Monday, April 30, 2018

A to Z: Z - Zephyr & Zero

My A to Z Challenge: Flash fiction written using two words and a photo for inspiration. How did I chose the words? First I brought up a noun list for each letter, then averted my eyes, scrolled the mouse down, stopped and double-clicked. That was the word! The second word was chosen the same way but from a dictionary list of words.
NOTE: Photos are from free to use photo sites such as and No attribution necessary.

He sat in the car, parked across the street from the house. Looking at his watch, he was surprised to see five hours had already passed. The sun would soon be peeking over the horizon, lighting up the entire neighborhood. He let out a sigh as he opened the car window. The storm had blown through just after midnight, the gale force winds now just a zephyr that did little more than ruffle his hair.

The porch light reflected off the house number, or what was left of it. Zero. That's all. Just zero. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. A single numeral. But he knew it was the right place. This wasn't his first visit here, but it might be his last.

His retirement from thirty years in law enforcement was official - yesterday. Today he was a civilian. Joe Blow, just like every other citizen on the street. Liable for breaking the law.

But he didn't think about that. He thought about the people in the house. A husband and wife plus three kids. An infant, a three year old girl and a six year old boy. He'd met them when there was one baby. The wife had called 9-1-1 in hysterics, the baby had fallen down the stairs, she said.

When he and his partner arrived just ahead of the paramedics, the husband was sitting on the steps drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette. "She's inside with the whiner." He jerked his thumb towards the front door.

The officers stepped around him and went inside where they found the wife sitting on the floor, rocking an infant. "He just-" She hiccuped. "He fell down- I didn't- No, he- Nooooo!" She continued sobbing.

He knelt beside her as his partner checked on the ETA for the ambulance. "Ma'am, I'm Officer Corcoran. What's your name?"

"M- M- Martha," she choked out.

"Martha, the ambulance is on the way. What's the baby's name?"

She sniffed. "Evan. His name is Evan. He's only two months old."

He leaned closer to the baby. "Hi Evan. We're here to take care of you." Then to Martha, "Would you give me the baby? Please?" He held out his arms and she handed over the baby. "Thank you. I hear the sirens for the ambulance. Let's go meet them outside. Okay?"

She nodded and followed him. The paramedics met them at the bottom of the steps where the husband was still sitting, still drinking, still smoking. He said nothing as they passed but grabbed his wife's leg, stopping her from going any further. "He fell by himself." Her face full of fear, she nodded and he let go.

That was the first of many calls over the past six years. He'd gotten to know Martha and the three children. He'd tried to offer counsel but like many women, she was too battered, too afraid to make a change.

Lost in his thoughts, he almost missed the slamming of the front door. He watched as the husband got into his truck and headed off to work. With a smile, he started his car and followed behind. The husband worked at a factory twenty miles out of town in a rural area. Once they were on a quiet stretch of road, he turned on his siren and lights.

The truck slowed and pulled to the side of the road and he blocked it in with his car. He got out, put on his hat and felt for his pistol. He smiled as he sauntered towards the driver side window.

"Why'd ya pull me over? I ain't done nuthin."

"Step out of the car, please."

"What for? Ya got nuthin on me."

He fingered his pistol and made his request again.

"Damn, man. Ya gonna make me late for work." The door creaked has he pushed it open.

"Lean against the truck, hands behind your head and spread your legs. Do you have a weapon or anything sharp on you?"

"Nah. I'm jess heading to work. An' you're making me late."

He pulled out his handcuffs and clapped them before there could be any physical protest.

"Hey man! What the he-"

"Shut up!" He spun his captive around. "You don't recognize me?"

"No, should I?"

"I've been to your house dozens of times over the last six years so you should."

"Huh. Don't remember you. Why'd you cuff me?"

"We're going for a ride." He opened the back door of his car. "Get in." He didn't give him a choice, pushing him inside and closing the door. He'd spent months equipping it. Lights, siren, back seat barrier and most importantly, removing the door locks in the back.

Getting into the front seat, he looked in the rear view mirror and for the first time saw a flicker of fear in the man's eyes. He'd mapped out a route into the wilds where no one would ever find the body. He smiled as he thought of Martha and the kids. They'd be fine. They'd get his package today with money enough to take care of them for years.

Him? He was headed to Mexico. Once all was said and done. Ah, retirement with a touch of karma. What a life!

Stay Calm and Read Flash Fiction!



  1. A satisfying end to the story and the challenge. Thanks for a great month of stories.

    1. Thank you for your continued visits, Iain. It's been a blast!

  2. Good tale for Z. A fitting ending to the story and to A-Z

    1. Thank you, DC. I'm still trying to catch up with the last five letter of the alphabet. Glad you joined in this year, enjoyed your posts.

  3. Now there's a fitting bit of finality for the end of the challenge! Congratulations on a series well done.

    1. Aw, thank you, Deborah. Glad you enjoyed it and thank you for stopping by to read and comment. Much appreciated.

  4. I love it. Congrats on finishing the A to Z. I've really enjoyed your stories and the way you discover your prompts.

    Janet’s Smiles

    1. Thank you, Janet. It's been a fun month for sure.

  5. Wow! That went dark quick! Have so enjoyed your flash fiction -your inspiration may be mine next year! Congrats on making it thru!! And thank you for your visits-it was a little fear of letting my fellow contestants down which kept me going!! Looking forward to more posts from you!!

    1. Glad we both made it and happy we connected on FB. Looking forward to continuing to follow you! Good luck on next year - this is the third time (I think) I've done flash fiction with words. I've tried to make it a bit different each time. This one was the biggest challenge, for sure.

  6. An eye for an eye. Is there justification in killing anyone? You got me thinking. :-)
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

    1. Did he kill him? Did he take him to Mexico? Did he drop him off in the desert, in the middle of nowhere? Hmmm, I did say he'd mapped out a route where no one would find the body, though, didn't I. ;)

  7. That got intense rather quickly. Cowards who abuse their spouse are some of the lowest animals on the Earth.

    1. Absolutely was between that story or a schmaltzy prom date one. LOL! Thanks for dropping by to read and comment, much appreciated!

  8. Donna,

    That's the way you like to read the fate of an evil person getting what he/she reaps. It breaks my heart to read about domestic violence. Good writing and congrats on finishing the A2Z Challenge. It's nice meeting you and many thanks for stopping by my little niche!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    A2Z iPad Art Sketch 'Z' for Zinnias

    1. Thank you, Cathy. I'll be continuing to follow your blog. I enjoyed your illustrations - fun!

  9. Gotta love Karma! Well done and congrats on finishing A-Z~ :)


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