Tag Archives: flash

Terms and Conditions [repost]

Rory wants to know the story behind this interesting picture and I don’t blame him. It all began long ago and far away…

demon guarding books

“I do love this house,” Giles told the agent. “Such a large yard and private too. But I’m afraid it’s out of my budget. I’m on a fixed income, you know.”

Samantha nodded. “Yes. They want a retiree. Someone to appreciate the books and art. And to agree not to change anything in the library. They’ll slash the price in half for you.”

“In half!” Giles grabbed the contract from her hand. “Do you have a pen?”

*

A month after moving into his new home, Giles felt restless. Insomnia had never plagued him before, but now he found himself wide awake several times a night, unable to sleep properly. He prowled the rooms, abiding by his promise not to touch anything. Except for the kitchen and master suite, which he’d been allowed to fix up to his own tastes, this was becoming a burden.

Faces in old photos on the walls stared at him, some quite hauntingly familiar. He dared not turn them over to check for info, for he had signed in writing he wouldn’t. But surely he could read a book from the study and put it right back in the same spot afterwards? Giles opened the door.

It was so musty in here, due to the lack of cleaning no doubt. He really shouldn’t have agreed to such ridiculous terms. The place needed a thorough mopping and airing out. Giles spied a frayed book on the history of witchcraft sitting on top of a shelf, not even tucked away. He picked it up.

*

Samantha let the widow peek inside the library. “The seller is willing to reduce the price substantially if you will agree in writing not to touch any of the books and art. He fancies that he lives on in them.”

“Oh, I understand,” Carol smiled. “Artists are so quirky.”

“They certainly are,” Samantha said.

~*~

Image source unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Loops [fffc]

Traffic cars freeways interchange loop

Jake splashes more scotch in his glass, absently noting that the bottle he bought yesterday is less than half full now. He shrugs, no longer deluding himself with the pretense that anything matters. The songs streaming from his Echo serve as a reminder of times gone by, while these lonely nights slip away like faceless cars on the highway.

After another hour of staring into darkness, Jake hears a ping. At first, he thinks he imagined it, but it comes again and he glances at his phone. It’s lit up with a message. From her!

“You’re back in. Meet me at the usual place for details.”

Instantly sober, Jake grabs his gun and heads out the door.

~*~

Image from Google Photo Frame.
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

The Pledge [repost]

dragon bridge knight horse snow

Icefire the dragon heard the soft clop of the horseshoes through the snow and knew a knight approached his bridge. His sensitive nose sniffed out that this was a rider from the East, one of the King’s men. Under normal circumstances, Icefire would come out from under the bridge and burn up the knight, which would indeed be a pleasure. But these were extraordinary times.

Last summer, Icefire had met a princess in the forest. Not just any princess, but the fairest maiden ever born. Instead of being afraid of him, the little princess had given him a bouquet of flowers. Icefire had fallen in love! He’d given her his pledge of honor. Anything in the world that she wanted, he would do for her.

She’d asked only one thing: please don’t kill her father’s knights when they crossed the bridge.

Hmph. It certainly went against a dragon’s nature not to set fire to a knight, but Icefire had his bouquet of dried flowers to remind him of his promise.

~*~

Image source unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Getting the Message [ffs2]

Mountain couple bird

“It’s so beautiful up here, isn’t it?” Janice leaned back in blissful repose. “Just us, fresh air, peace, and quiet. No TV, no dogs barking, no telephone ringing.”

Jerry leaned over and gave her a kiss. “To be clear, what you’re saying is that our normal life is a bit too noisy for you?”

“You got my subtle message?” Janice smiled. “Yes, our life is way too noisy and too hectic. It annoys me so much when your boss interrupts our weekends every five minutes with another ridiculous trouble ticket. I swear, he has no respect for your free time.”

“He can’t find me on this mountain, that’s for sure.” Jerry laughed. “No signal!”

Janice sighed with pleasure. “We should definitely do this more–” She paused. “Hey, what is that bird, Jerry? He’s flying straight toward us.”

Jerry stood up as the bird circled and landed in front of him. “Some kind of crow? A raven? Holy cow, Janice, he has a paper tied to his foot. Hey, little guy, what you got there?”

“What is it, Jerry?” Janice peered over her husband’s shoulder as he removed the tiny scroll from the bird and unrolled it.

“It’s a message from my boss. He wants me to return ASAP because one of our clients has just been hacked and their whole system is down.”

“Ugh! Can’t you just pretend you never received it?”

The raven cawed and held out a pen.

“No,” Jerry said. “I have to sign for delivery. Sorry, honey.”

~*~

Photo by Warren Wong (wflwong) on Unsplash.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

The Octopus Essay

Octopus treasure sea

“Don’t you dare come!”

“Any closer?” I asked Sandy. She’d been working on this octopus essay for a week. I wanted to stop by her place and pick up my medium sized jewelry box. This was really starting to rankle me.

“In fact, I just discovered a vast trove of new info,” Sandy told me haughtily. “All about the Cephalo Age when octos ruled the world before the Great Upheaval.”

Personally, I was skeptical that octos ever ruled the world, but I couldn’t say that to Sandy because she insisted that she had many sources for this nutball belief. “Can’t you just leave my box outside? Then I can get it without bothering you?”

“No,” she said. “That would interrupt my flow of thought. Goodbye.”

Dang these squid and their inky endeavors!

~*~

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter.
Image from Happy Color.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Montana

rusty old car

Reality is obsolete. I rent a bunk from Nameless Corp, where I work from home doing marketing for Giant Org, which creates apps to simulate interactions. It’s a genius setup because I no longer need to deal with the frenetic pace of the physical world. I purchased a huge virtual house with my crypto earnings and have received a deluge of romantic offers from cyber influencers. Saturday, I invited the prettiest one to attend a Zoom Broadway show with me and she had such a lovely time she begged for a repeat. I ignored her plea and blocked her messages because I don’t have time for a relationship now with all the new games I downloaded from Megaplay. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize her father owns Nameless Corp and Giant Org, and I received a message this morning that yesterday was my last day working for Giant and also I had to evacuate the premises. No problem, because I am loaded, or so I thought. When I cashed out, all I got was $47 from my cyber bank, which was only enough to buy a 6-pack of fungus water and this rusty car. I couldn’t find the GPS navigation system and I think I’m somewhere in Montana. Can you come pick me up, Mom?

~*~


Written for What Do You See?
Image credit to Oziel Goméz.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Dawning Knowledge [repost]

Eyes in the sky

He’d heard the stories of the shapeshifters, but no one could actually say they’d seen one. Their existence was embedded in the culture, whispered into malleable minds by fearful grandmothers. Everyone knew the shifters would seduce a man and then kill him; everyone had been warned to stay out of the forest at night. Perhaps that would be common wisdom regardless, but knowing the creatures lurked in the shadows gave the caution an extra dose of urgency.

Yet he’d gone away to school, one of the few who had left and returned, and he had studied science and history. He realized there was no such thing as a woman who could change form into a jungle cat. A more believable legend about the forest however was that it contained a cache of buried treasure from back when pirates abounded. It also made sense that someone didn’t want anyone to find it. Could that be the basis of the “warning” regarding shapeshifters? He thought it was likely.

One night when the moon was full, he went into the forest, fearless because he was armed with education and logic. He had a compass and an old map he’d found in his grandfather’s chest. The map was yellowed and torn, but he followed it best as he could, hacking his way through the bramble until he found the clearing. A pool gleamed silver in the moonlight, with lilies floating on top. He walked to the north side where there waited a huge boulder, as depicted on the map. He began to dig, hour after hour, until dawn’s light yellowed the sky. Then his shovel hit something solid, metal clanging against metal, and he grinned.

As he wiped his sweaty face, a soft hand landed on his shoulder.

“Need some help?” purred a sultry voice.

~*~

Written for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt.

Image from Lovethispic.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Get A Clue

Man in sunglasses

“Let’s review,” Professor Plum said. “What is the narcissist’s most sensitive erogenous zone?”

Mrs. White tentatively raised her hand.”His bodacious mind?”

Smiling, the professor replied, “That’s a good guess, but I was going for something else. Yes, Miss Scarlet?”

“His ego!” Miss Scarlet yelled. “It may seem large due to his outward display of arrogance, but actually it is tiny and insecure, which is why he strives to keep us feeling small and off-balance.”

“Exactly so,” the professor said. “We may at first welcome his effusive compliments and love bombing, but that is merely setting us up for the fall.”

Mrs. Peacock nodded. This made a lot of sense. When her ex had been in “nice” mode, he heaped loads of praise and affection upon her, but after she got pregnant, all he did was bitch and criticize, even bringing up the painful things she’d told him about her childhood to use against her.

“The narcissist will furnish us with a golden ladder to the stars,” Professor Plum continued, “only to turn on the gaslight and pull the ladder out from under us so we crash painfully to the ground.”

“I hate him!” Miss Scarlet exclaimed.

“Me too,” Mrs. White admitted.

“He’s a creep!” Mrs. Peacock chimed in.

“Wonderful!” Professor Plum beamed at the group. “Hold onto those honest emotions. Now what should we use first to teach the narcissist a lesson?”

“Definitely the wrench,” the characters said in unison as they gleefully approached a terrified Mr. Green, who was tied up and gagged on the billiard table.

~*~


Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Assignment [repost]

Shadow of a man standing

I have not been told why the subject is under surveillance. It was not necessary for this assignment to inform me of details other than a description of the subject and the fact that he appears here at the bridge every afternoon precisely at 3:00. I have my suspicions, of course. I believe he is calculating something, perhaps a sniper shot. The route the officials will travel next month is classified, but someone knows it. When the time comes, if they tell me to kill the subject, I will do it without question or proof. That is how things are now.

The subject appears at 3:00 exactly, as he has done every day for seven days. He is dressed in his usual nondescript dark pants and windbreaker. He walks to the center of the bridge, places his hands lightly on the railing, and looks out. He makes no notes and does not appear to be communicating with anyone.

Today he leaves six minutes earlier than usual, striding away in the direction he appeared, opposite to me. As I turn around, I spot someone watching me. My observer quickly blends into the shadows of a door. It may be a test. This entire assignment could be a ruse. They do that to keep us in the dark. I may never know. Or I may be cut down as I walk past.

End encrypted transmission.

~*~

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction 37

Image from Fandango.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Getaway

Man driving car

I have to get out of here, stat. I know by the way they’re looking at me that it’s only a matter of minutes, or less, before the authorities show up. I hightail it to my car and stomp that gas pedal flat. Man, I’m tearing up that highway like nobody’s business. Then I remind myself to slow down before I attract the wrong kind of attention. Cool as a clam, chilled as a cucumber. And just when I think I got away with it, I spot the flashing lights in my rearview mirror.

“License and registration, please.”

I hand them over.

“Mr. Matthews, we’d like you to step out of the car.”

I can’t do that. Might as well just plead guilty right here and be done with it.

“Now, Mr. Matthews.”

I see his hand twitch and know I have to obey. I gently open the door and step out onto the pavement.

The officer looks me up and down and smirks. “Mr. Matthews, we’re bringing you in for violating Section 7329 point 86B.”

I don’t have to ask what that is. My wife warned me not to wear socks with sandals and I ignored her. This is my third strike too. I’m doomed!

~*~


Image from Adrien Olichon at Pexels.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.