The Valentine Saint

snow

© Dale Rogerson

“It’s so pretty, Daddy. I’ve never seen so much snow before.” Anna had just turned ten and although she’d lived in Colorado all her life, she’d never seen snow because she’d always been blind.

“Yes it’s pretty, Anna. It’s your Valentine’s Day present.” She smiled and hugged him.

“Do I have to go to school tomorrow?”

“Not enough to call it a snow day. Besides, you’ll get to see all of your friends.”

Attorney Tim Bishop called his client and refused the case. He wasn’t about to file a malpractice suit against the doctor who gave his Anna her sight.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to take the image above and use it as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I felt this being Valentine’s Day, I should somehow work that into my story. I looked up the Wikipedia page and discovered:

Martyrdom stories associated with various Valentines connected to February 14 are presented in martyrologies, including a written account of Saint Valentine of Rome’s imprisonment for performing weddings for soldiers, who were forbidden to marry, and for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge, and before his execution he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.

I very, very loosely based my story on that legend (no one gets executed) trying to communicate warmth, gratitude, and a human heart.

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

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Stone and Time

statue

© Eric Wicklund

“Gross.” Eight-year-old Jillian looked at the statue of the naked man and woman kissing. “Is this your Grandpa’s?”

“Yeah.” Tory looked down at the ground embarrassed. “He inherited the cabin from Great-grandpa but the will said the statue had to stay.”

When Tory invited his best friend from school to spend the weekend in the woods at Grandpa’s cabin, he forgot about the statue. Now he wished Grandpa had thrown a tarp over it or something.

“Yuck. Who’d want something like this?”

“I think it was supposed to be Great-grandpa and Great-grandma when they were younger. Hey, let’s forget about this and go down by the stream, Jillian.”

The girl immediately brightened. “I saw some toy sailboats in the shed. Think they still float?”

The two children ran off to play as Tory’s Grandpa looked out of the kitchen window at them while sipping his coffee. Only he knew that the name plate at the base of the statue, buried under inches of mud, said “Tory and Jillian.” His Dad and Mom had been reincarnated. Now all that was needed was time and letting nature take its course.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for January 28th 2018. 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 190.

I had to think a bit about what to right about a statue of two (apparently) naked people kissing. For some reason, I settled on a reincarnation theme.

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

Not My Heaven

amusement park

© J Hardy Carroll

The ride slowed down and Jessie thought it was over. The man running it yelled, “Free ride” and it started again. He was dressed funny like the girl next to her.

“I’m Harriet. Isn’t this fun?” It was fun and scary. The sky was a different color and the children on the ride weren’t the same.

“Where are we?”

“Heaven, silly.”

“Am I dead?”

“We are but you can get off when it stops again.”

“Why am I here, Harriet?”

“So you know being loved by a Mommy and Daddy is better than anything else, even being in Heaven.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge for 19 January 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I pondered a number of different ideas for this one, from the sappy sentimental to murderous and dark. I decided to settle on “creepy carnival” but give it a happy ending. I thought about having Jessie actually die, but then figured I’d give her a break and a moral. Even being in paradise, I imagine the souls of all the children who died way before their time would still miss the Moms and Dads who loved them.

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

Playtime

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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She Treats Us Like Her Children

street children

Street children in the Philippines – image found at NewManila.org

A moment ago, seven-year-old Danilo was holding his little three-and-a-half-year-old sister Marikit in his arms. He was sitting on concrete steps in a filthy alley in Tondo where everyone was poor and there was no one to help.

“I promise little Mari, I will take care of you.” He stroked her hair knowing it wasn’t true, but who else was there? He hoped she was just sleeping but he was afraid she was going to die. He tried to get her to drink out of the water bottle but she wouldn’t take any.

Before Mama died she said Jesus would watch over them from Heaven, but what good would that do if he were way up there and they were sick and starving down here in Manila?

Danilo’s stomach started hurting. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten. He gave the last food they had to his sister three days ago, an apple he had stolen.

Then it wasn’t just his stomach, but his eyes. He couldn’t see. How could he take care his baby sister if he couldn’t see?

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The New Neighbors

the fairy farm

© Eric Wicklund

“What do you think, Pumpkin?”

“I think it’s totally awesome, Grandpa. Thank you so much for making it for me.”

The other houses on the block had Christmas lights and nativity scenes, but six-year-old Aubrey loved Fairies, so he made her a Fairy Farm instead.

She knelt down reviewing everything. “Here’s the chicken coop, the barn, an old log, a bench, a table, a little campfire, and there’s the house. It’s so beautiful, Grandpa.” She gave the gray-haired man a hug.

“Wait, Grandpa. What’s that on the roof?

“It’s a cross, Aubrey.”

“Um, why?”

“It’ll be Christmas soon and I couldn’t completely ignore…”

“Silly Grandpa. Fairies are Druids, not Christians.”

“Tell you what, when the Fairies move in, they can decide if they want to keep the cross.”

“Deal, Grandpa.”

“Let’s go in and see how the Chicken Pies are doing.”

Minutes later, the tiny door to the Fairy house creaked open. “Gawd. Thought they’d never leave, Gertrude.”

“Same here, Andrew. Druids. Did you ever hear of such a thing?”

“Indeed, m’love. Let’s do some proper decorating now. I brought the bulbs and tinsel, do you have the box with the lights?”

“Yes, dearest. It’s right with the Nativity scene.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for December 10th 2017. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I’ve probably written something like this before in response to a similar prompt, but nothing else came to mind. What appears to be a cross on the roof of the Fairy House was a bit of a problem in the overall context, but then it also gave me my “hook.” So I thought I’d have a little fun with this being the Christmas season as well as “religious preferences” among both humans and fairies.

As an aside, my wife is Jewish so we don’t celebrate Christmas. It’s easy for me to find my house when I come home from work at night since it’s the only one on the block without lights and decorations. No, I don’t even have a fairy farm out back.

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

The Whisperer

bird

© Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Cats, bats, and now this. Why can’t I leave my garage door open for two seconds without…”

“It only happens when I’m here, Grandpa.”

“The old man looked to see his five-year-old granddaughter walk out from the house.

“Hi, Danielle.”

“I told you Grandpa, my name is Zooey.”

“Sorry. Why do the critters invade my garage when you’re here?”

The little girl gently took the bird from his hand. It sat peacefully as she stroked its feathers.

Zooey walked outside and the bird suddenly took flight. “You just have to know how to talk to them.”

The old man chuckled.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. After much editing, my word count is exactly 100.

Again, I’m leveraging characters from a storyline loosely involving five children who are mysteriously summoned into a world of dragons and other forces for unknown purposes. The youngest child is Danielle or “Zooey”. Two previous flash fiction entries involving an older child in the same universe are The Way Home and Where Did Our Home Go?. I can’t tell you where in the sequence of the events today’s tale takes place since, if I actually write this series of novels, I don’t want to give out “spoilers.”

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

Addendum: I decided to expand this tale to reveal a few more details, more of a hint of what’s to come than anything else. Go to The Whisperer Expanded for the rest, plus a look into Zooey’s past in Mr. Covingham’s Secret.

Where Did Our Home Go?

factory

© J Hardy Carroll

How’d we get here? One minute we were fighting an Imp horde and the next we landed here. The demons were experimenting with a portal stone. That’s it.

We’re on Earth but it’s not home. I’ve gotten a day job so I can buy food. I push myself through the gap in the gates with the groceries.

Newspapers say the year’s 1988. Raul’s family died in a famine in the 11th century. Yana was abandoned during an earthquake the next century. Prisha’s family were killed in Calcutta’s 1737 cyclone.

I’ve got to get them back to the only home they’ve ever known…dragonworld.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image of the old warehouse above as the inspiration to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is exactly 100.

I don’t think I’ve done my concept justice. It’s part of a larger idea I’ve been toying with, one I briefly touched on a few days ago.

Imagine the abandoned and unwanted children of the world throughout history being whisked to a different place and time, one where they are taken care of by dragons. Then imagine in a war an accident sends them back to Earth, but way too far in the future. What would happen then?

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

The Incomplete Circle

man and flowers

© shivamt25

Today Sanjay became a grandfather. He fondly recalled his own grandfather, who helped him understand we make our own joy rather than depending on possessions or people’s opinions. When his parents died, grandfather raised and comforted the boy.

The old man died and Sanjay went to America taking his grandfather’s spirit with him. Otherwise, he would have remained alone and bitter in a strange land. Instead, he met Riya. She fell in love with the old man’s soul Sanjay nurtured within him.

Life was good with their three sons and one daughter. Now it was his daughter Saanvi who married and had given birth. Sanjay held newborn Divit. “I love you so much. I promise you all the love I have. Someday, you’ll love your children and grandchildren the same way.

Yesterday, Dr. Benedict, his oncologist gave him good news. His cancer was in remission. “There’s no promises, but right now, you’re cancer free.”

“Promises are from God, Doctor. I know I will live to care for many grandbabies.”

Within Sanjay, his own grandfather smiled.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of September 12, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as inspiration to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words. My word count is 175.

The fellow in the picture seemed so happy and the environment, particularly the flowers, made me think of a hospital waiting room. I decided to create something optimistic, and being a Grandpa myself, this is what I wrote.

In editing and re-reading the story, I feel it a bit forced. Really, it’s something that requires about 200 words or a little more to flesh out. Hopefully, this will do.

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

Flowers in a Teacup

cups

© Dawn M. Miller

“Be careful not to spill, Daddy.”

Jacob gently placed a full teacup on each of the three poles at his five-year-old daughter Emily’s direction.

“Thank you, Daddy.” She ran up to him and hugged him. “I love you.”

Jacob bent down to hug her. “I love you too, Sweetheart.”

He stood, took Emily’s hand, and together they admired his work. “Do you really think the fairies will come for your tea party tonight?”

“They’re really shy, Daddy. We can’t be around or they won’t come.”

“Then how do you know…?”

“The tea will be gone, silly Daddy. They’ll leave flowers in the cups to say ‘Thank you.'”

“Okay. We’d better get going.”

They walked across the field back toward home. Jacob planned to fulfill her fantasy later that night.

It was after nine before he could get away. Halfway out to where he’d set the cups, he saw fireflies fluttering around them, but they were so big. After they left, he walked to the cups. In place of the tea, each one contained an arrangement of wildflowers.

Jacob looked at the flowers in his hand and set them on the ground. Even fairies knew not to disappoint a little girl.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for August 27th 2017. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is exactly 200.

I had a tough time with this one mainly because I don’t think the ending comes as much of a surprise. Still, I wanted to write something family-oriented and uplifting.

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