‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 7) By Mae Clair @MaeClair1 #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 7)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21

Today I’m featuring the contribution by Mae Clair.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt and Mae Clair’s Contribution.

Old abandoned, boarded up two-story home in autumn woods at sunset

I’ve Got a Plan

“You really bought this?”  Mason shook his head as he surveyed the derelict property. In its day, the house had probably been grand. Now, it was nothing more than a weathered, ivy-encrusted shell. Gilded by the last rays of the setting sun, the old two-story appeared part of the barren woodland surrounding it. “I hope you can get your money back.”

“It was dirt cheap.” Jeremy’s face glowed with pride. “Besides…I’ve got a plan.”

There was always a plan with Jeremy—another fanciful idea or dragon tail. It had been that way since he was a kid. “Okay, I’ll bite. What’s the plan?”

“A Halloween Haunt. Picture it.” Jeremy spread his hands, framing the house. “It won’t take a lot of money. Just enough to shore things up and make certain they’re sound. We add a few fog machines, cheap vintage furniture, and I’m telling you, Dad, it can’t fail.”

“You’ll need actors.”

“I’ve got that covered. We add to the existing atmosphere and play up grim and creepy.”

Business would be limited to a few months in the fall, but that wasn’t entirely problematic. Plus, it would be good experience if the kid pulled it off. At twenty-eight, it was time he managed something. 

“Maybe.” Mason wasn’t ready to commit. “Let’s see inside.”

~ooOOoo~

Isabelle rolled her eyes at the agonized creak of the front door. It had started screeching like that somewhere during the last century. “Dearest, we have company.”

Liam flipped a page in his book. “Two men. I saw them standing out front.”

“Don’t you think you should go downstairs and see what they’re about?” She lowered her embroidery hoop to her lap, the soft folds of her saffron gown, a color match for the flames in the hearth. As cozy as their sitting room was, she understood why Liam was reluctant to leave but one of them had to address the situation. “You’ve already read Moby Dick numerous times.”

“But I never tire of it. We could send Chloe.”

“That strumpet?” Isabelle clucked her tongue. “I think not. I don’t even know why the fool girl insists on lingering.”

“She did love me.” Liam set his book aside. “Probably still does.”

He was a distinguished man with a smattering of gray in his hair, his eyes the dark blue of midnight skies. Isabelle was sometimes overcome by her devotion to him. She couldn’t term the affection love—not any longer—but her emotion ran strong. She’d been naïve when they’d wed, but after a decade discerned his wandering eye. Especially after Chloe came to live with them, lending a hand with domestic chores.

“Her love is irrelevant. I do not share.”

“As you proved.”

Isabelle flashed an innocent smile. “You always enjoyed my tea in the past.”

“Minus the poison.”

“At least I followed you to the grave by drinking it myself.”

“Not quite the grave.” He motioned to the room at large.

“Which brings us back to the problem downstairs.”

“Very well.” Liam heaved a breath. “I’ll scare them off like the others.”

~ooOOoo~

“It has potential.” After exploring the main level, Mason was almost ready to commit. It would take an outlay of cash, but nothing he couldn’t raise. Maybe this time Jeremy would finally turn one of his pipedreams into gold. “We should look upstairs.”

He started toward the staircase, halting abruptly when he spied a figure at the top. “What the—” 

The man’s face appeared chiseled from granite. Dressed in outdated clothing, he looked much like a Dicken’s character, wearing a short waistcoat, silken cravat, and high-topped boots. 

He speared a finger in their direction. “Trespassers! You do not belong here!” The walls shook at the boom of his voice. The floor heaved and cracked. Behind him, lightning exploded from the ceiling, filling the air with ozone. “Leave while you can.”

“Holy shit!” Mason stumbled backward, colliding with his son.

Jeremy caught him by the shoulders. “Don’t mind him, Dad. That’s just Mr. O’Conner.” He hustled past, climbing the steps two at a time. “Hiya, Mr. O’Conner.” He flipped a wave to the stunned apparition. “Chloe told me all about you and your wife. You’re going to fit right in. Aren’t they, Dad?” Jeremy glanced over his shoulder. “Dad?”

Mason stood rooted to the landing, knees quavering, heart thundering. “J-J-Jeremey…” He couldn’t seem to find his voice. “Th-that’s a ghost.”

“Yeah, I know.” The idiot kid grinned ear-to-ear. “Didn’t I tell you we wouldn’t need actors?”

~~~~~

Mae Clair can be reached here …

Twitter:

Amazon Author Page:

Mystery, Suspense & Urban Legends | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up

Website & Blog | Goodreads

~~~~~~~

Thank you so much for stopping by. I’ll be featuring other posts as they are received.

I may be contacted here …

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By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 6) by Gwen Plano @gmplano #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 6)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.

Today I’m featuring a contribution by  Gwen Plano.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here’s the image prompt and the contribution by Gwen Plano.

For my response, I’ve chosen to write a short dialogue and have included a Tanka poem (syllables 5-7-5-7-7) as part of my story.
House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy
FOREVER.​

“Grandma, why are we here? This old house is boarded up!”

“I’m not visiting the house, Charlie. There’s something I want to show you in the back.”

“Did you used to live here, Grandma?”

“No. My friend, Johnny, did.”

“Who’s Johnny?”

“Someone I knew. He died in WWII.”

She let her head fall and with it the years.

“Grandma?”

“He was my sunshine. I called him that. No matter how bad I felt, he’d make me laugh.”

He darts her a glance and takes her hand. 

She inhales deeply, “He was my first love.”

Now behind the house, Charlie pauses to look around.

“Grandma, there’s nothing here.”

“I’ll show you. Let’s walk to that big oak tree over there.”

“Okay, now what?”

“Do you see a heart engraved on it?”

Charlie walks around the tree and shakes his head. “Are you sure this is the tree?”

“I’m positive.”

Charlie stares at the trunk and runs his hands over the rough bark, then looks up and spots something. Stepping back, he reads, “JS + MT — is this what you were talking about?”

“Yes. I told you this was the tree. Now I want you to dig right here, below the heart.” She points with her cane.

Charlie grabs a thick stick and begins digging. After a few minutes he hits metal. He turns to Grandma.

“Pull it out, Charlie. It holds something I need to give to you.”

A few tugs and Charlie hands her a tin box.

“Can you open it for me please?”

He works on the lid until it pops open. Inside there’s a folded paper and a ring. The message reads, Yesterday, today, and tomorrow — through all eternity. Charlie looks back at Grandma. She appears lost in thought.

“The ring, Grandma, what about this ring?”

She looks up and smiles, “It was my engagement ring. We made our promises at this tree. Soon you will be making yours, and I want you to have my ring. It will bring you laughter, you’ll see what I mean. And when it does, you’ll think of me.”​

Picture

 
 
Gwen Plano can be reached here …

Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I’ll be posting further entries as I receive them.

I may be contacted here …

My author page on AMAZON.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #21 Entry Part 5) By Karen Ingalls @KIngallsAuthor #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 5)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.
Today I’m featuring a contribution from Entry 5) By Karen Ingalls
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt. Together with Karen’s fun take.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

THE WOLVES HOWELLED ONE NIGHT

WHILE THE PSIKEICS WERE EATON

IN PLANO SITE WITHOUT

KARENG OR JOANING OTHERS

THE AUTHORS AWOKE,

FROM THEIR NIGHT’S SNOOOZ WITH CLAIR MINDS

FINNALLY READY

TO JUMP WRITER’S BLOCK HURDLE.

THE GHOSTS OF AUTHORS

FILLED THE HALLS WITH HARMONY

ENLIGHTENING THEIR MINDS

TO BIGGAR AND BETTER WORKS.

PHOTO PROMPTS INSPIRED

EACH AUTHOR TO WRITE A POEM,

STORY, SHORT OR LONG,

THANKS TO THEIR LEADER, SOOOZ BURKE.

~~~~~

 Karen may be contacted here …

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

***

I can be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

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By Email.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I’ll be featuring further contributions as I receive them.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 4) By D L Finn @dlfinnauthor #IARTG #WRITINGPROMPTS #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 4)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.
Today I’m featuring a contribution from entry 4)By D L Finn
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt and Haibun from D L Finn.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

A Haibun Poem combines a prose poem (the paragraph) and a Haiku/Senryu.

THE TRUTH

Wood slats replace the glass in my childhood home. Rocks and years have stripped away its beauty. Long ago, this empty house was full of life. People traveled great distances to attend the lavish parties. Our family was admired and respected until I disappeared. They hung my beloved husband for a crime he didn’t commit. Only I knew that, though, and no one heard my ghostly protests. Someday we’ll be reunited, but only after people finally learn the truth.

The house isn’t haunted

I only want to be found

My murderer died with me.

~~~

D.L.Finn can be reached here …

Blog site:

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:

On TWITTER:

On FACEBOOK:

Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to reading your comments.I’ll be featuring each entry as I receive them.

I can be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

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By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 3) By T L Reeve #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 3)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.
Today I’m featuring a contribution from entry 3)By T L Reeve
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

Worthington Estates

This… Is it? This is the house you bought with your inheritance?” Marcus, my best friend, said taking in the property. “This place.”

I shrugged. “I mean, it needs a couple of coats of paint.”

“It needs to be bulldozed. Into oblivion.” Marcus scrubbed his brow as he began to pace. “What—What are you going to do with this place, Miranda?”

“Hide the bodies?”

“The… Bodies?” In slow motion, he lifted his face, so our gazes collided. “What bodies, Miranda?”

“The ones in my basement?” I scrunched up my face. “Duh.”

“The ones… Where?” The exasperation in his voice perplexed me. He opened his mouth to say something, then turned away. “This little game of yours is becoming a bit grating.”

“If you don’t believe me, check out behind the house.” I’d already planted some of the remains before bringing Marcus out here.

“What happened to you, Miranda?”

I stared at him. What happened to me? What happened to him? He’d been my partner in crime. My ride or die, bitch. We did everything together. Even our first murders. Now he wants to know what happened to me? Nothing. I was fulfilling the prophecy while he became some straight-laced lawyer. “Look, we’re almost finished. Who would think to look out in this dump for a body? No one, that’s who.”

“I shouldn’t be here. I won’t jeopardize my position or the new life I am building,” he hissed. “You shouldn’t be here—and for fuck’s sake, what bodies?”

“We made a pact, you and me. I’m finishing it.”

“You’re insane.” He stomped away. The dry, dead leaves crunched under his feet as he went. “Criminally Insane.”

I tilted my head. “It’s a shame you’ll have to die now too. You’ve seen too much. You know my plan.”

He stopped dead in his tracks. “Miranda, now you’re scaring me. Don’t do anything you’ll regret.”

I started for him, my pace slow and deliberate so as not to give him any reason to run. I snorted, I already had, hadn’t I? “Regret? I have no regrets, Marcus.” I pinned him to the tree behind him and laughed. The pulse at his neck fluttered and the scent of his fear was tantalizing. I struck then like a rabid dog about to gorge themselves on what might be their final meal.

I jolted awake.

Marcus’ shrill scream rang in my ears along with my phone’s ringtone. I picked it up and glanced at the screen. Sun Valley Trust. My bank. I slid the toggle on the screen and answered while pushing my wild, disheveled curls from my face. “Hello?”

“Good morning, Ms. Cartwright, this is Mr. Foster from the bank. I just wanted you to know the sale went through a few moments ago. Congratulations, you’re a homeowner.”

I found a cute little house in the middle of the woods that would be perfect for me. “Uh, wow, thanks, I suppose.” I rubbed my face trying to wake myself up a bit more from that nightmare. “What happens next?”

“Escrow takes about thirty days then you’ll receive the keys to your home,” Mr. Foster replied. “If you want to swing by, I have a copy of all your paperwork waiting.”

“Sure.” I glanced at the clock. “I’ll be there in twenty.”

“I’ll see you then. Congratulations.”

I sat there for a moment staring at the screen, still trying to shake the remnants of my dream. Who buys a dilapidated abandoned house to bury bodies at, let alone eat her best friend? I seriously need to stop watching American Horror Story before bed.

I should call Marcus. His phone rang three times, then went straight to voicemail. “Bitch, it’s me. I bought a house, we should celebrate.”

Meanwhile at the “house…”

The call came in at seven, hunters found the body while putting out corn. A man had been mutilated at the old Worthington Estates. The house had been in disrepair for years, until recently.

The vibration from a phone caught my attention, and I rolled the body, finding it in the victims back pocket. The name Miranda was on the screen. When the prompt for a voicemail showed up, I did what I had to. I listened.

“Bitch, it’s me. I bought a house, we should celebrate.”

I glanced at the victim. Unfortunately, there’d be no celebrating for Mr. Marcus Hampton. “Someone get a cover over what’s left of the body. Don’t need the evidence tainted… Add his phone too.”

~~~

T L Reeve can be reached here authortlreeve@hotmail.com

Thanks so much for joining me here today. I look forward to seeing your comments. I will as always be featuring each new contribution as I receive them.

I may be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 2) by Anita Dawes @jaydawes2 #IARTG #WRITINGCOMMUNITY #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Entry PART 2) for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.

Today I’m featuring a contribution from entry 2) by Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt and the contribution.

Beauty disguised as decay
Gothic windows, painted by time
Kissed by autumns warm orange
Trees stripped of their summer leaves
Above the balcony
Behind dirty windows
Shadows linger, layers of time live together
Unaware of each other
Objects move by unseen hand
No one owns up to having touched
Late at night, whispered words of
are we haunted, touch the interior
Do ghosts live here?

©anitadawes 2020

Contact Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie Here .

Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie BLOG

The Author on AMAZON

on TWITTER

Thanks so much for stopping by. I will post further entry’s as they are received.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #21 Entry Part 1) by John Howell @HowellWave and Suzanne Burke @pursoot #WritingCommunity #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 1)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21.
Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1)By John Howell and Entry 2) My own contribution.
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

One Line Contribution By John Howell.

“I think this Sherwin Williams Paint color of the month is a little too rustic for me, Ambrose.”

John Howell can be reached here …

Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

 Twitter:

Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

My own Contribution

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

RAVEN’S PEAK

“We’ll be there soon, hon.” Holly gently patted her husband Daniel’s hand.

“Can’t get there soon enough for my liking. This storm wasn’t forecast. I don’t like driving among all these damned trees when there’s lightning around.”

A shattering clap of thunder shook the car windows. Holly squealed as a bolt of blinding lightning struck a tree just behind them, throwing the burning wood across the road. “Damn it. I hope the realtor is already waiting for us. That tree’s blocking the only access back down to the highway.”

Daniel took a long slow curve and stopped the car suddenly as they reached a clearing. “That’s weird! Firstly, we were told this was a vacant block of land. So, what’s with the old building? And it’s not raining or even wet here. No sign of the storm.”

“I’ve seen it rain on one side of the road but not on the other before. That old house looks amazing.”

“Yeah, I guess.” He took her hand and they walked slowly up to the property.

“Oh my God! It’s really something, isn’t it? You can just feel the history pulsating around you.” Holly let go of his hand and walked up to the shuttered and abandoned mansion. She touched the barricaded door gently. “I want to go inside.”

“We can’t do that, hon. Besides, we don’t want the expense of demolishing a house. Just wait till I speak to that realtor! What a waste of time. His car’s not here yet. I’ll give him a call.” Daniel flipped open his cell, “There’s no damned reception!”

Holly shrugged, “I’m going inside. It’s cold out here.”

“We shouldn’t. That’s trespassing.”

“Who’s gonna say anything? Don’t be such a baby.”

“I’m not. Just don’t like the feel of it is all.”

“You shouldn’t let the fact that it’s Halloween spook you. Where’s your sense of adventure? I’m gonna find a way in.”

Daniel watched Holly walk around to the side of the building. She found a door that wasn’t nailed shut, fiddled with the lock and the door swung open. He followed her inside.

The door slammed shut behind them and they were plunged into darkness. The only light came through the cracks and breaks in the shutters. It was colder in here than outside.

Holly moved across to the base of a stairway that curved its way to the second story balcony.

She ran her hands lovingly along the dusty mahogany of the banister, suddenly letting out a yelp of pain. The splinter of wood had gone deep. She gritted her teeth and pulled it out, watching as a few droplets of blood spilled to the wooden floor.

“Did you hurt yourself, hon?” Daniel placed a hand on her shoulder. Holly smiled, “Just a splinter. Come on, let’s take a look around up here.”

Daniel followed for a few paces. “What the hell is that noise?”

“Noise? I don’t hear anything.”

“Listen! There it is again, it’s like the sound of a baby’s heart beating. You know like on one of those ultrasound things?”

Holly shrugged, moved ahead, and walked into another room. Daniel was only three steps behind her, but when he reached the spot where she’d entered … the doorway had vanished. All he found was the solid concrete wall.

“Holly? Holly can you hear me? HOLLY?” He pounded on the wall. “Holly answer me! Where are you?”

A scream came from inside the wall.  “Daniel help me! I can’t breathe in here! The door’s gone and there’s no windows! It’s getting hotter!  Get me out!”

The man frantically pounded on the wall, “It’s no use. I’m gonna see if there’s another way in. Hold on.”

Smoke oozed through the walls and Holly stopped screaming soon after.

***

Daniel ran toward the ridge line for another hour and was gasping for air and afraid. His cell-phone reception finally registered a few bars and he punched in 911 and was connected to The Raven’s Peak Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Leanne Hollister took the call and turned to the chief. “Got a guy name of Daniel Spencer on the line, he’s not making much sense. Say’s his wife’s gone missing. Inside some house!”

The chief stood and grabbed his hat, “What’s his location?”

The deputy repeated the address she’d been given. She watched in surprise as the chief snorted loudly, replaced his hat on the hook and sat back behind his desk.

“I keep forgettin’ that you’re only new to the area, Deputy. Somebody’s havin’ some Halloween fun with ya, is all. That ol’ mansion was gutted by fire on Halloween forty-years-back. We lost a few local residents in the blaze. The relatives had what little remained of the house demolished. There’s nothin’ but a concrete slab at that location.”

***

November 1st.

“Chief, you need to take this call!”

“Why? Who is it?”

“That call we ignored last night. Turns out Daniel Spencer is a Senator’s son. The boy and his wife were meant to have dinner with the family for Halloween. The car’s been found burned out at the location he gave us. They found his phone around a mile from there. It showed this was the last number he called. The US Marshall’s Office is on the phone.”

“Oh, hell.”

~~~~~~

I wish you all Happy Halloween my friends! 😈

Thanks so much for joining me here today. I look forward to seeing your comments. I will as always featuring each new contribution as I receive them.

I may be reached here …

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 NEW Image Prompt! Join in the fun! #IARTG #WritingCommunity #flashfiction #writingprompts @pursoot

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”  WEEK #21.  Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by DEADLINE: 4pm EDT on Thursday, October 22nd, Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

 I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here AS I RECEIVE THEM.  Thanks to everyone for the amazing support.

Here is the week #21 Image Prompt.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

I hope the image inspires you! Come and join in the fun.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #20 Entry 8) By Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #IARTG #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 8)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #20.

Today I’m featuring the contribution from entry 8) by Jan Sikes.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

A Message from Jan.

This is my contribution. I want to give you a little background on this poem. When my late husband was dealing with such a difficult physical decline, during one of the many hospital stays, he developed pneumonia and I feared he might not live until morning. I held vigil throughout that long night and this poem came to me. I remember searching for pen and paper to get it down, and I remember the tears that fell as I scribbled it. I felt that I had to give him permission to let go and I did it through this poem. He lived for a few more weeks after this incident and did recover from the pneumonia.

I cannot tell you the reason this image invoked this memory, but it did, so I am sharing.

Surrender

There is no shame in surrender when it is time

Like General Lee, you’ve known when to lay low

and when to climb

I’ve watched you suffer for so many years

Your life seemed destined to one of pain and of tears

Yet you fought on – the valiant soldier in fierce battle

You sang your song, rode tall in the saddle

You’ve now come down to the last battle call

You’ll hang up your sword, tired and weary you’ll fall

But know that you’ve left many good marks behind

While you learned how to love and how to be kind

Taught lessons to all who shared your many paths

That will be remembered long after you have passed

There is no shame in surrender when it is time

~~~~

CONTACT JAN SIKES:

All books are available at http://www.jansikes.com

Amazon

On Twitter

On Facebook

Thanks so much for stopping by.  The Week #21 Image Prompt will be posted later this morning.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #20 Entry 7) by Jacquie Biggar @JacqBiggar #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #writingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 7) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #20.

Today I’m featuring a contribution by Jacquie Biggar.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here’s the image prompt and Jacquie’s contribution.

The Long Road Home

The creak of saddle leather and gentle sway of Maggie’s horse lulled her toward a long overdo nap. Two weeks and still no sign of the men she chased. The ruthless bastards had taken everything from her, she wouldn’t stop until they paid for what they’d done.

When she awoke, the sun had dropped behind the distant Texas hills coloring the sky in shades of magenta, burnt orange, and saffron. The air was cooler, whispering an early fall warning and she huddled into her loose-fitting jacket. She’d lost weight on this trek, lost some of her sanity, as well.

Images of her too-trusting husband swinging from a rope in the shed, face swollen, purple tongue protruding played a never-ending loop in her head. As did the attack from men they thought were friends. Men who’d dragged her to the floor and had their way with her in front of Sam and Jeff. Her boys.

The reason she couldn’t, wouldn’t, give up.

Grunting from stiff, aching, muscles, Maggie dislodged from the saddle and slid to the ground, her grip on the pommel the only thing holding her upright. Pins and needles in her feet assured her she was alive, as did the hunger gnawing at her belly. Didn’t matter though, nothing mattered except finding her sons and meting out the retribution they deserved.

***

A day and a half later, she came upon the cabin. Rough-hewn slats of gray wood made up the walls, smoke curled in a thin ribbon from the crooked chimney, and moss grew in a thick green blanket draping the eaves. A couple of beaten-down horses, she recognized as theirs, stood silently in a pen next to a dilapidated shed. She hurried to place a hand over the muzzles of her own mounts. They’d approached from downwind, but she didn’t want to take a chance on the animals announcing her arrival before she was ready.

It was dark by the time she had everything in place. The horses were tied in a ravine to the west, close enough to get to if she were injured, but far enough to keep them from panicking when the fireworks started. As she’d expected, Sam and Jeff were brought outside to use the latrine before bed. Her tired eyes feasted on their wiry frames. They looked so small next to the monsters shoving them forward. She ached to break cover and swoop them against her breasts, but reconciled herself to waiting until they were safe.

The moment the boys entered the outhouse and closed the door behind them, she set her plan in motion. Hefting a good-sized stone in her hand, Maggie sent it sailing through the air to smack the ground in the pen, startling the horses who reared up and danced away from the unseen threat. The men ducked, then ran for the nearest cover- the shed.

Next, she lit the fuses on the leftover fireworks Conrad had bought for the family to enjoy on the fourth of July. The sparks snaked across the ground and exploded, sending bright strobes of white, orange and red shrieking into the night sky. Not wasting a second, Maggie streaked across the uneven yard and dropped a heavy board over the door to the shed, sealing it closed.

The men realized they’d been tricked, and shouting obscenities, hammered the door with their fists trying to break free. Knowing she only had seconds before the flimsy structure gave way, Maggie turned to the pile of wood she’d carefully arranged near the wall of the building. A strike of a match and the oil-soaked cloth caught, the fire quickly spreading to the dry kindling. A moment later, the wall caught flame, driving her backward away from the heat and destruction. The shouts became screams, then coughing cries for mercy, echoing the weeping in her soul.

Then silence.

Instead of guilt, Maggie felt joy sweep through her chest, pushing all the hate and pain and anger away. A phoenix rising from the flames.

“Momma, Momma,” Jeff cried, his stubby little legs carrying him to her side, Sam following close behind, his eyes reflecting the funeral pyre in front of them.

Maggie wrapped shaking arms around her kids and pulled them close. “Let’s go home, my loves. Let’s go home.”

~~~

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