Three Sisters

This little tale came to me as I once again worried too much about things going wrong.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Once again, Chuck found himself in the cross-hairs of Fate.

It never failed. Whenever Lady Luck graced him with unexpected fortune, Fate snatched it from his hands.

Like the time Chuck won $10,000 in the lottery. As soon as he received the money, the transmission in his old Chevy conked out.

His friend Marvin laughed. “You should be thanking your lucky stars for that check. That old clunker had no life left. Be glad you had cash to buy something newer.”

Chuck fumed inside. Marvin was lucky. He had money.

Last week, when a new job opening was posted, a golden opportunity that offered more money and less hours, Chuck thought his luck had turned. The interview went great with a tentative offer made.

But Fate stepped to ruin everything. The offer was rescinded, something about a bad reference.

“Marvin, when you talked to that guy about me, you didn’t say anything…. bad… did you?”

“Man, I would never talk down about you. But remember that project last fall? I hold him it wasn’t your fault it went over-budget, that there were extenuating circumstances. You don’t think that hurt you any, do you?”

Sighing, Chuck realized he would never catch a break.

Later that day, as Chuck walked to his car, he noticed the flashing lights of an ambulance. Lying on the ground, with paramedics performing CPR, was Marvin. The words ‘heart attack’ hummed through the crowd.

“Poor Marvin,” said Chuck, not realizing he was speaking out loud. “I hope he will be OK.”

A man next to him turned and smiled. “I wouldn’t count on it, my friend. Karma is a bitch.”

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Friday Fictioneers: The Agreement

Dalia anxiously waited for the call she feared would never come. Nearby, the detectives huddled in a circle. Were they talking about Steffen, she wondered, or just shooting the breeze. For 10 hours, they speculated as to why Steffen abandoned his car on the bridge after a minor accident. Dalia’s head pounded from the incessant questioning.

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

What did she know that she was not telling them, they demanded.

Tight in her hand, Dalia held the tattered reminder of their pledge; a binding agreement made when they first came to America: Protect Yourself. Say Nothing.

And she wouldn’t.

 

This story was inspired by Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. To join in and to read the other stories, take a look here

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Last Move

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photo credit: A Mixed Bag

The Director held the phone in his hand and considered his next move. The events of the past few days unnerved him in ways he never thought possible. During his 25-year tenure with the agency, he had learned the secrets of the rich and powerful. He knew what men, and women, were capable of when push came to shove. But this man; he was ruthless. He would stop at nothing to salvage his legacy.

Do you really want to do this, Jimbo?

In the corner of his office was a chess board. As a boy, the Director mastered the game and in return learned one of life’s most valuable lessons: always look beyond the next move. He out-maneuvered his opponent so far. With this phone call, the game would be over.

His contact answered promptly and agreed to the Director’s request. He called his wife and told her the car would be there in 10 minutes, taking her to safety. Before he left, he looked at his office for the last time.

This is the right thing to do.

They arrested him as soon as he stepped through the door. He would go quietly.

Smiling, he thought to himself, check-mate.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: Reminder

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@Al Forbes

I can’t believe I didn’t notice.

For eight days, I’ve tried to forget. The emotions are just too raw.

But everywhere I look, I see you.

Not you physically, but your presence.

Your memory.

The clothes you wore, still in the closet.

The food you ate, rotting in the fridge.

Small reminders that once you were part of my life.

And now you are gone.

Which is why this is so funny.

Honestly, being the jokester you are… I mean were… you would find this hilarious.

Last night I was out with our old friends, just beer and hot wings at the local pub.

No doubt they wanted to cheer me up.

I got a text on my cell phone and my face must have looked like I had seen a ghost.

Everyone noticed.

What’s wrong?” the asked. Worried that I had received more unwelcome news.

It was not the text, however.

I never got that far.

For eight days, I avoided your photo only to realize that a picture of your smiling face unlocked my cell phone.

I missed the most obvious reminder of all.

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Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short 200-word story inspired by a photograph. This week’s photo is provided by Al Forbes.

Sunday Photo Fiction:The Insomniac

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Al Forbes

 

Agnes had not slept for three nights. Insomnia, the doctor said, take a pill. But pills did nothing to help her sleep. In fact, they had the opposite effect. To pass the night, Agnes sat at her computer, trolling discussion pages, leaving comments meant to instigate anger and aggravation. Agnes wasn’t the sort of person who enjoyed conflict, but no sleep does things to a person’s head.

Then there was the fly, the incessant buzzing that grew louder with each passing night. The sound grated on her nerves. She tried swatting it, but her reflexes were too slow, resulting in even louder buzz as it circled her head.

“ENOUGH ALREADY!” she cried. But the buzzing continued.

As dawn crept through the window, Agnes made her decision. She kept the Colt-45 next to her bed in case of robbery. The massive fly sat on the computer keyboard, challenging her with enormous red eyes.  Agnes raised the gun and pulled the trigger.

The sound of gunfire filled the entire house and led to a flood of calls to 9-11. The gun fell from Agnes’ hand as she walked to the bedroom and fell into bed.

Sleep had come at last.

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short 200-word story inspired by a photograph. This week’s photo is provided by A Mixed Bag. I hope this story does not keep you up at night.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: Dinner in the Garden

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by a photograph. This week’s photo is provided by John Brand of  a lovely English garden. What could possibly go wrong?  


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@John Brand

Donavan! Shush! … I hear something.”

Emma sat at the foot of the old brick wall decorating mud pies with the tiny rose-tinted flowers fallen from the cherry tree. Her brother Donavan was laying on his stomach, pushing toy cars along the dirt road constructed out of the loamy soil. His loud ZOOM! ZOOM! annoyed Emma, who had stopped to listen to a peculiar sound. It sounded like a voice, coming from the other side of the wall that separated Auntie’s yard from the Finch’s next door.

Emma thought it odd that just one side of the yard had been walled off. Auntie would not say why, just something about needing to keep things out.

As she placed her ear to the wall, Emma noticed a crevice filled with creeping ivy coming from the Finch’s yard. The voice grew louder. “Gray” it seemed to say.

Donavan, tired of his play and Emma’s bossing, rested his back against a tall, ivy-covered planter.

“Emma, I think I think I hear….

Too late to warn her brother, Emma could only stare in horror as the deadly vine devoured Donavan. No need to guess what the voice was saying. It clearly said, ‘I’m hungry.’”

Sunday Photo Fiction: Memory Unleashed

A little late for last week but the story has been floating in my head so might as well give it a home.  A little dark and disturbing, so consider yourself warned.

photo credit @Mixed Bag

“Make yourself comfortable,” the doctor says.

I lie down on the overstuffed couch, listening to her soothing voice and the tick-tock of the pendulum clock on the wall. As she speaks, the years of my life pass like a film in reverse.

“How old are you?” the doctor asks?

“Five.”

“And, where are you?”

“At the carnival. Mommy took me and Charlotte because Daddy was mad.”

“What do you see?”

I smile. “The merry-go-round. I climb into the Viking ship and wave at mommy. The music starts and I am going around and around and up and down. Mommy is laughing and waving.

“Where’s Charlotte?”

I frown. “She is in the carriage.”

“What happens next.”

“I yell ‘Mommy, watch me!’ But she is looking at Charlotte, laughing.

“Continue Michael, what happens next?”

“I don’t want to.”

“But you must.”

“Mommy is screaming, Charlotte is not moving; her face is blue and I am crying.”

“Why are you crying Michael?”

“Because mommy loves Charlotte more than me. “

“Michael, what happened to Charlotte?”

I killed her you bitch, what do you think happened.

“Michael?”

I open my eyes and smile.

“Michael is gone. It’s just me now.”

 

Sunday Photo Fiction April 9, 2017