Flash Frenzy Round 103

Posted: April 16, 2016 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , , ,

Happy Saturday! I’m pleased to report that the house hunt went well, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll be the happy owner of my first home in just under two months! I’ve got a bit more good news, this bit pertaining to writing. Some of you may remember I sold my story The Last Plague Doctor to Borderlands Press for the sixth volume of their Borderlands anthology series. That volume is now available for preorder as a limited edition hardcover, signed by all contributing authors. There are only 250 of these, each numbered, so if you’re interested, head over and snag a copy before they are gone.

Okay, enough about me. I’ve got a brand new photo (for real this time) to inspire you all. This weekend’s Flash Frenzy judge is Marie McKay.

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

  1. Stephen Lodge says:

    by Stephen Lodge
    351 words

    “You are very welcome to the first Wimbledon Open Tennis Singles Final post global warming. I’m Vincent Denness and I’ll be commentating on the match with my old doubles partner, a one-time lifeguard, Dennis Vincent. Denny, tell the viewers what they can expect to see today.”

    “Well, Vince, they’ll see 2 players on top of their game battling it out for the coveted trophy. I should explain the new rules, of course. Since Wimbledon, like London, is under water, the court resembles a swimming pool but with a goal at each end and a net across the middle of the pool. One player hits the ball over the net with his racquet, then both swim towards the ball. As they converge on the ball, a fight will break out and whoever gets hold of the ball has the chance to hit it into the opponents goal. 1 point for a successful goal.”

    “So, Denny, for the latecomers, good tennis players don’t necessarily make good post global warming tennis players.”

    “The sport is officially called Swinnish now, Vince, and you are exactly right, many of the old tennis stars were just useless at swimming and fighting and were forced to retire early and we were glad to see the back of some of them.”

    “Well put, Denny. And here, between us is the fabulous trophy. It looks a little bit at first glance like a lifebuoy but, new design for a new sport eh, sport?”

    “Probably,Vince. Well here are the players. Firstly, Wolf Diesel is a cocky German, well built, he’s represented Germany in 14 sports. Good racquet skills. I’m told he can pretend to read in 27 languages.”

    “He must be favourite, Denny.”

    “You’d think so Vince, but he plays against a gifted superstar who knows these waterways better than the fingers on his hands, including the thumbs. It’s Mickey Gently from the East End Of London.”

    “Wow, Cocky versus Cockney. I know you almost never part with money, Denny, but with a gun to your head, who would you pick to win this?”

    “Er, here’s a word from our sponsor.”

  2. davidshakes says:

    Last Commute
    360 Words
    David Shakes

    ‘Harry,’ he says his name is. ‘Crap Hat Harry’ he instantly becomes in my head. We shake hands and he turns his gaze back out to the ocean.
    Behind us, through the haze, the remains of our city still burn, the high-rise buildings its smashed teeth – biting at the sky lest more bombs fall from it.
    Our own teeth will fall from our bleeding gums in time. Harry’s going to be glad of his hat too, because hair loss and radiation sores aren’t pretty.
    It’s too early to know the ‘why’ or even the ‘who’ – we only know the ‘what’. You couldn’t miss the ‘what’ – it mushroomed high into the air, reaching for the stratosphere, propelled by its own turbulent vortices.
    Harry’s crying now, so I look away. The harder he sobs, the deeper he breathes. The deeper he breathes, the more dust he inhales. He could be breathing the vapourised remains of the very people he cries for. We all could.
    To my left a woman is recounting her own story to an older lady. She holds her head in both hands, pulling cheeks with palms – perhaps in anguish, perhaps to recapture the shockwave and afterwinds – I don’t know, that’s her story and perhaps you’ll read it elsewhere.
    We’re all going to be vegetarian for the briefest of times. You can’t have the scent of burned pork permeate your clothes or hang in the air and ever want to taste flesh again.
    Harry’s stopped crying. He’s examining the backs of each hand – seeing the dust, weighing its meaning. A fine coating is falling as we drift out from the harbour on a boat that was never made for open waters; a boat supplied with coffee, candy and water for a day’s commute at best.
    The surge of hope we felt as the boat safely pulled away is subsiding like the tremors from the blast.
    Harry looks me in the eye – he knows, as do I, the real fallout will soon begin.
    I follow Harry onto the upper decks and we stand, arms outstretched to embrace the hot winds and ashes of our families.
    Harry jumps first, I follow.

  3. Mark A. King says:

    The Scream


    132 words

    She is the Scream.

    She sits on the ship, hands on molten face. She watches as they go about their humdrum existence.

    She is often unseen. Just another girl sitting on a bench.

    Yet… she is far from another girl.

    She screams in the waiting rooms of the unwanted diagnosis.

    She screams in the monotonous offices of loathing, bullying and oppression.

    She screams on the rain-slick motorways. Oil-spill puddles vibrate with her song and the thunderous rumble of jack-knifed lorries.

    She screams on the bridges of despair. The falls towards brutal, dark liquid. Abandoned possessions on the pavement. Letters left behind, in a house that was—once—a home.

    She screams at the safety demonstrations. No life ring will save them.

    Edvard Munch once saw her.

    Painted her.

    She is the Scream.

  4. LearaVoice says:

    A Pirate’s Pirate
    WC 360

    The boat pulled away from the shore. I squeezed my eyes shut and slowed my breathing to stay as quiet as possible.

    I heard footsteps and commotion on deck.

    I made myself as small as I could in the damp corner behind some nets and crates. No one could know I was stowed away. It was a miracle I made it this far. I paid every penny I had scavenged for assistance, and now it was up to me.

    I was afraid of what lie ahead but more so of what I was leaving behind. My family was killed when pirates raided our village. All I could do for them in this moment was to survive.

    I sensed it was dusk and knew the time was near.

    I had only heard legends, and I hoped they were true; a pirate who pirated pirates, and gave back to the destitute victims of their invasions. To avenge my family, I would fight back and help others in need.

    They would strike at sunset, so I mentally prepared myself and waited, ready. I was told he would be expecting me.

    I heard shouting and canon fire as they arrived. The panicked crew did their best to fend him off, but it was to no avail. I heard the men board.

    I hurried up the stairs to meet my destiny.

    I saw him standing tall and proud, instructing his men to seize the cargo and bring the crew into compliance.

    “You boy!” He said when he saw me. “Step forward.”

    I moved toward him, anxious, in awe.

    “Yes sir, Captain, sir,” I said and quickly knelt before him. “I pledge my life in allegiance to you sir, Captain Robin Hook of the Jolly Rancher. I pledge to serve and obey your commands and do good publicly and in secret as you so decree.” I finished and peeked up at him.

    He laughed a hearty laugh and commanded that I stand and face him.

    “Well, men, it looks like we have a new deckhand.” He said as he slapped my back. Then he put me to work.

    I knew my family would have been proud.

    Leara Morris-Clark

  5. Cruise by Jeff Rowlands
    350 words

    The holiday so far had not turned out to be the success he had hoped for. His plans had gone somewhat awry. This was the trip during which he had been planning on asking her the big question. The weather had been unhelpful. Tourists looked dolefully at clouds that were almost incessantly dumping their loads on lakeside cafes and bars. The walkways were slippery.

    The brochures had described balmy summers with long evenings spent under clear starlit skies. Nothing that he could do about that though. Nothing he seemed to be able to do about his own mood either, he was gloomy, tetchy and disappointed. He was not intending to be rude but his conversations were terse and curt. She was ruffled by him, becoming moody and withdrawn. The week went on like this. They tried to manage by giving each other plenty of space. They certainly were not getting any closer.

    Still the precious metal ring hidden in his pocket gnawed away at him. He still wanted to ask, he was almost certain of that.

    Last night of the trip, he suggested an evening boat cruise, she shrugged, reluctantly agreed. They were both going through the motions now. The cruise started in drizzle but the sky gradually grew less gloomy and the sun made an appearance for the first time since they had got to the resort. People started smiling again, laughter tinkled through the air. They smiled at each other.

    As the sun set, an array of coloured light bulbs strung along the edge of the boat lit up the craft, bathing it in red, blue, green and yellow light. Somewhere in the depths of the boat, a band struck up, horns blazing, guitar chiming through the night air. The rhythm section set out a toe tapping beat. Soulful vocals drifted up to them.

    He reached for her hand, she smiled again and nestled into him. He thought of the ring in his pocket. Tonight was still not quite the right time for that but for now the night was theirs and the world was made for two.

  6. Richard Edenfield says:

    Lighthouse Road

    Martha’s Vineyard. The ferry at Woods Hole. A flick of a cigar. The sea air rushing with waves hitting laughter. Cars underneath making a sturdy brushing sound. The island slowly approaching in the sights of a life-preserver. A round white sun hangs between us.

    A trigger.

    An anchor.

    A bang as the gate was dropped.

    A perfect moment.

    A mustard colored Volvo driving onto Vineyard Haven. My family and I went to the Vineyard every summer when I was little. We checked into our small economy style motel. Took showers. Got dressed. Felt the magic of this body of land surrounded with a spirit of sails. My sister running around naked. My mother swearing with 300 dollar perfume and a thrift store dress. My father wearing a 2 dollar cologne with a 500 dollar suit. We were lopsided but ready to go out. The sun exchanged looks with the moon. A fine summer dress curled with waves and sunset covered a child’s dreams.

    Now, polished from the intellectual circles of Manhattan, I arrive with my book just published by a major publishing house. The entire book is about how I made a turn onto Lighthouse Road. A small road on the island where I found a lemonade stand in mid-July and drank 7 lemonades. Then I took my rental bike to the beach.

    She was small. Her features fine. Her spirit was an eclipse for my heart and everything disappeared and I was blinded with a light that escaped from the peripheries of my soul.

    And all I can say about life is that wishes come true like a reflex. A super conductor accident that seems like such an unplanned thing that it becomes pure and therefore can become anything. Luck. Fate. Magic. The universe. Lemonade karma.

    She was reading ‘To the Lighthouse,’ by Virginia Woolf.

    She folded her book and looked at me.

    Around my eyes were the dull golden rings plucked from obscurity at the carrousel in town a flight of wooden horses that had never been free had never been alive and had only touched laughter with a frozen gallop of reserve.

    Then she smiled.

    I blinked.


    (360 words)

  7. zevonesque says:

    A.J. Walker

    The day was stretching beyond all natural laws for Sgt Derek Thompson. He’d never been good in heat and these weeks in the interminable tropics had been pure hell. Still, his quarry was in his sights, in fact sat next to him, in the slim shade from the rusty upper deck. He smiled when a memory of a breeze took some of the pain away, knowing that soon he would be back in England.

    Daniels loved the rusty boat. He’d made the journey countless times, up the river and across to the old city – like a holiday every time. New faces and old on the boat, a few days in town in the usual bars and restaurants. A break from the ramshackle village he called home since his voluntary exile.

    He looked to his Rolex. Another hour they’d be docking. So, in another hour and three minutes he’d be ordering the best steak in the house and holding a tall mojito frozen at absolute zero. Harry’s Bar. Heaven.

    Thompson looked to the river’s flat banks worried that they didn’t seem to be moving. There were no landmarks to hold on to. He closed his eyes. Dreamt of a warm beer in a drab bar, some peanuts, football on the telly. Heaven.

    An hour or so and he’d be at the dock. Over the border. He’d grab Thompson. The local police were to meet him. Extradition; supposedly a doddle. His stomach lurched. He’d decided it was a reaction to the Larium. He’d considered playing roulette with the mosquitos. But he decided that was an idea born from dehydration and self pity after too many nights with his head in the toilet.

    Daniels looked back to his book. Still on the same page as when he’d boarded. He always took a book, using it as a barrier to unwanted conversations. He’d choose objectionable books with lurid covers as a guarantee of being left alone. This time; Piers Morgan.

    Finally, the two men saw the city through the heat haze. Daniels nodded to Filipe. It was time for the diversions to begin. He almost felt sorry for the pale sweaty sap beside him.

    WC 360

  8. Summer’s Children

    “You can’t go runnin’ around in the sun without some sunscreen on your face. What would Mom say if she saw you like that?”
    Johnny shrugged. Mom wasn’t here to see. He thought that maybe Benny should quit the older brother crap.
    “I’ll put some on once we get off the boat, okay?” Johnny said, still leaning against the metal railing of the deck, looking out at flashing sun on the water and the fat gulls searching for food.

    Johnny liked this part ever year, the almost-there, the slow trek across the open water to get to summer.
    Spring lasted into the big commuter parking lot, summer started once sandaled feet hit the docks on the island.

    Benny nudged Johnny with his shoulder, “You want to get ice cream for dinner?” he asked with a goofy grin, waves of sunscreen scent wafting off him.
    Even Benny was better on he island.
    Johnny smiled back and said, “Last one there buys!” before taking off, his sandals thwacking against the concrete. He received shouts of surprise as he barreled past the other sidewalk occupants. He smelled the burnt sugar smell of fresh waffle cones and knew he was almost to the stand.

    He came up along the gravel and stopped, hands on his knees to catch his breath, his laughter making it harder. He glanced up and saw Benny approaching, kicking up dirt puffs from the gravel as he accepted his loss.

    The brothers got their ice cream, Benny’s treat of course, and sauntered off to the beach.
    Once they finished their ice cream they built wobbly sandcastles and dug moats doomed to fail.
    They sat in the sand and stared out at the water, watching the sun start to paint the sky pink.

    Johnny looked over at Benny, and for the briefest of seconds had to do a double take.
    He had been so certain that he would look over and see his brother fifteen year old brother, blonde hair waving in the wind. Instead he saw his fifty year old brother, bald head pinking in the light.
    Johnny smiled and looked back out at the sun.

    357 words

  9. […] Written for The Angry Hourglass: Flash Frenzy Round 103 Photo Prompt. WC 360 Photo by Ashwin […]

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