Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Threadbare

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Threadbare

[Written on December 10, 2013, this was posted to my first attempt at creating a blog.  It has a good message and I wanted to share it once again.  Image Credit]

Threadbare

“This, to me, represents love…” The letter was written to explain why they had to divorce. She shook her head in irritation. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband had no concept of love and staying strong through the hard times. She continued lost in thought when she almost tripped over the child curled up against the wall in the street.

Streaks of dirt only highlighted the deeper dirt that covered the child. His clothing was threadbare, the patches in the knees worn through. He didn’t meet her eyes. She saw many passed him by giving him no notice. But this was a child. All children deserved notice.

Kneeling down, she asked him, “Where are your parents?” He tilted his head as if uncertain what she said. He tugged at his ear and then she realized he was using a rudimentary sign language. She only drove into town to straighten out some legal matters. “Legal matters”…such a cold way to refer to the dissolution of a marriage. Still, she could not ignore this child. Decision made, she held out her hand.

The boy studied the hand with its neatly painted nails. He could not recall a clean hand offered his way. People on the streets would drag him along, making sure he made it to a shelter to get something to eat…most of the time. Sometimes, though, he hid amongst the trash, disappearing. She shook her hand with a little impatience. He saw her mouth move, knowing she was trying to tell him something. Finally, he slowly took her hand.

She hesitated at first before fully grasping the hand. She could feel the greasy grasp slide over her fingers. She fought against her instinct. She told herself, “It’s just dirt! It’s just dirt!” She pushed back the desire to put a handkerchief between their hands. Shaking away the physical discomfort, she continued walking down the sidewalk. The attorney wouldn’t be far and he could advise her about the child.

“Odd,” she thought. “My problem with dirt…with unclean things is what pushed my husband and me apart. Even…getting personal makes me physically ill. Yet, I am holding the hand of this dirty child.” She looked over at him as he squirmed a little and caught him scratching. “…this dirty, LICE RIDDEN child.” Reaching the entrance to the attorney, she turned towards him.

“I know you can’t understand me, but you need to trust me.” He stared at her uncomprehendingly, sniffing. Then he took his hand and dragged it across the offending nose. Fighting nausea, she shakily took that hand back into hers as they climbed the steps. “I can do this…I can do this…” she continued to chant as they opened the door.

“Hello, Mrs. Sanders. You’re a few minutes ear…” The receptionist cut her statement short. “Oh..oh…ummm…what’s this?”

“This is a who…and I’m not sure but we need to figure something out.” The boy stared out the window as rain began to fall. At least, he thought, I am dry for now.

Written in response to Finish That Thought. The prompt: This, to me, represents love.

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VisDare 140: Hesitation

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VisDare 140: Hesitation

The park welcomed her as she stepped onto the walking path.  Even here she restrained herself.  Trapped within the decorum prescribed by society, she walked a straight line, followed the normal dictates.  Breathing in the scent of the wildflowers, she lost herself into the scenery and the music playing through her headphones.  Her dreams started to come alive.  The stories awakened as she took each step.  Lost in the story she started to twirl in the embodiment of her main character, captivated by the magic.  Hesitation then societies rules stepped in.  She marched forward.  A pair of walkers walked by and waved as they passed one another.  People would not understand the free spirit, she told herself.  She repressed the skip.  She curtailed the dance.  This was a place for walking.  Then the wind swirled around her.  Laughing, she embraced the dance and twirled with it.

 

[This was written in response to VisDare 140.  Photo credit:  50 Best Black and White Photos.

AI

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AI

AI

#VisDare127

The AI watched as her mistress adjusted the device.  “You know that I can help you with that,” she responded.

“I know,” stated mistress.  “So many skills have been handed over to the AI.  If I give up coding, what more is there for me to do?”

“I only wish to assist,” AI answered in a clipped voice.

“It always begins as help.  But when I give up my own autonomy, I become the slave.”

AI tilted her head thoughtfully.  “Am I…a slave?”

Mistress looked up, realizing the misstep.  “I suppose servant is a better word.”

“Slave…a person who is a legal property of another.  A person who is forced to obey.”

“You are not a slave, see?  You don’t meet the definition.  You are not…a person…”  Mistress trailed off.

AI considered these words, “Person…individual, creature, character, human.  I must be human to be a person?”

“So it seems.”

Elephant Dreams

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So many days wasted chasing ordinary.  No more.  Evana folded the newspaper, the ad circled that led to this new life.  At 40, did she dare change her path?  Yes.  She was finished with ordinary.  She was through with fitting in.  She wanted to chase long denied dreams. She watched the endless ocean below, composing the words in her mind.  She had left everyone behind without a word.

Dear Mom, What can I say?  I’m on a plane headed for the heart of Africa.   My new ordinary may seem anything but to you but now I’m chasing elephant dreams on the African savanna.  Think of me as you sip tea and talk about the mundane.  I will certainly think of you as I explore my new ordinary. Evana

Turning the card over in her hand, she pictured herself as the woman drinking tea with the elephant.  Soon it will be.

Elephant dreams

Written in response to VisDare88.

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The Beast’s Final Test

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Beauty finally accepted Beast’s proposal.   The nuptials followed quickly for time was short.  As the ring sealed the deal, Beast’s eyes widened in horror.  The spell did not encapsulate him, did not free him from his prison.  Rather, it wrapped around the lovely woman who deigned to accept his hand.  Then he saw that the witch’s revenge was complete.  It began in her hands, the joints becoming twisted, brown spots covering the fair skin.  The spell quickly moved up her arms and down her legs, making her body bent and twisted.  Eyes dimmed by cataracts met his.  Parting thinned lips, a craggy voice asked, “Beast, do you still find me beautiful?”  He turned away, refusing to meet her eyes.  “How can I love a hag?”  The final test sealed his fate as the forest tightened its hold upon the mansion.  He would be sealed for eternity with his Beauty.

This was written in response to:

VisDar 87

VisDare87

Grim Undertaking

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They grimly looked upon their list. Gathering souls normally was a joyful event. However, tonight the troop of death angels knew it was time to visit the children’s hospital. They considered their approach. Sometimes their form was frightening to children. “We could dress like grandparents,” suggested Mac. Mac’s generous grey hair would lend well to the task. Still, they decided something else was in order. Tonight, they would dawn the bright colors and makeup of clowns. Dressed and ready, they opened the door that would cross into the human dimension. Soon, the troop of clownish grims found themselves walking down the gleaming polished floor of the children’s hospital. The surgical wing led them to their first soul. They gathered around him and shared giggles and laughs. As the surgeons approached, he grew serious. “I’m not waking up, am I?” Mac grinned, “Of course you are…and you get to see Him.” The boy smiled as the gas overtook him.

This short piece of flash fiction is submitted to Flash! Friday with the inspiration of the following picture.Circus Clowns visit sick boy

“Circus clowns visit sick boy” from the Boston Public Library.

The Red Dress

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Red Dress

The smoke seemed to part as she walked into the room, her presence drawing the male attention her direction.  She was a throwback to bygone time when women had curves.  Full lips dressed her smile in velvety softness.  Her dress (yes, she wore a dress) hugged her curves in delicious rose red silk.  Of course she wore red, Mike thought.   The other women in the bar were forgotten, clouded illusions in her presence.

Ember Leon spotted him in the corner and narrowed her eyes in intent.  She knew he was there for her, even as he chewed the pipe thoughtfully.  He watched her movements, her approach like a cat hunting its prey.  He knew he was caught in her trap but the prize she dangled before him was well worth the risk.

Mike reached for her hand as she joined him in the booth.  Her voice greeted him with deep notes of promise.  He knew the promises were empty, still he could deny her nothing.  She slowly removed the gloves from her hand as he ordered her drink.  When it arrived, she slowly drank the rum and coke and it seemed as if the tendrils of her words ensnared him as the alcohol wound its way through her body, loosening her inhibitions just a wee bit more.

He found himself wrapping his arms around her, dancing to the slow ballad, and as her lips brushed against the pulse of his throat, he knew this was a bad idea.  Yet, he followed her out the door.  She looked back, encouraging him with her smile.  “Mikel, dearest…you know you want to finish this dance.”  He was gone, lost in her spell, and she wove it well.

Their steps carried them to the edge of the walk where an unpaved path carried them further from the lights of town.  The smoke that shrouded her before was now replaced by mist.  He continued to trail after her, trusting her perhaps a bit too much.  Still, she offered him a dream.  And he wanted to slip into that trance with her.

The cabin seemed to appear out of nowhere, simple in design and not very spacious.  He reached for the catch on the door and held it open for her.  She stepped inside and he followed.  He was surprised when she struck a match and lit a lamp rather than flipping a switch.  The lamp revealed little about the house and kept the light closely bound.  She led him to an iron bed where her kisses guided him down to the quilted surface.  As his eyes closed to take in her touch, the unfamiliar coldness entered his soul.  He opened his eyes and realized she had stolen his heart.

Days later a body was recovered at the end of the trail.  The cabin had faded into the charred foundations as daylight flooded the wood.  The siren of the woods had taken yet another victim, feasting on yet another heart.

 

497 Words

 

This was written in response to The Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.23.  The songs involved in this inspiration include Cory Chisel and the Wondering Sons “Home in the Woods” and the Eagles “Witchy Woman”.  I hope this warmed you and chilled you.

Unspoken Goodbyes

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Sam walked stiffly towards the flight attendant.  The chubby little held onto hers as if it would keep them together.  His five-year-old strength was not strong enough, not nearly strong enough to hold of the U.S. government.  The attendant knew the routine.  She had seen it all too often when she worked this flight.  With this number of military bases, she thought her heart would be hardened by this point but she knew this would make her heart break inside.

Sam knelt before her son.  His caramel skin did little to cover the smattering of freckles across his nose and cheeks.  She forced a smile and pushed his curls back.  “You are such a strong little man,” she stated, willing them both to believe it.  She could see the tears welling up in the back of his eyes but he held them back.  “Grandma will be so glad to see you.”  She leaned forward to kiss his cheek and he threw his arms around her neck, holding on for dear life.  She swallowed the lump in her throat.  “Mmmm…I love you, too, my darling Ethan.  I’m going to hold this hug in my heart until we are together once again.”

He sniffed back his tears and fought for composure.  “Momma, be strong.  Take care of the bad guys.”  She smiled at her little man.  Staring him in the eyes, she gathered his face in her hands and held  it before her, remembering every detail.  Once she had frozen his image in her mind, she stroked his cheeks with her thumb and rose to her feet.  Ethan stood up straight as well.  He turned and faced the attendant.  “I’m ready but…” he looked at his mother, her uniform about askew from the hugs and tears, “Make sure you come back.”

Sam smiled a promise to him.  He turned and took the attendant’s hand.  She let him down the jet bridge and onto the flight.  Sam watched as the plane pulled from the terminal and taxied out onto the runway.  Sighing shakily, she turned and headed to the opposite end of the airport where her own flight would take off.

Ethan would be greeted with cookies upon landing.  She hoped she would not be greeted with gunfire.  A quick prayer slipped under her breath as she joined her combat brothers and sisters and “Amen,” echoed around her.  Soon the gray Seattle rain would be replaced by the sands.

 

NOTE:  So much is written about military men separated from their families.  However, women are serving and sacrificing time with their loved ones as well.  This was written to honor military moms.  It is so hard to be away from your loved one and to trust them in the care of another.  May your sacrifice be honored and worthy.

 

This is a submission to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.22 with the song from Macy Gray “I Try“.

Military