Flash Frenzy Round 82

Posted: October 17, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Welcome back. It’s time for Round 82, and this weekend Rebekah Postupak is back in the judge’s seat.

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. Holly Geely says:

    Rouge & Noir
    @hollygeely
    356 words

    She waltzed into the room, all legs, but she wasn’t wearing a red dress – just some button-up black shirt and some jeans. I was disappointed. She took a seat in the chair and crossed her long legs. (Would have been better in a red dress.) I leaned forward and took in the scent of her expensive perfume.

    “I hear you’re good at finding things,” she said.

    “It’s my specialty,” I said. I slipped her one of my cards:

    MIRIAM SOUNDERY
    Private Detective
    If you lost it, I’ll find it, guaranteed!*
    (I’m also a big hit with the ladies)
    555-2142
    *Not actually guaranteed

    “What have you lost, Miss…?”

    “Mrs. Jamison. Would you believe I’ve lost my husband?” She lit up a cigarette and smoke wreathed her blonde hair. “It started two weeks ago. He was getting in late every night and acting nervous. I assumed he was having an affair.

    “Three days ago, he didn’t come home at all. I found this in his office.”

    She passed me an envelope. She watched me open it and I took a look at the wrinkled piece of paper. It was an account statement, in her husband’s name, and there were a lot of zeroes. The bad kind, not the good kind.

    “What do you think?” she asked.

    “I think you can’t smoke in here, this is a public building,” I said.

    “About the case, detective.”

    “Oh. Well, it looks like he might have been kidnapped due to a gambling debt. That would explain the nervousness. They’ll call you with their demands and you’ll have to pay up to get him back. That’s how these things generally work.”

    Mrs. Jamison looked at all the bad zeroes. She looked at me.

    “Are you free tonight?” she asked. “I’ve just found out that I’m single, and I could use a drink.”

    She wasn’t wearing a red dress, like the ladies in the old black and whites (although they were basically wearing black or grey dresses, come to think of it), but what the hell – she was gorgeous.

    “I’d be delighted,” I said. After all, I am a big hit with the ladies.

  2. stephellis2013 says:

    Visible

    311 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    Hide in the shadows long enough and you become invisible even to yourself. Grey colours your skin, ash-tinged thoughts smother your inner light and eventually you fade.

    Angie no longer believed she was real. The eyes that had passed her today had not seen her. She had searched them all, brown, green, blue, for a sign of recognition but they had all been blank. Then she had tried touching them. Just a hand on an arm, a small contact. Nothing.

    Angie pulled up her sleeve, pinched the thin flesh tightly, felt the pain. Still alive, still here … just. She shivered as the night air brushed her skin.

    “I know a place you can get warm,” whispered a voice. She had heard it before, once or twice, but she didn’t bother turning round to examine its owner. They wouldn’t see her anyway. Whoever it was, probably wasn’t even talking to her. No harm in listening in however.

    “You only have to open the door,” it continued.

    A door? Angie looked round in confusion. She was in a doorway alright but there was no door. She stepped through. Streetlights pierced the gloom, turning the occupants into the fantastic and grotesque. This was where the other invisibles slept, curled up beneath cardboard or wrapped rags. She was still cold.

    “I though you said I could get warm here,” she whispered.

    Nobody stirred. Nobody heard her. She was a ghost.
    “There,” said the voice.

    Angie looked. Saw the brazier with its dying embers.

    “Needs feeding, doesn’t it?”

    She moved towards its soft glow and reached in. Felt its gentle kiss curling itself around her hand. So warm. Nothing had touched her in such a way for a long time.

    Other voices. Shouting. They had seen her, finally. She just needed to keep hand in the flame, let it light her up. Make her visible.

  3. A V Laidlaw says:

    @AvLaidlaw
    281 Words

    Quantum Physicists Do It Discretely

    Call it Schrodinger’s boyfriend: you never know if he’s in or out until you ring the doorbell and see if he answers. Lately he’s usually out. Something going on with the lads. “Oh, Mark’s off to Copenhagen” – interpret that how you will – “for a month and it’s the only chance to catch up,” or “It’s Alan’s birthday.”

    “I get on with Alan.”

    “You’ll be bored. Just football talk.”

    “I like football.”

    “Why don’t you come round later?”

    “For sex.”

    “If you insist.” He gets the look. You know the look I mean. “No, seriously. I’ll make it up to you. But me and Alan, you know we go way back.”

    Pauli’s Exclusion Principle states – a girlfriend and male friends cannot exist in the same place simultaneously. He shrugs. Not his fault guvnor. It’s one of those immutable laws of the universe, apparently, like the third law of thermodynamics. (A boyfriend who appears on a first date clean shaven, smelling rather nice and wearing a two hundred pound jacket will slowly but inexorably become disordered and turn into a slob who leaves his dirty underpants on the floor and never puts down the loo seat.)

    So he shuts the door and I stand there for a short time, or a long time depending on your point of view. The first drops of rain fall and soon they become a wave. I look up at his window and see his shadow against the curtains, the superposition of the man who wears Armani and the boy who thinks Jackass is a work of comic genius. Are we really so entangled that I can’t simply walk away

    Heisenberg’s uncertainty of the heart.

    • CR Smith says:

      I love the idea of, ‘Pauli’s Exclusion Principle,’ and the description of the declining standards as you get to know him better – so true!

  4. Richard Edenfield says:

    Last Words First

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    Her word counter was down to 0000003. She liked to talk. She chose the life of an actress. “What happens in old age when you want to communicate your life to someone?” Her mother would ask. But she had decided to become an artist. She had achieved fame. Had enraptured the stages of the world and then electrified the screen. But now, at 27, she was down to her last words. Few dared to pick this type of career.

    Everyone was given the same amount of words to speak in a life. It had been programmed into her brain by some scientific process that she barely understood. Most people were silent. Controlled. Unable to communicate freely giving the United Front New World Order the ability to manipulate a planet that had extreme over-population. This was done as a measure to keep the populous in check.

    After the party in which she used a precious 300 words, she said goodbye to her friends. They nodded without speaking. She walked into the night. People passed by silently in the city. Gestures in place of syllables. A wink for an answer. People paid to see others talk. Would watch old movies and news clips from the 21st century and before and marvel at the freedom of expression. How could people waste so many words? She thought. They didn’t seem to realize the gift of language. They threw it away as if it were easy garbage. A candy wrapper. A can of soda.

    She thought of suicide. Climbed into an alley and phoned her husband. There was silence on the other end of the line. “I love you,” she said and then hung up. The wind moved across her face. Illumination fell on her spotlight of blonde hair. She walked home. Her husband was waiting. He saw the zeros on her arm. He held her. She tore herself away and walked to her computer where she started her novel with the words, “I love you.” She would become a writer. And in the future there was one thing they couldn’t control; the power of a well-written sentence.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    (354 words)
    Grxhauntedengine04@gmail.com

  5. Perfect Hair

    ‘There you go, love. I’ve worked my magic.’
    It looked fantastic. Fuzziness gone. Mousiness banished. Sleek, straight, blond and shiny.
    But there was a price to pay. I made my promise blindly, not knowing I had the means to pay until three weeks later.
    As I left a man appeared and walked beside me.
    ‘Your hair’s beautiful.’
    The last thing I remember was him grabbing me and pushing me into an alley.
    I woke in hospital.
    Estella promised me the hair of my dreams; hair to make women jealous and men fall in love with me, hair that would never need washing, combing or cutting. And it’s stayed perfect.
    Even after being beaten, raped and left for dead by the hotel bins.

    ‘Your first born child.’
    It was a ridiculous request. Like something from a fairy tale. I had no interest in children. I liked my independence and my only lovers had been women.

    They made me take a pregnancy test. It was positive. I decided to keep the baby and once she was born I knew without doubt I wanted her. She was perfect. We had four weeks together before Estella reappeared. Her once kind blue eyes glowed with an evil turquoise intensity I’d not noticed before.
    ‘If I can do that to your hair think what else I could do? You’ll never be safe. Wherever you go.’
    She gazed at my sleeping daughter then smiled up at me.
    ‘Give her to me now or you’ll watch my magic kill her. Then it will kill you. Slowly.’

    So I drop my daughter off at the salon. I have no choice.
    As I leave a man arrives. His cold eyes meet mine and, through my tears, I recognise him. Estella smiles, putting her hand on his cheek as he slips past her.
    I step out into the street, catching sight of my perfect hair in the salon’s window.
    What can I do? Who can I tell?
    The salon’s now boarded up and my sweet little girl is gone forever.
    My hair’s perfection taunts me every day. I’ve had no success messing it up. Sometimes I even try tearing it out.

    @SalnPage
    360 words
    #FlashDog

  6. Madeeha says:

    Title: An ordeal of a woman work

    Tired, can’t rest. I’m a housewife.

    (six words)

  7. CR Smith says:

    Caught in the Web

    WC 351

    @carolrosalind

    The first time I met Richard I knew we were meant to be together. He needed more persuading, but eventually agreed with me. He lied. He doesn’t even answer my calls anymore. That’s why I’m waiting here outside his apartment.

    Laughter drifts through the air and I retreat into the shadows. Richard has one arm draped across a woman’s shoulders, the other clutches a bottle of wine. I study her as she walks down the path, she looks familiar, looks like me. When they reach the front door he pushes her against it and they kiss, passionately. My hands fist as I watch, nails digging groves into my skin. I remember when he kissed me like that. I bite my lip, drawing blood, but manage to hold my silence.

    Car headlights flash across my body, forcing me back against the wall from where I hear them enter his apartment. The walls are so thin I can hear them moving around — even more so when I press my ear to the wall. He doesn’t know I’ve been inside. Richard will think it was his housekeeper who tided his desk, arranged his clothes, sorted through his mail, re-made his bed. He doesn’t realise that she’s not around anymore. I made sure of that.

    I listen to them together, my jealousy steadily growing. When they fall silent I squat down, resting my head against the wall, wrapping myself tighter in his shirt. I wait, amusing myself by watching a spider spin its web. Backwards and forwards, spinning silken thread, weaving it in and out, continuing on until, over time, an intricate pattern has formed. The soft light of dawn catches the threads making them look like woven silver — beautiful some would say.

    The spiders scuttles across the wall, its work complete, but I knock it to the floor, grinding it under my heel. That’s what I want to do to her. I run my hand over the knife in my pocket and go back to waiting. She will be leaving soon and that’s when I’ll strike. He won’t miss her, he’ll have me.

  8. CR Smith says:

    Smoking in the Cold

    WC 5

    @carolrosalind

    One more then I’m quitting.

  9. Madeeha says:

    I hope I’m not violating rules by submitting twice.
    Below is my improved version for this challenge.

    Title: And ordeal of woman work

    Floor moped, Kitchen is cleaned. Uniform pressed, children in their beds. Now, I’m tired but can’t sleep.

    My husband sitting in front of TV wants a tea; a housewife’s job never ends.

    word count: 32

  10. Madeeha says:

    Title: An ordeal of woman work

    Floor moped, Kitchen is cleaned. Uniform pressed, children in their beds. Now, I’m tired but can’t sleep.

    My husband sitting in front of TV wants a tea; a housewife’s job never ends.

    word count: 32

  11. davidshakes says:

    Untitled
    10 words
    @theshakes72

    Light fades.
    Hope wilts.
    Love waits.
    Next time?
    Next time.

  12. voimaoy says:

    Here’s Looking at You
    @voimaoy
    352 words

    You live long enough, you see versions of your younger self all over. Lois glances in the mirror. The mirror reflects a different face, a lived-in face with lines and old skin. The eyes, though, still bright and lively. It was the eyes that lit up the screen in those days.

    “You were so beautiful,” the girl in the mirror says. Her name is Andrea. She is a photographer.

    Lois turns away from the mirror. She has no time for the past today. “All young people are beautiful.” She admires Andrea’s waves of blonde hair. Lois wore her hair that way when she was 21 and made her first picture with Mitch. A classic 40’s style.

    “But you were an icon of beauty. It must be hard to lose that. Don’t you have regrets?”

    Regrets, Lois thinks. Regrets, I have a few. Mitch and I couldn’t grow old together. We never had a daughter who looks almost like you. “Regrets? No. Movies were my life. I got to play many parts. Now I get to play myself. It’s a challenge.”

    “Oh, I love your movies. I love the sci-fi ones. Green Animal Woman is great. Did you really ride that tiger?”

    “I sure did. A real sweetheart, let me tell you. I’ve loved animals ever since.”

    “You said those movies were allegorical. What do you mean?”

    “They were like fables, cautionary tales…it was a dangerous time.”

    “Yes, the blacklist…” Andrea brushes the blonde waves away from her face. “I’m so sorry about your husband.”

    “We had good times. But you have to keep working, you know?”

    “I know. Really, you are so strong. I want to be like you when I grow up.”

    “Oh, honey, you have no idea what the future holds. When I was your age, I never thought I’d be making nature documentaries and raising money to help endangered animals. Funny how things work out. ”

    “Yet everyone remembers the movie star. You will always be beautiful.”

    Lois smiles, a smile that was her trademark in the movies. “Okay then, make me look good for the close-ups. Just like old times.”

  13. Richard Edenfield says:

    The City is a Poise Poem
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Shirt open. Door locked. Eyes on the half way mark.
    Balance between passion and protection.
    Bars cross our face separating us from the city of ourselves.
    A black spotlight that expands. Freedom weaves the corners.

    We wear the camera like an indifferent lover.

    (43 words)

  14. mariemck1 says:

    Gone
    (171 words)
    @elaine173marie

    The doctor spoke in whispers to my mum: ‘grief’; ‘shock’; ‘time.’

    For the next few months, the level of positivity in the house rose to excruciating levels. Suddenly, the screeching noises from my violin made me some sort of musical prodigy; apparently, there was now plenty of time for me to master trigonometry, and we didn’t actually know what Mr. Edward’s knew about Shakespeare, anyway. It seemed like I couldn’t put a foot wrong despite making a point of stomping all over everyone’s naked toes.

    Mum tried to be surreptitious about it, but I’d catch her inspecting me in the light  the way you might check a note for a watermark.

    Another trip to the doctor’s: ‘no change’; ‘indefinite’; ‘may never come back.’

    I watched shades of disappointment line mum’s face each time she looked at my lips; my hair; my eyes, in the hope that some fleck of colour might creep over them. But I knew in my monochrome heart the colour had gone; the black and white of me was all there was left.

  15. Richard Edenfield says:

    Your Own Private Eye

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    She had been following herself for days. Trying to find out what she was up to. She walked around the city watching her every move. The concealment of a mirror, the refection of the evening. She took pictures of herself. Needed proof of her actions, existence. She had hired herself to follow herself. She followed from the front which was not easy. Looked over her shoulder to see herself looking back. Tossed her hair. Played hard to get with her own being. Would walk with bright and shiny strides of innuendo. She would touch something then gather her own fingerprints like collecting burning leaves from a pile. She described herself perfectly in a bar laced notebook. Had the perfect description. The tone of voice. Favorite restaurant. The men she favored were brutes familiar with disguise. Liked to conceal herself behind their dim light. In bed she was a tiger. Prowling behind a perfect prison of long fur coated stripes. She procured the rapture of escape. The night-time longing. A strangers touch. An eruption of self-knowledge. She did a perfect rendition of “The Dream,” by Picasso. When she drew the gun it was for self-defense purposes, only. She had to protect herself from herself. Her shadow fell back bleeding against a silky darkness. She stepped over her body and went back into the jungle to find what she was missing.

    (229 words)

  16. necwrites says:

    A Little Honey on the Side
    359 words
    @rowdy_phantom

    “Morning, Marge,” Wally chirped in a voice ten decibels too loud and ten lumens too bright. “By the smell of it, you’ve been here all night.”

    I resisted the urge to hurl the remnants of caffeinated swill at his morning-fresh mug. It had been a long ragged nocturnal voyage.

    “The cat burglar case is starting to rub me the wrong way.”

    “She can rub me any way she wants to.” Always working the angles, that Wally.

    “It’s reading like an inside job.”

    “Oh, c’mon, that kitten’s got a rap sheet as long as my—“

    “Wally, don’t go there.”

    “I was gonna say arm.”

    “You don’t think Papa was getting a little honey on the side?”

    “Nah, not her type. Too hirsute. Besides, he’s the one who filed the charges.”

    “That would be a good cover. And that little detail of where she was found.”

    “The kid’s bed? Oh. Ew.”

    “Slow down, Wally. Think kinky, not depraved. I’m guessing it was Mr. Ursad’s idea.”

    Panic replaced Wally’s leer. “The missus at eight o’clock!” he hissed.

    “Excuse me, gentleman,” the gruff voice of Mrs. Ursad rumbled across the office, as intimidating as the steel set of her jaw.

    “What can we do for you?” I asked.

    “A word, Ms. Harrington,” she said pointedly.

    I prodded my partner with, “Wally, can you get us something to drink?”

    “Tea, with honey,” Mr’s Ursad ordered as Wally ducked out. To me, she announced, “We’re dropping the charges.”

    “Mrs. Ursad—“

    “I prefer Ms.”

    “Ms. Ursad, there is something–“

    “Karl doesn’t want anything more to do with the incident.”

    “Yes, well, there is no delicate way to put this, ma’am, but the evidence suggests that Mr—“

    “That’s quite enough, Detective. Our family is moving on with our lives.” She flounced out again with the unexpected vigor of a jazz dancer.

    Out in bullpen, Wally stood at the window still holding the drinks. He took a sip of the tea. “I think I figured out Goldie’s type.”

    A roar drew my attention outside. A red convertible peeled away from the curb, Mama Ursad behind the wheel and gold curls crowning the passenger seat.

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