Unanswered Questions

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Photo Credit: John Robinson

The people watched in horror from their apartment windows as the young woman jogged across the bridge. A normal sight under normal circumstances, but these were not normal times.

Had she not heard the public service announcements about the air quality?

Five days ago, North Korea launched a nuclear bomb that exploded mid-air. A cloud of radiation slowly drifted toward the West Coast. Alerts went out to all residents from Seattle to Portland: the air was no longer breathable. The President consoled the citizens and assured them the government was diligently working on a solution. Until then, a mandatory curfew was in place.

How could she not know? How is it even possible that she can breathe?

Parents covered their children’s eyes, protecting them from the shock of what would surely be an agonizing death.

They questioned how they could warn her.

Would pounding on the glass get her attention? Could they put up a sign?

There must be something someone could do.

As the minutes passed and the woman seemed unaffected, a more horrifying thought began to take form.

How is it she can breathe?

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. John Robinson provided this week’s challenging photo

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Mrs. Willoughby

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photo credit: Kelvin M. Knight

Mrs. Willoughby, 92, occupied the same park bench every morning, feeding pigeons bread she found in the trash bins behind Big Al’s Hamburgers. Every day, joggers avoided the cement path where dozens of pigeons flocked at her feet. No one complained, however. Like the statutes, Mrs. Willoughby was a permanent fixture in the park. And equally ignored.

One day, Mrs. Willoughby did not show up. A week later, the news confirmed the old woman had died. The next day, someone bolted a memorial to her bench:

Mrs. Willoughby — Her heart was in the right place.

 

Friday Fictioneer’s is a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge and Kelvin. M. Knight for this week’s prompt.

The Meeting

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Photo Prompt by A Mixed Bag

The two great leaders met in the Arizona desert. Alone. No one in the President’s administration knew of this meeting. If word got out, his political enemies would ruin him, much as they had his father. But the risk of doing nothing were too great. Young Trump, as the President was affectionately known, watched as a teenager while his father’s political party spit in the face of science and ignore the signs of climate change. The Deniers became a powerful political force, rolling back centuries of innovation and learning, all in the name of Capitalism.

If only his father had listened to the Truth-Sayers. He could have prevented this catastrophe from happing. But that is all water under the bridge,

Young Trump chuckled at the thought. What a fitting pun.

Swallowing hard, the President spoke.

“I believe they call you Saguaro?”

“My race is known by many names. That is one. Little children know our true name. I believe we are called Man Cactus in your language.”

Young Trump smiled, remembering.

“What do you seek from me,” the ancient one asked?

“Teach me how to live without water.”

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. A Mixed Bag provided this week’s challenging photo

Cat-and-Mouse

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Photo Credit: Danny Bowman

The grainy photo flashed across my cellphone screen: a flat desert landscape, overgrown with scrub brush on its way to becoming a tumbleweed; dwarfed by distant mountain peaks. Intoxicated with anticipation and trepidation, I caught my breath. New Mexico: the next destination in this ruthless game of cat and mouse. A game Jasper and I played for longer than I could remember. New Mexico was home and when I caught him, I would do to Jasper what he did to my wife, God rest her soul. This time, I was the cat and he was the mouse.

Friday Fictioneer’s is a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge and Danny Bowman for this week’s prompt.

Unfinished Business

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Photo Credit: A Mixed Bag

Ray’s doctor broke the shocking news. “You have three-months to live.”

His adult children cried. His ex-wife appeared distraught. His attorney suggested bringing his will up to date. His attorney recommended getting his financial house in order.

On Sunday, his priest implored him to get right with God. Later, his golf buddy, who happened to be a mortician, inquired about a pre-paid burial plan.

“How much longer will you work?” his employer asked.

“What’s first on you bucket list?” his best friend questioned.

But the best advice came from the manager of the Food-Mart.

“Take care of any unfinished business and leave this world in peace.”

Ray knew what to do. For 10 years, his neighbor Henry’s parked car blocked Ray’s driveway. No amount of pleading changed things. Now it was time to take care of business.

The Sherman tank rolled down the street with one target in its crosshairs. With precision, Ray aimed the tank at a single vehicle and gunned the engine. His neighbor’s screams could not rival the sounds of crunching metal.

“He’s crazy,” his neighbor said. “Lock him up!”

Ray did not care. He settled his unfinished business and now could rest in peace.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. This week’s challenging photo was provided by A Mixed Bag

Writer’s Block

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‘The gate remained shut for hundreds of years. No one knew what was on the other side. No one dared find out.’

Rusty combed his brain for the next line but nothing came. He loathed 10th grade creative writing with its useless themes. Like this week – Fanciful Fiction. What rubbish! Bored, Rusty peered out his bedroom window and notice the iron gate leading to a vacant lot across the street. Strange I have never noticed it before, thought Rusty. Grabbing a jacket, he darted out for a closer look.

The uninviting gate stood between concrete walls; the words Keep Out painted in bold, red letters. Along the top, rusted spikes dared intruders to climb over. Rusty was leaving when he noticed the open lock. He pushed hard and met resistance, as if blocked on the other side. One last push created an opening wide enough for Rusty to squeeze his body through, before the gate banged shut.

No one saw Rusty again. His grieving parents left his room as it was the day he disappeared. The story in the typewriter was exactly as Rusty left it. Almost.

In bold red letters were three unexplained words:

‘But Rusty did.’

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is a weekly writing challenge designed for both the flash fiction newbie and the more experienced writer. It is the desire of this challenge to allow writers the opportunity to clear the cobwebs from a more tedious and involved project. Becoming a part of a new and growing writer’s community might be just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate your writing juices

The Warning

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Photo Credit – Roger Bulltot

The Sherwood Arms Neighborhood Association demanded immediate action. The house at 1533 was out of control. Fearing a coup d’état, the association chief wrote the following letter:

“My Fellow Neighbor”

I have received many complaints about the upkeep of your yard. Your contract clearly states – NO UNNECESSARY YARDWORK! Your neighbors prefer to spend weekends in leisure and your obsession with a well-kept lawn makes us look bad.”

The Chief weighed his next words carefully. Surrounding him were lawn-mowers, weed-eaters, and clippers of all sorts, confiscated over the years.

Non-compliance will result in drastic measures. Heed my warning!

 

This story was inspired by Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneer’s , a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less,  based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Roger Bulltot for providing the photo.