One by one the lights of the city block winked out, the dark coming ever closer. Do the insect sounds seem louder, you think so as a shroud of anxiety settles over you, bringing worry, it’s happening, you tried to tell them, no one would listen.
A cell pings, a text, but you can’t find it, you ask Alexa for help… “Find my phone!”
It’s Sylvia… Is this what you meant, are they here? The lab lost power, generator not working.
An overwhelming sense of loss takes over you as you find your SIG320, making sure it’s loaded.
One by one the lights of the city block winked out, the dark coming ever closer.
Dylan Hughes first line and the photo immediately spoke to me and I combined the two to write this 100 word flash fiction. Click the Frog to read the other First Line Friday Stories…
Kristy, looking to embalm the air,
chose a sandalwood fragrance,
knowing it would please him.
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Love a good flash fiction prompt, this is what I got, Kristiana.
Thank you the freeversererevolution inspiration.
Edwinna glared through her veil, watching the endless line filing by the casket containing her husband’s worthless body.
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Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT#172 Write a story or poem with just 18 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
The Fifteen Mile House
But first, since Friday Fictioneers is all about fiction, I’ve asked Ula Grace if I could use the play she wrote about this house. For those who have followed my blog, they may remember that Ula was Tedbook’s Foreign Correspondent for many years. Now she is a student at Rutgers University (an honor student I might add… that’s what grandparents do) and in her living room, on their hearth, there is a ball and chain from Folsom Prison, she wanted to know all about the history. Here is the story she wrote for a creative writing class. I know it’s over 100 words, live with it…
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Prison Break… by Ula Grace
California, late 1880s. The barn at the Fifteen Mile House, not far from Folsom State Prison. A convict is attempting to saw through the chain holding the ball to the shackle around his ankle. He is wearing black and white prison stripes.
Whilhelmina Deterding walks into the barn. He doesn’t see her.
Convict: (muttering) Almost there, almost there…
Wilhelmina gasps and hides
Convict: (breaking through the metal) Finally!
He turns around and sees her
Convict: (still holding saw) Don’t scream. I won’t hurt you if you cooperate. I’m gonna need new clothes. You’re gonna find ‘em for me.
Wilhelmina: (pointing to the door of the tool shed) Th-there should be some clothes in there.
Convict: Go git ‘em for me.
Wilhelmina walks to the door of the shed. The convict follows behind. She reaches in and pulls out a pair of coveralls and a coat
Wilhelmina: (quietly) Are you from Folsom? How did you escape the chain gang?
Convict: (taking off his uniform) It’s better if you don’t know.
Wilhelmina averts her eyes as he strips and puts on the coveralls, leaving the striped uniform on the ground next to his shackle
Convict: I’m gonna leave now. Yer not to make a sound or a fuss til I do. Nor leave this barn til ten minutes after I leave, ya hear?
Wilhelmina: (to herself) What am I supposed to do with these prison rags…?
The Convict hears her as he leaves with the coat over his arm
Convict: (calling back) Make ‘em into a quilt or something!
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Well, Wilhelmina never did meet the prisoner in real life, but there really was one, and he did escape from Folsom Prison in the late 1800’s and cut off the chain attached to his leg to free him from the heavy ball in the barn at her ranch. He exchanged his striped uniform for a pair of coveralls and that supposedly made it’s way into a quilt she made.
The Fifteen Mile house was about 16 miles from Sacramento, California and was the second pony express stop from the city going east.
My Great-Great-Grandparents William and Wilhelmina Deterding came to this country from Germany in 1846, traveling across the plains in a covered wagon. They eventually established a ranch in 1857 near what is now the town of Folsom. They had 5 sons and 5 daughters and one of the daughters was my Great-Grandmother Matilda, she was born in that house. In addition to being a pony express stop, stage coaches would stop off there, travelers often staying overnight. Dances were held there too, judging by the ticket stubs we have.
A look at Wilhelmina and William in my sister Marja’s house today. In the center is a hair wreath she made in 1877. It would have been mine, but I made the mistake of wondering how much it might fetch on eBay within earshot of my mother.
We are fortunate to have an actual photograph of The Fifteen Mile House, and when I took a snap with my cell it took on an eerie appearance due to the reflection in the glass. “Perfect for Friday Fictioneers!”
Presently, across from this historical marker, a Costco stands in place of the old house.
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If you would like to read another story by a then 14 year old Ula Grace… Best Friends
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This week Rochelle choose my photo for the Friday Fictioneers writing prompt… always an honor. To read all the stories this old house prompted, click on the frog…
In the basement of a three flat walkup in Wicker Park…
“I don’t know why you are tossing perfectly good hair curlers, Cheryl.”
“I’ve got no further use for these, Ethel, that’s why.”
“Look at this macrame pot hanger, why aren’t you using it.”
“I hate it.”
“I love this old chair, what’s wrong with this.”
“It’s broken and I’ve got a new chair, you know that.”
“Love these decorations.”
“Ethel, you’re supposed to be helping me take this stuff out to the curb. If you love it so much take it home.”
“I don’t want your junk, Cheryl.”
The prompt I used was… I’ve got no further use for these. The other two were… writing is like sex and courage is a weapon. Knock yourself if you want to write some flash fiction.
Here is what I got in 25 mins or less, as directed by tnkerr. As with almost all Ethel & Cheryl stories… 100 words exactly.
Thought I’d also share this one with AnythingGoes!
“Hi Cheryl, I’ve got some bread, it’s going to be a peristeronic kind of day!”
“Oh. boy, where’d you get this one?”
“What do you mean?”
“Your word of the day, Ethel. Merriam-Webster, or that Google one?”
“Sammi Cox, she’s that writer I like.”
“You could’ve just said, let’s feed some pigeons.”
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Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT#168? Write a story or poem with just 53 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
“Mommy, why would they call a man a penguin?”
“Where did you hear that, Sally?”
“I was watching TV and they showed a guy with a number eighty-seven on him and said he was a penguin.”
“Were you watching sports? What were they doing?”
“I guess, it was a bunch of guys skating around and fighting. They said he was the best.”
“Oh, that was ice hockey. I think the team in Pittsburgh is called the Penguins. Did you know your Aunt Betty loves to watch hockey. She likes the team in Detroit, so you can call her a Redwing.”
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My prompt today is one of my BFFs who loves to watch Ice Hockey and root for her favorite team… it is not the Penguins.
“Sally! Come here this instant!!!”
“Don’t you think you’re being a little overly dramatic, Dear? What’s she done now?”
“You know what she’s done, Mother. Look at this mess, she let Bobby get into the finger paints. I told her to keep them away from him, and she left them laying out. Where is that girl?”
“Maybe you should talk to Bobby?”
“You know Bobby doesn’t understand things.”
“Maybe if you spent more time with him, showed him how to finger paint, he wouldn’t make a mess.”
“Easier to yell at Sally.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I truly am.”
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Trip to Dick Blick’s
“Exciting news, Cheryl!”
“Well, hi to you too, Ethel.”
“Sorry, I know you like me to say hello first, but I’ve got big news.”
“You always seem to have big news. Spill it.”
“Kristi has accepted me into her class.”
“Okay. Who’s Kristi?”
“The painter you liked. You know I love her paintings and how I’ve always wanted to do watercoloring.”
“Is this that crazy one at the Bucktown crafts fair?”
“Yes, and she teaches classes. I’m accepted!”
“How much to get accepted?”
“Only $45 a class. I’ve a list, come to Dick Blicks with me
“Okay, Blicks is always fun.”
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I don’t think I need to give credit to the photo prompt this week, anyone knowing Rochelle Wisoff-Fields will know why. Be sure to read her story and the accompanying link for a fascinating look at a painter’s too short life.
To read more stories by Friday Fictioneers writers click the frog above. This week I stole him from my neighbor to the north Delectable Dale (I’ve never figured out how to add a link to an image so I have to ‘borrow’) She has a good story too.
Near the end of the Zoom class, Sadie took a sip of her white zin and said to her friends, ” I don’t know what to do with this assignment.”
“What is it?”
I’ve gotta write a flash fiction using the word Hinterland, no idea what that means.”
“You’ve a dictionary, right?”
“Oh for God’s sake, Beth, ask Alexa, Sadie.”
“No Google it,” chimed in Marcie.
“No, no ask Siri.”
“Please, Donna, Siri doesn’t know everything.”
“I think maybe a movie,” offered Betty.
“Sammi’s here, I’ll ask her.”
Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT#166? Write a story or poem with just 87 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
Aaron leaves the new flowers for Sara and takes the old ones back home.
In a back room, his favorite framed photograph of her attached to the door, he leaves last week’s flowers inside, it is getting harder to shut the door, he thinks he may need to start another room soon as this one is getting full, it would be the third room, so long ago she left, now he only counts years, at first it was hours, then days, he hopes he does not have much time left, but then he always thinks that on flower day.
Aaron heads outside to tend to his rose garden.
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When I saw this photo prompt chosen by Nekneeraj for MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #323 it immediately made me think of one of my favorite art pieces and a story began to form.
Rose Window is an encaustic painting by Friday Harbor artist Fiona Small. I saw it at an art show, in 2012, and immediately bought it before anyone else could. I liked that she made the frame also, and have always put a few of my miniature roses on the ledge. They dry up and fall out over time. Lots of roses in bloom now, I will have to pick some new ones for my Rose Window.
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