Photo Prompt

Each month, we post a photograph as a writing prompt. Post your 100-word story in the comments section, and we’ll choose one to feature in our next issue. To see examples, read photo stories we’ve published in the past.

In the spirit of fun and fairness, please follow these guidelines:
• Post only one story per photo prompt.
• Be mindful of others’ feelings when commenting (keep it positive rather than giving feedback).
• Remember this is a shared safe space for all lovers of 100-word stories.

Photo credit: Richard Leeming

109 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. John Dorroh says:

    Gran read his heart like a favorite book.
    “Go sit. Watch TV while I fix you a bite. You want a grilled cheese?”
    “Yeh, Gran. I need one.”
    He fell asleep sitting up, his left arm stretched into the air. He dreamed he went to have his ear drained. The technician dug through wax, pulling out a plug of gunk, releasing a stream of yellow watery pus. He felt new.
    Instead of waking him up, she placed the sandwich on the table beside the chair, knelt by his side, and prayed that his mother would die peacefully during the night.

  2. Danielle Ranucci says:

    Lila, Where Have You Gone?

    She stared into the darkness, rubbing at her head. Lila had been out for so long. It was 8:00 PM for god’s sake.
    Then a lining in the door. Her girlfriend appeared with a suitcase.
    “Where the hell have you—”
    “I’m leaving.”
    She sat upright, blinking a few times. “Why?”
    Her girlfriend shook her head, bit her lip, and hurled items into the suitcase.
    Why? Why? Why?
    She tried to move. Nothing. Something paralyzed her.
    Maybe she had criticized Lila’s shirts too much. Trivial, but she promised herself not to criticize her girlfriend’s shirts anymore, but—
    Lila was gone.

  3. Beyond the darkness, magic is everywhere. I hide inside, sitting tight, wound as a spring. With tensions running so high these days, creative and connective risks feel amplified. I’ve tried venturing out to safe posts online, but trolls are everywhere. I lose focus, shut down, and couch myself with empty comforts. Ideas nudge and give up. Opportunities knock and leave answered. Epiphanies appear as lightbulbs floating overhead that quickly burn out. But tonight the bulb brightens, shines with a warming light, makes a stand, takes on fringed shade, and makes itself at home. I reach up, almost beginning to stretch…

  4. Autumn DeMartino says:

    “I wasn’t sneaking! You just seemed off, and we haven’t been right for weeks!”

    She knew he’d been keeping secrets from her. She always knew when someone was keeping secrets from her. Getting them to come clean? That was the hard part. She confronted him upon returning home from work that night. No more could she stand the nagging suspicion that squirmed in the pit of her stomach every time she locked eyes with him.

    He yelled, denied it at first. Then, he relented. “Fine. Yes, I’ve been seeing her. But at least she isn’t a filthy sneak!” Door slammed, windows rattled. Now: silence and alone. This was the curse of a keen mind.

  5. Jamison Walker says:

    What Should Have Been There

    What should have been there after the television clicked out, was another’s smile instead of the rusty glow whispering from a single floor lamp. What should have been there on those dusty shelves was wedding pictures, little league trophies, and treasures her grandbabies gifted her with pride. What should have been there was a hand to hold, to caress her face while lips breathed comfort into her heaving chest. What should have been there was cheers of candle wax and icing instead of a palm-full of pills.

    You can leave that out of the report.

  6. Dinner at Seven

    Jenny tiptoed into Doug’s apartment; he slept in after rounds. Today marked their one-month anniversary – a milestone she often pursued and rarely achieved. Doug practiced anesthesiology; the doctor mother always said Jenny was too plain to attract, too careless to preserve. On the kitchen floor rested a crumpled Health Department notice – “license to practice suspended pending sexual misconduct investigation.” Her grocery bag dropped, shattering a Sangiovese, waking Doug, who nodded toward the table; “Cassoulet with marrow beans; no meat.” Posture straightening, she removed her shoes and sorted the bottle shards barefoot, kicking the wine-clotted letter aside. “Malbec paired better, anyway.”

  7. Lois Villemairr says:

    When he returned home from the hospital at last, he had no idea what day or time it was. He was so exhausted that all he could do was collapse into the living room chair. He wearily reached up and switched on the lamp beside him. Closing his achy eyes from the harsh glow, he slowly exhaled, releasing feelings of tension, stress, and fear, like air escaping from a balloon. Only then could he smile and allow himself to deeply inhale the joy, love, and utter amazement of the miracle that he had become a father for the first time.

  8. That was the last book I read. All the others have been used for fuel, burned for their heat and energy. Twice given, as it were. But not that one. I keep it … maybe symbolically … because I can’t suffer a completely empty bookcase. I won’t. Not after everything else I’ve lost. Besides, it holds all: humanity, perseverance, love, dialogue, transformation and on and on. There are words in there, thousands of them. Right now that’s all I’ve got left. Only words. I used to collect them like candy. Let the sugar coat my tongue and throat. So sweet.

  9. Lily Y. Lang says:

    Photo Prompt: Mourning

    Nighttime under the lamplight used to be our favorite time. As I read magazines and newspapers, you lay peacefully on my lap. Petting your warm silky coat was such a relaxing way to focus on generating ideas for writing. Lucy, you made me a productive writer, a better person, a true friend. Now, sitting on our shared sofa, my hand dithered. I didn’t know I loved you this deeply until the hour of separation. You made me feel like an all-powerful God: Nobody ever depended on me as you did. Oh, Lucy! How am I going to survive without you?

  10. Samantha Leslie says:

    last monday, you threw black on your walls. a cold, dark black which laced its fingers into your nightmares, stole the art off your canvas, and hitch hiked its way out of town until you needed a way to occupy time again. then, it would creep back into the door you always forgot to lock and whisper finger-crossed promises into your ear until you’d spook yourself so much you’d return to that chair, with that blanket and lamp switch, with those walls in need of a fresh paint coat, all in a room where “living” had become far from mandatory.

  11. evelyn trivette says:

    lampshade
    evelyn trivette

    In a divorced, forty three year old’s shambly trailer: moth wings flutter under the comfort of the lampshade as his arm lay across his contemplative forehead. CD’s and beer cans create a neatly scattered collage among the laminate. Pondering the locked boxes of intoxicating reminiscence at light speed, his scaly fingers and toes twitch with the delicate touch of overdriven stimuli. His thought process is acknowledged through the observation of his own piercing realization. Triggering squirmish actions within a still body, like a suffocating fly in a sealed mason jar, the man realizes the world he’s forever crafted for himself.

  12. Paige Gozdur says:

    Solitude

    Paperwork and useless principles aligned in filing cabinets. She sips from the flask she keeps in her business suit pocket, mixes that with some spoiled coffee, and answers emails from highly opinionated customers. Coworkers scold her for the bags displayed boldly under her eyes, and khakis with taut fabric she can’t afford to replace. When she returns to her apartment, after completing some mediocre work, she turns on the worn brown lamp, and collapses onto the couch. She grabs the mail and attaches her signature on documents sent by her divorce attorney, accompanied by Green Day and a whiskey sour.

  13. Natalia Williams says:

    Heaven is covered by a lamp shade Natalia Williams

    I was never afraid of the dark. It always took over my internal thoughts and external surfaces. Although I’ve never seen it, heaven is always hiding behind me. A portion of its light is seen. After countless nights of hangovers I come home to a whiny rustic couch complaining of a bright white blinding him. I stretch my arm to comfort him. For the first time, the darkness surrounds the light. Shadows slowly appear as I attempt to shut heaven down for good. Wait. The lamp won’t let me. Wow. to think, this eternal bulb was bought at a department store.

  14. Olivia Vignec says:

    Amnesia

    11:24

    Gone. A loop of screeching metal and panicked screams repeating in my head. Blood dripping on the carpet. The heat of the lamp does little to warm the cold that’s piercing my body. A reaper. What went wrong?

    12:02

    Shouts shatter my skull. Hospital visit. Who is he? Two faces refusing to leave me; in my mind, a broken girl, in reality, a shell of a man. Grief blackens the blinding lights. Where is she?

    1:48

    Sheets flutter on my skin. Rapid, incessant beeping. Curtains close, whisper memories of joy and scabbed knees. Who was she?

  15. Eleora Funk says:

    She slipped across, then was headless at the lampshade.
    “Is tonight ok?”
    “Tomorrow.”
    “You said that yesterday”
    Turning, I could see blur in the scrapped muslin, glinting in the middle.
    “Sorry.”
    She sighs…no, a breath, elongated.
    “Can you stay again? There’s a comet at 3:16”
    “I thought I stole your telescope…”
    The moon grazes off the wardrobe, into her, into mine. Soul holes. Trapped there until the sun
    Glances off the knife. I slip her the check, which she pats into the cushions.
    “Tomorrow?”
    “Tomorrow. Take a Sinatra vinyl.”
    Sun sheer, she clicks the lamp off. Pecking faintly.

  16. Annika Hubbard says:

    The brandy burned my throat as the tender skin of a woman brushed my forehead. I lifted my arm off of her warm body. Glass lay on the broken floorboards and torn carpet. Mold stained the ceilings and chewed up buds on the ashtray crowded my nostrils. The air was thick, but the heaviness of the woman’s breathing soothed me. Little light crept into corners of the room and faint noises of mice pervaded through the kitchen. My hand moved to the roots of her toasted hair. I believed she was mine. The ring on her finger told me otherwise.

  17. miriam rifai says:

    my light

    The only lamp in the room. The one that lights it all up. Relaxing in the dark with your thoughts wondering in your mind. Maybe a cold drunk night. Thinking about nothing but the girl. The girl that you would do anything for, but she would do nothing for you. Staring into the nothing wall. Because that is what you are, a nothing. At least that’s what you think. You think because she left, that you are a nothing, a nothing that goes out to the bar, late by yourself, and get yourself so drunk you can’t even walk home.

  18. Jillian Robinson says:

    Cats and Rugs

    A torn Persian rug lays, chair dimly lit by the light above. She lavishly waited, arm rested lazily. Pill bottles toppled over on the night table, scotch spilled on the magazines. The wooden interior she didn’t recognize stained with mold and smelled of mildew. She tried remembering the man on the sofa, she tried remembering how many shots were taken. A mistaken spotlight. I watched from afar, people coming and going. The neighborhood cat left the termite infested wooden house, scratched her door. She got up. Stumbled to the door. Let the old cat in. They both stumbled inside. Gone.

    -Jillian Robinson

  19. Ava Tamayo says:

    Mono Matte 1460 Doc Martens
    by: Ava Tamayo

    I bathed in the despair of your ridden thoughts; not only broke my heart, but gave me a nasty black eye. My house isn’t fit for this situation. I think your light calms me. Can dim lights dim us? They dim my mood. Dim my positivity. Awakens my conspiracy theory soul. Can a person only kill once? I’d move on right after i swear. Go to college, get a job. Just make sure you’re gone. You consume me it’s not healthy. Why am I writing this as your slit throat bleeds on my Doc Martens, should’ve at least cleaned first.

  20. Alina says:

    Ghosts of Night

    Nothing can be done now, the time is up. The darkness has spread taking every one to bed leaving me abandoned with these thoughts to haunt me all night long. Yes, nothing can be done. I have wasted yet another day doing nothing when I could I have. Everyone was right, telling me I am nothing but an embarrassment. Oh! I want to cry, to wake mum up, and to tell her to just sit with me and everything would be better, to promise her that I would be better, but I wouldn’t because these ghosts only come at night.

  21. Zoe Green says:

    Nobody Knew
    Lunch for the next day was ready and packed.
    “It’s only 12 A.M. I’ll sit for a minute, then I’ll start the laundry,” she said.
    A minute turned to ten.
    The darkness saw the truth but hid it from the lamp.
    “Mom, why’s my pant not washed?”
    “Hun, where did I keep my tie?”
    “Say something! Don’t make us late!”
    Silence answered, but they paid no heed.
    She still sat when they returned.
    “What have you done since we left? Is dinner ready?”
    Still, she sat where she had since 12 A.M.
    A minute had become 960
    Still, nobody knew.

  22. Hayley Diep says:

    The Donation

    The lamp’s yellow glow set the mood for the night. Liza settled on the couch with her baby’s blanket.

    The electric breast pump whirred. Pull. Release. She imagined that it were her baby’s lips suckling her milk—him pressed tightly against her. Tears pricked her eyes. Tomorrow, someone from the milk bank would be picking up her final donation.

    She thought of her sweet newborn and how he’d fit in the palms of her hands. So tiny…so perfect.

    But all remnants of him were soon to be gone—like the last few bottles of milk lining her freezer.

  23. Anna Sapp says:

    Night Fight

    For us, nighttime was for fights. We’d claw in the dark over things we thought mattered until rage would drive one from the room, the other feigning sleep. The light was the signal – the bedside lamp shining under the door. A sign to return, make peace, admit fault. One night I got mean: said some things, threw some things. This time, rage blew her into the rain. I left the lights on – kitchen halogens, the porch light for days. But she couldn’t see them. Now, whenever I happen to sleep I leave that lamp on. The one by the bed.

  24. Eric Skinner says:

    Andrea relaxed a button on her blouse before entering the conference room. “Your fragrance, it’s divine,” I complimented. “No, Channel.” Oh, playful Andrea. She reached across the table for a meeting agenda and exposed her partially bare chest to me. Pale, freckled skin finely covered her pronounced collar bones revealing the edges of a lacy undergarment. Brassiere? A slip? On third glance, a camisole. “Frilly.” She offered a guarded grin as her cheeks came alive, rosy and warm. Andrea gazed intently at me when I covered her hand with mine, a similar gaze I wear now on unpaid administrative leave.

  25. Roseanne Boyle says:

    The Assailant

    Unnoticed, he entered from the kitchen; his intended victim sitting vulnerably before the television. The woman was upstairs. The time had come to make his move. Stealthily, he approached in skillful silence, biding his time. When footsteps descending the stairs signaled a sense of urgency, quickening his pace, he lunged at his prey.
    “@#&@!!!” The man cried out falling to the floor.
    Freddy!” Maddie screamed, running into the great room. “Are you okay?
    “Yeah, I’m fine,” Freddy answered sitting upright. ”It’s that darn
    cat, he gets me every time.”
    Midnight hopped onto Freddy’s lap, tail swishing, clearly feeling pleased with himself.

  26. Lucy Mihajlich says:

    The house was a time capsule, both in the sense that nothing had changed since the 1960s and in the sense that I wanted to launch it into space.

    The couch was the only new thing in the place. I would be sleeping there, and my back wasn’t new either.

    You tried to tell me I wouldn’t be sleeping there but we both I had a bad back, and it wasn’t too many nights in your bed. You let me choose a nice couch. Fake leather, but high quality. Almost like the real dead animal.

  27. Marc Champ says:

    What a waste of time. I could have been reading, or working, or hell, even seeing friends, if anyone still believes I’m sane. This dusty old house should have been my proof, my Winchester, my Amityville. No words in blood in the mirror, no glasses falling over, not even a cold draft have I ever felt here. “I know you’re here!” My pleas for the life after life echo throughout the halls and fade into silence. Not even the pipes or the floorboards have an answer for me. My eyelids feel heavy, it’s almost dawn, another day of dreamless sleep.

  28. Elizabeth Stone says:

    “Insomnia”

    She was visited again that night; the ghost of a man she once knew. Her restless body stirred beneath the down comforter, the quilt her grandmother knit, the throw pillows she neglected to toss aside as her body fell cemented onto the mattress. She could still smell his aftershave, bourbon and spice lingering across wine-stained lips on the last night they spent together. The night before it abruptly ended, before calamity consumed her life, swallowing her whole in a boundless cavity of black; before chocked sobs and pulsating migraines and inexorable echoes of why, why, why. Weary eyes make their way downstairs toward the light, bourbon and spice following.

  29. Hayley Chow says:

    I smile and tell the doctors I’m fine—no more voices, no hallucinations.

    But in the darkness, I settle into my frayed armchair and wait. I twist the wedding band around my liver-spotted finger as the silence of the empty house stuffs my ears. Finally, I feel her butterfly touch alight on my shoulder.

    “Frank, won’t you come to bed?” she coos. My damp eyes close as I savor the sound.

    They say it’s an old mind’s delusion, but she feels real to me. So, the shadows keep my secret while the world sleeps, and I sit with my ghosts.

  30. Jacqueline Carter says:

    She hasn’t come down. The butter yellow glow of the lamp pools above his head like a beacon, a lighthouse to guide her back from the shadowy desolation of the bedroom. Down those stairs with that last tricky one that always gave away the game with an audible squeak. She hasn’t come down. Not since that last fight. Accusations flung like knives, air that bled tension. Abandoned dinner plates and overturned glassware littering the kitchen table like shipwrecks and here he was. The lone survivor, the outcast, clinging to his whiskey glass. Searching for absolution at the bottom of it.

  31. Krystyna Fedosejevs says:

    Alone

    He plucked memories of her from the darkness staring at him. Chestnut hair. Ruby lips. Emerald eyes flirting with his deep brown. Her chatter, lively. Laughter, heartwarming.

    Yesterday she cuddled with him. Left abruptly after stating an ultimatum. “I’ll be back,” she said. “If you fix what needs to be fixed.”

    He contemplated what life would be like without her. Discarded the picture. More resolved than ever to work on a solution. He won’t let the other guys get between him and her.

    Alone he sat, spray can in hand. Ready to battle the army of silverfish invading his apartment.

  32. K E V Trocmet says:

    HOMESTEADER

    Solar panels installed…
    Batteries charged… three hours… should be enough…
    Only use the lamp by the couch…
    Trim doors and windows…
    Be sure the spring filled the cistern…
    Cut three cords of firewood… hummm… fresh cut wood smells so good…
    Love that crackling sound in the fireplace…
    First snow should be here soon… .
    Humm… so warm and cozy on the couch…
    Wish I could veg-out like this forever…
    Marsha.. so pretty… instantly fell asleep lying on my lap… tough day for her…
    She didn’t even drink her chocolate…
    Her tummy is getting bigger…
    Twins… whew… I’ll think about that tomorrow…

  33. Dawn says:

    Ted and Tessa

    Ted and Tessa were now an item.
    Black Orchid, her fragrance filled the apartment.
    This particular evening seams were on his mind.
    The lampshade and stand for one didn´t align.
    He moved the monstrosity behind the sofa.
    Ted´s mind wandered to the perfect seams,
    Tessa´s stockings.
    Then something quirky.
    Her cap with the arm & hammer she placed strategically over …
    Currently, on tour, Tessa insisted on texting Ted short stories.
    The latest, a door-to-door seller of lampshades had brought on the night nasties.
    “…the vendor held up a lampshade with one of his metal claws.”

    (Inspired by the Lampshade Vendor, Allan Woodman)

  34. It’s still too cold, there’s no more wood.
    I can’t go outside, there’s too much snow.
    Nobody else is here, I’m all alone.
    I haven’t seen the sun for a long time.
    “Where is the food?”, I say.
    “Where are the people”, I say.
    “Why”, I exclaim, realizing, “am I here?”
    I don’t know what to do, so I just sit, scratch, and fidget.
    There’s a puzzle, “That’ll pass the time”.
    Maybe somebody will come to explain things.
    Have I been left to die?
    Why am I here?
    Who am I?
    I guess I’ll just sit here ‘till I die.

  35. Rylan Kennedy says:

    It was 10:30. I sat in an unfamiliar living room staring at the dark tv. My mind was going a hundred miles an hour. They had told me that it would only last a couple of days. I had to keep reminding myself. “Your mind is not the same,” I said out loud to myself over and over. “You were in an accident,” they told me. Two people brought me to this house. They told me they were family. I don’t remember them. I don’t remember. My body is shaking and I begin to sweat. Why don’t I remember?

  36. Ute Manecke says:

    What was I doing here staring at the black wall in front of me? The floor lamp behind me only illuminated the sofa I was sitting on but nothing else. I could have switched on the main light or lit some candles, but I didn’t feel like it.
    The darkness inside me had found its counterpart in the gloomy room and the pitch-black night outside.

    Suddenly, the silence was shattered to pieces by the ring of the telephone. The name of my best friend on the display made my heart leap with joy that I had forgotten how it felt.

  37. Trevor Mackay says:

    I was bone-tired. A husk, the sheddings of a snake. I painted the walls today. Black. Ceiling, same. The bookcase with oak sham veneer reflected little light. My head was cracking open. It was a bowling alley, open all night. The bright blinding pain behind my forehead had migrated to the backs of my eyes. Squinting hard pauses the migraine for a second but yields a new pain, different, but relieving. A relieving pain. The bathroom still needs paint, the white, the bright. I just wanted to curl up into a deep dark shadow and wait for it to pass.

  38. M. W. Masiga says:

    Pizza Night

    I came at the wrong time. I should’ve come later. It wasn’t polite to murder someone when they were contemplating life. You had to think these things through. Consider their hopes, their dreams, and their misguided faith that everything would be okay. Seeing her sitting there, thinking, maybe reminiscing. I mean I wasn’t a mind reader, but I knew she wouldn’t like the timing. I would wait until she was done, knowing what we both knew to be true: Thursday was pizza night. Then she would turn off that jaded lamp behind her, go to bed and she’d be mine.

  39. Off-Kilter
    Life feels like an off-kilter comedy sometimes, and she balances the sense of disconnect by arranging her hands and legs in position that appears ineffectual and awkward. While washing vegetables, she stands on one leg with the other one resting against her thigh, a popular yoga pose known as the tree pose. While sitting on the couch, she rests her hand across her head. Her boyfriend has captured her in various stance with his camera and the photo he chooses to display shows her in the living room as the light from the lamp contrasts the darkness, erasing the imbalance.

  40. Jim Byrnes says:

    Letting Go

    This will be the last night I will spend in this house, the house that I grew up in. I’ll not be sleeping tonight, but will be reminiscing, sitting here on my mothers much loved couch, where I so often snuggled into her loving embrace as she read to me from my favorite books. Behind me her comforting old lamp will be keeping the darkness at bay as other memories of her swirl through my mind. Some will bring gentle happy tears, others will bring loving smiles. I will not be sad as I celebrate her beautiful and well-lived life.

  41. Elfface says:

    THE CENTAUR
    My lampshade was itching but my couch part couldn’t reach.
    To be this man, this lamp, this couch, this Frankenstein monster.
    None of the other centaurs excepted me.
    Only old sheety will hang out with me.
    Though he mainly just lays around.
    But maybe somewhere out there in this darkness, this laser tag
    Arena, I have teammate.
    If I could just move these couch parts and find them.

  42. Sarah says:

    Literally

    He leaves the light on, though he knows his daughter is not coming home. Still, he waits up. He tries to read but the words swarm up from the page and buzz in his head. He watches the Late Show and the Late Late Show, the guests getting more obscure, more desperately vivacious as night wears on into morning. I was literally on the street! says an actress he recognizes from a magazine cover in the grocery line. On the street, a car stops, a girl gets in. A girl on the street, a literal girl who is his daughter.

  43. Jakob Austin Burgos says:

    I put on the sheet. Ghost it up. The moment I relax, this doofus sits on me.
    Now he’s just staring out into the darkness. Brooding.
    You’re not Brad Pitt. This isn’t Legends of the Fall.
    I’m the tormented one here. I’m dead.
    You’re a Social Media Coordinator.
    Your life is crumb cake.
    Haunting sucks.

  44. Zion R says:

    Some Things Never Change

    Fritz didn’t always hate moving. As a child, moving to another state meant a fascinating, new world for him to discover. However, this time he was leaving behind a piece of his heart. When he and his wife first got the place, they were ecstatic. It was perfect.

    Eight years later, things were different. The house like his life was now empty. Every day he waited for her to return, but she never did. Eventually, the house was foreclosed. He had no choice now, but to move in with his father. It was already decided; he would be leaving tomorrow.

  45. Riley Ann says:

    Bad Seed

    They say funerals are for the living, but so are coronary reports. Numbers to chew on, compartmentalizing the agony into millimeters, ounces, and seconds. No longer a body but an object measured. But the report doesn’t tell me the last photographs he held, the last room he stood in searching for ghosts of the past, or the last shadow of a memory flickering in his mind. The floorboards drank up his blood thirstily. Peter wants to refinish them, but I won’t let him erase what’s left. This is my blood. This is my grief he bore. We cannot be erased.

  46. Ken Gosse says:

    Pausing with a Book in the Late Evening ~

    Whose life is this, I’d like to know,
    Within this house, non-stop, all go.
    Although I love my family dear
    Sometimes, I must take it slow.

    My children find it rather queer,
    Though I labor all the year
    Ensuring that their earth won’t quake,
    I’ll take time to have a beer.

    My husband gives a little shake,
    Seeing if I’m still awake.
    In bed, the children softly cheep;
    A tender kiss is his to take.

    The night is lovely, dark and deep.
    Tomorrow’s promises I’ll keep,
    But I must read before I sleep,
    So now, I’ll read before I sleep.

    [100 words excluding title, a pastiche on Robert Frost’s 108-word 1923 poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”]

  47. Jennifer Holcomb says:

    Shame resilience. Something I need to work on, according to my therapist. The shame of your infidelity threatens to eat me alive most nights. Especially the nights you have our daughter. The nights when I can’t curl my body protectively around hers, womb-like, inhaling her innocence. Nights I can’t pretend that you really haven’t taken away everything that ever meant anything. Nights I can’t sleep because I worry the stack of self-help books won’t restore my self-worth. On those nights, I don’t sleep. On those nights, I swear to God that she will never lose herself the way I did.

  48. It was a hot day.
    He climbed the stairs, hesitated a little in front of the door, then gently pressed the handle.
    Walked down the corridor and entered the living room. Somebody left the light on. The most of the furniture were missing, but the couch was there covered with white sheets. His mother always kept some in the wardrobe.
    He sat down and stared at the empty, dark wall opposite.
    It was said that your life was passing in front of you like a movie when you were dying.
    He thought that will start to live from now.

  49. Greg Aleman says:

    Jasper had forgotten what it felt like to be alone. Truly placed without the world around by side. No voice of the television. No bangs of the keyboard. No shouts from the kids. No distractions. Pain, sadness, and reflection, were always good reminders of what that was. And he could not take it. He even hoped for the buzz of the lamp, but all he could hear were the sounds replaying in his head.
    The tires screeching on wet pavement.
    His scream when he tried to control the wheel with sweaty hands.
    A thump louder than his own beating heart.

  50. mindy stern says:

    I am so exhausted. They don’t tell you about this. I don’t know who they are but they didn’t tell me and I am so fucking tired. She won’t stop crying. I tried to feed her. She pulls my tit away, angry. My god the pain from the way it stretches. My life force is leaving my body with every feed. I don’t know what to do. My bones hurt. I am so depleted. She’s finally quiet. It’s three. If I fall back to sleep now, I might get two hours. Not worth it. I’m just going to sit here.

  51. Dean Okamura says:

    Title: “Uncle Billy is so much fun!”

    Uncle Billy was the only adult who played with us.

    We played hide and seek with the lights turned off in the house.

    We hid. Uncle Billy shouted, “Ready or not, here I come!” Then he searched with a flashlight shining on his face. My sister got scared, “Oh, No! The bogeyman! Daddy!!!”

    Our living room lamp became a movie projector. We made bunny shadows. He made an American Eagle fly across the ceiling.

    My youngest cousin asked, “What is American Eagle?”

    Uncle Billy said, “It is our national bird. Look at this quarter.”

    And he gave him the quarter!

  52. Wendy Chirikos says:

    Time for her to come home. Time for him to leave. Turn the light on, off. Were they babysitters, lovers, shift workers? Who could say, sometimes lines blurred. He was willing to ride it out. But Meg from work in his damn head. Those glossy thick lips. And the husband, the baby, the father who was his boss. Complicated. Blinds sometimes burred. lInes burred. Christ. So tired. Light off, back on. When she came home, he’d remind her to take out the trash, unload the dishwasher, maybe look her in the eye to see if, this time, she’d look back.

  53. Rima El-Boustani says:

    The Man Who Sits.

    The man alone, sits to scratch his head by the lamp shades dimly lit bulb. He is tired, exhausted from work and, as this story shows, he is neither educated in verse nor awake enough to try harder. His lamp shade is mediocre, so is his sofa, with blanket. A door or a book shelf without any books sits to his left – even he is not sure which in his sleepy state. The room is in darkness, he doesn’t read, he doesn’t watch (or have) T.V. and he doesn’t eat – there is no food and no wife to cook it.

  54. Susan Anderson says:

    There is no pizza delivery at 3 AM. No friends awake, unless I wake them. I have given up trying to sleep. My mind whirls, taunts, mocks, buzzes. The shadows stand to take me to prison. Wait. The buzzing is a fly trapped in the lamplight. My lone companion. Please, fly, buzz me to sleep. If you stop sleeping you can die, the counselor said. What have you tried to help yourself? My mom read Winnie the Pooh to me last night on the phone. Her voice brushed the hair off my forehead. Paul, I love you… Paul… I cried.

    • Jon Remington says:

      The last two sentences are sooo good(the voice – sentence, and the last) .

      Good work. You give us the start of a story, or a glimpse into one – that we will sadly never get to hear more of.

      Im really stunned by how good you guys are. There is so much good writing found in these prompts, that is a delight to read.

      • Susan S Anderson says:

        It was really nice of you to comment, Jon. Thank you! I hope your writing is flourishing, too.

        • Jon Remington says:

          i almost always comment.

          if i like something, if i recognize quality, or if I see what I believe(as a reader) is the potential in a story.

          More people should comment, all the time, on each other. We all need it, to grow.

          Thanks for your hope for my writing. Dont be afraid to throw a prayer in there, too. I need it

    • mindy stern says:

      This is so good.

  55. Jon Remington says:

    This was a very intriguing photo.

  56. Mike Jackson says:

    The mud stained potatoes, recently ripped from the warmth of their underground homes, lay huddled together on the kitchen table, unaware of the fate that awaited them. They watched horrified as a bunch of young carrots were slowly, one by one, skinned alive before being dropped into a pan of boiling water. A tomato screamed as its body was sliced open. The razor sharp knife cutting effortlessly through its skin. Soaked, lifeless bodies of once vibrant brussel sprouts were laid out on a plate to dry. The sink continued to pile up with the bloodied implements of death and destruction.

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