Canyon

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The drive back from the canyon was a quiet one. We were almost entirely defeated at this point; it had been nearly nine months since the sixteen-year-old girl had gone missing and all we had so far was a plastic disposable camera. We drove about 30 minutes before we found a film development place. I parked the car and told Johnson I’d be back in a few minutes. He flashed me a thumbs-up and continued playing some game on his phone.

There was almost no one in the photo center, just me and the attendant. I plopped my detective badge down on the counter and handed the guy the camera.
“Police business,” I said.
“Whatever man, it’ll be 45 minutes” he muttered.
I left and grabbed a much needed lunch with Johnson. We walked back into the photo center to find the kid looking very shocked.
“That’s some morbid stuff dude,” he said as he handed me the envelope.
I tore open the envelope and flicked through the photos.

Trees. Birds. Deer. A Cave. A teenager’s corpse.


“Canyon” is my submission the 58th FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 175 words.

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Photo Fragments

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On the oak end table, next to the big, plush, leather couch in this living room, there was a photo frame. Inside the frame was a picture of a man, in beige camouflage with a huge black dog. This man was my dad, but I would have never known. He was stationed in Afghanistan before I was four years old, and he never came back. I was never told why; there was no one to tell me. This man was just a fragment. Fragments of a dad I never knew. Fragments of a mom who never cared about me. Fragments of a stepfather who beat me incessantly. Fragments of a sister who had leukemia and died at twelve. Fragments of a brother addicted to heroin and apathy. Everything was a fragment, smashed to pieces, and it all got taped together to make me.

I was broken.


 

“Photo Fragments” is my submission the 57th FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 143 words.

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Dead

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Jake forgot to pack our phone chargers, and now our phones were dead. That wouldn’t have been too bad if our phones weren’t our only access to Google Maps, which was our only means of getting directions from Florida to our family in California. Now we were lost, driving through the monotonous flatness of Kansas.
Our phones had been dead for about 45 minutes when I saw what looked to be a shopping mall.
“I’m pulling over at this place,” I say to Jake, motioning towards the building. He grumbles something incoherent.
I pull into the parking lot of the vast concrete building, which by the entrance sign claims to be called “The Plaza”. The parking lot is absolutely desolate; we’re the only car there.
“Let’s see if they sell chargers in here,” I say to my brother as I unbuckle my seat belt.
“Why is there a shopping mall in the middle of Kansas?” he says in response.
“I don’t know, shopping malls are everywhere. Why does it matter?”
“Yeah, but this is the middle of nowhere. Don’t you think it’s a little…I don’t know…weird?”
“I really don’t care at this point. I’m sweaty, I’m starving, and I’m thirsty. Let’s just get a charger and go.”
The scorching July sun of the Midwest beats down on me as I walk up to the front entrance  of the mall and tug on the handle. Locked. I try peering in through the glass, but it’s tinted pitch black.
“Maybe there’s another entrance,” I say, somewhat doubtful.
We drive around the perimeter of the building and find two more entrances, both locked with the glass blacked out. I drive back to the main entrance and stop the car.
“Well isn’t this great. A shopping mall in the middle of nowhere, with all its doors locked, and no one else in the parking lot. Just splendid,” my brother says, his words dripping with sarcasm and accusation.
“Well, we wouldn’t be in this situation if you hadn’t forgotten the phone chargers. So really, who’s to blame here?”
“You know what Brendan? You’re—”
But before he could finish, both car doors fly open, and someone pulls us out.
The world went black.


 

“Dead” is my submission the Week #11 FFftPP Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 353 words.

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Beacon

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I didn’t want to burn the guitar. It seemed like a waste to burn something capable of creating beautiful music to lighten our moods. I suppose heat is more important than art in our case though: we just ran out of real firewood, and now we must resort to burning whatever flammable materials we can get our hands on.

The glossy coating melted off the guitar first, like some type of clear chocolate, or a sweet doughnut glaze. The steel strings came loose and curled in on themselves, like a metallic hand curling into a fist. The fire blazed on, giving no regard to the fact it burned such a fine instrument.

Our band of survivors all crowded around the flame. We absorbed every last bit of heat the fire had to offer as we sat and spoke quietly of our dreams, the guitar flame our little beacon of hope. Even in this apocalyptic urban wasteland, where we resorted to burning musical instruments to survive, there was hope.

There is always hope.


 

“Beacon” is my submission the 55th FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 171 words.

If you enjoyed this story, don’t forget to like, comment your thoughts, and subscribe for more of my short stories. You could even share this blog with your pals if you wanted to spread the joy of reading! Thank you and have an awesome day!