Posts Tagged ‘short stories’


The White Horse was a pub like any other, full of good ale, better people, and the roar of laughter. The fire in the hearth burnt like a sunset behind mountains of black charcoal and the dartboard was peppered with the stab marks of near-perfect games. Old friends talked long into the hours of the night, unwilling to leave.

Once you left The White Horse, you never came back.

The White Horse sat at the world’s end, beyond the horizon, perched above an expanse of twilight and mist, where echoes of distant songs carried from unseen valleys. It was where heroes came when their stories were done, a place to rest, to laugh, to tell their stories, before the time came to move on.

Some of them stayed an hour. Some stayed for decades, greeting future generations as they walked through the door to tell of their changed world.

All moved on in the end. Their hunger sated, their hearts rested, they set out along the last road and walked into the swirling curtain.

All save one.

An old man sat behind the bar, pouring drinks and hearing stories.

He remembered them all.

Word Count: 193

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to A Mixed Bag for the photo prompt!


In the dark and silent day, the call goes out.

“Stack the chairs and bar the doors!”

Then they wait in trembling stillness for the footsteps to stop in the halls.

This is for Three Line Tales. Thanks to Sonya for running the challenge and Daniel Von Appen for providing the prompt photo!


She floats like a feather on the breeze. The bite of her arrows is the scorpion’s sting. Her laugh is birdsong.

All the land tells tales of her, the wild outlaw in the forest, roaming the branches with a bow of yew and a tigress’s smile.

They talk of the Sparrow.

Everyone has their own story.

A butcher tells how a friend wandering in the woods was suddenly beset by Sparrow’s strung bow. She demanded of him his purse, his boots, his clothes, and his horse. Laughing she left him, frozen and half-naked in the forests, flitting into the branches like a fay of song.

A farmer tells how a tax collector was strung up from a branch, her mouth stuffed with an apple like a hog laid upon a lord’s table. For two days and a night she hung there, till she was cut down by a passing woodsman. She swore never to take an honest farmer’s coin again.

But there is a story nobody tells of Sparrow.

Each night she lies in the shadow of the trees and weeps for her loneliness, her cries soft amidst the rustling leaves.

There are none to hear her save the beasts.

Word Count: 200

For Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Eric Wicklund for the photo prompt!

Across the chessboard, their eyes meet.

His are green ringed with amber, sharp as knives.

Hers are so deep a brown they’re almost black, an endless void.

Victoria slides a pawn gracefully onto a black square. Her opponent’s white teeth glint. The game is begun.

The clock hands raced like horses and she watches his face for signs of weakness.

“What’s your goal here?” she asks. “Prove you’re clever than me? What does that get you?”

He says nothing and makes his move.

She watches the screen overhead: red and blue wires, ticking numerals, little clay-smooth lumps of explosive packed together. Ten faces stare at her, hoping for salvation.

“Nobody has to get hurt,” she says. “Just stop this.”

His green eyes flicker with fire.

“Play,” he hisses.

She plays. Calculations dance through her head, a graceful ballet of probabilities.

He’s good. His every play is masterful.

But Victoria’s better. She knows this as she knows that the Sun will rise.

His King topples, the round base rolling and rolling.

He nods.

“Stop the countdown,” she says. “Now.”

He presses a button. The clocks stop.

“I just needed to know,” he says.

Word Count: 192

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Photo credit to A Mixed Bag.


He pushed open the door to the old shed, now overrun with crawling vines, bursting through every gap in the thin white walls. The desk was engulfed in a swarm of green.

Apart from the wear, it was just as he’d left it. Nobody had found it: not his family, not the police, not some wandering hikers. His sanctum remained secret.

The vines rising up like snakes around him. He stroked them and smiled, looking at the pulsing, writhing mass in the shed corner, surrounded by old bones.

“We begin again,” he whispered. “And this time, they won’t stop us.”

Word Count: 100

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


There is a school that does not advertise, that has no website, no campus tours.

Its alumni are the powers behind the world, the figures in the shadows, whispering in the ears of presidents and kings.

They are the writers of history.

This is for Three Line Tales! Thanks to Sonya for running the challenge and Faustin Tuyambaze for providing the prompt photo!

The picture looks like a graduation which, coincidentally – or not coincidentally, given the time of year – is what I’ll be attending next week. Only a BA, though, not a degree in ruling the world from the shadows. 😉


Cheerful fifties tunes greeted Tara and Greg as they walked into the diner, a bell chiming behind them. There wasn’t a speck of dust in the place.

“Hi, folks!” a waitress said. “What brings you to our diner?”

“We needed somewhere quiet,” Tara said. “Somewhere to relax.”

The waitress smiled. “That’s usually what it is.”

The world flickered, like a bad signal on a television: counter rippling with black mold, music slowing, the waitress’s face rearranging itself like a jumbled jigsaw.

Tara blinked and all was normal again.

“So,” the waitress asked, leaning close, “what can I get you?”

Word Count: 99

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