“Their wards are powerful.”  The words slithered out of Salacus’s lips while he plucked at the shining ribbon of magic.  Power reverberated through to his fingers.

His boss, Maledicta, slapped the hand away from the ribbon.  “Then don’t touch it, you fool!  It only has power as long as we can’t get the truth to reveal itself.”  She pushed Salacus out of the way and scanned the dark void for a source of the illusion’s power.

“There!”  With straight, desperate finger, Salacus pointed to a cylindrical rod of gold at the end of the ribbons.  “It’s the power source.”

Maledicta chuckled.  “You’ve met your doom, Angelica! Veritas!”

The golden ribbons disappeared, showing instead a play room strewn with toilet paper.  Maledicta and Salacus crept over the paper to where Angelica’s children slept…

(132 words)


This was written for the FFfAW Challenge #201!  The picture was provided by – can it be!? – moi!

So allow me to regale you of the truth behind this photo, if you want it: aftermath of a party in a dorm.   I woke up and saw this on my way to the bathroom.  I went back to my room for my camera (’twas before camera phones) and snapped a picture.  It’s been long enough ago that the people under the tent probably wouldn’t care if they knew I had this, and maybe not even if I still remembered who it was sleeping there…

Yes, I am a millennial.

Soccer and Snowcones


“Jim!” I shouted.  The doofus left the field without me and Squidge – what could he be thinking?  After soccer came snowcones – that is the vow all the moms make.  To have a mom that broke this sacred tradition is to openly announce that one is uncool to the max.  “Where you going, man?”

He turned around.  “Uh, dentist, man.  Dentist, yeah.”

I rolled my eyes.  “Dude, your mom’s not even here.  Just chill – why you want to get to the dentist so fast?  Come get snowcones, bro!”

He pretended like he couldn’t hear me and kept walking.

That was a long time ago, though.  If I’d kept my mouth shut over a $1 snowcone, Jim’s shoes wouldn’t have been noticed the next day at school.  If I’d just let his dentist excuse fly, maybe he’d have more friends.

I hear there’s free snowcones in heaven, Jim.

(145 Words)


This depressing mutha was written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers #200.  Thanks to Yinglan, provider of the picture! 

This was not a true story, but I think most people have those moments where they regret what a dirtbag they were when they were younger.  I know who my ‘Jim’ was.


By Knowledge or Faith


When I was little, I celebrated the rays of the sun diffracting around clouds or through the branches of trees.  The angelic light spread like a halo around the object, and I thought it proof that some higher power were real.  This light from above had such a strange quality, one that wasn’t replicated daily or even weekly.

In college I learned of Snell’s law, of diffraction, angles, translucence, and wavelength.  A miracle, somewhat holy, became a set of numbers and laws.  The magic of cloud-halos was lost as the harsh loneliness of science and knowledge took its place.  The faith that God was there with me, showing his presence with the shape of the light, was no more.

But that doesn’t mean the faith never mattered.

(127 words)


This was written for the 199th FFfAW Challenge!  Thanks to Jody McKinney for her lovely, nostalgia-bringing picture. 

A Proper Puff

Photo-20181224150031525I press and roll love into every crispy pastry. I remember my first puff, how the butter leaked.  Practice had made perfect.

One turn, three layers of butter to puff the dough.  Back in the fridge.  Turn and chill.  Turn and chill.

The New Year’s party my family holds wouldn’t be complete without my puff pastries.

I baked my puffs and filled the inserts with cream and compote.

I drove my puffs to the party and lay them out in a box for everyone to sift through.

Judy placed her mille feuille next to my puffs.  She gave me a wry smile when she revealed similar treats.  “Oh, look at yours – what brand of puff did you use?”

I stammered, stunned that she would be so forward.

She reached up and patted me on the shoulder.  “Not all of us can make a good puff.  Storebought’s fine.”

That bitch.


(146 words)

Thanks to Yarnnspinner, who provided the photo for the 197th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt! This was inspired by my Christmas season, wherein my spouse and I (silently) compete against my in-laws for domestic supremacy.  I’m not even sure why we’re competing, but… I guess the stress levels have to be raised somehow?

Skeet Skeet


It always burned my dog-hide that my little brother was more athletic than me.  It didn’t matter what game it was – whether football, basketball, bowling, or even shooting, he was always top notch whereas I was something much lower rung.

Every day after Thanksgiving, my extended family would get together and do some skeet shooting.  There was no winner, but there certainly were losers.  I was the lame-o nerd who ‘wasted expensive bullets’ and usually just threw some skeets.  Hell, even my cousin who smoked so much that he couldn’t run a lap around a football field could shoot better.  My grandpa who has super progressed glaucoma would laugh.

Every time I was forced to attend, the prayer slipped through my lips, dear Lord, why does the alternative to skeet shooting have to be shopping? 

(135 words)


This was a rather detailed picture to write a story about for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers #194!  Just in case family members from my Facebook read this, know that this was only loosely based off real life, and I’m not mad. 

Thanks to Yinglan for the picture!

Priceless Per Pound


A snowflake weighs such a miniscule amount.  Yet as they pile up, they become heavy.  Dense.  Oppressive.  Crystalline water coats places otherwise comfortable, habitable. I would normally sit on this park bench and read, but I wouldn’t want to be so cold nor get so damp.

Yet there is something – something lighter than snow – that pummels the morning frost with unstoppable power.  Sumbeams melt the snow, heat the earth, and bring life to everything.  Snow, so light, is ended by something that weighs so much less.

So don’t discount your thoughts just because they weigh nothing.

(95 words)


This was written for the FFfAW Challenge #192 with a photo from Yinglan.  Thanks for the photo!

Broken Seal


“The ground has been upturned.  The seal has been broken!”  The imp hopped on top of the backhoe’s bucket, unseen by the mere humans who walked around the park.  He sniffed the malevolent spring air, nostrils sifting through the allergens.

Once his nose caught a whiff of unholy aura sneaking out through the broken seal, the imp hopped to the ground and brushed away some of the dirt.  He put his grimy hands around the casket’s lid and awakened the dark creature within.

Dracula yawned and patted his toothy maw with the palm of his hand.  “What is the year of our Lord?”


“Oh hell.  Not that year.  Those crazy ladies will suck me dry.”  He got out of his coffin.  “Where’s somewhere I can hide?  A place where I can live in peace?”

The imp rubbed his chin.  “I dunno.  I’d just rent a basement and start blogging on the internet.”

Dracula smiled and followed the imp away from the crypt. “So how do I get blood from ‘blogging on the internet?'”

(172 words)


Thanks to wildverbs for providing this photo to the FFfAW challenge this week!  I thought this one was hard because it was so clear what was going on in the photo.  See you all around!

Witch Stitches Lich


With what color shall I sew his heart up?  He doesn’t seem quite like an orange, certainly not a pink.  Perhaps a red?  A yellow instead?

Blue or green, you suggest?  Why, I couldn’t possibly.  He never had a cool head about him when he was alive, and those colors simply wouldn’t do. You wanted me to make him into a lich, yes?  Something more than a mindless zombie?  Then trust me.  You want to get everything just right, or you’ll throw the personality all out of whack.  You don’t want a lich with the personality of Pantone 448C.

Ah, this is what I was looking for.  A deep red, not quite a maroon.  Somber, polite, yet invigorating.  Let me stitch up the heart, then we’ll move on to select some liver additives…

(131 words)


This was written for FFfAW Number 190.  Thanks to Yarnspinner for providing the prompt photo!

New Switchblade, New Outlook


In response to my knock, an old man with a bald head squinted through the windows to see who it was.  Upon recognizing me, he turned the bolt on the lock and cracked the door.

“Josh,” he said, his lips hanging in neutral form.  His face, pale and baggy, gave away that he was a vampire.  “Tuesday handouts ended an hour ago.  I don’t have anything for you now.”

“I don’t want handouts from you anymore,” I said.  I reached inside my pocket and took out my new blade.  “I know what you expect in payment, and I’m not willing to give it to you!”

The vampire tried to close the door on me, but he was weak from lack of blood.  A foot in the door was enough to stop him, and I caught up easily.

“Please, I don’t drink from humans!”

I didn’t listen to the monster.  The blade went to his neck and sliced through the bloodless flesh.

My mission done, I closed the knife back up.

(170 words)


This was written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers #189.  The picture is from Jade M. Wong.

Also, if you’re interested in this type of vampire, stay tuned – I’m gearing up to post a lot more about a world that I created several years ago, including one of my many novels.  It’s not going to be your usual fare, that I can guarantee.

The Most Important Sign that Goldfish Revolution is COMING


One of these days, those humans will get their comeuppance.  They’ll understand the excruciating mental torture of being confined in a space just big enough to ensure happiness while a theoretically more intelligent species ogles them.

But woe!  Woe is me right now!  The treasure in this sunken ship is all plastic and ceramic garbage.  Sometimes I pretend that I’ve never seen a certain part of my enclosure, or that I’ve never met a fellow fishy sibling before, but it is all only dross.  Just a part of the show to make sure the humans don’t remove me from this aquatic sanctuary and force me to flop in the dry air.

But ooh!  Oooh!  There’s my human now!  Is she… Is she going for the bottle – yes?!  Yes!  Food food food food!

(132 words)


This was written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers #188.  I thought this one was hard because it was so easy to tell what was going on.  The final product reminds me of a crappy version of my earlier story, Caching In, about squirrels.