MFtS: The Medium

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

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Photo prompt – © 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

The Medium

The only residents remaining in the small town of Miners Hill are spirits.

David can sense them, frissons of chill on the edge of his awareness, but still they fail to approach. No voices echo through the veil. Silence reigns.

The spirits used to speak so clearly, passing on messages for their loved ones. He’d built a career on it – with their constant clamour he could do little else.

But then they’d stopped.

After several days without communication he’d attempted to regain contact: only to fail, no matter what he tried. Whispers of ‘guesswork’ and ‘fraud’ began circulating as he struggled to keep business running, touching nerves as never before – but then, such whispers had never before been true.

Visiting Miners Hill was a last resort. Previously the cacophony of voices vying for his attention in such a place might have driven him to madness. Now he just longed to hear them again.

It was hard to remember how he’d begged for quiet.

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MFtS: Oracle

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt: © Barabra Beacham

Photo Prompt: © Barabra W. Beacham

Oracle
Genre: Fantasy

Arriving at the beach, she reflected on her life.

Many years had passed since she’d arrival on the island, delivered by the tribe’s elders to take her place as oracle. She’d neither asked nor wished to be Chosen but she’d done her duty as expected.

She gazed absently at the approaching boat, remembering that long ago day.

She’d expected to be lonely, to be overwhelmed by responsibility but her fears had soon been eased. Leala had met her upon the shore with a merry smile on her aged face, ready to pass on a lifetime’s wisdom. The next ten years spent under the old oracle’s gentle supervision had been the happiest of her life

On the day the gods summoned Leala’s tired spirit home she’d taken on her role, determined to do her mentor proud.

The boat arrived at the beach and she smiled at the nervous girl who disembarked. Now it was her turn to train a successor.

Word Count: 150


This story is a companion piece to one I wrote for PJs flash fiction challenge a few week’s ago, The Weight of Tradition – though you don’t have to have read that to understand this. For anyone who has read that one, I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the woman on the beach or the woman arriving is Jinetra.

For a while today I thought I wasn’t going to manage to post anything. This morning I had to attend a meeting that I was told would last an hour. It ended up being over four hours long! By the time I got away I had a raging headache and wasn’t really able to think creatively. All I could do was lie down in a dark room for a few hours. This evening I’m going to the cinema to see the new Avengers film so I knew I wouldn’t be able to write tonight. Luckily I’d had this idea and it didn’t take too long to write – though usually I’d spend more time polishing it before posting.

Because I’m out tonight I won’t have time to do the rounds of anyone else’s posts this evening but I’ll try to make it onto everyone’s tomorrow.

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MFtS: Memories of Orchids

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt : © Barbara Beacham

Photo Prompt: © Barbara W Beacham

Memories of Orchids

“Are you laughing at me?”

“No…”

Connie glared at her brother-in-law. “It isn’t funny, Johnny – you have to help!”

“He’s your husband, Connie. You’ll think of something.”

“Anything he wants, he buys!”

“You could get him a plant – an orchid, maybe.”

Connie shuddered. “Ugh. No. Besides-” She broke off as her phone rang, her sister’s number flashing. “Hey, Lils,” she answered.

“Hello, Connie.” That wasn’t Lily’s voice.

“Avery…?”

Memories of the life she’d fled six years earlier swamped her: the cramped apartment with the sickly scent of orchids; Avery’s fits of violence; the increasingly illegal moneymaking schemes.

“I want a million pounds by tomorrow or she dies.” The call ended.

“What’s wrong?” Johnny asked.

Her hands shook. She’d never talked about her past before. She didn’t want to now but every shameful detail cascaded out. “William will hate me.”

“Not if he doesn’t know.” Johnny’s eyes narrowed. “Now this I can help with.”

Word Count: 150


The story is a part of the series begun with Blameless and continued in The Pizza delivery. I did say I’d write some more of it when inspiration struck. Chronologically it falls after The Pizza Delivery but before Blameless. Hopefully that’s not too confusing. 🙂 I’m also hoping it stands alone for those of you who don’t feel like reading the other parts, though I’m not entirely sure I succeeded with that one.

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MFtS: Payment

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt - Copyright Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt – Copyright Barbara W. Beacham

Payment

Once upon a time in a land far, far away...”

Aodhan listened from the shadows as the storyteller began weaving his tale: a tangled web of deceit, treachery and murder. Not that he needed to hear the words. As much as he tried to forget, he remembered the events as if they’d occurred only yesterday. After all, they had been neither as long ago nor as far away as the storyteller would have his audience believe.

The lake had turned red that day, stained with the blood of innocents. Thirty-nine lives had been taken as payment and in return the spirit Uzaroth had granted his plaintiff the strength to claim the throne.

For forty years Aodhan had ruled, unchallenged, his rivals dead or lost without trace. Everything he desired had been his. But he had always known that someday Uzaroth would return to collect his final payment.

As he looked at the storyteller, he knew that day had finally come.

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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MFtS: The Pizza Delivery

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

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Photo Prompt – copyright Barbara Beacham

The Pizza Delivery

“Pizza anyone?”

Lily scowled as a grinning Bristol climbed into the driver’s seat. His ruse had been her undoing.

Her guard had lowered after months of safety but seeing his face instead of the pizza delivery boy’s had reignited her instincts. She’d slammed the door and thrown the locks. She’d known this day would arrive. Her bag was packed beside the fire escape and she slung it on as she fled.

Avery awaited her at ground level.

She fought, kicking and struggling until a blow sent her reeling. By the time her senses settled she’d been bundled into the car, plastic bindings digging into her wrists.

“I hear your dear sister found a rich husband.” Avery sat close beside her. “How much will she pay for your return, hmm?”

“Ransom?” she scoffed. “The brigadier won’t let her pay anything. You’re wasting your time!”

“I disagree.”

Taking her phone, he dialed Connie’s number.

Word Count: 150


The story is set a little while before the scene in Blameless that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I said then that I’d write more of that story when I found a prompt that would work with my ideas. Well here you go! I’ve never really written any modern thriller type pieces before – the usual genres that inspire me are fantasy and historical – so I’m quite surprised that this story has captured my attention as much as it has. I have lots more ideas for future weeks. I hope you like it.

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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Monday’s Finish the Story: Incentive

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt - copyright Barbara W. Beacham

Photo Prompt – copyright Barbara W. Beacham

Incentive

“When the team heard the dam explode, they knew they had limited time to make it to safety.”

“We’ll need to take the black route,” Charley shouted over the roaring water as she guided the raft. “That’s the only way we’ll make it off the river in time!”

Adrenaline surged as they faced the rapids with fierce determination, hearts pounding as they pirouetted around obstacles and flew over each fall. Speed was their key objective.

Reaching the course’s end they scrambled to safety and waited for the wall of water.

And waited.

As minutes ticked past suspicious eyes turned on their guide.

Charley met their glares with an unruffled grin. She’d known they were capable of the harder route but were unwilling to test their limits – they just needed an added incentive. The speakers hidden along the river bank were rigged to provide a soundtrack of explosion and roaring floodwater to their ride. The thrill was worth the deception.

She shrugged. “Can you say it wasn’t fun?”

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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Monday’s Finish the Story: Blameless

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

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 Blameless

A body suddenly crashed through a plate glass window at the brigadier’s house.

Johnny sprawled amidst shattered glass as Brigadier William Coles stormed after him, his furious gaze locked on his brother.

Connie had to act – she couldn’t let the younger man take the blame. She stood in her husband’s path.

“Move.” He barely looked at her.

“It wasn’t him,” she confessed and waited for his eyes to shift. “I took the money. He was just helping me out.”

His expression shifted from fury, through confusion and disbelief, landing finally in dark anger and a disgust that burned. She’d always dreaded such a look being directed at her. It was inevitable her past would someday come back to haunt her.

“Am I supposed to say ‘thank you’ for that?”

Johnny brushed glass from his clothes as he rose. “That would be nice,” he said, “and ow!

“What the Hell’s going on, Connie?”

She had to tell him. “They’ve got my sister, William.”

Word Count: 150

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To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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Monday’s Finish the Story: Breaking News

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

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“On March 9th, 2015, three objects were reportedly seen in the skies over the Borracho Todos los Tiempos Vineyards.”

Sasha’s disgust as the story passed to their reporter was obvious; her explosion as the cameras stopped rolling was no surprise.

“What is he thinking?” she snapped.

“It’s an interesting-”

“Interesting? UFOs? This news-station was respectable once. Credible. Since Parnell took over it’s gone to the dogs.”

“Or to the little green men.” As her co-anchor Jimmy was familiar with Sasha’s high-strung ways. He flashed his trademark smile. “This could be the alien invasion, the big breaking story.”

“There are no UFOs, only blind, drunken idiots!”

The call of “warning” sounded and they resumed their positions with practised ease. As she discussed events with their reporter Sasha’s scepticism remained clear.

Jimmy hid his smile.

The alien invasion was not only just beginning. His people had been insinuating themselves into influential positions for decades. Sasha’s unwitting assistance in discrediting revealing news articles simply made his and Parnell’s job much easier.

Word Count: 150

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If you want to read any other entries, or add your own, go here.

Monday’s Finish the Story: Frame-bound

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

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Little did they know when the photographer took their picture that they would find themselves trapped in a painting.

It was a strange experience. There was a flash of light and everything shifted. Time slowed; sight skewed to oscillating patterns of light and dark; the sound of music became muffled. Confusion reigned.

A voice steadily chanted.

Later, existence coalesced in the strokes of a paintbrush.

Within the frame of the painting they found they could move and talk, look and listen. And create their music.

“This was the only way to save you,” a soft voice, a familiar voice, whispered. Aaliyah: sister, lover, friend respectively, stroked fingers against canvas. “The boat burned – just as I saw in my vision. This way you, and your music will live forever.”

Time passed – days, years, decades dragging interminably on. They watched Aaliyah age, hair fading, skin sagging. The bounds of the frame became like prison bars. Tempers flared and friendships shattered.

“Set us free,” they begged.

Aaliyah breathed her final words.

Word Count: 150

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If you want to read any other entries, or add your own, go here.

Monday’s Finish the Story: Fisherman’s Friend

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

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Dropping her line into Fool’s Lake, she patiently waited for something to bite.

Rina thought the analogy amusingly accurate. She’d frequently heard women here say: ‘There’s plenty more fish in the sea.’ Also, the place’s pervasive atmosphere felt as thick as water. It was thoroughly unpleasant, but she had a job to do.

She and her sisters had conducted their research before their mission. Men, they’d learned, liked to fish, and competition from other females was minimal when they were doing so.  With the comely curves and come-hither eyes she’d assumed for her task, one would surely take the bait.

Later, he would be the one transformed. Her people needed males. The species of origin didn’t matter – it was easy to give them beautiful scales and tentacles. It wasn’t all that much harder to alter their DNA. After all, they had to reproduce; they didn’t want them to genetically dominate.

“Hey there.”

Xlarina of the planet Zinith smiled as the bait was taken.

Word Count: 150

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If you want to read any other entries, or add your own, go here.