How We Write – The Photo

This is probably the shortest, at 186 words, and the darkest story we’ve ever written.

Immediately, the combination of the prompts, photo and the dumpster, led to certain conclusions. Orion wrote the story a few years ago, then, says Kyros, traumatized him with it! However, he’s responsible for some of the chilling details at the end that were added during editing.

It’s said, with some truth, that Orion kills characters off, not Kyros! But once Orion puts it out there, Kyros’ diabolical brain comes up with some very, uh, innovative, shall we say, methods to accomplish that goal.


Photo by Talles Alves on Unsplash



My mom framed the photo. She keeps it right there on the mantelpiece in our small rambler.

“See?” she says to visitors. “My lovely daughter and my second husband Nick.” She sniffs. “He was a policeman, you know, and a good one, they said. Always so good with the survivors, the wives and parents and kids.

“My girl? She’s thirteen there. Such a good girl. Sports star, good grades.”

A tear slides down her wrinkled cheek. Then she shakes her head.

“I don’t know why my darling husband had to die.”

I do.

Because of that ‘special’ warmth he showed me from the day they were married.

Because of the nights he tucked me into bed.

Because of the baby I left in a dumpster behind the high school.

You better believe I know why he had to die.

Why I spent a year growing hemlock in the corner of the backyard.

Why, after the paralysis set in, we had a nice long talk about his sins before he died.

And why I’m now the youngest woman in history to be sentenced to life in prison.


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