‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #32 Entry Part 8) by Mark Bierman @mbiermanauthor #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction

Hello everyone and welcome to Author SuzannE Burke’s “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week She features an image and invites Everyone to write a Flash Fiction, or Non-Fiction, piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of their choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words. In Addition to running a wonderful Blog, Suzanne has written many exciting books. Please a have a look at her site: Wecome to the world of Suzanne Burke

Here is my contribution to this week’s prompt. Enjoy!

Here is the image prompt 

Sophie hated these woods at night. During the day, they were cheerful. Cicadas played their endless rattle songs in the trees, while black-capped chickadees fed from your hand.

This trail was usually lit by sunlight, its rays marked the path ahead with the promise of a refreshing dip in Potters Lake, or, if you went the other way, the back door of Nanny and Pappy’s cottage. On most afternoons, the smell of fresh baked cookies would reach your nose before the brown walls of the cottage could be seen.

Yes, the daytime was safe time, but not now, out here, in the dark, and with only an old lantern that Pappy had used as a kid . . . now that was old.  

Her teacher, Mr. Palmer, had said darkness was just the absence of light, that everything was the same. She’d love to have that man here, now. If only he could here the thumps, the rustle of branches as they were parted by the claws of who knows what. Sophie tried to ignore them, to keep the lantern pointed only at the path ahead. She was weirdly mad at the lantern for lighting up the edges of path. It showed a pair of glowing eyes that stared at her very soul, before disappearing back into the woods.

Every ounce of her wanted to run back to the cottage. Her desire was increased when she heard the crazy call of something on the lake to her right, just beyond the bushes. Sophie had jumped then . . . had almost dropped the lantern, and then what? Complete darkness!

She felt the gross things squirm at her side; disgusting, slimy, and terrifying. She tried to imagine they were not there. But they were, and the sooner she got to the lake, the sooner she’d be rid of them. Sophie shuddered at the thought of what was to come.

Something grabbed her right sneaker, and she was pulled towards the bush.  A scream was caught in her throat, it wouldn’t do her terror justice, anyways, and who knows what blood thirsty monsters it would attract.

Claws tore at her jacket and snatched her hair. In her panic, she dropped the lantern and it smashed as she fought for her life.

Trees are good for the environment. Not these ones, Palmer, not all trees were good! Some were evil and would grab you . . . these trees kill you! Find that in your stupid Life Science book, Palmer.

Then she was free of them. She raced towards the lake. Scared to death, running like a crazy person down a trail that was almost as dark as her closet. But there was a weird satisfaction that she’d at least ripped off some of their spiny fingers They were still freakishly stuck in her hair, though.

Their angry brothers and sisters tried to stop her, by grabbing at her feet, but she was ready for them, this time. She was an expert dodgeball player. Nimble as a mountain goat, her gym teacher had said. Well, all those games had certainly paid off.

She didn’t have the nerve to get the broken lantern, but the slimy things were still with her. She hated her luck.

A monster screeched in the trees and her feet seemed to float over the path. Up ahead, was the last corner before the lake. Another screech, this time directly overhead, was answered by a bone chilling yodel!

There was nothing for it, no turning back for Sophie. She had a job to do and no self-respecting girl would let it go undone.  

Sophie put her head down, to avoid it being torn off by the screechy thing and raced to the lake. The slimy creatures bounced off her right side, and it felt like every monster from all the horror films she’d ever heard about were after her.

The lake appeared. The job was finished!

“Sophie! What on earth happened to your hair? Are you alright?” Pappy’s worried face looked at her from his boat, that was still tied to the dock.

Sophie ran onto the dock, nearly of breath. It was difficult to speak, but she managed, “I-I’m okay, now.”

She reached into her coat pocket and cringed. Her hand grabbed the carton of those slimy devils. “Here’s the worms we forgot.”  

 “Thanks, Sweetie, that was brave of you to go back in the dark. Especially with all of those roots on the trail. Now, let’s get those twigs out of your hair.”  

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ #30 Entry Part 2) by Mark Bierman @mark_bierman1 #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts #FlashFiction

Hello, welcome to my take on Author Suzanne Burke’s weekly ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge.’

Writer’s are challenged to come up with a short story based on a photo provided. The maximum word count is 750.

I am grateful to Suzanne for provoding this challenge and allowing us to use her blog to showcase our writing. Please click on this link to view Suzanne’s wonderful blog and see the works of other authors. Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke.

Here is this week’s photo prompt:

“Dad! Did you see that? Daaad!”

“Ouch! Why’d you rip my headphones out for? I was just getting into a marketing podcast about nose hair trimmers.”

“Huh? Wha-? Look out the window! Doesn’t it look like some place we watched on that Area 51 documentary last week? Don’t make that face, either.”

“What face ? Oh Chad, you have a wonderful imagination but I’m afraid it gets the best of you at times. Here, let me see . . . oh, that is interesting.”

“What? You see them too, don’t you? You see them! Runways and small, too small, buildings that must go underground! I mean, one of them looks like the size of a porta potty. What would you do with that?”

“Ummm . . . Chad. Firstly, need I remind you that even though we are flying low because of the heavy clouds, we are still thousands of feet up. Secondly, you’ve spent enough time at summer camp to know what porta potties are for.”

“Look! They’re loading something from the back of a truck! It’s an ali—”

“Side of beef. Chad, that’s an abattoir, where they, uh, you, know. You like hamburgers, don’t you?”

“Eeewwww. . . I used to. Please stop slicing your finger across your throat. It’s not that, Dad. Cows don’t have arms . . . biology 101. Geez, how do you ‘adult’.”

“Nope, those are freezer trucks, and they are taking the beef to market. You see those smaller packages coming out of that other building? Those are probably steaks, hamburger, and some other yummy things.”

“Uh, Chad, you don’t look so well. What’s wrong?”

“You mean, that they sell alien meat in the stores pretending that it’s beef? I need to use the restroom.”

“Uh, that’s not what I meant. Okay, hold on, I’m moving my legs so you can get out.”

Chad’s father watched his son race to the restroom. He shook his head and imagined his brand-new Napoleon Rogue BBQ being relegated to grilling vegetables only . . . 70500 BTU’s wasted on asparagus and mushrooms. He slid over to the window for a final peak and rubbed his eyes. Had that ‘side of beef’ just waved up at him?  

Feathered Guests

A good Saturday morning to all! Today, the sun shines with only a few wispy clouds dotting the sky. I want to tell you about a little adventure we had on our yard last week. The tale proves that your feet don’t need to carry you past the gatepost to create lifelong memories.

The COVID Pandemic has slowed the world, and though not a pleasant experience, it has taught us to appreciate the simpler pleasures. Like the little duck, we named Griffin, that wandered onto our lawn last week.

At first, we were surprised by the proximity to which we could approach Griffin. We reasoned he must belong to a local. Tanya put a shout out on social media, but no owner came forward.

There were some guesses as to what type of duck, and the gender. Know-it-All Google had the answer. A comparison of photos led to the conclusion that our guest was a Muscovy.  No one had the stomach to physically check for gender, so we relied on an online list of observed behaviors that indicated it was a dude.

Now, Muscovy ducks dine on mice, snakes, and other vermin, so in my books that makes Griffin a hero. We all agreed Griffin was welcome to stay.

Griffin chose the area under the treehouse and our kids happily tended to his needs.

Griffin600

Just make yourself comfortable, Griffin. Need anything?

 

frisbeedump600

Um . . . I’m no expert on drinking from a frisbee, but wouldn’t the water stay in better if you leave your feet out?

 

Griffinbucket600

How about a bucket, is that better?

Homemade duck bath, equals one happy fowl.

 

Babybird600

Meanwhile, in the front yard, this poor baby needed saving. Reuntited with a chirping Mother Robin moments after this was taken.

tenty

That night we camped in the wilds of our backyard, and when I awoke and exited the tent, Griffin was under the treehouse, standing guard.

Well, for us older folks, and perhaps just us Canucks, the whole story ended like an episode of the Littlest Hobo.  The next day we woke to find Griffen had moved on. Perhaps to brighten the day for another COVID weary family.

 

Life “Truths”

rainbow300

So, last night I spotted a leprechaun running towards the end of this rainbow! I must emphasize, meeting a leprechaun had been my life’s dream! I’d kept every depiction of these creatures that I’d come across. 
 Engaged in physical yard work, I’d decided to leave my glasses indoors for safe keeping. Naturally, I gave chase. 
As I sit here, in my tomato juice bath, praying this laptop remains on the edge of the tub, I would like to alert the local school, newspaper, and television station to the fact that I’m about to sue for spreading false and injurious information. I’m tearing down every crayon drawing of a leprechaun published by this “rag of lies,” that has been taped to my fridge since Saint Paddy’s Day.
Unfortunately, someone told me that including the entire kindergarten through grade three classes, in my suit was not feasible, so I urge all parents to educate your young about the truths of these vile creatures. 
* They are not friendly!
* If they TURN their backs towards you and STAMP their feet, RUN! What you get next is NOT gold, NOR does it taste like Skittles!
NO Tommy! This is just plain wrong!

lep300

 

A Haircut Too Far!

Okay, so let’s find a large cardboard box to climb into and imagine it’s the DeLorean from Back To The Future. Those of you with artistic tendencies may opt for detailing the exterior to mimic the real thing. That’s fine with me.

Now, we’ll set the dial for the not-so-distant date of yesterday! Twenty-four hours ago, my COVID19 hairstyle resembled a shave brush. Yes, it grows straight up and out.

Enough was enough and on a recent trip to town, I had Tanya pick up hair clippers.

About an hour later, seated on a lawn chair on the back deck, with pedestal mirror in hand, I commenced my first-ever self-propelled haircut. Now, this skull rug is no stranger to the clippers, but they’re usually handled by a professional.

I shrugged off the clipper guides and went bare blade. Who cares in this new reality? It could be two moons before my next shearing.

I dug in deep and soon clumps of hair, with far too much gray, tumble weeded across the deck, entangling any unfortunate insect that crossed its path.

Our youngest daughter came out to observe and uttered the words every father “wants” to hear. “Dad, you look creepy!”

A courageous youngster, she pushed her disgust aside and offered to help, which I took gratefully. She worked the back, but eventually proclaimed it hopeless and suggested Tanya finish the job.

I must say the pruning was most liberating! I swear I’ve developed a sixth sense; I mean, I can feel everything! The last time I was this bald, my behind was wrapped in diapers.

My head is now an organic weather satellite, at one with the jet streams. I’m certain that no butterfly can pass above without my detection.

Proud of the newly acquired ability, I went to peacock my new look to our oldest. If I’d entered her room with my nose cut off, her face would have betrayed less horror.

Humbled, I exited quickly, but not before I heard her whisper these words to her classmates on Zoom. “My Dad just cut his hair and it’s frightening!”

Oh well, hair grows back and I’m saving on shampoo.

In the meantime, I’m grateful to the professional folks at North Shore Construction for gifting me with the perfect shame saver.

baldy

Creepy!

Northshorelid

The remedy!