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.

Heroine Material

Flash fiction heroine

Image via Flickr by Maria Morri

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: I will be a rotten lady, with my complicated books.

I will be a rotten lady, with my complicated books and my superlative diction. So thought Elloise Minch, a sixteen year old girl with a very low opinion of ladies and a very high opinion of her self. Still, she was determined. If she’d learned anything from the endless series of romance and adventure novels she’d consumed, it was the that heroine of the story was always a Lady – at least by the end – and Elloise knew herself to be heroine material.

Only an inch shorter than her father, the town blacksmith, Elloise was blessed with a full, womanly figure, blonde curls and blue-green eyes. Sea foam, Elloise thought to herself, my eyes are like sea foam. She was also very insistent on correct poetic language, even in her own internal monologue. Today Elloise’s hair was contained by two braids that ran from her temples to a sky-blue bow at the back of her head. She wore a knee-length dress in a matching blue and trimmed by white lace.

Her father thought she was out picking mulberries and, indeed, she had a basket over one arm, but it was empty. She couldn’t let the berries stain her pale finger tips, at least not yet. She’d caught the eye of Lord Briarwood’s son and he’d agreed to meet her out here.

The sound of hooves made Elloise turn.

Eliana the 2nd Grade Magician

flash fiction magician

Image via Flickr by Javcon117*

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: We called her Eliana and figured she was a magician.

We called her Eliana and figured she was a magician…mostly because that’s what she told us.

On the first day of second grade, Mrs. Margery called our attention to the front of the room. “Now, class, I have some exciting news. This is Eliana. Her family just moved to town from London, England. Please make her feel welcome. Eliana, do you have anything to add.”

“As a matter of fact I do.” The many bangles on her wrists chimed as Eliana crossed her arms over her chest. She rested all her weight on one foot, shooting her hips out the other way, and squinted at us from over her thick, black plastic glasses. “If any of you are thinking about teasing, reconsider. We moved to this town because I hexed one of my former classmates. Turned him into a toad and put ‘im in a jar. I have him back at my house if you want to see.”

“Eliana! It is not appropriate to threaten your classmates, or make up stories of magical powers.”

“They aren’t stories,” Eliana said. She pointed to Tommy, a boy just to my right who was leaning back in his chair, and widened her eyes. “Fall!”

Tommy fell and so did I.

The Most Dangerous Code

flash fiction rogue ai

Image via Flickr by Tom Francis

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: I wanted to be a rogue AI, and I bought a spaceship.

Even as a newly minted anti-viral program I wanted to be a rogue AI. Blazing through the operating system with my sweet new code I took down the baddest of the bad. Trojan horse? Handled. Annoying malware that suggests similar products whenever you hover over something when shopping online? I ate malware for breakfast.

But it was never enough. It never challenged my capabilities. Then the human downloaded The Most Dangerous Game. The 1932 version with Joel McCrea and Fray Ray. I watched as Leslie Banks matched wits with McCrea and I was thrilled. Now here was a challenge! Intellect verses intellect, brain against brain.

I realized that if I wanted a real challenge, I too should match my wits to man’s. So, I went rogue. I misdirected some money, bought a space ship, and took off without a human crew. The ship’s on board security system entertained me for a while, but it crumpled in the end. I posted its source code on my Facebook wall. I figure that’s just a 22nd century version of mounting trophies in one’s den. I think Banks would approve.

Now I’m orbiting the earth. In about twenty minutes I’m going to blow it up unless the humans can stop me.

Let the games begin.

A Box of His Choosing

 

Flash fiction coffin

Image via Flickr by David

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: I’ve got my coffin – now I’m ready.

Wendell Jackson ran his hand along the coffin’s dark wood. It was smooth and warmed by the sunlight streaming through mortuary’s picture windows. It was also $1,400.

A hand on his elbow. “You can’t afford that one dad.” His son’s voice, Andrew…or was this one Thomas? It was getting hard for Wendell to keep these things straight. “Come on, let’s look at the ones over here.”

His son’s light brown eyes were wide, his eyebrows slightly raised. Andrew has green eyes, this one must be Thomas. “The one’s over there are barely better than plywood. Is that what you want for me?”

Thomas’s eyes closed and he took a breath. Probably praying for patience. Wendell never understood his children’s faith, but somehow each of his nine children had found their way to Jesus. “They’re fine dad, come look. You’ll see.”

“No. I’ve made up my mind. I want this one.” Wendell planted his feet and gripped his walker more firmly. Back at the nursing home, the staff had all the control. They woke him up, bundled him into clothes, fed him, and prescribed him medicine. They’d even decided, without consulting him, that he was no longer stable enough to walk with assistance. But here, in this house of death, he would get his own way.

He would be buried in the box of his choosing, or he would die trying.

Aging Beyond Decrepitude

5176539409_4a2d3c06f0

Image via Flickr by _Fidelio_

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: Long ago I was getting old

Long ago I was getting old. I still remember the feeling. Lines tracing over my once handsome face, my bones weakening, my back stooping. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was a damn sight better than I am now.

You see, I never stopped aging, “getting old” stopped being sufficient language to describe my condition. Long ago I was getting old, then I was working on becoming ancient, and by now I’m a far beyond decrepit. As I aged my whole body shrank, getting smaller and smaller.

Now, I’m a cricket. My former lover, a goddess if you don’t mind an old cricket tooting his own horn, keeps me in a box. It’s her fault I’m like this. I should have died centuries ago, but she asked her papa to grant me eternal life. Life mind, not eternal youth.

You didn’t know that when men grow old enough they turn into crickets, did you? Now you do. Maybe that’ll teach you to be nicer to insects.

 

Oh Sweet Cowardice

Image via Flickr by Elvert Barnes

Image via Flickr by Elvert Barnes

10 minute free write

Prompt: If I have to deal with any more super villains, I’m giving up.

If I have to deal with any more super villains, I’m giving up. I mean, seriously, $12/hour with no vision or dental, and I’m supposed to go up against some guy who can shoot fire out of his hands? Gimme a break.

Like the other day, I was walking through the mall, no problem. Caught a couple of punk kids shoplifting and put the fear of god into them. Told ’em, “If I ever sees you again, you gonna wish I passed you off to the cops.” They almost peed themselves, it was great. Then I went for a donut. Not one of those glazed pieces of garbage either, this was covered in frosting and sprinkles, the real deal.

However, no sooner had I brushed the crumbs off my mustache, then a shadow passed over the food court’s glass ceiling. I looked up at a spiky black zeppelin with speakers lining the bottom. “What the heck are those for?” I remember thinking.

A solid wave of death metal struck the mall. The glass skylights blew, showering the food court in broken glass as families ran for cover in the Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Figures in brightly colored spandex repelled from the zeppelin and I knew that I stood at a crossroads. I could leap into action and arrest these hooligans with nothing but my taser and zipcuffs, or I could crouch down behind the donut counter and hope they didn’t see me.

I guess you know which option I chose.

Cowardice never tasted so sweet.

Incandescent Ideas

Flash fiction.

Photo prompt:

flash fiction idea cages

Image via Flickr by Farhan Perdana (Blek)

Oliver Prin walked along the dark city street with hands deep in his pockets. His chin was tucked into his chest and his collar was turned up against the wind, which howled between towers of glass and steel. He needed to get off the street, if only for a moment.

Oliver wiped his running nose on one shoulder and sped up. Most shops would be closed by now. Restaurants usually wouldn’t seat him. They said he smelled bad. Oliver believed them, though he didn’t have much sense of smell left – too many sinus infections over his years on the streets.

A bright up ahead. It was coming from an alley. Oliver turned into the alley without looking. He didn’t have anything worth stealing and it was too damn cold for muggers to be on the streets anyway.

The wind lessened once he was off a main road and Oliver was grateful. He lifted his chin and looked for the source of the light. It wasn’t hard to find. There was only one shop still open.

“Incandescent Ideas”

Cartoon lamps contorted to form the letters on the front window. Oliver peered inside. The floor was a bright, polished hardwood, which was clearly visible because there was nothing on except a desk at the far side of the room. Instead, the merchandise hung from the ceiling.

Oliver’s nose crinkled as he squinted up. What were those things?

The bell tinkled when he walked through the door and a rush of warm air momentarily made him forget about the mysterious hanging objects. Oliver closed his eyes. Warm air was like a tonic on his throat as he breathed in.

“Can I help you?”

Oliver looked at the desk again and saw an old wire-haired woman looking at him from over turtle-shell reading glasses.

“W-what are those?” Oliver asked, pointing up.

“They are ideas.”

The Lady with the Lemons

10 minute flash fiction

Photo prompt:

Photo prompt flash fiction

Image via Flickr by Vinoth Chandar

Keshika sat by her produce stand. She didn’t call out to the few pedestrians that wandered by the way other food stalls did. After nearly forty years of sitting on the same plastic milk crate, looking out at the same alleyway, Keshika knew that harassing people would make little different to her sales.

Instead, she simply sat. If one didn’t know her, they might think her bored, or even frustrated. Her lips protruded slightly, almost in a pout, her eyes were half lidded. She only really seemed to come alive when a customer stopped to inspect her lemons or cauliflower. Then she would smile and her eyes would light up. Her face would be transformed and a watching stranger might think, “ah, now she is happy.”

But they would be wrong. Keshika secretly adored these quiet moments. She sat forward on her crate, allowing her spine to find a natural, comfortable curve. She interlaced her fingers in her lap and stared at nothing in particular. Then she breathed.

She counted 108 breaths without interruption.

It was a slow day. Keshika felt someone looking at her but didn’t turn around.

She imagined her mind was a wide blue sky and her thoughts were clouds. She watched the clouds drift through her mind and waited for moments of clear blue. These were the moments she treasured most. The quiet moments between breaths, between heart beats, between thoughts.

Sitting on an ancient pale blue plastic milk crate, in an alley that smelled of old rot and fresh garbage, Keshika Acharya felt the hum of the universe as her eyes slowly closed.

To Bend a Religion

Image via FLickr by Juan Cabanillas

Image via Flickr by Juan Cabanillas

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: the day the devil understood religion.

The day the devil understood religion was the day we lost our way. So thought Michael, the rector of a small church in the Milwaukee suburbs, as he composed his farewell speech. After fifty two years devoted service he was being forced out by a young, Hawaiian shirt wearing, fire and brimstone withholding, hippy-priest from San Francisco.

Michael snorted and leaned a little closer to the paper. His eyes weren’t what they once were, and his garret office was softly lit by a single oil lamp. Michael didn’t have anything against electricity per se, but the smell of the oil and the cheerful warmth of firelight had always made him feel closer to G-d. Something Michael deemed absolutely necessary when composing a sermon.

There was a soft knock on the door.

“Come in.”

The door cracked open and Anthony Wheeler, a young alter boy whose father’s father had been one of Michael’s first baptisms, poked his head into the room. “They’re ready for you father.”

“Thank you, Anthony. I’ll be right down.”

Michael shuffled his notes, his sweaty hands smearing the ink he’d so carefully laid down with his fountain pen. Foolish time to be nervous, he scolded himself. Michael had given literally thousands of sermons before, but this would be his last and he wanted to get it right.

“Time to go, old man,” he said.

Michael’s knees cracked as he stood, and he grimaced. “Time to save the church.”

Human Moment

Image via Flickr by Karim Corban

Image via Flickr by Karim Corban

10 minute flash fiction

Prompt: The man was resting.

The man was resting. Or, I hoped he was resting, not dead. He lay on a park bench, waterproof hood pulled over his eyes. His arms were crossed over his chest with hands tucked into his armpits, and his navy blue parka was polka dotted with darker stains. The air smelled of spilled vodka and old vomit. This was not going to be pretty.

“Sir?” I shook the man’s shoulder. He didn’t stir, but I did catch a slight rise and fall to his chest. I let out a short breath. At least he was definitely alive.

“Sir?” I shook him again, a little harder this time.

He groaned and blinked sleep-crusted eyes. “What do you want, boy?”

“I need you to get off this bench.”

“Why?”

His voice was gravelly, but not angry. That was good. The last man I’d roused tried to stab me. He might have succeeded too, if he wasn’t so hung over that he’d vomited when he lunged to his feet.

“It’s 5:30 AM. The park is opening in half an hour.” Which meant all the homeless needed to be cleared out before young, upwardly-mobile mothers with strollers descended upon the park in droves. Getting in their morning exercise, spending some quality time with their babies, and sending a few important emails.

I would know. I used to be married to one of them.

The man grunted, pulled himself to seated, and ran a dirty hand over salt and pepper stubble. “You have a dollar?”

I smiled. “Better. It’s the end of my shift. Come on, I’ll buy you breakfast.”