• Why by Sharon Hancock

    Why does the earth go on spinning?

    Why does the bad keep on winning?

    Why is our land so unhealthy?

    Why all the spoils to the wealthy?

    Why is our world filled with virus?

    With fighting […]

    • Hi Sharon. Your poem expresses so much of what we are all thinking. The pandemic has made us all question our beliefs and customs. And may be being all shook up is exactly what we need. Well done on giving this concept a voice.

  • hanzo047 changed their profile picture 1 week ago

  • Green-Eyed Devil by Athina Antoniou#Yvette Cunningham sat at one of the prestigious café’s outside tables waiting for the monthly meeting with her old school friend, Julie. Despite the early hour she was be […]

    • Hey Athina,

      That was an interesting story. I wasn’t expecting it to end up there.

      Your pacing is a little off and your characters slightly one dimensional. What would make Julie be friends with such a person?

      You definitely make me feel contempt for Yvette, just as she feels it for others.

      Overall, a good read.
      Well done.

      • Thank you for your feedback, Melanie. I should have added a paragraph somewhere explaining that Julie felt some loyalty towards Yvette, who had befriended her in high school when no one else would.
        You’re right, my characters are one dimensional, and I will endeavour to change that. Thank you again for your comments.

        • Hey Athina,

          With that one paragraph added you would have shown more character for both of them. Yvette would have looked more human if she befriended someone out of kindness (only later growing into the jealous creature we see) and Julie wouldn’t have looked needy by being friends with someone so nasty.

    • Hi Athina,
      There are a lot of interesting elements to this story. This description conveys a feeling of admiration/disapproval from the third person narrator and tells us that the narrator is not necessarily objective:  Despite the early hour she was beautifully dressed and coiffed. Fashionably thin and with her dyed ash blonde hair and beautiful green eyes she cut a dashing figure, and she enjoyed seeing the admiration in the eyes of passers-by.

      It’s a great opening that draws you in, because the description tells us a lot about Yvette right away. You did use beautiful/beautifully in two consecutive sentences, so you might want to vary that. We also get to see their private thoughts, which is always something I think the reader likes especially as it contrasts with what they say.
      But I agree with Melanie, it’s hard to know why Julie would stay friends with Yvette.
      I thought that when Charles was coming home late from visiting his mother, it was a cover up for an affair, but perhaps you did that to throw a red herring into the story. That added dimension, which I liked.
      I liked that Yvette unravels and that her comments get wilder and more out of control as the story progresses. But Julie seems like a very kind and understanding person, and if she’s stuck it out this long, why would she back away and run out? Wouldn’t she help in some way or call an ambulance?
      Also, Julie seems to restrain herself and let Yvette go on and on. So why would she say, “I have plenty of other friends apart from you, people who are genuine and care for me. How many other friends have you got?”

      I found that a surprising line at that moment and if you shortened it to just “How many other…”, you would still convey the same message.

      I do like the premise of this story-a friend with more insight compared to Yvette who is a lot more unstable than anyone realizes.
      A good story.

      • Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to read my story. I have explained above why Julie stayed friends with Yvette, although I realise I should have explained that in the story. In the actual story, Julie backs away and goes to call for help, but I was already well over the word limit and couldn’t get any more in. Thank you again for your feedback.

    • Yikes. Ok, I really hated Yvette from beginning to end of this story, so shallow and self-serving. I expected some resolution or realization, but I should have known, since it says it’s a thriller, that there would be a cruel twist. Well done.

      • Thank you for your comments, Ellen. I’m usually a ‘happy ending’ writer, but this story seemed to have a mind of its own. Thank you again for taking the time to read my story.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed your story. It was easy to follow and the details were great additions to the characters. I wasn’t sure about the ending as I thought that Julie would continue to try to reason with Yvette instead of backing away. It was a twist that I didn’t expect. Nice writing. Thanks for sharing.

    • I felt bad for Yvette even though she was controlling and wanted everything her way. She must have felt inadequate to be that jealous. I liked how you ended the story leaving us to decide if she was going to kill everyone around her or kill herself or cut herself so everyone would feel sorry for her.
      In the last paragraph, you use “ing” seven times. It might have more impact if you get rid of the “ing”, ie, “Julie slowly backing away and disappearing…” change to “Julie slowly back away and disappear…” and “drops of blood falling…” to “drops of blood fall…” I enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing.

      • Thank you for your comments, Sandy. I didn’t realise I’d use ‘ing’ so many times and thank you for pointing it out to me. Thank you again for taking the time to read my story.

    • I agree on telling why they are friends. You need to put the comment about they have been friends since high school early on in the story. I see Yvette as being shallow. Julie needs to be a little more three dimensional.

    • Hi Athina,
      You know sometimes you read a piece that makes you want to shake the characters vigorously to knock some sense into them? Your story did that for me. I wish I could yell at Julie to be aware of Yvette from the get go, but that just means you’ve been able to incite those feelings in your readers’ hearts with your words. So kudos for the good read and thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Hi Athina
      What I really liked about this story is that you made the character another may steriotypically be jealous of, the one who is jealous. You portrayed Yvette quite well, and though Julie is a little flat, that is how Yvette sees her, I suppose. Yvette is the star of Yvette’s world, and Julie is insignificant. That would have worked as an angle if you told us more about Julie and Yvette’s relationship. I do agree that that was lacking a little. Overall, however, this was a great read and a good story.

    • I’ve edited my story to reflect some of the feedback I received.

  • A Plea for a True Death by hanzo047


    The ankle cuff buzzes in protest as Ana tries to get up from the couch. The folder sits on the table, beckoning her to open it… or maybe it’s Kit?

    The slim look of the fil […]

    • Hello again. I appreciate getting more information about the world in this installment. Love the idea of using spirits to help create AI!
      Brings up some interesting idea of what really is consciousness and what counts as life.

      • Hello again! Ah, I didn’t mean to bring up that idea of “what is consciousness vs life” but I’m happy that it’s in there! It is something that I do want to discuss with this story too.

        Thank you for continuing to read along. It means so much!

    • Hi
      I loved the new information been added to this story. The picture is widening and this revelation is a perfect way to move forward. Of course with the last line you did raise doubt, is this all true? The next story will tell.

      • Hi Catherine, I’m happy you enjoyed it! And yes.. a question I don’t even know the answer to… yet 😉 Thank you for following the story, it means a lot!

    • Went back and read the other instalments- love them all! Your writing flows beautifully from one prompt to the next and I usually struggle with sci fi and fantasy but your writing made sense and kept me intrigued. Very nice job!

      • Hi Kristine – wow, that’s so wonderfully nice to hear, thank you so much! You’ve made my day!

    • Hi Hanzo,
      Thanks for sharing your story.
      Although I didn’t read the beginning yet, I felt hooked and wanting to know more about the plot. The elements of AI and magic make a fascinating combination. Usually, fantasy places science fiction in the future and magic in the past. I like to see both things together.
      I loved the way the story flows naturally and gives the impression the reader is there with the androids.
      I made some suggestions concerning writing.
      In “So when you were testing me with those questions, were your answers because they were watching? Or do you really hate our kind that much?” I’d say “So when you were testing me with those questions, did you answer the way you did because they were watching? Or do you really hate our kind that much?
      In “For her, The Company had stolen from Suné’s family generations ago.” I’d remove “For her” from the phrase.
      In “They used our desires to corrupt us and test us for their amusement.” I suggest you use ” They used our desires to corrupt and test us…” without two “us”.
      Keep it up. I’d love to see what happens next. 🙂

  • The Unbearable Tightness of Love by Prakhar G
    Naz cruised in her rented car along the busy market street at a snail’s pace. It was difficult to follow people in car when they were on foot, and particularly so a […]

    • This story that kept me engaged from beginning to end. The MC is a strong character that I identified with and it was great to see her new found trust would not be broken. Well done.

    • Hi Prakar, i agree the pace was very good and kept me hanging on. There were some really nice visuals (her car creeping along the street, and the actions of their early dates)…..a great line ‘She had taken some time to say “I love you too” back reflexively, but she had gotten there in the end.’
      While your closing scene was surprising and enjoyable and believable, it did make me scroll back to make sure you had not previously identified Joe as being male …and these lines confused me: ‘They looked at her, rooted. He was the first to find his voice. “Don’t you trust me, Naz?” he said. There was an air of incredulity.
      Naz’s brow furrowed. She realized she didn’t want to look at him at all. She turned to her. “Him, I can understand. But you? I expected better from you.” …and so i remain a little confused.
      If in fact, Joe is a woman might you give her a different unisex name (eg: Cris)?.If i am wrong in my assumptions then you have made me think beyond the ending which is always a good thing. Nice stuff.

      • Thanks Glen, for the praise and the constructive criticism. I did wonder if using Joe was lazy on my part, maybe something like Alex (or Cris) might have worked better! Also, I tried, in the present, to keep only the pronouns He and She for the couple Naz was following. So He is Joe’s friend who speaks up, not Joe. But I see the use of words was not completely above reproach 🙂 I’ll see if it can be reworded so it becomes less (and at the same time, more) ambiguous.

        But I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • A and B by Sharon Hancock


    Alice and Brailin, pronounced Bray Lynn, had been the best of friends since the first day of third grade. Alice was sitting in the back row when Brailin waltzed into the room without […]

    • That was a lovely story, Sharon, and I loved the way these two girls who became best friends were each able to offer the other what they lacked in their own home. A beautiful, well-told story with a lot of meaning.

      • Thank you for reading. I had fun writing this, but ran out of word count before I ran out of story. It would have been much better if I had more words. Thanks again, I appreciate your input.

    • A sweet little tale of genuine friendship. Fluid and easy to read. Thank you.

      • Thank you Catherine. It needed more time, but this month we had a broken arm and dog surgery to deal with, so my focus was elsewhere. Looking forward to next month when things settle down. Thanks again for your caring comments.

    • Loved what you did with the prompt. Even though the girls came from completely different backgrounds and felt jealous of how the other one lived I’m glad you ended it the way you did with the girls understanding and respecting their differences. Nicely done.

    • Cute story. They are both jealous of each other’s lives. Each has their own great qualities based on their different backgrounds.

      One comment; in the beginning, you state how to pronounce Brailin’s name.
      I’m not sure if this is necessary. A good reason is to emphasize how much Alice loves her name, and is focusing on the way it sounds.
      Otherwise, trust your audience! Names can be tricky, and people may not know how to pronounce it, but it also takes it out of the story to clarify pronunciation.
      If you would like to clarify, maybe have Brailin herself talk about it while introducing herself. Make it part of the story. Maybe she writes it on the board and talks about the pronunciation.

      Once again, the story was all in all fun and a nice story about friends.

    • Hi Sharon there are a few stories this month of women/girls who are envious/jealous of each other but unable to share or express that feeling (with sad outcomes) so this was refreshing and touching. Lovely .

  • Jealousy by EJ Murray


    “You told him?” Dak’s face was set in a mask of horrified surprise.

    Lontano lifted the French press in invitation. Dak didn’t seem to see the coffeepot. He fumbled behind him, located […]

    • EJ what an interesting story! I only had your blurb to get the background information but it was enough to follow along and understand how Dak must feel about Lontano finding a partner that isn’t him. You’ve written Lontano’s frustration and confidence and Dak’s annoyance and disbelief really well. I wonder how they’ll sort it out 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi EJ, An interesting story with a lot of world-building behind it. The dialogue was smooth and you portrayed the emotions of the characters well, especially with some slight exposition around the alien’s emotions. I liked understanding this subtle difference as it didn’t seem like there was too much else differentiating the velyr from humans.

      My one suggestion is that i wondered about the existence of a french press and regular guitars in this futuristic world – granted, I don’t know how futuristic this is supposed to be, perhaps it is present day and the velyr walk among regular humans secretly. But if it is set in the future I expected to see more differences in everyday-life things. I do think this can be tricky, because with sci fi you want to strike a balance – enough familiar things to make it resonate with readers, but enough different/imaginative things to make it seem like a new and interesting world, too. Maybe i just dont know enough about the backdrop of your world (which I sense you have well-thought out!).

      I look forward to reading more of your work!

  • All the Fun They’re Having by Gold


    The woman looked to her right, past the empty pillow where her husband’s head used to lie, and to the bedside clock. Three in the morning— the gloomiest part of the nig […]

    • This story seemed so real to me. It is tragic the effects people have on others because of their selfish desires. The tulips at the end were a nice touch adding to the “if only” effect. And the pool with no ripples was terribly sad. Very well done.

      • Gold replied 1 week ago

        Thank you for reading and not attacking…. though attacks, as you can see, are very welcome!

      • Gold replied 1 week ago

        Thank you for reading this and commenting.

    • There is no need for me to attack this piece with criticism, I assure you, haha. This is a very moving story, and it’s one of the stories where the characters feel the most real to me. The ending also worked so well, I think. Those flowers taking on a double meaning, him laying them there hopeful to spark new life, unaware that he’s instead marking a tomb. Well done

    • Hi Gold there were some absolute gems of lines in this which I thought was really good. That obsessive need to know where her ex husband was, what he was doing, is so real…And of course, predictably, the old man’s impulsivity was their downfall -what a waste of a marriage and what a cliche (not your story, his!) to go off with the younger woman and miss the one with whom he has grown old – for that’s what he is and what the young dolly soon found out. Well done.

    • Hey Gold, and how goes it? I really enjoyed this piece. The storyline is a familiar one, but you brought it to life. Those opening lines are very visual, and Lidia’s little meltdown with the pillow shows her fragile state. I liked the way you switched scenes and points of view, I was initially convinced that Lidia’s attempt at hurting her husband would show up in the lobster or the risotto. The last lines are great, Harry’s hurt is assured, Marian is most definitely history. Really well done and regards, Seyi

    • What a tragedy! When you gave us a peek into Lidia’s mind planning to ‘hurt’ Harry, I never imagined it would be this. I liked the way you captured the heartbreak turning into jealousy and the novelty of a new life wearing off. The friendly neighbour was a great touch to show the last few scenes and I loved the imagery of the last sentence.

  • Mildred by Christopher Joyce


    It was Sunday morning at 0530 and the birds were busy saying hello and well met to the new dawn. I was excited for the day ahead and annoyed everyone else in the house by […]

    • Hi Chris, I enjoyed reading your story and really like the way you have used the idea of jealousy to tell your story. The story makes strong reading but is a little let-down by some repetition – ‘crested’ appears more than once in a paragraph, using different words makes a story more interesting for the reader. You probably know the rule and have decided to break it, but in a short story there should only be one narrator and one point of view. Multiple narrators and points of view work best in novels. In short stories they can confuse the reader and take them out of the story and that ‘breaks’ the flow. I shall look forward to reading more of your stories and am so glad Jim finally reached his destination. 🙂

  • This robot love by Didi Bono


    September 14th,  2100

    I woke up early today, my eyes slowly adjusting to the bright green woods that Skip had already set up for me.

    Skip is the latest generation of family […]

    • Ooooo. Got creepy at the end there. Skip is very jealous indeed. Fun story. I liked how both the personality of Tessa and Skip came through.
      I was a little confused about what happened with Obu. It looks like you are suggesting that Skip killed Obu, but it isn’t clear. I think there could have been a little more information on that end.

    • Hello Didi,
      Nice story, and I felt like it could be a collection of journal entries. It was a very unique take on the prompt and interesting plot. The story was fun to read. Overall, it was a good story. A couple of suggestions: 1) be careful on quotation tags and punctuation. 2) I was confused about Obu and who that is. Was it a connection and reference to the husband Skip?

  • Incident at Warehouse 9 by Jeff L Mauser


    A glint of sunlight off metal catches her eye. She knows trouble is here. She’d been expecting it. She knew it was inevitable given the circumstances.  What she’s unsu […]

    • Good story with a nice, but twisted, twist. Unfortunately, in today’s world, not too far off from reality. I like how you worked the ‘friends who got out of control’ line, and added the love interest Kathy can’t see. You did a good job of painting the psychopathic behavior of her co-worker, and how serious a problem this can become.

      Thanks for putting this story up. I enjoyed the read.

    • Hi Jeff
      This is a very intense one, and in a good way. Your characterisation is excellent in this piece too, and show a lot for each character in just a few sentences. You did jump a bit from first person to third person, and also from present tense to past tense, so I did have to read some things more than once, but I got there. Well done on this one. Great use of the prompt

      • Thanks for the extra effort on the 1st & 3rd and past and present tense. I know there is a way to do the 1st & 3rd where its 1st person when they are talking and 3rd otherwise but exactly how, well ….

        Thanks for the read and the feedback.

  • I’VE HEARD IT’S CALLED…by Sharon Hancock


    Warm furry bodies, eyes closed tight

    Everything I need and more to make it through the night

    Morning breaks and my brothers are nowhere in sight

    I search for my mo […]

    • Really good!

    • What a beautiful poem!! We have a precious little dog, who is more like a somewhat hairy child in the family.

      • Thank you. It was fun to write and I can relate because we only have shelter dogs. It is a easy topic for me to get into. Thanks again, Sharon

    • I like the way the poem slowly builds up to the final line, using the perspective of the soon-to-be embraced new family dog. Lovely.

    • Hi Sharon, such a sweet poem leading to a happy home…..you gripped me at your fourth line…’I search for my mother; nothing is right.’….nice one

  • EJ Murray's profile was updated 1 month ago

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  • House of Secrets by Athina Antoniou


    The night was dark and silent, with only a sliver of a moon giving an eerie light. Chris and Luke looked at each other in puzzlement. Luke’s hand was shaking a bit as he h […]

    • Great build-up of suspense! You kept what was going on at the house a secret to the end. I liked Chris and Luke’s determination to find out what was behind the word “help” on the paper they found, even after Mr. Collinson had sent them home. You might want to add more detail of the men at the house, and what was happening at the house.

      • Thank you for your comments, Linda. The story does need more work, but I was already over the word limit. Thank you again for taking the time to read my story.

    • Hi Athina
      I agree with Linda, I think the point of interest in this story was a little short-changed. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the read and was invested in the story from the beginning. I liked Chris and Luke, and Mr Collinson as characters, and I loved the mystery surrounding the house. Very chilling and entertaining. Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Athina,
      I read your story from last month and recognized it as a continuation from the Red LIpstick prompt. You did a great job showing us the determination of Chris and Luke and the good intentions of Mr. Collinson. Who is Brian? I’m thinking that is Mr. Collinson’s first name but you never made it clear. I agree that we need a little more background on the girls and the two men. I liked that you made the ending foggy and that the possibility of the house being used for secrets again is a possibility. A very imaginative story.

      • Thank you for your feedback and for taking the time to read my story. Yes, Brian is Mr. Collinson, sorry if I didn’t make that clear. You’re right that I should have provided more background on the girls and the two men, but I simply concentrated on completing the story within the word count.

    • Nice continuation from the last prompt. You did a good job of creating the suspense and revealing more that you set up. I agree with some of the other comments about adding some detail and a little more description. It can be hard to fit within the word limit sometimes.

    • Nice writing. You began innocently enough – kids investigating an empty house. When the tension kicked in, it really held. Well done.

  • Three Questions by hanzo047


    Teacher-Nurse Kagi’s eyes float down to the smudge of red lipstick on the strap around Ana’s left wrist. She swiftly wipes it away with her pointer finger. Looking at the color wit […]

  • Keeping up with the Jonzis by Prakhar G


    The high noon sun beat down on the street like an oven as Zubin Jonzi stood at the open French windows and leaned against the frame. His muscular body was rigid under a […]

    • Hi Prakhar,
      Thank you for sharing your story.
      I think the flow of it was evenly paced and it held my interest. I felt like the first section was written in a different voice compared to the other sections, but I could be reading it wrong.
      It was clever how you went from Zubin’s experience with the neighbors to Maria’s experience. But one thing that was disjointed was that you would say “Kissed her husband” rather then using Zubin’s name.
      I hope that you find success with the rest of your 12 stories!

      • Thank you kmayque for your praise. I’m happy that the pace was decent, and that the story held your interest. I did not particularly notice the difference in voice of the sections, but I did write the first part on a different day, so I guess that was a difference.

        Thanks for your suggestion, I will try out these different wordings and see if they work better!

    • I really liked your character development. These are the type of characters I would like to read more about. What happens next and what exactly is the alien agenda?

  • Pointy Hats and Graffity covered cloaks by Christopher Joyce


    The early morning sky was filled with dark, swirling, brooding angry clouds. These furtive adolescent cumuli accurately spat a light scattering of […]

    • Hello. Fun story! I loved the imagery you had of Stonehenge, and the power moving through the wizards. I also loved the twist at the end of what the sacrifice of their power will be.
      One note that I have of the piece is that you use the passive voice a lot.

      “The twenty-one Elders were seated in a formation of 5 rows…” could be “the twenty-one elders sat…”

      “The ground was shaking…” could be “The ground shook…”

      “Each trilithon was humming” could be “Each trilithon hummed…”

      Those changes could make it even more compelling and engaging. Anywhere you see “was” or a form of could probably be changed in some way to make the subject more action oriented.

      Once again, great work and descriptions though. I really enjoyed reading.

      • Thankyou for the great comment, yes I have big trouble with the “passive Voice” as I write technical documents I am kind of stuck in this mode. Thanks again for the comment.

  • Mae Ling by Sharon Hancock


    Busy noisy classrooms are always something I strived for. If it was quiet and dull, I always felt that something was amiss.

    My schoolyear started out different one year as a […]

    • Hi Sharon
      This is such a sweet story that just made me so happy to read. I was captivated throughout, and I love the personalities you gave to some of the kids. Very well done on this one. Thank you for sharing

    • Lovely story about a Teacher and her student’s shared journey. This was a feel good story. I have no critique – just a thumbs up! 👍

      • Thank you, Charles. I had trouble with this month’s story, not because I couldn’t find a topic, but because I had to learn how to use dictation to write. I broke my arm and couldn’t type it out. It was a true learning experience. I just wish it hadn’t happened with a 1800 word count. I look back on my teaching career with fond memories such as this one. thanks again, Sharon

    • Hey Sharon!
      Nicely done here. A very well written feel-good story. I felt happier just reading it. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing.

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