The Midnight Raid

The midnight raid had been swift and brutal, totally catching us unawares. They had sucked us out of our secret hiding places using weapons we had never encountered before.

I watched helplessly as they captured my friends, my family, while I hid and waited for my turn.

I knew that I would not be able to hold out for too long, but I also knew that at least some of us would survive. We were not that easy to keep down, we were like fireweed, we would grow again, stronger than ever before, and then….the Ghostbusters would pay.

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99 words.

Written as a part of the Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction Challenge, hosted by Charli Mills. Charli’s prompt this week, in her own words, was:

February 8, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes fireweed. You can use it as the plant, a flower, a metaphor or as the name of someone or something. Go where the prompt leads. Burn bright when you write.

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The Attack

Photo courtesy Sue Vincent

The temple had been the only home my family had known for generations. Having been hunted like animals, my family was the only one to survive from our once noble and powerful House. But we were safe now, in our little sanctuary in the middle of nowhere, no one would be crazy enough to venture into this remote part of the forest. We were few, but we were safe. None could touch us here. Or so we had thought.

I was just putting John to sleep when Charlie rushed in, breathless, his eyes wide open with wonder, and for the first time in his short life, a smattering of fear.

“What is it Charlie? I almost shouted at him in an alarmed voice, “Is it a predator?”

Charlie took a moment to gulp down an entire bowl of water, and then said, “No….no….it’s hunters….in our forest….very close….they said they will attack us at dawn.”

Now little Charlie, with his easily excitable nature and his over-active imagination, was not the most reliable of witnesses at the best of times, so we usually took whatever he said with a pinch of salt. Hence, I decided to investigate myself. “Take me there, but quietly,” I told Charlie imperiously.

We crept slowly towards the area where Charlie claimed he had seen the hunters. “Stop here,” he said, pointing towards a clump of thick shrubbery. I hid behind the bushes, and carefully peeped into the clearing beyond it. And what I saw shook me to the core.

Charlie had been right, for a change. A bunch of men were gathered there, some with guns, others with weapons I had never seen before. They were setting up camp in the clearing, and a lean, bearded man was barking orders at them in quick succession. “He must be their leader,” I said, as a plan began forming in my head. It is not for nothing that my family had survived in the wild for so long. I waited for some more time, and finally, when I saw what I had been waiting for, I quietly left, Charlie dutifully skipping right behind me.

I knew time was of the essence, since the attack was to start the next morning, so we put my plan into motion the very same night.

Taking cover of the darkness, and the shadows of the trees that we knew like the back of our hands, we slipped quietly into the leader’s tent. “Look at him,” said my second child John, “sleeping so peacefully, not a shred of weight on his conscience.” The others nodded their heads in unison, and then, I walked up, and removed his blanket with one swoop.

The jerk woke up with a jerk, and started looking around wildly. Finally, finding what he was looking for, he lifted it up. “Careful,” I said menacingly. “It’s just my spectacle ma…..” his voice petered off as he put on the aforementioned spectacles and saw me and my family clearly for the first time.

“Who….who…who….are you?” he stuttered, “and what do you want with me?”

“It doesn’t matter who we are,” I replied, “all you need to know is that tomorrow’s attack is not going to happen. You are going to pack up at first light, and leave this forest, never to be seen again….or you will never be seen again by anyone OUTSIDE this forest.”

“Attack? What attack?” he asked with a confused expression on his face.

“Don’t try to fool us,” I replied, “we know all about it, my youngest one, Charlie, heard everything.”

“Yes Mum,” piped in Charlie from behind me.

With an inquisitive look on his face, the man turned towards Charlie, and said, “What exactly did you hear me say Charlie?”

Charlie replied brashly, “That you are going to attack…”

“No!” the man interrupted Charlie mid-sentence, “my exact words please.”

Charlie furrowed his brows in concentration, and replied, “Your exact words were- We will start shooting at the temple at dawn.”

Hearing this, the man’s face cleared up, and he said, “Now I understand the confusion. I am a film director, and have come here to shoot for a film, with cameras. Charlie mistook my words for something else, and now, here we are.”

Even in our part of the forest, we had heard of films, so I turned towards Charlie, and slapped him on the head, hard. “You idiot,” I said sharply, “is there anything in this world that you can do properly?”

And then, apologizing profusely to the director, I took his leave, taking my embarrassed family along with me.

Inside the tent, the director quickly took out a huge satellite phone, and dialed a number in the States.

“I have a brilliant idea for a film, Michael. Dinosaurs….come back to life, attacking humans. The most deadly of them, velociraptors, hunt in packs, communicate with each other, can talk to humans…” he said.

“Woah….slow down, slow down. That’s stretching it, don’t you think? No one will buy it.”

The horrifying scene from a few moments ago floated in front of his eyes, as he said, “OK, maybe they won’t talk, but what do you think about the rest?”

Michael thought for a bit, and then said, “Let me see what I can come up with, Steven.”

*************************************************************************************Written in response to the Thursday Photo Prompt – Sanctuary at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the above image.

Note: I have obviously taken truckloads of creative liberties here, for Jurassic Park was a famous book first, and only then became a movie. Hope Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton (May he rest in peace) forgive me.

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The Interview

PHOTO PROMPT © JS Brand

The interviewer’s voice was filled with awe as he asked me, “He can actually speak English?”

With a paternal look of pride on my face, I replied, “I taught him myself. So, do you think you can accommodate him?”

“Of course we can,” pat came the answer.

“How much?” I asked.

“Five hundred pounds,” he replied.

We shook hands on that, and I said to my ward, “You need to go with this gentleman, he will take care of you from now on.”

And as he walked unsuspectingly towards the slave trader’s barge, Friday cheerfully shouted, “Thank you Mr. Crusoe.”

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100 words.

Written as a part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. You can find more details of the challenge HERE. The objective is to write a short story of 100 words or less based on the photo prompt given above. This week’s photo has been contributed by JS Brand.

To read the other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

 

 

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An Ode to Love

I looked up and stood transfixed, smitten all over again by her heavenly beauty. Standing on the balcony, under the pale moonlight, she looked ethereal.

She looked around the courtyard, as if searching for something, or someone, and said in a musical voice, “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”

I could not resist any more, and started climbing up the ladder.

Just then, she finally saw my ode to our love. Her voice became even more lilting and excited, as she said, “What is this that thou hast made for me Romeo? A giant heart, carved in the courtyard. Come up quick, so that I can shower thy upturned face with a million kisses.”

I rushed up the ladder, looked deeply into her blue eyes, and said, “My Juliet, there is nothing I will not do for thee.”

And suddenly, a deep voice answered from below the ladder, “Would that include an year’s jail and a fine of 100,000 Euros for trespassing and defacing a historical monument in Verona, Sir?”

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170 words.

Written as a part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in 175 words or less, based on the weekly photo prompt given above. This week’s photo has been contributed by Yinglan. For more information, visit HERE. To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

 

 

 

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The Cleaner

22 Dawn Miller February 4th 2018

Photo © Dawn Miller

Looking at the lovely path meandering through the forest, you would find it difficult to imagine the state it was in till just an hour ago.

Cleaning up the path had been back-breaking work, but someone had to do it. Not that I was complaining, anything for a good cause, but I was not that young anymore and physical labor had never been my strongest suit.

I decided to look around once again, to check if I had inadvertently left a crumb out, but no, there was none to be found.

Dusting my hands off, I looked at my handiwork with pride.

The wheelbarrow was filled to the brim with bread crumbs. Those two pesky, infernal kids would never be able to find their way home now.

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Written as a part of Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by Al Forbes. The challenge is to write a story of 200 words or less, based on the photo prompt given above. For more details visit HERE. To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Note: While this story has its own standalone existence, it can also be read as a continuation of another story of mine: https://jagahdilmein.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/the-happiest-day-of-my-life/

 

 

 

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Eternal Love

I looked at my wife lovingly and said, “You look as radiant in that white nightgown as you did on the night we first met. As soon as I saw you, I knew we were meant to be together…forever.”

She smiled shyly and replied, “And that black suit still makes you appear as regal and handsome as you did on that magical moonlit night when I invited you in.”

“Good night my love,” I whispered softly.

“Good night my Count,” I heard her say as we both shut the lids of our coffins and called it a day.

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99 words.

Written in response to the weekly flash fiction challenge at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community, hosted by the inimitable Charli Mills. Let us look at this week’s prompt in Charli’s own words:

February 1, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features something black and white. It could be a nun in a zebra monster truck, a rigid way of thinking, a bird in a tuxedo — be imaginative and go where the prompt leads.

 

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The Swan Princesses

shrine

Photo courtesy Sue Vincent

After a long and tiring hike, I stopped for a little breather in a small but beautiful grove. The sun was shining in its full glory, and the chirping of colorful birds of various shapes and sizes soon lulled me to sleep.

Flitting in and out of a fitful slumber, I suddenly thought I heard a voice speak up in my ear, “Help!”

Attributing it to a dream, I ignored it, but the voice became more insistent, and was now joined by two other voices, “Help us, help us please.”

I woke up with a start. “That was a pretty weird dream,” I thought to myself.

But then, I heard them again, the voices. I looked around suspiciously, but there was not a living soul in sight.

But the voices just would not stop.

Afraid that I was about to go mad, I got up and started investigating the surrounding areas.

It was then that I saw it. An ominous looking slab of stone, with a large iron bell on top, and sketches of three swans in its centre. It looked like a shrine of some kind, but to no God that I had ever heard of.

But, most importantly, no sign of any living being in distress.

I was just about to give up the search when I heard the voices again, much louder this time. “Thank God you finally found us,” said the three voices in unison. “I have?” I asked aloud hesitatingly, for I could not for the life of me locate the source of the voices.

“Of course, we are the three swans in this shrine,” said the voices.

“Don’t be silly,” I said in my most practical tone, “Pictures or stones can’t speak.”

“Oh really,” the voices piped in, “So how come we are talking to you?”

That had me stumped, for I really could not see anyone else there at all.

The voices now continued, “We are three sisters, three princesses, the only daughters of the Swan King. Our father is the guardian of a vast hoard of pearls that have been collected by swans over generations. Centuries ago, a wicked witch imprisoned us by deceit and tried to force us to reveal the secret location of the pearls, but we refused. So now, we are trapped here, till the time we agree to do her bidding.”

By the time they ended their stories, they had broken down completely and all three sisters were now crying plaintively. As I sat listening to their story, I felt my resolve strengthening. I knew I had to do something to get them out of the stone slab.

“How can I help you,” I asked them with steely determination.

“Well,” said the eldest sister, “you will have to kill the wicked witch, and then ring this bell three times, and the curse will lift automatically.”

That put a slight dent in my steely determination and strong resolve.

” I will have to…WHAT?” I cried out.

The middle sister now spoke up, “Don’t worry, it is not as difficult as you think. The witch is old and brittle. One swing of your sword and she will lose her head.”

“But I don’t have a sword,” I replied, pointing out a potential source of spanner in the works.

“Then just use your walking stick to bash her head in,” said the youngest sister, “she would be asleep in her home right now, just a couple of miles from here.”

I gulped nervously, but then, called upon my legendary strong resolve and steely determination to back me up one more time.

And then, I set off to kill the wicked witch.

I will not bore you with the gory details of the actual encounter, primarily because the wicked witch died of a heart attack as soon as she heard my knock on her door. Her nerves would have been frayed beyond repair indeed.

I quickly rushed back to the shrine, and without much ado, rang the bell once, twice, thrice.

And lo and behold, the chalk figures of swans disappeared from the shrine, and standing before me were three of the most graceful, most exquisite, most beautiful swans that you would have ever seen.

They bowed their heads before me, and in one voice, said, “Thank you for rescuing us, O kind traveler, if you need any boon, ask, and our father will be more than delighted to give it to you.”

“How about the hoard of pearls,” I said as I threw a sack over the three of them and bound them tight. “The witch had the right idea, but she stupidly tried to get you to reveal the treasure’s location. I will just send your father parts of your bodies every day till he breaks down and gives me the treasure himself. So, who should I start with? Whom does he love the most?”

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Written in response to the Thursday Photo Prompt – Shrine at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image, which has been contributed by Sue as usual.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Endangered Tribe

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

We looked at the logs of dry wood almost reverentially.

Times had been hard, the incessant rains and unstoppable floods had meant that we had been living on uncooked scraps, scavenged from wherever possible, for days now.

The old, infirm and the infants had suffered the worst, and the soil of numerous graves was still wet outside our village.

But now, the rains had finally ceased, and we found a tree which had dried sufficiently for our purpose.

The fire will burn again tonight.

We will survive.

All we need now is a nice, juicy man or woman to cook.

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100 words.

Written as a part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words or less, based on the photo prompt given above. This week’s photo has been contributed by Rochelle herself.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

 

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It’s Tough to say Goodbye

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I looked at the books on the shelf fondly. I would miss these the most.

But now, it was time to move on. My family was not safe here anymore.

The exterminators were on their way, and I’d heard the human mention on the phone that they specialized in cockroaches.

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261 characters.

Written as a part of Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tale challenge. The objective is to write a story on the photo prompt given above in 280 characters or less.

 

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The Epic Hangover

“I woke up famished, as if I hadn’t eaten anything in centuries. My throat was parched, and my head throbbing with pain so intense that I thought that I’d pass out.

I managed to stand up somehow, and started looking around desperately for food, any food, but there was none to be found.

I staggered outside my room, and tried to call out to someone to get me food. But my throat was so parched that I could hardly even croak. And the pitch-dark surroundings meant that I could not see anyone.

It was then that I saw it.

A warm, shiny, yellow, spherical dish.

It was calling out to me, as if it knew me from before, as if it belonged to me.

I walked up to it as if in a trance, and gently lifted it in my hand.

And that, O Great Zeus, is how I ended up accidentally eating the sun,” confessed Helios abashedly.

Standing amidst the other Gods, Apollo smiled slyly. Spiking Helios’s drink had indeed been a masterstroke.

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174 words.

Note: My basic 5-minutes research on Sun Gods tells me that Helios used to be the original Sun God, but at some time in the past, Apollo took over. This story attempts to explain how the takeover might have taken place 🙂

Certain legends also say that both Helios and Apollo were the same, but then where is the fun in that?

Written as a part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story based on the weekly photo prompt, in 175 words or less. This week’s photo has been generously contributed by Goroyboy. For more information on the challenge, visit HERE. To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

 

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