Category: My Fiction on Other Blogs


Valentines-Day-Ribbon“Flashing can so be romantic!” Marty protested, tying his robe again. Muriel had no sense of fun anymore.

“Flopping that thing around while I’m making waffles is neither romantic, nor sanitary,” she protested, opening the waffle iron and prying the pastry out. Marty sat down just as their youngest boy came bounding down the stairs.

Scott kissed his mother on the cheek. “I don’t have time for…wait…did you make waffles?”

Muriel handed the boy a plate with three heart-shaped waffles, each with half a strawberry on top, drizzled with chocolate syrup. “Uh… I can eat fast!” he said, then sat down at the table.

Muriel put another plate with three waffles, strawberries, and chocolate syrup in front of Marty, then kissed him on the top of his head. It wasn’t the kind of affection he’d been hoping for, but it would do. Besides, it came with food.

“Dad, why is there a ribbon on your willie?” Scott asked, shoving half a waffle into his mouth and looking down through the glass table. His phone was in one hand. Fortunately, Scott had the common sense not to take penis pics at the kitchen table. At least, Marty hoped he did. He shut his knees together and pulled the sides of his robe together.

“It’s a romantic gesture,” Marty explained. The day was not yet lost. Scott would be gone soon, and he and Muriel would have the house to themselves.

“Romantic? If I did that for my girlfriend, she’d fall off her chair laughing.”

“Well, your father tries, you have to give him that,” Muriel said. “After all, it is Valentine’s Day.”

“Valentine’s Day?” Scott asked, punching and swiping at his phone. “Oh no.” He shoved the last waffle into his mouth and pushed himself away from the table. “Now I’m not only late, I’m in trouble. Bye Mom. Dad.”

Scott grabbed his jacket and ran out the door, trying to get his arms in the sleeves as he was walking down the porch stairs. Muriel walked over to the door and shut it the rest of the way.

Marty let his robe fall open again. He grabbed the can of whipped cream, squirted a generous amount on his waffles, thought a minute, then squirted a perfect spiral right above the ribbon.

Muriel turned around, then did a double-take. She rolled her eyes and turned back to the waffle iron. “You should be careful. You know how Baxter is about whipped cream.”

Upon hearing his name, the dog’s ears perked up. Marty used his napkin to clean off the cream.

“I’m amazed we were able to raise such gentlemanly boys, with the example you set,” Muriel said.

The front door crashed open, and Scott ran through to the stairs. “Dad, do you have any more of that ribbon?” he yelled.

Muriel ignored the smug look he gave her. Scott was definitely his boy.

“In the middle drawer,” he shouted, getting up from the table. “And take the whipped cream too.”

This week, Wendy challenged us to write something with romance for WOW555.

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Naptime to the Rescue

For this week, write a story in which sleep plays a specific role.

napAustin glazed at the donuts. His sugary gaze fell over the box of treats until they were all coated with unfulfilled desires and the glittering promise of a quick rush of energy.

He couldn’t. He wanted to, but he couldn’t.

“Does every meeting on this planet have to start with donuts?” he grumbled as he found a chair.

“Yes, and I’m not complaining,” said Sirgie, helping himself.

Austin needed the sugar rush. A shot of caffeine would be even better, but even more dangerous.

He couldn’t endanger his nap.

“Excuse me,” Austin said, stepping out to the hall and splashing some cold water on his face. A few natives raised an eyebrow, but politely did not comment.

He hated the planet, and it wasn’t just because of the sugary carbohydrates. People were loud. He didn’t understand the local humor, and he was tired of being labeled a sourpuss because of it.

Worst of all, the days were unnaturally short. All right…unnatural wasn’t the right word. There was nothing unnatural about the planet’s rotation; it was simply faster than he was accustomed to. He never got enough sleep. He was always tired.

Fortunately, the donuts were gone within the first few minutes of the meeting. It was mind-numbingly boring, but somehow Austin managed to stay awake through the whole thing.

In a sadly short amount of time, his business associates were winding down for the night. Austin was just getting his second wind.

It didn’t feel right to eat dinner. It was too early. But, when in Rome… he managed to choke it down, even though he wasn’t hungry.

His hotel was quiet. His room was dark. The bed was warm and the air was cool, perfect for sleeping. Yet, as tired as he was, he could not convince himself it was bedtime yet. It was much too early.

Austin looked at the clock. He had an unreasonably short time before he had to be awake and back at work.

“What time is it back home?” he said out loud, although he was the only one in the room. “Oh look! It’s the middle of the afternoon.” He hoped his body was paying attention. This was important. “You know what that means?”

He paused, as if waiting for his body to answer.

“It’s the perfect time for a nice little nap.”

Ah! His body answered. Naptime! We understand naptime.

“Doesn’t this bed look comfy?”

Ooh… comfy…

“Why don’t we just lie down for a bit?”

His body was buying it. His brain resisted. What? Nap? Isn’t everyone else in this time zone going to bed for the night now?

“Hush! Hush…” Austin told himself. “We’re just going to take a little nap. It’s not like we’re retiring for the night…it’s too early…”

Naps were the only sleep Austin got for his entire three week trip. Every sunrise his body asked what the heck he was thinking about getting up already, and every morning he promised his body it could take a ‘nap’ later.

It worked.

 

Plugged In

.

For this week’s Flash Fiction Friday, we have exactly 99 words to work with the prompt. Exact isn’t a problem, but 99 is a really low number for a story…

“I’ve got three more ready!” Hannah sang out, hauling the basket of babies across the garden.

“Oh good. I was worried about that one,” Gerty replied, wrinkling her nose and poking at the blankets.

“Don’t poke.” Hannah scolded the older nurse. She hated it when Gerty poked the babies. They were sweet and soft and smelled nice. Gerty did not.

One of the little ones started fussing, and Hannah handed the basket with two babies to Gerty while she bounced and rocked the fussy one. She checked the scar on the back of his neck. It was healing nicely. Gerty was doing the same with the other two babies, who immediately started fussing as well.

Darn it… that’s 110 words already. Need to be unbelievably tighter…

“I’ve got three more ready!” Hannah sang out, hauling the basket of babies across the garden from the nursery.

“Oh good. I was worried about that one,” Gerty replied, wrinkling her nose and poking at the blankets.

“Don’t poke.” Hannah scolded the older nurse. She hated it when Gerty poked the babies. They were sweet and soft and smelled nice. Gerty did not.

One of the babies started fussing. Hannah picked him up and soothed him. She checked the scar on the back of his head; it was healing nicely.

No sooner did one baby stop fussing, then the other started in.

“I’ve got it…” said Gerty. But instead of picking the babes up, she snapped a synapser onto the backs of their heads without even checking the scars first.

Immediately both babies stopped crying; they just stared off into space as if watching something absolutely amazing…

Shoot. Still way over the word limit… I’m gonna have to lose something I like…

“I’ve got three more ready!” Hannah sang out, hauling the basket of babies across the garden from the nursery.

“Good!” Gerty said, poking at the blankets as Hannah set the heavy basket down on the grass.

Hannah hated when Gerty poked. So did the babies. Every time.

One baby fussed and Hannah immediately picked him up and started bouncing him. The other two immediately followed suit, looking up with hopeful eyes, wanting their turn to be hugged and loved.

“I’ve got them…” said Gerty, plugging a synapser into the newly healed ports on the backs of their heads.

Now the story is almost the right length… 98 words. This week’s challenge is to be exact. Adding one word won’t work… I need to cut a few, then end with a short sentence.

“I’ve got three more ready!” Hannah sang out, hauling the basket of babies across the garden from the nursery.

“Good!” Gerty said, poking at the blankets as Hannah set the heavy basket down.

Hannah hated when Gerty poked. So did the babies.

One baby fussed and Hannah picked him up and rocked him. The other two immediately followed suit, looking up with hopeful eyes, wanting snuggles.

“I’ve got them…” said Gerty, plugging a synapser into the newly healed ports on the backs of their heads.

The trio was reduced to a solo, and with another plug, there was silence.

99 words exactly @USNessie

Adipotato

FF adipotato

I’ve been posting less on the fiction blog (Under Loch and Key) because I’m trying to concentrate on writing stories, polishing them, and submitting to market instead of just posting them to the blog. Today’s Flash Friday… and I thought I’d go ahead and write my story here before I copy it over there!

This story makes a lot more sense if you’re a fan of Doctor Who…


350-500 -word story (minimum 350, max 500) based on the photo prompt.

Adipotato

“It looks like a potato…” Sally commented. Iain could tell she was trying not to sound mean, but his feelings were still hurt.

“It’s not a potato. It’s a dog.”

Actually, it wasn’t a dog. It was his brother.

At four years old, Iain had only a vague idea where babies came from. The blobish thing had popped out from under his Mummy’s skirt. She screamed, fainted, and nearly hit her head on the kitchen table. The blob had toddled over to Iain, then smiled and waved in a very friendly manner.

Iain hadn’t realized his mother was even pregnant. But like a good big brother he took the baby to the bathtub, cleaned it up, found one of his old baby snuggies and dressed the infant warmly. When it tried to leave the house, Iain kept it safely inside.

The men in white coats carted their mother away s short time later when she ran screaming out the front door.

Iain had heard that all babies were adorable, but something about his baby brother made other mothers recoil in horror. The poor baby was deformed or something. Iain named him Addison after their father, with the middle name Potato because he looked like one. For short, Iain called him Adipotato, or Adipo for short.

“It’s a weird looking dog,” Sally continued, sounding less nice. Iain knew she suspected something, but people seemed to be more accepting of Adipo if they thought he was a dog. Everyone was nice to the dog. Dogs could be ugly and still be adorable.

“There you are!” a strange man stepped out of a blue box, and Adipotato leapt out of Iain’s arms and ran to the man.

“That’s Iain’s dog,” Sally proclaimed, her hands on her hips.

“Let go of my brother!” Iain yelled at the same time. Soon, Mummy and Daddy would be home. It simply would not do for them to return only to find that Iain had lost his little brother.

Sally gasped.

“Oh, dear…ummm…” the man stammered. “What’s your name?”

“Iain,” he answered dutifully. There was no call to be rude, and Adipo seemed to be happy in the man’s arms.

“Well, Iain, your mum was only babysitting him for his parents, you see. He needs to go home to them now.”

“Mmmm Hmmm!” Adipo nodded happily, and waved goodbye.

“Oh!” Iain felt very confused.

The man held up a badge. “I’m from Misplaced Child Services, and I’ve been looking for him all day. Thank you so very much for taking care of him!”

“Oh…all right then.” Iain gave Adipo a hug. “Goodbye, Addison Potato Hartford. Be good!”

The strange man walked away, chattering happily with the newborn the whole way.

Iain and Sally looked at each other.

“Want to come to my house? I have a real little brother,” Sally said.

“Sure,” Iain answered. “What’s for dinner?”

“Potatoes.”

Flash fiction is a fun way to loosen up for the real writing. Sometimes what comes out is just awful, in which case one should be grateful it is out, where it can be disposed of instead of leaking into something else. Sometimes what comes out is gold, which can be polished and sent out into the world.

This week I thought I’d share all three of my attempts for Flash Friday. The picture was the prompt, along with the idea that this is Mother’s Day weekend. The word limit was 200, which is really tight! I wrote three versions. Besides being too long, I didn’t particularly like the way the first two came out. The third one is what I went with.

“Gimmie!” Veronica shrieked and grabbed the stereoscope out of her grubby brother’s hands. “You’re such a hog.”

Vinnie was unperturbed, as always, both about being called a hog and about having the toy ripped from his hands. He’s long ago learned that the best way to deal with his big sister’s bullying was to ignore it.

“I’ll bet we could do that,” Veronica said.

Vinnie hesitated. Veronica was going to have her way, there was no doubt about it. And unless he figured out some way to tweak the situation, he was going to end up being the one hurt and the one blamed.

“Of course we could do it the easy way, like they did…” he said, without really looking at his sister.

“What do you mean, ‘the easy way’?”

“Well, with the bigger kid on the bottom. I mean, of course that’s the way they’d do it while they were apprentice acrobats…” he let his voice trail off.

Vinnie stood still while his sister climbed onto the fence, then leaned over and touched her forehead to his.  “Give me your hands,” she ordered.

Vinnie did exactly what he was told, and no more. When Veronica landed flat on her back in the mud, he said nothing at all.

210 words, 200 limit with a 10 word leeway…

I can do better.

“But I didn’t get her anything for Mother’s Day!” Victoria wailed despondently. Vinnie set his stereoscope down, being as noisy as clumsy as possible so his sister wouldn’t notice him sliding his carefully hand-made Mother’s Day card under the pile of magazines.

“We could give her this…” Victoria said, snatching up the stereoscope and looking through it. “Hey…what are they doing?”

“They’re acrobats,” Vinnie answered. “I know, why don’t you make Mom a construction paper basket? You still have more than a day to work on it…”

“I know what we can do!” Victoria declared, dropping Vinnie’s toy, not on the table, but on the floor. “Let’s make a video.”

That’s how Vinnie found himself dangling upside-down by his belt loops from a coat hook in the guest bedroom. “Don’t worry…it’s like a green screen. I can edit it later…” explained Veronica, setting up the camera while all the blood rushed to Vinnie’s head and his legs went numb.

“Wait there,” Veronica ordered, and ran off down the hall.

Vinnie fumbled with the button on his jeans until he finally fell out of them and onto the floor. Veronica would just have to make a video or whatever for their Mom by herself. He’d endured enough.

Vinne went to retrieve the card he’d made, but it was no longer under the stack of magazines.

“Oh, sweetheart, thank you so much for the card!” his mother cooed from the kitchen. Vinnie walked in, still pantsless, to see his artwork in his mother’s hands, and his big sister standing beside her, taking credit. “You too, Vinnie. Veronica told me you helped her make it!”

OK, still way too long. Gotta get tighter.

Umm… one more…

Vinnie allowed himself just the briefest flash of a smile as his sister fell face-first in the muck. She darn well deserved it, but if she or their mother saw him taking pleasure at the sight of his sister’s distress, he’d be scrubbing toilets all weekend. Again.

“This time, I’ll be on the bottom,” Veronica directed. Vinnie had been able to connive a way into being the support-acrobat in spite of his smaller size for their first attempt. If he didn’t come up with something to convince her otherwise, he’d be the one face-down in the muck next time.

“Just a minute. I’ll go get you a washcloth,” Vinnie said, thinking fast.

Their mother was in the kitchen.

“Mama, do you know where’s that cup-thing Dad made me wear in my pants when we played hockey?”

“It’s in the mudroom, sweetie. Why?”

Vinnie drew on every acting lesson he’d ever had at the feet of his sister and replied in complete innocence with the exact words he knew would get their mother up and out the door. “Veronica said I shouldn’t tell you.”

It was magic, like a genie granting a wish. And it was the end of his acrobatic career.

201 words @USNessie

OK. That one I like. 201 words is right in there!

Fallback

mechanic-63201-public-domainJohn reminded Lorelei of her first husband. That was not a good thing. Still, the resemblance was mostly physical, and she could always close her eyes.

Where her ex-husband had been loud and domineering, John was quiet and passive.

Unlike her ex-husband, John treated her with respect.

With her lover’s baby growing inside her and her current husband conspicuously absent, Lorelei was growing ever more desperate. She’d been a wife twice and a mistress once. Neither position seemed to have a great advantage over the other. As a mistress, she’d known she was wanted. As a wife, she’d known she was not.

If John would take her as either, she’d do her best to make him happy. She was good on her knees… or flat on her back, or bent over a three legged barstool while his friends jeered…

No. John wouldn’t be like that. He’d probably use her as his end-of-the-day relief each night and then fall asleep on top of her. She could live with that. At least he was well-off enough to have a cook and a maid; if her husband had indeed abandoned her as she suspected he had, John would make a good safety net. He wasn’t wealthy, but he was safe. Maybe this time she could keep her baby.

“John…” she said, taking the opportunity now that he’d finished tightening the huge…something or other on whatever the invention was.

He nearly dropped his wrench, and blushed ten shades of crimson. “My lady… Your Grace… I… hello. What can I do for you?”

Lorelei wasn’t sure how to flirt. She was used to being pursued and claimed. And she was the wife of John’s employer… he might not be so eager to endanger his position.

“I was just wondering if you’d heard anything from His Grace…” It was a stupid thing to say and she regretted it. She didn’t want to think about him, or who he might be with, or what he might do to her when he came home. If he came home.

John perked up. “Oh, yes Your Grace. He’ll be arriving on Sunday.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday… it echoed in her mind. She had until Sunday to manipulate John into feeling something for her. Pity might work in such a short time frame. And pity she could live with whether or not her husband threw her out.

I’m off on a new WIP. Well, it’s a story I put on the shelf a few months ago. But it’s where my brain is right now and I’m going to try and take advantage of the fact and whip out a rough draft as quickly as I can before my brain moves on to something else. I’ve used the last several flash fiction prompts for warm-ups to the story. This one was for Flash Friday, and the prompt was the picture. The previous post Emeralds and Sapphires is another. While I’m at it, I might as well include the third flash I used as a warm-up to the story. It’s called Squirm and I used it for #FiveMinuteFiction this week. The prompt was, again, the photo. This one would come first chronologically out of the three.

Omalley-5-Minute-Fiction-Prompt-300x193His bride looked at the cup with obvious disgust. “No thank you,” she said with what seemed to be polite sincerity. Then again, he’d noticed her perk up with an obvious appetite as soon as the smell of tea wafted in to them.

Lorelei turned a delicate shade of purple when he picked up his own mug and took a deep drink. It scalded his throat, but it was worth it to see his prodigal wife attempt to control the urge to squirm and run.

Her hand actually reached for a biscuit, but she withdrew it when she couldn’t figure out a way to take one that was not touching the encrusted edge.

Now that she was home, he wasn’t quite sure what to with her.

But one thing was certain. She would squirm. She would squirm and he would enjoy every minute of it.

Crop Circles

fog-66269“Zork, you’re an idiot,” said Blanc, not for the first time.

“I swear, I was here just a few days ago and this field was flowing with tall, wavy grain!” Zork defended himself, kicking a clump of dirt. “It’s not my fault!”

“It’s a good thing for you there’s a fog rolling in. We’d be ducks in a barrel if it wasn’t for that cover, and I can tell you from experience that folks around here shoot first and ask questions later.”

The two of them stood there, peering through the light fog without finding anything of interest.

A soft lowing drifted on the air from somewhere behind them. “Hey! Cows!” Zork said, heading towards the sound.

“Cow tipping? Is that your idea of excitement?” asked Blanc.

“Hey, it’s better than nothing. Come on!”

The rail fence proved to be only a small impediment. It took a little clumsy grunting, but they both made it over eventually. “Hey, why’s there only one? I thought these things were herd beasts?” asked Blanc.

“I dunno. Maybe this farmer’s poor. Maybe the cows are down the hill somewhere,” perused Zork, heading for the creature. “Maybe they ate all the grain.”

“Why does it have horns? Is it a mutant?” asked Blanc, hanging back, grabbing the fence, ready to climb over if the situation warranted.

The bovine snorted, then stomped one hoof in the dirt. Zork slowed down, attempting to sneak up on the beast.

The bull grunted, pawed the dirt again, and charged.

Zork screamed, tentacles flailing as he tried to make it back to the fence. Blanc secreted his juice sac as he scrambled over the rails. He didn’t stop screaming until he heard a gunshot from the direction of the farmhouse.

Scared into silence, Blanc looked at the fence where Zork’s body was squished. His torso pod had exploded on impact, but two of his main tentacles were still writhing.

Blanc grabbed the body parts that were still moving and raced back to their saucer. He threw the bits of his crewmate into the copilot seat and revved up the magneto for takeoff.

“”Hey, let’s buzz Earth” you said. “We’ll make some crop circles, scare the locals,” you said. “It’ll be fun!” you said! Well, you’re not saying much now, are you?”

Blanc cursed as a ping sounded on the hull. “Great googlie mooglies, we’re under attack!” Ear buds were already forming on the growth-sacks of each tentacle. Blanc would need to toss the pieces of his friend into some juice soon, so they’d have the medium they needed to grow.

“And now I get to explain to your mother why I’m bringing you home in more pieces than you left in. Sheesh, Zork, your Dad’s never going to let you borrow the saucer again.”

This was written for the Friday Flash prompt that was the picture above.

I know you’ve heard me say this before, but…yeah…way over word count. The difference is that this time I didn’t even realize just HOW over I was until after I posted… it’s supposed to be 200 words, and this is almost 500. My other flash prompt has a 500 word limit.

Oopsies. Oh well, I’m disqualified, but it was fun playing lol!

Cathedral Climber

ff Feb 15Rebekah Postupak hosts Flash! Friday! on her blog. This week we had the image prompt of a weapon choice and a location choice to write a 400 word murder mystery. My initial story ended up being 700 words. I was able to edit it to 380. Which do you like better? 

Irenya had climbed to the summit of 139 Cathedrals all over Europe.  She hadn’t planned to climb that day, but the isolated town of Moffat surprised her by having a rather impressive dome-capped basilica, and she couldn’t resist.

The climb started like most of the others. A perfectly normal staircase, then across a balcony or mezzanine, plenty of photo ops of the interior as well as the occasional peek out a small window.

The stauary impressed her the most. The angels were all idealized humans with wings, warrior-like beauties each holding a spear and shield.

The next set of stairs were spiral, the kind that were encased in a tower leaving the climber disoriented as to direction and duration. She entered it bravely. There were no longer any exterior windows, which was odd, but every turn or so there was another statue. She paused to examine each one, noticing subtle differences in each. There seemed to be two kinds, though she had no words to describe the actual difference. She simply had the impression that some represented good, and some evil.

Just like having one on each shoulder.

After the tenth angel and finding no mezzanine, no outlet, and no respite, Irenya began to wonder. Cathedrals were always bigger than they looked, but this was ridiculous.

The next turn, the alcove did not hold an angel at all. She took advantage of the spot to rest a minute, her legs feeling the burn of the climb.

There was a clattering sound above her. Curious, she continued climbing.

A spear slid down, coming to a halt mere inches from her feet. “Hello?” she called, hoping she’d find a monk or perhaps another tourist. She picked up the spear, then noticed it had something gooey on the end.

Red and gooey.

Irena’s scream stuck in her throat. Was this a joke? Was someone amused by teasing the random lone tourist? Or was someone actually hurt…perhaps some teenager who’d thought it would be funny to take a spear from a statue and play war with his friends.

“Who’s there?” she called as she climbed higher. The next angel was covering its face, weeping. “Are you all right?”

With every step she could see a few more inches ahead. It was never ending torture, wondering when she’d finally come to an end.

A hand dangled down the steps, limp. Attached to the hand was the body of a man, face down, a gaping hole between his wings.

Wings?

Irenya took a step back, frozen with indecision. Carefully, she reached out to feel for a pulse at the angel’s neck.

There was a pulse, and at her touch, the wings beat weakly. His eyes fluttered open, and he struggled to turn his head to see her. He gasped in a breath of air, then let it out with a shout.

“RUN!”

Irena stumbled backwards, the spear still in her hand knocking awkwardly against the narrow walls.

Slow and heavy footsteps sounded above her. A figure loomed in the dim light above her.

A man with wings.

He pointed at the spear. “Mine.” He stated.

Irenya no longer cared whether it was an elaborate hoax. Spear in hand, she stumbled and leapt down the stairs as fast as she could. Every statue she passed had its face pointed up, as if to see what was coming down towards her.

She stumbled once and fell, the spear clattering down ahead of her. She glanced back, expecting the murderer to appear at any moment. Instead, the angel just above her thrust its arm and spear into the stairwell, blocking it. The stone creature turned its face to her, then opened its mouth.

“RUN!”

Irenya did, managing to pick up the spear again as she fled. Countless turns later, she finally found herself on the mezzanine. The basilica was deserted. She saw that the stairwell had a door, propped open by a chair, and she quickly closed it. The chair didn’t do much to hold it in place, but she put it in front anyway.

Several sets of stairs took her to the main floor, and the last thing she heard before escaping to the hot afternoon air was an otherworldly roar from the mezzanine above.

#

Oops… now to edit it down to fewer than 400 words. This is 700.

#

Irenya had climbed to the summit of 139 Cathedrals all over Europe.  She hadn’t planned to climb that day, but the isolated town of Moffat surprised her by having a rather impressive dome-capped basilica, and she couldn’t resist.

The stauary impressed her the most. The angels were all idealized humans with wings, warrior-like beauties each holding a spear and shield.

She began with the standard straight stairs, then a balcony. The next set of stairs were spiral, the kind that were encased in a tower leaving the climber disoriented as to direction and duration. She entered it bravely. She paused to examine each angel, noticing subtle details in each. There seemed to be two kinds, though she had no words to describe the actual difference. She simply had the impression that some represented good, and some evil.

Just like having one on each shoulder.

The next turn, the alcove did not hold an angel at all. She took advantage of the spot to rest a minute, her legs feeling the burn of the climb.

There was a clattering sound above her. Curious, she continued climbing.

A spear slid down, coming to a halt mere inches from her feet. “Hello?” she called, hoping she’d find a monk or perhaps another tourist. She picked up the spear, then noticed it had something gooey on the end.

Red and gooey.

Irena’s scream stuck in her throat. Was this a joke? Was someone amused by teasing the random lone tourist? Or was someone actually hurt…perhaps some teenager who’d thought it would be funny to take a spear from a statue and play war with his friends?

“Who’s there?” she called as she climbed higher. The next angel was covering its face, weeping. “Are you all right?”

A hand dangled down the steps, limp. Attached to the hand was the body of a man, face down, a gaping hole between his wings.

Wings?

Irenya took a step back, frozen with indecision. Carefully, she reached out to feel for a pulse at the angel’s neck.

There was a pulse, and at her touch, the wings beat weakly. His eyes fluttered open, and he struggled to turn his head to see her. He gasped in a breath of air, then let it out with a shout.

“RUN!”

#

Freaking yikes I barely got this one in under the 9pm deadline lol!

The Gaffer

spotlightNick paused, the spotlight in his hands superfluous for the time being. The balding gaffer was on the stage below him, hitting the mark as if he had aspirations on treading the boards himself. The guy was the most antisocial stage hand Nick had ever met. Or rather…not met. He hadn’t even seen the guy’s face. He was always turned away, working on something or other. But the guy had a weird sixth sense, like he had eyes in the back of his head. He always knew what was going on backstage.
Nick felt superior from his perch in the catwalks. They were the only two in the theater at the moment. Normally that would mean chatting and joking as they worked… but not the old bald guy. Nick didn’t even know his name. He walked among the other stage hands as if invisible to them, which was probably the way he liked it.
Nick tried to think of something to say, something that might actually spark a conversation. The best part of his job was the camaraderie he felt with his coworkers, but this guy just sucked the life out of everything.
Instead, Nick shone the spotlight directly onto the gaffer’s balding head. He was ready with several clever comebacks about lens flare and trying to balance the light off the guy’s head, but there was no response at all. The guy didn’t even turn around.
Then his feet shifted slightly. It was like a dance move, where his hips and legs rotated while his torso remained stationary.
Woah… he’s pretty good. I wonder if he was a dancer before he became a gaffer?
The result looked painfully unreal, with the lower half of the man’s body facing backwards while the top half remained facing out to the nonexistent audience.
Next the torso turned, between the waist and the neck. Nick winced, examining the gaffer’s chest to see if it was some kind of optical illusion or trick. The thumbs gave it away… the thumbs definitively proved that the man’s torso was facing the back of the stage.
His head still faced the empty theater.
“Dude! That’s some trick. How did–”
Nick shivered involuntarily. The gaffer’s head rotated slowly, but the bald spot remained perfectly centered in a halo of sparse hair. There was no face. The ears were oddly symetrical, and the front of his head looked exactly like the back.
Nick fell. A thousand times he’d climbed up and down the catwalks and half the time he didn’t bother with a safety harness. This time, he did. He dangled above the stage, the monster or apparition or whatever it was only a few feet from him.
At first, it didn’t move. Then it slowly reversed the process, rotating first his hips and legs, then his torso, and finally his head. Still on his mark, he stood there for a long moment before walking directly into the sea of empty seats, his image shrinking as if he was getting farther and farther away even though the theater wasn’t that big.
It took Nick twenty minutes to untangle himself and get safely back to the stage. His fingers were cold and refused to function. He couldn’t look up because the spotlight he’d turned on was shining directly into his eyes.
It took him twenty days to find another job.

This was written for the Flash! Friday Micro-Fiction prompt that is the picture. Unfortunately, it is supposed to be MICRO flash with a minuscule limit of 200 words. Still, this story popped into my head and I had to write it. (Word count 560 words) Now, I get to try again, and see if I can make the actual limit.

Karl hit his mark.

Two hundred performances and he never once missed.

He never once forgot his lines.

He never once got stage fright.

He never once had an audience.

“Whatcha doin’ Karl?” drawled Scooter, the producer’s errand boy.

“None of your business,” Karl answered, far more brusquely than he intended. Scooter didn’t deserve to be his whipping boy.

Karl stared down at the mark. It was his tape there, he’d been the one that placed it in exactly the spot for the expertly handsome and all so superior wonderboy to hit in every performance. And hit it, wonderboy did. Hit it and wowed the audience every time.

Wonderboy was the perfect choice for the part.

It was the part Karl played every night, knowing he could do it even better. Two years ago, he’d proved it to himself, rehearsing until the words flowed from him naturally, until he dreamed as the character dreamed.

But you’ll never get a part if you never try out.

 

My editor, always looking over my shoulder.

I found a great prompt-blog via Leah Petersen (love her!)

It’s called Creative Copy Challenge and the idea is that they bust writer’s block by posting ten words and challenging writers to compose a story using those words. I’m not currently cursed with writer’s block (I have the opposite problem, not having enough time to get all the words out) but I know it can happen to me at any time. It’s a great, fun exercise, and really gets the writing juices going.

I’m sharing my two posts here. I try to use the words in order, and to be as brief as possible.

June 30, Untitled

Prompt Words: classified, naked, dark, lewd, virtue, dawn, angels, sprawled, hate, sleep

She perused the classified ads for the word “naked“. The computer found only six instances, which was unusual for such a large city.
It was dark outside, and the lewd pictures she had printed out and taped around her mirror glared at her with a kind of twisted virtue. They were beautiful. They were not “porn” as her friends seemed to think.
Before dawn, she would have six new angels surrounding her mirror to watch over her as she sprawled on her bed alone and did things she should not do.
She refused to hate herself.
Sleep was her transition from darkness to light, from private to public, from bad to good.
It took her longer than usual to dress, as her angels looked down at her, regarding her transition to conformity as a creative sell-out.
She did not look back as her Manolo Blahniks clicked smartly on the Italian marble tile in her foyer, and she headed off to work.

July 7 (I posted on July 9) Day Before Payday

Prompt Words: Raw, Arching, Manipulation, Caffeine, Cerise, Wedge, Mottled, Slanted, Bereft, Devoid
It was a raw, rough draft.

The arching of the character’s lives was the greatest she’d ever attempted.

The challenges they faced were influenced by the manipulation of the caffeine that replaced the cerise liquid in her veins.

She placed a wedge between them. Her MMC and FMC might never reconcile.

Her vision of the story was mottled, slanted… she needed more caffeine.

Bereft of the life-giving substance, her wallet devoid of the funds required to replace it, the characters’ lives lay unfinished.

And they would stay that way till payday.

The shortlink for this post is  http://wp.me/p1rMYd-5B