The Long Wait for Retribution

naddaf

PHOTO: Mohamed Naddaf has been jailed for at least eight years. (AAP: David Crosling)

I know why Norman Sharp was convicted of the murder of his wife Inbar Rahal in Melbourne. His story was that he found her in their car, beaten, stabbed, and bound. Sharp took her inside and treated her wounds, not calling for help because DHHS had already threatened to take their three children because of filthy home conditions.

Authorities found him hugging her corpse five days later.

He went to prison and the children to foster care.

To this day, Sharp continues to declare his innocence, and denies any knowledge of how Inbar had come to be so mistreated.

As for the Jinn who had possessed him, I’ve only been hunting him for twenty years, but his grievance with Inbar spanned centuries. One of Inbar’s ancestors had murdered his own daughter, whom the Jinn had possessed because he loved her. The Jinn had his revenge and someday, I’ll have mine.

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 Melbourne, Australia. Naturally, I looked the place up, but there was way too much information for me to quickly decide on a topic, and I need to get the yard work done before it gets too hot.

I looked up their local news and found the ABC news story Death of woman ‘slow, miserable and avoidable,’ judge tells husband. I used the basic facts of the case as the basis of my story, changing some of the details and, of course, the names.

I also researched Exorcism in Islam and found a Jinn might possess someone because they are dangerous to the Jinn, they are in love with the person, or just because the Jinn is evil.

I created my “Jinn hunter” because I needed a narrator.

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

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When Meg Comes to Visit

ferry and birds

white-ship-traveling-through-vast-body-of-water-with-white-birds-flying-beside-879479 Pixel Photo

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.

The Digital Muse

houses

© Dale Rogerson

Another day, another sunrise. The sky is an ugly, pale yellow, and life is bland and uninspired.

“Hey, you.”

Addy turned toward her laptop sitting on the small desk in her bedroom. The speakers were on, so it was chattering away at her again.

“What do you want? I’m depressed.”

“Get over here. You have to finish your story. Marguerite’s trapped in that waterfront warehouse by Marsden’s goons. Will Preta be able to save her? You’ve got to help.”

A twinkle appeared in Addy’s eyes as she sat down at the computer, opened the file, and began to write.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a poem or story no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

To me, the image is pretty depressing, a smoke-filled summer sky, and the promise of another scorching day. The original version of this story before I edited it down, was more descriptive, but there’s only so much you can do with 100 words.

I leveraged characters from my story The Haunted Detective, and as far as the talking computer goes, I’m leaving that part rather vague.

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

Another Assignment

town

Found at Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – Image credit unavailable

This could be a lot of places in the world spanning decades or even centuries. I don’t know how I got here, but then, I never do. It’s morning but it’s getting warm fast, which probably means summer. Where are the people? There should be people here.

Electrical conduits. That puts me somewhere in the 20th or maybe 21st century. Wait. That sounds like radio or maybe a television set. Maradona does what? Now there’s a huge amount of cheering. Of course. Maradona. The 1986 World Cup. That was the goal that made him internationally famous.

I’m in Argentina. Now I’m remembering. My assignments are always to save a single human life or to take it. I’m a gun used by unseen forces to eliminate a threat to the timeline, or the hand used to protect an asset to history. Yes, it’s this door. In the next few seconds, I have to change history, but until the moment arrives, I won’t know how.

I wrote this for the 174th 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 162.

I received a certain set of reactions to how I depicted Diego Maradona in my wee tale The Fan, so I thought I’d take another stab at it by at least mentioning the 1986 World Cup and his famous “Hand of God” goal as well as the “Goal of the Century.” It made him an instant legend, so I suppose I should give credit where credit is due, though it means less to my mysterious time traveler than his current assignment, whatever that is.

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

The Fan

maradona

© Susan Spaulding

“And here you go. My pride and joy, so to speak. Signed shirt from the great man himself.” Andrew Cullen puffed up his chest as he showed his friend Tommy Cabrera his trophy room. “Diego Maradona. Best footballer ever. Your American mates call what you have football, but this is the real deal.”

“I wasn’t always an American, Andrew, and I know what real football is.”

“Oh yeah. Sorry about that. You emigrated to the States from Argentina, right?”

“Yes.” Tomás and Andrew met online at a fiction writers forum five years prior and hit it off. Now Cabrera was visiting his friend in Swords, outside of Greater Dublin, while on a promotional tour. His fictionalized autobiography had become a runaway bestseller, and he had personal appearances scheduled for all over the UK and Europe.

“Anything the matter? You’ve gone awfully silent.”

“Just remembering, Andrew.” Tomás didn’t give voice to the memory of growing up in a totalitarian socialist regime, nor how Diego Maradona had unswervingly supported the communist dictators who had crushed the souls of his family, and nearly killed him. “Sorry. I can’t say I’m much of a fan.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for 15 July 2018. 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 191.

Being an American, I don’t know much about the World Cup, and in fact, I don’t follow sports even in my own country. I had to look up Diego Maradona and discovered he has a colorful history. I chose to focus on his political views and found out he supports a number of socialist dictators, including Carlos Menem, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chávez. No, I’m not much of a fan, either.

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

The Future King

peabody

© Google, 2017 – Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University

Twelve-year-old David Cohen experienced a rare moment of awe standing in the George Peabody Library. He’d been accepted in the Cantate, a part of the Peabody Children’s Chorus, certainly a tremendous honor, but a secondary achievement.

He had started reading at age two, mastered algebra at four, spoke five languages by six, and written his first symphony by eight.

His goal now was to devour the contents of this library in under six months, just as he had already consumed most data sources accessible online.

His mother used her influence as the President of the National Academy of Sciences to conceal David’s “talents.” If the government found out his IQ was rated somewhere between 300 and 450, they’d turn him into a lab rat when his ambition was to cure the ills of the world.

But even he had no idea that one day, he would be called King and Messiah.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction 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 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Of course, I looked it up, but it wasn’t until I paid more attention to the image above and imagined myself standing in the middle of that library that I got my “hook, or rather part of it.”

Of course, the information about the Peabody Children’s Chorus figured into my tale, as did the ScienceTrends.com article Here Is The Highest Possible IQ And The People Who Hold The World Record.

But there was still one piece missing. What sort of goals should David have? I’d picked his last name at random, but then I realized that if one were to become the long-awaited Messiah, one would certainly have to train for it.

Unlike Christianity, in Judaism, the Messiah isn’t a supernatural being, but rather a wholly human Jewish male of the line of David and the tribe of Judah, who would grow to become both a great military leader, and a person of remarkable wisdom and piety.

150 words didn’t give me enough “space” to describe his religious training and accomplishments, so they’ll have to be assumed.

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

Waiting for Time to Pass

airport

flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo

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).

The Halloween Monster

monster

© Liz Young

Arthur stopped off at his sister’s last night, realizing he was too drunk to drive home from the bar. Staggering into her backyard the next morning, he discovered the apparition. Melissa followed him, looking bemused.

“Like it? I’m putting it out front for Halloween tonight.” It was then he noticed she was pointing a pistol with a silencer at him.

“Hey, what’s that?”

“Last year, you got off on that drunk driving charge where you killed a little girl. I’m fixing justice.”

That night, Melissa got a lot of compliments on the realistic display of a monster in a cage.

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

For some reason, I thought of a man who was hung over coming across this scene and being totally bewildered. The story wrote itself after that.

To read other tales inspired by the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Lorenzo’s Gulls

gulls

© wildverbs

“Come, my friends. I’ve got more food for you.”

Lorenzo Thornton had been friends with the gulls for decades, but then he was as good a murderer as they were scavengers. He’d found easy prey in hitchhikers and runaways along the coast highway near his cabin behind the white dunes, and his private graveyard was only a few hundred yards away. No one would miss his victims.

But he never buried the bodies before the gulls came and picked them clean. He knew they loved him, and he loved the gulls. They were the only thing he did love.

At seventy-eight, he sat in a lounge chair, drank a bourdon, pondered his disability income from wounds suffered in war, and his successful kill rating in the decades since. It was in the afternoon sun of July when he dozed off and his black heart finally stopped.

Then the gulls gathered, hundreds of them, and they watched and waited. As the sun began to set, they allowed Lorenzo to provide them one last meal.

I wrote this for the 173rd 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 173.

Of course I looked up Gulls and discovered that they’ll eat just about anything, living and dead, and sometimes will “feed in association with other animals, where marine hunters drive prey to the surface when hunting.”

It wasn’t hard to write my wee tale after reading that.

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

The Exiles

faroe islands

The Faroe Islands – Found at the Hand Luggage Only website – no photo credits available

“Have you ever wondered if we left anyone behind, husband?”

The man and woman stood at the edge of a magnificent rock formation, their backs to the lake behind them, and facing the open ocean a thousand feet below.

“Like us you mean, Tori? If we have, then we’ve visited a terrible curse upon the Earth. It is why we’ve retreated to these remote islands so long ago.”

“Look Bran. A ship.”

“It will not approach. Their leader will be known as Saint Brendan.”

“The mid-sixth century? Then our ending is mere decades away.”

“Yes, beloved. The alien virus which infected our wee village in Scotland centuries ago made us long-lived but not immortal. Our consciousness is aware of all human history, but we dare not share our infection with humanity.”

“I am content to be with you here in our exile, my love.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps image/location and use it as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 145.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Faroe Islands, Kingdom of Denmark. Of course I did some research, and found that historians believe this remote group of islands located halfway between Norway and Iceland may have been inhabited in two periods before the arrival of the Norse, the first between 300 and 600 CE, and the second between 600 and 800 CE.

I also learned that Saint Brendan of Clonfert (484-577 CE) includes a description of insulae (islands) resembling the Faroe Islands in the chronicles of his journeys.

Since we know almost nothing of the pre-nordic inhabitants of the Faroe Islands, I decided to make up something fantastic. What if people in a remote northern village in Scotland were infected with a strange virus by alien visitors, giving them lifespans of centuries and the ability to know all of human history? Further, what if they’re infectious? Maybe they’d isolate themselves to prevent the rest of humanity from contracting their blessing and curse.

The distance between Scotland and the Faroe’s is roughly 620.73 km or 385.70 miles.

To read other (probably more grounded) tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.