The Aulegren’s Children

kelpie

© JS Brand

It’s a tourist attraction now, but they still tell the stories, all ending with the heroic victory over a powerful enemy, perpetually frozen in their equine warrior form. But humans were the invaders, twelve colony ships, master guidance control damaged. AI was smart enough to detect the problem but not repair it, so it found an alternate world.

Unfortunately, it belonged to the Aulegren.

The colonists, being human, “discovered” the land, pretended to adapt, then multiplied like rabbits, taking over every natural resource.

The Aulegren first came as fair lasses and handsome paramours, hoping to use love to found peace.

When humans started raping them and taking what they wanted anyway, Aulegren declared war.

They might have won, but they always restricted their population, living harmoniously with the environment. Humans bred and bred, and with both superior technology, and stolen Aulegren magicks (some humans were gifted with the sight), the colonists won. That’s the official story, anyway.

A few were born of Human-Aulegren pairings and we have to stay hidden, lest we ire the pure bloods. Perhaps someday there’ll be enough of us, but to what end? Live in anxious peace with the conquerors, or begin the war anew?

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of November 11, 2018 hosted by Susan. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

A quick Google image search led me to this site and the legend of the Kelpie, shape-shifting water spirits who can appear as beautiful women.

I adapted the story to weave my own little tale of conquest and subjucation, with a hint of hope at the end.

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

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Rainbow’s Edge

rainbow

© April Pearson

A rainbow is nothing magical, just the result of light shining through a lot of drops of rain and being dispersed into a spectrum of light in the sky. Okay, I’ll buy that as far as it goes, but why is it in the shape or a bow?

Sometimes the bow forms a semi-circle with ends that touch different parts of the earth. What would happen if you came across one of those ends.

Yesterday, I did.

I was hiking on a trail in the deep interior of the Valley of Fire. The sky was overcast. I love November. It had been raining all day, but the storm was ahead of me now. That’s when I saw it; the edge.

The base was fuzzy, indistinct as it touched the ground, and there certainly no pot of gold there. It looked more than a trick of light, especially as it illuminated the shadows, cut off from the sun’s rays.

On the 4th day in November, Madelyn April Cross touched a rainbow and became all the colors of the universe. Then she knew what to do next.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of November 4, 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 185.

I can’t really tell you what made me write the story the way I did. I can tell you that the Valley of Fire is a real place that is roughly 60 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. I hiked there many times in my youth.

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

I May Not Know Art But I Know What I Like

art

Image credit: Fandango

“So, what’s with the crap?” Tammy waved her arm at the unlikely collection of two beat up rocking chairs and a dead tree.

“It’s art, I guess.” Her companion Ryan scratched his head in puzzlement.

“We had to pay to get in and see this? And look at the price. Who’d pay $800.00 for this?”

“Come on, hun. Jay’s a nice guy, and we said we’d support his debut here at the art museum.” Then he grabbed her arm. “Hush. Here he comes.”

“Ryan! Tammy!” The young man dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and a tan sports jacket approached holding out his hand. “I’m glad you could make it.”

They each shook hands with the broadly grinning artist.

“What do you think?” He waited expectantly.

“Well, it’s interesting,” Ryan said, trying to look contemplative.

“Yes, that’s what it is. Interesting.” Tammy hoped she could bluff her way through the conversation.

“Oh, come now. You know it’s just a bunch of junk thrown together, but it’s what the public likes.”

The couple both stared at their neighbor like he’d suddenly turned green.

“Excuse me, Mr. Fellows?” One of the exhibit managers approached Jay. “A gentlemen says he wishes to purchase your work.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of October 21, 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I didn’t want to write about an art exhibit, but the surroundings clearly indicate that’s what this is. Hopefully, I managed to put a sufficient spin on the topic.

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

No Evidence

cottage

© Susan Spaulding

“It happened in there.” Fifteen-year-old Christina Stevens pointed at the opening of the tiny, twisted cottage sitting in the park.

“I’ll have a look.” Senior Officer Angela Conner nodded at the teen then turned to her partner. “Watch him.”

“You bet.” Rookie Officer Jordan Beck grabbed handcuffed seventeen-year-old Sam Kelly by the shoulder.

“Why are you doing this, Chrissie? You know I didn’t do…”

The boy was interrupted by an elbow to the gut. “No talking to the victim, perp.” Beck scowled at the now doubled over high school senior. Then he gave the young blond girl his most charming smile.

After a few minutes, Conner walked back out of the cottage holstering a strange device.

“What’s that?” Chrissie sounded nervous.

“It’s a Temporal Scanner, Ms. Stevens. We’ve been using them for about five years now.” She turned to her partner. “I scanned the time frame when she said the incident occurred. Kids were in and out of here last month drinking beer. Stevens and Kelly were present but never at the same time and never alone together. Uncuff him. There’s no evidence.”

Tears welled up in the girl’s eyes. “But you’re supposed to just believe me.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of September 30th. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a flash fiction piece no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.

Yes, I know this story will be especially unpopular in light of the recent testimony given at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings to potentially confirm him as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. I’m not defending Kavanaugh and I’m not saying that his alleged victim Dr. Christine Ford is not being truthful. I’m also not saying that victims should routinely be disbelieved or ignored. However, I am deeply disturbed by the thought that 100% of all allegations of sexual assault must be believed without any evidence whatsoever and with no consideration for any other circumstances.

In my wee fictional tale, I decided to create the one piece of technology that could impartially examine the evidence at the time in which a crime was to have allegedly occurred. If Temporal Scanners were real, we could look back at any point in history and observe what actually happened. Memories (and any other motivations) would be irrelevant, since investigators could see and hear what really occurred.

It wouldn’t be a matter of belief. We would actually know.

To read other (more acceptable) tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

I’m sorry, but there are always two sides to every story. I’m just presenting the flip side of the coin.

The Truthsayer

coast road

© Anurag Bakhshi

Jeremiah Pierce negotiated the curves on Highway One just past Stinson Beach toward San Francisco, and the first leg of his journey to end the ridiculous mess he’d been hired to clear up. He’d been called many things over the years including the human lie detector and the truthsayer, but his gift, based both on psionics and his ability to see neural activity in the brain, certified him as the only person to always know if someone was lying.

A middle-aged woman said she had been sexually assaulted as a teen by a boy who now was being considered as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He denied it, and the Me Too supporters automatically believed her, regardless of the presence or absence of actual evidence.

In a few hours, he would be at the Federal Building where she was scheduled to be interviewed by FBI agents, but only because of the death threats against her. After he had spoken to her, Jeremiah would fly to Washington D.C. and hear what the Judge in question had to say. Then, he would know. Then the world would know for sure. No more nonsense based on rampant emotions and political interests.

I wrote this in response to two online writing prompts. The first is Sunday Photo Fiction where writers are challenged to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

The second is Sunday Writing Prompt hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The suggestion here is to craft a poem, short story, or some other creative piece based on the following:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools…

-from “If” by Rudyard Kipling

The poem fragment reminded me both of News and Social Media and the Kavanaugh hearings, which I’m sure everyone knows about in great detail. I decided to give in to a bit of fantasy and create a character who can always clear up these “he said, she said” debates to an absolute certainty rather than responding with rampant emotionalism or political jockeying for position.

To read more stories based on the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt, visit InLinkz.com. To read other stories based on the Kipling piece, go Here.

It’s Not a Scarecrow

scarecrow

© Anurag Bakhshi

“You know, I don’t think the flower bed is in danger from crows, Lindsey.” Kurt stood with his six-year-old daughter admiring their handiwork.

“I know that, Daddy. I just thought the flowers could use some company when we’re not around.” She stood, hands on hips, pride written all over her face.

“Well, you sure made good use of those old clothes we were going to donate to the thrift store.”

When she didn’t answer, he looked down and saw tears in her eyes. Kneeling, he put his arms around her and Lindsey held onto him tightly. “I know you miss her.”

“Why did Grandma have to die?”

“That’s why you wanted to make this, didn’t you? So we wouldn’t give away her clothes.”

“I miss her.”

“It’s okay. I miss her, too. We’ll keep anything of hers you want. I promise.”

I wrote this for the August 19th edition of Sunday Photo Fiction. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 141. I know. I usually push the word count to the limit, but I didn’t need so many this time around.

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

Only One More

soap

© Fandango

It felt so good to get the crap off of his body, even the nausea-inducing odor with which he was always saturated after each job.

This was number eleven. Only one more to go. Each of these increased the chance of him leaving some clue, though so far, the police were chasing nothing more than their tails.

Looking down, the last of the blood was swirling around the drain, about to be consigned to the sewers.

He turned off the shower and grabbed the towel hanging outside. Drying himself off, he thought of the oath he swore over his family’s graves.

A year ago, the infamous “Gang of Twelve” raided his father’s house, tortured and raped his mother, his sisters, and his daughter, beat and tortured the boys and men, then finally murdered them, all because of rumors that the patriarch had a horde of gold bullion.

They never found gold, but the ex-intelligence agent, who had been traveling that weekend, vowed to end each gang member in the most brutal manner possible. Only one more death until he achieved his goal. But even if the souls of the dead would rest easier, his own spirit would be haunted forever.

I wrote this for the 12 August 2018 edition of Sunday Photo Fiction. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Interestingly enough, I’d just taken a shower before sitting down and writing this story, so the feeling of getting clean was very fresh for me, if you’ll pardon the unintentional pun. For some reason, the smell of blood (like from a bloody nose) popped into my head. The rest of my tale just fell into place.

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

Inheritors

garden

© James Pyles

Lee watched his two grandchildren explore the garden. Once it was one of numerous community projects in this mid-sized northwestern city. Now it was a matter of survival.

“What do you think? Think your grandkids will like it here? We’ve got plenty of children their own age, and my wife’s putting together a school curriculum.” Andy Lambert was a carpenter by trade, but he knew how to recruit with the skill of a salesman.

Leland Henderson didn’t take his eyes off of the eight and three year old kids. “Yeah. I think it’ll work out okay. We’d be glad to join, what do you call yourselves?”

“The Remnant. You know, like in the Bible.”

“Right. The Remnant. Guess it’s as good a name as any.”

“Damn right it is. There used to be over 7 billion people in the world, but thanks to the Doomsday Plague, we’ve got less than 6 million left, scattered in little communities like ours all over the globe. Farming, fishing, hunting, we have to preserve the old skills. Geezers like you and me have got to survive and care for the youngsters. Your grandkids and mine are going to inherit and rebuild the Earth.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.

Yes, those are my grandchildren, and because I promised my son I wouldn’t put photos of his children online, I made sure I selected on where their faces can’t be seen.

I won’t tell you where or when this picture was taken because I don’t want it to influence how others might create their stories.

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

Death by Squirt Gun

bike

© C.E. Ayr

It’s so hot and humid here, you can only go bike riding in the morning. At least I’ve traced him to one of those two people ahead. Have to be cautious, though. If I spray the wrong one, the Jinn will get me before I can reload.

Have to wait until he makes his move, which should be soon. The demon can never quell his thirst for murder for more than a few weeks. He slaughtered my brother ten years ago, and I’ve spent every day since then learning about them and tracking this spirit halfway around the world.

Last month it was Melbourne, and now Port St. Lucie.

They’re turning into that gate to the left. It’s opening.

Ducked in just as the gates closed. That’s him now. He’s pulling out a garrote. I’ve got my gun right here.

“Hey, Jinn.” He spins as I pull the trigger and spray him. What a stupid weakness, but it’s working. The possessed body is collapsing and the Jinn is oozing out his orifices. Really disgusting. The other person’s bending over him.

“Glenn. What happened?” She’s looking up at me. “What did you do? He’s soaked in pee. Are you nuts?”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

This is a continuation of yesterday’s flash fiction tale The Long Wait for Retribution, which was about demonic possession and murder. I decided to let my demon hunter catch up with his target and eliminate him.

According to Exorcism in Islam, you can harm or kill a Jinn by urinating on it or throwing hot water on it. So the weapon of choice, under the circumstances, is to load a super soaker with urine. Yucky, but it works.

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

The Fan

maradona

© Susan Spaulding

“And here you go. My pride and joy, so to speak. Signed shirt from the great man himself.” Andrew Cullen puffed up his chest as he showed his friend Tommy Cabrera his trophy room. “Diego Maradona. Best footballer ever. Your American mates call what you have football, but this is the real deal.”

“I wasn’t always an American, Andrew, and I know what real football is.”

“Oh yeah. Sorry about that. You emigrated to the States from Argentina, right?”

“Yes.” Tomás and Andrew met online at a fiction writers forum five years prior and hit it off. Now Cabrera was visiting his friend in Swords, outside of Greater Dublin, while on a promotional tour. His fictionalized autobiography had become a runaway bestseller, and he had personal appearances scheduled for all over the UK and Europe.

“Anything the matter? You’ve gone awfully silent.”

“Just remembering, Andrew.” Tomás didn’t give voice to the memory of growing up in a totalitarian socialist regime, nor how Diego Maradona had unswervingly supported the communist dictators who had crushed the souls of his family, and nearly killed him. “Sorry. I can’t say I’m much of a fan.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for 15 July 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 191.

Being an American, I don’t know much about the World Cup, and in fact, I don’t follow sports even in my own country. I had to look up Diego Maradona and discovered he has a colorful history. I chose to focus on his political views and found out he supports a number of socialist dictators, including Carlos Menem, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chávez. No, I’m not much of a fan, either.

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