Flash Fiction Friday: The Accident

Jill wiped the windshield of condensation. A chill buzzed across her skin. How could it be both cold and humid? She shook her head and squinted against the rain that pounded the windows.

Was that a form up ahead? Her car crept to a stop and a thrash of rain assaulted it, the sound of a thousand angry drums beating the roof. Yes. There was a person walking on the side of the road. A young girl, no coat, hair plastered to her head, arms wrapped around her body.

Jill unrolled the window. “Do you need a ride?” she yelled over the cacophony of nature’s music.

The girl bent to look inside, her pale eyes piercing. Her chin shook. She blinked, then gave a curt nod. Water sprayed across the dash as the girl got settled.

Jill bit her lip. “Are you all right?”

The girl shivered and gave another nod. “Thanks. Nasty storm.”

“You’re lucky I came by. I’m on my way home. This road doesn’t get much traffic, especially on a night like this.”

The girl pushed hair from her face. Jill’s stomach twisted. Why did this girl look familiar?

“Why are you out here?” Jill put the car in drive.

“I need to get home.” The girl suddenly looked alarmed. “My boyfriend—I don’t know where he is, he—”

“Wait, you’re boyfriend is missing? What happened?”

“I have no idea. We were on a date but our car hit a tree. I blacked out and when I woke, I was here.” The girl began to cry.

“Okay, just relax.” Jill kept her voice calm. “You’re probably in shock. Do you know where the car is?”

The girl shook her head. “No, I don’t. Jimmy—he could be hurt. Take me home, please!”

Jill held out a hand. “Relax. We’ll find him. First, let’s call the police.” She grabbed her cell. “Why don’t you—”

“You don’t understand. I need to get home!”

“Yes, but don’t you—”

“No.” The girl swallowed. “Take me home. My mom will know what to do.”

Jill dropped the phone in her purse. “Okay. Everything will be all right.” But her belly pulsed with panic. Something wasn’t right.

The girl pointed down streets and Jill turned. Minutes later they pulled down a familiar road.

“This is where I—” Jill said.

“There. That’s my house.” The girl’s finger shook.

Shards of ice stabbed along Jill’s spine as she pulled into the well-known driveway. “What did you say your boyfriend’s name was?” she whispered.

“Jimmy Kovane.”

Breath stalled in Jill’s lungs. That name. She knew that name.

“Thanks for the lift. I’m home now.”

“Wait, what’s your name?” Spots danced before Jill’s eyes.

“Joan Chester.”

The girl jumped out, ran toward the rancher. Jill’s vision clouded with tears, her entire body shuddered. She blinked. The girl was gone.

Jimmy Kovane and Joan Chester died in a car accident ten years ago. Jill knew this.

She knew because Joan was her sister.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo by Michael Mroczek on Unsplash

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

 

Flash Fiction Friday: Midnight Snack

The cat needed food.

Joanie groaned and looked at the clock beside her bed. One thirty-two A.M. Fantastic.

She crawled out of the sheets and took care of business as fast as her tired muscles would allow. With one final pat on Max’s head and a prayer that he wouldn’t wake her again, she climbed into bed, settled into warm arms and a firm chest that welcomed her. She nuzzled in, breathed the spicy scent of cologne, relaxed into the embrace.

Her eyes shot wide and she gasped. She didn’t have a husband!

She lived alone.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo credit, Me. Meet Maximus the Manx!

Jeremiah Jones, Cowboy Sorcerer: Author Interview with H. Duke

Hi guys! Today I get to interview fellow writer and blogger (and friend!) H. Duke! Her blog, The Writersaurus, is a hub for anything and everything writing! Be sure to visit, if you haven’t already. H. Duke and I met on my brief stint in AZ and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her and follow her journey with Jeremiah Jones. Not sure what Jeremiah Jones is? Read on to learn more! (Her third installment in the Jeremiah Jones series releases Tuesday. Find it here.)

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Tell us a little about yourself. What genre(s) do you write?

Hi, Laura! First let me say I’m super excited to be here on Caffeinated Fiction! I’m a writer and blogger. My blog, www.thewritersaurus.com, features educational articles and tips for writers of all levels.

As far as my fiction, I write a little bit of everything, but my two main genres are horror and contemporary fantasy.

Oooo! Both genres I love! 😉 Is this your first published work? Where else can readers find your work?

Cowboy Sorcerer is my first published work of long-form fiction, but I’ve had shorter stories published elsewhere. Links to those pieces can be found on my author website (hdukeauthor.com).

What inspired Jeremiah Jones? Is this a story that’s been ruminating for a while, or did it hit you all at once?

Jeremiah has definitely been ruminating for a while! About four years ago I wrote a truly awful story about a girl named January who finds out she’s a witch. One line in that story describes January’s grandfather as a “gunslinger wizard.” And the story snowballed from there. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: The Quest

Sweat drips down my back. The day is unusually warm for the autumn equinox.

“How much farther?” I say to my father.

There are eighty of us, male, hiking to the temple. I’m the youngest, privileged to be among the men of our tribe. Pride swells inside my chest.

Each year one male is chosen from those aged thirteen. Me. I’m the chosen one. Friends before me were chosen, are still on their Quest to seek the knowledge life. No one knows where they go, what they do.

Now I will find out for myself.

My father glances at me with worried eyes. Does he not think I can’t face the Quest?

We arrive at the temple, a table stained with blood before us. Is there to be a sacrifice today? Father stands beside the table and all fall silent. My pulse races.

“Gods of the harvest, we thank you for a plentiful season and ask for renewal of the soil during the dead months. Bring it to life again, provide for our people as you have always done.” He looks at me. “It is time, Raeliki.” Father motions to the platform.

My heart skips a beat but I do as he says, climb onto the table, lie down.

“Gods of the harvest, guide this young man as he begins his Quest to seek the knowledge of life. Aid him in his needs. Bring him back, within your will.”

He pulls a knife from his belt, his eyes no longer worried but filled with anguish.

“Father?” I say. My gaze darts to the crowd, my hands shake.

He raises the knife.

It all makes sense now, why I’ve never seen my friends return. My Quest for life will be on the other side.

“Father!” I gasp.

The knife comes down.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo credit Unsplash by Frances Gunn

Flash Fiction Friday: The Bike (Part 2)

Dan rubbed the hood of his brand new, cherry colored Chevy Corvette Stringray with a clean cloth, then stepped back to admire it. His chest swelled. He’d longed for one of these ever since he could drive. He leaned in to continue cleaning then—

A cough from someone at the end of his driveway.

His face fell as he turned, sparks flying through his mind, seeking the memory of how he knew this man. The guy was tall and thin, with a cigar that just barely dangled from his lips. Dan’s blood pressure dropped. Had it been twenty years already?

“Hello, Danny-boy,” the man said. “Good to see you again. Years have treated you well, I see?” At this, he glanced at the car, his gaze dripping with want.

Dan clenched his fists. “I—I—”

“Breathe, Danny-boy. You’ll give yourself a heart attack.”

The man’s mouth curled into a hungry grin that made Dan’s skin crawl. “Please, don’t take my car. I’ve worked so hard for it…so many years—”

“No worries. I’m not here for the car, Danny-boy.”

Dan’s shoulders slumped in relief, then immediately tensed again. “What do you want, then?”

“Dad?” a small voice came from the garage.

“Tyler, go inside the house. This doesn’t concern you.” Dan nodded his head and hoped the ten year old would obey, for once.

“Oh, but this situation very much concerns Tyler, Danny-boy,” the man crooned.

Dan furrowed his brow. “What do you—”

The most valuable thing you possess, Danny-boy. That wouldn’t be some rusty old car, now would it?” The man choked on his laugh. Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: The Bike (Part 1)

The neighbors were moving.

Eleven year-old Danny kicked a stone along the sidewalk. He squinted against the sun and watched men move furniture into the house across the street. This was the third time the house had sold in two years.

A shiver ran down his spine, despite the fact it was the first day of summer vacation. Place must be cursed or something.

Crash! The boy jumped and glanced at the U-Move truck. His eye caught the glint of something shiny sitting in the back. Could that be…?

He stepped closer and got a solid look at the magnificent treasure. His heart sped and palms went sweaty. Bright red paint, polished aluminum frame, thick knobby tires. This was it. This was the exact bike he’d asked for at Christmas. The one he didn’t get—which was going to make for the most boring summer ever, this year. His heart sagged.

“Like it, eh?” a low voice sounded from behind.

For a second time, Danny jumped. His cheeks went hot and he pretended to look away.

A man, tall and thin, older than Danny’s dad but not really old, stood at the base of the truck. A cigar wagged at the edge of his cheesy grin. Danny swallowed.

“It’s okay, son. Any boy your age would drool over a baby like this.” The man patted the bike gently.

Danny tried to look like he didn’t care.

The man rocked on his feet for a second, then, “Tell ya what. How ‘bout I give it to you. Free of charge.”

“But—” The boy’s brows pulled tight. “Doesn’t that belong to someone—?”

“As a matter of fact, no. It’s left over from another move. Doesn’t have an owner currently.” The man eyed Danny and puckered his lips. “Unless, of course, you would like the job.”

The boy turned his empty pockets out. “But I don’t got any—”

“No problem.” The man held up a hand. “Won’t cost you a penny.” He scratched his chin in thought, even though it was obvious to Danny he already knew what he would say. “How ‘bout this: I’ll let you have the bike now, then in twenty years I’ll come back to collect payment.”

“Huh?” Danny scrunched his face up the way that annoyed his mom so much.

The man patted the bike again. “I’ll let you have this baby, then in a few years I’ll stop by for payment: The most valuable thing you possess.”

Danny bit his lip. The most valuable thing he possessed? What would that even be? He didn’t have much, other than those collectible baseball cards from his dad and the expensive wrist watch he never wore. And twenty years? How would the guy even find him? He wouldn’t be living in his house anymore!

The boy smiled. “Deal.”

The man with the cigar gave a nefarious grin in return, as he rolled the bike toward the boy. “See you in twenty years, then, Danny-boy.”

To be continued…

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Unsplash by Sollers

 

Flash Fiction Friday: No Trespassing

No Trespassing.

Mary Ann read the words allowed as she and her three friends stood on the sidewalk outside the abandoned, dilapidated Cape Cod.

“So, the old witch finally died,” Sammy said. At thirteen, he was the oldest of the group.

Sarah crossed her arms. “Oh posh, Sammy. She was just an old lady. Weirdly reclusive and totally mean to anyone who walked by, but still just an old lady.”

“Yeah, but she’s been around forever. I mean, at least as long as we’ve all been alive.” Thomas scratched a hand through his shaggy brown hair.

“We’ve only been alive for twelve years, Tommy. That’s not forever.” Mary Ann pushed her glasses up her nose.

“Whatever.”

“Well, I’m going in.” Sammy walked around the side of the house as the rest of the group sprinted to catch up.

“But—” Sarah whisper-yelled as she glanced around for nosy neighbors.

“You can’t just—” Mary Ann pled in a high-pitched voice.

Thomas just laughed. At five feet ten inches, he was the thinnest and tallest in their class, always ready for an adventure.

“Sam!” Mary Ann begged. “Would you just—”

“Too late,” Sammy sing-songed.

He jiggled the latch on the backdoor and it swung open. Amid protests from the girls, the four slipped inside the dark house.

“Whoa,” Sammy said. “This place hasn’t been dusted in a while. Gross.” He dragged a finger along a tabletop and cringed.

Sarah huffed. “Be nice, Sam. She was super old. Like, a hundred or something.”

“Yeah, and she was also a witch, remember?” Thomas gave her wink and laughed.

“Doesn’t look like a witch lived here,” Mary Ann said. “This place looks normal.”

“Normal?” Sammy held up a bowl filled with animal bones. “Does this look like something in your house?” Continue reading

Flash Fiction Guest Post: How I Became a Zombie Cheerleader

Hey folks!! Happy news! A Flash Fiction story I wrote for SlasherMonsterMagazine went live last week. You can check it out here. Interesting fact: It’s loosely–very loosely–based on something that happened to me in college!! Ha! Enjoy the story!

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Awesome artwork created by SlashMonsterMagazine. Go read the story! 🙂 

Caffeinated Speculation: Have you seen the trailer for “It”?

All right, where are my Stephen King fans? Are you obsessed with his books? Love his movies? If so, this post is for you!

So, this week the brand new trailer for Stephen King’s “It” came out. (You can watch it here, if you’re brave enough!) I have a confession—I probably wouldn’t have even known this movie was coming out if it weren’t for my teenaged girls. See, we happen to be pretty big “Stranger Things” fans. (Like we have a countdown for season 2 in flashing neon lights dead center of our living room. Just kidding! The colors are in glitter, not neon. *winky face*) Anywho…just as any teen likes to do, my girls particularly enjoy following their favorite actors on every form of social media possible. (“Watch this clip of Gaten Matarazzo falling, mom! It’s hilarious!”) Naturally, they know every single detail of every star of the show and regularly tweet to them. (*Mom hides face in palm*) My middle daughter even bought the same ring Millie Bobby Brown wears because, duh! That makes her just like Millie!

I digress. Back to confession: Okay, so the only reason “IT” was on my radar in the first place is because Mike from ST (Finn Wolfhard—And yes, my “middle” also owns the “Finn Wolfhard” T-shirt!) happens to be in “It”! Are you following me? (Phew. I think I need to sit down.) So, my girls have been waiting eagerly for this trailer to come out and this week their heads exploded into a million pieces because it did.

The end.

Okay, maybe not. But they did get super excited and have watched the thing a billion-and-one times already, if that’s a thing. But here’s the sad part—their writer-mama has never even read this book. (*Writer-mama runs and hides in corner*) Yes, yes. I hear you guffawing but really, I like horror just as much as any other girl, but I haven’t read this book. Because, CLOWNS!

Ack! Are you kidding me? I’ve never wanted to read the book—or certainly never see the original movie—because I don’t have a death wish of clowns. But here’s the thing: I think I’m going to read it now. For real! I’m geared up and ready to hit the library today so I can grab me a copy of the SK-man and read up on some scary scary clownage. And the weird part is, I’m sort of excited about it.

This begs the question: Will I be in the theater in September when this baby hits the big screen? Answer: If I can get through the stupid book, then yes. I’d like to see how the movie compares. One thing is for certain, though. I’ll be sitting alone in that overly crowded theater watching Pennywise scare little children because neither of my girls will be with me. They’ve watched the trailer a hundred times but have already said they’re too afraid to see the movie. Because, ya know…

CLOWNS.

What about you? Have you read the book? Seen the original? Plan to the see new installment? What are you thoughts on this classic horror novel and where is your excitement level in this whole thing? Feel free to share below! I’d love to find someone who’s just as scared of clowns as I am!

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Freaking scary poster for the freaking scary movie.