Good Book – Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: Randy Mazie

Good Book

Marcus thrust BlazeBlood into the heart of the dragon. The mighty beast burst into flame and perished. The Lady Amnebon was safe.


Marcus awoke sitting on the floor. A book sat in his lap from the library shelf. He turned slowly, readjusting to a different reality.

“Me worried sick you wit’ deh gangs,” said his mother in her Nigerian accent. She sighed. “You here all day?”

“Yeah Mom.” He closed the book Grandpa had showed him.

She smiled. “Good book?” she asked, taking his hand.

“Great!” Marcus surreptitiously flicked a piece of burnt dragon scale off his shoulder. “Took me to another place.”
Each week, the Friday Fictioneers enter a tiny nook in the back of an undisclosed library location. There, we travel to the distant lands to battle fiery dragons, tentacled aliens, and the evil predatory hamsters of Gan’ye’Floristan. Okay, actually that is pure fantasy…the library location isn’t hidden at all. ;) Look here for more flash fiction stories based upon the photo above:

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Dance Instruction – Mondays Finish The Story

Dance Instruction

“Dance as if no one is watching!” they always said, but Renee never found the knack for it. After she tripped again, Gabriel said, “I’m tired, Hon. Let’s just listen.” They both loved Stan Getz, but Renee knew the former competitive dancer loved dancing more. She dearly wished she could dance.

One morning, she pointed out their wax dancer to Gabriel. “Isn’t it in a different pose than yesterday?”

Gabriel just sighed and kissed her before leaving for work. After he left, the wax figurine began to move. At first she was terrified, mostly that she was losing her mind. Days went by and she relaxed. It danced constantly, never doing anything harmful. Weeks followed and she began trying to mimic its moves, terribly at first, but the figurine was patient.

A month later, she spun into his arms, and Gabriel grinned with pleasure as they swayed perfectly together.

She smiled at the wax figurine.

It winked back.
Author’s Notes:
Not many folks are familiar with the names Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, but if you hear their signature song you’ll likely recognize them instantly.

Each week on Monday, it’s time to finish the story. This week, the opening sentence prompt is: “Dance as if no one is watching!” The image prompt is the photo at the beginning of this post. Look here for more stories based upon the prompts:

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Madman – Sunday Photo Fiction

Photo by: Alastair Forbes


Pam yanked on her leg to pull it out of the deep mud. She was tired and dirty, but she’d been in worse situations. The difference was, it had meant something before.

“C’mon, c’mon. Hurry up!” stage whispered Ken Banacek, codename: Falcon.

“Here? Seriously?” she groused as she pushed aside some reeds.

“It’s just up ahead.”

“Yeah sure.”

A voice spoke through the communicator embedded in her jaw. “You’ve got to maintain the illusion you’re on an operation, LittleWing. He needs to see for himself.”

Pam sighed. Ever since Ken was caught in that mad scientist’s experimental ray beam, he hadn’t been himself. Apparently, he believed aliens were dropping off superscience gizmos for humans to reverse engineer. Everyone in the CIA knew he was insane. At last, his usefulness in Belarus had spent itself, and it was up to Pam to exfiltrate him. Ken insisted on one more pickup from the aliens before leaving. A CIA psychologist believed in letting the tangent happen. When nothing was there, the realization might help the madman’s rehabilitation.

Pam would rather be shot at in Pakistan than slogging through this chilly bog on a fool’s errand. “So Control, you using that coffee mug Falcon sent to you?”

“The one that heats water by itself? Never tried it. It’s sitting right here, gathering dust.”

Pam chuckled. “What about that teleportation amulet he sent to Brewster?”

“Right!” Control guffawed. “He gave it to his mom.”

“Did she like it?”

“He hasn’t seen her much. She’s been traveling to 14 countries the last six months. She’s loving her retirement. Hey, what about that tee-shirt Falcon gave you? The one that makes you invisible.”

Pam rolled her eyes. “Yeah, that one. Never wore it. Gave it to my baby sister.”

“Is she wearing it a lot?”

“Can’t say.” Pam mused. “Haven’t seen her in a long time.”

At last, Pam crouched next to Ken. He pointed to the mansion in the dim light beyond the weeds. “We’re almost there. Let’s go!” He dashed off. Pam tried to follow but her boot was stuck in the mud again. When she finally pulled herself out, she charged beyond the reeds and into a field. Ken was standing there, arms upraised.

Pam heard Control trying to contact her, but the signal was garbled. She forgot about that when she spied something shimmering above Ken, something massive. The waves of optical distortion faded and left behind a gargantuan spaceship, one kilometer long. One of the ship’s gondolas hovered just above Ken. Something dropped out and Ken caught it. An alien arm stuck out and offered a thumbs up. Ken returned the gesture.

As Pam ran towards her charge, the shimmering returned around the ship and soon it rocketed away at unfathomable speed. She arrived beside Ken in time to see him put on a strange-looking belt. It lifted him off the ground and soon he flitted around her, laughing.

At last, Control got through to her. “LittleWing. LittleWing! Are you alright?”

“I’m alright, Control,” breathed Pam.

“Is Falcon okay? What’s happening?”

“Oh, he’s flying high.”

“Just like always, that lunatic,” muttered Control. “Anything you need from us?”

“Yeah. I seriously recommend you try out your coffee cup. Then call my mom’s house and tell my little sister she’s in BIG trouble!”
Every week, aliens drop off photos of strange places at a dead drop in Kensington, UK. Actually not, but you never know, I could be using reverse-psychology on you. Or, having admitted that, maybe it’s reverse-reverse-psychology. Then again, maybe photographer Alastair Forbes offers up an original photo as a writing prompt for flash fiction. Look here for more stories based upon the photo above!:

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Zeus Grapes – Grammar Ghoul Press

Zeus Grapes

Donnie Durian smiled as he rented a shuttle at the entry port of Space Habitat Ha-37. He was anxious to see his friend, Professor Vernon Adopoulus, after many years. His anticipation didn’t stop him from enjoying the lush jungles, lakes, and streams as the shuttle flew over the habitat’s 10-kilometer wide interior. When he approached the professor’s dacha he noticed many varieties of pterosaurs, especially the large Pterodactyls. Donnie wondered once more why the Russian designer of the habitat insisted on bioengineered dinosaurs roaming free in the place. It was exotic, but it had to be dangerous too. With trepidation, he wondered if dinosaurs were related to the professor’s problems.

The old Greek kissed him on both cheeks as Donnie stepped out of the shuttle. They walked together down the entry tube to the dacha. A force field overhead allowed light, wind, and rain to pass through, but thankfully none of the man-eating pterosaurs circling over the house.

They sat on the back porch overlooking a lush valley. They enjoyed shots of Sambuca. The kalamata olives and feta cheese, produced in Vernon’s fields, tasted far better than the originals from Earth. Despite the spectacular repast, the professional side of Donnie wanted to get down to business. “This is all wonderful, Doc, but you didn’t call me here just for shots of Sambuca.”

“You’re right, but first let me show you something amazing.” He walked back into the house and returned a few minutes later. He placed a bucket full of purple berries on the table between them. In his other hand, he held up a green stalk drooping with the same berries. The plant could’ve been a grape vine except for the meter-long, barbed thorns guarding the fruit. He held it up for inspection. This is a Zeus Grape. I designed it myself in my labs.” He indicated the bucket on the table. “Try it.”

Donnie sampled one and savored the amazing flavor. It was easily the most wonderful grape he’d ever tasted.

“Now watch this,” said Vernon. He plucked a grape from the bucket and heaved it over the porch railing. It passed easily through the PassSmart® field which protected against large wildlife. The grape sailed into the air where the ground dropped steeply into the valley. A shadow appeared suddenly and 18-feet of shrieking reptile flew past to catch the grape in mid air.

Donnie’s mouth fell open.

Vernon pointed at the flock of giant pterosaurs flying overhead. “Don’t worry. They can’t get past the force field. When I engineered the Zeus Grapes, I never imagined those aerial predators would love them so much. They’re pretty fanatic about my crops. It’s why I designed these outrageous thorns for defense. Without them the Pterodactyls were eating all the grapes. Now they just wait around for the fruit to fall off naturally. It may sound crazy, but they defend my fields for me. They’ll attack anything to get at those grapes.”

Donnie opened his mouth to reply when a rich voice behind responded. “Won’t attack a Tarbosaur.”

“You know, I have installed a doorbell,” grated Vernon.

They both turned to see Hesperos “The Sicilian” Gambini. The stoutly built man, stood with arms akimbo. Two combat robots, notable by their lengthy chins stood beside him. A quick glance at Adopoulus and Donnie knew at once what the professor’s problem was. It wasn’t dinosaurs.

“Tarbosaur?” asked Donnie.

“33-foot predatory dinosaurs,” explained Hesperos. He gazed at Vernon. “Something I protect against at great expense.”

“Why do you have dinosaurs running around?” winced Donnie.

“They’re amazing creatures!” exclaimed Vernon. “Besides, because of protective fields, nobody’s died from an attack in 20 years. This protection racket…”

Donnie snatched the house control tablet from Vernon. “I expect you need a payment, yes?” he asked Hesperos.

“Every month,” grinned the Sicilian, revealing diamond encrusted teeth.

Donnie keyed the money transfer and handed the bucket of Zeus Grapes to him. “Take these grapes. They’re wonderful.”

When the Sicilian left the patio, grapes in hand, Vernon whirled on Donnie. “Are you mad? His protection is nothing but smoke. Useless! I can afford his extortion fees but most can’t. He’s bleeding people dry!”

“Uh huh,” said Donnie, tapping at the house control tablet.

“I brought you here to stop him!”

“Oh look,” muttered Donnie. “The field protecting the entry tube from Pterodactyls has failed. Right when he’s walking through it with Zeus Grapes.”

Vernon smiled and settled down with another Sambuca. “Ain’t that a crying shame?”
Author’s Notes:
Pterosaur: The Order of animals to which Pterodactyls belong:
Tarbosaur: A large theropod dinosaur. One of many kinds of Tyrannosaur:
Sambuca: A wonderful liqueur

This week at the Grammar Ghoul Press, the word prompt is: Pterodactyl. The splash image above is the image prompt. Look here for more stories:

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular

This week’s photo challenge is: Angular. I typically take nature photos so you don’t see much that’s angular there. Straight lines are most commonly the creation of people. Still, many of Humanity’s creations are quite lovely and interesting. Here are a few photos in answer to the challenge.

Chicago, Illinois.
Toronto, Canada.
Chicago, Illinois.
San Antonio, Texas
Newport Beach, California

Look here for more answers to this week’s challenge:

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Quitting – Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: Claire Fuller


Eoghan wanted to quit the gang, but Cassidy made it clear Eoghan’s family would suffer if he did. Eoghan was stuck committing robberies.

“What’s wrong?” said Cassidy from the tires outside.

Eoghan shut the garage door. “There’s a big dog there.”

“Well shoot it!”

“It ate me gun.”

“It what? Ach! Let me see.” Cassidy shoved Eoghan aside and marched in.

A moment later…

“What the…?”

Eoghan shut the door when the screams began. He said, “Did I mention it’s an 8-foot Lockheed Mark-III Military Robot Dog?”

As Cassidy’s bones snapped he said, “Oh, and I QUIT, ye feckin’ barstard!”
Author’s Notes:
No, Eoghan isn’t an alien name. It’s actually Irish, pronounced like, “Owen.”

Each week the Friday Fictioneers meet in a secret meeting garage in Dublin (maybe not), to imagine 100 words of flash fiction from an image prompt. This time a great one from Claire Fuller. This story is based upon the photo above. Look here for more stories based upon it:

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Paying Tuition Fees – Mondays Finish The Story

Photo by: Barbara W. Beacham

Paying Tuition Fees

When I rented the room, I did not think it would be this one! Worse, the one window looked out onto this tiny outhouse, fit only for dwarves. I shouldn’t complain. I could barely afford much rent with the crushing tuition fees at MIT. Luckily, the cottage had its own bathroom. It was months before I saw a tiny man dressed all in green standing beside the outhouse. He fit the size of it perfectly. Curious, I confronted him.

“Me pot o’ gold is safe? Ye never entered?” he wheezed.

“It’s too small for me.”

He began talking, and talking, and talking some more. I listened patiently. Two hours later, he said, “Ye seem a fine lad. Let me show ye somethin’.”

He walked, I crawled, inside the outhouse.

Minutes passed outside, but seven years inside, before I crawled back out in dragon-hide armor. “I never realized it was so easy,” I said.

“Aye,” said the leprechaun. “Turning lead into gold is nuthin’!”
Each monday, it’s time to finish the story. This week the start was, “When I rented the room, I did not think it would be this one!” Barbara’s great pic above was the media prompt. Look here for more stories based upon the prompts:

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