Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

silhouette-3120378Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: Border

35 responses to “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. A lightning thrust of tanks was halted by the timely counterattack of a force of centaurs and unicorns. The accompanying air cover of Warthog airplanes and Hind helicopters was driven off by the dragon combat air patrol.

    Just another day in the battle on the border between reason and unreason . . .

  2. “Okay, that’s it! No pay, no stay! I’m kicking you to the curb!”

    “Walter! You have a bad back – are you sure you should be carrying that tenant to the sidewalk?”

    “Damned sure. He’s crossed the line and must pay, one way or another. He ain’t heavy, he’s my boarder.”

  3. Roger Ritter

    “Hmmm”, Joe mused. “I see the terminator is coming again.”
    Ed panicked, “What!! Quick, get the heavy guns! The 40-Watt plasma rifle!”
    Joe looked at him in puzzlement. “What good will that do? You can’t shoot it. It’s just the border between night and day. It comes every two weeks.”

  4. Tarr lit his cigar, and puffed on it until it was well started.

    “Right now, you are standing on a border. You have seen some things that you cannot explain, and you must make a choice. You can try to forget what you have seen or you can cross the border into what I call the Shadowlands. But be aware that once you cross that border, it is difficult to return. And one day the Shadowlands may swallow you without a trace.”

    “How can we forget?”

    “You will find it easier than you might believe. Incidents like the one we just lived through have a way of erasing themselves. Photographs that were clear evidence of the uncanny become blurry. Artifacts are lost from lock rooms. Noone remembers. Reality is plastic, and to some degree consensual. A film comes out that interests the public in something that cannot be, and while that interest in engaged there are vampires…or there seem to be vampires. The public loses interest, and other explainations emerge.”

    “That can’t be possible…”

    “In my experience, is all too possible. And therin lies the danger, because if you are involved in whatever uncanny thing the public has lost interest in, you may vanish with it. I’ve known those who did. They walked across the border into the Shadowlands, and the border shifted, and they never returned.”

    “Well, what about you?”

    “Oh, I fully expect to vanish, one day. Something will change and I won’t make it back. This antique business of mine will be run by someone else entirely, and always will have been. Or it may vanish, too, and in it’s place will be a dry cleaner, or a restaurant.”

    “Well, why don’t you walk away? You seem to think we should.”

    “I have lived on the border for too long. By the time I understood the danger, it was too late. Too much of what makes me who I am is tied up in Shadows.”

  5. His hand traced the border of the picture frame, as if afraid to touch the picture within. Memories flooded back as tears spilled unheeded down his face. Lisa came in on cat feet, and lay her hand on his leg, “Daddy? What’s the matter, daddy?”

  6. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Jethro and Elly May both saw the border before them even though it wasn’t visible to their eyes.

    On the other side were the monsters that had kidnapped their friends and family.

    The two had power that their friends and family lacked but would it be enough to rescue them?

    Then a being appeared before them in the form of an old woman.

    “Children,” she said. “You don’t have a chance to rescue them. You have to leave these mountains to find the city-slickers with the Power.”

    Jethro replied “Who are you?”.

    “You may call me Grannie Agatha, but you must leave now or the Master of the Monsters will know you are here,” the old woman replied.

    • Ooh, heckuva twist there. 🙂

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Now what twist are you seeing? 😀

        Now, this story is set in my Super-Beings universe where “our world” had a world-wide outbreak of super-beings around 1901.

        Jethro and Elly May grew up in the Georgia Blue-Ridge mountains in a community of people who withdrew from the rest of the US during the “Time of Trouble” caused by outbreak of super-beings.

        While the US has rebuilt itself thanks to the “Good Guys” among the super-beings, their community (and others) had deliberately stayed isolated.

        They are kissing cousins who have just reached “courting age” and in both cases they are mainly self-trained in the use of their powers as people in these communities with super-powers move out or are forced out. Note, the US government knows about these self-isolated communities and quietly checks to see if they are have problems with Rogue super-beings.

        The monsters are constructs created by one of the “Ancient Super-being Keeps” that is currently controlled by an insane super-being.

        Grannie Agatha is a splinter of the Mind Of the Keep (think magical Artificial Intelligence) and knows that the kids can’t stop her insane Master.

        She wants them to leave the mountains to get help.

        I have to admit that I slightly dislike the theme of “young people doing the job that adults would find extremely difficult”. It’s one thing when the young people “have no choice” in the matter but in this case Jethro and Elly May do have a choice and will be going to get help.

        I have thought that Grannie might have to use one of the Monsters to convince Jethro that he doesn’t stand a chance. 😀

  7. I live on the border between insanity and plain crazy, which is where the Mountains of Madness lie (and damned ourageously, too, I have to tell you, there being a gun at my back.) Aye, it be a strange, strange world I live in, and the worst of it is NO Dunkin’ Donuts!

  8. The border was sharper than Bredon remembered, and Lilianna stopped in her tracks.
    “What is this?” she said.
    “The forest,” said their guide.
    “Forests do not have grass in great lawns. Or trees the same height, spaced out so that they each grow without interference. And they do have deadwood.”

  9. Donald Stephens

    As Masrah got closer, he was surprised by the number of soldiers. When he’d been posted here twenty-five years ago, the border-forts had a single company of men each. This looked to be three companies, and there were crews building a stockade and temporary barracks. He wondered if there was trouble with brigands. Jant had said nothing about trouble in his letter, but that had been a month ago.

    He would find out soon enough, for there was a squad in the track in front of him. Eight men, and an officer. He waved to them, and halted his mule a bit short, letting them walk up to him. The officer was a grass-green ensign in an obviously brand-new uniform, and the men were alert but not suspicious. Probably not brigands, then.

  10. A good solid wall and a door in it. You would think that enough to mark the border. Rosine still found herself eyeing it as she came up. Carolus could read the sigils. She couldn’t.
    Or perhaps it just unnerved her that she had to come up front for it, rather than let the warriors stand between her and peril.

  11. Every workday, and nearly every day, I gotta cross the border.
    The Deer cross it too. See them crossing the ice.
    No “On The Border”s around here but we now have two La Cabana locations.
    Al Stewart is nowhere to be found, though RP plays a live version from time to time

    random unconnected border thoughts
    I haz ’em

  12. He remembered when the Taku River was wild, and full of fish. That was before miners constructed tailing ponds upriver, above the border.

    Why in God’s name was the border drawn in a straight line, the old man grumbled. It’s not natural.

    He poked the fire and warmed his hands.

  13. After a difficult flight, Peter Caudell was happy to sit down at the pilots’ table in the Shepardsport dining commons. He’d expected shop talk, not a discussion of old sitcoms he barely remembered from childhood.

    “Always drove me nuts, how they’d never even bother to keep the rockets and spacecraft consistent in a single launch sequence.” Bill Hearne was talking to a guy in from Coopersville, someone Peter didn’t recognize.

    The Coopersville pilot laughed. “Yeah, it always bordered on the ridiculous for me, but everybody else thought I was being too anal. ‘It’s a comedic fantasy,’ they’d tell me. ‘If you can have an astronaut find a pretty girl genie in a bottle, why let the launch scenes bother you? It’s all stock footage anyway.'”

    Peter nodded, recognizing the show in question. He’d watched some episodes, mostly because he’d been right at the age when boys discover girls are Really Interesting, and the actress had been hot.

    On the other hand, he’d always enjoyed the attention to detail the producers put into My Other Car Is a Space Shuttle. But then it was supposed to be a realistic setting in what was then contemporary Houston, with an astronaut whose job was no more Buck Rogers than an airline captain’s.

  14. The Left has played to what they imagine assume conservatives to be without regard to innumerable evidence to the contrary. Of course, since that is how they got Trump, persisting in their bigotry will only get them more Trump, and worse. Don’t worry, though: they will still smugly quote Einstein as having declared that “Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.”

    As if Einstein knew aught more about insanity than what he learned watching the Nazis — and I suspect he would be wise enough to adjudge that acting like Nazis while denouncing Nazism is a classic instance of actions speaking louder than words.

    We Are Dancing on a Powder Keg
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Social media has been full of the Democrats talking about the Stormy Daniels affair with the joy and sniggers of three-year-olds who just discovered there’s a word for what you do on the potty.

    This is predictable and not at all upsetting, because if these people had any political sophistication and understanding of history, they wouldn’t support a party that is more fully behind the full-on communism that has killed a hundred million human beings in the 20th century and bids fair to at least an attempt to continue its work in the twenty-first. Also, most of them have the understanding of history of Occasional Cortex and think that politics is a sort of game. All they’re really doing is signaling their membership in the “tribe.”

    All well and good, but there is an aspect of this that worries me: they actually expect l’affaire Stormy to change our minds about Trump. And from their polls – snork, giggle, remember 2016? – they’re absolutely convinced they’re winning.

    This worries me because it tells me just how far from reality their mental processes have gone, particularly their image of us.

    Look, I don’t deny we have any number of religiously conservative people. Note, these are not just religious or conservative, but people whose only interest in politics is that their religion tells them to be conservative. And maybe those people really can be turned off voting for a president because he is sinful. (Raises eyebrow.) Except that, you know, all of those I personally know have accepted that the president —as sinful and imperfect as he is — has been the vehicle for something else.

    The traditionally religious people I know believe he was sent as an instrument of G-d to save the US from complete doom and at least give us a second chance.

    Are they going to be swayed by the Stormy Daniels nonsense? …

  15. As I recall, Billy Jeff argued that blow-jobs and even auto-erotic stimulation with cigars did not constitute sex. Given that a common definition of sexual relations specifies mutual concern for the partner’s pleasure I accepted his claim that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

    I never for a moment imagined that he had any concern for her gratification.

    • Oops – WP fail. The preceding comment was intended as reply to tcbobg’s observation: “it’s not lying if you can change the meaning of the words . . .