Tag Archives: blogging communities

Unlikely (101)

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This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers

My dad showed me how to pluck berries from among the thorns, how to gather the precise right amount for a single emergency pie, how to stir the cornstarch with mashed ones and sugar until it thickened. We used oreo crusts and a layer of cream cheese between crust and filling. I was the best picker because I wouldn’t eat them; I had strategies for efficiency and fastidious concentration.

Something is unlikely about it.

In sports I have always been distractible. I am clumsy even with furniture, let alone thorns. I eat small things impulsively.

Yet raspberries, somehow, I can pick.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

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Landing (98)

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This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers

Two land in fingers of light. Consider the inhabitants. This new place is brighter, though maybe for worse, they think.

What instinct guides a being to move on? What catches in the spirit and signals where to stop, where to begin again?

These two peered in a window, not seeing glass but a barrier. These two were only scouts, the harbingers of change for a whole – what? colony? tribe? civilization? Harbingers.

Somehow we are never paying attention. The beginnings of change, the largest of threats – these begin as quietly as a moth lands. In the still sleeping morning.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

Apple Pie

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A)

Unaware that you are being watched, you reach an arm under the fence, scooping apples from the neighbor’s yard.

You know the rule, but Dad won’t make pie unless you get enough apples, and so you are cheating because you want the pie and because you think that no one is home. Until a shadow passes over you, you do not realize that you been found out. Your hand pulls back of its own accord, but the withered old man from next door has snuck up on you and he is going to tell your mother. He grimaces before speaking. His voice is strange and garbled like a robot long left to rust.

“Those are mine,” he says.

And you try to think of possible retorts or explanations, but your mouth has gone dry and excuses seem futile. So you offer him the basket, knowing that this is a chance at survival. Knowing that maybe he will accept this peace dove. The pie is not important anymore — now this is about avoiding an hour cleaning the basement.

B)

Unaware that you were being watched, you make a dash for the stairs. It is, of course, too late, and the jolt of electricity surprises you into a heap on the floor. A guard approaches and prods you with something, but responding doesn’t seem possible, let alone worth it. You try to imagine that apple tree in the back yard. It was terrible for climbing, but the apples were small and yellow and so sweet. Someone used to make pie. Who was that?

Grandmothers make pies, right? But no, that’s not right. No.

Wait. It was your Dad. He loved apple pie. You remember the smell of crust browning in the oven before being filled. The curling, bubbling cinnamon smell. You had a rat named Cinnamon once; now you are the rat.

You are in the cage. You are mastering the mazes, learning the routines, obeying the rules.

When escape occurs to you again, you remember that they were watching before. You remember the electricity and the prodding. You think, “They are watching still.”

C)

Unaware that you are being watched, you stick a finger into the cinnamon and sugar, mixed and ready by the pie shells. You can hear Dad in the pantry, slicing apples. You feel the gritty sugar on your skin and smell the cinnamon. Soon, you have stuck your whole hand into the bowl.

Only then do you realize that your mother has been sitting on the couch behind you. Maybe it is the look of horror on your face, or the absurdity of what you’ve done, but she beings to laugh.

At first you are nervous, but she laughs and laughs and you begin to laugh, too.

Later, she hugs you and tells you not to do it again. “What a mess,” she says, and then she laughs again.

D)

Unaware that you were being watched, you eat the whole pie. Each bite is sweet and crumbling and smooth in your mouth. It is so good.

And then you are grounded.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Fran challenged me with “unaware that you were being watched, you…. (finish the story),” and I challenged Kameko Murakami with “wearing purple and green, like a thug.”

Dead (97)

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This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers.

A body discovered. A person disappeared.

She died there, in the cold dark before dawn, when the air is thin like a blade. Ice crystals formed on her lashes and in the corners of her eyes.

I imagine these tears escaped at the last moment, when only a subconscious would be left, before her lungs and heart stilled, but the breath was already slight. She would not have cried before, even if she were afraid.

I would have cried.

Beautiful enough and worthless enough to be killed in some archaic performed artistry. Oh, what have we sacrificed.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

To Remember Massacre (100)

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This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers

Between Bear River and Beaver Creek, in the shifting light of dawn, a Red-winged Blackbird calls, seeing the morning, and plays the same whistle for the sun that it does every day.

A Blackbird knows time. It notices the color of the leaves, thick against a branch. It does not remember heavy snow or the color of blood.

This is not redemption or forgiveness. For war, for murder, we get neither; at least not right away. This is only the sweep of time over a place; the realization of a natural world that is absent in judgment, slow in retribution.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

Discount

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“Today only,” she announced,
“a twenty per cent discount
is available.”
She had long hair dyed green
neon like a sign
and she stood announcing
on a street corner like any prostitute
with a sign hung round her neck.

“Today!” she announced.
“Enhance your mood!
Take off the edge!
Breathe easier,” she cried, “today.”

And then she smiled
straight white teeth
and hard lines of lipstick
cutting an image of the better world
she offered.

Slipping the sign off she held it high
so that the truck driver, idling at red
would see that he could get high
for a discounted price. He flashed
a crooked grin; she was flawless.

“We can make you happy,”
she announced
and she winked.
“Joy in your veins, joy in your belly,
we can keep you happy.
It’s available now, today only
for a twenty per cent discount.”

The truck driver turned
to a vacant lot on his left. He parked
and cut the engine.
He had seen the sign. He was tired;
he wanted to take the edge off.
She crossed the street
she took his money

and, folding the sign,
led him to a room where he could sit
above the skyline. There she shot him.

Three suits came for the body
and that was the truck driver
disappeared
for a twenty per cent discount.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Kelly Garriott Waite challenged me with “today only: twenty percent discount,” and I challenged Sir with “walking the tightrope.”

Beautiful (102)

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This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers

I said it was beautiful, but she thought I meant she was beautiful. She was, of course. But when she kissed me I reeled, surprised that I might have elicited this; that she might have thought me worth the kiss.

I tangled fingers in her hair – women have long hair, I thought – and I wondered what it would mean to do this and mean it. But I was only looking at the sky, don’t you know? I was only considering a backlit branch when you instructed me in the contour of lips, when you taught me how it felt to be tall.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.