#1MinFiction: Cycle

I was relieved to have a boy. That he was lighter than his father. That the Missus wouldn’t abuse him like all the others I bore.

He was raised with his white half, grew up to give me commands.

When his sister was born, I tried to keep them apart. She was black like me, slept in the attic…

At night, years later, I hear the stairs creak under his heavy boot. My stomach twists in knots when she reemerges with the sun, her dress torn.


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. Monday’s BlaPoWriMo / Black History Month-inspired prompt was the above photo of a mammy and her charge or, perhaps, a mother and her child. In that time, the lines were often blurred.



#1MinFicton: Just Coffee

Jack places a paw on her hand. Her heart pounds through her chest, pulse reverberating up her neck. The sweat on her fingers smear the phone screen as she types the message.

She glances at Jack, whose puppy-dog eyes encourage her.

He called for a reason, not just to say hi.

She’ll ask him out for coffee. Just coffee. So they can talk. Only talk. And she won’t take no for an answer.


Killing two birds with one stone, and it only took me a minute. Here’s my response to the last two #1MinFiction prompts: This cute photo, and the phrase, “won’t take no for an answer…”

#LyricalFictionFriday: On the Other Side

Kyle picks up the board and splits it over his knee, but it won’t erase from their minds the message that was just spelled out.

“Do you hear that?” Lisa asks.

“Shut up!” Kyle snaps. Even he doesn’t recognize the squeal that exits from his mouth.

“There’s no point.” Ryan clears his throat. Given that it might have been his dead brother calling for help from the other side, he seems the calmest of the three of them. “The door’s already been opened.”

“I’m not staying to see what walks through.” Kyle turns to leave but stops in the foyer in front of the closet. It’s cold outside, still winter, there’s wind, freezing rain in the forecast, he would need his coat.

“What is it?” Lisa asks, trepidation in her voice.

Kyle puts his ear to the closet door.

“You hear it too.” Ryan says it more as a statement than a question.

Kyle swallows hard. He won’t confirm or deny the echo of his own breathing on the other side.


I had to take a brief hiatus while I got some things back in order. But I’m back, catching up on some prompts that I missed while away. Here’s my contribution to a previous Lyrical Fiction Friday prompt: I’m trying to erase you from my mind…you’re my religion and my belief…


#1MinFiction: Vertigo

“Please, sit down.”

Another spell of vertigo sends me into a whirlwind, and the ground underneath suddenly feels 20 feet away.

I fall into the chair behind me. “I don’t want to remember.”

I still see his face, still feel his clammy hands around my throat. The darkness closes in, as when I went unconscious and woke wearing no pants.

“When will you catch him, officer?”


Spending time catching up on some prompts that I missed while on a brief hiatus. Here’s my contribution to a previous #1MinFiction prompt: whirlwind


#LyricalFictionFriday: Ruff Nite

Another commerical. eHarmony.com. FarmersOnly.com. BlackPeopleMeet.com. I receive spam emails from Match at least every week. How they got my information remains a mystery…

Like how Michael already knew where I lived before our first date, could describe my sandy colored Toyota Camry with his eyes closed, along with what was inside, even down to the pile of dirty clothes in the back seat that I still haven’t taken to the laundromat.

As I watch these “couples” force smiled for the cameras, sit together— knees barely touching—holding hands—fingers closed—and proclaim how these websites brought them together with their best friend, their soulmate, the love of their lives, I wonder how many tries did it take?

How many I-still-live-at-home-with-my-mom’s did they have to go through? How many middle-aged I’m-still-finding-myself’s? How many unemployed “entrepreneurs”? How many do-you-think-you-can-cover-the-check’s? How many my-girlfriend-wants-to-spice-up-our-relationship’s?

Or is that only on the free dating websites?

I press the power button on the remote. There’s nothing on TV at this hour anyway.

Benny, my chocolate lab, who’s been laying at my feet, jumps up when I move. He wags his tail, licks my palm, bows his head for me to pet him. He did the same at the door when I returned home from another demoralizing evening of being groped in a movie theater by a man who couldn’t repeat my name two minutes after introductions but remembered that my profile said I was a Pisces, and according to some magazine he read, Pisces are freaks in bed.

He was sadly disappointed when I showed him how fast my rear tires could spin as I sped out of that parking lot, leaving him in the fumes of my 20-year-old car’s exhaust.

“Oh Benny,” I say with a sigh, scratching behind his ear. “Your cocoa fur against mine is all I need to help revive me after the night I’ve had.” I slap him on his hind leg, and he scurries off ahead of me toward the bedroom.

Sad as it may sound, Benny is the only male I’ll be sleeping with tonight.


It’s been a ruff two weeks, but hopefully in the next couple of days, it’ll be well worth it. (Yes, I’m intentionally being cryptic here. 😉 )

I had to take a brief hiatus while I got some things back in order. But I’m back, catching up on some prompts that I missed while away. Here’s my contribution to a previous Lyrical Fiction Friday prompt: Your cocoa skin against mine…Is all I need to help revive me… 


#1MinFiction: Reminders

I’ve ignored his calls for two weeks. But he’s persistent.

“I don’t want to lead him on.”

“But he’s such a nice guy.”

I don’t know what it is, but he reminds me of my ex, who was emotionally abusive, manipulative, who stalked me during and after the relationship, called me again and again, said I’d be stupid to end things with him, because he’s such a nice guy…

I turn off my phone.


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. Last Monday’s prompt was a bit repetitive… again and again



#LyricalFictionFriday: Distance

“My love,” she says as she tilts the bottle under the rush of hot water raining down from the faucet. She looks over her shoulder. He’s standing by the door. It’s open behind him. Cracked. A sliver of light from the hall pours in. He reaches back for the knob…

Oh, how she wishes he would push it closed, take those three giant steps around the kitchen island with his long lanky legs to come behind her, as he used to, long days after work. Their bodies fitting together like puzzle pieces, how she wishes he would wrap his arms around her waist, whisper in her ear, “My love,” the way he did thirteen months ago, before—

A sudden cry from the monitor by the sink grabs her attention, for only a second, and in that second, the distance between them grows. The door is open wider now, his body fits between the crack, blocking the light, one foot already in the hall.

“Will you get that?”

But that isn’t a phone she can answer and tell its caller to ring back later, or a TV she can put on mute. That is a baby. Their baby. And has he even touched it? Fed it? Changed a single diaper? Does he know that it has his eyes? Does he realize that she still doesn’t feel like a mother, looks at it like it’s a thing, a thing that won’t be quiet, that won’t stop?

She wants to ask him…

If he comes back.

She’s left in darkness. The door closed, she hears the echo of his footsteps down the hall, but they don’t grow faint, they get louder, and the speaker from the baby monitor triples in size, the cries rising, flooding her ears, pushing her down to the floor, curled in the fetal position, hysterical, waiting for some kind of a miracle.


Written for #LyricalFictionFriday, a challenge that uses song lyrics as prompts. Today’s prompt is: …He’s only happy hysterical … I’m waiting for some kind of miracle…


#ThrowbackThursday Fiction: Sunset

“I’m supposed to cry, right? Every inch of my body is telling me to cry. But I can’t…”

It’s a somber Throwback Thursday today. I don’t normally get personal on this blog (though some of the stories I’ve posted here have been deeply personal…you just don’t know), but it’s been a difficult few weeks for me, and I’d like to talk—or rather, write—about it.

I’ve always turned to writing as a sort of therapy session, to push through the hurt and pain when it’s too difficult to express it vocally. I’m not the type to talk about my feelings openly, so I put them into my stories.

Lately, I’ve been thinking… Thinking about things I’ve lost, things I’ve let go, things I’ve had taken from me…

This story reminds me that though the sun sets, it also rises. 

For those of you who, like me, are mourning (or perhaps, regretting) a lost love you thought you’d always have. I hope this story brings you some peace. 


Danny dragged Amanda up the hill behind their old elementary school to see the sunset. When they were children, they used to race each other to the bottom, drawing their knees to their chins and rolling like human balls, head over toes, until they reached the brick wall of the school.

Lying on their backs, side by side, they cupped their hands behind their heads and gazed up at the violet and peach colored clouds in the sky.

“Beautiful,” Danny said. Amanda didn’t answer. He turned to her and saw tears welled up in her eyes. “Tell me what you see.”

“He married her today.”

Danny didn’t need names to know who she was referring to—he, the man Amanda had been in love with for most of her life; her, the woman he’d left her for.

Danny had been there to pick up the pieces of Amanda’s broken heart, combing her hair off her face with his fingers as she cried into his lap.

“How do you feel?” he asked, readying himself to pull her into his embrace once again. That comforting friend available always to hold her when love betrayed her.

“I’m supposed to cry, right? Every inch of my body is telling me to cry. But I can’t.”

They lay in silence. Danny opened his mouth to speak, but Amanda cut him off.

“I see a face.” Her voice was clear, unwavering. “What do you see?” she asked smiling.

“A woman who can finally let go.”


Copyright – Joe Owens 2015
Copyright – Joe Owens 2015

Originally published February 22, 2015 in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt.


#1MinFiction: Sweet Dream

I blast off at the touch of his lips against mine, and wake up just as quickly, forgetting that none of it is real.

With a sigh, I reach for the pill bottle on the edge of my nightstand. It feels light in my hand. Empty.

How will I justify a refill on a 90-day prescription after just two weeks? I must go back to sleep.


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. Monday’s prompt blasted you off into a new year, or in the case of this story, a sweet dream! 😉


#LyricalFictionFriday: Muse

I still hear Pete’s voice in my head when I knock on Carrie’s front door…

“Remember what happened to Ron?”

First of all, Ron can’t drive. Not a car—he’s totaled three. Not a bike—motored or pedaled. Even walking, he can’t drive. If you want my opinion, bruh was asking to get hit.

And yeah, I know they still haven’t caught the guy who did it and ran, and that the description of the car fits Carrie’s Subaru almost exactly, even down to the first three letters on the license plate—Ron passed out before he could read the rest.

I look over my shoulder at her ride parked in the driveway. It does appear to have a sizable dent on the front fender, but that could also be how the shadow hits the hood from the porch light.

Truth is, I couldn’t give a damn about Ron. If she did run him over, hey, that just means he’s out the picture. Besides, she’s told me countless nights that I’m her muse. What has Ron done for her except get caught cheating?

She opens the door slowly, her blond, waist-length dreadlocks swaying in the draft the door creates.


“I’m living in an empty room, with all the windows smashed.”

It takes some getting used to, talking to Carrie. I gotta be honest, the first time I heard her speak, I was on the same boat as Pete, thinking she was coo-coo. But spending a few nights with her—bass-throbbing hip-hop the soundtrack to her drumming pen to pad on knee as she sits criss-cross applesauce on her basement floor and spits lyrics like a conversation without even glancing down at the words—made me realize, Carrie is a living, breathing poem. And to a guy who once had wet ink dripping from his own tongue, that’s sexy as hell.

“I got your text.”

“Bleeding soles treading on the shards of broken glass.” She plays the love-scorn damsel well, and it reminds me of what seems like ages ago, when I wanted to be an MC—always had my earbuds plugged in, free-styling straight fire as I walked the streets, not caring who heard me, who called my music noise.

“Let me be the welder who mends your heart.”

Like Carrie I let love get in the way of my greatness. I turned to writing love songs, but the passion was gone. Anything that came out of my month was dry and arid, like a California desert, but no matter how many sparked matches I tossed on the ground, it wouldn’t light up.

You see, you can’t rhyme when the only thing on your mind is pleasing the person you’re with, and Charin was hard to fucking please. I guess Ron was too, since he chose the one chick every dude on the block has been with over this gem, this diamond in the ruff.

Truth is, Carrie is my muse just as much as I am hers. The sounds we could make together as we mourn both our losses…

Maybe I’m the one who’s crazy. To want this girl, barely 100 pounds, with dreadlocks and a bull nose ring, who writes poetry and cant’t speak unless it’s in metaphor, who may or may not have attempted murder…

But then, we’ve all got skeletons in our closets.


Written for #LyricalFictionFriday, a challenge that uses song lyrics as prompts. Today’s prompt is: I’m living in an empty room, with all the windows smashed