#Three Line Tales: Fly away

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

photo by Charles Etoroma via Unsplash


She thought she could escape the pull of the portal by hugging the edge of the room and ran for the opening back to the city with its glistening slabs of anonymous concrete—the known, the dark, the sinister—calling to her to jump, to come back.

She hesitated, listening to the humming of the portal that sounded like music, sweet and low, sending her images from another world, bright and vibrant like childhood memories she didn’t have.

She gave a sob that was part grief and part joy, embraced the dream that drew her to the portal and let herself fly away.

#Three Line Tales: The envoys

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

photo by Vek Labs via Unsplash



A hostile barrier stretched dark and ominous beneath the glitter of the city lights, and the three visitors pinpointed the brighter, glaring lights, the emplacement of some primitive form of weaponry.

All the indications had been that Earth was a warlike, suspicious and arrogant planet, and the envoys advanced slowly, despite the amplified voices barking orders, prepared to give the warriors the benefit of the doubt.

When the missiles blazed, it was with a sigh of disappointment that the three members of the diplomatic mission brushed the puny rockets out of the way and stamped their first, unequivocal statement in the smouldering wreckage of the annihilated battalion.

Three Line Tales: A family affair

This story is inspired by the photo of Sonya’s Three Line Tales prompt. Congratulations, Sonya on keeping this great challenge going for 100 weeks today.

photo by Manu Sanchez via Unsplash


The military presence on the Place de la Concorde reassured the tourists, even though any one of the innocent-looking passers-by could be a fanatic wearing a belt of explosives.

The man watching the Christmas crowds from his window snorted in derision, as if fanaticism or despair, cruelty or an unhinged personality could be neutralised by a band of soldiers.

After all, he glanced at the destruction in the room behind him and the lifeless arm dangling over the back of the sofa, they hadn’t stopped him righting a few family wrongs, had they?

Three Line Tales: Fiery feathers

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

photo by Tobias Keller via Unsplash


They were straight-talking, honest-to-goodness, salt of the earth men, and they didn’t believe in that kind of fairy tale hokum, so when the firebird rose above the trees in a torrent of flame, the drovers just clicked their teeth and chivvied the steers on their way.

Which was unfortunate, because the drifting fiery feathers that the drovers refused to see, were spied by a child, a solitary, unloved child, who recognized their magic power and knew exactly what he could do with one of them.

Unfortunate because the child would grow to go down in history as the man who brought the world to the brink of extinction, and these words that I write, on the brink, are perhaps that history’s closing lines.

Three Line Tales: Ocean of light

The image for Sonya’s Three Line Tales writing prompt is such a magical one, I had two goes at it—the first, a three line story, and the second, a three line poem.

photo by gn dim via Unsplash


After curfew, the darkness was total, solid and malevolent, when the chosen victims, rebels, conspirators or those who simply failed to clap loud enough, or whose eyes betrayed their opposition, were picked up and never seen again.

For a week or more, the nocturnal silence has been broken by cries of protest, screams and calls for help, and the air hummed with forbidden conversations.

Tonight, there is no darkness—a million hands hold up a million candles so the air glimmers like a reflection of the glowing of all the sands of all the seas, as if all the stars hover just above the earth in a sea of light, and the humming is a single shout, a demand for freedom.


If every wish was a light and every light a wish,

the night would sing as loud and long as spring’s dawn chorus,

and we would sleep beneath a million suns.


Microfiction #Three Line Tales: Romance

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha via Unsplash


It had become their restaurant, ever since their first holiday together when he had proposed to her as they watched the sun set over Rome from the Gianicolo.

Years later, he still insisted, always gently with a smile, never giving her chance to say she wouldn’t mind trying somewhere different for a change.

She would take his hand, trying not to let her smile slip, trying not to look with too much longing at the noisy, bright, banal restaurant fronts they passed, none of which reminded her of the dreams they left behind in the romantic light of Rome.

A dream too far

This is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales challenge.

Photo by Daniel von Appen on Unsplash


I can see the trees behind my back, reflected in the glass, still and silent beyond the fence.

If I turned my head I would see them standing tall and free, full of birds maybe, small flickers of movement in their depths, calling me, urging me to come.

If I turned I would see the wire fence, the miradors at the perimeter corners, and if I moved, the guns pointing straight at me—better to dream and live.


Microfiction #three line tales: White death

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales.

photo by Joel Filipe via Unsplash


We had been prepared for an alien invasion for decades, telescopes raked the night skies, and the SDI had been enlarged to cover anything coming from space too.

The vagaries of the climate with its summer snowfalls and winter droughts meant that no one took any notice of the snowstorm that blanketed the whole of the northern hemisphere for a week in June.

Neither did we notice that among the snow flakes were tiny white capsules that fizzed and swirled like aspirin in water, dispersing into hair-fine filaments, undetectable by the naked eye—undetectable until they started to grow inside their hosts.

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.

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.