Abandoned

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

Several years later, evidence of the city’s sudden collapse was everywhere. Streets turned into long narrow parking lots of empty vehicles. Office buildings with shattered glass windows. Anything constructed of wood crumbling from rot.

Animals had scavenged the food left in the homes and apartments, and the more intelligent creatures had constructed dwellings from what had once been bedding and furniture. But in rooms containing nothing of interest to the city’s new residents, proof could be found of distinctly human activity. Framed wedding announcements hanging askew on a wall. A sound system preserved under plastic coverings. An abandoned sewing project.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge. One photo, 100 words, and loads of fun.

About Those Circular Lights

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

A handful of notable entries, chosen entirely at random, to last week’s photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers:

  • Tannille offers a dystopian explanation for those hovering halos
  • C.E. Ayr writes a poem, a rarity in this contest, and includes an audio that must be checked out
  • This image was a prime candidate for sci-fi, and Iain Kelly does it with some humor
  • It’s also easy to find a religious message in the photo, and both nonnaci and T. Delaplain explore the darker side of this theme
  • It’s difficult to include a surprise ending in a 100-word tale, but Draliman does the job
  • Dale provides an interesting metaphysical twist

The Constellation

The Jerusalem street was a residential and commercial mix, stores at ground level with apartments on each of the three floors above. Lighting for the street came from within the stores as well as sconces above their entrances, as well as an inventive array of circular lights of many different sizes suspended by wires strung between the second floors on both sides of the street. Resembling Hula Hoops, or perhaps large halos to the religiously inclined, the array hovered above the street like an artificial constellation, and gave this section of the ancient city a distinctly modern atmosphere.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction/photo prompt contest. I decided to use my 100 words (these italicized comments don’t count!) this time on a narrative description, a passage that could appear in a non-illustrated story or novel.

Bizarre Bazaar

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

If there had ever been a business plan for the store, nobody knew where it existed now.

The only items for sale were black-and-white or sepia photographs from the previous century, gathered from yard sales and attics soon to be cleared out after an octogenarian death. None were considered worthy of a curator or collector’s attention.

After a few months of lackluster sales, a local independent newspaper gave the store a favorable review. This inspired a curiosity, one inspired by a digital-age longing for tangible assets. For images that can be held, rather than downloaded.

Sales have since been brisk.

If you like to write and/or read flash fiction, I highly recommend Friday Fictioneers.

Encroachment

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“Disgraceful.” Arms folded across his chest, Crenshaw tucked his chin down and shook his head. “Went to these courts all the time in my teens. Not a decade later, gangs have started marking their territory here.”

“Those don’t like gang symbols,” Ursula replied, pointing at the pavement. “It’s text. Probably neighborhood kids leaving messages to each other.”

“They should send texts, instead of defacing public property.”

“Public? You’re treating these courts like a personal playground, a memorial to your youth. Things change, Cren, and it’d serve you better to demolish the fence you’ve built around your fear of aging.”

Been a while since I’ve participated in Friday Fictioneers. Feels good to be writing 100-word stories again.

The Race

PHOTO PROMPT © Linda Kreger

Wheelchair racing has apparently become quite competitive. When Estelle challenged us to a sprint, I assumed we would jog beside her, but when she started pumping her arms and her chair propelled ahead of us, we all started running, laughing at our miscalculation.

Estelle waited for us at the finish, her back turned and the smile of a contented victor on her face.  Jed reached her chair first and collapsed on the handles, as Thaddeus and Mirabelle staggered onto his back. I was the last to arrive: very exhausted, somewhat embarrassed, but happy Estelle proved she was anything but disabled.

The Delivery

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

The seaplane descended towards the lake with deliberate intent, like a hawk hunting a mouse in a field. The floats hit and skidded across the water, leaving a wake no higher than most power boats.

The propeller came to rest, and a canoe with two paddlers approached the plane. A woman stepped out of the pilot door, and handed packages down to the canoe.

The rear paddler waved, and the woman waved back before stepping back into the plane. The canoe paddled away, much slower than it had approached earlier. Before they reached shore, the propeller twirled back into life.

Yes! My entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers is exactly 100 words!

The Adapter

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

We thought our plan was foolproof.

After connecting to the province’s electrical grid, we would absorb enough energy into our capacitor to power our crippled spacecraft, and return home.

To convert the electricity into an energy we could use, we created three connectors, each adapting separate electromagnetic frequencies into the capacitor.

We tested the adapter, and ran our plan through thousands of scenarios on our computer, which calculated a 99% chance of success.

But the province’s grid failed under the stress of our power draw. We had to abandon the mission, leaving the adapter behind to remind us of our folly.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest, where the challenge is to write a complete story of 100 words or less based on a photo prompt.

The Last Night

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

My manager did well, booking me here. Unlike most joints where I’ve done my routine, the marquee here looks professional — bold letters against a white background free of holes and dead lights. Many stand-ups would consider performing at a place like this a sign of their arrival.

But for me, this is the end. After too many years pursuing what had been a dream, I’ve woken up into a nightmare of disappointment. Working at my cousin’s insurance agency may not be fulfilling, but it will pay the bills.

One last performance, then on to a world without punch lines.