‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #15 Entry Part 10) by Roberta Eaton Cheadle @RobertaEaton17 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 10)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15. Today I’m featuring a contribution from Roberta Eaton Cheadle
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.

lost-places-3035877_1920

This contribution By Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Rex Bacon was a real person and he did die as described in the book. His ghost is said to haunt one of the inns in Bungay. I fictionalized the circumstances surrounding his death in this extract:

THE MAN UNDER THE STAIRS

As he set off along the pathway towards the town, Rex Bacon could feel the rage building inside him. It was a balmy summer afternoon and it was Saturday. He had finished his milk deliveries in record time and had a rare half afternoon free.

“Alfie saw them going up the stairs to the bed chambers,” Tom had said. “It’s not the first time he’s known them to meet at the Inn.”

All along the path, the wildflowers grew in a profusion of bright colours: blue, purple, yellow and white. Breathless, from his tightly constricted chest and fast pace, he remembered the last early afternoon he had walked this path. He had bent down to gather a colourful bouquet for Katheryn, binding them together with the pink ribbon he kept in his pocket for this purpose.

At the top of the rise, he stopped. The woodlands fell away on both sides of the path. On the right he could see the town including the two Market Crosses, St Mary’s Church, the Grammar School, and all the principal houses and shops that comprised the town centre, and on the other he could see his cottage – their cottage. It was tiny and ramshackle, but it was theirs. It looked just the same as it had that morning when he left home before the sun rose. There was no difference, none at all.

He swiftly descended the slope and walked to the door, the summer crickets jumping around his shoes. “Katheryn,” he shouted as he entered the one roomed cottage and stopped. A part of him hoped she would be there, that it was all an elaborate lie. She wasn’t.

Rex walked over to the pegs inside the cottage door and deliberately took down a coiled rope. He bent and grabbed a couple of the sharpened stakes he had leaned against the wall, in readiness for the weekend’s planting. Slinging the rope over his shoulder and with the stakes held loosely in his hands, he stepped through the doorway and closed the door gently behind him.

Ø Ø Ø

“Well, this is a surprise,” a harsh voice rasped.

Katheryn sat up in the bed, her dark eyes wide with shock. The blanket was pulled up over her chest and her shoulders, plump and white, rose above it. The young man lying next to her in the bed also sat up. He had a mop of vibrant and lustrous dark hair. His cheeks were flushed and his naked skin glowed with vigour and life.

“Rex,” said Katheryn. Her voice was soft and timid. Rex’s eyes rolled in their sockets, filling with hideous rage.

An inhuman force seemed to have taken over his mind, roaring in his ears, commanding him to destroy the figures in the bed. He lunged forward.

“Don’t!” whispered Katheryn. Her lover’s face drained to an ashy white. He had not moved but was whining, deep in his throat. The sound seemed to go on and on.

Rex’s eyes locked with the man in the bed as he drove the sharpened end of the stake into his neck. The man’s attempt to shout out was cut off as Rex wrenched the stake free and a fountain of blood poured from the resultant hole. The body toppled slowly sideways.

He turned to Katheryn, sitting frozen with shock and horror, and drove the stake deep into her heart. She gasped, and her eyes rolled back in her head as she died instantly.

Ø Ø Ø

Richard looked up as Rex, huddled in an enormous coat despite the warm day, walked into the hall and sat down at a rough wooden table in the corner.

“Strong ale, Rex?” he called. Normally customers had to approach the counter to order but, as the hall was empty at this time of the afternoon, Richard didn’t mind taking Rex’s mug over to him.

Setting his drink down on the table, Richard noted the younger man’s darkly glittering eyes and straight, unsmiling mouth. He watched Rex overtly as he drained his mug.

“Are you okay?” Richard asked. Rex smiled, a horrible twisted smile, and looked at him out of eyes that looked years older than his actual age.

“I’ve had some bad news. It will pass. All things pass in the end,” he replied.

Richard was to recall these words later.

Ø Ø Ø

Thirty minutes later, Rex left the hall. Picking up an ale barrel that stood discarded in the entrance, he walked purposefully towards the stairs that led to the upstairs chambers. It was dark and dingy in the narrow landing at the top of the stairs. Shrugging off the dead man’s coat, he exchanged it for the coil of rope he had hidden there earlier. His shirt and trousers were a mess of blood.

He bled like a stuck pig, thought Rex as he threw the rope deftly over the heavy wooden ceiling beam. Reaching up, he grabbed the end and threaded it through the loop he had made on the opposite end. He pulled gently and the loop ran up the length of the rope and drew tightly around the beam. Standing back, he admired his efforts.

The barrel shook as he clambered onto it. He formed the loose end of the rope into a noose and placed it over his head. Closing

his eyes he pictured Katheryn, his darling, and kicked out his legs. The barrel wobbled and fell over.

Death did not come easily. The drop was short and Rex dangled helplessly from the end of the rope as it compressed his trachea and the arteries and blood vessels in his neck. The excruciating pain was unexpected as his survival instincts took over and his body struggled for air against the compression of the noose and the weight of his own body.

As the darkness descended over Rex’s mind, he heard a voice calling, “Rex, look at me, Rex.” It took all of Rex’s will power to focus on the apparition in front of him. Thickset and powerful, the monster had vicious teeth and claws. Its eyes struck terror into Rex’s fading heart. The glaring, red eyes were the last thing Rex recognised as he slipped into unconsciousness.

Ø Ø Ø

His heart blackened with rage and resentment as his spirit hovered above the stairs, listening to the black dog’s convincing lies and watching his body being roughly hacked down. The naked bodies of Katheryn and her lover had already been discovered and the men were making ribald comments about Rex and his inability to satisfy his wife’s needs. The glowing red light that flowed up from the depths of the Underworld faded as Rex shambled after his new master.

 

~~~~~~

Contact Roberta Here …

Roberta Writes Blog.

TWITTER

AMAZON.COM

***

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

I can be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 Entry Part 9) by Karen Ingalls @KIngallsAuthor #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 9)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” WEEK #15

Today I’m featuring the contribution from  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.

lost-places-3035877_1920

This Contribution By Karen Ingalls

A SHATTERED LIFE

My life before you

Was in shambles and lonely

But now it’s healthy

 Because your love and goodness

Give me strength, joy, and courage.

~~~~

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

On Goodreads.

By Email.

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

 

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 Entry Part 8) by Joan Hall @JoanHallWrites #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 8)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15.

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.

lost-places-3035877_1920

This Contribution By Joan Hall

The House on Baker Street.

The old house stood on the outskirts of town at the end of Baker Street. Long time residents called it Winslow House after the first family to live there. When Gerry Rafferty released the hit song “Baker Street” three years earlier, someone referred to the house by its location and the name stuck.

Built in the early twentieth century when the area was farming country, the place had become the source of legends. Some said it was haunted. The original owner, Harlan Winslow, died in a freak accident. Many believed his ghost haunted the place. Others said he and his wife had marital problems and claimed she killed him. Made it look like an accident. Whatever the case, Angela Winslow and her children moved away from Madison shortly after Harlan’s death, never to be heard from again.

Over the years several families occupied the house. In the early 1960s, a family by the name of Keller moved in. By all accounts, they were well-liked. Cal Keller was a respectable banker. His wife was friendly and outgoing. The children, a boy and two girls, ages thirteen, eleven and eight, were popular at school. But when the family disappeared on a late October evening, leaving all their possessions behind, the house once again became the source of much speculation.

Some said the Kellers left because of Harlan Winslow’s ghost. But people usually don’t abandon everything and leave in the middle of the night. They took the dog and left in the family automobile. A week after their disappearance, police found the car abandoned three-hundred miles away.

There was no evidence of foul play, and a later investigation yielded no clues about where they might have gone. Many suspected Ross Keller embezzled money but auditors found no evidence.

Cara Henderson heard rumors when she first moved to Madison. As an investigative reporter for the local news station, her natural curiosity had her wanting to know more.

“I want to do a story on the Keller disappearance,” she asked her station manager, Grant Evans.

“It’s been done before.”

“When?”

“A year or two after it happened. Don’t know for sure but I’d guess no more than three.” Grant shrugged.

“You’re talking 1968 at the latest. This is 1981. We’re coming up on the fifteenth anniversary. Some people have never heard the story. Who knows, someone might see it and come forth with information.”

Grant rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Okay, go for it.”

Cara began interviewing people and asking questions. Cal and Edna Keller paid cash for the property. The taxes were up to date, paid from a trust fund Cal had set up years before their disappearance. When he interviewed for the position at the local bank, he had references from towns in Montana and Oregon. Those checked out. But since leaving Madison, there wasn’t a record of him having held another job. No one knew of any extended family members.

But after gathering all her information, Cara wanted something that would make the story more exciting. And there was only one thing she could think of. A visit to the scene.

It took a little persuading before Grant gave her the go-ahead, but fifteen years to the date, she and her cameraman, Jeff Armstrong, entered the house.

Over the years, it had fallen into a state of disrepair. The front door stood open. Windows were cracked and broken. Peeling wallpaper and damaged flooring were commonplace. Layers of dust covered the furniture. Plates and glasses remained on the dining room table. Clothes still hung in the upstairs closets. Toys and other personal possessions were in the bedrooms.

“This is weird,” Cara said. “What would make anyone leave in the middle of eating dinner with nothing but the clothes on their backs? Guess we’ll never know.”

“I can tell you,” Jeff said.

Cara turned in surprise. “You know what happened? How? You would have been something like twelve at the time. Besides, I didn’t know you’d lived in Madison before.”

“I was thirteen. And yes, I was here that night. My name isn’t Jeff Armstrong.”

“What?

“It’s Rick Keller.”

***

Joan Hall can be reached here …

BookBub Author Page

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Facebook Page

 

I may be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by! I’ll be sharing each contribution as I receive it. I look forward to seeing your comments.

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 Entry Part 7) by Mae Clair @MaeClair1 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 7)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15.

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.lost-places-3035877_1920

This Contribution by Mae Clair

Atonement

Julian St. Croix. stood on the first step, testing the weight of the rotted tread. Behind him, Rexmont kicked through detritus littering the floor­—slivers of wood, dried leaves, tattered scraps of paper. Small puffs of dust wafted from his shoes, tickling the sensitive tissue of Julian’s nose.

He sniffed and dragged a sleeve across his face. “Second floor’s off limits.”

Rexmont stopped long enough to raise his head. “How come?”

“This step feels like rice paper and the others look as flimsy. Too much dry rot to risk it.”

“That sucks.” Rexmont wandered closer. He craned his neck to gaze toward the landing where shadows nested in a pocket of charcoals and grays. “Up there’s where he hung himself.”

“You’re sure?” They’d only been in the abandoned house forty minutes, and already Julian felt the drain on his energy.

“I did the research.” Rexmont swiped a paw over the back of his neck. He was a big man, twice Julian’s size, with massive hands, a chest like a double-wide freezer, and close-set eyes the color of motor oil. Most people labeled him a gorilla, but he was every bit as gifted in intellect as brawn, which was why Julian valued him so highly. If there was friendship between them, it straddled the line between employer/employee, still too new to venture deeper.

“No choice then.” Julian gripped his cane, the anchor that kept him from crumpling when spirit energy deserted him and all that was left was mortal stamina. “You stay here.”

“You’re the boss, but…is that wise?”

“The steps would never hold you.” Julian tested the first one. He was a trim man, not quite six feet, all lean muscle and bone, but still the wood groaned its fragility. Using his cane, he prodded each tread before adding his weight. When he reached the second-floor landing, he paused to glance down at Rexmont. “It’s an old house, but the structure is sound.”

His hired muscle snorted. “You’re two centuries older, at minimum. What’s that say about you?”

Julian’s lips curled. On his worse day, he could still pass for late thirties. “Let’s pray my fortitude is every bit as resilient as this structure.”

Without waiting for an acknowledgement, he ambled down the hallway. Over moldy carpet, once a rich burgundy, now frayed and discolored by grime. Fat cobwebs clung to the ceiling and sprouted in the corners. He followed a pulse of dark energy to a room on the right. The furniture had been cleared out years ago, but Sight allowed him to see the area as it had once been—a king-sized bed, ebony bureau, standing wardrobe, and roll-top desk.

His stamina wavered and he closed his eyes. When he looked again, the desk lay face down, papers and books scattered over the floor. A toppled ink well left a stain like blood on the paisley carpet. Above, suspended from the rafters, hung the body of a thirtyish man with white-gold hair. He had not died easily, his face bloated and purple.

Julian drew a breath to center himself. He bowed his head then murmured a prayer in middle English. When his voice faded, the specter’s form shimmered, outlined by tiny points of light. Within seconds, it vanished.

“Boss?” Rexmont appeared on the threshold. He glanced around the room. “That was quick work.”

Julian nodded, unwilling to say more. The ritual of releasing a spirit in bondage resurrected ugly memories. “How did you manage the steps?”

“I didn’t. I found a second stairway off the kitchen. Are we done?”

“For now.”

Rexmont frowned. “I still don’t understand why it’s your job to hunt down these ghosts and release them.”

“Because they deserve the peace that eluded them in life.” Something he’d yet to achieve.

Thoughts of his young wife and her lover filled his head. Visions of the blood he’d left them lying in before he’d flung a rope over a crossbeam and hung himself. Julian walked toward the door, his cane thumping hollowly against the floor. There was no erasing the sins of his past. Penitence would have to suffice, along with the hope that someday his spirit—like those he freed—might move on.

He paused and faced Rexmont. “I do it for atonement.”

“For you?”

“And them.” For the wife who’d broken their marriage vows, the brother who’d betrayed him by sharing her bed. He did it to erase the violent killer he’d once been. “I do it for my soul.”

~~~

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

On Goodreads.

By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 Entry Part 6) By Jacquie Biggar @JacqBiggar #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 6) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15.

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.

lost-places-3035877_1920

This Contribution by Jacquie Biggar

The Stories These Walls Could Tell.

The wallpaper hangs in jagged strips from the walls, faded jacquard prints of a more dignified time. Cobwebs drape from the dilapidated ceiling, and I try not to imagine how big the spider is that created them.

Tom and I won this house at auction, before…

The floors creak beneath my sneakers and are gray with dust and grime, but they look original to my weary eyes. The drive took hours and all I can think about is a warm bath and soft bed- neither of which I’ll find here. I’ll go back to the small town I’d passed through soon, but first I need to finish what I started.

“We did it,” I tell my husband, sure he can hear me wherever he is.

The baby moves beneath my breasts and I gently rub the spot, my throat tight when I feel a tiny heel. Tom wanted this child so much. That and the home he’d grown up in. It’s bittersweet to know we’ve succeeded.

“It’s everything you said it was,” I say, continuing my one-sided conversation. “The fireplace is huge. No wonder you thought Santa got stuck up the chimney.” I trail a finger along the mantle. “Baby’s stocking will look lost on here.”

The tears that are never very far away wet my cheeks. It’s been five months, but I miss him still.

I always will.

With renewed determination, I climb the surprisingly sturdy staircase and enter the first room on the right- Tom’s childhood bedroom. A warm sensation flows over me and my tears dry as peace descends. He’s here, I can feel him.

The room is empty, other than an old blue chest shoved under the stained window. My heart flutters wildly and I’m suddenly scared of what I’ll find.

“Go,” a ghostly voice intones, his breath warm on my ear.

I startle and stumble forward. “Always so bossy,” I grouch with a smile.

The lid is heavy. I have to work to get it up, and then I sneeze as a musty fog rises from the interior. “Geez, Tom, you could have warned me.”

He chuckles from over my shoulder. I can almost feel his arms around me and baby.

His baseball hat from seventh grade sits on top the pile of memorabilia. My fingers tremble as they trace the Saints emblem. Who would have thought he’d go on to have a successful career in the NBL?

Alongside the hat, lay an autographed baseball bat, and below that, the reason I’m here. A leatherbound journal. My husband’s thoughts and dreams in his messy script fill the pages, front to back.

The house will be baby and my future, but this journal? It’s my link to the past and is truly priceless.

The baby rolls, creating a wave across my stomach and my dearly departed husband laughs.

His family is home.

~~~

Jacquie may be contacted here …

Blog: Jacquie Biggar- USA Today Best-Selling Author

On TWITTER

Books On Amazon.Com

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.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 Entry Part 5) by D.L.Finn @dlfinnauthor #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 5)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15.

Today I’m featuring a contribution from D. L. Finn.

 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 prompt:

lost-places-3035877_1920

This contribution by D.L.Finn

The Day the Ground Moved

By

D.L.Finn

It jolted me from a deep sleep. Belongings were tossed around like feathers in a windstorm. My wedding picture crashed into the back of my head, but I had no time to worry about the bump as my bed moved toward the dresser that was lodged on its side. My black cat, Sissy, dug her claws into my leg, and I could hear the dog howl from his bed.

“It’s okay, Max!”

It was unlikely he heard me over the growl of the shifting landscape and shattering glass. I pulled myself to the side of the bed as Sissy edged up to my chest.

“It’s the earthquake they said would come, Sissy.”

Hanging on to the cat, I slipped on the leather mules my wife of 35 years had given me last Christmas. I lost Nancy three months later to breast cancer right before everything changed. I pushed down my pain, grabbed our wedding picture, and attempted to run. I found the floor was like a carnival funhouse. I could barely keep upright. My stomach flipped as a powerful wave surged through the house. I grabbed the closet door frame.

“Hang on, Sissy.” She buried her head in my neck. “I should get the go bag in case…”

Tightly gripping the wood structure with one hand, I snatched the bag from the closet, tucked the picture in it, and slung it over my shoulder. Sissy’s claws deepened, cutting into my skin, but I barely felt it as I navigated the dark hall to the creaking steps. The rising sun was peeking through the broken front window, and the neighbor’s car alarm was blaring.

I clung to the shaking railing and made my way down the wooden stairs. Halfway the wall cracked open with a loud pop.

“Crap.” I quickened my pace. “Max! Here, boy!”

The sweet German Shepherd slowly walked to me with his tail between his legs. I grabbed his collar.

“It’s safer outside.” I tried the front door. It wouldn’t open until I used all my weight against it. We burst onto the porch and raced out into the morning dawn. I stood on my front lawn as the brick fireplace crumbled to the ground with a dusty thump on the side of the house.

“Is this ever going to stop?”

As if on cue, the grumble gave way to silence.

A weak cry for help came from across the street. The houses’ two levels were now one.

“I’m coming, Bert!”

The young couple who had just moved in last month stood pale and bloodied by their car.

“Bert and Kathy need help,” I yelled to them and set Sissy down, who immediately hid under my car.

“There’s nothing we can do. We need to get to a safety zone.” The husband replied. They got into their car and left.

I shook my head in disbelief; I knew there was no place to go. In the distance, I saw smoke and rubble as far as my old eyes could see. I rushed over the uneven street. Just then, I heard a screech and saw the young couple’s car fall. It was half in and half out of a large hole. The husband pulled the wife out, and they raced around the corner. Gone.

“Adam, can you hear me?”

“Yes, Bert, I’m coming.”

Thankfully, he was in a pocket by the front door, and I could lift the debris with a crowbar. Bert’s wife, who had been Nancy’s best friend, was crushed under a beam. She didn’t make it. We buried Kathy under her favorite maple tree. I understood his pain.

Bert took over that young couple’s house, and all that was left of our once beautiful area was two old men trying to survive each day. We lived in a world where no help would arrive. Our leader challenged the new directive, and as a cruel example, they detonated our earthquake fault. Later we found a renegade radio channel and learned part of our state was in the ocean.

It was a war no one had wanted. Luckily, Bert and I had a healthy supply of food, water, and weapons. When the time came, I would defend our old ways against the new directive. I knew Nancy would be proud of my stand, but I couldn’t wait to be with her again—when that time came.

~~~

D.L.Finn can be reached here …

Blog site:

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:

On TWITTER:

On FACEBOOK:

Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to reading your comments.I’ll be featuring further entries as they are received. 😊

I can be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week#15 Entry Part 4) by Mark Bierman @mbiermanauthor #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 4)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15.

Today I’m featuring a contribution by Mark Bierman.

 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

This Contribution by Mark Bierman.

“Grandma, are you sure you want to go up there? They’re in bad shape, and your hip.”

“Oh, pish posh,” Rosemary waved dismissively. “Should have done this years ago and those were built when quality counted.”

“That was seventy-seven years ago. This place has been abandoned for—”

“Twenty years, other than some vandalism, the bones are solid.”

“Maybe, but yours aren’t. Please, just let me have a look. The third floorboard from the back wall of the closet, right?”

Rosemary patted Emily’s hand. “I need to do this myself, with a bit of help from you.”

Emily wiped a tear and hugged her grandmother. “I understand. You were eight and you’ve waited this long. It was your only hope. All these years . . . ” Her grief soaked the purple shawl.

“Shh . . . I’ve made my peace. This must be done before I see him again. I pray God will allow it in Heaven. Father has the other half, that’s why they never found it on him.”

Rosemary’s eyes stung but she must show restraint, be the brave girl that her father had said she was just before he left for the Great War. “Let’s continue, shall we?”

“Yes, I’m sorry.” Emily broke her embrace and took the tissue from Rosemary.

“But you must let me check each tread before you step on it and let me guide you. Those are my rules, I’m sorry. I love you too much to lose you.”

Rosemary nodded. “Agreed.”

They moved ahead, arm in arm, with Emily sweeping away the debris with her foot to clear a path. At the base of the stairs, she tested the railing and was satisfied.

“You see, built to last. The stairs will be the same, though the third step might creak. I learned to avoid that one when I’d sneak downstairs after bedtime to grab an extra cookie.” She pointed to the room they’d just left. “My parents would be sitting in their chairs, Mother with her nose in a book, while Father would be asleep. I never got caught, but sometimes I think Mother knew.” Rosemary smiled.

The stairs proved to be every bit as resilient as promised, but every tread protested the disturbance.

The hideous orange and white floral-patterned linoleum flooring installed by the last tenants had chunks missing and revealed the hardwood underneath. Decay wasn’t always bad.

Emily gingerly walked her grandmother across the tripping hazard to the first room on the left. Time had left only a thick layer of dust, cobwebs, and a musty smell in the barren room.

“Hmmm . . . used to be a lot bigger,” Rosemary said. She blamed her watering eyes on the dust and mold. “I loved this room, but after Father was gone, well, we had to move.”

She sighed deeply and shuffled towards the tiny closet. Emily’s hand went to grab her arm, but she brushed it off. “I’m good for now, but I’ll need you to help me kneel.”

The old woman reached the closet and Emily helped her to her knees.

Rosemary struggled to remove the floorboard and Emily offered to help.

“No! I must do this!” Her face softened and her tears splattered into the floor dust. “I’m sorry, dear, I didn’t mean to snap. This arthritis is making it hard. Did they nail it down?”

After what seemed an eternity, the board yielded, and was hoisted with a collectively  held breath. Would it still be there?

Emily handed over the flashlight. The small beam illuminated only cobwebs and dirt. Rosemary dug frantically to clear them, and the light reflected off a silver object lying in between the floor joists.

Rosemary picked up the necklace with shaky hands. Emily gasped, for there it was, the legendary object that she’d heard about since early childhood.

A heart, with one half missing, the other half perhaps lay on a faraway battlefield.

Rosemary clutched the jewelry to her heart, and then wept loudly. Emily rushed to her side and tried to console her grandmother through her own tears.

It took several moments to recover, and Rosemary showed her the inscription in the heart. Because of the shape and the missing piece, it read, ALW TOGE . . . Always Together.

“Oh Grandma, is that true? Do you really believe that?”

“Yes, Emily, all of my life I knew he was there, and soon I will get to see him again and this heart will be whole.”

~~~

Mark can be reached here …

Twitter

Blog Mark Bierman Adventures in Writing

Amazon.com

***

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. I’ll be posting further entries as they are received.

‘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.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

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’ Week #15 Entry Part 2) By Gwen Plano @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 #15.

Today I’m featuring a contribution by  Gwen Plano.

 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.

lost-places-3035877_1920

This Contribution by Gwen Plano

This week’s prompt is a photo of the interior of a destroyed home — windows broken, floors ripped up, walls damaged. It’s a haunting image, one that is all too familiar right now. As I focused on the home, I saw children running through its rooms and wondered, yes wondered, about 2021. 

2021

elections over

we rebuild and gardens bloom

hope is ours again

~~~
Gwen Plano can be reached here …

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.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 Entry Part 1) 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 #15.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1)By John Howell and Entry 2) My own contribution.

This is the 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_1920This ONE-LINE Contribution by John Howell.

“Daddy’s home.”

John Howell can be reached here …

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

 Twitter:

Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

***

MY CONTRIBUTION.

lost-places-3035877_1920

The Pulse of The City

By

Suzanne Burke

Virginia Alden briefed her camera crew, downed her third cup of coffee, and began her morning.

The live show began. She started walking through each of the broken, damaged, and abandoned rooms of what once was a neat four-bedroom home in a family-friendly neighborhood.

She spoke into the camera. “Good morning, and welcome to this week’s edition of The ‘Pulse Of The City’ Let’s begin today’s journey in the sitting room. This room would have born silent witness to most of the dreams and plans of three generations of the one family that lived here. Living with mutual love inside what once were warm and comforting walls. This room now lay bent and broken by layers of decay and the odor of rotting ideals.

This house once expanded with all the warmth of its occupiers. There was once laughter shared here until the world beyond their safe barricades intruded.”

She moved through into the kitchen, “The aroma of joy still lingers in a room that saw over thirty Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts being prepared with care and love within its boundaries. The grandfather always carved the turkey. He had been such a proud and positive man. He’d taught his children and grandchildren the gift of patience. He’d prayed that he’d also taught them how to be resilient. He doted on all of them and loved spoiling his young granddaughter. But the lessons counted for nothing when two of his grandsons went off to serve their country on far off foreign soil. One returned emotionally shattered and the other came home in a flag-draped coffin. The outspoken voice of the grandfather fell silent.”

Virginia inhaled deeply and walked up the stairs.

“The master-bedroom ceased being a place of soft whispers shared in the night. It became a battleground, as a man destroyed by the loss of his youngest son began diving into a bottle of whiskey. Until his only coherent thoughts centered on where his next drink was coming from. The woman who’d born him those children held on for as long as she could. She began working two jobs in an attempt to hold what remained of their family together. The bank foreclosed on their overdue mortgage. It finally broke her spirit.”

The camera revealed the sadness now exposed on Virginia’s expressive face as she continued walking along the upstairs hallway. “This small bathroom was busy in those early days, the daughter was always given her way on those far away mornings, her brothers giving in to their kid sister’s sweet smile and granting her first access. The death of her older brother seemed to make the bathroom almost redundant for a father too drunk to care about hygiene, and one surviving sibling who could no longer bear to look at his own unclothed and damaged body.”

She pulled herself together and the crew readied themselves as she walked through a small hallway and out to the yard.

“Here in the corner is where the bodies of all the pets that had shared their loyalty and love with the family are buried. And over this way is where the pergola once stood with ferns sheltered from the hot summer sun, the family had sat here in the shade and drank down the sweet homemade lemonade the mother was so proud of.”

Virginia cleared her throat, “Let’s take this back inside to the living room, folks.”

She looked directly into the camera.

“And now, on a personal note. So many of our viewers have commented on the excellent research apparent in all our shows. Please know, I had no need to research this show, for this house was my family home. This was the home I grew up in. It’s such an easy thing to pass judgment and affix convenient labels to people we’ve never met. Perhaps we all need to ask ourselves what would happen if we had to walk a mile in their shoes. Would your own hopes and dreams remain intact? My dreams did. I have just purchased the house back and I will rebuild it in loving memory of the people that once shared its walls. This will be my new home and my dreams will grow within it.”

“I am Virginia Alden, and this has been “Pulse of The City’ I thank you for joining me.

The scene grew silent as the director called cut. Virginia walked back through the house to stand in quiet reflection as the echoes from the past wrapped themselves like a blanket around her. She smiled as she cried.

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.