Sunday Photo Fiction 4-30-2017

Each week a photo is used, donated by one of the participants of Sunday Photo Fiction, and the idea is to write a story with the photo as a prompt in around 200 words.

Sunday Photo Fiction


He stared down at the keyboard, blinking away sweat and tears. Hands shaking. Sick, sinking, feel in his belly. Meal bitter on his tongue.

The fly was cleaning its wings, moving one to the other. Flaunting its power. Its contempt.

He read and re-read the ten words flashing on his screen. Ten words between life and death. Ten words until the end.

Nine. He shouldn’t have done it.

Eight. Shouldn’t have listened. Should never have listened.

Seven. Panic. Heat. In his hands. On his face.

Six. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear.

Five. Too late. Too late.

Four. Eyes. Begging. Blank. Blank. Blank.

Three. Deaf. Nobody told him he’d be deaf. Nobody told him.

Two. So much blood. Too much for one body. Hands and face and in his mouth.


The fly was gone.

Daily Post One Word Prompt – Recognize 2-8-2017 (Gone, Pt 4)


Gone, Part 4

It hadn’t meant anything. She’d done her job. At least, they’d told her she had done a good job and making them happy was the fricking point of her entire existence. Or, so it felt. Regardless, she’d snared the bait and walked away. She done it so many time before, she could have been blindfolded.

Sometimes, she dreamed of an almost forgotten past; before the hurt and the pain, before the murder, before those men stepped in and saved her. Going from her family’s protection to protection by the government in what? An hour? More? It had been too confusing; all the screaming and gunfire, her father racked with bullets, his last gift falling dead over her body. Because she’d been under him, unable to move, the Cartel had assumed she was dead as well. She lay there until Conner found her.

She’s only been nine. How was she supposed to know one devil from another?

Different names, different hair colors, different lives. No where felt like home. She had nothing but the men who’d saved her, hidden her in the forgotten nooks and crannies of the world. And then, she found out what they wanted. They wanted her; they owned her. She’d never had a choice.

She lured men, and women, seduced them away from their families, from their lives, into a world in which they no longer existed. For all their families knew, they’d left for another woman or another man, never to be heard from again. The families would never find out different. They used the Bait until it died, or was so broken as to be useless.

Sometimes, she dreamed of the families left behind. Women’s faces. Men’s faces. Empty houses. Long dark nights and tears. Anger. Sometimes hate. Sometimes gunshots. Pills. Broken dreams. Broken lives.

For a long time, she’d believed they were right. Her life had been broken, destroyed, her parents, sibling, killed in front of her; a never-ending nightmare. What gave anybody the right to an unbroken life when she had nothing?

She’s come to realize, however, that no matter her broken life, she didn’t have the right to cause others the same pain. To abandon them to a fate more devastating than death.

The last one, he’d cried the night they took him away. Begged.

No right. No right whatsoever.

Clutching her bag, she strode towards Departure Gate B. They wouldn’t be looking for her yet, but as soon as they realized she’d fled, they would. She wanted as much distance and time between them as possible. She needed every minute to disappear.

“You coming, Miss?” asked the attendant as the last of the passengers were cleared for boarding.

Run. Run. As fast and as far as possible. So they won’t catch you.  You’ll be free.

She couldn’t. She didn’t. Instead, she turned back, exchanged her ticket, and while waiting, pulled out her phone. Texted a number not yet deleted from her memory.

Gone, Part 1

Gone, Part 2

Gone, Part 3


JSW Prompt Response– April 2, 2016

Another of my Just Start Writing prompts.  Feel free to write your own story/poem or whatever and post the link to the comment or leave a pingback.  I’ll post your story on my blog.



He just stared for a moment, total confusion on his face. Finally, he managed, “I didn’t mean that…. like seriously.”

“Oh,” I said in surprise. “I apologize then, but I still can’t go to hell so you’ll have to defeat me and kill me or…..” I paused, wondering out loud, “If you do kill me does that mean I automatically go to heaven?”

“You?” he coughed, pretending he hadn’t spoken at all.

“You are right, I suppose,” I continued, folding my arms across my  chest, pistol tucked between my right arm and side. “I might be stuck in some otherworldly, middleworldy, type of place.”

He sighed, pistol on hip, resigned impatience in his voice. “Do we really need to do this now?”

“Well… yes.  If you plan to kill me,  which I assume you do….?”

“You insulted my honor.”

“Humph, what honor you have,” I replied, not giving him time to jump in before I continued my previous chain of thought. “That fact makes the circumstances of my death rather…. important. Shall I go to heaven or some middle world?”

“You ought to go to hell,” he growled.

“Well, regardless of that opinion, with which, theoretically,  I might agree, Satan refuses to allow me in.” I rolled my eyes. “You’d think he would have forgotten about the incident by now…. Tsk.”

Now he was rolling his eyes. “Can we just get on with this?”

I started to speak, then shook my head. “I’m afraid not. You see, the question of where I go is of great import to my soul so I think I should really speak first with a priest.”

“For God’s sake….”

“Well, yes, or at least for the sake of my soul. Perhaps we could suspend this until tomorrow?”

He looked at his second, then back at me, grumbled something under his breath. “I suppose it can wait until then. If it must.”

“Thank you, kind sir. Shall we say tomorrow, same time, same place?”

Handing his pistol to his second, he turned away, still grumbling. Some folks have no sense of the important in life.

I pulling a cloth from my belt to wipe the barrel of my pistol, startled as it went off with a bang. For a moment, we stood in silence, looking at the dying body on the ground. I spoke first.

“Goodness, I apologize. My pistol…. I was wiping it off… sweat you know… and it… just… went off.”

The second stared at me, but what could he do but collect his dead master and leave?

Singer stepped to my side. “You did that on purpose didn’t you?”

“Me? Why do you think Satan won’t let me back in?”




Heroes and Villians

“Every villain is a hero in his own mind.”
Tom Hiddleston

Who wouldn’t be? The majority of us don’t want to admit our faults and mistakes. We want to be seen as the hero, not the villain. This desire is basic human nature. I am one of those who believe our basic nature is good, or maybe I just want this to be true. I don’t like to think that I might be a villain trying to be a hero.

But, if I am totally honest, I have to admit the truth of the above quote. Worse case scenario, Hitler. He had to think he was doing right for his country, so he must have seen himself as a hero for the Aryan race. While I might never agree with his belief – I can’t think of many who would – I have to believe he believed. If he didn’t, then the world descends into chaos where no rules apply. Maybe, I just want to think there is some redeeming quality in all men, and women, whether Hitler, Papa Doc or Al Capone. My belief does not condone their behavior (I am, to the end, an Aragon fan), but it allows me to see them as human.

Then again, I have been listening to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The tortures perpetrated by the Japanese against the POW’s were beyond cruel. I reached the point where, if she had gone on much longer about their captivity, I would have stopped listening. For what they did to helpless prisoners, the Japanese guards were evil. So how do I understand that they, too, might have looked at themselves as heroes? Do I need to?

What about the CIA?  During the Cold War, they experimented with various ways to create the perfect assassin.  Who cared if their attempts included giving LSD to unsuspecting people?  Does this make them evil? Does it make them responsible when one of their subject jumped to his death from a 10th story window? Yet, I know they must have considered themselves heroes.

I’ve blogged about good and evil before, but the questions keep turning in my mind. I need to understand why the Japanese did what they did because, if I understand, I might figure out how a man who kills millions of ‘inferior’ people could possible call himself a hero, how men with no reason to hurt those prisoners under them, tortured them daily, hourly, minute by minute, just because they could.

JSW Prompt – Trust Betrayed


Stiff-backed, he stood, staring at the carved statue behind the alter, blinking as he ordered his thoughts. Finally, he turned; raised both eyebrows at the priest standing behind him and off to the side.

The man gulped. One was always careful to speak respectfully to the King, even if he was… well, a word the priest would not use. He knew, however, he could not brush this away like he might have done before. Damn the boy. What, by the All-Mighty, could have gotten into his head?

“I am sure, Sire,” he started, hands clasped behind his back. He must, he decided, speak sternly to the boy once they were done here, perhaps even instill the lesson further with a silver-birch branch to the hide. “He meant no disrespect.”

A frown. “God means no disrespect?” His eyebrows rose further. That look; skeptical with the dark rumbling of a storm deep inside. “I allow no disrespect. I was led to understand that God was of a higher calling?”

“Yes, of course, Sire…” he stumbled on, “I meant.. this must surely be a test of faith.” He kept his eyes cast downwards. Men had been killed for less.

“Test.” Flat.

“Yes. There have been many times when humans…”

“Yes, yes,” he scowled, waving a hand to silence the priest. How he hated priests, the arrogant assurance they, of all people, held the direct line to a god he’d long suspected did not exist. Until now there had been no way to discredit the church without people rising against him. Now, he had his own God to follow.

“Hummm,” he mused, tapping a finger against his bottom lip, “if it is, as you say, a test then all is well. If I was mistaken to trust him, however, I suppose then I have no need for his help. Or his church.” Or priests, left unsaid.

“Perhaps this is a test as you say. Perhaps not. I shall have to ponder these thoughts for some time.” Stepping outside, the King stopped on the steps, looking down at the Captain of his Guard.  The man bowed his head.

“It is done, Sire.”

“Good.” He strode down the steps, dusting the stench of the church off his hands.  Reaching his Captain, he paused, taking in the ring of guards surrounding the Church, a torch held aloft by each man.

Another man, dressed in common clothes, appeared round the side of the church. “It is done,” he said eagerly as he bowed. “I said just what you told me to say.”

“I told you nothing to say.”

The man frowned then bowed again. “Of course not, Sire. I was mistaken.”

“And the boy behind the statue?”

“He will never be found, Sire.”

“Good.”  The King looked around once more, satisfaction swelling in his chest. This was how one ruled a kingdom.

“Do it,” he ordered.

Behind him, soldiers moved to the church, thrusting torches into the dying bushes tucked around the base. Tinder-dry wood burst to flames.

He walked away, events of the morning already done and forgotten.