#writephoto — Action!

86A2BB65-75CA-4B6A-BFF5-E4D65D6779F4“Cut!” the director called out. “Janice, come here, my dear,” he said, motioning to the young actress to join him under the stone arch.

“Yes, Hal,” she said in an irritated tone. “What is it now?”

“This is supposed to be a somber moment,” he said. “You’re standing in front of a war memorial to those who died in battle for their country. You lost your fiancé during the war and you’re desolate with grief. This scene, and the soliloquy you deliver in it, is your chance to shine. If you can’t manage that, maybe you don’t belong in this movie, or at least not in the lead role.”

“You’re joking, right?” Janice shot back at Hal. “Isn’t this your first directing job? I’ve been acting since I was a child. I know what I’m doing. You’re job is to orchestrate, to conduct, not to tell the musicians how to play their instruments.”

“Janice,” Hal said, “your ‘instrument’ is seriously out of tune. If you want to keep this role, you need to stop being such a diva and step it up a notch or two. Now get out there in front of the memorial and give it your all or get off the goddam set.”

Janice stomped away and positioned herself in front of the memorial. “Action!” Hal said.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt and for the following one-word prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (soliloquy), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (belong), Ragtag Daily Prompt (orchestrate), and Scotts Daily Prompt (need).

#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).

#writephoto — The Gloom

47BFD74B-7538-4F4A-9319-5AF04BF063E9The year was NC221. Thick, dark clouds had enveloped the entire planet since shortly after the Nuclear Holocaust, or NC as it was commonly known. The descendants of the survivors called it “the Gloom.” No one alive had ever seen the sun, the moon, or the stars. There were people who thought that tales of such “heavenly bodies” were nothing more than an ancient mythology.

Simon was leading a small party of gatherers scavenging for insects and, if they were lucky, a large rodent or two. Other hunting parties were looking for small game, such as wild dogs, coyotes, or feral cats. Several species of fish had managed to survive the NC, but because of the levels of radiation and other pollutants in the lakes, ponds, and streams, fish was rarely consumed by the descendants. Few other land species had survived the NC.

Simon and his group had been out for nearly five hours when he decided to take a quick inventory to see if they had collected enough to call it a day. When he was satisfied, he told everyone to grab their bags and they started the trek back to the base camp.

As they reached the top of the last hill before heading down into the valley, they all stopped and stared at the sky off in the distance. Some of the gatherers were frightened by what they saw. Others were in awe. Several even began to cry. Even Simon wasn’t sure what to make of it. There appeared a large hole in the cloud cover,  with a bright light emanating from it. “What is it, Simon?” one of the gatherers asked.

“I honestly don’t know,” Simon said. “It may be the sun or the moon shining through a crack in the sky.”

“Or maybe the gods are angry and are going to punish or destroy us,” another said, cowering in fear.

“We shouldn’t be afraid,” Simon said. “Some of the old books talked about how the Gloom might eventually lift. This may be the dawning of a new, bright age and a rebirth of our planet. We should celebrate and not recoil in fear.”

The small party of gatherers hurried back to the base camp, which, by the time they arrived, was bathed in the bright, warm light.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — When Another Door Opens

DB92B21A-4E32-4A93-BB6D-9C19649A11BCAllison looked out of the airplane window shortly after takeoff. The sun was setting over the midwestern city she was leaving, probably forever. She let out a heavy sigh. Her eyes welled up and she struggled to hold back the tears. It was hard for her to face the fact that she was leaving her old life behind.

When she discovered ten months earlier that her husband of eight years was having an affair with her best friend, Allison was devastated. She was more angry with herself for being blind to the betrayal by the man she thought loved her and by her closest friend. She knew that she could never forgive either of them. And she also knew she needed a complete break from everything. It was time to start over with a clean slate.

She moved back into her parents’ house until the divorce was settled. She received half of the proceeds from the sale of the house that she and her husband bought together shortly after they got married. While the net proceeds after paying off the mortgage and the real estate commissions weren’t that much, the amount was sufficient to cover the cost of the one-way plane ticket and a few months rent in a new city halfway across the country.

She didn’t know anyone there and didn’t have a job. But as her father told her, when one door closes, another door opens. Allison certainly hoped that would be the case. She pulled her iPad from her carry on bag, opened it up, connected to the airline’s in-flight WiFi, logged into WordPress, and started typing on the tablet’s virtual keypad.

“Hi,” she typed. “My name is Allison. Welcome to my brand new blog.” She paused, and for the first time in a long, long time, Allison smiled. Then she resumed typing. “I’m 31 years old and I’m starting my life all over again, which is why I’ve named my blog When Another Door Opens.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — The Ultimate Calamity

92D20434-267F-4B62-9281-8DFB0881330BPointing to a white object in an otherwise desolate landscape, Inark activated his comm device. “Go investigate,” he ordered Gdon.

Gdon transported himself to the object Inark had pointed to. “It appears to be some sort of artifact,” Gdon said.

“Initiate a scan,” Inark ordered.

Following orders, Gnod performed the scan. “It’s organic,” he reported.

Inark transported himself to where Gdon was standing. “Model a reconstruction,” he said.

Gdon removed a device from a bag he was carrying, aimed it at the object, pressed a some buttons, and within a few seconds, an image appeared on the screen. “I don’t recognize that life form,” Gdon said. He pressed a few more buttons on the device and the word “Bovine” appeared.

Inark looked at the screen and read, “An animal of the cattle group, which also includes buffaloes and bisons.” He looked at Gdon and said, “This is not the species we were sent to find,” he declared. “We are searching for humans.”

“How long has it been since the human species was last accounted for?” Gdon asked.

“The last indication of human life on this planet was 15,363 Earth rotations ago, in the Earth year 2061,” Inark explained. “The species failed to heed the signs of the deterioration of the critical environmental factors necessary to support most life forms.”

“I thought it was the famine and the wars that destroyed the humans,” Gdon said.

“It was,” Inark said, “but it was the degradation of the climate that led to the catastrophic storms, famine and the resulting survival wars, which ultimately proved to wipe out most of the species.”

“And our job,” Gdon said, “is to determine, once and for all, if there is any humans life remaining on this planet.”

“It’s unlikely,” Inark said. “The real human frailty was its focus on the short-term while choosing to be willfully ignorant of the long-term implications of their actions upon the environment and the resulting calamity.”

“But ultimately, their lack of foresight was good news for us,” Gdon said.

“That’s correct, Gdon,” Inark said. “It’s been 42 Earth years since the planet was last able to support life, but I am confident that we can report back to home base that the planet, in another two Earth decades, will have fully regenerated and should be suitable for colonization by our own species. Gather your scanning device, harvest this bovine object, and let’s transport home.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.