Object Stories

A self-directed micro-fiction project for 2021, posted on Instagram @helloheidiball (feel free to follow along and make up your own tiny tales)

The Rules:

  • Take a photo of an object to use as the story prompt.
  • Make something up on the spot (it cannot be true, but it can be based on truth and twisted into whatever comes to mind).
  • Post it, whether it’s good or bad… set it free into the world.

Warning: stories are likely to be of a nonsensical nature and sometimes it is okay to break the rules.

Centre of a lace placemat

The air from my lungs floated above me, as I lay there on the sand-coloured carpet. Like a beached starfish, I waited to be prodded to see if I was still alive.

Black cat sniffing a pink flower petal

Tilda takes a split second to mourn the pink flower, which she heartedly enjoyed destroying. Life is such a fleeting thing, when facing claws of doom. Let us hope that this moment can reflect upon her, the dreadful consequences of her actions. Meow.

Yellow gorse flowers

The man tells his daughter that the sun is made from hot plasma and will one day consume us all. This is a lot to take in. And while he prepares lunch, she designs an intergalactic life raft.

Old photo of a woman with red lipstick

Success for a vampire, to go unnoticed in the human world, is greatly improved when they can find a good dry cleaner.

Toy yellow VW van on a grey jumper

Through the cavernous ravines of slanket and the lumpy bumpy roads over the knees, the ice cream van made the difficult drive towards the kitchen. Risking it all for the delights of the freezer. If only it knew about the big blow-out last weekend. Its journey continued, towards inevitable disappointment and half a bag of frozen peas.

Old photo of the Eiffel Tower

A poor imitation of a magician, extravagantly promoted his act, with a remarkable attempt at making the Eiffel Tower vanish into thin air. Surprisingly this almost worked, mainly due his ability to interpret weather patterns, as an unusually thick wafting fog surrounded the tower. It didn’t make him famous, but did get him a job at the Meteorology Society.

Bumble bee on tarmac

Tarmac, tarmac, everywhere, nor any flower to drink. The Rime of the Ancient Bumblebee, really makes you think.

End of an upturned tree showing roots

During the rutting season, young stags use the practice stump to engage their skills. It is perfect to keep up their peak duelling performance. If only they understood the stump’s truly passive nature, they would never slam their heads against the poor tree’s tentacles.

Pool of water with ripples

Where tears from the clouds meet tears from the mountain, they pool in the valley, in a deep quiet place. This is where dreams are set free, wishes are granted,and hours disappear in a haze.

Stick construction in the woods

The feud between Girl Guides and Boy Scouts had gone on for decades. No one could remember what started it, but the only thing that ever brought them to the brink of reconciliation, was when they came across trolls. There is nothing like a troll fight to rally the youngsters.

Ripley and Alien lego figures

Ripley was furious. She’d taken in Xeno as her own, when she inadvertently wiped out the rest of its family. It was tough going. At least it had outgrown tantrums. And she’d made two rules: don’t eat the cat and try not to melt the spaceship while having a nose bleed. Little to say, the cat was fine, but they only had three hours of oxygen left before they had to find a new home.

Orange jewel in a headpiece

When seeking a higher consciousness, Damien learnt that trying to use a real third eye was far superior to using a plastic imitation. It would have saved time and reduced brow furrows if this knowledge had been taken into account earlier. Although, Damien also had to remember that looking fabulous made up for all that lost effort.

Egyptian figure pots

Aziza felt a draft at her midriff. She was worried that the liquified brains she was storing may have evaporated. Beb hadn’t spoken to her in four thousand years, so she wasn’t going to get any sympathy from him. Goodness, she just felt so empty inside.

Toy eyeball in the gravel

And from the ground rose a gruesome thing, a thing so gruesome it grew grues and somes and joined them together into grue-somes. And that’s how the word was created.

Fern pronds

Hawthorn fights ash, ivy and holly battle eternally, and brambles spread with destructive intent. But deep within the lower recesses, ferns hold their ground with a sophisticated curl and sway like the true triffids they are.

Stone circle shape in a wall

Premise: if Jack Black was a pirate. In a land where there are clocks in the walls and ‘X’ marks the spot, Captain Jack Blackbeard would set sail to capture King Kong, even if it gave him Goosebumps, because he is so School of Rock.

Old school book with a story

Then the child realised she was supposed to write about fairies and butterflies and all good things, but then, sometimes legs get broken and there is nothing you can do.

Whilst travelling to another dimension, please remember to wash all sets of your hands, at all points throughout time and space. Thank you for choosing Interstellar.

White toy dinosaur on its side

Norman couldn’t hold his liquor. He only had to sniff fiery lava on the rocks and he ended up on the floor, like a meteorite had wiped him out. Boom.

It had been a long time since she walked this path. It had been deep in mud all winter and the holes in her wellies informed her decision to keep away. But the land had baked and the poached ground was a solid crust, ripe for a new adventure. Even the biting gnats and lack of white rabbits couldn’t keep her away now.

Petula was furious when she realised that Petala was wearing the same outfit. This fashion faux pas would reverberate through the whole shrubbery, even the primroses.

metal hing on a handrail

The tin man wandered aimlessly, searching for his lost arm. He was embarrassed to find it incorporated into a stairwell handrail. People were using it, so he left it in situ and used a fallen branch to bung the gap. This resulted in an unresponsive limb, but when a family of robins nested in his elbow, the companionship made up for any lack of mobility.

seaweed on the beach

It took two days of walking to get to the heart of the mountain range, and that was the sweet spot. When the choir sang, their voices echoed through the valleys which bounced notes back in harmony. It was worth the blisters for those campfire songs.

Black cat

All hail Floof Vader, the Dark Lady of Dreamies, the Supreme Commander of Kittens, Member of the High Council of Catnip and Queen of ‘let me out, no I don’t want to go out, let me out, leave the door open even though it’s freezing I want to keep my options open’. She is feared amongst the galaxies and all neighbouring gardens. All hail.

Broken ceramic on the ground, in the shape of a tooth

A sharp tooth for sharp words. Every time they took her down with insults, stole her food and hurled dirt into her soul. She took the pips from her battered apples, her pares and crushed clementines. She buried them deep, with her tooth, covered them and kept planting. Watching as little pieces of herself pushed shoots towards the light. And between the fallen bricks, the wasteland sprouted an orchard, of sharp fruit and broken smiles.

a dirty glass bottle in the sun

The bottle wants what it wants. It is extremely difficult to catch a falling feather from a passing falcon. It is particularly awkward to pluck the hair from a stranger in an unfamiliar place. It’s annoyingly tricky to capture the scent of a catkin at midnight while a fox barks. Whereas capturing the sun on a frosty morning in March, well, that’s easy peasy.

Ice crystals on a window

Mapping ley lines was highly sought after and a lot was invested in the outcome. However, they should have hired contractors on a fixed rate, instead of per line found. The results were vast and convoluted. Purses were emptied with both remorse and excitement of the magical world in which we live.

Single daisy in the grass

‘You are like a daisy’ he said to her, staring at the ground. ‘What, small and surrounded by weeds?’ She laughed, nudging his arm. ‘Because your feet are on the ground but you’re powerful and radiant like the sun.’ He said, staring at her with an arm raised to shade his eyes from the glare. (Happy International Women’s Day to all suns, moons, flora and fauna)

Small table with elephant and duck painting

A duck and an elephant fell in love. Neither of their families supported the union. They just didn’t understand. The elephant loved the duck for his caring nature and the way he wiggled when he walked. The duck couldn’t resist the elephant’s sense of humour and cute ankles. They followed each other through controversy, the seasons, migrations and flocks of tourists.

Patterns in the sand

The snake hoard passed here in the last 12 hours. Your tracking skills are impeccable. If you put your ear to the ground you can still hear a hiss and whoosh, almost like the rolling waves of the sea. The similarity is uncanny.

Succulent plant in a pot

The Greater Spotter Plantipus has been wholly misunderstood. Its tentacles were mistaken as leaves, so it often finds itself in unceremonious positions. It has a lot of time to ponder its unfortunate situation, with a mouthful of dirt and an exposed tooshie.

Feathers in the dirt

Someone said they didn’t believe, and another fairy fell to its death. Onlookers wouldn’t have seen the flash and flurry of feathers. They also wouldn’t have seen the instantaneous reincarnation of the fairy, as a shadow. Attaching itself to the non-believer to try their very best to protect them from the evils of this world, evils that fairies keep at bay. It’s better to believe (let’s all be a little more ‘Fox Mulder’)

Pond plants

Narcissus was careful to avoid staring at his reflection during the frog spawning season. There was something disturbing to him about seeing his reflection warped by lumps of jellied tadpoles. Little consideration he gave to all those that dwelled in the pond, who were equally disturbed by his smooth dry skinned perfection. Hideous.

wooden box with intricate pattern

Three-dimensional chess is always played on the space station, its tradition. It attracts an audience, mainly to ensure cheating is kept at bay. The bespoke rules are impossibly complicated, as each crew member gets to add a new one. The most infuriating rules now depend on planet alignment, whether or not a transmission comes through during the game, the distance pieces float away from the boards and those who can only move by giving instructions using sign language through the monitor on the outside of the ship. They are of course allowed to wear a spacesuit, which makes a game last a lot longer than it should.

rock cliff with a hole where a stream of water comes out

Housework is the worst. At other times of the year it is excruciating, but a spring clean, well that involves rubber gloves, lemon zest and copious amounts of water. It reminds me of Uncle Archibald when we took him for a flushing of the sluices. The aroma was more pleasant when cleaning the oven.

Two toy robots

Cyril and Tango were making plans to attack civilians, all civilians, everywhere. Being only three inches tall would not stand in their way. The locked door to the office, however, was a monumental obstacle.

Wooden carved lion and zebra in front of Stephen King books

The seasons had changed. The rains were fading and the King of the Pages stretched his jaws, ready to devour innocent readers and their pet zebras.

an old photo of a brass band

Smugglers came in all shapes and sizes, but it’s the contraband that surprised the authorities. The Brass Bandits were only discovered when the big drum was attacked by squirrels as they paraded the High Street. Three bags of macadamia nuts and a bag of pistachios were seized. Such unusual cargo at the time then disappeared without a trace. Speculation was rife, especially as it coincided with a drinks and nibbles party at the local Constabulary.

looking down on a white toy dinosaur

You write ‘a’ and apples grow on the tree. You write ‘b’ and it’s branches climb towards the sun. You write ‘c’ and fluffy clouds dance above our heads. I write ‘d’ and dinosaurs come back to life, trample the garden and eat the neighbours. Police, the army and news crews arrive, while we watch from a balcony, pretend ignorance, and chomp apples with our sunglasses on.

Broken shell

Delores had spent years searching for a hagstone. So much time that she’d developed a stoop and annoying crick in her neck. It came to a head when the pixies she wanted to stay out of her house, emptied her kitchen cabinets and superglued the contents to the ceiling. Darn those critters. All she wanted was a cup of tea. So she went down to the beach and found as many hole infested shells as she could. She wasn’t sure if the wards would work, but maybe hagshells might make them uncomfortable enough to leave her alone.

Metal pipe in woodland area

A network of tunnels was built for one specific purpose. Their exact locations lost over time. Rumours lingered. At times there were strange noises in the woods. Some said it was roaring, like a trapped beast. In agony or anger, no one could be sure. It could easily just be the wind. The woodland was ancient and the labyrinth of trees could play tricks.

Keyring of a brown bat

It is hard being immortal, and if I had a soul, it would be hard on that too.
When people find out, they always have assumptions, prejudices, generally think I am cold and invincible. The real problem though is their expectations, that’s why I transformed. For a nice bit of peace and quiet.
The problem is, I’ve forgotten how to transform back.

The sea on a cold day

‘If you’re being chased by a bear, you should drop something, like an item of clothing, so the bear will stop to sniff it and you can get away.’ She said, her feet sinking into the sand. Not a single bear in sight.

‘If you’re being chased by the sea, I don’t think it will stop if you drop anything.’ He said, throwing a pebble into the water, without making it skim.

‘Does that mean the sea doesn’t have a sense of smell?’ she said, sniffing. ‘Can I borrow your coat?’

Bunch of snowdrops

Looking at the street plans, the crew realised they might have put all the lanterns in a group, rather than along the row. This was an issue indeed, but they decided to leave it as it was. Just really pretty.

Pylon against a blue sky

The Visitant fell to earth and found itself in a barren landscape. There were low-lying life forms but communication was found with a tall structure with connecting lines.

Intrigued, the Visitant listened with interest, trying to understand this new place. At first, it was indistinct sounds, but they soon became addicted: had Jennifer had a baby yet, did Mr Campion get his insurance claim for the burst water pipe and did anyone send money to Amazen as their account had been blocked?

Hand holding a book with a old photo of a boy

Ghosts are real, fact. The only thing people don’t know, is that they only appear in miniature.

So if you are afraid of strange noises in the dark, don’t be, the ghosts are more scared of you.

Don’t look under the bed though, you know why.

Succulent plant in a heart shape

Roses had sold out on the most romantic day of the year. But succulents were still in stock, and this unusual plant was an instant winner for the love inspired pair. However, they did not realise that this particular species was carnivorous. Sadly, this came to fruition when their pugapoo disappeared, and its collar was found in the plant pot, along with the wing of a magpie and some small bones of an unknown origin.

Note book with scribbled text 'Goldfish are taking over the world'

I walked into the cafe, sat opposite Tamsin and rested my elbows on the slippery table. She half-smiled.
‘I don’t really want to talk to you.’ Tamsin said looking away, absently sloshing the water around her feet.
‘But you came to see me.’ I smiled, trying to brighten the moment, hoping she would forgive me.
‘Only because its nearly the end of the world as we know it.’ she said, puffing her face out like a guppy.
‘Of course.’ I grinned.
Even though the crack in our tank kept getting bigger, we would always be friends.

Metal model of a horse

‘Um, it’s a bit thin’, someone muttered as they stood around the Trojan Horse, scratching their heads. ‘Still, it will conceal us all so we can sneak into Troy, and I can’t wait to see their faces when we all jump out and, you know, destroy them.’
The only people who didn’t look happy were the carpenters. Half the Greek army was waiting to climb into the horse, but they were the only ones that knew they’d forgotten to put the wheels on.

White snail shell with a hole in it

An eviction notice was placed at the Pinewood residence, giving them 2 months to vacate the property. The tenants, meanwhile, were taking the landlord to court over the lack of effort in fixing the massive hole in the roof. No one was happy and the proceedings were moving at a snail’s pace.

Ornate top of an iron gate

Ninja training school felt more like a prison. You couldn’t even sneak out after hours. Everyone saw everything and could be anywhere within an instant, and surprise attacks happened on the hour every hour.

Red model cat with colourful flowers, on a keyboard

The only thing that Angry Kitty could think about was world domination. It was at the top of his agenda. He typed his manifesto, devised plans and took an afternoon nap.

Blue Morris Minor car, under blue sky

Low flying spaceships had been spotted in the lower district of Penryn. The more sightings reported, the more people had to believe that we were not, and never had been, alone in the universe.

Hole in a muddy hedge.

Leaving the Shire had been a difficult decision, and staying off the path was pretty tricky, but the one thing our Hobbits hadn’t taken into account, was the state their clothes were in due to their Unexpected Journey. The nearest laundrette wasn’t until Rivendell and a lot could happen to Hobbits out on an adventure.

Blue Momiji doll

The blue doll sat in quiet contemplation, holding within her the secrets of one unpleasantly spoilt little girl, who sadly didn’t have anyone else to share them with.

Small earthen ware bottle

When enough herbs are gathered, at midnight of course, they are dried and ground into a gritty powder, (witch) can be pinched and inhaled for a number of different subtle reasons.

Black cat's paw with claws out

Murder mittens were worn at the annual Kittenpolooza horror convention. Most paws were made out of fabric and foam, but occasionally someone snuck in the real deal, and then all kinds of hell were set loose. Only catnip and an occasional fluffy jumper could bring the event back under control.

a white feather on grass, in a symmetrical pattern

The Woodland Spirit frowned to itself, settled back in its nest and thought about the Witcher, out on a Wild Hunt. Then he laughed to himself. The Witcher could never be as powerful as him. He was the boss of these woods, and nobody beats a boss…

Two toy dinosaurs locked face to face.

It was love at first sight. The stars aligned and unfortunately, so did the meteors.

Banana skin on a wet road

In a dramatic twist, the banana slipped over a human and pulled a muscle. The human went to seek help, but there wasn’t much left of the banana when they returned. The mystery may never be solved.

Box of tissues

The still-life ‘Portrait of the Tissue’ made £3million at auction. It was only when they unpacked it at the other end, did they realise it was identical to a box is tissues sitting in their downstairs cloakroom. Tears were shed, and they were wiped away with an expensive dose of regret.


window condensation in the shape of Starfleet badge

Six thousand years after Starfleet disbanded, a child of Moonforce scratched at the remnants of the disused Type-10. Many generations had flown the stars since then, but they all knew the tales of those first pioneers, and the next generation.

Mosaic pattern of blue roses

Things were never going to be the same again. They’d screamed and shouted all night. One had always been ‘roses are red’, and the other was ‘violets are blue’. But after everything had shattered, they both knew they had to make compromises. Somethings just we’re not the right colour, but they could be fixed.

Two owl shaped book ends

The feud had lasted a millennium, or that’s what it felt like. Communication had broken down at its core. Bertie said that Basil wasn’t as wise as he was, and Basil was still trying to think of a suitable comeback, other than ‘am twoo’.

Wooden model elephant

Life had been rough on Elmer, running around the countryside with the other elephants was hard on the knees. Even though the patchwork of bright colours had faded, Elmer was still the same, and it was easier to play hide and seek when you didn’t look like a rainbow granny blanket.

Top of a Champagne bottle

Dry January was almost over. She was going to win the bet. Then he placed a certain delicious brand of bubbly on the table and walked away. She considered how expensive lawyers would be, for and against, it would either be mental cruelty or grievous bodily harm. Neither was worth it for £10 and a modicum of self-respect. She’d have a drink while she contemplated her options. 

Red veined ivy leaf on moss

The researchers gathered around the stem-and-leaf diagram with confused looks upon their faces. They were expecting quantitative data to analyse, but Brad was too embarrassed he’d brought in pictures of his garden by mistake, so tried to make the best of a bad situation. He presented on the effects of seasonal and climate changes on local flora for 3 hours, hoping no one would notice.

Bubbles with a black background

In the deepest part of the deepest ocean lives a monster so ferocious that it pulses magma with every breath. Luckily for us all, it seems to prefer it down there, broiling away in darkest slumber.

Damaged tree trunk showing smooth centre

In a dramatic but gradual take-back by nature, the phone lines went down, as telegraph poles were slowly reabsorbed by a rebellion of trees.

Broken dark feather on wooden floor

Cage fighting had taken its toll on her cosplay outfit. But it was worth it. She grinned as she wiped the blood from her mouth and another feather fell to the ground.

Single holly leaf lying on a wet road

Injured and soaked to the stem, she crawled slowly across the vast expanse of road. Only the distant glimmer of verge kept her going. Nothing could stop her: not the cars, the wind or any passing hedgehogs. She would make it to that grassy salvation. She would.

Hand holding a small egg shaped rock

Mother of Dragons, eat your heart out. When this little rock hatches, I’m going to be so proud. Probably have a cry, which would be handy in case anything catches fire.

Pink keyring, mini jacket with knotted string for a head

Deep in the forest, Mr Stringy-head-keyring was lost and alone. He was getting cold and the sky was darkening. He told himself to be brave, but his insides were stringy knotted with fear.

Dried fern leaves in a symmetrical pattern

The eye carcass was discovered whilst out on a country walk. Little did they know that the very sight would haunt them forever, and ever and ever (dramatic laughter ensued).

Two swans with their heads in the water

The legend of the sunken treasures of The Black Pearl continue to circulate water fowl communities to this day. Enhanced by claims that Elizabeth Swann may in some way be related to ancestral swan lines, this fuels their perpetual desire to find the Pearl before any other. The search continues.

Tree stump rings

He said travel through the time vortex and we’ll meet on the other side. I tried to get through but kept banging my head.

Cat poking it's head out of a brown bag

1. Place bag on floor.

2. Say out loud ‘it’s a trap’ in an Admiral Akbar impression.

3. After 10 seconds inspect trap and mind your fingers.

Face of a woman with a circular computer frozen circle over her glasses

Wands at the ready and ‘reparo’. Mm, it didn’t work. Zoom glasses are caught in a perfectly placed pending loop. (Come back please, I was listening.)

transparent crystal in a bed of moss

After John Hammond found the mosquito in amber, he hunted for a rainbow butterfly in crystal. He never found one. Let’s not tell him.

candle holder with a candle in the shape of a cactus

The ancient cactus candle has been lit, sending a beacon of prickles to the cactus cult followers, in a 1 meter radius.

Collection of cowrie shells

The lifetime achievement award of pointless endeavours has been granted to the host. Although she is not alone in this particular hunt, and is unsure when or if it will ever end.

Frosty oak leaf

Every cloud has a silver lining, which makes the leaves really jealous.

cat paws

The snow caps had melted on Mount Flooster. The expedition needed one last burst of energy to reach the summit. Praying adverse conditions and retractable claws didn’t get them along the way.

Clementine: drawn on face and a paper crown

Clementine Head is upset they couldn’t be president, but it’s too late. Made a crown and everything. I’m sure we’ll all recover eventually.

Pink My Little Pony looking into distance

This My Little Pony, cheeky and bony, acted like a tool and got expelled from Riding School.

Toy dinosaur painted gold

Whilst Jason found the Golden Fleece, the Golden Dinosaur took the opportunity to escape. He’s been on the run ever since.

Sewing pins laid in a circle

The Famous Fleas all left the circus after an unfortunate event with their Ferris-pin wheel. Fergus was left with a limp, Fred lost an eye and Felicity was never seen again.

Lily pond in mirrored symmetry

Elsa popped round and froze our pond into fractals, I told her to ‘let it go’ but she was like ‘the cold doesn’t bother me anyway’. Well it does bother the frogs Elsa, so let it go.

Tiny sword made out of a leaf

A Jedi fell on the plains of kitchen counter, his leaf saber was no match for the poisonous rains of Flash Lemon. Sad times.

Instagram logo center

The pink moon orbits Planet Instagram, spinning endlessly in the darkest void of internet space. Tiny twinkly star.

Candle flame

2021 is go for launch. T-0 Solid (candle) rocket booster ignition and liftoff! 🚀