Nine Thousand Stories

barge on a river

© BarbCT/Gallimaufry

“It doesn’t look the same but I’ve been away so long.”

Latham stood on the deck of the barge as it slowly ambled north on the St John’s River.

“You’ve traveled everywhere else in the world but never came home even once. Why?”

Professional tourist Bill Collins met Latham by chance at a bar in Côte d’Azur and after hearing his story, decided to go back home with him.

“I was afraid of what I’d find, memories and regret. This was once my home long, long before the white man came.”

“You still hurt because your people drove you out?”

“After all this time, you think I wouldn’t be, but it’s a deep wound. Everyone around me aged and died but I didn’t. They couldn’t accept that. Most people today would have a hard time with it.”

“Latham, I’ve spent my life traveling the world, experiencing everything, blogging about it all, but you’re the biggest adventure yet. I could travel with you for a lifetime listening to the stories of a nine-thousand year old man.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 10, 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.

I have no idea where this photo was actually taken, but something about it made me think of Florida. I looked up rivers in that state and settled on St. John’s River since it’s the longest in Florida and is used for commercial purposes.

People have been living on this river as long ago as 12,000 years, but about 9,000 years ago, the climate warmed resulting in much of the polar ice caps and glaciers melting making for a wetter environment and allowing the Paleo-Indians there to go from living in camps to villages. Yesterday, I commented on someone’s blog how it’s rather intimidating to write about an immortal character because it’s hard to imagine what they’d be like with so many life experiences.

Learning of the history of this river, I decided to take a stab at it. Latham isn’t particularly secretive about his longevity, at least not with some people such as Bill, and I liked the angle of a professional adventurer and storyteller being captivated by the sorts of tales a man like Latham could tell.

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

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The Mysterious Mr. Franks

Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff

From the Unlife and Curse of Sean Becker

I drained enough blood from that carjacker to slake my lust for one evening, but had to get out of there and across the Bay to avoid the police the old woman called. You’d think she’d have been a little more grateful that I saved her from being beaten and her car stolen, but I must have been as terrifying to her as her would-be assailant.

Glad I found this all night diner. Blood with a coffee chaser. Just what every vampire needs.

Past 3 a.m. according to the clock on the wall. Only one other guy in the place, also nursing a cup of java. I know it’s cold outside, but he’s bundled up like the Invisible Man. Of course given that I’m a vampire, maybe I’m due to meet another Universal Studios monster.

I see him reaching for a napkin and his sleeve rides up. Nasty scars on the wrist and across the back of his hand.

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