Before her spread the vast golden sand, the sea slathered across the bones of the earth, breathing in and out in a hypnotic trance. She drank in the view greedily, jealous that anyone else should savour a taste of this concoction of paradise and heaven. The sneakers came off, lying discarded, tongues lolling in the basking sun. Her brother and friend stood by the shore, ballooning pants dwarfing their skinny legs. Their kingdom lay at their feet, surrounded by a salt water moat. The castles crumbled, the seashell windows barely clinging to the sand walls. Sticks in long straight lines showed the boundaries of the town, rudimentary fences that marked out farms populated by rock animals.

(Inspiration: a snippet from a longer piece I’m writing)



Sprinkled over the deep-blue blanket, crisp-white triangles floated serenely. A cool breeze curled its fingers around her hair, sending it flying in various directions. She attempted to tame it, encaging it with a thick elastic band…


(A snippet from my story, Radiance, which was published in Speaking of Love. Compiled and edited by B.A. Llewellyn. Purchase here: . I’m sick today and just, can’t. )


Standing in the mirror she did not like what she saw. Long, crooked toes. Fat, white thighs that wobbled when she breathed. A stomach that looked as though the only thing she ate was beer. Tiny, little mole hills, “no way they could sustain life”, she mused. Turkey-skin arms. Big, brown freckles splotched wherever they felt the need to congregate. Pasty white skin. Uneven lips. Mousey-brown, lank hair. Heaving the pretty fabric over her head, she wished the image that would stare back at her would metamorph into someone like on the TV. Some one perfect. She tugged at the dress, pulling it over her hips, and smoothing it down.

(A snippet of my story originally published in Speaking of Love, compiled and edited by B.A Llewellyn. Available here: I’m sick today and my brain is a fuzz and I just can’t write)

A birth

“Heartbeat is below 70 and dropping. Fluttering. This is serious. I need help. Now!”

“You need to push and you need to push now. If you don’t, your baby…. your baby won’t make it.”

“I. Can’t. Just cut her out. Just. Cut. Her. Out”.

“You’re too far along.”

“Drugs. Any drugs. I can’t!”

“I can’t give you anything. I’m sorry, it’s too dangerous. She’s close, so close. But her heart. Her heart is dangerously, dangerously low. You can do it. You are strong. Push.”

“What’s going on. I can’t lose them. I need them both. We have a baby at home too, I can’t go home without them. I need them. I need them.”

“We need the infant re-suss team here now. And get the other obstetrician here. Wake him up. Now. Now! And the chopper, life flight. One of them. On standby.”

“Push. You can do to. You can. You are strong. Even if there’s no contractions. Push. Push until I tell you to stop.”

“You can do it babe. You can. I love you.”

“I’m sorry you can’t come in. You need to wait outside. Only her husband can come in. I know you’re her Mum but I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“The kit is here. Set up. Ready for re-suss. Dr is walking through front door. We are……”

“Yes! Yes! She’s ok, she’s here. You’re ok. You did it. I’m so proud. Look Daddy, she did it! Congratulations! Every thing is ok. Tihei wa Mauri ora, welcome little one.”

(Inspiration: Triumph prompt, and the birth of my second child retold in the snippets of conversations I remember)

Dear You

Dear You,

How’s it been? What is your life like now? Do you ever think of me?

I think of you often – replaying those crazy, heady days (or should that be seedy days?) where we were inseparable. Those days where we’d rush home from work and fall into bed together, tangled in bedsheets, rising only to seek food or water. Those days where the weekends passed in a muddle of brunch, booze and beaches.

I can still feel your hands on me, feel your eyes gazing at me. The way you’d twirl my hair in your finger when you were tired. The way you’d pull me close after a long day and massage the knots in my shoulders. The way you’d cock your head to make me laugh, or whistle between your teeth when we’d talk of growing old together. The way you laughed. I miss that laugh. How we fit together perfectly, two halves of a whole.

We were so in love. Or so we thought. Or so I thought. I can still remember the bile rising in my throat as I came home early that day to find her. Her and you. Tangled together on our couch, last night’s leftovers still balancing precariously on the arm.

Even in my worst nightmares, I never imagined the arms that once protected me would turn against me.

I hope you’re happy.

(Inspiration: Write a letter to someone you have so much to say to but cannot tell them directly.)


She shakes as she gets in the car. Gasping for breath, barely able to find the right key.
Watching the road melt away in the rear-view mirror, putting more and more space between her and him, ‘them’, ‘us’.

Tyres crunch over gravel, the bach perches over its domain. The sun is low, nestled among wind-tossed clouds that stud the horizon. The sea, spread thick over the bones of the earth, sighs alongside her. A drizzle of kōwhai flowers trumpet her demise.

Lady liquor whispers in her ear. An old friend, banished after that fateful night so many years ago, calls her name.

‘Emergency’ stash in the garage uncovered. The bottles clink together, like bells tolling the start of her demise.

Her lips envelope the long, thin straw and she lets the liquid slide down her throat. Her fingers grapple with the ice, skating it on the bottom of the glass. She slides it in her mouth, cracking it against her teeth and gums.

Her worries drain into the sand, ebbs away with the ocean. Her mind drifts, a tide of relaxation overcoming her.

The sun bruises the sky as she watches her skin bloom in unison.

The accident

It was the silence that woke me. Gasping for breath, I claw at the blankets that suffocate me. Oozing cuts need my attention, blood blossoming on the sheets. The shower brings life back to my limbs, as I move tenderly, sore and broken from the night before.

A beeping phone beckons me and I lift the phone to find countless missed calls from my parents. “Where are you? Are you OK?” text message after text message demands.

Yellow and purple bruising mark my skin. Whiplash has made my head ache and pound. I replay the events of the night in my mind.

The ferocious arguments, again and again; I made a split decision.

Hitting the gas instead of the brakes, trying to drive the anger away. Metal tearing and us, flying through the air. Unluckily for him, the impact was too much. Red and blue lights. Death. Endless questions from police with clipboards.

Ruining a life in order to save mine.

(Inspiration: the prompt ‘the first letter of each sentence spells a message that contradicts or adds to the story’.)