Response – JSW 4-12-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

Copyright csk 2020

He stood on the bank, just beyond the sea grasses, staring out at the rolling ocean beyond. The day was grey, promising a rain he hoped would never come. He needed sunshine and brightness, not rain and gloom. Either way, he’s survive, he supposed, though there were times he wanted to not survive. Times he wanted anything but to survive.

Another marriage down the tubes. You’d think he would have gotten good at it by now, but somehow things always got screwed up. Usually him, but this time her. She’d lied to him since the day they met, claiming love, but in the end she’d just wanted his money.

Stepping over the sea grass, he walked out onto the wind-swept beach, shoes squeaking in the sand. Loosening his tie, he pulled it over his head and dropped it to the ground, shucked his jacket.

What good was love when it could never be trusted? What good was life without love? Why couldn’t he just get it right?

He stopped on the edge of the surf, foam washing up and around his shoes, dampening the edges of his trousers.

Overhead, seagulls called his name. A Sandpiper scurried along the edge of the surf. Beyond the breakers, pelicans rode the waves.

Alone, he walked into the sea.

JSW 4-12-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

Copyright csk 2020

Response JSW 4-5-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

I dropped my head, groaning. Why couldn’t one day, just one day, with him be normal?

“You seem unhappy.”

“To say the least.”

“Why are you unhappy?”

“Because you just shot our chance of being normal.”

“They weren’t going to think we were normal anyway.”

“But you didn’t have to go drop fire on their heads?”

“Why not it was pretty.”

Pretty!

“Look, idiot, pretty doesn’t keep us alive. Pretty doesn’t help us blend in with the normal folk.”

“Why would you want to blend in?” he asked.

I could see he was truly curious. “Because I want to live for one thing. And I’d like a normal life like any normal being.”

“Not all that it stacks up to be.”

“I don’t care,” I screamed. “I want to be normal.”

He was silent for a long time, watching the burning village in the valley below. “I’m sorry. I’d take it back if I could.”

“Humph. Little good that does us now.”

“Sor-ry.”

“Well, let’s move on before they start to look for us.” It didn’t any good to get angry at him. As much as he said sorry, he really didn’t understand the meaning of the word. He thought just saying sorry made all things better.

He followed me back down the hill and away.

“But can you please not drop fire down on the next village?”

“Sor-ry.”

“Can you?”

“No.”

“No what?”

“I can’t drop fire on the next village.”

“Good. Now that’s settled, let’s hope we find another village soon.”

We trotted away, tails wagging, hoping we’d find a master over the next hill.

JSW 3-29-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

Picture copyright csknotts

“Look at that idiot! Out in the wind like that.”

“He is a seagull.”

“Well, so are you, but are you out there in the wind like that?”

“Seagulls like wind.”

“Well then he should be flying, not sitting there like a lump on sand. Do you see any other seagulls out there? Huh? Huh?”

“No, but…”

“But nothing. He’s a disgrace to seagullkind.”

“Just because he enjoys a little wind?”

“A little wind? A little! It’s almost a hurricane out there.”

“Don’t exaggerate.”

“I’m not, much, but you know what I mean.”

“I bet any minute he is going to take off and do some daring stunt, some spectacular flying, some sheer magic in the air.”

“Humph.”

But he didn’t. The seagull just sat there in the wind, moving a few steps now and then to keep upright.

“See, told you. Nothing. A disgrace.”

“He’s just different, Ma.”

“Different my tailfeathers. He’s a disgrace!”

“Come on, fly!”

“Humph.” Ma waddled away, back to the safety of the inlet.

“Come on, fly!”

But Jonathan stayed on the sand. Waiting. Enjoying the wind in his feathers.

He really wasn’t like any other seagull.

JSW 3-22-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“Nay, she just hinted.”

He was sitting across from my desk, in his dirty clothes, smelling like a whiff of sewer.

“I don’t want you to tell her where I am.”

“Look, your mother doesn’t care where you are as long as you are safe,” I said roughly, “And if you do go see her, I’d suggest a bath first.” A little white lie never hurt anybody, and besides, as long as he thought it was his mother who was looking for him, my client was safe. He’d figure it out, but hopefully, not soon enough.

“I smell?”

“Like a sewer.” I was reeking the same scent after tunneling down to find the man, much to my chagrin.

He seemed to be thinking and it looked like a hard task.

“Just call her, let her know you are safe. That’s all I ask and my job is done.”

“I don’t want to.”

I sighed, rubbing a hand over my hair. “And why not?”

“She never gave a damn before so why should she care now.” As he said the words, something came over his face, a thought or a suspicion that he wasn’t yet ready to believe.

“It was my mother, right?”

“Does it matter at this point?”

He slumped in the chair. “I suppose not.”

The look on his face said otherwise. Maybe he wasn’t as dumb as I’d thought. Now the look was on my face, something just on the edge of my mind, something I couldn’t catch for the life of me.

Just then my door opened. A ragged man stepped in, stench preceding him. Behind him were several more men.

On instinct, I turned towards the window behind my desk, kept unlocked for this very reason, but as I did so, a group of men pushed the window open and started climbing inside.

In my client chair, he smiled. “You didn’t think I really believed my mother gave a damn about me did you?”

I was back to the wall, pistol in my hand. Shrugged. “It was a thought.”

The men moved closer.

“You can’t shoot us all,” one of them chuckled, grubby hands reaching out.

I shot him. One down. Two down, but before I managed the third, they were on me. They crushed me to the ground, fingers digging into my skin, hands locking my limbs, arm around my throat, somebody taking the pistol from my fist. Lifting me up, they took me out the back door, to the sewer entrance I’d used just moments before.

He knelt down behind me as I hung, limbs held firmly, between the men. “Welcome to my world.”

“I’ll never tell you,” I spat between clenched teeth.

Somebody wrenched the sewer lid off and they threw me down.

Response – JSW 3-15-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“What’s this?” he asked, peering beyond the board which had broken under the weight of his painting. Not that he believed the board had broken due to painting – he wasn’t that heavy a hand – but he wasn’t sure what else to attribute the breakage to.

“Looks like a hole we now have to patch,” replied Julie angrily. She’d agreed to this fix-her-up project only because Josh had promised it wouldn’t entail more than fixing a little plumbing and painting. So far he’d been wrong on all accounts.

“No, look,” he said, pulling at the board. It came off in his hands. “There is something behind there.”

“It better be a million dollars,” she huffed, tossing down her paint brush. She stormed out.

He almost called after her, but didn’t. If this was just a bigger hole she’d only be angrier.

Instead, he grabbed a flashlight and squeezed himself through the wall and into the narrow opening beyond. Once inside, he saw the space wasn’t a small opening like he’d thought, but the start of a corridor heading off into the darkness. Curious, he followed, stepping over refuse and shining his flashlight all around. The corridor was narrow, just wide enough for his lanky frame, just tall enough for his to walk upright.

What could be at the end? Had this house been used in the Underground Railway? Just then a spider’s web hit him in the face and he sneezed.

A long way away, somewhere in the distance, he heard a returning sneeze.

He froze. Had it been an echo? Or had he just been hearing things? Forcing himself to move, he continued on, trying to be quiet, The corridor started to descend, gradually at first, then steeper as he went along, until he was clinging to the wall studs to keep his feet.

Should he turn around? He’d always thought of himself as brave but if he turned around now…..

He kept going, slipping and sliding over the floor as it changed from wooden planks to dirt and then to stone. Just then the floor ended and he fell down about five feet, landing awkwardly in front of a barred door. Hands shaking, he unbarred the door and pushed it over a crack.

Beyond lay a huge cave. In the distance, he heard a thunder-sneeze and had to grab onto the door to keep from behind blow backwards. Heard sound like rocks thudding onto the floor. As the sounds got louder, he managed to peek out the door again, realizing what had looked like a wooden pillar was actually the leg of a table looming high over his head. He caught a whiff of tobacco.

“Fi Fi FO Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.” Boomed so loud above him, he could barely make out the words.

Slamming the door, he fumbled at the bar and scrambled back up out of the hole, scrambling and climbing back up the corridor as fast as possible. As he reached where the floor slanted upwards at a gentler slope, the voice behind him had faded away even as the words echoed in his brain.

Reaching the narrow opening behind the room, he slid through, grabbed the board and shoved it into the hole, nailing it firmly into the wall.

“Honey! Honey!” he shouted, stumbling out of the room. “Honey….. you’re right…..”

JSW 3-8-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

JSW – 3-1-2021

(For some reason this didn’t post)

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“On the corner of main street/Just tryin’ to keep it in line/You say you wanna move on, and/You say I’m falling behind/Can you read my mind?” – Brandon Flowers, The Killers

He stopped playing, fingers poised over the piano keys as the next verse of the song rolled into his mind and, a moment later, out his fingers onto the keys. The melody had been in his head for days just waiting for the words to come.

He was alone in the studio. He preferred it that way now, not like when he was young and they first started the band. Then, the more chaos the better. In all the ruckus, he could create all day.

Turning on the bench, he started out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the Northwest forest beyond. Dusk was settling down over the trees like a blanket and he could hear the first, faint, call of an owl.

Another marriage down the drain and he just didn’t want to do it anymore. It was easier to be alone and find a companion when he wanted company. Companions were a dime-a-dozen. Love, well, was overrated. Even if the decision made his heart hurt.

Dark hung over him, kissing the room’s corners and elbows, whispering among the furniture and drapes. He was alone. Truth was, he didn’t want the companionship either. He wanted…. darkness. The world was moving on. He was falling behind.

Could they read his mind?

(This story is purely fictional and has no resemblance to the actual author and band).

Response – JSW 2-22-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“That’s what they all say.”

He didn’t look over, wasn’t anything more over there to see than in front of himself. Mud, mud and more mud. He lived in a suit of mud.

“So who is the enemy now?”

Daniel looked up, across the calm office to the man sitting behind the desk. He thought they were supposed to come out from behind the desk to seem more open, more approachable, more friendly, but what did he know? He looked at his hands as if the answers lay somewhere in the creases in his palms, but all he could see was the mud.

“What do you see?”

“Mud.” He gave the same answer everytime. Nobody believed him about the mud, how they’d lived in it and breathed in it and died in it as the battle wove all around them. Different mud different times. Same story.

His socks had rotted away and now they were mud. His pants, his coat, his rifle…. all mud. The trench sank deeper and deeper into the mud. They wallowed to their groins in mud.

“What is beyond the mud?”

Daniel looked at him for a moment, head cocked, jerking once. “Mud.”

It was all mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Squishy. Crawley. Madding mud.

“It would help if you could wipe the mud away and see what is beyond.”

“There is no wiping away the mud,” he said with a shake of his head to dismiss the distant toll of bells. “The world is mud.”

The therapist sat in silence for a moment, looking at him. Daniel looked back, eyes tracing the mud along the man’s trousers and cuff, coating his desk and living on the wall beyond like a shroud.

The therapist tapped a finger on his notebook, glanced at his watch. His muddy watch. “We’ll take this up again next time.”

Careful not to slip on the mud, Daniel rose, flicking away mud oozing down his sleeves, onto the chair and the floor and the world. He squished out without speaking because if he opened his mouth, the mud would fill him, too. The enemy crawling inside.

The therapist went home and had a nice dinner with his wife and friends.

Daniel drowned.