Posts Tagged ‘Storybook Corner’

Sydney and the Devil – Storybook Corner

March 8, 2015 25 comments

Here is my submission for February/March Storybook Corner, a 100-250 word monthly photo prompt hosted by Adam Ickes. This month we have a photo of an arid landscape and, I think, some water.

Here’s the logo:


Here’s the prompt picture:


And here’s my story, “Sydney and the Devil“.

Sydney lay on his back, the burning sun slowly roasting his helpless body. His skin felt like a hardened burning sheath, his fevered mind picturing it crisping like the skin of a well-roasted turkey.

How had this happened? He thought he’d taken every precaution, yet here he was, barely able to move, the water leached out of his body to the point that even his thoughts had become scrambled. Where was he? He couldn’t remember. All he knew was the blinding light, visible even through closed eyes, the pounding in his head, the scorching pain of his skin.

It was almost funny. He’d always liked a nice bit of sun. In his delirium he tried to giggle, but only a rasping groan escaped his parched throat, prompting a spasm which took almost a minute to subside (he thought, though all sense of time evaded him).

Suddenly, looming over him was the face of a monstrosity, a face at once both strange and familiar. Its gaping maw opened.


The Devil! The Great Deceiver had come for him! Surely his life had not been led so badly? He tried to rise in supplication, to pray for salvation, but his damaged body betrayed him and he succeeded only in falling off his sun lounger.

“SYDNEY!” came the voice again. “If you’ve got sun stroke again, I swear you’ll never have another beach holiday as long as you live, you…”

The voice faded away as Sydney’s brain mercifully shut down in self-defence.

Over the Hill

January 30, 2015 28 comments

Here is my contribution to Adam Ickes’ Storybook Corner writing prompt.


This one is 100-250 words, and we get a photo to help us along. My story follows the prompt photo below.

Steam engine


And now on KidzTV, the final ever “Storytime with Millie”.

“Hello boys and girls! Today we’re going to hear the story of ‘The Little Engine that Couldn’t.’

“There once was a little engine, we’ll call her ‘Billie’, who worked ever so hard all her life. She did everything asked of her. But one day, children, the railway staff said she was too old to work anymore! They said that today would be her last day. They thought she was old and ugly and past her best and they shoved her to one side.

“Billie was so upset but the railway staff wouldn’t listen. ‘This is your last ever day,’ they said. All of my, um, Billie’s hard work meant nothing to them.”

(What’s going on? That’s not in the script!
Oh hell, she’s trying to make a point.)

“No matter how much she pleaded, the nasty railway staff told her she was over the hill! They wanted to quietly shove her off into a siding. Can you believe that, children?”

(Do something! Cue up a commercial!)

“’Help me!’ cried Mil… um Billie. ‘All my fans, please, write to the, um, railway staff and save me from the nasty asshats!’”

(Good God, now she‘s swearing. Cut her off, NOW!)

“’This cannot stand!’ she cried. ‘All my life I’ve worked…aargh… get off…”

(Get her!
Ow! She kicked me in the nuts!)

“… save Billie! Save Billie aaargh!”

Beep… Beep… Normal programming will resume shortly.

The People Within Without

August 17, 2014 31 comments

Here’s my contribution for Adam Icke’s Storybook Corner for July/August.

I think this would probably be better as a “short story” rather than a 500-ish word flash fiction, as I’ve crammed a lot of story in there, but here it is anyway!


Here’s the logo.


And here’s the photo prompt!


“You’ve done it this time!” screamed Saliyah. “You know what this means.” Saliyah’s yells changed to tears as Reliakh took her in his arms, gently stroking her hair.

“That’s enough, Reliakh,” said the uniformed guardsman at the door. “Come with us now, please.”

The “Within”, as the citizens called the huge city, was the last bastion of mankind. After centuries of chemicals, wars and heavy mining the majority of the Earth was a barren wasteland. The Within kept the survivors, some hundreds of thousands, safe within hundreds of interconnected bio-domes. Air was cleaned, food and water recycled to bolster that grown or collected.

Still, resources were limited. The population was strictly controlled. There was no room in Within to feed and keep those who broke the law. Eyes were everywhere, watching, waiting for any indiscretion.

Reliakh had broken the law.

The only punishment – exile Without. From shoplifting to murder, the penalty was the same.

Reliakh had stood in the market and preached to all around – the air Without was safe! The Earth had surely healed by now. Keeping the People Within was just a method of control! Rise up! Rise up! And so he was to be exiled.

Judgment was swift Within and, despite his begging and the tears of his life-mate, an hour later Reliakh was Without, staring across the wasteland. The first surprise – he could breathe. He had been right! He could live Without and return some day, alive and triumphant.

Scattered around were bodies in various states of decay. Other exiles, unwilling to leave the only home they’d ever known, begging for re-admission until they starved to death. Reliakh determined he would survive. He headed off in the direction of some vegetation he could see on the horizon. Vegetation! Further evidence that Without was safe.

After some hours he spotted a low structure and headed towards it. Already he was feeling ill – evidently the air Without was not safe. Fear grew as he realised that maybe he had been wrong after all. Tired, he arrived at the structure and managed to light a small fire by striking small stones against the metal of his Citizen ID band. Night was drawing in, and it would be a cold one. The smoke was drawn up into the tiny structure and out the top, almost as if it had been designed for it. At last he fell asleep.

Drawn by the smoke and the glow from the fire, the People Without had come in the night. They had never eaten so well! Such succulent, tasty meat. Where had it come from? One ripped an arm from the corpse and munched appreciatively, juice running down his face. Another, the leader, looked out across the plains, wiping the last of Reliakh’s brains from his chin and licking his lips. He pointed at the glow on the horizon, emanating from the bio-domes of Within.

More meat would be there.

He raised his arm and as one the thousands of the People Without rose and headed toward their new feeding ground.


June 21, 2014 21 comments

Here is my story for Adam Ickes’ “Storybook Corner“. This month I am literally down to the final few hours before the deadline! Maybe one month I will get this sorted out a bit earlier.

The idea is to write 300-500 words to a photo prompt. To read the other entries, click Bracken, the little froggy. Coincidentally, this month’s (well May’s) prompt is also of a frog.

(After a bit of Googling I’m adding this disclaimer: all company names used in this story are entirely fictitious and any similarity to actual company names is entirely coincidental.)


That wasn’t the prompt picture, that was the logo. The prompt picture is below.



Hoppy jumped up to the brow of the hill to look around.

(Frogs don’t have names as humans understand them, they refer to each other based on description. “Hoppy” is more succinct than “He Who Is Mostly Green With A Little Brown And Lives Next To The Second Lily Pad On The Left”.)

The noise was coming from a series of – Hoppy could hardly believe his buggy little eyes – monsters! Huge beasts of destruction! Great gouts of smoke blew from blow holes, great mashing jaws destroyed everything in sight. Trees exploded into splinters. Small hillocks disintegrated.

They were moving fast, and moving directly towards him!

Hoppy jumped away as fast as he could, his little back legs propelling him high into the air.

Glancing back, he could see the monsters, gaining on him. His little heart pounded faster and faster as he fled. All around him other creatures, some of them his friends, ran past, terror in their eyes. From behind Hoppy heard a voice – “Wait up! Wait for me!” It sounds like “He Who Is Green With A Bit Of Orange And Talks Too Much But Is Generally A Nice Enough Fellow”, thought Hoppy.

The cries suddenly cut off. Hoppy didn’t want to stop and look – he knew the monsters had caught up to his friend. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he raced on with renewed energy.

He knew the monsters were gaining.

Just up ahead he could see a large structure. It was made of the same stuff as trees, but a different colour, and stretched to left and right as far as he could see. If he could only reach it, and slip underneath, surely he would find safety!

The fence (as humans call it) was close, but the monsters were closer, and gaining. Hoppy bounded as fast as he could, but the dreadful maw of one of the monsters caught his back leg and flung him through the air.

His lifeless little body splattered across a sign which proudly proclaimed:

“Coming soon – Woodland Pines! Two hundred environmentally friendly homes for the eco-conscious. 20% already sold. Phone now for details! [Eco-Homes Ltd: protecting the ecosystem so you don’t have to]”

All Screwed Up

May 11, 2014 26 comments

It’s time for Adam Ickes’ Storybook Corner! Impressively, I’m not waiting until the counter says “Submissions close in 5 minutes” to submit my entry this month. Here’s the cool badge.


The aim is to write 300-500 words. I’ve gone a bit over 😦 . It’s also a bit of a nutty story as I was feeling in a whimsical mood.

To read the other stories, click on the blue froggy.


The two boys ambled up the street. Davey, at thirteen, was the older of the pair, so he got to carry the air rifle. Bobby, at twelve, could only watch jealously while his friend aimed it here and there, pretending to shoot invisible enemies.

“When we gonna shoot something, Davey?” he asked.

“When we see something worth shooting,” answered his friend. “How about that stop sign?”

“That thing’s never gonna make a dent in that,” muttered Bobby. He turned away to walk back down the street.

“You’re probably right,” said Davey, taking aim at his friend’s retreating behind. “I bet I can bounce a few off your butt, though!”

Davey squeezed the trigger, eliciting a surprised yelp from Bobby, which soon changed to a groan of pain.

“You shot me in the ass! You shot me in the ass!”

Davey stared, horrified, at the growing stain on his friend’s behind.

“I… I… I thought it would just bounce off!” he quavered.

“I can’t believe you shot me in the ass!” moaned Bobby, bouncing around and holding his bum. “Call an ambulance!”

“Let’s not be hasty,” said Davey. “I’m sure it’s not serious.” Davey could see a nasty scolding in his future. He probably wouldn’t be allowed out of his room until he went to university. He explained this to Bobby.

“Your room? YOUR ROOM! I’m gonna tell, and you’re going to jail! You’re gonna be somebody’s bitch!”

As it happened a hiker had seen the whole incident, and seconds later a police van screeched to a stop, disgorging a host of rather scary-looking officers waving automatic weapons.

“Armed police! Drop the gun! On the ground, now!”

Davey dropped the gun and fell to the ground, shaking. Bobby continued to bounce around, holding his wound.

“He shot me in the ass! He shot me in the ass!”

“Calm down, son,” said the officer in charge. “It doesn’t look too bad.” He looked up. “Wait a second. Have you boys been shooting at the stop sign? Look at those dents!”

“No sir, it wasn’t us,” moaned Davey miserably.

“Armed police, shut up, stay on the ground!” came the reply.

“This is very serious, lads. Those signs are expensive. They belong to The Council. Your parents pay for those signs. We pay for those signs. Taxes.”

Several of the officers, thinking of their wallets, nodded in agreement and gripped their guns more tightly.

“But he shot me in the ass!” screamed Bobby.

“Shut up about your ass, son!” yelled the officer in charge. “Your ass will heal! That sign will need to be replaced. That’ll cost!”

They handcuffed Davey and bundled him into the back of the van, citing “one road sign, public property, destruction of”. The van roared off.

“But what about my ass?” mumbled Bobby, tears trickling down his cheeks, blood trickling down his other cheeks.

All alone, and feeling pretty sorry for himself, he made his painful way home.


“Officer-in-charge” was commended for his valour and is currently serving as head of the prestigious “Street-Sign Crime” unit out of Scotland Yard.

Bobby developed an ass infection and had to have one ass cheek amputated. He’s currently living in Droitwich with his old mum.

Davey was sent down for twenty to life. He became somebody’s bitch.

Categories: Fiction Tags: ,

The Patient Ones

April 18, 2014 20 comments

It’s Storybook Corner time again! As usual, I’m getting this in just under the wire.

This is a 300-500 word story based on a photo prompt, and is hosted by Adam Ickes. This week’s photo is quite open – just a door – where could it lead?

But first, the logo!



You can read the other stories for this month (March) by clicking on the little blue froggy below.

And here’s the photo for this month’s prompt.



Marcus took a deep breath and walked through the door, shaking the snow from his boots. It was warmer inside, and warmer too at his ultimate destination, he hoped.

They had arrived twenty-two years ago amid world-wide panic. “Invasion!” was the word on everyone’s lips. “Aliens!” followed close behind.

After a few days nothing untoward had happened. Contact was made.

The Vonotvi, they called themselves. A peaceful race from the far side of the galaxy, their planet had died when their sun exploded. These two hundred were the last of their race.

They brought new culture, new technology. Technology like Space Fold Unlimited Travel allowing almost instantaneous travel across the planet between any two terminals. Operated by SFUTlinkTM under the guidance of the Vonotvi, this building held one such terminal.

Today Marcus was travelling to warmer climes. The last of his family lost in a flaming mass of twisted metal, he was leaving familiar shores and painful memories behind.

He’d heard the stories, of course. People disappearing, walking in one end and never seen again. Nobody was particularly worried. Did they really disappear? No-one had reported them missing. Most were transients. Who knew if they were missing or not?

The Vonotvi had been on Earth for decades with never a problem and besides, there weren’t enough of them to cause trouble. Conspiracy theorists, they’ll always find something. Everyone used SFUT. Commuters, celebrities, hell, even world leaders. Perfectly safe!

And so Marcus walked up to the desk, swiped his ID and joined the queue of travellers. Men, women, children. Families. Families like the one he’d lost.

He swallowed to clear the lump in his throat and approached the Threshold. A swirling, pulsating mass of colours, the Threshold was everything popular science fiction had promised. One by one the travellers entered, to emerge on the other side of the planet. Marcus closed his eyes and crossed into the “tunnel”.

Immediately the air exploded from his body. He felt weightless. He opened his eyes but had no air in his lungs to scream as his eyeballs threatened to burst from his skull. He was floating in blackness, unable to breathe. Something had gone horribly wrong!

As consciousness left him, he imagined he saw a dark shape approaching.

When he opened his eyes again, everything was clear. He stood in a large metal bay, a hanger maybe, amidst many others. A huge screen flashed images of a planet – clear blue seas, huge cities, open countryside, somehow familiar? – his enhanced brain absorbed the information. Power generation centres, transport hubs, seats of power. Tactics. Mission parameters. The vicious pincers at the ends of his arms, bonded to his flesh, felt wrong somehow. Everything felt a little wrong, but he put that thought aside as he screeched the Vonotvi battle cry, echoed by thousands of others in the hanger.

Ka Vonotvi kee’ash! “For Vonotvi to the death!”

In the gallery above, two Vonotvi, or “Patient Ones”, smiled in grim satisfaction.


Storybook Corner – Pulse

March 19, 2014 15 comments

Here is my submission for February’s Storybook Corner. This is a 300-500 word photo prompt hosted by talented fiction writer Adam Ickes. Here’s the cool logo.


Why not give this a go yourselves – you still have a couple of hours left for February! The word limit gives a little more scope than many of the photo prompts out there. You can read all the submissions by clicking on the little blue froggy below.

Read more…

Storybook Corner – Baptism of Fire

February 2, 2014 24 comments

This is a little story written for Adam Ickes‘ “Storybook Corner” – a 300-500 word monthly photo prompt. (Quick post-publish update – apparently this is my 200th post. Yay!)


No, that isn’t the photo – the photo is below. Be warned – my story is rather melancholy and dark and not in a funny way, but the photo is of a grave stone, after all.

You can read other submissions this month by clicking the little blue froggy. The prompt is open for a couple of weeks yet, so there’s still time to join in!


John sat on a pile of rocks, his shocked eyes staring at the carnage below. He felt numb, his brain unable to process the events of the last few hours. He reached into his jacket and fished out his pipes, his comfort, and put them to his lips. A mournful air sounded over the blood-drenched field.

It was to have been glorious! He had volunteered and presented himself at the local training camp along with Jed, his childhood friend. They had grown up together, always done everything together. It had seemed natural that they should embark upon this great adventure together.

They had been given a uniform, a sword, a musket and a hot meal. Then the training had begun. Musket first, then draw your sword. Defend yourself and the person on your right. Parry, thrust, one step forward, parry, thrust, one step forward. Hold the line. It all seemed so easy!

It hadn’t been that way at all. The moment battle was joined, everything had fallen apart. The air filled with acrid musket smoke, so thick he couldn’t see. Screams and the clashing of swords filled his head so that he couldn’t think. He tried to parry, thrust, step forward. He tried to hold the line, but all was chaos. He tried to defend the person on his right, but there was no-one there. Had they become separated, or was he dead? John didn’t know.

Though only a few minutes, it felt to John as if this carnage had lasted days. Shock at the terrible reality of battle replaced all coherent thought. He stumbled around as men screamed and fell. His sword, still unused, hung limply in his hand as he staggered left and right.

A figure appeared out of the smoke. Numbly John slashed his sword top to bottom as he’d been taught, feeling it cut through flesh. The smoke cleared for a moment, long enough for him to see Jed’s eyes open wide in shock as John’s sword sliced him open.

“I… couldn’t see, I… didn’t know,… I’m sorry, oh, Jed,” gasped John as Jed fell. John fell with him, cradling his friend’s head, sobbing.

John had awoken hours later, in a daze. The smoke had cleared, Everything was quiet. And now he sat numbly on a pile of rocks, playing his pipes.

He was only dimly aware of the approach of others. Friend or foe? He no longer cared. The song was cut short and the pipes tumbled down the rocks onto the blood-soaked grass as a sword sliced into his back and exited his chest.

His final thought as darkness fell – please don’t leave me here. Mark my grave. Remember me.