Cornelius Tufle

From the Ashes - Part 1

This story is both an entry into the April 2023 “take your daughter to work day” challenge and a personal homage to a classic shared world from the archives of BCTS.

I could see the plume of smoke rising over the cornfields from several miles away. Not the thick, rolling smoke of a hungry blaze, but the puffs and wisps of a fire nearly burned out. Despite it being over a decade since I last fought a major fire, I still felt the same pulse of adrenaline and the bitter taste of fear and anticipation. As I approached the site along the narrow country road, I pulled over to let the coroner and a police cruiser pass in the other direction. If anything, that made the anticipation worse.

Do people prefer one big story or separate chapters?

I am wondering.

I am part way through writing a story inspired by the April "Take your daughter to work day" challenge. It's turning out to be a bit longer than I had expected, so I would like to get some or all of it posted before the end of the month. But I have a question.

I am writing the story in scenes, each of which is between 600 and 1,000 words in length and ends with a revelation or minor cliff-hanger - what Blake Snyder in Save The Cat calls an 'act out'. The whole thing will likely be somewhere around 10,000 words.


Ellen Carpenter woke first. She always did on a work day, and almost always on weekends, too. After enough time, some habits just stick with you. The pattern had become a routine - throw on a dressing gown, step into slippers and pad down the stairs to make a pot of tea and some breakfast for both of them, sit quietly listening to complaints about work colleagues she had never met, make a packed lunch and a flask of coffee, then a quick kiss, a “have a nice day”, and she was on her own again.

Cornelius Tufle


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Cornelius Tufle. A shadowy flight into the world of a man who does not exist.
Um. No. That's Knight Rider. How about:
Cornelius Tufle is a pen name for someone who loves to write and loves to explore new genres and stories. Cornelius has been reading and enjoying the tales from the Top Shelf for years, and was finally teased into signing up and writing something for the site in March 2023.

Stories by Cornelius Tufle

The meaning of a name

My name? How curious you are! You don't have long to live and instead of begging, fighting, or praying you ask me a question. I suppose I owe you that, at least. I so rarely get to tell my tale. You won't believe any of it, of course, but I swear on my baby daughter's memory that every word is true.

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