The Long Wait for Retribution

naddaf

PHOTO: Mohamed Naddaf has been jailed for at least eight years. (AAP: David Crosling)

I know why Norman Sharp was convicted of the murder of his wife Inbar Rahal in Melbourne. His story was that he found her in their car, beaten, stabbed, and bound. Sharp took her inside and treated her wounds, not calling for help because DHHS had already threatened to take their three children because of filthy home conditions.

Authorities found him hugging her corpse five days later.

He went to prison and the children to foster care.

To this day, Sharp continues to declare his innocence, and denies any knowledge of how Inbar had come to be so mistreated.

As for the Jinn who had possessed him, I’ve only been hunting him for twenty years, but his grievance with Inbar spanned centuries. One of Inbar’s ancestors had murdered his own daughter, whom the Jinn had possessed because he loved her. The Jinn had his revenge and someday, I’ll have mine.

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 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Melbourne, Australia. Naturally, I looked the place up, but there was way too much information for me to quickly decide on a topic, and I need to get the yard work done before it gets too hot.

I looked up their local news and found the ABC news story Death of woman ‘slow, miserable and avoidable,’ judge tells husband. I used the basic facts of the case as the basis of my story, changing some of the details and, of course, the names.

I also researched Exorcism in Islam and found a Jinn might possess someone because they are dangerous to the Jinn, they are in love with the person, or just because the Jinn is evil.

I created my “Jinn hunter” because I needed a narrator.

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

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The Future King

peabody

© Google, 2017 – Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University

Twelve-year-old David Cohen experienced a rare moment of awe standing in the George Peabody Library. He’d been accepted in the Cantate, a part of the Peabody Children’s Chorus, certainly a tremendous honor, but a secondary achievement.

He had started reading at age two, mastered algebra at four, spoke five languages by six, and written his first symphony by eight.

His goal now was to devour the contents of this library in under six months, just as he had already consumed most data sources accessible online.

His mother used her influence as the President of the National Academy of Sciences to conceal David’s “talents.” If the government found out his IQ was rated somewhere between 300 and 450, they’d turn him into a lab rat when his ambition was to cure the ills of the world.

But even he had no idea that one day, he would be called King and Messiah.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction 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 the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Of course, I looked it up, but it wasn’t until I paid more attention to the image above and imagined myself standing in the middle of that library that I got my “hook, or rather part of it.”

Of course, the information about the Peabody Children’s Chorus figured into my tale, as did the ScienceTrends.com article Here Is The Highest Possible IQ And The People Who Hold The World Record.

But there was still one piece missing. What sort of goals should David have? I’d picked his last name at random, but then I realized that if one were to become the long-awaited Messiah, one would certainly have to train for it.

Unlike Christianity, in Judaism, the Messiah isn’t a supernatural being, but rather a wholly human Jewish male of the line of David and the tribe of Judah, who would grow to become both a great military leader, and a person of remarkable wisdom and piety.

150 words didn’t give me enough “space” to describe his religious training and accomplishments, so they’ll have to be assumed.

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

The Exiles

faroe islands

The Faroe Islands – Found at the Hand Luggage Only website – no photo credits available

“Have you ever wondered if we left anyone behind, husband?”

The man and woman stood at the edge of a magnificent rock formation, their backs to the lake behind them, and facing the open ocean a thousand feet below.

“Like us you mean, Tori? If we have, then we’ve visited a terrible curse upon the Earth. It is why we’ve retreated to these remote islands so long ago.”

“Look Bran. A ship.”

“It will not approach. Their leader will be known as Saint Brendan.”

“The mid-sixth century? Then our ending is mere decades away.”

“Yes, beloved. The alien virus which infected our wee village in Scotland centuries ago made us long-lived but not immortal. Our consciousness is aware of all human history, but we dare not share our infection with humanity.”

“I am content to be with you here in our exile, my love.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps image/location and use it as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 145.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Faroe Islands, Kingdom of Denmark. Of course I did some research, and found that historians believe this remote group of islands located halfway between Norway and Iceland may have been inhabited in two periods before the arrival of the Norse, the first between 300 and 600 CE, and the second between 600 and 800 CE.

I also learned that Saint Brendan of Clonfert (484-577 CE) includes a description of insulae (islands) resembling the Faroe Islands in the chronicles of his journeys.

Since we know almost nothing of the pre-nordic inhabitants of the Faroe Islands, I decided to make up something fantastic. What if people in a remote northern village in Scotland were infected with a strange virus by alien visitors, giving them lifespans of centuries and the ability to know all of human history? Further, what if they’re infectious? Maybe they’d isolate themselves to prevent the rest of humanity from contracting their blessing and curse.

The distance between Scotland and the Faroe’s is roughly 620.73 km or 385.70 miles.

To read other (probably more grounded) tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Fall of Iran

iran riots

Iran Experiences Power Outages Amidst Protests – Found at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem website. No photo credit given.

“Our star is falling from the sky, President Rouhani. These power outages are simply the latest sign.”

“So it’s not merely increased energy consumption and this cursed heat wave, Reza. Does SAVAK have any indication this is the work of the Mossad or CIA?”

“Nothing conclusive. It is true that the US and Israel have always plagued us, but this time, the people are rioting without outside provocation.”

“Damned that buffoon American President. This would never have happened if Obama were still in power or that woman Clinton had won their election.”

“What should we do?”

“Tell the Ayatollahs nothing. Let them believe they can win another holy war. Meanwhile, quietly gather the other ministers. We’ll follow the Shah’s example and transfer as much of the treasury to off shore accounts as we can manage. Exile to the west is far more preferable than another revolution.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image and/or location as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 146.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Tehran, Iran. The story almost wrote itself. My main information source was the Newsweek story Iran Faces Blackouts as Protests Rock Capital.

I decided to use the 1979 Iranian Revolution as a template. In that revolution, over 2,500 years of continuous Persian rule was overthrown by the Islamists, installing Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini into power. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was supported by the United States, had to flee the country with, I suspect, as much money as he could lay his hands on.

My tale of a conversation between Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian and President Hassan Rouhani is totally fictitious of course, and I have no idea if the CIA and/or the Mossad have their fingers in these latest events in Iran. Oh, SAVAK is the Iranian secret police.

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

Who Murdered the Lady in the Lake?

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Coniston Water, Lake District, England – © Google – July 2017

Simon sighed as he read of Gordon Park’s suicide in Garth Prison. He’d been convicted of murdering his wife Carol Ann six years ago, but continued to declare his innocence, claiming that she left him for another man.

The last threat to exposing Simon died with Park.

“Poor Carol Ann. You shouldn’t have kept trying to find your birth family.”

He could still see the look on her face as he smashed it with the ice axe. If he’d piloted the boat further out onto the lake, her body would have vanished in the deeps, instead of being discovered by amateur divers on a ledge.

“I became your lover to prevent you from finding out that your mother was a prostitute and your father was a drug smuggler. Daddy’s dead, and as his only son, I’m running the family business. Sorry, dear sister. You simply got in the way.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps street image and/or 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 Coniston Water, Lake District, England. Naturally, I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered, among other things, that it was the site of the famous Lady in the Lake murder.

Carol Ann Park went missing in 1976. However, it wasn’t until her body was discovered in 1997 in the lake on a shelf seventy-five feet under the surface by amateur divers that murder was suspected. You can click the link I provided to read all of the details, but among the other facts of the case, Mrs. Park was adopted and had been attempting to locate her birth parents. When she disappeared, her husband Gordon did claim she ran off with another man. She was murdered with an ice axe, and Gordon did hang himself in prison in 2010.

Of course, I made up everything about Simon and am not suggesting that the wrong man was convicted of the crime. In writing this, I am not intending any disrespect to the Park family, and particularly not of the deceased.

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

Urartu

Taşlıçay

Taşlıçay, Ağrı, Turkey © Google Maps

He came to Taşlıçay after a snowstorm and entered Mehmet’s restaurant. The last customer had left and the proprietor had let his staff go early.

“We’re closing, Sir. I have nothing left to serve you.”

“I am not here to eat, Mehmet.” He spoke heavily-accented Turkish and appeared middle-eastern.

“What do you want?”

“To save your life. Great forces desire to take it.”

“You’re insane. Taşlıçay is a boring place. Nothing happens here.”

“After the great flood, elemental spirits, both good and evil claimed the area around Urartu and lay dormant. Tonight they rise from the temple on the hill and the höyük to the south. You are the last direct descendant of the ark, the last one who could prevent them from entering your world.”

“Who are you?”

The messenger of Hashem grew large and powerful, was armored in ethereal light, and drew a sword of silver. “They come.”

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

Today, the Pegman takes us to Taşlıçay, Ağrı, Turkey. I looked it up and there’s not much going on in Taşlıçay either currently or historically, except for a few tiny details.

I leveraged the Facebook page for Things to do in Taslicay, which provided the restaurant setting. Going through the Google maps street images, I found the one posted above, which appealed to me since summer is approaching fast.

There’s a burial mound to the south of this rural town and both an Urartu temple and Armenian monastery on the hill above the village of Taşteker. Then I read:

Urartu, which corresponds to the biblical mountains of Ararat, is the name of a geographical region commonly used as the exonym for the Iron Age kingdom also known by the modern rendition of its endonym, the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands.

Ararat is the legendary resting place for Noah’s Ark after the Great Flood of the Bible, so I thought I’d attempt to wrap all of that together into some sort of mystic tale of disaster and horror, all in 150 words. How did I do?

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

Oh, and how are these locations chosen, anyway?

Spirits of the Canyon

palo duro night

Found at the Stars of Texas – milkyway timelapse project YouTube channel

“The stars are very beautiful Travis, but I still don’t understand what you expect us to see out here. I mean camping in Palo Duro Canyon under the Milky Way is a very romantic honeymoon, but…”

“Cassie, our ancestors lived here for thousands of years before being displaced, first by the Comanche and Kiowa, and then by the Army. This had been Apache land for ten, maybe fifteen thousand years.”

“I’m not an idiot and you didn’t bring me here to give me a first nations lecture.”

“No, I didn’t. My grandfather Chano says that you can still see them here on quiet nights. If we sit peacefully by the water, they’ll appear to us just as they were.”

“Who?”

“Our ancestors. You can kill our bodies, but the Great Spirit will always preserve us.”

“Look, Travis. You’re right.” Her brown eyes grew wide with wonder.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps location and/or street view as the inspiration for crafting a tale no more than 150 words long. My word count is 146.

Today, the Pegman takes us to The Big Cave, Palo Duro State Park in Texas. Palo Duro Canyon is breathtakingly beautiful and has a rich history which, apart from the appearance of spirits, I have faithfully represented in my wee story. Click the link I just provided to read more about it.

Oh, I borrowed the names of Travis and Cassie Fox from my homage to Andre Norton’s (Alice Norton’s) science fiction novel Galactic Derelict, but besides the names, this story has nothing to do with time or space travel.

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

The Battle of Kings

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Rock cut Hindu temples of Masrur – photo attributed to Akashdeep83 – found at Wikipedia

It is said that the enmity between the Katoch and Sikh Kings perished with them, but such fierceness does not die with flesh. The Kangra Valley holds wondrous beauty and great mystery, and future historians would never be sure why the Temples of Masrur so resembled Elephanta Caves near Mumbai, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, nor do even the modern Hindus know, though they are its supposed builders.

After a long truce on the ethereal plane, Sansar Chand Katoch and Maharaja Ranjit Singh once again chose to contend with each other, their powers ever waxing. Thus on 4 April 1905 as the humans mark the passage of time, they entered into violent confrontation in the Kangra Valley, and though the visage of supernatural beings was never witnessed by mortals, the earthquake their combat caused killed more than 20,000. Would their conflict next endanger people in Cambodia or Mumbai?

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

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Kangra Valley in Northern India. This is a popular tourist attraction for a number of reasons including the Rock-cut Hindu Temples of Masrur, which also resemble in design those other locations I mentioned in my story.

There really was a devastating quake in the area in 1905, and I used some of the local history involving the Katoch and Sikh battles a century before, weaving in a supernatural element in an attempt to tie all that together.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if disasters and misfortune on the physical plane was caused by perpetual battle between long-dead Kings in the supernatural world?

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

Living Memories

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Armenian civilians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Ottoman soldiers. Kharpert, Ottoman Empire, April 1915 – Photo Credit: Anonymous German traveler – Published by the American red cross, it was first published in the United States prior to January 1, 1923.

Samvel and Samuel had a lot more in common than just their names. Sitting together at a table outside a small Parisian cafe, the former sipped his coffee, and the latter put another cube of sugar into his steaming beverage.

“I hear Israel is considering recognition of the Armenian deaths.”

“I certainly hope so. Ours is widely known, but already the world is forgetting.”

“I just wish the world would remember the 20th century’s first genocide. We both died at age five, but here we are as grown men.”

“Yes, you in your holocaust and I in mine. We have been resurrected, whether by God or some lesser but still mighty force, to be living reminders of the past.”

“We must never let the children of this century forget the children of ours, whether executed by the Ottomans or the Nazis. Now finish your coffee. We must join the others.”

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

Today, the Pegman takes us to Armenia.

Although the nation has a rich history, it’s hard not to immediately think of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and Armenian Genocide denial. I read one article that said Israel was about to recognize the Armenian Genocide and another stating that Turkey was not at all pleased by this turn of events.

Searching the web for Armenian names and finding “Samvel,” I thought having an Armenian genocide victim and a Jewish Holocaust victim together having coffee was an interesting idea. But who are they who have died so long ago and yet in our midst today? I left that rather vague, but the idea is that some “force” is causing people from the past to emerge in the present so modern people won’t forget the horrors that have occurred so many decades ago.

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

The Sins of Our Fathers

San Ignacio de Velasco, Bolivia

Near San Ignacio de Velasco, Bolivia – © Google 2018

The vintage Beechcraft AT-11 landed eight souls on a little dirt airstrip near San Ignacio de Velasco in Bolivia. Intelligence said he’d be making a stopover in this tiny hamlet to visit an old friend, another German expat.

He’d just founded Transmaritima, Bolivia’s first ocean shipping company and was anxious to brag about it, especially to other war criminals who were still cowering in fear.

The aircraft halted and the pilot killed the engines. “We’ll be returning to La Paz as soon as we refuel. We won’t be coming back unless we get your signal.”

Five of the passengers had already disembarked with their equipment. The sixth approached the cockpit. “If we don’t succeed, there will be no reason to come back.”

“You’ll succeed.”

“We plan to. The sons of Nazi butchers must wipe the blood from our hands. In less than twenty-four hours, Klaus Barbie will be dead.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take the Google maps image and location presented and use it to inspire crafting a flash fiction piece no longer than 150 words. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to San Ignacio de Velasco, Bolivia. According to Wikipedia, there isn’t much information available about the town or José Miguel de Velasco Province. However, both articles mention the area possessing a small population of the descendants of post-World War II German immigrants.

That was the hook.

Looking at this morning’s email notification from Bookbub, I’d seen a title by Tania Crasnianski (translated by Molly Grogan) called Children of Nazis which includes interviews with the children of Himmler, Göring, Höss, Mengele and others.

I also found a 1982 New York Times article about Klaus Barbie, who was the SS commander in Lyons, France between 1942 and 1944. He had fled to Bolivia after the war and unfortunately, did quite well for himself.

In the 1960’s, Barbie really did found Transmaritima, Bolivia’s first ocean shipping company, in a joint venture with the navy. I decided to put all of that together and formed an elite team of assassins, the sons of Nazi war criminals, who had taken on the mission of wiping their bloody legacy from the face of the Earth.

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

Oh, among other fun facts, San Ignacio de Velasco in the present day does have a dirt strip for an “airport.” Figured they could have one in the 1960s as well. Keep in mind this is fiction, and Barbie was not assassinated. He was eventually captured, tried, convicted, and died in prison in Lyon, France in 1991 at the age of 77.