The New Sensation

Photo by: Etol Bagam

Sylvia didn’t know Sutter Keen. The musician was new to the stage. She watched him setting up on stage before the evening’s performance. His instruments were all hand-built. Each one a concoction of strings, bladders, water tubes, and bizarre machinery.

At last he touched one. The sound it made was unique. Sutter’s hands moved faster, touching each instrument. The sounds coming from him eased into her mind, tickling every corner. Amazed by the complex rhythms, she began recording the sublime performance on her phone.

She posted the recording to her Twitter account. Hits started rolling in, faster and faster. Within 30 minutes one million people were clamoring about Sutter Keen, the new sensation.

When he ceased playing, Sylvia ran up to him. “That was incredible! You’re a hit. What do you call that song?”

Sutter winced, “Ah…”

“Are you playing that again tonight?”

“I’m not sure I could duplicate it.”

Sylvia smiled. “I know you’re new, but you need to have self-confidence!”

“Yeah, but…”

“But what?”

“That wasn’t a song. I was just tuning the instruments!”
Written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers writing challenge. Look here for the original prompt:

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SpinAway No.2

Photo by: Ted Strutz

Vertanymaya watched the disc-shaped carnival ride spin. SpinAway No.2, was where he’d hidden his disc-shaped flying saucer. He knew the carnival’s slipshod maintenance crew would never look closely enough to realize a spaceship rested inside one.

It took Vertanymaya a while to find the pierzietzyn crystals in the mountains of Chile. The crystals alone could restore power to his interstellar starship. It would be a relief to the alien to get away from this backward planet.

He stopped beside the ride operator. “Good to see old SpinAway No.2.”

“No.2?” said the operator. “No, this is No.3. We sold No.2 for scrap!”
Written for the Friday Fictioneers weekly writing prompt. Photo prompt by Ted Strutz. Cool pic, Ted! Look here to see what other folks wrote:

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Rebuffed – Gargleblaster Microstories #234

Officer Ferrelli was handsome, courageous, and he’d saved them from muggers.

He was Karina’s dream. She began unbuttoning her blouse. “Let me thank you.”

Ferrelli looked past her. “Your boyfriend is right there.”

“Oh. I was dumping him tonight.”

“So, he’s available?”

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Critical Infrastructure

Photo by: Matthew WRight

The spidery alien war machine smashed through downtown. Its feet crushed cars. Its force-beam collapsed buildings and devastated the battle-tanks of the Human defenders. Suddenly, Humans withdrew from the area.

In the command center, General Nash prepared his team to launch a Thunderbolt missile. The heavyweight hyper-sonic weapon hurtled at an astounding velocity of Mach 14 before striking its target. The weapon unleashed kinetic energies equivalent to a tactical nuke, without the radiation. It could easily destroy the alien machine. Unfortunately, it could also destroy critical city infrastructure. Lieutenant Givens scanned maps to insure nothing vital would be destroyed.

“I see a hospital in the blast radius, sir,” said Givens.

“Army field hospitals can take up the slack,” said General Nash.

“There’s an orphanage here.”

“Is it evacuated?”

“Yes, sir.”

“We’ll build another one,” said Nash.

“There’s a Walmart and a McDonalds there.”

“To hell with them!” roared Nash. “Launch the Thunderbolt!”

“Wait sir!” called Givens. “Cavendish’s Ale House is one block from the alien!”

Nash glared at the young officer. “Are you having me on, Lieutenant?”

Givens looked back sheepishly. “Their Ale and their Fish & Chips are really quite extraordinary.”

General Nash turned away, growling, “Critical Infrastructure discovered! Cancel the attack!”
Author’s Notes:

Several countries, including China apparently, are already developing hyper-sonic missiles:

Written for Matthew Wright’s Mega Short-Story writing challenge. Look here for the original prompt:

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A Mighty Battle

Photo by: Barbara W. Beacham

Few knew about the castle hidden inside the island. The men in the longboat shuddered as they waited beside it for Sir Reginald. Fervently, they hoped the gallant knight would survive the mighty dragon’s flames and harvest its magical blood.

The entire castle shuddered and bricks fell from the edifice. The longboat men quaked in fear.

Inside the castle, the dragon crunched on Sir Reginald’s plate armor.

“Not too much!” whispered Sir Reginald to the dragon. “I have to put that back on.” He moved his bishop and took the dragon’s rook on the chessboard. In a louder voice he bellowed, “Take that, ye devil!”

“Oh, right,” whispered the dragon. It spat flames out the window and howled, “Aaaww-oowww-oooowwww!”

Sir Reginald donned the battered armor. The dragon splattered blood on it with a flourish.

“Artfully done, Ned,” said Sir Reginald.

“You’re most kind, Reg,” said Ned. “See you next month?”

Sir Reginald grinned, “I wouldn’t miss it!”
Written for Monday’s Finish the Story. This week, the opening sentence is, “Few knew about the castle hidden inside the island.” The photo by Barbara Beacham is the media prompt. Look here to see what other folks wrote:

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Love Conquers All

Photo by: Alastair Forbes

“What are you looking at Grandpa?” said young Andy.

Grandpa pointed to colorful dead leaves collecting by the wall. “These leaves remind me of the first people who settled on our colony of Elysium. They came from many different ethnic backgrounds and beliefs. They were all different shades of yellow and brown.”

“Really?” said Andy.

“It’s the way things were back on Earth. Those beige leaves are like our European colonists, yellow leaves like our Asians, brown leaves like our Africans. For a long time some Earthers didn’t like that. They mistrusted people of different colors.”

“Sounds stupid,” muttered Andy.

“It was,” agreed Grandpa. “The colonists of Elysium believed that everyone should love their neighbor. They didn’t just talk about it, they lived it. After thirty generations of no one worrying about piddling physical details, we come to you.” Grandpa poked Andy’s cheek. “You’re skin isn’t light, but it isn’t dark either. Your hair isn’t straight, but not really curly.”

Andy pointed, “What is the green leaf like?”

Grandpa sighed. “That reminds me of the aliens who arrived to conquer Elysium. They walked on tentacles and they stared from eye stalks. The Elysium people weren’t fighters, but we fought back the only way we know how. In the end, we conquered the conquerors.”

“How did we do it?” said Andy. “How did we fight them?”

Grandpa sighed. “I’ll explain that when you’re older.”

He took Andy’s hand and the two walked home…on their tentacles.
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Each week, photographer Alastair Forbes offers an original photo as a prompt for flash fiction. This is my story for the week. Look to see what other folks wrote:

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

This time at the Weekly Photo Challenge the topic is: Boundaries. Here are my entries for the week:


Lemur. One of my favorite animals.
Fossa. One one Madagascar’s few predators.
The boundary between land and sea is hotly contested.

Look here for other collections of photos:

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