The Halloween Monster

monster

© Liz Young

Arthur stopped off at his sister’s last night, realizing he was too drunk to drive home from the bar. Staggering into her backyard the next morning, he discovered the apparition. Melissa followed him, looking bemused.

“Like it? I’m putting it out front for Halloween tonight.” It was then he noticed she was pointing a pistol with a silencer at him.

“Hey, what’s that?”

“Last year, you got off on that drunk driving charge where you killed a little girl. I’m fixing justice.”

That night, Melissa got a lot of compliments on the realistic display of a monster in a cage.

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

For some reason, I thought of a man who was hung over coming across this scene and being totally bewildered. The story wrote itself after that.

To read other tales inspired by the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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Warriors

foot

© J. Hardy Carroll

They were just kids and they thought it was funny. He was a homeless Vietnam vet who had his foot blown off. The punks thought they were doing the world a favor by abusing him.

I found them a mile away from where they left him and made them tell me where they’d left his prosthetic.

I took it back and said he could come to my place. He asked me why. I told him that Marines have each others backs. Later that night, he stood on one good foot and one artificial one, and we both saluted the flag.

I wrote this for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count (after a lot of editing) is 100 words.

A prosthetic limb and the American Independence Day. I didn’t have to think hard to write this one. My Dad was a veteran and so is one of my sons. For their sake alone, I’ll never take the knee in front of the American flag, though I respect the right of anyone who chooses to. After all, that’s what so many have fought and died for; the right to speak their mind in a free country.

Happy Independence Day to you and yours.

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

Yesterday

music

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Santiago set his guitar on its stand, and then closed the cover on “the Beatles complete easy guitar” book. This small upstairs room was his refuge, someplace where he could visit his youth. Aging fingers would never be as nimble again, nor his voice as clear.

He whispered,

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…”

Hearing a car pull up, he walked across the room to the window that overlooked the driveway and smiled. His children and grandchildren were here. Today, he turned sixty-four and would let himself rejoice in the present and whatever future he had left.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

When I saw the songbook (I looked it up on Amazon to verify the title), I immediately thought of Paul McCartney’s Yesterday, but since I turn 64 next month, When I’m Sixty-Four also came to mind. Growing older is often a mixture of anticipation and regrets. You can never go home again, but you can sometimes visit.

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

Social Experiment

venice

© Fatima Fakier Deria

“They’re beginning to panic, Vym.”

Vym and Qloutyd were watching the news broadcasts from their alien stealth ship in low Earth orbit.

“Naturally. They expect Venice to be flooded in a century according to their belief in this climate change phenomena. They could hardly expect the famous canals to actually dry up.”

“They’re blaming…wait a minute, low tides caused by a super blue blood moon. They have the most colorful names for things, don’t you think?”

“It’s just more data for us to gather in our social experiments.”

“Our planetary climate generator is working perfectly. Humans are so easily frightened.”

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

Venice is a very famous place with a long and remarkable history, so I tried to think of something unique. Looking up news for the city, I came across an article called Venice canals dry up after super blue blood moon and low rainfall cause water levels to drop dated 2 Feb 2018. It’s such an unexpected occurrence that I thought I’d have aliens cause it, as well as the whole climate change phenomena, as a social experiment to see how we poor humans would react. Apparently, we’re very predictable.

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

Connie’s Flight

bird

© Jean L. Hays

The courier taking Connie and the other birds from the lab to the observation center dropped her cage in the parking lot and she was the only one he didn’t catch. Now she was free.

“Hello little birdie,” said the young girl. “Are you hungry?”

The coturnix quail hadn’t eaten in a long time.

“I’ll get you some bird seed.” The seven year old ran off, and Connie stayed because of food and decided to live with Eloise.

The longevity researchers gave up on the serum experiments because Connie went missing. Both she and Eloise lived another seventy years.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

I know the photo Rochelle posted isn’t a coturnix quail (commonly known as a Japanese Quail), but ten seconds of Googling didn’t reveal the species in question so I faked it.

I did discover that Japanese Quail have been a popular laboratory research animal since about 1957 and is used in the studies of aging and disease. The lifespan of this bird is about two to two-and-a-half years. Of course my experimental bird Connie lived a good deal longer and was a kind and loyal companion to Eloise all the days of her life.

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

Moshe Visits the Met

the met

© Roger Bultot

Moshe Katz was in New York visiting his Tante and Feter, and they made the San Francisco Private Detective play tourist, including a visit to the Met’s Diamond Jubilee. Then things got ridiculous. He’d heard of Marian Anderson, but who the hell were Judy Collins, Yo-Yo Ma, and Itzhak Perlman?

“Alright, Mr. Watson, I’m going to give you a hand. The local cops don’t know how to handle this sort of thing, but my cases are more unusual.”

“We’d appreciate anything you can do. If word ever got out…”

“Relax. I’ll find out who here has a broken time machine.

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

I became dismayed when I realized that the photo was of a recognizable place, but I didn’t recognize it. Then Google image search came to the rescue. It’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art, otherwise known at the Met.

According to Wikipedia:

The museum celebrated its 75th anniversary (which it termed Diamond Jubilee) with a variety of events in 1946, culminating in the anniversary of the opening of its first exhibition on February 22, 1947.

What is coincidence. I created a San Francisco private detective named Moshe Katz who operates in 1947. He’s featured in the stories Death Visits Mexico and Son of Kristallnacht. So I decided to create a New York mystery for him to solve. Normally, his cases are rather mundane, but for this tale, I decided to change his history a bit.

Again, according to Wikipedia:

In 1954, to celebrate the opening of its Grace Rainey Rogers concert hall, the museum inaugurated a series of concerts, adding art lectures in 1956. This “Concerts & Lectures program” grew over the years into 200 events each season. The program presented such performers as Marian Anderson, Cecilia Bartoli, Judy Collins, Marilyn Horne, Burl Ives, Juilliard String Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Artur Rubinstein, András Schiff, Nina Simone, Joan Sutherland and André Watts, as well as lectures on art history, music, dance, theater and social history.

I didn’t read the paragraph carefully and was wondering how all of those performers could have been at the Met at the same time. Then I read more carefully, but the damage was done. What if there were a time machine accident and they really did appear at the Met simultaneously, and specifically on February 22, 1947?

Oh, Thomas J. Watson was the Met’s Vice President in 1947 and Tante and Feter are Aunt and Uncle in Yiddish.

You can read about the Met’s history to find out more. To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Denver’s Legacy

digging in the dirt

© Connie Gayer

This is how they all see me, just some funny country hick working the land, digging in the dirt and mud. Guess that isn’t so bad. Farming was good to Pa and kept our family fed. Of course, I’d been acting since before most of my fans were born, and worked alongside some of the biggest names in TV and film. I even sponsored a fishing tournament to raise money for kid’s charities. Me and the missus even helped out the Special Olympics. No, I guess it wasn’t a bad life, but I’m a lot more than just Uncle Jesse.

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

The man in the photo superficially looks like the late actor Denver Pyle who most people would recognize as the character Uncle Jesse from “The Dukes of Hazzard” television show (1979-1985).

When I looked up Pyle (yes, his real name was Denver Dell Pyle), I saw he made a career out of guest roles in both television and film going back to the early 1950s. He also did a lot of work for children’s charities including “Uncle Jesse’s Fishing Tournament” in Lamar County, Texas.

Denver died of lung cancer on Christmas Day 1997.

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

The Old People’s Plant

house plant

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

He was smart enough not to say that out loud because his wife had just put the planter on their kitchen table.

“So what do you think?”

She’d asked a question almost as bad as “Do these pants make me look fat?”

He decided to take a risk. “I like the crystal, but I’m not sure about using it for a planter.”

“Me either. Karen gave it to me while she’s having her kitchen remodeled. Not really my style.”

He registered an internal sigh of relief. “Yes, we’re older, but we’re not that old yet.”

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

It looked to “ordinary” for me to think of anything besides a “slice of life” piece. No research involved.

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

Old Boots

old boots

Photo credit: Courtney Wright

Gilbert felt sad leaving his old boots behind. He’d had them for so many years, that they were more duct tape now than plastic and rubber.

He wore them that winter he was sleeping in an abandoned car behind Miller’s warehouse. Old Man Frank had turned him on to that one. Hit by a truck crossing the street one night. That was no way to die.

Now Gilbert had new boots, new clothes, and a new place to live, too. Being homeless was rotten, but it was still a life, and amid all the hardship, he’d made some good friends.

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

The boots looked like they belonged to a homeless person, so I went with that. I didn’t have enough room within the 100 word limit to mention the various microhouse project that are springing up in various communities to provide living space for the homeless.

Fun fact: My son Michael reminded me that at his High School Senior prom, a couple went dressed in a tuxedo and gown made entirely of duct tape. He still has the photos.

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

Angel in the Wind

Empire State building

© Jill Wisoff

“They’ll be better off without me.”

Anne McCoy kept telling herself that looking at the view from the 86th floor observatory deck of the Empire State Building. As far as the despondent woman was concerned, this would be the last thing she’d see this side of eternity.

As she launched herself into thin air, she heard a voice.

“Your life is worth more than you can imagine, my daughter.”

Then a sudden gust of wind blew her up and back, and in a moment she had returned to the observation deck, with a broken hip and a new, grand destiny.

I authored this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

The photo is unmistakably the Empire State Building, and looking up specific incidents on that site, I discovered that on December 2, 1979, Elvita Adams jumped from the 86th floor, only to be blown back onto a ledge on the 85th floor by a gust of wind and was left with a broken hip. I changed the name of the person and a few of the circumstances to create my wee tale of survival and redemption.

Oh, in Genesis 32:22-31, Jacob wrestled with an angel, and among the other consequences, had his hip injured and walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Somehow, it seemed to fit here as well.

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