The Ancient Amazon Awaits

amazon

© Google 2013

The dock master at Manaus warned us against our trek up the Amazon with the clouds threatening in the west. Even Miguel, our guide, refused to accompany us. But I only had three days left to show my high school science students at least a few more of the Amazon’s wonders before our field trip to Brazil ended. Now as the strange glowing clouds descend, I feel I’ve made a terrible mistake.

“Dr. Chambers. What’s wrong with the air?” 15-year-old Billy is the youngest of my students. We’re all coughing. It’s not the cloud. That’s vanished. The entire river and surrounding jungle are suddenly unfamiliar. The river’s wider..and running backwards! I know enough paleontology to realize the impossible has happened.

There’s a ferocious roar coming from near the left bank. It’s getting closer. Sarah is the first to see it. “Look!” She’s screaming in horror.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. Based on the Google Maps image above, authors are supposed to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine’s a solid 146.

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

I did a little research on the area of the photo and on the river itself. Manaus is the capital city of the state of Amazonas situated on the Negro River in Northwestern Brazil.

The Amazon is only 11.8 million years old and achieved its present shape about 2.4 million years ago.

However, the ancient version of this water way was thought to have run backward, from east to west sometime in the mid-Cretaceous period about 130 million years ago.

Mr. Chambers and his high school science students are in a lot of trouble.

A Last Look At Home

chuo tokyo

© Google 2016

“I never thought I’d see Chūō-ku again.”

“Does it look that different, Hiro?”

“I miss the waterways. It’s different, but it’s home.”

“I’m almost sorry I brought you here, given what’s about to happen to you.”

“You said what happens to me happened over seventy years ago.”

“You’ll still have to return.”

“And die, I know. But I’m curious why your Isis had you bring me here to the ward where I was born.”

“Look there.” The Time Traveler pointed to the fish market on the corner. A family, three generations of them, were just opening up.

“Your son, his children, and their children.”

Hiro’s eyes moistened. “They survived.”

“One last look at home, Hiro.”

“Thank you, Martin. Now I can die in peace, knowing my family lives on.”

“It’s time for me to take you back to Hiroshima.”

“Back to my present, Monday, August 6, 1945. I’m ready.”

I wrote this in response to the What Pegman Saw photo challenge. The goal is to use the photo at the top of the page as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine came in at 147.

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

The photo prompt is a 2016 street view of a ward of Tokyo called Chūō-ku, which literally means “Central Ward”. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and among other things, found out that after World War II, much of Chuo City was rebuilt and many of its numerous waterways filled in to make space for more buildings and roads.

I leveraged time traveler Martin Fields, who I featured in a seven-part series beginning with On Wednesday, The Time Traveler Got Wet, in order to give a Japanese man from 1945 a chance to see what had become of his family after seventy years. He gets a look at them in the 21st century before returning to his fate in Hiroshima the day the Atomic Bomb was dropped.

Why the other-worldly being known as Isis would have given this gift to a single individual is not revealed, but it’s enough that it was given.

Huastec

Av 5, Mexico City

© Google maps

Humberto waited until the rest of the workers knocked off for lunch. Then he went back to the part of the lot they were working on where he had found it. His mother was Aztec and named him Xochipilli after the god of feasting. His father forbade the ancient ways, so over the years, he met with other Aztecs in secret.

Mama taught him about their history and gods, which is how he recognized the stone figure of Huastec, the life-death idol concealed in the rubble. Who knows how many centuries it had been buried? He wrapped the figure in a small tarp and hid it in his truck. Huastec was a sign, a sign of the return of the rule of the Aztecs. Tonight, Xochipilli would meet with the others and plan. They would rise up. The first human sacrifice in centuries would take place next month.

huastec

Huastec – Brooklyn Museum / Creative Commons-BY

Written for the What Pegman Saw weekly photo writing prompt based on a view from Google Maps. The challenge is to use the image to write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. My story is 148. I did a 360 degree turn on Google maps and came up with a different view. I looked up the history of Mexico City and it has a significant Aztec presence. Then I looked up Aztec history and wrote my tale. I’m including a photo of Huastec for reference.

To read other stories inspired the what pegman saw, go to InLinkz.com.

The Apparition

hammerfest

© Google 2017

Nine-year-old Erik Lund quietly crept out of Hammerfest’s historic Hauen Chapel. He never knew his great-grandfather and didn’t understand why people were upset at his death. Bored with the service, he went outside to play in the snow-covered cemetary. That’s when the man in the old-fashioned uniform appeared.

“You must not be here. Go back inside.”

Erik had seen men like him in a history book. They were called Nazis. They’d been here a long time ago.

“Who are you?”

“A man who regrets many things.”

Erik was too young to understand, but captivated by the stranger.

“Go inside to your family. Go!”

Erik started to get scared, turned around, and ran. He didn’t see the apparition vanish. He didn’t see the seventy-year-old unexploded German mine the ghost had kept him from detonating.

The next summer, a groundskeeper would find it and have it safely removed.

hausen chapel

Hauen Chapel in Hammerfest – found at Wikipedia

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw weekly photo prompt based on a Google maps location. The goal is to write a piece of flash fiction no longer than 150 words. My story is 146 words long.

This week the location is in Hammerfest, Norway. After doing a bit of Wikipedia research on the town, I discovered Hammerfest had been occupied by the Nazi’s during World War II. When they left in 1945, they destroyed almost the entire town. Only the historic Hauen Chapel pictured just above this commentary, survived.

I also found out that to this day, mines and munitions left over from the war are still being found and disposed of. I decided that a long dead German soldier, regretting his role in Hammerfest, came back one last time to save a child from the consequences of this single Nazi’s actions.

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

Their Only Playground

Urban Street, Buffalo, NY

© Google 2015

The elementary school on Urban Street had been abandoned ever since the fire gutted it. The city finally budgeted the money to tear it down. Twenty-four boys and girls lost their lives in that fire. The building’s destruction might bring some closure to their families.

Frank Hurley had retired as Fire Chief last year. He had been in charge of containing the three alarm inferno. His crew were called heroes for saving over two hundred children, but the screams of the twenty-four they couldn’t save haunted Frank every night.

He was inside the school now, but instead of silence, he heard children laughing and running. They were all still here, separated from the living, perpetually playing with the dead.

He had to stop the demolition tomorrow. He’d failed to save their lives five years ago. He wasn’t going to be a party of destroying the only home they had left.

I wrote this flash fiction story in response to a photo prompt provided by What Pegman Saw. The word count limit is 150, and my piece is exactly that.

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

The Landing

5 red square

Image: Google Maps

“I made it.” 18-year-old Mathias Rust had just landed his Cessna 172 on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge by St. Basil’s Cathedral near Red Square. He’d flown through some of the most heavily guarded airspace in the world and wasn’t shot down by Soviet Interceptors.

Mathias got out of his aircraft and was nervously greeted by passersby.

Older couple Valentin Popov and his wife Anna approached the pilot. They were astonished the Air Force had allowed this landing. “Where are you from, young man?”

“Germany.” They assumed he meant East Germany.

He knew he would be arrested soon by the KGB, but it didn’t matter. His flight from the Helsinki-Malmi Airport, over the Baltic, and into Russian airspace proved that a small aircraft could only be tracked intermittently.

Once they let him out of prison, he’d report his findings to the West German military. Their stealth planes would do a much better job.

My story is based on an actual event. On May 28, 1987, 18-year-old Mathias Rust, a German aviator with only about 50 hours of flight experience, flew a rented Cessna 172 from Helsinki, Finland to Moscow.

The link I provided above is to his Wikipedia page, which chronicles all of the details.

I changed the outcome and his intent quite a bit, turning him into a West German spy. At the time, Rust said “he wanted to create an ‘imaginary bridge’ to the East, and he has said that his flight was intended to reduce tension and suspicion between the two Cold War sides.”

I wrote this as a very minor “cold war thriller.”

This was written in response to the What Pegman Saw weekly photo prompt using a Google Maps view. Based on the prompt, you must write a short story/flash fiction of no more than 150 words.

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

My word count is exactly 150.

Integratron Investigation

integratron

© Google Maps / Don Darkson

George Van Tassel started constructing the Integratron the year I was born. He claimed aliens from Venus gave him the plans, which doesn’t seem likely given Venus’ harsh environment. Surface temperature in excess of 800 degrees, and atmospheric pressure 90 times that of Earth’s at sea level. Not a likely place to find life.

The Integratron is supposed to be capable of rejuvenating living tissue, anti-gravity, and time travel, none of which I’m seeing as I stand inside of what is now a tourist attraction. Still, Van Tassel’s sudden death at age 67 has never been explained. Maybe spending too much time in here is damaging instead of healing. I think Van Tassel was contacted, but not by aliens, and certainly nothing wanting to help humans. My name is David Norliss and I investigate spiritual phenomenon. I don’t think aliens gave Van Tassel the plans for the Integratron. I’m looking for demons.

I wrote this bit of flash fiction in response to a weekly prompt based on a view from Google Maps. The idea is to write a piece of fiction of around 150 words based on the prompt. Full details can be found at What Pegman Saw.

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

Visit Wikipedia for more information on the Integration as well as its creator George Van Tassel.

Oh, I named my character after the protagonist in the 1973 made-for-TV thriller The Norliss Tapes starring Roy Thinnes.

This story has a word count of 149.