Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge
Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge
A quote: “Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty.” ~~ Tacitus
I’ll start with a story …
The town was Dave’s and my go-to summer vacation spot – quiet, old-world charm. Morning coffee at a sidewalk café. Town folk raising their hands in greeting.
We moved here last spring, the town square a riot of tulips, iris, daffodils and birdsong. Neighbors showed up with smiles and baked goods. Summer came and went in bliss.
Halloween, I’m paralyzed behind the bolted door of our dream home, watching through the eyehole as a crowd of our neighbors approaches, floating above the pavers, dragging David’s body behind them.
Stray thought – no more wondering why the realtor’s office was so empty.
Now, it’s your turn.
. featured image, cropped, Adobe Stock standard license
“Quickly, Igor – pull the lever”
The lightning flashed. Electricity flooded the still form lying on the surgical table. The creature’s back arched upward, and then it opened its eyes.
“Ah ha, ha, ha – I’ve done. I’ve created life. My dear Pooksie has come home again. Oh how I’ve missed the way he would lick my face and chase the ball when I threw it.”
Igor shuffled forward, “Master, I don’t think that’s your Pookisie anymore.”
“Of course it is, see how when I put down my hand … Why, that little bugger bit me.”
Then Victor Von Frankenstein flew into one of his characteristic rages, pounding the dog into the table.
“Oh, no. What have I done? Pooksie…
“Activate the machine again, Igor. I’m sure the tenth time will be the charm.”
I looked around and my friend clapped a hand on my shoulder. “You look bothered. Why?”
“I don’t know. Have you ever looked at something and wondered if it was real or not?”
He grinned. “You mean like that time in Tijuana?”
“Which I was happy to forget.” I looked around. “Those streets were torn up and made to look modern and you died twenty years ago.”
A tunnel of light showed up and my friend smiled “Well done. You figured it out.”
“So I did die?”
“Yes. And I asked to be the one to escort you. Come on.”
My happiest memories of my hometown are all from grade school. Going trick-or-treating, getting cups of hot cider from the church ladies who recognized me, taffy apples from the wife of the blacksmith who did a lot of my dad’s farm implement repairs. I still remember the golden leaves clinging to the trees, the fallen ones in piles that spilled out onto the sidewalks and the narrow streets of that small town. The bright lights at the porches of the old houses, some of which dated back to the settlement of that part of Iowa.
About the time I started junior high, things started changing. I was no longer the cute little girl who’d lived thanks to a miracle of medical science. Instead, I was suspect, alive only because of Frankenstein science that made me suspect in the eyes of our neighbors. Suddenly everyone was telling me that I must live my life as an apology for my existence, to regard myself as always the least and the lowest in any gathering.
Sometimes I wish I could take my children back, take them trick-or-treating there along the main drag of that small town of my childhood memories. But I know the town I remember doesn’t exist any more, even if the buildings are still standing along that two-lane road, and most of the people I remember still live in them. The shadow that has spread across the Republic has changed them, and none of us would be welcome there.
“See, it’s there again.”
Bright light shone from the edge of town on an otherwise drizzly evening.
“That’s north, silly. Let’s go see.”
She ran, and I followed, under the arched trees, leafless, prepared for the oncoming winter.
We stopped at the clearing, the light almost blinding coming from above there. Squinting, we looked up into that brightness, the drizzle obscuring everything except the brightness like sunlight.
My feet left the ground, she floating up next to me.
Words filled my head. “These are suitable. We will take them.”
“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. That does look like a yellow brick road. Follow it?”
“Yeah. The mastermind of this jump portal network does like using corny literary references for clues.”
“Look for ruby slippers?”
“Too easy, and not his style. Every jump control console we have found has been something with an element of chance. A slot machine where we started. The roulette wheel that landed us next to the talking rabbit with a map… look for dice or maybe cards.”
“About that rabbit…”
“Probably a clue. If we ever land in Albekoikie, rember to toin left.”