Flash! Friday Vol. 2–18 Story – ‘A Missed Deadline’

ImageThis is my response to Flash! Friday‘s eighteeth prompt (the above picture) since their anniversary. One hundred and fifty words was the limit, with a ten-word leeway. The secondary theme (which informed my story so strongly it became my title) was ‘A Missed Deadline’. Enjoy!

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‘A Missed Deadline’ (159 words)

Molly was worried. It was twelve past six and still no sign of Julian. She raised her binoculars and crouched low.

‘How much longer can we wait?’

Stephen’s hands found his pockets. He stepped gingerly from one foot to the other. ‘Long as it takes.’

The wind pelted them with fresh snow. They withdrew into their coats, but it was futile; they were completely exposed.

Molly hugged her knees and said, weakly: ‘I think we should go.’

‘You’re kidding.’

Stephen’s head was bowed. Molly saw a frost cloud rising from the brim of his hat.

‘He’s your boyfriend,’ Stephen went on, his voice deepening. ‘We’re not leaving him.’ He had hoped to sound resolute, but a shiver passed through him like electricity.

Molly’s gaze fell. ‘I’m going, Stephen. I can’t chance them finding us.’

‘But—’

‘I won’t go back there. Stay or join me; choice is yours.’

Stephen held his breath and looked out across the icy abyss.

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Flash! Friday Vol. 2–17 Story – ‘Miko Island’

fire-breathers-singaporeThis is my response to Flash! Friday‘s seventeeth prompt (the above picture) since their anniversary. One hundred and fifty words was the limit (with a ten-word leeway). The secondary theme which had to be incorporated was ‘Friendship’. I wanted a break from fantasy this week, so have opted for something a little more grounded.

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‘Miko Island’ (160 words)

On Saturday night, Kyle brought me to Miko Island to see the fire breathers. I remember pushing through a sea of half-naked teenagers, wondering if I was the only divorcee in attendance. Could they smell it on me?

We drank in the moonlight, trading non sequiturs with Kyle’s stoner friends. My discomfort metre was peaking.

Kyle led me across the dunes towards a distant bonfire.

‘I don’t know about this …’

My words scattered on the wind, lost in the dissonance of club beats and bongo drumming.

‘I know!’ Kyle shouted. ‘Isn’t it great?’

We emerged, centre stage, and were absorbed by the throbbing mass of skin, sweat and glow sticks. The air was charged. David had never brought me anywhere like this.

The fire breathers, on a raised mound, moved like flowing water. They were the beating heart. Their flames surged, like beacons opening the night.

We cheered, lost in the majesty.

Hands linked, Kyle and I began to dance.

Flash! Friday Vol. 2.6 Story – ‘Möbius Strip’

ImageFlash! Friday is in its second year! This is my response to the sixth prompt (the above picture) since their anniversary. One hundred and fifty words was the limit (with a ten-word leeway). We were also required to incorporate either a tiger or turtle into the story, literally or otherwise. To me, flash fiction is an opportunity to experiment, so this week I let my fantasy freak flag fly.

This piece received a positive mention from this week’s judge, Whitney Healy.

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‘Möbius Strip’ (159 words)

Kurt knew of the legends. Valhalla was the home of the damned, a prison, a footbridge to nowhere. Spurred by heartache, the Goddess had created it. Its twisted design represented her pain, tightly coiled and circling back endlessly.

Approaching, Kurt saw lost souls loitering against handrails, resigned to fate. The portal he’d travelled through deposited him in Valhalla’s centre.

‘Goddess,’ he called. ‘Do you hear me?’

Seeing that the voice belonged to a mortal, the Goddess appeared, pet tiger in tow.

‘Why have you come?’

Kurt looked at the tiger and squared his shoulders. ‘I know of your pain – I’ve heard the legends.’

‘And what of it?’

‘I offer consolation, companionship. You need not go on this way, torturing souls to quell your heartache.’

The Goddess scratched behind the tiger’s ear.

In her toothed grin, Kurt saw he’d been wrong. Valhalla’s twisted design did not represent the Goddess’s pain. It represented her fury, tightly coiled and circling back endlessly.

Flash! Friday Vol. 2.5 Story – ‘The Mission’

ImageFlash! Friday is in its second year! This is my response to the fifth prompt (the above picture) since their anniversary. One hundred and fifty words was the limit (with a ten-word leeway). We were also required to incorporate ‘Time Travel’ into the story, whether literally or otherwise. This week I played with form and voice.

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‘The Mission’ (152 words)

Voice log activated. Time and distance travelled: eleven years, 62,000 miles. Strange. The jumps are getting smaller. Of late, my travel has become almost linear. Fewer extreme shifts; the realities I emerge in seem more and more alike.

Personal note: my vessel appears to match the era. I can visually trace this society’s advancement. Very queer. Perhaps too soon to say, but I sense a pattern emerging. The parameters of my travel don’t seem as random.

I’m passing beneath a tree now — or should that be through it? The trunk is hollow and serves as a tunnel. Oh, the universe and her comedy.

Driven forty-five miles now: can conclude that this period is one of peace. One would be lucky to settle here, to carve out a life and grow old with dignity.

Alas, the key to preventing the universe’s destruction is not here, and so, with haste, we must move on.

Flash! Friday Vol. 2.2 Story – ‘Snowman on the Lake’

ImageFlash! Friday is now in its second year! This is my response to the second prompt (the above picture) since their anniversary. One hundred and fifty words was the limit (with a ten-word leeway). Enjoy!

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‘Snowman on the Lake’ (160 words)

Claire closed the door with her foot and carried the final box to her car. Michael was waiting, hands in pockets, down by the lake. She secured the box in the back seat and joined him.

‘Hey kiddo.’

Michael looked up. ‘Hey.’

She gestured to the stout, slouching snowman. ‘Who’s your friend?’

Michael shrugged. ‘Mum and I used to build them all the time.’

‘Oh.’ Claire looked out across the lake. She’d never been good with children. ‘Still can’t believe my sister lived on a lake. You know she hated water growing up?’

Michael smiled thinly.

‘This can work,’ she said. ‘You can leave this cold behind, meet some kids your age. Have you ever seen the ocean?’

Michael shook his head.

‘You’ll love it. It’s a whole other world, Australia.’

She held out her hand. Hesitantly, Michael accepted it. They trudged up the snowy path and piled into the car.

Michael’s snowman slowly faded from the rear-view.

Flash! Friday #51 Story – ‘A New Way’

ImageMy response to Flash! Friday’s fifty-first prompt (the above picture). One hundred and fifty words was the limit (with a five-word leeway). I definitely felt constrained by the word limit here. Hadn’t written a flash fiction piece in a while, so I more consider this a shaking off of the cobwebs.

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‘A New Way’ (152 words)

Jed stood, head bowed and palms linked, in the shade of the old Elm. A passing breeze gave him goose pimples. This freshly shaven head would take some getting used to. His attempts at prayer were hopelessly ostentatious. He just couldn’t find meaning in the practice. He raised and lowered his arms, like a bird flapping in slow motion. He smiled, imagining his sleeves were wings.

The sound of a nearby stream inspired him, plunging him into the pretence of meditation. His sister was wrong; he would find inner peace here. But that wasn’t to say it would be easy. He’d misled his new community; he had joined the ranks of the Shaolin with a broken heart – not a clear one. He was also far less disciplined than he’d let on. Already he’d broken his vow to abstain from sex and alcohol. Discipline, he hoped, was something he’d pick up by osmosis.

Flash! Friday #45 Story – ‘Saving Theo’

ImageMy response to Flash! Friday’s forty-fifth prompt (the above picture). Two hundred words was the limit (with a ten-word leeway). This one was tough! I hope you like it.

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‘Saving Theo’ (209 words)

Gretchen found a foothold and pushed herself up. Theo greeted her at the summit. Had he been waiting? Forgetting the stakes, Gretchen drew him in for an embrace.

‘Theo! I’ve missed you!’

Theo tentatively licked her cheek. Then his ears drooped and he pulled away. Gretchen looked up. Ursula the Witch stood across the way, her wrinkled face stretched into a grin. Theo cowered behind his master.

‘Child,’ said Ursula, ‘you’ve come.’

‘I said I would.’

Ursula smirked. ‘Do you have it?’

Gretchen reached into her pocket.

Ursula beamed. ‘Bring it to me.’

Gretchen held out the stone, allowing Ursula to take it. Theo barked in protest.

‘There,’ said Gretchen. ‘Now let us go.’
Ursula closed her fist around the stone. ‘How much do you know about this dog?’

Gretchen glowered. ‘I know he’s loyal. I know he returned alone after my father …’

Ursula held the stone to the light. ‘You think I killed him.’

Gretchen’s fingers grazed the handle of her dagger. ‘He went missing on this very trail!’

Ursula frowned. ‘You insolent shit. You’re not worth saving.’

This was Gretchen’s cue. She gripped Theo by the collar and made a break for it.

Ursula shook her head. Tonight, the malevolent Animagus, Theodore, would claim another victim.