Fire

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Copyright – Roger Bultot

On Friday morning the Arson Squad called Ralph. They were stumped, and Ralph had connections.

Ralph was already onto it. He’d heard rumours; the boys were nervous. Big Cal’s was the second lab torched – just like Georgio’s last month. Was there a new player in town?

That night Ralph dreamed, woke in a sweat. It wasn’t the nymphs, wafting about in transparent gauzy stuff; it wasn’t the voice, big as thunder: ‘For the good of humankind’. It was what he saw.

Next morning, in the hills, he found Cal’s body. The chains were herculean, the rock blood-red. Overhead, an eagle hovered.

*****

This week, for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers, Ralph is back for his third visit, and again he encounters something beyond rational explanation. I’ve taken liberties with the legend. Click on the picture below to read it. In Ralph’s universe, our benefactor, the giver of fire to mankind, is still around, looking after the human race by taking out the villains – in his own way.

You can read the first two ‘Ralph’ stories by clicking on the ‘Ralph’ category at the top of the page.

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Prometheus – 1909 – Otto Greiner

Damsel daze

Copyright - Bjorn B. Rudberg

Copyright – Bjorn B. Rudberg

Ralph woke up on the grass, fuzzy-headed. He recalled the old guy and his weird tale: a crazy dame, his missing kid – a babe-in-arms with sandy curls. He’d searched for years. Ralph had taken on the case.

Now Ralph found himself beside an overgrown tower – a ruin, like his memory. How had he come here?

He’d heard singing – a sad, slow song. Next thing, there beside him hung a heavy braid laced with green ribbon, just begging to be climbed, so he’d climbed it, right to the top. Then he’d blanked.

Ralph gazed up the mossy tower steps, and wondered.

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This is Ralph’s second case. He’s taken up residence in my imagination, it seems, and I believe he might be finding himself tangled up in more impenetrable mysteries than he bargained for when he first hung out his shingle in the Friday Fictioneers office block. His first case nearly finished him, but he’s a tough one.

Here’s what happened to the original damsel in distress, in the original tower – which, incidentally, didn’t have steps. Maybe Ralph’s damsel has an altogether different agenda.

This piece of short fiction is for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers, where this week’s picture prompt is staying active for a fortnight, to allow for a more leisurely creative process over the holiday season. For a change, my creative processes have gone into overdrive, so I’m posting two stories for the wonderful prompt supplied by Bjorn.

Fowl play

Ralph really hit the booze soon after that dame floated into his office like she owned it. A classy blonde with deepwater eyes, and a way of arching her long neck and pinning you to the wall with an uppercut look. The type your mother warns you about.

Seems her mother had lost the plot, spouting a tale that would ruffle the feathers of an angel. Strange people – big ambitions, house full of egg collections under glass. Now the family reputation had taken a nosedive and the doll wanted to get to the bottom of it.

That case broke Ralph. Most days now he’s down by the lake – watching the swans.

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Copyright – The Reclining Gentleman

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Leda, by Gustave Moreau

If your word count’s100 or fewer,

There’s a risk of becoming obscure.

Click the picture right here,

And all will be clear.

Friday Fiction makes ancient tales newer.

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Many thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers, where each week writers submit 100 word stories in response to a photo prompt.