Stories by Sarah

Small Kindness

There had been a blight upon the crops for months now, and his people were slowly dying from starvation. The pharaoh called a closed meeting with his advisors who recommended he enact the ritual of small kindness. The pharaoh cringed and initially refused such an atrocity. But his chief advisor cajoled him, explaining the practice was the only means by which they could survive the famine.

The children were heaped together and did not question, why they were suddenly being fed such a feast, in a time of scarcity. They wolfed it down hungrily, until their eyes turned wild with panic. They started to fall one by one, foaming at the mouth and twitching, as the poison spread through their veins.

Eventually, when they were all dead, the chief advisor reassured the pharaoh. “It was a small kindness that they should not suffer any more. By their sacrifice, now we have enough food to survive until spring.” He put his hand on the pharaoh’s shoulder adding, “and we can always make more children.”

A mother sobbed over a tiny sarcophagus containing her son.

The pharaoh looked away.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: The Sunday Whirl, Wordle #343; and also, Sunday Photo Fiction – March 18th, 2018

Haibun, Poetry by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

Patience Rewarded

Author’s note: I have combined the two challenges this week to create a Haibun. The prose tells the fable, the Haiku delivers the message.

Three snails looked across the green grass, hoping to get to the other side. The first snail was impetuous, setting off across the lawn without consideration for his vulnerability or awareness of the potential dangers. From out of the sky swooped a magpie, snapping him up and crunching his shell, the bird enjoying this squishy, unexpected treat on her journey back to her nest. Shaken, the next snail, cautiously looked around him. Checking over and under leaves, analysing every inch of ground for danger. His foot taking such hesitant steps, that he never realised that the sun was drying him up; desiccating him from the outside in. He was stopped midway, and never moved again. But the third snail, waited. He knew that by staying where he was until night fall, the cover of darkness would shield him from the predatory eyes from above. He also knew that the heat from the sun would soon disappear, enabling him to maintain his mucus trail and keep on moving. And so, as the moon appeared, he commenced his journey. Safely, he made it to the other side of the garden and to the sanctuary of his new home among the lettuce leaves.

Wise words: “haste makes waste”.
Think through your situation.
Patience rewarded.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt – patience; and also, Sammi Scribbles, Weekend Writing Prompt #46 – Patience. Prose Challenge – Write a fable on the theme of patience. Poetry Challenge – Write a haiku inspired by the word prompt.

Stories by Sarah

Carrot Cake?

Jake’s eyes sparkled as he slid the plate towards me.

The sliver of cake was moist; loaded with carrots. Ground walnuts, covered the rich cream cheese icing. I picked up my fork, mouth watering in anticipation.

“Where’s yours? I don’t want to consume all these calories on my own!” I teased.

“This one’s especially for you,” he replied.

Shrugging, I dug the fork into the cake, feeling metal hit metal.

Breaking it apart, I gasped. In the middle lay a cushion-cut, diamond ring.

“It’s a carat cake,” Jake joked, locking his eyes on mine. “Will you marry me Isabel?”

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge – March 16, 2018. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about carrot cake. It can be classic or unusual. Why is there cake? How does it feature in the story. Go where the prompt leads.

Cinquain, Poetry by Sarah, Stories by Sarah


Prose ChallengeWrite a story in no more than 100 words that includes the following words: spring, blossom, bud, nature, bloom

She smiled and felt relieved, as she closed the door behind her, suitcase in hand. He had stamped on her budding dreams for the last time. His controlling nature meant he was never going to allow her to blossom into the person she knew she deserved to be.

She recalled the first two lines of William Shakespeare’s Richard III, a favourite of hers from literature class, back in college: “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun.”

Yes, she thought. But first there has to be a Spring.

And it was her time to bloom…

By Sarah ©2018

Poetry ChallengeWrite a poem in no more than 10 lines that includes the same words in the list above.

dainty blossoms
budding, sprouting, blooming
nature’s vivid colour palette

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Sammi Scribbles, Weekend Writing Prompt #45 – Spring

Stories by Sarah

Time To Let Go

Author’s note: Written for my beautiful nanna, Edie, who finally let go last night. May you Rest In Peace with Bill.

“Take this balloon,” Nanna began. “Its life begins much like ours. All shrivelled, until it’s filled with air and starts to grow.”

Bringing it to her lips, it slowly inflated. “Sometimes, we push too far and…”

“BANG!” I interrupted.

“Exactly,” she smiled. “Sometimes, we tie a knot, when there’s still room to grow.”

She made a pinching motion with her fingers. “But sometimes, we can hold it just right. Get a balance between the two.”

“And then what?” I asked.

She laughed, “It’s time to let go!”

Together, we watched the balloon empty and fizzle, before coming to rest.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge – March 8, 2018. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a balloon. It can be a party balloon or a hot air balloon. How does it add to your story? Go where the prompt leads.

Stories by Sarah


The children had spent hours hauling snow, slowly molding the snowman into existence. They giggled as they rolled and pressed ice into a deformed trunk, topped by two small spheres. He was balanced but askew.

Raiding the kitchen drawer, makeshift features and a bow-tie were fashioned from aluminium foil. They tugged at my hand, pulling me out into the cold to inspect their handy work.

I drew a sharp breath, as I took in its snarling mouth, vacant eyes, and small, scar-pocked holes where two sticks formed outstretched arms. I swear, I even saw the thing wink at me.

“What do you think mum?” Katie asked, craving my approval.

I checked my face, lest it belied the unkind thoughts in my mind.

“It’s great hun,” I replied, secretly hating it. It was the creepiest snowman I’d ever seen. Like it would tear you apart at first opportunity.

“Come on, let’s get you guys rugged up and ready for bed. It’s late,” I cajoled.

– – – –  – – – –   – – – –

Later that night, whilst stoking the coals in the hearth, I heard it.

Scratching at the door.

Terror gripped me, for I knew who it was.

I grabbed the scalding bar, praying heat would conquer him.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Sunday Photo Fiction – March 4th 2018; and also, The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 341

Other, Poetry by Sarah, Stories by Sarah


Prose ChallengeWrite a three sentence story one for the beginning, one for the middle and one for the end, inspired by this weekend’s word prompt.

The toe of my shoe caught the edge of the uneven pavement.

I braced myself for the inevitable, and found myself sprawled on the ground.

I stood up, brushed myself off and looked around, double-checking that no one had seen me fall.

Poetry ChallengeWrite a triolet inspired by the photo prompt.

That which falls can oft be seen,
embracing earth
in shrouds of green.
That which falls can oft be seen
leaving trace of where it’s been.
Over land and of firth,
that which falls can oft be seen
embracing earth.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Sammi Scribbles, Weekend Writing Prompt, #44 – Fallen

Stories by Sarah

Cold Case

The words blurred into one another, every yellowed page like the one before.    

Hank couldn’t read any more of the officer’s detailed scrawl. It was a 120 page report and his fatigue, both physical and mental, was preventing him from analysing another word.

What was the point of it all? he wondered. It’s not like I’ll ever find anything that hasn’t been poured over 100 times before already!

Working Cold Cases was the worst. Frustrated, Hank closed the file from 1982, and pushed it aside.

Lifting his weary frame from the chair, he grabbed his coffee mug and sloped over to bench where the brew that Matilda had put on for him earlier that day, still sat warming. Bless my wife, he thought.

As he began to pour the acrid smelling brown liquid, he suddenly stopped, slammed his mug down and turned back, looking at the table, in disbelief. Brown spots sloshed across the counter but Hank did not notice. He was already lifting the file and scanning the cover, searching frantically for what he had missed before.

In the bottom right hand corner, neatly printed in the officer’s familiar hand were two codes:


Hank began to smile. He knew what those codes meant. A hair and blood sample taken from the scene was still locked up, safe and sound, preserved in evidence.

Of course, the samples had been no good back in 1982, but this canny young officer, had thought perhaps that one day, they might be of use. And with the DNA technology they had today, they certainly would be. It was just the break they needed to finally prove their prime suspect’s guilt and Hank couldn’t wait to lock the bastard away, once and for all.

He checked the officer’s name again and said out loud, ‘Officer Neil Bromley, I could KISS you!’


By Sarah ©2018

Image credit Pixabay

Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, First Line Friday – March 2nd, 2018

Stories by Sarah

Black-Winged Messenger

“They are the black-winged messengers from beyond,” my friend Bridget decreed, mystically.

I rolled my eyes. “You know they’re a real problem on farms?” I countered.

I remembered my farming mate telling me how the ravens particularly liked his grapes and soft fruits; and even how some of the larger ravens attacked the lambs! I’d seen them frequent Australian roadsides, feasting on the carcasses of the dead. Personally, I thought them altogether, quite opportunistic and horrid.

But I kept my mouth shut, as she continued, “When magic is near, the Raven will appear”.

Each to their own, I thought.

By Sarah ©2018

Author’s Note: The Australian Raven’s call can be heard here. A sound, living rurally, we hear often!

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge – March 1, 2018. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a raven. It can be in nature or used to describe humanity as a metaphor. Follow the bird. Go where the prompt leads.

Stories by Sarah

Fishy Business

The wave began to curl; forming the perfect pipe.

I launched myself upon sensuous liquid blue as it wrapped around the fin; guiding me into the shore upon an ebb and throb of water.

I was doing it! I was surfing! I thought, See, humans! We fish can do it too.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Only 100 Words, Three Line Tales – Week 109

Stories by Sarah


Honey-tinted sunshine filtered through branches. The forest was thick with the crescendo of bird-song. If gravity hadn’t been holding me down, I could’ve floated away to the blue skies above.

It was a perfect day for a walk.

I continued along the boardwalk snaking its way through the dense woodland. It was an advertisement for safe passage, as ferns and scrub scratched at its edges.

My eyes were drawn to leaf litter peppering the path and it was then, that I saw blood. My senses immediately became electrified and the peace around me shattered.

The red droplets smattered here and there, dotting their way along the planks. Every instinct was telling me “Run!” but curiosity urged me on. I justified to myself that if someone was injured, maybe I could help.

I rounded a corner and there, I saw a pool of crimson so thick, it was impossible to believe anything living could’ve gone on.

Teeth bared, the beast was upon me so quickly, I slipped in viscous liquid, becoming one with he who’d fallen before me.

My breath rattled in my chest, as I exhaled my last, and I thought, It had been a perfect day for a walk.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt – Branch; and also, The Sunday Whirl – Wordle 340; and also, Sunday Photo Fiction – February 25th, 2018

Stories by Sarah


I glanced down at my bright, new yellow converse and smiled.

“An unnecessary indulgence,” he’d said, “Absurd and childish!”

Like him! I decided, humming the tune of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, and left him behind, balancing and skipping my way along a matching balustrade.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Only 100 Words, Three Line Tales – Week 108; and also, Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Music Challenge #23 – “These Boots Were Made For Walking”

Stories by Sarah

Magical Christmas Unicorn

I inspected its creamy white head, and caramel-coloured body. What an amazing creature.

“Where can I get one?” I asked my sister.

She whispered the answer, adding, “There aren’t many left, so you’d better be quick.”

I didn’t hesitate, following her to its habitat.

The man beamed, “Ah, a wise choice madam! Inspired by the magical pillars of our universe: Unicorns, Christmas and Ice-cream; Bridge Road Brewers presents its limited edition, vanilla ice-cream ale, the Magical Christmas Unicorn. Please enjoy this beverage of fun.”

Handing over my money, rolling my eyes, I thought, Come on! It’s just a beer!

By Sarah ©2018

Author’s Note:The Magical Christmas Unicorn is in fact, a real beer, as described in the story. It was limited edition and available from Bridge Road Brewers, over the Christmas period. Despite my ambivalence in the flash, it truly was delicious and certainly worthy of such wax lyrical!

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge – February 22, 201&. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads.

Stories by Sarah

The Asylum

Image credit © Sascha Darlington

I should never have followed my urge to explore the abandoned asylum, but my hunger to venture into the spirit-world was boundless. I’d done this kind of thing before. Many times. No problem.

Mesh fencing, chains and “No Trespassing” signs plastered everywhere, should’ve served as a warning, but I didn’t want to miss out. This place was reputed to be a powerhouse of hauntings, on account of the madness and misery of the hundreds of people who’d died here.

The wind howled around the main administration building as I entered. I consulted the map I’d drawn, heading to the notorious “Bullpit”. A ward that had once housed the most violent male patients.

I hadn’t been in there long when I heard a sound. A scraping along the bare, tiled floors. My hair stood on end, senses on high alert. Excitedly, I grabbed my EMF meter and night vision goggles, and heard a shout from one of the rooms.

That is all the memory I have, of how I died. Now I too, am trapped here. Another crazy spirit, existing in parallel with the real world, where the sands of time move so slowly.

I should never have followed that urge.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Sunday Photo Fiction, February 18th 2018; and also, The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 339

Stories by Sarah

The Dollhouse

“I don’t care what you do with it, I just want it gone,” Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.  

It was an ugly thing, by all accounts. The Victorian style was usually so decorative. But this was grotesque – asymmetrical wraparound porches, gingerbread trim, gabled roofs, and lairy colours.

“What’s wrong with it?” I asked suspiciously, “Apart from the obvious,” I added, gesturing to the fascade.

“Nothing,” Alex said. “It was left to me by my Aunt Clara. Silly old coot. What do I want with a dollhouse? Even the executor was laughing. Seriously, a grown man and a dollhouse!”

“She must’ve wanted you to have it for some reason,” I pressed, “I mean, I can take it. Lacey will love it. But are you sure?”

“Take it,” he insisted, “Aunt Clara really lost it. When she promised me her house, I never dreamt this was what she meant! Silly old coot,” he repeated.

So I took it.

Lacey, as I anticipated, squealed with delight. She threw open the doors and starting playing immediately. I was pleased she liked it.

Lacey hadn’t been playing long when she called out. I hoped she hadn’t tired of it already!

I entered her bedroom, and noticed her arm down one of the chimneys.

“Lace…” I began.

“Something’s in here,” she said, pulling out a piece of paper.

I read the contents, revealing what it was. I smiled, holding the deed to Clara’s mansion. “Looks like Alex is going to have that house after all.”

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit Pinterest

Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, First Line Friday – February 16th, 2018; and also, Sammi Scribbles, Weekend Writing Prompt, #42 – Revelation. Prose Challenge – In words or less, write a story about the uncovering of a secret.

Stories by Sarah

On Ice

She awoke with a start, drawing a sharp breath and blinking her eyes. Retinas searched for light; searched for form, in the darkness.

Where am I? she thought, confused. How did I get here?

A sense of panic welled within her. Trying to sit up, the panic deepened when she couldn’t move her arms or legs, or anything neck down.

Racking her brain, she checked her last memory. At the club. Drinking. Then black…‘til now. Twisting her head, she felt flat, slimy, coldness beneath her cheek. The door opened, and she realised with horror, she was on ice…

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit Tiger Ice Co

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge – February 15, 2018. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story on ice. It can be an event on ice, a game on ice or a drink on ice. Go where the prompt leads you.

Stories by Sarah

The Room

The door hung askew in its frame. Hazy yellow light, like a saint’s halo, leered at me from around the cracks, suggesting that someone, or something, was already in my room. I shuddered and continued tentatively down the hallway.

Feeling uneasy, I chastised myself for my situation. If I wasn’t so poverty stricken after my divorce, I could have afforded my own place, and not be forced to reside in this creepy, old, share home.

I reached out to turn the handle, when cold gusts surrounded me. Strange, I thought, looking around for the source of air. I folded my arms around my body, vigorously rubbing my skin.

Then I heard it. A shallow, rasping voice in my ear, unmistakable in its malice and intent.


Shocked and confused I turned to see who had voiced the command, but there was no one there. Thinking I must be going crazy, I shook my head, opened the door and stepped inside.

A rope lay coiled like a snake at my feet; a noose tied at its end.

Again I heard the voice say, “Leave” as the rope began to move.

I turned and ran, knowing nothing on this holy earth would ever make me return…

By Sarah ©2018

Image credit J.  Hardy Carroll

Prompt: The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 338; and also, Sunday Photo Fiction – February 11th 2018

Stories by Sarah

Greener Pastures

* Please note: The fireweed I have used for the purpose of this challenge is the Australian variety. It is highly invasive and toxic as outlined here.

Image credit B Trounce

She was my fireweed*. Able to grow in any soil, in all aspects. Persistent if not controlled, and rapidly taking over neglected pastures. She competed strongly with those around her, and was extremely toxic.

I could feel her tendrils taking hold. Coiling themselves around my brain; trying to find an ‘in’ to feed her tap root. But I was not the only one and it was time for us to take control.

It turns out a dense cover can help reduce fireweed. So we took a stand together, covering the bare, exposed patches of ourselves, to become greener pastures.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge, February 8, 2018. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes fireweed. You can use it as the plant, a flower, a metaphor or as the name of someone or something. Go where the prompt leads. Burn bright when you write.

Stories by Sarah


The warbling started outside my window.

I pulled the pillow over my head, but the musical gargle intensified until I roused. Bleary eyed, I poured the seed, taking the tray outside.

The black and white bird was clever; already waiting for me. I stepped back as he gobbled the offering. His beak ‘click clicking’, eyeing me all the while. I thought, “Magpies really get a bad rap. They’re not so bad.”

As I stepped out the door, I heard a whooshing sound as snapping mandibles narrowly missed my ears.

I guess it wasn’t so black and white after all…

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge, February 1, 2018. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features something black and white. It could be a nun in a zebra monster truck, a rigid way of thinking, a bird in a tuxedo — be imaginative and go where the prompt leads.

Stories by Sarah

The Abyss

I stood on the precipice and looked into the abyss below. My knees quivered and my stomach flipped, as my body struggled to anchor itself to the sanctuary of land. I forced myself to confront the yawning darkness and felt the fear take hold.

One move, I thought, and that would be it. Gone.

I didn’t know what terrified me more – the thought of staying? Keeping myself on solid ground and dealing with the crap that lay ahead. Or how tempted I was to just let go? Let myself fall off again.

I sighed, and put the bottle down.

By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge – January 25, 2018. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes to the edge. Consider what the edge might be and how it informs the story.