Missing Her

coffee cup and sunglasses

© shivamt25

His two grandkids laughed. Grandpa had given his coffee cup a face.

“What should we name him, Shelley?” The four-year-old girl twisted her face in serious contemplation, but her six-year-old brother Riley was quicker to respond. “Harold. It looks like a kid in my class.”

“What if it’s a girl coffee cup?”

“How can that be, Shel? It’s Grandpa’s coffee and Grandpa is a boy.”

“He can have a girl coffee if he wants to.”

“I think Shelley has a point, Riley. There’s no law that says my coffee can’t be a girl.”

“So what name do you want to call her?” Riley put extra emphasis on the “her”.

“Hmmmm. How about we name her after Bubbe.”

The kids got suddenly silent. It had been two weeks since his wife left to stay with her sister and “rethink” their marriage.

“I miss Bubbe, Grandpa. When is she coming home?”

“Yeah when, Grandpa?” Riley added.

“Tonight I’ll call her and say I miss her too.” Riley and Shelley cheered.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of September 26, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 168.

Things are fine at home, thanks. This isn’t about me or anyone really. I’m just aware how my grandchildren miss their Bubbe (Yiddish for Grandma) when she’s not around and thought I’d increase the tension a bit. Besides, the coffee cup and sunglasses does kind of look like a face.

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

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Pretending to be One of You

city at night

© Pamela S. Canepa

The night. So dark, so comforting, especially in the early Autumn. But it’s too busy, too many people, too much traffic. I’ll wait until later.

In the meantime, I’ll pretend to be one of them. A man going home after working late at the office. Someone commuting to her night shift job. A young couple going out to dinner and a movie. An older couple off to see a play. I’m just one of them, a nameless person in the crowd, moving along the sidewalk, past businesses and apartment buildings. Waiting for the light to change, crossing the intersection.

Finally, the crowds thin, the pace slows, the night deepens. No one can see my scars. Her house is just ahead. She used to be my wife. They used to be my children. But then war changed me. They said “go home, go back to your old life.”

The war changed me. The man I was died. I am only a soldier. They call me a “homeless vet,” like it was a badge of honor.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of September 19, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 175 words long. My word count is 174.

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

The Incomplete Circle

man and flowers

© shivamt25

Today Sanjay became a grandfather. He fondly recalled his own grandfather, who helped him understand we make our own joy rather than depending on possessions or people’s opinions. When his parents died, grandfather raised and comforted the boy.

The old man died and Sanjay went to America taking his grandfather’s spirit with him. Otherwise, he would have remained alone and bitter in a strange land. Instead, he met Riya. She fell in love with the old man’s soul Sanjay nurtured within him.

Life was good with their three sons and one daughter. Now it was his daughter Saanvi who married and had given birth. Sanjay held newborn Divit. “I love you so much. I promise you all the love I have. Someday, you’ll love your children and grandchildren the same way.

Yesterday, Dr. Benedict, his oncologist gave him good news. His cancer was in remission. “There’s no promises, but right now, you’re cancer free.”

“Promises are from God, Doctor. I know I will live to care for many grandbabies.”

Within Sanjay, his own grandfather smiled.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of September 12, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as inspiration to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words. My word count is 175.

The fellow in the picture seemed so happy and the environment, particularly the flowers, made me think of a hospital waiting room. I decided to create something optimistic, and being a Grandpa myself, this is what I wrote.

In editing and re-reading the story, I feel it a bit forced. Really, it’s something that requires about 200 words or a little more to flesh out. Hopefully, this will do.

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

When Adam Awoke

hand

© artycaptures.wordpress.com

The light was too bright at first but then his eyes adjusted. He took a deep breath and exhaled feeling pleasure at the rise and fall of his chest. He looked at the clacking sound above him. Something turning around and around. A cool breeze came from it. It felt nice.

He sat up and realized this thing in front of him was his. He lifted it up. Moved the digits, Turned it back and forth. It did everything he thought about. He giggled. It was fun.

Another sound to his left. Something opened. Adam was scared. He tried to speak but it came out as a moan. Who’s that?

“There, there, dear boy. Don’t be afraid. I’m your doctor. I’m here to help. My staff and I will take care of you.”

He walked closer. He seemed friendly but Adam was nervous.

“You’re name is Adam. I told you that before when you woke up after the operation. My name is Dr. Frankenstein, Victor Von Frankenstein. I think we’re going to become good friends.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of September 5, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for writing a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

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

How Can We Get You To See Us?

shops

© Jade M. Wong

“You really think this will replace the statue in Columbus Circle, Sky?”

“Of course not, Corey. I created this in protest. The city still won’t remove the Columbus statue, in spite of our petition. Seattle, L.A., even Phoenix for Christ’s sake have changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. When will New York wake up?”

“Something that looks like a pregnant albino donut shot with arrows and bleeding is going to raise awareness?”

“You have no concept of art, Corey.”

“I’m telling you sis, they’ll ignore us just like they always have.”

“What’s your bright idea?”

“Shedding real blood would get their attention.”

“We’ve lost every war we’ve ever had with them, Corey. That’s why most of our people live on the res in poverty and alcoholism. We’ve got to make them see us, hear us, and understand us. If your group gets violent, they’ll dismiss us just like “Black Lives Matter.” You’re an author, Corey. A storyteller. Tell our story and keep telling it until they have to listen. Please. There’s no other way.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of August 29, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I noticed the image had the words “Shops at Columbus Circle” so I started there, and then read more about Columbus Circle itself including the statue of Christopher Columbus. I recalled reading some news about Indigenous Peoples’ Day and how it’s gaining traction in possibly replacing Columbus Day in some communities.

Combined with the piece of art shown in the photo, I decided to create this story.

How do you get a large, powerful group of people to listen to you? Peaceful protests are often ignored, and disruptive, violent protests and even riots, while they get a great deal of attention, usually result in a negative label being attached to the protestors. Making seemingly unreasonable and outrageous demands such as these just results in you becoming the object of ridicule (although to be fair, Snopes.com puts a different spin on the matter).

So what’s the answer?

I don’t know if I have one except to keep telling your story and take the moral high road. If you don’t back down, if you keep your story in front of people but you do so in a way that shows you in a positive light, then eventually people of good conscious will be able to enter into a dialog and then real change will begin. At least that’s my hope.

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

Strange Curses

junk on sidewalk

© Yarnspinner

“I’ve got nothing. What about you, Munoz?”

Alicia Munoz shook her head. “Beats me, Lambert. My Abuela said she was a Bruja and did some pretty strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Secret Service Agents Munoz and Dallas Lambert were investigating the objects in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Eleven small pots, burnt wood, a collection of stones and bricks, a bag containing feathers, and a plastic water bottle.

“The eclipse maybe?”

“Maybe. The crazies are coming out of the woodwork over it.”

“Has the suspect said anything, Munoz?”

“Hunt and Murray are doing the interrogation. Let me call in…”

Alicia’s cell rang. “Munoz here.”

“It’s Hunt. You won’t believe it. Suspect’s told us everything.”

“What?”

“He’s Stephen Keller, homeless, in and out of state mental hospitals.”

“So what’s this crazy shit in front of the White House.”

“Get this. He was cursing the President. He was cursing Trump with blindness.”

“What, he wants Trump to look at the eclipse without his protective glasses? That is nuts. Oh, Hazmat’s here. Gotta go.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of August 22, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 174 and I had to do a lot of editing to get my original story down to that size.

Yesterday, the “twitterverse” went nuts because President Donald Trump really did look briefly at the solar eclipse without his protective glasses. I saw the video and he glanced up just for an instant and may not have looked directly at the sun. Still, it was a foolish thing to do since even the tiniest bit of exposure can result in eye damage. Nevertheless, I’ve not heard any subsequent reports that he’s suffered from vision loss.

I made up all the stuff about a curse and I have no idea what any of the objects in the photo are used for. I had to think of something, though.

By the way, “Abuela” is “Grandmother” in Spanish and “Bruja” means “witch”.

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

Reggie

coffee cup goo

© artycaptures.wordpress.com

“What the hell is it, Neil?”

“I don’t know, Doctor. It was in my coffee cup when I opened the lab this morning.”

Louise Manners wrinkled her nose. “I told you never leave your dishes in the lab over the weekend. We work with biological…”

“Doctor, how could left over coffee turn into…into that?”

“We’d better not expose ourselves. Get the Hazmat gear. Let’s get it into a containment box.”

“Oh, there you are, you naughty fellow.”

Louise and Neil whirled at the sudden intrusion. Archie, the night janitor, was standing at the doorway. Ignoring them, he headed for Neil’s cup.

“That’s not your coffee.” He became aware of the two biologists staring at him.

“My pet fungus Reggie. I bring him to work with me for the company.”

Archie turned back to the cup. “You come with me now.” Walking out of the lab with the cup, Archie called over his shoulder. “I’ll bring this back tonight.”

Neil turned to Louise. “Pet fungus?”

“Neil, what if we could market it? Let’s get to work.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of August 15, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 175.

To me, the image seemed hideous and humorous at the same time. I was in the midst of writing but having trouble creating the twist at the end until I considered Simon Pegg’s rather funny take on the character of “Scotty” in the “Star Trek” reboot movies (the movies themselves aren’t that great, but I like Pegg’s performance). The story then wrote itself.

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

Shuǐmǔ

bike

© Dorothy

“Bai. don’t give up now. She must be nearby. I can feel it.”

“We’ve pedaled long enough my brother Heng. It’s a hoax.”

“No. If we find her, we’ll be rich.”

“There is no ‘her’, Heng. We are being manipulated by a wealthy eccentric.”

“Send 68 pairs of contestants on tandem bicycles to search for the Shuǐmǔ? Why would anyone do such a thing if she wasn’t real?”

“Who knows? Boredom? Proving that people are basically stupid? Maybe he’s right.”

“The Shuǐmǔ is supposed to be a priceless treasure. The indicator, Bai. We’re close.”

Heng suddenly jumped off the bike and ran toward a building surrounded by dozens of identical bicycles. He ran inside.

“Heng, wait.” Bai’s shorter legs were pumping as fast as they could.

“Statues. Nothing but statues.”

“Heng, I recognize these statues. Our competition.”

“Hello, boys. I guess you found me,” she smirked.

Shuǐmǔ

Shuǐmǔ

Heng turned to stone before Bai’s eyes. Then Bai too became unmoving.

“When will that old fool stop sending his pawns after me? Money cannot buy the services of Medusa.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW writing Challenge for the week of August 8th. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 175 exactly.

I started writing with no clear end in mind, not even a real story. I just thought of two brothers being part of a competition, not a race so much as a scavenger hunt to find something valuable. I needed a tragic end which is when I wondered if the name “Medusa” has a Chinese counterpart. As it turns out, it does.

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

Missing

kayaks and sea

© TJ Paris

Their equipment sat quietly on the beach next to a placid sea. There was no sign of danger, no storm clouds, no menacing fog, nothing to say that Brad’s and Cheryl’s disappearance was the result of foul play or misadventure.

The two kayaks, life jackets, and oars were left abandoned when they should have been the fruition of a vacation they’d planned together for years.

Carolina Beach Detective Philip Lewis was baffled. How the hell did the Conklins just vanish?

“I don’t get it, Lewis. Broad daylight. Calm seas. No signs of struggle. What happened here?”

“Who knows, Davis. Alien abduction maybe?”

Junior Detective Estella Davis blurt out a short laugh. “I wouldn’t put that in a police report. What now?”

“Do our due diligence. Maybe someone saw something. Assign some uniforms to canvas the area and start asking questions.”

By nightfall, Brad and Cheryl Conklin were thousands of miles away traveling separately under different identities. The money Cheryl embezzled would let them live like royalty when they met again in Belize.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the week of 8-01-2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction based on the photo prompt above of between 100 and 175 words, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 172.

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

Julio the Explorer

boat

© The Storyteller’s Abode

Stranded on a sandbar, Julio pointed to the rocks ahead of him and loudly declared, “I claim this land in the name of Philip the First, King of Portugal.”

Some said he was drunk. Some said he was mad. The children pointed at him and laughed, making up silly and insulting rhymes about Crazy Julio.

“I don’t care what you think. I claim this land. It is mine. King Philip will honor me.”

“King Philip has been dead for over four-hundred years.”

“To you maybe little one, but he lives for me.”

Julio jumped from his boat with a small Portuguese flag in his hand. “I shall plant this here in honor of Philip and Portugal.”

The children laughed and ran away. They’d like to have come back later to steal the flag, but it really was his estate. His family had owned the land in California for generations. Julio was neither drunk nor mad. He just liked to have fun and to entertain the children.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for Week of July 25, 2017. The idea is to use the photo above to prompt the writing of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long with 150 words being the ideal. My word count is 166.

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