The Colonials

pictograph

© @any1mark66

“Wallace, I’ve seen your evidence and the supporting papers, but they don’t explain one critical piece of information.”

“Like if the Chinese had visited America frequently and in numbers from 1,300 BC until 500 AD, why didn’t they colonize, right Hendricks?”

This was a frequent argument between the British and Native American archeologists, however Hendricks had a point. Pictographic evidence of extended Chinese visits to North America included numerous artifacts in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. So why did they stop?

“I’ve already introduced Dr. Christina Esquivel, Hendricks.”

“Charmed,” though the older man’s tone indicated he wasn’t. “What’s a geneticist have to do with archeology, Wallace?”

Christina looked forward to deflating this air bag. “I’ve just finished a five-year comparative genetic analysis between various Native American peoples and those from the Hubei, Hunan, and Yunnan regions of China. DNA markers are too similar to be the result of chance.

Meaning?” Hendricks’s voice was laced with anticipation and dread.

“Meaning,” Wallace continued, “that the Chinese did colonize America. Indigenous people like Christina and I are their descendants.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of November 14, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to inspire writing a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

The pictograph reminded me of articles I’ve read suggesting that the Chinese rather than Columbus or any other European or people from across the Atlantic, “discovered” America, perhaps sometime between 1,300 BC and 1,421 AD depending on which source you consider. Granted the information is highly speculative, but it makes a good basis for a story. The suggestion that there could be a genetic similarity between the Chinese people and Native Americans was also briefly mentioned in my source. To read more, go to DailyMail.com.

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

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The Sculptor with a Long Memory

recycled dragons

© Enisa

“Dragons? Why?”

“A lad back at the shop makes them. Pretty good advertising, eh?”

Norstar Recyclers Director Paul Sweet was showing off the artwork to his neighbor Quentin Choi.

“I guess so, Paul. Seems bit fanciful. What else does he do?”

“Specializes in extinct beasts. Working on a Stegodon right now. Says it reminds him of home.”

“A what?”

“Extinct pygmy elephant I think.”

“Any chance I could meet him? I may want to commission him to make something for a client.”

“Dunno. He’s pretty shy.”

“Have a talk with him and see, will you?”

“Sure enough. Time to head back to the office. I’ll drop you on my way.”

Paul silently recalled the day he’d first met the strange creature while on a camping trip. He was terrified until the large reptile spoke. He’s very old and a long memory covering half a million years. The book he’s helping Paul write will revolutionize the knowledge of prehistoric Australia, though he could never tell anyone it came from a freakishly evolved Komodo dragon.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the week of 11-07-2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

I had a tough time with this one until I Googled “australia dragons” and came up with this bit of history. Since the Live Science article mentioned the Stegodon, I thought I’d throw that in as well. The names I used have no relation to actual personnel at Norstar Steel Recyclers.

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

Stones in the Forest

stump

© Yarnspinnerr

You got me out here to see a pile of cement, Jeremy?”

“I tell you there’s something inside the concrete.”

“If this is what you brought me out here for…”

Fifteen-year-old Jill turned in a huff but her age-mate Jeremy grabbed her arm. Everyone thought they were dating, but they’d been best friends since second grade and they still were.

“Last night I was on the trail at sunset and saw a glow from over here.”

“You think it was this?”

“I think it was something.”

She sighed. “Okay, we’ll wait.”

A breeze picked up. They both shivered but not from the chill. As the last rays of daylight faded, the strange object began to glow an eerie light and the two could see the pile of stones inside.

“I told you.”

“Jeremy, I’m freaked. Let’s go.”

She turned and tried to walk away but her feet were frozen. They both looked down and saw why. Skeletal hands were grasping their feet and ankles. The next morning, the disguised cairn would be two people taller.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 31, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a tale of between 100 and 175 words. My word count is 175.

I’m actually disappointed with my effort and maybe given more time, I could have come up with something different, but two teenagers alone in the woods as the sun goes down and then encountering something evil leading to their horrifying demise seemed to be what was in order…in other words a typical 1980s horror movie. After all, as I write this tomorrow is Halloween.

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

Tenzin Gyatso’s Great Mistake

monk

© Dorothy

It wasn’t easy for Tenzin Gyatso to have private moments, however he sometimes could appear in public as a typical Buddhist monk.

He was not a young man and he had lived a very full life. His life was still very full and rewarding, but there were times he envied ordinary men. He had never been ordinary, even as a child.

Today, Gyatso and his disguise were not without purpose. He was in Bangalore to visit Jamadagni Kapil, student of the late Nobel Prize winning physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. In private correspondence, Dr. Kapil claimed to have harnessed solar gravitational forces that allowed for the outlandish notion of time travel.

Almost six decades ago, Gyatso had made the mistake of trusting the American CIA, believing they supported Tibetan independence. Their involvement has cost the lives of thousands of resistance fighters. If Kapil could prove his theories were reality, then the fourteenth Dalai Lama would take a message to his younger self saying to refuse the American money. There was a better way.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of October 24, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to inspire crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 171.

I have only a passing knowledge of Buddhism, and of course I’ve heard of the Dalai Lama. I did a bit of Googling to discover, among other things, his given name (Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Thondup, and shortened to Tenzen Gyatso). Apparently even as a young child, he lived an unusual and highly spiritual life. Also since childhood, he has had an intense interest in science.

The Dalai Lama was exiled to India in 1959, and in the 1960s, his administration received $1.7 million a year from the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), supposedly to support Tibet regaining its independence from China. However, he later discovered that the U.S. Government was not concerned with Tibet, but only provided the funds as a tactic to challenge the Chinese during in the Cold War era. The Dalai Lama was later very critical of the CIA’s involvement.

I have no idea if the Dalai Lama ever goes out dressed as an ordinary monk, I doubt that he does, but the photo and my research led me to create this short and strange tale.

I also discovered that in 1983 Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar won the Nobel Prize for Physics with William A. Fowler for the “theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars.” That has little or nothing to do with time travel and the character of Jamadagni Kapil is completely fictional. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar died in 1995 at the age of 84, but I thought his fictional student might adapt some of his work to offer the Dalai Lama a way to go back and change at least one thing about his past he most likely regrets.

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

The Lady is Murder

pink

© Grant-Sud

The medina attracted many tourists to Marrakech, but it was also easy to disappear here. Rabah Hadad was born and raised in London’s West Hampstead, his father a banker and his mother a teacher, but he had become something else.

He stopped in a small alleyway, the wall painted a garish fuchsia. In October, the notice about heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and such seemed ludicrous. He was only twenty-four and recruited by MI6 right out of Uni. Tonight he was in this Moroccan city to help solve the murder of an SIS data analyst who had died over 9,000 kilometers away on Mauritius. It was after eleven and it was quiet. Where was the contact?

medina

An alley in the Medina in Marrakech – Found at Conde Nast Traveler

Footsteps from behind distracted Rabah. He didn’t notice the door to his right silently open. Then the two muffled shots and twin impacts on his chest. He looked down to witness blood seeping through his dark t-shirt. As he collapsed, the last thing he saw was the silencer and a beautiful woman holding the gun that killed him.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 17, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 172.

I leveraged a previous piece of flash fiction called Mauritius Intrigue that I authored a few days ago. Having nothing to go on when I started writing, I magnified the image above and saw the notice warned of the signs of heat related disorders. Since I also recently wrote a story set in Marrakech (albeit some 80 or so years ago), I decided to “recycle” the location.

Of course all this adds another mystery. What does the death of a young MI6 agent in Marrakech have to do with the murder of a middle-aged data analyst and mother of a son over nine thousand kilometers away on the other side of the African continent in the middle of the Indian Ocean?

I’ll let you know when I find out, including the identity of the mysterious women who pulled the trigger.

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

Nine Thousand Stories

barge on a river

© BarbCT/Gallimaufry

“It doesn’t look the same but I’ve been away so long.”

Latham stood on the deck of the barge as it slowly ambled north on the St John’s River.

“You’ve traveled everywhere else in the world but never came home even once. Why?”

Professional tourist Bill Collins met Latham by chance at a bar in Côte d’Azur and after hearing his story, decided to go back home with him.

“I was afraid of what I’d find, memories and regret. This was once my home long, long before the white man came.”

“You still hurt because your people drove you out?”

“After all this time, you think I wouldn’t be, but it’s a deep wound. Everyone around me aged and died but I didn’t. They couldn’t accept that. Most people today would have a hard time with it.”

“Latham, I’ve spent my life traveling the world, experiencing everything, blogging about it all, but you’re the biggest adventure yet. I could travel with you for a lifetime listening to the stories of a nine-thousand year old man.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 10, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I have no idea where this photo was actually taken, but something about it made me think of Florida. I looked up rivers in that state and settled on St. John’s River since it’s the longest in Florida and is used for commercial purposes.

People have been living on this river as long ago as 12,000 years, but about 9,000 years ago, the climate warmed resulting in much of the polar ice caps and glaciers melting making for a wetter environment and allowing the Paleo-Indians there to go from living in camps to villages. Yesterday, I commented on someone’s blog how it’s rather intimidating to write about an immortal character because it’s hard to imagine what they’d be like with so many life experiences.

Learning of the history of this river, I decided to take a stab at it. Latham isn’t particularly secretive about his longevity, at least not with some people such as Bill, and I liked the angle of a professional adventurer and storyteller being captivated by the sorts of tales a man like Latham could tell.

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

Will We Ever Have The Answer?

love prompt

© 2016 – Elaine Farrington Johnson

It was the worst mass murder in U.S. history. The President and First Lady attended the memorial service. Too many of these events had occurred over the years.

The murderer had a history of mental illness. The nation’s strict gun control laws were useless. Improvised bombs planted all over Chicago’s commuter corridors had been timed to explode at the height of the morning rush hour. Hundreds died in less than a minute.

President Larson addressed the vast assembly at the candlelight memorial.

“It is with a humble heart that I address you tonight. Everything we’ve tried to prevent these atrocities has failed. It is not enough to control how one person kills another, we must understand why they kill. The majority are not because of a religious or political agenda, but rather being disenfranchised from society, isolated, and ostracized seems the chief cause.

“As a nation, we must come together to bring belonging and hope to these people. Only when we show them love will they know love, for only love will stop these tragedies.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 3, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

Given the image, it’s impossible for me not to write about events such as the Las Vegas mass shootings that occurred last Sunday evening. 58 people died and over 500 were wounded. We all ask ourselves the same questions after one of these tragedies but we don’t seem to be any closer to an answer.

I chose not to take the obvious route, but unlike how I’ve woven my wee tale, the National Center for Biotechnology Information doesn’t agree that there’s a clear connection between mental illness and gun violence (and I eliminated guns in my story).Newsweek seems to believe that since statistically, white males commit the majority of these shootings (54 percent since 1982), something akin to a sense of entitlement might be involved.

Neither of these explanations is particularly satisfying nor to they point to a solution.

I deliberately used bombs rather than guns in my story because if guns aren’t available and someone is intent on violence, they will find a way. Consider the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the scores and scores of middle eastern terrorist bombings.

I don’t know if there’s a universal method of preventing these tragedies. Maybe outlawing guns is part of the solution, but while that might prevent some of these incidents, criminals will still buy guns illegally, and as we’ve seen in other societies (Israel has one of the toughest gun control laws in the world), people will still find a way to hurt one another.

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

Missing Her

coffee cup and sunglasses

© shivamt25

His two grandkids laughed. Grandpa had given his coffee cup a face.

“What should we name him, Shelley?” The four-year-old girl twisted her face in serious contemplation, but her six-year-old brother Riley was quicker to respond. “Harold. It looks like a kid in my class.”

“What if it’s a girl coffee cup?”

“How can that be, Shel? It’s Grandpa’s coffee and Grandpa is a boy.”

“He can have a girl coffee if he wants to.”

“I think Shelley has a point, Riley. There’s no law that says my coffee can’t be a girl.”

“So what name do you want to call her?” Riley put extra emphasis on the “her”.

“Hmmmm. How about we name her after Bubbe.”

The kids got suddenly silent. It had been two weeks since his wife left to stay with her sister and “rethink” their marriage.

“I miss Bubbe, Grandpa. When is she coming home?”

“Yeah when, Grandpa?” Riley added.

“Tonight I’ll call her and say I miss her too.” Riley and Shelley cheered.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of September 26, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 168.

Things are fine at home, thanks. This isn’t about me or anyone really. I’m just aware how my grandchildren miss their Bubbe (Yiddish for Grandma) when she’s not around and thought I’d increase the tension a bit. Besides, the coffee cup and sunglasses does kind of look like a face.

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

Pretending to be One of You

city at night

© Pamela S. Canepa

The night. So dark, so comforting, especially in the early Autumn. But it’s too busy, too many people, too much traffic. I’ll wait until later.

In the meantime, I’ll pretend to be one of them. A man going home after working late at the office. Someone commuting to her night shift job. A young couple going out to dinner and a movie. An older couple off to see a play. I’m just one of them, a nameless person in the crowd, moving along the sidewalk, past businesses and apartment buildings. Waiting for the light to change, crossing the intersection.

Finally, the crowds thin, the pace slows, the night deepens. No one can see my scars. Her house is just ahead. She used to be my wife. They used to be my children. But then war changed me. They said “go home, go back to your old life.”

The war changed me. The man I was died. I am only a soldier. They call me a “homeless vet,” like it was a badge of honor.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of September 19, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 175 words long. My word count is 174.

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

When Adam Awoke

hand

© artycaptures.wordpress.com

The light was too bright at first but then his eyes adjusted. He took a deep breath and exhaled feeling pleasure at the rise and fall of his chest. He looked at the clacking sound above him. Something turning around and around. A cool breeze came from it. It felt nice.

He sat up and realized this thing in front of him was his. He lifted it up. Moved the digits, Turned it back and forth. It did everything he thought about. He giggled. It was fun.

Another sound to his left. Something opened. Adam was scared. He tried to speak but it came out as a moan. Who’s that?

“There, there, dear boy. Don’t be afraid. I’m your doctor. I’m here to help. My staff and I will take care of you.”

He walked closer. He seemed friendly but Adam was nervous.

“You’re name is Adam. I told you that before when you woke up after the operation. My name is Dr. Frankenstein, Victor Von Frankenstein. I think we’re going to become good friends.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of September 5, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for writing a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

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