Delectation - Another Example of Flash Fiction

Today's Prompt: "delectation" (written without knowing the definition of the word)

Harley squatted by the fire and turned the spit one more time. The rattler that had tried to bite him not more than 30 minutes ago was sizzlin’ over the flames and fixin’ to be bit his ownself. Harley pulled the meat from the stick and sunk his teeth in deep. He had never tasted a more delicious delectation in all his life.

As it turns out the word means: great pleasure; delight; enjoyment
(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

The Hunt

Today’s Writing Prompt: The pipes groaned, then vomited rusty water out into the sink.
Michael C. Fasnaught’s day had started like any other day, except he had decided to call off work to go rabbit hunting.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Jennings, I won’t be able to come to work today. I’m running a terrible fever.” He explained.

He filled a pack with the essentials, grabbed his shotgun and plenty of ammunition. Mike could readily admit he was a lousy shot, but the thrill of the hunt was what kept him coming back for more.

He felt adventurous, so he drove a little farther than he ever had before, dirt roads and deep ruts led him to an unfamiliar part of the forest. He was feeling so fine, he actually shouted when he got out of the Jaguar.

”Hey, bunnies, here I am. Better run for cover!”

He slipped on his vest, loaded his ammo belt with shells, then filled nearly every pocket with extra shells and headed out for the big kill.

He walked for quite a while without spotting any wildlife. The sun penetrated the canopy of leaves and Michael began to sweat. He pulled a bottle of Perrier from his backpack and took a deep swig. He fished in the pack for his lip balm and smeared his lips, then coated his nose well with zinc oxide and hit the trail again.

Twenty paces down the path, he heard something stirring in the underbrush just to his left. Michael froze in his tracks and listened hard to zero in on the sound. Pinpointing the exact spot, he slowly raised his shotgun. Had he remembered to load it? He didn't know. His heart was pounding and his hands were shaking as he zeroed in on the bush just ahead and waited. His breathing was jagged and so loud in his ears that he was sure it would scare off whatever was hiding in that bush.

Just then a rabbit darted out from under the bush, headed straight for him. He kept a bead on the rabbit, squeezed the trigger, saw the rabbit drop and felt stabbing pains in his bare legs. He screamed in horror as he saw blood dripping from dozens of tiny holes in his legs. His shinbones felt like they had been shattered.

Through the searing pain, he thought, “At least it didn’t ruin my new cargo shorts.”

Mike looked at the bloody rabbit - what was left of him, anyway. The front half of the rabbit lay on top of a large scarred flat rock.

“Like a sacrifice to the hunting gods,” he thought.

The back of the rabbit was mostly gone. Despite the pain in his legs, Mike was excited. He had finally bagged a bunny!

He hobbled over to the rabbit and gingerly picked it up by the ears, wondering about things like lice and ear mites. He pulled a monogrammed handkerchief from his pocket and wiped blood from his legs. The pain had been forgotten in the excitement of his success, but it was coming back to him now.

He wondered how he would make it back to the car and then drive himself to the hospital.

“Mike, you are a warrior! A great white hunter! You can do this…you are Superman!” he said out loud, but whimpered like a baby with every step back down the path. Twenty minutes later he realized that he had absolutely no idea where the Jaguar was parked.

He reached for his cell phone and realized he had lost it on the trail somewhere. Still clutching the rabbit (or half-rabbit) by the ears, he tried to get a sense of direction from the position of the sun in the sky.

“Who are you kidding, Mike? You have no idea how to tell direction from the sun."

He walked on, limping badly, tears running down his cheeks. He wondered if he would die out here in the woods. He began to pray;”Now I lay me down to sleep…” No, that’s not right. “God is great, God is good…” No, that’s not it either. “God? Are you there? It’s me, Michael. I’m in a bit of troube - no, I’m in big trouble. I’m lost, I’m shot and I need your help.”

He spent the next hour or so, walking and confessing every bad thing he had ever done, from spitting in his sister’s chocolate milk to cheating on his taxes, the dismembered bunny, swung like a pendulum as he walked.

Finally, he stumbled into a clearing with an old abandoned farmhouse in the middle. The steps creaked loudly and threatened to give way as he hobbled up them. The door was ajar. He was glad he wouldn’t have to use brute force to knock it down.

Once his eyes adjusted to the dimness of the room, he found himself in the kitchen. He went straight for the sink, hoping to clean his wounds and get a drink. (He had finished his Perrier long ago.) There was no faucet or spigots, just an old hand pump.

He tossed his kill into the sink and took hold of the pump handle. It creaked loudly as he pumped. He could hear a faint gurgling deep in the pipes, but it refused to give up any water.

Mike pumped harder.

“I am a warrior. A great hunter. I am superman! And I command you to give me water!’

The pipes groaned, then vomited rusty water out into the sink, covering the rabbit in red sludge.

Mike cursed, then apologized to God.

He removed the slimy half-rabbit from the sink and pumped some more, but try as he might, nothing would come out except dirty, rusty water.

“Well, Mike, old boy,” he said. “You can’t drink that, you can’t wash your wounds with it, and you’re stuck in the woods in an abandoned old house with no cell phone. Now what?”

He searched through the cupboards and drawers of the kitchen, pushing aside old cutlery, shredded paper that had been made into mouse nests, and moth-eaten linens, until finally he found a box of matches.

It had to be done. Mike lit the old curtains that hung at the wall and watched them quickly catch fire. He ran to the living room and set the drapes on fire. Smoke quickly filled the room as he dashed outside.

Suddenly, he remembered his rabbit. He darted back through the door and emerged a minute later, soot covered, but clutching his trophy by the ears. The fur was only a little singed.

He stood at the edge of the clearing and waited. Finally, he heard the whirring of helicopter blades overhead. He ran into the clearing and waved his arms to signal the pilot. The rabbit flopped wildly in his grip.

A short time later fire trucks, police cars and several news vans, complete with satellite dishes on the roofs came roaring down the dirt road on the other side of the house.

Firemen went to work on the house, EMT’s went to work on his legs and a police officer went to work grilling Mike.

“You start this fire?” he asked.

“Yes, officer. It was a matter of life and death. I was hunting," he said, raising the rabbit for the officer to see as the news camera’s zoomed in. "I was wounded. I lost my cell phone and stumbled around the woods for hours. I had to set the fire to attract a rescue team.”

“This your cell phone,” asked the officer.

Mike took it. “Yes, it is, where did you find it?”

“On the hood of a Jaguar at the end of this drive,” he said.

Mike has given up hunting. His legs are healing and he only had to spend a few nights in jail. Now he spends most of his time looking for a new job in order to pay off the huge debt he incurred by setting the fire. It’s rough, but there are a few bright spots.

Each evening he brews himself a soothing cup of chamomile tea, thankful for spigots, faucets and fresh, clear water. He limps to the den and sits before the crackling fire, thinking back on his ordeal. It should be a traumatic memory, and it might be if not for the front half of a scruffy-looking rabbit, mounted and hanging proudly above the mantle.

*No bunnies were harmed during the writing of this story.
(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

I'm writing a new book!

After searching the internet for weeks for good writing prompts and coming up with very few good ones, I have started compiling a book of 1001 Writing Prompts.

Today I found this question asked on Ask MetaFilter...

"Does anyone know where to find good writing prompts? The ones I've found in Google are either boring or intended for children. I'm an aspiring writer and it'd be a big help to have prompts to get me motivated."

Fifty people marked this question as a favorite, so I guess I'm not the only one who would love a book filled with good writing prompts.

So, hang on fellow writers...the book we want, the book we need is on the way!

Flash Fiction

Last night I discovered Flash Fiction.

"Flash fiction is fiction of extreme brevity. The standard, generally-accepted length of a flash fiction piece is 1000 words or less. ..." (Wikipedia)

My brother and I decided to give it a whirl today. He picked the theme "Time" and we set about writing our first flash fiction.

I ended up writing two pieces. Here they are:

The Times they are a Changin’

He wound the pocket watch carefully, picked up his lunch box, kissed his wife and headed for the train depot.

Thirty years he had made this trip and it suited him just fine. He walked past the drugstore on the corner and waved at Sal, stopped at Joe’s to get a cup of stout coffee, bought the Post at the newsstand and continued his journey.

Only he stepped in front of a trolley car at 14th Street and Broadway.

At the funeral his mother handed him his fathers pocket watch.
He wound the pocket watch, grabbed a granola bar, kissed his wife and ran for the subway.

Three years he had made this trip and he hated every minute of it. He walked past the barred drugstore on the corner and nodded at the turbaned owner who was unlocking the gate, stopped at Starbucks and picked up a double-shot to kick-start his brain, grabbed the Times at the newsstand and continued his journey.

Only he stepped in front of a taxi at the 14th Street and Broadway.

His mother carefully wrapped his father’s pocket watch in a clean handkerchief and tucked it into her jewelry box. She would give it to him when he got older.

After his mother’s funeral, his sister handed him the pocket watch.

“Mom wanted you to have this when you got older. I think you’re old enough now,” she said, hopefully.
He grabbed the pocket watch from his dresser, rifled through his sister’s purse and took some cash, kicked the dog on the way out the door and headed for the Grand Central Station.

He had made this trip every day in the three months since his mother croaked. He pawned the watch at the shop on the corner, stopped at Juan’s and bought a pint, stole a Hustler magazine from the newsstand and continued his journey.

Only they found him that night under the bridge at 14th Street and Broadway.

And this is the second:


He had heard that time stands still in moments of extreme stress. It isn’t so.

The minute the doctor pronounced his sentence, time had accelerated, speeding by in dizzying patterns, swirling about him with hurricane force winds. He needed to catch his breath and then he heard himself gasp.

It was a momentary lapse in his stoic nature. It wouldn’t happen again.

Radiation, chemotherapy, daily trips to the hospital, doctor visits, medication and hovering…always someone hovering.

His world began to shrink. His dreams of adventure in the vast outdoors were reduced to wishing he could go outside and mow the lawn.

His days began to shorten…5 hours awake out of every 24.

His independence all but vanished.

And finally, time stood still.

(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Writing Prompt:
"I live in the white cottage at the north end of the lake."
How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Carly lifted the binoculars again, pushing away the guilty feelings
that had made her lower them.

He certainly was handsome in a rugged, bohemian sort of way. She couldn’t get a good look at his face, but his swagger said it all.

“Whatcha lookin’ at?” said a voice so close it made her jump. It was Bobby, her kid brother.

Carly ruffled his hair, “Nothin’ squirt, I thought you were taking a nap.”

“I woked up,” Bobby said, “and I’m hungry.”

“Well, you sit right here on the porch and I’ll make you some lunch,” said Carly. She parked him on the big wooden porch swing and went into the house, letting the screen door slam behind her.

Carly had looked forward to summer at the lake, but babysitting her little brother every day had not been part of her plan. Unfortunately, her parents had counted on her so that they could finish remodeling the library in town. She understood, but she still wasn’t happy about the situation. Her “How I spend my Summer Vacation” essay in the fall was going to be awfully boring.

She slapped together a peanut butter and banana sandwich, being careful to cut off every speck of crust. It would never get eaten otherwise. She poured a glass of cold milk, sliced an apple and put them all on a tray.

As she carried Bobby’s lunch toward the door, she heard him talking.

“Those are Carly’s ‘noculers. She’s my sister. She likes to look at the white house with them.”

“Really,” said an unfamiliar voice, “and why does she like to watch the white house?”

“Don’t know,” said Bobby, then yelled, “Carly, I’m hungry!”.

Carly paused behind the darkness of the screen door before going out. It was Mr. Handsome, up close and just as good looking as he had been at a distance, only more so.

Her mind raced for a plausible reason to give him for pointing the binoculars in the direction of his house, but none came to mind.

She drew a deep breath and stepped out onto the porch.

“Here’s your lunch, Bobby,” then looking at the stranger, “Oh, hello, who are you?”

“Chad Ferris,” he said, “I live in the white cottage on the north side of the lake.” The amused undertone in his voice was unmistakable.

Carly flushed with embarrassment, then stammered, “Oh, the one down by the old mill. Have you noticed the herons that roost in the reeds by the mill? I just love watching them fish the lake.” She picked up the binoculars, “Don’t you think it’s fascinating how they swoop down so gracefully to catch a fish?”

She watched his smile grow as she stumbled through her lame excuse until it was a wide grin. She wasn’t fooling anybody and they both knew it.

“Maybe you and Bobby would like to take a walk down to the cottage sometime and see the herons up close.” He said.

“Yay,” said Bobby, bouncing up and down.

“Maybe,” she said, noncommittally, although she felt like bouncing up and down herself.

Chad gave a little wave of his hand, flashed her another one of his heart-melting grins, then turned and walked back down the path.

Carly watched him walk toward the little white cottage.

“Well, things were certainly looking up. Maybe she would be writing a very interesting essay this September after all.”

If she had only been able to see into the future just a couple of weeks, she would never have taken him up on his invitation. Never in a million years!

(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

The Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world. That is why you need to put on God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. So, stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist and the protection of right living on your chest. On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One. Accept God’s salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God’s people. Romans 6: 10-18


Be strong in the Lord…
(close to him, continually seeking his heart, his will in all things)

And in His great power…
(not in our own power, but in His power, which is great and which dwells richly in us)

Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks…
(we are to fight, not let the devil run roughshod over us, but to fight back, using God’s armor, which gives us the ability to expose and overcome the devil’s evil tricks.)

Our fight is not against people on earth…
(although, that’s who the devil most often uses to carry out his evil schemes because it distracts us from who we should be fighting…him.)

So, let’s take a look at this battle.
Who started the war? Satan
Why? He wanted to be God – to be the ruler – to be worshiped.

Because of this, he was cast out of Heaven and down to the Earth. This did not hinder his desire to be God, it heightened it. He still wants to be the ruler and to be worshiped; the ruler over all God’s creation and worshiped by those who were created to worship God…people.

Satan is not really fighting us. He’s in a war with God, but true-to-form, he fights dirty. He doesn’t attack his real enemy (God), he attacks those dearest to Him. People are just the pawns Satan uses to fight God.

Because we were created for relationship with God, our spirit’s constantly search for Him. Satan’s goal is to keep us from finding God and enjoying a close relationship with Him.

Satan fights to keep us from…
· coming to God, either for salvation or to God in prayer
· knowing the truth in any given situation – especially spiritual truth
· influencing others to follow Jesus or grow in Him once we find Him
· allowing Christ to use us to continue His work here on earth

Our fight is against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness – against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.
(because we are now aware of this, we must be careful about being dragged into arguments with others and about being used to offend others)

That is why you need to put on God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil (when Satan attacks) you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.
(We are not to give in to the attacks of the enemy…we are to stand strong and fight back…how?)

So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist
(when faced with a difficult situation…ask God, “What is the truth about this situation?”)

And the protection of right living on your chest.
(Living on the edges of sin leaves you defenseless and wide open for attack from the enemy. Right living provides protection from many of the temptations and plans of the enemy for your life.)

On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong
(the Good News is that God has already defeated the devil. God sent Jesus, who brought peace between fallen man and God. The door is wide open for us to have a loving and eternal relationship with God. Satan’s goal is to keep us from walking through that door, or in the event he isn’t able to do that, he wants to keep our lives in such an uproar that there is no peace. Fortunately, he does not really have the authority to do that anymore. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that after coming into a relationship with Jesus, Satan has no authority in our lives. That doesn’t keep him from trying, which is why we must be ready to stand firm in the armor of God and fight him.)

And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One.
(We can’t stop him from trying, but we can use our faith to keep believing in God and His great power to protect us and to help us to overcome the things that Satan throws at us.)

Accept God’s salvation as your helmet
(a helmet protects our head…our mind. When the enemy attacks, it’s often in our mind. Keep the truth of your salvation always in the forefront of your mind to protect against his attacks. When you are tempted to doubt your salvation or God’s love for you…remind the enemy of your salvation, which makes you a child of God)

And take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
(God’s word is your most powerful weapon against the enemy and all his lies, however if you are not familiar with it, you will find yourself in the middle of the battle without your most powerful weapon…READ YOUR BIBLE, study it, memorize it so that you will be prepared for battle.)

Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need.
(Stay in constant communication with God. Let him into every nook and cranny of your thought life. Tell him what hurdles you are facing, what you need (not necessarily what you want). He dwells inside of you. He is your constant companion. He wants to step in and help you through all of the ups and downs of life - all he needs is an invitation from you.)

To do this (win the fight against the enemy) you must always be ready and never give up.
(Be prepared - ready, because you never know when an attack might come, and when it comes, be determined to never give up fighting him, never give in to his temptations, never believe his lies, never turn away from God, your richest source of strength.)

Always pray for all God’s people.
(We are all under attack. People who don’t know God are under attack to keep them from coming to Him. People who do know God are under attack to keep them from enjoying a great relationship with him, allowing Him to work through them to reaching others. Keep praying for others…they are in the battle with you and need your support.)

Knowing the enemy and recognizing that you are in a battle is half the winning. Knowing what weapons you have, how to use them and knowing who you serve under is the other half.

Be alert…the enemy roams throughout the earth looking for someone to devour…don’t let that someone be you!

(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)


(Today's writing prompt was...Why didn't you call me?)

Ellen’s humiliation was complete. The one person in the world she did not want to see at this moment was John, but here he was, getting a first class shot at her rear end sticking out of the car window.

When she stormed out of the house a couple of hours ago, her intentions were to teach him a lesson. He couldn’t keep coming home late without at least calling. Dinner was ruined once again, but her anger over that had morphed into fear, then panic and back to anger by the time he walked in with a sheepish grin on his face…as if that would make everything better.

“Why didn’t you call me?” she had screamed at him.

Without giving him a chance to answer she snatched the car keys from his hand, “I’ll teach you a lesson. Maybe you’ll see what it’s like to worry about someone.”

She had driven around for hours, then stopped by Walmart. They were the only store open at 2:00 am. Another hour of wandering up and down the aisles without a single thing in her cart brought her to her senses…well, that and the suspicious stares of the Walmart associates.

Her anger was spent and her weary body just wanted to go home and crash in her own bed.

The parking lot was empty except for a few employee cars and John’s Lexus. Ellen fumbled around in her purse for the keys, but came up empty.

“No”, she thought, “I didn’t.” but peering through the window at the keys dangling from the ignition confirmed her suspicions. Now what?

She noticed the back window was opened just an inch. Pushing with all her might, she managed to force it down about halfway. She stepped back to gauge the size of the opening and decided she could make it.

Throwing her purse onto the back seat, she dove in headfirst. It wasn’t until she found herself hanging half in and half out of the car and unable to budge in any direction that she realized how severely she had underestimated the size of her butt.

Her cell phone lay within her reach, but she could not bring herself to make the call.

“Hey, lady, what do you think you’re doing? You stealing that car?”

Mortification and a lack of breathing space prevented her from answering in more than a grunt.

“You stay right there…don’t move. I’m calling the cops.”

She heard the voice reporting her crime, heard him give them her license plate number, heard the sirens then heard the thinly veiled snickers of the first officers on the scene.

“This is my husband’s car. I’m not stealing it.” Ellen managed.

“Well, we’ll know soon enough,” said the officer, “The owner’s on his way.”

Moments later, she heard John’s voice.

.”Darlin’, why didn’t you call me?”

If I ever get out of this car…I’m gonna kill him!

(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)