Friday Fictioneers – The Fence

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Now let’s see if I’ve got this straight. You’re saying this parcel of land is yours, and that I can’t hunt across it. Right? Everything within this little fence is yours alone? Does that also apply to the sky above? If a wind blows some of your air into my nose and I breathe in, do I owe you recompense?

Don’t you understand, the idea of owning the earth is as absurd as the idea of owning the air? Nobody can own the land or the beasts and plants on it. And that is why I tore down your fence.

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – On the Ice

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

The plain is white. The mountains are white. With each step I take, the pale buildings fade into the background. Once, there were other things—fairgrounds and picnics, horse-rides and autumn walks down leaf-strewn paths. If I lose my past, I will lose myself. All those yesterdays that once buckled the land are smoothing.

I look back. Cracks are forming. And they snake out towards me on thinning ice. Perhaps the end will be dramatic, after all. Not a blind wandering in the beige wilderness, but a descent into fresh, clear water. Perhaps I will enjoy that.

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Sticky Past

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

Do you remember? The goats strolling down the middle of the evacuated street, nibbling on garden hedges? And how we stood at our doors once a week, waving hesitantly to neighbours, and clapped the nurses and doctors? Do you remember what we learned about who we depended on and who was truly important?

Can we have forgotten so fast? Once, we knew what building back better might mean. But the past is sticky. It has oozed back to submerge the future we believed we once saw.

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Make Money While You Sleep

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M McIlroy

It took a while to get used to the headset. It bumped the pillow and woke me. But this was worth it to earn without effort. And gradually, I adapted to the equipment—even became comforted by the way it cradled me.

Networked with other sleeping brains, the company mines my dreams to solve problems I couldn’t begin to understand. Collectively, we manage topological transforms and matrix algebra.

And I have all the working day free to walk, and to garden, and to chat. Truly, this is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Isn’t it?

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

160.       The future isn’t what it used to be

I remember the future I was promised so long ago. There would be flying cars, and Dick Tracey watches that allowed you to communicate by speaking into your wrist. We got the Dick Tracey watches (cellphones), but not the flying cars or personal jet packs. Nor did we get colonies in space or universal plenty. But we got other stuff that nobody predicted.

We got a climate crisis and degradation of the environment: wildfires, floods, and famine. And a pandemic. And, so far from universal plenty, it seems we don’t have enough truck drivers to guarantee food delivery to the shops, or enough carers to look after the frail and elderly.

It would be easy to be scared. Apocalypse novels sell by the thousands. There’s a lot around that’s scarey. But perhaps there always has been. A generation ago, we were terrified by the threat of nuclear annihilation. And we survived. A generation before that, there was the World War to defend civilization. And a generation before that, the War to End All Wars. There was a pandemic in that generation too.

Yet, we survived. To survive now we need to be able to re-imagine a future we want to live in. Because crises don’t just go away by themselves—we have to want a change and work for it. A world without the vested interests of big oil and the snooping of big tech. Clean cheap energy. Food, shelter and a meaningful life for everyone. That seems worth working for, and it’s within our grasp. What would be the path towards that? Perhaps we need story-tellers to help us visualize that future.

Friday Fictioneers – Summer holiday

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The cry was plaintive and piercing, “There’s no Worcestershire sauce.”

Not this again, please no! “Darling, I explained already. They eat different food.”

The image of the frozen smile on the waiter’s face endured. When Sam had adopted the slow monotone he believed allowed foreigners to understand English and said, “No spaghetti. Fish-and-chips, comprenday?”

“Do it to be annoying, don’t they? Like pretending they don’t speak English. I mean, they have their word for bread, right? But how do they learn it without knowing ‘bread’ first? Eh, tell me that.”

He snapped his fingers. “Garçon!”

I sank into the shadows.

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Funfair of youth

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

Smoke curls lazy into the sky. It’s beautiful, almost. Burn, baby, burn. That’s a thing they used to say, the wrinklies, when they were young. Oh, they were fierce and zealous then. What happened to them?

A shrill cry. And the sound of something big splintering. We’ll get what’s ours at last. Now is the best time to be young. An old lady flaps her arms as she falls from a fourth floor window, like some crazy bird. No more wrinklies to occupy the best houses, luxuriate in their fat pensions, and scoff up all the vaccines. Enough. Now is our turn. Now is our world.

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Take my hand

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff

She takes my hand and leads me. In my day, it would have been the other way round. It is strange to be guided by your granddaughter, but the world has become strange. All the old certainties are vanishing. Like spring being the return of life, and autumn for the gathering-in. Now these seasons come with flood and fire. Nothing is as it was.

“We will have to show you what to do,” she says. “You should have done it, but you didn’t. Tomorrow is too late.”

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Never forgetting

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

I will never forget you, I swore: my first encounter with death. One day she was there, and the next, incomprehensibly absent—a silly fall from a mountain.

A memory of us lying together on the narrow single bed. She was propped on one elbow. “I don’t mind leading you down the garden path,” she said. I didn’t understand what she meant—she was two years older than me, and knew things I didn’t.

Yes, I can remember my adoration. But not the face, the shape, the smell. Those have vanished. Also, her name.

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

Friday Fictioneers – Lights

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

Yes, of course I see them. Lights all around—how could I not notice? But that doesn’t mean gawping rudely like a village idiot. Etiquette dictates one pretends not to witness.

Why? You ask why? Well, the creatures lack a shred of clothing. Suppose it was your wife or mother—would you want folks to ogle?

We’ll take them gently aside, at the right moment, and explain. They tend to resist. But when you point out food and drink pass straight through, they begin to understand. Ghosts are only people who don’t realise they’re dead. With acceptance, they find peace.

.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here