Stopping for Fuel

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PHOTO PROMPT © Kent Bonham

Paul finished pumping his gas and disappeared inside the shop to pay. Cash. Always cash.

When he stepped outside again, the trunk of his car stood open. His eyes calmly swept the area. There. Huddled in the arms of a trucker. He smirked and made a beeline for the girl. The trucker stepped between them.

“Hold it right there, buddy,” the hulking man said.

Paul pulled the gun tucked in his belt and put a bullet between the trucker’s eyes at point blank range.

“His death is on you,” he told her as he shoved her back into the trunk.

Paul is not a good man. Or maybe there is more to his story with this particular girl. Perhaps he is only doing what is necessary. Only time will tell I suppose.

Written for Friday Fictioneers.

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One Child at a Time

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PHOTO PROMPT © Janet Webb

A boy of roughly nine entered the shop by himself and wandered aimlessly until a jar of pennies caught his eye.

“You’ve got a lot of coins,” the boy said.

“Indeed, I do,” the man behind the counter replied.

“How’d you get so many?” the boy asked.

“Well, you see,” said the man, “every time a kid asks about ‘em, I take him out back into the woods and sell him to the trolls for a penny. Then I come back here and toss it in the jar.”

The boy ran out the door and the man added another penny.

Nothing scary here, unless you count the made up trolls. Just a guy having some fun at the expense of a gullible child, who won’t be the last.

Written for Friday Fictioneers.

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Patient Log: Daniel Moran

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PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Sheldon

Day 6.

Daniel continues to exhibit unusual behavior. He’s convinced that he sees penguins everywhere he looks. One is always lying face down, killed by the other, who is usually hiding behind something.

Day 7.

Daniel’s condition has not improved, and may be contagious. Several others have reported seeing Daniel’s penguins.

Day 8.

They’re all dead. Everyone who has seen the penguins. Even one of the nurses. All with their eyes seemingly pecked out by some kind of bird. I’ve no idea what to make of it. I don’t want to believe in the penguins, but it’s hard not to.

Those penguins kept calling out to me, but it took me several days and many, many failed attempts to see any kind of half decent story there. For better or worse, this is what came from all the hassle.

Written for Friday Fictioneers.

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A Sign of the Times

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Dusty walked down the deserted alley, the stones warm under his bare feet. Years ago, people would have packed the narrow passage like sardines. Not anymore.

He banged a rock against one of the metal pipes embedded in the wall. The sound reverberated through the alley.

Hideous creatures—disfigured, heartless things that had once been human before some psychopath started playing with chemical weapons—poured through broken windows and crooked doors into the cramped space.

Dusty retreated to the relative safety of the sewer, praying for the two bound children he’d left out there: an offering to appease the beasts.

This one didn’t come easily, and, as always, I have no idea if it’s good, mediocre, or shit. But I’m moderately happy with it, so I guess that’s good enough, right?

Written for Friday Fictioneers.

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The City of Hope

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Hope, they call it, the fortress city behind the wall. Impenetrable unless they let you through the checkpoint. Lines of cars have been sitting there for as long as I can remember, but they haven’t moved in months. Occasionally, the guards still let a few people in, but not as often as before. I was one of the few to make it through the gates shortly after the Scourge. Once I learned what they do with outsiders, I hid. I’ve been trying to find a way back out ever since. Hope is the last thing they should call this place.

The grass is always greener on the other side. And then you make the mistake of going to the other side.

Written for Friday Fictioneers.

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