The Last Festival

desert crossing

Found at a travel blog

“…I’m trying to erase you from my mind …you’re my religion and my belief…”

This wasn’t Yunin Obia’s first pilgrimage to the Holy City for the Festival of Qet but it would be her last. Every devotee of the God Slaz was required to travel to the great city of Shilarbor once every year for the Qet when Barkon’s orbit brought the planet closest to its sun. Motorized ground or air transport was allowed but it was considered a greater act of piety to make the journey on foot.

Yunin was healthy and relatively young and so encased in her skinsuit with the required possessions for the festival strapped across her back, she trudged across the soft sand from dusk until several hours after dawn each day stopping when it became too hot to go on. Then she slept in her insulated body tent until the desert permitted her once again move forward.

Occasionally, she would see another pilgrim in the distance. Sometimes they travelled in groups of three or four, but again, the greatly pious made the trip on foot and alone. Yunin had chosen an approach that was distant from aircraft flight paths and vehicle roads to accentuate her solitude. It also made it possible to hear the God Slaz’s voice a little sooner. She wanted to see if He knew what she was planning.

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child vampire

Child vampire – Found on Pinterest.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has announced plans to seek the death penalty for a San Jose man accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s infant daughter before beating her to death in October 2015.

Wayne Moreno, 25, had been dating the infant’s mother for roughly six weeks when she left 14-month-old Diana alone with him for the first time on October 2, 2015.

After she left, Moreno allegedly spent hours repeatedly sexually assaulting the baby. When Diana wouldn’t stop crying, Moreno beat her – resulting in multiple skull fractures, according to prosecutors.

By the time police arrived at the residence in San Jose around 2:30 p.m. Diana was already dead.

Moreno claimed the infant had been injured falling off a changing table, but an autopsy determined that was not the case. He was arrested two days later.

Moreno has been charged with murder occurring during the commission of forcible lewd acts on a child, assaulting the child resulting in her death and three separate counts of forcible lewd acts on a child.

“Wake up, Wayne.”

Wayne Moreno was in a cell in a secure wing of the Santa Clara County Jail on suicide watch. It would have been impossible to place the high-profile prisoner in the jail’s general population, and although he had not made any explicit threats of suicide, the nature of his case required the Sheriff’s Department take every precaution.

However, they couldn’t have been prepared for the impossible.

“I said wake up, Wayne.”

“Huh? Wha…?”

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What Kind of Hero


Generic superhero costume found at

“I really want to thank you for coming here today, Mr. Fellows. You don’t know what it means to the children to have their favorite superhero visit them and sign autographs.”

Actor Steven Fellows played comic book superhero “The Guardian Angel” in three solo movies plus two “team-up” films and had been a household name in America for nearly a decade. Off screen, he was known for his charity, especially toward children’s hospitals.

“You don’t have to thank me, Dr. Richards. I love being able to entertain the kids.”

The costume wasn’t comfortable and in fact, it was really awkward, but Fellows showed no signs of fatigue or regret as he greeted each child in the pediatric oncology floor with a smile and a hug. He’d been there for over two hours and all of the kids were absolutely thrilled.

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The Girl from Svay Pak

juvenile sexbot

© Shin Takagi – found at,uk

This story comes with a disclaimer and a warning. The content in this tale, though fictional, is highly disturbing. I read a number of articles recently about the creation of child sexbots as well as a report on how impoverished Cambodian mothers are selling their young daughters into the sex trade. The combination of these subjects became the inspiration for this short story. Please do not read any further if you feel you will be disturbed or object to a graphic depiction of these topics.

Canadian ex-pat Oliver Penders paid an exorbitant amount of money to eleven-year-old Kanya’s mother Sophon, but not for the services men usually pay mothers of daughters for in the Svay Pak neighborhood of Phnom Penh. Well, not exactly.

Why do mothers sell their daughter’s virginity to strange men and then into a life of sex slavery? The excuse here is extreme poverty. Sophon had gotten in deep with loan sharks who said they’d forgive her debts in exchange for Kanya going to work for them.

This was the opportunity Oliver was waiting for and he came to the rescue. He gave the 32-year-old mother of eight the money she needed, but Oliver too had a job for little Kanya.

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The Ghost in the Bathroom Mirror


Found at

“I saw the ghost again, Grandpa. I saw it when I was taking a shower.” Little Josh dissolved into tears in front of his grandparents.

“It’s okay, Josh. We’re here.” Grandpa hugged the sobbing child.

“I’m right here, little one. It’s going to be alright. We won’t let any ghost hurt you.”

“But…but how can you stop it?” His voice was muffled against the old man’s chest as Josh tried to stretch both arms around Grandpa and Bubbe.

“We’ll find a way, sweetheart.” Bubbe kissed Josh on the top of his head.

“That’s right, Josh. We’ll find a way, I promise.

Grandpa and Bubbe sat their six-year-old grandson on the sofa and held him until he felt more secure.

Grandpa knew exactly what to do to get rid of the ghost. Fortunately, his son was finally beginning to come around, and was starting to realize the woman he proposed to was only a fantasy, not a loving companion.

She was the ghost in the bathroom, the manipulator in his mind, the child abuser disguised as a future step-mom. Horribly insecure, she needed to control everyone around her. She thought she controlled Josh’s Dad, but doubt had entered his mind.

She needed to control Josh, make Josh believe she would be his new mother, that she’d be closer to him than his own Mom and even his Dad, that she’d replace everyone who really loved Josh. The little boy was terrified.

Grandpa was meeting with Josh’s Dad after the young father got off of work. Grandpa would help his son stand up for what’s right, help him protect his little boy.

Together, they were going to exorcise a ghost. In a month, little Josh would never be haunted again.


Going Home


© Dawn M. Miller

Sarah and her children had arrived at the airport by Amtrak. Against her better judgment, she’d let six-year-old Sam and four-year-old Kate order meals at the nearby McDonald’s.

They were going home, the only real home she’d ever known.

Her husband Ben had never liked her parents. They’d always seen him for who he was. Linda had been blinded by her need to be loved. She endured beatings, but finally her eyes were opened when he raised a hand against her children.

She’s rather die than let them suffer, but if Ben killed her, they’d be at the mercy of a murderer.

This was the first time the children had been on an airplane and they were so excited. In time the memories of their father would fade. They’d stop asking where he’d gone and when he was coming back.

The police were convinced he’d abandoned his family and run off with that stripper.

No one would ever find his body.

Linda would finally give her children the family they deserved.

Written in response to FFfAW Challenge-Week of February 21, 2017. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words based on the photo prompt above with 150 being the ideal. My word count came in at 175 exactly.

To see other stories based on the prompt, go to


The Summoning


© A Mixed Bag

Raul’s aged uncle found the dragon toy in an obscure curio shop in Venice. His nephew Raul loved dragons, so he sent it to him as a present.

Sasha, Raul’s sister, brought in the mail after school. Raul saw the return address and took it to his room. If Step-Father saw it, he’d throw it away.

Sasha grabbed a snack and then took off to her friend Carla’s house, where she spent most of her time. She was fourteen and he was only ten.

Raul hid the dragon in the back of his closet with his other treasures.

Step-Father came home late and drunk. Raul had his homework done but burned the frozen pizza they were having for dinner, which earned him another beating.

Later, in bed, Raul was sobbing. In the closet, the dragon’s eyes glowed green.

Next morning, Raul woke up in a soft nest in an enormous tree house, being caressed by a golden dragon.

“Rest easy, my child, she cooed. I felt your need. You will never be hurt or neglected again.”

In the people world, Sasha came home near midnight to find her house on fire. Only Step-Dad’s remains were found in the ashes.

I wrote this in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction -February 19th 2017 challenge. Based on the photo prompt above, authors are to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. Mine is 199.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to