St Paul’s Cathedral in London during the Blitz 1940
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I know I’ve talked about this one in the past. “The Unreal Man” was accepted for publication ages ago…and then everything stopped. Sometimes publishing houses change staff, change ideas, change goals and authors can be stuck in the middle.
However, I signed the contract with Dastaan World last night and so in about 90 days, this story will see the light of day.
This story is important to me because it’s my oldest concept. In one version or another, I’ve lived with this tale for over 40 years. I can’t wait to see it become real (or unreal).
Here’s a small sample:
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The hill seemed to get steeper everyday, but then, it really wasn’t the hill, it was him. He was getting older, always older, each and every day. He couldn’t remember the last time he could actually ride his bicycle up the hill on his way home. Was it last year? No, maybe it was five years ago? How old was he? It didn’t matter.
“Half way up.” He huffed and puffed. He got out of breath more easily these days, and he was just pushing a bike up a hill. “Have to make it home.” Home was at the top of the hill. If he could get there again, he’d be safe.
“Wait. Need rest.” He leaned against the wall. The old man couldn’t breathe and there was a terrible weight on his chest.
Then he was six years old again and racing his bike up the hill with his mates Jerry, Tommy, and Little Sam. They were all laughing and zipping between the parked cars. He made it. He was home. He was free.
I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge for 2018, Week #22. Once again, the idea is to use the image above as a prompt to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 175.
I couldn’t read the sign in the photo, even magnifying the image, so I couldn’t use that to influence my writing. Instead, I concentrated on the (presumably) old man pushing his bicycle up the hill. I let my mind drift and this tale is the result.
To read more stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.
As always, you are invited to contribute a wee tale to this linkup.
St John Church in Benwood, West Virginia (Photo: CNS)
Darwin Oliver Starling stared down at the smoldering ruins of the Vatican from the window seat on Flight 3076 which had taken off from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport ten minutes ago. Police agencies all over Europe had been investigating for a week, but so far had no clues as to the method used to initiate such mass destruction, or who had perpetrated such a heinous act.
“Heinous.” Starling whispered the word to himself. It was the worshipers of the Christian God who were heinous, and the Secret Order of Athéiste had been dedicated to wiping them from existence for the past two-hundred years.
It wasn’t just the Catholics, of course. In spite of what the news and entertainment media seemed to be pushing on the uninformed masses, Christianity wasn’t represented only by a bunch of child-molesting Priests, and American southern televangelists with big hair and greedy pocketbooks. They were everywhere.
Image: Business Insider
Jerry was finally dozing off when his doorbell rang. He had a tough time sleeping alone, but Susan and the kids were visiting her mother in California so he had the place to himself for the next week, whether he liked it or not.
“10:30 at night? Who the devil?”
Then he abruptly got out of bed and grabbed a robe. No good news arrives so late at night. What if something happened to Susan, Denise, and little Frankie? “Please don’t let it be the cops.”
Jerry pulled on his robe, turned on the front hall light, and then the one over the front door before opening it.
“Bill?” It was Bill Henderson, the guy he used to share a cubical with at work until…
“Let me in Jerry, it’s freezing out here. What took you so long to answer the door?”
“It can’t be you, Bill.”
“What? Are you blind? Of course it’s me. Let me in.”
“Why am I so tired? Where am I? Is this my bedroom? Everything’s all gray.”
Rand Chambers found himself in an indeterminate environment. He was lying down and covered up like he was in bed, but this was different. He could neither fall asleep nor wake up and was suspended in a state somewhere in between.
“You all ask the same questions. It’s as if it hasn’t been explained to you before.”
He heard a woman’s voice but it was not kind. Rather, she sounded impatient and annoyed and bored, as if she couldn’t be bothered with Rand’s condition, whatever that was.
“What do you mean? Who are you? Where are you?”