Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

The Jewel

Ghalun Bus Stop, Kangra Valley, India ©  Anil Kumar, Google Maps

“The bus is going to be here any minute.”

He was ignoring her. He scooted to the water’s edge, dropping to his knees to peer into the depths.

“You’re going to get your uniform dirty.”

He flattened on his belly and reached one arm into frigid pond, keeping his face turned to one side.

She stomped over to the boulder beside him. “Will. You. Stop. You’ll miss the bus.”

“I’ve almost got it,” he grunted, pressing his cheek tight against the stone to extend his reach.

Curious, she tipped her head to see what was so interesting down there. She gasped. A cut stone of brilliant blue rested at the edge of a stone shelf three feet underwater. One wrong move and the gem would tumble into unknowable depths. Tugging her thermos strap from her shoulder, she dumped her lunch on the shore. “Hold on. I’ve got an idea.”

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mad King and the Saint

Khor Virab, Armenia © Vahagn Mosinyan. Google Maps

Darkness crept back into the cracks of the castle as dawn vaulted over the windowsills. The dream remained. She sat up, hand clutched to her chest, remembering the angel and his instructions.

Only Gregory could relieve the king’s madness.

Gregory, a man long dead to the dungeons at Khor Virap. Everyone knew that. But it had seemed so real.

The king now roamed the forest as a boar, his madness so profound it had caused his teeth to grow into tusks and his skin to sprout bristles.

She got up, covering her chemise with a wrap. This time she’d relay no one else the angel’s message. She left for the forest alone.

“Tiridates,” she called out. Every twenty paces she called his name to the sun dappled woods.

She froze at the sound of a grunt. She turned around. “Tiridates, it is Gregory who can free you from madness.”

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

This is inspired by the real life history of Tiridates III of Armenia. It occurred in the fourth century AD.

When reading such accounts, I always marvel when I come across things that are hard to reconcile with facts as we know them now–such as what is a madness that causes one to rip off their clothes and run and live in the forest… where they sprout tusks and grow bristles all over their bodies? Strange days indeed.

The Ones That Last: The Floating Islands of the Uru

Floating Island, Lake Titicaca ©  D. Alexander Flores, Google Maps

“Oh my gawd. Oh my gawd.” The woman held her arms out as she wobbled over a springy spot in the totora reeds.

Quereche’s dark eyes slid to Michu, amused. A smile dimpled Michu’s check, but she kept her eyes on her stitching. Los turistas were comical, if nothing else: from their first gasps when they stepped upon the floating island, to their wide eyes when they realized that the huts had electricity generated from solar panels, to their open mouths when they heard the radio station broadcasting the afternoon musica to all the Uru’s floating sister islands. They would cup their hands and whisper How strange.

This always made Quereche smile even more. Though the solar panels and radio station were new, her people had survived on this lake for millennia. They’d watched the Inca come and go; then the conquistadores. It would be no different with these people.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

To read more about the Uru people of Lake Titicaca and their floating islands, watch the video below or  visit Atlas Obscura.

Her Need

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

She was in the bathroom, staring in the mirror, with that look she got sometimes. Like no amount of heat could make her warm.

I didn’t need this now. Not with the mother of all meetings tomorrow. The whole Cybertown deal rested on my presentation. I needed to sleep. I needed be sharp. I didn’t need her need.

I realized then I could turn around. She hadn’t seen me. I could slip back out, through the bedroom and down the hall. She could deal with this herself.

She was so very pale.

I walked up, touched her shoulder. “What’s wrong, dear?”

101 words

This story was inspired by a similar story which Brene Brown shares in one of her wonderful books, although I can’t recall which one because I’ve read and loved them all. I’ve taken some fictional liberties with the fictionalized account.

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the talented and generous Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s photo prompt courtesy Rochelle! To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

 

 

The Day We Took Mom to Shady Rest

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“I’m fine. Don’t be silly,” Mom said.

Paul shot a skeptical look over her head. He’d been after me for months to come out and see how she was doing.

“What did you have to eat today?” I asked.

“Oh, the usual. Yogurt and some strawberries from the garden.”

I gave Paul a triumphant look.

“Say, can you get Mom’s walker?” he said, emphasizing the word walker like an indictment.

“Where is it, Mom?”

“It’s in my trunk, dear.”

I walked through her tidy kitchen and into the garage. Which was when I saw her crumpled car. And the blood.

100 words

This has been an edition of the Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the talented and generous Rochelle Wisoff Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Rochelle-and I hope everyone’s okay!

To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

After doing Pegman for awhile, I got used to the luxury of more than 100 words. This was a challenge!

One Man’s View of Heaven

Yorkshire Dales

After the war, he stayed in Yorkshire. For a while, he toured about, staying at inns and tipping ale, up until the day he met the shepherd.

“So I see you made it,” said the shepherd, which had seemed an odd thing to say at the time.

They’d passed a few days, or maybe it was weeks, at the shepherd’s cottage, just talking. He’d told the shepherd about Emily, and the boy back home, and how he knew he should return, but for some reason just couldn’t.

The shepherd understood. “You can stay here,” he said. “Watch the flock.”

And so the man did, and the days passed to years, and the years to decades, until the day he saw her: Emily, walking up the path. He hurried down to meet her. She was every bit the beauty he’d left behind that day on the dock.

“What are you doing here?”

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, a weekly location-based fiction prompt. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

 

The Things He Says

“That’s where I raised my kids,” he said, pointing at the five-story construction project. Max was always saying things like that. Strange things, inexplicable things. Haunting things. Like the time he pointed to the underside of his toy airplane and explained where the bombs went, and how the compartment where the man sat was very, very small.

I cleared my throat and smiled at him in the rearview: my bright-eyed boy in the safety seat, his plump legs jutting out, his bright sneakers bouncing to the bumps in the road.

“Is that so?” I asked.

“Oh yes. Will Daisy Towne have a swing set?”

“Yes they do, honey. They’ve got swing sets, and slides and maybe even a seesaw.”

“What’s a seesaw?”

I realized he’d probably never seen one. The park by our flat didn’t have one, so I explained what it was.

“Oh I remember those,” he said, nodding.

150 words.

Crazy, right? Okay, an explanation:

As I strolled down the street, in that surging, lurching way that one travels in streetview–where destinations never seem to get any closer until suddenly they’re gone–I had the weirdest moment. The tidy redstone church I was heading for turned  covered in scaffolding, and then it was gone and I wound up in front of this, what you see above. There I was, tripping and skipping through space and time and unable to find my way back. And then for no reason, I remembered the strange things my son used say when he was little, and then this story happened.

I think it has something to do with the fact I devoured a season of Legion last week.

I’m sure I missed a fabulous opportunity to bone up on New Zealand but I just wasn’t feeling it today. So, instead I offer the above story, the spirit of complete non-sequitor, proving that inspiration can be whatever you want to do it it.

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.