Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/07/31 (Week 116)

I bought an old building, in a town you probably never heard of, in Mississippi, of all places. It had been abandoned for over a decade. The real estate agent thought I was nuts, “You won’t ever make any money off this. This whole area is dying.”

“That’s why I’m buying it.”

I knew I was buying it the moment I set foot inside. The wide hall at the entrance, the absurdly tall ceiling, the ancient stairs to the second floor. It was perfect. Exactly what my heart wanted. A big place for one person. Too big, really. With old wiring, old heating, and no air conditioning.

But, it was the perfect building for me. I could rebuild it. My way. The right way. Replace the wiring, heating, plumbing. Install air conditioning. Restore as much as I could of the walls, the floors, the windows. Reconstruct what I had to.

And when it was done, I could stop.

Three decades of break neck speed in a career that had left me bordering on dead inside. With no dreams. No goals. No hope. Just a machine, going through the motions each day.

28 years in a marriage to a woman who turned out to be in love with my career, and the money I made. Money spent on cars. Clothes. An endless string of new models of cell phones. Trips to the spa each month.

And, when she had enough, I got home from work one day to find my suitcase on the front step, new locks on all the doors, a new phone number that I didn’t know for the house, and a note on the door that said, “I’ll see you in divorce court.”

That’s how life went.


Until Lilly turned up at the SPCA one day. The perfect cat for me. My sister had insisted on hauling me to the SPCA, and made me sit, with her, in the room full of cats. That’s when Lilly walked up to me, climbed into my lap, and looked at me with her giant green eyes. And the heart I thought was long dead started beating again.

That’s how I wound up here. In this house. With Lilly, my cat. She wanted a home. I wanted a home. I wanted a home for us. A quiet place. Away from things like the career that had nearly killed me. Away from the traffic of the city, traffic that never stopped, that was endless, every hour of every day.

A haven. An escape. A land of peace, and quiet. Away from everything defined as success. Just me. And my cat. And maybe, with time, we’d add more cats. If Lilly wanted.

448 Words

It’s week 116 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.


#ThursThreads Week 372 : Gonna Be A Busy Night

February 14th, Valentine’s Day. The day the boss called me into his office, and handed me my termination notice. Two weeks, and I’d be let go. “It’s for the best,” was all he’d say.

I wondered why, but not why all this was happening. I wondered why no one understood.

But, with no job, I had no income. And I had no family anymore. I had no need for the house, so I put it on the market, and abandoned it, and moved into the cheapest apartment I could find. Two weeks, and I got lucky. Someone bought the house.

That was what I was waiting for. “Gonna be a busy night.” I bought a used RV, a small one. Like one of the Ford Transits, but with a bed, a functional shower and restroom, and a mini kitchen, with a mini refrigerator. It was perfect. “Just what I need to visit places.”

And I had plenty of places to visit. The petroglyphs of Winnemucca, the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio, the Etowah Indian Mounds, just to get started with. I had so many places to visit.

That night I dreamed of a world filled with places like Atlantis, with technology we don’t have today. Of a world that was destroyed, somehow, and then washed away by a giant flood. And I heard that line from the Battlestar Galactica movie Razor once again. “This has all happened before.”

238 Words

It’s Week 372 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Part 7 of a story framework I call “This Has All Happened Before”. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

#ThursThreads Week 371 : You Waited With Me

It was three days before Christmas the night I got home from work, and my daily trip to the library, digging for any information I could find, and both my wife, and our children were gone. There was a note on the refrigerator. The only part that mattered was the part where she said, “There was a time when you waited with me.” When one of them was sick. When the soccer practice kept going, and going. When she was at the doctor, not feeling well.

So many times I had waited with her.

Until I got tied into my research.

I was supposed to have cried. Or screamed. Or eaten six gallons of ice cream. Or got drunk, and been arrested. A normal man would have.

Instead, I spent the night on the internet, searching for more information. I learned about Damascus steel, Tutankhamun’s knife, the London Hammer, the Antikythera Mechanism, the Baghdad Battery, and so many more.

I learned the Great Sphinx of Giza may have been built over 9,000 years ago, instead of 4,500 years. The questions of how old the pyramids around the world were, and who made them. How some of them could actually be 10,000, 12,000 or more years old.

It was Christmas Day when I realized they weren’t coming back.

It was New Years Day when I got the letters from her lawyers.

226 Words

It’s Week 371 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Part 6 of a tale I call “This Has All Happened Before”. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/07/14

“The people of the third planet from the host star of this star system are extremely violent, and barbaric.” I let that sink in to the panel for a moment, as I brushed my hand over my brow to clear my head. “Given what we learned from our encounters with them, and from observing them, I can say this with no doubt.”

“Explain these results, George. We wish to understand more of what happened, of how so many of the research team were lost.”

I nodded, the flames on my head flickered around my eyes, and face. “Then let me begin.”

“It all started with observation. We hid from them, and watched them, for thirty orbits of their world around the host star. In doing so, we learned they called these orbits years.”

“Years? That’s a funny thing to call an orbit around a star, isn’t it?”

“May I continue?” I nodded in agreement. “We learned they believe they live on the only planet in the universe with life on it. For many of them, something called religion dictates this belief. For others, their inability to find evidence of life like their own elsewhere in the universe supports that false belief.”

Steven, the scientist from Gaap, interrupted at this point, “You mean, they believe all life is like them?”

I sighed, and paused to organize my thoughts. “They believe that all life is carbon based, and has genetic codes they call DNA. They believe this because all life on their world is carbon based, and has these codes.”

I continued, “Given we are not carbon based, but magnesium based, and we have no genetic codes, it is obvious their perspectives are rather limited, as are their definitions.”

Sarah, from Moloch, picked up the conversation at that point, “We learned how limited when we attempted to contact them after our observations.” She glared at Steven, “And yes, we were authorized by the council to make contact. We would not have tried without approval.”

I continued, “Three of the science team went to the surface, to a place they call Area 51. We selected Area 51, because that is where their social systems indicated they had experience in encountering life not native to their world.”

“Upon arriving at Area 51, the people of the planet did not react at all as we had expected. To them, we were a wildfire breaking out, and threatening to spread to the entire facility. They reacted accordingly, and used chemical technology that extinguishes fires by suffocating them, to protect themselves from the fires they thought we were.”

“They what?”

“They used chemicals that put out fires. Given we are fires, the result was, regrettably, predictable.”

Sarah jumped in, “They killed the three members of the team.”

“Oh, this is not good.” Steven shook his head. “Not good at all.”

I nodded, “As I said, they are extremely violent, and barbaric.”

“Were we able to recover the remains of the team?”

“No. The people from Area 51 quickly gathered up the embers, and took them to their underground facilities, we presume to analyze them.”

Sarah couldn’t control her laughter. “And analyze them they did.” She kept laughing. “Which allowed them to develop better flame throwers, as they call them.”

“Flame throwers?”

“Yes,” she paused, took a deep breath of her own, “a weapons technology they use against each other.”

“Weapons technology? That’s a strange use for flames and fire, isn’t it?”

I had to remind the review board, “The people of the planet are carbon based life forms, remember. To them, flame is a bad thing.”

Steven looked at the other members of the board, Faldo from Salpsan nodded, and Steven stood, “From this report, it is my recommendation to the board that the people of the 3rd planet in orbit around this star be considered a threat to the safety of all life, and the planet be blockaded.”

The president of the high counsel shook his head. “No.”


It was exactly what I’d feared he’d say. “These beings are clearly warlike. They fight among themselves, and they instinctively attack anything they don’t understand.” He stared at me, “You can’t deny that, can you?”

“No, sir. I can’t.”

“Then it is settled. Send in the assault ships. We have to protect ourselves, and the other worlds from this threat.”

That’s all it took. The fleet was activated, and sent to scorch everything on that planet.

735 Words

It’s week 115 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#MenageMonday Week 2×41 : Far From Home

“Frank?” Valerie put a hand on a strand of barbed wire in the fence, “Why did people make fences so dangerous?”

I pulled her hand away from the barbs, “It kept the good animals in, and the bad animals out, and made it a lot harder for thieves to steal things. Dad had a barbed wire fence around the cows. He kept them inside that fence. Told me it kept the foxes and wolves, and other predators out. Protected the cows.”


I nodded. It was another sign that humans had never actually trusted each other, except in small groups. How they protected themselves from all the other groups.

“In the city, they had razor wire, to keep people out.” She took my hand in hers, “There were good people. And bad people.”

O studied the fence a bit. “Damn. This is something I saw on that long trip. When I went so far from home.”

She tugged on one of the wires, “This fence was recently built.”

I nodded, and put my hand on the place I’d been shot by people at another fence. “If it’s what I think it is, you’re going to need to learn to use a bow and arrow.” I prayed to the Universe I was wrong. “We need to tell Jessica.” It was six days to Jessica’s town. I hoped we got there before the fence people did.

234 Words

It’s week 2×41 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.