The River Between Heaven and Hell (Part Two)

dark water

The Eighteenth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

Yao Jin stood on the rocky shore of a nameless island on the River Styx facing the demon. Her sword Demonslayer was drawn and at the ready, and she was desperate to see if the blade would live up to its name.

Demonslayer was a gift from her Grandfather Xun Qin, the most powerful sorcerer in the East for the past twenty generations, and he said it was the sister sword of Stormbringer the soul drinker, both having been forged in the furnaces of Arioch, Lord of Chaos and Duke of Hell.

As the young magician raised her blade, she could feel it vibrate in her hands and it moaned and wailed like a wraith in torment.

“Let me pass demon or I’ll send you back to Hell in pieces!”

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Firewood in May

firewood

© Loretta Notto

“All the firewood she’ll need for next winter.”

Gerald had been laboring for weeks to make sure the house was ready and that she would be taken care of.

Most folks would say that having the winter firewood cut in May was a little premature, but he knew he was already out of time. The cancer in him was spreading fast and his doctor told him he wouldn’t last much longer.

She’d have to learn to live without him. After over sixty years together, that would be hard. He wasn’t an emotional man, but the thought of her having to go it alone made him tear up some.

Gerald turned to put the ax back in the shed only to discover he wasn’t holding it.

“Now where did that damn thing go?”

He looked again and he wasn’t at home anymore.

“Gerald, have you forgotten again?”

“Who are you?” This wasn’t home. In fact, Gerald wasn’t sure where he was.

“She will be fine, Gerald. I told you I’d take care of her.”

“Yes, Lord.”

Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long with 150 being the ideal. Mine is 175 words exactly.

To read more stories based on the photo prompt above, go to 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 Winner

lottery ticket

© Scientific American

“I won! I won!”

Benny knew he was embarrassing himself but he didn’t care. As he walked past the State Lottery office, he jumped up and down while raising his arms in victory, like a prize-fighter who had won a boxing match that he was expected to lose.

“I won!”

He wore an exceedingly wide smile as he walked down the street. He still couldn’t believe he now owned the biggest reward anyone could possibly receive. All of his worries were over. He’d never have to fret about his future fate again. It was all taken care of.

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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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Tunnel Vision

haskell

Actor Peter Haskell in the 1972 film “The Eyes of Charles Sand”

“You should be relieved, Brian. Your vision is perfectly normal, which frankly is pretty extraordinary for a man of your age.”

“Then what the hell is going on, Mallory? Why do I get these episodes or visions that make me feel like I’m going blind?”

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The Passing

snowfall

© Sarah Potter

Snowing again.

Tony took another sip of his bourbon. Perfect night for getting quietly potted.

His cat Merlin rubbed against his ankle and meowed.

“Hello, pretty one.” He took the cue and sat in his chair in the living room. Merlin immediately hopped up onto his lap and exposed his tummy for scratches.

“I’m glad I have you right now.”

Tony took another drink and felt the buzz increasing.

He’d buried both of his parents yesterday. They were both in their eighties and suffered so much near the end. Thank God his wife would be coming home from work soon.

Written for the 24 February 2017 edition of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioners photo writing challenge.

The goal is to use the photo prompt above to write a complete piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. Mine is exactly 100.

You can find other stories written based on the prompt at InLinkz.com.

This story has some slight basis in fact. Without going into too many details, my parents are declining rapidly and the end for both of them may be nearer than I wanted. It’s a good time to consider who we leave behind and who is yet with us.

Leigh

hands

Image: Natalia Drepina

Her hands, so petite, so delicate, in those lacy coverings, yes he would miss her hands. They were on their bed together kneeling, he was holding her gently from behind. His eyes were hot with tears.

“Don’t be sad, Gerald. You will be fine when I’m gone.”

“I don’t want you to go, Leigh.”

“We have no choice, darling. My diagnosis, I’m terminal.”

“There’s got to be something…”

“Hush, my darling. I’ve only got moments…moments…”

The world’s first humanoid companion robot went offline Thursday, January 13th at 10:55 a.m., a victim of atmospheric contaminants that toxified her cybernetic brain.

Written for Photo Challenge #147 from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.

I don’t know if I managed to capture the emotion of this moment in a mere 98 words, but I hope so. I’ve written similar (and much longer) stories about a man falling in love with an artificially intelligent humanoid, principally The Perfect Woman.

Angel In The Night

angel

Angelina Jolie

“What do you want? Can’t you see that I’m in pain?”

Everett Temple was 86 years old and dying of cancer. It was late, after 2 a.m., and yet he had a visitor in his private hospital room.

“I want to help you, Everett. I want to ease your suffering. Why won’t you let me?”

Even in the semi-darkness, the old man could see she had the appearance of a young, very attractive woman. Short, raven black hair, piercing blue eyes, succulent ruby lips, elegant yet brief black gown. His body had long abandoned the ability to react to the erotic, but he remembered when he longed for a woman like her.

Yet for all her beauty and sexual allure, there was something about her he feared. He didn’t know her name but he knew who she was. He had been running from her for years, nearly a decade, and tonight, she had finally caught him.

“You? Ease my suffering? You are my worst enemy.”

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A Late Night Visit

shadow

Image: Business Insider

Jerry was finally dozing off when his doorbell rang. He had a tough time sleeping alone, but Susan and the kids were visiting her mother in California so he had the place to himself for the next week, whether he liked it or not.

“10:30 at night? Who the devil?”

Then he abruptly got out of bed and grabbed a robe. No good news arrives so late at night. What if something happened to Susan, Denise, and little Frankie? “Please don’t let it be the cops.”

Jerry pulled on his robe, turned on the front hall light, and then the one over the front door before opening it.

“Bill?” It was Bill Henderson, the guy he used to share a cubical with at work until…

“Let me in Jerry, it’s freezing out here. What took you so long to answer the door?”

“It can’t be you, Bill.”

“What? Are you blind? Of course it’s me. Let me in.”

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