Peace by Proxy

The following piece of flash fiction was written based on the visual writing prompt below.  It wasn’t the original idea that came to mind, but it is the one with which I was most pleased.  I have been writing flash fiction lately for a writing circle contest.  I hope you enjoy my latest installment.


Josiah watched the soldier march up the long road snaking across his property. Fog shrouded the young man, but his uniform and unique helmet marked him for a Brit. When he reached the front porch, he stopped and saluted smartly.

“Excuse me, sir, does Jenny Coates live here?” the young man asked in a Cockney accent.

“No, son, she doesn’t.”

The soldier chewed the inside of his mouth, narrowed his eyes.

“All right then. I’ll ask at the next house.”

He disappeared around the side of the house as the screened door creaked open. Josiah’s wife, Kathleen, stepped out carrying two cups of coffee. She handed one to her husband and scrutinized his pale face.

“You saw the soldier again, didn’t you?”

“Yep,” Josiah admitted. “He just left.”

“Why do you think he keeps coming here?”

“I suppose his ghost is attached to that old Lee Enfield I bought for my collection.”

“Why don’t you sell it at the next gun show?”

“I can’t. I have to find out his name and why he’s looking for this Jenny.”

Kathleen smiled into her cup. She took a sip and asked, “You aren’t afraid of him, are you?”

Josiah snorted. “He’s just a boy.”

“A boy who’s obviously been dead since World War I.”

Josiah sighed and turned up the collar of his Carhartt against the November chill. Kathleen sat beside him on the glider, setting it in motion.

“You believe you can bring some peace to this boy, don’t you?” she asked.

“If not him, then perhaps me.”

“It won’t bring our son back, Josiah. Tommy’s sacrifice in Afghanistan–”

“Look, Kath; if Tommy is out there wandering, his ghost attached to some piece of gear, wouldn’t you want people to do right by him?”

“Let’s start with the initials R.W. carved into the stock, okay? We can trace it back through dealers next.”

Josiah squeezed his wife’s knee.

“Thanks, babe.”

Ruby & Jonathan

Ay, ay, ay – these visual writing prompts are taking me in a direction I never thought I would go unless it was kicking and screaming.  I’ll leave it to you to see where this story goes.  Not my usual style, but I hope you’ll enjoy it.


Ruby & Jonathan

“Why do I suddenly feel like Little Red Riding Hood?”

“I don’t know,” Jonathan replied. “Why do you feel like Red?”

“Oh, are the two of you on a first name basis now?”

Jonathan glanced at me sideways, flashed his beautiful smile. He took my hand and pressed it to his lips. Along with his toothy grin, these little romantic gestures were another thing I loved about him. And don’t even get me started on those dark gold eyes.

“You’re going to love this trail, Ruby,” he said. “It meanders with no steep inclines, no rocks to climb.”

“Sounds perfect.”

In the short time we’ve dated, I learned that Jonathan has three passions: Hiking, running, and hunting. He may have been twenty years older than me, but he was as fit as a man half his age. We’d hiked and run countless miles. The only activity I didn’t join him in was hunting.

“There’s a place just ahead where the path veers sharply to the right. The trail almost turns back on itself,” he said.

“Are we done hiking already?”

“I mentioned it because it creates a little nook completely hidden from view. No prying eyes.”

I looked behind us and craned my neck to see up ahead.

“I’m pretty sure we’re all alone,” I laughed.

Jonathan blushed and ran his hand through shaggy, salt and pepper gray hair.

“Well, I don’t want our twilight walk to be disturbed,” he said.

“Is this place special to you?”

“It’s private in this particular grove of trees. The branches make the perfect canopy for a secret rendezvous.”

“And what, exactly, do you think is going to happen there, Mr. Wolfe?”

My secretive boyfriend pulled me into a tight embrace, roguishly kissed my temple. His teeth lightly grazed my skin.

“I’ll race you there,” he said.

“I don’t know where it is.”

“You can’t get lost, Ruby. Just follow this big root-like thing on the path.”

I feigned reluctance with hands on hips.

“Ready, set– Hey!” he called as I took off running.

I could hardly run I was laughing so hard. Jonathan’s feet pounded the ground behind me. It would only be a matter of moments before he caught up to me on powerful, sinewy legs. I imagined him tackling me, rolling on the ground, laughing, and kissing. Instead, I heard his footsteps grow faint. A cold wind rushed past me as I ran.

I reached the secluded area first sure I had won. With hands on knees, I stood there panting.

“Hello darling.”

My head popped up at the sound of his voice.

“How– how did you get here? You cheater,” I said between ragged breaths. Pointing at his bare feet, I asked, “Where are your boots?”

“I run faster without them.”

A wicked smile spread across his face, not quite reaching his eyes.

“Didn’t you feel me pass you?” he asked.

I shivered at his question.

“No, but whatever. You won. Can we go home now?”

Laughter growled in his throat. Jonathan dropped into a runner’s stance, fingers and toes pressed lightly into the leaf litter. His muscles tensed, ready to spring.

“Wanna race again, Red? You run, I chase?”

“My name is Ruby, Jonathan.”

“That’s what I meant.”

I couldn’t tear my gaze away from his glowing gold eyes.

“I don’t want to play this game anymore.”


“No, Jonathan.”


“Cut it out!”


Mira Contemplates Her Choices

The visual writing prompts I receive in my writing circle are making a liar out of me!  I said I wasn’t a writer of fantasy stories, but this picture also generated a fantasy tale.  What is going on inside my writer’s brain?

Anyhow, this story is the flashiest of flash fiction.  Very short but receiving appreciation among my peers.  Enjoy!

Mira Contemplates Her Choices

whitby-89225_1280Mira wrapped her arms around herself, the tail ends of her shawl grasped in each fist. She longed to dive head first into the cold, black water, disappear from this life she used to wish for. The idea of a husband and baby once dominated her every waking moment. She could have had both at any time. There was no shortage of males who would have obliged her. Only Mira’s desires didn’t run along normal conventions. Now here she was, trying to decide whether or not to return to the world of merfolk or walk up the hill to the abandoned castle where Sean was waiting for her. It would have been such a release to tell him the truth about her origins and that she’s carrying his child.

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