Karma By the Sea

They had nothing to say to each other and that was that.

They’d been married for 52 mostly happy years. They’d reared seven children and outlived all but two of them. Their quaint cottage by the sea grew larger as the nest emptied one by one. Agnes passed her time painting, selling a few to those who regarded her as a modern day Picasso, until Anders retired. He refused to get any hobbies of his own and was always under foot, disturbing her peace and disrupting her projects. Eventually, her creativity fizzled out and the painting stopped.

She realized how much she loathed him then. And so she plotted, adding a little something extra to his coffee every day until one day, he just didn’t wake up. Tears slid down her face at his funeral, just as they should, leaving none the wiser.

A cruise bought with his insurance money introduced her to a new, younger love. He moved into the small cottage with her and encouraged her to paint. He doted on her, catering to her every need. He praised every stroke on her final canvas until it was completed. It was a masterpiece worthy of Rembrandt. He congratulated her with a glass of wine that was hearty and unusually bubbly.

Her crumpled body stared at him as he added the final strokes to the painting, embedding his signature there forever. Then he signed the insurance documents and cashed the check for the masterpiece. The tears slid down his face, just as they should, leaving none the wiser.


For the Indie Ink Writing Challenge this week, Sarah Sparks challenged me with “write a mini story (100-200 word) that begins with They had nothing to say to each other” and I challenged Lance to “write a story based on this picture“.

My deepest gratitude goes out to Carrie, Pirate Grace, and Headant for their help in editing my piece not only for clarity, but in getting the word count down.


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Stephanie Ayers

Executive Creative Director at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC
A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.
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26 thoughts on “Karma By the Sea”

  1. Imelda says:

    That was a nice compact story. 🙂

    1. SAM says:

      Thank you!

  2. Tara R. says:

    So much in so few words, nothing wasted. Wonderful!

    1. SAM says:

      Yes, thanks to the hard work of my editing team. LOL. It was a good thing though. It will make me think more about word placement and etc. next time.

  3. Carrie says:

    The changes made it a much better piece of flash:) definitely a tale of how karma can get you

    Glad I could help with it

    1. SAM says:

      I kinda wish I had been doing this a long time ago. The editing is an eye opener! Thank you again!

  4. amanda says:

    Very nice work. It’s challenging to use so few words. You did an awesome job with it. 🙂

    1. SAM says:

      Thank you! This was a bit of a challenge to do a whole story in so few words, but I enjoyed it.

  5. Marian says:

    i was actually taken by the first line’s idea of being married for 52 years, having seven children, and “outliving all but two,” as though that’s a good thing. take that somewhere?

    1. SAM says:

      I’m thinking yes. Agnes has a story and I want to know what it is. 😉

  6. Lance says:

    I like how you used language to twist this into something strong. The last three or four lines are cash money.

    This should be expanded. Therre’s more story here. Thumbs up mama

    1. SAM says:

      I think I’ve got a good base to build from. Thanks, Lance!

  7. Jack@TheJackB says:

    I didn’t see the end coming, nicely done. I really liked this.

    1. SAM says:

      Thank you, Jack! it’s nice to see your mountain over here.

  8. Irish Gumbo says:

    I was so busy looking at one hand holding a shiny thing, I didn’t see the other hand coming up to slap me. Good hook on the ending!

    1. SAM says:

      Do you know what a great prompt your first line of comment would make? Thank you for reading today!

  9. Kurt says:

    This was great even before I saw that you were working with such a small word count. Fantastic work!

    1. SAM says:

      Thanks, Kurt. I appreciate your feedback.

  10. idiosyncratic eye says:

    Ooh, that’s deep in so few words! 🙂

    1. SAM says:


  11. Gina says:

    I had no idea where this was going, yet could not stop reading, loved it!!

    1. SAM says:

      I’m glad it took you by surprise, then. Thank you for reading and commenting too!

  12. Brandon says:

    Creepy! That is karma and justice for you, I suppose. Turn-about being fair play and what not! Nice little story!

    1. SAM says:

      Thank you, Brandon!

  13. lisapollard from insignificant at best says:

    You know what they say about karma… 😉 Loved it!

    1. SAM says:

      Yes, karma is an interesting being. Thank you for reading!!

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