credit: Sandra Crook

It was a decoy.

The tree.   Because it commanded your attention.   A huge tree damaged by Mother Nature.

“Wow… Look at that tree!”  people would say as they passed by, not noticing the obvious.

The stone wall was a decoy, too.  It was old and obviously constructed by someone who knew stone walls.

Together, the tree and the wall were a beautiful focal point… a landmark in the small town.  Every one from miles around knew this tree and this wall…. it had been here longer than anyone still alive.

No one ever suspected the horrible things hidden there.

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Click on the link above to read more short fiction stories hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields every week!

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Keep Out!

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the weekly hosting of Friday Fictioneers!


J Hardy Carroll

“Someone’s coming up the front driveway,”  whispered Kathy to Wayne.

Jack was in the basement where he kept cool on hot days. As usual, he would be no help.

Cell phones didn’t work inside their cement and rusted metal fortress. No way to summon help.

And that window that was so rusted it wouldn’t close anymore; it could be pried open.

“Just wait,” replied Wayne.  “No one could believe anyone actually lives here.”

She gave him “the look” and sat down at her computer, thinking she would send an email to her friend, Sandy, just in case something went wrong.

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ff shoes

photo credit to Sarah Potter

The shoes were a bargain.

I know because she only ever bought from the discounted, discontinued, clearance area. She spent little on herself.  We dressed in hand-me-downs from cousins.  We made our own soap, ketchup, applesauce… always had a garden.  Never had a credit card.  Paid off debts quickly.  Always had money in a savings account.

The only splurge I can remember was having her hair done each week, and that was after she got a job in a local factory.

In later years, when she could afford better, she still bought from the bargain rack.

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Jen latched the suitcase, and took one last long look around.  Many times she had tried to leave, but something held her there.  He promised he would return.  I promised I would wait.  Eight years was a long time. She hadn’t heard from Cody for a long time. She could wait no longer.

Cody trudged up the long path.  Will she even be here?  If she is, how can I ever make her understand all the things that prevented my return?  He had nothing to show for the past eight years.

Jen opened the door.


She dropped her suitcase.

danny-boweman-1 ff

photo credit to Danny Bowman

Thanks for Rochelle at Friday Fictioneers for providing the photo prompt by Danny Bowman. Read more 100 word fiction by clicking the link below.

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Run away

The blast mark in the wall looked like an evil face.  And that’s what this place felt like….. evil.

It had once been a beautiful place of worship.  Calm, serene, giving one a sense of peace and safety.

But now, even with the overgrown vines and small trees sprouting their spring greenery,  it still felt like something horrible had happened here.

The small group of children looked up from the courtyard, wondering what could have possibly taken place here.

They jumped as a voice from behind the wall sternly warned them to keep away.

“Begone! Run to safety!”

They ran.


photo credit Roger Bulltot

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Light from the bathroom invited her to come toward it.  She pulled back and walked to the living room.   Not yet, she thought.  It’s not time yet.

She wandered through the kitchen and dining room looking for more.  Then upstairs to the bedrooms.  No, all was well there.

Carefully stepping down the stairs she listened but heard nothing.  Silently opening the garage door, she saw that the car was gone and the garage door shut.

There was one more place to look.  The backyard.

All was clear.

Finally …a shower with no interruptions!  A mother’s dream.

photo credit Rochelle Wysoff-Fields

Rochelle hosts Friday Fictioneers as well as this week’s photo prompt.

You can read more 100 word fiction by clicking the link.

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Our first meal as a married couple was Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips or Who Needs a Fancy Honeymoon

“Where do you want to go for a honeymoon?”  I asked my soon-to-be husband.

“I don’t care… wherever you want to go…” was the reply.

That simple phrase became a recurring theme for the next several decades.

We only had about a week to plan. Neither one of us had actually thought about it.  I was busy finishing college, getting ready to start my first year of teaching; he was a farmer, it was summer and he was busy.  Another theme repeated during our many years together.

We really had no clue.  Neither one of us were travelers.  We both grew up on farms with livestock, so time away from the farm was difficult to arrange and  usually just didn’t happen.

Should we go somewhere exotic?  Neither one of us had every been on an airplane.  Neither one of us had any idea of places to go.  We decided on just a short trip, since I really wanted to get busy working on my school room and lesson plans.  And my college graduation was coming up in two weeks, and then there were 60 sows back at the farm expecting baby pigs as well.  It just didn’t seem like a good time to leave.  Another theme in our lives.

We settled on visiting Hocking Hills, a mere two hour drive.  I called ahead and booked a room at Howard Johnson’s in Newark.  I am not sure how I did that because we had no credit cards and neither of our parents had any either.  I guess maybe we just made a reservation and had to be there by a certain time or they would give the room to someone else.  How busy was Newark Ohio in 1971?

We left the church, drove to my house, left my flowers and dress and Roger’s tuxedo there, grabbed a road map of Ohio and took off.  We drove a 67 Black Mustang GT (paid for in cash) he wore a dress shirt and dress pants and tie. I had an empire waist purple double knit dress with Peter Pan Collar, three tiny buttons,  and a row of ruffles on each side….We each had a suitcase… his well-worn probably used by his older brothers, and mine powder blue, a high school graduation gift that I had hauled back and forth to college for 3 years.

Somehow we made it to Newark,  checked into our room (with cash) and then looked for a place to have dinner. Our wedding had been a typical 70’s occasion; no big sit down meals just cake, ice cream, mints and of course a punch bowl filled with lemonade and scoops of sherbet melting into it. We were hungry.

fish and chips

“We should find a nice restaurant… something classy…. (I said)  “since it is our first meal as married people!”  So we drove around Newark awhile looking for that special place, but didn’t have much luck and were getting hungrier and hungrier.  Finally an Arthur Treacher’s appeared on the horizon!  We looked at each other and decided we both like fish and chips and we were starving!  As I recall, it was a good meal.

As we drove back to our Motel, a sign similar to this greeted us and we realized we could have eaten at the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant….. like I said, we were clueless.


howard johnsons









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