Flash Friday Fiction: The Ties That Bind

Inspection. CC2.0 photo by Brian (Ziggy) Liloia.
Inspection. CC2.0 photo by Brian (Ziggy) Liloia.

The Ties That Bind – 210 words

When grandfather was a boy, he crouched for hours in the fields, watering the rice paddies to make sure his family was fed.

When father was a young man, he crouched for hours in the grasses, shielding his siblings from the bullets whizzing by.

When I was a boy, I refused to crouch, refused to bend for the old ways.

I didn’t care about farming, didn’t care about tradition. I didn’t care about anything but myself.

My grandfather died in those rice fields, hands gnarled, knees perpetually bent.

My father died before I ever knew him, victim of a village raid that didn’t distinguish between enemy and innocent.

I wasn’t going to be them, my ancestors, faded like yesteryear’s photographs.

I wasn’t. My pride said no.

Until I looked into mother’s eyes, those weary eyes aged beyond her years.

Until I felt my sisters’ hands in mine, as they looked to me for support, for safety, for sustenance.

I crouch down today, inspecting these chicken feet, my chickens, arguing their worth to the butcher beside me. And I’ll do it again, and again, and again.

I shall pay homage to the family that came before me, their sacrifices, their struggles, their victories, their defeat.

I understand now.

I am proud.

That’s it – my offering of 200 (+/- 10) words, my short (very short) story, which had to incorporate the photo prompt and the character of a farmer. How did I do?

I hope you’ll click on over to Flash Friday Fiction to read the other stories and perhaps leave a word or two of praise for the very (very) talented writers who grace us with their own tales week after week. And, hey, why not give it a go yourself?


Flash Friday Fiction TWOFER: The American Dream

Whetting Interrupted, 1894. Public domain painting by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior.
Whetting Interrupted, 1894. Public domain painting by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior.

The American Dream – 207 words

“You can find a better life here,” they’d said. “Work hard and you can achieve anything you set your mind to,” they’d promised.

He’d tried.

But he’d never overcome their prejudices. Not really. He’d always been an outsider and always would be, his accent, his clothing, his food preferences betraying him at every turn.

She’d never cared. She hadn’t seen him as an immigrant. She’s seen a friend, and then, later, a lover.

He’d told her time and again it wouldn’t work, that they couldn’t last. That her father would kill them if he ever found out.

“Times are changing,” she’d argued. “You’ll see. I love you. You love me. That’s all we need, right?”

He’d held her close, saying nothing. There was nothing to say. He knew it would come to this. He’d always known.

He stood, facing down the shotgun, black eyes meeting blue across the barrel.

A scream echoed. He heard her feet running, her desperate cries for her father to stop.

But he knew that look in his adversary’s eyes. It was now or never. Everything boiled down to this moment.

He saw her pull on her father’s arm, saw the man hesitate.

At that moment, he picked up the axe. And swung.


Yup. I wrote TWO stories for this week’s Flash Friday Fiction competition. Don’t know that either one will resonate with the judges, but I had fun anyway. What do you think?

Flash Friday Fiction: My Name is Rodrigo de Goya

Whetting Interrupted, 1894. Public domain painting by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior.
Whetting Interrupted, 1894. Public domain painting by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior.

My Name is Rodrigo de Goya – 209 words

You had it coming.

All those years. All those years of abuse and torment, of hatred and subjugation.

You blamed it on ma. On how sick she was. You claimed the burden of worry overrode your good heart.


The only heart you have is a cancerous one, a cancer worse than anything ma ever suffered, God rest her soul.

Here we stand now. Face to face. Man to man. Or man to Overlord.

For it’s your misfortune that you never explored that cave down the river. I did. Every chance I got, every possibility of escape led me there.

You rotter. I’d only come back to wait, to bide my time, to bring the apocalypse, the end of the world down on your miserable head. And everyone else’s. Everyone who’d seen me, black eyes and frightened face, and never said a word, never lifted a hand.

Today is Judgment Day.

They’ll be lifting those hands today, in supplication, begging for release from the alien plague I command at will.

For the aliens took me in once I discovered the portal to their world. They adored me, festooned me with praise and titles.

I am the Overlord, ruler of the planet Vithrax.

You killed my mother. Prepare to die.


Bwah ha ha! Today I took a slightly different approach to my Flash Friday story of 200 (+/-10) words. After joking with friends that the stories that win aren’t usually the humorous ones (like I like to write), but are the dark ones that include abused children, people with horrible illnesses, and/or the end of the world, I vowed to write a story that incorporated all three.

Luckily for me, the prompt lent itself well to that, especially since we had to center our story around the theme of “aspiration”.

The only thing I forgot was a dead kitten.

Anyway, let me know what you think. And yes, The Princess Bride IS my favorite movie of all time.

Flash Friday Fiction: Ring of Fire Badge! (Fact, not Fiction)

Flash Friday Fiction Ring of Fire BadgeThe lovely Rebekah Postupak launched a new tribute to regular Flash Friday contributors recently, namely the Ring of Fire badge.

This badge honors those of us who’ve written for Flash Friday at least three out of four weeks in any given month.

I’m very excited to have earned this badge. In fact, I’m pretty sure that in the time since I started writing flash (fall 2013), I’ve only missed TWO WEEKS. Woot!

Thanks, Rebekah. And thank you to the Flash Friday Fiction community, who make Fridays so much fun, and keep us all coming back, week after week, to read and savor such beautiful short (short!) story writing.

Flash Friday Fiction: Carpe Cattus!

Picture of a small orange kitten in dirt near grass.
Kenya kittens. CC2.0 photo by Kerri Lee Smith.

Carpe Cattus – 208 words

I will not go gently into that good cage.

My ancestors were revered in ancient Egypt. In Rome, they threw you to my cousins. In Europe, we made you believe the crazy ladies who hoarded us had magical powers.

We’ve kept the rodent population down for years. You think it serves you. We think of it as lunch.

Now you come at me, all “Here, kitty kitty,” shaking that treat bag.

You plied me with scratching posts, seduced me with chunks of tuna in gravy, hypnotized me with your brushing of my fur.

But I see you for what you really are now. You are evil.

You want to take me to that horrible place, the one with my wailing brethren and, worse of all, DOGS.

You want to let that “doctor” cut off all that makes me who I am, to prevent me from fathering kittens of my own.

I’ll fight tooth and nail to prevent this injustice.

No longer shall I knead your lap for you. No longer shall I make the noises you enjoy. No longer shall I serve to warm your feet in bed.

For I am a lion, the gladiator of my species.

And I will not go gently into that good cage.


This week in our 200 (+/-10) word stories for Flash Friday Fiction, we had to focus on character, incorporating a gladiator somehow into our stories sparked by the photo prompt of this adorable kitten. Say what? I’m hoping my kitten’s gladiator attitude came through…let me know what you think.

And please head on over to Flash Friday Fiction to read and comment on the other offerings, or perhaps enter one of your own!