When Meg Comes to Visit

ferry and birds

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The Golden Gate Bridge was almost completely concealed in early morning fog as the 6:30 a.m. ferry made its way from Vallejo to the San Francisco Ferry Building. It was a typical Monday morning commute, and a much more civilized way to get into the City, though the crowding on board was still barely tolerable.

It was Erma Carr’s first day traveling to work by water, having given up with both driving and BART, this being somewhat ironic, seeing that she was an Ichthyologist.

“Hey, look at that.”

“Is it a whale?”

“Whatever it is, the thing’s huge.”

The comments of her fellow passengers pulled her toward the starboard side of the ferry, which was facing the Golden Gate and the Pacific Ocean beyond.

“There’s a dorsal fin. Is it an Orca?”

Carr’s blood proverbially froze in her veins. She was a shark biologist working at the Steinhart Aquarium, and had done her Master’s Thesis on extinct shark species. What she was looking at was impossible. The Megalodon species had perished over two-and-a-half million years ago. It was nearly as big as the ferry, and as it breached the water, she knew it would kill them all.

I wrote this for Week #29 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 195.

I found out the other day that a film called The Meg is coming to theaters in August, based on the book series by Steve Alten. Yes, another shark movie, but this time the shark is 60 or 70 feet long. You can read more about Megalodons at Wikipedia or do a Google image search to get some sort of idea of how huge these brutes were.

I wrote this one just for giggles.

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

So far, I’m the only one participating in this week’s linkup, so please consider adding your own story. Thanks.

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Waiting for Time to Pass

airport

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I can barely see them inside because of the glare on the window, but they all look like ordinary people. Ordinary people getting on with their lives, unlike me. In the window, the reflection reveals the plane behind me, the luggage carts, the main terminal, everything out here except my own rather ordinary face. You see, I don’t have one yet.

I’m an inventor, Dr. Ernest Pratt (no relation to the actor). I had (or will have) a research lab on the grounds of the Albany International Air and Spaceport. My company “Superluminal” is trying to develop a faster-than-light drive. I was the only one in the lab sometime past 2 a.m. when it happened; the accident. One minute, I was trying a new lattice configuration, and the next I was looking at an airplane that Charles Lindbergh should have been flying.

A newspaper told me it was June 15, 1928. It was still the Albany Airport, but a hundred years ago.

mail plane

EARLY BIRD…This Fairchild FC-2 Cabin Monoplane, with strut-supported wing, was probably similar to the plane E.B. White rode in his flight over New York City. (Quora)

I’m invisible and immaterial. My theory is that if I stay sane and catch up with present time, I’ll have a body again. I’ve made it ninety years so far. Another ten and I’ll have it made…I hope.

I wrote this for Week #28 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge hosted by Roger Shipp. The idea is to use the image at the top as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

I forgot about the word count limit as I was writing, so I was most of the way through a longer story when I realized it wasn’t going to fit the challenge. I’ll publish it later and put a link to it here if you’re interested in more of the details of Ernest’s woes.

Anyway, I looked up the The world’s 10 oldest airports and found that Albany International Airport best suited my needs. According to that site:

The first airmail operations at the airport began in June 1928, while passenger services began in October of the same year. The airport witnessed the movement of 180 passengers in 1929 and now handles over 2.5 million passengers per annum.

Above, I’ve included the photo of an old mail plane from that era for reference.

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

I’m seeing more participation this week, but it’s not to late to write and contribute a story for Roger’s Linkup.

For a longer version of this tale, read Waiting for Time to Pass (Expanded Version).

Timeless Saint

person and train

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He didn’t look a day older than the last time I saw him, but that was over forty years ago. He could still pass for a kid of nineteen, but I was almost seventy. I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call telling me to meet him here. He stood alone as the BART train that brought him to East Oakland pulled away in a blur.

“Why me? Why now?”

“Because it is who I am and what I was born to do. I saved you in a war halfway around the world, and now you’ll return the favor.”

“Who the hell are you and why aren’t you old? You pulled me out of that firefight in Nam. You were shot seventeen times. I never asked about it then. How are you even alive?”

“My earliest memory is of Masada. I don’t know how I escaped death there either. I only know that the lives I’ve saved over the ages have always been called upon to save others. This is your calling, Derek. For nearly 2,000 years, I have been called the Saint. There isn’t much time if we are to avert a nuclear holocaust. Come with me.”

I wrote this for Week 27 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

I have certain characters and scenarios living in the back of my mind. One of them in “The Saint” (with apologizes to Leslie Carteris, Roger Moore, and many others), who is either a medevac helicopter pilot saving the lives of wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War, or an immortal being saving lives so that at a later date, they could save others.

This being the American Independence Day, I felt like I should write about someone heroic.

Oh, the The Siege of Masada occurred from 73 to 74 CE, but the curious question is was “the Saint” one of the Romans or a Jew?

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

As I’ve mentioned before, this link up needs a lot of love. Please consider contributing your own story here.

Happy Independence Day to you and yours.

Where the Ghosts Come From

ghost

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“Let me out, do you hear? Let me out!”

Olsen Hoyt pressed his intangible form against a non-existent boundary between the neither-world and the real one.

“Why did you do this to me? I didn’t do anything wrong!”

Pressing his non-face against the nothing holding him, he wept nullified tears.

Their plan was to leave Hoyt, and everyone like him, alone in the dark for all eternity, but inventor Dennis Tyson couldn’t resist adding more payback. He walked into the Qualdonitron control systems matrix and selected his former supervisor’s virtual cell, one of over a billion. Then he whispered across the void, “You deserve it.”

“Who’s there? Why do I deserve this?”

“Your kind has been in control long enough. It’s time for the rest of us to take charge. Monsters don’t deserve existence, but death isn’t punishment enough. Now thanks to the invention of the Qualdonitron, the privilege of dominance is ours.”

“Privilege?”

“Your people have caused millennium of suffering. Now it’s our turn to create the pain.”

It took all those like Hoyt countless years, but eventually, they learned how to come back to the world as ghosts. Now their presence would be forever haunting.

I wrote this for the Week #26 Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is ~200.

I very loosely based my story on some of the lyrics from Gordon Lightfoot’s 1971 classic song If You Could Read My Mind and specifically:

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong,
With chains upon my feet.
You know that ghost is me.
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see.

Of course, there are other themes involved, but I’ll leave it to the reader to discover who Hoyt and Tyson could possibly represent.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com. As I’ve said in previous weeks, this link up still needs a lot of love, so please consider contributing a story. Thanks.

The Target

Taxi

Photo credit: Kai Pilger pexels-photo-462867 Taxi

Peter took a taxi from JFK into Manhattan, seeing the driver frown in the rear view mirror when he gave the address.

Anna had met him outside Terminal 4 where she’d given him the item secured in a laptop case. He was the only one in the organization who could deliver it to the target, but it would mean his death as well. It hardly mattered, He had stage four liver cancer and would be dead soon anyway.

Arriving at the Trump Tower, he paid the fare adding a generous trip. He had more in common with the driver than the man might expect.

Showing his ID, he was waved through every level of security except the Secret Service. Fortunately, the laptop was a working model.

“Donald, how good to see you again.” He shook hands with one of his oldest friends. They exchanged pleasantries in the President’s private suite, and then, “Let me show you that information we have on the FBI.”

The explosion killed them both instantly, raining debris onto 5th Avenue.

Listening to the news, Anna felt both grief and joy. Now maybe the government would reunite all of those poor babies with their parents at the border.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018 Week #25 challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

No, I’m not advocating assassinating President Trump or hurting or killing anyone. However, Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has been blamed for the separation of parents and children who have illegally attempted to enter the U.S., is all over the news and social media. Also, all you have to do is search twitter for the hashtag #resistance, and you can see the tremendous response to this policy in specific, and President Trump in general.

So I thought I’d create an extremist form of that resistance, one in which even some of Trump’s closest friends have joined, and one that is willing to use lethal force to enact political and social change.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

Oh, “Peter” and “Anna” are totally fictitious and is not based on any actual people.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com. Remember, this linkup still needs a lot of love, so please consider contributing a story. Thanks.

Head Tax

escalator

Photo credit: Kaique Rocha pexels-photo-125532 escalator

Manny almost jumped back from top of the escalator when he saw Leah walking across the baggage claim area right below him. She hadn’t looked in his direction and was out of sight by the time he reached the bottom.

He hadn’t expected her to still be at Seatac. Her flight should have arrived hours ago. “Plane must have been delayed,” he muttered, approaching the line of waiting taxis. Entering the closest one, he uttered the address he was given. Manny was grateful the driver wasn’t chatty.

He arrived at the designated part of South Park, paid the driver including a generous tip, and got out. He’d be staying here for a few days, and the first thing he had to do was buy a gun, which wasn’t hard if you had the right connections.

Tomorrow, he’d greet and then kill Leah Thompson just as she left her upscale condo in Belltown. Then he’d exterminate everyone else on the city council who voted to repeal the “head tax.” His uncle Darrel had been murdered by another homeless person six months ago. If the city had been able to provide affordable housing to the needy, he’d still be alive.

I wrote this for the Week #24 writing challenge at Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 196.

The photo looks like it could be an airport and I picked the city of Seattle at random. Looking up news for that city, I found Seattle quickly repeals ‘head tax’ that Amazon opposed. Apparently, Seattle had passed a law taxing big businesses like Amazon and Starbucks $500 per full-time employee so the city could fund affordable housing and services for the homeless. However Amazon pushed back in a big way, so the city council voted 7 to 2 to repeal it. Well, they actually dropped the tax to $250 per employee, but a lot of people were unhappy that the council caved in to big business.

I had planned to write an ominous tale when I first saw the photo, and my research just served to fill in the details.

My having written this missive doesn’t imply that I support or oppose Seattle’s “head tax.” I just needed to give Manny a motive for murder. Oh, the names used in my story are totally fictitious, and as far as I know, no one named “Leah Thompson” is on Seattle’s city council. I’m also not condoning killing anyone associated with this issue or for any other reason.

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

As I’ve mentioned before, this link up needs a lot of love, so please consider contributing your own flash fiction piece.

A Glitch in Time

concert

Jack Gittoes pexels-photo-761543 Concert

This was fantastic. He never thought he’d see Lennon, McCartney, and Starr perform together again. They certainly showed their age, their voices not quite as vibrant as he remembered from childhood, but they were legends.

Oswaldo Gantz watched his grandchildren holding up their smartphones to take photos just like all of the other kids around them. People Oswaldo’s age tended just to watch and listen and experience both the current performance and all of those played through the halls of time.

It was all thanks to him that Lennon was still alive. There was nothing he could do about Harrison’s brain cancer, but it was a virtual piece of cake to arrange for Mark David Chapman to be stabbed to death in a mugging a day before he was supposed to murder Lennon in 1980.

Now that his trial run turned out to be such a success, he’d have to figure out how else he could improve history. Hopefully, he’d be able to fix the little glitch in the system. He never imagined that saving Lennon’s life somehow resulted in the laws being changed so Arnold Schwarzenegger could now be President instead of Donald Trump.

I wrote this for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018: Week #23. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 195.

I already wrote one time travel story this morning, so I decided to try another. The image is obviously of a modern concert since you can see people taking photos with their cell phones. That stopped me from sending my character back in time to watch Lennon’s last live concert in 1975, but what if he’d never died? He’d be around 78 years old today.

Just having a bit of fun.

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

Roger’s linkup still needs a lot of love, so please contribute a small story of your own. Thanks.

One Last Hill

uphill

MorgueFile April b5afa0fad12c0fc6b1d0bf8cc983d6e4

The hill seemed to get steeper everyday, but then, it really wasn’t the hill, it was him. He was getting older, always older, each and every day. He couldn’t remember the last time he could actually ride his bicycle up the hill on his way home. Was it last year? No, maybe it was five years ago? How old was he? It didn’t matter.

“Half way up.” He huffed and puffed. He got out of breath more easily these days, and he was just pushing a bike up a hill. “Have to make it home.” Home was at the top of the hill. If he could get there again, he’d be safe.

“Wait. Need rest.” He leaned against the wall. The old man couldn’t breathe and there was a terrible weight on his chest.

Then he was six years old again and racing his bike up the hill with his mates Jerry, Tommy, and Little Sam. They were all laughing and zipping between the parked cars. He made it. He was home. He was free.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge for 2018, Week #22. Once again, the idea is to use the image above as a prompt to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 175.

I couldn’t read the sign in the photo, even magnifying the image, so I couldn’t use that to influence my writing. Instead, I concentrated on the (presumably) old man pushing his bicycle up the hill. I let my mind drift and this tale is the result.

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

As always, you are invited to contribute a wee tale to this linkup.

What the Gull Saw

bird

Photo Credit: MorgueFile April 62433e902

The news from Florence said, “After a three-year-long restoration, Renaissance master Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection can once again be admired in its original glory.”

Yes, it had taken that long for the painting to be restored, but at the same time, it was also being copied. What was being admired at the civic museum in Sansepolcro, the little Tuscan down where the artist was born in the early 15th century, was a fake.

A private collector had paid a fortune, though not what the actual painting would be worth on the open market, to have the restorer make the switch. For him, it was worth every penny.

Now, the actual painting of the resurrection of Christ was on its way to the collector’s hidden vault on his island in the Caribbean. The only witness to the crime was a lone gull who had watched the true article being loaded into a moving van. Of course, the little bird brain would never talk.

I wrote this for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018: Week #21. The idea 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 162.

The town reminded me of Florence, Italy, so I looked up some local English language news articles and came across Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection restored published last March in the Florence Daily News. It seemed like a good setting for an art theft.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz. This link up still needs a lot of love, so please consider writing your own response to the prompt.

Thanks.

Dangerous Waters

beach

MorgueFile April file8051277901708

Merilyn and Riyn waited at the seashore. They had met over twenty years ago on this very beach, although their fates had been intertwined nearly fifteen years earlier after he had saved her from drowning when she was a child.

Now they stood hand in hand and gazed at the sea. They were the undisputed rulers of the Takahe sub-continent, and because of them, a sweeping national effort had significantly reduced the country’s legacy of polluting the Eastern Ocean.

It wasn’t enough. Making a treaty with Kea, their neighbor across the waves, was easy. The more difficult relationship to forge was with Riyn’s countrymen, the undersea people of the Two Kingdoms. If they couldn’t make a peace with the so-called “sea gods” who had exiled their King for falling in love with a woman of the surface, then the coming conflict would destroy both worlds.

“There he is!” Merilyn pointed into the surf. He was rising from it.

“Watatsumi!” Riyn was happy to see his son alive and well after being away for nearly five months.

“Mother! Father!” The young man, for that is how he now appeared, stood on shore. “King Suijin agreed. The Two Kingdoms will join us.”

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018 Week #20 challenge. The idea 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 200.

This story relates to characters from my recent tale The Elephants of Yesterday, but little six-year-old Merilyn is now about forty, married, and co-ruling her nation alongside her husband, who is an exiled monarch from an undersea kingdom.

Yes, it’s complicated. I’m using characters and themes from a short story I recently submitted for publication (I won’t find out if it’s been accepted or rejected for some time probably). The basic concept is the literal marrying of the surface and undersea worlds, and what they couldn’t accomplish separately is finally achieved through their “synthesis;” Merilyn and Riyn’s son.

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

As I’ve mentioned previously, this linkup needs some love, so please consider contributing a story. Thanks.