The Harvest (flash fiction)

The Harvest

“The wheels keep turning, the seasons keep circling” Cindy said to herself. Another year had passed and again she watched the combine harvester move through the south field harvesting their corn. It had been a bumper crop this year, something she felt grateful for. The income from the harvest is what kept them going for the rest of the year, despite Jess’s many side projects…

“We should think about buying a new tractor.” Jess suggested.

“What? You mean you’re finally sick of trying to fix our broken one?” Cindy asked.

“A girl has to admit defeat, eventually.” Jess replied.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 99

This was written with the prompt wheels keep turning provided by the Carrot Ranch October 31 Story Challenge.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

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Not on the Map (Day 10, 13 Days of Samhain)

Not on the Map

“I think we’re lost.” Carly admitted as she drove through the countryside. It was starting to get dark.

“It’s weird the GPS isn’t working. If only we had a map.” Suzanne said.

“If only I had charged my phone. Hey, isn’t that a town ahead?” Carly asked.

“Maybe. Hopefully they’ll have a motel.” Suzanne replied. As they came to the town they noticed all the houses looked old and the streetlamps seemed to be lit with candles. A horse and carriage passed them.

“Oh my god, I think we’re in Amish country!” Carly exclaimed.

“We should stop and ask them for directions.” Suzanne suggested.

“If they’ll stop for us.” Carly parked the car. They both got out and approached a tall man in a black coat. He also wore a black wide brimmed hat and carried a lantern.

“Excuse me, we’re lost. Can you tell us where we are?” Suzanne asked him. The man held up his lantern and had a long look at the both of them.

“You’re in the township of Whitewood.” He answered.

“We’re heading to Kingsport. Can you give us directions?” Carly asked.

“No young lady. Two young women should not be traveling at night. We have rooms you can stay in.” He offered.

“That would be great. Thank you.” Carly replied. The man led them into a house nearby.

“We only need one room really. We can share the bed.” Suzanne told him.

“Two women sharing a bed together?” The man asked as they walked down a hallway.

“Yeah we do it all the time at home.” Cary told him. The man stopped and turned to face them.

“Where are your husbands? You are of marrying age.” He asked them.

“We’re not married.” Carly replied.

“To men.” Suzanne added. The man looked at them up and down.

“You both wear blue pants. Most unseemly attire for women.”

“They’re jeans. Everyone wears them.” Suzanne told him.

“And your heads are uncovered.”

“Well I can go and get my beanie from the car if that makes you happy.” Suzanne offered.

“Also is there anywhere to charge my phone?” Carly asked.

“Charge your what?” The man asked.

“My phone.” Carly brought out her iPhone and handed it to him. “It needs charging.” The man looked at her confused. He then looked over her iPhone.

“What is this devilish instrument?” He asked.

“You don’t like iPhones either huh?” Suzanne asked. The man looked at them again and held up the lantern in their faces.

“You don’t seem to have dealings with men and you carry infernal devices. Are you both witches?” He asked.

“No, we’re not into witchcraft.” Carly replied.

“Though one of my friends is Wiccan and she’s pretty cool.” Suzanne added.

“So you consort with witches?”

“I wouldn’t say we consort with her. She’s just a friend.” Suzanne told him. The man looked uneasy, but then led them on through the hallway until he stopped at a door. He opened it to reveal a bedroom.

“Stay in here tonight.” He ordered. Both Carly and Suzanne walked into the room. “We will work out what to do with you in the morning.” He then shut the door behind them with a loud clang. Carly immediately went to the door.

“He’s locked us in.” She announced. “Hey let us out!” She banged loudly on the door a few times, but there was no response.

“And the windows are bolted shut.” Suzanne said after checking them.

“What’s going to happen to us?” Carly wondered.

“The Amish don’t burn people do they?” Suzanne asked suddenly feeling scared.

“I’ve never heard of them doing that. They’ll probably just ask us to leave and never come back, hopefully.” Carly answered. Suzanne checked the door again.

“So what do we do now?”

“We should get some sleep. It’s not like we can do anything at the moment. I’m sure it’ll be alright in the morning. It’s probably all just a misunderstanding.” Carly suggested. They both climbed into the soft feather bed and, despite everything, fell asleep almost instantly.

When they awoke the next morning they were lying in a field. There was no sign of the town they had been in and their car was parked by the side of the road.

“What happened to the town? Did they remove us from it when we were sleeping and leave us in this field?” Suzanne asked.

“No, I think we’re in the same place.” Carly replied.

“Are you sure? What happened to the Amish and their town then?” Suzanne wondered as she looked around.

“I don’t think it was the Amish. I think it was a ghost town.”

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt Ghost Town provided by Sammi Cox’s 13 Days of Samhain.

I’ve taken a few liberties with language in this story. In reality people from the 17th Century and 21st Century would not readily be able to understand each other, both in words used and dialect.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Surrounded (Day 5, 13 Days of Samhain)

Surrounded

“We’ll get out of here come hell or high water. I promise you that.” Helena had said.

Tania looked out the window. The building was surrounded by zombies. Hundreds of them. They were stuck in a roadside diner, so admittedly things could have been worse. At least they had plenty to eat and drink, for now.

She knew the zombies would never tire. She could hardly sleep with the sound of them clawing at the windows and walls all night, even with Helena’s arms around her. The zombies would be out there day and night for as long as they were there. She knew once Helena and her ran out of food, that’s when things would get dangerous.

Even if they did somehow escape and get clear of the zombie horde, where would they even go?

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt Come Hell or High Water provided by Sammi Cox’s 13 Days of Samhain.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

The Scarecrow (fiction)

The Scarecrow

“Do scarecrows actually work?” Cindy asked as she stuffed more hay into the scarecrows head. Jess shrugged her shoulders.

“How do you mean?” She asked.

“Do they actually scare away crows and other birds from the fields?” Cindy inquired.

“I have no idea, but they’ve been used for a long time, so they must have some effect.” Jess replied. “It’d be a bit silly to keep doing something that doesn’t work.”

“We should give him a name.” Cindy suggested.

“Him? We’re two lesbians making a scarecrow. Why is it a him?” Jess asked.

“I don’t know. I always think of scarecrows being guys I guess.” Cindy answered.

“That’s because you’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy.” Jess stated. Cindy threw a bunch of hay at her. Jess laughed out loudly.

Once the scarecrow had been completed, they called it Max and hung it on a pole in the main field where their crop of corn had just been sown, thanks to their new tractor. After admiring their creation, Jess and Cindy then headed back to the farmhouse together.

During the night Cindy awoke. After lying there listening to Jess softly breathing beside her for a while, she got out of bed and went to the kitchen to make something to drink. She looked out the window at their fields but couldn’t see their new scarecrow. She opened the door and went outside to investigate. When she got to the spot where they had put it up there was nothing there except the pole and crossbeam they had hung it on. The scarecrow was gone. Somebody stole our scarecrow! thought Cindy. Who would do something like that? She wondered. She sadly traipsed back to the house and went back to bed.

“Our scarecrow is gone. I think someone must have taken it.” Cindy told Jess when they woke up in the morning.

“I guess we will have to make another one.” Jess replied as she yawned and stretched. They went to the kitchen to make breakfast. Jess looked out the window and saw the scarecrow still hanging in the field where they put it. She smiled and shook her head.

“I guess you must have been dreaming. The scarecrow is still out there girl!” She said. Cindy immediately looked out and saw the scarecrow too. Puzzled she went outside to get a closer look. There before her was the scarecrow as though it had never been moved. Jess came out and joined her.

“I don’t understand. I was standing right here last night and it was gone.” Cindy said.

“Maybe whoever took it returned it later.” Jess answered sounding a little unconvinced. She walked off back to the kitchen leaving Cindy standing there mystified.

The next night Cindy looked out again and sure enough the scarecrow was missing again and the next morning it was back. Maybe someone’s playing a joke on us, Cindy thought. That evening she resolved to stay up all night and see what would happen…

Cindy stood in the kitchen watching the scarecrow in the darkness. For a time nothing happened, but then suddenly the scarecrow came to life. It awkwardly removed itself off the pole it was hanging on and then wandered away through the field heading towards the fence. Cindy stood there stunned, but then to her surprise she found herself opening the door and following the scarecrow through the field with her heart beating wildly.

She wandered after the scarecrow as though she was in a dream. She could see the scarecrow ahead of her in the dark slowly walking towards the fence. Then it climbed over the fence and laid down in the tall grasses. Cindy kept approaching and once she got to the fence, she stopped and looked down at the scarecrow. It suddenly sat up startling Cindy and causing her to quickly back away from the fence.

“Sorry didn’t mean ta startle yer.” The scarecrow said with a rough dry voice, like the sound of hay rustling in the wind.

Cindy moved slowly towards the fence again. There was the scarecrow sitting up looking at her with a grass stalk in it’s mouth. Her grandma had always said the land around the farm was imbued with magic and that there was a gate to Faerie in the south field, but to be fair, Cindy always thought her grandma was a little touched in the head. Now maybe she wasn’t so sure, or maybe she was a little touched too…

“Max?” She whispered.

“If it isn’t one of me makers.” Max said. “Why’d ya call me Max?”

“Er, because we couldn’t decide on your gender and Max could either be short for Maxine, or Maxwell, or Maximilian, or some other name.” Cindy explained to Max, still trying to believe she was actually having a conversation with their scarecrow.

“Is me gender that important? There be nout tween me legs cept hay.” Max responded.

‘You could say gender is actually in the head.” Cindy explained.

“There be nout in me head cept hay as well.”

“I could try to make you a brain of some sort.” Cindy offered.

“Wat do I need a brain for? No scarecrow ever went to college. All I do is stand in the field an sometimes talk with the crow folk.” Max replied.

“So why do you come to lie down in the grass?” Cindy asked.

“I need ta rest sometime. Yer have me guarding the field all the long day from the bird folk. At night I need ta lie down. Nought at night except the rat an mice folk an the owls an the fairy folk, an they not care about yer crops I guard. So I come here ta rest.” Max explained.

“Oh sorry, I didn’t realise you needed to sleep as well.”

“Yeh, but don’t worry, once the sun come up I be guarding yer fields again.” Max stated.

“Well thanks for your help.” Cindy offered, as she always believed it was best to be polite to people who assisted you, even if they were mostly made up of hay.

“You and yer pardner made me. I have ta help yer. I’m made from both of yer. You two be different tho. Jess be the doer and you be the dreamer. Jess be really sweet on yer.” Max revealed.

“Well yeah I had guessed that since Jess and I share a bed together and she helps manage my farm.” Cindy replied slightly sarcastically.

“I know her plans for yer.” Max said, seemingly ignoring Cindy’s sarcasm, if a scarecrow could recognise sarcasm that is.

“Her plans?” Cindy asked surprised.

“She want ta make an honest woman of yer. Mark me words.” Max replied.

“Huh?”

“If yer gave me real eyes, I wud be rollin them right now.” Max said shaking his head a little.

“I guess I should let you sleep, since you have a long day tomorrow.” Cindy said slightly bewildered by Max’s words.

“Much appresheated.” Max responded. “By the way, the fairy folk watch yer. They knew yer granma or so they told me.”

“The fairies watch me?” Cindy repeated. Here she was standing in the field in the middle of the night talking to her scarecrow about fairies. Maybe she was losing it. Perhaps if she went to bed and slept she would wake up in the morning and realise this was just a dream. She really hoped it was a dream.

“Yeh they help guard this land and they guard yer too. There be a vampire livin nearby, but the land be protected from them.” Max revealed. “They cannot enter it.”

“Good to know.” Cindy replied wondering what this all meant. She didn’t realise vampires actually existed. Again, she really hoped she was dreaming. Max began to stretch and yawn. “I guess I’ll leave you to rest.” Max nodded at her and then lay down in the grass again. Cindy walked slowly back to the farmhouse pondering things. When she got into bed, Jess was already fast asleep and she curled up next to her in the warm bed and quickly nodded off.

When she awoke the next morning and thought of the events of the night before, she assumed she must have dreamed it all, but when she got out of bed she noticed her feet were dirty and there was grass and hay stuck to them. She went to the kitchen. In the morning sun there was the scarecrow standing tall in the field again. Maybe it was the wind that made it look like it was waving to her…

Joanne Fisher

I wrote this story several years ago and published it here in two parts. I’ve decided to repost it in full and make some slight changes.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Stuck in the Mud (flash fiction)

Stuck in the Mud

Jess got out of the tractor. Due to an excessive amount of rain the south field had turned into a swamp. Her tractor was mired, the tires caked with mud. She sighed. Already she had tried for several hours to get the tractor moving again, but to no avail. Cindy had gone to Faerie to meet the Elven Queen. She had been gone a couple of days now. Jess hated it when Cindy wasn’t here. The farm never felt right without her. Jess decided to walk back to the homestead and figure out what to do over some coffee.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 99

This was written with the prompt mud on the tires provided by the Carrot Ranch September 19 Story Challenge.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Late Night Incident (micro fiction)

Late Night Incident

Sara knocked on my door late one evening. There were bruises on her face and a nasty cut on her arm, which I quickly bandaged before taking her to the hospital and contacting the police. Why this beautiful woman was living with such a violent man I couldn’t fathom. If she had been into women, I would have gladly lived with her.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 61 + prompt

This was written with the word prompt bandage provided by Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #276.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Shamed: A Young Jess and Cindy Story (flash fiction)

Shamed: A Young Jess and Cindy Story

“Cindy got caught kissing another girl in school!” Stephen suddenly blurted out at the breakfast table. “It was Jess she was kissing.” Cindy’s father shot an angry look at her.

“Is this true?” Cindy’s mother asked. Cindy’s face had gone a bright red.

“Of course not!” Cindy lied. Her no good brother had tried to shame her.

“Homosexuals burn in Hell.” Her father stated. “No child of mine is going to choose to be gay.” Cindy ran from the table and hid in her bedroom. She knew her parents would never understand.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 99

This was written with the prompt shame provided by the Carrot Ranch August 22 Story Challenge.

This is yet another Young Jess and Cindy story that takes place before Cindy was thrown out of her home and went to live with her grandmother. This is the first time I’ve directly had her brother and her parents in a story, as before this they’ve only been mentioned.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

The Castle Tour (flash fiction)

The Castle Tour

“This is the Alcazar of Segovia. It dates from the early twelfth century.” Megan and Nicole’s guide said as they entered what looked like a fairy-tale castle. “It’s believed to be the inspiration for the Walt Disney castle.” While being shown around with the other tourists, they discreetly held hands.

“It is like being in a fairy-tale.” Megan commented.

“Definitely!” Nicole agreed. They quickly disappeared down a corridor and began kissing. After all, it was their honeymoon.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 76 + prompt

This was written with the prompt alcazar provided by Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #273.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

The Dress (flash fiction)

The Dress

Jess discovered a dress in the spare room she had never seen before. She found Cindy in the study working at the computer.

“Whose is this?” Jess asked holding the dress up. Cindy turned and looked at it.

“Technically mine. Cousin Stacy left it here when she last visited. I never liked it, so I stuck it in the spare room.” Cindy explained.

“Um, it’s okay.” Jess remarked.

“Then maybe you should wear it.”

“I never wear dresses.” Jess stated.

“It’s not too late to start.” Cindy said. Jess looked at it again.

“Let’s just give it to Goodwill.”

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 99

This was written with the prompt the one who left the dress provided by the Carrot Ranch August 8 Story Challenge.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Porch Talk (fiction)


Porch Talk

It was a late summer evening. Jess and Cindy sat out on their porch watching the sunset while drinking beers. All their fields were full of tall cornstalks. It had been a cruel summer, but thankfully their crops had survived the heat.

“It’s still over a month until the harvest.” Jess stated.

“I know, but we should do well this year. It looks to be a good crop, despite everything.” Cindy replied.

“Don’t bank on it until we are finally harvesting it. Though the money will be welcome. Our finances are getting rather low now.”

“Shame none of your side projects have yielded much so far.”

“I still think we should give alpacas a go.” Jess suggested. Cindy screwed up her nose.

‘We grow corn. What do we know about raising alpacas? Raising animals can bring a whole host of problems we know nothing about.”

“I still think we should give it a go. We’ve got that small field we don’t use for anything. We could fence it off and try raising a small number of them and see how that goes. At least we’ll just be farming them for their fleece and not killing them for meat or anything.” Jess answered. Cindy shrugged her shoulders. “You’ve been quiet that last few days. Is there something troubling you?”

“I’m thinking about going to Faerie and seeing the Queen.” Cindy admitted. Jess raised her eyebrows.

“What?”

“Babradon told me if I wanted to get pregnant again I should see the Queen.”

“Okay.” Jess replied not understanding.

“She’ll help with ensuring the baby is carried to term.” Cindy explained. Jess began gently rubbing Cindy’s back.

“Are you sure you’re ready for that? The miscarriage devastated you. I don’t want to see you go through that again.” Jess told her.

“Well apparently the Queen can help with that. Babradon told me she helped my grandmother do the same. It’s due to my family having some fay blood, which is why I can walk through portals and see fay folk when others can’t.” Cindy told her. Jess slowly nodded her head.

“Maybe I should go with you.” Jess offered. Cindy smiled.

“Thanks. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m not sure if you’d be welcome. As far as we know your bloodline is totally mortal. I should only be away a couple of days.”

“Gee thanks. A couple of days our time, or theirs? A couple of days in Faerie could end up being far longer here.” Jess warned.

“I know. I’ll try to be as quick as I can.” Jess sighed deeply.

“Okay if you really want to do this, but what about the impregnation part? Unless the Queen is going to take care of that as well, IVF is really expensive.” Jess asked. Cindy laughed briefly.

“I guess we could try the turkey baster method, but we don’t need to worry about any of that until I get back.” Cindy replied.

“Artificial insemination? Just like they do with cows?” Cindy hit Jess in the face with a cushion.

“Thanks for comparing me to a cow!” They both laughed and stared out into the darkening sky.

“When do you think you’ll go?” Jess asked.

“Not sure yet. maybe I might wait until after the harvest.” Cindy answered.

“Whenever you decide to go it’ll be okay.” Jess told her. Cindy nodded. They both sat there and watched the stars slowly fill the sky.

Joanne Fisher

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher