Flash Fiction: “Winter Morning” – Monday’s Finish the Story

This story is inspired by the photo prompt and first sentence from Monday’s Finish the Story blog.  Follow the link here (or the frog below!) to read other stories inspired by this prompt.  You can also participate in Monday’s Finish the Story yourself and link your stories to the others!  wolf

Winter Morning

(First sentence + 148 words)

She was unaware that she was being watched.  A squirrel looked down when the snow crunched under Laura’s boot.  A wolf focused amber eyes on her when her coat sleeve brushed the bark of a tree.

The other watcher was human and small.

When she stopped and began to pat snow together, he drew nearer.  From her pocket, she drew out pebbles and a carrot.

The little watcher appeared, holding out two sticks.

Laura raised her eyebrows.

He blushed, shrugged.

She took the sticks, inserting them.

She hugged the little watcher as they surveyed their snow being.  Then, Laura took his mittened hand and led him home.

The snow creature smiled at the forest animals, reaching out his arms to them.  The wolf passed by, but avoided the human smell.  The bold squirrel climbed the creature’s protruding abdomen to gaze into its eyes.  With tiny claws and strong jaws, the squirrel seized the carrot, and bolted.

* * *

If you’re looking for another flash fiction writing prompt, author Lisa Pais just put the prompt for “Tuesday Tales” up on her blog!

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“Fantasies” – Flash Fiction, Friday Fictioneers

boat

Photo copyright Georgia Koch

Fantasies

(100 words)

“I don’t know why I like it,” Dianne said.  “It’s just the idea, I think, of floating on the water in a boat.”
He shrugged.
She sighed.  “Now you.”
“Me?”
“Dr. Paul said we’re both supposed to share our perfect date.”
“I can’t.”
“Rob.”
“Don’t pressure me, Dianne.”
“You always do this.”
“What?”
“Let me put myself out there, then retreat.”
“And you’re perfect.”
“I—”
“You think I don’t know?” Paul said.
“What?”
“Your affair.  Tom.  Did he row you down the river?”
“Why are you saying this?”
“It’s true.”
Dianne shook her head.
“Admit it.”
“It’s over,” she said.

* * *

This story was written in response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers Prompt.  I hope you’ll check out her website, her work, and consider participating with your own works of fiction!

Poem: “Bay View”

jellyfish

Bay View

The tentacles of the man-o-war
stretched out
across the bay,
hard to see at first glance.
The iridescent bubble where the tentacles originated
couldn’t be seen—
was perhaps at the far side of the bay, by the rocks,
where children were splashing,
unaware of the danger.
*
The polar bear growled, reminding me
that I had to feed him,
that no time could be lost.
I threw the cold herring at his eager jaws,
making my voice firm,
taking control.
*
There are more creatures in those waters, myriad predators and prey.
From where we stood,
the bear and I,
atop a brown cliff overlooking the bay,
I prayed for great turtles to come, to dismantle the man-o-war,
biting into its pillowed center,
snapping through the tendrils,
immune to the venomous sting.
*
All of this was beautiful.
All of this was terrifying.

“Driving the Conflict” – Monday’s Finish the Story

This story is inspired by the photo and first line provided on “Monday’s Finish the Story” – check out that website for more stories and to follow future prompts.  Mondayprompt

Driving the Conflict

(1st sentence + 150 words)

They finally made their escape.  Ted drove fast on the dirt roads.  His wife’s lips were thin and she was bracing herself against the dash.  She knew better than to speak.

The two teens in the back had their earbud I.V.’s in, and were pretending not to feel the jerks of the vehicle going too fast over potholes and cornering too quickly so that branches scraped against the windows of the SUV.

“I was trying to do something nice for the family,” Ted said loudly.

“We were trying to survive the camping trip,” Ted’s daughter said.

“I’ve had it up to here with you,” Ted said, bringing his left hand up to his chin.

The car’s right side jolted downward; teeth clanged inside four skulls.  Ted quickly steered out of the ditch and back onto the road, flushing red.

“OK,” Ted said.  “No more camping.”

“No more camping,” his wife said.

The teens nodded vigorously.

* * *

“Homecoming” – Flash Fiction – Friday Fictioneers

As I’ve been wandering the internet and WordPress, reading short fiction and looking for different writing prompts, I encountered the Friday Fictioneers at Rochelle’s great website.  I’m a bit late in posting, but I loved the photo prompt, so I went for it anyway.  I hope you’ll check out Rochelle’s site!

Untitled

Homecoming

 Jack hadn’t been home in a long time.

His mother went to considerable trouble.  The table was set for dinner hours in advance—in defiance of any plans he might make to flee.

She was out buying fancy food that she’d overcook.

Maybe Jack was a selfish asshole.  It was possible.  His mother thought so.

He looked out the window, trying to decide.  What kept him away?

Everything inside was gray, dark, puritanical.  The geraniums outside were the only hint of joy.

Jack sat down at the empty table, waiting.  Today, he’d be the son she wanted, if he could.

* * *

Original Prompt: https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/9-january-2015/

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields

I’m not sure I totally understand the InLinkz or that I’m using this correctly, so let’s consider this an experiment…

Read “Not Safe” in Black Petals Magazine! I’m published!

I’m excited to announce that my short story, “Not Safe,” was published today with Black Petals Magazine!  My story appears right under that of a close friend, M.C. Colby, whose story, “Micah’s Gift,” appears in the same issue.  This is my first publication with a magazine, and I’m psyched!  There are many fabulous pieces in this issue of Black Petals, and I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think!

Here’s the tag line for “Not Safe”:

In this story a woman encounters a ghost in a converted textile mill. The terror inspired by the ghost’s warning makes for a deadly ride home.

piccoppshill

“The Rogue Pilot” – Flash Fiction

So, I have another post ready sooner than I thought I would.  It is not yet the longer one with reflections that I’d mentioned, but I got a rejection in my inbox today for this story (no, that’s fine, we’re all used to that, right?  It’s part of the process), and I thought I would share that story here.  The prompt was from Mash Stories, and you need to write a story under 500 words including randomly selected words “honesty,” “blow-dryer,” and “cockpit” (The competition deadline is 15th–follow the link to check it out!).  At first, I was stumped.  After a few false starts, this was the story that came out.  I used to work in a diner with a take-out window…but not with Roy!

Though you might not know it from this blog, since I’ve started experimenting with flash fiction shortly after beginning writing here, most of my stuff is longer.  I have one completed literary fiction novel with paranormal elements and another novel in the works which is upmarket women’s fiction with paranormal elements.  I also have several longer short stories.  Talented friends from my writer’s group (Margo Carey and Dianne Herlihy) got me interested in trying flash fiction, and I’m still exploring it.  It’s exciting to work with–I’m enjoying finding out about many of the great authors on WordPress and elsewhere writing in flash fiction!  I feel like I’m still learning a lot from flash fiction and I’m finding it an interesting challenge, so I intend to keep going!

Anyway, this one has a different tone from some of my others…hope you enjoy!

*

cockpit

The Rogue Pilot

Grandma said that honesty was the most important thing.  Grandma practiced what she preached.  From the moment Molly rose in the morning, Grandma was honest:

“Molly, put some cold water on your face.  It looks swollen as a beach ball.”

“Molly, don’t put so much dressing on that salad.  You need to lose weight.”

“Molly, don’t let people tell you that ‘the right person will come along.’  Nothing in this life just ‘comes along,’ and that’s a fact.”

Molly had taken to turning the blow-dryer on high and scorching her scalp just to block out Grandma’s truth.

Under the honest onslaught, Molly had developed survival skills: omission, vacant agreement, and secrets.  Today was Molly’s first day of work at the diner.  She’d quit her retail job, and hadn’t told Grandma.  Hell, she was eighteen, and she could do what she wanted.

She wanted to work with Roy, because Roy was hot.

Roy greeted her at the door and handed her an apron.  He led her to the take-out window.

“You’ll start here.  It gets busy.”  He gestured to the kitchen.  “That’s the command center, and this here, this is your cockpit.  You need to perform like a fighter pilot, quickly and efficiently, but—” He held up a finger, “with a smile.”

She smiled.

“Exactly,” Roy said.  Roy was good with words.  She had been in English with him, and wow, he knew how to catch your attention.

Molly tried to be decisive, but she had to keep questioning Roy.  He had placed her in the cockpit, but hadn’t told her where to find the order pads or coffee filters, or whether a customer could substitute a salad for fries.

Roy was annoyed.  “Molly, stay in the cockpit!” he said.

Molly cried as she scooped the ice cream.  Hot Roy was yelling at her.  His words were weapons.

Finally, Molly asked the question that pushed Roy over the edge: “How late do I stay?”

Roy slapped the green Formica countertop.  “Where is your dedication?” he said.  Customers turned to look.

“I don’t have any,” Molly said.

“Well, that’s the problem!  This is a simple job!” Roy shouted.  The customers looked away, embarrassed.

“Stop yelling at me,” Molly said.  “You haven’t told me a single thing about how to do my job.  I’ve had enough.”

Molly undid the apron, shoving it onto the counter.  One customer whistled and clapped.

“Fine,” he said.  They stared at each other.

She nodded and crossed her arms.  “Try not to eat so many french fries.  Your face is swollen as a beach ball.”

Then, Molly did whatever she wanted.  Her apron stayed on the counter.  She placed orders including substitutions.  She told customers they were out of chocolate chip cookie dough because it was the hardest to scoop.  She gave extra scoops to children who said please.  She was the pilot, gone rogue.

At the end of the day, Roy said, “I always thought you were nice, in English.”

Molly shrugged.  “I’m honest.”

 * * *

I had fun participating in the Mash Contest, and I’ll keep my eye on the Mash Stories website!

If you enjoyed this story, I hope you’ll check out some of my other flash fiction works:

The Toad

The Cocktail Party

The Song in the Night

The Arrangement

Just in Case

The Spider and the Fly-Man

Play Date

3 Haikus for Making Breakfast on Sunday

Bacon just short of

crisp, runny scrambled eggs–the

cheese mixed in.  Day starts.

*

Kitchen moves we know well

transition to the couch, where

we drink coffee, eat.

*

I love the early

morning light through the windows

sitting with you.  Clean warmth.

* * *

I think I owe this blog a longer post.  I’ve been doing a lot of writing and a lot of exploring and I have a lot of things to tell you…BUT this is a time of heavy grading until I reach term 3, so my other job is looming a bit overlarge this week.  In any case, another post on my current writing events to come this week, or next weekend, or, latest…soon!

Foreign Dream beside an Antique Floral Bowl

Wrapped in layers of blankets,

lost in a hot dream

that isn’t mine,

I have a discussion

with words from another time

and prepare for an event

in a room I have never seen.

I feel a pain that isn’t mine.

The faces are familiar

and unfamiliar.

The sights, the clothes, the events,

are exact, cutting, real,

but not mine.  Not mine.

*

I wake, dried out, wrung out.

On the dresser, sits a broken bowl

that has been glued back together.

It is an object of another time.

I suspect it of containing the dream.

A broken bowl, glued, sold,

removed to a new locale,

holding an energy,

an energy not always contained,

but sometimes leaking out,

through the cracks.