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Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #18 – The Great Symphony

This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #18. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the week #18 Image Prompt.


Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

~ ~ ~

The Great Symphony

Life is a continuum of a Great Symphony.

Adagio airs a soothing melody of sweet love,

laments the inner sorrow, and

the melancholic soul.

Maestoso pitches the triumph of a noble spirit,

pronounces the victory of a long and

hard-won battle.

Fortissimo frees the shout from the depth of the heart,

proclaims the greatest joy

has ever been told.

Pianissimo whispers to your ears, the faintest sob,

breathes the darkest secret

only to you.

Now and then, it comes the rest, and the rest.


What tranquility it is, in the Great Symphony of Life.



Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #17 – Message

This is Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #17. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the week #17 Image Prompt.

Image by Antonios Ntoumas from Pixabay


A letter curled in the bottle of brown

Left adrift aimless in the open sea

Vessel reached the shore; no sailor drown

After floating miles away carrying English tea


Left adrift aimless in the open sea

Sparks echoed the shimmering sunbeam above

After floating miles away carrying English tea

A tug in a wandering heart yearning for love


Sparks echoed the shimmering sunbeam above

A gentle soul gazed upon the glittering wavy sea

A tug in a wandering heart yearning for love

The mysterious message begged to be free


A gentle soul gazed upon the glittering wavy sea

Vessel reached the shore; no sailor drown

The mysterious message begged to be free

from a letter curled in the bottle of brown

(Pantoum Poem)


Pantoum poem comprises a series of quatrains (stanzas) rhyming ABAB in which the second and fourth lines of a quatrain recur as the first and third lines in the next quatrain. Each quatrain introduces a new second rhyme as BCBC, CDCD. This pattern continues for many stanzas except the final stanza. The first line of the poem recurs as the last line of the closing stanza, and the third line of the poem is the second of the final stanza, rhyming ZAZA.

1 2 3 4

2 5 4 6

5 7 6 8

7 3 8 1


Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #16 – Full moon

This is Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #16. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you to writeFlash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the week #16 Image Prompt.

Image by steve felberg from Pixabay

Full Moon

“Did you sleep okay last night, Son?”

“I did, Dad. Why?”

“You tossed and turned a little. The temperature dropped. I put my jacket on your sleeping bag and you stayed still. I went to sleep after that. I thought if you woke up, it would wake me up, so I didn’t worry about that. If your mom came, she would be up all night to watch you.”

“I know, Dad. Mom worries about me. She wouldn’t let me climb rocks by myself. I know she loves me. You let me do things.”

“Well, I know what you can do, but I also want you to try new things. I always watch out in case you need help.”

“I like this new pop-up tent. It’s easier to set up.”

“Yes, but I still needed your help. I couldn’t do it all by myself.”

“I like to help, Dad.”

“You always do, since you were two years old. We have a good time doing things together.”

“I had never seen a huge full moon like the one last night. I felt like I could touch it.”

“Yes, the clear sky gave us a better view of the moon.”

“Did you hear the wolves howling?”

“I did. The howling seemed to come from many directions. Do you think they howled at the full moon?”

“No, silly Dad. Why would they do that?”

“Isn’t it what we see in some wolf pictures?”

“Yeah… But my teacher said that’s the way they talk to each other. Sometimes they tell other wolves of where they are.”

“Good job, Son. You understand howling of the wolves. What else did the teacher say?”

“He said the wolves stay together as a family, like mom and dad and kids and aunts and uncles.”

“Is there a name for the wolf family?”

“It’s called a Pack, Dad. I thought you knew.”

“I just wanted to hear what the teacher told you. Okay, we’ll do a little hiking this morning.”

“Oh good, I was hoping to do that. Where are we going?”

“Do you remember where the howling came from last night?”

“I wasn’t sure.”

“That was from where we found Wolfy. When mama wolf got shot by the hunters, she escaped, but Wolfy was hiding in the brush. The hunters didn’t see him and went away. We waited for several hours, but mama wolf didn’t return. I think she got hurt terribly. We took Wolfy home to feed him. It has been a month. I think mama wolf should be healed by now. We’ll let Wolfy go back to his mom.”

“Wolfy and Zody got along so well. I wish we could keep Wolfy.”

“Cubs look like puppies, but they aren’t dogs. Alright, let’s uncover the cage and wait here. Wolfy may call his mom.”

“Okay, Dad. Will the wolves hurt us?”

“No, they won’t attack us unless we threaten them.”

“Wolfy is weaning. He is calling his mama.”

“Okay, I hear the barking, can you?”

“Yes, it’s across the field behind the trees.”

“They are moving out to the open. One wolf moved to the front but was standing there barking.”

“Oh, Wolfy is howling louder.”

“I think he recognizes mama’s voice. Okay, bring him out of the cage and put him on the floor carefully facing the trees.”

“Wolfy, goodbye. I’ll miss you.”

“I see the wolves are looking this way. Okay, let Wolfy go.”

“Okay, Dad… Now Wolfy, go to your mommy.”

“Oh good, he is running toward them. We’ll wait until they’re gone before we hike back to the campsite.”

“Thanks, Dad, for letting me come along to say goodbye to Wolfy.”

“You’re welcome, Son. I’m glad you are here to help.”





Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #15 – Inferno

This is Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #15. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the week #15 Image Prompt.


“Shall we board up the windows, Jeffrey? The howling wind is banging on the house. Look, the windows shattered.”

“I can try, Marsha. I don’t think there’s anything we can do at this point. Nothing can hold the windows shut.”

“The debris got blown in and darted the walls, the chandelier was shocked and dropped. It’s like an earthquake.”

“I fear this is worse than the earthquake. Did you see the eerie bright orange line of flames several miles long on the news two nights ago?”

“The gusty wind was blowing this way and dropped the sparks everywhere. It scared me to death when our garage caught on fire and the flames licked into the kitchen.”

“The big fire extinguisher saved us because the firefighters were busy fighting an enormous battle.”

“My cousin called this morning saying he was exhausted but okay. The fire burned hard overnight on the slope four miles north of our city, but his fellow fire crew with the bulldozers and fire engines was able to calm the flames and keep them from coming downhill. He said the Sheriff’s deputies knocked on doors to warn residents to evacuate.”

“The drought and the humidity of 5% to 10% are not helping to contain the blaze. The news said the Thomas fire burned an acre per second.”

“Your school got hit hard.”

“Yes, the cafeteria and several wings were ablaze to the ground in just minutes. The community rushed over to help before the firetruck came. It only saved it from destroying the entire campus.”

“Winter break is coming up. I wonder what’s going to happen after the New Year.”

“It’s hard to say at this point.”

“What are we doing next?”

“I don’t know. I have the TV news and the online news on to monitor it minute by minute. Would you get our important documents, some warm clothes, water, and snack items for the road? I’ll make sure the car phone charger is in the car. We’ll have them ready for evacuation.”

“I’ll call my mom right now to tell her we’ll be heading to their house soon.”

“Look, the news just came on. The wind predicted to come this way changed the direction overnight. But there’s no guarantee of safety, so the city ordered mandatory evacuation. We must go now.”

“Would you check the freeway condition? I’m afraid thousands of people are fleeing.”

“Your parents are one hundred twenty miles away. I may have to get on and off the freeway to avoid the crowd.”

“People are anxious, we just have to be careful. My parents are ready for us.”

~ ~ ~

“Oh no, Marsha. All the homes at the foothill are in ashes. Our home is about the same as we left it.”

“It made me sad. The wildfires burned for 13 days and caused so many damages. I don’t know how people can recover from that.”

“Let’s drive around and see what we can find.”

“Did you see the Christmas decorations? Some people put garlands on the burned trees and Christmas lights on the brown shrubs. I even saw some stockings hung on a lonely fireplace. They tried to cheer up the neighborhood.”

“Marsha, I saw our school board member. I wonder what happens to the school.”

“Why don’t you ask him?”

“Hi, Mr. Jackson. Good to see you. Did the school board discuss the school opening after winter recess?”

“Oh yes, Jeffery. The board decided to bring in many bungalows to set up temporary classrooms and resume school as soon as possible. We hope to rebuild the school for next school year.”

“That’s wonderful. I’m ready to return to the classroom.”





Fiction In A Flash Challenge Prompt Week #13 – The Key to Unlock the Mystery

This is Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #13. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the week #13 Image Prompt.

The Key to Unlock the Mystery

“Mom, thank you for telling me about the adoption. I appreciate you and Dad. I still have this strange feeling of belonging to someone else.” Clara frown.

“I understand, Clara. Your dad and I wanted to have a family, but I couldn’t conceive, so we adopted.”

“How did you decide where to adopt?”

“Most of the countries listed the criteria of children being adopted. Many orphans had major physical or mental handicaps. We were not equipped to handle those problems. The orphans in China were either abandoned or given up for adoption because of the one-child policy. We hoped to adopt a healthy child.”

“Your document helped me to locate my birth parents. I want to meet them. This seems to be a good time for me.”

“What do you want to do when you find them?”

“I don’t know. I was always curious about living with them.”

“We support you whatever you do.”

“My flight is tomorrow night and arrives on the third day. China is fifteen hours ahead.”

“Message us and send us many pictures.”

“I will, Mom. I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life.”

~ ~ ~

Clara met her driver and translator at the airport. The city welcomed her with heavy smog covering the mountains in a distance. The sky had no trace of blue. She could gaze into the sun with a patch of light and fuzzy layers of haze.

The concrete buildings with hanging signs stretching out into the streets slowly disappeared. The sight on both sides of the car turned into scattered cottages and fields. The car bounced on an unpaved narrow road.

A small village with about fifty two-story narrow houses came into sight. The red bricks crumbled from the roofs and the fences between the houses.

“We arrived, Miss.” The driver announced.

“Xiè xiè!”1 Clara surveyed the surrounding.

The driver led her to a doorway where a weathered face woman dressed in grey top and black pants waiting.

“Nǐ hǎo?”2 The woman dropped her clasped hands and nodded at Clara.

“Nǐ hǎo? Hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ.”3 Clara reached and held her arms.

“Huān yíng. Qǐng zuò.”4 The woman extended her hand toward a chair.

“Xiè xiè.”5 Clara nodded and approached the chair.

After greeting the woman, Clara had the conversation with her through the translator.

“I’m here to learn about why you gave me up for adoption.”

“I had no choice. The government only let each family to have one child. We wanted to have a son because the son carries the family name and passes down the generations. Many women had abortions when they found out they had girls. Some of them were into seventh months of pregnancy. I didn’t know you were a girl until you were born. The only way we could have a second chance to have a son was to send you to an orphanage.”

“Did you have a son?”

“I did. My mother watched him for twelve years. My husband and I went to the big city to work in a garment factory and sent money home to my mother. We came home every three months to see our son.”

“It must be difficult not to see your son.”

“There was no work in the village. The factories are in the big cites. When our son was twelve, he got in trouble with other boys and didn’t want to go to school. I took the last train ride to come home to take care of him. I didn’t go back to the big city.”

“I’m glad I came to see you. Here is some money gift. I’ll write letters to you when I go back to the America.”

“Thank you for coming to see me. I’m happy for your bright future.”

“Xiè xiè, Ma. Zài jiàn.”6 Clara hugged the stiff woman.

“Zài jiàn.”7 She grinned and nodded.

~ ~ ~

“Clara, welcome home. Tell me about your trip.”

“It was an eye-opening journey, Mom. I had the mystery locked up for so long. Understanding was the key to set it free. I now have the balanced perspective of my past and present, and the appreciation of you and Dad for giving me a better life.”

~ ~ ~


1 Thank you?

2 How are you?

3 How are you? Very glad to see you.

4 Welcome. Please sit.

5 Thank you.

6 Thank you, mother. Goodbye.

7 Goodbye.

Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #12 – The Clock

This is the “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #12. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the week #12 Image Prompt.


Thanks to Bryce Barker for sharing their FREE IMAGE on Unsplash.

The Clock

“I had a wonderful time with you this weekend. Thank you for inviting me over for all the meals. Both your mom and grandma are excellent cooks.”

“We could have gone out to eat, but I know my mom and dad would love to have you around as much as possible. You surprised me by taking a third serving of the Mixed Berry Crisp pie.” Michelle giggled.

“I was just eating fruits. Berries are rich in antioxidant. Your grandma made it with no crust, so there was not so much carbohydrate.” The saliva rushed out under Dave’s tongue.

“I know you’re an expert in the food business. My mom and grandma were happy when you appreciated their cooking. Grandma is making desserts only these days.”

“Dessert is the best part of the dinner.”

“I’ll tell grandma you liked her dessert. I know you told her already. She’d like to hear it again.”

“Your grandma always has a pleasant smile. She seems to be content.”

“Yeah, nothing seems to upset her.”

“Where’s your grandpa?”

“Well, he left Grandma before I was born, so I’ve never met him. Grandma was retired when I was four and Rob was six. She moved in with us and watched us kids after school. It was when both mom and dad were working”

“I’m sure she loves you and it makes her life happier to be with you kids. Did she ever talk about your grandpa?”

“She didn’t when we were younger. We didn’t know the difference anyway. She talked to me when I got older. She said Grandpa was in love with someone at work and they went away.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Your grandma must be mad at him.”

“She said she was sad but not mad.”

“Were they married long?”

“I would say it was a long time. Twenty-five years.”

“I can’t imagine what it was like. Did she talk about being lonely or think about remarry?”

“After marrying Grandpa for twenty-five years, she didn’t think she could love anyone else the same way.”

“She gives all her love to you and Rob. No wonder she is so happy.”

“Grandma is honest. She shared with me about how she worked on forgiving Grandpa. To forgive someone is not an overnight thing. She had to stop blaming Grandpa or herself. She had to get rid of the unhealthy emotions and let go of Grandpa. Once she let go of him and let him be responsible for whatever happened, her heart felt light and happy again.”

“It was an incredible story.”

“I know. I wish you could stay and be here for her 70th birthday party. It’s a holiday tomorrow.”

“There were a few things to do tomorrow before the office opens on Tuesday. I hope she likes the birthday present I gave her.”

“Yeah, I’m sure she will, but I want you to meet the rest of the family.”

“Christmas is coming up. I’ll be back for the party. Okay, I’m walking toward the gate right now. Can I call you after I arrive?”


Dave went up to the counter at the gate.

“Hi, I’m late. I wasn’t looking at the clock.”

“Oh, sir. Yes, you’re too late for the boarding.”

“I’m sorry, would you call to hold the door for me?”

The ground attendant talked on the phone, then turned to Dave and said, “Sorry, sir. The captain said the door was closed. I can reschedule the flight for you, so you won’t be charged for the cancellation and re-booking.”

“Okay then. Do you have the same schedule tomorrow?”

“Hmm, yeah, I do. You’re all set. You should receive an email with a new confirmation number.”


Dave pressed a speed dial number.

“Hi, Michelle. It’s me. I’m turning around. I’ll be at your grandma’s birthday party tomorrow.”

“Great! But what happened?”

“I missed the flight.”

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #12 – The Clock


Thank you for reading. I appreciate your kind comment!




“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #11 – Destination

I am so happy to participate in the “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” by Suzanne Burke. This is her Week #11. Each week she’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words. Please click the link at the end of the post if you’re interested.





“What do you think about St. Andrews Church?” Joshua and Melissa were at the café reviewed their notes. He had a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino and Melissa had a Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

“I like the layout of the sanctuary. The stage is five steps higher than the audience, but it’s not too far from the first pew. I like the alter and the apse behind it.” Melissa took a sip of her latte, recalled the details of the church layout.

“The location is just right with the access to major freeways.”

“We need to write different directions to get there because we have families and friends from all over the state. And we also need the direction to get to our homes from the airport.”

“Yes, I’ll write the directions. Have  agreed that you’ll create the website? You’re the techie.”

“No problem. I picked the template of the website and the color scheme already.” Melissa took another sip of the latte.

“I trust you on that. I’ll admire it when it’s done.”

“I need you to help in making a list of the hotels in town with different price ranges, a list of the restaurants, some entertainments, and places to visit while they’re in town.”

“That part is simple. I’ll have them in just a few clicks. Some tourist sites have plenty of recommendations.” Joshua entered a few notes on his phone.

“I created a spreadsheet of the timeline. Once we decide on the church and reception locations, I’ll plug in the details. We have visited several churches. What other ones do we consider?”

“What do you think about the Lutheran Church?”

“I liked it, but the sanctuary has dark walls on all sides. The church doesn’t have the best lighting for photography.”

“You’re a better one to have any say on that from a photographer point of view. What other churches do we want to consider?”

“The Presbyterian Church has a modern look.”

“Yes, there are plenty of parking spaces, and the structure is on the same level as the church.”

“But it’s too far from the Reception Hall at the Gulf Course. I’m afraid some people may get lost. I know we can give the direction from the church to the Reception Hall.”

“Your concern is valid. Let’s keep talking.”

“I can’t believe it’s been seven years since we met.”

“Time flies when you have fun as people say. I’m so happy that we have fun together.”

“You were so cute when we first met.” Sparks filled Melissa’s eyes.

“How so? What did I do?”

“Well, that’s it. You did nothing. You just stared at me for the longest time until I said ‘hi’ and you startled.”

“I did? I don’t remember that.”

“You offered to buy me a drink. I said ‘I don’t drink’.”

“Now I remember. Then I said I’d buy you anything to drink.”

“It was our first day there at the resort on the mountain. I arrived in the morning and you got there in the afternoon.”

“Yes, I took the gondola lift to get up there.”

“So did I! I wanted to have time to look around before the hiking trip the next day.”

“How did you like the view going up?”

“The aerial view of the water fall from the gondola took my breath away. It was like magic.”

“It was impressive and exhilarating. I had seen nothing like that. It’s not the same as seeing it from the airplane. It’s seeing it in the air yet, it’s close enough to see the rushing bubbles.”

“I’m writing our story to post on the wedding website… That’s it! I want a destination wedding.” Melissa almost jumped up.

“At the resort on the mountain top?”

“Yeah, I want people to experience the magic.”

“I know, people always want to know how and where the couple met.”

 ♥ (¯` * •. ¸ ♥ ♥ ¸. • * ‘¯) ♥


“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #11 – Destination


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