Flash Frenzy: Round 8

Posted: February 22, 2014 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , , , ,

Welcome to Round 8!

Our judge this week is none other than the wonderfully talented drmagoo.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie, receive a winner’s page, and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

Photo by TheShakes72

Photo by TheShakes72

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Comments
  1. Interior Decorating

    The gap in the roof, created when the corrugated panel had blown away in last month’s storm, made an excellent sky light. It had taken me months to stick the coloured pebbles around the metal edges. I’d found a ladder in the shed, climbed up higher than I’d ever been before. Fighting with the strong adhesive to stop my finger tips being glued to the pattern I was trying to make.

    Oli laughed and said it looked ludicrous, Martha thought it was spiritual, I just needed something to do. This old factory had hidden gems. Some I wanted to find, others I didn’t. I remembered the day I opened a locker with the name Stan Smith on it and found a corpse. I presumed it was Stan hiding from Armageddon. I still wonder how a big man like him managed to fit into a small space like that. Not that I was familiar with Stan but on the notice board were fading photos of key workers. Stan was the Health and Safety Officer. I wondered how he felt when all his training hadn’t prepared him for any of this, betrayed, disillusioned. Not that it mattered anymore.

    I found an old calendar, one of those that showed topless girls. Most factory managers banned them from being put on show, political correctness. This one was hidden in a drawer. Oli thought Miss May was a bit of alright. I just wondered if she had survived or was with Stan in the ether.

    The sun cast small squat shadows around my scrawny body. Martha and Oli had been gone for ages. Hope it was food foraging and not enjoying each other’s bodies. Oli keep sprouting about the continuation of the human race. He was stupid; Martha and I were infertile, well until our periods returned. Not the best specimens to restock the world. I laughed out loud, for a fleeting moment I thought about LOL, text speak for what I’d just been doing. God I missed Twitter and Facebook. Then I remembered there was no God. He’d left us long ago. Gone fishing, probably, like my Dad
    always did in a crisis.

    359 words
    @stellakateT

  2. Empty Spaces

    “How bad is it?” Alison asked her friend Eli as he climbed down the rock wall.
    “It’s a mess up there.” He replied once he was on the ground.
    Alison sighed. “That’s exactly what I was afraid of. Maybe I could call it a skylight.”
    “You’d be shut down faster than you can say Jack Robinson.”
    “Jack Robinson.” Alison mimed as she walked away.

    She raked her fingers through her hair and fought back bitter tears. The rock climbing gym meant everything to her, but thanks to a large corporate gym in the city, Alison was barely able to keep the business afloat. Thanks to the hurricane, she now had a gaping hole in her ceiling and extensive water damage.

    Alison turned to Eli. “I can’t afford to pay you, you know.”
    Eli shrugged. “I’m sure I can write it off somehow. In the meantime you can pay me in sandwiches or something.”
    Tears streamed down Alison’s face and she began to sob uncontrollably. Eli ran over to her and wrapped his arms around her. “I’m sorry. I’m a sexist jackass. I’m so sorry.”

    Alison shook her head. “It’s not you. I just…I feel so helpless and empty. Look at this place. It’s so…empty and lonely.”
    “Maybe you’re not looking at it right. Sure this place may be empty and cracked, but with a little paint and polish this place could look great again.”
    “You really think so?” Alison asked.
    Eli placed his fingers between the empty spaces between hers. “I know so. And who knows? Maybe I could put in that skylight after all.”

    265 words
    @triffic_tinika

  3. Image Ronin says:

    Burden

    ‘This looks good, alright with you?’

    Art clung to the rope, tentatively looking up to his grandson hanging nonchalantly from the bolt set into the rock-face. Beneath Art lay a dramatic fall onto Yorkshire countryside, above yet more rock and grey skies. His body trembled through effort and fear.

    ‘Aye lad.’

    His grandson moved with elegance up here unlike the gangly youth of terra firm. Art watched him attach more ropes to the bolt, before hauling Art up to join him on the ledge that overlooked Gordale Scar. Being a weekday there were few tourists, just a couple of climbers scaling the other side of the gorge.

    ‘You alright Pops? Climb not too much?’ Felix rested a hand on his shoulder, eyes filled with concern. Art let his legs dangle from the ridge, taking a deep pull of water, ‘ne bother lad. Should’ve taken this up years ago eh?’

    Felix smiled, rolling up a cigarette as if he was sat in a pub. Art rested his back, sunlight breaking out from grey clouds. For a moment he was back in the driver’s seat, broken glass, stained crimson, scattered over his clothing.

    ‘Glad you’ve come with me y’know?’ Felix brushed a tear away, forcing Art to breath deep, rubbing at his own eyes. ‘Aye lad, nowhere else I could be. Ye not dropped him then?’

    Felix pulled the plastic pot out of his rucksack, no bigger than a pint glass. Art still found it painful how small a life looked in the end.

    ‘Dad loved it here, used to talk about coming here with you and the dog, hunting for dragons in the caves.’

    Art just nodded, words stuck in his throat.

    ‘The urns biodegradable, over time it’ll break down. I reckon he’d approve.’

    Another nod.

    ‘You okay Pops?’

    ‘Aye lad I will be’, Art reached through the harness into his pocket. Pulling out a faded photograph of a young boy, high up on a climbing wall, striving to get higher, to climb out into the light. Feeling no fear, for he knew his father was waiting below, ready to catch him if he fell.

    ‘Can I leave this with him?’

    360 words

    @imageronin

  4. Tinman says:

    All Work And No Play
    261 words
    @TinmanDoneBadly

    Others might have used a simple wooden ladder, but when you work in a mine where a million diamonds shine then you can spare a few for handholds and footholds, so the dwarves had built the Jewelled Wall instead.

    Soon the workday would be over and they would all climb that wall to go home. They would sing on the way, the song that they sang every day, the song that he had grown to hate so much. He had asked once could they sing something else, Imagine perhaps, or Wind Beneath My Wings, or even that load of crap from Titanic, anything just for a change.

    They had looked at him as if he was Mental, their cousin from the next village.

    So they would sing the Hi-Ho song, and go home to their cottage in the middle of nowhere, where they would spend yet another evening doing things like carving their names in their bedposts and neglecting to wash their hands.

    And in the morning they would march back to the mine. The song would have two different words in it. This was the only variety in their lives.

    That’s why he was leaving, sneaking out while the others were busy. He was heading off to the city seeking a new life and a more exciting job, a waiter perhaps, or a barman, any job where he would meet lots of new people.

    And in time he might even meet a girl, provided he could find one willing to forsake high-heeled shoes forever.

    Unlike the others, Sleepy had dreams.

  5. zevonesque says:

    Stuck
    by A J Walker

    Sharon looked down to the distant floor feeling her legs shaking uncontrollably from her knees, her head spinning.

            ‘Take some deep breaths Sharon,’ Dave shouted up. ‘The fire brigade are on the way.’

            Her breath steamed as the winter air streamed through the open roof, she suddenly felt freezing.

            ‘It’s not helping,’ Sharon muttered.

            ‘What love? Did you say something?’

            ‘Nothing. Nothing important,’ said Sharon rolling her eyes.

            Sharon supposed she should feel relatively secure. The ropes and harness were correctly fitted, she knew that if she could let go of the wall she’d just hang there weightless, suspended like a helpless fly in a web. But she couldn’t let go.

            The euphoria of getting all the way to the top for the first time was now long forgotten. It had been the longest ten minutes of her life once she’d realised that she was stuck.

            ‘You’ve been amazing getting there, I couldn’t do it.’ David shouted, hoping it would take her mind of her predicament.

            ‘It’s not helping. Can’t you just shut up down there!’ she screamed.

            She screamed in agony as she fell back a little from the wall, her hands feeling they were ripping and burning with her weight pulling at her skin.

            Sharon recovered her position as two pigeons glided out of the grey sky onto a girder just above her, both landing with an ungainly bounce. She smiled briefly, wishing she had their freedom. Then one of them span around and unceremoniously shat on Sharon’s head. It was not her day.

            Helpless at the foot of the climbing wall Dave nervously circled the room coming across the pot of adhesive behind a filing cabinet.

            ‘Fucking idiots!’ he exclaimed before giving a kick to the cabinet. His knee twisted in agony as he heard the snap of ligament.

            It was an unusual scene which faced the firemen when they arrived minutes later. The first man found Dave writing around in agony welded to the concrete floor in a parody of the position of his wife above him. Knocking over the remaining epoxy resin had been quite a feat for David and not his best moment.

    @zevonesque
    359 words

  6. Sweet Dreams

    by Beth Deitchman
    @beth_deitchman
    316 words

    Arnie got to work early, as he had every Monday morning for the past fifteen years. His hands shook a little as he suited up in the empty men’s locker room, donning his coveralls and hair net then putting the cloth booties over his shoes. His stuff stowed in his locker, he hurried to the factory floor, whistling the Beckman’s Confectionary Jingle.

    A feeling of unease rippled through him as he neared the big room. He stopped whistling and stood still, listening. Silence met him. Perplexed, he pulled open the doors and gasped. The factory was empty, the conveyor belts still laden with their sweet, colorful cargo, motionless. He glanced at the big clock, which told him he was on time.

    Sunlight streamed through a window high above the factory floor. Arnie watched the dust floating through the beam, deciding what to do. At last he nodded once and went to work. His hands stopped shaking with the first piece of candy.

    With no one to remind him to stop, Arnie worked through lunch, moving from belt to belt, choosing a piece of candy, holding it up to the light, then popping it in his mouth, savoring the burst of sweetness. Before he moved to the next batch, he made careful notes for his daily report.

    As the day passed, he grew bolder, testing two or three pieces at a time, thinking about what Mr. Smith would say if he were there. “Only one piece, Arnie! One from each batch. How many times do I have to tell you?”

    Around three o’clock, he brought a pile of sweets to his desk and sat down to write his report.

    They found Arnie in the morning, slumped in his chair, fingers sticky with sugar. He wore a wide grin.

    “Wow,” Maddie said as Arnie was wheeled away. “Who forgot to tell him we were closed for emergency fumigation?”

  7. The Mountain King

    Simon loved working the climbing wall. Even when the playbarn was this packed, he could close the gate, say that he was climbing up to check the counterweights and get five minutes’ peace before the kids wanted in again. He didn’t need to wear the orange Staff shirt either, since he’d convinced the owner that it could snag on the harnesses. They were still trying to settle over the kid who got stuck in the corkscrew slide for an hour and couldn’t afford another accident.

    Best of all, the top gave a clear view of the snack counter, where a seventeen year old goddess was ladling reconstituted beef chili onto microwaved spuds.

    Ah, Beverly… So what if her hair smelled of chip fat, that she thought Doctor Who was a kid’s show, or even that she’d kissed Dave on the college bus? Simon loved her, and if she’d only look up and see him atop his fibreglass mountain, resplendent in his MCR shirt, she’d surely see they were meant to be together.

    A green plastic ball shot past his nose, wrenching him from his daydreaming, and he almost fell. Righting himself and glaring over the side, he saw Dave standing in the ballpool, preparing to throw another. Simon flipped him the vees, then ducked as the ball soared over his head.

    The blaring pop music came to a sudden halt and Simon looked up at the speakers nervously. After a second, Wrecking Ball cut in and he relaxed; the songs were a code announcing clean up situations without alerting the customers. Miley meant a brownout in the soft play area, which Dave was currently marshalling. Simon watched, grinning, as his rival swabbed the polyvinyl flooring. Beverly wouldn’t want to snog someone who stank of baby poo. Could this be his moment?

    “Oi! You open or what?”

    He looked down at the woman rattling the gate, her mismatched, multi-fathered brood crowding around her, then cast a final glance at Beverly, who chose that exact moment to look his way and smile. He smiled back, chanced a wave, then clipped on his harness and leapt off, to drift lazily down to Earth.

    360 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

  8. milambc says:

    A Dancing Star (344 words)

    Chaos is serenity. Pain is euphoria. To be alive is to die every waking second. Some Cheetos-stained fat fuck sitting on his mom’s couch may prefer to watch reruns of The Maury Show. Or some quasi-intellectual hipster may prefer to read On the Road by Jack Kerouac and pretend they’re part of a latter-day Beat Generation.

    But for Damien, he preferred the rush of adrenaline that came from jumping out of an airplane 10,000 feet in the air above the Swiss Alps. Or swimming with sharks in Costa Rica and chasing the tornadoes in Kansas.

    The need to feel that adrenaline coursing through his veins is what attracted him to fighting fires in Detroit, the fire capital of the United States. They responded to an average of 30,000 fires a year and Damien tried to be the lead on as many of those as he could.

    After a twelve-hour shift, most people were dead to the world. Not Damien. He liked to go to Planet Rock and scale the walls. It wasn’t much of a challenge compared to other activities, but it calmed him down. Often times, he’d climb to the top and Jake, the attendant, would toss him a cold Shock Top. Strictly forbidden, but well, Damien was a regular, as in, every day.

    That was until he responded to a structural fire at an abandoned warehouse. A roof beam fell on his back, cracking his vertebrae. He had not walked since. Still, every day, he rolled into Planet Rock. Jake would crack open a Shock Top and they’d shoot the shit. Talk about Jake’s three-year-old, Jake’s Web design hobby, Jake’s wife, Debra.

    Jake took note of the underlining tension every time, as Damien gazed longingly at the top of the wall. He sat in his wheelchair, his once 6-pack abs turned putty, overflowing his belt.

    “One day. One fucking day, Jake,” Damien said.

    Damien was Jake’s buddy; the godfather to his child, so he put on a steely smile and patted him on the leg he couldn’t feel.

    “Goddamn right,” he said.

    @brett_milam

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