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.

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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.

Dearest Treasure

charred toys

© Karuna

She could hear the crying of her two dear little ones.

“Mommy. Fluffy Bear’s all burned up.” Fluffy Bear had been Emily’s favorite toy for all five years of her life.

“Monkey. Dolly.” Gwennie was just shy of two years and sobbed, lamenting of her two best friends who she took to sleep with her each night.

Their Mommy sat on the floor of her neighbor’s house and hugged her babies close. “It’s okay. The firemen brought out my two dearest treasures safe and sound. You.”

Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 86.

I have grandchildren who have their favorite toys, dolls, and stuffed animals, and seeing the ones in the photo burned up only emphasizes that there are more important things to lose…and save.

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

Every Sunday at Table 19

table 19

© Dawn M. Miller

Dave closed his soda shop on Sundays for two reasons. As a devout Christian, he believed Sunday was the Sabbath and he refused to do business on Christ’s holy day.

The second reason was more complicated. He knew they needed to have some time just the two of them. Each Saturday night, right after he closed, Dave put two empty paper cups at their favorite table, number 19. When he opened up Monday morning, the cups were disposed of in the trash, one cup containing the residue of cherry soda, and the other an orange crush.

Nine-year-old Sara and her six-year-old sister Leigh died ten years ago in a car accident just a few blocks from their Grandpa’s soda shop. Weeks later, Dave noticed his supply of cherry soda and orange crush diminishing. Paper cups went missing, and the chairs at table 19 kept moving around.

Dave asked why they weren’t in Jesus’s loving hands but Heaven didn’t answer.

Maybe they missed their Grandpa and his sodas too much to go, at least for now.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of April 25, 2017. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 173.

I’ve been thinking of my Dad’s passing recently and am very happy to be back home to be with my two grandchildren. I suppose that all got woven into the fabric of this tale.

To read other stories inspired by the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Old Phoenix and His Ashes

Gary woke up from the nightmare in a cold sweat. It was the same dream every night for the past week. He saw a man burning. The burning man was wailing. He reached out for Gary. His flaming hand almost touching his face.

Then Gary would wake up in a cold sweat.

He had just gotten his first job out of college as a mechanical engineer. The company had him move to Philadelphia, and for the next year, he would be helping to design a new generation of popcorn maker for movie theaters.

“It’s probably just the move. I’m in a strange place. That’s it.”

Gary got out of bed, then looked at the clock, and realized it was only 4 a.m. He could sleep for another few hours.

“Nah.” He headed toward the bathroom of his studio apartment. “Just have to keep drinking coffee to keep going.”

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Duck Blind

wagon

© 2015 Yinglan Z

Glenn and Marie were told to stay in the backyard and never to go up the rise to where the old wagon rested. Of course precocious eight-year-old twins didn’t listen, so whenever they knew Mommy would be busy cleaning or doing laundry, they went up to play in it.

It was really just a collection of wood with the metal wheels barely hanging on. To everyone else, it was an eyesore, and no one knew why it hadn’t been hauled off years ago.

To Glenn and Marie, it was a pirate’s ship, a rocket to Mars, a submarine that had just found Atlantis.

However, it wasn’t an eyesore, pirate ship, spaceship, or submarine.

Inside the blind, Amnathamarz and Fid examined their last set of mental readings.

“These humans are completely unsuited to our needs. They are completely disorganized, obsessed with technology yes, but such a jumble of images. How can we conquer their race if we can’t understand them?”

True, Fid. We’ve seen enough. Off to the next inhabited solar system.

I wrote this for FFfAW Challenge for this week. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction from 100 to 175 words, with about 150 being the ideal. My story is 171 words long.

The image inspired a number of ideas, but I settled on the “duck blind” being used by aliens to assess how to best invade our world. However, to do that, they need to understand us as a race, which was difficult if the only people who got close enough to their blind were children.

To read more stories inspired by the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Monster Under Carrie’s Bed

monster

Poster from the film “Under the Bed” (2012)

Carrie heard the strange scratching sounds in the walls of her bedroom again.

“Mommy! Daddy!” She screamed out to her parents for the third time that night.

Daddy trudged into her bedroom. It had been an exhausting week. For the past five nights, Carrie kept swearing something was making scary noises in her walls. For the past five nights, her parents Bill and Sandy came in, but they could never hear anything.

Sandy thought there might be a mouse in the walls. Bill thought that moving to the new house a month ago was harder on their seven-year-old daughter than they thought it would be.

“Daddy, I’m so scared.” Carrie leapt out of her bed and jumped into his arms. He held and comforted his little girl.

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The Ghost in the Bathroom Mirror

ghost

Found at mp3ringtone.info

“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.