“Why is the stupid door pink instead of red,” Katrina mumbled to herself. She had just rented a room in the famous red light district in Amsterdam. An American girl in Amsterdam. No money, no way to get home, no job. It was just sex. She scratched a smiley face on the door and went inside.
It wasn’t bad. There were new linens. She had heard that putting a bowl of pasta puttanesca out drew in clients. A knock at the door. Her first client. He took one look at her and said, “Let me help you get home.”
They docked off Grand Cayman Island. Dave and his wife were going on a day trip to the island on the little ferry. Dave had business there. Maria was looking forward to the shopping on the island. Dave knew he would be able to slip away from her for a few moments while she shopped. Dave picked up his backpack. No one would ever know about the large amount of money in it or the money laundering scheme. He had already managed to get it through customs by hiding it.Now to hook up with his contact.
Dave worked for a gangster who was a crime boss. He’d asked Dave to take some drug money to the Cayman’s and give it to his contact.
Dave sent Maria off to shop and sat down on a bench to wait, backpack by his side as instructed. A woman came along and casually picked it up. Dave was relieved.
When he got back to New York, the crime boss called him in and asked him what happened. The contact had not picked up the money. Dave tried to explain it must have been stolen. Wham! The bodyguard broke both of his knees.
She spotted the old Gothic tower as she went to the bed and breakfast on the tour bus. She was determined to visit the tower, located right outside the small village. After lunch, she walked the mile or so back to the tower, climbing the ancient stone steps.
She gazed at the tower, watching the ravens fly around it. Ravens were often associated with death and bad luck. She wasn’t afraid. She approached the tower. The ravens squawked at her, a cacophony of noise. The tower was compelling. She ignored them and kept walking.
She reached the door of the tower. The door was hard to open. There was a sign saying, “Keep Out.” She pulled open the door and stepped inside. There was a brilliant light and she saw the most beautiful art on the walls. The inside looked so large compared to the outside.
When the tour bus left the next morning, they were missing one woman. The tour guide tried to find her. She was never seen again.
“Carol, I’m frightened.”
”Tell me what’s wrong.”
”Look at this photo of him holding the bird up to the camera. There is research that shows that people who abuse animals also abuse children and adults.”
”Deb, do you think he’s hurting the bird?”
”I’m not sure, Carol. I am sure the bird isn’t happy being held in that kind of position.”
Deb had been married only a short time. When she went home that night, she went to the bird cage. Hank pushed her away and grabbed the bird. He threw it to the floor.
“There,” he said. “Stupid bird.”
Photo Credit to Douglas M. Macllroy
When they were children, they would lie on the bank of the river and watch the barges and boats as they passed by. It was a game to count them. A way to fill their lonely existence at home. They only had each other as playmates.
As teenagers, they started feeling romantic feelings for each other as they watched those boats pass by. They held hands. They chased each other along trails by the river. They pitched a tent and spent the night by the river, but in separate sleeping bags. They listened to the lonely horns of the boats sound their song.
Finally, they parted. She was older and went off to college. He missed her, but there was nothing he could do. It was many years before they saw each other again. When they did, at her mother’s funeral, the old magic was still there.
They walked back down to the river after the funeral. She didn’t know he’d thought of her every day. They clasped hands, heard the horns, and knew.
Photo Credit to Barb CT
Granny Atkins sat, hidden in the shadows, on the porch of the old house looking at what used to be a busy street in her hometown of Littleton, West Virginia. Drug addiction had killed this town. Littleton wasn’t even a town anymore. It was a death trap. Only a few people her age remained here. The rest had fled or died off. Her generation had worked on the gas wells, but they weren’t pumping much anymore. There was no work.
All that remained were a few families trying to raise some children. They didn’t have any money to move away. The teachers taught drug awareness classes in the only remaining school, but when the heroin came to town, it didn’t matter. The kids used it anyway. They got crazy, burned buildings, and overdosed.
Littleton was a ghost town now. Soon, she would be a ghost too.
Little Dude in Rehab
In 1936, Mrs. Owen, the teacher in the Bratton Branch one-room schoolhouse, asked her students to write the three things in their notebooks they felt they had learned during their time there that would serve them best in life.
Fern wrote, “I learned to have humility, gratitude, and patience. I think these three virtues will serve me best in life.”
She graduated with perfect grades later that week.
A small crowd of protestors formed in a midwestern town in the U.S. They were taking a chance of being arrested by the roaming police of the U.S. government.
“Aaron, I’m terrified that we’re actually doing this,” Mandy said.
Aaron replied, “We have to be brave or we will never get our freedom back.”
The crowd was protesting the discontinued social programs, particularly those that provided them food and medical attention. The President had all social programs abolished in 2017. Since then, the disabled and the elderly people in their community had suffered and many had died.
Now it was 2019. There were few jobs. People tried to farm, but the change in the climate made it almost impossible. Aaron had organized this small protest.
A young girl was carrying a sign that said, “Love.”
They heard the police before they saw them marching in. They stood their ground. The police began the carnage by knocking the sign out of the young girl’s hands.
Photo credit to Elaine Farrington Johnson
Jack lived in a quiet, wooded subdivision outside of town. The lots were large. Lots of privacy. Jack and his friend, Charles, liked to hunt. They said it was for fun. Everyone knew it was because they enjoyed the kill.
Jack and Charles didn’t think they had to go far to kill a deer. There were many all around Jack’s home. Jack set up a tree stand and baited the deer. Every year, he shot at least one right in his yard, in the midst of the subdivision.
Jack and Charles hunted other animals as well. There was a family of red foxes that lived in the subdivision. They were sly and crafty. Even though the men tried to lure them out to shoot them, they were smarter than the hunters. They never shot a red fox.
One year, Jack took his deer to the taxidermist. To his surprise, there sat a red fox, ready to be picked up. As Jack left the shop, he could have sworn he saw that fox move. He turned around to leave. The last thing he felt were the teeth of the fox sink into the back of his neck.
Sunday Photo Fiction
Photo Courtesy Natural History Museum of London
She took a walk that hot, sweltering day, taking her puppy who was learning to walk on a leash. She lived in the country and the road in front of her house was deserted. A day could pass, hours would go by with no traffic coming or going. She thinks that her sneaker caught on broken asphalt and down she went. She was walking too fast. For some reason, she couldn’t get up. Hours passed. Her puppy laid down beside her. She raised her hand in desperation, hoping someone would see it above the weeds.