Fiction Prompts

A Prince Enchanted

In an ancient Turkish legend that goes back to the time of Gilgamesh, the Shahmaran is a creature whose head is a beautiful woman and whose body is a snake. She lives in the land of the snakes under the earth and lures unsuspecting lovers into her cave of honey. 

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The Crossing

When Dwayne retired from Motorola we sold the house and spent a year driving the Caravan across the USA looking for the place we loved best. When we saw the ranch in Sasabe on the Sonoran border, we knew we’d found it. That was twenty years ago. It was a year-round thing. They’d come through

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Afoot on the Staked Plains

The man cut a Comanche arrow out of the mule’s flank after the fight at the tanks, but the festering wound would not knit. Crossing the rain-swollen Nueces, the mule died under him and dumped his possibles into the churning red water. He’d felt the animal falter as he spurred it down the bank, so he wasn’t

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Distraction

She should have known at the casting call, should have taken her son and walked out. Instead, she’d signed the contract. The lure of money was too powerful, and she’d been desperate. A prank show, they said, like Candid Camera. Her son would be among other children at the museum, all in uniform. On cue they would begin

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Breaking The Triangle

The East India Company Director sighed. He took off his glasses and set them on the dossier. “Is it really as bad as all that?” “I’m afraid so, sir,” said Briggs. “In fact, it’s actually worse. The Chinese are well aware of our vulnerability, especially regarding tea. The tonne price is increasing almost daily.” “What of

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Time

Spring broke late and none too soon for Old Chuck. Winter, always hard, almost killed him. He’d lie sighing by the fire, trying to warm those old bones that had carried him over field and furrow, always by my side. When morning slanted through the shutters he came and laid his grizzled muzzle in my lap

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I Am Not A Ghost

He is like the landscape, ancient, fissured, desiccated. He is the last one left who saw it with his own eyes. His voice scrapes like wind through dry branches as he tells the story he repeated all his life. “When the Turks came, all of us ran to the mountain. We rolled stones down the

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Defining Moment

The little boy is inconsolable, his face twisted and red and sweaty, hot tears staining his shirt. He’s perhaps three and has just learned the awful truth. When the other children get taken to see the Disney movie at the Rialto, he will be left behind. The earth has crumbled away beneath his feet. Oh,

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Dance Fools Dance

Arnaldo, grasping at everything, gaining nothing. Random as a moth, and every bit as compelled. The wicked flee where none pursue. (perhaps this badness was always within him, a cancerous rot awaiting only a few drops of rain to bring it forth. A few drops of blood.) Below her window he sang dulcet sonnets in

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Keeping Him On

“Why do you keep him on, Mother? The man’s the merest sot.” “Now now, Katharine. Monsieur Jaques has never been drunk in my presence.” “He’s never been sober! Look at him out there. See? He’s looking for the shears he just put in his pocket.” “He has been with the house since I was a

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