Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday Flash Fiction contest Round 1

Round One
posted: 12/22
opens: 12/23
closes: 12/25

Prompt word: bird

Number of words: 30


1. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.
Thus: bird/snowbird is ok but bird/binary code is not.

2. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

3. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

4. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

5. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

6. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

7. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)

8. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

9. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")

10. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

11. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.


Contest opens: 6:37am, 12/23
Contest closes: 9am, 12/25


If you're wondering how what time it is in NYC right now, here's the clock


Questions? Tweet to me: @Janet_Reid

Ready?
Set?
NOT YET!
ENTER!

96 comments:

Nathan Holland said...

Her bird, the ethereal wings of Siren, descends upon the east winds bringing news of the coming. Alighting upon the window sill, it pecks the warning against the glass.

Marie McKay said...

"Eat the damn bird."
Boys who'd earlier made Peter Drake beat his kid brother for fear of their 'or elses' now wept a rainstorm.
"Eat. Or. Else!" said their Father.

CynthiaMc said...

"The bird likes peanuts," I said. "Who knew?"

"We did." The squirrels clanged their empty bowl at the base of the sweetgum tree.

"I like birds and squirrels," Kitty purred.

Kerry Bernard said...

Bird excrement stole the white magic from snowflakes settling upon the decrepit bricks. He supposed it'd go well with the pellets wedged between the treads of his boots.

Cheryl said...

In the forest lie bird wings, sparrow-feathered, linked only by sinew. Moonlight puddles on snow, highlighting horror and beauty. I should move on, but I reach out.
It opens.

Jennifer Delozier said...

Raunch leaned his elbow on the drowning man’s back and wondered if he had time for a smoke. Knock ’em out first, and the birdbath works just fine. Easy-peasy.

James Leisenring said...

Bird: “Should we tell them about us?”
Bee: “We don't have the time.”
Bird: “We should try.”
Bee: “Okay, where do we start?”
Bird: *sighs* “So there was this flower.”

Curt David said...

SCENE 1

Cafeteria. ALAN and RACHAEL sitting. JOHN enters.

JOHN. Are you two lovebirds?

RACHAEL. No!

(John exits. Beat.)

RACHAEL. Number five. Ralph and Piggy.

ALAN. What if we were?

Barbara said...

Was a Christmas Miracle, for sure. Hadn't et in eight days. Slinked to the neighbor's pear tree 'cross the way, but weren't a pear on it. Was a bird, though.

Kat Turner said...

Remote Death

Veronica jammed tweezers into her stinging cut; white Christmas tree bulbs supplied light. Feliz Navidad, her ass. She freed metal—microchip. Fuck. The infamous acronym stamped it.

BIRD.

Kathy Joyce said...

Brown feathers glinting, a hen perches near her redbird. They serenade, fly apart. For now. Cardinals are monogamous; they defend their mates.

Hope wheels her chair from the window, wistful.

Megan V said...

Dear Mrs. Claus,

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for IT to happen. But your husband has birdies everywhere and some of them have mouths to match their big ears.

—Holly

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

“Your daughter’s a bird,” Mrs. Turkington told my mother. I was fourteen and perfect.
You don’t forget something like that. Ever. It can shape your life.
I became a bird.

Steve Forti said...

Dec24: Yitzhak caught me escaping the robbery. Made up story about following star to magic baby. The gold a gift? Y-yeahhh… (Is now.) He and Hebir decided to follow. Ugh.

Craig F said...

I couldn’t look at her lodging. Instead I watched the first tendrils of fog. A bird bitched like he was directing it. It was a remake of that Christmas morning.

Kathleen S. Allen said...

“You gonna drink out of that?” he asked.
“Already did,” I said. My words slurred.
“There’s a dead bird in it.”
I crunched bones, spitting out feathers.
“Not anymore.”

Matt Leyshon said...

The bird carried a message from the field,
time for celebration had begun.
Everybody cheered, my knees began to yield,
we had won the war. I had lost a son

Sherry Howard said...

Among the muskets, gunpowder, and silks nestled something as deadly as an explosive—gambir. Desired as an astringent in the new world, it could also be deadly. Captain Bird smiled.

Matthew Wuertz said...

Didn’t need no birddog to flush you out.

Didn’t need no 12-gauge to take you down.

Amy Schaefer said...

What would it mean, to eat the bird? I glanced nervously around my fiancĂ©’s family. Heads cocked, beady eyes watchful, like a flock of birds themselves.

I took a bite.

Emalbom said...

Iced pine and citrus-cinnamon. Pinpricks of white light. Annual smiles on unwashed faces bringing the fat warmth of hope.

Instead, a nightstick rattles the bars. ‘Merry fucking Christmas, jailbirds.’

Colin Smith said...

We tried warning him, but he kept peering into binoculars, scribbling his notes. He didn’t see it coming. Bludgeoned from behind. He thought we were serenading him with birdsong. Ornithologists!

Caru Cadoc said...

I want her to stay
But unless she flies away,
This will end in shit.

A little at first.
It will grow like resentments,
On the window sill.

Shoo, bird.

french sojourn said...


He had a couple guns to take care of in Sacramento.
After landing at LAX, he drove his rental car north, bird-dogged by bruised clouds promising nothing. Nothing but pain.

Claire Bobrow said...

Christmas dinner.
Her first.
Invitation went straight to the heart.
Couldn’t dodge it.
She arrived perfectly dressed -
a swell bird, a dish -
but wished she had ducked.

Jeffrey Schaefer said...

“Lenny, whatcha’ looking at?”

“I’m not looking. Bird-dogging.”

“Huh?”

“See that telecommunications van?”

“Yeah, so? They’re just cleaning up from the storm.”

“No. They’re…”

Snap.

“Shit Lenny, hadda’ poke around.”

Mike Hays said...

Admit fallibility, eat crow, and move on? Vincent cringed watching the shiny, black bird gobble a fleshy bit of a roadkill skunk outside. Nature made the choice easier. No crow.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Smooth
Bird saxophoning Summertime
Smooth

That handsome boy with the jaw
Crooning about someone laughable, unphotographable
Smooth

I dance in their veins
And their notes soar
Smooth

Then
I smite

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...


Fog shrouds the house.

A bird flits by a window, the old glass broken from within.

The fog breathes, escapes.

The bird does not.

Inside, the occupants are still hungry.

Kregger said...

In a world where the priority is to get down,
and feathered humans are fowl.
There lurks a quill-less, caponesque villain most foul,
that Birdman’s moniker made him go jihad.

Kathryn Clark said...

Backwords duel, he'd written.

Idiot fights the way he spells. Once texted me for "cynaminn". Thank god for Autocorrect. Found a bottle, no questions.

Reel fight. Bring your sabir.

Dumbass.

S.D.King said...

No nativity pageant. St Luke’s is doing “The Bird’s Christmas Carol.” I’ll play “Carol,” but Mrs. Armbruster said, “Ha! More like Imogene Herdman.” Whatever that means. She never liked me.

Beth Carpenter said...

Swans? Now? With a foot of ice on the lakes? Way too many birds in this stupid song. Wait – got it. Seven Swanson dinners swimming in gravy. Next…

Kim Long said...

Today, I’m a bird. And yeah, I’m worried. People ‘round here love hunting the skies. One skilled shot—heck, one lucky shot—and it’ll be bye-bye birdy. Bye-bye me. Sigh.

Brigid said...

With one phone call, the young lovebird's greatest fear switched from losing herself to losing her wife.

Dena Pawling said...


Blitzen kicks me. Hard. “Why'd you pick THAT paper?”

“It was on top!” I splutter.

But he's right. What can we give four calling birds?

@%^!# North-Pole gift exchange.

Laurie Batzel said...

It had to be her.
This had my sister's fingerprints all over it.
Only Christina could flip you the bird and blow you a kiss all in the same gesture.

Terri Lynn Coop said...


A bird from the murmuration landed on my shoulder.

“She’s your guide. It’s time.”

“This potion will protect me?”

“Hell can’t harm those immune to death.”

I drained the chalice.

Ly Kesse said...

The bird scratched and pecked at the worm frozen in the ice.

"Freddy, you're wasting your time," jeered the second bird, hopping and flapping his wings.

Until the worm wriggled.

Rachel said...

Fingernails tapping restlessly.

“Are you okay, ma’am?”

“I’m waiting for this bird to take off.”

“It’s snow use,” she giggles. “Flight’s cancelled, won’t get home for Christmas.”

Life at O’hare.

E. Berg said...

I’m barefoot in the snow. That much I know. A whisper hovers in the trees but it’s not my language. Then…a bird. I sense it before it sings. It’s me.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

The thousandth crane is lumpy, damp from her prison making the paper swell.

“Forget those damned birds,” he says. “Take the ring. Be mine.”

Head bowed, she wishes.

Brig said...

She enjoyed life at a distance; never chose the bird in the hand. In a bush, preferably imagined, meant perfection, control.

He arrived like a cowpat from a jumbo jet.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Her partner read from the paper, “...a major seabird breeding station.”

Jeanie’s heart thudded as the catamaran rolled over swells and approached jagged green ridges jutting from the North Atlantic.

RosannaM said...

Another box leans against Rudolph. Damn Amazon prime. Damn birdbrain people who require you to wrap your own gifts. Toby refused, keyed the strapping tape, viewed the contents with shock.

Anonymous said...

Gazing out at the rusted Taurus in the drive, she imagined a vintage T-bird and herself as Thelma, while her husband raged about dinner being late. Again.

No, maybe Louise.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Her cleaning cloth gave the lens a dab. IR didn't like dust. Interrupted the image.

Clarity was required, else the second device wouldn't trigger.

She dreamt of an optical camera.

John Davis Frain said...

Wideload Johnson stumbled. Ogled the idling pickup. Shimmied inside.

Perfect fit!

Next surprise—it was a convertible and defied physics.

He leaned out his window. Birds-eye view of a rooftop.

Karen McCoy said...

She attempted a flawless Thanksgiving dinner for his mother, who still disapproved of their match. Tender stuffing steamed, while plastic-covered bird innards sizzled inside meat and skin.

Ivy Blackwater said...

She skittered like a bird, timid beyond tolerance. So he clutched her to his chest and held tight until the fear that restrained her understated beauty writhed itself to sleep.

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

They eat lots of birds, most often chickens. Turkeys on special days, like the one they call Christmas. Before cooking, they stuff the cavity with more food.

Amy Johnson said...

Maggie was in heaven. Lying on puffy clouds.

Voices. “She’s back.”

In a bed now.

A nurse. “I’ll crack the window. You like hearing the birds.”

Bars on the window?

Ashes said...

Prime birding weather, Jerry would've said. Maybe that explained her cold feet.
‘Meet potential matches in a cafĂ©/bar’, the website had suggested. She’d chosen bar. She needed the drink.

Lennon Faris said...

I was jogging under the uptown docks the day I found the last Rider. He was only seven but clamped a toothpick between his chompers and gave me the bird.

walkie talkie said...

Loretta placed her boot on the stoop. She turned to tell the taxi not to leave but saw a yellow streak.

Inside the bird was still alive.

"Bitch is back."

Jason said...

It isn't enough the light shines through the window in the morning, but the bird makes it impossible to roll over for more sleep.

Anonymous said...

Goddess Rainbird knew her love for Goddess Firebird was hopeless. One touch would destroy them both.

"I do not care!" shouted Rainbird. "I'd rather die than live without her."

Tony said...

I see the bird rise from a sneering man’s fist--his truck large, weaponized, imposing. A hard left turn grants escape, though still I shake. Could he still follow me home?

Jeannette Leopold said...

The girl squatted by it on the sidewalk.

Mrs. Morrison, passing, noted, “Fifth this week. Stupid animals.”

But the girl touched its broken neck.

And knew who’d killed the bird.

Sherryl Clark said...

Janice flipped me the bird as she drove away. In my Mustang. Was she even allowed to do that? What were the rules for ex-wives? I'd never had one before.

Megan Carr said...

“Hurry up! And don’t step in pigeon shit,” Grandpa said, pulling me toward the prison. The grey birds scattered into flight and I wondered if my father had died yet.

GH Monroe said...

It was an accident, they said. Old Man Cody just left the gas on and fell asleep. The next morning, when he woke and tried to light his pipe, it ended in an explosive moment. No one ever noticed the wreckage of the old bird cage six blocks away, or the new Macaw in the trees.

Robert Ceres said...

Too drunk.
Me and my Karate Kim. So he’d driven her home.

Too stupid.
I’d introduced…my two best friends.

Too eager. ‘Loverbird’ Jim. Mistletoe. Hormones. Her…perfect scent.

Too—

Snail said...

After he left, I threw the ring into the garden. I saw it today, sparkling among the shells and berries in a bowerbird's collection. Good luck with that, mate.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Death in raven form followed the old man.

He smiled at the night.

“Navigating by stars is a lost art. Come along old bird. Greet the last of your days.”

Eileen said...

It’s always a standing-O when he levitates. Please. I used to be the showstopper. But, old birds learn new tricks hanging around magic hats. My latest? The bullet catch.

Gabriella said...

How can your uncle Vito want his firebird back? He’s been dead twenty years.

What do you mean ‘presumed’?

Scott G said...

I watched the bird matriculate from one body to the next, pecking at flesh, quirking its head to compare each bite.

Closer.

Go away bird.

My arm would not move.

Claire AB. said...

He bird-dogged her heart with a letter promising gifts, travel, mystery. He’d reversed his tradition—hadn’t made her ask for what she wanted. Then he signed his name—Santa.

Mallory Love said...

We fell in lust on the subway. Sweethearts turned to soulmates in swift fashion. Lovebirds, we were deemed. Little did I know, instead you'd be the albatross around my neck.

Timothy Lowe said...

“Early birds!” Gregor scoffed.

Dominic’s was a sea of blue-hairs. So much for Christmas Eve dinner.

Marie sighed. “You never plan ahead.”

Surreptitiously, he pocketed the ring.

“You’re right.”

Patricia L. Shelton said...

Snow covered fields. No wind. Perfect day to be out. Dog frozen in place. Straight line from nose to tail. Paw raised slightly. Stating, without question, “Bird”.

shanepatrickwrites said...

A word about birds, they fly away; I’m stuck here.

Steph Ellis said...

“Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird,” sang her father, into the darkness.

Lizzie lay there silently, axe in hand. “That’s a lie, Daddy,” she said. “And liars should be punished.”

JD Horn said...

“’A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird's the word…’”

“Get out.” Martin tapped the muzzle against his temple. “I’m warning you.”

Time to deal with this stuck song syndrome once and for all.

Barbara Lund said...

A bird in the mouth is worth two in the store, says I, cramming a rotisserie wing into my maw as I flee from the cops over Frozen asphalt.

RKirkman said...

Chuck patted his pockets: keys, phone, wallet. He opened the door to leave.

“Watch out for that truck!”

Chuck stopped and looked back.

First words the damn bird ever said.

Rena McClure Taylor said...

The scream swirled around her bed, black and streaked with blood; then hovering at her feet, finally settled, dripping the moments. She counted, waited … counted, waited …

"God-damned Bird.”

Gaylord Pusyslayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
katie said...

"See those birds, circling? I'm going to take care of that, first off. Got it?"
I nod, uncertain.
"Then we'll deal with the house."

Anonymous said...

The pigeon pirouetted through the rain of bullets, burdened with the fates of hundreds. If the bird soldiered through, delivered his message, the unit might survive.

RKeelan said...

Bird’s in the oven,
Table is set.
Santa on rooftop,
Not ready yet.

Hearth was still lit,
Now soaking wet.
Live wire sparking,
Santa’s kismet.

Michael Seese said...

“Birds were meant to fly,” her mother cooed. “So fly.”

Faith pushed her out. She caught an updraft, and soared, gloriously, finally tasting freedom.

Returning home, she found an abandoned nest, too soon tasting emptiness.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

The woodsprite whispered, “Seek...” then led Mea to a clearing in the forest.

Mea looked down. “A bird’s feather? I don’t understand.”

The sprite danced between the shadows. “You will.”

Just Jan said...

“Barcardi has a bat, not a bird.”

I concede, as I’m so toasted my vision’s blurry. Doesn’t really matter, as long as there’s enough to get me to midnight.

Marty Weiss said...

The bird entered by flying through the bars.
“Hello there, Tweety. What’s that in your beak?”
“For me? Thank you. I do believe it is a bit of the weed.”

Sherin Nicole said...

“Bird Legs, Bird Legs,” the children swayed around her, hands clasped, their circle taut with taunts. She’d come to teach them. They planned to school her in cruelty.

CED said...

Mei had one shift left. One way out. And no time.

The open window beckoned.

She hardened her nose, hollowed her bones, and soared away.

Free, as a bird. Forever.

CarolJ said...

Defiant, the sun escapes December clouds. Scarlet cardinals, indigo buntings and earth-toned wrens bathe in a puddle. The birds and illusion of spring light hearten me--until defiance fades.

Alexie Henrietta said...

Birdie died by drunkenly drowning in a bowl of oatmeal. I made it my mission to conceal the truth, even siphoning oatmeal from her throat before calling the coroner.

Janice Grinyer said...

The Cows keep screaming. Smoke hangs in the air. A charred bird ensnared by barbed wire soundlessly cries. Our mercy killing begins.

Wildfire does that.

Chefemie said...

Mark thought he’d gotten away with it, but Polly couldn’t keep a secret.

“Unbelievable,” his wife said. “In her mouth?”

Who knew birds had such good hearing?

Casara Clark said...

I feel awake, alert, aware …

These stairs aren’t new; I’ve seen them many times, but I don’t know where they lead.

I turn back towards the birdcage.

“No chirping.”

Kate Higgins said...

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Commuterman!”
Some idiot came up with a genetic alteration that allowed humans to fly, it was now Robin’s job to promote this concept.

AJ Blythe said...

My addiction gives me pleasure. Unlike the victims of my habit, but I’m no jailbird. Yet.

I peer down the barrel. Steady myself. Never thought of myself as a twitcher.

Mike Mikula said...

“Chuckee!” Alice screamed skyward as Charlie Chirplan climbed toward five phoebes and joined their maneuvers like he’d spent none of the past eight years in a birdcage facing the television.