Friday, November 20, 2015

Flash Fiction Contest #5

Hello there, and welcome to our #OAFlash fiction contest for this weekend. Last time, we didn't get a good turnout (that is, no one came to my party--but don't worry, I only cried in the corner for a few hours). We think perhaps that NaNoWriMo perhaps got in the way a bit, so for this one, well, we made it easy on you. You can enter and not even write a single word!

Check out The Rules, and then leave your entry in the comments. I'll pick a winner by noon on Sunday.

Flash Fiction Prompt For Friday, November 20, 2015

Don't forget to include your name and your Twitter handle. And tell your friends to join us!


  1. This story is not mine. It’s not a friend’s either. It is true, though. Well, mostly true. Okay, some of it is true.

    I like to tell stories and I sometimes like to embellish them a little. Okay, fine. I also like to lie. But this is a true story about love. True love? Sure. I’d like that to be the case, but I’m still not entirely a hundred percent sure on what I believe about love. Either way, this story is mostly about love, both the physical and the emotional.

    There’s some good stuff, some bad stuff. Some naughty stuff. Stuff I shouldn’t have done. Stuff I’ll never do again. Stuff I’d recommend to a friend in a heartbeat, and stuff I’m still worried, so many years later, my parent’s will find out about.

    I promise I won’t leave anything out. I’m good at making promises. They’re just another lie, waiting to be proven otherwise. Making promises are easy. Keeping them can be harder, but not impossible.

    Just depends on how good a liar you are.

    Chapter 1
    March 15

    “Yeah, he’s totally staring at you, Liz.”

    “Okay, fine. Whatever,” I said. The boy in the library was definitely staring at me. But why? Boys never noticed me. At least, I’d never seen them notice me, not from across the room or school pep rallies like they did in all my fave books and movies. I wasn’t pretty. Not hideous or anything, but absolutely nothing special. Not cute enough to be asked out. Not yet anyway. “Just don’t, like, look back at him or anything. Or do anything stupid. I’m talking to you, Cameron.”

    “I won’t, I promise. But he’s really staring.”

    “I understand your shock, you never expected anyone to ever look at me, your hideous friend.”

    “That’s not what I meant.”

    “It is too. Just yesterday you wrote in a note, and I quote, ‘Stay kind, Liz, and the boys will be drooling over you,’ letting me know that polite manners would be my only way into the dating world, and not good looks.”

    “Maybe you’ll grow into your nose before senior year,” Caroline said, without looking up from her graphic novel.

    I stomped on her foot under the table, but she was wearing her steel-toed boots so I don’t think she felt anything. I loved my best friend to death, I really did, but sometimes I couldn’t take her being so totally, horribly honest. Her advice was pretty much my religion, though. Maybe I would grow into my nose.

    Maybe the boy in the library was staring at my nose. He wasn’t staring at my boring brown, curly hair.

    Well, it had been brown and curly up until a couple months ago. My home experiments with the highlighting kit had gone pretty well. I had also recently discovered the magic of a straightening iron. I knew a part of me, a very silly part of me, hoped that girls with lighter, straighter hair got more attention.


    Twitter @thesaturnbull

  2. Landon had never seen his own reflection. He saw hers instead. He grew up watching this girl through the mirror grow with him. Grew up memorizing every feature, every movement, every horror she endured. He could see into her palace, into the darkness she was trapped in.
    When he was little, he told his mom about her. His parents thought she was an imaginary friend, and they humored him. But she didn’t go away.
    She couldn’t see him, but the older he got, the more she sensed him.
    And then she started talking to him.
    She didn’t need the mirror. She couldn’t see him at all, but that didn’t seem to matter. When she was alone, she sang to him. And she told him her nightmares. Except her nightmares were her life.
    She was a captive of the Queen of the Damned.
    And when Landon was seventeen, he fell in love with her.
    Eiress sat in the middle of her bed, rocking back and forth, humming and petting her pet dragon. Tears slowly soaked her cheeks and every so often she would sob. The ball must have been horrific last night.
    Landon watched her while he brushed his teeth and got ready for school. There was nothing else he could do, and she couldn’t even see him, but he was loath to leave her. He put his toothbrush away and closed the mirror, trailing his finger down the reflection of her cheek, as if he could dry her tears.
    She smiled, raised her head a little. “Thank you,” she whispered.
    “Any time.” Landon smirked, because he knew she couldn’t hear him, and yet here he was, talking to the mirror again.
    Some people might think he was crazy, talking to a mirror.
    Of course, if they knew he was actually talking to the princess trapped inside, they’d have him committed right away.
    That was why he’d given up telling anyone about her.
    “Landon! Cassie’s here!”
    Landon swore, backing away from the mirror. With every step, Eiress’s shoulders hunched and she curled in on herself even more. “I’ll be okay,” she said quietly.
    With one last, desperate look, he stumbled away, feeling his soul tear slightly as he left the bedroom. He rounded the corner, grabbed his bag, and jogged down the front hall. He caught another brief look as he passed the front hall’s mirror, Eiress crying over her pet dragon.
    It nearly froze him in his tracks.
    “Hey babe. We’re gonna be late.” Cassie nearly hit him with the door as she stuck her head in, frowning. “I knocked like ten minutes ago.”
    This happened, sometimes. He’d get lost in the mirror, end up standing there for hours when he thought it had been minutes. Usually when she needed him most.
    He tore his gaze away. “Sorry. Let’s go.”

    --Twitter @wjk8099

  3. Tires rolling on asphalt signal my dad’s departure. The roaring vibrato of the car’s exhaust pipe mingles with the chorus of busy voices at my back, fading further and further out until I can no longer hear it.

    I turn around, my free hand going up behind my sunglasses to scratch the demonic, persistent itch in my eyelids that’s been haunting me for over a month now. Cane thrumming in my hand with each touch of pavement, I count the steps to the classroom—up the stairs at the entrance, left to one of the corridors of the second floor, then straight on, to the fourth door on the right. I’ve made the trek to AP Biology alone at least thirty times over the past year, but in the mornings, it’s always as though it’s my first day in this school all over again. I suppose I could blame the lack of sleep—haven’t been getting much of that lately, with my migraines getting worse—but in truth, it’s the noise. Everyone’s a half-zombie in the morning and yet, this is when the school is at its loudest.

    Someone’s cigarette smoke wafts into my nose, and I crunch my face against the hideous smell. As an unwelcome cough racks my lungs, someone shouts their apology, and I wave my free hand that it’s all right. I’m almost to the entrance, which leaves me to wonder where—
    “Aisling!” calls a low-pitched, female voice I recognize in an instant. “Wait up!”

    And there she is. Turning slightly in her direction, I stand still, with the pounding of sneakers on concrete barely a thump in my ears. “Morning, Paige,” I say when she’s close enough for me to hear her breathing.
    From her tone, I know she’s smiling. “Morning,” she echoes. We perform our daily ritual―I hold out my hand and she presses a warm paper cup against it, filled with the usual mixture of coffee, cream, and double sugar. Once the drink is safe in my hand, she asks. “So, what are we doing to celebrate?”

    Even though she’s trying to sound nonchalant, the excitement in her voice shines through, and I can’t help the tiny smile pulling at my lips or the heat rising in my cheeks. “Don’t you have practice?”

    Her hand presses on my shoulder, and she gives me a gentle squeeze as she ushers me along into class, talking every step we take. “Come on, Aisling. You got into MIT. Last night, I learned I got into UMASS. I think this deserves at least some froyo and a new dress.”

    “You know, all these excuses for me to try on new dresses, I’m starting to think I’m your own personal doll,” I joke. The air around us shifts into stifling warmth—we’re inside now.

    “Pfff, like you don’t love having your own personal shopper,” she shoots back, and I can hear the eye roll in her voice.

    -- Twitter @pinguicha

  4. Sometimes I feel like the universe should have a rule that bad news doesn’t arrive during breakfast. The universe does have rules, of course, but it warps them to suit its own purposes. And no one knows this better than me.
    So of course, the news of Jay’s murder came while I was eating a bowl of Rice Krispies, looking at my phone and pretending not to hear my parents arguing.
    “It’s a twelve hour drive,” my mom said. “I don’t want to do it by myself.”
    “Lia will be with you,” Dad countered. “You’ll be fine.”
    Mom’s hands went in the air. “On the way there, Chris. It’s still twelve hours back by myself.”
    Ah. Yes. Tomorrow was the big day. The day I would finally escape to go to college. I picked St. Agabus precisely because it was twelve hours from Chatwick Heights, and I wouldn’t be expected to come home often.
    “I can’t take off work with such late notice, Rachel. You know that I’m under a lot of pressure.” Dad slapped peanut butter on a slice of bread harder than was strictly necessary.
    “We have been planning this for months!” She was close to shouting. I bent over my bowl and flipped through Facebook. I wasn’t the only one headed for college tomorrow; lots of my friends were posting teary goodbye messages on everyone’s walls. I even got a few, though I didn’t really have many friends left.
    “I said I’ve been under a lot of pressure. I thought we agreed that you would manage it by yourself,” Dad countered. He chucked the peanut butter knife in the sink. The clatter hurt my ears.
    “You could give me the car, and I’ll drive myself,” I offered. But quietly, so when they didn’t answer me I could pretend they hadn’t heard.
    “I can’t believe you’d be so insensitive. Our daughter is going to college! And you’re going to miss it!”
    The sandwich got tossed in a brown bag. “I’m not doing this, Rachel. It’s too late, anyway, so you might as well accept it.” Dad grabbed a soda out of the fridge and stormed out of the kitchen. I turned my attention back to Facebook so I didn’t see my mom crying.
    Abruptly, the teary going-to-college goodbyes turned into really teary I-can’t-believe-I’ll-never-see-you-again goodbyes. My eyes narrowed as I paid closer attention. Those melodramatic missives were all directed at the same person—Jay Garza, whose name I recognized from school, but couldn’t put a face to.
    “Oh, shit,” I breathed as I did a search for Jay’s name. My mom, sniffling over the sink, didn’t bother to chastise me for swearing. Jay (who I recognized as soon as I saw his picture) was shot in the chest the night before outside a gas station on the west side of Chatwick Heights, and died in the hospital. No suspects. He was supposed to start at Johns Hopkins in the fall.

  5. A/N: My NaNoWriMo project was a Star Trek fanfiction.

    “Now, Lieutenant, if that’s all, I’ll be returning to my ship.” With a flourish, Captain James T. Kirk rose out of his seat and made for the meeting room’s door, Spock not far behind. Another supply run finished. He could get back to the Enterprise in time for that systems update he’d been meaning to do—

    “Actually,” Lieutenant Archivist Aria Hooper said, “I do have one remaining concern.”

    Kirk paused. Damn. He twirled around and backtracked to his seat to face Aria and her Yeoman assistant. “Yes?”

    “My assistant and I are not the first people on this planet.” Aria was fiddling with her fingers again—she was a rather nervous archivist, wasn’t she?

    “It’s my understanding that Fionntain was first colonized by a neurobiologist, yes. Something about privacy for his experiments.”

    “A Dr. Conn Walsh,” Spock added. Kirk sighed, leaned back in his chair, and crossed his legs, settling in for Spock’s explanation. “His compound settled Fionntain enough so Archives could build this facility. It is due to his efforts that you have a safe place to maintain the galaxy’s data.”

    Aria tilted her head, a move that accented her lovely, windswept curls. “And are you familiar with his research, Commander Spock?”

    “He has not published in a great many years, but I believe his last article discussed genetically altering a patient’s neurochemistry to cure mood disorders. A worthwhile field of interest.”

    Aria seemed to decide something, for at once her manner became more sure: her red-uniformed shoulders curled back; her shockingly pink palms flattened against the table; a gleam came into her dark eyes. “It was. It’s just that, during our stay here, my assistant and I have developed some concerns about Dr. Walsh.”

    Kirk arched an eyebrow. “Such as?”

    “When we first arrived, Dr. Walsh and his group—he has one hundred people working under him—were very welcoming, bringing over food, sharing stories, even explaining hypotheses. However, as time has passed, their visits have been less frequent and far less sociable. Each visit became shorter and shorter, and the people more and more irritable. In fact, with these supplies you’ve just brought, I can only presume that they’ll come to pick their allotment up, and even then it will be the first time I’ve seen anyone from the compound in a whole year.”

    Kirk saw where this was tending. “Archivist, I can hardly investigate reports of neighbors keeping to themselves. Have you tried visiting them? Calling?”

    Aria shook her head. “The last time my assistant Tim or I went, the door was shut in our faces. Our comm chimes are dropped or perfunctory. I feel that something off is happening over there, and I would like someone with authority to officially investigate.”

    “You understand that an investigation is a serious step, Archivist. It means that Starfleet doubts the ability and responsibility of a local authority. It encroaches on the Prime Directive, though we’ll narrowly avoid that because Dr. Walsh is human.”

    The Yeoman—Tim Howards—banged his hands against the table. “It’s creepy and cultish and freaking me the fuck out!”

    Oddly, it was this moment that the table chose to set itself on fire.

    --Natalie Cannon, @NMCannon

  6. Now would be a terrible time to sneeze. Jimmy Rickliefs leaned back, turned his head toward his vocal mic, and started singing the harmony to Midnight with lead singer Aldon Smith. His brain worked on lyrics and drum beats, making sure his hands and feet hit the right drums at the right time in the right order and rhythm.

    And then, he sneezed. Mid lyric. It echoed over the cheers of the crowd and the entire band turned as one and started laughing. He flipped them off, never missing a beat or lyric. When the song ended, he scratched his nose, and tried to get the attention of one of their roadies. Maddie ran over, squatting down behind his hi-hat.

    "What'cha need, Jim?" she asked over his head set.

    "Tissues," he said. She laughed, but sprinted off in search of a box. When she came back, box in hand, he smiled. "Thanks."

    She nodded, then dashed off stage, as Aldon entertained the crowd. Jimmy wiped his nose, and hoped he wasn't getting sick. Their tour was winding down and it would be time to head to Europe soon.

    "So, Jimmy, you all done sneezing up there?" Aldon asked.

    Jimmy laughed, hoping their tech had his mic turned up. "Fuck you, Al!"

    The crowd laughed and cheered. Aldon flipped the drummer off. "Don't call me Al, mother fucker."

    "Yo Anthony. You know how to play 'You can Call Me Al'?" Jimmy asked.

    The lead guitarist laughed, then broke into the opening lines of the classic song. Jimmy ducked when Aldon threw a water bottle at him; the lead singer detested people calling him Al. "Listen Al, it's your theme song."

    The crowd cheered while Aldon shook his head. "I'm going to kick your ass later."

    "Ohhhh…I'm scared…big ol' Al gonna give me a beating." He crossed his hands over his heart, batting his eyes. In his sweetest voice, he said: "I'll be backstage later, sugar."

    Aldon's face flared crimson as he laughed and the crowd screamed and cheered. They started chanting 'solo!' and Anthony ripped into an improvised guitar solo, burning up and down the fret board. Jimmy kicked in a beat on his kick drum, then blew around his kit, arms and legs pumping faster and faster, as Anthony worked to keep up. Finally, in a flurry of cymbals, the solo came to an end, as a fan tossed something on stage.

    "Damn, you gave me a work out," Anthony said. Jimmy laughed, standing up to take a bow. "And to think, it all started with a sneeze."

    Aldon jumped onto a riser at the front of the stage and looked down at the set list near his feet. Jimmy looked, too, then watched for the signal. When Aldon nodded, Jimmy counted in Demons, his kick drums rumbling the intro, followed by a slow roll on his snare.

    "I want to see this whole place jumping with me!" Aldon commanded. His muscular legs pumped as he jumped up and down.

    500 words

  7. "How do I kill Genkai?"

    The words are spoken in the heat of the moment, when the weight of everyone else's pain and loss is the most heavy on Aaron. He thinks, in another life, he might be guilty for even thinking of such things. But times have changed, he's grown as a man and as a Piaculum, and now... it's more of self-perservation and keeping those he loves the most safe than of any small twinge of conscience he might have. Ser's eyes are dark and locked on Aaron as he breathes in and out, lost in thought and worry that, in the end, blood will come above everything else and Ser will refuse to let anyone think of killing Genkai.

    But no, Ser crosses his arms behind his back and paces forward showly. "Are you aware of how many people have tried, Aaron Fisk?" He glances at Aaron out of the corner of his eye and watches as the man merely sighs and grimaces against his stupidity, as if it might be catching. "None." This stops Aaron short, their eyes locking. "You heard me right," Ser says simply. "No one has ever tried to kill my brother because there was no chance to do so. You are one of my newer Piaculum, but you are distinctly aware of how far my brother will go to continue his petty little games, to entertain himself. He has killed, he has maimed, he has destroyed. And he has enjoyed every moment of it."

    "So what are you saying? It's a worthless endeavor?" Aaron's heated at the very suggestion, his blood pulsing through his body, his head pounding with the thought of it all being futile. That good people like Alison, Louis, and yes, Reno will have to continue suffering because of this immortal being that can't be pinned down and destroyed. "I can't do anything to keep the people most important to me from suffering? I can't keep innocent people not even involved in this situation from dying? Then what's the point of anything?"

    Ser sighs. "For the duration of my life on this earth, I have taken great strides to keep this all hidden from you humans. And for awhile, I succeeded, but as my brother's bloodlust grew greater, his enjoyment of playing chess with various men and women did as well, and I became aware that even my power couldn't contain his maniacal agendas. So I recruited. First one, then five, then ten. Now I have hundreds around the world, who do what you do. What Alison used to do. I regret every moment of it, but I thought perhaps it would be the easiest way to lessen bloodshed. But my brother's Hanzai, some of them, began to be swayed by his darkness. They grew to be thirsty for others' blood as well, and my Piaculum couldn't move fast enough to withstand this wave as well." He closes his eyes as if lost in horrible memories.

    Aaron grows impatient.



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