Tag Archives: short story

Oswald’s Life – Short Story

Oswald died. It was four hours after Oswald’s sibling died. My son pronounced him dead about 6:30pm, but with disbelief I had to turn the duckling several times to make sure he was not just asleep. I had nursed him on my chest and we slept for two hours earlier. He seemed fine, eating a little and drinking water. He stood up and walked. But, he could not settle into the nest where the other duckling had died hours earlier. I change the bedding and kept his little fluffy body with me.

He had been named Oswald by Nathan (my older son). Nathan decided that the five-day-old duckling who lost 11 siblings and parents the night before should be called Oswald. The name carried strength and depicted something or someone showing tenacity for life. I agreed immediately to Oswald.

“The duckling is very brave and strong”, Nathan said.

Oswald was one of our duck Penelope’s first babies. She had 12. We decided to leave the ducks alone when she introduced the babies to our family last week. ‘Let them grow up wild’ was what we all agreed on because Penelope was house-bred. She taught them to eat, swim and play each day last week. The pond was busy.

Earlier Sunday, and not used to quietness from the water, I went out to investigate. I found the once happy flock dispersed in a mud of desecrated fine feathers, duck poop and small white floating dead bodies. My heart was in my mouth as I walked about, trying to find them all. Penelope and her Stalker husband had gone. One mutilated corpse was on the child’s table we left for the ducklings to dry out from the pool. It became clear that something bad happened on Saturday night. At that time, five ducklings went missing and since the parents had fled from whatever it was, the remaining ducklings died from the cold. While searching I heard some soft cries and found Oswald and his brother pinned into the side of the pool, both shivering in the water they used to swim in. I called Nathan for help and we  took the ducklings to the house and made a soft box and tried to feed them. Only Oswald ate. Then the two snuggled up and slept. The smaller of the two ducks was very weak. In less than two hours it died.

After the other duckling died, Oswald jumped out of the box and refused to sleep. We took turns nursing him until I fell asleep with the duckling on the couch. It was dark when I fed him again and placed him in a warm bed. He fell asleep straight away. At 6:30pm, Chris checked the box and told me the duckling died. Given the way the duckling had shown courage and bravery, it was not easy to accept that Oswald’s life would have ended the same way as his eleven siblings.


The Nightshade Escape – Short Story

Picture by Barbara W. Beacham.

Flash Fiction Challenge

Mondays Finish the Story is a flash fiction challenge by Barbara W. Beacham. The story requires 100-150 words. Here is my short story for this week’s prompt based on the first sentence below and the picture.

The Nightshade Escape JK.Leahy Short Story©

“The team employed the use of Nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive.”

Viola smiled to herself as she finished the paper and her coffee. “Nightshade”, her ‘weapon’ was right next-door, she thought. All this time, her plan to make his death appear subtle, wasn’t working.

Wearing her garden hat Viola strolled to her neighbour’s yard,  pretending to tidy her garden beds. Her blood roses were peeking at her, but she won’t pick them today, the day was fading fast and in a few hours, Greg arrives.

Crouching, she reached through the fence and cut a few shoots and flowers off her neighbour’s nightshades.  A dog barked loudly and so close that Viola leaped, dropping her hat and all the cuttings. She ran back into her house. Shaken, she watched the large doberman sniffing where she sat, seconds ago.

Oh well, if that dog is going to guard the damn nightshade – the rat poison will have to do, she decided.

A Friendly Visit – Short Story


Mondays Finish the Story

This is a unique flash fiction challenge where Barbara W. Beacham provides a new photo and the first sentence of a story each week. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words. This challenge runs from Monday to Sunday.

A Friendly Visit – JK.Leahy Short Story©

He thought he found the perfect hiding spot.

Near dad’s cabinet, the curtains moved.

Black feet peeked from under and two green eyes pierced through the curtain. It was a dog. We didn’t have a dog, and neither did Jessy.

My mind went back to yesterday.

“I don’t want you to play with Jessy”

Why not mother?”

“You are eight and he’s 16, and there is something weird about that boy”.

“Like what mother?”

“Those large green eyes – when he grins, I cringe”.

“That’s not fair mother!” I yelled and ran to my room.

Today, my parents went to dad’s work party. Aunty Anne was coming over, but she was late. Jessy stopped by. We played video games and then I went to the toilet. When I returned, Jessy was nowhere to be found…

“Jessy! Where are you?”

“I’m right here”.

The lounge was not big at all. I shivered.

“I’m here stupid! Find me!” Jessy growled.

Brooding Storm – Short Story

Mondays Finish the Story by Barbara Beacham

This is a flash fiction challenge where Barbara W. Beacham offers a picture and the first sentence of the story. Based on the photograph and the first sentence, one must come up with a 100-150 word short story.

Picture by Barbara W. Beacham


The crew of the Angel Flame received orders to head out. When Yakov and Marishka reach the secluded Russian base, most men had already boarded.

Marishka wiped her tired eyes as her husband walked to the submarine, leaving her, their newborn Polinka and their sick two-year-old, Boris. It was a dreary Friday at 5am; three lost seagulls skirted past Yakov, fleeing the brooding storm.

After Yakov’s head vanished into the submarine, Marishka left – four hours later the snowstorm hit. The radio announced that nobody was hurt. Marishka medicated and monitored Boris’s temperature.

The next day at 7am she heard a knock. It was persistent. Unwrapping herself from Polinka, she reached for her gown.

Marishka caught a glimpse of a man in uniform through the winter-frosted glass and threw open the door with a grin. Expecting to fall into Yakov’s arms, her stomach sank when instead she met the gaze of a stone-faced man carrying Yakov’s personal effects.

“Mrs Vladimir?”




Pizza Anyone? Short Story

Barbara W. Beacham

Mondays Finish the Story (Host: Barbara W. Beacham)

“Pizza anyone?” James grinned and set the pizza on the table.

“Rusty!” I called my Chihuahua.

Rusty chewed all of James’ shoes yesterday. Last night, James threatened to drop him off at RSPCA. I lost my appetite for 24-hours. Starving, I grabbed the pizza.

“Wait, I need to cut it” he said and produced a large kitchen knife. He sliced the pizza and I noticed an odd smell. Perhaps it was our compost that smelt. I quickly ate three slices. It was delicious, yet I could taste something else apart from the cheesy mushroom.

“You having any?” I asked reaching for the fourth slice. “I’m not hungry”. Then, I stopped. There was brown fur on the meaty medallions. I picked it with my fingernail. “What’s this?”

“It’s Rusty! He tastes good huh?” James said. I dropped the slice and ran with my hands on my mouth. (150 words)

The FourJs – Short Story


Mondays Finish The Story

Little did they know when the photographer took their picture that they would find themselves trapped in a painting.

“Smile please” the photographer ordered with a devilish grin.

The FourJs, brothers Jim, John, Jack and Jonathan brushed themselves and stood proud. The camera flashed, before it went pitch black. For half hour, Jonathan, 17, the youngest of the FourJs Band, tried to move, shout and even blow his trumpet. Nothing came out. He reached for his oldest brother John, 25. John’s arm felt cold. Jim and Jack were frozen too. People passed them in the street, throwing coins into the tuba case. Traffic hummed. The woman with the funny smell passed quickly, her high heels clicking sharply on the footpath.

“Jonathan! Jonathan! Jo-na-than!”

“Yes!” Jonathan murmured and looked into John’s face.

He had one of those attacks again.

“You, to the doctor” John said, relieved his little brother was ok.


Short story: Swamped

SWAMPED     (Copyright JLeahy on Creative Writing Wk 3)

Mangroves 5
Mangrove stumps – Public Domain

The river emptied rapidly as the new day reluctantly begun. The sun had not yet arrived for warmth was lacking. I stood facing the river, able to see the creek. A war that was not ours took many of my family’s lives here, on this customary landmark. The small creek had reduced to a thin flow of a silver running snake. It slithered along a dark swampy path, often picking up flashes of light from the sun on its scales. The flashes only came when the mangrove trees allowed the sunlight trickle through its dense, green-yellow leaves. In contrast to the creek, the river was fuller, darker and moved in a quiet menacing meander. I was the tallest, standing amongst the mangrove stumps. Around me was hazy with un-condensed dew and I could not find my way, even though I had been here many times. I could almost smell the dank, which hung in a strange and familiar blanket.

This is the opening of a short-story (non-fiction) for our exercise in the Creative Writing Workshop – Kenmore. I wanted to share the opening with you. I may post more depending on how the story ends up. It may become a chapter in the JL memoir. I hope you like it.


Freda, watercolour. JLeahy. January, 2015.

I have been painting “Josephine”, the woman from my head in watercolours on paper.

With several layers of pigment on heavy paper, she has taken some time to surface.  In almost three weeks, and working with three other artwork at the same time, I took no notice of how she was looking. I knew “Josephine” was due to finish soon.

My sons had been away south. My younger son returned today and wanted to see what I had been up to. I showed him the gardens, told him about the chickens, the paper thief, and how my blog was going. He could see I had been painting. As usual, he went through my paintings, telling me which ones he liked. When he saw “Josephine”, he asked me if I was painting “Bubu”. Bubu is a shortened Motuan (Papua New Guinea) word for grandmother/father. Chris was referring to my mother, Freda.

I laughed. Chris was right. This woman in the painting is what my mother looked like in her younger days. Apart from her hair, most of Freda’s looks have not changed much over the years, so much so, my 16-year-old recognised her. I had not realised Josephine’s resemblance to my mother before.

How did I paint my mother without knowing? (Maybe, I miss her).



Pushing Up Daisies

Friends in creative writing group and I have decided to do a writing challenge within the Wattpad Challenge. The Wattpad challenge requires 2000 words per day to reach 50,000 words. We are writing 200-500 words per day. I hope to post as much as I write so I may miss some days, and post more words other days. This challenge would keep the creative juices flowing and keep us in practice until we resume our workshop next year. It is all in good fun and who knows, a good story or two may come out of it. I have decided to write fiction. I plucked my protagonist, Viola Gregg from one of my old stories and gave her a new life. Let’s see how she survives. I am making her story up as I go, so this story is completely unplanned. You can visit Wattpad for the rest of the story, as I write it. Here, I share with you, part of the opening chapter I posted a few days ago. Please feel free to comment here or on Wattpad and remember, these are drafts.

Pushing Up Daisies


Chapter 1 Casting Shadows

Fiction JKLeahy

Viola rested her gin and tonic on the long wooden ledge. The 90z thick rock glass was placed exactly where the blue paint had stripped off, leaving a naked, grainy, and dull patterning. She noticed, dusk had dawned on her. The ice cubes clinked the glass before the clear liquor and ice stilled. The slice of lemon looked tired and hunched over the ice-cubes. Viola had had enough. The scent of cut lime hovered between the mess behind her and her glass. As she withdrew her cold and wet right hand from the drink, and placed it against herself, warming it in her other hand, she caught a moving blurred white car. The car was driving away from her street towards Moggill Rd. Viola did not know where the car came from. She did not hear it. Her eyes fleeted across the acreage properties and returned to the mess on the glass table near her, on her verandah. There were empty chips, nuts and cheese packets with some half eaten dips. Empty bottles and wine glasses stood discarded. Ants had gathered. Soon, the possums would appear boisterously to help themselves at her Mount Crosby home.

The drinks had started out here, on the verandah at midday today and had stretched the hours, her guests’ behaviors’ and her patience. She was ready for her guests to leave two hours ago. Too drunk and too stupid to notice, her friend Nora Gritty did not pick up Viola’s hints that the party was over. Nora loved parties. To think Nora had the nerve to invite herself and her friends, then not bother to leave after drinking all the alcohol but now Nora is talking about stripping and jumping into the pool. Viola had excused herself, and left the room.

“Where are you going?” Nora noticed her walk outside.

“I need some air”, that was all Viola said.

Viola did not care about the alcohol. She wanted time. Time to herself, and time to think before he got here. Today was the day. Everything had been set. She watched the sweat run off her glass and instantly stained the old timber. Most of the chilled run-off soaked into the timber grains. Her own sweat made her feel clammy.

“What’s happened with your make-up?” Nora had asked her earlier.

“I am not wearing any”.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I’m good”, Viola lied.

On the verandah, a feeling of despair came over her as darkness loomed and shadows peaked. She wanted to ask the guests to leave but she could not. Nora told Viola, she had kept to herself for too long. Viola felt trapped. She leaned into the ledge and looked over the lawn to the neighbours. In the background, her guests giggled and laughed; she could hear someone switching the lights on, throwing her own shadow forward to join the tall dark house on the lawn. Viola looked at the deserted road, knowing she could not turn back. The giggles and laughter became louder and Viola knew these were performances, fickle and simulated to get her attention, and this angered her. Her thoughts went to what she had planned for her husband and a slight chill ran through her. Viola wished she could dissolve into the grains of the old timber ledge and disappear with the water.

Over the verandah, her eyes, matching the brownie-green of the dying manicured lawn followed the edging of the garden to the leafy bottle tree. By now, the last week of Autumn, the tree should be flowering. It had been three years since she planted the semi-grown tree in 2011, just before the Queensland floods. Now, instead of being completely covered with its fiery, gorgeous red grandeur of flowering, like everything else, the bottle tree did not flower, but kept its deep dark green leaves. The sinking orange sun dusted the dark green leaves. As a slight breeze brushed the day away, the tinged leaves rustled into a dance drawing Viola’s eyes further to her extended creation, a garden bed of crusted rusty bark. Inlaid into this crusted bed neatly, and now flowering, were her pretty large white roses. These light delicate blossoms were blackened by the harsh, dense, lurking shadow. From the rose bed, Viola peeled her eyes away and looked up. She felt cold and she shivered as she gazed into the looming house that casted this thick dark shadow to her. The house was at least 50 metres away, but the shadow of the tall house bounced over the flat brownie-green lawn, visually, and almost touching her own shadow, linking her to her mysterious neighbours. She has not seen a single soul emerge from that house since the neighbours moved in six months ago.

Check here for JKLeahy Pushing Up Daisies updates:


A Wash In The Bush – Short Story

Google Images – Fireflies

It was pitch black. The day had gone. Heat and humidity parted swiftly and everything was swallowed by the early evening darkness. By touch, I placed my towel on a nearby tree branch and stripped for my bush wash. My skin woke to the cool breeze. My right foot carefully searched on the large, rough and wet stones to the small piece of plywood. I stepped up, trying to keep it balanced under my weight. The ‘ply’ was held up by other stones. The underneath was muddy water. I stared into darkness and caught very faint glimpses of trees.

Already pulled out of the well with a rope and bucket, I reached it. The water felt cold. Today was an especially hot day. My mind went over how sticky it was. As I filled the saucepan, the steel cooled to the temperature of the water. I raised the saucepan and saw them coming. The ‘light’ visitors. They came in a fanfare of glows seemingly in rhythm, yet, their presence was soundless. I realised I had missed the fireflies in Port Moresby’s city life.

The fireflies came closer as if curious. They scribbled bright disappearing lines in the ‘black’ all around me. Their light made the darkness even darker. 

I poured quickly. The water was cold.
“Ohhh nice!” half-shivering, I yelled out to my family, wanting to connect us through the depth of darkness between us. The chattering of my mother, my sons and, nieces and nephews were a few metres away.
This well water must have come from the centre of the earth. Untouched by the 36 degrees heat of Lae, Morobe Province. It was so cold.
After pouring three saucepans of water on myself I looked up again. By now the fireflies gathered just above me. They synchronised in an orbit-like dance. I looked up at the fireflies, entrenched, and the soft mushy Lux bathing soap slipped out of my hand. The soap’s creamy white oval-shape slithered away under the old plywood with a soft plonk in the muddy water.
I am not about to put my hands in there I thought. I stared at the ‘nothing’. It was still pitch black. I bent my knees but half-way, I decided, it was not a good idea. I am not going to find that soap unless I am prepared to feel through snakes, centipede, spiders, worms, and God knows what else is in there.
An owl startled me back to reality. I listened to the owl speak to another softly. I was dripping, half-soaped and cooling down fast. The fireflies lost their rhythm and separated. They flew away. I reached for another saucepan of the cool rinse and grabbed my towel.
“I’m finished!” I called and picked up my clothes.
Through the bush, I could hear my mother bringing my sons towards me to wash them. They were nine and six. She had the lamp and the boys had their torches. Suddenly, everything looked different.
In the background, my nieces and nephews were waiting their turn to the waterhole. My cousin Sam Newton dug this well before he even built his house. The water feeds and quenches the thirst of hundreds in our community. Because of where Sam had dug the well, the water remained cool all day and night. We used the water for cooking, drinking and washing.
“Where is the soap?” I heard my mother ask.
“Forget the soap Ma, just wash them in the water”.
I smiled and dried myself.