Photo credit: Adrian Pelletier, via Unsplash
(Orion is located in the bottom left of the image, from just above the trees to the brighter yellow star situated above the ‘belt.’)

She canvasses the stitching of our worn blanket with her deft hands. It pauses on my needlecraft, a patchwork nest of threads that often catch on our toes. Her fingers trapped in orbit, she calls it Rigel as she traces its flairs and my clumsiness.

I reach further ahead to an ornate cradle of colorful cords. It dwarfs the dawdled bauble she inspects, in both scope and skill. After naming it Betelgeuse, we share a schoolyard snicker before moving along imagined lines.

She identifies Mintaka before my fingers find Altinak. She runs its course underneath her careful nail. Simple horizontal strips to my imperceptive eyes, she corrects me, feeling the complex cinches our eldest daughter inlayed. Touching Altinak, I’m relieved they both took after her.

Meeting in the middle, our hands wander just above her belt. Caressing the space between our stars, we predict the design of the buckle Alnalim.


Originally an entry for Issue 138 of AdHoc Fiction, cued by the prompt word ‘Belt.’ Or ‘Buckle.’ I forgot which by the time I decided to keep tabs on my entries. Anyway, feel free to check their site if you’re interested in participating in their contests as a vote(s)-wielding reader and/or contributing writer.


Light Bearers

person touching assorted candles

Photo Credit: Pop & Zebra, via Unsplash

The flit of candles against the dark dances within my mind. A slow parade ensues as faces caught in song transition between illumination and shadow with the careful bobbing steps of the light bearer. I try to solidify the smiles of the ceremony, but they dissipate in the dimness as the candles are carried on.

Two faces remain within the blustery flicking of the wicks as they await their exhaustion. My light and its bearer enjoy the last moments of the waning flames, except I can’t help seeing silhouettes obscure their upturned lips and I imagine their eyes fixed to the fire, if only so they don’t look for me.

With darkness restored, my focus returns to the cake in my hand as a sudden stream of tears test its solubility. I place the disk under its screen and move to the next ceramic fixture effusively reflecting the overwhelming fluorescents.


To any person traipsing along this minuscule thread of the web, hello! Perhaps an ‘again’ may be appropriate in certain instances, but seeing as it’s been quite a while, that feels far too presumptuous. Regardless, I am here to share the pieces I have been submitting to AdHoc Fiction while trying to generate some momentum. They are free weekly (typically) contests open to public and anonymous voting on stories of at most 150 words that must include a prompt word. (The prompt for the above story, as part of Issue 137, was ‘Cake.’) Anyway, enjoy, criticize (constructively, if willing), and consider participating yourself! Winning any given week earns an entry to Bath Flash Fiction’s contest with a £1000 First Place Prize, if that may be more convincing than my slight encouragement.

P.S. I do not intend to invest myself into responding to every comment. Please know that I will no less appreciate any time you’ve spent here and that any and all constructive criticism will be taken into consideration, and hopefully even developed upon.



Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of C.E. Ayr via the Friday Fictioneers event hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Join in and/or find others’ contributions here.


Derelicts dotted the sidewalk, silently flapping their gums. Dust cloaked the lot of them, but some were outfitted with fashionable flair; wool vests, knitted scarves, and random shoes all about. The only sense of symmetry came from the odd globs that spotted each garment.

I never understood any of this until I fell to the sidewalk. One of my shoes gummed in place, plastered to the curb, and my coat subsequently stuck to the cement. I managed to hold my face barely above dirt-caked disks when I realized that the derelicts wore whatever the concrete claimed.

I surrendered its bounty.

Revising the Old Lie


Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of J. Hardy Carroll via the Friday Fictioneers event hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Join in and/or find others’ contributions here.

Revising the Old Lie

An ancient man bowed his head, but his words rose like ghosts, “‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.’”

A nearby pilgrim couldn’t bear it. “How many times are you gonna repeat that old lie?”

“But it’s true.” His eyes became grave as his knurled hands glossed the gabbro. “I missed my chance.”

“Life isn’t issued out by your country. It springs from struggle and from death.” The ancient man lifted his head and looked at the scar the monument made into the earth, then the bare trees beside it. “Want the truth? Revise it. Dulce et decorum est mori.”

**Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is Latin for “It is sweet and glorious/right to die for one’s country/fatherland.” It was originally used by the Roman poet Horace in his Odes, but became known as “the old lie” after Wilfred Owen’s World War I poem “Dulce et Decorum est” about the tragedies he witnessed (particularly the use of chlorine gas). Pro patria, which is omitted in the “revision,” means “for one’s country/fatherland.”

If anyone is willing to submit constructive criticism, I’m most interested in how the conclusion reads. I fear that a reader’s experience may be wildly different than what I experienced writing this, though that surely can have its benefits. (Also, if anyone knows Latin, could you inform me of any grammatical error(s) at the end? I tried to verify its accuracy, but my knowledge is limited.) Of course, any constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.