Flash Frenzy: Round 10

Posted: March 8, 2014 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , , , ,

Welcome to Round 10!

Our judge this week is Jacki Donnellan.

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 TheShakes

Photo by TheShakes72

  1. Rhyming Couplet
    360 words

    The sun was shining right in my eyes making me squint I’d walked along this alleyway for years, never really noticing the graffiti until today and out of the corner of my left eye I could see a rhyming couplet. I knew about these things because I’ve got a degree through the Open University. The blokes at work used to call me ‘Educating Rita’. Tea breaks and lunchtimes I’d have a book open trying to cram for the next assignment. I love having BA (Hons) after my name but I’m still packing shortbread in the biscuit factory, fifteen years later.

    This couplet wasn’t one I’d studied before. It was full of swear words but it was a fine example. Made me wonder who had written it and why? Had anyone else noticed it or read it? It must be someone with a brain not some hoodie bored with a spray can. Studying the other panels, I was late for work, but the rest was gang tags and declarations of what someone was going to do to their girlfriend. Glad my name wasn’t Kimberley.

    At lunchtime I went out to the local hardware store and bought two spray cans in black and green. My career had begun. On the way home I stopped and added a second verse. I toned down the swear words but continued in the same vein. I felt pretty good, more alive than I’d felt for years. I was hoping tomorrow I would see the third verse. Like a conversation between kindred spirits.

    I waited a few months but no joy so I started to tag lots of areas with my own rhyming couplets. The local newspaper mentioned the improving academic standards of graffiti. I was elated. I even joined an underground internet tagging group and called myself ‘Mrs Shakespeare’. I didn’t realise the local council had a task force determined to stamp out this urban art form. That’s why today I stand in front of a magistrate and plead my case. What’s the point of educating the masses if we can’t use our new found knowledge to better ourselves? A lost generation of BA (Hons) graduates.

  2. Writing on the Wall
    328 words

    “Where are you taking me?” I asked Mike as we wandered through the city streets.
    “You’ll see. It’s a surprise.” He replied.
    I rolled my eyes. “You and your surprises. The last time you surprised me I ended up in the river.”
    “I know, I know. But this is a good surprise. I promise.”
    I rested my head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arms around my waist.

    My jaw dropped as we entered our old neighborhood. It was strange. The more things changed, the more they remained the same. Kids still aimlessly roamed the streets as adults glared at them through their windows. The houses and stores remained unchanged, permanent fixtures of Anytown, USA.

    Mike took my hand and led me down the alleyway we took after school. The walls were still littered with graffiti.

    ‘You remember this place?” Mike asked.
    I giggled. “Of course. We walked down here every day.”
    “Something else happened here. Do you remember?” He said as we continued walking.
    My cheeks burned. “Our first kiss.”
    “Mhm. Remember we were standing right here. And I pulled you close to me. Like this.”
    Mike grabbed me by the waist and pulled me into him.
    “And I wrapped my arms around your neck like this.”

    Our lips met for a brief moment, before he broke away. “Do you remember what happened next?”
    I nodded. “You spray painted ‘Mike loves Lisa’ on the wall. God, it was so long ago. I doubt it’s still here.”
    “Don’t be so sure.” Mike said as he pointed to the wall. In bold letters stood the words Mike loves Lisa. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach.

    He got down on one knee. “I still love you Lisa and I always will. Will you do me the honor of loving me forever as my wife?”
    I sunk down to my knees and wrapped my arms around him. There was no need for words. The writing on the wall said it all.


  3. Image Ronin says:


    (356 words)

    Emma ripped at the ivy, revealing the arcs of colour concealed on the brickwork beneath. She regretted the deforestation, for the plant had kept their art hidden from some tagger’s inelegant scrawl. Yet time was of the essence.

    Finally, hands raw with the effort, Emma slumped down onto the grass, letting her eyes roll across the arcs and contours of the graffiti. A realm that was once vibrant had become a plateau of fading and peeling colours.

    Trains rumbled to life in the yard behind her. It had been Marcus who had found the site back then. Somewhere commuters could see, yet taggers would find hard to reach. Emma pulled out the creased artist pad from her backpack. Flicking through the yellowing pages, till she found the original design sketched all those years ago. The three of them had sat in the pub that day. Heads clouded in smoke, as they sketched, argued and collaborated. The ghostly echo of Nob’s pint glass still haunting the page.

    Now she was sat where they had once lain, admiring their work whilst the dew sprinkled grass dampened their skin. Listening to the sound of the city awakening whilst they passed a celebratory spliff back and forth. Unaware that six months later Marcus would be killed in a car crash.

    They had returned here, after the funeral, etching his name into the wall. Nob had held her, made plaintive promises of always being there, even though they both knew he was lying, that they would inevitably drift apart. Last she had heard he now called himself Nicholas. Wore a suit, did coke, traded currency in the city.

    Her phone buzzed in her pocket. A twitter update from the NHS, retweeted from the WHO. Just a hashtag, no more was needed.


    She turned off her phone, lighting up a cigarette, staring at the wall that had meant so much then, still did now. She needed to remember, to keep the colours inside of her, to not forget how they looked.

    Then it began. Emma let the tears flow down her face, as the world around her slowly faded into grey.


  4. “Outside of Childhood”
    359 Words

    “I want to come with you,” Rose said.
    “No,” her sister said. She bumped Rose’s shoulder as she passed, hard enough to make her stumble back.
    Rose heard the front door slam.

    Nikki had become someone outside of being just a sister. Nikki made choices about her hair, clothes, the places she went, who she saw, that had no origins in the context of her family. At thirteen Rose still wore clothes her mother picked out for her, ate meals that had been elementary school favorites, played with the same girls who had hosted imaginary tea parties.
    Rose hurried to follow Nikki.

    Nikki turned into a long semi-hidden pathway that Rose had always deemed dangerous. She walked down the path, staring at the scrawled words and drawings, unwilling to even brush against the wall by accident. There was something unobtainable, mysterious about the wall that would be negated by contact.

    Rose could hear laughter up ahead. She peered around a cluster of shrubbery and saw a group of kids sitting on fallen trees. Nikki was sitting on a guy’s lap. A branch snapped beneath Rose’s sneaker.
    “Hey,” someone called out at her and more faces turned to look in her direction.
    “What the hell?” Nikki asked.
    Rose was trying to think of what to say when Nikki walked over to her and shoved her.
    “Nobody wants some stupid kid here, go home,” Nikki said.
    “I just wanted…” Rose trailed off. She knew she didn’t belong here, she didn’t need Nikki to tell her that, but she was embarrassed to be chased away.
    “Hey, let her stay. You do your thing and she’ll do hers,” said a tall boy with long hair. Nikki turned and glowered at him, but he ignored her as he sauntered over to the two girls.
    “Whatever,” Nikki said and walked back to the boy she had been sitting on.
    “Hey, I’m Ryan, come on this way,” he said and held out his hand.
    Rose took it and he began to lead her past the other kids and further into the woods.
    “This is what it feels like to make a real mistake,” thought Rose.

  5. drmagoo says:

    This is where Jurgen had been killed, his bullet-ridden body left as a reminder to anyone with dreams of escaping to the West that communism might be a failure when it came to bringing food and medicine to the people of the state, but it was efficient at killing those it couldn’t feed. He’d laid there a full week before the soldiers didn’t want to put up with the stink and the flies, and because the wall was on the approved route I took to the factory each day, I was forced to witness the decay of my only son in real time.

    What would he have thought, I wondered often, of the changes which took place only months later. Every war starts with someone being killed, and there’s always some last life sacrificed to the capriciousness of fate, a death that doesn’t change anything but the last digit in history’s book of casualties. Jurgen had dreamed often of impossible things, but the future had failed him.

    I ran my fingers over the rough stone, the concrete and rebar covered with graffiti instead of blood, and thought of the walls which still stood, replacing the physical barrier with many more that lived in our minds. The world was more divided now than it had been in those grey days, the hope of a better life a chimera, staying ever out of our grasp, taunting us with impossible dreams. I didn’t know what Jurgen would have thought of the fall of the wall, but his heart would have broken watching history repeat itself.

    Mine had been broken a quarter-century ago, and no matter what I tried, there was nothing for it. I’d pretended for so long that I was living for him, living for his hope, living to realize his dreams, that there was nothing left. Nothing of him. Nothing of me. There was no faceless 20 year old holding a rifle, shouting at me to stop, but my end would come here, in the same spot as his. My hand didn’t tremble as I drew the gun from my pocket. There was no point. No regret. No future.

    358 words

  6. […] Prompt: https://theangryhourglass.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/flash-frenzy-round-10/ […]

  7. Jackson
    by Beth Deitchman
    335 words

    Jackson sprinted through the park. He got to the small path he’d discovered the day before and slowed down, his heart pounding, though his breathing remained even. As he approached the sharp bend in the path he held his breath. He paused for a moment, his hands clenched at his sides. Then Jackson crept around the corner.

    Colors leapt from the wall in front of him—electric blues, passionate reds, friendly yellows—splashed on the wall in strange designs. Jackson exhaled. He turned toward the trees bordering the wall. Yesterday the sun had streamed through those trees, illuminating everything, giving Jackson a reason to think he’d imagined the whole thing. Today, the sun hid behind a cloud. Even so, the trees and the bushes near the wall radiated a deeper, more vibrant green than anywhere else in the park. Above him he saw a patch of sky glowing down on him, its blue rich and alive. Even Jackson’s second-hand clothes looked new, their colors no longer faded.

    With a tentative hand, he reached out to touch the wall. As soon as his fingers connected with a red loop, Jackson felt something hard and cold melt inside him. He smiled.

    “Hey, kid!” someone shouted.

    Jackson whipped around.

    “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” A man only a few years older than Jackson approached the wall, pushing a cart laden with buckets. He stopped next to Jackson. “You wanna help?”

    Jackson nodded.

    “Here,” the man said, holding out a brush. “Follow me.”

    Jackson took the brush, surprised by its comforting weight.

    They walked about a quarter mile until they came to a blank patch of wall. The man unloaded buckets from the cart while Jackson stood by, shivering.

    “Pick a color,” the man said, gesturing to the buckets.

    Jackson hesitated before dipping his brush into the bucket filled with red. He started with a tentative stroke, a little dab of color. A laugh bubbled up inside him and Jackson brought his brush back to the wall.

  8. “Banksy’s Final Testament”
    359 Words

    On the short flight between London and Kiev he found himself sandwiched between what he imagined to be a mistress of some Ukrainian plutocrat and an innocuous businessman. The later displayed the irritating habit of clearing his throat every few minutes.

    Phillip cursed himself for not packing his tablet. An hour into the flight, the thick phlegm sound had taken on a rhythmic quality, a pulsating sound he could almost tune out completely. Optimistically, he believed that his own thoughts would keep him preoccupied on this short flight. Instead, any semblance of coherent train of thought derailed by the white noise machine to his right and the heavy scent of cheap perfume to his left.

    The plane had hit heavy turbulence and dropped what felt like a few hundred feet in a matter of heartbeats. He reached for reading material in the pocket under his tray; groped for any distraction. Though he had a macabre fascination with the juxtaposition of irrationally calm cartoon passengers amidst the wreckage of their aircraft, dwelling on this would push him deeper into panic.

    He opted instead for the in-flight magazine published by the airline. He found himself taken aback to come upon his own work in an article titled “Things to See in New Orleans.” His alter ego, Banksy, had completed the “Girl with the Umbrella” on the side of a closed down shop in Katrina’s wake.

    He considered himself to be an artist. He felt burdened, dragged down by the prefix, graffiti, added as a description to his craft. He discovered a kinship with the artists the article berated; artists who had thrown red paint upon and tagged the “Girl”. He no longer made a distinction between his graffiti and that of supposed gang members. The only difference was that his message captured the public’s imagination, for indiscernible, seemingly random reasons.

    He shook his head as he placed the magazine back into the sleeve. An innocuous building in Kiev; a city ripped asunder by revolution, chaos, would be the canvas for his final statement. Banksy, though invisible to the world, had all but consumed him. Banksy would disappear quietly; only Phillip would remain.

  9. Nature’s Revenge

    She glanced casually at me with a sly grin. “Do you like nature?” she asked.

    I swivelled the barstool to get a better look. She wasn’t exactly gorgeous, but there was something about her that was enticing. Or maybe I was just thrilled that someone noticed I was even alive.

    “Sure,” I said. “Couldn’t live without it.” My voice cracked on the last word. Not cool at all like I planned.

    “Wanna go for a hike, then?”

    I still couldn’t tell if she was just yanking my chain. Her eyes smiled but there was a dangerous sparkle there too.

    “You mean right now?” I squeaked. Damn it!

    “Yup. One for the road first though. My treat.” She motioned the bartender and two shooters appeared. Then she waved her hands quickly over the drinks. “Now they’ve got my blessing,” she said.

    “What do you mean? Are you religious or something?”

    “You’ll see,” she replied. “Cheers!” She tossed back the drink and I did the same.

    “C’mon killer,” she said, and sauntered towards the exit. I watched, mesmerized and decided. Maybe it was time to get back into the game.

    “Over here,” she called from the street. I walked over, and she casually linked her arm though mine as we walked.

    “You don’t remember me, do you?”

    I tried to focus, but suddenly felt a bit shaky. She sounded familiar. I started to feel dizzy, and staggered.

    “We were just kids. Think hard, little Petey.”

    My eyes widened. “Gina?—from next door?”

    “Good boy! Remember when you and the others pulled down Gina’s pants.”

    Her voice trailed off as I felt my legs buckle. Everything was spinning. “You—you drugged me…”

    I woke up in the shade of a tree near the very spot where Gina’s humiliation occurred some thirty years ago. Graffiti now covered the fence and the bushes were overgrown to the point where they formed an arch over the path. As I pulled my pants up, I looked around and thanked God it was still very early in the morning, before the joggers and other nature-lovers took to the streets.

    I never saw Gina again.

  10. Sorry, my previous post should have included the word count – 357.
    – Preston Randall

  11. and my twitter feed – @prestonrandall

  12. Tag

    We hid in the underpass, listening to the cars rumblethump above us. The fact that they could leave told me I’d guessed right, but Sally still hadn’t twigged.

    “Jay? What was it?”

    Her face was a mess, smeared with all that black makeup she wears to try and look like the big eyed Tezuka cartoons she paints, but for some reason I noticed how pretty she was, for the first time in ever. She even had a perfect Betty Boop beauty spot. It hadn’t been there before though, and I realised that it had to be a little bit of Rodge. Maybe all that was left of him. I reached up to my own face and found it wet with more than tears. I laughed, staring at my crimson fingertips, scaring myself.

    Sally started sobbing and I tried to pull it together, telling myself that it was for her sake.

    “I think it was the paint Sal. It just… took him.”

    “But how? I just, I don’t…”

    She trailed off, turning in on herself once more, and I left her to it, examining the walls instead.

    It’s just a game. My tag’s better than yours. Some people call it art, but only in big cities. The best you get round here is two colours on one tag. Even Sally keeps her manga babes to her sketchbook, and she thinks she’s something special with her paint pens from Amazon.

    But this new stuff… It looks like a tag, but it moves. It writhes. It’s just white paint, until you look away. Then it throws colours on the far walls, like firelight. At first we wondered who did it and what it meant. We figured it was territorial, a gang claiming their turf.

    We were nearly right.

    Then Rodge tried to paint over one.

    I looked up at the ceiling, where the first tag had begun to crawl around the lip of the concrete. There was a dull thud as something above us hit it, then a long scream of grinding metal.

    That was it then. The town was cut off. All we could do was run and hide.


    You’re it.

    360 words


  13. Kristen says:

    “Last Tag”
    Kristen Falso-Capaldi
    360 words

    Ronnie heard laughter.

    They carried brushes and cans of paint.

    “So, anyway,” the little blonde girl was saying. “Me and Dylan, we need to sort some shit out.”

    “Oh Tammy,” a taller girl with wavy brown hair, said. “You’ve got to let go of this Dylan-thing.”

    “I am not listening to chick-talk all day,” one of the boys said.

    “Me either,” another said. “Let’s just get this done.”

    “We probably shouldn’t have left our community service till two weeks before graduation, huh?” The blonde one snorted.

    “Whatever. It’s a dumb requirement. What’s it supposed to teach us?”

    “Not to paint stupid-ass crap all over walls?”

    “We don’t do that. What kind of idiot does this shit?”

    “Somebody with too much time to kill, man.”

    They glanced at the wall.

    Ronnie had been in the alley since August. Jake and the quiet one were already here when he showed up.

    But Ronnie hadn’t died here. He’d tagged the wall, then headed home. So the flowers and the crosses were on the corner of Eaton and River, in the spot where he died. And here, where he’d lived, some kids were rambling on about proms and college dorms and a kid named Dylan.

    The paint was like the summer sky. It dripped down the wall onto their sneakers.

    Jake was first. His eyes were wide. Ronnie watched the blonde girl’s slender wrist as it flicked up and down as paint zig-zagged over Jake’s work. When Ronnie looked back, Jake flickered, then disappeared.

    The quiet one was next. He vanished with unflinching eyes.

    All day, they inched closer to Ronnie’s tag. It wasn’t his best. He was supposed to be watching his little sister that night. She was alone. She was waiting.

    They painted and talked their way down the wall, till they were five feet from his tag.

    “Where–?” Ronnie whispered. He clenched his fists and prepared himself for the answer.

    “Fuck,” one of the boys said. “We’re out of paint. Can you believe this?”

    Ronnie stood, trembling and alone, as the four kids picked up their brushes and cans and headed down the alley, away from him.

  14. ladyhazmat says:

    And that’s a wrap! Thanks all for sharing your time and your stories with The Angry Hourglass. Stay tuned for winners.

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