The Boy, the Zany, and the Heart

The Boy and his Father got off the grey train, onto the grey platform. As they left the grey station, a Zany whirred past them on a unicycle, scattering his feelings behind him as he went. He wore a crazy multi-coloured suit, and whistled as he passed them by.

The Father frowned, and adjusted the sleeves on his grey jacket.

“You don’t want to show your feelings off like that”, he said. “It’s far too dangerous. Anything could happen”.

And he led the Boy home

On his next birthday, the boy was given a grey metal box.

“It’s for your heart”, his Father told him. “Pop it in here, and I’ll lock it up safely for you. I’ll take care of the key for you. You can have it any time you want”.

From time to time, the Boy would pick up the box. He could feel the warmth of his heart through the metal, and if he put the box to his ear he culd hear a steady “lub-dub, lub-dub” of heartbeat.

But somehow, he never asked for the key, and as the weeks and months passed he picked up th box less and less often, and in the end it stayed on its shelf, gathering dust.

Years passed, and the Boy became a man. He had a grey suit, like his Father’s, and he went off to live in the Big City. He worked hard, and reaped the rewards. He was wealthy and successful.

At first he visited his home town often, but gradually these visits became less frequent, until one morning he woke up and realised it had been 3 years since he visited. He was a decisive man. He immediately booked a train ticket home.

When he left the grey station in the small grey town, he was amazed to see a Zany whirring toward him on a unicycle. He closed his eyes for a moment, remembering being a little boy again.

When he opened them, he realised with shock that the Zany pedalling madly towards him was his father – laughing and crying at the same tine, scattering his feelings around him like confetti.

His Father shouted something to him as he passed, but the Boy didn’t catch what he said. He did catch the ball of paper his Father threw to him, though.

For a few seconds he watched his Father cycling away, and then turned his attention to the paper in his hands. He opened it out, and smoothed it down, and looked at what it contained.

In his hands he held a picture of a heart, floating free, and a small, grey key.


Image by Caras Ionut.

Challenge by Mindlovemisery’s menagerie.






A sense of self – for MLM’s Menagerie

I remember being left behind, because they were always doing that. Turning back and giggling, faces close, dressed the same, as if they had some codeword.

Maybe they did.

I sometimes tried to follow them, but they would run ahead, until all I could hear was their laughter. Then I’d pretend I’d just gone into the woods to gather berries, or leaves. I’d pretend I didn’t care.

I pretended so hard, for so long, that I lost track of what I cared about. I was like a locked book, key lost in the forest.

A quick flash of fiction for a wet Sunday and Mindlovemisery…


Summer Time

Summer rain spills warm –

Roses hang their heads – but soon –

They will be nourished


A little summer time haiku for Heeding Haiku with Chèvrefeuille.  I’m never quite sure what I’m doing with a classical haiku, so if anyone wants to point out where I’m going wrong, I’d be very grateful. I’m here to learn and grow. 

The chair – story elements for MMLM

Judith winced delicately and picked up her glass. A sip of rock-filtered, hyper-oxygenated water was soothing, but part of her envied the full-bodied red that Joe was swigging. He’d offered her some, of course, but she’d smiled and declined. He should know by now that she never drank wine when it was just the two of them

She watched him, irritated, yet again. When they’d first met he’d been bronzed and athletic. Now? He ate like Henry VIII, and breathed like Darth Vader as he did so. He’d grown a paunch, and wore loose, bright patterned shirts to hide it. Worst of all, he clung to that comfortable old reclining chair that no longer matched her tasteful decor.

Judith dabbed her lips with her cream linen napkin, and glanced sideways at the cellphone on the mantlepiece, wondering if Jack would ring. Of course not. He was far too discreet, far too professional.

Ah, Jack. Tall and slim, blue-eyed and understanding. He’d totally appreciated her vision, her desire to make the house lighter, brighter, fresher.

Jack wasn’t in the phone book. He couldn’t be Googled. You only found Jack through personal recommendations. Or perhaps he found you, he’d murmured, with his twinkling eyes and reassuring smile.

In the living room, now, Joe’s head was nodding. He’d already kicked his chair into recline mode, and now he started to snore. Another night sleeping downstairs. Judith shook her head. She felt no anger now.

Jack had understood completely that she needed to get rid of that tatty old thing. He’d shaken his head at the very sight of the chair.

“It’s no trouble at all”, he assured her. “My boys will come at night, in and out. Anything at all you want to get rid of, just  leave it in the chair. It will be gone before you come down for breakfast.”

Maybe she felt a little pity, then? After all these years? She tucked a bright, checked blanket – hideous thing – round Joe’s sleeping form, and bent to whisper in his ear.

“I do hope you don’t mind, Joe. It was the only way to get rid of the chair.”


This is for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s writing prompt. A list of words (in bold) to incorporate in order into a story. I assumed I’d go sci-fi, but I didn’t. 

Tall story for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

My grandfather had a pig that grew so big we couldn’t keep it, but had to set it loose, to forage for itself. Disaster! It gobbled a field of turnips in one night, an acre of corn in one afternoon. Soon it was pushing down whole trees for food, knocking down barns to get at the grain inside. There was nothing for it – the pig had to go.

The bacon from that pig gave the whole town breakfast for a month, and the skin? How do you think we put a roof on that fine town hall?

Midnight Villanelle

Some of us cannot resist
The haunting owl’s cry:
Maybe we are midnight-kissed.
Soft twilight soothes us,
Moonlight makes us sigh,
Some of us cannot resist,
Fire burning in the darkness,
Watching the sparks fly –
Maybe we are midnight-kissed.
The bat’s swift darting thrills us,
And the fox creeping by,
Some of us cannot resist
A pale moon, dripping stardust,
Dark clouds rolling by.
Maybe we are midnight kissed.
The night world is our play place
I’ll tell you why
Some of us cannot resist –
It’s because we’re midnight-kissed.

I might be too late with this villanelle. It’s for Mindlovemisery’s menagerie. I think I could do better…need to try again at some point. Maybe not today.