‘What now?’ screamed Aetius.

Another hail of arrows split open the sky, hurtling down on them. On command the surviving legionnaires raised their shields and fended off the onslaught. The screams and cries signalled more men lost. The wild gale battered them, the rain hammered them relentlessly.

General Manius stared through the bleak grey storm at the huddled remains of the Ninth legion, strewn along the unforgiving rocky hillside.

They were hopelessly lost in this barren land. There was no escape. Retreat was blocked behind them, and they had no idea which way would lead them to safety. The aquila had been lost.

On all sides they were surrounded by the hellish inhabitants. Why had they been sent to conquer this desolate place? There was nothing here worth Rome having.

‘General, what now?’ Aetius yelled again.

Through the storm Manius heard an evil animal howl. Emerging from the thick fog, fearsome warriors charged towards them.

‘We fight and we die,’ Manius commanded as he hauled himself to his feet. His men followed his example. They rushed to meet their death. Manius fell to one blow from a giant axe.

The Ninth legion was lost to history. The land called Caledonia remained wild and unbowed.


203 06 June 18th 2017
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.


Tam stumbled out the pub into his car.

‘Off home then, Meg,’ he patted the grey metal, named after the horse she had replaced. After several attempts he managed to crank the engine into life and got behind the wheel.

He weaved drunkenly along the single track road. As he passed the old church and graveyard he veered as bright lights sped past him and a loud shrieking horn blared out.

‘Aha, the ghosts and witches are about tonight!’ he cried.

Behind him a blaring siren and more bright lights pursued him.

‘They shan’t catch us tonight, Meg,’ and on he charged towards the river.

Reaching the Bridge of Doon, the car clipped the stone wall and the rear bumper clattered off, colliding with the police car that had chased the erratic driver.

Tam looked back and shook a gleeful fist at his stricken pursuers.

‘Kate, I’m coming my love,’ he laughed. Only when crying her name did he begin to fear what Kate would do when she saw he had arrived home drunk again.

© Al Forbes

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).

I apologise and hope I can be excused for exceeding the word limit this week as today is Burns Day in Scotland, celebrating the life and work of our national poet, Robert Burns. One of his famous poems is ‘Tam O’Shanter, A Tale’ – based on the prompt I have attempted an updated version in honour of Burns.

The original poem can be read here: TAM O’SHANTER, A TALE

A straightforward explanation of the poem can be found here: Wikipedia

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


             The sun shone through the leaves of the oak tree, swaying in the gentle breeze. Their shadows played over Caleb as he sat with his back against the broad trunk, looking along the dusty track. From his carefully chosen vantage point across from the church he could see all the comings and goings of the village. He squinted up into the sun as a crow circled and squawked overhead.

            It was so peaceful and pleasant sitting by the tree that Caleb felt himself start to drift off to sleep. No sooner had his eyelids shut than he jolted himself upright. He didn’t want to fail in his mission. It would have been easier if there was more activity to keep him occupied while he waited, but Forgandenny was a sleepy village and he could go for whole hours without seeing anyone coming along the road. The perfect place for an enemy spy to lie undetected, he thought. Continue reading “THE CONFRONTATION”