Friday Fictioneers: Shadow

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo.

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

Well, summer is officially over. I don’t like the term ‘fall.’ Autumn is better, but I think it should go from summer to bummer then on to winter. Though yesterday was 80 and today promises 83. The weekend is supposed to look like the above picture. Yuck. I’m eager to get some writing done then out to enjoy the fleeting sun. I don’t want to think about rain, but I’ll try.

This is similar to two other posts I’ve written recently, His Knees (for Carrot Ranch) and the other The Boy In The Bubble (for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge). They’re based in the world of a book I’m trying to write called A Pillar Of Salt. It’s rough and depressing. I’m not happy enough to sit and write it. That seems like an oxymoron, but I need a happy place to which I can escape when the writing gets too dark before I fully submerge myself. I’m still keeping it in my mind in hopes that when I finish the rewrite of the book I’m working on I can write this one. As anyone who’s ever written a book knows, it has to be an obsession. Maybe I’ll have to write another L Squad or Norman Normalson & The Normals to balance out the darkness with some fun sci-fi adventures.

Shadow

“Into each life, some rain must fall.”

“Each death, too?”

“Would it be better if it were sunny?”

“No, but it seems to add insult to injury.”

The day was a blur. There was a service. Whatever Sae’s parents wanted. It was for them, not me. Any glimmer of faith I may have had was extinguished when that madman pulled the trigger. He pulled it over and over, but only two bullets mattered to me.

My life is a blur, a shadow. No bullets struck me, but my life ended with theirs. Only, I’m still alive to endure their loss.

#FFFC: The Boy In The Bubble

This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #31. I tried this once before then stopped. I’m trying to get back to more consistent posting, so I’m trying again.

Prompted by the below photo, this is kind of an alternate take on my Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction from the other day. This kind of shit’s been on my mind. Maybe because its omnipresence makes it impossible to forget.

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The Boy In The Bubble

It was clear in her eyes. She held my fate in her hands. Our future was laid out before me like tracks for a train. Deviation was inconceivable.

I could see our wedding, followed by a honeymoon in Paris. Our careers unfolded in my mind, me as a successful writer and her as a family counselor. We’d take vacations on gondolas in the canals of Italy, explore the ruins of Greece, visit the Taj Mahal, and back to Paris since we hardly left the hotel room on our honeymoon.

I pictured our kids, Luke and Leia, or whatever we decided to name them. She probably wouldn’t go for Yoda. Maybe… Nah. I envisioned changing diapers, first steps, first words, the first day of school all the way to their graduations from college.

Yes, I do look far too young to have a child graduating from college. Somehow, I manage to stay youthful and beautiful through these reveries. Maybe that’s because I was still young when they ended.

Once, I was firmly on a path without the possibility of deviation. Now, I’m lost at sea, splashing around helplessly. My happy little bubble burst when a man decided to go on a shooting spree. My reveries were replaced by a reality of feeding tubes, life support, impossible decisions, and ultimately a tombstone.

Why did she have to die?

According to the news, his manifesto said…

 

Flash Fiction: His Knees

This was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week’s prompt is grit. I haven’t done one of these for a while for no good reason. I got distracted by other things and haven’t come back to it until now.

This is based on a book I’ve been equally, actively trying to write and trying not to write. It’s a huge project with a lot of research, and it’s emotionally wrenching. Sometimes I attack it. Sometimes I retreat from it. It’s about a man who’s looking back at his life while contemplating and trying to talk himself into suicide following the loss of his wife and daughter in a school shooting. It’s called A Pillar Of Salt. Maybe this will reignite that creative fire and get me working on it again. This is tweaked to conform to the prompt and not necessarily how the book will go.

“Now, I’m lost and I’m weary, so many tears
I’m suicidal, so don’t stand near me
My every move is a calculated step
To bring me closer to embrace an early death
Now, there’s nothin’ left

Will I survive till the morning to see the sun?
Please Lord, forgive me for my sins ’cause here I come”

– 2Pac “So Many Tears”

His Knees

He fell to his knees as a bomb exploded in his chest.

It was P.J.’s school on the news. Sae was dropping her off. She’s not answering her phone.

Again on his knees at the graves. “God, if you’re there, take me too. You can’t take them and leave me.”

Alone in the dark on his knees with the gun to his temple.

“Just fuckin’ do it!”

“She wouldn’t want this.”

“She’s gone. I can’t live without her, without them.”

“You have to.”

“I can’t.”

“You can’t pull that trigger either.”

“I’m scared. I’m too weak.”

“You’re too strong.”

Flash Fiction: Long Live The King

This was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week’s prompt is eminence.

Long Live The King

His rise to eminence was halted by my hand. He wasn’t hard to find. Everybody in town knew where he hung out.

I pulled out the gun I took from dad’s nightstand and pointed it at him.

“Whoa! What are gonna do with that, little man?”

“I’m gonna be 10 next month.”

“All right, big man. Put it down before you hurt somebody.”

He reached for it, and I pulled the trigger. The kick knocked me down. The bullet knocked him down.

He was the only person I ever killed. My sister was the last his drugs would kill.

#TellTaleThursday: An Exercise In Finality

This was written for #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya. Yes, Thursday was yesterday. Thanks for noticing my tardiness. It’s up to 250 words on the prompt. This week is a visual prompt.

photo-1496024840928-4c417adf211d

The picture is of the Hindu celebration of Holi, which is also known as the festival of spring, the festival of colours (the other side of the world is still stubbornly clinging to that extra U), or the festival of love (or louve?). I am not going to attempt to write a story about a holiday I’ve only learned existed in the last 15 minutes. It looks to be a beautiful holiday in spirit and practice. It’s very colorful or colourful. Here’s a Wikipedia link. I was very close to giving up on this week all together before I found my story.

An Exercise In Finality

Too many heartbreaks, failed relationships, and unrequited loves finally got to Craig. He decided Denise was it. She was the last woman who would break his heart.

Craig turned to friends, but no one wanted to hear his tale of heartbreak and woe. He turned to alcohol and bhang but only felt worse in the morning.

Feeling helpless and hopeless, Craig did something he never imagined he would do. He got on his computer and started researching guns. He bought a 9mm Glock. He took a handgun beginners class and went to a shooting range.

At night, he lay in bed with tears streaming down his face holding his Glock to his temple. This became a nightly routine as he tried to work up the nerve to end it and made damn sure he knew how to use his gun so he wouldn’t get it wrong.

It turned out to be a good thing that Craig didn’t rush. He learned that shooting oneself through the temple isn’t always fatal. It was just as likely to end in serious brain damage. From then on he repositioned the gun to under his chin.

Day after day, Craig walked through his lonely existence. Night after night, he cried and prayed and tried to find the nerve.

One day, Craig walked into a coffee shop. That’s where he saw Sae. Her eyes shone like the sun through the dark clouds in his soul. He saw all the colors of the rainbow in her smile…

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