I Want to Kill You

saber

Found at Dinoanimals.com

Little Danny Claiborne had raised him from a cub. Taka, the Saber Tooth, was an adolescent tiger. He went from sleeping with Danny under the covers of his bed to living in a shed next to the house.

Taka’s brother Kai, and his sister Aka, were raised by two other children, Sha Clanton and Dran McLaury. Danny, Sha, and Dran loved their sabers but as the tigers grew toward maturity, the villagers became more wary. There had been a few occasions when an unannounced visitor to one of their homes had nearly been mauled.

But to the children who were still children, the sabers were beloved pets, and the sabers had the children no reason to believe otherwise, at least until recently.

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The Lonely Boy

haunted house

© J Hardy Carroll

Josh, Matt, and Kenny were best pals. Every day, the third-graders walked past the old McClary house going home from school. Today, Kenny picked up a stick and ran it across the wrought iron fence.

“Yoohoo!” Josh yelled at the so-called ghosts in the house. Matt quickly said, “Knock it off, Josh. Don’t disrespect.”

“Crybaby,” Josh expressed his scorn. “Dead people can’t hurt you.”

Every day unliving eyes peered out the upstairs window at the three boys. Kevin McClary died in the last great flu pandemic. All he wanted to do was go out and play with the other children.

Written in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers challenge. The idea is to use the photo at the top as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. I barely made it at 100 even.

The second I saw the photo, it screamed “ghost story” at me. Poor Kevin is no longer among the living, and trapped in that house, he can’t even go out and play.

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

The Duet

musician

© Sunayana MoiPensieve

I was born too late. I should have been singing with Dylan in the sixties. Instead, I spend my weekends in this little square between the London Film and Transport Museums playing his charts to uninterested passersby. It’s early Saturday, so the place is almost empty.

Pavement’s still wet from the rain as I sing “Like a Rolling Stone.” I can smell the woman’s cigarette smoke behind me as I play “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

“I’m working on “Forever Young” when someone walks toward me. He’s right in front of me. I stop singing. Oh wow!

“Mind if I sit in?”

I motion dumbly to where I keep my back up six-string. Glad I tuned it.

He stands next to me and begins “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” I join in. I’m playing a duet with Bob Dylan. Before long, the square is packed. When it’s over and he has to go, I say, “Thanks for making my dream come true.”

He gives me his hand and I shake it. “Anytime. Anytime at all.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 21, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. I barely made it at 174 words.

To read other stories written from the same prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

One of My Stories Published in Scaffolding Magazine

ellie

The first issue of Scaffolding Magazine

This magazine has taken some time to get off the ground, and I was pleased to see the announcement this morning that the first issue is now in print.

My short story “The Alien” is featured within (page 22) along with a lot of other terrific content by authors and artists a lot more talented than I am.

Right now, the magazine is only available in print, but there are plans for publishing it in digital and audio formats as well.

I submitted my story just like any other fledging writer and so can you. Click the link, find out what this eighty-page tome has to offer, and have a look at the submissions page

You can find a small sample of this my published story here on my blog, but the full tale is only available in Scaffolding.

Pretty exciting stuff.

The Fall of the Saints

photo prompt

© A Mixed Bag

The Milan Cathedral, a once majestic landmark, was in ruins. He never thought to visit this ancient structure, anathema to his own nature, an artifact to a once vast empire. He looked up at the Saint and the Priest. The Priest was struggling to keep the Saint integrated, but his powers were weakening, his prayers growing more faint each second. He was the last Priest. The revolution had effectively crushed their dominance. She was the last Saint, and the reluctant Magician’s target. He had no wish to harm her, but their hold on the world must be completely broken.

He began his magical rite to the horror of the Priest. An unexpected look of serenity appeared on the Saint’s visage. She knew her time was done.

The spell completed, the Priest collapsed, exhausted, and the Saint vanished from her holy vestibule in the cathedral. With her passing, so did the age of religion pass. It had taken Prospero long centuries to accomplish his task, but he had finally restored the age of mysticism across the world. Now his daughter Miranda would be free of Sainthood and return to rule as the Duchess of Milan.

This tale was written in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction – March 19th 2017 challenge hosted by Al Forbes. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a short piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words. Mine comes in at 194, and I confess, it was only around 140 words in its first draft. I was delighted to discover I had more “room” to add details to my mythic story.

The minute I saw the photo prompt, something reminded me of William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”. I’ve never seen it performed or read it, but there was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation which began with the character Data (played by Brent Spiner) performing in the play on the holodeck as the character Prospero. Data, being a very literal person, had trouble understanding the character and Shakespeare’s symbolism. Captain Picard (played by Patrick Stewart), explained it this way:

“Well, Data, Shakespeare was witnessing the end of the Renaissance and the birth of the modern era, and Prospero finds himself in a world where his powers are no longer needed. So, we see him here about to perform one final creative act before giving up his art forever.”

I thought it would be interesting to reverse things, and have the modern era and the church attempting to perform its one last creative act in the face of Prospero, who was determined to end its reign. In the play, Miranda is Prospero’s daughter, and in addition to being a magician, Prospero is the Duke of Milan. In the play, he was attempting to restore his daughter to her rightful place. In my story, he succeeds.

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

Pointing Out the Road Homeward

uganda

© Google – June 2015

Thursday, April 30, 1970, Kampala, Uganda.

“Rabbi Sizomu, you have a year to get the Jews out of Kampala before Idi Amin gains power.”

“How can you be so certain of this, my friend?”

“Do you trust me?”

Both men were standing on a lonely road, untamed brush to the right, a large hothouse farm to the left.

“I have learned to trust you in the time you’ve spent among us. You know things I cannot explain.

“Trust me, Gershom. President Obote will be overthrown in a military coup. Amin will attack the Jews living in Kampala. Convince them to make Aliyah, emigrate to Israel.”

“Why are you warning us?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Then it’s a matter of faith. Very well, I will do as you say.”

Time Traveler Martin Fields watched Rabbi Gershom Sizomu walk back to Kampala before returning home to 2017, his mission accomplished.

I wrote this small tale in response to K. Rawson’s What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above, taken from Google maps, and craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine is 149, and it’s a difficult tale to tell in so few words. I once again employed my time traveler Martin Fields because it’s true. In 1971, Idi Amin took control of Uganda, deposing President Milton Obote in a military coup. Amin exiled all the Asians and viciously attacked the Jewish population of Kampala.

I couldn’t find any information about any Rabbis in Uganda in 1970, so I “borrowed” Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, who in February of last year, was elected to the Ugandan Parliament. You can read his story at Haaretz.com.

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

Choices

boys life

Boys’ Life magazine | November 1963

Tommy’s Dad always had to work on Saturdays, so Grandpa took him to his special Cub Scouting event. Last week, Grandpa and Tommy went to another Scouting Dad’s place to use power tools to make the Scout’s pinewood racing car. Today was the big day, race day!

Tommy Sheridan had no idea that Grandpa used to smoke. He quit decades ago, but it wasn’t soon enough. Grandpa went to the doctor when he couldn’t stop coughing. The X-rays and follow-up tests didn’t look good, and Grandpa was glad to be able to spend as much time with Tommy as possible…

…because time was running out.

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Violation

wolf mate

Photo: Diane Picard/Shutterstock – found at Mother Nature Network (MNN)

Yesterday, I wrote a short story called The Wolf’s Mate, a werewolf tale that’s actually a romance. Gwen is married to Larry and is pregnant. Larry is also a werewolf who even recognizes his “mate’s” scent while he is the wolf.

I started thinking of different ways to spin the story, and the night Gwen Talbot becomes pregnant sprang to life. I want to warn you right now this story contains some significantly “adult” content, so if you aren’t okay with that, stop reading now.

I’m also considering writing a story about their romance, how they met, fell in love, his proposal of marriage, and upon Gwen’s acceptance, Larry’s revealing his secret to her and how, amazingly, that resulted in them getting married, even in the face of the curse of the wolf.

I just wanted to let you know what you were in for.

I remember the night I became pregnant, both the ecstasy of it and the horror.

The story of my courtship with Larry, how deeply we fell in love with each other, his proposal and my joyous acceptance, and then the terror of the revelation of the wolf is for another time.

I did marry him, knowing exactly who he is, what he is, the curse he carries within him, and what it means for our children, especially any sons.

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Family Monument

wheel

© Jennifer Pendergast

After five-year-old Barry and his Grandpa were done playing in the park, the little boy stood marveling at the giant, rusty wheel, while Grandpa went to get the picnic basket.

Bubbe had made their favorite split pea soup and they sat eating and reading comic books in the wheel’s comforting shadow.

Grandpa said it used to be a monument, but people forgot what to. For Grandpa, it was a symbol of family, something big and enduring that has no beginning or end.

Grandpa’s latest tests showed he was still cancer free. He and Barry were here to celebrate.

I wrote this in response to the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo at the top of the page to write a piece of flash fiction no longer than 100 words. My story today is 98 words long.

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

I know I write a whole bunch of endearing little stories about Grandpas and grandkids. I might have written this one differently if the photo didn’t contain a small child.

This story is very, very loosely based on a “road trip” I took with my son David some years back. He served in the Marine Corps and suffered a number of injuries he believes he should have been receiving disability payments for. The local VA did an evaluation, but David wanted a second opinion, so they sent us to the VA in Walla Walla, Washington.

We made a day of it. My wife really did make homemade split pea soup for us. We told stories during the drive, David played videos on his phone, and I was reading the graphic novel “V for Vendetta” on the trip.

We finally arrived back home in Boise exhausted, but we had a great time. To this day, it’s one of my favorite adventures with my son.

The scene in the photo looks vaguely like the grounds of the VA in Walla Walla, which is a converted fort.

Sorry if I’m writing too many schmaltzy tales, but if at all possible, I prefer happy endings.

The Wolf’s Mate

wolf

Found at National Geographic Kids

He was loping at the edge of the Presidio Golf Course when he caught a familiar smell on the breeze. At first he thought it was prey, but he had no interest in prey, having eaten a rather large hare not half an hour before.

She was maybe half a mile away as humans measure distance, but he could hear her and the other one very clearly.

However, it was her scent that attracted him. Not prey but something else, but not wolf, so not safe. Human, so not safe. But then why did he want to get closer?

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