Archive for category Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Week: Above it All

Today’s challenge location takes us to a penthouse apartment overlooking the apocalypse.

Day One: First Times
Day Two: Ride the Time Vortex
Day Three: Finding a Way
Day Five: Among the Trees

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Flash Fiction Week: Finding a Way

Day three of the flash fiction challenge brings on the setting of the bottom of the ocean.

Day One: First Times
Day Two: Ride the Time Vortex
Day Four: Above it All
Day Five: Among the Trees

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Flash Fiction Week: Ride The Time Vortex

Day two of the settings challenge takes us to an abandoned amusement park.

Day One: First Times
Day Three: Finding a Way
Day Four: Above it All
Day Five: Among the Trees

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Flash Fiction Week: First Times

I’m doing something a little different this week.  A little more…masochistic.  The current Chuck Wendig challenge is to write a story set in one of five provided settings.  I also tend to max out at five posts a week, so I figured, what the hell?  Why not do all five?  I’ll post them one per day for the rest of the week, in the order provided in the challenge.

Lunar Brothel

Abandoned Amusement Park

The Bottom of the Ocean

Penthouse Apartment during the Apocalypse

Fairy Tale Forest

Am I mad, perhaps, but pushing comfort zones is part of being an author, and trying to write five good flash pieces like this, it’s certainly pushing the comfort zone.

Day Two: Ride the Time Vortex
Day Three: Finding a Way
Day Four: Above it All
Day Five: Among the Trees

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Flash Fiction: The Fire of the Gods

Back on the wagon with another Chuck Wendig challenge.  This week:

Your story will be titled: “The Fire of the Gods.”

And that’s it. That’s all I demand of you.

Well, besides the standard parameters, of course. The story must be under 1000 words. Post it at your blog (not in the comments here, or I may delete it), then link back so we can all see it.

However, since I missed last week’s challenge I’m dropping myself a penalty.  Even though it’s past the noon deadline for last week’s I’m going to do both challenges in one.  So here’s last week:

I have, in fact, chosen 20 words.

You must choose 10 of these words and use them throughout your ~1000 word flash fiction story.

Might be tricky, but hey, that’s why this is a challenge and not, say, me tickling your privates with a feather.

The ten words:

Beast, brooch, cape, dinosaur, dove, fever, finger, flea, gate, insult, justice, mattress, moth, paradise, research, scream, seed, sparrow, tornado, university.

There we go.  It’s two Wendig challenges in one maddening story.  Let’s get to it.

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Flash Fiction: Epithets

Another Friday, and again Chuck Wendig has thrown down the gauntlet.  This week’s challenge:

Go to Your Favorite Music Player. Dig out your digital music collection.

Maybe this is iTunes or Spotify, or use Pandora if you’d rather go that way.

Hit SHUFFLE, then “Play.”

Translation: pull up a random song.

The title to this song is the title to your story.

Use the song for inspiration, too, if you feel so inclined.

My iPod must have known what was up, because I hit the shuffle button and up came the Paul and Storm song “Epithets.”  Target length was 1000 words, but I shot for 500.  The story is after the break.

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Flash fiction: Sandwich Theory

Another Friday, another Chuck Wendig challenge.  This week’s prompt:

You have up to 1000 words to write a story — not a scene, but a story — where a character makes a sandwich. Any kind of character, any kind of sandwich, but the point is to infuse this seemingly mundane act with the magic story-stuff of drama and conflict. Make it the most interesting “person-making-a-sandwich” story you can possibly make it. It needs to grip the testicles. It must twist the nipples. It must not let go.

Check out other sandwich stories over on his blog, and my story after the break.

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Flash fiction: Not An Apology

Another shot at a Chuck Wendig flash fiction challenge.  This week’s challenge is the unlikeable protagonist.  This went to a rather dark place, I’ll give you that warning right now, and I’m not actually sure I got it quite right.

Not An Apology

DL Thurston

I’m not going to say I’m sorry.  I’m not sorry.

I loved you.  If you can’t see that, that’s not my fault.  But you were imperfect, you were flawed.  I fixed that for you.  You had one leg that was just a tiny bit shorter than the other, so I stretched it.  I may have gone too far, as you then had one leg that was just a tiny bit longer than the other.  So I stretched the other.  You stood so much straighter, and didn’t that help the pain in your back?  That you wouldn’t stop complaining about the pain in your legs, that hurt me.

So I did something for your pain.  Did you know that pain isn’t real?  There is nothing in the nervous system that can be identified as pain.  It’s all in the brain.  So I removed that part of your brain.  No more pain, because who would want to feel pain if given the option?  I didn’t realize that you would strain so hard without the pain, I didn’t realize you would twist your own arms far enough to break your bones.  I heard them, and it broke my heart.  I didn’t want you to break them anymore.

Titanium is so strong, so light, so elastic.  That’s why they use it in golf clubs.  That’s why I used it in you.  It won’t bend.  It won’t break.  Bone is so fragile, so unnecessary.  I’m jealous of your new skeleton, I really am.  I would do it myself, if there were anyone else nearly so brilliant as me who could do the surgery.  Isn’t that enough?  To know that I gave you something that I cannot give myself?

But then you cried.

You’re so beautiful.  So very beautiful.  It’s why I loved you so.  But when you cry, it’s hidden.  Your eyes, so clear and blue, become bloodshot and cloudy.  Your skin, so soft and pale, becomes red and puffy.  I don’t think you realized just how ugly crying made you.  I’m sure you wouldn’t have continued if you’d known.  You put me in such a difficult position.  I couldn’t take away your emotions, that just wouldn’t do at all.

Otherwise, how would you love me?

Cauterization was the only option.  You’d have done the same.  If you really sit down and take a moment to think of this all rationally, if you’d stop letting your emotions get in the way.  Shouldn’t you be happy you still have them?  I let you keep them.  You’re welcome.

Every asymmetry I fixed.  Scientists have proven that human concepts of beauty are tied to symmetry.  I moved freckles, I removed moles, did you know your left eye wasn’t quite as blue before I started?  I couldn’t get the teeth right, that’s why I needed to start over from scratch.  I spared no expense.  That’s ivory, the next best thing to your own teeth.  You can keep those.  Consider them my gift to you.  They’re molded to your mouth anyway, they would be of no use to me.

I did this all because I loved you.  But now, I wish I knew how to say this, you’re just not the woman I fell in love with anymore.  What we had was wonderful, and I won’t forget the time you’ve spent with me down here.  I’m not going to mince words, you deserve so much more than that.  I’ve found someone else.  And she’s perfect.

Well.  Nearly perfect.

But I can fix that.

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Flash fiction: I’m Worried

This is for Chuck Wendig’s present tense flash fiction challenge, itself a response to io9’s 10 Writing “Rules” We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break.  This is about breaking rule 9: no Present Tense.  Go read up on the other 9 to decide which ones you may want to break.  Since I know I have a certain number of female readers, may I especially suggest #7.  And I think I just also broke #1, since this is a prologue to the short story.

I’m Worried

DL Thurston

I’m worried.  Still no word from Dwayne.  We sent him out with our lunch order half an hour ago.  The restaurant is right across the street.  Or, it was right across the street.  Now, I’m not so sure.  The fog has rolled in even further, a thick curtain across the world.  Three hours ago it was clear.  Two hours ago we couldn’t see the airport.  Now, we can’t see the restaurant.  Or even the street.  The world out the window is our building, the smoking deck, then just a light gray nothing.  I wouldn’t normally be worried, I’ve seen fog before.  But not like this fog.  It’s different somehow.  Something about the total opacity.  The world doesn’t fade into it, it comes to an abrupt stop.

And I’m worried.

“When did you last get an email?” Nancy asks over the cubicle wall.  She can see the fog, too.

“Ten minutes ago.”

“Not from inside the building.”

I pull out my Blackberry and scroll.  Typically email would flow in from customers.  Today?  There’s an email outlining the company’s “shelter in place” policy, another reminding us that performance reviews are due, three emails spaced fifteen minutes apart about my mailbox being over size limit.  Ah, there.  “8:14 this morning.”  That’s nearly four hours ago.  I look out the window again.  Is it closer now?  There’s a railing along the edge of the smoking deck. I count the posts.  Five.  Ten.  Fifteen.  Eighteen.  I can see eighteen of them.  I’ve tried calling my wife.  Did she just have her phone off?  I don’t have reception now, or I’d try again.

“Where the hell is he, I’m starving?” asks Paul.  He’s from deeper in the cubicle farm.  He can’t see the window from there.  I hear him now whistle, “there goes my ten dollars.”

Five.  Ten.  Fourteen.  The edge of the fog now touches the building near accounts receivable.  There’s a scream from down the hall.  I leave my cube.  I get away from the window.  My mind dances.  My legs pump.  I don’t know what the fog is, but I don’t want to find out.  Heads pop out of cubicles as I run past.  They ask where I’m going.  I don’t stop.  Now is not the time to stop.  Someone runs from the other direction.  Fool.  He’s going the wrong way.  The path through the cubicles is a maze, but I’m the rat.  I know where the cheese is.  When taupe carpeted walls block my path, I turn left.  When cream cinder blocks rear up, I turn right.  Ahead is the glass front door.

Beyond is the fog.  I stop.  My heart continues.  It pounds and aches in my chest.  My wife’s office building is in that direction.  Vaguely, somewhere.  Still no reception.  There’s an emergency exit to the right.  I run.  Screams come from all directions now.  Panic.  More runners in the cubicle halls.  One runs into me, knocks me over.  He’s coming from the direction I’m heading.  I pull myself up.  I have to see for myself.  The door is wide open, and a smell rolls in.  It’s not the fresh sting of ozone after a rain.  This smells like striking a match.

“No way out,” someone says.  “No way out.”

The fog is darker now.  It pours in through the emergency door.  It slips through the walls like they aren’t there.  I can see it over the cubicles to my right and left.  I know it’s behind me.  The smell is everywhere.  Prayers.  Crying.  Screaming.  People react differently in a moment of crisis.  My mind blanks entirely.  A calm clarity.  Hands tug at me, try to pull me back.  I shake them off.  Whatever the fog is, it is not going to stop now.  It’s at my toes.  It licks my nose.

I step forward.

I am no longer worried.

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