To Catch a Butterfly


Ella lit the burner beneath the red kettle which sat poised on the stove top, ready for the after dinner tea that she always made her mother and herself. The oven was only a short stretch from the sink which was filling up and Ella was able to reach and push the arm of the tap down without too much effort. She gently placed the plates with their faded floral pattern and silver cutlery stained with food and age into the sink. It had been a long day, and she was looking forward to putting her mother to bed shortly and getting on to marking the assignments of her grade 9 students. Lost in these thoughts, Ella noticed a stray lettuce leaf that she mustn’t have scraped off one of the plates. The limp green leaf lay still and lifeless, buoyant in the sink of suds. Ella felt the blood drain from her face and a film of sweat coating her. The leaf, dead, still, floating took on the form of Billy. Still but for her right hand reaching into the pocket of her apron, Ella stared at the lettuce leaf and felt for her rosary, chanting the familiar prayers, hoping to push away the thoughts of Billy, her little brother. The kettle let out a desperate scream making Ella jump from the piercing sound reminiscent of an ambulance approaching. Continue reading

An Unfinished Story

She turned and nearly fell over the bonnet of his car, which was crawling quietly along the street. Well, crawling perpendicular to the flow of traffic rather. He’d forgotten to pull the handbrake, again. The last time he did that, the car had rolled down the steep driveway, taking both their hybrid bikes down with it, and only just sparing Mrs Hatfield from next door before crashing into the low fence of number 32 across the road. Minimal damage was done, save for a dozen pickets of the neat fence needing replacement and the rose bushes which ended up strewn over the car as though it were receiving the accolades of an adoring audience. With the shock of the near miss, Anthea cursed “fuck, you’d think he was going senile” little did she know the truth to what she was saying. For the past 6 months, Bob was leaving a trail of clues wherever he went, pointing to the disease that was slowly taking a hold of him. Hats left in doctors waiting rooms, names of their grandchildren muddled up, and just a general slowing of what had been a quick wit. There were other, physiological signs of course, but no one was to know, seeing as the outward signs of forgetfulness and uncharacteristic behaviour were put down to his eccentricity. We are after all talking about a man who refused to put on a pair of trousers when taking the rubbish bin out on bin night. It wasn’t that he had been walking about in his underwear in the house; he’d strip down specially for the weekly ritual of rolling the wheelie bin down the drive.

Bob was 75 and had only recently retired from the local wastewater treatment plant where he had worked for over 50 years. He had started as an apprentice fitter, carrying out repairs on mechanical equipment and worked his way up to operations manager, overseeing the engineers, chemists and operators who served the surrounding townships- work that most of the population didn’t give a second thought to. Since retiring, Bob stopped doing the daily crosswords that were a big part of the smoko tradition at the treatment plant. Him, Timmo and Steve would always compete with who could ramble on the longest on a topic prompted by one of the cryptic clues. Doing the crosswords was never about doing the crosswords as such. It was more a matter of showing the others just how authoritative you are on any given topic. And so to now be noticing the little changes in his memory and the puzzled looks he occasionally got when speaking to people, Bob decided to test whether his mind was failing on him.


 Using first line prompt from a random generator on this site. Note- I felt this was going nowhere and stopped, but hey- I did write 451 words that I otherwise wouldn’t have and have shamelessly published what I would call CRAP in the interest of staying true to the challenge. 28 days to go- surely something good will come of this?