Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 1) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #11.
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.
John Howells one line entry.
“Helen, do I hear the shower still running?”
John Howell can be reached here …
Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
My Contribution …
“Another Mountain to Climb”
Mitchell McCallister hoisted himself up onto the rock platform and reached down to assist his companion. He looked across as his friend gazed around and slowly turned back to him, “Mitch, this place is perfect. So, this is where you disappear when we can’t reach you?”
“Uh-huh, yes this is the place. My dad brought me out here for the first time when I was fifteen. It was around a year after my mom had passed and I was acting out the pain and turning on everyone around me. He said this place would help me regain my center of gravity, he said it would save my sanity … If I let it.”
“You’re probably the sanest person I know. So, why now, I mean what is it that you need to regain your center on?”
Mitch took a deep cleansing breath as he answered. “I have a question to ask and a decision to make based on the answer to that question.”
“Care to share?”
Mitch laughed, “Yeah, that’s why you’re here.”
“Is there alcohol in that backpack? This feels like one of your thoughtful let’s talk over a whiskey moments.”
Mitch nodded his head, “You lay out the groundsheet, and I’ll grab the whiskey. Then, let’s just sit awhile and take in all of this.” He swept his arm wide.
They sat and sipped on the 12-year-old malt and allowed the thunderous noise from the waterfall to momentarily drown out their other senses. Until the scent of the pine that surrounded them reawakened their sense of smell, and their eyes looked beyond the mist and took in the splendor of the blue sky and the rugged rockface.
Mitch broke the silence. “Everything makes more sense here, you know. I mean every action is interconnected with the well-being of the whole. The only scars on this landscape are the ones our own species slashed across its surface.”
His friend nodded in understanding and held out the paper cup for a top-up of whiskey.
Mitch obliged and poured himself another good belt as well. “There’s a shallow cave we’ll shelter under tonight. The kindling and logs I left last time will be dry now and I have a rock firepit. I can’t wait for you to see the stars with no other light source to impede your view. Let’s finish this drink and then get the camp set up.”
Mitch sat gazing into the warming fire and turned to his friend. “I guess now is as good a time as any. Can I ask you a question?”
“Will you marry me.”
“Jesus! That’s some question, Mitch!”
“You really didn’t see this coming? Hell, David, and here I was thinking I’d been so obvious.” He tried to laugh again and failed.
David reached over and touched his arm, “I thought it was all just wishful thinking on my part.”
“Oh, thank God. Any chance this means you’re in love with me too?”
David mimicked back to him. “‘and here I was thinking I’d been so obvious.’”
“You will marry me?”
“I’d be honored.”
They kissed and Mitch gently stroked his new fiance’s face. “Now, I need you to know something upfront. My next decision is based solely on you being on board with it 100%. I will walk away from it and never look back if you aren’t comfortable with it.”
“The F.B.I has asked me to Quantico. Seems they want me to take my training and my degree and head up a new task force. They had me study fifteen files over the past week, each file belonged to an FBI member, all field agents. I was asked to provide a detailed profile for each of them based purely on their responses to crime scenes.”
“Looking for what?”
“Uh-huh, and then some. See none of these men and women hold degrees in Forensic Science. They’re not profilers, but, in every instance, their case files reveal a high degree of success at identifying stand out traits of their perpetrator.”
“So, they’re intensely logical?”
“Sure, it’s partly that, but I believe they are all empaths.”
“The bureau concur?”
“Yup. They want me to train them, to hone their innate skill, and to help them learn to retain sufficient distance from the case so as not to incur damage to their own psyche. They believe this squad will ultimately save lives, and it’s hoped that it will significantly reduce the number of cold cases.”
“So, why the hesitation? God, this is your dream job!”
“I know it. But, I’d be asking you to leave everything you have here behind. You’ve your own career to think about.”
“Being an accountant isn’t going to save lives. I can work anywhere. You have to do this, Mitch.”
“So long as you’re going to be climbing that huge mountain with me.”
“You know I will. I’d be proud to take that journey with you.” He gave Mitch’s hand a squeeze. “So, let’s make the memory of tonight and tomorrow perfect. Do you have marshmallows in that backpack?”
“I love you.”
“Ditto. Now about those marshmallows?”
I can be reached here …
Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Later today I’ll be featuring entries Part 2) by Harmony Kent and D.L.Finn.