No One Escaped

Old chimneyglow

Of fires long spent

Blood stains yet

Visible on hearth

Irritable spirits, mean

As the dead they’ve

Replaced, sup here at

Twilight, proud residents

In degraded estate

Malignant manor from

Which no one escaped…

Sometimes remnants of

Lace curtains aged ivory

Wave insanely

(Grandmother who

Smiled, never spoke)

From grime-gritty


At night thrumming

Music score is only

Entertainment; din

Reaches to Captain’s

Bedroom where echoes

Of restlessly twirling

Watch chain persists

It’s the lone guard—

Mere slender, bent-

Shouldered shadow—

Still pacing hours

Of his unpaid stint

Another month wind

Will gust, blow last

Shingles and ashes away

No remembrance

No regrets

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Death’s Mystery Box


The Mystery Box

And the words:  “The third month, when the box arrived, was very tricky indeed.” – Douglas Adams, Almost Harmless

Uncle Marilynne’s death was difficult enough—as much as his life must have been for him (and had been for us, his relatives who chose to love and accept his burdensome state).  My sister and I were left to settle the legal fine points and deal with his personal effects, and he’d made generous provision for us. 

After the funeral, the third month, when the box arrived, was very tricky indeed.  We’d thought our tasks were finished, so this package was unexpected.  The name, in ornate script on the return address label, was unfamiliar.  We shrugged in unison, “who’s Davenport Carlisle?”  My sister retrieved Uncle’s address book, turned the pages.  She shook her head, murmured, “just a guy who lives in New York, I guess”.

Carefully removing the crimson twine and paper, I opened the box.  Inside we found an array of gorgeous plus-size lingerie with a Parisian designer’s tags.

 ©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

(150 words by online counter)

Never Underestimate… (50-word-thursday-68)

Prompt words:  “As she watched, Miss Tonks drew a pistol,” – M.C. Beaton’s Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue

*Please see for the beginning of this story, if you’re interested…the current prompt lent itself to a continuation (which I normally don’t do)🙂


She knew they’d been looking for her…in every wrong place.  “Combing the woods”, she whispered to herself, snickering derisively—as, it had become a game to her.  That busybody neighbor reported her ‘absence’ to her nephew, who’d called the authorities with his ‘concern’ (he’d long relished idea of having her committed as non compos mentis, and accessing wealth he assumed she possessed).

They’d all underestimated her abilities, physical and mental.  But admittedly, she was tiring after the trek through nearby woodland.  Hiding in the city now, she saw movement among plain-clothed detectives.  She was briefly stymied by indecision:  should she stop somewhere for a cup of tea and cake—or announce herself to them with an attitude of smirking umbrage?

Perhaps it would be a fatal mistake, but as she watched, Miss Tonks drew a pistol…and stepped out into their line of vision.  If they shot her, Nephew would lose.  She smiled.

(150 words)

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Missing or Murdered?

Prompt words:  “She was murdered,” Rabbit says. – Kate Racculia’s Bellweather Rhapsody

The search for a missing woman, reputedly a recluse, had been going on for days.  It was exhausting, frustrating and often boring…but no one would have admitted that aloud, fearful of being quoted in the press, triggering a brouhaha about incompetent, insensitive law enforcement.

A young officer stopped to wipe perspiration from his face, although the area was pleasantly cool.  He turned, hearing steps behind him, nodded to Inspector Rabbit.

“Sir, maybe she chose to disappear—no harm, no foul—even eccentrics have the right.  She might have flown to Costa Rica.”

“She was murdered,” Rabbit says, a stern gravel-voiced seer, perhaps.

(100 words)

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Intrigante (6-Sentence Story)


She is “Intrigante”.

This woman of myriad names traverses the lands of poetry.

Here, then gone…like errant breezes, she is mercurial.

Is she young, perhaps not—but she has loved, as evidenced in aching haunted lines.

Who was the man keeping her heart…maybe he’s key to her mystery.

Time passes and Intrigante’s footprints, only, appear midst poets’ sand.

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Winter Bleak

Winter bleak

No other hue

So palpable, still


Beige-taupe daub

Applied bored, careless

With worn broad brush 

From sky to naked trees

Dripped on mute ground

Dispirited, ponderous

Gray-grave season

Opaque-layered mystery

Conceals seeds of

Blinding magnificence

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.