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 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.

VisDare

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.

Barbara!

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.

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:

Plagued by Commonality

Photo Copyright Claire Fuller

Photo Copyright Claire Fuller

Elianora knelt beside her mother’s tombstone and wept.

“Dear Mother. Tragedy has befallen our great empire. A black sickness is spreading throughout the land, leaving death and disfigurement in its wake.”

“Father says it is merely a disease of the uncouth, of the peasants. He is comforted in his belief that the sickness will spare us. Our God would never allow such an atrocity to strike down a noble king and his family. I know it is my place to heed his beliefs; nevertheless, I am confused. Father awoke this morning teeming with skin peculiarities and fraught with madness.”


I guess you get the moral of the story: disease and death has no social bias, nor political or religious affiliation. Never get too comfortable. The Black Death plague killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe and Asia during the 14th century and beyond. If you want to read more about the plague, click here.

This melancholy 99-word story was written for Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. Time hasn’t allowed me to participate much in this writing community lately. If you would like to try your hand at writing a story or read the other stories, click on the link below:

The Petty Pursuit of Happiness

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Photo Copyright Ted Strutz

Lousy tourists float in on their tacky boats with their snotty attitudes, treating the locals like their personal hired help. Through my reinforced window, I watch them play out their leisurely lives, indulging excessively, spending more on two-day trysts than I make in a month as town mortician.

I dream of escaping from this miserable place, getting lost at sea, but for now, I must bide my time. I grab my forceps and look into the mouth of another dead tourist. This one’s a gold mine. Her capped teeth won’t be missed. My retirement account just hit the mother lode.


It’s been a few weeks since I’ve participated in Friday Fictioneers; in fact, I haven’t been able to blog much lately. My 100-word story isn’t really supposed to be funny, but I laughed at it. It’s kind of ghoulishly ridiculous.

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this gold mine of a challenge, that lures more than a 100 feverish fictioneers each week. We are truly wealthier for being a part of her writing community. Click the badge below to join:

Married to the Mirror

The mirror never lied to her. Through sickness and health, it whispered the truth, even when she no longer wished to heed it.

During the honeymoon years, it told her she was a flawless, natural beauty. Plump lips, creamy skin, bright eyes. The years were kind as the mirror spoke of her graceful maturity; together, they found a comfortable place.

Time dashed carelessly. The mirror began to tease her fine lines and exaggerate her once delicate pores. It gossiped of thinning lips, crow’s feet, and dull skin. It demanded she seek help for her affliction. It told her society dictated it. The honeymoon was over.

In her golden years, more sickness than health, the mirror laughed at her plastic-like skin, inflated lips, and cloudy eyes. She looked away from her reflection, ashamed, as the plastic surgeon prepared the syringe with more poisonous beauty. Until death, they would not part.


I wrote this 150-word flash fiction for the VisDare photo prompt hosted by Angela Goff. I’ve missed quite a few VisDare challenges over the last couple of months. I’m a little late entering this week, but I wanted to write something for this odd photo. If you would like to read the other stories or join the fun, click here.

 

Sins of the Father

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Photo Copyright – Sandra Crook

The empty church was stuffy. I squirmed in the pew as my bladder griped. I nervously gnawed on a hangnail.

Father appeared looking flushed. He sat beside me and took my hands. He smelled like Mrs. Newton’s perfume.

“Beulah, has your mother ever shared her feelings about me to church outsiders?”

I hesitated. His grip tightened. A tousled Mrs. Newton appeared and left without a glance.

“I won’t lead you astray.” He held out a candy bar. “Good kids tell me when their parents sin. Do you want to be good like the other kids?”

I guiltily took the bait. “Yes, Father.”


I’m sure most of you know the story of Jim Jones and The People’s Temple. Allegedly, one of the ways Jones controlled his followers was to coerce them to inform on each other. He used the children to inform on their parents and in return rewarded them. It’s said that he also made sexual advances to members. You can read more about it at PBS.org.

My story is a work of fiction and in no way portrays any actual persons, living or dead, or events. I merely used the history of Jim Jones and The People’s Temple as inspiration.

Be sure to read the other stories for the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle for being such a tireless host. (P.S. I’m two words over the 100-word limit. So sorry!)

The New Muse

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Photo © – Renee Heath

A year ago, the new edition of me, my sequel, entered the story. She slipped in between the sheets and became his fresh, eager muse. Desperate to thrill him, she was not daunted by his mythical desire to manipulate her character, to mold her with fictitious flattery and romantic, candlelit tales of happily-ever-after.

When she’s no longer able to inspire his imagination, he’ll place her dog-eared volume on his special shelf, next to me and his other silent muses. Each of us bookmarked with a lock of hair, his literary trophies, as our bones gather dust beneath his library floorboards.


Written for Friday Fictioneers 100-word photo prompt. You can find more stories by clicking on the badge.