‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #18 Entry Part 3) By D.L.Finn @dlfinnauthor #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #Haibun

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 3)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #18.

Today I’m featuring a contribution from 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.

This Haibun Contributed By D.L.Finn

Her Grief

The heavy dark clouds shrouded the sun in a weary sorrow that mirrored Alice’s mood. She stood alone in their spot under the old cedar tree. It was where Sam had proposed to her fifty years ago. Now her weathered hands were scattering what remained of him. As her tears fell, an icy rainstorm mixed with her grief. She sunk down on the cold ground and lovingly placed their song, and a single red rose from the garden. A hand touched her shoulder, and a familiar warmth ran through her—but no one was there. The wind blew through the forest, playing their song. She smiled, knowing Sam was still with her.

Pleasant memories
Will never be forgotten
When encased in love.

D.L.Finn can be reached here …

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to reading your comments.

I can be reached here …

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #17 Entry Part 1) by John Howell @HowellWave and Suzanne Burke @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 #17.
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.

message-in-a-bottle-3437294_1920

Entry 1) This one-line contribution by John Howell.

“Just ignore it, Karen. Looks like junk mail to me.”

John Howell can be reached here …

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

 Twitter:

Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

***

Entry 2) My Own Contribution.

message-in-a-bottle-3437294_1920

Secrets

by

Suzanne Burke

Carmel arrived at the beach house just before dawn. The long flight had taken its toll. But her husband Derek would be joining her in a few hours, and she knew that he would insist they do their traditional walk on the beach followed by a hearty breakfast before resting. She had much to prepare before then. She opened up the house and allowed the fresh sea air into the rooms.

He gave her a perfunctory kiss on the cheek when he arrived, murmured something disparaging about flight attendants, and they headed outside onto the black sand. They walked in silence for a while. Derek spoke but Carmel was distracted, “Sorry, did you say something, darling?”

“What are you thinking about?”

“I was just trying to recall how many years we’ve been coming here now. It’s close to twenty I think?”

“I guess so. I never really think about it.”

Carmel’s iPhone rang and Derek caste her an annoyed frown. “Can’t you ever turn that damned thing off? We’re on vacation for God’s sake!”

“I’ll take this, then no more calls I promise.”

He shrugged, “Yeah, whatever.” He turned away.

Carmel took the call. She then focused her attention back on her husband. She made a show of switching off her cell. “There. All organized.”

He gave a grunt and they walked a little further. Derek stopped, “What the hell?” He hurried down a few feet to the shoreline and picked up the bottle that lay there, “There’s a message in this thing!”

“Probably just some kids getting their boredom reliever for today. Just wait a second while I get this on video, so we can laugh about it later.”

Carmel began filming. Derek took a brief look at the bottle and attempted to pry the cork loose with his fingers, then gave pulling it out with his teeth a try. It made a satisfactory pop, and he eased out the rolled paper inside it.

Carmel prompted him from behind the recorder, “So, what does it say? Read it out loud!”

Derek’s face rapidly drained of color as he read the typed message.

“Go ahead, darling. Read it!

He looked at his wife and took a step backward as he noted the weapon she now held in her hand. She aimed the Glock at his head, “I said read it out loud!”

The man’s voice shook, “Jesus, Carmel what the hell are you doing?”

She walked across and placed the gun under his quivering chin, “I said, read!”

He put his free hand up in defense. “Okay! Okay! It says …” He cleared his dry throat, “It says … ‘Did you really think your affair with Monica was a secret?’”

The woman shoved the camera in his face … “Well, did you? You damned fool. I’m head of a crime scene investigation team!  You honestly think I’d miss anything so utterly obvious?”

Derek made placating noises. “It means nothing! Just sex, that’s all it is. You know I love you.”

“Love? You don’t know the meaning of the word. I mean it should really have meant something special to you. At the very least Monica should be the one true love of your life. You’re pathetic.”

“What the hell are you planning? You’ll never get away with it, Carmel!”

“Oh, my sweet. I’ve already gotten away with it.” She smiled and continued, “Tell me, how are you feeling?”

The man looked surprised by the question, “What?”

Carmel looked at her watch. “In another minute or so you’ll start feeling sick to your stomach. Closely followed by cramps and muscle spasms as your nervous system shuts down. You are such a creature of habit, Derek. I’ve spent twenty years watching you reopen previously uncorked bottles with your teeth. That cork was heavily laced with poison, as is the paper the message is written on. It absorbs rapidly into the bloodstream. My contacts tell me death will be extremely painful. They are so good at what they do.”

“NO! Carmel, please? I’m sorry! … You have to stop this from happening!”

“How sad. It will appear that you went swimming alone in the shark infested waters. A tragic mistake. So very fitting I think.”

“Please? I beg of you, no!”

“The process can’t be reversed.” She looked beyond his shoulder, “Ah, here’s Monica now.  Right on time. You walked right into our little honey-trap, Derek. Predictable as always. The boat will arrive to take you out for your final swim shortly.”

The last sound Derek ever heard was their laughter.

~~~~~

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

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #16 Entry Part 9) By Joan Hall @JoanHallWrites #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 9)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #16.

Today I’m featuring a contribution by Joan Hall.

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.

LONE WOLF

Jake McLaughlin pulled the brim of his Stetson low on his forehead. Snow began to fall. He needed to check on the cattle before it became too heavy.

Urging Scout into a trot, he set off for the western boundary of the ranch. The livestock had been moved closer to the barns for the winter, but a few cows always tended to stray.

An hour later, Jake reached the remote pasture. It was his favorite place on the Double Diamond—an area where the wide-open range met the foothills. He often came here to be alone during the summer months. During the winter, he volunteered to check this spot, a job the other cowboys didn’t want. They preferred to stay closer to home.

At the crest of a hill, he pulled back on Scout’s reigns. The Pinto halted, and Jake sat quietly, marveling at the sheer beauty of the area. Reveling in the silence of the falling snowflakes.

Every day for the past week, a solitary wolf had called out. He felt inexplicably drawn to this wild canine and began calling it Lone Wolf.

Maybe his affinity for the creature was due to the fact he was also a loner. While his bunkmates liked to carouse, play cards, and go into town every chance they got, Jake preferred a place to be alone. Preferably one where he could be in tune with nature.

After a few minutes, he heard what some would describe as a mournful howl. Jake found it comforting. Although he’d never gotten close enough to see the animal, he pictured the gray wolf standing on a rocky crevice, lifting its head as it called out.

He listened until the sound died away. Clouds were breaking to the west, the setting sun bathing the horizon in a golden hue. Satisfied there were no stray cattle in the area, he turned Scout back toward the ranch.

><><><>< 

Jake continued his daily trek, always listening for Lone Wolf’s call. One day, there was only silence. He couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Likely it had moved to another area or joined in with a pack to hunt.

Shaking his head, he started back to the ranch.

Go back.

He nudged Scout to the area where Lone Wolf always called. As the horse drew closer, Jake heard whimpering. The animal was in trouble.

He dismounted, tied Scout’s reigns to a low-hanging limb, then continued on foot. The sound grew louder, and he soon spied the wolf, its paw caught in the clutches of a trap.

Anger coursed through his veins. To Jake, setting traps was cruel and inhumane. Without help, this wolf would die.

He approached with caution. This was no pet dog but a wild animal. He knelt about ten feet away, his voice gentle.

“Hey, there. I’m here to help. Will you let me come close?”

Jake wasn’t sure how he knew the wolf sensed he meant no harm.

“Got yourself in a mess, huh?”

Once he was close enough, Jake saw the wolf’s paw wasn’t hurt. He pried the jaws of the trap apart. Once free, the wolf started to trot away. Stopped. Turned back to Jake as if to say, “Thank you.”

><><><>< 

A week later, he was checking the area when a blizzard appeared out of nowhere. One minute there was light snowfall. The next brought howling winds and near white-out conditions.

He’d followed the trail of a stray cow into the foothills. The path in this area was treacherous on a good day, but the snowstorm made it worse. Scout was uncharacteristically skittish.

“Easy, boy. One wrong step and—”

><><><><

Jake wasn’t sure how long he’d been out. He awoke, cold, alone, and in pain. It was almost dark. He’d freeze to death if he stayed here all night. Scout was nowhere around.

He pulled himself up. Pretty sure he’d broken a rib. He had to find shelter. Protection from the elements.

A gray figure appeared on the path. Lone Wolf turned and trotted back in the direction it came. Stopped every few feet as if to say, “Follow me.”

It wasn’t long until they came to a small cave. Lone Wolf waited for Jake to enter, then followed him inside. The two huddled together to stay warm.

Sunshine awakened Jake the following morning. He would be able to make it home now. The wolf licked his hand, then trotted away.

Lone Wolf had saved his life.

***

Joan Hall can be reached here …

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Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by! I look forward to seeing your comments.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #16 Entry Part 8) By Jacquie Biggar @JacqBiggar #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 8) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #16.

Today I’m featuring a contribution by Jacquie Biggar.

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’s the image prompt and Jacquie’s Contribution.

The Land of The Free

The Land Of The Free

The full moon rode a crest of diaphanous clouds in the midnight sky, turning the snow into a diamond-encrusted field stretching as far as Luna could see. A soft wind ruffled her fur and sighed through the pines, increasing her loneliness.

It had been two weeks since she’d plunged into the freezing cold river. By the time she managed to slow her headlong journey through the angry waves, she’d been miles from her family. Crawling up the bank, Luna took refuge under a fallen tree and shivered until sleep took her under.

Three frosty days later, hunger drove her from the makeshift shelter. Stiff and aching muscles protested, but she shook, sending ice projectiles flying in all directions, and hobbled into the forest. A wounded rabbit provided the nourishment she needed and strength coursed through her veins.

Now to find her way home.

Instinct sent her feet flying upriver, back toward the snow-capped peaks of the Mackenzie Mountains. Wawatay followed her nighttime journey, the spirits dancing their way into the next world, the blue and green streaks lighting her way.

A shot rang out, kicking up the powdery snow near Luna’s tail. She yelped, and dodged to the right. What was tha… Bang. The echo resounded off the trees, knocking snow from the branches. Her pulse leaping in fear, she took flight, running full out away from the horrible noise. She ran, and ran, until her breath sawed in and out of her mouth, and still she ran.

Dawn was breaking the night sky apart by the time Luna slowed to a stop, tail tucked between her legs. Hopeless, she lifted her head and howled at the gods for leaving her out here all alone. A moment later, an answering call traveled on the wind.

Could it be?

Afraid to hope, Luna watched and waited until a pack of wolves loped into view. The big male in the lead had a distinctive coat of black fur with a silver streak down the back- her father.

Luna took off at a mad dash, yipping with joy. Her family surrounded her, licking and nipping their love and affection. Somehow, some way, she’d defied the odds and found her way home here in the land of the free.

###

Jacquie may be contacted here …

Blog: Jacquie Biggar- USA Today Best-Selling Author

On TWITTER

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Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I’ll be posting further entries as I receive them.

I may be contacted here …

My author page on AMAZON.

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