Posts Tagged ‘flash fiction’


Fireworks=Off-Limits by Bethany Jean

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Nick stared down the length of the piano toward where Penny lay on her back under a truck. Next to her lay Alec who explained the workings of the brightly colored vehicle. Penny nodded with a smile.

Nick turned his back on them, and tried to focus on guarding the perimeter, but he seethed. Tentacles of anger squirmed through his body like a squid filling all the recesses. Alec got to spend so much time with Penny, but that shouldn’t be a problem for Nick; feelings for her were off-limits.

Penny wriggled out from under the truck, and swiped a greasy palm down the windshield, laughing as Alec glared at her furiously.

Nick stared out the window on the far side of the room. Vapor was rising from the ground making it hard to see anything. He shivered. In this dream-like night anything could happen. Not that really dangerous things happened very often.

Suddenly a crackling sound came over the radio. “Nick, we’ve got a man down. We need you on the west side of the rug.”

Grabbing up his baton shaped weapon, and shaking his dreadlock out of his face, Nick slid down the piano leg. He hit the floor and rolled to lessen the impact. Then he slunk beneath the couch to give himself some cover.

Pretty soon he felt Frank moving in the darkness next to him. “What happened?”

“The dog. She chewed up Lars’ arm.”

Nick and Frank formed a chair using their arms, and picked Lars up. He was groaning, and barely conscious.

When they got to the base of the piano, there was a sling to carry Lars up to the top.

“Nick!” Frank’s voice could be heard receding away from the piano. “Help me!”

Alec swung down beside him. “Sorry, just heard there was a problem.”

Nick’s fury smoldered beneath the surface. “No problem. Glad you could make it.”

They started toward where Frank’s heavy breathing could be heard, and gasped as they saw what the problem was.

A huge spider held Frank in its jaws. He was limp, not even fighting anymore. They both looked down at their weapons, and gulped.

The air was split by what sounded considerably like a Tarzan yell, and Penny swung into the scene on a spider web. She dropped into a crouch, and pulled a knife out of her belt.

Alec and Nick stared, dumbstruck.

Penny held the spiders attention, and walked toward it slowly. It skittered backwards, dropping Frank.

“That is a huge spider,” Penny breathed out the words. With a quick motion she stepped past Frank, and flung out her hand. The spider jumped, but not fast enough. Penny’s knife was embedded in its leathery hide. She then jumped onto its back, where it couldn’t reach her, and proceeded to stab it till it slumped to the floor. She slid off, wiping her knife on her pants, and grimaced.

Alec and Nick stared.

“Come on, guys, we need to get Frank back fast!” Her bossy voice finally penetrated through the haze in their minds.

By the time they got back to the piano, there was a search party coming out for them. They were all quickly hauled to the top, and Frank was taken by the medic team.

Alec turned to Penny. “That was amazing!” He stared into her hazel eyes, and seemed lost to everyone around him.

Nick snorted. Fireworks were out of the question here. Penny was a human. She was the enemy.

Now to convince himself of that.

Family by Kathryn Lang

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Flash Fiction for June 29, 2012

The family chose the worst summer to take a vacation or maybe it was just the wrong time. Things went wrong from the moment they hit the road and it got worse from there. White smoke pouring from the tailpipe should have prompted them to stop and turn around, but the dad was determined.

The oldest daughter was not fourteen. He knew that family time would lose to friends and events in just a moment’s notice. He needed this to give him a chance to reconnect with his family and to build a stronger bridge with the child about to be a women.

The girl stared at the window. She had been watching the scenery slip past, but now a small spider had her attention. It had attached to the edge of her door and was holding on against the pressure from the wind of the car moving down the interstate.  The white smoke saved it.

“Not now.” He slowed down and turned on his blinker. “We have to stop.” The girl waited for her mom to say something, but she never did. Her face said enough.

The girl turned her attention back to the spider. As soon as the car stopped the spider took the break to scramble down into a crevice of the door. It found safety.

The dad stepped out of the car and opened the hood. More smoke billowed out. “This may take some time.” Her mom finally spoke. Her mother offered her a blanket and a picnic basket. She and her two younger brothers climbed out of the far side of the car – away from traffic – and found a spot on the wooded hill just up from the car.

She watched her brothers run around hiding behind trees. Their giggle encompassed whispers revealed their locations and made it easy to keep an eye on them. She let her attention move down the hill to her dad.

He had been working on the car for a while before a white van pulled up behind him. The van looked like it belonged to some type of contractor, but there were no marks on the side. Two men got out. One had a swagger that made him seem more designed for one of the rock bands she listened to. The other man had the hair for the position though. Their appearance made her smile.

She followed the giggles of her brothers and found them again behind some nearby trees. She had the food and the drinks so she knew they would not stray too far. The men pulled more tools from their own truck and were now helping her dad. She was too far away to see what they were doing and her mind wandered up to the sky above her.

The sun sprinkled through the limbs above and the slight breeze danced a mosaic of light around her. She leaned back into the warmth and nibbled on one of the mozzarella sticks her mom had packed in the basket. The boys saw the food and rushed to join her. Their energy and excitement were contagious and she found herself giggling with them.

She never saw the third man in the van, but he saw her.

Maybe this trip won’t be so bad after all. She let the thought carry her into more play with her brothers.

The man watched from below. He had been watching for months and it was finally time. He smiled at her laughter. This would be a good day for his family.

Captain Spider Did Warn Us by George McVey

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Flash Fiction for 6/15/12

Every year when we first return to school, we are asked to write an essay on what we did over the summer. It doesn’t look like I’m going to make it to school this year, but I thought I would write it anyway.

The summer started like any other, with Mom informing us of which touristy location we would be visiting. “You boys should love this year’s vacation destination. Your father has planned a family cruise of the Bahamas for us. He rented a private yacht so we can visit the islands at our leisure.”

Captain Spider was the skipper of our yacht. He was a distinguished looking man with a swagger all his own. His face was bronzed by the sun and his skin aged by the sea air. His eyes were the color of sea water and his hair white as snow. A mozzarella cheese stick hung from the corner of his mouth like a cigar.

He grunted when my father told him where we were headed and then leaned in close and whispered, “You should choose a different route. The way you’ve chosen is never wise.”

“We’re paying,” Dad said. “You work for us and that’s the way we want to go.”

The old captain just grunted and muttered something about “ignorant land lubbers” as he retreated to the bridge and gave the order to cast off. A blanket of dread settled over me at the captain’s words. I prayed he was wrong.

The excitement of the cruise wore off after two days. There was nothing much to do on the yacht but fish or play video games. I fished some, but that becomes boring after you catch three or four swordfish, and I had already beaten all the video games at home before we ever came on the cruise. I was looking forward to some excitement when we reached the islands where a dinner was scheduled for the second evening.

The captain once again tried to talk my dad into a different route to the islands, but dad stood firm. As the evening came to a close, we all turned in knowing that come morning we would be smack in the middle of the Triangle.

I was awaked by the sound of a Klaxon and the captain yelling over the PA, “Abandon ship. All hands abandon ship!!!” I quickly dressed and headed for the main deck.

As I arrived topside, I saw total chaos. There we were being drawn into a giant whirlpool. My family had just jumped overboard and climbed into the life raft that was waiting for us. I ran to the rail and jumped, expecting to hit the water and swim to the raft to join them. As my feet left the deck a vortex appeared in front of me and I was sucked into the air. The last sound I heard as I passed out was my mother shouting my name.

When I came to, I was lying on a bed in a large enclosure. Three walls consisted of a mosaic of places from earth. The fourth wall was transparent. Behind the glass, large gray-skinned beings looked at me from behind a rail. A voice came from a speaker overhead but I couldn’t understand what was being said.

It appears I have become an exhibit in some alien zoo. I guess we should have listened to the captain and taken a different route.

As it stands, looks like my summer vacation has been extended. Sure wish I had some video games.

Flash Fiction by Ann Bowend for 5/11

Friday, May 11th, 2012

The Jellyfish by Ann Bowend

Richard Phelps stood next to the lake in Palau, and Sylvia marveled at his calm. Her own hand trembled as she swiped away the sweat dripping into her eyes.

Anderson tightened his grip on her arm, giving it a harsh twist.

Sylvia’s eyes stung with unshed tears. Blinking them away, she saw Richard shrug and slowly shake his head. Why had she ever trusted him?

“Hand it over, or in she goes.” Anderson gestured toward the lake filled with jellyfish. “One girl. Hundreds of jellyfish. Do the math.” He edged Sylvia closer to the lake.

Richard looked down into the water, a smile playing on his lips.

How could he smile when she was this close to death? “Richard, please help me.” Her voice broke.

Richard glanced at Anderson and gestured to the lake. “Go ahead. She needs cooling off.”

Horrified, Sylvia could only stare into Richard’s face, the face she thought held truth and beauty. Now, betrayal was written on every feature. How could he do this to her? After they had been on the run for months, with little food and little sleep? After they had depended on each other each step of the way?

Anderson shifted his stance. “This is your last chance, Phelps.”

Before Sylvia’s brain processed the information, Richard covered the distance between them. For a split second, Sylvia believed he would save her. Instead, he yanked her from Anderson and slung her into the lake.

The cool water engulfed her, and she surrendered to her fate. Spiraling down, she braced for the sting of the jellyfish, yet none came. Amazed, she watched hundreds of semitransparent invertebrates floating around her. The sunlight filtered through the clear water and reflected in a shimmering beauty. She turned and twisted in the water, absorbing the beauty surrounding her, forgetting Anderson. Forgetting Richard. No, she couldn’t forget him.

Reluctantly, she swam to the surface. Shoving her wet, tangled hair from her face, she gulped in the air. At the edge of the lake, Richard smiled down at her, stripped off his shirt, and jumped in.

She backed away, and he softly chuckled.

“No stingers,” he said.

“What?” She squinted at him in the bright sun.

“These jellyfish are harmless. They don’t have stingers.”

“Oh.” She let out a shuddering breath. “Did you know that?”

He grinned at her, his head slightly tilted. “Of course.”

“Anderson? Where is he?”

“Oh, don’t worry. I took care of him.”

His muscles rippled as he demonstrated what he had done. Then he reached out for her, and she allowed him to pull her into his arms. They gently treaded water, matching the delicate dance of the jellyfish.

When Sylvia tired, she floated on her back, the expansive blue sky calming her. “Why don’t these jellyfish have stingers?”

“No need. They’re completely cut off here and are safe.” He took her hand in his, holding her floating body near him.

When the sun set, they swam to shore and climbed out. Richard retrieved his backpack and dug out a couple of protein bars and a bottle of water while Sylvia gathered some wood and made a small fire.

They ate their supper in silence. Afterwards, Richard searched through the backpack and pulled out a comb.

He sat down, crosslegged, behind her.

She stiffened. “What are you doing?”

Gently, light as a feather, he lifted a strand of her hair, almost a dreadlock. “Just relax. We have time.”

“Please be careful.”

With deft fingers, he untangled her twisted hair. “I’d never hurt you.”

And, she relaxed, free floating into his safety.

The Perfect Iron Skillet

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Flash Fiction by Ann Bowend

Ann’s hands moved quickly and deftly as she rolled the biscuits into symmetrical balls and placed them in the iron skillet. Her white hair fluffed around her face, and she pushed it back with her wrist, leaving a trail of flour on her forehead.

The iron skillet was perfect for making biscuits. They always came out brown on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. She pressed the last biscuit in place, and then slid the skillet into the hot oven. While the biscuits baked, she laid strips of bacon on a plate and popped them into the microwave. She glanced at the clock and sucked in her breath. Jackson would be rolling out of bed any minute.

With hands that shook slightly, she cracked three eggs into a bowl and gave them a quick stir. She kept a close eye on the clock while she finished breakfast. She slid the dirtied pots and pans into her massive sink and was just wiping the counters when Jackson walked in.

She smiled tentatively. “Good morning, honey.”

He grunted and ran a hand along his grizzled jaw as he plopped his massive bulk into the chair. She poured him a steaming cup of coffee and set the plate in front of him.

The butter dripped from the biscuit as he took his first bite. He frowned and looked at her for the first time. “Where’s the fig preserves?”

“You used the last of the figs yesterday. I have some blackberry jelly I put up last year.”

He snorted. “You know I don’t like blackberries.”

She kept silent even though it was the first she had heard of it.

“Run next door and see if they have any.”

She bit her bottom lip. “Hardly anyone makes fig preserves nowadays. Mrs. Anderson never even cooks.”

He waved a hand at her in dismissal. “I don’t care where you get ‘em, just go.”

“I’ll run to the store and see what I can find.”

He pushed back his chair, and it clattered to the floor. “I ain’t eating no store-bought figs.”

She backed away, but he ignored her as he headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

The door slamming behind him was the only answer she received. She hurriedly ate her breakfast, casting glances at the door as she ate.

She hesitated when she finished her last bite. Should she clean up his plate? What if he changed his mind and came back?

She took her plate to the sink and leaned against it, feeling dizzy.

She heard the door open, as if from a great distance. Jackson’s form wavered before her.

He settled his bulk back in the chair and opened the jar of figs he held in his hands. “Fetch me a spoon.”

She tried to speak, but words would not form.

“What’s wrong with you, woman?” He twisted in his chair to get a better view.

The right side of her mouth drooped down, and no sounds emerged. Jackson gave her a quizzical look and rose to rummage through the drawer.

With much effort, the words slurred, she managed to say, “Need to go. Hospital.”

He raised an eyebrow at her. “As soon as I finish my breakfast.” He sat down and shoveled in a mouthful of eggs.

Ann looked into the sink. The iron skillet rested on top of the other dishes. She tried to grasp the handle with her right hand, but her fingers would not close around it. So she picked it up with her left.

Jackson never knew what hit him.

FRIDAY FLASH Fiction- 3/23

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

(This is flash fiction adapted from Samantha Lovern’s Free Fiction.)

Martin Harrison sat in his study reading the latest script from his agent. He had until New Year’s Day to make up his mind, and the set wouldn’t start filming until March. The film was called The Lion and the Lamb, and he could see himself playing the male lead, Rory. 

He didn’t like the fact the director was a bit green; he’d only worked on three films so far and Martin didn’t like his track record. With the family coming in for Christmas and Celia, his girlfriend, having such distaste for his acting career, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to make up his mind until after the holidays.

Still not sure of what he would do, he opened the envelope to read the amount the role would pay.

He looked up, as there was a tapping on the door. “Come in.”

It was his loyal head maid, Emma.

He motioned her over and held out the paper. “You may have to pinch me, if I’m seeing those numbers correctly.”

Emma looked at the paper, laughed, and handed it back. “Your eyes are fine, and, if those numbers ring true, you might actually not be broke after Celia gets finished decorating the house in green.”

###

Visit Samantha Lovern’s Free Fiction for more of the story.

FRIDAY FLASH FICTION – 3/9/2012

Friday, March 9th, 2012

March Flash Fiction Prompt - Video Inspiration

Why not give it a try?

For more information about this month’s writing prompt and how to submit yours, see our sister site: http://readersrealmforms.blogspot.com/

This week’s 2 winners were chosen based on brevity and imagination:

A Short by Sylvia Stewart

He’s daydreaming again! Why can’t he just pay attention to me? I bet I know what’s going through his mind. Something silly! (Her internal dialogue took on a mocking sing-song quality.) “A lion came to the edge of the woods. Before him, three lambs feasted on the green grass of the verdant valley floor. La-dee-dah, la-dee-day, la-dee-dah!” He’s the silliest man you’ll find in a 9-days’ march! Although, I’m told that all writers are that way. But he needs a PINCH!

~***~

Lion or Lamb? by Sheila Hollinghead

Flowers and doilies? Paint the walls that shade of green–mint didn’t she say? And now this?

I run my fingers through my hair and shake my head at my wife. “Pink-cushioned pews? You’re kidding, right?”

She glares at me as if she wants to pinch my head off. “It’s not pink!” She strokes the fabric and sighs. “This is rose.”

“Do you want to run every man out of the church building?”

She closes her eyes a moment, as if praying for strength, before speaking through gritted teeth. “What’s wrong with rose? It’s a color of peace. And Jesus was the lamb of peace, wasn’t he?”

“Do you remember Jesus was also the lion of Judah?” I walk over to the corner where samples are stashed. “I have an idea. Why don’t we use this?” I proudly pull out a wood plank and stroke it just as lovingly as she had stroked the fabric.

“What do you want to do with that?” she demands.

“Cover the walls, of course.”

Her mouth gapes open and her eyes widen. “It will look like a hunting lodge in here!”

“We are on the hunt for lost souls, aren’t we?” I sigh and shake my head again. “Jesus is summed up in love. But what is love? Isn’t it battling for lost souls? It’s not all roses and pink hearts.” I take my wife’s hand. “Love means demanding the best, equipping Christian soldiers to march into the fray, giving them a sword.”

“A sword? Are you crazy? Jesus doesn’t approve of swords! He rebuked Peter. Oh, if we could go back to the era of the flower child. Do you remember that picture of the young man putting a flower in the barrel of a rifle? If everyone could only love like that!”

“Yes, but that’s not reality. The world is filled with evil forces. We must arm ourselves with the sword, God’s word, as we march into battle. That takes courage.”

“But shouldn’t we beautify the church building? Surely, God’s not against beauty.”

“No, he gave you great beauty, didn’t he?” I pull her to me, and she resists only slightly before snuggling her head beneath my chin. We stand there for a moment, and I feel her relax against me.

“Let me see that plank again,” she says as she pulls away.

She slides her fingers along the grain stopping at a knot.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” I try to keep from grinning.

“These knots do give it character.” She smiles up at me.

“See the knots that make the wood so beautiful? Those were weak spots that fibers grew around to strengthen the wood.”

She bites her bottom lip, and I place my hand on hers.

“Life is a struggle.” I say. “It takes great bravery to endure it. We need courageous men to stand firm in the faith.”

“And you think this will make men more likely to attend services?”

“I do.”

She sighs and her eyes soften. “I love the wood. Beauty can be found in even rugged things.” She reaches to stroke my stubbled chin.

“Okay. Agreed? No frilly girly things?” I watch hopefully.

She nods. “Agreed.”

“Still want to pinch me?” I tease.

Her cheeks blush rose. The same shade of rose as the material.

I pick up the material and lay it over the plank and survey it. “You know, that looks good together.”

We laugh, and I catch her hand and kiss her palm.

God’s fibers have strengthened and beautified another plank.

I gather her once again into my arms.

~***~

Your Turn – think you can do better?
The March Prompt

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Flash Fiction in Readers’ Realm’s March Contest is read and chosen by Tommie Lyn, author of Fiction in a Flash and many novels.  Find out more about Tommie at her website Tommie Lyn Writes.

FRIDAY FLASH FICTION – 3/2/2012

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

March Flash Fiction Prompt - Video Inspiration

For more information about this month’s writing prompt and how to submit yours, see our sister site: http://readersrealmforms.blogspot.com/

This week’s 2 winners were chosen based on creativity:

Little Men by Bethany Jean

I settled back into the depths of the green chair and tried to forget the reason I was sitting there. The dog, who thought she was a lion, had made a mess, and I hadn’t cleaned it up.

Shutting my eyes, I thought of other things: a quiet pasture with lambs frolicking, or even of just packing up and leaving. It wasn’t an original idea, besides, my other brother would tattle and I’d be stuck with more time out. Then I’d be sitting here till March.

Strangely, I could almost feel someone watching me, but when I looked around, no one was in the room. I shook my head. I wasn’t used to being creeped out.

I stared in boredom at the top of the piano. The miniature machines my brothers and I had put together seemed to mock me now, for I was unable to get to them, touch them, or play with them.

One of the little men was standing on a ladder reaching up toward the ceiling. His passionless gaze seemed to rest on me, and I stared at him for a while, wishing I could be outside. Then something snapped me out of my daydream.

The little man seemed to have moved! My imagination ran wild. What if they were alive? What if they moved around and wreaked havoc at night? Maybe they were the “nobody” who did all the horrible things in the house.

Suddenly, a strange thing started to happen. The chair grew larger. At least, it must be the chair. Surely I couldn’t be getting smaller! But the rest of the room had grown with the chair. Even the top of the piano seemed a far distant land.

In proportion, I was only about three inches tall. Maybe no one would notice if I got out of the chair now. I immediately put my plan into action.

It was harder than I’d thought, but soon I was on the floor. I looked over at the piano and then up toward the top. I should climb up there and see how big I am next to those guys. I went to work. Soon, the sweat was pouring off me, and made a puddle on the floor.

When I got to the top, much time had passed. There I was, next to the coolest machines in the world: all different colors, and just my size. I quickly moved to the extension-laddered truck I had made, and climbed in. Trying out the steering, and playing around with the gears, I didn’t notice a black head peeking at me over the window sill.

“Who are you?”

I jumped, and found myself staring into the face of a little man. They were alive!

“I’m…um…James.” I said, staring at him.

Anger crossed his face momentarily. “You’re one of them.” he said. “You have to leave.” He opened the door, and grabbed my arm, pulling me out of the truck.

Several others joined him as he drug me toward the edge of the piano. “To the bottom!” they yelled in an ever increasing crescendo. And then, threw me over.

“James, Mom says you can get up.” My brother’s voice broke through my dream, and I jerked awake.

Looking around, I saw the room was the normal size, I was not falling to my death. Breathing a sigh of relief, I stood up, glancing again at the piano. I’d have to be very kind to those men in the future.

~***~

The Shooter by Sophie Dawson

 Mitchell pressed the button again and the beam he loved so well shot from the device in his hand. ‘And another one bites the dust.’ The lyrics from the old song flittered through his mind. Smiling he focused on the next one.

‘This one needs to be shot, too.’ Imaging he was a lion on the Savannah stalking a lamb for supper Mitchell pressed the button. ‘Got it.’ It didn’t matter that lambs were scarce on the Savannah, here he was in control of the mission and set the parameters of what was acceptable to remain pictured on the large screen before them.

He glanced at Judy sitting beside him. The console between them held drinks and snacks, attesting to the length of time they spent in their positions. She was pressing keys inputting data into the computer. She didn’t like all the killing and told him so often. Oh well, at least it wasn’t something that needed cleaned up.

The image on the screen fairly screamed to be shot. He obliged. The next three came as if marching in lockstep. Zap. Zap. Zap.

‘Here comes a green one.’ He always shot those as soon as they appeared. Dangerous, that’s what they were. Threatening to the space-time continuum he was sure.

There was a pause in the action as the image on the screen was benign. Letting that one pass he pressed the button changing screens. Now here was some action coming from a different direction.

Mitchell shot one coming at them from the left, now right, back to the left, straight on. Shot after shot pulsed destroying one and after another. ‘I’m like Luke Skywalker from the old Star Wars.’

Clear sailing for a few moments. Judy got up and gathered the items off the console. “Do you want anything? I’m getting another soda.”

“Sure. Whatever you get is fine with me.”

Whatever she said next was only a blurred noise in his ear. More marched into view needing to be obliterated. They were dangerous. His mission, the reason they were here, was to protect and defend. He was doing both. In his corner of space, none would get by if he could help it.

If he paused too long before pressing the button sending them the beam that would wipe them from view, they might snag him and who knew what would happen then. All he was certain of was that the small device in his hand had the power to blow them off the screen.

He liked to imagine something collected in a pile on the floor below the screen. Evidence of his capabilities and victories, each shot leaving traces behind. As the day progressed the pile would grow larger. At the end of each day someone would come, and sweep them into a container, to be carried as war trophies in a ticker tape parade.

This didn’t happen of course, and Judy sure wouldn’t want to clean up the mess. What was taking her so long anyway?

Several more shots and he was again focused on the screen. Faster, they were coming faster, less time to totally identify before he pressed the button.

He heard her footsteps behind him, then his soda was placed along with hers on the console. In his peripheral vision, as he pressed, identified, and pressed again and again, he saw Judy standing, looking at the screen.

“Mitchell.” Her voice held a tinge of irritation. “Will you please decide on a show to watch and quit changing the channel? Besides, you’ll be asleep in that recliner within two minutes.”

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Flash Fiction in Readers’ Realm’s March Contest is read and chosen by Tommie Lyn, author of Fiction in a Flash and many novels.  Find out more about Tommie at her website Tommie Lyn Writes.