Monthly Archives: September 2013

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – The Cloud Factory


My old Grandpa lived in Saskateen Falls, just a mile from the chemical plant; the plant was the only reason Saskateen Falls existed. Like all Grandfathers he was full of stories.

‘Where do Clouds come from Grandpa?’ I once asked him.

‘Clouds? We makes them at the cloud factory of course, where else?’ he replied, with a smile.

As he explained he’d point me towards the huge, barrel shaped cooling stacks of the plant. I had no idea what they were, heck I was only five or six: I wasn’t going to argue. In any case he looked right. Throughout the day (and night too I guessed) these stacks belched out huge plumes of white smoke – ‘clouds’ as Grandpa called them.

I’m back again today, and as ever most of the trees are bare of leaves. The air thick with the smell of dust and decay. The street signs are all but rusted away. The paint on Granddad’s old house flaked back to bare stone.  Granddad himself had passed years before, a chronic asthmatic.

Saskateen Falls seems to have paid a high price for thirty years of playing host to a cloud factory.


These words form my entry into this week’s Photo Fiction challenge on Alastair’s WordPress site. The picture is copyright of

Trifextra 84 – Natural Born Leader


Doggie whines from his garden tether.

On the sofa he reposes,


The impudent loft of his crown

Emanating domination,



King Cat is in residence –

Ruler of all he surveys.


These 33 words forms my entry into the Trifextra 84 writing challenge. 

Friday Fictioneers – The Inner Voice

ff040913Ha Ha. He’s losing it. He can’t find it.

Ha Ha. He used to be able to open all these doors. Access all his memories.

Not any more. Not since we hid them.

He wants that thing. What is it? He’s sure it’s there!

He He. We know what it is. We know where it is.

He’s lost. Fumbling. Stumbling. Bumbling.

The fool doesn’t know his daughter from his wife.

Just sits there. Staring. Forgetting. Disconnecting.

We can feel him running along our corridors. We can see him. He can’t see us.

Think we might lock some more doors later.


This is my entry into this weeks 100 word challenge over at Friday Fictioneers.

Trifecta 93 – Coming Home


The harr rolls slowly off the sea. The join between water and land confused by the damp, salty blanket. In the distance white tailed eagles swoop down from the ridges of Ben Vorlich – their grace eternal; their majesty unchallenged. Terrified rabbits sprint for cover; the Laird’s sheep chase each other in their never ending game of follow the leader. The heather sways in the fields. I stand and watch as breathless as the first time I’d set eyes on this scene.

At the end of the track it lies – the whitewashed house. As the sun fights bravely for the right to brighten my day, the memories flow – memories of mild Scottish summers spent by the sea. Nothing ever changed. The rusty gate. The windows which shook when the waves crashed into the headland. The salt bite on the tongue when taking a breath. Mother’s washing fluttering in the breeze – forever damp, but somehow satisfyingly clean and fresh. Its sins blown away.

Every day I used to wait for the fisherman from round the point. He’d go puttering past and wave. I’d wave back. I always hoped one day he’d stop and take me with him. He never did, but I’d still be there each day. Hoping. Down by the rocks I’d find everything. The upturned hull of a yellow rowing boat, ropes, nets, odd boots – even found a bible once. I’d tell my mother about it all; she’d smile and I’d rush back out refreshed by her love. This happened every summer. This was summer.

Standing here today I remember it all. A tear forms. I somehow manage a smile.

My mother passed in the spring. She hadn’t been back to the house in years. She always wanted to, but I was always too busy. Now we are back. Up above she soars with the eagles. Watching over me. Protecting.

Ahead the ‘For Sale’ sign lies ripped from the sandy soil.

We are home again mother.

Home by the sea.


These 333 words, based on the word ‘grace‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 93 writing challenge. I’ve written a lot of stories based in the US – today I stayed at home. I am a proud Scot and this week’s entry is unapologetically sentimental and Scottish.

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – The Gathering


On quaysides around the world they said their goodbyes. Mothers, fathers, husbands and wives once more parted in the line of duty. As tear filled eyes remained watching, the globes most powerful navies rolled out into the oceans. Ships and their heroic crews making for the horizon and the setting sun; into the unknown.

From the north they came: The Marshal Valenko cruised out Severomosrk. In California the USS Franklin steamed west; across the vast expanse of the Pacific the Peoples Liberation Army readied the Lanzhou to depart from Zhanjiang.

Tension was everywhere. The next few days could determinate the future of the planet. A moment many refused to believe was possible was now here. Some said it was a drill, others prepared for the end.

The message received was at first unclear. Linguistic experts worked in shifts until the meaning was revealed: coordinates and a time – it was a call to a meeting.

Invasion or alliance?

The world waited.


These words form my entry into this week’s Photo Fiction challenge on Alastair’s WordPress site. The picture is copyright of