MLMM Photo Challenge — The Apparition

img_2172His daughter was so beautiful. She was growing into a lovely young woman. A woman of substance. He was immensely proud of her. She was standing next to the bicycle rack, wearing her red coat over her short, black dress and black nylons. She was staring down at a cone of strawberry ice cream, her favorite flavor. She looked like she was about to take a taste.

He wanted to take her picture and stepped away from her to frame her in the shot. A second after he clicked the shutter button, the old man, far too old to be behind the wheel of a two ton vehicle, mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake.

It was over in an instant. And she was gone. She literally didn’t know what hit her. At least she didn’t suffer. But he did. He suffered every single day since the incident.

She was everywhere he was, looking exactly as she had that day. She always looked so real, so lifelike, so young, so innocent. Of course, it was an apparition. It was his mind, his heart, playing tricks on him. Hurtful tricks. Mean and nasty tricks. Hadn’t he suffered enough?

Why was she haunting him like this? Did she blame him? If he hadn’t stepped away to take her picture, he might have been able to save her, to push her out of harm’s way. He was her father. It was his job to protect her. He had failed.

It should have been him and not her.


Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Anka Zhuravleva. And for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “substance.”

FOWC with Fandango — Substance

FOWCWelcome to August 14, 2018 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “substance.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

An Abiding Love

BBED5D65-6D1E-474E-91D0-3B3F11CDAB5EIt was anything but love at first sight. I was sitting on a porch swing on the back deck of my friend’s house. He and his wife were having a party and I was not having a very good time. So I went out to the deck to smoke a cigarette.

That was when she came out onto the deck. She looked at me, made a face, and then demanded that I put out my cigarette. “I simply cannot abide by cigarette smoke,” she said.

My initial thought was to tell the haughty bitch to go fuck herself. This was an outside deck and I was here first. Who the fuck was she to tell me to douse my cigarette? But then I looked over at her and saw this stunningly beautiful vision and decided to be a bit more accommodating. I tossed my cigarette out onto the grass. “Happy now?” I said sarcastically.

She looked at me, said, “Yes, I am, thank you,” and then immediately walked back inside the house. Fucking selfish bitch, I thought to myself, and lit another cigarette.

A few minutes later I walked back into the house and she was standing into the kitchen talking to my friend’s wife. When she saw me, she excused herself and walked over to me. “I was very rude to you before and I want to apologize,” she said, putting her hand out toward me. I didn’t respond. I just stared at her because her beauty, even in the harsh lights of the hall just outside of the kitchen, was breathtaking.

“My father,” she said, breaking the awkward silence, “succumbed to lung cancer six months ago. He had such a zest for life, but couldn’t kick his two-packs-a-day habit until it was too late. The smell of cigarette smoke reminds me so much of him and I’m still having a hard time dealing with his death.”

“Yeah, I can understand that,” I said, finally reaching out to accept her offered handshake.

That was almost twenty-five years ago and the two of us have shared an abiding love ever since that night. And, by the way, that was also the night I quit smoking.


Written for today’s Your Daily Word Prompt (porch), today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt (zest), today’s Word of the Day Challenge (abiding), and today’s Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (love). Photo credit: Frank McKenna.

FOWC with Fandango — Love

FOWCWelcome to August 13, 2018 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “love.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

MLMM — The Rorschach Test

0FBD3EA6-D381-4B64-97B9-ADD4776CC435Hal and his wife, Marlene, were sitting in their living room watching a rerun of “The X Files” when they heard a commotion on their front porch. “Did you hear that?” Marlene asked her husband.

“Yeah,” he said. “Probably a raccoon. He’ll go away when he doesn’t find any food out there.”

But the noise coming from the porch didn’t stop, so Marlene said, “Hal, get your lazy ass out there and see what is going on.”

Reluctantly, Hal slowly got up and out of his easy chair, went to the front door, turned on the porch light, and flung open the door. At first he didn’t see anything, but then he looked down and saw a creature the likes of which he had never seen before. Startled, he jumped back a step or two. The strange-looking, three-foot tall “thing” stepped into the living room. When Marlene saw it, she let out a blood curdling scream.

The creature waddled toward Marlene and she jumped up on the sofa as she might have if she’d been frightened by a mouse. Meanwhile, Hal went into the front hall closet and pulled out his shotgun.

“Do not fear me,” the creature said in a somewhat metallic voice. “I am sorry I scared you; I intend you no harm.”

“I’ve got you in my sights, you freakin’ monster,” Hal said. “One false move and I’ll blow you to Kingdom Come.”

“I do not know what that is,” the critter said. “But there is no need for violence.”

Almost hysterically, Marlene screamed, “What do you want?”

“My name is Rorschach and I am not from this planet,” the creature said. “My mission is to explore the solar system for signs of intelligent life.”

“So what were you doing on our porch, you alien?” Hal asked, shotgun still pointed at the creature. “Ain’t no intelligent life in these parts.” With that, Hal started to pull the trigger, but before he could, both the shotgun and Hal disintegrated into a pile of red embers.

Looking at the ashes where Hal had been standing, Rorschach said, “Yes, I can see that.” It then turned to Marlene and said, “Is this any way to treat visitors from out-of-town?”

At which point Marlene fainted dead away.


Written for today’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt. And for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “treat.”