Howl in the Wind

Leonard’s stomach turned as he stared at the $364 insurance check for reimbursement of the “vehicle contents.” Regret stung his eyes. The fateful day returned in a rush.

Officials called the narrows suspension bridge an innovative feat of engineering, above reproach. On November 7th, they’d begun their usual trip across the bridge to Tacoma, when the earth started to sway. The wind clutched the bridge. The car lurched into the curb. Cables whipped. Pavement buckled. Metal twisted. Violent sickness overcame Leonard as he stumbled from the car and floundered on the jellylike roadway back to the toll plaza.

“Thank goodness you’re safe,” the booth operator yelled over the screech of the corkscrewing bridge.

Pointing, Leonard panted, “Tubby! Save my dog! He’s still in my car.”

The bridge released a final groan, and the roadway fractured. As the car tumbled into the frigid straits, Leonard was certain he heard Tubby’s last howl.

In November of 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (aka Galloping Gertie) collapsed in relatively minor winds. The only casualty was a black cocker spaniel named Tubby who belonged to reporter Leonard Coatsworth’s daughter. He abandoned her initially, then tried to go back to save her, as did two other people on the bridge that day. Unfortunately, Tubby was too frightened to cooperate with his would-be-rescuers. If you would like to read more about the bridge and Tubby, check out The Washington State DOT.

Here’s a link to a video of the bridge collapse where you can see Coatsworth’s car and the survivors: Footage.

I embellished the details of my fiction short story for the 150-word VisDare photo prompt this week, but Coatsworth’s really did receive a reimbursement check from his insurance company for the vehicle “contents” as they worded it. I guess Tubby had a price. A sad story.

Elephant on the Porch

Each morning, she loiters in front of her shack, dirt-streaked skin and unwashed clothes, mumbling to herself about “someday” as she sips tea. Locals nicknamed her Dirty Della, whispering as they pass by, gawking at her like she’s a caged animal. No one would ever address her directly, always avoiding the elephant on the porch.

Intrigued by her possibilities, the men wonder how dirty she is. Disgusted by her, the women gossip about her trysts with strangers while hoping their husbands haven’t notched her bedpost.

Della ignores them, daydreaming on the porch she once shared with her husband. He abandoned her eight years ago. Bills piled up. Her most sought-after resource proved lucrative.

Brushing the dirt from her apron, she refocuses on tending to her flourishing garden, ensuring her latest fertilizer is buried deep. No one ever misses the strangers. Someday, when her husband returns, she’ll tend to him too.

This story was written for VisDare weekly photo prompt. To learn more, click here.

The Great American Sentence Contest

Check out the Great American Sentence contest hosted by Easy Street. You could be paid up to $10 a word if your sentence is published. We all have at least one good sentence in us, or maybe five, depending on your mood. So go for it and submit! In case your brain jammed after reading the part about being paid $10 a word, here’s the link again:

Good luck!

The Uninvited Guest

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Photo Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields

Cautiously, she peered through the doorway. If he caught her watching again, there’d be repercussions. Last time ended tragically. She was foolish, but her hunger was potent. After his dinner party, she’d pilfer for food, mostly scraps. Three guests meant plentiful leftovers.

She knew she shouldn’t linger any longer, too risky, but the doorbell rang early. Too late for her to hide, he turned, and their eyes locked.

He pounced quickly for such a big man, but she was faster.

As she slipped through the tiny hole in the wall, the man roared, “Filthy mouse! I’ll catch you next time.”

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers 100-word photo prompt, of which I haven’t participated in for a couple of months. I thought I would start my first contribution this year with something quirky from an odd POV, and no murder. Well, I guess there might have been a mouse murder at some point prior to the beginning of my story, but I’m not counting that.

If you would like to read the other stories, you can find them here.

A Time for Escape

Benny was tired of playing the same old inside games with his toys. He wanted to explore the beach, longed for an adventure. His mom wouldn’t allow him to take his toys outside, especially the beach. She said they were expensive and might get lost or broken.

But he had already decided today was his day to escape, to prove her wrong. He put his favorite toys into a backpack and slipped out the back door without notice. The beach was only a short walk through the tall sea oats.

Barely able to contain his excitement, Benny unzipped the backpack, placed his toys side-by-side on the sand, and said, “Come on you silly toys, let’s play.”

Suddenly, the toy named Soldier screamed, “Run! Escape!” and raced for the water.

Doctor, Teacher, Firefighter, and Nurse sprinted after Soldier.

Benny curiously watched and taunted, “Ready or not, tiny Earthlings, here I come.”

It’s been too long since I’ve written for my blog. Over the last few months I lost focus and motivation; too many distractions in the real world. What little I had left to give was saved for other writing. I’ll try my best to post more often.

This story was written for the VisDare photo prompt at Anonymous Legacy. It’s my usual strange kind of tale and clocks in at 150 words per the writing prompt rules. I thought I would start 2015 out with my favorite style of weird fiction. How could I resist with this week’s photo?

Happy 2015 to all my followers and visitors. I’m determined to believe this year will be better.

Hidden Potential

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Photo Prompt Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I tried something different for the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt this week. My story, Hidden Potential, is on a postcard in the form of a 99-word letter. You can click on the postcard to enlarge it, if needed. I hope I didn’t take too many liberties with the word count. Some of the text was on the original postcard, so it doesn’t technically count, right?

For those of you not familiar with Friday Fictioneers, it’s a weekly writing prompt based on the provided photo, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The catch is the story has to be 100 words or less. This week’s photo took me to Hollywood, as I’m sure it did for many others. If you would like to try your hand at writing or read some of the creative stories, click here.

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Collecting Stories

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Photo Copyright: Douglas M. MacIlroy

Mama collected. Everything. She said every object had worth, a history. It was her calling to tell their stories in her art.

She rummaged and searched, brought home strays and leftovers. She lost herself in jagged tales of glass, crumbled fables of stone, and splintered sagas of wood. Beautifully woven rubbish.

She discarded my story, forgot my worth.

Mama died a year ago, but she’s still here watching over me. Jagged glass had more than one use, more than one story to tell. I think she’d be pleased with my cutting-edge memoir of her.

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers; 100 words or less based on the photo. I’ve been gone a while. I almost forgot how to write and blog, but it came back to me. Click on the badge below if you would like to read some of the other stories.

Below the Surface

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Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Tell me the story again, Mommy,” begged Myrtle.

“Once more, then sleep, sweetheart,” Olive replied.

“There once was a sprout who tried to push out, but she just couldn’t find her way. She looked to the sun, but there was none, blinded by lazy haze. She called to the rain, but it fell in a blaze, so the sprout just withered away.”

“Mommy, will I ever see real plants and rain and sun and a bonfire under the stars?”

“Someday, when it’s safe outside, maybe we’ll discover a sprout up on the surface. Until then, we have our cyber-nature.”

This far-fetched tale brought to you by the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. The challenge is to write a 100-word or less story based on the photo. I heard a rumor that today (9/4) is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ birthday. Happy Birthday to our gracious host.

Click on the badge below to read the other stories and poems:

The Civilized World

We spoiled our planet. The weight of our needs surpassed her generosity. She was tolerant until she was not. She waged a war of unspeakable ferocity and violence, unlike any that we could imagine in our worst nightmares.

She was our true enemy, the one we should have feared and respected, but instead we immersed our hearts and minds in a battle of egos and superiority, a blind and deaf us versus them crusade.

We called our former prosperity civilization, a misnomer in every way. We left behind our dead world, blanketed in ice and the obsolete remnants of our shameless materialism. The few thousand of us that escaped vowed not to be driven by brutality in the name of morality, faith or love. We are resolved to coexist with reverence for nature and humanity with the peaceful inhabitants of our newfound planet known as Earth.

I wrote this bleak tale for the VisDare writing prompt, based on the black and white photo. If you would like to read the other stories or try your hand at writing one, click on the image below.


Childish Memories: My Dolls Deserved to Die!

Little girls and their dolls, inseparable, best friends, until you wake up one morning and realize they’re a bit freaky. For a brief time in my childhood, I decided dolls were evil and needed to be destroyed. Well, I’m not certain I thought they were evil, but they were (and are) disturbing. Maybe I just outgrew toys in general and needed an excuse to get rid of the dolls.

The doll-killing spree consisted of Barbie and Ken – who were not boyfriend and girlfriend in the traditional sense – and G.I. Joe. In my world, Ken preferred the company of G.I. Joe. Back in those days, Ken and Joe felt as though they couldn’t reveal their true relationship. It’s very sad that the world is so intolerant, but that’s an entirely different topic and too serious to discuss here.

Barbie was the first to go because she was the most annoying of the dolls. Her haughty accessories and outfits irked me, and don’t get me started on those breasts, the RV camper and Chevy Corvette, which has likely been recalled by GM. Unattainable perfection and flagrant materialism wrapped in plastic; sounds like many popular celebrities today. She was a terrible role model.

Her fate was put into the hands of the high-speed, bustling highway in front of my childhood home. At sunset, I placed her in the middle of the road and waited for the next unsuspecting motorist to happen along.

Now don’t worry, back in those days, it was quite safe for an eight-year-old child to play in the street, just as it was safe to ride standing up in the bed of a truck or bounce around unrestrained in the backseat of a car. Car seats were for sissies!

From my discreet location behind a shrub on the hillside, I watched and waited. The anticipation was almost too much to bear, and then came the roar of an engine. Closer. Closer. Closer. Wham, crunch, smash! Barbie traveled a great distance.

I’ll spare the gruesome details of her demise, but let’s just say she endured several more hit and run accidents before she was completely demolished and strewn in a hundred pieces in and along the road. Ken and G.I. Joe suffered a similar fate.

I would like to add that I wasn’t alone in my doll destroying endeavors, as my two brothers had a giant hand in their destruction. I think they might have been the ones who suggested it in the first place because I was a good girl.

Looking back, it hardly seems normal to do such a thing, but let’s face it, we were bored. We latchkey kids had to fill the parental void with something entertaining. Destroying our toys seemed to be a sensible pastime. Today children destroy, kill and maim characters in video games. The two are not so different. Barbie and friends were my Grand Theft Auto of the time. I no longer commit such heinous crimes against dolls, but I do occasionally enjoy a good fighting video game. It’s good for stress relief.

Admittedly, over the years, I have developed a slight fear of dolls that I can’t explain. Dolls are creepy! I’ve always thought so. It’s their vacant eyes boring a hole through your soul. They never stop watching. Perhaps the dolls of the world seek vengeance for the doll-killing spree so long ago. Their mission is to drive me crazy, but the joke is on them. I arrived at that destination long ago.

If you would like to read the other installments of Childish Memories and pass judgment on my strange but wonderful childhood, take your pick…

I Curse More Than You Do!
Blanket Fortresses are Impenetrable!


A Blossom, a Bug, Water, and the Sky: Black and White Photography

Black and white and gobs of gray. I haven’t spent much time with black and white photography, but I thought I would take a shot at Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Black and White Photos. I took these shots with my phone with the help of a couple of special lenses. I decided to let the photos speak for themselves this time, so no quirky captions.

Flower Droplets


Beetle Feasting


Running Water


Sky View


Your First Time

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Photo Copyright-Roger Bulto

I saw you yesterday as you crossed the parking lot, a discreet glance my way. Arrogance compelled you. You still have that charming smile, a smile that possessed me.

The woman by your side had my features, exactly your type. Did she notice your faraway eyes on me?

Before the urban sprawl, we came here together. Tree-lined fields of tall grass and wildflowers provided the perfect cover. You left me, buried in fertile earth, strangled with lovely vines.

You remember my vines, the ones that drive you to return to me with each flower you possess. You never forget your first.

This 100-word story was written for Friday Fictioneers. I haven’t participated in this prompt in quite a while. I’m back for at least this week. If you would like to read the other stories, click the badge.

***It was brought to my attention (by my husband) that my story may be too vague. I asked for his interpretation, and he had nothing. Eventually, I wrenched it from him. He was way off. Perhaps it is too vague. As the writer, I think it’s easy to see the entire story in your words, and we assume it’s obvious to the reader. Of course that is not always the case. Now I’m interested to know how others interpret the story. Please let me know. Should I revise? I feel a bit off my game.

The Floaters

Dark WaterThe black water churned as if alive. Hostile, bottomless, unforgiving. Breathless with panic, Joseph struggled to stay buoyant. He had to calm down, get his bearings and find Barbara. When their raft overturned in the violent storm, she was with him, but he had lost her in the chaos. She was a strong swimmer, but he feared the worst. He felt a sudden rush of adrenaline at the realization that he could lose her.

“Barbara! Where are you?” he screamed, but it came out as a croak lost on the wind.

No response.

As the water spattered his face, flooded his mouth and clouded his eyes, he choked her name repeatedly.

No response.

Joseph looked in all directions but couldn’t see land. No lights pierced the horizon. No sign of their raft. No lifeline.

He felt sick. His hands and feet grew numb. He had to move, swim, anything to keep his blood flowing. He thrashed his arms in all directions and kicked his legs to move forward. He searched frantically, grew instantly tired. His muscles began to cramp and burn. He had expended nearly all his energy, when his hand touched something.


He tugged her limp body to him. She floated face down. Her silky hair billowed around her shoulders. Her once beautiful indigo dress hung flaccidly on her petite body. He gently turned her over and put his cheek to her icy lips.

No breath.

He felt her neck for a pulse but knew he was too late to save her. He held her for a final few seconds and guiltily released her body to drift away into her watery grave.

There was no time for him to grieve. She would not want him to give up. He had to find a way to survive, but he was exhausted. The heavy clothing weighed him down even more, but he didn’t have the strength left to remove it. He could feel his muscles surrendering. He had lost all feeling in his legs and arms. He was freezing to death.

Barely able to tread water, he decided to float on his back to conserve energy. The undulating waves slapped at his face. He had swallowed so much water, his stomach was protesting. He forced back the retching. He was so drowsy. Floating freely felt so comforting; he rationalized the need to close his stinging eyes, for just a moment.

Joseph dreamed of Barbara; dreamed of her flawless skin and her perfect smile. The dream was so wonderful that he let it consume him. The turbulent water pulled him down, filled his lungs, burned them into submission.


The storm waned and the vibrant morning sun peaked over the horizon, bathing the world in warm light. The woman plopped the skimmer net into the swimming pool and carefully fished out the toys, as her son stood anxiously at the edge.

“How many times have I told you not to play with G.I. Joe in the pool? Your sister is going to be so upset about her Barbie doll,” scolded the woman.

“Sorry, Mommy! I forgot to take them off the raft last night. I guess the wind blew them all over the place,” giggled the boy.

The woman gingerly held the dripping wet Barbie in her hand and said, “Look at Barbie’s dress. I think it’s ruined. It was your sister’s favorite outfit for her.”

She delicately peeled off the doll’s dress as she said, “Take off G.I. Joe’s wet clothes, and we’ll wash them out in the sink.”

“Okay,” said the boy, “You think G.I. Joe and Barbie were scared out here last night, Mommy?”

“Oh, don’t be silly. It’s not as if they have feelings. They’re not alive,” replied the woman, as she tossed the two plastic dolls on the patio table to dry in the sun.

Macro Makeup and Poolside Assortments: Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge, Week 20

My odd ball photos for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge were taken in the comfort of my own home. I guess that makes me an odd ball since all this stuff is mine.

Eye Shadow

It’s pretty and sparkly and something I haven’t used in a long time. What is it? Blue eye shadow taken with the macro lens on my iPhone. It looks so much better in the packaging than it does on my face.

Mascara Brush

Is it a strange creature from another world? A gross hair brush? No, it’s a mascara brush. I took this macro photo with my iPhone.

Red Umbrella

I was relaxing under the red umbrella and decided it was an interesting photo opportunity.

More Fun

This is a rule when visiting my house. What else is there to do in the heat of a Florida summer?

Weird Creature

As an added bonus odd ball photo, this is a strange creature from another world. I think I saw him creep off the mother ship that landed in my yard the other night. Now he lives on my gutter. Kinda snugly, isn’t he?


Worth the Risk

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Photo Copyright – Kelly Sands

They warned of an approaching storm, “a whopper,” they said. We’d seen our share of whoppers. “We can weather it,” I said.

As if on cue, the rain fell and the river rose.

Still, we could ride it out, withstand the brutality as the rain horizontally pounded our farmhouse and the river hungrily knocked at our door.

After the lifeline dropped to the rooftop, and I was airlifted to safety, I would repeat this story over and over to dampen the agony and guilt that raged within me. The local news would report my wife and daughter were never found.

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers; one hundred words based on the photo. If you would like to read the other stories, click on the badge: