Flash Frenzy Round 52

Posted: January 24, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Hello Flash Dogs! I know many of you sprinted yesterday to get your stories up for Flash! Friday, now it’s time to tackle another round of Flash Frenzy.  This weekend, Jaime Burchardt will be judging your stories.

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

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Comments
  1. zevonesque says:

    A Frayed Knot
    A.J. Walker

    The regulars packed out the Quayside Inn on Saturday evening, it was the only bar in town. The gritty side of the bar was full of swearing, shouting, smoke and lots of testosterone posturing.

    Bill nudged Simon sending heavy onto his pull-over.

    “Watch it!.” Simon said, looking at his stained top.

    Bill shrugged. “See these two?” Bill said, nodding to the door.

    The young couple were straining to appear comfortable as they were shown to the table in the corner.

    Ed, the Landlord, turned to the regulars, his intense eyes speaking for him.

    “Operation Restaurant Overspill, boys.” Gryff said. “Watch your Ps and Qs or Ed’ll not be happy.”

    “For fucks sake! It’s our bar. We’re all part of the experience.” Bill said.

    Bill stood up pretending to yawn and stretch, making sure the couple looked, then scratched his balls and started dancing like a monkey. “Ook, ook!”

    Deli and Adrian tried to face each other, wishing they’d taken their boat to the next harbour.

    “Ook!”

    “Ignore them, Deli. They’ll stop.” Adrian said.

    Ed walked in and presented two garlic lobsters and a bottle of their best white to the couple.

    He turned to Bill and made a cut throat sign and pointed to the door with his thumb. Bill took the message on board; it was the only bar in town.

    Tasting the wine Adrian winced. “Oh dear. Wouldn’t use this for stain removal!”

    Deli laughed. “All part of the experience.”

    Bill heard her. “Did you hear that posh tart? She’s taking the bloody piss!”

    His cohorts laughed.

    “Give ‘em enough rope and they’ll hang ‘emselves.” Bill said, for the umpteenth time that day.

    “Give them not enough and they’ll not be able to tie off.” said Simon.

    On Sunday afternoon Bill woke up to the aroma of roast potatoes.

    “Dinner love!”

    “Good night yesterday?” his mum said. “Giggling like a little kid when you got back.”

    Bill couldn’t recall. Something to do with a rope or knot?

    Deli and Adrian woke feeling all at sea. Adrian’s face ghostly white.

    “That wine.”

    Going up top to see what the weather was like Deli shrieked.

    “Adrian! The island’s gone!”

    (360 words)
    @zevonesque

    #FlashDogs

  2. In the Lost Corner of the World

    They say there is a place, across the water, farther than most men are willing to brave, where you can live in harmony with the universe.

    When you land upon the shores stones rise from the depths of the water to provide a path for your feet to find the land.
    You can feel the hum of the sands as they rearrange themselves in swirls to discuss the places from where they came, the rocks they once belonged to.
    As you walk into the tall, lush forest you hear sighs as the trees begin to know you. A leaf brushes upon your cheek like the hand of an old grandmother happy to see your face again.
    The ground begins to swell, rising toward the sky and as you follow it upward you see branches baring fruit that smell like your childhood, a branch unfurling a long green tendril to deposit one of its orbs into your hand.
    You carry it, running your fingers over the thin skin, feeling the last memories of sunlight pulse beneath the surface.
    When you reach the top of the hill, the trees transitioning to thin grasses and wise rocks, you discover that the tiniest stars of the sky have descended to this place. They hover near the hilltop, like fireflies on hot summer nights, and whisper stories about the other worlds they have seen. At first it makes you yearn to see them, but then the cooling balm of their details satisfy your wonder and your wanderlust.
    A sense of tiredness settles upon you, you have journeyed farther than any man after all, and you walk back down the hill to soft mosses. While you lay down on verdant beds, you can hear the earth’s slow smile as you understand the thing that never truly sleeps.

    You would have to live as the solitary human here, to know the secrets and be in peace with the universe. The water doesn’t know the jealousies of man, nor the rocks and grasses. You’d have to keep it that way.
    But it does sound like a grand adventure…
    if you’re brave enough to untie your boat and leave.

    360 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Can I come with you next time? Beautiful imagery and similes in this idyllic tale.
      [Should be ”…branches BEARING fruit…” though.]

  3. Amy Wood says:

    The Boatman

    @jujitsuelf
    327 words
    #flashdog

    The Boatman doesn’t appreciate time wasters. A coin to cross his withered palm, that’s his price. Pay it or don’t, makes no difference to him. The Styx will flow on regardless of the souls trapped on its Earthly shore; the Boatman’s trade never ceases.

    I left life without the required payment. No kind thought prompted a mourner to press a coin into my hand. No payment — no ferry.

    From the banks of the Styx I can see the glimmer of Elysium. Shining, tantalizing light, golden-hued and delicious; the longing for it lodges in my throat. I choke on desperation more keenly now than I did when I was alive.

    Tartarus beckons too. No light escapes its gaping maw, I’ve no idea where its gates lie. But screams — oh, the endless screams, how they torment me. I’ve asked the Boatman what goes on in that pit of all despair but he’s not the chatty type. No payment — no conversation. At times I listen to the shrieking and toy with the idea of asking the Ferryman to just take me there instead. But even a trip to the bowels of hell requires a fee. Ironic, really. I’m stuck here.

    The ferry’s tied up to something. I don’t know what. The rope leads from the bow and vanishes into darkness. Everything’s dark here. The Styx hates sunlight and wends its silent way far beneath the earth. What would the Boatman do if I cast off that rope and paddled my own way across the cursed waters?

    I look into his night-filled cowl. No eyes return my gaze. His hands are withered but they hold power over the Styx. I’d be no match for him. Just another lost soul, decomposing from time and boredom.

    What would he do if I reached for that rope? At least he couldn’t kill me, being dead has its upside.

    What would he do if I reached for that rope?

    I’ll find out tomorrow.

  4. Mark A. King says:

    The White Tail of the Metal Dragon

    341 words

    @Making_Fiction  #FlashDog

     

    The little boy plays in the field outside the city.

    He tenderly touches his father’s hand, looking for respite from the gathering of the crops. It has been so long since he rested.

    “These are times of war, son. You know we have to gather the crops to feed the soldiers.”

    “Yes, father. I am sorry.”

    The boy wants to tell his father that he is tired, that he is hungry, that he doesn’t understand why they are fighting a war they cannot win. His nation stands alone.

    He hears the faraway rumble. It sounds like the gruff incessant grumble of a dragon sigh. He knows, in his pounding heart, that it is getting louder. The dragon is getting nearer.

    Maybe his father cannot hear the coming dragon, or maybe he chooses to ignore it. Father has been ignoring many things since the war started and he was left to tend fields, unable to fight.

    The boy feels the vibrations in the ground; they shake through his feet like the pulling of furniture across terracotta tiles. The dragon seems angry.

    The boy remembers the coins he stole and knows, with certainty, that the dragon is coming to take him away.

    Then he sees it.

    High above, it shines like metal button in the cloudless sky. Its two wings are outstretched. The four claws on its wings turn and spin at a speed he cannot comprehend.

    He watches the metal dragon leave long and white clouds behind it. At first, he thinks they look like a tail. No, they look like fishing ropes, cast against the blue-blue sky.

    Above, the Enola Gay skims the skies of Hiroshima.

    On board, another Little Boy.

    This boy, born of the metal dragon, breathes hellfire on the innocent. He leaves the eternal ghostly shadows of atomised people on concrete. He leaves unparalleled shadows in history.

    In the sky, the white ropes fade away and a new shape cloud appears.

    The metal dragon leaves fires that will burn forever.

  5. Sal Page says:

    In the Limelight

    Everyone thinks I’m crazy to keep it. Most of the time it’s coiled in the oak chest at the end of our bed. My bed. It hasn’t been our bed since the day the rope broke. Each week I pour myself a large gin with a squeeze and twist of fresh lime, just the way you used to make it. I go upstairs and light the candles.
    I creak open the chest and lift your costumes out one by one. Scraps of embroidered silk, miniscule shiny beads winking in the candlelight of our room. My room. I take a big gulp of gin and it burns my throat. I detach the rope from the chest’s handle and pull it out hand over hand. Carefully. Reverently. The rope that killed you. The others said it was an accident, or the riggers hadn’t checked thoroughly but I know you always made this your responsibility. The same way you refused a safety net. ‘Where’s the drama?’ you said.
    I drag the rope through my hands, sensing the roughness of where you balanced, where your angled ballet-pumped feet flexed and gripped. With the rope in my hands I can hear your scream. It went on for the duration of your fall. Then it stopped, as your body stretched across the sawdust. Sleeping.
    I finger the frayed end where it broke. You knew the score. ‘When I fall’ not even ‘if I fall’. Were you preparing me for what happened? I’d want to hold on, keep you in this room, in our bed forever. But you had to be up there, in pale green satin and sequins; balancing, foot-sliding, edging and basking, basking, basking in the gasps of the audience. Rapt in their cheers and applause when you reached safety, in their breath-held silence when you were still out there. In the limelight, dust motes rising, falling around you, a smile on your glowing face.
    I blow the candles out and sit in the dark. I realise I’m clutching the bodice of your blood stained costume, thumbing the stiff panels, holding onto you. I’m crying and crying and crying. Gin always makes me do that.

    @SalnPage

    360 words

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Sad, sad story, Sal. Loved the leitmotif of lime and light. Good stuff!
      [Like ’breath-held’, ’blood-stained’ is a compound adjective, requiring a hyphen. Sorry to be so pedantic. Gin always makes me do that… 😉 ]

  6. Reelistic Crimes

    “Seen this?” you read, as Mal’s message pops up on screen, paper clip towards the bottom. Double clicking, you pull it up – video playing full colour, minus sound.

    “Jesus!” you exclaim, seconds in. “You sick…” you start texting, before another message intercedes. “Got it from Tone. Tells me it’s some comp. Interactive. Been doing the rounds online. Big buzz on Twitter. Collect the clues – catch the killer – all that jazz.”

    Eyes narrowing, you examine the clip again. The quality is sketchy; pixilation grainy. Likely shot on a hand held. “Figures. Found footage,” you mutter, rolling your eyes, before concentrating on the image. The blonde’s eyes are wide, as she cries for the camera; the ligature tight about her neck, held in surgically gloved hands. The angle shifts momentarily, giving a glimpse of script across one wall, before returning to the girl. “Cryptic Clue One,” you say, watching closely. “Guessing people are on that already.” On-screen the girl struggles wildly with her mask-clad assailant, as the cord tightens around her neck. Involuntarily, your eyes shift from the action, as the man – or what you would guess to be a man from both height and his? build – induces air hunger and unconsciousness. A final glance and you shudder at the abandoned body, prostrate on the floor; livid marks circling her throat. The clock counter reads close to thirty seconds; no longer, as everything fades to black. “Pretty damn realistic,” you murmur, grimacing. “Sure better be staged.”

    “You game?” Mal is asking almost immediately. “Money’s good for the winners. Might be worth a punt.”

    “Prefer Reverend Green with the rope myself,” you say, straight off.

    “Nutter,” Mal replies. “Suit yourself. Means more loot to sweeten the pot. Signed up for updates already. Some sort of feed for subscribers.”

    “Best of British,” you send back. “Rather you than me. Seriously. Bit close to the bone – or should that be wire?” you question. Mal doesn’t bother answering.

    “How goes it?” you text a couple of days after. A message appears on screen seconds later. “Reelistic Crimes,” you read, frowning at the title. Your heart starts pounding as the image appears and begins to play.

    (360 words)

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

  7. MRMacrum says:

    Horn Pond
    359 words

    Before pale men swarmed from wooden ships in Boston Harbor, the Salmon Falls River flowed uninhibited from Great East Lake through rocky ravines and low depression marshland to the Gulf of Maine.

    To satiate their voracious appetites, these white men of God harvested the King’s Pines overlooking it, mined silver near its banks, and built mills of every kind beside it. To ensure a reliable flow, dams were constructed. One dam created the 227 acre body of water known as Horn Pond.

    Franklin stood on his dock and looked out across Horn Pond. He loved this pond. It had been part of his life since he could remember. He learned to swim in this pond. He learned to fish, paddle a canoe, and water ski on its surface.

    It was below the pond’s rippling surface Franklin found true bliss. His father had given him snorkeling gear one summer. Franklin spent countless hours exploring the shallow quiet depths along its shores. He learned where the big fish hid among the ledge filled crevices of the north end. The summer he turned 13, he found the old silver mine and let his darker side take over his soul.

    This would be the summer of his first kill. Many bodies, many years later Franklin smiled, amazed that he had not been caught when that obnoxious brat from across the lake awakened in the canoe and began screaming. He realized as he swung the paddle, his plan had only covered the murder, not the disposal. Panic ridden moments passed until he remembered the old silver mine buried under 25 feet of water.

    Franklin turned to look up the north end of the pond. Bouncing on the turbulent surface under darkening skies, a knot of emergency craft floated directly over the mine.

    Cutting off some of the mooring line to the Ski-Nautique, he tied two cinder blocks to it, tied the other end around his neck, and climbed into the boat. Moments later, over the deepest part of Horn Pond, Franklin held the blocks close and jumped into the lake.

    The next day eight year old Melissa across the pond killed her first Loon.

  8. Stella says:

    @stellakateT
    319 words

    Knots

    I was doubled up with the spasms, stomach churning painful knots forming in my lower intestine. Trying to relax I thought about something nice like the time I watched the sunset in Honolulu. But the rope was inducing a full scale panic in all my organs and I couldn’t get farther than thinking where the nearest bathroom was before I threw up and disgraced myself.

    “You okay” Granddad asked

    Nothing got past the old blighter. I nodded and tried to be as nonchalant as I could heading for the yacht club facilities. I certainly wasn’t his favourite grandson if fact I was so far down the list I probably should have been disinherited except it would cost the old boy money to change his will.

    It was just co-incidence that the rope was placed in that particular way. Old Ted always left it like that, a pair of diving goggles he thought it looked like. I never could see it but today it was as clear as day, like a big arrow pointing.

    I needed to breathe, needed to pray, needed to confess. Old Ted had been in my dreams for years. He’d taught me well. Everything had been leading to this day. Was I up to it or would I fail at the first nautical hurdle.

    I felt a slight pressure on my shoulder and in the wind I heard heartfelt thanks. Granddad did not suffer fools gladly but Ted was no fool. He used to say there were more things in heaven and earth than we’ll ever know.

    When I got back to the yacht paramedics were pumping Granddad’s chest. He had this shocked expression on his grey pasty face. I suppose a heart attack is shockingly painful. One of the ancient mariners on the next boat had seen him keel over calling something that sounded like ‘God forgive me Fred’

    Ted had taught me the ropes.

  9. voimaoy says:

    Bindweed
    @voimaoy
    345 words

    The man in the chair wasn’t going anywhere. I made sure of that. The more Matthews struggled, the tighter the knots became.

    “Come on, Bailey, ” he pleaded. “You know I’m not contagious. Honest. Let me go.”

    “I’m sorry, I can’t do that. ” Before I had managed to subdue him, Matthews had broken the computers. No rescue, anyway. It was just him and me, now. So much for life on Mars.

    It was the meteorite, that started it. Matthews found it out there in the balmy 40-below, checking the rovers. Of course it would have been hard to miss, a blue-green pebble in the red dust. Where had it come from? Not this universe. Yet it was so beautiful, the markings on its surface. It called to us in its language.

    I watched the others change, some strange malaise. Vague aches, fatigue. I found anomalies in the bloodwork, blue-green threads swimming among the red.

    Vorkowsy walked out first, crossing the ridge. We found him later, dead in the permafrost, a blue-green kiss on his lips.

    Yuki was next. She left without me, unzipping the suit as she went. Her skin covered in blue green lines, a map to an undiscovered country.

    Matthews seemed immune. His blood was reassuringly normal. “You’re the doctor,” he said. “You figure it out. ” He went out to check the rovers.

    That’s when the dreams began. I was climbing a white rope, a spiral helix twining like bindweed, stretching to Earth. The rope went on forever.

    Matthews was watching me, as I took another sample, watching the vein pop out. “You like that binding, don’t you, I bet you like other things. ”

    I ignored him. His constant scrutiny was giving me a headache. I thought about the ropes we kept in storage. I knew they would come in handy.

    How could I tell him we were not the only life forms here. How dare he assume we were superior. Life is a virus binding the stars. We were all infected.

    “Check yourself, Bailey,” he laughed. I didn’t tell him about the bruises.

  10. The False Positive

    What’s at the end of the rope? she said.

    I don’t know, he said. Maybe the knot.

    The knot?

    You know, where the rope is attached, he said.

    But isn’t that the beginning?

    It depends, he said.

    What do you mean? she said.

    It depends where you begin, he said.

    So, the beginning can be the end and the end can be the beginning?

    Sure, he said.

    Hm, she said.

    She opened another can of J&B Cola. The pshhh held the promise of something exciting going to happen: a party, or at least an occasion, any occasion, where people enjoyed themselves.

    She looked around and saw the empty cans on the couch, under the table, around the tv furniture. How long had they been sitting here? She didn’t remember. Hours? Days? Was it important? They didn’t have any meetings to go to. No appointments. No birthdays.

    Now he opened another can and took a swig, a long one. Then he turned his head towards her.

    You know what’s at the end of the rope? he said.

    What? she said.

    You and me, he said.

    Her eyes wanted to smile, but they hurt. They hurt so goddamn hard.

    You and me, she said.

    This situation, it wasn’t her fault – if it was anyone’s fault, it was his, of that she was sure. Whatever her fears, her nagging doubts, he always managed to find the positive in the negative. How unlikely it sounded at times. And she loved words, more than reality.

    Do you want another one? he said. He held a can in front of her nose.

    She felt a twitch in her hand, but she kept it next to her on the couch. Despite everything he had said, she still didn’t know what was at the end of the rope, but she knew it was coming. At full speed. She held on like crazy, with both hands, knuckles so white the skin around them was cracking, but she had lost her grip a long time ago.

    You and me? she said.

    Of course, baby, he said.

    She took the can and pulled on the tab.

    Pshhh.

    @bartvangoethem
    #flashdog
    358 words

  11. ROPE

    Brian S Creek
    330 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Rope in hand, I open the door and walk back in. The empty basement fills with the sound of gunshots as my high heels tap, tap, tap on the concrete floor. I smile a little as he struggles in the chair like he could wish his wrists free of the cuffs. With the bag over his head his senses are dulled but he turns his head, trying to work out where I’m heading.

    I stop right behind him.

    “Who are you?” he calls out. “What do you want?”

    “I want to hear you say two words,” I reply. “Two words for your freedom.”

    “I don’t understand.”

    I yank the hood from his head and let his eyes struggle with the rush of light. I stay behind him but throw the length of rope down at his feet.

    “Do you know what that is?” I ask.

    “It’s . . . it’s rope.”

    “Ten points to you, pendejo. Now try to cast your mind back and think if you’ve seen it before.”

    “What? Are you crazy? It’s rope. How would I know one piece from another?”

    “It upsets me that you don’t remember that specific piece of rope. That rope is different to any other piece in the world.”

    “You’re loco!”

    I ignore him. “That piece of rope was used to tie my brother up for interrogation. It held him in place while he was beaten to death because he dared to speak out against a corrupt government! Ring any bells, hombre?”

    “You . . . you won’t get away with this, bitch! They’ll catch you and torture you and rape you and bury you out in the desert. You can’t kidnap a member of the palace guard and expect-.”

    The rest of his sentence becomes a poem of choking and gurgling. As I make my way across the basement I look back to see a waterfall of blood soaking his chest.

    Knife in hand, I open the door and walk out.

  12. milambc says:

    Derek’s Lethargy (360 words)
    @brett_milam

    Derek could hear the rope burning across the skin on her neck as he pulled tighter. It reminded him of the sound a cricket made when you crunched it under your heel. Even then, in its death throes, it’d still wiggle its thread-thin legs in vain.

    She did, too, as her feet kicked. Maybe it was an involuntary glitch; her system overwhelmed by the pain and fear signals flooding her brain.

    He loosened the rope. He didn’t want to go too fast. This was the first time he’d done it. Before, he would kill them from a distance with a pistol or if he did get closer, he’d use a mallet, something he could swing with efficiency and power.

    No names remembered, either, just faces. And just in the final moments. Like her’s right now looked clownish with her smeared makeup; her blue mascara blotched on her face in particular. Of the irony in his kill method, Derek was not aware.

    With gloved hands, he reared back on the rope fastened around her throat. The thickness of the rope brought him back to his high school gym days when Mr. Daniels kept telling him to climb.

    “Climb, Derek; you’re like a goddamn feather, son,” Mr. Daniels would scream.

    Derek would climb, his hands burning, his muscles aching and his anger climbing, too, like a vomit of rage and hate.

    Summer break, he killed Mr. Daniels in a parking garage where he was fucking some student. Killed her, too, because she was there.

    Lost in the memory, Derek hadn’t noticed his latest victim had stopped struggling and breathing. The old anger from the memory, still as raw as it was on that day, led him to rear back harder on the rope.

    Then, he noticed and stopped. Third one this month that he killed before he could invest in the enjoyment.

    Standing in front of her bathroom vanity now, he saw something in his eyes that sent a shiver coiling down his spine: boredom. He’d caught up with the addiction and was finding the thrill less thrilling with each snuffing of life.

    Maybe the next one he’d find the thrill again.

  13. Foy says:

    Foy
    @db_foy
    word count: 254

    “Curiosity Killed The Mariners”

    What is it? Food or foe?
    I must swim closer.

    Look how it dangles, spinning as the rhythms pass. Such a curious New; it’s like a single tentacle, cut off from a greater body.

    In both directions it extends, one arm reaching into the blindness and the other up into the radiance. Does it enjoy the dryness of the outside?
    Wait now… the belly of an iron whale glides by, darkening the brilliance. Maybe the New belongs to it?

    Sometimes these shadow bringers hide the Squish; strange creatures, deadly on their beasts but helpless once they fall in. With only four tentacles and no shell they are not well evolved for the Everything.

    Longing tingles; I have to touch it, curl my feelers around it.
    Ouch! Course and prickly is its skin.
    Odd… It has no suckers. Does it feel?
    Must not. That’s the hardest squeeze I’ve got and not a wriggle out of it.

    It carries no motion of sound like the reef or the surface of the Everything. I don’t think its living. Maybe it never was. Sadness.

    How does it taste? If it’s not foe, it must be food.
    Blech! Tastes like the ink that leaks from the iron whales. Humph, I’m hungry now.

    What if I pull it in?
    The Squish have no need for it or they wouldn’t leave it to drift.
    I think I’ll take it home…
    _________________________________________

    “All your strength now, boys! We’ve got a latcher on the starboard. Get that anchor up or we’re fish bait!”

  14. necwrites says:

    Lady Ixtab, Still in Business
    159 words

    The lure of martyrdom dragged Lady Suicide into the passenger seat of a rickety van. The desert sun glared though the smeared windshield. She could see the gritty road through the rust holes at her feet. The youth’s hands fluttered on the steering wheel. Ixtab just loved these boys, so fresh, so eager to embrace her shriveled breasts.

    Ari was only half aware of her, hopped up on the finality of his mission. The bomb breathed beneath him. At the restaurant, the lunch crowd lounged on clean patios, food and drink flowing freely for them. The cost of one meal could have fed an extended family for a month.

    Most of his classmates had turned to the resistance after the school had been bombed. The resistance promised glory–and money–for the eldest boy of a widowed family. When the orders had come, Ari hadn’t felt chosen by god. But now, the spirit was with him.

    Ixtab stifled a giggle by tightening the noose she wore.

    He twisted the wheel, slammed the gas pedal. The engine wheezed, but the truck jolted over the curb, bounced through wrought iron, veered across the patio, scattering tables, wine glasses, heaping plates. A mighty thunder ruptured the world. Fire roared from the chasm.

    Ari forced his eyes open. The heavenly creature leaned in. Wide, lovely eyes like a gazelle’s.

    “Are we going to Beulah?” he asked. He tried to reach for her, but the remains of the vehicle crushed his arms. He frowned. Surely, he was dead.

    The hazy visage resolved into a landscape of angry purple. Cloying sweetness engulfed him in hot corrosion. He gagged.

    “How can you enter Beulah with no legs?” the blistered lips asked.

    A demon! How was it possible?

    “Fortunately, AhPuch’s domain has plenty of room,” she said. A cold tendril slithered around Ari’s neck. “Not sure about virgins, though. You’ll have to ask around.”

    Ixtab swung Ari like a pendulum, releasing him on an upswing. He streaked like a comet against the night. Her aim was perfect.

    Such fun! She thanked the whirling stars the antics of the fourth human world had continued beyond the 2012 changeover.

  15. […] I didn’t think this month could get any more wonderful. And then it did. “Runner up” is that much closer to Gold.  🙂 Please go read the other amazing flash fictions, especially Casey Frank’s winner of a piece, “In the Lost Corner of the World”! […]

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