Curse of the Mini-Mummy


© A Mixed Bag 2013

“Oh you’re not actually indulging him in this obsession, are you?” Jean saw the three toy Egyptian mummies, one with the sarcophagus open revealing an unwrapped head. “Ever since you showed Jimmy those stupid old movies, he can’t get enough of them.”

“Relax. It’s just a phase. I went through it when I was his age. Those Mummy films are classics.”

Mike’s wife stormed off in disgust wondering if her husband ever really grew up.

“Jimmy, come here. I’ve got something for you.”

The nine-year-old rushed into his Grandpa’s study room. “Oh wow! Where did you get those?”

“A little curio shop on the south side. They sell all kinds of strange stuff. I thought you’d be interested. The box even contains what the shopkeeper called ‘Tana leaves’.”

“Real Tana leaves?”

“Probably not, but you can pretend.”

Later that night, when his grandparents were in the living room watching TV, Jimmy began the ancient rite he’d seen in those 1940s movies, burning three of the leaves in a small bowl. Tonight was the full moon, and as the fumes from the Tana leaves reached the partly unwrapped miniature mummy, its eyes began to glow.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for March 18th 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 194.

The “mummies” in the photo are obviously small and fake, but they gave me an idea. I mined elements of old Universal studios monster movies such as The Mummy’s Hand (1940) and The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) to create my wee tale. What will happen when the fumes from the Tana leaves brings these “mini-mummies” to life?

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to


Sojourn in Direhaven


© Sue Vincent

Shay, the spectacular golden dragon, alighted in a wooded valley an hour after dawn. The dragonrider Dani along with the five Davidson children, were clinging to her back still shivering from their hasty flight in the frigid heights above the clouds. After their escape from the Hall of the Mountain Kings, pursued by the deadly spectres of the past, the dragon arrived just in time as the Great Gray God, mortal foe of the Kings, attacked. Vast destructive forces both of nature and magic were released and as the High Citadel crumbled into tons of rubble at the God’s feet, Shay soared far above the carnage in a desperate effort to save her children.

At last they were on the ground again at the promised place of safety, but where were they?

“I know this is difficult my children, but you can rest soon. Dani, help them onto the ground.”

The teenage girl slipped off the dragon’s neck with practiced ease, ignoring the chill in her bones and her profound fatigue, and reached up for Zooey. The kindergartner slid into the older girl’s arms and let herself be lowered to the ground. Mandy, the oldest of the Davidson’s, managed to get down on her own and Zooey ran over and clutched onto one of her legs, resting her head on her side.

Nine-year-old Taylor was next and while Dani was helping his twin sister Paris down, the boy grabbed his seven-year-old brother Jake and helped him off of the dragon.

“Where are we, Shay?” The Davidsons clustered around Dani.

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The Girl with the Green Eyes

girl with green eyes

Photo credit: Ryn-Sweet-Surreal

She remembered looking at her reflection in a tidal pool. Her eyes were green, like the color of the seaweed coves. She had dark red hair and her “polka dots” (what Papa called her freckles) punctuated her face like the lakes and ponds in the Verdant Hills to the north. Merilyn dressed in clothes the color of her eyes.

She had only been six years old and lived in a village on a river near an estuary to the ocean. The ocean sustained them in so many ways. Some of the men and a few of the women fished on the long boats. Others managed the seaweed farms. A lot of the older kids worked on the desalination units, each of which stood out of the water like solitary and noble sentries, yet provided fresh water to be sold to the desert provinces and the Negev city of Quebracho.

Merilyn knew they were all necessary but none of them were exciting, not like pearl diving.

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Hall of the Mountain Kings


© Sue Vincent

It had been a week since Dani and the Davidson children had encountered the nightmare of the Great Gray God, the one meant to be a trap for them, woven by the demon imp disguised as a black cat named Onyx.

Although they were higher in the Dark Hills, which was really a range of mountains, it seemed warmer than the frozen wasteland they had crossed before. The clouds had given way to a brilliant blue sky and friendly yellow sun. The rocky ridge they were crossing had bits of snow only here and there, and was otherwise covered by exotic grasses and wild flowers. The trees looked a lot like the pines back home. It had warmed up enough for them to shed their heavy outer coats for lighter jackets.

Little Zooey had taken to riding on Dani’s back when she got tired. It was a long walk for a five-year-old but also for the rest of the children. Mandy knew that their guide was only a year or two older than she was, but Dani seemed so strong, almost tireless compared to the thirteen-year-old. Although she and her younger siblings seemed to be doing better than they had been when the journey began, it was still hard work, probably harder than anything they’d ever done before.

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The Switchman’s Lantern


Image: Google Images – labelled for re-use.

Josiah Bell was a switchman like his Pappy before him. He had a gimpy leg from an accident he had when he was six so he walked the tracks carrying his lantern in one hand and a long pole in the other. On top of the pole, he hung a red kerchief on a nail which he liked to wave at the engineers as they drove their enormous machines along the tracks.

He was working the yards in Chicago and it was damn early in the morning and cold. He done heard on the radio what those Hitler and Mussolini fellas was doing and how them Germans sent their army into peaceful Denmark and Norway. Josiah was a peaceful man and a simple one but he didn’t take to no bullies. He’d been bullied plenty as a child because of his bum leg. A lot of folks wanted America to stay out of that mess in Europe and maybe they were right, but then who was gonna take care of those bullies?

The 3:10 from Omaha was just coming up to his switch. Josiah set down his pole and grasped the metal bar and with a practiced hand and steely sinews, pulled, switching the course of the train from the main line to the freight yards. Then he stood, putting most of weight on his good leg and waved his lantern. No use waving the kerchief on the pole, too dark to see it.

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The God of the Dark Hills

dark hills

© Sue Vincent

It had taken five days for teenage Dani to guide the five children across the frozen tundra to near the base of the Dark Hills. They had all grown up in a city and were used to soft beds, a heated home in the winter, regular meals of plentiful food, and all the comforts and pleasures modern technology afforded such children.

Dad and Mom took them camping in the mountains every summer, but they drove to the State Park in Mom’s van, built a campfire near wooden picnic tables and there were public showers and bathrooms just a few yards away. They brought their food in plastic shopping bags and a big cooler and it was like barbecuing in their backyard.

Even in the winter going snow skiing was fun, but when they were through and everyone needed to get warm, they’d go into the ski lodge and order lunch or dinner in the restaurant.

This journey was nothing like that. Nearing the end of their fifth day in this icy wilderness, the Davidson children were dirty, tired, cold and miserable. Their sense of fright had been numbed so now all they felt was the relentlessness of walking one step at a time for minutes and hours, hoping their guide who was only a little older than Mandy knew how to find food, shelter, and safety before they all died.

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The Momentary Sojourner

wilderness path

© Mike Vore

The long neglected boards of the path moaned like a ghost in torment under his boots. This was no longer the real world or at least the one he lived in. Ahead, perched on a rock outcropping was the owl, but not quite an owl.

“Who? Who? Who are you?” Its cry was only slightly human.

“You called me? You said I could see them.”

The old man got closer to the rocks and his host.

“Here, here.”

He climbed up next to the eldritch creature and looked beyond into the pool. It was water and then it wasn’t.

“My grandchildren?”

Noah Davidson couldn’t rescue his grandchildren, but he was allowed to briefly watch them crossing the frozen tundra in the company of a guide not much older than his granddaughter Mandy.

“When will they return home?”

The owl shook its head in a very human manner.

Noah looked back into the vision. “Your Mom and Dad are waiting for you. Come back soon.”

Last night, Noah’s son and daughter-in-law were in a car accident and both were badly hurt. The children were in the car with them but when first responders arrived, all five of the kids had vanished.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of February 25th 2018. The idea is to use the image above to inspire writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I’m actually trying to write a novel involving the adventures of the Davidson children, first with Gerliliam and then with Shay and Dani. I’ve posted bits as pieces of it, including “after tales” on this blog.

In today’s tale, I’ve created a situation where the five Davidson children’s Grandpa has made some sort of “deal” to be able to see, but not communicate with the kids. I’ve also hinted at part of what happened to them that resulted in their being whisked to a strange and mythical land and what they have to return to after their long adventures end.

The story most related to this one is Mr. Covingham’s Secret, however you can find other “clues” to this universe in stories such as Where Did Our Home Go?, The Whisperer Expanded, and Adventure’s Bitter Memories. To find out about some of the other children mentioned in this story, read She Treats Us Like Her Children.

If you’re curious about Gerliliam, here’s a sketch I made of him some months ago.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

Doom in the Maze of Dreams

hedge maze

Example of a hedge maze found at

Landon kept walking down, down, down the endless, onyx spiral staircase when he stubbed his toe or should have. It didn’t hurt.

“Hey. Wait a minute. I know what’s going on. I’m dreaming. I’m having a lucid dream. Cool. That means I can control everything.” Great. I think I’ll fly the rest of the way to the bottom.”

Landon took a leap expecting to fly like Superman, but he only went up so far before going back down. “Hey!” He was starting to fall and got scared. What if hitting the stairs hurt this time? Then he began to slow and soon he was taking big, bouncy steps.

“At least this is faster than walking but I really wanted to fly.” Now that he realized he wasn’t going to get hurt, he stopped being scared, but it was too late.

Malevolent eyes were watching from the darkness, their owners chuckling to themselves.

“We have another one, brother.”

“Indeed sister. He has entered the first layer.”

Yes he has and he doesn’t know it. Now we will take full control of the dream.”

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The Goddess Blesses


© Sue Vincent

Hadad took Ellil’s hand as they walked down the trail flanked by great fields of yellow wildflowers.

“It’s so pretty here, don’t you think, Hadad?” She squeezed his hand as she looked up at him. He turned his head and she could see his large, deep brown eyes. They looked so beautiful, so romantic.

“Yes, it’s very nice here.” He didn’t always know what to say to her although he was known as a “smooth operator” at school, or at least that’s what his friend Utu called him. He said he got the term from one of those old movies they show on TV late at night. Hadad thought Utu secretly pretended to be an American gangster from the 1940s instead of a fifteen-year-old culture geek too shy to even look at a girl.

He could hear the “crunch” of their footsteps on the gravel and sand as they walked nearer to the copse of trees ahead. Spring had begun only hours ago, but thanks to the Goddess, the world around them was green and growing with life.

“Did you really see them? I mean, you’re not just making it up, are you Hadad?”

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The Goddess Rises


© Severine Pineaux – Found at

The twelve beautiful nude virgins danced joyously around the only tree in the field that was bearing leaves and blossoms. They had been appearing at the base of the tree for the past thirty days each dawn to dance, and then vanished each evening with the last rays of the sun.

The valley where the tree has always grown was forbidden to everyone in the land during this time, and yet young boys and men were known to slyly hide in the low peaks at the valley’s edge to watch, at first with crude telescopes and more recently with binoculars, gazing with lust at the alluring maidens.

Their only attire were the wreathes of wildflowers they wore in their hair, fresh every morning. They were seen neither to eat nor drink and never paused to rest for even a moment, but constantly maintained their dance as if it were their passion and religion.

“What do you think it means, Hadad?”

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