The circle

Once the blue flames faded, she allowed herself to look again. The circle had done its job – there was no damage outside the black line she’d carefully drawn with charcoal from a hazel log. The demons had been kept inside, and returned now to whatever dark dimension they came from. Not even sound escaped the circle.

Shame about the luncheon party. The guests had expected to consume, not be consumed.

She shrugged. They had challenged her, after all, sniggering at the idea that she was an archimage. She wondered when they’d stopped sniggering and started screaming.

Photo by Fatima Fakia Derier. Prompt by Rochelle. 


Uncle Steve’s Photos

There was a film left in the camera, the night Uncle Steve disappeared. We had to send it off to be developed – his dark room was a mystery to us.

When the prints came back, we clustered round the kitchen table as Aunty Barb opened them.

She never said a word. Her hands shook more and more as she went through them, and her face froze. Then, suddenly, she got up and left the room.

She never mentioned the photographs, or Uncle Steve again, and we never asked her what she’d seen.

Ninety three words for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers. I could have added the days of the week…image by Ted Strutz, words by me, prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

The troll mourns

If you wait quietly, you might see her. She comes at night, singing softly to herself – the low, sobbing song of a grieving troll. She is searching for her lost child. She moves the stones around, looking for signs of life – softened skin, slow breaths – or even of death – the remembered curve of a cheek, the frozen shape of an eye.

She piles the stones in different patterns. We think the designs have meaning, but we don’t  really understand them. Are they a threat to those who stole her baby? A message to a lost child? A cry of pain? This is for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and her Friday Fictioneers. Photo by Sandra Crook, words by me.

Boxing club II

Grishnak sighed. The Hobbit kid was good, keen as mustard. He just didn’t have the reach to take on the Orc boys. And he kept getting penalised for hitting below the belt. Shame. He was going to have to tell him today.

Still, he was a lovely mover. Look at him, dancing round the ring on those enormous –

Grishnak grinned.

Twenty minutes later, Drogo looked up from the flyer.

“Do you really think I stand a chance?”

“With those feet? Definitely. You’re a natural for kick-boxing!”

A second story for Rochelle. The picture is still by J Hardy Carroll. 

Boxing Club – Friday Fictioneers.

The club was her second home. It had made her leaner, fitter. She’d watched the muscles grow in definition on her arms and abdomen. She felt stronger.

She trudged there through rain, sweated there on sultry summer evenings, slipped on snowy pavements to get her fix.

She was one of three women there. The other two met up for coffee sometimes, she knew that – probably talked about her, the tattoo on her shoulder, the scars on her arms. She didn’t care. She just wanted to hit out.

There was only ever one face on the punch bag. Her father’s.


For the Friday Fictioneers. 99 words this time! Photo by J Hardy Carroll. Prompts organised by the inimitable Rochelle. 

Grim Fairy Tales

“…the last petal fell, and the beast was a beast for ever. Belle blamed herself, and never recovered. As her looks faded, she lived only for the stray cats she rescued”.

“Cinderella sat in the kitchen, listening as the prince rode away. He hadn’t even let her try the slipper on.”

“When the dwarves wouldn’t sell him the glass coffin, the prince rode away.”

Maddie threw the book aside. Her stupid brother had managed to scrape two gilded letters off the cloth binding. That “m’s” had made all the difference. These new stories were just grim.


This is for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. Photo by Mary Gail Stratford. It’s such a detailed shot of such an unusual subject. 

The stick

Maddie approached the stick, fascinated. It had just been left, jutting out of a snow drift, glowing softly – as if it wanted to be noticed. She picked it up and shook it.

Snow started to fall, gently at first, then faster – snowflakes whirling under the street lights. Maddie laughed, delighted. She waved the stick like a conductor’s baton, wanting more snow, but it stopped almost immediately.

She shook the stick again: snow. Waved it: no snow.

She tried over and over again. It worked every time.

Maddie grinned. She was going to have a lot of fun with this…

Photo prompt by Dale Rogerson. 100 words of flash fiction For Rochelle, at Friday Fictioneers. 

Rats and Poison

When both Granmas wanted houses, we couldn’t build out, so up we went. They got on “like rats and poison”, daddy said, eyes rolling.

Rats was fat. Weird things came out of the water in those days, but she turned them into feasts. Poison had a small still. After Mamma left,  Rats’ cooking and Poison’s liquor kept the place going.

Rats began her day clashing pans together. Poison ended hers playing the banjo,  keeping Rats awake. They never spoke.

They died the same year. After Rats went, Poison gave up the banjo, and just faded away.

Photo by JS Brand. Prompt by Rochelle, 100 words for the Friday Fictioneers. 

Freedom – Friday Fictioneers

The riots have got worse over the last few years. Like caged animals, we are angry, and we lash out. This was the worst of all, with the biggest crackdown, but it won’t be the last. Not now. Not now we’ve seen.

We’ve been caged all right – by the metal shell of this place, but also by fear – fear of the radioactive desert they tell us is out there.

We’ve seen it now, though. Through the shattered panels – a world of tangled green. And we have smelt the forest.

Photo by J Hardy Carroll. Prompt by Friday Fictioneers. 100 words or less – story by me.