Friday, January 25, 2019

The Brrrrrr-ing It On Flash Fiction writing contest!

You want to win them all, I know!

It's been so cold of late that the only thing to do is curl up on the couch with a good read. Preferably a hot-action thriller to warm you up!

If you don't have a thriller, here's your chance to win one (or more!) from the above inventory.

The Brrrrrr-ing It On Flash Fiction writing contest!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:

To compete for the Steve Forti Deft Use of Prompt Words prize (or if you are Steve Forti) you must also use: uvula

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: dark/darken is ok, but find/fiend is not. Sword is fine, but Dr Ows 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, 9:48am, 1/26/19

Contest closes:  Sunday 9am, 1/27/19

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

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

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?
Not yet! 
Oh no, too late, contest closed!


Steve Forti said...

>>o bill. i feel so sick about our fight. im sorry ☹ ill be better. promise. ur love language may be ‘words of affirmation’, but I hate a realization that its a language me no hablo. o dear, ill try. i think about u 24-7. ur always on my mental radar. kill me and put me in a coffin - dying would be better than losing u. don’t give up, babe. give me another chance. i luv u.

dy, for the last time. You have the wrong number. I am not Bill.

>>o. nvm
>>actually… u single?

Craig F said...

Word came down the line. Tonight, we would run to escape across the river.

The darkness was stygian, as we ran towards the river. Her foot caught a root and she sprawled. I helped her up and felt blood on her brow. Her hands began to search for something and tears formed.

I saw what she must be seeking to find, here, below the wall. It was her green card, a remnant from an asylum fever dream of America, the once beautiful.

NLiu said...

The word wrote himself straight out of the book. Into flesh - and blood. A tear, torn, arms pinned open as covers. Then inky darkness. She finds him in the garden: “Mary.”

Alina Sergachov said...

“Where are you from?”

I hate this question.

No one asks me what my favorite dinosaur is, or which Hogwarts house would I be in. They don’t want to know what book made me cry. They don’t even care.

“Where is home?”

Apparently, not here.


I can’t vibrate my uvula.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t pronounce it right… can’t sound like one of them.

I find no solace in words. So I play violin. I drench the fingerboard in blood and tears and play till it’s too dark to read the score.

Unknown said...

My dear Pestilence,
Upon my magnanimous word, never could I have hoped for such an auspicious Beginning. The Inhabitants never saw it coming. And this by a novice, no less. Rest assured, I have been satiated with your blood gift. The pile of discarded uvula was especially heartwarming. It tears me to think I must relieve you of your dark duties, but Famine will find his way to you shortly. Followed by Greed.

Watch out for Looters.
Amusing as they are, they can diminish your excellent Work.

Your Luminous Overlord

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Moonlight slashes the alley's dark throat. The words – LUV U LARA - are so fresh, so raw they weep. Tears glisten, drop, pool.

Here, finally, is proof of Craig's unwavering devotion.

Lara will find it first thing when she opens the diner that morning.


Lara watches the police cover Craig's body, the bloody message on his chest. Her co-workers chatter, approve.

"Oh, hon, what a relief this stalker nightmare is over."
"Cops finally got their proof."
"Dude carved himself up like a turkey!"

The police bag the knife. Lara smiles.

The cook will never even notice it's gone.

Melissa said...

It wasn't blood. She was sure--almost sure--of that. Salty. Warm. More likely--most likely--it was tears. Her tears, to be precise. She'd just been crying after all.

Alice kicked her feet gently in the dark as she began to sink. She was lonely now. The mouse, duck, dodo, lory, and eaglet had vanished one by one in a flurry of feathers and fur.

If she could ever find that white rabbit, she'd have a stern word with him. Though it didn't seem likely. Last she'd seen, the Cheshire Cat had been chasing him down as well.

Timothy Lowe said...

Jimmie was born with a teardrop-shaped heart -- inverted, with only one ventricle. Aorta ripe like a stem, pumping blood to his feet.

His words came out sideways. Thick. Muddy. Uvula-engorged things.

Edward scissor-words, they called him.

Until the slam poetry contest.

Jimmie closed his eyes. Listened to the reverse ricochet of his heart.


“Fairies of dust, muzzles of gold, I have a heart that can hear, an ear that eats art.”



But it wasn't poetry. It was how he communicated.

Weeping, he stumbled off into the dark, to find somebody who understood.

Nom de plume said...

This is how she gets me: when we both grab for the gun.
“Mine.” The word a dark stain on her lips.
“I made a vow to your father I’d protect you.” My hands are tight on the grip. “Sealed in blood.”
Laughter in response. Already it’s clear my true promise can only belong to her.
“But I’m the better shot,” she says. She’s tearing, tearing, and I’m torn.
And that’s how I find her. The woman I didn’t know I was looking for. The one with my gun and my heart, in her hand.

Sherry Howard said...

Fair Play

Rugged Arkansas, the Ozarks, and she needed to react now, or die. Tracking her violator had taken years, but he stood before her now, gun in hand, standing his ground. The elfin deathmaster at the pueblo, oddly predicted this many moons ago. Offered no protection, but predicted honor in the end. Without early warning of this need to take a life, she’d have spared this particular one. The steel tip of the manduvu landed in the most vulnerable flesh. Her attacker, her father, lay dead at her feet. And so it would be written in the stars.

Kregger said...

A villain lurks in the dark.

Blood boils and congeals.

And when suppurating, crimson-white spurts—

from a pustulated pimple of human gore.

To become an infected hole torn open to expose a victim’s soul.

Exquisite and acute pain, an ever-unwanted guest, manifests in a tear, falling to a blood-splattered floor.

To find the culprit is an easy chore for a competent sleuth.

The cure?

Cold steel and sunshine.

With only words, death grasps the purulent ne’er-do-well, crying,

Dentatus Extractus!

And smites pestilence from its lair.

Who sayeth this?

The graduates of Uber Vellum University—Louisiana (UVULA) School of Dentistry.

Kate Higgins said...

Tearing eyes, beg me to stop.
The blood rises to his cheeks as his raspy words plead again, "!"
But pleas never stop the outcome.

I find my victims against the back wall, the middle one quivering with fear.
My headlamp pierces the tunnel darkness.
The instruments of torture are familiar in my hand. I've done this before.

I begin softly.

As brave men before him, his last words were "Mommy!"
His mind succumbing to blackness, he is finally silent.

I take the tonsil to the left of the uvula first; then the right one.
Tonsillectomy is a success.

french sojourn said...

“A plastic eating enzyme…good Christ,” Alex said, he leaned down to pat Ranger. He surveyed the darkened city ahead, hopes of finding supplies were bleak.

“Seriously, wouldn’t such an ungodly creation raise a red flag?” Ranger as usual, didn’t say a word, he just gave a slight wag.

After the enzyme escaped containment it traveled the country. It developed an appetite for telephone and power lines. The grid was lost, governments fell, and then the blood flowed. It only took three weeks to tear the world apart.

“How will humanity ever survive without knowing what’s up with those frickin' Kardashians?”

Beth Carpenter said...

“It’s crap. A bloody dog’s breakfast,” the writer moaned, tearing the manuscript pages into bits and letting the resulting word confetti drift to the floor. “We were meant to intensify the dark moment. Now we can’t even find it.”

“But dark moments are so…dark.” The angel on her shoulder shuddered. “After all Cody and Savannah have been through, can’t we offer some light?”

“If we mix light into the darkness, it makes grey. We need an abandoned coal mine at midnight, not fifty shades—”

The devil perked up. “Talking of—"

“That would be plagiarism,” the angel declared.


Jennifer Mugrage said...

Those early hours were surreal. The terror of harming him, trying to find a way to swaddle without actually touching him, because any little thing could cause him to die … surprising how often a new mom heard that word.

He must drink or he’ll die, they said. She, too, drank constantly, replacing lost blood.

Nevertheless, motherhood came with certain superpowers. Power to find beauties in this face: maroon, screaming around a dancing uvula, crying without tears. Power to go without sleep: to sit up all night, praying that he wouldn’t die, in the cold sterile room in the dark.

AC said...

The best stories are told in blood, not words, and I am a master storyteller. Tearing through the layers of my sanity to find the darkest part, I wonder if monsters really do exist.

I see my refection in the knife before plunging it into the giving skin and sinewy flesh. The blood pours out to the earthen canvas below. It is beautiful.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

We shouldn’t be here.
It’ll be okay. We’re safe, for now.
I don’t think so.
What’s that sound? A rat?
No. Sounds like a...
Oh my word, it’s a kitten.
Poor thing. Pick it up.
Look, a tear. Do cats cry? We should find its mother.
It’s getting dark. We shouldn’t be stumbling around. Mother is probably dead.
Yeh, mom is dead.
If we don’t run we’ll be dead too.
I’m tired of running, tired of hiding, let’s go back.
Can’t, he’ll find us.
What’s that sound?

Blood-soaked kitten found alive in the pocket of one of the victims.

Colin Smith said...

“It’ll be an ‘elluvu laff,” Boz said.

Yeah, I’m laughing. Dark. No windows. Damp stone walls. Smell of rotting potatoes. Bloody cuts on my face and hands. I’m cold, empty, exhausted, beaten. But I won’t give them the satisfaction of tears.

If I get out, Boz is dead.

Boz knew I don’t know a word of Andlusyan. Nor much about Andlusyan anatomy. I thought I was asking for a dance. And I thought I’d find a hand at the end of her arm.

Turns out Andlusyan girls have highly sensitive erogenous zones. And lethal claws.

And their own #metoo movement.

Sian Brighal said...

A strange way to kill, but pliers were all he could find in that heady rush of needing her silence. Although, he couldn’t deny a dark delight in feeling the tips hit the back of her toxic throat, seeing her bitter lips flutter around the handles, or the satisfyingly fleshy feedback through the pliers as the tips made their tear. He slowly withdrew them, smirking as she tried to speak, but no word broke the surface tension of her disbelief and blood pooling around her uvula. Finally, he was no longer the one dying on trying to swallow her down.

Mike Hays said...

The blood, sweat, and tears. Three words. Blood. Sweat. Tears. The only three words my brain could find while I lay face down, sprawled in the muck of the cold, muddy turf.
53 guys, one season, one team, one goal.
A Championship.
Gone. Dissolved into the deep dark of a frigid January night.
Gone. Pin-drop quiet in the stadium.
Gone. Because the ball slipped through my fingers.
Blood. The brass ring was right there.
Sweat. The soulless touch of leather lingers on my fingertips.
Tears. Never to be forgotten.

Sousbois96 said...

The panther took shape from the dark. I saw her materialize against the silhouette of palmettos and cabbage palms, puissant and haunting under the full moon’s light. Stealthy and silent, she made her way toward the cabin. Jess, passed out drunk, lay outside, exposed to the night. Once, I had lived for Jess. Now I watched the panther find him. I didn’t say a word. That first tear of flesh brought vomit to the back of my throat. Then I saw the blood, black and liquid. I could taste it, too. And I knew Jess would never hurt me again.

S.D.King said...

$11 an hour.

“Water!” For the fifth time.

“Don’t make me come up there!” As if she would.

It was like raising a three year old kid – only ninety-three – squawking bloody murder for a glass of water.

Bad enough she had to change diapers so putrid it brought tears to her eyes.
The answer was to “borrow” some cash, locate the liquor cabinet, then make money while you sleep.

She tipped her head back swallowing Xanax and booze with a wince. She picked up the dime store “Word Finder” puzzle book and drifted off.

“Water,” as flames licked the dark.

Rosemary Boyd said...

Blood made a swirling pattern in the water.
I did not shed a tear.
Not a word was spoken when I hit the beach covered in bandaids.
Next time I will find a sharper razor and avoid shaving my legs in the dark!

Leilani said...

Here will do. At a word, the heavens diffind. I step through the tear, wondering again what men see. Skies deforming? Wormwood falling? Might they - just a glimpse - see me?

That he has withheld. I have not been seen for millenia. Nor may I touch -


"How'd you do that, mister?"

I whirl. Two boys, eyes awe-stretched.


But wait. Around me, imperatives crumble. The pit is opening. I unfold across the hills. Fear springs deliciously; still, I hesitate. Once, adulation was as sweet as blood.

Eternity looms.

Wings blot out the darkening sun as I slake my thirst.

Katelyn Y. said...

They’d covered the body quickly, but she’d already seen him. Even in the dark, she’d known the bloodied, boyish face. Young, determined, stupid Jimmy. She’d always said his findings would get him killed… all his ramblings about a killer with incredible powers. Inhuman strength. Flight. Heat vision. She’d thought him delusional. Clearly he’d known something.

Clark had pulled her away wordlessly, holding her as the shock hit. No tears from him, but he’d seen death before. She told herself it made sense. It should have.

Except Jimmy had warned her.

"You’ll need kryptonite, Lois. Luthor will help.
Don’t trust Clark."

Mat Thorne said...

It’s getting darker and you’re thankful. Better to do these things in the dark.

Your hands are pressed to her window. Red smears on the glass. The reflected yard is lovely in the evening. In spite of all she’s buried.

Blood on your hands. None of it yours. The hands don’t feel like yours either and when you take them from the window and turn them in the dimming light you wonder if that’s been the problem all along. The words weren’t yours either. Nor the tears.

Headlights slowly brighten the road. They find the driveway and turn.

shanepatrickwrites said...

Bill stopped and looked back at his partner. “’I’ve lost the trail, it’s too dark. I can’t see the blood, we should wait until morning.”

“Can’t ain’t a word the boss likes. You go back, tell him you can’t find Rodriguiz, and he’ll tear out your uvula, feed it to his dog.

“He’s bleeding pretty good, he couldn’ta gone far. Let’s fan out.”

“That’s a bad idea.”

“Fine, you go back. I’m not leaving without him.” Pete stepped deeper into the brush.

Bill stood thinking when he heard the click as Rodriguiz eased the hammer back.

Luralee said...

Photo: three of us on the teacup ride.
I resist the urge to tear it up.

From the one who never said the words: plush message cat proclaims “wuv u”
Later, Garfield!
*Find box with silver bow

Dress you borrowed for our double date.
You were right, it did look better on you.

Ugly “Best Sister Ever” mug
-where did I put that box*

Invitation, dreaded words embossed in dark blue
Blood should be thicker than water, but when he dumps you for your sister they deserve each other.

Lennon Faris said...

My teens blacktop ice skate with Annie. I load groceries, chatting with Annie’s mom. Last bag tears.

Bagger appears, snatching up cans. Dull eyes find mine –dark eyeliner, greasy hair, blood-drop tattoos.

“Thanks,” I smile.
Loping, wooden gait.
“Pariah’s in Annie’s class, on meds,” whispers Annie’s mom. “Never talks. Check your bags.”

Loaded, backing up, music blaring.
Teenagers fighting in back seat.
Pariah’s double-fisting my window! Eyes ferocious!
Gun it! I think.

I think?

Slam brakes. Music off.
Screaming? –a girl.

Hands shaking. Teens untangle Annie’s coat from my door. Annie’s OK. Mom’s hysterical.

Pariah’s gone.
No talking needed.

RosannaM said...

“Time to eat.”

ly today,” Mabel said.


Muffin dipped in honey dripped down Mabel’s chin. “I’d love some bloody orange sorbet to cleanse my uvula.”

“Palate,” said Rebecca.

“And my tipple of BublĂ©?”


“While you pickle the ivories so I can nap?”

“Tickle.” Rebecca sighed loudly.

“Sorry. I’m no walk in the dark.

“No, no. It’s okay.” Rebecca assured her.

Mabel remembered her last appointment, the doctor’s concern at her confusion.

Idiot doctor. No retired nurse confuses a stethoscope for a thermometer.

But it got Mabel a paid caregiver and she quite enjoyed playing word salad with Rebecca.

Tara Tyler said...

“Dad! My uvula is bleeding!”

Five words I never wanted to hear. Kylee’s still a little girl.

I find my daughter’s bathroom door in the dark. What the hell am I supposed to say?

“Dad? What do I do? There’s blood everywhere! Dad?”

“I’m here, honey. It’s your time of the month.”

“My what? You mean my period? Oh yuck... Fine.”

“Are you okay? Do you need anything?” God, I wish her mother was here.

“I got it.” I hear her sniff back a tear. “You can go back to bed.”

I rub my head. I’ll never sleep again.

KariV said...


Three men on three trees

A thief in defiance, a thief in despair, an innocent accused

Three sets of tears

The mother watching, the friend beloved, the woman forgiven

Three nails

One in each hand, one through his feet

Spilling the blood to be paid

Three o’clock

The sun is dark, the earth shakes, the veil is torn

Three final words:




Three days within the tomb

One … Two … Three …

Michael Seese said...

I’d paid the rent early. Can't have the landlord barging in and spoiling the surprise.

I’d donated blood, twice, the second time using a fake ID. “Always giving. Too much.”

I’d re-read the letters, and caressed the old photos, desperate to find some reason to stay.

I had none left.

Lying there, transfixed by the dark snake slithering through the cool water in the tub, I was surprised it didn't hurt more. Sleepy now, my eyes fell upon the angry words, written—as always—in lipstick on the mirror and, below them, my terse reply.

“My final gift to you.”

Dea Poirier said...

The dark priestess strode through the crypt, her cloak billowing with every step. Blood pooled on the grimy stones, the air filled with the metallic tang. But above it all, there was something else. A scent so sweet and sugary, it coated her mouth and throat.

“Cupcakes?” Her voice was hoarse, uvula aching from the spell to come.

“I apologize, an acolyte purchased cupcake scented candles for the ritual. That’s all he could find.” Tears pooled in his eyes as he uttered the words.

“Then, I suppose we’ve found our sacrifice,” she said as a grin cut across her lips.

Barbara said...

The gopherwood ark teetered atop the mountain.

"Please," Noah coaxed his cockatoo. "You can do it. T. U. V."


Noah banged his fist. His cup of tea rattled. His shark-fin dumplings fluttered like a flag. "If you can say words, you can say W. Forty days we've been at this. Forty nights. It's W. W, W, W, you bloody beast!"

Knock, knock.

Noah glanced at the door. "Who's there?"

God spoke. "Ulamas."

"Ulamas who?"

"You llamas stink," God laughed. The cockatoo snickered. "Open the doors and let them out."

Noah groaned. No wonder the world had gone to hell.

Brenda said...

“Did me one o’them word-finding puzzles,” said Duwayne smugly. “Gonna hold off the old-timers disease.”

“Give it up. It ain’t working,” snorted Leroy.

“You’d know, Old Timer. You got what?...a hundred years on me?”

Roaring at his own joke, Duwayne smacked his buddy on the back, loosening scales and drawing no small amount of blood.

Leroy flinched. “I’ll tear you a new asshole, kid, if’n you don’t quit.”

In answer, Duwayne stretched out a tentative talon.

Later, on his way past his good buddy’s uvula, Duwayne wondered if he was going to be afraid of the dark.

Amy Johnson said...

That morning’s test confirmed it. He’d be surprised. Thoughts of indelible times filled her mind.

No more Bloody Mary. She made a cup of tea. Raspberry Rapture. The label’s wording struck her: A Bright New Day Awaits.

He wouldn’t be home until dark. She’d go clothes shopping, get her hair cut. Something different. Would coloring be safe?

That afternoon, she saw him approaching the front steps. He was early and carried a bouquet. She should have considered the possibility, after last night. He spotted her. She shoved the suitcase into the cab, jumped in.

“Get back here!” he yelled. “Mary!”

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Dusk fades to darkness. Blood seeps from my slashed gut. Rivulets of salty tears mingle with a stream of mucus. I roll over and find the wall. I dab my wound and, with each stroke of my bloody finger, form the word. Lucifer.

Kinley Bryan said...

The dangers awaiting one outside the front door were innumerable, and the online instructor was weary. Weary of finding escape routes in public places (just in case). Of reading the electronic highway sign’s unsettling updates: one thousand fifty-five traffic fatalities this year. (My word!) Of gauging a stranger’s propensity for evil: a bloodthirsty Roger, perhaps, who’d tear off your limbs given a Lord-of-the-Flies chance?

The instructor vowed never to leave his house. A pity. In all his dark imaginings, not once had he considered a limestone cavity far beneath his bungalow, topped by an increasingly unstable layer of soil.

KDJames said...

Never much use as a guard dog, ol' Shep sure had a nose for finding lost things.

My old leather work gloves.

A favorite hunting knife.

A tore up old oil- and blood-stained tarp.

The tattered duffel Betsy packed the day she tearfully told me she was leavin'.

Pure shame the mutt piled his muddy finds in a dark heap on the front porch the very night old Sheriff Brody came by, hawking phlegm past a chaw-coated uvula, offering condolences after word got 'round that my wife done run off.

Fucking clever dog, that Shep. Loyal to the end.

Amber H. said...


He hoped she would find the bloodied sheets. The words he had written in the crimson ink gleamed in the sliver of moonlight in the dark. He made sure the closet door was open just a crack - he needed to watch her discovery. He almost giggled when she entered the room. Elation filled him at the twin tear tracks that trickled down her cheeks. Twin tracks ran down his wrists, pooling at his feet. With a rictus grin, he flung the closet door open.

katie said...

Alice pushed the body out her window at dark. It made a terrible sound, a groan like the word 'more' but no one would find it. No one could find anything inside or outside - there was one path through the debris in every room and the wreckage spilled in a fifty yard radius from the house. She had bloody hands and a tear in her shirt but no one would notice that either. No visitors, ever. Grandma had seen to that. Alice would have the last word, though, setting a fire she hoped made a hiss like the word 'less'.

Mallory Love said...

We used to play hide and seek in the dark corners of the estate: down by the stables, up in the attic, around the woods. Everywhere light couldn’t kill the shadows. Places where in our teenage years we tested the thrill of forbidden love. Places where it later tested us.

The same places where they found blood yesterday intensifying the search today. Police tape and uniformed boots tear through our memories, our secrets. Word has spread throughout the town, whispers about you and me. But they won’t discover what’s happened, where I’ve gone.

This is our game.

Come find me.

RKeelan said...

Every night I stick my finger down my throat and barf indelicately.


In the mornings, Master mutters darkly and berates me with curse words. In the evenings, he tears my clothes and clamours for us to share bloodberry tea.


Of late Master's ardour has diminished. His attention wanders, his limbs tremble.

When the night comes that he is too weak to resist, I straddle his chest and wrap a silken cord around his neck.

“I have a secret for you,” I say, tightening slowly. “There’s no such thing as bloodberry tea.”

Unknown said...

His bloody scent left this chatty girl wordless. But if you asked him, he would have told you his kindness quieted my dark utterances.

This thought brought a smile to my lips while my fingers traced the flowers on the urn.

“Father, you never thought I could find love, but you were wrong.”

Tears ruined my triumphant moment. His, not mine.

“Why are you doing this?” he gasped.

I turned to him and lingered my knife over his cheek. “Because eating you is the only way we can be together…. Forever.”

Just Jan said...

They move away, form a huddle, but their whispers drift over me, like ashes from a fire.



“Mental illness…”

The last words are said without compassion, like the past twenty years mean nothing. My throat constricts. I grasp the bottle of water and drink.

My neighbor, the cop, kneels in front of me. “Sarah, we need a statement.”

I consider the dark stains on my sleeve, the tear in my jeans. I swipe my bloodied nose.

He sighs. “You can’t keep protecting him. He tried to kill you.”

I find my voice. “He’s still my son.”

CED said...

They thought they'd won. Killed the witch and buried her body under a dark barrow. Sanctified the land with their hollow words.

But blood rushed through her veins like time. She counted the minutes using her heartbeat. Waited until her power was at its height.

And then the tears began.

Tearing through the coffin, dark and dank; tearing into the village, eyes afire; tearing the uvulas from the men who'd buried her, their screams echoing hers.

They'd been correct: she was a witch. And she would have her revenge.

robinssis said...

A little bloodletting used to be enough. On nights like this. Until it wasn’t anymore. The tear in his heart wouldn’t heal this time. Neither would mine. He knew it. I knew it too. What did I need? To give? More words. More faith. I couldn’t find any as I fumbled my way through the dark. Invoking what I’d let go. But each cut had taken with it a steady stream. Until there wasn’t anymore. Only, I hadn’t thought to staunch the wounds in time.

John Davis Frain said...

I took Mom to dinner every Sunday until she killed me.

We’d always find new restaurants. Next was Ricky’s CafĂ©. Ricky, who hadn’t responded to my text.

Under darkness, I rang Mom’s doorbell.

“It’s open, darling.”

Mom greeted me. Tear in her eye, Glock in her hand. “I know about the life insurance scheme, darling. You sent me a text meant for Ricky.”


She fired once and stood over me, her tearstained cheek above my bloodstained shirt.

“You’re the wordsmith in the family,” she said.


“You taught me to murder my darlings.” She’d learned better than me.

C. Dan Castro said...

“Hot tea,” said Indra, a thunderbolt in his other hand.

“I wanted COFFEE.” I sipped my deaf Indian friend’s tea. Relished the bergamot covering the tar stench.

Glared at the factory’s dark runoff, its sheen iridescent.

Santa Muerte appeared. We three were an unusual team.

She saw the pollution. “Diablo!” Odd given she’d once argued her (former) boss was kind, only rebelling because he saw orders as manacles.

Uniformed cadavers approached, slouching across blighted fields.

Muerte whispered “Undead Veterans Under Lord Asmodeus.” I despise acronyms. Am I the Titan Hurling Oversized Relics? Well, undead devil army, let the hurling begin!

Jeannette said...

Something wet spattered at Loretta’s feet, where she crouched. She knew what it was. The basement smelled of must and blood. Could God find her in this place? Would He even try?

Another drop. It touched the edge of her dirty converse. She rocked. She whispered. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

It dripped faster now. An abomination of the sound of rain. Her tears fell, too. Water to blood. Or wasn’t that--?

A door opened. Light banished the darkness. A figure, shadowed against the light behind him, spoke a single word: “You.”

Claire Bobrow said...

Lucy materialized at Keegan’s Mortuary and beckoned to the clerk.
“Show me your coffins.”
Stan obeyed.
He watched as Lucy glided to a stop beside the deluxe model and touched the dark lining.
“Perfect color – so hard to find. Great for hiding stains, among other things.”
Her enthusiasm was hypnotic.
She summoned, and Stan approached.
“A word, please?”
Her breath tickled his ear.
“Do you do layaway?”
But Stan didn’t respond.
Tricky customer.
He felt drained.
So, just like the teardrops trickling down his neck,
Stan disappeared -
right into the coffin lined with the perfect shade of blood red.

Elizabeth Kral said...

Her wide-opened mouth broadcast loud rhythmic snorts as each breath vibrated her uvula. Finding her in the dark, passed-out drunk, he dripped tears as he knelt over her. Then, without a word, he collapsed his blood-warm body upon her.

Sherin Nicole said...

The man from Pavuvu laughed. It wasn’t pleasant.

Finder—named that because no one could escape her—tore a packet open. Dark red leaves poured from the tear. She brewed bloodroot tea and watched.

There were certain rules here and Finder felt naked without her knives.

Why had they been summoned?

Each of her counterparts feigned enjoyment. They feasted and bragged about their latest assignments. But they were all on edge. Waiting.

Notifications pinged, signaling simultaneous texts from the guild. One word: Melee.

Without weapons, each assassin would have to use their wits. Her broken teacup was also deadly.

Marie McKay said...

They have her word. Tears roll down my daughter's cheeks. My thumbs trace "sorry" on her swollen face.

WHOOPS from the boys crash through the windows. They play rough and loud. Bloodied knees and chins and teeth. Deep cuts left to gape and scar.

I don't distract her from her rage. Distraction is a lie. Instead, I find her hand and make my silent vow.
"I know they took it, your first word. And they took hers... and hers... and mine. But we'll unpick the dark threads rendering us closemouthed and instead stitch together our voices. You have my word.'

sukicat15 said...

Her gargoyle perched on the bookcase, head in hands, bored, wings folded. It yawned, uvula dangling in the darkness behind jagged teeth. “I am a Muse,” the gargoyle murmured to itself. A dry tear of self-pity strolled down its hooked nose before falling, unnoticed, into the dust.
In vain, its words drifted around the woman like fireflies brushing softly against her mind. They could not find a place to light among tendrils of obligation that crowded her vision.
Deep in her blood, a faint hunger lingered. She glanced up.
The gargoyle met her gaze… and stretched its wings.

Rio said...

A river quietly
cuts our land in two.
Here our feet cannot cross,
Here we find the way blocked.
The light of our windows is all
that gets through.

When your daughters were killed
in the dark desert night,
we set candles on sills
and mourned with you.

When our own children died
on the bloody brown floor,
tender lights in your panes
said the words, “We loved them too.”

Oh, solemn night.
Church bells ring, cold rain falls.
Still one line tears right through it all.
Oh, quiet river, old as time,
Next year it will be a wall.

CynthiaMc said...

"Find me in the dark, Baby."

Those were the last words Mommy said to me. I've been looking for her ever since.

Now here she was at my window.

"You're crying," she said.

"You always used to kiss my tears away."

"Let me in, Baby."

"Mommy...there's blood on your face."

"Wipe it off for me, Baby."

"Daddy said no."

"Daddy isn't here. Do you miss me, Baby?"

"All the time."

"You don't have to any more. Take the garlic off, Baby. Do it for Mommy."