Category: Stories

100 word story (#6)

And so I come to the end of my little story sequence – or perhaps, sequence of little stories.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge of cramming a quart into a pint pot. Said it before but I find self-imposed constraints paradoxically liberating. Restricting word-length, making thematic connections and fitting in prompt words all seem to narrow down the possibilities – help stop me agonising over ‘Why this rather than that?’ and other pusillanimous quibbles!

Anyway, here’s the final offering after a little poetic preamble:

My tree is gone, a crow’s nest lost in space
Though found in time: perspective ever mine!
One way the church, its harvest festival
Just beans in tins and withered leaves on stone.
Another way the wood, its tangle wild
Forbidden fruit: temptation to a child …

We trod the hero-path to gold: a glint of treasure in each flower. Up every tree was knowledge without a fall. We knew the wood was ours, though shared with many children seldom seen. We saw their little marks, soon overgrown.

But these were nothing to the wounds we saw one sunny morning. Through trees, a glow brighter than sunshine. The first pool held a metal barrel, half-submerged, leaching luminous chemistry into living water. Every Leaf in the glade a ghastly day-glo yellow. The next pool awash with purple. The last pool acid green.

Too much information: cruelty, criminality, careless indifference.

Image result for polluted water

Image: Green Living – LoveToKnow


100 word story (#5)

Their fathers snoozed, dreaming good wars. Nothing so real in civvy street: somnolent Saturdays and clockwork commutes. Cities slumbered.

Outside: bombsites, deserted streets, untended commons. Freewheeling in space-time, days became places to buildchaseclimbhideraceriderunskatechatter without let or hindrance: holy grounds within their hearts.

But clocks still tick and now their stamping-grounds are bulldozed flat and featureless. By officious command, adventure is confined in playgrounds. Streams no longer teem with frogs and newts and sticklebacks nor whisper to be dammed with mud. Water won’t trickle through fingers six feet underground in silent culverts.

And their Trees uprooted? How are the Mighty fallen?


Image result for freedom


Image: Tim Hill Psychotherapy

100 word story (#4)

Some comics you read without smiling. Monochrome eyes glare beneath furrowed brows and speech bubbles burst from gritted teeth: Gott im Himmel! and Take that, Fritz! 

You march into the Hall of Death hungry for heroes-and-villains, us-and-them, man-to-man. But old sagas sag between behemoths from forgotten battles, rusting hulks still reeking of leather and lubricant – artillery, jeeps, tanks – parked any-old-how as though abandoned by ghosts in a hurry.

You squeeze past huge metal coffins in darkness, gagging on cordite. A sudden shaft of daylight illumines a staff-car’s upholstery. On it, a dry bread-crust.

Well, you think, a Crumb of Comfort!


Image result for staff car



Image: Olive-Drab

100 word story (#3)

Two brothers: one shilling.

A sign: Change Given!

Twelve pennies: six in each tight grasp.

What’s Father always saying? Speculate to accumulate.

They part company:

the Confident One to bright lights and siren sounds, flashing buttons and levers galore, where cylinders spin and robot-hands pretend to grab toys;

the Tentative One to a dark room edged with silent cabinets, boxes of delight, diorama dreams: butcher-shops, bedrooms, cowboy-saloons, operating-theatres, schoolrooms, cemeteries. The penny drops: dogs steal sausages, ghosts appear, gunfights erupt, surgeons wield machetes, paper-planes fly, skeletons grin from graves.

Both emerge empty-handed but who has, nonetheless, added to his stash?


Image result for old pennies


Image: Pinterest

100 word story (#2)

Glorious, darling, that sudden vista! – his mother’s telephone voice, of course, but why up here? Was she haunting him? If she found out he’d climbed a tree so high, she’d have kittens! The clifftop-walk above Shanklin – Children, away from those railings!


Image result for sandown to shanklin cliff top walk


Other voices, real this time, petulant as mice. He glanced down between his toecaps: three tiny heads, his tormenters, bickering amongst themselves. Drop a nut, whispered another ghost, surprise ’em! 

But he would keep this to himself: no vainglorious boasting … though victory nonetheless. Every step a triumph over terror!

Up here – if nowhere else – he was untouchable, unreachable, invincible.



Image: Shanklin

100 word story (#1)

After a morning monkeying with minor royals he stumbles across the king of trees, one branch within reach if only he can jump and clasp hands … swing legs up to lock around  it, body hanging … muscle his way up to kneel and stand, peering up through leaves to judge distances between handholds.

But first he must wade through nettle-beds ringing the monarch like a praetorian guard.

And when his head breaks through the crown, ah, such a realm – sky, clouds, treetops, towns, far-distant hills!

In years to come even the Sting of his bare legs is part of the glory.


Image result for looking up at trees




The heat was on. Tiny movements made them sweat so they sat still as stone in the shade of their broken-down car, with the incongruous taste of antifreeze on their lips.

Another time they might have appreciated the irony. Later they would have laughed till they cried. But now their eyes only swept the horizon and beseeched that cruel, unwavering line to break and deliver up … oh, anything! … a truck, a camel, a cloud. The lizard raised one foot after another, as if to teach them his dance of life.

Shimmer, was it … over there?

Calm yourself. They didn’t notice.


Image result for desert horizon

Image: Wallpapers