Flash! Friday # 28

Flash! Friday # 28 is now closed. Thanks as ever, dear ones, for coming by to write a bit with us! Results are now in the hands of the judge & will be posted Saturday afternoon. Thank you!

Welcome to #FlashFridayFic Round 28! After following a lost boy and lost man these past two weeks, I thought it only fair to offer up a lost lady this time. Many of you will no doubt recognize this stunning painting by John William Waterhouse, which has long been among my favorites. She is, of course, Tennyson’s Lady of Shallotwhose glance at Camelot ultimately cost her her life. But in defiance of Tennyson I say, Let’s dare give this chick a brand new story!!!

(Here are the contest guidelines).

This week’s boat ride/sinking is overseen by a most unsinkable artist and SVW member Kinza Carpenter Shores. (Be sure to check out her judge page to learn what she looks for in a winning entry.)


Word limit: 100-word story (zero leeway: 100 words exactly) based on the photo prompt.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (100 words exactly, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one.

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday’s on Harper’s Ferry time)

Winners: will post tomorrow (Saturday)

Prize: A tragically beautiful e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a haunting, personalized page here at FF, a historically questionable 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME inscribed in stone for the ages (so to speak). NOTE: Winning and non-winning stories alike remain eligible for selection for Monday’s Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/dragon haiku.  And now for your prompt:

"The Lady of Shallot," John William Waterhouse, 1888.

“The Lady of Shallot,” John William Waterhouse, 1888.

111 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 28

  1. Axe-calibur

    I always knew he was a workaholic, but this is getting ridiculous! This is the third time he’s cancelled our date, something about a Round Table emergency, which we both know is just an excuse to hang around with his mates chugging mead. Honestly, his boss Arthur clicks his fingers and off he trots like an eager puppy. It’s that stupid sword. Something about a soaking wet old lady handing out weapons seems suspicious to me, but if that’s what it takes to get Lancelot’s attention then I’m going to find her and get myself a nice big swamp axe!


  2. Ugh, I am so tired. The picnic was a disaster. It was supposed to be romantic – row across the lake, set up the quilt on the hilltop, eat and talk and swoon. Well, the swooning happened, just not like I thought.

    The stairs to the top were covered with thorns, the hem of my dress is caked in mud, the rain ruined lunch, my hair completely frizzed from the humidity, and Gideon is out cold. I’ve carried everything back to the boat, but I’m exhausted.

    I refuse to climb again. He can swim home.

    Next year, I’m planning our anniversary.

    100 words


  3. Elaine in Paint
    100 words

    Hold still, he told her.
    She touched the tapestry as he bid, and looked down,
    To the boat, to the name carved on the prow.
    Hold still, he said again.
    Last time, in the tower, she had sat before the loom,
    Half sick of shadows, waiting for paint to dry.
    Looking out the window, turning back when the mirror broke.
    Hold still, he said a third time.
    He said she had a lovely face,
    Sitting robed in snowy white.
    A third painting, he promised, down the river.
    Through the willows and waning yellow woods.
    She could sing along the way.


  4. @StephenWilds
    “White Collar”

    “Oh, wow,” she exclaimed. “A Waterhouse, The Lady of Shallot!”
    “Yep,” James said, not wanting to spoil the moment with too many words, just staring at Sara’s smile.
    “I love it!”
    “I thought you would, you were hovering around his paintings in that museum when we went to New York.”
    “This is amazing, James, and the frame is so- How-“
    “I pulled some strings,” he attempted to say humbly, stopping her question, but the smug smile was still present.
    “I need to show Nadine, and Clyde, they’ll love it.”
    “Well, not too many people, may be some looking for it.”


  5. The morning after
    Something heavy was pulling the back of her skull hard against wood, the only solid thing in this grey fuzz that filled her mind’s eye. She heard birdsong, smelled plants and flowers.

    Muse shifted her weight, trying to summon the courage to force her gummed eyelids open, felt aches and pains all over. Felt whatever she was in rocking from side to side, as she was in a boat, in water.

    Water? She opened her eyes, squinting in the daylight, tried to remember.

    Last night, absinthe, man playing piano…

    She put her hand up to her head, groaned.



    100 words


  6. The Return

    It had been too easy. I should have known.
    Foolish girl! A boat waiting in the reeds, ready for the off? Instead of lifting my skirts and splashing toward it like a common chambermaid, I should have thought. Waited.
    I did not.
    Father’s men followed me, silent and unhurried. They fell upon me as I reached the Silver Bridge, the outmost limit of the wide lands that should have been mine alone.
    Had I simply obeyed, my father might have shown me mercy. But I could not, and so they lead me home, in chains, to marry the Princeling Giant.

    100 words, excluding title


  7. Water Lily
    By Allison Garcia

    The first light of dawn and an eastern wind awoke her early in the morning. The rocking of the boat brought back her daring escape the night before. Running away from home, carrying all she could on her back, finding a boat on the river. She must have fallen asleep moments after embarking the tiny vessel.

    She smiled. She could be anywhere. Perhaps even hundreds of miles from home by now. Her heart raced. She was finally free. Safe. She sat up slowly, savoring the moment.

    Her cry of despair echoed throughout the woods.

    She had never untied the boat.

    (100 words)


  8. Erin McCabe


    “More pointed!”
    She rolled her eyes, struggling to sustain “gracefully forlorn.”
    “Hold it there”
    The duration of her ordeal was marked only by the aching of her body in those areas not yet numbed with cold.
    Clutching at the chain tethering her, struggling to prevent the sway of the boat; she grimaced.
    “Ruined!” he gasped, paintbrush tossed into the dark depths.
    Her heart was beating so fast she felt it could explode at any moment in a spectacular cascade of warm blood and shattered bone.
    “I quit!” she shrieked, tearing off her headband and flinging it towards the Modern Pre-Raphaelite.

    Word count – 100


  9. Out of Time

    She drifted through the mist, and wondered what she’d see when it faded. She had drifted so long; she despaired at finding anything worth finding. She’d seen 1692, where men were pleasant, but the women cruel. 2009 was different, men there were rude, the women full of pity. The boat had drifted through times where men weren’t men but apes, and times where everything was metal and glass, the men mechanical. She wondered if she would ever again see a time where men were chivalrous and the ladies noble.

    The mists parted. At least this time has grass and trees.

    100 words


  10. Shy, Young Lady Seeks Suitor with Good Sense of Irony for (K)nights In: petite, blonde, age 26, fair of face looking to share good conversation, fine foods and friendship (that could possibly) lead to more. Interests include avoidance of the dark arts, singing and lengthy games of Pictionary. Has own Tower and loom (with a restricted view).
    Would like to meet male age 25 – 40 with similar interests who can see the funny side of life. Honest, music loving, snazzy dresser preferred. Smokers, dragon slayers and those looking for a mother figure need not apply. Secluded Island, Shallot, UK.
    100 words


  11. Half-Shadows, Yo

    If I ever find out who cursed me, well, let’s just say, they better watch out. I don’t mind the weaving, you know. That’s wicked creative, but I can’t look directly at anything. Bummer.

    But, yo, I got this cool mirror, so when I look up from the tapestry-making I see the road to that castle everyone’s talking about. You know, Camelot.

    Then, this fine, and I mean fine, knight goes riding up the lane. Lancelot, they call him, and I’m all, find my boat, get me on that river.

    And then the curse comes. Ladies, you know which one.

    100 words (sans title)
    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)


  12. The Quilt

    The damn quilt! Isn’t it exquisite? For years, I spun the yarn, dyed it, wove the pretty designs, and I sewed it all together. Your orders were to stay inside the house. I obeyed, and watched the mirror. The intrigue inspired the townsfolk. They came in droves to watch the house. I told you, I followed your orders and did not leave. But I let the people in and put them to work. It took talent, patience, organization, and management skills. The day I saw you in the mirror, I knew.

    I got out. Now, my quilting business is thriving.

    100 words


  13. True Love’s Illusions

    He would come for her. He must. She had forsaken her home, her family, her all for him. She’d found the boat exactly where he’d told her it would be and yet she found not a trace of him.

    She knew her father’s men patrolled the roads and feared her beloved had met with a force he could neither overcome nor evade. But with the sure and certain faith that is the heart seed of true love, she nonetheless waited.

    In another world, Derek held the chilly hand of his fiancée, wondering what fantastic things her comatose mind dreamed of.

    100 words @klingorengi


  14. The Offering

    They dressed her in white, wove flowers into her auburn hair, and placed her in the black wooden boat that would carry her down the left spur of the mighty Dragon’s Claw River.

    She was the offering. To save her village, she would die in dragon fire.

    “Your people are barbarians.”

    She started at the black-haired man. His eyes gleamed like gold.

    “My people fear.”

    “And you die willingly?”


    He bowed as black wings began to spread out of his back; his face elongated, and his body lengthened.

    “You will not die today, my lady,” he said. “Dragon’s honor.”

    100 words


  15. Captaining

    I will not be Ophelia.
    I don’t need rue to remember, and you will not break me so easily.
    I will not be that Lady,
    Viewing life by mirror and dying afloat, acursed, alone.
    I shall not fill my pockets with rocks;
    I can walk on the water, not into it.
    I can be light, and nimble,
    And my own Savior
    Or perhaps a swift lizard named for a monster
    Fleeing doom and predators
    Reaching the other side.
    I can steer this boat.
    I can row to shore.
    I will not let a white dress weigh me down,
    Not anymore.

    100 words


  16. The painting was old…worn down by time. The colors had faded, almost into nothingness, but the image could still be faintly seen if one just focused on what was in front of them.
    A woman…young in body, seemingly older in demeanor…looked out to something in the distance. A long forgotten dream, perchance, or one that could only be dreamt about but never truly followed?
    I ran my hand along the boat in which she sat, and smiled an artist’s smile. Picking up my brush, I put paint to canvas.
    It was time to bring her once again into the light.

    100 words @bookwormattack

    This is how I feel about all paintings. Bringing them into the light once again after years of darkness, so that others may enjoy them.


  17. It’s too late…the gentle breeze sighed through the aspens and rippled out across the water, and the prophetic words echoed in her soul. The flame flickered and the candle snuffed, and a spiral of wispy smoke rose. The knot in her belly tightened, and the chain slipped through her fingers as a sigh murmured on her lips.
    “Camelot…” she breathed and her bosom rose and fell.
    She sank into the warmth of the embroidered quilt, and as the wind awakened, billowing about the prow, moving the little boat, the lady and her soul fell asleep for the remainder of time.

    (100 Words)


  18. The Lady of Life

    She is the Lady of Life; she takes new-borns from the birthing shore to the land of the living, tireless, uncomplaining, servant to existence.

    But the shore ran barren and she floated alone on Twygs, fingertips trailing through the stillness, weeping for them; the unborn.

    Had the end of births also ended deaths? Is her lover adrift, alone, on Styx? She looks at the waters, her gloom reflected upon that mirror; the depths, the teeming shoals – bright and hopeful below. And she contemplates it; her end by her own hand. To reunite with him, Charon, and start it once again.

    100 words


  19. I’m back! But rusty, so please take it easy on me 😉


    Billie’s gum had lost its flavor. Her pen tapped anxiously against the side of the textbook. The picture blurred. A chain coiled in the Lady’s hand, tethering her. Billie flung the pen away.

    The Lady of Shallot watched her sideways. Dramatic suffering dipped the Lady’s lips and brows, but her eyes judged her observers as if she could see them. Probably not the insight her Art History professor would be expecting.

    Billie closed her eyes, puffed out her breath, and rolled her neck. The Lady stretched, shrugged her shoulders, and resettled on her blankets.

    Maybe this would be the one.

    (100 words; @AriaGlazki)


  20. Drama Queen

    “Who are you supposed to be? Off to a Renaissance Fair? Or are you reinvigorating the Ku-Klux Klan?” Edna, hands on her hips, assessed Cheryl.

    “The Lady of Shallot. Have you no appreciation for poetry?” Cheryl stuck her nose in the air.

    “Who is this Lady of Onions, then?” Always the drama queen, Edna thought, wondering why she answered Cheryl’s calls.

    “Shah-LOT,” Cheryl instructed.

    “Why am I here, Cheryl?” Edna dangled her feet in the cool water.

    “To film my death, on my sail to Camelot.”

    “Say what? This time you’ve gone too far, Cheryl.” Edna heaved a great sigh.

    100 words


  21. The White Queen

    Tipping her head, Gwenhwyfar closed her eyes and opened her mouth, allowing praise for her goddess to pour from her soul. Praise first so her goddess would be more willing to listen to her entreaties when she asked. She allowed her boat to drift, trusting in the current.

    Here she was closer to nature, closer to her goddess, and she could request assistance for the knights, for the squires, for them all to stay safe as they went into battle.

    She knew her husband wouldn’t approve with his Christian ideals, but this was how she could help. So she sang.
    Word Count: 100


  22. Eternal Flame

    Charlotte watched the flickering flame; gentle against the darkness as tiny droplets of wax ran slowly down the long stem. Edging closer, her finger caught a droplet as it solidified against her cool skin. Her breath sent the flame dancing; Charlotte backed away, terrified of the consequences. As long as the candle burned, there was life. There was hope. Hope that someone would know where she was. Hope they could get to her in time. Hope the candle’s flame would burn eternal. For once that candle died, she knew her last breath would follow. Her captor had told her so.



  23. A picnic on the river he said, in fancy dress; so romantic. And this carpet, such a good and comfortable notion.
    But oh! How typical of the man to forget the champagne! Beaufort and cucumber sandwiches without?
    Gallantly though, he promised to fetch it, as long as I hold onto this chain so that I don’t drift. Yet that was an hour ago.
    Here he comes along the garden path… laughing?
    Merry? Oh my god! His unfortunate friends are following.
    I must hide.
    The embarrassment – I’ll die!
    I’ll slip over the side.
    He’ll see me next beneath the stream.

    100 words.


  24. It was not 1969.

    It was not 1969, she was not Julie and she was not adrift on the Hyde Park boating lake.

    She had not dropped acid and her friends had not abandoned her to watch The Stones.

    She could not see the sound waves, rippling the air before her.

    It was…

    She was…

    It …

    Words flew, half crushed butterflies, drowsy, directionless.

    Hand trailing in warm murk, surface shattering in myriad mirrors, fracturing time.

    Best Woolworth’s hippy dress, sleeve dragging through the reeds.

    A voice approaching. A knight.

    She rises.

    “Hail, oh maiden of the pick and mix.”

    100 words


  25. moira sat there in a Daze as she floated and waited! She was the villages only hope & she knew she would forever be a heroine but sitting here watching the flame burn her last few hours away she wondered if it was worth it!

    she’d barely realised her dreams when the druid had decreed that she was the next chosen one! Why me she’d screamed.

    The days just after her chosen one ceremony and robing had been volatile! Yet here she sat eerilily calm awaiting her fate. The fate which would save souls at least until Tanith was hungry again!


  26. Immortalized
    @mishmhem – 100 words

    Margaret looked at her brother and then at the boat. Where she saw a dry rotted boat, and her mother’s favorite tapestry being ruined, Kevin saw only art.

    “Why don’t we do this on dry land?” she asked, thinking about the risk.

    “The lighting would be all wrong,” he assured her before gesturing for her to get in.

    Once she complied, he pulled her away from the dock.

    “I’m going to immortalize you on canvas,” he told her as the boat started to sink

    As Maggie’s screams filled the night air he smiled. “But this only works if you’re dead…”


  27. Alexis discovered that her quasi-requited love affair was over via facebook.

    Alone in her tiny apartment, Alexis placed one foot in the boat.

    It felt right.

    She placed the other foot in the boat.

    It was just.

    She sat down, the tragic heroine romanticized in more-perfect-than-life strokes of pigmented oil.

    Alexis caught her reflection in the dark window. She wasn’t beautifully romantic. She was rather pathetic. But it wasn’t because she’d been dumped…

    It was because she’d climbed into the boat.

    Slowly, she climbed out of the boat. No one was there to applaud her. Victory was just as sweet.

    Exactly 100 words @USNessie


  28. Lady’s Choice

    She ran towards the boat she’d spotted from her tower. Her freedom was tainted with the uncertainty of the curse’s death. She would use her last moments finding him.

    She floated towards the castle, taking in each new scent and relishing all the little details that were not provided in the mirrored shadows she had come to loathe. Each hovering tree and tender flower caught her breathless and in awe of her surroundings. An unexpected tear fell over unrealized longings for all she’d missed.

    One man could not compare. Turning the boat, she chose a new future. Cursed or not.

    100 words not counting title. @monicaheffner


  29. Song for a Serpent
    100 words

    If the person who killed your children was within your reach, what would you do? Would you cower in the reeds? Or would you strike back? I watched in horror as her boat demolished my home, where my children lie helpless in their beds. In a quiet rage, I climbed the old, damp wood and slipped into her soft, innocent sleeve. She was distracted, distraught, so I took the chance. Blood rushed into my mouth- the taste of revenge. Her last screams, like music, carried into the water as I slithered away to a lonely freedom. I have no regrets.


  30. Title: Sad Spinning Sister
    As she spun about in the storm, I could only sit and watch her be determined to be miserable. I can’t even pretend to know how my sister came to be in this mood, but she refuses to let me help her. She literally growled at me when I tried to give her my umbrella and guide her home. So now I keep many strides behind her, making sure she doesn’t do anything too rash. She watches me every once in a while with the same forlorn impression before continuing to whirl down the street, knowing I still follow her.
    @JSHyena/ 100 words


  31. STUCK (100)
    Do I look pretty, do I look stout, will I catch Hell for coming out? The lake is clear, the water, dear, how far the depths of my cold fear? Please take me, God. Please help me, Lord. Please let me jump from high on board. Acceptance there is what I seek, for life on land, is rather bleak. I know not how to get there though. This boat is lacking oars to row. So wind be gentle, wind be great, send me ashore and don’t be late! Dear Camelot, I want you so, don’t disappoint. Let me go.


  32. Before you begin, I must say this was one of my favorite prompts.

    The Lady’s Lullaby

    She carried a dream within,
    Inside his next of kin.
    Soon a new life would begin—
    Cottage to castle; she would escape her chagrin
    Prison: A chance anew.
    Prince found her and was told
    She was ill and ice-cold:
    He took her to his stronghold
    For treatment overdue.

    The Physician treated her well,
    Not one inside could tell,
    The maiden sick had fell:
    And the prince came under her spell.
    Feelings quickly settled between
    The Prince and the slave:
    Love destined for the grave
    So, Prince’s face to save,
    She swallowed hopes, and, brave,
    Sailed away with secrets and dreams.

    100 Words


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