• FLASH FICTION •

These flash fiction stories are regularly updated, so check back here from time to time.
You'll find stories like these in two of my books, available as Paperback or a Kindle read from Amazon.
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The Schooling Chair
Ficticious Macbeth poster

The last act

The poster had faded in the harsh sunlight. “Summer Season Finale” it declared. “Shakespeare on the Beach: Macbeth. The Brindleycombe Players. 8.30 pm on East Beach. Tonight.” It had been the same every year for decades. The Players put on three beach performances, a comedy, a drama and a musical, three nights apiece, during the season and a grand finale for one night only – always Macbeth: a tradition in which Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had to be acted by different townspeople each year. ‘The same Macbeth, but never the same Macbeths’ was the Players’ motto.

I was no lover of Shakespeare and always found it a bit of a challenge, but then, I relished a challenge, trying to understand the real meaning behind lines that may have flowed easily in mediaeval times, but sounded archaic and often convoluted to my ear. So, I made my way down to the beach where the townspeople and holidaymakers always gather in anticipation.
East Beach was chosen by the Players because it was sheltered by marram grass flecked sand dunes that provided a natural auditorium, while strong currents in the sea behind kept distracting swimmers away towards West Beach. The evening was perfect; dark storm clouds gathered on the distant horizon, reaching upwards in a threatening canopy as the evening’s slanting sunlight flashed oranges and reds of gore across rugged rocks, creating a brooding ambience well suited to the performance, while rain was not forecast before the performance ended.

Standing on the sands I looked around, feeling the buzz of anticipation whenever a drama is to be played out before absorbing ears and eyes. I felt a light tap on my shoulder. It was a young policeman, asking if I was OK. He said he’d noticed me pacing the sands a long while and thought I looked a little pale. I told him I was just there for the play: the one on the poster.
‘Sorry, sir, that was last year,’ he said, slowly shaking his head. ‘Terrible tragedy, it was, too. Though I don’t mean the Macbeth, sir; one of the best performances ever, I’m told, but halfway through the last act a freak wave broke across the shore, sending cast and audience scattering, before it swept the lead role into the sea.’ I thanked him for telling me and assured him that I was fine. Then as he turned and walked away, I strode down the beach, back into the sea that had claimed me.
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