Category Archives: Finish the Story

Mondays Finish the Story Flash Fiction for Sept. 21st, 2015 – The Holy Mango

Mondays Finish the Story Flash Fiction for Sept. 21st, 2015, based on this image–

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham
© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

and this initial sentence–

“She lived in a mango tree.”

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
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She lived in a mango tree. No one knew why; she hated mangoes.

“Daphne,” people shouted up to her, “you hate mangoes.”

“I know,” Daphne said, knitting a sweater.

Her husband told Daphne he couldn’t live with pollination and fruit flies. Daphne just went on knitting.

Her husband left her. Local news profiled her, then moved on to Justin Bieber look-alike contests.

Psychologists clustered around the foot of the tree, theorizing on her aversion adherence. Several published learned tracts on the phenomenon.

On September 14th, 2019, the Silubrian Horde invaded the Earth. They wiped out humanity in a day.

But not Daphne. Mangoes are sacred to the Silubrians. They elected Daphne Supreme Mango Goddess of the Horde. They brought her chocolate and strange alien liquors that gave her hiccups. In return, she knitted scarves and cardigans for them. These became holy relics for the Silubrians.

When Daphne died, the Silubrians cloned her. Since then, all of humanity have been women who knit.

Moral: As the mangoes, so Man goes.

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Mondays Finish the Story – August 31st, 2015- A Day’s Work

Mondays Finish the Story challenge for August 31st, 2015— 150 words around this image–

 © 2015, Barbara W. Beacham
© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

and the opening sentence–

“The cemetery spread along the area known as Devils Abode.”

I don’t know what’s going on, but I seem to be kinda grim lately….

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
******************************************

The cemetery spread along the area known as Devil’s Abode. It was aptly named; the no-man’s land between the lines. Festering corpses lay between white-washed tombs. The ridge beyond was government territory.

“I see him,” my spotter said. His periscope peeked above the sandbags. “Bunker, just below the ridge-line, by those oaks. Aperture on the left.”

I located the opening through my scope. The bunker was well-hidden in brush, mounded over with earth. I saw movement in the bunker’s firing-port. “I see him.”

“Good. Wind’s from the right, about two knots.”

My cross-hairs centered on the man’s forehead. I held my breath, took the slack out of my trigger.

I hesitated.

“Take the shot. Take the shot!”

I squeezed the trigger. The shot surprised me, as it should.

“You got him!”

I slumped back into the trench. The barrel of my rifle was hot against my shirt. I didn’t care.

It’s not every day you kill your favorite teacher.

Mondays Finish the Story – August 24th, 2015- A Family Visit

Mondays Finish the Story challenge for August 24th, 2015– 150 words based on the following picture–

 © 2015, Barbara W. Beacham
© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

and this initial sentence–

“The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be…”

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
******************************************
“The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be…”

“Do not speak of it.”

“But, Auntie…the whole world….”

“Silence!”

“…he was such a beautiful child….”

“…Yes.”

“I used to read him stories, remember? He would laugh. Afterwards he would always kiss my cheek.”

“I know.”

“It broke my heart, what he did in Marseille. And then Shanghai. And London…dear God, London….”

“As I said, it does no good to speak of it.”

“Auntie, we have to speak of it. He is coming….”

“…Yes….”

“Where did that little boy go?”

“Power…the world…what some people call ‘real life’.”

“No…something else went wrong. Not enough love…the cruelty of his father, that bastard….”

“Rehearsing it all does not help us now.”

“No. You’re right…. I’m afraid.”

“Courage. He’ll be here soon.”

“But we’re family….”

“Family or no, it’s all the same. All of humanity has to bow to Luigi Cavallo.”

“…Dictator of the World.”

“Do not speak of it….”

Mondays Finish the Story – August 3rd, 2015– The Interrogation

Mondays Finish the Story flash fiction challenge for August 3rd, 2015– 150 words based on this image–

Copyright 2015 Barbara W. Beacham
Copyright 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

and this initial sentence–

“The team employed the use of Nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive.”

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel.

********************************************

The team employed nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive.

They listened, stone-faced, to his pleas for mercy.

“I can’t take it!” he cried. “It burns!”

“Tell us,” the male interrogator said.

“I can’t! Please, give me something!”

“Not until you tell us.”

“I’m dying!”

“No, you’re not dying,” the woman interrogator said coolly. “You won’t be that fortunate. Your torment will go on and on– unless you tell us what we want to know.”

“All right! The final exam will have three sections– a multiple choice on kinship patterns, true-and-false on theory, and three choices for a final essay. Please!”

“Here,” the male interrogator said. He handed the teaching assistant a mug of beer across the dinner table. The assistant took it and guzzled greedily, splashing beer on his half-eaten burritos.

“Habaneros,” the male interrogator told the woman. “Works every time.”

Monday’s Finish the Story Challenge – Promenade at Sunset

I am a bum. Here’s a piece in response to Monday’s Finish the Story Challenge for May 25th, which is supposed to be 150 words based on this image–

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham
© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

and this initial sentence–

“The only residents remaining in the small town of Miners Hill are spirits.”

Well, I modified the initial sentence and went over the limit, so I deserve derision. Feel free.

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
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“The only residents remaining in the town of Miner’s Hill are spirits,” said the tour guide.

“What a joke!” the loud tourist exclaimed. “You hear this guy, honey?”

“Yes, Howard,” the wife said wearily.

The tour guide smiled. He led us through the streets, telling the history of the old buildings– the Mercantile Bank, where the Gerrity gang shot it out with townsfolk in ’89, the Silver Nugget Lounge, the worst den of sin west of Dodge City, and the jail, out of which Madman Hancock blasted his way in ’73.

“They say that, on moonlit nights, the old townsfolk come out and promenade around, just like in the old days,” the guide said.

“That’s a fine story, mister,” the loud tourist said.

At sundown the guide took us back to the parking lot. The other tourists bundled themselves into their cars; but I lingered, looking back. The guide had disappeared. As the sun went down behind Scorpion Ridge, and the moon rose in the east, I thought I saw men in broad-brimmed hats, and ladies in long dresses, walking arm-in-arm along the dusty streets.

Mondays Finish the Story – April 27th, 2015 – Morning flowers.

Mondays Finish the Story flash fiction challenge for April 27th, 2015– 150 words based on this image–

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham
© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

and this initial sentence–

“Are you laughing at me?“

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
*****************************************

“Are you laughing at me?“

“No, no—it’s just—well, the orchids are a little silly looking….”

“I’m sorry—they’re what they had.”

“I’m not complaining…they’re very nice—in a buck-toothed sort of way.”

“You are laughing….”

“At the orchids, just the orchids.”

“Okay…so you really like them?”

“Yes, I do. What’s the occasion?”

“No occasion. It’s just, I’ve, you know, never given you flowers. Thought I might.”

“Hmm…a man gives a woman flowers, there’s usually some sort of occasion. Or he’s got something on his mind.”

“Why should I have anything on my mind? What gives you the impression I have something on my mind?”

“Weelll…the economy has collapsed, the country is in revolution, a mutated plague is sweeping across Asia, and heavily-armed aliens have landed and claimed Earth for their own, and the one thing you think of is to bring me flowers? At 3:42 AM?”

“Um…yes. There might not be time later.”

Mondays Finish the Story – April 20th, 2015 – The Pursued

Mondays Finish the Story challenge for April 20th— 150 words based on this image–

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham
© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

and this initial sentence–

“They followed the buffaloes and their babies along the trail heading into the woods.”

Not sure what I ended up with here, but here it is.

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
************************
They followed the buffaloes and their babies along the trail heading into the woods. They had no choice.

There were only four of them left—Walt, Pete, Liz, and Harper. Behind them the whole horizon burned.

“We can’t outrun that,” Walt said. He held Pete up, who stumbled, his face covered in blood.

“Look,” Harper said. Giant shapes moved, silhouetted against the fire.

Hunters. “Keep moving,” Liz said.

Deep in among the cottonwoods they found the pool of water. The buffalo all stood in it, up to their bellies. They know this is a safe place.

But not for us. “Harper, open the Path.”

“The Truth here stutters like a man frightened,” Harper said.

“Well, that makes two of us,” Walt said.

“Do it,” Liz said.

Harper took out his moonlight sword. He spun it overhead. Its light glittered, then spread out across the whole pool.

Liz smelled lilacs, felt a cool morning breeze. “Go!”

They all stepped into the pool, and were elsewhere.

Mondays Finish the Story – A Most Untimely Debate

Mondays Finish the Story challenge— 150 words around this image–

Copyright 2015 Barbara W. Beacham
Copyright 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

and this initial sentence–

“When the team heard the dam explode, they knew they had limited time to make it to safety.”

A residual echo, perhaps, of my long-ago days in graduate school…..

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
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When the team heard the dam explode, they knew they had limited time to make it to safety.

“We have only limited time to make it to safety,” Professor Rajid said.

“Define safety,” Professor Hackmenhoff demanded.

“You cannot create a meaningful definition of a noun without a full explication of the context in which the noun occurs,” declared Professor Springblossom.

“Are we referring to a priori or contextual definitions of safety?” Professor Kunming asked.

“The category of ‘safety’ is obviously contextual, you Kantian simpleton,” Professor Hackmenhoff retorted.

“Don’t call me a simpleton, you positivist jackanapes,” Professor Kunming snarled.

“Really, I must insist on a full explication of context,” Professor Springblossom said.

“Be quiet, you Deconstructionist bimbo,” Professor Rajid snapped.

“HEY!” Mack the tour guide said. “I can give you a definition of safety! Getting this beer cooler to the river bank and up the hill!”

With the problem so framed, they all agreed on a tentative working solution to the question, and pulled hard for shore.

Connoisseurs from Elsewhere

Mondays Finish the Story – March 9th, 2015— based on this photo–

Copyright 2015 Barbara W. Beacham
Copyright 2015 Barbara W. Beacham

and this initial sentence–

“On March 9th, 2015, three objects were reportedly seen in the skies over the Borracho Todos los Tiempos Vineyards.”

I guess I’m in a silly mood.

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
************************************************

On March 9th, 2015, three objects were reportedly seen in the skies over the Borracho Todos los Tiempos Vineyards.

06:45– the objects passed over the vineyards. Because of fog, their exact configuration could not be made out. Some observers reported the object with the single light as a sphere, and the other two as disks.

07:05– the objects hovered over the vineyards. A red light swept the area, north to south. Everyone touched by the light lost consciousness.

07:37– stricken observers at the vineyard began to regain consciousness.

Shortly thereafter it was discovered that most of the vineyards’ stock of wine was gone. One hundred gallon casks stood empty, and all bottles had been removed from the vineyards’ wine-cellars, except for five bottles of pink champagne and a single bottle of Gewürztraminer.

A cryptic inscription burned into the floor of the main tasting room was eventually translated as, Thanks, pay you back later.

Moral: didn’t anyone understand naming a vineyard “Borracho Todos los Tiempos” would be an invitation?

Mondays Finish the Story – February 16th, 2015– Jazz in Amber

Another Mondays Finish the Story challenge, based on this image–

Copyright Barbara W. Beacham
Copyright Barbara W. Beacham

and the initial sentence–

“Little did they know when the photographer took their picture that they would find themselves trapped in a painting.”

Well, I followed the prompt for the most part, but I completely blew away the word count limit, so I won’t be adding my link to Barbara’s page. As usual, I’m not sure this works, but I’ll go with it for now.

Copyright 2015 Douglas Daniel
*****************************

Little did they know when the photographer took their picture that they would find themselves trapped in a painting. The photographer was a Derinti cross-dimensional Preserver in disguise. He was so taken with their performance that he felt compelled, in the whimsical way of his race, to preserve it, and the performers.

In doing so, he created the first immortals of the human species—Jimmy, Blake, Lawrence and Steve. The living image in which the four found themselves was now a part of the back wall of the First Mercantile Bank. In this state they knew neither age nor decay. They merely played on and on, and anyone who had the ears to hear could detect their sweet brand of jazz, and, for a moment, feel their hearts lift.

The four musicians saw the building up of the city, in the years of the Great Warming, with massive towers two and three miles high rising to blot out the sun. They saw the towers fall into ruin, during the dark years that followed, and witnessed the savagery of men and women who had forgotten their heritage.

They saw the rise of the New Men, and glimpsed their silver ships rising into the sky as they abandoned the Earth forever.

They saw the return of the ice, and the long frozen wildness that embraced the forgotten husk of the city. They played on when only strange, mutated beasts in their dens of ice were there to hear them.

They beheld the rise of the seas, and for millennia played only for the sea beasts, the great porpoise-whales, the sapient squid and the terrible thalassadonts.

They were buried in sediment, and for ages played on for the secret beings of the deepest earth.

The sediment hardened into rock; in the fullness of time, as the seas receded, and erosion wore away at the rock, they saw the sun once more. The ice returned, encasing the world in glittering armor, and then melted again as the Sun flared and scorched the Earth.

They saw the Sun return to its quiet, ordinary ways, and the Earth grow green once more.

They saw the rise of the Silenidons, who heard their music and worshipped them for millennia. They found this distressing, as Jimmy and Blake were Catholic, Lawrence was a Presbyterian, and Steve, the tuba player, did not believe in God at all. They could do nothing, however, but continue playing. The four saw the Silenidons rise to mastery over the Earth, achieve great heights of intellect, and then fall into war with themselves. Rites of blood were performed before the ruined wall of the First Mercantile Bank, while the four played on. They played on while the Silenidons faded and dwindled away, until there was nothing left but their empty halls.

The four saw more inundations, more burials, the rise of mountains and the delving of seas, more ice and flaring sun, over and over across periods and eras and eons.

At last, they saw the Sun, swollen and dying, rising on the last day over the worn-out and weary Earth, and they played for it. They thought, perhaps, this would be the end, at last.

It was then, following up on a review of the files of the Preserver Corps, a Derinti scout appeared. He beheld the shattered remnant of the back wall of the First Mercantile Bank, saw the faded images of the four musicians, heard their music, and said, “Oh, dear,” which is a very loose translation of the Derintinese, and in no way, shape or form captures the profound dismay of the original.

Even as the bloated Sun reached out tendrils of fire to engulf the Earth, the scout erected a temporal realignment-decoder. With swift commands to his machine, he lifted the four from the wall and transported them back to the sidewalk on which they had been playing, on that one summer day, mere moments after the Preserver had departed, feeling pleased with himself.

For several minutes the four of them stood there, not speaking, not meeting each other’s eyes, while pedestrians streamed around them and traffic passed by. Then, still not speaking, they packed away their instruments and left, each their several ways.

Lawrence caught the Number Five bus across town, to the quiet street where his house stood. He went in, and put his trumpet case down inside the door.

“Lawrence? Is that you?” Millie peeked into the living room from the kitchen. Her apron was stretched over her bulging belly. “Your timing is good—I’m just starting dinner.”

Lawrence went over to her. He peered into her puzzled face for a moment; then he went down to his knees. He embraced her, ignoring her startled protest. He put his ear to her abdomen, listening for the heartbeat of their unborn child.