Patient Log: Daniel Moran

claire-sheldon

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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The Seamstress

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

She sat quietly, stitching the final stitches in the glow of a dying candle. Months had passed since she’d begun the arduous task, but she was finally finished. Time and time again, unhappy with her work, she’d ripped portions out and re-stitched them. The quilt needed to be perfect.

Her fingertips caressed the beautiful creation. The hint of a smile curled the corners of her mouth. With her new blanket–one side a patchwork of varies pigments of human skin, the other an amalgamation of the scalps of her victims–wrapped around her shoulders, she stepped out onto the balcony.

When I first looked at this photo, I thought of a woman being stalked by a man, but the woman turns out actually be hunting the unsuspecting man. I’ve written that story before, probably several times, so I moved on. Next I thought of werewolves, but didn’t have any idea of where to go with that. So I moved on to my next thought: Frankenstein. But I wanted to go a different route than the traditional monster stitched together from corpse pieces, and thus the Frankenquilt was born.

Written for Friday Fictioneers.

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Broken

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PHOTO PROMPT Sarah Potter

She stood at the sink, looking out the window, dreaming of better times and beautiful things long since gone away. The thought of him with that harlot made her skin crawl. How could he have been so heartless? She so blind?

Her chin dipped toward the forgotten dishes piled in the cool water. A tear traced a path to the edge of her nose, where it clung for a moment before plunging into the basin.

She steadied her trembling shoulders and returned her gaze outside, dreaming of better times and beautiful things long since gone away.

No horror today, only the sadness of a fictional woman. This one is actually a few words shy of 100 due to a last minute edit that I think makes it flow better. I usually strive to hit 100 words exactly, but I’ll make an exception this time.

Written for Friday Fictioneers.

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