Sunday, June 3, 2012


Photo by L. Kolp

Who is this lady? Where is she going? Who is she with? What are those four bells to her left? What about that shining light above the bells?

 I hope the picture inspires you. I can't wait to read your flash fiction pieces. Just post them in the comments below.



    Dr. Elizabeth Rossi was a caring soul. Recently retired from a prestigious career at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, she had been grounded in aiding humanity. She never did it for the recognition. She just felt good about it.

    On a recent visit to one of the clinics her foundation had established, Dr. Rossi had met Anika,an orphaned victim of the civil war that had ravaged the countryside. The young girl brought the doctor to a special place.

    "This is Peace Garden" Anika began. "People of my village have planted these flowers. The hope is that peace will flourish where flowers are allowed to grow."

    Elizabeth was touched by her dedication to the betterment of their interrupted lives. She walked with Anika, enjoying the site of such misplaced beauty, and the company the young girl provided. They walked to a point in the garden that caused Dr. Rossi and her friend to stop.

    "What of these bells?" the doctor inquired.

    "Those "spirit" bells. They ring to honor the spirits of the casualties of our people." Anika explained.

    The hour reached noon. A silent attendant came up the road and bowed in the solitude to the two women. He began to tap upon the bells. The sweetest sound emitted from his percussion. One tone for each life lost.

    The young girl bowed her head out of respect. Dr. Rossi upon seeing this, did the same. The birds ceased their song. The breeze rustled the foliage. And the bells chimed in commemoration of the fallen. The feeling was indeed peaceful.

    Dr. Rossi did not feel remorse. There was a placid sense to this "Peace Garden". For obvious reasons, Dr. Rossi loved this place. She just felt good about it.

    1. Poignant and sad, Walt. Beautiful. I can hear those bells, that quiet even the birds.

    2. Can hear the clear sound of the spirit bells you created. Lovely

    3. Walt- What a lovely peace garden... we should all find one like that. I like the meaning of the bells here. Thanks for taking part.

    4. You just keep putting out good stories, Walt. You're going to have to collect all of these and get them between two hard covers for release to those who wish to enjoy holding them in their hands.

      I can definitely see this happening, feel it in the way it's described in short bursts of imagery.

      Excellent job.

  2. Emily put the straw hat on her head and hurried out the door, wearing her Grandmother's clothes. The cardigan and skirt were floppy, too large except around her top and still swollen middle. The baby was in the rose-cutting basket wrapped in the yellow blanket she bought last month and hid on the top shelf of the garage in a plastic bag under the summer lawn chairs. Yellow, before she knew it was a girl. She had already broken another promise to herself adding to the strand of lies, each growing larger, glistening and hard as swallowed pearls. The basket thumped against her thigh as she walked, eyes straight ahead, the baby banged to sleep. This last promise she would keep - if she had vowed, the sun shone on a single bell - she would leave the basket. If it did not - she would, she would go home, change back into her own clothes and tell. She rushed up the path, a trio of bells hung in shaded shadow, only the uppermost bell closest to the sky touched unmistakably by the slanting sun. In fluid motion of convinced destiny she set the basket beside the bench and walked quickly almost brushing other walkers in her haste, arms still frozen as though holding a basket. A fourteen-year-old in her Grandmother's straw hat, too large shoes flapping on her feet.

    1. Apologies just a quick thought - provocative photo Laurie!

    2. How sad... and very imaginative. I do love where the prompts take us. Thanks for participating, Pearl.

    3. Such a sad story where nobody wins, least of all the girl-child, too young to have to make such a critical decision all alone.

      Images here are going to be difficult to put out of the mind, Pearl.

      Good job.

  3. The text said she was lost, but she remembered the bells. We had always told her to take mental notes of landmarks when hiking for this very reason. That was hours ago. Since then, we'd heard nothing else from Sara.

    We'd walked these woods before, as a family years ago. It had taken quite some time, but we'd finally found the bells. Sara was nowhere to be seen. I'd demanded that we wait for her. She had to be hot and dehydrated by now. No time could be wasted chasing each other in circles.

    After nearly an hour of anxious worry, a bright halo started shining between the bells and caught my attention. I felt a warmth come over me, and I knew everything would be alright. A cool breeze rustled the trees. The bells began to chime. As I turned to look, I saw peanuts on the ground... and pretzels. It was Sara's snack mix! We got up and followed the path to where she sat alone and scared beneath an old oak tree not fifty yards away.

  4. This story says so much about the people in it; the narrator who could be stubborn when needed and who had faith, the ones with the narrator who were willing to go off in indeterminate directions rather than sit quietly and wait for a sign.

    The lost child, or was it a child (that's never established completely) who remembered something from long ago, who'd taken snacks with her, who knew how to text, and who--upon getting lost--had the good sense to stay put after leaving a trail straight to the bells.

    I like it; plausible, effective, almost bittersweet, goo storytelling. Really liked this.