Monday 25 May 2015

Monday Flash Fics: Free


Early May, 2015

Something had happened, Grainne had no idea what but suddenly things were different. She and Moira had been invisible for so long, Grainne couldn’t remember what it felt like to be noticed and seen. She would never forget the day it had happened though; she could still hear Cormac’s voice as he addressed them.

“My wife,” even the passing centuries hadn’t lessened her memory of the contempt in Cormac’s voice, “and her maid... lovers!” He’d spit that last word out as if it left a foul taste in his mouth.

That had been the last thing he ever said to her. He’d locked Grainne and Moira in Grainne’s quarters and left their keep. Several long hours later Cormac had returned with a Druid who’d imprisoned them permanently, on the stone wall of the castle – visible to each other though unable to communicate, but invisible to the rest of the world. As the druid and Cormac walked away Grainne had listened to their conversation.

“Don’t worry.” The druid’s voice had sounded comforting as he addressed Cormac. “They’ll be there until the day their union will be accepted by a majority.” The memory of Cormac’s cruel laugh in reply still sent shivers down her spine because she’d always known how to translate it. He’d laughed because he believed that day would never come.

Two days ago their invisibility had been lifted. People in strange contraptions on four wheels stopped to look at them. Words like beautiful, sentences like how could anyone think that’s wrong, and love is love reached Grainne’s ears and she knew she didn’t imagine Moira pressing closer to her. It had made no difference for their entrapment but had made Grainne feel less alone for reasons she couldn’t explain.

May 23, 2015

The pain was astounding. Grainne felt as if a power she couldn’t see tore at her, ripping her apart limb by limb and for the first time in hundreds of years she heard Moira’s voice, as her lover’s pain-filled cries mingled with hers. Grainne closed her eyes and accepted that the end of their curse had come and death would bring the release she’d longed for ever since that awful day.

She didn’t know what to expect when she opened her eyes again. Whatever she’d thought death might look like, it hadn’t been standing in a field, surrounded by cows staring at her with their big and rather dumb eyes. She hadn’t dreamed Moira would be with her in the next stage of their existence, holding her hand and stroking a thumb over her skin. Together they stared at the stone tower in front of them, the only part left of Grainne’s former home. The stone was bare, no trace or their image left, the shimmer of magic gone from the air.

The druid’s words as he’d walked away with Cormac came back to Grainne and hope blossomed in her heart that the impossible day had arrived; that the world was now ready to accept the love between her and Moira. They were free, they were alive and they were equal.


Yes, once again there's a clear link between my story and the referendum we just held and PASSED here in Ireland. Considering how momentous an occasion that was, I'm sure you understand my preoccupation and forgive me. 

Other stories based on this image can, as always, be found in the Monday Flash Fics Group on Facebook. Make sure you don't miss them.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Coming Out Part 2: I Do

Last Monday I posted a flash fiction story titled Coming Out in which my character worried about the Irish referendum on Marriage Equality and what it would mean if the Irish voters decided no. For the first time ever I ended my flash with the words ‘to be continued’. Today I’m delighted to present my happy ending.

I Do (Coming Out Part 2)

I’ve cried all day. Tears settled in my eyes at nine o’clock this morning and every time one fell it was replaced by a new one. Tears of joy. Nobody can erase the past, but the people of Ireland, the people who could have rejected me and others who love like me, have instead shown their acceptance. From this day forward I’ll be the same as everybody else; it’s all I’ve ever wanted.

I listen to the radio. This is supposed to be a sport programme but all the rules are broken today. A man talks about his eighty-two year old granny who hadn’t voted in years but came out this time to support him. The tears are back. Happy tears.

“Are you ever gonna stop crying?” Ian’s voice is tender and he doesn’t sound much more stable than I feel at the moment.

I just shake my head and smile. The words aren’t there so I allow myself to feel and trust that he reads me well enough to hear what I’m not saying.

“Can I ask you a question?” Ian sounds shy and maybe for the first time today I tear my attention away from my computer and the radio and look at him, really look.

“Of course. You can ask me anything.” I answer.

I don’t properly understand what’s happening when he bends his legs and goes down on one knee. His beautiful blue eyes are fixed on my face as he takes a deep breath and pulls something from his pocket.

“Will you marry me, Rory?”

The tears are no longer slow or few; they flow from my eyes in a steady stream.

As I nod my head to tell Ian yes I do, bright light filters in through the window. I touch Ian’s cheek and turn his head so he can see it too. 

Thursday 21 May 2015

Guest post by Brigham Vaughn Featuring Stephen and Russ from Equals as they discuss Marriage Equality

With the Marriage Equality Referendum in Ireland only a day away it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have two recently married, fictional, men I’ve come to adore discuss marriage and what it means to them. Thankfully Brigham Vaughn was generous enough to add more work to her already stretched schedule and bring Stephen and Russ out of retirement to share their thoughts with us. I invite you to enjoy the following scene and will meet you again on the other side.


“Did you hear about the marriage referendum in Ireland?” Russ asked.

Stephen glanced from his iPad to the television screen but there were baseball highlights on, so he had no idea what Russ was talking about.  “Hmm?” 

Russ turned his phone toward Stephen to show him an article on The New York Times site. “This Friday, there’s a vote on marriage equality in Ireland.  The article about it’s really interesting.”

“Oh? What about it?”

“Well, I find it interesting that it’s being put to the popular vote rather than being debated by the government.  It’s great though; there seems to be a ton of support for it. Polls are showing 70% of citizens are in favor.”

“Wow.”  Stephen flipped the case on his iPad closed and reached out to brush his fingertips across his husband’s knee.  Although he and Russ had legally been married in South Carolina nine months before, they were still waiting on the Supreme Court decision which would affect whether it would be recognized by the state of Georgia.  The waiting was driving him crazy although he was more patient than Russ.  “That is impressive. I wouldn’t have expected there to be that much support.”

Russ’ grin was wry. “You assume the worst about people, Stephen.”

“Probably,” he admitted. “But I’ve seen the worst of them.”

It wasn’t something he’d talked about much with Russ—at least not on a regular basis—but in his forty-eight years on the planet, he’d seen plenty of discrimination in his lifetime: from his own family, his neighbors, co-workers, and random people on the street.  He’d lived through a time where people were afraid to touch gay men for fear of contracting HIV, he’d seen acquaintances die of AIDS.  He’d seen people fired for being “out” at work, couples kicked out of apartments, and men and women beaten for loving someone of the same sex. 

He was still astounded by the fact that marriage equality existed.  To realize more people—here in the United States and in many places around the globe—supported equal marriage than opposed it was breathtaking.  He’d spent so much of his life feeling like an outsider; it was difficult to trust that he had allies now, people fighting for his rights even though they had no stake in the matter. 

With a sad smile, Russ moved closer, shifting so he faced Stephen.  “The world’s getting better though. Think about how much has changed in the past ten years.”

“I know. I’ve changed a lot in that time too.”  Stephen took Russ’ hand, gently twisting the ring on his finger. “Where the idea of marriage seemed completely logical to you, it took me a lot longer to get to that point.” Nearly two decades younger, Russ had grown up in a different world than him.  Although not as different as either of them would like.

 “You don’t have to remind me,” Russ said drily.  “I remember.”

Stephen cracked a smile.  “I’m just saying that if it took me—a gay man who’s been out, well, nearly as long as you’ve been alive—time to come to terms with the idea of marriage, I can’t expect straight people to accept it overnight either.”

“I can,” Russ grumbled, but Stephen knew he was kidding.  Mostly.  Russ believed in absolutes, but Stephen’s views of the world around them were more nuanced.  Was it age? Experience? Simply their personalities? Maybe all of them combined.

“Hey, I’d be thrilled if I woke up tomorrow and there was global equality for everyone in the LGBT community,” Stephen pointed out, “but I’m realistic.  That’s not going to happen. It’s one step at a time, state by state, country by country, issue by issue.  The vote in Ireland’s a huge step, but it’s still just one step, same with the Supreme Court decision here in the U.S., We’ll get there, but not today or tomorrow. We have to keep fighting.”

Russ nodded and leaned back, resting his knee on Stephen thigh. “You’re right.  I’m just ready for that to happen now.”

“We can hope it’ll happen in our lifetime, but it may not.  Maybe if your sister has children, it’ll happen for them. I have hope.”

Russ fell silent as he returned to reading the article.  Stephen didn’t open his tablet again though, preferring to look at the man who’d opened him up to a whole new world.  Without him, Stephen might have wound up stuck in a life that was simply “good enough,” never hoping for more than a partner, never believing he deserved marriage and a husband.  That was the real joy of marriage equality: finding hope. 

“I wonder if the people who oppose gay couples getting married ever realize exactly how boring we are?” Russ said after a few moments, still looking down at the screen on his phone.

Stephen grinned.  “Who are you calling boring?”

Russ looked up and snorted. “Come on. When it comes right down to it—in this way anyway—we’re just like straight couples.”

“There’s something to be said for the quiet tranquility of domestic bliss,” Stephen pointed out.

“True.  I’m just saying it’s a Friday night and we’re on the sofa watching baseball highlights and reading the news.”

“Was that a hint that I should find something to spice up our evening?” Stephen asked, knowing full well Russ was just teasing him.

Russ grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him forward. “No. But now that you mention it, I think it’s time I make some demands: kiss me, husband.”

Leaning in, Stephen grinned even wider. “With pleasure,” he murmured against Russ’ lips.

Every day and for the rest of our lives, he silently promised.

  • Disclaimer: As I wrote this I realized there was a timing problem. Based on the timeline I had set in my head, Russ and Stephen’s wedding actually took place in September of 2015 so this article/discussion wouldn't have taken place. If you ignore that teeny, tiny issue, Russ and Stephen fans can take this outtake as canon for the story and as a glimpse into their happy married life.


If this is the first time you meet Stephen and Russ and now find yourself curious about how exactly these two men came to the point where we found them, you’ll be delighted to know you can read their full story in four wonderful and beautifully written novellas which can be found on Amazon by clicking on their titles below:

Equals             Partners               Family                Husbands

If you prefer to read your stories on paper you’ll be happy when I tell you these four titles will soon be released in two paperbacks. I can’t provide you with buy links yet but am in the privileged situation where I can share the covers and back blurbs with you.

About the Author:

Brigham Vaughn has always been a voracious reader with her own stories to tell. After many years of abandoned plots, something finally clicked. Now she’s eating, sleeping, and breathing writing and is excited to have finally figured out what she wants to be when she grows up. In the little time that isn’t spent writing or reading, she loves cooking, yoga, photography, and remodeling her ninety-year-old home. Brigham lives in Michigan with her three cats and an amazing husband who has always been her biggest champion.

Visit Brigham’s website for more information about the books I mentioned above as well as her other titles and some free stories:

Monday 18 May 2015

Monday Flash Fic: Coming Out

Coming Out

I stare at the raindrops landing on the window; every one of them a tiny blow, putting a further dent in my confidence. Why couldn’t today of all days have been bright and sunny? Or, if not sunny, at least dry? Weather like this could spell disaster. This relentless rain could put an end to my dreams and undo all the good work and everything that has been achieved over the past few months.

“Staring at it won’t make it stop you know.”

For a moment I look away from the grey scene outside and focus on Ian. He looks relaxed, sitting there in the armchair with a book in his hands. If I didn’t know any better I’d think he wasn’t concerned at all, but I have no doubt he’s as worried as I am.

“You know as well as I do what this could mean, Ian.” I try to keep my concern and growing anger disguised but I’m not sure I’m succeeding. “This bloody weather might put an end to our dreams and plans. We were so close. It wouldn’t be fair if it all went wrong as a result of a wet day.”

“I know.” Ian’s voice is soft, his tone understanding. “I hate seeing you torn up and worried like this. Come. Sit with me. Ignore the outside world for a little while.”

I walk to where he’s sitting and get down until I’m on the floor with my head resting against his knee. I close my eyes when his fingers softly massage my scalp but not seeing the rain isn’t enough to stop my mind from jumping to all sorts of worrying conclusions, and neither is his soft touch.

Everybody knows people don’t come out on rainy days. It doesn’t matter if they’ve vouched to do the right thing. When the outcome doesn’t personally affect them – and sometimes even when it does – they can’t be bothered to brave the elements. And if we don’t get the numbers, we’re bound to fail. Ian and I have done what we could, as have most, if not all, of our friends and family. But it is going to take so much more than that to get the result we’ve been striving for, the result that will allow us to make our dreams come true.

It takes all my strength to stay where I am and not get up to check on the weather again or pace the room. The next twenty-four hours are going to be hell. We’ll be thrown from hope to despair and back again several times and there’s nothing we can do about it. If only I could fast forward time and jump ahead to the moment tomorrow when the counting will have finished. Yes or No – two small words make the difference between being seen as equal or not; between being able to marry the love of my life or never being able to call him my husband and be his.

Bloody weather...

To be continued, hopefully in a jubilant manner, this Saturday.


This flash was inspired by a remark my husband made this afternoon as well as the very real referendum on equal marriage rights taking place in Ireland on Friday. Unfortunately the weather could play a role in the outcome. As of now the forecast calls for showery conditions. I can only hope it won’t get worse while desperately wishing for a bright and sunny day, so that people will come out in large numbers to vote.

As always, other, and probably less politically themed, stories based on the same image can be found in the Monday Flash Fic group on Facebook. Make sure not to miss them.

Monday 11 May 2015

Monday Flash Fic: Dreaming


I must be dreaming. In none of the known realities would I have ever ended up in a coach, never mind a flying one. Only the very rich and royalty travel like this. That used to be my world, but not anymore. I look out the window into the setting sun. A golden red light bathes the landscape. My surroundings are as alien to me as my mode of transport.

I must be dreaming except he’s here too. And I don’t know why he would be in my dream. If he’d entered my subconscious after I fell asleep this would have been a nightmare.

I must be dreaming because I can’t remember how I got here. All I know is I opened my eyes and found myself flying through the early evening sky, accompanied by he who would have me dead. I should be afraid but I’m not.

I must be dreaming because when I look at him I don’t see hate in his eyes. Instead there’s a smile on his face; a smile I haven’t seen since before the night his sister died and he decided her accident was my fault.

I must be dreaming because he’s leaning towards me. The heat in his gaze makes my body remember other evenings; the days before disaster struck and he rejected me, tearing my world apart and shattering my heart.

I close my eyes and dream of the night before it happened. The only night we spent together. The night we were as one for a few glorious moments. Before the knock on his door; before the heartbreaking news; before he decided that if he hadn’t stayed with me his sister would have been safe and therefore, I was to blame for her death.

When I open my eyes again I must still be dreaming because we’re still up in the air and he still stares at me with that smile on his face. He moves closer until our noses almost touch. I should feel his breath against my skin, but I don’t. Now I’m scared.

I must be dreaming because he’s evaporating before my eyes. He fades until he appears transparent. For the first time I try to touch him but he’s not there. Only emptiness and a glorious view through the window remain where he sat only a moment ago.

I must be dreaming but I don’t like my dream any more. The blood red sky has gone black, the sun is gone and the light from the power balloons is fading. I need to wake up. I pinch myself until pain flares through me but the dream remains the same.

 I’m not dreaming. We’re falling. If this were a dream I would have woken up just about ....


460 words

This picture was suggested by Theo Fenraven and as always, more stories inspired by the same image can be found on Facebook in the Monday Flash Fic group. Given this week's image I expect the stories will be fascinating and varied.

Monday 4 May 2015

Monday Flash Fic: He Talks With His Hands

He talks with his hands

I can’t believe we’re here.

I met Carlos on Facebook two years ago. He was a friend of a friend of a friend – you know how it goes.

One comment led to another and within a few days we were chatting whenever we were online together. It wasn’t easy. Time zones are a bitch, especially with Carlos living in America and me on the other side of the world, in Australia. But we managed and got closer. Common interests, similar views; we exchanged pictures and dreams while making tentative plans to get together one day.

Carlos told me he’d lost his hearing a few months after we’d started chatting online. He thought it would put me off, but I told him it didn’t make a difference to me. He was still the same Carlos and if he never got his hearing back, I would still want to know him, meet him, and be with him.

And now I’m here. Carlos is talking to me. His words are soft and hesitant; his hearing returned a few months ago and he’s still getting used to talking and listening again. I hear his words but concentrate on his hands. He doesn’t know this, but I learned American Sign Language as soon as he told me about his hearing loss.

His mouth tells me how glad he is to see me and that he hopes I can stay so we can get to know each other better. The words wash over me, almost unnoticed, as I watch his hands. I love you. Please say you’ll stay, his fingers plead with me.

“As long as you’ll have me.” I whisper the words before I press my lips to his wrist, while savouring his surprised gasp.


295 words.

As always more stories inspired by the same picture can be found in the Monday Flash Fic Facebook group. Enjoy!