Lone Wolf ~ Fiction in a flash challenge by @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hey, everyone! Can I say that I’m loving Soooz Burke’s weekly photo prompts? They have inspired me to begin several short stories that were in the back of my mind for months (some even years). This week’s prompt spoke to me immediately. Within minutes of seeing it, a new story sprang to mind.

If you don’t know about the prompt, visit Soooz’s blog to learn more. Basically, the challenge is to write a fiction or non-fiction post 750 words or less.

My contribution this week came in just under the limit. I hope you enjoy Lone Wolf.

Image by steve felberg from Pixabay

Jake McLaughlin pulled the brim of his Stetson low on his forehead. Snow began to fall. He needed to check on the cattle before it became too heavy.

Urging Scout into a trot, he set off for the western boundary of the ranch. The livestock had been moved closer to the barns for the winter, but a few cows always tended to stray.

An hour later, Jake reached the remote pasture. It was his favorite place on the Double Diamond—an area where the wide-open range met the foothills. He often came here to be alone during the summer months. During the winter, he volunteered to check this spot, a job the other cowboys didn’t want. They preferred to stay closer to home.

At the crest of a hill, he pulled back on Scout’s reins. The Pinto halted, and Jake sat quietly, marveling at the sheer beauty of the area. Reveling in the silence of the falling snowflakes.

Every day for the past week, a solitary wolf had called out. He felt inexplicably drawn to this wild canine and began calling it Lone Wolf.

Maybe his affinity for the creature was due to the fact he was also a loner. While his bunkmates liked to carouse, play cards, and go into town every chance they got, Jake preferred a place to be alone. Preferably one where he could be in tune with nature.

After a few minutes, he heard what some would describe as a mournful howl. Jake found it comforting. Although he’d never gotten close enough to see the animal, he pictured the gray wolf standing on a rocky crevice, lifting its head as it called out.

He listened until the sound died away. Clouds were breaking to the west, the setting sun bathing the horizon in a golden hue. Satisfied there were no stray cattle in the area, he turned Scout back toward the ranch.


Jake continued his daily trek, always listening for Lone Wolf’s call. One day, there was only silence. He couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Likely it had moved to another area or joined in with a pack to hunt.

Shaking his head, he started back to the ranch.

Go back.

He nudged Scout to the area where Lone Wolf always called. As the horse drew closer, Jake heard whimpering. The animal was in trouble.

He dismounted, tied Scout’s reins to a low-hanging limb, then continued on foot. The sound grew louder, and he soon spied the wolf, its paw caught in the clutches of a trap.

Anger coursed through his veins. To Jake, setting traps was cruel and inhumane. Without help, this wolf would die.

He approached with caution. This was no pet dog but a wild animal. He knelt about ten feet away, his voice gentle.

“Hey, there. I’m here to help. Will you let me come close?”

Jake wasn’t sure how he knew the wolf sensed he meant no harm.

“Got yourself in a mess, huh?”

Once he was close enough, Jake saw the wolf’s paw wasn’t hurt. He pried the jaws of the trap apart. Once free, the wolf started to trot away. Stopped. Turned back to Jake as if to say, “Thank you.”


A week later, he was checking the area when a blizzard appeared out of nowhere. One minute there was light snowfall. The next brought howling winds and near white-out conditions.

He’d followed the trail of a stray cow into the foothills. The path in this area was treacherous on a good day, but the snowstorm made it worse. Scout was uncharacteristically skittish.

“Easy, boy. One wrong step and—”


Jake wasn’t sure how long he’d been out. He awoke, cold, alone, and in pain. It was almost dark. He’d freeze to death if he stayed here all night. Scout was nowhere around.

He pulled himself up. Pretty sure he’d broken a rib. He had to find shelter. Protection from the elements.

A gray figure appeared on the path. Lone Wolf turned and trotted back in the direction it came. Stopped every few feet as if to say, “Follow me.”

It wasn’t long until they came to a small cave. Lone Wolf waited for Jake to enter, then followed him inside. The two huddled together to stay warm.

Sunshine awakened Jake the following morning. He would be able to make it home now. The wolf licked his hand, then trotted away.

Lone Wolf had saved his life.

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.”

Friday Fiction Prompt

A new writing prompt today at Story Empire. Check it out and create your own flash fiction story!

Story Empire

Hello SErs! Happy Friday!

Today on Story Empire it’s time for another fun Friday Fiction Prompt. As you know, on the first Friday of every month, we will be posting a Prompt. This can be a video, picture, word, phrase or anything else we want to use. Anyone can take part or not (including us). When you have your fiction posted, simply comment on this post with your link and the title so other people can pay you a visit and read what you wrote. On the last Fiction Prompt, Joan Hall gave us an awesome picture of a woman on train tracks. Check it out HERE. This time, I’ve found a video to share with you.

Here it is …

Take a close look … how much can you see? What feelings does this evoke? What mood does it bring?

[Although this video originated on Pixabay, I ended…

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