Tag Archives: microfiction

A Lovely Obsession

The quote “She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.”

~Terry Pratchett

A Lovely Obsession

I first met her when I was a child. I spent hours listening to her, drinking in tales of the love’s and lives of people I would never know, but whose dna coursed through my veins.

As I grew older I planned summer and winter breaks to be with her. She had so many stories left to tell and I couldn’t bear the thought of missing a single one.

Eventually, age and time began to take their toll. Her frame had weakened, and the light faded from her face. I moved nearby to be closer to her and continued my daily visits until the dreadful day when her voice was silenced by greedy real estate developers.

They drained her lovely moat and took a wrecking ball to her beautiful face, crumbling centuries of brick and mortar into a heap of dust. I watched, tears flowing down my face, as they loaded her into monstrous trucks, and hauled her away to a quarry, in order to build a resort on her sprawling estate.

They thought they had removed every trace of her, but I knew better. She was rooted in this place.

The hotel had barely opened its doors when rumors of hauntings spread. Patrons stopped coming. Eventually the new owners shuttered the doors of the resort for good.

I was happy to see it fail. Finally, I had her all to myself. Once again, I spent my evenings wrapped in the shadows of her abandoned corridors. After all, she had more stories to tell, and I couldn’t bear the thought of missing a single one.


A short story for Mind Love Misery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt inspired by the quote and collage above.

The Midnighters

“Parliament is in session,” declared Ozzie, “we have a couple of live ones this evening!”

“Whooooooh…I love the futility of it all,” hooted Ollie.

Orville chimed in, “Foooooools.”

Otto, the quiet one, just ogled. He was good at ogling and freaking out fearful humans. ‘Am I a good omen or a bad one…whooooo can tell?’

“Shhhh!” Otis screeched.

“Whooo, look! They’re coming!” Odin announced.

Two souls bolted over the hill and into the valley, their hapless former selves stumbling behind in pursuit. It was futile, just as Ollie had said. After a few dips and swoops the souls faded into the mist, leaving their fleshy hosts in darkness.

Once a person loses his soul it is nearly impossible to get it back. Give your soul an inch of freedom from reason and it is sure to bolt. It’s a slippery slope. An epidemic of epic proportions orchestrated by legions of soul-less heads who are miserable and in need of adoring followers.

But at least the midnighters were entertained.

“They never had a chance,” sighed Ollie.

“Same time tomorrow then?” Odin asked his fellows.

“Wouldn’t miss it. This is better than barn crashing!” Orville guffawed.

“Whoooo’ll be next? Whooooo knows?”


A bit of silliness for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge based on the odd painting above, that I discovered, after a quick google search, is by Hugo Gerhard Simberg (24 June 1873 – 12 July 1917), a Finnish symbolist painter and graphic artist.

The Girl Who Dreamed of Flying

Once upon a time…you know where this is going. You might even think, this is one of those ‘fairy tales’ and dismiss it straight away as a myth, but I can assure you it is truer than true. For it is true that everything in this world has a once upon a time; even you, if you think about it, when you burst purple, wet into this place, gulping your first breath, eyes squinting at the bright glare of life.

And so it was for Clarissa. Born in a humble wisteria-draped cottage in a dingle village long, long ago, Clarissa emerged from the Guf laughing, eyes wide and bright. The midwife declared, “My my, but this is a special one!” Never had a truer thing been uttered, as time would tell.

As soon as she could walk, Clarissa set about exploring every cranny and nook. Birds and bugs, whirlygigs, cottonwood fluff and witch’s gowan wishies…flying things, were her favorite things of all. She spent hours studying them, quite unusual for a youngster, and gibbering to them about this and that, as if they were listening. She dreamed of flying like her airborne friends. One day she did. It was the saddest of all days the dingle had ever known.

On that dark and dreadful day Clarissa managed to escape the watchful eyes of her doting mum to wander up the mountain trail to the lookout ledge. She stood there for a moment, feet clinging to the rocky crag, arms extended, her fiery red curls dancing in the wind, and she laughed so loudly it caught the attention of every living thing below. They watched aghast as Clarissa lept into a swooping gust and flew for a short, too few magnificent seconds.

Frantic to save her, every winged, wispy thing surrendered their feathers and wings, whirligigs and fluffy, puff wishies to the wind, hoping to break her fall her by blanketing the dingle in feathery fluff, but they were no match for gravity’s power, drifting helplessly in the air. Clarissa fell right through them, landing in a horrible thud as the last echo of her laughter faded in the distance.

Now you may not notice it when it happens but I can assure you it’s true. Every time a child laughs a bird sheds a feather or bug its wings. And sometimes Maple tree whirligigs, cottonwood fluffies and dandelion wishies take to the wind too. All to remember Clarissa, the girl who dreamed of flying, and to add another moment’s wonder and happiness to children everywhere. For it is also true that their magnificent innocence, like Clarissa’s ill-fated flight, fades far too quickly, like echoes of laughter in the distance.


A Folktale for Jane Dougherty Microfiction Challenge inspired by Jeren of itsallaboutnothing’s poem that you can read HERE.

Hopeless Grace


Suspense by Charles Burton Barber

Beads of sweat dotted her forehead as she crouched, trembling under a makeshift shelter of cardboard panels. Her swollen belly tightened as surging bolts of excruciating pain crushed her frail frame. 

After hours of agony she birthed not one, but two baby girls. “Two too many mouths to feed,” she thought. She swaddled them in rags and placed them in a tattered basket, scratching a note to the good sisters. “Please care for them”, she wrote, “I cannot.” 

Before dawn she stumbled into town leaving them at the abbey door. As she watched from a distant doorway, the sisters of St Gertrude’s Orphanage took the twins in just as she had hoped they would.  


The sisters named the babies Hope and Grace. Hope was the quieter of the two. She rarely made a sound and seemed to prefer observing life as it passed before her. Grace, true to her name, was a delightful, good natured bundle of joy. She quickly caught the attention of a barren couple who visited the orphanage hoping to find a child to call their own.

The adoption fee was quite high, but it ensured the means of prospective parents and their ability to provide for the children placed in their care. The sisters never mentioned that Grace was a twin for fear that the couple might change their mind. Finally the papers were signed and fees paid. Grace became a daughter that day, while Hope remained behind.

Seven years passed. Grace thrived in every way. Her wealthy parents showered her with love and comfort, seeing to her every need and want.

While at the park one spring day Grace noticed a girl, strikingly familiar, amongst the orphans that came to play every week. She approached the girl.

“Hello,” she smiled, “my name is Grace, what’s your name.”

Hope looked up, her eyes widening. It was like looking into a mirror. “I’m Hope,” she replied, “you look just like me. How can that be?”

The girls became fast friends. Grace begged her nanny to take her to the park on the days when the orphans would be there. She told Hope about her lovely home and family, her dog, Button and her kitten, Scratch. Hope, in turn, told Grace about her life at the orphanage. The sisters were kind and loving in their own way, but they were not a mommy and a daddy; something Hope longed for.

Overcome with compassion for the orphan, Grace had an idea. “you know Hope, you could be me and I could be you. I’m sure no one would be the wiser. Then you could see what it’s like to have a mommy and daddy.”

Hope thought for a moment. “That’s a fine idea Grace! I could do as you say. No one would be able to tell. If you are willing I would love to do it.”

The girls agreed to trade lives for one week. They swapped clothes behind a huge oak tree. Grace joined the other children as they lined up to return to the orphanage. And Hope skipped over to the nanny who was sitting on a park bench nearby.

Their plan worked like a charm. No one ever suspected. After a week’s time, while enjoying breakfast in bed, Hope decided she rather liked being a daughter with parents and a dog and kitten. There is an old wives tale about twins that says there is always a good twin and a bad twin. Hope definitely fit the latter description. What she was about to do to Grace was very bad indeed!

From that day forward she resisted the nanny most vehemently when she offered to take her to the park. There Grace returned week after week, waiting and watching for her doppelgänger to no avail. Eventually she realized she had been deceived, feeling helpless to fix the mess she’d gotten herself into. Surely no one would believe the truth were she to tell it. So she didn’t.

Poor hopeless Grace spent the rest of her youth with the good sisters of St. Gertrude while an imposter lived the life she forfeited for having too kind a heart.

-kat – 13 April 2017

For Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Microfiction Challenge based on this painting called


When Women Ruled the Land

A fitting microfiction tale for Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Microfiction Photo Prompt on this International Women’s Day. Peace all! 🙂


Painting by Hans Thoma

Once upon a time, when women ruled the land, the Earth Goddess appeared on Elysium Mount playing her harp to call forth Spring. The people, dressed in white, gathered in vernal fields to celebrate the emergence of new life. It was said that one could hear the sound of Earth Goddess’s harp for miles, from sea to sea. It was a time of peace, hope and prosperity.

But Old Man Winter was not fond of Earth Goddess’s gaiety or her authority. He particularly disdained her warmth and light and greenness.

“Too much green!” he bellowed, as he spewed cold nips of icy breath across the plains to dissuade the buds from blooming.

“Too much light! he bemoaned, as he sent the darkest cloak of blackness to loom over the land in the wee, late hours of night to suppress the flickering sparks of dawn.

“She is much too hot!” he growled from the center of his cold, cold heart. “The world does not need new. Things are fine just the way they are!” Old Man Winter whined every year as he retreated to the earth’s poles to wait for Spring and Summer to Fall.

Of course it was completely out of place for him to demand that the seasons, the earth and his way of bitter existence upon it, be only as he wished it to be. The seasons are as sure as the rising of the sun and the setting of the moon.

While in exile, Old Man Winter devised a plan to usurp the Earth Goddess’s rule. As winter was fading on the cusp of spring the following year, Old Man Winter sent two messengers, Power and Greed, to visit Earth Goddess as she played her harp on Elysium Mount. An enchanted flute-playing Lizard joined them. Lizards, as you know, are powerful totems of regeneration, renewal and rebirth, but they can be quite lethal, breathing fire and destruction, if allowed to sprout wings.

“Hello Fair Earth Goddess,” Power began, “we think the Spring Festival would be much more festive if you would consider adding the talents of our friend Lizard to your sinfonietta. He is a fine flautist from the rocky shoal along the Crystal Sea.”

“Imagine the beautiful music you could create together!” added Greed, “after all, two is better than one, don’t you agree?”

Knowing the legend and lore of the Lizard and seeing that he did not bear even the slightest bud of wings upon his back, Earth Goddess agreed to let Lizard play his pipe to her harp.

So enchanting and mesmerizing was the duo that the people stopped dancing to listen. It was then, that the Lizard sprouted wings, launching into a spree of terror from the sky, as had been the plan. The people scattered in fear to every corner of the earth leaving Earth Mother alone amidst the fading blooms of Spring; fading because she had stopped playing her harp when she realized she had been played. Finally, a cold wind whipped through her, ejecting her from the mount. She realized the culprit of the plot, but it was too late. Old Man Winter had won.

He still allows Spring to pass through each year, but he is clearly in control reminding her of this fact by sending unseasonal gusts of icy air. The Piper, (or Lizard as he was once known) still plays his pipe, its melody traveling on the wind while the people shudder, still scattered and fearful of shadows, bumps in the night and fire from the sky.

As history will attest, it was also the beginning of the time when men, fearful of women’s strong intuition and powerful ability to create and nurture, began to use fear to their own advantage, as a way control the people.

Though thousands of years have passed since the coup, I have heard that on rainy spring days, if one listens closely, the sound of the Earth Goddess’s harp can still be heard between rain droplets. She is close by, waiting for the day when peace, hope and prosperity are released from their chains and she is restored to her place atop Elysium Mount. On that day she will play and play, and the people will dance once again.

~kat – 8 March 2017

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