Sunday Photo Fiction⇐this is the link if you want to participate.

Thank you to Alistair at Sunday Photo Fiction as always for providing this prompt! To read more stories for this prompt, click here.


Seems like just yesterday I wrote a Sunday Photo Fiction story…. 😉



I cannot explain the fear walking along the narrow pier, perhaps some repressed memory I cannot face in sunshine hours. As close to the center as possible, I navigate my quickened breathing while vertigo splashes over me.

The others pay no notice when I dash back, my arm unconsciously aching as if pulled by the explosive temper of a seventeen-year old boy. How can a grown woman be frightened to walk on a pier aligned with the silent bay?

A nightmare resumes in the disquiet night of the tiny girl facing the thin board stretching over the rocky creek bed ten feet below, how the plank narrows and narrows while he shouts red-faced. Then there’s nothing as she twirls into dank oblivion where memories and fears coalesce.


end 3/26/2017

S. Darlington


Vegans Are From…Venus?


Three Line Tales, Week 60

Vegans Are From…Venus?


Even though she was wearing her Vegans Are Magical t-shirt, the first date was charmed until he led her to the restaurant with its electric sign: Quality Meats.

She pointed to her shirt.

“I thought that meant, like, you were from another planet,” he said.


end 3/25/2017

S. Darlington



© A Mixed Bag

Sunday Photo Fiction⇐this is the link if you want to participate.

Thank you to Alistair at Sunday Photo Fiction as always for providing this prompt! To read more stories for this prompt, click here.



The believing claimed the image appearing on the side of Mesa Canyon portrayed the struggle of good versus evil. “It’s the end of days,” said others. The devout appeared at the canyon, kneeling toward the cliff side, praying, desiring to witness the coming. They appeared in droves.

Within days, mobile shops selling sacred items popped up alongside food trucks.

Hayley actually enjoyed the fry bread taco truck, but felt it her duty to smack her techno-geek little brother upside the head anyway. “Nice going, Brainiac.”

“Maybe I’ll do a Wookie hologram next,” he said before munching on a hot dog.


end 3/25/2017

S. Darlington


My grandpa was a firm believer in words and thoughts. He often said, “If people could think their way out of a paper bag, there would be no wars.”

What paper bags had to do with wars, I never quite knew, but for a very long time I repeated that thought mostly to my classmates who nodded solemnly as if I had spoken great wisdom. Of course, Gar Parker, my nemesis, had to ask: “What’s that mean?”

I hitched myself up to my 4’7” and looked him firmly in his freckled nose and said: “It’s self-evident.”

He laughed. “You don’t know, do you?”

I pushed him. “I do so. It’s about wars and paper bags. I said so, didn’t I?”

He laughed harder and then had the audacity to pull one of my braids. I reared back and hit him with all of my might, which hurt me, probably more than him, although he did go sprawling on his backside and I had the momentary pleasure of seeing the tallest boy in class hunkering down, momentarily, in front of me. I didn’t know what to expect, certainly not the smile that appeared as his hand slid over his cheek.

“You hit hard for a girl,” he said.

Unfortunately for me, Miss Council saw me hit Gar and marched me to the Principal Cartwright’s office.

Later that evening, grandpa said: “Do not conquer your enemies, become one with them.”

The throb in my knuckles made those words sound like very good advice indeed. “He’s not an enemy, grandpa, he’s just a boy.”

Grandpa grinned. “One of those, eh? Now that’s much more work than an enemy.”

“No kidding.”

“But soon you’ll have him eating out of your hand.”

“He’s a boy, not a dog.”

“Semantics, my dear, semantics.”


end 3/19/2017

S. Darlington



Exchange Student X

Previous installments of Exchange Student can be found here or choose the one you may have missed: I, II, III, IVV, VI, VII, VIII, IX.

I don’t know where he’s taken me. Eddie hired a taxi that drove through darkened glistening streets until it jerked to a stop in front of an elegant stone building with a wrought iron fence in front and stone walls on either side. Now I look from him to the building, uncertain.

Continue reading

Mouse’s First Training Experience



Mouse’s First Training Experience


In all seriousness, after the first day of training, I remember why I am a computer geek. It’s the thrill of sitting behind a monitor with a piping hot cup of dark roast and a Snicker’s bar, sucking in the sweet caramel and peanutty goodness while very fit men work out in the gym across the hall, and if you want a diversion, you go over and look at them sweat, their six packs gleaming. It’s not so much fun when it’s you who is sweating and wishing you too had a six pack…of beer.

No one cheerleads for me. There’s no: well done, Mouse. You’ll catch on. There’s no: it just takes practice, Mouse. There’s no: Atta girl, Mouse.

There is Tom pushing me, constantly, and me hating him, constantly (okay, that last bit’s a lie, but it’s one out of self-preservation).

“Head for the shooting range, Mouse,” he says after I’ve collapsed from my tenth push-up.

“But I just worked out.”

He raises an eyebrow. “Are you’re taking the piss?”

Now I raise an eyebrow and actually feel my face flush. “Do I smell?”

“He’s English, Mouse. They say shit like that,” Joe says, walking by with a towel slung over his shoulders.

Oddly, that doesn’t make me feel better. I continue to stare at Tom, waiting and then I actually sniff my t-shirt. I don’t smell great, but certainly not like piss.

He shakes his head. “You’d translate it to something like making a joke at my expense.”

Taking the piss, I repeat mentally. That just doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I go with it. “Would I do that?”

“Yes. Now off to the shooting range.”

“But I’m tired.”

A frown wrinkles his forehead as he considers me. “Are you hurting?”

“No, I’m tired.”

“We’ve another term: whinging. Look it up when you’re done at the shooting range.”

“Maybe I’ll take a break and look it up now,” I suggest.

He just points to the backdoor that leads to the shooting range.

I bow and then walk away. I look over my shoulder and he’s grinning. Maybe there’s hope for him yet.


end 2/13/2017

S. Darlington



Mouse Says: What Doesn’t Kill You . . .



Beginning of Mouse Tales Part II, New Horizons


Mouse Says:

What doesn’t kill you,

    can leave you pretty pissed off.


You can’t have a lukewarm reaction to betrayal. It’s not possible.

I spent three days in the infirmary, mending my body and spirit. For the first day I blubbered, alone, the sole guest at my very own pity party. The second day Tom came by. He at least looked apologetic and may have even intended to utter words to that effect if I hadn’t started throwing everything in reach at him. After he dodged the half-full water bottle, he left and Nurse Ellie came in, eyed me, and asked if I wanted something to relax me. I was beyond that. On the third day, Nick Ryder came by. He sat in the chair by my bed, stared at me a few disconcerting moments, and then shrugged.

“If you don’t want to stay with us, I totally understand. Tom’s lit into me about the plan being overkill, but I needed to know who Mark was working with on the outside and I felt justified in carrying out the mission as planned,” Nick said. “And now I also know who you are, Mary Elizabeth.”

I stared at him, poker-faced. If he thought he’d get a reaction from me, he was sadly mistaken.

He waited, still eyeing me.

I waited, chin jutting outwards.

He shook his head and smiled ruefully at me. “I’d like you to stay. If you give us a year, I’ll make sure your record is expunged and you receive a hefty increase in pay.”


“Why?” he echoed.

“Just get another computer geek. You don’t need me.”

He rubbed his fingers over his chin. “You impressed Tom. He wants you out in the field.”

I laughed in disbelief. “You’re joking.”

“His adamance surprised me. He says you know how to handle a weapon. You took hardship without grumble. He says you hacked into a motel computer in minutes. He was impressed,” Nick said. “Now if you agree, you’ve got to be trained. You might have skills but you’re going to have to get into top shape and get strong.”

“I haven’t said yes,” I reminded him.

“No, but I see something in your eyes that says you’re intrigued.”

“Maybe a little.” Maybe a lot, but I was not about to share.

He nodded. “Think about it and give me your answer.”

“You’ll get rid of my record? For real?” I asked.

He stood up. “Yes.”

He walked to the door and then turned. “One thing, Mouse. How in the hell did you acquire so much money?”

“Your research didn’t tell you?” I asked.

He shook his head.

“That’s a shame,” I said because I wasn’t about to tell. This mouse no longer shares tales.


end 2/12/2017

S. Darlington

So, You Come Here Often?


Stream of Consciousness Saturday

So You Come Here Often?

So, you come here often?” I think of saying.

No, no, no! That’s his line.

I peer at him in a way I think is stealthy but maybe not because when I look forward I see him smirking at me in the mirror behind the bartender. My face flushes. I do a mental “face-palm.” I stare at my rum and coke as if I thought it were going to grow wings and miraculously fly or sow seeds for red poppies. You never know. Well, you do. We both know THAT’S not going to happen.

Him. I know. Only because we’ve ended up here every Friday for two months. He sits there and orders an IPA, one single IPA, which I personally think tastes like drinking perfume without the nice scent. I have caught on that he’s a public defender, which is kind of cool, looking out for the poor, the trodden on, making a difference. Me, well, I like to think I’m a public defender for cats and dogs and bunnies and sometimes snakes, erg. Snakes. But snakes are creatures too. I have to keep telling myself that. I still can’t handle them well. I’ve been bitten a couple of times, fortunately by the non-poisonous varieties, but still it hurts, bad. I always think that their fangs must be akin to Dracula and then I wonder how all of those vampire-fangirls imagine that sex with a vampire is fun.

Different strokes.

I’m still focused on the rising bubbles in my glass when I think I become aware that he’s turned to me. Ha. I can pull one out of his bag of tricks and I look up at the mirror. He is looking at me. Is it because I have something on the side of my face? No. I went to the ladies’ room before I sat down. I looked fine. Or did I? Did I miss something?

“I hope you don’t think this is forward,” he begins. “But I’ve noticed you order a different cocktail each time you come in here.”

I look at him for the first time ever face to face, eyes viewing eyes and, man, his eyes. Chocolate brown, sparkling.

Am I supposed to respond to that?

We both gaze at each other.

He seems to shake himself out of some stupor. “Why?” he asks.

“Why what?”

“Why a different cocktail?”

“Because I want to try something new to see if I like it.”

He nods and then turns back toward his IPA and I feel deflated. Is that all? It that all this is going to be?

Am I going to let this go?

“Why an IPA every time?” I ask.

He grins. “Because I like it so why try something I might not like?”

My body is turned toward his on the barstool. I suddenly feel like my black mini might be a tad too mini, or maybe not. He looks over my legs. He grins as he sips his beer.

The bartender shakes his head at us. I laugh. It’s not going so well tonight.

The karaoke begins behind us. A woman sings “Imaginary Lover.”

Colin finishes his IPA, stands and put his arm around my shoulders, kisses me on the corner of my mouth. “We should get home. I only booked the babysitter for two hours.”

I kiss him full on. It’s always like the first time.

end 2/12/2017 (oops, not Saturday anymore)

Finds His Calling



Thanks to Rochelle at Friday Fictioneers for hosting. If you’d like to participate, visit here.

For more stories, visit here.

Finds His Calling

He’s a vaudevillian now, my husband; his sole prop my dinette chair. He dances around it, stands upon it, kneels before it and sings “My Mammy.”

Perhaps I could ignore it, except he’s performing in the cove as the tide sweeps back in.

He’s quite a following now. To be truthful, he’s always sung well. He wanted to be Joel Gray on Broadway in Cabaret.

I stand silent, fingers over lips, hoping our son can rescue him before my last dinette chair floats into the Atlantic.

Tonight he sings “Sentimental Journey” and soon my chair bobs and journeys away.

end 2/10/2017

S. Darlington