Love’s Tempo- Fiction in a Flash #FlashFiction Challenge #WritersCommunity #amwriting


Love’s Tempo- Fiction in a Flash Challenge #18

This week’s photo prompt for Suzanne Burke’s Flash Fiction Challenge is a mysterious piece of sheet music and a woman holding a rose. You can take part here:

He was at it again. She rued the day she’d allowed him to buy the baby grand. Day and night, he lived for those damn ebony keys. He didn’t even share their bedroom half the time, preferring instead to sleep with his infernal music.

It was their tenth anniversary and she’d worked all day to create the perfect meal; chicken cordon bleu, garlic and chive mashed potatoes, savory roast vegetables, and his favorite dessert, bananas foster. And through it all, he’d played. She’d tuned out the actual melody years ago. It was either that or go stark raving mad. It was the same song, over and over and over again.

At first, she’d tried to take an active interest in his… let’s call it what it was–addiction. She’d join him in the den, offering input into the music. In return, He’d give her a vacant smile and continue the way he was, dark head bent lovingly over the keyboard.

Then she’d gone the opposite direction, ignoring him, going about her day as though everything was perfectly fine. Making excuses for his negligence. Alone, and lonely.

But, tonight was the end. She couldn’t do it anymore. He was turning her into a bitter shrew and she didn’t like it. After dinner, she was going to give him the separation papers.

“Hungry?” she asked with forced gaiety.

“Hmm?” he murmured, penning some notes onto the sheet music.

“It’s our anniversary. I made dinner.” Not quite as cheerful now.

“Can it wait? I’m close to a breakthrough.” He glanced up with a smile.

Her heart did that stupid leap, still affected by him after all these years. “Please.” She hated the entreaty in her voice.

“Sure, babe. I’ll be right behind you.” He turned back to the piano and she slowly returned to the kitchen. Picked up the heavy butcher’s knife, and waltzed toward the den, buoyed by the harmonious chords bursting down the hall.

She was surprised by how easy it was, the cold steel sinking like warm butter into his back. The tune he was playing turning strident, a cry for help echoing in her head.

Then nothing.

Blessed silence as the ivory keys turned red and his precious music died with him.

She yanked the knife free, his body slouched over the keyboard, and gouged deep lines in the shiny black finish. The shriek of steel becoming cries of agony- hers. It was his fault- all of it. He’d destroyed their love as easily as she’d just ruined his beloved piano.

Finally, she circled around to the sheet music, and was about to rip it to shreds when the title stayed her hand.

Love’s Tempo- an pledge to my beautiful wife, who loves me far more than I deserve.

Yours forever, honey

Slowly, painfully, she sank to the floor near her husband’s head and sliced her wrists. As she grew faint, their blood melded into an eternal chorus–the day the music died.

Fiction in a Flash Challenge 17- #WritingCommunity #amwriting @pursoot


Fiction in a Flash Challenge #17

The week’s flash fiction challenge is titled Message in a Bottle. Join here on Suzanne Burke’s inspiring blog: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/fiction-in-a-flash-challenge-week-17-new-image-prompt-join-in-the-funpursoot-iartg-asmsg-writingcommunity/

The sand is cool and grainy under my toes, a refreshing relief from the warmth of the sun on my shoulders. I’ve been walking this mostly deserted beach for hours, lost in memories of happier times.

I arrived as a visiter, but for the last twelve years this has been home. I’m not sure how I’ll survive without the wash of the waves, the briny scent, or the crimson sunsets, but I must. It’s up to me to continue the search.

Something green glints in the shallows and I pad out to investigate. It’s a bottle, half-buried in the wet sand, its cork pointing toward the North Star sparkling brightly in the evening sky.

Heart pumping, I tug until the sand gives up its treasure with a pop and carefully carry the fragile glass up the beach. Upon closer inspection, I spot a roll of paper inside the luminous green bottle.

“Sam, is that you?”

A wavery voice from my past jerks my attention away from my find.

Could it be?

The woman I never thought to see again, picks up her skirts and runs toward me, her silver hair flowing like a moonbeam.

With a joyous bark, I bound toward her, the aches and pains in my old bones forgotten. She came back.

“Oh, Sam,” she cries, falling to her knees to wrap frail arms around my neck. “I can’t believe I found you.”

I want to tell her I’ve been searching and searching for her, too, but of course I can’t. Instead, I whine and lick her chin in greeting, my tail swishing the sand.

“It was the cancer, boy. I’ve been in the hospital all this time. I thought I’d lost you.” She puts her head to mine and weeps.

A long while later, she slowly rises and, with a hand on my back, follows me over to the green bottle.

“What do you have there, Sam, a treasure?”

I already found my treasure tonight, but I bark and push the bottle toward her.

“Okay, okay.” She chuckles. “I get the message.”

She carefully works the cork from the bottle and tips the paper into her hand. Unrolling the missive, she reads, “Whoever finds this note, know this; there is no greater gift than love.”

As my old friend and I make our way down the beach, I sigh, contented for the first time in months. The bottle is right, love soothes the soul.

Bitmoji Image

The Land of the Free- Fiction in a Flash Challenge #amwriting #WritingCommunity @pursoot


Fiction in a Flash Challenge #16

Suzanne Burke came up with this beautiful photo for this week’s prompt. Read the entries and join in here: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/2020/09/04/fiction-in-a-flash-challenge-week-16-new-image-prompt-join-in-the-fun-pursoot-iartg-asmsg-writingcommunity/

The full moon rode a crest of diaphanous clouds in the midnight sky, turning the snow into a diamond-encrusted field stretching as far as Luna could see. A soft wind ruffled her fur and sighed through the pines, increasing her loneliness.

It had been two weeks since she’d plunged into the freezing cold river. By the time she managed to slow her headlong journey through the angry waves, she’d been miles from her family. Crawling up the bank, Luna took refuge under a fallen tree and shivered until sleep took her under.

Three frosty days later, hunger drove her from the makeshift shelter. Stiff and aching muscles protested, but she shook, sending ice projectiles flying in all directions, and hobbled into the forest. A wounded rabbit provided the nourishment she needed and strength coursed through her veins.

Now to find her way home.

Instinct sent her feet flying upriver, back toward the snow-capped peaks of the Mackenzie Mountains. Wawatay followed her nighttime journey, the spirits dancing their way into the next world, the blue and green streaks lighting her way.

A shot rang out, kicking up the powdery snow near Luna’s tail. She yelped, and dodged to the right. What was tha… Bang. The echo resounded off the trees, knocking snow from the branches. Her pulse leaping in fear, she took flight, running full out away from the horrible noise. She ran, and ran, until her breath sawed in and out of her mouth, and still she ran.

Dawn was breaking the night sky apart by the time Luna slowed to a stop, tail tucked between her legs. Hopeless, she lifted her head and howled at the gods for leaving her out here all alone. A moment later, an answering call traveled on the wind.

Could it be?

Afraid to hope, Luna watched and waited until a pack of wolves loped into view. The big male in the lead had a distinctive coat of black fur with a silver streak down the back- her father.

Luna took off at a mad dash, yipping with joy. Her family surrounded her, licking and nipping their love and affection. Somehow, some way, she’d defied the odds and found her way home here in the land of the free.

The Stories These Walls Could Tell- #FictionInAFlash #WritingCommunity @pursoot


Soooz Burke has found a wonderful photo for this week’s challenge! You can read more and join in below:

The wallpaper hangs in jagged strips from the walls, faded jacquard prints of a more dignified time. Cobwebs drap from the dilapidated ceiling, and I try not to imagine how big the spider is that created them.

Tom and I won this house at auction, before…

The floors creak beneath my sneakers and are gray with dust and grime, but they look original to my weary eyes. The drive took hours and all I can think about is a warm bath and soft bed- neither of which I’ll find here. I’ll go back to the small town I’d passed through soon, but first I need to finish what I started.

“We did it,” I tell my husband, sure he can hear me wherever he is.

The baby moves beneath my breasts and I gently rub the spot, my throat tight when I feel a tiny heel. Tom wanted this child so much. That and the home he’d grown up in. It’s bittersweet to know we’ve succeeded.

“It’s everything you said it was,” I say, continuing my one-sided conversation. “The fireplace is huge. No wonder you thought Santa got stuck up the chimney.” I trail a finger along the mantle. “Baby’s stocking will look lost on here.”

The tears that are never very far away wet my cheeks. It’s been five months, but I miss him still.

I always will.

With renewed determination, I climb the surprisingly sturdy staircase and enter the first room on the right- Tom’s childhood bedroom. A warm sensation flows over me and my tears dry as peace descends. He’s here, I can feel him.

The room is empty, other than an old blue chest shoved under the stained window. My heart flutters wildly and I’m suddenly scared of what I’ll find.

“Go,” a ghostly voice intones, his breath warm on my ear.

I startle and stumble forward. “Always so bossy,” I grouch with a smile.

The lid is heavy. I have to work to get it up, and then I sneeze as a musty fog rises from the interior. “Geez, Tom, you could have warned me.”

He chuckles from over my shoulder. I can almost feel his arms around me and baby.

His baseball hat from seventh grade sits on top the pile of memorabilia. My fingers tremble as they trace the Saints emblem. Who would have thought he’d go on to have a successful career in the NBL?

Alongside the hat, lay an autographed baseball bat, and below that, the reason I’m here. A leatherbound journal. My husband’s thoughts and dreams in his messy script fill the pages, front to back.

The house will be baby and my future, but this journal? It’s my link to the past and is truly priceless.

The baby rolls, creating a wave across my stomach and my dearly departed husband laughs.

His family is home.

The Final Countdown- #FictioninAFlash #Challenge


This week’s Fiction in A Flash Challenge

I’ve been enjoying the many posts inspired by Soooz Burke’s wonderful prompts to the Fiction in A Flash Challenge and decided to give it a try. You can read more and join in here.

The Final Countdown

Four.

Three.

Two…

Any moment now and the final performance of my career will begin. I can’t complain, I’ve had a good run, but I wish I was more prepared.

I’ve wasted so many opportunities. Chances to live, love, create meaningful connections.

Instead, I’m here the way I’ve been most of my life- alone.

It’s not all bad though.

I’m more successful than I could have dreamed. People know my name. They cheer for me. Buy tickets to see me.

I’m famous.

I wonder if any of that will matter now.

One…

The gates open and I step through.

My afterlife begins.

A Letter From Home- #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


February 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a sugar report. Use its original meaning of a letter from a sweetheart to a soldier, or invent a new use for it. Go where the prompt leads!

Follow along or join in at Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch- here

Unashamed tears roll down my face, words on scented paper imprinted on my mind.

Darling Ken,

I think about you every day, but never more than now.

He’s beautiful, my darling. A full head of hair, nut-brown like yours. Ten perfect fingers and toes, and a smile that fills my heart.

The nurse says gas, but we know better. He’s thinking of the day you’ll come home and take us into your loving arms.

I pray it’s soon.

Love you always and all ways,

Sara

Three long months ago, my baby wrote me a love letter- I’m a father.

Life’s cycle- #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


This week’s flash fiction prompt is a tribute to Charli Mills’ beloved friend, Bobo, now running in Heaven’s daisies.

February 6, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme “a dog in the daisies.” It can be any dog, real or imagined. Push into the setting and as always, go where the prompt leads!

Bodetta Bosephine, Bobo to her friends, paused for a moment. The sun warmed her back and the meadow’s grass tickled her feet, but that’s not the reason she stopped. A faint call, one she thought she’d never hear again, made her delicate ears quiver.

“It’s time,” her brother’s voice whispered on the dew-laden breeze. “I’ve missed you, sister.”

Her heart skipped a beat. “Grenny, is that you?”

“Come,” he said. “We must go.”

Bobo glanced back to where she knew her humans waited. Could she? They loved her so, and she them. But Grenny was right- it was time.

A Parent’s Nightmare- #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


This week’s challenge courtesy of Charli Mills Carrot Ranch:

January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!

I decided to take mine in a more personal direction. This is from a WIP- hope you enjoy my interpretation of PROTEST.


“There’s no easy way to say this—” Matt met the growing horror in Mrs. Carter’s eyes, his heart hurting, “your daughter was murdered last night on the Galloping Goose Trail. We believe she was on her way home at the time.”

The poised woman who’d met them at the door disappeared in a swelling tide of despair. She vigorously shook her head. “No, you’ve made a mistake. Emily was home last night. I brought her home from school myself. It’s not possible.”

“How do you know it’s our child?” Carter asked, his voice gruff. “It could be anyone.”

Skiing Mishap #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


This was written for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge:

January 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife. Why is she being carried? Who is carrying? Pick a genre if you’d like and craft a memorable character. Go where the prompt leads!

You can join in here: https://carrotranch.com/2020/01/10/january-9-flash-fiction-challenge/

Jeff juggled to keep his balance on the ice without dropping his wife.

“I told you to stick to the bunny hill,” he chastised.

She giggled and held her arms out like a bird in flight. “But it was so much fun- until I fell.”

“Well, let’s see if you still think it’s fun when you’re wearing a cast for the next six weeks.”

“Aw, Jeff, don’t spoil my high. Did you see me? I hit those moguls like a pro.”

“Yes, honey you did,” he said, tenderness running strong in his veins for his brave, incredible, beautiful wife.