The Last American Flag

old glory

© Yinglan Z.

Alex and Ginnie brought their heavily armed team up to the top of Crystal Peak. They didn’t have much time and had no hope at all. When they placed the flag here six months ago, they knew they were breaking the law, but America had been founded by a courageous group of law breakers. This time, there would be no forming a new nation, because the America they knew, the one their fathers and grandfathers knew, was gone.

First, it was “taking the knee” during the pledge in protest. Then there was stomping on the flag or burning it, and posting the videos to YouTube, which immediately went viral. Finally, at the behest of President Julian Sanders, Congress abolished the Constitution to form the People’s Socialist Party of America. Flying Old Glory became illegal.

“They’re coming.” Ginnie grabbed her husband’s arm. He said nothing and waited. The small band of resistance fighters watched the brigade of black-clad security forces and prepared to make their last stand and die with their nation as did their forefathers.

I wrote this for the 171st FFfAW Challenge 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 175.

After a vain attempt to locate where the photo was taken, I decided on a different approach based very loosely on news items I’ve been reading over the past couple of days. As difficult as some of those events may seem and how some people view the U.S. currently, it could still be much, much worse.

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

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Lift

car balloons

Photo credit: Vincent Bourilhon

“They’re gaining, Tomas. We need more lift. Hurry.”

“I’m trying Irma. It’s easy to imagine more balloons but hard to make them pull us up.”

Twelve-year-old Irma Ruiz was mimicking the motions of her Papa, remembering how he drove his antediluvian Rambler, putting her hands at the ten and two o’ clock positions on the wheel to steer it. The wheel was wet because of her sweaty palms and every time she looked in the rear view mirror, she saw them getting closer.

“Tomas!”

“I’m hurrying! I’m hurrying!” Her ten-year-old brother couldn’t afford to look behind them. His head was stuck out the passenger door window looking up, concentrating on visualizing an ever-growing bouquet of helium-filled balloons, red, white, yellow, green, blue, all the colors of the rainbow. He could feel the car continue to climb but they had to go faster and higher.

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The Lightbringer

light

Photo credit: Goroyboy

The day the Lightbringer walked into town felt like the best day in everyone’s lives. She was good, pure, and right. Everyone wanted to know about her and she asked the townspeople to gather in the square at noon.

“I am the Lightbringer,” she began as every man, woman, and child were held by her gaze. “I show what is light inside you, what is good, what is pure, but I also reveal the darkness. What you think is light is the darkness and what you think is darkness is the light. I will show you true light that you may purge the darkness. I am the light, you must be like me. There is no other way to the light.”

The townspeople became confused because they had been a peaceful and wholesome folk for so long, and now the Lightbringer had revealed that their wholesomeness was really the darkness. They desired to be the light, but while the Lightbringer seemed so good, should they surrender themselves to her just because she came into their town?

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of January 30, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I’m currently reading Margaret Atwood’s award-winning novel “A Handmaid’s Tale” which has spawned a film and a currently popular television show on Hulu. It depicts a dystopian future where a conservative, religious society has enslaved women, turning the fertile females into breeders and waging war against other countries that hold different belief systems. I’ll subsequently write a review after finishing the book and completing my research on Atwood’s perspectives that led to the novel’s creation.

This morning I also read an article on the ACLU’s website called Let’s Stop Sexual Harassment and Violence Before They Begin With Comprehensive Sex Ed written by Melissa Goodman, Director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project , ACLU of Southern California. She authored the missive in support of a law in the State of California which dramatically changes sex education in the public school system starting at the kindergarten level. What I think she may have missed is what the parents of these students have to say about what their children are taught.

Regardless of how you interpreted my wee tale above, my point is that ANY political or social system taken to an extreme will become a totalitarian regime where the rights and freedoms of the citizens will be subordinate to the will of the State; a State which almost always is controlled by an elite few who are exempt from their own laws.

What I’m suggesting is that no matter how nice, sweet, cool, and beautiful someone’s “line” is and how they promise to do only good things for you if you let them rule over you, it is vitally important that you check in with your own mind, emotions, and exercise your free will. The minute you turn that over to anyone, no matter how much they say they’re a “lightbringer,” you will very likely find yourself dragged into the darkness.

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

The Revolution of 2030

riot

Image: Mark Graves / The Oregonian / Associated Press

“Hi. I’m Susie; she/her/hers.”

“Stop that! We don’t do that here.”

Susie cringed when the group leader Sharon snapped at her.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean…” Susie felt abruptly crushed but was determined not to shed tears, especially in front of them.

“No, I’m sorry.” Sharon realized she’d been overreacting, though she had good reason. “It’s my fault. I’m just so tired of the tyranny of those words.”

“We’re all feeling worn down by it, Shar.” Francisco chimed in wanting to calm the mood a bit.

There were twelve of them gathered in a small room in the basement of the university’s psychology building. It was nearly midnight, but being a teaching assistant, Francisco’s pass card opened the doors after hours.

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The Tribunal

tribunal

Image: sundiatapost.com

“Mr. Mitchell, I’m very glad you decided to join us this morning.” The Judge’s vocal tone and facial expression did not reflect gladness to John Mitchell, but then he was used to society’s collective sarcasm.

“It seems I ran out of choices, Your Honor.”

Mitchell stood in the center of a room. The room had few features. There was a platform in front of him, behind which sat the three Judges of the Tribunal. The room was only semi-illuminated, except for where he stood, which was brilliantly lit by a spotlight, where he stood alone. He knew this day would come, no matter how much he tried to put it off.

“I assume you know the charges against you Mr. Mitchell, but for the sake of the record, I will read them.” The judge sitting in the center looked down at her paperwork.

“Mr. John Quentin Mitchell, you stand accused of failing to comply with the life span progression initiative, whereby all male, white, het-cis-gender citizens will, on their 60th birthday, report to the progression center for processing and termination.”

The Judge looked back up at Mitchell. “This is the most serious charge against you, but certainly not the only one.”

“I understand, Your Honor.”

“You have repeatedly ignored multiple digital and hardcopy summons from the progression center and this court to report. You are eight months late, and this court has run out of patience.”

“It seems, Your Honor, that I have run out of time and, as I said before, choices.”

“Mr. Mitchell, it would not have been necessary to have law enforcement threaten to arrest your…” the Judge looked down at her notes for a moment, and then looked back at Mitchell. “…two sons, one daughter, and one daughter-in-law if you had obeyed the legal order of this court to report to the progression center for processing, now would it.”

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