Thirty years ago the field had been a dense forest of poplar, birch, pine, and fir. A wealthy industrialist bought the land and had it clear-cut to build a summer home, yet as the last remaining trees were being uprooted he lost the property in a bitter divorce.
Two stumps were left among the acre of wildgrass. Their tops were smooth from the saw’s blade, the bark on their sides cracking and peeling off like scabs from a wound.
The tallest objects remaining in the abandoned field, the two lifeless remnants served as tombstones to a petrified ambition.
“Don’t worry, Marcy,” Harlan called ahead to his granddaughter as he slalomed the uneven terrain of the forested ravine. “Can’t tell you exactly where it is, but I’ve walked this path enough times that my legs know the way.”
Marcy stopped, turned to him. “So we keep walking until your legs figure out where to go?”
Harlan pointed ahead. “There.”
She looked where he pointed. The moss-covered roof of a small cabin was barely visible. “OK,” she replied. “But that doesn’t mean what you’re looking for is there.”
The old man smiled. “Oh it’ll be there.”
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash-fiction contest. One picture, 100 words.
“Surprised you’re still open,” the customer said after ordering the hamburger combo meal.
“For two months after the Orb appeared we weren’t,” replied the middle-aged woman as she wrote on an order pad. “But when it became evident there wasn’t any life there and was harmless, my husband sued to reopen. We gotta right to live, you know.”
The customer looked to his right. The Orb’s rubbery edge was visible beyond the diner’s wall. “And you’re not worried? Or curious how it got here?”
She ripped the order sheet from the pad. “All I care about is the next order.”
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest that most weeks is too much damn fun to pass up.
Holly looked back, noticing Jan had suddenly stopped jogging. “Something wrong?”
Jan stood and pointed ahead, to the right. Holly looked where she pointed, then gasped.
They passed the clinic’s parking lot on their weekly runs without noticing it. But there was no ignoring the car that had smashed through the low brick wall, the vehicle’s front tires suspended over the debris scattered on the ground.
Holly saw the vehicle was unoccupied. A man stood to its side and wrote in a notebook. “What happened?” she whispered.
“Dunno,” Jan replied. “Somebody late for an appointment?”
Oleg wanted to remain in his bunk as the ship approached Ellis Island. This wasn’t the first time he’d arrived in the US through this port. Yet he knew not joining the ship’s excited occupants would arouse unwanted suspicion.
He stood on the deck apart from the crowd at the rails, staring towards shore through the dim light of a cloudy dawn.
“Mama!” a pointing child cried. “The statue!”
Oleg smiled. Later today, he’d be processed with forged papers. Once he cleared customs with the other immigrants, he could then deliver the package he’d been paid so well to convey.
Three minutes. Swanson estimated the murderer would lose himself in that time.
The city’s Asian street market was a clot of shoppers and vendors. If the murderer slid down an arterial street, he’d escape.
The sidewalks were less crowded and navigable, but Swanson knew the murderer would likely avoid them. The detective began hustling down the sidewalk, eyes scanning the crowd, but stopped on noticing the fire escapes above him. He could view the entire crowd from there and locate his target. Swanson pushed past a man talking on a mobile phone and raced up a flight of concrete steps.