The Bargain

The Bargain

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. The photo this week was taken by a friend of mine who wished to remain anonymous

Seattle Terminal
Photo Credit: Sunday Photo Fiction

This was not how it was supposed to work.

Bill had looked forward to retirement; delayed gratification after years of frugality and self-discipline. He had played by all the rules; maximizing his contributions to his 401K and enduring a job that provided a good paycheck but no joy.

He sacrificed for his wife and children, providing them a good life.

He cared for everyone else for 40 years. Now it was his turn.

But when the diagnosis came back, his dreams died. Parkinson’s. A slow and debilitating disease.

You’re wrong! He protested.

It’s not fair!

Can’t you do anything?

The kind old doctor smiled. There is a way.

The details shocked him, but in the end, he agreed.

He arrived at the station, suitcase in hand. There were many others, like him, traveling to the crossroads. In his pocket was his down-payment; love letters from his wife. His most precious possession.

As the train pulled away, he closed his eyes and thought about what he was about to do. Once the contract was signed, he would have ten years of health, happiness, and prosperity.

It was his due, after all.

Who wouldn’t sell their soul for that?

Word Count = 196



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.