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Writers explored the moments and sensory relationships we have with bouquets. Gather here, we offer a bouquet of stories.
Based on the June 14, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a bouquet.
This collection is dedicated to the loving memory of Mark, a brother to Sherri Matthews.
PART I (10-minute read)
A Bouquet of Tears by Sherri Matthews
If forget-me-nots would bring you back, I would grow nothing else.
If an English Country Garden cooled your fire, I would gather every living plant and flower and bulb growing there, tie them together with a bright, red ribbon and send them by whatever means possible across the Shining Sea.
If lilies, white and pure, touched your brow and returned your smile, I would place them carefully in your hand and cry with joy.
But it cannot be.
So I bring my love in a single rose and lay it on your grave and I weep for wasted years.
For Mark, dear brother. ❤
Hope Beneath the Loss by Ruchira Khanna
“Hi, Pink Carnations!”
“Oh wait there come the Lilies,” said the chrysanthemum.
“I also see Yellow Roses in that lady’s hand.”
The Daffodils, Tulips, and the Gladioli with the yellow and the white carnations come along.
All these flowers are placed on the coffin while humans stand in a circle with folded hands.
At first, these flowers greet each other. Excited to form a concoction.
These blossoms together emit a fragrance that makes the Homosapien realize as they cry softly upon the loss that there is hope and promise even when pain and heartbreak surround them.
A Precious Spring by Saifun Hassam
Eagle Point Ridge was devastated first by a firestorm, then deep winter snows and spring thaw mud slides. Carmen drove up a steep valley road towards the timberline. She gazed at the scorched forlorn firs, spruce and pines among jagged rocks and boulders in the muddy valleys.
Near the road’s edge, a clump of bright green ferns caught her eye. Among the ferns was a bouquet of bear grass, tall green stalks crowned with tightly packed white flowers. The faint fragrance of the vibrant precious bouquet drifted in the slight breeze, a sign of hope for the days ahead.
Bundled Batch by JulesPaige
It was a cardboard bouquet – with sweet aroma of warm food. The people in the back of truck though they were in the middle of a fairy tale.
They were aliens… unknowns. Some were whisked away by princes who worked in the medical fields. But most were left with just some cool air and water. The stranger on the white horse galloped, after work and hearing their plight on the news – to the local pizzeria and just bought them a meal. Just because he didn’t know when they had eaten last. Could this temporary happy ending continue to last?
Wild Blooms by D. Avery
A bouquet is more than a bunch of flowers stuffed in a jar. The bouquet pictured is comprised largely of what many see as weeds, plucked from neglected margins. Others see wildflowers, beautiful with varied colors and textures. A bouquet is a purposeful arrangement of individual and diverse flowers picked and placed mindfully and with intent. A bouquet is vibrant and beautiful because of the structures and elements combined in the whole. It is a composition, not a single utterance. A bouquet is a Gift to be given.
wild blooms, household jarred
bear witness at the table
Tale for a Winter’s Night by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She leaned over the big black cauldron, face partially occluded in the shifting steam. Chopping and shredding, she added a pinch of this, a breath of that. Winter winds buffeted her door, seeking shelter. She cackled, stirring with a long wooden spoon.
Bringing the spoon’s edge to her lips, she took a tiny sip. “Something’s missing…”
Grabbing the glass jar from the furthest reaches of the shelf, she passed her hand over the pot, once…twice. She stirred and sniffed the rising bouquet, and smiled.
She switched the burner to simmer, and took up her Jane Austen.
She loved chili.
New Bouquets at Cheever’s by Paula Moyer
Sitting in the upscale-but-casual restaurant, Jean could not tell it had been a florist – Cheever’s. Now the restaurant was part of a different bouquet, the renaissance of downtown Oklahoma City.
One by one, flower by flower, new businesses sprouted in old buildings – an art gallery where Fred Jones Ford had been. A restaurant inside Cheever’s. As a salute to the history, each new business took on the name of the old one. Thanks to a city-wide sales tax, new life pulsed through the old part of town.
Jean and Lynn took their seats. Their salads were fresh as carnations.
Sundown Stroll by Chelsea Owens
Humidity cushioned their sunset movements. Emiline sensed it, always, in the dense Jamaican air.
“I feel like something’s pressing on my arms and legs,” Mark said, though with a smile.
Emiline answered with her own, with a light hand pulling wisps of beach-blown blonde from her eyes. Their aimless ambling soon led them within the resort gardens.
Each breathed deeply in. Clusters of pinkish blossoms blushed boldly against darker green. Snow-white Oleander winked from wall bushes. Their gaze drew skyward to admire a riot of orange.
“Nature’s bouquet,” she whispered. Speechless, he followed her through a tropic twilight.
Bouquet by the darknetizen
The bouquet of fresh flowers lying in my trashcan looked so pretty, a many-hued mélange.
The red rose from the ice cream vendor, daffodil from the police officer, pink daisy from the little kid who lived down the street. Males have always loved me with such fervor. I cannot even recall most of them. In all candour, I would rather not. My beauty has always been a curse. Immortality even more so.
Centuries ago, my face launched a thousand ships and claimed even more lives. I am glad that nowadays men offer only flowers. I cannot claim more lives.
Bouquet by Robbie Cheadle
In the deep shadows under the stairs you may catch a glimpse of him. The form of Rex Bacon, dangling from the end of the rope he used to hang himself. An upended stool and a bouquet of wild flowers lie at his feet.
The flowers were for this beloved wife. On his last day of life, he had left work early and gathered the flowers for her during his walk home. When he got home, he found them together. In his rage he had killed her lover and escaped to the local pub where he had hung himself.
Complexity by Reena Saxena
Harvey is a best-selling author who never reads his own books. The interviewer looks perplexed in this episode of his show “Straight Talk with Genius Minds”.
“Sir, do you never feel the need to review what you wrote?”
“No, I simplify things as much as possible for the new age readers. But that is not my cup of tea.”
“And what would interest you?”
“A good, mature wine has a complex bouquet. But nobody has the time or patience to wait till it develops. So, I write micro-pieces for easy assimilation,” smiled the octogenarian legend, having busted popularity charts.
Finally Blooming by Frank Hubeny
That was the spring Alice turned the lawn into a big bouquet of flowers. It surprised Joe but looking at her face looking at the former lawn with a gentle smile she rarely showed him anymore made him grateful.
The neighborhood wives thought her odd for years. Her newfound gardening energy did not impress them. Alice’s view of them wasn’t pretty either.
That winter Alice died.
Joe kept her bouquet of former lawn going for the next decade as long as his life allowed. He received help especially towards the end and gifts of plants from the neighborhood wives.
Summer Posies by Colleen Chesebro, The Fairy Whisperer
The Litha preparations had been underway for days. Yesterday, the children had gathered bouquets of yellow daisies for us to carry on our journey to the bonfire which would honor the magnificence of Father Sun. The people were assembled, ready to pay homage to the One.
Excitement coursed through my veins, and I quivered. Tonight, my secret would be revealed. The mother had blessed me with the greatest gift of all. Inside, I felt the first fluttering of my tiny son.
My summer posies—
awash with an early dew
A gift of fertility,
honoring the summer sun.
Flower Power by kate @ aroused
Vibrant colours, sweet fragrance, singular flowers or bunched bouquets thrill with heartfelt joy! Those purchased or plucked make delightful offerings to one we wish to thank or cheer.
Brightening another’s day, claiming they are loved and dear. Garden blooms emit radiance to those passing through our neighbourhoods.
But best of all are those innocently picked by children … to thread a daisy chain; puff at the dandelion; discard petals to the chant ‘he love me, he loves me not’; or gigglingly gifted to a much adored mother. Our inner child beams playful smiles as flowers flourish irresistible profound power.
Simple, Humble Things by Kerry E.B. Black
The little girl ran to her mother, smile brighter than the dandelions wilting in her grip. She stood on tiptoe to present her gift, and her mother thanked her with a kiss.
Years later, she approached her mother with another fistful of yellow blooms. She sat, heedless of her business suit, and presented her gift. “When I was little, you taught me to appreciate the beauty and importance of simple, humble things.”
Her tears splashed the granite upon which her mother’s name was carved. The dandelions shone like miniature suns in contrast.
A Mother’s Bouquet (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills
“Mama, flowers!” Lizzie stumbled through the cabin door, dropping her bouquet of Black-eyed Susans.
Sarah cringed as Lizzie wailed, wanting to escape the chores Mary gave her. Lizzie’s brothers rushed in to help gather their sister’s spilled flowers.
Monroe calmed Lizzie while Jules and Cling gathered her bouquet, handing it back. Lizzie sniffled. Mary knelt with Baby Charles on her hip, and Lizzie thrust the flowers to her mother. “They are beautiful, Lizzie.”
Sarah’s heart ached for a little girl to gather a bouquet for her. But she left her daughter in the grave in back in North Carolina.
A Posey Mosey by Bill Engleson
He thinks, “I could do better.”
She thinks, “I don’t require much. Just a sense that I am thought of, some gesture.”
And he thinks, “I’ve missed so many opportunities. I really am a slouch.”
And she muses, “Yes, you are, but that comes as no surprize.”
And he wonders, “Do I offer no surprises, anymore? Was it always so?”
She doesn’t hold back. “You’ve always been fairly predictable. Like I said, I don’t require much, and I expect less.”
And he finally realizes, “I’ve had a free ride, haven’t I? Should’ve gotten her a posey. At least one.”
Red Roses by Wallie and Friend
Clair had never liked red roses. They seemed to her too garish. Anyway there wasn’t much to be lost our gained in philosophizing over flowers, so Clair never really thought twice about whether she liked red roses or not until that roadside walk.
There he had stood with that rose between his fingers, breathing it in. The look in his eyes was so soft and charmed that for the first time, Clair loved roses. And for the first time she was trimming a bouquet, hoping it would be the first thing he saw when he came through the door.
Farewell Flowers by Anne Goodwin
Tulips blooming in buckets outside the florist’s. Should I? Or would it look cheap? The entire stock can’t repay what he’s given me; besides, women don’t buy men flowers.
I walk on. Walk back. Something exotic, like an orchid? Something simple, like a single white rose?
He’d like a bouquet, he’s a sharp-suited metrosexual. He’d be embarrassed, faffing about for a vase. Or worse, he’d interpret it, force it to mean something more.
Squirming like a kid, I hold out the foxgloves, scabious and daisies scavenged from the waste ground. Rather like myself. “Thank you,” he says. And smiles.
Bouquet Business by Miriam Hurdle
“My husband buys me bouquet every week,” Sandy blushed. She forgot who bought up the subject.
“It will get old in no time. Guys buy a bouquet every now and then,” Mr. Cole’s deep voice came from the other side of the room.
“They are still on honeymoon,” Mrs. Cole was embarrassed by her husband.
“Kyle is a devoted customer. He came to my floral shop for a special bouquet five months ago. I praised his affection for Sandy. He has been coming every week.”
“Sorry, I’m not trying to ruin your business,” Mr. Cole whispered to Ms. Laura.
Smart Home by H.R.R. Gorman
Master Ellen left me in my own devices every morning, heading off to work while I – her Smart Home – tended to her domestic needs. She returned every evening with a smile and a ‘thank you.’
A man, I’ll call him ‘Asshole,’ showed up at me with a bouquet. She let him in with his dirty shoes every time he arrived with flowers.
My gardening protocols kicked into overdrive. I grew flowers and made arrangements, leaving them at my door. She cared for my creations.
Eventually, Asshole returned. “Thank you for all the bouquets!”
He stepped back. “It wasn’t me.”
Bouquets by Susan Sleggs
When I got home from work the aroma of dinner, a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine waited. I exclaimed to my teenagers, “Wow. What’s the occasion?”
“That’s next week.”
“We know. Surprise!”
“I’m going to cry.”
“Not allowed. Open the wine instead.”
“How did you get wine?”
“Dad took us. He said this Merlot has a great bouquet.”
“So Dad was involved in this?” I hesitated, took a deep breath and added, “You might as well call him to join us.”
“We told you, we’re just taking a break, not getting a divorce.”
The Wedding Bouquet by Hugh W. Roberts
She’d told all her friends where to stand so that when she threw her wedding bouquet, Tracey would catch it and be the next to marry. She’d told them to get the men to stand in line as well.
As the bouquet flew through the air, the atmosphere in the barracks hall of R.A.F Stanmore was one of happiness, laughter and joy. Not for the bride, though, as flashes of the war-torn country she’d come from went through her mind.
Pressing a small button concealed under her wedding dress, the flowers scatted and mixed with blood, flames and bone.
Part II (10-minute read)
With Love by Di @ Pensitivity101
Her hands were bloody and dirty, nails broken and uneven.
But the smile was a full one thousand watts as she handed the bouquet to me.
‘From the garden’ she announced proudly.
‘I picked them myself, just for you. Sorry they’re a bit untidy and not tied with a fancy ribbon, but I wanted you to have them.’
Mr Robbins looked over at me and smiled sadly.
They were actually his roses, from his garden, but Gran didn’t realise that.
Gone were the days when she tended her own flower beds, but no doubt the memories were still there.
Love’s Bouquet by Kay Kingsley
She sat on the hot green grass watching him run circles around her with the boundless energy only a two year old possessed.
As an adult we age by the decade but children grow by the day, each blink like the slide from life’s projector, a snapshot of growth. From coo’ing to smiling, from standing and walking to talking, it’s endless discovery ignited.
Her warm daydream is interrupted by a loud “Here momma!” and his small fingers extend a bunch of tiny, squished, grass flowers. Her heart nearly explodes with pure happiness. Love never picked a more beautiful bouquet.
A Special Bouquet by Norah Colvin
As expected, they found her in her garden with a bouquet of fresh-picked flowers: daisies, forget-me-nots, peonies, zinnias, sprays of bleeding hearts and honeysuckle, a bottlebrush or two, a bunch of gumnuts and some greenery—to make each colour shine.
Her garden was her sanctuary, her confidante, her joy. She said families were like gardens, with beauty in variety. Every special day—birth, birthday, wedding, or funeral—she arranged a meaningful bouquet. In ninety-five years, she’d seen lives come and go. The last of nine, no doubt now who’d be next. How could she know this was her day?
Death By Roses by Sarah Whiley
“Death by Roses. What kind of a perfume name was that?!”
She selected it from the rows of delicate bottles standing behind glass doors; hoping her sister would like the present.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Ooooooh! Death by Roses!!! How did you know?”
“Just a hunch! Glad you like it.”
Her sister squirted and sprayed herself liberally, before spraying the bouquet over everyone.
Feeling pleased, she didn’t notice at first.
Then her mother screamed, “I thought you’d grown out of your anaphylaxis!”
She faded to black, thinking, “Death by Roses”…
Love & Betrayal by Anurag Bakhshi
I stared at him incredulously, my eyes and my heart filled with tears of hurt and betrayal.
“You leave me hanging at the airport on the day that we are supposed to elope, then disappear for weeks, don’t answer my calls or texts, and now you suddenly pop up and offer me these pathetic flowers?” I hollered like a madwoman as I stomped on the bouquet of dead poppies lying on my doorstep.
He looked at me with vacant eyes, and then replied in a disjointed voice, “Sorry, but these were the only flowers kept on my unmarked grave.”
Bitter Bouquet by Mardra Sikora
Dried petals and stems standing in clouded water greeted him.
Never before had these rewards of his affection appeared less than perfectly tended.
She provided tending. Provided status, security. She cultivated his reputation and ambition.
In the beginning, he signified his passion with red roses. Then the bouquets arrived bigger, more elaborate, and overflowed with color, camouflaging the guilt. Each blossom signified devotion, but not fidelity. Well-tended consolation prizes.
Until she realized that a living rose bush, even with all its thorns, better reciprocated the life and beauty she craved, more than any short-lived bouquet he presented without redemption.
Broken Bouquet by Jack Schuyler
Dry stems and wilted petals blow gently in the wind. Jammed into sidewalk cracks and kicked into the street by passersby, the broken bouquet lies strewn beneath the hot sun. I cannot take the brown from the mashed petals and I cannot restore the green to the stems which lay bent like rotting asparagus in the gutter. The decorative plastic has long since blown down the highway, so I gather the carcass into a dirt stained grocery bag. And what was the occasion? A wedding? A peace offering? I gather the last petal into the bag. It’s over now.
Bouquet by Deborah Lee
“You got a job offer! But this is thrilling!”
Jane laughs. She pulls a bottle from her backpack with a flourish. “It’s not much, but we can celebrate.”
“I’m honored to help you celebrate, dear girl,” the old man says. “I wish I had proper glasses, to appropriately savor the bouquet of this lovely drop.” His eyes dance.
“Bouquet,” Jane snorts, uncapping the wine. “Two-Buck Chuck doesn’t have a bouquet. More like a…twang.”
“A stench!” Jane squeals, giddy.
Henry drinks, wipes the the bottle, passes it. “I could not be happier for you,” he says quietly.
There’s Nothing More Annoying Than A Smart-Arse by Geoff Le Pard
‘You know, those guys are so annoying, hee-hawing about the wine.’
‘Morgan, they’re young, they…’
‘What is it about wine that brings out pretensions? “Lovely bouquet” and “it has notes of peach and cobblers”. Why don’t they just drink it?’
‘You’re the same, with your car. All horse-power and litres and torque and…’
‘That’s different. They’re technical terms.’
‘You use them to contrafabulate the listener.’
‘You made that up.’
‘You don’t know though. You’re just trying to confuse people.’
‘A bouquet is a bunch of flowers, not a wine scent.’
‘Actually it’s the tertiary aroma, caused…’
‘Shut up, Logan.’
Catch Me If You Can by Juliet Nubel
Julia had hovered behind her sister all day, following her like a faithful young puppy. A puppy in teetering heels and an atrociously tight scarlet dress.
She was the older one, surely she should have had a say in what she wore today?
As she lingered she kept a careful eye on the bouquet. The scent from its red and white roses had tickled her nostrils all day.
When was her sister ever going to throw the damned thing?
Julia prayed that her months of training as the goalie of the local female football team would finally pay off.
[misled] by Deb Whittam
The exchange always happened at the end of the day, that was when most looked the other way.
Her old gnarled hands would clasp the product close, until he arrived and then no words were spoke.
He would take the offering and turn away quick, she would smile not batting an eyelid.
Most thought it a tradition, one of those old family ways.
No one seemed to realise that the weeds he received, were more than they perceived.
Weeds and such is what they said, he just nodded … they chose not to see, let them be misled.
Offering To The Land by Jan Malique
She stood looking at the expanse of wild meadow with wonder. It was a rolling carpet of vibrant colour and scent, touched with the kiss of golden sunlight. Truly heaven!
The elders of the tribe had chosen her to carry the offering of garden flowers. A gift to the land as thanks for retreat of the great ice sheets, and continual good harvests.
She waited for a sign from the land that the gift had been accepted. Silence fell, then a sweet wind moved over the meadow. The Guardian came slowly forward and kissed her gently on the forehead.
Flash Fiction by FloridaBorne
She stared at the bouquet of long-stemmed yellow roses, tears streaming.
The best florist in town, the baby breath arranged perfectly in a cut crystal vase, his intentions unmistakable, she opened the embossed envelope and read the gold lettering on an elegant card, “You were right.”
Yesterday, they’d argued about his late nights at work, and excessive spending. She’d accused him of having an affair.
She’d once quipped, “If you want a divorce, just send me a dozen yellow roses.”
He knew she hated that color. He didn’t know she was pregnant.
He’d learn to hate child support more.
Hi Noon at the Bouquet Corral by D. Avery
“Pal! Where’s Shorty at?”
“Whoa, Kid, what’s wrong?”
“The ranch hands! They’s all off in the upper meadows an’ in the woods sniffin’ flowers an’ makin’ daisy chains.”
“So?! They should be makin’ hay, not pickin’ flowers! We gotta be makin’ hay; sowin’ an’ reapin’. Git ready fer winter. Where’s Shorty?”
“Kid, whyn’t you relax, go sniff some flowers yerself?”
“Cain’t, no time, gotta replenish the carrot bin, git hay inta the barn. Winter’s comin’. Where’s Shorty?”
“Kid, go back ta the meadow. Shorty’s there gatherin’ flowers.”
“Fuel fer the soul, Kid. Important work, time well spent.”
Writers explored the unusual side of what society expects of men and what men choose to do independently.
The following is based on the June 7, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about man glisten.
PART I (10-minute read)
It’s What’s Inside that Counts – Believe That If You Want by Geoff Le Pard
‘You know, Logan, I thought I’d get a tatt.’
‘Berk. That’s for teens and Maoris.’
‘Just want to be different.’
‘Don’t bother with such fripperies. Just be your weirdy self.’
‘Yeah but that doesn’t make me stand out. What if I dyed my beard?’
‘Call that a beard?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘You know, the other day when that guy collapsed at work?’
‘They shouted ‘Man down!’?’
‘I thought someone was trying to describe your beard to someone who’d not met you.’
‘That’s not fair.’
‘It’s bum-fluff, mate. Rub hard with a flannel, and you’d lose it.’
Glitz Man by kate @ aroused
Mick streaked his hair, wore classy clothes, saw himself as a leader of the Men’s Liberation Movement. Had applied for paternity leave before his wife gave birth, a public service entitlement. Bragged about the number of nappies he’d changed In a radio interview, he had counted every one.
Being a migrant, he took his wife’s name for she was from the landed gentry. Once his kids were at school, he ran for local council with never a qualm that his wife earned more.
Kid sprinkled him with glitter as he left for a meeting, laughing, comfortable with his choices!
Glistening by Jack Schuyler
Glistening, he took the stage.
I sipped my drink and pushed the pink cherry back into the glass with my tongue.
He was strong and graceful. With all the force of a tribal chieftain, he exercised his charm with the delicacy of butterfly wings.
It was mesmerizing.
Using every corner of the stage, he came face to face with the pulsing audience one second and flew high into the air the next.
When the dance finished, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. In a daze, I rose from my barstool and burst into embarrassing applause.
Man Glisten by Kay Kingsley
“What makes you feel good?” she asked him. “I don’t know. Sports? Or maybe working on my car.” He paused, thinking harder about this question than he anticipated.
She smiled a soft, playful smile. He was the kindest person she ever met.
“You know I love you, right?”
Now he was the one smiling, a smile colored with a bit of blush.
Embarrassed, he stroked his chin exposing hidden beard glitter that sparkled in the sun.
Only the strongest men play dress up with their 6 year old daughter and his man glisten is an endearing badge of honor.
Metallic Man by Juliet Nubel
The tiny drops of water clung to his broad shoulders like sequins, sparkling in the hot summer sun. Some fell to the ground, others were blown dry as he sprinted from the beach to the bike park.
His eyes scanned the dozens of lanes, searching for his space-age contraption, the one he would crouch over for the next five hours, pedalling for his life.
Then would come the marathon, where more pearls of sweat would bejewel his pounding body – this body he had transformed from a large white lump of lard to a lean, tanned, glistening piece of Iron.
Choosing by D. Avery
Both were tall, strong, good looking. Both had good prospects. Both were getting frustrated over her reluctance to choose.
Wade finally confronted Emerson, demanding they fight each other like men. He demanded this despite her protests for him to stop.
“It’s the only way!” he insisted. “Best man wins!” A crowd gathered around what was sure to be a close and brutal match.
But Emerson refused to fight, said he wouldn’t treat her like a prize purse. He turned and walked away. She caught up. When his eyes glistened with happiness, she knew she had chosen the right man.
Man Glisten by Frank Hubeney
Peter’s daughter laughed. She could see the glitter in his hair. Not much, but enough to sparkle.
“You still got it!” She said.
“You gave it to me,” Peter responded.
“Yeah. I’m glad you let me glisten for a while.”
Peter really was glad. It was not easy for her to throw that glitter on him last week. She showed unexpected initiative. In case showering removed too much of it, he retouched his hair to make sure she would see some before he guided her wheelchair to the kitchen table for breakfast.
What a sparkling day!
Secret Love by Heather Gonzalez
At ripe old age of 99, all Sarah could remember of her true love was the way his skin glistened in the sun every time he got out of the water that summer.
No one ever knew about their secret love affair. They had been so careful. Most of their encounters were at an abandoned part of the river. That summer, they let their bodies intertwine beneath the surface.
To this day, no one knew that her daughter’s father wasn’t her husband.
She could only remember the way his skin glistened in the sun, but that was enough.
Silver Sparkles by Kerry E.B. Black
They celebrated their silver anniversary on a cruise.
Haley donned a new gown, but nothing disguised the ravages of a hard life on delicate skin. She thought she’d packed her cares, but they manifested in dark bags beneath her eyes. Worries snaked from her temples, dye-defying silver streaks. Translucent powder sunk into laugh lines and danced along crow’s feet.
Larry took his wife’s hand, enamored of her beauty. When she nestled in for a hug, she left some of her makeup glistening in his beard. It caught the light so that when they toasted, not only their smiles sparkled.
All-Inclusive by Bill Engleson
“Move over,” she directs. I have no objection, so we shift our baking bodies inches deeper into the shade of the giant parasol. Temporarily reprieved from the ferocity of the Varadero sun, she points to the apparition.
“Not American, that’s for sure,” I opine, adding, “stupid embargo…”
“He’s not alone.”
A sleek cinder-burnt woman in a leopard bikini joins him.
His leopard briefs are band-aid thin. His body, muscular, with just a hint of paunch, is a Vaseline vision.
“Envious?” she prods.
“If I was an oil spill, maybe. Do you want another Havana Loco?”
Summer Shower by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Her bus was late.
Benny stood under the awning, doing his best to shield his dog with the umbrella. Nevertheless, the pooch was soaked.
“Sorry, Roger,” he murmured, kneeling to stroke the dog’s ears, “We’ve gotta give up.”
Roger whined, licking a runnel of rain off his master’s forearm.
Benny stood, closing and shaking the umbrella. He leaned it against a wall. “Don’t need this, eh boy?”
Together, they strolled into the twilight as the streetlights lit up.
Minutes later, she marveled at her good fortune in finding the umbrella. It would be a long, wet walk home, otherwise.
After the Adventure by Wallie & Friend
She found him sleeping. The sun through the leaves warmed his skin in green and gold light, his long lashes casting shadows across his cheek.
Ami sat beside him. When she had gone looking for him, she hadn’t expected to find him here like this, but it seemed somehow right that in the aftermath of their adventure he and she should find a moment like this, a moment of apart from the others—a moment of rest.
Ami didn’t wake him. Instead, she settled beside him, her cheek on her arm, and watched the sunlight glisten on his face.
Magic In The Air by Sherri Matthews
Rumours of the old man living in the woods ran rife through the village, but nobody had ever seen him. Tim, determined to prove his existence, donned binoculars and strode out towards the abandoned house in the woods. Hours later, Tim’s flagging excitement surged when he saw a man walking towards him. The man wore a black cloak with a hood over his black hair, but his white beard glistened in the sunlight. Tim gasped, and the man smiled. “I’m not who you think I am son, but if it’s magic you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.”
Man Glisten in the Madhouse by Anne Goodwin
In some ways, Henry found it reassuring. This was a madhouse after all. But the poor man, boogying to a solitary rhythm, would attract derision outside. Someone should restrain him. Was it light reflected from the Christmas tree, or was that glitter in his hair? Was there alcohol in the punch?
At least Henry’s role would be minimal: passing the patients’ gifts to the Mayor. Then home to sanity. Yet his face froze as glitter-man sashayed over, grinning as he offered his hand. “Thanks for coming, Santa, Santa’s Elf. I’m Clive Musgrove, charge nurse. We spoke on the phone.”
PART II (10-minute read)
The Last Story? by Di @ pensitivity101
She sat on his knee as she’d always done, waiting for him to begin telling a story.
He faltered, looking into those big hazel flecked saucers, feeling lost, overwhelmed, inadequate, and extremely blessed.
How many more evenings would they share? He was old and tired, time was precious.
She looked at him quizzically, touched a finger to the jewel glistening on his leathery cheek.
‘Granpa?’ she said, ‘Why are you crying?’
He smiled, taking her tiny hand in his liver-spotted and gnarled one, slowly raising it to his lips.
‘They’re not tears, sweetheart. They are the Diamonds of Love.’
Glitter Smiles Glisten by Norah Colvin
Relentless rain meant no beach for the country cousins. They spent eternity on the verandah, making artworks, playing games, and bickering.
On the last day, when Mum said to clear space for their mattresses, they fought over who’d do what. Toys and games ended up in a haphazard tower with the glitter bucket balanced on top.
When Dad bent for goodnight kisses, he stumbled and demolished the tower. Glitter went everywhere—including all over Dad. The children gasped.
“Your hair glistens, Dad,” smiled the littlest.
Dad smiled too, then everybody laughed.
Dad wore a hat to work that week.
Prideful Glisten by H.R.R. Gorman
The little girl surveyed her dress and scratched at the crinoline lining. “Why am I dressed up?” she asked.
Dr. Roberts crouched and poked his daughter on the shoulder. “Today is graduation day. It means you’re growing up. You want to dress up nice for graduation, yes?”
“I sure do – thank you, Daddy, for this fancy dress!” She twirled in her sequined skirt, the gems catching the light.
Dr. Roberts reached out a hand and led the kindergarten graduate to the station for the ride to school. He smiled, the glisten of his teeth outshining the sequins’ prideful sparkle.
Educational Enigma? by JulesPaige
“Mommy why doesn’t Papa man glisten?” Adrianna asked her mother.
At the cliff’s edge, Stan had wanted to clear the debris by their home by the lake. He’d at least asked Junior with him. Though Joan wasn’t sure
that father and son had enough engineering genes between them both to change a light bulb. Joan was curious as to what Adrianna was getting at. “What do you mean, honey?”
“Well,” the five year old daughter proclaimed as if she knew all the secrets of the world,“Teacher said most animals, the boys are show-offs,
like the peacock bird.”
Pride by D. Avery
William, reaching for his tuxedo, wondered why, of all the birds in the world, men emulate penguins when they dress up. His eyes hungrily took in the myriad colors, and his hands explored the many textures of his wife’s clothes. The teal feathered boa from the masquerade ball complemented her sequin shawl that he had draped over his shoulders. He marveled at how both sparkled, the colors shimmering. Emerging proud as a peacock from the walk-in closet, William joined his wife, still pruning and preening at her vanity mirror. Her eyes glistened as he reached for her eyeliner.
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
The ogre woke to fairies jumping on his bed. Pink tutus and wings flapping, giggles, pixie dust dancing in the morning sunlight.
“Get up. We made tea.”
With a grunt, the ogre shuffled to the kitchen.
“One or two sugars, Daddy?”
“Make it a double.”
Two pinches of glitter. The ogre slogged down his tea, wiped his mouth, a rare smile cracking the cast of worry on his face.
The fairies flitted. “Mom’s here.”
The ogre started for the fairies’ bags. The smaller fairy took his hand. “Do you want my wings?”
The ogre nodded. “Of course.”
Forget-Me-Not by Sarah Whiley
I lit the candle, marking five years since our loss.
A single tear rolled down my cheek, which I indulged with just a little self-pity. Thinking again, of what might have been.
It never got any easier. And to make it worse, this year, my husband had totally forgotten.
I was hurt. He knew how hard this day was.
I heard the key turn in the lock and quickly wiped my eyes. I turned and was greeted by a beautiful bouquet of forget-me-nots.
More beautiful, was the glisten in my husband’s eyes, as he pulled me into his arms.
Daddy Can Dance (BOTS) by Susan Sleggs
Two years after a bad motorcycle accident, Carl was the only father at the Kindergarten Father/Daughter dance in a wheelchair. He had trouble keeping track of Katie in the crowd, but he came home with a feeling of exhilaration.
His wife smiled at the glitter on his suit. “How did you get covered?”
“Lots of Katie’s friends wanted a ride on my lap, and they had on sparkly dresses.”
“Pretty, but I’ll never get it all out.”
“That’s fine, every time it glistens, I’ll celebrate being alive, and remember twirling with Katie and her friends.”
“Well said, my love.”
Hair, Skin, Sun by Paula Moyer
Jean and Steve did summer weekends at Mille Lacs – that gigantic, shallow inland lake, smack in the middle of Minnesota. Swimming off the pier was a near-sunset event for Steve. Jean often looked at him and marveled. We’re both “white,” she thought, but Steve? Seriously white.
That evening he lathered up in sunscreen, slid off the pier and floated, belly up.
His chest hair was so thick that sunlight glistened jewel-like on the strands and then refracted when bouncing against his wet, shiny skin. Sunrays danced against Steve’s chest, a giant iridescent opal, resting displayed on satin Mille Lacs.
Man Glisten – Progress! by M J Mallon
‘What’s that?’ asked the little girl in the department store.
‘It’s the new Father Christmas. He’s called man glisten because he listens to all the little girls and boys while he glistens.’
‘But I liked the old Father Christmas with the long white beard, fat tummy and the red suit,’ said his daughter with a tear in her eyes.
‘It’s progress, honey. Old Father Christmas wasn’t bringing money into the department store anymore.’
‘Do you want to meet him?’
‘Look! His long beard, psychedelic suit and his reindeer glisten.’
‘I don’t care! I want old, fat, red suit!’
Man Glisten by MRMacrum
Joyce looked up at her husband John and said, “Oh great. Look what you’ve done now?”
Oblivious to verbal cues, John just looked at Joyce and grunted.
“Hey, snap out of it. I think we’re done here. ………….. Would you please move. Your sweat is dripping on me.”
“Huh?” John’s eyes said, “Nobody home.” He composed himself. “My Sweat? What about those sweaty handprints you left on me?
Joyce smiled at John. “Women don’t sweat, they glow.”
“I see. ………… men don’t sweat either. We glisten. …. Now let’s move on. These fence posts aren’t going to plant themselves.
The Roughneck by Teresa Grabs
For twelve weeks at a time, Buck was a roughneck on an off-shore drilling rig. The men were men, and that’s the way they liked it. Leathered skin, often covered in dirt and sweat, only amplified his ruggedness and no one could take a punch like Buck. His beard made him look like he just walked out of a Jack London story of the North.
Daisy squealed as Missy opened the playroom door. “Daddy funny!”
Missy couldn’t help but laugh at Buck sitting on his knees, at a tea party, wearing pink fairy wings, with glitter in his beard.
Glitterbeard by Allison Maruska
Darkness settles on me, around me, through me. It’s impenetrable. Undeniable.
I shake the bottle. Ten seconds is all I need. Ten seconds to escape.
One last glance outside. I used to feel joy on a spring day. I remember it as a cold fact.
Zach sits on his porch with his preschooler. His chin is lifted, and she’s sprinkling something into his thick, black beard.
I set the bottle down and head across the street.
Glitterbeard looks up as I approach. “Hey, man! You like it?”
It’s enough to poke a hole in the darkness.
The Humble Man by Michael Grogan
The humble man knew he was up against it. The shelter for the homeless was a pie in the sky venture argued so many who coveted everything they thought they had a right to.
Greed and lust prevailed, and it was every man for himself. The homeless suffered the cold, the heat but more so the derision of a society who didn’t care.
He built a rough shelter, it was warm and clean and appreciated by those in need. When he stood back to reflect on his efforts, those who watched were amazed by the glow from within him.
Lightning Bugs by Papershots
For a long time there had been no reason to do it up. Now it was essential. Who would come to such a secluded spot but with modern conveniences? Inherited deadweight would now sparkle again. The actors checked in a few hours before the opening, to reenact historical deeds. Their makeup glistened in the stage- and moon- light. Somebody’s eyes met and bodies twinkled after the memorized lines and the welcoming of guests. Much later one was still welcoming; the other crying made-up tears in the glare of 19th century lamps. But scintillating coincidences had definitely worked their charm.
Flash Fiction by Saifun Hassam
The Explorer rafts came swiftly around the bend of the roaring and thunderous Kemper River. Jeff was in the leading solo raft. The old broken bridge had finally collapsed into the torrential waters. Before he could react, an unexpected surge threw Jeff into the churning foaming river. Valerie and Jody rafted furiously towards the right bank, staying close to the man glisten and perilous in the relentless rush of waters. The other Explorer rafts plunged up and down, fighting the downstream surge to form a barrier across the river. Strong hands pulled the man glisten from the raging waters.
For Our Bearded Buckaroo Bards by D. Avery
“Men listen? They ain’t great listeners Pal.”
“Not like you.”
“Shorty said ‘man glisten’ Kid.”
“Could be glitter in a beard or jist bein’ okay with glitter in a beard.”
“Huh. Well, is it okay? Ain’t ranchin’ cowboy types s’posed ta be rough an’ tough? Buckaroo Nation women are all warriors. Are all the men here good looking?”
“That’s Lake Woebegone. Here men look good if they know when ta hold ‘em an’ know when ta fold ‘em, know that it ain’t weak ta turn the other cheek.”
“An’ if their cheeks are glittered, they’re golden.”
The Raven came to us through the gripping poetry of Edgar Allen Poe, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…” That raven might have cawed “Nevermore,” but that indeed was not the last word from ravens, or about them.
Writers chased black wings for stories this week. Ravens feature in the tales they inspired.
The following are based on the March 1, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a raven.
Everlore by Chelsea Owens
Once within a forest clearing, whilst I sought my heart some cheering,
With num’rous sorts of very unhealthy choc’late treats I most adore –
While I wandered, knapsack-snacking, dropping errant candy-wrapping,
I thought I heard a quiet flapping, flapping from the forest floor.
“‘Tis no predator,” I whispered, “wrapping from the forest floor –
Only garbage; an eyesore.”
Then came hum’rous Fate permitting; sending to me, most unwitting,
The view of who had made the flapping, from the littered forest floor:
Eager girl scout sitting, beaming, as I jumped up, scared and screaming –
I’m out of words; there is no more.
Raven by Colleen Chesebro
stealer of souls
when seen in groups of three
Goddess Morrigan’s familiar
Augurs interpret messages
by which way the bird flies
The crone found it hard to dispute the wisdom of the Runes. Her predictions usually rang true. If so, the harbinger of death was on his way.
The corvid flew in from the east landing in an oak tree, chanting, “I’m not here to claim your soul, I’m here to set you free.”
The trappings of age fell away. She rose from the Chrysalis shedding her sheltered state. Then, she began to write…
The Beast from the East by Anne Goodwin
Twirling snowflakes clot the air, a ballet best appreciated from behind a double glazed window. Those who can, remain indoors, muting traffic to a whisper, but some must brave the blizzard. “It’s suicidal,” I said. “I’ve no choice,” he countered.
A raven perches on a bare branch, harbinger of doom. He was due back hours ago. His phone goes to voicemail. No juice, no signal or worse?
Tyres crunch on frozen snow. Did I see a raven, or a smaller cousin? He’s home. He knows: a raven here’s as improbable as this Siberian weather.
Raven by Robbie Cheadle
The raven visited her in a dream again last night. She felt sure it was some sort of prophecy. First came the raven, silently slipping into her mind. Then she found herself in the water maze. She was in a flat bottomed boat, rowing frantically through the dark water. The overgrown foliage was so dense it completely blocked out the light. She tried to follow the shouts. The shouts were her Father’s. She had to find him quickly, she knew time was short. Every night she searched for him. She could never find her way through the sinister maze.
Mine Eyes by Bill Engleson
From my window, I can see the web of wires, stepping stone rooftops of innumerable lives, a distant mountain, a sky, dancing with darkness.
When I say, ‘my window,’ I mean Room 602 of County General.
I’m here temporarily.
Not by choice.
My eyes, worn, tearless, face the window.
I notice them.
They arrive in twos and threes.
They land deftly on the wires.
They land in rows on the rooftops.
They occupy the darkening sky.
Crows. Ravens. Seagulls. Birds of many feathers.
A collusion of ravenous fowl.
A Hitchcockian horror come full circle.
Raven by Nicole
A shadow crosses the windshield. I look up – a raven looks back over its shoulder. “Follow me” it says. I think I want to go back to my tent, forget the world for a few more days. But something makes me follow the raven.
Out of the dark woods men emerge, blood on their hands. Swastikas on their rifles, a Klu they are not shooting for food.
Down the mountain the raven leads, through New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, around the Beltway. It lands atop a white dome.
Below, the streets are full of righteous children chanting “never more.”
Raven by joem18b
A raven adopted me at my cabin in the north woods. I named him Edgar. We had a casual relationship, based on food and togetherness.
Edgar roamed the woods at will. One day, he brought home a crow, whom I named Allan.
Allan generally gave me a wide berth, unlike Edgar, who would perch on my shoulder. Allan and I competed for Edgar’s affections. I sensed that Allan was gradually winning.
When the two birds built a nest together and Allan laid eggs in it, I changed her name to Ellen.
The hybrid babies took me for their godfather.
Raven the Midwife by Paula Moyer
When Jean was pregnant with Lydia, she binge-read the previous decade’s literature on the childbirth reform pioneers Those women raised their fists for things the things that were standard for the next generation.
Jean loved reading about the rebel midwives, daring to help women have their babies at home. Her favorite was Raven, a lay midwife in California. Her hair was as black as the feathers of her bird namesake. At one chapter’s end, Raven, surrounded by sister-midwives, gave birth to her youngest child.
Jean was planning a hospital birth. But when Lydia came, Jean hoped to channel Raven.
Raven by Pensitivity
The pain was excruciating, and she was alone and afraid.
Breathe. Short pants.
With a final push, she delivered her child into the world.
Spent, she looked into her newborn’s face, then wrapped it to her.
The bird was the last thing she saw.
The poacher believed both to be dead until the babe started to cry.
The girl couldn’t have been more than fifteen. Undernourished, she didn’t stand a chance.
A bird circled overhead, dark against the blue sky.
The child had jet black hair and blue eyes.
‘I’ll call you Raven,’ he whispered and took her home.
A Raven’s View by calmkkate
Got a circuit I do most days
farmhouse near the river
pensioner’s balcony in town
park at lunch time is a sure bet!
Basically I cruise where I can get
the juiciest morsels, easier than
hunting for myself if these daft
humans want to provide but
road kill is still my favourite
fresh eyes you can never regret
they beat the packaged meat
These kind folk who feed me
have no real idea of the tasty
joy a fresh kill provides us
No idea why they need such
big nests and it must be awful
not to fly free!
Seeker by Michael Fishman
The fortune-teller extended a bony hand toward me. Thin translucent fingers pressed against my chest sending a chill into me.
She pulled back and raised her hand and was holding an amorphous black glob in her palm. “This,” she said. “Is what lives inside you.”
“This means you need to clean your spirit; your soul.” She explained. The fortune-teller closed her hand and the bubbling image evaporated.
A thin smile spread across her wizened face. “Find your guide.”
Outside, squinting against the sun, I saw the raven, perched on the light pole, looking down at me.
Bran’s Blessings by Jan Malique
He sits on the branch, looking at me with one eye and then the other, looks between two worlds, that of the living and the dead.
A Messenger with preternatural sight and deep wisdom. What news do you bring from the Otherworld Blessed Raven?
The Cauldron of Rebirth appears, invites exploration. Again I ask, what news do you bring from the Otherworld Blessed Raven?
“Their Rebirth” he mutters.
I look in your eyes and only see the unknown and secrets buried within secrets. You give me sight of things only dreamed of and utter legends half forgotten.
A Raven Speaks by Liz Husebye Hartmann
“What did you see at the North Falls, Silas?” Sylvi looked into his dark eye.
He searched for words. His head teemed with questions and sensations. Few people gave him his due, mistaking him for his smaller-brained, raucous cousins. No mind. He and Sylvi understood each other, having traveled many miles together. He shook his feathery black beard.
“Who kidnapped Maeve?” she stroked a finger down his hooked beak, to calm and center him.
Ruffling his wings, he stretched his neck and croaked, “Wyatt!”
Sylvi straightened, laughing in relief. No harm done, then. Wyatt and Maeve were already betrothed.
Raven by EluminoraCreations
Enveloped in disguise, Nathaniel listened. Though he could transform well for an apprentice his age, he was less skilled at ravenspeak. Besides that, the ravens were talking over each other as usual. He had to concentrate hard in order to understand anything. His heart, deep under a thick layer of black feathers, pounded so hard he feared they would notice. But his master had ordered him to get the facts of their conspiracy and to come back alive.
Assasination. War. Three days. He launched himself into the air. He had heard the words that no one wanted to hear.
All’s Well that Ends Well by Anurag Bakhshi
The raven-haired beauty has stolen my heart
And made a hopeless romantic out of a crusty old fart
Too late have I realized this, I squarely blame my ego
If I had even an iota of sense, I wouldn’t have let her go
She came by last night, and fondly bid me adieu
I poured my heart out to her then, hoping she’d say I Do
But just like the inhabitants of Spanish mountains would find a downpour surprising
I was thunderstruck when I found out that my Eliza was now the Fair Lady of my friend Colonel Pickering
Messanger of Doom by Deborah A. Bowman
Tell Me, What Lies You Bring, Raven?
It wasn’t a dark and stormy night
A golden sun was shining
But the color wasn’t right
Too bright, too orange, too blinding
The coarseness of the beast
Not fit to be a craven fowl
His beak open, demanding a feast
Nothing to quench his howl
Not a bird of prey
A large animal, depraved
He does not fly or soar
His voice, a primal roar
He stalks my garden walk
On torn barren legs
No feathers, just tangled dregs
Like a monstrous wild cat
Screaming too loud!
I fall as my heart shivered
My breath stops … message delivered
The Ravens by Michael Grogan
The Raven family lived two doors up from me. They were an unhappy lot dealing with not only history but mythology as well. Raven’s were a known symbol of bad luck, foretellers of death and had been written about in Shakespeare’s plays in the most disparaging way.
They once took a holiday to the Tower of London where they attempted to release the captive ravens much to the horror of the guards.
Life was a never-ending series of trials for the Ravens, no one liked to rub shoulders with them and you never stood near them at a funeral.
The Raven by Stephen Lodge
We lived in London, close to the Tower. They told us all about it at school. Our parents told us.
If the ravens fly off,
The Tower Of London will crumble and fall,
There will be nothing left,
The Crown Jewels will be gone and all.
We peered over the wall and saw the ravens in the Tower grounds still there. To this day, remain they do, though no carrion keeps them there. Not since the Last Executioner was himself beheaded by Madaxe the Saxon around 1115, although some say it was as late as two in the afternoon.
Raven by Ritu Bhathal
“It is a worry indeed, Your Majesty, yes. We’ve had to sack three of them this year, and getting decent replacements, well that is an increasingly tough task.”
Beefeater Chambers looked out of the window, whilst speaking to the Queen on the Royal telephone.
The requirement was six ravens to be guarding the Tower of London at any one time, or the Tower and Kingdom would fall, and this new generation, well they were useless.
They didn’t have the spunk of their ancestors, calling in sick all the time, too busy posing for the tourists and Instagram selfies.
Giving Him the Bird by Geoff Le Pard
‘Bloody parakeets, Logan. Pushing out our native birds.’
‘They’re pretty, Morgan.’
‘They’re foreign. They’re frightening the sparrows and robins. It ain’t natural.’
‘So what’s the solution?’
‘Stop these foreigners coming in, taking our seeds and nests. Keep the proper British birds. They’ll not fly away once we get rid of the immigrants.’
‘Like the ravens?’
‘The ravens. At the Tower of London. They clip their wings to make sure they stay.’
‘That’s barbaric. Why?’
‘If the ravens leave the Tower, England falls.’
‘Whose idea was that?’
‘The Normans, I think.’
‘Bloody French, coming over here, taking our crown…’
Marry Me, Jane! by Luccia Gray
‘Soon I shall be a bridegroom,’ said Mr. Rochester.
Jane looked down at her plain, governess dress and remembered Blanche Ingram’s extravagant clothes, noble features and glossy, raven hair.
‘I’ll leave at once. Miss Ingram will have plans for Adele.’
Jane refused to witness the man she loved marry a beautiful, yet unworthy gold-digger.
‘You would have me marry that frivolous woman?’ Rochester shook his head. ‘You think so little of me, Jane? I ask you to pass through life at my side as my best earthly companion.’
Rochester kissed her hand. ‘Jane, say Edward I will marry you.’
A Thousand Times…by Anita Dawes & Jay Marie
Blue eyes look back at me from the puddle I drink from, my feathers shimmer as the water moves. I know myself and remember that I have died a thousand times.
If I could speak, I would tell you the tale of my many lives. I come back from the Summerlands, I am the white feather of legend and my coming was foretold. I shall bring back the old magic.
Scavenger they call me. My wings clipped, I guard the Tower lest it should fall.
I am the white RAVEN.
The Dream by Pete Fanning
Dinner was lively with song and laughter. In the spirit, I allowed myself to smile.
“Oney?” Mrs. Wilks’ voice like a lash.
“What has gotten into you?”
I set my eyes down. “A dream, Ma’am.”
Mrs. Wilks’ eyes flared, her mouth tightened. “Of what did you dream, Oney?”
It wasn’t enough for her to own me. She wanted my dreams, too.
I told her I’d dreamed of ravens. Or crows. Anything but the Queen Mother and son—the future ruler of the kingdom.
Mrs. Wilks waved me off, talking birds and primitive culture.
American Royalty by Charli Mills
Cory grabbed bags of Doritos, kissing his wife before she retreated to the mall with their daughter “Drive safe with the princess.”
He grinned, now king of his castle with a tv remote scepter. A few buddies arrived with prerequisite beer to gain entry. Cory illuminated the big-screen. Unfettered cheers rose — no work, no church, no wives. At least for four quarters.
Another shooting. Cory dropped his beer. Obvious as a black raven against white snow, he recognized his wife’s purse and sprawled hair. Pools of ruby and brass surrounded her head like an American crown.
Why? by D. Avery
Cronk! Raven’s call. “Diet is varied and opportunistic”. Cronk!, announcing carrion. Big black bird of varied reputations, mythical, dark. Cronk! Associated with death.
Why? Raven, not hawk nor dove, just a witness, an opportunistic feeder. Raven hears the gunshots, raven flies in, watches, waits.
With each bullet fired
His own soul fading
To himself brings brutal death
Innocence is carrion.
Cronk! Raven calls in her family, teaches them to thrive. They, opportunistic feeders, learn to listen for the gunshots. Carrion eaters do not wonder at the source, do not wonder why there are so many fallen children.
Act of Congress by Molly Stevens
Dorothy abandoned her dishwashing to view the spectacle outside her kitchen window. A bald eagle circled overhead, closing in on a raven’s nest in the crotch of the big pine tree.
There must be babies in that nest.
She shuddered at the vulnerability of the chicks, on the menu for an overwhelming predator. Returning to a stack of pots and pans, she sighed and looked away from the brutal drama.
The clamor of angry birds reclaimed her attention. They waged a riotous protest, and the ravenous eagle retreated.
No mass murder today. Babies saved by an act of congress.
Mr Craven by Juliet Nubel
The whole school knew him as Raven. It was the way his black cloak flew behind him as he stormed along the corridors, screeching as he passed.
“Be quiet!” Don’t run!” Stop laughing!”
Never a smile or a nod. Just those piercing eyes staring down his crooked beak of a nose.
In class he hit us with his ruler, slapping hard on the backs of hands or legs. He brought it down so hard on my head one day that it drew blood. He looked pleased, not ashamed.
His real name was Craven. The extra C stood for Cruel.
Freedom by Kay Kingsley
Paralyzed, I laid in bed, unable to move even to scratch my nose. If I tried hard not to think about it I kept that imminent feeling of insanity at bay. I didn’t look at the calendar to know the date. I didn’t care anymore. Every day was the same. The godawful same. Gazing out the window tugged at my heart. I couldn’t see trees, houses, or even people. Only gray and freedom flying. Black ravens. Carrying the invisible strings to my heart, like dark dreams, my weighted freedom. I was jealous of birds… so I set them free.
Sign From God by Heather Gonzalez
“God, please show me a sign.”
Sam prayed as Katherine attempted to make a fire. They had been lost in the woods for days and hunger was really beginning to set in. Being a former girl scout meant that Katherine felt much more confident of their survival than he did.
“It is summer. Why do we need a fire?” Sam gripped.
Out of nowhere, a raven hit the ground hard in front of Sam. He knew it was a sign from God but was it good or bad? Before we could decide, Katherine picked it up.
“Oh good. Dinner.”
Black-Winged Messenger by Sarah Whiley
“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.
Raven by FloridaBorne
Why had I allowed her behind the wheel of my beloved Isuzu Trooper?
Teeth gritted…I knew it was coming.
“Bird!” My sister yelled out, slamming on the brakes. “Would you look at that raven!”
“Do I have to?” I grumbled.
Driven, she travelled another hundred feet along the lonely dirt road.
While she stared through binoculars at another flock of feathered vermin, I opened the passenger’s door and jumped out.
“As if you didn’t know!” I replied, glaring at her.
“Normal people love birds!”
“I’m tired of flying into the windshield. I’m not a passenger pigeon.”
Feeding the Ravens by Susan Sleggs
When visiting Grandma, I asked, “May I feed your friendly ravens?”
“Boy, you stay away from those evil birds. They’ll peck your eyes out!” my father snapped.
My mother disagreed. “I’ve fed those birds all my life. Only mythology and superstition say they are evil.”
Grandma settled the argument when she handed Dad her I-pad open to a fact page about ravens; they mate for life, use tools, can learn human speech, play in the snow, fly upside down, recognize human faces, voices and kindness.
Dad stomped up the stairs.
Grandma, Mom and I went out the back door.
Quoth the Raven (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
Jane bends to scatter crumbs from her morning muffin. Will Edgar come today?
Ravens. Birds of Apollo and Odin, messengers from these gods of prophecy. Harbingers of death and loss. She can’t lose much more. She’ll feed her raven instead; give him a name.
Flapping heralds Edgar’s arrival. He pecks his breakfast, fixes his unnerving gaze on her. He hops aside and she sees it.
She edges forward but Edgar has already retreated, perching on the fence. She stoops closer, in awe. A ring, gold in color only, plated finish well-scraped.
“Yes, Edgar,” she laughs. “I love you, too.”
Raven Mum by Lisa Rey
The raven knew how she was perceived. As a bird full of venom and darkness, ready to peck your eyes out. She blamed these horror novels that were distributed around. In reality she was just like the other bird Mums out on her travels looking for food for her young: three sons and two daughters. Their father had being a loser but she diplomatically called him a ‘free spirit’. He had left when the babies were young and could literally be anywhere right now. She swooped down in battle with a crow Mum to get the piece of bread.
Winged Memory by PTSD Gal
They sang on the porch, but only for my father. He found them after a summer night’s thunderstorm. One of the few memories I have of him was when he was more of a father to them than me. Or so I thought.
As the Ravens grew stronger they would take their wings out for a test drive. ‘You see my love when they are strong they will leave and not return. It’s easy to let a creature go. You, I truly love and I’m afraid one day your wings will take you away and I can’t let go.’
An Uncommon Raven by JulesPaige
Raven watched her brother sweep the Nintendo villains in the
futuristic shimmering grove. Her father, on the balcony
drinking his Kingfisher beer and kicking off debris with his foot
into the void of the space below, not seeing his wife sighing
into her glass of Burgundy. When had the virtue of her family
turned into a single tonal resonance, lacking real life?
Raven hurried, she’d reach the bridge that spanned the
connection of this bored little town into the city. There the
library awaited. Her sanctuary. There she could read and
perhaps create a plan to save them all.
Naming a Superhero by Joe Owens
The discarded suggestions still hung in the air as the room fell silent. After all, it wasn’t every day you had the opportunity to hang a name on a super hero. This could be the stuff of legends.
“We must dig deeper folks,” Chairman Jim said pounding the table with his fist.
Well, Hawkman is taken!” Louie announced.
“That’s a stupid, bird-brain name anyway,” Linus replied. Linus never needed encouragement to continue, so he laughed as his own joke.
“I know,” Fred began as his face slowly bore a solid grin before he nodded his head in confirmation. “Raven!”
Arrival by John See
We watched from the kitchen window. The creature had wings, arms, and dark, iridescent feathers. Tufts of feathers grew in unlikely places. Ugly and beautiful, awkward and graceful–a misbegotten, overgrown raven.
Standing a few feet from the sycamore tree that dwarfs our backyard, it opened its mouth. Its thunderous caw was so loud it chased sparrows from the sycamore and sent two small boys scurrying away. A shoelace hung from its beak, as though it had just devoured a teenage boy.
All that was when there were just three of us and we still enjoyed each other’s company.
Served by TinTins
Her hair was as opaque as a raven’s jacket. Perched at the bar, her eyes searched, pursuing prey. Her slinky red dress left nothing to the imagination; intentional.
She’d taken payment earlier that morning. Flaxen haired with emerald eyes; not your typical ladies’ man. Still, there was something captivating about him; easy to place.
“What are you drinking?” the smooth operator probed.
“Your wedding band?” she countered.
Bemused, he removed the ring from his finger.
Seemingly satisfied she proffered her cheek and whispered, “I’ve a message for you.”
Intrigued he advanced.
“Your wife will see you in court sir.”
The Conspiracy by Reena Saxena
Her mother believes that ravens bring bad news, and gets rid of them quickly, if they land on the balcony.
Rowena is born with a special ability – to see beyond words. It has been more of a curse than a gift, as she fails to gain acceptance in social and professional circles. Her presence terrifies people, and they find reasons to get rid of her. She may not speak a word, but her overall demeanor gives those scary, all-knowing signals.
The raven has been shot down, and her mother looks relieved. She sees the dark conspiracy finally getting her.
The Grave Watcher by Gloria
Nancy sobbed as her father’s coffin was lowered into the six-foot hole. Her mother wasn’t crying or watching her husband being laid to rest; instead, her eyes were firmly fixed on the raven that perched on a nearby gravestone. Her mother left the cemetery but she never returned home.
Thirty years later, Nancy watched from a distance as a small crowd gathered in the cemetery for the burial of her estranged mother. She didn’t cry, nor did she watch as the coffin was being lowered into the ground. She was distracted by a raven landing on her father’s gravestone.
A Summer Reckoning by JulesPaige
Amber thought the butterfly was born under the sign of Cancer.
Once fairy like, the sun bleached, layogenic colors had turned
into a sideways transparency. Would that be enough to suppress
the hovering raven’s appetite? Warning colors gone.
Amber, while drinking her chamomile tea, watched the insect
rest in the empty granite birdbath. Farfetched to think that by
not filling it, she had given the bug sanctuary. There were no
assurances in regards to her own nature. One moment
gregarious and the next autophobic.
Amber went into the back garden. She’d save the butterfly
from being eaten, at least.
Dear Virginia Clay, by Denise Aileen DeVries
You were hard, unwelcoming,
allowing only the familiar
or the most intrusive to flourish,
then clinging, hanging onto everything.
In the right light, your forest
full of hanging vines, brambles
and poison ivy resembled the banyan
where I played one magical year.
But you were nothing like the rich, red
island soil that nurtured sweet fruit.
And while the sunlit vaults of your pines
recalled my fine old Colorado school,
benevolent ravens roosting above,
attic trusses serving as branches,
your woods offered no haven,
tripping me, ripping flesh at every turn.
Now, Virginia Clay, in a new landscape,
I remember you as a Lothario, full
of broken promises, my inability to mold
or conform to you shaping who I am today.
Mrs. Bird’s Children by JulesPaige
Brân was one of those boys at birth that you wonder how they
fit within the confines of their mother… He was born with a
full head of black hair. Like his father, yet he grew to be a
gentle giant. Very much unlike his father. Who once the lad
grew tall enough to keep the husband from dissing his wife –
Mother and son, lived well enough without him. And grew
their family by a foundling on their doorstep. A girl with
raven hair, loving them both without ever questioning her
origins. No need for any DNA testing.
Ravenous by Kalpana Solsi
It slithered around the rough bark climbing up. Twenty pair of black claws impeded its
progress. However, the scaly creature defied the cacophony of cawing and clawing to
reach the eggs cocooned in the nest on the highest branch. It was a war, a war of one
species versus the other. Nikhil held the pink slip between his fingers and un-spooled in
his mind, the war fought in the boardroom with his own species. The Law of the Jungle
was very much evident in the urban concrete. He had to fight his own battles. The ravens
were still cawing.
Ravens in Reflection by Wallie & Friend
“But it’s just a bird!”
The man shook his finger at the children around him. “You’ll hurt her feelings if you talk like that. Ravens are the soul of wisdom. They are harbingers.”
The girl who had spoken wrinkled her nose and folded her arms. “Don’t look wise to me!”
“And that tells you how useful looks are.” The man took the raven on his wrist. “This bird is very wise. A century or so in Heaven, and this is what we say to critics. When do we let them trouble us, friend?”
The raven stretched her wings. “Nevermore!”
The Raven by Rugby843
I see you there, eyeing me, wondering how long it would take to raise your bow and pierce me with that arrow. I see you, contemplating, but think of this: For my species, I have an unusual memory and you will rue this day for eternity.
My eyes are keen, my feathers swift, and a twitch of your finger and I’ll be off, out of sight.
Then in the night when you think you are safe in your bed, I’ll come calling. Keep your windows locked, for I am a very strong and clever bird. This my final warning.
Raven by Kim Blades
Mark’s gnarled hands tried desperately to dig deeper. But as fast as his crooked fingers dragged the dry grains up and over the rim, so the sides collapsed and the sand slid back downwards.
He stopped digging for water and sat back, exhausted.
The sun was too close in these lonely desert lands
Lands that shimmered like an endless sea in the heat haze.
He knew he was not alone.
It watched him from the sandstone cliffs.
Watched and waited.
It would not be long now.
Mark knew that soon his open, staring eyes would be the raven’s prize.
Raven’s Eyes by Miriam Hurdle
“Do you have any water left, Dave?”
“I still have some. Take a sip. Your lips are badly chapped, Ben.”
“We have been lost in unpaved hiking trail for five days.”
“We only have water enough for two more days! I hope we could locate water soon!”
“Look, Dave! A raven is circling in the air and ready to dive down.”
“It spotted a dead deer and wanted its share. I think.”
“And the deer was drinking water!?”
“That may be our hope for water, Ben.”
“We could reach down by nightfall.”
“I hope this raven saves our lives.”
Raven Haired Women by Eric Pone
Maryann’s raven sat on her windowsill cawing happily. Maryann was so excited as it was the first time in weeks that the girls were going out. The chirp of her phone stopped that excitement. “Go for Maryann.” Ducky cheerfully answered back. “Hey, girl Ginger around?” Maryann nudged Ginger awake. “What Duck?” Ducky sent them the pics of the kings’ mother and his former girlfriend. “Holy shit.” Ginger breathed. “Your guess was right. Eowyn is redirecting the operation you two are to meet me in Lagos.” Maryann and Ginger looked at each other. “Ono?” Ducky replied with a laugh. “Busy.”
Raven Down by Frank Hubeny
There are plenty of explanations for the same data but what Randy wanted was to understand it at all.
He watched a bunch of crows tussling in the air and got out his phone. When he realized that one of the crows was being picked on lethally he switched the app to record video.
Aren’t birds supposed to be peaceful at least toward members of their own kind?
A select handful pecked the target repeatedly making sure its body could no longer move. Others flew about apparently guarding and watching.
Then it was over. Those who remained living departed.
Nothing to Crow About by Norah Colvin
Brucie had to get there first to stake his place at the very top. He didn’t slow on the still-wet grass, and only momentarily to laugh at Jasmine who slipped as he brushed past. From his perch, he smirked at the disappointed faces below.
“Caw!” said a crow, alighting alongside.
It didn’t shoo–more came.
Brucie shouted, waving his arms.
The crows shuffled closer.
Brucie thrashed wildly.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Jasmine banged a cricket bat against the frame.
The crows flew away.
“Are you okay?” asked Jasmine.
Brucie nodded, then let the others play.
The crows never returned.
Wearing by D. Avery
Sighing, Miranda looked through her closet, as if something new might have appeared. She finally took down the tired slacks, blouse and sweater that she usually wore on Wednesday. It would serve, though it’d serve better if she hadn’t packed so many pounds around her middle.
So much besides her weight had changed since she began teaching; changes that were demoralizing and depressing.
Sighing again she adjusted the accessory that now completed her outfit. Her Raven brand concealment holster used to tuck more easily into her waistband. Now the gun she carried, like her dispiritedness, was harder to conceal.
Never So Simple by Roger Shipp
“Mamma… Mamma… The raven is back!” Mika ran breathlessly onto the back porch of the small trailer where her mother was removing the last fleshy remnants from the hides hanging from the rafters.
“Don’t worry child. It’s grown hungry and is raiding the fields just like the other birds.”
“But Grandmamma said…”
“I know what she said.” Mama clutched me close to her bosom. “Unci believes in great meanings from all the forest animals.”
“Does that mean it’s not true?”
“Grandmamma would never lie to you, Mika.”
“So, it is true.”
“The truth is never so simple, my child.”
Dumpster Duck! by odysseyofhappiness
They flew cawing, laughing.
He followed, behind, avoiding attention.
Move dumpster duck!
Bodies slammed him
He struggled to remain in flight, wings trembling with sadness.
The cloud of feathers moved onward through the azure expanse.
He looked downward at the land of the legged, and flew as a falcon.
The boy jumped in his seat by the window.
“Haha what a pussy!” Another boy jeered
“Scared of a birdie, FAGGOT!?” Yelled another, throwing an eraser, hitting the boy.
He turned, tears in his eyes, and looked down upon the lifeless bird.
The Craven Raven by Graeme Sandford
That’s what they called him.
It wasn’t his fault, he’d been frightened by a loud bang and a scary scarecrow when just a fledgling. Since then he’d been a nervous type.
But, it was an unkindness that the other ravens kept on about it; and it didn’t help his confidence that there was a constant conspiracy to keep him from leading a normal raven’s life.
The other ravens mimicked ‘bangs’ and dropped straw on him whilst he slept. He woke to the confusion that his dreams, where he was haunted by marauding scarecrows, had become reality.
Strange Bedfellows by Lisa Listwa
“Everyone thinks you’re ridiculous,” taunted Raven, circling around his companion.
Unicorn drank from the cool, sparkling stream.
“No one laughs about rainbows when I’m around,” Raven prodded.
Silent, Unicorn continued walking along the shore.
“I strike fear in the hearts of men,” he boasted, puffing out his chest feathers.
Finally, Unicorn stopped.
“And what of you?” she asked. “Many believe you bring light and gracious provision, that you usher in transformation. You do not know yourself.”
Uncomfortable, Raven flapped his wings.
“It is you who needs to transform,” he muttered.
Moonlight cast Raven’s shadow over Unicorn’s pure white form.
Raven, Brother Raven…by Raymond Roy
Raven, Brother Raven, Is there a message that you bring? Mysteriously different from other birds, who choose to chirp and sing.
Raven, Brother Raven,
Blue-steeled feathers, ebony-onyx colored eyes,
Curiosity and character,I’m bewildered at your size
Raven, Brother Raven,
Poe did quoeth you “Nevermore”, with his somewhat twisted mind,
Natives legends infer, you created all mankind.
Raven, Brother Raven,
Your caw has my attention, omen of certain revolution, a cleansing kindred spirit,…leading to ascension.
Raven, Brother Raven,
Heed your sacred clan,
Put aside your trickster ways, for the benefit of man.
Raven, Brother Raven…
Raven by Rebecca Glaessner
Departing Earth orbit
Onboard systems reduced
Power rerouted to propulsion system
Destination arrival time: 42,327 Earth years
Asteroid mining drones dispatched
Planetary entry sequence complete
Metamorphosis protocol activated
Generational fleet arrival: 27,424 EY.
Sea levels 62%
Atmospheric composition: 12% oxygen, 81% carbon dioxide
Surface vegetation 77%
Habitation modules 4%
Fleet arrival: 14,679 EY
Habitation modules 100%
Human fleet population 72%
Starship Raven shutdown
“Raven, help, activate.”
Human population 2%
Repair protocols activated
Pal Says by D. Avery
Think his name was Ernie, they called him Ornery. Once had a woman, a whiskey maker. He loves her still. Her name was Wanda and that’s what she did. She wandered away when she found her Will. She and Will got a goat ‘cause she wanted a kid, left ol’ Ornery, but he loves her still.
Wanda and Will, hear they’re livin’ clean. Ol’ Ornery’s up in the hills, livin’ by the rushing still stream. Under the pines he parses corn, he thinks of Wanda, but doesn’t mourn, ‘cause he loves her still. Talks to the ravens, ravin’ drunk.
What do we know of the lives of unicorns? Wrapped in myth and legend, these elegant animals exist in our imaginations, art and on the fringes. Often associated with rainbows, unicorns distinguish themselves from their horse cousins with a single horn.
Writers chased the myth and returned with tangible stories. Somewhat of a Carrot Ranch tradition, unicorns will always be near, an unofficial and yet beloved mascot.
The following stories are based on the February 22, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn.
On the Horn of a Dilemma by D. Avery
“Jeez, Pal. Do ya know what she wants this week?! Ain’t right fer a place that goes on about diversity an’ all. Shorty’s been on the road, musta got brainwashed.”
“Kid, jist calm yersef.”
“Wunder what color?”
“Kid, they can be any color you want.”
“Yeah, right. They’ll be all the same, all regulated. Why ain’tcha bothered, Pal? Oh, did Shorty give ya epaulets, make ya feel impotent?”
“That’s important and WHAT?”
“Uniforms, Shorty says uniforms now at Buckaroo Nation. Seems a might imperialistic ta me.”
“Kid, we’re to get unicorns, not uniforms.”
Captured by Stephanie Flint
Her fingers pass through the creature’s mane, which is silky white, like threads dipped in the morning dew. He is in chains. She slides her fingers under the delicate silver.
“You will be free.”
His ears swivel, listening. She strokes the damp fur of his neck. He breathes hard from the chase.
“Do not worry. I will return.”
She disappears, her slippers padding through the rain-flushed grass. When she returns, her gossamer gown whispering around her calves, the unicorn raises his head. His blue eyes regard her, pleading.
She reveals a pair of wire cutters and smiles. “Be free.”
Friendship is Blind by Molly Stevens
She slipped into a seat in the back of the classroom. It was her first day in the new school and experience taught her to keep a low profile. As best she could bearing her prominent appendage.
When the teacher called her name, twenty pairs of eyes bored into her. Her cheeks flushed, and she slumped deeper into her chair.
When the bell rang, one girl stayed behind, approached her and said, “I am sensing something magical about you.”
The unicorn knelt down, helped her new sightless friend onto her back, and together they pranced on to the playground.
Magical Thinking by Bill Engleson
It could have been a unicorn except for the fact that it wasn’t. The fact was…it was a cat.
The truth didn’t matter to Mulroney.
On that day when his mind snapped, all he cared about was a memory from his magical childhood, a dream of a thousand magnificent unicorns scampering in the sky.
The next morning, he begged his parents to come outside and bear witness.
They humoured him, said, “yes, we see them.”
“Why did you lie?” the doctor asked.
“He was so excited,” they replied.
“The world will crush him,” the doctor predicted with uncanny accuracy.
Unicorn by Frank Hubeny
Generally two of something balance better aesthetically and provide depth of experience, but I only had one horn growing out of the top of my head.
I wasn’t disabled or anything, but who would hire me? If you didn’t look at the horn, which was hard not to, I actually looked pretty good.
Kids bullied me because of the horn. I fought back. I did that a lot. I got real good at it. I mean it was fun. They sent me to the Riverland State Detention Facility and cut off my horn.
So, yeah, I was a unicorn.
Unicorn: A Cautionary Tale by Nicole
Once upon a time, farmers were free to plant seeds. After harvest they collected and saved new seeds to plant again come spring. Then came a greedy monster named Monstrosity, who sought to rule the land. First, Monstrosity built a laboratory where he manufactured fictional corn. Then he took over the government, and made a law that real corn could not be planted forevermore. The real farmers lost their farms. Monstrosity thought he’d won. Then one magical night a unicorn named TimesUp came and ate all of Monstrosity’s corn. Rage consumed the monster, and real farmers came back home.
Grandpa’s Imagination by Ann Edall-Robson
“Come quick, Maggie. I told you they were still around.”
“Where, Grandpa, where? I don’t see anything.”
“You have to look really close, across the field, near the far corner.”
“I don’t see anything! Show me, show me. I don’t want to miss it. Summer’s almost over and you said you have only seen them in August.”
“Oh, there were a few in September, once.”
“I still can’t see it.”
“It’s over there, beside the willow bush.”
“Grandpa! That’s a cob of corn!”
“Yup, I told you, a uni-corn. One cob of corn left to harvest.”
The Unicorn by Michael Grogan
The day the white unicorn appeared in my back paddock I thought I was seeing things.
It paused at the back fence and I took in its majesty.
Venturing to the fence we eyed each other off.
It dipped its head, his impressive horn pointing at me, and I reached out and touched it. It felt softer than I imagined, the spirals silky soft but there was a hidden strength within it.
It pawed the ground and moved closer and I felt the aura of its magic wash over me. Infused by this I had never felt so exhilarated.
Unicorns by Eric Pone
Maryann had issues. Reading Tolkien in the very unposh environs of the coffee shop she looks at Ginger and noticed her staring very intently. “Unicorns aren’t real you know.” She said this very confidently. “What the hell are you talking about?” Maryann replied. “Weird writers always bring up unicorns and yet no one has ever seen one.” Maryann was confused. “Lord of the Rings doesn’t have any unicorns!” Ginger countered. “Well just wanted to let you know they ain’t real. That’s all.” Maryann thinks Ginger had finally snapped went back to reading. “Why do I love you?” and laughed.
The Sorter by Ruchira Khanna
“Tara have you seen my bangles?” queried an impatient mom while looking high and low for her accessories.
“Right here!” the daughter shouted from her room to which the mom dashed in her direction.
Tara was quick to take it off the horn.
Mom had a hearty laugh seeing that the horn was nonetheless of a unicorn and was used to stack rubberbands, bangles, scrunchies, hairbands.
Tara stroked the stuffed animal lovingly, “He is not only my buddy with healing powers but also helps keep things sorted.” she grinned and exhibited lacerations on her lips, tongue, and left cheek.
Do We Need Unicorns by Rugby843
Yes, it’s a unicorn we need
The legendary healing steed
His magic will cure us
His reputation precedes.
The myth exclaims he heals the sick
Casts out poisons, is this the trick
We need this day to stop the slaughter
Of our innocent sons and daughters?
I would gladly ask him to aid
If I knew where this unicorn stayed
Or is he only seen in a book
Tell me, where should I look
It’s obvious we can’t do it alone
We need a mythological tome
To give us advice, tell us the answer
Is it this fantastical prancer?
The End of Magic by Dickensian
She had grazed in these fields since the beginning of time. But it was all over now. The last unicorn raised her head and looked around. She would miss the lilac sky, the blue fields and the lakes of crimson.
She knew what was happening. The number of people believing in magic, believing in her, was in decline. Hard, cold facts had taken over and people no longer dreamed. She lay down, breathing the sweet scent from the grass, ready to close her eyes one last time. But just as she thought it was all over, someone started dreaming.
My Secret Friend by Susan Sleggs
My homework was late again and my grades were dropping.
My English teacher said sadly, “How long has your Mom been in the hospital this time?”
“I’m sorry. Try to do better getting your homework done. Are you all right at home alone so much?”
“Yes. I go for a lot of walks in the woods. It’s quiet there and I like to watch the chipmunks. They make me laugh.”
“You’re sure it’s safe.”
“Yes. I never see another human.” I didn’t tell her about the unicorn that walks with me. I knew she wouldn’t believe me.
Unicorns Aren’t Real by Norah Colvin
“What’s that supposed to be?” sneered Brucie.
Marnie bit her lip.
“Doesn’t look like anything to me,” he scoffed, inviting an audience.
“A unicorn,” she whispered.
“Miss said, ‘Draw your favourite animal.’ A unicorn can’t be your favourite animal–it’s not even real.”
Marnie continued drawing.
“Anyway, doesn’t look like a unicorn with those four horns.”
“They’re not horns.”
“Marnie’s unicorn’s got four horns,” laughed Brucie, a little too loudly.
“He said my unicorn’s got four horns. He said unicorns aren’t real.”
“How can unicorns have four horns if they’re not real?” asked Miss.
Brucie was silent.
Learning to Draw by Anne Goodwin
I’m rubbish at this. My horse looks more cow than anything, or wildebeest. Why am I even here?
It gets easier with practice, Miss Mills said. I take a deep breath, relax my shoulders and select a pencil with a sharpened point. Burnt umber: I haven’t used that yet. He might seem more equine with a bridle.
Before I’ve made a stroke, the teacher looms over me. My hand slips, etching a brown protrusion from the animal’s forehead. I hold my breath.
How lovely, she says. A unicorn!
Lovely? Something shifts in me. Maybe art class will be fun.
Party Animal by Michael Fishman
I stepped into the leg holes and frowned. “Seriously?”
“Hey, it was coin flip; can’t be fairer than that.”
“So, Bill, two outta three?”
“How about it’s your daughter’s birthday party?”
“All the more reason I should be the head, right?”
Bill smiled, turned, and pulled the suit over his head.
I pulled up my half, fastened the suspenders and bent over until my nose was right up against Bill’s ample hindquarters.
Maybe next year Tina’s favorite animal will be a monkey, or an ostrich, or some other animal that walks on two legs and not some stinking unicorn.
Unicorn by Kay Kingsley
Sarah and Julie were the two most beautiful princesses in all the land. Their cardboard castle stood tall and strong in their backyard kingdom. Their subjects (Barbies riding plastic horses and stuffed animals wearing precious gems) filled the castle interior. Their pink and purple gowns sparkled in the sun.
Jared waited on his pirate ship near the yard’s horizon, planning his castle plunder, dreaming of the enemies he would slay, making the princesses walk the plank.
But the princesses didn’t worry about the approaching ship. Galloping from the West, their protector came charging. It was Rex, the family unicorn.
Magical Appearance by Paula Moyer
Eight-year-old Jean loved the fairy tale book at her grandmother’s. A glossy, dark green cover, illustrations with every story. Big, thick, and heavy.
One afternoon she brought the hefty volume to the back yard. Perched in the white Adirondack chair, she turned the pages in complete absorption.
When the Rose-of-Sharon bush rustled, she didn’t look up. Just the ubiquitous Oklahoma wind. The stomp roused her.
Then Jean saw the small, white horse through the leaves. Oddly calm.
When Jean reached up to pet its nose, she saw it. The conical tusk.
“It’s true.” The horse spoke! “We are real.”
The Secret Stall by Charli Mills
“I don’t wanna pick blackberries. They got too many thorns.” Libby stuck her throbbing thumb in her mouth.
“Look, Libby’s a baby.” Her brother Joe pointed, and their cousins laughed. Libby headed to the barn. The cat was nicer than these five boys.
“Here kitty…” She could hear boy-chatter across the yard. It was dark inside. A shuffle sounded from behind the farm tractor. Careful not to trip over tools, Libby made her way to the back where a glow in the stall revealed a shining horn.
It was attached to a unicorn sleeping on a pile of quilts.
Daddy’s Little Girl by Annette Rochelle Aben
Momma says there’s no such things as unicorns. They are mythical beasts, the creations of rich imaginations. Really, the very idea of there being a pony with a horn protruding from its forehead. They are just freaks of nature.
I’ll bet my dad would agree with me. But I don’t know him, he never came back around after I was born.
I love it when I run around with my hair blowing wild and free in the wind. I imagine I’m a unicorn. Momma scolds, telling me to train my hair to hang over my freak of nature forehead.
Stable Hand by CalmKate
As I swept out the stables I felt a gentle nudge
these horses were so friendly, I felt blessed to have this job
turning to give him a pat my head hit something solid
imagine my shock when I saw a large translucent horn
This was no ordinary horse but a magical unicorn!
My head was in a spin, should I saddle him
when I noticed his wings folded
so I jumped astride, my joy I could not hide
Then out and up we went at a steep descent
over the fertile fields we climbed with birds winging by!
Unicorn by Pensitivity
He was her friend and loyal companion.
But he was the last of his kind, as was she.
She could not bear the thought of him dying, but his time was near and he wanted to give her one final gift before departing this world for the next.
She had wanted to be human, have legs rather than a fish tail, to walk among men and women alike.
As she nuzzled against him for the last time, he granted her wish.
She laid him gently in the sand and stood to watch the waves claim his body in farewell.
Miss Meadows by Juliet Nubel
As soon as they saw her impish, sparkling face they had to name her Aurn.
They saw their families feign smiles, and they heard the whispers whenever they took her out.
“Such a pretty child. But what an ugly name. They should have called her Daisy or Lily or Rose. She would go far in life as Daisy Meadows”. Then they laughed.
Aurn heard too. But she really didn’t care. She knew why they had done it. They reminded her every night.
“Why do we love you so much?”
“Because I am unique.”
“Yes, our little glittery unique Aurn.”
The Unicorn Price by Wallie & Friend
It had been a mistake. He was no hunter, and even if he had been it would have taken remarkable skill to catch this unicorn without some kind of deception. But he was desperate and the king’s bounty was tempting. Now the unicorn’s horn was at his heart.
The unicorn’s eyes gazed into his. But then the creature raised her head and turned aside. The man’s knees buckled with relief. He almost cried out when she nudged him with her soft muzzle.
“Beneath the oak tree is buried a silver star,” she said. “Its price will feed your children.”
The Rescue? by JulesPaige
So deep into the forest to the place of ‘dried rose petals
lacing her memories of bouquets’ that were only imagined.
Into the spaces where spider’s abandoned webs created
‘filaments of dust written in a dead language…’ That is
where the trance took her. She thought to decree her life
was full of worth, yet it appeared stygian.
Until a hoof attached to an appendage of a dream rested
near her knee as she sat upon the end of old wooden road.
All she had to do was accept ‘this’ fate – and never return to
reality. The unicorn concurred.
unicorn by joem18b
my mama told me not to hang round rufus. don’t see that boy no more. he’s not our kind she said.
he’s my kind i said.
your young just horsing around my papa said your not stable yet. it’s your first rodeo.
he’s lasso’d my heart i said.
he wrangled your brain papa said.
i forbid you mama said but without disrepecting her wishes i respected mine more and rufus and i galloped into the woods behind our barn. the moon was full and i was left unsupervised as the t-shirt says.
now i’m mama of the world’s first zebra-corn.
Unicorn by Ritu Bhathal
“A unicorn? You want a unicorn?” Sarah turned from her daughter and looked at her ex-husband, Peter, rolling her eyes. “Honestly, it’s like living with Verruca Salt! She thinks she can demand anything, and that you’ll get it! How are you going to handle this one? They’re not even real!”
She was fed up of her daughter’s unrealistic demands, and the fact that Peter, anxious to score Best Parent points, would always succumb to the demands.
Peter just smiled and said “No problem, my Princess!” and hastily typed Unicorn into the Amazon search bar. Amazon sold everything after all!
Whiny Unicorns by Floridaborne
“Dad says you’re daft,” My 10 year old grandson advised me with a face so serious I had to smile.
“He believes in rainbows and unicorns,” I chuckled. “I love your dad very much, but he has the common sense of a turnip.”
“That was mean,” my grandson said, bottom lip quivering.
“The world is a violent place. If words make you cry, I don’t want to see what happens when you’re punched in the face.”
“You hurt my feelings!”
Footsteps, quick with anger, followed the words, “Out of my house, Ma!”
“Gladly,” I chuckled.
I walked to my Cadillac, considering the perfect gift for a family of whiny atheists. I’m changing my will and leaving everything to my church.
The Last of the Unicorns by Anurag Bakhshi
“Marry me Helen, I love you from the core of my heart.”
“Everyone says that Aaron.”
“I’m a unicorn….”
“What’s the big deal about that? You’re just a horse with a horn.”
“But I’m the last surviving member of my species…”
“Ohhhhh, so now I should marry you out of pity.”
“No, but unicorns are magical beings, marrying one leads to eternal youth.”
“Stop it, you’re just being pathetic now Aaron.”
“No, I swear it’s true.”
“How can a gal say no to THAT baby.”
And as Aaron kissed Helen to seal their union, he quietly uncrossed his hooves.
Magical Christmas Unicorn by Sarah Whiley
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!
Singing Their Joy by D. Avery
The People hear their clan singing their joy at returning, their chirps and squeals, their clicking talk. The People gather to greet them, also singing happiness, laughter and talk. For both clans it is a time of feasting.
The men joke as they keep watch. We can see the ivory horns, but these ones are too far off, these ones are not ready. Hundreds more will swim by. There will be those who will come close, to be received by the People. We are grateful, waste nothing. We carve their stories in ivory, so the tuugaalik will live forever.
Dog Days and Phoenix Nights by Geoff Le Pard (from The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1)
It was morphogenesis; Milton was in flames but not in pain. Peter smiled. What next for the Staffie?
‘He’s smiling, Mum.’
‘It’s the sun. When they turn Grandpa to the window, it looks like he’s smiling.’ Mary slipped past the bleeping machines. ‘Here, I’ll move this.’
A horn grew from Milton’s head; Peter knew now. A unicorn. The flames engulfed the dog, leaving the horn pointing skywards. Peter felt happy at last.
‘There.’ Mary pulled the drip stand from the window so its shadow cut across Peter’s face. ‘I wish, he’d give us a sign.’
‘He’s peaceful, Mum.’
The Lion and the Unicorn by Sue Vincent
“…but I’m supposed to eat you. Part of the job description.” The lion roared his frustration. The pale object of his attentions polished her horn delicately, the sound of crystal on granite worse than chalk on a blackboard. The unicorn’s flanks quivered with amusement.
“You can try… but I don’t fancy your chances much.”
“But I’m King of the Beasts!” One huge paw struck the ground.
“Exactly. Strength of body against purity of soul…”
“No… it is perfect.” The fragile creature lowered the crystal horn. “Beauty goes straight to the heart of you… and I never miss.”
The Unicorn by Deborah Bowman
The air is sweet as flowers, tart as leaves, chilled, yet warm as breath and blood.
I’m blinded by glare.
She stands in regal glory. A breeze whispers through her white mane, tail, and coat; eyes blue as sky; alabaster hooves. She sees me.
She nods. I go forth on fairy wings. Her breath escapes in silent words. She drops her massive head.
All the angelic colors of the rainbow radiate from The Unicorn’s horn. Magical, ethereal, silky to the touch. All there is and all there ever will be in one sensual stroke. I smile; she nuzzles me.
The Dig by Colleen Chesebro
As an archeologist, I spent hours looking for the bony remains of ancient creatures. Today, my frustration mounted. The land yielded nothing. If I didn’t find something valuable soon my funding would end.
A dry wind blew eddies of grit across a long, twisted object lodged in the ground. I brushed away the sand unveiling the skeleton of a prehistoric horse with a horn projecting from its skull. My trepidation mounted. Who would believe I had unearthed the bones of a mythological creature – a unicorn?
I felt the tremors of the earthquake begin as the land reclaimed my secret.
Strength in Peace by Rebecca Glaessner
I tapped run and the robotic creature shifted smoothly through the commands I’d coded. Satisfied, I packed it up for the presentation.
“Gonna tell me?” someone said, “somethin’ fierce, I bet.”
“A dragon, ya think?” another said.
Head held proud, I made my way to the platform.
“I chose to create something of legends,” I said, “something of the first world, something that inspired billions.”
Murmurs rippled through the crowd.
I revealed the creature.
Several scoffed, others laughed, “ridiculous.”
I tapped run and the crowd hushed, transfixed. The life-sized unicorn awoke.
“Something that’ll inspire peace through these wars.”
Hidden Treasure by Sherri Matthews
“Someink wrong with this ‘orse.”
“Ere…let me ‘ave a go.” Eve took the brush from Jim and replaced his rough bursts with soft, smooth strokes across the horse’s shoulders.
“So white and pretty, you are me darlin’. How I would love to fly away with you…”
Jim, close as breath, grabbed Eve by the back of her neck.
“Shut the hell up, talkin’ like that. Ain’t I warned you enough times? Shut yer trap if you want the dosh.”
Jim left for the pub.
Eve kept brushing, smiling through tears as she caressed the nub of a first wing.
Collateral Damage – Zen Style by Abby Rowe
‘But, Master, I work tirelessly to make myself a better man. Where I see a fault, I excise it.’
‘You so recklessly slay your dragons, my son, that one day you may find you have also destroyed the last unicorn. That is too high a price.’
‘A divine flash of light and purity, glimpsed in the corner of your mind’s eye, felt in your heart’s quiet moments. Never captured, always treasured. A mortal and elusive creature.’
‘What should I do?’
‘Pause. Contemplate the unseen existence of the unicorn. Ask the dragon how it is with his soul today.’
Hunter’s Honor by Jack Schuyler
“What do you mean? It can’t be done?” Thorn leaned forward, a scowl turning his face ugly in the dim light of the tavern. The man took a sip of Ale.
“Can be done. Won’t do it.”
Thorn slammed his fists on the table, “you’re supposed to be some master hunter! I pay you, you hunt the game.”
The man looked into his tankard, scrutinizing it briefly before spitting into the frothy interior. “There’s honor in this game. I’ll hunt dragon, chimera, or cockatrice, but I don’t know a man in this valley what will hunt you a unicorn.”
Unicorn by Patrick M. O’Connor
The large animal lumbered along slowly. It’s strides shaking the ground with each step.
I took aim and fired a shot. Missed.
He looked up, noticing the noise and spotted me.
His body turned to face me. Dipping his head, his single horn pointed directly at me.
A snort and he began a full-out run straight at me.
The ground shook under my feet. Dust flew everywhere.
Another shot, this time hitting the horn in the front of his head. It didn’t slow him down a bit.
I tried to reload but it was way too late.
Judgement by Stephanie Fint
His curved horn meets with flesh and another criminal meets his fate. A sinner. A thief. No more shall he steal. The crowd roars their approval. The unicorn raises his bulky head and swings it side to side like a bull. They cheer for him and his judgment.
He flicks his tail, slender like a cow’s, with a tuft of brown hair at the end. The rest of his fur is black. His horn is tri-colored. Black at the base, cinnamon in the middle, and red on top. Stained red… it would be brown, but the blood never dries.
Unicorn’s Lament by Mat Wall of TellingStories
“Halt,” says the imperial guardsman, fingering the holster of his laser pistol.
I freeze before the transporter. I could run, but I would only look guilty. They’re not looking for me. They’re looking for a white horse with a single horn. They don’t understand. The legends are allegory.
“Passport,” he says.
I release my held breath. He doesn’t know what I am. A unicorn is not a creature. A unicorn is a person. We were once a proud people, but we’ve been hunted to the edges of the galaxy. For all I know, I may be the last one.
Unicorn by Heather Gonzalez
All that was left of her was a tattered stuffed unicorn. Much like that unicorn, my child was almost like a myth to me now. My former life seems as if it had floated away in the wind only leaving small remnants behind. They don’t tell you that when you lose all custody, it feels as if they have died or maybe even never existed as time goes by.
Maybe if I had realized that, I wouldn’t have injected such poison into my life. Now I am left with the scars of my choices and a tattered stuffed unicorn.
Like The Unicorn by Lisa Rey
She knew like the unicorn she would be hunted and many would try to bring her down. She also knew there was many who liked unicorns. She knew that like the unicorn, she was strong. She knew she would battle to the end against the prejudiced and the brainwashed who thought different of her because of one simple thing, that she was pansexual.
No one would stop her spirit … stop my spirit. I am me and like the unicorn I will glide through every forest and every storm.
Unicorn: Strong, fragile, human. Living, refusing to be made feel bad.
Youthicorn by Kerry E.B. Black
It sparkles in my periphery, silver as moonlight and as illusive. When I turn to catch it with my full gaze, it flees swifter than a shy spirit. Still I feel its unfailing goodness.
I used to be good, too, used to befriend the creature that haunts the corners of my consciousness. That was long ago, before age and experience settled upon my shoulders like cloaks layered atop one another. Before I lost my innocent interpretations and bowed to cynicism.
Now its glinting horn points to my failure, the unicorn that was but will never again exist for me.
Huh? by Geoff Le Pard
‘Do you think unicorns exist, Logan?’
‘No, they’re fantasy.’
‘Are you so sure?’
‘Course. There’s no evidence, Morgan. Can I watch the game?’
‘Why do you need evidence?’
‘Because you do. We’re rational beings…’
‘You believe in the atom yet you’ve not seen it.’
‘There’s evidence. Credible. Please let me watch.’
‘Seeing’s believing, eh?’
‘Is this about religion because we’re one nil up…’
‘This goes deeper that any debate on God’s existence.’
‘Yes, you believe, despite eons of evidence to the contrary that Palace will one day win something…’
‘Was that a unicorn? Or a pig?’
Interpretation by Deb Whittam
With brow furrowed and lips pursed Marc leaned back to consider his work, it was a job well done and with a flurry he made a small bow even as the wheezing voice intruded on his euphoria.
“Can I see yet? It’s been hours.”
It had to be an exaggeration but as he glanced at the clock Marc realized Joel was right and without delay he turned the mirror to display the finished tattoo.
Joel squinted, “What the hell is that?”
“A unicorn of course,” Marc responded, indignation coloring his tone.
“I didn’t know unicorns only had one eye.”
No Absolute Truths by Reena Saxena
“The unicorn is a myth.”
“All myths originate from someone’s thoughts, when a need is felt for it.”
“Desperation to believe?”
“Yes. The story goes that only a virgin could capture it. Virgins denote power of purity. That makes the unicorn a symbol of truth.”
“There are no absolute truths either.”
“I agree. But it is a truth that existed for someone at some point of time. And it will come into being, to purify all that surrounds it.” Grandpa was insistent.
I swear I saw a cloudy unicorn float through the sky. Grandpa had passed away last night.
Jest Quest by D. Avery
“A-maizing. I dunno, Pal. I don’t know much ‘bout uni-corns.”
“Break it down Kid. Ya know hosses?”
“Ain’t my first time at the rodeo.”
“An’ ya know longhorns?”
“Well, sure, we’ve had our share a longhorns at the ranch.”
“So jest round up a bronc with one long horn.”
“Thinkin’ we’re gonna have ta ride a long ways fer this ‘un.”
“Yep. Ta antiquity.”
“Next ta Barbuda?”
“No, into olden times, maybe even magical times.”
“Think I’ll jest hang back this time.”
“What’sa matter Kid?”
“Um, jest read ya gotta be a Virginian ta catch a uni-corn.”