It’s time for March’s flash fic. We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story based on the image. This is this month’s photo.
His fingers shook as he turned off the engine and stared out at the dirt road before him, cutting a wide swatch through the forest. Being in the closed vehicle didn’t protect him… He could feel this place. As he always could. It reached for him, now, trying to coax him out, eager to have him in its embrace, once again.
Too much, he thought, the pulsing mass of emotions pushing
to get out. His skin ached, stretched too tight, as if trying to contain it
all. Trying to hold back the magic that roiled within him, that fed on his
emotions as if starving.
And, of course, it was. His magic had always been connected
to what he felt, and he’d been cruel in denying it. He’d run from the place it
thrived most, shutting down and becoming cold and calculating, just trying to
survive, to get through one day to the next. Pretending his magic didn’t exist,
ignoring the weakening thrum beneath his skin, in his effort to be normal, to
It had been so long, years, and his magic was ready to be let loose, to be reunited with this place. This painfully beautiful cradle of power and magic. Like was drawn to like, after all. And when he’d escaped the hell he’d found himself in, he’d gone as far away as he possibly could. Had chosen to exist in a place of concrete and steel and people, so many people pressing in from all sides. He’d severed his connection to this sacred place so completely, so severely—and his magic had withered.
And, now, it was time. He couldn’t avoid it any longer.
Inhaling deeply, he opened the door and stepped out. He started down the road,
no particular destination in mind. He was already where he needed to be.
He couldn’t hold back the quiet sob that escaped a few
minutes later. His magic… Oh, his magic was singing, dancing through him,
pressing outward, rejoicing.
The power of this place rose from the earth beneath his feet.
He could hear it in the wind and moving branches and taste it in the moisture-heavy
air he breathed. The scent of it flooded his senses—earthy and green and fresh.
He could see it in the glow of the rising sun cutting through the trees and
feel it in the warmth on his face.
All of it, all of those things coming together in a simple
message that had him dropping to his knees.
We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story based on the image. It’s always fun to see what everyone comes up with. 🙂
I’ve delved into the world of my (horribly neglected) serial, Your Lies. It isn’t about any of the main characters – just set in the same world.
Cora Hale stared at her reflection, ignoring her family’s
voices behind her. This was the last place she wanted to be, but she didn’t
have a choice.
She never had a choice.
It was just a fact of life, and she’d accept it.
She jolted at her father’s voice and turned quickly.
“Come on,” he said, gesturing for her to join the rest of
She nodded and crossed the room, stopping next to the couch
her mother and two sisters sat on, waiting for instructions. They were having a
family portrait done—immortalizing the perfect family before they sent her
away. For her own good, they said. She’d get help with her “problem” then come
back home, they claimed.
But she knew better.
She was getting locked up and was never going to be free,
again. All because of her dreams. Dreams that came true. Something she had no
She bit back a snort. When had she ever had control of anything? When had she ever really been free? She was getting sent away, but it was really just going from one prison to another.
“She’ll stand here,” her father said, waving away the
photographer who had stepped forward with a murmured suggestion on positioning.
Ah, yes, standing to the side while the rest of the family
sat together. Wouldn’t want anyone to think you were too close to the daughter
who had magic—not that anyone knew, but just in case it ever got out. That was
her father, always thinking ahead, protecting the family image. His image.
“All right, everyone look here. Smile.”
Cora lifted her gaze and stared at the camera, trying to
smile but she suspected her expression wasn’t a picture of happiness. She
blinked rapid after the flash went off.
She nearly stumbled back. That wasn’t her father’s voice. It’d come from behind the camera. She looked at the dark-haired man with stormy gray eyes intent on her. The corner of his mouth twitched slightly as he held her gaze.
Whatever her father had been about to ask was cut off when
the photographer waved a hand without looking away from Cora. Heart pounding,
she glanced over and gasped as she saw her family slumped against the sofa, eyes
closed, but chests raising and falling rhythmically.
“Are you ready?”
She turned back to the man…the Magic-user. He’d stepped away
from the camera and was watching her, head tilted to the side slightly.
First flash fic of the year. Yay! We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story to fit. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!
Sometimes, I hated my job.
Okay, to be fair, I always
hated my job. The necessity of it. Though,
I had to wonder, did being part of a secretly growing rebellion actually count a
job? Or was it a mission? A quest? Or just a series of trying tasks shoved upon
me in between having to fight for my life? And, in the end, did it fucking
“I don’t understand.”
With a sigh, I shoved aside useless ponderings and focused
on the task at hand. Vetting a possible recruit. Oh, joy. Glancing over at the
man in the passenger seat, I stopped the car and put it in park.
Daniel Hartford, my latest assignment—cute, clean-cut, smart,
a recent self-proclaimed Sympathizer of Magic-users. He also happened to be the son of one of the
most influential couples in the country. The Hartfords were old, old money…and very
vocal in their staunchly anti-magic stance.
The leadership wanted to know if he was on the level,
because if he was… Well, he could be a helluva asset with the access he had.
Which was why Daniel was now my problem.
He’d already been checked—I’d gone over the files last night—by
several of the higher ups, and they liked what they’d seen, so they requested
The human lie detector.
I hated that they called me that. Never to my face of course.
Because they avoided face to face with me as much as possible. And who wouldn’t?
Feeling others’ emotions, knowing when someone was lying…seemed like a pretty
awesome power to manifest, but in reality, it led to a very, very lonely life.
I was an asset the leadership never hesitated to be use, but
never someone they wanted to actually have around. Everyone had their secrets,
after all. Even the good guys.
Daniel’s soft query pulled me out of my head again, and I inwardly
cursed my distraction. I had a job to do, and it was time to do it.
“I told you to call me Emma,” I reminded him. “I know this
doesn’t make sense, but it will. Come on.”
I exited the car and waited for him to do the same before walking
toward the house in front of us. Remaining silent as I lead him across the lawn
and up the steps to the front door.
So far, I hadn’t sensed any deception from Daniel. So, that
was good. Everything I’d gotten from him, so far, assured me he wasn’t an
actual threat, a possible plant from the other side.
Didn’t mean that he was a strong ally, though. There was a
world of difference between sympathizing with Magic-users and actually being
willing to act and fight for them, sometimes in violent ways. Not to mention putting
your own life at risk.
Before I’d give my approval, I had to be sure that there was
more to Daniel Hartford than simply rejecting his parents’ beliefs and making an
impulsive stand against them, because trusting him was a huge, huge risk. And,
at this point, I had nothing to assure me of that the risk was worth taking. While
he’d never publicly aligned himself with his parents’ stance on magic, neither
had he ever shown any support for Magic-users. Not until two weeks ago, when he’d
made contact with one of the more public Sympathizer groups and inquired about the
It seemed like an unlikely first leap to me.
Turning the knob and pushing the unlocked door open, I
gestured for him to enter. He frowned then moved past me…immediately gasping as
he walked into chaos. Shock and confusion pulsed on the air between us as we
moved through the main level.
The old house was, to put it simply, a disaster. Ransacked
with no care for the destruction caused. The floor was littered with books,
“What happened here?” Daniel asked, stopping in the doorway
to the back room. It’d once bene a library or an office. Now, like the rest of
the house it was in shambles. He turned back toward me. “Look, I don’t know why
you brought me here, but I’ve already jumped through enough hoops when all I
want to do is help. If you’re not going to tell me—”
“The family that lived here was on the watch lists. Suspected
of having magic,” I explained, though I knew he had to have heard of the blasted
lists, given who his parents were. “Your father reported them—he worked with
the husband, insisted the entire family be brought in for questioning.”
I tilted my head and concentrated. The shock radiating off
him was genuine. He hadn’t known about this family, this incident.
Inhaling deeply, he looked around. “So, what happened? Did
they… Did they resist back when the police came to get them? They used magic to
“No.” I stepped closer, keeping my gaze locked on his face
and my power centered on his every reaction. “They weren’t magic, Daniel. They
went quietly, didn’t resist. They were questioned, again and again. Then, after
days, they were supposedly released, but they never made it home.” I hesitated
a moment, throat tight. ”Their bodies were found in shallow graves outside the city
several weeks later.”
“No, no…” He shook his head then gestured around them. “This
was a…raid…an invasion. If they went quietly, why— They were killed? You’re
saying that they were killed because my father reported them, because there was
just a suspicion that they had magic?”
As his emotions prickled hotly over my skin, I felt an
inkling of regret for what I was doing but quickly squashed it. This was as
much for him as the cause.
“Daniel, in the countless witch hunts in our history, very
few of those killed, who had their lives and family destroyed, were actually magic.
All it took was a suspicion, a rumor…” I reached into pocket and pulled out the
small stack of photos, flicking them one by one, “Henry…Penny…Grant…and Lucy,”
onto the floor in front of him. “They aren’t the first innocents to die, and
they won’t be last.”
The color drained from his face as he stared down at the
images, his throat working convulsively. He crouched down, tracing a trembling
finger over the photo of four-year-old Lucy laughing at camera.
I backed away from him, overwhelmed by his sadness and anger,
but determined to finish this, so we could both move on. “I understand that you
don’t share your parents’ beliefs, Daniel. That much is obvious, but what you’re
trying to sign up for is much more than standing on opposite sides of an issue.”
His head snapped up, and he glared at me fiercely. “I’m not
“No, you’re not,” I agreed. “From everything I’ve heard and seen, you’re incredibly smart with a world of opportunities. What I’m trying to say—rather poorly, I admit—is war is coming, Daniel. It’s inevitable, but you don’t have to be on the front lines. Most of us… We don’t have a choice. We’re fighting for basic rights, for our lives, but you’re lucky. You do have a choice. Being a Sympathizer doesn’t mean you have to risk everything, risk your life. No one would blame you for avoiding that.”
He looked back down then picked up the pictures, stacking them in one palm as he stood. He stared at the little girl, again, for a long, tense moment, then he tucked the photos in his back pocket. Clearing his throat, he walked over to me. I lifted my chin to meet his gaze, my own eyes stinging at the sight of the tears in his.
I hope the weekend was a fab one – I spent most of it being lazy. Gotta do that once in a while. 🙂 It’s time for November’s photo flash fic. This is the photo we’re working with:
“Mom? What’re we doing out here? Where are we going?”
This was not how I expected to spend my thirteenth birthday. Sure, we’d had the cake and ice cream, but we didn’t even get to the presents before my mom took my hand and pulled me outside with her. Now, she, my older sister, Petra, and I were walking through the woods. I was freezing, and it was just creepy out here. It was dark and foggy, and I could barely see where we were going. So, yeah, not exactly the birthday of my dreams.
Mom stopped suddenly. “We’re here.”
I looked around. Where was here? This peice of woods didn’t look any different than any we’d walked through already. I glanced at my sister but she was staring in the same direction as my mom was, and her jaw was tight. Good, at least someone else wasn’t happy with what was going on.
“It’s almost time,” Mom murmured then she turned to me, with a smile even I could tell wasn’t real. “Baby, you’re thirteen, now. It’s time for you to know.”
“The women in our family have a gift -”
Petra snorted. “Gift? More like a curse. At least be honest with her, Mom.”
“Stop it,” Mom snapped. “You have only known for three years. One day, you will see this for the gift it is.”
Rolling her eyes, Petra shook her head. “Don’t count on it.”
With a sigh, Mom turned back to me. “Elena, this is a gift every woman in our family connects with on the day of their thirteenth birthday. It can seem scary, and it may be difficult to see it as a gift, especially when you’re so young, but it is. It’s a part of you, and part of why you are so very special.”
I shivered, not from the cold but because I had a feeling what was coming was going to change everything. And I didn’t want anything to change.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Look.” She gestured ahead of us. “What do you see?”
“Trees. We’re in the woods.”
“Look harder,” she said firmly, her fingers squeezing mine. “Focus.”
“On what?” I muttered. There was nothing there. It was trees and bushes and fog and– My eyes narrowed, and my breath caught. There was somthing there, something big…HUGE…in the mist. I jolted when cold fingers wrapped around my free hand. I turned to look at Petra and met her gaze. Her dark eyes glittered in the mist-muted moonlight… Was she crying?
“You’re not alone,” she whispered then faced foward, again.
As I turned back, my heart thundered, hurting my chest. Suddenly, it was as though the woods around us disappeared. Melted away to be replaced by gardens with pointy trees, like the kind on those big historical estates we visited on our last vacation, and beyond that a massive brick… House was too plain a word. It wasn’t quite a mansion, but it was much bigger than most of the houses around here.
I was about to ask my mom what the heck was going on when movement caught my attention. I blinked several times, and took half a step forward. People. There were people walking around the gardens, some close enough I could almost touch them. And they were all dressed…in costume? No, it was more like those people dressed like they were part of a reenactment or something.
“Mom?” I choked out. “What is this?”
“The past,” she said simply. “Our gift is our connection to the past.”
Hello, all! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. It’s time for another photo flash fic. This is the photo we’re working with today.
Tuning out the grumbling complaints coming from the backseat, she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. And held for several long seconds before slowly releasing.
She hated this day, this trip, this…this annual pilgrimage. So much. More than the kids behind her—even if they couldn’t imagine that—and for very, very different reasons.
She startled, eyes flying open as a warm, heavy hand settled on her thigh. Glancing over, she wondered what was going through his mind. He didn’t look at her, keeping focused on the road ahead, but his fingers pressed a bit more firmly, a silent message that he knew. He knew she was hurting. He knew she hated this. And he knew how important this was for all of them.
Eyes burning, she laid a hand over his, and he immediately turned his palm up to nestle against hers as their fingers intertwined.
They didn’t speak, though, and even the kids quieted, as they drew approached their destination. The silence was oppressive as the engine was shut off, and all of them just sat a moment.
The hushed words from the driver’s seat spurred everyone into motion. She was the last one out, needing another couple moments to compose herself. Later, she could cry. Would cry. In the dark, wrapped in his arms, she would let go, and he would take it, like he always did.
She got out of the car and followed her family. Despite the heaviness over her, her lips quirked up slightly as she took in the sight of the tall, handsome figure of her husband, with their three children
Her youngest daughter’s words floated on the air, and she quickened her stride so she could catch up.
“I’m here, baby.” She combed her fingers through the soft blonde curls as they continued.
Her breath caught as they rounded the corner. No matter how many times they came, no matter how many times she saw, she didn’t think she’d ever get over the horror that filled her every time.
The destruction before them… What had led to it… She trembled, and she couldn’t stop the tears that escaped.
“God,” her daughter—their oldest—huffed. “I don’t know why we have to be here. Every stupid year. Not like anything changes. Why couldn’t I have stayed home? This is so dumb.”
“We come to remember. Remember what happened, and what could happen again. And to remember those who were lost.” She spoke slowly, eyes still on the hollowed-out buildings mind on all the lives destroyed. Then, cutting her gaze to her daughter, who stared at her with eyes just like her father, she hardened her voice. “And to be grateful. Because of them, we’re free.”
“Before all this,” she waved a hand around, “you would have to hide who you are. You wouldn’t have been free to be you. Your choice would have been to hide or to be persecuted. Or killed. Remember that when you think this is stupid.”
She swallowed thickly and walked a few feet away, closing her eyes against the tears, chest aching horribly. She needed to get it together. Falling apart wasn’t an option. Later, she reminded herself again. Not now, not when she could sense others coming—to also pay their respects and remember.
A soft caress on her cheek and a sweet smell pulled her out of her thoughts. She opened her eyes to find a bright daisy hovering in the air in front of her. She turned her head to watch as her eldest daughter, hand outstretched, lower lip caught between her teeth, manipulate the flower until it was tucked behind her mother’s ear.
It’s time for March’s Photo Flash Fic. It’s a short one from me this month. Set within the world of my serial, Your Lies (feel free to follow the link and read the chapters that are up and the flash fic I’ve written in this world already.) I’ve revisited Kyle, who is the heroine’s bestie though they haven’t seen each other in a while.
“Why don’t you just get that fixed?”
I glanced up from the map and papers I’d been studying. Simmons, the newest recruit the powers that be had saddled me with, pointed at the cracked window.
“Or, fix it yourself? You know…” She wiggled her fingers dramatically. “You’re powerful enough to do it with little effort.”
I rolled my eyes. “Focus. We need to get through this information and—”
“Man, everyone’s heard about you. How quickly you moved up the ranks, the things you can do. I can’t believe they assigned me to you. Everyone is jealous as fuck, let me tell you.”
“Simmons,” I snapped, hands clenched on the table.
“Oh, you can call me Layla,” she said cheerfully. “Is our next assignment at the university? I heard some messed up stuff is happening there. I mean, Maddock Roberts is apparently hooking up with a magic user or a Sympathizer. Don’t know if I believe that… Who would be stupid enough to get involved with the poster boy of the anti-magic crowd?
Delia’s face flashed in my mind, and my magic surged, pushed outward with the force of my anger.
“Anyone who is anyone knows who he is so it’s not like she could claim ignorance. Do you think it’s true? Do you think she’s some kind of do-gooder, trying to reform h— Uh, what’s happening?”
Her face paled as she looked around the room. Everything around us shook—the table skittered across the floor, the raggedy couch and chairs did the same, and the door rattled on its hinges. And the window—the fucking window that started her incessant chattering… The cracks lengthened, webbing out until they hit the frame.
“It’s a reminder,” I bit out, motioning toward it with my chin.
“What does it remind you of?” she said in a near whisper as she stared at the window, wide-eyed.
“Not for me. For everyone else.” I braced my hands on the table, quelling its movement as I leaned forward and waited for her to turn her gaze back toward me. “A reminder to stay focused and not to piss me off. And, Simmons,” I said slowly, “listening to mindless gossip and speculating on something you have no knowledge of…pisses me off.”
“I’m sor-sorry, sir,” she stammered. “It won’t happen again.”
I drew my power back inside and nodded. “See that it doesn’t. Now, let’s get through this new information, shall we?”
When Bron and I choose photos for the year, we always try to pick images that will challenge us as writers, that will make us flex our writing muscles. A few months ago, when we were choosing 2018’s pics, we decided to pick a few that were…a bit different. And I will freely admit, this month’s photo cracks my shit up. Don’t know why it makes me laugh so hard, but it does.
So, here it is…and the story I came up with follows. 🙂
“I fucking hate you,” Troy bit out as he stepped up to the bar beside his best friend…or former best friend, because this night was fucked up in all sorts of ways, and it was all Caleb’s fault.
Caleb startled slightly then, seeing Troy, rolled his eyes. “No, you don’t. You’re just nervous, but trust me, this is just what you need. A night out, some drinks, a pretty girl.”
Troy snorted. “You’re a fucking idiot.” With a sigh, he leaned on the bar. “Maybe it was a good idea, but your execution leaves much to be desired.”
Brow furrowed, Caleb handed the bartender his credit card after their drinks were placed in front of him. “What do you mean? My execution is freaking spot on. You love this place, I’m buying all the drinks tonight, and Penny brought her cute friend from work—who was more than a little excited about coming out with us tonight. I think she’s interested. You should give it a shot, at least, for fuck’s sake.”
“Oh, she’s interested all right.” Troy nodded, chuckling in spite of his annoyance. “Just not in me.”
Caleb’s frown deepened. “Thanks,” he said absently, accepting the card and receipt from the bartender. Signing the slip, he continued, “If you’re trying to say she’s interested in me, you are so fucking off base.”
Troy full-on laughed, then. Smart as fuck, but just as blind.
“No, not saying that.” He grasped his friend’s shoulder and turned him to face the table where Penny, Caleb’s girlfriend, and her friend, Clarisse, waited for the guys to return with the next round. “Really look and tell me what you see, dumbass.”
They stood silently for several long moments, their gazes on the two women.
“I don’t know what you want me to see but—”
“Wait for it,” Troy drawled.
Just then, Penny turned to look over at the men—probably because they were taking so damned long. She smiled and gave a little wave. And, behind her, Clarisse’s gaze was firmly on her friend. Her chest lifted and fell as she sighed heavily, her wide eyes practically filled with hearts.
Today is a photo flash fiction – we’ve rounded up 12 images and will be writing something inspired by them…1 a month through the year.
Here’s January’s image:
“Come on, Nic. Look how gorgeous it is!”
I didn’t even look over at my brother. Sitting stubbornly and stiffly in the passenger seat, seatbelt still fastened, I stared out the windshield.
He wasn’t wrong – it was gorgeous. The blanket of white covering the ground was only marred by the tire tracks of another idiot who had ventured out after the snowstorm we’d had the night before. Snow clung to the bare branches of the trees and the wooden fence that lined the tiny country road. Yeah, gorgeous. One might even say picturesque.
But that didn’t sway me – I wasn’t deceived.
“Seriously,” my brother continued, “just a quick walk. It’ll be refreshing.”
I snorted. “Yeah, right. It may be pretty as fuck, but winter is just like the stuck-up popular girls at school.”
“Really?” he drawled.
I could feel his intense stare but kept my gaze focused on the deceptive scene before me. “Yep. Gorgeous enough to take your breath away, but underneath it all, a complete and utter bitch who will only hurt you. And in the end, you’ve only yourself to blame, because deep down, you knew it. You just let yourself get swayed by prettiness.”
“Wow.” A long pause. “Just wow.” The engine roared to life, then he said, “You’re going to die alone, you know that, right?”
I lifted a shoulder lazily. “Yeah, probalby. But I’ll be warm and won’t hate myself.”
I don’t even know… Seriously, blame my sleep-deprived brain for that little nugget. Oh, and the fact I’m in the UP right now – one of the most beautiful places on Earth, IMO, and enduring snowstorms and freezing temps. My feelings for winter may have bled through.
Be sure to check out what the image inspired the other bloggers to write!
Well, I don’t even know what happened here. I’d deleted the scheduled post because life got a bit crazy and I wasn’t able to do it, but then, it posted anyway. ??? LOL Anyhoo, no flash from me this week, but you should totally check out what the others came up with for thsi image!