Prickly (GF#007)

Salia was used to having kids laugh at her.

As a child back in Iran, her mother told her it would happen, a lot.

Just one of the difficulties of being born to Christian parents in an Islamic country.

Today, the kids were no different.  Generally innocent, but usually ignorant of reality.  As it should be.  No child should have to endure the atrocities she’d seen in her homeland after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.  And today, ISIS?  A new Caliphate?  It’s worse than she imagined it would be.

With a short gait just shy of a shuffle, mouthing words that were barely audible,  Salia came off looking like a mental patient as she walked the sidewalks around her suburban D.C. neighborhood.  Just a senile old lady who’d lost grip on the real world.

The children could laugh all they want.

Frankly she liked it this way.  At 81, People tended to leave her alone.  And this kept her focused.  She could amble around the block undisturbed as the warmth of the sun caressed her olive skin.  She always felt safe when she was in the light.

Plus the vigor from walking a few hours a day made her feel young.

Kept her sharp.  Sharp in mind and even sharper in spirit.

All she had now was time.  And she made the best of it.  Her pension from thirty years at the State Department as a translator gave her nice life in retirement.  But Salia never believed in retirement.  She believed in refirement.  Get fired up about something else, and you’ll live a long life.  So it goes.

We’re not done yet! She murmured under her breath as she made her way around the block again.

Everyday like clockwork, she went to battle, fighting like it was her last day on earth.

Her body had already begun to betray her, but she wouldn’t give in.  That’s why she walked.  She knew if she stopped, everything would slow.  Her eyes would dim, darkness would come, and the battle could be lost.

She needed the fight.  It made her feel alive.

Her mouth moved silently as she walked, “struggle is not against flesh and blood . . .it’s against the powers of this dark world . . . against spiritual forces of evil.”

Kids. Laughter. An ignorant snicker.  Little did they know, this seeming little old lady was a first line of defense in battle thats raged for thousands of years.

No one could tell she was fighting for her life, and theirs.

“Against the rulers . . . authorities . . . in the heavenly realms.”

She could feel him there.  Just behind her and to the right.  He went with her everywhere.

She’d only seen him once, after her husband William died nearly 7 years ago. Toiling through the night in prayer and sweat, her bedroom burst into light.  And there he was.  He was like a man dressed in linen, a belt of gold. His head touched the ceiling while his feet stayed on the floor.  With a face like lighting and eyes like flaming torches, He spoke with  voice like thunder.”

Salia lay prostrate on the bed in a pool of sweat and fear.  Her eyes were closed with her head buried in the sheet. Yet she could still see him standing at the end of the bed.

“Do not be afraid. I am Micah. The time has come.  The kingdom has suffered violence and the violent shall take it by force.”

Then he was gone.  In the absence of the Micah’s light, Salia’s room was a shadow filled shell.  To weak to move.  She slept.

Since that night.  She could feel him there.

She knew he followed her on every walk around the neighborhood.  Every trip to the store, the doctor, the park.  Everywhere she went she could feel him there.

But today was different.

“I’ve been give a Spirit of power … a sound mind.”  She continued to prepare herself.

As she rounded the corner and approached her house, the sun slipped behind a fast forming cloud.  It cast a long shadow over her home, turning the taupe colored clapboard siding to an ashen grey.

A chill coursed through her veins. Holding her head high, she made her way to the house.  As she approached, Micah was gone.  She felt nothing.  Nothing but cold on a balmy summer day.  The children across the street were oblivious.  Cars came up and down her street, none the wiser.

The twinge of fear was taking root. “I’ve been give a Spirit of power … a sound mind”  she kept preparing herself.

The brass doorhandle was cold to the touch.

Opening the door he was there.  In a neatly pressed dark blue Ermenegildo Zegna suit and black Farragamo shoes, no socks as was the fashion of the day, he flipped through her bible.  The one William had given her as a wedding gift.

“You really believe this can help you?”  He tore a page from the book.

Salia didn’t speak.

Tearing another page, “I asked you a question.”

No response.  She knew this day would come.  Praying everyday since she first saw Micah, she’d been piercing the darkness.  She prayed for Iran, for America, for those at war with ISIS, anyone in need of fervent prayer, Salia spent every waking hour in battle.  She knew one day she’d piss off the enemy. But it didn’t matter.  She kept at it, buoyed by the thought that Micah was with her.  But not today.  She could feel he was gone.

Her houseguest got out of the chair.  As he stood, every wrinkle in his suit fell out.  It was just as crisp as the moment he’d put it on.

“I asked you a question, Salia! Do you really believe this stuff you read?  You think it can help?  We’re winning the war my dear.  We’re winning the hearts and minds of little ones all over the world.  And the disaffected are joining our ranks left and right.  You haven’t got a hope.  And frankly, your prickly little prayers are really stinging my ass.  You sound like fingernails on a chalk board.  And it’s time for it to stop.

Her 81 year old body stiffened, a mix of fear and fight.

As he approached the white of his eyes turned black, and his icy pupils turned a fiery read.  A pilot light of hate, igniting a ear splitting scream if anger and rage. In a split second he’d closed the entire distance to Salia. Raising this right hand over his head, it turned a scaly blackish-green like the hide of an alligator. His once long elegant fingers were now six inches of razor sharp blackened bone.

With all his strength, his hand came racing down toward Salia’s face.  His movements so quick, she never had time to catch her breath.  She was a doe, face to face with the hunter, at point blank range.

As his hand met the hair of Salia’s head, the room split from top to bottom in burst of light.  The bronzed sword cut through the air, landing instantly on the top her attackers head.  Slicing him in two equal halves from his head to his feet his body disintegrated before hitting the ground.  Salia looked on in awe.  Micah’s blade was nearly six feet long.  It had torn through her attacker without so much as a scratch on her or house.

She tried to breathe, but it wasn’t necessary.

The light and peace that filled the room were better than air.  She’d seen a glimpse of the battle in heaven.  And she was now determined to fight even harder than before.

Micah smiled. “There will be more.”

“I’ll be ready.”   Salia started to chuckle as she thought, “. . . your prickly little prayers are really stinging my ass.

This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Jinn Zhong…

This Scientific America article: Time on the Brain: How You Are Always Living In the Past, and Other Quirks of Perception written by George Musser

But more specifically, this particular passage:

David Eagleman of the Baylor College of Medicine proceeded to treat us as his test subjects. By means of several visual illusions, he demonstrated that we are all living in the past: Our consciousness lags 80 milliseconds behind actual events. “When you think an event occurs it has already happened,” Eagleman said.

In one of these illusions, the flash-lag effect, a light flashes when an object moves past it, but we don’t see the two as coincident; there appears to be a slight offset between them. By varying the parameters of the experiment, Eagleman showed that this occurs because the brain tries to reconstruct events retroactively and occasionally gets it wrong. The reason, he suggested, is that our brains seek to create a cohesive picture of the world from stimuli that arrive at a range of times. If you touch your toe and nose at the same time, you feel them at the same time, even though the signal from your nose reaches your brain first. You hear and see a hand clap at the same time, even though auditory processing is faster than visual processing. Our brains also paper over gaps in information, such as eyeblinks. “Your consciousness goes through all the trouble to synchronize things,” Eagleman said. But that means the slowest signal sets the pace.

The cost of hiding the logistical details of perception is that we are always a beat behind. The brain must strike a balance. Cognitive psychologist Alex Holcombe at Sydney has some clever demonstrations showing that certain forms of motion perception take a second or longer to register, and our brains clearly can’t wait that long. Our view of the world takes shape as we watch it.

The 80-millisecond rule plays all sorts of perceptual tricks on us. As long as a hand-clapper is less than 30 meters away, you hear and see the clap happen together. But beyond this distance, the sound arrives more than 80 milliseconds later than the light, and the brain no longer matches sight and sound. What is weird is that the transition is abrupt: by taking a single step away from you, the hand-clapper goes from in sync to out of sync. Similarly, as long as a TV or film soundtrack is synchronized within 80 milliseconds, you won’t notice any lag, but if the delay gets any longer, the two abruptly and maddeningly become disjointed. Events that take place faster than 80 milliseconds fly under the radar of consciousness. A batter swings at a ball before being aware that the pitcher has even throw it.

The cohesiveness of consciousness is essential to our judgments about cause and effect—and, therefore, to our sense of self. In one particularly sneaky experiment, Eagleman and his team asked volunteers to press a button to make a light blink—with a slight delay. After 10 or so presses, people cottoned onto the delay and began to see the blink happen as soon as they pressed the button. Then the experimenters reduced the delay, and people reported that the blink happened before they pressed the button.

These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project called “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels, and me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.

Author’s Note: Depending on how Jinn and Dogwood are feeling, their writings, posts, or podcasts may warrant an R rating for mature content (99% of this comes from Dogwood).

This writer accepts no responsibility for what you may read or infer from the other two (unless its really meaningful, and powerfully impacts your life in a positive way).

Godspeed… and I hope you enjoy our project.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here: Birthday
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: Nostalgia

The Ritz (GF#006)

Bishop felt out of place as he and Charlotte headed east on Rue Saint Honore toward Place Vendôme. The shoppes of Dior, Armani, Cavalli and others were tucked in for the night, exhausted from meeting the high demands of elite clients.

“Its just through here.” Charlotte pointed to the left, sliding off the main street through the Cour Vendôme, a pristine column-lined walk through the block of buildings surrounding the Place Vendôme. Once through, the pair were only a few steps from the Ritz.

“It’s kinda funny. I grew up in Naples, on the coast of Southwest Florida. We had the #1 Ritz Carlton in the world at one time, but I’d never even gone inside. Now I’m going to be a guest of the Ritz Paris President.

“Philipe Languille is friend of my family. He went to boarding school with Dad, and later introduced him to my Mom. I’ve known him my whole life. We came here every summer staying at Philipe’s home in Biarritz or here at the Ritz. That’s why I knew the jump coordinates for the Champs de Mars by heart.”

Charlotte pushed the revolving doors as the pair were bathed in opulence. The ornate lobby was fit for a King. Dripping with elegance, Bishop couldn’t imaging spending summers in a place like this. Working his head higher, bishop refused to let on he wasn’t comfortable.

After a quick exchange with the front desk, Charlotte went to the house phone. “Bonsoir Philippe.” In perfect french Charlotte told Philippe about her father’s death earlier in the day, and their need for a safe place to stay. In short order, she hung up.

“He’s in Biarritz. Said to wait here and the GM will be down in a minute to take care of everything.”

Moments later came, “Madame Williams?,” in a thick French accent.

“Yes.” She turned.

“I am Arnaud Demoulin. Philippe ask mee to ess cort you. Will you pleez follow me?” Charlotte and Bishop gave a quick accepting glance and followed.

As expected the luxury of the three room suite didn’t disappoint. The huge foyer was a much cozier version of the opulent lobby. And the sitting room directly ahead would have made Marie Antoinette feel right at home. And with the less expansive space, Bishop was starting to feel a bit more comfortable.

“Madame. This is from your father’s lockbox in the hotel safe. Philippe said it was to be geeven you upon your arrival.” He handed her a nondescript A4 envelope with the word “Charlie” on the front.

Puzzled Charlotte thanked Arnaud and opened the envelope as he left. Holding a small thumb drive between her index finger and thumb. She turned it over and back looking for markings. Nothing. She looked int he envelope again and saw a small piece of paper written in her Dad’s hand.

Put the drive in the USB port of the TV in your room. Charlotte turned to the main sitting area, flipped on the TV, and inserted the drive. “It’s something from my dad.”

Bishop made his way around the table in the foyer and joined Charlotte on the settee closest to the flat screen mounted on the wall. Charlotte stared in shock as her father spoke.

“Hello sweetheart. If you are watching this something bad has happened to me. And in all likelihood I’m already dead. Please know I love you so very much. And I’m sorry I can’t be there to comfort you right now. But I you are not alone. Chances are you watching this a young man named Paul Allen Bishop. I am not 100% certain, but he is the most likely candidate.”

Charlotte turned to Bishop with eyes like saucers as Bishop shrugged and shook his head from side to side, mouth agape.

“Before I get to that. I need you both to pay attention to what I’m about to say. Your lives will depend on it. It’s going to sound crazy at first. But I need you to trust me, and make sure that you watch this video all the way through. As you know we’ve been operating our teleportation technology for sometime. And using the guise of our NGO charter we’ve been able to slip in and out of hot spots all over the world to gain a frontline access to major global shifts, like the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Lybia, the current Syrian civil war, and the incursion of Russia into the Ukraine. Not to mention the rapid advance of Islamic State across the Middle East and now at the back door of Europe only 300 miles off the coast of Italy.

“The point here is that the world is going through a radical shift. And our frontline reporting has been an invaluable asset for U.S. and allied intelligence agencies. But here’s where I may sound crazy, so stay with me. There is no technology behind our teleportation technology. Yes our six, two-man jump teams have made jumps all over the world, including jumps you’ve both made. But what I am saying is that there is no man-made technology behind it. There never was. The carbon fiber packs we’ve linked to each tele-marker, were given to me, completely sealed and seamless. There is no way to open them. ”

Bishop and Charlotte sat dumbfounded.

“We’ve done CAT scans. We’ve analyzed them with electron microscopy, and everything else we could think of and their not man-made. They showed up in our delivery bay underneath our office building in Washington. They were packed in a wooden crate addressed to me as “personal and confidential.” Once our security team had analyzed them for explosives, they were taken to my office. There was no return address and no other distinguishable markings and the only thing in them was the what looked like carbon fiber back packs. I pulled the first one out and the moment I touched it, I collapsed on the floor of my office. And the vision I had while lying unconscious was indescribable. It was like basking in the sunlight of a thousand suns without being burned. I was warm but trembling as if I was cold. That’s when I heard the Voice for the first time. It was a language I’d never heard, yet I understood in English. It said …”

“The time is near. Follow me and you and your family will be saved.”

“That was it. And I woke up. I know you may need a moment to take in what I’m saying so pause the video and take a breather there’s more. And you are going to need the rest of what I know if you want to survive.”

Bishop could tell Charlotte was ready for a break. “Let’s do what he says, let’s pause it.”

Charlotte shook her head in agreement, too stunned to speak.

Bishop sat quietly beside her, waiting.

“You ok.” Bishop asked.

“I don’t know. It sounds crazy. Dad was a scientist his whole life. He lived for reason, for mathematics, for equations, for order, for empirical knowledge. This doesn’t sound like him at all. He almost sounds delusional. But how did he know you’d be here?”

“He said he’e let us know in a moment, do you want to keep going.”


But when Bishop pushed play, the screen flickered and went dark. No image, no sound, just complete silence. Skip Williams was gone again. And this time, for good.


This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Me…
SCENE THREE of Glengarry Glen Ross written by David Mamet

Click Here for the Play Script (Will open in a new window.)

These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project called “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels, and me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.

Author’s Note: Depending on how Jinn and Dogwood are feeling, their writings, posts, or podcasts may warrant an R rating for mature content (99% of this comes from Dogwood).

This writer accepts no responsibility for what you may read or infer from the other two (unless its really meaningful, and powerfully impacts your life in a positive way).

Godspeed… and I hope you enjoy our project.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here: But We Deal
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: Snow

The First Day – Edit 1 – (GF#005)

Arnie stood up and watched a sliver of light start to bathe the treetops of Central Park. Sunrise marks the end of morning prayers and Arnie was always punctual.
Answering the phone on the first ring, he said nothing as the man spoke. Nodding in agreement, he hung up with a calm “Allahu Akbar.”

“Who was it?” Bishop called out from the main room of their suite at the Ritz. Omnivox spared no expense when it came to accommodating its employees.

“Wrong number.”

All packed Bishop sat on the couch, soaking in the surroundings. He’d never stayed at a Ritz, much less in a massive suite. It was his first official day on the job and he was already liking it.

Arnie walked out of his room, “Are you ready my friend?”

“I am.” Bishop lied. Even after all the medical tests, the physical training, and countless assurances from the technical team, the thought of his first jump was scaring the hell out of him.

“Don’t lie. You look like bird in a cage with a cat. You’ll be fine. I’ve done this a hundred times. And after the first few you jumps you get used to an elephant sitting on your chest.

Bishop smiled. The medical team told him the compression is the hardest part. But the sensation only lasts a few seconds. “What’s the plan after we land.”

“Just keep your eyes open and follow me, the first few seconds are always critical.”

Before bishop could respond, Arnie twisted the outer ring of the transponder on his wrist. The compression hit him like a Mack truck knocking all the air out of his lungs. Eyes still open, the sumptuous surroundings of their room at the Ritz imploded, replaced instantly by the frigid air and frozen ground surrounding the airport in Donetsk, Ukraine.

“Get down.” Arnie grabbed Bishop’s jacket and they both dropped. Bishop felt a burst of wind and stinging pain in his ear. Pressing his left hand to the side of his head, a warm ooze filled the palm. Pulling his hand back it was covered in blood. Another faction of an inch and Bishop would have had more than blood on his hand.

The firefight was raging. Mortar rounds concussed all around making it hard to hear while white hot particles burned the air making it hard to breath. Face down in the dirt, Bishop yelled as loud as he could, “What now?”

No answer.

Laying slightly behind Arnie’s left hip. Bishop grabbed Arnie’s jacket and shook him, yelling, “Arnie, what now?” No response. “Arnie! Arnie!?”

Shimmying along the frozen ground, Bishop moved just high enough to roll Arnie on his side. That’s when time stood still. Bishop had seen people die, but never with half their face missing. Bishop gasped for air, he couldn’t tell if it was the elephant on his chest, the motar rounds, or the sight of Arni’s skull.

Bishop snatched a string of thoughts from the whirlwind in his head. He’s dead! Don’t think act! Bishop hugged the ground, straining to keep his head lower than the bullets above him.

Reaching across Arnie’s back he pulled the transponder off his wrist, and then slid the sleek, carbon fiber pack off Arnie’s shoulders and put it on. From his training Bishop knew enough to initiate the transponder, but it wouldn’t work for at least forty-five minutes. The jump intervals were set by Data Command to keep employees from making unauthorized jumps.

Finally catching his breath, Bishop started to get his barring. To the right, 10 ft from Arnie’s body, was the smoldering shell of a transport truck. The front half was a skeleton of charred camouflage and iron while the back half was largely still intact. Keeping his head low he scurried across the frozen deck and landed his back against the left rear tire as his head slid under the tailgate. As he pulled his feet in underneath him, the backend of the truck convulsed as a high caliber round hit tailgate just above his head.

Face down, Bishop hit the ground just as another shot thundered in and exploded the left rear tire.

Holy Shit! He scrambled into a low crawl, quickly moving around to the right side of the truck. That’s when he had his first full glimpse of the devastation.

The far left side of the terminal had been reduced to rubble. And across the tarmac planes were thrown about like a dandelion in the hand of a child. A tank less than a hundred yards away sat completely hollowed out, nothing but a blackened carcass sending smoke signals skyward, begging for a truce. But none of these ravages were anything compared to the thirty or so bodies stacked three and four high near the terminal entrance.

As bishop thought about these men, these fathers, brothers, and sons, another high caliber shot rang out, shattering the truck panel above his head. Ducking down, he pulled his feet under him in a squat. Looking left to right in an 180 degree arc, bishop locked his sights on a strand of trees some 40 yards to the right of terminal. As he readied himself to run, he looked at his watch. He knew this would be the longest 39 minutes of his life.


This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Dogwood Daniels…
When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer written by Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars

These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project called “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels, and me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.

Author’s Note: Depending on how Jinn and Dogwood are feeling, their writings, posts, or podcasts may warrant an R rating for mature content (99% of this comes from Dogwood).

This writer accepts no responsibility for what you may read or infer from the other two (unless its really meaningful, and powerfully impacts your life in a positive way).

Godspeed… and I hope you enjoy our project.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here: Old Man Run
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: Boy


A Foreign Place (GF#004)

Her face was a mirror.  It held the same breathless scream Bishop had on the day he saw his parents die.

But for some reason, watching Charlotte’s pain was worse. 

They’d only just met, but after seeing her father and his friend gunned down in front of them, they were connected for life.  A shared experience that can never be repeated with anyone, ever.

Speechless in the center of the hotel room, Charlotte’s body shook.  He pulled her in close, resting her head on his chest as her body went limp.

He wasn’t a stranger to grief.  He knew the stages well.   After the initial shock, it’s denial then anger, and the list goes on.  But right now there wasn’t  time for the process to set in.  He needed her to get to the anger or at least a basic fight or flight response.

We can’t stay here. They could be here any minute.” 

He felt her body stiffen.  Steadying herself, she took a deep breath and half-step back.  Her pale face turned pink as the blood returned and started to mirror the resolve on Bishop’s face.

“Your right.”  Bishop could see her mind calculating.  And as the daughter of the inventor, she was well trained with the jump technology. 

“We can’t get out of here yet.  We have to recalibrate the marker.  We also need to wipe its memory cache so it makes it harder for Data Command to follow the jumps.  If whoever burst in the office, is in the command center, they can track us wherever we go.”

“I’ll take your word for it.  Counting the jump from your dad’s office, I’ve only done this twice.

Charlotte laid the carbon fiber pack on the bed and got to work.

“Arnie and I were the first to jump after Dad ran the beta jumps himself.  Every once in a while we would take some liberty and do a jump that didn’t get logged.”

“Like a trip to the Islands, or Europe or something?”

“No, more like a jump from Mexico to Pat’s in Philly for a real cheese steak sandwich.”

He laughed.

“If this is going to be long, I think we should change rooms.  They could come bursting in here any moment. And we don’t want to be sitting here if they do.”

“Sounds good.”

After calling the front desk to report a broken A/C unit, Charlotte and Bishop were sitting in an identical room, five doors down, on the same floor.

Charlotte finished embedding Arnie’s short-code on the hard drive

“Ok. It’s in. You know, Arnie’s little program was pretty genius.”

“How so?” 

“It recalibrates the jump history by swapping digits in the GPS file.  It makes the marker look like we jumped to completely different coordinates.  It’s random, but it can end up looking like were a mile away, or a whole country. I just have to switch it off and then back on and we’re set. Where do you want to go?”

Still a bit confused, but focused, Bishop started to pace from one end of the room to the other. “Where do I want to go?  Well I’d like to start with someplace where we’re not getting shot at.  Someplace safe, where we can think, get our bearings, and then decide what to do.”

He looked over at Charlie and could see the dam in her eyes about to break

Knowing they were safe for a few minutes under the cover of a new room, Bishop sat down on the bed and put his arm around her shoulder.

“He was all I had left.”

Bishop listened, and squeezed a bit tighter.

“Things were finally normal after mom died. And now, nothing.” 

Her flood of tears hit his chest. And in the recesses of his soul, he felt the same pain.  The pain of a little boy, strapped in his carseat without a scratch, yelling for his lifeless parents to wake up.  Staying present he felt the pain but didn’t let it overwhelm him.   This wasn’t the time to grieve. Even with a new room, they could have comapny at any moment.

Pulling her chin toward his face his words were firm, “Charlotte, we need to go now.”

He saw something snap inside her eyes. Hyper aware she focused on the marker, and hit the coordinate keys as soon as it rebooted.

Bishop started to get up, brushing against her knee at the end of the bed. But before he could leave her side, Charlotte engaged the marker.

Both inside the jump zone Bishop could feel his body compress, like being tightly wrapped in a thousand bed sheets.  Gasping for a breath, the pressure suddenly stopped and he and Charlotte were standing a hundred yards east of the Eiffel Tower on the Champs de Mars.

“It’s the only coordinates I know by heart.”

Catching his breath, the City of Lights was more beautiful than he’d imagined. 

Already dusk, the glow of an orange sun lay just behind the Eiffel Tower and a little to the left of the Palais de Chaillot.

“I’d always dreamed my first time in Paris would be to propose to my girlfriend.  But under the circumstances I’ll settle for no one shooting at me.”

“You’ll have to tell your girlfriend it’ll be the next trip.”

“I don’t have one.  It was just a dream.

This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Jinn Zhong…
Dido Building Carthage painted by J.M.W. Turner

Dido Building Carthage - J.M.W. Turner

J. M. W. Turner [Public domain, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project called “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels, and me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.

Author’s Note: Depending on how Jinn and Dogwood are feeling, their writings, posts, or podcasts may warrant an R rating for mature content (99% of this comes from Dogwood).

This writer accepts no responsibility for what you may read or infer from the other two (unless its really meaningful, and powerfully impacts your life in a positive way).

Godspeed… and I hope you enjoy our project.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here: First Kiss
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: Salt

GFP Special Episode Live in Orlando!

The Garage Fiction Podcast: Special Episode Live in Orlando – Listen to the podcast in the player above, download the full episode here or subscribe to our podcast via iTunes here.

What the heck is “Garage Fiction”?

Since January 2015, three writers (Nicholas Brack, Dogwood Daniels & Jinn Zhong) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week based on a “creative prompt”. We post our work on Fridays at each of our respective websites and dissect them together on Mondays via podcast.

We also end up chatting about the craft of writing, the creative process, storytelling and other related tangents.



This is a special episode where we took some time LIVE IN ORLANDO to talk about what “Garage Fiction” means to us. Our history with “wanting” to become writers, why the concept works, and where we’re going.

We also talk about Dave Grohl’s long beautiful hair, getting the “straight dick” on writing and telling a Cobain joke that’s “not too soon”.


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• Our awesome theme song was written by Stephanie and Jonathan Hughes. Check out their latest album at

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