Ronovan’s art prompt is this painting. I have no idea what it is, but here’s what it inspired.



From a forest of tree tangle,

dead and dry, it comes,

treading with the confidence of death,

untouchable and indefatigable.

No wings carry this crow,

no lightness of sky and cloud touches its dusty flesh.

Midnight at midday,

the wilderness caws,

hoarse as war trumpets braying,

and we cower as the blight grows

and the fever rises,

and we dread the sound

of pounding at the door.



For the Daily Inkling.



The dawn breaking, slow and sluggish wakes her, and the clicking of the sand crabs. They crawl out from their sandholes at first light, hunting. She pulls up her knees and sits, hunched up small, reluctantly letting go of the oblivion of night. The crabs click, and the sand stirs as hundreds of them home in on her body heat. She raises her eyes to the hills that roll heavily skywards and squints. The light is pale, but she is sure that the highest points are green, a ragged leafy crown of trees. Up.

Beyond the scuttling crabs lies the ocean, still miles away, but creeping inexorably higher. The crabs come first. She has seen what follows. Up. There is no option.

Sun rises and the heat increases. The light is deep red gold but it sears like flame. Up there, the air is too thin. The stars are too close. She keeps her eyes on her feet and climbs. Sand shifts, slithers, and each step drains the energy of two. Up here, there is nothing but sand, smooth and glittering, and dry. She fixes the image of the trees in her head and plods on, higher.

Higher, the sun weighs down, like lead pouring onto soldiers’ heads as they storm ancient walls. She feels the burning trickle down her back, dragging on her feet. She even hears the screams. Up. There is no option.

She no longer feels anything. Her feet have melted, her back is a brazier. Her eyes are as dry as her mouth, her vision as cracked as her lips. The shadow falling softly over her shoulders goes unnoticed at first, but the fire recedes, gradually. Cool. A breeze on her face, and slowly, painfully she raises her eyes from the sand before her and the flames in her eyes cool. There is shadow and thick trunks of scented pine. Her toes scrunch pine needles.

Hope dares to seep back that perhaps the story is true. Perhaps there is safety on the hilltops. She finds new energy, walking quicker, her head high, searching for water. There must be water or there could be no trees. She zig-zags between the trunks, sniffing, peering, her toes digging into the sandy soil searching for dampness.

Ahead, the trees thin. Already? Then there are no more. She hangs onto the last tree truck, her heart falling, falling, falling. Beyond, the hills roll down, back down, inexorably down, through baked dunes to the sparkling ocean, where they are waiting.

In the hush of night

A poem for the Secret Keeper’s five word prompt.




In the hush of night, the cold is rude.

Frost feather-ruffles with frozen fingers,

fitting into any lock, beneath any door;

no nest or lair resists.

Beneath the cruel winking of the stars,

the pheasant stirs, caught

in the unbearable embrace of chill wind.

No kindly wing covers and protects,

no error pardoned—fox sniffs

the frozen air, and the night is stirred again

with cold blood.



Dear animals,

Just a short word to say, we are not all sanguinary brutes, although it must look like that to you. You see the two-legs rushing round in their vans because their legs aren’t up to running after you. They need their dogs because they can’t sniff out a track on their own or get among the brambles. They need their rattles and horns and whistles to frighten you because otherwise you would stay put and they’d never see you. They need their big guns to kill you because they have no teeth, claws, speed, stealth, talons or beak.

They kill, the overweight and out of breath, because you are beautiful, and you can live where they cannot, because you run, creep, fly, stalk where they blunder and trample. Don’t forgive them, for they know what they do. Run and hide. See tomorrow dawn.

A friend.


A message from the Oracle.


We drive beauty away Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 10.42.07

from this garden;

life is stilled,

only screaming shadows remain,

smell of lost summer,

whispers in the wind.

Shots rip red death—

stop! Please.

Raw is the rose light

that shines this sad bloody day.

Why? I ask, but there is no reply

for those who cry.


Rain stopped play.Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 12.35.01

How many thousands more

need to die?








The cracks in the ground

are full of dead things

I hear them sigh

as I walk the fields

where jays patrol

to snap up whatever

life still moves

and the pied magpies strut


at a banquet.

Daily Shadorma: Deep tracks

There are a lot of frogs and toads around here, and we sometimes see dead toads on the road. They don’t move very fast, and the road is so quiet they probably don’t suspect anything unpleasant is about to happen to them. A couple of mornings ago I found a toad by the side of the road. I didn’t realise it was dead at first. It seemed frozen in mid movement, one of its front paws raised as if to ask a question, it’s head held high, eyes wide open. I’ve no idea what happened to it, there hadn’t even been a frost in the night.


Deep tracks dug

in the fallen leaves,

muddy pools,

no longer

crisp with frost. Dead toad, frozen

in mid gesture, supplicates.

Almost dead

This 100 word story is for the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. Johnny is dead, I have a migraine starting, so what do you expect?

PHOTO PROMPT Dale Rogerson


Trees spangled with daggers crowd around the place.

Let me out! Let me back!

No one would hear, not even the birds. He felt the cold. Never thought he would. Nothing had ever moved him but blood, the sight, the smell, the taste of it, the beautiful tracery of veins and arteries he saw throbbing beneath the skin. He smelled it now, warm and sweet, pulsing through the cold earth. He couldn’t move, they’d made sure of that, before they piled the earth over him.

Sweet, warm.

A scuffle—night vision, he still had that—beady eyes in his. Rats.