Chambered Nautilus

Chambered Nautilus (1956) by Andrew Wyeth. Photo by Mia Feigelson

Woodrow was showing visiting professors around the facility. They were eager to learn all they could, in the quest to increase production of  SaltyNectar®, the much sought after finite resource.

Pointing to the subject, Woodrow began to explain his findings:

EL-AINEDOB150816 is responding well to memory convergence. Synapses effectively returning to previous points of extension, resuming plasticity. Connections have been observed, with neurons firing in response to simulated seasons visible through the ‘window’.  Relics have also been left in the mock bedroom, including a basket full of sentimental assortments, such as printed images of people known to the subject, and the shell of a nautilus, held dear to her, according to her file notes, as a treasured memento from her childhood that it is likely to conjure memories- a conjuring nautilus.

Conjuring nautilushe repeated. Woodrow liked the sound of these words. He was one of the rare re-births who had the ability to program himself to register small pleasures, in this case resulting in a curious upturn of his lips and crinkles at the corners of his eyes.

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After Forever

Photo of an outdoor wedding setting and a swing, green lawn used as a microfiction writing prompt
Photo by Ben Rosett

Today is our wedding anniversary- Mr & Mrs Billingup; a date I’ll never forget, curved round my ring finger with his initials, the permanence of ink marking the impulse of a fleeting moment. Looking at it now, I can laugh at that tired old joke my girlfriends used to make, the BB of Bryan’s initials implying a best before date. Holding the last of the photographs, I wished away all traces of that day as I threw it on the fire and watched the edges curl to weightless ashes.


Inspired by Sonya’s Three Line Tales, Week Thirty Seven.


Photo of ferry terminal at twighlight used as prompt for a flash fiction story
Photo by Charlie Hang

And so I have done it again, ignoring the glaring neon warning as he ferried me across decades to the losses that anchor me to vacant spaces; the chain pulling taut with less and less give as flotsam and jetsam gather and entangle in its rusty links.

On shore, telegraph poles line up like dominos before the fall, the dialogue between my ghosts echoing down the wire; different faces, same conversation.

I bid farewell to thee and seek refuge on my island, for I am the lighthouse keeper.


Inspired by Sonya’s Three Line Tale Week Twenty Three.

Two Stray Lette r s

It’s week 5! We are at the half way point of our travels. This week I have cheated and given you two posts in one. Both are a short (really!) response to the same WordPress Writing 101 prompt.

If you’ve been along for the ride in previous weeks, you know the deal. If you’re new to this, mind the gap! and take your time to pick up and read a stray letter or two that you may find along the path.

Click on the image to travel through the tumbleweed. Once there, you will find directions to the next post.

If you want to read other posts in the series, you can find them under menu item ‘travel through the tumbleweed’.

Bon voyage!

Memories in a Meal


My childhood is marked by a huge figurative line in my memory- before and after, there and here, two countries, with life defining experiences divided between Ethiopia, my country of birth and Sydney, Australia, where I spent most of my childhood. They were two worlds that I could never quite believe truly existed when I was in the “other”. While in Addis Ababa, I knew of that foreign, far away place where my parents lived, and I used to make up a language that I imagined they spoke there, a land so distant that I’d figured would require a pretty long bus trip to get there. It may as well have been the moon.

Once in Australia, aged 6, as my thoughts were quickly filled with the colours, smells and faces of my new home, my old home became fragmented in my memory, as foreign to me as Sydney had once been. The magic of doro wet, my favourite childhood meal was what reconciled my two homes. It was the smell and taste that made my memory whole. The beautifully rich chicken sauce, which is cooked slowly and lovingly, was the highlight of any celebration. Even my now pescatarian self can think back on the flavours and crave the succulent, tender chicken that easily breaks off the bone, to be picked up in a morsel with a small, torn piece of spongy, sour injera, wrapped expertly together with a mopping of sauce and a broken piece of hard boiled egg, eaten with a true appreciation of every single mouthful. Continue reading


“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are experiencing turbulence and ask that you remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened.” AJ spoke the familiar words with practiced calm, but this time things were different. Flicking switches and adjusting controls on deck, he panicked when he noticed cabin pressure fluctuating, red lights flashing dire warnings. His heart rate quickened, echoing the knocks he could hear through the layers of steel. His hands unsteady as he made futile adjustments. Hyperventilating, his thoughts drifted to a regatta 30 years earlier, his hand in his dad’s, secure in their warmth and strength as he looked up to the dance of four planes, leaving a fleeting trail in their wake. They were coloured brightly, vivid blues, reds and yellows. He’d wanted to be a pilot since that day, vowing to make his father proud, to soar with invincibility through the sky, but he was always brought down to earth, reminded of his failings. A lifetime of regrets came into the focus of his mind’s eye with every tumble his plane took, hurtling toward its finale, without the grace and beauty of the stunt planes at the regatta.


Write approximately 200 words based on image of 4 planes doing stunts and maneuvers, leaving a trail of condensate through the sky. Prompt from Sunday Photo Fiction.

The Accident

They told her she had been admitted 2 months ago, at the start of summer. She wouldn’t have otherwise known, and the climate controlled 21 degrees they maintained in the room, which she found to be too cold, didn’t give away the season that beckoned through the window across from her bed. The nurses recommended that she flip through the pages of the album, intended to trigger her memory. Prodding the cold scrambled egg that lay curdled on the plastic plate that she balanced on her lap, Mel looked at the photos. They did trigger her memory. In fact, they had done so days earlier, but she hadn’t let on. She looked on at the little girl she once was, sitting amongst a class of twenty or so other students, their toothy smiles and eagerness to say “cheese” as the photographer captured their first year at school. There was one with her favourite green corduroy trousers and the purple my little pony t-shirt she wore till the image had long faded, the photo simply showing the lettering. She didn’t smile in that photo nor a lot of the photos in the years that were to follow. Flipping to the back of the album, she pulled out the newspaper clippings, all telling of the day of the accident, which she still didn’t remember. She couldn’t connect what was reported with being her experience. Apparently she’d been crossing the road just outside of Central Station. It was a zebra crossing, so it was her right of way. It was early on a Sunday morning and the car had come careening around the corner, knocked her over and sped on, the driver leaving her for dead. A call had been made for anyone with information to come forward, but no one had, despite the money on offer as reward. Her memory – of everything but the accident, had brought with it the anxieties of her past. For the four days of no memory since coming out of the coma, she’d felt at peace. There was no past, there was no concept of desires she held for the future. She was just absorbed with piecing together who she was. Visitors came and went and had to announce their role in her life – mother, father, sister, neighbour, and colleagues. They left flowers and fruit and lingered longer than she’d have liked, with smiles plastered on their faces, as though the wider they smiled, the more recognisable they’d become. She enjoyed when visiting hours were over. It was then, on the fourth day, once she was alone again, that she peeled the skin of a mandarin left for her on the bedside table. Its sweet scent, and the gentle spritz of its juice landing on her face as she peeled it conjoured an image of a house, with its white washed walls and children playing in the garden, a summer time long ago. She remembered the day, it was hot, her and her friends ran under the sprinkler while marveling at the rainbow they could see through the spray. A voice could be heard calling them in for lunch. It was the woman who’d visited earlier – her mother. She remembered! It was exciting, she wanted to tell someone, anyone, but it was nurse change over time and they had been slow to respond to the call of her buzzer. In the time between the beginnings of her memory returning and the arrival of a nurse, she felt a daunting sense of not wanting to return to the life she’d forgotten. It would be easier, she reasoned, to forget. To forget the remains of what had happened that summer and the years since. It was the chance for a clean slate. When the nurse arrived, asking what the matter was, she’d replied “Oh, nothing, I pressed the buzzer by accident.”


Perhaps subconsciously, this has turned into a combination of the last two Daily Post writing challenges.  Initially, I had intended to use 5 nouns as my prompt (money, egg, station, summer, zebra), as per the Ray Bradbury Noun List Twist, but having seen this week’s challenge, somehow the theme of ‘memory’ wove its way into today’s story, although not in memoir form, and not my own memory but that of my main character’s. Nouns were from this random noun generator.