Thursday, 30 September 2010

Short Story: Genre Dance

Miranda had prepared for her evening out with care. A tall, dark, handsome man had presented her with roses when he met her at the restaurant. The dining room was lit by candlelight alone and during the time it took them to dine, Miranda’s companion complimented and flattered her until she felt beautiful and adored. After they had ordered coffee, he held her gaze as he gently took her hand across the table.
Miranda was disappointed when she was dragged from her dream by the sound of the mail clattering through the letter box.

Leaving the warmth of her bed, Miranda glanced in the mirror and saw to her delight that her make up was as perfect as when she had fallen into bed the previous evening. Pouting at her reflection in the mirror, she pulled a silken robe around her low-cut satin nightdress. Sliding her feet into kitten heel slippers, she had descended the stairs by the time the doorbell rang. As she opened the door, her robe slipped off her right shoulder. Miranda smiled lasciviously as she spotted the rugged looking gardener on her doorstep.
“I’ve come to sort out your bush,” he said, and she raised her eyebrow suggestively.
“Come on in,” she whispered, “don’t mind my outfit”.
“Oh, I don’t mind at all,” he said under his breath as Miranda led him into the kitchen.

The coffee pot whistled as Miranda looked out through her kitchen window. With a puzzled expression, she wondered where the gardener had disappeared to. As she watched, his image materialised from nowhere. She was either imagining things, or there was a magical force taking hold in her garden. She shook her head as she poured steaming black coffee into the waiting cups.

As Miranda observed, the gardener picked up a shovel. Strong, solid muscles twitched in his forearms as he began to dig with a determined look on his face. It didn’t occur to Miranda that he was meant to be pruning foliage, not digging a deep rectangular trench in the soil. She went upstairs and enjoyed a relaxing shower. She failed to hear the footsteps climbing the stairs…

“Honey, are you in there?” Simon yelled above the noise of the shower.
“Yes, I’ll be out in a second” Miranda replied, wondering why Simon was home mid-morning. As she turned the shower off and wrapped herself in a thick towel, she shouted, “The gardener finally came to sort out that overgrown shrubbery, thank goodness.”
But as she returned to their bedroom, she noticed the grey, drawn expression on Simon’s face.
“What’s happened?” she asked urgently, her heart sinking, “is it the kids?”

Simon took a deep breath.
“I am not sure how to tell you this, but I am not of this world,” he began. “I was hoping to be able to stay, but it seems that my time has come. Seven years has passed so it is time for me to leave.”
“Is this some sort of sick joke?” Miranda began, incredulously. “Is there someone else?”
“I know you won’t believe me,” Simon gently replied, “but I am sorry to tell you that when Zac is seven he will also follow in my footsteps. That’s how it works when we visit from Zoriagon.”

Meanwhile, across town, Zac and Millie were sitting in a sandpit with some friends. Zac was nearly four and Millie two, but they always played together at pre-school. They were enjoying their time building sand castles, and were surprised when their dad came out into the garden to see them. He hugged them close and said, “Goodbye” which made them feel even more confused. They giggled as he tickled them, but didn’t turn to watch when he left. It was only ten minutes until Benny the Bear was due to show up, and everyone was excited about that special visit.

Back at the house, Miranda washed up coffee cups then gathered Simon’s clothes into bags to drop at a charity shop on the way to the pre-school. She opened the French window and strolled around the garden.
‘That rectangular patch of earth could do with being planted out,’ she thought. ‘I will pick up some bulbs from the garden centre before I collect the children.’ She smiled to herself as she whispered aloud, “That gardener will fertilise the soil nicely”.

The only thing left to sort out was the matter of her scheduled overseas mission. That was going to be impossible to pull off now that Simon had gone and she had no other full time childcare options available. She was sure that The Agency would understand.


  1. Amusing and sad at the same time, with a couple of nice one-liners in there.

    "I've come to sort out your bush" (Chuckle, chuckle))

  2. I'm interested and found the characters interesting, but I'm a bit confused as to what actually happened. What was the freshly dug grave for?

  3. Hi there, I know it's a bit of a weird one! I had it in my head that I had to write each paragraph in a different genre for some reason.

    So the gardener digging the ditch thing is meant to be him intending to finish her off... but at the end it turns out that she actually killed him... hence him fertilising the in as he rots away. Nice, eh?

  4. Neat idea switching between genres,very original and you made it work well, it flowed nicely. Well done!

  5. Intriguing and suspenseful throughout Rebecca. I too liked those "suggestive" one-liners. :)

  6. Thank you for all of the comments so far. Every week I feel like I am experimenting, so I am grateful for feedback.

  7. Very clever. Was part of that a re-cycled story of yours - sure there was a familiar element there. Oh - and why no vampires?

  8. Oh clever, Yvonne! Do you mean the sci fi paragraph? I keep sending people back to Zoriagon - it's a place I am going to write about in more depth one day.

  9. What an unusual story! I too loved the one liners and for some reason Miranda reminded me of a stepford wife, don't know why.

    I would love to send a few people to Zoriagon, can you give me directions?

  10. That's some nice plot you have there. Great idea, well executed. But no steampunk?

    Marc Nash

  11. Marc you raised a valid point. Truly ashamed to admit, I actually don't know what "steampunk" is as a genre. How's that for honesty?

  12. This was so very clever as it moved almost seamlessly between genres.
    Certainly got a giggle out of the gardener's innuendo.
    So much fun.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  13. Things set up for such a nice day at first. Hopefully The Agency can clean a few of the odds up.

  14. This was a great deal of fun; I enjoyed the genre jumping. I caught the idea the gardener was dead but then I read a lot of murder mysteries. Well done!

  15. What a fun dance!
    You've sent someone back to another planet before haven't you?
    Sort out your bush! Nutter

  16. I admit I got a little lost as well but I enjoyed it anyway, and now that I've read your explanation I can see what a great experiment it was. And how amazing that you can link the story together in all those genres. This is really very cool.

  17. I love stories that leave you with a bit of a 'huh?!' feeling. Keeps your readers on their toes! Friday Flash is a great chance to experiment, isn't it? I do it all the time. Nice bit of dancing, Mrs. E. :)

  18. good story Bec, unexpected with great one liners :-) xxx

  19. Nice piece here. I had to re-read it to make sure I had it right, then saw some of the other comments - so she killed himhey, what a twist. THis has got great pace to it and some good descriptive sentences. I like it :)

  20. Very unexpected story with the changing genres. i had to concentrate. Like the way it moves between her,him, the children. Good twist..:)

    My flash fiction blog

  21. I like the pace of the story, and the one-liner made me giggle. :)

  22. I loved the originality of this piece. Great job.