A haibun for the dverse prompt.


At the bottom of the meadow runs the stream, backed by poplars, giants standing side by side, defying the wind. On our side of the stream, long ago some farmer planted willows to counter the erosive action of the water and keep the stream in its bed. Eight are left of the long alley of silver-leafed guardians. Bowed with age and the weight of their branches the others have gradually sunk into the moist earth with the purple clandestine that grows around their trunks. Bowed and split, they lay, tangled with wild vines, and cow parsley high as my shoulders, until we chopped them down, the trees that would never raise their heads again, and trimmed the dead weight from those that would. Eight willows sprout anew, silver wands reaching skyward. The clandestine is hidden now, sunk back among the tree roots, waiting for spring. In its bed, beneath bramble-hung banks, Le Caillou babbles, chattering to the silent deer and the nimble fox.


Roots delve deep, stream runs,

delves deep banks among tree roots,

water-tangled feet.


#writephoto microfiction: Clandestine

Getting back into writing mode with this piece of flash fiction inspired by Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.


They told her it would only be for a few hours. Already it seemed like a week. The entrance to the building was cavernous and draughty and few people either came in or went out. It was in a quiet, tree-shaded street in an expensive part of town. They would be looking for her in the tenements and the derelict shops of the poor quarters, they said, not here among the doctors and lawyers.

She shivered, her skimpy jacket unable to keep out the cold late autumn wind, her eyes fixed on the narrow slit in the stone where the post arrived. There was a box beneath to catch it. The servants came down in the morning to sort it and take it up to their respective employers’ apartments. She was not waiting for the post though, as the light dimmed and the short afternoon drew to a close. She was waiting for a package containing her false papers and a little money, enough to get her out of the country. She strained to see any movement outside, struggling to to keep her fear under control.

A blurred shape moved towards the door. She stiffened, unable to breathe. She caught the outline of a man’s face as he looked furtively right and left, before his bulk blotted out all light, and she heard the slither and clunk of the parcel as it fell into the box. The slit filled with pale light again and the man was gone.

Stumbling from her hiding place she grabbed the thick envelope and with trembling fingers, ripped it open. In confusion she stared at the contents: a door key, her door key; a photograph of herself and Stéphane sitting in the park, smiling, from before when they had still been together; and a folded piece of paper. What did it mean? She unfolded the paper. It said:

And now we have come for you.