A Girl and Her Dog

dog

MorgueFileJune2018 1418535473h5g6w

Toby trotted casually through the water, understating the panic he felt last night during the storm. The reason for this was the golden retriever now had two sets of thoughts in his head; his own canine concerns, and the comforting presence of Marianne.

“Good boy, Toby. You’re almost there. Just another block and then turn right.”

They’d been having these sorts of “conversations” since he was a puppy, so they no longer scared or confused him. It was a natural consequence of living with the eight-year-old girl and her family.

He remembered the storm, the flood, being separated from them during the evacuation, but she kept him calm.

Then he turned the corner and caught sight of the shelter, the gymnasium of a high school. She was waiting outside for him.

“Toby!” He could hear her this time. She was screaming and jumping up and down with joy.

He broke into a run and didn’t stop until she was grabbing his wet fur, hugging him. He jumped with her, barking and then licking her face.

“I missed you, Toby. Please stay with me always.”

“Okay, he’s back.” Daddy’s voice echoed in her thoughts. “We’ve got to go before we’re discovered.”

I wrote this for Week 38 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner photo challenge hosted by Roger Shipp. 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.

Given that the dog is walking in water and the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I thought I’d make my heroine a flood victim…as well as a mutant telepath.

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

Advertisements

The Greeter

umbrellas

© Dale Rogerson

This had to be a dream because Jae didn’t remember how she got here, and who would decorate a room like this? At only five foot two, the slender Thai co-ed felt tiny in such enormous surroundings.

“Hurry up.” The deep, masculine voice was coming from the shadows ahead.

“This is my dream and I’ll come when I’m ready.”

“You’re not dreaming.”

“But the last thing I remember was going to bed.”

“That doesn’t mean it was the last thing that happened to you.”

“Wait. The car accident…”

“Yes. Welcome to the afterlife, Jae. I’m here to sign you in.”

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

The image looked surreal to me, so that’s how I wrote it. With only 100 words to play with, I could only vaguely develop my idea. Poor Jae.

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

Seeking Justice

the chelsea beach bar

© Michelle DeAngelis

Jeannie and Richard met outside the Chelsea Beach Bar in Atlantic City, their hometown. She had barely been able to hold in her tears, but became hysterical when he’d gotten out of his car and walked over to her. There was nothing left for the PI to do but hold his old girlfriend and let her cry. The Marine veteran’s instincts never let him tune out his surroundings, such as the multicolored para-sail against a dull blue sky and the sound of the wind blowing through the grass.

“You’re going to find them for me.” She’d finally stopped sobbing.

“I figured that’s why you called me after so long.”

“We were going to get married. He wanted to wait until after tomorrow’s boxing match in Vegas to announce it.”

“You know when I find them, it won’t help. He’ll still be dead.”

“I know. But he deserves justice. I don’t trust the cops on this one. I think they’re in on it. Habib thought the fight was rigged.”

“I know. I’ll find his killers.

I wrote this for the 183rd FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

I looked up The Chelsea Beach Bar since it’s figured prominently in the photo, and found it is in Atlantic City. I looked up the local news and discovered that Atlantic City boxer Qa’id Muhammad was found murdered yesterday near Las Vegas. I decided not to use Muhammad’s name in my story and to fictionalize the crime out of respect for the grieving family.

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

Baobab

baobab

A baobab tree in northern Ghana.

Brian Fletcher was startled when the lithe, green-eyed Ghanan woman stepped out from behind the baobab tree.

“I wouldn’t pick the flowers. The gods cursed the baobab. Picking even a single white flower is bad luck.”

The hunter defiantly plucked one, then two more flowers, and then held out his arm. She took a step backward, and he laughed. “Stupid superstition.”

“You will meet your fate, Mr. Fletcher as you have sent many elephants to theirs…poacher.”

“How did you…?”

The dark woman dashed back around the tree’s large, twisted trunk.

“Wait a minute.” The muscular, middle-aged man threw the flowers to the ground and ran after, but it wasn’t a woman he found on the other side.

He only had time to notice that the lioness possessed the same green eyes before she tore him apart. The gods had again wrought terrible justice against one who would desecrate their lands.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Bamboi, Northern Region, Ghana. I couldn’t find anything on Bamboi in a casual Google search, since it kept trying to redirect me to “bamboo.” I did look up Northern Region (Ghana), and there I found the Baobab Tree, and more importantly, the legends and myths about it. There are numerous myths, so I chose one, leveraging information about poaching in Ghana.

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

What It Means to be Free

truck, pumpkins, flag

MorgueFile May 2018 1413924415vgvbk

Young Nate had a blast running through the cornfield and picking out pumpkins, but then the little boy saw his Grandpa standing by an American flag next to the field.

“What are you doing, Grandpa?”

“Remembering when I was your age and we kids said the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the flag every morning.”

Nate looked down if he were embarrassed.

“What’s wrong?” Grandpa put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.

The fourth grader looked up at Grandpa. “Some kids at school say we should kneel instead of stand in front of the flag because of racism.”

Grandpa knelt down. “I know that our country has done bad things and we still have problems that need fixing, and if people want to kneel, that’s their right. That’s what makes America free. But it’s never been about what’s wrong with America, but about our ideals, who we are when we’re our best. I’ll always stand. People who forget that will always live in fear. The flag is a reminder of what freedom is, and when you’re free, you’re never afraid.”

The old man was kneeling in front of the flag, but only so he could hug his dear grandson.

I wrote this for Week #37 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing 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.

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks against our nation, and America still carries a lot of collective pain from that day. I wrote a wee fictional tale honoring the victims and those who survived them, so the feelings are still fresh within me.

I wish I had more than 200 words to express what I’m trying to say. I know that there will always be people who will kneel in front of the flag as long as they perceive there being social injustice in this nation. That’s their right as American citizens. That’s what it means to be free. But what I tried to say today echos what I recently wrote in a longer essay a few days back.

Right now, a lot of people are afraid of that guy in the White House. They’re afraid about who will be the next Supreme Court Justice. They’re afraid of a lot of things, real and imagined. But I choose not to live in perpetual fear. Yes, I get scared of things sometimes, but both my identity as an American and my faith in God help me realize that I wasn’t born to be afraid. Isaiah 43:1 says “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”

The Almighty was addressing Israel, not the people of the nations, but through faith to the King of Israel and by his merit, the rest of us can also be called children of God. Presidents are temporary. God is everlasting. If you don’t believe, that’s fine. We all negotiate our relationship with the Creator in different ways. I’m just glad I live in a country where people are free, both to kneel in front of the flag and to pray to and have faith in God. It’s the same country, and it’s the same freedom.

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

P.S. Don’t forget to contribute your own story to Roger’s linkup. Thanks.

The Assignment

clock

© J. Hardy Carroll

“I’ve got to write a hundred words about that?” The creative writing student balked when his instructor placed the ornate clock on his desk, which was to be used as a writing prompt.

“That’s the assignment, Mike. What’s the problem?”

“It’s hideous.”

“It’s an antique.”

“It’s repulsive.”

“Then you should be able to write a piece of flash fiction about something hideous and repulsive.”

“Do you remember the scene from ‘Office Space’ where Peter, Michael, and Samir take the office printer out and smash it to pieces? I can write about that.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 92.

Yes, that was more or less my reaction to seeing the prompt. Not all prompts are created equal and this one rubbed me the wrong way, so that’s what I wrote.

Oh, for those of you who haven’t seen the excellent 1999 film Office Space, here is a YouTube video (unedited, so language) of the infamous destruction scene of the office’s constantly malfunctioning printer.

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

Those Never Forgotten

autumn morning

© wildverbs

The air was finally carrying a chill in the mornings, the first sign of Fall. Nick had always loved the Fall, even as a kid, but today possessed a bitterness along with the cold. He got up early, went through his morning routine, and then opened the hallway closet.

There, like every other morning, was the American flag. He never kept it out at night because there were too many vandals.

He gently ran his dark brown fingers along the fabric. Today, more than any other day, it meant something special. “I miss you Dad.”

Tears were running down his cheeks as he put the flag pole in its holder next to the front door on the outside of his cottage. Seventeen years ago today, his Dad, a New York City Police Officer, was among the first responders after the World Trade Center was destroyed. The 27-year-old Marine veteran saluted the flag, not just for honor of country and the Corps, but for the bravest man he’d ever known who died on this day.

I wrote this for the 182nd FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

Today marks the seventeenth anniversary of the heinous terrorist attacks on our country, a time when we remember those who fell, and the courage of the men and women who first responded to the attacks. I felt I should write something appropriate.

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

The Maker’s Daughter

catwoman

Image of Selina Kyle/Catwoman (voiced by Adrienne Barbeau) from the 1992 Batman the Animated Series episode “Tyger, Tyger.”

The solitary Leonine was lying, concealed in the tall grass near an acacia tree watching what she assumed was a frumpy, blinkered woman crossing the broad savanna as she carried her basket. She didn’t so much walk as bounce, as if she were treading upon a sponge or the vast skin of some overly ripe fruit. Her costume reminded the female adaptoid of those worn by puritans, except her robe was a bright crimson, while he coif, shift, and apron were canvas white. With her large handbag, the amused humanoid lioness thought she looked like “little red riding hood meets “a handmaid’s tale.”

Her pale, compact body approached a coppice, which apparently was her destination. Leonine didn’t have to restrain herself, having recently dined on a gazelle, but she was curious, so she rose and silently circled around the open grasslands, padding through the trees, and finally approaching her target from the right. Too late did she realize her mistake as the woman, now appearing much younger than she had thought, turned her head, removed her ancient spectacles, and gazed directly into her feline eyes.

Continue reading

Moving to the Beehive

apartments

Michael (Black) Ritter pexels-photo-41506

“I’m Erika. Welcome to the beehive.” Erika Kiribati was the unofficial greeter for the San Jose State dorms. “I’ll get that box.”

“Thanks. I’m Josh. There are more people living here than the town I grew up in.” Josh McKenny had his hands full with his duffel.

“You get used to it.” The 19-year-old Samoan picked up the box and elbowed the elevator’s ‘up’ button. “Family help you move?”

“Dad’s looking for a place to park.”

“Where you from?”

“Wallace, Idaho. About 80 miles east of Spokane.”

The elevator doors opened. “Which floor?”

“Fifth.” Erika pushed “5” as Josh hustled in behind her.

“I’m in 605. Come on up when you’re settled.”

520’s door was ajar and Erika pushed it open with her foot to find a young African-American.

“You Josh’s roomie?”

“Name’s Gabe Johnson.”

“Josh McKenny. You met Erika yet?” The two men shook hands.

“Nope. How’s it going?”

Erika and Gabe shook and then she turned. “Nice meeting you Gabe. See you soon, Idaho.”

The boy from Wallace and the Oakland native sized each other up, and it wasn’t the first time Josh questioned the wisdom of going to school out-of-state and away from everything he ever knew.

I wrote this for Week #36 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 199.

True story. I once knew a guy who was born and raised in a small town in Idaho. His parents were divorced and his Dad moved to California and was an instructor at San Jose State University. He got a terrific tuition break so decided to go there but once he saw the size of the dorm, he turned around and went home. The dorm really did have more people than the entire town he’d grown up in. Culture shock is still real.

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

The Wrong Moon

moon

© Gah Learner

“Honey, come here. The full moon is so beautiful tonight.” Robin and Noah Clarke were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in a small resort town and had just returned to their hotel room after dinner.

“Full moon?” Noah picked up his smartphone and started pushing virtual buttons.

“Can’t you leave that thing alone and come watch the moon with me, please?” Minor annoyance etched her voice. “We’re on our second honeymoon…”

“That can’t be the Moon. Moonrise isn’t for another hour and the window faces west.”

Robin turned and looked out again. “Oh my God. You’re right. It’s getting bigger.”

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

The light in the photo is apparently the Moon, but then again, what if it isn’t?

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