Will We Ever Have The Answer?

love prompt

© 2016 – Elaine Farrington Johnson

It was the worst mass murder in U.S. history. The President and First Lady attended the memorial service. Too many of these events had occurred over the years.

The murderer had a history of mental illness. The nation’s strict gun control laws were useless. Improvised bombs planted all over Chicago’s commuter corridors had been timed to explode at the height of the morning rush hour. Hundreds died in less than a minute.

President Larson addressed the vast assembly at the candlelight memorial.

“It is with a humble heart that I address you tonight. Everything we’ve tried to prevent these atrocities has failed. It is not enough to control how one person kills another, we must understand why they kill. The majority are not because of a religious or political agenda, but rather being disenfranchised from society, isolated, and ostracized seems the chief cause.

“As a nation, we must come together to bring belonging and hope to these people. Only when we show them love will they know love, for only love will stop these tragedies.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 3, 2017. 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.

Given the image, it’s impossible for me not to write about events such as the Las Vegas mass shootings that occurred last Sunday evening. 58 people died and over 500 were wounded. We all ask ourselves the same questions after one of these tragedies but we don’t seem to be any closer to an answer.

I chose not to take the obvious route, but unlike how I’ve woven my wee tale, the National Center for Biotechnology Information doesn’t agree that there’s a clear connection between mental illness and gun violence (and I eliminated guns in my story).Newsweek seems to believe that since statistically, white males commit the majority of these shootings (54 percent since 1982), something akin to a sense of entitlement might be involved.

Neither of these explanations is particularly satisfying nor to they point to a solution.

I deliberately used bombs rather than guns in my story because if guns aren’t available and someone is intent on violence, they will find a way. Consider the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the scores and scores of middle eastern terrorist bombings.

I don’t know if there’s a universal method of preventing these tragedies. Maybe outlawing guns is part of the solution, but while that might prevent some of these incidents, criminals will still buy guns illegally, and as we’ve seen in other societies (Israel has one of the toughest gun control laws in the world), people will still find a way to hurt one another.

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

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Shuǐmǔ

bike

© Dorothy

“Bai. don’t give up now. She must be nearby. I can feel it.”

“We’ve pedaled long enough my brother Heng. It’s a hoax.”

“No. If we find her, we’ll be rich.”

“There is no ‘her’, Heng. We are being manipulated by a wealthy eccentric.”

“Send 68 pairs of contestants on tandem bicycles to search for the Shuǐmǔ? Why would anyone do such a thing if she wasn’t real?”

“Who knows? Boredom? Proving that people are basically stupid? Maybe he’s right.”

“The Shuǐmǔ is supposed to be a priceless treasure. The indicator, Bai. We’re close.”

Heng suddenly jumped off the bike and ran toward a building surrounded by dozens of identical bicycles. He ran inside.

“Heng, wait.” Bai’s shorter legs were pumping as fast as they could.

“Statues. Nothing but statues.”

“Heng, I recognize these statues. Our competition.”

“Hello, boys. I guess you found me,” she smirked.

Shuǐmǔ

Shuǐmǔ

Heng turned to stone before Bai’s eyes. Then Bai too became unmoving.

“When will that old fool stop sending his pawns after me? Money cannot buy the services of Medusa.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW writing Challenge for the week of August 8th. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 175 exactly.

I started writing with no clear end in mind, not even a real story. I just thought of two brothers being part of a competition, not a race so much as a scavenger hunt to find something valuable. I needed a tragic end which is when I wondered if the name “Medusa” has a Chinese counterpart. As it turns out, it does.

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

One Night Out a Year

halloween

Image: San Francisco Chronicle/Carlos Avila Gonzalez

Halloween was the one night of the year when Gary felt completely at home in a crowd. He had just gotten off the BART train at Civic Center and made it on the MUNI heading toward Castro Station. They had the best Halloween parties in the Castro.

Of course, the whole city of San Francisco turned out for Halloween in one way or another. He was among of a vast collection of oddly dressed and featured people on the train. True, he was just about the only one alone rather than as one of a couple or in a group, but anyone seeing him would probably assume he was on his way to a party or to meet someone.

It was strange and not a little ironic that the rest of the year, when Gary wanted to go out, which was rare, that he actually had to wear a mask. Tonight, everyone else was wearing make up and a mask except Gary.

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Why I Wrote My First Children’s Story for My Grandson

reading

Image: boomerhighway.org

I published The Day a Dragon Came to Live with Us yesterday but not any sort of explanation about where the story came from or why I wrote it (except on Facebook and Google+).

I consider it one of my best efforts but it doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of love so far. Probably one of the reasons is that it’s over 5700 words long, basically a short story or a book chapter. Who’s got the time, right?

This story is different. It’s personally important to me. I’ve invested a lot of emotion in it. I wrote it for my seven-year-old grandson.

He’s really imaginative and every time I see him, he wants to play our “game”. Our game is a talking game. He assigns us both roles and then we make up an adventure. In our current game, I am “Grandpa” (no surprise there) and he is my pet “Honey Dragon”.

Actually, the term “pet” is a bit of a misnomer since the dragon is supposed to be thousands of years old and know all kinds of arcane magical spells.

Our game scenarios are highly derivative. He pulls a lot of his ideas from “Harry Potter” and I pull mine from all kinds of comic books, science fiction stories, TV shows, and films.

I’ve tried to write a story for him before, but I couldn’t get the hang of it. However, our current series of adventures spawned an idea, a story about a boy and his dragon.

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