Fiction from Iona Rule

Close up of black and white zebra stripes

Photo: Stephanie Yaich


  • Snakes with red and yellow stripes touching are venomous, those with red and black touching aren’t. If a man is wearing a shirt with blue stripes in his profile pictures, how dangerous is he?
  • If you hear hoof beats do you think “Horses!” or “Zebras!”? How many times has it been zebras? How many times did you pray for zebras? How. Many. Times.
  • The average red wine has an ABV of 13.5%. How many glasses of red wine constitute an excuse?
  • The pharmacy sells 50ml of concealer for £3.95. If the relationship lasts 18 months, how much money will you spend on cover up?
  • Is a zebra black with white stripes or white with black stripes? Using this answer is he a good man with bad moments or a bad man with good moments?
  • The family upstairs has a son, Henry, who likes tractors. The family downstairs has a daughter, Emily, who likes dinosaurs. Which family will call 999 first?
  • How many straws will break a camel’s back?
  • A rabbit may freeze when in danger. What percentage will survive this way?
  • If the rabbit runs, how far will it get (in miles)?
  • The sleeper train travels at 80 mph, and the overnight bus travels at 60mph. Which city will you wake up in on Thursday?
  • There are 64GB of storage in his smartphone. The human brain is thought to have a million GB. What is the probability he remembers where your aunt lives?
  • The front door is 55mm thick and 80 inches high. Use this information to calculate how many apologies you will hear through it.
  • On average, a cheetah has 2000 spots and a leopard has 1140. Do you really believe they can change them?


Iona Rule knows that zebras are black with white stripes because her brain likes to hold onto useless facts like that. She has had work placed 2nd in Bath Flash Fiction Awards, and has work published or forthcoming in Fractured Lit, Janus Literary and Lost Balloon.

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