Flash Frenzy: Round 15

Posted: April 12, 2014 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , , , ,

Welcome to Round 15!

Your judge this week is Flash Frenzy Round 9 Winner, TinMan.

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 Ashwin Rao

Photo by Ashwin Rao

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Comments
  1. David Shakes says:

    “Routine.”

    David Shakes
    @theshakes72

    359 words

    The boy has simply vanished.
    I stare up at the place he should be. The sinking feeling in my stomach tells me what my brain is yet to fully process: this is really wrong.
    My gaze is fixed on the pull-up grips. He should be here. Why isn’t he?
    We have a routine, see? I like routine.
    I’ll wake up in the kitchen, teased by the smell of coffee and bacon. The boy will pass me salty slivers under the table. He doesn’t think Mother notices, but she does. I’ll catch her grinning at Father who will subtly shake his head but smile all the same.
    After breakfast they’ll slip on my lead and it’s a brisk walk to down the street, punctuated by brief halts to mark territory and signpost our route. Rusting gates and discoloured walls are testament to our many passings.
    Then it’s the park – race around the field and chase the boy to the playground.
    Did I chase him today?
    What should be happening now is the boy swings back and forth on creaking chains whilst I jump and nip at his heals. How he laughs!
    Where is he?
    I check the bench where the parents drink coffee. They’re sat there, which calms me slightly. They have their flask and tendrils of steam rise from their cups. Breath fogs in the crisp air. They don’t speak.
    Mother is crying. Her tears are heavy. There’s snot running from her reddened nose. Father has his arm around her but he’s staring at the sky. His mind is elsewhere I think. His eyes are bagged and tired.
    I don’t like this.
    I have a memory.
    A time before this time the routine was disrupted. I’d chased the boy as normal but he’d lost his grip before I got to the chains. It wasn’t a big fall but the thud had been so loud. I’d nudged him to play but he didn’t want to. He didn’t move at all.
    And now I think, he didn’t come with us today.
    But if I just sit and wait he might come.

    That’s what I’ll do. I’m going to wait right here.

  2. “Headline News”
    357 Words
    @CaseyCaseRose

    Fairytale Terror Leaves Families Distraught

    Syracuse, NY (CNN)- While once thought to be nothing more than a story for children, Peter Pan has proven to be quite a bit more than fiction.
    The diminutive figure, clad in all green, has been seen airborne in and around various metropolitan areas. Studies have been done of the limited amateur photos available and experts have been unable to agree as to wether this “Peter Pan” is indeed a forever-child, or an adult with even more malicious intent.

    So far there is no definitive proof as to where these children are being taken. While parents have, of course, had only the worst expectations, one literary expert offered,”Our studies would indicate that the best option for retrieving the children is to attend to the second star on the right and then proceed straight on until morning.”

    Whether or not there is a “Neverland” where the children are currently living out great adventures, the real drama unfolds in the great number of those who have been left behind.
    Parents are forming support groups and devising their own methods of tracking down Peter Pan as many government enforcement agencies have demonstrated themselves to be ill-equipped to handle the situation.
    Siblings of the children who have been taken have responded in distinct ways, either lamenting the loss of the their sibling or crying in disappointment that they were not included on what they continue to perceive as a potential great adventure.
    Household pets also feel the loss. Mr. McDonald of Cicero, NY captured a moment straight out of the movies. Just like “Nana” from Disney’s “Peter Pan”, who was left in the lurch as her children took off into the sky, Booker the dog was seen to look equally distraught when the child to whom he belonged made off into the ether.
    “By the time the parents and other kids really noticed what happened, they were all pointing at the sky and crying to each other. But then there was Booker, just looking for his boy,” said Mr. McDonald.

    Is there an end in sight for this reign of terror?

  3. Sal Page says:

    Mitzi’s Dumps

    I had to walk Mitzi once both their legs were bad. I hated picking up her dumps. It looked as if I was carrying around a little chocolate cake for later. Embarrassing. And she made my eczema worse. I tried to hide the scratching from Mum, putting the cream on at night with the door locked so Mitzi wouldn’t climb onto my bed. Smelly old thing. She would look at me, with those watery eyes, like she was trying to read my thoughts. She had no chance. She was right daft the way she stared into the air above her head, as if she were seeing dancing fairies or flying monkeys. Perhaps she’s still doing that. It certainly appears as if she is.

    I’m glad she’s dead and stuffed now. I only bring her out here to the playground once a week. To give her ‘an airing’, as Mum insists on calling it. She won’t get the same treatment when her time comes, the yampy old bat.

    169 words

    @SalnPage

  4. My Boy
    339 words

    As soon as my human let me off the leash, I dashed across the park to find my boy. He had to be playing hide and seek somewhere. The park was so big. He could be anywhere.

    I dashed behind every tree. I poked my nose in every bush. There were kids on the swings, but none of them were my boy. The slide was slippery, but I tried to dash up in anyway. As I rested under the jungle gym, I examined the children. None of them were my boy. As a last resort, I trotted over the pull up bars. He loved to play there. No sign of him.

    Maybe he wasn’t here. Maybe I was too early. Or maybe he was really serious about this game of hide and seek. When he tired of it, he would come. He would find me here and give me belly rubs. I loved when he gave me belly rubs.

    I remembered the last time we played here. Me and my boy were playing ball in the field. A man came up to my boy as he threw the ball. Like a good boy, I went to fetch it. I saw the man grab my boy. He didn’t want to go with him. I ran up and bit the man a few times, but he hit me with a hard object. Despite the pain, I followed but it was too late. He stuffed my boy in a van and drove off. I followed the van as far as I could, but I collapsed in the middle of the street. That’s where my current human found me.

    “Come on, boy!” My new human shouted.
    I whimpered. I wanted to wait for my boy, but I was a good boy and good boys always listened to their master. I scampered over to my new human. He gave me belly rubs and a treat.

    “We’ll come back tomorrow. I promise.” My new human said.
    Good. Good. Maybe tomorrow I will find my boy.

    @triffic_tinika

  5. Pied Piper

    I’d never liked kids, that’s why I had this scruffy dog. It seems to draw them like magnets. They’d ask its name and I’d say whatever came into my mind, Rover, Eric, Spot, Scruff. I’d lead them out of the playground like a modern Pied Piper. They’d skip after the dog smiling and happy but not for long. When they realised there was no chocolate and drinks full of sugar. No visits to McDonalds and Pizza Hut. No hanging from monkey bars, no swings nor roundabouts. No sliding down the twisty slide at a hundred miles an hour.

    I’d sit them in front of the television watching old re-runs of Crackerjack. They never told me it was boring but then it’s hard to say when you’ve got a gag in your mouth. Trust me Crackerjack was always boring especially that game when if you got a question wrong you had to hold a cabbage.

    My mission is to eradicate all children but it’s a thankless task. The fuss people make about missing children, I never hurt them. But life is so much nicer without them, quiet, organised and so restful.

    If you look into the night sky you might see my children, they never smile though. It’s no fun being shot into space to drift for all eternity without your mummy and daddy.

    223 words
    @stellakateT

  6. Image Ronin says:

    The Acolyte

    It had seemed the perfect plan on paper. Escaping the cult’s compound was going to be a walk in the park. Quite literally, for Harry’s plan was to cut through the park, climb the fence, retrieve his hidden backpack and clothes, liberate a kayak and float to freedom.

    Yet he had overlooked one thing.

    Harry had always been something of a loner, content to tinker with his inventions in Mother’s basement. Rarely venturing out aside for some instant noodles or supplies. Then he got chatting with a charismatic chap offering literature to passersby. Two days later, and slightly unsure how, Harry found himself packing his belongings into the cult’s rusted SUV and travelling three states over to their woodland compound.

    Initially things were acceptable. Harry had a little workshop; plenty of instant noodles and aside from the ritual chanting and collective sex sessions was left to tinker with his ideas in peace. Then a month later the Leader arrived, some Frenchman who derided Harry and his peers for lacking the adoration their deity deserved. Before long the chanting increased in duration, books were banned, and the sex sessions seemed to involve more penetration than Harry felt comfortable with.

    The final straw for Harry was discovering the Leader’s plan to open a portal directly into hell.

    Thankfully his latest invention was perfectly suited to escaping. So one morning Harry simply strolled out of the compound’s building as naked as the day he was born. The invisibility gel coating his skin allowing him to slip past those people he had called friend, or at least tolerated penetrating him.

    He was halfway to the boatyard fence when he spotted Cerberus ambling towards him. A sorrowfully asthmatic mutt, yet the cynophobia that had plagued Harry since birth didn’t differentiate. As usual with all things canine shaped panic took over.

    When Harry came too he discovered he was swinging gently from a climbing frame. Shoulders aching, Harry looked at Cerberus’s drooling maw lurking beneath in anticipation of nibbling sensitive bits.

    He just needed to wait; as long as it didn’t rain he would be fine.

    A distant rumble of thunder broke the silence.

    (358 words)

    @imageronin

  7. Dog Eat Dog

    The streets are silent as his paws trot, searching for amblers to befriend. He is lonely again. Wants to play. He makes friends easily, given half a chance – a brief grin and deal done, if he’s lucky. Though there are fewer bodies out and about than there used to be. The parks and open spaces are empty, unoccupied, in the fading light. Sign of the times. Dinner time now, which might explain things. His jaws are salivating with the thought, lolling tongue dripping. Fresh meat! He is hungry too; needs a friend to help him out, for the night. Tomorrow he can try someone else. That’s the deal. How it works. His routine is practised now, having run it through once or twice. Maybe a couple more times than that, truth to tell.

    He does it when he needs to. If he needs to. He needs to a lot. The only way to keep from stringy and starving. He looks for the young ‘uns. That’s what he needs. The younger the better. The older ones are hard – made so by their experiences; times passing. Brittle. Unyielding. No good to him or for him. He knows that. Those he steers clear of. They mostly ignore him, anyway, non-receptive to his gambolling and grimaces. Sometimes they group together; something he skirts warily. Outnumbered means captured. He likes giving them the run around. Has no desire to give it up. Not now. Not ever. Stay several steps ahead, that’s the plan!

    He looks for slow shufflers; those he can catch up to. The guaranteed meal. They are the ones he can use his grin on. Sticks to known pathways; clear entrances and exits. Avoids the back alleys and housing; it smells strange there. Off.

    It is hard to track how long has passed since the beginning. The thing which brought them down. The people; his previous owners. They lay everywhere, for a while. Didn’t want to play; before they rose. No desire to then, either. None, save to feed. Two can play at that though. They taste good enough, the young ‘uns. At least, he’s suffered no ill effects he knows of yet.

    (360 words)

    @FallIntoFiction

  8. “Born To…”
    by Jaime Burchardt
    @jaimeburchardt

    Quietly and almost impatiently, he looked at his daily workout routine. Well, it should be his daily workout routine, at least.

    He stared at the metal feats of strength that hung before him and felt determined. All these positive feelings came just in time, thanks to the humans. He loved his new group of human meat sack friends, especially the boy, but he hardly had time to train. Hardly any time to do what he was sent on this planet to do. Sitting there, contemplating, a rush of thoughts couldn’t help but plunge their way into his head.

    He remembers his father sending him away, pleading with the council that he was the best choice to save this planet known as Earth. His ability to blend in, to look ‘cute’ as the word was used, would be beneficial while subtly fighting crime at night. The scrawny chiwawas wanted to be chosen, as the did the pug race, but neither had his skills. And also he knew when to shut up. God they were loud.

    He counted on being a hero. What he didn’t count on his ship crashing landing in the wrong quadrant, and being stranded. And hungry. God he was hungry. And the moment he smelled something remotely delicious, he was snatched up in a net, and put into a cage. This feeling of desperation was new to him back then.

    Truly dark times. But he was saved by the first group of humans he didn’t want to pummel to the ground! And he was fed, and clothed by this weird circle around his neck. He lost track of time, but he was there long enough. It was time to train, time to grow and be strong and save the world.

    ….Right after he ate some of those “bacon strips.” A quick snack and he’ll go back to working out. It’s not like his human friends were going to make him fat on purpose.

  9. Full 360 and a Twist

    I hated that dog.

    It wasn’t just that it lived in the gym, invaded the shower block and farted through every practise session. No, what really made my head spin was the way Chuck went gaga over every little thing it ever did.

    Imagine it. For ten years, four to fourteen, I was the star of Chuck’s gymnastic squad. I trained four hours every day – six on weekends – and whether it was the bars, the floor, the rings or the horse, I ruled them all. And in all that time, I never got a single word of praise from him.

    But if that flatulent, perverted pooch even raised a paw? “Oh, who’s a cwever boy den? Who’s my special doggy woggy?”

    Barf!

    Then came the state championships. I got a perfect ten on the rings, brought home the biggest trophy of my career, and did Chuckie say one word about it? No way; he was too busy taking the mutt walkies. I know that for a fact, because when I held my hand out for a five, for one single sign of pride in his best student, he filled it with a still warm baggie and asked me to toss it.

    Oh, I tossed it alright.

    The dog took off like a rocket, and I went after it, through the lockers, across the mats where the under tens were still twirling, then out, into the blinding sunlight.

    Into traffic.

    I did a full 360, pinwheeling across the hood of a taxi. I saw the dog sail happily through the windscreen, and I understood that I was never really mad at it, poor stupid thing.

    And then I landed.

    Perfect dismount.

    So here I am, sitting in the park, looking at the rings and wishing I could reach them, even though there’s no way I could ever hold on with paws. My gym days are long gone. Loooong gone; You don’t fully understand the concept of dog years until you’re counting your own life in them.

    But that’s how it goes. I took my shot, the judges held up their scores and here I sit.

    Till the next round.

    360 words

    @Karl_A_Russell

  10. Arch Nemeses
    by Beth Deitchman
    @beth_deitchman
    358 words

    Bruno raced down the hill after the ball, skidding to a stop as it bounced off the soft grass. He caught it in his mouth then with little legs churning, returned to his humans for his reward.

    “Good boy!” said the lady one. “Now drop it.”

    Bruno let the ball fall at her feet and took the treat from her fingers.

    Again the lady one threw the ball. Again Bruno started after it. But something else caught his attention. A movement accompanied by a familiar smell. Bruno paused, ignoring the ball, and looked around. Then he saw it on the lawn in front of him. THE SQUIRREL.

    Their eyes met briefly before the squirrel fled. Bruno gave an excited yelp and sprang forward, pumping his legs in the ecstasy of the chase. Behind him the lady one shouted something, but Bruno didn’t listen. He had to follow that streaming fluffy tail across the park, around the huge tree laden with scents, and down the far path. Bruno ran faster, that tail growing ever closer. But the squirrel darted just out of his reach and scampered up the strange tree where the small humans often played. Bruno stopped under the strange tree and looked up, tongue lolling from his mouth. He could smell the sticky sweetness of tiny human hands on the tree’s cold branches. Above him the squirrel perched, taunting him in chirps and squeaks. Bruno squatted on his haunches and growled, his jowls quivering in indignation. The squirrel inched toward the edge of the strange tree then jumped, landing a few feet from Bruno. It dashed up the hill into the ivy, Bruno right behind. Then the squirrel shot up another tree and disappeared. Tail wagging furiously, Bruno hopped onto his hind legs and circled the tree. Above him the squirrel tucked itself against the trunk, flicking its tail.

    Suddenly Bruno felt himself lifted off the ground. The man one had caught him, scooped him up, and was carrying him away from his nemesis. Bruno wiggled in the strong arms but they held him fast.

    “Bruno,” said the man one. “You’re never going to catch that squirrel.”

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