At the Door

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Hello!! And welcome to June . . . already! I have no idea what happened to May. I blinked and it was gone and I didn’t get a thing done. So there it is. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for June, shall we. Anyway, this month’s flash fiction photo is this one:

june

And, this is what I wrote for it. Hope you enjoy it!

 

Willow shouldered her pack more firmly as she and the CPS woman walked up the steps to the front door. Someone long ago must have tried to liven the place up by painting it a beachy aqua, but now it was peeling away to reveal the battered wood beneath. Tentatively, she gripped the oddly ornate knocker and rapped sharply twice.

She wondered what would happen if no one answered. Would CPS try to find her a home? Or would they dump her in a shelter somewhere? She’d never find out since the door opened to reveal an elderly woman. This woman wasn’t frail, as Willow thought she’d be, since the woman was her great aunt. Instead, she stood tall dressed in battered jeans and an old flannel shirt. Her gray hair hung in a heavy plait nearly to her waist.

“It’s about time you got here,” the woman said. “You said one and it’s nearly half past three.”

“Well, we—” CPS lady started to say, but the woman cut her off.

“Don’t need no excuses. I’m Carrie Jamison,” she said, directing her speech to Willow. “Come on in now and we’ll get you settled.”

“I’m Mrs. Tanner and I need to go over some things with you,” the social worker interjected.

“You’re over two hours late and it messed with my whole day. You can leave whatever paperwork you have and I’ll read it later. Right now, my great niece needs to come in and see where she’ll be living.”

“Mrs. Jamison—” Mrs. Tanner began.

“That would be Ms., I never married. Never saw a reason for it.”

Willow tried not to stare, as her aunt nudged the other woman out of the way.

“Come on now, I’m sure you tired and hungry.”

Willow stepped inside and looked around at where she’d be staying. The inside was so different from the outside, she almost went back out to make sure she was in the same house. The hardwood floors gleamed and the house smelled of spices and cookies. Willow’s stomach rumbled and her mouth began to water, since breakfast had been at eight.

Willow turned as the door closed and she found herself alone with her aunt. She wasn’t sure what to say, since she’d never met the woman before. Her grandmother had cut her daughter off when she’d gotten pregnant so Willow hadn’t known her mother’s family.

“I don’t know how much you know about your family, but you can call me Aunt Carrie. I know your name is Willow.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Willow said. “And I don’t know anything about my family. My mother didn’t talk about her family at all.”

Hell, her mother didn’t talk about much of anything, but Willow wouldn’t say that out loud.

Her aunt gave a small smile, almost as if she could hear Willow’s thoughts.

“Well, you’ll have plenty of time to learn. I might as well tell you, before you hear in town, they say I’m a witch. Now let me show you to your room.”

She walked past Willow and started up the stairs. All Willow could do was stare after her with her mouth hanging open.

 

That’s it for me. Now go and see what my amazing friend Kris Norris did with it.

To the Stars!

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may

Welcome to May!! The image we’re writing to this month is an awesome SciFi scene. I was a bit stumped at first, but then remembered the hint of an idea I came up with about  . . . 8 years ago. Hope you enjoy!

 

The meeting room of the Dyson City-State Directorate was huge and imposing. Lush carpeting, marble floors, and an authentic wooden table spoke of absolute wealth. However, it was a wall of floor to ceiling windows that let a visitor know he or she was in the presence of power. The windows displayed a view of the connected walkways, travel tube and buildings of the upper echelon, as well as the top of the dome that protected the city. It truly was an amazing and awe-inspiring sight. Of course, no one in the room noticed the view, they were all too busy yelling and arguing. Executrix Katrill Owen, leader of the directorate and thus Dyson itself, eased back in her chair. She had been in the job less than a handful of days and the council was beginning to realize she could not be controlled. She wondered how long it would be before they tried to murder her as they had her father.

Katrill leaned forward and rapped on the table. The room quieted immediately. “It seems to me a trade agreement with the other city-states would be in our best interest, especially Vorn. We have technology and they have room to grow. If we trade our tech for some of their dome space we can only come out the winner.”

Colin Phipps smiled at her. “Katrill you are new to the council and do not understand the nuances of the trade agreements. If you would allow me to take care of this—”

Katrill turned cold green eyes on him. “Mr. Phipps you are out of order. You do not have leave to call me by my first name. As for the trade agreements, I understand them quite well since I am the person who wrote them to begin with. If I wish your opinion or assistance I’ll ask, but I doubt that will happen.

“In any case,” she went on, “I’ve already spoken to Executrix Fallon of Vorn and we are in agreement. She and I signed the agreement this morning.”

“What?” Letham burst out. “You can’t do that.”

“Oh, yes I can. The Council is an advisory board only. I have full and absolute authority to make decisions. The agreement is good for every citizen of Dyson.”

Jathan Douglas, her uncle, cleared his throat. “Let us adjourn until next week. I’m sure we are all tired and coming back refreshed will be best for everyone.”

The assembly rose and bowed to Katrill, then filed out of the room. She relaxed back in her chair and enjoyed the silence of the room. When it was empty, the room was fairly pleasant. Of course, it never stayed empty for long when she was in residence. There were always people who wished to come and petition her for some favor or another. Too much, people wanted too much from her, took too much from her.

She stood quickly and paced to the window. The view was magnificent. Walkways lined with beautifully tended gardens created a framework for the sparkle of the dome itself. Katrill never tired of the view. But she wondered how the people, her people on the lower level survived. In her entire life, she had never been anywhere but on the top tier. She knew the building she currently occupied was hundreds of stories in the air, but she hadn’t ventured even ten down, ever. People called Grounders lived in the lower levels of the buildings. They were the caretakers of the buildings, ensuring nothing ever went wrong. The people who lived on the ground or the Stews, as it was called, eeked out a living best they could. Finally, there was the Underneath. Katrill shivered. She had heard stories of the people who lived in the underground labyrinth of Dyson. They were dangerous killers, thieves, answering only to themselves. These were her people, all of them, but how to help them.

The only people who were allowed to even gain an audience with her were the Echelon, the ruling class, and the elite rich of the city-state. And they imagined they could rule her, manipulate her. Never again, she told herself, never again would she allow herself to be taken advantage of, used as if she were nothing. Her father had done this and look where he ended up. Dead. She hadn’t had anything to do with it, contrary to the rumors. But she wasn’t sorry he was gone.

“Katrill.”

She rolled her eyes, once again, she was interrupted. “Yes, Mr. Phipps, what can I do for you?” She turned to face the man who had been her betrothed.  He was a handsome man, or that’s what people told her, with his carefully coiffed blond hair, blue eyes, and impeccable clothing choices. Colin knew exactly what to wear to show off his five-seven frame to its best. Katrill had never found him handsome. In fact, she found him fake and pretentious and a total bore. So, when her father was murdered, she had immediately broken off the marriage contract. Colin had been her father’s choice, never hers. Personally, if her father liked him so much, he should have married him. They would have been very happy together.

He smiled at her as if she were a small child needing to be placated. “I do not like how you speak to me in the meetings. Darling, people must see us as a team. Once we’re married and head the council together—”

“We are not getting married.” Katrill said, firmly. “We have already had this discussion.”  She hated that smile and the tone he used on her.

“Your father’s death has made you confused—”

“No, my father’s death made me happy. I do not wish to contract with you. I never wished it, but he insisted. He is no longer here and I am free to do what I wish. With whom I wish. You will only address me as Executrix, nothing more. You do not have my leave to use my first name, ever. Now get out and do not speak of this to me again.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “You’ll be sorry.”  He turned and huffed out of the room as Jathan reentered. He raised his eyebrows at Katrill and shook his head. “Your father never should have made a contract for you with that boy. He’s weak. You’d run right over him.”

She gave a slight smile. “But that’s the point. He’s weak and father wanted to control him.” She turned back to the windows. “So how are you this day?”

“Well as to be expected since my favorite niece is upset.”

She smiled at the older man and shrugged. “I’m your only niece, I believe.”

“That’s true.” He gave her a brief hug. “I worry about you. After what happened to your father, I don’t think it’s safe. You need some type of body guard, someone who can watch over you all the time.”

Katrill sighed. “Uncle, we’ve been through this before. I do not want someone living with me, getting in my way.”

He paced about and Katrill smiled. Jathan Douglas was her mother’s only brother and Katrill loved him dearly. Since her mother had died when Katrill was very young, Jathan was the only connection she had to the woman who had given life to her. From image cubes, Katrill knew her uncle had the same white blond hair and clear green eyes. The same eyes her mother passed to Katrill. Though Katrill had chestnut hair, like her father, mores the pity.

“What about a Bio-Guard?”  Her uncle asked.

Katrill shrugged. “I don’t know much about them.”

“They are human animal hybrids specifically engineered to be whatever a person wishes. Some want just a pretty pet and others, like you, need protecting. From what I understand, once an imprint happens, they are loyal to the death.”

“Yes, but I don’t want anyone—”

“Katrill,” her uncle cut her off. “They are essentially animals. You feed and water them, and give them a place to sleep. It’s not as if you’re sharing your home with a person.”

Katrill sighed, her uncle worried about her so much. She understood why, she was the only link he had with his beloved sister. Maybe she should look into a Bio-Guard. What could it hurt? If she didn’t find something that pleased her, she could leave.

“Okay, I’ll check into it.”

Jathan smiled. “Good, good, that makes me feel much better. You need to start taking your safety more seriously especially since you plan on shaking up the status quo.”

She kissed his cheek. “How could I not since you worry so? I don’t want that.”  

Now head on over and see what Siobhan came up with.

An Image in the Mirror

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february

I really like our flash fiction picture for February. It took me a bit to come up with a story, but one it hit I was off and running. Hope you like it.

Sophia stared at herself in the mirror. She saw a woman with cool eyes and serene features, but that wasn’t the reality. The reality was she was scared shitless. Who wouldn’t be when her parents were going to sell her to the highest bidder? Oh, no one called it that, of course. They were too classy to call the “coming out” ball an auction, but that’s what it was. Women, girls really, were paraded around for the wealthy Coadjutors to view and, if one was to his liking, he approached her parents or guardians to work out a deal.

Sophia knew her parents would hold out for a large payment since she was a virgin. It wasn’t a secret either since it said so right in the catalog that was handed out to each Coadjutor as he entered the enormous ballroom. If she could, Sophia would run away, but there wasn’t anyplace to go. Her parents owned her until they sold her to the highest bidder.

Closing her eyes, she breathed in and out of her nose, trying to get her pounding heart under control. It really wasn’t any use though since she was scared. Okay, she was terrified and deep breathing wasn’t going to fix that.

“What are you doing?” her mother whispered angrily in her ear. “Turn around and smile.”

Sophia looked at the woman who had given birth to her and felt nothing but contempt. From the moment she could understand anything, this woman had explained that she was a commodity. They were raising her to elevate themselves. That was it. So, they’d put money into her. Giving her dance and voice lessons, teaching her comportment all so that she could be sold into wealth and power.

Pinching the underside of her arm, hard, her mother yanked Sophia across the room to where her father waited. He stood next to a man older than he was and she crossed her fingers that they were just friends.

“Ah good,” her father said, with a smile. “This is our daughter, Sophia. She is only twenty-two and a virgin, so her power is untapped and ripe.”

Sophia forced herself to stand perfectly still because, she knew, if she moved at all, she would run. Run and never stop.

The man she didn’t know looked her up and down. “I will need to check. I cannot take your word that she’s a virgin. My Daimon would not be pleased if we were to offer for her then found out she’d already been taken.”

“Of course,” her father said, “I understand. I’ve already reserved a room.”

Before Sophia could react, her mother and father had her by the arms and were dragging her into a small room that held a shelf bolted to the wall and a chair.

“Don’t give him any problem, girl,” her father said and backed out the door.

The stranger gripped her chin in his large hand and tilted her face up. Turning her head left and right he studied her.

“You’re pretty enough,” he pronounced. “Now pull your dress up and sit on the table.”

“Excuse me?” she finally forced out.

“I need to check to see if you’re a virgin. Get on the table and spread your legs.”

Sophia stared at him. “Have you lost your mind? You are not going to touch me.”

He smiled. “Oh, I like a fighter. Yes, this will be quite good.”

He grabbed her and wrapped an arm around her waist and he tried to shove a hand up her dress. Sophia fought, but could feel his hand run along her leg. He began to pant and rub himself against her so she tried to kick out at him.

“That’s right,” he said, “yeah, squirm around and fight.”

Sophia held back a sob as she fought harder, then he released her as she staggered forward. Spinning, she found a man she didn’t know holding a knife to her assailant’s throat.

“Doesn’t look like she wants your hands on her,” the new man said conversationally.

“I don’t,” Sophia said.

“So, love, what do you want me to do to him?”

Without hesitating Sophia stepped forward, raised her dress and kicked the man who attempted to assault her right between the legs. Crying out, he dropped to the floor and cradled his genitals.

The unknown man smiled and bowed. “Well, I guess that fixed him. I’m Raiden.”

“Sophia,” she said and curtseyed.

He held out a hand. “Come, let’s get out of here.”

Smiling, she took his hand figuring anywhere was better than where she was.

 

Jessica     Bronwyn   Kayleigh

What a dump!

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dump

Welcome to the first photo flash fiction of the new year!! Obviously, we’re using the pic above to write a short piece. I can’t wait to read what the other bloggers are going to do with it.  Hope you enjoy what I came up with.

 

“Okay, take off the blindfold.”

Andromeda really didn’t want to. She hated surprises, especially the surprises her younger sister Rhea presented to her. Usually, the surprise involved some kind of horrible decision that Andromeda would have to get her out of. Crossing her fingers that this time would be different, she slowly pulled the blindfold off.

The room she found herself in was all wood. From the ceiling to the cabinets that lined the wall. The floor could possibly be wood too except she couldn’t see for all the trash, broken glass, and paper that was strewn about. Bare wires dangled from the ceiling where some kind of light fixture probably hung at one time.

“Well?” Rhea said, practically bouncing on her toes.

Without thinking, Andromeda uttered Bette Davis’s oft-quoted line. “What a dump.”

Rhea gasped. “What are you talking about? I know this room looks rough, but wait until you see the rest of the house.”

Rhea grabbed Andromeda’s hand and dragged her out into an equally dismal hallway. Large holes decorated the walls as the main stairway sagged dangerously.

“This will be the perfect place for a bed and breakfast,” Rhea enthused. “All it needs is a little work. There are a lot of bedrooms upstairs and the kitchen is huge, and, as you saw, there’s a butler’s pantry.”

Andie rubbed her face. “Bed and breakfast?”

“Yeah, you know, the B&B we always talk about opening. Now that we have our inheritance it’s the perfect time.”

“I have a job with a fairly prestigious hotel. I like it. It gives me a salary and benefits. And, my portion of the inheritance is going to help me finally buy a home.” Andie looked around at the disaster surrounding them. “Besides, even if I would think about throwing away everything I have and opening my own inn this wouldn’t be the place. It needs way more than a little work. I’m sure the electrical and plumbing all need to be updated as well as the HVAC system. From the brown stains on the ceiling it needs a whole new roof. So yeah, the best thing that can happen to this place is it burns down.”

She turned to find Rhea staring at her with wide eyes. Wide guilty eyes.

“What did you do?” Andie asked.

“Well it’s the perfect place,” Rhea repeated herself. “So, I bought it.”

“You what?”

“I bought it,” Rhea said, her voice firmer this time. “I signed the papers this morning.”

“What were you thinking? You can’t afford this place. It’s a wreck, but I’m sure with the land and as big as it is, it’s not cheap.”

“No, there you’re wrong. I bought it outright so there’s no mortgage.”

“How?” she asked, though the sinking feeling in her stomach already told her how.

“I used our money. I used our money to buy the house. It’s going to be great. Once we fix it up the place is going to be incredibly popular. There’s even a ghost here. That’s going to pull people in since they love that kind of stuff.”

Andie took a breath, then another. Calm down, she told herself. Just calm down. Stay calm.

“You stole my half of the inheritance to buy this dump? And, somehow, you think that’s okay?”

“I didn’t steal it,” Rhea insisted. “I used it to give us an incredibly future. We’ll own our own haunted B&B.”

“Oh, it’ll be haunted alright, since I’m probably going to kill you dead.”

Jessica Jarman    Bronwyn Green   Kris Norris   Siobhan Muir     Kayleigh Jones

December 2018 – Waiting . . .

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Alone sad abandoned lady crying on steps in dark

Hello and welcome to December. I can’t believe it’s the last month of the year already. And, this is our last photo flash fiction of 2018. This picture struck me as somewhat sad and, I decided no way. It’s the holidays so no sadness. Hope you enjoy what I wrote.

Sara sat on the twisting stone stairs with her chin resting in her hands. The little red dress did nothing to keep her warm, but she’d rather sit in the drafty old stairs then head back to the party. She loathed her mother and step-father’s holiday party. Everything was too bright, too loud and there were far too many people. She’d lasted about an hour, her norm, but she couldn’t leave. Oh no, her mother expected her to mingle and talk. That wasn’t Sara. That was never going to be Sara.

The crowd overwhelmed her. She never knew what to say. So, she hid. This year, though, her mother has chosen to hold the party at a castle. Oh, not a real castle, since they were miles and miles away from the United Kingdom. Someone, she forgot who, decided to build a replica castle in the middle of nowhere and now people could rent it out. Her mother has been so excited. Sara, not so much. She didn’t know the place as well as the hotel her mother and step-father normally chose so she sat in the drafty stairwell that led up to one of the towers.

A slight noise caught her attention and she looked up to find Jack watching her. He was so handsome with burnished blond hair and cool blue eyes. Her mother insisted on labeling him her older brother, but she certainly didn’t think of him that way. She’d been sixteen when her mother had remarried. Jack was her step-father’s oldest son and he’d been twenty-six and deployed when her mother and his father married.

Not long after, Sara had sent him a birthday card since her mother had told her it would be “the polite thing to do.” Dutifully, she’d purchased a card and had written an awkward introduction, never expecting anything in return. She’d been surprised to find a letter from him a few weeks later. It hadn’t been long, but she’d liked how he didn’t talk to her like a kid, so she’d written him back. That has started their exchange of letters and, Sara had felt, she finally had someone she could confide in. She could say all the things to Jack she wasn’t able to say to anyone else.

In the nearly six years, they rarely met face to face, but they always wrote. In fact, she was the first person to know he was leaving the service. And, that he was planning to move back to the city. The whole idea confused her. Sara was so glad he’d left the service, but she didn’t know what she was going to do without her confidante. There was no way she could say the things she’d said face to face. And, now that he was back, he had a life. She knew he and a friend had started their own business and that he was dating someone. She’d overheard her step-father tell her mother he thought it was serious. So, Jack didn’t need her letters. Didn’t need her.

He stepped forward and sat on the step below her. The black tux he wore stretched taut over his broad shoulders and it took everything she had not to reach out and touch him. Turning, he propped his shoulder against the wall and smiled at her.

“I’ve been looking for you.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean why? I wanted to see you. No,” he said, shaking his head, “I had to see you.”

She gave a small shrug. “Well, here I am.” Nervously, she picked at the hem of her dress.

“Sara,” he said, reaching up to take her hand.

God, the shock of the warmth of his hand almost made her freeze. How long had it been since someone touched her? That she let anyone touch her? She couldn’t remember. It didn’t feel bad though. No, not at all. It made her feel real, more present.

“Your hands are cold.”

He took both of her hands in his and gently rubbed them. She finally looked up to meet his eyes and he gave her a small smile.

“There you are. My Sara. What do you say we get out of here? It’s too cold to sit here and I don’t want to go back to the party.”

“What about your date?”

His brow wrinkled. “What date?”

“Your dad said you were dating someone.”

He gave a small laugh. “No, I’m not. Besides, I came here to see you. To talk to you. So, are you ready to leave? We can go someplace and get something hot to drink. Talk.”

Sara didn’t hesitate. “Okay.”

He took her hand and pulled her off the steps. Tucking her hand in the crook of his arm he led her out of the cold stairwell and into warmth and light.

Bronwyn       Siobhan

When Night Falls

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11-2018

Welcome to the photo flash fiction for November. The pic above is a amazing and so many thoughts flew through my head when I saw it. I hope you like what I came up with. Enjoy!

 

Fog writhed across the ground as Caitlyn slowly turned onto a one lane road and pulled up to a set of iron gates. She checked the address Grigori had given her against the plate attached to the gate and found an exact match. Rolling down her window, she punched the code into the pad tucked discretely behind a large bush and the gates slowly swung open.

She drove through and watched in the rearview mirror as the gates shut behind her. Clutching the steering wheel, a bit tighter, she followed the drive around until she pulled to a stop in front of a huge stone house. The fog was so heavy she could barely make out the steps that lead up to a massive front door, never mind trying to see anything else.

Caitlyn shut off the car and grabbed her purse to step out of the car. Quiet. It was so quiet. Nothing moved. There was no wind, no birds. Nothing. Just the slowly undulating fog that crept across the ground. If she didn’t know any better, she’d think she was the last person alive in the world.

Rolling her eyes at the thought, she clutched her purse a bit tighter and marched up the front steps. She rapped smartly on the door, but paused as it silently swung open. A slight frisson of fear danced up her spine as goosebumps made an appearance on her arms.

I’m not scared, she told herself. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Nothing here can hurt me.

Keeping that thought in mind, she stepped into the large open hall and closed the door behind her. A flicker of light to the left caught her eye and she moved toward it to find a living room dominated by a large fireplace. A fire roared and crackled illuminating a small table draped in a crisp white tablecloth set for two. Caitlyn stepped in and dropped her purse on the couch on the way to the table.

Across one of the plates lay a perfect red rose under a card with her name scrawled in a heavy, masculine hand. The man did not miss a trick. Picking up the rose, she ran her fingers over the velvety petals as the soft sweet fragrance of the flower enveloped her.

“I see you found the place with no problem.”

She spun to find the man himself leaning against the door jam watching her. Damn he was handsome with a thick head of black hair, sharp cheekbones and lips she could kiss for days. Of course, the Russian accent only added to the appeal. She sometimes wondered how the hell she’d gotten so lucky.

“This is quite the house,” she said. “The drive was long and if it weren’t for the GPS I don’t know if I would have found it.”

“I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t be disturbed.”

He stepped up to cup her face in his large hands. They stared at one another as he slowly lowered his head and took her lips. The kiss was like coming home. She’d missed him, but it couldn’t be helped since his job, his life, often kept him away.

“I’ve missed you,” he said, as if he’d read her thoughts.

“I was just thinking that. I hate when I don’t see you.”

“Good, since I don’t like being parted from you. What would you say if I asked you to be with me? Forever?”

“Be with you? Like married?”

He nodded and smiled. Fangs. Long fangs slid from his upper teeth. “What do you say? Will you be mine?”

Caitlyn smiled and jumped into Grigori’s arms. “Yes, yes, I’ll be yours.”

“Forever?”

“Forever.”

Jessica   Bronwyn   Siobhan

Photo Flash Fiction – October 2018

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man walking in abandoned city alley with flock of birds,illustration painting

Welcome to October!! Our flash fiction picture is pretty weird, and who handles weird? Well Shay and Josie do. Not well, but they’re all we have. Enjoy!

Shay ran through the pouring rain chasing . . . shit she wasn’t sure what she was chasing. She’s seen its handiwork or, at least, what it left behind. Body parts and blood, lots and lots of blood. Enough blood that Shay was fairly certain they were missing bodies. Josie had almost thrown up when Shay had told her that. Then had gritted her teeth, and got to work trying to track the thing. At least, Shay hoped it was only one. Yeah, best not to tell Josie there might be more. A whole bunch more.

A beeping went off in her ear and she touched the device. “Yeah, what do you have for me?”

“Depending on how you look at it,” Josie said, “you’re on the right track. In fact, you should be coming up to the . . . whatever, soon. Oh, and the agency sent in a clean up team. Not that there was much to clean up.”

“Thanks,” Shay said and signed off. Okay, so she was on the things trail. Great. Yeah, but what to do once she caught it? She didn’t have a plan for that yet. Her one big plan, the summoning spell had been a spectacular failure of epic proportions. She’d lit up the sky and exhausted herself for a big old zero. Unless what or who she was summoning didn’t exist anymore. That was a possibility. The spell was old. Really old.

Shay slid to a halt as she peered through the driving rain at the figure standing at the mouth of a well-lit alley. Without thought, Shay took a step back. She wasn’t sure why, but knew the person, thing, whatever was wrong. Like down in the pit, crawl up from the ooze wrong. It didn’t do anything. In fact, if she didn’t know better she’d assume it was a human being, but she knew it wasn’t. From its spindly legs to the weirdly proportioned body it wasn’t even close to human.

Slowly, it rotated its head until it was staring straight at Shay. The it smiled. And kept smiling until the face almost split in two displaying rows of razor fangs.

Shay spread her arms wide and willed magic into her hands. Blue flame licked from her finger tips and she hoped like hell she had enough juice to cause it some kind of harm. If not, she knew she was dead.

Spinning its body, the thing charged at her. Shay shoved blue flame toward the thing and it staggered, but didn’t stop. Fuck. She pushed more power at it and the thing stumbled back, growling and snapping like an angry dog. Shay’s body began to shake and her power reserves began to wane.

“Die, motherfucker,” Shay screamed at it as her power abruptly died. Now she was the one who stumbled back, exhausted down to her bones.

The thing rolled slowly to its knees and began to rise as Shay prepared to run. Not the best plan, but the only one she had the brain power to come up with.

As it forced itself to its feet, an arrow struck it in the face. Then another and another. They were flying in faster than Shay could keep track of, but by the time the monster had gone down it was covered in bolts.

A black form separated itself from the darkness and approached her. “Are you well, lady?”

The voice was deep, so deep, and vibrated through her body. He wasn’t speaking any language she knew, but Shay could understand him. Yep, didn’t have enough energy to figure that out.

“I’m . . . not, I’m not,” Shay said, shaking her head to clear her brain. “I’m flaming out.”

He placed an arm around her and she realized just how big he was. Damn he was big. Then she was flying. Flying? Really?

“I’m carrying you,” the deep voice rumbled against her ear. “We need to get you someplace safe.”

Shay wanted to tell him to call her team. Call Josie, but before she could do anything she was out.

Now go check out what my friend Bronwyn did with the pic.

August Apocalypse

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Destroyed tenement house

Welcome to September’s photo prompt. Hopefully, you’ll like the very short piece I wrote for the above image. It was literally the first idea that popped into my head so I went with it.

 

Dark clouds hung low as a haze blanketed the area. Crumbling buildings and abandoned cars were all she could see. She wasn’t sure what had caused the devastation, but she knew she wasn’t safe. She eased out from the shattered window of a diner and searched the area. They were coming. She knew that. They always came and when they did she would run. Damn, she was so sick of running. Over and over. Maybe this time everything would be right then she could rest. She hoped so.

Seeing movement, she darted from her hiding place and ran down the dust strewn street. They were coming and they were fast. Hideous shambling caricatures of people who should be dead, but weren’t. They never were, not in this place.

Glancing over her shoulder, she saw one gaining and screamed. And screaming she began to weep.

“Please, please,” she yelled as she tripped over nothing.

She rolled to her back as the first zombie was on her. She kicked out, just catching him on the shin. Instead of staggering back, he screamed and clutched his leg, falling to the ground.

What the fuck!

“Cut!” a voice yelled out.

Kelly rolled her eyes, as the director rushed across the fake street, in the fake burned out city.

“What the hell is your problem?” he yelled at the zombie.

“She kicked me.”

“I didn’t kick him that hard,” she said, scrambling up off the ground. “Fuck, I barely touched him. He acts like I broke his leg.”

“Reset,” the director yelled then turned to the sobbing zombie. “We’re on take fifteen and you can’t even run down the street. What is your problem.”

As the two began to argue, Kelly moved to the side and grabbed a water. It was going to be a very long day.

 

Now go see how Bronwyn, Jessica, Siobhan, and Kris handled the picture.

June 2018 Photo Flash Fiction

FlashFicPHOTO

Welcome to June!! The year is half way over already. Jeez louise, it’s crazy how the time is flying by. So, as it is the first Monday of June we have a new flash fiction piece based on a photo. Here’s the photo:

Country Glamor

I love this picture so much and, in fact, it reminds me of a friend of mine. I hope that all of you like the flash:

The Photograph

Jenna nervously entered the large gallery space and slowly scanned the crowd. The large crowd. She didn’t understand why so many people were there for a student art show. Her stomach did a flip and she breathed deep trying to calm her nerves. The stress was stupid, really, it wasn’t like her entire livelihood depended on the show. Hell, it was for a class. That was it. And yet she couldn’t convince her stomach of that.

Signing up for the class had really been a spur of the moment decision. The class she wanted to take was filled and she had to have three more credit hours to ensure she graduated in the spring. Tossing caution to the wind, she’d registered for the introduction to photography class. How hard could it be? Take some pictures, go to class, and voilà she’d be closer to graduation. She hadn’t counted on the original professor taking ill and the university bringing in a celebrated artist, Cherie Madison. Even Jenna had known who she was, and she knew nothing about art.

What she thought of as an easy grade, had become work. Hard work. She’d actually considered dropping but knew she couldn’t. She wouldn’t get her money back and she wouldn’t graduate. So, she’d stuck it out and found that she actually enjoyed it. Oh, she had no misguided thoughts that the class made her any kind of professional, but she learned that taking a picture was harder than anyone imagined.

Their final project had been a self-portrait. How easy. People took selfies all the time. Not Jenna. She hated having her picture taken. In fact, once she’d been out of elementary school, she’d refused to have any more class pictures taken. Her parents had cajoled, threatened, and begged, but Jenna had stood firm. She hated how she looked in or out of pictures and, yet, she had to take one for her final grade.

Cherie had told them the picture must be a reflection of who they really were. The image must show the truth of their soul. Jenna figured the only way she could do that is if she turned in a blurry image since she constantly dodged when a camera came out. She’d gotten extremely good at knowing where the camera was and disappearing. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option for the class.

Jenna slowly made her way into gallery and eased along the wall. The first image she came too made her stomach flip and she felt as if she wanted to hurl. The picture was black and white and showed a girl artfully arranged on the floor. Her hair spread out around her and her nakedness was barely covered with a thin piece of material. Shit, this was so far away from what Jenna had done it wasn’t funny.

Okay, she told herself, no big deal. The girl in the picture imagined herself as some kind of bohemian avant-garde artist. Of course, her picture would be moody and black and white. No big deal. And, yet, the farther Jenna moved into the space the more black and white moody pictures she saw. Her classmates had used filters and photo effects that looked as though they should be in some kind of art book and not hanging in a student art exhibit.

By the time, she rounded the corner to her own work, Jenna was close to tears. Her piece was nothing at all like the others. The picture she had turned in was in color. She’d worn her favorite white sundress. The one that she didn’t dare wear out in public, since it was cut pretty low in the front. She’d found a wide brown belt to try to accent her waist and had worn knee high, lace up brown boots. Then she’d gone out to her grandparent’s farm.

There was no weird lighting or effects. Oh, hell no, she’d just set up the camera on a tri-pod and taken shots of herself around the farm. The picture she’d chosen to turn in had been one that she’d taken as a joke. She’d leaned against a fence with one arm outstretched and the other against the back of her neck. She’d thought of it as a goddess pose. Her eyes closed and face turned to the side. She imagined she looked sexy as hell, especially after a few glasses of wine.

Riding high on the feeling, she’d turned that shot in. Now, looking at it stone cold sober she wished she could shrivel up. The girl in the image wasn’t a goddess. She was an overweight girl flopped against a fence. Jenna wanted to turn and run, but her feet stayed rooted to the spot. She now understood how someone could be paralyzed with fear.

A person stepped up next to her and it took effort for her to turn her head. Cherie Madison smiled and put her arm around Jenna’s shoulders.

“I was terrified at my first show too,” the woman said.

Jenna couldn’t answer. She had nothing to say. Not even if someone paid her money could she have formed a coherent sentence.

“I love your piece.”

Jenna stared at her and turned back to the image.

“Why?” she blurted out. “It’s not . . .” she trailed away.

“Like everyone else’s?” Cherie asked. “Jenna who said the photos had to look alike? Who said they had to be arty? I know I didn’t. My request of you all was to take a picture that reflected your true self. You did that. You were the only one who did that.”

“I don’t understand,” Jenna said, finally able to come up with a coherent sentence.

“I highly doubt the images your classmates turned in reflected anything about themselves. It may show how they want to be seen. Or how they imagine they are. But not who they really are. This picture is you. It’s beautiful and fun and vibrant.”

Jenna turned back to the picture and really looked at it. She forced herself to forget how much she hated having her own picture taken. She shoved aside the constant thoughts that entered her head every time she looked at herself in the mirror. Instead, she concentrated on what had made her turn the photo in to begin with.

“Do you see?” Cherie asked.

Jenna slowly nodded her head and whispered. “I imagined myself as a goddess.”

“I can see it. You did an amazing job.”

For the first time that evening, Jenna smiled. “Yeah, I did.”

 

Bronwyn     Siobhan

 

 

 

 

May 2018 Picture Prompt

FlashFicPHOTO

For our picture this month we have this lovely image:

Liberty bridge in Budapest, Hungary with people walking on it. D

And now onto the story!

Everything looked so damn familiar. The dark green walking bridge over a river, bright in the sun. The concrete surface and the lime colored metal structure next to the path. The structure that turned out to be a bridge for motor vehicles. Elegant buildings with balconies bookended each side. It was exactly like his dream. Vision. Whatever.

No, that wasn’t right. In the dream, he’d been on the bridge with the car way on his left side. Slowly, he turned in a circle surveying the area. This whole situation was totally fucked up. He was a man who believed in facts, evidence, not weird-assed woo woo shit. And, yet, here he was in the middle of a place straight out of his dreams. He knew he’d never been here. The country yes, but this particular city. No. He had no reason to since he traveled where his job sent him. He was not a man who went on vacations.

Damn, he just wanted to turn and walk away, but something drove him. He knew he had to be here in this place, on this date and at this time. Shoving his hands in his pants pockets, he began to slowly walk across the bridge. He scanned the surrounding area, building a map in his head, which he filled with every person, car, and object.

Reaching the mid-point, he turned and saw the view from his dream. The bright sunny day, the blue sky filled with puffy white clouds, and the people. A woman in a pair of black pants, purple shirt, with her red hair in a pony tail walked toward him accompanied by a young girl.  He knew them. They were from his dream, though he hadn’t been able to see them clearly. Today, he watched as they laughed and talked. Mother and daughter, maybe.

A glint in the distance pulled his attention and he zeroed in on the three-story building ringed in balconies. Something wasn’t…he was moving before he thought. He shoved the woman and child to the ground covering them with his body as shots rang out. The people around them screamed and scattered, racing in all directions.

Rolling to his feet, he picked the child up with one arm and grabbed the woman’s hand pulling her up. Then he began to move, towing the woman with him toward one of the bridge supports. Once on the other side and out of the line of fire, he put the girl down.

“Are you both okay?”

The woman crouched and began to check the girl over, who had begun to cry.

“I think so,” she said, her voice shaky. “What happened?”

“Someone was shooting at the bridge,” he said, not admitting that the bullets were aimed for her. Not until they made it to safety. They were too exposed for her to freak out. He needed her to stay as calm as possible so she would keep the kid calm.

“Momma?”

The girl sniffled and wrapped her arms around her mother’s waist. The woman held her close and looked up at him. Waiting. Waiting for him to do something.

Shit, he wasn’t anyone’s hero. That wasn’t his role. Get in, do the job and get out with no one the wiser. That was his role. That’s the way he preferred it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t leave them. The dream was driving him on with a certainty that settled into his bones. He was supposed to protect this woman and child. From what, he didn’t know. Not yet. He would though since that was his job. He gathered intel to ensure his jobs went off without a hitch. This was why he was the best assassin the government had.

 

Bronwyn   Siobhan   Sarah