Flash Frenzy Round 47

Posted: December 6, 2014 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Hello, friends. We’ve only two more rounds of Flash Frenzy before the new year. The Angry Hourglass will be taking a week off for Christmas, and the last week of the month will be the second Flash Face Off! But before we get too excited, this weekend, you’ll be writing to impress Grace Black.

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 47

 

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Comments
  1. Holly Geely says:

    Robert
    @hollygeely
    353 words

    We followed the tiny footprints all the way to the creek. It had warmed up during the night and what little snow we had was melting. I was more worried about having a green Christmas than I was about Star’s problem. I went along with her anyway because I knew Mom would be mad if I let her go alone.

    Star pointed to a round hole in the snow. “He must have gone down there.”

    “There’s no such thing as leprechauns,” I said, for the fourth or fifth time.

    “Yes there is. I saw him. He took Robert.”

    Robert was her stuffed donkey. If the supposed leprechaun had stolen any other toys, we wouldn’t be trudging through the muck.

    “It might be time for you to learn the truth,” I said. “There’s no such thing as magic.”

    “I’m eight, Jenny, not two. I know there’s no such thing as Santa and the Easter Bunny. This is different. He was real.”

    I knelt down with her and we scooped up snow until our hands and arms were soaked. We made the hole bigger and bigger until we hit dirt.

    “Now what?” I asked.

    Star scraped some mud away with a mitten, revealing a small iron circle. She tugged on it and lifted up an honest-to-goodness trap door. We peered down into a dark tunnel.

    A sinister laugh bubbled up from the depths of the darkness. I backed away.

    “Does the water in the creek look red to you?” I asked.

    Star’s eyes were wide. “Yeah.”

    “What did the leprechaun look like?”

    “He was little and wrinkly and he had glowing red eyes.”

    “That doesn’t sound like a leprechaun.”

    We stared at each other. Star slammed the trap door shut, stomped on it, and buried it once more in the snow.

    I’ve always wondered what would have happened if we went down that hole. Maybe we were the chosen ones. Maybe we could have stopped what came next. Instead, we ran home to warmth and safety, never suspecting that one day soon Robert would rule over all the world with an iron (and plush) hoof.

  2. Sal Page says:

    Snow Blindness

    Who? Mr George? Yeah, I knew him. No, not well. Only by sight. Never spoken to him. Didn’t see him yesterday morning, no. We went a different way. Me and Bobby. My dog, yeah. It was cold. Lots of snow and ice. Bobby saw a rabbit. I didn’t see it but assume that’s what it was. He always has to chase them. He legged it under the bridge and came out further along. Only a couple of minutes. Actually, officer, I did see something. In the river. Out of the corner of my eye when I got to the bridge. I didn’t realise. Only now I do. I thought it was just a fallen tree, a moss-covered tree trunk. Bright sunshine wasn’t it? Dazzling. I remember wishing I’d worn sunglasses. Is there such a thing as snow blindness? I didn’t realise. I suppose he must’ve been there before I even left mine. I don’t know. I just don’t know. I took a short cut home. Across the field. I threw a big stick for Bobby. Oh, not that big a stick really. Must be still in the field, I suppose. Only a stick. Sort of a small branch. Bobby didn’t want to fetch it. I think he was tired by then. Yes, ok. I’m sure I won’t think of anything else but, yes yes, I’ll be in touch if I do. And you’ve got my contact details?

    I turned away. I looked at the sky. Cloudless. So blue. A blue and white day. I did see the body from the bridge. Half in half out of the freezing water. Me and Bobby went home. My feet were cold and wet. I knew someone would find him. I could tell you and thing or two about Mr George. Ok. I’ll tell you. Later. Things that would make you want to leave him in a freezing river on the coldest day of the year. Or worse. No, you’re imagining things. He slipped, ok? He slipped when Bobby ran towards him. I laughed. He was scared of Bobby. I was glad. He slipped and fell and I didn’t care. What? Footprints? Oh …

    @SalnPage

    360 words

  3. I Will Wait

    I have watched a single seed take root in the earth. Steadfast and patient I took note of the small tender green shoot that appeared, reaching up out of the soil, and the leaves that unfurled with their intricate veins.
    I have watched the squirrels bury what they think are hidden meals that will instead become future trees.
    I have watched the pebbles of the river make their progress from lands I’ve never seen, now smooth and quiet as their journey slows.
    I have watched the cycles of the grasses, the earth awakening and sending them out to wave at the sky, the earth growing sleepy and calling the grass back to the loam to sustain next year’s life.

    And though you did not see me, I saw you.
    I saw you take. And take. And take.

    I worked hard to help what was left behind. But I heard the whispers of the dying trees and felt the tremors of a land being broken.
    Your kind has destruction in your veins.
    And I hated you for it.
    I pondered where you soul was aligned, for it certainly was not with the earth.

    But now I thank you for it.
    I have smelled your copper blood in the water and heard stories on the wind that your destruction knows no bounds. You not only destroy the ground and that which sustains it, but you destroy each other.
    Please, keep doing so.
    I will climb into the river, lay my body within the mud, feel the currents of the water and time as it passes. You will all destroy each other and the earth will begin anew. And I will be here to watch the rebirth, smell the untainted air, and never spare you another thought.

    I will wait.

    300 Words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  4. WHERE’D HE GO?

    Brian S Creek
    314 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    “I don’t understand,” says Jake. “I can’t see the trail on the other side.”

    He’s right. He usually is. Of course my brother don’t do much else than state the obvious so he’s rarely wrong by default.

    “He musta stayed in the water,” I say. I look left and right, up and down the icy stream. Clever bastard is trying to lose us by not leaving prints in the snow.

    “What do you wanna do now?” says Jake.

    “You cross over. We’ll follow it downstream from either side.”

    “What if he went thataway?” says Jake. He points in the opposite direction to the one I’ve proposed.

    “He’s dumb but not that dumb. Upstream takes him back towards town. No, he’s going this way. Let’s not waste time chatting about it.”

    Jake nods and that’s when the Wendigo drops from its spot high up in the tree. The thing should have flattened my brother straight into the ground only Jake’s been dead going on seven years now and his corporeal form don’t feel a thing.

    As for the Wendigo, the bastard was more clever than I’d thought, doubling back and hiding up with the squirrels like that.

    Jake tries to keep the thing distracted while I reach into my jacket pockets.

    I pull a glass jar from my left pocket and throw it at the Wendigo. The jar smashes against its chest and the liquid contained within spills out and soaks its patchy fur. The creature’s attention is on me now and it looks pissed. It bares its teeth and starts wading through the snow towards me.

    I pull my other hand from the right jacket pocket and hold up my trusty lighter. I spark it up, the tiny flame now the only source of heat for miles around.

    I wonder if the person the creature used to be can remember what gasoline smells like.

  5. Our Final Dance

    They told me they took her heart before burying her down deep. Such were our instructions. Specific to the last, when we could hide no more from it – from her. For that, they thought us heartless. They did not see them as they lay, bloodless; the vacant eyed stares, scattered across the parquet. I scrubbed it myself until spotless, once they were gone; though I saw them still – could scarcely help it; after. I had helped heft their weight, before the remainder.

    She returns, red-eyed, against snow skin; cherry stain smudges at her lips; faded brown marks beneath her fingertips to face me, accusing. I know well what we have done and that which we have failed in. The dark spread pooling across her front tells its tale. They tried for the liver. They paid dearly for it. She is rich with the toll – its metal tang clinging to her still, though she is not full. Not now. Not yet. Not ever.

    No need to call for her father – she has him with her, by the hand, between gripped nails. A hopeful glance becomes hopeless, as I see he is cold beyond me, though I may join him yet before we are through.

    “Daughter,” I say simply. “Snow.” The hand I hold out merits me a glance lacking recognition. “My child.” Her little legs are whittled into wastage – the ivory flesh pared to minimal covering over bone. Her hair is pitch plastered to her skull. She smiles sweetly, showing sharpened teeth. The blood-shot gaze aimed towards me speaks for her. With a thud, she discards her father’s arm – my previous prince – my once king – throwing him from her, to leave her own limbs free and able. There is no helping her now – nor me, if I am accurate in my assessment. I have seen the results of her handiwork when left to her own devices before. There will be no savouring scraps beneath restraint for her. Not now. Nor for her, ever.

    I loved her once, before. Still now, I love her, ever. I thought to save her this. Instead, she forces me to dance final, failing steps for her.

    (360 words)

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

  6. Stella says:

    @stellakateT
    294 words

    The Perfect Job

    I was in meltdown like the snow at the side of the stream. To be fair I was always in meltdown whatever the season. If I wasn’t fretting the small stuff the large stuff was chasing me with big cudgels in my nightmares. I was a bundle of neuroses but no one knew neither my friends nor my perfect fiance and certainly not my boss. He seemed to delight on insisting that I met the impossible deadlines. I’d smile, grit my teeth and achieve.

    I dragged his body from the boot of my tiny little car. I’m still amazed I managed to squeeze his frame into it. Thank God for his scrawny, tiny stature. He looked quite peaceful for someone that has experienced major trauma, death. I smoothed his hair back into the fashionable style he liked to wear. That much I could do for him. I left him sitting on the little bench at the side of the calming water, well it helped to calm me. When I feel at the height of my anxiety I imagine myself sitting beside water listening to its rhythm as it flows towards the sea. I’d put the best ever suicide note in his pocket. My many talents never failed to impress me. Maybe I should think about writing a bestseller.

    At the funeral, his mother noisily sobbed. It took all my time not to shush her. I held her hand tightly and sobbed myself with restrained decorum. I read the eulogy with the accomplishment of a Shakespearian actress. Maybe I should audition for The RSC.

    The wake was inspirational; he held my hand promising me the earth once I’d grieved. I need to google the appropriate time I can stop the pretence and marry my boss.

  7. AFOdom says:

    @AFOdom
    358 Words

    Idiots.
    ————-

    Amy’s boot stood on a solid crust of snow for a breath before breaking through to softer coldness beneath. Erin glared back at her. Must you sound like a buffalo?

    Amy returned the exasperated stare. We can’t all be ninjas.

    Erin scampered up the nearest tree, more silent than the snow-muffled wind. Tightening the cinch on her quiver, Amy prayed, Let my last four arrows be enough to bring this child home.

    Erin’s breath on Amy’s neck should have sent her jumping, but they’d been paired for too many years. “Cut that out woman. I can’t concentrate.”

    “As I intended.” The scout had mischief in her voice. “But round the river’s bend. Qiqirn. Six.”

    “Excellent. I’m bored.”

    “They stand guard.”

    “Who uses qiqirn for guards?”

    “Idiots.”

    Amy ducked into the leafless brush just past the river’s curve. Two rat-faced qiqirn stood just a few feet away.

    “Mine,” the short one said, grabbing a flask from the other.

    “No. Mine.” The tall one yanked it back.

    “No, mine!”

    Good God. She felt breath on her neck again and turned to bounce off the plump belly of a third qiqirn. Amy yelped and stumbled backward out of the brush.

    The stupid creature jumped and screeched back at a wincing pitch. Throwing its hands in the air, it spun in a circle and hopelessly tangled itself in the dead brush. Its wide eyes pleaded and it whined at her. “Help?”

    “Unbelievable.”

    Something sharp poked into her upper back, and another pricked just above her arse. Well hell. I just became more interesting than that flask.

    With a deep breath, Amy jumped round to face them. “Boo!”

    The two fanged creatures turned toward each other, took off at full speed, and smacked so hard they both fell back unconscious.

    “Idiots.” Erin repeated, dropping from above.

    “This is just pathetic,” Amy said. “Where are the other three?”

    Erin gestured to an opening of broken and cracked branches. A mess of qiqirn tracks disappeared into it. “Even you can track them.”

    Amy tilted her head. “Trap.”

    “Agreed. Barbegazi are too smart for qiqirn guards.”

    In the distance, a child cried. “We’ll go anyway.”

    “Yes.”

  8. Jaime Burchardt
    @jaimeburchardt
    244 Words

    “What are you doing?”

    “Well…Do you like it?”

    “Oh I’m sorry, I must be a dummy to not phrase my question correctly. Ah-hem. Why…did you do this?”

    “I mean, I just thought you’d like a clear path to your house.”

    “My driveway’s on the other side.”

    “Ok, a clear path to take a walk and enjoy the view. Away from your house.”

    “Scott–”

    “Look, I don’t know what else to do. I don’t hear from you so much anymore. You stopped taking my calls, my texts, I even tried using this whole email fad and nothing. I just—I missed you.”

    “Scott–”

    “It’s a lot I know. Please tell me you like it, just please.”

    “…I do, Scott. This is really nice. But–”

    “But? There’s a but? I knew it, I knew this was too much. Maybe I can do more. There’s gotta be some snowbirds somewhere–what the hell are snowbirds–and maybe–”

    “Scott!”

    “Yes?!”

    “Scott, I’ve missed you too. And I’ll tell you all about my lack of presence, and really it’s not too much.. But—but…I can’t use this path to my house.”

    “Well…why?”

    “That path doesn’t lead to my house. My house is over there.”

    “I know.”

    “You do?”

    “Yes, it’s path to the house I just bought for us! The move won’t be too far.”

    “You bought us a house?”

    “Well…”

    “We’ve been dating three months.”

    “…Too far?”

    “Naa.”

    “Oh ok. Um, so, who are you calling?”

    “The cops.”

  9. zevonesque says:

    Chilled Memories
    A.J. Walker

    Wrapped up toasty against the winter Sarah stopped at the stepping stones and watched the stream. It was always her favourite part of the walk. The whole copse this day was magical after the overnight snow dropped its pristine blanket.

    Sarah brushed off some snow then perched on the fallen tree trunk where she always sat. The battered tartan flask disgorged hot sweet tea and she felt in heaven as it slipped down her throat and the cup warmed her hands.

    She loved these days. The cold seemed freshening and all the time she watched the brook flowing around the old stepping stones she’d grown up with.

    The snow hid everything, somehow making it perfect – the undergrowth; the trees. The red berries from the holly and pink flowers from a briar rose stood out against the backdrop showing life was waiting. A dipper landed on one of the stones commencing its twitchy dance before flitting away not braving the icy water. Other footprints gave the snow depth.

    She closed her eyes as she supped the tea and she was transported back to the last time she’d sat here in the snow. She knew the date – almost precisely two years ago when she was with Tony before he left.

    When she opened her eyes she saw some dog tracks she’d not noticed earlier and thought too of poor Patch who’d been with them. It was suddenly like it was last week. She felt on the edge of tears. Her old dog used to bounce around in the snow as if surrounded by butterflies he had to chase. In his old age snow turned him into a puppy – it did the same to Sarah.

    She remembered what Tony had said before going to sea – ‘come here to talk to me, send messages from the brook – to the river – to the sea. I’ll get them.’

    Sarah hadn’t sent one for a long time, but these memories of yesterday gave her a need to.

    She picked a tiny rose, kissed it gently then placed it in the brook. She watched it spinning as it started its journey – taking her message to the ocean.

    (359 words)
    @zevonesque

    #FlashDogs

  10. The Path

    “Kirby, slow down. It’s not a race.” I grumbled as the dog continued to drag me along the path.

    I don’t know why I was so upset he wasn’t listening to me. He was just a dog, and not the brightest, after all. Perhaps it was the chill in the air or the possibility of more snow falling to the ground. Perhaps it was if I didn’t take Kirby out for his walk, he would destroy the house. Either way, it was hard to resist tying him to a tree and leaving him there.

    Kirby trotted off the path and dug his snout around in the snow. He kept going further and further off the path and I just couldn’t be bothered to follow. I was cold, tired, and missing the comforts of my bed.

    I waited for him on the path for 15 minutes, but he didn’t come back. I peered past the bushes and didn’t see any brown patches of Kirby’s fur. I couldn’t even hear him bark anymore. I sighed and waited five more minutes before turning around and heading home.

    It wasn’t hard for me to leave Kirby. I was never that fond of him. He always took up my side of the bed and barked incessantly at the tiniest noise. Besides, he wasn’t my dog. He was hers. If she didn’t care enough to take him when she left, why should I? On the other hand, Kirby was an innocent victim in all this too. He didn’t ask to be left either. Besides, he wasn’t the brightest dog in the world. Something or someone could hurt him or he could die from expose. No one deserved that, not even a stupid mutt like him.

    I turned around and called to him, but there was no sign of him. I returned to the spot where I left him and there he was whimpering and shaking. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. I took off my jacket and wrapped it around Kirby’s body. He licked my face as he wagged his tail. I grabbed his leash.

    “C’mon, you knucklehead. Time to go home.”

    357 words
    @triffic_tinika

  11. voimaoy says:

    Dead Water
    @voimaoy
    357 words

    There’s a stillness in the winter woods, when the trees are brown and bare. Under gray sky, the trickle of a stream, the cry of a lone black bird. And, at a certain angle, in the last dying rays of the setting sun, the water runs red as blood.

    Dead water, my grandmother called it. My brother and I imagined a vampire on the hill, in a black cape like Christopher Lee . “Run away!” we screamed, racing each other through the dusk, leaving footprints in the patches of snow.

    Once, there was a big grey cat by the stream, drinking the red water. It turned toward us with its cinder eyes before it ran away. That’s Grimalkin, the witch, my grandmother said. She was one herself, so she should know. Didn’t grandfather call her a witch even as he was lying in the white room under the oxygen tent? Yes, her eyes turned red from crying.

    I inherited my grandmother’s talent with the cards. I can even do a reading for you. Let’s see, “Mercury retrograde encourages nostalgia. You will meet a dark stranger. Fear death by water.” You want more? Cross my palm with silver.

    But I digress. It was the dead water that called me then, and the dead water that calls me, still. How many boys did I lure down here, like the belle dame sans merci? You don’t believe me, I know, to look at me, now. Well, I was young, once, and lovely. They called me the Queen of the May, in those days. How they admired my gray eyes.

    Now, in December, I walk these woods, among the bare branches and orange berries. I think of all the dead boys, gone, their bones washed away by the water. How my eyes cried for them then, my voice in the wind and dry leaves. I’m crying for them, still.

    It gets dark so early, now. Don’t look so surprised to see me. Didn’t you see that gray cat on the hill? I knew we would meet again. Yes, I’ve been waiting, you handsome boy. Let me kiss you, in the cold wind.

  12. necwrites says:

    Under Ice
    by N. E. Chenier

    I can’t say the exact moment it happened. I remember the exhilaration of skating away from the shore and out from under my mother’s watchful care. I remember the speed-streaked wonderland, all silver and white, the molten reflection racing beneath me. A haloed sun blessed my blades. A self-made breeze teased my scarf. I skated fast enough to shatter my snow globe world.

    And shatter it did.

    For days, a search party worried the banks with paw prints, spurred on by time-limit statistics. If she isn’t found in 48 hours… They fractured the lake’s surface to trawl frigid depths.

    Failing to find my body, they raked the forest shadows, searching for evil in the form of a rapacious stranger with leering eyes and murderous hands. But, no, the beast that fed on the shivering bubbles of my last breath didn’t leave tracks in the snow—and she is hardly a stranger.

    They found her eventually. Barefoot and frostbit, she strode through the woods like a huntress (a stoicism I never possessed). But when her mouth opened, my words bubbled out. When my parents caught her up in loving relief, my face smiled back at them. They all celebrated my return with french dressing over macaroni and cheese (my favorite) and all the blueberry-grape soda she could swallow.

    Meanwhile, minnows tickle the creases of my elbows and knees. My heart oxidizes the stream.

    The moment I became the reflection, a splitting sound startled the chickadees from their cedar roosts. She sped on. Who is left skating when I’m drowning?

    She has to know I’m still here. Chilled afternoons, she returns. Her blades slice out mockery in splintered script for me to decipher in reverse.

    Mother suspects, though. I see her linger at the water’s edge, head tilted as if hearing the echo of underwater screams. Sadness striates her cheeks. Her sighs condense around her head like phantoms.

    The ice locks its limbs around me, a chilled parody of her embrace. It’s too late for us, Mommy.

    Sometimes, I dream that I’m the one skating through wonderland. Then the scene inverts, and, again, I’m the one drowning in the dark.

    360 words
    @rowdy_phantom
    #flashdogs

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