Daily Post One Word Prompt 7-8-2016


The Neighbors, Part 1

There are those among us who live false lives. Nasty men. Vicious women. Forgotten children. You will never see them. They pretend normalcy; friends and neighbors and co-workers. Inside they are monsters.

Am I one? Some things are best discovered on your own.

They moved in in late July, one rusty truck filled with rickety furniture, broken plastic toys and a mangy dog tied to the tailgate. I watched for an hour, until the truck was unloaded, before heading out to welcome them to the neighborhood.

James, Jane and little Janice. Could smell them half my yard away.

I introduced myself without offering to shake hands. Who knew what I’d come back with that I hadn’t had before.

“You come a long ways?”

“From Phoenix.”

“Nice place, Phoenix. So I’ve been told.”

He shrugged, bored already.

Janice ran over tugging the dog behind her. I stepped back just enough to keep her from grabbing my slacks.

“Do you have a dog?”

“No.  I don’t.”

“Did you used to have one?”

I shook my head. “Don’t like dogs.”

Her face fell. The dog snuffed the grass, lift his leg.

Least he was on their yard. I’d need a fence, I decided. And soon.



boneThe opening sentence for the June 9th  Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: “The first one was a surprise…” Please use this sentence (or this thought) somewhere in your flash.

This challenge is open until 11:00 pm Friday night, June 17th, 2016.

Click Here for more information and to read more stories.

The Bone Pit

The bone lay surrounded by the team, as if it was a secret we hesitated to share.

“The first one was a surprise,” Sandy said, looking around, mouth slowly turning into an ‘O.’  “It wasn’t, was it? You put it there, didn’t you?” Including us all in the ‘you.’

Charlie nodded.  “Calm down, Sandy. If we didn’t find anything,” said matter-of-fact, “the grant dries up.  We all lose our jobs and go home.”


It was Danny who hit him, knocking him down with one blow of his hammer. Charlie and Danny dragged the body to the edge of the pit and tossed him in.

“That’s four,” Charlie commented. “Coffee?”




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.