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

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Strange Curses

junk on sidewalk

© Yarnspinner

“I’ve got nothing. What about you, Munoz?”

Alicia Munoz shook her head. “Beats me, Lambert. My Abuela said she was a Bruja and did some pretty strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Secret Service Agents Munoz and Dallas Lambert were investigating the objects in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Eleven small pots, burnt wood, a collection of stones and bricks, a bag containing feathers, and a plastic water bottle.

“The eclipse maybe?”

“Maybe. The crazies are coming out of the woodwork over it.”

“Has the suspect said anything, Munoz?”

“Hunt and Murray are doing the interrogation. Let me call in…”

Alicia’s cell rang. “Munoz here.”

“It’s Hunt. You won’t believe it. Suspect’s told us everything.”

“What?”

“He’s Stephen Keller, homeless, in and out of state mental hospitals.”

“So what’s this crazy shit in front of the White House.”

“Get this. He was cursing the President. He was cursing Trump with blindness.”

“What, he wants Trump to look at the eclipse without his protective glasses? That is nuts. Oh, Hazmat’s here. Gotta go.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of August 22, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 174 and I had to do a lot of editing to get my original story down to that size.

Yesterday, the “twitterverse” went nuts because President Donald Trump really did look briefly at the solar eclipse without his protective glasses. I saw the video and he glanced up just for an instant and may not have looked directly at the sun. Still, it was a foolish thing to do since even the tiniest bit of exposure can result in eye damage. Nevertheless, I’ve not heard any subsequent reports that he’s suffered from vision loss.

I made up all the stuff about a curse and I have no idea what any of the objects in the photo are used for. I had to think of something, though.

By the way, “Abuela” is “Grandmother” in Spanish and “Bruja” means “witch”.

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

Cyrille

brave

Photo: Provided by Kristen Johnson / KTVB.com

“Cyrille, we always knew there was something a little different about you, but we didn’t think it was this.”

Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were sitting on the sofa in their living room confronting her. They were always kind, but a bit reserved. Cyrille had been renting a room from them for a little over a year. She was three months away from graduating with her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.

“I promise that it doesn’t make any difference in our relationship. I’m still the same Cyrille who’s lived here for the past year.”

“Well, that’s the problem, Cyrille.” Mr. Johnston was like one of those sitcom Dad’s from the late 1950s, always playing the role of straight man to utter seriousness. “We don’t think we can continue to rent a room to you.”

“But why not?” Cyrille started to get out of her chair, but then realized they might see it as an aggressive act.

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The Trap

closing in

From “Star Wars” (1977)

He was already in a fetal position, but the walls kept closing in. His muscles were stiff and tight from the pressure. He was about to be crushed. He could barely breathe. He wanted to scream, but there wasn’t enough air.

“What am I going to do?” It was a desperate thought. “How am I going to get out of here?”

He wanted to give up, let the pressure destroy him, but he couldn’t. He had a wife, children, grandchildren who would be devastated if he died. He had to continue, but how?

The pressure continued. The walls seemed to wrap themselves around him, like form-fitting steel or stone.

“I’ve got to find a way to make the pressure ease up, but I can’t!”

Nothing worked, not TV, not books, not booze, drugs, porn. Nothing.

He had no way out but he couldn’t give up.

The receptionist’s voice shook him out of his living nightmare.

“Mr. Moore, Dr. Carlton will see you now.”

For all the good counseling would do.

The Last Battle in the War of Darkness

chanukah

Image: StepByStep.com

Although Greg had never served in the military, he was a veteran of the last war. He’s fought year after year with therapy, antidepressants, long walks, calming music. He’s held his own, but the war continued. He didn’t lose, but he couldn’t win.

He turned to his only ally, an ally not because Greg started out trusting Him, but because he had no choice. The ally knew everything about Greg, what he ate, what he thought, what he did, sort of how some of his childhood friends thought about Santa Claus.

But the ally was real and He’d made a promise to Greg. If Greg would trust Him, He would help Greg win the final battle of the last war.

What choice did he have?

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