The Folsom Mystery

folsom site

Lindenmeier Arroyo and Folsom Man Hill. Photo courtesy of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Fox and Ashe were talking, staring into the pool of water supplied abundantly from an underground source, the lifeblood of beasts and men. The soldiers had been keeping their distance but Travis was aware of their presence and the potential threat they represented.

“I can’t believe you remember me after fifteen years. It was just one class.”

“I was an impressionable eighteen year old, Dr. Ashe, and in you I thought I’d found a kindred spirit, a man who valued the traditions of his ancestors as much as I did. Most of my family thought I was crazy. Still do.”

“Mine too, Travis. And call me Gordon.”

Fox was still embarrassed at having been taken by surprise earlier, so this time he was paying better attention, and his keen hearing detected the man approaching them both from behind. Almost anyone else would have been taken unawares. Whoever the newcomer was, he was very good at being quiet.

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Canyon of the Moon

desert

Found at the Orogold Store Locator website

Travis Fox rode his horse down the arroyo at the edge of his Father’s land, except he was dead so it was his land now. Try convincing his Uncle Wendell of that, though. He thought he was running the ranch. Travis tried not to fight with Wendell. He wanted peace in the household for the sake of Cassie and the children.

He’d never thought of himself as a rancher. Always fought his father’s ways until it was too late. Cancer took him, his father, strong, brave, Apache. In the end, he was just a wasted, tired old man. Not like his grandfather Chano. Chano remembered the old ways. Yes, he was born in the 20th century, but Chano’s grandfather told him the stories of the blue coats, of the treaties that were always broken, of being herded like animals into reservations.

Fox’s two sons and one daughter were children of the 21st century, but Travis longed to preserve the heritage of Chano and his ancestors. Chano died strong, fearless, still seeing past what had been done to him and his people, still disdaining those among them who had surrendered to alcohol and despair.

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Epilogue: The Time Traders

desert planet

Wallpaper found at wallpapersafari.com.

The Epilogue to the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock

Ross Murdock and Major Vasnev Danya Romanovich were facing each other standing on snow and ice. The ghosts of trees surrounded them, barely visible through the fog. The sky was overcast and it was threatening to once again snow. Romanovich was pointing his Soviet Army issued Makarov pistol at Murdock’s chest.

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Invasion

ice age

J. Raloff/Science News for Students

The Tenth Story in the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock

“Welcome to the Ice Age. What shall I call you?”

Murdock was startled out of his shock and awe by the voice coming from around the enclosure he had just exited. He had assumed the room was inside a main wall of the cavern, but as he turned around, he saw it was a stand alone structure.

“Come, come. I know you are not actually a Beakerman named ‘Rossa’.”

Ross didn’t recognize the man in the Soviet Major’s uniform but the voice was familiar.

“That’s right. I was the one speaking to your group on that beach in Britain, the one where you were hiding before your Marines came to retrieve you. I lost two good men in that little skirmish but then, those are the fortunes of war.”

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Not Kansas

vw in israel

© Kent Bonham

“You’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“Avi, you can’t believe how many times I’ve heard that since making aliyah.” Morris sounded annoyed but admired how well the native Israeli spoke English. Half the time he struggled to find the right Hebrew words in a conversation.

“Hey, what do you think of that girl over there? Maybe she wants a ride.”

Avi knew Morris was married, but loved to tease the shy American. Neither noticed as she reached inside her shoulder bag. They were both killed in the explosion along with seven schoolchildren who had stopped to admire the car.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 98.

When I saw the image was titled “VW in Israel” and the Kansas license plate in the back window, I started writing without a clear end in mind. The story just formed itself.

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

Gateway

ship

From one version of the cover of Andre Norton’s novel “Galactic Derelict”

The Ninth Story in the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock

The very fact that Rossa woke up surprised him. The last thing he’d heard was a gunshot and then he felt an impact in the middle of his back. His back hurt, but not like a gunshot wound. Tranquilizer dart?

The room he found himself in was dimly lit and resembled the huts of the villagers. There was a crude wooden table in the center of the room and sitting on upended log on the other side of the table was a man.

The man was dressed similarly to the Axmen but his hair and complexion were darker. The man looked past where Rossa was lying on a loose collection of furs and nodded.  He felt himself being lifted to his feet by men on either side of him. The two other men, dressed the same as the first man, pulled him to a seat by the table facing the man who seemed to be in charge. He nodded again to the two men and they left.

The man spoke in the language of the Axmen and Rossa had spent enough time with them that he understood the basic question, “Who are you?”

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Where Did Daddy Come From?

path

© J.S. Brand

The sign post was all but unreadable as she stood staring at it from the foot of the path. Left pointed to the way she came and right to the Ranger station. The one pointing behind her was to the camp grounds. She couldn’t read the one pointing up the hill, but she’d heard stories.

No one walked up those steps anymore. People went up and never came down. The secret, at least Alise thought she knew it, came from her mother’s diary. Mommy went up and then came down three months pregnant. She never told Alise who her Daddy was. Now on her sixteenth birthday, she was going to find out.

She climbed the steps. Fog rolled in as she reached the top. It was longer than it looked from the bottom, like another world.

“Hello, Alise.”

“Daddy? But, you look so young, hardly older than me.”

“An incubus never ages, my dear. Here, let me show you my secrets.

When Alise descended the steps, her unborn baby was forming inside of her.

I wrote my wee tale for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of July 18, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 174.

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

Captured

fog

From the 1980 film “The Fog”

The Eighth Story in the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock

All four men on the team from the future reflexively reached for weapons as the quartet of raging Axmen charged. Suddenly Ai pushed past Assa and Rossa, held forth the rune covered amulet she wore around her neck, and then loudly cried out in a language the rest of her party could barely understand.

Three of the Axmen abruptly stopped and cringed as if confronted by their worst horror-filled nightmare. The leader of their band stopped too and half-bowed but as he looked up to peer at the woman opposite him, rage and hate still filled his eyes.

“Daughter of Gaea. Think not the Axmen of the North are so easily swayed by your powers. We flee something much worse.”

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Terror

cape crozier

© Google, Nov 2016

The Adelie penguin colony at Cape Crozier, Antarctica had long been the subject of study. There were over a quarter of a million breeding pairs of birds identified. Scientists inhabited several tents at the site plus a crude permanent structure that vaguely resembled a collection of shoeboxes. However, this expedition was not here for the penguins.

“What do the latest readings look like, Scottie?” Carter Roberts addressed the party’s Chief Volcanologist Amanda Scott. She ignored the unwanted familiar use of her name.

“Not good, Carter.” She didn’t bother to glance up from the seismology report. “If these readings are accurate, then given the progression we’re seeing, we’ve got less than three months.”

“So Mount Terror is aptly named.”

“We always thought it was an extinct volcano, but sometime next October, it’ll make the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa look like a firecracker, plunging the whole world into a new ice age.”

Written for the What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the Google street image above as the inspiration for a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, Pegman takes us to Cape Crozier, Antarctica. I looked the place up at Wikipedia, and when I saw “Mount Terror” and “extinct volcano,” I knew I found my hook.

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

Ghosts

bronze age stone art in sweden.

Found at fotosidan.se

The Seventh Story in the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock

“The reason I’ve invited you to this briefing is that you both already have some idea of what we’re looking for and the stakes involved, although if the higher-ups had their way, you’d both be put in Guantanamo.”

Major John Kelgarries, military commander of Operation Retrograde stood at the front of his audience in the conference room specifically addressing Gordon Ashe and Ross Murdock.

It had been several months since they returned from their mission in Bronze Age Britain and discovered the Soviets had destroyed their covert base disguised as a Beaker trading post. Ashe, Murdock, and the outpost’s only survivor McNeil had just barely escaped an armed Soviet detachment who had attempted to capture them before they could be extracted by submarine. McNeil had cracked under the physical and emotional pressure and was now off team. However, in the aftermath of their mission, the roles of Ashe and Murdock had shifted.

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