Unwind ~ Fiction in a Flash Challenge @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hey, everyone. Once again, I’m participating in Soooz’s weekly flash fiction prompt. Each week she shares a photo and invites writers to participate by writing a fiction or non-fiction piece not exceeding 750 words. For more information on how to participate, visit Soooz by clicking here.

And now, here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

Dylan walked onto the darkened stage. As the lights came up and a machine began emitting fog, thousands of fans started to scream. He was in his element. He’d dreamed of this life since he was four years old when his parents gave him a karaoke machine for Christmas.

He took the microphone as the band began to play. This was the final stop on his Unwind Tour, so named for his latest album. All in all, it had been a success. Sold out crowds every night. Standing ovations. The album was his biggest one to date, having sold over a million copies. What more could a rock star wish for?

Peace. Quiet. Relaxation.

No time for that in his world.

But I’m tired. Tired of touring. Tired of the screaming fans. Tired of… this lifestyle.

Dylan finished the concert. Went backstage with his band members. A month off. No touring. No rehearsing. No sessions in the recording studio. Everyone talked of their vacation plans. The drummer had booked a trip to Tahiti. The lead guitarist planned a vacation in Europe with his family. The bass player, Dave, was catching the next flight to the Virgin Islands.

Nice but he had no interest in visiting any of those places.

“What about you, Dylan? Going anywhere special?” The keyboardist asked.

He shrugged. “Not sure.”

“Are you kidding?” Dave said. “He’ll hole up in the studio or at his house writing music. We’d better enjoy the next few weeks. It’ll be a while before we get any time off again.

Had he become so predictable? Dylan had heard of workaholics. People who slaved their lives away while climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. Never having time for anyone or anything else.

Was his life as bad? Dave’s words had touched a nerve. He had planned to spend his time off writing new songs.

You need to unwind. You’re on a fast track to burnout.

But where would he go? Exotic locations held no appeal for him. But there was one place…

There he would find peace and quiet. He could relax.

“Dylan? You never told us what you planned to do,” Dave said.

“Going to a place where I can unwind. I’m going home.”

The Key ~ Fiction in a Flash Challenge @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hey, everyone. I’m excited to once again take part in Soooz Burke’s Fiction in a Flash Challenge.

The rules are simple. Write a flash fiction or non-fiction piece based on the photo prompt with a maximum of 750 words. If you’d like to participate, click here to visit Soooz’s blog. And now, here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

The forest has always been a special place for me. As a child, I came here often. It was a place where I felt safe. Secure. At home.

I loved the sound of the wind as it whispered among the tall pines. The smell of fall as leaves crunched beneath my feet. The freshness of a spring rain. Occasionally, I would come across a raccoon foraging about. Once I even saw a bobcat, but I didn’t fear him.

The forest, along with all its inhabitants, was my friend.

It had been a long time since I’d walked here, but today I needed to clear my mind. Brandon’s sudden reappearance has left me with more questions than answers. I thought I’d closed that chapter of my life for good.

To say I’ve been happy the past two years would be a misnomer. But I coped with my loss. Realized I would never be more to him than a friend. It wasn’t like Erica would have allowed even that to continue. She’d dug her claws into him good and hard and he willingly went along.

When he showed up at the bar last night, asking for my help, I should have turned him away. But I couldn’t. He said he needed a friend. So, I foolishly allowed him to come home with me.

This morning he had questions. I had no answers.

I had questions for him. His answers were ambiguous, but he said enough for me to know he was in danger. He also told me Erica was no longer a part of his life.

“I made a mistake, Cassie. I regret ever having allowed her to destroy our friendship,” he had said.

At least he wanted our friendship back. But nothing more. Never would anything else.

But there was no time to think about that. Despite what happened in the past, I still considered him a friend. And he needed me. He’d saved my life on more than one occasion. Now, it was my time to help him.

I’m not sure what to do. We both had contacts in Woodville, but at this point, neither of us knew who to trust.

I walked along the once familiar trail, kicking pine cones as a means of working out my frustration. Better than rocks, I suppose. Booting a good-sized stone with the amount of force I used would probably result in a broken toe.

I kicked a rather large cone, revealing something metallic on the forest floor. Bending down, I discovered an old key. I couldn’t help but wonder how long it had been there or who it once belonged to. A mystery for sure.

Shrugging, I picked it up, then put it in the pocket of my jacket before walking deeper into the woods, still contemplating Brandon’s situation.

You know the answer.

But I don’t.

Yes, you do.

A memory niggled within the deep recesses of my mind. I willed it to surface.

Think, Cassie, think.

Presently, I came to the edge of a pristine stream. The crystal-clear water splashed among the rocks as it journeyed from the nearby mountains to the valley below.

If my memory was that clear. Instead, it was like a murky pond.

That’s it!

A lake. An unsolved crime. The mysterious witness who was never located.

It all ties in.

I found the key.

One Minute ~ Fiction in a Flash Challenge @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hey, everyone. Over the past few weeks, I’ve read several amazing flash fiction stories prompted by Suzanne Burk’s weekly photo challenge. I decided to take part this week.

If you’d like to check out the challenge, visit Soooz’s blog by clicking here.

Photo by Bryce Barker on Upsplash

The clock was ticking. Only one week remained until Janie’s manuscript was due and she found herself staring at a blank computer screen. The pivotal moment, the last few chapters, eluded her like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So close but just beyond her reach.

I’ll never finish this manuscript by the deadline. There isn’t enough time.

She rose from her writing desk then walked to the window. The falling snow made the yard and surrounding woods look magical. A true winter wonderland. A myriad of birds—finches, buntings, and cardinals—flocked to the feeders. They fluttered about, often fighting with one another. She watched—mesmerized by their movements.

Janie didn’t realize how long she had been there until her cell phone chimed to indicate a new text message.

Probably another reminder from my agent.

Choosing to ignore the message, she glanced at her watch. Fifteen minutes had passed since she first looked out the window. Fifteen wasted minutes.

Oh well, that’s not a lot of time.

She walked back to the computer to stare at the blank page again. Music always inspired her. Maybe it would help. Looking at her vast musical library, she came across the album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Beatles always lifted her spirits. Lots of good songs on this album. “With a Little Help from my Friends” was a favorite.

I can use all the help I can get now.

“Getting Better” was another cheerful tune.

Things can’t get worse, can they?

Then she saw it. “When I’m Sixty-Four.” Janie recalled seeing a video from the film, Yellow Submarine. Using cartoon illustrations, they stated how many minutes were in sixty-four years, then proceeded to count down the last minute of the song.

Janie immediately felt encouraged. One hour is sixty minutes. One day contains 1,440 minutes and a week is 10,080 minutes.

I can do this. One minute can be a very long time.

Just Friends

This is the continuation of a short fiction series. To read the other parts, click on the links.

“Why did you leave, Cassie?”

His words echoed in my head. I left because of you. Because of her. There was nothing left for me there. Nothing but pain and heartache.

But I can’t say those things. I needed a snappy comeback. A cursory comment that wouldn’t let him know my true feelings. Somehow the words wouldn’t come.

“Cassie? Did you hear me? Why did you leave?”

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Jarred from my thoughts, I turned to him and said, “Sometimes we need a change. My grandparents were getting older, and they needed someone to run this ranch. Maybe I just wanted to get away from the day-to-day routine.”

“I would think raising horses would be more of a daily routine than being a cop. At least we never knew what each day would bring.”

“Maybe that’s what I wanted to get away from. I needed stability. I needed to feel like I bel—” I stopped before I said something to embarrass myself.

“I grew up here. Guess in the back of my mind I always knew I’d come back one day.”

“And I remember someone once saying they wanted to get away from the drudgery of living on a ranch. Isn’t that why you went to the police academy?”

“What’s this? Twenty questions? Like I said earlier, people change. Maybe it just took me a while to figure out what I wanted in life. And it’s a good thing I did come home. Now that Gran and Gramps have passed on, this place is my responsibility.”

“Guess you have a point.” He walked across the room and put his hands on my shoulders. “I know I wasn’t there for you, but I am sorry for your loss.”

“It’s not like I told anyone. You couldn’t have known.”

“I’d like to think we are friends. At least we once were. Friends are always there for one another. In good times and bad.”

Friends. That’s what he thought of us. Just friends. Superficial feelings at best. I hated to admit that after he showed up, I begin to believe once again if we couldn’t have something more than friendship. Maybe an old spark could be rekindled. Guess I was wrong. So why was he here?

No way will I put myself through torture. I need to know why he showed up on my doorstep. Whatever his reasons, I can take it. But no more dancing around. I took a deep breath.

“I have a question for you. Why are you here?”

Inspired by the daily word prompt, Superficial







I haven’t done any short fiction lately but this is a continuation of a series of short pieces inspired by the WordPress daily prompts. The other intallments are:

And now for today’s story.

Sure, my feelings for him were dormant. Were being the keyword. Now, as he came close, long suppressed desires came to the surface. Two years had done nothing to change that. I had only been fooling myself.

“Nice morning,” he said.

“It is.”

StockSnap / Pixabay

“Are you always up this early? I seem to remember the girl who couldn’t function until after nine in the morning and only then if she’d had a couple of cups of coffee in her system.”

I shrugged. “People change.”

He glanced around, not making eye contact with me. “Yeah, they do. Sometimes you learn that you never really knew them at all.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of that. Was he talking about me or someone else? “Look, I still need to do a couple of things here. Why don’t you grab a shower? I’ll be inside shortly, and I’ll make breakfast.”


I watched him walk away. People do change. There was something different about him. He wasn’t the self-assured, almost cocky, person I had known. What happened to him? Where was Erica? He wasn’t wearing a ring, and he hadn’t once mentioned her name.

And why couldn’t I control my feelings? The last thing I needed was to allow him back into my life in any capacity. I wasn’t even sure I could still be friends with him. Not that he had done anything to damage that relationship. That is nothing except marrying her.

But even though I tried to fight it, I was drawn to him. The more I tried to pull away, the more he pulled me back.

After finishing the rest of my chores, I went back to the house to start breakfast. I could hear the shower running, but after a few minutes, the door of the guest bathroom opened.

Busy with preparing breakfast, I didn’t hear him walk into the kitchen, but I sensed his presence. I turned to see him leaning against the door frame, his hair was still damp from the shower, wearing jeans that fit in all the right places and a black t-shirt that showed his muscles. He must be working out in the gym a lot.

His blue eyes had turned to an almost smoky hue, his voice low and husky. “Why did you leave, Cassie?”

Inspired by the daily word prompt, elastic.