Dark Mirror

shack and mirror

© Yinglan Z.

When Chance Bailey returned to his deceased father’s estate, he found nothing but refuse and rubble. The woman he had a “chance” encounter with in that dive bar on the wharf had been his long-lost sister, and she had taken the bulk of the old man’s wealth, which should have been their shared inheritance. Now all he had was a single 18th century gold coin and his father’s ruined land.

There was an old shed and a strange black mirror, which he had never seen before. Yet when he presented his coin to father’s solicitor, he was told vast riches could be found here.

It didn’t look like glass. More like iron filings swirled by magnetism. Chance reached out with recently washed fingers and touched.

Then he was in a cave on an island hundreds of years and thousands of miles away. There were chests full of gold doubloons, all the wealth he would ever need. This was the secret of the old man’s fortune. The mirror was the greatest treasure of them all.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of April 10, 2018 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.

Yesterday, in response to a different challenge, I wrote The Pit Fiend Promise in which a man who had lived a wasted life after being rejected by his wealthy father, finds out via a mysterious messenger (his long lost sister, though he didn’t recognize her), that “the old man” had died, and his inheritance was there for the taking (half actually, since sister had gotten there first).

In today’s story, though it seems at first that Chance has inherited nothing but ashes, he discovers the secret to how his father built wealth in the first place. Now how will he use it?

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


Treasure Hunter


Among Timbuktu’s places of study is the historic Sankore University – Photo Credit: DBImages, Alamy Stock Photo

Deidra Maher whored her way through France and Spain to earn passage across Morocco, Algeria, and finally to Mali. Since inheriting the cipher from her great-granduncle as his only living relative, she spent the next five years accomplishing what he had failed to do in twenty. Shon Knowles certainly had a keen mind but not a brilliant one, so the secret of the cipher eluded him. However, his great-grandniece was considered a prodigy, though an undisciplined one, yet it still took her half a decade to master the ancient code.

It was unusual for a woman to travel alone, even a European one, in Islamic nations, but she was now posing as a reporter covering the first Festival au Désert to be held in the region since 2013. Making her way through the horde of residents and tourists along Askia Mohamed Boulevard in Timbuktu, Deidra arrived at Hotel Colombe 2, a modest but adequate accommodation. She only planned to stay for a day, two at the most. For the present, comfort was her main interest.

The city had once been a hub of Islamic learning many centuries past, but eventually began to decline and finally collapsed under the heel of French rule. Yet, the cipher contained a map to what Knowles believed were long forgotten tunnels under Mosquée Sankoré. All she had to do was break in.

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Ill-Gotten Treasure


© J. Hardy Carroll

“This is junk, Sydney.”

“You’re an idiot Jerry. It’s treasure, not junk. You know how much these old bottles and trinkets are worth on eBay?”

“A buck ninety-five?”

“How did I get such a lunkhead for a brother?” Sydney regarded her twin with disdain.

“Okay, If you say they’re worth big bucks, they’re worth big bucks. Now what?”

“Now we take them, but carefully. Don’t break anything, Jer.”

“Good thing the old geezer left plenty of boxes and bubble wrap, eh Syd?”

“Shut up and get to work.”

“You don’t have to be so mean about it.”

Sydney ignored Jerry’s whining. They’d acted just in time. The makeshift sign next to the shelves indicated their Grandpa was going to sell this stuff, probably for a fraction of their value. He didn’t care. He was rich.

But when Sydney and Jerry were arrested again, this time for assault and theft, he told them and their parents he was writing them all out of his will.

The only way the twins could recoup part of their losses was to smother the old man in his sleep and sell off any tangible objects he owned for as much as they could get.

Written in response to Sunday Photo Fiction – February 5th 2017 flash fiction challenge. The goal is to write a story of no more than 200 words based on the photo prompt above. My submission is exactly 200 words.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.