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

For more stories, visit here.



I was eleven when I kept my first secret.

I thought Adrienne, who lived in the mansion, was a beautiful, golden princess.

I saw her the day she crawled through the gap in the fence, carrying a knapsack, her blonde hair a halo.

“You can’t tell anyone you saw me,” she said. “It’s our secret.”

She darted through the woods and into a rusted red pickup. The driver looked at me, his gaze burning me with frost. He pressed his forefinger to his lips.

Fear pervaded my dreams. The princess screamed.

Her body was found a week later.


end 3/22/2017

S. Darlington


A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme Reveal!




So really, life isn’t crazy enough.

Why not add on a 5th or 6th commitment to April?

I will be taking part in the A-Z Blogging Challenge starting on April 1.

I will write a flash fiction piece centered around an emotion—emotions A-Z.


I will also be adding two more hours to each day.

“I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Girl”

If thoughts are as bad as deeds, then Leah knows she’s karmically going to a really bad place.

Ever since Tony yelled viciously at the children, making Nellie cry body-racking sobs, she’s considered ways to leave him . . . or kill him.

But he’s constantly around, claiming to work from home. He doesn’t trust her. He thinks she’s going to run off with some man. What man? A bloke at the shop?

He watches her all the time, checks her mobile, even hacked into her email. He labels her best friend, Jane, a lesbo because Jane doesn’t react to his “charms.” Did he have some once? He must have. Once. Or she wouldn’t be here.

“Babe, fry me some mushrooms,” he says.

She almost says “no” because neither she nor the children like them. And, then she remembers the article warning about the deathcap mushrooms.


end 3/20/2017

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


French Connection


photo by Clem Onojehungo via Unsplash

Three Line Tales, Week 56

French Connection


In the only picture we have of her, Great Uncle Bob’s French wife, Camille, leans against a rusted Chevy pick-up, her eyes staring into the distance, her lips pursed, seeming far away and unhappy.

“A traitor,” Aunt Daphne said flicking her finger at the photo. “She consorted with the damn Germans and betrayed her townspeople.”

At seven, the words “consort” and “betray” were as foreign to me as the distaste in her mouth, so I said the only thing I could relate to: “My best friend, Kira, is damn German and she talks funny but her mommy bakes nice cookies.”

end 2/25/2017 (100 words)

S. Darlington


I Know So



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

For more stories, visit here.

I Know So

Two years ago, two towns over, we helped with clean-up. You think you’re picking up trash until you realize it’s a girl’s dolly or photographs or a cheap guitar priceless to its owner.

The tornado’s passed. Jake and the girls bound from the cellar followed by Loki. I know the house is gone. I know the yard will be strewn with bits. We’re not rich, but those are just things. My family, my dog, and my neighbors I can’t replace.

I step outside, the air smells of petrichor. Jake embraces me.

“It’ll be alright.”

I squeeze him; I know so.


end 2/19/2017

S. Darlington

Concession and Compromise-Sunday Photo Fiction


© 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.

Concession and Compromise

Twelve years ago, two people seconds from splitting, a broken condom, oxygen siphoned from a room.

“Go,” she told him.

He’d been itching to go for weeks, get back to auditioning. She’d been a nice diversion, but it was time.

She thought of keeping secrets, but feeling her body change, changed her.

He landed a role in a revival of a Sam Shepard play.

She called.

He visited, pressed his palm against her belly, felt a kick.

He went to work, playing a cowboy, dispensing wisdom in someone else’s words. When he spoke, “…his face changes. It becomes his father’s face.” He almost stumbled over the monologue, thinking her face could be his face.

He bought a dragon mobile from a craftswoman on the street because he’d read that they symbolized strength and fortitude. Maybe he could bring that to his daughter. Maybe he could be someone she would admire. Maybe he could finally like himself.

She felt huge, embarrassed to have this boy/now man see her fat ankles, but his face, his eyes were like entities she’d never seen before.

He was so proud of the dragon. She found it off-putting, but hung it anyway. Concession.


end 2/19/2017

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)