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The Sleeper Wakes

30 Nov

100 words to greet the dawn for old time’s sake and my friends at Friday Fictioneers based on a photo below by Jan Wayne Fields.


(Copyright Jan Wayne Fields)

I rise at dawn and stand by the temple bell to give thanks and greet the morning. Gold paints the forest ridges that rise to the mist shrouded summit of Totokoroa. Calls of bell birds ring across the valley. A breeze ruffles the fabric of the tent. I strike the bell softly. It’s deep, resonant note sounds, and joins the music of the day’s beginning.

I make tea and return to bed. The smoky fragrance of Lapsang Souchong causes a figure sleeping there to stir. I whisper in her ear.

“The sun is on the mountain.”

And she smiles.



“….’Twas all Astonishment”

3 Dec

100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below. And for you…


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 (Copyright Janet Webb)

“I’m afraid,” cried Samahe as saffron and rose limned the eastern sky.

“Not even time itself will stand in the way of my return,” I whispered into my wife’s thick raven hair.

How the gods must have laughed.

At daybreak I left on the Silk Road, safeguarding a caravan of Lapis-Lazuli bound for distant Seres, far beyond the Taklamakan Desert.

A month out of Samarkand, bandits fell upon us. Carrion crows stripped my bones.


I will keep my promise.


For eight-hundred years and many lifetimes I have searched for my love.

When I find her I will never leave.



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SKull in Sand

“Into this life of cruel wonder sent,
Without a word to tell us what it meant,
Sent back again without a reason why –
Birth, life, and death – ’twas all astonishment.”
― Richard Le Gallienneرباعيات خيام

God of All Things

23 Jul

100 words for Friday Fictioneers a group of writers from around the world who meet at a virtual restaurant every week and choose one story from column A and two from column B. The head cook and bottle washer is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and the stories are inspired by the photo prompt below from Marie Gail Stratford.

My story is a requiem for two goats, dear friends of a dear friend, mauled to death by a pack of wild dogs on a recent moonlit night. The link to the picture is obscure, but has its roots in the Japanese superstition about not placing chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.

God of All Things


No luck today in my search.

In a shaded grove of tangled bamboo, iridescent Tui’s fill the air with mournful song. A shaft of sunlight bathes a low mound.

Khalil Gibran said, “Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”.

I don’t blame the dogs. They are man’s best friend in daytime, but at night and in a pack they answer only to the moon.

I do blame the owners and pray we never meet.

In fresh turned earth I stand two lighted joss sticks, one for Brad, now at peace, and one for Calvin, still missing.




goat on stump




The Nerve (II)

18 Jun

100 words for Friday Fictioneers. (A reposting this week as per Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s suggestion. Coincidentally, I will be on the road for two weeks, so her idea could not have come at a better time.)

When I first posted this story (The Nerve) it was woefully overlong at 147 words because I had yet to master the fine art of slicing, dicing and killing my darlings. For this post I decided to try to pare it down to 100 words. The result, again based again on a fine picture by Mary Shipman, can be read below. For those of you with time on your hands, you might want to check out the original and compare it to this one just to see what got blown away. Or not. I’ll never know. (I’ll try to comment on your stories when I can this week and next, but expect me only if you see me. Mahalo.)

Should I get taken to the Land of Oz on my travels and not be able to find my way back, please know I meant every word I ever said.

I love all of you.


Aloha, D.



Copyright Mary Shipman


The funnel cloud writhed, sinuous and silent above rich farmland.

If you’re going to stay up there, say hello to the Wizard for me,” screamed my wife from the cellar. A shrew and a control freak, she had long ago become oil to my water.

“Courage,” I heard Bert Lahr intone.

A thunderous roar filled the air as the tip touched down across the street and blew the Baum’s house to splinters.

Time to fly.

My last thought before darkness descended was that the witch was finally going to have to get some new wallpaper for the living room.



In this Life

21 May

100 words for the rest of my life.

Based on love, prompted by the photo below from Erin Leary, as a weekly submission for Friday Fictioneers. We are like birds hidden in the tree branches, singing to each other, singing to ourselves….singing because we must. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields keeps poachers at bay and waters the lawn, but doesn’t get paid enough.

Thanks, friend. It’s a peaceful place. Come and sing with us.


the next prompt2Copyright Erin Leary


He wrote to say he would arrive at the beginning of summer. She named the time and place.

He had been moving in her orbit all of his lives. She had been waiting for years.

Between the great tree where her children played many years ago and the old basalt steps that led down into the park, she let the walls of her reserve fall, then stepped over them into his arms.

He held her and let the light of a new world illuminate him. The fog was lifting, warmed by the heat of memories. She relaxed into his love.



In this Life


The Journey

25 Dec

Eighteen minutes until Christmas in Hawaii and eighteen minutes until it’s over in New Zealand. A day apart yet separated by only an hour in the real world. All part of the long now on our journey.

The path can seem lonely at times and yet solitude is one of the great joys in my life. While on Stewart Island at the southern end of New Zealand I sat on a bench along the trail not far from the site of the picture below and listened for a long time to birdsong echoing through the rain forest canopy. I walked empty beaches and thought about the great gyre of life. Cormorant skeletons and millions of shells and a leopard seal skull gave mute testimony to the ephemeral nature of existence.

Doors open. Doors close. Life changes form.

I’m grateful for the fellowship and support of everyone reading this.  It is lovely walking with you.


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or, if you prefer, Serenity.

Mahalo nui loa.



The Journey


Boy’s Day

30 Oct

A hundred word story for Friday Fictioneers, a school of writers as varied and colorful as the koi in the photo prompt shown below. Their manifold offerings can be found here. My story is written for my son, Scott and his wife Tamara, who are about to become parents for the first time. I love you.

Doug's Koi

Copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

New snow fell softly from a cold gray sky on the day I was allowed to return. Here and there amid a sea of debris protruded concrete islands, one of these the preschool of my son Kenji. The wave found him there, and took Kumi, his mother, as she raced across town to reach him in time…


Memories roil the calm surface I struggle to maintain.


On the flagpole next to my empty and quiet new house overlooking a pond filled with a kaleidoscope of fry, I raise a large gold and blue koinobori and offer it to the wind.


Dedicated to all the parents who lost children in the Tsunami of March, 2011, Sendai, Japan.