Burning Bridges


iowa city fire

© J Hardy Carroll

Devon had been lucky to get away before the police came. The bounty hunter killed or maimed twelve heavily armed men when she escaped. He got away with a broken arm.

Time to erase his tracks both in Chicago and here in Iowa City. It would look like an accidental oven fire. All records connecting him to the human trafficking ring would be ashes and he would be long gone by the time firefighters put out the blaze. He’d saved enough in offshore accounts to start over. The bounty hunter did him a favor when she took out the boss.

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

This reads as a complete story but is also part of the Mikiko Jahn saga which is growing by leaps and bounds. The events in today’s tale take place shortly after Murder at 900 North Michigan (written also for one of Rochelle’s prompts) and both tales are a bit of foreshadowing of their expanded versions.

I noticed one of the fire trucks in the photo had a sign saying “Iowa City Fire Department” and when I looked up recent news articles about fires in Iowa City, I came up with an article published on the 13th titled Fire causes $20,000 in damage to Iowa City apartment. I also discovered that it’s just over 220 miles from Chicago to Iowa City, so a three-and-a-half hour drive wouldn’t be out of the question for someone escaping a “bounty hunter” who had just busted the major crime ring he had been working for.

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

45 thoughts on “Burning Bridges

    • Depends on what he plans to do with her starts over, Iain. If it’s a continuation of a life of crime, he’ll probably come to a bad end, but then again, seeing the destruction that Mikiko produced, he might juts decide to settle down and go straight. Thanks, Iain.

      Liked by 1 person

    • If you’ve read any of my other Mikiko Jahn stories, you know her body was hopelessly crippled and disfigured in a nuclear plant accident and was rebuilt virtually from scratch using revolutionary techniques and biosynthetic materials designed to mimic human tissue and functions and to create a seamless interface with the “synthecon” body and the biological “core” of Mikiko which is really just her skeleton, internal organs, nervous system, and brain (all of which have also been augmented).

      Liked by 1 person

    • She’s been trained by the finest experts in the world for the past two years, including firearms and hand-to-hand combat among other “survival” skills. I still have to establish her motives however, since she is inherently a non-violent personality and Japanese people tend toward cooperation and deference to authority. She was only twenty-two when the accident occurred and the trauma, plus the trauma of reconstruction, the realization of what she’s become, and the training have all had an affect. Then there are the cybernetics implanted in her brain that keep her emotionally balanced but may have other uses.


  1. Nice bit of research into the photo, James. I’m not familiar with your Mikiko Jahn series. Time to check it out. This one serves as a tasty little tidbit on its own.


    • Not everything I write in the little flash fiction pieces will make it into Mikiko’s “official” canon. Even the longer stories might be changed for the final, final version (assuming I can ever figure out a way for it to go to print publication).


    • Most of the time, I’m pretty literal about how I interpret the prompts, so I try to pick up as many clues as I can. Once the photo imposes its reality on me, I get to impose my imagination on the image. A win-win.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Unless I decide to expand his story, we probably will never see. He’s a bit player in a much larger drama involving much more interesting characters, Russell. Thanks.


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