Archive for the ‘Flash Fiction’ Tag

A Country Taken (Part 2)

When I woke, I saw only the blackness in what seemed like a bunker somewhere below ground level. I heard coughing, the whispered cries of one praying, and agonizing pleas for help.

I felt someone’s breath on my ear as he leaned in.

“What’s your name?”

“Get away!” I hissed.

“I’m not going to hurt you. Just want to talk.”

I said nothing; just scooted closer to my corner of the cell. He moved too, towards me.

“Well, if they’d wanted to kill us they would have done so by now, don’t you think?” he asked.

“Maybe. I don’t know.” My head felt like it would explode. Whatever was in that injection was not something to help or heal, but to finish me.

“The beheadings I think are just a small part of a larger plan to rid the world of us Christians, Jews or by whatever name or label we give ourselves. In their eyes, we’re all ‘infidels’ of some kind or other. I think what they want is to turn us into weapons of terror.” His rambling now had my attention.

“How?” I asked him.

“Well, we all thought we could count on the protection of our country’s administration, police, and military arms of service. But, we were wrong. They acted too late to destroy these terrorists before they came over, infiltrating our country. So, here comes this new wave of ISIS from somewhere. But, where? They’re popping up everywhere, and no one is safe. They behead some, but not everyone. Why? We fought back, but they grew stronger in number, and our little band of resistance fighters grew smaller and weaker. The worst of it is I think the ISIS have plants in the government, maybe in congress, the pentagon, the military.”

“You’re crazy. That’s absurd.”

“Is it?”

“Did they inject you?” he asked.

“Yes. But, if it was an antibiotic it isn’t helping. I’m shivering. My head is burning with a fever, am dizzy, and so… ”

“It is no antibiotic they gave you.”

“Then, what was it? Since you think you have all the answers.”

EBOLA.

____________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015) This is a work of fiction and Part 2 of a 3 part story. Part 1 was posted last week, and Part 3, the conclusion will be posted in a few days.

A country taken

They rushed the streets like a swarm of locust. Except for the eyes and above the forehead they were covered in black from head to toe, knives, guns and sabers drawn, bullets riddling all in their path.

When they closed in it was more in their eyes than with gesture or knife that revealed their heart or intent; seething hatred for all but those sworn to serve Allah and Islam. Caucasian, clipped sharp tongue, and blue eyes muddied brown as they bore into my soul, and I daring to not look away, but rather stand like the warrior I’d become as they swore to take me down with a clear swipe of the sword to my head.

Hours later, my head bandaged, my mind struggling to make sense of my surroundings things are murky, shadows moving in and out as if passing through patches of fog.

The face is blurred…shrouded in black.

Their words, “You will convert or die.”

It played through my head like a grinding, hated repeating reel, over and over again. ‘Land of the free?’ This can’t be happening. It isn’t possible. I must be dreaming.

Then, I felt the jab in my arm; an injection of some kind, and knew I was not. Slipping into unconsciousness, I was shoved into a black hole.

______________

 Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Footnotes: This is a work of fiction (Part 1). Continued parts will be posted as finished.

 

 

Posted January 30, 2015 by Joyce in Faith, Fiction, Flash Fiction

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Lost at Sea – Part 3, conclusion

This is a an old lobster trap on the porch of a visitors center in Digby, Nova Scotia where lobster and scallops fishing remains one of the biggest occupations there with people living on the coast.

 

 

The movement was slight, but unmistakable.

“There! See that?”

“Got it. Lower us down. It’s too rocky, unsteady to set down the copter.”

“It’s Ingram. He’s alive. Caught and tangled in his own traps under a downed tree. We’ll have to pull him free.”

They radioed the pilot. “Send down the hoist pulley.”

“It’s tied on. Now! Easy! Lift him out, carefully. I think he’s got broken ribs. Not sure what else.”

Good. Now, let’s get him secured in the basket.”

They radioed back. “Take him up. Gently!

“I’ll let them know we’ve found him.”

It was Christmas.

Carolers gathered around the old hall. “Joy to the world…” They sang. “and heaven and nature sing…”

Ingram pulled Henry up onto his lap. “Henry, this is for you.”

Henry ripped open his present, his blue eyes as big and bright as the lights on the tree.

The miniature clipper was just like the one he let go the day he sent it out to sea.

Wow! Look, mama! It’s my boat.”

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Footnotes:  All photos used for this 3 part story are ones I took while on a trip to Nova Scotia, Canada many years ago. You can find part 1 and 2 of Lost at Sea previously posted.

Lost at Sea – Part 2

Fishermen's lobster wharf, Digby Nova Scotia

Fishermen’s wharf, Nova Scotia (Not sure why so many American flags displayed)


Days passed with no word or sign of his whereabouts.

They came with flowers and wreaths throwing them out upon the waves.

A little boy holding his mother’s hand carried his small clipper pushing it out from shore.

“Henry, that is your favorite boat. Are you sure you want to… do this?” his mother asked.

“Yes, mama. It is for Mr. Ingram. He needs a new boat.”

“But, Henry, it is…,” then stopped herself. He was only four. He wouldn’t understand.

Henry looked up at her, “Mama, you told me to ‘believe for the impossible.'”

She nodded. “Yes, Henry, I did.”

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Footnotes: This is Part two of a three part story. Part 3 (the conclusion) will be posted in a few days. You can find Part 1 of this story under short story/flash fiction posts, Lost at Sea.

 

Lost at Sea

P43_043

An old Mariners’ hall meeting place, Nova Scotia, Canada

 

A small crowd gathers at the Mariner’s hall, # 1077

The boat drifted for days, then was found washed ashore, its broken hull taking on water.

An experienced lobster fisherman, Ingram guffawed with his meaty hand wrapped around his pint of ale, “Just give me some line and I will fill my want, whatever the sea spits out at me.”

But, it looked like the sea claimed him. The old mariner pulled up anchor and set out to fish, traps in tow. Then the Nor’easter slammed the Atlantic coast.

Now they come to wait, and pray.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Footnotes: The above photo was taken in Nova Scotia while on a trip many years ago. I will be posting Part 2 and Part 3 (the conclusion) to this story in a few days.


This old house


This old house

“Kelly, I want you to do a cover story on that old homestead over in Plymouth.” Shauna said.

“That old house? It’s barely standing. No one wants to touch it, not even a real estate developer to determine the property’s worth or potential. They claim there is something strange about it. An old man who looked after the adjoining properties around there lived in it.”

“Yes, the caretaker. But, he died years ago, a very old man. But, there is no death record on him.”

“And his spirit still lurks around the old grounds. That’s what the real estate office says.”

“Well, you said you loved doing stories on places where things happened.” Shauna said, smiling.

Land deeds, surveys, property listings, documents of all kinds were spread across an old map table at the county courthouse. What looked like tea stain marks and scrawled signatures merged together making things nearly illegible.

The house was over a hundred years old. Records showed inhabitants from nearby properties were descendents from the original settlers.

With my camera, door key and copy of the records I approached the house, cautiously.

Tree roots grew up between rotted floor boards exposing earth and weeds, causing the entire floor to buckle in places. I hope I don’t fall through the floor to some gaping hole beneath. Paint was chipped and peeling from walls to ceiling where spiders weaved thick webs for their occupants still moving about. Windows were broken where the ground had shifted under the foundation.

A lone bulb dangled loose from a string of wires suspended just above me as I heard the patter and gnawing of rats or mice in the attic. I hate spiders, detest mice and freak out at the sight of rats.

The ceiling did not look any more stable than the floor looking like it could collapse any moment. I pulled out my flashlight. The descending sun cast shadows across things inside giving it an eerie glow. The furnishings were sparse, all of them looking like ancient pieces from a bygone era. Old, yellowed newspapers with dates so far back… Impossible! Beside them lay recent newspapers, some even with my stories in them. How can that be?

I quickly propped up my flashlight and began going through the pile. There was a scrolled up piece of parchment; a draft… Mayflower Compact?!

Floor boards creaked under heavy steps. The door was pushed open. I jumped, grabbing my flashlight and held it tightly in my raised hand; my ‘weapon’ ready.

“Oh, miss. I’m happy to find you. I read your stories in the Plymouth Sentinel. You tell a good tale. Will you write ours, about our crossing on the Mayflower? Oh, I’m sorry. I haven’t properly introduced myself. I’m William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Colony.”

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Footnotes: This is a story of fiction, but the real story about William Bradford, the Plymouth Colony governor can be found  here   The above photo is one I took from the road we traveled while on a trip back to New England and Nova Scotia years ago. This old house caught me eye, and I had to stop and get a picture of it. I don’t think anyone was living in it at the time. I love taking pictures of old homes, historic buildings and churches and try to find some history on the area wherever we travel, so thought it would be a great photo prompt for this story.

Happy Halloween 🙂

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Somewhere over the meadow-land

The below post is fiction and my submitted entry for the http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/build-your-own/

The photo is provided by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

 

I was uncertain where I was, but just kept going. Across the meadow, to where I didn’t know. Would anyone care about the “crazy lunatic  woman” who talked to the. “invisible man.” in her room, pleading his help to get out?

It’d been so long since I’d driven a car, then losing control after it swerved from the road hitting the tree. The car I stole from the entrance drive after running from the room while they did some, “psychological analysis evaluation”. Whatever that was. But, I had to get out of that insane place. Or, is it me that is insane? They all think I am.

Hitting my head hard against the dash. Shattered glass everywhere. The awful sound, the loud beeping noise coming from somewhere. Oh, yes, the asylum’s security alert system that went off.

My head hurts. It still bleeds from the gash where glass shards landed from the impact.

I’m so weary from running, and so weak. My blood is leaving tracks across the meadow as I stumble through thick bramble brush.

I hear him calling out my name, “Sarah… Sarah, I am here. You are free.”

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

Posted August 25, 2014 by Joyce in Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Writings, Short Fiction

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In the eye of the storm

Lighthouse in New England

 

Waves buck, lashing the sides of the boat. Wind thrashes the sea with every gust.

Did they get my SOS? There’s too much static. No contact. No connection.

The black of night pervades the skies. Rocks emerge, scraping across the hull.

I can’t see them, but feel them, tearing, ripping the keel.

A soft cone-shaped light rises from the mist. The lighthouse?

The fog lifts to reveal a bright moon. I hear the sound of a clanging bell.

I sense a presence, calming, peaceful.

The sea is stilled inside the storm that rages all around.

I am safely home.

________________

Footnotes; the above story is fiction, unrelated to any incident or event. The photo is one I took while on vacation in the New England states (U.S.) years ago. Because we covered so many miles and territory on this trip by car I cannot remember the exact location of this particular lighthouse. We took pictures of several of them where we went. It was an awesome trip, beautiful to see and visit.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Missing

A spillway near a trail at Boyd Lake State Park, Loveland, Co.

The dive team disappeared under the fast-moving, muddy water, its angry reply to the flood that ripped through town days earlier. A protective barrier was set up as people stood speaking in hushed tones fearful at what they might find washed up on the river’s edge near the spillway. A group held hands, heads bowed, praying.

“We wanted to help a mama rabbit and her babies when the water came up like a big wave,” Ben told the officer with quivering lips, his wet body shivering under the blanket.    

Stevie held on.

“Found him.” The call came back.

“He’s alive!”

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

Alone, like the bird on the lake.

HPIM2404

A lake near a walking trail we use in Loveland, Co.

Jenna felt as alone as the bird on the lake. The water was stilled, a channel with no place to go, like her. Now she was out of a job with no money, or friends. She knew the company would not take her back.

 

I can’t undo what I did, led to believe I could have it all. I believed him, the ‘CEO’ who promised the career move would secure my future. But, instead he manipulated me, wanting “things” in return, leading me down a lonely, dark path.

 

She heard a voice, “Jenna. Go back. Trust me.”

 

She looked.

 

God?

_________________________

 

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Footnotes: The above story is fiction, not my own. I took the photo while walking on this trail with my husband and dog, Maggie. From time to time, I will post photos of places or things where I have been, and use the photo as a prompt for a short fiction story, or just tell a little about where the photo was taken with my own perspective on it. As always, comments and feedback are welcome.

 

Campfire Stories

Misc. and family 1488Misc. and family 1489

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harley and Hampton

 

He scuffed along in prospector’s boots, plaid flannel shirt, and dungarees made of the stock of heavy blue denim. Too many years in the harsh elements had turned his skin the color of rust and as tough as dried apricots. The rare nuggets or elusive gold vein was all but non-existent now. He’d seen little of it. The sun bore down on him with a vengeance from the 10,000 foot Sasquatch range.  He lifted the felt brimmed hat from his head and wiped his shirtsleeve across the sweat beads on his forehead.

His burro, Hampton, coarse tufts of stiff hair sticking up from his neck clopped alongside him dutifully carrying the old miner’s picks, shovel, tin pans and ax dangling to one side of the mounted leather girdle. The noise could be heard clear up the mountain side as they traversed their way down steep hills.

“Hampton, I think we’ll camp here for the night. I’ll find us a jack rabbit or something for supper.”

He noticed a rundown old store from the road. It looked deserted, desolate. There were no stirrings of life save the deer and small game. He pulled the shotgun from its scabbard on the burro’s pack and led him along the overgrown weeded path into town. The wind roared through the canyon, ricocheting off the peaks. He didn’t notice anything unusual at first. There were so many Chinook winds that came round in late spring howling so loud they sounded like the growl of a hungry bear on the scent of prey.

Tendrils swirled about where wind gusts kicked up dirt and gravel. Some stopped, forming dust clouds emanating sounds like boards rattling, or shovels clanging. Raucous laughter could be heard from some near place. The wind currents carried the sound as it echoed down the meadow to the dry streambeds, and back again as if settling near the old store.

“Welcome,” came a booming voice.

Harley’s hair and beard bristled. He nervously scanned everything in sight afraid of what they might see as he rolled his eyes from side to side.

“Hampton! You hear that? I could’ve sworn I heard a… ” And, then he did. Again.

The old burro raised his head, ears flicking, as if swatting a fly.

“Welcome, newcomer,” came the sound louder, closer, all around him. It roared through the valley sounding like multiple voices, one after the other.

He would have made a hasty retreat from the valley back up the hillside if not so tired and weary.

“What… are you? Where are you?” the old miner yelled back in a shaky voice.

“I’m right here. Can’t you see? Oh, I’m sorry. I forget sometimes those who are not like us cannot see us. I’m the town mayor. Let me introduce myself. My name is Grayson.”

“Mayor of what? What is this place?”

“It’s called Thornbush, named for the founder of this here mining community. He sometimes walks about checking on things, making sure things are done properly for all the newcomers. We have a nice cabin available if you want to check in, or just rest a spell before sojourning on your way, and supplies in the store. What can I get for you?”

“I can’t even see you. How do you expect me to find a cabin?”

“It’s here, right down this road. I’ll take you there. It’s been years since we’ve had any newcomers in these parts. Folks just want to hurry on by, not stop, though we try to make them feel at home.”

The air suddenly felt cooler as dust clouds swooped down, swirling around him until he felt caught in the storm that blew from all directions. Unable to move or see which way to run, they suddenly released their grip, and Harley tightened his hold on Hampton’s reins as he brayed again, resisting the pull of his owner.

“You said your name is Grayson? Where are you? What are you, a ghost?”

“Well, I guess some would call me that, but I don’t like to scare people off and it doesn’t sound like a good job description for the mayor of a mining camp, does it? But, I take my job seriously and it isn’t easy running a town like ours. What is your name? We like to record our visitors’ names in our town’s register.”

“It’s Harley. My burro’s name is Hampton.”

“Well, Harley and Hampton, welcome to Thornbush. Now, let’s get you settled where you will be more comfortable.”

They passed a cemetery on the way to the cabin. The dust clouds moved about the cemetery, hovering over graves, the sound of shovels hitting against the stones. The old miner’s hair stood up on end. Hampton brayed again. “hee-haw. hee-haw.

“Who are all those buried there?”

“Just other miners who stopped one day, and decided to stay.”

“What happened to them?”

“Well, they remained, and lingered on until their time came. God bless their souls, and rest their bones. They wanted to belong, and after all we are an obliging bunch.”

One hundred years later a traveler happened upon the old mining camp with its collapsing buildings, saloon and cabins nearby. He heard the braying of a donkey somewhere and entered the rundown vacated store with the mind to just wander around and explore. He pulled out his camera to take some shots when a dust cloud settled, and began to speak.

“Welcome to Thornbush. My name is Harley. Can I get you something?  We have a cabin available if you’d like to rest for the night.”

_______________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

A Frog Named Slime (Day 29 for the NaPoWriMo poetry challenge)

A Frog Named Slime

A frog named Slime covered in grime

Jumped in a pond to scrub himself clean,

 scrubbed so hard he washed off the green

“Look at me now! I can’t be seen,

looking too clean like a shriveled green bean.

“‘I look all shiny with all that sheen.

and won’t look like a frog if I’m not all green.”‘

So away he hopped to his puddle of grime

and happy was he the frog named Slime.

____________________________

Joyce E. Johnson © (2014)

Dailypost Flash fiction challenge – six word stories

Below is my submission for the Daily Post writing challenge today, so chose to do a Six word story for Flash Fiction today.

~~~

My sling carried words – not stones

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Footnotes: I love the story of David and Goliath in the Old Testament bible so chose to use it for my inspiration for this submission.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

Surrendering (Flash Fiction poetry) for NaPoWriMo, day 24


 

Surrendering
 

By Joyce E. Johnson

 

Billowing clouds of ivory forming in the sky

Lift into the rising dawn, a glow cupped in praise.

Trees, tall and reverent shade the shallow space.

I walk, forcing every step

To give the earth my son, his grave.

Looking up, beseeching to heaven, I cry,

“Why God? Why did you take my baby, my child?”

He answered back.

“I know how you feel.”

“For, I once gave up mine, too. And I will watch over yours.”

“Let me take your sorrow, and I will give you joy.”

“I promise a tomorrow when there will be no more pain.”

___________________

Footnotes: The above book, Flash Fiction is a collection of 100 word short stories and poems written by fifty talented authors for this edition created and edited by Madison Woods, the original founder and creator of the Flash Fiction writers group known as, Friday Fictioneers now under the direction of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. My flash fiction/poem, SURRENDERING is one of the fifty included in this book which can be found and purchased through Amazon.com. All of my short stories under the ‘Flash Fiction’ category can be found under that heading or under, Friday Fictioneers, many of which are written in a free style poetic form.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

 

The DP Challenge: Fifty

There came a peddler one day to town

Who had an old dog and traveled around

His wagon full with all sorts of stuff

clanked and hung off the side with old Scruff

He sold his wares to the burlap store

and could spin a tale like none heard before

____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

 

 

 


Fiction – ‘Doors’

Is it just me, now suspicious of everyone I see? Standing outside my hotel room door, cautious, waiting, listening as if expecting to find one going through my things, my files, laptop.

No! I cannot be this way and do my work here. I have a job, an assignment that requires my total focus and concentration.

I inserted the key, turned it. It opened. My room looked the same, and everything as I’d left it. Maybe, it was I who was changing. Now afraid of my own shadow, a door, a lock, a noise. A face I’d seen before.

_________________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2013)

Note: The above 100 word story with title (Doors) is my submission for Friday Fictioneers this week. This portion is a part of my ongoing novel, The Informant’s Agenda, and this is the last part of Chapter six, not included in the previous chapter section, but it seemed a good fit for this week’s photo prompt story provided by Rochelle, Wisoff Fields, moderator for Friday Fictioneers.  For the benefit of those who are following my story, The Informant’s Agenda I have not included the FF photo prompt here, so please excuse its omission. 🙂

‘Yearning to breathe free’. Friday Fictioneers photo prompt

It has been over nine months since I’ve participated in Friday Fictioneers (due to other priority writing projects and time involved), but often read and comment on other writers’ stories. This week, however I decided to add one into the mix. Friday Fictioneer stories can be found at Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s blog, at http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/ Because of the current piece of work I am editing and posting chapters of now (a novel, The Informant’s Agenda) this photo prompt seemed appropriate to my writing genre and story theme, so here is my contribution this week for this prompt.  The interesting thing is that although my current novel is fiction, this little story has a lot of truth in it as it is based on factual truths found in my novel. 1) My grandfather Jacob’s family were immigrants from Odessa, Russia, and were German Jews. And after over thirty years of research I am now writing a story similar to their own. And 2) I did visit Russia and cities in Ukraine in 1989 where I visited several cities in my novel, and took the photos below this story of the Babi Yar Jewish Memorial in Kiev, 1989 which is a sad, unforgettable site. Information on the Babi Yar can be found in Wikipedia and elsewhere.  Any comments and feedback are always welcome, and thanks for reading.

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The Babi Yar Memorial of the 33, 771 Jews massacred on September 29 and 30, 1941 by the German SS in Kiev, Ukraine

The Babi Yar Memorial of the            33, 771 Jews massacred on September 29 and 30, 1941 by the German SS in Kiev, Ukraine

  I took the photos above of Babi Yar in 1989 while touring Ukraine, Russia : Joyce E. Johnson (1989)

Below is my story to go with the photos above and submitted for the week’s Friday Fictioneers story.

__________________

I thought of Grandfather Jacob and his family coming ashore in 1889, yearning to ‘breathe free’, to live in a land where ‘pogrom’ and persecution were foreign words, not ones to be feared.

The words of one from the Babi Yar memorial to the thousands of Jews massacred in Kiev came to me.

“My mind reeled with the images. My heart wept for their pain. Where did it all begin? Why no end to their suffering? Where would they find acceptance? A place where peace would reign?”

It seemed fitting to end my journey here upon my return from Ukraine.

____________________

Joyce E. Johnson

THE RETURNING SAILOR

The below story poem is a narrative ballad I wrote many years ago. I posted this last June on my blog, but am re-posting it for this week’s word prompt on Geraldine’s Woven Dreams: A Creative Prompt Blog. This week’s word prompt is alive. I hope you enjoy the story and comments are always welcomed.

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THE RETURNING SAILOR

Down the coast and out to sea,

a voice, a whisper beckons me.

It is the sound of her calling my name.

Would she still love me, a man with my shame?

Will she remember the hands that caressed

her face and body, and how I confessed

of the love and tenderness for her in my heart,

wrenched and torn, when we had to part?

Now, I’m returning and will look for her,

alive with the burning desire to stir

the love we shared when I left for the sea.

I pray she’s still there, waiting for me.

There was a fight. Oh, God! What a mess.

It was late that night. I drank to excess.

I did not know, but did not care

that her husband knew of our love affair.

Coming alive with a fist to my jaw

intent on surviving once the knife I saw

I sprang with shifting feet in dread,

landing a blow with my right to his head,

then felt the piercing pain and might

of flashing silver turned crimson bright.

With his knife to my flesh, and muscle it tore.

Bleeding and enraged I came down and bore

the knife I captured, to his chest then came

in self-defense went at him the same.

His breathing stilled, and he lay dead.

Was justice served this way instead?

I went away broken, feeling despair

leaving her behind, her grief to bear.

Like an anchor weighed down

with heavy remorse

wherever I sailed, wherever my course

I could not forget how she once loved me.

Now I’m returning from a dark, cold sea.

_________________

Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson

TRANSFORMED

TRANSFORMED

The homeless man crouched down under the bridge, hunched over, shielding himself from the cold. His mismatched, dirty pants and shirt hung loose on his thin, weathered frame. His shoes, stripped of shoe laces, were worn through till only the inner sole rubber made contact with asphalt.

After searching through dumpsters in alleys for something to eat, he was convinced he had arrived too late. They were emptied of their contents that morning after trash pick-ups. All that remained was the stench of the garbage they held. His stomach gnawed from lingering hunger. For longer than he could remember he’d hidden in the shadow of shame, losing all but the ragged clothes on his back, with no job, and or means to support himself. He slept on park benches, under bridges, in or between boxcars, wherever he found shelter or small spaces, not yet claimed. But, there were guarded areas few like him could dare encroach upon. Like seasoned night hawks they laid claim to their space and things. Weapons fashioned of things found like sharp tin can lids made into spears protruding from sticks were bayonets, and jagged cut bottles or jars with sharp edges they used to ward off newcomers. Their found treasures, protected and hidden behind the enclaves of discarded mattresses, sheets of cardboard, crates or boxes were coveted things he had yet to lay hold to, or confiscate from another. His body still held cuts and scars from his attempts to take what another one had found.

He watched a worm slither out from its crevice in the ground until free of its cold, dark domain. When it began its slow crawl across the walk he reached out for it, but a crow swooped down and snatched it up, the worm squirming from its beak as it lifted into the sky.

As night approached the void became darker, the air colder. But he fell asleep, weary from his struggle and despair. He saw sunrise creep leisurely across the sky, bright colors in orange and yellow. He felt warmth wash over him, a soft breath of one speaking his name. “John.” A wispy like flutter brushed across his nose. A butterfly flying around him as if unafraid, unfettered, remained. Lakes, ponds, green valleys, and gardens opened up before him. Birds sang incessantly from a forest of trees.

A man walked from the light to stand over him, stretched out his hand and pulled him up. Placing a clean, warm blanket over his shoulders he embraced the man, and led him away. There before him was a table spread out with all kinds of food, and containers with fresh water.

“Eat whatever you want, whatever you like, John.” People mingled around, jubilant with praise. At the head of the table, the man spoke to all those there, saying, “Transformation, a spiritual process of re-birth is not only one of the soul, but of the mind. Today, you will be transformed. You need never go hungry again, or be homeless, or in want again. God has a plan for your life.”

The man jerked, waking up. Everything looked the same, before he fell asleep. But, there stood the one from his dream, standing before him now, helping the homeless man up from the ground.

“Here, let me help you, John. We have a place near here where you can rest, and food to eat, a shelter for those who have no home, or place to stay. We have clean beds, food, and people who want to help.”

One year later, John stood, transformed from the man he once was, in the kitchen at the shelter cooking, and serving to the homeless. Smiling at each one, he filled their plates, and offered encouragement, hope. “Enjoy your meal. There are clean clothes, shoes and socks over there, and cots where you can rest.”

Ten years later, John became the director of a new shelter. The sign above it read, “TRANSFORMED,” It became a beacon to the community. Every day, he and a team of volunteers went out on the streets, inviting those in; the homeless, needy and helpless, even disabled veterans came through their doors seeking help.

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Joyce E. Johnson – 2013


“I Do, Take Thee…” – (Flash Fiction, 100 word count stories, Friday Fictioneers), Jan., 23

Every week a photo is posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields provided by her, or someone else for the benefit of inspiring writers from all over the globe to submit their own 100 word story based on the photo prompt.  Below is my story. It is pure fiction in the literal sense. My characters, plots and locations are those of my own creation. You may find all my prior 100 word stories under the category of Friday Fictioneers, Flash Fiction, or Short Fiction if you are new to my blog and wish to go back and read any of my older stories. I welcome you to come along with me to my imaginary world of ‘make believe.’ And as always, feedback and comments are welcome.

Joyce E. Johnson

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Palms swayed. Wind blew off the Keys. The surf was up, the tide coming in. The sun was high and bright, a beautiful day.

It has been over forty years since we declared our love to one another on Valentine’s Day, our wedding day, here. Today, we will renew our vows. But, will he remember any of it? Alzheimer’s has claimed his mind, his memory, our time left, and our love. I cannot think, or hope beyond this day.

I pushed his wheelchair onto the old, creaking boardwalk, our children walking beside us.

Will he remember any of it?

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Joyce E. Johnson

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