Muster Station Message

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Photo Prompt: Al Forbes

The warning blasted throughout the ship:

This is not a drill. Proceed to your muster station.

How can a ship sink when the sea is calm and the weather fine? I learn from panicked voices of a fire on deck one. I hear the word ‘bomb.’ The situation is surreal. I retrieve my lifejacket and head toward Muster Station 3 where I notice both men and woman boarding the lifeboats. How can that be? Isn’t it always women and children first? Then again, my only experience with a sinking ship was the movie Titanic.

A young woman catches my attention. I grab her hand, hoping she will prove strong enough for us both. When it is my turn to board the lifeboat, I turn to my companion to say we will be okay; instead she shoves a worn leather book at me. Before receding into the crowd, she mouths: make sure it gets into the right hands. The lifeboat plunges into the ocean and I never see the woman again.

As we motor toward safety, I open the book and read words more frightening than the sinking ship:

Citizens of the United States…. you are in danger.

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

 

 

 

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Mother’s Last Laugh

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photo prompt: A Mixed Bag

For twenty years, the children of Mrs. Adeline McCarthy impatiently waited for their wealthy mother’s death. Finally, the crazy old woman succumbed to a lingering illness. Harold and his sister Lizzie listened as the lawyer began reading the will.

“For the record, I am reading the last will and testament of Adeline McCarthy, dated September 1, 2017.

Both children gasped in horror! A recent change must mean one or the other would receive less than expected. Some devilry must be at work.

‘…to my son, Harold. Your love of money did not go unnoticed. Therefore, I leave you $1.00. Use it wisely.”

Harold glared at Lizzie with accusing eyes. He always knew she was a conniving woman.

“…and to my daughter Lizzie. You love animals; therefore, I leave you my priceless fox stole. May you wear it proudly to your P.E.T.A. protests”

Lizzie fainted.

Unable to contain himself, Harold blasted. “What about the money!”

“There is no money. Everything went to charity before she died. Frankly, you both got more than you deserved.

Harold raised an imaginary glass of champagne. “Cheers Mother, may you rot in hell.”

Turning to his hysterical sister, he chuckled. “fox stole… that is priceless.”

 

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.

Green Hill Monster

Leaves

Photo Prompt: A Mixed Bag

For the past 60 years, the old couple made a pilgrimage to Talihina to watch the changing of the autumn leaves. The tradition started the year they married. Too poor to take a real vacation, the happy couple packed their car with a picnic lunch and blanket, and drove three hours to shores of the Kiamichi River. Although their financial circumstances improved over the years, they continued to return every September.

Today’s banquet included fried chicken and homemade potato salad, and a special bottle of wine. As the couple enjoyed a second glass, a loud squeal echoed through the hills. Without warning, an ugly creature eight-foot tall with long, stringy black hair towered before them. Sharp, pointed teeth filled its mouth and its eyes were black as night.

Seeing the creature, the old man grabbed his chest.

“My God! You know better to sneak up. My old ticker isn’t what it used to be. Have a seat”

The old man pointed to the blanket.

The old woman handed the creature a glass of wine.

“We were wondering when you would show up. Our little excursion would not be the same without you. Hungry?”

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.

This week’s story combines a true Oklahoma tradition – the drive along the Talimena – with an Oklahoma urban legend. Here is more on a sighting of Bigfoot in Oklahoma.

Bigfoot – Talihina

Bigfoot stories have been a staple of southeast Oklahoma for decades. In fact, the heavily forested area is said to be one of the most active for Bigfoot sightings in the country. One of the first sightings occurred in 1970, when a group of local high school kids decided to cruise the foggy back roads near Talihina after an evening pep rally. They pulled over and one of the teenage boys wandered away from the group and into the edge of the surrounding forest. It was here that he caught a glimpse of what the locals later dubbed the “Green Hill Monster” of southeastern Oklahoma – a hideous creature several feet taller than a human and covered in long, matted hair.

The boy ran back to the car in fright and the group quickly sped away down the road that lead back to town. After they reported the sighting to the police, the local sheriff investigated the area. He found several dead deer in the vicinity and immediately forbid anyone from going into the woods at night for fear of an attack. The creature was never caught (http://www.travelok.com/article_page/oklahomas-spooky-urban-legends)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

rusty-gate

‘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

Loss and Found

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Photo Credit: Dawn M Miller

Judy’s throat tightened as she surveyed the remnants of Grandma’s house. She refused to cry. Suck it up, she told herself. It’s just stuff.

David handed her lukewarm coffee in a plastic cup. Courtesy of the Red Cross, he told her.

“It’s my fault, I could have removed Grandma’s things two days ago. Now, everything is gone, just like her.” Words meant more for herself than for David.

”Don’t blame yourself. You had a lot to take care of, with the funeral and all. Besides, it was mostly junk. That woman never threw anything away.”

Judy bit her tongue. She didn’t need an argument over her grandmother’s hoarding habits. David simply didn’t understand that when you grew up during the Depression, everything was useful.

Across the debris field, Judy noticed a gleaming reflection. Nothing but an old piece of metal, but her eye caught something else. Reaching into the grass and mud, Judy pulled out a tiny teacup, in perfect condition. Grandma’s favorite. Judy lovingly wiped off the mud with her tee-shirt, exposing the royal blue and pink rose pattern.

It was true. Storms leave miracles in their wake.  Judy let the tears of happiness flow.

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Many thanks this week Dawn M. Miller for offering the stimulating photo. Although this story is purely fiction, recent personal events and Hurricane Harvey offered lead me in the direction it took. Earlier this week I was in that small Texas town where Harvey made landfall, attending my sister-in-law’s funeral. I doubt much of what she owned survived. Storms are strange and selective creatures. Why it chooses to leave small delicate items like a teacup intact in a sea of destruction is truly a mystery.

Sunday Photo Fiction – August 27th 2017