Adi inhaled deeply from the mug of chamomile tea cradled in her hands. Its scent combined with the sigh of snowfall, was the perfect end to dinner.

“Penny for your thoughts, cuz?” Nina said.

“I haven’t had lomo saltado that good in ages.” Adi said, grinning.

“Stick around,” Nina replied, reclining on the couch they had used as a fort a decade ago. “There’s more where that came from.”

“Thank you, for dinner, for letting me stay so I don’t have to drive in this… and for having my back.”

“Someone had to teach that man a lesson. De nada.”

January Snowfall Nighttime, photo by Sarah Potter

This bit of flash fiction was inspired by the photo prompt given for Friday Fictioners hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and is also linked to A Dash of Sunny's Prompt Nights: Come Chase Oh Fleeting Thoughts of the Moment.


Titan spirit in a five foot frame,
she yelled “Adopt me!
We’d be great together.

America, you tossed salad,
I know about the hidden wilted brown bits,
the croutons made damp with tears,
and that the rich dressing can’t always cover up
some of the bad tastes left in your mouth.

But I also know how lucky I am
to be able to stand on your shores
and tell you, ‘I see you and still want to be here’.

I want to add my words to your song.
I want to sing with duende
about an imperfect place
still struggling towards a more perfect union.

I’ll love you in the struggle
dance my part in the center of the storm
and let my words send storms dancing on their own.
I’ll be the sazón in my part of the salad.
We’ll both be the better for it."

Song Choice: My Shot from the play Hamilton

Don't Give Up, Lady Liberty by Chris Blackway
Find Chris Blackway on Instagram @sea_black_prints
More of his art can be found at

orgullo = pride
duende = originally referring to a diminutive goblin or dwarf-like creature in folk stories, it has grown to refer to passionate and/or inspired performance of some artistic endeavor
sazón = it can be translated as seasoning, but there's a bit more to it than that.

This piece is the result of a combination of two prompts: Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Artistic Interpretation - Immigrant Portraits and A Dash of Sunny's Prompt Nights, Through the Eyes of a Friend. It is also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #341.

History Report

Emma started playing with the poison ring on her right hand when she noticed her fidgeting had put several creases in her dress. She spent a lot of time last night picking out the perfect things to wear today and didn’t want anything to spoil them. 

She had chosen to arm herself with the pearl earrings Mother had given her after her first kill, her grandmother’s poison ring, her midnight blue dress with embroidered moon phases on the hem and of course a pin bearing the image of Synestra Nightjoy Dracul. The ache in her scalp from brushing and pulling her blonde hair into a razor sharp part before tying each side up into pigtails had finally abated, but the feeling like a hundred moths beating their wings against the inside of her head was still there.

“Miss DelSangre, it’s your turn,” Miss Garrote said, her smile pulling the bleached parchment of her skin even more tightly across her skull.

Gripping her papers, Emma walked up to the front of the class.  She looked at the picture of Torrance Dracul, mounted in the corner the teacher had claimed for her desk, took a deep breath, and started her presentation.

“My report is on Torrance Dracul, a famous prince from the noble house of Dracul. I know I’m supposed to tell you about all the important things he’s done. But that would be dumb. Besides the book Miss Garrote assigned me to read, I read a couple of others in my Mother’s library and have decided that Torrance Dracul is pretty much a disgrace to vampires everywhere.”

“Miss DelSangre,” her teacher said, glaring, with her pale skin pulling even more tautly, so that her veins stood out like the dark purple netting of a widow's mourning cap across her face.

Emma didn’t bother to glare back, but continued in an even louder voice. “It was his wife, Synestra Nightjoy Dracul, who deserves all of the credit for Torrance Dracul’s most famous deeds. The only thing he deserved was to have his blood drained out in front of a crowd.”

Emma’s delight at the gasps from her class was cut short as Miss Garrote dug her bony fingers into Emma’s arm and dragged her to the principal’s office. She shoved Emma onto the couch outside the office door, and slammed the door behind her as she swept in. The secretary, looked down at Emma from behind her desk, shook her head and went back to typing.

That small motion drained the last of her satisfaction in telling the truth about Synestra, and magnified one hundred times all the unease she had felt before getting up to speak. Not that the secretary had ever been especially nice to her, but she’d never just ignored her either. Her normally jolly principal even looked at Emma sternly when she finally opened her door to let Miss Garrote out and Emma in.

Emma barely remembered the rest of that evening at school, only that she said “yes” and “no” at the spots she knew she should say them until the principal was satisfied enough to let Emma sit on the couch outside her office again.  Eventually Bradford, her Grandmother’s butler, came to pick her up.
Emma clutched and twisted her skirt up in her hands on the ride home. Was Mother so angry that she didn’t want to come for her, so she called Grandmother to get her instead? Was Grandmother so angry she sent Bradford? Emma was afraid to ask, and Bradford didn’t volunteer any information on the drive back home. He silently let her into the house, and drove off again.

Emma ran directly to the great room, found the thickest, fluffiest, most blood red throw blanket there and cocooned herself up in it, not saying anything, until she heard her brother's footsteps walking up the hall.

“There you are,” Xander, face settling on what Emma recognized as his usual I-would-rather-be-tearing-throats-than-talking-to-you scowl. “Where were you? I was supposed to walk you home because Mother and Grandmother are at some sort of event until dinner.”

“I forgot,” Emma whispered. At Xander’s snort she said. “I got sent home from school early. Bradford had to pick me up.”

“You?” Xander arched a pale blonde eyebrow. “Are you sick or something? It’s not like you’d ever be sent home for getting in trouble.”

At that Emma started bawling, telling a flustered Xander about her plans to redeem Synestra Nightjoy Dracul’s good name and how they had gone so wrong.

“I don’t know if you’re brave or just crazy,” Xander said, putting his school bag down and sitting next to his sister. “Old Garrote would pour holy water on herself if the ghost of Torrance Dracul asked her to. Why would you do that in the middle of class?”

“To make sure everyone would hear me. Do you think Mother will be mad?” Emma said, curling further into the shelter of her blanket.

“She never got that mad at me and I’ve done way worse,” Xander said.

“Really?” She said, eyes widening. “But you never do anything wrong.”

“Shows what you know. Don’t you remember a bunch of times I was home before you and Mother said to let me be because I needed to dismember things on my own? It was because I got sent home, for way dumber things.”

“Was it because of a girl?”

“None of your business. Anyway, Torrance Dracul really was a mediocre vampire, just like you said. A rock shoved off the side of the mountain is a more inspired master of darkness than he was. But I would have left out the part about the blood draining though.” Xander paused a moment. “At least in front of Garrote.”

Emma hugged Xander who promptly squirmed away. “You really think Mother won’t be mad?” she said.

“Those were her books about Synestra that you read to write your paper weren’t they? I’ll bet you even get an extra helping of eyeballs at dinner.”


Emma belched as she got off the bus. Both Mother and Father had slid her an extra serving of eyeballs at dinner last night. Even Xander, who ate enough eyeballs and innards for a flock of vampires said he was too full to finish his portion and suggested Emma take it to school with her as a snack. She couldn’t help eating a couple on the bus.

She was trying to decide if she should eat one more or save them for lunch when a girl from her class, Vincenzia, came up to her.

“Emma, I liked what you said yesterday. About Synestra. Where did you get that pin with her on it?” Vincenzia said.

“I made it,” Emma said. “And if you’d like, I’ll make you one too.”

“I’d like one,” said another girl, and several other children started asking for one of their own as well.

“I’ll make enough for all of you,” Emma said, baring her fangs in a broad grin.

Song Choice: One Girl Revolution by Superchick

This short story was created for Holly's Horrorland's Vampire's Day Soiree. Go fly over and enjoy more vampiric delights at the main page.


Don’t recall seeing anyone
with their ear pressed up to it.
I’d have gathered the missus and little ones,
to see that and perhaps make a day of it.

If they had, they might have heard
our scurries and our scratches
as we go about our business on one side or another
but mostly inside (that’s our side).

Each side isn’t bad, as sides goes.
I guess I’d like a bit more sun on one side
and it’d be nice to find the leaves the missus likes,
(the lovely spotted ones with the scrumptious sap)
when I’m about my business on the other.

Of course, I’d be happy to tell anyone
if they’re going from one side to the other,
about the good things to find,
the best places to see.

No one ever asks me though.
They all have that look
like they’ve made up their mind
about what’s on the other side of the wall.

So I’ll just drink my tea,
share some leaves with the missus,
and play with the little ones

while I watch them go on their way. 

Worm from the movie Labyrinth 

This poem was inspired by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Walls. I had written something from the perspective of this little guy before, but the prompt reminded me of the walls of the labyrinth from the movie of the same name, and I felt I wanted to revisit something from his point of view again.

Imagination's Pilgrimage

Far from home,
through the flutter of my lashes
I imagine you are there.

My mind conjures your flesh,
your warmth,
the tilt of your head,
the mischief in your eyes,
the desire in your voice -

the way your breath
warms my already flushed skin -

and my moans echo
in an empty room,
and an emptier bed
only kept warm by the knowledge
you will enter again

I do not shirk
the responsibility I’ve been entrusted.
I will march through the darkest forests;

but I will never deny myself
thoughts of you,
that dance like foxfire through the days,
and burn like holy flame through my nights,
until I reclaim my place in your arms
without memory’s pale intercession. 

This poem was inspired by A Dash of Sunny's Prompt Nights: Battle of the Bards. Sanaa asked us to take inspiration from a list of classic poets. My choice was William Shakespeare and the following quote from his 27th sonnet:

But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:
For then my thoughts – from far where I abide –
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee...

This poem is also linked to the Tuesday Platform over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads and Poets United Poetry Pantry #342.


Once, twice, thrice, she shudders
as the weight of voices
corpulent with braggadocio
pummel the foundations
of a world she thought was steady.

She slumps, shaking her head
as the laughter grows,
mocking delicate souls
so easily bothered
by what needs not touch them.

Her tears fall.
“All the better,” she says
to prime the whetstone at her feet
she uses to sharpen her sword,
which will not be sheathed
until justice is done.

This poem was inspired by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Looking Beyond the Obvious.