A fancy dress party. Not my sort of thing.

But sitting in alone again made me think twice. Everyone out there having a good time. Why not me too?

What can I wear? I know. My check shirt, old jeans. Rummage through the children’s old toy box. There it is, a toy gun and a small cowboy hat. A cloth round my neck. The final touch – Grandad’s old boots, complete with authentic spurs.

Look in the mirror. Not too bad for a last minute rush. Won’t win any prizes, but that’s not the point. It’s about getting out, being part of the old gang again, having fun like I used to.

A few odd looks on the bus. To be expected. It is a Thursday evening after all, and there aren’t too many cowboys around Glasgow, especially wearing toy-sized hats and making a clanking noise with each awkward step in ill-fitting boots.

My feet are in agony after the fifteen minute walk up the hill to the address in the West End. I can hear the music, the chatter, the laughter.

Doors open. In I go.

‘Stick ’em up!’ I shout. Everyone stops talking. Everyone looks at me. No-one is in fancy dress.

Most of the faces are unknown. Wrong house? I lower my toy gun. The faces turn away.

An arm round the shoulder. My old friend, Martin.

‘Halloween party is next week,’ he says, guiding me to the kitchen and placing a drink in my hand.

I’m still glad I decided to come. Just have to think of a new outfit for next week now.


This is a response to the Thursday Photo Prompt curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.



Nothing sinister or suspect.

Samson looked out at the row of bungalows. A car drove past, a dog barked, the trees swayed in the breeze.

He stepped inside the house, walking through the hallway, glancing in each room.

No signs of disturbance.

She lived here alone. Late last night, a call from neighbours reporting screaming.

In the backyard a huge oak tree dominated. Samson walked up to it, feeling the cracked bark.

He walked round the wide trunk. His hand felt a sticky, dark excretion. His fingertips were red. He looked up.

A large hollow. He had found her.

Copyright Sandra Crook

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Read more stories featuring Detective Samson: THE DETECTIVE SAMSON STORIES


A beautiful day in the Old Town, or what remained of it.

The buildings that had stood for centuries were now reduced to rubble.

As Farouk walked through the cluttered streets there were signs of life re-emerging. Children’s voices could be heard. Groups of people gathered and gossiped as they had done before the war.

The occupying forces had left. The time of immediate danger was over.

The chalk sign on the door to his house had been a surprise. Two dashes with a curve – meet at midday in the main square cafe.

He had thought all the international agencies had left the country.

A last farewell perhaps, maybe a final reward for the information Farouk had provided over the years.

The table they usually met at was unoccupied. A piece of paper was lying on it.

His stomach lurched.

In Arabic letters it read: ‘Do you know the price of treason?’

The world went dark as a black bag smothered Farouk’s face.

Passersby carried on walking. They had learned to look the other way.

Copyright Grant-Sud

Written as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in around 150 words, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thanks as always to the challenge host Priceless Joy. For more information visit HERE.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.


Standing on the room balcony, Archie took a long puff on his pipe.

It was a quiet place of solitude after three weeks at sea with Agnes. She couldn’t stand the smell of his pipe.

He had gone through a lot of tobacco.

Another fine morning. Somewhere off the starboard side were the Indonesian islands.

‘Archie!’ Agnes screeched. He could make out the top of her head sticking out, down and to the right, where the restaurant was located. ‘Bring down my reading glasses, will you?’

He didn’t acknowledge her. He would say he didn’t hear her.

A moment later, he heard her scream. What now, he thought.

By the time he had ambled down, Agnes was cowering in the corner, wafting a pole about, fending off an angry-looking snake. A small crowd had gathered.

‘Where have you been?!’ Agnes glowered at him. ‘This snake dropped out the sky onto my plate. They say it’s a taipan. Deadly poisonous.’

Above the restaurant the small tender boat used to transport passengers to shore was suspended. It had picked up an unwanted guest while in port.

‘Sorry dear,’ Archie called, as the snake reared up. ‘I was looking for your reading glasses.’

Copyright A Mixed Bag

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

More adventures featuring Agnes and Archie can be found here: THE AGNES AND ARCHIE STORIES.


Hank pulled at the collar that was irritating his neck. He felt the clammy sweat on his skin. What had happened to the air conditioning in here? The Stickman offered him the bowl with five dice in it. Hank reached out and selected two. He held them tightly in his moist fist. His turn as the shooter. Just one more big win, he told himself.

The evening had started with little expectation of success. A final, desperate attempt to raise enough money. Win or bust. Hank was exhausted having driven Route 80 from Sacramento. He had left his house at nine that morning and arrived in Vegas at seven in the evening. He checked in to the hotel, changed into his suit – the only luggage he had brought with him – and been on the casino floor by eight.

He had never gambled in a real casino before. He’d played on the internet. He’d played in a couple of backroom games with friends and people he knew. He’d made modest gains and modest losses. Playing these small scale games would never bank him the money he needed. He had run out of time to wait for small amounts to accumulate. He needed a big win and he needed it tonight.

Poker and Blackjack were too dangerous in a town like Vegas for a newcomer. Experienced pros would make quick work of him. He never fancied the odds in Roulette. Craps seemed like his best shot. In Craps, the gambler has only two options – to place their money on the Pass line, or on the Don’t Pass line. The rest is entirely down to Lady Luck.

Joining the table he’d started with a couple of small stakes on the rolls of the other shooters. The first one was a bust when the shooter threw out a three and a four, a Natural Seven, on the come out roll. Hank lost the chips he had placed on the Don’t Pass line. He had better luck with the next shooter who came out with a four to establish the point. With the next roll they threw a five, then a six and then repeated the four. Hank’s chips on the Pass line were returned to him with his winnings.

Then the dice passed to the woman who Hank would remember for the rest of his life. Auburn hair, tied in a bun on the top of her head, with loose strands flowing down to her pale slender, neck; dark green eyes that flashed across the faces she looked upon; pale pink lips raised in a confident half-smile. She wore a scarlet dress revealing toned, slim shoulders and a necklace of gold that glinted under the table lights. Continue reading “SNAKE EYES”