The Emulation of Keekik

garlic farm

Rows of garlic on a farm. (Photo: Gary Weathers/Getty Images)

The other local farmers had an easement agreement with Straen so they could cross his land and water their herds, but Keekik’s passionate desire for emulation put him above the law, or so he believed. True, he had no herds of his own, being only sixteen, and a stable hand on Logi’s farm, but now, crouching behind a tree at the edge of Straen’s property, he felt that ownership was inherently evil, and that resources should be available to all who desired access.

Experiencing an almost ethereal since of giddiness at his self-assigned empowerment, the excitable lad sprung from his hiding place, across the artificial boundary between Logi’s and Straen’s farms, and ran with enough vigor to clean his employer’s stables for a week (though he loathed the task).

Racing past the soil enhancement equipment, he knew exactly what he was going to say. His words would be exoteric when he arrived at the lake where all of the caretakers for the farmers were watering the herds of cukol.

Finally, he passed the last open gate that gave him entry to the gathering at the water. The thin, pale skinned boy climbed up a dozer machine that was sitting idle for the moment, took a wide stance, raised his arms above his head and cried, “Brothers and sisters, hear me,” as loud as he could.

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The Fan


© Susan Spaulding

“And here you go. My pride and joy, so to speak. Signed shirt from the great man himself.” Andrew Cullen puffed up his chest as he showed his friend Tommy Cabrera his trophy room. “Diego Maradona. Best footballer ever. Your American mates call what you have football, but this is the real deal.”

“I wasn’t always an American, Andrew, and I know what real football is.”

“Oh yeah. Sorry about that. You emigrated to the States from Argentina, right?”

“Yes.” Tomás and Andrew met online at a fiction writers forum five years prior and hit it off. Now Cabrera was visiting his friend in Swords, outside of Greater Dublin, while on a promotional tour. His fictionalized autobiography had become a runaway bestseller, and he had personal appearances scheduled for all over the UK and Europe.

“Anything the matter? You’ve gone awfully silent.”

“Just remembering, Andrew.” Tomás didn’t give voice to the memory of growing up in a totalitarian socialist regime, nor how Diego Maradona had unswervingly supported the communist dictators who had crushed the souls of his family, and nearly killed him. “Sorry. I can’t say I’m much of a fan.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for 15 July 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 191.

Being an American, I don’t know much about the World Cup, and in fact, I don’t follow sports even in my own country. I had to look up Diego Maradona and discovered he has a colorful history. I chose to focus on his political views and found out he supports a number of socialist dictators, including Carlos Menem, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chávez. No, I’m not much of a fan, either.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit

Sheltering Night


© Google – October 2016

“Anton Vladimirescu Naga. I haven’t seen you since I was a little boy. Why are you here in Talnakh?”

“I am called Antonie now. It was kind of you to invite me into your home, Gennadi. Your generosity is like your father’s.”

“So is my stupidity for staying in this frozen hell, but the pay is good for mining engineers. Come back for old time’s sake, Antonie?”

“The climate.”

“Climate or the fact that the sun won’t rise here until the end of January? Yes, my father told me what you were when I became a man. You feasted on the denizens of the Norilsk Gulag every winter from before I was born until Khrushchev died.”

“Your Father was my friend. I hope you are too. I need a place to hide.”

“The hunter is now the hunted. Fear not. The Kosygin family has long been allies with the undead.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps image and location and use it as the inspiration for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today the Pegman takes us to Talnakh, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. The Wikipedia entry for Talnakh is fairly sparse but it is only 16 miles (25 kilometers) north of Norilsk which has a broader history, both in terms of mining and as a former Gulag labor camp.

I’m obviously leveraging one of the characters from my Sean Becker Undead series, which I’ve done previously for a different flash fiction challenge. However, it is set in the present day, January 2018 to be exact, but referencing Antonie’s previous visits to the area during the winters between 1946 and 1964.

The sun doesn’t rise at all there from mid-December to the end of January so a perfect place for a vampire to hide, especially one being hunted by vampire slayers.

I wasn’t planning on writing another vampire-related tale, but the characteristics and history of the location lended themselves to such a story very nicely. To find out how Antonie got into this mess, read Incendiary.

To read other missives based on the prompt, go to