The Price of Adventure

stop sign

© Björn Rudberg

“Sign seems a bit kloogie.”

“Maybe we should turn around, Randy.”

“Where’s the adventure in backpacking if you worry about every little sign, Marcia?”

“I’m just saying…”

“Come on. The sun will go down in an hour.” He grinned and then marched forward.

“I knew this was a bad idea,” she muttered and hurried to follow.

Then the world violently flickered around them. “What’s happening.”

“I don’t know. Maybe…”

The flickering stopped and landscape became heavily forested when it had been rocky before.

“Welcome.” There was a man calling to them from ahead. “We’ve been waiting for you.”

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

I’m sure this sign is perfectly legit where ever it was taken, but it sure looks odd, especially the “leg” from my point of view in the U.S. Also, the “face” on the sign looks kind of alien. I let that rule my imagination when I crafted my wee tale.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to



car balloons

Photo credit: Vincent Bourilhon

“They’re gaining, Tomas. We need more lift. Hurry.”

“I’m trying Irma. It’s easy to imagine more balloons but hard to make them pull us up.”

Twelve-year-old Irma Ruiz was mimicking the motions of her Papa, remembering how he drove his antediluvian Rambler, putting her hands at the ten and two o’ clock positions on the wheel to steer it. The wheel was wet because of her sweaty palms and every time she looked in the rear view mirror, she saw them getting closer.


“I’m hurrying! I’m hurrying!” Her ten-year-old brother couldn’t afford to look behind them. His head was stuck out the passenger door window looking up, concentrating on visualizing an ever-growing bouquet of helium-filled balloons, red, white, yellow, green, blue, all the colors of the rainbow. He could feel the car continue to climb but they had to go faster and higher.

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The Mask Crumbles


© Yinglan Z.

Their High School Drama club had adopted this section of the path through the forest near their campus to clean up every quarter. Derek, the most unpopular student in class, brought up the rear while everyone else had already picked up the more easily found garbage and litter and moved on.

Cynthia and Stephanie decided to take a break and sit on the grass and they saw Derek looking under the wooden path as if he were puking. They started giggling at the sight, calling out “Doofus Derek.”

“Those stupid girls, I can hear them. They think I care…hey, what’s that?”

Something was moving in the shadows. “Probably just a cat or a squirrel.” That’s what he thought until the long dormant blackness leapt into his face.

“Oh gross!”

“What is it Steph…oh gross. Derek what did you do to your..?”

Nothing had happened to his face except his mask fell away finally revealing all of the rage inside. The berserker he’d become rushed at the teens. They were just the first pair to die.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 20, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

It was tough to come up with a story based on the image. The guy really did look like he was vomiting and the expression one of the girls seemed to indicate shock or horror. I built on that, leveraging school bullying and how being pushed too far can finally send even the mildest person into a rage. In this case, Derek had a little supernatural help, and his response was beyond deadly.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

The Agency

colin salmon

Actor Colin Salmon as Charles Robinson in the 1999 film “The World is Not Enough.”

“Who are you, where am I, and where the hell is my solicitor?”

“Right now Ms. Parker, my name and your location aren’t important and frankly neither are your so-called rights. Our records indicate you are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for, so you might want to be a bit more civil.”

The African-British gentleman, for that’s the image he had so carefully crafted, was sitting across a metal table from his prisoner, a young woman in her late teens. The most obvious aspects of her appearance were dominated by black attire, tattoos and body piercings.

“I want my solicitor.”

“This isn’t Scotland Yard, Danae.”

“I don’t care if it’s fucking MI6, I want my solicitor and I’m not saying a damn thing until I see one.”

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Curse of the Mini-Mummy


© A Mixed Bag 2013

“Oh you’re not actually indulging him in this obsession, are you?” Jean saw the three toy Egyptian mummies, one with the sarcophagus open revealing an unwrapped head. “Ever since you showed Jimmy those stupid old movies, he can’t get enough of them.”

“Relax. It’s just a phase. I went through it when I was his age. Those Mummy films are classics.”

Mike’s wife stormed off in disgust wondering if her husband ever really grew up.

“Jimmy, come here. I’ve got something for you.”

The nine-year-old rushed into his Grandpa’s study room. “Oh wow! Where did you get those?”

“A little curio shop on the south side. They sell all kinds of strange stuff. I thought you’d be interested. The box even contains what the shopkeeper called ‘Tana leaves’.”

“Real Tana leaves?”

“Probably not, but you can pretend.”

Later that night, when his grandparents were in the living room watching TV, Jimmy began the ancient rite he’d seen in those 1940s movies, burning three of the leaves in a small bowl. Tonight was the full moon, and as the fumes from the Tana leaves reached the partly unwrapped miniature mummy, its eyes began to glow.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for March 18th 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 194.

The “mummies” in the photo are obviously small and fake, but they gave me an idea. I mined elements of old Universal studios monster movies such as The Mummy’s Hand (1940) and The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) to create my wee tale. What will happen when the fumes from the Tana leaves brings these “mini-mummies” to life?

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

Show Me The Way To Go Home

pennywise clown

Pennywise from the 2017 film “It.”

Down, down, down Landon fell into the seemingly bottomless pit. The light from above got smaller and further way until he was totally in the dark and still falling, screaming at the top of his lungs. And then he hit something but it wasn’t the ground.

The lights suddenly came up and he was bouncing up and down on a…really big net. The nine-year-old boy looked around as his bouncing started to settle down and he saw he was inside a big circus tent. He’d never actually been to a circus before, but he’d seen them in TV shows and movies. He was in a net used by trapeze artists so if they fell during their act, they wouldn’t get hurt.

Finally the bouncing stopped. It felt like he was on the world’s biggest trampoline, and he used the one his cousins had whenever he went over to their house.

Sitting up, he looked around more. Inside the “big top,” it was completely empty of people. Lots and lots of seats, cages for the lion taming act, another ring for the clowns, but no one was around.

Straight up, there was a big, big hole in the top of the tent which was where he’d come from. How was he going to get out of this?

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Treasure Hunter


Among Timbuktu’s places of study is the historic Sankore University – Photo Credit: DBImages, Alamy Stock Photo

Deidra Maher whored her way through France and Spain to earn passage across Morocco, Algeria, and finally to Mali. Since inheriting the cipher from her great-granduncle as his only living relative, she spent the next five years accomplishing what he had failed to do in twenty. Shon Knowles certainly had a keen mind but not a brilliant one, so the secret of the cipher eluded him. However, his great-grandniece was considered a prodigy, though an undisciplined one, yet it still took her half a decade to master the ancient code.

It was unusual for a woman to travel alone, even a European one, in Islamic nations, but she was now posing as a reporter covering the first Festival au Désert to be held in the region since 2013. Making her way through the horde of residents and tourists along Askia Mohamed Boulevard in Timbuktu, Deidra arrived at Hotel Colombe 2, a modest but adequate accommodation. She only planned to stay for a day, two at the most. For the present, comfort was her main interest.

The city had once been a hub of Islamic learning many centuries past, but eventually began to decline and finally collapsed under the heel of French rule. Yet, the cipher contained a map to what Knowles believed were long forgotten tunnels under Mosquée Sankoré. All she had to do was break in.

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The Beggarman Goes Hunting

Bass Reeves

Bass Reeves. (Credit: Public Domain)

Indian Territory – Oklahoma – 1880

The fact that he was a former slave was obvious because he was a black man of a certain age, but his clothes and his manner also marked him for a beggar and a thief on the run from the law, or at least that’s what it seemed.

Most folks thought they were safe from the law in Indian Territory. The region that would one day be known as Oklahoma was ruled by five tribes, the Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw, all forced from their ancestral homelands because of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The tribes governed through their own courts but only had authority over themselves. That meant anyone not of the tribes, from a scalawag to a murderer, could only be pursued by Federal officers and not local law enforcement once they crossed into Indian Territory.

The beggarman had walked twenty some miles that day and he had another ten to go. He ate some of the hardtack and jerky he carried in a ratty looking burlap sack while he watched the small fire burn in front of him. He’d brought a blanket to guard against the cold as he slept on the grasslands of the high plains, but that was all the belongings a man could see. None of that bothered him including being approached silently from behind.

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Sojourn in Direhaven


© Sue Vincent

Shay, the spectacular golden dragon, alighted in a wooded valley an hour after dawn. The dragonrider Dani along with the five Davidson children, were clinging to her back still shivering from their hasty flight in the frigid heights above the clouds. After their escape from the Hall of the Mountain Kings, pursued by the deadly spectres of the past, the dragon arrived just in time as the Great Gray God, mortal foe of the Kings, attacked. Vast destructive forces both of nature and magic were released and as the High Citadel crumbled into tons of rubble at the God’s feet, Shay soared far above the carnage in a desperate effort to save her children.

At last they were on the ground again at the promised place of safety, but where were they?

“I know this is difficult my children, but you can rest soon. Dani, help them onto the ground.”

The teenage girl slipped off the dragon’s neck with practiced ease, ignoring the chill in her bones and her profound fatigue, and reached up for Zooey. The kindergartner slid into the older girl’s arms and let herself be lowered to the ground. Mandy, the oldest of the Davidson’s, managed to get down on her own and Zooey ran over and clutched onto one of her legs, resting her head on her side.

Nine-year-old Taylor was next and while Dani was helping his twin sister Paris down, the boy grabbed his seven-year-old brother Jake and helped him off of the dragon.

“Where are we, Shay?” The Davidsons clustered around Dani.

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A Great Time to Be Alive

moon base

Scene from the 1968 film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Jason Fields sat in the Common Area of Lunar Base Five (LB5) sipping his coffee. He got there early enough to get a table by one of the windows. He liked looking out at the rest of the base and the wild and empty Moonscape beyond. He was pleased that the construction of Dome Three was progressing ahead of schedule, and could remember being one of the young men in a spacesuit building the first habitat for humans on the Moon. 2018 was great time to be alive.

Later, he planned to phone his son’s family back on Earth. His eight-year-old Grandson Billy gave a report in class yesterday about the Moon Base Program using some of Jason’s personal experiences and he was anxious to see how it went.

As one of the original engineers on Lunar Base One back in the 1980s, his contribution earned him permanent residency on the Moon in the colony of his choice. Taking another sip of coffee, he mused how he never thought he’d actually retire up here. He probably wouldn’t have if Cindy were still alive, poor soul, but cancer took her far to early in life.

“Hey, Jase.” He looked up at the man joining him at his table.

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