There is a city like ice in the sun, like smoke in the wind. It is a maze of sparkling water, of spanning bridges, of shadows and whispers.

Through narrow alleys the traveller walks, silent as a cat. Crossing a low bridge, he looks down at the waterway beneath. Small waves lap at foundations.

He thinks of a story about a bird that ground a mountain to dust.

The waves will not take as long as the bird.

The city is a dream, a mist, and one day it will be gone.

But for now, it is here.

Word Count: 98

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



During the long cold nights, she liked to remember summer: the warmth of the sun on her skin, the lake a wavering war of light and darkness, leaves green on the reaching branches of the young trees, birdsong in the air.

In the ice, there were no lake, no leaves, no branches, no birdsong, and no warmth. There was only the cold. The cold forever.

When it first descended on her, wrapping her in fingers of blue, her skin stung and her bones shivered. Now it was nothing. All-consuming numbness.

Did I deserve this? 

It was a question she asked herself every day, every hour, every minute, as she stood, statue-still, encased in her ice tomb.

She would give anything just to feel the sun’s warmth again.

But the spell had frozen her until the mountains ground to dust, until the seas turned dry.

Until the sun turned cold.

Word Count: 149

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


Leonard sat on the bench, hat pulled low over his face, and tried to be inconspicuous. He failed. In his defense, it was his first covert rendezvous and nobody had ever really told him how they worked.

When he’d offered to fill in for his girlfriend Jean at work, he’d thought she was an accountant. Filling in for a CIA operative was a little trickier.

“Just take this drive,” Jean said. “And give it to a woman in a red scarf. Be careful. They have eyes everywhere.”

He fingered the drive and hoped the contact would show up soon. The bench was cold and the birds were looking at him funny.

Or were they birds? He squinted. Those black glassy eyes could just as easily be little cameras, the wings a disguise for a drone.

“You can’t have it!” he said, his voice shaking. “I’ll… I’ll die first.”

The bird craned its head to one side. Leonard swallowed.

“Well. Maybe not die, exactly.”

In a flurry of feathers, the bird flew onto the table, beak inches from his face.

“I don’t even know what’s on it!”

The bird squawked, Leonard shrieked, and, across the park, Jean laughed, filming everything.

Word Count: 199

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and Susan Spaulding for providing the prompt photo!


They watch it on the monitors: grey against grey, shadow against shadow. And the more they watch, the more they cannot agree.

“Like a bird,” says the first man. “A bird with a plume made of smoke.”

“No, no,” mutters the second man. “Like a hooded man. A hunched, thin man, his legs like matchsticks and his face like darkness.”

“It has no shape,” the third man whispers. “It is a shifting thing, a cloak with no wearer.”

The door handle shakes and the monitors blink out.

The men can agree now on what it is.

It is here.

Word Count: 99

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


Do not separate! the paper sign taped to the flamingos read. The letters were a bold red, the handwriting emphatic.

Timothy sighed. One of his father’s eccentricities. He wondered how many “eccentricities” you needed before they started calling them “symptoms.”

He was certainly gone by the end. Wherever he was, it wasn’t here, Timothy thought, looking at the old brick house rising above him like the ruin of some ancient hall. The gardens were overgrown, the windows where shattered, and every square inch was overrun with forgotten things: tattered teddy bears, chipped china, peeling posters. He felt as if he was drowning in his father’s life, a life full of a million things he needed to set straight and a million debts swarming around him.

This yard sale was a start. It felt like tunneling out a prison with a spoon. There were too many items and not enough buyers.

“I only need one,” the woman said, pointing to the flamingos. “I’ll pay the full cost.”

Timothy longed to take the crisp twenty she held between her fingers, but he looked at his father’s note and shook his head.

“No. As a pair or not at all.”

Word Count: 197

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and Susan Spaulding for providing the prompt photo!


(Apologies for slow responses to comments and reduced posting this past week. I’ve been on holiday and busier than I expected.)


A man lived in the half-built house, amidst bricks and plaster and dust. He wore a pair of hole-ridden boots and a coat of patched grey. His hair was wild and overgrown as the woods, a tangle of grey and brown. No living thing dared approach him save the rats, who ate from the palm of his long-nailed hand.

Once, three men decided to knock down the house and build anew upon the ground. It was valuable ground, worth the weight of the soil in silver, and a hundred buyers would have snapped up a house built upon it.

They came and found him standing on the doorsteps, his rats scurrying about him.

“You’re evicted,” they said. “This place doesn’t belong to you.”

He smiled a broken-tooth smile and whispered, “But I belong to it. The bricks are my bones, the stench my breath.”

They went away. The next day they would come back with police and lawyers.

They never came back. One slipped upon the stairs that evening and broke his neck. Another drowned in a puddle two inches deep.

The third went mad, shrieking about the rats inside his skull.

And the man remained in the half-built house.

Word Count: 200

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and C.E. Ayr for providing the prompt photo!


Josiah Lee was an ordinary man. He sold carrots at the  market, he helped the Smiths clean their drains, and he knew everybody’s name.

On a warm June night, he rose from his bed, took up his shovel, went into the yard, and began to dig.

When the sun rose, he still dug. His pajamas were mud-stained and his bare feet scratched. His wife called out to him, but he did not hear her. His daughters tried to pull the shovel from his hands, but he fought them off.

“It’s down there,” was all he said. “In the deep.”

Word Count: 99

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