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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Entering the Slow Dark

wraith“Why am I so tired? Where am I? Is this my bedroom? Everything’s all gray.”

Rand Chambers found himself in an indeterminate environment. He was lying down and covered up like he was in bed, but this was different. He could neither fall asleep nor wake up and was suspended in a state somewhere in between.

“You all ask the same questions. It’s as if it hasn’t been explained to you before.”

He heard a woman’s voice but it was not kind. Rather, she sounded impatient and annoyed and bored, as if she couldn’t be bothered with Rand’s condition, whatever that was.

“What do you mean? Who are you? Where are you?”

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Life After Resurrection

infernoAfter Martha brought her sister Mary to meet Jesus outside Bethany, Mary threw herself at his feet weeping, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She was bitter in her heart but secretly hopeful as well. As her sister Martha had told her, “Even now, I know that whatever Jesus asks of God, God will give to him. We can still have our brother Lazarus back.”

The mourners had followed the sisters from their home to where Jesus was waiting outside the village, and there was a great cry of anguish in the air.

Jesus placed his hand upon Mary’s head. “Where have you laid him.”

Seeing the tremendous grief Mary and Martha suffered, he too began to weep. The crowd thought it was because Jesus had loved Lazarus so much that he too mourned the loss. They didn’t understand that Jesus had known the man Lazarus was to die and that it was for the glory of the Almighty.

“Lord, come and see.” Mary rose and took the Master’s hand, pulling him in the direction of the tomb.

He went with them, still deeply moved by their grief. The mourners followed so there was a sizable group of people present when they came to the cave. The opening was covered with a stone sealing the corpse inside.

“Remove the stone,” Jesus said.

Shocked, Martha replied, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench for he has been dead four days!”

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Hijacked!

Ginger

Image: Christina Hendricks, Flare Magazine

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

They say it’s impossible to hijack a jump freighter, but there’s always an exception to a rule. I mean, jump ships are monitored by ground control when they lift off, then satellite monitoring until the ship reaches the jump point and enters hyperspace.

Forget about intercepting a ship in hyperspace. That’s really impossible.

Same on the other side of the jump. The ship exits hyperspace at the system’s jump point and is monitored all the way to the ground or orbital rendezvous or whatever. Any vessel attempting to intercept a jump ship in normal space would be spotted thousands of kilometers away.

Normally, I’m a pretty lucky guy, but this time my luck was going to run out.

By the way, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner and pilot of the most unusual jump freighter in known-space, the Ginger’s Regret. What makes the Regret so unusual? She’s alive.

Well, not exactly. It’s more like she’s haunted…kind of.

Let me explain.

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