The New Home

shoes spider webs

© Sarah Potter

After he died, I put Dad’s old shoes in my closet and then forgot about them.

Come Autumn, I decided to clean out my closet and found them again. This time, they weren’t old shoes anymore.

“Grandpa, what’s that?”

My six-year-old granddaughter had caught me about get rid of the infested footwear.

“Just old shoes.”

“They’re filled with spider webs. Do Charlotte’s babies live there?”

I’d shown Mia the movie “Charlotte’s Web” recently. Now I knew what I had to do.

Mia and I found a safe place for them in my shed.

I’m still not getting a pig.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

It is true that after my Dad died in April, I took a pair of his old shoes as a backup pair to the ones I currently wear. It’s also true that recently, I showed my grandchildren the 2006 live action version film version of Charlotte’s Web. The combination of the two, plus the photo, inspired this wee tale.

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

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The Minutemen of October

lights of sturgis

© Jan Wayne Fields

“I say we’re gonna get the code real soon. We’re at DEFCON 2. If the Commies run the blockade and the Navy tries to stop ’em, it’ll be nuclear war.

Despite his apparent anxiousness. Air Force Corporal Brandon “Red” Kowalski was still deemed able to man one of the 50 Minuteman missile silos on the Ellsworth Air Force Base complex north of Sturgis, South Dakota.

“President Kennedy won’t risk World War III over this. He’ll figure something else…” SSgt Tyler Lundgren stopped talking when the alarm went off. Lundgren decoded the message. Both men retrieved their individual keys. They were at war.

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

When I found out that the image is titled “lights of sturgis,” I looked that up and found out that Sturgis, South Dakota has an annual Parade of Lights. I also found out that “the vast Ellsworth Air Force Base complex, the land north of Sturgis was dotted with 50 Minuteman missile silos. The L5 is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from the center of the town.”

That led me to think about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Here’s a quote from that article:

“On October 25, the aircraft carrier USS Essex and the destroyer USS Gearing attempted to intercept the Soviet tanker Bucharest as it crossed over the U.S. quarantine of Cuba. The Soviet ship failed to cooperate, but the U.S. Navy restrained itself from forcibly seizing the ship, deeming it unlikely that the tanker was carrying offensive weapons. On October 26, Kennedy learned that work on the missile bases was proceeding without interruption, and ExCom considered authorizing a U.S. invasion of Cuba. The same day, the Soviets transmitted a proposal for ending the crisis: The missile bases would be removed in exchange for a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba.”

But what if the Navy did try to seize the Bucharest and tensions continued to escalate? The Soviets might not have transmitted their proposal ending the crisis and nuclear war could have been the result.

While all this was happening, I was an eight-year-old boy resting in a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska after having my tonsils taken out. I don’t have a clear memory of Mom or Dad, but much later on, Dad told me that while Mom and I were in the hospital, he and another Air Force airman were manning a missile silo preparing to launch their Minuteman at their designated target. You may or may not know that after receiving the nuclear go codes from the President, each of the two men had to individually insert a key into different locks and turn them simultaneously in order to launch their  missile. This prevented any one person from being able to perform the launch.

Fortunately, in real life, none of that happened, but at the time, everyone thought it would, at least the adults.

I know. My story has practically nothing to do with the prompt photo. Normally, I’m pretty literal, but this time, I had a different idea and I ran with it.

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

The Shower Scene

bedroom

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The old motel wasn’t what Norman imagined. He thought an old Victorian in the California countryside converted to an inn would be charming and tasteful. But his room reminded him of “old woman bedroom.” Oh well, at least there was plenty of hot water for a shower. Cheap shower curtain but that part didn’t matter.

“What?” Norman thought he heard something but the shower water was too loud. “You know, if I didn’t know any better…”

The last thing he saw was the shower curtain being ripped aside and the old woman plunging a butcher knife toward his chest.

I wrote this for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

As I hope you can see, I was going for a twist on the 1960 film Psycho which starred Anthony Perkins as the infamous Norman Bates. Unfortunately, 100 words isn’t a lot in which to be able to build suspense before the reveal.

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

The Moaning Stone

rock

© CEAyr

“We’ve hiked three days to get here, Jason. Are you sure it’s worth it?”

“According to the old library book it should be.”

Jason and Jill climbed down the heavily wooded gully. “Should be around…there. The moaning rock.”

“Just a big rock, Jason.”

Then they heard the moan.

“I don’t like this Jason. Let’s go back.”

“Wait.”

“Alone.” The voice from the rock sounded like the wind.

“Are you the spirit?” The book was written eighty years ago by a hiker who said the rock was haunted.

“Home.” Lights started shining from deep depressions.

“No, Jason. Not spirits. A spaceship.”

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

The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture of the rock is that it looked like it was somehow alive. I was torn between making it a horror story or science fiction. Jason and Jill almost had their souls eaten by spirits. Then I decided for a happier ending.

To read other stories inspired by the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Drive Me Crazy

desk

© Claire Sheldon

I never understood her side of the desk we share. My side looks like a cyclone blew through the room. Papers, DVD cases, and coffee cups scattered everywhere. I’m always losing pens.

She’s so precise, so neat, except she’s a little careless with the stuffed animals our grandson gives her so she’ll be safe.

When she’s home, she drives me crazy, but after she’s gone a day or so, I find that I miss her. I like to think solitude doesn’t bother me, but in the end, I get lonely.

Come home soon, dearest. Please drive me crazy again.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff Fields’ Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is exactly 99.

This is an apt description of the desk my wife and I share in our den and how I feel when she goes on a trip.

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

The Crossover

ferry

© Ted Strutz

“The next leg of our vacation takes us on the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria.”

“Honey,” Glenn’s wife complained. “You sound like a tour bus driver.”

Their two kids in the backseat groaned.

“Just trying to brighten the mood while we wait to get onto the ferry.”

Then the parents in the front realized they had bigger problems.

“Glenn, is everything…twisting?”

“I thought it was rain, but…”

Everything shifted and shimmered and then they were part of a line of cars on the Juan de Fuca Bridge, crossing not only the strait but into another universe as well.

I wrote this for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image at the top to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

Decades ago, science fiction writer Larry Niven wrote a series of stories based on the outlandish idea that fog was not caused by water vapor but by a distortion between one quantum universe and another. A person who was in the fog might disappear from our world and reappear in a parallel one.

The image above seems to distort the cars and ferry we can see, and while in real life, this was probably caused by rain on the windshield, I decided to take it in a different direction. There really is a ferry that travels across the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Port Angeles to Victoria, northwest of Seattle, Washington, though I’ve never been anywhere near it (but Google is good).

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

The Plants Have Taken Over

summer house

© Sarah Potter

Hadn’t been to the cabin since I was a kid. After Grandpa died, I forgot all about it. He only stayed here during the winter. I sat in the chair next to his desk. The plants had taken over everything. Still, I can almost hear his voice.

“I’m still here, boy.”

“What? Grandpa?” I looked around expecting to see him or at least his ghost.

“I’m still here. Look at the desk. Look out the window.”

“All I see are the…”

I’d forgotten how much Grandpa liked gardening, though he tended to let his plants grow a little wild.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

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

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.

Through the Debris

debris

© J Hardy Carroll

By some miracle, they survived the fire and the subsequent vandalism. Leah’s adversaries thought she must now be truly lost, but the stained glass works remained, still hanging by the unbroken windows. The second one from the right was what she was looking for.

Stepping lithely through the debris, she made her way to the map. “The people of this world tried to trap me here, but now I know the way home.”

The map showed her the hidden portal to her own dimension. It was only a few blocks away, but she knew she was being followed.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 98.

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

Mom’s Secret

auto aftermath

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“What the hell happened to the car, Mom?”

“Sorry, Mark. I thought I had enough clearance pulling out of the parking garage. I must have hit something?”

“Hit something? Mom!”

Since Dad’s death, Mark was trying to help Mom out, but she was getting more forgetful and disorganized each day. Clearly she wasn’t fit to drive, but getting her to give it up was going to be tough.

“Damn! That last invader agent hit my car with a disruptor blast before I could get away,” she thought. “Hate lying to my son, but he can’t learn my secret.”

I wrote this in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo prompt above and write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My story’s word count is 98.

My Dad passed away about three weeks ago. Afterward, my brother and I helped my Mom deal with a lot of the details in settling Dad’s affairs. My wife and I came back to help out some more, and Mom continues to have problems remembering important details. Eventually, we plan on having her move in with us, but giving up her independence will be hard for her.

No, she hasn’t had any car accidents, but then again, she doesn’t need to be driving either. In my wee bit of flash fiction, I recreated Mom as having a secret that makes being absentminded just a ruse. Would that this could be true.

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