Flash Frenzy: Round 11

Posted: March 15, 2014 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , , , ,

Welcome to Round 11!

David Shakes returns this week as our judge.

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 The Shakes

Photo by The Shakes

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  1. Stone

    They had always fascinated Jenna with their wizened expressions, gaping jaws and stone moulded grotesque. She wondered what the hunky punks and chimera would tell her, if able to speak. What they had seen over the days, years, centuries. She always looked upwards to them, passing, to and from work. Sure there were more to be found in hidden nooks and crannies, secretly safe from prying eyes and the bustle of human society, working their weird form of apotropaism. The world of rictualism around the corner; just out of sight.

    Jenna tried to count them, once, twice; many times. Found herself losing count, having to start over, distracted by their short, squatting haunches. She told herself it didn’t matter; she would try again, another time; it was her own fault for searching at dusk, a time between times. So she said the first time – and the second. The third. By the fourth, when she failed to reach her count, she had started to think differently; to see a knowing slant in the smiles carved into the rock, their open maws.

    Stubborn ever, Jenna renewed her energies; searched anew. Discovered a different problem. Her twilight wandering seemed to bring her into contact with new carvings; ones she had not seen before. She thought not, anyway. She had tried to tread new paths, mark routes on maps, including the location of each figure, though when she came to seek the papers, they were not where she thought she had left them. At least, they didn’t seem to be. She had looked all over. That made it difficult to remember precisely where they were, how they had been positioned. Still, she was almost positive she would have remembered the simian acrobat, perched atop the streetlight, arrows in hand, pointing eastwards. Jenna shivered, glad the arrows weren’t pointing in her direction. Time to call it a night; for one evening, at least. There was always tomorrow.

    The following evening brought Jenna up short, before she set off en route. Face to face with granite gazes over her house lintel, just beyond the doorstep. She had thought to find them. Now they had found her.

    360 words
    @FallIntoFiction

  2. The Monkey King
    by Beth Deitchman
    @beth_deitchman

    The Monkey King scrambled to the top of the Capitol building. Around him the sky burned orange, reflecting the flames raging through the City. Beneath him, his Monkey Army chattered and screamed as they raced through the streets, finishing the massacre of the Men and their Women and their Children. The Monkey King sighed a contented sigh.

    He’d begun this day as he had so many before, caged in the Monkey House, glaring at the Men who’d brought their Women and Children to gawk at the animals locked behind bars. Day after day the People came to the Zoo, mocking the monkeys, trembling at the tigers, and purring at the pandas. Every day the Monkey King’s anger grew, fueled by his longing for his homeland. So every night he enchanted his fellows with tales of a place where they could roam free, fanning the flames of their discontent.

    Then tonight at dusk the closing bell had rung, and the Men had herded their Women and Children from the Zoo. A tired zookeeper, anxious to return to his sick wife, forgot to the lock the Monkey cage after feeding time. The Monkey King watched, with mounting glee, as the zookeeper hurried away. Then he worked his fingers through the wide bars and pulled at the latch. The door swung open with a creak. The Monkey King screeched in triumph and bolted out of the cage, his Fellows streaming behind him.

    Onward the Monkey Army charged, their frenzied fever growing until they came to the City. They coursed through the streets, tearing and biting and killing. With the first wave of slaughter, the Monkeys felt their power surge, their hunger explode. The Men tried to fight back, but they fell one after the other under the press of the Monkeys’ fury. The carnage continued through the night, and when the first rays of the sun began to peep over the horizon, the Monkey King scaled to his perch. He sat, his tail swishing side to side, as he gazed in triumph over his new Monkey Realm.

    344 words

  3. The Weight
    (360 words)
    @stellakateT

    The monkey had always sat on my left shoulder. Sometimes it was felt light and I forgot about it and other times it was like a huge burden weighing me down like a black dog. Today was different. No soft fur running through my fingers. No soft chattering in my ear. No grooming of my hair looking for lice. Not that I’ve ever had lice but it was pretty comforting to know if I did it would be nipped in the bud. I’d always been proud of my tumbling auburn hair with its corkscrew curls. The monkey had the same colouring and blended in well. That’s why no one else noticed it entwined around my neck. Even when I went to bed with Leon he didn’t seem to observe it sitting on the end of the bed watching us with its beady little eyes. It would look at me and sometimes bare its teeth in a grimace. I was never sure whether it was a smile or an expression of contempt.

    Last night Leon had taken me to a posh restaurant, got down on one knee and proposed to me. The whole place had erupted in applause when I said yes. I thought I was going to burst with happiness. Maybe that’s why the monkey had left me. I felt bereft. I drew the curtains back, letting the early morning sunlight fill the room. Across the road the monkey, my monkey was dancing on the top of a lamp post holding a broken arrow, reminding me of Eros. I tapped the window trying to get its attention. Pointing a long finger at me, it continued its wild dance. I turned back into the room. Leon lay sprawled on the bed, red stains seeping on the Egyptian fine cotton sheets. Stab wounds all over his body. I went to scream but felt a little hand covering my mouth. Its touch soothed me, the nausea subsiding. Cleansed by the power shower, I dressed in my green taffeta dress that Leon said matched my eyes. Packed my belongings and called a cab. It was good to feel the weight back on my shoulder.

  4. Disturbance At The Monkey House

    Marlon found the fuse box just inside the Monkey House doors and silenced the alarms, but it wasn’t just the sudden absence of sirens which made the hairs rise on his neck.

    “They’re not screaming.”

    He checked the safety on his rifle and lead his crew to the doors of the Quarantine Zone. The labs beyond were unusually quiet. Marlon shone his torch through the toughened glass, sweeping the beam across ruined equipment and twisted metal cages. Doctor Moss lay spread-eagled on the dissection table, his chest a ruined pincushion of surgical steel.

    “They’re out!”

    He reached for his radio, turning towards the door, but a shape burst from the shadows with a shriek and hammered into his side, sending him sprawling. The torch rolled away, spinning wildly, flashing on terrified boy soldiers and diseased, wild eyed beasts. Howls and shots erupted around Marlon as he crawled away, trying to keep his bearings. He hit a wall, then found the stairwell and ran for it. His foot slipped in something wet and he almost fell, but fear moved him on to the top. He turned back as someone else reached the landing and he fired blind, screaming. He prayed that it wasn’t one of his own, but he didn’t bother to check once the figure was hurled back down the stairs.

    Thumbing the radio, he began to gabble, words spilling out as panic overrode his meagre training, shouting over the shots and screams.

    “Boss! It’s Marlon! The Monkey House is chaos! They’ve killed everyone!”

    Then a slender arm snaked from the darkness behind him and snatched the radio. He tried to swing his rifle round, to defend himself, but a kick to the chest sent him crashing against the bannister.

    Crouching over him, her back bent from years in the cage, the naked woman gave a wail of victory and plunged her scalpel into his face, again and again. In the hallway, her fellow captives took up the cry, tasting freedom for the first time since the outbreak.

    Lost in her memories, tears welling in her eyes, the woman stroked Marlon’s uniform.

    But all she took was his gun.

    360 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

  5. The Journey Home
    358 Words
    @RASmith2014

    The mask of his pressure suit fogged up slightly, as he exhaled deeply. Through the thin morning mist of this alien world, he barely discerned the weather vane that sat atop the outpost. The tenuous atmosphere gave everything a red tint, as if the world was covered in blood. He looked at the white gloves that covered his hands, covered in blood.

    The genetically modified trees slowly converted the methane laced atmosphere into something capable of sustaining a human population someday; or so they had been told. He knew nothing of the science. He had been one of fifty ‘criminals’ transported to this wasteland. Stranded here under the guise that the equipment and processes for a sustained human presence needed to be tested by someone. Who better than the enemies of the state? The only crime they had been guilty was having the courage to stand up for what they believed. No, he believed there was a more sinister motivation; revenge.

    “I have led them into Hell,” he said to himself. He had shouldered the blame, though there had been enough to go around.

    “What was that Eddie? I couldn’t make out what you said” asked a voice on his radio.

    “Nothing, I’ll be back inside soon,” he answered dismissively.

    “We’ll be here waiting.” Of course they would. Where else would they go? No escape.

    He looked back up at the weather vane, the one remnant of familiarity from the past. He often came out and just stared out it vacantly. He regretted the part he had played, the sequence of events which led them all to this place of total desolation he found both around him. The desolation had grown inside him.

    He raised his hands over his head to stretch out a tightness he felt in his shoulders. The suit made this impossible. He left his arms in the raised position, considering the claustrophobia he felt in this suit, in the outpost, in his own head. He put his hands to the release clasp on either side of the helmet that kept the poison at bay. Today would end differently. It was time to go home.

  6. Jacki Donnellan says:

    Vermillion

    It’s about mid-morning when I first notice my desk turning purple.

    At first it’s just a mauve-ish tint in the wood, but by eleven o’clock the whole thing is a shocking shade of violet.

    I feel a tingling in my fingers, and the back of my neck prickles with sweat. I realize what’s happened. I need to get home.

    I stand up and begin to pull on my jacket. My boss appears at my office door.

    “Going somewhere, Phil?” he says. He’s smiling. He sees nothing wrong.

    “I-I gotta go,” I say, pushing past him and walking as quickly as I dare through the building, and out onto the street.

    I look around me and begin walking. Quickly. I’ve got to get home. I try to fix my gaze ahead of me, but in my peripheral vision I can see the trees that line the road beginning to burn in lilac and white.

    I increase my speed, and the ground begins to explode into crimson and black swirls every time my feet hit the pavement.

    By the time I reach my street the sky has turned to watery blood. Blue demons with monkeys’ tails leap and curl around the lampposts, and black snakes ooze like oil from the drains. I’m gasping for breath by the time I burst through my front door, shutting it desperately behind me and sinking to the floor, my head spinning.

    “Phil!”

    I look up. I can see a woman’s hand in front of me, holding a small bottle.

    “You forgot to take these this morning, didn’t you, love?”

    A woman’s hand…

    “Take one now, Phil, quickly. Before it’s too late.”

    …stretching its raw, pink sinews around a small, sinister bottle…

    I begin to smile.

    “Phil?”

    Because it’s okay.

    “Phil, it’s me!”

    I’m safe now. I’m finally safe.

    “Phil, love-”

    I lunge. The bottle falls and spews yellow spots across the floor. With one blazing swipe the pale creature in front of me becomes a pathetic, grey smear.

    I stand and draw myself up to my full, magnificent height. I am a psychedelic howl. I am a vermillion roar.

    I am invincible.

    @Donnellanjacki
    356 words

  7. “Go To Sleep”

    “Can I have one more story?”
    “No, go to sleep,” Paul said.
    “Can I have a glass of water?”
    Paul had no idea how Erin dealt this every night. Getting Dylan to bed had already been an hour investment. Erin had to be away overnight because her sister had just been through a bad breakup. It sounded like a lot of bull to Paul. Erin’s sister is an idiot and he gets stuck on mommy-duty.
    “I don’t think mom lets you have a glass of water, so I’m going to say no. Now, goodnight,” Paul said.
    “She does though. She does let me have water,” Dylan replied, wiggling his little body around his bed, the grippy feet of his onesie pajamas making a fussy plastic whisper against his sheets.
    Paul gripped his hands into fists. He had been walking to the door, ready to turn out the light and put an end to this insufferable litany, but he paused and turned around.
    “You know what buddy, if you don’t sleep when you’re supposed to there’s a special monster that comes to get you.”
    Dylan’s eyes widened and he pushed himself farther back into his pillows.
    “What’s it look like?” He whispered to his dad.
    “It’s like a really big monkey, so he can jump from roof to roof to look in kids’ windows. But he has extra sharp claws. And if he sees you’re still awake he climbs through the window and steals you.”
    Paul saw that Dylan’s mouth curled down and his eyes shone with the beginnings of tears.
    “The monkey-monster won’t get you though if you go to sleep,” Paul said, emphasizing the last three words, drawing them out.
    “Goodnight,” he said, and stalked out of the room, flipping the light off behind him before Dylan could say anything else.

    Paul finally climbed into his own bed. He sighed and contemplated the inconvenience of parenthood. Above him he heard a thud. Paul held his breath as he heard loud scratching moving across the top of the house. Suddenly a dark simian face appeared in his window, deep red eyes meeting Paul’s still wide awake ones.

    359 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  8. ladyhazmat says:

    Thanks to everybody who submitted stories this week. The prompt was a bit of a doozy, but as always, you delivered. Winners will be posted later this week. Thanks for participating!

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