‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 Entry Part 7) By Mae Clair @MaeClair1 #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 7)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #21

Today I’m featuring the contribution 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 and Mae Clair’s Contribution.

Old abandoned, boarded up two-story home in autumn woods at sunset

I’ve Got a Plan

“You really bought this?”  Mason shook his head as he surveyed the derelict property. In its day, the house had probably been grand. Now, it was nothing more than a weathered, ivy-encrusted shell. Gilded by the last rays of the setting sun, the old two-story appeared part of the barren woodland surrounding it. “I hope you can get your money back.”

“It was dirt cheap.” Jeremy’s face glowed with pride. “Besides…I’ve got a plan.”

There was always a plan with Jeremy—another fanciful idea or dragon tail. It had been that way since he was a kid. “Okay, I’ll bite. What’s the plan?”

“A Halloween Haunt. Picture it.” Jeremy spread his hands, framing the house. “It won’t take a lot of money. Just enough to shore things up and make certain they’re sound. We add a few fog machines, cheap vintage furniture, and I’m telling you, Dad, it can’t fail.”

“You’ll need actors.”

“I’ve got that covered. We add to the existing atmosphere and play up grim and creepy.”

Business would be limited to a few months in the fall, but that wasn’t entirely problematic. Plus, it would be good experience if the kid pulled it off. At twenty-eight, it was time he managed something. 

“Maybe.” Mason wasn’t ready to commit. “Let’s see inside.”

~ooOOoo~

Isabelle rolled her eyes at the agonized creak of the front door. It had started screeching like that somewhere during the last century. “Dearest, we have company.”

Liam flipped a page in his book. “Two men. I saw them standing out front.”

“Don’t you think you should go downstairs and see what they’re about?” She lowered her embroidery hoop to her lap, the soft folds of her saffron gown, a color match for the flames in the hearth. As cozy as their sitting room was, she understood why Liam was reluctant to leave but one of them had to address the situation. “You’ve already read Moby Dick numerous times.”

“But I never tire of it. We could send Chloe.”

“That strumpet?” Isabelle clucked her tongue. “I think not. I don’t even know why the fool girl insists on lingering.”

“She did love me.” Liam set his book aside. “Probably still does.”

He was a distinguished man with a smattering of gray in his hair, his eyes the dark blue of midnight skies. Isabelle was sometimes overcome by her devotion to him. She couldn’t term the affection love—not any longer—but her emotion ran strong. She’d been naïve when they’d wed, but after a decade discerned his wandering eye. Especially after Chloe came to live with them, lending a hand with domestic chores.

“Her love is irrelevant. I do not share.”

“As you proved.”

Isabelle flashed an innocent smile. “You always enjoyed my tea in the past.”

“Minus the poison.”

“At least I followed you to the grave by drinking it myself.”

“Not quite the grave.” He motioned to the room at large.

“Which brings us back to the problem downstairs.”

“Very well.” Liam heaved a breath. “I’ll scare them off like the others.”

~ooOOoo~

“It has potential.” After exploring the main level, Mason was almost ready to commit. It would take an outlay of cash, but nothing he couldn’t raise. Maybe this time Jeremy would finally turn one of his pipedreams into gold. “We should look upstairs.”

He started toward the staircase, halting abruptly when he spied a figure at the top. “What the—” 

The man’s face appeared chiseled from granite. Dressed in outdated clothing, he looked much like a Dicken’s character, wearing a short waistcoat, silken cravat, and high-topped boots. 

He speared a finger in their direction. “Trespassers! You do not belong here!” The walls shook at the boom of his voice. The floor heaved and cracked. Behind him, lightning exploded from the ceiling, filling the air with ozone. “Leave while you can.”

“Holy shit!” Mason stumbled backward, colliding with his son.

Jeremy caught him by the shoulders. “Don’t mind him, Dad. That’s just Mr. O’Conner.” He hustled past, climbing the steps two at a time. “Hiya, Mr. O’Conner.” He flipped a wave to the stunned apparition. “Chloe told me all about you and your wife. You’re going to fit right in. Aren’t they, Dad?” Jeremy glanced over his shoulder. “Dad?”

Mason stood rooted to the landing, knees quavering, heart thundering. “J-J-Jeremey…” He couldn’t seem to find his voice. “Th-that’s a ghost.”

“Yeah, I know.” The idiot kid grinned ear-to-ear. “Didn’t I tell you we wouldn’t need actors?”

~~~~~

Mae Clair can be reached here …

Twitter:

Amazon Author Page:

Mystery, Suspense & Urban Legends | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up

Website & Blog | Goodreads

~~~~~~~

Thank you so much for stopping by. I’ll be featuring other posts as they are received.

I may be contacted here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

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By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 Entry Part 11) By Michele Jones @chelepie #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 11)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15. Today I’m featuring a contribution from Michele Jones.
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.

Miriam landed outside, in the open, on a deserted street. At least she hoped it was deserted. If someone saw her… The thought made her shudder. What the hell is going on? This is the fifth time in three weeks they transported her to an unprotected, open space.

After a quick look around she saw her target approximately fifteen yards away, across the street. Miriam sprinted to it and rushed inside. She punched his number in her communicator. He answered on the first blip.

“I’m listening.” His voice echoed in the empty hallway.

“Are you. Because clearly you haven’t heard a word I’ve said. Five. Five times. In less than three weeks. I hope I wasn’t compromised. This needs to be corrected. I don’t—”

“Noted. Now, get back to your assignment.”

Before she could reply, he was gone.

This house looked so much different than the photograph she was given. Broken windows, peeling wallpaper, torn carpet. Furniture strewn and broken. Miriam rummaged through papers and books. Oh, no. They sent her one-hundred years into the future. She shouldn’t be here.

What she needed to get wasn’t in this time. Was that breaking glass? Miriam ducked behind the broken couch. Being seen by the wrong person could shift the time paradigm. If that happened, it could change the future. A shiver went down her spine.

Miriam tried her communicator again. No response. Before she could try her communicator a third time, the floor creaked. Muffled voices came from the back of the house.

“Yeah, I saw her. She just appeared.”

“She ran in here. I’m sure of it. We’ll make her tell us—”

Damn. She was compromised. No weapon. No way out. No help. Her transporter was useless, it needed more time to recharge. She hit the panic button on her communicator. No response. Was this done purposely? Did someone want her dead?

Miriam looked around the room for anything she could use to protect herself. Just some shards of glass and a rod propping the door open. They would have to do. If he’d just listened to her about the teleportation.

This was more than a RECON mission. This would be a survival mission. Trouble did follow her. Whoever they were, they were getting closer. She hit the panic button again and gripped the rod tighter.

Trapped. If she went upstairs, she had no way out. She’d have to go through the hall to get to the front door. Should she risk it? The thumping in her head pulsed harder.

Another try of the communicator proved useless. Miriam punched the panic button again. Sweat ran down her back. Her breathing sped up. She would have to fight. To protect herself if they came any closer.

And they did. How did they know where she hid? One man pushed the couch out of the way. The other stood sizing her up. She raised her only weapon, the rod.

“Get away from me.”

They laughed. She swung the rod in front of her. “Stay back. I’m warning you.”

They lunged at her. She lifted the rod above her head and swung in a slashing motion. Before she made contact, they were gone. He stood in their place.

Michele can be reached here …

 Twitter

URL: http://www.michele-jones.com
Email: icoachgirls@gmail.com
Whois: http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/70.90.235.33 (IP: 70.90.235.33)

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 #15 Entry Part 3) By Harmony Kent @harmony_kent #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 3)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15.

Today I’m featuring a contribution by Harmony Kent.

 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.

lost-places-3035877_1920

The Mad House

BY

Harmony Kent

 

Emily does not like this house. Doesn’t matter how cheap it is. Rick, however, adores it. ‘C’mon, Em. It’s got serious potential.’

‘For a broken back,’ she mutters with her back turned.

‘Mmm. What was that?’

She faces Rick and lies, ‘I said, it’ll be nice to bring it back … see this old place restored to it’s former glory.’

‘Yeah.’ Rick grins and gives her a quick hug.

Emily’s happy that she’s made him happy. These last few months have been tough. Still, this place gives her the creeps. It feels oppressive. The house oozes hate.

Subdued, Emily traipses after Rick toward the filthy, broken door that leads into the hallway. Absently, she trails her fingers along the wood.

‘Ouch!’ She sucks the bloody finger into her mouth. Wide-eyed, she stares from the door to her husband. ‘The damn thing just bit me.’

Rick shakes his head, and a sad smile tugs at his lips and eyes like they can’t decide whether to go up or down. ‘Oh, honey. Let’s not start all that again.’

Emily hangs her head, and her stomach rolls sickeningly. No, let’s not do ‘all that’ again. The asylum wasn’t a fun place, and she’ll do anything not to return. Even this old building is better than that house of horrors. But she never made it up. It wasn’t all ‘in her imagination’. Fed up, frightened of looking crazy, and wanting to make it up to her husband, Emily holds it all in.

When she fails to speak, Rick pulls her in for another hug. Like that’ll fix everything. She holds in a sigh, but her tension transmits to him through her muscles. With a frown, he pulls away and promises, ‘We’ll get there.’

Emily nods and forces a smile for her husband’s benefit.

He strides into the hallway. Emily takes a step after him and then stops dead. The broken glass rimming the two lower frames in the door look like fangs. And the top two resemble eyes—empty and black and menacing. She shakes her head and strides past determinedly. It’s just a door. Simply four damaged square panes.

Rick’s gone upstairs. She wishes he hadn’t. The thought of stepping foot on those old risers leaves her weak and trembling, and it seems hard to breathe.

A creak and draft from behind give her a split-second’s warning. The door to the lounge swings shut. Impossible. An old chair had propped it open. Emily’s heart hammers so hard she’s sure it’s about to break her ribs. Its frantic bid for escape echoes her own misgivings. Why can nobody understand that she sees things? No matter what the doctors tell her, it’s all real. It is.

She spins around with her arms raised in front of her face. Sure enough, the door’s closed tight. The chair is nowhere in sight. The discarded box-drawer that had lain against the hinged-edge now lies by her feet on the dusty floor. Emily skitters away. Misgivings forgotten for the moment, she dashes up the stairs. ‘Rick? … Rick? Where are you?’

Thick silence surrounds her, more like the sinister wrapping of a hungry spider than the protective cocoon of a butterfly. Emily shudders. She dashes from room to room but can’t find him anywhere. Panicked, she flies back down the stairs and runs throughout the ground floor. No Rick. Terrified, she even checks the basement. Nothing. Her breathing comes in gasps and heaves, and her vision blurs. She bursts out of the front door.

Rick stands outside, holding up the keys to the house and wearing a huge smile. His smile falters and then recovers. He jingles the keys. ‘Welcome home, honey!’

What? They were just viewing to see if they would buy it. Where’s the agent? How have they bought this place already? She blinks and copies Rick’s enthusiastic smile. ‘Um, remind me what day it is, sweetie.’

Rick chuckles. ‘It’s Monday, of course.’

They’d viewed the house on a Saturday. ‘Er, do you have the papers?’

‘Sure.’ Rick holds out the contract. Emily snatches it and looks at the date: three months have passed. The house has had her for twelve weeks. Rick frowns and studies Emily. ‘You okay, hon?’

She nods and smiles. She knows what she has to do. ‘I’m looking forward to gutting this place.’

‘It doesn’t need that much work. And they just released you. Remember, baby steps.’

His words make no sense. All she sees is utter devastation. Illusion? Delusion? Or premonition?

© 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.

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By Email.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll be posting further entries as they are received.

 

 

 

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ NEW Image Prompt Week #13 @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”  Week #13 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 20th. 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.

UPDATE: The response to the prompts has been just wonderful. As a result … FROM THIS WEEK (#13) I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here AS I RECEIVE THEM. Rather than posting all of them only over a few days.  Thanks to everyone for the amazing support.

Here is the week #13 Image Prompt.

michael-dziedzic-1bjsASjhfkE-unsplash

Thanks to Michael Dziedzic for sharing their Free Image 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

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By Email.

 

 

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #12 Entries Part 4) by Mae Clair @MaeClair1 & Gwen Plano @gmplano #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 4)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #12.

Today I’m featuring contributions by Mae Clair and Gwen Plano.

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

Yesteryear Treasures

By

Mae Clair

The antique store was small, tucked into a side street beside a dried herb emporium. Charlene studied the faded brick façade and low hanging wooden yardarm. The sign creaked in a slight breeze, its flowery blue script proclaiming Yesteryear Treasures. A man with long white hair greeted her when she stepped inside.

“Good afternoon.” He had eyes the color of midnight and long-fingered hands.

“Hello.” Charlene offered a smile then wandered away to browse aisles of pale milk-glass and cameo pins. Bone china teacups, vintage greeting cards, feathered hats and opera glasses, rag dolls with black button eyes. There was too much to take in.

She paused to finger an ornate four-sided clock.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?”  The white-haired man appeared behind her.

“My great grandmother had a clock like this when I was a child.” Strange how she hadn’t thought about it in years, but now she could see it nestled atop a dresser in Nana Ruth’s bedroom as though it was yesterday.

What are you doing?” The reprimand in her mother’s voice echoed in her ears. So long ago, yet powerful still. “You shouldn’t be in here.”

 “But, Mama.” She couldn’t look away from the stark numerals and gilded brass casing of the clock. “It has four faces.”

 “It’s not for you to worry about.” Her mother knelt in front of her, lightly gripping her arms. “This doesn’t concern you.”

 “But I’ve never seen a clock like that.”

 “And you won’t again. Forget this one while you can.”

Charlene drew a breath, a bird beating in her chest. The floor felt spongy, like she might slip through into a realm where matter weighed little and thought was tangible. “Why? Is it special?”

“In ways you can’t imagine.” Her mother stood. “Come, child.” Taking her hand, she drew Charlene from the room.

Charlene looked at the man beside her, his white hair a waterfall of ivory. She touched the clock, a barely-there brush of fingertips. “I’ll take this.”

“You should know it doesn’t work. The time has been stuck at 11:53 since I acquired it.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

His smile thinned, sliding into something liquid. Later, when she returned to her small studio apartment, she set the clock beside her bed. Weary, she made a meager dinner of tomato soup and olive toast, then settled in front of the TV. The day caught up with her and she drifted off shortly after 8:00 PM.

When she woke hours later, the apartment was dark, needles of moonlight splayed across the floor. Her bed was only a handful of steps away, the old clock on the nightstand stuck at 11:53.

She grabbed her iPhone, illuminated the face, and saw the time was an exact match for the bubble clock with four faces. Slowly, she stood—half of her drawn to the window overlooking the moon-silvered grass to the rear of her apartment, the other pulled by the clock. Four different faces, all reading 11:53.

She closed her eyes. Heard the sound of her great-grandmother’s voice. Her grandmother’s. Her mother’s. Three spirits bound together in a prison of brass and glass, collared and penned by time. Her mother’s voice was strongest. Not words as much as a sad, keening hum of regret.

“You wanted to keep me out of it.” Charlene set the clock on the kitchen counter, her pulse wildfire in her ears.

She grabbed a hammer from the storage cabinet beside the sink. Without hesitation she bludgeoned the time piece. Spurred by anger and fear—a malice so strong each strike grew in ferocity until there was nothing left but cogs, broken gears, and scattered springs. The spirits of her great grandmother, her grandmother, and her mother soared free.

Calmly, she rounded up the scattered pieces of the clock, then dumped them in the trash. The next day she returned to the antique shop, but found the place boarded up. She caught a stooped over gray-haired woman opening the herb emporium and asked about the shop.

Yesteryear Treasures?” The old woman shook her head. “Hasn’t been here for over twenty years. Nothing has. The place has been abandoned for as long as I can remember.”  With a tired shake of her head, she disappeared into her shop.

Charlene stared at the building. At the space where the weathered sign had hung.

As she walked away, she was certain she heard the old wood creaking behind her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mae Clair can be reached here …

Twitter:

Amazon Author Page:

Mystery, Suspense & Urban Legends | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up

Website & Blog | Goodreads

~~~~~~~

This contribution by Gwen Plano.

When I saw the photo, I imagined a train station and decided to superimpose the clock on a station scene. Focusing on the time, I thought of a country rock song. You’ll soon discover why.   
Midnight Rider

“What’s wrong, Bernie? I came as soon as I could.”

“It’s Sam. He took off tonight.”

“He left—again?”

“Said he had a train to catch.”

“What the hell is wrong with that guy? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I should have expected it. I told him about the baby.”

“And the bastard didn’t give a shit?”

“He said something like, ‘that’s your problem, not mine.’”

“Why do you put up with him? Really! You need to figure this out, Bernie.”

“I know, I know. I just keep thinking he’ll settle down. He’s a good guy down deep.”

“Well—down deep doesn’t cut it. In my book, he’s nothing but a drifter.”

“Do you think that after the baby is born, he’ll…”

“Are you serious? Bernie! We’ve talked about this way too many times.”

“What should I do?”

“To start with, forget Sam. You’ll never catch this midnight rider.”

 

Gwen Plano can be reached here …

 

Thank you so much for stopping by. Tomorrow I’ll feature the 5) post for WEEK #12 by  Joan Hall. The image prompt for #Week #13 is now live.

I may be contacted here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

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By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #12 Entries Part 3) by Michele Jones @chelepie & Karen Ingalls @KIngallsAuthor #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 3)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #12.

Today I’m featuring contributions from Michele Jones 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.

bryce-barker-cIcX_aO9LPo-unsplash

This Contribution by Michele Jones.

Mariam sat on a bench in an unfamiliar building staring at a pole with four strange circles surrounded by numbers. Where was she? Or more importantly, when was she? Nothing about this place was remotely familiar. Not even the history books she studied had anything in them resembling this place.

She looked around for anything that would indicate when and where she had landed. Above the pole a sign—Dupilo Station. A discarded newspaper on the floor. The date—December 31, 1957. Why did that name sound so familiar? And the date—should she know that? She closed her eyes and concentrated. There was something about this place. She couldn’t think what it was. Why? What is it? She shook her head. Nothing came to her.

The vibration on her wrist pulled her back to the present. Miriam lifted the watch and answered in a whisper, “I’m listening.”

Miriam rolled her eyes. The heat on her face let her know she was growing angrier by the second and she know her face must be as red as a beat. “I. KNOW. WHAT .MY. JOB. IS. You don’t have to tell me again. RECON. Always RECON. Review, Evaluate, Clarify, Observe, and Notify. Did I forget anything?” A slight pause. “I didn’t think so. Now let me do my job so I can return.”

Too bad she couldn’t end the call like her ancestors by slamming that telephone thing. It would really help with her frustration. Now to get the information she was after and get out—before something bad happened.

Something bad always happened. Trouble just seemed to follow her. That’s the reason she never got to participate in an active mission—it had to be. Another sigh.

Oh, no. Dupilo Station. It came to her. Miriam had to get out of there. Now. This is where everything changed. And the pole. It was a time device. Something her grandmother told her about ages ago. The clock was a popular meeting place. Meet me under the Dupilo Clock. This clock on a pole was something they didn’t have in her time. That’s why she didn’t place it until now. If she were right, he’d be here now. She turned and stared at the entrance. Like clockwork, he stood in the doorway.

~~~~~
Michele can be reached here …

 Twitter

URL: http://www.michelejones.com
Email: icoachgirls@gmail.com
Whois: http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/70.90.235.33 (IP: 70.90.235.33)

***

This contribution by Karen Ingalls.

Fiction In A Flash week 12 entry Karen Ingalls Tanka

Karen may be contacted here …

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

***

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.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #12 Entries Part 2) by Harmony Kent @harmony_kent #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 2)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #12.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 3)  by Harmony Kent.

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

The Dead Hour

By

Harmony Kent

The station clock. Stuck. Seven minutes to midnight.

And bang … I’m awake again. Same time. Every. Single. Night.

I need sleep. Without the glorious restorative powers of deep slumber, you can’t hold me responsible.

Even in the glare of these harsh fluorescents, my eyes remember the comforting soft glow of the olde-world clock—the promise of simpler days. A kinder era. I’m a girl born way behind my time. Would that I could go back.

I have FFI, so I’m dead already. I know that. Fatal Familial Insomnia is no joke. But my life still matters. I still matter. Don’t I?

I’m down to a mere 30 minutes of rest in every 24 hours. Each day sees my brief period of respite fall by a minute more. Tomorrow, I’ll achieve only 29 minutes. No matter when I lay my head down to sleep, and regardless of how long I go under for, I always awaken at seven minutes to midnight. What have you done to me?

You promised you would help.

Already, my eyesight fails me. My memory too. What will I lose next? By now, we can’t call it sleep. Not really. Always, I’m aware of the lights. The torturous ticking of the clock. Even with all your drugs, you’ve lost all control over me. Can you not see that?

Three burly men slam open the door, burst in, and hold me down. By now, I’m used to such rough attention. How often do I have to lay here, passive and unresistive, before you trust me? I hold my breath. Wait. Here he comes. The fourth guy, wearing a full hazmat suit, complete with sealed helmet. An elephant-sized syringe gleams silver in the white, sterile space. Idly, I watch as needle pierces flesh and plunger plunges. The vile goober empties into my veins.

Nobody speaks. Not one word. Eerie, this silent dance we perform each and every night. Always as the clock strikes twelve. The new dead hour. Like you, I used to believe that the dead hour fell between 3 and 4 am, when most people are apt to die in their sleep. Also the time when folks slumber deepest. Hah. The irony.

The days pass.

28 minutes

27 minutes

26

25

10 minutes

9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 …

The station clock. Stuck. Seven minutes to midnight.

And bang … I’m awake again. Same time. Every. Single. Night.

I need sleep. You can’t hold me responsible.

How can you have just one-minute’s worth of sleep? Preposterous. And yet here we are. Again.

Tonight is different, though. All these nights, you’ve believed I’ve suffered hallucinations. They’re real, I tell you. I have precisely seven minutes before the goons give me the needle. Sixty seconds before the big hand moves onto six minutes. I have to make every second count.

Are you with me?

Or are you against me?

The silence terrifies my withered body. Did I get it wrong?

Resolute, I close my eyes and slow my heart to beat in time with each tick, tick, tick.

The amber glow from the olde-world station clock comforts, beckons, and offers escape from this nightmare. With long-practiced ease, I swallow my tongue. My best hope is that you’ll believe I died trapped in this shallow shell of flesh and blood and bones.

I know better.

The clock. Seven minutes to midnight. My doorway from this house of horrors. My soul soars.

In the station, a crowd awaits me. When I land, their applause deafens. Now I know why only my bed was occupied. Why the other fifty lie empty. All your failures are here. With me. Angry.

Contrary to what you thought, our sleep deprivation enhanced our powers instead of destroying them. Fire dances across my fingertips. Nerves tingle. Three seconds left.

My insomnia, and your cruel treatment, have left me devoid of the compassion you might once have expected from this gentle soul that was I. When you’ve stripped everything away, what’s left?

I turn and face the portal. Before it can close, I throw my flames of fury into the lab. Around me, my fellow victims do the same.

Two seconds.

We stand and watch it all burn.

One second.

It’s six minutes to midnight, and I’m free.

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.

 

 

Book Review: “Eventide: (A Hodes Hill Novel Book 3.)” by Mae Clair @maeclair1 @StoryEmpire #IARTG #WritingCommunity

Hello and welcome to my first Book Review of 2020. “Eventide: (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 3) by Mae Clair. 

EVENTIDE BOOK COVER

 

Please meet the Author: Mae Clair.

bio pic mae clair
Mae Clair

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that weave contemporary elements of mystery and suspense with urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania, and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

MY REVIEW:
EVENTIDE BOOK COVER

BLURB:

The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This book is a superb way to end this marvelous series. Five Star reading all the way.

Author Mae Clair has the wonderful ability to combine the darkness and secrets of times past with the terrifying occurrences of the present, and she does it seamlessly. I’ve read and loved Books 1 and 2 of this series and this one is such an intensely satisfying conclusion. It can also be easily read as a stand-alone novel.

It’s such a pleasure to read a book from an author who so clearly loves what she is creating.
That talent shines through every paragraph.

Madison Hewitt is struggling to survive the trauma of her recent past, and desperately in search of peace of mind and new beginnings. The character becomes intensely real and made this reader want things to end well for her. She is intensely visual, as is every scene in this book. Author Mae Clair invites you in and takes you on a terrifying journey into the paranormal.  She challenges her creations to give us a reading experience that will have us coming back again and again for more.
This book is a superb way to end this marvelous series. Five Star reading all the way.

Contact Mae Clair:

Twitter:

Amazon Author Page:

Mystery, Suspense & Urban Legends | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up

Website & Blog | Goodreads

Thanks so much for joining me today! Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

 

Book Review: “Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide” by Jan Sikes @rijanjks #RRBC #RWISA #IARTG

BOOK REVIEW COVER VOODOO BY JAN SIKES

Meet Author, Jan Sikes.

Jan s best

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, has been called a wordsmith by her peers.

She published four biographical fiction books about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

She has published a book of poetry and art and nine short stories.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, and the Executive Council at Rave Writers’ Int’l Society of Authors.

BOOK REVIEW COVER VOODOO BY JAN SIKES

BOOK BLURB:

Claire Winters is heartbroken when her husband of many years says he’s found a new love and wants a divorce. While having a pity party with her best friend, Jade, they come up with a daring idea. Together, they construct a Voodoo doll and with the help of several bottles of wine, create a ceremony to bring the same heartbreak to Daniel Winters as he brought to Claire. But do they go too far? You decide!

***

My Review:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Voodoo and a hunger for revenge, make for a great read!

Jan Sikes proves yet again just how diversely talented she is in this fast-paced and exciting read.

When Claire is betrayed by the husband she adores her pain soon turns to a hunger for revenge. Assisted by her friend Jade who is related to an acknowledge Voodoo Queen in New Orleans, she constructs a Voodoo Doll.

Claire falls into a drunken sleep and awakens to find a fresh hell waiting. But, is it a hell of her own making? The author cleverly teases us with alternative possibilities.

Jan Sikes has a gift for creating memorable three-dimensional characters, and that’s often a very real challenge in a shorter read. We are permitted to see Claire’s pain, her sense of loss, and we can empathise and even understand her drunken desire to inflict pain back on her tormenters.

If you enjoy being tantalized, and want a fast and satisfying read, then I’d recommend this one.

Purchase “Voodoo or Destiny: You decide” On Amazon.com

Connect with Jan Sikes here:

Twitter:  @rijanjks

Blog

RWISA Profile

Amazon Author Page

 

A #Paranormal Short story to celebrate #Halloween “The Sceptic” #RRBC #WritingCommunity @IARTG

 

Halloween scary for post!

Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining me as I share this little sojourn into the realms of the Paranormal. Have a marvelous Halloween, my friends. 🎃

 

The Sceptic.

By

Suzanne Burke 2019.

The set was frantic with activity as always when only two hours out from a live broadcast. The host of the popular documentary series ‘The Sceptic” sat looking over the script that had been meticulously vetted by the station’s army of lawyers. The station could afford the cost of a defamation suit, but not the resultant publicity. One defamation suit had given them a huge ratings boost, but more than that could do the exact opposite.  Show host Harrison Taylor was warned again to stick with the script as much a possible in a live interview situation.

Director Cindy Rasmussen wasn’t looking forward to the discussion she needed to have with the star of the show. She approached him just as the makeup artist finished readying him for the telecast.

Cindy Rasmussen gave the girl a smile and walked into his dressing-room. “Harrison, we need to talk.”

“Can’t it wait till after the broadcast, Cindy? You know I like to prepare myself quietly before we go on air.”

“No. It can’t wait, and you must have been expecting this conversation. You’ve seen the current ratings. You know the network will cancel the show if those ratings don’t improve significantly. This live to air program needs to be riveting! Your future here depends on it.”

“How the fuck can it be riveting when I’m restricted in what I can say?”

“Screw the lawyers! By the time any defamation suit comes to trial, the show will be back on top again.”

“So, are you saying that I can stop pussyfooting around and let this charlatan take his chances with me uncensored?”

The director laughed, “Go for it, but watch the language. No x rated stuff, are you good with that?”

“I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Good.” The woman checked her iPhone. “We need to head out soon.”

“I’m ready.”

***

The cameras were ready to roll, and forty-nine-year-old Harrison Taylor straightened his tie and turned on his blazing smile, giving his huge audience exactly what they expected of the popular host of the must-watch Documentary series; The Sceptic. Harrison Taylor was purported to have debunked more charlatans than anyone now living. Or so said all his press-releases.

He watched and waited and timed his entrance perfectly as always. The cameras focused on his face.

“Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman. In celebration of Halloween and in the spirit of finding and debunking yet another fraud playing on the misery of others, I’m bringing you something special, tonight. I’m going on air live with self-proclaimed Psychic Medium, Sheldon Cain. I’ll introduce you in a moment. Mr. Cain has given his consent to have his premises checked thoroughly for any devices known to assist alleged Psychic mediums with the myriad of deceptions they use to dupe others. That has been done to my satisfaction. Now let’s join the man. I have never met or interacted with Mr. Cain previously.”

The camera panned to a closeup of Sheldon Cain. He had a face the camera loved, chiseled features, good looking and unexpected. He extended his hand,  “Please, Mr. Taylor be seated. May I call you Harrison?”

“Go right ahead.”

Harrison took a long slow look at the room, it was a little shabby and lined with overflowing bookcases. There were two easy chairs separated by a wooden coffee table. Sheldon Cain watched him and then asked, “ I’m having a drink would you care for one?”

“Drink?”

“Hmm, I believe I’ll have bourbon. And you’ll have Scotch, ‘Glenfiddich 12-year-old single-malt, yes?”

“Yes. So, you’ve mastered google, congratulations. No ice, thanks.”

The man gave him a small smile as he handed him the glass and seated himself comfortably opposite.

He reached over and picked up a packet of cigarettes from the coffee table, extracted one for himself and held the packet of Marlboro across to the interviewer. He smiled at the look on his guest’s face. “Did I get the brand right?”

“I was a smoker. But, I gave up years ago.”

The man inhaled deeply and sniffed as he responded and leaned toward the show host, “Realy? Forgive me if I’m blunt. I only smoke very occasionally, and you Harrison, you appear to still smoke heavily. Heavy smokers carry an odor that smells like overfull ashtrays.”

Harrison was visibly offended and tried to mask it, without success, much to the delight of the show’s Director. “I find that comment offensive, Mr. Cain.” He finished his scotch and waited for an apology.

But the man merely gave a small shrug. “I could lie of course if that’s what you would prefer. Do you want me to lie?”

Those watching on drew a deep breath and waited for Harrison to explode. He barely kept a lid on it and responded coldly, “I prefer the truth, no matter what the situation.”

“Ah, perfect. No matter what works for me. Shall we continue? I’ll simply sit here in silence for a while to gain a feeling, a pathway to find your connections to another place at another time if such a pathway has intersected with yours.”

“And then?”

“Relax, Harrison. Help yourself to another whiskey if you’d care to. I’ll speak to you in a few moments.”

Harrison poured a double measure of the good scotch and finished it as he watched Sheldon Cain’s face compose and his features relax and hoped like hell the camera was getting that look. The man seemed to be in some sort of trance, but his blue eyes remained open.

One minute passed and then another and the television host was growing impatient. He needed a ratings winner, and this was moving too damned slow. He poured another shot of whiskey.

The man spoke suddenly. “How did you earn the nickname of Abe?”

Harrison hoped like hell he’d masked his surprise as he responded, “What? I, that is, um, it was my Grandfather’s name and apparently I look just like him. So, the family called me young Abe, or Abel for a while”

“Indeed. Does the name Mike Morgan sound familiar to you?

“Yes.”

“You ran a feature on him for your show. The man was brutalized on every media outlet because of your attack on his credibility. You did that expose based on supposition only. Nothing could be proven against this man. He lost his career, his income, his home and finally his family and his sanity. His attempt at a defamation suit was poorly represented, and the Lawyers from your Network had it quashed inside two days. Mike Morgan took his own life seven weeks later. How did that make you feel?”

“I sent the family my condolences.”

“No, I asked how did that make you feel?

“Feel? The man made his own choices.”

“So, no regret?”

“None.”

“I see. It’s odd, but I can find no spiritual connection to another living human being in the energy you’re transmitting.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Why do you believe that your mother betrayed you?”

“What? How could you kn …?” He felt himself shudder, “Jesus.”

“Tell me about her betrayal. Your mother’s name was Elizabeth. A pretty name for a pretty woman.”

Harrison felt sick, “How could you know that? Those records aren’t available.”

“How indeed? Now, about her betrayal. Tell me about that.”

Harrison hadn’t intended to answer the question, he was ready to deny it. He heard his own voice respond, “She left us. I was ten years old. It was a couple of days out from Halloween and my mom ran off with some guy. She promised she’d be back for me and my brother, but she never came back. She never made contact with me or my kid brother again. My dad never got over it.”

Sheldon Cain fell silent for a long drawn out moment, “She didn’t betray you.  She died. She and the man she left the house with were killed in a car wreck. The vehicle exploded on impact with the rocks below when they hurtled off a cliff face in San Francisco. The two people in the vehicle were incinerated. They were unable to be identified. They are still listed as John and Jane Doe. You need to have the San Francisco police check their records for 11.58 p.m. on October 31st, 1980.”

“Oh, my God. How? Tell me, how can you possibly know these things?”

“Tell me again why you are here?”

“I intend to expose you as a fraud.”

“Go right ahead.”

“I’m not sure how you did this. How could you possibly know that my mother is dead?”

“Are you not grateful to know you weren’t betrayed.”

“Grateful? She still would be alive if she hadn’t run off like that!”

“Your bitterness clothes your life in dark shadows, Harrison. What would you say to her if you could see her?”

“I’d tell her I hate her!”

“Do you want to see her again? Do you want the chance to say that to her face to face?”

“Yes.”

“I can arrange it.”

“What? How? When?” His words tumbled over themselves in fear and a latent excitement.

“You need to tell me something first.”

“Ask me.”

“Why did you take all that money from the people who really do make a huge living from this profession? It runs into many hundreds of thousands of dollars that you keep in a numbered account in Switzerland. Was it on the proviso that you never attempted to debunk them on your show? You guaranteed it would never happen. Are you a fraud, Harrison?”

Harrison stood suddenly, and screamed, “Jesus Christ! Cut the live feed! Do it now!”

The Director held up her hand and spoke into her mouthpiece, “Keep the fucking cameras rolling. This is dynamite!”

A message came back into Harrison’s earpiece a moment later. “Sorry, Harrison. It went out live to air.”

The frantic man stood and looked down at his tormentor, “You’ve just ruined me! You’ve wrecked my career.”

Sheldon Cain stood and smiled at his guest. “I enjoyed every moment of it.”

The camera finally stopped recording the events, and the crew turned away unwilling to face the star of the show. The director was already on the telephone with the head of the network and Harrison heard her delighted response to the call. “Thanks so much! Of course I’m delighted. The response should be enormous.”

A large ornate wall clock ticked over, to 11.50 p.m.

The television host staggered a little as he stormed from the premises, regretting the heavy intake of Scotch as he sat behind the steering wheel of his car. His fury awakened anew and he revved the engine and sped out of the street. He drove like a man possessed with a need to escape, for five minutes. He fumbled in his suit coat for his hidden cigarettes and lit one. He dropped the lit smoke and on reflex bent down to retrieve it from the floor, and the vehicle continued at speed. As the clock hit 11.56 p. m he sped through a red light and was hit head-on by a garbage disposal truck. His vehicle exploded and he was incinerated at precisely 11.58 p.m.

As midnight rang out he and his mother were reunited after thirty-nine years apart. He could spend eternity telling her just how much he hated her.

***

 The tall good looking man gazed around him well satisfied with his night’s work.

He walked outside into the cool air of the early November morning and breathed it in deeply, savoring the taste. He’d store it in memory to play over with pleasure until Halloween dawned again next year. The air where he existed except for one brief sojourn back here once a year was always hellishly hot.

Abel was dead once again. Cain’s deep laughter echoed through the morning. Smoking had finally killed the man. Cain loved Halloween.

#