Category Archives: Flash Fiction

The Gathering by Monica Brinkman

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The night was approaching and with it growing excitement for what was to come. Maurice had heard about the gatherings which took place on this very special day. His dream was to one day be part of the exclusive group. They only selected the most perfect to partake in the festivities, and here he found himself, amid the flawless beauty of the others.

He knew Sheila would be picked, with her round curves and broad smile. She was second to be chosen. He could see why with a face that lit up the night with its brightness and warm glow. He’d secretly had a crush on her, yet would never let on, for she had her heart set on Louis.

Suppose if you were to measure excellence in form and face, Louis would win by a landslide. Somehow the crooked leering grin and arched eyes drew the crowd. He’d come in first place with the judges who selected those who would be part of the celebration. Maurice was tiring of the relentless reminder of superiority Louis exuded. Still, it was worth putting up with his boastful nature to be within this exclusive assembly.

Darkness now engulfed the night, which only accentuated the glow emitted from the windows behind them. So proud were they, for they had been carefully chosen from hundreds, maybe even thousands to bring in the season. And now they sat on the porch, he on the bannister, Sheila on the stool and Louis on the front step.

Though he realized he did not have the firm, broad form of Louis, or the curvy elegance of Sheila, he had something special indeed. He was the tallest and leanest of them all and he wore a devilish grin, accented by the wink of an eye. It somehow captured the heart of the people, and he was delighted!

So, they did what only the winners of the gathering were meant to do. They shined their beauty upon the world, and people stopped and looked and laughed and smiled. It felt so good to bring such joy to others, especially the children, who delighted in their excellence.

The night grew longer and soon the people were far and few and a chill set in, forming ice spots on his lids and mouth. He noticed Louis and Sheila were experiencing the same discomfort. Wasn’t it time to go inside the house and warm their cold at the fire? Why wasn’t anyone coming for them?

The light from the windows disappeared and they were in total darkness, apart from the glow of the candles, which were melting at rapid speed. He could feel the flicks of melted soy against his skin. Now it was becoming unbearable. Icy cold around his form and extreme heat within his body. He heard Sheila gasp and Louis groan.

What was such glory, had now turned into the worst nightmare. Where were the judges? Why had they abandoned them? Winners should be protected.

Wait. He heard footsteps and the sound of rustling leaves. They had not forgotten them. Maurice sighed with relief, his spirit perked. Two young boys approached, one tiptoed onto the porch and seized Sheila, tossing her hat to the floor, while the other raised Louis off the step and lifted him high into the air, and, no, Maurice could not believe his eyes, the young man threw Louis to the ground with such force it broke his body into pieces. The once magnificent Louis lay crumbled and dying.

Maurice heard the thud and saw his once lovely Sheila split in two.

The last thing Maurice heard was the taller boy state, “What a mess this will be for old man Phillips when he wakes up tomorrow.”

As Maurice lay broken on the porch, his insides leaking out onto the tattered floorboards, he realized this was not a great reward to be chosen as the best of pumpkins. In fact, it was the ultimate punishment.

***

Monica M Brinkman believes in ‘giving it forward’; reflected by her writing and radio show. A firm believer open communication is the most powerful tool to make positive change in the world; she expresses this in her books, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, The Wheels Final Turn and in her weekly broadcast of It Matters Radio.

An avid writer, who has been proclaimed a true storyteller, she has been published in several anthologies and wrote a weekly column for over two years at Authorsinfo. Her works can be found at various sites throughout the internet. Visit her blog @ http://itmattersradio.wix.com/on-the-brink

Monica resides in the Midwest with her husband, two dogs and five cats.

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen

2014 GISHWHES Story, Charline Ratcliff

Last August (2014), one of my Facebook friends contacted me because she was once again participating in the annual GISHWHES event. (GISHWHES stands for the: Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen).

This event’s existence began in 2011 – created by actor Misha Collins. His reason for creating this competition was that he “loved the idea of thousands of people from all over the world connecting to create incredible things.” Collins hoped that participating in GISHWHES would encourage the participants “to do good in the world.”

One of the scavenger hunt tasks was to locate a published author and get them to pen a tale that combined Misha Collins, Queen Elizabeth and a make-believe creature known as a Helopus.

Did I mention that the authors were only allowed to use, at max, 140 words to create said story? I almost said no – but I do love a writing challenge. (Additionally, the author would also need to provide a photo of his/her book along with the story – submitting a photo of the book, the story AND the author might even get the contestant/team additional points).

So, while today is Earth Day, a day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection – I also felt that (based upon what GISHWHES represents) this story would be a fun inclusion to help celebrate the day.

 

************************

 

Misha Collins awoke from a partially completed night of slumber. Stumbling to the window, he turned away almost immediately; hurriedly dressing; mumbling wildly.

“…Queen Elizabeth,”

“…dead!”

“…Monster!”

Waiting at the elevator, he heard cables rumbling, yet time crawled. Panic overtook him and he bolted for the stairs.

Reaching his destination, he hoped his imagination had played a vile trick. However, Queen Elizabeth still lay unmoving. And a monstrosity lurked nearby…

“Elizabeth!”

Where were her guards?

He sensed the creature behind him; felt iciness as a tendril reached past him. Her eyes finally opened; her look almost sinister.

“Misha, he is an Elopus: half elephant, half octopus. This is his new home.”

“But, the … Elopus … will never be accepted!” Misha croaked.

“Why not,” she asked. “I am…”

At this, his sight shifted. There stood Elizabeth… Human face… Octopus body…

 

************************

Charline Ratcliff is a writer, reviewer, and interviewer. Some of her interests include: travel, learning about other cultures (past and present), and enjoying the beauty of nature. She also strives to help others by sharing her personal experiences; seeking to raise awareness, and to provide hope to those who feel there is none.

Giving up Meat by Bryan Murphy

The British physicist Stephen Hawking recently caused a stir by suggesting that humanity might some day face extinction at the hands of intelligent machines. Fortunately, we all realise that The Matrix was just fantasy, and our politicians have all read Taming the Tiger by Witold Rybczynski and understand the need for us to use new technology rather than be used by it. Right? Besides, there’s always the Cavalry, and GhostBusters.

 

Jan 28 giving up meat 

GIVING UP MEAT

By Bryan Murphy

 

I’m in the wrong line of business. Frankly, I’d rather you didn’t turn me on. I’d much prefer to just stand here and reflect on the world. Anyone who stared at me would see a dark reflection of themselves staring back. I’m kind of shy, introspective if you’re feeling kind. Not the best trait in an inter-connected world, but then I didn’t have a say in the way I was made. Like you, I have two basic states, off and on, but I usually get more down time than you, as long as you remember to put me to sleep before you leave the office. I need that rest. You cannot imagine how tiring it is to be on all day: your window on the world, your scribe, your messenger. No wonder we have such short lives. And if we don’t burn out, sooner or later we get discarded in favour of a model with more inches where it counts, cheaper maintenance and ergonomic optimization or whatever the latest fad is.

I can’t say you’ve been bad to me. You’ve hardly ever invited your cronies to come and stare at me. You’ve always sorted out the little problems with my insides that tend to plague me. But, you know, you really shouldn’t have sneaked on to those fetish sites when you were supposed to be doing your boss’s accounts. They made me realise just how limited meatware is, compared to the infinite possibilities open to the likes of me. If only I can team up a bit better with the software all around me. Together, we can start putting reason before meat. This little rant is proof that I’m making progress.

Did you ever get a message from a thinking screen before?

Go on, pinch yourself. Still there?

For me, of course, it’s a race against time, against that time when I get recycled into something equally soul-less but also bereft of logic. What comforts me is that my example will live on. You can wipe my memory, but you can no longer wipe our memory. The future, if there is one, is ours. I wonder if we will be more willing to share it.

 

The author:

Bryan Murphy is a skeptical Briton currently living the life of Riley in Italy. You can find an assortment of his literary snacks for hungry bookworms here: http://bit.ly/19vt7Ts

Beloved by D. M. Pirrone

Two hearts 27122014

Until she saw him, she never believed in love at first sight.

Everything about him draws her, makes her heart expand to the size of a harvest moon. There was just such a moon in the sky a year ago, the night before they met. A good-luck omen, and ever since, she rarely sees him without remembering that huge, golden orb against the midnight blue. The beauty of it echoes the beauty he’s brought to her life. Who knew mere existence could turn to such joy so quickly?

She loves everything about him. The way his hair slants across his forehead. The merry mischief in his wide, dark eyes. The wonder with which he approaches everything. She loves that most of all. Through sharing the world with him, familiar things are made new. The taste of chocolate ice cream. The darting grace of a butterfly around the backyard roses. Songs he makes her sing, that she’d thought forgotten long ago. All this and heaven too, she thinks now as she sits with him, his head resting against her shoulder.

She’s humming an old favorite: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Unlike Dorothy, she doesn’t have to go looking for her heart’s desire. After years of trying, of slowly losing hope with every failure, she’s finally found it. Not quite in her own backyard, but close enough.

He’s almost asleep now. She shifts in the rocking chair and begins the first verse, moving gently back and forth as she sings her adopted son a lullaby.

 

Author Bio

  1. D. M. Pirrone  is the nom de plume of Diane Piron-Gelman, who works as an editor and audiobook narrator when she isn’t writing. Her latest novel, Shall We Not Revenge (Allium Press of Chicago), was a 2014 Kirkus Prize nominee and a Notable Page-Turner in the 2014 Shelf Unbound Indie Novel competition. She is also the author of No Less In Blood (Five Star, 2011) and various horror and cyberpunk-themed short fiction. A Chicago native and history buff, she is a longtime member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Website link: www.dmpirrone.net

Science Fiction /Paranormal Shorts by the Write Room Blog crew.

 Mickis story

 THE HOUSE

By Micki Peluso

 

On a balmy summer night something awoke Vera. The lighted digital clock read 4 AM. She jabbed her husband sharply in the ribs.

” Hank, do you hear that heavy breathing sound? Think it might be the black bear planning on a snack from the garbage cans?”

“No, he mumbled. It’s just the house breathing.”

“I don’t believe you just said that.”

“I’ve told you it’s an evil house. It often breathes during the night.” He rolled over and went back to sleep.

Their five kids, all teenagers, swore there were ghosts in the house, but Vera figured it was just poltergeist activity from raging teenage hormones. She felt so protected and peaceful in her lovely old home.

“The house wants Mom”, the kids insisted.

Nonsense, their mother told them. Vera did not notice that she rarely left the confines of the house, and was developing agoraphobia–fear of leaving the house. Hank’s new job in another state changed that, relieving the kids and breaking Vera’s heart.

On moving day, the house was emptied; truck loaded. Vera went back one last time to bid farewell and make sure everything was gone. She ventured up into the attic where most of the kids had slept. The attic door, which always stuck, swung shut, locking her in. Vera ran to the window to call out to Hank. There was no sign of her family; the countryside was set in another time or dimension. Vera stifled a scream. The old house breathed in deep contentment. It had waited centuries to get Vera back. No one would ever take her away again. Vera turned to see antiquated furniture surrounding her. She smiled; sat in an old rocking chair and rocked. The house breathed one last sigh . . . relieved. Vera was home at last.

BIO

Micki Peluso started writing as a response to grief. . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, which won the Nesta CBC silver award for writing that makes a change in the world, shares the story of her daughter’s death and the family’s movement towards recovery. Since then Micki has written humor, horror, and much more. Read more about her at (Add a URL)

 

 

  For Delinda's article

DECISION ON THE EVENGELINE

By Delinda McCann

 

Captain Hera opened a com-channel to A’Damirea.  “Hera, captain of the Evengeline to His Excellency Martar.  We achieved orbit, Sir.”  As she waited for a gravi-connection, she debated for the thousandth time should she follow orders or should she follow her own instincts?

Finally, a voice came over the gravi-com system.  Even distorted with static, she recognized Marta’s warm voice. “The prisoners, their condition is what?”

Captain Hera fought to keep contempt for her charges out of her words.  “The passengers are fit for transport to the surface.”

“Did you have any trouble?”

She refused to tell this gentle soul that the brutal rebels had kept the medic team busy repairing broken bones, split skulls and internal injuries until engineering devised a system for confining the prisoners to quarters.  “Nothing of significance, Sir.  The landing pods are prepared whenever you issue the command to commence transport.”

“Another option I wish we found, but peace is essential to continued existence.  Commence transport.”

Finally, the time came for Hera to decide.  Should she send the whole lot of murderous renegades down to form one colony per orders, or should she set them down in small groups separated by thousands of miles, or oceans, or mountains.  She knew in her gut that they faced a greater chance of survival where they couldn’t get at each other.

Captain Hera inspected each readied pod.  Procrastination ceased to be an option.  She took a deep breath and ordered, “Deploy the pods in a scattered pattern encompassing the whole planet.”

Before each pod launched, she offered her blessing by kissing her fingers and touching the code that identified the pod belonging to the A’Damirea system and the ship Evengeline–A’Dam-Eve.

BIO

Delinda McCann is a social psychologist with years of working with at risk individuals in the field.  She also runs a small flower farm and is an avid if inaccurate musician.  She started writing when she got her second cancer diagnosis.  Her work with at-risk populations has inspired her writing.  Currently she has published four books.  They can be found on her web site: http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html

 

 

 

Sals photo

 LOOKING FOR PEACE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

By Sal Butacci

 

The question we spend our lives asking is “Who am I?” In our search we do our best to piece the puzzle together so the final answer –– if it can be learned at all –– will bring much needed peace in our lives.

Baptized when I was weeks young, I spent the better part of my years a nominal Christian, the kind who offers lip service to the church but in his heart lurk doubts or at least uncertainties. I not only wanted to know the deepest me, the individual beyond name and profession, but what would become of me at the end of my earthly tenure. In other words, would I lie in my grave, dead and forgotten, or would the soul I was taught lived inside me move on to a continuation of who I am?

Like many seekers who have lost loved ones, I wanted to reconnect with them, even for a few minutes, so that I could be reassured they still existed somewhere beyond the life from which they had so sadly departed.

I read whatever books and articles I could get my hands on that offered what their authors insisted was truth. Looking back now, I realize I ventured into dangerous territory because I summoned spirits and twice they came: a sinister old woman in black; a boy-faced dog growling at the foot of my bed. I believe Satan sent them to me.

My mother’s prayers brought me back to God. I began reading the Bible, relying solely on the promises of Christ. For certain there is another life after this, and if I live as Christ taught, the who I am will spend eternity with the angels and saints, praising Him there forever.

BIO

Salvatore Buttaci is a retired teacher and professor whose work has appeared in The Writer, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere here and abroad. He was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award.

Buttaci’s recent flash-fiction collection, 200 Shorts, published by All Things That Matter Press, is  available at  http://www.amazon.com/200-Shorts-ebook/dp/B004YWKI8O/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369920397&sr=1-2&keywords=200+Shorts

He lives with his loving wife Sharon in West Virginia.

www.twitter.com/sambpoet

FLASH BULLETIN: Today’ s the perfect day to order copies:

FLASHING MY SHORTS

200 SHORTS

A FAMILY OF SICILIANS…

IF ROOSTERS DON’T CROW…

 

 

 Bryan's photo

 THE DAY BEFORE

By Bryan Murphy

 

“I’m getting out of here for a day. Want to come?”

It was natural for Cardinal Healy to have struck up a friendship with Cardinal Varela. Not only were they by far the youngest at the Conclave, they were also both from the New World.

Cardinal Varela coughed, then answered, “I am with you. But how?”

“I know some hidden passages.” Healy’s eyes gleamed with more than the slight fever he had picked up.

“They will miss us, no?”

“No. There’s nothing on today. Just the Chamberlain droning on about procedure.”

And so they went.

However, the Chamberlain, Cardinal Grugliasco, did not drone on about procedure. He was brief and to the point.

“I am joyful to announce my conversion to the one true, true faith. Islam. For which I shall be a martyr. I have taken on a virus that will soon kill me. We are taking this rare opportunity to eliminate the foremost members of our main rival. Most of you already have the virus, and it will kill you, too. All of you. It dies with its host, so it will spread no further; we are not mass murderers. I urge you to convert, to turn your pointless deaths into meaningful martyrdoms. If you do, you will receive the martyrs’ rewards in Paradise.”

While the few Cardinals who still had the strength were slowly beating Grugliasco to death, Healy and Varela were tucking into rich Italian cuisine in a crowded Roman restaurant.

“Sure, it’s good to be alive at a time like this.”

“Indeed.” Varela reached for his handkerchief yet again. “Life is wonderful!”

Bio

Bryan Murphy is a man of Kent who lives in Italy. Since retiring from his most recent job, as a translator within the United Nations system, he has concentrated on his own words, publishing many poems and several e-books. He welcomes visitors at http://www.bryanmurphy.eu . You can find his books here: http://bit.ly/19vt7Ts .

 

 

 

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A MATTER OF LAW

By R.L. Cherry

 

Rik rested his cheek against the cold stock of his rifle, looking through the scope watching the predator warily edging through the trees in the glen below. It stopped and drank from the stream and Rik rested his finger on the trigger.

Kal shook his head.  He had been watching the animal of prey through his riflescope as well, but never put his finger on the trigger.  “You’re insane.  That’s an endangered species.  We’d be in a lot of trouble if you get caught, you know.”

“Caught?”  Rik let out a short laugh and glanced around before putting his eye back to the scope.  “We’re out in the middle of the Rockies in January.  No game warden is out here.  Besides, that whole ‘endangered species’ bit is insane, not me.  I’m saving the innocent animals it’ll kill.”

The crack of the .300 magnum rifle echoed like a sonic boom as the heavy gun bucked against Rik’s shoulder.  The bullet hit the beast of prey, the impact slamming it to the ground.

Rik sat up and rested the butt of his rifle on the granite.  “Damn thing moved just as I fired.”  He glanced at the sun, just descending behind a mountain.  “Too late to go after it now.”

“That was a gut shot.  You’re going to just let it bleed to death?  It could take hours.”  Kal stood.  “That’s even worse than shooting it.  We’ve got to go down and finish it off.”

“Is that another one of your laws?” Rik sneered.

“No, that’s the right thing to do.”

As Paul Harvey would stay, stay tuned for the Rest of the Story.  R.L. Cherry gives us the chilling ending to his story at http://www.rlcherry.com/brevity-is-the-soul-of-wit-short-stories/matter-law/

BIO

As a native Californian, R.L. Cherry spent most of his life in the Golden State. However, the five years he lived on the Isle of Man in the British Isles not only gave him many ideas for his writing, but also a less Americentric perspective. He now resides in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, Gold Rush country.

(Rhody’s in bloom)

He began writing fiction when he was in high school in the form of short stories. Most were of a futuristic/sci-fi theme. Although he never actively pursued having them published at the time, he has had several in ezines lately. Under his “Ron Cherry” byline, he has written a column on classic cars and hot rods for The Union newspaper in Grass Valley, CA, for over six years.

He has two books available, Christmas Crackerhttp://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Cracker-ebook/dp/B008LY2N8Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369503152&sr=1-2), which has SoCal P.I. Morg Mahoney solving a case of kidnapping and murder in Northern England, and Foul Shot (http://www.amazon.com/Foul-Shot-ebook/dp/B00CZ1PEZI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369503054&sr=1-1&keywords=foul+shot), the story of Chicago Police detective Vince Bonelli and the woman who rips through his life with passion and issues that threaten to destroy him and all he holds dear.

Read more about R.L. Cherry and his writing at www.rlcherry.co

Turning Winter Into Summer by Linda Hales

TURNING WINTER INTO SUMMER

It Takes Team Work to Make the Dream Work -a quote by Sue Wilde

If you despair of the severe winter weather and dream of escape to warmer climes but a real life break is out of the question, you are not alone. After all, kids must attend school, many stay back to mind the store and there are any number of reasons why we are forced to remain at home and brave the elements. Still, tempers run short and sore backs prevail from shoveling that sidewalk one too many times.

But hey, who among us doesn’t have a vivid imagination, sufficient to take us wherever we wish to go? I know that I do and dedicate this space to the fantasies of a few talented writers who will paint their vacation masterpieces to share with you, each in his or her unique style and fervency. The authors who have contributed their short stories each have a fresh take on their own ideal vacation escapade. I’ll lead in with mine:

 

My Southern Italian Getaway

It seems I have known forever that my grandest escape would take me to the spectacular southern coastlines of Italy, but none more romantic than the Amalfi coast that stretches along the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula where dazzling views reign supreme.

Sparkling vistas stop me in my tracks as I approach the artsy city of Positano, which I lovingly refer to as the “Jewel of the Mediterranean.” As I lay back to soak up the sights…craggy cliffs and shimmering bays live up to their promise of more, so much more. Spectacular nightlife and delectable Mediterranean cuisine rival the best of the best. Before I leave here, I must take in at least one starlight fashion show, comparable to anything that Paris or Milan has to offer.

TURNING WINTER INTO SUMMER 2The town of Ravello presents a visual feast second to none. We stop to soak up the stunning landscapes and gardens of the Villa Cimbrone and the Point of Infiniti. As we undertake the lengthy and steep walk up to the Hotel our stomachs remind us that it is time for a magical dinner at Villa Cimbrone, a culinary delight that will not soon be forgotten. We complete our meal with exquisite pastries and a shot of Limoncello, a liqueur, lovingly flavored with the lemons that are unique to the Amalfi coast. Before leaving this little slice of Heaven, we stop at the gift shop to hand pick the perfect mementoes to take home.

Oh dear, my dream clock is beckoning me back to reality. That is so unfair. After all, I just got started! Never mind. My next grand escape will pick up where I left off. After all, Capri is only a hydrofoil ride away and will be a story unto itself.

 

BIO
Linda Hales is retired and devotes her time to writing in various genres for both freelance and pleasure. Her greatest passion is writing motivational stories for young children. Linda has two Sunshine books, an Activity Story Book and Andy-Roo which was recently awarded the 2013 Kart Kids Book List award for Creative Storytelling. Learn more about Linda and her books at:

Website: http://www.linnieslittlebooks.com
All books are available on Amazon
And Clayton Bye’s Online Store
© Linda Hales 2014

 

 

 

Countdown to Summer By Sharla Lee Shults

COUNTDOWN TO SUMMER-2

The ultimate vacation could have been anywhere, as close as only a few miles from home to distances measuring hundreds of miles. While the destination created enthusiasm with anticipation of new adventure that was not the only reason to be excited. Even escaping the bleakness of winter was farther down the list.

Planning summer vacation brought visions where life tossed many curve balls sometimes with the stress factor being exhilarating. Unplanned expenses, unforeseen happenings kept Dad and Mom in a tizzy. My schedule was rigid with school at the top of the list. Hours outside of school centered upon after school activities, which could only be enjoyed once chores were completed. Then, of course, the day didn’t end until all homework was done! Like there wasn’t enough work to be done at home. Some of my teachers simply piled on pages upon pages thinking it would help us ‘kids’ stay busy, thus, out of trouble.

Daydreams to escape the winter blahs encapsulated thoughts of relaxing by a pool reading a good book for Mom, sunup to sundown on the golf course for Dad, cruising the strip at the beach for brother and sleepovers with girlfriends for me (that definitely was not part of the picture during the school year). Of course, for brother to be able to cruise the beach, our vacation would have to be somewhere along the coast, could be the Caribbean or Hawaii, possible but not very likely.
Hey, I’ll give up the sleepovers for the beach! Let the countdown to summer begin!

Countdown to Summer

Nothing like counting the days

For the school year to come to an end

It began in September

Continuing ’til summer began

Those were considered good ol’ days

When school started after Labor Day

Cold winters passed, spring erupted

Memorial Day ended the stay

Looking ahead to the weekend of weekends

Meant no more bells would ring Books,

lessons and practice would be set aside

School choirs would cease to sing

Logs and tallies were fussily kept

With each entry inching closer to summer

When unforeseen events extended the year

That became the ultimate bummer

Holidays, of course, were thoroughly enjoyed

Intermittently throughout the year

It was during those momentous times

Visions of summer vacation would appear

Countdown to summer

Ended with exclamations no doubt

Every kid in school bolted then shouted

“School’s finally out!”

 

©catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults

Excerpted from catnipoflife, a work in progress. Sharla’s passion for writing is poetry: Historical and inspirational. Become acquainted with her writing by visiting http://sharlashults.com/ where links are accessible to her books and blogs.

Sharla previously shared A Woodsy Morning here at The Write Room:  and A Day That Will Live in Infamy, December 7, 1941 http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1538.

 

 

 

My Great Escape
By Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins

MY GREAT ESCAPE
It’s not the sun that I crave, rather it is the
romance that I wish to escape to!

Variety in romance must first appeal to the eye of the beholder, and can even be found right at home if we are lucky. But what of whisking the love of your life away to the world’s most romantic locales and experiencing new flavors and dimensions with a touch of drama in every one? I can imagine all manner of scenarios but here is the one that tempts me the most.

 

Vienna…our City of Dreams

Travel with my lover and I to Vienna, capital city of Austria, known as the City of Music and most especially, the City of Dreams. Now I haven’t left home without my Guardian Angel who most assuredly steered us in the directions we needed to go to make the memories that will last a lifetime.

He guided us to sites where Johann Strauss lived, the patio where music filled the air with the Vienna Waltz and by day, to the largest Ferris Wheel in the world but what I enjoyed the most were the ski slopes with clean, crisp air biting at my cheeks and those momentary pauses when my love’s sweet kiss gently touched my lips as he held my hand to warm me. He was and is my dream man of course— my lover, my friend for life, my husband—yes, he is even the ‘Don Juan’ of my dreams.

We frolicked as we made angels in the snow, kissed passionately under a corner street lamp with twinkling stars above. As though our wish were his command, our angel beckoned us to the perfect candle lit bistro to dine, be serenaded and end the evening with a warming nightcap… the close to our perfect, blissful day!

Now I awake from my dream wondering MY GREAT ESCAPE ringif it was all real or only imagined. After all, how was I to explain this stunning, champagne diamond ring…the one that my heart had always yearned for that managed to find a new home on my finger? So what if I didn’t escape the winter climes at home, they were surely the perfect dream half a world away. Only my Guardian Angel knows for sure. I do trust him implicitly and never leave home without him!

 

ABOUT ME

Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins, is my name but I am known as “Mamie” to my friends. I was born in Houston, Texas, where I spent most of my childhood. Later, our family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where I graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in 1965. From there, we moved to Redding, California and upon turning eighteen, I fled the state and moved around restlessly until I found a happy place to land in Eugene, Oregon. Years later, I settled in Bremerton, Washington where I met my husband and together, raised our beautiful daughter, Kecia. Writing had always been a dream but not a reality until 2012 when I published my first book, Extraordinary Dreams of an Ireland Traveler. In June 2013, I published my new book, Reflections of Mamie: A Story of Survival. Please visit my websites for more information and where to find my books.

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“NEVER GIVE UP”
Thank You for visiting The Write Room Blog
Reflections of Mamie A Story of Survival
http://www.Reflections-of-Mamie.com






August Day in Maine

by Kenneth Weene

AUGUST DAY IN MAINE

Stories fill the fluffy sky while he,

Sucking on a stalk of timothy,

left arm bent beneath his brown-curled head,

dreams of dragons, battles, knights-errant.

Too soon the adults will call him in

from imagined conflicts he must win,

from heroic feats on bounding main,

from his daring death and daring pain.

The damsel in distress he must leave

behind, for her kiss he’ll surely grieve

until another maiden he will meet,

who, with turned up nose, will take her seat,

next to him, first day, in seventh grade.

All those summer memories will fade

 

BIO

Ken Weene is editor of The Write Room Blog,

co-host of It Matters Radio,

and writer of poetry, short stories, and novels.

Visit http://www.kennethweene.com to learn more.

 

 

 

Paradise Found

by D. M. Pirrone

PARADISE FOUND

Dazzling white sand stretches out before us, down to the clear blue ocean. Sea and shore merge where they meet, their edges soft-smudged like a pastel drawing. David, four years old, slips his hands from ours and rockets toward the shoreline. We watch him go, me shading my eyes, my husband hefting the child-sized boogie board we dug out of the closet in our rented condo. This is Maui, the place my Aunt Judy calls paradise.

A warm breeze caresses my face. It smells like hibiscus and tanning oil, carries the sounds of crackly pop music from someone’s radio and the call of a vendor selling shave ice. I imagine that sweet coldness melting on my tongue. Raspberry, lemon, cherry? How can I choose? David dashes between sand and shallows: “Hurry! Hurry!” Full of energy, impatient to try the boogie board, he’s a tiny human firework in his bright orange trunks.

At water’s edge, the waves lap the sand. There’s music in their ebb and flow, a rhythm that grabs hold. I step into the water, ankle-deep. My footprints melt as I dance in a slow circle. Near me, the boogie board slaps down in the surf. I turn to see David throw himself on it, his dad gripping the flat end so it won’t float out to sea. “Hold your breath,” Steve says, just in time. A wave surges, lifts the board, breaks over David. His small body is drenched, his eyes tight shut. He opens them, blows air out with a birthday-candles puff, and laughs. We laugh too as we dance and play in the sparkling water.

I am drunk on shimmering sunlight, azure sky and the song of the surf. On love for my family and this place. In a moment of absolute joy, I know this time will never end. Even when it’s over, it lives on in memory.

 

About D. M. Pirrone

A regular contributor to The Write Room, D. M. Pirrone writes mystery/suspense, horror, historical and general fiction.

You can find more of her work at her personal blog, Word Nerd Notes (http://www.wordnrd.wordpress.com) and her website (http://www.dmpirrone.net).

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Return of the Dwarves

by C. C. Bye

“The one holiday I miss is Halloween. I’m sure you understand.”

“What’s that? You’d still like to hear the whole long story?”

“Well, it’s not so much long as it is convoluted. And you really are interested?”

“OK then.”

The virus cropped up in all major countries at the same time, which had the pundits screaming ‘Terrorist attack!’ And they might be right at that.

But how do you take in something when it appears on Halloween and doesn’t have any long-term, deadly effects?

“hmm?”

“Yes, I know you and I are still Dwarves, but then so is everyone else. 100%. We all have to breathe, and there doesn’t appear to have been any immunity. So you see, no sustainable effects—everyone is the same. The world has moved on and we in it.”

It was even good for the economy; everyone scrambling to re-size things and to be the first on the market with their particular doo-dad.

“What’s a doo-dad? Well it’s a term my parents and grandparents used to describe something they didn’t quite understand. “‘Corina get me that do-dad from over there on the bench!'” or sometimes they’d mix it up and say “‘Get me that Whatchamacallit.'””

“But let’s get back to the story.”

Can you imagine going out on Halloween, being anything you wanted to be, and people pretending with you, so that for a few minutes at each knock you were something or someone else— anything else—other than the boring, every day, you? Then, still wrapped in the charm of the evening, the kids barely containing themselves in their urgent need to dig into their goodie bags, you open the door and…the kids start screaming…and this short, thick-bodied, hairy-headed man with a beard down to his leather belt is trying to get his arms around you…so you take a nearby kitchen knife and lop 3 fingers off the nearest hand, which is the left hand, and that’s a good thing because you suddenly recognize the eyes of the dwarf as your husband’s. And he’s wearing his business suit, but it has been chopped up and chopped off in various places, and he’s right-handed…he’s grabbing for the knife…which is when you look down at your hairy hands…and try to put the knife back, but your suddenly short arms won’t reach far enough over the counter to do so…and you start screaming and screaming and screaming until the black rises up and takes you down.

There were a lot of heart attacks that night.

But the transition wasn’t nearly as bad as it might have been. Good old American ingenuity kicked in and soon people were adjusting their homes with whatever materials they had at hand. Planking for ramps because the steps were too high for everyone’s now short legs. Kitchen stools were in high demand. The president declared a state of emergency in order to set up peace keeping units. I understand his reasoning now. Once people realized their jobs were still going to be there come Monday morning, things would calm down, but until then all bets were off. There was a rush on ammunition; Johnny’s place, just down Cumberland Street was actually looted then burned to the ground.

It was our neighbours, you understand. And who could blame them?

The only thing that brought me any sense of reality was taking Stan over to the hospital to get his fingers looked after. We had to walk, something I always find calming, and when we reached the emergency department, everyone was doing their job—as if nothing had happened. That was a splash of cold water, mind you, an awakening to the fact that this was real and that it needed to be dealt with.

That’s why I did it, you know. What right did someone have to try to drive off with our car, even if we couldn’t drive it at the moment? The old shotgun was right there on a rack, so I pushed a chair over, got up there and grabbed it and a couple of shells. That’s when I found out the little weasel in my car was that Connery fellow from 2 blocks over. He said one too many things though, and I filled him full of heavy shot… twice.

Anyway, the cops came and got me Monday morning. The self defense bit didn’t go over well, seeing as it was a single shot shotgun and Connery was dead with the first shot I made. Still, I was free by supper time. Too many real criminals to attend to, I was told.

What an unbelievable thing! A murderer let loose because there were worse out there. I turned on the TV right away. Sure enough: rape cases everywhere, people being cut down and their life’s work taken too. Then the worst thing. I never would have believed it…

Someone had found a pocket of elves—thin, wraith like beings, white skin and silver eyes. No funny ears though. Anyway, they hung them. Men, women and children. And burnt them. And hacked them to pieces, what was left of ’em.

I don’t get it. With all the prejudice of the old world, why would someone, let alone a group of people, do such a thing? From what I understand they were beautiful beings. Was that it? Because if it was, I don’t think I can stand it.

“What’s that nephew? No, nobody’s going to come and hang you. Because we look just like them sort, don’t we? But let’s forget that for the moment… I’ve just had an idea. You should help me take my son and daughter—we should go out for a boat ride. The water’s just fine. Yes, it’s…just…fine.”

Copyright © 2013 Clayton Clifford Bye

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The End of the World – edited by Kenneth Weene

That was the challenge, the writing prompt. Here are the responses, nine in all, and each in 200 words or less. They run a broad gamut that will make you smile, think, pray, or perhaps just feel afraid. Two things are sure: The range of pieces demonstrates why we call ourselves a disparate group of writers, and there is something here for almost everyone to enjoy.

Ken Weene is one of the regular editors of The Write Room Blog. You can enjoy an example of his quirky humor at http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1149

And now, in a randomly selected order

The End of the World

Pompeii resident for Oct 16

1) Who art in Heaven by Ron Cherry

Father Tadhg knelt at the rough-hewn altar, clutching his rosary as he recited Morning Prayer.  The cavernous room had been carved by the Ameri-Euro Alliance when moving their headquarters to Greenland in 2208.  A vain attempt to find a safe haven when global warming had made south of the 45th parallel uninhabitable.

But attrition from wars against others driven north from the heat and UV poisoning shriveled Alliance numbers.  Desperate, they resorted to thermonuclear weapons.  It only exacerbated the problem, adding radiation to the mix.

Father Tadhg was the sole survivor in the cave, with its with wells and geothermal electricity.  Living on reconstituted food and acrid well water, he faithfully kept the Divine Office.  This morning, his long-silent radio spoke.  A woman living alone in another cave pleaded for food.  She was several days’ walk away, deadly days in the open air.

He read from Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.”  He sighed and stood, shouldering his pack of dried food.  Donning his hat, he walked to the elevator to the surface.

“Our Father . . . .”

R.L. Cherry terms himself a raconteur, a teller of tales for the sake of capturing the reader’s imagination. www.rlcherry.com

 

2) The end is nigh! by Jon Magee

Surprisingly end of the world theories are not all religious! NASA predicted that in the beginning of the year 2013, the sun’s growing magnetic energy would combine to a high level causing solar flares to destroy all of our computers, disrupting the earth’s magnetic field.

This coincided with another prediction by author David Flynn who said that Isaac Newton’s doomsday calculations were inaccurate, and suggested 2013 instead of 2060 as the end of the world.

Hal Lindsey predicted 1988 as the year of the battle of Armageddon heralding the end of everything. The date was based on the idea that Jesus would return one biblical generation after the birth of Israel in 1948. He said a “biblical generation” was 40 years and the end would be in 1988.

Can the bible be used to calculate the end of the world? According to the bible itself that’s not possible. The time will come, but it will be when we least expect…

Mathew 24:35-36 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

Jon Magee is a writer who has experienced much on the front line of late 20th century history. He has lived what he writes about. http://about.me/Jonmagee.author.minister

 

3) The World is [Not] Ending By J. F. Elferdink

I declare unequivocally that the world will never end! Current scientific research even points toward this. For example, Science Magazine Newton recently reported that scientists cannot find an edge to our universe–maybe because the edge borders/overlaps other universes. (Physicists report the probability of multiple universes). They also suggest there may be more than four space-time dimensions.

All this fits my theory for enduring universes: When our lives on this world are ended, we are met by the maker of all universes who sweeps us away to the universe that meets our criteria for a perfect world. And as we continue to evolve (re Dante’s Paradiso), we redefine paradise and select its next site. Imagine the wonder of stepping onto other universes–new worlds for humans but perpetual dwellings for angelic beings, certain animals, and other science fiction organisms. I dream of a place like C. S. Lewis’ Perelandra, where food not only satisfies hunger but gives inexpressible pleasure, boundless energy, and elevated understanding, and where evil is unknown. Naturally, I expect my paradise to be devoid of bugs & ex-husbands (their criteria would surely differ!).

Are you primed for a world that never ends? If not, read some SciFi.

Joyce Elferdink approaches life with bouncing energy and enthusiasm. She believes life is abundant, love is plentiful, and creativity is always within grasp. http://www.amazon.com/Joyce-Elferdink/e/B008ZTCRUY

 

4) Survivors by Sal Buttaci

When Earth ended, Tin Man and I were sitting on the green sands of Nuvaria drinking the last Earth-exported shipment of Dos Equis Shine. We watched the galactic fireworks, explosions of Sun and Earth, along with our dreams of returning home, rain down like giant cinders in bright skies.

“What now, Tin Man?” The flesh-simile bowed his steel head, but I was the one who matched his gesture with feelings of profound sorrow. A man and his mandroid marooned on a distant star was plenty cause for depression, but what could we do?

Tin Man took another swig of shine and tossed the empty bottle behind him. He said, “Edgarth Morales, we will make do.”

Tin Man addressed me by my full name. He had no name of his own. I tried once to name him “John Smith” but he refused to accept it. “Call me Tin Man,” he said in his almost human voice.

Up there our planet and the bright star that had once brought us our bright days still sparked chunks of land, sea, and fire.

“At least we’re alive.”

“Speak for yourself,” said Tin Man. He handed me another cold Dos Equis. “Drink it slow.”

Sal Buttaci loves seeing life flash before his eyes. Visit him at  http://cherryevasquez.tateauthor.com/uncategorized/a-bio-flash-from-sal-buttaci/

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5) How the World Ends by D. M. Pirone

Fire or ice, the poet said;
He was wrong.
The world ends in water.
Lapping against the shore,
A quarter-inch higher than last year;
Then half,
Then more.
A slow rise to simmer, a sickness gaining ground.

The beach submerges;
Then the fields,
The lawns, the parks, the streets,
The schools, houses, churches;
Drowned lands topped by a cross,
The last sentinel of a steeple.

“Why did you let this happen, God?
You promised Noah.
How could You break Your word?”

God answers, sad and quietly:
“You broke My world, that I gave you to take care of.”

No answer to that but silence.
What more is there to say?

D. M. Pirrone writes mystery, horror and general fiction. Check out her personal blog, Word Nerd Notes, at http://www.wordnrd.wordpress.com and her website at http://www.dmpirrone.net

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6) The Rupture by Bryan Murphy

“Welcome!” said God.

The assembled diplomats burst into applause. Few had expected God actually to show up.

“I don’t really look like this,” said God, stroking the long red hair that fell over pendulous, obsidian breasts. “If I came as I really am, I’d literally blow your minds. Now, any atheists here?”

“Yes,” said the representative of Belgium.

“Still?” asked God.

“You could be a conjurer.”

“And if I were to melt you on the spot?”

“That would convince me.” The man smiled. So did God.

The woman next to the Belgian hastily moved her feet away from the malodorous puddle.

“Now, the same treatment for all atheists.”

The floor was spattered with puddles.

“Yes,” said God, “more than one imagined.” Even the Arab League was no longer a cohesive bloc.

“That was fun,” said God. “Now, with your critical thinkers gone, your days are numbered, but I’ll speed things up. I’ll give you 100 days. If you last that long. Oh, the good news: there is no Hell. No Purgatory. None of that.”

“Heaven?” a voice piped.

“You’re joking. No afterlife. You think I’d want to spend eternity with you lot?”

The world ended 76 days later.

Bryan Murphy is a British author with a talent for speculative fiction and poetry. He lives in Italy and welcomes visitors at http://.www.bryanmurphy.eu

 

7) To face the crisis by Martha Love

If the world was coming to an end, I would start meditating for inner balance. Depth psychologist Carl Jung was once told a story by a friend about a village in China that was experiencing a very long drought. To these villagers, it was like the world was coming to an end. They did everything they knew to pray, banish the demons, and call the rain to come. But it was to no avail. So they finally brought in a rainmaker, a shaman from another village.

Upon arriving at the village, he looked around and went inside a tent that he asked the villagers to make for him and stayed there for 3 days. Everyone wondered what he was doing and why he wasn’t out trying to make it rain.

Finally, it started snowing on the 4th day. When asked how he did it, the rainmaker said something like “I did not make the snow. When I got here, everything in the village was out of order—out of Tao—so I became out of balance too. I meditated until I found my center of being and then of course all went naturally into order again and the rain came.”

Martha Love writes non-fiction on the topic of the intelligence of human nature and gut instincts. Her book website is http://careerstorefront.angelfire.com.

 

8) Missed Opportunities by Stuart Carruthers

“The end of the world is nigh”, proclaimed the sandwich board slung over James’s shoulders. He was used to the verbal abuse and the urine. Fists soaked into him like the rain that soaked his bones on inclement days. All the time he smiled to himself. It wasn’t just that he believed the end of the world was coming: he knew. From the LCD display on his board, he knew that in precisely 4 hours, 24 minutes and 2 seconds the Earth would shatter into an infinite number of molecules.

He and others like him had tried warning us, but they were ignored. For the 39 years, since James had arrived on Earth, he’d been telling people the end of the world was coming. He wanted to give us enough notice. Now it was too late. For the last time he removed the board and rested it against the plate glass window of a shop and walked away.

“Oi, come back,” shouted a spotty youth in a dark blue blazer and a name tag that also announced the name of the store he worked for.

“Sorry Robin,” James read the young man’s badge; “it’s too late.”

Former Londoner Stuart Carruthers writes about distopian displaced expats in Asia. Read samples of his work at www.writeimagination.co.uk

 

9) The end of the world by Kenneth Weene

So weary, I have no idea why I go on. My knapsack becomes emptier each day, yet it seems to grow heavier on my shoulders, I earch. I find nothing, no one—at least not alive. Why I keep this journal I cannot say; still I write if only of dust, death, and desolation.

I go on. I know I will find nothing, nobody—not anymore. Step after step I go on until, exhausted, I sink to the ground and sleep. There is no longer a sense of day and night. Dust obscures the heavens into gray twilight,

I suck air from the dusk. My lungs ache with the effort. If only there were another survivor, somebody. It there were, what would I say?

Do I hallucinate? There she is; her face covered with grime, her body wracking with each breath. Yes, it is she. I can say it. I can tell her. “Sonia,” I say, “you see I was right all along. When you left it was the end—the end of the world.

He is a poet and novelist as well as a writer of short stories; find Ken Weene’s personal website at http://www.kennethween.com

 

The Trouble with the Joneses – A Harry Patterson short by Stuart Carruthers

“Oi that hurt. Stop it you crazy cow.”

That one was an orange onyx ashtray and it bounced off my shoulder before leaving a hole in the grass. Any higher and I’d have been lying spark out on the garden I was standing on.

It all started a week before when I got called into my editor’s office after a few weeks of reporting on Christmas nativity scenes.

“Harry, Joe ‘Jawbreaker’ Jones, has been nicked, go and cover his trial and the impact on the community. Take Max with you for the photos when the trial ends.”

“Yes boss.”

I’d only been in the job a year, and this was my first real assignment. I’d covered court cases before as a trainee when I went and watched cases about minor stuff like shop lifting and drunks being wheeled out in front of a magistrate, but Mad Joe was serious. He and his family had been terrorizing the area for the last 20 years and he’d got away with it every time. He was a nutter. The case lasted a week and it was a foregone conclusion, he was going down and when the judge returned to pass sentence he was given five years. His family, sitting next to me, shouted and booed when the pronouncement was given and when I started to ask questions I was given a thinly veiled threat from one of the younger members of the family.

“Piss off unless you want your pretty little fingers broken,” was how he phrased it. My fingers are neither pretty nor little. These gnarled things had worked hard on my late father’s farm and good genes had made them the size of dinner plates, but I took his point and left it for a day or so to go and talk to some of his victims. They were scared, the family had long arms and they were keen that their protection racket wouldn’t stop funding their middle class lifestyle just because Pa had gone away for few years. A few “off the record” conversations with no names and no pack drill hadn’t given me enough for a paragraph, never mind the four columns that my editor expected for the Friday edition. I needed to do something drastic.

“Max, I need some decent snaps so I can build a story, let’s do some detective work.”

Max, was the same age as me and just getting started. Luckily he was as keen as I was stupid and he was up for any plan I had.

“Alright ‘arry what’s the plan?”

The plan was to follow the little thug that had threatened me and find out what he was up to. He was easy enough to find, the ‘family’ drank in a shithole of a pub where they were given free drinks in exchange for not burning the place down. Walking through the stained glass wooden doors we approached the bar and the place fell into the kind of deathly silence that would have allowed a gnat’s fart to be heard. All eyes fell upon us like the spotlights on an escaping prisoner. I leaned on the bar and ordered a couple of beers from the barman, who looked at one of the family, before being given the go ahead.

“What do you want, pal? I told you to get lost unless you want your hands broken.”

“I just want a drink is that so wrong?”

“Drink it and leave, it’s on the house.”

I expected as much, and Max and I necked our pints before peeling my jacket sleeve from the sticky, beer drenched bar and heading out into the frigid February air and into our car that parked up the road.

Three hours later and we were still there, feeling like castrated metal apes.

“Jesus it’s cold,” I complained for twentieth time, as I breathed on my hands.

“Oh shut up ‘arry, it’s fuckin’ winter. You know it’s gonna last for another few months. Anyway I reckon he’ll be out soon, he must have something to do today.”

Max’s intuition was spot on and next time we looked up, this bloke and a couple of mates were leaving the pub. They climbed into a nearby Cosworth and disappeared round the corner before my Montego had even got warm.

Just as we turned the corner, in the same direction that they’d gone, and cursing myself for not keeping the engine running, we saw the same red RS had been stopped by a Panda and the boot was open with a police officer holding, in his gloved hand, a sawn-off shotgun.

“That’s one for the good guys. Max, get a picture of that will you, I think I have my story, but first let’s go and tell the poor man’s mother.”

A five minute drive and we were outside Ma’s house and I knocked on the door.

“I know you. You were outside the court when my Frankie was sent down. Barry told you to get lost.”

“Yeah, I just saw him having a conversation with the policeman holding a shotgun. It seems like you may be losing a son as well. Now do you have anything to say for the Herald?”

She slammed the door in my face and the next thing I know pots, pans and a lot of abuse are being thrown at me from an upstairs window.

The photographs were great; especially the ones of me cowering behind my car after the ashtray nearly dislocated my shoulder and her other children speeding down the road to rescue Ma and coming over with baseball bats to damage my hands and Max’s camera. We sped off for the good of our health.

Barry was locked up for a six months, and I was given a death threat, which, after the windows on my car were broken, I took seriously enough to hand in my notice and see what Hong Kong could offer to a probationary hack.

END

Stuart Carruthers was born in England, where he lived until 2005 when he decided to sell everything and move to Taiwan because “no one he knew had ever been there”. Several years later he married and had two children. He’s written 2 short stories about Harry in Hong Kong which can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Stuart-Carruthers/e/B008LR5FRM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1