Little Pink Houses

Little Pink Houses

Good Sunday Morning.  I missed last week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge due to other priorities but glad to be back this week.  This week’s photo is one of my own, taken near the  Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma city.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

For those who don’t know, Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge, hosted by yours truly, to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. I am sure there will be many interesting stories this week, so why not wander over there and read for few. Or better yet, write your own story and add to the collection.  You can find this week’s challenge HERE

Now for this week’s story.

At the end of the cul-de-sac sat a tiny pink house, sandwiched between houses three-times its size. Millennials Joe and Beth Campbell owned the quaint cottage, boasting to their neighbors they were no longer slaves to their positions.

Until they won the lottery.

No sooner had the for-sale sign been staked when the couple heard a knock at the door. A strange little man with a long white beard and pointed nose looked up at them.

“The name’s Rump,” he said, “I can pay your asking price.”

The Campbells each wondered what their neighbors would think.

“I will pay more,” he offered.

The heck with the neighbors. The Campbells took the offer.

Before they could sign the papers, they hear another knock. A bent-over old woman clothed in a long black dress stood on their steps. Rump introduced his wife, Hilda.

Joe and Beth disliked their neighbors but selling the house to characters out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales seemed wrong.

“We changed our minds,” they said, slamming the door.

Rump glared at his wife. “Hag, I told you, stay in the car! Now what are we going to do? Houses like this don’t come on the market every day.”

 

 

 

The Devilish Mr. Jones

The Devilish Mr. Jones

Just under the wire! This week’s Tuesday Scribes challenge is to write a 25-word story, called Hint Fiction.  Writing a story in only 25 words is not easy, but I gave it a go just the same. If you like it, let me know. If not, well let me know that too. 

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The deteriorated wooden door at Number 3 Amherst was an open invitation to neighborhood thieves.

 And that was just how Mr. Jones wanted it.

Divine Justice

Divine Justice

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. The photo this week is one I took while on a cruise excursion. The couple in the photo look nice and cozy. There is nothing nice and cozy about this story. 

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

For residents of the Carolina’s, Hurricane Florence embodied death and destruction. For Annie, Florence was divine providence. In all things, Annie accepted her fate as the will of God. How else could she have endured the past ten years?

The police pleaded: evacuate. Ray, her captor, affirmed they would stay.

The officer turned to Annie, thin with lifeless eyes.

You can leave, he said.

God wants me to stay. Annie closed the door.

For hours, rain and wind whipped the white frame house. When the electricity went out, Annie never felt safer. The rising water swirled around her ankles.

It is time.

Annie pulled a plastic bottle from her bedding. Inside, a note.

What is that, demanded Ray.

Your death sentence, Annie rejoiced. Written in secret, the note named Ray for the monster he was; chronicled the atrocities Annie endured at his hand.

Annie raced toward the basement, filling with water. Ray followed in pursuit.

Him or me, she prayed.

The sound of a slamming door was lost amidst the howling winds.

After the storm, rescuers spotted someone standing on the roof of the white frame house.

Anyone inside?

A man in the basement, said Annie.

It was God’s will.

~~~~~

In the story, Ray is named as ‘her captor.’ I will allow the reader to decide how literal to take the take the label. Annie may have simply been trapped in a loveless marriage, in which case, her actions would then be considered murder. Or maybe ‘captor’ should be taken literally, giving justification to her actions during the storm. There were, however, three events this week where I took inspiration. First, the hurricane itself. I wondered, how easy would it be for someone to kill another and blame it on the storm? Second, Wanda Barzee, the woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart, will soon go free. This revived Elizabeth’s horrific story.  Lastly, I learned this week that one of my “neighbors,” a known sexual predator who preyed on poor black woman who could not pay their rent recently died of colon cancer. Death was too good for Ray.

The Wall

The Wall

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Fictioneers. The goal is to write a complete story using 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. This week’s story is a rework of a longer piece I wrote a year ago. I don’t know what is more challenging; writing a completely new story or editing a longer story so it maintains the essence of the original. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge and J Hardy Carroll for this week’s photograph. If you would like to add your own story, or read other stories like this, head to Rochelle’s Friday’s Fictioneers.

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Photo Credit: J. Hardy Carroll

Ziggy sat on the edge of the couch, mesmerized by empty space between the steeple clock on the mantel and the ceiling above. Her tail twitched as a guttural growl erupted from deep inside her throat. Ziggy’s odd behavior concerned her owner Charlotte. A recent bee sting had sent her daughter Adeline into anaphylactic shock. Another occurrence could be deadly.

Placing Adeline against her shoulder, Charlotte examined the wall. Relieved to find nothing there, Charlotte turned her back to the clock, facing Ziggy.

“Silly cat. There is nothing….”

Charlotte’s words were cut short by Adeline’s screams of terror.

The Pipes Played On

The Pipes Played On

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to C.E. Ayr for providing this week’s challenging prompt.

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Photo credit: C.E. Ayr

 

Every seasoned firefighter knows, today may be his last. But in the beginning, they are all invincible. Andy Gow was no different on his first day at Station 29. After roll call and shift change, and a rousing welcome, Andy and rest of the squad settled in for an uneventful day.

The call came at 11:05 a.m. Apartment fire on Elm. Everyone jumped into action, including Andy. Adrenaline flowed through their veins as they rushed to the scene, lights flashing and sirens blaring. Andy was living his dream at last.

The scene was worse than expected. Flames engulfed the apartment building. No one believed anyone could survive inside. No one except Andy, who rushed in as the floors collapsed. Why did Andy ignored the yells to come back? Some say it was the Siren Song of the firefighter, luring Andy to his death. I say, Andy was just living his dream.

That night, as the squad privately mourned the loss of Andy, the haunting sound of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace filled the station. Where the music came from, no one knew, but throughout the night, the pipes played on, in remembrance of the fallen hero, and their brother.

Crush

Crush

This week’s Tuesday Scribes challenge is to write an ‘Internal Dialogue.’  Encyclopaedia Britannica defines internal monologue as: ‘….narrative technique that exhibits the thoughts passing through the minds of the protagonists. These ideas may be either loosely related impressions approaching free association or more rationally structured sequences of thought and emotion.’

Thanks to Mike Johnson for creating this challenge.

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Breathe.

Everything is fine.

Just say hello when you pass and keep walking.

Chances are he won’t even notice you.

I bet he is thinking about that Suzie Harris from 5th hour.

I can’t believe he asked her out. She wears braces for gosh sake.

What if he says something? I would die if he talked to me.

He’s getting closer.  

Why does he have to be so cute?

Don’t stare!

Crap. He saw me.

Is that a smile?

Nah, I bet he is laughing at my yellow raincoat. I can’t believe my mother made me wear this.

 I’m in 8th grade for gosh sake.

He stopped! Why did he stop?

He’s looking right at me.  He’s smiling. At me.

I think I am going to throw up.

 

Alliance

Alliance

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge and Gah  Learner for this week’s prompt.

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Photo credit: Gah Learner

Harold curled his body into a tight knot, holding the bed-covers close. The room felt cold as a refrigerator and it was only October. What would December bring?

Next to him, Harold’s wife slept unaffected by the freezing air. He thought back to the early days of their marriage when on cold nights they snuggled to keep each other warm.

That was before The Change.

Now, no matter how cold it was outside, Harold’s wife insisted they sleep with the window open.

All Harold could do is wrap himself in blankets and pray for Summer.

The inspiration for this story (with slight deviation) comes from a quote by George Bernard Shaw

Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can’t sleep with the window shut and a woman who can’t sleep with the window open.

Chimera Way

Chimera Way

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. The photo this week was provided by Joy Pixley. 

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Photo Credit: Joy Pixley

 

‘I WANT ICE CREAM!’

Dina turned up the volume of the car radio, hoping to drown out the shrieks of her four-year-old son. She lost radio signal an hour before; now only static and Jeremy’s screams filled the void. A trip across the desert that should have taken a few hours stretched late into the day. Dina grew worried as she noticed the sun sinking behind the distant mountains ahead. The last thing she wanted was to drive through the desert at night.

Suddenly, Jeremy screamed with excitement. His little finger pointed toward a sign:

FREE ICE CREAM ONE MILE.

Dina sighed with relief. A town must be nearby. Squinting into the sunlight, Dina saw a strange pink building shaped like an ice cream cone come into view a hundred yards off the road. She parked the car and grabbed her son.

“Come on Jeremy, let’s get ice cream.”

Sherriff Carter received the call early the next morning. Abandoned red Toyota on Highway 191.

“Third one this month,” said Officer Duncan. “What makes a person run off into the desert like that?”

“Beats me, Carter. Just two more miles and they would have been in town.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A chimera is a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve. Highway 191, which runs north-to-south across several western states was once known as Highway 666. Many stories of strange phenomena have been reported along that long stretch of road. 

https://www.prairieghosts.com/highway666.html