fiction

BG 222 – On the beach

The primitive bench in the bright sunshine on the beach, made of a rough plank on two buried poles, is not really suitable for sitting comfortably. But it’s either that or plop down directly on the red-hot sand with his heavy body. He tried to retreat into the shade, on the ground with his back against one of the palm trees, but soon discovered that all kinds of annoying itching and stinging creatures live there. His shorts and T-shirt are sweaty and wrinkled, there is constant sand between his swollen feet and the soles of his leather sandals, his pale skin is burned red, he suffers from itchy insect bites, and his back aches. Couldn’t they have at least provided the bench with a backrest? Puffing, he pulls the dirty handkerchief with a knot in each corner from his balding head and once again rubs the sweat from his face.

They assigned him some kind of hut for the night. More of a platform actually. It stands on poles, is made of rough tree trunks and has a sloping roof made of large dried leaves. An old, dirty cloth on a layer of scratchy coconut fibers serves as a mattress, but he cannot lie comfortably on it. A mosquito net is attached in the middle under the canopy, the corners of which he can attach to hooks in the wood. But the mesh does not close properly and does not stop the strange insects that are mainly active here at night from drinking his sweat and sometimes also his blood. A shallow hole in the sand, about ten meters behind his hut, with a pole next to it to hold on to, serves as a toilet. Even though he covers it with a layer of sand after use, the smell penetrates his sleeping place at night.

And during the day he sits on the bench, in the blazing sun, with his eyes half closed, peering out over the water in the hope that a ship will appear soon. …

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BG 205 – The zebra crossing

This time, The Maakster was not on her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village, but was driving her car through the center of a neighboring village.
Diagonally in front of her, a woman rode a bicycle on the designated lane, with a toddler on a cute little bike on her other side. As The Maakster approached a zebra crossing, The Cyclist suddenly turned left onto that crossing, without stopping first and without looking around.

Fortunately, The Maakster was paying attention and managed to brake just before the zebra crossing, at a good distance from The Cyclist. Who was extremely shocked, jumped off her saddle, and positioned her feet on the ground on either side of her bike. At the same time, she grabbed her child by the shoulder to make it stop. The little boy, wearing a helmet, naturally got startled, put one little foot on the ground with difficulty and staggered for a moment, diagonally on his saddle, before regaining his balance.

The Cyclist looked furiously at The Maakster and began to rage and yell at her. Pointing along the length of the zebra crossing, she shouted ‘This is a goddamn zebra crossing!’ …

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BG 199 – Past perfect tense

– Hey there! Long time no see!
She recognized him. He approaches her table.
He still has that silly haircut and he’s even wearing the exact same jacket.
There are other tables available. She’d rather have stayed seated here alone.
But he’s already grabbed the backrest of the chair opposite her.
– So, I said – you probably didn’t hear me – it’s been a long time!
His face beams with joy.
– Yes.
She answers. That could either refer to that long time or to the fact that she actually heard him.
He dramatically takes off his jacket, hangs it over the chair’s backrest, and sits down, huffing.
– Phew, I’m sitting.
Yes, everyone noticed that. He noisily slides his chair closer to the round tabletop and rests his forearms and elbows on it.
– Gosh, that I run into you here!
Just a little too loud, like in the old days. Not only meant for her, but …

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BG 180 – Have a nice day!

As they checked the last messages on his phone, before erasing them and setting the device aside to later give it to a niece or nephew who didn’t have one yet – after all, grandfather had been buried and no longer needed it himself, and they were engaged in the emotionally demanding task of sifting through some sixty years of collected items in his cluttered little retirement home and deciding what to divide among themselves, what to take to the thrift store, and what to the container park – they saw that the last message he had received while alive was from his granddaughter Maddie. It read ‘Have a nice day, grandpa!’ They were touched. Maddie was only six years old, had just learned to read and write, and had only had her first phone for a month.

Three weeks later, at the end of a fun day at school, Maddie said goodbye to her classmates before going home. She had first taken her friend Joris aside and solemnly wished him ‘Have a nice day, Joris!’, to which Joris had said with a smile ‘Thank you!’; after all, the day had already largely passed and she had looked so unusually serious. He watched her as she hopped away.
The next day Joris did not come to school. …

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BG 168 – The shriek

A chilling shriek cut through the cold foggy night.
She was startled. What was that? A woman? She muted the TV, held her breath, and listened.
She heard nothing at first, but just when she had to breathe again, the muffled sound of running shoes echoed down the deserted street, followed by a charged silence.

What was she supposed to do? Go out to help?
Did someone really need help, or had she just imagined that cry of terror?
She turned off the lights in her living room and studio. Now only a faint strip of light from a street lamp shone in, where one of the shutters no longer closed properly. She walked over, bent down and peered out through the opening.

At first glance there was nothing to see.
Again she held her breath to listen carefully.
For a moment she thought she heard another scream, but it turned out to be …

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BG 145 – 100 Words Fiction

Two steps

He nearly broke his neck when late at night on the small wooden stairs in front of the bookcase on his right tiptoes he reached for a thick old book on the top shelf. When he had regained his balance and stood firmly on the steps again, he opened the book in a random place. Strangely enough, it felt as if the open page had been calling to him all evening. The text described an elderly man who excitedly leafed through an antique book and discovered very valuable information in it, just before he made a fatal fall.

BG 141 – The Swing Realm

‘Not too high on that swing!’ shouted an unfamiliar male voice behind her. But she didn’t care. The construction creaked every now and then, but it was able to support her almost mature body just fine. With her hands tightly wrapped around the rough ropes, sitting on the smooth-worn oak plank, she swung her legs straight forward and hanging in the ropes with the wind through her hair she went higher and higher.
At the highest point she felt for a moment like her intestines made a little jump, then she swung back down again. Past the lowest point she pulled her feet up toward the plank. High up at the back she hung motionless for a split second before whizzing forward again with even more speed and stretched legs, pulling on the ropes.

She went higher and higher. She felt like she was flying, like she was being released from the ground, from this playground, from her old neighborhood, from her narrow minded home.
Woohoo! Higher and higher! Forward – stretch, backward – fold.
Stretch – fold, stretch – fold, stretch – fold.
She could already look over the trees in the distance and see miniature houses and tiny cars and tiny people moving.
A sense of ultimate freedom washed over her.

‘Not so high on that swing!’ the same male voice called from behind her. Oh no? …

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BG 125 – 100 Words Fiction

New route

This time everything was different. The route, the feeling, the arrival time, the destination. She walked along the deserted track and felt the cold rain, but in the distance there was always the mountaintop, sometimes shrouded in mist or watered by rain, more often silvery gray in the distant sunshine, while she walked in the shadows. Last time, on the previous route, she was he. He walked elsewhere, in another time, towards another fate. Initially, today was more promising, more challenging, but in the end still normal, as always. She walked close to where he used to walk.

BG 70 – 100 Words Fiction

Even though that isn’t true

You have said that – oh yes – you would like to camp in a tent in the garden. That you like that, almost under the open sky, with your almost naked body, when it is as warm as it is now. You have said that you – yes of course – want to continue, even though your girlfriend has canceled. You have said that you have no problems with itchy and buzzing bugs and that you can sleep well on such a thin mattress on the uneven ground.
And that you fortunately never have to pee at night.

BG 63 – 100 Words Fiction

They pretended to be smugglers

That they were smugglers, she had said, that that was ‘ooh’ exciting! That they had to watch out for customs. He didn’t know who that was, customs. Luckily, she had said that she would come back later to get him. He had believed her. That she had had to take his coat of course, as proof. It was cold. That he could find the way by looking at which side of the tree trunks the moss grew. But it was dark. She would come back to get him. He wasn’t sure he still believed her.