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.

jhc-clock
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.

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

 

‘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

 

 

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

Everyone Loves J.D.

Everyone Loves J.D.

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 Douglas M. MacIlroy for this week’s prompt.

April 18 2018
PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Everyone in the small Texas town loved J.D. McCaskill.

J.D. was what you’d call a good-old boy. Whenever a neighbor needed a hand, J.D. was first to offer his. Once he loaned his brand-new truck to a stranger who needed to haul some hay. And if you ever crossed one of his friends; well, you’d better watch out.

J. D’s life was an open book. Married 30 years to wife Elaine, father of five fine boys. No surprises.

Yep, everyone loved J.D. Everyone except that 17-year old girl chained up in his cellar. She might have different story to tell.

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!”

 

 

Getaway

Getaway

Hotel
PHOTO PROMPT © JS Brand
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 J.S. Brand for this week’s prompt.

GETAWAY

¿Cuántas habitaciones?

Marion strained to remember her high school Spanish.

“No comprendo. English, please.”

The young clerk’s leer sent chills up Marion’s spine.

“How many rooms?” His English was not good.

“Just one, just one night.” The boat captain’s recommendation for accommodations left Marion cold. She would see what else Guatemala had to offer tomorrow.

“900 pesos. $50 American”.

Marion turned her back. Inside her bag was $40,000.00 American cash. Dirty money.

“I put you next to the office, in case you need something.” The clerk leered again.

This was not the private island Marion had in mind.

Hitchcock fans may recognize this as a take on the classic movie Psycho. Marion Crane’s alternate universe takes her to Guatemala ( where the Hotel Henry Berrisford can be found.) No Norman Bates, but maybe someone just as evil. Or maybe its just her overactive imagination from guilt. I’ll let you decide. 

Dubious Allies (Sunday Photo Fiction)

Dubious Allies (Sunday Photo Fiction)

The scene below was taken from my NanoWriMo novel Deadly Heirlooms, still in bad need of editing. The original scene was approximately 530 words, now cut down to 200. It goes without saying a lot of background story has been cut away, which leaves an entirely different story.  Writing for Nano is an explosion of words; flash fiction is what is left after the dust settles.

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Photo Prompt: Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag)

The Chevy pulled into town just as the shops were closing for the day. The driver, Connor Riley, halted at the corner. Up ahead, stood the police chief. He looked to be waiting for someone.

“Mind walking from here, Mattie?” Connor asked. “Kauffman hates me, and I’m in no mood to be grilled.” Neither am I, thought Mattie. She had barely shut the door before Connor swung the car around, leaving her to face Kauffman alone.

“Your car has been parked here all day. I thought you were working.”  Behind the accusation, Mattie caught a hint of concern in Kauffman’s voice.

“Change of plans.” Mattie noticed the sign in front of her car. 2-hour parking only. “Do I get a ticket for overstaying my welcome?”

“Just a warning.” Kauffman paused, then added, “this time.”

Wanting to avoid questions about her afternoon, Mattie changed the subject. “Any news on the hit-and-run?”

“A witness saw a blue sports car.” Kauffman glanced down the street to where Connor had stopped moments before. “Ring any bells?”

Lots of bells. Mattie had seen Connor driving a blue Fiat earlier that week. A troubling question popped into her head.

What exactly did she know about Conner?

word count = 200

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. 

 

Ghost Gallery (Friday Fictioneers)

Ghost Gallery (Friday Fictioneers)

roger-bultot-art-exhibit

“Let’s start with the dream.”

Lily’s therapist, David, fixed his eyes on her and tapped his pen against his notebook.

Lily nodded, once. The tapping pounded in her ears. Maybe talking would make it stop.

“I am at the ghost gallery.”

“The art exhibits?”

“The floating white shapes remind me of ghosts.”

“And the ghosts talk to you.”

“I hear their voices. They tell me things.” A pause. “Future things.”

“Like someone is going to kill you.”

Silence.

David’s frustration builds. “The men watching you, Lily, who are they?”

Silence. Except….

David noticed her pupils widen.

Game Over. She knows.

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 Roger Bultot for this week’s prompt. Go Here to read more stories.

Christmas Story

Christmas Story

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Photo Prompt: Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag)

His grandchildren gathered in front of the fire, cups of hot chocolate warming their tiny hands. Granddad sat in his leather chair, the flames from the fireplace flickering in his pale blue eyes. It was Christmas Eve, time for a story.

“When I was a young boy,” Granddad began, “snow was a rare event. But one Christmas morning, I woke to snow covering the ground behind my father’s shop. I had never seen snow before and begged to go outside. But my mother told me to wait. My father stood at the window, watching with trepidation.

A BOOM shook the house.

Just snow thunder, my father said. Nothing to worry about.

But the sound grew louder, closer. It came from the hill behind the alley.

My mother whispered to father. Will the fence keep it out? I never knew my mother to be afraid. She lured me from the window with the promise of a cookie.

Time stood still, sucking the oxygen from the room. Then magically it passed. I ran to the window, afraid the snow had melted. What I saw intrigued me: large footprints coming down the hill, headed toward town.

The fence had not kept it out.

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.

Unit N26 (Friday Fictioneers)

Unit N26 (Friday Fictioneers)

lampost-s-pier-sandra-crook
PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

 

Jimmy bought the storage unit at auction, sight unseen. A risky move on his part but Jimmy was a gambler. This time, he hit the jackpot. The unit overflowed with priceless antiques and Jimmy could almost smell the money.

In the back, a strange glowing object caught Jimmy’s attention. Must be a lamp, he thought. Until he remembered: there was no electricity in the unit. His reached out his hand. The orb felt cold.

The manager found Jimmy the next day. Dead, just like the last guy. Unit N26 was cursed, but third times a charm, so the manager hoped.

 

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 Sandra Crook for this week’s prompt.