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.

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Murder at 900 North Michigan

 

900 N Michigan

© Marie Gail Stratford

Mikiko left her room at the Four Seasons reluctantly ready to kill the assassin-for-hire called Sandman. MI6 learned his condo was on the 29th floor.

Her contact arranged the Glock. She’d never met Sandman, but she knew his victim’s scent from last month’s encounter. Mikiko barely survived a nuclear accident six years ago and was now reconstructed using revolutionary techniques. Her sense of smell was that of a wolf’s.

Sandman was amusing himself with the girl. There. Mikiko could hear sounds of pain and passion just the other side of the door. “Just another murder in Chicago,” she told herself.

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

Once again I’m leveraging a pre-existing character and situation, in this case, my synthetic woman Mikiko Jahn whose latest published adventure can be found HERE.

When I saw the address in Chicago, I looked it up and indeed found that the “Bloomingdale’s” building contains the Four Seasons Hotel on floors 30-46 and condos on floors 21-29. It wouldn’t be much trouble for Mikiko to get from the 30th to the 29th floor to seek out her target and her synthetic body has enhanced senses including a sense of smell that can recognize a particular odor for up to about 3 kilometers. Her hearing is goes into the 80 kHz range, so listening through the door is child’s play.

Oh, 100 words is pretty limiting and if I’d had more “real estate,” I would have explained the child sex trafficking angle of the story. There’s another tale of Mikiko’s that covers her stalking these predators in much more detail. Today’s wee bit of flash fiction occurs immediately after that one (which I’m still writing).

To see some of the events that led Mikiko up to this point, read First Flight.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com. Given the number of entries already present, it seems I’m getting off to a pretty late start.

Inner Light

candles

© Sarah Ann Hall

It was a great disappointment to Aaron’s Bubbe when Mom and Dad stopped being observant. The boy only got to see Zaide and Bubbe when he visited them in Brooklyn on summer vacation.

Every day, Zaide had many visitors, people of his community who had questions, family problems, money problems. Zaide was always cheerful, no matter when they dropped by, giving words of advice and comfort, even money, though they were both poor.

They were gone now and left him their small flat and belongings including these Kabbalistic candlesticks. “Light them Aaron,” Bubbe’s voice sang. “Be filled with Zaide’s ohr.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Flash Fiction Challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a wee story no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

In a way, I took my prompt more from the portrait we see in the upper center frame than what look to me to be candlestick holders. It reminds me of those depicting the great Rabbinic sages, so I imagined Aaron’s Zaide (Grandfather) to be among them. Zaide would be busy so his Bubbe (Grandmother) would be the one he more related to.

I am very, very loosely combining the concepts of a Rebbe who is usually a revered teacher within a Hasidic community, and Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism (although that brief description hardly does it justice), specifically the idea of Ohr or spiritual light.

Aaron’s parents no longer follow the traditions, but it looks as if Zaide and Bubbe hope that one day  Aaron may return to the mitzvot (commandments).

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

It’s Safe Now

sunrise

© Roger Bultot

“It’s over Grandpa. Sun’s coming up. We’ll be okay.”

Timmy’s Grandfather lay asleep on the duck blind’s floor. Yesterday, they’d been hunting and got lost. Couldn’t find the truck. Sun was going down when they saw the first in a forgotten graveyard.

These zombies were real. Fought them off while their ammo lasted. Grandpa got scratched, but they hid back in the blind. It’s over now.

“Grandpa?” Timmy shook the old man. “Wake up.”

Bloodshot eyes oozing yellow mucus snapped open. It grabbed Timmy’s arms fast.

“Grandpa, no!”

Just because the sun comes up doesn’t mean the monsters go away.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge of 27 October 2017. The idea is to use the image above to inspire crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Decades ago, I saw the 1968 black and white film Night of the Living Dead on TV. I don’t like horror films beyond the old 1930s-1950s Universal horror films (Frankenstein, Werewolf, and such), but this was supposed to be a classic.

As expected, I was scared out of my wits and the movie has a tragic, ironic ending. Today, television is full of zombie-type shows, and I refuse to watch any of them. But it is “Halloween week” and horror stories are expected, so I thought I’d create one (though it’s not my first).

Poor Timmy.

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

Adventure’s Bitter Memories

old tree

© Sandra Crook

Nine-year-old Taylor jumped grabbing the tree’s largest branch and pulled himself up. He danced among the leaves this way and that like cinematic swashbuckler’s of old, wielding his sword.

“Taylor, Grandpa said it’s time for dinner.”

Darn. His twin sister Paris. “I’ll be down in a minute.”

“He said now.”

The boy stopped and looked down at her. He used to ignore Paris but they’d been through too much together. He remembered when the demons were real and she almost died.

“Okay. Coming.” With acrobatics honed on the battlefield of Dragonworld he deftly landed near his twin. “I’m here now.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction 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.

As you might have guessed, I’m again leveraging ideas I’ve presented in The Whisperer, Mr. Covingham’s Secret and other similar stories about a group of five siblings who are somehow spirited away to another realm, one of dragons and demons, of friendship and warfare.

In today’s tale, I showcase two of Zooey’s siblings, twins Taylor and Paris. I’m writing a novel with these children at the center. I’ve got four chapters in rough draft now and am continuing to write. Hopefully, these wee tales will whet your appetite.

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

For a different point of view on the old tree, and a look at one of Taylor’s other siblings, read The Remembering Tree, an expanded tale based on today’s prompt.

The Whisperer Expanded

bird

© Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Cats, bats, mice, and now this. Why can’t I leave my garage door open for two seconds without some animal crawling, walking, or flying inside?”

Keith Grant had finally managed to capture the mynah bird that had soared into what his wife called “the man cave” over half an hour ago. It wasn’t that the bird was confused and couldn’t find its way out. The thing seemed to be content to sit on the top of the cabinet by the door into the house as if waiting for something or someone. Same with all of the other creatures that had spent the past week attempting to invade his home.

“It’s only happening because I’m visiting you this week, Grandpa.”

The old man looked to see his five-year-old granddaughter walk out of the house. He turned and smiled at her. It was so nice to have her back again.

“Oh, hi Danielle.”

“I told you Grandpa, my name isn’t Danielle, it’s Zooey.”

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The Whisperer

bird

© Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Cats, bats, and now this. Why can’t I leave my garage door open for two seconds without…”

“It only happens when I’m here, Grandpa.”

“The old man looked to see his five-year-old granddaughter walk out from the house.

“Hi, Danielle.”

“I told you Grandpa, my name is Zooey.”

“Sorry. Why do the critters invade my garage when you’re here?”

The little girl gently took the bird from his hand. It sat peacefully as she stroked its feathers.

Zooey walked outside and the bird suddenly took flight. “You just have to know how to talk to them.”

The old man chuckled.

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. After much editing, my word count is exactly 100.

Again, I’m leveraging characters from a storyline loosely involving five children who are mysteriously summoned into a world of dragons and other forces for unknown purposes. The youngest child is Danielle or “Zooey”. Two previous flash fiction entries involving an older child in the same universe are The Way Home and Where Did Our Home Go?. I can’t tell you where in the sequence of the events today’s tale takes place since, if I actually write this series of novels, I don’t want to give out “spoilers.”

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

Addendum: I decided to expand this tale to reveal a few more details, more of a hint of what’s to come than anything else. Go to The Whisperer Expanded for the rest, plus a look into Zooey’s past in Mr. Covingham’s Secret.

How Lofty Are Dreams

moon over lake

© Ted Strutz

They enjoyed the view from the deck of the yacht just like the other families who were visiting the summer resort that week. Jim held his little granddaughter in his arms and they admired the moon together.

“Moon, Gampa! Moon!”

“That’s right, Danielle. It’s the Moon. Someday maybe you can live up there.”

“You’ll just confuse her, Dad.”

“Well maybe, son. But what about you, Landon?” He looked down at his eight-year-old grandson. “Would you like to live on the Moon someday?”

“I don’t know, Grandpa. People haven’t even walked on the Moon since 1972.”

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The First Tourist on the Moon

moon over lake

© Ted Strutz

He looked up in the autumn sky at the full moon and took a deep breath. He loved it here on the lake, on his yacht, but the next adventure wasn’t here on Earth, but up there. They laughed at his grandiose plans, but they weren’t visionaries. He had shown them all, and now he was going to back up his convictions with actions.

The first shuttle carrying passengers to Moon Base Alpha would launch next month. He was going to be the first tourist on the Moon as was his right as Elon Musk.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a bit of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 95.

100 words isn’t much, but combining fancy yacht, lake, and the moon, I was reminded that not only did Elon Musk recently unveil plans for a very large passenger/cargo rocket and Mars Colony, he had images of what he called Moon Base Alpha, a name he took from the 1970s scifi television series Space: 1999 starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.

After the past several days, I needed to write something a bit “lighter.”

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

I’ve expanded and personalized my response to the prompt here.

moon base musk

Artist’s conception of Elon Musk’s “Moon Base Alpha”.

space 1999 base

Moon Base Alpha from the television show “Space: 1999.”

Where Did Our Home Go?

factory

© J Hardy Carroll

How’d we get here? One minute we were fighting an Imp horde and the next we landed here. The demons were experimenting with a portal stone. That’s it.

We’re on Earth but it’s not home. I’ve gotten a day job so I can buy food. I push myself through the gap in the gates with the groceries.

Newspapers say the year’s 1988. Raul’s family died in a famine in the 11th century. Yana was abandoned during an earthquake the next century. Prisha’s family were killed in Calcutta’s 1737 cyclone.

I’ve got to get them back to the only home they’ve ever known…dragonworld.

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

I don’t think I’ve done my concept justice. It’s part of a larger idea I’ve been toying with, one I briefly touched on a few days ago.

Imagine the abandoned and unwanted children of the world throughout history being whisked to a different place and time, one where they are taken care of by dragons. Then imagine in a war an accident sends them back to Earth, but way too far in the future. What would happen then?

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