Tag Archives: Sunday Photo Fiction

Warm Heart, Cold Snow

“Hey, mister, you looking for a date?”

The old man paused and turned slowly. A young woman lurked in the alleyway, keeping warm by the steam rising from a sewer grate. She was underdressed for the first snow of winter in calf high shiny boots and a short skirt.

He approached slowly, most of his face shadowed by the heavy hood of his furred winter coat.

“What is it you seek from me young lady?”

“I just thought you looked lonely, wandering around in the winter, like maybe you could use a friend. I can be a very, very good friend, know what I mean?”

One eye glinted in the hood’s shadow.

“How old are you?”

“Twenty.”

“Closer to fifteen, I’d judge. You don’t seem a much practiced doxy.”

“What?”

“You’re a runaway, aren’t you? From whence do you flee?”

“Not important. Look mister, don’t you have any money, are we going on a date or what?”

He pressed a single large, golden coin into her hand.

“Run, child. Home to your mother and buy whatever comfort remains, for the Fimbulwinter is upon us all.”

Two ravens descended and perched on his shoulders. A wolf howl echoed far away.

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

139-01-january-17th-2016

Somebody Needs a Tic Tac

“Your breath could gag buzzards.”

Just what you need to hear first thing in the morning, right? This is a delicate part of the dance of marriage. It is indecorous and suicidal to counter with “rats have nested in your hair.” Because toxic exhalations can be injurious to the other party, morning breath is always fair game. Under the “promotion of domestic tranquility” clause in the contract, it’s covered.

Hollywood never gets that right.

Trained by years in the harness, I stumble into the bathroom for some modern oral hygiene methodology.

Reaching for my toothbrush, I freeze. My skin is roughening, drying out before my eyes. When I feel it, it’s hard. There are armor-thick patches forming and fissures between the… Scales?

I gaze at my reflection with growing horror. My skin is darkening and tinted greenish. With every passing moment, it grows thicker, harder, and I look more crocodilian.

Dryness is scratching at my throat, and I cough once. A wave of greenish fire envelops the toothbrush in my clawed hand, and the brush melts into liquefied plastic slag.

My morning breath may actually be atomic. If I grow 98 meters taller, I think Tokyo is in serious trouble.

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199 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

So yeah, this was a brilliant film…not.

 

 

Admiring the View

Andrea carried her picnic basket down to the promontory to sit and enjoy lunch under her favorite oak tree. It was a beautiful tree, enormous and very old. Sacred to her people, it provided a fine shade from the afternoon sun where she could enjoy a book or even an afternoon nap.

She pushed the tire swing pensively back and forth with her toes while reclining on her back, munching her lunch basket apples.

A sail was moving in fast from the northeast. Andrea stood and watched the vessel accelerating into the massive wall of mist to the west. As always, she winced in horror as the captured vessel tipped forward at the edge. The thunderous pounding of the waterfall nearly obscured the screaming of the terrified sailors, and the ship was lost over the falls.

Andrea just shook her head. Someday, surely, the explorers had to stop coming.

She climbed onto the tire swing and kicked into a slow, broad sweep out over the edge of the world. At the apex of each big swing, Andrea considered the darkness of space and the twinkling of stars visible between her toes.

Now that would be an awesome vista for exploration.

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

The Root of the Problem

I close my eyes and lean back on the couch, seeking that daydream state. Somewhere, in the depths of my racial memories, in the murky brackish water of my subconscious swamp, there must be the germ of an idea and the seed of a mighty creative work waiting to be discovered.

I dream of root tendrils seeking nutrients from the creative clay, the humus of ideas past, now fallen and decaying slowly. In my imagination, the leaves rot to form another, fresh layer of nutrients that will feed tomorrow’s ideas. My roots try to find some purchase, some magic blossom of a simple, brilliant epiphany.

Somewhere back there, in the buried creative remains of my own and other authors must be the rapture that daydreaming sometimes turns up.

I can’t find it, not today, not this week. The racial creativity myth is a fable. My ancestors cannot or will not help me.

I don’t taste the sweet honey of any fresh ideas.

The only flavors I can find are rotten acorns and blind grubs, and slimy, wet black mosses that taste like death. The root of the problem lies inside the author. He has character, but it must be rotten.

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200 words. Uninspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Fat Bottomed Girls

“So there were gathered together a harlequin, an astrophysicist, and fifty nude women on bicycles?

“Well, yes.”

“Wasn’t that a strange thing, in the Seventies?”

“Not exactly common. It made a massive outcry in the newspapers at the time, but the excitement died away quickly. The interesting bit, to me, was that the nude ladies were actually trying to win the bicycle race.”

“So, who did win?”

“Florence Dollenberg, from Merton. She received a congratulatory handshake from the Prime Minister.”

“Heath, Wilson, or Callaghan?”

“Oh, I think I see your error; the Eighteen Seventies. She was congratulated by William Gladstone.”

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100 words for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Still confused? Take a tour with me back to the seventies…one of the seventies anyway.

(Fat Bottomed Girls and Bicycle Race were generally played together, and flipsides of the single. Freddy Mercury is the Harlequin, and Brian May the astrophysicist. That big-wheeled bike was contemporary in the 1870s…nude bicycle racing maybe not so much.

But it coooould have happened…)

Leaves of Red and Gold

The family resemblance was striking. Only the tiny lines around her eyes betray greater maturity.

“So you’re her mother?”

“I am. Don’t look so surprised.”

Months ago, I’d shared a drink and conversation with her daughter right here at this bar. Just now, I was still trying to wrap my mind around meeting the mother, without warning, sitting on the same bar stool.

“Relax. You already know we don’t bite.”

“She nibbled a bit, emotionally. I didn’t know about her husband until I was really enjoying her company, you know. My heart wasn’t broken or anything, but my little crush got crushed.”

“Well you’re safe from heartaches with me. Besides, my husband wouldn’t dream of making an appearance. Not even with a thunderbolt, I promise.”

We had recreated much the same evening as when her daughter visited; talking, laughing, and drinking. Eventually, I asked if she’d like to see “our” tree.

The tree hadn’t stopped blossoming and raining petals over the bus stop until high summer. She leaned one hand against the tree’s trunk, and colorful autumn leaves suddenly cascaded.

Demeter just laughed when she saw the sadness come over me.

“Silly mortal, loveliest of all are those which don’t endure.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt (and a followup to a previous tale—“You Can Tell a Lot About a Person From Her Underworld.”)

Demolished Men

I need some help over here with this big ol’ Chevy, Lew.

I’m on it. Turn hard right, and then brake. Let him tap your right quarter, just a kiss. Right, that’s good. Slow him down… Slow… Ok, now gun it!

Lew, now that there was purty.

Yep, classic T-bone, dancing around with him bought me the time to get up speed. Fish in a barrel, Bobby, like always.

Watch the Ford on your left, Lew. His partner’s on the other side of the arena right now, but he’ll come a’runnin’.

Got him. Taking him into the wall, just keep the vultures off me for a second. Ok, here comes the partner, reverse it. Good. Now brake and I got his ass.

Yeeeeeeeehaw!

Speaking of “Got His Ass,” you hicks want to surrender quietly.

Shit.

You knew it would happen someday. When you boys get enthusiastic, an E1 can pick up your thoughts miles away. I’m Special Agent Lewiston, and you’re both under arrest for using esper powers to dominate a mundane sporting event. That’s a class three felony, jailbirds.

This is Agent Harris driving the tow truck. He’s E2, so don’t try. We’re impounding these vehicles. Make that “wrecks.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

And my apologies to the memory of Alfred Bester, author of The Demolished Man, winner of the first Hugo award in 1953.

Rosebud

Sometimes when you’re chasing love, it seems like the whole world is on your side. Spring is in the air, the birds sing, and life itself dances in its most glorious poetic forms. You’ll trade anything you own for one more touch, another taste, another chocolate-caramel moment frozen in time.

They fade as the morning blossom begins to wilt, the bright petal’s edges curl and brown. Of course, there can be nothing so sweet without its tiny stings. Should we complain because roses have thorns, or rejoice that thorns have roses?

“Sure honey, whatever you say. You still need cash.”

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100 words, inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Emerald City

“Look, you have the talent. You carried the shows in Wicked and Venus in Fur. All you need is your big break and dinner theater productions aren’t going to get you there. That’s all I’m saying, you need a little edge.”

Alicia had been Sarah’s roomie in college and was still her biggest fan.

“Diva is going to help get the spot in a big show you need to push your career,” she said.

The little green pill in her palm winked at Sarah, catching the light with its preternatural promise. Diva was the newest designer drug, the Magic Key to Unlocking Creativity that artists sought for centuries, without the harmful effects of alcohol or the reality distortion of psychedelics.

“This is your crossroads. The plane is your yellow brick road,” Alicia urged. “Here’s your ticket, the Quantas flight is in two hours. Go meet Hector Quezada in Sydney, I promise you he’ll offer to audition you.”

***

Sarah did land her audition, but so did sixty others at the same cattle call. Nearly all of them were on Diva.

For Sarah, Oz was a land where people went chasing dreams, only to crash on cheap imitations and empty promises.

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Room with a View

“It was nice of your Uncle Caius to find a room for us to stay during the Bacchanalia season.”

“It’s… quaint,” Antonitus responded. “Peasants can’t expect a palace, I suppose.”

“Hush, at least it’s dry and warm. I’m concerned about getting sleep, though.”

Loud music pounded in from the main temple, with some very human squeals and grunts from time to time.

“Sounds like the orgy is in full swing already,” she sniffed. “Do you know why this pit is here, Tony?”

They both paused and leaned over to examine the large, deep pit in the center of the room. It dropped into the shadows of the temple’s sublevels.

“Not sure. Maybe it’s for some sort of sacrificial use?”

Caecilla squealed when he mock-shoved her toward the pit, “rescuing” her at the last moment.

“You bastard,” she kicked him, grinning.

“Is the wine cellar down there?”

A bacchanalia temple guard, dressed in full Legionnaire costume and obviously enjoying the party, weaved into the room from the temple. He grunted something unintelligible and raised his cantharus in salute before turning away from the bewildered couple.

He fumbled briefly with his pteruges and a yellow stream arced outward into the pit.

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197 crude words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

A Room in the Roman Painted House, Dover