Conspiracy — FFfAW Challenge – 174

Title:  Conspiracy
Source: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Word count:   155 words

I tell no one how I became the mistress of the Marchese Di Felecia. Or rather, I never tell them the truth. The truth is a series of coincidences that when put together seem unbelievable. If I hadn’t lived it, I wouldn’t believe it either. Being the Marchese’s mistress is why I am on the street today. I am the keeper of secrets, both my own and others. They are my power base and one reason the Marchese loves me. I pull the coarse scarf closer around my face, hoping to remain invisible. I do not knock at the blue door, but enter and head upstairs where my mother waits.

“Is the Marchesa with us?” she asks.

“Yes, my half-sister received the messages.  When the Marchese’s forces attack, our father will die. With no male heir, his territory will pass to the Marchese.”

“Does she suspect?”

“No Mother, and we need her alive.”

“For now.”


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Working With the Muse

I can’t put it off any longer. I waited all day, but inspiration never hit. Resigned, I sit at the desk flip open the laptop and open another Word document. I am at the point where I need to write something, anything to honor my commitment. I stare at the blank page and try to type. Words appear on the screen. Words I write and delete and re-write. Ten minutes later I have a whopping seventy words starting back at me.

I sigh. I will be here all night. Someone else sighs in the empty room. She is here, reading over my shoulder.

“Um, I’m writing here.”

“Ha! You call that writing? Oh, before you get all indignant with me.  Yes, you could call it writing, but it is far from good. I know, I know. You are trying. And you know how much I hate it when you beg. So, do you want my help?”

“Yes, please?”

“Great! Well! We are not writing that skatá. Open a new document. A new document. A new document. Please.”

I watch as she spins around the room, her robes billowing behind her as she sings the words at me. She drops into the wingback chair, drapes a naked leg over the arm and peers back at me.

“Well?” she asks.

“Word says ‘Not Responding’ and the little curser thingy is spinning.”

“Word is talking to you, darling, Not me,” she says as she waves a hand in my general direction and document number thirteen opens.


“Fabulous, darling, now we begin.”

She dictates, and I type. I throw in an occasional suggestion and sometimes she smiles and tells me to write. Time does not exist but the words accumulate. I read it back and check for my “clumsy mistakes”.

“This is good,” I say when I finish reading.

“Yes, it is. You are not dealing with an amateur,”  she says and dramatically flips her scarf over her shoulder.

“Would you mind helping me with the other piece?” I asked without looking at her. I am too busy hitting the save button.

“What? That wretched thing you were mangling?”

“Well, yes. If you could just give me a few pointers?”

She puffs her cheeks and lets the air out with a pop.

“I am too good to you.”

“I know.”

“What are you trying to say?” she asks.

With that bit of urging it spews, and I discover, to my horror, that I have a bad case of verbal diarrhea.

“Cut it out, cut it out,” she says bouncing up and down behind my chair and pointing at my screen.

“Sorry, is it that bad?”

“No, no, no.  Cut out the part there and write what you said.”

And we are off again. And once again I re-read and hit save. It is amazing what I accomplish when she is present.

“Are we finished?” she asks as she places both hands in the small of her back and leans backward.

“For tonight.”

“Oh, wonderful. Any peeled grapes for me darling?”

“Ah, no?”

“Pity. The day job is such a grind,” she says and walks over to the couch.

“You realize it is midnight?”

“So, I do a little moonlighting,” she says as she snuggles into the cushions and pulls the throw over her, “but only for the brightest and most promising.”

“I bet you say that to all your devotees.”

She gives me half a smile and taps her right index finger twice on her temple.

“Same time tomorrow?”

There is no response. The couch is empty, and I smile at the crumpled throw.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Eldorado –3 Line Tales, Week 128

From Sonya’s 3LineTales at Only100Words.
You can find the original prompt here. Thank you, Sonya.

photo by Sharon McCutcheon via Skillshare

The quest for Eldorado worn for all to see with destiny a foregone realization.
Hypnotized by lust for gold and glitter, desire soon became her master.
Weary worn the quest lead home to the dark wave Shadow Valley.

Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer

George Collette’s Round Barn

Photo credit: farmalldanzil on VisualHunt / CC BY

When I was growing up, everyone had a barn. Course back then everyone lived on a farm that’s just the way it was. Barns told a story, like how well your farm was producing and what kind of farmer you were. Mostly though they were the kind of barns you imagine when people talk about barns. There was one fella whose barn everyone knew cause it weren’t like any of the others.

George Collette’s place was just east of the old Main Highway and Meridian Road. I knew him as Mr. Collette back then. I was only a kid, and us kids didn’t go calling adults by their first names lessen we wanted a whooping. Well, Mr. Collette was a man of efficiency as he would tell anyone who would listen, and the most labor-saving of barns was a round barn. You heard right, a round barn.

He didn’t need much prodding to get him to recount the reasoning behind his decision to build a round barn. Seems some fellas over at the University, that’d be the University of Illinois, had built round barns as part of their Agricultural Experiment Stations. Mr. Collette had visited the University and one barn, the Dairy Experiment Barn had impressed him enough so as to inspire him to build one for himself.

The barn boasted a silo in the middle to make it easier to feed the dairy cows. That along with other efficiencies, he said lead to greater milk productivity. He was also quick to mention he housed fifty purebred Holstein cows in his revolutionary barn. The Holstein was the premier breed for milk production. Centuries of breeding developed an animal with the exact characteristics needed to obtain optimal milk production from a dairy animal. He could go on for hours.

But progress moved us forward and people don’t live on farms or have barns or worry over breeds of dairy animals. I grew up and George and I were right friendly. He’s gone now nearly twenty years. Every now and again I get out just east of the old Main Highway and Meridian Road. His barn is still there, and it don’t look all that bad. Some fancy city folks came out and hung a plaque on it. It is now on some list of “Historic Places”. I don’t know much about history, to me, it was just the way we lived.

For more information on Round Barns click here.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Childish Antics — Friday Fictioneers July 13

Title: Childish Antics
Source:  Friday Fictioneers sponsored by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple
Word count: 100 words


Dale fumbled with his backpack and the tumbler of hot coffee as he tried to lock the front door while the agenda for the day scrolled through his head. He turned and stopped dead in his tracks.

“What the hell?”

Dale stared at the masked man wearing a blood-stained lab coat, locked in a roller cage wrapped in crime scene tape and Halloween cobwebs.


The masked man nodded.

“Isn’t it a little early for Halloween?”

This time his head shook.

“You okay?”

Another nod answered him.

“Great cause I don’t have time for your antics. I’m late for work.”



Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Gut Instinct – FFfPP 28

Title:  Gut Instinct
Word count:  200 words

flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo

Kate boarded the plane, first one on, aisle seat behind first class. It gave her the opportunity to view the passengers as they boarded. Two caught her attention, a man Caucasian approximately sixty and a woman mid-twenties, Asian. The woman seemed groggy. Kate speculated it was drugs. They took their seats, row eight. The woman sat next to the window and soon fell asleep.

She waited until they were in the air to check with the flight attendant. The names she gave Kate came back clean when she keyed them into her laptop. Kate didn’t buy it, so she grabbed her cell phone and snapped two pictures on her way to the bathroom. Facial recognition software gave her an answer, and she notified the authorities in Rome.

Nine hours later, Kate shadowed them as they entered the terminal. She nodded, and the officers of the Guardia di Finanza set up to intercept the pair. The report Kate read stated the woman had disappeared three weeks ago from her job in the IT department of a Swiss bank. They suspected the man of multiple counts of money laundering and international bank fraud. His bags contained enough evidence to guarantee a conviction.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Legacy — 100WW 79

Title:  Legacy
Source:  100 Word Wednesday: Week 79
Word count: 100 words

Image by Bikurgurl

Meg’s obsession began when she was a little girl. Her grandma had made clothes for Meg from the time she was a baby. She taught Meg how to sew clothes and blankets for her dolls. Meg loved the times they sewed together. She cherished those memories.

Those were the memories she wanted to recreate and the reason she opened her shop. Once a month she held free classes for young girls, recruiting her friends to help. These days they made cell and tablet covers and cosmetic bags, but that didn’t matter. The girls and their mentors were making lifelong friends.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

For All Time — FFfAW Challenge 173

Title:  For All Time
Source: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Word count:   160 words

This week’s photo prompt is provided by wildverbs. Thank you wildverbs for our photo prompt!

Riina and Alex met at Riina’s cousin’s wedding. Alex was the best man and Riina’s cousin Meg made sure they spent lots of time together. Riina was embarrassed but Alex said it would be a great story to tell their kids. Riina couldn’t wait for the wedding to end.

After the wedding, Alex attended all the family events ignoring Riina. He made himself useful, running errands, picking up ice, or taking one of the old aunts home. He set up and organized the backyard volleyball games and helped clean when everyone left. Riina fell in love.

They dated, spent time together, planned their lives together. The family celebrated the wedding announcement and looked forward to the big day. It was only a cough, but the doctors deemed it terminal. The wedding went on as planned; the joy tainted with sorrow. Riina didn’t want the wedding to end.

They exited the church, the doves released, and Riina’s heart flew with them.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer


The Air BNB listing said it was close to the city center, clean, one bedroom, a kitchenette, a bath and a lounge. And it was cheap. I submitted the deposit confirming the three-month booking. On the flight, I slept, it kept me from thinking. From the airport, I boarded a train that whisked me to the small mountain town. My bag bumped across the cobbles as I followed the directions on my phone.

He met me with the keys and walked me up to the second floor. He gave me the Wi-Fi password and said I should call him if I needed anything. The rental was exactly as advertised. He was nice, but I couldn’t wait for him to leave. The door shut behind him and I listened to his footsteps carry him downstairs and onto the street. The breath I had been holding since before I boarded the plane escaped and I collapsed on the left side of the couch. I ran my fingers through my hair and wondered if I would really do this.

I had come this far. Reaching under the couch, I felt along the frame until I found the gun.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Fixer Upper

I wanted to punch Alastor and make him shut up. But, I had almost wrestled my prized possession from the garbage bin. One more good yank should do it. With both hands, I grabbed the red metal, braced my feet against the bin and pulled. The garbage bags tore, spewing their contents everywhere as I felt myself flying backward, holding tight to my prize.

I hit the ground, hard, knocking the air from my lungs, before my tricycle landed on me. I heard Alastor laughing, heckling me, calling me a “dumb ass”. He stood, pointing, slapping his leg as he doubled over, braying at me. My lungs filled with air, I gasped and struggled to sit.

Embedded in my palms were pebbles from the gravel alley. I tried to brush them away and realized I had tears in my eyes. Alastor wasn’t going to see me cry. Determined to complete my task, I brushed at the remaining pebbles and wiped my eyes. Standing wasn’t easy, it required kicking and pushing my bike with all the force I could muster.

I looked at my bike. It had been shiny and new when Santa brought it and I couldn’t wait to ride it. Christmas morning, I had stroked the sparkly red streamers attached to the handlebar, letting them slide through my fingers. Now one was missing. My bike looked like it belonged in the garbage. Alastor had broken one back wheel, bent the front rim and scratched the red paint. I wanted to beat Alastor until his face looked like my bike.

Instead, I grabbed the detached wheel and pushed and rolled and dragged my bike to the porch. The gear I needed was already there, waiting. Tank who lived two doors away rode a really big bike, a motorcycle that thundered and shook the pictures on the walls when he went by. Every night when he got home he chained his bike to his front porch, and that is what I planned to do. I threaded the chain through the front tire spokes and around the post, locked the padlock and put the key in my pocket.

My bike wasn’t going anywhere. And it wasn’t because of the chain and padlock. Tears gathered again, but I fought them back. Tank was always working on his bike. Maybe he would help me with mine. I checked the padlock one last time and headed to Tank’s house.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer