Microfiction #writephoto: A lonely child

This short story is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt


The child stood on tiptoe to peer through the leaded panes, breathed on a diamond and drew a smiley face in the moisture. It was cold outside, and not much warmer inside. She shivered. The room was high and bare, like most of the castle rooms, but this was even barer than most and tiny, much higher than it was wide. There was nothing in it except a wooden chest pushed against a wall.

Perhaps because it was the only object in the room, perhaps because of some other attraction, the child approached and ran her fingers over the carved flowers and birds.

It’s a girl’s box, she thought, full of some girl’s things.

Pushing with both hands, she raised the lid. Cold air rushed out and around her, lifting the fine locks of hair about her face. With a sharp cry, she let the lid drop and backed up to the window and the light.

Her hair brushed the stone sill and she felt the cold touch of water on her neck. She cried out again and held out her hands to her mother who was hurrying across the silent stone flags.

“It’s nothing, silly,” her mother said, soothingly, glancing at the little puddles on the narrow ledge, “just a bit of rain water.”

But it isn’t raining.

She held her mother’s hand tightly, but only that hand was warm. Everything else was cold, and she felt unutterably sad. She turned in the doorway to look back at the lonely room, the box and the face drawn in the window glass. The smile had trickled and the eyes had run, and she heard, quite distinctly, the sound of weeping.

Microfiction #ThreeLineTales: Gotcha!

This must be the longest, most convoluted three lines I’ve ever written! For Sonya’s Three Line Tales.

Photo© Faustin Tuyambaze via Unsplash


I see the mark, looking round, uneasily—simple, looks exactly like his photo—but I wait, taking my time, enjoying the anticipation of the mayhem that will follow.

Someone turns—the client, what’s he doing there?—raises eyes to stare up to where I am standing—does the stupid fucker want to blow the whole thing?

Movement,the mark getting jumpy, spots the client, follows his gaze…ducks, shoving and elbowing through the muttering crowd, while the client points straight at me, shouts—what the…? Out, out, out!—and I slip away, a shadow, swearing and sweating, because suddenly, the mark is me.

microfiction #writespiration: It stared at me…

For Sacha Black’s writespiration prompt, a 52 word story continuing from the intro words in bold.


It stared at me with wide, unblinking eyes through the gap between two planks of decking. We’d only been in the new house a week and already it was giving me the willies.

“I don’t know what it is, Jeff, just bring the crowbar, quick.”

The decking was old. The planks lifted easily.

“Oh my God!”

Microfiction #three line tales: Breaking

This is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

photo by Paulette Wooten via Unsplash


The venue is full—he knows half of the faces, hears familiar voices, wishes he was joining them for a drink and a few laughs.

The gear’s waiting, shiny and full of contained energy, waiting for the band to arrive so he can check the sound.

He still doesn’t trust himself to stand, licks dry lips and picks up the mic. “Listen. I’m sorry, but there’s been an accident…”

Microfiction #writephoto: Watcher

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday #writephoto prompt




An underground river flowing into the light, they call it. After a sinuous journey through rock strata and hollow caverns, it finally rises and pours into a shallow bed, tranquil and green, shaded by lush, broad leaves. Two low arches, mossy with damp and alive with rampant vegetation straddle the placid water.

Who built them, nobody knows, nor why. No preservation order protects the dark twin tunnels, no protest group has tried to prevent the local farmers building a dam that will stop the river, flood the site and provide water for their maize crop.

The river flows, calm and peaceful. Stars look down on its ever-moving surface where moonlight ripples among the stones of its bed. Moonlight glints hard and bright on the shiny bulldozers lined up to begin clearing the trees and the old stones.

Is it moonlight reflected in the depths of each tunnel, growing stronger as the night advances, filling the arches with a light as old as the stars? The ground shakes and the river flows quicker, tumbling angrily as the earth surges upwards, higher, into the star-flecked night.

Two dark eye sockets beneath a helm of stone, above a warrior’s frame, stony and ancient as the earth, turn towards the little town that dared steal the waters of life. The dark eyes let their tears of anger pour away, and feet dragged from sleep deep within the earth, wade through the roaring river, crushing the engines of destruction, following the watery path to the town.

In the morning, the waters will pour red, and they will still flow to the sea.

A room of one’s own

This, in 52 words is a description for Sacha Black of my ideal work place. With requested pics. In between the pics is a 52 word poem, added this minute as an afterthought. Two for the price of one.

I need a chair and a table and a laptop and an armchair for a dog and a window for light and a radiator for when it’s cold.

Birdsong beyond the window is nice and trees bending in the wind and at night a host of stars.

The last things aren’t necessary.

Room with laptop


There’s a dog in the chair by the window,

And a cat on the sill in the sun,

There’s a rose on the terrace in full bloom,

And the breeze sighs that summer’s begun.


All I need is enclosed in this still space,

My silence within makes it my place.


That’s all.


Room with dog

Election Day


On this day of decisions, soul-searching (for some), defiance (for others), the walk to the polling station is one of the small gestures that binds a people together. It’s a walk three of my children have taken today, and I’m proud that they take their civic duties seriously. I won’t be walking with my friends and family because I have never asked for French nationality. It never seemed of much importance. I am Irish, an Irishness that was learned, handed down, taught at home and at school because I was an immigrant. I never lived in Ireland, only ever visited. My life was elsewhere, always has been, still is. My Irishness has never been something taken for granted, but a positive statement.

On this Election Day, I wonder if I have been wrong about the nature of Frenchness and what part of it, if any, belongs to me. What does it mean exactly to belong? Do I belong? My children don’t understand the problem. They have their Irish passports and French carte d’identité. Friends are surprised that I am still not a card-carrying French citizen. They don’t understand either. This fraught period of our history has opened my eyes to my own ideas about belonging. This is my place. These are my adopted people. There seems no valid reason for not taking the plunge and adding a second nationality to my allegiances. Perhaps this will be the last presidential election that I will stand by the side of the road and watch everyone else walk by.


Morning dawns the same

for all, night stars fade, moon sets

and the sun rises.