My lecture was so dull I bored myself, tailing off down an alley of inconsequence to the dead end of momentary silence until, with rising excitement, I found the side alley of potential controversy and entered it with brief anticipation of provoking interest; the eyes of the older members of the assembled teenagers coming back to life for the few seconds it took for my stress addled brain to note the teachers’ anxious tension as they braced for any risk my words might pose, whereupon I stepped off a metaphorical pavement into the path of an oncoming bus – destination: failure.


Copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

From a prompt from Thin Spiral Notebook: a story in 100 words in 1 sentence.


At seventeen she made up to impress, half of her face at a time; one side flat porcelain, the eye enlarged with kohl and mascara, the cheek blushed, half the lip glossily plump; the other side, uneven, natural and pale. For a few seconds her face displayed equally what she wanted to portray and what she hid.

Now nothing can smooth the shadows and lines but she doesn’t care, because they represent who she has become. She will leave the room with a little make-up, or maybe none. Her friends are waiting and they look only at her heart.

mirror hand

Copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

From a link on The Thin Spiral Notebook page. Check it out.


The sudden downpour took them by surprise as they lolled on the grass outside the cathedral. “Quick, inside” said Izzy, grabbing Em’s arm. She avoided the neat pensioners trying to encourage a donation and sat them down close to the door so they could get out as soon as possible.

You couldn’t hear the rain. In fact you could hear very little, just the tourists wandering about taking photos, passing on the stone floor: click click click tap tap tap.

A long way down towards the other end people were just sitting.

“How boring” said Izzy, leaning awkwardly to get a selfie of herself with the vaulted ceiling looming above her.

Em suddenly felt tired. Not from the holiday or late nights, but just tired. It was like being in a car that had been rushing along and suddenly stopped so that all the things in the back crashed into you. All the things in the back of Em’s mind were crashing into her.

She thought about how she’d started to write a postcard to Grandma and was just about to sign her name when she remembered Grandma had died. She saw her future opening up in front of her: no longer at college, no longer supported by her parents, just her – responsible. She wondered if she would be loved, if life would make sense, if she would be worthwhile.

Em felt panic rising and tuned Izzy out, staring towards the brilliant stained glass window, sparkling even with a rain storm outside; and she looked at the people just sitting. Were they communing? Or just being still?

Tears filled Em’s eyes, as she sat there feeling lost. Was this praying? She wasn’t religious. She didn’t have any words to say, so could it be praying – just laying your hurt and worry out?

She felt a hum in the air, like someone saying “don’t be afraid, be at peace” and in her mind’s eye, saw herself enveloped in comforting arms. And the things crashing into her fell and dissolved.