Tag Archives: Short Fiction

Out of Place – Chapter 1

“One, two, three – what do I see?” My words were slurred.  “Four, five, six – stucco instead of bricks.  Seven, eight, nine – to go inside would be fine.  But it is three, four, five and I’ll never return alive.”

I was home for Spring Break.  My college friends were all someplace warm and my townie friends, well, in the two years at University I had outgrown the ones that hadn’t moved on.  They were all like Matt.  All Matt talked about was the “Two H-s”, hunting and hockey.  His eyes blurred if I brought up anything bigger, even local politics. Mention, say, Noam Chomsky, and his face would shut down.

I had been over to Matt’s house, but got bored with his little minded attitude and wandered away.  I soon found myself in front of number 345 Cedar Street saying that little chant I had made up when I was all of 12 years old.  “Two, one, zero – if I do it, I’ll be a hero.” I could see my breath in the cold air.

I had always wondered about old number 345, a wonder that bordered on obsession during my middle school days.

Old number 345, yeah, what a house.

Oddly enough, it sat between 337 and 351, as if an entire block was missing except that one strange, out of place house. Continue reading

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The Yearning #writephoto

yearning

Photo by Sue Vincent

Meg crested the small hill and stopped.  A last fragrant breezed wafted up from the ocean as the sun slipped down for the night, causing the sky and water to flame.

Her heart bounded and for a minute she felt like a little girl, full of the desires of youth and pull of the sea and distant lands, the deep unending yearning, the yearning to be someplace, anyplace, else.

She brought herself back to the present and found An watching that same sunset.  She gave a knowing smile and walked over to her granddaughter.

“He’s out there someplace,” she said to the 24-year-old woman.  An didn’t respond.  “Yes, out there beyond the horizon.”

An gave a slight nod.

Meg drew closer to the young woman and watched the last flashes of light play across the water. Continue reading

Wicker #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

So you are saying that sunlight has magical powers?

Yes, over evil it does.  You see, it is full of purity.  It destroys monsters.

Right.  There is a certain orange monster I’d like to expose to the sunlight…  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work with human monsters.

Maybe not, but it does other, more supernatural monsters.  Case in point, trolls?

I read The Hobbit.  They turn to stone.

Exactly.  Vampires?

Uhm.  Let’s see, I think they burn up.

Good.  Werewolves?

Hmmmm. Makes them take a nap?

No!  They turn back into their human form not remembering what happened under the full moon.

Right. And I’m sure you are going to tell me that it turns witches into wood.  Like in Monty Python.  Burn them!

Well, now that you mention it…

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Easy enough.

Oh, so you are saying there are some wicker witches out there?

Something like that.  Let’s take a walk, I’ve something to show you….

(If you can’t see the prompt, the image shows three figures that seem to be female and made of branches, with their hands joined. Witches dancing? Perhaps caught mid-step by the sunlight?)

***

Written for Sue Vincent‘s #writephoto challenge.  This weeks challenge, Wicker, is here.

Monochrome #writephoto

timbered-building

Photo by Sue Vincent

And on the sixth day it was decreed that all color, hue and chroma would be banished from the world. 

*

It was raining.  Again.  Not hard, just a little cold drizzle.  Andy drew his jacket a little tighter and frowned.

Why was he here?

The kids had made him come.  They said he’d enjoy it. Steven, his grandson, made the arrangements and was here with him, but he wished he was anywhere but here.

“Hey Pops, look at that.  I’m sure this was standing before any Englishman set foot in America.  It might even be older than that place where you raised Dad.” He smiled broadly at his joke.

Andy continued to frown.  He knew Steven was trying, but it was useless.  Even the old jokes about the house on Cleveland street rang dull, colorless in Andy’s mind.  The myths and legends of the 1950s, seen almost as black and white reruns of the Donna Reed show or Leave it to Beaver had help to shape Steven’s childhood, but they had moved out long before he was even born. Continue reading

The Painting

“Where did you say we were going?” Ellie asked.

Justin shot her a quick glance and mischievous grin before putting his eyes back on the road.

“I didn’t.” he said.

He drove on, still grinning, He could see Ellie out of the corner of his eye and could tell she was grinning too.

“We’ve just been on the road so long, I’m getting a bit tight.”

She stretched in a way that Justin felt was to accentuate her curves more than to relieve any muscular tension. In fact, in ways it increased his tension.

He risked taking his attention off of the narrow back road to take in that nice form of hers.

Elisabeth was quite a bit older, but he wasn’t sure how old.  His guess was in her mid-40s, but it might have been up or down by as much as a decade.  He had heard that women that age liked guys in their mid-20s, particularly guys like him who spent a lot of time at the gym: fit muscular men in their physical prime.  Actually, she could be mid-60s for all he cared, because she was pretty hot.  He had been itching to undress her from the moment he first saw her. Continue reading

Timeless – #writephoto

timeless

Time began from nothing.  There was void, nothing, and then grey as the Universe spun up.

Damn, I thought to myself, I must have slipped again.

It often took a few days to get my bearings again after a slip, but I’d start trying as soon as I totally regained consciousness and could see my surroundings.  I could be in luck and there could be something there telling me exactly when and where I was.

As the world slowly came into focus, I tried to remember where I had just been.

Ah, yes, China about 3,000 years before what came to be known as the Common Era.

No.  That was the last time. Continue reading

Blade #writephoto

blade

Photo by Sue Vincent

Givere’s footfalls echoed down the corridor despite his careful steps and the soft leather of his boots. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. He clung to the walls as he tried to tiptoe, occasionally glancing over his shoulder. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. The walls were an ancient, rough-hewn rock fitted together with no mortar.  The stones glisten red in the torchlight with sweat from the moist air, giving the illusion that the walls were oozing blood. Even without the sweat, he would know by the chill that he was far underground.

Gevere was nearing the end of his quest.  If all indications were correct, the Sword of Nature was down in the deepest dungeon, a place that hadn’t been seen by human eye in millennia. The 14-year-old had braved many trials to make it this far and so was cautious – the rough-rock-hallway seemed too easy! Continue reading

Fragrant #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

A fragrant breeze blew in through the open window, causing the curtains to flutter. Todd walked over to close it, but Cindy stopped him with a shake of her head. The bit of late spring wind smelled of green and flowers and distant showers; it was fragrant with the scent of life and rebirth.

James walked into the garden. Mom was back there, but he hoped he could escape and have some private time with Margret. It took only a few turns in the path and they were alone, if only for a brief moment. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, putting the flowers to shame. He smiled shyly and, trying to hide his enthusiasm, he led her over to a bench.

“We graduate next week,” he said. He felt a little silly stating the obvious, but it was a start.  Margret nodded shyly. “I talked to the recruiter yesterday.  They’re desperate.  I’ll ship off for induction the day after graduation.”

“Oh, Jim,” Margret said. She drew closer, so they were pressed against each other, despite his mom being close. He put an arm around her and looked into her wonderful eyes. With a shock he realized that she was on the verge of tears. Continue reading

Snowfall – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

The day dawned empty and grey, the air moist with a spine-tingling chill that spoke of snow to come. Not a twig in the bare tree stirred in the stillness that encapsulated the morning, nor was there even the usual chatter of birds.  If the puffs of the girls’ breath didn’t slowly drift away, it could have been a picture, though the field’s image was still alive and etched into their minds.

“It’s peaceful, isn’t it?” Marge looked up at her older sister. Sable nodded, eyes not leaving the tree, the sole interruption of the flat field, the only thing that had any detail in the light fog.

The day before wasn’t so peaceful.  The field was full of people, people talking, people shoving, and people with angry voices.  Marge hadn’t seen such a crowd since the Days Before. Continue reading

Honor – #writephoto

knight - honor

Photo by Sue Vincent

The way the sun rose sluggishly that morning; the way the mist clung to the tree branches, refusing to let go; the way the birds wouldn’t roost or stop to eat at any of the feeders, restlessly flapping from place to place with no rest; the way the light turned from a pleasant dawnish yellow to an ugly violent violet; the way a slight breeze made the ancient tower of the ancient church sigh and moan; the way the shadows seemed to dance and move instead of lying peacefully on the ground; the way that bark of the dog thudded dully, swallowed by silence instead of sounding bright and coppery, echoing through the streets; all of these things and more told the people of the village that this was no ordinary day, that things were going to happen, perhaps unpleasant things.

Penelope rose, sniffed the air and went back to bed.  She never did that; she was always the first to greet the day with a smile despite having nowhere to go and nobody with whom to share the day.  William’s car wouldn’t start, no matter what, and so he was late to work for the first time in over 30 years.  Bruce, who usually walked ever so boldly down the street, slunk with his head bowed down, casting frightened glances over his shoulder as if he thought a band of demons was on his tail.  And perhaps there was.

Lisa got out of bed, dressed herself all in black, as usual, though nobody that she knew had died recently, and looked out of the window.  Her mood, forever Halloween, her mind forever romanticizing a past that would in actuality horrify her with its distinct lack of indoor plumbing, she was just they type that on looking out on the day when the sun rose in that certain way, and shadows danced in the way that they did, actually smiled, her first smile in weeks.  She knew that things were going to happen, perhaps unpleasant things, and it made her happy.  Yes, there are girls, or perhaps I should say young ladies of 19, who are like this, just as there are boys, or perhaps young men of 19, who are like that in ways, but in some ways the exact opposite without a romantic bone in their bodies. Continue reading