Sunday Photo Fiction:  The War to End All Wars #amwriting #nonfiction #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alastair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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Credit: C.E. Ayr

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What was it like back then? To finally be home? To say the war is done, the enemy is defeated. Hitler killed himself and the Russian’s have taken half of Berlin. The U.S. navy is done island hopping and Japan surrendered after two giant atomic bombs. There’s a Time Magazine cover of a small Japanese girl running, her skin peeling off. Was the message affective? There will always be new enemies and consequences of war. It’s masked beneath the happiness this man feels grabbing some girl he didn’t know, to kiss her in the streets. 

But how many millions were murdered in Germany, France, Russia, Poland, Austria, and the Ukraine? What about the Japanese internment camps and the humiliation suffered there? Think of all the soldiers who were victims. It I said there’s about 6, 000, 000 soldiers alone, who died in WWII; the war to end all wars? 

I wish I could be as happy as this young woman, kissing this soldier and kicking her foot up into the air. There is joy in the end of war but there is never justice and although there are times we ‘must’ go to war, I have learned war is not ‘just’ for anyone. We’re human so we war. It has and will always be. But I fondly wish to be this girl kissing the handsome soldier, innocent, excited, and not realizing no war ends all wars — not until eternity. 

Word Count: 179

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved 

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Friday Fictioneer: When We Are Eighty #amwriting #flashfiction #fiction


Thanks to Rachel Wisoff-Fields for hosting FF.

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Credit: Roger Bultot

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Patriots was a genuine fifty-style’s diner. Darla a new waitress, was thrilled to have her first job part-time there. Off to the side of the diner was a jukebox near a small dance floor. 

On Friday and Saturday nights, elderly couples could be found dancing here to their favourite fifties tunes. But Christmas Eve was the ‘big ticket’ event. Tables were cleared for a larger dance floor and a diner-style feast was served.

Darla watched once WWII-era toddlers, dancing in fifties garb with pep. She was only fifteen, but as she waitressed throughout high school, Christmas Eve would become by her favourite night at Patriots. She hoped one day she would meet a guy she could still dance with when they were eighty. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Interview With Colin Chappell


Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer, Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dog Ray. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’s favorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).


interview-colin-and-ray1
Credit: Colin Chappell

1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?

My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).

I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.

The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.


2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?

I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.

I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.


“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell


3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?

I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.

Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!


4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?

Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.

Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well,  I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.


” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell


interview-colin-and-ray2
Credit: Colin Chappell

5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.

Ray is also hugely inspiring. He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself. I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.

There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.


7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?

I have two active projects at the moment:

My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption? All profits from this book go to the Humane Society whom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it. Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.

My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina and Other Stories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.

I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.


“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell 


8. Here is Colin’s book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?

interview-colin-book-cover
Credit: Colin Chappell

You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.


9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?

I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.

If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world because dog lovers exist in every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’s Humane Society.

My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!


10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?

Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.

Book Writing – I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry. Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago. Who Said I was up for Adoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.


“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world because dog lovers exist in every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’s Humane Society.” – Colin Chappell


11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?

I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.


12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

Write… write… write.

Be honest to yourself.

Write… write… write.

Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.

Write… write… write.

If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.

Write… write… write.

If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!


“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell


13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?

I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.

I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations. Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.


14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?

I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking. Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!


15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:

“Skeeta’s Legacy”

By Colin Choppell

*****

Skeeta was a Siamese cat

Of distinction so we thought

She was rather unlike her breed

Friendly and quite large

I had known a few Siamese

But none had traits like these

*****

She would ride in our car

On top of the front seats

Swaying whenever I braked

Forwards and backwards

Sideways on the turns

We would laugh until we ached

*****

Then one day she clearly had changed

Her clean toilet habits had gone

Something was wrong we were sure

She used to be meticulously clean

A test revealed leukemia

With no treatment. No cure

*****

After living with us

For only three months

Dearest Skeeta was put to sleep

But she left her mark

Indelibly on my heart

With memories that I would keep

*****

She went to a better place

To join her kind and be without pain

Where cats are happy and free

To be as I’d want her to be

But Skeeta left a legacy behind

Unbeknownst at the time to me

*****

Many years later when Ray moved in

He tested positive for heart worm

After only three months in our home

What were our options? What to do?

A very serious condition

And he could not fight it alone

*****

We could return him, put him to sleep

Or do nothing which would eventually kill him

What would make the most sense?

For such a short and unhappy life

An expensive course of treatment

Could we justify the expense?

*****

The treatment he may not survive

But shouldn’t we at least try?

For perhaps survive he would

Shouldn’t we give him a chance?

A chance for his life to fulfill?

To live out his life being loved?

*****

Euthanizing would give him peace

Not 3 years old with an unknown past

His early life seemed hard and alone

Surely a dog has a right

To fight for his life

In a warm and caring home?

*****

To return him to the shelter

Raised problems of another sort

Who would adopt a very sick Ray?

Who would want his vet bills?

Who would open their home?

Who would invite him to stay?

*****

During these dilemmas I heard a voice

Reminding me of Skeeta long ago

With no hope of a cure in sight

How she was put down

Her future sealed by a disease

That cheated her out of her life

*****

But this time was different

Ray did have a chance

If treatment started right away

The decision just had to be made

And then hope for the time

When once again he could play

*****

Ray will never know

What influenced his future

Or how it came to be

That a cat, of all creatures,

May have saved his life

That was Skeeta’s legacy.


16. Additional Posts:


Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.


If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: Remembering #flashfiction #writing #amwriting #poetry #remberanceday #lestwenotforget


Thank you to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF. 

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A Mixed Bag

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“Why don’t they rebuild this old stone building Grandpa?” 

“You know well, Gertrude, it costs a great deal to repair a historical building. They can’t even take it down because this building is a designated historical site.” 

“That doesn’t seem right. Why would we leave something so valuable to history, to fall apart? Eventually it will only be a pile of rubble and everyone will forget its significigance,” Gertrude mused. 

” Maybe someday someone like you, Gertrude, will restore the building. It’s a painstaking process and you must use and find authentic materials.” 

She nodded. “I understand Grandpa, but sometimes certain cities choose not to rebuild. Like in Venice, many buildings are left to disintegrate and collapse into the water. They don’t let architects even plan to rebuild. Many once grand buildings are in such dangerous condition, they’ve been left so long.” 

“Restoring old buildings can be good Gertrude. They are a part of humanity’s history. We need to remember our history to learn from it. But sometimes we need to knock old buildings down and design better ones from our present day knowledge. Future generations can learn from us through newer buildings too,” Grandpa said. 

Gertrude nodded. She was training to be an architect but was only a freshman in university. Her Grandpa had been a great architect and was still well known. 

“What will future people learn from our buildings, Grandpa?” 

“Hopefully, they’ll learn our buildings are stronger. Made with more thought to design, to the environment, and how the everyday person lives. Our simple routines we take for granted are our history as much as the calamities of our time.” 

Gertrude frowned, turning to her Grandpa. He was wearing his WWII uniform for the Rememberance Day Ceremony; he was going to walk in a parade as well. 

 “Will they remember men such as you, Grandpa?  Men who fought for their freedom in Normandy and in other places in Europe? Will they understand why you and other soldiers have nightmares from war? Will they remember why you had to fight and saw so many of your buddies die brutally?” 

A tear escaped Grandpa’s eye and he shook his head, not able to speak. He was too afraid what he and his fellow soldiers had fought for in brutal war, would melt away in time. 

——

Lest We Not Forget. November 11th is Remberance Day in Canada. 

“In Flanders Fields” 

John McCrae, 1872 – 1918

——-

 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 

That mark our place, and in the sky, 

The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 

Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

——–

We are the dead; short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields. 

——-

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high! 

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

——-

Works Cited: Poets.org

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Photo Challange: Poem – Licentia – “Sometimes My Love” #amwriting #poetry 


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s photo challenge.

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fineart-photos.tumblr.com

 

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The winds warm and soft, prairie fields sway to and fro

Such chores a woman has, hangs sopping sheets thrown,

Over the clothes line, pinning; they’ll smell like sunshine,

Dried by cool wind tonight, they’ll sway on clothes line.

I’m but a shadow, I pass my sheets humming,

A lonely tune, for my life’s solitude humbling.

I’m only a women, my husband says I’m less,

Bruises left, hands tremble, he gives no respect.

In this backwards world, it’s difficult to say,

How we were in love, how war made him this way.

We used to lie in the sun,  beneath us grain, barley.

Now he says, “Stay inside;” I know him now hardly.

The winds warm and soft, prairie fields sway to and fro, 

Such chores a woman has, hangs sopping sheets thrown. 
——-

There once was a dance, that took place in time

Soldiers came, handsome in crisp uniform’s shine.

Caught girls’ eyes; they wore rouge, lipstick, their best gowns.

Swing music played, we danced, eyes caught mine, brown.

Laughter in chocolate gaze, “Get her a drink, eh?”

Night passed slowly, dipping me, we kissed and swayed.

We meant up again, and again, dreaming life,

One we shared; us blossomed –there’s always a price.

We both suffered strongly, fools were we of war,

Injured men, maimed men, limbs lost, minds lost, sore.

The winds warm and soft, prairie fields sway to and fro

Such chores a woman has, hangs sopping sheets thrown.

——-

War would end, countless unknown dead; you crumbled

So lost; letters sent, none returned, war humbles

You couldn’t handle what you’d seen and did, came home,

Ran to you, you held me close, cried so much, roamed –

Town, as other’s alive, –ghosts of war haunting,

We bought the farm, your vengeance rose, me you taunt.

By your past demons, by your bruising punch and yet,

They’re times you are you, before war changed you, set —

Course for man, so angry at life, he curses well —

His wife; sometimes he’s my love, other’s my hell.

The winds warm and soft, prairie fields sway to and fro,

Such chores a woman has, hangs sopping sheets thrown.

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“The Licentia Rhyme Form, a poetic form created by Laura Lamarca, consists of at least three – 12-line stanzas with 11 syllables per line. Of course, the poem can be elongated adding on to the following rhyme scheme: aabbccddeeAA, BBffgghhiiAA, CCjjkkllmmAA. The Licentia Rhyme Form is named after Laura Lamarca’s signature, “La” and “Licentia” is Latin for “Freedom”.” – Shadow Poetry

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I’m not sure if this is completely right for the form. I think lines ‘bb’ for instance are supposed to be exactly repeated in lines ‘BB,’ not just rhyme with them. The same for lines ‘cc’ and ‘CC’ etc… But I like the poem like this right now!

Please see Shadow Poetry for more information.

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: The Dial on the Metal Desk #amwriting #fiction


Thank you to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW. Also, thank you to The Daily Prompt for the prompt words Rebuild and Understanding

——

Nonnaci

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“What do you think it does?” Wallace asked Ed.

“I don’t know,” Ed said thoughtfully, ” It’s odd, don’t you think? A dial in the middle of a metal desk? There has to be a purpose for it.”

“I’m sure it has a purpose. I’m not sure we should be the ones finding out what the purpose is. Rivers was a bit crazy. He was in intelligence in the army during WWII. My Grandma Milly always said he had claimed to have uncovered something world changing.” Wallace remarked.

“I didn’t know Canada had spies in WWII?  But what I really want to understand what this dial does. Rivers died last May, and this desk in his old garage is the only furniture left in his entire home.”

“Fine!” Wallace said exasperated with Ed. He turned the dial on the desk fully around until in was in line with a red mark.

“Rivers probably thought his property would stay deserted. It was closed up the by health and safety shortly before he passed on,” Ed muttered, waiting for something to happen.

“Click! Click! Click!” The sounds were loud and ominous in the abandoned garage. The young men turned to each other eyes wide.The garage floor began to lower with Wallace and Ed standing on it. 

Beneath the garage, was the most terrifying and fascinating thing, Wallace and Ed had ever seen.

“We can’t tell anyone about this,” Wallace said afterward shaken.

“Agreed,” said Ed, “We need to hide it better. This information could force the entire world to rebuild.  

——-

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner:  Wing Walker on the Stairway to Heaven.


 Fighter airplanes were used by the allies in their efforts against Hitler and the triple axis. 

When the plans arrived home and were repaired, wing walkers such as Genia performed acrobatics on the wings of the fighter planes. 

The boys who flew them were a gas. Genia had great times with them at the nearest dance hall. That’s where she met Andy. 

Andy was handsome and he cracked Genia up. He was an ace pilot who hadn’t returned from his last mission months ago. Genia knew he’d been dropped.

She was light on her feet and Genia lived for adrenaline, performing for the airforce and providing entertainment to keep people’s mind off of the war.

A pilot who liked Genia, Chester, had taken her up that day as the crowds clapped and shouted from below. 

Genia worked on her new routine, knowing she was attached to the plans wing if she fell. She heard something snap and the snapping caught her off balance. 

Chester watched in horror as Genia fell from the sky, an acrobatic beauty on the stairway to heaven. 

Genia felt “she’d been waiting years for this day,” to be with Andy at last.

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http://www.pixebay.com

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Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting FFftPP.  Also, thank you to The Daily Prompt for the word prompt stairway.

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©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Photo Fiction: Some People Never Learn.


“Oh god, it’s behind us. I don’t know how long I can keep running.” Derek shouted.

“Don’t stop, if you do, T-Rex is going to eat you alive, run faster!” Evan screamed.

“Ah, he almost had me there.” Derek yelled breathing a sigh of relief as he dodged T-Rex’s sharp teeth. “Thank god, he has a small brain, despite everything they’ve done to enhance him.” 

Derek hid behind an old building staying perfectly still. If Jurassic Park had taught him anything it was that a T-Rex couldn’t see you if you didn’t move. They couldn’t right? 

“Ah, no…aghhhhh.” Derek heard Evan screaming. Derek concentrated on keeping his breathing deep and even.

An entire series of books on bringing dinosaurs back to life had been written by Michael Crichton and made into graphic movies, yet President Trump decided that the Island of Bikini was the perfect place to make dinosaurs exist once more.

Not only had his scientific team cloned dinosaurs such as the T-Rex, they had also genetically altered their DNA making T-Rex a more intelligent dinosaur.

Additionally, the President’s team had cloned and altered these dinosaurs on the Island of Bikini where nuclear weapons were tested in WWII. The island was a mess of radioactivitiy which further mutated the dinosaurs DNA giving them greater stealth and prowess.

Derek had to warn people, convince the President to nuke the island so these beasts never got further then Bikini. Derek was going to move but it was too late, Mama T-Rex had known where Derek was all along. She clenched her mouth around Derek’s body as he screamed in agony. 

Out in the ocean, the large luxury ocean liner with the President and his scientific team, heard Derek’s screams. They turned away from the giant screen displaying his terrible death.

President Trump was angry. His team’s manipulation and creation of dinosaurs was going horribly wrong and he didn’t know why.

Under the surface of the gigantic ocean liner, an even greater and more terrifying dinosaur swam underneath the boat, flipping the ocean liner and eating everyone inside.

—–

Sorry whatever I did, the dinosaur picture wouldn’t upload. So imagine a T-Rex is about to eat you. . .

—–

Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Story Continuation Prompt: Fiction – ” Uncle Jerry’s Photograph” 


Thanks to Wandering Soul who hosts this challenge. You are supposed to write one or two more sentences to make a three line story with the prompt sentence. I tend to get inspired and end up with an entire story, jammed into two too long sentences. So I’m linking to her blog with my story inspired by the sentence: ” The picture on the wall was crooked; a lot like the person in it.”

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http://www.denofgeeks.com

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The picture on the wall was crooked; a lot like the person in it. I knew the photo was of my Grandpa’s brother Jerry, who had shot himself in the foot to get out of WWII. He had only been in France a week and spent most of his active duty attempting to make himself throw-up daily, so he didn’t have to fight but could remain in the infirmary. But Jerry’s Captain realized what Jerry was up to and put him back with his company to kill German soldiers.

Sadly, it wasn’t beyond Jerry’s cowardice to hide behind other soldiers in his squadron,  or use them as shields. I doubt Jerry’s company minded when he showed them  a German soldier had shot him in the foot; even though his squadron knew Jerry had shot himself to get out of fighting in the War. It wasn’t as if many soldiers hadn’t thought of shooting their own foot to escape War’s reality, but most of them knew their country needed them and took their duty as a soldier with pride.

Jerry’s fellow soldiers were glad to see ‘useless’  Jerry gone. He hadn’t made any friends and most men knew being Jerry’s friend meant he would desert you when you needed help; infact, life expectancy for members in Jerry’s old company went up when Jerry was sent home with a permanent limp.

Jerry told absurd and utterly fake stories about being a War hero when he returned to his family’s house in London. Jerry had even stolen a poor dead man’s medals to make it appear as if he had been recognized by England, Primeminister Churchill, and the Queen, for defending his country. 

But Jerry’s family didn’t believe his stories and doubted he had sacrificed himself to earn such high honours. Jerry’s family knew his personality, the cowardliness and cunning that always lurked behind Jerry’s every action. 

War was awful and terrifying, but Jerry’s father who had fought in WWI and Jerry’s permanently wounded brother Clancy, who fought in WWII, believed Jerry should be doing his duty back in France. Soldiers were being shipped to the beaches of Normandy and neither Jerry’s father or Clancy thought the slight limp that Jerry most likely gave himself, should stop a soldier from doing his duty.

 Jerry eventually left home during the War, wandering the roads in different towns, lost and afraid that death would catch up with him because he had avoided it in France. In the shadow of a pale moon, a bomb flew from the sky one night, and Jerry met his end in England, near his family’s home. 

Both Jerry’s father and brother Clancy, at last we’re proud of him. The bomb from a German airplane had hit Jerry and not another person or a building full of civilians. Jerry hadn’t intended on being the bombs target, but his family felt they could remember the cowardly man with a bit of pride now.

 Jerry’s photo, Grandpa Clancy said, should remind us Grandchildren to be brave and not use others because we are afraid, as Uncle Jerry had done in his life. Grandpa Clancy’s Grandchildren knew what true sacrifice was when their Grandfather showed them the stump that was once his left leg. 

Clancy had never bothered with a prosthetic limb. His leg stump spoke volumes to a generation who did not realize what a sacrifice so many men had made so their children and Grandchildren could be free from men such as Hitler and his Nazis.

Clancy had loved his brother. The part of Jerry who was a scheming coward, Clancy had never been able to understand. Scared or not, a man has to do what a man had to do, especially during a War. Clancy was cheered that in death, his brother Jerry may have been brave.

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