Daily Post One Word Prompt – Artificial 10-23-2016


The artificial feel of the grass was the first clue she and I might not be right for each other. That and, oh, whole bunches of other things. Not like it was a very good time to be harboring such thoughts, not with her all gussied up and ready to step out of the house on her father’s arm.

How the hell did I get myself into these messes? And how the hell was I going to get out of this one?  Holy heck on a stick.

I looked around as all the guests settled into the chairs lined up in her parents back yard, flowers and crepe paper and crap all over the place. And fricking lilies.

No wonder I couldn’t stop sneezing.  As long as her father didn’t come out with a shot-gun, I guess lilies weren’t so bad after all. Maybe I’d just swell up in an allergic reactions and, in the confusion, roll myself right out of here and beyond.

I glanced at the men stationed by the gates, guns in hand.  What could I do but smile and wave? Neither action was returned. Bad. Very bad.

I know you are probably thinking I was an idiot to get into this situations, but I never knew any of this crap about her father and….. friends. Not until too late, that is.

The music started and she stepped out the sliding door, father beaming at her side. His eyes met mine and I grinned like an idiot, running through the limited choices available to me. Get married and live. Refuse and die. Humph.

Bet even you know the answer to that one.

I wonder how much it would cost for a divorce?

Friday Fictioneers 5-27-2016



Barriers are funny things. They stand between us and  our desires, but often we don’t see them, don’t recognize them for the walls they are. I used to let barriers hold me back, fence me in, close my world into the tiny speck they wanted me to be, but no longer. Standing on the rocks, staring out to sea, I saw those very rocks for what they were, knew all I needed to do was step carefully down and be free. But how hard the first step?

Like crossing a rainbow without knowing where to begin, where sun-dappled light kisses the ground. Rainbows are tangent things and just as hard broken.

Stepping onto the shimmering road, I walked away.

Daily Post One Word Prompt – Hope


The Midnight Hour, Part 4

He’d stood over a lot of bodies in his life; kids, adults and anything in between. Being a detective in Chicago brought one face to face with the dead on a daily basis. He’d moved here to raise his daughter in a safer place, but was anyplace really safe?  Long as human scuffed in the dirt, folks were going to die.

But like this? Stupid kids. And by kids he meant anybody under twenty-five. Maybe, after tonight, thirty.

Their whole lives in front of them. What a waste.

He knelt by the body, using his pen to look under and around Mark’s neck. Broken hitting the big-ass rock. Why did kids hang around places like this? Drugs, sex? Why didn’t they learn? Only last year, his deputy had fallen down this hill, but he was alive. Just a matter of inches alive, but alive.

Accident or deliberate?

He looked up. Wish I could, wish I might. He’d given up wishing on stars a long time ago.

He’d have to bring in Mary, hoping for a truth he knew didn’t exist. She hung with Mark and that delinquent, Bobby.  Better bring in Bobby, too. He had to put suspicion anywhere it would be with Bobby. The boy was bad, had always been bad. Then again, apples didn’t fall far from the tree. Look at his old man. Beat the shit out of the kid until Bobby got old enough to hit back.

He wasn’t a whitewasher. He was a good cop, a solid cop. He’d never taken a bribe or thrown a case or planted evidence, but if it came down to Bobby or Mary, his baby girl was not going to jail. She wasn’t even going to be involved. She had a life to be ruined.

Damn daughters and their teen-age heart breaks. In love with both boys for different reason. Had them fighting over her. A disaster in the making, but he’d done nothing. It was different in your own house. If his wife had still been alive thing might have been different, but she wasn’t. Her death the only one he could neither solve nor prevent.

He nodded for the Coroner and rose, stepping away from the body. Began the long climb back up the hill as his Deputies searched the top for clues.

Moving to the back of his car, he popped the trunk and pulled back the carpet, holding it up with a shoulder. Reaching into a bag, he pulled out a cigarette butt. He’d started the stash when Mary started dating Bobby Wymith, knowing  – without admitting he’d ever cross that line – he would need it one day.

But could he cross that line? Crossing meant he was a bad cop, or did it?  Was he framing or making sure justice was served?

Dropping the butt into the pocket of his jacket, he moved just beyond the perimeter of the search, listening to the reports. Trash bagged but it would be useless. Scuffed footprints and tire tracks; useless.

He reached into his pocket, fingering the cigarette butt before pulling it out.

Far in the distance, the whine of a siren startled the night. His fingers opened.



Friday Fictioneers 4-8-2016




PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll


The old mill stood abandoned. Lifeless. Bereft.

I wondered how anyone could love a building with a dead heart. Once full of sound and motion and life, empty. Hours spent playing in the milling room, chasing butterflies along the river, finding tiny life in every crumble of dirt. Mom and Pops were alive then. Mills were important then. Now, not so much, at least an old, broken, water-mill.


“Mr Hardy?”

I turned, accepting the pen and paper.  Scrawled my name large and loud.


Finally coming home.