Tag Archives: prompts

Landing (98)

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This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers

Two land in fingers of light. Consider the inhabitants. This new place is brighter, though maybe for worse, they think.

What instinct guides a being to move on? What catches in the spirit and signals where to stop, where to begin again?

These two peered in a window, not seeing glass but a barrier. These two were only scouts, the harbingers of change for a whole – what? colony? tribe? civilization? Harbingers.

Somehow we are never paying attention. The beginnings of change, the largest of threats – these begin as quietly as a moth lands. In the still sleeping morning.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

Apple Pie

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A)

Unaware that you are being watched, you reach an arm under the fence, scooping apples from the neighbor’s yard.

You know the rule, but Dad won’t make pie unless you get enough apples, and so you are cheating because you want the pie and because you think that no one is home. Until a shadow passes over you, you do not realize that you been found out. Your hand pulls back of its own accord, but the withered old man from next door has snuck up on you and he is going to tell your mother. He grimaces before speaking. His voice is strange and garbled like a robot long left to rust.

“Those are mine,” he says.

And you try to think of possible retorts or explanations, but your mouth has gone dry and excuses seem futile. So you offer him the basket, knowing that this is a chance at survival. Knowing that maybe he will accept this peace dove. The pie is not important anymore — now this is about avoiding an hour cleaning the basement.

B)

Unaware that you were being watched, you make a dash for the stairs. It is, of course, too late, and the jolt of electricity surprises you into a heap on the floor. A guard approaches and prods you with something, but responding doesn’t seem possible, let alone worth it. You try to imagine that apple tree in the back yard. It was terrible for climbing, but the apples were small and yellow and so sweet. Someone used to make pie. Who was that?

Grandmothers make pies, right? But no, that’s not right. No.

Wait. It was your Dad. He loved apple pie. You remember the smell of crust browning in the oven before being filled. The curling, bubbling cinnamon smell. You had a rat named Cinnamon once; now you are the rat.

You are in the cage. You are mastering the mazes, learning the routines, obeying the rules.

When escape occurs to you again, you remember that they were watching before. You remember the electricity and the prodding. You think, “They are watching still.”

C)

Unaware that you are being watched, you stick a finger into the cinnamon and sugar, mixed and ready by the pie shells. You can hear Dad in the pantry, slicing apples. You feel the gritty sugar on your skin and smell the cinnamon. Soon, you have stuck your whole hand into the bowl.

Only then do you realize that your mother has been sitting on the couch behind you. Maybe it is the look of horror on your face, or the absurdity of what you’ve done, but she beings to laugh.

At first you are nervous, but she laughs and laughs and you begin to laugh, too.

Later, she hugs you and tells you not to do it again. “What a mess,” she says, and then she laughs again.

D)

Unaware that you were being watched, you eat the whole pie. Each bite is sweet and crumbling and smooth in your mouth. It is so good.

And then you are grounded.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Fran challenged me with “unaware that you were being watched, you…. (finish the story),” and I challenged Kameko Murakami with “wearing purple and green, like a thug.”

Dead (97)

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This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers.

A body discovered. A person disappeared.

She died there, in the cold dark before dawn, when the air is thin like a blade. Ice crystals formed on her lashes and in the corners of her eyes.

I imagine these tears escaped at the last moment, when only a subconscious would be left, before her lungs and heart stilled, but the breath was already slight. She would not have cried before, even if she were afraid.

I would have cried.

Beautiful enough and worthless enough to be killed in some archaic performed artistry. Oh, what have we sacrificed.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

Beautiful (102)

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This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers

I said it was beautiful, but she thought I meant she was beautiful. She was, of course. But when she kissed me I reeled, surprised that I might have elicited this; that she might have thought me worth the kiss.

I tangled fingers in her hair – women have long hair, I thought – and I wondered what it would mean to do this and mean it. But I was only looking at the sky, don’t you know? I was only considering a backlit branch when you instructed me in the contour of lips, when you taught me how it felt to be tall.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

Gordon Meow Meow

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WARNING: this piece includes graphic and/or explicit language and alludes to sex and violence. It is fictional and ironic, but may not be suited to all readers.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Carrie challenged me with “Lazarus, Spooks, and Gordon Meow Meow,” and I challenged Bridget with “like whatever happened yesterday.”

I combined this with an exercise for class that asked us to write a monologue in which we revealed our narrator to be unreliable. May or may not be a success.

Gordon Meow Meow:

Spooks had a tat of a lion devouring a lamb that covered his shoulders. The lion had the lamb’s throat in its mouth, up on Spooks neck and into his skull, the jaws and blood curling around under his jaw. He called it significant because the weak always go out bleating like a lamb. I wasn’t afraid of Spooks, though; he talked big, but he’d piss himself if he had to shoot somebody. Sometimes going downtown he get jumpy an act like it was practice; he’d be saying to me “baby, I got you, you know I take care a you,” and I’d be thinking, you dumb sonofabitch, you ain’t got your own shit in line, let off mine. But you don’t go talking shit to dudes with lion tats.

Anyway, Spooks was king and Lazarus’s just some pint-size shit. He was bold, you know, like wearing ties sometimes and shaking hands real straight. He was lucky Spooks didn’t hate on his ass much. Spooks might’ve been scared like shit most the time but he had boys covering his back 24. And he had me.

I knew Lazarus was crooked from day one. But my boy Spooks wouldn’t hear me out less we was in the middle of things in the back room and then nobody’d be talking business because pleasure comes first – isn’t that right? Spooks didn’t want to hear me, though. He was so busy loving on me that he started thinking to whole world was looking out for his bullshit and loving him back.

I knew because I had a drink with this Aryan bastard awhile back and he told me about a bust and some dude with a real biblical complex getting himself inside them and cracking heads after only a couple of weeks. Lazarus was slimy as shit with his brown hair slicked back and his shiny ass suits.

“You just jealous,” Spooks’d say to me and I’d get mad, but Spooks like it and he’d kiss me hard then, push me a little and then it would be pleasure before business, as usual. I couldn’t tell him about the Aryan asshole because then he’d get jealous. And like I said, I ain’t afraid of Spooks, but when he get jealous, he ain’t Spooks no more. So I bit my tongue and hoped the fucking Aryan was playing me a fool – getting a rise outta me by describing the shit like Lazarus. The Aryans got networks like nobody else. He coulda known Lazarus was new in our hood.

But nobody play me a fool if they know anything.

I watched Lazarus close. He had a walk, cocky bastard, like some swagger gone up and bit him. And he looked at me like he knew I knew, or maybe like he thought I wanted a new man. I told him to fuck off with a pat to the piece in my jacket. Motherfuckers understand bullets.

He played cool enough, but always trying to get in close on Spooks and me. Acted like he was some freak groupie.

When shit went down, I shoulda known but my pants were around my ankles and my eyes were on the floor. Spooks made sure we had boys outside. Lazarus came in and knifed Spooks, dragging him down.

I tried to shoot the little shit’s brains out, but I was pulling up my pants and hit Spooks in the lion’s mouth and he looked back at me for he died, like maybe he thought I meant to do it. Our bastard crew came in then, saw the gun in my hand and knew easy what happened.

They sniveled and apologized like lamb fucks and grabbed the little shit saying, “What should we do with him, boss?”

Seemed like at least I could have things finished, so I told the idiots to leave him and go watch the fucking door. I dropped my pants again and sat down.