#SwiftFicFriday W105 – Vote!

#SwiftFicFriday W105 – Vote!

Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!

“How’re you holding up, baby girl?”

Toni Tyler heard the dark circles under her mother’s eyes even over the phone. Masked with makeup and iron will of course.

“I’m fine, mom. How are you?”

Toni’s earpiece kept her hands free to work with her table of gadgets facing the sun-soaked city below the high-rise office that had belonged to her father until a month ago.

“The shareholder meeting is… Well, I might miss dinner tonight. I have no idea how your father kept up with both companies all these years, but I should be able to make it in time for the board meeting.”

Toni shook her head as she reassembled drone casings.

“You take care of Tyler Enterprises and get some rest. I’ll handle things at PRUDENT.”

“You shouldn’t have to do that…”

“Neither of us should, mom. I got this.”

“Ah, I need to hang up. Call you later?”

“Sure, mom. Take care of yourself.”

“I love you, baby girl.”

“Love you too, mom.”

Toni wiped the hot tears from her cheeks with the back of a hand and picked up the fidget cube-like remote she designed for her drones. Deep breath. Moment of truth.

Flicking switches rewarded Toni with her drones humming to life. Take off was easy enough. Controlling four drones one-handed proved more problematic. It smarted when one struck Toni’s shin. Thankfully, the one that hit the back of her head didn’t tangle in her hair.

It was more progress than the Powered Response Unit side of PRUDENT had made. Inheriting her father’s board seat gave her access to information that would have been risky to hack from outside.

Toni’s drones locked together into a platform she stepped onto.

The supervillain who murdered her father better pray PRU found him before Toni did.

298 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)

It was Christmas day when Maggie, my baby daughter, took her very first step.

I was mixing a bowl of cookie dough on the kitchen counter with my four year old son, who stood atop a short stool beside me. With one hand I stirred the contents of the bowl, and with the other batted away my son’s attempts to sneak finger dips into the bowl.

“No eating dough, Ben,” I ordered, sliding the bowl further from his reach.

“It’s yummy!” he enthusiastically replied, sucking on his paw. “Choco, please?”

I scooped out a small handful of chocolate chips from their bag and dropped them onto the counter before him. “Eat up, then go see what Maggie is doing, okay?”

“Maggie’s walking,” he casually said, glancing over his shoulder.

Testing the thickness of the mixture with my spoon, it took a moment for me to process his words. “Maggie…excuse me? Walking?”

I looked down where he was glancing. There she was: on her feet, gripping the edge of the stool behind my son with one chubby hand. Her blue eyes twinkled as she looked up at me, then shakily hefted one foot away from the stool.

“Maggie! You’re standing up and trying to walk, all by yourself!” I dropped the spoon onto the counter and turned to the living room. “Nancy, get your iPhone! QUICK!”

Too late, and too loud: her expression alarmed at my voice, Maggie lasted only one step, lost balance, then tumbled to the floor with a *whump*!

“Yummy,” my son said, reaching both hands into the bowl, his face already smeared with dough.

“What? What I miss?” my wife sleepily asked as she rose from the sofa.

I shrugged. “A Merry Christmas from Maggie, is all.”

291 words by J.M. Avants (@jmavants)

The Challenge

“Could I do it?” Lassiter asked himself that early January morning. The snow was piled two feet deep. Icicles hung from his eave’s troughs like a belt of daggers. He lounged in bed more comfortably than a man deserved to be. He had no appointments, nothing demanding that he get up and run his innocent tootsies along the cold tile floor to the coffee machine already loaded with ground Colombian and tap water.
He had his routines. Slow rising. Splashing water in his face. Running his aging fingers through his thinning hair. Kissing his wife as she slept. Walking barefooted into the kitchen. Making coffee. Stretching. Go back to bed for fifteen minutes.
Seeing what might happen.
But the snow was there.
How often had there been so much of it.
Climate change had actually reversed time.
He remembered his childhood.
Winter was always two feet of snow back then.
Or deeper.
He remembered sinking in the snow.
Splashing in the winter whiteness.
Snow angels each and every year.
Later on, in his early twenties, a house he shared with others had a sauna and they would run naked out into the winter snow.
Such joy.
Then age arrived.
Slowly it won him over.
Wore him down.
Winters were not as free as they had once seemed.
Time has stolen those moments, real or otherwise.
But today, this very moment, snow deeper than it had been in years, what was there to lose?
Everything, he thought, if he didn’t.
But first, he punched the coffee button.
Deep snow was one thing. Coffee was something else entirely.

271 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)

I’d learned, from public records at the library, who owned the building, and I’d learned they wanted to replace it. Tear it down, put up a new building. But, they couldn’t. The city viewed the old building as a historic structure, even had it on the list of historic sites. Can’t believe I’d never known that.

The owner wanted the building destroyed. They’d only needed a way to destroy it. That’s where she’d come in.

I had a pretty solid guess who she was, from a missing persons search. It took a while to narrow the list down. You have no idea how many women are listed on the government’s missing person list.

My only real question was, “Where are they hiding her?”

That’s why I wound up standing beside that fake lake again, hearing what I’d heard in an old movie somewhere, “Always go with your first instinct.” I stood there, wishing I had eyes that could see through the water, and the ground under it. Wishing I could see where the entrance was to the room they kept her in.

“Time to try something different. Something new.” I started walking around the lake. Hell, I didn’t even know what I was looking for. But, like Deborah would tell me, “How did you know to be at that building?”

Some feeling that I can’t describe, or explain, knew where I needed to be, and what to look for. After all the decades, I was still learning to ignore everything, including my thoughts, and let my body do what it somehow knew to do.

I walked around that lake for hours. Lap after lap. All night long, until my feet stopped walking. I didn’t have to look. I knew the door was there, and I was standing on it.

299 words by Mark Ethridge (@mysoulstears)

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