The Ranger (The Other Version)


Huong Lan Nguyen at

Sarah awoke with a start.

Where am I?  she thought as her head spun. Oh my God. Where are my clothes?

She sat up on a couch under an unfamiliar window.  The view outside was of a back yard, but not one she could place.  She noted that the room was pretty barren, except for the couch and a couple of wooden chairs.  Everything seemed to be covered with the same sheer white material which served as her only covering as well.

“Well Good Morning Miss Sarah Snoop,” a gravelly Texas drawl remarked as she sat up.

“Shane?” she replied almost involuntarily.

“You expecting anyone else?” he retorted.

“I, I, ” she began and then trailed off.

Okay, I went to ask him about the Vietnam medal because he wasn’t on the data base.  We chatted, and then – then he gave me some tea, she recalled trying to reconstruct her own past movements.

“Darlin’ I need you to do a little something for me, and I might just let you out of here,” the Texan said earnestly.

“What?” she replied starting to tear up.

“I want you to read something aloud for me.”

He handed her a card, and she began to read. “Hey Danny, It’s Sarah.  I had some business to do in Tulsa, so decided to dip down to Austin and check out Shane.  He’s the real deal.  Twenty years a Ranger, and he even got the Silver Star in the war.  It’s right here in his records.”

“Not bad, but try it again and make it sound a little more natural,” Shane said.

After the third attempt he was satisfied, and had her make another recording telling her mother that she was going out of town for a few days.

“Now my dear, we have some business in the kitchen.” She didn’t like the way he put a strange emphasis on the word deer.




Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #76

The Ranger





 Google Hub Photo Frame

They had called it the great scurge.  Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of fire locusts has swept across the land.  In the end all that remained was a barren landscape of exposed clay and charred vegetation.  When the rains came that spring the soil shifted, and the burned remains nurished the land.  Slowly, ever so slowly, the first trees began to re-emerge.

It was into to this newly born world that Heravan arrived.  He – the son, of a son, of farmer’s son would transform this stark place.  He, his mule, a plough, and an iron will, would create a paradise of golden fields.  Heravanland, the bread basket of the empire was born on that day.


Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #75

High and Dry


Google Hub Photo Frame

Extinction took a different connotation during the third peak of Covid 19.  Lock-down was accompanied by “shoot to kill” orders for violators.  Extinction, with this new mutated form, was something that even Right Wing deniers had to accept.

Extinction took a different connotation; Extinction Rebellion was all but a footnote.  Lock-down led to work from home orders.  Long nights of lights burning, and the constant demand on the internet raised electricity demand three-fold.  In order to cope, governments recommissioned coal fed plants.

Extinction took a different connotation, in light of the power drains and the thawing of the last of the Ross Ice Shelf, as well as the ice from, the now green, Greenland.  David ignored the last stay at home order and grabbed Barbara and the kids and made his way the the High Sierras.

Extinction was far from David’s mind as he stepped from his little cabin at New Sierra.  He took Barbara’s hand and they gazed into the Pacific sunset outside their home.  Tomorrow at low-tide, they would picnic on the beach.




Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #74





Tatyana-Sanina at

Miranda awoke in a dark corner of the subway passage.  She knew she had drank too much last night, but that wasn’t unusual for a Friday night.  But she had never not managed to get home before, or at least to her friend Caren’s.

Okay, what could she remember?  Caren went off with that stock-broker type.  And then – and then there was the hot guy with the wavy hair.  Bryan – no Ryan, that was it.  They drank, and danced, and then drank.  Wait, he got that third round from the bar by himself.  Had he drugged her? she wondered.  She instinctively reached down to check her panties. Well that was a relief.  Her neck was a bit sore though.  Was he that juvenile to give her a hickey love bite? Anyway, she would look at it in the mirror when she got home.

As she headed to the stairway, she had a instinctive terror.  She stopped unable to step any closed to the sunlight streaming down the stairs.  What was going on?  Why did she “know” she couldn’t step into the light?



Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #73

On A Summer’s Eve



“There is goes again,” Katie said, stepping onto the back porch.

“Maybe there’s a fault in the motion sensor,” Troy said.  “I’ll check it in the morning.”

“No, I’m pretty sure I saw something move myself this time,” Katie said squinting into the moonlit night.

“Yeah, but there doesn’t seem to be anything there now,” he said in a comforting tone. “Anyway, it’s probably just a fox or something.”

“I suppose so,” she said stepping back inside and throwing the latch on the French doors.

At the edge of the hedge row the Green Man held his breath.  After a moment he stepped from the backdrop to which he had blended in and leaned over the hedge to address a cowering hirsute figure.

“Woodwose, I thought I told you to be careful,” the leaf covered man scolded.

“Sorry.  I must have set it off when I tried to shoo away a moth.  I hate it when they start nibbling.”




Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #71


The Bubble


Fandango at

It was dinner time in Bubbleplex Scarlet 1023.  It had been a lovely day, and harmony reigned as the soothing tones of the viewing screens reminded them of how good life was.

It had been eleven years since the Covid Crisis had started in China.  Now “the new normal” was just “the norm.”  It had started out as government policy for single family units to identify themselves as “infected and recovered” or “at risk.”  These were then coordinated through a huge Microsoft database to form two, and then four family bubbles, each according to their risk type.  By 2024, these were selectively integrated into skill sets to make “bubble colonies” which were housed in fully self-sufficient living zones of ten sub-bubbles.   Each of these colonies were moved into colour coded and numbered “bubble zones” constructed by Boeing and managed by subcontractors including Virgin, and Hilton.

Farming sub-communities were established to feed these hundreds of thousands of “bubbleplexs,” with large tracts of confiscated land across Central Asia, Southern Africa, and the American Great Plains.   Kraft was the big winner in that enterprise.

Emperor Vladimir and his deputy King Donald the Second, administered it benignly, with the assistance of the board of Sages led by Gatesicus Amazingus, and Ministry of Truth (a subsidiary of Disney).




Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #70



Zane Lee at

“Look over there. It looks like a Hobbit hole.”

“A movie set, more likely,” Teddy replied.

“Why would there be a movie set in the middle of a national park?” Andrea questioned.

“A tourist trap then,” Teddy corrected.

“Then where are the tourists, and the souvenir shops and stuff?” she challenged.

Just then the knob on the blue door turned, and a four-foot-tall woman stepped out onto the porch and began collecting dishes from the table near the entrance.

“You can come out of the underbrush,” she called.  “I don’t bite.”

“We weren’t hiding,” Andrea lied.

“That’s neither here nor there,” the diminutive woman responded.

“What is this place?” Teddy asked.

“My home of course,” the small woman replied, rubbing the top of one of her bare feet with the heel of the other.

“Home?” Andrea repeated.

“Yes Deary, my home. Have you seen the rents in the city these days?”

“But why in the national park?” Teddy asked.

“Why in the world not?” she responded, as a six-foot Park Ranger stooped to make his exit from the little dwelling. “Look, Henry we have company,” she said to her husband as he straightened and stepped into the daylight.




Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #69

The Coming Of Spring



Nurse Hazel stepped away from the viewing window in the Entville nursery wing.

“Sister Willow, don’t you think there have been an unusually large number of deliveries recently?” she asked of the charge sister.

“I was thinking that too,” the sister responded.  “And they all look strikingly similar.”

“What do you think it means, Sister.”

“I think it means that Charlie Chestnut’s has been particularly busy this year.”



Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #65






StartupStockPhotos at

“It had been really bothering me.  I knew there was something going on, but it was always just out of sight.  So I went back and looked at some of the old dead ends, and started to cross reference them.  Once you get a bigger picture, they aren’t dead ends any more . . . ,” Detective Petersen was droning on.

There before him, Lieutenant Humphreys could see a wide panoply of meticulously prepared notes, diagrams, photos, and affidavits.   There really did seem to be connections.

“Pete, you are either a genius or insane.  Who would have thought that questionable election results, Super Bowl losses, the JFK assassination, and the cancellation of The Mary Tyler Moore Show were all connected?”


Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #62