Posts Tagged ‘flash fiction’

A Place Called Home

Posted: June 5, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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Old West house“Wasn’t that the definition of home? Not where you are from, but where you are wanted?”

“Wanted? I was never wanted anywhere I was. What the hell are you talking about?”

The sheriff stared at him. “They need you. You can’t leave.”

“This isn’t leaving. This is a lesson. Let’s see how long they last without me to clean up their shit, keep them from killing each other, and fighting off the outlaws. They’ll be begging me to come back.”

The sheriff gave him a long look.


“You’ve got that ‘I don’t care’ look down cold.”

“This is a look?”

“And it’s getting plainer every minute. Son, the Parminters are made of tougher stuff than you know. That’s why you fit in. If someone walked away from you, what would you do?”

Walker felt cold. “Throw out their shit and change the locks.”

The sheriff nodded. “Unless you’re ready to head for greener pastures…” They had already gathered dark looks in the corners of the saloon. “…I would think about patching things up.”

Walker held up his bandage. “What about this?”

“I didn’t say you had to be nice about it. There might some more bruises before it’s over.”

This post was based on a flash fiction prompt from Mia Madison‘s blog.

Photo credit: “J.S. Cain building in the Ghost town of Bodie, California,” by Alan Vernon at Flickr
Photo is unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license


Voice Week 2013: Racing

Posted: November 8, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
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And there’s the finish line. Let’s kick it in and put this one in the history books. How much did we raise today? I think it was ten thousand dollars, total? That would pay for some of Brenda’s treatments and her medicine. I can’t believe how expensive it is.

One step closer. All of us, taking one step closer to a cure. That’s what it’s all about.

Next week I have to drive Brenda to the doctor for her last round of chemo. I hope this is the last one. Please, God, let it be the last one. It will be.

This post was brought to you by the prompt “racing” from Voice Week 2013 at Be Kind Rewrite.

Voice Week 2013: Racing

Posted: November 6, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
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Ah, there’s that finish line. I love this part. Look, there’s my wife! Hi, honey! I’ll wave and ham it up a little bit. I earned it.

Bummer, looks like my time’s off about ten minutes from my run in DC. I’ll have to figure out where I messed up. Probably when I got sick on mile seven. That’ll teach me to eat alfredo the night before a race. The pasta was good energy but the dairy sat in my stomach all night. I knew better. Ah well. I’ll knock the minutes back off in the next one.

People ask me why we do it. For me, it’s the quest. It takes months to train for, weeks to get over. We don’t get a golden fleece at the end, but there’s a golden medallion, and I do love putting it on.

This post was brought to you by the prompt “racing” from Voice Week 2013 at Be Kind Rewrite.

Voice Week 2013: Racing

Posted: November 5, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
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Why is this happening to me? When will this be over?

I think I’ve got at least two blisters on my feet. It was bad four miles ago. Now I can’t run straight. I have a hitch in my side and I look like I have partial paralysis. I’ll bet they’re bleeding.

I’m not walking. I don’t care if my jog is slower than the slowest person in this race.

I want to die.

I can see the medics watching me. They’re waiting for me to fall down so they can run in and help. Stop watching me, you vultures.

I’ve come too far. I am finishing this damned race if I have to drag myself across by my fingernails.

This post was brought to you by the prompt “racing” from Voice Week 2013 at Be Kind Rewrite.

Inspiration Monday: Always Underestimated

Posted: July 23, 2013 by writingsprint in Uncategorized
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Phil sat on his bike on the roof of their bungalow, at the end of a ramp that he’d built with help from his friends. He’d done the math. If he hit the bottom as fast as he should, he would clear both his friend Jack’s car and his girlfriend Gina’s. Jack waited for Phil to go. Gina steadied the camera that was recording it for YouTube.

His mother had come home from her bridge game fifteen minutes early. She looked like her heart was about to drop out. Phil should have thought it looked funny, but it only made him angry.

“Phil, I’m only telling you once,” his mom said. “Get off your bike, and take down that ramp,” She looked like she was shaking.

Phil hesitated. “You’ve always underestimated me! I can do this!”

“Get down now, or I’m taking away your car keys for the next three months.”

“Go, Phil!” Jack yelled.

“You can do it!” Gina yelled.

Phil went for it before he lost his nerve.

The ground rolled up below him. Everyone screamed. His mother’s cut off as Phil went airborne.

The bike half flipped as it went over the cars. Phil hadn’t thought about the bike flipping, and he lost control. Now he screamed too. The bike came out from under him. Phil’s body pinwheeled. His arms and legs splayed out. When he hit the ground, Phil leg snapped through the shin like an overcooked chicken bone. Phil went into shock and he hit the ground limp. With a flash of sense, he was glad he’d worn his helmet.

Phil watched the next few minutes through a haze. His ears were ringing. Tears ran down Gina’s face as she dialed 911. Jack laughed. His mother wrung him by his shirt collar so hard that Phil heard Jack’s teeth knock together. She shoved him toward the sidewalk. She yelled something like he should go the hell home.

His mother knelt over him. “Don’t move, Phil. Don’t move. Do you understand me?”

Phil nodded. He said, “Sorry, mom.”

“Just like still. Can you feel your toes?”


“Is your neck all right?”

“Think so.”

“Stay put.” He looked at Gina. She looked like a wreck. It made Phil feel even worse. The makeup that used to be on her cheeks and her eyes had run all the way down to her chin. He looked at his mom again. “Well, you’re not making ESPN,” she said. “Maybe the next Jackass movie.”

This post is brought to you by the prompt “always underestimated” from Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite.

Things You Can’t Hide

Posted: July 31, 2012 by writingsprint in Writing
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Mitch entered the situation room in a cold sweat, with his heart taking turns between thudding in his chest like a busted tire, and dropping into his chest like bad ethnic food. Four months away from November, and the worst thing he’d done wrong in his entire life was about to become public knowledge.

His aide closed the door behind him. He sat down and looked at his team. Expressions ranged from ashen to expectant to angry to I-don’t-know-what-to-do-boss. “All right, what do we know?” he asked.

Kevin, his publicist said, “An anonymous supporter of the other candidate uncovered a Mrs. Russell, who worked on your staff in 1998, left quietly at the end of the year, and received a lump sum payment from one of your bank accounts in 1999. Shortly afterwards, she gave birth to a boy that she named Lawrence Mitchell Russell.”

Mitch grimaced. Did she have to use his name? It made him feel even sicker. “I hear he has my eyes,” he said.

“Is it true?”

Dick, his chief of staff, answered. “The governor doesn’t have a position at this time.”

The silence around the table reminded Mitch of the silence in a hospital, when the doctor tells you that there’s hope. It isn’t a good sound. Kevin drew a breath, probably to start talking about their damage control plan. Mitch said, “Yes I do.” It took a physical effort — like lifting weights! — for him to lift his eyes to meet theirs.

Dick jerked like he’d felt an electric shock. “Mitch… no you don’t.”

“Yes… I… do.” They’d known each other long enough that Dick knew there wouldn’t be any more discussion. “There are things you can’t hide. I am the father. I gave her money to go away and have our baby. I wanted my career, she wanted a husband, but I didn’t want the bad publicity. I offered her money and she accepted.” He felt like he was covered in tar.

“Is that how you want the press release to read?” Dick asked, before Kevin could ask the question more delicately. His voice was hushed. Mitch smiled, barely. Dick’s voice was never hushed. That was because he knew when he was sitting at a wake.

“We’ll let Kevin write it,” Mitch said. “He’s better with words.”

“You know this is a killer, Mitch,” Dick said.

“It’s the right thing. I didn’t do it back in ’89, but I’m doing it now.”

“Why do you think she’s coming forward?” Kevin asked. Kevin’s hands were already itching to start drafting copy. Mitch could see almost see the sparks.

“I don’t know what her story is. I’ll tell mine. It’ll be the truth.” Finally.

Inspired by the prompt “things you can’t hide” from Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite.

Note to Self

Posted: March 6, 2012 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff, Writing
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“Note to self: don’t forget the buttercreams.” Michael put down the shopping list. That one made absolutely no sense. “What the hell does that mean? Gary doesn’t like chocolates with fillings and he doesn’t leave ‘notes to self.'”

“He doesn’t? How does he write his shopping lists?”

Michael picked up a spiral-bound notebook by the phone. Strings of ripped paper hung through the wire binding like trapped spaghetti. “On this notebook. He’s done it that way since college.”

“But that’s his handwriting. I’d know it anywhere.” Sam’s eyebrows went up. “It’s a message for us.”

“Exactly.” Michael held the message against his forehead, pressed under his palm, as if he could will Gary’s thoughts through his skull into his brain. Buttercream, buttercream, buttercream…

He remembered Jeremy Piven saying those exact words in one of their favorite scenes from Rush Hour 2. They’d spent more than a few nights wrapping up Friday night happy hours eating pizza and watching that movie. “Vegas. We have to get to Vegas.”

“I like where your head’s at, Mike, but don’t you think we need to fix this first?”

“Not for fun. That’s where they’re taking Gary. It’s a shotgun wedding.”

Inspired by the prompt “note to self” from Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite.

Deadly Paper

Posted: March 5, 2012 by writingsprint in Writing
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Friday, at midnight, the President signed termination directives, or what used to be called “kill orders” before the public relations department decided they should have a more sterile name. Other presidents signed them as needed, and this one did, too, but unless there was a sudden, urgent need to sign the paper now, and send the dogs of war in at that moment, he would wait until Friday at midnight.

His staff accepted it, but no one understood why he wanted it this way. The President wouldn’t say. As long as the urgent ones were signed when they were needed, no one asked questions.

The truth was, he wanted it to have a sense of ritual. Laws affected lives, but kill orders changed the course of history. The President sighed. 12:01; he was late. Two directives waited for his signature. He opened the bottom drawer on the left side of his desk. From it, he took out a white candle, and a gilded fountain pen that had been a gift from the previous president. He lit the candle and prayed.

“Amen,” he said.

12:02. The Secretary of Defense entered the Oval Office. “Shall I take those, sir?”

“Just a moment.” He uncapped the pen. The Seals were waiting.

This post was inspired by the prompt “Deadly Paper” from last week’s Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite.

The Collar

Posted: March 4, 2012 by writingsprint in Science fiction, Writing
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This is a short slice of fan fiction based on recent events in the game Star Wars: The Old Republic that I’ve been playing. Spoilers ahead: my character has been given the mission to put a shock collar on a rebellious noble, a torture device that will electrocute the wearer if the user pushes a button. I’m role-playing my character to be good, just not nice, so he’s not happy about this assignment.

I made a subtle shout-out Babylon 5 with the reference to Narn.

Cartog set up his room in the Thul palace, swept for bugs, swept again using his own procedure and found nothing. The room was clean. He tossed the control collar down and flopped into the nearest chair.

“I’ve never seen you like this, agent,” Kaliyo said. “You look like that collar’s burning a hole in your stomach.”

“It is.” He held it up, and waved it at her. “The moment you put one of these on someone else… is the day they put it on you.” He dropped it on the table again.
She picked it up. Just a stupid control collar, like the ones they used on Narn. She’d never had to wear one, but she’s seen people use them. She’s even killed someone who’d used one one too many times on Hutta. He’d liked using it too much and was killing the slaves. “What’s that supposed to mean? These are used all over the galaxy.”

“Not by me.”

“Oh, you’re kidding—”

“That’s not what I mean!” he snapped. “I’ll get tough with somebody. I’ll put a gun in their face, blow up their shit, threaten their families, blackmail the hell out of them.” Kaliyo ticked each one off in her head. She had to admit, she’d seen him do each one. “I won’t treat someone like an animal. If they’ve got it coming I’ll just put them down and get it over with.

“And if they know you’ll do it to someone else… mark my words. They know you’re an animal just like the man you put it on. They’ve got you on the leash.”
Now she understood. Kaliyo had been on the leash back on Hutta, before she’d killed and kissed and fought her way to the top of Junro’s gang. She wouldn’t let someone treat her that way again. She gestured at the collar with her chin.

“So what are you going to do with it?”

“Nothing. It stays in my pocket. I’m going to meet with Hyllus and work on breaking up the terror cell on Alderaan. I walk through the space port two minutes sooner, I’m in the field and the Moff and I haven’t had our pleasant little conversation about his politics. This is his problem. Not ours.”

Ours, not his. Cartog was checking who his friends were. “I won’t burn for you on this one, chief,” she said plainly. He deserved that much. “I’m behind you, though. A word of advice: I met a guy like the Moff when I was working for Junro. He was a Mandalorian smuggler, name of Lothar. He was cold.” She shivered remembering it. “Really cold. Like he could be your friend and ice your children in front of you in a five minute switch, and he wouldn’t feel any different about either one.” Cartog kept looking at her, waiting for the shoe to drop. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this one. You’re messing with a bad man. Even by our standards. He gets wise that you’re defying him, and he’s going to make you suffer for it.”

Cartog sighed, hard. “I know.” He stood up. One hand rested his blaster; the other rested on his knife. Kaliyo smirked. He’d never done that before. His two best friends, she thought wryly. “Let’s go see the bug man,” he said.

Try Not to Scream

Posted: February 8, 2012 by writingsprint in Writing
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Why So Serious by Shavonne Bryan“Try not to scream,” the Joker cackled, as he brushed the ropes that webbed me with the taser. The electricity licked the copper coils, and I whimpered as I felt burning, buzzing heat all over my body. My face twitched. My left eye snapped shut, and drool oozed down my cheek.

It frightened me more when he stopped laughing. I felt his breath on my ear. “What? No scream?”

No. It felt like I had bees stinging all over my body. I didn’t care. I hated him. He didn’t know that I made my peace with dying here yesterday, and all I cared about now was not giving him the satisfaction, any satisfaction at all.

He laughed, harder, and I could feel his teeth brushing my ear.

No. No.

He snapped off the taser. I slumped into the chair, gasping and blinded from sweat. I couldn’t see. I smelled awfully ripe, too. “You’re not any fun,” I heard. His voice sounded far away. “I might be done with you.”

The door slammed. I heard footsteps, and on number five, just like the past week, he turned off the lights. This time the snap of the switch was angry. I heard something that sounded like punching a wall. For the first time in a week, I actually smiled instead of him.

This post was inspired by the prompt “Try not to scream” at Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite.

“Why So Serious?” is a drawing by Shavonne Bryan and is used without permission.