#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: U for Uncharted worlds


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph W. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.

Writing prompt: Uncharted worlds

Provided by: Samantha  Redstreake Geary friend, fellow writer, and one of the Magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

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#AtoZchallenge : U for Uncharted worlds
#AtoZchallenge : U for Uncharted worlds

       First thing she noticed about him, he wore pale pink lipstick.

        They had to stand close, way too close, for the audition. She could feel his biceps under her hands, smell the coffee he’d just drunk on his breath, and the cologne on his shirt collar. The director urged them to stand closer, come on show some chemistry, did they want the role or not, he didn’t have the whole sainted day, all right?

       She had leaned in then, but today, in the flickering light of the fire, she tried not to look at where she’d left him on the grass. This was meant to be a reunion trip, camping together all by themselves in the middle of nowhere, only now she had a camp, a fire, and no family.

        She wanted to remember him from that first night, when he’d whisked her away from the dressing room, into his studio with its creaky bed, and the landlord had knocked on the floor, asking them to keep it down, and they’d kissed and giggled and kissed some more.

        She wanted to remember him reading bad poetry to Tara, who calmed down in her cradle, and listened to her father with big, droopy eyes. He talked of uncharted worlds, of adventures at sea, of frightened pirates, of stars, and haunted ships. When the book ended, he made up his own stories, and Tara chuckled. She wanted to remember Tara grinning, blowing raspberries, lisping words from her father’s poems, the words of which she barely understood.

        She’d been on movie shoots in different countries, not knowing that behind her back, he babysat by playing dress-up with Tara, put lipstick on her, everywhere. Her brain tried to imagine his hands on Tara, on her budding breasts, her throat, and her bulging eyes as he strangled her, till all she wanted to do was fling herself into the fire.

 

But enough about what she wanted.

          She hauled him, thank God he dieted and wasn’t too heavy to pull. It would smell, but bonfires often smelled like barbecues.

          She looked up, at the stars flickering from between the trees. Up there, somewhere, was her daughter, on a faraway, uncharted world. As his hair and clothes, then skin and flesh began to crackle and burn, she hoped Tara was watching. 

~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? What do you look for in falsh fiction? What sort of fiction satisfies you?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: T for The bridge connecting the old part of town


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.

Writing prompt: The bridge connecting the old part of town

Provided by: Jai Tong, blog-friend and fellow writer.

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#atozchallenge : T for The bridge connecting the old part of town

#atozchallenge : T for The bridge connecting the old part of town

          A broken neck one night, nothing much, just a small boy fallen down the stairs. A man shot in the basement dressing room, by his girlfriend’s irate father. The girlfriend in question, she hung herself using sheets next morning, from the balcony. They opened just the same, that evening, having wiped the mess from the front door. And the men and women, they kept on coming.

           We heard stories each snow-covered morning, of the goings-on at night. Of the drunkenness and laughter, of soft arms about necks, of legs wrapped around thighs, of shrieks, the music and often, past midnight, the banshees of delight.

             We clucked our disapproval. We whispered curses at the fading Open Today sign at the pub. That damned opening day had come and gone, decades ago, in the old part of town. Somebody should set that place on fire, we told each other. Again.

              The bridge connecting the old part of town creaked under the weight of cars each evening. The music began, slow at first, then built up to a wail, as all the windows lit up one by one, like smokey amber eyes of the devil. The scent of meat cooking set all mouths, human and feral, to watering. The plunking of wires reached the stars, as did voices grown hoarse with drink and smoke.

 

Tonight as the air fills with their song, we’ll head down, all of us, together. We’ll gather our habits around us, the cowls to cover our bare heads against the chill. We’ll fight the good fight, we’ll carry the cross, and the sword. We’ll cut down, slash and burn. We’ll cleanse the inn as once we did, decades ago. No ballads, no more, only hymns. No killing, no love, no dancing, no women, no loving nor drunken laughter. Only prayer. Most importantly, nothing to drink but water.

But first we must turn it all to ashes, ashes to ashes and dust to dust. We’ll take a few lives, but what matter? We’ll make the old part of town clean again.

~~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: R for Rather than give in to temptation


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph W. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Rather than give in to temptation

Provided by: Tina Downey, close friend, comrade-in-arms for the A to Z Challenge

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#atozchallenge :Rather than give in to temptation

#atozchallenge :Rather than give in to temptation

          Mum says it’s evil to steal.

          Sure, the first time you try it, you go Gawd I can’t do this, but then you’ve picked it up and chucked it in your handbag, your fingers shoved into your pockets to keep them from trembling, blood singing in your ears as you wait for the alarms to squeal on you, and then you’re out, striding out into the daylight, and they tell you they’d cut the tags out for you and ask you how you feel, and you tell them you’re doing great, just awesome. You want to do it again.

         Rather than give in to temptation, Mum says, earn your cash, make sure you work to pay for what you want and don’t get into trouble. Gucci shoes, DKNY jeans, any amount of bling, I want it all. So that’s what I do these days. I work.

         No one can see my face, its only shaking my bits at the camera, twirl some panties, shimmying around a bit. Who cares if some weirdo in outer Serbia is jerking off to it, right? I have Paypal, and my Paypal has the zeroes, baby. You can buy anything, they deliver it to you, right where you want it. You gotta love internet! And if anyone gets into trouble, it will be the school, because guess what computers we’re using? lmao

Mum says it is evil to show yourself, but I didn’t fall from the sky, y’know? She must’ve done some showing someplace to get me, right?

       Anyway, what’s good and what’s evil? Who gets to decide which is which? Some day, I’m gonna ask Mum, but I doubt she has an answer.

       And d’ya know we’ll do today? We’re gonna be good girls! We’ll dress up all lush, the nipples, y’know, and today it’ll be the real deal, a reeeal Man, and I’m supposed to…I’m not telling you! Lots of Syrup heads, and tons of snow, that’s all you need to know…that rhymes, lol

         So excited, don’t know what to think ATM, but I know I’m gonna be evil, baby, and it’s gonna feel soooo good!! We might even get it on. What does Mum know, she doesn’t get JO, or TDTM, or 420 or even PIR, poor thing.

          But I love her so. She tells her friends I’m a good girl, and I am, right? Right.

           Mum says it is evil to lie…here I am, telling you the truth. OK, PIR, so gtg, ttyl!


~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Do you have teens at home? Do you get teenspeak?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: Q for Quotas had never been easy to achieve


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph W. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Quotas had never been easy to achieve

Provided by: Daniel Antion, blog-friend and tech-whiz.

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#atozchallenge : Q for Quotas had never been easy to achieve

#atozchallenge : Q for Quotas had never been easy to achieve

      One of the signs you’ve truly grown up is your shoes fit your son.

        What if you have no son, what then, you ask, officer? But I have a son, see. Had, you’ll tell me, but that’s just grammar.

        I have a son, and he’s good. He loves the outdoors, the shy sort, handy at the spread with the hatchet, in the woods with the gun. All those bear and wolf pelts you see? He brought home every last one of them. Shot his first wolf that winter he turned fourteen. Fifteen years ago, that was. I taught him.

       Why didn’t I go? My eyes don’t see so good. A bit nippity out and my bones would freeze in the snow, that’s why. What’s that gotta do with this, you say?

       I’ll tell you. All they found is a piece of blue cloth. Some blood. Pig blood for all I know. Yes she was wearin’ a blue jacket, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s a shed, those nails and hooks on the posts are to chain Slow Elk with. Cows, officer, not women. Why would my son want to chain women? And why this blue-jacket woman don’t stay home? That’s where the trouble starts, if you ask me, women strayin’ from home.

       Why isn’t he back yet? He’s out hunting all November now, that’s why. He hasn’t called, but didn’t call year before last either. Came back home the same, in January, four wolf pelts, six coyote. Good shot, my boy.

       We need to save our range maggots, officer, put food on the table. Quotas had never been easy to achieve, not twenty years ago, not now, when those blasted wolves are eatin’ our lambs to the ground. Spendy thing, too, that shootin’ license. My son wants to get most of the harvest quota in our county. Shoot as many of the thievin’ bastards he can, all right?

       No. He’s a shy boy, never seen a woman with him. And for the hundredth time, he’ll be back, soon. Tomorrow, maybe. He’ll be back, I betcha. That’s all I know.

       If you’re done, I have some pigs to feed now. Nice speakin’ atcha, officer. Call me if you hear from him.

~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? What’s your take on wolves? On hunting? What do you make of the man in the story?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: P for Postponement is not an option


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: P for Postponement is not an option

Provided by: Jemima Pett, friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

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#atozchallenge: P for Postponement was not an option

#atozchallenge: P for Postponement was not an option

     I sit on me front porch, thinkin’ Sunday morning thoughts, when they drive up, the two fat coppers.

     Where’s Moses?, the taller of the two hooks his finger on his belt, and don’t waste our time.

     Only Moses I know, I tell them, parted the Red Sea.

      No punchin’ the toadstool around me. Moses he turn me ‘to a fairy if I squeal. Better put out for coppers than Moses.

       My nose bust next second, one long whine in me ears, blood on me mouth, warm ‘n icky. Usual stuff.

       The other copper, sliding behind, he throw me against the porch wall. You wan’  to do them Moses you’self? Where’s you’ gi’lf’iend?

           Why cops look more ‘n more like we these days? This one got a missing front tooth. It make his words come all funny.

            He take Angela, Moses do, I want to tell them, ‘n she go with him.

        Every Sunday Angela she take me to church, Be a good man, Jerry, she say, let the Lord save you. You ne’er took a life, the Lord He forgive you, ask for His mercy.

 

Last night she run, not with a good man, but Moses. Moses of stick-ups ‘n blagging, pimp, cop-killer, Mac daddy that drive around Sunday e’enings high on shrooms, or eatin’ coke, lookin’ for bitches to rape.

         Postpon’ment is not an option, Moses say, his big fancy words, you got one life. Take what you want.

         I wanna tell these coppers all that. But what’s the point? She make me wear the mushroom suit every time I do her, there’s the truth of it. Angela want his big brawny spawn, not mine. I’m puny, she say. Some more, these coppers don’t do their jobs, oughta patted me down before slammin’ me.

         I pull out the nine Moses thrown at me last nite, laughin’ in my face, ‘n I fire, once, twice. I fall back, more whine in me ears. The nine it hit me back, but it drop them sure. Then I sit me down, and watch the red slide outta their mean little heads. Ne’er bust a cap, and now this.

        Moses he got it right. Always a first time, and live only once. I’m havin’ me some different Sunday morning thoughts. With a nine, I’m as tall as Moses.  The Lord can save me no more, Angela. I’m comin’ for you.

~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? What associations do mushrooms have for you?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: O for Only once did she stop and think..


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph W. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Only once did she stop and think..

Provided by:  Csenge Virág Zalka, friend, fellow writer, storyteller, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

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Only once did she think

#atozchallenge: Only once did she stop and   think

           She woke up to his pictures on Facebook. Not on her timeline, you understand, but a stranger’s, a woman she’d met at a party the night before, her latest Facebook friend.

           He’d put on weight. Flecks of grey and white had touched his hair. His smile, though. His smile looked the same. Or did it?

           Her fingers traced the screen. If only she could enter it, stand beside him, hold his arm as he smiled at the camera, lay her head on the suit that hugged his shoulders.

         Could she once again be the reason he smiled, just like on that spring morning when his fingers had combed her curls? They had danced and sung and chugged down too much wine the evening before, and he’d taken her headache away. He’d played with her dinner clothes, taken them off, let his hands and the sun warm her. What day was that, the day after a friend’s wedding, or Fourth of July? That day when all seemed hazy, only them, their bodies, had a certain ripe solidity– too full, with too much of life. She couldn’t remember.

 

 Yet here he was, tagged in a stranger’s photo, smiling up at her, arms around his fleshy, grinning wife. A middle-aged man, after all. Not a young man with whom everything seemed possible.  A father, a businessman, no muscled demigod with dreamy eyes.

          She stared at her own profile photo. She didn’t look all that different from his wife, with her baggy chin, her flabby arms. She no longer had the nimble walk of that day, nor those breasts he had bared to the sun. Wrinkles lined her eyes, not kohl. Her jeans did not fit her as well today. Her hair had begun to thin out, she now wore it short.

Those two, those mesmeric people from that day, they had long gone.

She removed her Facebook profile photo, turned the settings on her albums to Private. Once, only once did she stop and think, and then, with slow fingers she clicked Unfriend.

She had seen him, but he must not see her. She wasn’t ready to wear her years, not yet.

~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Met any old flames on Facebook?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: Never in her life did she think..


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph W. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Never in her life did she think…

Provided by: Anna Tan, friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificient Seven of #TeamDamyanti

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#atozchallenge : N for Never

#atozchallenge : N for Never in her life did she think…

       The poppy fields of her lost summers, she wanted to see them bloom again.

       Those red, black-hearted blossoms, nodding and dancing in the breeze, lying crushed under her as she moved with her husband, coloring the air in opium– she wanted them back, those fields where they had made her son.

         She drove slowly in the dusk, her eyes on the distance, on the road below her with its moving stream of traffic. The lights, a river of cars, a slow-moving river of light on a Friday evening, people going home or out of town for their weekends. Everyone had a right to joy, to life, as did Robbie, sitting beside her, tall and strong like his father. Eyes closed, he danced his head to the music from his earphones, lost to the world, unaware his father was alive and looked for him. The breeze mussed his hair, so unlike his father’s crew cut.

 Somewhere out there, in all that light, sat her husband, his heart dark with intent. She remembered his clothes that smelled of gunpowder and blood, his very posture, erect, as if challenging the world. Never in her life did she think she would fall for such a man, a man who left his pregnant wife in the name of duty, never looked back. And now he wanted their son. Easy for him, he had given life, but received only pleasure in return. This was her son, not his. She had borne the pain so her baby might come to this world, safe. She had watered him with her blood, fed him, given him color, life. 

Tomorrow, with the first light of the sun, she would take Robbie to those fields for a walk. No one would feed her that patriotism crap, replace her boy with a bunch of red poppies. She fingered the 9mm Smith & Wesson in her pocket. Her husband had taught her to shoot, but he didn’t know she’d kept practicing, that she could bring poppies to bloom. She drove on, to the red poppy fields of her youth, right beyond the hill. She smelled spring in the dark night air.

            ~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Watched traffic lights at dusk? What do poppy fields mean to you? Ever walked in them?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: M for My mind wanders every now and then..


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: My mind wanders every now and then..

Provided by: Jemima Pett,friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

#atozchallenge : M for My mind wanders

#atozchallenge : M for My mind wanders

Sometimes, when I lay down next to her, making lazy eights and circles and lines across her spine, I think of you.

             It is not a deliberate thought.

 

 I do not think, for example, of how you used to lie, spent, just like this, after we’d made love. Or of that afternoon when we wrote our names next to each other on the sand each time the waves washed them away.

              I do not think of the evening I came back home early to surprise you, and you surprised me instead, in our bedroom smelling of sweat and candles and musk. I would have killed him, had you not looked at me with those big scared eyes. I did not want to scare you, ever, not even when you ran a knife through my heart.

 

Much as I try to hold it back, my mind wanders every now and then, to you, and you snake through me like lightning.

             The feel of your dry, soft hand holding mine at my mother’s funeral and not letting go, not once. Your snorting with laughter at a joke on TV with all those tubes connected to you. The plopping sound the earth made as it dropped from my hand on to that smooth wooden box they put you in.

 

She asks me, what are you thinking of? I shake my head, drawing her up for a kiss. I do not tell her I wonder how it would feel, lying down next to you, letting the earth rain down on me. I smile, and let my mind wander again.

~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Write or read fiction? What sort of stories do you like best? Does this story being back memories– how do memories affect our present lives?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: Lately he’d been feeling


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’m posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Lately he’d been feeling…

Provided by: Anna Tan, friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

A to Z Challenge: L for Lately he'd been feeling         Saturday nights like this, Don returned early, and tried not to get wasted. Martha didn’t like it.

          But today they’d filled his glass each time he’d drained it, and he could smell whiskey everywhere, on his sofa, his clothes, even his socks and shoes as he tugged them off. He felt, warm, fuzzy on the outside, but the booze hadn’t dulled the shrapnel of pain caught in his chest.

         Not that he wanted to talk about it, but lately, he’d been feeling like a dinosaur at a fun fair– on display, paint chipped in places, no choice but to stay put.

          He’d tried quitting, but not very hard, because that might get him iced. In the last few months, on a job, when taking the stairs, he’d catch his breath after each flight. His hands didn’t hold steady on the boom stick no more.

         Slim, Nugs and Toddy eyeballed him every fucking minute, waiting for him to slip from his rung, so they could step up. He didn’t blame them. At twenty he thought the old papi running him a dick wad, who needed topping off.

            If he hadn’t fallen for Martha, taken the slow road because of her, they’d have made him the boss by now, his own plush office, what rum or whisky he wanted, two gun-toting fellas tagging him everywhere. Instead, here he sat, in his underwear, petting the boom stick by the bed. The steel barrel felt cold in his hands, but it remained his only friend, the one thing he could trust.

           The Mac Balla had taken Martha, popped her off at church, and he had to get the slick who’d done it. Each Sunday he was in town, he’d met her at the mass, for the last fifteen years. She wouldn’t marry him, she said, till he changed his ways.

          Now she was gone, leaving the ghost of a bullet hole in his chest. It was covered with skin on the outside, and full of fucking veins on the inside, gushing blood. Don unscrewed the bottle by the bed, tossed the drink down his throat. He willed it to find this bloody spot where Martha had been inside of him, pour whiskey on it, or burn it with hot iron, so the pain would come once, hard, and then be gone.

                 He heard the latch on his back door turn. One of the boys come to do him in, after drowning him in drink? The Mac Balla? He took the boom stick in his shaking hands and pointed it at his chin. He won’t let someone else’s bullet take him. He pushed the cold ring of steel in the jowl under his chin, felt his flesh spill around it.

                 Martha’s scent filled him, the smell of her hair when she washed herself after they’d ‘lived in sin’ each Sunday night. He listened for the next footfall, the whisper of cloth against curtains, the cocking of a pistol.

                He waited. He would find Martha, one way or the other.

~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? How would you connect today’s prompt and picture?

#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: K for Kiss me if you can


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Kiss me if you can…

Provided by: Samantha  Redstreake Geary friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

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#atozchallenge : K for Kiss me if you can

#atozchallenge : K for Kiss me if you can

By then, I was too far gone.

I watched Susie paint her lips in a smudged hand mirror, sitting in my car. Her hair needed a comb,  she needed someone to stop her, and I needed to be that man. Call it drink, call it being newly wed to a woman I wanted nothing to do with, but I had made up my mind. Don’t go, not tonight.

Don’t be daft. She opened her mouth, her spice-red lips, in a circle then a pout, turned this way and that, examining those lips I’d kissed not ten minutes ago. Her lips had flamed up with my kisses, why did she need more color?

Come on, what would a night hurt?

What about your wife? And do you think I do this cos I enjoy it?

She worked a roller on her short black wool skirt, stripping away bits of lint. I’d laid her up on one of the white tablecovers in the pantry, too much in a hurry, too desperate, too scared someone would find us. But that was not the only thing that made my heart gallop so hard.

We watched the train tracks that would lead her far away, and the tall fir trees that flanked it, straight and solemn like soldiers at a comrade’s funeral.

A row of fir had watched over us as we played together, Susie’s cousins and I, at the church garden that summer afternoon. We had all learned about a boy kissing a girl, and twelve-year-old Susie had volunteered to be that girl, as long as we struck to lips, no touching anywhere else.

I don’t remember our exact words, but I remember we asked why we would want that. Two years older than the eldest of us, Susie gave us a sly smile in response. Just like that, she said, but make sure you don’t forget.

And then she broke into a run, like a skittish colt across the green, Kiss me if you can, she sang, and turning, let out a shriek when we followed her. Did we catch her? Again, I do not remember.

But today, I wanted to catch her, hook her to me, keep her bound. I reached for her, but she had already opened the door. I could hear the rumble of the train on the tracks, its distant whistle.

She stepped out and ran, this time without looking back.

~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Kisses you’d like to talk about? :)