Words One Hundred

stories in one hundred words


Atonement consumed Veena when Leo found her lacking. In his dissatisfaction, her world lost color, flattened, dimmed. This was her love.

Xander relished Veena’s light, holding himself open to it whenever she shivered in Leo’s ice, reflecting back her glinting colors before her lover’s darkness eclipsed them.

She recognized the warmth in Xander’s eyes, pure, unyielding, ready to be more, but her hesitation was a force forged in fear.

When, at last, he spoke the words, “I love you,” Veena tried harder.

She disentangled her strength, remade herself, this time emerging without nature at the lead. Acceptance guided this birth.


Jasmine’s First Sandwich

Photo by Re Harris

Photo by Re Harris

Eleven-month-old Jasmine, even without teeth, loved peanut butter and jam sandwiches as much as I did. I fed her milk-soaked spoonfuls. We were lucky she wasn’t allergic.

When I fed her, she tapped her highchair tray and hummed. One day, she thought I took too long. She yelled for more. I rewarded three impatient shouts, then said, “No. Say ‘more please.’”

Looking quizzical, she studied me, then straightened in her chair and labored over the words, “Mo-ay pee-ehz,” with new light in her eyes.

I smiled. “That’s right.”

She continued her reverie, pausing at intervals to practice her new skill.


Abstract Pointillism

Photo by Ré Harris

Photo by Ré Harris


Perhaps this exercise should be disregarded.
It may prove to be pointless,
yet it works for me:

petals of baby’s breath
wayward strands
stoneground corn
sweet teeth
multicolor foil snowflakes, tossed (the kaleidoscope kind)
lipstick kisses
tiny, naked pores
the spaces interspersing fur
quarter carat gems on whatever carat gold

but surely it is pointless

chocolate cupcake crumbs
nutmeg, dusted
iron, rusted
sanded bits of stone
9 point black letters on white
speckles of yellow batter, spattered

Is this too much in my head? Senseless?

blue crayon dots
leopard spots
petite peas
silhouettes of ladybugs
sequins in pastels (Yes!)
paintbrush-painted spots–
my interpretation.

The prompt was “but surely it is pointless” from Julia’s Place.



The Dark

photo by Ré Harris


The blackness just enveloped me.

Yesterday had brightened by its end, pulsing with promises of daybreak and scent: shafts of sunlight bolting through doors, sweet peony and honeysuckle, on gentle wind, twining around my morning cup. Yesterday’s midnight dark hung radiant with half-moon and pinprick pictures in starlit sky. No hint of today’s siege and my restless retreat.

I dreamt of vigor, inventing machines as I slept, thrilling myself until I woke again swallowed by the brutal dark.

I’m drifting again inside this airless brane hoping I wake tomorrow outside it, or with claws to rip through the boundary between this place and light.

From the prompt: “…the blackness just enveloped me…” from, Julia’s Place.

The Wait

christmas lights

Photo by sciondriver

Outside, holiday face prepared
for beloved family,
I swallowed uncertainty and its shadows complete,
the keening corners and darkened glimpses of hope
fighting my gullet
before new acquaintances inside embraced my presence
and ‘being with’ eased like a cure

— the company of people
speaking thoughts
voices crossing in warmth between us
mine flawed as always, but present —
a fleeting cure.

The memory came home with me
hangs there now,
but the future presses
shouting “go faster, love more”
and I sleep hard
fatigued by merry brightness
and heaviness as my muscles strain to hold everything —
everything escaping —
shouts, whispers, screams


Photo by Ré Harris

Her husband’s head rested on her lap as he recounted how it felt to stop loving her. “I keep forgetting,” he said, choking her, burying her, though he was earnest. “Why do I forget?” The polarity of this push and pull amazed him.

Eyes averting, her hands shrank from him.

He felt possibility again, smiling. “We can change our lives. We need to make plans.”

Catching sight of the tender touch of his palm to his chest, a gesture echoing the nature of his love for her, she receded, listening to his dreams about their future because she couldn’t scream.



Photo by jeffreyw via Flickr

“Use high quality chocolate, butter, vanilla. Bake them less so they’re very moist – not until the pick’s completely clean, like cake.”

“Thanks, Nina.”

“Sure. People hoard signature recipes, but these’re simple brownies, and I want my son to have what he’s used to. Now – the unexpected. Half the people never guess …”

Siobhan’s eyes grew wide.

“A fat pinch of red pepper.”

Siobhan scribbled it down, beaming.

“Tame for you, I suppose. Not like ‘eye of newt’ or ‘frog’s wart’!”

Siobhan tensed. “Wiccans eat like everyone else, Nina.”

“Oh. I wouldn’t know.”

At those times, Siobhan wished she did do spells.

The prompt was to “create a recipe of a dish fit for a witch – from Julia.

Paper and Ink Prayer

winter landscape

Winter Landscape Photo by David Blackwell via Flickr

Spring promised,
summer whispered heat, hammerlike.
Autumn focuses my fear,
and winter will bring words –
fever committed to lines.

Let me show mercy as they fall,
icy spatters dotting pages,
and wanting,
wanting to live.

Help me roam the paths I hew,
smoothing unintended spikes
and rough stones that threaten farther
than expression and flow.
Let me refine that which splinters the faith of those
searching my words for intention, honoring me.
I cannot serve without trudging backward.

Which bloom should remain unbridled?
Which would do better perched against a sharp edge,
or sliced?
I bid perseverance
as winter’s chill cuts draw near.

The prompt was, “and winter will bring,” from Julia.

At Marybeth’s for Tea

tea time

Photo by Violette79 via Flickr

“It can’t be … that time he was introduced at brunch, everyone favored their match. They were so perfect.”

My sister had missed how her daughter turned away each time he’d mentioned his desires for their future. “Marybeth,” I tried gentleness, “there’re other considerations besides family position and wealth.” I sipped my tea.

She looked askance. “How surprising from you who surely knows the folly of such thinking. How are your poor children this cold winter?”

I emptied the tray of strawberry biscuits into napkins, gathering them closed and leaving as she gasped.

My children would savor them more than Marybeth. She wouldn’t understand that either.

The prompt was, “it can’t be that time” — from Julia.

Hidden at the Edge – Part Two

Photo by Ré Harris


Older Mum kindly requested more, and since a stubborn comforter is taking too long to dry and keeping me up, I’ve obliged her. Ask and you shall receive.


Vince’s pause before saying, “Now what?” said he’d caught on to his lack of diligence. Could’ve been cornered before he remembered to check another direction.

“What’s the point of the gorge at the back and only two ways in? Why take watch, if daydreaming’s all you’ll do?”

He cocked his piece at the window with the mountain view, before tossing a whispered yell. “Shut up.”

I let it go.

I woke with another headache for sure – Vince. Not sharp, but damn if his neck didn’t smell like clover sometimes.

Billy approached behind bushes, pistol in hand, rifle slung. I eased the window up and aimed.

The prompt was, “I woke with another headache,” from Julia.

Hidden at the Edge

Photo by Ré Harris

This one has become a longer story. If this first part catches your interest and you find yourself wanting more, you can read the complete version here.

With trouble hot on our trail, I woke with another headache. Vince gazed out at the mountains like he was thinking of another woman.

“You want to fend for yourself?” I said, checking the gun under my pillow.

“What’s your problem?”

I raked fingers through my hair, staring at the latch on the door while cold wind blew through the cabin and grabbed me under the threadbare blanket. I rose, fully dressed, holding my gun.

“You’re always upset about something,” he said.

“And you hate women with brains.” Light reflected outside the other window as I crept closer to it. “Too bad you need ’em.”

The prompt was, “I woke with another headache,” from Julia.