Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Friday Flash: Ostracism


Becky welcomed the blessed silence. How could it be otherwise? Day after day she was hounded by their incessant howling, the ever present screech of their disgust. The noise of their derision was deafening, their thoughts crowding her mind every waking moment. How was it possible to be tormented by the crowd and yet utterly alone? The cutting remarks and subtle shoves the teacher never observed, averted eyes and unasked questions… they would never trouble her again. She welcomed peace.

Her thoughts drifted inexplicably back to the black butterfly she had seen on the way to school seconds before it was caught in the front grill of her stepfather’s car. She had cried out, already too late. However, drying her tears on the way into her brick-and-mortar prison, she noticed the butterfly’s black silhouette fly away miraculously unharmed. Had it noticed her distress as she had noticed his?- moments before it was already too late?

Lunchtime hadn’t come soon enough.

Becky clenched the antique toy pistol in her small fists, backing the teacher, students, and lunch lady into the giant freezer. Both children and adults beat upon the thick door, their silent crying faces peering at her through the frosted glass window in quiet desperation. She heard nothing through the heavy partition except the faint beating of their fists. She would abandon them to suffocate or freeze, a better fate than they deserved for the isolation and loneliness they had subjected her to. She turned away from their mute pleas as they had turned away from her own, then her eyes fell upon and once more followed the dark shadow of the morning butterfly.



**image courtesy of

**writing prompt, “ostracism” courtesy of The Writing Reader’s website.



Filed under Flash Fiction

Friday Flash: Conversation


The conversation lasted two words.

Technically, it was a conversation. One person said something; another responded. But more was said without the need of words. The hands in the air, the eyes darting back and forth in faces tense with anxiety and fear. The shadows cast through the translucent blinds by the red and blue shimmering lights of the police cars. And the gunman’s grip on the revolver he pointed at the hostages: the bank manager, the tellers, the patrons.

The robber pointed the gun at the woman he’d sworn to love ’til death do them part. Trembling, her hands raised, she nodded, glancing again at the slit between the blinds behind her husband. He’d known, they’d both known this moment was coming. “When?” he said.

The shadow behind him moved. “Now,” she answered.

He fired.



*This was originally written for the text prompt, “The conversation lasted two words,” at the six minute story site, but I cheated again and took longer than six minutes!

*image courtesy of


Filed under Flash Fiction, slice of life

Friday Flash: Space-time to Travel



When Hector invented his time machine, he did not concern himself with aesthetics. He had never valued beauty over functionality, and he assumed the judges of the 54th-century’s multiversal scientific competition would share his opinion.


His chest swelled as he viewed his entry in the ‘Time-Machine of the Century’ contest, humanity’s valiant effort to embrace the insanity they had brought upon themselves. Such an event was obviously a complicated affair, but Hector knew the intricacies of traveling the multiverse. Space-travel was by definition time travel, and he crossed light-years like other fellows crossed a room.


Of course, time-travel had been around for centuries in Earth standard years, with all the predictable complications such journeying involved. After all, there’s only so many times men and women can either off their own ancestors or become their own parents before humanity’s family tree is hopelessly skewered beyond recognition. And once humanity spread beyond its own paltry region of space, cross-breeding with the debatably-intelligent life found elsewhere in the multiverse only added to their genetic confusion.


Confounded, humanity had decided their hopelessly tangled timelines (multiverse, after all) should be monitored and adjusted accordingly. Agencies had been set up, destroyed, the parents of the agencies’ founders murdered, born in alternative timelines to be transferred and mated (then murdered) again, before humanity as a whole threw up their collective hands and thought, To hell with it all, let’s just go with the flow.


And thus, Hector had found himself abducted from the distant past due to one of genetically-mangled humanity’s misguided efforts to reintroduce old-blood back into its gene-pool. The upside for Hector was that they made their scientific knowledge available to all their abductees. After being fit with a transmitter for selective telepathy, he could communicate effectively and integrated himself into future (his future) society. He was excited about his entry into this year’s contest.


You’ve been disqualified.


What? What are you talking about! I followed the rules to the letter! Color flushed Hector’s cheeks as he gazed at the little grey-green judge with the clipboard.


The judge, Bob, gazed levelly at him with bulbous eyes. He really had no choice, since his eyelids were clear. Bob was unaware of his familial connection to Hector, though he would not have been surprised; almost everyone was related to everyone else.


Well? repeated Hector. He bent down to peer into Bob’s oval face.


Bob reached out with elongated, bony fingers to hold the tentacle of his wife of three light-years, Judy Trudy. He paled at the sight of the glowering man in denim and found his plaid shirt terrifying. Judy nudged Bob encouragingly, and the little judge responded.


After the unsettling squelching and sucking sounds were over, Bob cleared his throat and thought, It does not meet the specifications, sir, for human-compatibility.


What the heck you talking ‘bout? Hector sat in the driver’s seat of the modified Chevy and activated the force-seals. I know there’s been certain errr…modifications to the species since my days, but humans still have certain basics in common, right?


That is true, thought Bob. He squeezed Judy’s tentacle, which oozed reassuringly in his bony hand.


Well, most have two hands, right? reasoned Hector, demonstrating how his hands used the steering-wheel. He made a point of not meeting Judy’s gaze.


Yes, and many have three or six, answered Bob.


Two feet is pretty common, right? Hector stepped on various pedals.


Two seems to be the preferred number of ambulatory appendages, agreed Bob.


I installed seat belts, per regulations. They would be useable by the bulk of humanity – regardless of, er, complications to their family, uh…


The seatbelts are satisfactory, agreed Bob, noting that the ancient human had not buckled in for safety. He climbed into the vehicle and sat in the passenger seat.


Hector’s brow furrowed as he asked the question he’d been dreading. It’s not a question of style, is it? He hadn’t been tuned in to the fashions of his own time and place, nevermind 54th century Camelot 470.


Bob negated this notion.


Well then, what’s the problem? He took a chance and gave Judy Trudy a worried look. She squelched at him.


This is the problem, thought Bob and sighed. Sliding into the driver’s seat, Bob bumped Hector unceremoniously out the open door and onto the floor. Hector watched Bob wiggle his tiny grey toes at least a foot above the starter pedal. In most space-timelines, thought the judge at the mystified man, the majority of humanity is my height.


*This was originally written for the six minute story site, but I cheated again. The site serves as great inspiration, and even though the timer ran out on me, I’ve gotten some great stories from it. If you haven’t already, you should check it out.


*image courtesy of


Filed under Flash Fiction, scifi

Friday Flash: Caveat


When Jeanine cracked open the glowstick, she never expected this.

Sure, the package had been plastered with warnings. What product wasn’t covered in caveats these days? So the warnings and dire predictions of doom became virtually invisible to the masses of consumers exposed to them. Like so many others, Jeanine ceased to see actual words anymore, or they just bypassed her consciousness and filed themselves in the back of her mind along with useless trivia like knowing George Washington had wooden teeth or Ketchup was neither fruit nor vegetable.

The warnings had been there, but she had discounted them.

Now she looked at her glowing hands in dismay. She had used the glowstick at her own peril, and the caveat had been right. Though she had washed her hand once the fluorescent liquid had touch the skin of her palm, it had done no good. With budding horror, she watched the golden incandescence advance to her digits, creep up her arm, and slowly spread throughout her body. Even her clothes glowed in the pale moonlight. What had she been thinking? So what if the substance was non toxic? The momentary necessity to see what she was doing had doomed her utterly.

She had become a beacon to the dark things lurking in the moonless night. She listened to the howling in the distance and shivered.


*This was originally written for the six minute story site, but I wanted to devote more time to it. Let’s face it. The last few times I’ve written six minute stories, I’ve deleted them and worked what I had into something more. I cheated. But I’m unrepentant. The site serves as great inspiration, and even though the timer ran out on me, I’ve gotten some great stories from it. If you haven’t already, you should check it out. :)

*image courtesy of


Filed under fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction

Friday Flash: Don’t Soil the Rug



Chihuahuas are not known for the patience. Neither are they known for their large bladders. Combine these two deficiencies with a twenty-story apartment building, and tragedy is the inevitable outcome.

Butch, the geriatric purebred chihuahua belonging to Mildred Butterbridge of apartment 416b, never stood a chance. Mildred’s own elderly hips disallowed more than a couple walks daily for her grey-furred companion. As a result, he spent his days wandering on the apartment’s balcony overlooking the major thoroughfare of the metropolis in which they both lived.

While Mildred rested on couch or bed, Butch would inevitably relieve himself on the balcony. That was no big deal because 1. the balcony was concrete surrounded by a very sturdy guardrail and 2. it kept him from soiling Mildred’s ancient Persian rug, the only artifact she had kept from her short-lived marriage forty years previous. She readily forgave Butch’s small breaches of conduct, with one exception – he was never to soil her treasured rug. Consequently, Butch was utterly bored with nothing new or interesting to smell, neither grass nor flower nor the butts of other canines. Routine was the order of his day, every single day.

So one lovely Spring day, when the dying dandelions had managed to float a few seeds as far as his fourth story confine, he managed to stick his head between the twisted metal bars of the guardrail in order to catch a temptingly close snow-white puff. Arthritis may have slowed his reflexes, but his sight was still excellent, and as he licked with ever increasing frustration at the seed taunting him just beyond reach, he chanced to see Mr. Norris standing almost directly below.

The little dog growled louder, his attention directed to his mortal enemy below. That man had been mean to his Mildred. Butch may not have understood the exact words exchanged between his Mildred and the condo board president, but he understood enough to know he didn’t like the man and his ridiculous (even to Butch’s eyes) mop of unruly hair. Today it sat slightly askew his balding pate, no doubt he’d unsettled it when he bent down to retrieve the mail he was sorting as he chatted with one of the building’s other residents. From the woman’s expression, she didn’t like Mr. Norris either.

As his Mildred lay quietly snoring in the next room, Pat Sajak and Vanna White bantered wittily, and Butch conceived of the greatest revenge scheme his walnut-sized brain could conceive. Being elderly, he had no small trouble aligning his body properly, though being male made his plan entirely possible. After all, he had drunk the water from Mildred’s watering can barely ten minutes ago, so he was already properly fueled. With the delicious taste of sweet, sweet revenge of his little pink tongue, he relieved himself beyond the balcony’s confines and was rewarded by the shouts and exclamations of the hated Mr. Norris. As an added bonus, he could hear the female companion laughing hysterically.

Just imagine what his sweet Mildred would think! How utterly proud she would be of him! Though she had warned him not to wet the Persian within the apartment, he was sure this was one soiled rug she would enjoy.

*image courtesy of

**Today’s #FridayFlash was inspired by a random text prompt at the six minute story site.

***On a personal note, I’ve recently begun volunteering to read at Librivox, a site that makes free audiobooks of public domain works available for download. Why not visit, either to download an awesome free book or to volunteer yourself? It’s easy and fun!


Filed under Flash Fiction, humor, slice of life

Friday Flash: The Results Were In




The results were in.

After extensive training with the field’s expert, a long and gruelling campaign, sucking up to the right people, greasing the right palms, making the right friends, and working exhaustively to sway public opinion in his favor, Bobby Redman had the lead. His victory complete, he held his new office with pride. His long-standing dream would soon become his reality.

High from his recent triumph, he sauntered up to Kylie Weathers – by all accounts the most popular girl in Carl Smithers Middle School. Chicks dug power, so winning the election meant he’d land a cheerleader, right?

Two minutes later, he rubbed his freshly stinging cheek and retired to the boys bathroom to wallow in his defeat.

Who knew she had voted for his opponent?


*image courtesy of

**Today’s #FridayFlash was inspired by the text prompt, “The results were in” at the six minute story site.

***On a personal note, I’ve recently begun volunteering to read at Librivox, a site that makes free audiobooks of public domain works available for download. Why not visit, either to download an awesome free book or to volunteer yourself? It’s easy and fun!


Filed under Flash Fiction, humor, satire, slice of life

Friday Flash: Space-Timer


They were trapped for seven days, but the time passed quickly with the help of their trusty time machine.

How could they be trapped for an entire week, while zipping along in the space-time continuum, you ask? Well, the answer is very simple. They had inadvertently set the time-lock on the spaceship’s door for one week, the time they had planned to spend in ancient Rome, before making the terribly unfortunate mistake of pissing off their ride.

“Please, let us out!” cried the couple, banging on the door, the delights of the ancient world so close and yet so far.


“I’m sorry she called you, ‘An Overpriced Toaster,'” moaned the tall, thin man. His hair was coiffed, his toga perfectly adjusted to fit his lanky frame. He looked despondently at his female companion. “Say sorry,” he whispered urgently, “or we’ll never get out of here!”

“I’m SORRY, ok?” said the blonde woman, rolling her eyes. “You are obviously the sleekest time machine in existence.”

“I was, am, and will be a top of the line model, I’ll have you know,” sulked the ship.

“I know! What a beauty!” enthused the man.

“Yeah, what he said,” replied the woman, less enthusiastically than her companion. Why did the damn thing have to have such a fragile temperament?

“I’m not the one that made you set the timer wrong,” continued the ship.

“Of course not,” soothed the man, stroking the door in a way that did not at all soothe his wife. She cleared her throat loudly, and he jumped back as though slapped. “Of course, it’s completely our fault! You know how humans are, always overlooking details-”

“Details! Don’t even get me started,” said the ship, starting anyway. “Dashing about the time-space continuum, plotting courses in multiple dimensions. If I wasn’t such a stable ship, it’d be enough to drive me batty.”

“If?” ventured the woman. Her husband looked at her in alarm.

“That’s IT,” said the ship. “Just for that, not only will I NOT let you out, I’ll travel to all the places on your itinerary so you can see what you’re missing.”

Time and space are always interchangeable terms when referring to what goes on outside a time-craft, merely a matter of the correct coordinates within the cosmic cube of existence. However, over the next week, time passed rather quickly as the ship whooshed through the continuum with alarming speed. The ship was a very speedy time-machine, after all. They could barely count the star-patterns cascading outside the spacecraft’s window, though time limped slowly forward during the week of its passengers imprisonment; the only entertainment the ship allowed them was an old and worn game of checkers.

As time passed them by within the confines of their small ship, the two humans contemplated how to get the ship back to the dealer for a full refund. One week later, in their personal timestreams and judging by the ship’s internal chronometer, they found themselves parked exactly where they had been on the outskirts of ancient Rome.

“Looking forward to finally seeing Rome?” asked the ship politely.

“Yes,” replied the couple in unison.

“Thank you for bringing us back here,” said the man.

“You’re welcome,” said the ship.

“In fact, we were thinking of getting you an upgrade,” ventured the woman. “When we get back, you know. To make up for our misunderstanding earlier.”

“Oh, really?” said the ship. Evidently pleased with the idea, the front door of the craft swung open, revealing a lovely sunny day.

As the two humans walked through the door, the woman added under her breath, “I just hope they’ll take the damn thing back.”

Striding in the open, confident in their sparkling togas and wearing smiles of relief as they breathed the fresh ancient air, they failed to see the laser-gun emerge from the ship’s side and silently turn toward them.

Payback was a bitch, and sometimes a ship could be one too.


*The above flash was inspired by a text prompt from the six minute story site. I did not post it at the actual site because I could see I needed more time and I wanted to edit more extensively. I hope you enjoyed the story!

*image courtesy of



Filed under Flash Fiction, scifi

Friday Flash: The Most Massively Useful Thing


What sort of woman was she? She’d known how to swim for as long as she could remember. When she was growing up, her parents had been hard-pressed to get her to spend more time out of the water, but what of that? Plenty of people loved the water, whether it was oceans teeming with fish, a backyard pool, a public beach, or even running through sprinklers. Many people went skinny-dipping too, but not always in such a public place.

Of course, her relative isolation at the time had appealed to her inner tadpole. How could she resist waters so tranquil and clear? However, that was before the schoolbus arrived, teachers and children chattering about spending time at the Castle. Someone took her clothes. When the Castle closed, they would leave, she’d dash to her car and… damn. Her keys were in her missing pants. Still, it was late, the kids should be leaving soon…

That was, of course, before she knew about the fireworks.

As the sun slowly sunk into the horizon, darkness descended, and Kate hid against a log floating some distance from shore. She retreated underwater once the children gathered on her previous hiding spot, the pier. Though there were no boats, the wooden structure jutted out into the water, and schoolchildren sat dangling their legs along its edge. She gazed resentfully at them with their flashlights and sparklers. They oohed and ahhhed at the fireworks lighting up the heavens.

“Nice show, ain’t it?” came a voice from beside her in the water.

Kate gasped, the beginnings of a scream forming as the man swimming beside her clasped his hand over her mouth. “Shhhhhhh,” he said, pressing one webbed finger over his mouth. “Don’ wanna alarm the kiddies, do we?”

She shot a look at the shore. Teachers and children happily chatted, pointing out the display in the night sky. Luckily the fireworks noise had covered their conversation, plus they were a fair distance from shore. Kate began to wonder how lucky she really was.

Though it was difficult to tell in the light shed by the differing hues of fireworks, the man had light green, shining skin, scaled slightly along his hairline and the edges of his fingers and hands. Flowing green hair floated behind him, and his eyes were two pools of darkness she felt she could easily fall into for the rest of her life. His facial features were angelic. She continued to gape as he watched the display.

“Eh, don’t mind me, chicky. Just wanted a bit o’ company, din’t I?” continued the man, unphased. “No fun watching a show by meself, ist?”  The gills along his sideburns opened and closed as he spoke. What kind of sense did that make? Also, what the hell was his accent? Merman-cockney?

Was she hallucinating?

“I… you speak English?” she said, feeling stupid.

“Well, couldn’t resist meeting a sweet lil’ catch like youself, could I?” he continued. “I hafta say, you a beauty, aintcha?”

Despite the water’s cool, Kate felt the heat rise to her face as she realized exactly what “beauty” he meant. She suddenly had the horrible suspicion it wasn’t fish nibbling at her feet and legs earlier. A large fin bumped against her thigh, and she yelped. Though the merman continued watching the atmospheric display, she detected a smirk during one brief moment of illumination.

Oh, what the hell, she thought, resigning herself to madness. If she was hallucinating, what else could she do?

“Look, I sort of got stuck out here,” she replied, unable to think of anything else to say. “I need to cover up, so I can get out of the water and go home.”

“Cover up?” Now it was the merman’s turn to gape. “Why the bloody ‘ell ‘ou wanna doa thing like that for?” He dipped beneath the water, then came back up. “I mean, lookatcha!”

Kate bit her lip in frustration. Maybe she could just run past the kiddies. I mean, could streaking through a crowd of middle-schoolers really be worse than this?

Before she could form a reply, the merman disappeared beneath the water again. She stayed as still as she dared, hoping he wasn’t ogling her from below. After awhile, she began to wonder if he was coming back. Had she scared him off? She contemplated that streaking scenario again. Would these fireworks never end?

The merman suddenly emerged beside her holding, with an air of triumph, a soaking paisley beach towel. “There! That do?” he asked, handing her the sopping material, a knight bestowing his most treasured possession upon his lady.

“To dry off with?” asked a bewildered Kate.

The merman emitted a childish giggle. It was quite endearing, almost innocent. “Naw, sweets. I mean, you seem to wanna cover up them beautiful boobies and buttox and all dat. I still don’ unnerstand, but whatev’ you need, love.” The giant fin brushed against her thigh again.

“Uh, thanks…?” said Kate. “Why do you have a towel? Er…”

“‘Name’s Carl, sweets,” replied the merman. “I nicked it, dint I? People leave all things along the shore, don’t they? If you ever in the neighbor’ood…” He winked, slid gracefully beneath the water, and disappeared.

Kate waited for another thigh bump, which never came, and firmly refused to admit she was the tiniest bit disappointed. Maybe Carl wasn’t such a bad guy after all. He did bring her a towel, though she began to have different suspicions about her clothes’ disappearance. Still, it wasn’t every day she met a merperson. She smiled, wrapped the heavy towel around her body, and made her way to shore.


*This story was inspired by a photo prompt at the six minute story site. I decided this needed more time and editing. Since May 25th is Towel Day, I combined the photo prompt with my personal challenge to include something about towels and flashing, all in honor of Douglas Adams and #FridayFlash. I hope you enjoy the result!

*image courtesy of


Filed under fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor

Friday Flash: Watching

Karen sat in bed, the quilts tucked under her chin, knees pulled up against her body in an effort to conserve warmth. She loathed being sick, helpless and useless, and what’s more the house would be a hundred times harder to clean once she was better. No one would wash dishes for her, prepare her meals, make sure she was hydrated, and she was too damn exhausted to do it herself. It was maddening.

Propped against the pillows, she stared at the tv, sniffling miserably. The skin around her eyes and below her nose was red and stinging, and she pressed the button on one of the many remotes with a ferocity that belied her condition, as though the harder she pushed, the better she would feel. It didn’t work.

So, the red light meant the tv was off, so if she hit…? Voila! Blue light meant “on”, she was sure of it. Now to work her way through the two additional remotes and she’d finally be able to watch the sitcom she’d been binge-watching during her ordeal. Five minutes later, the program was set, and she relaxed back into her ugly but surprisingly comfortable cushions. She was thirsty, but hemmed in by her two dogs and finally comfortable, she’d be damned if she’d get up now.

She stared at the show as the light indicating the tv’s power shone a steady, glowing blue.



The female continued to spend hours in the reclining position.

During its intermittent lapses of consciousness, the machine watched the human in the large, cloth-covered bed. It had watched her eat. It had watched her remove clothes and replace them on her body with other clothes. It had watched her gazing at a small glowing screen she held in her hands for hours at a stretch. And it had watched her, as she watched it watching her, for many more hours.

What did the female do during the blank times in the machine’s consciousness?

From somewhere in the dim recesses of its memory, it recalled a previous life, a hint of some common humanity with this forlorn creature that sat shivering and alone. A phrase floated into the machine’s consciousness, Who watches the Watchmen?

Unable to make sense of the phrase, it merely recorded its observations and forwarded them, as always, onto the Company.


*image courtesy of


Filed under Flash Fiction, scifi

Friday Flash: The Ring


The house fire took everything Cynthia cared about, including her life. The only copy of her manuscript, which she had typed on an old fashioned typewriter in a fit of romantic sentimentality, had been incinerated. Her body, which she had taken such pride in keeping healthy and strong, had been reduced to ash when the home she had known for the past four years had burned to the ground. Her only companion had been her tabby, Gertrude, but rather than warn her owner of the inferno, she had done the sensible feline thing and saved her own ass. Cynthia didn’t blame her.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and that goes double when you’re a ghost. Sure, trauma had driven her to a life of seclusion, but present circumstances made her rethink the decisions she had made. If she had lived closer to town, maybe a neighbor would have seen the fire. As things stood, the firefighters only happened on her home because of the forest blaze. Now, her consciousness didn’t even have a body, dead or alive, to cling to. The only thing left was the ring she had been wearing when she died.

Her spirit condensed and became contained within that tiny metal band when she had shuffled off her mortal coil…

Most of the firefighters had walked farther off, but two remained close to her former home. From within the ring’s shining band, Cynthia watched one of them approach. “Hey, Bill,” said the female firefighter, picking the ring up to show her companion. “Hear anything about family, next of kin?”

“Nah, sweetheart,” said Bill, the condescending endearment making the firewoman wince while Cynthia psychically winced on her behalf. Cynthia knew that voice; even through the grime and the distortion of the ring, she’d recognize that face anywhere. Though dead, her first impulse was to run away, her second -to warn the woman.

How could she forget that monster? Four years ago, he had turned her world upside down. He had said he’d find her again, that she belonged to him body and soul, but she had moved! Changed her name, secluded herself and- dear God, how did he find her?

Hiding had done her no good. Now was the time for action. Before he hurt someone else.

“Nobody that I know of,” he continued, oblivious to both women’s distress, “but you could find out when we get back to the station.”

“Thanks, Bill,” said the woman, whose name Cynthia learned was “Eve” from the lettering on her flourescent yellow jacket. Eve examined the ring a moment longer before slipping it into her pocket. Instinctually, Cynthia prodded, mentally probing the woman’s psyche. Seeming to reconsider, Eve put the ring on her finger instead.

Immediately, Cynthia felt the rush of life in her new body, the woman’s strength, the ache of her muscles, the warmth of her browned skin. She even smelled the ash in the air. Was she breathing in her old body from within her new one? Eve’s body turned to gaze at her coworker through new eyes. The other firefighters had moved farther away, leaving the three of them relatively isolated. Stepping behind a crumbling and charred wall, the woman grabbed a sharpened piece of unmelted metal, readied herself, and called to Bill. “Hey, come here a sec’. There’s something here I want to show you.”

Bill smirked. Sooner or later, they all wanted him. “Coming, sweetheart,” he said, sidestepping blackened debris as he unknowingly approached his final destination.



*image courtesy of


Filed under Flash Fiction, Ghosts, Writing Corner