Flight 19

flight 19

Flight 19 Avengers, FT-28, FT-36, FT-81, FT-3, FT-117 and at the top PBM-5 Bu. Nu. 59225 (squadron number 49) – Found at Wikipedia

“We should be landing at Treasure Cay Airport in about ten minutes.”

Lori couldn’t relax knowing they were flying into weather that was nothing like the forecast.

“I’m sure the pilot is competent.” Zach chided his wife on her former career as a Navy combat pilot. She never could relax when flying commercial. “It’s just a little fog.”

“The weather was supposed to be partly cloudy. Does that look like partly cloudy to you?”

He bent over her to look, giving her a quick kiss which made her smile.

“Fog’s clearing. What are those?”

She looked again. “Flight 19.” The pilot of their chartered plane wouldn’t know what the five aircraft were holding a parallel course, but she did. ATC Marsh Harbor must be going nuts.

“An antique air show?”

“Nope. Those five Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers disappeared over seventy years ago. I’ve got to talk to our pilot.”

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

Today, the Pegman takes us to Treasure Cay, Bahamas. Wikipedia wasn’t particularly revealing about the location, and while the larger environment of the Abaco Islands has an interesting history, I felt a bit lazy this morning and decided not to do all that much research.

The Bahamas are on the northern edge of the Bermuda Triangle, and while I don’t believe the triangle really is some sort of mystical or otherwise mysterious portal to other times or dimensions, I thought I’d give Flight 19, five Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that disappeared in the triangle on 5 December 1945, a way to finally get home, albeit almost 73 years late.

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


Immortal in Ice


Nordic Sami (Saami) people in Sapmi (Lapland) – Taken between 1900 and 1920 by Granbergs Nya Aktiebolag – Public Domain

William Shaw wanted to be alone, which is why he had settled in Lapland for a time. Unfortunately, history once again worked against him. The Nazis invaded as part of their offensive against the Soviets. He escaped into the icy wilderness rather be captured. No one could know his secret.

He couldn’t really die, not from starvation or exposure. Wounds healed almost instantly. However he could feel pain. His extremities were frozen. He’d walked as far into the mountains as his body would allow. If not death, then a long winter’s nap would be as welcome.

Then men came. They said nothing, looking to be hunters of reindeer. Shaw was picked up and taken to their camp. It had been long since he had come this way, hundreds, maybe thousands of years prior. He had lived among the Sami before. Perhaps he used to be one of them.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw challenge. The idea is to take a Google Maps location and image and use them as a prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 148.

Today, through something of a mishap, the Pegman takes us either to Northern Norway or Northern Finland. That’s a lot of territory to cover, but I picked Finland because I thought everybody else would pick Norway (the idea just popped into my head) and because it borders Russia, which could afford some interesting possibilities.

Since we’re talking northern Finland, the northern most portion is Lapland and man does it ever get cold there.

Of all the qualities this area possesses, I was drawn to the Regional Coat of Arms which depicts a traditional Wildman.

After doing a bit of reading, I found that the wildman is an iconic image associated with both northern Norway and Finland and possibly meant to depict an ancient member of the Sami people. The Sami are the only and northernmost indigenous people inhabiting areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. There are Sami who live along the coast and also the Mountain Sami who traditionally have hunted and also herded reindeer.

All of that is very interesting, but I needed a protagonist. I first considered a vampire, but then I recalled a character I created named William Shaw who I first introduced in January 2017 and reprised a few days later.

Shaw is an immortal or very-long-lived person, someone who has existed so long, he cannot remember where he came from originally or how old he really is. In my first story, I also made him a time traveler. He had met his love in early 20th century England, but then due to an argument, she left him. Unfortunately, it was to travel to America aboard the doomed RMS Titanic. Decades later, he was determined to use a time machine to go back and save her, but then there would be two identical immortals existing from April 1912 forward in time so I dropped the idea of expanding that story.

Here, we have Shaw still mourning his lost love, hiding in northern Finland. Sadly, his timing was off, because the Nazis invaded Finland including Lapland during World War Two as part of Operation Barbarossa, their plan to invade the Soviet Union.

So, not wishing to be captured and perhaps being discovered by the Nazis to be an immortal (if they tortured him, his wounds would heal almost immediately, which would certainly be noticed), he took the long trek north to meet his fate or at least to enter the next chapter of his life.

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


primordial soup

© Gyaban

The last place Christopher Sanderson expected to wake up was in a comfortable bed in a richly furnished and adorned room, though he was surprised to be waking up at all. Bright sunlight from the large open window on his right momentarily blinded him, but he welcomed the warm breeze, the rustling of tree branches, and what sounded like friendly bird cries which were so different from the cries of dying men.

Then it all came back to him and his beating heart began to race.

He heard two quick knocks on the door which then immediately opened. A very large Japanese man entered carrying a tray. Christopher sat up in bed and noticed for the first time he had been dressed in silk pajamas. Last he recalled, he had been draped in rags soaked in sea water and blood.

“Do I have you to thank for my rescue?”

Without replying, the fearsome looking man set the tray down on a side table, stepped back, and then bowed.

Not knowing what to do, Christopher nodded back. “If this is a Japanese prison camp, the accommodations are certainly a great deal better than I would have expected.

The large man finished his bow and though the gesture seemed polite and genteel, his facial expression was one of hostility and even malevolence. Without a word, he then turned and left closing the door behind him. Christopher was directing his attention to the tray when he distinctly heard the sound of a lock being engaged. Perhaps he was a prisoner after all.

Continue reading

The Kugel


Photo credit: Morguefile831314117088

“I tell you Esther Cowell’s the quintessential Kugel, Avi, laughing and flirting with the Vichy like a woman of ill repute. Just look at those clothes, how the neckline dips. Is that the dress of a modest Jewish woman?”

“Be reasonable, Moshe. There are so few of us who live on the island. Who does she have to look to as an example?”

“Who did her namesake look to? I tell you, if the German fascists had their way, she’d have had four million Jewish examples living here, exiled from Europe by that paskudnik Hitler.”

The two older Jewish men sat at a small table outside of Yoshi’s Cafe sharing a cup of Robusta in the mid-morning sun as they watched the young woman in the company of two of the Vichy entering the hotel across the street.

“Do you think they even know she’s Jewish, Avi?”

“Does she know, Moshe?”

They both chuckled unaware she could hear them. Everyone believed she was a collaborator seduced by ill-gotten wealth and attention, but the intelligence she was gathering would be invaluable to South African and British troops when they invaded and liberated Madagascar next month.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner Challenge for 2017 – Week #52. As with other similar challenges, the idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a small story no more than 200 words in length. My word count is 194.

I looked at the photo of the dish being removed from the oven and wondered what I was going to do. Hanukkah has come and gone and that didn’t look like latkes (potato pancakes). However, it could pass for Kugel. That said, what kind of story could I write about a traditional Jewish potato and egg casserole?

I read through the information at Wikipedia and discovered “Kugel” is also a South African derogatory slang term for a young Jewish woman who has forsaken “traditional Jewish dress values in favor of those of the ostentatiously wealthy, becoming overly materialistic and over groomed.”

I defaulted to World War Two and wondered about the possibility of a Jewish woman posing as a Fascist collaborator in South Africa only to discover that the country entered the war on the side of the Allies (although the history is complicated). Then I found out that (relatively) nearby Madagascar was under the control of the Vichy French at that time, and that South African troops aided by the British liberated Madagascar in 1942 preventing the Japanese from capturing it.

Traditionally, Madagascar had only a small Jewish population established in the 19th century when France colonized an island, but they didn’t form a cohesive community. Also, in 1940 the Nazis hatched The Madagascar Plan which was the idea of relocating four million European Jews to the island, but it fell through.

Oh, Paskudnik or paskudnyak is a Yiddish insult meaning “A revolting, disgusting, evil person.” Also, Robusta is a coffee found in Madagascar in modern times, though I have no idea if it existed in the 1940s.

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

The Romanian


© Björn Rudberg

He was among the locals and tourists trapped in that little shop when Italian troops declared curfew. An unseasonable cold front lightly dusted medieval Kotor with snow. He couldn’t remain until morning but preferred to leave undetected.

He walked past quaint hats and other curios intending to escape out the rear.

“Monsieur, stay. You’re safe with us.” The Frenchman thought he was being kind.

“I have business elsewhere,” he said in accented French.

Antonie slipped into the darkness, encountering the three soldiers patrolling the alley. Later, they’d recall experiencing sudden fatigue. No one knew what happened to the Vampiritic-looking Romanian.

I authored this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

At first, I had no idea what I was looking at. I did a Google image search but it primarily came up with salami and various cloth items. Finally, I was able to figure out they were stacks of knitted hats.

I saw the photo was credited to Björn Rudberg so I went to his blog and saw the domain country extension was .me which is Montenegro. I did more Googling (the research took longer than the actual writing) and found the medieval coastal city of Kotor among other things.

I couldn’t find a news story that interested me, but noted the history of the area during World War II and how it was primarily occupied by the Italians from 1941 to 1943. That still didn’t provide me with a complete “hook,” so I leveraged the vampire character Antoine from my Sean Becker Undead Series and placed him in Kotor when the Italians first occupied the area in April 1941. Given the snow in the background of the photo, I made up an unseasonable cold snap.

I’ve read stories (okay, Marvel’s “Dracula” comic books from the 1970s) which took a modern-day vampire and sometimes set him back in history through flashbacks/memories. I thought I’d try that with Antonie who exists in 2017 but who is thought to be very old.

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

Counter Invasion


© Google, March 2016 – The Needles Headland and Tennyson Down – Isle of Wight

“Do you think you and your commandos can pull it off, Nick?”

The Army Sergeant chewed on his cigar filling the air with what he thought of as a “sweet-smelling aroma,” and his C.O. and good friend Captain Sam Sawyer didn’t mind the breach of protocol in his office at Allied Command.

“Why the hell not. It’s what we joined this man’s Army for, ain’t it?

germans in guernsey

Germans in Guernsey – Found at the “On the Wight” blog

“Great. You and your men will board the sub for the Isle of Wight at 23:30 hours.”

“You’re sure he’ll be there, Sam.”

“Our best intel says he’s personally inspecting the Nazi installation at Carisbrooke Castle. Your mission is to invade the castle and assassinate Adolf Hitler.”

“Just one more thing, Sam. We’ll need the Captain.”

“Me? I’m not…”

“No, not you. I mean the Captain.”

“He’ll be there with your commandos, Nick. Don’t think he’d miss this one for the world.”

fury commandos cap

Sgt. Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos with Captain America

I wrote this story for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image and location as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 148.

Today the Pegman takes us to the Isle of Wight and specifically to Carisbrooke Castle.

Yesterday, I wrote an alternate history story about the origin of Captain America after reading something suggesting that actor Will Smith was initially considered to play the title role in the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger.

Last night, with that still on my mind, I re-watched the 2014 movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The previous film depicted a version of Fury’s “Howling Commandos” but without Nick of course, and the sequel mentioned them in a display at the Smithsonian.

This morning when I saw the Pegman’s location, I did what I always do, open up a couple of Wikipedia pages. I was curious about the involvement of the Isle of Wight during World War Two and I found something interesting.

There initially had been plans for the Germans to invade and occupy the Isle of Wight and use it as a staging ground for the air blitz of London and southern England. However fears of Britain’s sea superiority resulted in Hitler rejecting the plot.

Then I read the article called How the Isle of Wight could have helped Hitler win the war: Nazi leader was talked out of his plans to invade the tiny island and, having recently written a few “alternate history” tales, decided to craft my wee story around the premise of the Nazis successfully invading and holding the Isle of Wight.

Throwing caution to the winds, I included Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos or at least Nick and his C.O. Captain “Happy Sam” Sawyer with an “honorable mention” of Cap himself. How would the war in Europe been different if Fury’s team were successful and they killed Adolf Hitler sometime in 1941?

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

The True Origin of Captain America

will smith captain america

Actor Will Smith depicted as Captain America

“You must be the puniest nigger I’ve ever seen, boy. What’s your name again?”

“Johnson, Samuel G., Private, Sir.”

Sam Johnson was the most unlikely soldier in his unit, but then again, he would have been an unlikely soldier in any army in the world. He’d suffered from a number of ailments in childhood including rheumatic fever. His family was poor. Papa died when he was only a baby and Mama had to work three jobs just to keep him fed. They had no money for doctors and his old Aunt Bessie said it was only Mama’s love that kept him alive.

He grew up but not very much. He was tall, but thin, his clothes fitting him like loose blankets. Because of his ill-health, he wasn’t fit for much hard work, but what he lacked in muscle, he made up for in heart and determination.

Like most colored folk, he expected the white folk to call him “nigger,” “coon,” and the like, and he took more than his fair share of beatings, not just because he was a colored man, but because he fought back. To say he fought back meant that he had the will, but he could no more throw a solid punch than Josephine Baker could win the Miss America Pagent.

Continue reading

The Escape



© Sue Vincent

“Are you out of your mind, Jake? If we get caught here, they’ll add ten years to our sentences.”

“Relax, Hubie. We won’t get caught. Now get off your lazy butt and help me drag the raft higher on the rocks. We’ve got to get it in undercover.”

Jacob “Jake” Falco and Hubert “Hubie” Pavoni had both been sent up for twenty years to life for their part in the largest bank heist of the 20th century. Three guards and two hostages were killed during the shootout and only Jake and Hubie got away long enough to hide the $10 million in cash they’d made off with. That was six years ago, and they were still the only two men alive who knew where to find a fortune.

“Okay, Jake. We’ve got the raft and supplies under this outcropping, so it can’t be spotted from the air and sure as hell no one’s going to step foot in this place except crazy people like us.”

Continue reading

The Bulgarian Falcon


© Google – June 2017 – Millennium Center- Sofia, Bulgaria

Zukovsky left Istanbul because of her. She would soon discover she’d stolen a fake. Then her employer would return using lethal means to get the item.

He entered Bulgaria posing as a Jewish refuge, settling in Sofia just as Tsar Boris III plunged his nation into World War Two.

“It would not be wise to leave Istanbul right now, Mr. Gutman.”

“Nonsense, Cairo. I’m convinced Zukovsky took the item into Bulgaria.”

“I insist we wait here. You are British. I am from Greece. Turkey is neutral but Bulgaria has joined the Axis. Do you really think we’ll be allowed across the border?”

“I will not allow the item to escape me again.”

“You’ve waited seventeen years to get it, you corpulent fool. You can wait a bit longer.”

maltese falcon

Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart), Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) Brigid O’Shaughnessy (Mary Astor), and Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) in the 1941 film “The Maltese Falcon”.

“Stay here with that boy you met at the cabaret if you’d like, but nothing shall prevent me from acquiring the Maltese Falcon.”

I wrote my wee tale for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to take the presented location and a Google maps image and use them as the inspiration for crafting a story no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Bulgaria and given its rich history, it was difficult for me to settle on a particular setting or story line. The Wikipedia page had too much information, and I couldn’t find a local news story that was compelling.

I did notice on the map that Bulgaria borders Turkey. I saw the city of Istanbul and suddenly remembered the 1941 film version of the Maltese Falcon. At the end of the movie, Kasper Gutman, played by Sydney Greenstreet, and Joel Cairo, played by Peter Lorre, realize they’ve been duped by a fake and that the real Maltese Falcon must still be with the exiled Russian Zukovsky. I had always wondered what happened to them and the Falcon after that.

I leveraged items both from the 1941 movie (there are at least two other cinematic adaptations) as well as Dashiell Hammett’s original 1929 serialized story (which later was collected into a novel) to craft my tale.

The novel quite clearly alluded to a gay attraction or affair between Cairo and Gutman’s “gunsel” Wilmer Cook (in the movie, played by Elisha Cook Jr.) but that was completely removed from the 1941 film version. I added that back to Cairo’s character here, thus blending the two versions of the history.

I still own a copy of the novel, purchased decades ago, and I’ve seen the film starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor many times and hopefully you have too. If not, please click on the links I’ve provided and at least read the summaries.

I also looked up the history of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Sofia, specifically just prior to and during World War Two for added context.

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

The Name on the Gravestone


Found at commons.wikimedia.org

“No one even knew his first name, just the initial A.”

“It’s okay, Bubbe. It took a long time, but we finally found your Dad.”

Esther Rosenberg Katz had been waiting for this day since she was old enough to understand her precious Abba was lost in the war. She grew up with her mother, two brothers, numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins but she was always without her Tateshi.

Thanks to years of research and her computer savvy granddaughter, Esther finally found him.

“Are you going to have him exhumed so he can be buried in Israel?”

“No, Elisheva. We’ll leave him here with his comrades. Hashem will restore him to Israel in His time.

Esther reached into her handbag, opened the small container inside, took out the soil she’d brought from the Holy Land and sprinkled it on Abraham Rosenberg’s grave in her final duty as his daughter.

Today at “What Pegman Saw” we are taken to Kanchanaburi, Thailand and specifically to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. I found the image above when doing a google search and found it and the cemetery’s history fascinating.

The idea is to use the Pegman Google image to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149. I’ve added some links in the body of the story to explain certain words and concept that might not be readily apparent to all readers.

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