Category: Fiction & Poetry


Stolon of a spider plant, close-up

Image by Eptalon via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Between the pale green, silver-spined fronds, round stems probe the air with tiny explorers at their tips. It’s pointless. The plant sits on top of a filing cabinet in an executive office on the fifth floor of a concrete box, yet it dangles its babies over the carpet in a futile effort to colonise.

“So, you’ll add those new elements to the proposal?”

“Hmm? Oh, yes.” I’m not really listening to anything the boss is saying, my mind is preoccupied. I admire the plant’s tenacity. Aren’t we all a little like that?

While the boss turns to his desk, I sidestep towards the plant. The tiny leaves of a baby pioneer tickle my arm. I twist a hand up behind my back and trace the cord to the mother plant.

“The new figures,” he says, holding out a sheet of paper.

I hesitate and he frowns. No good. I abandon operation liberate in favour of the offered paper and await another opportunity.

“Are you alright?”

“Fine, fine.”

Another frown and a slow shake of the head.

Then, in the brief seconds it takes for him to return to his desk chair, I make my move. A pinch of my fingernails snips the explorer free.

“You can go now.”

“Uh huh.”

I keep my passenger out of site. This is one office spider plant that will colonise new ground.


Thanks for reading. I have always harboured a secret urge to steal baby spider plants. What about you?

The man’s head protruded from the gutter and remained there, quietly taking in the world. The missing grill allowed him to pop up, but no further than his neck.

What a strange perspective to be at eye level with passing cars wheels, ear level with the slap of shoes on tarmac so close behind. A thin trickle of oily water dribbled down by his chin and he breathed in the tainted air.

Across the street, a coffee shop waiter did a double take before turning away at the call of a customer.

A throaty bus crawled by and the head descended below ground, thoughtful. What a view on the grubby sole of the world you could get looking up from the gutter.

Picture of road with white line and weed

Image courtesy of sritangphoto.

This story was inspired by mis-reading a writing prompt from Nancy Stohlman which said:
“Write a story about or featuring a body part. (Heads out of the gutters, people,
there are other body parts!)” 

At first glance, I took “heads out of the gutters” as an example. It stuck.

Over on The Great Escape we tried an experiment on National Flash Fiction Day. We happened to be at Cardiff Comic Expo on the day, so I asked the guests there to challenge me to write them a story. I got several different prompts which inspired some weird and wacky micro-tales.

Unzipped - a day in the life of a banana

The experiment went so well we decided to share the results on the website, and start developing new and improved story cards ready for our next convention. Rather than plain white cards, we’re going to print a selection of designs for people to choose from.

You can see all the “Prototype” Story Cards over on The Great Escape.

Judd Henderson took his normal morning walk at eleven o’clock. He liked the spring. The scent of cut grass, all but forgotten over the winter, heralded the arrival of warmer weather.

The park to the left of his usual route had grown wild with tall grass and a smattering of wild flowers. Standing in the meadow was a pheasant; a male by its colouring. The bird remained quite still, head tilted back, eyes fixed on some point in the sky.

Pheasant in the sun

Image courtesy of Dr Joseph Valks

Judd paused beside a park bench and observed the motionless pheasant.

How peculiar.

The bench’s occupant – an indescribable man, hidden as he was behind a broadsheet newspaper – briefly lowered his screen and regarded Judd. He then resumed reading without comment.

Judd left pheasant and man to their business and continued his walk. He made a slow circuit of the park, pausing periodically to examine an interesting flower or beetle.

When his circular route brought him back to the bench, the man was still there. From behind, all Judd could see was a black hat and duffle coat. He imagined the man must be uncomfortably warm, but each to their own. He sat on the unoccupied end of the bench and glanced at the newspaper man. It had taken Judd some time to circumnavigate the park, and yet the man seemed to have made little progress through the news.

The meadow opposite now stood bereft of pheasants. Judd leaned a little closer to the man beside him.

“I see that pheasant is no longer staring at the sun,” he remarked.

The black clad man abruptly folded his newspaper and tucked it under one elbow. He withdrew a brown paper packet from inside his coat, placed it on the bench and strode swiftly away. Judd considered the packet and then the man’s retreating back.

How peculiar.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this little tale about miscommunication. Leave a comment with your thoughts if you like.

There was a time when I’d held their hands as we walked. Now, my footsteps left a solitary trail across the smooth sand. A pale yellow sun sank towards the horizon. Small waves washed up, creating a non-silent silence where there was noise, but no distinctive sounds. No laughter.

As I walked with my hands in the pockets of my duffle coat, a little terrier bounded through the shallow surf, shepherding a grubby football. He splashed up to me and stood, wagging his tail expectantly.

Dog on a beach at sunset - Weston Super Mare

Image © 2015 Chrissey Harrison

I turned and looked back down the beach for his owner, but there was no-one in sight. So, I crouched and held out a hand. “Where’s your family?”

The little terrier dropped his head in a playful bow and nudged the football closer with his nose.

“Alright, but just this once.”

He stood poised, ready to dash.

I kicked the football and it skidded across the surface of the water. The little dog chased after it and sneezed when the salty water went up his nose. I chuckled.

The football bobbed on the surface and resisted his efforts to herd it back. Each time he pounced it scooted away. He growled his puppy frustration.

“Go on, you can do it.” I patted my thighs. The terrier looked up and then attacked the ball again. He drove it back to me and I kicked it, across the sand this time.

We played until the sun touched the horizon and the tide had worked its way out, expanding the beach to a vast ocean of sand.

My new friend, panting heavily, dropped down on his belly and put his head on his paws. No one had appeared to claim him. We hadn’t seen another soul on the beach. I sat down next to him and we watched the final moment of the sunset.

I looked down at my new companion. “Are you hungry?”

His ears perked up and he wagged his tail.

“Me too.” I picked up the football and the little dog fell into step behind me for the walk home.

Weston beach at sunset - Weston-Super-Mare

Image © 2015 Chrissey Harrison

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