The Winner

lottery ticket

© Scientific American

“I won! I won!”

Benny knew he was embarrassing himself but he didn’t care. As he walked past the State Lottery office, he jumped up and down while raising his arms in victory, like a prize-fighter who had won a boxing match that he was expected to lose.

“I won!”

He wore an exceedingly wide smile as he walked down the street. He still couldn’t believe he now owned the biggest reward anyone could possibly receive. All of his worries were over. He’d never have to fret about his future fate again. It was all taken care of.

Continue reading

The Cherry Blossoms Are Blooming

garden

© John Brand

I used to hate gardening, but that was before. Now I find it gives me a sense of peace. I remember that he liked gardening. He found it relaxing, even in the heat of the day, which used to drive me crazy.

I wear his old gardening hat. The brim shields my face and removes the glare from my eyes.

It’s springtime, the season of life. The cherry blossoms are in bloom. I have to clean them up of course, but now instead of just being work, it’s a duty and a privilege. I use his old wheelbarrow, the one that reminds me of the difference between belief and faith.

I hadn’t realized how deep his faith ran, while all I had to fall back on was belief and an intellectual’s arguments to defend it.

His death shook me in a way I hadn’t anticipated. It’s tremors disturbed my beliefs and threw me into the deep waters of faith. I drowned in that faith, and rose again like my Dad will someday in the resurrection, just like trees bloom again in the spring.

I wrote this as part of the Sunday Photo Fictioner challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 183.

As some of you may know, my Dad died suddenly last Wednesday afternoon. My brother and I have been going through Dad’s things and our Dad never seemed to have thrown away anything. It’s been quite a chore.

But it has let us know our Dad in a way we never really did before. We discovered his passions, his habits, and how he saw his life. Unlike the story above, he wasn’t quite the avid gardener I’ve painted, but in viewing the green and growing things in my parent’s house, and now it’s my Mom’s house, I find hope for the future, a transition from belief to faith.

Oh, in the body of the story, I included a link to an essay I wrote based on a parable of a man who pushed a wheelbarrow across a tight rope. I think it is quite illuminating.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Old Phoenix and His Ashes

Gary woke up from the nightmare in a cold sweat. It was the same dream every night for the past week. He saw a man burning. The burning man was wailing. He reached out for Gary. His flaming hand almost touching his face.

Then Gary would wake up in a cold sweat.

He had just gotten his first job out of college as a mechanical engineer. The company had him move to Philadelphia, and for the next year, he would be helping to design a new generation of popcorn maker for movie theaters.

“It’s probably just the move. I’m in a strange place. That’s it.”

Gary got out of bed, then looked at the clock, and realized it was only 4 a.m. He could sleep for another few hours.

“Nah.” He headed toward the bathroom of his studio apartment. “Just have to keep drinking coffee to keep going.”

Continue reading

Back to Life

shoes and books

© Magaly Guerrero

She pulled her grandmother’s shoes out of the packing case, dusted, and then polished them. Leah regretted neglecting her passion, the one she learned from Grand Mama. Mendel had been such a good husband and they had a wonderful life together, but looking back, she had devoted all of her life to his pursuits. Poor, dear Mendel passed last month, and it was time for her to pull her art books and paints out from under the vase and put them to good use again. It was time for Leah to live for herself.

I wrote this for The Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 86.

To read more photos based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Duck Blind

wagon

© 2015 Yinglan Z

Glenn and Marie were told to stay in the backyard and never to go up the rise to where the old wagon rested. Of course precocious eight-year-old twins didn’t listen, so whenever they knew Mommy would be busy cleaning or doing laundry, they went up to play in it.

It was really just a collection of wood with the metal wheels barely hanging on. To everyone else, it was an eyesore, and no one knew why it hadn’t been hauled off years ago.

To Glenn and Marie, it was a pirate’s ship, a rocket to Mars, a submarine that had just found Atlantis.

However, it wasn’t an eyesore, pirate ship, spaceship, or submarine.

Inside the blind, Amnathamarz and Fid examined their last set of mental readings.

“These humans are completely unsuited to our needs. They are completely disorganized, obsessed with technology yes, but such a jumble of images. How can we conquer their race if we can’t understand them?”

True, Fid. We’ve seen enough. Off to the next inhabited solar system.

I wrote this for FFfAW Challenge for this week. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction from 100 to 175 words, with about 150 being the ideal. My story is 171 words long.

The image inspired a number of ideas, but I settled on the “duck blind” being used by aliens to assess how to best invade our world. However, to do that, they need to understand us as a race, which was difficult if the only people who got close enough to their blind were children.

To read more stories inspired by the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

We’re Either Stopping Genocide Or Starting It

space

Image: JPL NASA

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

Not only am I a moron, I think I’m going out of my mind.

For the record, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner/operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. Ginger, the woman the freighter is named for, is here too. Well, sort of. Over fifty years ago, a hyperjump accident destroyed her flesh and blood body, but the rest of her stayed here. She’s the ship’s personality. Sometimes, she can become a woman for a while. Convenient since we’re in love with each other.

Sometime ago, I accepted a deal to work for a group of hyperspace beings, illegally hauling cargo for them. I had no choice. They could kill Ginger if I didn’t.

After that, I had to agree to work for the terrorist organization Spire for the same reasons.

I can’t believe I was stupid enough not to see the connection right away. Either Spire is run by these beings, or behind the scenes, they’re manipulating the people who do run Spire.

Continue reading

Saving Jenny

depress girl

© wiseGEEK

From the Life and Curse of Sean Becker

I haven’t had a meeting like this since I stood face-to-face with Moshe Cohen, the vampire who made me.

Oh, my name is Sean Becker and I’m a vampire. I also work for a private detective named Aidan Burke in L.A.

Tonight, I’m sitting across from the famous mystery novelist Brian Vail in one of my favorite restaurants, The Original Pantry Cafe on Figueroa. If memory serves, I think Vail even mentioned it in one of his books.

“Look, I just want to know that I’m not going crazy. First I see a ghost and now a vampire?”

Continue reading

Quit Putting Dragons on Clocks

dragon clock

© Jade M. Wong

Charlie Wise had been stopping by the Curiosities Shop every Thursday afternoon for the past ten years. This time he saw something different.

“Antique clock, Phineas?”

“I have a terrific new repair guy working for me.”

“Yeah, but a dragon?”

He keeps adding dragons to everything.”

“You know, I’d buy the clock if it didn’t come with a dragon.”

Phineas leaned on the counter and pushed up his bifocals. “Come around next week. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Okay, Phineas. Have a good day.”

“You too, Charlie.”

After closing, Phineas went into the back, took out his keys, and opened up the workshop.

He was still hard at work.

“You know, I could have sold that clock you worked on today if it didn’t have a dragon on it.”

Everything he’d worked on had a dragon on it.

The old Elf, who had been starving after becoming stranded outside of the Fantasy realm, looked up. “Sue me. I like dragons. Everything you have me work on is so…ordinary.”

Phineas slammed the door shut and locked it.

He muttered to himself, “I’d toss that pointy-earred bum out on the street again if he wasn’t so good at refurbishing antiques.”

I wrote this for Sunday Photo Fiction – April 16th 2017. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. Mine came in at 196 (after quite a bit of editing). I realized that the natural response to the photo would be to have the dragon come to life. I decided to try a different approach.

To read more stories written for this prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Wairua

christchurch

© Steve Withers – Google Maps

The block in downtown Christchurch was being demolished. The buildings around the public parking lot had been abandoned for a decade. Anyone who wanted, could indulge themselves with cans of spray paint. Some graffiti was elementary, other projects were expertly artistic. A shame the heavy equipment would destroy the good with the bad.

The indigenous Māori people thrived in New Zealand until the arrival of Europeans. To this day, they suffer the fate of indigenous populations all over the world.

It looked like a clown’s face, a fearsome one. Wairua or spirit was from the old Polynesian beliefs, and the art gave it a form with which to act. Wairua would turn the Māori away from Presbyterian, Mormon, and Islam faiths and back to the old ways. Wairua would teach them tapu, noa, and mana again, to preserve who they were, who they are, who they will be one day.

I wrote this in response to J. Hardy Carroll’s What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above, taken from Google Maps, as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

I’m playing fast and loose with the history of Christchurch and of the Māori people, so don’t look too closely for reality or historic accuracy.

I considered making the spirit vengeful, but as I recall, I already wrote a story about that. Instead, I decided to incite a revival among the Māori people, a return to their original spiritual beliefs, a reunification with who they were before the Europeans arrived. So many indigenous people all over the world have had their cultures, their languages, their spiritual beliefs destroyed by colonizers. I thought it was time some of them got all that back, at least in fiction.

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

Not Gone Forever

tasmanian tiger

Robert Harbison/The Christian Science Monitor

“There they are, a small streak of them.” Clive Ambrose was actually over five kilometers from the subjects of his research, looking at the group on a laptop in a small hut which served as a blind at the edge of the Southwest National Park in Tasmania.

“A group of Indian Tigers is called as streak, Clive. Is that what we’re calling a collection of Tasmanian Tigers?

Ambrose’s scientific colleague and occasional lover Cappi Lawrence was looking over his shoulder.

“Aren’t you amazed, Cappi? Definite proof that Tasmanian Tigers aren’t extinct, and that they are organized into social groups which include breeding pairs.”

Continue reading