Still Free

Welcome to  Friday Fictioneers! We are an international community of writers who post 100-word stories each week, based on a photo prompt provided by our lovely leader, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  She is re-running some of the favorite photo prompts this summer while she complies with her publisher’s pesky request to complete her third novel.

This was originally posted in September, 2013, based on the photo by Jan Wayne Fields. Thank you, Jan!

statue of liberty jan wayne fields

Photo Copyright: Jan Wayne Fields

Free

by Jan Brown

I’ve lived in New York all my life, but never visited the Statue of Liberty until today. I ventured out with a small group from our women’s shelter.

What impressed me most was the broken shackle and chain at her feet. She was free. She was me. Releasing the old, embracing the new.

My jerk of an ex-husband was waiting when the ferry returned. He pulled out a gun, but I walked right up to him and grabbed it. The force of the gunshot blew me back onto the ground, and he slumped on top of me.

I was free.

liberty-shackles-national-park-service

Photo Credit: National Park Service

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Happy Ending?

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! My story is a little different this week. No one gets assaulted or killed. No one commits suicide. No one is buried in the back yard under the magnolias. Hmmm…something must be wrong with me! Maybe next week I’ll be back on track 😉

Here is the photo prompt from our fearless leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in Friday Fictioneers, please visit her website for more information.

kitchen window rochelle

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Happy Ending?

by Jan Brown

Sarah knew it would be hard to leave her home of twenty years. She had been awarded the house in the divorce, and she considered herself lucky–at first.  But her heart was broken. She thought they’d write the story of their romance there. A story to last a lifetime. 

Now she saw their lives from a more realistic perspective. The nights alone wondering if he was really “working late.” The anger, the shouting. The questions from their kids. The broken dreams.

Her heart raced as the moving truck arrived. A tentative smile crept across her face. She was ready for the next chapter.

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Lost and Found

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers!  We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Lost and Found

by Jan Brown

Bella was a hoarder of monumental proportions. It started with her son’s suicide, which she blamed on her husband, Bill. The boy couldn’t take his constant abuse. He hanged himself in the shower.

Bella was profoundly affected by the loss. She was terrified of losing anything else; nothing could be thrown out. Every object, no matter how insignificant, took on enormous value. Except her husband.

She lost Bill when her hoard finally reached the ceiling. She barely acknowledged the loss until years later when, to her horror and delight, she uncovered his mummified remains under a mound of decade-old newspapers.

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Throwback Thursday – Roommates

It’s almost time for Friday Fictioneers, when writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo is a “rerun” of a prompt from October, 2012. The photo is by Raina Ng.

I am rerunning my story from 2012 as well. I hope it stands the test of time; you be the judge!

Photo Copyright: Raina Ng

Roommates

by Jan Brown

Walking into Sarah’s kitchen, I experienced simultaneous waves of nostalgia and nausea. In the sixties, five of us lived here. It was large and airy, with a relaxed feel and a perfect location near the university. When we welcomed a sixth roommate, things changed.

We thought Marty was merely a “Type A” personality who would help us get our shit together. But a near-constant rage sizzled just below the surface of his counterfeit charm.  Sarah fell under his spell and stayed with him all these years, enduring the narcissistic behavior and sadistic abuse. Some said death was a blessing. Hers wasn’t. His will be, at the hands of the state.

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How Not to Heal a Broken Heart

The NaPoWriMo prompt for April 18th is to write a poem about a rushed delivery of an urgent message. 

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She sang

As naturally, as beautifully
As a siren
Once that sound
Had cured me
Of a broken heart
It only wounds more deeply
I squirm in the back row
Hold my chest
Lest my heart jump out
And pursue her
She trills her last note
And I wend my way forward
Rushing as fast as I can
Against the movement of the crowd
To hand her roses
A symbol of our love
Black roses
Desiccated, lifeless
She drops them
Knowing the message they convey
A death knell
For her
For me
Like the opera
She just performed
I’m closer now
I plunge the knife
Before security hauls me away
And I swallow the capsule
Taking one last look
At a dying diva

Lush

April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). This story is based on the lyrics of the great Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” and the weekly photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Friday Fictioneers.

Photo Copyright: Lauren Moscato

Photo Copyright: Lauren Moscato

I’ll live a lush
Life in some small dive
And there I’ll be
While I rot with the rest
Of those whose lives are lonely too

– Billy Strayhorn, “Lush Life”

Lush

by Jan Brown

The only thing I got in the divorce was a small jazz bar in a rather dubious neighborhood. It was aptly called “Hole in the Wall,” but most people just called it “The Hole.”

There is a feeling, when you walk in the door, that you’ve entered another universe, a dank, dingy world where there is so much darkness and pain that your own personal problems seem less ominous in comparison.

He still visits on weekends when I sing, despite the restraining order. Last night, he looked so old, so smashed, so irretrievably sad. And then he pulled the gun.

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You can read other Fictioneers’ stories here, and even add your own.

You can learn more about Jazz Appreciation Month by visiting their  Facebook page.

As an extra added bonus for reading this far, here is Lady Gaga’s very luscious version of “Lush Life.” Enjoy!

TGIF

The first week on a new job can be so difficult–for you as well as your loved ones. Especially if they don’t love you back.

This is the theme of my story for Friday Fictioneers.  Rochelle Wisoff-Fields leads our rowdy band of fictioneers by providing a photo prompt to inspire us each week. Writers from around the world post 100-word stories, based on the prompt. You can see them all here, and you can post your own story, too!

Many thanks to Dawn Quyle Landau for this week’s photo.

Photo Copyright: Dawn Q. Landau

Photo Copyright: Dawn Q. Landau

TGIF

by Jan Brown

Monday:

Promotions were announced at the precinct. My husband, Jack, got his gold shield. I didn’t.

He always has to be one step ahead.

Tuesday:

A wasted evening listening to Jack bitch about his new job in Homicide.

Seriously?

Wednesday:

I dissolved my monthly supply of lithium into his coffee.

He forgot his thermos.

Thursday:

I bashed his brake line with a chunk of asphalt.

He didn’t take his car.

Friday:

I made breakfast for Jack and his new partner.

Delicious.

Saturday:

I reported him missing.

The next spring:

I hiked along the tracks, smiling as I passed their graves.

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Welcome Home

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. Please visit her lovely blog for more information…and join us if you wish!

This week’s photo is by Doug MacIlroy.  Mahalo, Doug!

Doug hokusai

Photo Copyright: Douglas M. MacIlroy

Welcome Home

by Jan Brown

I settled into the sofa and put my feet up. If I had to do this, at least I deserved to be comfortable.

I logged in to create a memorial page: birth, death, survivors…a litany of facts without significance. Allegations of “beloved husband” and “dear friend” rang untrue.

Not enough reality.

I clicked “cancel,” started over.

“The deceased had no children with his estranged wife, but is survived by a son born last December to their neighbor, Mrs. Lydia Fitzwilliam. Manslaughter charges are pending against Col. Richard Fitzwilliam, recently returned from Afghanistan.”

Too much reality.

I clicked “cancel,” started over.

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NaPoWriMo 18 – Rubaiyat Noir

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a ruba’i, a Persian form of poetry using a four-line stanza with the rhyme sequence AABA. Multiple stanzas form a rubaiyat. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which you may have read, has 101 stanzas. Mine is, um, somewhat less profound with only three.

I also incorporated today’s #heartsoup prompt (“one silk scarf”), provided on Twitter by @HeartSoupPoems.

Hope you enjoy the dark side….

Rubaiyat Noir

by Jan Brown

A wife’s true love, its memory spilled
With his birthday gift, her breath was stilled
With blackest heart, he stole it back
The one silk scarf with which he killed

His new love turned away from him
Could not abide his violent whim
Terrified that she would talk
Her fate was sealed; he did her in

So now the monster is bereft
His first love and his last love left
This earthly plane for higher bliss
And he in chains, this world and next