Kreative Kue 328 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
“Are you sure we want to do this?”
“You heard the man back there. We need to pass the test of courage.”
“Yeah, but it seems like a risk.”
“Do you really think they would do something to harms us? This is a fake.”
“A fake? It sure looks real to me. What’s that guy doing over there.”
“I’m not sure. Why don’t you ask. You are closer.”
“Yeah, by two feet. Not sure I want to know.”
“Oh, very well. Sir. Yes, you, sir. What are you doing?”
“I’m trying to reach my wife.”
“Yes, she took the same steps you are about to take and disappeared.”
“Oh my goodness. Blanch, don’t put your foot down. In fact, don’t move a muscle.”
“Okay. I’m not moving.”
“Did you hear that, man? His wife disappeared doing this stupid test.”
“I heard, and I, for one, am not going to do it. What’s the matter with those people back there anyway?”
“I’m sure I don’t know. You’d think you could trust a greeter, right?”
“I thought something was off the way he cackled after he told us we couldn’t come into the store without passing the courage test.”
“I think it would have been wiser for us just to wear a mask, don’t you?”
“The sign said it is voluntary.”
“Obviously, the greeter doesn’t think so.”
“Let’s go to Target.”
My effort was:
Donna Kelly gingerly inched a toe over the line and into the mist. Beside her on one side was her young sister, Marie and on the other side, as ever with camera in hand, her brother-in-law.
“Are you sure this was where it was, Tim?” she asked.
“As sure as I am of anything,” he replied.
“What exactly happened with Tommy?”
“I’m not absolutely certain, Donna.”
“Why not? You were with him. So were you, Marie.”
Marie looked a little sheepishly at her husband, then back at her sister. “We weren’t totally concentrating on Tommy.”
“In fairness, we’d only been married for a few weeks,” Tim offered, “We were more intent on each other.”
“So when you said you’d bring my boy along to free me up for the day…”
“There was a half-price entry offer for families yesterday. It was cheaper to have him with us than to pay for two adults. There’s no way they’d know Tommy wasn’t ours.”
“Except, dear sister, he was only three years younger than you and looked older from some angles!”
“We said he was my son,” Tim said, “and Marie’s stepson.”
“So you have no idea what happened?”
“No,” the two chorused.
“He could well have been abducted; sold into slavery; sex-trafficked; anything!”
“You’re jumping to conclusions a bit, Don,” Marie said, using the pet name that their parents used for her sister.
“Am I?” Donna said then, more loudly, “AM I? How long was he out of your sight for?”
“Eighteen hours now, give or take.”
“Don’t be flippant, Timothy Timothy!”
“Please don’t call me that. You know I don’t like it.”
“Why not? It is your name, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but I hate that my parents gave me the same first name as my last name.”
“Be that as it may. When you were here with Tommy yesterday, how much time elapsed between you seeing him approach this mist and you realising he was gone? EXACTLY!”
“I’d say no more than thirty seconds… maybe a minute, tops.”
“And did you hear anything?”
“Marie and I are newly-weds, Donna. There are moments when we’re oblivious to anything but each other.”
“Oblivious to the passage of time, too, by the sound of it.”
“No. Marie broke off after, like I said, about half a minute and screamed.”
“I’M ASKING MY SISTER!”
“I noticed he’d gone,” Marie mumbled.
“Speak up; I can’t hear you. Why did you break off whatever it is you were doing?”
“Don’t care. WHY?”
“I noticed that he was no longer there. I was kind of aware of him stepping over the grid and into the mist, then poof. Gone.”
“That’s a different story to the one you told me earlier.”
“We knew you’d be angry if you got the impression we weren’t taking our responsibility to your son seriously,” Tim said defiantly.
“It’s not an impression, Tim. More the recognition of a fact. Well. Only one way to find out.”
“What are you going to do?” Marie asked.
“I’m going to step over the grille and see what happens.”
“Okay, Donna. I’ve got you in frame. When you step over the line, I’ll record in ultra slo-mo. That way we’ll be able to see exactly what happens.”
Marie looked concerned. “Be careful, Don…” she said, “Donna? DONNA?”
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at email@example.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.