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

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”  Week #11 Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by DEADLINE: 4pm EDT on Thursday, August 6th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here beginning on Friday, August 7th.

Here is the week #11 Image Prompt.

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

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

Photo by Adrian Mato on Unsplash

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

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

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By Email.

 

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge” #Week 7 Entries Part 3.@pokercubster @gmplano @MadameGsTeaRoom John Maberry #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 3)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #7.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 5) By D.G.Kaye  6)a Haiku By Gwen Plano and our final entry for this week 7) By John Maberry.

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.

Entry #5  Contributed by D.G.Kaye

flash Free lighthouse beautiful

Casualties of a Silent War

 Suspended in wait while idling in neutral, nothing is certain, nor will ever be the same. The Mother Goddess reveals the consequences of our decisions. A cruel awakening descends upon us, throwing us a glimpse, an acrid taste of what we’ve missed along the way – or perhaps, what we’ve forgotten.

In the bliss of ignorance, choosing not to hear the call, happy to remain invisible contributing to the noise, happy not attracting attention from the powers that be, a desperate attempt to dodge the path of ominous events to come.

I choose to stay in the now and the know, rather than gripping on to the unknown, writhing with fear, camouflaged under nature’s cover where I observe from.

She watches us, hidden and inconspicuous to the naked eye and the passerby. But the all-knowing sees all and straddles in wait for the world to respond.

Cruel Awakening

Mother Nature awaits us

To make the right move

 

©DGKaye2020

D.G.Kaye may be found here:

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TWITTER

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#

#6 This Contribution from Gwen Plano

As I studied the prompt, I thought of storms at sea and sailors helped to safety. Then I thought of you and me, finding our way through a squall of threats and conspiracies. Not so surprisingly, I found hope in the one Light that is never dimmed completely.

​I hope you enjoy my Haiku contribution:

Gwen may be contacted … here

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.


#7 … This contribution by Wendy D. Smith (Pen name Wendy D. Gillespie.


flash Free lighthouse beautiful

UNDER THE SEA

Wendy D. Gillespie

Sunlight sparkled brightly off the whitecaps, the waves crashing almost casually onto the shore. A lone gull hovered overhead, waiting for just the right moment to plunge beneath the waves and claim his catch. The rumble of the breakers was the only sound above the rustle of the dune grass in the breeze. The beach stretched out for half a mile along the waterfront, before disappearing into the rocky cliffs downwind. A family of sandpipers made its way along the surf, darting in and out of the surf line, always just evading the advancing water by a talon’s width.

The waves darkened suddenly with the shadow of a large mass, and a spotted blue tail slapped the surface as a tremendous hulk breached the waves and sank back down into the depths. A cool mist lingered a moment in the morning air before dissipating in the sunlight and all was quiet once more.

A thousand or so years ago, this very shoreline was teeming with college students on spring break, its own sea of blue beach umbrellas on the sand. Perhaps in another ten million years, something resembling Homo sapiens would again populate this stretch of sand with its drunken youth. Perhaps not. The gull screeched four times and circled higher into the sky, as if mourning mankind’s passing. But the sun paid no heed, shining on as it had been doing for five billion years already, and would continue doing for another five. Time enough. Time enough for anything to crawl up from the sea bottom, and claim its foothold on the planet. Anything at all.

Wendy can be reached …

TWITTER:

MadameGsTeaRoom

GOODREADS

###

And our final entry for this week’s prompt is number 7) By John Maberry.

 

flash Free lighthouse beautiful

Surfing a Lighthouse

 

Of all the times they’d gone to the Outer Banks, they had never strayed far from shore. They snorkeled. They beachcombed. They took the sailboard lessons but never hang gliding or parasailing. She wanted to try surfing.

“Not for me,” he said, “the channels and the sandbars constantly changing—too risky.”

“Don’t be a wuss, Eddy,” she laughed, “I’m doing it.”

“All right, you go. Just stay away from the fishing piers and the inlets.”

Lighthouses. They loved the lighthouses. Especially the one that had to be moved inland as the shore eroded. It’s the image he saw that reminded him. How she got careless. Careless at that rocky, dangerous shore. The sun between clouds and a high barrier dune, blinded her. She looked away—the wrong way, avoiding the sun’s glare only to catch the flash of the automated lighthouse. She veered too late. Out of the channel onto the rocks emerging at low tide.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2020 John Maberry

John Can Be Found here …

~~~~~~

Thanks so much for stopping by! The image PROMPT for WEEK #8 will be posted later today.

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“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.

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By Email.

 

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #6 Entries 4-5. @JanSikes3 @gmplano #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 2 of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #6.

Today I’m featuring contributions from  4) Jan Sikes and 5) Gwen Plano. Week #7 prompt will be featured here tomorrow.

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.

FREE FRAMED IMAGE OF BABY AND DADDY SLEEPING WEEK 6

#4 …Contributed by JAN SIKES

“I’VE GOT YOU”

I’ve got you, little one

Safe and secure

In this world filled with troubles

Heartaches and fear

Your tiny heart beats in rhythm with mine

My blood flows through your veins

Our lives forever intertwined

I’ll protect you until my very last breath

And warm you when icy winds

Threaten with the kiss of death

Yes, I’ve got you, little one

Today, tomorrow and all your days here

I’ve got you, little one

My love unshakable and sincere.

            Your Father

#

Jan can be contacted here …

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

Amazon

On Twitter

On Facebook

 

#5 … Contributed by Gwen Plano;

My contribution is a Haiku poem, a 3-lined poem characterized by 17 syllables. When I saw the photo, a song began playing over and over in my thoughts. My dad would sing this song and perhaps your father did as well. It begins: Hush little baby, don’t say a word; Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird

 

Gwen Plano can be reached here:

 

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

~~~

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

The Week #7 Writing prompt will be posted tomorrow.

“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!” Week #5. Image Prompt: Join in, have fun, and let loose your creative muse.#FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

 

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to week #5 of my  “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write either a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that prompt, in any form, and 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 Thursday, June 25th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here beginning on Friday, June 26th. (I’ll feature all posts in the order they were received over several days if the number of entries calls for it.)

I do hope you join in! Have fun, let the creative muse loose!

And now …The image for week#5

flash best marionette

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

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

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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.

On Twitter:

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

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

 

***

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:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

AMAZON

GOODREADS

***

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.

###

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

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In #Gratitude for the 400th Review of my #Memoir “Empty Chairs” It is #Free From Oct 8th, till Oct 12th. #RRBC #IARTG #WritingCommunity.

 

Hello and welcome.

How does it feel when the reviews of your work click over to 400 on Amazon.com?

Now there’s a question I never believed I’d ask myself! My first reaction was stunned. I sat here looking at that number and shaking my head in amazement. Then this tough old girl had a damned good cry.

Why?

Because these people I may never meet in person, made the time in their lives to read of my journey. Then they sat and shared their feelings in a review, and many of them gave me a glimpse into their own journeys. I count myself forever grateful to them. I have been inspired by so many of them as they shared their wisdom.

There are so many marvelous people that have stepped forward and offered their unrelenting support on my writing journey. Many of them are fellow members of #RRBC Rave Reviews Book Club.

I’d like to share a review with you that continues to make me smile through grateful tears. My dear friend and fellow author Gwen Plano made this wonderful clip.

In celebration of the 400th Review, I have listed “Empty Chairs” FREE From October 8th thru October 12th.

Again, my warmest thanks for your kindness and support.

Christmas on the streets. The truest meaning of Christmas. Christmas morning 1966: 2:00 A.M. #RRBC #IARTG #IAN1

BEAUTIFUL BABY DOLL FOR BLOG CHRISTMAS 2017

Thank you for joining me. Whenever the darkness of our crazy old world threatens to overwhelm me I remember the times when the wonderful spirits of good people who saught only to give joy with no expectation of return enriched my life. I share this precious miracle with you each year that I am able. My Christmas gift to all those that may despair or have lost faith in the belief that most human beings are intrinsically good.

CHRISTMAS MORNING 1966: 2:00 AM.

The Christmas season is the harshest of all when you live on the streets.

On ANY streets … In ANY town.

A miracle happened in our small dark world that hot and steamy Christmas morning all those long years ago.

It was not a ‘miracle’ of biblical proportions, yet for us, it was a miracle that we would hold in our memories forever, to be taken out and looked at whenever life grew harsher.

I have taken the chapter from my memoir, and I am sharing it with you here.

I hope that it makes you nod in understanding.

I am smiling through my tears as I remember…..

 “Faint Echoes of Laughter” Book 2 of the “Standing Tall & Fighting Back.” Series. Non-Fiction. Memoir.

Chapter 7

Christmas was barely a week or so away, and the mood wasn’t good.

Christmas out here meant different things to each of us I guess.

My memories of Christmas’s past were all bad. Even last year when I’d been on the streets alone for barely a month had bad stuff attached to it, yet it hadn’t been nearly as bad as the ones I had lived with back in the home I called ‘hell central’.

I asked Baby Jenny to come for a walk with me down to see Big Mike. I wanted to ask him if he could scrounge up some leftover decorations to put up in the ‘palace’ to lighten the mood up a little.

He gave me a thoughtful nod, and said he’d “see what he could do.”

He spoke to Jenny…”I swear you get prettier every day, Jenny. Don’t let Sassy here teach you any bad habits.”

Jenny grinned at him too shy to respond.

I kept my mouth shut except for a “Gee thanks … Big Mike”

He smiled and wandered off, and we headed back up to the palace. We spent a lot of time outdoors during the heat of the summer. The cooler breezes from the water were good. The heat inside our metal home was dreadful.

When a week had passed and we hadn’t seen Big Mike we figured that he had forgotten. It was disappointing, but he didn’t owe us anything; and after all, he had helped us out with Momma and other stuff like wood for the fire in winter, so we didn’t really expect the decorations, we just hoped for them.

Jenny was extra quiet. I wondered if she would ever be able to talk about why she was here. I didn’t ask her. I hadn’t discussed my background with any of them, even Jamie. So I understood that it was not open for general discussion.

Christmas Eve dawned fiery red. It was going to be a very, very, hot day according to the radio forecasts, with a cool southerly change expected later in the evening.

We all headed up to Hyde Park very early and took a Christmas bath in our favorite fountain. At least the palace wouldn’t stink quite so badly for Christmas day.

It was tempting to just jump in the ocean so close to the Palace, but Big Mike had warned us all about the sharks, so we didn’t dare.

Sydney Harbor wasn’t the safest place to swim. We planned on heading down to the Botanical Gardens for a swim in the lake that evening. We figured there wouldn’t be many people around because it was Christmas Eve.

The sky began to look dark and threatening early in the afternoon. The southerly buster was heading up the coast rapidly. We were all unusually quiet and sitting around outside in the shade of the container when we heard the sound of vehicles heading toward the Palace.

We headed around the front to see who had arrived and watched in stunned amazement as Big Mike and two of the other guys whose names I can’t recall, began unloading boxes of stuff from their cars and placing it in the shaded opening of our tin home.

Big Mike looked uncomfortable; if possible, he was even gruffer than usual. “You lot need feeding up, so we brought you some stuff.”

We were all too stunned to say much at all, these hard men were all smiling and a little red-faced. I swear if they could have, that they would have scuffed their shoes in the dirt like little kids with embarrassment.

Big Mike shook Jamie’s hand and accepted the ‘thank you’ from him.

I was speechless which wasn’t a common occurrence, I just grinned like mad and gave the guys a hurried “Thanks.”

They were the unlikeliest Angels you would ever see, sweaty and dirty after a long hot day’s work, the sight of them unloading the Christmas goodies and punching one another in the arm in a gesture common amongst males remains etched starkly in my memory.

Big Mike reached into the front seat of his car and pulled out a parcel that was wrapped up in Christmas paper, with bright ribbons attached. He walked over and handed it to Baby Jenny.

She looked confused and wasn’t sure what to do with it.

“The women picked this out for ya, little one.” Big Mike said.

Jenny still wasn’t sure what to do.

“Go ahead and open it, Jenny,” Jamie said.

“Um, later. Later. Okay?” she replied looking very unsure of herself.

She looked at the men, and gave them one of her sweet smiles, “Don’t matter what it is. I never had a present before, so…Um…Yeah, thanks, thanks a lot.”

The men seemed to understand that she needed to be alone when she opened it.

As for the rest of us, we tore into those presents and boxes like there was no tomorrow…squealing in delighted surprise with everything we found.

There was more food than any of us had ever seen.

Tinned Hams, fresh pineapples, cherries, and plums. Cooked Turkey and Cranberry sauce …with all the trimmings. Fifteen red t-shirts all large sizes. Paper plates, and plastic knives and forks, a can-opener. A Cooler packed with ice, a radio, and spare batteries. A big crate of beer and bottles of Coke.

That night, we all huddled around the new radio; it was bigger and put out a better sound than the small transistor we had been using, we sat drinking the beer and singing our version of Christmas carols, none of them repeatable. Trust me.

Jenny sat on her sleeping place; she was a little tipsy as well having been allowed one-half of a small bottle of beer. We glanced at her as she picked up her present and watched the look on her face as she unwrapped it.

It was a baby doll, all soft and dressed in bonnet and booties with a pretty pink knitted dress. “Just what we needed, another fuckin’ mouth to feed,” she said…but the smile on her face could have lit up the entire city.

We were fed, content, and a little overwhelmed and unsure at the kindness of these people.

Typically, we questioned the motive behind it. We all wanted to believe that maybe, just maybe, they had done it for no motive other than the wish to make this Christmas a good place for us to be. It was an alien experience but a welcome one.

We had only sampled a little of the huge amount of food, deciding to save the rest for Christmas Day

That night we were all tipsy. Strangely quiet as we bedded down for the night. I think we were all a little overwhelmed by the generosity of these men.

It was around 2.00 am Christmas morning I guess when I felt something was wrong. Whatever the something was, it wouldn’t let me sleep. I couldn’t place it immediately. It was a strange sense of something missing, and it troubled me.

Jamie was on watch; I climbed over the others and hunkered down next to him. Jamie smiled at me and said, “You too hey, Sassy?”

“Yeah, I guess–what is it? Something’s different.”

We sat a while just listening. Then Jamie said, “Oh shit! It’s Jenny, she’s not crying!”

My heart was in my mouth. Jamie grabbed the torch and we played it across the others, several of them were already awake, and wondering what the hell was happening. Jenny had cried herself to sleep every night since she’d come to this place. It was a sound we all tried not to hear. She couldn’t be comforted, we weren’t permitted that close. She’d been here for two years now. Jenny was around eight-years-old.

Jenny lay on her side, sound asleep with both arms wrapped around that doll so tight there was no space between them.

That was the first time I had cried in a very, very, long time. I glanced at the others, without exception we were all affected the same way. No one wanted to look at anyone else, shit we were supposed to be the toughest kids on the block! Hell, we were the only kids on the block. That Christmas was the first real day of Jenny’s childhood. From then on, Christmas became Jenny’s birthday.

I’d like to tell you that a miraculous change came over her. That she was instantly transformed. In a make-believe world, she’d be outside singing all the hits from ‘The Sound of Music’ and wearing a pretty new dress and shoes.  But this is the real world, and the changes took place over time.

Jenny named her doll, Francine.

The greatest change of all; was that, from that night, for all the years that Baby Jenny remained in our world, she never cried herself to sleep again.

***

Many years have passed since that long ago Christmas Eve. My darling Jenny has gone.

So many of my Christmas Eves’ over time have been special ones. But the one I recall with tears of happiness on my face, and a smile in my heart … is this one.

Jenny lost her battle with life in September of 2008.

The doll Francine was buried with her.

Thank you for being here. I wish each and every one of you a peaceful, serene and joyous Christmas, no matter where on this planet you’re from.

Faint Echoes of Laughter here on Amazon.com

KOALA CHRISTMAS