#writephoto — The Scarecrow, the Witch, and the Wizard

D3D2201B-77FD-47C4-AE2E-A2346009A9F9During the occasion of a full wolf moon, the scarecrow, the witch, and the wizard went out together for a late evening stroll, as the trio was wont to do on nights such as this. After several hours of walking and talking, the wizard mention that he had developed quite a thirst. The witch said that she remembered passing a tavern on the outskirts of town shortly after they began their stroll.

“Ah yes,” the scarecrow said. “I distinctly recall that place because there was a tall sign just outside of the tavern that contained within it a scarecrow’s hat. But despite the fact that the tavern is home to scarecrows, I’d be delighted if the two of you would join me there as my guests.

“I beg to differ with you, Scarecrow,” the witch said. That tavern is obviously home to a coven of witches, since the hat in the sign is clearly a witch’s hat. But despite that fact, it would be my honor to invite the two of you to join me there tonight.”

“Hold on just a second, my friends,” the wizard said. There is no question but that the hat inside the sign is that of a wizard. Be that as it may,” he continued, “I would be happy to serve as host to the two of you in that establishment.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, either of you,” the scarecrow said. “Anyone can plainly see that it’s a scarecrow’s hat.”

“Don’t be daft, Scarecrow,” the witch responded. “The hat a witch’s hat.”

“It is neither a scarecrow’s nor a witch’s hat,” the wizard interrupted. “It is, without a doubt, a wizard’s hat.

“There is only one way to find out for sure,” the scarecrow said. “We shall, the three of us, head over to the tavern, walk right in, and you’ll see soon enough that I was right. It’s a pub for scarecrows.”

“It is not,” said the witch and the wizard simultaneously. Each determined to prove the other two wrong, the companions locked arms and marched straight to the tavern. Upon reaching the tavern, they looked at the sign.

“See,” the scarecrow said. “A scarecrow’s hat.”

“See,” the witch said. “A witch’s hat.”

“See,” the wizard said. “A wizard’s hat.”

Once again, the three locked arms and, together, squeezed through the tavern doors and stepped inside.

All eyes of the patrons inside the tavern gazed upon the three who had just entered. There was dead silence as those already there and the three newcomers sized each other up. A tension filled the room and the atmosphere grew heavy.

There were no scarecrows, witches, or wizards among the patrons in the tavern. Instead, the customers were farmers and farmhands.

The awkward silence of the moment was finally broken when the bartender cheerfully called out from behind the bar. “Welcome to Ye Old Farmer’s Hat Tavern, folks,” he said. “Find any empty table and I’ll be right there to take your orders.”


Written for the Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

#writephoto — The Affliction

816039B2-B119-44DB-A716-265E5BA8D220When the Affliction first appeared a decade ago, there was fear that the infection had the potential to wreak havoc across the country and could cause infinite damage to the heathy citizens.

In an unprecedented move, authorities rounded up the Afflicted and quarantined them in an isolated area behind thick stone walls and secured them behind a large, heavy gate with a strong chain and lock.

Even though the isolation of the Afflicted in the large internment camp had stemmed the tide of the disease, a growing segment of the healthy population stood in diametric opposition to the continued internment of the Afflicted. The Opposition believed that the infection that had caused the Affliction in the first place had morphed into a benign parasite since there were no new cases in years. They staged protests, elected Opposition candidates who were sympathetic to their cause, and ultimately got legislation passed to release the Afflicted back into the general population.

At a major event to celebrate their victory, the Opposition leaders gathered in front of the large, heavy gate and cut the thick chain that secured the gate’s door. Thousands of Affliction survivors streamed out from behind the gate, grateful for their freedom.

Unfortunately, the Opposition leaders were wrong. The parasite that had infected the Afflicted had not turned benign. Instead, with no healthy beings to feed upon, it had gone dormant. But upon reintegration into the healthy population, the parasites found new hosts and began to spread rapidly among the healthy. A new Affliction ultimately devoured the uninfected, creating a zombie-like society populated entirely by the Afflicted.


This dystopian tale was written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo prompt. Also for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (infinite), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (chain), Ragtag Daily Prompt (diametric), and Word of the Day Challenge (devour).

#writephoto — The Forest for the Trees

132116e7-f536-491f-b49e-6d3f0c1d9014“That is absolutely fantastic,” Ellen said as she and her son were on their way to do some shopping at their local mall.

“What is, Mom?” Jimmy asked.

Ellen pointed to the wall. “That is,” she said. “It is so artistic, so expressive. The genius of the person who created it is truly amazing.”

“Uh, Mom,” Jimmy said, “I think you’re going a little overboard in your enthusiasm. It seems pretty straightforward to me.”

“Straightforward?” Ellen exclaimed. “You take after your father, don’t you? Just like him, you fail to see the beauty and artistry that is all around us. How can you see that,” she said, pointing again to the wall, “and not feel a sense of wonder? How does it not stir your imagination, heighten your senses, and elevate your spirit?”

“What are you talking about, Mom?” Jimmy asked. “It’s just a sign. And it’s kind of funny, actually.”

“Yes, it is a sign,” Ellen said. “It’s a sign from God. It’s a sign that speaks to the talent, artistry, and grace He has imbued in us. It’s a celebration of His love for us. There’s nothing funny about it. It’s a thing of beauty. It’s inspirational.”

“Mom,” Jimmy said, shaking his head. “It’s a sign that has two cartoon-like cars facing each other. It says, ‘Please Park Bumper-to-Bumper.’”

“I’m talking about the mural painted on the wall,” Ellen said, “not about the damn parking sign. You are so like your father. You can’t see the forest for the trees.” she added, as she stalked off in the direction of the mall.

“Whatever,” Jimmy sighed under his breath, running to catch up with his mother.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — The Calming Clouds

339D1947-3C7F-4C84-B11E-DDE647BE625BDarren stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind him. Concerned, his wife ran outside after him and found him standing there, hands on his hips, staring off into the sky.

“Darren, what’s wrong? she asked when she got to his side. She reached down and grabbed his hand. “What’s got you so upset?”

Darren continued to stare at the sky. He saw the sun shining through the gray clouds, illuminating the bare branches of the winter trees. After a moment he sighed and said, “I’m sorry, Liz, but I just get so damn angry every time I watch the news. The man took an oath of office in which he swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. But everything he does, ever word he utters, is detrimental to the country and its citizens and violates the oath he took when he became president. I find it relaxing to watch the slow movements of the clouds across the sky. I brings me peace.”

“Well, you deserve some peace and relaxation, that’s for sure,” Liz said. “And as to Trump and all of his rich, corpulent political sycophants, and corporate fat cats, their corrupt and despicable manifestations of amoral behavior will be judged appropriately by the court of history.”

“I hope you’re right, honey,” Darren said, “but in the meantime, I’m at peace just watching the clouds float by.


This political fantasy was written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. I also fit in these one-word prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (oath), Fandago’s One-Word Challenge (detrimental), Your Daily Word Prompt (relaxation), Ragtag Daily Prompt (corpulent), and Nova’s Daily Random Word (manifestation).

#writephoto — Serenity In the Midst of Madness

4217516E-452E-4D41-9B94-1FA7922107B2Michael sat on the wooden bench by the side of the calm stream, hoping to find that, in what is arguably the most bountiful nation on the planet, there was yet a trace of humanity left.

He had been under a tremendous amount of stress since last night, when yet another mass shooting in America took place. It’s not as if there were no warning signs that such a tragedy would occur. This latest one, in Thousand Oaks, California, was the thirteenth mass shooting — where four or more people were shot — in the United States in the twelve days since (and including) the attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27th. Thirteen mass shootings in twelve days.

How many more interviews would Michael, an investigator for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, (aka, the ATF), have to conduct with the survivors of these shootings and of the next of kin of those whose lives had been tragically cut short?

Michael sat on the bench by the stream, tears in his eyes and a profound sadness in his heart, wondering if he could ever find any serenity in the midst of all the madness.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Also for these one-word prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (trace), Daily Addictions (bountiful), Scotts Daily Prompt (warning), and Word of the Day Challenge (kin).