Flash Frenzy Round 115

Posted: November 12, 2016 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , , ,

Hello again! Welcome back to Flash Frenzy! Your Round 115 judge 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. A V Laidlaw says:

    @AvLaidlaw
    354 Words

    The Last Fires Of The Fall

    Me and the dog, we just drive from one town to the next in the rust bucket Winnebago, just follow all those stars spread out across the firmament. I’m an old man now and Sonny’s my last dog.

    When we get to a town, I let Sonny out and he goes sniffing around in the dust with his tail swishing back and forth. That’s what I like about dogs. Just give them some scraps to eat and tickle them behind the ears and they’re happy as spring lambs. Innocent. I asked a preacher about it once, back in the old days, and he said animals were in a state of grace just like Adam and Eve before that dirt crawling serpent got a hold of them.

    The children watch from the shadows of the houses. I remember kids how they used to be, kind of chubby like they were all swollen up with life but these are skinny like they got old before their time. They watch with eyes big as headlamps. Never seen a dog before. When folk started dying from the virus, they blamed the animals for carrying from one place to the next. They killed the birds first, then the rats and the deer. They called it a cull like it didn’t matter. They killed the cows and the sheep, then the cats and the dogs. I remember the funeral pyres, the crackle of flesh burning and the pillars of smoke that hid the sun. I coughed up black phlegm for days after.

    I could only save a few and from all their litters only Sonny made it. He don’t seem to mind much. Like that old priest said, he’s in a state of grace.

    One of the kids darts out from the shadows and strokes Sonny’s head, lets Sonny lick his hand for the salt, then runs back into the darkness. The others don’t move. They’re scared. But that one kid, he’s smiling. Don’t see that much these days. Sonny and me get back in the Winnebago and drive on, just following all those stars spread out across the firmament.

  2. alva1206 says:

    Alva Holland
    @Alva1206
    360 words

    Mabel and Ron. Stella and Roger.

    ‘She’s left the dog again, Ron.’ It’s daylight and she’s not back.’

    ‘Oh, leave them be, Mabel. How d’you know she’s not back? She’s probably sleeping.’

    ‘Sleeping? Ha! That one. She don’t sleep, Ron. She works the night and disappears in the day, leaving that poor dog. Yesterday, I filled his water bowl and let the latch off the door. What the hell is she doing with a dog if she can’t look after him. I’m going over there Ron.’

    ‘Go then, but if she comes screaming at you, don’t come running to me, Mabel. She’s a wild one alright, and wild ones are best left to their wild lives. No sense in trying to tame them to your way of thinking. But I’m wasting my time and yours telling you this – off with you. You mind how you go now, Mabel.’

    Compared to their neighbor’s rust-bucket camper-van, Ron and Mabel’s was a palace on wheels. With chintz curtains on all the windows, a roll-up blind on the windscreen and the entire van painted a pale blue with navy stripes as detail, Mabel was always ashamed to be parked next to scruffy Stella with her duct-taped doors and windows, flaking paint, chalkboard side and rusty sidings. As she sidled up to the window where the old dog’s head was hanging out, she heard him whimper, a meek pitiful grizzle.

    ‘I should get Ron now, shouldn’t I, boy? There’s something wrong, isn’t there, old chap? Where’s Stella, eh? Where’s that useless mistress of yours?’ Roger growled, a low guttural sound.

    Mabel went to the door of the camper-van. With a bad feeling and a fear growing in her belly, she rapped loudly. ‘Stella! Are you in there?’ For god’s sake, Stella, open the door.

    Mabel could hear the animal scratching and whining inside. She flipped the latch and the door creaked open. Roger limped down the steps to his bowl while Mabel peered into the darkness behind him. The smell knocked her flat onto the ground.

    A few minutes later, a shivering Mabel woke Ron in his chair. ‘You were right, Ron, she’s sleeping, but for good this time. Call 911.’

  3. @bartvangoethem
    3 words

    The Big Move

    Fuck! Trump won?

    (Out of competition, because I believe in the 360 word rule. But it’s the only thing I can think of.)

  4. Richard Edenfield says:

    Byron & John Keats on the Road
    ________________________________

    I run a mobile library. I bought an old Winnebago and stocked it with books. All the classics and new books, to. I was a teacher. Then a writer. And a part-time librarian. My name is John Keats. My mother was an aspiring poetess and named me after the romantic master of verse. My dog is named Byron.

    I travel across the country and mostly give books away. Or I stay for a while and people come into my library and read. Sometimes I will give short lectures outside my vehicle on poetry or the ambitions of literature through history. I set up a chalk board that I attached to the side of my library for when I have classes. I try to find people and places that could benefit from Wilde’s ‘Intentions,’ or Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass,’ or Richard Bach’s ‘Johnathan Livingston Seagull.’ and the children love when Byron howls every time I say the phrase, “I sing the body electric!” Byron… the dog, is a great poet, though frequently his works are poorly translated.

    Occasionally, I get large crowds of people who are having hard times. Children experiencing terrible poverty. So I read to them poetry about Italian countryside’s with sunsets raising the ocean like a lantern. Or magical places where the heart can soar on golden wings of starlight wishes. Their wide eyes would blink as if they were sowing moments together into a warm blanket of wonder and imagination that would protect them from their cold hard reality.

    And Byron will frequently stick his head out the window as we are traveling down some rural road someplace unknown and yelp at the top of his lungs some great sonnet of love and redemption with the wind pinning his ears back. It is moments like this when I feel free. With the books rattling on the shelves. And a map on my lap that sits like some great novel worn at the edges but still pointing me in the direction of some great new hope. The sound of pages fluttering like angel wings learning to fly in some new heaven.
    ________________________

    (354 words)

  5. Angelique Pacheco says:

    Word Count: 276

    A Dog’s Life

    So my friends and I decided to take a road trip. We packed up our gear into an old rented trailer and set off on the greatest adventure of our lives. Charles M Schulz once said, “Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. Sigh There’s so little hope for advancement. ” It had been ruff lately and we needed some time out. Max jumped up and down in mad excitement, making a general nuisance of himself, Lenny chased his tail continuously and Rex kept making bad jokes. “Did ya hear the one about the two fleas coming out of the bar? One asks the other, do we take a dog or do we walk home?” Layla sat haughtily in the corner and I’ve often wondered if poodles belong to some weird religious cult. A fly flew past my nose and I snapped at it. Three hours into the adventure and I was getting hot and uncomfortable. I felt my nose. It was cold and wet, a good sign. I asked Lenny if he could stop chasing his tail for a minute and open the windows. We drank bowls of water and gnawed on raw-hide bones for lunch. We took the road less traveled and did not see a soul for a long time, all the while enjoying the vistas that lay before us. We were about to come into a town when I saw a human on the side of the road urinating against a tree. I whipped my head out the window and yelled,” stop using our wee-mail!” I mean, seriously! Some people have no manners.

  6. stephellis2013 says:

    Ragnarok

    358 words

    @el_Stevie

    The convoy came to a halt, stringing their vehicles across the motorway, building a barricade against those who were coming. The occupants clambered on roofs and bonnets, swapping jokes and horror stories with drinks and cigarettes, bonding over shared experiences and the one that was yet to come.

    Freyr glanced at his old camper van. It had served him well but now it was time to let go. Loki was still prowling unhappily inside, occasionally sticking his head out of the window to assess the situation. So far he had appeared as a rabbit, a snake and a gorilla. Now he was a dog. It was a sign. Soon he would appear in his wolf form and then all would end. Not for the first time Freyr wondered why he hadn’t let the hound rot in the Thai jail in which he had first been incarcerated but … he was a God and had to be treated as such and so he had travelled with them. Something Freyr was sure Odin would regret. The Lord of the Gallows had never been able to resist puppy dog eyes.

    Ragnarok.

    That vision had been of Viking armies, of puny peasants, of Jotunns and wolves and dwarves and trolls fighting out the end of days. But it was never going to be like that. Snorri Sturluson had got that bit wrong.

    Instead they were reduced to rusted trucks with dreadlocked potheads. He searched for Odin. Saw him reclining on the roof of his van, catching some rays, his one eye turned towards the sun. The All-Father had gathered them together for this final adventure.

    The world was shaking. In the Americas, in Europe, all across Midgard, voices had started to howl. Freyr watched as Heimdall tossed an empty JD bottle into the grass and raised the Gjallarhorn to his lips. It was time to put an end to this human nonsense and start again. From the depths, the serpent started to rise and the wolf broke its bonds. In Wall Street, Surtr struck a match and fire spread across the globe. Hel stretched and smiled and prepared her hall for guests.

  7. Wag this Tale Off

    Jump onto the bed. One more stick-nose out the window. One more nostril quiver. What, what, what, what, what can I smell? He’s comin’. He’s on his weigh up the path. He’s back! My you-man.
    My tale, oh, oh, oh, my tale!
    Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. WALK!
    He’s too-slow carrying heavy brags. I’ll jump up, leap up and lick, lick, lick his face. Oh, oh, oh, I can’t stand it, it’s too much, too much. Two much. Me and ‘im.
    My you-man will want to sag and sit. I’ll put my ‘ed on his knee and show ‘im my brown eyes. His hands will grab me and scruff me right up. Big, big, big grins. Our eyes will meat and he’ll know what I whant.
    Not them who stop to read my you-man’s chalky messages. Them who think he’s not right. Not them what whant to move us on, truck ‘an all. Don’t want them. I want …
    … walk. WALK!!!
    He IS right. He’s very right. They don’t know my you-man. Or they wouldn’t laugh at his chalkies. They’d say he was right. Very, very right.
    Woof! Woooof! I’m a dog, a doggie. A flesh-and-bone Flash Doggy-dog. I bark at ‘em. Leave uz alone. He don’t ‘urt you, you don’t ‘urt him.
    Jump on bed. Stick-nose. Nostril quiver. Let. Me. OUT.
    Oh, the ground, the leaves, the wet, the smells, the smells, the smells, the smells, the path, the mud, the water, the cold, the air, the smells, the smells, the smells.
    Here he IS. I’ve been stuck in here forevva. Longer ‘un that maybee.
    Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. WALK! OUT! WALK! OUT!
    Then once we’re tyred and back safe in the truck I’ll have m’ nose in the brags. Time for food, food, food, food, food, food, food, FOOD! You-man, give me grub. Chomp, chomp, chomp. Slurp, slurp, slurp.
    Here he is. Here he is! I can hear him chalkin’ & talkin’ and laughin’ at me.
    Can’t STAND it! Woof. Wooooof! I’m going to wag this tale right off soon. Oh yes. Ah YES!
    The door … the DOOR! WALKKKKKKKKKKK!

    @SalnPage
    #FlashDoggy
    360 words

  8. Steve Lodge
    @steveweave71
    359 words.

    Sparrowditch. The Beginning.

    Buoyed by my recent success in a tea bag eating contest representing Burnoe Celtic on the Sparrowditch Cricket field, I asked the barmaid at the Owl In The Rafters, Barbara Coxon, if I could take her to the cinema in Seamist Bay. She seemed interested and asked what films were on. Here I made my mistake. I should have said “I don’t know but I’ll find out.” but what I did say was “I don’t care.” while grinning lasciviously. Oops.

    I can’t go around making dumb mistakes like that. I don’t have many options when it comes to girlfriends. I don’t have a lot going for me after my breakdown. Let’s see, I live in a mobile home that is no longer mobile. It’s parked in a layby beside the Sparrowditch to Hawkmeadow bypass. Like me, the van had a breakdown and I have no money to fix it. I think that the only thing keeping the van together is the rust holding hands.

    I turned it into a burger van. Couple of locals getting food poisoning got me shut down, but my dog, Waggles, never got sick and I was always tossing sausages or burgers to him, when trade got slack and I’d cooked too many.

    I started doing some gardening for Mr Irvine and that led to other jobs at a couple of the bigger places up Redmask Hill. One Saturday in May I was walking up the Hill to do some gardening for Mr Irvine when police cars raced past and screeched to a halt outside the house of Mr and Mrs Joyce.

    The Joyces and their daughter, Brenda had been viciously murdered. The next week a local guy, Peterson or some such was found hanged in the woods. I think the police assumed he’d killed himself from remorse after murdering the Joyce family. Finding his body certainly took the heat off me. A loner living in a broken-down burger van with a dog. I’d have been top of the list of usual suspects to round up. Then what would have happened to Waggles?

    I wonder when they’ll find those two bodies in the cricket pavilion?

  9. mrmacrum says:

    Idiosyncrasies – 360 words

    I have endeavored to behave myself these many years though Temptation lurked around every bend. Maybe knowing my heart was always in the right place when my actions were not will soften your harsh judgment. I did try to follow the true path.

    My parents attempted to do right by me. They even relocated to this game flush environment to teach me how to hunt, what to hunt, and when to hunt. But from my earliest recollection, I favored the game more wary rather than the awkward clueless creatures my kind favored. It never seemed a fair contest, culling from such oblivious herd animals. The challenge was what I lived for, not the guaranteed meat in every pot our kind had settled on.

    Mom promised my idiosyncrasies would pass when I became an adult. Just growing pains she said. She was wrong. I was in my 30’s when I stopped resisting and embraced my urges. I decided I was but existing for existence’s sake. Taking up space, living a treadmill life. There was no challenge in living. So, I separated from the clan and went my own way.

    Word got around. I became a pariah, no longer welcome at the tables of the many clans scattered hither and yon. I did not mind. Listening to them justify their slovenly lifestyle by invoking entitlement and superiority made me want to gag. Besides, by that time, I had lost my taste for hairless two legged domestic animals. Sustenance was more than a full belly, I needed to feed my soul as well.

    I left behind the comfortable life my kind had created. For the first time in my life, I found comfort in being uncomfortable. I embraced the uncertainty of where my next meal might come from. I was finally outside the box and I loved it.

    I would love to stay and chat, but I am hungry and a nice couple in a RV has just taken up residence near my edge of the woods. And Look. They have a dog. A big Pitbull.

    If they let him loose, looks like dinner is served. But I will have to earn it.

  10. Richard Edenfield says:

    931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy,
    Charlottesville, VA 22902
    _______________________________

    That’s it.

    Got the dog the food the last remnants of 18 and took off for the last piece of America that I knew a place where my friends and I would break into and occupy as if it was its own country a place with a fizzle of light still remaining & would take the Declaration of Independence to heart like a bullseye worn on the sleeve of a cardiovascular surgeon.

    We had guns we had grenades and we had three cords and the truth. Our broken down country moved along the road on bald tires with the moustache of a squirrel I had just run over. This was our plan. Take it over. Plant homemade bombs and get in the news. Show what this country blows up for.

    I did not have power steering. In fact, you had to be a weight lifer just to steer this damn thing. The brakes did not work all the time. The blinkers acted like a whore on acid picking up a sailor underwater.

    Finally arrived. We parked and made our way up a hill. We had our weapons and were ready. The fall trees swayed like a hangover and the sun made a long curve around a hillside. I saw some people up ahead. Some children holding hands with their parents. Eyes were wide as they approached the home on the hill. There was America in those eyes. Like looking at a large piece of candy always in the distance resembling a rainbow of shadows.

    We were ready to take back our country. Take it back from left- right-up-down-sideways…whatever. We needed to go back to source. We needed to make a symbolic gesture. We needed our address back.

    We stood at the front door of Monticello with a tour guide as families looked on with fear, wondering what would become of their nation. Then a man rode up on horseback. His hair was red and shimmering in the light.

    “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

    Then he rode away.

    We decided to fight another way.
    ________________________________

    (356 words)

  11. @stellakateT
    291 words
    Nature versus Nurture

    We all looked forward to the rat catcher and his dog visiting our farm. They came in an old battered van, old man with his young eager terrier. He’d put his nose in the air smell the scent then be under the sheds returning with a rat in exchange for a dog treat. We kids would watch in wonder as he kept bringing out the trophies until the time he didn’t come out. The rat catcher whistled, yelled, stamped his staff on the ground even cried tears but the dog had disappeared. We all watched the old van drive out of the village heading for the town. The rat catcher said it was inexperience but my Granny shook her head and crossed herself twice.

    No one visits now. The rats are huge with piecing eyes, sharp teeth and long claws that can shred skin in seconds. No goes near the sheds apart from my father. He wears a huge crucifix suspended from a thick gold chain blessed by the Pope. He feeds the rats and they leave us alone. No one has seen these king rats but my father tells us all how strong and powerful they are. We shudder and imagine being eaten in our nightmares.

    We didn’t know about the rat poison my father had bought years ago. We didn’t know he’d trapped the rat catcher’s dog like a rabbit. We didn’t know what he was growing in those sheds. We crossed ourselves when we left our home and thanked God when we returned safely. We never saw the smile on our father’s face when he sold his crop and stashed the money under the floor boards. Nurturing our fears, we lost our childhood to the God of Greed.

  12. Mark A. King says:

    He looks like the Dog’s B*ll*cks in the Light of the Super-moon

    @making_fiction

    143 words

     

    ——————————————

     

     

    He’s no werewolf, but in the light of the super-moon the power of life wraps around him like a Faraday cage.

    He didn’t think he’d make it this far.

    He was supposed to be dead four months back.

    Sick as a dog, every minute of every day.

    The toilet bowl the cold acquaintance he’s hugged for lonely hours on end.

    The chemo poison has taken its fill.

    He looks at his new-born daughter bathed in the silver-blue pool of moonlight. He holds her close. Buffers her against the oncoming winds.

    He never thought he would see her.

    Every minute with her is rapture.

    Every inhale a blessing.

    Every exhale…

    In her features, he sees himself.

    In her future, he sees his life continue.

    To some, he’s a gaunt stickman, barely alive.

    In her eyes, his reflection.

    In this moment, he feels like the mutt’s nuts. The dog’s bollocks.

    He holds her close and hopes the moment will never end.

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