‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #11 Entries Part 4) @Chelepie & @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 #11.

Today I’m featuring contributions from Michele Jones 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.

This Contribution by Michele Jones.

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

Mike ran ahead of Carl toward the sound of rushing water. He’d always been faster and would be there first. As he darted through the trees, he saw it. The waterfall.

Mike stared at it as it fell from the rock above. Rumors about its existence had been around for centuries, but he didn’t believe them—brushed them off as a myth. But ahead of him, the water flowed, no gushed, from the rocks above. How could this be? What was happening? Who did this? The valley had always been dry. Hell, the entire region barely saw any rain.

He moved closer. The sound of the water roaring in his ears. He didn’t know much, but he knew a water source was needed for a waterfall, but no rivers or oceans were within miles of here. Something wasn’t right. Mike spun around looking for any possible reason for the falls. There wasn’t one and he didn’t believe in magic.

Mike pulled out his phone took several pictures. No one would believe him. This would be his proof. He moved even closer. The mist at the bottom splashed up from the basin and reflected the sunlight in its droplets. Lily would love this. He tried calling but had no signal. Strange. He’d had signal here before. Must be the waterfall messing with it.

He wanted to leave, but the water looked so inviting. Even though the falls splashed up, the pool remained still. No ripples, No splashes. He needed to be the one to change that. He pulled off his shirt, tugged off his jeans, dropped his phone, and dove into the pool.

After he surfaced, he heard it. A voice. He shook his head. His imagination must be playing tricks on him. He heard it again. A woman’s voice. Humming the most beautiful melody he’d ever heard. She must be behind the cascade. Mike swam closer. The humming got louder, but he couldn’t see her.

Something told him he shouldn’t go any closer. But he had to see her. That voice. It was so beautiful. He knew she wanted him. Confused, he treaded water trying to decide. Before going on, he heard his brother screaming and saw him flailing his arms.

Mike shook his head and swam to the edge of the basin, climbing out.

“What the hell are ya doin’? Do you have a death wish?” Carl ran up and yanked him from the basin.

“Aw, I was just cooling off. There’s no reason to be so—”

“Don’t you remember anything about the waterfall? It’s cursed. Now you’re cursed. And so am I. I can’t believe you did this to me.”

“I didn’t do anything. And we’re not cursed.”

“So, you didn’t hear the lady singing? You weren’t swimming to the sound of her voice?”

“Yeah, I heard her. So what. Nothing’s gonna happen.”

“Fool. The lady kills. I can’t believe you don’t remember that.”

“I remember. I just don’t believe it. Watch me.”

Before Carl could grab him, Mike dove in and swam to the cascade. He’d prove everyone wrong. There was absolutely nothing to worry about. He could hear that woman’s voice again. It grew stronger, more inviting. He could also hear Carl screaming at him to come back.

Mike swam behind the cascade. Just as he thought. There was nothing there. He climbed out of the basin and looked for her. He saw no one. Just an old timer myth. As he turned to go back to his brother, she was there. But the waterfall was gone. The ravine—gone.

“You should have listened to your brother. Now you’re mine. For eternity.”

######

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 Gwen Plano

When I saw the photo, I imagined flying above the falls and mountains high. I felt the moist breeze and soared in the silence of the trees. My haiku…

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.

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

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

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

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

This HAIBUN contributed by D.L. Finn

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

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

D.L. Finn can be found here …

 

***

This Contribution by Harmony Kent

 

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

In the Wild

By

Harmony Kent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright ©Harmony Kent 2020

CONTACT HARMONY HERE …

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

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

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

***

I can be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

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

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

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

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

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

Flash image free PIER

This contribution by Karen Ingalls

CARIBOU LAKE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. “We are here to help you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

We also became closer and our differences were less important.

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

Karen may be contacted here …

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

~~~

5) This contribution from Jan Sikes.

Flash image free PIER

AN EMPTY PROMISE

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She checked her cell phone for the umpteenth time.

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

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

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

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

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

She wanted him.

That had been three months ago.

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

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

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

Minutes ticked by, turning into hours.

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

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

Something had happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A plunge into the icy waters would end it all.

Her cell phone buzzed, and she grabbed it.

Sorry.

The text lit up the screen.

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

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

Never again would she believe an empty promise.

~~~~~~~~

CONTACT JAN SIKES:

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

Amazon

On Twitter

On Facebook

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

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #9 Entries Part 6) By Miriam Hurdle @mhurdle112 #Iartg #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 6)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #9.

Today I’m featuring entry 8) contributed by Miriam Hurdle

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.

Contribution 8) By Miriam Hurdle

Flash Fiction week 9 another good treehouse

Star Story

By

Miriam Hurdle

 

“No, I can’t do it. I’m afraid of heights.” Michelle shook her head, looking at the bridge.

“Don’t worry. Hold my hand. I’ll just be one step ahead of you.” Michael took the first step onto the bridge. Michelle followed.

“But, but… the bridge is bouncing and wobbling.”

“Let’s go slowly. We’ll take one step and stay still until the bridge stops moving, then take another step.”

“I’ll try. Just take slight steps. I can’t go fast.”

“I know. I won’t go any faster than you want to.”

“My arms and legs are tingling.”

“Okay, let’s stop for a minute. Now just look straight at the treehouse. Don’t look below the bridge or even at your feet.”

“Okay, let me close my eyes and think of something else.”

“Good. When you’re ready, open your eyes and just look at the tree house and follow my steps.”

“My legs feel better now. The treehouse has a balcony with patio chairs.”

“Yes, now hold on to the door and step into the house.”

“Phew! I did it.”

“Let’s grab a couple cans of iced tea from the personal refrigerator and sit on the balcony.”

“How did you find this treehouse?”

“Well, that’s a lengthy story. I haven’t told you about that yet. See, my mom died of cancer when I was nine years old.”

“Sorry to hear that. You told me she died when you were young.”

“Yeah, it was hard for me to talk about it. After she died, I didn’t talk for a long time. I stayed in my room mostly when I was home from school. My dad tried to talk to me, but I just didn’t say anything to him. He read me bedtime stories every night. One night he read a book about a treehouse.”

“Was it this treehouse?”

“No, a smaller treehouse in a boy’s backyard. I was curious. I asked dad if we could build one. I wanted to go to the treehouse and stay in it by myself.”

“What did your dad say?”

“He said our trees in the backyard were not tall enough for building a treehouse.”

“Did you think of a playhouse instead?”

“No, it wasn’t the same. Anyway, one day, my dad took me camping and this treehouse was in the campground. We climbed up here at night and sat in the balcony looking into the sky through the opening of trees.”

“Was the sky clear?”

“Yes, there was a full moon. My dad asked me to look at the bright start close to the moon. He said that was where my mom went. My mom could see me from there, and she wanted me to be happy. He said my mom waved at me with the twinkles. I looked at the star and it twinkles. I waved back to her.”

“I’m sure your mom wanted you to be happy.”

“My dad said we could see the star from our backyard on a cloudless night.”

“We could look at the star tonight and you could wave at your mom!”

“I would like to do that. Thank you for believing my Star Story. You’re the best thing happened to me. I’ve never been so happy after my mom died.”

“I like that when you share stories like that with me.”

“I thought some people may think it was childish.”

“I think it is precious. We could come camping and climb up to this treehouse again.”

~~~

Contact Miriam here …

Author Links and Contacts

Amazon Links

Amazon UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K1S47W9 

Amazon.com Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K1S47W9 

Contact Links

Website: https://theshowersofblessings.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.hurdle.1

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by! 

The Image Prompt for Week 10 is now up.

Reach me here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

 

 

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” NEW Image Prompt Week #10. Join in, have fun, let the creative muse loose. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”  Week #10 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, July 30th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll begin sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here beginning on Friday, July 31st.

Here is the week #10 Image Prompt.

Flash image free PIER

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

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

 

 

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge Week #7 entries, Part 1. 1)@gerry1098 and 2) @StineWriting #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 1)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #7.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1) Gerry McCullough and 2) by Christine Bailczak.  Tomorrow Part 2 entries from John Howell and my own contribution will be featured, with further entries on Saturday.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

flash Free lighthouse beautiful

1) Contributed by Gerry McCullough:

Danger

 

The sun shone into my eyes, blinding me to everything else. The ominous darkness of the clouds issued a stern warning. Worst of all, the lighthouse looming over me ruthlessly insisted that it wasn’t there for fun. There were rocks, dangerous rocks, not very far away.

The boat drifted helplessly on. I hadn’t much idea where it was heading. I had a broken right arm which made it difficult to steer. (I’ve never been good with my left hand.) I still had the remains of concussion from the accident when the boom had swung over and crashed into me. I had been intending to change course, trying to catch the wind in my sail. The heavy boom had broken my arm, and whacked my head. I hadn’t managed to duck out of its way.

I could see the wind had died down, and the sea was fairly calm, in comparison to the monstrous waves which had thumped and bumped me about a short while before. If only my head were clearer and I could see where I was going.

One thing was obvious. I needed to head away from the lighthouse and the rocks. I had no memory of where I was or where I was supposed to be going. I stood hanging on one-handed to the steering wheel and tried through the blur in my eyes to read the compass. I thought I could make out that I was steering west. I twisted the wheel with what strength I had in my left arm, and saw the compass needle swing round. The lighthouse disappeared behind me, no longer sternly rebuking my foolishness. The sun had stopped glaring into my face.

But was I steering further out to sea now?

I looked round me desperately. Sea on all sides. Then I looked at the boat, which had felt so unfamiliar to me since this blankness had lodged in my memory. There was a short companionway to the right of the wheel, leading down to a cabin. I could see a made up bunk bed, a small fold down table with charts spread out over it, and, oh joy, was that a wireless hanging above it attached to the side of the cabin?

I staggered down the steps, almost screaming with pain as my broken arm jerked about. I grabbed the wireless, and somehow got connected to the nearest coastguard station.

I had managed to get through and was giving my message when I realised that the boat, left to itself while I sent out my SOS, had turned back round and was aiming again for the blinding sun and the lighthouse.

‘I have to get the wheel,’ I gasped. ‘I’ve told you everything I can.’

I dived back up from the cabin and took hold of the wheel again with my good arm.

The sun was beginning to go down. Darkness was descending. I clung desperately to the wheel, praying that my SOS would bring help. There was nothing else I could do now. My head was spinning, and I was terrified of falling asleep and drifting back to the rocks.

I think I did sleep, but standing upright, clinging to the wheel. At least, when I jerked awake the compass was still showing the boat’s direction as north. I giggled foolishly. I’d dreamt that I’d landed on a south sea island, with golden sand and cocoanuts, and a handsome captain who rescued me in his white ship.

There was no desert island. But there was a ship. Or, at least, a yacht. It was coming closer. As I waved frantically in intervals of holding on to the wheel, and called out, I knew, thankfully, that it had seen me.

‘Thank you, God!’ I shouted aloud. ‘Oh, thank you!’

#

Contact Gerry Here …

Gerry McCullough
Irish Writer & Poet

 

2) Contributed by Christine Bialczak.

flash Free lighthouse beautiful

I’ll wait

Just beyond the clouds

Slightly over the horizon

I will be waiting there

For the day that I will see you

Again.

©2020 CBialczak Poetry

 Contact Christine here …

BLOG:

TWITTER:

 FACEBOOK:

Author Page on AMAZON

###

Thanks so much for stopping by. Tomorrow I’ll be Featuring Part 2 entry 3)by John Howell and 4) My own contribution.

Further entries will follow on Saturday.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Image Prompt Week #7. Join in, have fun and let the creative muse loose. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”  Week #7 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 a 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 4pm EDT on Thursday, July 9th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll begin sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on Friday, July 10th.

Here is the week #7 Image Prompt.

 

flash Free lighthouse beautiful

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

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

 

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Image Prompt Week #6. Join in, have fun and let the creative muse loose. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “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 a 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 4pm EDT on Thursday, July 2nd. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll begin sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on Friday, July 3rd.

Here is the week #6 Image Prompt.

FREE FRAMED IMAGE OF BABY AND DADDY SLEEPING WEEK 6

 

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

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Entries for week #4 @KIngallsAuthor @gmplano @pokercubster @pursoot @MarshaIngrao #IARTG #WritingCommunity #ASMSG

 

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

Flash Fiction best header

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 piece inspired by that image in a 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 4pm on June 18th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on June 19th.

***

AND Here’s the prompt image and ENTRIES…For #Week 4.

Flash Fiction Routte 66

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

By

Karen Ingalls.

 My name is Willie Nelson Johnson. Obviously, I was named for the famous country-western singer and actor. He was my mother’s favorite singer and his music played all day, every day. I know by heart every song he ever recorded.

I cannot sing or play an instrument, my hair is short, there is no beard, I am not an activist, nor have I ever smoked marijuana. The only thing I have in common with Willie, besides my name, is the love of the open road. The day I got my first car was the first day of being on the road. Over the years I have driven to as many places as my wallet and time would allow.

I grew up and now live in Wilmington, Illinois along with about 6,000 other folks. It is called “The Island City” because it is bisected by the Kankakee River. As you can see, Route 66 goes right through Wilmington.

Map for Karen's post

We have Route 66 Antiques, Rte. 66 Bar & Grill, and the famous (or infamous) Launching Pad Drive-In where you will see one of the many giant statues based on the Muffler Man along the famous highway. These statues of fiberglass were constructed for advertising or purely decoration. Here you will find “Gemini Giant”, a 28-foot spaceman commemorating the Gemini space missions.

On July 4, 1998, I took a three-week vacation and drove the entire 2,448 miles of Route 66, also known as Mother Road. I first drove north to Chicago where it begins (or ends depending on your starting point), and then headed south and west all the way to its final stop, the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again

 In St. Louis, I saw Eads Bridge, the oldest steel bridge, the McKinley Bridge, New Chain of Rocks Bridge, and McArthur Bridge. They are all part of Route 66. Of course, I stopped at The Arch and took the ride to the top marveling at the vista below.

One of my fondest memories is spending two days in Lebanon, Missouri. I stayed at the Munger Moss Motel and visited the amazing Route 66 Museum.

Like a band of Gypsies, we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends

I met many people from all over the U.S. and the world. They were of all ages, races, and religions, and some of us became friends and we have stayed in touch. Sometimes we caravanned looking like a band of Gypsies.

I stopped in Catoosa, Oklahoma for only one reason: to see the “Blue Whale”, which is one of the statues along Route 66. I drove the additional 120 miles to have a delicious meal at “Ann’s Chicken Fry House Restaurant” in Oklahoma City.

Playing my Willie Nelson tapes, I sang my heart out while I drove across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona making a few stops to see more of the Muffler Men statues including the two Paul Bunyan’s in Flagstaff, Arizona and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I stopped at The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo for a massive meal and visited the shooting range.

I finally crossed the California border into the very small town of Amboy. When I was there in 1998, the population was 5. It was up for sale on Ebay, but it never sold for the asking price of $1.9 million. A group of motorcyclists invited me to join them on their way to Santa Monica. They were a rough-and-tough looking group but as kind as the day is long.

The most famous place in Amboy is Roy’s Motel and Café. They refused to have their picture taken, so I snapped a photo of their motorcycles lined up.

Karen Motorcycles

We traveled from Amboy to the Santa Monica Pier, traveling the two-hundred miles in one day. The eight of us parked our seven motorcycles and one car. We walked to the very end of the 1909 pier. We cheered and broke out into chorus singing On the Road Again.

#

Karen Ingalls can be found on

Karen Ingalls Blog.

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Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

***

This Entry by Gwen Plano:

Flash Fiction Routte 66

John Steinbeck famously called Route 66 “the mother road, the road of flight” because thousands upon thousands fled the Dust Bowl for the hope of something better. His Grapes of Wrath captured the dire poverty that so many experienced and helped later generations understand why there was an epic journey West.

Though the road is now decommissioned, it basically follows Interstate 40 from Santa Monica to Oklahoma City where it changes to Interstate 44 through Missouri and Interstate 55 to Chicago. For those of us who have traveled this road, there’s a reverence for its history. My tanka poem (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) tries to capture that sentiment.

GWEN ROUTE 66 USE THIS ONE

You’ll find Gwen here:

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

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***

This Contribution by D.G. KAYE

Flash Fiction Routte 66

From the first time I ever visited Las Vegas, I felt an inexplicable energy through me, an unfamiliar state of feeling that I should be living on the west coast. This feeling had nothing to do with the fact that Vegas is like a Disneyland Mecca playground for adults but more about the atmosphere – desert, climate and just being in the southwest.

It must have been my colorful childhood education from some of the shady characters I’d met in my mother’s circles that began my fascination of mobster stories. After my first Vegas experiences there were plenty more visits there, sometimes 2 and 3 times per year. After so many years of going to Vegas, and one helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, I had an instant feeling that I needed to relocate our vacations to Arizona, more evidence to myself that it was the southwest calling me, more than the casino attractions in Las Vegas.

The first time I landed in Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, I remember strolling the carry-on through the airport with hub, on our way to grab a taxi, when I stopped myself in my tracks and took a pause when this incredible feeling of something inexplicable came over me and told me this was where I needed to be. A familiarity ran through me as though I were home, like I was familiar with a place I’d never before been other than in a helicopter landing in a canyon.

My long fascination with everything southwest, from the climate to the beauty to the rich history of the various Native tribes and cultures, felt familiar and I’d always had this longing to drive Route 66, pretty much inspired by Thelma and Louise. I’d flown over the spot where the movie ends and their car goes off the cliff, while in the helicopter, the tour guide made it a point to announce.

Our first trip to Phoenix was fantabulous. My husband loved all the cowboy stores, venues and paraphernalia, and me, well, I couldn’t get enough of the views, and of course, shopping anything southwest. Don’t even get me started on beautiful Sedona, but those are other stories for another time. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t going home without something ‘Route 66’ and it seemed only fitting when I spotted a set of luggage on discount while I was in the market for a new bag to return home with since what I’d come with was already overflowing. The luggage was colorful with Route 66 plastered all over. And along with some other goodies I found at a flea market when our new friends had taken us to in Mesa, I picked up this sign.

 

route 66

Here I am living in the east, still living in the dream of being a southwest coast girl someday. Who knows what will come when the new world opens up. Never stop dreaming!

DGKaye may be found here:

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***

My own Contribution:

Flash Fiction Routte 66

Déjà Vu

by

Suzanne Burke

FBI Field Office Chicago.

Special Agent Daniel Paterson raised his hand for quiet, “Okay, people, listen up! On all five case files, we have death by Asphyxiation. 5 Different states, 5 Different dates. The order appears random. But look at this on the map.” He illuminated the screen behind him.

“The small towns where the murders occurred can only be accessed from Route 66. The states however are in random order. This unsub could have begun his killing spree from either Chicago or Los Angeles. Traveling from Chicago to L.A We have eight possible locations … Illinois, Kansas, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, exiting in California.”

He stopped and faced his team, “However, our unsub selected five victims, located in crime scene order, 1. Illinois, 2. Missouri, 3. Kansas, 4. California and 5. Arizona. That leaves us with three possible locations to watch,” He circled them, “New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The profile suggests that if this perp moves to victim 6 it will be in one of these states. Questions?”

“Dan, given this info, we need to check all available footage on the exits and access from Route 66 to those town locations.”

“Good call, Tracey. Get on it.”

She nodded and hurried back to her laptop.

***

Two hours later:

Agent Tracey Prentice watched and re-watched the footage. She suddenly sat forward. “Dan! We may have a hit!”

Dan and several of her colleagues hurried across.

“Okay, we have the same vehicle exiting and re-entering Route 66, at the murder locations, in all five states! The dates correlate to the day before and the day after the murders took place. We have details on the RV plates. I’ll have them in a moment.”

***

“Yes! The RV is registered to Thomas Cranston. Thirty-six years old. Male Caucasian. I’m running facial recognition …”

“Jesus! This guy is a Lt. Commander and a former Navy Seal!” She read further … “Medically discharged, six months ago. Two weeks before our first victim. The last known address was here in Chicago.”

Dan spoke up, “Any request to access that file needs to come from The Director. I’ll arrange that now.”

“Dan, we’ll need teams moving into these last three locations. Let’s hope this guy hasn’t changed his M.O.”

***

It took thirty-minutes to be granted limited access to the Medical file of Lt. Commander Cranston. His mission briefs were classified as Top Secret and access to them was refused.

Dan and his team read through his discharge details, much of which was edited out. The commander was severely injured on his last mission. The collateral damage was high. Six of his team were lost. He began exhibiting signs of PTSD and was considered medically unfit for further active duty. His ramblings about retribution caused concern. He blamed the Government in Washington for the cost of his team.

Tracey shook her head. “None of our victims were employed in any capacity by our Government. Jesus, what if these victims are meant as a distraction? What if he has another agenda. But what, when, and where?” She stood, something was nagging at her and she couldn’t place it. She stepped outside, lit up a smoke, and felt the chill of the November air invade her lungs.

She glanced at her watch and the date suddenly registered. “Oh, hell!” She ran inside, “Dan! It’s November 22nd! The date President Kennedy was assassinated! Where is POTUS currently located? Please don’t let it be Dallas!”

Dan checked the morning’s National Security briefing. “Oh, sweet Lord. He is in Dallas, doing a meet and greet.” He grabbed for the landline and made an urgent call. Then turned to his team,  “Tracey, what exact time did JFK go down?”

“12.30p.m Eastern standard time. It’s now 12.18!”

Dan made a grab for the ringing phone and put the call on speaker. “In response to your call, ‘Operation Lockdown’ has been initiated. POTUS will be extracted. Secret service agents are en-route to the Book Depository on Dealey Plaza.”

“Copy that.” Dan ended the call.

He turned on the live TV coverage of the Presidential motorcade, and they all watched with hearts pounding.

The CNN reporter suddenly spoke up excitedly. “Something is happening here! The Presidential Motorcade has stopped! The escort vehicles and the one carrying the President have just slammed into reverse. Something is clearly very wrong! We have secret service agents and a swat team swarming the book depository! The motorcade is no longer in view!  … We have a shot fired!” The reporter moved closer to the shelter of her camera van.

She continued moments later. “We’re all praying that the President has reached a safe location.”

Dan turned from the screen and responded again to the ringing phone. He hung up and faced his team. “The President is secure. Lt. Commander Cranston was found deceased at the scene, apparently dead by his own hand.”

His voice shook with anger as he continued. “By order of The President, these case files are now closed. They are to be designated Unsolved and moved to the Cold-Case register.”

“The order is not open to question! Is that clear?

Tracey’s face paled. She walked over and placed her ID and her gun on Dan’s desk.

She turned as she reached the door and glanced back at her colleagues as they sat in stunned silence “Déjà Vu, anyone?”

#

This contribution shared with us by Marsha Ingrao .

Flash Fiction Routte 66

Get Your Kicks Right Here.

by

Marsha Ingrao.

“Cinnie, settle down back there. Where’s Teddy?” Bobby smiled at his two-year-old bundle of energy. “Put your blankie over you and cuddle up with Teddy.”

The bathroom break took forty-five minutes but Bobby didn’t care. He winked and grinned at his wife as they pulled away from the gas station. He was going to be a movie star.

“Are we almost there yet?” Cinnie asked bouncing up from her mattress laid across the back seat of the 1941 Buick.

“Honey, sit back down. Do you want a fruit cup?”

She and Bobby dreamed of going to California. He wanted to write songs after he got out of the military.

It was early May of 1946. Cynthia was due in late June. Bobby suggested they take a cross-country trip and check out Hollywood possibilities before she had the baby. Cynthia could barely turn around and touch Cinnie in the back seat.

“How long do you think it will take, Bobby?”

“It will be quicker if we take US 40 all the way to San Francisco,” he answered.

“True, but I’ve always wanted to see what the big deal was about Route 66, too.”

Cynthia handed Cinnie her book, The Carrot Seed. Tiny fingers thumbed through the well-worn pages as Cinnie recited the words to herself.

“She’s such a good girl. I can’t imagine doing this trip with a baby, too,” Bobby smiled, his white teeth flashing as he handed Cynthia the map.

“I can’t imagine trying to get this map to lie down flat on a stomach bigger than all of Cinnie.”

Cynthia punched the map, wrestling with the folds, turning it right side up to read the names all the small towns they would be going through. She trailed her finger trail along Route 66 reading the names out loud.

“Galena, Tulsa, Elk City. I wonder if we could get some pictures of elk. Shamrock, Amarillo, Tucumcari. I really want to go on Route 66, Bobby.”

On the third day away from home, the threesome drove through the green corridor from Pennsylvania to the Smokey Mountains. At lunchtime, they pulled to the side of the road and took out their sandwiches. Other lunchers stepped out of their cars and snapped pictures of their babies on the backs of the wild bears who had come to the road for food.

“Me want big bear, Daddy.” Cinnie jumped on her mattress, hitting her head on the headliner of the Buick.

“Too dangerous, Cinnie. We need to go. Let’s sing a song. Better, let’s write a song about our trip. Which one, Westward Ho on US 40 – Let’s Go or Motor Best on Sporty Forty?”

Bobby couldn’t get the crazy tune out of his head. Over and over he sang, “If you ever plan to motor west, Travel my way, take the highway, that’s the best. US Forty, Forty, Forty it’s so sporty, sporty, sporty.

Cinnie chortled. “No, no, no. Sing journey song.”

Bobbie cruned, “‘Gonna take a sentimental journey. Gonna set my heart at ease.” That one, Cinnie? That’s what we’re doing.”

Cinnie sang along until she fell asleep.

Two days later they had to make a decision, to finish the trip on US 40 or veer off onto Route 66. A cool, dry breeze blew through the open windows. Cynthia felt bigger than when she had left home. Cinnie woke up from a nap and laughed as a gust of air blew up Cynthia’s skirt almost blowing the rumpled map out the window.

Cynthia patted her map and started reading city names, “Winslow, Flagstaff, Oatman, Amboy. What about Get Your Kicks on Route 66?” she said humming the first strand of Bobby’s song. “If you ever plan to motor west, Travel my way, take the highway, that’s the best. Get your kicks on Route 66. It rhymes.”

“It shore do, beautiful lady.” Bobby reached over and took her hand. “It winds from Chicago to L.A. More than 2000 miles all the way,”

Five days later they arrived in Los Angeles. Bobby and Cynthia finished the song.

“I have a feeling this is going to be the one,” Bobby said as he wrote the last words in his journal. “Won’t you get hip to this timely tip When you make that California trip? Get your kicks on Route 66!”

And he was right.

###

Contact Marsha here:

 Always Write blog

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Thanks so much for stopping by. The Challenge Photo-Prompt for Week #5 will be posted on June 19th.

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

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“Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Entries for week #2.@gmplano @KIngallsAuthor @JanSikes3 @DLFinn @pursoot #IARTG #WritingCommunity.

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the entries for my weekly : “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #2. You have some great reading in store.

Flash Fiction best header

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 piece inspired by that image in a 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 4pm on June 4th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on June 5th.

***

AND Here’s the prompt image and ENTRIES…For #Week 2.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

This contribution Authored by Gwen Plano.

This week’s picture holds sadness for me. It’s as if life has been stilled. Though the scene is beautiful, there is also a chilly silence. I’ve chosen to try to capture that feeling of isolation in a simple three-stanza haiku poem.

Fiction in a flash park bench Gwen Plano

Take a look at Gwen’s blog.

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

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*

This contribution by Karen Ingalls.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

The Park Bench

The wooden slats creaked when Jim sat down on the park bench. He held a bouquet of red chrysanthemums. The cool air, warm sun, and the smell of autumn leaves brought peace to his tired body.

It was October 18, 2019, which marked the 30th year of meeting Julie Henderson every Friday afternoon at 1:00 pm.

“Hello, darling.”

Jim looked up to see Julie standing there as beautiful as the first time they met. He gave her the bouquet saying, “Happy anniversary, my love.”

In 1989, they were strangers sitting next to one another on this same bench. Julie was reading a book and Jim was eating a sandwich. They glanced at one another and soon struck up a conversation discovering similar interests and histories. They were both divorced, each had three children, and careers. Julie was a nurse and Jim was caught up in the corporate world, but had dreams to open up his own restaurant.

After an hour, Julie stood up. “Oh, my goodness. I must leave and get to the hospital for the evening shift. It was nice to meet you.”

“Wait. Do you come here often? I am being presumptuous, but I would like to see you again,” Jim stammered.

Trusting her instincts, she smiled and said, “I am here every Friday at one in the afternoon. I like to come here and enjoy nature, the quiet, and to gaze at the beautiful oak tree across from this bench.”

“Perhaps we could meet here next Friday. By the way, my name is Jim Agen.” He extended his hand.

Julie took his hand and replied, “I am Julie Henderson. I’ll be here.”

They both felt a special energy sweep through them when their hands touched.

For several months, they met each Friday, same time and place. The park bench knew when they held hands for the first time, each embrace and kiss, and heard their words of affection.

When the weather changed to winter, they just swept the snow off the bench and enjoyed the wintry beauty. In the spring, they breathed in the fragrant smells from the cherry blossoms. On a hot summer day, Jim proposed to Julie. They got married on October 19, 1990, standing in front of their favorite bench decorated with red chrysanthemums and red leaves from the oak tree. It had been a part of their lives from that first meeting and was proud to be at the center of the ceremony.

Over the first months of marriage, Julie encouraged her husband. “Follow your dream of having your own restaurant. Don’t let naysayers stop you.”

With his wife’s help, Jim opened his restaurant Autumn, serving soups, sandwiches, and homemade desserts. It was a successful business and soon he opened two more restaurants naming them Autumn Leaves and Autumn Waltz. The couple filled one wall of each restaurant with books available for the customers to enjoy. Soothing music playing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, an orchestral rendition of Autumn Waltz, or Nat King Cole singing Autumn Leaves completed the ambiance. Julie quit her job at the hospital and became the manager of all the restaurants.

Despite their busy schedules and were married, they continued to spend every Friday afternoon together on the park bench. They talked about their week, hopes and dreams, growing family, and love for each other. Julie loved to say, “I think the angels were tripping over each other to find a way for us to meet. I am grateful that you decided to have lunch in the park that Friday.”

The years passed by, and one Friday only Julie came to the park. Once again, the board creaked as she sat down, letting out a sorrowful sigh. She spent her time talking out loud as if Jim were there. A tear fell on one wooden slat and Julie thought she heard a moaning sound.

Six months later, the October sky was cloudy and the last of the oak’s leaves had fallen. It was Friday, but the park bench was empty. It missed Jim and Julie who never sat on the park bench again.

~~

Karen Ingalls can be found on

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

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*

This contribution by Jan Sikes:

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

A FOREIGN WORLD

“Oh, the memories.” I sigh, and squeeze his hand a little tighter. The dried orange, brown and yellow leaves crunch beneath our feet as we shuffle along the sidewalk.

He smiles down at me. “Yes, my love. I remember when we sat on this very bench and I asked you to be my bride.”

Tears came unbidden and trickled down my wrinkled cheeks. “We had a pretty darn good life, didn’t we, Harold?”

“Yes. Yes, we did, in spite of the hardships.”

“But, I no longer recognize the world we live in. Where is everyone? Why are the streets empty? There was a day when this park would have held the laughter of children and young lovers strolling hand-in-hand.”

“Let’s sit, Margaret. My old legs are giving out.”

We shuffled over to the bench and Harold brushed away the leaves that covered it.

He blew out a long sigh and leaning on his cane, dropped onto the very bench where we started life together fifty-two years ago.

“I’m troubled, Harold. No, I’m more than troubled. I’m scared. Not for me and you. We’re pretty much out of here, but for the ones coming behind us.”

Draping an arm around my shoulders, he pulled me closer. “It’s not the same America that you and I grew up in. Soldiers on the streets, looting, killings and so much hatred exists. You know it’s not even safe for us to venture out.”

“I know, but I really needed some fresh air. Thank you for appeasing me.”

“Oh, my love, that is what I have lived for these past fifty-two years. My greatest joy is to make you smile.”

“What is that noise? Sounds like firecrackers.”

“I think we better mosey on back home, honey. It’s getting closer.”

He struggled to his feet, then leaning heavily on his cane, reached for my hand.

As we shuffled back toward safety, I turned to look back at the bench that meant so much, only to see a group of hoodlums spraying graffiti on it.

“Harold, we need to move faster. Trouble’s coming.”

“I’m going as fast as I can go. Don’t worry, dear. I won’t let anyone hurt you. It’s just a few more blocks home.”

That’s when it happened. A blow to the back of his head, took Harold to his knees. I screamed and turned to face our attackers only to see sneers and glowing hatred in the eyes of what should have been intelligent young men.

“You old people don’t need to be alive,” one of them growled. “You’re just taking up space and eating food that belongs to us. This is our country now. Old people like you are a nuisance.”

I kneeled down beside Harold and cradled his head in my lap. “You’ve hurt my husband.” Tears flowed uncontrollably.

One of them laughed. “So what? What are you going to do about it old woman?”

The first blow knocked me backward onto the hard concrete, and I frantically reached for Harold’s hand. The second blow brought oblivion.

Then, I was flying and when I looked down, I saw the shell of our bodies lying on the concrete, our blood mixing together and staining the sidewalk.

Harold floated up beside me.  “We’re free now, sweet love. No more aches, pains or persecution. We’re free.”

He was right. I no longer had the familiar pain in my joints and his cane no longer had any use.

“What will happen to our once beautiful world?” I took one more glance downward to see the men who’d taken our lives strolling away casually as if nothing had happened. They laughed and joked and slapped each other on the back.

“I don’t know the answer to that. We may have to come back to find out.”

“I’m not sure I want to come back again. Maybe we’ll stay with the Angels for a while.”

“Whatever you say, dear.”

With his hand nestled softly in mine, we drifted slowly and peacefully toward the brightest light that you can imagine. Then we disappeared into it.

We were home.

CONTACT JAN SIKES:

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*

Contributed by D.L.Finn.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

It was our bench. I felt the familiar tug at my heart as I quickened my pace and maneuvered through the pungently earthy orange, red, and yellow leaves. I hated making this walk alone through the fall splendor.

I jumped when something brushed against my leg.

“Sorry. Lady escaped from her collar again.”

The pug sat at my feet with an amiable head tilt. I mumbled. “No problem.”

“She’s friendly if you want to pet her.”

I shook my head and stepped around the dog. Passing the brightly lit coffee shop that usually provided me with a latte, I kept going. Finally, I plopped down on a cold cement bench and was immediately greeted by a distant chorus of barking dogs.

A young boy burst through the door directly across the street. He was cradling a small black kitten.

“Can I name him Skitter, mom?”

As the mother agreed, I flashed back to the day I brought my kitten home from this animal shelter. Felix died right before his 18th birthday. I decided, after crying for two weeks, I didn’t want to go through that heartbreak again.

A wind kicked up, and the sun was sloping down. It was time for me to head home. I stood up to go but froze when a young couple exited the building with a small exuberant black lab just like… Tears flowed unchecked down my face. I missed my walking companion, Bessie. When I had to put her to sleep, after she lost her battle with cancer, it tore me apart holding her for the last time. My two constant companions were taken from me in only two months. Now, at sixty-five-years-old, I was not only a widow but petless too.  With a heavy heart, I slowly made my way home.

The final one-hundred yards before turning into my driveway, I heard a muffled cry coming from a bush.

“Hello?” I called out, getting my keys ready to run inside.

It answered with a whimper.

“Pup?”

I carefully pushed the branches aside and found a taped cardboard box.

“Oh god…”

My heart was racing as I ripped the box open and peered inside.

The yellow puppy barked and jumped on the side of the box with its tail wagging. I quickly scooped it up, and it nestled into my neck. The smaller black one wasn’t moving, and the black and yellow puppy could barely lift its head.

“You poor babies! What kind of monster would do this?”

I raced to my car and gently set the box down while still hanging on to the yellow puppy. My hand brushed over the black pup, finding no life, but the other pup let out a small sigh as I stroked its soft fur.

I dialed my vet and started the car, “I found some puppies in bad shape. Are you still open?”

“We just closed but bring them in, Marsha. We’ll wait.”

Soon the two puppies who had survived were on the vet’s examination table.

“They are around four weeks old and look like a shepherd/lab mix. It was lucky you found these two when you did. We will do everything we can for them and call you in the morning. Are you considering keeping them?”

I frowned. “I don’t think so, but I will pay for whatever they need.”

I spent a long night tossing and turning. Their sweet faces haunted me as well as the cruelly taped box. I knew I was meant to find them, but that didn’t mean I had to keep them. When the sun finally rose, I knew what I had to do.

The phone rang after breakfast. “Hi, Marsha. I’m sorry the boy didn’t make it, but the girl did. We will keep her here another night so we can monitor her, and we found someone to foster her so—”

I cut her off. “No, she has a home with me.”

A year later, Molly was proudly wearing her new pink collar. She yanked me toward our bench. Today we couldn’t sit there because a neighbor’s adolescent daughter had taken it over with a box of kittens that had a free sign taped to the side. Our walk was cut short when I locked eyes with a tiny black cat. We had found the missing member of our family and I had learned that having a pet’s love was worth any loss endured.

*

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*

And My Contribution.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

GLITCH

by

Suzanne Burke.

Hoover Building: Washington.

F.B.I. Taskforce ‘Glitch’. November 17th, 2019.

Special Agent Ryan Spence ran his hands through his thick dark hair and looked across at Jenny Hanson, “Do we have confirmation that it was the same park location?”

“Yup. We had flash traffic a little over an hour ago. Same as all the others. An identical description of the events they also described, including Margaret Dawson’s statement this morning.”

“The first Casefile #C514 was Craig Carmody. Listed as missing person November 16th, 2010. Located, November 16th, 2011. Missing exactly one year. The dates are identical. His interview, especially the description of that location was almost word for word identical to Margaret Dawson’s and the eight others.”

“Sweet Jesus. Nine years, and we still have nothing but supposition to go on. And proving that will be next to impossible.”

“I’ll run his interview file. Who knows maybe we’ll find a difference.”

The room quieted and they hunched forward in anticipation.

***

“Recording date November 17th, 2011.”

Casefile #G514. Craig Carmody. Listed as missing November 16th, 2010. Located November 16th, 2011. Present. Senior Special Agent Colin Wagstaff. Mr. Craig Carmody.

“Mr. Carmody please describe for us the events leading up to your disappearance. You were last seen by your wife on the morning of November 16th, 2010. What happened when you left home?”

“I headed off to work, just like I do every day when I’m on shift. I had a bad mornin’ and come lunchtime I was ready to punch somebody’s lights out. But I figured a couple of stiff bourbons and a walk in the fresh fall air would see me calm down some.”

“You had a few drinks and then?”

“I went to the park.”

“Which park was that?”

“The big one over on Delancey street.”

Delancey street? Are you sure of that location?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. I recall wonderin’ why I hadn’t been down there before. But we’d just moved from Idaho, so I hadn’t seen all of the city.”

The agent sat back for a moment. “Can you describe the park for me? Walk yourself back over that morning and tell me what you see?”

“Yeah, I guess so. So, it was cold, and the wind had picked up, I recall thinking winter was gonna be a real bitch this year. Oh, and it was empty … the park I mean. I thought that was odd, being it was still only early afternoon. But I was in no mood for company anyways.”

“Can you describe what you see?”

“The path is covered in fall leaves and they crunch under my feet. The trees are losing the fight to hang on to the last of their leaves. There’s a bench up on the right, covered in crunchy Fall color. So, yeah, I swiped the leaves off, sat back, and lit up a smoke. That’s when I felt it. ” He stopped and looked down.

“Felt what, Mr. Carmody?”

“The light blinded me and warmed me up instantly, and the sound was a pulsing thing. I put my hands over my ears, but it went right through me, it seemed like it was keeping pace with my heartbeat.” The man wrapped his arms across his chest as if to protect it.

“What happened then, sir?”

“Then?”

“You felt the light, and heard the sound, and then what?”

“I went somewhere else.”

“Where did you go?”

“I don’t know.”

“Were you alone in that place?”

“No. They were there too.”

“They? Can you describe them?”

“You can’t see them, they’re made of light and sound. They don’t have a body like we do.”

“What happened there?”

“I … well, I … I don’t remember. I just know I was there, and now I’m not.”

“You can’t remember anything? You were missing for an entire year, Mr. Carmody. Surely you recall something?”

“I told you. There’s nothin’.”

“Sir, I’m sorry, but there is no park down on Delancey Street. It’s all office buildings and a couple of cafés.”

The man shook his head, “Damn you! I know where I walked to! I tell you it’s there. Why are you saying it’s not?” The man became visibly distressed. His heartbeat and his blood pressure rocketed. The interview hurriedly concluded.

***

And, Jenny? What else? Tell me?”

“Craig Carmody disappeared from the Watford Mental Health Facility yesterday.”

“Jesus! We have to check on Margaret Dawson! She’s being escorted there now!”

He picked up the phone and placed an urgent call.

Jenny watched his face drain of color as he hung up and turned to face her. “The car carrying Margaret Dawson has just been found. The escorts don’t remember what happened. They saw a flash of light and there was a pulse of sound. Margaret Dawson is no longer at the location. Don’t plan on sleeping anytime soon, Jenny.  We have ourselves another active GLITCH file.

#

😁😎(No prizes for guessing I loved The X-Files)

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