Only One More

soap

© Fandango

It felt so good to get the crap off of his body, even the nausea-inducing odor with which he was always saturated after each job.

This was number eleven. Only one more to go. Each of these increased the chance of him leaving some clue, though so far, the police were chasing nothing more than their tails.

Looking down, the last of the blood was swirling around the drain, about to be consigned to the sewers.

He turned off the shower and grabbed the towel hanging outside. Drying himself off, he thought of the oath he swore over his family’s graves.

A year ago, the infamous “Gang of Twelve” raided his father’s house, tortured and raped his mother, his sisters, and his daughter, beat and tortured the boys and men, then finally murdered them, all because of rumors that the patriarch had a horde of gold bullion.

They never found gold, but the ex-intelligence agent, who had been traveling that weekend, vowed to end each gang member in the most brutal manner possible. Only one more death until he achieved his goal. But even if the souls of the dead would rest easier, his own spirit would be haunted forever.

I wrote this for the 12 August 2018 edition of Sunday Photo Fiction. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Interestingly enough, I’d just taken a shower before sitting down and writing this story, so the feeling of getting clean was very fresh for me, if you’ll pardon the unintentional pun. For some reason, the smell of blood (like from a bloody nose) popped into my head. The rest of my tale just fell into place.

To read other stories based in the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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The Unincluded People

anti-circumcision-rally

Found at Jewish Business News – No photo credit available

Jeremiah Katz never thought he’d see this day, not in America. His youngest grandson, named after his deceased senior uncle, Ezekiel Katz zt”l, at his bris (some of the Goyim call it the Jewish name day), and the mohel, Bernie Posner says afterwards that he’s getting harassing phone calls and texts.

“What’s all this?” Jeremiah, his son Michael, Bernie, and some of the other men were on the back patio sipping drinks and speaking in hushed whispers in case the neighbors were listening.

“It’s true,” Bernie put his hand on Jeremiah’s forearm as if to emphasize his words. “The cowards won’t even use their real names. These anti-semites say it’s harmful to our sons and even barbaric. I know two other mohels going through the same thing.”

“Have you called the police?” Michael had never faced this sort of thing the way his elders had and still had a tough time believing it.

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The Eagle of Hans Langsdorff

eagle

© EPA – Graf Spee Eagle

He watched as divers brought up the figurehead of his beloved Graf Spee from the muddy depths where it had lain for nearly seventy years. If he could have wept, bitter tears would have streamed down his face, but this was denied him as well as peace he had sought long ago. Instead, damnation has been his constant companion, and though he could take no breath, what was once his heart was crushed at this bitter reminder.

They covered the swastika displayed beneath the eagle’s nine-foot wingspan out of consideration of those still sensitive to Hitler’s bloody legacy. So be it. The Nazi dream was just as dead as Hitler, and just as dead as Captain Hans Langsdorff who committed suicide two days after scuttling the German battleship rather than have it fall into enemy hands. How fleeting and meaningless history has rendered his ship and his wandering spirit.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Montevideo, Uruguay. As usual, I looked up the location and under 20th century, I found this:

During World War II, a famous incident involving the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee took place in Punta del Este, 200 kilometers (120 mi) from Montevideo. After the Battle of the River Plate with the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy on 13 December 1939, the Graf Spee retreated to Montevideo’s port, which was considered neutral at the time. To avoid risking the crew in what he thought would be a losing battle, Captain Hans Langsdorff scuttled the ship on 17 December. Langsdorff committed suicide two days later. The eagle figurehead of the Graf Spee was salvaged on 10 February 2006; to protect the feelings of those still sensitive to Nazi Germany, the swastika on the figurehead was covered as it was pulled from the water.

I found the story verifying this at BBC News and the rest, as they say, is history.

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

Oh, the location seemed familiar, and earlier this year, I wrote a tale for the same location.

“Finish the Story Challenge” from The Haunted Wordsmith Part 4 – The End

hamburger

Image found at “The Haunted Wordsmith” blog – No photo credit given

Alright. Fandango over at This, That, and the Other picked up a writing challenge started by Teresa at The Haunted Wordsmith and continued by Cheryl at “The Bag Lady.” So Teresa started writing the story, then “tagged” Cheryl to continue it, who then tagged Fandango (real first name unknown) to continue it, and then he tagged me.

For the record, it’s been decades since I’ve eaten at “Greasy Macs” or any other fast food joint (with a few exceptions), and I’m no longer a fan. At first I thought I’d just blow off the challenge, but then I decided to twist it.

rules

The rules for the challenge from the blog “The Haunted Wordsmith.”

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Playing Games

games

Found at Mindslovemisery’s Menagerie – No image credit given

25 year old Brian Russell saw the pile of junk mail sitting on his chair which was situated near his gaming console. “I thought I told you to throw away the snail mail crap.”

His roommate and fellow graduate student Ricky Briggs shook his head, wagging his long pony tail as he continued to focus on playing Warthunder. “One of them wasn’t junk. Check out the first class stamp.”

“Only you would know about postage stamps, you throwback.” The tall man ran his fingers through his mop of “dishwater” brown hair. He actually admired Ricky’s talent for “old school,” but didn’t always appreciate it. Picking up the envelope, he still knew enough to realize that no return address was unusual. Brian ripped open the gaily yellow envelope and found a single card inside with the words, “You’re Invited Grartor Party Saturday Next” printed on it.

“Who wrote this, an ESL dropout?”

“Shut up.”

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The Pleiades Mystery

summer

© Sue Vincent

Elio Hudson let out a deep breath as he looked at the idylic scene on the small console monitor. It was a photo he had taken of a field of wildflowers last Spring in southeast Texas, a hundred miles from the Houston Space Center and his other life.

“Hey, you might want to save that for later. Where we’re going has a much broader canvas.” Eledoro Salazar tapped Elio on the shoulder while sitting in the co-pilot’s chair. Although the mission leader and Naval Commander had only met the Spanish computer scientist eleven months ago while they were training for this mission, they had become fast friends.

Hudson removed his restraints and lifted his muscular frame from the pilot’s seat. “Routine systems check complete, Eledoro. Let’s go join the others. Our mission update from Houston is scheduled to come in about five minutes from now.”

“Right you are. Let’s go.”

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Adventures of a Pantser (no, it’s not like that)

I came across this on twitter:

p-vs-p

screenshot taken from twitter

Yeah, that pretty much describes me, or more specifically, this does:

meme

Indiana Jones meme

It’s come back to bite me in the butt more than once.

Okay, here’s the deal. I have the first draft of one novel fully finished, I’m stalled in the middle of the first draft of the second, and several others are in a quasi-state of existence (and I’m terrified of actually beginning the novel editing).

After about the first five chapters of my fantasy novel, I started using the Thursday #writephoto prompts on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo as the motivation to complete one chapter a week. It worked pretty well, and I actually got to the end with the story being semi-internally consistent.

It still needs a lot of work.

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Frozen Memories

restaurant

MorgueFile May 2018 1400068700w0086

Noah Banks stopped in front of the four-star restaurant his Grandparents used to take the family to when he and his sister were kids. Mom told him when he was six that this wasn’t the sort of place you ordered a PB&J or hot dog with extra relish at, but what did he know?

The young man chuckled at his own childishness. Grandpa never minded, and since the old man owned the place, neither did the management.

But that was twenty years ago and everything had changed. The place was still set up, pristine, orderly, waiting for patrons who would never come. He looked up and down an almost deserted Wilshire Boulevard. Everyone was in the shelters waiting for the next Glazzuarq orbital bombardment. Amazingly, this part of L.A. had been spared so far.

Half a block away, his shuttle to the spaceport was just pulling up. The U.S. Marine hustled, carrying his heavy duffel. He had to get to Vandenberg in time to launch aboard the battle cruiser “Intrepid” and fight those alien goonies in space. But before going, he just had to say good-bye to the rest of his family, now all interned at Forest Lawn cemetery.

I wrote this for Week #32 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

Since you can see the reflection of trees in the window, the POV is from the outside looking in. I thought about memories, and how a young woman I used to date many decades ago, told me when she was a child, she did order PB&Js at expensive restaurants her parents took her to.

The rest just unfolded in a dystopian sort of way.

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

Planning and Timing

wheatgrass

© Ronda Del Baccio

“Wheatgrass might even kill cancer cells. You should try it.” Jack Murphy proudly displayed his small window box garden to his friend Martin Katz.

“I appreciate your support, but…”

“But nothing. Couldn’t hurt.”

“What do you do with it?”

“I’ll show you how to…”

“Oops. Got an oncologist appointment. Be back soon.”

“Good luck.”

“Thanks.”

Martin stepped outside and walked the two blocks to Telegraph Avenue. Dashing across the street toward the bus stop, he didn’t see the speeding driver running a red light. Martin didn’t make it to his doctor’s appointment.

“Man plans, God laughs.” -Yiddish Proverb

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image at the top as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 98 (including the proverb).

I know this one is a little dark, but while it is prudent to plan for the future and to take all reasonable steps, ultimately, we don’t control the universe.

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

Getting Ready for School

bench

© Wildverbs

“You seem depressed, Joey. The older man looked at his nine-year-old grandson sitting on the bench beside him.

“I’ve got less than two weeks of freedom left.”

“What do you mean?”

“School. I won’t be able to hang out with you at the park and tell stories.”

“I thought you liked school.”

The boy absent-mindedly caused a small whirlwind to lift some water from the lake to the roots of a nearby tree. “I guess so, but every year it gets harder.”

“Every year, you get smarter, and the discipline’s good for you. By the way, so close to the lake, the tree doesn’t need extra water.”

“I know. I was just bored.”

“That’s exactly why you need to go to school. You’ve had plenty of rest and now your restless.” Grandpa casually waved his hand and adjusted the humidity level of the dirt under the tree to optimal levels.

“Do you think I’ll ever be as good a wizard as you, Grandpa?”

“Keep going to school and practicing. You’ll make a great sorcerer one day.”

I wrote this for the 177th FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

Initially, I didn’t think I’d write for the prompt this week since it seemed similar to something I’d seen just recently, but then again, I considered that a challenge too.

My grandson really is lamenting that he has less than two weeks of freedom until summer vacation ends and he has to go back to school. Since we hang out a lot together and tell stories, I decided to mine that conversation with a slight twist.

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