Destination: Survival

Destination: Survival

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. This week’s photo is courtesy of SPF contributor, Joy Pixley (thanks Joy!). Not to give anything away, but don’t the cacti look somewhat human? 

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Photo Credit; Joy Pixley

Madeline contemplated Derek’s crushed skull. As first dates go, this one sucked. Exploring an Arizona ghost town in the middle of nowhere appealed to Madeline’s thrill-seeking nature. However, Derek’s sense of adventure left much to be desired and by 2:00 p.m., Madeline insisted he take her home.

They had not traveled far down the dusty trail before the pop of a blown tire broke their silence. An apologetic Derek confessed he did not have a spare.

With only five miles to a major road, Madeline convinced Derek they should walk. With any luck, they would reach the highway before dark.

Luck, it seemed, was on holiday. The 100-degree heat and Derek’s lack of stamina slowed her down. The last thing Madeline wanted was to spend the night in the desert.

A large rock to the head solved her problem.

Madeline grabbed the near-empty canteen and headed out. As twilight approached, she detected something in the distance; an automobile parked along the road. Convinced she was saved, Madeline, chugged the remaining water, and raced toward the car.

As the last rays of light faded, relief turned to terror. The car she saw was Derek’s.

 

 

Karma

Karma

I am late submitting my Sunday Photo Fiction story this week. We recently lost a favorite pet and things just haven’t been the same. If my story seems to be on the dark side, well, its just been one of those dark weeks. 

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

He must have been the most miserable man to walk the face of the earth.

It was understandable. The thankfully-last child of a large family, his father abused him emotionally and his mother drowned her own pain in beer. His older sisters coddled and pampered him as they would their favorite doll. No wonder he grew up with mixed signals: was he loved, or merely tolerated?

When he was of age, he married a woman as emotionally fragile as himself. She needed him until she didn’t. They should have divorced but neither one would give in, so they endured each other at best. His bitterness absorbed him, causing him to lash out at those closest to him, unapologetic for his actions. This man could never admit to being wrong. In his world, life was absolute. Success or failure. Right or wrong. Black or white. The glass was never half-anything. It was either full or empty.

They say that at the end of every dark tunnel, there is light that is hope. In his case, however, the light really was a train.

Why his car stalled on the tracks is still a mystery

Three Sisters

Three Sisters

This little tale came to me as I once again worried too much about things going wrong.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Once again, Chuck found himself in the cross-hairs of Fate.

It never failed. Whenever Lady Luck graced him with unexpected fortune, Fate snatched it from his hands.

Like the time Chuck won $10,000 in the lottery. As soon as he received the money, the transmission in his old Chevy conked out.

His friend Marvin laughed. “You should be thanking your lucky stars for that check. That old clunker had no life left. Be glad you had cash to buy something newer.”

Chuck fumed inside. Marvin was lucky. He had money.

Last week, when a new job opening was posted, a golden opportunity that offered more money and less hours, Chuck thought his luck had turned. The interview went great with a tentative offer made.

But Fate stepped to ruin everything. The offer was rescinded, something about a bad reference.

“Marvin, when you talked to that guy about me, you didn’t say anything…. bad… did you?”

“Man, I would never talk down about you. But remember that project last fall? I hold him it wasn’t your fault it went over-budget, that there were extenuating circumstances. You don’t think that hurt you any, do you?”

Sighing, Chuck realized he would never catch a break.

Later that day, as Chuck walked to his car, he noticed the flashing lights of an ambulance. Lying on the ground, with paramedics performing CPR, was Marvin. The words ‘heart attack’ hummed through the crowd.

“Poor Marvin,” said Chuck, not realizing he was speaking out loud. “I hope he will be OK.”

A man next to him turned and smiled. “I wouldn’t count on it, my friend. Karma is a bitch.”