Very Short Stories and Threads

Written by George Sanders

Very Short Stories - Quotes, Thoughts, and Sayings from the Anhult Wildlands

Developing writing habits takes repetition. One of my strategies for that is to add a Tweet size chunk to my world every day. I have found it is useful to experiment with different formats. Prompts also help me pry myself away from one way of looking at things. I use the vssCollab Challenge organized by ShyRedFox as a basis for crafting Very Short Stories (VSS). Many of the ideas I toss around in VSS could become larger stories or published in the In Threads Zine. You can follow along with me on Twitter at @georgesanders_ or read the posts here. Each section below includes the tweet's date, the prompts used, plus the tweet and an image- if used.


The New Mayor

12/31/2021 (*, Becoming) The fire provided warmth like a trusted friend. Her resolve solidified as the crowd danced around her. She could be their mayor. A smile filled the space where there had been so much pain. Becoming something new was healing. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult #fantasy

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1/1/2022 (Resolve, Renewal) She listened first, then paused. That pause took resolve, but the new mayor found peace in it, even with the festival roaring around her. She heard hidden burdens, hopes, and a need to belong. So she would offer Spring, renewal. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult #fantasy

1/2/2022 (Liminal, Infinity) Once upon a time the new mayor considered herself endless, infinity. Others recognized that & used her to fuel greedy, power-hungry plans. Being rescued put her in a liminal space, aware of boundless potential & painful limits. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult #fantasy

The picture shows a red sky at dawn below a layer of white clouds in the background with tree branches shooting straight up ready for winter crossed by power lines running horizontal in the front.
Liminal Space at Dawn by George Sanders

1/3/2022 (Suggestion, Solar) The first to suggest during the festival that she be mayor showed her unconditional friendship. The new mayor vowed to respect that rare Gift. The vow's power surprised her, but it had coincided with a solar maximum. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult #fantasy

Original image from iStockPhoto/mangostock. A diversity of hands in a row are raised to vote and volunteer. A blue filter is overlaid the image to fit with the story theme.
Reaching Hands by iStockPhoto/mangostock

1/4/2022 (Tranquil, Poise, Enormity) As the old sage talked, the new mayor took a deep breath. She needed balance, poise to be tranquil. The enormity of the moment loomed large. The air sparkled as she stepped in front, “Beautiful friends. Please sit." @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult #fantasy

1/5/2022 (Dawn, Curly, Tangible) She spoke of what was to come, fear tangible in the crowd. "I will watch over you. Will you continue to protect me?" She placed a curly ribbon on her tree. "At dawn the wind will release our fears, burdens and bring us hope." @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult #fantasy

1/6/2022 (Partake, Memories, Junkyard)The square filled with food. Time to partake. Ale, stews and bread drove the festival late into the night. The mayor collected memories like a librarian collects books. Each conversation akin to a precious find in a junkyard. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult

1/7/2022 (Arrange, House, Dissipation)Dissipation of the town payroll became the end of the previous mayor. As he was brought out of the house the crowd surged forward. The new mayor moved, arranged the space, calmed the crowd back to the conversations at hand. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult

1/8/2022 (birth, perspicacity, stanza)The new mayor had earned her perspicacity. She had been under lock and key. She had been tortured, drained of power. Yet her new community needed a way forward. Her choice was the birth of something new, an open door, a new stanza. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult

1/9/2022 (origin, hypnosis, picturesque) The fires danced & reached out with their hypnosis. The festival grew quickly, the emotion of victory its origin. The new mayor's tree, the people, town, forest - now one. Picturesque. Not apart anymore, she was in the story. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult

Close up picture of a fire. Thin branches are burning bright. The outline of the branches in the fire are red hot. Bright orange flame look like waves.
Festival Fire by George Sanders

1/10/2022 (connections, amorous, hyperbolic)Many in the crowd felt the sage had been hyperbolic when warning of the old mayor. The new mayor listened how the sage organized dozens to storm the townhall. While not amorous, deep connections showed his love of the people. @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult

1/11/2022 (meaning, infatuation, trafficking)The old mayor's infatuation with money & crimes ended him, meaning he had imprisoned the new mayor & allowed trafficking of children. A ranger leaned to the new mayor. She turned to Emma, "My champions will recover your son."@LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult

1/12/2022 (will, glimmer, bumblebee) The ranger standing nearby reminded the new mayor of her rescue. He had asked her name. As she touched the tree, her will gathered, and a glimmer of a memory bounced through her mind like a bumblebee on flowers. "I am Lavani" @LavaniOfAnhult @vssCollab #vss365 #bravewrite #anhult

Young elvish looking woman with long green hair, flowers in her hands and in her hair. Dressed in a blouse with puffy arms and high collar. A leather vest over top - cottagecore style.
Lavani with

The View from Here

1/13/2022 (code, comics)"People that thought of themselves as comics would try to get me to laugh, but they didn't know the code. I was a blank slate inside, desperate to figure out what their words meant, so I said nothing. But, the emotions coming off of them were loud and clear."@vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult

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1/14/2022 (rise, watermelon) "Their blood pumped. Their faces got as red as the inside of a watermelon. The palpable rise in their anger confirmed I should not have looked. I read it from wisps of anticipation, the savoring of the hunt, their emotions. I screamed." @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult


1/15/2022 (launch, serenade) "When I screamed the musician strolling the great hall stopped her serenade. As my sister she launched herself toward me. The entire court was looking. I didn't stop until she touched my hand. 'I need to go,' I whimpered knowing it could cost her" @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult


1/16/2022 (hero, midnight) "Twenty years older than me and famous, my sister was my hero. She waved to the prince, now standing on the edge of the dias with a stern face. 'I need to go' I said, crying. She walked me over to the door as the bell tolled midnight." @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult


1/17/2022 (stream, leap) A chunk of stone from the ceiling crashed into the prince's chair. Guards dashed into the room. Those men with the flush faces mowed down the guards with a stream of crossbow bolts. My sister knelt in front of me, two bolts in her back. We made a leap for the door. @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult


1/18/2022 (option, daisy) My sister and I reached an alcove - blood on the front of her shirt now! "No option, pick out fletching. Push bolt through," she said. I gasped and looked at the daisy in a nearby vase. "Signal! Eyes on me. Before I lose consciousness, come on." @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult


1/19/2022 (practice, siren) I kept thinking "This is something I should have practice doing first," but I was too worried about losing my sister. I pushed the bolt through. She screamed in pain and when she caught her breath she said "Siren". Then put her hand on the wound and it started to close. @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult


1/20/2022 (trip, arcade) "Time to take a trip, lie low." my sister said as we ran under the arcade. "I'm sorry I ruined your song." My sister stopped. "Signal, you misunderstand, don't be sorry. You saved the prince. Plus, that bolt wasn't for me, they aimed at you." @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult


1/21/2022 (introduction, liar) "My sister prefers I not share such stories but I needed a strong impression. The new mayor suggested a trade as an introduction. She knew I wasn't a liar, the same way I knew what the assassins planned. 'Your turn Lavani,' was how I ended." @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult


Next Flower

1/22/2022 (baseline, rain) The rain drummed off the patio roof. Lavani woke me. "It is time to show you the baseline." I had dozed off while waiting. "You wanted to know my story, why I stayed here." She took my hand and pulled me out into the rain. Her bare feet raced forward. @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult

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1/23/2022 (collaboration, devil) The trees' collaboration redirected the water. Once out of the rain we laughed and shook ourselves dry. She took my arm in hers and walked us down a path. The sun was coming up, poking rays through the canopy. This was no devil, she knew pure joy. @vssCollab #vss365 #signal #anhult

1/24/2022 (arrow, fall) Singing birds and a gentle breeze made the walk through the trees renewing. Fields sat ready to harvest in a clearing. Fall was months away. Were the plants ahead of the arrow of time? Lavani tugged on my arm, "That is cool but it isn't our destination" @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult

1/25/2022 (peace, duet) Walking down the path, I asked questions. Lavani listened and answered. She didn't color me with her perceptions. She didn't get hung up on my stumbling words or judge what I was asking. It was like we were singing a duet. She had a rhythm and peace. @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult

1/26/2022 (mountain, lead) Lavani continued to lead. We paused in a clearing with a circle of square short stones inside a circle of tall stones. She climbed a tall stone with the enthusiasm of summitting a mountain. She reached her hand down to me and pulled me up. She was fun! @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult

1/27/2022 (prelude, cherry) Two cherry trees still in bloom flanked the stone circle. Two children played in the clearing. A little sister brought treasures found to her brother as he practiced with his bow. Lavani smiled at them, then to me, "Let's slip away before we interrupt." @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult


1/28/2022 (hope, beacon) We walked back on a different path. "The children's parents are gone." A man in the woods dodged and weaved. His carried a long weapon. He struck at a beacon and missed. He repeated. Lavani said "I gave him hope." The beacon rang out as man hit. @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult


1/29/2022 (marrow, hills) The walk became a workout. The forest path navigated hills and ravines. We stopped at a garden at the edge of town. Lavani picked marrow. "Perfect for dinner." She pulled weeds, kept busy...let me catch my breath. "Lavani, we are back where we started." @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult


1/30/2022 (issue, breathe) "The issue is how to break a loop of fate, like the path of our walk." Lavani paused to breathe. "I jumped loops, broke my bounds. It's true magic. I used to only absorb stories. Now I am a story. I will nurture this place to repay that amazing gift." @vssCollab #vss365 #anhult


1/31/2022 (challenge, starlight) Lavani took on the challenge and title of mayor with zeal and heart. During daylight or starlight the town has a leader and a guardian * She has my approval. I start my trip home in 1 hr. I will return to the council in the week. End Diplomatic Report 9 #vssCollab #vss365 #anhult


Magic Shop

Feb 2 The carpenter didn't do upscale but his work was solid. He asked how much weight would be on the shelves so he could mitigate any problems. I didn't know how much a dragon foot bone weighed so I tossed it to him. I hope he comes back. #vssCollab #bravewrite #anhult

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Feb 3 The lovely lady from the dry grocer came by to drop off ground coffee. She was checking out the mushrooms and picked up the bad ones. You know, the harbingers of doom. Yelling "that is your doom, not food" may have been too much.#vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 4 The bald caravan driver was asking for payment but the boss had not left any coin. I told him "I can't foot the bill. But, we do have this hair tonic." Whew, another near miss, I hope. I looked down at the the plant growth label hidden in my hand. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 5 The burnt sage crumbled. I re-read the instructions the boss left. "Rush order! Parch the sage by tying it upside down at least 2 feet above the fire. Keep steady low heat going for 8 hours" The juxtaposition of rush order and low heat tripped me up #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult

Feb 6 One small block of pink sea salt. Bag of used coffee grounds. A dozen corn cobs. "Can I have those eggs shells too?" The mushrooms in the basement had a unique cuisine but that calcium was key #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 7 You become a narrator when your workmates are little mushrooms and cats. The cats are my favorite but I have to admit they interrupt a lot and I serve them. The mushrooms are amazing little workers. Oh, I love them both. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 8 The man at the market stall must have thought I had 3 heads they way he was looking at me. "Talking in Octosyllable." "Recommend it for exercise." "I heard it will make your brain big." "Please place two apples in my bag." #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 9 "One water bucket into the pot Two carrots picked today Three logs to make it hot Four sprigs of sage for a bouquet"   I repeated it as I left the market, "It's ok. I'm reciting Quatrains now. My boss said to practice so the magic doesn't go South." #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 10 Mrs Heim, read the usage label. Toss a leaf in each of the cardinal directions then take a bath with a 5th leaf in your home. Yes, my boss is young but the recipe is from the Herbalist Primer. No, no side-effects. I'm sure it'll work. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult 2xproficiency


Feb 11 The carpenter stopped hammering. Once Mrs Heim left, he asked what the ritual was. His eyes got big as I tried to explain quantum symmetry breaking involved in balancing the soul. Oh wait, that was the next page. She just needed a luck potion. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 12 Mr Nettlemyer knocked after sunrise. No, you can not buy a cravat here. You want the clothing shop, three doors down. I watched to make sure he arrived. It was gratifying to hear Yelsin greet him. That was good. Today's goal, no scared customers. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 13 The boss said to foster a positive work environment for the mushrooms in the basement. They can't talk but she said they were astute. They can understand what you say to them. They waddle when they walk and their caps look like cute oversized hats. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 14 The cats run the place. I opened the door to the boss' bed chamber and the cats raced to find the best spot on the bed. Their palates are so particular they act like gourmets. I'm preparing fish every other day of the week. Yeah, they are spoiled. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 15 Goat heart!? Um, no. You need the butcher shop. That is the next building up the street. Whew. When is the shop's sign getting delivered! The Liaison from the city said it would be with the next caravan. I'll have to make something in the meantime. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 18 Ouch! I'm going to break my toe walking past this apple crate. It irks me that I am so clumsy. Ouch! Again? Ok crate we need to have a talk. The crate scurried to the corner of the shop on four legs. A pair of eyes looked up at me. It seemed sorry. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 19 I thought I had developed a strong bond with the mushrooms in the basement. I expected them to move a little faster as I entreated them to clean up the bits of rat used for fertilizer. This isn't all games and fun guys. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 20 Is that smell coming from your basement? There is some sage in the garden that could fix that. Am I your youngest customer? Did you hear that Pumpkin found my teddy bear? How many of those seeds are you going to count out? Yes, I told her to hush. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 21 It was good to get away from the shop. The breeze brushed past me lifting leaves on the trees. I could close my eyes and breath deep. I was already feeling better. I was confused and concerned by the customer asking for Za. I had no idea what it was #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 22 As my partner and kids ate the birthday cake, they turned pink then teal. I kept my head down until they called me out. It must have been Moonpie. While I stirred the batter I turned away for just a second. That cat knocked some powder into the pot. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 23 The two women that run the bath house were always teasing me to try their services. I fell today just outside the shop. They ran to my rescue and were sweet. I should not have judged them for the risque behavior. They are coming over for tea later. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 24 With the tea brewing, I looked outside. I saw my foster daughter walk by with Will. He is a Good-Natured boy. I leaned my head out the door -a fly on the wall. She was trying hard to not look too enamored. I wonder, will be a fling or something more #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 25 I trudged home after a long day at the shop. My partner could see it on my face. "I know you have had good days and you love the new job, but Supheli said you could set the hours. Pace yourself, right?" I nodded. She handed me a warmed compress. #vsscollab #bravewrite #anhult


Feb 26 The thieves left scant evidence. The loot they snatched gave me a big clue - a sachet swiped from a box on the top shelf. I needed that dried catnip for a tonic. Mrs Feldman had a baby that was colic. "Moonpie, Pumpkin where are you cats hiding!" #vsscollab #BraveWrite #anhult


Feb 27 Breath in, breath out. Today I meet with the Mayor. Its ok, only an urgent meeting of critical importance. Breath in, breath out. You have been doing this for 28 days, this is just another day. She is bringing the components for you to use, all good #vsscollab #BraveWrite #anhult


Feb 28 3 sprigs of Rosemary, paste of Honey and Woundwort, a bunch of scary components from the Mayor. I didn't want to ask so in the pot they went. Something about cognitive vitality. Once it reduced, I filled the mold. She said, "Excellent work Hanna." #vsscollab #BraveWrite #anhult

Articles under Very Short Stories and Threads

Cover image: Forest During the Daytime by Tim Mossholder


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