Two Sides #poetry #heat #2faces

I was Janus once

a shiny side

a muted side

put all happiness aside

It wasn’t me

it certainly wasn’t you

for one day I was famous

then a hot wind blew it away

I spun the coin

heads or tales

to be or not to be

there’s no answer to the question

but there are always two sides

The prompt for Reena’s Xploration 231 is to reflect on the Poem “How to Be Alone by Padraig O Tuama

Reflect on How to Be Alone


It’s Greek #prompt #microfiction

What did you say?

είναι ελληνικό για μένα *

can you be clearer?

είναι ελληνικό για μένα

this is making No sense

είναι ελληνικό για μένα

‘My Greek’s rusty. I think he said “great idea”‘

‘I think it’s Greek to him as well ‘

What are we agreeing to???

*it’s greek to me…

Reena’s prompt is the image above – Treat the two images as two stages, and write about what happened in between. You can change the order as you wish, or even add more stages in between.

Wow Reena knows how to make a challenge xploration challenge #230

The Boxes… #layers #alittlehorror

Here’s the prompt from the talented Reena Saxena @ xploration challenge

“I have untapped abilities waiting to be discovered.”

If you find it complex, you can use Layers as a theme for your piece.


It was a journey that I look back upon and wish I had never begun. There are many layers to this journey. Too many…

It began with a wonderful life with an intelligent, witty, charming partner. I couldn’t have asked for more enjoyment. We shared many of the same interests: poetry, writing, going on adventures and playing games.

I wish now (for his sake) that I had never ever had a curiosity for boxes but I always had. There is something about lifting the top of a box if only to peek inside the corner. Boxes seemed potentially to hold treasure.

My interest in boxes is now a curse but I’m slightly ahead of this story.

The home I moved into with my husband had a basement filled with boxes. There were thousands of them. Some were very big while others were quite small.

“What’s in the boxes?” My curiosity to open each box caused me to ask.

“I don’t know. Most of them were left by the man I bought the house from. He was my auntie’s husband. Some of the boxes were dropped by my brothers and others left by my former wife. Those over there are my own.” He pointed to a neat stack of games. Many of those games we had already played with friends or family.

With too much time on my hands, I started looking at the boxes from a distance. They did not belong to us but they were in our home.

Then on a cold windy day, I opened the first one. It was a pretty box with shiny ribbon. There was a beautiful poem written with a lady’s elegance.

I put the box away, walked up the stairs and reflected on the beautiful poem. I got out my own poetry journal and began to write. My husband later remarked that these were the best poems I had ever written.

It snowed a few days later and I again went down the stairs to open one box. This box had blue geometric shapes on it. There was a note inside that said:

You should look under the third tree to the right of the boundary. there is something interesting there.”

“It’s too cold.” I said to the note carefully putting the top back on the box. “Let’s see what’s in one more.”

“Listen to what you read or someone could end up dead.” A note was written in large bold print with a hefty exclamation point.

“Is this some kind of joke?”

A box fell on the flor. I opened it.

“No!!!” Even bolder letters stated.

I can’t tell you how fast my heart was beating but it was fast I assure you. I tried to calmly put each note back into their respective boxes and then back on the shelf they had come from. I turned to find the them back on the floor. Another had fallen and the lid off. The note opened “GO!”

“Okay I’m going.”

This time I left the boxes and grabbed gloves and a shovel. I forgot a winter jacket.

“What am I doing?” I spoke to the shovel as I walked toward the boundary of our property.

The tree looked slightly different from the others and I knew it was the right one. I dug. I didn’t need to dig too deep. There I found the bones that had belonged to a woman’s hand.

Not knowing what to do I put the hand back in the hole and covered it. I then went to the basement to put the boxes away and lock the door to the basement.

Another box had fallen and the note said “put it in here.”

I screamed.

“The hand?”

Another box fell. I didnt even bother to read it.

I rushed upstairs grabbed a bag to put the hand in. I wrapped the hand, covered the hole, ran back to the basement, put the hand in the box, taped that box together with all the tape I could find, put the rest of the boxes that had opened away, ran out of the room, locked the door, went upstairs, made some tea, look a long sigh.

I forgot about the shovel until my husband came to me with the shovel and a note…

Did I mention my undiscovered ability (underdiscovered) is as a closet horror writer?

The Passage to the Portal #Ukraine #fiction #part2

We stood in front of the clock in the Passage Hotel. The hands seemed as if they didn’t want to move forward. I looked at my husband with open hands and pointed to the rifle.

“You are good, but you can’t shoot two guns at once.” I pointed at the Kalashnikov.

“Trigger finger, eh?” He held the strap against his shoulder tightly. “Mae, you can barely stand.”

“We are potentially entering a portal with a KGB operative. I need to man up.” I knew not to grab for the gun so I just pleaded with my eyes.

The hour hand finally clicked to the 3.

“Let’s go then.” Don handed me the rifle.

He showed me how to place my feet on the design on the carpet. We both clutched our guns in a fighting stance. His other hand was on my back so he could push me forward if necessary.

We walked into 1991 uncertain of what we would face and who would greet us.

“It’s so quiet.” I whispered.

We went down the hallway to the blue room. My husband put his ear against the door to check for any sounds. He shook his head.

“Let’s check our room.” He mouthed as he pointed across the hall.

Again, there were no sounds.

Now What? I looked at my husband with confusion. One misstep could be our last.

He turned the door knob and opened the door.

While he swept the room for signs of intruders, I noticed something out of place.

The lamp was on the wrong table. Then the question was: Would Valeria have done that to warn us?

Don picked up the lamp; there was a lipstick marking underneath. The V in the heart pointed to our secret room.

I rushed over.


As I clicked the release, I heard the voice of a child.

Don locked the door, wedged a chair under the door and stood with his gun raised at the door. He motioned me inside the secret room.

“What genius,” I thought.

Valeria had put Dmitre’s family in the secret room that was part of our room. Our room was always unlocked so it seemed unlikely that you would hide someone in an unlocked room.

The children rushed into my arms.

Malika’s eyes were moist even Luda looked grateful.

“How long?” I whispered.

“Many days or is it weeks? We have not seen Valeria for 2 days.”

“And no food,” Sasha chimed in.

“We need to take care of that.” My husband peered in and handed me the gun. “What have you heard and what noises?”

“There was a bad man here. We do not know where he is now, but he hurt the professor.”

“You have been hiding – here.” The women nodded.

“Not at first.” Luda added. She pointed across the hall.

“Vlad and Valeria were here?”

“Yes, they moved us.”

“For now, let us put you back in the room. We will be back.” Hopefully, my husband said under his breath.

The first thing we did was check the blue room. It had been disturbed then tidied up by Valeria.

“What about the supply closet?” I knew there were medical supplies and food there.

“I don’t want to lead someone to so valuable a location. Let’s change clothes then go downstairs. The man knows what we look like in these clothes.”

While we changed, I wondered where Vlad and Valeria were. And another question – where was everyone else?

If you have just read this story there is a beginning broken into parts. You can find the links here.

This will link you to the next part of this story. “Where is everyone?”

The Passage is a hotel in Odessa, Ukraine. It was built in the 1890s. The Passage still stands and has housed many soldiers over many wars and incursions. There was also an underground passage used by resistance. This story was originally written in 2007 in Ukraine. The intention of this story is to applaud the bravery of the Ukrainian men and women who are holding on to each piece of their country.

Zelensky #atozchallenge #Ukraine #fiction

The Passage Hotel


“How did you know Zelensky?” I had asked Luda when I first met her at her home in Mariople.

“He grew up next door. When my nephews visit, they played. They became very good friends. Those boys have been together through many things and now war. Do you know his name means ‘famous leader?'”

No I didnt not know the meaning of his name, but it fit. These were the few things I knew about Volodymyr Zelensky who was elected President of Ukraine in 2019:

Volodymyr was born in 1978. Ukrainian was then part of the Soviet Union. After the fall of communism, Zelenskyy co-founded a successful comedy troupe and studied law.

Volodymyr Zelensky had been in the position of President of Ukraine for a few years when Russia attacked on Feb 24. Zelensky grew up under the iron fist of Mother Russia and had no desire to see his country torn apart. once again.

In his nightly address to the nation, we heard Zelenskyy say:

Thanks to the courage, wisdom of our defenders, thanks to the courage of all Ukrainian men, all Ukrainian women our state is a real symbol of struggle for freedom. Everyone in the world – and even those who do not openly support us – agree that it is in Ukraine that the fate of Europe, the fate of global security, the fate of the democratic system is being decided. And above all, it is being decided what life in the center and east of our continent will be like and whether there will be life at all.

(excerpt of speech on April 26)

“Zelensky is meeting with the UN and EU as we were having this conversation. We hope for help and weapons.” Dmitre relayed to us.

“We are glad that you, your brother and the President are safe.” My husband said. “What can we do now to help?”

“I know the President would tell you to get into safety. Your wife is still recovering. “

“You are asking us to go into hiding while there is …”

“Yes, You must. “

“But Dmitre what about????” I was near tears.

“There is still my family. They are in danger.”

“Yes, they are in need of protection.” My husband said soberly not knowing the situation on the other side of the Portal.

“You watch out for them and get well. Maybe in several weeks we will talk.”

We were both weary as we said “Goodbye” to everyone at the refugee center / church/ kitchen/ hospital. I couldn’t think about tomorrow for each of them.

Two of Yevhen’s men half carried me to The Passage. They had returned to tell us that Yevhen had positioned the men to defend Mariople’s people.

The men looked like tired boys to me at that moment.

As we got to the third floor, I knew we were on our own.

“Be careful. This Uri is your enemy.”

My husband checked his pistol for the twentieth time and checked the strap to the rifle on his shoulder.

“We will see you soon.” I gripped their hands not wanting to let go.  “Buvaite zdorovi”

They waved as they turned the corner of the hallway on the third floor of the Passage Hotel.

I have never hated goodbyes more than now…

So we say Buvaite zdorovi! (Ukrainian for Be Well / Be healthy) to each of you wonderful A to Z bloggers.

So sorry to leave you at a Time Portal with a War in Ukraine in 2022.

And so dear A to Z friends and Blogging faithfuls we are wrapping this part of “The Passage – A War Time Portal.” We (my husband who journeys with me) and myself will continue to write about people in the war and the world of the Portal. There is another element that we hinted at which is where we will go next.

“The Passage: Resistance in Time.”

“We are potentially entering a portal with a KGB operative. I need to man up.” I knew not to grab the gun from my husband, so I pleaded with my eyes.

The hour hand finally clicked to 3.

“Let’s go then.” My husband handed me the rifle.

We walked forward into 1991 uncertain of what we would face and who would greet us…



Thank you to the A to Z community and each blogger that joins in April.

This is the final letter for the A to Z challenge 2022. This fiction was originally written in 2007 in Odessa, Ukraine. I’ve tweeked it to arrive in 2022 but the elements of a multiaccess portal and a war (the original story had multiple wars) are original. The Passage that is central to this story is a real hotel built in 1880s.



The Basics

Clearly Crazy


E- Eavesdropping

F- Friends and Family

G- Grumbling Titka

Hiding in 1991

I – Intensity

J- My Journal

K- Keep Moving

L- Cold Air Lunch

M- Medical needs

N- What Next

O-Out of Sight


Q – Questions

R- The Russian

S- Shots and Sirens

T- Turned Back

U – Uri

X- Xanthic

Y- Yevhen

Z- Zelensky

It’s a deadly Assortment #flashfiction #challenge

I thought I was having a dream until my senses were overwhelmed with the odor of fish.

Then I heard:

“There are 15 pieces of sushi. You must eat five of them. Your best friend’s life depends on it.”

Lizzy was tied to a chair in the corner.

” I must mention that three of the items will cause instant death and two well it might be possible to make it to hospital. You have four minutes to decide and 1 minute to eat. “

This is not a dream. This is a NIGHTMARE!!!

“Your time starts Now.”

The above picture is the prompt for this week’s Xploration Challenge – moderated by the talented Reena Saxena

Did I mention I love flash fiction with all the fixins…

War Torn #atozchallenge #Ukraine

“Vlad how are we going to get across if you can’t remember?”

“Anatoliy told me years ago. You forget I am old man.” Vlad’s voice cracked.

“It’s easy. Let’s think about that.” My husband knew he had to battle the worry.

“Yes, we tried many configurations to get here when my wife was on this side. Anatoliy didn’t seem to know any more than we did.”

“Or he didn’t want too many to know.”

“Yes, that could be true. Let’s go to Passage. Maybe we can find something.”

“Olga, I am not sure when I will be back…”

“Your wife is our number one concern. Go do what you must do.” Olga pushed the men out the door.

As they walked, they were both deep in thought. My husband wondered about the man who kept a close eye on them. He had always been at The Passage.

“Vlad, I think the man watching us got through the Portal. He is always at the Passage. But the last few times no one.”

“But how???”

If is the more worrisome.”

They both walked much faster to the Passage. My husband waved at the manager. He smiled back.

They went up the stairs to the third floor then ran down to the second floor and around to the short hallway. There was the diamond design on the carpeting.

“What time?”

“Too early.” Vlad grumbled.

“Let’s go back up and do it again but slow like we always do to not attract attention.”

They did the routine again with a calm they did not feel. When they stood on the pattern, Valeria came through.

“I did it. Oh, thank you Portal. Thank you. “The girl was out of breath.

She turned to the men and looked so worn as if she had been in 2022.

“There is too much to tell you. There is a man named Uri. He is ex KGB and he is trained in torture.”

“How did he get there?”

“We think when Vlad and the men passed over that he gained access before the Portal could close. There is no one there to protect us.”

“Where is the family?”

“They are in hiding in the place. He knows about them and has tried to get information from many of our guests. I pretended I was a housekeeper for The Passage so he thinks I’m a dumb girl.”

“What does he want? It can’t be the family there are too many other ways to get to our friends in 2022.”

“No, he talks about secret passageway. Something about Resistance.”

Vlad looked around like he knew something.

“We are glad you come. Can we get back?”

Vlad stuffed his Glock in his waist band and checked the knife in his boot. Then he handed Valeria his Kalashnikov. She checked the safety, slung the rifle over her shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.

“We need to go back to third floor,” she pointed. “Then back at three. Two people at three don’t you remember, Vlad? Also look at your feet. Left foot on the diamond the other has to be sideways on the circle.” She whispered to Vlad and my husband. “Now let’s go.”

They stood at the clock trying to look unnoticeable. But no one in the hotel cared.

“Vlad will go with me; you must wait two days then come with your wife. We should be safe by then. Bring your gun in case.”

“Tell men to keep rotation to Mariople. Yevhen in charge.”

I nodded Yevhen was respected by all the men and a good leader.

“Go to your room and get your things out. In case…” Valeria pointed for me to go.

“We will win…” Vlad smiled.

My husband thought about the KGB guy.

We don’t need a war on both sides of the Portal.  My husband mumbled at the clock as he walked by.

Thank you to the A to Z community and each blogger that joins in April.

Please take a visit to my friend’s Blog Writer of Wrong and his A to Z

This on-going story for A to Z challenge 2022 was originally written in 2007 in Odessa, Ukraine. I’ve tweeked it to arrive in 2022 but the elements of a multiaccess portal and a war (the original story had multiple wars) are original. The Passage that is central to this story is a real hotel built in 1880s. She’s seen alot of history stomp through her doors and I could feel the past while I lived there. I hope you see the tenacity of the Ukrainian people through this attempt to honor their bravery. The story about the shot up car and the people is one of many stories we got from friends helping people escape Mariople.



The Basics

Clearly Crazy


E- Eavesdropping

F- Friends and Family

G- Grumbling Titka

Hiding in 1991

I – Intensity

J- My Journal

K- Keep Moving

L- Cold Air Lunch

M- Medical needs

N- What Next

O-Out of Sight


Q – Questions

R- The Russian

S- Shots and Sirens

T- Turned Back

U- Uri

V- Vladimir