New Strategy, Same Result

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

So much for finally beating Musgave at Stratogem.

After dividing his blue tokens into two camps I stopped the attack of my red tokens, letting them gather strength over several turns. Being too aggressive was a mistake I wasn’t going to repeat.

Musgave must have sensed my new approach, and used it against me.

When individual blue tokens began appearing in my sea of red, I attacked them before they could assemble. As I launched these defensive attacks, he slyly repositioned both his camps.

Despite being outnumbered, he had regained the strategic advantage. His eventual victory was assured.

Bastard.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest.

Unintended Sculpture

PHOTO PROMPT © Anne Higa

drip… drip…

The pipe’s leak had begun in September. Every attempt to find its source failed.

The first icicle formed over a frigid October night. The leak continued, and the icicle grew.

By December more icicles formed, each growing over the subzero months as the leak continued. January’s thaw was too brief to melt the unintended sculpture as it continued to reach the floor. Lights from the adjacent bar cast the object in a supernatural glow.

It finally touched the floor during a final arctic blast in February.

Spring reduced the sculpture back to its original form.

drip… drip…

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest.

The Gingerbread Wars

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast  

Gillian thought her husband’s obsession with keeping their lawn greener than their neighbors was ridiculous. But her attitude changed when Priscilla delivered homemade gingerbread cookies to everyone on their street that December.

“Aren’t these wonderful?” her neighbors cooed during Gillian’s holiday party. Gillian didn’t agree, finding them tasteless and poorly decorated. Gillian also didn’t like how discussing the cookies took attention away from her holiday decorations.

She responded by making her own cookies, with more flavor and decoration than Priscilla’s.

Priscilla better bring her A-game, Gillian thought, anticipating a rematch. I’ve got fondant and I’m not afraid to use it!

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest.

Neighborhood Watch

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

The streetlight had been out since summer. The city’s service department said replacing the light was “on the list.” The alderman promised he’d “get something done.”

Holiday lights provided momentary relief, but darkness feasted the street at night with January’s arrival.

Coming home from a party one evening, a utility worker noted how the defective streetlight made his friend’s neighborhood seem overly fearful. At the end of his next shift, he drove to the streetlight with his service truck and replaced the bulb.

The street’s residents were relieved to have the light resume its nightly watch over the neighborhood. 

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest.

Petrified

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

“They’re like dinosaur bones,” Simon explained. “All the living matter in the tree dies, and minerals build up inside, turning the wood into a fossil.” 

“If you say so,” Lydia responded, taking a step back. “Still doesn’t seem natural to me.”

“You’re scared?” laughed Simon. “Of a dead tree?”

“Can we just go already?”

Simon shook his head as Lydia walked away. He was about to call to her when he heard a sound behind him. He turned… had that gray branch always been so close to him?

“Lydia!” She stopped and looked back. The screaming then began.

It may be called Friday Fictioneers, but the photo prompt for the weekly flash-fiction challenge is posted on Thursday. Decided to get a head start on this one!

Tucker Beach

He stands exactly where the message said he’d be.

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

Tucker Beach, 5 PM. Bottom of the north walkway. Approach from the south entrance, and come alone. We’ll be watching.

I was surprised they wanted this transaction conducted in public. But being February, we’re unlikely to encounter any snorkelers or sunbathers.

At 4:50 I park in the community lot. The message didn’t mention weapons, so I tuck a pistol into my belt as I exit the car.

Walking along the shore’s unsteady sand, I see him staring into the ocean. He doesn’t turn towards me until I’m almost close enough to touch him.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest

Uncertainly Familiar

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

The moment he saw his name on the mailbox, Carston knew his calculations were correct.

Previous experiments with time travel had met with wildly unpredictable results. Three years was the closest anyone had come to meeting their destination date in the past. Most had been decades off.

Carston’s six months in this apartment, subletting from the man who would eventually steal Carston’s wife, had been the foundation of his success, yet also the source of his greatest disappointment.

He looked up the staircase, knowing what he would find in apartment 21 but with no clue how he would respond this time.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest. One picture, 100 words.

Bridge to Yesterday

PHOTO PROMPT © Alicia Jamtaas

The bridge explosion of 1938 remains the greatest disaster the town has ever suffered. But with the passing last year of the final resident alive at the time, the tragedy became like Napoleon or the Revolutionary War, a point of history that didn’t seem relevant to current day concerns.

The violence of the train explosion sent portions of the track flying for miles across the valley below. Larger remnants were retrieved to recover the scrap metal, but smaller portions were left to rot in the wilderness.

To this day, hikers still find memories of the forgotten catastrophe.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest.

Spirited Performance

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“Where’s Donald?” demanded the ethereal presence of the woman known as Ethel in her mortal life.

“How should we know?” Stu replied from behind the cello. “It’s not like we can text him, being that we’re spirits.”

“He’s probably haunting his children again,” sighed Ellie at the microphone. “He’s into the literary tropes.”

“This band is nothing without percussion,” moaned Ethel, hovering over the keyboard. “Donald needs to be here.”

“Would you say,” joked Ellie, “that our band’s just a ghost of itself without him?”

Not wanting to hear any more bad puns, Ethel’s spirit fled the empty stage.

Feels good to have my first Friday Fictioneers story of the year posted.