Vengeance

harbor

© Fatima Fakier Deria

The area around Hong Kong had so many cities and islands that when Sean woke up, he wasn’t sure he knew where he was. He got out of bed, went to the window of his hotel room and opened the curtains.

“Ah, Adolfo’s yacht arrived last night. Good.”

Adolfo rarely rose before ten and his crew thought Sean a friend. It’ll be easy to enter his cabin and empty the clip of his Walther into him. He didn’t care if he got caught. All Sean wanted was revenge for the beautiful Claudine’s murder. After fifteen years, Adolfo would finally pay.

Inspired by the Friday Fictioneers Photo Challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no longer than 100 words. My word count is exactly 100.

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

I had a bit of fun with this one. In the photo, I saw a yacht that reminded me of the one used by the villain Largo (played by Adolfo Celi) in the 1965 film Thunderball, which stars Sean Connery as James Bond.

I used the names of the actors instead of their characters in my wee tale, with Claudine Auger being the actress who played the enchanting Domino.

Sean even wields Bond’s Walther PPK.

The Collector

singing

© The Storyteller’s Abode

Sidney Feldman finally acquired the crown jewel of his collection, an original Joyce, circa 1897, simply titled, “Woman Singing.” It had been taken from its Jewish owner by the Nazis in 1939.

Feldman found it at an estate sale and knew immediately what he had. True, he could have returned it to the owner’s heir. He was even acquainted with the family.

But he was a collector, and the painting was priceless.

He heard the music the second night the painting was mounted in his private exhibition room. He staggered there and sat on the floor. The melody was mesmerizing. Feldman was there for days listening to her exquisite voice, his piano playing, watching the girl endlessly turning pages of music for her Father.

He died of thirst a week later. The maid eventually discovered the body. The authorities investigated and found dozens of items in the Feldman collection that rightfully belonged to others.

“Woman Singing” was returned to the great-granddaughter of the man who died in Berchenwald. She donated it to Yad Vashem in Israel.

This was written for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 28, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My story word count is exactly 174.

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

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.

The Seventy Year Cycle Killer

nassau

© Google Maps – July 2016

Kal Thompson knew he was very unpopular with the passengers and crew of the cruise ship Norwegian Gem. It couldn’t be helped.

Another gorgeous Summer day in Nassau, but the yellow crime scene tape wasn’t part of the tourist attraction. It prevented the contamination of his murder investigation. The murderer had to be on board.

The victim had been a young local women. The manner of her death was particularly gruesome. She was cut in half at the waist and her body was totally drained of blood. She was found nude, posed with her hands above her head, and the corners of her mouth literally sliced ear to ear.

He had read about a case such as her’s but it couldn’t be the same killer could it? After all, the Black Dahlia had been murdered in Los Angeles in 1947. How could the killer strike again seventy years later?

I wrote this in response to J. Hardy Carroll’s What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the Google Maps image above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine is exactly 148.

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

When I looked around the Google Maps image, I saw the yellow tape and imagined a crime scene, but I needed something unusual. I looked up famous unsolved murders, and the mystery of the Black Dahlia became my template.

The Lonely Boy

haunted house

© J Hardy Carroll

Josh, Matt, and Kenny were best pals. Every day, the third-graders walked past the old McClary house going home from school. Today, Kenny picked up a stick and ran it across the wrought iron fence.

“Yoohoo!” Josh yelled at the so-called ghosts in the house. Matt quickly said, “Knock it off, Josh. Don’t disrespect.”

“Crybaby,” Josh expressed his scorn. “Dead people can’t hurt you.”

Every day unliving eyes peered out the upstairs window at the three boys. Kevin McClary died in the last great flu pandemic. All he wanted to do was go out and play with the other children.

Written in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers challenge. The idea is to use the photo at the top as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. I barely made it at 100 even.

The second I saw the photo, it screamed “ghost story” at me. Poor Kevin is no longer among the living, and trapped in that house, he can’t even go out and play.

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

The Duet

musician

© Sunayana MoiPensieve

I was born too late. I should have been singing with Dylan in the sixties. Instead, I spend my weekends in this little square between the London Film and Transport Museums playing his charts to uninterested passersby. It’s early Saturday, so the place is almost empty.

Pavement’s still wet from the rain as I sing “Like a Rolling Stone.” I can smell the woman’s cigarette smoke behind me as I play “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

“I’m working on “Forever Young” when someone walks toward me. He’s right in front of me. I stop singing. Oh wow!

“Mind if I sit in?”

I motion dumbly to where I keep my back up six-string. Glad I tuned it.

He stands next to me and begins “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” I join in. I’m playing a duet with Bob Dylan. Before long, the square is packed. When it’s over and he has to go, I say, “Thanks for making my dream come true.”

He gives me his hand and I shake it. “Anytime. Anytime at all.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 21, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. I barely made it at 174 words.

To read other stories written from the same prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Fall of the Saints

photo prompt

© A Mixed Bag

The Milan Cathedral, a once majestic landmark, was in ruins. He never thought to visit this ancient structure, anathema to his own nature, an artifact to a once vast empire. He looked up at the Saint and the Priest. The Priest was struggling to keep the Saint integrated, but his powers were weakening, his prayers growing more faint each second. He was the last Priest. The revolution had effectively crushed their dominance. She was the last Saint, and the reluctant Magician’s target. He had no wish to harm her, but their hold on the world must be completely broken.

He began his magical rite to the horror of the Priest. An unexpected look of serenity appeared on the Saint’s visage. She knew her time was done.

The spell completed, the Priest collapsed, exhausted, and the Saint vanished from her holy vestibule in the cathedral. With her passing, so did the age of religion pass. It had taken Prospero long centuries to accomplish his task, but he had finally restored the age of mysticism across the world. Now his daughter Miranda would be free of Sainthood and return to rule as the Duchess of Milan.

This tale was written in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction – March 19th 2017 challenge hosted by Al Forbes. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a short piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words. Mine comes in at 194, and I confess, it was only around 140 words in its first draft. I was delighted to discover I had more “room” to add details to my mythic story.

The minute I saw the photo prompt, something reminded me of William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”. I’ve never seen it performed or read it, but there was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation which began with the character Data (played by Brent Spiner) performing in the play on the holodeck as the character Prospero. Data, being a very literal person, had trouble understanding the character and Shakespeare’s symbolism. Captain Picard (played by Patrick Stewart), explained it this way:

“Well, Data, Shakespeare was witnessing the end of the Renaissance and the birth of the modern era, and Prospero finds himself in a world where his powers are no longer needed. So, we see him here about to perform one final creative act before giving up his art forever.”

I thought it would be interesting to reverse things, and have the modern era and the church attempting to perform its one last creative act in the face of Prospero, who was determined to end its reign. In the play, Miranda is Prospero’s daughter, and in addition to being a magician, Prospero is the Duke of Milan. In the play, he was attempting to restore his daughter to her rightful place. In my story, he succeeds.

To read more stories inspired by this prompt, to go InLinkz.com.

Pointing Out the Road Homeward

uganda

© Google – June 2015

Thursday, April 30, 1970, Kampala, Uganda.

“Rabbi Sizomu, you have a year to get the Jews out of Kampala before Idi Amin gains power.”

“How can you be so certain of this, my friend?”

“Do you trust me?”

Both men were standing on a lonely road, untamed brush to the right, a large hothouse farm to the left.

“I have learned to trust you in the time you’ve spent among us. You know things I cannot explain.

“Trust me, Gershom. President Obote will be overthrown in a military coup. Amin will attack the Jews living in Kampala. Convince them to make Aliyah, emigrate to Israel.”

“Why are you warning us?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Then it’s a matter of faith. Very well, I will do as you say.”

Time Traveler Martin Fields watched Rabbi Gershom Sizomu walk back to Kampala before returning home to 2017, his mission accomplished.

I wrote this small tale in response to K. Rawson’s What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above, taken from Google maps, and craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine is 149, and it’s a difficult tale to tell in so few words. I once again employed my time traveler Martin Fields because it’s true. In 1971, Idi Amin took control of Uganda, deposing President Milton Obote in a military coup. Amin exiled all the Asians and viciously attacked the Jewish population of Kampala.

I couldn’t find any information about any Rabbis in Uganda in 1970, so I “borrowed” Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, who in February of last year, was elected to the Ugandan Parliament. You can read his story at Haaretz.com.

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

Choices

boys life

Boys’ Life magazine | November 1963

Tommy’s Dad always had to work on Saturdays, so Grandpa took him to his special Cub Scouting event. Last week, Grandpa and Tommy went to another Scouting Dad’s place to use power tools to make the Scout’s pinewood racing car. Today was the big day, race day!

Tommy Sheridan had no idea that Grandpa used to smoke. He quit decades ago, but it wasn’t soon enough. Grandpa went to the doctor when he couldn’t stop coughing. The X-rays and follow-up tests didn’t look good, and Grandpa was glad to be able to spend as much time with Tommy as possible…

…because time was running out.

Continue reading

Family Monument

wheel

© Jennifer Pendergast

After five-year-old Barry and his Grandpa were done playing in the park, the little boy stood marveling at the giant, rusty wheel, while Grandpa went to get the picnic basket.

Bubbe had made their favorite split pea soup and they sat eating and reading comic books in the wheel’s comforting shadow.

Grandpa said it used to be a monument, but people forgot what to. For Grandpa, it was a symbol of family, something big and enduring that has no beginning or end.

Grandpa’s latest tests showed he was still cancer free. He and Barry were here to celebrate.

I wrote this in response to the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo at the top of the page to write a piece of flash fiction no longer than 100 words. My story today is 98 words long.

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

I know I write a whole bunch of endearing little stories about Grandpas and grandkids. I might have written this one differently if the photo didn’t contain a small child.

This story is very, very loosely based on a “road trip” I took with my son David some years back. He served in the Marine Corps and suffered a number of injuries he believes he should have been receiving disability payments for. The local VA did an evaluation, but David wanted a second opinion, so they sent us to the VA in Walla Walla, Washington.

We made a day of it. My wife really did make homemade split pea soup for us. We told stories during the drive, David played videos on his phone, and I was reading the graphic novel “V for Vendetta” on the trip.

We finally arrived back home in Boise exhausted, but we had a great time. To this day, it’s one of my favorite adventures with my son.

The scene in the photo looks vaguely like the grounds of the VA in Walla Walla, which is a converted fort.

Sorry if I’m writing too many schmaltzy tales, but if at all possible, I prefer happy endings.