Monthly Archives: August 2017

Safe – A Haiku

there is no safe place

no high ground, no border wall

to save us from us


For Haiku Horizons Challenge, prompt word, safe.

Speckled Monsters

“Come along now Bertie,” ‘Lisbeth lilted, hoping to mask the inconsolable grief and horror that gripped her heart, “your princess chariot awaits!”

“Smallpox,” the doctor had whispered after examining the child earlier that day. “We must transport her to the island straight away.”

“Where are we going, mama?” Bertie asked as she lay in her mother’s embrace.

“To a beautiful castle my darling girl, where you can rest and get well.”

But Bertie, as her mother feared, would succumb days later, a prisoner of the castle, its moated barrier meant to contain speckled monsters like her behind its crenelated parapets.


A 100-word historic dramatization for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction Challenge. It is inspired by the above photo by Roger Bulltot.

When I researched the photo, I discovered that this place is the modern-day view of the ruined remains of the Smallpox Hospital in New York City. Located on the southernmost tip of Roosevelt Island, formerly known as Blackwell Island, and surrounded on all sides by the East River, it was designed by architect James Renwick, Jr.

Renwick is famous for designing other notable gothic structures, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Stereoscopic photograph of the original Smallpox Hospital building

From 1856 until 1875, the small 100-bed facility served as the city’s small pox asylum treating about 7,000 patients a year. After some additions to the structure, it became a nurse’s school before being abandoned altogether in the 1950’s.

In 1972 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1980 it was added to the New York State Register of Historic Places. Read more about the Smallpox Hospital HERE.

“Speckled Monster” is a nickname coined in England and attributed to the formal name of the Smallpox virus, Variola, which is derived from the Latin word varius, meaning “spotted”.

Hearts of Stone

Hearts of Stone

I remember the crunching sound of my feet shuffling, scattering pebbles about, as I walked that morning. The sun was barely tree-top high in the sky, the leaves were sparkling, and there was a fragrant breeze; honeysuckle and wild garlic. For whatever reason, I don’t even recall it now, I was distraught. I felt totally alone, unloved and hopeless.

And then my toe smacked into a perfectly honed, heart-shaped stone. As I bent down to pick it up, the sun crested the tops of the trees and I felt its warmth on my back. It occurred to me in that moment, I was not alone and that someone, a Great Spirit, Faeries, the Universe, God (I’ll leave the naming to you), had left it there to stub my toe and stop me in my melancholy tracks. I felt loved. I felt hope. I kept that heart-stone on a window ledge so I could look at it and remember.

Eventually, I was called upon to do the unthinkable; to give my beloved heart-shaped stone away…to someone who loved it as dearly as me, maybe even more.

Now, please don’t be sad for me, dear reader, because on that very day I found three more heart-shaped stones, and another, and several more.

Everywhere I turn I find them now; big, small, shiny, rough, perfectly formed, some with tiny flaws. To some, they are just rocks, but to me, they are undeniably hearts, one and all.

I keep them in my pockets these days, to remember…and just in case I have an opportunity to give one away to someone who needs to know they are not alone, that they are loved, and that there is hope.

If you should ever happen to find a heart-shaped stone of your very own, I hope you’ll remember too.

life to death to life
skeletal fragments turned cold
chiseled stones remembering
love requires letting go
a heart surrenders, knowing


A haibun/tanka For Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, prompt words, stone and turn.

Twittering Tales #47 – 29 August 2017


About the challenge: Each Tuesday I will provide a photo prompt. Your mission, if you choose to accept the challenge, is to tell a story based on that prompt in 140 characters or less. Be sure to let me know in the comments with a link to your tale.

A final note: if you need help tracking the number of characters in your story, there is a nifty online tool that will count for you at

I will do a roundup each Tuesday, along with providing a new prompt. Have Fun!

Twittering Tales #46 – The Roundup


Photo from

I started this round off inspired by the eclipse. But you all took the challenge to infinity and beyond! Some of your tales were other worldly, focused on faraway frontiers and others were deep, introspective…to that other final frontier, if you know what I mean! I am so amazed at the variety of impressions that flow from a single photo. Bravo, everyone! And thank you for playing this week.

My twittering tale:
“Where’s the lens filter?”
“I thought YOU packed it!”
“Great! This trip is ruined!”
“Mom, Dad, look!”
“Wow. Look at that.”
“Let’s take a selfie.”
(140 Characters)

From Reena at Reinventions:

“This really fascinates me.”
“What? People staying away from work?”
“No. It is the only time good people wait for the dark shadows to appear.”
(140 characters)

From Kalpana at Gemini in the Sky:

“All our misfortunes will be overshadowed courtesy this auspicious eclipse, Ana.”
“Face them, they disappear, John. Enjoy the eclipse”
137 characters

From Martin at Martin Corcoran:

When Women Rule the Earth:
I call this one: ‘Men argue over who has the best camera whilst woman takes epic photo.’ And this one’s: ‘Men miss Bigfoot flying UFO…and…’
140 Characters

From Di at Pensitivity101:

Pull the sun back up, I forgot to take the lens cap off.”
62 characters

and…Di had a busy previous week so here’s her entry for TT #45:

“This undercover stuff sucks”, thought Sid.
At least he didn’t get Bert’s assignment as Grandma.
95 characters

From Deepika at Deepika’s Ramblings:

A challenge to the participants, “Shadow and light”. Who’s in?
Open aperture, focus, and shoot ! The best picture shall be published in the next months digital express magazine.
139 characters

From Radhika at Radhika’s Reflections:

Thanks Dad for the camera. Your thoughtful birthday gift won me the first prize at a photography contest, beamed  Adi! This was my entry!
Character Count: 139

From Fandango at This, That, and the Other:

They told us that we could take photographs from this ridge. It was beautiful until the intense heat and wind from the blast overtook us.
(137 characters)

From Bobby at Writing, Events, Competitions and Even Some Self-Penned Bits:

Everyone was waiting for this once in a generation experience, the rebirth of the Phoenix.
89 characters

From Francine at Woman Walks Dog:

Forget the eclipse, I can see molten lava coming out of a deep abyss in the hillside. Is this normal? Is it the Day of Judgement? Quick let’s cook the burghers!

From Leena at Soul Connection:

Every1 Exctd Here,Lets Join Dem
Every Evng Sun Cvrs Nature In Btfl Black Shadow,2day His Turn
Haha Yea,Btfl Phenomna,It Brngs Negtvty Is Myth.

From Willow at WillowDot21:

The sun came up, so did the ants.
They crawled up legs and bit us in our pants.
Who decided we should use this spot
Just to get the sunrise shot.
(142 Characters)

From Edwin at Edwin’s Journal:

“Why are we here, dad?”
“Son, I’m here to shoot the precise moment, when the sun kisses the horizon. It’s always been my lifelong dream.”

From Kitty at Kitty’s Verses:

Many light years away, here I strike a pose as though catching him or am I deluded by my power?
A loud guffaw, I’m but a minuscule.
128 characters

From Peter at Peter’s Ponderings:

They gathered round the creature in awe, having come from afar to worship. Its eight limbs were silhouetted in the light of the ship’s glow.
(140 characters)

Twittering Tales #47 – 29 August 2017

This week’s photo prompt is MARBLES! I am thinking there are a few stories here. Avid collectors, gamers, CRAZY people…haha. As always, the most important thing is to enjoy the process. You have a week to come up with 140 characters! Knuckle down my fellow mibsters…no fudging allowed. (I’m afraid I’m giving my tale away, but oh well. This is just too fun!)


Photo by David Estebanez at

I heard he lost his marbles!

Yeah. That mibster was fudging. He knuckled down, knocked his aggies out and even took his taw for keepsies. 

(137 Characters)


Rain Shivers

shivering timbres,
shrill cicada crescendos
swell like rain droplets

rain puddle tripping
giddy twirls beneath wet arches
blue goose-bump shivers

misty afterglow
shivering twisted limbs wilt
in rain-drenched hollows


For TJ’s Haiku Hub Challenge inspired by his mystical photo above and the prompt words, shiver and rain.

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