Flash Frenzy Round 27

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

Welcome to Round 27!

This weekend multiple Flash Frenzy winner and Flash Master, Beth Deitchman, returns to 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.

Round 27

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

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Comments
  1. Sal Page says:

    Hot and Sweet

    We’d found ourselves in adjoining seats. Cathy was funny and smart, in a long dress and sandals. Lovely feet I noticed. We struck up conversation, like we’d known each other years. Her motorbike trips around the Lakes and cross-stitch obsession. My career in restaurants and travels to the Far East.

    After the crash I ended up as chef. I couldn’t work out whether I was in my element & in control of the makeshift kitchen or tipped over the edge of sanity, staring into an abyss lined with limbs, livers and pink flesh, details of dead passengers lives swirling around my mind.

    I boil up the bones with shredded coconut and seawater. Soup du Jour. I’ve realised how much I want to survive. However long it takes. Mr. Graham and Jack are pegging out strips of meat to dry. Most of the others can’t deal with all this. They can’t block their thoughts and just eat. They run behind trees during supper to vomit. There’s always at least one sobbing at night.

    We’re lucky to have a few editions to our diet. Brown sugar and spices. Smoked paprika, cumin, black pepper, a few salt sachets and dried thyme. Amazing what you find in luggage when you start rummaging. There was a net of lemons. Only one of those left now. I’m saving it for next time we have offal. June Whats-er-name’s nearly ready. Even a small amount of citrus will help.

    So we’re having Cathy’s feet tonight. She deserves a little of each spice. Scored flesh and a dry rub. Barbeque. As I tend the fire I hum loudly to myself to block out memories of her story about finding her Mum. I assume her Mum’s still waiting for her.

    Jack found a bottle of sweet chilli sauce in the captain’s bum bag. We’d eaten him first. Before he went off. That’s something best not dwelt on for long. I shake my head. Am I calm and in charge or borderline hysterical?

    Just before service I dab the sauce carefully on each of Cathy’s toes. Her feet still look pretty. They’ll be delicious.

    Tender. Mmmmm. Cathy’s feet. Hot and sweet.

    @SalnPage

    360 words

  2. Life

    The first time we took Kelsey to the beach she was two. Smeared with sunscreen and toddling along on chubby legs. We let her explore, though I was never far behind her, lest she pick up something eye catching and put it in her mouth. She was the epitome of life. Life that I had carried in my body.

    People sometimes like to cite the numbers of deaths and births that happen within the span of a day. To assuage the pain of death? To know that there is a cycle to this human world? Is there a balance to life and death that always keeps its tallies even- omnipotent forces keeping the books? Is there a death to balance a life?
    I wonder about this often because my daughter is the not the only one to whom I have given life.

    One afternoon I backed quickly down the driveway, lots to accomplish in the hour my husband was out with Kelsey.
    I heard a crunch and a howl at the same time and slammed on the brakes. I quickly pulled the car forward and got out, my heart racing and tears already rising. A small white face lay still on the concrete, unscathed above a crushed lower torso. I pushed down the urge to vomit and squatted down and cried over the cat. I reached out and stroked its face, apologizing out loud and wishing that I could take it back. As I stroked its body suddenly re-inflated and become whole once more. The cat shook itself, glanced at me, and ran away into the fields next door.
    I sat the in the driveway shocked until my husband and Kelsey came home. I said nothing of what happened. Who would believe me? I was wary of the implications.

    Until they pulled Kelsey from the water. Sixteen. Bikini-clad. Blue. I threw myself down on the sand and cupped her face in my hands, screaming her name. A crowd gathered.
    She took a sudden breath and opened her eyes, eyes bright and skin rosy. I heard the gasps of surprise but I only saw Kelsey. Kelsey. Alive once more.

    360 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  3. drmagoo says:

    “Daddy! Keep your toes out of the sand until the polish is dry!”

    “Yes, pumpkin.” The memory was so strong that I spoke out loud, even though I was the only one on the beach. Elle was long gone, as was her brother, and her mother. Off to England, I think, or Ireland. Or maybe Scotland. It didn’t really matter – all of Britain was at the bottom of the North Sea, along with my kids, and my ex, and Roger.

    Who runs off with a man named Roger?

    I shook my head, trying to clear it of thoughts of Elle, her hazel eyes glinting as she snuck her hand out, holding the little brush dripping with red. Who would have wanted to sleep during that onslaught of giggles and life? But I let her have her fun, waiting to ‘catch’ her until she was on the last nail.

    Dammit. If I didn’t get moving soon, no one would be around to remember anything. I’d gotten away during the night, but they weren’t just going to let me go. It was Against the Code. The beach was too exposed, but it was the only place around here I might find food, so I’d chanced it, and my luck had held.

    The luck of a man whose kids were dead.

    I looked out at the water again, trying to decide where I wanted to go. If I wanted to go. After some rest and some food, I’d finally reached some clarity. I wasn’t a revolutionary, I wasn’t a leader of a cause. I was just a man who’d wanted to see if there was still anything left. And now I knew.

    I waded out into the water and waited, still, like my father had taught me, although I wasn’t hungry anymore. A fish swam right up to me, circling my legs, and I grabbed it. Its blood wouldn’t be the red of my dreams, but I didn’t think Elle would mind.

    329 words
    @drmagoo

  4. […] Prompt: https://theangryhourglass.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/flash-frenzy-round-27/ […]

  5. Voima Oy says:

    The Sound of Waves

    @voimaoy

    358 words

    Red, the color of the sun behind closed eyelids. I surfaced to the sound of waves, the cries of gulls. When I opened my eyes, the beach was still there.

    I could feel warm sand between my toes, warm sun on wet skin. There were the palm trees and the pink hotel, a blue sky and a few puffy clouds. It was the clouds that were broken. I could not shape them, no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t make dragons or a ship with sails unfurled. The clouds were just clouds, floating by.

    It was time to wake up. The scenario was repeating. I didn’t want to leave.

    Allen was already gone. There was no one else on the beach. There were some footprints in the sand, washed by the waves. I concentrated on the beach glass. It was mostly aqua and green.
    At last, I found a piece of red, round as a pebble in my hand.

    Surfacing through the levels, one by one, I thought I would find Allen. Hadn’t we held each other in the rain, wating for a bus? Now, I climbed the sodden subway stairs.

    LEVEL ONE

    The door hissed open. Allen had fixed it just the other day. My hands were shaking as I put the coffee on. So, this was life on Mars.

    They had known we needed to take something with us. That’s why they gave us the programs, scenarios to help us adjust to life on another world. I hadn’t planned on getting involved with Allen along the way. How many times had I told him nothing else mattered?

    “Sandi,” he said. “We don’t need the programs. We have to want to be here.” Of course I want to be here, don’t I? I just don’t want to think about recycling units and hydroponic tanks all the time. Sometimes, I miss the sound of waves.

    That’s why I keep repairing the programs. We will need them, one of these days.

    I went to check on the others. Allen was still sleeping, so peaceful. What scenario was playing behind his closed eyelids? Was he already walking on Mars?

  6. Blood Red

    How I hated those feet. Each week she would strut into the shop, demanding that everyone acknowledged her presence. She’d plonk herself down on the leather sofa calling the junior over to make her a strong latte. We always sniggered that it was Aldi’s cheapest and she wouldn’t know a latte if it bit her on the bottom. Once she’d told the audience of old ladies having their wash and blow dries that she’d spent the night with a D grade celebrity and she was hoping to get the local newspaper interested in a kiss and tell story. He must have been in a deep coma before contemplating kissing her!

    I always had to wait until she’d finished her coffee before she would enter the treatment room. Then I’d have to listen to her droning on about how wonderful her life was whilst I did a pedicure on her ugly feet. She always wanted ‘blood red’ painted on her toenails. I always saw red when she paid the bill and never gave me a tip, cheapskate.

    The day she told me her fabulous new boyfriend was taking her to the Bahamas. I felt liberated. Didn’t my uncle Joe know an old woman who knew an even older old woman who made up amazing potions to keep your skin looking younger? Cheryl Cole and Angelina Jolie swore by her treatments. I could tell she’d swallowed the bait hook line and sinker.

    Everyone was horrified to hear she’d died on holiday, she’d been found on the beach, her toes still looking gorgeous, some allergic reaction to a beauty treatment. Forgot to mention to Uncle Joe that she’d told me in passing that she was allergic to peanuts and would the old, old lady know what was in the Arachis Oil that she used liberally in all her creams and lotions. Hope the mortician used the bottle of ‘Blood Red’ that I dropped of at the funeral directors. It was the least I could do.

    StellakateT
    332 words

  7. “I’d Rather Fight the Zombie”
    @patrickjstahl
    360 words

    I got a call two weeks ago about a murder on a secluded beach in Suriname. My tenure should have kept me off such a trivial case, but a year-long assignment hunting necromancers in Amsterdam left me fluent in Dutch and no one else in the Anti-Warlock Division of the CIA could speak a word thereof.

    It was supposed to be an easy job. Reports from local agents came back with rumors of a warlock wreaking havoc in the rainforest. After a few weeks of quiet, a woman was found dead on a beach with no sign of exterior wounds, her eyes left open, staring at her red toenail polish. She was twenty-two years old and in remarkable health. I figured it was just a freak stroke, that the warlock had simply found better things to do, so I packed a bag and boarded a CIA jet to South America without grumbling.

    Being attacked by a corpse is never a pleasant experience. Even after a year of putting .45 rounds into zombie skulls in the Netherlands it gave me the wiles.

    Comparatively, being attacked by miniscule grains of animated matter stuck to a corpse sounds like a walk in the park.

    It’s not.

    Have you ever tried to break a Lego? Put fifty of them together and you can rip the structure in half with ease. But trying to snap a single Lego in half? Much more difficult.

    Destroying blood-thirsty grains of sand is even harder. Especially when they each fly a different direction and try to close in on you. If it wasn’t for the heavy wind on that day I wouldn’t be alive to tell the tale.

    The first thing I tried, logically, was to burn them. Normally, get a fire hot enough and you can kill anything, even animated organisms.

    Not so with sand. It just turns into blood-thirsty crystals of glass.

    I thought myself clever when I decided to break the glass crystals with a mallet…until they started chasing after me as aerodynamic shards of death.

    It wasn’t until fifteen minutes ago that I thought of sucking them up in a giant Shopvac. Wish me luck!

  8. David Shakes says:

    ‘Symbiosis’
    David Shakes
    359 words
    The abrasive sand is ruining the pedicure and polish that’s just hours old. I don’t care. I walk out into waters that do little to cool my anger. I’m going to die.

    I wake up, sheets beneath me soaked. For a moment I smell the sea, though it soon gives way to the funk of sweat.
    Padding down the hall, I hear Cathy making breakfast. Pancakes.

    “The same dream?” she asks, the skillet hissing in her hands.
    “How’d you know?”
    “You cried out! You were furious. It’s getting worse. John, I’m really scared.
    See someone.”

    She’s not the only one. I think I’m losing my mind. I’d thought the transplant would close the book on my alcoholic past – what if I’ve damaged my brain too? I feel faint. I collapse to the floor, fingertips brushing the scar on my naked torso.

    I come round to find myself puking up sea water. A concerned lifeguard peers down.

    “Ma’am, you okay? ”
    ” I’ll live.”
    He doesn’t look convinced. He’d be right. I’m going to die. Soon. But not today. I don’t think today.

    The sun’s setting when I leave the beach. I’m grateful. There are just a few people left, their futures muted. That lifeguard will get home to find his girlfriend has overdosed. I saw it clear as day when he tended to me earlier.

    I sit in my car, devoid of emotion. Wrung out. I open my purse, take out the donor card.
    The arguments play out. Ripping it up won’t save me. I can’t see my own death but I see my organ’s future. Only the liver will be used. I try not to think about what that means.

    Ripping it up might mean that guy doesn’t survive. No guarantee another donor can be found in time. But I know, beyond all doubt that he’ll get more than the liver. The cell memory of my psychic ability will pass into him and he’ll be cursed as l. I know because he looks back and sees me.

    ‘But at least I’m alive.’ I think as I come round on the kitchen floor.

    I think she hears me.

  9. Bart says:

    Maybe Someday

    What he did sometimes, when the urge became unbearable, was paint his toenails in the brightest red. He’d take the time to let them dry – he seemed to have plenty of time – leafing through a magazine or a newspaper. Then he’d put on socks and sneakers and take the train to the seaside.

    Throughout the journey his toes were itching. He was itching. In anticipation of the sand, of the freedom, or at least his version of it.

    When he arrived, he stood on the promenade and looked for a quiet spot on the beach. As soon as he saw one, he went down the stairs and acted as inconspicuously as humanly possibly. He almost floated over the sand, as to not draw any attention to himself.

    He spread out his towel and sat down. Almost ceremoneously he took the laces of his right shoe between his thumb and index finger and pulled the knot out of them. He did the same with his left shoe. Then he hooked his thumb behind the elastic of his right sock and slipped it off, gently. He did the same with his left sock.

    He looked around. No one close enough to notice his red toenails. And if anyone was going to walk by, he saw them coming from a distance, giving him enough time to bury his feet under the sand.

    Then, the moment of truth. Of untruth, really. He stuck both his feet forward, admired his nails, even redder now that the sun was shining on them, and placed them carefully on the sand, as if he was posing for a fashion photographer.

    This was as far as he would go. As he could go. He always thought: ‘The sea makes everything all right.’ It sounded like a bad slogan. And maybe it was, somewhere. But for him it rang true. He could sit there for hours, with a blissfully blank mind. No questions, no worries, no pressure. He let everything go. Including his true self.

    Waiting for the train home he hoped he would never come back.

    @bartvangoethem
    349 words

  10. Same As It Ever Was

    The beautiful woman sitting opposite is speaking, but all I hear is the radio; Talking Heads.

    She leans in and speaks again.

    “Earth to Donovan. You okay hun?”

    She smiles, red lips parting wetly to reveal perfect white teeth. Expensive.

    I smile back, but I don’t understand these muscles, and it feels like a snarl.

    “A little hungover.”

    A laugh, genuine sounding. What was that song?

    “A little? It was gone four when you crawled into bed.”

    “Sorry, Didn’t mean to disturb you.”

    She lowers her head, pale blue eyes fixing me over the top of her shades, which I somehow know cost more than the holiday we’re on.

    “That wasn’t what you said this morning, loverman…”

    I blush, reach for my juice, but it becomes black coffee, bitter and scalding.

    “Christ!”

    I half stand, grab a napkin to mop at my shirt, but I freeze, looking at myself. What the hell am I wearing? I could sell this and pay the rest of my student loan in one go.

    Wait. What loan?

    The woman reaches over to help but I pull back further, chair scraping on the restaurant floor. Her touch scares me. I can see a rock the size of a peanut on her ring finger and I know that her nails are redone once a week. I know that she’s sleeping with her masseur and doesn’t hide it. I know that I’ve joined in.

    I know that I’ve never seen her before in my life.

    I stand, apologising to the other diners.

    The Talking Heads start singing again.

    I walk away, onto the beach.

    I pull off my expensive shoes and leave them behind.

    My toes are squat and hairy, not how I remember.

    A guy runs past and I admire his butt.

    The Talking Heads bleed from his ipod.

    This is not my beautiful wife.

    I picture my toes, varnish cheap but nicely done.

    I remember my body.

    The woman stands before me, her face a perfect picture of concern.

    The guy runs past again.

    And again.

    The woman’s lips don’t move, but I hear her anyway.

    “Control, she’s awake again.”

    How did I get here?

    360 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

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