The Necklace by Zita Fogarty

Prompt: Mastermind | Word Count:1000 |  Genre: Adult Fiction

Gabby woke up in a sweat.

She’d dreamt that a figure dressed in black was standing in the doorway. He was wearing medieval robes and a cloak. A beaked mask covered his face.

Sergej was still lying half under her. She peeled her body off his, trying not to wake him, and lay on her back staring at the patterns on the ceiling from the neon lights of the golf pro shop.

It was quiet for a Saturday night, just the usual steady hum of traffic, intermittent sirens and horns. After two months of visiting his penthouse, she’d stopped noticing the white noise of the busy street below.

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The Club by Zita Fogarty

Prompt: The Club | Word count: 750 | Genre: Adult Fiction

What is this – some kind of club?

Dad caught me, Dawson and Doherty behind the garage smoking a joint. He looked like he could kick someone he was so pissed off.

But I couldn’t stop giggling. All of a sudden that tough guy demeanor of his that usually made my armpits moist seemed ludicrous.

The other two bolted over the back fence. Dad stormed back to the sunroom where he had been watching the cricket.

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Coming Undone by Zita Fogarty

Prompt: Coming Undone | Word count: 1200 | Genre: Adult Fiction

Someone is holding my hand.

I wake up moaning. I haven’t heard that sound before. It seems far away, yet I can feel it forming in my throat.

I struggle to open my eyes. They are stuck together. The lights are bright. My lips are swollen, my mouth dry.

My neck is stiff so I can’t turn to see who it is. But I know it’s Mum. I can smell the gardenia perfume she likes. I sense her stand up, then kiss me on the cheek. She moves around the bed so that her face is directly in front of mine, with a worried look.

You’re awake. She says it more like a question than a statement. Her familiar voice anchors me amidst the foreign surroundings.

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Making Lists

Prompt: The List | Word count: 1500 | Genre: General Fiction

Matt talked about when they both die. Daisy could smell sweet tea on his breath. It was early morning, just after six. The unexpectedness of the topic had her frozen to the spot. Usually a quick exchange about the day ahead ensued – what’s for dinner, if there was any shopping to be done. He clutched his lunch box in one fist, backpack was on his back, the newspaper rolled up under his free arm for reading on his lunch break. Just like every other weekday morning.

The air was so still she could see dust motes in the lamplight on the hall dresser.

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The Almond Tree by Zita Fogarty

Prompt: Conversation with my spouse | Word count: 1200 | Genre: Adult Fiction

I looked for Jessie for over half an hour – bathroom, bedroom and front verandah, to see if he wanted some of the flapjacks I had just made. I got side-tracked watching a recording of the Oscars with Martin. The three of us were still on school and uni holidays, Mum and Dad at work.

He hung himself from the almond tree during the time that I had been looking. I found him there, still warm, swinging like a pendulum, the branch creaking in time with each movement. Though when we got him down he started to get cold very quickly. I tried CPR on him until the paramedics arrived but it was no use.

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Going Home by Zita Fogarty

Prompt: Going Home | Word Count: 500 | Genre: Non-Fiction

In my father’s garden lives a Japanese Maple Tree. It is a marker of time and the seasons, shifting dramatically from voluminous red in the autumn to a naked grey skeleton in the winter, and succulent green leaf buds in the spring. I am reminded of him whenever I see such a tree. An emblem of a life well lived within reach of its branches.

Another resident of his home is a kookaburra that he fed every day. As if on cue, it would swoop onto his back deck from the colony of blue gums that bordered his property, anticipating a morsel of raw mincemeat that Dad would feed him by hand. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it probably wasn’t a good idea to try to tame a native animal, that it may become dependent and aggressive. But this daily ritual brought him so much joy.

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Eight Legs by Zita Fogarty

Prompt: A White Lie | Word count: 2500 | Genre: Adult Fiction

Marcus blindfolds me, says ‘I have a surprise for you’. This is not a regular thing he would do. I am excited and intrigued. We have just finished a leisurely breakfast. He’s taking the day off for my birthday.

He gently leads me down the steps from the kitchen at the back of the house, round to the front and down the driveway. I know he is smiling from the timbre in his voice. I smell the sunshine before I feel it – the nutty, damp aroma of sun beating down on dew soaked grass. I hear a New Holland Honey Eater darting across our heads. Its chirruping wakes me on the dot of six every morning. A very persistent sound for such a small bird.

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New World by Zita Fogarty

Prompt: New Life | Word Count: 1000 | Genre: Adult Fiction

I almost slip on the wet road as I run for the tram. I’m late for my first day at work. I had fretted and fretted last night about what to wear but shouldn’t have bothered. Now I am wet from the freak shower that had started as soon as I left home. I’d checked the weather report on my phone too, making sure I didn’t over or underdress. My sky blue silk blouse is soaked through, sticking to my skin like cling wrap.

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