Excavating the Archives: The Christmas Present

Moira had a secret. A dark secret. One that kept her awake at night. One she didn’t dare breathe a word to anyone about. The only person who knew about it was Moira herself, and that was the way she intended to keep it. It was a heavy burden to bear, and the stress of wondering if anyone would find out ate away at her.

As the days passed and no one said anything, she couldn’t help but think maybe…perhaps…she had got away with it. However, she didn’t dare to hope and the anxiety remained.

The days shortened and the nights lengthened. Autumn turned to winder, rain to snow. And still nothing was said. It seemed Moira had got away with it and the secret was hers alone. As long as she could keep it to herself…as long as she didn’t confide in anyone…it was as good as if it had never happened. And, if she was the only person who knew about it…was there a chance she had made it up? Was it all just a bad dream?

Christmas was only days away. Moira wrote and posted her Christmas cards and bought presents for her family and mailed them. The Christmas tree and decorations were put up, adding warmth and colour to the long wintry nights. Moira felt her spirit lift. It was, after all, her favourite time of year. And, in amidst the seasonal cheer, her secret was forgotten.

A knock on the door on Christmas Eve disturbed her evening of mulled wine drinking and A Christmas Carol reading. She found a place to stop, put the book down and went to see who was there. But the doorstep was empty, except for the present, all lovely and wrapped and topped with a glittering bow, sitting there on the mat.

It must have been from her sister, Moira reasoned. She was always in a hurry. Perhaps this evening she couldn’t wait?

Moira picked up the present and put it under the Christmas tree. Then she went back to her mulled wine and book.

The next morning, she got a call from her sister. “Sorry, Moira. We’ve not have time to drop the presents off yet. Are you in this morning?”

Moira paled. Trying to sound normal, she made arrangements with her sister for later that morning. Then, full of suspicion – and a large dose of fear – she went to the Christmas tree.

She removed the present and, with trepidation, unwrapped it. She looked inside. On top of layers of tissue paper was an envelope. She opened it. It was just a normal Christmas card: village church, lots of snow, robin in the foreground. She unfolded it to see who it was from. There was no name. Only a message.

Want to talk about it? A secret shared is a sin halved.

Moira felt the world spin.

“No,” she whispered. “No. It’s not possible. No one knows. No one.”

Carefully she peeled back the layers of tissue paper to find out what had been so carefully wrapped and placed in the box. She screamed.  And then she screamed again.

Somebody did know. They knew everything.


Any thoughts on what Moira’s secret is, or what’s in the box?  I would love to hear your thoughts…


This was originally posted in September 2018.  You can find the original post here.

Tick Tock Time Travel- publication news

Earlier this month, Black Hare Press released a 500 word fiction anthology, Tick Tock: A Time Travel Anthology, and I’m pleased to share I have a piece of flash fiction in it. My thanks to the editors for including the story.

My tale, The Amulet, (which I enjoyed writing immensely), tells the story of the inquisitive Belle and the cautious Jax, who are sent by their boss to collect a mysterious object only for its magic to begin working. They don’t know how to control it or how to get back home, but what they do learn, and quickly, is the pesky thing seems to have a habit for getting them into very dangerous situations…

Here’s the summary of the anthology from Amazon:

Ever wondered what the world would be like if you could travel to a different point in time? What could you fix? Where would you go? When would you go?

Lose a few hours as you explore limitless time.

Find it on Amazon

Weekend Writing Prompt #188 – Languid

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Languid

Challenge

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – an online journal of short writing – is always open to submissions *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Weekend Writing Prompt #187 – Niggle

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Niggle

Challenge

 

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – an online journal of short writing – is always open to submissions *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Weekend Writing Prompt #186 – Quixotic

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Quixotic

Challenge

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – an online journal of short writing – is always open to submissions *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Excavating the Archives: The Love Spell

Michelle dabbed some of the rosewater she had been brewing for nine days – whose petals had been gathered beneath the light of the last full moon – behind her ears.  Looking in the mirror next to the kitchen door, she adjusted the rose quartz charm at her throat.  What was that fleeting look she had just seen; nerves?

She frowned.  Then, cross with herself for doing so, she stretched the skin of her forehead with her fingers, trying to smooth out the damage.  That’s better.

The timer on the stove chimed, followed a few seconds later by the oven.  Soon the table was laid – the centrepiece, a homemade apple pie.  She had read somewhere that apples were sacred to Aphrodite.  Next to the pie dish sat a tarot card: The Lovers.  Michelle reached over and picked it up.

Holding it in her hand, she thought over the lengths she had gone to get things right.  No, not right.  Perfect.  Damn, she’d even found an astrologist online to check the alignment of the stars, just to see if they would be in her favour.  This had to work.  Thoughts of him were driving her to distraction.

Not that James had any idea what she had been planning.  He thought he was coming over to complete a report for work.  If she had her way, the office would be the last thing either of them would be thinking about, she mused, grinning mischievously.

For a heartbeat, she wondered if she was doing the right thing.  If she was being fair to him.  Hearts in love, she pondered, were not really concerned with “free will” and “do no harm”.  After all, wasn’t there that saying…”the heart wants what the heart wants?”  Anyway, it was love.  There was nothing evil or dangerous in that.  It’s not like I’m planning to bury a knife in his chest…

Pushing away the remainder of her misgivings, she placed the tarot card over her heart and whispered the incantation one more time.

You’ll be mine.

You’ll be mine.

You’ll be mine.

Now all she had to do was wait…


This was originally posted in May 2017.  You can find the original post here.

Whispers and Dares – Publication News

Back at Halloween, Fantasia Divinity released a new seasonal-themed anthology, Halloween Frights and Autumn Delights. I have two drabbles (Whispers of Autumn and A Halloween Dare) in this collection, one in each chapter.

Here’s the summary for anthology from Amazon:

Halloween is here! It’s time to bring out the ghosts and goblins, the spooks and sweets. What can go wrong on the spookiest night of the year?

But among the frights of Halloween is the beauty of the autumn season. It’s time for the harvest, for giving thanks and blessings.

Celebrate the frights and delights of the season with this anthology filled with 131 drabbles, featuring over 40 authors!

My thanks to Madeline L. Stout for including both my drabbles.

You can find the anthology here.

Weekend Writing Prompt #185 – Dire

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Dire

Challenge

 

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


* Whispers and Echoes – an online journal of short writing – is always open to submissions *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Weekend Writing Prompt #184 – Paradox

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Paradox

Challenge

 

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


* Whispers and Echoes – an online journal of short writing – is always open to submissions *
Check out the journal’s full submission guidelines here

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Excavating the Archives: Old Houses Come With Secrets

The house was perfect.  It was exactly what we had spent the last year looking for: a period property in the middle of nowhere.  It needed a little renovating; it was an old house after all.

The house radiated peace and calm, until the building work commenced.  That’s when everything changed.

The contractors disturbed more than the bones that were found buried beneath the house that day.  My dream home became a house of horrors.  Even after the bones were gone something lingered.

A dark, suffocating presence filled the house.  Noises in the dead of night.  Cold spots in an otherwise warm room.  Clocks that stopped for no reason.  Lights that would flick on and off on their own.

Things changed irrevocably one October evening…

I was home alone, waiting for my husband to return after working late.  As I was walking along the first floor landing, I saw through the window car headlights coming up the driveway.  My husband was home.  But as I was about to turn and go down to meet him, something else reflected in the glass caught my eye, and I went deathly cold.

A misty outline of a figure was standing right behind me, and I knew that they were responsible for the all the strange and frightening things that went on in the house.  Who they were, I didn’t know and didn’t care to know.  I didn’t want to know why they did it or why they were still here.  I just wanted to be left alone.

Frozen to the spot, I heard the front door open and my husband call out.  I couldn’t speak, I was so scared.  I thought about the bones that had been discovered, and I got the distinct feeling I was going to die.

But I was wrong.

It wasn’t my body that would be found at the bottom of the stairs, broken and bloody.


This was originally posted in October 2015. You can find the original post here.