Thursday, March 28, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 13: Promises, Promises

The prompt this week was to choose a song at random, and use it to get our story going. I chose ‘Waiting for the Sun’ by The Doors. The title immediately set the story in motion. For the story, we were to write about an ending for someone or something, a sense of loss. In my story, promises are made and then broken, and an ending comes for all.

Promises, Promises

“What are you doing out here all by yourself?”

“I’m waiting for the sun.”

“Rachelle, you know how dangerous that can be. They’ve told us over and over that we’re not to be out of our quarters without permission.”

“Martin, I just want to be able to remember how beautiful the sky looks when the first light appears. Our sun becomes dimmer with each new day. Someone needs to be with it at the end.”

“I understand, but if you are caught…”

“The punishment is death, I know, but, a living death awaits us all anyway once it’s cold and dark.”

“There’s a bit of light now. Let’s hurry and go inside. Their security officers will be on patrol soon.”

“I will never understand why this is happening. They promised…”


“Welcome. I am President Crissman. Members of our Administrative Council are Howard Villanova, Brian Dunwoody, Stephen Slater, and Michael Windhurst”

“Gentlemen. I am Commander Brady, and these are Lieutenants Cooper and Ackerman.”

“We are honored to have you visit us. We have been monitoring worlds other than ours for many years, and have hoped some type of contact could be made. Unfortunately, our technology has not yet advanced to the level that would permit us to venture outside our own galaxy.”

“It would be our pleasure to provide you with schematics of all our crafts. We also have information for you on alternate power sources that will revolutionize your production methods. We guarantee your people great prosperity in all areas of industry and farming as well. With our technological capabilities, we believe it is our duty to share our wealth of knowledge with others within the universe.”

“A noble mission indeed. My Council and I are very appreciative that benefactors such as yourselves have chosen to assist our tiny planet.”

“The honor is ours, Mr. President. If you will advise your staff and residents to grant us access to your various systems, as soon as our other ships arrive, we will begin the global conversion. We promise you and your people will have no regrets.”

“Consider it done, Commander. Our home is yours.”


“I’m cold, Martin.”

“I’m sorry, Rachelle. Let me get you another blanket. None of the lamps work anymore, and there’s very little fuel left for the lanterns. Once their other ships got here and their technicians started building those towers, all the energy we had stored started to drain very quickly.”

“If only they would let us build a fire.”

“They don’t want to risk any possible damage from us being careless. Besides, we have no materials to make fire anyway.”

“You do realize people have been able to make fire for centuries.”

“True, but the sun provided a lot of energy during all those centuries. Now though, even that…”


“Commander, thank you for agreeing to see me on such short notice. My Council Members and I have been out among our people and have learned some very disturbing facts. You have been building structures that allow you to steadily drain our stored energy. Our citizens have not been able to light their way after sunset because the levels are becoming lower each day. If you need power, we would be happy to provide link-ups to help you, but you are depleting our resources. We have also been told that some of your representatives have been instructing our residents to remain in their homes during certain periods of the day. My people have been threatened, and some have been removed from their homes and their families don’t know where they are. Is any of this true?”

“President Crissman, our representatives are enforcers, and they make sure people follow our rules.”

“Your rules? What are you talking about? This is our planet and I am the…”

“Major Sanders?”


“Take President Crissman and his Council Members to Building 12. It’s time he was retired.”

“You can’t get away with this. The people here will not…”


“It took so little time for it all to go badly. How did we not see what they were planning to do?”

“We took them at their word. They came bearing gifts, and we were blinded by the images they presented. They spoke of fields overflowing with melons and corn, waterways overflowing with crystal clear water, and automated factories overflowing with goods that made our lives happier and easier. They sold us a bill of goods and we welcomed them with open arms. They set an elaborate trap and we joyfully jumped in hook, line, and sinker.”

“Is it too late for us, Martin?”

“It is too late for us all, Rachelle.”


“Commander, all dissenters have been neutralized. Before his termination, their President begged us not to destroy their home. Its survival is his priority.”

“We need to complete the transfer process with their sun and be on our way with the extra power. Earth is our home, and with our sun dead, we take what we need to carry on. That is our priority.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 12 - A Foolproof Plan

This week’s challenge: “Write a story that opens with someone eating a salad, then dives into treachery. Preferably with knives involved. Choice of salad is optional, as is your inclusion of some Irish elements such as leprechauns, shamrocks, and greenery. No snakes please.” These themes are so fitting for the month of March, with the stabbing of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, and the potential for mischief by magical creatures on St. Patrick’s Day. My character had perfect plans, and perfect plans always work perfectly; that is, until they don’t.

A Foolproof Plan

“Good afternoon, gentlemen. My name is Maeve, and I’ll be your server today. May I take your order, sir?”

“I’ll have a triple burger, a double order of fries, and a jumbo chocolate shake.”

“And you, sir?”

“I’ll have the House grilled chicken salad with vinegar and oil dressing, and black coffee.”

“Thank you. I’ll be right back with your beverages.”

“A salad and black coffee, Jer? Have you lost your mind?”

“I’ve got to eat healthier, Rich. I may even start working out.”

“Work out? You? I’ve seen you get winded opening your mail.”

“Tape was wrapped twice around that package.”

“Very true. But, why the sudden kick to get in shape?”

“Simple. I want that promotion to District Manager, and Mr. Hodges likes his executives to be fit as a fiddle.”

“Jer, that’s a really high pressure position. You think you’d be able to handle that?”

“Are you kidding? For me, that job would be like a stroll in the park.”

“Still, Daryl Sutton’s got seniority. You’re not eligible to move up before he does.”

“I would be if he was dead.”

“Right, but what are the chances he’ll…”

“They’re good, because I’m going to kill him.”

“Get serious, Jer.”

“I am serious, Rich. I’m going to kill Daryl Sutton.”

“Sure you are, Jer, and how are you going to do that?”

“I’ve got a foolproof plan.”


“Pardon me, Nurse, Jerry Baker’s room?

“Room 304. It’s down this hallway on the right.”

“Jer, what the Hell…”

“They’re all just bruises, Rich. My plan was perfect. I brought my sharpest knife and slid under Sutton’s car to cut his brake line. I thought I had time, but Sutton left work early and got in his car. I tried to get out from under, but I got caught on something. He pulled out into traffic and dragged me underneath. A few blocks later, he made a hard right, and I was free. I rolled to the curb and started to get up, but some kid came by on a scooter and ran over me.”

“Jer, you could have been killed. You’ve got to stop…”

“No, Rich. I’ve got a foolproof plan.”


“Pardon me, Nurse, Jerry Baker’s room?”

“Same as last time.”

“Jer, what the Hell…”

“They’re just bruises, Rich, except for my foot. My plan was perfect. Sutton takes a class at the Y and gets home late on Wednesdays, so I waited at his house. I hid behind some bushes that line his driveway. I brought my sharpest knife, and I was going to throw it at him. When he got out of his car, I moved back to brace myself, and stepped in a hole and fell. Sutton didn’t hear me though because I stifled my scream when the knife went through my foot. The doctor said I’d still be able to walk okay without my little toe though.”

“Jer, you’re covered in cuts and bruises, and you’re down to four toes on your right foot. You must know that now is the time to stop…”

“No, Rich. I’ve got a foolproof plan.”


“Pardon me, Nurse, Jer…?”

“I’ll give you three guesses…”

“Jer, what the Hell…”

“Rich, I was right. Shea, the bartender at O’Reilly’s was a leprechaun after all. I hid in the Men’s Room until close. I knew he stayed after to sweep up. My plan was perfect. I snuck up behind him and grabbed the amulet he wore around his neck. I said I would let go if he gave me three wishes.”

“That’s not how it works, Jer. If the creature takes it off and puts it down, that’s when you’re supposed to…what am I saying. There’s no such thing as lepre…”

“There are, Rich, and it’s not a good idea to piss them off. Shea said nobody touches his amulet and gets away with it. He asked me how I’d like it if he turned me green, and I said I wouldn’t like that at all. He said he didn’t give a snake’s ass how I felt about it, and I told him there was no need to be rude. Then, he mumbled some words and told me to get out. On my way out, I looked in the mirror behind the bar and saw my face was green.”

“Why did you come to the Hospital? Did you think there’s something the doctors can do about this?”

“A policeman saw me walking down the street and asked me why I was crying. I told him it was because I turned green, and that I wasn’t happy about it. He said he probably should take me to the Hospital in case it was something catching.”

“So, it’s not just your face and hands, Jer?”

“No, Rich. He made me green all over.”

“What did the doctors say?”

“They think it’s some kind of allergy, and gave me a couple of shots. They’re letting me go home, and said if I’m not better in a couple of days, I should see my family doctor. I’m not going to be better in a couple of days, Rich.”

“Probably not. Any idea how long this will last?”

“Shea told me he’ll change me back when it stops being funny to him, so it may be awhile.”


“Good afternoon, gentlemen. My name is Sheela, and I’ll be your server today. May I take your…oh my God!”

“Yes, my skin is green, and no, I’m not contagious.”

“Sir, I didn’t mean…”

“Just bring me a triple burger, a double order of fries, and a jumbo chocolate shake.”

“Make that two of the same. So, you’re giving up on the get-healthy thing, Jer?”

“Might as well. Daryl got the District Manager’s job this morning.”

“I know, but you’re next for a promotion.”

“I suppose, but I’m not interested in moving up anymore. Can’t take the pressure. Oh, Miss, I mean, Sheela?”


“I almost forgot. No lettuce on my burger, please. No more greens for me.”

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 11 - Out of Time

The prompt this week was to write a story about the change to Daylight Savings Time. What happens when time moves forward? Does anything actually change? My character decided to find out.

Out of Time

 “Time. The master of all, and we must abide by its commands. Once the siren sounds, you will all have a count of 120 to go to one of the public bay stations and apply the electrodes to your temples as usual. Once the count has ended, the time change will commence. On completion, you may go about your daily business until another change is announced. Today’s change will take us forward. May I remind you that in order for us to remain a productive civilization, these procedures are needed periodically to…”

“That same old speech – again and again. You know, Number 42, I’ve been giving this whole process a great deal of thought, and I wonder sometimes if Number 1 is telling us the truth.”

“Number 14, don’t talk like that. If one of the sentries hears you…”

“That’s why I brought you out here to talk. There’s no listening devices out this way. I checked the area. At least there are still some places where we can speak freely.”

“I hope you’re right; otherwise, we will both be in terrible danger.”

“I’m certain we’ll be okay. You know I would never put you in danger, Number 42. I love you, and that’s why I’m telling you all this.”

“I love you too, Number 14, but why would Number 1 lie?”

“Control. I understand there have to be laws to protect us, and we follow Number 1’s policies to maintain our food supply and keep our shelters safe from the elements. I accept all of that is necessary in order for us to survive since the great war. But time…I am finding it more and more difficult to accept that time is a living and tangible thing. Why do we have to periodically link ourselves up to the stations so time can move forward?”

“Number 1 says if we don’t protect ourselves by linking up, time will take memories from us during the change – ones we have yet to create.”

“Think about that for a minute. Does that make any sense to you at all? Even though I link up like I’m ordered to, I believe past memories are being removed. I can’t explain it; it’s just a sense that I have. I don’t believe that time itself wants us to do anything. I think time is just a sense of moments passing. It isn’t something that communicates with Number 1 or anyone.”

“Number 14, that is such blasphemy. You know I trust in you with all my being, but how can you say that time doesn’t exist?”

“I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, Number 42. I’m saying it’s simply the passage from one moment to another. It’s not someone or something that lives in Number 1’s quarters that he consults with now and then. Try to see the logic of what I’m saying. Can you really believe that time is like a person?”

“I don’t think Number 1 is trying to make us believe that time walks around telling him things. It’s like time is an essence that communicates with him in his mind.”

“Wow. I’m sorry, but that’s even more difficult to swallow. So, it floats around and sends thoughts his way?”

“Number 14, where is all this coming from? We have always lived this way. When we are told to, we link up so we don’t lose future memories when time decides to move forward, and when time decides to move backward, we link up so as not to lose past memories. It makes perfect sense to me.”

“Why, because Number 1 says so, and therefore, time is our enemy?”

“On certain occasions, yes. Number 1 can control it for the most part, but there are occasions when he cannot. Soon we will experience one of those occasions. You have to admit that when time moves us forward or backward, that the elements obey its commands too.”

“Obey its commands? Number 42, time doesn’t control the sun, the moon, the rain, or any element of nature. I believe it is coincidence if the day seems longer or shorter. Time doesn’t have anything to do with that.”

“Number 14, I don’t know what to think now. I do know that the siren will sound soon and we will need to link up or suffer the consequences.”

“What consequences?”

“That we’ll lose part of ourselves. There goes the siren, Number 14. We can try to figure all this out after the change. Please come with me and link up. We can find stations next to each other.”

“I’m not linking up this time. You’ll see. Nothing will happen to me. I’m going to find somewhere to hide, and after the so-called change, I’ll come find you. You’ll see that I am exactly the same.”

“I’m so afraid for you. Are you sure I can’t change your mind?”

“No. I will go through this change on my own. If you can, remember I will always love you. I can only hope they don’t steal that memory from you this time.”

“Time won’t steal from me if I link…”

“Go. Hurry and link up. I need to hide.”


“Hey, Number 42, you feeling okay? The change was really exhausting this time.”

“I know, Number 87. I don’t usually feel worn out after, but this one really took the wind out of me.”

“Where’s Number 14? Didn’t you two link up at adjoining stations like you always do?”

“Who? Number 14? Who’s that?”

“Your…I mean, I just always thought you and he were…never mind. Want to get something to eat?”

“Sure. Let’s go.”


“Put Number 14 in there. He’s clear now, and will be recycled like the others.”

“There’s always some that don’t link up. What makes them fight it? They know there’s consequences if they don’t comply.”

“The warning’s always given. It is creepy though how they just stare like that after being cleared.”

“Number 42’s memory of him was cleared too. Number 1 doesn’t like anyone thinking for themselves...”

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 10 - The Right One

The prompt this week was a setup for our story. We were to think of our favorite coat. For personal reasons, we donate it to charity. Our story was to be about who ended up getting the coat and how it changed their life. My granddaughter, Michaela, pitched an idea to me for this one, and I loved it. I hope I’ve done her idea justice. I hope you enjoy.

The Right One

“I’m surprised that you donated that gorgeous black fur coat. I know how much that meant to you. Didn’t it belong to your great grandmother?”

“Yes, and it’s always been a treasure to me. You know I’m not superstitious, but something told me the time was right to let it go. Did I ever tell you that before she disappeared, she told my grandmother she hid a letter in the lining?”

“What? Who to?”

“I don’t know. She said it wasn’t meant for any of us, and to keep it hidden. She said someday, the right one would get it.”

“That’s creepy.”

“I know, but she was so serious, we all respected her wishes. It’s like my family’s great mystery.”

“I wonder if the right one will get it.”

“I hope so.”


“Jules, why’d you take that coat? Looks like a woman’s.”

“I know, Sam, but it was the last one the church had, and the pavement’s cold. This’ll be a warmer blanket than old newspapers.”

“What’s that lump under the lining? I hope it’s not drugs. We don’t need trouble with the cops.”

“I’m gonna pull it out. The linings torn a bit.”

“A note. What’s it say?”

“Oh God, Sam. It says ‘I am dying, but the female will hide my words, so there is still hope. She knows they will torture her, but I believe she will remain true. You, who have found my testimony, warn them. Warn them all. More are coming, and they will show no mercy at the end.’ What the hell does it mean? Who are they?”

“Just toss it, Jules. It’s a joke.”

“I don’t think so, Sam. It’s no joke.”


“Jules, what are you trying to pull?”

“Sargent Mike, I’m not trying to pull anything. I believe something terrible is going to happen, and we need to warn people.”

“You find a crazy note in an old coat and now you’re the messiah?”

“I’m a man who sleeps in alleys and eats at soup kitchens. But when I read this note, I got a feeling. This is real, and I’m afraid.”

“You making this up to find a bed for the night? I’ll tell you what. There’s an empty cell in the back, and you can spend tonight there. You’ll get coffee and eggs in the morning, but then you’ve got to be on your way. If the supervisor finds out I let you sleep it off, I’ll get written up.”

“I’m not making anything up, and I don’t need to sleep anything off. Please. Help me to get the word…”

“Here’s $10 from my own pocket, Jules. Go get a meal and a bottle for the night.”

“I don’t want your money or a bottle.”


“Mr….uh, Jules, it’s got to be a prank. Do you know who donated it to the church?”

“No, sir, but I have the feeling that…”

“I’m sure. We can’t publish that in the newspaper. I mean, how would we head it?”

“People need to be warned. I’m so afraid. Something terrible is…”

“Warned about what? That’s a great story you’re telling.”

“No, this isn’t a story. I’m not making anything up. You don’t seem to…”

“Look, thanks for bringing this to me. Here’s $10. That should get you a hot meal and a bottle for your trouble.”

“I don’t want your money or a bottle.”


“Hey, no offense, but aren’t you a bit old to be joining the army?”

“I’m not trying to join. I’m afraid. I’ve been to the police, and the newspaper, and nobody believes me. That’s why I came here to show you the note. The military will look into it and do something, right?”

“About what? Clues about Armageddon sewn into an old coat you got from a church? You get your imagination from the bottom of a Jim Beam bottle?”

“I’m not drunk, and I never said it was about the end of the world, but since you brought it up…”

“Look, pops. Here’s a tenner. Go get a sandwich and a fifth of something. I’ve got to close this office for the day.”

“I don’t want your money or a bottle.”


“Jules, over here. I hung on to your coat. Randy tried to take it, but I told him to leave it alone, and go spend the night under the Eighth Street Bridge with Solomon. Those two are so much…”

“No one believes me. They think it’s a joke, or that I’m making it up. I’m afraid, Sam, really afraid. I’m not sure of what or who, but I know something terrible is out there and we need to warn people.”

“Jules, it’s late, and you know how dangerous it gets out there just with the regulars. That older lady from the church brought me a blanket and two burgers from the diner. She knows you and me sleep here when the mission’s full. She also brought a couple of bottles of wine. She said the saints in the Bible drank wine, so it’s not sinful.”

“She’s a good woman, Sam, and she cares about folks. Maybe I could show her the note.”

“I’ll go with you, but that’s for tomorrow. Right now, let’s just eat and enjoy some of her Bible juice.”

“Bible juice. Good one, Sam. Oh, she put chips in the bag too.”


“No one believes the human.”

“Not yet, anyway.”

“Do you think he might drop the matter since none of his kind take the warning seriously?”

“Perhaps, but we shall watch him closely still, just in case someone does.”