Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 1) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #19.
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 Howell’s One Line Contribution.
“What do you suppose they call those hills over there?”
John Howell can be reached here …
Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
My own Contribution
Hollywood: August 7th, 1969.
Cindy sipped on her coffee and nodded to her housemate Karen as she came out from her bedroom, “Mornin’, sleepyhead. Aren’t you working today?”
“No. I’m planning on catching up with those great people I told you about. We’re just gonna hang out for a few hours. There’s a party later tonight, I really want you to meet them. Please, please say you’ll come?”
“You know I’m not good at parties.”
“So, you’d rather nurse those loonies on the Psyche ward?
“Don’t call them that. They’re as sick as anyone else in the hospital. You just can’t see the damage up front.”
“Okay, okay. But this is really important to me. You told me I needed to put myself out there if I wanted to make new friends in this town. I’ve done that, now they all wanna meet you ‘cause I talk about you all the time. I know they’ll like you. I need you to like them too.”
Cindy’s resolve caved in as she recognized the need for approval on her friend’s sweet pixie face. She nodded her head. “Alright. But just tonight. Where and what time?”
Cindy climbed from the V.W and adjusted her miniskirt. She checked the address she’d written down. The noise coming from the house up ahead told her she was in the right location.
I don’t even know whose party this is, just some musician. Not that it matters much. If you’re a single female in Hollywood, they won’t turn you away.
She walked on through the crowded house searching for Karen. She felt the pulsing adrenaline in the room, most of the people dancing along to the pounding music were high, their movements jerky and their heads on a permanent swivel. She’s seen enough cases of LSD induced psychosis to recognize exactly what she was seeing. Her need to find Karen ramped up a few notches.
Cindy tried out by the pool and found her sitting in a small group on the ground. A man seated on a bench in front of them seemed to be holding their undivided attention, although Cindy couldn’t hear what he was saying. She watched on for a moment before reaching down and tapping Karen on her bare shoulder. The girl spun around, then smiled as she recognized Cindy. She scrambled to her feet. “You came! Let me introduce you to the others! “
She pointed to a female seated at the edge of the small semi-circle, “This is Susan, next to her is Linda, then Patricia.” Karen’s voice was high pitched and excited.
Cindy smiled at each of them in turn and watched in fascination as they all looked to the man seated on the bench as if silently asking his permission for something. She caught the almost imperceptible nod he gave them, and they all turned back to her and smiled as they offered their belated hellos.
The man stood then and moved across to where she and Karen were standing. Cindy’s first impression was of how short he was. He extended his hand, “And I’m Charles, Charles Manson. My friends call me Charlie. I hope you’ll soon be one of them.”
Cindy met his eyes for a moment and she reluctantly reached for his outstretched hand. “Charles.”
She gave an involuntary shiver as he touched her. The hairs on the nape of her neck stood on end. She’s seen that wild eyed look before. But those folks were housed in the maximum-security wing of the Psyche ward.
She felt the bile rise in her throat, then chided herself. He was probably just high on something.
“We were just talking about our upcoming album.”
“Oh, you’re a musician? “
“Oh, I don’t like labels. I wear many hats.”
“I’m sure you do.”
Cindy turned back to her friend, “I’m feeling sick, Karen. Something I’ve eaten, I think. I need to leave. But, I don’t think I should drive, hon. Can you please drive me home?”
Her friend looked torn, she looked towards Charles and waited, “I’ll call you tomorrow, Karen, and give you directions out to the ranch. You come as well, Cindy. You can meet the rest of our little family.”
Karen didn’t stop prattling on about them all for the trip back downtown. Cindy had managed to get her out of there, but that was a temporary solution. Something about this Charles Manson guy set her teeth on edge.
August 9th, 1969:
The news headlines were tragic. Actress Sharon Tate and four of her house guests had been brutally murdered overnight.
Cindy hurried into Karen’s bedroom and sucked in a grateful lungful of air to find her friend still sleeping.
Karen didn’t get that expected call from Charles Manson. She would remain forever grateful for her friends intuition.
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 …