Welcome to the Fiction Playground! This is day two of the 2015 A to Z Challenge, in which bloggers all over the world embark on a 26 part quest to deliver a post tied to each letter of the alphabet. Yours truly, in keeping with the fiction theme established here will make a stab at 26 flash fiction stories. Flash Fiction is anything 2000 words or less, so perhaps I should say it will tend to be more like micro fiction. Regardless I will not try to fill out 2000 words. I think 400 or less will keep me within the A to Z guidelines.
So what make this such a challenge for me? After all I write A LOT of fiction. I have enlisted the assistance of two friends to make this more of a fun effort. One, named Chris Duncan is a fiction editor for a literary journal. He has graciously agreed to deliver unique prompts tied to each letter of the alphabet. I will only pull these out the day they are to be posted so i do not have time to think about a potential story.
Keeping in the family theme I also partnered with Chris’ daughter, Hannah, a budding photographer. Hannah has just recently completed a showing of her work at a local gallery and is in the trumpet section of the local high school band with my daughter. I love the unique perspective Hannah has in her photography and asked Chris to coordinate pictures of hers with the prompts he chose for me. Below you can see a picture of the three of us during a recent band trip to Chicago for the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. I am on the right, which of course leaves Chris to the left and Hannah as the rose between the thorns.
I invite you to return each day to see Chris’ brilliant prompts, Hannah’s beautiful pictures and my fiction concoctions tied to each unique prompt.
Day 2 – Brett didn’t know who was more stubborn, the bull, or his inner demons.
Brett didn’t know who was more stubborn, the bull, or his inner demons. Okay, that wasn’t true, it was definitely his inner demons, but bull was the one costing him money and adding to his workload. New fencing was not cheap and the time to replace it day after day was just not there. He took a sip from the small silver flask his father once carried and thought about the predicament he was in. This bull was going to solve all his problems. At least that was what the man at the livestock sale convinced him.
Brett needed some money and bad. The next mortgage payment was already sixty days behind and when he crossed the ninety day threshold the eviction threats would become real. He surveyed the land in every direction within his sight and the thought of losing everything his family held dear for generations made him sick to his stomach. He hadn’t wanted this. Watching his father drop dead working the place was not his idea of passing on the love of the land. His mother tried to help, but she was getting to old to make much of an impact.
His oldest brother was an investment banker in Philadelphia, certainly with no interest in cows or pastures. Little brother Jimmy was a computer whiz headed to Stanford with a full ride. That left him to pull things together on the 400 acres of prime Nebraska farm land. He could hear his father’s last words to him, the words he said twelves hours before he died.
“Brett, it takes a strong man to live this life. I don’t know if you got it in you, I didn’t know for the longest time. There’s no shame if you don’t, just figure it out before it breaks you in two!” Brett’s answer so far had been the liquid that seemed to be less effective every day and getting more expensive to keep. He always heard the saying “there’s no answer in the bottom of the bottle” and now he was beginning to believe it was true.
He knew now that letting Callie Cahill slip out of his life was a major mistake. She was a born and raised and loved this stuff. She had made an honest effort at educating him about everything it took to succeed here. But he had wandering eyes and hands to match. Callie deserved and wanted so much more, but he was both unable and unwilling to give that to her. So here he stood with more troubles than answers and nothing but a stubborn walking meat department standing between him and ruin.
Then there was the deepest demon, that night in Waco when his bar fight fun turned deadly. So far no one had ever connected him directly, but every time he saw a law enforcement member he drew a hard breath. Surrounded by all this land made him feel insulated. But could that last?