It was a beautiful day on the beach by the village. The children could run out the door of their homes and reach the sand and sea in moments. Tourists who rented homes here and there could be spotted lazing in the warm sun. The setting was an idyllic as one can imagine.
The small boy and his dog walked along the streets of the village that day. He was doing errands for his mother. The dog, normally so well-behaved, kept running circles around him with a low growl in his throat. The boy couldn’t imagine what was wrong.
It seemed that the growl from the dog got louder. The boy felt the earth shaking. He’d felt this before. He knew it was an earthquake. The shake was a big one, but the damage to the village didn’t look severe. The growling didn’t stop.
Someone shouted that there was a tsunami warning. The boy climbed up onto the roof of a shed and hoisted his dog up with him. They were hit by a wall of water. When it subsided, they were mostly alone, saved by the growling. Only a few others remained.
Thanks to Susan at Sunday Photo Fiction and to Anurag Bakhshi for the photo prompt.
Richard looked at the steering wheel in his hands and felt fear.
He drove fast. He had to get away, but he reflected on his surroundings. He had always loved this highway with its view of the ocean. Now it was a place where he felt trepidation.
Richard kept looking in his rear view mirror. He saw something in the distance. He recognized Arnold’s car. Arnold was a vengeful coward with a fragile ego and muscles the size of softballs.
Arnold was a sociopath. A mean, whisky drinking liar who tried to con everyone he knew. His friends saw him as a fun, nice man, but he wasn’t.
Arnold was behind him now, swerving and trying to run him off the road. Richard knew he might as well pull over. He got out of the car.
Arnold bellowed, “You owe me money. Time to pay up!”
Richard could tell he was drunk. Arnold came running at him, swinging his fists. Richard was ready for him, standing at the side of the road. As Arnold reached him, swinging and yelling, Richard stepped aside. He stepped the wrong way. Right over the edge of the cliff. Arnold ran right into Richard’s car.
*Thanks to Susan and Anurag Bakhshi for photo prompt!
All the children worked in the garden. It was hard, back-breaking work, especially since the crows had descended, picking everything clean. When Abigail’s brothers talked to their father, the farmer, about the crow problem, he discussed possible solutions with them. When Abigail mentioned it to her father, she felt the back of his hand and heard him say that she was just lazy.
”It isn’t fair,” Abigail said to Frank, her oldest brother. “He talks to you like you’re a human being. To him, I’m just a slave.” Frank just laughed and told her she was just a girl. Abigail had heard that all of her life. She worked as hard as any boy or man.
They had tried a scarecrow in the garden. A pitiful, spindly thing that wouldn’t scare anything away. Abigail knew that scarecrows worked in the neighbors’ gardens. She went to work building a female scarecrow with all the accoutrements.
Her father and brothers laughed at her creation. They said she wouldn’t work. That Abigail was stupid.
Suddenly, their problem with the crows stopped. Abigail’s scarecrow was scaring them away. Her father didn’t acknowledge her, but looked at her with a new respect in his eyes.
*In remembrance of Aretha Franklin. When I first heard this song, it was likely the first time I’d ever heard the word “respect” associated with women. She had an effect on an entire generation.
*Thanks to sundayphotofictioner for the great prompt and to Anurag Bakhshi for the photo prompt.
It was 1943 and World War II was raging. His Destroyer Escort had docked in New York City after a long stint in the Atlantic. She was a girl from Appalachia who had left home for the first time. She had traveled on the train to the City to meet him, her new husband, when his ship docked. They had three weeks together to look forward to. He had rented a tiny apartment.
It was her first time out of the hills of Kentucky. The bright lights of the City astonished her. Her husband and his Navy buddies pooled their money and decided to treat their wives, who had spent months not knowing if they were dead or alive. They bought tickets to see The Rockettes.
She thought the show was the best she’d ever seen. Afterwards, clutching her new husband’s hand, they all went to a club and danced the jitterbug. She was star struck.
They knew their happiness was fleeting. The ship would soon pull out again to go back to war. They returned to their apartment and made the most of their time together, knowing it might never happen again.
Thanks to Susan and #sundayphotofictioners for the prompt!
Photo credit to Susan Spaulding
They couldn’t keep the homeless out of the old house. They weren’t really the homeless, but the hobos. Those who were homeless on purpose. They seemed to like to congregate in the old house for a night, a few days, a year. No one seemed to know why the hobos were determined to squat in the old house, but they knew they weren’t inclined to leave.
Her husband was selling the house and property. She wasn’t in favor of the sale. It was all she had of her family’s legacy to her. They argued about it, but he wanted to sell it to a buyer who would renovate it. She wanted to renovate it herself, but that seemed out of the question. He wasn’t having much luck.
The hobos wondered who left the food every morning. It was there when they awakened. A veritable feast. Why would they leave the old house when they had manna from heaven? A man kept bringing people to see the house and they had to scatter. They left the house in poor condition, hoping no one would buy it.
That was why she did it and it was working.
Photo Credit C.E. Ayr
She had been summoned to her family home in the forest. Only her mother lived there now. She hadn’t seen her in over twenty years. There had been a falling out between she, her mother, and her sisters.
She stumbled up the plank path to the door of the house. She was frightened, not knowing what she might find. She opened the door and walked in.
Her mother was sitting in the living room. Beside her was a suitcase and surrounding her was all the family valuables and heirlooms. Furniture, silver, gold bars, stacks of money and more. When she saw her, she stood up and cackled, sweeping her arm around as if showing her the bounty. Her eyes looked wild. Then she picked up the suitcase and walked out without a word of explanation.
She walked over to all the heirlooms her mother had gathered and she noticed a note tied to one of them. The note said that it was all her’s and her sister’s. It further said, “Ruth, I would rather have had you for these twenty some years than all the money in the world. How I wish you had known that.”
PHOTO CREDIT TO MIKE VOR
The boys loved it when the city park was closed. The fence was easy to climb. They hid the car they had “borrowed,” waited until no one was around and scrambled over the fence, pitching their dads’ rifles down to each other.
They were each 14 and knew where their dads’ kept the keys to the gun cases. There were deer that grazed in the trees in the park. They used them for target practice. Their parents were busy. They never knew the boys, or the guns, were gone.
They ran for the cover of the trees and decided to spread out. One of the boys ran to another tree about 100 yards away. The rifles had scopes. They were both poised to shoot a deer. One of the boys saw movement in the brush and fired. He heard a noise and knew he had hit something.
He had hit his friend who was motionless on the ground. The boy kneeled beside him. All he could think of was how mad his parents were going to be. They would take away his phone and his privileges. He wouldn’t get to play soccer. He might as well go home and face the music.
Photo Credit Sasha Darlington
The nursing home was like new and the two ladies were old. They had come to see their sister. They were triplets and the nursing home had only been remodeled in places. When they looked down at the old brick floor, they twittered to each other that it was not only old but dirty. They thought their sister was in a nicer place. The bright young lady behind the desk directed them down a hall to the left when they gave her their sister’s name. Halls ran off the dank lobby in every direction.
Huddling together, they turned and walked down the hall. The young lady had said Pearl was near the end of the hall. They noticed the doors had no names on them and wondered how they would know which door she was behind. They paused where there were only four doors left although one door seemed to go to the outside.
One of the sisters didn’t know what to do but call out, “Pearl?”
She called out louder, “Pearl, answer me!”
The door at the end of the hall was flung open and there was Pearl.
”Catch me if you can,” she answered the call.
Photo Prompt by J Hardy Carroll
”Daddy, what are those whirly things sticking up toward the sky?”
”Daniel, those are a new kind of antenna to listen for signs of life on other planets.”
”You mean like when you found life on Mars, Daddy?”
Daniel was twelve years old and his Daddy was an astronomer at the U.S. facility in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was 2030 and they had just finished transporting people to a facility they built on Mars after receiving permission from a small colony of Martians they discovered.
”Remember what I explained to you, Daniel? See the funny color of the sky? Our air will not be breathable very soon. We’re trying to transport the people of the Earth to other planets. Mars can’t hold them all. Here are the listening devices that go with the antennas. Do you want to listen?
Daniel placed a set of ear buds in his ears. He watched the display. He heard a screech and jerked the buds out as he called his Daddy over.
“I just heard a loud noise.”
Daniel’s dad grabbed the ear buds and started looking at the data. A planet was trying to contact them!
It was a working class neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. For the news media, it was made to look as if it were 1950’s America. Neat rowhouses indicative of northern cities, with mudrooms in front and widow’s walks. Coach lights. The snow was heavy that winter and you even saw the tracks of cars. Fortunately, for The Autocrats, the snow covered up how rundown those rowhouses were getting. He wondered, peering out the window through the draperies, if the news media realized there were no cars parked along the street or in the driveways. Those car tracks were made by The Autocrats’ cars. The news media had been brought there to see and report how normal everything was since The Autocrats had taken over. They had imposed a news blackout in the areas they had overtaken earlier in 2019.
The people had been warned to stay inside their homes. The Autocrats had allowed a few to be out walking, but only if they were white and known sympathizers. There weren’t many mixed race people left in decent places anymore. He had heard they had all been herded to ghetto-like neighborhoods. But, you couldn’t believe the news allowed on television by The Autocrats. The rumors were that their DNA had been tested and they had been sent to the areas of the world from which their ancestors came to America. The Autocrats were gradually asking for DNA from everyone.
There had initially been protests by the people when The Autocrats troops arrived. They were quickly extinguished with guns with real bullets. Tens of thousands of citizens of the city were murdered in the streets. The Autocrats, he’d heard, were living in Washington, DC now. Not yet in the White House, but he figured it was only a matter of time.
Able-bodied men were put to work in ammunitions factories. Women were employed in either sewing factories or were made to cook and sell food. Any other type of commerce was gradually shut down.
The news media were furiously scribbling in their journals. Cameras had apparently not been allowed. They had disembarked from cars in front of his house.
Suddenly, a journalist turned and saw the fence. By the direction of the overhang, he could tell it was meant to keep people out. He ran over to it and called out to the others in the media. One of them grabbed a fence pole and was immediately electrocuted. Some of the media pulled out tiny cameras and started taking pictures of the fence and their fallen colleagues.
The Autocrat’s guards jumped out of their cars and killed them all on the street. He could barely see for the tears in his eyes. He mourned for them and his country.