Quit Putting Dragons on Clocks

dragon clock

© Jade M. Wong

Charlie Wise had been stopping by the Curiosities Shop every Thursday afternoon for the past ten years. This time he saw something different.

“Antique clock, Phineas?”

“I have a terrific new repair guy working for me.”

“Yeah, but a dragon?”

He keeps adding dragons to everything.”

“You know, I’d buy the clock if it didn’t come with a dragon.”

Phineas leaned on the counter and pushed up his bifocals. “Come around next week. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Okay, Phineas. Have a good day.”

“You too, Charlie.”

After closing, Phineas went into the back, took out his keys, and opened up the workshop.

He was still hard at work.

“You know, I could have sold that clock you worked on today if it didn’t have a dragon on it.”

Everything he’d worked on had a dragon on it.

The old Elf, who had been starving after becoming stranded outside of the Fantasy realm, looked up. “Sue me. I like dragons. Everything you have me work on is so…ordinary.”

Phineas slammed the door shut and locked it.

He muttered to himself, “I’d toss that pointy-earred bum out on the street again if he wasn’t so good at refurbishing antiques.”

I wrote this for Sunday Photo Fiction – April 16th 2017. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. Mine came in at 196 (after quite a bit of editing). I realized that the natural response to the photo would be to have the dragon come to life. I decided to try a different approach.

To read more stories written for this prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Wairua

christchurch

© Steve Withers – Google Maps

The block in downtown Christchurch was being demolished. The buildings around the public parking lot had been abandoned for a decade. Anyone who wanted, could indulge themselves with cans of spray paint. Some graffiti was elementary, other projects were expertly artistic. A shame the heavy equipment would destroy the good with the bad.

The indigenous Māori people thrived in New Zealand until the arrival of Europeans. To this day, they suffer the fate of indigenous populations all over the world.

It looked like a clown’s face, a fearsome one. Wairua or spirit was from the old Polynesian beliefs, and the art gave it a form with which to act. Wairua would turn the Māori away from Presbyterian, Mormon, and Islam faiths and back to the old ways. Wairua would teach them tapu, noa, and mana again, to preserve who they were, who they are, who they will be one day.

I wrote this in response to J. Hardy Carroll’s What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above, taken from Google Maps, as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

I’m playing fast and loose with the history of Christchurch and of the Māori people, so don’t look too closely for reality or historic accuracy.

I considered making the spirit vengeful, but as I recall, I already wrote a story about that. Instead, I decided to incite a revival among the Māori people, a return to their original spiritual beliefs, a reunification with who they were before the Europeans arrived. So many indigenous people all over the world have had their cultures, their languages, their spiritual beliefs destroyed by colonizers. I thought it was time some of them got all that back, at least in fiction.

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

The Fairies Pond

fairies pond

© Google Maps

On most days of the year, The Fairies Pond was just a pond. It’s an isolated body of water in western Oregon with only one trail in. A serene place certainly, but not always worth the eight hour hike to get there.

But on one day of the year, what’s called “The Fairies Day,” it’s either a place to adore or fear. Those purest of heart, those who knew which day it was, came to witness the blessed event. The impure hearts who happened to be present suffered the horrible wrath.

This day was the anniversary of when the fairies created all green and living things. On that day, the pure hearts were blessed for loving the living. The impure, who hated life, were summarily damned.

Cathleen brought Charleston to the pond to hope miracles would soften his heart. Instead, he came to his doom. Was this too her blessing?

The photo prompt for this week at What Pegman Saw offered four possible images and I chose the one above. The challenge is to take an image and write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine is exactly 150 words.

For more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

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 Ascent

jump creek

Photo: Tyson White/KTVB

He’d been climbing for hours. Fortunately, he’d trained for it. Seth Minstrel was the first to get this far. He could see the tops of the jagged peaks just above him.

“I’m going to make it. I’m going to be free.”

The air was hot and humid in the valley below, the valley Seth had lived in all his life. It was the valley where generations of his people had toiled as slaves to the ruling MacGregor clan. The people grew the food, and the MacGregor’s and their thugs took half. But without the MacGregors, water wouldn’t fall down the cliffs to the south, allowing their arid valley to produce and sustain life.

The MacGregors said they should be grateful.

“Yeah, right. Grateful. You MacGregor’s have freedom and steal our food, barely allowing my people enough to eat.”

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I’d Give Everything I Have for You

pier

© Jules Paige

It had finally stopped raining when Jack Bishop reached the little used pier. He wanted to sit down, but he couldn’t. He had to get to the end, to where Billy and he used to fish when his son was little.

Jack stopped and looked down. His right hand was pressing against the bleeding wound at his gut as hard as he dared, shot thanks to a mugging gone wrong. He was a goner, but he had to reach the end of the pier.

Lance Corporeal William Bishop was killed when his vehicle ran over an IED near Baghdad on August 13, 2011. The magician said that if Jack could reach the end of the pier before dying, he’d trade his life for Billy’s.

“Made it. I love you, son.” Jack sat on one of the benches, his life coming to an end. “I’m here for you, Billy. You’ve got the rest of your life to live. Make it a good life.”

******

twilight zone

From the 1963 Twilight Zone episode “In Praise of Pip

Billy sat on the bench and helped his five-year-old son Todd bait the hook on his fishing line. “God, I wish your Grandpa were here to see this. I miss him so much.”

I wrote this in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction – March 26th 2017 challenge. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 200 words based on the image above. I made it at 195 words.

This story isn’t exactly original. It’s loosely based on a 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone called In Praise of Pip. Actor Jack Klugman plays a small time bookie named Max Phillips who’s in deep with the mob. The only light in his life is his son Pip, who is serving as a soldier in Vietnam. Fate gives Max a second chance, but it involves trading his life for Pip’s, who otherwise would be killed in combat.

The ending scene with actor Robert Diamond playing the adult Pip, alive and well, having survived serving in ‘Nam, talking about how much he misses his Dad still breaks me up.

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

I Want to Kill You

saber

Found at Dinoanimals.com

Little Danny Claiborne had raised him from a cub. Taka, the Saber Tooth, was an adolescent tiger. He went from sleeping with Danny under the covers of his bed to living in a shed next to the house.

Taka’s brother Kai, and his sister Aka, were raised by two other children, Sha Clanton and Dran McLaury. Danny, Sha, and Dran loved their sabers but as the tigers grew toward maturity, the villagers became more wary. There had been a few occasions when an unannounced visitor to one of their homes had nearly been mauled.

But to the children who were still children, the sabers were beloved pets, and the sabers had the children no reason to believe otherwise, at least until recently.

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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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Tahji’s Freedom

bug

© Shaktiki Sharma

Tahji was curious. He’d never seen so many people before. He half hid behind the post to get a better look through the doorway. They were talking their people talk. Tahji could understand a little of it when one talked, but they were all speaking at once. It was so confusing. Perhaps if he got closer.

“There you are, little one.” It was Tahji’s child-friend Rohan.

“You shouldn’t wander off like this. You might have gotten lost.”

Tahji saw Rohan was carrying his ornate little home. The door was open.

“So soon?” The mantis had been enjoying his freedom.

I wrote this in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers photo challenge. The idea is for authors to use the photo prompt above to create a piece of flash fiction no longer than 100 words long. Mine is 100 words.

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

My Published Stories at “Theme of Absence”

I’ve been devoting the vast majority of my fiction writing lately to my own blog, but I do have two of my stories published elsewhere. They don’t appear on my blog because one of the conditions of publication was that they be totally unique works.

Both of them are at Theme of Absence.

The first story, The Anything Box was published last September, and tells the tale of a lonely teenage girl’s encounter with a strange object and how it connects her to her deceased Father.

The second story is called The Stalker, and it portrays another teenage girl’s meeting with something incredibly horrible while hiking in the woods. I had originally written it for a Halloween contest (I lost), but it ended up being published in general stories.

I haven’t mentioned them in a while, so I thought I’d dust them off and present them again. Each story is just under 1,000 words so they’re pretty fast reads.

If you have a moment or two, click the links, read my stories, and let me know what you think.

Thanks.