Impossible Moon – (prologue)

The air was hot as she clawed herself forward.  She thought the fire must be far behind her now, but every breath burned in her throat and wanted to come out a cough.  She swallowed the cough, grabbed a fistful of dead grass and pulled herself forward again.

Behind her flames crackled.  The smoke that floated gently by her danced with red embers.  The fire must be closer than she thought then.  Another fistful of ground, another slow drag forward.  All that mattered is that she kept moving.  If she kept moving she would survive.  She had to.

She tried her legs again, digging one foot in the ground, pushing to stand up but it was no good.  She couldn’t feel her feet, or her calves.  Above her knees there was only agony.

Falling down she turned to one side, resting on her hip, looking behind her for her sister.

She was still there, walking along side her, going no faster on her two good legs than her sister could crawl.

“Run,” she begged again, “Get away.  One of us had to get away!”

Her sister only shook her head slowly, looking down at her sadly.  Clear tracks tracing down her cheeks from the tears she had shed as she walked.

A howl came then, carried along on the breeze with the smoke and the ash.  Another howl answered, so much closer.

“Please!” she begged, but the other girl only turned away, looking back behind them.

The smoke billowed blackly behind them, rising up from what had been their home.  Were their parents alive still?  Their brother?

The fire was spreading quickly.  It had been a dry summer.  The grasses were dead, the trees dry, the whole world eager to nurse a flame.

As she watched a new plume of black smoke seemed to separate from the rest.  Dark and low and moving right for them and it wasn’t smoke at all.  It was the beasts, coming at them, coming FOR them.

She rolled back over and began clawing herself forward again.  One fistful of dying earth at a time, her useless legs digging twin tracks behind her until she finally reached what she wanted.

The trap-door to the panic shelter was under her hands, and she still had the key on the chain around her neck.  Already at ground level she didn’t even have to take it off to unlock the heavy slab.

“Help me lift it” she said to her sister, but no help came.

Turning her head she saw her sister several feet behind her, still where they had been when the pack had turned their way.

The smoke that wasn’t smoke surrounded her now.  Individual shapes danced just out of focus in the black haze.  Individual creatures only distinguished by the burning orbs of their eyes, the white flashes of their teeth as they advanced.

Her sister didn’t scream as they swarmed over her, but she did.  The anguished howl was animalistic, raw, the most real thing she had felt since this madness had started hours ago.

One of the unfocused shadows raised its head, smoke curling up from it in shaggy steamers, mocking the fur that it should have been.  It raised it’s snout to the sky and sang out before leveling it’s ember gaze at her again, flashing a white toothy grin out of its darkness.

It came at her, not at a gallop but at an easy lope.  They had taken her sister so easily, they must think it will be the same with her.  She was already on the ground right, easy prey.

“No,” she whispered, “no, no, no, no!”

Flopping over, she grabbed the ring on the trap door and pulled.  It didn’t budge.  She needed more leverage.

Behind her she could hear soft footsteps, heavy panting, it would be on her in seconds.

She shoved herself up onto her knees, willing to feel something below them, to be able to stand, to pull the door open, but it was no use.  This would have to be good enough.

Grabbing the ring with both hands, she strained.  Something in her shoulder popped, something in her back seemed to tear, but the door came up a little.  Enough.  She shoved her fingers into the deep black crack she had created and heaved upwards.

The beast was on her then.  Even the numbness of her limbs could not protect her from the excruciating heat of it’s jaws clamping around her calf, one of its massive paws digging its claws into her thigh for just a moment before the beast released her.

She heard a sound behind her like a cross between a cough and a sneeze.  It was the poison, of course, the reasons her legs didn’t work.  What had stopped her had also saved her, surprising the beast with a mouth full of nothing, no feeling, no taste, no sensation.  But he would get over the surprise soon and finish her off.  It was the job he had been created for and nothing would stop him.

Looking down into the square of blackness that led to her family’s safe room, she couldn’t see the bottom, only the ladder going down into the dark. Wouldn’t do her much good now would it.

Behind her, everything seemed to be happening behind her tonight, she felt another presence.  More wolves, unentertained by the dead sibling, had come to end the live one.

“Well, you can’t have me,” she said.  Reaching one hand up to grab the door she threw herself forward.  Pulled by the weight of her body the door slammed above her, automatically locking, as she fell into the abyss.

Family Meal, a scene

(one scene of a possibly longer piece)

I was the elephant in the room.

My failed suicide. My successful relationship. These were the things that nobody were supposed to know about, but of course, everyone did.

Between bites of roast beef and carrots, the room was thunderous in its silence.

When my scars itched I scratched them. I didn’t hide them under long sleeves, under the table, under layers of deception. I looked down the table at my father looking down at his meat as if it were some grand mystery. At my mother who glared at me as if I were some less grand mystery. Across from me my sister’s fork rattled against her plate.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake Jacob!” she hissed.  A whisper louder than a shout in the tense silence of the dining room.

This time my mother’s fork rattled.

Down the table my father’s shoulders jiggled a little, then lurched, then he snorted, then he laughed. Danny gave my knee a little squeeze under the table, a smirk on his face as my mother stormed away from the table.

“Sorry,” my father said. “Sorry. I…just…I…” then he melted into another table shaking bout of laughter.

My sister followed my mother, tossing her white napkin in a flutter over her plate, where it drank thirstily from the gravy and turned brown.

My brother-in-law looked from my fathers bouncing shoulder, to my sisters fleeing back, to the puckered pink/grey vines that wound up my arms like tattoos.

“So, Jacob.” he asked. “What happened? I mean, what really happened?”

“I fell in love,” I said. All eyes briefly turned to Danny, then back to me. “I fell in love,” I said again, “and then I fell apart.”

All eyes were on me, and they were full of curiosity, but also of concerned.

I was the elephant in the room, but most people like elephants after all.

Universal Betrayal

The universe has a history of swallowing things whole, and for the most part, nobody ever cared.

Socks go missing all the time.  And the bodies that belong to Tupperware lids.  Random buttons on sweaters.  Occasionally children.  Whole cities once or twice, cruise ships full of tourists, airplanes full of bravado.

Sometimes things lost show up again in random places.

A single shoe on a suburban sidewalk, waiting.  Hubcaps in treetops.  Stray dogs in parking lots.  Husbands in hotel rooms with other peoples lost spouses.  The bodies of those children, but never the rest of their essence.

The socks stay lost though, and the Tupperware.

Inspired by the prompt, Betrayed.

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House of Ash

The Following was Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – Feb. 11, 2018 Challenge prompt below:


Photo Prompt Credit © J Hardy Carroll

Mrs. Hudson looked ill when Tina arrived to babysit. She had a dark smudge of something on her hand, across one cheek.

“You don’t look well,” Tina told her.

Mrs. Hudson’s eyes ticked towards the hallway, and the door at the end of it.

“Addie’s been….ill. I gave her something. Just, leave her be unless she calls you. I don’t think she’ll need you.”

Then Mrs. Hudson was gone, and Addie had been silent the whole time.

Tina walked softly down the hall. A fire extinguisher by the girls door was strange. The smell of smoke stranger still.

“Addie? Angel, are you okay?”

The smell of burning was almost overwhelming inside the room, but there were no flames. The room was dark, the strangest thing yet. Addie was afraid of the dark, she always had a night light on.

“Addie, are you awake honey? You okay?”

Blue lights flashed from nowhere, lit the room with a teasing strobe.

There, finally, was Addie. Crumpled on the floor in the center of her room was a tiny wasted, blackened mummy crumpled in the center of a scorched circle.

Tina’s scream was drowned out as a siren whooped in the night.

(198 words)


Read more challenge responses HERE.


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Primordial – FFfAW
Look at Me
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Primordial – FFfAW

The following was written for the 153rd Challenge at Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. It was inspired by the photo prompt below:


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yinglan. Thank you Yinglan for our prompt!


The abominations rose in pairs from the sea. Their scales, fins, and bulbous goggling eyes, didn’t belong on dry land, but there they were.

They wandered the beaches and streets, calling to each other in low moans and deep-sea howls. Pairs came together in writing masses shattering glass and crushing vehicles. Sidewalks became slimy with their mucous.

Coastal cities emptied as humans fled inland. The tidal lands left for the primal beings.

Tides came in and went out. Beaches cleansed themselves. Sands became pure, unmarred by anything other than the creatures themselves.

This was the way of things until one night each pair of creatures turned to the sea and marched as one back into the surf.

As quickly as they came they were gone, leaving behind only their two toed footprints and seafood smell.

It was only later that the gelatinous egg sacs were discovered where they had been deposited in every most corner, the dark life inside already quickening.

That was the first generation.

This is their world now.

(171 words)


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Something to Smile About


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Grant-Sud. FFfAW

“Why do you do that?”

Morning sunlight peeked over the horizon, songbirds offered their first chirps. His voice cracked too loudly in the new day.

“What?” She stood, dusted debris off her tights, slipped her chalk into her dress pocket.

“Those stupid smiles. Why you gotta draw them everywhere?”

“When I was 7 my daddy killed my kitten,” she said. “Right in front of me he did.”

“That ain’t nothing worth smiling about.”

“Daddy’s gone now. You’re here and this wall is pink. Pink is my favorite color, you’re my favorite person, and there is always something to smile about.”

He shook his head, walked toward the office to pay. Her heart blossom with a brilliance to rival the rising sun.

In the car she took out her chalk, sketched a smile onto the dashboard and waited for him to take them home.

(144 words)


This was written in response to a Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt.

Visit FFfAW to read the rules and share your own response.

To see more of the prompt responses visit the inlinkz below!

Look at Me

Turn around.

She had her back to him now, still, again, it made him angry.

Look at me.

She always ignored him, always, always.

She ignored his notes.  She ignored his flowers.  She hung upon him when he called her.

Turn around.

She played his heart like an instrument.  She strummed his emotions like she strummed her guitar.  She didn’t know him, didn’t see him.

Look. At. Me.

She heard something, maybe his desire for her resonated. She turned around, walked to the window.

See me.

She squinted into the dark, not seeing what she heard, not seeing, still not seeing.

See me.

He reached in the open window.  He touched her hand.


She sucked in a breath, eyes wide, chest heaving as her scream built.



Image Credit


Josiah had come into the forest looking for a clue but instead found a flowing crimson skirt in the water.  The river was turning to blood.  A wide swath where he stood, it narrowed upstream.  An accusatory arrow, pointing back to its origin.

A deer, he thought, or some animal.  Something shot and left to die, to waste.

“Ass-hats,” he murmured to nobody, resettling his pack on his back, making sure he could reach his camera.

He had started bird-watching two summers ago, but this year he had found several carcass abandoned in the woods.  Usually deer, sometimes a wild pig, once a bobcat the latter still alive and bleeding.  These animals were left for the other wild animals to scavenge on.  The inhumanity of it was too much for him.

He’d gone to his head once, complaining about poachers.

“You can’t poach a deer, son.” His dad had dismissed.  “Besides, it was probably an animal killed it anyway.”

Animals didn’t hunt with spears and bows, Josiah knew.  Animals didn’t leave their kill to waste and rot either.  Something was going on in his woods.

Now, ripples of red led him back upstream.  He thought to take pictures of whatever victim had fell in the water.  Maybe catch an arrow shaft, a clear bullet hole.  Have evidence.

The trail of ichor didn’t lead to the fawn hide of a dead doe.  His eyes stopped at a swatch of creamy white,  a leg, a thigh.

A nymph.

He gasped, camera stopped midway to his eye as he realized he was looking at a woman.  More than likely human, because nymphs didn’t exist, she stood naked and blood smeared, her side turned to him, her head down.  She wasn’t aware he was there.

Her hip was bleeding, her stomach, her breast covered in scratches.  She seemed to be washing the blood off her body.  Something dark floated in the water in front of her.  Her clothes she supposed.  But if she had stepped in the water to bathe, why wouldn’t she have taken her clothes off at the shore.

Her hair was deep burgundy.  What a day for red things, Josiah thought.  Then wondered, was it really red, or was it more blood?

He knew he should say something, felt like a pervert peeking on her.  Clearly she was hurt, needed help.  After all the crimson skirt that led him here came from the pool of blood awash at her hips.

Still, he couldn’t stop staring.  Bloody, disgusting, she was beautiful.  Raising the camera he pushed the button.

His camera was digital and nearly silent.  He used it to hunt birds with and didn’t want a flash or click to scare the timid ones away.  But silent as it was she heard it.

Her head snapped up, turned towards him in an instant.  Her eyes flashed, later Josiah would tell everyone that they ACTUALLY flashed, giving of their own light.

Her lip curled over her teeth, locked in a snarl.

Hatred flowed from her as thick as her blood, and Josiah blushed, looked down at the black mass near her feet.  Was it moving?

“S..s…sorry.” he stammered.  “I just saw the blood in the water and I thought…  Are you okay?”

He felt pulled to look at her again.  Not at her body, but at her eyes.  Brown, flecked golden, flecked a glowing yellow.

She stood up straighter, eyes still bright, teeth still barred.  As she straightened a fresh gout of blood poured from the biggest wound in her side. One hand she kept clenched at her side.  The other she reached out towards him, red covered palm up.  Fingers beckoned.

Again he found himself thinking how beautiful she was.  How perfect her body was.  How much he wanted her.  Behind those thoughts he knew they were wrong.  This whole situation was wrong.  But something more primal was pulling at him.

He took a step towards the water, a second.  A third and his boots were in the water.  A fourth and tainted water poured into his boots. She never moved.  She stood, hand out, teeth showing, chest heaving, bleeding everywhere.


The sound blew though the woods.  Birds scattered, the woman flinched slightly and a man stepped out of the trees.

His clothes, his face, his weapon raised and aimed towards the river, each part of him looked as if it had grown out of the dirt with the rest of the wild.

“Help her,” Josiah said. “She’s hurt!”

“She’s savage son.” The man said.  “Come away from her.”

Behind him something splashed, moaned.  Ignoring the man he made to turn back to her, but she was coming to him, hand still out, teeth still barred


The mans voice was stronger than whatever primal spell the bloody woman had him under he looked past her, seeing that the dark form in the water had a face, had a body, had been the source of most of the blood after all.

The woman seemed to flicker, and he felt a sensation in his skin, in his bones.  The world thrummed and there was a woman there, but she was also more.  Something dark and hungry and he didn’t want to see it, refused to see it.

He turned to run for the man in the woods, to the safety of the spear he had, to seek shelter behind his commanding voice, but she was on him already, strong fingers digging into his shoulder.

Her body was cold and he could smell the blood on her, the bile on her, could feel her hot breath on his throat and he found himself immobile.

The man in the woods shook his head slightly, ever so slightly and he saw him shift, saw the spear coming forward, its silver tip glinting against the darkness of everything around him, taking up his whole world.

Then there was pain.  The spear ripped into his shoulder.  Her teeth tore into his neck, something else raked across his back.  Something that felt like live electrical wire.  He thought momentarily about the human mouth, and how bites from people tended to fester.


He opened his eyes to the same pains that had closed them.  The shoulder hurting the worst, pumping fire down his arm, into his torso.  Merging with the lightning bolts of electric pain in his back.

He was alone.  He felt it before he opened his eyes.  No man.  No woman.  Frogs sang at the waters edge.  Stars flicked above him like celestial fireflies.

The camera was gone.  His pack was still there.  A dirty bit of paper fluttered from beneath its strap.

“I’m sorry.”

Only two words, looked like they might have been smeared in blood, and he wasn’t sure what they meant.  Sorry for what?  For who?

Somewhere far away he heard an animal cry out in the night….and the electricity in his spine responded.


Inspired by savage.
Also inspired in part by She Wolf.


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The woman stood on the beach, at the barest reach of the ocean waves. Foaming water danced over her toes, salty wind tossed her hair, but her body was still.

The children stood several yards behind her, rigid as if hypnotized by her immobility. Holding hands they try to match her stillness, but the wind is strong. The girl rocks back on her heels. The boy squeezes her hand harder, as if afraid she might lift up and blow away entirely.

Farther back, in the small seaside town, someone screamed. The scream turned into a howl. The sound was all pain and animalistic terror, no humanity left by the end.

Someone had either been caught out or been called out.

The monsters were smarter than the movies had led everyone to believe. They remembered names and knowing someone’s name was a powerful, powerful tool.

Still, the woman stood, as if transfixed by the reflection of the moon on the unsettled water. The foaming tips of spent waves now washed over her ankles. The tide was coming in.

“What if it’s not her?” the girl whispered.

They couldn’t see her eyes but knew the slope of her shoulders, and before she left she had taught them to question everything always.

“What if it is?” the boy answers.

Something had called their father out, and he had gone willingly into the night. She had been gone for years, but she knew his name and had given them theirs.

The dunes came alive with whispers. It could have been the wind blowing in the sea grass but the grass was calling out names.

The boy tugged the girl’s hand, pulling her aside, pulling her away. She wanted to look back because it might not be her. What if it WAS?

Shadows crawled from the dune, low and slinking, the whispers louder, louder, louder then stopping as the shadows reached the spot where the ocean met the sand.

At the water’s edge, the woman turned her head towards where the children had stood a moment ago, but seeing no one she knew she turned her eyes back to the moon.

(356 Words)