Friday Fictioneers – Red Dot of Death

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

Before this story, I must acknowledge and apologise to Laurie Bell. She wrote a cracking story for FF – here https://solothefirst.wordpress.com/2020/01/30/too-late-friday-fictioneers/

But it sparked a thought that just wouldn’t leave me alone, so here is a very similar take with a different ending!

FF - Last run of the Day 200129

PHOTO PROMPT © DALE ROGERSON

Red dot of death

I’m late. I should have left my report in the dead-letter drop an hour ago. The temperature is just above freezing, and gouts of snow flop down from the branches of the trees. I jog, side-arm in hand, safety catch off.

Shit! There’s a red dot on my chest! I dive, squeeze off two shots in the likely direction of the assassin, to teach him to keep his head down.

“Holy Moly! Don’t shoot, lady! It was just a joke!” The panicky, half-broken voice is that of a teenage boy.

Damn kid! Must be fooling with a laser pointer!

Friday Fictioneers – Last Run of the Day

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Last run of the Day 200129

PHOTO PROMPT © DALE ROGERSON

Last Run of the Day

It’s dark. The streetlights are on. My friends have all gone home for tea, but I can’t resist the lure of the snow. One last run on the sled.

The air smells cold. A car slithers down the road below. I dive onto the sled. The track is icy. This is my fastest yet!

I jam my leg into the snow, to pull the sled round and stop it.

Nothing happens. I can’t get traction, and I’m racing towards the road.

Time to bail out, arms and legs akimbo.

Safe in a gorse bush, I hear a crash from below…

Inlinkz – click to join in!

 

What Pegman Saw – The Crossing

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Tolchester Beach, Maryland, USA.

WPS - The Crossing 200125

The crossing

Jim drove towards the water, parked and sat in darkness. The far side of the estuary was spangled with lights.

He gulped bourbon from his flask, then stripped, folding his clothes neatly onto the seat. “See, Mom?” he slurred, not knowing whether it was a sneer or a lament.

Then he waded into the water and swam towards the far shore.

It’s five kilometres and he was not a strong swimmer. He would swim until exhausted and then quietly let himself slide under…

The water wasn’t cold, not at first anyway, not as cold as his loss. He swam steadily, his mind floating free. This wasn’t such a bad way to go.

A slap of water roused him. His limbs were shuddering, but still moving. Orange street lights! Close!

His left leg cramped.

Only one hundred yards to go.

His head was submerging.

Every stroke was agony.

He made it.

Friday Fictioneers – Breaking the News

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them.

FF - Breaking the News 200122

PHOTO PROMPT © NA’AMA YEHUDA

Breaking the News

As Rick and Tamara stood centre-stage, bowing, Rick’s mom beamed. What a lovely couple they made! They could marry in the church where her father had been Minister! After the show, she chattered all the way home.

“Mom! Can we stop? I’ve got something to tell you.”

She pulled over. “Won’t it wait?”

“Mom, I’m gay.”

“Oh, no, Honey!” She clamped both hands over her mouth.

Rick flushed crimson.

“My boyfriend’s called Dexter. May I introduce him to you on Sunday?”

Rick’s mom fidgeted, then nodded.

“Okay. Invite him to tea, only…” she hesitated, “let’s not tell Gramps yet. Please?”

Inlinkz – click here to join in!

What Pegman Saw – Mandela Dances

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Free State, South Africa.

WPS - Mandela Dances 200118

Mandela Dances

“I saw Mandela dance,” said Johnny Kwele, gesturing at the screen behind the bar. “I was there. Look at that joy! He was a god! Apartheid was over.” He sipped his scotch.

“I was a subsistence farmer in Free State. The goldmines paid better, but, well, you know.” I nodded. My recent retirement had taught me the value of freedom.

“One day an ANC boss came from Pretoria, a local boy. They were planning a dairy farm, he said. If we signed up, we’d have a stake, run it as a co-operative. They were going to fly us to India for training.”

He laughed, shook his head.

“Nothing happened. The money disappeared. This country makes a lot of money and none of it reaches the poor.”

“Your leaders are corrupt?”

Johnny glared.

“If you want to know where the money goes, ask your pension fund!”

The image of Mandela danced on.

Friday Fictioneers – Imprisoned?

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Imprisoned 200115

PHOTO PROMPT © J HARDY CARROLL

Imprisoned?

Stirred by the early-morning chill in the air, Neil wandered to the far end of the garden. In the biodome, amaryllis flowers seared crimson in the winter sunshine.

“I don’t think I’ll work on my poetry today, Mother. I’ll walk to Grantchester, and have a pub lunch.”

“It’s cold, dear. You’ll have to wrap up warm. I’ll make you a cup of tea before you go.”

“Thank you, I’d enjoy that.”

Absent-mindedly, Neil wandered indoors, sat down at his desk and picked up his pen.

His mother’s care imprisoned him, but, like the biodome, sheltered him so he could bloom.

InLinkz – click here to join in!

Hannukah – Papa’s story

On January 1st, I published a short story in response to the Friday Fictioneers. The piece ended with Papa beginning to tell his small daughter Rebekah the story of the significance of the Hannukah lights. So many people wanted to hear that story that I’ve written it, and here it is.

FF - Maoz Tzur Papa's story 200112

Image by chavahjacobs from Pixabay

Papa’s story

It was the last day of Hanukkah. All eight candles of the Hanukkiah burned quietly in the window, making a beacon of hope for the world outside. We sang the Haneirot Hallalu and the Maoz Tzur, and we sat down. Papa turned on the lights.

“Can’t we keep the lights off? The candles are so pretty!” asked five-year-old Rebekah.

“The candles are for others to see and know that HaShem saved us. It would not be right to use their light for another purpose,” explained Papa, gently.

“Why?”

“Sit here and I’ll tell you.” Papa patted his lap, and Rebekah climbed up and snuggled there.

“Once upon a time, many, many years ago there was a little girl named Rebekah,” began Papa.

“Just like me,” murmured Rebekah, contentedly, her thumb slipping into her mouth. Momma frowned, but stayed silent.

“She was a good girl, but she was sad,” went on Papa. ”She was sad, her Momma and Papa were sad, and so were all their friends.”

Rebekah looked up at Papa. Her lip quivered. “I don’t want her to be sad, Papa,” she said. She scanned his face anxiously and, as she saw the love there, she relaxed.

“The people were all sad because a wicked king had stopped them from worshipping in the temple. Nobody went to Zion any more. People felt lost. They didn’t know what to do.

Then HaShem saved us. He spoke to some of our young men in their dreams, and they fought the wicked king. More and more men joined with them, and HaShem blessed them with courage and strength. They defeated the king. Our people could worship in the temple once again!”

Rebekah opened her eyes. “We can worship, can’t we Papa?”

“Yes, little one, yes we can.” He placed his forefinger on Rebekah’s lips. “But listen, and I’ll finish the story.

The very first time they worshipped in the temple, they needed their lamps to burn for eight days and nights. These were lamps that burned oil – and the only oil they had was one small clay pot, about as big as the bottle of olive oil Momma uses in the cooking.

‘It’ll never last the full eight days,’ said one of them, but the leader said ‘People said we could never beat the wicked king, but we did. HaShem will provide.’

So they filled the lamps and lit them.

And for eight days, they topped up the lamps from the little pot, and every day the lamps kept burning, until eight days had passed. HaShem had provided. It was a miracle.”

“I expect that made Rebekah very happy. It makes me happy.” The little girl smiled sleepily.

“It made everybody happy, so happy that they wanted their children, and their children’s children to remember it forever. So every year at Hannukah we light candles every day.”

Rebekah nodded. “The candles look like stars,” she murmured.

Papa stroked her hair.

“So when we light the candles and put them in the window, we are saying ‘HaShem saved us. HaShem gives us light.’ It’s sacred light, a holy light, and we must treasure it. We can’t just use it for everyday things. Do you understand, little one?”

Rebekah nodded thoughtfully.

“Yes, Papa,” she answered.

Her thumb went back into her mouth. Her eyes closed. She smiled. She slept.