Tag Archives: Sunday Photo Fiction

Moonrise CH37 – Puppet Army

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[1195 words – Prompts: Terribleminds, Inspiration Monday, Sunday Photo Fiction, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader]

Joaquin’s eyes scanned the street. He knew if Globe’s men found him, it would be his end. The way that Anne and Frank talked about the man, he was a genocidal maniac. A well-connected genocidal maniac. The FBI was in Globe’s pocket. They were his puppet army. The local police wouldn’t trust a young black man with a rap sheet as impressive as his. His only ally, Detective Frank Massey, seemed to only trust him with unimportant tasks. He only clutched the package to his chest because everything turned to shit today. Even if he were to get the proof to someone outside of Globe’s influence, he doubted that they would listen to him.

His enemies were everywhere. It was a hopeless situation. But, he reminded himself, Andy’s good people. Betty’s eyes softened when she looked at him. She didn’t see a thug; a carjacker; a purse-snatcher. She seemed to see beyond his past. She saw the same future that Peter saw. Joaquin sighed, remembering the firefight at the cabin in the Canadian wilderness. He cursed himself for running away from the team of mercenaries took down Peter and Kristof. He flinched as the crack of a handgun echoed in his memory.

Globe’s men took Peter alive. Anne told them as much. Frank and Andy worked to expose Globe for the villain that he was. Joaquin could only hope that everything would turn out the way Frank and Anne planned. But still, he would never forget her cackle and the blood smeared across her face as Anne murdered the Seventh Street Kings. He wondered if she was any better than Globe.

Joaquin took a deep breath and stepped off the curb. He would see his task completed. He had hope that some higher power would set things right. Joaquin allowed a smarmy grin. And if that power decided not to, well then, Joaquin would do his damnedest to do it instead. He squared his shoulders and walked confidently onto the seedy Seattle street. He had hope in the face of hopelessness. He had righteousness in the face of wickedness. He had to stop Globe at any cost.

He wondered if that was enough to make him a hero.

* * *

“It was somewhere near Whidbey Island, but I don’t know where. I don’t know if Joaquin even went there. Shit, detective… it was my idea. After we had found out Miles Jensen might be innocent, I suggested to Joaquin that we go and search for more proof. I told him it would be best we don’t call you right away.”

Massey pulled the blinds aside and squinted to see the traffic. He searched for black dots with flashing blue and red lights, but there were none. The bad guys would arrive incognito. Sighing, he pulled away from the window and sat on the chair beside Andy’s bed. “It’s alright Andy. You couldn’t have known things would go sideways so quickly.”

Andy nodded his good eye filling with tears. “Detective, are you sure this Anne can be trusted? I know what you said about the plan and all, but…” He blinked his eye several times to clear the moisture.
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Moonrise CH34 – Literature Detective

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[1050 words – Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Write Anything, #SoCS, Sunday Scribblings 2, Sunday Photo Fiction]

The first thing Massey did was watch Anne’s hair flow in the brief wind, the color catching light from the street lamps and turning auburn. She was buzzing with anger. Globe had called. She smiled when she realized she messed up again. The Major wanted Joaquin found and brought to him. For what reason Anne didn’t elaborate, and Massey didn’t inquire. They had things under control. There was reassurance, a plan set to be executed. So they went their separate ways, each with their own role to play. The next thing Massey did was to spur into action without thinking, dodging traffic to reach Andy’s place, praying to whatever totem brought luck to cops that Anne had enough strategy to stall Globe’s lackey and slow down the search. Then they’d be good. Then they could start their attack against Globe’s rising power. He tried to call Andy’s phone a dozen times, but no one picked up. A feeling of dread settled in Massey’s gut. The windows on the street were all ablaze. They cast brilliant white stars on doors and windows overlooking the street. Flashing reds and blues confirmed his fears as he turned onto the street where Andy’s apartment was.

A fire truck was parked horizontally blocking the street. The hose wiggled on the asphalt like a python struggling in the heat of the still smoldering air. Once released the water rained like silver crystals against the black skyline full of smoke and desperation. The night-lights were gone, choked in the background of the death curtain. Massey stepped out of his cruiser, hand pressed against his mouth to cut out the smoke from entering his nostrils. By instinct, his dry mouth tried hungrily to inhale the ashes floating in the air. He recognized the apartment that was the sole attention of the crisis. The charred shape on the façade reminded him of a giant moth, a nuclear shadow imprinted on the side of the building. The notion made him dizzy, one monstrosity atop another. He elbowed through a small but growing crowd of odd-lookers. They stood around, mouths agape in their bedclothes, tightly hugging large frames and small frames in robes both tattered and luxurious. No one seemed to care how he or she looked or even who they were. They just wanted to see the dead and burned, the destruction that always followed the flames.

Outside of the crowd and into the danger zone Massey quickened his pace and ducked under yet another yellow police tape. His pace turned to a near jog to the ambulance and the body being loaded into it.

“Is he going to live?” Massey heard himself ask looking down at Andy’s bleeding face. He didn’t dare look around for a second body, his mind instantly questioning whether Joaquin was impervious enough to survive a fire, or an explosion, but then he recalled that duplex fire that was the source of him tracking the youth. He allowed himself a small sigh. If Joaquin hadn’t tried to carjack him, he would be one of the sheep bleating to the favor of Major Jacob Globe.

The paramedic pulled himself into the back of the ambulance grabbing for the doors. “He has sustained a few more serious injuries, but he’ll live. He was lucky your colleague pulled him out before he suffocated.” A gesture of the head made Massey swivel.

He stared at a middle-aged man standing by one of the police cruisers covered with a blanket to scatter away his shock. He measured how much bloodied and bruised his face was. The blanket slipped and uncovered his black jacket emblazoned with the yellow FBI letters. Massey breathed in deep ignoring the warmth in the air close to sweltering in the proximity, close to catching a swift drive down his throat. He had to get away before the agent saw him.
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Moonrise CH29 – Forced Awake

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[1073 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Sunday Photo Fiction, Sunday Scribblings 2, Write Anything Wednesday, #SoCS]

Andy puffed on a cigarette. It was burning between his thin fingers, ash gathering at the tip threatening to tip over. He crushed it inside the ashtray.

“Well, what do you know?”

Joaquin looked up. The screen displayed six videos, and when Andy played the first, Joaquin quickly found Jensen among the crowd of people and saw how he slipped away into a dark alley pulling at his clothes and falling to his knees, his hands buried in his hair. Then there was a flash of something bright distorting the camera and when it regained focus a large spot on the ground and on the walls of the opposing buildings were covered in glistening pristine ice. The camera flipped sideways and after a few shaky seconds and curses from its owner it switched off.

“That was Jensen alright. Seemingly unable to contain and control his power. Let’s see video number two.”

The second video was much worse. Its quality was bad as it was filmed from under a table as far as Joaquin could see. The audio crackled and the picture was blurry when the phone moved in someone’s sweaty hands, but it was clear that the target of the video was Jensen. He was wearing the same outfit, pacing back and forth in a coffee shop, fuming at the end of the line. He exchanged a few loud and harsh words with an oafish man in front of him and then after a display on machismo, that man pushed him, he put his hands on the man’s chest and pushed back. The man fell to the ground, kicking and screaming, and Jensen ran away driving apart the growing crowd. Joaquin could see the white fumes swirling from the victim’s body and when he ripped his shirt open the thin crust of ice covering his chest.

“Whoa!” Joaquin sat back. “He froze that dude for no reason! Play the next one.”

But Andy wasn’t moving. He continued to stare at the screen. Slowly, he declared, “Something isn’t right.”

“Yeah, no shit. Jensen is guilty that’s for sure, homie.” Joaquin felt his fingers tighten into a fist. He remembered how he wanted to beat Jensen into a bloody pulp, serving justice the harsh way.

“No, something isn’t right with the videos. Look – they were all uploaded two days before the attack in Madison Park. It seems… too easy.”

Joaquin shrugged. “I don’t know man, I see what is before me, and that’s Jensen goin’ crazy on some dude’s ass. Ain’t that enough evidence to predict him capable of blasting those kids earlier?”

Andy played the other videos. They showed a progression in Jensen’s violent behavior and growth in his power. He wasn’t just freezing small areas; he was turning himself into ice, a single touch away from making everything freeze. One video even showed reflections in glass – clouds obscured the sun, and Jensen staggered past a blue-framed window, the cityscape pristine in the background. In others, he displayed violent fits and body alteration, limbs gaining misshapen extensions constructed from ice and “firing” ice spikes, the impact lodged them in solid concrete. It was inhuman. Joaquin was speechless, both impressed and terrified.
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Moonrise CH28 – Phantom Moon

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[1058 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, The Writing Reader, Write Anything Wednesday, #SoCS, Sunday Photo Fiction]

Joaquin jogged through the stalled traffic, the overcast evening getting cold. He appreciated the comfortable numbness. Light shone brilliantly from behind the clouds. The phantom moon pulled at his inner tide. He allowed the celestial influence guide him toward Andy’s apartment in Chinatown. No one called it that anymore – now it was the International District. Joaquin had expected Andy to be living in a house with a white picket fence, but instead he and Massey found the hacker in a small apartment above an Asian Travel agency, and Moe’s Exotic Herbs.

As Joaquin walked by, an Asian man lackadaisical sweeping the floor inside Moe’s Exotic Herbs eyed him. His motions became more deliberate, the grip on the broom tightening. He feigned concentration at his task, but Joaquin caught the pull of the lip, saw the wrinkles piling on the ancient cheeks, saw the barely showing but present snarl. A thought slowly crept into his mind that the man wasn’t judging him by appearance, but by the fact that he was one of them, one of the super powered people they were showing on the TV all day. The media painted them as killers, so why would some ordinary man see it otherwise? Joaquin felt like he was suddenly transparent to the man, his freak DNA imprinted on his skin. He rushed past the glint of the window. Behind him, the man flipped the “Closed” sign and turned off the lights.

Joaquin found the stairs to the side of the building. He climbed them two at a time, and when he snuck inside the narrow corridor, he quickly found Andy’s black painted door. His banged his fist on it. When Andy didn’t answer, he hammered at it again feeling it shift slightly under the pressure of his impatience and frustration. “Yo man open up. It’s Joaquin.”

He heard the muffled sounds of feet rushing on wood, the throwing off something heavier, the drop of coins and the light swear. Then the door cranked open obstructed by the rusted chain.

“Slide that shit open homie and let me in.”

Andy slicked back his hair and craned his neck to look past Joaquin.

“Where’s Detective Massey?”

“Busy,” Joaquin squeezed through teeth. “I got the stuff instead. So. Move. Over.”

Andy yanked the chain free and stepped aside allowing Joaquin’s large frame access.

“The hell were you doin’ makin’ me wait and shit? I thought you was trippin’ or somethin’.” Joaquin looked around the apartment. It wasn’t difficult to figure out Andy had rushed to make it look more hospitable, cleaning papers and clothes, which were in a heap on the bed. Despite his effort, the small living room was like a disposal area, food, clothing, cables, cameras, CDs all in a mess that Andy probably called order.

Andy shook his head. “I don’t partake in drug usage. So, Golden Boy, let me see what you brought.”

Joaquin handed him the backpack. “Don’t call me that.”
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Moonrise CH23 – Reunion

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[1127 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Sunday Photo Fiction, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader]Massey threw his phone on the passenger seat. His cruiser growled when he changed lanes and direction. He triggered his lights and the siren cleared a path for him.

Meet me at 483 Eastlake Ave East in 30 minutes.

This is too easy, he thought. It hadn’t been twenty-four hours since Anne called him and offered a truce. Even then she hadn’t been certain of when or how. She was always cautious. Then, overnight, the Madison Massacre happened. Anne was silent about it, but now she voiced urgency through an untraceable number. She wanted a quick meeting, no questions asked. Massey could tell that something significant had happened; something had stirred loud and scary enough to drive Anne to this meeting. That something was prone to be bad.

By the time Massey pulled over at the given address, it was nearing dusk. Old bones groaning, he sat on the tight seat of the black cruiser. The sky was an angry purple, a raw bruise spreading over the city. Massey put a calloused hand over his heart. This madness would be the death of him. He thought about Denisha. His baby girl was always busy these days; catching her voice on the phone had become as much a rarity as seeing her. To protect Joaquin, Frank had made personal sacrifices. He hoped they wouldn’t blow back on him.

The I-5 express running above rattled with the dull rhythm of rasping car engines speeding by as Massey crossed the street. His eyes frantically scanned for Anne, but the street was empty. Gray buildings erected shoulder to shoulder glared with empty windows – rental and available signs decorated their corners. The dust and smudges on the glass told him they were long forgotten just like the other half the avenue’s length – tarnished and halted by renovations. The posters glued crooked to the lampposts were dated last March. The neighborhood reeked with ostentatious poverty. To Frank’s surprise huddled between a shutdown bar, Bud Light sticker still crowning its entrance and a garage, its heavy black door closed for the day, was a second-hand clothes store, pale mannequins stared at him armless and headless through the frame. A bird feeder hung from a cast iron pole. Massey drummed his fingers on his holster as he approached the door. He clicked the gun free from the leather strap and wrapped his hand around the grip, but keeping it out of view.

“Are you going to shoot the mannequins?”

He spun toward the voice, and had his weapon out.

Anne took stock of it. “You need to reload, cowboy.”

When Massey lowered his weapon, she moved around him, took out a keychain and after selecting the right on, she stuck it in the keyhole. The chain fell away with a rattle against the doorframe. Anne picked up the dangling chain and pulled until it was free and the door swung wide open. The small space was crowded with chairs and sheet covered salon chairs. An unattached sink was placed on the tiled floor, and beside it, a large mirror stood propped reflecting whatever radiance touched its surface.

“Do you own this place?” Massey asked stepping over mannequin hands as he followed Anne inside. “And what’s with the plastic?” he nodded toward the sprawled mannequins.
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Introspection

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Since my salacious piece from last week violated Stephanie’s link discretion policy, I had to go all-out InMonster this week and use all five prompts. In these 500 words, I also worked in prompts from #Wow555, #3WW, Word-a-Week, Writerish Ramblings, Sunday Photo Fiction, and Sunday Scribblings 2:

* * *

“I got nothing,” he said, spreading his hands, a pair of anchors adorning each beefy arm.

I shook my head as a proper response failed to coalesce. In the many years of my life, I had come to appreciate an educated vocabulary. The spoken word is a marvelous thing with subtle implications. Allusions to what happens below the surface of the speaker live in wonderful flavors of intimation. It’s like the perfect chocolate dessert melting on the tongue – a chocolate that sooths the pain of living in an uncouth world.

Words are the musical blueprint of communication. An amateur makes a respectable showing, but true artists paint words from a palette unavailable to mere mortals. They command speech with a depth of meaning – sometimes so profound, that conflict begins and ends with the utterance of a few simple words. Lives lived and lives lost, as a testament to the power of words over love, hate, fear, misery, bigotry and privilege.

But this man, this man is the epitome of my exasperation. So often I’ve encountered cretinous vocalization from those gifted in speaking, who had the potential to say so much more. Not just in the quantity of words, but in a quality that bared the depths of their intellect. But alas, these people say nothing of consequence. They open their mouths and allow vapidity to fall out and soil their shoes. Their awareness of what they could do with words is so deficient; they are wolves, hidden in darkness, baying at the moon.

The indented puns and nonsense words are human proof of the assault on my tender ears. Ears with unexplained bruises, aching for intelligence as if they were starving. A hunger, I dare say, like watching an elaborate feast with all in attendance ignoring the meticulously prepared food and the best chocolate the chef had to offer – only to fill up on tough bread. Their teeth gnashing in an attempt to gain sustenance from such commonality. The sadness is overwhelming, and an assault to my delicate sensibilities.

Like a diver breaching the surface, gasping for air as gases burn his lungs, I needed words – moreso than a dragon covets gold. Words were my life and this dolt couldn’t seem to string together more than a scant few in reply to my query. A query so ingrained in the experience, I would think the response would be commonplace. But, I suppose, even a commonplace reply from a commonplace man in a commonplace setting was just too much to hope for.

Speak! I willed the man to form the affirmative or the declarative negative. Speak and the entire world shall hear, waiting on bated breath for the conclusion of this epic discourse…
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Kickstarter (Almost)

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I’ve sent the third revision of 16Sunsets off to my editor today, so I figure I should launch the Kickstarter campaign as soon as I get home and record a video. I’m excited that you all got to see the story as I wrote it and were able to comment on each installment. I had a lot of feedback from several communities: Inspiration Monday, 52-week Flash Fiction Challenge, Sunday Photo Fiction & Friday Flash. Of course, Chuck Wendig was intregal in the story starting with his own weekly flash fiction prompts. If you want to read some good flash fiction, check out these sites. Submit your own while you’re visiting.