Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Parts 1) and 2) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021. Week #39.
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.
This one-line contribution by John Howell.
“I’m wondering how long those four corn dogs and I will stay together on this thing.”
John Howell can be reached here …
Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
Here is my own contribution.
FBI Task Force Situation Room.
Special Agent Daniel Franklin raised his hand and the room fell silent. “Listen up, people. You’ve seen the images of the six dead children, and I know that like me they’ll haunt your sleeping hours and weigh down your days until we nail this monster.” He stepped away from the board behind him. “The victims were all taken from fairgrounds in three separate locations over the past twelve weeks. All three crime scenes were accessed on the last Saturday of the month. That’s today. Understand this, this guy has no boundaries, there is not one-line he will not cross to achieve his objective. He is not afraid of dying. The six-year-old victims trusted him enough to walk away from their parents and go with him. So, be on the lookout for anyone a child may be instantly drawn to.”
He checked his watch, “The fairground opens again in two hours. We’ll move out now and set up on location. Take care out there, people.”
Special Agent Daniel Franklin stood quietly in the command post set up in an unmarked van behind the neon glisten of the Ferris Wheel. He removed the picture of his wife and six-year-old twins from his wallet and placed it in the pocket of his shirt, close to his heart, to remind himself of exactly why he was here. He pulled on his red baseball cap to go along with his faded jeans and joined Agent Michelle Garner outside. They added to the growing crowd at the corn dog stand.
Dan Franklin issued further instructions. “Situation report. Check in every fifteen minutes.”
“Copy that.” Came back from seven different locations.
Two Hours later.
The past two hours had resulted in four possible persons of interest being tailed carefully until it was clearly established that they were not who they were looking for.
Agent Garner touched her partner’s arm and whispered, “What’s with the guy carrying a puppy? He wouldn’t be able to go on any rides with it. He came in alone, and so far he hasn’t seemed interested in joining anyone else.”
“Good call. Keep close enough to monitor his movements but be aware of how he may respond if he makes you as an agent. Stay safe.”
The female agent smiled and stood, then removed her iPhone and began to wonder around snapping images.
Several youngsters stopped and pointed to the puppy with delight, their parents gave the stranger an apologetic grin and moved them on. He then stood quietly. He appeared to be waiting for something or someone.
Agent Franklin keyed in his partner, “Michelle, heads up. I have another possible. Guy walking around dressed in clown costume and makeup, he’s carrying a huge bunch of red balloons and getting a strong response from both the children and adults around him. There is no clown listed on the staff roster. I’m gonna tail him. Team do you copy?”
“Copy command. We wait on your orders.”
Michelle followed her subject as he made his through sideshow alley and walked on over to the roller-coaster.
The clown was headed toward the same location. Agents Franklin and Garner watched on as their two possible suspects stood close to one another just behind a table filled with youngsters deemed too small to ride the roller coaster. A group of very young children left in the care of what looked to be a ten-year-old boy, by parents who should’ve known better.
The agents watched on as the two men moved closer and talked to each other. They both moved across to the vulnerable children. The puppy gained their immediate attention. The clown handed each of them a balloon, then spoke. “Would you like to see the litter of puppies? Maybe we could get your folks to let you have one.” The children hesitated but only briefly, then stood and began to follow the perpetrators.
“Jesus! These two are working as a team! Move on this location, do it now.”
“I’m getting between them and the children.” Agent Franklin appeared to stagger drunkenly into them, he kept his head down and laughed out an apology, “Shouldn’t mix beer and roller coasters. Sorry.”
The puppy guy was distracted by the disturbance and didn’t see Agent Garner come up behind him. “FBI Down on your knees. Do it now!”
The clown drew a knife and made a grab for one of the children. Dan Franklin drew his weapon and fired one shot to the chest and the clown hit the ground.
The debriefing was over. Agent Franklin removed the image of his family from his pocket and gently kissed it, before replacing it in his wallet and heading home to be with them. He drew a shaken breath and wondered if the nightmares would still plague him tonight.
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