Three Line Tales : Think the same, act the same, obey the same

three line tales week 69: Lego heads

photo by Carson Arias via Unsplash


My father used to say, ‘Push a child through school and all you get is a million minds that think the same, act the same, obey the same.’

I guess that’s why he took us away, up to the cabin over the mirror lake. Why our school room was the whispering forest, why we read wolf tracks and deer pellets and badger routes instead of books.

It’s why I’m looking over the city now and not dead within its walls.


My, I am churning out the dystopia like nobody’s business these days.

This was written for Sonya’s Three Line Tales and how my mind veered from happy smiley Lego men to the end of the world is anyone’s guess. See here to read the other tales and join in the fun.

Three Line Tales : You, me, us


three line tales week 68: a whole bunch of graduates at their graduation ceremony

photo by Faustin Tuyambaze via Unsplash


It’s hot in the auditorium, summer sun blazing through the high windows, open doors drawing through little but traffic noise, the metallic whirr of labouring air con.

Three years on from my first day on campus, my first glimpse of your dark, clipped hair, your shy, clipped smile.

Does anyone here miss you except me? Resentment bubbles at the thought of all these smiling people, caught in their selfish, happy bubbles and not one giving you a thought. But that feels right too – it was always you, always me, always us alone. The chancellor stands, smooths her gown and starts to speak.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a story. Go here to read the other entries and to join in with your own.

Three Line Tales : Silent Night


three line tales week 66: a pylon with red sunset

photo by Adi Ulici via Unsplash

The electricity pylon still stood, though three lines had broken free during winter storms. The metal chords lay where they’d fallen – half-buried in the swaying grass – giving the tower the forlorn air of a skipper having fumbled the rope.

Jim savoured his last pre-rolled cigarette, the tobacco dusty and bitter on his tongue. The workmen hadn’t come to service the tower since before the TV stations put up their test cards for the last time. Since before the screens blacked out for good.

He crushed the cinder under his boot, listened to his final smoky exhalation. And headed for home.

Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales – see here to join in and to read the other stories.

Another dystopian vision this week – perhaps it’s because I’m reading Justin Cronin’s The Passage at the moment. It’s good, do take a look.

Three Line Tales : Away from the chasms and back to the light

three line tales week 64: light bulbs – there is a light that never goes out, maybe

photo by Nick de Partee via Unsplash


It stretched across the land they said, one long wire, looping between posts and trees, disused telegraph poles and house gables, a bright line of bulbs – baubles of hope in the darkness.

Travellers brought back tales of how the Light Line saved them in a storm, on the blackest, foggiest night, leading them back to the path, away from chasms, sinking sands, shifting dunes.

No one knew from where it drew its power. Some said it was from the air or from the tides, from the gentle spin and rock of the earth itself. But everyone remembered the day the lights flickered out.


Written for Three Line Tales, a weekly inspiration of pics and prose. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

Three Line Tales : Not here, never here

photo by Caleb Woods via Unsplash


We’d seen it happen on the news under sun-burned skies – the scorched earth, the blackened rooves, charred limbs tugged into knots by the heat.

We told each other, ‘They wouldn’t do it here, never here – not to there own people.’

But now they’re coming – the buzz-saw hum of the drones cutting the air, cutting my nerves – and I pull my limbs tight, form my own knots, hoping they miss. Hoping to live.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a tale. Visit here to join in and to read the other stories.


Three Line Tales : Up in the air

three line tales week 59: Happy St. Patrick's Day

photo by Brian Gaid via Unsplash


Watching the sun rise rosy over the cloud plains, he felt her lay a warming hand over his.

On the ground, weighed down by the hissed pressures of work, by the thick walls and dim corners of the house, she never found him.

Up in the air, where the light shine clearer, freer, she always snuck in beside him, wriggling her fingers through his. He liked to fly.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Lines Tales. See the photo and write a tale, why don’t you? See here to join in and to read the other stories.





Three Line Tales : As long as it hurts to give

three line tales week 58: a man behind a fence

photo by Jake Oates via Unsplash


Every day they come. Scarred lifers  worn out, worn through as the soles of old shoes; fresh-faced first timers who haven’t learned yet to tuck away the fear, to use it as armour against the horrors of slopping out, of hot breath on the back of their neck, of cold steel in their ribs.

They push their payment through the diamonds in the fence. Could be a long saved snout or their last chocolate bar, ancient and soft as bread dough; could be a letter with the scent of home pressed in each worn crease, or a blurry photograph of a round-faced child; their fading mother. No payment is too small or large – as long as it hurts to give.

When the exchange is done, they step forward, nervous, excited, yearning. Softly, they press their ear against the fence and I begin. ‘Once upon a time …’


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a story. See here to join in and to read the other TLTs.