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.

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.

Tahji’s Freedom

bug

© Shaktiki Sharma

Tahji was curious. He’d never seen so many people before. He half hid behind the post to get a better look through the doorway. They were talking their people talk. Tahji could understand a little of it when one talked, but they were all speaking at once. It was so confusing. Perhaps if he got closer.

“There you are, little one.” It was Tahji’s child-friend Rohan.

“You shouldn’t wander off like this. You might have gotten lost.”

Tahji saw Rohan was carrying his ornate little home. The door was open.

“So soon?” The mantis had been enjoying his freedom.

I wrote this in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers photo challenge. The idea is for authors to use the photo prompt above to create a piece of flash fiction no longer than 100 words long. Mine is 100 words.

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

The Listener

clouds

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I always feel better when I talk to you. I don’t know what’s kept me away so long. Well, I guess I do. The same things in my life that I should bring me closer to you. My worries, job pressure, my son’s relationship with that horrible woman, all the things I am absolutely powerless to change.

I guess it was looking up, seeing the sunlight filtered through the clouds, it reminded me of you, reminded me we haven’t talked in a long time.

I’m back, God. I need you to listen. I need your mercy. We all do.

Written in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ writing challenge. Based on the photo above, the author is supposed to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. Mine came in at 99.

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

Chasing the Zodiac

photo prompt roger bultot

© Roger Bultot

Martin Fields looked out window of his rented condo at a street recently swept of snow. “So primitive, Isis, but we won’t be here long.”

“It’s your fault we’re here at all.”

Fields turned to face her. She was beautiful by design, reminding him that she wasn’t human.

“How could I know he’d find my time machine? It was a one in a million shot that he figured out how it worked.”

“We gave you time travel so you could enforce justice.”

“We traced him to 2014, forty years after the Zodiac Killer disappeared. This time he won’t get away.”

I wrote this as part of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers Challenge. Using a photo prompt, authors are supposed to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words in length. My wee missive weighs in at exactly 100.

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

There are two influences for my story. The first is the Star Trek original series episode Assignment: Earth. The starship Enterprise travels back in time to Earth of 1968 to do historical research and encounters a human being beaming from a planet light years away to New York City accompanied only by a black cat.

The man is the descendent of humans taken to another planet thousands  of years ago by an alien race to be trained as secret agents intended to guide humanity to become a peaceful race. The agent’s name is Gary Seven (played by the late Robert Lansing), and he made a similar statement about primitive humanity looking out the window of his penthouse down at the streets of Manhattan. His cat was named “Isis” and was actually an alien metamorph.

The second influence is the 1979 film Time After Time. In late 19th century London, writer and visionary H.G. Wells (played by Malcolm McDowell) invents a time machine which is then stolen by his friend Stevenson, who has been discovered to be the notorious murderer Jack the Ripper (played by David Warner). Wells chases Stevenson to 1979 San Francisco to stop him from killing more women and somehow to bring him to justice.

In my case, I changed Jack the Ripper to the Zodiac Killer, who is believed to have murdered up to 37 people in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s and 70s.

I added a twist. Future humanity didn’t invent time travel. It was a gift from non-human entities who have chosen certain people to act as their agents, doing justice across history.

I know. You’re probably getting bored  of  time travel stories by now, however I want to see how many I can write based on these prompts.

Addendum: If you liked this story, I’m featuring the same characters in another, slightly longer tale called On Wednesday the Time Traveler Got Wet.

An Alien Walks Into A Bar

alien

Comic book cover from 1958

Frank Lyman was working on his third Vodka Collins when the alien came through the door. Frank had been stopping by Murphy’s Bar every Friday night after work for nearly ten years, and this was the first time he thought the booze was spiked.

All of the regulars at the bar, plus Murphy serving drinks behind it, froze like ice sculptures and stared.

“RJhmzzxpingwqupnmkl-ooo-dx!” Static came out of the alien’s spacesuit. It adjusted a knob on its chest.

“Better? Understand?”

“What?” Frank forgot to swallow and his drink dribbled onto his shirt.

“Spaceship broken. Roadside service here?”

Okay, I know the image I used as an inspiration doesn’t show a bar, but when I saw it, I thought it looked like the beginning of a bad joke, “An alien walks into a bar.” I wrote it for fun.

Flash fiction of 99 words.

Oh, the comic book was published in 1958.

The Magic Boat Ride

boat

© KayllistisQuill.com

Landon knew the boat was magic the minute he saw it. The 10-year-old boy and his 4 1/2-year-old sister Dani were vacationing with their Dad and his latest girlfriend at a beach house in California.

“C’mon, Dani. Let’s have an adventure.” He took his sister’s hand and helped her follow him into the boat.

“What about, Landon?” She looked up at him quizzically.

He stood dramatically facing forward. “Our spaceship to Mars is taking off!”

Imagination abruptly became reality as the magical boat and its tiny passengers rocketed out of Earth’s atmosphere.

This is the third and final piece of flash fiction in my series, inspired by photos at KayllistisQuill.com. The first story is The Prayer followed by Over the Edge.

I had a little fun putting my grandchildren in this one, even though I had to age them about three years.

I allowed myself a maximum of 100 words, and this story came in at a mere 91.

Over the Edge

the edge

© KayllistisQuill.com

“Come to the edge, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Morons!”

Twenty-three year old Zandar let his legs dangle over the building’s ledge and took in the view of downtown Vancouver. It was magnificent. It was the main reason he let his group of stoner friends lure him up here.

But now they were gone and he was alone.

Mike, Kari, James, and Humberto had all been high on “Elation”. They thought they could fly. They couldn’t. Zandar survived because he was their designated driver.

Fire and Paramedics were just arriving to mop up the mashed, bloody corpses.

This is the second in my three-part miniseries of flash fiction tales inspired by three photos at KayllistisQuill.com. See my first submission The Prayer for more details.

This story is exactly 100 words long.

The third and final submission in this series is The Magic Boat Ride, which is a children’s tale.

The Prayer

church

© KayllistisQuill.com

Gary was the only one in church. Everyone else was dead or changed. He was temporarily safe. They dared not enter a Holy place. But soon hunger and thirst would force him outside to forage. If he prayed hard enough, maybe God would have mercy. His wife and children were killed in the first attack, but his little granddaughter Lisa was changed and part of the Zombie horde. “Please save her, God.”

A voice whispered, “He did, Papa. That’s just my body, not me.” Gary wept as his family in Heaven reassured him they were safe and waiting for him.

I didn’t find any flash fiction writing prompts in my email inbox this morning, so I decided to go looking for some. I found three at KayllistisQuill.com. The instructions say to pick one of the three photos and write a 15-minute story. I decided to change things slightly and do the usual “100 words” limitation. I also decided to write three different stories based on the three photos presented. This is number one.

This story is exactly 100 words long.

The next story in today’s series is Over the Edge.

Uncle Eli’s Machine

the machine

© Sandra Crook / Found at Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blogspot

For two weeks, Evan had been investigating the odd, sprocketed contraption in the basement of the house he’d inherited from old Uncle Eli, an eccentric inventor who’d been tinkering with it for the past sixty years.

Evan didn’t fathom the machine’s purpose, but he did think he could get the gears moving.

He made one last adjustment with his screwdriver.

Evan jumped back as the large driver cog suddenly lurched one “ka-chunk” counterclockwise.

Then the light changed. “So, my time machine finally worked, I see.”

Evan turned. The figure speaking to him was Uncle Eli at age 26.

I wrote this as part of (last week’s) Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction using a max of 100 words and base it on the photo prompt you see at the top of the page. The details are at Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog (scroll down).

Read all of the responses to this flash fiction challenge at InLinkz.com (over 80 as of this writing).

My story is exactly 99 words long.