Friday, March 5, 2021

First Friday! Eldering. Whitaker. Vidler

 Finally! It’s First Friday and three authors post their 150-word stories based on a single photo.

Photo by LM Whitaker


Ghost in the Graveyard

Gracie loved playing hide-and-seek with her older brothers, but not the regular daytime one; the one played at night called ghost in the graveyard.

One night the brothers agreed to be the seekers and allowed Gracie to hide.  She quietly snuck over to the old stump; the remnant of a tree taken out by lightning many years prior.  She crawled through the brambles and sat propped up against the stump.  After looking for about an hour and not finding Gracie, they finally decided it was getting too dark and cold and went into the house.  They all agreed that Grace was probably in her bed.

The boys checked on Gracie but could not find her.  All the neighbors, family and friends went on a search for Gracie.  For many days, the search continued.  No one ever found Gracie, slumped in eternal sleep hidden behind the old stump and brambles.


 Erin looked in dismay at the derelict, ivy-encased cabin.  At one time the property must have been lovely, but that was years, decades ago. Mounds of vinca, leggy azaleas, and escaped irises competed for the dappled sun, scarce under the sprawling live oaks.

Walking gingerly through the tangle of vines, Erin yelped as her foot struck a hidden birdbath.  An oakleaf hydrangea sheltered a painted stone: Kitty’s final resting place.

She continued her trespass through the memory cemetery of a stranger’s life, uncovering a turtle, a bunny, an angel.  Next to a stump she found a headless child, half buried in the sandy soil.  The statue, now upright, grasped its flowing skirt, creating a dirty bowl.  Erin sat on the stump and wondered if these effigies should be, could be, displaced.

She stood to leave, giving the statue one backwards glance. The bowl was no longer empty, the child’s head having found its way home.

Erin screamed.


When the Bough Broke

Drawn by memories, Caroline followed the rutted track to the once-proud house. She parked the car and stared at the blackened ruins. Vines climbed the pillars and sprouted from the chimney, all that remained. She’d hoped never to come here again, but Simon’s passing forced her return. Over the years, he’d refused many offers for the land. He said his heart was buried here, and it was.

She saw the ancient oak as if it still stood, the old tire swinging from the huge limb. Heard Julia’s delighted shrieks as she swung higher and higher above the little white figure she called her friend.

Until the bough broke.

Their hearts broke with their daughter’s neck. Simon cut down the oak the next day, and they buried Julia nearby. A year later, in a final blow, lightning burned the house.

Caroline fell to her knees by the broken figure and wept.

 About the Authors


At Amazon
Ms. Eldering is an award-winning author.  Her stories “Train of Clues,” “The Proposal,” “Tulip Kiss,” “Butterfly Halves,” and “Zombies Amuck have placed in a variety of contests.  Her story “Bride-and-Seek” was selected for the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review. 

Ms.Eldering makes her home in upstate South Carolina and loves to travel, read, and crochet.  When she’s not busy working her full-time job, she can be found at various book or craft events.

You can find her at and

The Ties of Time

Moving to a new town was difficult enough, but that was only the beginning of what life had in store for Kelly Watson. Soon, a strange connection to her old family home led her down a path riddled with family secrets and mystery. 



Linda M Whitaker is a retail data scientist, and a writer of science and technology thrillers, as well as a few creepy short stories.  By day she plays with numbers, by night, with words.


Linda started writing around 2011 when she took her first mystery class with Ellen Hart, a prolificMinneapolis mystery author. Though Linda lived in Minnesota only a few years, she quickly learned the benefits of writing fiction as a means to hide from the long, dark, cold winters.

The Crucible of Steele

Fast forward a decade, and the many years of learning and perseverance have finally led to her debut novel. The Crucible of Steele is a fast-paced techno-thriller filled with unexpected twists, ethical entanglements and provocative science.  Buy here, or visit her website,, or facebook page, for more details.

Today Linda resides with her husband in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  She loves running in the forest, gardening, cooking, and playing with her dog and cat.


Free 5/5 at Amazon
Ellis is filling in for someone who couldn’t make it this month. She’s the author of five suspense novels (one with Jim Christopher) and two short story collections.

Haunting Refrain

Suspense, a little romance, a touch of paranormal . . . (Free this weekend)

Photographer Kate McGuire hopes for a little fun in her life when she joins a parapsychology experiment--visions of murder aren’t part of the plan. Then her eccentric friend Venice, a complication all by herself, leaks the story to a reporter, and Kate’s life turns upside down. The police don’t take her seriously, but the murderer does.


If you’d like to join in, leave your 150-word story in the comments. Or let me know you’d like to participate. I’d love to have you. Ellis at ellisvidler dot net.