Flash Frenzy Round 45

Posted: November 22, 2014 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
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Hello, and welcome to Frenzy Round 45. This weekend, Image Ronin is acting  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 45

photo courtesy Aswhin Rao

  1. joshbertetta says:

    Josh Bertetta
    “A Family Disease”
    360 Words

    No little flower, no little offering of peace can change the fact she just left, left with the oldest to go look for another place to live while the youngest sleeps and the middle child stews silently watching you-tube videos. Little else hurts more than when you—you who, while you know you are not perfect and you are trying to get better—realize you are not as good a person as you think you are.

    And what happens when you have held inside you a sadness so fathomlessly deep that were it all to come out even Noah may not survive? And what when that sadness is dammed by walls made of shame? The disease festers, that’s what happens.

    And you turn into something.

    That something very few see, the something only visible behind closed doors. And slowly it seeps into those you love—resentment, anger, loneliness, and isolation. Yes, I am the disease and the disease is I and I pass it on silently as it was passed on to me.

    Only with the reality of things put before my eyes did I finally, at long last, speak of that shame and the source of that shame. But in the end, too little too late and they are off searching for a haven from the monster.

    So of course there is sadness now, for the home will soon fall silent. No more laughing, no more talking, no more yelling, no more crying. At least not the others, at least as far as I will know. No, the tears will be all mine and if I know my house, I am sure I will cause more water damage. At least the carpets were torn up after the last big rain.

    I have walked many a steps, but not far enough. They are simple steps really and all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other. But I dragged my feet and this is the result. I feared change, I discovered some time ago. So I took some steps. But did not walk far enough. Now the change is there in front of my face.

  2. milambc says:

    Smash Mouth (360 words)

    Humans break so…easily. So…simply. Like ripping the petals off a flower, I now did that to…I don’t know her name.

    I’m Ian and I talk deliberately, like I have to handcraft the phonemes before the words blossom out of my mouth. Mom said I had a pretty mouth, it just came out of the factory wrong, but with a little practice, it’s a mouth that would drive the ladies to my bed.

    She was right…in a way.

    “Do not…scream,” I say to my victim, which I know is futile, but the screams are bringing…it…back.

    She screams..long…and hard.

    For a moment, I let her because I like to test my mental prowess, to think through the thing which pains me. Then I pull her other leg from her hip bone. I’d already made the necessary incisions earlier to make it more…seamless.

    This time she screams the way a baby does when shadows flash over their nascent eyes in the night.

    “Puh…puh…please…don’t…scream,” I manage. Then I mash her throat in with my fist.

    As the blood pools around her body and between my fingers, I revert back to that night when…it…started.

    The baby, my sister, was choking. Mom didn’t hear her death rattle. I ran into the room, but I was too little then to reach into the crib to retrieve her.

    So I wailed.

    “The b-b-b-baby…,” I started, the first time…it…happened. It was like someone had poured cement into my mouth and I couldn’t chisel my way out.

    I tried again.

    “The b-b-b-baby…is CRYING,” I managed.

    Too late. She, my sister, died.

    “It’s…o-o-o-okay,” I say to the dead woman, her throat like roadkill between her head and shoulders.

    Then I hear the dead woman in my mom’s voice, that voice which seemed to come from so high above back then, “Ian, no girl’s gonna suck your dick if you can’t get out the words! Get them out, boy!”

    Then she’d backhand me in the mouth, as if that helped.

    “St-st-st-st-st-st…stop it!” And I smash her already smashed throat once more.

  3. A Shower of Petals

    Barney raced around the yard, snapping at the drifting blossom. Kit and Marnie stood at the door, looking to Kelley with pleading eyes. She knew that they were still unsure, creeping around as if she might break, and she knew too that her desire to keep them close was just The Fear talking. Crushing it into a tight, cold ball, she forced a smile.

    “Go on out. I’ll be okay.”

    They didn’t need telling twice. Kit ran to play with the dog, while Marnie stretched out her arms, spinning in the fragrant false snow like a Disney Princess.

    Kelley closed the door behind them – not too quickly – then retreated to the bedroom to watch from the window.

    The blossom was already piling up, the formerly green lawn now an expanse of unbroken whiteness. Kit was tossing handfuls into the air for Barney to chase, his sister gathering them more carefully, doubtless thinking of the last time they had all been outside together, when Kelley had still been able to bear the feeling of fresh air on her skin.

    They had made daisy chains.

    Kelley sighed, wishing that she could join them outside, but even now, so far from the door, her chest tightened at the thought of it and she looked away, refocussing.

    Off towards the airport, greasy black smoke roiled into the sky, turning grey as it mixed with the petals. Nearer, the lights of a firetruck flickered crazily, oddly slanted, as if the truck had slipped from the overpass.

    Realising that the dog had fallen silent, Kelley saw that both he and Kit were almost gone, replaced by mounds of blossom, so thickly covered that she couldn’t tell them apart. As she watched, Marnie sat heavily, scattering her flowers, her head drooping.

    Kelley wanted to hold them, to feel the last fading warmth as the blossom rained down, but The Fear was still too great, denying her even this.

    Crying softly, she lay on the bed and watched the silhouettes dancing on the far wall. The fragrance was growing stronger, the first petals finding their way down the chimney.

    Kelley took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

    360 words

  4. Grace Black says:

    January’s Air

    The days of daisy-chains lie dormant beneath her flesh, a sacred place no one can touch. She doesn’t visit there often, but the memories, forever, have a home rooted in childhood laughter and glee.

    Pigtails and muddy feet, she loved the days spent drenched in nature’s tears. Rains hushed the garden, and she enjoyed the hum of silence, once.

    Innocence is a beautiful gift no one gets to keep.

    Beneath the steep pitched roofs most people couple and do things, normal things, like sharing Sunday mornings between lovers with coffee in bed, or rocking fussy babies back to sleep at 2AM. Life’s filled with interactions and encounters some subtle and others violently real.

    She slips into the tepid bath—beneath her roof, on her side of the street—and toes the faucet to the right. The water’s temperature is perfect for her mood, doldrums of another winter. January’s air creeps up between the floorboards, biting her skin. She enjoys the sting, refusing the hot shower that taunts her. Showers bring to mind the time when innocence was brutally stolen from her, like pears she’ll never again eat.

    Early spring, daisies weren’t in bloom, but the fruit trees were. She sat crisscross applesauce near the curb, threading pear blossoms onto a string. He was her mama’s friend. Always had a gift he’d bring, lollipop, soda in a glass bottle. That day he had a surprise, something to show her, somewhere to take her.

    “Shiny shoes, Sally Sue.”

    “I’m not Sally Sue.”

    “I know silly. It’s a nickname, Susan. People give nicknames when they like someone.”

    She bounded up into the truck, her innocence bubbling. That’s where hers—died. Her Mary Janes never fit the same, and the ankle socks got discarded along with her closet full of dresses, after that day.

    “Shh … I know, baby. I know.” Her mother repeated the inane mantra as she scrubbed Susan’s flesh under the rushing pellets of heat plummeting from the shower.

    The language of her wrists now bleed all she cannot say, all she cannot do, from within the hollow room beneath her steep pitched roof. No one knew of the razor’s edge.

    360 words

  5. voimaoy says:

    350 words

    On the road past the city of butterflies, there is a city that blooms at night. During the day, it could be any city, lively and colorful enough. The streets are crowded with people rushing everywhere. Yes, there is shouting in the markets, and window washers singing in the sun.

    Don’t be deceived. This is not the real city of Alba.

    Behind the walled gardens, giant tortoises mate with the rocks. The city sighs in the afternoon, like a child waking up from a nap.

    As dusk falls, the streets are full of people rushing home before dark. One by one, the lights come on. In the houses of lighted windows, you can hear the clink of silver and wine glasses. There is laughter and conversation. Guests always stay overnight.

    After dark, the city of Alba changes.

    Behind the walled gardens, the white flowers open, perfuming the night air. There are the huge white moonflowers, night -blooming jasmine and orchids like white moths. There are white lilies and white roses. Vines with white flowers twine around the iron gates and spill from the balconies. White lotuses bloom in the pools.

    The people sit in the gardens listening to the music of flutes and guitars. They wear white, light clothing, pale as the flowers, thin as gauze curtains moving in the breeze.

    After midnight, the music grows louder, more discordant. The eyes of the people become dilated. They move, as if in a trance or a fever. They join hands and dance through the gardens. They dance all night through the streets.

    At dawn, the flowers close, one by one. The lights go out. The music stops. The people go home, hiding their faces.

    There is no real joy in Alba, but there is also no pain, no sickness, no death. There are no memories or desires–no past, no future, no time. This is the magic of Alba. There are only the blooming white flowers, and the changing moon.

    It is a city of insomnia. No one sleeps there. In Alba, there are are no dreams.

    In Alba, life is the dream.

  6. Geoff Holme says:

    “Come on Fran. You can’t hide away for ever. Let’s go out… Let our hair down!”

    “I don’t know, Tammy.”

    Fran had shut herself away after her ex had cleared her current account, maxed out her credit card and disappeared in her sports car. The only thing he had missed was her jewellry, locked in the wall safe.

    “Come on. What have you got to lose?”

    “OK. Why not?”

    The pair had dolled themselves up to the nines and hit the town.

    Coming out of their fourth bar, they ran into a street magician. He had flashed his perfect dentition and done a few standard card tricks.

    Then he had shown his open palms to Fran before raising them to the side of her head, delicately, sensuously caressing first her cheeks then her ears. Withdrawing them, he offered her a glorious, delicate white flower in the fingers of each hand.

    Back home, Fran recalled that moment.

    The flowers had been a beautiful gesture. But, without stems they could not be watered. They would quickly die.

    But she still had the photo that Tammy had taken on her mobile and texted to her. The bloom was still there, white, pristine, perfect… fixed and frozen… forever.

    Hang on. There was something weird here.

    Fran knew a little about how close-up magicians worked. ‘Prestidigitation’ they called it – nimble fingers. Concealment and misdirection. When Alakazam raised his open palm, The flower would have been hidden on the back of his hand, the tiny stalk held between his fingers. Once he had moved his hands behind her ears and manipulated the flowers into his outstretched fingers, he could relax his hands.

    Yet, in the photo, although his thumb and forefinger held the flower so lightly, so delicately, the rest of his fingers were bunched tightly. The joints were white… almost as white as the flower.

    He was holding something else in his hand.

    Fran’s fingers sprang to her earlobes. She froze, feeling sick to her stomach.

    The bastard had stolen her diamond earrings.

    Word Count 341

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Aarrgh!! The last line in the fifth from last paragraph should read:

      “Once he had moved his hands behind her ears and manipulated the flowers into his outstretched fingers, he could relax his hands.”

      And the word count should be 341

      (Rushing to hit the deadline)

  7. […] a little piece I wrote based on The Angry Hourglass’s prompt […]

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