The Way Home

leaves

The leaves made a long-forgotten sound as she walked across the field. Danielle took a deep breath and let it out, watching the white mist sail out in front of her. She wasn’t used to the cold. She’d spent nearly a decade in the desert helping the dragons reclaim what was theirs. The war was finally over. The dragons won but Danielle had lost so much. Her brother died defending what was right. She came back home and discovered Mom and Dad died in a car accident.

Now she was going back to the only home she had left. Grandpa had grown old but he was still alive. Ten years ago, she sat on his lap and he read her the first story about the dragon’s quest, how the demons had taken their homes and put them into exile. She was only a girl when she found the stories were true. She was barely a teen when she stepped through the portal to help.

Now she was back. There. His cabin. Smoke rising from the chimney. She could almost smell his pancakes. She opened the door. He never locked it. “Grandpa, I’m home.”

“Darling. I’ve missed you,” he replied smiling.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for September 24th 2017. The challenge is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is exactly 200.

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

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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.

Seeing Red

amanda red

Actress Amanda Seyfried in the 2011 film “Red Riding Hood”.

He heard her coming, knew she was a “she” by her scent. He was confused. It was night. Humans didn’t visit the forest at night, especially during the full moon.

He avoided humans or tried to. In spite of his reputation, all he wanted to do was hunt prey, tonight it had been a large and tasty hare, and experience the world around him. He had cataloged all of the woodland animals within a five mile radius merely by sound and smell. His meal had satisfied him, so he was no longer dangerous unless cornered or attacked. None of the creatures in the forest were foolish enough to do either…

…except maybe her.

Like all wolves, he was partially color blind, at least compared to humans. He could see blues and reds. She was wearing red.

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Shuǐmǔ

bike

© Dorothy

“Bai. don’t give up now. She must be nearby. I can feel it.”

“We’ve pedaled long enough my brother Heng. It’s a hoax.”

“No. If we find her, we’ll be rich.”

“There is no ‘her’, Heng. We are being manipulated by a wealthy eccentric.”

“Send 68 pairs of contestants on tandem bicycles to search for the Shuǐmǔ? Why would anyone do such a thing if she wasn’t real?”

“Who knows? Boredom? Proving that people are basically stupid? Maybe he’s right.”

“The Shuǐmǔ is supposed to be a priceless treasure. The indicator, Bai. We’re close.”

Heng suddenly jumped off the bike and ran toward a building surrounded by dozens of identical bicycles. He ran inside.

“Heng, wait.” Bai’s shorter legs were pumping as fast as they could.

“Statues. Nothing but statues.”

“Heng, I recognize these statues. Our competition.”

“Hello, boys. I guess you found me,” she smirked.

Shuǐmǔ

Shuǐmǔ

Heng turned to stone before Bai’s eyes. Then Bai too became unmoving.

“When will that old fool stop sending his pawns after me? Money cannot buy the services of Medusa.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW writing Challenge for the week of August 8th. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 175 exactly.

I started writing with no clear end in mind, not even a real story. I just thought of two brothers being part of a competition, not a race so much as a scavenger hunt to find something valuable. I needed a tragic end which is when I wondered if the name “Medusa” has a Chinese counterpart. As it turns out, it does.

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

Inseparable

sisters

© Mrs White

Wednesday could only make squawking and chirping noises but her sister Friday understood every word. She was the only one who could.

“Because everyone hates us, Wednesday. You know that. You’ve known that ever since you were old enough to see how different you look.”

Wednesday shook her head, her large beak moving from side to side. She chittered.

“I know you’re scared. It’ll be quick. Like going to sleep maybe. I’ll be with you. We only have each other.”

She tried to say “I love you, Friday,” but only inhuman sounds escaped her throat.

“I love you too, Wednesday. I always will. But you know there’s no place in the world for us.”

Wednesday pulled her hand out of Friday’s and squawked.

“No! I won’t leave you. It doesn’t matter that I look like everyone else, it matters that you’re my twin sister. Now we’re going together or not at all, and if we don’t go, where can we return to?”

Tears escaped Wednesday’s eyes as she let Friday take her hand again.

“Now come on, Wednesday. The water’s just over there.”

Friday led Wednesday to the ocean and then into the ocean. They would always love each other and in death, be perpetually inseparable.

I found an intriguing photo at the Up Against Mortality blog that lead to Photo Challenge #172. It was such a mournful image and certainly my melancholy tale reflects that.

I gave my characters names inspired by the poem Monday’s Child. In this case, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe” and “Friday’s child is loving and giving,” though her expression of love is a dual suicide.

Friday could have left her twin since looked perfectly human, but their bond was stronger than that. Even as the author, I wish they could have found some place that would have accepted them.

Thurren’s Cairn: A Brief Love Story

the dragon and the princess

© A Mixed Bag 2011

“Now we can be together forever, Charlotte.”

“I hold you dearly in my heart, Thurren, but you are a dragon and I am a Princess. We can never be together, forever or otherwise. I will grow up and one day be Queen. You will grow large and mighty and be a prize sought after by every Knight in the realm.”

The two, secret companions since childhood, sat by Thurren’s Cairn, their favorite meeting place. The roses were in bloom and the vines crept up and around the stone pillar speaking of a love which could not be.

Charlotte we really can be together forever. Come away with me.”

“But how can I abandon my responsibilities, no matter how I may feel for you?”

“Actually Princess, but you already did, the minute we fell in love.”

Thurren’s Cairn stood near a pond. He took Charlotte’s “hands” and led her there to her reflection.

“It’s like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in reverse. Your love for me has freed you.”

Charlotte gazed at her reflection with a combination of horror and fascination. She was now a dragon. She and Thurren would have to flee quickly to escape her Knights.

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction for July 2nd 2017. The idea is to use the photo prompt as the basis for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is exactly 199.

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

The Lion and the Dolphins

Bacchus

Found at Wikipedia.com

“See, I told you he’d come back to this shore, Markos. He’s obviously a wealthy young man, perhaps enjoying some solitude away from the family business.”

“True enough you were right, Tycho. Easy prey. We grab him, then his family pays whatever ransom we ask for his safe return.”

“Not that he’ll be in precisely the same condition as we found him. He is a pretty one, a very pretty one.”

Markos, Tycho, and half a dozen other pirates were watching from behind some rocks near the cove where they had landed their boat. The young noble idly wandered along the shore as if day dreaming. A dangerous pursuit in waters known to be sailed by pirates.

“Here he comes,” whispered Tycho. “Get ready to have at him.”

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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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Uninvited

eric wicklund

© Eric Wicklund

“Do you see, Sky? I wasn’t kidding. They’re really there.”

It had taken nine-year-old Gray almost half an hour to convince his twelve-year-old sister to follow him into the woods behind their campground. He knew she wouldn’t believe him unless she saw them for herself. Mom and Dad were busy setting up for the concert so it was easy to get away.

Sky’s face was right next to the hole in the tree, only the tree didn’t have a hole on the other side.

“I don’t believe it,” she whispered to herself.

“Believe it, Sky. They’re elves or fairies or something.”

“We have to be looking into some other world, Gray. But how is this possible?”

Through the green lens set in the tree’s natural depression she could see what Gray had already witnessed, tiny people with wings dancing and fluttering together as if in celebration.

Suddenly, they both heard a buzzing getting louder and a miniature face of gold with an impish smile appeared. “Excuse me, but this is a private party. Go back to your own summer solstice celebration.”

With that, a door slammed and the hole to the other world was denied the children.

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – June 25th 2017 photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration for a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.

When I first saw the image, the green looked like glass instead of the leaves of trees, so I pretended it was a portal to another world (my favorite theme lately). Gray and Sky are part of a group of families who travel to a remote wooded location every year and have a concert to celebrate the coming of summer.

It seems the little people on the other side of the hole do something similar.

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

Where the Hell am I?

lucifer

Actor Tom Ellis as “Lucifer”. © Tricia Helfer. Found at Buzzymag.com

“Welcome to Hell, Daniel, where we’ll try to make your stay as uncomfortable as possible.”

“Wait. What? Where am I? Who are you and what happened to me?”

“There, there dear Daniel. I’ll try to explain.”

From Daniel Katz’s point of view, he was standing in a large, empty white room in front of a tall, charming fellow with a British accent. The man wore a tailored black suit, his dark gray shirt open at the collar, black hair, and deep brown eyes which seemed to pick up a bit of red from time to time.

“You see, you died.”

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