Friday, October 25, 2019

It's a scary flash fiction contest!

I'm chortling with glee as I contemplate another attempt to thwart the Fort(i).
Guess what costume I"m wearing for Halloween?


 The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:
john
nick
drew
ward
mike


To compete for the Steve Forti Deft Use of Prompt Words prize (or if you are Steve Forti) you must : NOT use any of the prompts as a proper name (not for a person, or place).

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.

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: 7amam Sat 10/26/19

Contest closes:9am Sun 10/27/19

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! contest closed!

48 comments:

Samara Lo said...

Min stalked past shrivelled mummies and cracked urns. She’d loved old and broken things. Loved them so much she’d married a fossil who got thrills from geochronologic names like aegean and animikean. His passion had ensnared her, until she’d discovered he was digging another site before the dust had settled on her wedding dress.

She stopped at the 100 carat diamond looted from a raj.

“Oh n
o, not looted,” he would’ve chided. “Museums acquire.”

She snickered and withdrew. At 0300 she’d be “acquiring” the sparkling reward in his name. Surely his future inmates loved old and broken things.

C. White said...

The warden walked in heavy-footed. As he drew near, I smelled whiskey.
“Can I use the john?” I asked.
“No,” an officer said. “It’ll all come out anyway.”
Looked like Warden nicked himself shaving. Wanted to look nice. A red drop fell to the floor like wet paint.
“Inmate #3096,” he said. “Charged with the rape and murder of 13 women in the county of Kilson.”
The county name was always funny.
“Any last words?” His eyes begged for silence.
I hoped they miked the room. “Proud of me now, Dad?”
Heavy feet.
A door closing.
A stifled cry.
Flick.

Jennifer Delozier said...

’Twas the night before Christmas and Santa was sloshed. He wobbled around the wool knickers scattered over the bedroom floor and drew a boozy breath of relief. The missus was asleep.

Click. On came the light. He froze as Mrs. Claus sat up in bed. Merciful mistletoe, she looked ornery than a mangy Krampus.

“I warned you about Reid’s eggnog. You’re drunk.”

“Am I?” Kerplunk. He stumbled over a pair of cherry-red long johns and tumbled backward onto his bum. “And you’re chubbier than a reindeer’s butt. Best lay off those candy canes.”

Christmas was late that year.

Steve Forti said...

“Your johnson feel big swiping that? The little players are not our competition. You know the code.”

“Someone drops their loot, that’s on them. I keep what I find. Back off.”

“Forget it. No fighting tonight. Let’s do a hard rewind.”

“Fine. I withdraw.”

“Ard
uous will be our journey. Let’s focus. Got our defenses set?”

He patted the carton. “Anyone resists, I’ll shell ‘em.”

“Good. I’ve mapped out our targets. Ignore the small stuff. We’re only after the big prizes. Ready?”

“Let’s do this.”

“Masks on.”

Identities hidden, they ventured into the night, hunting.

“I hope I get some Snickers.”

Linda Shantz said...

My cami kept falling down. I squared my shoulders and drew it up.

Just do it. Onward.

OJ dropped at my feet, toy lolling in his mouth, tail thump-thump-thumping against the hardwood. I should take him for a walk. Think about this more. .

Procrastinate more, you mean. If I had a nickel for every time I’d done that.

My finger hovered. I wasn’t as clever as the others. I’m not doing this.

OJ popped up, plunking the toy squarely on my hand.

OJ!

Ohnosecond, as my submission careened into cyberspace.

Not a robot, but maybe a Border Collie.

Lauren B. said...

He was waiting by the edge of the wood to collect her. Though the girl was only four, she drew herself up as tall as she could. She had fight in her, good that it had done.

She fell in with the rest of his wards, those he nicked from oblivion and shepherded to a destination forbidden to him.

He’d never learned the woman's real name, he was just her john. But when Demi kept the baby from him, he'd hunted them down. Now he had his own moniker befitting his fitting end.

The patron saint of unmarked graves.

Beth Carpenter said...

Rusty hinges moaned. “It’s come,” he whispered into the mike. “Tell my wife…” What, that he didn’t mean to leave her alone and pregnant? Sheila had warned him about this poltergeist.

Silence fell like a guillotine. After an eternity, a stair creaked. A loose nail nicked his hand as he edged deeper into the closet. Blood dotted the camera lens.

The latch clicked. Slow steps forward. Why hadn’t he listened?

The curtain drew back. A horrible face—flat, pale, lifeless.

“Please! Spare me.”

“Some ghostbuster you are.” Sheila pulled the rubber mask up over her head.
“Where’s the john?”

Michael Seese said...

I had to jimmy the lock to get out of the john. The day cascaded donhill from there. The wallyswitch sizzled, frizzling my hair. The clothes rod bent awkwardly, almost pierceing my heart. Frankly, if I had a nickel for every disaster du jour, I'd be rich. Awash in cash.

"This is billshit," I said, nerves frayed, neally tripping down the rickety parallel-challenged stairs.

My hindsight, full of regret, re-read the ad.

"Easy assembly! Illustrated instructions!"

Yeah, in Swedish.

I should've paid attentian to the lonely inner voice telling me I'd rew the day I purchased my house from IKEA.

Craig F said...

There had been six grisly murders already this week. Then the bodies were nicked from the morgue.

Clues, zero.

I volunteered to be bait. I was miked up, dressed like a john.

Cameras covered the spot from every angle and some joker even drew wards around it.

She was too pretty for a street girl. She stopped just outside of the camera coverage. She blew out a breath and I felt it on the back of my neck. Licked her lips and my ear tickled.

Her smile dazzled before morphing into something horrid. Then she was beside me slicing away.

Amanda said...

They call me Barnacle. I’m an Old Salt no Landlubber. I dusted the powder from me long johns and set the mike. With the stars to guide us, we’d take the island. Give no quarter..One blast, and we’d blow the man down.”Swab this!” I yelled as Sully came from the Orlop. I took his post. Buccaneers always guarded the booty map, gotta ward off attempts to hornswoggle it. I checked for more before I redrew the map. Next,I nicked some wood and spotted a spark. The flames rose with me satisfaction. Matey, it’s all for me!

Colin Smith said...

“So,” says the warden, pointin’ his pen. “What was you nicked for?”

“Art,” I says.

“Art?”

“Yeah,” I says. “I was in Hyde Park mindin’ me own. Sketchin’. This man was playin’ an accordion miked to an amp. Turned up. Couldn’t think. When he nips off to the john, I turns it down. He comes back, susses what I did, and picks a fight.”

“So you was nicked for fightin’,” warden says.

“Nah,” I says. “Art. I drew blood.”

He liked that.

So while he’s laughin’, I grabs his pen, jams it in his eye, nicks his keys, and escapes.

Marie McKay said...

The kids nicknamed him Scaredycat. John was scared of everything. Scared of swallowing wobbly teeth incase they ate him from the inside. Scared of falling asleep in the dark incase the darkness wouldn't give him back. Scared to look at his shadow incase it was doing something else.
Mike was the meanest of the kids. And now he was John's patient. On John's ward.
He drew Mike's blood, fed him his own front teeth. No one heard the noises coming from John's basement.
"That's Dr. Scaredycat to you," said John after a long night's sleep with the lights off.

Megan V said...

Someone was in the john.
They’d nicked the cash, nabbed the jewels, and someone was dropping a load in their fucking escape route.
Felix drew his revolver—an empty Ruger—and faced his companions.
“Gotta find another way,” he told them.
“Ain’t no other way.” Panic rippled across Kerri’s wet eyes.
“So we come out hot,” Gus growled.
“No.” Felix grimaced. Because they trusted him, trusted his semi-keen reflexes the way they’d trusted his escape-plan. “You wait here. I’ll go up front, cover you.”
His pops wouldn’t be proud, but for once, the warden wouldn’t be able to ignore him.

C. Dan Castro said...


Hiding in a stall, holding my wireless microphone, I don’t croon the standards.

I whisper an incantation.

Nick slouches into the john. He snarls, spotting the ward I drew. Stabs his talons into the mirrored sink wall, but his feet drag him forward, my murmured chant irresistible.

His claws dig deep grooves, disemboweling cinder blocks. Silver glass splits. Shatters. All a whisper compared to Nick’s keening. He staggers into my scrawled circle of protection. Flares neon blue.

And disintegrates.

My first mike drop. I leave the bar, its patrons long gone. Leave it to Satan to ruin another karaoke night.

Mo H said...

I drew my switchblade; the sharp edge moved toward his face.

“Careful of my taj”

“Oh, now you’re worried? Your Zombie Muslim costume is stupid. You look like a terrorist.”

“That’s inherent bias. Explains your shirt. Look, just trim the fake sideburns so they blend better with my beard. Careful, don’t nick my face. And put more of that semi ketchup-like blood around the top of my machete vest.”

“So, ‘If you see something suspicious- say something specific’ will actually make someone think?”

“They’ll probably just ogle your tits.”

I sighed, “So another phony cause?”
My hand slipped. “Oops”

Anne Gilch said...

The queue for the john snaked down the narrow stairs and around the corner; ratty fur stoles and dangling opera glasses mandatory. Deep in the auditorium an announcer, poised to return audience members to their seats, scratched the mike. Two minutes left. I drew up multiple petticoats and thrust past the line of tutters.
“Excuse me, ladies, tonight I must insist upon beauty before age.” My nickname's Puck for a reason.
The door opened and Esmerelda emerged backwards from the single cubicle flaunting the empty envelope with my name scrawled in red. The ornate throne gurgled.
“It’s blocked,” she gloated.

Pen Name said...

Welcome to Outdoor Fun Adventure Camp. I’ve made rock collections, nicks during slingshot practice, and beautiful memories of poison ivy. It’s “fun”. If you’re a masochist.

As for adventures? None, until today.

Today a raccoon claimed the john.

We drew straws. I went to ward him off.

But he wouldn’t budge. The path back to camp looked so inviting.

No. Nature had pushed me around long enough. My downfall would not come from a despicable, four-pawed malfeasant.

Hmm…

I kept my rocks and slingshot, even after everything. It paid off.

Welcome to Outdoor Fun Adventure Camp. We take no prisoners.

Timothy Lowe said...

3 musketeers stared down a butterfinger,
A cowardly thief through and through.

100 Grand awaited the winner,
Whichever went first and drew.

The clumsy yellow-belly murmured a prayer,
The cold Milky Way glared down from on high.

Mike and Ike grinned and cocked both their hammers
Beneath Mars’s black, glimmering eye.

Time stretched out like molasses
When Butterfinger to their surprise

Whipped out a huge Whatchamacallit
He began to brandish lengthwise.

Snickers assailed the firing squad,
Their Payday purloined by the ploy;

But the punk was shot down by johnny-come-lately --
The legend -- sweet Miss Almond Joy.

Kregger said...

The elevator stopped at the gates of Hell.

Out walked a novelist, a comedian, and an Abuela.

The novelist approached Satan. “I don’t belong here. I drew from life’s experiences. I only nicked an idea…maybe two.”

The comedian warded his chest. “Everything’s a joke. I went to the john and ended here.”

Both men disappeared in a flash of light.

The Horned-One turned his eyes to the older woman. “And what is your story, mi kea?”

She blushed at the endearment. “My crime is, worst of all.”

“Really?”

“Yes,” she whimpered. “I forgot to change.”

Steph Ellis said...

Lilith drew herself up, steel beneath the warden’s gaze. The phial was tantalisingly close, promising a kick greater than any demijohn of her usual meds.

“Just a nick,” he said, “just a taste of your life it’s yours.”

She nodded and he peeled the bandage from her trepanned skull, revealed the hole, inserted the scalpel.

As metal sliced brain, visions exploded, the Devil at the mike writing the script.

In monstrous communion, the warden ate of her body, whilst Lilith drank once more the blood of her victims.

Together, they left her cell. She was risen and the world awaited.

Hannah said...

Johnson drew the mike closer. It shone in the dim light like a halo; he leaned past his guitar and sang to extinguish it. He sang crossroads and conversations with the devil, and when finished he sat back slow.
“Is it true?”
He said his hands were all his own. I asked if his spirit was.
He shrugged and smiled and turned towards the music. I swear as he sang I heard howls in the night.
I lived to see Johnson forgotten. My soul’s not worth a nickel anyways, but I’ll give it now to choose what can last.

CynthiaMc said...

After Dad died I nicked a diamond to pay for Mom's chemo.

They made me a ward of the court.

So I fed my foster parents arsenic-laced sashimi,k? Everyone knows they deserved it.

I escaped via the window in the gas station john.

Stupid rookie cop.

Made my way back to Mom.

She looked like hell.

I drew her close, told her she was beautiful.

"The cops say you killed your father."

"Your husband. Never my father."

"Why?"

"You know."

"I'm so sorry."

There are no murders in my hometown.

There is only justice.

nightsmusic said...

He nicked the miketorin and syringe from the med cart left sitting in the ward hall. His buddy’d brought matches earlier in the week and he’d pocketed his spoon from dinner.

Ducking into the john, he closed the stall, sat on the toilet and assembled his fix. Emptying the capsules onto the spoon, he spat on it, heated it and drew it up. He’d heard you got a great high this way. Injecting it, the medication flooded him.

He was found on the floor in the morning.

Antidepressant dosage: 1 capsule

Injection amount: 6 capsules

He’s not depressed anymore.

french sojourn said...


The old tramp steamer droned on, tossed about the Atlantic like a johnboat in a hurricane. Inside a dangerous game unfolded.

“Whitney, deal… what are you doing mental origami, keep your head in the game.”

“Your hunter friend, too forward, want his money back?”

“My wife learned to keep her mouth shut, eventually,” I said to our Brazilian guide.

Whitney dealt, “Ante up your nickels, how many?”

The guide took two, I took one, the Colonel three and Whitney drew two.

“Fuck this!” I walked to the starboard hatch and opened it.

“You be careful, alone on that deck, Rainsford.”

Sian Brighal said...

He tugged the mike free. The interview was over. It drew a gasp from the audience, but he wasn't about to reward a viciously ambitious interviewer on any paper nicks a Dear John letter had or hadn't made.

"You feign indignation so well," a voice muttered in his ear. "For a moment even I thought you were the injured party, deserving sympathy for your lost love."


"I am," he snarled. "You're a wound that won't heal."

Cold laughter floated after him. "You should accept no instead of pushing, forcing and squeezing so hard. We'll never let you heal."



AC said...

I remember being miked up. I remember walking toward the camera and sitting with John. Or Jerry. Or someone who wanted to make sure they were the lead story on the six o’clock.

What drew you to her?
She was so lovely when she laughed.

Why did it end?
I didn’t trust her enough. She left because I didn’t trust her enough.

Where did she go?
Away from me. Away from every panicky moment I put her through.

Where is she now?
I don’t remember.

It was the truth. I still don’t remember where I buried her.

RosannaM said...

“Award. Reward, prizes!” Enticement for the gullible.

Peppa Pig, Zombie cheerleader, fat Mom entered my haunted house.
One wouldn’t exit. My choice.

Doom tunes spun by the d.j.

“Oh, n
o! Aieee!”

The screams caressed the back of my neck like a bony-fingered lover.

Walls tilted in. Skeletons rose, creepy hands grasped, wet tendrils brushed against faces. Girls screamed. Men tried not to.

“It’s an icky place. Scary!” said Peppa.

Correct, piglet, I thought, my mind waffling over my prey.

Fat Mom. I kept returning to her. After all, I was on a Keto diet.

But. I so loved pork.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

She was my comedic rival. She wrapped up her set with a zinger, looked crowdward, and while holding their eyes, dropped the mike. She then went to back off the stage, stepped on the mike, and came a magnificent cropper. Maybe I should have waited for help, but I didn’t: I darted forward and drew her inert form offstage by ankles. It wasn’t until we got her to the john and were checking her injuries that we realized my method of removal, plus the three steps downwards, had left her skull with a permanent nick.

Kate Larkindale said...

Cam drew the covers to his chin. He needed the John , but wasn’t getting up while the origa mi ke wpies hanging from the lamp danced. The nightlight smeared shadows across the wall; not cranes and babies but pterodactyls and giants.

The windows were closed. Mom checked at bedtime, drawing curtains as if fabric could ward off night.

A pair of yellow eyes appeared in the doorway. Cam moaned and clutched his aching bladder. It felt full of nick els. As the sheets dampened beneath him, their weight melted into shame.

Next to him, the cat purred as she settled herself.

Fearless Reider said...

“Who put a nickel in her?” groused the coroner.

“Rookie. I drew the short straw. Hasn’t quit moving since we got here.”

We sucked at stale coffee and watched her flit.

“The lock’s been johnnied!”

“Uh... jimmied. Devoured, I'd say.”

"Something's in his throat, Mike!”

I reached in. Drew out a bloody phone. “Fetch me that thumb.”

Click.

Dear God. My stomach heaved upward.

Dr Agnt

U up?

Cant wt 2 tl u abt my nw fction nvl
Almst cmplt @397,666 wds

Call me

— Ishmael


“Welcome to the QPD, kid. We're done here.”

No jury in the world would convict.

smoketree said...

Long ago, three witches lived in a crumbly cottage in the middle of a wild wood. Their names were Drewsilla, Johnevre, and Mike. Each of the witches had spiders for hands, and at dusk they would crawl out of the crumbly cottage to spin thick, sticky wards around the property line. These were so strong and so slick that nothing could pass in or out. Later, over cake, they reminisced about their dear, departed sister, Nicklementine. The cake was soon finished.

Not quite so long ago, two witches lived in a crumbly cottage in the middle of a wild wood.

flashfriday said...

She’d reworked (how naughty! sweet first: scones and clotted cream) the dragon’s riddle a hundred times (plates heaped with mozzarella and salami kept filled), but there was (chianti chilled in a dewar) definitely something tricky (darn icky, actually—sorry, not you, curry chicken on brioche) about this one.

Maybe (truffles or tiramisu?) it was his wording (fine, both), or maybe her (champagne!) inexperience.

But here, the dragon was clearly raj (oh, now cappuccinos?!) and she the humble peon (extra whip please).

“I can’t solve it,” she said in despair. “I’m just too full.”

“Yikes. Awful!” said the dragon. “Mint?”

Lennon Faris said...

When I reach the middle, 156 cars have passed me. Last year, I promised myself if someone stopped, so would I.

I’ve wizened up.

Nobody pauses now, anyway. Busy, busy. That’s all.

I reach my old spot. In the pre-dawn grey, fog rolls beyond my toes. Thrill. And terror.

A noise, sideways –another silhouette draws towards the edge.

I run.

“Wait –what’s your name,” I ask. Mike? I’m Drew. I tell Mike about John, my nick-of-time friend.

We call Mike’s sister. Sister arrives —hugs, tears.

I decline their ride. 219 cars pass me.

“See ya tomorrow,” I tell my bridge.

Kate Higgins said...

I live in an old, sort-of-furnished, 3rd floor walk-up.
All my books are soldiered in an ancient wardrobe, much roomier than the shelf in the john
or the origami-keeping-knick-knack-dust-collecting bureau in the hall.

The last someone left one book behind.
The book always stuck out.
It would never stay even; it was like the other books withdrew from this pariah and shunned it.

I never read it, but I kept it.
I kept it as a guarantee.
The old gold-printed spine read, "The Last Book You'll Ever Read!"
I kept it as a guarantee.
and I never read it.

Dee said...

What started as a Halloween karaoke party turned weird.
Someone shoved a mike at me. I stepped forward. The old witch stirring her pot looked at my rabbit costume and cackled.
“Great costume, or you really an old hag?”
“You’ll taste good in my stew.” She pointed her finger at me.
Poof!
I escaped outside in the nick of time.
Now in the tall johnsongrass, my small furry body quivered with fear. I hid and hoped that nothing drew her to me.
The morning sun woke me. It was only a dream.
I wiped a furry paw across my face.

Mallory Love said...

Potions to ward off evil spirits lined the shelves. Sage incense burned in the nickel-plated bowl on the table. Madam Olivia drew a finger along the lifelines on Edwin’s hand.
“I see trouble in your future. You’re running from something.”
Whoa, Edwin thought. She’s good.
“I sense it’s related to something medical. An illness, perhaps? Maybe surgery?”
This was uncanny. “Okay, be honest. Is this place miked?” he asked.
She shook her head, her eyes darting to the glass-paned door. From it, a cop and his doctor glared.
“No, but the johnny you’re wearing gave me a hint.”

Delaney said...

“Dudley,” Squire Johnson said, “we are beyond grateful that, once again, you have saved our daughter in the nick of time. My wife and I cannot fathom why disasters have beset Luella since we came to the East End. You seem the only man who can keep her safe.”

Dudley doffed his cap. “Glad t’ be o’ service, yer worship.”

He withdrew, rounded the corner, and rewarded the ruffian waiting for him.

“Y’ want another near-thing tomorrah?” the ruffian asked. “Runaway ’orse? Viper, mebbe?”

“Aye,” Dudley said, “’e’s ‘bout ready to ’and ’er over, s’mike it a good ‘un.”

Just Jan said...

Five guys walk into a bar.

(CHECKS RULES. No Proper Names allowed this round. DELETES.)

It was only a nick, but it drew blood. Ignoring taunts from the inmates, I walk towards the john at the end of the ward. Before I reach it, my name is announced over the...

(Is it mike or mic? CHECKS ONLINE DICTIONARY. Who names their kid after a microphone? RE-READS ENTRY. Utter drivel! RECHECKS RULES…only Steve Forti, Flash Fiction Contestant Extraordinaire, can’t use Proper Names. HAPPY DANCE. DELETES.)

Five guys walk into a bar.

(CHECKS THURSDAY’S POST. Is this even a story? DELETES.)

KDJames said...

Their names are a blur, every Tom, Dick and Harry who drew me into the game with slick praise and sly hands.

My memory's selective, skipping fast-forward past needy johns and the thin joints nicked to endure them. Skimming past getting miked up for the cops that time, to nail a murderous rat bastard.

Here on Ward 5, that's all distant--

"Hey, baby," I say, "want to party?"

Just another sad old dame whose past is--

"Check it out, lover."

Who can't remember--

"Got your sugar right here, hon."

--why reciting these lines is hauntingly familiar.

Laura S. said...

She held out her hand. "I'm Jo H."

N
ot that I cared. After she'd stalled my plan to finish off the smuggled whisky, she could have been called Mike for all it mattered. Still, the glint in her eyes drew me in. And her words flooded the ward's shadows with something like hope when she said she understood my troubles because she'd had them too.

Alone, I opened the bottle, randomly flipping through pages of the book she'd left. Hours later, right in the nick of time, I had made a decision. I emptied the liquor down the sink.

Aphra Pell said...

Around a campfire of shadows, they told creepy tales.

Mike warned of a beautiful woman, who turned into an owl and ripped out men’s hearts.

Ward conjured a seductive vixen, who drew boys into her cave and sang them their doom.

Nicky span an old yarn, about shipwrecked sailors becoming feasts for a crone, drunk on salt-flesh and dust.

Ana ached to tell of true nightmares, born as her protests were smothered, consent stolen, among indifferent campus trees. But Professor Johnson was watching her now, smiling across the flames, daring her. Fear, of a hundred stories unbelieved, strangled her voice.

Little Matchgirl said...

Look at me, the Night Sky breathed, as the girl with nicks and bruises collapsed onto the ground. She struck a match, and the Night Sky whispered, my love, see how ardently the flames glow.

Wretched sobs offered themselves to the Night Sky, and it murmured, my darling, I would rewrite your story if I could.

It watched the tendrils blaze higher, a burning tsunami keen to destroy, and the Night Sky said, Look at my stars.

It said, Kings, tsars or raj-—oh, not one has your courage.

And the Night Sky, too, cried as it whispered,

I’m sorry.

Efa Foy said...




You brace. It doesn’t help.


Seconds after their death-versary, they dim. Dad’s hair falls in patches; Mom’s cheeks peel.


You’re bone-weary but you squeeze superglue under her skin (kiss her), and staple his hair (unsuccessfully). He’s still handsome.


The demon winks into existence, no cadre with him.


“Ready?”


He snaps and a demijohn—your soul-jar—appears.


Chest shield-like, you face him.


“I keep thinking...maybe enough’s enough?”

It hurts seeing them slumped when they’d be restored with your tonic—“Know I’d never suggest anything untoward, my child!”—but you’re tired. Maybe they are, too.


John Davis Frain said...

Mike, police procedurals, drew the short straw, so our critique group will act out his story to find flaws.

I hit the john, load my Beretta, ready to raise the stakes. Ward, horror (writing and life), joins me enthusiastically.

Drew is new, yet, ironically, historical. He’ll acquiesce.

Nick, noir, is a guest, so a mystery. Replaces John, who escaped in the nick of time. We’d pushed him toward the brink of insanity when we cosplayed his best-selling Dyin’ Eyes.

We enter the gritty sheets of chapter one when I drop the mike.

I’d tell you what happens next – but I’m suspense.

Unknown said...

Two little wards of a mean house, together for our first 10 years. Until Tom nicked a johnboat to find his real parents.
I didn’t know how to survive in that house without Tom. So I went searching for him, stroking the totem I kept in my pocket when I felt small on the river.
The seventh day drew to a close, and, starving and cold, I found his boat. Abandoned on the bank. Where the State waited to take me back to the mean house.
“Girl thinks she had a buddy. An imaginary friend. Her excuse for running away.”

Amy Johnson said...

“That’s what makes a story a story,” she said into the mike.

Leaving the conference, she detected the fire twenty-three blocks away. She ducked into a portajohn and SWITCHED into her superhero suit, then flew toward the flames, drew in a super breath, and blew out the apartment fire, saving everyone there.

Then, she thwarted thugs attempting to nick women’s purses, REPLACED a stranded motorist’s tire, and, having no spare COINS, dropped a twenty into a man’s cup.

The feline met her at the front door, paws crossed. “You’re late. What’s your story?”

“I’m afraid I don’t quite have one.”

NLiu said...

He boomed over everyone. He had to: he'd finally done it, stolen the voices of those deadbeat opposers, fed them into his hungry microphone. Black magic? Who cared? His voice stood alone. He strutted the stage, speechifying in fortississimo. Fawning assistants (wardrobe in his colours) proffered water, mopped his brow, as he roared. The crowd clapped, cheered, greedily devoured his spiel.

He flourished his last incendiary buzzword, smarmed offstage, handed his mike to a waiting aide. Never noticed where she went.

In the bathroom, she drew off her disguise. Dropped the mike down the john.

Flushed.

Snickered - audibly, this time.

LynnRodz said...

Com'on Sally, you know you want to.
I don't know. Do we have to?
It's always scary the first time, but it'll be amazing.
I hope so, I have my reputation to think about.
Afterwards, you'll be happy you did.
But I'd rather go with our friends.
This will be better.
Okay, but you better not be lying to me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hahahaha! We j...oh no! You're still waiting for him?
I keep telling my brother he's stupid. Rewards, what rewards? No! You missed all the fun and candy. Yuk, what an icky place here.
Let's go little sister.
Linus you blockhead!