Friday Fictioneers — Imprisoned

Many thanks to Rochelle for using my husband’s spiderweb picture as this week’s photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers. Some of my blog followers and visitors will already have seen this picture, which accompanied my New Year’s Day Monday Morning #Haiku 181 — Spider, thus to avoid spiderweb overkill, I’ll just post a downsized reminder of the original to go with my 100-word story for today.

My apologies for not having participated in Friday Fictioneers since last October. Throughout November I took time off from blogging to concentrate on penning the first 50K words of my latest tome for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and succeeded in reaching the necessary target to qualify as a winner. December was all about catching up with jobs and squeezing in a bit of writing when time allowed. January was a slow starter, but I’m now on the homeward stretch of the first draft of my novel, with about 15-20K words to go.

So here you have it, a trimmed snippet from my work-in-progress Twicers, which is a satire set in the not-too-distant future. My main character, Japeth, is loosely based on  my MC in The Parable Teller, a short story of mine published in the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual, 2011.

Please be warned that the excerpt contains a profanity but, under the circumstances, I’m sure you’ll agree my MC is being most restrained! Also, note that I use the singular of the word “heel”, as Japeth only has one leg.



By now, his eyes had adapted to the false twilight afforded by a row of high-up windows at the rear of the workshop, each one opaque with grime and laced over with spiderwebs.

With the dogs at his heel, he conducted a search of the workshop and nearly tripped over a tin bucket. Toilet rolls were stacked on the shelf above, with a piece of corrugated cardboard propped up against them. The cardboard had painted on it in white the words “COURTESY OF THE MANAGEMENT”.

“Shit!” said Japeth, which seemed apt. Nobody needed nine toilet rolls for a short stay.


To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories for this week, or to add a 100-word story of your own, please click on the blue frog below.

March’s Guest Storyteller, Hugh Roberts

Hugh Roberts

Hugh Roberts is a writer and blogger, now living in Abergavenny, South Wales.

Although Hugh suffers from a mild form of dyslexia, he doesn’t allow it to stop him writing. He has a passion for reading and writing short stories, many of which come with an unexpected twist.

Hugh is hoping to publish his first collection of Short Stories towards the end of 2016.

Sarah says: I’m delighted to welcome Hugh Roberts as this month’s guest storyteller. But be warned, his “unexpected twists” often have a wickedly dark edge to them, as you’re about to discover –shades of Roald Dahl, even.

To read more of his tales, plus some  helpful snippets about the art of blogging, you can find him at Hugh’s Views and News.   


 The Gingerbread House 

Here’s the photo I took of it. Do you like it?

Yes, it took a lot of time making that gingerbread house. Mum was not very pleased about all the mess in the kitchen, but when Johnny volunteered to help me clean everything up and I agreed to make her a cup of tea, she went back to her computer upstairs and said nothing else about it.

The gingerbread house was a huge hit at Mum’s birthday party. Everybody loved it and said how nice it looked as the centrepiece of the table. We even used our favourite sweets to decorate the house. Yes, we ate some of the sweets as we decorated the cake, but there was enough left to finish it off. Mum was well pleased with it and Dad said it was the best birthday cake he had ever seen. He was the one that took the photo.

At Mum’s birthday party, the following day, everyone was eager to have a slice of the gingerbread house, but Dad said we had to eat the sandwiches, cheese and pineapple on sticks, and sausage-rolls first before Mum could cut into it while we all sang happy birthday to her. Mum was quite emotional as she made the first cut and we all thought it was because she hated the fuss of birthdays and being the centre of attention.

Mum had been upset the day before, not only because of the mess we were making but because she said the picture of the gingerbread house we were baking from the recipe book looked like Grandma’s house. Grandma and Mum were very close and when Grandma went to heaven to become an angel, we were all very upset. Johnny and I were so pleased with the gingerbread house and that it reminded Mum of Grandma’s house. Johnny is nearly eight and I’m ten in three and three-quarters months’ time.

After the birthday party had finished we agreed to help Mum and Dad clear up. Dad asked Mum if she wanted to keep the cake board the gingerbread house had stood on, seeing as the whole lot had been eaten. While Dad cleaned the cake board, Mum sat down in her favourite chair and noticed that the lid of Grandma’s canister, that they call an urn, was not on correctly. She asked Dad about it and he said he hadn’t touched it.

It wasn’t until Johnny told Mum and Dad that he’d emptied what was in Grandma’s canister into the mixing bowl, because he wanted to put Grandma back into her house, that the screaming and crying started. Even Dad was upset. I had no idea what Johnny had done while I made Mum that cup of tea and took it up to her. I didn’t even notice a difference in the mixture when I came back and Johnny was making a wish as he stirred everything with the big wooden spoon.

However, it doesn’t matter to Johnny and me because we still believe Grandma is an angel.


You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at 

January’s #Guest Storyteller — Dale Rogerson


From office worker to caterer to … writer?

Since she could remember, Dale has been an avid reader, a lover of the written word. She finally decided to try her hand at writing, feeling there was a story inside of her.  A blog was born, but, would she find an audience?

Sarah says: Well, I think the answer to that is a resounding “yes”. Her blog A Delectable Life is aptly named, with the words delightful and pleasing describing it best. She never moans and always looks at life in a positive way, which is hugely inspiring in a world full of negative reportage.  As for her creative writing, it seems my suggestion that she try writing a 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers has resulted in her contributions there becoming part of her weekly routine. So seeing as she is now addicted to the art of flash fiction, I thought who better to kick off the New Year as my guest storyteller?

Thank you, Dale, for being a champ and accepting my invitation … and now I’ll shut up and let you get on with your tale.


The Trek

The Trek

She was given very specific instructions:   Walk for one kilometre from the start point, direction north-west, until she reached the edge of the woods.  There she would find a small path, barely discernible, to the right of the blue, flat rock.  She was to take the path, taking care not disturb anything.

Petrified, heart pounding, she moved forward, branches pulling her hair, scratching her face and arms.  The ground seemed to want to suck her in but still she plowed forward, determined to reach her goal.

This was her once-in-a-lifetime chance to get exactly what she wanted, what she deserved!  She must keep on.  “I can so do this,” she whispered to herself, courage and confidence growing with each step.

Finally, she glimpsed the orange light in the clearing.  She was almost there!

As she struggled forward, thoughts began creeping in.  “Why was she here?    What did she want?  What was the purpose of this trek?”

She finally burst through into the clearing to find him standing there.

“You made it!” he cried. “You’ve earned my love and adoration, and we can be together forever!”

She tilted her head and looked at him.  “Funny thing happened to me on my way to you,” she replied.  “I came to the realisation that YOU have not earned ME.  I am strong enough to make my own decisions.  All this time, I thought I had to be worthy of you, when in reality, I had to be worthy of me.  For this, I must thank you.  I have discovered my own strength and I couldn’t have done it without you.”

With that, she turned around and walked back into the woods, ready to take on the world on her terms and hers alone.


You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at 

December’s Guest Storyteller, Sherri Matthews


Sherri is a freelance writer, published in a variety of national magazines, websites, and anthologies.  She is writing her first book, a memoir, and regularly publishes articles, memoir bites, flash fiction and poetry on her blog.  Having lived in California for twenty years, she now lives with her hubby, daughter and two cats in the West Country of England, where she walks, gardens and takes endless photographs.

You can connect with Sherri at
Facebook Page:
Google Plus:

Memoir Book Blurb: )


Sarah says: Welcome to my blog, Sherri, and thank you so much for contributing a most poignant and seasonal piece of flash fiction. In Sherri’s words: “This is about a little girl’s discovery that she isn’t the only one in her family who is keeping secrets”.


Chocolate Umbrella 

Emma knew magic because Daddy made magic and she never stopped believing. Such magic that only he could muster, especially for his little girl, every Christmas Eve.

But today, while Daddy paid for their shopping, she stared in disbelief at the box of chocolate umbrellas on the shelf at the supermarket. Her chocolate umbrellas, the ones that fell out of the sky every Christmas Eve because of her daddy’s magic. How could this be?

On the way home, Daddy took her to the pub. “Don’t tell Mummy,” he said, with a wink. While he propped up the bar, let out bursts of laughter, and slapped the backs of drinking friends, Emma sat out of sight in a quiet corner with a bag of crisps and a glass of cola to keep her amused.

As she sat alone, she remembered last Christmas Eve, how Daddy had regaled her with stories of mystical creatures, of elves and fairies and how her eyes had shone with the wonderment of it all.

She remembered the flush of her cheeks as the burning coal in the fireplace cast its orange glow and how, with the lights off, she had been mesmerised by the red-hot ash of Daddy’s cigarette as it danced and made patterns in the darkness.

Then she had gasped with surprise as she heard a rustle and something fell from the middle of the darkness, landing in her open hands. Always a chocolate umbrella, conjured up just for her.

“Let’s go day dreamer.” Pulled away with a start from her memories, Emma looked up at Daddy. “Don’t want to miss the magic,” he grinned.

She stood up, smiling faintly. “I’m excited,” she lied, as she took his hand. She knew now there was no such thing as magic and she felt sad, but she played along, not wanting to hurt Daddy’s feelings.

That night, as a chocolate umbrella landed in her hands, she giggled as before and hugged Daddy but she knew things were no longer the same. Then again, she already had an idea that things had changed, ever since last week when she had seen Mummy kissing a strange man while Daddy was out at the pub.

The man had worn a Christmas hat, but Emma knew he definitely wasn’t Santa Claus.

© Sherri Matthews 2014


You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at

And guess what? Next month, it will be exactly one year since I started my monthly guest storyteller slot, but more about that in January! Meanwhile, a big thank you to my twelve brilliant guests for 2014 🙂

Guest Storyteller, I. J. Sarfeh

I. J. S.I. J. Sarfeh was born in Tehran, Iran, to a Persian father and Russian mother. When he was nine years old, his parents sent him off to an English boarding school — he believes they thought the British system would correct his unruliness. After spending the formative years there, he and his family moved to America, where he studied medicine, became a board-certified surgeon, and ended up on the faculty of the University of California. In 2000, he retired as Professor Emeritus to pursue his original passion before being lured into medicine: creative writing. So far, he has written eight novels, most of which are in the medical mystery/suspense genre. He changed genre for his latest novel, Beyond the Third Garden, which draws on his experiences during the childhood and formative years, which were far from ordinary.



I was fourth-assistant at an operation to remove a patient’s cancerous stomach.

In awe, I watched the surgeons operating with grace, speed, efficiency. The music of Mantovani’s violins wafted from a portable radio, while the procedure flowed along as smoothly and effortlessly as the cascading strings. Without wasted movements, each action blended into the next like the harmony of the orchestra.

After removing the stomach, the surgeons fashioned a new one using a length of intestine cut down the middle, doubled on itself, and sewn together. The result was a pouch that could hold a modest amount of food, which they attached in continuity with the rest of the digestive tract. Then, using thick nylon sutures strong enough to hold the sinews together, they started closing the abdomen.

Halfway through the closure, I glimpsed a flash of metal.

Instrument or illusion?

Now began my struggle to inform the surgeons—during major operations, medical students were bound by the not-even-a-squeak rule.

Two more stitches, and my mouth was bursting to squeak.

I looked at the chief surgeon, a big man with an attitude. “Dr. Krabowski, m-may I s-speak?” I stammered in a near whisper.

He glared at me over his mask and half-lenses perched on the tip of his nose. “What?”

“I-I saw this shiny object.”

“Congratulations. The O.R. is full of shiny objects, so now we know you can see as well as speak.”


Struggling through the overdose of intimidation, I pressed on. “I hope the object inside the abdomen won’t harm your patient, sir.”

His eyes bulged. “Inside the abdomen? You think we left an instrument behind?”

“I don’t know what it is, sir.”

“Are you certain it’s there?”

“Well, I…”


“Speak up!”

“It’s in the right upper quadrant, sir. Hidden from view.”

“Do you realize we must reopen the whole abdomen to explore that area?”

A hesitant nod.

He cut out six stitches, groped around inside, and pulled out his hand. It brandished a shiny forceps.

“Well done!” he yelled. “You just saved the patient from serious post-op troubles, and us from a gazillion-dollar malpractice suit.”


He leaned into me. “Name?”

“Wheat, sir.”

“What is surgery, Wheat?”

Blank stare.

“Give me the definition of surgery, man!”

I cleared my throat. “It is the art and science of—”

“Bullshit! Surgery is courage. In your case, the courage of persisting despite fear.”

At last, my courage was out of hiding.


Sarah says: Thank you, so much, Iraj, for visiting my blog as a guest storyteller. Your short medical tale is certainly an example of writing about what you know. I won’t ask if this incident is based on a true life experience! 

Click on either of the Amazon links below and it will take you to a page of novels by I. J. Sarfeh for you check out: /


To read January’s guest storyteller post by Naomi Baltuck click here

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