Rattler’s Tale #1

by Anthony North
Friday Fictioneers
Poets & Storytellers United
The Sunday Muse
in association with
Stories: Eyes and Veg


It began as I walked up the starecase.
With each step my trepidation grew.
Sweat, like shards of ice, lacerated my skin.
I was waiting for it, but not like this.
The corner of my eye.
Why does horror always first appear there?
Because we instinctually turn away.
I’m an individual, you see.
Ha! See
I demand my privacy, to my thoughts
My emotions.
It was there now, floating to my front, its evil eye bottomless
At the top of the stares I came to the door.
The sign said ‘Doors’, plural, but there was only one.
And above, ‘MacroHard.’
I opened Doors – entered the gallery.
The ultimate techno experience.
Whether you wanted it or not.
On every wall there were eyes.
The selfie was now streaming ..
… tears

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot


Fresh veg on a half empty shelf.
I just can’t get that image out of my mind.
A metaphor?
Veg – short for vegetables.
Or vegetate?
Words entered my mind.
Done that.
Married her.
I suppose I felt like that veg when I walked into the store.
You know – old, redundant; on the shelf.
It was a dirty shelf; people went straight to the freezers.
They were sparkling new, full of plastic food.
I’m trying to contact Chris, tell her…
I still see the old veg shelf now as I go into the freezer.
In the morgue.


Book 27 of 68, Mysteries of the Bible, out 27 March

102 comments on “Rattler’s Tale #1

  1. There are days I feel like that veg; old, redundant, and sitting on a dirty shelf. But, at least I have hope for the next day. A very interesting and thought-provoking story, Anthony!

  2. Dear Anthony,

    Interesting take on the prompt. I sometimes feel like an old veg, too. Particularly in the early morning before coffee. Well done. Happy to see you back.



  3. Anthony North! Imagine my joy when I saw your name and read once again your succinct words. Once upon a time I was known as …why paisley???, but subsequent to many revolutions of life I have become simply, Violet. All grown up and using capital letters. Sans the aggressive punctuation (well, for the most part anyway….)But still writing with some degree of angst and honesty. How thrilling to once again be crossing paths.

    1. Well hello, of course I remember you. And funnily enough, I’ve only just returned to blogging after many years away. Great to hear from you again.

  4. Freezer veggies can still be good for you, but nothing beats the fresh bunch. Your short flash fiction tale is part metaphor, ecological, and a love story; fine work.

  5. Lovely stuff Anthony. Love the close.
    If I find I still exist when I pop my clogs, in another dimension perhaps, I would try and get in touch too. To say what and to whom – I don’t know either…
    Anna :o]

  6. No matter how much we try and keep the vegetables healthy or put them in a freezer.
    They always go bad. That’s why one must take advantage of buying vegetables right then and cook them and eat from on the first or second day. I love your description of the poem. 🙂

  7. I always enjoy your rather playful, but always deep and rather touching work, Anthony – you are certainly an original writer, who I find is always refreshing to read…

    1. Yes, it’s been quite a few years. Illness and other writing projects meant I had to cut down, but I’m getting better and back – hopefully for good. And it’s nice to see you again, Grace.

  8. “Old, redundant, on the shelf”………I’m wondering, are you in a drawer in the morgue! Being slid onto the shelf?

    I’m going to have to do something about that snake you use in your picture. Makes me shiver so I can hardly read the story!

    1. Yes, Linda, he’s in that drawer. Sorry about the snake, but it is my signature picture. What I’ll do is make the prompt pictures bigger so when you read the snake will have gone.

  9. “Veg – short for vegetables. Or vegetate?” ““Old, redundant, on the shelf”” Oh, I am feeling those two lines! Excellent take on the photo prompt.

  10. I was amused at the tongue-in=cheek “top of the stares”; still pondering MacroHard above the door, thinking I’m missing something! Entertaining write.

  11. Superb, spiky reading that marks you as an original and accomplished writer, Anthony. A real pleasure to read you today. Your paradoxical blend of the notion of selfies with tears was brilliant I thought…

  12. That first poem had the horror of a dream, the steady movement toward an unwelcome outcome, that gave me the shivers and the second built on that disquiet. These seem likely to linger.

  13. And the selfies were streaming tears, it almost becomes what’s hidden behind the images. I really like your play on words – particularly “Starecase”

    1. Hi Hank, I go to the ultimate dystopian nightmare of a mini-drone constantly filming your face and streaming every reaction to every thought. I think it would drive people mad.

  14. It didn’t worry us many years ago when the fruit and veg was placed in the open ready for you poke or test it in some way before buying. Now we can’t do that as it is wrapped in plastic or grouped together so you buy more than you need. I often visit a Fruit and Veg shop that keeps some of the old ways still raather that pay for plastic boxes and wrapping!

  15. Nice eerie write, suspense until through the doors. I love the detail, “‘Doors’, plural” but missed the point of its taking space. Good Job, Anthony!!

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