Gnawing Worries on a Ribbon of Time

Gu-en’s ship was uffed. Threading their way to Calabi-Yau Base of 3.5 months ago wasn’t easy. And today was about to get exponentially worse, but at least they’d trap their shadowers: star rats.

Physics-Theories-from WiredCosmos

A computer-generated illustration of string theory from Wired Cosmos.

This 33-word flash-fiction sci-fi story was written for the weekly Trifecta challenge, Trifextra 104. Writers are to craft a 33-word piece using a palindrome (as “star rats” above). Sadly, the Trifecta challenges are coming to an end this month. At last I fully understand the meaning of T.S. Eliot’s line, “April is the cruellest month.”


Trifextra Week 103: Of Heroes Hirsute

Trifecta Tricycle ImageI’m not sure what you’re working on currently, but I’m treading in the realms of realism again these days.

This week’s Trifextra 33-word flash-fiction challenge freights you to the end of the line with this one: “That wasn’t what I meant.”

Being the linguistics-backgrounded word-nerd that I am, I had scads of fabness deciding where to put the accent in the terminal sentence: that, wasn’t, I, or meant. And working backward to form the oyster around the hoped-for pearl. (Hey, can a story be a back formation)?

In any case, I hope I give you an unusual prism to ponder.


Of Heroes Hirsute

Shelter-Misc. 012

Many wonderful companions (like this one, adopted several years ago) await your love at a shelter or rescue group. If you are in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico, please visit Petfinder to learn more about adoption in your area. Photograph ©Leigh Ward-Smith

A sandpaper sensation woke me. Then I tried to whistle for Pep, but my left side wouldn’t move.

Gravel pop-rocked all around. Was I being herded?

My last confused command had been sit-climb-jump.

That wasn’t what I meant.”

Trifextra: Week 102 (Flash Fiction on ‘Love Gone Wrong’)

Illustration from Hunter College High School

Tiktaalik, a fossil creature from the Devonian, has been tapped as the link (or “transitional fossil”) between fish and the first vertebrates to walk on land. The fossil was discovered in the Canadian Arctic in 2004. Illustration accessed at Hunter College High School’s Web link.

Love. The mother of all four-letter words. Rivaled perhaps only by dead, this one minuscule word populates worlds and propels us.

Please join me in this world, for a flash fiction challenge.



To the tips of her cilia, she knew—wordlessly—he wasn’t her type anymore. She was unbreakably brine, and he was earth-bound.

At the end, she undulated alone as all about her desiccated.

The "Devonian explosion" (mostly in fish species) gave way to a later mass-extinction. Illustration from Mind-Blowing Science.

The “Devonian explosion” (mostly in fish species) gave way to a later mass-extinction. Illustration from Mind-Blowing Science (link below, in “Research”).

Written for Week 102 of the Trifextra challenge, this 33-word story must touch on love gone awry. Check out the other writers and be amazed–or nerve-wracked, as I am, in going head-to-head (or heart-to-heart as the case may be) with such talented folks. And while you’re there, vote for your favorite(s), up to 3.

Research Bits:

  1. National Science Foundation, on mass extinctions, invasive species, and the Devonian Period
  2. Mind-Blowing Science, on five major mass-extinction events
  3. National Geographic, the Devonian Period 
  4. Humboldt State University’s Natural History Museum, on the Devonian Period
  5. University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP), Geologic Time Scale
  6. UCMP, The Devonian Period
  7. ScaleNet, glossary of terms related to zoological nomenclature (including “type”)
  8. Earth magazine, tetrapod tracks reset thinking on four-legged evolution

Camera Lucida: A Micro-Flash for The Trifextra Challenge

Hello, all. This week I fortuitously stumbled on a new writing Web site called The Trifecta Writing Challenge. Basically, every week they have a different three-themed challenge, toggling between a 33-word microfiction challenge (called the Trifextra challenge) and one that sends writers to the dictionary for the third definition of a certain word (the Trifecta challenge). I first read about the challenge while cruising through the Polysyllabic Profundities blog; please do peruse Susan’s site for some creative inspiration and impassioned prose as well.

This week’s Trifextra is based upon the amaztastic art of Thomas Leuthard. He dubs it “street photography,” and it is stunningly masterful in black-and-white. For the purpose of this writing challenge, the particular photograph we must focus on, as used above, is “Studying in Starbucks,” which is viewable in Mr. Leuthard’s portfolio on his Web site or on flickr.

Finally, I enjoy, and have enjoyed, the obstacle that is flash fiction or microfiction, because it forces condensation. It begs succinct-ion. And as brevity is the soul of wit, I humbly submit my first short fiction (a.k.a., micro-flash or micro-micro flash?) for the Trifextra challenge and await the feedback therefrom. Check out the other writers on this challenge when you visit the Trifecta site; it’s well worth your time.


Camera Lucida: Time in Focus

©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2014

In the darkroom’s womb, Zabe first realized the contraption had worked.

Foreground: The student, her femaleness fogged.

Background: The flash rolling-pins time into a flatline, exposing links to his mother, had she survived.