Closes at Midnight

This short story is written for Sunday Photo Fiction.

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Photo Credit: Terri Smeigh

He knew the restaurant closed at midnight. It said so on the sign on the front door. He knew that for a fact because he had spent the last two nights across the street observing that even if there were no customers the place closed promptly at midnight.

Tonight would be a busy night. There should be plenty of cash on hand. He knew they did not have a safe because he used to work there. Once he entered the place he knew he would not have much time to accomplish his mission.

He waited until tonight because he knew Karl would be closing the place.  Karl his previous manager. Karl who had fired him. Karl the prick. Karl needed to die. It was payback time. Karl would not make the next opening of the store. He hoped there would be no collateral damage.

Look out Karl he said to himself as he waited patiently in the parking lot as the sun went down. It would be worth the wait. Thoughts of how Karl would die drifted through his mind as he fell as he into a deep sleep.

Suddenly there was a knock on his car door.

The Water Can Kill You

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

It was four years ago this month that the horror began. She began to smell a foul odor when she turned the water on in her dirty apartment on Flint’s east side. Her two small children began to show red rashes on their faces.

In September city officials warned her to begin boiling water before using it. E-coli and coliform bacteria were found in the city’s water supply. Those were new words to Rhonda. They soon became part of her daily vocabulary.

In October, the city’s largest employer, General Motors, stopped using Flint’s water because it corroded engine parts. At times Rhonda thought the state was more concerned about GM’s water than they were for the residents of the city.

By January 2015, residents were being told that the water contained high levels of byproducts from water-disinfectant chemicals—chemicals known to cause kidney, liver and nervous system damage.

Today Rhonda sometimes waits for four hours to get two free cases of water at a time. But mostly she buys water — five cases on Monday, five more cases on Thursday — so she and her kids can cook and bathe and brush their teeth like any other ­American family.

 

The Death of a Gatherer

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction. The challenge is to write a story using 200 words or less based on the picture prompt.

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Photo Credit: Joy Pixley

He had visited the Kubo-yan many times. Every visit produced excellent results. Back then Gatherers were considered to be dreams of deranged minds .

A sudden noise shattered his daydreaming. A hunting bird took flight. They rarely appeared here, preferring the dry desert where lizards were the prey that wetted their appetite. The locals considered it bad luck to see them outside of the rainy season.

He slipped into the compound without anyone noticing. He would wait here until well after dark.

Nothing could distract him now. The object of his mission lay straight ahead. A Dreamer who’s life was about to be over. The Gatherer would make it a painless death. He settled in a crouch on his hands and toes and peered at his victim. The slight smell of perfume reached his nose. She slept alone.

Too late he heard the sound of padded feet against the stone. He felt something cold and sharp strike his shoulder. He glanced down and saw his left arm on the shiny tile. His intended victim turned and smiled. The smile of the devil was the last thing he saw in this life.

The Cruelest Month. 29 Bells.

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction.

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Photo Credit Susan Spaulding

“This ship was made to withstand this type of weather!” Captain McSorley exclaimed. He based his belief because the ship had made over forty voyages in its seventeen years of service taking ore pellets from Superior Wisconsin to the steel mills near Detroit.

First mate Pulcer wasn’t so sure. He had a bad feeling when they left the port at Superior Wisconsin. Leaving this late he knew they could encounter some bad weather. Some of the other 27 crew members shared his belief.

Two days out his nightmare was beginning  to become a reality.

Dawn came and the ship’s cook said “Boy’s it’s too bad out there to feed you mates. Captain reports winds of 35-50 knots and waves 3 meters high.”

Pulcer decided to join the Captain on the bridge. He knew that the captain had chosen the route that took advantage of the protection offered by the lake’s north shore in order to avoid the worst effects of the storm.

“Reduce speed,” said the captain.

“Do respect sir, but with full speed we can reach the safety of Whitefish Bay.”

“Negative First Mate, reduce speed.”

Every year a bell tools 29 times at the Mariners’ Church of Detroit.

 

 

 

 

Death Comes Fast

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

The telephone call came at 6:04 p.m. I remember the exact time because the national news was beginning and the ringing of the telephone irritated me.

It was Sara. “Jeff passed away last night,” she cried.

I was speechless. My mind going from full speed ahead to a full stop in a nanosecond.

Jeff was diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia four years ago. I was a witness to this disease’s rapid progress through his mind and body.

We were both terrible golfers. But Jeff started to have difficulty keeping his score. As the disease progressed we would tell him what he scored. He would say, “That sounds about right.” At one point he took a swing at an imaginary ball. He went through all the motions: put the ball on the tee, took a practice swing, then took a full swing with a beautiful follow through. But he forgot to take the ball out of his pocket. “Mike, you forgot the ball!” Mike went through the same procedure again without the ball.

As this terrible disease progressed he would lose the ability to recognize family and friends, forget how to use eating utensils. Four years from diagnosis to death. Jeff was 62 year old.

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What in The Hell Were We Thinking

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge.

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© Eric Wicklund

He did the math in his head. It was just over 60 years ago that he carrier her over the threshold in an overpriced semi-clean motel in San Mateo, California.

Then their respective careers took off resulting in them being transferred numerous times. After retiring they spent a good part of each year traveling abroad.  A dozen years ago they had travelled to China. She was past 70 then and still feisty and lovely in her own way.

Now her memory is failing. Her once beautiful dark hair is now nothing but white wisps. She can’t walk, and can’t stand up without help. Every little move can result in another fall and the possibility of more broken bones. She sleeps most of the day. Now she seems halfway gone mentally.

Modern medicine has kept her alive despite the fact she has expressed her desire to die. She is surrounded by teams of  doctors and nurses, medical students, respiratory therapists and countless other health care providers. She is too weak, and too meek to protest.

My fear is someday we will look back and say: “What in the hell were we thinking?”

George Smiley

This post is submitted to Sunday Photo Fiction.

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© John Robinson

“That’s the building. The one straight ahead. I worked there for many years before I retired. It held secrets that could destroy many careers.”

“The old MI5 building, Sir?” said the reporter.

“Yes, many a clandestine operation were headquartered there.”

“It’s a clinic now Sir. Easy access to the building now. I bet there was a lot of security in your time there, right Sir?”

“Actually, there was hardly any security when I worked there. It was just “Hello George” when I entered. When I returned from my trips it was always something like, “Welcome back, George.”

“No x-ray machines, Sir?”

“No, nothing of the sort really.”

“You keep busy in your retirement Sir? Do a lot of reading and that sort of thing.”

“Yes, reading for sure. I do find the time to even write a bit.”

“Here you are Sir. Have a good visit. If you decide to write a little bit you be sure and let me know. Ok mate?”