Friday Fictioneers – Up the Down

Up the Down – 101 words

Circling the block wasn’t my thing. Finding my way home from lost was.

The staircase surely hadn’t always been there? Tucked between the ruins of faded paper dolls and sweaty groping dates—but there it was now. The first step cracked beneath my shoe, the second tread I tripped on vines and at the top the gate clanged shut; I ran back down, tripping in my haste, falling to the ground, but where the sidewalk should have been was mirror . . . where the world turned upside down and inside out and all became reflection.

And you. I’m lost forever.

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Photo prompt © Amy Reese

When I was a girl I remember walking aimlessly through our house carrying a mirrored tray for no other purpose than to experience the disorientation of “walking on the ceiling.” Mama always said it was a good thing we didn’t have stairs or I’d break my neck. Apologies to Bel Kaufman for the unworthy homage and Amy Reese for the bit of manipulation on her intriguing photo prompt this week, and another round of hearty thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the Friday Fictioneers. Want more flash? Click the frog.

Friday Fictioneers – Still They Come

Double thanks this week to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields  for both hosting the FF crew and for this week’s photo prompt.

Photo Prompt “Kitchen Window” © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Still They Come – 100 words

No fledgling knows that life will be this way.

The battle for yesterday won; conquerer am I. I claim the air I breathe. My heartbeat, home, and history. Mine. For now.

But still they come. The hours, minutes, seconds of this day. This battle yet unfought; these weapons still untried. These wings still wet, not yet unfurled.

My hand grasps leather-banded hilt; the blade seeks flesh, but whose? A voice—a lie—says I am the enemy.

A beam of morning sunlight dries my feathers.

I shake. I fly.

Heartbeat, home, and history. Still mine. I will not yield.


Friday Fictioneers – Murder, Most Fowl

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Photo Prompt © Luther Siler

Hello, again, Fictioneers. An interesting confluence of stumbled-upon links while researching other, unrelated stories led to this mayhem. Thanks as ever to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the party, and Luther for the prompt. Any translation errors I’ll be happy to fix, but in the meantime, I’m blaming Google.

If you’re near central Florida  next fall and interested at all in bird-watching, you might want to take a gander (a-hem) at the Lake County Wings and Wildflowers Festival held at the Venetian Gardens in Leesburg.

Murder Most Fowl – 100 words

“Da t’ing is, it ain’t moider.”

The cop waddled across the restaurant lobby; peered beneath a wire-armatured wing pasted over with yellow feathers.

“See’n’s how it ain’t even a real boid.”

The proprietor gesticulated with sausage fingers. “She cost-a me a fortuna. Sheep’ed in special for the Festival at the giardini. Now, she . . . assassinato. Morto. Alla because il cognato—”

“Sez what?”

“My stupido brother-in-law . . .”

“I gots one a’ dem too. Smashed my weed whacker. Da wife won’ let me take it outta his hide, neither.”

“I do not understand.”

“Me neither, friend. Me neither.”

Friday Fictioneers – Lily Transplanted

Happy anniversary to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, our “Fairy Blog-Mother” (Vijaya coined the honorific, and I’m shamelessly stealing sharing it, just because) who’s been wrangling the Fictioneers for the last three years. I’m only 33 stories in… feeling like the new kid, but meeting lots of new friends and reading some great flash! I hope you enjoy this short excerpt from the latest MS draft.

Photo Prompt © Ron Pruitt

Lily Transplanted – 100 words

Passengers scrambled through luggage birthed from the bus’s underbelly, while others waited to impregnate it with their own bags.

Pearl sandwiched Lily’s sun-pinked hand between her wrinkled brown ones. “The thrift is bloomin’. Lavender, pink and white, all together. It’ll grow on a stone wall a hun’red years, left alone. But you even think about diggin’ it up, it’s gonna die. Lilies, though. Dig ‘em, move ‘em all you want. Sun, shade, damp or dry, they don’t much mind. You gonna bloom wherever you end up planted.”

“I can’t go back to Pine Ridge.”

“Why would you ever want to?”

More stories at the Froggy Link-up:

Friday Fictioneers – Dickory Dock

Better late than never, Fictioneers? Another week, another photo prompt, and another deluge of rain for pre-soaked South Carolina. We’re fine around these parts but friends and family in the midlands and near the coast are experiencing epic floods. We’ll take all the “drying out” vibes we can get. Thanks for the prompt, MG, and thanks as always to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting.
“Mouse on the Prowl” Photo Prompt © Marie Gail Stratford

Dickory Dock – 100 words

Small blond head nestles beneath my chin; toddler bottom cuts off circulation to my thighs; book of nursery rhymes completes the circle of my arms, grandchild enwrapping.

“. . . The mouse ran up the clock . . . “

“A mouse can’t run, Gamma,” she pips.

“Of course it can, Pumpkin.”

“Mice slide. And the little light at the bottom tells the cursor where to go, and you click it.”

I fold the book closed, squeezing her more tightly between my arms. Lay the book aside. Nudge her down. “Go get your coat, Pumpkin.”

“Where are we going?”


Friday Fictioneers – The Petals

Holy Crow, where did the month go? I’ve missed the Fictioneers for a few weeks but it’s good to be back. With any luck, I’ll not have such a hiatus again soon. Hello, again, to our gracious hostess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who’s always there to welcome a wayfarer back to the herd. This piece is adapted from a scene in my current novel-length work-in-progress, Lily of the Valley.
Photo Prompt © The Reclining Gentleman

The Petals – 100 words

Lily dropped the petals into empty Monongahela air. Two for Gabe, who never said goodbye. Loves me, loves me not.

Two for Philip, who’d wanted her, used her. Loves me, loves me not.

One for Emory. Daddy loves me. He taught me bird songs. I was his doll. Dresses, dreams, laughter and promises. A snowfall of petals, one for every memory.

But one petal remained. Emory had been afraid, not for her, but of her, and sent her away.

He loves me not. The last petal drifted down, carried away on the north-bound current. Daddy, why couldn’t you love me?

Friday Fictioneers – Rivalry

I’m a bit late to the Fictioneers get-together this week. I’ve been ears-deep in manuscript revisions and query-polishing. I’m grateful for any positive thoughts, prayers, or good wishes you share as I take the next baby step.  As always, thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the Fictioneers crew. A super-sized helping of more stories await just behind the frog.

Photo Prompt © Madison Woods

Sibling Rivalry – 101 words

“I don’t know why you let Bat get to you, Luna. Owl had it covered. Can we please get back to the trees? I’m full of eggs with nowhere to lay them, and not getting any younger.”

Luna fluttered her antennae. “That smell. It’s better than pheromones. I’d love a taste.”

“Taste? Ha! I’ve got two words for you, Luna. ‘Vestigial mouthparts.’”

I’d stick out my tongue if I still had one, Luna thought. “Remember your pre-morph days, Polly? Eighty-six thousand times your weight in maple leaves.”


“Why do you have to be so mean?”

“Mom always liked you best.”

Too bad the warm fuzzies of their family reunion didn’t last. That story’s here.

Friday Fictioneeers – Reunion

Last week was our own reunion; this week plays with the same theme. Do you recognize anyone in this bunch, perhaps even yourself? As always, thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the Fictioneers crew. More stories await; Froggy with lead the way.

Photo Prompt © Madison Woods

Reunion – 101 words

They gather in the clearing, restless with anticipation. Wolf and Cougar post their guard.

Cricket chirps his canticle by Firefly light; Mouse critiques the song with squeaks. Raccoon and Mink resume their hide-bound rivalry, Skunk disdains them both.

Owl, the eldest night-child, calls, assurance and admonition. A billowing ribbon of daughter Moths subdue their fears and light; Owl will not hunt them tonight. Bat is not so principled.

Clouds snag on treetops, shred on winds aloft, unveil the face of ancient Mother Luna.

Bathed in moon-glow her children’s eyes open wide to receive her blessing. Bat alone cannot see her beauty.

Friday Fictioneers – Self-Contained

Sorry to miss last week, Fictioneers, but himself and I were family reunion-ing far enough up in the mountains that connectivity of the electronic variety wasn’t going to happen. Fifty of us managed to connect in much more human fashion. Fire-roasted corn, three-legged races, and sticky marshmallow hugs from the newest generation trumped the internet and it was a wonderful thing. As always, thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this weekly party. It’s good to be back.


Self-Contained – 101 words

She wanted a road-trip; I wanted a cruise. We had a flat in the middle of nowhere.

She wanted bubble tea; I wanted a bacon biscuit. She slurped her gelatinous lumps through an over-sized green straw. “All that glass make me nervous,” she said. “Breakable bottles on breakable shelves. Who does that? One clumsy toddler equals disaster.”

“Those bottles have survived hundreds of years, and the shelves are attached to the wall.”

“Can’t you indulge my delusions for once?”

My stomach growled.

The door-chime announced the new arrivals. Distracted parents, frazzled kids, one untied shoestring.

“Let’s sit here, near the window.”


Friday Fictioneers – NeverBeen

Welcome back to the Fictioneers’ Playhouse. Wednesday–another photo, it must be time for another bit of flash. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is our gracious hostess, and a talented author. I’ve been staying up way too late (3:00 a.m. – or is that early?) reading her latest, Please Say Kaddish For Me. Good read.

This place and Sandra’s picture are far too lovely for the melancholy that follows. You’re allowed to blame my fit of gloom on sleep deprivation.

Photo Prompt © Sandra Cook

NeverBeen – 98 Words

I cannot leave this life behind
I cannot cut the ties that bind
The close horizon locks my shackle chains.
There is no distance.

Fear the light, abhor the sun,
Hate the future, lose the fun,
Dread to live a life that’s unrestrained,
Not mere existence.

I am a rat. I know this maze.
I know the twisting, turning ways
The well-worn paths amid these canyon halls
of man-carved stone.

I find my grain; I find my bed;
I live between my feet and head,
Prisoned in the cells that line these walls.
I am alone.

You know where the frog goes, right?