Category Archives: Under 300 Words

Her Eulogy


She was the kind of girl who lit up a room. Not in a flashy over the top sort of way. She had a calming presence, but it was more than that. Grace perhaps? It was something special, hard to describe. I remember the first time I saw her sitting along the far edge of a room full of boisterous people, heavy into schmoozing.  She was deep in conversation with our host’s Labrador Retriever. Otis was his name I think. And Otis, well, he hung on her every word, just as I drank in her every move, breathless.

I underestimated her that first meeting, you know. Of course I made it a point to get to know her better. Wouldn’t you? She opened herself to me like an ocean, given to tidal swells of emotion, teeming with life just under the surface, fierce yet healing. I hadn’t expected to find a wild spirit beneath her calm demeanor, but it endeared her to me even more. Over the years I learned about wild things. Only one so confident, comfortable in their own skin can exude such grace. Only one so free could dance through the layers of suffering and cross over into death…and in so doing, teach us all…teach me, what it is to live.

light fading, flicker
death swept you away too soon
how graceful you were
dancing with death, like lovers,
your final breath seizing mine

For Colleen Cheseboro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge inspired by the words: Calm and Wild. Today’s offering, a Haibun/Tanka. I have only recently discovered this form and I’m really enjoying idea of marrying poetry and prose. Peace and Grace Everyone! ❤

Only the Purest of Hearts

Photo by © Eric Wicklund

Once upon a time, an enchanted tree in an ancient forest was known for granting wishes to those with pure, true hearts.

A scoundrel heard the legend and devised a scheme to fool the old tree into granting his evil desires. He spied a kind old man and overtook him, ripping out his heart, tossing it, still beating, into a satchel. As he approached the tree, it noticed the old man’s pure heart.

“Hello kind sir,” the tree said, “I sense your heart is true. What is your wish?”

“Oh great tree,” the scoundrel replied, “thank you for finding favor with me, a lowly servant. My wish…my wish…”

But before he could utter another word the old tree heaved, unsettling the ground beneath his feet. “What have you done?! Imposter! For your evil deed you shall suffer darkness forevermore!” The old tree’s roots burst through the dust, ensnaring the scoundrel, dragging him into the cold earth.

The tree took pity on the old man. He dispatched the faerie folk to restore to him his heart, granting him a long, happy life. The man continued to bestow kindness, even to strangers, because that is what those with the truest hearts do.


A 200 Word Tale for Sunday’s Photo Fiction Challenge based on the photo above. This one was quite the challenge and a great lesson in the art of brevity. Truth be told, the first draft of this yarn was over 500 words! Challenges like this help one to become a better writer. You should have a go of it. Click HERE for the details.


It was still there, just as he remembered; that grotesque eagle statue that “looked like it had been spray painted gold”. Her words. She made him laugh. That’s when their eyes met and he found the courage to ask her to join him.

The cafe on the corner was gone. Well, the building was still there, but the space had become a trendy clothing shop.

It was crazy, but he was sure he could smell coffee in the air and a hint of her perfume. “Jasmine”, she had told him, like her name. Crazy.

“Jazz?” He whispered. But there was no one there.

So many things had changed since that day. They’d shared a wonderful life. Made a home, raised three amazing kids. He had always assumed he would go first. Fate didn’t agree.

So now here he was, fulfilling a promise that he would go back, have a coffee and check on their old friend, Guido, the eagle.

He tipped his hat toward the old bird. “It’s all your fault you know. If you hadn’t been so gawd awful looking she might never have noticed me.” Then he laughed out loud. “Thanks Jazzy girl. You knew I needed that.”

(200 Words)

For Sunday’s Photo Fiction challenge inspired by this photo by our host Al.

Checkmate Baby

Charlotte was a ‘checkers’ kind of girl. Occasionally she entertained a game of backgammon or tic-tac-toe, but chess? That was his thing. Strategy was not Charlotte’s strong suit.

She didn’t mind at all that Stuart invited friends to the house when he got in a mood for a game. But tonight was different. His guest for the evening was Claire, an attractive woman he’d met at work. Stuart was quite oblivious to this femme fatale, but Charlotte read right through her fake smile and polite nod. Charlotte found a corner in the adjoining room and waited.

It wasn’t long before Claire made her move. Charlotte’s instincts had been spot on. Claire had slipped between the game table and Stuart’s chair and was leaning in toward him, to his horror, when Charlotte rushed into the parlor to thwart her advances.

“I believe this is what you call a ‘Checkmate’. Am I right Stuart?”

Recovering from his initial shock, Stuart sputtered, “Uh…Right you are Charlotte.” He turned to Claire and declared, “you heard the Queen. This game is over.”

As Claire let herself out, Stuart winked at his wife, “and you said you were no good at playing chess!”


(198 Words)

For the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge inspired by this photo by our host Al.


© C E Ayr

She threw her arms around him, smothering his face and neck with kisses.

“You be sure to tell your mama I hope she feels better real soon,” he whispered in her ear.

“Oh, I will sweetie.” She wouldn’t.

“If you all need more money to pay those doctor bills…well, you just call and I can wire it to you. Oh, and call me when you get there. Okay? So’s I know you got there safe.”

“Will do,” she lied, as she reached around him, grabbed her bag and darted off, tossing her hand up in a wave. “I’ll be back before you know it.”

She found a window seat on the train. One last obligatory wave and she’d be free of that stupid bumpkin. He’d been an easy mark; a homeboy. His grandmother’s inheritance would keep her comfortable for several months, or at least until she landed her next chump. Speaking of…

She fixed her gaze on a well-dressed gentleman seated across the aisle. “No wedding ring,” she surmised. “Traveling alone perhaps?”

They locked eyes. He didn’t look away. She smiled coyly.

As the train pulled away from the station, her “bumpkin” stood waving. She never looked back.

(198 Words)

For Al’s Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge inspired by the photo above by C E Ayr.

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