A new Flash! Friday. I had fun writing this one because I didn’t take it too seriously. The original photo was withdrawn due to copyright issues, so the replacement picture is a little less relevent to my story, although my focus from the beginning was the game and not the players.



Georgian writers Ilia Chavchavadze and Ivane Machabeli playing chess, 1873 St Petersburg. Public domain photo.

The element to include was ‘a nemesis’.



Eirwen paced, “So it is true?”

“Yes, my Queen. The King is set to admit defeat, if you do not intervene-

“Forgive me,” The knight’s bow deepened as he heard the insolence in his own voice, “but the King does not know we have secured King Kali’s west tower. Despite our own losses, we have infiltrated his defences.”

Bishop Bai moved to The Queen’s side, “Are you sure this is wise?”

“I’m not made of glass.” Eirwen silenced the bishop with a raised hand. ” I must go.”

“But The King insisted-”

“The King believes he’s protecting me, but he underestimates my strength.”

“There are few horses,” The knight said moving to his feet, “Please take my own.”

“I can move faster without it,” The Queen smiled, “Your horse can’t keep a straight line-“


“Olivia!” Jack snapped, knocking over his king, “Play properly!”

She jumped to her feet with Eirwen raised to the sky, “The Black King surrenders!”


Have a great weekend! Happy writing.


Slow Flash

I hadn’t participated in a Flash! Friday for ages, so I was quite delighted when I managed to muster this one. Same rules as always – you had 140-160 words to play with, the element to include was death and the picture prompt was this…

No Sunshine

She handed me a breathing mask as we met.

“He wanted you to have it.”

“What?” I said, “Today? It doesn’t really match my suit.”

“Be nice, Stephen. Please.”

Studying her more closely I raised my eyebrows.

She sighed, “It’s all I had in black.”

I held the mask up to my face but hastily lowered it when I caught its acidic scent.

A smile formed at the corner of her mouth, “He did like you.”

“That’s debateable” I muttered, taking another tentative sniff.

Her eyes drifted to the small gathering on the docks where a woman in a oversized hat carried an urn.

“He would’ve wanted you to wear colour.”

“Yes, but Mother…”


“We should join them.” she said, not attempting to move.

After a moment I said, “You know it’s not raining, don’t you?”

“It’s a parasol.”

“It’s not sunny either…”

She took my hand. “No,” she said, “But it will be.”

Jettisoned – Flash Friday on Saturday

You may have already read my story for Flash! Friday, but here it is again. The added element was ‘space travel’ and the prompt picture was this:


Bicycle Tunnel, double exposure. CC photo by r. nial bradshaw.


Dawson thumped his scanner, ‘What’s our time datum?’

‘1930s judging by the state of those.’ Marian pointed to two bikes leaning at the tunnel’s entrance, ‘It’s the right kind of place to hide a Relativity Raft.’

Dawson put his ear to the tunnel wall, ‘Maybe the tunnel is the ship.’

Marian smirked, ‘They wouldn’t trust you with anything this large.’

‘I didn’t break the ASM-9!’

‘So you say. ‘

A distant whirring silenced further objection from Dawson.

Marian stepped back against the tunnel wall as the sound grew into a man on a bike. He whizzed past them and out into the daylight.

‘System Control hates us.’ Marian muttered.

Dawson resumed his scan and the instrument beeped. He redirected it and it beeped again.
He looked to Marian, ‘They wouldn’t..?’

Marian looked down the scanner’s line of sight and back to the tunnel’s entrance.

Dawson raised it again to triple check the data.

Marian ran for the red one.

Lost and Found – Flash Friday on Saturday

Ok. So I’ve managed a Friday Flash Fiction challenge. It’s been a few weeks but I’m back!

I nearly missed out because Washington DC have shifted their clock back so I thought I had a hour longer than I actually did. Because of that, the version I’ve written here is ever so slightly different from the version I rushed and posted earlier today to meet the deadline.

Here you go:


Creative Commons photo by Kat/Swim Parallel.

Element: A detective

Lost and Found

Harrison glanced over at the bus stop, ‘Let’s go from the beginning.’

Beams flicked back through her notebook, ‘Well, the neighbour saw her leave at 3pm yesterday “looking quite smart”. The bus driver said he dropped her off here at about 5pm with two bags of groceries. They were dumped just here.’ Beams gestured beside the fence line.

Harrison straightened up and squinted into the distance, ‘Where does this field go?’

‘Ends up at Bateman’s Quarry.’

‘Did we search it?’

‘The field, or the quarry?’

‘Either. Both!’

Beams hesitated, ‘We concentrated our search around her route home – wait, Sir!’ she clambered over the fence after Harrison.

‘She went shopping, you say?’

She looked back to her notebook, ‘Pasta, vegetables, dog food, milk, butter, bread – ‘

‘Let’s say she crossed this field.’ he turned to look at Beams, ‘Why?’

Beams grappled with a decent idea.

‘What would be so important?’

Then she heard it bark.

Unscheduled Stop – Friday Flash

Which for me is Saturday. I posted this earlier today. The prompt photograph is this:


Flash! Friday link

Added element: A phone call.


Unscheduled Stop

The first time the telephone rang Mother screamed.

Emery emerged from the dining room, ‘Everything alright, Ma’am?’

‘Yes, Emery. Thank you.’ She removed the hand that had sprung to her chest and righted herself. ‘God-awful noise, just caught me by surprise.’

Emery nodded, raising the receiver to his ear as Mother disappeared into the breakfast room.

‘The Mortimer residence.’ he announced. His ghostly complexion paled further as he added, ‘Yes, yes,’ and then ‘I’ll tell her’. He hung up and he saw me, my eyes peering out from under the stairs.

‘Miss Josephine,’ he cleared his throat, ‘Go upstairs to Dorothy, breakfast will be served later than usual.’

He followed after Mother and closed the door. While his words were lost in low tones, Mother’s grew louder.


Dismissive laughter.

‘Robert’s in his study-‘


‘He went where?’


‘I don’t need to check the car!’

Floor boards creaked.

I scarpered upstairs.

The second time the telephone rang, Mother screamed.

War of the Words

I’ve attempted a couple of flash fiction challenges lately to try and keep myself writing but I’m beginning to wonder if I should care more about creating. Finding the right words is one battle, but creating a story and creating something worth writing about, well, the battle begins here.

I’m forced to command this battle between my imagination and my writing all the while fighting Field Marshal Self-doubt who’s keen to destroy both.

Hmmm. I’m not sure this metaphor is working.

Anyhoo. At some point – usually quite quickly – my writing peters out. That flash of momentum, that writing spark is simply gone. Words I’ve already written seem clumsy and I can’t move on from my core idea, extend it and grow it. So I go back, I reread and then get trapped into editing what I’ve already written.

So I ask my writerly friends, these questions:
How do you keep a forward focus?
How do you encourage your ideas to grow?
How do you stop yourself from editing as you go?

I did manage to submit one story to Flash! Friday, helped by a very inspiring prompt and the achievable but precise count of 150 words . You can read the cut-down version here. The full version (which is not much longer) became this:


Walking Fairyland Bridge, Huangshan. Photographer: Jesse Varner


She walked with her hand wrapped in her father’s fingers unable to see beyond the other waists and legs moving with them between the parapets. She pressed herself to his side, the sword sheathed on her father’s back nudging her as he strode – one pace to her three. No one spoke. A distant drum kept the march steady, to belie the panic they carried with them like a silent scream.

She counted. In four drumbeats and they passed under the stone arch back into the mountain’s wall. Muttered whispers echoed down the tunnel as the last of the survivors jostled towards the promising light.

The sun did not belong here. She could smell urine and something else that replaced her hunger with nausea. Trees lay crudely hacked for their timber. People gathered around makeshift tents. Some carried water, some tended those on stretchers. Some slept in rows, others wept at their side.

The drum fell quiet.

‘Sanctuary’ they called it. Her father called it ‘home now’.