Yūrei

Kawanabe Kyōsai’s “Boatman and Funayūrei”. An example of a funayūrei rendered as an umibōzu-like yokai.

Taketoki Washizu had been Captain of the freighter Tsukimi for almost a year. It had been a year to the day when the Tsukimi’s former master Noriyasu Odagura had perished at sea, swept from the desk of this very ship during a storm. The official board of inquiry determined his death to be a tragic accident, yet every last member of the crew suspected murder.

By rights, the Tsukimi should have been Washizu’s in the first place, or so said his wife Asaji. Ever ambitious for her husband, she kept harping on Taketoki how he had been cheated, that Nippon Supply, the company that owned the Tsukimi, should have promoted Taketoki instead of Noriyasu. She was almost fanatical that Noriyasu had used his family connections and influence with Nippon’s upper management to unjustly gain command of the freighter.

For the longest time, Taketoki didn’t want to believe it. He and Noriyasu had been friends since childhood and he was happy to be Noriyasu’s First Mate.

But Asaji kept after him, hounding him, saying she had a cousin in the CEO’s office, how she’d seen memos about Noriyasu and Taketoki, that even though Taketoki had more experience, Noriyasu was favored.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Three Women and a Story

diner

© Roger Bultot

I watched the three women asking Mel questions. He’s always had a soft spot for ladies with a sob story, but I knew he wouldn’t sell me out. He doesn’t know much anyway, except that he fills my take out dinner order for two, not one.

I feel a little sorry for them. Adolpho promised to marry each one. Too bad they met at Bingo last month and found out.

I think Adolpho is a rat too, but he is my nephew and blood is blood. Tonight I’ll get him across the border. After that, he’s on his own.

Written for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long based on the photo prompt above. Mine comes in at 99.

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

M is for Mouse

m is for mouse

© James Pyles

“Hurry up, Androcles! We’re starving over here.”

“I’m coming, I’m coming. I’ve been hauling cheese over here for hours.”

The crew of mice who had taken the Lion unawares had been laboring all day. Of course, they had to wait for a number of days after its paw was impaled by the thorn-bush for the predator to pass out from exhaustion and lack of food and water.

Then they set to work.

Continue reading

The Ascent

jump creek

Photo: Tyson White/KTVB

He’d been climbing for hours. Fortunately, he’d trained for it. Seth Minstrel was the first to get this far. He could see the tops of the jagged peaks just above him.

“I’m going to make it. I’m going to be free.”

The air was hot and humid in the valley below, the valley Seth had lived in all his life. It was the valley where generations of his people had toiled as slaves to the ruling MacGregor clan. The people grew the food, and the MacGregor’s and their thugs took half. But without the MacGregors, water wouldn’t fall down the cliffs to the south, allowing their arid valley to produce and sustain life.

The MacGregors said they should be grateful.

“Yeah, right. Grateful. You MacGregor’s have freedom and steal our food, barely allowing my people enough to eat.”

Continue reading