RED LIGHTING

Welcome to Sunday Photo Fiction! Each week I will post a new photograph, taken either by myself or donated by a member of the community. The challenge is to write a story using 200 words or less based, on the prompt. When you are done, post your story and the photo prompt on your blog. Please make sure you give proper credit to the photographer. Use the InLinkz froggy icon below to add your story to the SPF collection. While you are there, take time to read and comment on some of the other stories. I know you will not be disappointed.

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Photo Credit Susan Spaulding

 

RED LIGHTING 

by John Yeo

  Billy and Mary were lovers. From the moment they met, it was a flash of lightning that lit up the fires of longing.
Billy was at a crossroads, when he first met Mary. He’d just left school without any qualifications and without any chance of a job. Dyslexia, was the funny word his English teacher had used. Billy hadn’t a clue what that meant. A stocky lad, with a shock of shoulder length red hair, that hung loosely on his shoulders. Again his English teacher, Mr Sykes, had a theory that red haired people were renowned for being short tempered and irritable, easily distracted without the means to apply themselves to the task in hand. Billy had his own opinions on bitter, bigoted, world weary, self-opinionated English teachers who were swayed by popular prejudices against anyone who appeared slightly different.
Billy had a business in full swing with his Uncles who were fishermen.
He managed to change the colour of the harbour coast lights by inserting cellophane paper to warn the boats not to approach shore whenever there was danger. Smuggling was helping Billy get the funds to marry Mary and take her away. Billy was a genius.

© John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

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STARLIGHT

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

A prompt response for Inspiration Monday: Quiet Light

STARLIGHT

by John Yeo

I always relish the night shift at the hospital. The administration has all gone home, that leaves the professionals to fully take over and we can do our jobs without too much interference from the budget boys. Too many fingers in the pie if you ask me!

I remember once when a patient was in pain and there was some argument over whether we should use the latest methods to ease the pain. The poor patient was pumped full of morphine, while three admin men discussed whether the hospital could afford the very latest miracle light rays that have just been introduced.

This is a brilliant, bright new starlight, that mimics the rays of starlight that have streamed unused and ignored by scientists until a very powerful computer picked up the almost silent sound of the starlight rays bouncing off the Earth’s surface. Professor Modesty then hooked the starlight to a machine that generates a beam of fantastic intensity, that has proved to be the most powerful painkiller ever known. One gentle bathe in the purifying quiet starlight and pain is instantly a memory that allows time for medical specialists to identify and cure the causes.

This wonderful new technique is very expensive to use as it is difficult to generate starlight in the daylight hours.

Now on the night-shift, we are able to freely use this painkiller, without any interference or repercussions from these admin ignoramuses. The quiet light eases the pain of the patients and ensures a drug-free, pain-free night.

What these budget conscious, penny-pinching idiots don’t seem to realize is that the stars come out at night and the quiet starlight is free to use without the necessity of expensive machines.

I do love the night shift.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

THE RELENTLESS SEA

I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of WATER..

 

The Relentless Sea


by John Yeo
  

  Driftwood, bobbing and bouncing on the top of the waves, was the first clue that Old Tom had claimed another unwary, unsuspecting victim. 
 Our hearts sank whenever large spars of wood came drifting in on the foamy, relentless, rough waves in exceptionally stormy weather. 
 Old Tom was the name given by the locals over many centuries to a line of cliffs that were hidden at the entrance to the harbour. Obscured from the sight of incoming vessels by the high waters. There was a large rock, shaped like a giant, hence the name and the well deserved ugly reputation. 


Several battered suitcases and wooden barrels arrived bobbing into the waiting arms of the people lining the shore. These wrecks always drew a crowd of locals searching for the remains.
 This wreckage seemed to be different than the usual detritus that floated into shore.
  

    “I wonder if there were many lives lost out there this time. Last time Old Tom claimed twenty-nine. I hear we must be thankful for small mercies, the rocky arms of Old Tom have embraced many of our enemies in the past and saved us from invaders.” Billy Martindale said to his wife Josie.
  

  Josie looked pale and drawn, dragged from her customary hard routine of caring for their home, she had always accompanied her husband to lend assistance if there was a shipwreck.


   “I sincerely hope not!” she replied.
  

Billy and Josie had lived on the cliffs of this perilous coastline for thirty-five years, a harsh way of life, that both of them had learned to accept the hard way, as they knew no other. They had two sons Bert and Jack, who had long since left the safety of their home and gone to sea.
The first of the dead floated in.
  

    Josie gasped, “It’s a baby! Oh no! Look, Billy.”
  Then another group of bodies was washed up on the shore. These were families, and the horror set in as the extent of this tragedy began to slowly unfold.
The Coastguards and the Lifeboats returned to shore after a fruitless search for survivors. 
The newspapers reported another boatload of refugee asylum seekers had been drowned that day off the rugged, rocky coast.
 At the final tally, Old Ben had claimed another forty-nine lives. 
Sadly the horrors that drove these people to seek sanctuary, seem so ongoing and insoluble that we can only pray for future peace and goodwill in this world.


Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved 


INFERIORITY COMPLEX

 

 

J.K.ALLEN Friday prompt
@hijinkswriter

Happy Fiction Friday! Here’s your prompt:
You finally build up the courage to talk to that cute someone you see every day on the bus. Their face turns dark as they respond, “You shouldn’t be able to see me.”
Happy writing!

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INFERIORITY COMPLEX

by John Yeo

 It’s raining hard this morning with a strong wind that keeps trying hard to blow my umbrella inside out. It’s a good job I don’t have far to go to the bus stop. I turn the collar up on my raincoat, this helps a bit to keep my neck warm and dry. Glancing at the time on my iPhone I see I am right on time the usual crowd of commuters is gathered at the bus stop. Most of them crammed into the bus shelter. I smile and nod at some of the more familiar faces.
   A smartly dressed young man pushes back into the shelter to allow me room to squeeze inside, much to the chagrin of old sourpuss who has to suffer the indignity of actual bodily contact with a couple of other commuters. She rewards the young man with a look of pure hatred, even though I have been traveling on this route for a year, old sourpuss would never deign to acknowledge my existence. The young man, who wears a thin gold earring, then acts in a totally unexpected way and pokes his tongue out at the tall grey-haired elderly lady.
    A look of shock covers the face of old sourpuss as she angrily turns her face away.
I have an added incentive to make sure I get the usual bus. I have been admiring a certain pretty young woman for several months now. She usually gets aboard the bus at the next stop after I board the bus and she always gets off at the stop before mine outside the private hospital.
    I have never seen such an attractive person in my life before, she is so adorably beautiful I get shy and unsure of myself whenever I see her. I have noticed she never speaks to anyone and no one else seems to know her. I wonder how I can ever pluck up enough courage to break the ice and to introduce myself to her.
    I choose a seat near the entrance to the bus where I knew I was sure to catch her eye as she entered the bus. I had a vague plan in my mind that may give me the opportunity to break the ice and have a chat with her. The rain was still pouring down when the bus reached the next stop, where the cute young lady usually gets on board. The bus came to a stop and three passengers boarded together. A young couple got on first and there was a few minutes delay as the young man began fishing for some change from his pocket while his wife and the bus driver patiently waited.
    Finally with a grin followed by a laugh the couple took their seats on the bus.
Then came the moment I had been waiting for when my dream lady got on the bus. She shook the raindrops off her red umbrella and placed her ticket on the automatic digital charging icon. Her long blond hair was tied up in a ponytail hanging behind her. As she walked by my seat I got up with a paperback book in my hand, ‘Is this yours?’ I asked, ‘Only I found it on the seat you sat in after you had got off the bus yesterday.’

   I was taken aback as the young woman’s face darkened with a horrified surprise. ‘You shouldn’t be able to see me, I am an alien from a different world than you. I must exist in your imagination. No one ever takes any notice of me or pays any attention to me. That’s why I attend the hospital for treatment every day. Are you a patient there?’

   I shook my head and backed away in stunned surprise, I smiled at her as she got off the bus at the private Psychiatric hospital. I still think she is a dream on legs, a figment of my imagination or not.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

ALIEN THOUGHT PATTERN

J.K. Allen @hijinkswriter

Here’s today’s Fiction Friday prompt:
In the future, virtual reality has surged. One of the more controversial uses is in prisons. Whatever crime you committed you have to relive from your victim’s point of view. It’s your first day in prison and you’re terrified because of what you did.

~~~~~

virtual perception-3110810_960_720virtual-reality-3039745_960_720ALIEN THOUGHT PATTERN

by John Yeo

I had put up a strong defense and my lawyer had almost worked a miracle and got me off of the charges. I was shocked when I heard the Judge’s sentence. There was a catch to the decision, I would either have to serve 25 years or this could be reduced to 5 years if I agreed to undergo a new virtual reality procedure. This would entail reliving the crime through the eyes and feelings of the victim. I thought this would be quite easy as I have never had a care what that dirty jumped-up idiot thought at all. I agreed instantly.

  It was with a loud ominous clang the doors of the prison closed behind me. When I entered. I was handcuffed to a tall overweight prison officer who manhandled me into a reception area where after going through the usual formalities, I was soon on my way to a special wing of the prison where I would be completing my sentence.
It was here I met my room-mate Sydney.
    ‘Hi! I’m George,’ I said grinning as I introduced myself. This should be easy, a nice cushy billet in the hospital pretending to comply with all this VR nonsense.’
My new friends face changed visibly as a look of horror replaced the welcoming look he had previously displayed.

    ‘Hello George, I’m Sydney, I’ve been here for a whole year now. I’m not kidding you when I say I wish I had taken the alternative option. This is the scariest thing I have ever done. I killed a neighbour who got on my nerves. They make you experience every single tiny emotion your victim went through when you killed him. Every day the VR machine repeats the feelings repetitively until you will be praying to share the death in reality. What are you here for?’

  I stepped back shocked when I heard this. ‘I killed a man who was abusing my daughter. What do you mean about reliving the crime over and over from his point of view? I just gave the dirty pervert what he deserved. I took the shorter sentence as I thought it would be easy.’

   ‘That’s what I thought too George but reversing roles is frightening, every little fear and emotion your victim felt will be experienced by you. This is absolute torture.’  Sydney had visibly aged in seconds while he was describing his treatment and his mental state.

 George began to feel afraid of what was in store for him, he had made sure the pervert suffered before he had killed him. There was no way he wanted to go through any of that.

   ‘Sydney you’ve got to help me is there any way I can change my mind? Can I appeal to the authorities? I’m scared of what those men in white coats will do to me.’

   ‘Sorry George, there’s no way out of this, you will have to suffer the fate of the pervert you killed, over and over again. Believe me, I’ve tried many times in many ways. There’s no escape.’

George put his head in his hands and burst out crying.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

OSWALD ISLAND

A REEDSY PROMPT

You are an explorer who’s just discovered a new island.’

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OSWALD ISLAND

by John Yeo

   The press conference was well attended, with representatives from several of the national newspapers and a few reporters from regional papers.
There was a presentation of sketches and photographs on display of a substantial rocky landmass located in a sunlit sapphire sea. There was a large indentation in the centre that was a natural lake with a channel leading to a bay that formed a natural harbour.

‘First things first Ladies and Gentlemen of the press. My name is Captain Oswald, I own that luxury yacht moored in the harbour. We have just returned from the Indian Ocean, where my island is located.’

Mike Molloy, an ebullient Irish reporter employed by the Daily Torment, a national tabloid newspaper. ‘You are referring to this discovery as your island
Captain? How can you lay claim to an island for yourself. Surely you should be claiming it for the nation?’

‘My friend I have discovered this paradisiacal island, exactly 101 miles off the coast of Tango, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Even now as we speak several members of my crew are in residence guarding my property. I have laid claim to this new land and I propose to sell shares to anyone interested in the future development of my land.’

There was a sudden loud general hubbub as questions were fired at Captain Oswald, a short, stocky man with a shock of sandy coloured hair.
A large familiar-looking man raised his hand and shouted.
‘Peter Swinburne, from the Daily Scare. Supposing you are overruled by the government of Tango and the island is confiscated. How do your investors know they will be able to get their money back?’

‘Mr Swinburne, my word is my bond and I guarantee to refund all monies that will have been invested in my property. I have the financial backing of a leading worldwide firm in the futures investment industry. This will be a first class investment with the minimum of risk. I have been assured by a member of the Tangoan government that this new island is just outside their territorial boundaries and is open for development. I have agreed to allow the Tangoan government a full half share of any future profits.’

Another voice shouted a question, this time it was a lady reporter. ‘Geraldine South, from the Seaview Independent local paper. I would like to know how much of these future profits will be invested locally in these Isles.’

Captain Oswald smiled and replied. ‘There is no question that this government will receive substantial funds in exchange for protection from marauding pirates and gangsters. I have been assured this is possible and a feasibility study is underway as we speak. Of course the bulk of our trade will be with tourists and businesses from here. Holidaymakers will flock there, the ultra-wealthy will build their homes there.’

A tall distinguished looking man then stepped up and said,
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to bring this press conference to a close now. I am a lawyer representing Captain Oswald. I would appreciate it, if all further questions could be directed to my office. I propose to leave a pile of my address cards at the back of this hall.

The next few weeks were exciting as far as Captain Oswald was concerned. Money was flooding in from interested investors as speculators queued to get a piece of the action. The funds were quickly channeled into building projects and advertising.

Captain Oswald had returned to his island and made the trip back several times. He now worked from a plush office in the centre of the financial hub of a city on the mainland.
When the first warnings started to come through, Captain Oswald was attending a plethora of meetings with his new partners and the banks.
The first newsflash was seemingly insignificant, just a suggestion that there was a hurricane due to touch the coastline of his private island.
The news came through as Captain Oswald had a meeting scheduled with the press to announce a public naming ceremony of his new island. Unsurprisingly the island was to be named Oswald island and would be officially recognised by all concerned.

The reports of the power and devastation caused by the hurricane in the South Pacific Ocean became more and more alarming. The weather forecasters had named this powerful storm, Hurricane Esmeralda, a name that would forever be indelibly imprinted on the mind of Captain Oswald.

Within days the Captain and his crew were travelling at full speed towards the Tango islands in the South Pacific following a spate of reports of the devastation and the loss of life caused by Hurricane Esmeralda. There was a lack of news after a while due to the power lines that had been severely damaged by the storm.
Several days later they were approaching the point where Oswald Island was located but to the horror and surprise of the Captain there wasn’t any sign of his island.

Captain Oswald screamed to his first mate, ‘Barnicle, where’s the island?’

‘I dunno Captain, it should be right in front of us.’

‘Have you got the right coordinates man?’

‘Yessir! Positively Sir.’

It took a few seconds for the dreadful realisation that Oswald Island was gone and would never be seen again. Washed away and destroyed by Hurricane Esmeralda, the island was now at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The Captain took this discovery surprisingly philosophically.

‘Well life’s a gamble, they say things come and go, Nature provides and Nature takes away. C’mon Barnacle, head for Tango, I need to cash in my chips.’

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

A DRAMATIC SHOCK REACTION

A REEDSY PROMPT

A DRAMATIC SHOCK REACTION

by John Yeo

   That night, the action backstage was even more dramatic than the story unfolding onstage. Harry Houston, the leading man of this highly successful production was in a terrible rage. Harry stood himself up to his full 6 foot 6 inches height and shouted aggressively and belligerently at the diminutive figure of Peter Whelks, the stage manager.
    ‘Look here Whelks, I’d like you to get rid of that so-called makeup artist at once. She is awful, I’ve broken out in a rash all over my face and my neck.’
Harry Houston’s veins were protruding through his leathery skin as an effect of his incredible rage. Peter likened his performance to a cross between Godzilla and a fire-breathing dragon.
     ‘Sure thing Mr. Houston, there will be an instant investigation and if she’s responsible she will be dismissed instantly.’

    ‘Of course, she’s responsible man! She’s the only person who gets paid an enormous salary to apply the muck here that masquerades as makeup. I want her fired immediately.’
Harry then proceeded to cover the offending itchy spots with swathes of calamine lotion from the first aid kit, which had the effect of turning his face and neck bright pink.
At that point, Mrs. Imelda Spinks, a competent professional, who represented the theatre company as head of the makeup department responsible for the facial appearances of the whole cast, bustled into the dressing room. A short-haired lady with streaks of grey showing through her dyed blonde hair, she had piercing blue eyes reflecting an expression that announced she would brook no nonsense from anyone.
     ‘Oh my God! Mr. Houston what have you been doing? You’re on stage soon, you have ruined my carefully applied makeup, what’s that stuff all over you? Here let me help you wipe it off.’

     ‘Stay away from me you old dragon! It’s all your fault, by smearing your dreadful muck all over my face you have managed to bring me out in incredibly itchy spots.’ Shouted the leading man in a threatening aggressive manner.

    ‘Now hold on a minute, Mr. Houston, we have to establish the facts before you are able to accuse anyone.’ Interceded Peter Whelks, nervously stepping away from both of them.

    ‘Don’t you dare speak to me in that tone of voice, you rude ignorant excuse for a gentleman. I’ll slap your face hard for you and you’ll need more than camomile lotion. How come nobody else in the company is showing any signs of these spots?’

    ‘Shut up you idiotic clown! Of course, it’s the gunge you call stage makeup that you’ve been spreading all over my face for the last two weeks now.’ Shouted Harry Houston.

     ‘Look here Harry, You are out of order here. I must insist you apologise to Mrs. Spinks at once please.’ Peter Whelks broke in again.

  With a sudden crack, the tall 6-foot figure of Harry Houston staggered back under the force of a sharp slap from the diminutive Mrs. Spinks.
To everyone’s surprise, Harry Houston suddenly attempted to speak but his tongue seemed to be thick and swollen. He collapsed and rapidly passed out as he hit the floor. It took seconds for Peter Whelks to react
    ‘Call an ambulance quickly!’ he shouted, ‘ He’s not moving at all, I think he is unconscious.’
Derek, a stagehand, who had been standing by, enjoying this unplanned spectacle instantly pulled out his mobile phone and dialed 999. Twelve minutes later a Paramedic arrived on a motorcycle followed by an emergency ambulance. Three professionals were soon hard at work, desperately trying to bring Harry Houston around.

   Mrs. Spinks meanwhile had turned a deathly shade of white and Derek, the stagehand quickly bought up a chair for her. Peter Whelks ordered him to fetch a glass of water for her from the kitchen adjoining the stage. Then turning to Mrs. Spinks he said, ‘Don’t worry, my dear, there is a lot more happening here than meets the eye.’
Mrs. Spinks, her lips trembling and her hands visibly shaking with shock, sat still, transfixed into silence.

     ‘Has anyone telephoned Belinda Houston and let her know what’s happening here?’ enquired Peter Whelks.

  At that precise moment, a tall immaculately dressed lady arrived. Belinda Houston had appeared, right on cue.
    ‘What’s going on? I hear Harry has collapsed and is receiving medical attention.’

  ‘Yes,’ replied Peter. ‘He is in that ambulance there undergoing treatment, the young paramedic standing over there will give you the details.’

Belinda approached the young lady paramedic and said,
‘I’m Mrs. Houston, What’s happened to my husband? I hear he has suddenly collapsed.’

     ‘Yes Mrs. Houston, I’m Ruby Dawson, a senior paramedic. We have brought him around, he seems to have been undergoing a shock reaction to an, as yet, unidentified substance. Can you tell us if he’s allergic to anything obvious? He has a nasty rash on his face and his neck.’

   ‘Oh! Of course, he has a strong allergy to peanuts, the slightest trace of a peanut is enough to provoke a reaction. He knows better than to go near peanuts.’ replied Mrs. Houston.

   ‘That’s it! Exactly what we thought, he has had an anaphylactic shock episode. I’m sorry to say he’ll have to spend the night in hospital under observation. Would you like to accompany your husband in the ambulance?’

   ‘No thanks, I think I will follow in my car after I’ve collected a few things from home.’

  After the ambulance had left the theatre, Peter Whelks called Imelda Spinks and Derek, the stagehand into his office and announced that the show would go on with the understudy in the leading role. He stated quite emphatically that in the interests of confidentiality they were forbidden to discuss the events of the day. He assured Imelda that the management would act with every sympathy for her predicament as the treatment meted out to her by Harry Houston had been unacceptable.
Several days later a huge bouquet arrived for Imelda from Harry Houston with a note of apology attached.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved