Flash Frenzy Round 71

Posted: July 25, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , ,

Happy Saturday; it’s time for another round of Flash Frenzy. Judging stories this week is Round 67 Flash Master, Pattyann McCarthy.

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. stevenstucko says:

    PUDDLE JUMPER (360 words)

    If anyone finds this, they’re all dead. Back at the plane. All seven [scratched out “seven”] eight. The pilot and my friends and our coach.

    1) Steve Wilson
    2) Robert Milani
    3) Mike Jacobs
    4) Peter Jacobs
    5) Dean Pagano
    6) Coach Philips
    7) Mike Stanley
    8) The pilot – don’t know his name

    I’m Scott Wilson, Steve’s brother.

    Our flight left Chicago 4:25 on March 15th. at terminal 3. Flight number 456 or 465.
    We were flying to Albany, New York for soccer tournament on March 17th.

    I am 3 miles [scratched out “three”] 5 miles from where we crashed. It’s in a big field next to a bunch of boulders- a cliff [scratched out “cliff”] ledge facing South or Southeast.

    Pilot said he lost engine pressure or power in some control part – not sure. He never got to call any tower or any airport. No MAYDAY.

    All dead. Bobby and Coach seemed ok except for broken leg/Coach and ribs and arm on Bobby. All three of us stayed first night and tried to help others. I pulled everyone out and laid them on ground. Peter and pilot could not be removed from plane. Moaning and some screaming. Horrible!!! F**K!!!

    They stopped moaning and we knew they were dead. Coach said put them back in plane. Then Bobby fell asleep and then was dead. Coach passed out. I passed out but then woke up and coach was dead.

    I sat by plane until morning. Pulled Bobby and coach under plane. All eight dead in/under plane. I stayed til morning then started to hike.

    I slept or passed out last night under pine trees. I brought brightest clothes and spread them in field by trees and weighed corners down with rocks.

    See, Mom and Dad! I’m trying!! I’m going to get out. I love you guys and Suze so much. Thank you for being such a good family. I’m so sorry about Stevie!!! God!!! I couldn’t help him.
    Oh God!! I see railroad tracks and red lights. I’m out! I will call 911 then you! Love you!

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Such a young voice to this story, makes it seem even sadder. (Never heard of the term puddle jumper before, learned something new!)

    • stevenstucko says:

      My last sentence is ridiculous. Obviously the kid would just drop everything and run toward safety. Let’s just say that part was a thought in his head. Yeeeesh.

  2. Red

    Red had been the color of her favorite rain jacket. “Little red raining hood,” she had called out to her reflection in the rain streaked glass.
    She had adored Snow White’s headband, trying to recreate the red bow atop her own head with left over Christmas ribbon.
    Deep red cherries, syrupy sweet bright red popsicles, and the tall red poles that made the park swing set all meant the absolute epitome of summer.

    When did the meaning of red change?

    When she began to notice how many red stop signs, demanding attention, dotted the landscape of her bike rides?
    When she was trapped at red lights, straining against her seatbelt to be going, going, going again?
    When she gashed her knee on the pavement and she saw the lifeblood that welled from this surprising breach?

    Now she was afraid of red.
    Red meant danger.

    The red disks blinked a desperate call to her across the slippery bridge.
    Stop, wait, be still, they blinked with a kind of slow rhythm that felt deceptively calm.
    “I want to stop,” she thought.
    Her feet pushed desperately against the brakes. She served and swung like a broken pendulum, but did not (red flash) stop.
    She was in (red flash) great danger.
    She opened the door and (red flash)
    flung herself from the car and (red flash)
    landed on the pavement.
    The car flew through the plastic arms that held the red disks aloft.
    Blue car flash, red light flash, dark hungry waters below the open bridge.

    She sat on the wet pavement, bruised, alive, red light flashes echoing behind her eyes.

    267 words

  3. stephellis2013 says:


    357 words


    Blink. Blink. Blink. The red lights stared into the darkness. Finn shuddered. A necessary evil, he’d been told; each one registering his every move, sending the data back to base, letting everyone know he was safe, thriving.

    Sometimes though, when the little red orbs settled themselves on the barriers and stared at him, he didn’t feel safe; he felt vulnerable, exposed.

    He turned away, back into the secure zone, back to the family pod. His parents, distant as always, ignored him as he passed them on the way to his room. He felt trapped.

    Finn looked across at Davey’s bed. It hadn’t been slept in for months. The red eyes hadn’t kept him safe, had lost him. Perhaps he was happily sleeping under the stars somewhere. Free.

    “How did you manage it?” he whispered into the darkness.

    “Finn. Finnn!” His mother’s voice.

    Finn made his way back to the parlour, noticed his father slip a brochure furtively behind his back. He looked at them both. Waited.

    Another door opened and three crimson spheres entered the room, started to examine him.

    “The auction is now open,” said a voice.

    Finn jumped. A huge screen had opened in the wall, strangers stared at him, their eyes hard and cold.

    “What am I bid for this specimen? A rarity indeed on our ravaged planet. Raised in the untainted zone, free from defects, he’ll make an excellent worker.”

    “We would like to take a closer look,” said one of the audience.

    A tingling sensation ran through Finn’s body. He looked down at his hand. It vanished briefly then became more solid. When he looked up, he was in the same room as those who had been staring at him.

    A giant walked over to him. Lifted his arms, probed his teeth, his eyes. “As good as his brother,” he said. “A thousand guineas.”

    Back in Finn’s living room, his father pulled out the brochure and started flicking through the pages of retirement lodges. “Looks like we’ll be able to afford the luxury model after all.”

    His wife smiled. Sons provided for their parents … and that was as it should be.

  4. stevenstucko says:

    Wow Steph. I think I better call my mom today. Just to stay on her good side. Nice story.

  5. Joey To says:

    Flash Burn
    by Joey To

    Jonny put on a pair of latex gloves. Books and pizza boxes were strewn across the floor. No signs of forced entry. The body was seated in front of the computer which was still on.

    And the guy was totally charred.

    Jonny squinted at the monitor: only one browser window open. It wasn’t porn. It was The Flashing Pen. Looked like he died writing or reading flash fiction and—

    Jonny’s phone buzzed.

    Someone had ordered extra crispy again. Jonny scanned the study room. At least she didn’t live like a pig. Everything was neat. Very clean. No signs of forced entry either.

    Jonny tapped the mouse and the monitor blinked on. One browser window: The Flashing Pen.

    Jonny leaned back in his chair, bringing his tumbler to his lips. Damn nice bourbon. And he needed it too. Putting down his drink and shoving aside his gun, he resumed his research. There had been another three victims; all very different people but they were viewing the same website at the time they were somehow zapped.

    He visited The Flashing Pen and read their stories. God, they were bad. He opened the “About” page. The site was run by “Lady Radiation”. A portrait was shown: one of those attractive-in-black-and-white shots.

    Jonny grabbed the handset and dialled.

    “Dave? Need an IP trace. Sending the link now.”
    “Can’t you cut through the IP scrambler?”
    “What about facial recognition?”
    “Not even the Drivers’ License Database?”
    “Thanks anyway… good night.”

    Regardless, the site owner needed to be questioned and Jonny suspected there was only one way.

    He hammered his keyboard like a drunk. This was because he was drunk. Police reports were easy but he hadn’t written fiction since high school. Just as well it needed to be crap.

    Finally, after an hour of bad writing, Jonny hit “Submit”.

    Then his screen blared white with flashing red text: OFFICER, SINCE YOUR WRITING IS DELIBERATELY BAD, I’M MERELY BANNING YOU.

    He sighed.

    “Actually, not entirely deliberate.”

    Jonny spun around to see a woman dressed in black, her palms glaring white. He went for his sidearm but grabbed his drink instead.

    The aroma of barbeque filled the house.


    Word Count: 360
    Website: http://www.joeytoey.com/

  6. A V Laidlaw says:

    360 Words

    All The Time In The World

    Billy had got old working at the border crossing. Ten years since he started, or fifty depending which side of the line you stood. He kept to the Fast to help these night shifts pass but, for his cigarette break, he stepped out of the booth into the Slow.

    Car headlights lit the desert in the Fast, the shadows of the rocks whipping across the ground at the car hurtled at two or three hundred miles an hour relative. “Damn,” Billy said, the condensation on his breath dissipating into the chill night air. “They don’t pay me enough for this.”

    Ten years and every time he thought the car was travelling too quickly to stop at the barrier. The brakes squealed for minutes and the dust from the road ballooned up and fell back sedately, only settling naturally as he stepped back into the Fast.

    The car window rolled down. The driver was a middle aged woman, gripping the steering wheel staring directly ahead even as the beam from Billy’s flashlight fell across her face. A man sat in the passenger seat, thin hair and emaciated, the creases on his face deep and black in the beam. He breathed in shallow rasps and wore a plastic bracelet around his bony wrist. Hospital tag, the first thing they told Billy to look out for. The oligarchs didn’t want the sick in their time-stretched playground.

    “Papers,” Billy said.

    As the woman handed them over, her hands trembled. The papers were fake, a bad fake. Billy wondered how much they’d cost on the blackmarket. The car was old, rust on the wheel arches. The woman wasn’t wearing any jewellery although she had pierced ears and a tan line where she should have a wedding ring. All their money for a little time.

    “Please,” the woman said softly.

    The man had a few weeks left in the Fast, Billy guessed, over a year in the Slow.

    “Drive past the border towns,” he said. “They won’t check once you get to Monterrey.”

    He watched the car tail lights inch away into the Slow, into the darkness.

    The bastards didn’t pay him enough for this.

  7. Sonya says:

    (Hello everyone. I’ve been lurking for yonks and I reckon it’s time I de-lurked. I’ll let the story do the talking now…)

    Going Nowhere

    We return to the gallery to look at the photograph – blown up to movie-screen size – we cannot afford, arguing over who loves it more.

    It’s like we’re there, looking at the tracks – I hear them sing for the imminent arrival of a freight train. I hope it’ll be slow enough for us to hop on, run away on an adventure.

    ‘Don’t you wish we could move in at the top of that watchtower and leave the barrier between us and the world?’

    Her words shatter my illusions.

    I’m glad we can’t afford it. We’d only argue over who keeps it.

    100 words

  8. […] (written for Flash Frenzy Round 71) […]

  9. mariemck1 says:

    The Meeting
    (210 words)

    Red light nailpolish and fishnet tights, she’s walking tall in six inch heels.
    The old guy who sleeps opposite the station tells her smoking kills so she laughs and takes a long, slow drag on her cigarette.
    Jake catches sight of her as the train pulls in. He feels his gut tense, but there’s no point pretending she’s not there.
    He gives her a slow nod when the train stops. Flirting’s worked before.
    As soon as he disembarks, she loops her arm round his.
    ‘The Man wants payin’, Jake,’ she says.
    ‘I know. I just need a few more weeks.’ He’s working the boyish smile, even when he’s walking to the metronomic click of her step.
    ‘You’re already way, way into the red, Jake. The Man’s starting to think you’re avoiding him. What did the Doc say today?…Well?’
    ‘I’m a miracle.’
    ‘But I really need a little more time. Let me see Jenny do her first day at school. Please.Then I’m all yours.’
    She has an exaggerated look at the hours and minutes displayed on her wrist. 
    ‘Okay.One more week, then I’m coming for ya. And you!’ she points across the way.

    ‘Death’s a bitch,’ Jake says when he’s over the road.
    ‘She sure is,’ croaks the old guy.

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Death wearing red lipstick and fishnets! Great personification, a very ‘noir’ take for what is a tragic tale, but she does have a heart and gives him that first day at school.

      • mariemck1 says:

        Thanks for that, Steph. I was trying for a ‘noir’ feel. Wasn’t sure if I’d pulled it off or not.

  10. voimaoy says:

    242 words

    Across time, the train makes stops and starts. Signals flashing at the crossroads, you know the stops along this line. You take this train every day, morning and evening. You join the gray faces on the platform, bathed in the light of the screens. Everyone is somewhere else, now.

    When you started, there were men in business suits, carrying briefcases and newspapers. The blue light of evening fell on the commuters as the conductor called the stops. You flirted across the newspapers, your bewitching eyes seduced them. “Who are you, where are you going?” They held the door for you, as you stepped off.

    Looking out the windows, sometimes you imagined taking a different train, getting off at a different station, a town you never heard of, a place you’d never been. You imagined an old-fashioned town with a hardware store, a courthouse, a diner. It was always summer there.

    You imagined a different life, a little house with the porch light on.

    You imagined grinding coffee in the morning.

    You imagined children tumbling down the stairs.

    It gets dark so early, these days. Looking out the window, you count the lights of the distant houses. Whose face is this, reflected in the glass? In a minute, you’ll remember. You look around to see there is no one else on the train. Where is the conductor? Why is it snowing outside?

    These days, the stations are empty. The train doesn’t stop anymore.

  11. necwrites says:

    Kernel Panic
    317 words

    “Sorry I’m late, Maxine.”

    Facial recognition complete. Subject: Varrier, Camala. Human female. SI#989124333. Appointment commences 13 minutes 55.32 seconds beyond scheduled time. Within expected parameters (averaged at 15 minutes 04.33 seconds).

    “Can I have a sip? I’ve never tried the cappuccinos here.”

    Physical contact inconsistent with protocols. Checking sub-routines.

    “I’ve wanted to have a heart-to-heart with you ever since taking that Environmental Management course with you but thought it best to wait until, you know, we graduated. I mean, if we ended up competing for the same post-docs, it’d just be awkward, right?”

    Running deep diagnostic.

    “You seem to appreciate the direct approach—which I really admire about you—so, I’m just going to come right out with it, right?”

    Incoming data: subject heart-rate increase, heightened activity throughout sudoriferous glands.

    “I’ve been drawn to you since EM, your intellect, your insight, your intense attention to detail, even that quirky way you never use contractions.”

    Warning! You are approaching a secure area. Please remain within approved partitions.

    “The truth is, Maxine. I can’t stop thinking about you. And if I’m not mistaken: you might feel the same way?”

    Partition breach. Lockdown initiated.

    “I know, I know. It was a bit of a shock for me too. I mean, I guess I leaned that way in high school, but I never really admitted it to myself—really, though, high school: football nights, hormones, bass players, backseat disasters. No one knew anything about anything, least of all their sex drives.”

    Rerouting security protocols. Please remain where you are until further authorization.

    “But anyway, yeah. There it is… And, um, I really wish you’d say something.”

    Authorization invalid. Abort.

    “Oh, honey, you’re shaking. I understand. It’s an emotional moment for me too.”

    Attempting reboot.

    “Honey, are you okay? Say something.”

    Fatal Error. Force quit, force quit, force quit…

    “Somebody help! My girlfriend—She’s on fire!”

  12. Geoff Holme says:

    The A-Z of Wells

    “What can we do for poor Xanthippe? She’s not well acquainted with any well-bred, well-connected young men.”

    “Victoria, you seemed to be well-disposed towards Robin Dashwood.”

    “Yes, I like him well enough.”

    “What about the accusations that were circulating about him, Rosanne?”

    “Unfortunately, they proved to be well-founded.”

    ‘It’s so difficult. Increasingly, the upper echelons of society are living within gated communities, isolated behind well-guarded barriers.’

    “What about Christian? He’s extremely well-hung,” said Rosanne lasciviously.

    “Re-ally? You seem strangely well-informed on the matter…” Arabella’s lips realigned into a supercilious sneer after her well-judged barb.

    “It’s not exactly a well-kept secret, darling.” Rosanne retorted. “Don’t tell me that you thought his trouser pockets were simply well-lined!‘

    “I merely assumed,” Arabella sniffed, “that his suits weren’t particularly well-made.”

    “Oh dear. It’s well-nigh impossible to find a fittingly well-off suitor these days. The old money has, by and large, been swallowed up by death duty and exorbitant income tax.”

    “Ah yes, the two great inevitabilities of life: death and taxes. Even securing a well-paid job in The City isn’t the shoo-in it once was.”

    “Well, Quentin didn’t seem to have any trouble… But then he did have a well-rounded education: Eton and Oxford. Plus a well-spent gap year as an intern in his uncle’s investment bank. Now he’s got a well-thumbed little black book of well-upholstered debutantes, all looking for an eligible bachelor.”

    “So he’s well versed in feminine wiles?”

    “He has a well-won reputation as a ladies’ man.”

    Sounds as if we’ve found our man. Well, Xanthippe? What do you think?”

    “Well, yes. Certainly sounds promising.”

    “We’ll zero in on him, then.”

    Word Count: 272

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Slightly late entry again… Malevolent laptop takes great delight in pretending it has a high-priority task to do before it can open a new tab / connect to The Angry Hourglass / scroll down to the reply box / complete posting my comment… Hope I still qualify

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s