Photo Friday: Life and Death(?), and a Flash Fiction Bonus

Rumours of my impending doom have been wildly exaggerated. This week I got the results from my twenty-four hour cardiac monitoring I've tried new strategies to curb the heart palpitations and flutterings. Nothing devastating but I do need to have further investigations. (If only I could control anxiety.) I'm working on new strategies - and I've managed five nights in a row without an episode.


Writing (and not discussing my previous career) has helped distract me from counterproductive thoughts. I've almost finished rewrites for the first (longer) short,  From the Depths, in Viola's third journal of adventures and am reworking the second story, Tomorrow, When I Die.

We've had record summer rains and everything is so green and full of life (usually everything is dry and brown this time of year).  We've had a few chill nights (huzzah!); I've even finished another octoscarf to sell at the Salisbury Secret Garden markets tomorrow afternoon.


And now for a bonus flash fiction.

The girls at the pbafm Words Out Loud radio show have a tradition. They randomly choose five words from a book of their guest for the day. The challenge is to write something, using all five words, in just ten minutes. Contributions get read out on air in the following session. On my visit on the show, the words were from John Malone's latest book of poetry, Seeing Things. The words were: red, yield, snail, piranha and Gazebo. They challenged me on the day; this was my contribution.

Enjoying the View

©2017 Karen J Carlisle

Humphrey was a fashionable snail. At least he thought he was. He'd recently taken up residence by the river. He lounged under his brand new red gazebo and surveyed the spectacular view. A wooden sign by the water shaded the yard from the midday sun. A fine crop of broccoli provided an abundant yield for his supper. Ripples glistened on the water. Perfect. He just couldn't understand why his friends hadn't joined him. Water splashed. He crawled out of the shade and edged toward the water. So cool. So inviting. Why had his friends been so concerned? Humphrey, don't go near the water, they cried. Humphrey leaned closer and touched the water. It shuddered. A large eye blinked under the surface. The piranha licked his lips, flicked his tail and swam away from the bank.
Why don't you have a go at the five word challenge? You have ten minutes to write something containing all the words: red, yield, snail, piranha and Gazebo.
This fortnight's words from my book, Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales, were: grinding, tranquil, warden, sputtered and jaundiced.
Post your stories or poems in the comments below. I'd love to see what you come up with.
Photos ©2017 Karen J Carlisle

Flash Fiction: Dagnal’s Bane.

Last night's regular D&D game inspired me to pen a flash fiction, recounting an all too common occurrence for our unfortunate dwarf.

Dagnal’s Bane © 2017 Karen J Carlisle

The stench of brimstone caught in Dagnal’s nostrils, burned her throat.  The faint crackle crept closer.

Fire giants. She licked her lips and peered into the darkness. Finally! She hefted her war axe in her hand, turned to her companions and grinned.

Moth nodded, skittered up the wall and clung to its smooth surface. An arrow dropped silently onto its rest. Tasheen remained on the ground. Her fingers slipped into her belt pouch and retrieved a fresh sprig of mistletoe.

Flames roared as the giant charged.

Dagnal’s heart raced. She gripped the axe in both hands and raised it high in the air. Mithral armour tinkled as it rippled down her arm. The air shivered and rushed over her face, tugging at her fiery braids as it ebbed away from the oncoming giant.

The giant slowed. Its fire sputtered.

Dagnal strode forward as the braid settled onto her back.

The giant’s flame withered; its skin faded to ash. Its eyes widened.

Dagnal’s axe swung through the air.

Three arrows whistled past her ear, sinking into the giant's arm and chest and forehead. It halted mid-step. Blood trickled down its forehead.

The axe sliced through the now vacant space and trailed her toppling quarry to the ground. Both shuddered at they hit stone.

Dagnal sucked in a breath. The axe scraped on stone. She roared with frustration. The giant was dead. She glared at her companions. And not by her hand.


Escaping Reality.

I've been putting off writing today's blog post. So much has happened over the past week. My mind is still reeling. There's been a lot of contemplation on serious and soul-searching subjects. We need a reprieve.

On Friday, I posted photographs of my garden. I needed cheering up. Today, I just wanted to post pictures of lovable fluffy kittens and puppies to cheer everyone else up.

I thought of writing about how social media and celebrity has fashioned our mindset and is taking over our lives, even to the point the US now has a 'media celebrity' as their Presidential-elect. But that resulted in frustration and more anxiety.

I thought about writing a post on how the state of political and economical affairs of the world influence the type of books we read and movies we watch. In the post war-Depression, musicals helped people escape. In the 70s we escaped with Star Wars. In the high-flying early 80s, we preferred realism, like Kramer vs Kramer. In more recent times of instability, we have returned to fantasy movies and books, as the popularity of vampire novels and superhero movies attest. As the economy continues to slide, the popularity of dystopian fantasy/science fiction is waning. It it because it seems too close to our potential future?

We need escapism. We need a hero, like The Doctor or Wonder Woman. We don't need to be reminded of real life.

We know what that's like.

I reached for another square of chocolate. All gone. My back muscles tensed. No, instead, I'll repost a very short fantasy story - a 100-word challenge I wrote back in 2013. A whimsical one. We could all use a little whimsy in our lives right now. (And I ended up posting about cats any way.)


by Karen Carlisle. © 2013

“That damned cat!” There was a blur of black under Mum’s feet. “It just appears out of nowhere.” Binky now sat cleaning himself. Watching. “He is always watching,” she said as she rubbed her ankle. “No doubt, smiling at his handiwork.” She glanced in his direction. The spot was now vacant. “See! Maybe he has gone off to report back to the alien mothership?” Mum grinned mischievously. I found Binky in my bedroom, staring into the air and mewing. The air shimmered before him, revealing a feline hologram that listened intently. It disappeared. I gasped. Binky winked. “Ssh, our secret.”


Hugs to you all.