Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the entries for my weekly : “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #2. You have some great reading in store.
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 piece inspired by that image in a 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 4pm on June 4th. 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 on June 5th.
AND Here’s the prompt image and ENTRIES…For #Week 2.
This contribution Authored by Gwen Plano.
This week’s picture holds sadness for me. It’s as if life has been stilled. Though the scene is beautiful, there is also a chilly silence. I’ve chosen to try to capture that feeling of isolation in a simple three-stanza haiku poem.
Take a look at Gwen’s blog.
Reflections on Life … Blog.
Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon
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This contribution by Karen Ingalls.
The Park Bench
The wooden slats creaked when Jim sat down on the park bench. He held a bouquet of red chrysanthemums. The cool air, warm sun, and the smell of autumn leaves brought peace to his tired body.
It was October 18, 2019, which marked the 30th year of meeting Julie Henderson every Friday afternoon at 1:00 pm.
Jim looked up to see Julie standing there as beautiful as the first time they met. He gave her the bouquet saying, “Happy anniversary, my love.”
In 1989, they were strangers sitting next to one another on this same bench. Julie was reading a book and Jim was eating a sandwich. They glanced at one another and soon struck up a conversation discovering similar interests and histories. They were both divorced, each had three children, and careers. Julie was a nurse and Jim was caught up in the corporate world, but had dreams to open up his own restaurant.
After an hour, Julie stood up. “Oh, my goodness. I must leave and get to the hospital for the evening shift. It was nice to meet you.”
“Wait. Do you come here often? I am being presumptuous, but I would like to see you again,” Jim stammered.
Trusting her instincts, she smiled and said, “I am here every Friday at one in the afternoon. I like to come here and enjoy nature, the quiet, and to gaze at the beautiful oak tree across from this bench.”
“Perhaps we could meet here next Friday. By the way, my name is Jim Agen.” He extended his hand.
Julie took his hand and replied, “I am Julie Henderson. I’ll be here.”
They both felt a special energy sweep through them when their hands touched.
For several months, they met each Friday, same time and place. The park bench knew when they held hands for the first time, each embrace and kiss, and heard their words of affection.
When the weather changed to winter, they just swept the snow off the bench and enjoyed the wintry beauty. In the spring, they breathed in the fragrant smells from the cherry blossoms. On a hot summer day, Jim proposed to Julie. They got married on October 19, 1990, standing in front of their favorite bench decorated with red chrysanthemums and red leaves from the oak tree. It had been a part of their lives from that first meeting and was proud to be at the center of the ceremony.
Over the first months of marriage, Julie encouraged her husband. “Follow your dream of having your own restaurant. Don’t let naysayers stop you.”
With his wife’s help, Jim opened his restaurant Autumn, serving soups, sandwiches, and homemade desserts. It was a successful business and soon he opened two more restaurants naming them Autumn Leaves and Autumn Waltz. The couple filled one wall of each restaurant with books available for the customers to enjoy. Soothing music playing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, an orchestral rendition of Autumn Waltz, or Nat King Cole singing Autumn Leaves completed the ambiance. Julie quit her job at the hospital and became the manager of all the restaurants.
Despite their busy schedules and were married, they continued to spend every Friday afternoon together on the park bench. They talked about their week, hopes and dreams, growing family, and love for each other. Julie loved to say, “I think the angels were tripping over each other to find a way for us to meet. I am grateful that you decided to have lunch in the park that Friday.”
The years passed by, and one Friday only Julie came to the park. Once again, the board creaked as she sat down, letting out a sorrowful sigh. She spent her time talking out loud as if Jim were there. A tear fell on one wooden slat and Julie thought she heard a moaning sound.
Six months later, the October sky was cloudy and the last of the oak’s leaves had fallen. It was Friday, but the park bench was empty. It missed Jim and Julie who never sat on the park bench again.
Karen Ingalls can be found on
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This contribution by Jan Sikes:
A FOREIGN WORLD
“Oh, the memories.” I sigh, and squeeze his hand a little tighter. The dried orange, brown and yellow leaves crunch beneath our feet as we shuffle along the sidewalk.
He smiles down at me. “Yes, my love. I remember when we sat on this very bench and I asked you to be my bride.”
Tears came unbidden and trickled down my wrinkled cheeks. “We had a pretty darn good life, didn’t we, Harold?”
“Yes. Yes, we did, in spite of the hardships.”
“But, I no longer recognize the world we live in. Where is everyone? Why are the streets empty? There was a day when this park would have held the laughter of children and young lovers strolling hand-in-hand.”
“Let’s sit, Margaret. My old legs are giving out.”
We shuffled over to the bench and Harold brushed away the leaves that covered it.
He blew out a long sigh and leaning on his cane, dropped onto the very bench where we started life together fifty-two years ago.
“I’m troubled, Harold. No, I’m more than troubled. I’m scared. Not for me and you. We’re pretty much out of here, but for the ones coming behind us.”
Draping an arm around my shoulders, he pulled me closer. “It’s not the same America that you and I grew up in. Soldiers on the streets, looting, killings and so much hatred exists. You know it’s not even safe for us to venture out.”
“I know, but I really needed some fresh air. Thank you for appeasing me.”
“Oh, my love, that is what I have lived for these past fifty-two years. My greatest joy is to make you smile.”
“What is that noise? Sounds like firecrackers.”
“I think we better mosey on back home, honey. It’s getting closer.”
He struggled to his feet, then leaning heavily on his cane, reached for my hand.
As we shuffled back toward safety, I turned to look back at the bench that meant so much, only to see a group of hoodlums spraying graffiti on it.
“Harold, we need to move faster. Trouble’s coming.”
“I’m going as fast as I can go. Don’t worry, dear. I won’t let anyone hurt you. It’s just a few more blocks home.”
That’s when it happened. A blow to the back of his head, took Harold to his knees. I screamed and turned to face our attackers only to see sneers and glowing hatred in the eyes of what should have been intelligent young men.
“You old people don’t need to be alive,” one of them growled. “You’re just taking up space and eating food that belongs to us. This is our country now. Old people like you are a nuisance.”
I kneeled down beside Harold and cradled his head in my lap. “You’ve hurt my husband.” Tears flowed uncontrollably.
One of them laughed. “So what? What are you going to do about it old woman?”
The first blow knocked me backward onto the hard concrete, and I frantically reached for Harold’s hand. The second blow brought oblivion.
Then, I was flying and when I looked down, I saw the shell of our bodies lying on the concrete, our blood mixing together and staining the sidewalk.
Harold floated up beside me. “We’re free now, sweet love. No more aches, pains or persecution. We’re free.”
He was right. I no longer had the familiar pain in my joints and his cane no longer had any use.
“What will happen to our once beautiful world?” I took one more glance downward to see the men who’d taken our lives strolling away casually as if nothing had happened. They laughed and joked and slapped each other on the back.
“I don’t know the answer to that. We may have to come back to find out.”
“I’m not sure I want to come back again. Maybe we’ll stay with the Angels for a while.”
“Whatever you say, dear.”
With his hand nestled softly in mine, we drifted slowly and peacefully toward the brightest light that you can imagine. Then we disappeared into it.
We were home.
CONTACT JAN SIKES:
All books are available at http://www.jansikes.com
Contributed by D.L.Finn.
It was our bench. I felt the familiar tug at my heart as I quickened my pace and maneuvered through the pungently earthy orange, red, and yellow leaves. I hated making this walk alone through the fall splendor.
I jumped when something brushed against my leg.
“Sorry. Lady escaped from her collar again.”
The pug sat at my feet with an amiable head tilt. I mumbled. “No problem.”
“She’s friendly if you want to pet her.”
I shook my head and stepped around the dog. Passing the brightly lit coffee shop that usually provided me with a latte, I kept going. Finally, I plopped down on a cold cement bench and was immediately greeted by a distant chorus of barking dogs.
A young boy burst through the door directly across the street. He was cradling a small black kitten.
“Can I name him Skitter, mom?”
As the mother agreed, I flashed back to the day I brought my kitten home from this animal shelter. Felix died right before his 18th birthday. I decided, after crying for two weeks, I didn’t want to go through that heartbreak again.
A wind kicked up, and the sun was sloping down. It was time for me to head home. I stood up to go but froze when a young couple exited the building with a small exuberant black lab just like… Tears flowed unchecked down my face. I missed my walking companion, Bessie. When I had to put her to sleep, after she lost her battle with cancer, it tore me apart holding her for the last time. My two constant companions were taken from me in only two months. Now, at sixty-five-years-old, I was not only a widow but petless too. With a heavy heart, I slowly made my way home.
The final one-hundred yards before turning into my driveway, I heard a muffled cry coming from a bush.
“Hello?” I called out, getting my keys ready to run inside.
It answered with a whimper.
I carefully pushed the branches aside and found a taped cardboard box.
My heart was racing as I ripped the box open and peered inside.
The yellow puppy barked and jumped on the side of the box with its tail wagging. I quickly scooped it up, and it nestled into my neck. The smaller black one wasn’t moving, and the black and yellow puppy could barely lift its head.
“You poor babies! What kind of monster would do this?”
I raced to my car and gently set the box down while still hanging on to the yellow puppy. My hand brushed over the black pup, finding no life, but the other pup let out a small sigh as I stroked its soft fur.
I dialed my vet and started the car, “I found some puppies in bad shape. Are you still open?”
“We just closed but bring them in, Marsha. We’ll wait.”
Soon the two puppies who had survived were on the vet’s examination table.
“They are around four weeks old and look like a shepherd/lab mix. It was lucky you found these two when you did. We will do everything we can for them and call you in the morning. Are you considering keeping them?”
I frowned. “I don’t think so, but I will pay for whatever they need.”
I spent a long night tossing and turning. Their sweet faces haunted me as well as the cruelly taped box. I knew I was meant to find them, but that didn’t mean I had to keep them. When the sun finally rose, I knew what I had to do.
The phone rang after breakfast. “Hi, Marsha. I’m sorry the boy didn’t make it, but the girl did. We will keep her here another night so we can monitor her, and we found someone to foster her so—”
I cut her off. “No, she has a home with me.”
A year later, Molly was proudly wearing her new pink collar. She yanked me toward our bench. Today we couldn’t sit there because a neighbor’s adolescent daughter had taken it over with a box of kittens that had a free sign taped to the side. Our walk was cut short when I locked eyes with a tiny black cat. We had found the missing member of our family and I had learned that having a pet’s love was worth any loss endured.
Contact D.L.Finn here on
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And My Contribution.
Hoover Building: Washington.
F.B.I. Taskforce ‘Glitch’. November 17th, 2019.
Special Agent Ryan Spence ran his hands through his thick dark hair and looked across at Jenny Hanson, “Do we have confirmation that it was the same park location?”
“Yup. We had flash traffic a little over an hour ago. Same as all the others. An identical description of the events they also described, including Margaret Dawson’s statement this morning.”
“The first Casefile #C514 was Craig Carmody. Listed as missing person November 16th, 2010. Located, November 16th, 2011. Missing exactly one year. The dates are identical. His interview, especially the description of that location was almost word for word identical to Margaret Dawson’s and the eight others.”
“Sweet Jesus. Nine years, and we still have nothing but supposition to go on. And proving that will be next to impossible.”
“I’ll run his interview file. Who knows maybe we’ll find a difference.”
The room quieted and they hunched forward in anticipation.
“Recording date November 17th, 2011.”
Casefile #G514. Craig Carmody. Listed as missing November 16th, 2010. Located November 16th, 2011. Present. Senior Special Agent Colin Wagstaff. Mr. Craig Carmody.
“Mr. Carmody please describe for us the events leading up to your disappearance. You were last seen by your wife on the morning of November 16th, 2010. What happened when you left home?”
“I headed off to work, just like I do every day when I’m on shift. I had a bad mornin’ and come lunchtime I was ready to punch somebody’s lights out. But I figured a couple of stiff bourbons and a walk in the fresh fall air would see me calm down some.”
“You had a few drinks and then?”
“I went to the park.”
“Which park was that?”
“The big one over on Delancey street.”
“Delancey street? Are you sure of that location?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. I recall wonderin’ why I hadn’t been down there before. But we’d just moved from Idaho, so I hadn’t seen all of the city.”
The agent sat back for a moment. “Can you describe the park for me? Walk yourself back over that morning and tell me what you see?”
“Yeah, I guess so. So, it was cold, and the wind had picked up, I recall thinking winter was gonna be a real bitch this year. Oh, and it was empty … the park I mean. I thought that was odd, being it was still only early afternoon. But I was in no mood for company anyways.”
“Can you describe what you see?”
“The path is covered in fall leaves and they crunch under my feet. The trees are losing the fight to hang on to the last of their leaves. There’s a bench up on the right, covered in crunchy Fall color. So, yeah, I swiped the leaves off, sat back, and lit up a smoke. That’s when I felt it. ” He stopped and looked down.
“Felt what, Mr. Carmody?”
“The light blinded me and warmed me up instantly, and the sound was a pulsing thing. I put my hands over my ears, but it went right through me, it seemed like it was keeping pace with my heartbeat.” The man wrapped his arms across his chest as if to protect it.
“What happened then, sir?”
“You felt the light, and heard the sound, and then what?”
“I went somewhere else.”
“Where did you go?”
“I don’t know.”
“Were you alone in that place?”
“No. They were there too.”
“They? Can you describe them?”
“You can’t see them, they’re made of light and sound. They don’t have a body like we do.”
“What happened there?”
“I … well, I … I don’t remember. I just know I was there, and now I’m not.”
“You can’t remember anything? You were missing for an entire year, Mr. Carmody. Surely you recall something?”
“I told you. There’s nothin’.”
“Sir, I’m sorry, but there is no park down on Delancey Street. It’s all office buildings and a couple of cafés.”
The man shook his head, “Damn you! I know where I walked to! I tell you it’s there. Why are you saying it’s not?” The man became visibly distressed. His heartbeat and his blood pressure rocketed. The interview hurriedly concluded.
“And, Jenny? What else? Tell me?”
“Craig Carmody disappeared from the Watford Mental Health Facility yesterday.”
“Jesus! We have to check on Margaret Dawson! She’s being escorted there now!”
He picked up the phone and placed an urgent call.
Jenny watched his face drain of color as he hung up and turned to face her. “The car carrying Margaret Dawson has just been found. The escorts don’t remember what happened. They saw a flash of light and there was a pulse of sound. Margaret Dawson is no longer at the location. Don’t plan on sleeping anytime soon, Jenny. We have ourselves another active GLITCH file.
😁😎(No prizes for guessing I loved The X-Files)
Thanks so much for stopping by. The Challenge Photo-Prompt for Week #3 will be posted on June 6th.
Contact me at …
My author page on AMAZON.