June 11, 2019 – Prompt- Push Button to Reset

Torie hadn’t counted on the whole universe being against her when she woke up that morning. She had hoped for a quiet day in which she could get some work done on her book and then maybe do a little gardening. It wasn’t meant to be. She had rolled out of bed and jumped when she stepped on what she thought was her cat’s tail. It wasn’t. It turned out to be the tie for her fuzzy robe. She had banged her knee into her nightstand when she jumped, and so she spent her first half hour awake cleaning up blood and bandaging her knee.

Hoping some coffee would help, she started the machine, not noticing the pot wasn’t all the way under the basket. A few minutes later, when she should have been filling her cup, she was instead, cleaning up coffee grounds and water from the counter and mopping the floor while hopping around favoring her wounded knee.

Torie decided she needed to push the reset button on her day, so she ditched her plans to write and garden and decided instead to go fishing in her pond. She had just stepped off her porch when the lightning bolt hit.

Karen Hydock

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June 4, 2019 – Prompt – Fog, Smoke, Haze

FOG

A true story

The weather report from Nantucket promised ‘early morning patches of fog.’  My husband and I weighed anchor from Nantucket harbor and motored our sailboat in rough seas with no wind. By three in the afternoon we we were still in the ‘patch of fog’ navigating by dead reckoning. Electronic navigation equipment was just starting to come on the market, but we did not even have a ship-to-shore radio aboard.

Eight hours of motoring in an area of rocks and shoals in fog thick enough to barely see the bow, made us feel like we were the only people left in the world. In the distance we heard the tingling of a bell. Following the sound we finally located a buoy. I could almost touch it before I could read the number. A quick search of the chart pinpointed our location. We were near Block Island, but on the wrong side.

Another hour of cautious groping and we found the jetty that channeled us into the Great Salt Pond of Block Island. It was a relief to be able to drop the hook and settle down. A glass of wine helped set the anchor.

Ellynore Seybold

****

Prompt; smoke, fog or haze

 

Traveling the dusty back roads of the Olympic mountain range in Washington, I saw a “vee” formation of Canadian geese flying southward. This was unseasonal for a hot summer day. I drove over a ridge and saw a plume of black smoke emanating from the wooded valley below. With the high winds today, I could understand why the birds were racing away from the plume. I stopped my car in order to get a better look. It worried me that the direction of my single-lane road would take me directly towards trouble. Suddenly, I saw orange flames erupt and leap skywards. I best get the heck out of here! I turned my car around and raced for safety. The blare of a siren screamed from around the curve ahead, and a fire truck sped towards me, almost running me off the road. Once passed, I felt relief and was heartened to know that the firemen were on their way to save this bucolic preserve of natural beauty.

Tom Rutherford

 

May 14, 2019 – Prompt – Echo, Sheriff, Secret

A gunshot echoed across the empty desert calling attention to the two men in leather standing beside a pair of motorcycles on the shoulder of the highway.
“What the hell are you doing?” the taller man all but shouted. “Someone’s gonna call the sheriff, then we’ll be in real trouble.”
“You’d have been in trouble if I hadn’t.” The other man holstered his pistol as he nodded to the ground behind the first man.
The tall man twisted around and let out a high pitched scream as he danced away from what was left of the coiled rattlesnake.
“you’re right. “I’m sorry. Let’s go.” They got back on their bikes and just before sliding on their helmets, he spoke again. “Can we keep this our secret?”
Melissa Stevens

May 21, 2019 – Prompt – Hello

A Christmas letter

Hello and Merry Christmas,
This will be my last Christmas letter. I’ve finally run out of adjectives and adverbs apparently. But just to keep you up to date, my dog developed diabetes, and I must give him an insulin shot every day. I planted two trees in my yard (very expensive ones I might add), and a blight took them within a month. I got appendicitis that went septic, but the medicine isn’t too expensive. I fell and broke my leg, and after months of therapy, I can get around on a walker now. The snowfall this winter was wicked, and I couldn’t get out to go for groceries, but my car was not working either. I needed to lose weight anyway.
I hauled out my ancient Christmas tree from the attic. None of the lights worked anymore, so I strung it with popped corn. My myna bird learned a new curse word this week. TV is getting ugly.
So Merry Christmas and how is your Holiday?

Pinkie Paranya

May 7, 2019-Prompt-A Feeling of dread crept through me as I watched the birds flee.

“What was that?” I hollered at my dog Duke. No answer. Fine! Duke went on point.

“They are gone now, Duke.” I watched the birds fly away through the dense forest of trees. All of a sudden, I heard several gunshots ring out.

“What the hell was that?”  No one is supposed to be hunting here. It’s posted land. A feeling of dread crept through me, as I spied a stranger pulling a bloody man’s body across the path in front of me.

Kip Scott

April 30, 2019-Prompt-My Boss came into work wearing a T-res costume, and the day just got worse from there.

My boss, the curator at our natural history museum, is known for his sense of theater, but today he’s over the top. I had brought my Cocker spaniel to work with me, as I had to take him to the vet in the afternoon.”Skippy” took one look at this hulking green monster and peed all over the carpet. He jumped up and down, barking his head off. My boss, Stephen, was wearing the outfit to kick off “meet the dinosaurs week” at the museum.  Not a “kick” for Skippy or me though. I picked up a few of his pellets, put him in his travel cage, and left early for the vet. Skippy probably didn’t need a flea bath anymore, as they were all scared away. He and I could use a couple of tall ones however at the local saloon.

Tom Rutherford

April 23, 2019-Prompt- Put Your Character in a Precarious Situation

Was Billy still angry?

In spite of our Smack-down fight a week ago, I was hanging from a rawhide Reata knotted about my waist one quarter down the one hundred foot cliff. I had dropped hand over hand on the frayed two-inch jute rope as Billy let me down. Now I had let go of the jute and relied only on the rawhide. Billy was to keep the Reata from sliding across a rock above while I hung free and lifted the owlets into each sack looped under and over my belt.

Our wrestling for fun always turned into mad fights. Was Billy was still angry? Both rawhide and jute belonged to his dad and I’d not seen them before we borrowed them from his River Road Construction business truck. From the nest ledge, it was still about seventy-five feet to the huge sharp boulders at the cliff base. Neither rope would reach past the rocks and dropping from their ends would not be a painless choice.

Now Billy had to take up the slack in the rawhide as I climbed back up because neither of us trusted the frayed jute alone to hold my weight. Could I trust him? This was way past the best time to ask. I had won the Smack-down Billy started. He was really mad when he left and today was the first we’d met since that fight.

Donavin Leckenby

February 5, 2019 – Prompt -peel,wood,lace, light,blue

I’m not sure I want to go through with this, Annie said to herself as she slipped the light weight dress over her head and put her arms through the lace bolero.

It had been a rough day. It seemed like something was wrong.

She had just met him today. His eyes were as blue as the sky but there was something that made her skin prickle when he touched her arm as he helped her step down off of the train. It wasn’t a good prickle either! Why had she agreed to meet him for lunch!

The air had turned chilly, a wind ruffled the tree leaves. She shivered as she threw a piece of wood on the smoldering fire in the fireplace. Maybe he won’t come. I hope he doesn’t she thought as she settled into a chair by the fire and began to peel an orange. Oh! I hope he doesn’t. I was stupid to agree to see him again.

Just as a clap of thunder split the air there was a knock at the door
.
Lorraine Ueeck

January 29, 2019 – Prompt – a photo

polar bearDammit, where the heck is that smoked salmon? I asked Mama Bear to be sure to pack it- she knows it’s my favorite. Too much junk in here. Baby Bear’s stuff; toys, diapers, onesies. Maybe that little blonde-haired wench stole it at the 7-11 we stopped at. Now what was her name? “Goldie” ? “Lockslie” ? NO It was GOLDILOCKS !

Tom Rutherford

*****

Jack was a wildlife photographer. During his vacations, he took pictures of deer and eagles in the North woods of Wisconsin. He longed for retirement when he could travel outside Wisconsin to see the “real wildlife” in places like the Yukon . When the time finally came for his retirement and he had enough money saved for a pickup truck and gas to go far North to the Yukon. The truck was old but he outfitted it with the simple necessities of an RV.

He had traveled for weeks from Wisconsin’s Fall weather to the winter-like climate of the Yukon. One day as he traveled along the back highways, expecting to see all the wildlife like moose and polar bears, he ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere. He was tired and took a snooze just as it started to snow. He pulled the blanket over his face to keep warm and fell asleep. While he slept a bear started to climb into the back end of his truck. He was shocked to awake from his slumber to see this big furry bear sniffing at his camera laying on the floor. Needless to say he didn’t get the shot as the bear took his camera with him as he ambled away in the driving snow.

Linda Scott

January 22, 2019 – Prompt – Insanity is the Right Way

Dave has been an AI researcher for over twenty years now. He spent all his waking hours trying to bring consciousness to computers. There have been great accomplishments in the field including self-driving cars, real time language translation and handwriting recognition. But to Dave, none of these is true intelligence. None of these are self aware or introspective. They all produce the same results consistently and reliably. This is necessary for a car, but is it right for true intelligence? Dave is going down a new route now. He has been studying people incarcerated in institutions and trying capture the essence of the patients there into his programming. It is his new mantra now, that insanity is the right way towards true intelligence.

Cheers
Stephen Smith