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. 

SPF 09-02-18 Joy Pixley 1
Photo Credit: Joy Pixley



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:


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.




13 thoughts on “Chimera Way

  1. Ooo, I like the spookiness of this one! And yeah, I was totally emphasizing with that poor woman, traveling so long with a screaming kid. I’d be hallucinating by that point myself! Although it makes me wonder, is it really just random hallucinations, or is there something out there (–scary music cue–) that is deliberately luring travelers to their doom?

  2. I certainly did not expect that ending. Chimeras and mirages are strange phenomena, and you turned one into a great piece of flash.

  3. Good story, Susan. Creepy. There’s something about driving for miles, surrounded by an endless stretch of desert that gives me the shivers. I always remember the story Breakdown with Kurt Russell when the character’s wife goes missing after his car breaks down in the desert.

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