Fire&Ice: Sol 8/19

§ Foy says: Welcome to the madness, dear dragons! Perhaps it feels to you (as it does to me) that our planet is run by truth-tinkerers and chaos-creators feeding a gloaming beast, or maybe you’ve begun to wonder if our politics are indeed overseen by skin-wearing space-lizards (minus Justin Bieber, of course) bent on the death of the world. You aren’t alone. Every week that the confusion grows, my fiery sister and I find focus here. You are proof that there are dragons in every corner of the world sharpening quills and lighting fires against the growing dark. Thank you for your light!   

QUESTIONS? Tweet us at @FlashFridayFic, shoot us a note here, or tap any of the judges.


Fire&Ice Guidelines: 

Time: The Fire&Ice contest is open between exactly 12:01am to 11:59pm on Fridays, Washington DC time (check the current time here). Entries submitted outside of this window are welcome, but will be incinerated ineligible to win.

How to Play: Write and submit an original story 1) based on the photo prompt and 2) including EITHER the fire dragon or ice dragon‘s requirement. Pay attention to the 3) varying word count constraints! Story titles (optional) are not included in the word limit. At the end of your story, add your name or twitter handle, whether you chose the fire or ice dragon’s element, and word count. That’s it!

Be sure to review the contest rules here.


JUDGES: Today’s judges are Nancy Chenier and David Shakes. Check out their bios on the Fire&Ice Judges page.



Each Fire&Ice prompt includes 1) a photo, 2) a required element (choose between the fire dragon or ice dragon’s offering), and 3) a specific word count. Your story must include all three requirements to be eligible to win.

Photo for Sol 8/19


“Ghost ship” photo by: olivier6973

Fire & Ice PromptRequired elements:

Fire dragon option: include an inventor


Ice dragon option: include a conspiracy theorist

Today’s word count: Less than 200 (no minimum)

227 thoughts on “Fire&Ice: Sol 8/19

  1. Fallen Dreams

    Rabbit slipped ghostlike between sleeping caravans as waves rumbled against the shore. Hands shaking, Rabbit set the bucket down, her father’s zippo sparking over the rags within.

    This would scare them away.

    Father and Tony’s rage had brought her here. Tormented kings, resplendent on creaking lawn chairs, reality muddied by lethargy and scotch. Tony regurgitating conspiratorial mantras, counselling father who was truly to blame for their fall.

    When the family moved in two avenues over, Tony’s poison seeped deeper into Father’s eyes. The unfamiliar music and scent of spice emanating from the caravan proof of the role the family had played in ruining everything.

    Through spittle flecked lips Dad raged at how their kind had cost him his job, marriage, and birthright. The kings drank into the early hours, plotting on their complaining thrones till sleep overwhelmed their schemes.

    The rags caught quicker than Rabbit thought possible. Panicked she kicked out at the bucket, flames licking across dry grass, snaking towards the caravan.

    Turning tail, Rabbit scurried towards the refuge of the wreck on the beach. Damp cold sand embracing her foetal pose, hands covering her ears.

    Pretending she couldn’t hear awakening voices screaming in panic over the waves.

    199 words
    Conspiracy Theorist

    Liked by 19 people

  2. The Shape of Ships

    For years, I passed his house every afternoon except Sundays.

    No paper on Sundays.

    It was always late in the day. My route mostly done. While his house was small, the boat was huge. It dwarfed the house. He was always there, working on the hull, up on scaffolding, painting, or hidden, cutting, fitting, making busy sounds.

    One early summer day, I’d just turned fifteen, the route was getting in the way of my life, and I’d delivered my last papers, always down the hill at the little motel that rested on a bank by the river.

    It was hot. I was dragging my sorry butt home. As I passed his house, he hailed me. “Paper kid, fancy some lemonade?”

    Didn’t have to ask me twice.

    The rest of the summer Sam and I drank lemonade in the shank of the evening.

    Early September, he asked me, “Tom, ever wonder what I’m gonna do with the ship?”

    Told him, ‘no idea.’

    He said, “I’m one of those fools who thinks that the earth is flat. One day, I’ll prove it.”

    I nodded.

    Right, I thought.

    Weeks latter, braces gave way.

    Boat crushed him.

    Lesson learned?

    Sometimes, nothing really matters.

    199 words
    Ice dragon option: conspiracy theorist

    Liked by 13 people

    • Oh what a fascinating story, the layering of the friendship between Tom and Sam on top of the ship mystery. I love how the sentences shorten as the story grows bleaker, echoing the ship’s pending demise; and the teen’s too-old-for-his-years depressed conclusion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Extraction

    Each grain. Weighed heavy. Each grain. On his mind. Counting time. He was counting time. Caught here. In his own creation. In his own invention. His heart beat somewhere. Else. Somewhere. Other. His broken flesh was out there rotting. His fragile body decaying.

    A ghost ship. Still waiting for launch. Still waiting to be found. To sail again.

    He watched from in here. Watched from beneath the sands. Waited to carve a new life for himself. For someone to come. For someone to fall. Fall for him. To be flesh again.

    His heart beat. Somewhere. Pounding.

    Sand echoes. Grains fall. Years pass.



    For the silence, now

    108 words
    fire – inventor

    Liked by 18 people

  4. Elmo.

    They called it an act of God, but none of them could fathom how true that statement was. Others called it a freak accident. A tragedy. Loss of life always looks good on the headline and while everyone is distracted by the grief, they miss the truth.

    I’ve seen it lurking beneath the waves, waiting for the meal. He likes them fat, and sweet. Where do you think the obesity crisis came from? It’s all connected. They have to appease the beast – or the Cookie Monster will come for them.

    Erin Robinson (@flossybunny)

    Liked by 12 people

    • “Loss of life always looks good on the headline and while everyone is distracted by the grief, they miss the truth.”

      If this doesn’t encapsulate our current reality, I don’t know what does. 😀

      Liked by 3 people

    • I’m so fascinated by the bookends, the “Elmo” title and “Cookie Monster” finish. Feels so macabre somehow, the way you’ve folded these beloved childlike puppets into a tale of accidents and tragedies. I also like how we’re not told what’s really happened. Somehow you’ve managed to make ending with the Cookie Monster both funny and unnerving!

      Liked by 1 person


    ‘Yeah, I’m at work, hon. Can’t talk for long…

    At the beach. You know, that nutjob? Been on the news. Says he’s been ‘receiving messages’. A great flood! Biblical proportions…

    Anyway, me an’ the fellas are here with all the equipment. Gonna start demolishing and see if that’ll get him to move…

    Yeah, OK. See you later. Love to the kids.’


    Joe was anchored in the dim light, his drawn breath tinged with linseed, his lips sharp with salt, his rib cage rising and falling with her ebb and flow.

    He was waiting. Still.

    Today she was not bowling her watery bulk skyward in futile despair, but seemed to be in a quiet sulk.

    Outside, voices barked. Machinery growled.

    Joe looked through the window: yellow monsters and shirtless men, chewing, yelling, gesticulating. He was a beached whale.

    ‘There he is! Oi! Noah! Last chance! We’re gonna rip this thing apart! You’ve got two minutes!’

    As the sky darkened, she rolled back like a magic carpet.


    A bright shaft flooded through the bitten stern.

    Then silence. Solid. Sinister.

    The men gaped like fish as she charged with an enormous roar.

    Joe’s eyes closed. They should have listened.

    Word Count: 198
    Prompt: Conspiracy theorist

    Liked by 16 people

  6. Sun drops behind the sea. Red becomes deep blue.

    She holds the sponge, soft against her fingers. Starlight picks up the glittery surface.

    That’s one part done.

    She’s hidden here, inside the old barque.

    Waves gently stroke the shore, leaving behind swathes of glitter with every ebb.

    There’s a small pot here somewhere.

    She waits until the clouds flee and the moonlight picks out the white pot. The cream drops heavily into the small plastic bowl.

    She busies herself, adding drops of brown liquid slowly.

    Voices. Calling.

    She stops. Holds her breath.

    The voices come closer. They mustn’t find her before she’s finished.

    She stirs the cream, quickly.





    “Has anyone seen Molly?”

    She’s done.

    A head appears over the side of the barque. “What are you doing out here in the dark?” The voice is not happy.

    “Making my invention. I told you.”

    The face doesn’t remember. Hands pull the black scarf tighter.

    “It’s an invention for Grandma.”

    Still nothing from the ashen face.

    “She always uses this vanishing cream.”


    “I’m making her an anti-vanishing cream. It’ll bring her back.”

    A gentle breeze dances with the glittery sponge.

    The ashes of the face collapse.

    Liked by 15 people

  7. For Those In Peril

    You see a shipwreck, right? Wrong. That’s what they want you to see. Look again.

    You still see a shipwreck, don’t you? Look at the graffiti.

    What did it say? You’ve forgotten already. Your mind slides over the memory like your eyes slid over the tags. That’s how they get you. I said, “Look at the graffiti,” and so you looked at it like graffiti, and forgot it like graffiti. It’s not graffiti, it’s a serial number. This isn’t the only so-called shipwreck. There are hundreds of them, a network of weathered wood and rusting steel, all communicating. How much do you suppose that cost? The ships, the tech, the other tech that hides the tech? It’s not pocket money.

    And who has the resources to put this network in place?

    The RNLI. All those collection boxes bring in more than Amazon makes in a month. There are two of these in the Amazon, by the way. And the truth is right out there in the open. They’re laughing at you. RNLI doesn’t stand for Royal National Lifeboat Institution. No. Retired Navy Local Installations.

    Yeah, that means exactly what you think it does. Frightening, isn’t it?

    But we’re ready.

    Word count: 199
    Element: ice

    Liked by 14 people

  8. Footprints

    To make an impression on sand without mass should be impossible. Yet here we are.
    My body lies face down, head buried, much like it was in life. Avoiding the inevitable.

    For days I try to force my way back in, to blink those glazed eyes. Now, there’s not much left to inhabit, and what is left bloats and bubbles with decay. There is no return. I must reinvent myself.

    In the following weeks, I am but a drifter, swept back and forth on the tidal breeze. I feel nothing and nothing feels me. Though when I press my invisible form into the grains below, they part as if fearful of my presence.

    These are not footprints, as such, for as far as I can tell, I no longer possess such appendages. But there is a force to it, like gravity inverted.

    Years pass, and with each my obsession grows. Splinters lift from wood with a touch, vials effervesce with a breath and heads turn with a whisper.

    They hear me now – these trespassers, these thieves.

    I will not let them take what’s rightfully mine.

    My research will live only by my name.

    I will be remembered.

    Word Count: 198
    Prompt: Fire Dragon – Inventor
    Twitter – @WeymanWrites

    Liked by 15 people

    The Old Man and the Kraken  
    And lo, the inventor came to me.
    Our lives a tangle, a net of deceit, and brinkmanship. We were the ceaseless tide, pushed and pulled, predator and prey locked in the eternal struggle.
    Like Hemmingway in this black and inky ocean.
    I was the marlin and he the old man.
    Or so he thought.
    And he had worked, day and night, just to glimpse me once more.
    For he had found me, once, as a child.
    Or was it I that had found him?
    Had I sown the seeds?
    Fed his obsession with every waking moment and sleep-twitch dream?
    And, so, he came to me.
    His new invention, a submarine, a shiny airship of the deep.
    And my tentacles, as ancient as time, wrapped themselves around its body.

    What would he be without me?
    And I without him?

    I left the skeletal scaffolding of the submarine to wash ashore.
    To rust in the briny air.
    I was the old man, he was my merlin.
    I laid him gently on the surf, a soft pillow of white against the land.
    So that one day, we could do it all again.
    191 words

    Liked by 16 people

  10. Glancing through the misty window with a sigh Rosie continued in vain to conclude the report before the afternoon’s Zoom meeting. The weather appeared to be as miserable as she felt. Wisps of rain splattered the windows descending from one long grey sky The results were great but the pre decision wasn’t and she knew presenting the report later would be unpleasant. 

    After a while and a tasty lunch and relaxing bubble bath, Rosie padded quickly and quietly to her desk and turned it so her laptop camera would capture her and the wall. Boring, unobtrusive and undisruptive. 

    The meeting launched as a red explosive sound invasion and after minute pleasantries Rosie began reciting her report monotonously. Upon reaching the halfway point of her report a movement near her window made her pause. A ship manned by Tudor soldiers and sailors it seemed was descending from the clouds. Amongst the crew stood people who were clearly recently passed. They were urging her to continue and she changed her tactics on the report for it was only fair to the ship’s passenger’s memory and conspiracy or not all should be made aware of the answer.

    (194 words, ice element @Lindorfan)

    Liked by 12 people

  11. DUNNO

    “Where are we?”
    “It looks like we’re stranded on a desert island, Jack.”
    “We’re in a dream. You’re dreaming and you took us here.”
    “I’m not dreaming. I’m bloody wide awake! What now?”
    “Go on, you’re the man. Take some initiative.”
    “And what exactly do you think I can do?”
    “Well, use your imagination?”
    “What imagination? I’m a fictional character, stuck on an island with you, my creator.”
    “You should give me some input.”
    “I have a day off.”
    “You can’t have ‘a day off’. You need to inspire me 24/7.”
    “Who says?”
    “How do you think I can write a ‘soon-to-be’ bestselling crime series, hundreds of #vss365 tweets, #poetryin13, #hangtenstories, #converstrories, #storyconvers, #vssmurder and I haven’t even mentioned this flash fiction!?”
    “What’s wrong with your vocabulary?”
    “Nothing’s wrong. It’s just—I don’t know. I feel I’m losing touch with you. You’re distracted, you’re not yourself, you focus on everything but me.”
    “Sorry, Jack.”
    “Maybe you should leave me.”
    “And how do you think I would get off this island?”
    “You see. We’re stuck forever. Like it or not.”
    “I do like it.”
    “Good! End of.”

    @esthervdheuvel1 @Hills1S
    Word Count: 200
    Fire Dragon: Inventor

    Liked by 12 people

  12. The wreck of the Three ships is where she tests her device. Children stories said the three ships were haunted with ghosts of slaves carried to these shores from the African continent four centuries ago. Beatrice is confident that she will be the one find the truth of who had been on these ships.

    She runs a hand against the worn hull of the largest ship, her imagination hearing the screams and groans of all those who died on these types of vessels. It is time now to prove her theories. Placing the base of her Photo Metric Analyzer up against the side of the largest vessel, a vague, slightly fog-like image formed in the air above the PMA. The image disappeared when, in her excitement she pulled the PMA’s base away from the ship.

    Calm down she tells herself, resetting the base of the PMA against the side of the ship. The image reformed, an old woman in a torn uniform.


    The sound startled Beatrice and she dropped the PMA, stumbling back from the wreck. That isn’t supposed to happen. Images yes. But sound. This is amazing.  Her device works better than she had predicted.



    Words 197

    Liked by 13 people

  13. Necessity

    My skin is as old, dry and worn as the hull of the ship that wrecked us here. My mind, though, is sharp as a tack.

    I remember days gone by. I remember the people stranded with me. The boy who passed the time by graffiti-ing the hull; the doctor fixing our bodies and our minds; the hunters and gatherers, the gardeners, the chefs, the cleaners, the builders.

    We all had our jobs. Everyone was necessary. Everyone was vital.

    I was the inventor, I came up with ways to do things that others would carry out. I was charged with making life easier and I was charged with finding a way to get us all home.

    But none of us were very good farmers. Or so great at rationing our natural resources.

    They say necessity is the mother of invention. Once it was clear we were too many for the local flora and fauna, my hunger became the greatest necessity. I came up with a tool that would kill silently, smothering and slicing as one. I had recently learned to butcher.

    Once my hunger was sated, I started to find a simpler solution to get me home.

    197 Words
    Fire dragon option: include an inventor

    Liked by 12 people

  14. The last thing I saw while I was alive was a storage chest that had come loose during the storm flying towards me. It crushed my ribcage and nearly tore my head off my body. Since the ship was in chaos, no one noticed my death at the time, and since all hands either drowned or died within days of the remnants running aground (there was no drinkable water to be found), no one was left to mourn me.

    What a hell of a time to discover that the immortality pendant I’d created worked, after a fashion.

    Damaged the way my body was, I couldn’t move, couldn’t find shelter or pray for rain, couldn’t take the pendant off.

    I couldn’t escape the small animals that came to feed on me.

    I couldn’t die, even after being consumed by half a hundred mouths. As long as that pendant remained around what was left of my skeleton, I would lie there.

    As I lie there today.

    168 words
    Include an inventor

    Liked by 15 people

  15. Pingback: #FireIceFlash, week 8 – Project Gemini

  16. Wheezing man

    Bells rung thirteen times.

    “It’s time.” Bruce stood up.
    “Can’t you see? He is injured.” Suzie bellowed.
    “Leave him.”

    Suzie slapped Bruce’s cheek. He looked at her. It was my fault, he thought. I was too greedy. Suzie slapped him again.

    “We can’t leave him.” She cried.

    Bruce turned his head to the wheezing man. Bleeding had stopped. However, he was dying.

    “It was his own fault.” Bruce said. “George!”

    “I’m here.”

    George was genius. He could make anything. His newest invention was ghost googles. It was a prototype that failed more often than needed. He looked at the wheezing man. Shuddered.

    “I fixed them. I think.”

    “Show me.”

    George gave one pair of googles to Bruce. They looked fragile. Too simple to be something else but a toy. Bruce inspected them. Nodded. Put them on. George looked with hungry eyes. Bruce turned lenses up and down. Tapped the frame. George winced. Wheezing stopped.

    “Mike.” Suzie screamed. “Mike.”

    Bruce looked at her. Behind her bluish blot appeared. Bruce calibrated lenses. The shape sharpened. It was Mike. Suzie was crying. In a blink of an eye Mike stood face to face with Bruce.

    “Will you kill me?” Bruce whispered.

    198 words
    Fire dragon

    Liked by 8 people

  17. And finally, the day had come.

    Special teams from NASA, ISRO, ISA, JAXA, Roscosmos and ESA, all gathered on the outskirts of Istanbul, looking at the orange skies, and the silver spaceship suspended in thin air.

    At precisely ten past five, the chosen three–General Khan, Major Krazinsky and Commander Cohen– started the ascent.

    The otherworldly insides of the spaceship welcomed them, as did a strange, steely voice that spoke in broken bits of multiple languages.

    “Earthlings..welcome” said the disembodied voice “to the Ghost.. Ship from a…ghost galaxy far..far away”


    Just when Khan was in the midst of signalling to Cohen to reach for his gun, the disembodied voice spoke again.

    “I wouldn’t do harm.

    We..are spirits.. of the captured.. tortured…and killed.

    In facilities..more secretive..than the ones.. even you know of.

    We came.. to learn..

    But you is your nature.. only wanted to torture..and harvest us..for weapons deadlier..than already have.

    What they..didn’t our spirits..after we die..go to the Ghost galaxy.

    And we’re warn stop..before it is..too late”

    200 Words
    Conspiracy theor/ist/y

    Liked by 11 people

  18. Oh yes, I remember that day. The day she was gutted mercilessly from the outside in.
    I remember how she toiled in vain against the bitter brew of greys, purples and blacks.
    Against the scalding broth.
    Against the brutality of slicing shadows that twisted and turned with agonising precision. Their screams ringing in my ears; salty blood on my lips.

    I remember the chanting. Him, preaching from the pulpit—an impassioned peroration of fevered words that burnt my eyes.
    Even now I can remember his zealous bones grasping and biting at life, whilst frantic hearts burst around him.

    You would probably weep for those deceived by him. He, who called himself a man of faith. What was his need for their gold? Eh?
    Well, someone had the last laugh—or so I’ve heard on the grapevine.

    Now, I’m not the least bit emotional—but I’ll admit to you it was most gratifying watching ‘his’ descent into madness. I left him until the last before I severed his soul.

    No—it wasn’t a clean break.

    It’s not often I’ll get a moment like this—to reflect. I’d say it’s been fun, but…

    *phone vibrating*

    Oops—sorry—that’s me. Got to go!

    Wordcount: 200
    Conspiracy theory

    Liked by 10 people

  19. Noah’s Flotilla

    When the department head looked at his calendar for the morning, he muttered an expletive and called for his assistant.

    “Yes?” Donna said from the doorway.

    “Who put Evans on my calendar?”

    She checked her smartphone and sighed. “We had a temp yesterday. He wouldn’t have known not to… I’ll call Dr. Evans and cancel.”

    “No, he’s likely on his way. I’ll endure it.”

    Donna smiled. “That’s why you get the big bucks.”

    There wasn’t sufficient compensation to spend an hour—or more—listening to Evans’ crackpot theories. Would it be aliens as ancient gods this time or some forged tome “proving” Hitler was alive and running a Chick-Fil-A in Argentina?

    He’d know soon.

    # # #

    The last incline was dangerously steep, but Evans and his department head stood on the snow-strewn plateau. Who knew global warming could be an archeologist’s friend? Rising temps had exposed Evans’ greatest discovery—the decaying carcasses of wooden ships. Tears came to Evans’ eyes. All these years, he’d been right.

    “This… This is what you dragged me up here to see, Evans?”

    “It’s obvious, isn’t it?”

    “What is?”

    “It wasn’t one enormous boat. It couldn’t have been!”

    “You mean this is…?”

    “Yes! Noah’s Flotilla!”

    Ice dragon
    198 words

    Liked by 10 people

    • Oh that made me smile! “or some forged tome “proving” Hitler was alive and running a Chick-Fil-A in Argentina?” anyone with an imagination this alive is welcome at all my dinner parties. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha. I love the interweaving of skepticism: Evans’, of course, but also the department head’s toward the beleaguered artifact hunter. Quite cruel of you to deny us the department head’s response to Evans’ triumphant declaration 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  20. The Visitors

    At first, he thought they were angels, the voices, the lights in the sky.

    There were three voices–a male voice, a female voice, a voice that could be both male and female.

    They said their names were Ampersand, Ellipsis and Interrobang. Ampersand sounded like a TV anchorman, speaking with calm authority. Ellipsis, the lady, sounded bright and cheerful.
    Interrobang was fond of puns.

    They told him they were not from this world. They had a message for the people of Earth. Why me, he said. I’m a mechanic. You want the President. Well, maybe not the President. Maybe the United Nations.

    We want you, Ray Greenfield, said the one who called himself Ampersand.
    You are the perfect choice, said Ellipsis.
    You can fix our FTL Drive, said Interrobang.

    It was more complicated than changing a light bulb, but soon they were on their way.

    What a strange dream, Ray said to himself the next morning. It had to be a dream. But why was the garage door open? The box of new light bulbs was missing. There was a note on the windshield of the truck. It looked like some kind of diagram.

    195 words
    Conspiracy and Invention

    Liked by 10 people

  21. You know why they invented candies, he asked as Ayra knelt in the grass gazing at a ladybug; a lollipop in her mouth moved from one cheek to the other. She shook her head not looking at him.

    Well, he started, it was the time when sugar…

    Ayra tuned him out putting a finger towards the bug. It flew away. With a sigh she lay down beside her grandpa’s feet, the grass tickling her neck. His old wooden chair creaked by her ear as he talked on. She giggled. A twisted cloud ship sailed into her vision. She gently pushed it along.

    …but it was the dentists really…

    A bee buzzed nearby but Ayra was intent on making tiny cloud bricks for her castle. Her fingers moved quickly as she cut neat rectangles, piling them into a heap.

    So that’s why candy was invented, he said looking down at Ayra; her arms were moving in strange gestures above her.

    You’re a weird child, he said affectionately. Ayra’s hands fell to her side and she giggled.

    Do you know why they invented pipes, she asked, looking at the one in his hand. He smiled then shrugged.

    Well you see, she began…

    Words: 200/Conspiracy

    Liked by 11 people

  22. The Dark
    A ghost ship in a bottle haunting the room from the corner. It’s all I see for a week? A day? A second? Until a shadow knitted by darkness, laughs like a bawdy sailor. Rum drips from the roof while skeletons perch on dusty stools.
    He tells me he invented The Triangle. He plucks people from thin air and cold waters.
    Dark is a country he says and I feel like I’m walking the plank. I find the courage to ask for mercy.
    Too late. You’ve been collected he says.
    90 words

    Liked by 12 people

  23. Pass it Along

    “How did they get it?” asked Barry.

    Ernie looked around in apparent confusion, took in the rotting hulk on the otherwise beautiful beach. “Get what?”

    Barry pointed at the ruin’s side. “Our formula.”

    Ernie stared. “That’s just graffiti.”

    “No, it’s not. It’s our code, the key to the vaccine.”

    “Coincidence,” said Ernie. “And it’s not exactly the same, is it? I mean, they’ve not got the decimal point between the nine and five and there’s no minus sign before the two.”

    Barry smiled. “You’re right of course. Must be working too hard. Seeing things.”

    The two men walked away, paused in the trees to look back as a figure crept from the prow, pocketing a notebook, a phone glued to his ear.

    “Reckon he got it?” asked Ernie.

    “He will have,” laughed Barry. “Once he follows our instructions. Thanks for the tip-off, and the script.”

    “Think nothing of it,” said Ernie. “Haven’t had this much fun in ages, not since the cold war. Let’s call it revenge for covid.”

    A week later, the ambassador was suddenly recalled. The president had broken out in boils and wasn’t very happy.

    188 words
    Element: conspiracy theorist (and a bit of invention!)

    Liked by 9 people


    It lies as if tired on the shore of a remote mountain lake. Conspiracy theorists believe that aliens arrived in it. This is clearly nonsense, not least because it is made of wood.

    The truth, of course, is that aliens tried to go home in it.

    Their own craft is at the bottom of the lake, since from space there was little to tell them that the green bit below was solid ground while the blue bit wasn’t.

    They dragged themselves ashore, climbed a nearby cliff and set about making an engine from items they found in a deserted cabin – a tin mug, two candles, the pages from a Harry Potter book and a flat car battery. The cabin itself became the fuselage and a set of skids.

    They set themselves speeding down the hill toward the cliff edge. They soared into space.


    They have been working since on a Mark II, this time involving a metal hut, a disused lavatory, a gas-stove lighter and a well-shaken can of beer. Today was launch day, as you can tell by the explosion in the distance.

    They are going to be here for a while.

    194 words
    Fire and Ice Prompts

    Liked by 10 people

    • Poor dears…here’s to hoping they get off!

      I love that first line, and the juxtaposition of the ships above and below the lake.


    • Laughed aloud at this line: “Today was launch day, as you can tell by the explosion in the distance.” Maybe they’ll make it back home next time; they probably need a different two pages from Harry Potter…


    • Love the confidential addressing of the reader–“The truth, *of course*” haha! The seemingly random assortment of would-be escape ship materials is clever, as is the twist on the purpose of an alien ship.


  25. Ghost Story

    ‘Catch me!’
    Just the wind in the trees. Another ‘fake’ memory, they’d have said.
    ‘Come on.’ She tugged at his hand.
    She wanted to understand. He released the brakes of two decades.
    ‘Is this it?’
    Was it? Twenty years of sea and bleaching. It had been new then. They had to explore it, didn’t they? That’s what boys did. Explore.
    She ran her hand on the friable surface. ‘It’s amazing. Beautiful. Tragic.’
    Beautiful? Tragic? No words can describe something that hollows you out daily. His finger traced some faded symbol on the hull.
    ‘How many died when she went down?’
    Only one who mattered and he’d not gone down, not like she meant it.
    He stepped back and looked up at the gunwale, now frayed like his memory. Jake’s face peering down at him. That last image, those last words. Then he’d gone, disappeared. Like a ghost.
    He’d made it up, he’d been kidnapped, caught by the tide, runaway, they said. No believed him when he’d told them about the voices, the hands that had dragged Jake into the boat. Maybe it was right to say he’d gone down with the rest after all.

    194 words
    Fire: an inventor

    Liked by 7 people

    • Oh you’ve done such a deft thing here, keeping the story tantalizingly vague yet disturbing, keeping the reader at bay even as the boy himself struggles to wrap his shattered mind around what happened. The real story here is the malevolent hands & voices, and the destruction they wreaked not only on Jake, but on the boy (and who knows how many others!) as well. What a read.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Just Left There to Float

    “They tore down Trump’s wall to build it,” my grandfather scratched his nose white from a thick layer of zinc. He pointed at the graffiti defacing the side of the vessel, now permanently moored in our backyard.

    “Couldn’t someone have just recently tatt’ed the boat?” I saw familiar lettering on the arms of the boys at school. Bright colors displaying oversized words like “Boss” and “Good Ole Boy.” We both walked in closer through a line of wooden sticks emerging from the sand like a broken set of ribs.

    “Why would people have built a boat? Not like it ever rains,” I touched the beams reverently. It was one the few times in my life I had felt real wood.

    “It used to rain everywhere, love,” my great grandfather loved to tell stories. “There used to be huge mountains of ice, and when they all melted, people feared the worst.”

    My grandfather’s fingers were bowed and weathered like this ship. Instinctively, he knelt down on one knee. I grabbed his arm, steadying him as the sands stirred.

    His voice crumbling, he whispered, “Tyrant,” and with that, I also knelt. It was a small gesture, but one I knew meant dissent.

    Word Count: 200
    Ice Dragon: Conspiracy Theorist
    Song Inspiration: Ship of Fools
    Twitter: @hartless_k

    Liked by 11 people

    • I have a fascination with aging hands; I’ve got a hobby of pencil-sketching, and I love to sketch weathered hands. Consequently, I loved this line: “My grandfather’s fingers were bowed and weathered like this ship.” I can see it so vividly.


    • How you take our hand and lead us into cold water, the slow wade into a new and terrifying world does nothing to dull its chill. May we all learn to be dissenters before this future comes.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Some really great worldbuilding here, with hints of the rather apocalyptic present–no rain, no trees; the zinc–and the grandfather’s emotional recollections of the past. The kneeling–and the narrator’s echoed kneeling–is so stirring. I love how you’ve painted this, especially the family relationship with a grandfather who raised his granddaughter to know about dissent. Despite the crumbling age of so much else in this scene, even memory, it leaves your story with such a strong and stirring finish.


  27. Black Flag

    After Calvin died, they voyaged into his mind like mariners on a ghost ship trying to figure out why he did it. They soon saw the carcasses of hope and love washed ashore, the maggots having long since cleaned the bones.

    The flags Calvin left behind only turned red upon his death. Each one — insomnia, weight-loss, withdrawal — seemed obvious as to be blaring sirens rather than flags. Yet, none of them heard his wails.

    In his mind was an all-encompassing black void seamstress, sewing those flags of despair. It had metastasized since he was a teen; the cuts hidden behind sleeves, and the first attempt excused as youth rather than anguish. Calvin’s meat suit was a body bag, concealing a death that already happened long ago.

    The seamstress lied, though, cajoling Calvin with its worst conspiracy of all: a flag etched with “burden.” It was the word that sent him to the bottom of bourbon, and a burial after his deadline on the bridge. Those who watched the dirt puddle around the casket never had the chance to show him the lack of anchors around their necks.

    They exited his mind shipwrecked with grief, drowning in it.

    Word count: 199.
    Element: Ice.

    Liked by 10 people

  28. In The End Was The Word

    Imagine inventing a word that will switch off the human mind.
    Go on.
    Imagine it.
    Imagine a word so vast that it can be seen from space and so small that it lurks in the viewfinder of every electron microscope.
    Imagine a word that can be screamed, whispered, sighed, sang, typed, texted and carved into the face of the earth.
    Imagine that word spraypainted on rusting wrecks, xeroxed on a thousand noticeboard flyers and taped to a million lampposts.
    Imagine a little girl who catches the word in an unguarded moment.
    Imagine her mother’s horror as she finds her, frozen, insensate.
    Imagine her gripping her, crushing her, forgetting how to hold her own child as her eyes fall upon the word and the word falls upon her and everything falls away.
    Imagine countless figures standing shoulder to shoulder in Times Square, Piccadilly Circus, your own high street, as the word appears on every screen, in every mind.
    Imagine a word that will silence it all.
    All hope.
    All fear.
    All gone
    Imagine you can feel it.
    In your head.
    On the tip of your tongue.
    How does it feel?
    What does it sound like?
    Can you say it?

    An inventor.
    199 words

    Liked by 12 people

    • Good grief, Karl, leave some for the rest of us. 😉 (Just kidding). 🙂 You just knocked that out of the park! This is absolutely brilliant, ingenious in several ways: content, style, and structure. I love how you start with and end with Imagine, but you bring it down to that single, solid word that so well underscores the entire piece. So, so good!

      Liked by 2 people

    • This pulled me in and would. not. let. go. The concept is so fertile, and I have to agree with Tamara, the execution was spot on. Phenomenal as always, Karl.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. *Aftermath*

    Hypothesis One

    Perhaps the natural forces of wind and sea contrived to shape this pale vessel out of elements that fell from the sky—after all, it was not here yesterday, and its hull bears no sign of ever having sat in the salt sea.

    Hypothesis Two

    Or it might be God. After all, I am alone on this strange island, with its black sand and its woods all white—all white except for the red tree. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that its hollow housed a flame. Nature may be strange, but the serendipity of its fiat has limits.

    Hypothesis Three

    Perhaps I am not alone. In the woods, there may be a watcher– maybe more than one. Perhaps they constructed the ship to mock me, presenting me with a mode of escape whose mass is too great for me to move—besides, a ship so large requires a crew, and I know nothing of sailing.

    Hypothesis Four

    I did not survive that green-skied tempest after all, but instead have found myself washed upon the shores of Hell. I went to the red tree again, and its fiery heart is still aflame, yet the tree remains unconsumed.

    Word Count: 198
    Element: Fire Dragon (conspiracy theorist)

    Liked by 13 people

  30. Dissent

    Push back against the tide, Sailor,
    Battle the heaving currents with every tool aboard your craft.
    Search the distant horizon –
    That unreachable line –
    For the symbol of hope
    And strain toward it,

    As though…

    As though to fight is your holy,
    As though to struggle is your altar.

    Assemble the threads of invention
    Though your spool is bare.
    Weave together answers that defy the inevitable!
    Hoist your impossible sail,
    Consider the sun,
    Consider the tides,
    And sail, sail into the storm,

    For there is your salvation.

    @Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 106
    Prompt: Inventor (Fire Dragon)

    Liked by 10 people

  31. Ornithopter 2.0

    Nardo stumbled along the beach to the wreckage of his ornithopter. Not much was left, he mused as he took another painful step in the white sand.
    The injuries he’d sustained when the ornithopter did not so much fly as plummet, had taken months to heal. Yet, traction devices, plaster casts, and long stretches of staring at the rafters had not assuaged him. He had to know if the old legends of star songs were true.
    He patted the wooden hull that he’d reshape into a ship that would not need wings.
    “Let’s fly to the stars, shall we?” he whispered.
    Nardo didn’t notice the people that came to gawk as he followed his sketches and mirror writing and slowly built the sky boat.

    It was on Midsummer’s Eve that the city saw the light in the sky. Nardo’s sky ship floated over the city like a lit paper lantern. Up and up it floated, heading straight for the full moon.
    Nardo stretched out his arms to feel the wind as it whipped at his clothes, hair, and beard. Up here, above the mortal world, he could hear the stars’ song – and wept with joy at the sound.

    Words: 198
    Element chosen: Fire dragon – An Inventor
    Twitter: @CarinMarais

    Liked by 9 people

  32. Once Upon A Memory

    A singular photo stood proud, one day. Secret shown, before sharing became known knowledge.

    Day Two, it spread. Creation of its own invention. A camera, forced into the dirt. Ukeleles.

    Others brought guitar-filled cases, straying briefly beyond the outer ring, to place slats spread horizontal, one atop the other, reaching towards the water’s edge. I saw their shadows only, ghost glimpses in passing. We uninitiated remained hidden; awaiting redemption, perhaps. Something, for sure.

    Still, we heard the selected. Whilst we stayed silent, they mourned; their loss; their life. Nothing is what anyone expected it to be. Not now. Not anymore.

    Expectation is another creation created, I guess. Though, we stopped with that a while back, when I come to think of it. We, remaining few.

    Day Unknown – after the counting stopped – or mine did – it is legion, in communion, celebrated amongst the masses. Their flow; our ebb.

    They see their own. We cannot move beyond their borders. It is with us. We are less now. They are legion.

    I think they travel, one, within their vessels. Still, I hope they take us with them, in remembrance. We, who sailed with them. Once upon a memory.

    In memoriam.


    199 words
    An inventor

    Liked by 7 people

  33. Two Humans Launching

    His work, from what I’ve seen, is of a rudimentary quality.

    Now I see that I must use him or relinquish my recurring dream of reinventing the carcass of the ship that once was.

    Look at her now. Imagine the places she once ventured when her able crew maintained her and her captain held fast his freshly acquired map, plotting her next course of danger and adventure between the waves of the depthless Atlantic.

    He will capitulate to my advanced skill and knowledge. My ideas have expanded. My sketches, though trapped in my mind for lack of tools to give them shape, are clear.

    We will transform Griselda the Sea Drifter. No, I did not say refurbish. Her former grandeur belongs in the past with all that’s perished. We will muster. Construct a sea worthy craft artful in appearance but practical in her purpose.

    Though neither will ever leave this place, we will venture again beyond these limited parameters. This partnership, infant but certain, is a reinvention of the world in the image I have conjured.

    He will become my assistant. Look! He wanders along the beach, shirtless and shameless. Human needs purpose.

    I will gift him some soon.

    Fire Dragon Option: Inventor
    Word Count: 199

    Liked by 7 people

    • I’m so intrigued by the speaker, here, and find it so compelling that we learn about them only by the defining of what they are not.


  34. Archaeologists Cover Up Unicorn Find

    The findings were clear. The ships had been used as Arks, maybe “The” Ark, according to Professor Steinman. “They dates are right according to carbon dating. We think there were a flotilla of arks rather than just one boat. The biblical text could be a misinterpretation from ancient texts. It would be easier to build multiple ships, and to look after the animals if you could keep problematic creatures apart. You wouldn’t want the lions with the impalas for instance.”

    The reporters nodded. This seemed a reasonable interpretation – and a significant find.
    “What caused the almost complete obliteration of the sixth boat?” Asked The Times reporter.

    “There are several theories. But my preferred one is that they’d made the mistake of trying to save woodworm. A schoolboy error I’d say.”

    The Mirror reporter asked if it was true that they’d found a rainbow coated horn in that wreckage.

    “The unicorn rumour is just that: a rumour. We would be shouting it from the rooftops if we had, don’t you think?”

    Nevertheless Saturday’s headlines ran: ‘Archaeologists Cover Up Unicorn Find

    Steinman obviously had the horn above his mantelpiece. Or he’d had it destroyed, or turned into a fancy walking cane, or…

    WC – 200
    Ice – Conspiracy Theorists

    Liked by 8 people

    • Haha. Two things…
      1) I forgot my Twitter handle: @zevonesque and
      2) I wrote it at 1:30am, rather knackered, and in my head it was ‘up to’ 200 words not ‘less than’. Doh!


    • “But my preferred one is that they’d made the mistake of trying to save woodworm. A schoolboy error I’d say.” LOL!! This was such a fun take.


  35. Necessity Is The Mother

    Friday is tomato soup and grilled cheese, and My Bonnie as I tuck her in. She made a tinker toy boat; it falls apart as she shows me.

    “How neat! Good night, Sammi.”

    In my bedroom, I change out of my work clothes and climb into bed.

    ~ ~ ~

    Saturday is sloppy joes and juice boxes. The Water is Wide, and the legos are on the floor, and my feet are sore. “I made a tall ship, like the hall painting,” she exclaims. “This the steering wheel, these the sails, the person sits here, also it flies.”

    “That’s inventive, Sammi! Sweet dreams.”

    The babysitter is in the kitchen, waiting for her money, plus her bonus for cooking dinner.

    ~ ~ ~

    Sunday is spaghetti and canned meatballs. Row Row Row Your Boat as I fish Lil Bear from under the bed. Sammi’s pajamaed feet dangle over the edge. “Maybe mama comes tonight,” she says. “Her ship sails on the stars, and has a rainbow sail. When the moon’s a smile, she comes.”

    “That sounds very pretty, Sammi.”

    Alone in the living room, I turn up the TV volume so she can’t hear me cry.

    189 words, an inventor

    Liked by 10 people

  36. Love On The Rocks

    Every day I walk the dog .
    The dog is the reason get up early .
    I get up early because there’s nothing else to do .
    There’s nothing else to do in our marriage .
    Our marriage!
    It’s cold !
    It’s cold down on the beach at this time in the morning.
    In the morning, the sand is still unaltered and pure .
    Pure as my love for you , unreciprocated and unrequited .
    The shipwreck stands as a monument to our love, our complacency and our indifference.
    It was unsinkable ; it was reliable; it sank ; so what !
    You always wanted this to fail. You never loved me. Always conspiring from the start. Every chance you got. Putting me down.
    Undermining my input.
    Minimising my influence.
    Telling everyone I was drowning in my own despondency.
    How dare you!
    I can’t believe I couldn’t see it . Everyone told me .
    And now we’re done . Washed up on the rocks.
    Sitting there for everyone to see.
    A monument to lust over love.

    178 words
    Ice dragon – conspiracy theory

    Liked by 5 people

  37. They said it couldn’t be done. I proved them wrong.

    A simple carpenter, I’d never asked for more than an opportunity to earn a living. Then I heard the call.

    I labored, day and night, beneath the sun’s might and the torches’ light.

    The naysayers gathered outside my home to enjoy the spectacle. Mocking me became a sport, of sorts.

    “Not a cloud in the sky.”

    “Two of each? Do us a favor. Leave the skunks behind.”

    The ark finished, my family and I gathered our wards, huddling in the dark for seven nights, the unrelenting jeers outside our lullabies. The torrent, on the seventeenth day of the second month, drowned out their vitriol.

    Afloat, asea, we rode the whims of the currents for one week, two weeks…

    On the 28th day, one of the animals took sick. The plague spread throughout the ship. The animals overcame it. My family did not.

    Two days later, we made landfall.

    Now, sitting on the unforgiving beach, I watch nature reduce my ark, and me, to our bare bones. Yet I find a small measure of comfort knowing that animals will some day reclaim the Earth. Alas, not so the human animal.

    Liked by 8 people

    • A twisted Biblical tale, fascinating! Especially loved the poetry in this line: “beneath the sun’s might and the torches’ light.”


  38. Sol 9/19
    Despite the rad winds cutting cesium deep, Zero Hearts doffed it’s lead thread long coat and wide brimmed hat.

    “You certain ‘bout this?”

    The squat thing in front of it, more mechanical that biological nodded up and down on multiple legs.
    “Lead the way then.” Putting the PPE back on, it followed the diminutive guide farther into the Negative Wastes. The environment was so twisted, it had gone full on black and white.

    Hours passed, where the Sun never fought through the perpetual overcast, and a short set of wooden bars or steps, like ribs, lead up a short hill. Just over the top lay a carcass of a building, or perhaps an ancient flying vessel. Huge beams lay strewn about, the main structure fossilized in the unnatural climate.

    “So, this is the Agony Bay, the ship that flew around the world dropping pain bombs everywhere?”

    The erstwhile guide bobbed up and down, seeming convinced.
    Taking some time, surveying the wreckage, there are no markings, no symbols, nothing to corroborate the mythical airship.

    “You sure, looks too old.”

    Antenna pop up and AM Radio blasts out, static, from somewhere inside the thing.

    “Nah, don’t think so.” Zero Hearts leaves.

    Ice Dragon Prompt Conspiracy Theorist
    Word Count 199

    Liked by 6 people

  39. Lies

    Beneath the scalding sun, my heart turned to ice as I stared at the wreckage. They had tried to hide it, I could tell. The ossified ribs protruding from the sands were mixed in with the ruins of the broken hull of a ship. I didn’t need to touch them to know they came from my kind.

    It mattered naught that they had fallen before my time. Anger still froze my veins. They would suffer my wrath for the genocide inflicted on my ancestors. I would see to it that they collapsed into piles of burning ashes. Unlike them, I wouldn’t leave evidence. Their remains would flit away on the wind, leaving no trace behind.

    Who did they think they were fooling? I could recognize bone regardless of how long it had weathered the elements. Ever since I woke among the skeletons of my family, no one could trick me into believing what I saw was just the planks in the sand.

    Acrid bile filled my throat as I roared an oath to the skies and took flight. I’d find who did this.

    Word Count: 183
    Element: Ice

    (If this double posts, feel free to delete one!)

    Liked by 8 people

  40. Off the deep end

    “It’s just a little further!”
    Dad’s enthusiasm is infectious. From the looks of the rotting wooden walls, it isn’t the only thing.
    “Dad, what are we doing down here? This doesn’t look very safe.”
    “Exactly! Where else would I find subjects?”
    He’s not making any sense. It’s getting worse. Ever since Mum died, he hasn’t been sleeping. I moved back in to keep an eye on him, but I hear him wailing away out in the shed. He thinks I can’t hear him out there, but he’s loud enough to wake the dead.
    The object in his hand starts to glow blue. It isn’t the only thing lighting up. I haven’t seen Dad this excited in as long as I can remember.
    Perhaps I can follow him just a little further.
    “What exactly is that thing?” I ask, trying to be encouraging.
    “It’s an apparitional materializer.”
    “A what?”
    “It temporarily makes ghosts solid.”
    That’s it. I have to call it. I can’t keep going deeper into this ship wreck with someone that is clearly out of their mind.
    I turn and bump into someone, or more accurately, something. The squishy blue figure smiles at me with crooked teeth. “Welcome aboard!”

    200 words
    An inventor

    Liked by 8 people

  41. Pingback: off the deep end | Today's Chapter

  42. Burn the ships

    “So, how do we know whether it worked? Everything looks the same?”

    “I would expect the surroundings to be somewhat familiar. I set the advancement period to only 5 years. I wouldn’t expect a dramatic change to the environment in just 5 years.”

    Henrich followed Dr. Harper as she disembarked the time craft.

    The pair stood on the sand, facing each other, mouths agape. Everything did look the same. They were clearly on the same coast from which they’d launched. Beyond the trees, they could see the observatory tower of the research center.

    What they failed to see onboard the craft, which had lost power who knows when, was frightfully apparent in the sunlight. Dr. Harper stared in disbelief at her young assistant. Every visible inch was a maze of wrinkles. Heinrich looked at back, focusing on the thin sliver strands that had replaced Dr. Harper’s lush black crown.

    In unison, they turned to their creation. It was not the sparkling work of genius that had been featured in all the physics journals. It was a shipwrecked haunted house. What went wrong?

    “Dr. Harper?” Heinrich finally creaked.

    “Yes, Heinrich?”

    “How long did you say you set it for?”

    198 words

    Liked by 8 people

    • “It was not the sparkling work of genius that had been featured in all the physics journals. It was a shipwrecked haunted house.” LOVE this contrast! What a difference a small slip up can make depending on the organism.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. World-begetter

    I can do this.

    Li-Lu grips the bones of the four-dimensional leviathan and wills every cell in her body to focus, to reach deep, past the last spent edges of its telomeres and take hold.

    Wakey, wakey, earth shakey.

    A breath. Two.

    Its marrow pulses back, and relief swells her diaphragm.

    This is it.

    World-destroyer, the Cog Queen had called her. She was wrong, of course.


    World-begetter, her mother said. Remember, Liohwa-Lumi. You are the new beginning.

    As if it can feel the memory uncoiling inside her, the leviathan shudders. Its petrified flesh warms beneath her hands, even as an angry wind spits sand at her exposed skin. She tucks her head, wishing she’d snatched one of Iko’s “sunbrellas.”

    Iko. Her womb mate.

    The alone part sucks but she couldn’t bring him here. He’d be sad and anxious, which would make her mad and anxious.

    “Sorry, Eek,” Li-Lu whispers.

    Her fingers fumble along the edges of something—There—the lifespan of the cosmos. Not what their mom had in mind, hacking the universe through an organic port, but as Triple G says, If you’re gonna swing, better bash ‘til you see brains.

    Li-Lu always preferred innovation.

    “Here. we. go.”

    Fire prompt
    198 ineligible words

    Liked by 8 people

  44. Fire & Ice Sol 8 is now closed! thanks to all who shared their words & imaginations with us. Stories from this point are still welcome, but no longer eligible to win.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. The X

    You left on a sunny spring morning with the winds blowing fair, “(T)o hunt treasure,” you said.

    “Of course,” you amended, nuzzling my neck, “you are my heart’s true treasure. My X.”

    Nested among blossom-embroidered linen pillows the day before, we had clung to each other weeping as the artist tattooed X’s on our wrists.

    “I will come back to you,” you promised.

    Had you not been so busy commanding your crew, had you turned your eyes one last time to drink in the vision of me (your sworn favorite pastime) instead of toward your bright-eyed first mate, you would have seen me clifftop, hands crossed in the shape of our love.

    I mourned, as a young queen must, but I hope you will forgive me for having dried my tears and resumed ruling the kingdom,

    managing the economy, investing in trade, building an industry, defending that industry, declaring war, fighting the war, winning the war, rebuilding my people,

    marrying a kind ally,

    giving birth,

    giving birth again,

    growing old,


    apologies, naïve pirate!—

    I probably should have signaled you,

    as your sails melted into the sun

    the artist and I changing that foolish X to a burning (R)ex.


    199 ineligible words: fire challenge

    Liked by 7 people

    • When I read this the first time, I loved it and laughed. On second, third, and fourth reading, my single-coffeed brain is trying to crack the code hidden in the opening and closing lines, with these mysterious parenthetical letters. I know you’re up to some clever cheekiness…


    • I feel there’s even more to the word play than ex and X. (I see T rex in there too?) So much fun! I love love love the list of what she got on with once the pirate was gone.

      Liked by 1 person

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