‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #42 Entry Part 1) by John Howell @HowellWave and Part 2) by Suzanne Burke @pursoot #IARTG #WritingPrompt #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Parts 1) and 2) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021.  Week #42.

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 understand you are confused but you need to take me to your leader anyway.”

 John Howell can be reached here …

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


Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

Here is my own contribution.


Melinda was jolted awake by someone pounding on the front door. “What the …!” She stumbled out of bed, grabbed her robe from the floor and hurried out to the hallway. The movement detectors had lit the front porch and Melinda stepped back in surprise as she recognized the man standing outside. She opened the door on the latch, “This had better be good, Tony! What the hell do you want?” She glanced at the ornate clock on the mantle, “You do realize it’s just after 4.00 am on Sunday morning!”

“Melinda, please let me in! I need your help!”

“Keep your voice down! You’ll wake the neighbors. I have nothing here for you Tony. I’ve moved on with my life in the past four years. Go home to your new wife!”

“Please, Melinda! I’m begging you! If you ever did love me, you’ll let me in to talk to you.”

Melinda swallowed the bile that rose in her throat. She looked at the desperation on his face. She touched the clock, and checked the time again, before she opened the door. “I’ll give you exactly five minutes.  Why are you here?”

“I need you to tell anyone who asks that I’ve been here with you since around eight o’clock last night.”

“I won’t lie for you, Tony.”

“Jesus! You don’t understand! You have to do this!”

“I don’t have to do anything. The days when I felt like I should because I was your wife are long gone. You’ve obviously been busted doing something illegal. I’m not going to be your alibi!”

“You don’t get it! There’s been an … an accident. They’ll arrest me for sure if I don’t have an alibi.”

“Accident? Did you leave the scene of an accident? Was someone hurt? Were you driving?”

“It wasn’t a car accident. It happened in my apartment.”

“You’ve already said enough. I want no part of whatever this is.”

“She’s dead! She hit her head on the edge of the bookcase! There’s blood everywhere!”

Melinda gasped, “Who’s dead? Did you call 911?”

“My wife! It’s my wife. We had an argument and, well … you know how I am. She aggravated me and wouldn’t shut her stupid mouth when I told her to. So, I hit her. I didn’t hit her all that hard.” He nodded to himself as if to confirm that that made hitting her justifiable.

“She aggravated you? You bastard! I’ve still got the scars to remind me of just how big a bully you are. There’s not one thing that ever justifies a man hitting a woman! Did you call 911?”

“Of course I didn’t call 911. I ran out of there and drove around for a while, then I came here.”

“You didn’t bother to confirm that there was nothing that could be done to help her?” Melinda already knew the answer to that. She stood quietly for a long moment. “You know something, I believe Karma intended you to turn to me for help.”

He looked relieved, “Can we sit down and talk about it now?”

“Oh, I think you may come to regret what you’ve already said.” Melinda walked across to the light switch and illuminated the living room.

Tony looked around and his face began to pale as he took in the empty bottles on the coffee tables and every available surface, there were still platters of half-eaten party fodder scattered throughout the room. “You had a party here last night!”

Melinda looked at his face, “Oh, hell yes! It was quite a big celebration.”

“Is it your birthday?”

“No. It was my engagement party. I think the police would find it very odd if you tried to tell them that you were here, they’ll never believe you!”

“You could tell them that we are still friends and I was here to add my congratulations.”

Melinda shook her head.“Nope, that wouldn’t work.”

“Yes, it would. You just need to be convincing.”

Melinda heard the bedroom door open behind them. She watched on with pleasure as her fiancé Karl entered the room. He pulled her into a hug and looked at her ex-husband with distaste. “I’m Karl Hammond.”

“No, big deal. I’ll just go now. I was never here.”

“No, you won’t be leaving. Let me finish introducing myself. “I’m Senior Homicide Detective, Karl Hammond. I updated the security here a year ago. Your exact time of arrival is clearly noted on the CCTV footage. Your entire conversation with Melinda was recorded and filmed from when Melinda activated the device in the alarm clock. I’ve already dispatched the rapid response team to the apartment location.”

Melinda savored the look of desperation on Tony’s face as she whispered. “Are you aggravated now, Tony?”


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16 thoughts on “‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #42 Entry Part 1) by John Howell @HowellWave and Part 2) by Suzanne Burke @pursoot #IARTG #WritingPrompt #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction

  1. Silence followed, as even the clock stopped ticking. “I’m afraid it is,” the doctor told those gathered. Silence remained just a moment longer, just until the mother’s sob broke free from the binds that had strained to keep it in her chest. It was the first of many that would fill the room as the finality was shared.

    “What does that mean,” little Tabbitina asked. She pulled her mother’s skirt, but the woman was nowhere close to conversation. She could only look down at her youngest, through tear-filled eyes, and shake her head. The child still held confusion, incapable of understanding, so she asked the others in the room, “What does that mean?”

    An aunt she’d never met before, responded, “She’s gone.”

    There was a wail from the child’s mother.

    But the youngest girl did not believe what they were telling her. She could not accept what they had said. Tabbitina crossed the room to stand beside her sleeping sister. She lifted her sister’s hand – still warm, still pliant – and raised it to her lips, and kissed her sister’s fingers: Five fingers, and they weren’t ticking – just what she expected.

    Those watching viewed it as a tender moment. Those gathered in the room and even the doctor felt a pinch against their hearts, as they watched the young girl tenderly bid farewell to her older sister. What they weren’t expecting, is that when Tabbitina raised her eyes to meet their own – she started laughing.

    She was shushed, of course, scolded – her name was harshly called. But the young girl only laughed more. Her Uncle Duncan finally took her from the room.

    He led her downstairs and shared stern words, of the like, “That’s your sister. Show some,” and there he had to slightly pause to check himself, but thus, emphasized more thoroughly, “Respect.”

    He was answered with, “That’s stupid.” And he didn’t bother listening to what more of that would follow, only told her, “Keep yourself right there, and don’t come back upstairs.”

    Tabbitina did go back up the stairs, but she didn’t go directly to her sister’s room. She tip-toed down the hallway, towards its conclusion where there was a small, but tall display table, which had a mirror that extended from the back. That was not of interest, but what was on it was: A silent clock, and like her sister, no longer moving.

    The young girl ran her fingers along the gold-leaf trim, and like her sister’s fingers, kissed five roses that were on the face of it, as she lifted it, and she began to turn the key that wasn’t turned just prior to her parents screams. She pulled her dress up to polish off the fingerprints and mars of lips, after replacing it upon the table-top, and then she flicked the pendulum with her middle finger, to set it back in motion.

    That finger remained extended. That finger stayed out as she imagined raising it to her uncle’s face, the doctor’s words – mostly to her sister. It stayed that way until she heard the gasps, until yelps escaped, and tears were shed again – brought on by emotions that were different than before. Framed in her sister’s doorway, that finger joined the others to form a fist, used to draw attention with a knock against the jamb. A sharp rap to draw a pair of eyes to Tabbitina.

    It was not intended for those that heard and turned back toward her, most of whom presumed she needed to come in further to see the miracle that happened. It was not intended for her mother who was on her knees, grasping the hands of her eldest daughter. It was for the eldest daughter.

    Tabbitina looked into the room with a look that formed by competition between hostility and irritation. She made sure her sister had her eyes upon her as she asked her with an anger, “Do you know what time it is?”

    Her sister answered, only, “I forgot.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for joining in the Challenge, Daniel. You’ve added to the enjoyment of the challenge with this dark piece. I’ve just shared it.


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