Microfiction Three Line Tales: Tidying up

This is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt. I had to look at this picture quite a while before anything came to mind.

photo by Carson Arias via Unsplash



His face wore the stony, immobile mask for which he had become notorious, as if nothing touched him—nothing, no matter how appalling, seemed to excite any emotion in those features at all.

The official placed the document in front of the dictator, signed by both executioner and prison doctor, and waited for the brief nod which allowed him to leave.

The faintest flicker of a smile twitched the corners of the dictator’s lips when he read the name, and his hand reached into the box of little yellow heads and tossed another one into the glass jar on his desk.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

13 thoughts on “Microfiction Three Line Tales: Tidying up”

  1. That’s chilling, Jane. That total disregard for people, that lack of emotion. Yes, you can imagine any number of dictators through history behaving in the same way – detached, random acts of violence to keep the populace cowed. Well done

  2. Chilling! Although it sounds to me like he doesn’t lack emotion, he’s just practiced at not letting it show to others. That flicker of a smile makes me think he’s quite happy about another of his enemies going down. (And I imagine an awful lot of people fit into the category of this man’s enemies.)

    1. You could be right. He maybe has a cat he adores, or even children. But he has found a way to categorise people that allows him to dispose of the unwanted ones without any qualms of conscience.

      1. To clarify, the emotion I thought he was hiding wasn’t anything sweet toward cats or children, but a delight in killing his enemies. To me, that’s worse than just not having any qualms!

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