TotD: Silent City (Flash Fiction)


By Alexandra Erin


When I close my eyes, I see the silent city.

It is always there, etched into my brain, lurking behind the back of my eyelids, waiting for the lights to go out. I walk its empty streets in my sleep every night, but it’s always there, even when I’m awake.

It’s only when I’m asleep that the ideograms in the store windows and squiggles on the street signs make sense to me, though I never remember what any of them say, only the bare fact that I know.

The roads are all brick-paved, but the street lights and the useless traffic signals are all very modern. Nestled between red brick apartments, brownstone town houses, and glittering glass skyscrapers, there are buildings that look like theaters, storefronts that could be sweet shops or bakeries, though there is never anything inside them, nothing in the window but lettering whose meaning eludes my waking mind. There are no doors, no way in.

Somewhere, beyond the bridge that I can never reach, there are suburbs, and beyond that, rolling plains of wild flowers and green, green grass. I have never seen these things, but I know they are there, just like I know that somewhere, on some street near or far, he will be there.

It’s not my city, but his. He’s the reason I have to keep moving. I don’t know why, when I’m awake. I might be looking for him. He might be looking for me. I don’t know if he knows about me, or what might happen if we meet.

I can see him, though. I see his face laid out with the lines of the city, the criss-crossing grid of major roads and the swirls of cul-de-sacs in the posh subdivisions. The city center is over his eye, his left eye.

It might be that in some way, he is the city or the city is him. I don’t know. That’s a bit metaphysical for my tastes. It’s something to ask him about, maybe, if I ever meet him. If I’m looking for him, and not a way out of the city and away from, and if I’m able to ask him, or even care. I’m not entirely sure I’m the same person, when I’m in the city.

When people ask, I tell them I never remember my dreams. As far as I know, that might even be true.

TotD: Island of Grace (Metrical Mash-Up)


(Sort Of*) By Alexandra Erin


Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,

the tale of a fateful trip!

I once was lost, but now am found

aboard this tiny ship.


‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear

the skipper brave and sure.

How precious did that grace appear

for a three hour tour.


Through many dangers, toils, and snares

the tiny ship was tossed.

‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far

or the Minnow would be lost.



*Freely adapted from “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island”, lyrics by George Wile and Sherwood Shwartz, and “Amazing Grace”, lyrics by John Newton. Pick a tune and sing along.

TotD: Boneyard Stomp (Poem)


By Alexandra Erin


When daylight ends

the fun begins.

I go down


and find myself

with skeletons.

The city sleeps

high above

but down below

we laugh and love.

Around and round

beneath the town,

we wheel and whirl

without a sound.

Silent song,

endless dance,

questing looks,

longing glance.

TotD: Imp Lied (Flash Fiction)


By Alexandra Erin


“You didn’t hold up your end of the bargain,” I said.

“Of coure I didn’t,” the tiny, winged figure in the circle said. “You made a dea with the devil. Well, a devil. Well, a devilish being. What did you expect to get? Fair dealing and four star customer service?”

“No, but I thought you would be, you know, tricky about it,” I said. “Double meanings, overly literal or figurative interpretations, loopholes… something like that.”

“That sounds like a lot of work when I can get what I want with straight-up dishonesty,” it said.

“But if you don’t have a reputation for honesty, how can you expect people to make deals with you?”

“I had a good enough reputation to pull you in,” it said. “Probably because people would rather tell stories where they were outsmarted with clever wording than ones where they just straight up gave away all their marbles for nothing. That’s how you get stories about magic beans, I’m sure. Anyway, I’m not sure why I need a reputation for honesty. I mean, you expected I would cheat you, and you still agreed.”

“Because I thought I would have a chance to outsmart you!” I said.

“Well, you got one,” it said. “That part where I asked you if you wanted to make a deal. That was your chance to outsmart me. You could have said no and walked away.”

“You told me that you were a creature of honor and that your word was all you had.”

“Yeah, funny story,” it said. “It turns out liars can say that, too.”


TotD: While Loop (Poem)


By Alexandra Erin

Start over. Circle back. Begin again.

Do the odd numbered problems

on the even numbered pages

then repeat lines 1 to 3.

Doing the same thing over and over

and expecting different results is

the working definition of working.

Practice makes perfect, they say,

but perfect is the enemy of good.

Procrastinating? I’m fighting evil.

What is there to do when anything

worth doing is worth doing right,

but you don’t regret the things you do,

only the things you have not done?

Start over. Circle back. Begin again.

TotD: The Vampire Lies (Poem)


By Alexandra Erin



In marble halls, the vampire lies.

In stillness and silence, the vampire lies.

When the night falls the dark one will rise

In marble halls, the vampire lies.


The check’s in the mail, the vampire lies.

I’m too big to fail, the vampire lies.

You’re the one millionth visitor, come claim your prize.

In marble halls, the vampire lies.


I found it like that, he bit me first,

they speak of my drinking but never my thirst.

I barely miss breathing, I’ve lived through much worse.

Being undead is hardly a curse.


In marble halls, the vampire sighs.

In stillness and silence, the vampire cries.

When the night falls, she’ll dry off her eyes.

In marble halls, the vampire lies.

Flash Fiction: Seven Days Without Spiders


By Alexandra Erin

It has been seven days since I saw a spider within the house.

Knowing their propensity for squeezing within tiny spaces and scurrying under things, I have spent most of the week searching in vain for their new hiding spot, or spots. I examined in minute detail the cracks between the floorboards and all the seams in the walls. Realizing their ability to move in three dimensions coupled with their keen senses and quick reflexes could allow them to follow my own movements through the house while staying just outside the arc of my vision, I tried on several occasions to whirl around quickly and catch them off-guard. I never saw them, though.

After seven days without a single solitary sighting of a spider, I have begun to suspect something. Do spiders count in base eight? Do they attach some special significance to the number of their limbs and eyes? Do they ? I cannot see how it would be otherwise.

If this is so, then whatever they have planned for me, it will be tomorrow.



First Published: October 28th, 2015

Word Count: ~200

POEM/SONG: How the Minotaur Lost Her Way



By Alexandra Erin


Well, she lit out from Kellisport
so many years ago
bound for Hulmouth Harbor
before the winter snow.
Her holds were packed with cargo,
her sails were full of wind
and not a mortal living
knows where she met her end.

Who can know? Who can say
where the Minotaur lies today?
She started out so swiftly
but somehow she lost her way.
My heart was packed inside her
when she went down that day.
Oh, my heart was packed inside her
when she went down that day.

She carried tonnes of cotton,
and barrels full of rice,
casks of hearty wine
and sweetly scented spice,
treasures from the conquest
and priceless works of art.
and one lonely young sailor
I trusted with my heart.

Mermaid-snared? Tempest-tossed?
They only know that she was lost.
The bankers know the value,
but no one knows the cost.
Now my heart lies under waters
no ship has ever crossed.
Oh, my heart lies under waters
no ship has ever crossed.

It happened of a sudden,
one calm and moonless night.
My sailor left his watch-post
and doused his lantern-light.
Urged on by the promise
I’d etched upon his skin
he drew steel and crept astern
and did the captain in.

Who can know? Who can say
how the Minotaur lost her way?
Only one man’s certain,
and he will never say.
He took my heart down with him
when the ship went down that day.
Oh, he took my heart down with him
when the ship went down that day.

The Minotaur lies quiet now
in the darkling deeps,
and prowling round about it
my sailor never sleeps.
In the ribs of the wreck
a light no depths can kill,
and at the center of it
my heart beats even still.



First Published: October 27th, 2015

FLASH FICTION: Watching Over Us All

FIRST PUBLISHED: October 26th, 2015



By Alexandra Erin

The cold, pale, slightly irregularly-shaped orb that rose over the horizon that pivotal first morning was not the sun, not our sun at least.

It gave off enough light to be seen, but only just. It was nowhere near bright enough to blot out the stars, but they disappeared in its wake, just the same as if it were drawing a shade behind it as it traversed the sky. The moon was nowhere to be seen.

It had been getting smaller—farther away, astronomers said—for days before, lighting out for parts unknown. No one knew what was keeping the tides going. We’d have to rewrite the physics books entirely when we found out, assuming that anyone could and that anyone would be around to write it all down.

The temperatures plunged, but not as much as you would have expected. Things got chilly, but not icy. Plants kept growing, though they were observed to grow away from the pale new sun rather than towards it. Flowers that had once tracked old Sol’s progress across the sky now turned their faces away from his replacement.

The fire-and-brimstone preachers all screamed that they’d warned us, but as time went on with neither deliverance for them and their followers nor devastation for the world, they sort of settled down and found a new rhythm, a new routine. They said to anyone who’d listen that the end of the world was imminent, that all the signs and portents proved this, but they’d been saying that for as long as anyone could remember.

The really surprising thing was how quickly it all became normal. The government pushed through a lot of new travel restrictions and emergency regulations right away, supposedly to preserve readiness—readiness for what, no one knew—and prevent panic. Some of them were relaxed when no actual crisis materialized, some of them weren’t.

Habits changed more quickly than language, with idioms about daylight and sunshine maintaining their currency years after anyone had ever seen such things.

The world had changed. We just changed with it. Things had been scary for a while, but we came out the other side okay. If anything, it just went to show you how resilient we were, as a society. As a species.

Maybe that’s why there was as little reaction as there was, the day the pallid lid finally opened and we found out what the thing in the sky really was.

POEM: Nevers

First Publication: October 7th, 2015



by Alexandra Erin


prayers never spoken

thoughts never shared

vows never broken

glances never dared


chances never taken

wounds never healed

dreams left forsaken

secrets unrevealed