A Serving of Nightshade

Well this looks like my lucky day, thought Adira as the room came into focus.

She was in the drawing room of her ex-fiancé’s townhome. Lord Bradley sat in his favorite chair, sipping a glass of wine, and watching her.

“I’m sorry, Adira,” he said. “But I thought this would be more comfortable for you than a cellar in Cheapside.”

“Very thoughtful,” she said, as she smoothed her hair back towards the untidy bun held by her favorite hair stick. “But it might have been nicer to have left me near the opera house.”

He made a tut-tut noise. “And left you at the mercy of Nightshade? That would have been rude.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Let me tell you a story,” he said, refilling his glass. “There was a naïve girl, whose romantic notions made her an easy mark for Nightshade, a notorious criminal who has become something of a hero to gullible young women and a nuisance to my guild’s interests. She unwisely agreed to be a lookout for one of his capers. Thankfully, a concerned friend was there to intercede before she had to face serious consequences.”

“Charming,” she said, stretching out her hands and fingers. “But what’s the price for his intercession?”

“Information. Everything you know about Nightshade’s organization, including the contact you were supposed to meet tonight.”

“And if I don’t?”

“It’s my duty to turn you in to the constables. Considering the trouble Nightshade has caused, that cellar is going to seem nice in comparison,” Bradley said.

“So you haven’t told the authorities yet?”

“Of course not. Adira, I can protect you. If you cooperate.”

Adira looked down at her lap. “I don’t want to go to jail. What if I told you I know who Nightshade is?”

He jumped out his chair. “Really? Who?”

“Me.” Adira pulled her hair stick free and threw it at his throat. It hit its mark. As he tried pulling it out, Adira picked up the bottle of wine and cracked it over his head.

“I have a story for you,” she said. “There once was an unscrupulous and overconfident man who wouldn’t shut up. So I fixed that. The end.”

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Song Choice: Gives You Hell by All American Rejects

Liner Notes for This Groove: This bit of flash fiction was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Two Into One Shall Go. I went with embedded narrative. 

Monster Heart

Here is my monstrous
heart. I remember
when bile didn’t mix with blood
as it traveled through
un-gouged walls.

I don’t trust it
not to alarm the unwary
with its feral beat
and shadow roaring
reverberating around old scar tissue.

But I will trust you, always,
with the truth of the stories
behind each scab and bloodied bit,

because this truth,
odd and unshapely,
is the most precious thing
I have to give.

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United. I chose to work with the phrase "Love can be a monster, or not."

The Villain of the Story

The dung landed in front of me with a wet plop. I turned my head, and as expected, saw the sneering face of the urchin who had been following us for the last few days. Before I could stop her, Yoli picked the dung up and flung it right back at the urchin. It hit the child square in the face.

“Yeah, well… you only hit me because you’re good at throwing,” she screeched, before diving back into the undergrowth.

Yoli’s face went from satisfied, to confused, to moody. I gave her the space of a few seconds before I spoke.

“That didn’t feel as good as you thought it would, did it?” 

Yoli scrunched up her face. “No. But she’s been annoying us for days, mistress. And what kind of comeback was that? Good at throwing? I ought to be, as a squire of the Kingsguard.”

“We do prefer that our squires have good aim, yes,” I said.

Yoli glared at the bushes, then slumped. “Good aim against another trained fighter, not some little kid.”

“Did you see what she has wrapped around her arm?” I asked.

“A piece of the enemy’s uniform,” Yoli said.

“A piece of the uniform that could have been her father’s, her brother’s, or someone else she loved. We’re the villains in her story.”

“How can that be? They’ve tortured innocents, put children to death. Mistress, they wouldn’t even respect you as a fighter.”

“Their respect isn’t as important to me as my respect for myself. Tell me, Squire Yoli, how is your self-respect at this moment?”

She looked at the ground. “Not good.”


“Because I picked a fight with a dumb, and obviously sad, little kid. And that’s not who I want to be.”

“Save that aim for an actual opponent when we find one. It might keep your hands cleaner,” I said, smiling. “Let’s find a creek and get them washed off.”

“She’s going to keep throwing shit at us you know,” Yoli said.

“Then it’s a good thing that we train our squires to dodge as well.”

“I’m fast enough for that,” Yoli said. “She really does have terrible aim.”

Song Choice: Good Riddance by Green Day

This piece of flash fiction was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United: Hit Me with Your Best Shot. 

Keeping it Real Curly

For the longest time, I was the only one in my family with thick, curly locks. Then I had my Darling Eldest. We didn’t know how much his hair was like mine at first. He got a lot of regular haircut throughout his youth. But when he went away to college and haircuts weren’t as high of a priority as say anime club, we all finally got a look at what his mane would do when left to its own devices.

He had been home for a bit because of the pandemic before he finally approached me. He likes keeping his hair long but had been resisting the idea that maintenance was needed. Could I help?

Well during the pandemic I’ve been hard-core upgrading my curl game (it was a reliable bit of self-care that always made me feel better). I was delighted to share techniques I learned, product suggestions, while being sure to let him know the ball was in his court as to how he chooses to deal with it. I have to say, his satin lined hat is cooler than my cheesy sleeping bonnet, but both of them protect our curls.

There was one morning when we were wearing our respective caps when my husband made the observation that not only do we look alike, we both act in very similar ways when we get angry or frustrated. He looked at me in horror and said, “I think I’m turning into you.” I told him not to worry unless he suddenly got interested in planners and picking out cute stickers to go in it.

Of course considering we both just got excited over recognizing a familiar voice actor in an anime series, I’ll be sure add an extra pack of cool-looking, anime-inspired stickers to my next stationary order. Just in case.

Song Choice: Hair from the musical of the same name.

This post was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings Prompt: What You Resist, You Become.