Endgame — Friday Fictioneers

Title: Endgame
Source: Friday Fictioneers sponsored by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple
Word count: 100 words

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

The tables sit in a straight line. Twelve tables, twelve chess boards, twenty-four opponents each with sixteen pieces, all three hundred and eighty-four pieces engaged in battle to decide the crowning of Grand Master.

The arbiters circled like vultures waiting for the dead, held in check by the tick-tock of the game clock. The opponents fall and regroup striving for the prize.

I am the endgame, unseen, observing, manipulating. My eyes level with the boards, I influence each move.

Achieving the 8th rank, passed pawn promoted queen I look to my twin, we push the king to check and victory.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Skeleton Ball — 100 Word Wednesday

Title: The Skeleton Ball
Source:  100 Word Wednesday: Week 95
Word count: 100 words (x2)

In honor of Halloween, I have written two 100-word sections. Enjoy.

Photo by NeONBRAND

Jim Reaper didn’t want to go to the party, but his friends all said he needed to pick up somebody. The last time he went to a party they used him as a coat rack. Before he got inside Jim saw right through a beautiful girl.

“Hi, I’m Jim Reaper.” Jim hoped his rattling bones didn’t show how nervous he was.

“I’m Dee, Dee Ceased,” she said looking down at her bony hands.

“Do you like the party?”

“No, there is no body to dance with,” Dee said.

“Dance with me?” Jim asked as his bony hand touched hers.

***

Jim looked at Dee’s blank expression as a slow song started.

“Let’s sit this one out,” Jim said, pointing to a table.

“Great.” Dee followed, thinking dancing with Jim was fun.

“My favorite band is The Grateful Dead,” Jim said, sitting next to her.

“Oh, I like them. Them, and Bone Jovi.”

“Me, too.”

Jim’s friend Mumford stopped in front of them.

“Hey, you guys want a drink?”

“Sure,” Jim responded. “We’ll have two beers and a mop chaser.”

Dee laughed and moved closer, “I like you, Jim.”

Jim draped his arm over Dee’s scrawny shoulder and pulled her close.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Investigation — FFfPP

Title: The Investigation
Source:  FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER- 2018 WEEK #44
Word count: 190 words

OctMorgueFIle 2018 3aaef119ddeda7b5fc5175d55c4df183

Rick replaced the camera on the bed and scanned the one-room studio apartment. It was spartan. A single folding chair sat angled next to the window. A card table stood not in front of the chair, but behind it. The table held a stained ashtray devoid of ash and butts. A roll of black trash bags lay by the door, otherwise, the room was empty. No pictures hung on the walls, no clothes in the closet, no toiletries in the tiny white bathroom.

With two steps Rick crossed the room and sat in the chair.

“What do you see, boss?”

“Guess,” Rick replied.

“The victim’s apartment?”

“Her bedroom, the bathroom and… Hand me the camera with the telephoto,” Rick said. He extended his hand and waited. Feeling the camera’s weight, he moved it to augment his view, and spun the lens ring, refining his focus.

Rick laid the camera on the card table and stood. Despite excess paint clogging the jamb, it opened easily. He grabbed the camera, held to his eye, and scanned victim’s building.

“Boss?”

“She’s not his only victim,” he said. “She is just the first reported.”

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Flower Garden — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: The Flower Garden
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #165
The five words: ROUGH, GATE, RAG, HIP, WINE
Word count: 210 words

Photo by Tim Shapcott on Unsplash

It was Tasha’s favorite place in the entire world. A wooden fence that had seen better days encircled the flower garden. There were still places where white paint clung to the rough, weather-worn surface. The broken latch allowed the gate to bang in the wind with the consistency of a deer scarer.

The seasons slowly slipped through time. Greedy yellow finches plucked the coneflowers bare of seeds and the once purple petals faded to rusty brown. The clematis clung to the black iron trellis. Its cloud white petals, blown free by the mornings freezing breeze, lay scattered across the garden.

Whether the scrubby rose bushes held the fence upright, or the fence contained the wild rose was a topic of debate Tasha entertained daily.  This morning she carried the rag woven basket Gram had made for her. Full of matured crimson rose hips, Tasha dreamed of the fragrant tea Gram made each fall.

Even in the flower garden, they harvested everything edible. The elderflowers and their berries were fermenting in bottles, and if she behaved, Gram would allow her a sip of the wine. On a blustery winter’s day, one sip would transport her, warmed like blissful summer the memories would unfurl of the most beautiful place on earth.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Greystone Dreams — FFfAW Challenge

Title: Greystone Dreams
Source: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Word count: 155 words

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Jade M. Wong. Thank you, Jade!

Lizzy trembled and checked her phone. The address was correct. The house was a huge Romanesque Greystone Mansion, the kind they built after the Great Chicago Fire. She didn’t dare hope, but she breathed deeply and proceeded through the wrought-iron gate, and up the steps.

A thin woman wearing magazine styled grey hair and clothes to match answered the door.

“You’re Lizzy,” she stated more than asked and extended her hand. “I’m Rose. The apartment entrance is on the side. Follow me.”

They walked along the side of the house and around the corner where Lizzy stopped and gasped.

“It’s not large, a thousand square feet, living room, and kitchen downstairs, bedroom and bath upstairs. Security deposit is twelve hundred, rent is twelve hundred. Security and first month’s rent is payable at lease signing.” Rose said unlocking the door.

“I’ll take it,” Lizzy blurted.

“Well, welcome home, Lizzy.” Rose laughed and swung the door wide.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Disavowed — Thursday photo prompt

Title: Disavowed
Source:  Thursday photo prompt: Way-stone #writephoto
Word count: 250 words

No one told me the truth. Not until it was too late. It took years to find. I spent my free time tracking leads, digging through documents and asking strangers intimate and private details.

Today I was deep in the woods following the Plat of Survey from the County Assessor’s Office. The town was named for the family who first settled the land, her name. The town grew, but times changed, and the children left for larger towns and cities seeking more opportunities, more jobs, more life. If you took a chance, you could leave small-town life and small-town values.

The children never returned. Parents died leaving a ghost town echoing with their unfulfilled dreams. A gas station and a diner remained in the boarded-up town, a convenience for travelers as they headed elsewhere.

The woods were peaceful, the birds sang, and squirrels scampered in the trees as I walked the old overgrown path. No one visited. A forgotten fence lay rotting on the ground while forest plants grew, threatening to obliterate the site. Moss-covered stones melted into nature. I tore the moss from marker faces, wiped the grim hiding what I sought.

My search didn’t take long. Her name was carved beneath the words “Devoted Daughter” followed by birth and death dates. They were all that remained to bear testimony of her life. My hand caressed a name hardened, etched upon my mind, my final connection. I knelt at her grave, and whispered, “Hi Mom. Do you remember me?”

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Graceland (Honorable Mention)

by Jeffrey Rozwadowski via Trover

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a writing challenge called #ThursThreads where each Thursday brings a new prompt to write into your story.  I kept thinking I should enter. The catch is the challenge is open 7 AM to 8 PM Mountain Time on Thursdays only. One day only, challenge closed, and a winner announced. I was determined to enter.

Yesterday, I had cleared my schedule logged on, got the prompt, devised a story, wrote Graceland and submitted it before the deadline. I was pleased I completed the challenge and patted myself on the back. It was a win for me.

Today they announced the winners. My story was awarded an Honorable Mention.

Graceland Cemetery and Arboretum is a wonderful cemetery in Chicago. I visit every fall when the trees are glorious. The first image is one of the many mausoleums on the property and the setting for my story.

Below is my story, I hope you like it. To read other submitted stories and see the list of winners,  Click Here.

Graceland

It had been a long night when Detective Jared got the disturbance call at Graceland Cemetery. With Halloween a week away, he expected a toppled headstone. He drove the winding paths towards the squad’s flashing lights. Officer Fuentes stood outside a mausoleum the size of Jared’s garden shed.

“What’s up?” Jared asked, stepping from his car.

“Caretakers gettin’ keys,” Fuentes said.

“Keys?”

“Yeah. Someone called the office, and she called us.  Gates locked.”

“I thought this was a disturbance call?”

“Take a look.” Fuentes stepped aside for Jared to peer through the glass behind the wrought-iron gate. Inside, crypt doors hung askew, dirt and dead flowers littered the floor. One crypt door lay smashed in pieces.

“No forced entry. This is the only access,” Fuentes said.

The caretaker arrived and silently unlocked the creaking iron gate.

“This one is empty,” Fuentes said shinning his flashlight in a crypt.

“This one too,” Jared replied. “And the others? The others are all empty?”

“Looks like it.”

“Thirty-three souls, defiling consecrated ground. One was worthy.  Return her to her rightful place.” The voice echoed on the marble.

Inside the mausoleum, a wind rose, creating a storm. The light dimmed. The iron gate slammed shut and Jared heard the key in the lock. Swirling dirt clogged his throat, he couldn’t breathe. Fuentes fell to the floor, unconscious. Jared fought, trying to stay alert.

“Please. Find me,” the voice called to Jared as blackness descended.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Greatest Disappointments — 100 Word Wednesday Week

Title: Greatest Disappointments
Source:  100 Word Wednesday: Week 94
Word count: 100 words

Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans

In Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy wrote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

The Petrov family was no exception. Klara had been unsuccessful for years and Mikhail lost patience. Now Ava was his mistress. Klara didn’t blame him. He told her long ago he needed her to fulfill one role, she only needed to give him sons.

Today, Mikhail took Ava’s call and raced from the house.  Ava’s child, a son had arrived. Klara climbed the stairs to the nursery, and one by one threw each reminder of her failings onto the street.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Styx – 3 Line Tales

From Sonya’s 3LineTales at Only100Words.
You can find the original prompt here. Thank you, Sonya.

photo by Ty Feague via Unsplash

The ferryman’s pole sunk deep in the mire beneath the water’s calm surface and the boat slid silently onward.

I leaned into freezing fingers of mist as they caressed my flayed flesh as welcoming as a lover’s touch.

Silence beat upon my soul forcing a single tear from my bloodshot eye.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Installation — Friday Fictioneers

Title: The Installation
Source:  Friday Fictioneers sponsored by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple
Word count: 100 words

rogers-skylight.

I counted on Grandad. He was always in my corner. My sole goal was to hear him utter four words, “Ya done good, Peanut.”

Grandad played with colored glass, gave it life and breath. He manipulated light and shadow, casting stories onto floors and walls. I wanted to follow where his light led.

“They consider the window above his masterwork.”

The docent paused, turning her gaze upward for the required moments of contemplation before leading them to the next attraction.

As the crowd filtered after her, I moved to the bronze plaque and touched his name.

“Ya done good, Grandad.”

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer