Rusty and Me

squeak dog

Found on social media – image credit unknown

The thieves took everything except the dog. Of course there was a good reason for it. The dog was armed.

“What the hell were you thinking? Our stuff. They took all our stuff. What kind of watchdog are you, anyway?”

The small, cigar smoking mutt in the body armor took another pull from his fifth of Jack Daniels. “Back off, man. I have the mother of all hangovers and I’m in a really bad mood.”

“A little hair of the dog, eh?”

“It’s too early in the morning for puns.”

“It’s dinnertime and I just got home from work to find my place has been cleaned out.”

“So what? You’ve got homeowner’s insurance, right?”

“I’m calling the cops. Ditch the clothes, the booze, and the miniature assault rifle, so I don’t have to explain you when they get here.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be passed out in the doghouse by then.”

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The Dragon’s Library

library

Image found at “Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.” No image credit listed.

It was a dream come true. Somehow, along with all of the children, a library had been brought from her world into the dragon city in the trees. Nine-year-old Paris walked inside with a solemnness usually reserved for a holy place, like the synagogue her parents took her to in Prague when she was six.

The library had merged with the forest. Trees were growing inside and bursting through the ceiling, and grasses were taking over the floorboards. She wondered where and when it came from. The globe in the corner didn’t look modern, but most of the books she could see seemed recent.

Then she realized only some of them were in English, and about only half were written in any human language.

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Decision

turrents

© Sue Vincent

“No, I don’t want you to try to heal it. I want the imp weak and helpless.”

It had been several days since Dani and Paris found the tiny demon unconscious in a nearby wooded avenue. Thanks to Paris’s book and Dani’s tutoring, Mandy’s knowledge of how to use the local tree bark, roots, and other parts of medicinal plants was steadily growing, and the children felt well enough to resume their journey very soon.

“He’s hardly regained consciousness since you brought him back to camp. What if he dies?”

“Then it dies. It’s a demon. It, and thousands of others just like it, tried to kill us, and they did kill four dragons, or have you forgotten that?” The dragon rider was furious, not so much at Mandy, but at the loss of her four friends, as well as the horrible revelation that Shay had been taken by the demon horde. It added to the plague of the visions and dreams where she saw herself murdering the other teenager and her brothers and sisters.

“I’m just trying to help.” Mandy might have been afraid of Dani if she’d faced her anger when their relationship was new, but now she understood that the dragonrider was in pain, tormented by guilt at what she saw as her failures.

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What the Gull Saw

bird

Photo Credit: MorgueFile April 62433e902

The news from Florence said, “After a three-year-long restoration, Renaissance master Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection can once again be admired in its original glory.”

Yes, it had taken that long for the painting to be restored, but at the same time, it was also being copied. What was being admired at the civic museum in Sansepolcro, the little Tuscan down where the artist was born in the early 15th century, was a fake.

A private collector had paid a fortune, though not what the actual painting would be worth on the open market, to have the restorer make the switch. For him, it was worth every penny.

Now, the actual painting of the resurrection of Christ was on its way to the collector’s hidden vault on his island in the Caribbean. The only witness to the crime was a lone gull who had watched the true article being loaded into a moving van. Of course, the little bird brain would never talk.

I wrote this for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018: Week #21. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 162.

The town reminded me of Florence, Italy, so I looked up some local English language news articles and came across Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection restored published last March in the Florence Daily News. It seemed like a good setting for an art theft.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz. This link up still needs a lot of love, so please consider writing your own response to the prompt.

Thanks.

The Old People’s Plant

house plant

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

He was smart enough not to say that out loud because his wife had just put the planter on their kitchen table.

“So what do you think?”

She’d asked a question almost as bad as “Do these pants make me look fat?”

He decided to take a risk. “I like the crystal, but I’m not sure about using it for a planter.”

“Me either. Karen gave it to me while she’s having her kitchen remodeled. Not really my style.”

He registered an internal sigh of relief. “Yes, we’re older, but we’re not that old yet.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

It looked to “ordinary” for me to think of anything besides a “slice of life” piece. No research involved.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Forlorn Rendezvous

goat island

Goat Island (now Yerba Buena Island) in San Francisco Bay.

“A child’s eyes light up when they see their Grandpa.” –Catherine Pulsifer

“Where is she? Are she and Leah well? Don’t just sit there man!” Isaiah was as frantic as Keisha had ever seen him during the short time they’d known each other. At the first mention of his Mom’s name, Josiah rushed over to his Dad. The teenager from another universe stood and waited.

The lighthouse keeper was rapidly writing on a pad and then put the pencil down. “She’s ceased transmitting. A moment, Isaiah.” Joachim began tapping at the telegraph key. Grandpa had taught Keisha Morse Code when she was little since one of the projects they’d worked on was building a working signaling system, but Rosenstein’s finger was moving too fast for her to understand the message. Then he stopped and listened.

“Sorry. I think she was cut off in the middle of her transmission. She’s not answering now.”

Isaiah put his arm around his son and took a deep breath. “Can you read out what you got?”

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What’s So Scary About Dexter Brock?

glove

Image credit Matt Seymour via Unsplash

“Oh, there it is.”

Robin looked up from her seat on the bench to see a familiar face, but didn’t have a name to attach to it.

“What?”

“My glove. Thought I’d lost it.”

He could have been as old as her Grandpa, but he was just the guy who took care of the grounds around the high school.

“Oh. Okay.” She reached over to pick up the brown, leather glove.

“I’ve got it.” He sounded nervous or maybe mad.

“Hey, I was just handing it to you.” Now she felt insulted. Who did he think he was, anyway? She was just trying to be nice.

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The Last Exploit of the Escapist

re-entry

Progress spacecraft re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere in a blazing trail of plasma, as seen from the International Space Station – © NASA

The Escapist initiated the landing sequence as the ship began its rapid descent into the stratosphere, his neurochemical link to the spacecraft’s control systems making this nearly reflexive.

“Welcome to my world, Jack. Glad you could join the party.”

The voice of the Beast crackled in his audio receptors sounding as if he were a game-show host speaking offscreen; his tone exuding an untoward friendliness and familiarity.

“I have the Amaryllis with me.”

“The actual item? I’m impressed. Whole armies have been slain, eviscerated by the Negative whose sole task was to guard it unto eternity.”

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What Are You Trying to Tell Me?

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.

jewish paul

Image credit: Drake Dunaway – the Jewish Paul

He closed his Bible at the end of 2 Thessalonians 3:17 and pondered. Did Paul know that his letters, those that survived to be canonized anyway, would become binding instructions for all Christianity nearly two-thousand years into the future? Could his letters really be compared to the writing of the Prophets in the Old Testament, and especially the words of Jesus in the Gospels?

“It’s in the Bible and Pastor says that’s good enough, but is it really? It’s not like Jesus was dictating the letters to Paul. There are some parts of the epistles he said were his own judgment and not of the Spirit.”

He knew both the Jews and the Church believed Paul invented a new religion called Christianity that totally broke from everything that had been written in the first two-thirds of the Bible. If God wanted to write a “love letter” to humanity, why was it a letter that’s so hard to understand, and with so many contradictions?

If God wrote a “love letter” like so many mushy, feely people at his church keep telling him, why were there so many different interpretations?

“I know. Pastor said it was because of sin, but all of the questions I ask him, he has pat, one word or one sentence answers to. Isn’t God more complicated than that?”

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The Battle for the Holy Grail Moose Milk

moosemilk

Image from the Moosecraft YouTube channel.

Stop! Don’t read this unless you’ve first read The Runaway Stuffed Rabbit!

Alfred the Rainbow Rabbit sitting on the back of Merlyn the Dragon shot up into the air over Ana’s backyard like a bullet.

The nine-year-old girl’s Mom witnessing the astonishing sight nearly fainted, and the Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon followed the pair a scant second later. As Ana ran outside after all of them, a sudden whirlwind picked her up, and she flew into the air after all three of the supernatural beings.

Her Mom screamed, terrifying Ana’s little brother as he stared at these amazing events from the family’s back patio.

“Buddy! What are you doing? What’s going on?”

The dragon didn’t seem to hear the girl as all four of them continued to soar skyward toward a strange, black cloud.

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