Unbearable Paradise

PHOTO PROMPT © Bradley Harris

Lyn hadn’t yearned for vacation’s end like she did now.

Her mother was bedridden from knee pain, and her father’s dementia led to acts such as placing laundry in the oven and dialing the number for his long-dead sister.

When she arrived two weeks ago, Lyn made appointments with several in-home nursing agencies. The contract with Aloha Care was signed 40 hours before her departure.

The following afternoon, Lyn walked alone for the first time. She gazed over the Pacific and its promise of a typically beautiful sunset.

Lyn cried, not wanting to leave but unable to bear staying longer.

Each time I write for Friday Fictioneers, half my time is spent developing the story and the other half with editing it down to the 100-word limit.

Retirement Party

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Claire Fuller

“Where’s Mich?” asked Sonny. “All this waiting’s making me cuckoo!”

“He’s probably tired because of all that time he spends on the road,” replied Wendy. “And he probably picked up dinner at a drive-thru, so he may not be hungry.”

“Or maybe he got into an accident,” Professor Burke observed.

“Just be cool,” Chester drawled. “Have a snack if you’re antsy.”

Ernie sighed heavily. “We just want to have a goodbye party for the man, like we did last year for Jemima and Ben. Young people don’t recognize him anymore, just like me and Joe.”

“I’ll call him,” Lily said.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest. I actually did a bit of fun research for this week’s story.

Mysterious Protest

PHOTO PROMPT © LIsa Fox

Caleb assumed it was a prank, a solitary protest erected in defiance of an unjust system. The town he’d just moved into was rural, but every home looked modern enough for running water and sewage.

“Who owns that land on Duneview?” he asked a police officer he encountered one morning at a diner. “Where Hunt Drive ends?” It was a residential area, but there were no nearby houses.

“Dunno.”

“So you don’t know who erected the double-decker?”

“The what?” The officer then excused himself and left.

Caleb finished his meal, wondering how to find an answer to this minor mystery.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Unusual Delivery

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

This was always the most unusual delivery on Teddy’s route.

The outdoor firewood rack at the side of the house was a standard eight by six feet, yet an area had been cleared in the middle of the rack’s bottom for a double-paned basement window. In previous years, Teddy assumed this design was intended to allow light into a finished basement room. After this year’s delivery, he had to satisfy his curiosity.

After filling the rack, Teddy knelt down outside the window, covered on the inside by only a short valance along its upper third. He looked inside… and laughed.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Travelling Companion

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

“Amazing, eh?”

Stan knew he needed to respond. He’d avoided attention the last 29 hours, and if he could maintain the deceit through the remaining ninety minutes on this ferry, he’d be free. “First time I’ve taken this tour,” he said. “Yeah, the view’s impressive.”

“Harold Misner.” Harold extended his hand, which Stan shook. “From Peoria, family holiday. What brings you here?”

Warrants in three countries. “Stan, from Albany.” He’d visited his brother there several times.

A woman called to Harold, who excused himself. Stan looked out over the waters, wondering how best to deal with this new travelling companion.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Visual Aid

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

They don’t get it, Jenkins realized. The heist required precise and coordinated actions, but the guys he’d found clearly didn’t understand.

Jenkins needed a visual aid, and found inspiration on seeing the abandoned supplies next to a daycare center’s dumpster.

He drew three overlapping circles on construction paper representing the adjoining buildings. The number 4 signified the on-duty guards in the laboratory, with the yellow truck and Lego man at the center being the fake emergency crew creating the distraction. Surveillance cameras were located with small Lego pieces.

Using a Santa pencil as a pointer for emphasis seemed oddly appropriate.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Liftoff

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

The mission was already four months behind schedule, further delays inevitable. Still, enthusiasm among the project team remained high. A successful launch would ensure the mission would receive a full chapter in history books for a century.

Alonso’s role was small, a calibration of a stabilization gyroscope. His advanced degrees weren’t needed ; a graduate student could’ve performed the task as easily and reliably. Yet his position wouldn’t be identified on the project team, and if he exaggerated his role for the liftoff among his family nobody would correct him.

Yes, his job was boring. No, he didn’t care.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Carry-out

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Mind if I sit, Dad?”

The old man nodded without looking up from his lemonade. By sending his son rather than either daughter, the family was sending a message. “I’m not ready,” he muttered.

The son sat at the other end of the small rectangular diner table. Condiments were arranged at that end as if the son were about to have a meal of ketchup, salt, and pepper. “Time to come home,” he said.

“I just ordered dinner.”

“We’ll do carry-out.”

“I’ll never sign.” The old man looked up. “Never.”

“No documents tonight, Dad. But we need you home.”

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

The Ticket

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

The public square was cordoned Monday, the carousel erected the following day, operational by mid-week. On Thursday, Audrey decided to visit the impromptu amusement.

She’d witnessed the carousel’s construction while riding the metro every morning to her well-paying but draining job. Leaving for an early lunch break, she walked the block towards the square.

Audrey heard music as she passed the concrete barriers for the metro. Funiculì, Funiculà. Her favorite childhood song.

“Greetings.” Audrey hadn’t seen the speaker, yet somehow knew she was being addressed. She turned and saw a man in a motely suit, smiling and bearing a ticket.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Curious

PHOTO PROMPT © Krista Strutz

Karl hadn’t seen an eagle perched this close to the ground. He’d seen them lurking high in trees near the shore and soaring over the lake, descending with deadly grace to snatch fish from the water.

He was suddenly curious how close it would allow him to approach before flying off.

As if understanding the human’s intent, the eagle locked its predatory eyes on Karl before he completed his first stroke. Thirty feet, twenty… ten…

Karl was close enough to see the the sharpness of the beast’s ebony talons.

He paddled in reverse slowly, the eagle glaring at his retreat.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest.