“FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE” #19. #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts

Award-winning author, Suzanne Burke, provides a photo prompt and invites everyone to write a short story, poem, or one-liner based on the photo. This week’s photo inspired me to write one of many stories or poems, because I lived in Hollywood the last two years of high school. I walked down Hollywood Blvd. to go to school where I had classes with Annette Funicello and Stephanie Powers.

The story within the Tanka Poem is true. I hope you enjoy it. Some happy memories about an amazing film personality came back to me.

HOLLYWOOD WAS HOME
TO THE FAMOUS MOVIE STARS
SOME LIVED IN MANSIONS
SEEN DRIVING EXPENSIVE CARS.
 
BELA LUGOSI
WHO STARRED AS COUNT DRACULA
WAS MY NEW NEIGHBOR
WHO DAILY WALKED BY MY HOUSE
SURPRISED I KNEW WHO HE WAS.
 
HE SIGNED A PHOTO
WHICH I TREASURED ALL MY LIFE
WHILE WE TALKED AND LAUGHED
ABOUT DRACULA’S STORY
NOT LIKE BELA LUGOSI.
 
HE DIED ALONE, POOR
 NOT FROM A WOODEN STAKE PLUNGED
DEEP INTO HIS HEART,
 NOR SUNLIGHT AS TOLD IN BOOKS
ABOUT THE COUNT DRACULA.
 
A HEART ATTACK TOOK
HIS LIFE OF FAME, WITHOUT WEALTH
ENDING IN A GRAVE
WEARING DRACULA’S BLACK CAPE
BURIED IN CULVER CITY.

Unfortunately, I have lost the autographed photo of Bela Lugosi. He was a sweet gentleman, who lived and died in a small apartment three houses away. He was type-cast in the role as a monster or vampire. His career declined quickly once the Dracula movies were no longer in demand. He earned large sums of money which he spent unwisely on alcohol and opiates for his chronic sciatica pain. In those days, there were no residuals.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Fiction in a Flash piece. I encourage you to go to Ms. Burke’s website: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/. Let your imagination go and write a poem or short story based on that week’s photo prompt. Have fun!

FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE #16. JOIN THE FUN! @pursoot #Writing Community #IARTG #ASMSG

Welcome everyone to my blog. It is with great pleasure that I share another Flash Fiction challenge. Suzanne Burke, an award-winning author, has provided a photo prompt, which is quite beautiful of a wolf in a wintry scene. I love the photo and wrote the Tanka poem as shown below.

WINTER SNOW HAS COME
AND I'M LOST FROM THE WOLF PACK
BUT I DON'T GIVE UP
SEARCHING THROUGH THE SILENT WOODS
HOWLING WITH MY HEAD RAISED HIGH

My thanks to Suzanne Burke for providing this flash fiction challenge. I invite you to go to her website, read her amazing books, and follow her blog. I encourage you to try to write just a one liner, a short story, or a poem based on that week’s photo prompt. https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

What thoughts and images come to your mind as you look at the photo prompt? What emotions come forward? Fear? Loneliness? Danger? Sadness? I look forward to reading your comments. Thank you for reading my blog.

FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE #13

Welcome to today’s blog. Once again, author, Suzanne Burke offers a flash fiction challenge based on a photo prompt. Everyone is welcome to participate. https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

This week’s photo prompt created many stories and poems in my mind, but I finally chose to write a Tanka poem about magic, healing, and the beauty of nature. A Tanka poem is one flowing, unbroken line with 31 syllables separated into 5/7/5/7/7 parts. The actual photo prompt is nestled in the lower right corner of the larger photo.

WALKING IN THE WOODS

I SEE A MAGICAL KEY

 ON THE FOREST FLOOR

THAT WHEN MY FINGERS TOUCHED IT

MY DISEASED BODY WAS HEALED.

I always enjoy reading your comments from which I find encouragement and support. In this time of world troubles, I rely on positivity, faith, and magic. How do you cope during these days? If you found a key, would it bringing healing, love, or would it just be a key?

My thanks to Suzanne Burke, who provides these flash fiction opportunities on a regular basis. She is an award-winning author of several books. https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

“FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLLENGE” #12

Welcome to today’s blog. Once again I am sharing a short story or a flash fiction based on a photo prompt. Author, Suzanne Burke offers these challenges and everyone is welcome to participate. https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

The photo prompt for this week is below. I was inspired by the photo to write my first Tanka poem. This type of Japanese poetry requires 31 syllables written in one flowing sentence. The syllable count form is 5/7/5/7/7.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. What did you feel as you read the Tanka? When you gaze at the four-sided clock, what thoughts come to you?

I invite you to go to Suzanne Burke’s website at https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/. There you will learn about this talented and award-winning author, plus be alerted to any future “Fiction in a Flash Challenges.”

“FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE #11”

Welcome to today’s blog. Once again I am sharing a short story or a flash fiction based on a photo prompt. Author, Suzanne Burke offers these challenges and everyone is welcome to participate. https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

Based on the photo prompt below, I have written this Haiku poem. I have often thought about the journey each droplet of water takes to create our oceans, lakes, rivers, rain, and waterfalls.

Are we not each like a water droplet, sometimes a single drop that often is joined by others to form a family, community, or nation? Do we not depend on each other and yet act alone? Like water, we might become stormy and angry causing destruction or hurt. Or we are the calming presence for someone in a time of trouble.

Some waterdrops form ice crystals and become sleet or hail. Fog is the condensation of water molecules that hang in the air. Mist is a cluster of tiny droplets suspended in the atmosphere. (Courtesy of National Geographic)

Some people are crusty and hard, often hurting people with words or actions (hail). Foggy people do not reveal their true selves and it is difficult to have a relationship with them. There are those of us who are shy and withdrawn and as the mist, they are difficult to see or communicate with.

A waterfall is one of the most beautiful ways the accumulation of water droplets is displayed. They are powerful whether high or short. When we humans gather together for a common purpose, we are also powerful no matter the size of our group. We are as beautiful as any waterfall when our purpose is one of love.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I welcome your comments and thoughts. And, please check out Suzanne Burke’s website for her award-winning books, blogs, and flash fiction opportunities. https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE #10

Welcome to today’s blog. Once again I am sharing a short story or a flash fiction based on a photo prompt. Author, Suzanne Burke offers these challenges and everyone is welcome to participate. https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

CARIBOU LAKE

Every 4th of July, our family spent a week at Caribou Lake in Minnesota. I remember running down the old wooden pier and jumping into the water. Swimming in the safe water, our cabin nestled among the pine and aspen trees, and the long days.

By the time, I was fourteen I was an accomplished swimmer so my parents did not worry about me. My sister, Joan, who was one-year younger hated the water and never learned how to swim.

“Come on in, Joan. The water is great.” Watching her shake her head, with her arms folded across her chest, I’d yell, “You are a scaredy-cat.”

She would just stick her tongue out and holler back, “I’m going to tell Mom that you called me a name.”

“I don’t care. When you tell Mom that makes you a tattle-tale.” I laughed at her childishness and called her sissy, namby-pamby, and chicken making clucking sounds. I watched her run up to the cabin slamming the door behind her.

I swam further out into the lake enjoying the warm water that July day. With each stroke, I thought of how different Joan and I are. She is a red-head and I am a brunette. She is short and I am tall. She is a little plump and I am skinny. She is scared of spiders and other such critters. She struggles with math which I find to be easy.

Lost in my thoughts I did not realize how far I had swum nor the large, gray clouds now blocking the once bright sunshine. I turned back towards shore and the old wooden dock and began to swim. All too soon, my arms and legs felt heavy and weak. I shivered from the now chilly water. My heart was pounding and my chest hurt with each breath.

“Oh, God. I’m not going to make it back. I’m going to drown.” Those were my thoughts as I frantically searched the distant shoreline and surrounding water for help, but I saw no one. My cries for help went unanswered. I rolled onto my back, closed my eyes, relaxed my tired body, and hoped I would float to safety.

“Rebecca, you are strong. Do not give up.” I heard these words but did not know where they came from. I looked up into the clouds where a shaft of light had broken through the clouds.

“We are here to help you.”

I saw two angels swoop down through that shaft of light and surround my tired body with golden light. Soon I felt stronger, my legs and arms were no longer weak, and I could breathe normally. I swam toward the old dock and in what seemed only a few minutes my hands reached up to the rickety old ladder. I climbed up and stood and looked around to say thank you to the angels, but they were not there.

The gray clouds were now dark and thick and thunder rumbled in the distance. I ran up the hill to our cabin shivering from cold, exhaustion, and elation.

As soon as I entered the cabin, Mother asked me if I had called Joan some names. I looked at my sister and saw her differently. I realized how my words hurt her. “I am sorry, Joan. You are not any of the things I called you.”

The next day while we were eating our breakfast, Joan said, “I wish I liked the water, but it scares me. I’m afraid I will drown.”

“I understand. The thought of drowning is scary, but I will always be by your side to help you.”

She agreed to let me teach her how to swim. We soon became swimming buddies, enjoying the water together.

We also became closer and our differences were less important.

The angels saved me for a reason and I learned a powerful lesson: live my life with kindness.

Please share your thoughts about this flash fiction. Do you have fears to overcome? Do you think before you speak? Are you aware when your words or actions might hurt another? Do you believe in angels?

Thank you, Suzanne Burke, for another opportunity to challenge my creativity and writing.

FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE #9

Welcome to this week’s blog. I am happy to see you here and I hope that you are doing well. Author Suzanne Burke has presented another photo prompt to stimulate a poem, Haiku, or short story. Everyone is welcome to enter the challenge.

MATT’S TREEHOUSE

Matt had all the money one person could ever want or need. He inherited his parent’s fortune and estate where he lived alone in the 5-bedroom, 6-bath home complete with a swimming pool, putting green, and tennis court on forty acres of woods.

He wore gold necklaces, a Rolex watch, and a gold bracelet. His hair was always perfectly cut, he wore the finest designer clothes and drove the latest Porsche model. All the gold could not buy Matt’s happiness. He was too much like his father who treated Matt’s mother cruelly and lived by his version of the Golden Rule: he who has the gold rules.

One evening, Matt and his father were driving the windy road leading to the estate. They both were drunk and were going too fast. Matt lost control of the car, went down a 50-foot embankment, and crashed into a large pine tree. Matt was thrown from the car but his father was trapped and died in the burning car.

Matt was haunted by nightmares and blamed himself for the accident. His only way of coping was to lash out even more at others, especially women. His sadistic actions often left the women with bruises. He would charm them at first flashing his money and buying them expensive gifts. However, when he made sexual demands on them that they did not agree to, he lashed out with intense anger.

Deep in the pine forest of his estate, he had a treehouse built. It was charming and comfortable though not large or ostentatious. Many were the nights that women screamed from pain or ran down the swinging bridge to escape Matt’s anger. 

One stormy night, one young woman ran screaming from the treehouse. Matt laughed at her as he watched her scramble through the forest half-naked. “Good riddance,” he yelled from the small balcony.

When he went back into the treehouse, he began to hear the sounds of many women and his father screaming, “help me.” He looked around the room, but no one was there. The screams grew louder.

Matt ran to the door but it was locked and there was no escaping the living nightmare. He covered his ears and ran into the bedroom, but the screams could not be stopped. The wind howled and the tree branches tore at the little cabin. Like giant hands, they pushed and pulled until the tree house crumbled and fell to the ground. Matt was trapped under the timbers and could not move. His cries for help went unheard. For days and nights, he laid there, suffering from physical pain and hearing the non-stop screams.

He died alone with only his gold necklace around his neck which now brought him no comfort or joy.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.
If you are interested in participating in any of Ms. Burke’s challenges, go to her website at
https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE #8

Award-winning author, Suzanne Burke offers another opportunity for fun and creativity. Everyone is welcome to enter this challenge. For details go to her website https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/.

I love all cats no matter their size or breed. The majestic lion is certainly at the top of my list. When 13-year-old, Cecil, was killed in 2015 on a hunting expedition, I was deeply saddened. Most lions in the wild live to an average of 15-years and those in captivity to as much as 30-years.

This photo prompt inspired me to write the following Haiku poem.

Please let your creative juices flow, have fun, and enter this week’s challenge. Go to https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/ and support Suzanne Burke at Twitter @pursoot.

Thank you for visiting my website today. I look forward to your comments.

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”

Welcome to today’s blog which is about a flash-fiction challenge. Author Suzanne Burke’s “Week #5. Image Prompt” is now available. Join in, have fun, and let loose your creative muse. #FictionInAFlash @pursoot Here is this week’s photo prompt.

According to Wikipedia, marionettes were first used in 2000 BC in Egypt, perhaps before using actors. In French, marionette means “little Mary” and during the Middle Ages, Biblical stories were often reenacted. Most of the time the Virgin Mary was in these performances. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marionette

I received a Howdy-Doody marionette from my grandparents one Christmas when I was seven-years-old. I tried to manipulate the strings, which turned out to be very challenging. However, I did not lose my enthusiasm for marionette and puppet shows.

For this challenge, I have written my first Haiku poem, which is a short form of Japanese poetry. It consists of three lines, with seventeen syllables divided into 5/7/5 syllables. I hope you enjoy it.

Please contact Suzanne Burke at https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/ with your entry. And, I would love to read your comments.

“FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE” WEEK #4

Welcome to my blog where today I am sharing a short story I wrote based on the photograph below. Author Suzanne Burke (@pursoot) has provided this challenge which is open to everyone. For full details, visit her website at https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

My name is Willie Nelson Johnson. Obviously, I was named for the famous country-western singer and actor. He was my mother’s favorite singer and his music played all day, every day. I know by heart every song he ever recorded.

I cannot sing or play an instrument, my hair is short, there is no beard, I am not an activist, nor have I ever smoked marijuana. The only thing I have in common with Willie, besides my name, is the love of the open road. The day I got my first car was the first day of being on the road. Over the years I have driven to as many places as my wallet and time would allow.

I grew up and now live in Wilmington, Illinois along with about 6,000 other folks. It is called “The Island City” because it is bisected by the Kankakee River. As you can see, Route 66 goes right through Wilmington. 

 We have Route 66 Antiques, Rte. 66 Bar & Grill, and the famous (or infamous) Launching Pad Drive-In where you will see one of the many giant statues based on the Muffler Man along the famous highway. These statues of fiberglass were constructed for advertising or pure decoration. Here you will find “Gemini Giant”, a 28-foot spaceman commemorating the Gemini space missions.

On July 4, 1998, I took a three-week vacation and drove the entire 2,448 miles of Route 66, also known as Mother Road. I first drove north to Chicago where it begins (or ends depending on your starting point), and then headed south and west all the way to its final stop, the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Goin’ places that I’ve never been
             Seein’ things that I may never see again

In St. Louis, I saw Eads Bridge, the oldest steel bridge, the McKinley Bridge, New Chain of Rocks Bridge, and McArthur Bridge. They are all part of Route 66. Of course, I stopped at The Arch and took the ride to the top marveling at the vista below.

One of my fondest memories is spending two days in Lebanon, Missouri. I stayed at the Munger Moss Motel and visited the amazing Route 66 Museum.

Like a band of Gypsies, we go down the highway
        We’re the best of friends
.

I met many people from all over the U.S. and the world. They were of all ages, races, and religions, and some of us became friends and we have stayed in touch. Sometimes we caravanned looking like a band of Gypsies.  

I stopped in Catoosa, Oklahoma for only one reason: to see the “Blue Whale”, which is one of the statues along Route 66. I drove the additional 120 miles to have a delicious meal at “Ann’s Chicken Fry House Restaurant” in Oklahoma City.

Playing my Willie Nelson tapes, I sang my heart out while I drove across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona making a few stops to see more of the Muffler Men statues including the two Paul Bunyan’s in Flagstaff, Arizona and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I stopped at The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo for a massive meal and visited the shooting range.

I finally crossed the California border into the very small town of Amboy. When I was there in 1998, the population was 5. It was up for sale on Ebay, but it never sold for the asking price of $1.9 million. A group of motorcyclists invited me to join them on their way to Santa Monica. They were a rough-and-tough looking group but as kind as the day is long.

The most famous place in Amboy is Roy’s Motel and Café. They refused to have their picture taken, so I snapped a photo of their motorcycles lined up.

We traveled from Amboy to the Santa Monica Pier, traveling the two-hundred miles in one day. The eight of us parked our seven motorcycles and one car. We walked to the very end of the 1909 pier. We cheered and broke out into the chorus singing On the Road Again.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this short story. I welcome your comments, and please know I appreciate your support.