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 Serendipitous Time Bandit

time piece

© Enisa

Samuel Joseph Grant gazed down from his hotel room at the side street below in 1894 Leeds. He wouldn’t be born for a few months, but the strange device he’d found at that bombed out château near Amiens was a remarkable gift. It was immediately obvious that it was a timepiece meant to be worn on the arm, but what he hadn’t realized at first was that the term “timepiece” had more than one meaning.

Sadly, he discovered its former owner with half his head missing, most likely the unfortunate result of a slight miscalculation. Had he materialized a few seconds later, he would have not been victimized by the German cannon bombardment. However, his anonymous benefactor’s ill-luck became Grant’s good fortune. That day had marked the end of his career as a corporeal in the British Army, and the beginning of his adventures as a time bandit.

With all of history to choose from which to derive wealth, where, when, and what should he sample first? Extending his arm, he prepared to set the controls.

I wrote this for the 166th FFfAW Writing Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. As always, 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.

The photo struck me as combining both the new and the old, so that could only mean time travel. Not a lot of research went into this one. I pretty much went with my gut.

If you were so inclined, where and when in history would you choose to rob?

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

Horror in Straw

straw people

Photo credit: Ellespeth

On a school field trip, third-graders Tony and Martha decided to do a little independent exploring. Slipping away from the rest of the group, they headed into a secluded field.

“I think they’re some kind of scarecrows or something.” The boy wrinkled his nose in thought.

“That seems silly. I mean they look like they’re working, and they’re…” she blushed gazing at the straw women’s attributes. “…women.”

“Let’s have a closer look.” Tony started to run forward.

“Wait! Remember? The farmer told Mr. Pushkin none of us were allowed in this field, and that it was dangerous.”

He turned back toward her. “Oh, come on. We aren’t going to hurt anything. I just want to…”

“Tony! Get out of there!”

He saw the expression of horror on Martha’s face and then spun toward the field. The straw people were moving. One of them was swinging her ax at him menacingly.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of April 24, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 150.

Yes, I noticed the two straw people were supposed to be women, and of course, the first thing I thought of was that they were haunted.

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

Flowers and Scars

wreath

Photo credit: Goroyboy

“Aren’t they pretty, Eva?”

She kept the name the nuns gave her. She had little in common with them, but they made occasional allies in her fight to take the children away from the depravity of the streets.

“Of course they are, Malika. Where did you get them?”

“The old man said he was closing his cart for the day and they wouldn’t sell.” The six-year-old waif nodded vigorously.

Eva trusted few men, but she had been watching the vendor for months with an eye that sought evil. So far, she had seen nothing from him to threaten her children.

“I wanted to give you something as pretty as you.”

Eva smiled weakly and was brought closer to tears than she wanted to be. A child of the streets herself, although now an adult, she bore a multitude of invisible scars and some physical. Suffering from rape at age three, she could never bear babies of her own. Yet her shelter was full of the laughter of all the children she would ever need.

I wrote this for FFfAW Challenge 163 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

This is part three in a small series that starts with The Downfall of Eva and continues with Whatever Happened to Eva. I’m trying to give her a happy ending, but as you can see, even healing leaves behind some scars.

For more stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Starting Small

tiny writer

© Goroyboy

“Oh my god, look at those cuticles. Your nails need help, Larry.”

“Hush, Violet. This isn’t about my nails. Worry about your own nails.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What’s with the tiny quill pen. Miniature calligraphy?”

“My long suffering wife, you know my handwriting sucks.”

“Then what’s up, dearest but daffy husband?”

“Hand me the itsy-bitsy inkwell, will you?”

“Sure, but you didn’t answer my question.”

“I think my fingers are cramping.”

“Larry!”

“Okay, okay. Don’t shout. You’ll break my concentration.”

“Ha, it’s been broken for…”

“I know what you’re going to say.”

“Well?”

“You know how I’m always saying I want to write this epic novel.”

“Right, and six years later, no novel.”

“Agreed with chagrin. I’ve finally realized that I can’t go from nothing to epic.”

“So you decided to start small. This is a bit literal isn’t it?”

“Yes, but I just finished my first small project. Want me to read it to you?”

“I’d be delighted. Let me get my coffee first.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of March 6, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 165.

Yes, the first thing I noticed was the condition of the cuticle on the writer’s thumb and how the nail was cut (not dissimilar to my own) and only then the tiny quill pen. I decided to let the literal describe the state of many of us in the blogosphere, authors with grand dreams desperately trying to crawl off the drawing board or the sheet of paper.

You have to start somewhere and often that somewhere is a very small place.

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

When David Met Ana

dutch windmill

© Fandango

“King’s Day, Ana?”

“King’s Day, David.”

The young couple was standing near the base of the Queen Wilhelmina Windmill at the western edge of Golden Gate Park. It was their third date and after brunch at the Cliff House, they decided to go for a walk. Ana Janssen was introducing David Silverstein to one of the City’s annual festivals.

“Every year in April the Dutch community has a celebration here just like in Holland in honor of the King. It’s a lot of fun. They always need volunteers. How about we do it together?”

“On one condition.”

“Name it.”

“You come with me to celebrate Purim next Sunday at the JCC.”

“What’s Purim?”

“Every year all over the world, Jewish communities celebrate our victory over a plot to destroy us in what is now Iran. It’s a lot of fun, probably a lot like King’s Day. Didn’t you ever read the Book of Esther?”

“No, but I’d love to learn. You teach me about it and I’ll tell you more about King’s Day.”

“Deal.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of February 27, 2018. The idea is to use the image at the top to inspire authoring a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words. My word count is 174.

I cheated. I know where Fandango’s photo was taken. I used to live in San Francisco back when normal people could afford to and I’ve been past the windmills at the western edge of Golden Gate Park countless times. I looked them up and discovered that every April, the Dutch celebration of King’s Day is celebrated there. Sounds like a lot of fun, but is it a story?

I was sort of reminded of the Jewish celebration of Purim (which begins at sundown this coming Wednesday but was observed as a community event at San Francisco’s Jewish Community Center last Sunday) so I decided to talk about both of them through a young dating couple, with David being Jewish and Ana being of Dutch descent.

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

One Cold Saturday Morning

log sofa

© Fandango

He had to make a few trips from the house to the rough-hewn log bench his son had carved out for him. He took first his books and reference notes, then a pillow and warm blanket, and finally his large, steaming coffee mug.

He made himself comfortable in the center seat with his mug and books on the left, then took a sip of his coffee savoring the flavor.

Then he picked up his Chumash. He always studied alone both because he enjoyed solitude and because he had few if any like-minded companions. The older man found a greater appreciation of God sitting on the wood, beneath the trees and sky, feeling the chill of a winter’s morning. The world had grown cold, like the season, and only at home could he be free to acknowledge a Creator greater than humanity.

He opened the Chumash to where he left the bookmark and began. “Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines…”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of January 23, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

The “log sofa” actually looks pretty physically uncomfortable, particularly in winter, but it also looked “emotionally” comfortable.

When the weather is nice, on Saturday mornings, I take my Chumash, Tanakh, Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels, and perhaps my NASB Bible and various study resources out onto the front porch to read and study. A cup of coffee also goes with me.

I don’t have log furniture, but I do have a wicker sofa and table I can use. It’s pleasant and warm in the morning sunshine.

Although my wife (who is Jewish) calls me a Christian, I study the Bible using the traditional annual Torah cycle and tend to interpret even what most people call the “New Testament” in a more pro-Jewish and pro-Israel perspective rather than what is preached in most churches every Sunday (which is just one of the many reasons I don’t attend formal worship services).

The Torah reading for this coming Shabbat is Beshalach from which I quoted the first sentence as found at BibleGateway.com (I used the NASB translation because the Stone Edition Chumash is not online).

My understanding is that Torah or Bible study is considered in Judaism as a form of worship and drawing nearer to God, so some of my Holiest moments occur on my front porch in the morning sunshine. I decided to create this sort of experience for my character as well, particularly given a world that indeed (my opinion) has gone cold to morality, decency, and devotion to the Almighty.

For those of you who have a different religious preference or who have none at all, what I’m presenting here is a personal perspective. I am not preaching or expecting to “evangelize” in any way. In the spirit of “inclusiveness,” if you don’t agree with my viewpoints, please allow me have them nonetheless, for as much evil as the mainstream media has blamed “religion” for, people of faith have also done a great deal of good. I’m not all that good, but having faith isn’t about being perfect. It’s about striving to become a better person toward other people by drawing closer to God.

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

The Sculptor with a Long Memory

recycled dragons

© Enisa

“Dragons? Why?”

“A lad back at the shop makes them. Pretty good advertising, eh?”

Norstar Recyclers Director Paul Sweet was showing off the artwork to his neighbor Quentin Choi.

“I guess so, Paul. Seems bit fanciful. What else does he do?”

“Specializes in extinct beasts. Working on a Stegodon right now. Says it reminds him of home.”

“A what?”

“Extinct pygmy elephant I think.”

“Any chance I could meet him? I may want to commission him to make something for a client.”

“Dunno. He’s pretty shy.”

“Have a talk with him and see, will you?”

“Sure enough. Time to head back to the office. I’ll drop you on my way.”

Paul silently recalled the day he’d first met the strange creature while on a camping trip. He was terrified until the large reptile spoke. He’s very old and a long memory covering half a million years. The book he’s helping Paul write will revolutionize the knowledge of prehistoric Australia, though he could never tell anyone it came from a freakishly evolved Komodo dragon.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the week of 11-07-2017 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.

I had a tough time with this one until I Googled “australia dragons” and came up with this bit of history. Since the Live Science article mentioned the Stegodon, I thought I’d throw that in as well. The names I used have no relation to actual personnel at Norstar Steel Recyclers.

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

When Adam Awoke

hand

© artycaptures.wordpress.com

The light was too bright at first but then his eyes adjusted. He took a deep breath and exhaled feeling pleasure at the rise and fall of his chest. He looked at the clacking sound above him. Something turning around and around. A cool breeze came from it. It felt nice.

He sat up and realized this thing in front of him was his. He lifted it up. Moved the digits, Turned it back and forth. It did everything he thought about. He giggled. It was fun.

Another sound to his left. Something opened. Adam was scared. He tried to speak but it came out as a moan. Who’s that?

“There, there, dear boy. Don’t be afraid. I’m your doctor. I’m here to help. My staff and I will take care of you.”

He walked closer. He seemed friendly but Adam was nervous.

“You’re name is Adam. I told you that before when you woke up after the operation. My name is Dr. Frankenstein, Victor Von Frankenstein. I think we’re going to become good friends.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of September 5, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for writing a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

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

Missing

kayaks and sea

© TJ Paris

Their equipment sat quietly on the beach next to a placid sea. There was no sign of danger, no storm clouds, no menacing fog, nothing to say that Brad’s and Cheryl’s disappearance was the result of foul play or misadventure.

The two kayaks, life jackets, and oars were left abandoned when they should have been the fruition of a vacation they’d planned together for years.

Carolina Beach Detective Philip Lewis was baffled. How the hell did the Conklins just vanish?

“I don’t get it, Lewis. Broad daylight. Calm seas. No signs of struggle. What happened here?”

“Who knows, Davis. Alien abduction maybe?”

Junior Detective Estella Davis blurt out a short laugh. “I wouldn’t put that in a police report. What now?”

“Do our due diligence. Maybe someone saw something. Assign some uniforms to canvas the area and start asking questions.”

By nightfall, Brad and Cheryl Conklin were thousands of miles away traveling separately under different identities. The money Cheryl embezzled would let them live like royalty when they met again in Belize.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the week of 8-01-2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction based on the photo prompt above of between 100 and 175 words, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 172.

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