Flash Fiction

Almost Wordless Wednesday – #12

Once more into the rabbit hole, Dear Alice…

This week’s story-prompt photo was taken at Hidden Valley Ranch in Pecos, New Mexico.

We had just been sharing cocktails and conversation on the patio outside the main lodge, when said conversation suddenly turned on me, with the end result being that I was now expected to write a murder mystery that would take place at said ranch. (More details on how this transpired can be found here.)

Flush with excitement over the impending project (as well as flush with healthy dollops of Tito’s Vodka in my cranberry juice), I marched forth to take “plot inspiration” photos around the compound. This is one of them.

I will not speak of the exact location where this stairwell can be found in the Hidden Valley Slaughter Ranch. I will not speak of what is behind me or what is below me. I will not speak of exactly how said stairwell figures in the heinous, homicidal rampage that I will someday get around to scribbling.

But, hopefully, you, Dear Alice or Alex, can use this photo to imagine a scene in the mayhem manuscript, be it a pivotal moment in the madness or a mere transitional moment when the potential Hidden Valley Victims forget that they are being hunted due to all the Tito’s Vodka. What, pray tell, has just happened, is happening, or is about to happen?

Or you can just write whatever you want, with nary a nod to evil under the New Mexico sun.

Enjoy your tumble down the rabbit hole.



42 replies »

  1. Hmmm… I read “Hidden Valley Ranch” and all I want to murder is some fried zucchini dipped in ranch dressing…nom non. Why must there be stairs? I fall down them, I fall UP them, I fall.

    Oh! I know… the picture of the stairs is hanging in the dining area of the cool, little, independent burger joint where I go to get the best fried zucchini in town.

    At home, having murdered the entire order of fried zucchini, I fall into a food-coma with a smile on my face. The end.🤤😴

    Liked by 4 people

    • Lovely story, really.

      But I am entranced by your mention of fried zucchini dipped in ranch dressing. Such a lovely combination. However, just the other night, we were at one of our favorite local restaurants, and they had just updated the menu. They had an offering of fried pickles, which I also relish, but in this case the pickles were not dill (as I am used to) but they were “bread and butter” pickles. I wasn’t sure if this would work, but I ordered them anyway, as the description hinted at a new and clever breading and a cilantro-ranch dipping option.

      They arrived, and I cannot begin to tell you how many orgasms I experienced as I ravenously shoved the breaded disks into my mouth.

      I didn’t care who heard me achieving climax. Did. Not. Care….

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Meanwhile, back at the WC, Donnie Stumpo, having extricated himself from a pee after unjamming his dick from his stripper, er, zipper, hurtled down a marble staircase as it dawned on him that yes, stepping in your own urine can make your expensive shoes really slippery.

    No murder mystery, but any port in a storm. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think this is a delightful vision, one that I may need to incorporate into the book that I am impelled to eventually write. Of course, Stumpo will have to be the first to meet an ugly end, because we all know he will and there’s no point in dragging it out…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Recently volunteered at an Amusement Park’s attraction called “Slaughterhouse” and had fun scaring people as a zombie…and yet, I feel like my time continues with this photo of a staircase.:) Heading out of the costume room and down the stairs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wait, you volunteered to dress up as a zombie and terrify people? This sounds wonderfully adventurous and so much more exciting than my own mundane life. I feel a bit ashamed that I don’t get out of the house more often… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mundane, you? No! Your tales seem to betray you. 😉 As a homebody, I suppose that’s how you have the time to write such humorous tales. I can only muster 100 words or less most days. I have so much going on outside of the blog-o-sphere. Be careful of what’s lurking out there when you DO get out of the house! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Talk about great minds (or at least greatly impaired ones, as we had spent evening at Pasta & Prosecco…) But my last post was a WordlessWednesday on the dangers of venturing to the basement. 😱

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, I did feel the kismet when I perused your Wordless post, noting the vindictive Republican hiding ‘neath the stairs. That image reinvigorated my nightmares from my youth in Oklahoma. Thank your for that….. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello there. The name is Lageose, Brian Lageose. I’m a sometime spy and bounty hunter by trade. I’ve been hired by, well, i can’t tell you who hired me. If i told you, i might have to kill you. Ha ha. Only kidding there, but i still can’t tell you who hired me. I can; however, tell you who i’ve been retained to find. I’m being paid handsomely to find Chronos, aka, Time, and bring him back alive. If i do so, bring him back alive, that is, i earn an additional 2 million dollars. (I already have a $300, 000.00 retainer.) You see, someone, or possibly a few someones, are trying to kill Time. We can’t have that. What would this world come to were Time dead? I shudder to think. I need to find him first. In a way, i feel sorry for the guy. He merely wanted a vacation. He’s been at his job for such a long time. Since the beginning of time, actually. That’s a lot of hours.

    I’ve already looked in his many known hideouts around the world. Crete, London, Fargo. I know, right?! Fargo. WTF, i say. Also, Monte Carlo. Okay, that one makes sense. I hear he loves to gamble. Florence, Italy. He loves renaissance art. But, no Time in any of those places.

    This place is likely my last shot. No Time here, no 2 mill for me. I heard a rumor that he’s here. Here is New Mexico. This isn’t a known hideout of his, but i admit this inn is pretty swanky. This rumor comes straight from Mabel Margaret Maloney. She’s known as an amateur sleuth in these parts. Kind of a local Jane Marple. If she says Time is here, then he’s probably here. Right down this tight spiral staircase. I need to get myself together. I’m a little nervous. I might be meeting Time in person, after all. He’s quite famous. Known the world over for, well, controlling time. I don’t have a gun. I don’t like guns. I know. What kind of bounty hunter doesn’t like guns? One who’s not a gun crazy Republican, that’s what kind. I’m going to use logic and facts to reason with him if he’s down there.

    Wait! I need to check my hair first. There. All ready. Down i go.

    I head down. On my way, i count 50 steps. I hit the bottom. What’s this? It’s just an empty room. It’s an empty room with solid granite walls. I feel a tap on my left shoulder. I feel a tingle up my spine. I hear Vincent Price’s voice. Something tells me i’m not in New Mexico anymore.

    Vincent says, well, Brian. At last we meet. I’ve heard so much about you. I have a proposition for you. You let me continue my vacation, give me more time away, and i’ll give you a surprise…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Okay, I love how you pulled this story into your Chronos chronology, as those stories are some of my favorites in your vast repertoire. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, we really should get serious about a co-authored bit of madness. Then again, I’m an unfocused and considerably lazy writer, so our combustion may not spark in a manner that is satisfactory for both of us. Still, here’s hoping.

      As for Vincent,well, I’ve got a proposition of my own for him. But I dare not share it, because revealing the true secrets of my coven, I mean “book club”, would not work well in a public forum…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed this!

        And i have to be honest. As much as i would love to collaborate with you, and i think it would be lots of fun, i absolutely would be a terrible collaborator. I love to write, but cannot keep a schedule to save my life. My writing these days is sporadic at best. I make no kind of plan whatsover. I sit and write whatever pops into my mind as insane as that happens to be at the time. Maybe one of these days, when i know for sure i won’t disappoint you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I completely understand, as I’m the say way when it comes to planning my writing. The whimsy and distraction takes over and I take forever to my part of a collaboration. (One of my joint efforts took almost a YEAR to complete a mere 10 pages or so, all of it my fault.)

          So we’ll just see where the world takes us and go from there… 😉


    • I’ve already sample your wares and I find them quite tasty. Does that sound salacious? Oh, screw it, I’m good with it… 😉

      P.S. Not buying the coincidental. Then again, on my retirement budget, I’m not buying much of anything…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Not original, this rhyme from my childhood (or thereabouts) but the picture reminded me of it:

    Old father Long-Legs
    Can’t say his prayers:
    Take him by the left leg,
    And throw him down the stairs.
    And when he’s at the bottom,
    Before he long has lain,
    Take him by the right leg,
    And throw him up again.

    Originally from Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book for all little Masters and Misses, c. 1780

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You thought you were entering the underground hideout of your chief suspect, Auric Silvertoes, but it was only barroom cellar. As you considered your next move, you took the time to top off your drink several times and ate the contents of three jars of pickled eggs. The effect was, as you can imagine, not good. The resulting fumes wafted upwards just as a trio of church ladies from Muskogee Free Baptist chanced by and, convinced they’d found a portal to hell, called into a local radio station to warn of the impending Armageddon. Suddenly Hidden Valley Ranch became a mecca for religious enthusiasts, Armageddon enthusiasts, and pickled egg enthusiasts.
    As for what happened to you, I’ve really no idea. I’m too busy selling shirts that say, “I fought off the Hounds of Hell and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is so stunningly clever and yet sadly disheartening, all in two paragraphs. Which forces me to say, albeit with a huge amount of personal regret, that I don’t think your should and your subversiveness should ever be allowed past the gates of Hidden Valley Ranch.

      Oh, hang on. I just remembered that I plan to off the cook in one of the earlier chapters, thus heightening the survival suspense, so we may need a secondary culinary expert. So, yes, you can enter the gates, but we must post sentries outside your bungalow. And there will be NO merchandising. None. Unless it involves copies of my book… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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