Sherlock and the Doctor

dr who

© A Mixed Bag 2013

“This is ridiculous, Watson. I deal in facts, not fiction.”

The two men had just stepped onto Baker street after exiting their flat and made, what to one of them, was a startling discovery.

“But I tell you, Sherlock, this Police Box wasn’t here when we went to bed last night. How could it have been installed so early on a Sunday morning?”

“I envy you sometimes, Watson. Not often, but sometimes. You’re mind is so simple and uncluttered. Obviously this is a hoax. See, the word ‘Demo’ is clearly posted on the door, and the door itself is locked.”

“How do you know it’s locked?”

“Try it.”

“Ugh. Yes, you’re right. I can’t budge it, Sherlock.”

“Come along, Watson. We’ll be late for our breakfast appointment and I believe our next case.” The tall, eccentric man called out toward the street. “Taxi!” Abruptly, their transportation stopped in front of 221B Baker Street. The duo entered and then rapidly departed.

Moments later, the door of the Police Box slowly opened and a befuddled older gentlemen stuck his head out. “Are they gone?”

I wrote this for the writing challenge at Sunday Photo Fiction for August 13th 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 186.

I think sometime back in the 1970s I watched a few episodes of Doctor Who (Tom Baker was playing the Doctor then) but have no interest in its current incarnation (mainly because I’d have to “catch up” by watching over 50 years of episodes and who has that kind of time?).

On the other hand, I’m slowly working my way through the more recent BBC television show Sherlock (currently in the middle of the second season) starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. I thought I’d throw the two together just to see what would happen.

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

Visiting Home

small town

© J Hardy Carroll

The young reporter stood at one end of a torn up sidewalk in the heart of his home town. The place was going through growing pains again as city workers discovered it was worth a longer commute from rural towns in exchange for affordable housing, a lower crime rate, and cleaner air. There were times when Clark wished he could move back here too, but his career kept him in the midst of the city, the world really.

He tried to come back once a month to visit Ma, but as always, he’d never be able to stay long. He had his job to think about, and then of course he had his other job that was continually demanding his time and effort. He was fine with the fact that the world would always need Superman. Sometimes though, he wished they’d let him have just a few days so he could have the freedom to visit Ma and to be just a country boy who was raised in Smallville.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fictioner photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to inspire crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 169.

This photo looked like a small, rural town being forced to grow to accommodate an influx of commuters. There are plenty of places like that near where I live in Boise, Idaho. But a growing town doesn’t sound particularly exciting, at least to me, unless you consider that just like any small town kid, sometimes Clark Kent wants to hang up his cape for a few days and go home to visit his Ma.

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

Loose Nuts and Bolts

“So that’s where I left you.” He addressed the pristine pieces of metal on the kitchen table.

Sunder Paz had been assigned some DIY problems by Dr. Reuven as a test of his reasoning abilities as well as how he functioned independently. He had been performing a routine maintenance task when he was distracted by the doorbell. Dr. Reuven was teaching at the university, so Sunder had the place to himself.

It was the UPS delivery person and he required a signature. Sunder signed his name (he thought having a name was a wonderful thing) and accepted the package. However by the time he closed the door and put the parcel on the coffee table, he’d quite forgotten what he’d been doing before. It took Sunder over fifteen minutes of searching the house before he rediscovered the small collection of nuts, bolts, and washers.

“I’m glad I found you. Now I can finish re-assembling my short term memory unit. Dr. Reuven will be so pleased.”

I created this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a small tale of 200 words or less. My word count is 165.

When I saw the photo, it seemed so sterile that for a moment I was stuck for an idea. Then the phrases “losing your marbles” and “loose nuts and bolts” popped into my head and my story was born.

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

The Synthetic Men of Mars

alien head

© A Mixed Bag 2009
[Synthetic Alien Head from the National Space Centre, Leicester, UK]

“So why bring me here to see a bloody fake alien head, Ian?”

“It’s synthetic Dolores, not fake.”

“What’s the difference?”

“The difference, you silly twit, is that fake means it’s totally not alien. Synthetic means it’s an artificial head made by aliens.”

“Now that’s just stupid.”

“No it’s not. Listen. I was talking to the Professor and…”

“The Professor is just some homeless bloke who lives in the park and who’s been off his nut for years.”

“He’s smart, I tell you. He says he’s done his research on the head and it belongs to a race of synthetic men created by aliens to take over the Earth.””

“Oh is that so? Then why didn’t they take over?”

“Turns out that the old H.G. Wells novel wasn’t entirely fiction. The synthetics had no immunity to our diseases. They all died out because they caught the cold.”

“You are so gullible, Ian. Now take me to the cinema like you promised.”

The National Space Centre curator Patrick Moore had been listening to the conversation. “Damn kids came too close to the truth. I see sacking the Professor wasn’t enough. I’ll have to take stronger measures.”

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for July 30th 2017. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long based on the image above. My word count is 195.

Since the caption read “synthetic” rather than “fake,” I thought I’d take my cue from that for my story. The title is from the old Edgar Rice Burroughs novel Synthetic Men of Mars which is the ninth book in his “John Carter of Mars” series. Of course, I’m also suggesting that the H.G. Wells novel “War of the Worlds” had some basis in fact. But it’s just all for fun.

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

Lunch at Antiques

Jeremy wanted to think of someplace creative for his first date with Clare. They met at an online dating site and she said she felt more comfortable having lunch with him.

“Antiques” was both a restaurant and an antique shop. They served “retro-cuisine” styled for the ’50s and ’60s. He hoped she’d like it, that it would tell her he was innovative and fun.

He was sitting on an old, blue wooden chair when he heard a voice behind him.

“Excuse me, are you Jeremy?”

He stood and turned. “Yes I am. Charmed to meet you, Clare.”

She extended her right hand and he took it, lightly brushing his lips against her skin. Then he held the seat opposite his out for her to sit in.

This was his first date in nearly forty years. Ellen died last fall and his children told him he didn’t have to be lonely for the rest of his life. Clare’s children told her the same thing.

Written for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2017: Week #29 challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as inspiration for a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 163.

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

The Mission

mission

A Mixed Bag 2009

The tall man with white hair wearing a conservative business suit opened the door of the amusement park ride and stepped into what looked like a spaceship. The park was deserted which is exactly what he expected. Under the seat was a tape recorder and an envelope. He opened the envelope and turned on the tape.

“Good morning Mr. Phelps. What you see is a schematic for the craft you are sitting in. Although it’s disguised as a carnaval ride, it is really of alien origin. If you accept this mission we want you to determine who built it and what it’s purpose is.

As always if you or any of your team are caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow your actions. This tape will self-destruct in ten seconds. Good luck, Jim.

Jim Phelps set the tape recorder on the floor, and as the tape smoked and burned, his brilliant mind began to create a plan.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction – July 23rd 2017 (which by the way is my birthday). The idea is to use the photo prompt above as inspiration for a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 157.

For some reason, just seeing the image reminded me of those odd location where Jim Phelps would have to go to get his next Mission: Impossible assignment. Because the image looks both like an amusement park ride and a spaceship, I thought I’d have a little fun.

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

The Artifact

the white horse pub

© A Mixed Bag 2014

Ross Murdock sat in Dover’s White Horse Pub sipping ale, silently cursing Gordon Ashe for staying behind. Ashe was the archaeologist. Murdock, a former thief, was Ashe’s student and did what he was told to avoid prison.

“Is this seat taken?” The tall man, dark hair, full beard, spoke heavily accented English.

“Pull up a chair.”

“Merci.” The Frenchman sat, putting his glass on the table. “I’m Alex Besnard. You were expecting me.”

“Ross Murdock.” Neither man attempted shaking hands.

“Actually, you were expecting this.” Besnard reached into his pocket and pulled out something wrapped in cloth. Murdock took it and unwrapped the “prize.”

The stoic cynic’s eyes widened. It really was a Forerunner artifact.

“Dated to 2,000 BCE, give or take. Found a few kilometers from here.”

Murdock put the object into his pocket and then used his mobile to send the payment.

Besnard checked his cell. “Merci beaucoup.” The smuggler stood and walked away.

Concrete evidence the extraterrestrial Forerunners visited Earth over 4,000 years ago. Ashe would be able to date the artifact more accurately so the time portal could be set. It was now a race with the Soviets as to which one would reach the Forerunner technology first.

NOTE: To read the next story in this series, go to The Traders.

The first story in this series is The Recruit followed by Escape.

I was able to identify the location in the photo above as Dover after magnifying the image and reading the sign in front of the White Horse Pub. Archaeological finds have determined that Dover has been inhabited since the Stone Age, which gave me my hook.

When I was in Junior High (many decades ago), I discovered a book in the school library called The Time Traders. It was the first of a series of science fiction novels written by Andre Norton (pseudonym for the late Alice Mary Norton). The first novel was published in 1958 with the premise that a race of advanced alien beings, later identified as “the Forerunners” had visited Earth sometime in the last ice age.

Thief Ross Murdock is recruited by the government for a team, along with archaeologist Gordon Ashe, to travel back to Britain’s Bronze Age posing as traders in order to gather information and maybe direct access to a Forerunner ship. The problem is the Soviets also have time travel technology and know about the Forerunners, so it’s a race against time (literally) as to which side will acquire advanced alien technology first.

I updated this cold war thriller to suit my purposes. I still have copies of “The Time Trader” and its immediate sequel Galactic Derelict. I did manage to read one of the more modern “Forerunner” novels some years back, but there was such a gap between the late 1950s stories and the one I found at my public library that it was more frustrating than satisfying to read.

I wrote this in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction – July 9th 2017 challenge. The idea is to take the image above and use it as an inspiration to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is exactly 200, cut down from about 306.

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

Thurren’s Cairn: A Brief Love Story

the dragon and the princess

© A Mixed Bag 2011

“Now we can be together forever, Charlotte.”

“I hold you dearly in my heart, Thurren, but you are a dragon and I am a Princess. We can never be together, forever or otherwise. I will grow up and one day be Queen. You will grow large and mighty and be a prize sought after by every Knight in the realm.”

The two, secret companions since childhood, sat by Thurren’s Cairn, their favorite meeting place. The roses were in bloom and the vines crept up and around the stone pillar speaking of a love which could not be.

Charlotte we really can be together forever. Come away with me.”

“But how can I abandon my responsibilities, no matter how I may feel for you?”

“Actually Princess, but you already did, the minute we fell in love.”

Thurren’s Cairn stood near a pond. He took Charlotte’s “hands” and led her there to her reflection.

“It’s like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in reverse. Your love for me has freed you.”

Charlotte gazed at her reflection with a combination of horror and fascination. She was now a dragon. She and Thurren would have to flee quickly to escape her Knights.

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction for July 2nd 2017. The idea is to use the photo prompt as the basis for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is exactly 199.

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

Uninvited

eric wicklund

© Eric Wicklund

“Do you see, Sky? I wasn’t kidding. They’re really there.”

It had taken nine-year-old Gray almost half an hour to convince his twelve-year-old sister to follow him into the woods behind their campground. He knew she wouldn’t believe him unless she saw them for herself. Mom and Dad were busy setting up for the concert so it was easy to get away.

Sky’s face was right next to the hole in the tree, only the tree didn’t have a hole on the other side.

“I don’t believe it,” she whispered to herself.

“Believe it, Sky. They’re elves or fairies or something.”

“We have to be looking into some other world, Gray. But how is this possible?”

Through the green lens set in the tree’s natural depression she could see what Gray had already witnessed, tiny people with wings dancing and fluttering together as if in celebration.

Suddenly, they both heard a buzzing getting louder and a miniature face of gold with an impish smile appeared. “Excuse me, but this is a private party. Go back to your own summer solstice celebration.”

With that, a door slammed and the hole to the other world was denied the children.

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – June 25th 2017 photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration for a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.

When I first saw the image, the green looked like glass instead of the leaves of trees, so I pretended it was a portal to another world (my favorite theme lately). Gray and Sky are part of a group of families who travel to a remote wooded location every year and have a concert to celebrate the coming of summer.

It seems the little people on the other side of the hole do something similar.

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

The Funny Looking Bird

eagle

© A Mixed Bag 2012

Generalissimo Ramon Carlos DeLaVega, his revolution successful and his dictatorship now well established, ordered his family symbol placed upon all government buildings to inspire the public’s fear and awe of him.

The largest one was placed on the wall over the main gates to his compound. He had lights and cameras positioned to record how everyone reacted when seeing the powerful avian predator.

“Why are they laughing?” DeLaVega asked the same question day after day as he reviewed the morning videos showing the children walking to school. They would all stop in front of the gates, point up, and laugh, then gleefully skip along.

Unfortunately, Generalissimo DeLaVega’s family symbol bore a striking resemblance to the muppet Sam the Eagle. The children loved muppets.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction – June 18th 2017 writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 123.

Yes, the first thing I thought of when I saw the photo was the muppet character Sam the Eagle.

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

sam the eagle

Found at muppet.wikia.com