Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Extract from my middle-grade WIP

When we have a sufficient crowd and I’ve warmed them up with my honeyed words, I step aside so pa can begin his first act – a standard card trick which relies on a story to draw them in.

In a deeply sonorous voice – a surprising trick in itself, if you’ve never heard it before – he starts his speech. ‘Once, there was a lonely jester who tried to fit in.’ From his deck, he produces a joker card and displays it for everyone to see, before placing it on the table face down. ‘He wanted to win the hearts of his peers,’ he continues, taking a ten of hearts and placing it face down on top of the joker, ‘but none would take him seriously. So one day, he decided to appeal to the king.’ At this point, he draws the king of diamonds from the deck, shows it, and then replaces it.

‘After being escorted by the guards into the palace and made to wait all day,’ he says, flicking the top face down card over to reveal that it’s no longer the ten of hearts, but a jack of spades, ‘the king finally took his audience.’ Here, he turns the other face down card over, to show the king of diamonds instead of the joker. There are a few claps and appreciative gasps for both expositions, at which point I offer my hat for tips. A few contribute, but not as many as I would like.

‘He said to the jester that if he completed all the tasks he was set, of which there would be three, then the king would grant him a title and have him welcomed at court. The first task was to seek out where his diamond crown had gone.’ Now pa dips into his deck, seemingly at random, and pulls out the ace of diamonds. He keeps it held up as he goes on. ‘And so the jester searched. He found the crown of hearts.’ Pa flicks the card and it turns into the ace of hearts. He does it twice more, pausing each time as he explains, ‘The crown of clubs. Of spades. But no diamond. Fearful that he would fail in his task, he approached the queen and told her of his dilemma.’ He flicks the card a final time, and it turns into the queen of diamonds.

More applause, but I hold off collecting for a few more beats. Wait for it…

‘She laughed, and told him to look where he’d least expect to find it. And so the jester pulled off his own hat,’ he says, grasping his own top hat, taking a breath, and then lifting it, ‘and on his head sat the diamond crown.’

As the crowd lays eyes on the ace of diamonds on pa’s head and applauds more enthusiastically this time, I whip round and gather their offerings. There’s more people joining by the second.

Poetry, Uncategorized

The Orange Tree

The butterflies rise from the fruit

born of the cogs and bones of an inquisitive mind.

Where is the winding key

that sets their flight in motion?

 

I have a secret, a wish

concealed in the pearl of the fruit.

It cannot be juiced, only revealed

when the veil is lifted.

 

Crack, goes the wood.

Crack, go the leaves,

leaving only the blossoms

to float down to your palm,

wingbeats fragile as they die.

Poetry

Step up, young dreamer

Welcome, welcome,

to the dome of the mind,

cast out in spirals

and labyrinths

to lead spies astray.

 

Welcome, welcome,

to the circus of the subconscious,

where everything and nothing exists at once,

paraded in colours and banners

that will surprise and delight you

and then leave you in darkness

once you realise

there’s no such thing as being full here.

 

Poetry

Overflow

I’ll hold up the spoon to feed you

letting the syrup spill over the sides

to fountain down to the spoon below

catching and spilling, catching and spilling

a movement, motion, continual flowing

but the nectar will reach you in the end

it can only be controlled so many times

before it makes its escape and delivers to you

the hope that you dared wish be allowed free

Poetry

Hidden Breath

You once told me

you could grasp a pool of water

in your hands

without a single drop

slipping through,

but you never

explained

that the trick

to it

was to freeze the water

first.

It’s a simple thing to leave

out, I understand.

Yet I cannot help

wondering

what other details

you’ve lost

along the way.