#OneOffFlash Week: Only


Here it is, the stand-in contest to fill the void with so many other flash fiction contests taking the week off.  Your goal, if you choose to accept it, is to write and post up to 500 words, one of which must be the word below.  The contest will close at 8pm Eastern Time (5pm Pacific), at which point I’ll read through the stories and decide on one to be the big winner of the first, last, and only One Off Flashfiction contest.  That winner will walk away knowing that no one else will ever equal his or her accomplishment, as I never intend to run this contest again!

Sound simple enough?  Good.

Then lets go.

Your theme word is…RESOLVE

There are 16 definitions available for the word on dictionary.com, 12 as a noun, 4 as a verb.  I’m just asking you to use one of those.

Good luck, and good writing.

And don’t forget your Twitter handle!

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  1. avatar

    #1 by DLThurston on December 28, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    They called him Melvin. It wasn’t a particularly good name for seven and a half feet of cast iron and copper tubing surrounding a boiler and gears, but Goodard’s seven year old son declared the automaton looked like a Melvin, and it had stuck.

    Melvin was different. They’d programmed thought into the cogs and flywheels. That wasn’t hard at all. They’d simulated emotions. They’d perfected cognition, rationalization, strategy, all the fantastic things that a human brain could do. But Melvin was different.

    Melvin was the first one they’d programmed with resolve.

    It struck them as such a minor thing, really more of a dalliance. He wasn’t a proof of concept for the operability of resolve within a mechanical man. His real purpose was to demonstrate miniaturization of the parts, the ability to get the same brain into a creature less than fifteen feet tall. Along the way, a few extra punchcards were tried out, a slightly different format of magneto-ether spindle was invented and perfected, and in all of that someone slipped resolve into the creation.

    And then they brought him to life.

    Immediately he resolved things.

    He resolved to live a life on its own. Away from scientists, away from engineers, away from programmers, away from any of those people who would want to open him up, make sure he was still working, and potentially shut him down.

    So he did.

    He resolved that the others of his kind should have some fealty, some choice in how they were to live. That they should have a colony, should be allowed to choose whomever they wanted to lord over them, and perhaps even choose what programming they would run.

    So they did.

    He resolved that the rest of the world should respect these newly independent mechanical men, shouldn’t deny them anything based on the fact they were constructed rather than born. For they were still rational creatures, were they not?

    So it happened.

    He resolved that while he and humans both had the capacity for rationality, the humans had the capacity for so many more things that stood in the way of rational thought. Hate. Greed. Ambition. Money. That these were evils, and the only way to improve the lot of everyone was for he himself to control it all.

    And so he did.

    So we now look to him, King Melvin I of the planet. And we worship him. But he forgets sometimes that we, too, have resolve.

    That we can plot.

    Can scheme.

    Can strategize.

    He forgets that we have those base emotions, the ones that get in our way and make us strong. One day, one day very soon indeed, he will remember.

    Oh yes, he will. This, we resolve.

  2. avatar

    #2 by redshirt6 aka Robby Hilliard on December 28, 2011 - 4:44 pm

    Two hundred years was a long time, but still, she wondered how much longer she would live? If you could call it living, that is.

    Roxy Braunhauf jangled down the sidewalk with rings and pins sticking out of her flesh from over twenty places on her body. Her mohawk stood up four inches and was dyed a dark red. The sides of her head had a millimeter of jet black stubble. Across her back she carried an electric bass guitar in a thin, hard shell case. The case was reinforced against the metal spikes on the shoulders of her leather jacket.

    Being undead, a vampire to be specific, was nowhere near what it was made up to be in movies and books. Sure, you went on functioning year after year after year, but to what end? For Roxy it was the music, the louder the better.

    At five foot two and ninety-five pounds she looked tiny. But when she rocked, she rocked gigantic. On stage, she loved seeing the punks puking and slamming at her feet.

    Late for a gig, she jangled louder than usual, heavy boots pounding as she stretched out her stride to make better time. She turned into an alley to take a short cut, and immediately sensed something was not right.

    She was not alone.

    Reflexively, Roxy turned to retreat and found herself face to chest with a mountain of muscle.

    She jumped backwards.

    The man was well over six feet tall. Under his leather vest, his torso bulged from juiced up muscles.

    “Well hello there little girl,” he said. His mouth broke out into a lurid grin and Roxy could see a few teeth missing.

    “Fuck off asshole,” she said. As she spoke, she reached up slowly and removed her sunglasses and put them in her coat pocket.

    The irises of her eyes appeared to glow a bright yellow-gold when contrasted by the heavy black eyeliner she wore. Most people thought she wore some kind of decorative contact lenses. She didn’t.

    “I got no fuckin’ beef with you.”

    The man howled with laughter. “Is that right?”

    He moved as if to step closer and she pounced.

    Two hundred years is a long time to live, and Roxy had resolved to keep herself busy. Over a century of studying martial arts in a body that never aged? Well, that was one way. But what really caught the man off guard was how high she could jump.

    One hand struck at his eyes while the other grabbed the back of his head and pulled. The extra leverage combined with a perfectly aimed knee was all there was to it. Roxy could feel nose cartilage and bone crunching as she struck. She released and dropped, quickly moving away as blood gushed out of the man’s face.

    As he crumpled to the pavement, Roxy pulled out her cell phone and checked the time.

    “Fuck!” she cursed as she turned and ran down the alley. “Now I’m really fucking late.”

    500 Words
    @redshirt6 aka Robby Hilliard

(will not be published)


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