Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Holiday Flash fiction contest round 2

Round two
Posted: 12/26
Opens: 12/27 (7:47am)
Closes: 12/28 (9am)

prompt word: ring
Number of words: 25

You can enter Round 2 even if you did not enter Round 1.

You may continue the story you wrote for Round 1, OR use someone else's post from Round 1 as your "starter"
If you use a starter, you MUST include it in your post WITH ATTRIBUTION.
It must be differentiated from the entry in round 2. (A line, five stars, something) (I need to be able to calculate the word count for each entry readily)

It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that you use someone else's work with respect.

You can NOT use 29 words in this entry if your previous entry was "only 26 of the allowed 30" In other words, no carry overs.

1. You must use the whole prompt word (ring) 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: ring/ringding is ok but ring/rousting 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 If you use a STARTER post, those words DO NOT count as the 25 limit for today's entry.

7. 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.

8. 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.

Round 2 opens: 7:47am, 12/27/17

Round 2 closes: 9am, 12/28/17

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!
oops, too late, this round is closed.


Unknown 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.”

Bee: “Orchid. Bird stopped for a drink.”
Bird: “Bee had a few too many.”
Bee: “Still, Bird liked me. Month later, I gave a ring.”

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.

Long ago, they gathered at the dinner bell's ring.

But the meal was not for them.

The only thing to grow up was their rage.

[Round 1 Starter - mine]

Unknown 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”.

Ring neck pheasant. That's the only thing would draw the hunter and his dog out to this section of the county, this time of year.

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.

Birds squawked, "Tell." But Peter sealed Richie's bruised lips with marshmallow. He'd seen his Mom accept flowers as purple as the rings decorating her eyes.

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.

Dec30: Still walking. Why so far away? I swear the star is moving. Yitzhak and Hebir fight over gifts they bring. WTF is Myrrh, anyway?

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.

Kelly glanced at her, “Did you bring them?”

Sure her face was white as a ghost, Jeanie patted the rucksack in her lap.

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.

"It was an accident," you begged forgiveness, tightening the string like a noose.
Apologies don't raise the dead, dear, and mothers can't nurture memorials.

(Starter from round 1- mine)

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.

Neither does my foster mom. So I wear long sleeves.
Mrs. Armbruster’s rich. In the vestry, a big ring sparkles in her open purse.

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.

“I know! Let's give them five gold rings.” I'm brilliant, thank you very much.

Blitzen snorts. “Ring their little necks is more like it.”

[Round 1 Starter - mine]

npholland said...

Dec 24. 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.

Dec 27. The ringing, the sound of bells reaches her ears before the birds tapping ends. She knows then it is coming. He is coming.

Les Edgerton said...

One day I found a volume of poetry by Robert Frost in the prison library at Pendleton and checked it out.
Back in my cell, I read: Home is the place where, when you want to go there, they have to take you in.
When I made parole, I gave my mom a ring to tell her my good news. I found out that my dad had never read Robert Frost.
At least not that poem.

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.

I didn’t have to ring; the nurse was waiting. When I got to my girl’s room I bent to kiss her. No response, organic damage.

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.’


I'd welcomed the lie - first love of my unnoticed life. Understood the price when steel kissed my wrists.
'Where'd you get the ring, kid?'

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.

I know why She turns me, of course. Clawed feet. Night vision. Perfect for night-time thievery.

Now to spot the ring.

And survive ‘til night.

[round one starter - mine]

Cheryl said...

(Round One: Mine)

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.

I enter the cave, which is warm and full of light.
“What do you want?” Her voice is frail, stringy. Ancient.
“Give back the sun.”

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.

Gotta break up my trail, so I bust in the front door of the next house without ringing the bell. No one Home Alone here.

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.

The flight was brutal, but no ruffled feathers would stop Cher Ami. He stuck the landing, savoring the respite while the general read his missive.

Unknown 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.
Sighing, he stepped up on the ring of soiled blocks and into yet another sooty maw. The hot, creosote-lubricated throat swallowed him greedily.

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

[Round 1 starter - mine]


Cafeteria. ALAN and RACHAEL sitting. JOHN enters.

JOHN. Are you two lovebirds?


(John exits. Beat.)

RACHAEL. Number five. Ralph and Piggy.

ALAN. What if we were?



Central Park. Dusk.

ALAN. (Stuttering.) I have question. When I’m with you. You see, we’ve known each other-

RACHAEL. Yes, I’ll marry you.

CarolJ said...

Round one (Mine)

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.

The cat's cradled in my arms, and I indulge in yearly tears of remembering the almost-child who died on Christmas eve fifty years ago.

Unknown said...

(first entry mine)

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.


A mean drunk, the driver wouldn’t relinquish his keys.

When the accident severed Hope’s spine, Drake flew like a peregrine falcon. She kept the ring.

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.

The truth would change everything. It would torch this promising relationship. But with guilt ringing in his head, how could he continue to keep quiet?

Michael Seese said...

She swallowed a shot of 151 and her pride before taking the stage.

The pole reeked of prostitution. The dollar bills, desperation.

His ring... salvation.

Amy Schaefer said...

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

I took a bite.
She took a bite.

You’re so relieved, you nearly tip your wine glass. Food matters, here.

Mother nods.

You pull the ring from your pocket.

(Round 1 entry - Amy Schaefer)

Unknown 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.
Tonight was my first time hosting our family's annual Christmas gatheRING and every pan in my cabinet was coated with a layer of purple glitter.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

(1-mine) 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.”


Shattering the veil between worlds, the old traveler ventured into the valley of darkness. Such great rewards awaited if courage allowed him passage across.

Matthew Wuertz said...

Didn’t need no birddog to flush you out.

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

Told you not to bring Kate into your world of false hope.

Told you I’d bring you into my world of true despair.

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.

"What did you bring us?"

The scurry of squirrels converged at my feet.

"Peanuts!" I said.

"Murder and mayhem!" Kitty sprang from the plumbago bush.

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.


I perched on the roof.
Spread my lovely wings, drinking the salt air and the ring around the moon. Singing to the lonely foghorn.


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.

Too late for regrets!
Her soul winged its way onwards,
the blue yonder calling,
ringing in her ears
like the report
of a gun.

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.


Her ingratitude had been incomprehensible. Yet, he’d played along. Bought the ring. Gotten down on one knee. Even set a date—upon his return. Soon.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Dazed in the ring, hate cleared my head. I can legally kill my ex’s live-in. Hard right. Neck snapped. Won a championship belt for murder.

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.

Must stay quiet. The order brings heat to my veins, purpose to my hollow mind. My name escapes me; don’t want it back. Never back.

Ashes said...

Prime birding weather, Jerry would've said. Maybe that explained her cold feet.

‘Meet potential matches in a café/bar’, the website had suggested. She’d chosen bar. She needed the drink.

Her wedding ring tan line a willful reminder, fingers wrapped around an unsympathetic cocktail. It had been too long.

He looked nothing like his picture.

(Starter mine)

Lennon Faris said...

[Round One – author Sherryl Clark]:
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.


Sleepless bedhead, circle of my wedding ring on his cheek almost finished me.

Oh, Theodore, trust me!


Commenced flashy exit.

Hope those bastards saw.

Unknown said...

"No bother at all. I just put the bird in the oven."
Mom was infamous for never answering her phone. Why today? I lamented inwardly.

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.

Murder-for-hire was boring, but it paid the rent. Crimes of passion were a different species, and Raunch fed his soul with their bones and flesh.

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.


After pushing the windshield for five hours, eyes red, ears ringing, he pulled over. Caffeine, nicotine, then back behind the wheel. He chambered a round.

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.


Mouth dry as ashes, caught in their tightening ring, Rosie prophesied: They’d all fall…stairs, wells, cliffs... The malice they taught, they’d learned at l'Académie.

Anonymous said...

Rings of fire, wreathed round towns
Rings of fury, kings bowed down
Rings of failure, terror fueled
Silly humans! #DragonsRule

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…

Grumman Goose – the quintessential sea plane. National Guard has six of the belly-landers lying, not laying, in the snow. Close enough. Which brings us to…

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.”

“Can you bring me more? Understand more?
Well, ring-a-ding-doo, I believe you do.
Flower buds and leaves would be welcome.
Give you peanuts in return.”

Barbara said...

(Round 1) 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.

(Round 2) Partridge. Wringed its neck and took it home. We et good that night. For the next 11 nights, I found something worthwhile in that tree.

(Round 1 mine)

Unknown said...

(1 - Laurie Batzel)

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.

* * * * *

It wasn’t underwear we found in my bedroom. It was her knife, because
Christina cooked his dinner.
Her catering skills were famous.
my poor husband

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.”


“No worries.” He fingered the other unpopped question: a sealed vial. “I can make us something mouthwatering...”


“... I always have a plan B.”

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.”

“What if I’ve got you a diamond ring?”
She saw the jewel glimmer, dropped the axe. She always enjoyed Christmas carving, but it could wait.

Colin Smith said...

We tried warning him, but he called us poulets, fearing our own shadows. It was the shadow behind him he didn’t see. Whack! Fermier fou!

Anonymous 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.


“Do I have to?” She peeked at him, voice quavering. “So many men.”

He squeezed. “You’re the sexy manager. Show them. Take it all off.”

Unknown 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. (Round 1)

She almost succumbed, but then he spoke of bringing her north. That tipped her off: he could read minds, but she didn’t like the cold.

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.


He was attractive like he ate Pringles over the rug: infuriatingly, messily; a whirlwind completely at ease. With her, a maypole, his whirling made sense.

Scott G said...

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


Go away bird.

My arm would not move.



Fly away bird.

Don’t peck my eyes, my cheeks, my lips, cracked and burned from the hovering, desert sun.

I cannot see my leg.

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.

"Stop pretending you cain't hear me, woman."

She absently traced the ache of bruises ringing her arm, reckoned pretending was what kept her alive.


[all words are mine]

Anonymous said...

Round One:
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."

Round Two:
Rainbird stole Shieldbird's Ring. With this ring she was invulnerable. She could survive Firebird's love. The two of them...

She only had one ring.

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.
(round one starter - mine)

First, pass by the IR camera. Second,
pass underr in gamma ray. Third, wait a week for the final image to develop in their flesh.

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.

A plane ticket, a passport and an unsigned invitation. A pile of cash on the bottom provided the how. The who would keep him wondering.

Jason said...

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

My phone rings but is somehow less irritating than the chirping cacophony outside my window. If I could hit it on the head, I would.

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.


One turkey thrown out, the other perfectly laid on a platter, next to an engagement ring. Broken china, thrown by his outraged mother.

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.



So my husband would rather deck you than deck the halls—who cares? He won’t remember a thing after we ring in 2018.


Sherryl said...

Rd 1 - 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.

Or a Mustang either. I was left with Janice's engagement ring. A real diamond could have bought me two Mustangs.
Or a good hitman.

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."

“I oughta ring your neck.”

The parrot dove, puffed with madness.
Loretta’s bones cracked as she dodged the attack. She rose and preheated the oven.

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.


Like Jonah Hill in Super Bad,

and the Duchess attacking string, Birdman got serious.

And like chicken to Colonel Sanders, people were going to suffer.

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.

What the bowerbird lacks in colour, he makes up in his curated display. The ring is its centrepiece. A better use than on my hand.

Unknown 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.


Hoods shielded executioners from humanity. Like towers, Russ reckoned. Up high, swallowed in night. He pushed the button, activating an Isabelle Ringer. Paid good, though.

[Starter mine]

Gingermollymarilyn 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.
Rings feature predominantly, often signifying the coupling of two humans in a committed relationship. Most are made of gold or silver, adorned with valuable jewels.

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.

The ringing phone interrupted the dream I’ve had for twenty centuries.

I led my beloved from Hades’ chasm and we loved a lifetime. His lifetime.


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.

* * * *
However, bioengineering data reveled unforeseen complications; a shorter life-span, collisions with high-rise windows and wires And egg-laying was a surprise. Thousands sued AreoHomid and lost.

Just Jan said...

R1 (Mine)

“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.


The ringing of a clock and the lusty cry of a newborn tell me it’s time to make my exit.

I won’t be going alone.

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.

# # #

Boots hit the water,
Ringed in flames.
Leaping from fireplace,
Santa remains.

Quick as a twinkle,
The flames wink out.
Bone-chilling magic,
Saint Nick’s redoubt.

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.


The ring tightens as her vows are spoken.

“Mine at last.”

One cut. One finger. Blood dyes her shoes red as she dances away.

(Starter from round one -- mine)

Stephanie Lau 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? ***** He imagined his Sebring was a space fighter, gunning down blabbermouth parrots. “Everyone’s got their fantasy, okay?”

His wife glared. “Most don’t involve their mothers.”

Jeannette 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.


Susannah twisted her wedding ring around her finger. Frank had said if Peter did this again… Through the window, her daughter’s red eyes met hers.

[starter- mine]

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.


She inhabited the sky, flitting and fluttering over deserts and oceans, forests and mountains, yearning and mourning, caged by cruel freedom. What had she done?

Tony said...


Blinding sunlight awakens me, prone on the turf, head ringing. Men, armored, look down while a medic leans in close. I’m dizzy, may vomit.

RKirkman said...

[Starter: mine]

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.



The bird had distracted Chuck. The Kringle for the office party was still in his kitchen.

No problem—he’d just swing by the bakery.

Unknown 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.


Rain fades rings of shit
Like white paint from empty homes.
The sparrow is gone.

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.

* * * * *

The sleigh stopped. A glimmering, unfamiliar house.

He knocked.

A girl answered. “Uncle Teddy?”

Wideload shook. “Ain’t nobody call me that name in twenty years.”

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.
His newest shill inspects the bullet. I wear his ring, but he's doing hocus-pocus with her.
Big mistake... I'm the one who pulls the trigger.

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.

Every week until snowfall they come. Both wild and tame, staring, damaged forever. Bang! Bang! Bang! Sick, I’m kneeling in blood.

Wildfire does that.

shanepatrickwrites said...

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

Waiting to die while hoping the phone will ring, shoveling suet and seeds into my craw.

Mike Mikula said...

Round One (my own work):

“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.


Round Two:

Soaring with the phoebes felt right, Charlie Chirplan thought, almost as good as not having Alice’s every thought ringing in his ears, yet he worried.

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, but I am. The high I seek…crave…brings with it a slamming pulse. Sweaty palms. The need for another notch crushing.

I wait for the red-head.

[All my words]

Amy Johnson said...

[Round 1 starter is mine.]
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?

Caged like a Serinus canaria domestica.


“That’s your name?”

“Must speak with Winifred.”

“Is Winifred here now?”

“With me for years.”

Ears! Ringing again!

Unknown 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.


The door crashed open. “You uncaring ass. Some wingman you are.” She dragged me out of bed, onto the floor. ““Our Christmas! He…” She punched.

Rena McClure Taylor said...

The scream swirls around her bed, black and streaked with blood; then hovering at her feet, finally settles dripping the moments. She counts, waits … counts, waits …

“God-damned Bird.”

The daughter flutters around her bed. “Mama, what’s wrong with you?”

"Wring his dinger. Ding-a-ling-a-long.” Stares, her wrists ooze red.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Bird saxophoning Summertime

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

I dance in their veins
And their notes soar

I smite


His guitar spewing fire

Her voice
Mellifluous lava

Gods at 27
Their price and prize

I drench their souls

I wring