Below the Surface

Friday Fictioneers 09-05

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.

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Of Unknown Origin: A Short Story

When the sinkhole opened in the courtyard of La Grande Arche in Paris, experts believed it was a natural occurrence. They were wrong.

The mechanical sounds began within 48 hours, followed by the ear-splitting squeaks that drove away the onlookers. Authorities cordoned off the area. They waited and watched in wonderment, tinged in dread.

Inside the hole, the earth swirled like a whirlpool. World scientists clad in biohazard gear milled around the opening, expectantly. On the fifth day, a grinding racket preceded the emergence of a wide, metallic object. A colossal staircase extended into the clouds.

Some believed it was a gift. Others believed it was a hoax. Some wanted to possess it. Others wanted to destroy it. The planet squabbled.

“It’s evil. It emerged from hell.”

“It’s good. It reaches to the heavens.”

The world chose sides, divided. On the seventh day, as the staircase loomed, world war commenced.

This has been another VisDare photo prompt from Anonymous Legacy. It was a challenge for me to keep this at or under 150 words. I barely made it; 150 words exactly. I was supposed to try to use the word Trajectory, but I couldn’t fit it in. However, the main challenge was to use the photo. I chose La Grande Arche in Paris as the setting because the photo was taken there.

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Anonymous Legacy

Trifecta Week Ninety-Four: A Stylish Aftermath

SwingThe warning bell sounded with a clang. Three minutes left. The children scrambled from the yard like ants into the nest; dust left in their wake.

Julee waited them out on the swings with her best friend, Trila. She dreaded going back into the classroom.

“We better go,” said Trila, the mask muffling her words to a breathless whisper. Her voice seemed halting as it drifted through the filter.

“I know,” Julee replied. “I guess I thought this year would be different.”

Trila shook her head and watched Julee as she sulked.

“The popular girls ignored us again. Just like last year. Strutting around the playground like they own it, all cool in their Gucci gas masks and Chanel fire-retardant jumpsuits. It’s not fair,” Julee whined.

She jumped off the swing and linked arms with Trila. Together they strolled toward the school entrance.

“Did you see Mally’s pink Marc Jacob’s weapon holster?” Trila asked. “I’d die for one of those.”

“Me too! I’m gonna save my allowance for one,” Julee replied.

The final bell rang as they reached the concrete double-door entry. It began to swing closed, just as they slipped through into the decontamination chamber. As the doors hissed shut and the spray cleansed their drab, unfashionable uniforms, Julee groaned, “We’re late again. Corporal Blith is gonna be mad.”

“Who cares? Maybe he’ll kick us out of Bomb Diffusing 3. It’s soooo boring!”

The spray shut off and an electronic voice announced, “Decontamination complete. Proceed to your regularly scheduled class. Please no running in the halls.” A single door opened into a stark white corridor where they removed their masks and stored them in lockers.

A booming voice from behind startled them, “Do you have a hall pass?”

“No,” they answered in unison.

“Report to detention in Sector Y,” the drone hall monitor said.

Fashion envy forgotten, the girls giggled as they hurried off to detention, elated that Bomb Diffusing was avoided for one more day.

This week’s Trifecta writing challenge was to use the word MASK, the third definition of the word:

3a : a protective covering for the face

3b : gas mask

3c : a device covering the mouth and nose to facilitate inhalation

3d : a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infective material

3e : a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries

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Remember the Mistakes

Remember the Mistakes

A short story


NoteIt started with a short, handwritten note that appeared on the dining room table; a shaky scrawl that she didn’t recognize. The first note, found early on a Saturday morning, merely said, “It’s me.”

She ignored it.

The next note appeared in the same place on Sunday morning. Same wobbly writing that said, “Me again. This is a test. Reply if you get this.” He found the note and showed it to her. They wondered and then threw it in the trash.

The next morning the third note appeared, “Why are you ignoring me?” She found it. They read it. Talked about it. Worried over it. Who wrote it? What did it mean? How did it get in their house?

When the forth note came, an angry undertone, it demanded, “Reply or you’ll be sorry!” He began to worry she was the writer; lately, she seemed to be acting strange. She began to believe he was trying to trick her, after all, the writing looked a little like his. They argued. They accused. They said things they didn’t mean. They slept in separate rooms that night. Continue reading