Return to Delhi

indigo

Photo credit: yarnspinnerr

The Airbus A320 Neo landed back in Delhi after one of its two engines stalled in midflight to Ranchi. Passengers and crew were safely returned to the ground, but not allowed to approach the terminal. Investigators ordered the passengers to be deplaned and escorted to a quarantine area.

Captain Laghari was justifiably incensed as federal investigators held him and his crew on board the airliner.

“I apologize for this unusual treatment, but I don’t think you grasp the problem. How long was your total time in the air?”

“Approximately forty-five minutes. The normal flight time one way is 110 minutes.”

“What is today’s date?”

“It’s Sunday, June 3rd.”

The investigator removed his smartphone from his jacket pocket and pressed the Home button.

“That’s impossible. It says it’s the 12th.”

“Sir, on June 3rd at approximately 10:03 a.m., your aircraft disappeared from radar and was presumed lost, however no wreckage was discovered. Then, an hour ago, you reappeared on ATC screens and requested permission for an emergency landing. A lot more went wrong than just an engine.”

I wrote this for FFfAW Challenge 168 hosted by Priceless Joy. 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 174.

Naturally, I looked up the airline company and found the news story IndiGo flight stalls engine midair due to snag. Apparently, this low-cost commercial air company has had more than a few problems.

Sometime ago, I wrote a short story called The Final Destination of Flight 33, which was based on a 1961 Twilight Zone episode written by Rod Serling. It’s the story of a commercial aircraft that travels through time into the past and then perhaps into the future.

I decided to give my little airliner’s passengers and crew the same problem today, but only projected them nine days into the future, although for them, practically no time had passed at all.

How would the authorities react to such a mystery?

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

Oh, I’m suffering from another bout of insomnia so it’s going to be a rough time at my day job later.

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The Battle of Kings

masrur temples

Rock cut Hindu temples of Masrur – photo attributed to Akashdeep83 – found at Wikipedia

It is said that the enmity between the Katoch and Sikh Kings perished with them, but such fierceness does not die with flesh. The Kangra Valley holds wondrous beauty and great mystery, and future historians would never be sure why the Temples of Masrur so resembled Elephanta Caves near Mumbai, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, nor do even the modern Hindus know, though they are its supposed builders.

After a long truce on the ethereal plane, Sansar Chand Katoch and Maharaja Ranjit Singh once again chose to contend with each other, their powers ever waxing. Thus on 4 April 1905 as the humans mark the passage of time, they entered into violent confrontation in the Kangra Valley, and though the visage of supernatural beings was never witnessed by mortals, the earthquake their combat caused killed more than 20,000. Would their conflict next endanger people in Cambodia or Mumbai?

I authored this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps location and image as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Kangra Valley in Northern India. This is a popular tourist attraction for a number of reasons including the Rock-cut Hindu Temples of Masrur, which also resemble in design those other locations I mentioned in my story.

There really was a devastating quake in the area in 1905, and I used some of the local history involving the Katoch and Sikh battles a century before, weaving in a supernatural element in an attempt to tie all that together.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if disasters and misfortune on the physical plane was caused by perpetual battle between long-dead Kings in the supernatural world?

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

The Ganesh Chaturthi Affair

celebration

© Lavanya

“This is fabulous, Ian. You’ve been to Ganesh Chaturthi here in Kolkata before?”

Ian Dennis could barely hear his assigned companion Victoria Craft over the celebratory yelling, music, singing, and chants as different representations of the elephant-headed god Ganesha appeared before them.

“Yes, Victoria. Over the years, the job takes you all kinds of places.” He felt a bit strange having an escort half his age, but he was her trainer and this was her first op. The two MI6 agents had been instrumental in preparing for the cessation of a forty-year dispute between India and Bangladesh over a common border that demarcates the eight divisions of Bangladesh and the Indian states.

She leaned up so he could feel her breath in his ear, “Do you think it will end?” He knew she meant the shoot-on-sight policy of India’s military on illegal immigrants crossing over from Bangladesh.

“That’s why we’re here. The pact will be signed in three days. If the killings continue, we put a stop to them. Meanwhile, pretend you’re on holiday.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of February 13, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words. My word count is 174.

The image of the god Ganesha is distinctive, so it wasn’t hard to trace it to the annual Hindu celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi. You can learn more about it by reading 14 Most Ingenious Idols Of Lord Ganesha This Year! and What is Ganesh Chaturthi? Why is it celebrated?.

Since the image of Ganesha in the photo appeared to be a float with the date 2011, I decided to set my story then, specifically on 2 September. I looked up the year and lo and behold:

September 5 – India and Bangladesh sign a pact to end their 40-year border demarcation dispute.

I also looked up when the celebration occurred in 2011 and it was held between the first and the eleventh of September, which was perfect.

The disputes over the Bangladesh–India border have historically been very difficult (and that’s putting it mildly) including this:

The border is used as a route for smuggling livestock, food items, medicines and drugs from India to Bangladesh. Moreover, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh cross the border to India. Because of a large number of illegal immigrants crossing from Bangladesh into India, a controversial shoot-on-sight policy has been enforced by the Indian border patrols. This policy was initiated with reports of violence between the illegal migrants and Indian soldiers. The border has also witnessed occasional skirmishes between the Indian Border Security Force and the Border Guards Bangladesh, most notably in 2001 (emph. mine).

I know a lot of people in my country complain about President Trump’s stance on illegal immigration from Mexico and other Latin nations, but frankly, that’s not nearly as brutal as the situation described above. You can click the link I provided to learn more.

Once again, I dusted off MI6 agent Ian Dennis last seen in the flash fiction piece The Bristol Connection and showcased in the short series The Mauritius Robbery Affair. In this case, I’m involving MI6 in covertly “facilitating” the India-Bangladesh agreement, which I’m sure the Indian government especially wouldn’t appreciate given Britain’s colonial history in their country.

I set the action in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) since it is relatively near the India-Bangladesh border. Ian needed someone to interact with to further the plot, so I invented an agent-in-training Victoria Craft. Perhaps we’ll see more of her in the future.

Oh, I apologize in advance if I’ve mischaracterized the celebration, Ganesha, any individuals, or the nations of India and Bangladesh. I’ve never been there and am getting all of my information on the internet, so any errors in this wee fictional tale are mine.

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

The Long Dark Winter

freezing

© 2013 loniangraphics

“God it’s cold out there, Simon.”

“You say that every time you go out for supplies. Of course it’s cold. How’d you do?”

“The Rogues’ shipment from down south came in early. Paying those mercenaries cost a lot, but I managed some oranges and strawberries this time. How about you?”

“Got enough fuel from Old Man Mayberry to last us a couple more weeks at least. By then, he says he can get us some more.”

Carrie set her groceries down on the counter. It’s only a one room cabin, originally built as an artist’s retreat several miles outside of town, but now Simon and Carrie Mitchell call it home. Being small, it’s easy to heat, which is important, since the overall global temperature averages 3 to 4 degrees F less than it did before the Indian-Pakistani nuclear war five years ago.

It’s a limited “nuclear winter,” not quite like all of the disaster movies of the previous decade, but it will be fifteen years at least before the climate begins to return to pre-war levels.

I wrote this in response to the FFfAW Challenge-Week of May 16, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 174.

When I saw the photo, after turning over a few possibilities in my mind, I settled on the topic of large scale nuclear winter. I first thought that it would be set off on purpose by a madman to counter the effects of climate change.

Then, doing a bit of research, I decided to lessen the effect and scope to show that even a “small” nuclear conflict could do long lasting damage to the environment.

I imagined that traditional government would break down, at least in certain areas, and that mercenaries would provide necessary services for an inflated price.

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

A Sky Filled With Hope

israel from space

Photo credit: NASA/Barry Wilmore – Israel from space

Each of the 1,038 nanosatellites that launched from the Satish Dhawan space port in India was hardly larger than a milk carton, but these small, inexpensive spacecraft, originally designed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, were the hope of mankind.

Avi Salomon and Havah Tobias stood in Mission Control and watched the monitors as the nanosats reached their initial orbits. The “father” of the project, Professor Dan Blumberg, received a remote feed at Ben-Gurion in Beer-Sheva.

“It’s looking very good, Professor.” Tobias spoke into her microphone. “I think we will be successful.”

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The Monument

burhanpur

Burhanpur – Image: Adventures365.in

The Moti Mahal monument in Burhanpur, India, can be found on the bank of the Pondhari River to the southeast of the village.

Ross Hunter graduated from San Francisco State University four months ago and had been wandering the Asian subcontinent ever since. With a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a $100,000 inheritance from a recently deceased grandfather, Ross felt this was the best way to spend his time.

He especially liked ruins and this one was particularly compelling. He was visiting the palace on a day when there were no other tourists. He’d come by rented motorcycle which was a lot faster than walking and a lot safer than hitchhiking.

He wasn’t seeking anything in particular, which is why it came as such a surprise when he found something, or rather, someone.

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