‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #12 Entries Part 1) @HowellWave @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 1)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #12.

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.

bryce-barker-cIcX_aO9LPo-unsplash

This one-line contribution by John Howell.

“Hey, Harry. Did you mess with the doomsday clock again?”

John Howell can be reached here …

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

 Twitter:

Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

 

My Contribution …

bryce-barker-cIcX_aO9LPo-unsplash

 

Intervention

By

Suzanne Burke

Melody sat bolt upright. A memory still hovered from her dream. She’d heard her father’s voice, “Promise me that you’ll nurture your dreams, sweetheart. They’ll wither and die without nurturing. Not many folks get a second shot at it.”

She should be excited, after all, today was the big day. She’d been promoted and was undertaking a more prominent role in the company. This is what all the long hard hours of afternoon shift had earned her. So why the hell did she feel like she’d betrayed that promise she’d made. She tried ignoring the part of herself that still clung to the more youthful visions of her future.

Melody dressed, grimacing as she slipped on the uncomfortable new heels. She hurried out into the bustle of late morning. Her normally punctual bus arrived five minutes late.

***

Melody glanced as always at the ornate clock that graced the entrance to Central Station. Seven minutes to twelve. I’ve still got four minutes to make the eleven fifty-three! She hurried over to the elevator to find it was out of order. “It’s the day for it.” She made a dash for the stairs. The train was already on the platform and she saw the familiar people who normally joined her in the first carriage.

Melody hurried down the stairs, caught the edge of her right heel on the next step, lurched forward as it snapped, and groaned at the pain in her ankle. She cried out as she began to fall.

A strong arm wrapped around her from behind and pulled her back to safety. “Steady now, it’s okay! I’ve gotcha.”

Melody leaned back and took a shaky breath. “Thank you so much!” She tried to stand but her ankle gave out from under her. “I … um, I think I may have sprained my ankle.”

“Let’s get you down to the platform and seated. I’ll carry you down. I mean if that’s okay?”

She felt a little foolish but nodded, “Thanks again! I’ve seen you in my carriage for months now, and I don’t even know your name. Mine’s Melody.”

“Elliot.”

“I’m sorry that you’re missing the train because of my clumsiness.” She said as the train doors closed and the 11.53 left the station.

“I’ve been looking for a way to start a conversation with you for ages. This is not quite what I had in mind, though.” He looked at her now puffy ankle. “That’s swelling fast. It’s gonna need strapping, but I don’t think it’s broken.”

“Would you be kind enough to help me back upstairs? I’ll grab a cab and take myself off to the hospital.”

“Let me help get you there in one piece, and maybe we could talk a little more while you’re waiting in the E.R.”

“Don’t you need to be somewhere, Elliot?”

“Nowhere important.”

Her rescuer carried her back up the steep stairs.

Melody’s eyes as always were drawn to the clock. It still read seven minutes till midday. “I’ve never known it to stop before.”

“Ah, well. It hardly matters now. Let’s get you to the E.R.”

***

The ankle was x-rayed and strapped. Nothing was broken. They were about to leave when a pale-faced doctor came rushing through to the E.R. He raised a hand for silence. “Ladies and Gentlemen, can I have your attention? We have an emergency unfolding and it’s going to get crazy busy in here. You’ll be moved to a smaller waiting area if your need isn’t urgent. Thank you for your cooperation.”

“All staff prepare for an influx of ambulances. We’ll move gurneys into this waiting area and set up a larger triage.”

One of the nurses touched his arm, “What’s happened, Karl?”

“There’s been a level crossing accident. Signals failed and a commuter train and a freight train collided. The first carriage of the commuter has taken the brunt of the collision. Heavy loss of life. Multiple injuries coming in, eta fifteen minutes.”

“What train? Please, tell me?” Melody asked in a strained voice.

“It was the Eleven fifty-three to Helensvale out of Central station.”

Elliot and Melody gasped with the shock of it. Melody managed a whisper, “Oh, dear Lord. We were meant to be in that first carriage.”

Elliot put his arm around her shaking shoulders, in a voice thickened by tears he spoke. “No, Melody. I don’t think we were meant to be there at all.”

“All those poor people! Can we go to the hospital chapel, Elliot? I need to pray.”

“So do I.”

***

 Later that afternoon Elliot helped her settle on the big sofa in her apartment.

Melody sat wracked by tears which stilled finally as she and Elliot drew strength from each other.

She glanced over at the image of her father that graced the wall. “My father told me once that not many people get a second shot in life.”

“Your father’s a wise man.” Elliot spoke softly.

They each rang their loved ones, then sat together throughout the long night, watching on as a new day dawned. They gave a prayer of thanks to be witnessing it and prayed again for the families of the victims and the survivors. Trusting that the answers to their questions would come when their souls, hearts, and minds were ready to hear them.

~~~~~~

Thanks so much for joining me here today. I look forward to seeing your comments.

I may be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

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By Email.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #11 Entries Part 3) by Daniel Watkins & @KIngallsAuthor #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #11.

Today I’m featuring contributions from Daniel Watkins and Karen Ingalls.

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 entry Contributed by … Daniel Watkins.

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

Falling

By

Daniel Watkins

“Dear Yuan,

I can still see you standing at the edge of the falls tiny and wilful above the roar. I couldn’t bear it. I mean the relentless boom so infinite then it haunts me now, after all these years.

I don’t believe you knew I was down there and that I saw you. No, I was watching. And you know it was not for me to call out. Anyway, my voice could never have competed against the sound and the distance.

And how could I have followed? The drop between us defined two worlds. And the time, now, just adds to the hopelessness of it all. I’m as helpless now as I was then. But I can write, can’t I?

Well, there’s the asymmetry. I’ve kept you in my sight, my mind all this time, though I’m lost to you in the landscape like I’m in a Song Dynasty painting. You have to be bothered to squint out the figure in the mountains. Your mind was always too busy and elsewhere for all that nonsense.

Yours is a people-less landscape and mine a portrait in a locket and we don’t represent each other at all, really. Not at all. And that amuses me. Maybe that’s the only reason I’m writing this to you. My letter will lie on your desk by some window out over the bay and you’ll be looking at the boats heading out, wishing you were there not in some dull room with a letter flipping on your desk in the breeze like some dying fish on a rock.

Yuan? What do you see up there? What were you looking for? I used to glance to where I thought you were staring but I didn’t see anything. I didn’t see me, that’s for sure…

Would you ever reply? You must be a little shaken? Surprised I found your address after all these years? Do you know now where your mind was turned?

It’s coming to that time in our lives where we should know what it was we sought, if only because time was going to run out; we all knew the narrative would end and the back cover was waiting for us. Did you find out? Can you write just one letter to me? Please?

I can see you there that time, just before you crossed to the other side of the river. Write to me. Tell me what you saw.

M.”

***

This Contribution by Karen Ingalls.

Fiction in A Flash week 11 entry by Karen Ingalls

Karen may be contacted here …

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

~~~~~~~

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ #Week 11 Entries Part 2) @harmony_kent and @dlfinnauthor #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 2)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #11.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 3)  by Harmony Kent and 4) by D. L. Finn.

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.

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

This HAIBUN contributed by D.L. Finn

The river roars over the precipice. Its cry is heard for miles as it travels its painful path down the jagged granite. The clear sapphire essence turns cloudy and white. There is nothing to cling to as it’s thrust into the unknown.

The great fall of tears
Rapidly release the pain
In the pool’s peace.

D.L. Finn can be found here …

 

***

This Contribution by Harmony Kent

 

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

In the Wild

By

Harmony Kent

Exhausted, Teri stared at the burnt and broken tree while cold spray from the violent waterfall settled onto her exposed skin. With a raised and tired arm, she used her fingers to wipe sweat from her forehead and thought back over all the horrific miles she’d endured.

Her once-pristine Converse now lay in tatters around her cut and swollen feet. The trainers had never been meant for rugged mountain and forest trekking. One of the laces had snapped—too short to tie. On the other shoe, the sole flapped uselessly every time she took a step.

Her legs stung and itched, covered from ankle to mid-thigh in various bug bites and scratches from foliage unforgiving of her trespass. Mud and dirt and the damp green residue of the assorted local fauna stained the hem of her shorts. Her tee-shirt more resembled a soaked dish rag than an item of fashion. Meanwhile, her bra now served as a sling for her broken left arm.

Though it couldn’t possibly help her out of this dire situation, Teri revisited the events that had dumped her into the voracious, man-eating wilderness in the first place. Okay, so maybe she had been driving too fast. But, hey … over-the-top karma, anyone? Sure, she was fairly confident that she’d killed the deer in the road. But hadn’t crashing into the giant sequoia and banging herself up been repayment enough? Karma, it seemed, had other ideas. The little Nissan Micra had bounced off the tree and then rolled. Right off the edge of a cliff. More trees had broken the fall. Had kept her alive for this torture. And she’d even escaped the wreck before it burst into flames.

After assessing her injuries, Teri had made a sling of her bra and then done a funny crawling shamble on one arm and two knees to the pool at the base of the waterfall. Refreshed from the long drink of the chilly nectar, Teri studied the deep valley in which she’d landed. Sheer cliff walls surrounded her. Too steep to climb in her current condition, her only option was to walk down the valley and follow the stream.

The stream grew up and became a river, which must lead to civilisation soon, right? Before long, the terrain had forced her to forge a path far away from the rocky walls of the river canyon. And not long after that, tired, in pain, and disoriented from the knock to the head she’d taken, Teri had gotten lost.

A fresh pang of regret rolled sickeningly in her stomach—all that money burned. She reckoned the raid on the bank had netted her about a million. Now it was all gone. Nothing but ash and smoke mingled with the stench of burnt rubber, upholstery, and hot metal.

Again, Teri stared at the burnt and broken tree while cold spray from the violent waterfall settled onto her exposed skin. With a raised and tired arm, she used her fingers to wipe sweat from her forehead and thought back over all the horrific miles she’d endured.

At the base of the broken trunk lay the wreck of her Micra. After everything she’d endured, Teri had come full circle. Right back to where she’d started.

Exhausted, Teri slumped onto a moss-covered rock and wept. Far, far above, the mournful wail of police sirens scared the birds from the trees.

Copyright ©Harmony Kent 2020

CONTACT HARMONY HERE …

Website: https://harmonykent.co.uk and Story Empire (Co-authored)

Harmony’s Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

***

I can be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #11 entries Part 1) @HowellWave and @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

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.

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

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

 Twitter:

Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

My Contribution …

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

“Another Mountain to Climb”

By

Suzanne Burke

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?”

“Fire away.”

“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.”

“I’m listening.”

“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?”

“Statistical anomalies.”

“Any conclusions?”

“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 …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

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By Email.

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.

 

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #11 NEW Image Prompt. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”  Week #11 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.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by DEADLINE: 4pm EDT on Thursday, August 6th. 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 beginning on Friday, August 7th.

Here is the week #11 Image Prompt.

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

Thanks to Adrian Mato for sharing their FREE IMAGE on Unsplash.

Photo by Adrian Mato on Unsplash

I hope the image inspires you! Come and join in the fun.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

 

‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge’ Week #10 Entries Part 3) @KIngallsAuthor @JanSikes3 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 3)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #10.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 4)  by Karen Ingalls and 5) by Jan Sikes.

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.

Flash image free PIER

This contribution by Karen Ingalls

CARIBOU LAKE

Every 4th of July, our family spent a week at Caribou Lake in Minnesota. I remember running down the old wooden pier and jumping into the water. Swimming in the safe water, our cabin nestled among the pine and aspen trees, and the long days.

By the time, I was fourteen I was an accomplished swimmer so my parents did not worry about me. My sister, Joan, who was one-year younger hated the water and never learned how to swim.

“Come on in, Joan. The water is great.” Watching her shake her head, with her arms folded across her chest, I’d yell, “You are a scaredy-cat.”

She would just stick her tongue out and holler back, “I’m going to tell Mom that you called me a name.”

“I don’t care. When you tell Mom that makes you a tattle-tale.” I laughed at her childishness and called her sissy, namby-pamby, and chicken making clucking sounds. I watched her run up to the cabin slamming the door behind her.

I swam further out into the lake enjoying the warm water that July day. With each stroke, I thought of how different Joan and I are. She is a red-head and I am a brunette. She is short and I am tall. She is a little plump and I am skinny. She is scared of spiders and other such critters. She struggles with math which I find to be easy.

Lost in my thoughts I did not realize how far I had swum nor the large, gray clouds now blocking the once bright sunshine. I turned back towards shore and the old wooden dock and began to swim. All too soon, my arms and legs felt heavy and weak. I shivered from the now chilly water. My heart was pounding and my chest hurt with each breath.

“Oh, God. I’m not going to make it back. I’m going to drown.” Those were my thoughts as I frantically searched the distant shoreline and surrounding water for help, but I saw no one. My cries for help went unanswered. I rolled onto my back, closed my eyes, relaxed my tired body, and hoped I would float to safety

“Rebecca, you are strong. Do not give up.” I heard these words but did not know where they came from. I looked up into the clouds where a shaft of light had broken through the clouds.

. “We are here to help you.”

I saw two angels swoop down through that shaft of light and surround my tired body with golden light. Soon I felt stronger, my legs and arms were no longer weak, and I could breathe normally. I swam toward the old dock and in what seemed only a few minutes my hands reached up to the rickety old ladder. I climbed up and stood looking around to say thank you to the angels, but they were not there.

The gray clouds were now dark and thick and thunder rumbled in the distance. I ran up the hill to our cabin shivering from cold, exhaustion, and elation.

As soon as I entered the cabin, Mother asked me if I had called Joan some names. I looked at my sister and saw her differently. I realized how my words hurt her. “I am sorry, Joan. You are not any of the things I called you.”

The next day while we were eating our breakfast, Joan said, “I wish I liked the water, but it scares me. I’m afraid I will drown.”

“I understand. The thought of drowning is scary, but I will always be by your side to help you.”

She agreed to let me teach her how to swim. We soon became swimming buddies, enjoying the water together.

We also became closer and our differences were less important.

The angels saved me for a reason and I learned a powerful lesson: live my life with kindness.

Karen may be contacted here …

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

~~~

5) This contribution from Jan Sikes.

Flash image free PIER

AN EMPTY PROMISE

 

Emily poured a fresh cup of coffee and strolled to the end of the rickety wooden dock for the hundredth time. Where was he?

She sipped the hot coffee and stared across the tranquil lake, searching intently for any sign of a boat.

A twinge of guilt crawled up her spine. Leaving a note was a piss-poor way of saying goodbye. But the thought of a confrontation and one more fight with Malcolm was more than she could handle. When he’d left for work that morning, she’d packed her suitcase, left her keys, checkbook and a note by the door.

It hadn’t been hard to walk away from a twenty-year marriage. In fact, it had been one of the easiest things she’d ever done.

She’d skipped and twirled like a giddy school girl when she’d arrived at Levi’s cabin, where she’d visited many times over the past few months.

Lying in the circle of his strong, tanned arms, Emily found her center. He made her feel like a beautiful goddess, and when they made love, the earth tilted on its axis.

She sighed deeply and tugged her soft sweater closer. Despite the warmth it provided, she shivered.

“Where are you, Levi?” She paced the length of the dock. He should have been here hours ago.

She checked her cell phone for the umpteenth time.

Malcolm would be home by now. How would he react to the note?  She could picture him sinking into his favorite chair and dropping his head in his hands. Well, she’d set them both free, and he should thank her.

“Levi will be here,” she said to no one. “He just got hung up somewhere.”

She thought about the first time she saw him. Desire stronger than anything she’d ever felt swept the length of her body, leaving her knees weak and the sweet spot between her legs moist.

It had been a girl’s night out. The crowded club was the perfect backdrop for Levi to saunter onto the stage and serenade the ladies.

He was a gorgeous specimen of a man. Long legs, tapered waist, bulging biceps, and the most striking blue eyes she’d ever seen. And when a lock of his wavy brown hair fell over those mystifying eyes, women swooned.

She wanted him.

That had been three months ago.

Now she’d walked away from her stable life. The home she’d built with Malcolm meant nothing anymore. She’d traded it all to be with this tanned god who made her feel alive.

The sun began to drop below the horizon, and she turned back toward the cabin.

“Surely, he’ll be here soon,” she told the birds. “He promised.”

Minutes ticked by, turning into hours.

Emily wrapped a soft blanket around her shoulders and lay on the sofa. Her eyes took in every detail of the love nest where she’d spent many blissful hours.

A lump of dread formed in the pit of her stomach.

Something had happened.

Maybe he’d gotten cold feet. Or, perhaps he’d met someone else younger, prettier and richer.

Emily thought back over every conversation, searching for a clue.

She tried for the thousandth time to call him. It went straight to voice mail.

What to do now? She couldn’t go back home to Malcolm.

Bitter bile rose in her throat. What a fool she’d been to believe she’d found true love.

While her life crumbled around her, she squared her shoulders and walked the length of the dock one last time.

A plunge into the icy waters would end it all.

Her cell phone buzzed, and she grabbed it.

Sorry.

The text lit up the screen.

That was all she got? What a piece of shit! She sprinted down the dock, grabbed her suitcase, and tossed it in the car.

She stared hard at the cabin. A can of gasoline on one corner of the porch caught her eye. Without hesitation, she doused the dried wood, lit a match, and drove away.

Never again would she believe an empty promise.

~~~~~~~~

CONTACT JAN SIKES:

All books are available at http://www.jansikes.com

Amazon

On Twitter

On Facebook

Thanks so much for stopping by.  The Week #11 Image Prompt is now up.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge’ Week #10 Entries Part 2. @MaeClair1 and @gmplano #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 2)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #10.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 3) by Gwen Plano and Entry 4) by Mae Clair.

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.

Flash image free PIER

This contribution by Gwen Plano

As I looked at the photo, I imagined dancing on the pier with a lover and then returning at a much later date alone. The image carries sadness for me and the movement of time. I tried to capture those sentiments in my poem. 

Flash Fiction week 10 poem by GWEN PLANO

Flash Fiction week 10 poem by GWEN PLANO WORDS

Gwen may be contacted … here

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

***

 

This Contribution from Mae Clair

Flash image free PIER

Down Deep

“Don’t do it,” Jake said. “We’re tourists, and they say it has no bottom.”

Sampson eyed the life preserver before looking to the lake. It seemed like a straight shot. Grab the ring and jump off the end of the pier. Everyone knew the water was deep—all the pamphlets he’d studied said as much—but how bad could it be with the preserver to keep him afloat? He wasn’t a novice. He’d been in rough waters before, and the lake was placid. A little cloudy, but he’d take milky over a rough current any day. Jake, on the other hand, was predictably cautious. More scholar than adventurer. They might be twins, but his brother lacked a sense of adventure.

Sampson fingered the preserver, feeling small imperfections like tiny scars, cut into the surface. How many others had given it a try and failed?

Squaring his shoulders, he shot Jake a sideways glance. “Scared?” Bravado was a familiar friend.

“Sensible.”

Sixteen-year-olds didn’t need more than one-word answers.  Even so, Sampson considered it prudent to eye the lake a second time. He swept a hand through his long hair, proud of the shoulder-length locks that connected him to the biblical strongman. And like that Sampson of old, he had faith he could prevail.

Would prevail.

It was time to prove himself to his parents. His mother, the senator, and his father, a high-profile lawyer who hobnobbed with the jet set. Jake never felt the need. Why should he? Already two years ahead in college, he was the golden child, the favored son. Sampson had little more going for him than gut instinct.

Right now, that intuition told him he could make a name for himself by diving into the lake. Screw it all and take a chance. His name would go down in history as the person who discovered what scientists, conspiracy theorists, and countless tourists had failed to prove.

With a backward glance for Jake, he grabbed the life preserver, bolted to the end of the pier, then jackknifed into the water. It parted on impact, leaving the scarred white ring bobbing on the surface. He forced himself deeper into the cloudy depths, pressure building in his ears, his lungs tightening with each downward thrust of his legs. Icy cold and impossible dark enfolded him. There was no up, no down, his sense of direction obliterated within a few frantic heartbeats.

He’d wanted to prove himself the hero but sensed he’d embraced something fatal. He’d never be able to propel to the surface before cold and gloom sucked the breath from his lungs.

Freaking stupid, a hundred times over.

But then as despair slithered closer, something moved below him. A sinuous shadow that flowed through the water with a flick of its mammoth tail. He barely had time to register the movement before it sent him rocketing toward the surface.

Sampson emerged, spitting water.. He clung to the preserver, limp and exhausted, his heart railroading like a locomotive. How had a simple dive left him so depleted? Insight whispered numerous swimmers and explorers had felt the same draining pull before. He wasn’t the first. Wouldn’t be the last.

A slow smile stretched his lips. Raising a hand, he waved to Jake who raced to the end of the pier, eager to haul him back to dry land.

Sampson no longer cared about proving himself to his famous parents or his Brainiac brother. He’d found far more than he’d searched for—not the fame and fanfare of a celebrity, but the quiet wonder of someone who’d been shown a treasure that deserved to remain a mystery—now, forever, and always.

The Lochness Monster.

***

Mae can be reached here:

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~~~~~~~

Thank you so much for stopping by. Later today I’ll be featuring Part 3 of this week’s entries, contributions by Karen Ingalls and Jan Sikes.

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #10 Entries Part 1) @HowellWave and @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 1)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #10.

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 LINER FOR WEEK 10

Flash image free PIER

“I thought you were just saying the name when you wanted to go to Milk Lake.”

Contact John here…

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2) My Contribution.

Flash image free PIER

Connected

By

Suzanne Burke

“Are you asking for my professional opinion, Ellie?”

“Yes, Martin. I am.”

“Mike is in superb shape. You and his physical therapist have both made certain of that. He’ll incur no physical harm from a weekend away.”

“I hear a but?”

“But, in my personal opinion, you’re taking on more unnecessary emotional pain for yourself by going back there. You need to accept that his memory of his past may never return.”

“It’s that may that I cling to, Martin. He has no sign of any mental impairment, nothing identifiable with dementia or Alzheimers. It was the trauma of the accident injury that stole his memories. You said yourself that it may return in part or even fully.”

“Ellie, dear. That was almost a year ago. Each day that passes makes the likelihood of that happening more doubtful.”

The slender woman stood and patted the neurologist’s arm, “I know you’re concerned for both of us, Martin. You needn’t be. You know I’ll never start a conversation with Mike that begins with the words ‘ We used to …’ and I will not ask ‘Do you remember …?’ I can’t force the memories back. But hey it’s a special occasion and just maybe he’ll like the new memories we’re making.”

The man looked at her with worried eyes. “Please, be gentle with yourself, and I wish you happy fishing.” He opened the door and showed her out of his office.

***

Ellie climbed from the RV and stretched her weary bones, she inhaled the sweet tang of the air and waited for Mike to join her.

They stood together taking in the view, and Mike broke the silence, “I wonder how old the pier is. That view across the lake is quite something, isn’t it?”

“Oh, yes. That it is.”

“Is that where we’re fishing?”

“Yes.” She turned back toward the RV. “I’ll need a hand to carry stuff.”

He smiled, walked over, and slung the blanket and the picnic basket from his shoulder. Ellie grabbed the flashlight and the tackle box and tucked the old cassette player under her arm. They made their way down to the end of the dock.

Mike spread out the blanket and removed two hand-held lines from the tackle box. He looked out across the water and then selected sinkers and hooks and began fixing them to both the lines. Ellie held her breath, this was something Mike had always done, he’d say she took far too long to do it herself and shake his head with a smile.

She took hold of herself, this kind of ritual had been deemed learned behavior as was his ability to read, even though he had no memory of how he’d learned to do it.

They caste their lines out and settled down on the edge of the dock. Almost but not quite touching.

The sound of rolling thunder echoed in across the hills, Mike sniffed the air. “Rain’s coming. But not too soon.”

Ellie placed her line on the deck and turned to open the picnic basket. she took out the bottle of Chardonnay and two paper cups. “Drink, Mike?”

“Uh-huh. Sounds good.”

She poured them both a good measure and watched Mike sip his with pleasure. “Nice drop.”

Ellie nodded as she sipped on her own and tried not to keep reading things into Mike’s behavior that just weren’t there. So, he still loved Chardonnay. No biggie.

The daylight hours slipped by comfortably with long conversations unnecessary between them.

They’d eaten their fill of the cold roast chicken and freshly baked bread and had begun on the cheese platter.

The thunder roared again almost overhead, “It’s gonna rain sooner than I thought.” Mike said.

Ellie smiled, “I like the rain. Can we just get ourselves under the blanket and stay?”

“I don’t see why not. I’ll grab the cassette player and the flashlight.”

“Oh, that reminds me … I’ll only be a minute. I need to grab the music.” Ellie hurried off to the RV and smiled shortly after as she picked out ‘Sitting on the Dock of The Bay” from her music collection. If this was to be the last time they ever came here then at least she’d be listening to one of their favorite old songs with him alongside her.

Ellie headed back down the pier and then stopped in her tracks. Mike was standing now and he was humming away to music that only played in his head. He turned towards her and smiled through the tears that now coursed down his cheeks.

“That tape had better be Otis Redding, young lady.” His voice was tight with tears.

“Oh, God! Mike? You remember.”

“Damn it, Ellie girl, where did you go?”

“I’ve been right here waiting, my love.”

She hurried into his arms and they sang together through tears and laughter, “Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun, I’ll be sitting when the evenin’ comes.”

They welcomed the rain and danced in it. It was a truly memorable fiftieth wedding anniversary.

***

Writing this piece linked me back to sweet memories of another pier in another place when I too danced in the rain. Here’s Otis Redding  “Sitting On The Dock of The Bay.

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Tomorrow I’ll be featuring entries Part 2) by Gwen Plano and Mae Clair.

 

 

 

 

‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge’ Week #9 Entries Part 5)– Entry 6) by @gmplano &7) by @jaydawes2 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 5)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #9.

Today I’m featuring a contribution from entry 6) by Gwen Plano & 7) by Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie.

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.

Flash Fiction week 9 another good treehouse

Contribution 6) by Gwen Plano

As I thought about the photo, I imagined a child looking out a window, and so my story begins.

 

Picture
The Cabin In The Trees
by
Gwen Plano

“Grandma, I see a cabin in the trees.”

“You’ve not seen it before?”

“No. Was it there?”

“Yes. Your granddad built it.”

“He did? Why?”

“When he got home from the Vietnam War, he decided to build a house in the trees.”

“But, why?”

“He said he wanted to be near the birds.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Your granddad kept hearing things that he didn’t want to hear.”

“Like what, grandma?”

“Explosions, gun shots, yelling. At first, he’d climb into the trees and sit there by himself.”

“What did he hear up there?”

“The birds. He told me he never heard a bird sing when he was in Vietnam.”

“And, he missed them?”

“I suspect so, but I also think their songs helped him with the other things he was hearing.”

“Can I go up to the cabin, grandma?”

“Well…I guess so. I’ll go with you. I haven’t been up there for years.”

The child grabs hold of her wrinkled hand and walks with her through the grassy field behind the house to a clearing. She brushes aside the overgrowth as she steps onto a suspension bridge. They silently walk across the bridge to the cabin. Once inside, she takes a deep, slow breath. Not much has changed, she thinks.

The child rushes to a pile of papers and picks up an old photograph. “What’s this, grandma?”

“Oh my. I’ve looked many times for this old picture.” Pointing to the three men in the image, she explains. “The middle one is your granddad. The other two were his best friends. They never came home.”

“Why not?”

“They were killed in the war. Sometimes your granddad thought he could hear them when he sat outside. Shall we go out to the deck and listen?”

The two walk outside the cabin to the old metal chairs, now covered with mold and bird droppings. Grandma uses her apron to wipe them off.

“This is where granddad sat?”

“Yes. Sometimes I joined him.”

“What did you talk about?”

“Nothing and everything. Let’s be quiet and listen. You just might hear him whisper.”

The child looks over to grandma. She has closed her eyes and tilted her head upwards towards the sky. Following her lead, he shuts his eyes and listens. After a while, he smiles.

“Grandma, I heard it.”

“What, child?”

“Everything.”

trees speak in the breeze
while birds sing nature’s glory
be still and listen

 

7) Contributed by Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

Flash Fiction week 9 another good treehouse

No one had mentioned the tree house all day, which was odd because it had been the main subject of discussion for weeks. She knew they had finished building it and awaited the nonstop nagging to get her to inspect their handiwork.

They expected her to climb the rickety ladder and walk along the crazily swaying bridge, but that idea filled her with dread.

She had been watching their hair-raising efforts all summer, as each piece of timber was carefully maneuvered into position, risking life, and limb to reach the platform so high up in the trees.

Now the tree house was finished, it looked dark and menacing, creating shivers that ran down her spine like cold water. She loved the forest, and when walking among the trees she felt free and safe, but she knew instinctively that wasn’t what the tree house offered.

She wouldn’t be able to go up there now anyway, her conveniently twisted ankle made sure of that…

©JayeMarie 2020

 

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Thanks so much for stopping by. The Final Entry for this week, number 8) by Miriam Hurdle will be posted later today.

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‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge’ Week #9 Entries Part 4)–Entry 5) @MaeClair1 #Iartg #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 4)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #9.

Today I’m featuring a contribution from entry 5) by Mae Clair

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.

Flash Fiction week 9 another good treehouse

Yellow Bird

By

Mae Clair

Joel said it would be fun, so we picked up our way up a free-standing rope ladder, then hiked across a flimsy bridge to the house in the trees. Once inside, I dropped my backpack, bent double, and sucked in lungfuls of air. After the climb, my legs felt like water. “Tell me again why I agreed to this?”

My boyfriend grinned. “Because you can’t resist a challenge.”

Huh.

I’d resisted ziplining when he wanted to send me careening over a gorge large enough to house the Goodyear Blimp. I’d put my foot down when he’d suggested crawling into a shark cage for a photo op with great whites, and I’d drawn the line at cave-diving in Mexico. So why had I agreed to spend five days in a treehouse tucked in the middle of nowhere?

Okay, so maybe said treehouse came complete with a rollout bed, mini fridge, camp stove, and side deck, but I wasn’t the nature type. My idea of roughing it involved an ocean front hotel with a swim up bar and jacuzzi.

I stole a glance at my cell phone. “No bars.”

Joel rummaged a bottle of water from refrigerator. “You weren’t supposed to bring that. No cell service, internet, radio, or TV.” He took a swig from the bottle then dragged the back of one hand across his mouth. “Five days of nothing but solitude and nature. You’re going to love it.”

“I think I’m going to hate it.”

***

DAY ONE:

A yellow bird with green stripes splayed over its wings woke me just after five in the morning. Joel rolled over with a sleepy grin, undisturbed by the chirp-tweetle-chirp that had me grumpily searching out coffee. I carried a mug onto the deck overlooking a massive blue lake and watched the sun rise.

Joel got up in time for brunch.

DAY TWO:

The same yellow bird pulled me from sleep before I was ready. Morning had barely settled, the lake overlaid with a fine silver mist. Pretty stuff. Quiet, too. No bleat of car horns or squeal of tires. I’d grown up in the city, but the solitude was comforting.

Joel slept too long, and woke with a backache.

DAY THREE:

I named the bird Claude. For all I knew, he could have been Claudia, but the little guy (or gal) seemed okay with the moniker. I got up before he could wake me, humming a tune while I made coffee. Joel pulled a pillow over his head and grumbled I was being too loud. By the time he finally crawled from bed, I was busy drawing trees in a sketchbook I’d found in the cupboard.

Claude chirped his approval.

DAY FOUR:

Joel is a jerk. If he’s not sleeping, he’s pacing. And if he’s not pacing, he’s moaning how bored he is, cut off from everything. Most of the time I ignore him, especially now that Claude makes a habit of visiting morning and night. He perches on the deck railing and we discuss our day.

Chirp-tweetle-chirp-tweetle.

DAY FIVE:

For the first time since we’ve arrived, Joel got up early. He shoved everything he’d brought into his backpack then hunkered by the door, waiting for the hour when he could scurry down the rope ladder, back to civilization—to a maze of car horns, business meetings, bus fumes, and ringing cell phones. Just the thought makes me sick. I haven’t worked up the nerve to tell him I’m not going.

DAY SIX:

It’s far more peaceful since Joel left. Blissful. He said I was crazy for staying. Said I’d run out of food and water, but he doesn’t understand what I’ve found with Claude. I wish Joel well in his fast-forward world. Deep down, I know this is where I was always meant to be.

It just took a wakeup call and a treehouse challenge to make me realize it.

****

Joel took a final look around. He was sure after two weeks Angie would be ready to abandon the treehouse, but she’d disappeared. Most of the provisions that had been stocked in the refrigerator were still there, her backpack with clothes set out by the bed.

He walked outside to the deck, disturbed by the heavy silence. A small yellow bird with green stripes perched on the railing, studying him with keen eyes. As he watched, a second bird joined the first, huddling by its side. Two souls snugged together like one.

Chirp-tweetle-chirp-tweetle.

***

Contact Mae Clair:

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Tomorrow I’ll be featuring the 6th entry for week #9.  by Gwen Plano.

Thanks so much for joining me today! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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