Category Archives: Under 300 Words

A Tiny Interruption

photo prompt by Jules Paige.

The gray, overcast skies matched his mood. John had a bad habit of staying in relationships long past their demise. She was waiting for him at the end of the pier. Their spot. John was beginning to regret that he didn’t suggest they meet at the cafe on the corner.

“Hey. Hope you haven’t been waiting long,” he lied. He was late, hoping she’d get mad and leave, allowing him to do this by text. No such luck.

Darla turned around when she heard his voice. She had been crying. “There you are,” she sniffled.

“I’m sorry I was late. Darla, we need to talk.”

“We do John. I’ve been sitting here wondering how I was going to tell you this. But you go first,” she looked at him through tear stained eyes.

“No. You go ahead.” Maybe she realized it too, John hoped. Then he wouldn’t have to be the bad guy.

Darla sighed, “I’m pregnant John. We’re going to have a baby.”

kat – 31 March 2017
(164 Words)

For Sunday Photo Fiction based on his photo prompt by Jules Paige.


Penny’s First Word

For Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Challenge based on this painting by Ford Madox Brown.


Painting by Ford Madox Brown – Pretty Baa-Lambs

“Pretty Baa-Lambs” her mother said, “baa, baa, baa. Penny can you say it? What do the pretty lambs say?”

Penny was not having it. Her mother called her stubborn. Maybe she was, but Penny did not like this new game her mother always wanted to play.

“Momma,” her Mother would say, leaning in closer, eyes bulging, mouth puckering, smacking the syllables in a grotesque litany of sound bites, “Maaa…mmm…aaa…mAAA…mmmm…AAA.”

It was a never-ending battle. Everything, it seemed had a name. There was a word for each want. “Why wasn’t crying and cooing enough? It had always worked in the past. What was it with these people?” Penny thought to herself as she continued her resistance.

Then one day she heard a lovely word. An amazing word! It was not her mother, but her father who uttered it loud and clear for Penny to hear.

“I like that word.” Penny thought. She decided to say her new favorite word the next time her mother started one of her sound-it-out-say-it, ‘momma’ rants.

For her very first word, Penny smiled innocently at her mother, eyes wide with excitement, as she curled her tongue back and set her top two teeth into a perfect overbite…”FUCK!”

Penny had never seen her mother react so. It was wonderful! So wonderful, she repeated it over and over again, “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” She was a proud baby that day. Very proud indeed!

~kat – 23 March 2017


It was a fading memory. Strobing fluorescent lights, the rat-a-tat-tat of a sticking stretcher wheel, the hot sting of a needle piercing her skin, the cool rush of fluids pulsing through her veins, unfamiliar agitated voices and strange words; pleural cavity, intubate, pulse ox, edematous, code blue, call it.

“9:24 pm”, was the last thing she heard before a flash of light and a whoosh sent her drifting feather light above where her body lay. Through walls, upward, upward until she floated just above the clouds, dots of artificial light twinkling like stars from the sleepy city below.

She drifted there in the in-between for hours, maybe days, it’s hard to know. The inconsolable wails of loved ones breaking through the veil like whispers held her captive. She extended her hands toward them as if she could touch the sound waves, and so, touch them one last time.

But the light was calling to her. She felt its warmth on her back and turned her head slightly away from the fading gray for just a second. And then she was gone. Just like that, a fading memory.

~kat – 15 March 2017

For Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Challenge based on this mysterious painting. 

Hook, Line and Dairy Farming  




Painting by Antos Frolka

Charles was quite pleased with himself. This was the third week that Pastor Smith had complimented him on his dairy farm and mentioned his prize bull, Luther, by name.

“I like that Pastor Smith, Henrietta. Can’t believe I waited so long to join you at Sunday Meeting. Why didn’t you tell he was such a nice fellow?”

“Well Charles, I never had very much in common with him, you know. Not that I don’t consider him a wonderful preacher. But you and he? I declare, you two are like long lost brothers!”

“I know what you mean. Amazing isn’t it?”

“Yes Charles, it certainly is amazing!” Henrietta beamed. Just a month previous, Charles wouldn’t have even considered going to church with her. But Pastor Smith changed all that.

“We’re planning a homecoming potluck in a few weeks ladies. Of course I am looking forward to sampling your wonderful cooking.” Pastor Smith smiled. “Be sure to invite your husbands,” he added, directing his attention toward Henrietta and others who came to church alone week after week. “And one more request. I need you to tell me the one thing that makes your husband most proud.”

Henrietta didn’t know if she should feel guilty for being part of such a ruse. “I suppose the end justifies the means,” she thought, “and it was Pastor Smith’s idea after all.” At any rate, she was thrilled to have her husband by her side each week.

Yes, a wise shepherd knows how to gather his flock before they realize they’re being gathered!

Kat ~10 October 2016
(256 Words)

A short story for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge based on the painting, “On the Way to Church” by Antos Frolka.


Seasoning – Part 7

“Far, far away Soria Moria Palace shimmered like Gold” by Theodor Kittelsen

Hannah followed Helen past the kitchen through a breezeway that flanked the back of the house. She paused to gaze at the garden.

“I hope your green thumbs are up to the challenge dear!” Helen walked back to Hannah. “Breaks my heart to see it like this. You know, back when I was growing up, my grandmother raised climbing rose bushes over there,” she pointed at a weather worn teak arbor. “And my mum, when she had charge of the grounds, filled the raised beds with herbs and plants suitable for teas and tinctures. Our pantry’s rafters were full of drying plant bundles!

Hannah smiled as she imagined the life that once thrived in the weed tangled, overgrown mess. “I love herb gardens. We had one at Waverly, and a vegetable garden too. Every meal my mother prepared included something from the garden. And I remember too, when my sister and I couldn’t sleep, mother would take a bunch of lavender and crush the buds between her fingertips before fluffing our pillows.”

“Ah, your mother was a wise woman. I don’t have any plans for the garden, Hannah. Consider it your special project.” Helen motioned Hannah to the end of the hall.

“Well here you are.” Helen opened the door. “Make yourself at home. Tonight, a surprise! I’m cooking! Dinner is in an hour!”

Henry had retreated to his room after his rude outburst. Exhausted, he threw himself over the bed, soon tossing into fitful, restless sleep, haunted by a recurring nightmare. In it, he was a boy gazing at an elusive city that always glowed just past the horizon despite his attempts to reach it. Happiness resided there. And somehow he sensed his Alice was there too.


This is the seventh installment of a series in response to Jane Dougherty’s Weekly Microfiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is the painting, “Far, far away Soria Moria Palace shimmered like Gold” by Theodor Kittelsen. It is based on a Norwegian fairy tale that you can read by clicking HERE.

Find  previous installments HERE

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