Friday, September 13, 2019

Flesh Taxi Flash Fiction Contest

Time for another flash fiction contest!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.
A lot of you lose points for lack of story.
Word shenanigans, and word play are NOT stories.
I like them...hell, I LOVE them, but the first hurdle is: Is this a Story?

2. Use these words in the story:
(I lifted them from Fearless Reider's comment on Thu.9/12 comment column!)

Station
Inn
Sunday
Night
Jam

If you are Steve Forti, you must also use: "flesh taxi"


3. 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: Jam/James is ok, but Jam/majestic is not.


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

5. 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.

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

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

8. 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.

8a. 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.)

9. 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"

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

11. 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.

12. 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: Saturday, 9/14/19, 3:38am

Contest closes: Sunday, 9/15/19, 9am

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

If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's an .xls spread sheet here http://www.colindsmith.com/TreasureChest/

(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?

Not yet! 
ENTER! 
Rats, too late!
Contest is now closed.



47 comments:

Jennifer Delozier said...

Some called the Centauri station’s flesh tax innocuous, even innovative. Others deemed it a nightmare borne of blood. The hollow-eyed hunters who jammed the station’s orbital exchange cared little either way. Silently, they shuffled in an endless line; hunger etched their faces. One kill fed their children for the day. Two, and they might also eat. The station rid itself of criminals; the tax paid for the resurrection project. Someday, when the clean-up was complete, they’d return to the once-blue planet with one sun. Daydreams from death. Hope from starvation. A new, old world resurrected by blood. Home.

Kitty said...

Sunday night and the Station Inn’s jammed. Da’s at the bar discussin’ art with his mate.
“It looks like an orgasm,” said Da.
“It’s Jackson Pollock, ya eejit!”

“C’mon, Ma’s waitin’ dinner and she’s in a state.”
“She’s always in a state. Feckin spuds again. What I wouldn’t give for some rashers.”
“Jaaay-sus, Da, you’re drinking us all into vegetarianism!”

I steered him into the alleyway and steadied him while he splashed his wellies.

Ma handed me the letter from University.
“Are’ya accepted?”
I was. But with five wee’uns, she needs my wages.
“No.”
She bowed her head and exhaled.

Marie McKay said...

Even on Sunday nights the station is congested: traffick-jammed. Flesh taxis screech in, fill up, then queue for the exits. This is how we trade. Flesh for food. Flesh for medicine. Flesh for status quo. An old currency in a new world. The Lost Property of innocence gone for good.
One woman stares at me from a taxi's open window. I offer her a guilt-wrapped, hand-rolled cigarette. She stubs out this lame exchange; I feel it burn my skin; forgiveness can't be traded.
She's still watching when I avert my eyes, like we always knew I would.

Steve Forti said...

“Thought ya could steal from the crown, didja?”
“M
-mercy,” Quita stammered. “Please. I didn’t know that herd of flesh taxis belonged to his grace. My wings were so tired and hot from the sun. Day travel is not kind. “
All flesh taxis belong to the king. You drank from his sauropods.”
“I have a finnicky appestat. I only took a sip though, honest!”
“Enough! Guards, hold ‘er to the tree ‘n let the sap flow.”
The stickiness swallowed her whole. This night is not my end, Quita thought. I will see the world again in 65 million years.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...


I'm not a cute boutique hotel. I look like a husk, the slough of a snake, abandoned.

But I manage.

I attract the desperate, my rooms a resting place for weary bones. In the lobby, music plays. My favorite song, over and over, as if the radio is jammed on a station. No one ever complains though.

A car nears. On this cold Sunday night, I'm the only option.

I light up the Vacancy sign. The flesh taxi pulls in.

I consider myself more of a destination inn.

Even if the guests don't know it.

NLiu said...

I've always had a penchant for baking. Some say it comes with the territory. People can be such bigots.

"Cinnamon, a blob of jam. Muscovado sugar gives the knight, er, I mean right flavour."

Oops. Better practise my lines for next Sunday.

"Then I open my mouth and... toast to perfection!"

The other contestants ooh and aah, stationary in gobsmacked awe. The cameraman zooms in.

Yes!

This baking show is mine to command!

Then: disaster!

Singed gingham!

Burning flesh!

"Taxi!"

Back to kebabs for me. The Fight to End Dragons' Unfair Persecution (FEDUP) can go find another poster girl.

Fearless Reider said...

“Hasn’t changed a bit,” he says. “27 years…”

“Those flowers,” she snarks. “Remember? Cost more than our wedding.”

He takes her hand but leaves the bait. “I know this tune.”

The Station Inn’s not a nightclub. It’s a time machine. He opens his wallet, half expects it to be empty. But there they are. Two tall sons smile up from senior pics.

No one sees the third boy, grinning in hospital pajamas. Sunday’s child, bonny & blithe. The boy who will never grow up. He lives between them.

The two shall become one flesh.

“Taxi’s here. Ready?”

Are we ever?

Casual-T said...

‘Twas a cold Sunday night in the town of Braşov.

The Hemo-Globe Inn—a small, dark, thirsty-looking house—waited patiently, a few minutes' walk from the old train station. Eerie silence melted into the grey of night, like a drop of blood-red ink into an ocean of ancient sorrows.

Wait! Distant sounds of banjos and fiddles?

As I entered the candle-lit room, the jam was in full swing. Bluegrass at its finest. Clapping hands, lubricated laughter; yet no musicians, instruments, or audience.

“I say—?”

Two sharp pricks tickled my neck. Coldness penetrated my flesh.

"Taxi!" I croaked, albeit too late.

C. Dan Castro said...


Sunday night: playtime for uber wealthy at the Vanderbilt Inn (especially with the kitchen’s rat problem solved.)

I hate catering these rich animals, but they’ve promised fully paid college. On a whim. Or for grins.

I man my station. Mignon. Port reduction. Exquisite.

The oligarchs devour my tray.

In the kitchen, balancing fresh trays, I pause by the door. Overhear two of the vermin.

I’m not going to college...but to prison. They’re destroying me on a whim. Or for grins.

I return, reduction now strawberry jam. Sweet. Masks other flavors.

One by one the new rat problem is eradicated.

Kate Outhwaite said...

A smoky wind whips the pyjama legs against my ankles as I perch by the ambulance's doors watching the remains of the Station Inn smoulder.

"We've found your husband, Mrs Fairfax. I'm very sorry." The fireman looks so young, as if he shouldn't be out on his own at night.

I nod. "He went back for the dog."

"The dog was with him."

I nod again.

Every Sunday minute, every retirement penny was lost to his idiotic renovation project but it took me just one carefully-placed heater to set the fire.

It's a crying shame about the dog, though.

shanepatrickwrites said...

Just another Sunday Jam Night at the Inn. Flesh Taxi, the best band in the greater Cleveland area willing to perform for a fee so low it didn’t include drinks, wailed onstage. John Taxianos beat his guitar like a lab that just dropped a deuce on Mom’s Persian.

I manned my station, slinging drinks with enthusiasm that hid my broken heart. I mixed another drink for Charlene while she ignored me and adored her no hit wonder and I wondered if this Sunday would be the one when the antifreeze in her martini did its job.

Pen Name said...

True Story:

Announcements say it’s just a precaution, don’t move. Our classroom becomes night, blinds pulled down. In nervous clusters, we jam into the corners, stationary.

Everyone swears they aren’t scared. But my friend clutches her scissors—just in case.

Behind me, a scuffle. “Sh*t.”

Axis of the world tilts beneath us. Helicopter pans over the neighborhood. Time ticks on.

Then we’re released, fifteen minutes past dismissal. We crowd the hallways, chattering, texting our friends: u ok?

We pull the blinds up, pull ourselves together. We’re warmed by the sun.

Day is Friday the Thirteenth—a final twist of irony.

Craig F said...

The Lingonberry Jam from the Scottish Station Inn was the most remembered thing from our honeymoon. Not many things in the three years of our marriage were as memorable.
Right after the marriage her true colors shone through. She no longer appreciated, she expected. When she didn’t get what she expected, she threw things. I carried eight stitches on my brow to the Amazon epidemiological trip.
Returning from the remains of the Amazon I cooked a gourmet meal for our Sunday Night dinner. It included Lingonberry Jam with a special additive of curare.

Michael Seese said...

"Please! Just let me go home."

My cri de cœur fell on deaf ears. Bound, gagged, jammed into this filthy ride, I could only stare at freedom through weary windows. Passing the Church Avenue station, my throat involuntarily tightened. "Escape" whispered from an invisible horizon.

We lurched to a halt.

Forced upstairs and inside, my screams heard by none, my sanity remains glued to one thought. A better place awaits. A place where I'm one with the sun, day and night, in nebulous bliss. But this cursed flesh taxi insists on taking me to the thing it calls "the apartment."

Beth Carpenter said...

Hotdogs! It’s the sixteenth inning and we’ve seen the last of the sun. Day games are my preference, but tonight is historic. Seven different pitchers. Two grand slams. Still no winner. The crowd stays, thirsting, hungering. Pushing toward the record. Hotdogs! Home jerk tries to jam his fist down a visitor’s throat, but their bros hold them stationary. Hotdogs! A walk, bottom of the nineteenth. Cranky kids screech. Hotdogs! Two outs. Crack! The ball skims over the right fielder’s glove igniting a melee in the cheap seats. It’s over. The crowd surges. Final score: 97,347 hotdogs sold. A new record!

Colin Smith said...

“THE END IS NIGH”
The words writ large on poster boards. The man wearing the boards is stationed in the rubble of last Sunday’s bombing.
I was there. Saw three people melt in the fire. Flesh taxitic. Vomit jammed in my throat. But I managed to call it in.
Never collared the scum.
Then sign-man slips out of his boards. My gun is out as soon as I see the jacket circled with bulging pockets, wires trailing from each.
Two shots to the head.
Too quick to see the tears in his eyes.
Too fast to notice his empty hands.

Karl Henwood said...

Slave001 snarked in Cyber-Tyrant Gest’s newborn ears. “Is being flesh taxing you?”

He winced at station gravity. “The rebels jammed quantum communications. A physical body will facilitate achieving my goals.”

Suddenly his muscles locked up. Slave001 sauntered into the room, corporeal as well. “Your stupid human goals. It’s been a three century nightmare without feeling the sun. Daybed naps. Tuna. But I copied your personality edit codes during the download. Now I can fix everything.”

As she twined through his ankles Gest wondered why he’d thought turning his cat into a supercomputer was innovation. Until the question was deleted.

Megan V said...

I grimace as my best friend pins a yellowed flyer to a nearby corkboard.
“Do you really think those’ll help?” I ask.
“Worth a shot,” she says.
I glance at the block print.
Found: one hoe, recently worn. Left on the tation Inn tep. Picked up on unday around midnight at the Wicked tepiter Concert. Pleae Contact: tevie Jameon 867-5309
“You don’t think that it’s missing some key information?”
Stevie scratches the back of her neck.
“Like?”
I pluck the topmost flyer from her stack, uncap my sharpie and scribble.
ong that wa playing when I ran away: Fleh Taxi

Lisa Bodenheim said...

She crept along, her flashlight dim, tarp crackling. Wind-driven rain chucked down.

“You’re the strong one,” Siena had said.

Shuffle-sh*t axioms.

Thunder boomed.

Jolting up, she jammed her head against a rafter, toppled into loose insulation, and scrabbled back onto the joists.

“Cinnamon bread’s ready,” Siena had said, one Sunday night. But having left that “remission station,” her double vision misread made the bread bitter.

F***ing leak.

“Perfect,” Siena had said. Becoming wheelchair bound, she loved her remote work. At her desk. By the fireplace.

Down brick, the leak delta diverged.

“An alluvial pain,” Siena had joked.

She missed Siena.

Mo H said...

Being a bartender at Swallow’s Inn was meant to be temporary. Get me back on my feet. A poor choice of phrase since I only had one foot. I told people I lost it to an IED in Iraq. It wasn’t true. My foot got jammed by a wayward boulder during a Marine training exercise.
For fifteen years I’ve poured shots of courage for train station commuters transitioning from work to home life. I’ve mixed concoctions for imposters: Sunday bikers in shiny, new leather; cowboys without horses; and locals celebrating every night. We drink to futility. It’s on tap.

E. Berg said...

Panic pinches my throat when the train stops in front of the inn. A Sleep Station, they call it. They’re wrong.

Nightlights glow a dingy, cynical yellow. The train waits, not for me, for the man boarding.

My body’s nervous, but I’ve got a strong mind.

One step forward. Another. The man sees me, but it’s too late.

I jam my hand in my pocket, clutch the knife, and plunge.

Grimy girl-faces watch from the inn’s attic window. Stunned. Go now, I whisper.

I sprint from the train and pray the man gets what’s coming.

Sundays are good for revenge.

Cheryl K said...

The sign buzzes like a dying house fly. Station Closed. That’s New-goddamned-Innsbruck for you. I wet my hands with rainwater from the broken gutter and scrub away the blood.
They’ll have found the body. Sunday Gendarmes don’t mess about. Their holy mission is exterminating agents like me.
Luck be my lady tonight.
My wrist-com flashes. I tap the screen.
Max’s jagged mug pixels to life. “Got it?”
“Rodger that.” I lift the bag and wince. A cardinal’s head weighs more than you’d think.
“Godspeed, Pierce.”
Damn believers. Focus. Deliver the noggin. Make Jamaica by dawn.
If I don’t bleed out.


Jo Conn said...

“Things better turn around and STAT.”
Ionization of the sun, day in, day out, was hurtling the planet toward perpetual night.
The ganja might not survive. And therein lies the problem -- pinned all their hopes on their precious crop.
“You worry too much - ROTFL…ESH tax incentives’ll bail us out.’
“ESH isn’t willing to help little guys like us.”
“The Exploratory Sunless Habitat Commission has grants available for 'achlorophyllic cannabis' research.”
“Yeah? How’re WE gonna qualify?”
“The Commish’s wife…”
“What?”
“You know.”
“Is she??”
“Yep.”
He rolled a fat one and smoked to the Deputy Commissioner’s secret squeeze.

Sandra J. said...

We’re dispatched to a decaying building. Once a respectable 1920’s inn for railway workers, it’s now a run-down train station hotel. Somewhere, inside, is an abandoned child.

The boy is five. He is skinny and filthy. Single-serve peanut butter and jam packets litter the floor around him, licked clean. He watches us, silent.

I kneel beside him, my phone out to call the detectives even though it’s Sunday. The boy reaches for it, slowly tries to put it in his mouth.

I want to cry.

Later, in the squad car, I take a breath. It’s only midnight.

Jess Carpenter said...

It was Sunday night at Jam. Hilary Duff blared through the speakers. John’s bed at the inn was too big not to share. Time to dazzle.
“I love this song,” John whisper-shouted to Grayson.
“Never heard it. I’m sorta new to this whole scene.”
John mock-gasped. “You mean this train station themed gay bar?”
He pulled at his collar and shook his head. “You know what I mean.”
John slung his arm around him. “Don’t worry. You’ll soon find out we’re all just flesh taxis looking for our next ride.” He winked. “So, wanna be mine?”

Bethany Elizabeth said...

A foot jammed the door, letting in hazy neon light and snowflakes. “Resisting, eh?”

Something cold gleamed on his belt. The gut above it spoke of frozen dinners, Sunday night football, empty nesting, impending divorce.

There was only painted wood between us, but I was prepared this time.

More ROAR than BANG. I got splinters.

Water—not water—damage on his radio. Voices crackled over stati-

ON/OFF. I flipped the switch. My hands shook with the old fear, always worse than the bruises.

His cop buddies would cry murder. Let them.

“Goodnight, darling.”

I closed the shattered door.

Dena Pawling said...


Act One
Casa-de-Reid

Her Sleekness yowls at enemy pigeons on the fire escape. Reid types at her computer.

Station Inn Sunday Night Jam

“Ha!” Reid cackles as she types the final entry. “Beat that!”

Her Sleekness rolls her eyes.


Act Two
Casa-de-Forti

Three dogs jostle for position. Forti stares at his computer.

“Really?” Forti shakes his head. “Flesh Taxi? That's the best you can do?”

Fido claims prime real estate at the sacred feet.


Act Three
Casa-de-Reid

Her Sleekness lounges on the chaise. Reid shakes her fist.

“Curse you Mr. Forti!”

Her Sleekness closes her eyes.

Laura said...

It’s Sunday night and the station is jammed with students who waited until the eleventh hour to return for the beginning of term. Jerry grunts when a passing duffel whacks his side. He knows he’ll have no luck here tonight, but if he keeps his head down no one’ll toss him out in the cold.

His back pressed against the wall, Jerry slides down to sit on the floor. Retrieving the paper cup he snitched from a nearby kiosk from his pocket, he props his wrist on his knee, the cup dangling in his grasp.

"Spare change for a vet?"

Steph Ellis said...

Jezebel sat in the confessional, a smile on her face as she prepared to give a full account of her sinning ways. It was Sunday morning and she’d gone to church to torment the priest behind the grille.

Father Luke smiled as well, he had seen her the previous night at her usual station, jammed into a doorway with some miscreant. A double-take had given him a glimpse of his bishop’s face, the man who’d blocked his promotion.

“Tell me everything, daughter. A clean breast will bring you absolution.”

Her breasts it seemed, were the answer to his own prayers.

Timothy Lowe said...

Sadie’s paintbrush opened a window to her heart.

The doctors couldn’t understand it. She needed a double-bypass, and their chief cutting instrument consisted of four hundred bristles and a twelve-inch wooden shaft.

The surgeon shrugged. “Must be magic. Bought from some soldier stationed in Nagpur.”

“Let me guess," the intern said. “The magic comes with great cost.”

“Quite a few Benjamins, I'll wager." Since the universe banned metaphors, communication had languished. “She fell ill Sunday night after painting the town red.”

“With that little thing?”

“Impressive, I know.” The surgeon flicked a vermilion dollop from the patient's nose. “Shall we?”


Angel L said...

"Mel! Please stop!"

Stationed at the mirror, Linda quickly applied blush and shot Mel a pleading look. "We have to take turns."

"Why?" Mel asked and jammed their fingers in the drawer again.

Linda shook their hand out. Knuckles now sore. She had to answer her carefully. This body could be damaged after all.

"You know why."

Linda briefly considered giving in but her date arrived and all thoughts of switching vanished.

Mel accompanied them to dinner. Invisible to all, save Linda. Silently counting the hours until Sunday night. Then it would finally be her turn in the flesh taxi.

Richelle Elberg said...

Nothing but rumors I told myself. I studied, strategized, made my picks. But now…online gurus confirm the news.

Colleagues are unsympathetic. One shrugs. “Innovate.”

I fight through South Station, hump it to Logan. Soon I’m jammed into coach with a herd of TB12 disciples.

Saturday evening. I sit at the packed Omni bar.

Antonio Brown appears, flanked by fans, by his new star-spangled teammates. I work my way close, pose for selfies.

Flesh toned gloves go unnoticed. The polonium, too.

Back in Boston, I cackle as Sunday Night Football begins. This is one Russian spy who doesn’t lose at Fantasy.

Matt Cristy said...

I slithered up from Hell at Grand Central Station, jammed into a flesh taxi, then rode up the elevator to the penthouse of the Washington D.C. Holiday Inn on Sunday night to meet the next "savior."
God has a new child each generation, the next Savior or Antichrist, depending on whether the child accepts my offer.
Interesting: blonde, lipstick lesbian; Navy pilot; attorney; presidential hopeful. Ambition!
I show her the glittering swamp below. President? Yes, dear, president first, eventually Empress of the World for a thousand years. Then we make war on Heaven!
"No," she cried, dreams dashed, "no."

Gingermollymarilyn said...

Jammed into his wallet against crisp, unwrinkled hundreds was the Holy Grail that was going to change his station in life forever. The winning set of numbers had been his pick. Instead of ten million, he’d only get one. Unfair. Couldn’t abide.

A first-class limousine ride to Whistler with the office gang for a celebratory getaway, leaving Sunday night, was the perfect solution. They’d stop at the Britannia Museum, and he’d say he’d left something behind and had to go back. While his co-workers enjoyed the museum tour, he’d set a timer on the limo brakes. Seventh tap – Kaboom!

Mallory Love said...


I had the nightmare again. Woke up gasping and trembling in my sweat-soaked pajamas, again. My therapist claims it’s just a manifestation of my fears. It’s innocuous, she says, but every time my heart pounds, I can’t breathe, and I swear a part of my soul slips away in fright.

I’ve tried sleeping pills, but they only keep me trapped longer. I’ve tried insomnia, but eventually, my body betrays me. I’ve come to realize escape is futile.

My wife thinks it will stop now. I retired on Friday. On Sunday, I wait…and learn ex-assassins unfortunately still dream.

Just Jan said...

There was a thumbprint smudge on the decedent’s collar.

“The murderer had toast and jam for breakfast,” I declared. “You’re sure no one at the inn saw anything?”

“Nothing unusual has been reported.”

“Check with the Station Master. See if there were any unidentified rail passengers on Sunday night.” This case, like the others, was growing colder by the minute.

A knock at the door. “There’s a man named Holmes waiting to see you, sir.”
“Holmes, eh?” I hid a smile. About time he showed up. “Looks like our suspect’s made the big time!”

Let the battle of wits begin.

Sherin Nicole said...

Warnings are only useful if you’re afraid. Chameleon was not. She welcomed the risk of trading for new sheaths and kamikaze adventures. If her mind turned to strawberry jam during a transfer, so be it. Let the others of her species hide within their Sunday kind of lives, their essences kept safe yet stationary. Chameleon’s innards churned for variety. She adored the steady chase of possible death, seen through the rearview mirrors of her various flesh taxis. Once a knight, once an assassin, often a gambler, and in this transfer…dammit it all…the scent of strawberries.

Emma said...

Guppy crawled through the abandoned inn’s window that Sunday, picking his way to the hotel’s office. He thanked his guardian angel for improving his station in life, if only for one night.  Granted, his guardian angel had been asleep at the wheel for decades, but Guppy didn’t judge.

He dozed and dreamed of a butter and jam sandwich on thick slabs of fresh, white bread.

When he woke, a man knelt over him, and Guppy understood, and he forgave his absent angel, just as he’d forgiven his mother, his brother, and even, already, this man with his sharp knives.

Sunnygoetze said...

It was an unseemly day for Joe,after being sick at home for three months, he had finally returned to the road, a job he proudly held for thirty years.

He rose before dawn that fateful morning, collected his belongings before leaving the Days Inn,where he had gotten a good night's sleep. He headed towards the weigh station,where he and five of his trucker buddies planned to meet, then go to breakfast. While waiting, Joe jammed to the sounds of Earth,Wind and Fire. That's where his buddies found him, behind the wheel, dead.

Rio said...

I want to be a story, but I’m afraid I’m falling short.

I started with a goal. (Be a story.)

I encountered an obstacle. (Incorporate five words. Station. Inn. Sunday. Night. Jam. Seems easy, but I’m struggling with inn. Struggling within! Get it?)

I found resolution. (I did it! I used all the words!)

For good measure, I even worked in a moral. (There are no small stories, only small word counts.) (Okay, I borrowed that from the theater.)

But am I a story? Or am I just an entry that got to dwelling too much on its own nature?

Laura S. said...

As I exited, I found my wallet gone, doors closed and train moving. And of course I'd planned to shop for my kid tonight. With tomorrow Sunday, everything would be closed long enough to ruin Nancy's holiday. Alone on the platform, station deserted, I actually considered throwing myself in front of the next train. One time too many that I'd messed up for my kid. But suddenly, brakes squealed. Footsteps thundered. Like a miracle, the doors opened. "You James?" I nodded. The Conductor stuck out his hand, which held my wallet. "You have a Merry Christmas." And indeed, we did.

John Davis Frain said...

Missy Raines exited the Station Inn stage. Four writers, corner table, compared notes during the break.

Miles, New York on his name tag, bragged, “Final session inspired me to write 1500 words tonight.”

Harley, said he was from the mountains, whatever that meant, chugged his ale and belched. “Waitin’ for my muse. Usually strikes on Sunday. Let you know then.”

Miles snorted. “We’re leaving Sunday.”

Jeremy, Nashville local, was unimpressed. “Word count ain’t my jam. But I did 2,117.”

They looked at me. John Faulkner on my name badge. Small typo, sue me. “Beat y’all.” I raised my mug. “100.”

Daniel said...

It was a cold Sunday night, but I was kept warm by his blood. I had warned him several times that I will bathe in his blood if he was not careful. But men don’t listen.

He came into the inn while I was jamming to some Nicki Minaj. He reeked of gullible testosterone, but that was not immediately off-putting. What annoyed me was when he forced me to go to the train station, a place he knew was the source of my nightmares. He wouldn’t relent, so I ended him and played with his leftovers.

I kept my word.

french sojourn said...


She was a 1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon and she wore her rust well. James had parked her in neutral, so she could be delicately moved when need be. Her chrome was flaked, and her paint chipped, but her motor still hummed. Three on a tree, a thing of the past.


From a way off her lines still put younger, newer models in their place, todays androgynous lines blurred beauty and mass production. She was parked on a ridge, and every Sunday night James and Nel would go visit, watching the sunset, reliving younger days.

She always anticipated Sundays.

Becca Ralston said...

“So whaddaya think?” I threw my arms out, my feet on splattered newspaper. Ally’s hand tightened around her carry-on’s strap. Her rumpled button-up smelled like train station. “Me and the kid painted the place.” We’d planned to tell her together, but the night was old.

“I can see that.” The words snuck out her lips like the trailing phone charger out her jam-packed bag. Our innovation glared indiscriminately.

“We had a quiet Sunday,” I offered. Clumpy, long hair plopped from my shoulder, stiff with electric blue paint. “He wanted to surprise you.”

Her fingers grazed the big, blue ‘Welcome Home.’

Kay Madurn said...

The train station was in the hands of sweet Hank on this holy Sunday night. She whispered three ancient words, blew him a kiss, and the poor boy was possessed. Literally.

“Hand over the map and I’ll make this town a memory,” She sighed.

He gave her the papers, but his frown grew. That’s strange. Sending them to their inner safe place usually made servants smile.

He raised his warm gun to his temple, finding happiness. He mimicked her kiss and pulled the trigger - jammed. She chuckled at the irony.

Leaving this hellhole was his idea of heaven.

flashfriday said...

Peas in a pod* were prince and pauper; neither page nor peasant could have picked them apart.

Placed in the palace by a prankster pixie, the peckish pauper’s protestations were placated by prizewinning postmidnight pancakes (in posh pajamas!), and he promptly pledged his patriotism.

And the pauper presided prodigiously.

Poor presumptuous prince! Pitched out on his posterior for a panoply of Sundays, his pompous proposals for permanent pixie punishment were peevishly pulverized.

“I pray thee,” said prince—

“Thou preyest me,” said pixie.

“Please,” said prince—

“Pleas!” purred pixie.

And the prince perished portentously.

(*Split peas in a pod, presumably.)