Flash Frenzy Round 72

Posted: August 1, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Hello writers, and welcome to Round 72! We’ve rounded the last corner of July, and it’s time to word sprint our way straight into August. Judging entries this weekend is Catherine Connolly.

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. mariemck1 says:

    Circles
    (181 words)

    @elaine173marie
    He checked the timepiece he kept tucked inside his waistcoat pocket: 6 am on the dot.
    His shoes polished to a reflection, the knot of his bowtie a point of symmetry, he began the climb. 
    The climb was the best part. She was splendid on the approach, beautiful, not despite being utilitarian, but because of it. The latticed blades stretched out from their source; embracing their task, their readiness, shooting an electric energy through his veins. 
    Her strength gave him back the vigour the years had robbed him of. Her razor straight simplicity made him walk taller, made him think clearer.
    As he reached the last step, he looked at her, as he always did, and marvelled again at sheer purpose. The coil of his own complexity unravelling to make him sharper.
    Inside, he shook out his umbrella, hung up his jacket, went through the basic mechanics before securing himself in the seat. Pulling the lever towards him, he felt the rumble of the giant vanes as they launched her through the sky.
    He smiled as he felt her rising, rising writing circles in the wind.

  2. stephellis2013 says:

    Charging at Windmills

    359 Words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDogs

    Shanks’s Pony was no Rocinante and his umbrella no lance, but Gerald strode on determinedly. This particular giant still needed slaying.

    Twilight years indeed. Who did Bert think he was? Good grief, the man couldn’t even boast his own teeth. What made him think Betty would be the least bit interested in him?

    A spasm pulled him up short. Bloody hip but at least it was his own, unlike bloody plastic bloody Bertrand over there. Gerald was still one hundred percent Gerald, even if he had to relieve at least ten percent of himself a little more frequently these days.

    There he was, so … so beige in his fake cashmere and tweeds, and that accent? What, what, what indeed. They’d grown up on the same estate but Bert seemed to forget about that. Dismissed Gerald’s reminders as delusions. And the worst part was, Betty was falling for it. She was positively ga-ga over the man.

    He forced himself to move a little quicker, ignored the pain spearing his side. Almost there. Raised his umbrella. Prepared to strike.

    “Gerald, Gerald, what on earth did you think you were playing at, you silly, silly man!”

    Gerald opened his eyes. Ah, there she was, his Dulcinea. He frowned. He’d never seen her this close before, always worshipped her from afar.

    She was sat by his bed, smiling at him. Those teeth, just like Bert’s. She was wearing cashmere, just like Bert’s. Good grief, she even wore tweed. Why had he not seen it before. And that hair. Why blue for goodness sake?

    He jerked his hand back in horror as he surveyed the creature in front of him.

    “See,” said Bert’s familiar voice. “Nutty as a fruitcake. You’re better off with me, m’dear.”

    Betty looked sadly at Gerald, not understanding his sudden coldness, put it down to the shock of the fall. “We could have been so good together,” she murmured. Then slipped her arm through Bert’s and happily waddled off to afternoon Bingo.

    The nurse came in with his tea.

    “I think,” he said, as she helped him cut up his food. “I think it’s about time I got glasses.”

    • mariemck1 says:

      I love the opening! Your commentary on the twilight years is so witty. And the story itself was great. Thoroughly enjoyed!

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      The first paragraph is excellent, though sad for Gerald finally acknowledging who Betty really is. Good thing he realized before it was too late for him. Great writing, Steph!

    • voimaoy says:

      I love your take on this! Great characters, and fantastic writing.

    • Geoff Holme says:

      I loved the quixotic take on the prompt, Steph. And plastic Bertrand? Ca plane pour moi, aussi!

      • stephellis2013 says:

        Thanks! Funny what pops into your head when you’re writing these things 🙂

        Now I’ve just remembered the old ‘Gordon is Moron’ by Jilted John – should’ve worked that in somehow.

      • stephellis2013 says:

        Oops – ‘Gordon is a Moron’.

    • necwrites says:

      Love the tilting at windmills take, here! I’m not sure which makes me sadder for Gerald: that Betty wasn’t the girl he thought she was or that he has to get glasses.

      • stephellis2013 says:

        Thank you! I empathised with the man as I wrote those last lines. I now have to wear glasses although only to be able to see the teacher’s writing on the board – they always stick the kids I have to support in the darkest corners!!

    • Sonya says:

      Brilliant opening. Made me chuckle throughout, too.

  3. necwrites says:

    Top Room of the Windmill House
    359 words
    @rowdy_phantom

    Nora frets at the curtain. I can feel her tension increase as the clouds gather. Storm’s almost here.

    “Vincent, please go check.”

    I pretend not to hear, but Nora has this way of making a question gain in volume the longer it hangs there unanswered. “You care so much, you go check.”

    “He’s all alone.” She clouds the glass with worry. “I’d go, but my knees…”

    I’ve never gone without Nora. “If he needs something, let him come down here.”

    “You know he can’t.”

    I don’t know any such thing.

    “He doesn’t have it so bad.” The way she gussies up the silo rooms: plump pillows, bright curtains, cheery rugs. My room is a potato bouquet by comparison.

    I shrug into my overcoat and grumble, “We expend enough energy on him.” Keeping those rooms warm and lit.

    “We can spare it.” She nearly topples over fetching the umbrella, so I know she’s not fibbing about her knees.

    “No hugs.” I hate touching him.

    “Just be nice.”

    The look she sends me off with makes feel guilty. Then I feel angry about feeling guilty.

    The steps were hacked into stone long before the windmill was built. The first fat spatters of rain make the way slick. My footing isn’t what it once was, and in this wind… I shouldn’t have to put up with this. I’m not his father.

    He’s waiting in the upper room, as usual, a grey shadow against the window.

    “Vincent,” he sighs, the sound all but lost in the churning of the blades.

    A starfish hand reaches out to me. The bedspread’s swirly pattern shows through his arm. I flinch.

    “Nora wanted to come.”

    We were never blessed with a living child, and Jasper’s father never wanted one. Nora thinks she can make up for tragedies old and new with teddy bears and circus posters.

    “It’s okay,” he says, boyish voice wrapped around lonely centuries.

    Just be nice.

    I take his hand, clenching my jaw against the shivery chill of contact. Jasper gives me a transparent smile. Niceness may not heal past wounds, but it might make the haunting easier to endure—for all of us.

  4. mariemck1 says:

    I love how this story unfolds. I love how you reveal Jasper. So many great lines.
    ‘…tragedies old and new with teddy bears and circus posters.’ ‘boyish voice wrapped around lonely centuries.’
    Wonderful writing.

  5. davidshakes says:

    A Miller’s Tale.
    360 words
    @TheShakes72
    David Shakes

    So many steps! Regardless, he has vowed to visit his boy daily, come rain or shine.
    Back when he was the miller, he’d take the steps two at a time on the way up. He never noticed his descents – too intent on getting back to his beloved wife and later his family.
    He’d never pushed the boy, let him turn his own sails, but he’d grown up loving the mill and secretly it had filled him with pride.
    He’d taught him how to harness the slightest breeze and tune the sails until they sang to the crops below. After a time, the son was better than the father – the old man’s pride swelling beyond containment.
    ‘Have you met my son, the miller?’ he’d ask, and whether you answered yay or nay, you’d always need a half hour to spare.
    So many steps! As his years advanced they had joked, his son and he, that the boy was adding one more each birthday.
    He has to stop now, catch his breath. Beneath his umbrella the first plops of rain sound heavy. Looking out he sees the clouds are darkening and rolling in fast.
    ‘Wind’s picking up,’ he thinks.
    ‘Turn in the sails,’ he thinks.
    ‘Not your job,’ he thinks, sighing.
    There must be a hole in the umbrella because his face is wet.
    So many steps! He swears that boy has added more. He’ll ask when he gets back to the top. He comes daily. He keeps his vows.
    By the time he reaches the top, the sails are turned in. The creak of the mill has been the rhythm of his life and he doesn’t regret it, not for one minute.
    He thinks less clearly now, repeats himself too. He’s old.
    Today, his son is looking old like him. The work makes him weary and it shows in the deep lines on his weathered face. The lines deepen as he smiles to greet his father.
    Father and son sit on the steps. Both may be widowers, wives buried in plots below, but both are married to the wind and always will be.
    Above them, the sails turn endlessly.

  6. Pattyann McCarthy says:

    @PattyannMC
    WC: 360

    The Keeper

    Kees was a man of strength. Villagers thought him a mean, useless drunk. There’s no denying he liked his Jenever, frequenting Tasting Houses. He enjoyed the heady rush concocting his own alcoholic creations, but underneath his cranky exterior was a heart of gold. As golden as the Jenever he swilled.

    A private man, he kept the villagers at arms’ length. They neither knew, nor understood him. Gossip swirled around his name; fingers shakily pointed his way as he passed by, gently cradling his jug of Jenever as if a rare Ghost Orchid.

    They whispered behind him, ‘A man of mystery and deep secrets,’ they said, ‘cranky and mute as an Adder,’ as their eyes slid towards him. Kees heard their talk as he staggered by, a knife in his heart. Rain pelted his face on his long walk home. Tears stung his eyes; pain filled his soul, as he willed stiff and broken knees to journey home, not knowing what he’d find.

    “Roo my sweet, I’m home,” he waited in silence by the door, holding his breath, praying she’d respond. She didn’t. The only sound he heard was the lonely metronomic ticking of the mantle clock, its black hands ticking off segments of their time left. Carefully setting his Jenever on the counter, he forced his feet to move towards their bedroom, heartbeats thumping in his ears. Roo was there, on the bed, sleeping, he hoped. He went to her side, looking down on her pixie face. Her golden hair feathered across her pale skin. He gently brushed it aside and behind her ear, as he always had. She didn’t stir. Fear swallowed his heart, he checked for her pulse. She was gone.

    Falling to his knees beside her, he buried his face in her bosom, a broken man wrapped in midnight sorrow so deep, he forgot to breathe. He kneeled by her for hours . . .

    In the early light of a cold, rainy morning, an umbrella over his head, Kees cripplingly trudged up one hundred steps to his windmill; he, the Keeper. He sat alone watching the North Sea rolling, crashing the rocks, bidding heartrending farewell to his beloved Roos.

  7. voimaoy says:

    Philosophy 101
    @voimaoy
    345 words

    What did I know? I thought all the intro classes were taught by a professor named Staff.  I thought, whoever that is, they sure are smart–they teach History, English, Biology, Calculus  AND Philosophy!  I know better now, but then I also thought that Levi Strauss made blue jeans.  I had a lot to learn.  For Philosophy 101, Staff was Dr. Farley–head of the Philosophy Department.

    If only Dr. Farley didn’t remind me so much of John Cleese—the John Cleese of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python, with his long legs and silly walks and brilliant wit. Dr. Farley  was so funny and self-effacing. The time he kicked a table to prove to us it wasn’t an illusion cracked me up. I was the only one who laughed and he gave me this little smile and said,  “Well, that’s the sound of one hand clapping.”  I knew then that we had a real connection.

    I would see him walking on campus, with his umbrella, just walking up the hill from the Library and I would give him a friendly wave.  He would wave back and just for fun, twirl the umbrella, like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. I imagined us dancing.

    He was married, of course.  Someone sewed those patches on his tweed jacket.  Someone made those appetizers we devoured at his seminars at the faculty apartments. Mrs. Farley was everything I wasn’t–confident and easy-going. She wore peasant blouses and a long gray braid. She had seen girls like me come and go, every year some bright young thing would take a fancy to her husband. The short skirts were a dead giveaway. She knew there was nothing to it.

    I imagined their conversations over wine in the evenings, their years of familiarity.  I wondered then, if I would ever find someone so easy to be with.

    I wrote my term paper on Don Quixote,  how I was going to write about dreams and illusion and the irony of romance. Dr. Farley was in it, tilting at windmills. “This isn’t a paper,” he said. “It’s a confession.  Not bad for a first draft, though.”

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      Great story, Voima! Love how you used the prompt with a totally different take, and the ending was fabulous!

      • voimaoy says:

        Thank you so much, Pattyann. I don’t know why Don Quixote made me think of John Cleese, but I’m glad you enjoyed the story!

    • mariemck1 says:

      Great characterisation, Voima and two complex relationships in one flash piece. Clever.

    • Love this character! One of my tutors at uni was a Dr Farley. Nothing like John Cleese though. Only today my mother was asking me to explain one of his poems that was in the paper. A coincidence! The line ‘Someone sewed those patches on his tweed jacket’ did make me chuckle! 😉

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Beautiful story told with warmth. And you included one of my favourite comedians. (Just bought my youngest a box set of Monty Python films with the condition I have borrowing rights; Holy Grail is my all-time favourite).

      • voimaoy says:

        Thank you, Steph. Love John Cleese, too. Don’t know why I saw him with the windmill, but that’s where it started for me…

        So many different stories, and all so good!

    • Sonya says:

      Beautiful story. I can’t blame the MC for having a crush on Dr. Farley… I really enjoyed the different take on the prompt, too.

  8. Daniel Finkel says:

    Departure Time
    By Daniel Finkel
    Daniel.finkel4@gmail.com
    Word Count: 350
    By this time, the rain had tapered off, so I folded up my spidery pink umbrella, shifted the burden I carried under the crook of my arm, and paused to examine the broken-down shell of the windmill looming in front of me. And, for the umpteenth-billion time, I wondered what I was doing there.
    “Adventure,” the old man had said. “Travel. A chance for new beginnings.”
    In retrospect it sounded stupid, but at the time, sitting next to him at the gleaming purple card table with beer foam on my lips, my head spinning from a night of heavy losses, it had sounded like the best idea in the world. Still, I had resisted at first.
    “How would you know?” I had asked, and I had started to slide out of my seat. Back home, my cat was waiting to be fed, and after that I had a vague idea of hailing a carriage, driving to the harbor, and signing up on one of those new electric galleons bound for The Canadian Confederacy or The Han Empire. Before I could go, however, the old man had seized my arm, his cheap array of thrift shop rings digging into my skin.
    “Listen!” he said. And then he spoke of horseless metal carriages and worldwide information nets, of handheld telegraph systems and half-mile tall buildings. As he talked, his honeysuckle eyes sparkled, his gunpowder beard twitched, and the smell of his peppery-green cologne got into my brain.
    “All right,” I said finally. “Say I believed you. How would I get there?”
    And he told me.
    Now, standing at the door of the windmill, I felt doubtful. As a matter of fact, I felt stupid. I tried the door and it swung open, creaking musically. Inside were dust and uncertainty and shrouded stacks of hay. Above me, the wheel of the windmill stirred, touched by wind.
    I shifted the burden I carried from my right hand to my left, eliciting a peevish hiss.
    “Come on, Felix,” I whispered. “We’re leaving.”
    And, tightening my grip on the handle of the cat-carrier, I stepped inside.

    • voimaoy says:

      Well-done! I can picture the characters, and this world. Where will they go? I want to know….

    • mariemck1 says:

      We had a similar idea. Your story is full of beautiful descriptions. Lovely.

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      Fantastic Daniel! Such vivid imagery and yes! Where on earth did they go? Would love to have a longer version of this piece! Well done!

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Wonderful steampunk feel to this (even though they were electric galleons), you really created an alternative world view with so few words. Nicely done.

  9. Stella T says:

    @stellakateT
    309 words

    Things in Common

    Ronan breathed heavily, his chest heaving. He wished he’d remembered to bring his asthma spray but that would mean admitting he was an old man. He had more to do before three score and ten claimed him. Twenty more steps and he’d be there.

    He heard the ghosts clamouring in his head like ear worms, chattering to be heard. He’d practised the exercises that nice girl had tried to teach him at the clinic. He’d listened to meditation tapes and chanted the one word he’d been given by the Buddhist monk who lived under the bridge, but he could still hear the drone of mankind. His mother had told him it was the affliction of being the seventh child. He had neither brothers nor sisters; they had all been still-born buried in tiny coffins just outside the churchyard wall. His mother laid flowers at each birth date but forgot his own birthday. She said she celebrated his life every day like the Jehovah Witnesses. When he was younger he wished she’d followed her own Catholicism. She was now long dead, buried in the same churchyard but on hallowed ground, still separated from her children.

    He wasn’t sure where this was leading but on the dating site he’d written loved the wind in his hair. (He’d meant blowing out the cobwebs in his mind) He’d been paired off with the owner of this windmill who just loved the power of wind. He hoped she’d be good company. He was fed-up with his own. He liked the sound of her voice on the phone. He laughed when she said she was a witch and needed to get out more. He said he knew a few spells and tricks. Wonder if there is such a thing as tandem broomsticks. He fancied flying over the rooftops with a good woman at his side.

    • Tandem broomsticks! Great idea. And the start of something beautiful. A novel maybe? 😉

    • voimaoy says:

      So much story in here. Wonderful details–the asthma spray, the monk under the bridge, the tandem broomsticks… Great last line!

    • mariemck1 says:

      ‘loved the wind in his hair’ – brilliant!

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      What a ride! The ups, tandem broomsticks flying over the rooftops, and the downs, his mother buried in hallowed ground still separated from her children. Great imagery in here! Nice writing, Stella.

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Lovely to think he is still so full of life even though the years are claiming him. Some sad history there though, his mother buried separately to her children, that is a hard image to shake.

  10. THE HOUSE THAT DEREK BUILT

    Brian S Creek
    346 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Losing your child is devastating. Some people deal with it better than others.

    My husband built a windmill.

    It was odd because Derek’s DIY experience up to that point had been a birdhouse that never had residents and a bookcase that existed in a permanent state of earthquake.

    We didn’t talk much after our son’s disappearance. Derek began his work at the far end of the garden, out of my way, so I just let him be.

    The project was surprisingly impressive by the third month, but that’s when I started to worry. The shell was there; for all intents and purposes it was a windmill on the outside. But things started to be delivered to the house that, even with my limited knowledge of windmill construction, seemed a little out of place.

    Hammering, drilling, welding; all day and all night. Derek would come indoors for dinner, and occasionally for sleep, and that was all I saw of him.

    Then, as quick as it had started, it was over. We had a windmill at the end of our garden. I wondered if Derek would need a new project or if he’d finished grieving? Turns out it was neither.

    It was a rainy Thursday when I found Derek at the back door, bordered by two suitcases. I should have been upset, but I think I always knew that this would end with one of us leaving. He kissed me and handed me an envelope, told me to open it when he was gone.

    He walked down the garden with his luggage, climbed up into the windmill, and waved goodbye. I watched nothing happen for five minutes. I was about to head back indoors when the windmill started humming and the slow spinning sails moved up onto the top of the structure. The whole thing looked like some strange helicopter.

    My jaw dropped when the windmill took off.

    I ripped open the letter and read it.

    ‘I love you, my darling Melissa, but our
    son is out there and I will bring him back.
    Yours forever, Derek xxx’

  11. COFFEE AND HEADLINES

    Brian S Creek
    358 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Jack had a long day ahead, so he’d found a nice little road side diner to get some breakfast. He found a booth and said hello to a beautiful waitress named Rebecca. She served him coffee, she served him breakfast; she served him with a smile.

    “Get you another?” she asked.

    Jack peered over his copy of the Westchester Gazette and smiled. “No, thanks. I’ve quite a drive ahead of me. Better not tempt fate.”

    She laughed.

    “The bill would be perfect though,” he said.

    “Of course.” She placed the coffee jar on the table and pulled out her order book. “Six dollars.”

    Jack laid the newspaper down and pulled out his wallet.

    “Shocking story,” she said, pointing to the headline on the front page.

    “I’m sorry?” said Jack, handing her the cash.

    “The windmill over in Westchester,” she said. “All them bodies they found.”

    He looked down at the black and white photo of the windmill’s charred remains. “Oh, that.” He picked up the paper to take a closer look before folding it up and placing it with his coat on the chair beside him.

    “Can you believe those bodies were just dumped under there?” said Rebecca. “It doesn’t bear thinking about, right?”

    “Nasty stuff.”

    “And, if it wasn’t for that fire, they might never been discovered. Decades of missing people all holed up in one place. I call that an act of God.”

    “How so?”

    “A lightning strike hitting that windmill, uncovering a deep, dark secret? Come on? That’s God’s work.”

    Jack smiled again.

    “You not a religious man, sir?”

    “Not so much. In my line of work you see things a little differently than religion will allow.”

    “Oh. What is it you do?”

    “Nothing, right now.” He leaned closer. “Had to leave my last job due to unforeseen circumstances.”

    “Well I hope you find something soon,” She picked up the money, smiled, and headed back to the counter.

    Jack breathed a sigh of relief. He’d managed to remove the paper before she spotted the photo fit. He’d been lucky this time. The quicker he was on the road and out of the state, the better.

  12. This is Really Him

    It’s pissing it down but we said we’d walk up to the windmill. Danny’s interested in haunted places and apparently it’s notorious. I’d rather have stayed in the cafe & had another coffee and maybe a cake, but he seems so keen. Following Danny up the steps, I think about how I love the way he walks. So determined and manly. I adore his enthusiasm for all this and for everything he ever does. There won’t be anything up there, just a damp windmill and a load of slippery mud. By the time we’ve walked round the place we’ll be soaked to the skin. Don’t seem like we’re getting any nearer that damned windmill. Haunted, my arse.
    Those jeans are the ones I got him for his birthday. He looks good in them. His bum was the first thing I noticed about him. Then, seconds later, his smile. I remember thinking ‘This is him. This is really him.’ Like I’d been waiting. And he felt the same. This will all be worth it once we get back to the B&B and take off our wet things. A warm shower and then bed. Worth getting soaked for. I imagine we’re there now. I can’t wait.
    Aha! Nearly at the top. Bet the ghosts are sheltering from the rain at the bottom of the hill. Finally, Danny’s turning round …

    … my breath catches in my throat. All the blood in my body seems to rush to the edges. Am I hot or cold? My heart lurches up my throat then sinks into my stomach. There’s an ear perforating scream, which I realise is coming from me. Where I expected to see Danny’s lovely face, laughing, dripping with rainwater and spurring me on, there’s a deathly white skull with black pits for eyes. Rotten teeth howl in mocking laughter. I turn and trip, just managing to right myself on the steps. If I try to run, I know I’ll fall. The umbrella flung aside, two sets of bony fingers grab my elbows. I’m going nowhere. I call out for Danny but I’m so scared, no, I’m petrified, that this is really him.

    360 words
    @SalnPage
    #FlashDog

  13. zevonesque says:

    The Forecast Calls for Rain
    A.J. Walker

    The truck had just enough juice to get to the store and back, which was all Donovan needed. He fired it up and floored it.

    The radio crackled to life with the DJ declaring the next two songs were be the last and he’d see everyone when he was back from his holidays. ‘Its a double header folks, and I think you know where I’m coming from after Joey’s weather beat. Here’s REM with ‘The End of the World’ but first ‘Don’t Fall On Me.’ Michael sure knew this weather was coming folks. Batten down and I’ll see you on the other side…’

    Donovan nodded along as he bounced down the rickety track.

    At the store he took what he came for – a few drugs and lemon juice – and paid Thelma with a $50 bill.

    “Hey, Donnie. You having a laugh? I can’t change this.”

    Donovan looked into Thelma’s weary eyes. “Keep the change. I won’t be needing it.”

    As the store door shut he muttered, “You won’t be spending it either.”

    Thelma stuffed the $50 in her bra. “Damn weird recluse has gone well up in my estimations Cheryl!”

    Cheryl licked her paws then padded to the window taking in the darkening vista. She took a last look around the shop before leaving by the cat flap.

    Back at base Donovan rushed up the steps towards his windmill as the orange black sky was thickened and the first big drops of rain fell.

    He secured the outer door then checked some of the gauges before heading up top.

    Donovan knew what everyone said about him; ‘the mad old recluse’. Well he couldn’t help it if he didn’t like people. It was just the way of it.

    He patted his bible. “Noah built an ark for the world. Fair enough, but I’m just a savin’ myself.”

    He thrust forward first one then another lever and the vibration told him everything was working. He felt the decoupling and sensed it lift from the ground as thunder began to growl. He’d enough food for several months – he’d be fine.

    From below he heard the mewling of a cat.

    “More ballast.”

    (360 words)
    @zevonesque

  14. Sonya says:

    Protected

    Every day, he loomed over us like a scarecrow, watching the horizon. Little as we were, we knew he protected us. We didn’t know why we needed protecting and we didn’t dare ask. He scared us.

    One day, without warning, he charged down the hill, arms windmilling. Excited, we ran about until we noticed the other one. Another tall, dark figure with flying fists. They clashed, crashed down, came to a halt and only one stood, dusted himself off and glared at us.

    He had a black eye and a split lip, but that wasn’t it. We couldn’t be sure which one had won the fight, and it terrified us like nothing else.

    (113 words)
    @_supersonya

  15. Geoff Holme says:

    Vocation

    As the storm broke, the rain became torrential. He clutched his grubby raincoat close and hunched even tighter under his umbrella. Eager to be in the warm, he took the steps up to the entrance two at a time.

    Inside, he heard the rhythmical sounds. Damn! He hated to be late: the build up to the start was the part of the process that gave him most satisfaction. He made his way to his customary position and began his inspection.

    #

    The only movement he could see was in the orchestra pit, as the band played the accompaniment. On stage, even though they were stark naked, all the women were stock still. They had to be: they were tableaux vivants.

    The Lord Chamberlain, who had censorship of all theatrical performances in London, had been persuaded that nudity in theatres was not obscene. There were plenty of nude statues which weren’t deemed to be morally objectionable; why then should these stationary, naked girls, who were merely ‘living statues’?

    So the rule was ‘if you move, it’s rude’.

    That was his remit: to ensure that the artistes at the notorious Windmill Theatre didn’t move a muscle.

    It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Word Count: 204

      (Late entry again. Three strikes and…)

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      Aww bummer Geoff. This is a great story! You know, I actually had to look up tableaux vivant, ‘living picture.’ Nice!

      • Geoff Holme says:

        Yeah, bummer… But I just had to watch the highlights of Arsenal beating Chelsea in the Community Shield before starting work on the story, so not all bad news!
        “Tableaux vivants” is not a phrase you drop into everday conversation, is it? Thanks for the kind words, Pattyann.

    • I love the idea of that windmill being a theatre! 😉

    • stephellis2013 says:

      A tough job indeed and a fun story. (Your Windmill Theatre brought the Moulin Rouge to mind.)

      • Geoff Holme says:

        Thanks, Steph. I had Moulin Rouge in mind too. Good thing I didn’t have time otherwise I might have trotted out that old, excruciating pun “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder”!

      • Pattyann McCarthy says:

        I thought Moulin Rouge too, Steph! And Geoff, never tried Absenthe, I hear it’s horrible tasting, but what a great line that is! I may have to remember that for the future. 😀

    • voimaoy says:

      Love that absinthe line, and your story is really clever–well-done!

  16. […] (I like the version I wrote for Flash Frenzy the other week better, but that one is 113 words long.) […]

  17. […] “This is Really Him” by Sal Page via The Angry Hourglass […]

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