100-250 Word Stories

In partial explanation of my absence and in addition to work, I suffered a deep loss at the end of January. My cat Dragon died. He was the best of cats, charming and dignified, affectionate when affection was earned and tolerant beyond belief. Even when the twins were tossing him at each other–much to my dismay–during their early elementary school days, never did he raise a claw to them. This story was inspired by a card sent to us by the vet who euthanized him. It included a poem based on a Norse myth about the rainbow bridge, pets, and their human companions.

— Marilyn R. Freedman

26 thoughts on “100-250 Word Stories

  1. Maybe Things Aren’t What They Seem, by Marilyn R. Freedman

    I crested the hill. A meadow spread out below. Leafed-out trees glowed in the sun. Settling my pack on my shoulders, I was grateful for grass and not scree on the steep grade.

    In the distance I saw a structure. With no particular destination—where was I?—I headed toward it: a bridge, with something dark moving back and forth in front.

    I couldn’t place the familiar sound I heard. But my heart beat faster. I picked up the pace.

    Something black streaked toward me. I dropped to my knees as a black cat launched itself at me. In the light I could see brown stripes ripple among the black. When he lifted a paw and tapped my cheek, I knew. “Dragon!”

    “Lots of mice here. Will you finally learn to hunt?”

    Rest in peace, Dragon
    September 2003 – January 2015

  2. Russell Conover

    Interesting idea to post stories between 100 and 250 words, Marilyn. This could open up another whole dimension of our Flash Fiction. Personally, I’ll see what I can do in terms of writing this length of story, and I’ll try to post soon. Cheers.

  3. Gordon Lawrie

    It’s a lovely story, Marilyn, and a nice and lasting memory of Dragon. Could you be bothered posting the vet’s poem, out of interest? I’m not a pet owner, but I’m interested and I’m sure others would be as well.

  4. Jane Reid

    Sorry about Dragon, Marilyn. It is always hard to lose a good friend and family member.

    The Rainbow Bridge myth is a classic, widely known by pet owners, although I don’t know it as a poem. One of my friends, an animal lover, wrote a group of friends when one of her pets died, and added, “Please, no one send me a copy of the Rainbow Bridge, or I will cry again.”

  5. Marilyn R. Freedman

    Thank you for your understanding and sharing your own stories. It helps; it just helps.

    Gordon, here is the poem, and it wasn’t a bother at all (but I did cry again, which isn’t a bad thing). I tried to preserve the line breaks of the poem just as it appears on this very small card. And LinkedIn’s commenting system won’t allow italic formatting. On the card, the whole thing is in italic–much too hard to read; and for once I agree with LinkedIn’s formatting limitations.

  6. Marilyn R. Freedman

    The Rainbow Bridge
    Inspired by a Norse Legend

    By the edge of a wood, at the foot of a hill,
    is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
    Where the friends of man and woman do run,
    when their time on earth is over and done.
    For here, between this world and the next,
    is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
    On this golden land, they wait and they play,
    till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

    No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
    for here they are whole,
    their lives filled with gladness.

    Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
    their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
    They romp through the grass,
    without even a care,
    until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

    All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
    then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
    For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
    Together again, both person and pet.
    So they run to each other,
    These friends from long past,
    the time of their parting is over at last.

    The sadness they felt while they were apart,
    has turned into joy once more in heart.
    They embrace with a love that will last forever,
    and then, side-by-side,
    they cross over … together.

  7. Russell Conover

    Somehow I forgot to add my sympathies about Dragon, Marilyn. For that, I apologize; I must’ve read your original post too quickly. I’m sorry for your loss, and hope you’re doing OK in the meantime. Nice to have you here in F.F.F., too.

  8. Emma Baird

    Hello Marilyn – great story and so sorry for your loss. As you will have gathered there are quite a few cat lovers among us. I hadn’t heard of the Rainbow Bridge and it’s lovely.

  9. Gordon Lawrie

    Thank you, Marilyn. I was originally going to ask who wrote it, but a little research reveals that seems to be in considerable dispute. Two people we can apparently rule out are Steve and Diane Bodofsky, who claim @1998; since it had already been published elsewhere well before that, we can be sure they’re just trying it on.

    So you gave me a double dose of pleasure, the poem itself plus the hunt for its source. Thanks again.

  10. Marilyn R. Freedman

    Gordon, have you found the source yet? This proving to be quite interesting. And again, many thanks for all of your expressions of sympathy. I have several stories I could tell about Dragon, including how he arrived in our home and what prompted me to get him a kitten. Let me know if you’d like to hear them. And perhaps you will share your own stories about your cat companions.

  11. Bobby Warner

    Okay, let me … use this comment space to send a story I sent before (twice, I think), but it never got through. I tried sending [on fridayflashfiction.com] through the regular “Send Me Something” then through Submit Stories email address, and apparently they didn’t get out, so I’m gonna try on LinkedIn and use a different computer to see if mayhaps that’s the problem. Kindly let me know–if you do get this story transmission. Thanks, Live Long and Prosper! Bobby.

    An Unidentified Photograph, by Bobby Warner

    Someone took the photo shortly after sunset. The light was dim, but you could see plainly enough. They stood in profile, facing one another, except their faces were turned toward the camera.

    They wore old-fashioned clothes, so I suppose the photo was taken in the late 19th or early 20th Century. I don’t know for sure; just guessing.

    I wondered why someone would want their photo taken in such dim light. You could hardly see any of their features, other than it was a man and woman, or maybe a girl and a boy. Their faces were in deep shadow–except for the eyes. Oh, those eyes. I can never get them out of my mind.

    Was it some freak of light? something on the film? perhaps a flash that caused their eyes to appear as two large globes of light–the only features that stood out so plainly?

    I found the old photo in the attic of the house I am renting. No one seems to be able to place it, or identify the two people captured on film. I really would like to find out who they were, and where the photograph was taken.

    But perhaps, for my own peace of mind, it is better that I do not know.

  12. The Captain, by Bobby Warner (in remembrance of Star Trek and Mr. Spock)

    The Captain stood high on the Command Bridge of the Starship Vulcan Prince in his shiny uniform, gazing through his optical sensors at the gigantic intergalactic viewscreen before him. The Captain and his Bridge were purely symbolic; the only truly alive thing about him was his brain, kept fresh and healthy and optimally functional even though the man himself had been dead for fifty years.

    Hooked into the motherboard of the interstellar computer system, the Captain’s brain augmented the computer, yielding a truly real artificial intelligence.

    “We’re set to enter hyperdrive in 5 plus Zy,” said Commander Ellison, head of the two hundred and fifty volunteer colonists bound for a twenty-light-year journey to seed a new planet in a far off galaxy. The Commander climbed into his suspended animation capsule, and the remainder of the colonists did the same.

    As the capsules closed, and a mixture of gases rushed in to bring sleep to the colonists, the Captain turned and gestured with his metal alloy hand; a salute.

    “Sleep well, crew. We’ve a long journey ahead.”

  13. Marilyn R. Freedman

    Where I’ve been …

    On The Locked Ward

    One day I went to visit my kid at the adolescent psychiatric inpatient unit.

    I walked by a room and saw a young girl curled up on a bed, knees to her chest, head and shoulders folded down. The room was so brightly lit the open doorway looked like a white rectangle. I couldn’t help turning my head toward the light. Her pajama top was yellow, and the bedclothes were white.

    I close my eyes and see her still. I wanted to wrap my arms around her. But you can’t do that when you’re someone else’s parent and you’re on a psychiatric unit. Even if it makes your chest ache.

    And I knew it wouldn’t help. I can’t even do that for my own kid, who won’t let me touch them, who stiffens if I try.

    I close my eyes and see her there, curled up and small. And still I want to hold her, even though I know she won’t feel comforted until she learns to hold herself.

    We’re all like that. You can’t comfort the child on the bed, when no one is holding the child within.

    And when the child inside is dancing barefoot in the green, green grass, dance too.

  14. This story was written months ago, but was never posted to the blog. My apologies.

    Russell Conover

    Marilyn, I certainly don’t mean to step on your toes in this thread. I’m ready to lengthen this piece slightly and move it to the 250-word section if desired. However, here’s a new story that should fall into the 100-250 word category. I count 212, for the record.

    Photo Album

    Flipping through the photo album, Mary was reminiscing about the good times she’d had with her friend Wendy. Wendy was disabled, but her disability hadn’t stopped her from living life to the fullest and actively chasing every one of her dreams.

    First photo: Wendy smiling at the park, basketball in hand, determined to make a shot. Mary remembered her friend shooting time and time again, with the ball clunking off the rim or the backboard (or missing altogether). However, the sheer joy on Wendy’s face when the ball dropped through was magic.

    Second photo: Wendy at the table, working a jigsaw puzzle. While not large, the puzzle was complicated, and Mary doubted she could complete it herself. After trying what seemed like every possible combination, though, Wendy formed the full image and had a story to tell for days.

    Third photo: Wendy laughing with her group of friends from school. Despite her differences, her classmates had taken her under their wing and been the greatest support she could ask for. Wendy focused on just being happy, but Mary knew how thankful both she and her friend were.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Mary’s tears of happiness were confirmation. She was honored to be the friend of Wendy.

  15. A Matter of Time by Bobby Warner

    Duffinger wiped his forehead and stared dejectedly at the chronograph over the viewscreen. His ship was on its last revolution of entry orbit, and still had 57.85467 minutes till touch down.

    Santorblk the robot valet and caddy stared at his master with concern in his optical sensors. “What’s wrong, sir? We’ve made the trip without incident, and will be landing momentarily or thereabouts.”

    “Can’t expect you to understand, Santoblk; you’re not programmed for such data. But that’s Pluto down there, as you well know. My purpose for making this trip was to play in the first ever Interplanetary Golf Tournament.”

    “I know all this, sir. But we’re here, and the games haven’t started. What’s the problem?”

    “The problem is that someone back on Earth forgot to adjust the chronometer for sidereal time–and I’ve just realized this. I’m first up, with a tee time exactly 2 minutes and 16 seconds from now. There’s no way I’m going to get there on time. Why, I’ll be the laughing stock of the entire Solar System! Even worse than that–I’ll lose my entrance fee refund, we’ll be damn near broke–and have to hitchhike all the way back to Earth!”

    “But sir. The Uranus Lesser Tournament is coming up in less than two years. Perhaps you can make that.”

    “Uranus? Uranus!!! Confound it all, Santorblk, what’s Uranus got when compared to what I’m going to miss here on Pluto!”

  16. The Vanishing Man by Bobby Warner

    I passed him in the train station, sitting at the end of a bench, elbow on the arm rest, chin cupped in his hand. He appeared, at first, to be asleep, so I paid him no mind, nor did anyone else.

    But I got to thinking that there was something strange about the man, turned and went back to have another look.

    He was sitting in the same position, and I noticed how still and stiff he looked. I went to him, put out my hand to touch his shoulder and ask him if anything were wrong. But as soon as I touched him, the man began to crumble, to fall apart in a jumble of shard-like pieces–as though someone had struck a statue a pulverizing blow. But I had barely touched him.

    People were stopping to stare. Someone screamed. Several security guards appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

    We all stood awestruck, staring at the empty bench where the man had been sitting. He was gone, dissolved away almost in the blink of an eye.

    Then the guards began shooing people away, myself included, and everyone left, most still in a daze.

    What else could be done? A man had mysteriously dissolved before our very eyes, and was gone. There was no explanation … other than to say it had been an Act of God.

  17. Love is Ageless by Bobby Warner

    He looked at the dark, purplish spots on the backs of his hands, and wondered. He looked in the mirror, saw his hair grown thinner and sparser on his head but profuse in his ears and nose and eyebrows. And the skin: Where had the soft, taut skin gone? He saw nothing but sagging flesh, and–yes–his arms and legs now looked like pipe stems, all the beautiful toned muscles gone the way of the firm, smooth skin.

    “Well, what can you expect, old man,” he said to himself, not noticing that his wife had appeared in the doorway. “After all, you’re 85 years old … and now closer to 86.”

    He jumped, a bit startled and thrilled as his wife said in her gentle voice:

    “You’re not an ‘old man’, my strapping husband. And I still love you just the way you are.”

    He turned, took her in his arms–and suddenly felt young and alive and very much in love again.

  18. On a Summer’s Night by Bobby Warner

    “Hold me,” she said, her voice husky on the summer night air. “Please, please. Just hold me. That’s all I ask.”

    Outside, the squall of alley cats, fighting and fussing at the bottom of a board fence, which separated their house from the next one over.

    His hands were cool on her back. She made a soft sound. “Tight enough?” he asked.

    The cats fell silent, but a dog barked. A very large dog, from the sound. “Arrrrah-arrrrah, ARRRRAH!”

    “No,” she murmured. “Tighter. So tight that you absorb me into yourself.”

    “You’re something else. Do you know that?”

    “Well, of course!” she said, snuggling closer.

    And the cats at the bottom of the board fence began to fight and fuss again; but this time the very large dog did not bark.

  19. The Crossing by Bobby Warner

    Will looked at the tall grass in his front yard and cranked up the power mower. He made several swaths across the expanse of lawn, then turned to look back when he thought he heard a noise like soft footsteps. What he saw was a line of faint footprints in the fallen grass, the impressions made clear because the grass was moist. The footprints were headed in a northerly direction.

    This is not the first time such a thing had happened to Will. It was kind of scary, if it was true, but kind of wonderful, too. The first time it happened, Will ran into the house and told his dad. “Don’t worry, son,” his dad said. “That’s just Grandpa Anders. He cuts across our yard every now and then to visit his first wife, Grandma Shelton, who’s buried over there in the Winston Cemetery.”

    Will looked up toward the Gladfield Cemetery where Grandpa Anders was buried, and waved. He wondered if his great-grandfather was waving back at him. Then he hurried to finishing his mowing before his mother called him in to supper.

  20. Author’s Disclaimer: I’m not “anti-war.” Sometimes we have to fight to prevent tyrants from forcing their will upon on and enslaving large groups of people. Neither am I entirely “pro-war,” for I feel that most, if not all wars would be unnecessary if only the above-mentioned tyrants could be stopped before wars started. Now the story:

    Layers by Bobby Warner

    It is 1864, and many other years simultaneously, laminated one atop the other. Mini-balls whiz across an open field and decimate a line of soldiers; a phalanx of Roman soldiers tear into the scattered ranks of an unknown enemy. In the skies overhead a squadron of Stuka bombers scream earthward and let loose high-explosive mayhem. It is 1917, it is 3016, it is 1898, and countless other years, all stacked and intertwined. How many layers are there? One cannot count them all. Ancient Chinese rockets burn the sky; a metal-giant bomber drops an object that levels an entire city; uniformed soldiers of a hostile regime slaughter thousands and watch as untold liters of blood soak into the desert sands. And always afterwards thousands of surviving (as well as some who do not survive) warriors are awarded medals and other honors.

    The layers of war are as many as the stars in the night sky.

  21. The Last, Best Act, by Bobby Warner

    Legrand slowed the powerful auto as he saw the roadblock up ahead. The authorities pursuing them were also now in sight. Their every exit of escape was closed, their capture inevitable.

    “We had a good run for it, for all of that,” said Ferrer from the passenger seat. “Dozens of banks successfully robbed; raped a score of women; killed two dozen men and women and children; swindled seniors out of several vast fortunes before the fools finally caught up with us. We’ve done it all, man. Can you imagine?”

    “No,” said Legrand. “There is one last, incredibly daring and outrageous thing we can do.” He tromped down on the accelerator and the auto jumped forward, gaining speed. Ferrer grinned from ear to ear as he intuited what Legrand had in mind.

    The car swung suddenly left, crashed through the guard rail and flew out into open space for a moment before falling down the cliff face and exploding when it hit the rocks below.

    The two had pulled it off. Their last and final act was to go out in a blaze of glory!

  22. The Headless Man by Bobby Warner

    As they passed Mr. Yugie’s office Franz glanced inside. Yugie sat behind his desk, dressed ultra conservatively, for he was a V. P. of the bank.

    “He looks different today,” Franz said.

    “Yes. One does look different when you see their apparently headless body sitting behind a desk, and their head perched upon the desk.”

    “Is it for real?”

    “No. Gillsby told me the V. P. purchased it in a novelty store, along with the special coat and extra high collar. Mr. Yugie, as you know, is a shy and bashful man, and the false head helps him talk more freely with important customers.”

    “He is a very wise and resourceful man,” said Franz. “I think we should bring him a cup of coffee and express our admiration. We might even get a raise.”

    The two clerks hurried on their way to the employees’ lounge to brew a fresh pot of coffee for the “headless” man.

  23. (Untitled), by Len Nourse (moved from the 100-word thread …)

    Genie, walking down the street alongside the 18th, feeling generous, stopped beside a beggar and said, “My Man, you look down, what can I do for you?”
    “Just some food on the table for me and my family,”
    “It’s granted and since you were not greedy such will be on your table nightly from henceforth. I notice you could also do with clothes so these too will be placed in your house as needed. Having these will help you find work. As a strong man you need to do one thing for me. Help the aged in your neighbourhood.“
    That all came about!
    Len having heard all this and just having had his 5th 3-putt shouted, ”Hey Genie I’ll do the same in my neighbourhood for one wish.”
    “What is that?”
    “Cure my putting.”
    “That’s not possible with you Serf Efrikens. As proof, putting again cost you the President’s Cup again.”

  24. Dedicated to Ann Louise – remind

    Len married on Saturday in City-Frost and his best mate Bill next in City-Howling Winds, some 1500km away. They were golfers. For Honeymoon a decision was made to meet on the beach in City-Hot; sadly on the day, City-hot decided to be howling winds. Amid stinging sand the men gave the ladies a choice of what next. Indecision reigned so eventually they ended up on a Mashie 9-hole golf course. The ladies frowningly accepted the idea. Then, damn–a problem … Lady-B was left handed. Len ‘tactfully’ said “we’ll trtrry”. After many #/&*@words Lady-B agreed to just walk along. At the green of the first hole amid a verbal barrage by Lady-L, tactful-Len had to duck to avoid being decapitated by the 7-iron hurled at him. The ladies walked off in a huff and joined Len’s Mom in his car. We think they went to a movie.

    Bill gave Len that look with a smiling frown thrown in, and they finished the nine followed by 18 on the proper course. Dinner at the restaurant was eaten in stony silence. Len suffered continual batter all the way home, with divorce uttering thrown in, but that only happened three kids and 15 years later.

    Fifty years later, Bill on his 80th, still married to Lady-B and still in City-howling winds, contacted the wanderer Len online. His memory is still excellent as shown by these words: “I have never met someone who could be so nonchalantly rude and somehow get away with it.”

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