Photo Prompt

Each month, we post a photograph as a writing prompt. Post your 100-word story in the comments section, and we’ll choose one to feature in our next issue. To see examples, read photo stories we’ve published in the past.

In the spirit of fun and fairness, please follow these guidelines:
• Post only one story per photo prompt.
• Be mindful of others’ feelings when commenting (keep it positive rather than giving feedback).
• Remember this is a shared safe space for all lovers of 100-word stories.

Image of tarot cards.

Art Credit: Ricardo Rosado

54 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Richard Edenfield says:

    Nothing is by chance, she says as she slips the surface of the table under the cards. The question I asked abbreviated a smile at the corner of her mouth. They’re covered in purple velvet cloth. There was anticipation loaded into her methodical routine and casual certainty as she placed down one card after another. She sat back and looked at the arrangement. I could see countless destinies of past readings twinkling in her eyes like coins wish heavy on the bottom of a fountain. She took a deep breath. And I knew the answer before it hit the bottom.

  2. Kathy Szaters says:

    Perception

    Gilda walked beside her husband’s coffin, dabbing at her hazel eyes with a white lace handkerchief. A gentle breeze blew, tussling Gilda’s raven locks; the tarot cards she had placed on the plain wooden box stirred, as if moved by an unseen hand.

    The night before, Gilda had spent hours hand-sewing crystals into her beloved’s burial suit, making sure not to miss an inch.

    A small grey stone stood guard over the waiting grave. His last words, chiselled there for eternity. “What I believe is what I perceive.”

    Gilda smiled. The pompous fool. He hadn’t perceived the arsenic at all.

  3. Leo Anthony says:

    Along the Fool’s Journey

    I burned all the tarot cards. The many lost decks suddenly turned up. I found them under the sofa, behind a pantry drawer, in the garden shed, and other odd places.

    We courted with those silly cards, laughed with them, built stories with them. Countless readings, yet not one hint of the truth. No warning to save you.

    They released multihued light and acrid smoke as they blackened into ashes in the woodstove.

    I always knew they were a sham. They were just a way to get you to talk to me. Now that you’re gone, so is their worth.

  4. Natasha Doherty says:

    I was once deathly afraid of tarot cards. I’d have never touched a deck, never mind take one home. Yet, here I was, kneeling on the hard floor, cards strewn across the coffee table. They all belonged to different decks, I figured it would work the same. I didn’t know much about occult practice, I didn’t know much about anything anymore. But I wanted to. I wanted to. Painted symbols swam across my vision, some colourful, some dark- all containing at least one piece of hope or foreboding. I couldn’t tell the difference.

    But I wanted to.

    I wanted to.

  5. J. Talbot says:

    A Brief History of What Will Be

    Card fates tossed on a table, drawn by the last light.

    We’re in there somewhere, but softly shuffled by time’s hand. You young and riveting: always an illumination to walk any street beside you, each stranger who gazed into your face spun away to helpless dreaming. Your method to leaven the weight of such beauty? Jokes. Unbearable jokes.

    We’re fading now, but you’re still a wag. A wag who can’t see, or breathe. When you go, a hollow shape will form inside me. Cup, wand, sword, doesn’t matter which, long as I can hear your laughter ringing in the chasm.

  6. M.A. Lavon-Blanc says:

    Tarotized

    You may recall the summer of ‘27 was filled with several notable occurrences which were even reported in distant Boston. After the loathsome phenomena in Nottingham that Spring, where both I and Dr. Johnson were concerned, I was endeavouring to settle my nerves in the secluded township of North-Haven. Despite the township’s ostensible serenity I could never suppress my madness. The Horrors of that Spring still indelibly imprinted upon my psyche, unsuspecting that the perverse unholy terrors of East Nottingham were also festering, lurking in the tenebrous northern Massachusetts hills. Seeing those fearsome, hideous symbols everywhere: They Terrorize Me Still!

  7. Pamela White says:

    Late Bloomer

    “You will be a late Bloomer.”: a fortune read to her at age 14. These words comforted her throughout high school where she was timid and lacked: friends, activity, and eventually the grades necessary for college. The prophecy echoed in her head as her youth was slowly poured into a meager work and personal life. Middle age spread to old age, yet she waited patiently. Now her wrinkled face sparkled as she admired her blazing birthday cake. Expelling a long breath, the 90 candles flickered wildly, and she new that something wonderful was just ahead.

  8. Yiayia shuffled the cards like she was a blackjack dealer at Atlantic City.

    “You don’t have to do this, I just shuffled them myself,” I explained, looking for a way out of what was coming.

    “You touched them and shuffled them. I’m just going to read them.”

    “You don’t have to, you know…”

    She cut the deck and spread them out.

    “Hmmm…that’s interesting.”

    Nothing good ever followed those words.

  9. Sona Arcaro says:

    haha. I adore Ashley Marti! She’s so funny!

  10. Krystyna Fedosejevs says:

    The Cards

    Despite dwindling savings, Jeremy couldn’t resist. Her alluring Bohemian rose pulled him in repeatedly.

    “Insecurity’s overriding your well-being,” his doctor stated, scribbling a prescription for anxiety meds.

    Side effects stacked like the deck of tarot cards reeling out his future. He was referred to a psychologist.

    Jeremy learned of conditions he didn’t know he had: paranoia, narcissism, a gamut of other ailments. The weight of illness thrust upon him seemed too heavy to bear.

    “I’m back!” he exclaimed with smiling eyes, catching a whiff of familiarity.

    The clairvoyant cooed acceptingly. With her magical powers, the cards began to read.

  11. Joyce Ann Wheatley says:

    Paula the Psychic and Tarot Card Reader

    I don’t remember when I heard about Paula. Before Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. After he put a mobile phone in his white BMW, antenna ever up, like my suspicions. He said that was the problem.

    Mother of two, grad student in speech therapy, I could analyze and understand unintelligible utterances of children but not the language of cheating.

    Paula shuffled her deck, spread the cards, then swept them away, as if in kind regret. Paula’s sighs confirmed my experience and intuition – past, present and a difficult future. She reached for my palm, gently traced its lifeline. “Let’s check something else, dear one.”

  12. Christy Brothers says:

    Saturday afternoon

    Louise pours herself coffee instead of tea.
    She tongue-kisses me too, which hasn’t happened
    in years. I watch her build a tarot card house
    at the kitchen table. I consider screaming just
    to see her face when everything collapses. Of course
    I’d never do that. Not on her first good day in months. She still refuses to talk about it. I’m
    just glad she lets me rub her stomach at night
    when she cries. Lovers. The final card. She climbs
    onto a stool and shoots me a wink. “You got this,
    Baby!” My girl. For better or for worse.

  13. Astrid Egger says:

    You’re So Divine

    Below the swinging lamp Chelsea trips over her cat, who darts to the door. Chelsea’s ribs hit the sink and she cannot catch the vase, the books, and her tarot cards. This spread is far from random: The Ace of Cups, The Two of Cups, Two Lovers, none of them reversed. With each aftershock of love, she trembles. Overflowing with positivity, The Star, upright and The Fool, upside down, might still cancel healing. Wedged in between the bookshelf and sink, she calls her neighbour Mike. First the cat, then Mike listens to her groan about her new direction in life.

  14. Lindsay Olenick says:

    Rummaging in the top of her stale closet, I judiciously shift a precarious stack of boxes. A plume of dust falls atop my head. Another calculating shift of the stack, and the top box jolts, teeters, then plummets, releasing a colorful cascade of cards. Each artful design flutters to the ground. Of course, out of sight is the only place she would’ve kept them, ashamed of beliefs long abandoned. Soon, time will stop for my grandmother. One last glimpse into the future won’t hurt. We understand it’s all just a silly game, although games can provide comfort in the end.

  15. Robert Keal says:

    Arcana

    Each card foretells a fresh doom.

    She lays them side by side, three perfect slabs, her bridge towards the truth.

    An Ace of Cups, swollen and overflowing with false optimism. A Star, whose lustre must one day dim to black hole certainty. An Ouroboros grown fat on its own tail.

    Time is a tortoise no hare can outrun.

    It is not Death she fears, nor the passage of hours, as swift and continuous as sand through glass.

    No, it is their final kiss, one last “I love you” before night’s endless maw devours them together, that makes her deal again.

  16. Fazal says:

    WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

    ” No, l am not a tarot reader,” l said to the distraught young girl.
    ” But your wall …” she stammered.
    ” l am an interior designer. Look at my other walls – exotic birds on one , marine life on another…” I broke off as her face turned ashen , her hands cold and clammy.
    ” Nothing can be as bad as that ,” l said.
    ” It can , ” she whispered. ” Rick ‘s gone. ”
    I caught her hand.
    ” l see a lasting joy from an unexpected source entering your life .”
    As her eyes lit up l didn’t know whether l was speaking to her or to myself.

  17. Rachel Martinez says:

    Sucks

    Her day truly sucked. She woke up late that morning. As she was rolling out of bed she put her hand in cat vomit. Her hamster died, he was the reason for the cat vomit. Her clothes, that she remembered to put in the dryer last night, were still damp and smelled musky. Still, she powered on.

    She ran outside and flagged down the bus- FINALLY something good was happening! She stepped aboard and tripped. The tarot cards in her purse spilled everywhere. On the top of the pile lay the Ten of Swords- bad luck.

    She muttered “No shit!”

  18. When the Nail Lady is Sketchy AF…

    Sue didn’t know anything about tarot cards or reading tea leaves or crystal balls. She just knew the lady who did her nails was gone and her replacement told Sue she had a dark aura. She added a tiny protection sigil to her pinky saying to visit Old Nan on Blyth Street… immediately.

    Upon entering, a bleary-eyed crone beckoned her to the only vacant chair at the lopsided table. Sue sat, joining the ancient one and five youthful women.

    “Let us now begin,” Old Nan whispered.

    “Hail Satan…” they chanted and Sue noticed they all shared a black pinky pentagram.

  19. Joyce Peim says:

    John looks at the guards at the back of the church.
    “How’d you get them to let you come?”
    “They think he’s my brother.”
    “I’m sorry it’s been so long since I came to visit.”
    “Don’t worry. I know you’ve been doing double shifts at the factory.”
    They bring in Vinny’s coffin.
    Dead at 43 from a massive coronary.
    As the service begins I’m picturing the three of us in white shirts and those clip-on bow ties, standing in assembly with hands on hearts pledging allegiance to the flag, having every reason to believe our futures would be so bright.

  20. Kyoko Amano says:

    Friends

    “Eight of Cups!” she read and flung the card on the floor. My heart skipped a beat. The Seeker. Giggling, she read another card, “The Star!” With that she threw the card.
    I pretended I didn’t know what these cards meant, but I knew. “The Star–Hope Floats.” “The Empress–You Rule.”
    Getting a little more serious, she read, “The Ace of Cups.” Love Overflows. She placed the Lovers card, then the Friendship card. We’d been friends since we were babies. Are we just friends? If I kiss her, would she be angry?
    Without reading the last card, she kissed me. Love.

    • Rachel says:

      I didn’t know where the story was going- did the cards foretell doom? I was very pleasantly surprised at the end. Happy ending! Lots of emotions in few words. Well done!

  21. bethel says:

    the cards

    sitting on the edge of the bed sipping my cold tea,those memories of him drew me on. I could remember the way he looked at me,the way he caress my cold lips that was itching for his kiss,we both walk down the alley entering a shop full of tarot cards and divination books. “pick a card and see what your future holds!” the lanky old man said signalling for Andy but i was reluctant to go with him. “c’mon babe let try and see our future you know you and I” Andy said planting a kiss on my forehead.
    if only I understand what he meant that day,I won’t have let him go. now the card played us instead of us playing the card.

    never bargain with the card.

  22. Ashley Edens says:

    “Sylvia’s Sense”

    Sylvia didn’t know what the words meant; reading was a skill not yet mastered by the most malleable organ in her little body. Mama hated when she played with her special cards, “These cards are for those who need them most,” her voice firm. But she just liked the way the pretty colors swirled beneath her fingertips. It was a coat for the coffee table, like that one story with the man with the pretty jacket. She liked the colors, and she liked the tingling prickles in her palms when she played. She just needed to learn how to read.

  23. Hilary DeWitt says:

    Their hands rested on his knee. He squeezed her hand.

    “And that card? What does that one mean?” She watched impatiently as two dark eyes crinkled at the corner, smile on her lips.

    “This card,” the crone traced the shapes of the two illustrated cups, “is a card for soulmates.”

    Images filled her mind. Side splitting laughter. Heart bursting joy. Kisses that made her feel fire and ice all at once.

    Without realizing she’d done it, she found her hand had come free of his.

    Words flowed out from her mouth like a rushing waterfall, “I’ve married the wrong man.”

  24. Mike says:

    Marx raked the money into his pile.

    “You busted, man. Dealer wins.”

    “Ah Shit! Again?
    You sure? K tell me what I got.”

    “Sure I’m sure. Look, you had a king and a 8. Shoulda stuck on 18. You wanted another card. Hit you with a 2. Then another. Now you’re over 21.

    “I see. Well thanks for explaining it out. And for being honest. A scoundrel could have a field day playing cards with a guy like me!”

    “Oh your number’s bound to come up soon”, he said, before dealing two more Uno cards to his blind, unsuspecting pal.

    • Rabab says:

      THE CARDS

      It began the day l found a pack of tarot cards. The moment l touched them , my fingers took on a life of their own.
      Chris said , ” Whachya doin ‘ ?”
      My fingers immediately painted empty goblets and teetotaller Chis lay drunk on my table.
      My dying Grandmom asked weakly , ” Are you busy ?”
      My fingers painted Healing ; and suddenly she was cancer free.
      I was thrilled. When Maria looked over my shoulder, l tried to paint Lovers but my fingers were painting something else. I tried to stop but failed. When it was done , l sneaked a look : I had painted Death.

  25. Money Well Spent

    The fortune teller at the carnival offered me a tarot card reading for $3.

    She pulled three cards. “Who close to you is healing?”

    I thought. “My neighbor Fred broke his leg.”

    She raised an eyebrow. “The ‘Lover’ card came up.”

    I blushed. “No, we’re just friends. What’s this Ace of Cups?”

    She smiled. “The cup is the vessel of your subconscious mind. The five streams are your senses. Close your eyes and channel them.”

    I did. I smelled Fred’s flannel shirt, roses and pine trees from his yard…and heard his voice.

    I gasped, opening my eyes. “I’ll be damned.”

  26. When Aleck came in hurriedly with a look of horror on his face, Cassie scattered the cards on the wood floor. He told her impossible things were happening, things even the cards hadn’t foretold: people traveling on clouds, creatures from mythology come to life, the magical and mysterious intruding on reality in a way both terrifying and wonderful. When she returned, she found Venus De Milo sitting with a peacock under two radiant trees, lovers in embrace, and golden goblets everywhere. Aleck covered his face, but Cassie only sighed in relief, and methodically packed away the remaining cards face down.

  27. Randy pitts says:

    The Lover’s Card

    Her name was Lucy, and I could talk about her endlessly. She was sun-kissed and had eyes you could bathe in. The moment I found out she was single, was the moment I asked her out.

    “I don’t date.”

    Although crushed, my persistence was as endless as my adoration. Eventually she reached into her bag and pulled out a deck of cards. She began explaining tarot to me, shuffled seven times, and flipped one over: the lovers card.

    We went out the next day. It’s been 22 years and I can’t imagine a life where she’d have drawn anything else.

  28. Gia says:

    An Unfortunate Fortune

    In the still of night behind a well-worn torn curtain ‘Queen Victoria’ read Tarot cards. She was paid well because she told people what they wanted to hear. Happy fortunes bring money and customers. She was so adept at reading the cards but more at reading her customer’s faces. At the slightest hint of displeasure, she immediately changed their fortune, making them happy.

    One night, after a particularly ‘fortunate’ day Queen Victoria looked in the mirror thinking to herself I am very good at this. She went out into the cool air. Too bad she didn’t see the oncoming car.

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