Warmup Wednesday!

Directions: Write a scene or an entire story of 100 words on the nose (no more, no fewer), inspired by this photograph. No judging. All fun. (Normal Flash! Friday guidelines regarding content apply.)
Don’t forget to add your Twitter handle & link to your blog, pretty please.

And a few words on how your week’s going would be so appreciated!

 This week’s Warmup Wednesday challenge: Include either a birthday or the anniversary of a death.

Son, this is the Taj

Taj Mahal. CC2.0 photo by Roehan Rengadurai.

57 thoughts on “Warmup Wednesday!

  1. Crown of Shadows (100 words)
    @brett_milam, milambc.wordpress.com

    Heritage and name meant I had a swarm of slaves at my disposal. After a time, the buzzing faded into the background and you’re left with the mountains they moved. Like this creation. This beauty was for you.

    Thousands of the swarm died in the process to make it happen. I had become a god walking on their puddled sweat.

    And yet, still, I was empty, for you were not here. I had a swarm that could construct mosaics to the gods, but not you.

    Now I walk within its shadow with a crown that hangs loose upon my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The dream comes often. I consider blocking it as it has power over me that is unsettling. I grew up in a house of music. Artists, entertainers the likes of Ella, they all flowed through our home as if we were a forest and they, the unending song of the river.

    When I was 11, life shifted. A tractor flipped, crushed my father.

    I, Henry Saint Clair Fredericks Jr., floundered between music and farming.

    The dream was of justice, of people seeking fairness, a way out of poverty.

    Hand in hand, my father at my side, I am Taj Mahal.

    100 notes

    I am busily engaged in studying Film Noir courtesy of TCM. That, writing, volunteering and occasionally watering my vegetables and plants who are suffering from an unnaturally hot mid-June, occupies me almost fully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is cool. I liked “the unending song of the river” line the best. I understand your plant problems. Things have been super-rainy here, so we’ve almost had the opposite problem.


  3. Walk in beauty they say, beauty behind, beauty before, beauty all around. And I do, with you, all around, always. Such tranquil beauty all destroyed in a tsunami of raw unimaginable power, your body, my mind.

    Ten long years and the birthday you never had is upon me.

    Here amidst the towering walls of sparkling granite and tumbling fountains I experience again, in your memory, the sound, the fury, the breaking bones, the struggle for life, the final gentle filling of lungs.

    Happy birthday most beautiful one. Walk in beauty, with beauty before, with beauty behind, with beauty all around.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. @FictionAsLife

    My week is being frustrated by all the rain and flooding here in MIssouri. Anxiously watching as more rain keeps falling. And of course my writing time is constantly interrupted by Lego crises. 100 words is about all I could manage this morning!

    Birthday Party

    Cecilia took the cake from the oven. Chocolate was his favorite. Cecilia was disappointed that he would miss his twentieth birthday party, but she understood. Death has its way of taking people away, and of bringing them back. Once the cake was frosted, all preparations were ready. She set the chairs around the table: one for her grandmother, one for each of her parents. There would be no presents; she hoped Carlos wouldn’t be disappointed.

    After she was seated, Kate came in, unannounced. Confused, she noted cake served at three empty chairs. Balloons decorating the table. “Mother, what’s going on?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. RESTING PLACE (100 words)

    “[Yawn] Dad, why did we have to get up so early?”
    “I told you son. I wanted us to get here before the crowds.”
    “Am I going to get home before camp starts?”
    “Yes son. Trust me.”
    “So Mom really liked this place, huh? Is that why we have the picture on the fridge?”
    “Yes son. She loved this place. She always…she always wanted…I told her I would bring her here someday. I’m going to leave her ashes under this tree.”
    “I don’t want to look.”
    “That’s ok son. We’ll be back next year.”

    Nice week here on Cape Cod. My sister and her son visited from Ohio and met my partner for the first time. Lots of hugs and laughs. I have a funeral service to attend this afternoon. Should be lots of hugs and tears. The ying and yang of emotions always reminds me to tell loved ones how much they mean to me. Daily, if possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ‘Daddy, is this that valley of the shadow of death?’

    ‘No, Jamie. It’s just mist. It’ll clear soon.’

    ‘I feel a bit scared.’

    ‘It’s alright, I’m here.’

    Simon pulled his son closer; his large engulfing arm, a comfort.

    ‘Dad, do you think Josh felt scared too?’

    Jamie thought hard before, with the logic of an eight year old, he announced, ‘No. He was just a baby. Babies don’t feel scared.’

    He paused, ‘And they can’t walk, anyway. I bet he just drifted, like on a cloud or something…’

    The sun peeked through the mist and began drying his father’s tears.

    100 words

    It’s a sunny(ish) day here in the UK. I am in throes of publishing deadlines and doing the endless washing my three children produce! Might go and make a cup of tea…


    Liked by 1 person

  7. My Son
    (100 words)

    They hid her condition until they had to hide her. But all the servants knew.

    You arrived in the catacomb of secrecy. They cast you upon the water. Unlike Jochebed, whose loving act spared Moses, you were meant to die. You would not. Oh little survivor crying lustily in the reeds. The river had mercy on you, as did I. When I enfolded you into the loving arms of my barren wife, it was an act of treason.

    No one must know. You’ll grow up in a household of servants, although you were born in the palace of a prince.
    My week is quiet, but challenged. I’m writing a short sci-fi story. While the plot, setting and characters are formed, three-thousand words is a stretch after flash fiction. 🙂


  8. @AvLaidlaw
    100 Words

    The ghost building first appeared on the evening the Princess was born. It appeared again each evening as she grew up, and it seemed to the court that each evening it appeared a little more substantial.

    When old enough, the Princess walked around the spectral towers and domes, and examined the misty mosaics and gardens. Priests cast exorcisms but she told them to stop; the ghost building was the most beautiful building in the Empire.

    On the day she touched the walls and felt cold marble under her fingertips, she died. The building was finally real and became her tomb.


    Had a new boiler fitted, so lots of lovely banging and crashing around the house.


  9. Travellers
    (100 words)

    “What’s this place Dad?”

    “It’s the Taj Mahal”

    “Who built it?”

    “Some Indian guy, I don’t know his name”

    “Why did he build it?”

    “Because he could, men used to like building big expensive things.”

    “Are there any Indian people here?”

    “No they‘re gone, just like everyone else.”

    “Did they go in the big bang too?”

    “Most did I’m sure.”

    Dad, where’s Mom?

    “She’s at a place called the Great Wall of China with your sister. Remember, we agree to meet at the Eifel Tower later on.

    One of the best things about being a spirit was the free travel.


  10. Double-Edged


    Double-edged sword, this day of days
    When candles are blown out, wishes made
    A cruel trick played
    As life and death merge
    Closing the circle far too soon
    On another year lived
    Of another’s life gone

    Smiles falter and hearts are torn
    Beneath banners and balloons
    Dancing in uncertain celebration
    In guilty expectation
    Of another year lived
    Whilst another’s life’s gone

    No stone monument for this man
    His memorial is writ in flesh and blood
    Where laughter and love
    Allow smiles to broaden
    In happy reminiscence
    And a glass can be raised
    To another year lived
    To another’s life gone

    The above was written in memory of my sister’s late husband who sadly died on my husband’s birthday. Time does make things easier but the shadow this casts is a long one.

    Happier note: two special mentions this week with Flash! Friday and Micro Bookends, just returned a story edit back to an anthology which should be out later this year (my story The Face Collector is in Knightwatch Press Masks anthology) and closely following Flash Dogs Solstice reports on Twitter 🙂


  11. Aarti
    100 words

    I stare at the photograph, rubbing the smudged and faded edges. Domed majesty and smells of dinner preparation dribble long-forgotten memories through ever-present fog.

    My grandmother lights the candle. Powdered thumbs press gilded crimson turmeric on my wrinkle-free forehead. The cadence of rice grains bouncing on my raven hair. The circle of the betel nut, rough and full of secrets. Voices raising to celebrate the coming of another year. The sweetness of the cake fed by a loving hand.

    Celebrations of ages past are meager sustenance to a darkness-wrapped mind, so the weight of obscurity presses my eyes in sleep.
    Just finished my final report cards for the year! Yay! Waiting to hear back from the State to see if I can attend the writing workshops I’d like to go to or if I’m going to be paid to ogle tests…


  12. @firdausp
    100 words
    Being a single parent means, you forget birthdays. And when your son is 8 yrs old, it spells disaster.
    “You want to go to Agra?”
    “We can visit the Taj Mahal and you can get a camel ride.”
    “It would be a lot of fun, just you and me.”
    “Can you say anything other than ‘no’?”
    He thought for a moment.
    “I have tickets for the cricket match you wanted to see. But since you don’t want to go I’ll cancel.” I said picking up my phone.
    “Nooo!” He shrieked grabbing my phone, his smile brilliant!

    Since a lot of tissue has already been used I thought I’d write a lighthearted story to make you all smile.
    My week is trudging along quite well. Been busy with household chores and writing a bit here and there. All in all pretty good.


  13. On the Road with Death
    100 words Exactly

    Ember watched the man as he sat staring out into the distance. Most of the time she could forget that Ash wasn’t anything other than a strange man with peculiar habits, but there were times…

    Take now for instance, rather than lingering on death and the weight of the souls depending on him, he sat, stock still simply watching.

    She wanted to ask him what he saw, but as far as she could knew there was nothing in the distance but… the Taj Mahal…

    She turned on him. “When did we reach India?”

    “We didn’t, I just like the view.”

    – – – –
    I worked 14 hours on Monday… I’m still recovering. Writing wise, Ember and Ash have taken over my brain. They started in Thursday threads a few weeks ago and they’ve been bouncing around in my head (and in multiple competitions)… I can’t help it. My brain is melting.


    WC = 100 (06-17-15) (Preparing pastured rabbits for Saturday’s market)

    “The Tazh Mel; it’s the Tazh Mel” my insistent seat mate implores. “People do not give it justice by their mispronunciation. And Shah Jahan would desire his favorite wife to hear only the true ring of the name.”

    Clouds below the wing of the Boeing now rise up to mist the craft window, giving my Indian friend a hallowed appearance. “This would be the anniversary of Mumtaz’s death. The Shah’s love for her lives on in the hearts of young and old who admire his commission.”

    As I say, “I shall visit the Taj Mahal one day,” the halo envelopes…………….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Annual Mausoleum Trip
    100 words

    Father brings me here every year on my birthday.

    I’ve early memories of minarets soaring into a blue silk sky, laced with white cirrus. The dome gleamed with a gold that rivaled the sun. These days, the towers brood in the smog and the gold has been picked away.

    Father sings into the amber haze, same as every year, a song for his lost love. Myth more than woman. The final chorus stumbles over a sob.

    A somber rite for a birthday, but then my birth gave Father no cause for joy. Maybe if I’d met my mother, I’d understand.


    Not much to report. Recovering from a three-day road trip with the squid, who was done with the sitting in the car thing by the first hour. Unfortunately, technology (re: iPad) can only do so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The Best Story Ever
    100 Words by @WakefieldMahon

    “It’s my birthday! If you don’t buy my story, I’m going to kill myself.”
    Sandra rolled her eyes. Writers are so melodramatic. “I doubt that.”
    “Okay, well, I’ll eat a bunch of chocolate to console myself and that contributes to diabetes.”
    “You’re an idiot.” Sandra shook her head. “Let me see it, what’s your hook?”
    “Well you see, the Taj Mahal starts to disappear, so the princess comes running out while chased by demonic rabbits, but a giant robot defends her until a dragon comes along and eats them both.”
    She handed back the manuscript. “Enjoy your chocolate birthday cake.”


    I am writing a story inspired by a song that inspired another song. Whoa, meta! Thanks for taking the time to read my nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The Dawn

    His eyes light up as the sun rises over the majestic building. He makes that excited gasp I always loved so much. One stupid school project and this became his dream, to see the Taj Mahal in person. This was the trip I had promised him, before the chemotherapy had made travel impossible.

    I clutch at the headscarf in my hand, the tears flowing freely now. The tiny figure by my side evaporates like the morning dew. It’s been a year, but I can still see his face, hear his laugh, feel the warmth of his smile. Goodbye my son.

    100 words

    Been a very odd couple of weeks. I lost my job last week, but it strangely hasn’t bothered me nearly as much as I would have expected. Suddenly I have all kinds of time, I am writing lots and reading again. Both excited and nervous about what happens next. Also totally pumped for Sunday, my second Fathers day and also of course the big #flashdogs book launch. Will be the first time my writing has appeared in an actual book I can hold in my hands. I am going to be sprinting to the post box every day next week like a kid on Christmas morning 🙂

    P.S. I finished Margarets book – A Man of Character – and it was of course most excellent. You can find my review for it here (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1290811868) I promise I will stop plugging it after this week, but if you haven’t already got yourself a copy I highly recommend it, even if you don’t think romance is your thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, goodness. Thanks so much for the kind words about my book! (I’m still surprised – and grateful – that you liked it so much). I’m so sad to hear about the job situation, but it sounds like you are finding the silver lining. I hope it’s just a sign of bigger and better things to come!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. The Tomb of Love

    At dusk, she kneels by the shimmering water of the reflecting pool by the Taj Mahal. Her face is somber. He is tense. The birthday tour has been stressful.
    That emperor seems to have mocked all the men like me. Was it really necessary to erect such an exaggerated monument? He ponders.
    She remembers the tour guide’s words, “She died in childbirth. Their fourteenth child,” “The emperor could always keep an eye on her tomb from his palace in the Agra Fort.” So, the emperor was possessive even after her death, she reflects.
    The tomb of love stares at them.

    100 words
    My week is going fine, physical pain of sciatica notwithstanding. I revised six poems and sent them for feedback. I need to work on the website upgrade for [i]The Literary Nest.[/i] https://theliterarynest.wordpress.com/
    Excited about FalshDogs anthology release on the 21st.
    Sad about saying goodbye to FF as a judge.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Finding the Sunshine

    A fog settled, creating a warm cloud that provided distance between me and everyone else. It swirled around, day after day, allowing me to disconnect from those who surrounded me. From life.
    As Shiva ended those who kept me fed and clean began disappearing into the fog. By the end of Shloshim, only my mother remained.
    On the last morning, she brought me a photograph from our last family trip.
    “You remember this?”
    “Of course, Mom.”
    “It took a long time for the sun to reach The Taj that day.”
    “In time, the sun will reach you again, too.”

    Week’s been busy. Writing, editing, gestating. 33.4 weeks now! Picked up books from @margaret_locke and @tamarashoemaker at a book signing. Supporting local writers and indie publishing! Now I just need to find time to read the books…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The Gateway
    (100 words)

    Wading into the shallow creek, the cacophony of night calls and their promising terrors were quieted by her memory of the hag. In her memory, the hag is brittle woman with a ragged lips, bitten to fleshy string. The agonizing of her rocking chair, the relentless tapping of her cane against the waning floorboards, and her whispering, salty into the young woman’s ear subsume the beckoning of the creeping dark, the terrors who, like the hag, provide their own answer to the question: where to meet the dead?

    “In the water, he will rise like a palace in the mist.”
    Hi, first time posting here. Just saw it on another person’s blog. Sounded very fun! I’ve been trying to find a job all week and trying to keep myself sane with writing in my restlessness.

    My blog: eggsterminate.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  21. ‘Do you take cheques?’

    The barman shook his head with the adopted the expression of a man who’d just stepped into dog-shit while Bret counted his loose change malevolently into his personal puddle of beer on the bar.

    Bret then tore the picture of his wife’s new man and his son into quarters. Some anniversary!

    Downing his pint, feeling like a marionette controlled by an incompetent puppeteer, he walked unsteadily over to her.

    Courage fuelled, the challenge was now to simply to speak.

    In a voice he barely recognised he managed to ask the fateful question:

    ‘Would you like to dance?’


    First timer, kindly introduced to this place by Stephanie Ellis who I met over on ReadWave where you can find me under the handle of Tipp Hex.


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