Tag Archives: Short Fiction

Midnight’s Flower


(Note – I wrote this in 2010.  You’ll see references to things from that era.  Back then I did not write poetry.  Ever.  So the poems in here are, well, they are supposed to be written by high school kids, so…  This is unedited, just as I “found” it.)

“What’s this?”  Zachary Wooldridge picked a spiral-bound notebook out of the weeds.  He was sitting on a rock in his favorite hiding spot, a small open area hidden from the main path that ran through the patch of woods behind his house.  Situated near the top of a hill the little private zone afforded a view out over town, though with the residential trees, the nearby river and more distant hills as a backdrop he often imagined he was a million miles from the nearest person instead of smack-dab in the middle of town.

Zack turned the notebook over in his hands a few times.  The front cover was an unadorned black.  The back was what drew his interest for a rose was inked in by hand, a rose all in black with the lines being created by un-inked areas of cardboard brown.  Care was taken to make every petal stand out, contrasting with the crudely drawn oversized thorns.  One thorn near the bottom had a large ink-black drop which Zack guessed was supposed to be blood.

Leafing through the notebook Zack found it to be full of poetry written with the same black ink.  The print was small and plain, but was tight, exact, somehow creating a sense of urgency or pain.  Because of the neatness Zack could only imagine a female hand creating the print, thinking of his own sloppy, spidery text.  In his mind he saw a tall, thin girl dressed all in black holding a black pen with a hand fringed with black fingernails gracefully sharing her innermost thoughts with the notebook, occasionally brushing raven black hair out of her eyes.

Zack read through a few poems at random.  He was amazed at some of the imagery and multidimensional facet of the poems.  For instance, “Forgotten Skin” seemed to be about walking around “dressed” only in bones – “When I went out today; I forgot my skin.”  The poet though, stays invisible – “Bony hand holds the door; he doesn’t see or care.”  And yet, to Zack, it seemed to say so much more, to cry out for attention. Continue reading


Famous Last Words


PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudberg

“I know what the sign said, but don’t worry honey, another car won’t be by in at least a week.”


“Yes, really.”

“Those were your last words?”

Bob looked down and fidgeted.  “Yes.”

St. Peter sighed and wrote something in his large book.  He looked back at Bob and shook his head.

“At least you didn’t say, ‘Hold my beer and watch this’.”  He sighed again.  “OK, go on in.”

— —

Word count = 71

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo provided by © Björn Rudberg.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

Sisters – Season’s Version


(Note – This is a more finished version of two stories that I posted here several years ago.   It is in my book of short stories Seasons of Imagination.)

The bustle and buzz emanating from the hall announced the arrival of the kids long before they’d actually entered the classroom. They usually drove together from the high school, arriving en masse, a little gaggle on their own. The energy level of the room rose even though the small tribe was still in the hall.

Paul glanced over at the other students. He wasn’t sure if it was the early time of day or just the nature of the class, but all of the others were retirees. The five of them, Margret, George, Shelley, Ellen and Marilyn, though friendly enough, seemed to keep to themselves, their easels huddled to one side of the room as if afraid the high school kids had some type of contagious disease.

Paul, a young computer programmer and so a member of neither group, set up in the middle of the room, a firewall between the volatile youth and the more sedate retirees. Sarah Graudot, the drawing instructor, was Paul’s contemporary, give or take a few years, but was different. She had the ability to treat all equally and the instinct to understand who needed her help.

“Hey Mrs. G, guess what?” Paul turned to the door to see Shawna entering followed by her groupies. “The academy accepted me! I’ll be going to New York next year.” Continue reading

Arch – #writephoto


Photo by Sue Vincent

No color or chroma reaches my night-dead eye.  The sun sets over the ruined cathedral.  And there is me, awake again, hanging in the middle, with the ghosts of the past on one side and the shadows of the future on the other, dangling between history and destiny, on this arch of time.

The hollow, no longer hallow, walls stretch above me, the marble has been stripped away, revealing broken brick and rubble.

Entering through my secret door, I taste the evening, taste her, taste the world, the world of the everlasting Now.

I walk through the cathedral, once the place of long forgotten saints and archbishops, of king and peasant long turned to dust.  I can still see their faces on the crumbling walls.

How the mighty have fallen, the holy rotted.  Continue reading

On the Run – Part 5

Coffee on the Road

This is a continuation.  See Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3 and Part 4 .

The ceiling of the hotel room was very boring.  It was plain white, though slightly textured.  Nothing much to look at, but I had been staring at it for hours.  I was lying flat on my back on one of the two queen beds.  I had a towel wrapped around my waist covering my “tighty-whities”.  I also still had the wrap around my chest, though there was a slice through it.

In fact there were several cuts and slices on different parts of my body.  The biggest and ugliest ran from my rib cage beneath my right breast almost straight down to my pelvises.  It wasn’t very deep, and luckily the arc of the man’s arm followed the inward curve of my abdomen so it wasn’t much deeper in the middle than at the ends.  Still, it hurt.  John cleaned and disinfected the wound, and then had used some type of liquid bandage on it.  He also taped it, but said the tape was just there to hold the skin in place until the liquid hardened.

There were maybe a dozen or more other little cuts and slices.  Perhaps the next worse one was on my foot were Mr. Blackeye sliced me as he accidentally thrust the knife into his own chest.

The wounds weren’t the reason I was just lying there, staring at the blank ceiling.  It was everything else that had happened. Continue reading

On the Run – Part 4

Coffee on the Road

This is a continuation.  See Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Note – This part contains some graphic violence. (It’s also very long…)

I awoke to a gentle knock on the door.  I jumped up, slightly confused.  It was dark.  There wasn’t a clock in the room and I hadn’t had a cell phone with me from the beginning.  I figured it wouldn’t do to carry around a huge sign with “You are here” written on it for everyone to read.

“You up yet?”  It was Ben’s voice.  I stopped myself.  The voice was pleasant, not the voice of the heartless killer Ben, but of my new-found friend, John.

I laughed at myself for being sucked in by his games.  John or Ben, it was the same guy.

I opened the door just a little and stuck my head out.  “Yes?”

“Good morning, Margret,” he said.  “It’s a little before 5.  I want to get an early start.  And before you ask, yes, you’re still going to travel as Billy.”

“Do I get a shower, at least?”

He gave me a strange look.  “If you need one, but I’ll have to wrap you again.  Neither of us wants that, do we?”

“What?” I asked.  “You don’t want another look at my boobs?”

“I didn’t enjoy it when I violated you any more than you did, but it had to be done.  Would have you taken your shirt off if I had asked nicely, even if I ad explained what I was doing?” I shook my head.  “You would not have passed as a boy if I didn’t wrap you, end of story.”  He then looked away, at the floor.  “Besides, I had to do it as Ben, and I needed Ben to go away before we left the house.” Continue reading

Dark – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

With no wizard’s light to guide us, we ran through the darkness.  Occasionally a great leap of fire was reflected on the dark stone, casting an evil red glare across our party, but mostly we moved through a black so deep it seemed a physical force.  On we went, stubbing toes and scuffing hands as we ran in pitch black.

“I see light,” the sharp eyed elf yelled.  “Daylight!”

We ran faster, though us mere mortals could see naught.  I bumped into a man, a common occurrence in this mad dash.  But then something amazing happened.  I could make out his form.  In a few more steps, I too could see the cool blue daylight.  We might make it!

There were guards at the entrance, but they were expecting an attack from the outside, not one from within.  We swept them away without an injury on our part and pushed out into the open. Continue reading

On the Run – Part 2

Sunset on Crane's Nest Lake

This is a continuation of On the Run Part 1

— —

We had been on the road for a couple of hours when a thought crossed my mind.

“I hope they don’t stop us for bringing a rental car across the border.”  I really didn’t mean to say it out loud.  If I was thinking clearly, having them search the car might have been the best way to get away from Ben.

Ben narrowed his eyes.  “What border?  Where?”

“I was thinking of crossing at the Thousand Islands.  Might be the easiest way.  And we’re almost there.”

“I thought you said it was in Canada.”

“Uhm, I lied.”

“Is it close to the bridge?  Upstate New York?” I shook my head.  “Pennsylvania?  Ohio?  This side of the freaking Mississippi?”  His face was beginning to turn red.

“Look, I told you it was a long way.  But I think we should drive.”

“Pull over this very second.  Now!”  he pushed the gun at me.  Continue reading

On the Run – Part 1

House Sparrow coming in

Note – I wrote three 100 word stories for Friday Fictioneer that interconnected, making the opening of an adventure series. (First story)  I decided to pull it out and make it a more long-form short story.  After 2000+ words, I have finally incorporated all three micro-fiction stories.  There is no end in sight.  Sigh.  Oh well, I guess this will be multi-part as well!  I hope that you enjoy!

— –

I heaved my bag up onto the pier and then climbed up out of the small boat.  I turned and dropped a few coins into the man’s outstretched hand.  I didn’t need to do the math.  Together with the few coins I’d given him before we started, he was lucky if he came out a dollar richer.  He gave me a quick once over with his eyes, shook his head, laughing, and then pulled away from the pier.  In a few seconds his little motor boat, dodging in and out of the much larger traffic, disappeared.

I was sure he expected a small woman like myself to be eaten alive in this back-jungle town.  It’s always nice to be underestimated. Continue reading

Dusk – #writephoto


Photo by Sue Vincent

I hated to do it, but I had to get up and stretch.  After sitting for hours I was getting pretty stiff.  I was afraid, though I knew he’d forgive me if I missed him.  My sister, Martha, gave me a look that was both questioning and understanding.  It had been a very long day.

The sky was just beginning to catch the evening fire as I walked out of the back door.  I went to the edge of the yard, stopped and watched as the sun dipped towards the lake.

I had forgotten how beautiful it was around Mom and Dad’s house.

Memories of my childhood came back.  Playing in the fields just behind my parent’s house.  Swims in the lake.  Hikes in the hills.  I remembered the forts in the woods I made and lazy rainy days watching out of the window.

Dad and I had a major falling out when I was in my early 20s.  It was funny, I couldn’t ever remember exactly what it was about, but the resentments lingered.  As his sunset years approached, I reached out, tentatively at first.  We started to meet over at Martha’s house and last summer he had stayed with me. Continue reading