Ticket to Nowhere

an engraved skull

This is a weekly invitation to write a short piece of fiction (~200 words) based on a photo prompt (above) provided by Alastair Forbes. Click the pic for his site and find more stories you’ll enjoy!

The airport is crowded and, from the smell of it, air conditioning is a luxury we’re doing without today. Maybe I’m just a little edgy.


I shuffle forward a step or two and adjust my grip on my bag. It’s light…doesn’t weigh anything at all. An empty bag hangs funny but it’s not heavy.


The new security process is faster. No more bins full of shoes, belts, and coats. A multi-stage x-ray booth now does everything and large screens project the ghastly images for all to see. Luckily, it’s government-approved and adopted everywhere.


I enter the booth fully-clothed with my bag. The machine clicks and the airport goes silent…still.

Nothing moves.

I exit the booth and look at my image on the big screen. Seven generations ago, my family tattooed spells on their bodies that enchanted long enough to gather jewels, gold coins, children, or anything of value.

Some were skinned for their magic. Others burned alive.

Seven generations of finely-tuned magic etched onto my skeleton glow on the wall and time has stopped much the way an electromagnetic pulse stops electrical systems.

We have evolved beyond tattoos and simple enchantment.

I start to fill my bag.




Ticket to Nowhere — 10 Comments

    • I had a hard time keeping it within the word limit – that’s probably what happened at the end.

      Once the x-ray illuminated the engravings on his skeleton, time froze & now he’s going to steal from everyone in the security area of the airport 😉

      There’s a longer (hopefully more understandable version) of this in the works right now. 🙂

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