Flash Frenzy Round 109

Posted: May 28, 2016 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Hello again. Glad to see everyone made it through another week and is ready to join in Flash Frenzy Round 109. This weekend’s judge is the esteemed David Shakes.

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. Mark A. King says:

    Ashwin

    @making_fiction

    102 words

    He is the faceless man who carries us to new places.

    In his lens, he captures the megapixels of life.

    In his imagination—he sees the majesty of the mundane, the beauty of the banal—he freeze-frames the world we pass by in our harried blurred excess.

    Like any good parent, he has shown us the world but let us find our own paths and adventures.

    Does he know what he has helped create?

    Infinite worlds that are only conjured thanks to his vision and generosity. He fills an angry hourglass with substance.

    Yet, he asks us for nothing.

    Thank you, Ashwin.

  2. steve lodge says:

    I May Be Stoopid, But I’m Not Clever
    by Steve Lodge
    358 words
    @steveweave71

    Debbie sits on a sofa in a small room. A man leans over her, ripping the tapes off her mouth, wrists and ankles. “Ow, ow. I’m glad they’re off.” She winces.

    He says loudly “Shut up. We ask the questions.”

    Debbie looks up, smiles sweetly. “What part of “Ow, ow. I’m glad they’re off” did you think was a question?”

    “Stop your blah blah. We’re your kidnappers. You are a kid and we have napped you. Hah. The ransom demand is at your Dads’ company Head Office. We’re desperate. I’ll cut off one of your ears and send it to your Dad if I have to.”

    Debbie grins. “You don’t know my dad at all, do you? He has a Degree in arrogance, plus I doubt he’d recognise my ear.”

    The man is getting angry but his fellow conspirator quietens him. “Max, please don’t shout, I’m getting a migraine.”

    Max, frustrated, shouts louder. “I said we use no real names, Lucy, oh dammit.”

    She ignores him. “Max, is it time for your medication? Is your armpit rash back? You’re acting like the time you tried to take your trousers off over your head.”

    Debbie laughing says, “You two should take Awkward Classes. Isn’t there a Helpline for people like you?”

    Max is furious. “It’s time we gave this brat an injection. She’s getting on my nerves.”

    Debbie is not taking this seriously at all. “An injection? Will it help me remember my ATM pin code? Please, let me use your bathroom, I really need to pee. Is the toilet easy to use?”

    Lucy points at a door and Debbie opens it and goes in.

    After a while, Max says sulkily “She’s in there too long.” He goes towards the bathroom. A voice booms from outside.

    “This is Inspector Lo Fat, Sand Point CID. Come out or I send my Urban Rescue team in to hurt you.”

    “We still have the girl.” Shouts Max unconvincingly.

    Lo Fat on the loudhailer interrupts him. “The girl is already in arms of her dad on promenade. Telling him about your incompetence.”

    “Oh Max,” wails Lucy. “Tell me you have a Plan B.”

  3. A V Laidlaw says:

    @AvLaidlaw
    359 Words

    The Weight

    After the funeral, Maria’s dad returns to work at the factory. The sympathy of his boss will only last so long, and there are medical bills to pay. Her mum hangs the black dress in the wardrobe and puts on the apron she always wears for housework. In the evening they sit at the kitchen table, knives chinking against the plates, and discuss moving house now it is over. Maria runs away from home.

    She sneaks onto the bus while the driver counts change for an old woman, and sits behind a boy listening to headphones. Maria taps him on the shoulder to ask what the song is, but he ignores her. The other passengers stare at their phones. Nobody says anything. Maria looks at her reflection in the window: darkness around her eyes, skin so pale it turns translucent. The further she travels, the more insubstantial she becomes.

    Maria gets off the bus at the promenade. It is winter and the tops of the palm trees are wrapped in plastic to save them from the frosts. A grey sky stretches overhead until it merges with the grey sea in a faint mist.

    Her parents brought her here when she was sick, thinking the sea air would help a little. There was little else they could do. And Maria loved walking across the shingle and picking out stones worn smooth by the sea, then later when in the wheelchair, watching the timeless shift of the waves against the beach. The waves still break over the shore. They always will. She could wade into the water, let the sea erode her until there was nothing left at all.

    “Maria!” her dad calls her. He stands with his hands in his pockets, hair ruffled by the breeze. “I knew I’d find you here.”

    “I was afraid you’d forgotten me.”

    “Never.”

    “You’re going to sell the house. As if it didn’t matter.”

    “It doesn’t. Death is such a little thing, compared to love.”

    She leans against the railings. The sea stretches out before her endlessly. “I’m too tired to walk.”

    “I will carry you,” her Dad says. “I will carry you home.”

  4. stephellis2013 says:

    Judgement

    359 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    Corpse candle eyes faded into the distance, occasionally reigniting as the mists shifted to reveal the departing villagers. Behind them lay the ruin of their lives, smouldering, disease-ridden, cursed.

    Marion watched them go, saw the eyes peer out once more as the distance between mother and daughter grew. Her husband, who carried the little girl, never looked back. He had believed their daughter’s lies.

    Once, he had sworn to protect Marion. But then he had been young and strong, now he was older and broken. Misfortune and drink can do that to a man.

    The council too, had been easily swayed, bullied by the Elderman intent on hiding the fact it was his own son who had broken the quarantine, brought in the disease.

    They had needed a scapegoat.

    And who could argue with an innocent child? You only had to look into those eyes of hers, dazzling sapphires, and know she was telling the truth.

    They had bound Marion to a stake, lain the dead at her feet; the enormity of her supposed crimes laid bare.

    The mists parted once more and Marion could see her daughter’s eyes still staring back at her, triumphant, gloating.

    Slowly the flames snaked up through the dead, the smell of burning flesh stinging her nostrils, snapping at the hem of her dress. And then it was upon her … the pain, so much pain … but she remained silent despite her suffering, refused to look away from the girl, cursed her and all those who had condemned her.

    And still the daughter looked, not allowing her father to move on until it was over.

    “Why did you watch?” he asked, shivering now.

    His daughter looked at him. “Why not?” she asked. “Look! The others.”

    A light flickered in the distance. Relieved, her father turned in its direction.

    The temperature dropped as the villagers flocked to this same light, seeing in it only their deliverance. Nobody seemed to realise they were heading the wrong way.

    When the mists eventually cleared, the marsh lay as silent and empty as it had always done. Only one body was ever found, a child with sapphire eyes.

  5. The Park by Jeff Rowlands

    @jeffnuggets

    360 words

    She surveys the scene laid out in front of her. Secure and safe on her father’s shoulders with him holding her legs down so there is no chance of her falling off and hurting herself. The terrace marks the end of the upper level of the park and looks down onto a large lush emerald lawn dotted with flowerbeds, ponds and a boating lake but there is still plenty of room to play and rest. Today is boiling and it seems the whole town has chosen this park. She is queen of this kingdom though. Everything happens as she decrees.

    She smiles as the football game in front of her ends and she sees families setting down blankets, laying out picnics. She points at a mother swan gliding serenely ahead of her little gaggle of cygnets and the bird turns and attends to her young. She nods approvingly. A familiar sound peals from the road outside the park, responding to her mental orders, she knows that she will soon enjoy an ice cream to make her day complete.

    Another pair walk onto the balcony. Another girl carried aloft. The child is unhappy, bored looking. Her father has come to take pictures. The girl imitates waving a wand at the crowds below, wanting them vanished. Then the other girl signals at the sun in the sky and clouds start to appear in the periphery of her vision. She has to stop her malevolence.

    Their fathers turn so they are facing. Both girls gesture simultaneously. Cancelling each other out. Her father starts heading off to the exit. She glances back at the crowds, she waves, urging them to respond. Nothing. Power gone. She sees the other girl wave an imaginary wand again at the crowds below but they remain oblivious. The other girl starts kicking her father in the back until he snaps at her and she whines in complaint.

    As they head out of the park, her father says “sausages tonight sweetheart” patting her legs, she would usually cheer but not now. An image of the ice cream she is not going to eat passes through her head but it passes.

  6. avalinakreska says:

    @KreskaFiction
    360 words

    ‘Patriotic Motifs’

    ‘Darling – when Mummies leave Daddies, then Daddy needs to find a new Mummy.’ Susan squirmed. It was the third Mummy that scared her the most; the second smelled nice and the first used to blow smoke through her nose. Alan checked the chilli; not too hot for Susan, as he stirred he pondered his latest ‘lady love’ – he’d met her three weeks ago while browsing the frozen chips aisle. She was athletic but not too showy. He approved of her while leaning over the deep freeze and decided to join her, calling it a happy coincidence. The woman was looking at a grand prize voucher on a pack of criss – cut chips.
    ‘Go on – you might win it!’ Alan said, not knowing anything about the woman. Three weeks later he had a second date arranged, but he was sweating with fear. As usual, he couldn’t control himself and boasted that he was a ballroom dancer in his youth. Trouble was, she danced ‘Paso Doble’ regularly and he had two left feet.
    ‘All I want to do is practice sweetie. Then Daddy might – ‘
    ‘Daddy might find a Mummy. I know. Why did you buy so many chips Daddy?’
    ‘Never mind honey – look – just wrap your arms around my neck – we’re just pretending remember? So I can dance tonight?’ Susan nodded and clung on while Alan swished around the room, his shirt armpits darkening.
    ‘Why do we need a Mummy?’ Susan whispered curtly in Alan’s ear, he let her to the floor gently.
    ‘Sweetie – we’ve been through this before. What goes best with chips?’
    ‘Sausage.’
    ‘That’s right.’
    ‘What goes best with Daddy?’
    ‘Mummy.’
    ‘You got it.’
    Susan frowned.
    ‘But what goes best with me?’ Alan smiled and continued whirling around the room. Susan put her head on Alan’s shoulder.
    ‘Strawberries and spice – pancakes with pineapple shampoo!’ Alan shouted. Susan laughed loudly. Susan hated them all. She hated them bad.

    Henrietta closed the book.
    ‘Blimey – all it takes is one thing to happen, one, small thing to make a person a serial killer. Amazing isn’t it?’
    ‘Or four small things. A person always has a choice though Henny – people are not ‘born’ killers…’

  7. Mark A. King says:

    Horror Story Number 1

    @making_fiction

    245 words

     

    __________________________________________________

    “Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.”

    ― Stephen King, The Shining

    __________________________________________________

     

    He once touched the hand of God. He once hacked up bile after a heavy night on the JD with Lucifer.

    But now he walks among us. He watches you carry your children, but he knows that they live in a world that is his.

    Sleep in your delusions that you are different. It is too late for them already.

    They say the devil is in the detail. Oh, how ironic it is that we are so freely blind to it.

    Forget the monsters in under the bed, in the woods, in the shadows of the moonlit walks across the moors.

    Forget even the human monsters, in the shower, in the lonely motels, isolated snow-bound hotels, the bedsits, the hostels, the laybys.

    Forget the zombies—actually, don’t forget the zombies—they’re all around you.

    For hell is not the lacerations of lava, the stink of sulphur, brimstone burning bodies—no, sir.

    For hell is the punishing bureaucracy. The meaningless targets. The daily trudge in a job that doesn’t care as much as you care for it.

    It is the sunken depression of first-world people snuggled in comfy beds, good food feeding their bins.

    It is the loyalty schemes, the brand, the marketing, the five-quid cups of coffee.

    It is the IT companies that sell us the dream, while they infect the fabric of everything.

    It is the wanton need for more. More. More.

  8. zevonesque says:

    Memories of Grass and Hope
    A.J. Walker

    I am split. One foot in the here and now, the other in yesterday.
    I am at once east and west.
    I am a sucker-blown rag doll, dusted and grey.
    Which way now?
    The grass cannot be greener.
    For there is no grass.
    I stand between thresholds.
    One way lies hell; I know for I have left it.
    But who is to tell me that a worse hell doesn’t lie beyond?
    Time ebbs and eddies beneath me. Around me.
    My head is gone. Like my home. My life.
    My hope is lost. Sometimes I think it is near.
    I grasp for it.
    But it is smoke in mirrors. Intangible.
    It is not hope in fact, it is fading memories.
    All I have is you. In my arms.
    And that should be enough. You are all.
    You were my all.
    You gave me reason. I had hope for you if not for me.
    You have a future. But where?
    East or west.
    My legs are lead.
    The sound of water brings me comfort.
    Don’t cry.
    Your eyes are mine. But mine never looked so soulful.
    You have seen such evil. Desperation.
    Have faith my child. You have a future.
    You must.
    My faith is lost. Shattered and blasted. Buried in dust.
    I reek under the layers of dust. The dust of bodies.
    You must stay clean.
    Remember I brought you here.
    I cannot go on. Someone will care for you.
    Someone not broken.
    I am unclean.
    Time and water flows around me. It slows.
    I feel lighter.
    Deaths stripped away from me.
    Until there is just one body. Washed up.
    With no-one to remember me but you.
    Perhaps you will.
    Perhaps you shouldn’t.


    WC 284
    @zevonesque

  9. Second Childhood

    by Pleasant Street
    654 words
    @areyouthrilled

    Marion heard David come into the apartment. David walked to the head of her bed. “How is it today Mom?”

    “4. Maybe 4.5.” She smiled and lifted her hand to him, the child of her middle age, nearly 50 when he was born. 85 now. When she was widowed, he moved nearby, only too glad to move away from his ex and the town where he never did get to start a family. “Today is the day. Are you ready?”

    “I’m ready. I don’t want to leave you alone.”

    “I’m not alone. Monica will take care of me.”

    “You’re sure then?”

    “Positive. The sun and earth won’t line up this way with the planets for another 25 years. You have to get to the ley lines we discussed. It’s today or never.” She looks up at the picture of Stonehenge on the wall. “You have the location and all my maps. You will find me. The window is tight, between when I became orphaned and when I was taken to the refugee camp. Promise me you won’t wait. Then I can run again. I’ll have my childhood again. This time with someone I trust.” Her eyes were clear and tired and she let go of his hand. “Go.” David kissed her forehead and left.

    David approached Stonehenge with a photo of his mother from 1945. He was as afraid it would work as much as he feared letting his mother down. Quantum physics was her field, but he trusted her completely. He stepped into the space where he expected to find the portal and braced himself. Taking another step he looked around. He saw no real changes that the naked eye would notice without study. But he followed her instructions, traveling to the town where his grandparents had lost their lives. According to her calculations, he would arrive moments after Marion had left her hiding place to find food.

    He started across the bridge. The town was bombed about but there were no sounds of battle. Suddenly he saw a girl running her heart out, stopping suddenly when she saw him.

    “It’s okay, Marion. I’m here to take you home.”

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