Dis-Illusion

Dis-Illusion

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to C.E. Ayr for this week’s inspiration.  If you are interested in contributing your own story, or to see what others have written, please visit  Sunday Photo Fiction

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Photo Credit: C.E Ayr

The town clock chimed 12, signaling the gentleman to make his way toward the river. He sat on the stone bench under a willow tree, waiting. His dapper dress suggested a man of means and distinction. Yet those who passed by paid him no more attention to him than they did brushing their own teeth.

At 12:08, he crossed bridge that separated the financial district from the merchants. No doubt which side of the river the gentleman belonged; he was a trusted advisor and guardian of the town’s wealth. At the center-point of the bridge he noticed a granite plaque. Age had faded the script, but the gentleman could recite the words by heart.

Henry Adams jumped to his death from this spot October 29, 1929.

At 12:18, the gentleman climbed to the top of the railing as he had done every year since the day of The Crash. As he leapt from the bridge, a young boy clicked a selfie from the same spot. Disappointed with the blurred image captured in the background, the boy deleted the photo and tried again.

 

Vail

Vail

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. This week’s photo is one I took. No surprise, it was taken in Vail Colorado.   If you are interested in contributing your own story, or to see what others have written, please visit  Sunday Photo Fiction

Bicycles
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

‘Thea wanted a new life. Vail was exactly what she was looking for: snow-capped mountains, open-spaces, and green living.’

‘Thea sold her car and bought a yellow bicycle. On days when distance was more than her legs could handle, Thea rode the bus. That’s how she met Jack.’

‘Handsome and charismatic, Jack was a dream-come-true.’

‘When Jack caught her staring one to many times, he invited her to join him in conversation. It was as if they had known each other for years.’

‘Thea began spending all her free time with him; she stopped seeing her old friends.

 ‘Thea became obsessed with Jack.’

‘There was something about Jack that was just not right.’

 

Two hikers discovered Thea’s yellow bicycle alongside the mountain road. It did not take long to find the blood-soaked snow bank where her bludgeoned body lay.

‘The bicycle ride had been Jack’s idea,’ her friend Becky told the police.

Detective Osborne avoided looking at the crime photos and closed the case file. He had seen enough. There was a monster on the loose, and Osborne knew this was not his first kill. Picking up the phone, he dialed the Seattle homicide division.

I think Jack’s struck again.

 

It’s in the DNA

It’s in the DNA

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. This week’s photo is own I took at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. The character here looks a little frightening, don’t you think?

If you are interested in contributing your own story, or to see what others have written, please visit  Sunday Photo Fiction

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Hearing the knock at the front door, my father peered through the window shears, cursed softly then turned on me.

“What possessed you to submit your DNA to that website!”

The mild-mannered man who never yelled, even when his favorite football team was getting trounced, now resembled The Incredible Hulk.

Shocked by the sudden change in demeaner, I mumbled something about curiosity. “You never talk about your side the family,” I challenged.

“For a good reason! It’s not something I am proud of.”

Innocently I countered. “All families have black sheep in their past. It’s not something to get worked up over.”

“It’s not past history I am worried about.”

I wondered if Dad had a secret. Could he have fathered a child my mother knew nothing about?

His hysterical laugh told me otherwise.

The knocking intensified and my father wilted.

“I never talked about my family because I didn’t want you to know about the murder gene, passed from father to son. You have put our family at extreme risk.”

I remembered hearing the FBI used DNA from ancestry sites to solve cold cases and realized what my father was afraid of: the DNA he left behind.

 

Willie and Gene

Willie and Gene

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 Russell Gayer  for this week’s photo prompt.

Russell-quarry
Photo Credit: Russell Gayer

Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above. Don’t fence me in….

Music blared through the open window of the ’65 Ford, accompanied by the scratchy voice of Wildcat Willie. The old crooner nearly made it big, once upon a time. The next Gene Autry, the called him. Then fate turned on Willie, ending his career faster than a minnow could swim a dipper.

Willie faded into the sunset, with the help of his 357.

But as the story goes, the old ’65 still glides along the Texas highway as Willie and Gene  sing without mercy.

 

Don’t Fence Me In was released in 1934 by Gene Autry. Lyrics by Robert Fletcher and music by Cole Porter. A reference to Wildcat Willie is made by Roy Rogers, who sang the song in the 1944 movie Hollywood Canteen. My Wildcat is purely fictional.

 

 

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.

 

 

La Chapa

La Chapa

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. The photo this week is was taken at the Raton Pass Motor Inn, on Route 66. Each room has a different theme, and this week’s photo was taken in the Pin-Up Girl room. The Raton Pass Motor Inn is a real blast from the past and I highly recommend anyone taking a trip down the Mother Road stop there for the night.  You can find more about Raton Pass Motor Inn  HERE.

 “Well, it’s better than the back seat of the car.” Jo Reynolds eyed the motel room. Scarce furnishings, but clean. She expected worse this side of the Mexico border. Jo had driven all night, crossing the International Bridge at Mission Texas. Dead-tired, she found the desolate motel near La Chapa. Jo needed sleep, but first she needed a drink. She poured several shots of cheap tequila into a dull glass left on the nightstand by previous occupant. Undaunted by germs, Jo emptied the glass quickly, then laid on the bed, closing her eyes.

Sleep did not come. No amount of tequila could erase the memory of the past two days. Or of Jimmy.

They had been so good together. A perfect blend of desire and danger. If only Jimmy had kept his mouth shut. Jimmy loved to boast, especially after a few drinks. At a different motel, they fought hard. He pleaded, and she cried when he spoke the words that sealed his fate.

“Baby, you know I’m no good for you. Better kill me now.” *

They say a woman’s weapon of choice is poison, but if you are a Texas gal, a Colt-45 works just fine.

 

* Loosely lifted from the song Loser, by Beck.

 

 

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. 

Relaxation
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.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s reading. Whether you are the natural father, a step-father, or a surrogate; kudos for making a difference in the life of a child.

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. This is a photo I took at a local park.  If you are interested in reading more stories inspired by the photo below, you can find them by clicking the little blue frog here

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

I watched the old man from a distance. He sat on a park bench, feeding bread crumbs to a gaggle of geese. They reciprocated their hospitality with annoying honks and droppings at his feet. His wrinkles and white hair suggested a man older than his physical years. He wore second-hand khakis and a rumpled t-shirt. Neither looked washed.

This is not what I had pictured at all.

I returned to the park daily, blending in with the park lunch crowd. Simply observing. Then I started following him, curious where he went after leaving the park. His routine never varied; a stop at the grocer for a can of tuna and bread. I wondered how he survived on such measly rations. A block later, he entered a run-down building. I found his name on the mailbox. Five flights up and no elevator.

For days I contemplated my next move. It was time to leave or finish what I started. I chose the latter.

When the old man opened the door, I saw recognition from behind his clouded eyes. I saw something else. Fear. Rightfully so.

Pointing the gun at his head, I pulled the trigger.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy

word count 198

 

Mr. Lucky

Mr. Lucky

Mr. Lucky
PHOTO PROMPT © Karen Rawson

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 Karen Rawson for this week’s prompt.

They called him Mr. Lucky, a hackneyed moniker granted Ray for wriggling out of tight spots. Ray credited the rabbit’s foot he carried for his good fortune.

Once, Ray almost stopped believing in luck. For days, he had tromped through the mucky Louisiana bayou, in search of civilization. On the verge of hopelessness, Ray discovered crude stairs leading up the hill to a house. A human silhouette stood in front of the window.

Mr. Lucky smiled. What’s another dead body when you have two life sentences hanging over your head?

He never noticed dropping his rabbit’s foot in the muck.

Star Witness

Star Witness

 Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag) for providing this week’s challenging photo.

April 15 2018
Photo Prompt: Al Forbes

Overweight white male. Mid-40’s. Balding …

“Looks like a heart attack. Happens with these guys. Out of shape when the mid-life crisis hits. They forget they aren’t 20 anymore.”

Detective Harris ignored his partner’s observation and studied the dead man sitting in the back of the gondola. His eyes told a different story. Wide-open and full of terror. This guy knew he was about to die.

“No visible wounds?” Harris asked.

“Nothing obvious,” his partner replied. “No blood. I tell you, it’s a heart attack. The guy….”

Harris cut him off. “Who was he sitting with?”

“Blond chick in a pink ski jacket. Said she barely noticed him,” his partner huffed.

“Any identification?”

“Lift ticket in his hand said his name was Franklin Matters.”

Harris recognized the name. Matters was a key witness in a Senate investigation and scheduled to testify next week. Star witnesses do not go on ski trips days before testifying. Not without security, that is. Harris peered out the gondola window and noticed the small group of detained passengers. No one in the group was wearing a pink parka.

“This was no heart attack.” Harris raced toward the door, shouting, “Find me that blond!”