A Father’s Day Miracle – 100 Word Story

It was the fire that taught Jeff about miracles. After all, he shouldn’t have been there – Jeff never visited on Wednesdays. “Maybe I’ll see what the old man’s doing,” he’d said and when he pulled into the drive, the house was engulfed.

Reflecting, Jeff doesn’t know if his father would have escaped – so frail was he when Jeff found him, barely visible through the smoke. Jeff’s eyes shimmer. He smiles, grateful. He sees again his hands gripping the skinny ankles, hears anew the screams as he drags his father back into the flames. “Better safe than sorry,” Jeff whispers aloud.

Buried Treasure – Flash Fiction

He stood in a large hole, perhaps four feet deep and five or six in diameter. The digging was strenuous, the ground comprised of gravel and sand. With each thrust, the shovel stopped dead, sending a jolt through his arms, his shoulders, his back. Every few minutes, he dropped to his hands and knees to dig by hand. With his fingers, he unearthed heavy rocks, straining to wrestle them from the hole and heave them aside. The rocks dented and dulled his shovel, slowing his progress.

The air was crisp and the moon full; his body steamed through his shirt. He lifted the shovel from the hole, flat to the ground and perhaps a quarter full, and tossed its contents over his right shoulder. The sand made a brushing sound as it fell on dry leaves. He plunged the shovel into the earth again.

She stood behind him and said, “Why are you doing this?”

He stopped and let the shovel stand by its blade as he removed his cap and drew his arm across his forehead. The shovel stood upright for a moment then fell. “I have to find it,” he said.

She shook her head. “I don’t need it.”

Bending over, he grasped the shovel. “If I don’t find it now, We’ll have to wait until Spring.” He shook his head. “I can’t dig through the frost.”

She wrinkled her forehead and said, “Leonard, you’ve been out here for days! Weeks!” She moved close and he pulled away. She stopped and said softly, “Perhaps it’s not God’s will that it be found.”

“I don’t believe that. If He wants me to leave it out here in the wild, He needs to tell me plain. I ain’t interested in deciphering hints from The Almighty.”

She raised her eyebrows. “He is telling you. I’m telling you. Take the shovel home and draw yourself a warm bath. Put on dry clothes. Make a fire! Do the things you need to do to move on.”

He shook his head.

She smiled with sad eyes and said, “The landslide was not your fault. You don’t need to find my body.” She smiled. “It’s already buried.”

He fell to his knees in the dirt and covered his face with his hands. “No, no, no…” he cried.

“I have to go now, Leonard,” she said softly. “It’s time for us both to go home.”

She drifted away into the trees…

Leonard awoke with a start, his eyes wet and the television still on. Beside him, she lay sleeping, breathing deeply. He spooned her, and buried his face between her shoulder blades, pulling her close.

She faced the wall, smiling. “These dream pills were worth every penny,” she thought. “I am SO going shopping today.”

Now try this: The Predator

 

The Predator – Flash Fiction

Miles Vandelay stood at the head of the table and hoisted his wine glass with his left hand. With his right, he pinged the glass repeatedly with a spoon. His eyes glittered with booze and triumph.

“Real quick,” he said. “I don’t want to hold up the party – ”

“Get off the stage!” said his VP of Operations, Todd Alton. He grabbed a bread roll from a basket on the table and tossed it at him. Soon, rolls were coming in from all over the room. They bounced off his chest and sailed past his head as he bobbed and ducked. “You’ll make me spill my wine!” he protested.

“There’s plenty more where that came from!” yelled Ezra from another table and the room erupted into applause and whistles.

Vandelay laughed and held up a palm. “All right, all right, you animals, but you know I’m cheap. I want to enjoy every. last. drop.” He upended the glass and held it up as a gladiator might hold the decapitated skull of a defeated enemy. The employees roared and upended their glasses, holding their empties high.

“They say,” said Vandelay, “All’s fair in love and war and I suppose that’s true. I’ve been through enough wives to know the love part is anyway.”

The room hooted and whistled.

“I’d like to add,” Vandelay continued, “that all’s fair in business too. To those of you who are here tonight, I salute you. This evening, we celebrate the culmination of our efforts. Our moment of glory is at hand!”

The room exploded into cheers. Rolls flew from table to table and Alton popped a fresh bottle, champagne spraying everyone at the table.

“Now I know this merger wasn’t easy,” Vandelay said after the cacophony had died. “We had to let some good people go and that can be difficult,” he said in a somber tone. “The good news is…we’re drinking their cut!”

The employees roared and pinged their glasses with their silverware.

“Some will say that life is more than money. They’ll tell you horror stories of deathbed regrets and spiritual reckonings. I would point out that every person who talks like that is broke and a loser! You don’t hear that garbage from successful people!”

“Amen!” said Ezra and the room laughed.

“I would submit to you that there are two types of people in this world: the hunters and the hunted. Looking around this room, I see victorious hunters and, to the victors go the spoils!”

The employees cheered and stomped their feet.

“The bonus checks that you received today were the largest Vandelay Industries has ever paid.”

He raised his hand as the decibel levels went to their highest point of the night. The employees stood as one to chant, “Van-de-lay! Van-de-lay!”

He smiled and waited for calm. “All right. All right. Now listen. It would be easy for us to rest on our laurels but life is about the survival of the fittest. You’re either growing or you’re dying, there is no coasting. So I raise my glass…wait…somebody give me a full one,” he said, tossing the empty over his shoulder.

The employees laughed and someone handed him a full glass of champagne. “Eat, drink, and be merry!” he said. “For tomorrow we…have to get up early and do it again!”

As he drank, he heard the laughter. In his peripheral, he saw glasses lifted to faces.

Then it went black.

He awoke with a start to find himself lying in an alley. It was cold and he was wearing only a t-shirt. “What the hell?” he asked, looking at the gravel. Pieces of broken glass glinted in the rocks. “I must’ve…blacked out…got robbed,” he muttered.

A voice startled him. “No,” it said. “You weren’t robbed.”

He turned to see a homeless man, long-haired and filthy, seated beside him. He wore ripped corduroy pants and torn shoes with duct tape holding them together. He smelled of smoke and rotten teeth and body odor. He wore an army jacket but Vandelay doubted very much that a man like that had served in the armed forces.

“Who the hell are you?”

“Ah…” the man said, smiling. “That’s not the question. The question is, who are you?” The homeless man put a bottle wrapped in a paper bag to his lips and drank. Then he set it down and laughed heartily as red wine trickled from his lower lip down into his beard.

“Yeeeaaah…okaaay,” said Vandelay. “That’s great, Crazy. I’ll be on my way now. Good talk.”

Vandelay stood but something was wrong. He was too close to the ground. He was too small. Too light.

He was a child.

“What is this?!” he demanded. “This can’t be…this isn’t real!”

The homeless man turned and winked, his eyes remarkably clear. “Oh, it’s real. You see, Miles, you didn’t do so hot in your last life. In fact, you made a real mess of it. This is your do-over. A mulligan. Another chance to live it right.”

Vandelay’s face was horrified. “How do you know my name?…No! No, this isn’t right! I’m asleep or…on something…Todd dosed me with something or…this isn’t how this is supposed to work!”

The homeless man smiled. “Well…maybe you should sleep it off.”

Miles nodded. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, I just need a little sleep. I just need to sleep it off.” He sat down and wrapped his arms around his chest; the wind was icy. He closed his eyes and drifted…

“Kevin?”

He opened his eyes. “Yes, Mama?”

“Kevin, come back to the box where it’s warm; I got a fire going. Who were you talking to, son?”

Kevin’s eyes were confused as if a dream had just ended he couldn’t quite remember. He looked up and down the empty alley. After a moment he said, “No one, Mama.”

Now try this:

The Nihilist

 

Almost Famous – Short Short Story

“Just ahead,” said the scientist, footsteps echoing down the hallway. “Through that door and-”

“Down the hall to the right,” finished the pilot.

The scientist looked up from his clipboard. “You’ve been here?”

“Yes.”

They entered a large auditorium, empty save for a gray, windowless phone booth.

“Tomorrow, this room will be filled. I wanted you to see it before the frenzy.”

The pilot smiled.

“Is something amusing, Mr. Roberts?”

The pilot handed him a textbook. On its cover: “Time Travel’s Founding Fathers” and below that, a picture of the two of them.

“We’ve already done this, Dr. Randolph.”

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This story is a response to Friday Fictioneers, a 100-word challenge issued by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Photo courtesy: Amy Reese.

 

 

 

 

Ward’s Worthless Ward – Flash Fiction

Since his accident last year, Myron’s short-term memory abandoned him at random. This caused him no small measure of anxiety and his life was spent trying to piece together hours-long blank spaces of which he had no knowledge.

This time, he couldn’t remember driving Ward home.

Prior to a few moments ago, the last thing Myron remembered was sitting across a table from Ward in a dead bar, picking at soggy beer bottle labels and trying to think of things to say. It was clear the night was a bust.

Just now, Myron awoke to find himself unlocking the front door to his house, his phone buzzing in his pocket. It buzzed again and again.

The first text read, “OMG what happened?” and the next, “So sorry” and there were more.

He began stabbing out a reply to one before opting instead to check Facebook where, after scrolling a bit, he found a post from Ward which read: “I am deeply saddened to say that Ward passed away tonight in an apparent homicide. Please keep us in your prayers and respect our privacy at this time.” It was signed, “Ward’s family”.

Then Myron heard tires screeching into his driveway and there was an aggressive slamming of car doors. A man’s voice barked orders in serious, short bursts.

Myron dropped his phone and fled through the back door.

The Forest Fire – Short Short Story

He stared in disbelief as fire consumed the world. On every side it raged, roaring through century-old trees like a blowtorch through dry straw. He watched detached, as animals scampered to and fro in terror and he realized in an offhand way that he was completely surrounded now, the heat an impenetrable wall. Still he remained frozen, bearing witness to the horror as acres of forest were incinerated.

Then, a massive branch fell flaming from the sky landing just feet away with a heavy crash and it was this near-miss that jolted him to his senses.

“Later, Dudes,” he said, scales glinting in the firelight. He swished his tail and and dove deep into the cold depths of the lake. “Sucks to be you.”

 

Now try this:  Magnificent Discovery – Short Short Story

 

Magnificent Discovery – Short Short Story

The boys sat mesmerized by the brilliance of the crystal between them. It shimmered pink and majestic like nothing they had ever seen.

“Maybe it came from space,” whispered one, staring in reverence.

“It could be a transporter from another galaxy,” said the other. “Used to teleport the people of Atlantis to their home planet.”

Carefully, they laid their hands on it.

“It generates its own heat!” said one.

“I can feel vibration,” said the other. “It’s some sort of pulsating power source.”

“Jason, what are you doing in my room?” asked a voice from the doorway. An older girl stormed in, snatching the crystal.

“Hey!” said one of the boys. The other stared in awe as she tore away its plastic lid and grabbed a hair tie from within.

“Seriously,” she said, returning it to her dresser. “You guys are dorks.”

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FFfAW challenge. Thank you, Jade Wong for the photo prompt.

Now try this: Of Blue Blood and Enchantment