Playing the field #shortstory #carrotranch

Charli’s prompt this week is

August 24, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an empty playground. Is it abandoned or are the children in school? What is it about the emptiness that might hint of deeper social issues. It can be a modern story, apocalyptic or historical. Go where the prompt leads.

There’s something about playgrounds in the summer just after it has rained. That combination of tarmac, dust and water creates one of the smells that, for me is a strong memory trigger. Most smell-triggers for me aren’t so pleasant – either the smell itself (incubating feces in a long drop toilet takes me right back to scout camps for instance), or the occasion itself holds ancient terrors (the combination of antiseptic and anxiety that overwhelms me each time I visit the dentist takes me back to days of waiting rooms, sticky magazines and that awful drilling noise).

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(in)animation #pictureprompt #shortstory

Jane Doughtery’s picture prompt is thus

ALI142426 Interior with a figure (oil on canvas) by Cecioni, Adriano (1838-66) oil on canvas Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy Alinari Italian, out of copyright

ALI142426 Interior with a figure (oil on canvas) by Cecioni, Adriano (1838-66)
oil on canvas
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy
Italian, out of copyright


George Trinkel Frankenstein was not related to the infamous scientist but he held him in such high regard he took his surname for his own. Almost inevitably that meant he became the subject of both ridicule and vitriol in equal measure.  Nothing daunted, however, George continued to try and follow the sketchy notations left by the great doctor and to attempt to bring life back to a cadaver.

His wife, Georgette, of both good birth and serious money loved George for his intelligence, good breeding, lively mind and fascination with all things tantric. Their marriage, while somewhat unconventional, was solid and she both supported and defended him tigerishly.

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Designing for a discerning world #writephoto #shortstory

Sue Vincent’s weekly pciture prompt is

sue vincent cave

Design Flaws 

‘So what do we have, Jones?’

Imperia Jones dabbed away the sweat. Marvello Bronze was the ultimate demanding boss; having been hired to turn around the least successful communications business in the UK she didn’t want problems. ‘We’ve created a new set of broadcast sites that fit the latest planning criteria – these are very demanding, given the ecologically purist policies of the new Green government.’

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A Time to Live – part six #shortstory #serial

It’s been a while, sorry. Here’s the next installment.

In the story so far, Jim has lost his girlfriend Saz and Martin his wife Marian in a clearing in the woods near the village of Normanton. Strange fir trees have appeared in the same clearing. Both men set out for the village, seemingly drawn there. Meanwhile Patrick Novel has followed his daughter to the same clearing hunting his wife Wanda. When he  sees what appeared to be a face in the latest fir tree he faints while the face winks at the little girl. In woods near the village there is a secret communications establishment run by the British government. Jim and Martin appear at the local jumble sale and are watched by the villagers, each of whom has some form of disability. When the watchers realise Patrick isn’t with them the go looking for him

The previous parts can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4 and Part 5

2016-07-06 13.50.24

Prentis Mount didn’t panic; it was one reason why he had risen as high as he had in the service of his country. But what he had just seen caused more than the usual stomach fluttering when he encountered a problem. Prentis’ job involved monitoring the feed from the satellites that provide real time information on any security threat to the UK from land, sea or air. What he had just witnessed was a first.

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The State We’re In #writephoto #flashfiction

another prompt from Sue Vincent here


Cloud burst

Intelligence takes many forms and each form thinks itself more intelligent than the others. When a gaseous puff-stream called A’bush found she had been allocated to train up Mani Clump, a newly employed solid from the glutinous-claybeds, her form sagged visibly, creating a nimboid denting in her normally pert cumulo-curvation.
‘Why me, boss?’ She hissed wearily.

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Just because I’m old doesn’t make me ossified! #shortstory

Charli Mills from the Carrot Ranch prompts us thus this week

August 17, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a fossil or uses the word in its variant forms (fossilize, dino bones, petrification, gastroliths, ichnofossils, etc.). Dig into your imagination and go where the fossil record leads you.

The Archaeologist was fixated with fossils as a child. We hunted for sharks teeth that fell out of the cliff at Reculver in Kent.


Reculver this year, same beach though a different sort of foraging

He scoured the recent mudslides hoping for an ammonite or bone but never had much luck. He did secure the top prize for geekery that was available in the 1960s, namely a Blue Peter badge, for writing and telling them their piece on the Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace park was misleading since they failed to mention the Victorians had mistakenly given one dinosaur a horn on his nose whereas the bones should in fact have been his thumb. I was beyond jealous.

2016-02-25 12.07.09

A year ago I revisited those rather brilliant models with Elizabeth Barnes and her family (she blogs at Autism Mom and is well worth a visit). Her son is as much a dinosaur aficionado as the Archaeologist was. I began to explain the error with the thumb. The Navigator listened politely before listing another dozen errors, leaving me yet again off the pace. In future I will stick to safe topics and just enjoy the models for what they are.

In the name of experience

‘I thought about Jerry Slade today.’

Mary nodded. ‘The school friend who died?’

‘That’s the one. We had this teacher -Mr Fossick – called him the Fossil, he was ancient. He was great, never took himself too seriously but we knew when to behave.’


‘He surprised us all the time.’


‘Today I surprised this trainee; I knew stuff he thought me too old to know.’

‘You’re only in your 40s!’

‘Makes you realise how easy we pigeonhole people whether their age or whatever.’

‘I wonder what the youngsters call you?’

‘Magnetic. Magnetic North.’

‘Not your personality then?’

If you want to keep up to date with Mary and Paul North, click here

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Post Brexit #noirwednesday

Here’s a new prompt to me, from Steve Tanham at Sun in Gemini

Steve T noir

It’s not dark exactly, but anyway here goes…

Post Brexit 

Sergeant Theakston mopped his brow. ‘How’d that get there?’

Constable Bould looked at his notes. ‘According to Miss Prism – she lives at number 37 – it was there when she went out this morning for the milk. Appeared overnight.’

‘A house can’t ‘appear’ overnight, Bould.’

‘No Sarge.’

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