• Poetic Slaughter by R.L. Nel

    The poet had high hopes for his daughter
    The art of poetry writing he taught her
    After learning all the tricks
    She wrote only limericks
    Which her father called poetic […]

  • Whoa! You do the macabre so well! I loved this! From how the twins communicate via telepathy to Annie snitching on them. The ending is chilling. Iโ€™m so glad that there are two more installments! Well done, Ismael!

  • Whoa! You do the macabre so well! I loved this! From how the twins communicate via telepathy to Annie snitching on them. The ending is chilling. I’m so glad that there are two more installments! Well done, Ismael!

  • Thank you so much, Ismael! Yes, I actually had the various love languages in mind when I wrote this. Thank you for reading and for your kind comments, my friend.

  • Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my story! I’m delighted that you enjoyed it. – Rachel

  • Last Words by R.L. Nel


    Maude is, as always, the consummate hostess. No sooner has a few sips been taken, then sheโ€™s at hand with the wine bottle or the pitcher of iced tea, topping up glasses.

    Even today of a […]

    • What a sad and beautiful story. You captured the MCs grace, dignity, and suffering through your nuanced descriptions. Your ending is the icing on the cake!!

      • Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my story! I’m delighted that you enjoyed it. – Rachel

    • Oh, Rachel, I love this one. It hits straight into the heart. This reminds me of many a silent sufferer whose language of love is to serve. Misunderstood by her friends as uncaring but underneath has given everything for her love.

      • Thank you so much, Ismael! Yes, I actually had the various love languages in mind when I wrote this. Thank you for reading and for your kind comments, my friend.

    • This is great. The best I have read on the theme so far, and a real treat. Captivating and with perfect pace. It is very well written and three scenes blend together with obvious ease. This needs to be entered into a competition or two. Before you do, look at the sentence… ‘She walks over to the windows, flinging it open’. ‘Window’ or ‘flinging them open’. Great writing. Great story. Great use of the theme. Pure gold. Thanks.

    • I write this with eyes brimming, don’t mind admitting it. Such a lovely, gently unfolding story with the perfect ending. I worried she would find something unfortunate as she sorted through his things and was charmed to discover your ending. Perfect.

    • Deryn replied 2 weeks ago

      Hi Rachel Kate sounds a real pill, but maybe she was the catalyst for your MC to have a good cathartic cry after the funeral. The ending is lovely, closure for your MC – we all show our love differently and she had clearly adequately demonstrated hers in a way John understood. Nicely done.

    • This is very touching. And very realistic as a portrayal of a long time couple. And their thorny in laws. The only structural issue I have is really minor. In the second sentence you say, “No sooner has a few sips…” it should be, I think, “No sooner have a few sips…”
      Other than that it reads smoothly and stays engaging and you put the separators in just the right places to advance the story without losing me. Well done.

    • Hey Rachel, and how goes it? Great descriptions, particularly of your main character. I could see her and could feel what she was going through. Even through the other characters, I felt as if I understood the dearly departed John, as well. The letter he left behind, (and Maude’s reaction), is a wonderful closer to this story. Really well done, and best regards, Seyi

    • This was gorgeous. A tragically beautiful romance. I really empathized with Maude and you portrayed her grief and regret perfectly. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Storm at a Funeral by R.L. Nel

    Lightning rips the sky
    Like mourners rending their clothes
    The wind howls; asks why

    Read R.L. Nel’s work.

    • An interesting image, but I’m not ready to comment on this yet. I have to think about it for a while.

      • The literal scope of a lightning bolt tearing the sky does not match the hand’s-breadth rending of clothes required by Keriah, but it matches the intensity of the grief. Personalizing the wind carries through the metaphor. Although I’m not a fan of semicolons, and might have omitted the simile, opting instead for a straight comparison (see Pound’s In the Station of the Metro), it is successful. Thank you.

    • Beautiful images in a short Haiku Rachel. You express much of the grief and mourning in the metaphor of these few words.

      Well done and thanks for sharing.

    • Great little number you have here. I adore that you gave lightning a new description, mourners rending their clothes. What does that mean? I find that description interesting.

    • Hi Rachel. Love it! Simple and clever, great word choice:)

    • Hi
      I love your haiku, you have precisely chosen words that evoke such emotion. Excellent. Keep writing.

    • Elegant simplicity.

    • amazing query,and unique imagery, nature in its severity

    • I hadn’t heard of mourners tearing their clothes at funerals before, but learn that it is a custom in the Jewish faith. It opens up an ambiguity though in your poem – are you asking why mourners should tear their garments or why we have to die? The image of the lightning in the sky is very strong. So much to question in so few syllables. Well done!

    • Wonderful imagery…tearing ripping howling Grief. 🙏🏼

    • Peggy replied 1 month ago

      You’ve given us some thought provoking imagery, Rachel. Grief illuminated. Lovely

    • This was perfect

  • Having experienced alcoholism as a bystander, and being a total food addict myself, I relate to this. The pull of whatever our poison is, is strong. But we always think we’ll beat it. That we’re better than it. That it’s not a problem. That we can stop whenever we want. Everything your poem conveys! Thank you for writing it with such insight.

  • Happy Hour by R.L. Nel


    Iโ€™m squinting at a spreadsheet on my computer screen when the chime of a new e-mail notification distracts me.

    It is three oโ€™clock on the dot. I smile. Sandra is nothing if not pun […]

    • Hi Rachel,
      I was in splits at the end! 🙂 Always a Lab…they are simply adorable. I love how you have woven your story. Your characters and grip on their emotions produces the desired effect any time. I loved your protagonist. But I happen to like Sandra just a wee bit more. I loved her energy, it was infectious. Damon seems like a cute guy. I wonder how the hike will end up for them. This had all the elements of a rom-com. Loved it! Thank you for sharing!

    • So clever — I had suspected, incorrectly, that the rivalry would be between the two female co-workers, but the Labrador is adorable. Keep writing. C Alexis

    • Hi Rachel – loved the ease of this and loved the ending – I have just started hiking with someone and his staffies so this was a perfect ‘meet cute’ scenario!! Lovely work dynamic between Sandra and the MC – nicely done!

    • Hey Rachel, and how goes it? Very cool story, with your usual well rounded characters, and great dialogue. Every office needs a ‘Sandra’ I think but your one is great. She bounces off the pages and does the wing-man (woman?) thing really well. The dialogue flows really well, and I particularly liked the almost-embarrassing scene in the bar that you rounded the story off with. Well done with this, regards, and stay safe. Seyi

  • 27 April 1994, South Africa By R.L. Nel

    It’s autumn
    Yet the cosmos are blooming
    Like a pink and white floral carpet unfurled
    Across the whole Highveld

    When dawn
    Stains the horizon like a bruise
    The queues are […]

    • Hi Rachel – I only came to SA in 1995 and so wish I had been here on that day. Beautifully captured, and so short and succinct.

    • I remember the day well…coloured by generations of white fear…and now,Covid is the only thing that has truly levelled the playing field. Now,we are all the same. It takes Nature – not men, to equalize the listing broken ship .. …#jussaying

    • Hi Rachel, what a lovely poem. I had to look up the date to see the significance. Sounds like a wonderful thing to celebrate every year:) Thanks for sharing.

    • Freedom day – a day to be celebrated in S Africa and so full of hope and expectation, which your poem celebrates. I love the light brisk feel of your poem. I just feel that may be there’s another poem which is the polar opposite of this one?

  • The Birthday Surprise by R.L. Nel
    Emily leans in closer and scrutinises the images on the laptop screen.
    The raven-haired woman on the photos is not only still recognisable, she is even more beautiful than she […]

    • Hey Rachel, and how goes it? I love the buildup. You made Emily into a sister, or best friend, and completely empathetic. I like how you made it clear that the pressure to get married is NOT from mother, friends (as sometimes happens). I do feel for her though, and wonder if any way back to the almost-relaxed relationship she had fallen into with Sean. Thanks for you usual great descriptions, well-placed dialogue, and great characters. Well done and all the very best. Regards, Seyi

    • Oh no! Poor Emily. I hope that her boyfriend has a good sense of humor. You developed her and her desire to be married so well, but she never felt like a sad sack or desperate–she was so likable that I was sorry the story was over. Please consider revisiting this character or expanding the story!

    • Oops, that’s embarrassing. I’m not usually able to finish a story of this nature but you wrote it in a quick pace and I was able to reach the end. Glad I did. I felt for your character as she was believable and her situation was not impossible for someone to be in. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Rachel – ouch – that’s seriously awks for both of them…but you made us have some sympathy with Emily – always the bridesmaid, never the bride, yearning for a wedding but not necessarily a marriage…it was a great story.

    • Hi Rachel,
      I feel so so sorry for Emily! Why does her boyfriend have to be such a heartbreaker? But honestly, the feminist in me would reproach her for being so desperate to tie the knot. But I know many women who feel this way and deride themselves for what seems to them like physical imperfections that stop them from finding Mr. Right. I wish people knew Mr. Right doesn’t care about appearances, they are meant to be soulmates. The end made my eyes go wide…I felt sad, and amused at the same time. Another great story! Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Rachel,
      I am smiling as I relish in the ending of this story! ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a great twist. You set up the scene nicely throughout the story, as it progressed. I initially thought Emily was obsessed with the idea of marriage. As I kept reading her conversations with her mom and Joanie, I believed she really wants to be married and has a deeper longing for something stable. She hasn’t had much of an example so the desire is there, but she can’t compare it to anything. I wonder if she will stay with Sean now that it’s only earrings. What a disappointment, but I hope she gets a man who wants to marry her. What I really hope is that she finds love and is not so consumed with the idea of marriage. Have you considered expanding or tying this into next month’s prompt? Just an idea re: the jealous aspect. Nicely done.

    • Hi Rachel,
      This was a great story. I liked how you showed us that Emily has always fantasized about being married-perhaps because she is familiar with either a negative experience from her grandparents or an absence of two from her mother and she just wants what other people have. I like that she stalks the annoyingly perfect friend from high school who married her boyfriend (and then dumped him?) -it’s always just within reach and then gets pulled away. It isn’t clear why her boyfriend Sean is nervous-maybe he’s getting sick and she thinks he’s nervous? I would have liked to be part of the awkwardness that follows after the earrings are presented-that would tell us a lot about their relationship and about Sean. Although I don’t at all advocate this, we did have a male friend who was really really really laid back and his girlfriend finally issued an ultimatum- so he proposed. Most of the time, I think its a terrible idea, but this guy was that laid back and in their case-it was the best move.
      So for Emily, perhaps she gets that advice and has to mull over whether its a good idea? That would be a great way to learn a little more about Emily and why this is so important to her or why she believes getting married will make her happy.
      Either way, you can see that you have written a very authentic and endearing character that totally engrossed me.
      Great job, I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

    • Rachel
      great twist. loved the descriptions especially the perfume cloud.

      Brilliant as always Time to submit it to you know where. right up their street

    • Hi Rachel,
      very engaging story, and such a devastating twist ๐Ÿ™ I like the realistic flow of her thoughts and how you insert her background here and there in a very natural way. It gives me the feeling that writing is easy, when I know it’s actually the opposite! I loved it, thanks for sharing X

    • Hi Rachel, I loved your story about Emily, so desperate to be married, yet always disappointed in love. She keeps her heart guarded and safe, I suspect her relationship with Sean will always be the same as well. You created a lot of empathy for Emily with your words – especially related to her thoughts of cutting back carbs and getting back in shape with the two weeks before her birthday! Haha, if only it were so easy! I loved the tone you set for the story, and the ending was excellent (if sad for poor Emily).

  • My Iambic Pentameter’s broken by R.L. Nel
    The sonnet is an archaic art form
    When prompted to compose one I shivered
    Writing verse without rhyme is now the norm
    While sonnets, like dried flowers, are […]

    • Your pentameter might be broken but I stil thought this was fun to read! And it is a good take on the prompt: modern sonnets no longer have to be in perfect Shakespearean form. I believe that poets also have to be a little irreverent of the classics otherwise poetry would never progress. Thanks for sharing!

    • Joan replied 3 months ago

      You sonnet was fun to read. Good job!

    • I agree with the fun! And liberties taken just add to the ride. Thanks for the early morning smile!

    • Broken or not the fun it has got

    • Hi Rachel – I think this was a perfect take on the prompt if an imperfect sonnet (I didn’t go as far as counting syllables and tracking the rhyme scheme so technically it might be spot on!) Poetry is for personal interpretation (so I am re discovering!) and to have fun with, so why not put a modern twist on an old classic!!

    • So amusing! But I agree – too many rules. Sounds like you had fun with this one and it’s great!

    • Your sonnet is over the top great. I think I did mine wrong, RRRRRRR

      Great job as always Rachel!

    • Oh what a fun poem. Especially the last couplet. Clever take on the prompt.

    • You have nothing to apologise for. It’s a sonnet. It’s funny. I like it. Well done.

    • Jane replied 3 months ago

      Hi Rachel, you have made me laugh:) You should read Elizabeth’s poem – of a similar nature to yours:) I must admit I worked on the rhyming pattern, the correct length of verses, and the syllables I did not even try to get the iambic pentameter correct. Although I sometimes feel if you get all those other things right that might just fall into place. Really well done:)

    • Oh this reviewer will rave! I saw the title and smiled; had to read it–drew me in. I love tongue-in-cheek assessments, and this one is well done. The ending couplet is perfect. Lots of fun reading this one. Thanks for posting.

    • Of course I read it because of the title and because it was yours. Wonderful response to the prompt. I, however, have a soft spot for the sonnet. Hope youโ€™ll forgive me that.

    • Rachel! So glad I stopped by to read this. I am still cracking up laughing over here as I type. Your title and then the whole sonnet and references to poetic terms and Shakespeare are hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I enjoyed this take on the prompt because I think sonnets suck. j/k, well kinda…great job and I always look forward to reading your work.

    • Hi Rachel, when shakespeare does turn over in his grave the world will see a wry smile on his face. All your readers (me foremost) love what you’ve done as would the old bard. Your title is so creative and begs to be read. Really like the way you bring in the limerick and haiku references. Really well done.

  • Hey JM, whoa, you certainly know how to end on cliffhangers! I loved the pace, the dialogue and how you’ve managed to cleverly work the prompt into this. Well done! – Rachel

  • Hi Maria, as always, your writing pulled me in and transported me from the first word. I so enjoyed reading it, I didn’t even realise that you were over the word count! I like the last half especially since it’s in such contrast to the first. And the ending is yikes! Imagine if our obsessive thought really could manifest itself!! Well done on…[Read more]

  • Trust you to take an innocuous prompt like red lipstick and giving it a macabre little twist! I absolutely loved it. You are truly a masterful storyteller, Amrita! Excellently done! – Rachel

  • Wow, Deryn, this is amazing! Excellently written and so frustrating and heartbreaking. I’m guessing the same fate had befallen the cousin. You’ve managed to pack a lot of story into the limited word count. And pulled me in right from the start. Well done! – Rachel

  • Great story, Mark and really well told! Your protagonist puts a lot of faith in her lipstick, ha ha! Well done! – Rachel

  • Ben, I loved this! Ha ha, so even those who can perform magic get sucked into buying products promising more than they deliver! What a heartening thought! Ha ha! This was an excellent take on the prompt and so well delivered! Well done! – Rachel

  • Peggy, this is a great flash fiction piece! I also think it’s among your best, so you need to delete your disclaimer. What a deliciously devious character! Well done! – Rachel

  • Seyi! You packed so much into the limited word count. Well done, my friend. And so well written! – Rachel

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