Mesmerized, Allison (who was seven and three-quarters years old and delighted in telling everyone) watched the glasses. Blue, yellow, and red liquid, all tipped to one side even though the glasses were perfectly straight.

She had learned about liquids in school. They weren’t supposed to do that.

Her nose wrinkled in thought.

“Any questions?” asked the man in the dark coat. He looked a bit like a magician, a bit like a scientist, and a bit like a character from one of the picture books she said she was too old for but read when nobody was looking.

“How do you do it?” she asked.

“It’s a trick,” he replied. “The glasses look like they’re straight, but they actually aren’t.”

The wrinkles on her nose wrinkled even more as she screwed up her eyes, daring the glasses to show her their secret. They stayed just as they are.

“That’s not true,” she said. “The table is straight too. You’d have to tip it, but you didn’t.” She looked at him. “So how did you do it?”

“Oh, that’s simple.” He leaned down to whisper a secret, the smile on his face wide as an ocean. “I tipped the universe.”

Word Count: 199

For Sunday Photo Fiction.



The hall was laid out for the Solstice. Sprigs of mistletoe were hung to ward off evil – “The gods know we need it,” the housekeeper muttered – and candles were lit upon long tables. Banners fluttered in drafts that slipped between stones.

“What if she comes?” King Sven asked.

“She will honour our traditions.” The housekeeper pointed to the white wreath above the door. “It is a sign of peace. The Winter Queen will not dishonour it.”

The next evening, the guests gathered in the hall, to eat and drink, commoner and noble alike. Sven feasted with them, though his hand stayed near his sword.

In the distance, the Winter Queen watched. She wondered for a moment if her brother would open his doors to her, let her feast with them under the white wreath as custom demanded.

She turned away and the thought passed like morning frost in springtime.

Word Count: 149

This is for FFfAW. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Goroyboy for providing the prompt photo!


The cables whirred. Victoria listened to them, feeling the vibrations carry through the seats, the wind buffeting the windows, each tiny degree the car tipped.

That was the trouble with noticing everything. She didn’t know how to turn it off.

“Nervous?” asked the only other passenger.

She looked at him. Short hair – military cut. Thick coat. Pale eyes. Square jaw. Small scar on the lip.

“My name’s Peter,” he said.

The words were clipped, dictionary-perfect.

“There’s nothing to worry about. I ride it all the time. Never had a problem yet.”

“Just because you haven’t had a problem yet,” Victoria said, “doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the future.”

“True.” Peter smiled. “What brings you out here?”

“I’m looking for someone,” Victoria said. “But you already knew that.”

Peter drew a serrated knife from his pocket. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re not. I can see it in the eyes.”

Peter shrugged. “You’re dead either way.”

Victoria dodged as he lunged. His knife stuck in the seat cushion.

The car shook, he stumbled, and Victoria kicked.

He struck the door at precisely the right angle to force it open.

She looked away before he hit the ground.

“I’m sorry.”

She meant it.

Word Count: 200

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction.


In her tower of brick and concrete, she lay and dreamt of a world where there were no locks on her door, where her father did not watch her with drink-red eyes, where her arms were not black and purple with bruises, where she could see her love again.

Knuckles tapped on the window and there he was, all smiles and curls, his face bruised but his hand outstretched.

“Rapunzel,” he whispered, “let down your hair.”

This is for Three Line Tales. Thanks to Sonya for running the challenge and Ronaldo Santos for providing the prompt photo!


Nobody came to the town any more. It was buried beneath layers of dust, shadows, and memories.

An old man sat in the saloon. The last man. Old newspapers piled up around him – crinkled yellow paper slowly consumed by creeping mold.

He poured a drink. The glass was dusty despite his efforts and little grey flecks spun on the surface of the whisky, making ripples in the golden-brown.

“I should leave,” he said, voice like grinding nails. “Find a new life. Not just wait here to die.”

He looked at the sunlight spilling through broken shutters. Then he looked away.

Word Count: 100

This is for Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for running the challenge and Yarnspinner for providing the prompt photo!


People used to tell Tim he’d be lonely living up in the shack all by himself.

“Yes,” he’d politely reply, smiling in the way he only did when he was feeling both furious and witty, “that is rather the point.”

He’d been up there a week, alone with the winds, the mountains, and the occasional owl, and couldn’t say he was regretting much. He was getting a lot more reading done.

Still, he wasn’t fond of the shadows in the night. Or the voices. He told himself he was imagining them, but as the cold closed in and the only light was the flickering of distant stars, he found it harder to believe.

On a red dawn, with the mountains looking like the teeth of a wolf after the kill, he saw the footprints in the snow.

They must be mine, he told himself. They must be.

Word Count: 147

This is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Yinglan for providing the prompt photo!


Rupert was admiring the chandelier – “Quite an exciting piece. Very modern.” – when his wife, Bernice, called for his attention and he looked away.

“Would you like another glass of champagne?” she asked.

Whether he would have can never be known, for at that moment, the chandelier came crashing down to earth, passing through the unfortunate Rupert on the way.

There was a good deal of screaming, a lot of shouting, and more than a few people straining for a better look.

In the rafters, the killer swore. He’d got the wrong one.

But there were still more chandeliers.

Word Count: 98

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for running the challenge and Dale Rogerson for providing the prompt photo!