Castaway on Piller Island

eggs

© MorgueFile 1416928925r3kcx

Nelson Lawrence Simon had been living the dream, sailing around the world in his 36 foot sloop until his rudder chain broke during a storm. The spare, which he thought he’d packed so carefully, had been exposed to four months of salt and moisture and had rusted.

Current washed him up on the north shore of an island, Piller, according to his charts. There was some sort of electrical interference that was jamming his radio, but he saw structures in the distance, so maybe someone lived here.

Simon was halfway up what looked to be an abandoned trail when he spotted the nest. He brought provisions with him, but it had been a long time since he had fresh eggs.

“Damn. Too late.” He watched as the first of the eggs broke open, but wasn’t prepared for the emergence of the occupant.

“What? I thought alligators laid eggs closer to water.”

As a shadow fell over him from behind, he realized it wasn’t an alligator. He turned and had just enough time to recognize a velociraptor from those “Jurassic” movies before he was messily devoured, well mostly. The rest of him would feed her hungry brood.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 195.

I saw the eggs and was crestfallen, because I didn’t want to write about bird eggs. Then I decided to leverage my series of stories based on The Kaala Experiment, a time travel device that’s gone wrong and brought a whole bunch of dinosaurs forward to the present on an island in the South Pacific. Nelson Lawrence Simon never had a chance.

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

Roger’s link up still needs a lot of love, so please consider contributing a story. Thanks.

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Behind the Eternity Door

collage

Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

There was only one way for Adriene McKnight to follow Douglas Adams’s advice and that was to step out of the timestream. She’d never done it completely, of course, because then she’d lose all recognizable references and never get back, but she could exit the local stream far enough to let her see several others connected to her own.

Opa’s study. He had everything packed up to leave for England. It’s 1934 and the Nazis have made Hamburg an administrative Gau. He wasn’t her Opa then, only a young physician of 23, unmarried, and unwilling to become a pawn of the fascists.

The bust of Oma. She was so beautiful. Opa commissioned it as a wedding gift, only one of twelve female busts made by the famous Erik Van Aar. The sculptor died a year later making the bust worth a fortune. Opa wouldn’t sell it, even when he needed money to go to America in 1940.

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Strange History’s Prelude

seatac

A Delta flight comes in for a landing at Sea-Tac Airport which had record passenger growth in June. (Ellen M Banner/The Seattle Times)

The day Leon Spencer made bail, he followed the instructions of the lawyer who posted it for him and stopped off at his post office box. Sure enough, there was a cashier’s check for more money than he made in a year as a Marine Gunnery Sergeant. Those days were long gone and so, he thought, was his career until he read the email from Carson Everett. There wasn’t much that fazed him anymore, not after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, but he could still be impressed.

“Fuckin’ eh.” The six-foot tall, African-American Marine turned merc, turned “security consultant,” stared at the check in his hand and the note that came with it, which repeated Everett’s instructions to take the first flight to Seatac.

He visited his crappy apartment for the last time to pack a few things, noticing the bales of useless papers, magazines, and other junk he’d be happy to part with. Leon took everything that still had worth to him (which wasn’t much), and beat it out to O’Hare, happy to give Chicago the middle finger.

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Encounter at Muxnar

mdina, malta

Street in Mdina, Malta – © Google 2014

Emily Becker followed the old Maltese man down a little-known side street into a shop. The walled city had existed since the Bronze Age, but the young archeology student was visiting because of her passion for the Apostle Paul. The Apostle’s history was tied to Malta, though not to this small city.

Inside, the man excitedly displayed what looked like a mirror, except the glass was black instead of reflective.

“So what’s this?” She was suddenly aware she was alone with a stranger and her tour guide didn’t know where she was.

“You see Shaul. Look deep.” He used the Apostle’s Hebrew name.

Emily drew closer to the mirror.

“Touch.”

She held up her hand, and it was as if the mirror reached out and grabbed her.

Emily turned and she was standing near Muxnar Reef in a rainstorm. Strangely dressed men were struggling to make shore including a middle-aged Jewish man.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google street maps image and location as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 147.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Mdina, Malta. Of course for perspective, I looked up the city’s history as well as the general background on Malta. If I had a bucket list of places I wanted to visit, Malta would be on it.

Someone commented on this story that the concept of a dark mirror leading to other places and times might make an interesting series. As I was pondering the Pegman challenge this morning, I thought that it would be interesting if the magic of the dark mirror randomly appeared in different places across the world.

In this case, an old shopkeeper in Malta happens, for a time, to acquire a mirror possessed by the dark magic and realizes its potential. Perhaps the mirror supplies a destination depending on the user’s desires. In her fantasies, Emily has always wanted to meet the Apostle Paul. According to this researcher, the most likely site of Paul’s shipwreck on Malta as recorded in the Book of Acts, chapters 27 and 28, is “just outside St Thomas’ Bay, near a dangerous sandbar called the Muxnar Reef.”

I had wanted to write a longer tale, but 150 words only goes so far. Now we’ll never know what happens to Emily next.

Oh, Malta has two official languages, one being Maltese, which is a semitic language, and the other being English, so Emily would be able to communicate with the shopkeeper. Talking to the Jewish apostle, his fellow captives, and ancient Roman soldiers might be another story, however.

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

Almost Home

fog

© Mara Eastern

Charlie and Betsy Shaw and their eight-year-old son Andy made their way through the fog toward their flat, still in a daze after a special Sunday evening service at their church. The Japs had bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It was still so hard to believe. Betsy’s cousin Elwin was a Seaman First Class on the USS Arizona. Everybody was saying that Roosevelt and Congress weren’t going to keep us out of the war after this.

“I can hardly see where we’re going, Charlie.”

“We’re almost home, Hun. I know it’s been a hard day.”

Andy didn’t say anything, but he looked up at his parents searching for some kind of reassurance that his world hadn’t fallen apart. They both looked so lost.

“We’ve got to stop. I really can’t see though the fog. I think we’re lost.”

“How can we be lost?” Charlie didn’t want to admit he couldn’t see anything except fog and diffused light. “We’ve lived on this block for over ten years.”

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The Kaala Experiment

mosasaurus

A mosasaurus as seen in the 2015 film “Jurassic World”.

“Oh, crap.”

“What is it, Lynn?” At the helm of the Research Submarine Nereid, Marcus Clark scanned the immediate vicinity through the view port while everyone else in the cabin looked toward the navigator.

“It’s not the Megalodon we encountered yesterday. Not much bigger, but it reads differently.”

“Something even more minatory?”

“Cut with the erudite crap, Dr. Everett. That prehistoric shark was bad news enough.” Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Leon Spencer hated being penned inside this tin can underneath hundreds of meters of ocean where his skills meant nothing.

“It’s unthinkable that your experiment should have gotten this far.”

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The Praying Man

Gurara Waterfalls

Gurara Waterfalls © Samson Rohan Google Maps – 2017

“Daddy, who’s that man by the river? He looks strange.”

“Just some of the local color, Janet. Don’t pay attention to him. They all beg.”

“George, stop being racist. We’re here at Gurara Falls for a vacation. Nigeria is his country, not yours.”

George Dukes rolled his eyes. Thousands of miles from home and she was still nagging. He looked back and saw a couple walking toward the native. Probably felt sorry for him, the saps.

Buba the Hunter continued praying to his gods in this strange place as the two outsiders approached, a man and woman. The woman was speaking to him, but used the language so oddly.

“Please, you must come with us. You don’t belong here. We can take you home.”

He looked up. For two days, he had prayed to Gura and Rara for a way back to his village. Were these people their emissaries?

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image and location as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Gurara Waterfalls in Nigeria. I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered the falls were thought to have been discovered in 1745 by a Gwari hunter named Buba. The falls and river are believed to have been named after the two deities Gura and Rara.

In keeping with my recent science fiction stories The Devil from the Fire and Blood Libel, I decided to dislocate Buba in time, though not in space.

Today, the falls are a tourist attraction complete with a resort boasting a recreation center and seven-star hotel. I populated that hotel with modern “ugly American” tourists, but also with physicist Everett Carson and his companion, historian and linguist Aiyana Zheutlin (originally a character from my “Time Traders” books, written as a homage to the works of Andre Norton [the late Alice Norton]). They’ve come to take Buba to the phenomenon (out of public view in this wee tale) and back home.

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

Blood Libel

passover seder

Passover seder at the home of Rabbi Mayer Hirsch, San Francisco, circa 1920. (Courtesy of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life)

Klaus Buchner was running for his life. One minute, he was a guest at his friend Josef Steinbauer’s home expecting to experience his first Passover seder since he was a child. Now these insane fools were chasing him, screaming terrible insults in archaic German. Where did this damned desert come from? Why couldn’t he get a cell signal?

Martin Frederick had been hosting his family and close friends in his home for Good Friday, mourning the loss of their Lord Jesus Christ, his being betrayed by the damnable Jews some fifteen hundred and thirty-seven years prior, and now they were chasing one of them. He and his kind were no doubt responsible for the disappearances of six-year-old Hans Kruger and his sister Elsa, two years his junior. But this was nowhere near Magdeburg. There was no such terrain anywhere in Germany. How had they gotten here?

Both Klaus and Martin, men worlds and centuries apart, felt as if reality had abruptly changed from light to dark, from liquid to solid. How could they be here and who were the men Martin was following and who were pursuing Klaus?

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The Devil from the Fire

desert

Found at the Orogold Store Locator website

The horse came back alone.

Every morning at dawn, Mr. Sebastian Cooke saddled and mounted his stallion and rode the perimeter of the ranch. His father and grandfather before him had owned and worked this unlikely land, an island over a thousand nautical miles east of New Guinea. In the year of our Lord 1879, he was the third generation of Cookes to farm and ranch here, hiring the indigenous peoples for labor, who by the way proved to be excellent equestrians.

Every morning her husband rode out for precisely one and one-half hours, and was always back home in time for breakfast. Every morning except for today.

“We found King by the corral, Mrs. Esther.” Haych, the foreman, held the horse by his reins, as if presenting him to Esther Cooke as a gift. “Me, Kaiki, and some of the other boys are riding out to go look for him. My wife Lehiwa and her sister Riria will stay with you, Mrs.

“Thank you, Haych. You are a good man. I’m sure my husband is alright.” She could feel hot tears behind her eyes but did not want to cry in front of the help, though having lived here for a decade now, she felt more like they were family. Sebastian had grown up on the island, but she was a Londoner originally. Her family had lost its fortune, and Father had become taken with the idea of building a new life in Australia. Their ship had sustained damage in a storm and they had to make berth at Cooke’s Island for repairs. Esther had been just 18  when she fell in love with Sebastian, who was 15 years her senior.

She watched Haych and his kinsmen ride out, leaving King in the hands of the capable stable boys, and said a prayer for the safety of all.

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Waiting in 1979

burger

MorgueFile 1401035280bwq0a

One of the perks of being “unstuck” in time and space was being able to re-experience things long gone such as a “lead burger” at that greasy spoon just north of U.C. Berkeley. Jonathan grasped the massive bun and bit down, mustard oozing over his fingers. It was a warm July evening in the East Bay, but his real destination was France a few days in the future.

Days ago from his perspective, he discovered that he could dream about fixing problems in the timestream of different quantum realities. He lamented that he couldn’t do anything about the Islamic revolution in Iran or the hostage crisis that would begin in less than four months. Six-year-old Etan Patz was kidnapped in New York at the end of May and his disappearance would remain a cold case until 2010. He couldn’t do anything about that either. In fact, he couldn’t even prevent the deaths of Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. However, he could track down the ODESSA member who planted the bomb in their car and reveal the location of his confederates to Interpol.

Jonathan Cypher dipped a french fry into his catsup and waited.

I wrote this for  the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner Week 10 writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 193.

I am again leveraging my character Jonathan Cypher who you last saw earlier today in Our Honored Dead and before that in Tikkun Olam. In that tale, it was revealed he is a soul or “neshamah” of a dead man who now has the ability in his dreams to travel the timestreams of different quantum realities correcting flaws or problems introduced by human free will in the created multiverse.

When I saw the burger, I was reminded of a burger joint I used to eat at in the late 1970s on Euclid Avenue just north of the U.C. Berkeley campus. I set my tale in 1979 and then searched Wikipedia for some likely event I could insert Jonathan into.

The one I chose occurred on 9 July:

A car bomb destroys a Renault owned by Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld at their home in France. A note purportedly from ODESSA claims responsibility.

A lot of other things happened including the rise of the Islamic Revolution that year including the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis.

Unfortunately, on 25 May:

Etan Patz, 6 years old, is kidnapped in New York. He is often referred to as the “Boy on the Milk Carton” and the investigation later sprouts into one of the most prolific child abduction cases of all time. This is a cold case until 2010 when it is re-opened. Pedro Hernandez is later charged with strangling him after being sentenced to life in prison for murder and kidnapping in April 2017.

Jonathan can’t change everything, but I did allow him to do some damage to the ODESSA organization, which was a group of Former Nazi SS members who aided in the escape of Fascist war criminals after the end of World War Two.

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

READ THIS: This writing challenge is re-emerging after a long hiatus so if you are so inclined, please contribute a story and help popularize it again. Thanks.