Sometimes, you have to walk in the bad guy’s shoes to get the story written.  This is a case in point.  The photo prompt for this week’s Friday Fictioneers from Madison Woods gave me a few good ideas and, happily, one of them stuck around.  Originally I had conceived the story from the POV of the protagonists.   It just wouldn’t work.  I had the scene all laid out but couldn’t find the right approach, the right words.

Then I got the idea to ditch two characters, switch to the POV of the villain and try it that way.  This week’s story is the product of that process.  Here’s the photo prompt:

Madison’s take on this, along with links to all the other writers’ stories can be found at:

I hope you enjoy what follows.  I certainly had fun writing it (in the end), in no small part due to it anonymously featuring one of my long running characters.  She gets everywhere these days 😉  Thanks for reading and please feel free to write a comment.  They are always greatly appreciated.


Veinripper’s breath is a hot and rancid thing as jaundiced eyes track the darting form of the Japanese girl stealing into his lair. She is pretty and softly curved, just like his other victims. The tight thing she wears sets his hair bristling. It shifts and blends, steals the light.

She is not like the others.

He dislocates his jaw, facilitating the guttural roar which sets his guardians on the trail of this interloper. Malignant coils of barbed wire, semi-sentient and wholly evil slither and skitter with impossible speed toward the girl. Unperturbed, she closes on him. Panic and fear escalate within as Veinripper realises she is too fast.

“Come, little one! Let me show you what Veinripper does to women.”

A faint, deadly smile parts her lips. “Your name gives me an idea.”

She settles on her haunches as his first scream bubbles up from ruined lungs. “Did you know your thorny little pets can be reprogrammed?”


Lowtown Hanami / Haikyo

Well this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt from Madison Woods inspired several ideas in me, two of which just wouldn’t go away.  This is the first one I ended up writing and it is a little longer than has been the norm, clocking in at 177 words.  I like the tone and imagery of this story, and to change it for the sake of a word count just didn’t feel right.  The second piece, ‘Haikyo’, is much shorter and darker.

Here’s the photo in question, as kindly provided by Madison Woods:

Madison’s story, along with links to all the other Friday Fictioneers stories, can be found at:

I hope you enjoy both stories this week.  Here is the first (please scroll down the post to read the second story, ‘Haikyo’):

‘Lowtown Hanami’

Troll sighed as he watched droplets of water fall from biomesh suspended above his microcosmic garden. Oblivious of Troll’s mood, a pixie sat within, reading a nanobook, gossamer wings fluttering contentedly in the lambent glow of a tinfoil lantern. Living in Lowtown wasn’t the problem; transhuman outcasts had formed a warm community, right beneath the feet of those who exiled them. It was the shortages that irritated. Even water was currency now.

“Still cultivating tiny Zen havens?”

Domino, the geisha assassin had ghosted her way into his home again. She always moved freely in the Tiered City. Most were too scared to suggest she act otherwise.

“A gift,” she said simply and placed something in his gnarled palm. Troll knew instantly what it was and placed it under the drips.

“You stole sakura so we can have hanami festival?”

Domino shrugged shyly. “It belongs here.”

The nanoformed cherry tree which time-lapsed into being was exquisite, its blossoms a perfect neon ephemera, radiant in the twilight. Troll smiled.

“I’ll go get the beer.”

And  here is the second story:


They flitted through the ghost city, Crow guiding Sparrow on his first haikyo adventure. He marvelled at what The Vanishing had left behind: tower husks reverberating with echoes of life, artefacts of the mundane, rendered strange by their permanence.

Sparrow felt his gaze compelled to the ceiling, musty loam trembling with moisture and energy. He asked Crow about it.

“Alternate energy experiment. Top government secret. Why this place empty.”

“It’s… dripping,” Sparrow said, feeling the onset of dread.


“What’s it made from? Looks weird.”

“It is -” Her blade slid neatly between vertebrae, severing life. “People like you.”

Meet Me There

Having had an easy time writing for last week’s Friday Fictioneers, the cosmic balance saw me struggling to write this time out.  I’ll point the finger in equal measure at both fatigue and an over-abundance of ideas.  The photo prompt this week was exciting for me insofar as I saw an opportunity to make a link, however tenuous it might be, to a story featuring some of my cyberpunk/future-noir characters and their attendant settings and atmosphere.  I love this stuff, so it’s super difficult for me not to write in great depth about neon reflecting in rainslick streets populated by throngs of people right off the set of Blade Runner.  Writing a piece of approximately 100 words was challenging to say the least.

Anyway, here is this week’s photo prompt, kindly provided by Madison Woods:

Madison’s story, along with links to all the other Friday Fictioneers stories, can be found at:

I hope you enjoy the story.  As always, any feedback, comments and thoughts are always appreciated 🙂

‘Meet Me There’

The Enclave hacker was a confusion of biotech and cybernetics, humanity forsaken in the pursuit of bleeding edge performance in the net.  Her one remaining eye regarded Masden expectantly through a neon lit haze of stratified opium smoke.  He slid the required data chip across the table.

“Take me to her.”

Cherry’s virtual space resembled a private park, secreted at the fringe of Neo-Tokyo.  The diminutive foxgirl wrapped him in an enthusiastic embrace, her vulpine ears and tail twitching with delight. Masden felt his heart swell.

“I got away, Masden. You saved me. I’m beyond the reach of the Scarlet Union now. Remember this place: the bench, the tunnel. Meet me there.”

The Lasting Kind

This week I make a happy return to Madison Woods’s ‘Friday Fictioneers’.  Having been short on time and mental energy recently, it feels good to be back.  I wrote this one pretty much entirely in my head while washing up.  That’s usually a good indicator for a story I can enjoy and be happy with.  Here’s the photo prompt which set it off:

Madison’s site hosts the original image along with her story.  Other authors’ stories will be linked in the comments section there.  Here’s the link to follow:

I hope you enjoy the story and, as ever, I’m always keen to hear what readers make of all this, so please feel free to leave a comment.  Thanks for taking the time to stop by 🙂

‘The Lasting Kind’

In the final days of the Hierophant, my people disappeared from this world. I alone remain; how and why, I do not know.  Such knowledge is kept by a corpulent ruler of men.  His perfidy invigorates me.  Guides me.

Dawn approaches and my every step through this forest is shadowed by a preternatural silence.  The denizens of the wood know who walks among them.  Just as my footfalls scorch the very earth, nascent light steals my eyes and sears my skin.  I sink into the frigid depths of the river and wait.  Tonight I will become blackest vengeance, stalking the corridors of his palace.  His shrieking doomsong will be my people’s lament.