Flash Fiction Friday: Ten Minutes of Hope

Alayna stepped back to admire her work.

It had taken hours to create but with the help of her mother and little brother, it was time for the big moment. Or, rather, the ten big moments. That’s all they were allowed anymore now that the government had cut the number of minutes of electricity use to just ten minutes per month.

The Revolution had begun just as any other from history. But this one quickly pulled another country into its fray, then another. What started small had turned into a world-wide threat. Her mother remembered days of heated houses, cars that ran, ample food to fill bellies and a thing called freedom.

A sigh spilled from Alayna as she imagined such a world. She couldn’t complain, though. They were one of the few families that had secured the government issued three-hundred square-foot storage units, unlike the seventy-five percent of the population forced to live on the streets.

“Ready to turn on the lights?” Alayna’s little brother asked.

She nodded. This was it. Her most favorite part of the year. The one time she could pretend that she lived in a world with abundant electricity and enough clothing for all. If she focused on the site before her she could almost ignore the gnaw in her stomach and stink that told her none of them had bathed in a week. She would sear the memory of what was about to happen in her mind to last for a full year.

“The time has come,” her mother said, as she flipped the switch on the wall.

The christmas tree lit with glorious pride and filled the room with the hope of a better world.

Alayna smiled. “Merry Christmas.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Mark Rabe on Unsplash

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Flash Fiction Friday: Out of Time

Ava ran through her front door gasping for breath. “We’ve got to leave. Now!”

“What?” Peter said, jaw wide. “Are you sure?”

“They’re coming. We don’t have much time!” Tears swam in her eyes. She jumped at a noise outside.

“Okay….” Peter glanced around.

“No!” Ava’s voice trembled. “There’s no time! They’re coming!”

Peter bit back the agony of leaving behind so many memories. “So be it. Stay close behind me.”

They fled their home just as a man and woman rounded the corner, voices raised.

The two mice ran for their lives, away from the homeowners and their nasty traps.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Vladimir Kramer on Unsplash

Flash Fiction Friday: Mother

“Another p-pancake, sweetheart?”

Jordan swallowed against the lump in his throat and eked out a smile. “No thank you, um…mother.”

“Y-you sure? You’re not yet t-twelve. A growing boy needs nourishment,” her voice sang. “I made your f-favorite, chocolate chip. You’ve loved those since you were a t-toddler, remember?”

Her mechanical grin made Jordan’s insides grimace.

“It’s fine,” his father, Carl, said. “I need to get the kids to school anyhow.” Carl’s brow creased as he looked at Jordan’s younger sibling, Sissy.

“They were…erm…good,” Sissy said. “Thanks.” She bit her lip. “Mother.” The third grader stood and shouldered her pack, followed by her brother and dad.

“We’ll see you after school.” Carl hesitated then leaned in to give Mother a kiss, cold metal against his lips.

“Bye!” Mother waved. “Maybe this weekend we can go to the F-fun Park like we did when the kids were l-little.”

Carl and the kids mumbled a goodbye as they stepped outside in silence.

Once they were out of earshot, Jordan turned to his dad. “Do we have to keep her? She’s weird. And she thinks she’s known us our whole lives. This has been the longest six months of my life. None of my other friends have a Mother like her.”

Carl frowned. “Give it a little more time, kids.” He looked back at her as she stood on the front porch, her smile frozen in place. His gaze drifted to the sign attached to her side, the one that read Artificial Intelligence. Brown & Company. “In the meantime, try to be nice.

“After all, she thinks she’s alive. It wouldn’t be fair to tell her she’s not.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Jessica Bristow on Unsplash

Flash Fiction: Wisps

“Come on, Lettie. It’s getting dark. The Wisps will be out soon.” Emerson looked around the thick forest, her blue eyes wide.

“Stop with the toddler-tales,” Lettie groaned and plucked another jacaranda blossom from a tree. “You’re almost eight. You don’t really believe all that fairy nonsense, do you?” She sniffed the flower and walked deeper into the woods.

Emerson tried to swallow but it ended up a hiccup. She scuttled after her sister. “But Lettie! What if they’re true? What about Nora-Mae?”

Lettie tossed her curled blonde hair over her shoulder with impatience. “Grow up, Em. That story’s been around since Granny was born.”

“But Daddy said it was true. Nora-Mae disappeared long ago when she followed the lights, the ones that bounced along the path.” She curled her fists tight. “This path, Lettie.”

“It was just a story. Momma yelled at Daddy after he told you. I heard her in the kitchen when I was supposed to be practicing piano.”

“But Lettie….”

“It’s not true, Em.” Her voice rose an inch higher.

“Nora-Mae heard voices, too. The fairy voices that called her to come and play. The ones that led her away and got her lost, so she never got found again.”

Lettie huffed. “Fine. We’ll leave. Only to shut you up!”

She stomped back toward their home, her little sister close behind. Along the way they passed Charlotte, one of Lettie’s school-mates.

“Watch out for the Wisps, Char,” Lettie teased. “They might get ya.”

Charlotte laughed. The sun sank another few feet into the ground, trickles of faded light on the path. She only needed a handful of blossoms to complete her bouquet for the supper table. She’d be gone before the forest was dark.

Giggle.

She turned at the sound just beyond the trees to her left. Had Lettie and Emerson come back?

Giggle.

A light twinkled just over the small mound of earth that took the path in another direction. But then it was gone. What could it be?

Charlotte looked back toward her home. It wouldn’t hurt to look, right?

Then she followed the light as it bounced and danced across the ground and into the trees.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Pixabay

Teaching Your Characters to Fight Write

Hey guys! How is your week going? Another blog post I wrote for the Almost an Author website has gone live. You can check it out here. And yes, I did word the title of the piece with purpose. You’ll have to read it to find out why! *wink, wink*

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Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Setting Versus Dialogue

Hey guys! I promise I’ve got that blog post summarizing the Realm Makers conference coming. I’m having a hard time dwindling down so many words to describe such a life changing event! *sigh* In the meantime, check out my latest blog post for the Almost An Author website! Are you a writer that “sees” the setting or the dialogue first? Your answer just might help you hone your craft!

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

 

Flash Fiction Friday: Sight

A police radio crackles to life as the paramedic dabs antiseptic on my bloody forehead. Lights from the cruiser outside flash through my living room.

I squeeze my eyes shut. “Tell me again how you knew the man was here?”

The officer is young, his face stoic as he scribbles in his little pad. “Neighbor. Across the street. Saw the attacker, called 9-1-1.”

Pain laces down my neck. My shoulders tense. I see images of a man in black, his knife. That punch.

I shiver. “Who?”

“The little boy.”

Ice fills my blood. I swallow. “That’s impossible,” I whisper. “He’s blind.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash

 

Fantasy Flash Fiction 101

Hey guys! I meant to post this yesterday but, erm…forgot. *wink* So here it is! My most recent blog post for the AlmostAnAuthor website! Have you ever wanted to write flash fiction but weren’t sure where to begin? Check out my post here and give it a try. **Warning: Writing flash fiction can become addictive. Write at your own risk. (Tee hee.)

Okay, for those waiting for the official flash fiction story for today, it’s coming! Look for it a little later.

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Ironwood Alchemy Anthology Release–Including a short story by moi! (*squeal*)

Yay! It’s finally here! I’ve been wanting to tell you guys about this super fun anthology coming out this month, but didn’t want to post until the link was live. And guess what? It is!! Go find it here.

This is the first anthology I’ve been part of and I’m really excited to read all the other stories by my fellow writers from the Parchment and Prose Writers’ Group in Phoenix, AZ. My time in AZ was short but I was crazy blessed to be part of the group and to meet so many talented writers! This anthology reflects the blood, sweat and tears of the fourteen authors that went into creating it over the past year. (Special thanks to H. Duke for editing/formatting/literally-putting-together-the-entire-thing! The Parchment and Prose group is indebted to you, girl! *heart*)

Since the theme was Transformation, my brain went in the direction of taking a classic children’s tale and adding a twist. Check out my middle-grade short story, Wonderland Revisited, and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your comments below. And feel free to come back and post which story was your favorite of the lot! Maybe you’ll find a new favorite short story. *wink*

Happy reading, friends!

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Ironwood Alchemy is now available on Amazon. 

Book Release: “The Gold Son” by Carrie Anne Noble

Hey friends of Caffeinated Fiction! Today I’m super excited to have a visit from author Carrie Anne Noble to discuss her new release, “The Gold Son.” Read on to see what inspired a story about leprechauns and how you can get your hands on this highly-anticipated YA novel!

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Thank you for being here with us, Carrie Anne. Tell us three interesting (possibly little known?) facts about yourself!

  • I am currently the foster mother of a grumpy but adorable hedgehog called Chuff, while her owner is studying abroad.
  • If you keep me up past nine at night and give me Coke and chocolate, I will become quite silly and prone to fits of giggling. This may or may not be a good idea.
  • While riding the school bus to middle school, my best friend and I used to make up fan fiction about Han Solo, in which he’d always fall madly in love with one of us.

 

Can you share with us a little about your “writing path?” Have you always enjoyed writing? Do you prefer to write YA or are there other genres that peak your interest, as well?

From an early age, I enjoyed making up stories, plays, fictional newspapers, and comics. At 11 or so, I attempted my first novel, and I also wrote numerous, ridiculous short stories about a pair of rabbits called Mildred and George around that time. (They had a terrible marriage, let me tell you!) In high school, I moved on to poetry. After a bit of a break (during which I got married and then had babies to attend to), I took a writing course—which gave me the confidence to pursue writing again. A few “practice” novels later, I wrote The Mermaid’s Sister–and the rest is history!

I really like the YA genre and plan to stick with it for the foreseeable future. The teen years are so much about becoming who we are, discovering what we really feel and want and believe. I think there’s a lot of beauty in that confusing mess of a time, and endless story potential.

That said, I do have an idea for a Middle Grade science fiction book (about a dachshund) I’d like to write eventually. Continue reading