Life sentence

for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Photo prompt courtesy of Bradley Harris

Life sentence

Good riddance, Thomas’s so-called friends had said when the judge pronounced sentence. Too foolhardy—nearly got us all nabbed. 

And now here he was, as far from cool, green Smugglers’ Cove as it was possible to be: Port Jackson, the steamy, insect-infested convict colony where he would end his days.

Some planned to escape; in such a huge, empty country, the odds were good, they argued. Thomas was tempted to take the risk.

Then he heard that more ships were due, bearing a cargo of female convicts: wives, to tame and civilise the felons.

Thomas considered his options.


If you’d like to know a little more about the efforts of the colonial authorities to adjust the gender balance and turn the mostly male convict settlement at Port Jackson into a viable colony, here is a short article from Wikipedia.


for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Photo prompt courtesy of Brenda Cox.


The locals hurry past him, oblivious, headed for booths stacked with local produce.

The artist has occupied the same spot since the market opened in this crowded embassy district, with its steady supply of foreigners who stop, admire and often buy. 

It’s a good living. He’s sold to some important people. Word has spread: his talents are excellent, his fee reasonable; he’s discreet.

Observe now: a dark-suited man approaches, bends, whispers, gestures toward the display. Our artist hands over a painting and shuffles the others into a new arrangement.

In a high window opposite – a camera flash. Another transaction completed.


Patrick’s Theory

Photo prompt courtesy of Penny Gadd.

Patrick’s Theory

‘You can laugh, but here’s proof.’

I hated to admit he was right, but Patrick’s experiment was working: two garden beds, one lavished with love, the other merely watered and fertilised. The difference was remarkable.

Patrick was delighted – he doted on his ‘lovelies’, stroking their branches, murmuring soft words. He spent whole nights with his arms entwined in dangling foliage, his face pressed into spongy mulch.

Enough was enough. I needed some of that affection. I stormed outside, hedge-trimmer ready, then froze. There was Patrick, delicate green fronds shooting from his fingertips, his legs furrowed, woody, rooted in soft soil.


Another story for Friday Fictioneers. Thanks once more to Rochelle for hosting the weekly link-up. You can read all the other hundred word stories here.

Natural Justice

Photo prompt courtesy of Sandra Crook

Natural Justice

Nellie settled into a corner seat, tucked her suitcase away, and wrapped her cloak against the pre-dawn chill, wincing as she felt the bruise where Annie had pinched her arm yet again.

Well, Annie could find another kitchen maid to bully now. Nellie smiled, imagining the ruckus as they discovered the fires unlit, the breakfast table not laid. 

She imagined Annie’s horror when she found her secret treasure gone from under her mattress – all the pennies filched from the master’s trouser pockets as she washed and pressed them. 

The whistle sounded, the train chugged away, and Nellie was free.


For Friday Fictioneers, kindly hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

I introduced the household Nellie’s escaping from a few weeks ago. If you’d like to revisit that story, you’ll find it here.

Tower thoughts – 18 May 1536

Photo prompt by Roger Bultot

Tower thoughts – 18 May 1536

The morning sun warms my face. One last day to ready myself and I’m grieving that I must leave just as Summer approaches. Some might say I’ve basked in more than my share of sunshine. Perhaps so.

Oh yes, I have regrets—that I trusted one who had so clearly demonstrated his duplicity; that I must now submit meekly to this outrageous betrayal, for her sake.

Only she matters now. Who will protect her? Who will show my little Elizabeth how to survive in this dangerous, fickle world? 

But I must resist such thoughts. They will bring me undone.


This is my contribution to this week’s Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle. You can read all of this week’s 100 word stories here.


I don’t often attempt to write historical fiction, although I’m fascinated by the stories behind the stories – the real motivations and attitudes behind the words and actions of people in the past; the unrecorded realities which can only be addressed in fiction.

In my own reading I’m a fan of alternative histories, stories that imagine ‘what if …?’ What if some historical event, large or small, had played out differently? What would the world be like?

If you’d like to read some background to my story this week, here’s a short article.


Here is my 100 word story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers link-up, hosted by Rochelle. Read the stories by other contributors here.

Photo by Ted Strutz


Chester winced at the name of the show, and smirked when she gave him a rundown of the storyline. He meant to say ‘Er, no thanks,’ when she offered him a ticket, but her eyes were so bright, her dancer’s legs so long.

He sat near an exit – planning to slip out to the bar once he’d seen enough to pad out conversation.

He wasn’t at all ready for the ocean of sound and movement that pinned him to his seat.

‘You ok?’ she asked when she joined him afterwards. ‘You look pale.’

‘Sure,’ grunted Chester. ‘Just need a moment.’


Have you seen this woman?

Photo prompt by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I’ve done it. I think I’ve remembered everything. I hope so – travelling with a baby’s tricky.

I pace the departure lounge. Yes, I feel guilty. I want to apologise as I try to quieten her. They’re all hoping they’re not sitting near us. I sense them whispering, but I try to ignore it. 

Five minutes before boarding I see them arrive. There’s still time. The terminal’s crowded – they can’t see me. 

I sit behind a large pillar, cover her face, pray that she’ll stop crying.

If they make it in here with that photo they’re showing around, I’m done for.


This is for Friday Fictioneers, once again. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting and for this week’s photo. Click here to read all the other 100 word stories.

Sir Robert’s pockets

Sir Robert was a vey important man. Annie would hear muffled conversations from his library, and sometimes shouting voices. Occasionally there were ladies, and tears. 

‘Sir Robert deals with weighty matters,’ explained Mrs Jervis, the housekeeper, when Annie asked. ‘You keep your mind on your job and don’t ask questions that don’t concern you.’

Annie knew her place. Her job was to launder and iron Sir Robert’s shirts and trousers. Annie didn’t complain. Sir Robert’s pockets were deep, and he never checked them properly.

Tucked safely under her mattress, Annie’s growing coin collection was itself becoming quite a weighty matter.


Here is my (very late) 100 word story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the weekly link-up, and to Valerie J. Barrett for this week’s photo prompt.

Finishing touches

Photo prompt by C.E. Ayr

Sharon stood back to get a better perspective. Yes, she’d enhanced the photo a little – added a warmer tint, erased some surface cracks, but surely any interested party would be willing to look beyond the tired exterior. The framework was sturdy; just creaked a little when the weather changed.

Nevertheless, Sharon decided she had time for a few cosmetic touches – a blush of terra cotta, some sky blue highlights – subtle, nothing garish.

He’d be here at 5. Sharon poured two drinks, re-checked her makeup and studied his photo again. So handsome – she just knew this was the one.


Another hundred word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.


Photo prompt by Susan Eames

He should have kept his distance. Objectivity was vital and here he was crying like a fool.

It had started so well. Joe was certain they’d realise what was happening and self-correct; surely the survival instinct was enough. He’d based the whole project on that one assumption.

“It’ll never work,” the naysayers predicted. “Trust us; we’ve been there.”

Joe took a moment to absorb the colours, the textures, the surge of the waves, the birdcalls, then tapped a code onto his screen. 

24 hours to vacate. Then start again. Next time he’d intervene before they stood on two legs.


This is my story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.