Is There a God in the Moon?

dark moon

Photo credit: Duks Visuals

Tristan Schaefer wasn’t sure if this was magic or just the drugs kicking in. Vixia’s single moon Tatis always seemed unusually large in the sky when it was full, especially compared to Earth’s, but now it was impossibly reflective, as if the forest were perfectly mirrored and inverted on its surface.

“Izola!” Where was she? His wife had been with him just a second ago, but she had vanished and so had their campsite.

The Ambia Country spiritual excursion was supposed to be the highlight of their tour of the colony planet. Only one person out of two who entered the park were allowed to inhale the Mist to seek out the Way, the conduit to the spirit realm. Izola was supposed to keep him rooted in the physical plane so he wouldn’t lose himself in the vision. She promised she would be with him every second, but it couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes since he first inhaled the psychedelic they’d purchased with their tickets at the park entrance . Where could she have gone?

“Merhaba, Traveler.”

He’d been staring at a flight of birds crossing the gray and black moon and hadn’t noticed the man approach. He was an Indigenous. No one knew what they called themselves, and the colonists had to call them something.

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A Black Matter for the King

vietnam war

Found at the Vietnam War page at Archives.org

His smile was like some kind of magic, but that’s not why she chose to talk with him.

Natalie Sanders Pena sat next to the shy young Marine near Gate B14 at Denver International Airport. He was heading back to Pendleton after his leave, and was due to be deployed to Vietnam within the next two weeks. The airport PA system was issuing a seemingly endless stream of advisories, but someone nearby had a transistor radio playing the Beatles’s “Penny Lane.” She hadn’t heard that song in a long time, but for her newfound friend, it was practically brand new.

“You miss your wife and little girl already, don’t you?” She looked down at the photo of the young woman and four-year-old girl he was holding near his lap.

“Yeah, I guess I do.” His Kentucky accent was tremendously apparent, and it was one of the few things she remembered clearly about him from her childhood.

“That’s perfectly normal. I’m sure they miss you, too.”

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He’s Not Here Anymore

desert

© Jan Wayne Fields

“What did you hope to find after a year?”

The question was rhetorical or maybe self-indulgent. He was alone, unlike a year ago when they all gathered to scatter his Dad’s ashes over the land he loved so much. He thought about leaving another rose, but it would just wither and serve no one.

What then?

“Maybe this is all there is, Dad. Maybe it’s just you and me sitting together for a quiet hour, alone with each other.”

He listened to the wind and finally realized what it was telling him. His Dad wasn’t here anymore. He’d moved on.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge for April 27th (although the URL says May 11th). 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.

My Dad died a year ago last week. The scene somewhat reminds me of Nevada where I grew up, and also of the area in Utah where my Dad liked to fish.

We actually put his ashes in a hole near his favorite high desert lake. Hardly a secluded spot, but then, it really wasn’t my choice. Thinking about going back produces an empty feeling. It’s just water, rock, sand, and sagebrush. Dad isn’t there anymore. His spirit has moved on.

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

No More Tears in Heaven

tears in heaven

Promotional art for Eric Clapton’s 1991 chart, “Tears in Heaven.”

“I don’t care what you do with it, I just want it gone,” Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

Beth was on her knees, her arms around Nicole’s favorite plaything. “Oh please, Alex. We gave it to her for her seventh birthday. She loved it more than anything else. Don’t make me throw it away.”

He stood defiantly at the threshold to Nicole’s bedroom. “Then give it away, a children’s hospital, the Goodwill, whatever, but I need it gone. I’m going to work now. When I get home, the dollhouse better not be here.” Then he spun and almost ran down the hall. He seemed so furious but Beth knew he was terrified. She should have been too, but she missed Nicole so much, she’d take her back anyway she came, even as a ghost.

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The Dish We’re Served

plate

© Yarnspinnerr

“What are you eating, Grandpa.”

“Ashes, apparently.”

Elizabeth was twelve and still enjoyed visiting her Grandpa for the holidays. Mom and Dad would be up in a few days but this time was just for the two of them. Lately though Grandpa had been acting strange.

“I can make you a sandwich for lunch if you’d like.”

“No, sweetie. This is the plate set before me and this is what I’ll eat.”

“But what is it, Grandpa? It doesn’t even look like food.”

“It’s what’s left of your dreams after the magic’s gone. Dried up like autumn leaves. Good for nothing but throwing away.”

“Oh, Grandpa.” She slipped up behind the old man and hugged him as he sat at the table. You still miss Grandma, don’t you?”

The old man reached up and gently put his hand on the girl’s shoulder.

“She was my dream. Now God’s taken the magic away.”

Elizabeth sat in the next chair and put her arms around him. “I miss her too, Grandpa. I promise. I’ll always love you.”

I write this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of December 12, 2017 challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I have no idea what’s on that plate and it really made it tough to think of anything to write. I thought about aliens, the supernatural, some sort of tie in to Christmas or Hanukkah, but nothing really clicked. What I wrote above is the best I could come up with. Dining on dead and dried up dreams after the magic has gone. The family members one generation older than me are getting sicker and some have died this year. Looking back, I realize I’ve been looking death in the face. The only thing that gives me hope is the children who will come after us.

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

Sanctuary and the Death of Kate Steinle

sf sanctuary city

Banner found at OneNewsNow.com

I’m writing this as a companion piece to Jury Finds Garcia Zarate Not Guilty In Steinle Murder Trial: My Initial Reaction which I wrote and published rather impulsively yesterday.

Okay, I’ve done some reading since then. The New York Times makes a case for about 60 percent of the unauthorized population has been here for at least a decade and that the vast majority of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. (89.9%) having never been convicted of a crime.

Of course there are organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform that say merely crossing the border into our nation without permission is indeed a crime, so by definition, 100% of undocumented immigrants are criminals. However, CNN states that under federal law, a person entering the country without permission for the first time is guilty of only a misdemeanor that is punishable by fines and no more than six months in prison.

It gets dicey if you are found to have entered our country illegally on multiple occasions, particularly after having been deported, but the waters get even more muddy since approximately 45% of undocumented immigrants actually entered the U.S. legally and then stayed after their visas expired.

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Jury Finds Garcia Zarate Not Guilty In Steinle Murder Trial: My Initial Reaction

zarate and steinle

Garcia Zarate (left) and his victim Kate Steinle (right)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF & AP) — Jurors Thursday afternoon acquitted the illegal immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle as she walked with her father on a crowded San Francisco pier of all charges except for felony possession of a firearm.

A spokesperson for the Superior Court of California made the announcement that the jury had reached a verdict shortly after 3 p.m. Shortly after 4:30 p.m., the shocking verdict was announced that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty of all charges except for the gun possession charge.

Jurors have been deliberating on the case since Tuesday, November 21, after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their arguments whether Garcia Zarate was a hapless homeless man who killed Steinle in a freak accident or a calculated murderer intent on playing a sick game.

CBS SF Bay Area

Jurors have found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of killing Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015 in the trial that sparked a national debate over illegal immigration.

Jurors reached the decision Thursday in the sixth day of deliberations after first receiving the case last week.

Zarate was found not guilty of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He was also found not guilty of assault with a semi-auto weapon. He was found guilty of count two – possession of a felon with a firearm.

Steinle was walking with her father and a family friend in July 2015 when she was shot, collapsing into her father’s arms. Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation.

Fox News

I started writing a story about this but I realized I was too angry and too heartbroken to concentrate. I have been following this story and it is just astonishing that the jury came to this verdict. This is exactly why I have “issues” with these so-called “sanctuary cities.” Garcia Zarate has seven felony convictions. Seven! He was in possession of a stolen handgun, which in and of itself is a crime for a convicted felon. The defense says the .40 caliber handgun “just went off.” I’ve been handling firearms for a long time and they don’t just “go off” spontaneously.

When I’m upset, I process by writing, but this one is over the top. A 32-year-old woman walking with her Dad on Pier 14 was gunned down and collapsed in her Father’s arms. As a Dad to a daughter and a Grandpa to a granddaughter, I am grief stricken and absolutely outraged. I’m going to need some time to process this before I write in order to process this. I’ve written on social issues here in the past with varying results, but like I said, this one is off the scale.

Our justice system says that the jury’s decision must be respected and I can only hope the prosecution files an appeal. If not, then in my opinion, Zarate gets away with murder and San Francisco is his sanctuary city protecting him from experiencing any consequences for his crime. Is this really the ideal we’re striving for here?

Addendum: Having had some time to mull over this issue, I have authored a more thoughtful response to this issue I present for your consideration: Sanctuary and the Death of Kate Steinle.

The Remembering Tree

old tree

© Sandra Crook

When Jake was seven, he and his brothers and sisters were taken away to strange lands, to forests and deserts, to where dragons and demons were found. He lived and lived and nearly died in those lands, fighting the war of restoration, of good vs. evil. But years had passed.

When Jake was seven, he found his way home again. Years had passed but he was still seven.

Mom said Dad would be out of the hospital soon. She had a lot to do to get ready for Dad to go home, so Jake and his siblings stayed with Grandpa for the past week.

When Jake was seven, he was at his Grandpa’s house. He used to like video games, the old ones Dad showed him, like Pac-Man and Mario Brothers. But that was before. This is now and now is different.

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: Ian

boy in hospital

Found at BabyCenter.com

Chapter Two: Ian

“Good morning, lad.” Dennis peeked around the corner of the door so as not to startle the boy. He saw young Ian had been working on a sketch pad, probably the one that Winston mentioned. “Mind if I visit you for a bit?”

The eleven-year-old eyed him suspiciously. His sandy blond hair looked disheveled but his blue eyes were red but otherwise clear. He’d been crying. He was sitting up in the hospital bed, covered to the waist with blankets and dressed one of those awful patient gowns that opened in the back.

“You a doctor?”

The older Ian stepped into the room and let the door close behind him. “No. I used to know your Mum. Came to see how you were doing.”

The child seemed to brighten for a second that it was a friend and not a doctor or the police come to question him, but then he closed up again. “Don’t remember you. Who are you?”

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Will We Ever Have The Answer?

love prompt

© 2016 – Elaine Farrington Johnson

It was the worst mass murder in U.S. history. The President and First Lady attended the memorial service. Too many of these events had occurred over the years.

The murderer had a history of mental illness. The nation’s strict gun control laws were useless. Improvised bombs planted all over Chicago’s commuter corridors had been timed to explode at the height of the morning rush hour. Hundreds died in less than a minute.

President Larson addressed the vast assembly at the candlelight memorial.

“It is with a humble heart that I address you tonight. Everything we’ve tried to prevent these atrocities has failed. It is not enough to control how one person kills another, we must understand why they kill. The majority are not because of a religious or political agenda, but rather being disenfranchised from society, isolated, and ostracized seems the chief cause.

“As a nation, we must come together to bring belonging and hope to these people. Only when we show them love will they know love, for only love will stop these tragedies.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 3, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

Given the image, it’s impossible for me not to write about events such as the Las Vegas mass shootings that occurred last Sunday evening. 58 people died and over 500 were wounded. We all ask ourselves the same questions after one of these tragedies but we don’t seem to be any closer to an answer.

I chose not to take the obvious route, but unlike how I’ve woven my wee tale, the National Center for Biotechnology Information doesn’t agree that there’s a clear connection between mental illness and gun violence (and I eliminated guns in my story).Newsweek seems to believe that since statistically, white males commit the majority of these shootings (54 percent since 1982), something akin to a sense of entitlement might be involved.

Neither of these explanations is particularly satisfying nor to they point to a solution.

I deliberately used bombs rather than guns in my story because if guns aren’t available and someone is intent on violence, they will find a way. Consider the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the scores and scores of middle eastern terrorist bombings.

I don’t know if there’s a universal method of preventing these tragedies. Maybe outlawing guns is part of the solution, but while that might prevent some of these incidents, criminals will still buy guns illegally, and as we’ve seen in other societies (Israel has one of the toughest gun control laws in the world), people will still find a way to hurt one another.

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