Pretending

lake rotoroa

Lake Rotoroa, New Zealand – Found at The Venturing Angler

How many times must we tell the tale?
How many times must we fall?
Living in lost memory
You just recalled

from “Pretending” written by Jerry Lynn Williams
Performed by Eric Clapton

“Janice, please stop pretending. We both know you stopped loving me a long time ago. Every time I try to talk to you, you act annoyed, as if you can barely stand to be around me.”

“It’s not like that, Harry. It’s not you. It’s me.”

“That’s what they all say when you really mean when it’s me, Harry. You’re just playing games.”

Janice and Harry had been married for 35 years. They’d raised two kids together. Ben got married and divorced in less than a year and was now on this third tour of duty with the Marines in Afghanistan. Elizabeth married Raoul two years ago and was expecting. It would be their first grandchild, but then again, they weren’t going to get that far.

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When Erica Walks in Darkness

portal

© Sue Vincent

Erica knew she had been down this corridor before but she couldn’t remember when. She wanted to stop, turn around, and go back the way she’d come, but she didn’t recall where she’d been before now. The corridor was cold but it felt warm ahead where the light was coming from.

“Come now, Erica. Don’t dawdle.”

A man’s voice. He sounded familiar but she didn’t know from where.

She took another step forward, then another. She stopped and looked down. A simple, white blouse, plain woolen skirt with the hem down to her knees, black patent leather shoes. She was dressed almost like a schoolgirl, but she knew she was an adult. Erica started walking toward the light again. Then she was at the entrance to the room.

Even standing at the threshold, it was hard to see. There was a fireplace, a piano, chairs, a small sofa, all early 19th century, all very expensive. The portrait over the mantle was of a distinguished gentleman. It was the same man who had called to her, who was standing just to the right of the very same mantle holding a drink in his left hand. He offered it to her.

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Diminished: The Expanded Story

grasshopper

© @any1mark66

Sean McNeal adjusted the field intensity setting on his virtual console by another two degrees. “That should do it,” he muttered absent-mindedly.

The thirty-eight year old research physicist had been working in his small home lab for the past week, but the problem he was trying to solve had been plaguing him ever since he was a child and his Dad had shown him that old movie “Fantastic Voyage.” Ever since then, he had been fascinated by the idea of shrinking objects and people down to a tiny size.

The problem was Planck’s constant, which is why people can’t really shrink like Ant-Man. Fortunately, Sean found a way around that pesky dilemma.

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Burning Bridges

 

iowa city fire

© J Hardy Carroll

Devon had been lucky to get away before the police came. The bounty hunter killed or maimed twelve heavily armed men when she escaped. He got away with a broken arm.

Time to erase his tracks both in Chicago and here in Iowa City. It would look like an accidental oven fire. All records connecting him to the human trafficking ring would be ashes and he would be long gone by the time firefighters put out the blaze. He’d saved enough in offshore accounts to start over. The bounty hunter did him a favor when she took out the boss.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wissoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. 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 exactly 100.

This reads as a complete story but is also part of the Mikiko Jahn saga which is growing by leaps and bounds. The events in today’s tale take place shortly after Murder at 900 North Michigan (written also for one of Rochelle’s prompts) and both tales are a bit of foreshadowing of their expanded versions.

I noticed one of the fire trucks in the photo had a sign saying “Iowa City Fire Department” and when I looked up recent news articles about fires in Iowa City, I came up with an article published on the 13th titled Fire causes $20,000 in damage to Iowa City apartment. I also discovered that it’s just over 220 miles from Chicago to Iowa City, so a three-and-a-half hour drive wouldn’t be out of the question for someone escaping a “bounty hunter” who had just busted the major crime ring he had been working for.

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

The Mauritius Robbery Affair: God Rolled the Dice

north korean train depot

Chapter Seven: God Rolled the Dice

Four Months ago – Pyongyang, North Korea

Jun Ho was only six-years old and this was his first train ride. Daddy couldn’t come, but Mommy said they were going all the way to Russia.

Soo Mi took her only child by his hand as the train pulled into Pyongyang station. It would take eight days to reach Moscow and anything could go wrong in that time. She showed the forged identity papers to the conductor. It was unlikely her husband would suspect they’d attempt to escape this way.

Her son was so excited as they took their seats. He giggled when the train started moving. They would never see North Korea again. Her long assignment as a sleeper agent was over. She was taking her precious boy and North Korea’s astonishing nuclear secrets back to the west with her.

Her husband, a Major in the Korean People’s Army, would search for them in vain, or so she prayed. If they were caught before reaching safety, given what she knew, both Soo Mi and her little boy would be killed immediately. The North Korean military couldn’t risk the information getting out in the open. That’s why it was so important for Jun Ho and her to reach home.

Today – London

In 1963, a John le Carré novel was published called The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and later made into a movie starring Richard Burton. The novel had not been on Krista Bernham’s book shelf and the only reason Ian Dennis thought of it was the messages that flashed on his computer screen. He had sent out a coded query that anything having to with North Korea, nuclear weapons, high level assassinations, Kim Jong-um, and related topics trigger an alert that would be routed to him. Since this was, for the most part, internal information, he wasn’t fed details, but he was given a contact so he could further inquire.

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: Messenger

nicosia1

© Dickelbers/Wikimedia Commons

Chapter Six: Messenger

Ian Dennis flew into Larnaca International Airport on Cyprus, but he had another airport in mind.

In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and the Nicosia International Airport, once the island’s principal air hub, was the site of extremely violent encounters between Turkish and Cypriot forces and was heavily bombed. Today, it is deserted, officially closed and, located within the UN controlled buffer zone, has been declared a Protected Area used as the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping force.

Fortunately, Ian has a few connections at the UN and in Cyprus security so he arranged for a private visit. He had a meeting this morning with her.

She stepped out from behind a security wall at what was once the Health Control centre.

“I see you continue to abide by the rules of British punctuality, Ian.”

“And you remain mysterious as ever.” He indicated a direction by waving his right arm and she joined him on an uncharacteristically casual stroll through the ruins.

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: Arrival

airport

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport – Mauritius

Chapter One: Arrival

Ian Dennis hated long flights, not because he didn’t like to travel but because he could never sleep while in transit. He was here to work and jet lag would get in the way. True, there was only a three-hour time difference between London and Mauritius, but the flight was nearly twelve hours long. Fortunately, he’d been able to get a direct route from Heathrow, otherwise he might not have gotten here for another twelve.

Everyone who saw him arriving at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport supposed Dennis was just another British tourist on holiday. Only a few police officials knew the MI6 agent was here to investigate the murder of an accountant from Scotland and the brutalization of her autistic son. The recent string of robberies was unusual for a small island but he suspected and feared this might not be a robbery.

“G’morning, Dennis. Good flight?” He and Winston Permalloo shook hands. They’d met on several previous occasions and Ian liked the younger man who currently was a lieutenant on the local force which handled police, security and military functions on the island. His superiors knew Permalloo to be the only covert agent native to Mauritius, but what few of them suspected that he was also an MI6 double-agent.

“Bloody didn’t sleep a wink as usual. Thanks for the pick-up, Permalloo. Everything set up?”

“As well as could be, Dennis. We can talk more once we get to my car.”

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Mr. Covingham’s Secret

garter snake

How I imagine Mr. Covingham appears

Five-year-old Zooey’s eyes fluttered. She felt especially warm and cozy wrapped up in all of these blankets in front of Gerliliam’s fireplace. She opened her eyes just long enough to see that her four siblings were still sleeping all around her and that made her feel safe. The fire was the only light in the room, and since the dragon lived under a tree, she couldn’t tell if it was still dark outside.

Then she felt something moving against her arm and a small head protruded from the covers.

“Mr. Covingham,” she whispered not wanting to wake the others. “I thought you’d gone home.”

She had only met the blue and orange striped garter snake last night, but already she felt like they were really good friends.

“I intended to Zooey, but it was still so cold and rainy out. You know how we snakes don’t do well in the cold.”

“I’m glad you decided to stay. I wanted to get to know you better.”

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Beginning the Quest of Yao Jin

kunlun mountains

Kunlun Mountains – Xianjiang, China

The 23nd Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

Landon woke up and looked around. He was in the field behind Grandpa’s house. He could see Grandpa running toward him right now. On his left was Yao Jin, still unconscious. She was wearing some sort of black top and regular jeans and the boy couldn’t see any sign of her sword. On this right was…”Buddy!”

The Ambrosial Dragon was just waking up and he looked like Buddy again. Landon grabbed him and gave him a great big hug.

“Huh…what…what’s happening. Buddy groggy.”

“I love you so much, Buddy. I really missed you.”

“Yup. I love you but been with you all along.”

Buddy looked and even sounded like himself again.

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Sherlock and the Doctor

dr who

© A Mixed Bag 2013

“This is ridiculous, Watson. I deal in facts, not fiction.”

The two men had just stepped onto Baker street after exiting their flat and made, what to one of them, was a startling discovery.

“But I tell you, Sherlock, this Police Box wasn’t here when we went to bed last night. How could it have been installed so early on a Sunday morning?”

“I envy you sometimes, Watson. Not often, but sometimes. You’re mind is so simple and uncluttered. Obviously this is a hoax. See, the word ‘Demo’ is clearly posted on the door, and the door itself is locked.”

“How do you know it’s locked?”

“Try it.”

“Ugh. Yes, you’re right. I can’t budge it, Sherlock.”

“Come along, Watson. We’ll be late for our breakfast appointment and I believe our next case.” The tall, eccentric man called out toward the street. “Taxi!” Abruptly, their transportation stopped in front of 221B Baker Street. The duo entered and then rapidly departed.

Moments later, the door of the Police Box slowly opened and a befuddled older gentlemen stuck his head out. “Are they gone?”

I wrote this for the writing challenge at Sunday Photo Fiction for August 13th 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 186.

I think sometime back in the 1970s I watched a few episodes of Doctor Who (Tom Baker was playing the Doctor then) but have no interest in its current incarnation (mainly because I’d have to “catch up” by watching over 50 years of episodes and who has that kind of time?).

On the other hand, I’m slowly working my way through the more recent BBC television show Sherlock (currently in the middle of the second season) starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. I thought I’d throw the two together just to see what would happen.

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