The Devil’s Dance — #MenageMonday

Title: The Devil’s Dance
Source:  #MenageMonday! Challenge Week 2×17
Word count:  250 words


“Damien?” I asked as I entered the small lecture hall. Damien didn’t answer, his frantic scribbling transported him a million miles away.

“Damien,” I whispered, placing my hand on his thin shoulder.

Glazed eyes scanned my face, but he didn’t see me. He returned to his work, scrubbing a variable he replaced with a function. Confusion etched his face as he paused, then looked at me. This time, he blinked and rubbed a chalk flecked hand across his face.

“What time is it?”

“Nine. Have you been here all night?”

“I was home. Sleeping. I had the answer. Now, it’s not working.” Damien said waving his hands.

“It was probably just a dream,” I said as I tried to decipher the gibberish he had written.

“No,” Damien yelled. His eyes danced, alternating between me and the board. Dilated pupils made his blue eyes look black.

“It was her. She told me how I get her. How I save her.” Damien’s voice cracked as he spoke, and he ran his tongue over cracked, parched lips.

“You mean the girl with the two little horns?”

“Yes. She pointed them at me. I saw the answer on the banner, between her horns.”

“Is this it?” I asked motioning at the equations.

“Yes. I mean, no. Not quite. I just have to remember.”

He leaned against the desk and buried his face in his hands.

I draped my arm around his shoulder, aware of his dilemma. Damien had found the devil in the details.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Day Warriors — 3 Line Tales

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

photo by Nattu Adnan via Unsplash

Dawn teased open young eyes that greeted the day with energetic curiosity.

Whirling dervishes sped away from Dawn, trailing gales of giggles that transformed into belly laughs and faces filled with wonder.

The day warriors pressed onward, and Dawn smiled wearily knowing they would soon collapse into the deep sleep of the innocent.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Devil in the Details — 100 Word Wednesday

Title: Devil in the Details
Source:  100 Word Wednesday: Week 104
Word count: 100 words

Photo by Filip Gielda

Loralai worried. She obsessed about details. Worry made her good at her job. Her job required precise planning, contingency plans, escape clauses and backdoors. One miscalculation could spoil everything.

Cold fingers hugged the warm coffee cup as Loralai punched her mental checklist. The snow shovel and the spade were clean and dry. The spade returned to the utility shed and the snow shovel leaned next to her new red snow boots. Her old snow boots and coat were cleaned and donated to a homeless shelter.

As the snow piled higher Loralai relaxed and smiled.

They would never find the body.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Under Contract — Thursday Threads

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

I freed her from the black velvet hood. She recoiled from my touch, and I placed my hand on her shoulder to steady her. Beautiful blond curls had escaped the manipulated updo and caressed my hand. Breathing deeply, I savored the sweet aroma of strawberries and fear.

I removed her gag. I was sorry for the red marks the silk tie left on her tender skin. Sorry for the force I used to tie it hours ago.

I took my time folding the tie, placing it into the hood and laying the hood on the alter. Kneeling in the dim candlelight, her hands bound behind her, her ragged breathing slowed. I waited, breathless with excitement.

She raised her head seeing the throng of robed, masked figures staring at her.

“Do I need to explain why you are here?” I asked, knowing my voice echoed, ethereal in the marble chamber.

“This…” her voice wavered. She licked her lips. “This is my initiation?”

“You signed the contract?” I said more a statement than a question.


“You have been sworn to secrecy?”


“You are here of your own free will?”

“Yes.” Her voice was steadier, but that would change.

“You pledge yourself to The Order of the Seven Assassins?”


“You will sacrifice yourself upon the Sacred Alter… Tonight?”

She trembled. The witnesses leaned towards her, hoping, waiting.

On her cheek, a single tear left a glistening stain.

Gathered her courage, she inhaled, and in a calm, sure voice, replied, “Yes.”


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Tiburtine — Friday Fictioneers

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

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

Something wasn’t right. The feeling gestated in the pit of my stomach, seeking form, yet defying description.

Sitting in Sibyl’s vacant apartment did little to settle me. On the coffee table sat a mason jar filled with brightly colored and folded slips of paper. Countless time I had tried to open it, to no avail.

The door slammed, and I jumped as Sibyl appeared. She easily opened the jar and deposited two slips of folded paper before replacing the lid.

“Have you figured it out?” she asked.

The truth hit me.

“You record the words of the gods.”

Sibyl smiled.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Surprise – FFFPP – 2019 #1

Title:  The Surprise
Word count: 190 words

MorgueFile Fidler Jan New Year’s

Evan didn’t feel like going out. It was Friday night and his friends expected him, but today was his birthday and birthdays were a huge disappointment. Following the holidays meant he had endured years of presents marked “Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday too.” He was older, and wiser but it still hurt.

As he arrived at the bar, a thunderous boom echoed in the cold night air followed by an ear-piercing whistle that guided his eyes skyward. The missile exploded in a red blossom.

“Surprise, Happy Birthday, Evan,” his friends shouted as they swarmed around him.

“What?” Evan twirled catching glimpses of familiar faces as another rocket hurtled into the air with a boom.

“Do you like it?” Shelly asked.

Evan nodded as the rocket exploded.

“Remember, they cancelled the New Year’s display because of bad weather?” Shelly shouted to be heard over the crowd. “Well, we convince the council to set them off tonight,” she explained, “For your birthday.”

Evan smiled as another chorus of “Happy Birthday, Evan” erupted from his friends.

The boom of another rocket turned heads skyward, and Evan smiled. This was his best birthday ever.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Red Morn — Thursday photo prompt

Title: Red Morn
Source:  Thursday photo prompt: Renewal #writephoto
Word count: 404 words

My alarm buzzed, and I swatted the snooze button missing it several times before my fingers found their target. I groaned, pulling the covers over my head. Five more minutes was all I needed. I heard Granddad whistling in the kitchen and I pulled the pillow around my head, hoping to silence him. How was anyone that happy in the morning I wondered?

I drifted, welcoming blissful sleep until my bedroom door burst open and ricocheted off the doorstop. The pine door vibrated from the blow. I didn’t have to peek to know who had ended my quest to delay the start of the day.

“Once more the ruby-colour’d portal open’d, Which to his speech did honey passage yield,” Granddad quoted as I listened to him move across the room to my window.

His voice dropped, to a whisper as he continued, “Like a red morn, that ever yet betoken’d.”

He yanked the first curtain panel open, “Wrack to the seaman,” his voice rose, and his words punctuated his moments. “Tempest to the field,” he flung the second curtain panel open and sunlight streamed into my room.

“Sorrow to shepherds,” he intoned in his most pitiful voice and he crossed the room to my bed.

“Woe unto the birds,” he giggled as he shook me, tugging my covers.

“Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds,” he ended as the blankets escaped my grasp and flew to the end of the bed leaving me and my puppy dog pajamas exposed. It was hard to tell which of us laughed more.

“Granddad you’re insane. What was that?”

“What?” Grandad’s eyes bulged, and his jaw dropped as he right hand clutched his heart. “Surely no grandchild of mine is ignorant of the words of the Great William Shakespeare?” The giant man stood at the foot of my bed, laughter creased his eyes, and he attempted to frown his disapproval.

“Oh,” I stammered and tried to remember something from the bard my granddad loved. “What light through yonder window breaks?” I managed but couldn’t remember the next line.

“By Jove. It is the east, and you, my fair Juliet, are the sun,” Granddad took a step back, and with a grand flourish bowed low over his extended leg.  He stood, smiled at me, then turned to leave the room.

“Pancakes, in five. Don’t miss your cue,” he called over his shoulder and I scrambled to comply.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Artistic Reverie — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: Artistic Reverie
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #175
Word count: 220 words

Photo by Jacqueline Day on Unsplash

The charcoal stains my fingers, marking me, convicting me to a labor that consumes me. Working with broad gestures, the blackness swirls, sifting across the large format paper and floating into the air. It settles in my hair, on my clothes, and dances in the gloom.

I blow. My breath lifts a dark cloud and sends it spewing misery wherever it falls. My thumb smudges into the mire, arching along the curving line and creating a homogeneous shade, a sharp contrast against the pale paper.

Pausing, I interrupt my fevered race to behold my creation, if only for an instant. The lingering stillness questions me. Do I wake from my half lucid plight or succumb to its madness?  I close my eyes, feeling emotions coursing through every fiber, my senses heightened, they claw at my throat. Demented wailing pounds upon my skull and shreds my gossamer resolve. My fingers twitch, and they dance to a master I do not know.

Another fluid gesture rips the completed sheet from the pad. The piece flutters, with a lightness that belies the burden it carries as it settles into the land of the forgotten. Pristine bleakness taunts me, coaxes me, concocts hollow promises fed with saccharine lies. In the safety of the siren song, I find shelter from the terror of the light.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Long Game — 3 Line Tales

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

photo by Beata Ratuszniak via Unsplash

Alexi mastered his craft, working diligently, he painted every day.

Prints of work by Van Gogh, Ruben, and Klimt sold better than any of his original pieces.

Despite the hardship and the obscurity, he refused to listen to his family and friends, confident that in the end, everyone would remember him.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Buried Treasure — Flash Fiction Challenge

Title: Buried Treasure
Source:  Flash Fiction Challenge
Prompt: write a story about a character who looks back.
Word count:  99 words

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Cal dropped to his knees and gently lifted the book from the debris. Somehow it survived. If he wasn’t cradling in his hands feeling its weight, the caress of its leather cover, he would not have believed it possible.

Clutching the book to his chest, the memories coursed through him. Professor Dugan stood before him, telling Cal the odds were stacked against him ever succeeding. Cal felt defiance surge through him once again. They could laugh and sneer, but they were wrong. Sitting in the rubble Cal felt his destiny waiting.

He would show them how wrong they were.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer