Designing for a discerning world #writephoto #shortstory


Sue Vincent’s weekly pciture prompt is

sue vincent cave

Design Flaws 

‘So what do we have, Jones?’

Imperia Jones dabbed away the sweat. Marvello Bronze was the ultimate demanding boss; having been hired to turn around the least successful communications business in the UK she didn’t want problems. ‘We’ve created a new set of broadcast sites that fit the latest planning criteria – these are very demanding, given the ecologically purist policies of the new Green government.’

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Guest post – The Fort by Nick Colaccino #shortstory

silhouetted trees in fogIt took quite a bit of effort, and more than a few stumbles, but I was finally able to scamper up the tree trunk. I did my best to avoid using the thoroughly rotted latter made from 2-by-4 planks of wood nailed to the wide trunk. No telling how sturdy—or tetanus-filled—those are, I thought.

On reaching the first landing I gingerly reached out with my left foot and carefully shifted more and more of my weight onto the increasingly warped plywood. Ever since we spent that summer building it in middle school, the fort had always had a haphazard feel to it. The plywood, ranging in thickness dependent on how much we felt it needed, was hastily nailed together and spanned across three trees, forming an irregular triangle. Opposite the ladder, a narrow ‘bridge’ (if you can call it that) stretched across to another platform about ten feet away. Now standing on the decrepit landing, I found it incredible that our parents had ever let us hang out here—then again, it had been a strictly ‘adult-free’ establishment.

Bits and pieces of broken wood was scattered across the landing. Looking up I saw that the make-shift plywood roof had caved in. If weather and rain could do that, what the hell am I doing standing on this thing? I worried. Despite any structural short-comings, we had thought this fort would last forever. We had built the rural Michigan equivalent of the Great Wall. I sighed as I witnessed the toll of Time on the impregnable fortress of my childhood.

But then a thought came to me, it’s still here. The fort may have grown more and more fragile with time, but it remained standing—at least strong enough for an idiot like me to reminisce upon its landing. What’s more; the fragility had come with a renewed sense of how precious this spot was. Like an ancient ruin, it held the mystique power of a bygone era. How much time had we spent playing capture the flag in these woods? Or using shovels (our parents wouldn’t give us axes) to chop down trees and build a BMX course?

This is where I kissed Jill! I suddenly remembered. My first kiss. So tenuously was that memory dangling in my mind. Like the fort, it too had become mossy and indistinct with time. The memories we made up in the trees flooded back to me. They had a rustic, aged feel like the ladder and landing. I was afraid to focus too intensely on any one in particular for fear of fall through its rotted floor. But inevitably, each memory came back to me in time: fragile yet with the same immutably precious feeling as the plywood I stood on.

It was a long time before I was ready to climb down—partly from fear of falling. Alas, the sun was setting and the darkness of night was spreading quickly throughout the forest. Carefully making my way down the ladder, I was filled with nostalgia and contentment. As I walked out of the forest, I turned one last time to look back at the fort and gaze into my past. You’re not going anywhere, are you, ol’ buddy? I smiled.

Nick ColaccinoNick is an educator and free-lance writer living in Kansai Japan. His body of work includes, travel diaries, short stories, poetry and more. His passion is adventure and collecting memories around Japan and the world. When he’s not off climbing mountains, he enjoys playing music, reading philosophy, and meditation. You can read more of his writings at or follow him on twitter @cup_o_ccino92 and instagram.

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Cave – from Jeanne at Seasons #writephoto

Reblogged from Jeanne at  Seasons: A poetic journey of a thousand miles


Walking elegance, her heart padlocked, thoughts chained.

Unearth the putrid and quiet the noise. Lying in inner turmoil, unable to move or scream, he held her closer.

A soul in need of sutures…

Continue reading here.

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Something for Nothing!!!!


Click on this image on the right for a link to get this ebook free from Kindle Saturday or Sunday only.  Please share!Book for orderI grew up in a family of competitive storytellers.  A little thing like a stubbed toe gets us started.  “Do you remember the time Grandpa cut his ingrown toenails out then fooled around and set his toe on fire?”  That is not a hypothetical example.  It’s beloved and oft-repeated tale. 

At family dinners, wild tales start as soon as we’ve said Grace and the food is being passed around.  “Remember that fifty-two pound turkey Daddy brought home to fatten for Thanksgiving on year!”

Someone else breaks in, “That old turkey was the meanest thing that ever walked!  We couldn’t even walk out in the yard without him flying over the fence and flogging us.  Mother was looking forward to him teaching those terrible Downs kids a lesson…

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Going west -a final glimpse

Wales 267

We were much later than planned leaving St Davids. All of us had a long way to go before we would be home as we had come together from the far-flung corners of the land. The weather was foul, with heavy sea-mist and rain making driving difficult so we chose the back roads instead of the motorway… it would take longer, but be less unpleasant…and we might even get a final glimpse of mountains if the fog ever lifted. And it did, just briefly, showing us places that at any other time would have  demanded that we stop. As it was, it was late into the evening and night was drawing in before we got home.


It has taken weeks for the three of us to share our impressions of the Silent Eye’s weekend workshop in Wales and even now, we have barely scratched the surface. It seems incredible that we manage to pack so much into these weekends… and yet, we do not rush, taking whatever time the place itself demands to experience it and sharing time to talk.


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Song of the Stones III… by Stuart France

HM15 723*






…I followed Kraas’ footfalls as she walked towards the stone.

Just then the moon appeared in the sky overhead and shone its half light directly onto the figure before us.

Out  shot a scrawny claw which grasped and held my wrist in its iron grip, “Has he silver?” screeched the witch of the wood.

I gasped in pain, slowly unfurling my still tightly clasped fist.

The hessian pouch lay scrunched and soggy in my sweating palm.

She snatched it up and emptied out the three hard won coins into her left hand…

Stepping to one side she hurled one silver piece in front of her, “For water,” she cried…

And one behind her, “For earth,” she cried…

And the third above, “For air,” she finished.

The coins disappeared from sight into the black night…

Continue reading the story at

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Dogs don’t get insomnia


I gave up trying to get to sleep. Again. The horrid virus that laid me low cleared up nicely, only to be replaced by another that has left me with the misery of nightly earache, along with the various other sore and swollen bits that just have to be waited out. My back is strung tighter than a violin, I ache and I was fed up of tossing and turning. After several sleelpess nights and with a non-functioning brain, I threw on the dressing gown and wandered into the jungle.

No, I’m not hallucinating… at night my living room comes to life.

It is a tiny space, and between the desk, sofa, fish tank and bookcase, the walls are fully occupied… except for the one that is almost entirely made of the glass doors into the garden. At night, as soon as the lights go on, these are covered in moths and the occasional adventurous slug, all seeking ingress through the transoms. I close the curtains to save Ani from doing her duty defending the property against invaders… It is a lot of glass from which to clean nose prints.

Beetles that have found their way in scutter across the floor as do house-spiders as big as mice. Their slightly smaller cousins populate the ceiling and the huge plectosomous prowls the tank looking like an aquatic dimetrodon.

I wonder, briefly, how my arachnophobic son ever survived living spiders 036

I spend some time explaining to Ani that she is not getting the doors opened as usual; there is obviously a hedgehog snuffling outside the door and the rest of the neighbourhood probably doesn’t want to be woken by frantic barking at stupid o’clock. She amuses herself pouncing on spiders and trying to squeeze her nose under the sofa when they escape.

There is a lot of work I need to be doing, but I can’t think straight enough. Can’t even concentrate on anything but the lightest and best known of books…. you know, the ones where you can mindlessly read several pages without taking in a word but still keep track of the story, because you’ve read it so often. I have to be up by six and, at one in the morning, I am wide awake. when I should be asleep.

Instead, I watch the creatures.

The few remaining flies have been woken by the light. They do what flies do, jerkily flying and landing wherever they can be most annoying. The spiders build webs that I will have to remove, only for them to rebuild, while the house-spiders lie in wait and pounce on unsuspecting prey. The dog pounces on anything that moves and the plec, having finished his chunk of zucchini, makes a start on the methodical nightly scouring of the algae in the aquarium; by morning the greening rocks and glass will be clean.

Everything in the house is doing what it is supposed to be doing… what it was designed to do.

fish 0821

It makes me wonder just how far humankind has strayed from its design and how many of our problems are directly attributable to the unnatural lifestyle we have created for ourselves. We wake, sleep and eat by the clock, not when our bodies tell us it is right to do so. Instead of using our voices, we use our fingertips. When the sun goes down, we switch on the lights and extend day into night. We buy ourselves time…and spend it working or assaulting our senses with stimuli… we are a long way from our natural state.

I have no answers to that one. We are caught in a trap of our own making. Like it or not, weekend or not, the alarm will sound at dawn, even if, by then, I am sound asleep. And I will obey.

For now, though, I am turning off the lights, slipping out past the dog into the garden and going to watch the stars.

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