Flash Frenzy Round 104

Posted: April 23, 2016 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Hello again, writers. Welcome to Round 104. Your judge this weekend is Voima Oy.

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.

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photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

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Comments
  1. Stephen Lodge says:

    Sand Point
    by Steve Lodge
    338 words
    @steveweave71

    Welcome to Sand Point, read the sign on the old road into town. Underneath, someone had written There’s plenty of sand, but no real point.

    The late afternoon was the colour of Uranus. In the graveyard a gentle breeze disturbed a mole, who raised his head and twitched his delightful nose, while his eyes and ears remained alert for the arrival of the gravedigger or (less likely) a zombie, but, as sure as eggs are eggs, it was Philippa, who worked in the kiosk at one of the arcades on Sand Points’ beachfront. She had a bunch of flowers as she did every week for the grave of her husband. Actually he wasn’t dead, he had run off with an attractive tourist from near Blackburn. He was dazzled by her posh accent and a tiara that she had actually won that year in the big machine on the pier using those grippers which never seemed to grip anything.

    The parents of Philippa felt she would take the news badly so, with the help of relatives, concocted the story that he had choked to death on a chewy bit of otter at a gypsy wedding where he was the DJ.

    The summer season would soon begin again. Tourists and day trippers would flock to Sand Point to eat fish and chips and ice cream simultaneously, dip their toes in the sea then head off to the town pubs, The Fox & Astronaut, The Duck & Prime Minister and The Haunted Poacher.

    Albert Cockmaster would soon be opening the wide double doors of his arcade to the many visitors and then spend the entire summer chasing Kitty Spinetti, the supermarket manager, while Albert’s son, Bob would run the arcade with his girlfriend, Zebra.

    Yes, Sand Point was settling into its normal holiday groove. That is until a fisherman, following the tracks through the mud to the canal, found the body of Mayor Hipflask on the towpath. Just like the fish in the chip shop, he appeared to have been battered.

  2. Holly Geely says:

    MONSTERY, I GUESS
    @hollygeely
    347 words

    “There’s a monster in the garage,” said Martin.

    Martin was, as they say, a “grown-ass man,” and should not have believed in monsters, yet the conviction in his voice was absolute. Rosalie was surprised, because her housemate had always been the practical sort. Had he lost his mind?

    Rosalie wasn’t sure of the protocol in such a situation. Should she say that monsters didn’t exist, or should she humour him? Would his delusions become dangerous if she tried to deny them? He looked as nonchalant as ever, but there was no telling when someone might turn violent.

    “What does it look like?” Rosalie asked.

    “I dunno. Monstery, I guess. It said it’s waiting for nightfall so it can sneak in and murder us in our sleep.”

    “Okay,” Rosalie said.

    “Is it? I thought it sounded kind of rude.” Martin shrugged. “It’s your house, though. I just pay rent.”

    Yes, he’d snapped. Rosalie would have to call someone in the morning. She had his mother’s number; maybe she’d know what to do. Maybe this had happened to Martin in his past. Rosalie had done a background check before taking him as a lodger, but one never knows.

    It took her a long while to fall asleep, and when the blissful rest came, it gave her nightmares. A monster, made of sand and lead paint, tried to eat her toes. It specifically wanted the pinky toes; those were the most delicious. Rosalie had to fight it off with a large blunt object that turned out to be her right arm.

    “It was brutal in there,” the police officer told his partner. “Body pieces everywhere. The girl was holding her right arm in her left hand.”

    “Yuck,” said the partner. “What about the roommate? Did he see anything?”

    “He’s not in good shape. Missing most of his lower half, I think. I tried to ask him a few questions, but he just shrugged and said ‘she should have checked the garage.’”

    “Huh. Wonder what the hell that means?” said the partner.

    They checked the garage, but there was nothing inside.

  3. mariemck1 says:

    Always

    I composed it in the small things, in the tea I brewed and sweetened to your perfection. I wrote it invisible ink, quietly, fingers fluent with practice on a tie that sat askew before I straightened it; in the Sunday stews I seasoned to suit your taste; in the colours grown in the garden.
    You heard it even in the silences I sensed you needed.

    And. It lay beneath every word I spoke. The weather, the baseball, the kids, the daffodils, the beautiful humdrum.
    Fluent in each other’s company.
    And. It drifted along with the words you spoke, the beating wings of the messenger. Mellifluous.

    It’s the cradle we formed
    to ride the peaks and troughs
    of a life like any other.

    Cursive, articulate.
    Tested but never
    broken.

    The invisible words
    we drew just beneath
    breath.

    137 words @elaine173marie

  4. Dull Eyes
    By Angel Allendale
    @AbsoluteSeries
    Words: 360

    Two dull eyes watched occasional beach bums loiter and the rare tourist snap pictures while stray dogs with matted fur sniffed the tidal pools. The thin-paned glass of these eyes was dingy, darkened by car exhaust expelled inside the beachside mechanic shop of Sand Point, Nowhere. Two matching, frustrated-foot kick dented-in aluminum garage doors peered through dawn fog, through afternoon sun, and starlit night onto scenes that rarely changed.

    Tristan the lead mechanic puffed his cigarette one more time, then smudged it out on a garage door before flicking it aside to the pile of similarly discarded butts. He reeled up one of the doors so that the garage was winking at the beach, the only coy moment of their day.

    A listless walk, a careless tossing of tools to the ground, and an occasional soft swear word. Exhaust smudged the simple windows as Tristan angled the old Maserati through the door. He popped the convertible top back and revved the engine. The car coughed without consent. Two dull eyes tracked the waves and empty paths. Tristan gunned the car through the door, across the boardwalk with a clean lunge onto the sand. Crackled shells, ages old, spun out and flicked to the weather-worn wood planks as the Maserati accelerated to the sea. The mangy dogs and stick-legged seagulls hopped aside as Tristan commanded the car, rocking, cracking, careening over tidal pools. Water gasped surprise as the tires soaked into the fresh tide surf, no stop, no stop, water flooding the exhaust, sputtering, diving into the incoming wave, coasting into complete submersion, salt staining the leather interior, splashing Tristan’s face as he instinctively held his breath, then eased it out and the car disappeared into the ocean’s welcoming embrace.

    The lifted garage door rocked a moment, then dropped unceremoniously to the ground with a rattling clang, glass eyes threatening to spill down the rusted siding. The two eyes stared dully out to sea. A momentary anomaly in their daily indifference. Dogs dropped their heads and sniffed the Maserati tracks. No one noticed and the garage doors returned to their silent sentry on Sand Point, Nowhere.

  5. THE END AT THE BEGINNING

    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    357 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    * * *

    George’s phone call was twenty years out of the blue.

    “Sorry it’s late,” he’d said, excitement dripping off every word, “but you’ve got to come meet me, as soon as.”

    I’d have hung up on anyone else, but George and me had a childhood connection. If he was phoning at 3am, I knew it was important.

    So a quick shower, something resembling breakfast, and one plane trip later and I’m stood with my old best friend outside an abandoned garage.

    “I told you it would be worth it,” he chuckles

    The two steel doors look rusted shut. Painted across them it reads ‘SAND POINT’.

    “I thought they were all gone.”

    “Me too,” he replies. “This has to be the last one.”

    “How’d you find it?”

    “You think I’ve been sat on my ass the last twenty years?”

    Despite the happy eyes and wide grin, I see the exhaustion beneath. “Why?”

    He sighs. “Because it’s my fault. Because if I hadn’t written all those damned ‘Sand Point’ novels, if I hadn’t leaked some of that world into this one, then maybe the doorways wouldn’t have started closing.”

    “We talked about this,” I say, placing a hand on his weary shoulder. “We don’t know if that’s why. Could have just been the end of that place.”

    “And yet here’s another doorway.”

    He has a point. Before us is a possible way back to Sand Point, the place we’d spent so much of our time together, where everyone knew us, where nothing ever went wrong.

    Not like in this world.

    “Wendy passed away, what, four, five years ago now?” he says.

    I just nod.

    “There you go. Nothing to keep us here now. If this is the last chance to go back, I’m taking it. I want to end my days there, not here. I want to see the lighthouse, eat at Terry’s Diner, go to the drive-thru. What do you say? You coming?”

    “It’s been so long.”

    He ignores me, steps forward, and nudges the left door up a little. I hear the sound of the fairground and smell the ocean. Memories are stirred.
    Suddenly all hesitation is gone.

  6. davidshakes says:

    Business at Sand Point
    360 words
    @theshakes72
    David Shakes

    A lone gull rests on the roof of the empty warehouse at Sand Point. Cocking its head to one side, it casts an inquisitive eye over the empty lot below. Habit brings it back, though tthe rest of the flock found richer pickings months ago. Machinery now waits to rust, huge bins fill with rainwater and the Dockmaster’s office is empty save for that last few unpaid invoices littering the concrete floor.
    Twin lamps in the distance, getting closer, cutting through the blue dusk. The sound of the engine unsettles our gull and it takes flight to a safer vantage point. A dark van, lights doused, rolls quietly up to the chain-link fence. A passenger, head covered, slips from the van with heavy bolt cutters in hand. Two cuts and the gates slip open under their own weight. The passenger returns and the van slowly rolls forward once more.
    The gull returns to its original post, intrigued by the presence of interlopers in its empty Kingdom. The van stops in front of the dirty windows of the warehouse. Two people emerge – passenger and driver. One taps lightly on the side of the van and a third figure emerges from the hinged rear doors. From the van’s murky interior comes a muffled cry.
    Using the same cutters, the passenger removes padlocks from the warehouse doors. The other two are dragging a hooded figure from the van – hands bound. All four disappear into the warehouse. Our gull is disinterested in their shouted conversation or the fact that things would apparently be quicker if one of them would only talk.
    They don’t talk.
    It isn’t quick.
    Much later, someone emerges to retrieve a tarp from the rear of the van. Later still, there’s a loud splash behind the warehouse – something has been dropped from the dock.
    Three people get into the van and it screeches away, headlamps on full beam.
    Whatever was used to hastily weight the tarp has come loose. It’s content floats to the surface, hands still bound.
    Our gull swoops, landing with caution on the body. It pecks at an eye socket and likes what it tastes.

  7. stephellis2013 says:

    Here be Monsters?

    360 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    When I was small I lived at Sandpoint. There, me and my brother Jacky spent hours digging traps that would capture the monster haunting our seaside town. We ignored our parents who said the creature that stalked Sandpoint was a story told to unheeding youngsters in an effort to keep them close to home, away from dangerous tides and wild woods.

    But me and Jacky knew different, we knew he existed and we were going to catch him. We moved markers warning of shifting sands so that he would be gulped down by the greedy shore and built pits containing rusted poles amongst ancient trees, sharpened spears capable of piercing his devil’s heart. Wherever he walked, we followed.

    “This obsession of yours has got to stop,” said my dad, furious at our torn and grubby appearance. “I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again, it’s just a story, nothing more. If you carry on in this way one or other of you is going to get hurt.”

    We didn’t stop. We went out again. This time to Morgan’s Swamp on the far side of the woods. Perfect monster country. Between us we built a trap to fool even the sharpest eye, we were now masters of our craft.

    Dad caught us sneaking back in and he grounded me. I was the eldest and should know better. Jacky would have to patrol on his own.

    The next morning I woke up to an empty household. Jacky’s room was empty, his bed hadn’t been slept in. I shouted for Mum and Dad but there was no answer. Our neighbour, Mrs Jones, was at our front door talking to the sheriff. Apparently she had been asked to keep an eye on me whilst my parents had gone looking for Jacky. When they hadn’t returned she had called the police.

    “It’s ok,” I said. “The monster’s got them.” Then I went back to bed dreaming up even more elaborate traps.

    And now the others finally believe there’s a monster and they’re keeping me safe, here in my little cell with its iron bars and sturdy lock. No monster will ever get me here.

  8. Working things out
    358 words
    @jeffnuggets

    Last summer the sand point garage was open, everything was as it had always had been. She used to make the short walk from the sea front to visit her father there on her breaks. The car fumes mingling with the smell of frying fish floating in from the front on the breeze was a happy smell. He was in his element here, lost in work, becoming himself.

    Things changed. Customers cut corners, stopped getting their cars serviced. They drifted away, just paying for the bare minimum. Business dried up alarmingly, the garage became driftwood.
    They did not talk about spending any more, just what things cost. They cost more than money too. Money can’t buy you love but the lack of it tore their certainties apart. They were diminished. A nuclear family no more. She stayed loyal. Remained.

    The garage empty, bereft of life, forlorn. He slumped on the sofa or sprawled on his bed. She could not help. What he was waiting for was not coming back soon. He festered. The master of his own schedule before, now no schedule to master. Empty spaces everywhere. The house was full of absence now.

    She threw herself into her work. Kept herself busy. Serving tables was hard work for not much money but with the tips thrown in, she started to save. A chunk of money, sweated for. Hard work, on the move all day. That was not the worst part of it. The lecherous customers were the pits but she blanked it out, endured it.

    She picked up a free second hand car magazine from the supermarket. Casually left it open on the coffee table. A plan of sorts. He glanced at it, sighed and muttered about what good it was without money. She proffered the cash, he took it with a tear in his eye. Squeezed her hand. She left him to his embarrassment, went back to work.

    Later she found the magazine by the phone, a couple of adverts underlined, others crossed through. A tool box had materialised on the kitchen table. An unfamiliar, unhealthy sounding engine coughed and spluttered onto the drive. She smiled.

  9. C Connolly says:

    Destination Sandpoint

    “So, you’re in for something special, then? Or for someone special, perhaps?” The young woman’s brightly coloured nails were poised expectantly over the keyboard, the jangling of the old fashioned bell fading behind them, a white smile showing between her pale pink lips.

    “Sandpoint,” the dark haired man said. One word, quiet, unembellished. His green eyes were looking down into those of the assistant seated before him, intent.

    The saleswoman put a fluorescent finger to one side of her nose and tapped. “Destination of dreams! A once in a lifetime, I’d say! We get a lot of asks, even if there’s not quite as many sales off the back of it as you might imagine. It’s the price that puts folks off, once they’ve got the final figures. Still, interest is interest and word spreads without advertising, you know?” she continued.

    “Fair dos. Is it for yourself we’d be working out a payment programme? We have to ask, you see. You’re aware there’s a screening process before anyone’s allowed to embark or disembark? We’d need personal data disclosure for suitable scrutinisation?” The questions came quickly without an interlude.

    The man nodded without comment.

    “You’ve been before, perhaps?” the woman asked. “A satisfied customer?”

    “I know of those who have,” he replied. “They have no complaints.”

    “We’re here to help,” the woman said. “All part of the service.”

    “I’m familiar with the details,” the man said. “It’s specifically the comprehensive service I was looking at.”

    The woman looked up at her customer, eyes considering, smile firmly fixed. “You’re aware that’s extra and that your results aren’t guaranteed? You’d have to sign a disclaimer should you wish to proceed…”

    “Yes, yes,” the man said. “I’ve been advised of that.” He pushed a piece of paper across the desktop towards the assistant. “I think you’ll find you have everything you need here to start processing the paperwork.”

    “We’ll begin today subject to a down payment,” the salesperson said swiftly, no longer smiling.

    “You’ll have it,” the man said. “Pleasure doing business.”

    The woman shuddered violently as he left. Dreams had a dark side. Nightmares kept her close companion. All in every day business.

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

    (360 words)

  10. What I Would Tell You

    Salty air, asphalt and dry dust, a tang of spilled oil.
    It smells familiar.
    I’ve been here before?
    I’ve been here before.
    When I was seven.
    And I came here with…

    He comes around the corner, not wearing the kind of summer outfit he might have worn on a day like this, a dry summer day in a tourist town.
    He is wearing his suit from my wedding, complete with flower on the lapel.
    He smiles at me and I am ashamed that my face crumples.
    I tell myself to smile back.
    He’s here!
    You can say hello!
    For god’s sake smile!

    But I begin to cry.

    He approaches and holds his hands out for mine.
    I take them.
    I look down at them.

    “Remember when we came here when you were seven? We were supposed to spend an hour out on the water and we spent the whole day.”
    I nod. I want to say that I remember but I can’t speak around the lump in my throat.

    “You said you thought Mom would wonder where we were, but she knew I loved the water, and she knew that you would love whatever I loved. I knew she wouldn’t worry, not even in those pre-cellphone days because she’d want us to be able to fly across the water together. Unencumbered by something as trivial as time.”

    He squeezes my hands and I look up at him.
    He is whole. He is the man from memories and the face from my pictures.
    He is not the man withering under a disease.

    “Shall we?” he asks.
    I nod yes.
    We walk around the building, to the dock and into the rental boat.
    I climb aboard, steady and even thanks to a childhood spent on docks with him.

    Once we are both on board he starts the engine and we glide out into the open water.
    “I’m sorry,” I tell him.
    “There’s nothing to be sorry for,” he replies.
    “I miss you, Dad,” I say, watching his profile against the open water.
    “I miss you, too.”

    And then I wake up.
    And I am broken.
    And yet I am whole.

    359 words
    @caseyrosefrank

  11. zevonesque says:

    The Return to Sand Point

    I’m back in Sand Point for my sister’s birthday; a big one. She never left this sad town, but I guess she never had to.

    I hadn’t seen the double doors of the garage for years; apart from in occasional nightmares. They looked like old eyes, knowing eyes, to me right now. They looked at me with the knowledge of what had happened there all those years ago.

    I shouldn’t have come down this road. I could easily have avoided it. So why have I found myself here now, shivering with anxiety, feeling flashbacks and the growing expectation of a panic attack?

    All those years and I can still hear poor Lucy’s cry. Her scream when Daniel hit her. I’d stood transfixed when he’d done it. My troubled partner in crime. I was just a kid. And so was Daniel. But he was on some serious other plane that boy.
    I wince when I hear the memory of the crunch of broken bone. My eyes close but all I can see is the pulsing blood, hear the coughing. I remember the relief when the coughing stopped, though it meant she was dead. The coughing seemed more alarming.

    Of course then Mr Gordon, Daniel’s father had found us. He’d acted like it was normal. He cleared us out of there. I remember going for pop. I never knew what he did with the body, but I think he had a boat – and some dubious friends.
    Now I’m back in Sand Point this all seems like it was yesterday.

    The wind blows a piece of the garage roof up and down and the clang of metal brings me back to the present. It’s time to move on. To try and forget Lucy and Daniel again and the events of that sticky summer evening. A fragile body crushed into silence with a spade. Crushed and quickly forgotten, erased from my memory until these doors reopened it.

    I hope Daniel’s not here. No more reminders required. The sooner the damn birthday party is over with the sooner I can get home and return to forgetting.

    —–
    WC 352

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