Flash Fiction

Although the subtitle of this blog is committing to life as a writer, the truth is: I spend a lot of my time editing, rewriting, and trying to build a social media platform. While these are often enjoyable, and undeniably necessary, activities, they are not nearly as gratifying as scribbling.

Therefore, to keep my writing skills sharp (not to mention my sanity intact) I want to do two 10 minute flash fiction pieces per week.

Results will be posted here.

The Sleeper

Image via Flickr by Aoshi_88

Prompt: I was absolutely sure she was waking.

I was absolutely sure she was waking. Her eyelids fluttered. She stretched her back and scrunched her face, but then something changed. A soft sigh whispered from her sculpted lips and she settled back onto the pedestal.

“Oh, so close. I thought that one was going to work for sure.” The game show host threw an arm around my shoulder and squeezed. “Better luck next time, Charming.” He steered me toward the camera crew. Lights blinded me. Or maybe those were tears. “How does it feel to know you aren’t really Snow White’s true love?”

“I, I – ” My throat closed and I had to clear it. “I can’t believe it.” I looked straight into the camera. “I don’t believe it. You must have done something, changed something.”

The host chuckled and shook my shoulder. “Sour grapes are not becoming your highness. Now, I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait in the back while the other candidates try their lips. Did I say lips? I meant try their luck!”

I tried to shake off the host’s grip and return to Snow, but he passed me off to two brutes who carried me from the room. As the door closed behind me, I heard the host addressing the camera. “Well, there you have it. Things are really getting interesting with the favorite officially out of the running! Who will wind up with their happy ending on this season of Who Can Wake the Sleeper? Find out, after the break.”

Call me Claire

Call me Claire

Image via Flickr by mulan

10 minute flash fiction

prompt: Call me Claire.

“Call me Claire one more time and see what happens,” the girl hissed. Her brown eyes flashed, her frizzy hair stood on end as if charged with static electricity, and her hands tensed into claws.

“But Clai-” the boy, who had recently landed on his backside for saying that word, managed to swallow the “R.” He tried again. “But that’s your name.”

“Not anymore, Mickey” the girl who was not Claire said. She stood up very straight and swept her scarf back over one shoulder, striking a regal pose. “From this day forward, I shall be known as ‘Clairiforth Bellweather III.'”

Mickey nodded solemnly, rose to his feet, and dusted himself off. “Alright, but it’s kind of a mouthful. Do I have to say the whole thing every time?”

“Of course not,” Cairfiforth Bellweather III said with a mischievous smile. “Just call me Claire.”

The Quiet Ones

flash fiction, gangster

Image via Flickr by Kent Wang

10 minute free write

Prompt: He was scheming, everyone knew that.

He was scheming, everyone knew that just by looking at him. From the slicked back hair to the pencil stash, upturned nose, and half-closed eyes, James Donovan Malone looked like trouble. The trouble was, no one could catch him at it.

Neighbors would watch warily as he walked his glossy doberman around the block. He didn’t use a leash. James walked with this hands behind his back while whistling Twisted Nerve (a song from a 1969 British Horror film). His doberman, meanwhile, just trotted along by his side in a perfect “heel.” Also, although they walked together two or three times per day, no one every saw the dog squat.

There were other whiffs of the unnatural about him as well. For example, he never had any guests or visitors, was never seen in anything other than a three piece suit (even in 90 degree weather), and never seemed to leave the house, except to walk his dog.

“It just ain’t right, I tell ya,” Molly Hanson said as James walked by with his dog. Molly was a retired ER nurse with frizzy white hair, a care-lined face, and an eye for the unusual. She was also the neighborhood gossip-in-chief. “There’s something funny going on with that boy.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Jeremy, her worthy opponent (in checkers and just about everything else) demurred. “He seems quiet enough to me. Better than the last neighbor we had. Remember all the loud music and parties?”

“That’s the problem.” Molly jumped a red piece over one of Jeremy’s black ones. “You always gotta watch out for the quiet ones.”

The Sweet Life of Lane the Necromancer

Image via Flickr by Marco Hazard

Image via Flickr by Marco Hazard

10 Minute Flash Fiction

Prompt: My life is almost exactly like the story of Cain and Abel, except I’m a necromancer, which is amazing.

My life is almost exactly like the story of Cain and Abel, except I’m a necromancer, which is amazing. Imagine, my brother Axel is just minding his own business and then wham! Baseball bat to the back of the head. Ressurect and repeat. It’s very theraputic.

The best part, though, is when God asks me where my brother is after I’ve killed him. He’s all like, “Lane, where is your brother?”

And I’m like, “He’s right over there, playa’.”

“Why is he green?”

“He went to a rave last night and got painted.”

“He smells like rotting meat.”

“I try to get him to shower, but no. He has to be ‘all natural.'”

“So, there’s nothing fishy going on with that bloody baseball bat in the corner?”

“No, sir…ma’am…whatever  you are.”

“Well, alright then. Keep your nose clean, Lane. I’m watching you.”

At some point I’m sure it’ll figure things out and put a curse on my forehead. Isn’t that what always happens to Cain in the stories? But, even then, I’ll just summon a pet for company.

Yep, being a necro is pretty sweet.

 

The Old Warrior

Image via Flickr by reynermedia

Image via Flickr by reynermedia

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: When you fight a war, war is always missing.

When you fight a war, war is always missing. Or at least, the war Rolf expected when he joined the army. Rolf snorted. His head had been filled with minstrels songs and his inner eye fixed on glory, gold, and women. It’d been a good dream…for about for about three minutes.

Almost as soon as his name was on the paper, the hell began. The army took his clothes and cut off all his hair to prevent lice. They gave him a sword and some stinking hide for armor and sent him to the front.

Grizzled now, red-eyed, shaggy, and long in the tooth, Rolf took another long swallow of ale and glared at his mug. His nose ran into his mustache, but he didn’t care. He’d had the shivers for three days, and a healer told him that drinking was the worst thing he could do for his condition. Rolf took another swallow.

Where was the war he’d been promised? The one he’d looked for his entire adult life? Rolf had seen seven boarder disputes, four nobles squabbles, and two legitimate, all-out, do-or-die wars and still he was looking.

“Cause you’re a damn fool,” Rolf growled at his mug. Because, somewhere in the back of his jaded heart, Rolf stilled longed for war.

Not the war of his youth. Rolf knew there was no glory in it, knew there was only rarely any gold, and he was too old to care much about the women. Even still, Rolf longed for the camaraderie of the army camp. He longed for the feeling of purpose, of doing something grand with his life. He longed for sacrifice.

Instead, Rolf sat in a dockside tavern and drank away the money he earned begging. Until a hand landed on his shoulder.

The Dancing Dragon

flash fiction dragon

Image via Flickr by johanferreira15

10 Minute Flash Fiction

Prompt: She was a dancer by day, dragon by night.

Illusandra Vo Besrucksha held her final posture as the music died. Sweat beaded her brow, ran down arms and legs, and even darkened her water wicking leotard. She gleamed in the bright stage lights like an oiled bronze statue of impossible grace and beauty. Then the crowd was on its feet clapping, whistling, and screaming its appreciation.

Illusandra smiled, bowed, and walked calmly off the stage. Already something was hardening in her chest. Tears pricked at her eyes and she struggled to maintain her smile as the stage manager gave her a plastic water bottle and burbled about how wonderful she was. Finally, when they reached her changing room, Illusandra spoke in a throaty soprano. “Thank you Tina. I’d like to get cleaned up now. And no, no autographs tonight. I have business to which I must attend.”

Tina bobbed her head and sighed. “Still won’t face the fans, Illy? You know they love you right?”

The knot in Illusandra’s chest twisted. They don’t know me, she wanted to say, but it wasn’t true. Illusandra’s dancing was so expressive that she believed her audience knew her inner self better than most. Still, there was one thing they didn’t know and, if they ever found out, it would ruin her.

“Not tonight.”

She opened her dressing room door.

“When -”

Illusandra shut the door in Tina’s face, Crossed to the window, and opened it. Cool air night air rushed over her face and she sighed. Stripping off her clothes, Illusandra climbed onto the window sill and leaped into the night. Her chest unknotted as she fell, her body transforming, growing larger, scalier, and sprouting two enormous, bat-like, wings.

Soaring high over her city, Illusandra Vo Besrucksha reveled in one of the two activities that made her feel truly alive.

The Dream House

flash fiction, old man reading

Image via Wiki Commons

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: I was an awful man, with my house and my box.

I was an awful man, with my house and my little box of land. I worked hard for it. I scrimped and saved and finally purchased the small two bedroom ranch a week before my wife died. She always wanted a place of her own. For sixty years she worked as a nanny, cooked for me, and cleaned our rented apartment.

“Don’t worry, Johnny,” She always said. “Just a little more. We just gotta save a little more and we can put a down payment on a house. Got my eye on a real nice one down Willow Street.”

I could still hear her voice. Gripping the wooden armrests of my rocking chair, I scowled at the kids laughing and playing in the street.

It never happened. I would get laid off in one recession or another. The car would brake down. The roof would need fixing and the cheapskate landlord refused to do it. Something always came up. Then Alice got sick. Breast cancer. She fought for six years before it claimed her.

She cried when it returned for the last time. “I want to die at home, Johnny, please.”

Tears ran down my temples as I leaned my head back and closed my eyes.

Putting a down payment on this place seemed to give her new life. She sang again, her sweet voice harsh from disuse and chemo side-effects. She had a purpose. She wanted to see me settled before she went.

I made a noise somewhere between a chuckle and a sob and rubbed my itching eyes.

She’d done just that. She helped me move, unpack the boxes, and paint two rooms…then she died. She –

“Are you okay, sir?”

Lowering my hand, I saw a short young woman with dark hair and kind eyes. “I’m not sure,” I said honestly.

She smiled at me and warmth lit in my stomach. “Would you like some company? I was just on my way home from class, but I could stop for a few minutes.”

“Yes,” I said. “I would like that.”

The Curse of Upper Englewood

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Image via Flickr by mschellhase

Prompt: During a curse you definitely want to be an cultist.

The Benson’s did everything by the book. They went to college, got married, and moved to a small town called Upper Englewood. Their house was large and new. It had a foyer and a fireplace set off by bright wood floors and large windows. Everything was perfect…until someone knocked on the door.

The Benson’s, who’d been reading in bed, gave each other a look. It was 11:45 PM. Who on earth would come calling at this hour?

“I’d better go check it out,” Mr. James Benson said. “It might be the police.”

“Be careful.” Mrs. Kimberly Benson’s eyes were wide and bright as bedside lamps.

The stairs creaked as Mr. Benson descended and he frowned, thinking that perhaps wooden stairs had not been the wisest move if he were to make a habit of answering the door in the middle of the night. Flicking on the front porch light, Mr. Benson yawned and opened the door.

Two men in suits so old they looked more brown than black stood there, each clutching a book in their hands.

“Greetings, my living brother,” the taller of the two said, holding out one hand. “Have you heard the good word about our Lord and Savior?”

“Evangelists, are you?” Mr. Benson shook the proffered hand because that was what one did in such situations. The hand was cold, clammy, and, as Mr. Benson frowned down at it, faintly green. “Isn’t it a little late to be disturbing people?”

The shorter, stouter figure frowned. “It’s not even midnight, man. How much earlier could we be?”

“He’s new to the area, Reg. It is clear he has not heard the word.”

“About Jesus Christ?” Mr. Benson was getting a little annoyed now. Who did these people think they were? Knocking on his door in the middle of the night and then talking about him as if he weren’t even there – the nerve!

“No,” Reg said. “About Belzeneth’s Curse. You tell ‘im Arthur.”

Mr. Benson took a step back and prepared to shut the door. “What the bloody hell are you talking about?”

“Oh, so you have heard of the curse!” Arthur straightened his spine a little and beamed down at Mr. Benson. “Just as you say, ‘bloody hell’ has walked the streets of Upper Englewood every night for the last ten years. We are here to offer you and your wife a place of safety within the Church of Belzeneth.”

Mr. Benson’s mind was racing. This had to be some kind of joke or prank or…then something clicked into place. “Isn’t the Church of Belzeneth some kind of cult?”

“Precisely,” Arthur said, looking still more pleased that Mr. Benson was catching on so quickly.

Reg leaned through the doorway and placed a reassuring hand on Mr. Benson’s shoulder. “Trust us, during a curse you definitely want to be a cultist.”

A centipede crawled out of Reg’s sleeve.

The Next Phase of Human Evolution

flash fiction

Image via Flickr by wing_clipper

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: All the mutant attacks – I’m howling.

“All these mutant attacks – I’m howling mad I tell you. Just howling mad.” Finnegan Lynch grabbed a double handful of his wild blonde mane, paced furiously, and continued to chastise the intercom on his desk. “What’s Arthenon playing at, eh? Doesn’t he realize he can’t win?”

“Of course he doesn’t.” Dr. Levi Stron’s smooth tenor voice was distorted a little by the speaker, but it was still enough to command Finnegan’s attention. He stopped pacing to listen. “For the last eighty years mutants have run the show. They saw themselves as the next step in human evolution. Many agreed with them. It’s hard to go from that kind of manifest destiny to recognizing that technology renders their powers meaningless.”

“They’re still damned annoying. In the last attack, three mutants with water control destroyed every sewer line in Manhattan!”

“And how long would an attack like that have taken to rectify before the Stron Water and Earth Pulse Gloves?”

Finnegan’s face went cold just thinking about it. “It would’ve taken months, maybe years, to put right.”

“And how long did it take your cleaning crews with their Stron Gloves?”

“Three days, but -”

“See? Don’t worry, Finnegan. I’ll handle Arthenon. Everything is under control.”

Sir Reginald’s Cruelty

Flash Fiction Knight

Image via Flickr by Jaaaiiro Souza

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: the season a fallen knight knew the meaning of cruelty.

Sir Reginald Mendon looked up at the cathedral of pine boughs and blue sky, then something wet and sticky landed on his forehead. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Dapple had thrown him, now the wretched horse was drooling on him as well. Sir Reginald groaned, but he did not wipe the saliva away. What was the point after all? He’d been on the run for almost a month now. His clothes were tattered rags, his armor dented and spotted with rust, and his horse was ornery.

Sir Reginald’s stomach rumbled. He was also out of food.

“I should just turn myself in to Adriene. She would forgive me, wouldn’t she?”

Dapple whickered and bit into the grass by Sir Reginald’s left ear.

“You’re right, of course. I shouldn’t have implied the Queen’s sister was anything less than chaste.”

Dapple continued to graze.

“I was drunk, okay?” Sir Reginald sighed. “I was drunk and proud and cruel.”

Sir Reginald closed his eyes. He knew how cruel he could be. He felt it in his bones because all his venom was directed inward now.

It had been for some time.