Flash Frenzy Round 16

Posted: April 19, 2014 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Good morning, sorry for the late post. I spent a romantic evening with my husband in the ED last night and slept thru my alarm this morning.  So…

Welcome to Round 16!

This weekend we’re going to try something a little different. Your judge this week is YOU! Once all the stories have been posted (I’ll let it run a little late on Sunday to make up for the holiday and the late prompt)  I will post a poll for readers to vote for their favorite story.

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 courtesy Ashwin Rao

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

  1. The Breakup
    328 words

    She had thought long and hard about the breakup, especially where the break up should happen.
    She had known for weeks, months, if she were to be honest with herself, that things just weren’t working out the way they should.
    There was plenty that had been great about the relationship- late nights full of uniquely perfect drinks and intense conversations, sweet, green, sunny days in Central Park, bakeries and restaurants of every shape and size explored and enjoyed. It had been an adventure.

    But then sometimes the idyllic parts gave way to moments of abuse. There were limits to the places she could at certain times, she was forced to spend time with people who threatened her, she found her money was steadily draining away.
    She felt so glamorous in this relationship, a hot little tidbit to drop into conversation. She liked being able to brag about the good parts but at some point the weight of the bad parts tipped the scales too far in the other direction.

    She waited for a long and clammy hour, winding her way through the roped-off lines of people to finally be able to ride the elevator to the top of the building.
    She stepped out of the elevator, walked through the gift shop, and out into the air of the observation deck of The Empire State Building.

    She had chosen this place because she wanted to be feel like she was on equal footing.
    She looked out through the bars to all the buildings, traffic, and swarms of people below.

    “I’m breaking up with you. It’s been beautiful, you’re beautiful, but I have needs that just aren’t being met. I can’t say that it’s me, not you, because we’re both at fault. I had expectations that were too high, and you insist on ruining all of my umbrellas, not mention the incident with the pigeon.”
    She paused, readied herself to leave and said, “I’m sorry, New York. It’s over.”

  2. -limit to the places she could *visit at certain times.
    Mid-family events typo, my apologies!

  3. Sal Page says:

    Bloody Palms of Skin

    Don’t know why she’s done it, stupid girl. Just bring something to dissolve the stuff. The Queen and Prince Phillip will be here in ten minutes. Ten minutes and I’ve still got my anorak on. Yeah, some sort of protest I suppose. She’s not saying a word. Just google it. We can hardly pull her off the railings leaving bloody palms of skin behind for Her-Madge and Phil to admire as they go by, can we? Oh, its definitely superglue. Nine minutes. We’ve got nine minutes. No, she’s just sort of humming to herself. She seems very agitated. She’s crazy. Engage her in conversation? If I must.

    111 words

  4. Image Ronin says:

    The Offering

    ‘You reap what you sow.’



    Archie looked out beyond the wire fence of the viewing platform to the dead city that surrounded them. The icy chill of the polar vortex, that had once been dismissed as an anomaly but now was ever-present, made being outside almost unbearable. The icy wind biting deep through the blankets they had wrapped around themselves. Dawn was rising, cloaking the icy cityscape in an illusion of warmth.

    As if birds disturbed from their roosting by daybreak, the song of the choir filled the world. It wouldn’t be long now. Archie leaned over, looking down at the two steel crosses set into the centre of Wall Street far below. Someone was moving to and fro, adding more wood to the pyre.

    ‘You hear them?’ Annabel said.

    Archie nodded, taking her hand in his. His finger tracing the red dollar tattooed on her cheek, matching the one etched onto his. The Mark of Judas the Preacher had told them, as resolute hands held them down, allowing the tattooist’s needle to sear judgment into their flesh.

    They were meant to have been safe in the zone. Secure behind soldiers and walls. Yet the power failed, money became worthless, their guardians deserted. The promise of a safe haven proving as false as the capitalist dream he had once sold too gullible fools.

    The Preacher, a man of brimstone and Old Testament beliefs had recognised what Archie once was. As his gang returned Archie and his peers back to Manhattan the Preacher scolded them for their wickedness. Telling them that Yahweh demanded restitution, that only then would the coldness pass.

    The door shook, the metal strut he had scavenged from the penthouse suites holding firm. Angry voices cursing.

    Annabel let go of his hand, scaling the wire fence that surrounded the viewing platform. Archie knew that he should follow, that the choice was the flip of a coin with two heads. Yet his feet refused to move. He slumped down, Annabel pleading.

    Finally she blew him a kiss, then leapt out into the silence.

    He closed his eyes, muttering a prayer as the door finally gave way.


    359 words

  5. Exit Strategies

    Casey and Marc watched as the world they had known was washed away; debris and detritus sweeping past, many metres below, along with everything else. Everyone else, perhaps. Not quite what they had paid for, prior to the long climb up the observation tower – their prime position to see everything change.

    The waters lapped below them, the initial tidal wave having subsided. The tower’s structure had stood strong, though buildings around them had bowed beneath the pressure, their remaining remnants bobbing along or swallowed quickly, heading straight for Davy Jones’ locker. Lots of company there, all things considered. The question being, how much better off they were, given their only exit was blocked by a substantial body of water.

    “My mate had it all worked out in the event of a zombie apocalypse,” Marc said, sombre.

    “Good to know.” Casey raised an eyebrow.

    “Yeah, yeah. But, see, my other mate, Noah, was working the alternative angle. ‘Day After Tomorrow’ kind of guy.”

    “So, he was weather – flash floods; tsunami?”

    “Give or take.”

    “Great.” Deadpan.

    “Well, he did have a boat.”

    “Noah really has an arc?”

    Marc raised both eyebrows in response. Pointedly.

    “Sorry. Couldn’t resist.” Casey hesitated. “Seriously. What are the chances, though? Of your geek guy coming through? Of him still being out there, after that?”

    “Better than thinking about the alternative.” Casey figured Marc had a point. “It always works out in the films.” Somehow, he had lost it again, immediately – and possibly the plot, too. Still, there must be survivors out there, somewhere – if only they could find – as in, get to – them. Perhaps they were marooned at the top of city tall towers too, pondering plans. Now Casey found herself wondering if perhaps she should have watched a few more films, subject to which she might have been able to think clearly enough for a comprehensive – and convincing – exit strategy. She wasn’t too keen on their only hope being to rely on the unlikely arrival of Noah’s arc – flood or no flood.

    Casey sighed. “How about you try giving him a call? Guess it’s worth a shot – though we’d have to jump…”

    360 words


  6. The One That Got Away

    He didn’t notice her right away, but when he did, time seemed to stop. Her flowing blonde hair, her silky smooth skin, and the curves of her body drove him insane. She was alone, staring idly out the window. It was the perfect opportunity to approach her.

    Just as he was about to make his move, his phone rang. Work. He had to take it. The conversation dragged on and on. He kept glancing in her direction. He couldn’t tell through her sunglasses, but it looked like she was looking at him too. He had no idea why a beautiful girl like her be looking at him.

    Finally, he was able to get off the phone. He looked over at her and she quickly turned her attention back to the window. She was definitely looking at him.

    He took a deep breath and walked towards her. He opened his mouth to say hello, but froze. Instead, he stared out the window.

    She was getting antsy. She wriggled and squirmed about as her eyes kept darting in his direction. She definitely wanted him to talk to her. He moved closer to her, hello ready to escape his lips. It was now or never.

    Two girls called to her. She smiled and waved to them, scolding them for being so late. They laughed it off as she walked towards their direction.

    He sighed. He was such a fool for letting her get away.

    241 words

  7. The Eye Of Tyrannus

    They met on the observation deck, where the roar of the wind, the whirr of the rotors and the canvas creak of the gasbag above would afford some small measure of privacy. Holly checked her chronograph and sidled closer to James at the viewing grille. Donald would still be at the captain’s table, planning the next day’s expedition or bragging about the Brachiosaur he had bagged that afternoon, but they kept their hands to themselves, lest any other passenger should see them.

    “Is it done?”

    Holly nodded.

    “Tomorrow, as we descend. An accident with the unloading.”

    “And your man can be trusted? To do the job and to keep quiet about it?”

    She smiled.

    “His silence is guaranteed. With The Eye in our hands at last, we can do anything.”

    James peered down into the clouds, caught a glimpse of that dark continent and fancied he heard the cry of the great lizards.

    “The Eye of Tyrannus. Is it truly everything you say?”

    Holly smiled, thinking of the strange, fiery crystal that Donald had found in the Ice Caves of N’yant. Even now, as the storms rolled in around the dirigible, she felt it’s power coursing through her. She knew that once she possessed it completely, she could proclaim herself High Priestess of Tyrannus and then…

    “All of that and more. If only Donald had the wit to understand, he could have claimed it for himself, but his loss is my gain.”

    “Our gain.”

    Smiling again.

    “Yes, our gain. Although you realise that I shall have to observe a ‘decent’ period of mourning before we can marry?”

    “Certainly. We wouldn’t want to draw attention to ourselves.”

    Lightning flashed, sundering the sky with a jagged white blade. The bars of the grille hummed and sparked in sympathy. James eyed the gasbag nervously.

    “I detest these contraptions. Perhaps I should go inside, before we are seen?”

    Holly nodded.

    “I will see you when we descend. You are helping with the unloading?”

    His eyes flashed with a strange fire.

    “Yes Mistress.”

    “Excellent. Tomorrow then.”

    He turned away, a confused expression momentarily upon his face.

    Holly stayed out to watch the storm.

    358 words

  8. Flight
    Beth Deitchman
    353 words

    Catherine hugged her arms close to her body and shuffled her feet. A crash in the alley made her whip around, wincing at the pain in her head and ribs. She half expected to see him stalking towards her, but it was just a cat with a mouse dangling from its mouth. Stifling a panicky laugh, she checked her watch then peered down the street. Headlights cut through the early morning fog, and she hitched the bag further up her shoulder.

    The bus’s breaks squealed, and with a sigh, the doors opened. Catherine climbed the steps and paid her fare, grateful for the driver’s indifference. Head down, she moved toward the back. The bus lurched forward, knocking her off balance. With a muffled cry, Catherine caught herself and collapsed into a seat. Clutching her ribs, she exhaled gently.

    The city passed outside the grimy window, but Catherine trained her gaze on her hands. Not a speck left, though she could still feel the sticky warmth. Again she checked her bag for her ticket and her new passport—the one he never found. They were tucked next to her wallet. She pushed the dark glasses up her nose, flinching when the edge touched the fresh bruise, and stared straight ahead.

    The scent of fuel announced their arrival at the airport. As she left the bus, Catherine saw a cop walking toward her. Her stomach dropped. With trembling hands she opened her bag and began rummaging through it. The cop passed her without a glance. Catherine took a shaky breath and hurried inside the airport.

    An eternity passed in the security line, Catherine alert for questions that never came. Once into the terminal, she paused by the wide windows, watching the luggage carts snake from plane to plane. A man’s voice next to her made her jump and look around, but it was just a guy on his cell phone.

    “Welcome aboard,” the flight attendant said.

    “Thank you,” Catherine murmured.

    No one else sat in her row. She leaned in to the plane’s window, watching the city grow smaller, the glass cool against her forehead.

  9. silvershrew says:

    Beth, please expand this story. I want to know what happened before the bus and after the plane landed. I can see a murder taking place and a battered woman on the run. I’d like to know what happened. Boy, you surely can reel readers in with a minimum of words. Loved it!

  10. silvershrew says:

    The other entries that I’ve read do not come close to the descriptive account you have written. I would be excited to be able to read this as a full novel.

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