The Courtship – Friday Fictioneers, August 2016


Copyright Ted Strutz


Top shelf, third bottle from the right.

Annie studied it.

Over recent weeks the liquid had shifted from sparkling sapphire, through glowing gold to radiant ruby.

But tonight it was pulsating purple, keening softly.

Drink me…

The bartender glanced warily around the empty bar, before setting it down beside Annie’s glass and disappearing out the back.

“Where’s Annie tonight?” said a regular later, nodding at the empty stool.

The bartender smiled. “Meeting up with the other girls.”

On the shelf the bottle radiated an excitable ruby hue, before dimming to a sparkling sapphire once again, as another girl entered the bar.

This is a re-titled, slightly modified re-run of The Hen Party, which caused some confusion on its last outingHopefully it’s clearer now.  I might be slow getting round this week’s stories; the internet is on the blink again and currently running at 98% below the British Telecom average speed.  It’s possible to take a short nap between clicking on a link and typing a comment.  Thank you Rochelle, for your endeavours on behalf of Friday Fictioneers, and fingers crossed that all will be well with the publisher.  

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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62 Responses to The Courtship – Friday Fictioneers, August 2016

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Whimsical horror. You’ve invented a whole new genre

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynn Love says:

    Ooh, creepy, imaginative and fantasticl all in one. I cant help but wonder what the contents of that bottle tastes like – is that crazy? Where do they go, Sandra – do you know? Great tale


  3. Dear Sandra,

    This has me wondering where they’re meeting exactly. Colorful and intriguing story. Personally, I think Alice in Wonderland was a rather dark story. As always, you show us how it’s done.

    I’m so glad you were able to post this week. No word from agent or publisher…yet.




  4. michael1148humphris says:

    I am worried about this bartender, 🙂 But loved your take on the picture. Mike


  5. ceayr says:

    I love the thought of all these ladies writhing in a smoky Never Land, seduced by a genie in a bottle and a compliant barman.


  6. I had a different idea about your story, struggling alcoholic and the courtship with the bottle full of temptation. Beautiful, no matter if I got it wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. wmqcolby says:

    Hmmmm. Now THIS is fascinating! Beautifully written (as always, Sandra!) and also some magic along with the eeriness. The wine sells the story and well, too.


  8. Sue says:

    O-oh! Creepy… And yes, I agree re:the dark side to Alice in Wonderland


  9. Oh dear not the sort of courtship I would want.
    What with changing hues and disappearing acts.


  10. Graham Lawrence says:

    Lovely take and beautifully written. Magic in every line.


  11. paulmclem says:

    Hah, I remember being one of those confused three years ago. However, I get it now…lol.


  12. luckyjc007 says:

    Intriguing! Sounds like a magic potion of some he collecting women. They all disappear and I guess he does too for a while..


  13. maria says:

    This is such an intriguing tale! Makes me crave for more 😀


  14. Brilliantly bottled tale.


  15. yarnspinnerr says:

    A great job of bottling the untapped dark side of Alice in Wonderland. Brilliant.


  16. liz young says:

    98% down is unacceptable – have you contacted BT? Love your story.


    • Sandra says:

      They’re never away from the house or off the phone, Liz. Open Reach say it’s not their fault, BT says it’s not theirs either. They advertise speeds of up to 10 meg, guarantee 6, tell you should be satisfied if you get 4 given the distance you are away from the cabinet, and whistle through their teeth when you tell them you’ve average 0.2 for the last five days. Glad you liked the story.


  17. That’s weird! Where can I find a bottle of that?
    Annie RIP – my short story


  18. gahlearner says:

    That bartender creeps me out, and the magic here is imaginative and scary, just as it should be. Great story, Sandra. (Feeling to sound like a broken record here. ;))


  19. draliman says:

    Creepy magic bottle. I wonder if the victims have gone somewhere nice? 🙂


  20. Sinister, to say the least!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Creepy! Beautifully written as always.


  22. You always leave me wanting more. Well done.


  23. plaridel says:

    it seems some girls deserve to have some fun. 🙂


  24. MrBinks says:

    I really like this fantasy tale. Thanks for sharing it.


  25. rgayer55 says:

    I love your description of the ever-changing colors. Not something I’d care to drink.


  26. Laurie Bell says:

    Oooooo creepy. I love that the bottles spoke to you too, I had a similar idea. A possibly dark tale here… I wonder where they all go?


  27. This is wonderfully imaginative in that it sparks my own imagination.


  28. Such a clever tale! It reads smoothly and captured my curiosity. Watch out for temptation, eh? 🙂


  29. This is a very clever and original story. I love the use of colours and the light and magical feel to what becomes a slightly disturbing tale. well done.


  30. Imelda says:

    Oh my! Can the girls escape?


  31. Amy Reese says:

    This is a whole new spin on Alice and a much darker level with your story. Oh, I’m intrigued! I want to know more. Good luck with the internet connection, although taking a cat nap sounds pretty nice. 🙂


  32. Margaret says:

    I’m thinking it’s party time somewhere on the other side – not dark at all. But maybe I’m wrong. In any case, it’s a most engaging story, and it leaves me wondering.


  33. Good writing, Sandra. I wonder if, like Alice, she went through a little door. I somehow never thought of Wonderland as a land of wonders. It seemed more like a land of dementia. 😐 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  34. subroto says:

    Everybody needs a good whine…..wonder who does the bottling?


  35. Pingback: El cortejo – Viernes Fictioneers, agosto de 2016 – apserranoblog

  36. athling2001 says:

    I like the way you build up the tension. The story seems normal then slowly starts to show something else. Pretty scary.


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