After the War

waterfall

© Dale Rogerson

The flowing water was marginally warmer than the frigid air, but Lance dressed for the weather and felt comfortable crouching down on a flat rock near the falls. At his feet patiently sat the urn. When he first met Tamara a decade ago, he never thought she liked the cold and the mountains so much. He was used to snow, being raised as a “flatlander,” but he’d have a hard time getting used to the altitude.

Pouring out the open clay container, her ashes rained into the stream like tears. “I wish I would have told you I loved you.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Yesterday, I wrote the opening to a wee Space Opera called The Girl He Left Behind, which was my response to a completely different writing challenge. You can’t tell because of the brevity of this piece, but this is the aftermath of winning an interstellar war, with Lance being one of the few survivors. He takes the ashes of one of his fellow soldiers, a woman he always thought was just a friend, but who had fallen in love with him, back to her homeworld, the only one to have not been destroyed.

War isn’t kind, even to the victors.

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

Advertisements

One Honest Man

totem

© J.S. Brand

“A totem pole? I’ve known you for forty years, and you never told me you were native.” Leon Bell stood, looking incredulously at the creation of his friend and neighbor Marshall Griffin.

“I’m not, but why can’t I have my own monument to the symbols that I consider important?”

“But this is a public park. You can’t just deface a tree…”

Marshall scowled up at his friend from his blue lawn chair. “What do you mean deface? This is art.”

“I guess I don’t know what art is,” Leon growled back.

Marshall smiled. “You’re the only honest person I know.”

I wrote this for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the image. It vaguely resembles a totem pole, but the symbols weren’t what I’d consider traditionally first nations, so I pondered “cultural appropriation” and how to play that out. That’s when I came up with Leon and Marshall, two old friends who no longer have time for false politeness or illusions of propriety.

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

It Tolls for Thee

chess

© Jeff Arnold

Nine-year-old little Sarah had lived here all her life and never saw something so horrible. It was like Papa’s chess set. All those people were just praying and worshiping and a man with a gun came in and knocked the pieces down, just like that.

They say he’s a racist and he blamed us for hurting his people. They say guns are too easy to get. At school yesterday, some of the kids said maybe it’s because of who is President, that because he’s the first like him, that maybe he drove this person Dylann Roof crazy. Don’t think so.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I’m going to state for the record that you’re not going to like this. Ever since Donald Trump became President and sent his first tweet, he’s been blamed for just about everything including the recent Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting. But if it is true that all violence since November 2016 is the direct result of Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, then how can we explain all acts of violence before Trump became POTUS? I mean, it’s as if news and social media believe if Trump were silent, or if Hillary Clinton were President, everything would be unimaginably peaceful and the United States would be paradise, just as it was during President Obama’s administration (that last bit was deliberate sarcasm, but to make a point).

So I leveraged the Charleton church shooting (which occurred during Obama’s administration) in which nine African-American worshipers lost their lives at the hands of 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof, who blamed African-Americans for a plethora of ills.

This is not unlike 46-year-old Robert Bowers who blamed George Soros in particular, and the Jewish people in general for hurting “his” people (presumably non-Jewish whites) and (allegedly) murdered eleven Jewish worshipers as a result.

Both Roof and Bowers are extremists who believe a people group was responsible for their problems, and saw gun violence as the only solution. But what was the real cause?

Both incidents are very similar, such as attacking their targets in a house of worship, and openly stating that their motivation was bigoted hate. However, Barack Obama was the President when Roof committed his crime, and Donald Trump is President now. I find it difficult to believe that the sole cause of either man’s heinous acts was the President of the United States.

Could Trump’s statements be somehow inflammatory and a contributing factor in Bowers’s actions? Maybe. There’s no way to tell. There’s no way to tell if he would have done the same thing if Hillary Clinton had won the election.

That’s my point. There’s no way to tell. So don’t be so sure of your assumptions, because that’s all they are. I think a lot of people are taking their current fear and loathing of the President and applying it to any bad event that occurs, no matter what the circumstances and without examining the facts. That’s faulty logic. We need to be better than that.

The bottom line is that innocent people died in both events as the result of a very disturbed bigot. Always blame the person who pulled the trigger, and always mourn the victims and comfort their families. If we all did that, we’d be better people for it, and we’d serve those suffering communities rather than our own fears.

Oh, the title comes from John Donne’s famous poem For Whom the Bell Tolls.

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

The Eye

glass ceiling

© Roger Bultot

I ran into the building to get away from the angry mob of protestors outside.

What is this place? The middle of the room is contained in a sort of marble circle. Who is that by those torches?

“Oh good, you’re here.”

He’s African-American, bald, and I’ve never seen him before in my life.

“Hurry. There isn’t much time.”

“Time for what?”

“For you to go through the eye and restore the balance. The world is terribly divided, and only you can manipulate reality.”

“Who am I?” Then I felt myself lifted up toward the glass oval in the ceiling.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I’d love to have figured out where this photo was taken, but that would have required a lot of work, and I’m short on time lately. The oval-shaped window in the ceiling reminds me of the large window in comic book character Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. Last night, I read a story about a man with amnesia who turned out to be an alien, and I have a tendency to write a lot of stories featuring a Messiah-like figure. Put all that together, and you have the tale I just wrote.

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

I am a Dad

tower

© Jilly Funell

“All I want is to see my son, Constable.”

“I perfectly understand. However, you must understand that scaling the tower is a dangerous. I must ask that you come down with me.”

“I’ve made my point and appreciate your compassion.”

Timothy Briggs looked as four men pulled the banner stating “Equal rights for fathers. Change the law Mr Blair” up to the platform of the Millennium Tower. It had been three months since the courts determined that his ex-wife could cut off his visits with two-year-old Ian. His eyes filled with tears at the thought of his only child.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a flash fiction piece no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

Upon seeing the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, I looked it up and discovered that:

during the final construction phase a protester from the rights group Fathers 4 Justice scaled the tower wearing a high-visibility jacket and unfurling a banner in the process.

This incident was covered by the BBC News in this 30 December 2004 story. At the time, the tower was still under construction and called the Millennium Tower.

I also looked up Fathers 4 Justice and took the title of this wee bit of fact based fiction from their slogan “I am a Dad.” The names and dialogue used in my story are fictitious.

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

Scorned

stone house

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

This house was my prison for seven centuries, ever since Lord Jaime Caruthers incarcerated me here. Then, the will of the Caruthers clan was invincible.

But long centuries passed, and the Caruthers descendants became weak, while the stone and mortar slowly crumbled.

The last Caruthers died last month, and with him, the fading spell that bound me.

Now, on this final day of October, as the moon rises, the would-be bride of Jaime’s son Ian will walk free. I renounced my heritage for my beloved, but Jaime wouldn’t have it. Now let all men feel the wrath of the succubus.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I’d write a wee horror tale, though I imagine it’s not particularly scary. Of course, the short definition of a succubus is:

A succubus is a demon in female form, or supernatural entity in folklore, that appears in dreams and takes the form of a woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual activity.

I guess she can capture the souls of men in revenge for what Jaime Caruthers did to her one conquest at a time.

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

The Automannequin

coffee

© priorhouse

Max Hawkins staggered into the lobby of the building before dawn, and he couldn’t remember where he’d been all night.

“Anybody here?”

He was alone. The wreath near the window reminded him of Christmas. He poured himself a cup from the carafe, remembering he took coffee black.

“We’re glad your back, Max.”

He jumped, spilling his drink.

“Sorry. I called out.”

“That’s quite alright,” said the older man. “You ran off, but I knew you’d come home.”

“Home? This is Automannequins.”

“Yes. You malfunctioned and forgot you were a sexbot. We have to get you packaged for delivery this morning.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I’m still sleepy this morning and coffee is very much on my mind. For some reason, looking at the photo, I got the image of one of those old Twilight Zone episodes where the main character can’t remember who he is and how he got into a given situation, with a surprise reveal at the end. That’s tough to pull off in a hundred words. My character is an automated AI “sex worker” who on some level decided he didn’t want the role. Oh well.

By the way, there are automated sex worker brothels now, including one opening up in Houston, according to this news story.

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

The Greeter

umbrellas

© Dale Rogerson

This had to be a dream because Jae didn’t remember how she got here, and who would decorate a room like this? At only five foot two, the slender Thai co-ed felt tiny in such enormous surroundings.

“Hurry up.” The deep, masculine voice was coming from the shadows ahead.

“This is my dream and I’ll come when I’m ready.”

“You’re not dreaming.”

“But the last thing I remember was going to bed.”

“That doesn’t mean it was the last thing that happened to you.”

“Wait. The car accident…”

“Yes. Welcome to the afterlife, Jae. I’m here to sign you in.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

The image looked surreal to me, so that’s how I wrote it. With only 100 words to play with, I could only vaguely develop my idea. Poor Jae.

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

The Assignment

clock

© J. Hardy Carroll

“I’ve got to write a hundred words about that?” The creative writing student balked when his instructor placed the ornate clock on his desk, which was to be used as a writing prompt.

“That’s the assignment, Mike. What’s the problem?”

“It’s hideous.”

“It’s an antique.”

“It’s repulsive.”

“Then you should be able to write a piece of flash fiction about something hideous and repulsive.”

“Do you remember the scene from ‘Office Space’ where Peter, Michael, and Samir take the office printer out and smash it to pieces? I can write about that.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 92.

Yes, that was more or less my reaction to seeing the prompt. Not all prompts are created equal and this one rubbed me the wrong way, so that’s what I wrote.

Oh, for those of you who haven’t seen the excellent 1999 film Office Space, here is a YouTube video (unedited, so language) of the infamous destruction scene of the office’s constantly malfunctioning printer.

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

The Wrong Moon

moon

© Gah Learner

“Honey, come here. The full moon is so beautiful tonight.” Robin and Noah Clarke were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in a small resort town and had just returned to their hotel room after dinner.

“Full moon?” Noah picked up his smartphone and started pushing virtual buttons.

“Can’t you leave that thing alone and come watch the moon with me, please?” Minor annoyance etched her voice. “We’re on our second honeymoon…”

“That can’t be the Moon. Moonrise isn’t for another hour and the window faces west.”

Robin turned and looked out again. “Oh my God. You’re right. It’s getting bigger.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

The light in the photo is apparently the Moon, but then again, what if it isn’t?

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