The Dragon’s Library

library

Image found at “Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.” No image credit listed.

It was a dream come true. Somehow, along with all of the children, a library had been brought from her world into the dragon city in the trees. Nine-year-old Paris walked inside with a solemnness usually reserved for a holy place, like the synagogue her parents took her to in Prague when she was six.

The library had merged with the forest. Trees were growing inside and bursting through the ceiling, and grasses were taking over the floorboards. She wondered where and when it came from. The globe in the corner didn’t look modern, but most of the books she could see seemed recent.

Then she realized only some of them were in English, and about only half were written in any human language.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The New Neighborhood

monster

© Igor Morski

“I’ll get it.”

Ron Moore, his wife Layna, and their almost three-year-old daughter Emily had just moved into the new house in the suburbs the week before, but this was the first time anyone had come to visit.

“Hi. May I help you?”

“Seth Kennedy. I’m your next door neighbor. Just thought I’d drop by and say…”

Little Emily grabbed onto her Mommy’s leg and started crying hysterically. She looked up in terror at the man at the door, and then buried her face again.

“I’m sorry. She doesn’t usually do this.”

“What?” The neighbor cupped his hand around his ear.

Ron looked back at his wife.

“I’ll take her into the other room.”

Continue reading

The Guardian

orange vest

© A Mixed Bag – 2013

Glenn Carroll had to do something, so he arranged to work nights and spend school hours as a cross walk guard. He was surprised to find he really enjoyed talking to the elementary age kids (and he had three of his own), and between getting children across the street mornings and afternoons, he acted as hall monitor. The chances of anything really happening here were pretty small, but he felt better being there, just in case.

He was walking down the main hall when he heard a familiar voice. “Mr. Carroll, I’ve just called the police. A couple of the students said they saw a man with a gun near the playground.” Principal Ava Martinez was waving him over to the office. “We’re going on lock down until the officers arrive and clear the situation.”

“Thanks. I’ll look into it.”

“But Mr. Carroll…”

Glenn looked outside in the direction Martinez pointed and chuckled. Then he went out to tell the gardener that in a few seconds, a SWAT team was going to ask him to put down his rake. After that, he’d go speak with the SWAT Commander, identify himself as an off-duty officer, and straighten this mess out.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of March 25th 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 199.

Social and news media is currently replete with stories and commentaries about the protests prompted by the Parkland School shooting and things are getting pretty heated. I recall a story I read some months back about how the police were called to a local Middle School because there had been a report of a man on campus with a rifle. It turns out the rifle was some sort of gardening tool (I don’t remember the specific type), and after a brief flurry of activity, the situation was defused.

I’m not making light of the rights of citizens, whether adults or children, to protest, and regardless of where you stand on the issue of Second Amendment rights to bear arms, these students have a right to express themselves and to have a safe school environment.

But since the fellow in the image reminded me of a school crossing guard (most of the ones I’ve seen are retired men and women), I decided to add a concerned father and police officer (yes, even off duty, he was armed) to the situation. There are those few times when dangerous people walk on campus, but it is also important to have someone around who can evaluate a perceived threat. No one wants innocent children to be shot, but then again, you don’t want to shoot someone who superficially looks to be a threat but turns out to be a guy with a rake.

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

The Wraith and the Child

beliefs

Image found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie blog

It must have been his surgery that caused the nightmares. He always found himself in the dark alone. No, not quite alone. There was another presence, something hiding in the shadows. The Wraith.

“What do you want? Where are you?”

He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He was sweating. “Don’t come near me. Leave me alone.”

The Wraith said nothing. It made no sound at all, but he knew it was out there stalking him.

He turned and ran, stumbled over something and fell. Then he got up and ran again.

Continue reading

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.

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…?”

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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.