Groundswell – FFfPP

Title: Groundswell
Word count: 175 words

The plane’s shell curved, brushing the top of my head. I sank lower in my seat as the big man on the aisle shuffled, adjusted his jacket and rolled the magazine page back on itself. Feeling claustrophobic, I scrunched down, huddling close to the wall and stared out the window.

Green patchwork fields below me stretched as far as my eyes could see. Flyover country. The place where the ninety-nine percenters lived, worked and created a base for the one-percenters to ignore unless they needed something.

Me and my kind had grown tired of their extremes, the push and pull and the manufactured drama. It was hard to find a point, any entertainment value had long since faded, lost in mind-numbing predictability. They forgot their roots, allowing their contradictory talking heads to float in clouds. They forgot it had happened before, and their folly condemned them to the future my people remembered well.

The rise of the Third Estate lay on the horizon. They wanted a fight, and we planned to give them a show.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

An Event – FFfPP

Title: An Event
Word count: 200 words

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Rachel checked the time. She was sure their text had said eleven, but the sidewalk café was deserted. Her compulsion ensured she was always early. But she expected someone would be here, setting up maybe? There were no life signs.

She sighed, digging her phone from her purse, and squinted at the screen. It was blank. She glanced around the empty street and looked skyward. She shifted, positioning her body to shield the sun’s glare. No bars. No connections, and when she tried to access her texts, nothing displayed.

Her gut twisted, but she pushed it aside, refusing to acknowledge it. She sat in a chair, resigned to waiting. They would arrive soon. The minutes ticked, the wind blew, and clouds scudded across the sky. Shivering, she waited for the shadow to pass.

“How are you alive?” A respirator’s hiss obscured a man’s voice. The black-uniformed figure emerged from the dark craft hovering behind him.

“I’m waiting for my friends,” Rachel’s heart pounded in her chest.

“They’re not coming.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Come with me.”

“Why? What’s happened?”

“There’s been an event. No one survived.”

“But, I’m here.”

“That’s why you must come with me,” he said, extending his hand.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Revealing History – FFfPP

Title: Revealing History
Word count: 200 words

Gertrude thirsted for world knowledge. She studied ancient history, immersing herself in worlds far removed from hers. It seemed natural she found herself in Crete excavating the magnificent Minoan palace. It covered multiple square miles and reached four stories high. Filled with passages, tiny rooms, corridors, great courtyards and evidence of running water, the complex mesmerized Gertrude.

They assigned her a splendid area to work, dig and document. Brilliant colored frescos emerged as she swept the dirt from the walls. Working alone in the room, a seated goddess stared back at her.

“Who are you?” she asked, letting her fingertips brush the woman’s dark pigmented hair.

That night the dreams started.

“My name is Kitane,” she said. The darkness lightened, she faced Gertrude and smiled.

Coal-black curls framed her face and cascaded across her shoulders. Charcoal circles smudged amber eyes, and she had painted her lips a rich mahogany color.

“You look exactly like your picture.”

“Pura was an excellent artisan who worked in my court.”

“Your court?” Gertrude’s voice quivered.

“There is much you do not know.”

“I want to learn. Will you teach me?”

“Seek, and you shall find,” Kitane said, bowing, her image receded into the shadows.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

A Matter of Timing – FFfPP

Title: A Matter of Timing
Word count: 200 words

Odette glanced at the building’s clock as she walked. Early as usual, and Derick would be late, calm, cool and bemused by her irritation. Her heart pounded, as she scanned the piazza. An old man leaning against a column, feeding the pigeons. A woman wearing a headscarf pushing a baby stroller. Cafe tables spilling onto the pavement, red-checked tablecloths flapping in the breeze.

That’s when she saw him. His ball cap obscuring his face, contrasting with neatly pressed trousers and a white button-down shirt. He touched his right ear, and Odette struggled to keep her panic under control.

She took the portico’s steps two at a time, cool air from the darkness beyond the open central doors hit her face. She concentrated on the darkest spot and wondered who waited inside.

She heard footsteps behind her. Running. She entered the building, reaching her target, she cut left and sprinted toward the exit. She leaned against the doorjamb in the dark, motionless.

Mr. Ball Cap and Miss Mom ran in, racing to the center of the rotunda, they looked for her. Odette slipped around the door, turned right, and hugged the wall.

Derick pulled up on his scooter, “Am I late?”


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

It Starts with One – FFfPP

Title: It Starts with One
Word count: 200 words


Sandy hobbled past the people milling around the pickup counter. The barista slammed her Grande Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato behind two carry out trays. Their owner was busy yelling at his phone to notice his order was complete and in the way. Her gnarled hand pushed them to the side. Moaning softly, she reached for her cup.

“Those are mine. Why are you touching my drinks?” The man rushed forward bumping into her, as he thrust his arm between them.

Startled Sandy turned, her shoulder strap caught on his sleeve and her purse tumbled to the floor.

“You ignorant old hag. What the hell are you doing?”

His voice was loud, and Sandy’s skin prickled. Everyone was staring at her.

“I, I’m just trying to get my coffee…”

“How ‘bout you wait your turn? Look. Your cheap-ass bag ruined my sweater. Do you know what this cost? You’re buying me a new one.”

Another man stepped between them, grabbed the drink trays and shoved them at the man’s chest.

“Leave. Now. Before I find your grandmother and tell her how rude you are,” he said, expecting to be obeyed.

Grumbling the offender headed toward the door and the crowd cheered.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Unexpected Love – FFfPP

Title: Unexpected Love
Word count: 200 words


My love affair started on our honeymoon, and I can assure you it’s not what you think. His idea. I preferred sleeping until noon, finding a great espresso in a cute shop and spending the afternoon wandering through the Uffizi. Waking up at four am was not on my agenda. Who does that on their honeymoon?

He was insistent. I figured since he conceded to the big wedding I wanted, and with our vows echoing in my ears, I agreed. That’s how I found myself, in a car racing down winding roads carved through farm fields on my way to Montepulciano.

We stepped onto dew cover grass, as the last evening stars faded from view. In the middle of the field a dragon roared, exhaling fire, its hot breath inflated the multicolored envelope. We stood in awe as the balloon took shape and began to lift the gondola. The pilot motioned to us and we climbed aboard.

We lifted off as the sun broke the horizon. Soon we floated above the treetops. I discovered I was holding my breath. In the quiet, I heard the blood pumping through my veins. I was suddenly more alive than I had ever been.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Surprise – FFFPP – 2019 #1

Title:  The Surprise
Word count: 190 words

MorgueFile Fidler Jan New Year’s

Evan didn’t feel like going out. It was Friday night and his friends expected him, but today was his birthday and birthdays were a huge disappointment. Following the holidays meant he had endured years of presents marked “Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday too.” He was older, and wiser but it still hurt.

As he arrived at the bar, a thunderous boom echoed in the cold night air followed by an ear-piercing whistle that guided his eyes skyward. The missile exploded in a red blossom.

“Surprise, Happy Birthday, Evan,” his friends shouted as they swarmed around him.

“What?” Evan twirled catching glimpses of familiar faces as another rocket hurtled into the air with a boom.

“Do you like it?” Shelly asked.

Evan nodded as the rocket exploded.

“Remember, they cancelled the New Year’s display because of bad weather?” Shelly shouted to be heard over the crowd. “Well, we convince the council to set them off tonight,” she explained, “For your birthday.”

Evan smiled as another chorus of “Happy Birthday, Evan” erupted from his friends.

The boom of another rocket turned heads skyward, and Evan smiled. This was his best birthday ever.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Investigation — FFfPP

Title: The Investigation
Word count: 190 words

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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.


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


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Twins — FFfPP

Title: Twins
Word count: 200 words

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Henrietta Hen was a good layer, with a good temperament and laid double-yolk eggs. We placed thirty eggs in the incubator, selected from the best hens on the farm. We marked each one with the hen’s name and collection date.  Candling the eggs, we checked for life. One of Henrietta’s eggs excited me and raised concerns.

This special egg held two embryos.  Our hatch rate in the incubator ran between eighty and ninety percent so we expected a loss. But I determined the twins would survive. I tweaked the temperature, obsessed over the optimal humidity level and checked conditions every hour on the hour, day and night. I counted days and held my breath.

Chirping sounds emanated from the egg on day nineteen. Straining, I identified two distinct voices, they had almost made it. The next day cracks appeared in the shell. I could barely contain my excitement as the shell broke away piece by piece. Tiny feet stretched and kicked through the membrane revealing the two tiny creatures.

My wife hung over my shoulder, watching them.

“Are you gonna name them?”

I looked at her and smiled like any proud papa.

“My dear, let me introduce Sugarfoot and Tenderfoot.”


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion — FFfPP

Title: The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion
Word count: 195 words


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Calder sprinted through the house, picked up his bag, grabbed his keys and headed for the door. Running late was his normal morning routine.  He stepped onto the deck, locked the door and slung his bag over his shoulder before he saw them.

Puzzled, he looked around, searching for clues. They weren’t his, and he didn’t remember them when he came home last night. No, the deck had been empty. He remembered dropping his keys trying to get in and he certainly would have seen them. Why would someone leave a pair of shoes on his deck?

Calder looked around, searching for their owner. At the corner of the house, a green shirt waved from the lilac bush. Intrigued Calder walked over and pulled it loose. The shirt’s back bore a Grateful Dead logo proclaiming “The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion.”

Footprints in the dirt beneath the bush lead towards the pond. Calder followed and found a pair of jeans in the grass next to the path. A ribbon of gold glistened and glowed across the pond’s surface.

Calder absentmindedly dropped his bag, his keys slipped from his fingers and he waded into the water.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer