manhattan was hardly any better.

Damn all men, and damn one man in particular with his easy smile and warm, gentle hands. She couldn’t forget and she refused to cry.

Though a couple of painkillers helped a little, there was one more thing she could try that might cradle her broken body and ease her suffering. She raised a shaky hand.

“Bartender!” Aimée spoke slowly, carefully. “One Singapore Sling, please.”


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audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

Inktober 18 – Misfit

cocktails_bridgesward
Image by bridgesward via pixabay

listen:

Lovely afternoon, perfect for a garden party don’t you think?

 She nods and smiles, sips her Pimm’s. Strawberry and orange slices are fine, but cucumber doesn’t belong in a cocktail.

Jeremy made partner and our eldest goes up to Oxford this year. Time flies, doesn’t it?

 She wears a new summer dress of fluttering silk with wedge heels. Stilettos and lawns don’t mix, and she won’t make that mistake again. Everything is going well. She talks, smiles, laughs when appropriate, passing among well groomed and apparently happy people.

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Her smile is a rictus grin, concealing scars left by her climb from the grim pits of hell to the favoured, sunny uplands of success. No pain, no gain so they say, but you must hide your wounds under layered politeness so no-one knows.

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 A headache forms, throbbing at her temples. They might be in the same place now, but they’re not the same. All these years she thought this was the pinnacle but now, up close and personal, she’s not sure she can fake it any more.

It’s cold at the top and the air is too thin. Her breathing is rapid, shallow.

And she hates Pimm’s.


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