Friday, November 21, 2014

Magnolia 2.0

Felt like a morning for a slightly darker flash fiction (150 words), and I went for an ambiguous ending rather than my usual twist. In some ways, it almost feels like a counterpart to the first FF I posted on this site... similar flavour perhaps? Must be these grey winter days :)

I waited until the magnolia blossoms fell. Brown and bruised, they layered the ground like wet feathers, refusing to separate even when I dug deep with the blade of my shovel.

The rain was a sprinkle rather than a downpour, comfortable enough to shrug off my jacket as I grew warm with effort.

Wet dirt has its own distinct sound, thick and sluggish rather than the eager staccato rain of dry earth. The ring of metal against small stones was muffled, clay offered a reluctant invitation, and each additional shovelful hit the pile with a tired slump.

I buried her in the wet spring ground, feet together, wings folded. Beads of light rain turned grains of dirt into brown tears on the white flight feathers I had patiently cut to keep her home-bound.

Her face was cold, but still soft as I stroked her pale cheek one last time.


I took Eva out for a very short walk yesterday and got caught in the November rain. It wasn't heavy, but with the wind, it was still... unpleasant. Time to (maybe) put on some socks and a jacket... definitely not the weather for tank-tops and barefoot runners anymore.

...and certainly the maple leaves on the ground are no longer crisp enough to crunch and kick when I wade through them :(

I waited until the magnolia blossoms fell.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

By the sea

I know it's not Friday, but I woke up this morning with a new line in the forefront of my brain.

Once there was a castle by the sea which beat the shore with furious waves.

By the sea 2.0

Daylight Savings Time is kindof awesome because I woke at the regular time, but still had an hour to enjoy that sluggish, half-asleep dream state where (sometimes) my brain likes to tell me stories.

No editing happened on this at all... I wrote it all in less than 5 minutes while I drank coffee. I really do think writing flash fiction improves the overall quality of my first drafts...

I could write this story into a novel... well, rather, I think it could be one of the 'drawer inhabitants' stories from this.

Once there was a castle by the sea which beat the shore with furious waves. They built a platform out into the water, hauling stone from a far off quarry, and there they called girls to sing the sea calm. Day and night they stood until their voices gave out, then the waves dashed their bones to sand.

Once there was a rocky shore, rich with tidal pools, rich with life, until stones were throw in and walled up. Sorcerers were called to sing spells, a war cry to frighten the corals, the barnacles, every small creature that could not swim away, those who had been crushed by the first assault. And though the invaders were fierce, the wind and waves did not tire, and they beat back each sorcerer to protect their smallest, most defenceless wards.

Once there was a great core of stone that was dug up, piece by piece and shaped into magnificent statues and architecture. But instead of becoming grand and admirable, some was shaped in rough blocks and cast into the vile, salty water. Instead of  gleaming white in the sun and admired, it grew green and pitted, and the waves raged and tore, wearing each mighty block into sad, shrunken shadows.

And once there was a girl who was called to sing by the sea.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The guillotine 2.0

Well, it didn't turn out as interesting as I expected... more of a character/setting sketch. 360 words for you on this fine Friday morning, but I am feeling a little rusty... almost hit my 20 minute maximum time limit :)

The white stucco house on the corner of 12th and Birch has a guillotine in their front yard.

It’s not unusual to see statuary and ornaments in this neighbourhood. Cement and composite plastic figurines of all kind stand guard, from the fantastical fairies and trolls to the realistic dogs, kittens, and even children frozen in place.

The macabre temporarily pops up around Halloween. Tombstones, skeletons, and blow-up ghosts fight for position alongside witches, zombies, and severed heads. Reindeer and snowmen arrive as early as November 1st, and bunnies large enough to be characters in a horror movie smile when Easter comes around.

The guillotine is not a holiday decoration. It’s been there as long as I’ve walked this route. Three years on the job and I’ve never once lifted the latch on the small gate of their white picket fence. Every morning when I organize my deliveries, I hope there’ll be a letter, or even a piece of junk mail addressed to 873 Birch so I’ll finally have the excuse to get a closer look.

Most moulded forest creatures are tucked among flower beds or stand in neat rows beside the front door. The guillotine stands in the centre of a lawn groomed to compulsive perfection by what could only be a golf fanatic. Other than the guillotine, the property could be an advertisement or digitally constricted image. White house, white picket fence, perfect lawn, neat rows of bright seasonal flowers. It looks familiar and forgettable all at the same time.

I’ve never seen a person in the yard or the twitch of curtains to suggest occupancy, but then again, I’m on the job. I walk by between 9:11 and 9:32am every morning. A fifteen-second glance within a twenty-minute window, certainly not enough time or attention to formulate an understanding of who might live inside. Who might live in a picture-perfect suburban house. Who might keep an instrument of terror an death on their front lawn, and for what purpose. Humour? Pride? Memoriam? Aesthetic? Threat? Collectable? Deterrent?

It’s that last point, I think, that makes me wonder. The question of motivation.

Why a guillotine?

The guillotine

It's around 8:19am here, a gorgeous October morning... fog, crisp, clean air, and the sun is painting fallen leaves in browns and golds. Hmmmm... maybe I should have made the street name 'maple' instead of 'birch'... so much prettier when they fall :)


The white stucco house on the corner of 12th and Birch has a guillotine in their front yard.

Friday, September 26, 2014

T5 & T3

Okay, this kind of started as a humorous description when I was in physio on Wednesday. Read until the end to see why...

And please feel free to play along by using the first sentence as a prompt :)

A homeless man, belligerent and obese, has set up his refrigerator-box home in the middle of a narrow one-way street. Any stress, any noise, any mild annoyance sets his temper off like the whirling sparks of a Catherine Wheel firework.

Pedestrians and shop keepers avert their eyes and try to go about their whispered business while he shouts obscenities, kicks garbage cans, and hangs his dirty underwear on street signs.

Cars and delivery trucks bottleneck around his malignant cancer of occupancy.

When security arrives, he throws liquor bottles, screams, and threatens to take hostages.

Two streets over, his slightly smaller, slightly more amiable companion resides, his tiny collection of possessions tucked inside a more modest washing-machine-box, and his dirty underwear (mercifully) out of sight. When his larger friend's antics carry over into his territory, he reacts like an enthusiastic child imitating his older sibling.

All-in-all, he is less angry and less destructive.

Between the two, they can throw the entire city into chaos, one street, one city block at a time.

These men each sit between two ribs around my T5 and T3 vertebrae.

…thankfully, due to my wonderful physiotherapist and his team of related practitioners, these two unwanted residents have now shrunk to the size (and level of delinquency) of surly teenagers, and (hopefully) will soon be reduced to mere toddlers squalling in the candy aisle of the local grocery store.

In other words, the ribs have been out again, but this time it only took two weeks to pop them back in place and convince them to stay put.

Hurray for progress! Boo for stress!

Really though, don't you find it fascinating how different people describe/explain things? Like, one of my massage therapists relates everything to food in some way... fascia tissue work? Well, it's a heck of a lot like combing out cooked spaghetti! Another regales me with odd facts (do you know that people of British Isle background have poor rotation in their hip joints? That's why there aren't any heavy-class weight lifters from that part of the world...)

Seriously though, even if I know about something, I like to hear other people explain it to me, just to hear how they explain it. Always provides interesting fodder for future characters...

...apparently, I personify old injuries as unlikable, unwelcome, and unhygienic people camped out on my spine & ribcage... now what does that say about me? More or less worrisome than a comparison to poorly prepared pasta?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Promises 2.0

I know, I know... 3 days late, and not much to show for it.

I wrote this 50 word story while on the phone, in about 2-3 minutes. I wish very much I had had more time to write something better, but this extreme lateness has made me decide to go dark for the month of May until the convention is over.

I don't want to make promises I can't keep, and right now, the convention has to take priority.

So, here's my last flash fiction for a while.

“It’s almost over,” he said, which didn’t quite sound like a promise.

Squinting against the feverish light, the salt of sweat, chemicals, and metallic taint was suffocating.

His hands were at my throat, the whir of torturous machines jackhammering at my ears.

Water sloshed my lips.

“Rinse,” the dentist said.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Okay, I honestly have no idea where I'll be today, and when I'll have a chance to write this flash fiction piece (I'm actually pre-posting this sentence on Thursday since I have a free moment right now).

I have... oh my goodness, so much in my brain right now... I got heavily scolded by my massage therapist & physiotherapist on Tuesday for the state of my rotatory cuff/shrink-wrapped fascia in my arm/etc, and am crazy stressed from a multitude of things that I'm not going to get into.

Well, here's the sentence prompt for today, and as I promised last week, I swear I won't do an animal thing/twist this time around :)


“It’s almost over,” he said, which didn’t quite sound like a promise.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Masks 2.0

Okay, I lied... I swore I'd spend more than 6 minutes writing my flash fiction piece today, but it was more like 4 minutes.

50 word story!


He wore a mask. 

Dressed in grey, creeping through the garden gate. 

An evening trespass.

Avoiding the lit path.

Across the Japanese styled bridge.

To the waters edge.

Titan growls at my side, hackles raised.

I open the door.

Titan bays, runs, chases.

The racoon flees.

My koi remain safe.


It's Good Friday today, for those who celebrate. I actually had a different prompt picked out for today, but considering the holiday, I considered it bad taste so you'll see it sometime in the future instead.

I've been out working on convention related stuff this week, and set to spend most of next week on similar tasks... it's coming up fast, but things seem to be coming along.

So, this is a... slightly convention-related prompt for today... enjoy!

He wore a mask. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ham 2.0

Six minutes, 100 words, haven't even finished my coffee :)

...sometimes it's fun to go silly ;)

If you ask me why I did it, I can only say it was because of the devilled ham.

Door-to-door salesmen are the worst. They ring the doorbell when you’re running late, or towel-clad and wet from the shower. They spiel dreck about “changing your life!” as they peddle vacuum cleaners, knives, cookies, and religion.

Each hungry, aggressive salesman wears down another layer of patience and civility, so when that cocky wolf stood there this morning, can you blame me for reaching for the kindling axe?

You should never try to sell devilled ham to a pig.


Okay, this is kind of a goofy line today... probably because I'm incredibly overtired and I have a strange sense of humour. Combine the two, and my brain has no filter.

I hope you have fun with it :)

(this is the 13th FFF by the way!)

If you ask me why I did it, I can only say it was because of the devilled ham.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Midnight blinds 2.0

After nearly two weeks of stasis (flu, then my ribs being out) and not really eating, I kinda went stir-crazy today.

After breakfast, I shot out to the grocery store, and then spent almost 4 hours straight in the kitchen making a tomato-based pasta sauce with roasted veggies and chunks of stewing beef, so after it cooks for several hours, everything will be tender and delicious.

Then I marinated trout in red wine, added garlic, fresh rosemary, peppercorns, and slices of orange. Going to cook that soon and see how it tastes since I just made up the recipe as I went, just like the pasta sauce recipe.

The sauce is still simmering on low, I'm a big believer in good sauce taking about 5-8 hours to make.

So, that's the reason I'm posting my flash fiction piece so late... and here it is, 200 words:

Around midnight, I creep to the window and peek through the blinds. My feet are cold, my throat dry. It’s hard not to breathe, not to create a cloud of condensation that might be seen on the glass of the unlit room.

The rusted blue pick-up truck is still parked under the broken street lamp. 

It was there earlier when I went to bed, someone lurking in the front seat, blurred and unsavoury under the night sky. Though the figure doesn’t move, I know it’s not a shadow or an abandoned coat draped over the seat. I can feel the eyes, the stare, calculating and intense with purpose.

Even if they have a reason to be here, I don’t trust them. Strangers.

Paranoia is born in the dark, where you can’t see, when you can only imagine, and every moment of guilt oozes into the next and explodes like cancer until you’re slick with fear.

I realize I’m flexing my back, legs taut, adrenaline tugging me onto my toes. 

Fight. Flee. 


Then there’s a gentle voice, calling me back to bed.

I glance again at the truck, then hop off the windowsill with a lash of my tail.

Midnight blinds

Sorry, late posting this morning, I know :) Pesky ribs are still trying to pull away from my spine and sleeping last night was... difficult.

Since last week, all the ornamental cherry trees in Vancouver have burst into bloom, and are already dropping their petals in small, pink flurries.

Here's the line for this morning :)

Around midnight, I creep to the window and peek through the blinds.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Emergency lights 2.0

Well, 5 ribs are now back in place, I'm pretty sore, but a heating pad really helps.

Now, here's my fast attempt at writing in a genre I'm not familiar with... so be kind.

150 words, and Alcar, this was kind of inspired by one of your recent comments...

On the other side of my eyelids buzzed the yellow glow of emergency lights, but it was not yet time to wake up. 

I’d know if it was.

Maybe it was from the buzz, maybe the lights, or maybe neither, but something clicked on in my head, and I woke.

Grey cement ceiling.

I sat up.

Grey cement walls.

I turned.

Rows of beds. Not beds, slabs. Not slabs… but they held bodies. Like mine, but asleep. As they should be. Not asleep, but not moving, some with wires, tubes, other things opened up while in stasis. Boxes everywhere. I didn’t know this place.

“Argh, not again!”

I rotated towards the voice. 

An obese man in a blue overalls tapped a plate by the door and spoke into it. “Get tech support to the return centre. Another idiot customer forgot to pull the battery before mailing in their faulty droid.” 

Emergency lights

Happy Friday to you all.

It's been a typical west-coast spring this week. Blazing sunshine abruptly covered by grey cloud, occasionally broken by light drizzles or torrential downpours.

But all the forsythia is in bloom, the lilac trees have inch-long green leaves, and the early ornamental plum trees are on the verge of blossoming.

So, I thought I'd take you far away from the spring weather with today's prompt. Enjoy!

On the other side of my eyelids buzzed the yellow glow of emergency lights, but it was not yet time to wake up.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Stories 2.0

Okay, this was a 3 minute story, 120 words. No editing, not even removing/adding words 'cause it came out 120 exactly:

There’s one story I only tell when I’m drunk.

After the guys have had a few rounds and everyone’s in that headspace where you’re shooting the shit and solving the great philosophical questions of the age.

Y’know, when everything someone suggests is fucking brilliant, even if all it is is, “Man, let’s get some pizza!” or “We should all quit our jobs and start our own micro-brewery!”

It’s the point past where you’re just bragging, when you start talking about what you lost, or what you wish you’d done. Things it’s safe to say ‘cause no one will even remember it the next day.

Being abducted and probed by aliens is not a story you want to tell sober.


Well, it's probably going to be afternoon or evening by the time I'm able to get my flash fiction up today since my car needs an oil change, and I'm probably going to drive my grandma around afterwards.

Coming off of St. Paddy's Day, here's a wee line for ye today:

There’s one story I only tell when I’m drunk.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Reflection 2.0

Well, the promised rain hasn't shown up yet, it's pretty nice so far, overcast with sunny breaks.

15 minutes to write 200 words, including a quick Google search ;) to rest my arm and get some heat on it.

I toyed with two different directions to go with this... hope I chose right?

It’s unnerving the first time you look into a mirror and don’t see your reflection. 

You tell yourself, ‘everything has changed’, you tell yourself, ‘the old you is dead’, but you’re still surprised. You still start when the familiar brush of dark stubble isn’t there, the angular jaw, the prematurely thinning hair. 

Most of all is the unhappy eyes. You’ve looked at them so long, they no longer belong to you, rather, they’re like a partner you’ve woken up beside for ten, maybe fifteen years. 

God, has it been that long?

Did you really wait that many years, dulling the despair with alcohol and daily prescribed serotonin boosters?

How did you manage, every morning, to talk yourself out of the relief a steady hand and a blade would bring, when you knew that, every night, you would desire it more than the whiskey, more than the dwindling bottle of Prozac? You would ache for it all to be cut away, everything wrong, everything painful, everything ‘you’.

You smile, and the reflection is unfamiliar. It’s beautiful. It’s happy.

It wasn’t you, but it is now. Along with the long chestnut hair, and the swell of breasts nestled in the pink negligee. 


Happy Friday! The weather has been gorgeous here in Vancouver: sunny, warm, and the cherry trees are going to be in blossom soon.

Tangent: it weird that I like non-leap-year Februaries because then March's calendar is identical to February's?

Here's the prompt for today:

It’s unnerving the first time you look into a mirror and don’t see your reflection.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Only water 2.0

Weird... maybe I'm getting too used to writing flash fiction 'cause I wrote almost exactly 500 words before stopping...

There was only water, and then, a small raft. 

Essa hadn’t realized that the end of the world was so calm. Like the pause of heartbeat and lung at the end of an exhalation, there was that same kind of dead-air, of waiting, of uncertainty whether another breath could be drawn.

Far different from the rocky coastline, the capricious currents, and the storms that shook and spun until her bearings were more tangled than a rogue fishing net dredged-up from the reef.

The water was still. A moment between moments, with only the ripple from her paddle and the bow of what had once been a boat, before the waves, before the dark, before the wind that scooped her like a gull scoops an oyster and dashes it to splinters.

But instead of relief, of sanctuary and rest, this was an uneasy quiet.

For only gods and monsters lived at the end of the world, and Essa had come to beg and barter. To sacrifice, if necessary, if that was the price asked. Out here, or in the Wilds, there was no guarantee who would answer first: one who could be persuaded to help, or one who would devour with the swift ruthlessness of a winter gale.

With one last smooth stroke, she lay the paddle down and drew a whale-bone knife from her seal-bladder pack. The trick was where to cut, where it would bleed deep enough to summon, yet where it could easily be bound and would not hinder movement. Hands were definitely out. It would be impossible to make the long trek back.

If there was a long trek back.

Choosing where to cut, that was a small, manageable decision. Thinking about what would happen after...

Essa lurched back from the edge, the paddle knocked wide with a splash. It was the reflection of her own eyes that had spooked her. Too wide, too scared, too young-looking for a warrior, for the one chosen and blessed by her village.

Blood thrummed in her ears, pulled and pushed by the gravitational force of her fear.

This too was small. This too was manageable.

It was important to master what was in her reach, because so much was not. Not the ocean, not the sky, not the run of fish spawning in the rivers, and certainly not the gods and monsters at the end of the world.

Retrieving the paddle, yes, that was within her means. The seal-intestine towline was strong, supple, and still tied tightly to her ankle. Essa pulled it in, span after span, the paddle slicing a low wake until she dipped her hand and fished it to safety. Snug at her side, she rolled the towline and tucked it into the open mouthed pouch strapped below her knee.

She crept forward and stared past her reflection, past the surface, past what she could see and control, into the far-off deep.

And above her temple, along the hairline, she cut, and she bled.

Only water

Happy March!

Okay, I could seriously write a novel with this line, so I'm going to run full-steam with it and post whenever I hit about 500 words. I know I don't really need this much punctuation, but it's there for the rhythm I wanted. Feel free to change/leave the comma's out if you prefer, as well, you know you can change the sentence/tense/whatever.

There was only water, and then, a small raft.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wishbone 2.0

100 words for you today, and a little fantastical... after all, shouldn't wishes be?

I was tempted to keep going with this one, but my arm was protesting a little too much, plus I'm taking my grandmother out for lunch today and spending the afternoon with her. It's nice now that she no longer lives a 5+ hour drive away.

It was too late to change my mind after the wishbone snapped in half.

The size of the wish depends on the size of the wishbone. A chicken might grant you an easy day’s work, a sparrow, perhaps, finding a coin on the ground. You could ask for hurt feelings to be greased and repaired from a goose, or a meatier wish, the return of an unrequited love, from a turkey’s hard breastbone.

A swan will only grant something pure, and something earthy, good weather maybe, from a pheasant.

On a dragon’s wishbone, I foolishly wished to unmake the world.


Wow, last day of February... a good time to wish, and wait, and hope for spring.

I'm really excited to see what people do with this prompt... what wish would you regret?

It was too late to change my mind after the wishbone snapped in half.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Never cold 2.0

Have any of you read, 'The Orphan's Tales', books by Catherynne Valente? I read both of them about 2 years ago... and loved them. That shouldn't be a surprise as I'm really into dark fairytales/etc.

I never considered writing anything along that line until I had a strange dream* a few weeks ago...

Here's a very brief description: a square, low-roofed shrine (ceiling about 5' high max), walls/floors panelled with dry, woven grass mats, the interior is lit by the golden light of oil lamps, and the air is heavy with the humid scents of burning oil, earth, and decomposing vegetation. Lining the walls, and in a double-sided row down the centre, are dark wooden cabinets (about 3.5' high, room enough for the oil lamps to not catch the roof on fire) with an uncountable number of tiny drawers, each containing the soul of someone/something in limbo between life and reincarnation. Each soul must tell its story before it can move onto its next life.

The keeper of this shrine is a creature somewhere between a fox and a cat, more than twice sly, and thrice canny. The dimensions of its body change, not only squash and stretch into unlikely shapes/proportions, but the opacity of its body bleeds from heavy, impenetrable shadow, to the cool watery grey of early mist.

I didn't actually intend to connect that far-gone dream to the prompt I offered this morning, but somehow these 250 words could theoretically be the 'sales-pitch' of one of those innumerable drawer occupants... and no, I would never expand this flash fiction piece, but I might rewrite it entirely if I was struck with the urge to explore this world.

Can't wait to read what you guys wrote!

The dead are never cold. The holy men of the fane** lie when they say a soul flies out through the mouth and takes the heat of life with it to light the stars. Or maybe it’s simple ignorance, because a corpse is not warm to the touch when it’s oiled and dressed for burial.

Like a fire-tender with his chest of ash-nestled coals, a necromancer knows where cinders sleep, ready to kindle and snap at the first gift of infusing breath.

Many people you know, many people you meet, are already dead, but they still laugh on the corner with friends, or haggle over the price of cured-sausage, spring onion, and eggs.

Necromancers don’t steal willpower or harvest souls. We ignite life as it was, for a price, just like a fire-tender, or a holy man of the fane. It’s a service like any other available at market, we simply offer inner-heat instead of fire, more time in the present with loved ones, rather than the promise of cold enlightenment in the starry-after.

Now my friend, mark the yellowed cheeks of your daughter, and smell the growing sour of plague on her breath. Keep your purse closed. Alchemy and tinctures will not save her. Send a messenger when her hourglass expires, and we will do business, you and I. 

It is no great price to re-ignite her life, and upkeep is a modest monthly fee to keep her flame by your side.

*I very, very rarely remember dreams, and when I do, they are incredibly vivid and target all 5 senses

**fane is an archaic word for temple/shrine as I was trying to avoid religion-specific terminology, mainly because I'd rather make up my own rules/beliefs/etc.

Never cold

I think it's the grey February weather that makes me a little... morbid? But spring is coming soon!

Here's the prompt for today:

The dead are never cold.

Friday, February 14, 2014

No Love 2.0

Not romantic, but perhaps... a little sexy? I had fun writing this one, though I did have to Google what lipstick tastes like... :) Perhaps it's a quirk, but I'm always fascinated how scent and taste can draw out and bind strong memories.

150 words:

There was no love in her kiss. It was a simple press of flesh, the brief commingling of her lipstick and my eucalyptus flavored gum.

My heart stirred, while hers lay still, her mouth busy with habitual greetings, arms inviting the next visitor in the doorway for a polite, dispassionate hug, careful not to crush the bodice of her white satin dress. I licked at the crayon-taste of her pink lipstick and kicked my sneakers towards a corner heaped with men’s dress shoes, high-heels, and studded purses.

Music pulsed. Alive. Warning. Torturous.

I licked again, carefully. Not to remove, but to savour. Another memory carved into my brain, another sensation to feed my guilt-ridden obsession. Another moment of squirming heat to re-live and re-examine after I close my door, close my eyes.

My brother’s wife.

Hands shaking, I adjusted my skirt and joined the party.

No Love

It is Valentines Day*... and you all know I'm not really a romantic, so here's the prompt for today:

There was no love in her kiss.

*Today is also the Chinese Lantern Festival

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hark 2.0

Here's my 100 word offering, enjoy!

I called him Hark. Not short for Harker, or Harkley, but after the Middle English word for ‘listen’.

“Are you listening?”

It was always on his lips, a prequel to whatever else he had to say.

Not so much a question, but an order. A warning.

Stop what you’re doing.

Pay attention.


Before he asked what I wanted to drink, or which movie to see. On the sofa, curled into one another, and entwined in the sheets of his bed.

But most of all in the classroom.

“Are you listening? This will be on your English 9 final exam.”


Happy February! Spring is on its way!

This line for today is 0.1% inspired by re-reading one of my favourite stories, "The 13 Clocks", by James Thurber. If you've never read this... you are missing out. I am currently indoctrinating my six-year-old nephew... and if you don't love the story, I will slit you from your guggle to your zatch!

And I do mean only 0.1% inspired... I just love the sound of the word 'Hark'. Such a sharp, fast, pointy word that's both fun to say, and hear :)

Onto the prompt:

I called him Hark.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Girl on the Bus 2.0

It's been a long time since I've taken the bus... I don't mind it, you get such a great chance to people-watch, but it's a bad combination with my poor immune system.

Plus, I do love driving stick.

I spent way more time than usual writing this flash fiction piece. Nearly an hour. I actually ran over 600 words before I stopped and had to pare it back to get it to the 500 word max. The paring always takes more time than the actual writing, and in the end, I'm not as happy with the final result. I don't think the 'idea' behind the story comes across as clearly as I'd like it to, perhaps because it's messier/more complex than most of the other flash fiction I write.

Well, it'll have to do. Have a wonderful weekend!

And yes, I know I was very bad to write something this long and tax my poor arm... don't tell my physiotherapist!

I watch as she steps off the bus. Long tartan skirt, oversized knit sweater, frayed bun, hooked glasses. A girl in the guise of an old woman, with the eyes of a child, and the walk of a man. Fifteen contradictions at once, yet somehow harmonious in her cobbled flaws.

Faded daisies in one hand, worn canvas messenger bag on her shoulder, she stops at the intersection, looks left, looks right, looks straight, then right again.

I follow. Or I don’t, I just happen to be going in the same direction. She clomps, footsteps too loud for her ballet flats and thin, over-dressed frame, but pauses, rethinks her direction, her destination, at every cross-street and alley.

Nerves? Or is she lost? She can’t be going to a job interview dressed as she is, or holding a ten-dollar bouquet of cheap flowers. It can’t be a date. Surely not a date.

The weather isn’t bad to walk in. No sun, but also no rain or wind. The clouds are high and grey, watching over, but not threatening, a drizzle of clear sky on the horizon.

Off the main street of shops and bus routes, we walk down, down, down, framed in by leafless trees and a wide, grass boulevard.

Left. Now I’m following, killing time, I suppose. I wasn’t out for a walk, since that word suggests an errand, or goal of some sort. A wander, perhaps, would be more accurate. A moment to clear my head, out of the noise of my small apartment, away from the squalling bicker of voices through thin walls with not nearly enough insulation.

Up, up, up a long, winding hill. No boulevard, no trees. Instead, a regiment of iron posts, a spiked fence, and through it, rolling green hills and a series of squat mausoleums and chapels mourning in their own corners of a large cemetery.

She turns left, though the gates and under a row of naked trees, dutifully planted at precise intervals between the graves. Not cherry, or another friendly, hopeful spring tree, or even evergreen to break up the marked and measured containment of death. There is no room for emotion in the clinically spaced rows, the uniform headstones, and the hushed stillness of bare, mid-winter branches. Most of the markers are simple, inset plaques, as if by hiding them, visitors can pretend the clean, well-manicured lawns are unmarred by loss and decay.

I stop before the gate, and turn to go. When I arrive home, I stare at the blinking cursor on my screen, at the partially complete spreadsheet. Rows of numbers, names, and information to dissect and erode humans down into raw data.

With purpose, I walk, not wander, and return with a ten-dollar bouquet of flowers and a five-dollar vase. I set them on my squat, lifeless desk and reopen my client-list. Not account numbers, not simple risk-calculations to grant or deny credit. People. Humans. Emotional, messy and alive.

Girl on the Bus

A fine Friday morning to you all.

(no more alliteration, I swear)

I pondered this line, and the direction it was going to take, a couple weeks ago when I chauffeured a friend around and spent some time waiting in the car.

Here's the prompt, enjoy:

I watch as she steps off the bus.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ghosts 2.0

I went in... a way different direction than usual.

Oh, and I wasn't trying to rhyme or be neurotic about having the same number of beats in each sentence... more, I was trying to get it to 150 words, and couldn't quite do it, so I settled for 175.

And then my arm was hurting, so I just stopped :) Yeah! I get needles shoved in me tomorrow! Acupuncture is kinda awesome.

In an old wooden house behind an overgrown hedge, where shutters lay rusted and breezes still. As the days’ light grows tired, that’s when ghosts come to play.

No spooks in the graveyard, no poltergeist tricks, no crawling of nerves, or in the traipsing cross of black cats. It’s in warm summer twilight that ghosts like to play.

A rattle like bones, a bird-sharp laugh, a tumble of dried ferns, and a wind-stolen hat. That’s how you know the ghosts are at play.

The scratched caw of a raven on the mazed bark of a tree, the tip-toed song of a rainbow, the rustling chatter of grass. That’s how you hear ghosts while they play.

In the kneaded tread of crushed moss, in the rings of small stones, in the scratched painted fence, and snapped boughs of young firs. That’s how you see where ghosts play.

Between tumbled-down tree-forts, and buried treasures of old, rotted rope swings and long-outgrown shoes. That’s how you remember when ghosts came to play.


What? Two Friday posts in a row? No, you're not crazy or delusional... though, then again, maybe I'm not the best person to authenticate any declarations of sanity...

Well, who cares?

I sincerely hope the post's title doesn't skew your decision of where to take the prompt for today:

In an old wooden house behind an overgrown hedge, where shutters lay rusted and breezes still.

...and I'm not 100% sure I used the word 'lie' correctly...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Calico Sky 2.0

Here's my 100 word offering on this grey winter morning:

The sky was calico with its longing for rain. A haze of stillborn clouds loitered like an unfaithful lover, all bright autumn colors and empty promises as I kicked my feet through crackles of mummified leaves and dunes of thirsty dust. 

Between scarred ash and cypress, the whir of cicadas rose and fell.

Hands drawn into too-long sleeves, I didn’t drink in the late September air, or taste the smoke of early-season fires spilling from chimney tops. Instead, I choked on the stale tobacco and minty aftershave asleep in his scarf. 

Parched, my eyes waited for the rain.

Calico Sky

Yep, I'm slithering back into writing, one shuddering hitch of my shoulders at a time.

Ready for the first Flash Fiction Friday prompt in... a while...?

The sky was calico with its longing for rain.