Flash Frenzy Round 105

Posted: April 30, 2016 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
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Happy Saturday and welcome to Flash Frenzy Round 105. Our judge this weekend is A.J. Walker.

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. After School
    By Daisy Warwick
    359 Words

    “Should we go home soon?” asked Darren.
    “Not yet,” replied his younger brother, Tony.
    “I’ve got homework due for tomorrow,” said Darren. He wasn’t in a rush to go home either, but he figured that saying out loud that he had commitments was the right thing to do.
    Tony shrugged and swung his legs restlessly.
    “Okay, we’ll stay another twenty minutes,” said Darren.
    Tony shrugged again.
    It wasn’t unusual for Darren and Tony to sit on the scaffolding of the abandoned housing project on the edge of town.
    They sat quietly and Darren knew they were both scrutinising the people getting in and out of their cars in the distance.
    “Do you think Mum still drives a KA?” asked Tony.
    It was Darren’s turn to shrug, but every time he spotted a silver KA he always examined it closely to see if it was their mother’s. He hoped that she was sensible and had changed her car. Although, if she was really sensible, she wouldn’t still be driving around Shilby.
    Tony chewed his lip pensively.
    “Shall we eat here?” he said, unzipping his rucksack and offering Darren half a ham sandwich.
    Darren waved it away. He’d not been able to stomach much food since his mother had left, and he knew Tony hadn’t hung around for breakfast that morning.
    “Keep it. You’ll never grow as tall as me if you only eat half sandwiches.”
    Tony nibbled at the ham before breaking the bread into pieces and offering it to a pigeon.
    “Come on. It’s time,” said Darren.
    Giving each other a knowing look, Darren turned his key in the front door.
    “Where’s Dad?” whispered Tony.
    Darren ignored the reflection of his bruised eye-socket as he passed the hall mirror. The house appeared empty. He breathed a sigh of relief.
    “I think he’s already at the pub.”
    Tony switched the kettle on.
    “Do your homework while you can.”
    “Make some extra sandwiches for tomorrow then,” said Darren. He knew that if they were going to last another two years living with that drunk asshole, their survival would depend on good planning.
    Tony nodded and Darren knew they agreed on that.

  2. Richard Edenfield says:

    Purple Rain and Sunshine
    Hitchhiking a Bridge Driven by
    Alexander Hamilton


    Bricks as heavy as moments piled one on top of the other as the day started to build itself at 6am creating a light castle as a great shadow lifted itself from the ground exposing the grand structure of Sunday, June 25th, 1959.

    In a small town you are always looking for the largest thing you can find: biggest slice of pizza, a movie theater lit up with a big budget flick; Lisa Meyers’ breasts. And a bridge. A sign said it was built by Mr. Alexander Jay Hamilton of Wishbone Falls. Every Sunday I ate deviled ham sandwiches with my little brother on that bridge. We collected 45 records and threw them off that same bridge as if tiny black suns bringing a soliloquy of midnight to a tiny traditional place.

    We woke early. He came into my room half asleep with his backpack and we loaded singles into the bag. Understand, these were songs we loved; Elvis, Buddy Holly; etc. It was a sort of religious sacrifice. The police wondered where the records came from. They’d no idea that boredom was a form of passive aggressive terrorism. Then we went to the bridge. Water clinging below grooved like life with a bullet. It climbed the charts till it hit town and made its way to musical oblivion.

    I threw Jerry Lee Lewis. Then James Brown. They flew as they twisted and turned hitting the water below as they floated downstream. We ran out of records and then came home.

    April 30th, 2016. The town had changed but the bridge was still there. There was some graffiti. I lived in the home I inherited. My brother was visiting. He woke coming into my room with some records. We went to the bridge. We started to throw copies of Purple Rain albums over the side. They flew through the air with a majesty of a hearts solo spinning black doves toward the perfect light of heavens turntable. We sat on our modest wooden rainbow watching them swim to shore. Some music survived in the river of time and some didn’t. A young boy reached down and saved June 25th, 1984.


    (360 words)

  3. What They Expect of a Monster

    They took Mother away, treating her like a bag of garbage, loading up the van, pulling tarpaulin over. She’d have hated the manhandling, the laughter and jokes. They didn’t know I was here. She’d protected me well, right up to her dying day.
    We’re not like the others. We’ve had to hide ourselves away, safe from folk who stared at us, shocked and repulsed. Once I would peep from behind mother’s batwing arms to admire their blond curls, delicate noses and sylph-like bodies.
    I hid in shadows when those boys come down here to smoke and drink. They talked and laughed. I got used to their company, even though they were unaware of my presence.
    Then – I was careless – they saw me. I tried to greet them but our smiles have never worked. I’ve only ever had one pair of teeth. Stunned at first, together they were fearless, calling me names, throwing sharpened sticks, stinging stones and half-bricks. They crept close to me, then dodged away laughing. I’d lash out, angry and confused. Their laughter echoed as if there were a hundred boys rather than a dozen. They tried to lift the massive stone that hid mother’s treasures but none was strong enough.
    Night after night they returned. They lit a fire, filled bottles with petrol and threw them, setting my clothes alight. I lay steaming in a puddle to put them out. They stood in the shadows chanting.

    Evil Old Hag.

    I’ve been in this puddle for ages; at rock bottom and my tether’s end. Darkness falls and the boys gradually drift away. I bide my time till just a pair linger, poking at the fire’s embers. I drag myself out of my puddle and fetch mother’s hacksaw from under the stone.
    They’re weedy little kids really. I nail these up to warn the others off.
    This is my space. My home. It’s what they expect of a monster. Just like mother before me.
    No. Not quite. She nailed up the heads. Call me over-sensitive – squeamish even – but I just couldn’t.
    Their limbs swing. Blood drips down as the sun comes up.

    360 words

  4. steve lodge says:

    Cast A Spell
    by Steve Lodge
    (359 words)

    “I’ll be honest with you, Tom. I think we really pissed Mary Poppins off this time. We’ve been stuck up here very near the sky for hours now. She ain’t coming back to rescue us. Your idea of filling her handbag with “more spoons full of sugar than she can shake her wand at” has finally pushed her over the edge. Well done, genius. As a big brother, you are at times woeful.”

    Tom half smiled. “Alright, Danny boy. Maybe it was excessive retribution, but no matter how many times she scolds me, I will never be able to say supercali..what not..super..oh forget it, what’s in your rucksack?”

    “I dare not look,” Danny said. “She packed it after she found the sugar in her bag.”

    Tom wasn’t looking too good. “Yeah, well maybe she’ll send that chimney sweep guy she knows to save us. He’s good at running over rooftops.”

    Danny shook his head. “You mean the one with the fake Cockney accent? He hasn’t talked to us since he caught you burying his cat.”

    The look on Toms face showed that he was reminded of that incident. “I genuinely thought it was dead. Anyway, let’s close our eyes and think. That’s when I do my best thinking.”

    The silence is broken about a minute later by Tom singing. “Raindrops on rose…”

    “Can I quickly stop you there, Tom? Different film, bro. Different film.”

    Danny opens the rucksack. “There’s some kind of whistle on the top here. Never saw that before.”

    Tom half shouted. “Maybe it’s a magic whistle. Blow it. It may get us off this thing. I’m starting to feel sick up here. Hey, maybe if I vomit someone way down there on the street will look up and see us.”

    “Or…or they’ll think a squadron of birds has just crapped and run for cover.”

    Toms face was turning a bit green. “Maybe the magic whistle is our best option.”

    Danny looked puzzled. “Who said it was magic?”

    Tom is now the colour of puke green. “It’s from her. Everything is magic.”

    “Now you realise that,” said a voice behind them. “It’s time to take you home.”

  5. @firdausp
    (360 words)

    Wilted flowers

    My mother was beautiful, her black hair hung below her waist. I loved her voice as she hummed around the kitchen. I used to watch in fascination how my father’s eyes followed her. She was also so gentle and loving towards him. I could see how besotted they were.
    I was nine and my sister was six, when my father became very ill. He was usually at the hospital and finally couldn’t move without a wheelchair.
    I watched my mother struggle to make ends meet. She worked two jobs, but it was never enough. The hospital bills kept mounting.
    That’s when my sister and I first started ‘camping’ in the attic on weekends and sometimes weekdays.
    The first time though, I didn’t understand why we were given a backpack with food, water and other necessities. We were told to stay in the attic, in fact we were locked inside. The whole afternoon we spent there, sitting on the ledge of the window, our feet dangling over the backyard. We could hear voices and laughter from downstairs, and also smell cigarette smoke. Father never smoked, so we wondered who was visiting.
    This became a ritual every weekend. We even moved the TV to the attic.
    I saw the change in the way father looked at mother. They never looked directly at each other. Father became a grouch, always complaining and grumbling. Mother seemed to be walking in a trance. She stopped singing. We had good food and clothes, so I didn’t make a fuss about the attic thing.
    One evening, on a weekday, a man wearing expensive clothes came to our house. I watched in horror as he pulled my mother close and kissed her. I looked at my father, he sat there like a statue. Mother pushed the man away and came to me, her eyes held panic.
    “Go camping, sweetheart,” she pleaded.
    I felt the urgency. Taking my sister’s hand I ran up to the attic and locked us in.
    A week later father died of an overdose of sleeping pills. We shifted to another city.
    I visit my mother sometimes, she’s still beautiful, like a book pressed flower.

  6. mariemck1 says:

    The Escape
    Elle perched on the bridge, her feet dangling back and forwards as she looked across the estate.
    Dazzling midnight had smudged, and this place smelled grey again. It wasn’t where she wanted to spend an entire lifetime.
    The biting cold had made claws of her fingers, and she’d struggled to fasten the buttons on the change of clothes she’d brought. Her hands were thrust into her pockets, now, two cold knots pressing against her. But she’d be on the move soon. She just wanted to look at the place one final time.
    Who would miss her? The birds she chucked stale bread at might. Her step-sisters’ stomachs might. Her useless, hen-pecked Dad would only dither himself into more inaction.
    Into her rucksack, she tucked away the slipper she still had. A reminder of a narrow escape.
    She had made sure the trainers were a couple of sizes too big for her, a couple of pairs of thick socks on as well. That way they wouldn’t think to stop her at the border.
    It was time. She stood up on to her feet, feet she was sure hadn’t been made to keep her here.

    192 words

  7. A V Laidlaw says:

    354 Words


    He never wanted to go home. “Things aren’t good there,” he said. “My Dad.” He didn’t have to say any more. We all got grief from our parents – about girls, our clothes, the floor thumping music – but Mike’s dad was a regular bible-nut full of pious vinegar. Wouldn’t let Mike play music at home. Wouldn’t let him see girls. Even I was suspect. A bad influence.

    So we sat on the edge of the bridge for hours after school. Mike kept his home clothes in a bag and wore a denim jacket and converse all-stars in tribute to Kurt Cobain. My brother was down from University so I’d stolen a little weed that we smoked as we swung our legs in the air and watched the river flow beneath us.

    “I want to see an otter,” Mike said.

    “Water’s too dirty round here.”

    “I saw one on the news. It was so beautiful, swimming through the water.”

    “If you could swim anywhere you wanted, why would you live in a shit-hole like this?”

    We let hours pass this way. The sun sunk lower. A thin darkness spread from the shadows across the river.

    “Over there.” Mike stretched one hand out, index finger shivering, towards the bank of the river.

    “It’s a dead branch, Mike. It’s getting late.”

    “I don’t want to go.”

    “You can change at my place.”

    He clasped his hand lightly over mine. Then we kissed, my hand holding the back of his head, my fingers digging into the hard muscles of his neck.

    I never spoke to him at school. Made jokes about him to the other boys behind his back. You do at that age. You’re too scared, too uncertain, to do anything else. But we came back to the bridge every evening and watched the river flow underneath until we were too old for school. Too old for any of it.

    I walk over the bridge every day, on my way home from the office. The river’s been cleaned up, all the mud and rubbish dredged, water lilies growing on the banks. Sometimes you see otters playing.

  8. C Connolly says:

    Trial and Errors

    Maister Allen tapped the burnished surface peremptorily. “You know of what you stand accused?” he demanded of the woman standing before him.

    “Darkspeak,” the thin figure in drab grey robes responded, dark eyes staring into those of the suited man, from beyond straggly, greasy hair.

    “We have our eyes, ever,” the Maister continued. “Ware furnishing the court with lies when we sift the truth from among them.”

    “Then you have no need of testimony,” the woman spat. “You know all already. Ought I would offer would furnish nought of worth.”

    “We will have it, though,” the Maister told her. “Where we can – and can will it.”

    “Such dealing in a Darkspeak of your own is compelling. Of that I have no doubt,” the woman replied, scoffing.

    “Backspeak,” Maister Allen said quickly. “Add it to the itinerary.” Scratches sounded as the scribe’s pen added lines to the paper listing the woman’s crimes. “Bring the child,” the Maister snapped. “She will see the accused as she speaks.”

    A door opened at the side of the room, allowing a tall man and much smaller figure to enter. The adult dragged the child across the threshold, as her heels scuffed the floor, kicking.

    “Set her on the table,” Maister Allen ordered. “Hands against the Book.”

    “Have no fear,” the woman said to her daughter. The child’s lips trembled, nails scratching against the open pages.

    “Your pleading?” Maister Allen asked. The woman was silent. “Let the record reflect that the accused refuses to answer to her charges,” he continued.

    “The outcome is pre written,” the woman stated simply. “I see it already.”

    “Magespeak!” the man added. “Write that with the others too.” The pen scratched additional lines causing the scripted list to grow.

    “Do not worry,” the woman said again to the child. “All is well.”

    “She will be suspended with your words,”Maister Allen said. “Until gone. Your hands will be bound for Illspeak, if needs be. Now say you, how you will speak?”

    “Mama, what must I do?” the child pleaded.

    “Blackspeak breeds ill deeds, eventually,” her mother responded. “The truth has told itself clear already.”

    The girl nodded, fingers remaining outstretched, expectant.

    (360 words)


  9. davidshakes says:

    Je Suis…

    39 words
    David Shakes

    ‘Yes Andy?’
    ‘Why are we sat here?’
    ‘You know why mate!’
    ‘Because of that bet?’
    ‘Yep, and..?’
    ‘All that beer?’
    Yep, and..?’
    ‘She’ll know you’re drunk because you’ll attempt to speak French?’
    ‘Exactly mate – je suis in trouble.’

  10. Voima Oy says:

    Queen of the May
    360 words

    He liked his new sneakers, though the laces kept coming untied, and after a hike to the lake, they didn’t look so new anymore. The mud of May still held the April rains. What did he care, a boy who tore holes in his jeans? His sister honed her thrift-shop skills finding him replacements.

    He was proud of his sister, Maggie. She had been chosen Queen of the May. But why did Dad and Mom look so serious? Why did they cry as she cut up onions in the kitchen?

    Maggie said it was an honor, but she didn’t look so happy, either. There was a boy involved. His name was Darren and he came from Packing Town. They were going to be married, Maggie explained.

    “Darren will ride a white horse, and wear a crown of oak leaves. I will wear violets and daffodils. Then I will go live with him and his family in Packing Town.”

    “Why do you have to go?”

    “It is the law. The trade agreement is very old.”

    “I don’t care! It’s not fair.”

    Maggie sighed. “Some day, you’ll understand.”

    The first day of May was cold and cloudy, but the trees were very green. Maggie wore a long white dress, with violets in her hair. Her friends from school surrounded her, smoothing her dress, arranging the daffodils. People chattered nervously, awaiting the arrival of the boy from Packing Town.

    “Here they come!” someone shouted. Dogs barked as the parade of horses and riders marched in the mud of Main Street. Everyone was dressed in green, their faces obscured by masks of animals–foxes, badgers and rabbits. Then came the King for a Day, riding a white horse, who on other days, might have pulled a milk cart. The King, under his crown of oak leaves, looked only a little older than the boy himself.

    “There was much sickness there over the winter,” someone whispered.

    Darren fumbled in his pockets for the little gold ring. Maggie gave him a reassuring smile. Vows were exchanged.

    The two families embraced. There was a pot-luck supper.

    “Come visit me,” Maggie whispered. She waved as she rode away.

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