The Imagination Tree

patio table and tree

© Fatima Fakier Deria

The snow had finally melted around the big imagination tree. He took his laptop out and sat alone. The kids were all grown and the grandkids had their sports. The missus was visiting their daughter across town. All the chairs around the table were empty except for his.

But not for long.

He started writing and they popped in one by one, the sentient robot, the astronaut on Mars, the World War Two British spy. His world was full as the tree looked down at her guests.

Time enough to write before the family all came home for Sunday dinner.

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

Last Sunday morning, it snowed one to two inches when it wasn’t supposed to. By yesterday afternoon, all of the snow had melted off and highs were near 60 degrees F. The scene in the photo reminded me of early spring somewhat, a time when it’s still cool out, but warm enough to start doing more things outside again…like writing.

I saw all of those empty chairs but I didn’t want to do another “old man alone” or “old man contemplating life” story. So I filled those chairs with fictional characters. Don’t worry. As I implied, the real people will come along for dinner.

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

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Starting Small

tiny writer

© Goroyboy

“Oh my god, look at those cuticles. Your nails need help, Larry.”

“Hush, Violet. This isn’t about my nails. Worry about your own nails.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What’s with the tiny quill pen. Miniature calligraphy?”

“My long suffering wife, you know my handwriting sucks.”

“Then what’s up, dearest but daffy husband?”

“Hand me the itsy-bitsy inkwell, will you?”

“Sure, but you didn’t answer my question.”

“I think my fingers are cramping.”

“Larry!”

“Okay, okay. Don’t shout. You’ll break my concentration.”

“Ha, it’s been broken for…”

“I know what you’re going to say.”

“Well?”

“You know how I’m always saying I want to write this epic novel.”

“Right, and six years later, no novel.”

“Agreed with chagrin. I’ve finally realized that I can’t go from nothing to epic.”

“So you decided to start small. This is a bit literal isn’t it?”

“Yes, but I just finished my first small project. Want me to read it to you?”

“I’d be delighted. Let me get my coffee first.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of March 6, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 165.

Yes, the first thing I noticed was the condition of the cuticle on the writer’s thumb and how the nail was cut (not dissimilar to my own) and only then the tiny quill pen. I decided to let the literal describe the state of many of us in the blogosphere, authors with grand dreams desperately trying to crawl off the drawing board or the sheet of paper.

You have to start somewhere and often that somewhere is a very small place.

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

Reaper

soul sucker

Photo credit: Google – Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

“Come on, lover. Don’t be shy. We’ve got the room for an hour. Let’s have fun.”

The money had already changed hands and Angel was lying on the bed with her blouse open and her jeans tossed on the floor.

“Can’t say I’m shy, Baby.” He pulled off his shirt and got on top of her. He’d seen her on a street corner just off of Fremont Street and they settled on a price. She thought he was a dope because he didn’t haggle, but then it wasn’t just money that she wanted, and she certainly wasn’t doing it for the sex.

“Just a little bit closer. Come on. I don’t bite.” She almost laughed because she was lying through her teeth.

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Aftermath

train

The Sunset Limited eastbound in 2004 – Found at Wikipedia

The Eleventh Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

Jonathan Harker had boarded the Amtrak train hours ago at the station on Folsom Street. He’d never been on a train in his life besides BART and the Napa Valley Wine Train but these were part of the instructions he’d been given. He’d have rather gotten on a plane. Jonny wanted to leave of the Bay Area behind. Watching the scenery roll by all too slowly reminded him of her and she was the one person in all the world he desperately wanted to forget, though of course he never would.

He had met Dolengen months ago at an after hours place called “Delirium.” His best friend Bobby had conned him into it. Bobby knew he’d just asked Lucy to marry him but his “wingman” thought he deserved one last night on the town. Bobby wanted to introduce him to two young women he’d just met, Verona and Dol.

It wasn’t long before Verona and Bobby disappeared and almost against his will, he found himself following the raven-haired Dol into a back room containing few other items of furniture besides a bed.

Dol wasn’t a prostitute but she did want something from Jonny, his sex and his blood. Dolengen looked like she couldn’t be older than twenty-five but she had died a century ago in Central Europe and been reborn a vampire.

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Getting the Stuffing Out

stuffed animals

Image: weplayreplay.com

In our last adventure, Landon magically discovered what happened to the living stuffed animals but in the process, both he and his friend Ana were transformed into stuffed toys and trapped in the stuffed animal universe.

“Landon! What happened to me? What did you do?”

“I’m sorry, Ana. I was trying to bring the stuffed animals back to life but the spell went wrong somehow.”

“But…but how can I be…stuffed?” Ana looked at her hands in astonishment not recognizing them as her own.

Meanwhile, the living stuffed animals were so happy to see Landon, even as a stuffed boy, that they all crowded around him giving him a big group hug.

“Guys, I love you too, but we have a big problem.”

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Falling Down the Bardo

vairocana

Image of the four-headed Vairocana or the celestial Buddha who is often interpreted, in texts like the Flower Garland Sutra, as the Dharma Body of the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama).

“What happened?” Daine Ramsey found herself in a tunnel of light. She had no idea how she had gotten there or where she’d been a moment ago.

“What do you see?”

The voice was unrecognizable. It wasn’t just that Daine didn’t know who was speaking, she couldn’t even tell if it were a man or a woman. It was more like listening to music but the music made words without a voice.

“Who are you? Where is this place?”

“What do you see?”

“There’s a light.” Daine tried hard to see the other end but it was so bright. “I see a path. Will it take me out of here?”

The “voice” didn’t respond.

“Hello?”

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The Trailer to Heaven

rainbow

© @Any1Mark66

There’s lots of beautiful scenery in Utah as you drive down Interstate 15 but that one part of my trip didn’t have any. Just flat, dry desert and sagebrush. Sure, there’s the odd building or two, but nothing you’d want to stay in. Well, except maybe for that trailer sitting there just off the highway.

No pot of gold or leprechaun lives there, but all the same, everyday when the sun is shining, there’s a rainbow that ends right at the trailer, visible from any angle. What causes it? Beats me. No one goes near, though. Something happens if you try. It gets harder, like walking through water until it’s like walking through rock.

I drive to Southern Utah to visit Mom sometimes. She’s not doing so well. Dementia, you see. She’s the only one who knows why there’s a rainbow over that trailer, though.

“That’s the entrance to Heaven, Jimmy. That’s where your Dad went when he passed.”

I didn’t believe her but then I looked into her eyes. There were rainbows in them.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of January 16, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image at the top of the page to inspire you to author a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

That desert could easily be found in some parts of Utah and most parts of Nevada and I have made the trip to Mom’s more than a few times. I didn’t want to write about leprechauns or pots of gold, so I had to think of another treasure. Fortunately, the answer presented itself.

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

Caged

cat

Snow leopard

They think I’m inferior because I’m in their cage. I’m inferior because I look differently, act differently, have different morals and values than they do. They think they are so superior and they laugh at me, calling me names because to them I’m just an animal.

I want revenge. I want to strike back, shove their vile lying taunts down their flabby throats.

No. That didn’t work the last time when we were the superior ones and they were in our cages. It never works because one or the other always suffers.

There are only two options. The desirable one is to co-exist, to treat each other with mutual respect and dignity. But how? We are so different and we are being driven further apart by radical extremists who each say one side must win for anything to be good. But that means the other side much be crushed under the victor’s heel.

The other choice is mutual annihilation. Let God sort out the bodies and start anew. God. They hate me even for that, believing they are the ultimate moral and creative force in the universe.

They may have me in their cage but we’re all in a prison.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of January 14th 2018. The idea is to use the image above to inspire writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Normally, I’m pretty literal in my interpretation of the prompts, but lately I’ve been inundated with politically and socially driven rhetoric from both sides of the fence (as if there were only two sides). That, plus the false alarm stating that Hawaii was under missile attack really set me off.

Both conservatives and liberals seem to think that their side must “win” in order to save their country or the world or something. That means, they have to marginalize, denigrate, and “cage” those who aren’t exactly like them.

Sure, there have been differing political and social opinions ever since there has been civilization, but it seems like the past eight to ten years or so in the U.S. that it’s gotten much, much worse. I sometimes feel I’m on one or more groups’ “hit list” because of my views, or just because I’m old, white, and male, but I don’t doubt that others feel the same way.

So what options are there? Like I said, there are two. The first is to make an effort to understand each other and allow the moderate position, which is currently being violently choked to death, to grow larger again. Really try to see the other person’s point of view and why they feel so concerned about whatever issues are important to them (it doesn’t mean we’ll always agree, but at least we’ll understand that we’re all human).

The other is to destroy ourselves and let God or Mother Nature or whatever force larger than humanity you believe in (unless you believe humanity is the ultimate moral force in the universe) to take over and start again.

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

They Will Run You Down in the Dark

kaleo

Icelandic band Kaleo

Oh, father tell me, do we get what we deserve?
Oh, we get what we deserve

From the song “Way Down We Go”
Songwriters: Daníel Kristjánsson Davíð Antonsson Jökull Júlíusson Rubin Pollock
Performed by Icelandic rock band “Kaleo”

The Eighth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

It was said that Colton Boudreaux could trace his line all the way back to Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, more commonly known as Cardinal Richelieu. Of course this couldn’t be literal as the famous (or infamous) 17th century French Cardinal had no offspring, at least as history records. However, Richelieu did have those young men and women he favored (though he himself was favored by few) and he did strongly support the colonization of New France (in what is modern-day Canada).

Boudreaux more factually could claim a line to the descendants of Acadian exiles—French-speakers from L’Acadie in what are now the Maritimes of Eastern Canada. These were from the French colonists who settled in Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries, some of whom are also descended from the Indigenous peoples of the region.

He was proudly Cajun, ostensibly Catholic, and secretly the head of one of the sects of the Van Helsing religious order, vampire hunters.

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When Erica Walks in Darkness

portal

© Sue Vincent

Erica knew she had been down this corridor before but she couldn’t remember when. She wanted to stop, turn around, and go back the way she’d come, but she didn’t recall where she’d been before now. The corridor was cold but it felt warm ahead where the light was coming from.

“Come now, Erica. Don’t dawdle.”

A man’s voice. He sounded familiar but she didn’t know from where.

She took another step forward, then another. She stopped and looked down. A simple, white blouse, plain woolen skirt with the hem down to her knees, black patent leather shoes. She was dressed almost like a schoolgirl, but she knew she was an adult. Erica started walking toward the light again. Then she was at the entrance to the room.

Even standing at the threshold, it was hard to see. There was a fireplace, a piano, chairs, a small sofa, all early 19th century, all very expensive. The portrait over the mantle was of a distinguished gentleman. It was the same man who had called to her, who was standing just to the right of the very same mantle holding a drink in his left hand. He offered it to her.

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