The Meaning of Life

I chose a lighthearted approach for this flash fiction. It’s
written for the November 29th Flash Fiction Challenge

Abelard Stiles turns his profile and strong jawline to the audience as he clasps both hands of Marissa Herring, his costar, playing Angelique. He looks longingly into her cerulean eyes, pellucid as gems of northwestern azure.

“Angelique, my love, I must go. I leave you now for the glory of Canada. My comrades await. ” He drops her hands and pivots melodramatically, walking out of the spotlight, into the dark at the back of the set.

Marissa pushes her hair back, clasps her breast, and collapses like a husk to the stage. “Oh, Neville; don’t go, come back, please.”

The prompt and instructions were:

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “into the dark.” What must a character face? Write about an encounter, journey, relationship, or quest. Follow the ship’s lights on gloomy seas. Go where the prompt leads you

OLWG#78- A High Forehead and an Unmarked Grave

A bit of fun written for OLWG#78

Henry was sittin’ in his livin’ room
When he heard a knock
Pounding on his old front door

Henry sat on his mother’s old Chesterfield in the front room, watching TV. He was interrupted by someone at the door. His caller, that afternoon, was Death himself. That Grim Reaper was wearing his black robes and standing on the wide wooden porch. His bony finger was pointing directly at Hank. He carried his scythe in the crook of his arm, the wicked blade resting over his shoulder.

“You’re early,” Henry said and he turned back toward the sofa, “But you might as well come in anyway. The game doesn’t start for at least another hour. Come on then… don’t let all the warm air out.” He chided the Angel of Death who had remained in the doorway but now followed Hank into the house.

“Did you bring beer?” Henry asked. “You were supposed to bring beer.”

Pale Death trailed behind. silent as the grave.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. an unmarked grave
  2. a high forehead
  3. “you’re early,” he said


The incident occurred as Violet was climbing into the back of a Gypsy cab, curbside at The Apollo. She saw it as a revelation, enlightenment, an illumination of sorts.

She’d been drinking quite a bit and tossed her cookies. Lucky for the cabbie, Violet hadn’t gotten in the taxi. Unlucky for Violet, the cabbie sped off. She studied the vomit in the gutter and saw Jesus. It almost kept her from drinking again.

An Even Stranger Story

It was a sunny day without a cloud in the sky when Morgan Renfro first saw Jessica Thurman. Jessica was standing in a third-floor window of the Biltmore hotel, gazing at the farmer’s market below. Her dark hair hung down below her shoulders. She wore dark-tinted Ray Ban aviators and nothing else.

Morgan stared at her, transfixed and unabashed by his intrusion on her privacy. She wasn’t his type. She appeared older than he and was exceedingly gaunt, thin to the point of being anorexic. No breasts to speak of, but a slight roll of loose skin at her hips that made him think she hadn’t always been so lean. His attention focused on the thatch of dark hair below the loose skin and he felt the stirrings of his own arousal.

She chose that moment to turn her back and move into the shadows of the room. He walked immediately toward the front doors of the hotel where he pushed inside and took a seat in the lobby, choosing a table by the front window. He sat where the sunlight streamed past the painted letters that spelt Biltmore on the glass. Mo was curious and he was a patient man; there was nowhere else he needed to be. Mo waited.

He waited for Jessica Thurman to come downstairs. He didn’t know that was her name, yet, but her image was strong.


Jessica stepped dripping from the shower and dried herself with the thin towel embroidered to read ‘THE BILTMORE.’ It was too small for a bath towel and too large for a hand towel, but it was all she had. Naked, she pushed open the bathroom door and let the steam escape into the bedroom. She opened the window. The room had a musty, damp smell that she needed to abate.

Leaning over and surveying the street she jumped when she noticed the man across the way, only a couple of doors down. It was him, she was sure of it. Jess reached over and grabbed her shades so she wouldn’t have to squint against the glare and to conceal her stare. She pretended to look at the farmer’s market while she studied the man.

Yes, it was him, although this was a much younger version of him. The last time she had seen him was right before fleeing her home and coming to the Biltmore. She’d been scared then. She’d seen him as an ancient workman. He was an apparition standing at the end of the hallway wearing only untied and unpolished boots. His genitals had been pulled in tight as though he was cold and his pallored skin was finely textured, crinkled, and ridged. He’d been small, withered and bent. When he raised his arm and pointed at her, then crooked his index finger beckoning her closer she had turned and run. Wound up here, afraid to go back home, but not sure why.

She realized that he was looking up at her in the window. She realized that she wore nothing but sunglasses. She turned, walked away from the window and began throwing her things into her case. Jessica knew that he had seen her, knew that she had to flee. She hoped she could get away quickly enough. She feared it might be too late.


OLWG#77- The Milky Way

A Haibun (of sorts) written for OLWG#77

Mandy got out of the car at the bottom of the off ramp and shut the door. She stepped forward and leaned into the front passenger side, “Thanks, Jim; thanks, Harriet I’ll make sure to look you up next time I’m in Topeka.”

Harriet clasped Mandy’s hand, “You do that, honey; and best of luck to you.”

Everyone smiled and waved. Jim and Harriet turned onto the two-lane and Mandy crossed it taking her position at the foot of the on ramp, still going west.

Looking around Mandy noted that she was in farm country. There were dark fields stretching in every direction. There were a few lights from a farm house down to the south. Other than that, there was nothing. No cars on the motorway, no cars on the two-lane. Above her were stars. A multitude of stars and she thought they looked like sea-glass spilled onto a dark surface.


Broken glass tossed and shining on a black velvet sky, lit from within

This week’s prompts were:

  1. at the bottom of the off ramp
  2. is that my pencil case?
  3. broken




Russian Eggs

I may have taken a few liberties with the prompt in this cigarette story. Know that it was
written for the November 15th Flash Fiction Challenge

When the new Pastor showed up at the parish potluck bearing Russian eggs; the Elders all objected.

“This is a church event,” they insisted, “deviled eggs are inappropriate.”

Pastor Huberd chuckled until Elder Belknap blocked his path and an argument ensued. The Elders all were adamant, they stood united. Soon chests puffed up. There was pushing and shoving.

No one knows, for sure, who threw the first punch; I believe it might have been the Widow Montes.

In the course of the ensuing scrap, the fancy plate broke and the eggs were trampled underfoot. It was a total loss.

The prompt and instructions were:

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that uses scraps. It can be scraps of dried flowers, paper, metal, fabric, food — any kind of scraps you can think of. Then write a story about those scraps and why they matter or what they make. Go where the prompt leads you.


Age had rendered him bald on top with a narrow ring of long, thin strands around.

He looked like his grandmother’s bedspreads. Smooth on the surface with fringe at the edges on three sides.