Why does it always happen to me? I should’ve caught the earlier train but was afraid I might look too keen. You know what it’s like. Your first date, you don’t want to get there too early, makes you look desperate. At the same time, you don’t wan’t to be late. Girls hate it when they’re kept waiting. I’m sure this thing couldn’t go any slower if it tried. Maybe if I get off at Tottenham Court Road I can pick up the Central line and change again at Marble Arch? Still not going to get me there on time though. It’s no good, I’m going to be late! Late for a very important date. Wonder if she’ll wait. Doubt it. I could try phoning her but the agency never gave me her number. All I know is that she looked stunning in her photo and her name’s Alice.


A story for this week’s prompt at VisDare

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Pick Me

“How exactly does it work then?”

“Easy really. As soon as we get hold of the babies me and mum freeze dry them. This keeps them nice and safe while we travel from one market to another.”

“Doesn’t it kill them?”

“Course not. Makes them go hard and slows down all their vital organs, but they’re still alive. They stay like that until they get warmed up. Mind you, does mean we have to sell them quick, can’t afford to have them hanging around in the sun for too long. Once had one wake up midway through dad’s pitch. Didn’t half make a noise with all his crying. Scared off quite a few of our punters . We lost a lot of money that morning. Anyway, what have you got?”

“Twins. Only six weeks old. Mum can’t afford more kids. What’ll you give me for them?”


A story for this week’s VisDare prompt.

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Graffiti Prophets


This is an Etheree poem I wrote some time ago. Etheree poetry consists of ten lines with ascending numbers of syllables. Line one has one syllable, line two has two syllables…

sun’s tender
first rays, squeeze through
rusty old railings
onto a cement wall,
the city’s parchment covered
in notes from graffiti prophets,
blazing shards of light sweep across their
nighttime artistry – scars of tormented minds.


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If only I could remember the actual words I’d used. Maybe saying them backwards would get those things down from the ceiling. He always made magic look so easy. A few words here and a nonchalant wave of his wand, was all it seemed to take. How come it hadn’t worked for me? He’ll be furious when he gets back. Some wizards would see the funny side of all this, but he won’t. Humour has never been one of his strong points. What I need is a spell to make myself disappear. On second thoughts, I think I’ll just run.


A 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers.

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The Building Of Stonehenge

“But dad, them Druids said it was important we get it right. Said we’ve got to stick to these drawings they’ve done. Stonehenge they’re going to call it. Reckon it’ll still be here hundreds of years from now.”

“That all well and said son but we’ve still got to build it. Look at them drawings! Typical of them Druids, always got their heads in the clouds. With what they’re paying us, there’s no way they’re going to get anything as fancy as that. Just stick a few stone columns in the ground lad. That’ll do. They’ll not notice the difference.”


A 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers

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Time I Was Off


I’ll just sit here a moment, get my breath back.

It’s that bitch from number 43, won’t leave me alone. Every time I leave the house she’s there, by my side, those big doleful eyes staring up at me. Gives me the shivers it does.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s a real looker and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve been tempted. But she wants more than I’m prepared to give her. I know what would happen. It would start off as a simple walk together, then one sniff would lead to another and that would be that – my bachelor life would be over. Before long the place would be full of puppies and I’d never get out to the pub or a footy match with the lads. Best I keep out of temptations way.

Oh no, it’s her! She’s seen me. Time I was off.


Another story for VisDare

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Photo prompt from Barbara CT/Knotholes and Textures

I’m telling you mate, it was me. See it fits. I told you it would. That’s ‘cos I was the bird dancing with the Prince all last night. I know I shouldn’t have left like I did, running off at the stroke of midnight, but I had to. I’d left the kids with a neighbour and she’d said she could only mind them until her old man got home at 12. I didn’t want to leave them on their own for too long, not with them being so tiny. Well you don’t do you? Bleeding shoe fell off as I was running down the stairs. Then I couldn’t get a taxi and had to walk home in that rain. Soaked I was. Any way it’ll be OK now, what with the Prince having found the true love of his life. What did you say his name was again?


A 150 word story for this week’s FFaW picture prompt.

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Photo Centres


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Uday, with the blog, Udayology.

“Gosh dad, so these places really existed?”

“That’s right son. Most of them have been knocked down but this one has been protected. A reminder of how bad things used to be.”

“Why was it called a photo centre dad?”

“It’s where people used to go in the olden days to have their photographs taken. I remember my father, your granddad, telling me all about it.”

“Did Granddad have his photo taken?”

“Yes he did but don’t tell your mum I told you. She gets upset if we talk about things like that.”

“Have you still go the photo dad? What does it look like?”

“No I don’t. It got lost in the great burnings when the Volgans took over the planet in ’63. They made us destroy all images and image taking devices. That’s why we no longer have any photos or videos.”

“What’s a video dad?”


A 150 word story for this week’s FFaW picture prompt.

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Sally Jones

“Can you see the girl Billy? Her standing out there in the river.”

“Of course I can Jimmy. I’m not blind. Now, are we going or not?”

“Hang on Billy, we can’t just ignore her.”

“Just leave it mate. If we hurry we’ll get a pint in before the pub closes.”

“Are you not curious Billy? I mean, who is she?”

“I know who she is Jimmy. Her name’s Sally Jones and we’re best not getting involved. Now, can we please go?”

“You’re a heartless bastard Billy Smith. I’m going to see if she’s OK.”

“I wouldn’t do that Jimmy, not if you…”

But Jimmy wasn’t listening. As he strode into the water the girl turned. On the river bank Billy looked away in case her eyes met his. He kept them shut until the noise of the splashing subsided. When he opened them the river was still and empty save for a pool of blood floating on the surface.


A 160 word story for the latest VisDare photo prompt.

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Slow Writing

Slow Writing is an idea dreamt up by David Didau and can be found on his excellent blog ‘The Learning Spy’.

“Over the past few years I’ve been experimenting with what, for want of a better idea, I’m calling Slow Writing. The idea is to get students to slow the hell down and approach each word, sentence and paragraph with love and attention. Obviously they’ll write less but what they do write will be beautifully wrought and finely honed.” – David Didau

David talks about the need for writers, of all ages, to be aware that they need to think not only about what they write but also about how they write it.

He does this by giving them a series of questions around a particular theme or prompt.

“We have the ability to matacognitively engage with our writing and make decisions about what is likely to sound best. Often we do this at a level beneath consciousness; the questions we ask about our writing are automatic and so well stored in long-term memory that we’re not really aware of what we’re doing.” – David Didau

For many writers we are sometimes so busy thinking about what to write that there’s little space in working memory to consider how it might be written. Having these sentence prompts frees up working memory so we can shape our work in a more sophisticated way.

So a set of ‘slow writing sentence prompts’ might look something like this:

  • Your first sentence must start with an emotion.
  • Your second sentence must include at least three adjectives.
  • Your third sentence must contain a simile.
  • Your fourth sentence must be exactly 15 words long.
  • Your fifth sentence must begin with a verb.
  • Your sixth sentence must end with the word ‘sleep’.

Another set might look like this:

  • Your first sentence must contain two adjectives.
  • Your second sentence must contain only three words.
  • Your third sentence must include speech marks.
  • Your fourth sentence must be a question.
  • Your fifth sentence must start with an adverb.
  • Your sixth sentence must be exactly 22 words long.

The scope of what you put into your sentence prompts is endless.

I thought I might try the second set of sentence prompts using the picture Angela, at Vis Dare, put up on her blog last week as a writing prompt.

 I opened the dusty, old cabinet.
The hinges creaked.
“Hello young man,” whispered the fourth skeleton along.
“Why don’t you come a little closer?”
Hesitantly I climbed into the cupboard.
Long, slender, bony fingers wrapped themselves around my entire body and I felt myself go weak as my skin and tissue disintegrated.

This could be left as it is or be used as a starter and words added or changed to improve the story. I quite like the idea of using these six sentence prompts as a challenge in themselves.

Mike Jackson

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