Category Archives: Flickr

Writing Ideas

When you write and get stuck on a scene or stuck on a story idea, what do you do?

I’ve got a couple tricks I’ve found useful when I get in those predicaments.

My go-to method for story idea generating is to search random pictures online until I find something useful or inspiring. Normally I’d go to Flickr and start searching through the public photos. I’ve found the site to be excellent at discovering new and interesting photos.

My method then is to save the image in a folder on my computer and just sit and stare. I like to think long about what’s in the image, what could be happening, what did just happen, and more. Back when I used to release brand new flash fiction on the 15th of every month, that was my tried and true method for creating new stories. I’d also include the image in the story. If you search around on my blog long enough, you’ll eventually stumble on those.

old-book-2514411_960_720Another method I like to use to enhance my writing is to listen to music. Back when I was working on my first NaNoWriMo novel called “Master of the Drunken Fist,” my protagonist would drink various types of alcohol and go into another dimension based on the the type of alcohol he drank. For example, when he drank moonshine he ended up in a backwoods, rural setting. When he drank vodka he was on an expedition in Russia.

When it came time to write the scenes in that other dimension, I would listen to various types of music. When I did the moonshine scenes, I created a playlist on Pandora based off of the “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. It was perfect for setting the mood. When I wrote the vodka scenes, I listened to Tchaikovsky non-stop.

I found the various types of music, like the alcohol my protagonist drank, transported me to a different world and helped me create scenes that were more alive and more true to the feeling I was trying to evoke.

I’ve known other authors who will do something similar. I know of an author who will search through random YouTube videos for songs to draw inspiration from. Like my random photos, they help him generate ideas for stories.

As with all writing, we come to our methods in different ways. I would never tell you to do it like I do because it might not be your thing. I can suggest you try what I do to see if it works, but I’m not gonna say my method is the only one you should use. What does matter is that you find your thing, whatever it is.

Do you have something different that works for you? Share in the comments so others can try your technique. Let’s share our methods so we can all learn together.

Flickr Story 6: Sunshine and Asteroids

Time again for another story and this one brings in several influences.  I draw on my trips to Florida and memories of my grandfather to create a story inspired by a picture of water and trees.  The picture is from Flickr and is labelled as the Miami Art District.  Enjoy the story and please share and comment below!

Sunshine and Asteroids


A warm salty breeze blew in along palm trees sprouting from the water like cat tails.  They formed two neat rows, as though framing a wide boulevard, which of course they once had.  The sun rose in the center of the water road, just as city planners envisioned many years ago.  Though then, concrete lay between the palms, not the gently laping water now occupying the space.  The suns waking rays cast a beautiful array of colors across the water, causing Tim to stand and admire the natural beauty.

He woke on a small island where a gas station once stood.  He could remember all the out of state license plates that came there, paying for overpriced gas and soda on their way to the giant amusement parks a little farther south.  He’d lived in Florida all his life and resented those people with their smugness and disregard for natural beauty of the land.  Now, they’d never know it again.  And in a way, he was ok with that.  At least he knew it…once.  He’d still be there when the receding waters revealed a new land, a new paradise, and he couldn’t wait.  He just hoped he’d last long enough.

Tim ran out of food long ago, forced to eat any bug or small water creature brave enough to land on his patch of land.  He guessed he lost more weight than he used to think he needed to lose and the unrelenting sun baked his skin to a dark brown.  He kinda liked that.  He always found it hard to get much of a tan before.  Now, once the waters went away, he’d be skinny and tanned, ready to be the man of some girl’s dreams.

The waters rose several months ago, destroying everything in its path.  At first, there was mass confusion.  People didn’t heed the tidal wave warning thinking they were too far inland to be affected.  As it turned out, they were very wrong.  The enormous wave washed across the state, coming in from the Atlantic and crashing to the Gulf of Mexico.  Tim couldn’t fathom such a large scale event and discounted all the radio and television warnings.  His phone screamed at him as the state and then national weather alerts were raised.

No one knew the asteroid was out there until it was too late.  Fortunately, instead of crashing in the midst of a large metropolis, its trajectory took it to the center of the Atlantic.  As it turned out, that was probably worse than anything else.  Going out from all directions, a huge wave circled out and grew in size and intensity until it raced towards the shore lines of Africa, Portugal, and the east coast of Canada and the United States.  The government tried to get the population moving west, but the majority of the people thought they’d weather the storm, just like any other hurricane.  That proved to be a mistake.

Tim marveled at the rising sun and breathed in deeply.  Salty air filled his lungs.  He exhaled loudly.  “Yeah, that’s the ticket,” he said out to no one.  He stretched his arms high overhead, his tense muscles straining.  His arms popped and creaked, making him think of his grandfather.  His grandfather was such a vibrant, fun loving man.  Tim pictured him sitting in a chair on the back patio, bloody-mary in hand, smiling and joking.  He missed his grandfather.  Then, he started thinking about everyone else.

As far as he knew, Tim was all alone.  He hadn’t seen anyone in over two months.  At first, planes and helicopters and the occasional boat could be heard in the distance.  Tim yelled and jumped and flailed his arms to no effect.  None of them ever stopped or seemed to notice he was there.  Then after about two weeks of that, it all stopped and stayed silent.  The only sounds now filling his ears were the rustles of palm branches and the gentle waves.

He tried to leave his island once, but when several alligators and a shark…a shark! followed him, Tim felt safer on his small plot of dry land, so he set up camp and claimed it for his own.  He spent the days yelling out for help or taunting the swiftly moving gators.  Not once did the thought of them climbing up out of the water ever occur to him.

Tim watched the sun rise to its heights, the only show he could ever watch now, and sat still with his hands on his knees.  The gnawing hunger in his stomach long ago turned to a constant feeling of emptiness that he learned to ignore, for the most part.  Before long, Tim found he’d spent the entire day waiting, watching, and not moving.  The sun started setting and darkness followed.

Black night covered the waters and stars filled the sky.  If there was ever one thing Tim could be thankful for since the asteroid strike, it was the unending beauty of the night sky.  He laid back on the cooling sand, mesmerized by the twinkling stars above.  He could make out all the constellations: Orion, the Big Dipper, and many others he couldn’t name.  As he lay there, ready for another night of nocturnal beauty, something caught his eye.

Red streaked down in the sky.  One after another bright red and orange streaks fell from above, like a hailstorm of fire.  Tim furrowed his brow trying to understand.  All around him, small red streaks started smacking the water, huge cascading waves shooting up and out.

“What the…” Tim said as a rock the size of a quarter slammed into the sand just feet from him, forming a crater larger than twice the size of his head.  Tim jumped up and backed away from the crater, his arms shaking.  He looked up again at the sky.

For a moment, he thought he saw the familiar red of his grandfathers bloody-mary.  It made him smile.  The rock slammed in his head, killing him instantly.  He died with a smile, thinking about his grandfather.

Flickr Story 5: Vacation

It’s the 15th and time for another Flickr Story. This month, the picture which inspired this story didn’t come from Flickr. It’s from the Twitter account @ThatsEarth. The stairs reminded me of going to the Caribbean and the clear blue waters there.  I actually enjoy going on vacation and the Caribbean is a wonderful place to go.  Read on for one couple and their experience in this beautiful paradise.


Jim stood at the top of the wooden stairs looking out over the clear blue sea below.  The sight was magnificent.  The stairs led down a rocky incline and ended on the white beach below.  He stood maybe fifty feet above the sea.  Breathing deeply, Jim inhaled the warm salty air.  He closed his eyes and let the sun warm him.



Recently his wife Meagan insisted they go to the sea. Insisted may have been too kind a word for Jim. She practically threw a tantrum demanding she be taken to an island resort…or else. They had a huge fight over it. Jim had no desire to go on vacation and he wanted no part of a beach. This was the busiest time of year for him at work, the last thing he needed was to be gone on vacation. But, after Meagan badgered him for weeks, he finally gave in and asked off. He grumbled about it to her yet she didn’t listen to a word he said. Her mind was on the beach, the sun, and drinks.

Before he knew it, Jim was paying for a trip to the Bahamas at a four star all-inclusive resort. He hated to fly. He’d rather drive across the country for days instead of fly. Meagan knew it, but her heart was set on the Caribbean and the Bahamas called her like a long lost love.

“Jim,” she said as they booked their trip, “this is wonderful! I’m so glad we decided to take this vacation. I love the beach! I love the ocean. I can’t wait to get there.” Jim grunted. He thought about the sales he’d miss, about the commission he’d lose all because Meagan wanted to sun herself. She only smiled at him and let her mind wander to the sun and sand she’d soon be enjoying. Her smile annoyed Jim.


Jim stood at the stairs smiling. Meagan was right, this was a great idea. He let the stress of his job float away on the warm ocean breeze.

Reaching down, Jim lifted his heavy suitcase and cautiously walked down the weathered stairs, careful to balance himself against its weight. He reached the first landing and rested. Jim leaned against the wooden hand rail and watched a sailboat in the distance. The crystal blue waters spread out before him like a welcoming blanket, ready to comfort and warm him. He looked down in the water and noticed a large dark grey manta ray swim by. The water was so clear he could see every detail on the back of the creature. He laughed to himself thinking how wrong he was for doubting Meagan.

Just then an employee of the resort walked up the stairs and approached Jim.

“Can I help you with the bag sir?” he asked. He was dark skinned and wearing a white linen shirt and matching shorts. He was cheerful and his name badge said “Tim.” Jim smiled warmly.

“No thanks, I’ve got this. Just admiring the view. It’s wonderful out here.” Tim looked to the ocean and nodded.

“Yeah, it is heaven on Earth. Well, if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’re here to make your stay as pleasant as possible.” He shook Jim’s hand and walked back down the steps towards the resort.

Jim watched Tim walk back to the resort and sighed. He should’ve done this a long time ago. The sales would still be there. He had an assistant that took care of things while he was out and he did a great job of handling customers. The commission would still be there as well. So…what took you so long? he thought to himself. Shaking his head, he picked up the heavy suitcase and walked gingerly down the last flight of steps, each board creaking under his weight.

When he reached the bottom, glorious white sand greeted him. He removed his shoes, stuffed them in a side pocket of the suitcase, and let the warm sensation of the sand envelop his toes. He wiggled them in the sand, covering his feet. He smiled at himself, more for not doing this sooner than anything else.

The resort was to his left but the beach extended far to his right where it curved to a point. It looked inviting and relaxing, so he picked up his heavy suitcase and trudged off down the beach. Check-in could wait.

Walking down the beach, the rhythmic sounds of the waves gently crashing soothed him. He found a quiet spot near the tip of the beach where he sat down on the sand, breathing a little heavy from carrying the suitcase. The closest person to him was just going up the stairs from the beach.

“I love it here!” he said to the waves. They answered by crashing down on the sand in front of him.

Looking to his suitcase, Jim unzipped the main compartment. He smiled lovingly as he reached in the black bag. With a soft, delicate touch, he lifted out Meagan’s head. He sat it down on the sand, leaning it against the suitcase, facing the ocean.

“We did it Meagan,” he said, “we’re on vacation!”

Flickr Story 4: The Spine of the Gods

It’s time for another Flickr story and this one was a fun one to write.  If you’ve read the Flickr story from December, you’ll see a familiar character in this one (actually both are the same.  The hero was originally named Lailoken in “Aimee’s Quest” but I changed it just before posting it).   It wasn’t intentionally created as a sequel or alternate story, but it does come across that way.  Maybe one day I’ll write the adventures of Lailoken and Brida, but for now we have another fantasy piece featuring two of my favorite characters.

The picture was found on Flickr, though I’m not sure where the actual place is.  I loved the colors and the massive mountain in the distance.  As I stared at the image, the story started unfolding.  What you have below is what I came up with.  Please share the story with others and feel free to leave a comment below.  I appreciate any and all feedback.  Thanks!


The Spine of the Gods

“They are beautiful, aren’t they?” Lailoken asked.  He and his snowcat Brida sat along a high ridge overlooking a verdant valley dotted with brown and red.  The late autumn air swirled around them.  Brida looked up, nudged her head against Lailoken’s thigh and laid her head back down.  
“The Spine of the Gods.  Don’t you know what this means?” he asked.  Brida didn’t move.  “Well, if you were any kind of snowcat Brida, you’d know.  We’re almost at the edge.  Once we cross over, who knows what awaits us.”  
Lailoken gazed across the valley to where it ended abruptly in sheer grey cliffs that rose high in the sky.  They looked like a giant beast lay down and died, leaving an enormous skeleton.  The cliffs rose like vertebrae in the sky from which it earned its name Spine of the Gods.  From this vantage point, they looked impassable.  What lay beyond…that was stuff of legends and that was where Lailoken and Brida were headed.
Lailoken rubbed Brida’s snowy white head.  The giant cat purred loudly.  “Come on, we need to get down there before nightfall,” Lailoken said to Brida.  The cat purred louder.  “Brida, come on now,” Lailoken said as he stood up, brushing the dirt and grass from his woolen pants.  Slowly, Brida rose and stretched her long frame, letting her sharp nails poke from her paws as she did.
It took them close to four hours to make their way down to the valley floor.  They walked along a stream that bubbled and gurgled until they came to a small village nestled in the middle of the valley.  There were only four roads, more like two that intersected in the center of the village.
“Brida, stay out here until I can find us a place to stay.  They might not be too welcoming to a large snowcat like you,” he said as he scratched her under her chin.  She rubbed on his thigh almost knocking him over.  “Brida, you’ll be safe out here.  I’ll be back soon.”  With that, Lailoken walked on towards the inn.
“Welcome to the Dark Dog Inn,” the innkeeper said as Lailoken walked inside.  The room was dusty but comfortable.  Once inside, Lailoken froze.  The innkeeper had the face and head of a giant dog, like a retriever of some kind.  He’d never seen a real caninian and the sight of one startled him.
“Some kind of stranger, eh?” the dog faced innkeeper asked.  His face was a deep brown with large brown eyes and a full set of teeth.  His long ears hung down to his shoulders.
Lailoken struggled for words.  
“Yeah, you aren’t from around here.  Not too many visitors from out of the valley.”  The innkeeper raised his snout and sniffed the air.  “You brought a snowcat here?”  
Lailoken looked at the innkeeper carefully.  “Yeah…yeah I did.  She’s harmless though.  She won’t bother anyone.  I was looking for a place we could stay.  But…”
“But what?  You think we can’t handle a snowcat around here?  We’re caninian, but we are civilized.  My name’s Gorthe.  Welcome,” he said and flashed a smile that was at once warm and threatening.  He reached out a hand that was all human.  Lailoken cautiously shook it.  
“Come, let’s get you settled in.  So what brings you here?” Gorthe asked.  He motioned for Lailoken to follow him down a hall to a small room at the end.  
“Just passing through,” Lailoken said.  Gorthe eyed him and nodded.
“Here you are,” he said waving a hand to the empty room.  “You can stay here, but your snowcat will have to stay outside in the stables.  No animals are allowed in the inn,” Gorthe said.  Lailoken wanted to protest, to say how could half-dogs say any such thing, but thought better of it.
“Thank you Gorthe.  I’ll need to show Brida where she can stay.”  Lailoken left the inn and walked back to where he left Brida.  He found her laying in the tall grass away from the road watching for people passing by.
“You won’t believe it Brida.  They’re caninians!”  Brida didn’t flinch.  “Did you hear me girl?  They are half-dogs!  I thought those were just myths.”  Brida licked her paws.  “Well come on, I found us a place to stay.”  Brida rose and trotted to Lailoken’s side.  She followed him down the road to the inn where he led her to the stables.
“I know it’s not the best, but it’ll do.  I’ll bring some food later.  Rest up, tomorrow we go to the Spine.”
The night passed without incident.  Gorthe gave them a few small loaves of dense bread for the trip and wished them well.  Lailoken and Brida were gone before the little village woke from the cool night.    
It took most of the day before they were at the base of the Spine.  The sheer grey cliffs rose high into the clouds where they couldn’t see the top.  Brida growled as they stood marveling at the sight.  “What is it girl?  You knew we were going here.  We are going through Brida.  We’re crossing to the other side.”  The snowcat licked her paws unconcerned.  
Lailoken pulled a map from out of his sack, unrolled it and thought.  He scoured over the ancient markings.  “Ahh, yes…there it is,” he said out loud, rolled it up and put the map away.  “Brida, we go this way,” he said pointing to a barely noticeable crack in the solid wall.  They walked closer and Brida’s ears perked up at the sound of a low humming noise.
They walked closer and stopped just outside the crack.  Inside Lailoken watched in wonder as a glowing portal in hues of blue and purple shimmered before him.  The hair on Brida’s back stood up and she growled a deep menacing growl.  “Brida,” he said softly, stroking her massive head, “it’s ok.  This is the way through the Spine.  We step in there and it takes us to the other side.”  She hesitated as Lailoken stepped forward.  “Come on, let’s go,” he called to her.  With a hesitation not normally shown, Brida carefully walked towards him.
Lailoken stepped in the shimmering portal first, his leg breaking the vertical plane.  Brida followed.  Just as her head broke through the portal, Lailoken heard a shout behind him.
“No!  Stop!  Don’t go in there!”  It was Gorthe running towards them, his large ears flapping with each step.  Lailoken looked back at him, confused.  “Stop!  The caninians…don’t go in there!”
It was too late.  Lailoken’s momentum carried him forward.  On the other side of the portal, a new race of beings emerged.  They came to be known as the felinians.  


It’s time for another Flickr story.  This is one I wrote in the spring of 2014 after seeing this picture from the Twitter account @ThatsEarth.  If I remember correctly, I think it’s Abu Dhabi, but I can’t swear to it.  All I could think of was what’s under the clouds?  Read on and you will find out what my answer was.  


Jonah flew in his personal flight vehicle, or PFV as they called it, dodging the buildings and traffic around him.  The protective sun shade was drawn down to protect him from harmful flare-ups and reflections off the buildings.  It was another flight home after a long day and week of work.  He needed this week-end badly.
He engaged the auto pilot as soon as he started in hopes of relaxing on the three-hundred mile flight back to his home when he drifted off to a fitful nap.  It technically wasn’t outlawed to nap while flying, but it was certainly frowned upon.  Jonah figured it wouldn’t be long before some do-gooder with an axe to grind would get the law passed.  But for now, he drifted off while the PFV flew a familiar course on its way back to his home.
No sooner had Jonah fallen asleep when his PFV made a sudden course correction that jolted him sideways.  His head hit the glass windshield.  “Ouch!  What are you doing you stupid thing?” he said out loud.  The glass was reinforced to eliminate breakage, or at least reduce it to almost non-existent, and when his head hit it didn’t budge or crack, which was bad for his head.  He reached up and rubbed his forehead, feeling the beginnings of a nice knot starting.
Of course his PFV didn’t reply, only continued on its path.  Jonah looked out at all the buildings protruding through the clouds and felt confused.  He wasn’t sure if the hit on the head caused it or if it was because he was somewhere he’d never seen before.  The buildings looked…different.  
He was used to seeing flat roof tops with green plants and trees and gardens and swimming pools.  What he looked on now were sharp tips of sleek buildings that extended much higher than he remembered.
Frantic, he checked out both sides of the PFV and there were several spire topped buildings, glass and metal reflecting the evening sun.  “Where am I?” he said out loud.  He clicked the onboard nav system and spoke out loud.  “Computer, where are we?”  
“Cordero sector, section 19-563” the female computer voice explained.  Jonah frowned.  Cordero he thought.  Why are we here…and where is Cordero?  “Computer, return to home course immediately,” he said.  
“Computer, return to home course now!” he said louder.  
“Course set.  Continuing,” the nav system replied.  The PFV didn’t change direction but continued towards the tallest of the spired buildings Jonah spotted far ahead. 
He didn’t notice it at first, but as he looked around, he saw that the traffic had dropped off considerably, almost to the point where it ceased completely.  
Jonah switched the nav system to manual.  He grabbed the steering wheel and tried turning but the PFV didn’t change course.  It was as if the switch didn’t work.  “What the…” Jonah said.  He tried rebooting the system, a tricky maneuver while flying, but not out of the ordinary when a system wide crash like this happened.  Nothing turned off.  The entire PFV defied his attempts and continued on its course for the spired building now growing larger and larger in view as they approached.  
Frustrated, Jonah stopped trying to reboot the PFV and decided to wait until it reached whatever destination it had in mind before he’d either have it repaired or grab public transport to take him home.  
All day he dreamed of going home to relax and do nothing all week-end.  This delay aggravated him.  He didn’t need this after the terrible week he had.
Suddenly, the PFV dove down and banked to the left, circling the large spire topped building until it set down on a landing pad on the backside of the building just above the clouds.
The PFV powered down and opened its hatch, the ladder extending down to the platform.  Jonah looked around and saw no one.  He thought a moment then climbed out of the defective PFV.  “Why not, it’s better to be out of that stupid machine than in it I guess,” he said as he climbed down.  He wanted to be home now sipping a cold beer and watching mindless television but instead he was off in “Cordero Sector” and he was lost.  He walked over to the door at the end of the landing pad that he assumed led to someone who might be able to help him.
When he stepped inside, he saw sleek black walls with fluorescent blue lights illuminating the halls in either direction, but no desk and no sign of help.  Anger growing inside, Jonah spotted an elevator to his right.  He walked over and pushed the button.  Within moments, he heard a whoosh as the hyper speed elevator flew to his floor.  The doors opened with a chime and he stepped inside.  There were only four buttons on the control panel.
“What the hell?” he said out loud.  From the looks of the building on the outside, there must have been at least a hundred floors, yet there were only four buttons.  And they were labeled.  The top button said “Food.”  The next button down said “Restroom.”  The third button down was labelled “Sleep,” while the bottom button was labeled “Home.”  Jonah hesitated, unsure what button to press.  “Well,” he said, then pressed the bottom button.
Immediately the elevator rushed downwards.  Jonah steadied himself on the wall as the g-forces pulled on him.  The trip lasted well over a minute, and even in a hyper speed elevator, that was a long time.  And that worried him.
No one had been down to “street level” in his lifetime, at least not that he knew.  Ever since the Winter Wars raged across the planet, the surface of Earth had been nothing but a boiling, heaving mass of pollution and worse.  That’s where all the clouds came from.  Above them, the world looked beautiful and inviting, but from the pictures he saw in history books and the news, the surface was uninhabitable.  Nothing lived there.  It was utter waste and destruction.  The surface was boiling from the nuclear waste and the evaporation rose up to create the manmade clouds that blocked the sun from ever reaching down to it.  
Jonah thought of all these things as the elevator slowed and finally stopped, opening with a chime.  He looked out of the elevator to a sleek black hallway very much like the one he left moments earlier.  He hesitated but stepped out hoping to find anyone to help him.  The elevator doors closed behind him and he heard the whoosh sound as it ascended upwards.  Panic started to creep into his thoughts and he fought to push it down, hoping to be out of here as soon as possible.
He turned right and walked along the hallway until he came to a door on his left.  He looked around before he grabbed the handle and pushed down.  To his surprise, it opened up.
Stepping through the door was like entering a different world.  He stood in a large hallway that was like nothing he’d ever seen.  Glass walls rose high in the air, curving above him.  Outside he could see lush vegetation.  He spotted snow covered mountains off in the distance and birds in the air.  It looked light outside as though the sun shone down here, but that was impossible.  Everyone knew it couldn’t penetrate the dense smog.  He looked on the verdant world before him with wonder and astonishment.  He’d never seen anything so beautiful in his life.  The problems of his week felt so petty and worthless compared to the awesome beauty he gazed on.  
He walked slowly along the glass lined corridor admiring the trees and brightly colored flowers on all sides of him.  At the end of the corridor was another door, a glass one.  Above it in bright green letters it said “HOME.”  He smiled and tried the handle.  It opened.
A rush of warm tropical air flooded over Jonah as he opened the door.  The scents were mesmerizing.  The sound of rushing water and birds chirping filled his ears.  “Home,” he said in bewilderment.  
Stepping into the warm air, Jonah was overwhelmed by the lush beauty.  He hadn’t seen anything like this in his life.  All he knew were clouds and skies, nothing like the wonderous landscape in front of him.  
Home he thought over and over again.  He was home.  
Suddenly, his thoughts turned to his real home, to his PFV, to the towers above the skies.  He started worrying he might be intruding on something malevolent.  But the green expanse in front of him and the water rushing and the animals making sounds…all of it felt comforting.
“Where am I?” he said out loud.
“Why…you’re home Mr. Pelinski.”
Jonah jumped to the side, his heart racing fast.  He hadn’t seen anyone when he stepped into the tropical garden.
“Who…who are you?” he said through shallow breaths.  His heart threatened to burst through his chest.
“Please do not worry Mr. Pelinski.  You are safe, you are home,” said a small robot, about the size of a cat.  Jonah hadn’t noticed it sitting still, like a large rock, when he stepped through the door.  His gaze was too fixed on the wondrous colors to notice anything else.
Jonah looked at the small robot with trepidation.  It looked like a mini-human with two legs, two arms, and a face with eyes, nose, and a mouth though Jonah couldn’t understand why.  
“You are home Mr. Pelinksi.  It was your time.  We have brought you here because you belong.  This is for you Mr. Pelinksi.  You have free roam,” the tiny robot said with a theatric wave of its arm.  The robot was entirely grey except for its yellow glowing eyes.  
“But, I don’t understand,” Jonah replied, his confusion showing on his face.  He rubbed his head trying to take it all in and process it.
“Understanding is not required Mr. Pelinksi.  Just accept.  It is yours.  There are others, but you are all welcome.  You are home,” the robot repeated again.  
Jonah stared off in the distance, looking over the small robot.  
Others?  It was my time?

Jonah’s eyes went large as a thought grew within his mind.  
“Where am I?” he said to the robot.  It looked up at Jonah and a smile formed on its metallic face.

“You are in Heaven Mr. Pelinksi.  You…are home.”

Flickr Story 1: The Barn

Over the past year I’ve tried to keep up with writing after the euphoria of NaNaWriMo ended. Searching for ways to create short, flash fiction stories, I turned to browsing Flickr for random pictures from which to build a story.  I’ve referred to these as my “Flickr Stories” though not all were from there (I also used pictures from the Twitter account @ThatsEarth) Most of these were meant for writing practice but after a little touch-up, I thought I’d start sharing them here on my blog.  My intent is to post on the 15th of every month a new story inspired by pictures I found interesting. They are fairly short, around 1,000 words per story and won’t take too long to read. When possible, I’ve included the image I used for inspiration. Some of them were deleted as I purged my phone seeking precious memory when updating my phone, but of those that remained, I’ll include them.

Most of the stories are sci-fi/fantasy/horror in nature.

I hope you enjoy the break from serious essays (which I still intend on posting) and I welcome all comments.


For my first offering, I present to you a story from February called “The Barn.”  It’s a short story with a nice twist.

The Barn

The waning light of day held the barn in a wonderful silhouette against the orange and pink and purple sky.  The sun barely peeked above the roofline of the grey weathered barn.  It sat in the midst of a sea of grain, golden and brown on a late winter day.  Off in the distance were tractors and grain silos, quiet now.
Mark approached the barn.  He needed to gather seeds stored there for his garden.  He’d gotten to starting the plants indoors so when spring finally decided to push its way through winter’s cold grasp, he’d be ready to transplant the seedlings outside and have his vegetables to the local market faster than most others in the county.  Some had picked up on his techniques and were doing the same, but he started years ago and had the whole process down to an exacting science.
He marveled at the beautiful colors splashed across the sky.  He admired the perfect blends of color in the air as though he stood face to face with a great masterwork of art.  He smiled.  
Approaching the barn door, he heard a soft rustle inside and hesitated.  No one should be inside and the sound gave him pause.  He waited, listening.  He could hear the wind blowing through the tall dry grass.  But nothing from inside the barn.  He laughed at his paranoia and pulled the door open.  He regretted it immediately.  
Staring back at him were yellow and green bright eyes.  He couldn’t tell how many creatures there were.  Eyes were everywhere.  He thought there were more than two per head, maybe three or four but he couldn’t be sure.  All of those eyes, some bright yellow and some an eery green stared at him as though he were the interloper and they the resident of the dwelling.  
“He,” one of the creatures said.  “He the one for seed,” it continued in a broken english, sort of like a child learning to speak.  
“He,” they all said in unison.  The chorus of voices overwhelmed Mark.  He noticed grey bodies moving and writhing, arms flailing as they moved closer to the door…and to him.
“He,” they said again in one voice.
Mark’s eyes bulged out of his head.  He lost the ability to scream.  His focus remained on the mass of thin grey bodies with their luminescent eyes peering back at him.
“He,” they said, louder than before.
Mark tried to turn away but some unseen force held him there like a statue.  Panic built inside of him threatening to overtake control of his mind.  
Suddenly one of the creatures stepped from the mass of grey and approached Mark.  It was just a bit shorter than Mark and had three eyes, two in the usual location and another on its forehead.  Its eyes were a bright glowing green color.  It stopped just a few feet in front of Mark and held out one of its hands pointing a long skinny finger with a black fingernail at him.  
“He…he makes seed.  We need seed.  We need get ready.”  
Mark felt his crotch go warm and damp.  His scream still not voicing itself as though something held it in check.  The grey creature took another step closer and placed his hand on Mark’s forehead.  The touch felt cold and painful to Mark, but he couldn’t shout or scream.  The intense pain burrowing deep in his skull.  
“He!” the mass behind the creature shouted loudly.  The creature closed its eyes and pulled back his hand, bringing Mark’s brain with it.  Mark’s body fell to the ground, a massive hole in his forehead where his brain was extruded.
“He!” shouted the creatures.  “He! He! He!”
The creature turned back to the mass of grey bodies, holding Mark’s bloody brain in his hands like an offering.  They pushed themselves back opening a pathway for the creature to walk through.  It stepped forward until it reached the center of the barn.  Two of the strange creatures dug a hole with their black nailed hands in the hard dirt.  The creature sniffed the brain, salivating, before placing it gently down in the soil.  The other two creatures that dug the hole carefully covered Mark’s brain with the soil.
“He!” those around them shouted.  “He!  Seed!”  
They stood watching the ground, waiting for the seedling to grow.
The weathered grey barn stood in fields of grain, unimportant and unassuming.  The winds blew on it like any other day.  Shades of blue with white wispy clouds colored the sky above. 
The seedling finally sprouted.

“He!” they shouted in unison.  “Food,” they said together.