Burning Bridges


iowa city fire

© J Hardy Carroll

Devon had been lucky to get away before the police came. The bounty hunter killed or maimed twelve heavily armed men when she escaped. He got away with a broken arm.

Time to erase his tracks both in Chicago and here in Iowa City. It would look like an accidental oven fire. All records connecting him to the human trafficking ring would be ashes and he would be long gone by the time firefighters put out the blaze. He’d saved enough in offshore accounts to start over. The bounty hunter did him a favor when she took out the boss.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wissoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is exactly 100.

This reads as a complete story but is also part of the Mikiko Jahn saga which is growing by leaps and bounds. The events in today’s tale take place shortly after Murder at 900 North Michigan (written also for one of Rochelle’s prompts) and both tales are a bit of foreshadowing of their expanded versions.

I noticed one of the fire trucks in the photo had a sign saying “Iowa City Fire Department” and when I looked up recent news articles about fires in Iowa City, I came up with an article published on the 13th titled Fire causes $20,000 in damage to Iowa City apartment. I also discovered that it’s just over 220 miles from Chicago to Iowa City, so a three-and-a-half hour drive wouldn’t be out of the question for someone escaping a “bounty hunter” who had just busted the major crime ring he had been working for.

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

Time is the Fire


Cover for the digital music album Aporia​:​Kāla​:​Ananta by Wolvserpent

Los Alamitos, California – Friday, 3 November 2017 – 8:01 a.m.

He knew she had been terrified, desperate, but that was no excuse. Without balance the universe couldn’t exist, well except for that imbalance called entropy. The universe was moving slowly, inexorably from order to disorder, but Yama couldn’t let the breakers accelerate that process. Damn Kāla for the mess she’s created, that is if one can damn a goddess.

She is here, the breaker, he could sense her presence, her non-conformity, her being out of place and time. He would find her in this strange country with its paved roads and automobiles, this land hardly populated in the time she came from. But then from her point of view, this place was far better than the one from which she escaped.

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Dearest Treasure

charred toys

© Karuna

She could hear the crying of her two dear little ones.

“Mommy. Fluffy Bear’s all burned up.” Fluffy Bear had been Emily’s favorite toy for all five years of her life.

“Monkey. Dolly.” Gwennie was just shy of two years and sobbed, lamenting of her two best friends who she took to sleep with her each night.

Their Mommy sat on the floor of her neighbor’s house and hugged her babies close. “It’s okay. The firemen brought out my two dearest treasures safe and sound. You.”

Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 86.

I have grandchildren who have their favorite toys, dolls, and stuffed animals, and seeing the ones in the photo burned up only emphasizes that there are more important things to lose…and save.

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

Burning the Bridge to Heaven



The night fire on the beach burned bright and hot. I stared into its warmth and chaos for hours. It held the end of everything I was, everything I thought I’d ever be. I could still feel blood dripping down my back. I cut off my wings and incinerated them.

I got the prompt for this one from Iain Kelly’s blog. He wrote a 50 word story based on the photo above in response to the Scottish Book Trust’s 50-Word Fiction Competition for March. Not sure if I should enter the contest, since I’m not particularly keen on “winning” anything. My story is exactly 50 words. Let me know what you think.