Old Muddy’s Revenge

It’s that time of week again–time for Friday Fictioneers on a Wednesday morning! This week our photo prompt is courtesy of our fearless leader Rochelle Wisoff Fields, and by the week’s end it will inspire scores of original 100-word stories. My story this week is slightly under weight at 98 words.

2016 03 18 Rochelle

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff Fields

Old Muddy’s Revenge

Tres gazed out the shop window. “Dad—water’s risin’. Best get on while the gettin’s good.”

“I ain’t goin’ nowhere. Nary a flood e’er reached us here afore.”

Across the river from the shop, Tres could see water lapping at the foundation of Pierre’s bait shop. “Mr. Pierre’s already left, Dad. Good thing too. The Old Man’s knocking at his door.”

“Ain’t nuttin’ ta fear, Son. We sit a fair sight higher than him.”

“I’m not leavin’ you here.”

“Don’t then. Take a load off.”

Three hours later, the pair clung to the roof and prayed for rescue.

On the Spot

I’m coming a little late to this week’s Friday Fictioneers party, but I am trying to get back into the weekly routine. If you are unfamiliar with this weekly writing challenge, you can learn more over on Rochelle’s blog. Incidentally, the picture this week is one of hers. To play along or read other entries, click here. My story, one word shy of 100 this week, follows the photo prompt.

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

On the Spot

Leah sighed almost imperceptibly as Jill arranged the board on the table. The Ungame. Her mother-in-law’s way of forcing intimate conversation. Leah hated it.

“Your turn, Honey,” Leah’s husband prodded.

She rolled the dice and counted the spaces around a board with no beginning or ending point.

“Tell it like it is.” Reading the square where she had landed, Leah drew the appropriate card. “What is your worst fear?”

“C’mon, Honey. We won’t judge.”

The faces around the table stared at her—pairs of eyes gazing at her like sets of oncoming . . .

“Headlights,” Leah blurted. “I’m petrified of them.”

***

Although my story this week is pure fiction, I personally share Leah’s disdain for The Ungame. However, I know some of my readers enjoy it, and you can learn more about this cruel social experiment here.

Crime and Punishment

It’s time once again for Friday Fictioneers, and this week I’m taking time out from moving and unpacking to spend more time playing with my FF friends. You can play along too. Just check out the photo prompt that Rochelle chooses for us each week. Then write your own 100-word story based on the prompt. Of course, half the fun is checking out what everyone else is up to, so follow this link to post your own in the LinkUp and read stories from around 100 other writers located all over the word.

This week’s photo comes to us courtesy of the inimitable C.E.Ayr. (Yes, follow that link and read his stories.)

Copyright C.E. Ayr

Copyright C.E. Ayr

Crime and Punishment

“Wanna know what happened to that building?” Gerry pointed to a massive eroding structure bearing the remnants of a seascape, complete with orcas splashing in the surf.

“I already know,” Trish retorted. “It’s a whale of a tale.”

“I bet you didn’t know about the infestation,” Gerry quipped.

“The infestation?”

“Yeah, that building had tics.”

“Tics? I thought they lived in trees.”

“Not these tics. They were aquatics.”

“Did you hear what happened to the ceiling?”

“No, what?”

“It was floored.”

“I’ve had about enough of this punishment.”

“You have to admit, it fits the crime.”

Extraordinary Moments

Every week, authors from around the globe post their 100-word stories in response to a photo prompt. I’m a little late to this week’s Friday Fictioneers party, but it’s never too late to jump on this train. Why don’t you join us too?

This week’s photo, from Madison Woods, is a rerun from several years ago. I wasn’t in the playground yet, so my 99-word story is brand new.

Copyright Madison Woods

Copyright Madison Woods

Extraordinary Moments

“Lots of common things aren’t exactly common.”

Terry and Jules sat on the deck sorting through a bowl of jelly beans. Smoke lingered from the barbecue.

“Like luna moths.” Jules selected a green jelly bean.

“Luna moths?”

“Yeah, they’re native here, but you never see them.”

“Huh.”

“They only live as moths for seven days. Might be longer if they stopped fucking long enough to eat.”

“I might live longer if I stop eating like a kid.”

“Time to take a lesson from the moths?”

The two fell into each other—a common act on an uncommon night.

Casualties of a Revolution

This week, for Friday Fictioneers, I’ve held onto my story until the feast day of a certain set of martyrs whom I wished to commemorate in this week’s response to the photo prompt. I’ve also cheated a little by not counting the words to the Latin hymn as a part of my 103-word story (and I still tipped the scale a little too far).

For those of you unfamiliar with this challenge, Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge in which around 100 bloggers from all over the globe participate each week. Rochelle is our gracious hostess, and this week’s photo comes to us courtesy of the inimitable Sandra Crook (whose name I’m finally getting right this time). I will admit that I’m playing a little fast-and-loose with this prompt as the street in modern-day France has inspired me to write about the streets of France during the French Revolution.

2015 07 14 Sandra Crook

Casualties of a Revolution

Veni, Creator Spiritus,

mentes tuorum visita,

imple superna gratia

quae tu creasti pectora.

Constance’s voice quavered. A novice, she had not intended to sing these verses again before her final vows. Executioners shouted. Constance knelt before her mother superior for a final blessing.

Qui diceris Paraclitus

altissimi donum Dei,

fons vivus, ignis, caritas,

et spiritalis unctio.

Lifting her head, Constance found courage in the familiar words. She raised her voice and ascended the scaffold ahead of her sisters.

Tu, septiformis munere,

digitus paternae dexterae,

Tu rite promissum patris

sermone ditans guttura.

The novice placed her head in the designated spot, still singing. She closed her eyes and continued singing as the blade dropped toward her exposed neck.

Accende lumen sensibus:

infunde amorem cordibus:

Infirma nostri corporis

virtute firmans perpeti

One by one, the sisters followed Constance’s lead. The crowd fell silent, listening to the song of praise accompanied by the rush of angel wings.

Deo Patri sit Gloria,

et Filio, qui a mortuis

***

On 17 July 1794, 16 Carmelites were executed in Paris for practicing their faith tradition. The song the sisters actually sang has been lost to the ages. Conflicting reports say they chanted the words above or a number of other spiritual hymns. You can follow the links to learn more.

Exposure

I’ve been scrambling to keep up this week. I hosted a summer open house for Complete Picture Content, my web-content writing company, yesterday. It was a great success, but I’m exhausted from the work of turning my home into an event space. Today is a good time to relax and participate in Friday Fictioneers. Each week, participants from all over the globe respond to a single photo prompt with their own original stories. Each story must have a beginning, a middle and an end. The hard part? Keep that story to 100 words. My story this week weighs in at 101.

Copyright Stephen Baum

Copyright Stephen Baum

Exposure

Detective Granath rubbed her temples. She had suspicions—but the eyewitness of two fourteen-year-olds wasn’t enough.

“Detective?” Tom Delany, a CSI, stood in front of her, smiling. “We found the camera.”

Granath looked at him quizzically. The witnesses had told her that the perpetrator had grabbed the camera and opened it.

“I developed the film just in case.” He handed her a small stack of photos. They were all overexposed, but the last two showed the clear profile of Judge Amarine.

“Let’s get him arrested.” Granath reached for the phone on her desk. “I hope this is enough for a conviction.”

***

Another note for my fellow Fictioneers: As some of you already know, reading and interacting on Blogspot blogs is quite difficult for those of us who don’t use that platform ourselves. I’m delighted to see new bloggers with Blogspot visiting and commenting here. Unfortunately, I am often unable to return the favor of interacting. But I am visiting and reading. You just can’t see it because of the locked-down security settings. If any of you want to find and friend me on Facebook, I will be happy to leave my comments for you there when I can’t get into Blogspot’s comment sections.

Collage

We’re all familiar with picture collages. Years ago, a professor presented a challenge that I should probably take on more often, that of creating a collage of quotes from my own writing. Looking at portions of my own work cut and pasted together in such a manner gave me a fresh outlook on my voice as a writer. Today, I took the time to create another collage. This one is made up entirely of quotes from things I have said on Facebook. It has certainly helped me get to know myself a little bit better. Maybe it will help you get to know me a bit better too.

Faces of Me

Faces of Me

On making amends:

“Make amends while you can. I realize there are times when you need some space from someone close to you, but don’t let a week turn into years of no communication. If that person reaches out a hand of reconciliation, grasp it. You never know how little time there is to make amends. You never know when an ICU visit will be the last visit you ever get or if a phone call in the middle of the night will be the call that tells you it’s too late. Relationships matter. Pick up the phone. Send that email. Drop a letter in the mail. Do it now, even if it means swallowing your pride. Tomorrow might be too late.”

On myself (all grown up):

“Remember that wide-eyed 19-year-old named Marie Stratford who never imagined she wouldn’t make it as a writer and editor? I need to channel some of her confidence.”

On giving and receiving criticism:

“As much as we’d like to think that emotion doesn’t cloud feedback or our reception of it–it does.”

On coexisting:

“If I merely disagree with someone . . . then let’s just agree to ignore each other civilly. Isn’t that the way most of us dealt with living next to our neighbors through the 70s, 80s and 90s?”

On making memories:

“For me, the process of framing and taking photos in my neighborhood or on vacations actually seals the memories in my mind far into the future and much longer and more accurately than the memories of experiences when I didn’t have my camera along.”

On Bristol Palin:

“I think there are ways to be a feminist (and a kind human being) without condoning [Bristol Palin’s] double standards. That young lady needs someone to firmly explain to her about the birds and the bees while including scientific information about various methods of birth control. Abstinence-only education is only successful for those who can actually manage to adhere to abstinence.”

On taking Scripture literally:

“Sometimes I fantasize about becoming a street preacher who stands on busy corners and raves against those wearing poly-cotton blends. Then I realize I wouldn’t have anything to wear.”

On slut-shaming:

“I have never heard someone get annoyed with those who don’t want to be given a full view of a plumber’s crack. Do we have to look at thongs just because they happen to be worn by women?”

On social media:

“I mentioned to Conja last night that I sort of miss the days when you could know someone for years without knowing what their political views were.”

The Great Linguistic Desert

This is my response to this week’s Friday Fictioneers, and some of you will recognize the characters this week. More about that after the story.

Copyright Jean Hays

Copyright Jean Hays

The Great Linguistic Desert

The compact car shuddered to a stop.

“I’ll take a look under the bonnet.”

AnElephant will do no such thing.” Dawn glared at her companion. “The baby just fell asleep. That bonnet is keeping the sun out of his eyes.”

El stared at her, then laughed. “Wrong bonnet.” He pointed at the smoking front of the vehicle. “You have a jug of water in the boot, right?”

“In the—oh yeah, the trunk.”

“It’s a good thing we don’t have a flat tyre.” El winked at his companion. “We’d spend all afternoon arguing about how to spell it.”

***

Every week, about 100 writers from around the globe participate in Friday Fictioneers by presenting their 100-word stories based on the photo prompt. Although we usually present our responses in English, occasionally there are a few issues with translation. You may recognize names of my characters. AnElephant is one of our long-time participants who hails from Scotland, and there are a couple lovely ladies from the states with the name “Dawn.” This one’s for all of you. If you haven’t met these other fine bloggers, follow the links within the story and go introduce yourself.

The Maryville Encounter

Author’s Note: I’m fully aware that most of you were expecting this post to be my response to this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, and I promise to have that posted before the week is out. However, the prompt this week got me back on track with my Lauren Shrecklich saga, so please bear with me. Let’s join her as she stands outside the trailer of Maryville’s former chief-of-police. (Although this portion of the story should be able to stand on it’s own, you can click the links throughout to catch up with the tale thus far.)

The Maryville Encounter

Lauren absently played with the second button of her blouse. Beneath it, a crucifix lay next to her pounding heart. She held Ben’s gaze, alert and conflicted.

In Washington, two men, both superiors, were expecting different outcomes from Lauren’s journey west. Senior Agent Michael Morales, the one she trusted, had told her to trust this particular vampire. Director Lukke, apparently unaware of any vampiric activity, expected her to be taking out an art theft ring in Kansas City. He would be unpleased to learn of any deviation in her prescribed itinerary, but that wasn’t the reason Lauren didn’t like this detour. She took a deep breath and resisted the urge to touch the scars on her neck—two deep punctures set about an inch apart.

“You’re here for the information about the art theft issues in Kansas City?” Ben held the trailer door open wider. Lauren nodded in surprise and reluctantly accepted the vampire’s invitation to step inside. Immediately, her gaze fell on a pile of papers and photographs spread across his kitchen table. Clearly, he had been investigating the art crimes longer and more extensively than anyone at the Bureau.

Lauren’s mouth gaped. Ben shrugged. “I don’t need much sleep these days, and obviously, I can’t get out much either.”

“You certainly have more information than I’ve been able to uncover. I just hope it’s what we need to break this thing open.”

Twenty minutes later, Lauren was driving back to Kansas City, this time with an undead police chief riding shotgun.

“Vivian isn’t the only one who will recognize me if I join you at Missie B’s.”

Ben’s comment broke into Lauren’s train of thought. She drove a few more miles in silence. “Right.” She paused. “So . . . “

“What if you drop me off at Union Station? I can determine if we are correct about the stolen art while you case out the drag show.”

“That sounds like a plan.” As dangerous as it seemed for Lauren to be driving through the Missouri countryside at night with only a vampire for company, Ben made decent company. At least she could talk to him. None of the white-collar agents in Kansas City had been read in concerning local vampire activity—not as far as she knew, anyway. Besides, this wasn’t the type of information you just spring on another field agent without proper clearance.

Crying in the Kitchen

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week’s prompt is a retread with photo credit going to Raina.

2015 06 12

Crying in the Kitchen

“Onions make you cry.”

“They also help hide the real reason you’re in the kitchen.”

“Gotta feed the multitude.” Genevieve sniffed and looked up.

“It’s your own fault, you know.”

“How’s that?”

“You’ve used the kitchen as a refuge from family gatherings for so long that you’ve become too good a cook.”

Genevieve managed a laugh.

“I have some ExLax in my purse. Wanna teach everybody a lesson? Maybe they’ll descend on Aunt Sally’s place next time.”

“Yeah, right . . . three bites of her brownies and they’ll be back here to eat me out of house and home.”