Flash Fiction Challenge: The Storm

Photo by K.S. Brooks

Detective Joe Traeger raced the Buick down the highway toward the coming storm.

The old gypsy woman had been right about everything she’d foretold. He had found the body of the missing boy by deciphering the clues she had given.

It was not over. He had yet to discover the meaning behind her last message to him. She’d said he would travel through a storm to find his house safe, but his home in ruin. He pressed down on the accelerator as the first raindrops spattered on the windshield. There had been no answer when he called. What awaited him at home?

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday, December 18th, 2012.

On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted.

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5 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Storm”

  1. He arrived home four hours late. Detoured by fallen trees, flashing lights, and standing water, he finally spun down the road to the house, all the while thinking of the boy. How angelic his face had looked in death, so achingly horrific that Detective Joe had wept, in front of his partner and hot new medical examiner. How the old woman knew it had to happen bedeviled him. He’d ferreted through her clues, now sitting in a box on his bed. She had predicted all of it. But what had she meant by the rest? The house standing, the home in ruins? He’d paid her good money but now she wouldn’t take his calls. Said it was time for her to move on to other clients.

    Mashing the garage-door remote, nothing happened. Of course. The power was out. Cutting the engine, he left the car in the driveway and bounded to the door. Locked! He rummaged through his pockets for his key, knowing that each second could make the difference between life and—

    “Hello?” he called out, once he’d gotten the door open. No damage downstairs. So the woman’s prediction was partly true. The house was still standing. Then he tried the stairs. And he knew immediately what she had meant. The manuscript. The only copy he’d printed out, and more importantly, the copy with the gypsy’s edits scribbled all over it, lay in a wet, shredded mess and in the center was a little, white and very angry dog.

  2. The storm was in full force when Joe pulled up in his driveway anxiously wondering what awaited him inside. His house was still standing but chaos met him in the lounge. His laptop was smashed on the floor, a chair and a side table overturned. The drapes were ripped from the rail and there was no sign of his wife.
    He noticed blood on the carpet and Images of the boy’s lifeless body flashed through his mind; he felt a wave of nausea as the memory filled him with fear for Madeline’s safety. All the old gypsies’ predictions had come true and his legs felt weak at the realisation of it, his world turned black as unconsciousness took him.
    His eyes struggled to adjust to the bright light and a familiar sweet voice crooned his name. Madeline’s lovely face came into focus; she was smiling and crying at the same time. He was lying in a hospital bed.

    Holding his hand she explained patiently that he had stumbled and banged his head whilst fixing the curtain rail and had been in a coma for a week.
    “I’ve been so worried, and then earlier you started mumbling about a dead boy, a fortune teller and a detective Joe Traeger. Welcome back darling, but I’d love to know what’s been going on in that writers head of yours!”
    David smiled, he couldn’t wait to go home and start his next novel.

  3. The wind, rain and lightning increased each second that Joe closed on his home. His thoughts tumbled between reaching his wife and daughter before that funnel cloud did, and what the medium had told him. His house safe but his home destroyed. He had to get there to take back what he had said. He could not let that be their last memory of him. He had thought he meant it. “I can’t be part of this any more. I’m outta here. Go to hell!”

    Now, facing the very real possibility that he would never see them again, he knew how wrong he had been. That temper, that impulsiveness of his could rob him of what mattered most.

    He lay on the horn as he drove down the endless lane. Would they hear? Would they know he was there for them? Oh God, please …. His house safe, his home destroyed.

    The screen swung in the wind, one hinge already off. It took all his strength to open the truck door and battle his way into the kitchen. “Beth, Mandy!” No answer. They must be in the storm cellar. The funnel tore into the house just as he saw them huddled in the bunker. He shut the door tight and hugged them both. “I’m so sorry. I love you.”

    When they emerged Beth surveyed the damage. “Our beautiful home – it’s gone.”

    Joe drew them both close again, as understanding dawned. “But we’re together.” He had put his house in order.

  4. Lighting flashed across the sky as Detective Traeger raced over the bridge that led to his house near the shore. The old gypsy had helped him solve the riddle to find the missing boy’s body but the creep who had killed him was still out there. Worrying over the gypsy’s parting words of traveling through a storm to find his house safe but his home in ruin only added to his anxiety.

    Wind lashed at the car as he pulled into the drive. There stood the two story colonial, holding steady against the onslaught as it had done for nearly one hundred years, staring at him like some forgotten tombstone in an old church yard. He entered the house, calling for his wife and son. Only echoes responded, just as his phone calls had met with only voice mail.

    A note, pinned by an electric candle, fluttered in the wind on the table by the door. Pale light enhanced by flashes of lightening fell on the words, their meaning freezing his heart as much as the deep red ink of the letters.

    You took my prize, now yours are mine.
    Parts of the whole, forever entwined.

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