Posts Tagged Flash fiction

Flash Fiction: Unknown Title

This week’s Chuck Wendig challenge is to click this link, which will generate five random military operation names, then to use one as the title of a story.  As I write this introduction, I’ve yet to hit that link.  Here we go, the results are:

Merciless Demon
Combusting Kafir
Wild Saber
Unindulgent Ogre
Cowboy Griffin

Wow. Um. So here we go I guess.  I’ve decided to cheat and use two.  If you like this or my other flash fiction stories, I have a longer story in the upcoming Memory Eater anthology, currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flash Fiction Week: Among The Trees

Deep breath, and exhale.  Welcome to day five of my five-day Flash Fiction week.  The last item on Chuck Wendig’s list of settings is a Fairy Tale Forest.  Of course, it’s Friday again, which means he has another challenge up.  Because he’s a sick twisted bastard that way.

No, you needn’t write fiction in which you lie to yourself, but you must write fiction in which the characters lie to one another. The deception is the thing, you see? Every story thrives on conflict same as yeast thrives on sugar and bears thrive on honey (provided it was first stuffed in the chest cavity of a fleeing park ranger). Your task today is to make the core conflict of the story based upon or orbiting around a terrible lie.

Alright.  Fairy Tale Forest.  A lie that drives the story.  Let’s journey Among the Trees.

Day One: First Times
Day Two: Ride the Time Vortex
Day Three: Finding a Way
Day Four: Above it All

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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: 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: 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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Fortnightcap: …And Taxes

…And Taxes

A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston

Creative Commons License

The cameras were on her again.

The cameras were almost always on her anymore, and she still wasn’t sure how she felt about it.  It was patronizing to be sure, but there was a certain honor in it as well.  She’d become, at least she supposed, a bit of an international celebrity in the last few days.  It wasn’t the way she ever wanted to be famous, but just one moment in the sun couldn’t be too bad.

Ah.  A moment in the sun.  That would be nice.  Perhaps she would ask for that this afternoon.  It was supposed to be nice out.  Then again, it was always nice out now that weather was scheduled rather than forecast.  And that was the part of it that made her uneasy, the part of it that made her wonder if she wasn’t getting out at just the right time.  Technology had made so many of the inconveniences of life so much less inconvenient.  Raw materials were now available at the flip of a switch.  Weather could be controlled so that nice picturesque snowfalls happened only with two weeks advance notice.  People didn’t have to work anymore to get the things they wanted, now they could devote more time to leisure.

Then they had gone after the certainties of life.  Taxes were abolished two decades earlier when everything became essentially free.  Was it any wonder they went after death next.

The nanobots were little miracle workers.  That’s what she’d been told.  By doctors, by the media, by her kids, by anyone who came in contact with them and suddenly lost any sign of cancer, of aging, of heart disease.  Hell, the damn little things even kept everyone’s muscles toned according to user defined settings, allowing everyone to be as fit as they wanted with no work.

But they couldn’t fix everything.  One by one they attempted to cure the other diseases, and they managed to cut many of them off at the path.  But some people were just too far gone for the cures, for the nanobots.  And in the end, a decision was made that they couldn’t save everyone.

She was cold.  She was always cold anymore.

She’d heard she was the last one left.  The last of the Uncurables.  There’d been two, a lady named Margaret down in Texas had been holding on for awhile.  It was a sort of rivalry, at least that’s the way they played it on the news.  Sick bastards, treating her death like it was some sort of sport.  Some sort of game.  She knew there’d be celebrations when she went, and that’s the part she hated.  That’s the part that kept her going, if just to spite them.  Want to be excited that death was conquered?  Well just pardon me while I keep going on living.

It would certainly be nice to go outside this afternoon.  She’d have to remember to ask her orderly when he came around again.

And so, the last of the mortals settled in for her mid morning nap, satisfied that the party would be held off at least one more day.

Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.

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Fortnightcap: Don’t Walk

Don’t Walk

A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston

Creative Commons License

The little white walking man gave way to a blinking red palm.  Beside it, a red countdown began at 28.

“Come on, guys, we can still make it!”  Brad picked up his pace, leaving Antoine and Jon looking at each other, and speeding up to catch him.

“You’ll never make it.  We’ll never make it!”  Jon hastened his pace to catch up with Brad.  Brad had, in the meantime, reached the edge of the sidewalk.  Reached the curb.  Stepped off and into the street.  The countdown was at 24 seconds.

Antoine ran to catch up with the other two.  “It’s an eight lane road.  Just stop, we’ll wait for the next walk sign!”

“We can make it,” said Brad, “don’t just stand there.”

“Hell,” Antoine said, and followed the two out into the street as the countdown hit 20 seconds.  These things were always mistimed, gave people too long to cross, were designed for even the slowest walkers.  Eight lanes.  Nineteen seconds.  It wasn’t that far.

“This!” Brad shouted, doing a turn.  “This is living!  Look at that.  Eighteen, seventeen.  We’ve still got several lanes to go.  We might not even make it before the hand turns red.  Wouldn’t that be something?  Out here during Don’t Walk.”

“You’re sick,” said Antoine.

“Sick and crazy,” amended Jon, as the sign hit fifteen.

“And alive.  Not like you two.  If I listened to you, where would we be.  Back there!” he said, turning to point at the curb behind them.  “Just a bunch of clucking hens talking about how long it takes to cross a road.”

Brad turned back, took a step towards the far curb.  His foot landed awkwardly, his ankle twisted, and he went down hard on the asphalt.  Twelve seconds.

“Damn!” Antoine shouted.  “Damn damn damn.  I knew this would happen, I mean, I knew this would happen.  I follow you two bastards out into the road, and now look at this, Brad’s twisted his ankle, and we’ve got ten seconds left to make it across the street!”

Nine.

“Leave him!” Jon shouted, starting to run.

Eight.

“We can’t leave him out here!”

Seven.

“We can, and we will.  He knew what he was doing!”

Six.

“He’s our friend!”

Five.

“Leave me, damn it!”

Four.

Antoine looked back at Brad, and started running.  Four lanes of traffic to go, and not nearly enough time.  He looked ahead and Jon was on the far curb.  He was shouting, but Antoine couldn’t hear the words.  All he could hear was the blood rushing past his ears.  His feet as they pounded on the pavement.  His heart as it throbbed and tried to erupt from his chest.

One.

The curb was still two feet off.  He launched himself forward.  He hit the ground hard and rolled.  His eyes were screwed shut, instinct protecting them as he hit.  As he opened them, he prayed that he saw the white of the sidewalk instead of the black of the road.  Prayed that he’d made it across before the sign went from flashing to solid red.

White.

He exhaled, then looked back.  Jon was staring at the road, shaking.  Antoine looked to where Brad had fallen, and saw smoke being dissipated by the speeding traffic.

The sign was clear.

Don’t walk.

Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.

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