Flash! Friday # 34

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak! Those are the brake lights of the cable car in front of you. This round is now closed; stay tuned for judge’s results. And of course don’t forget to read & comment on the tales! Thanks so much for coming out to play with us. See you tomorrow!

I’m not sure why some of us say we’re afraid of heights. Isn’t it more the idea of plummeting to the depths that sets our teeth on edge? Which is rather a fitting analogy for flash fiction, I think, at least the plummeting part. Or perhaps flash is more like high diving. You’ve got a scant ten meters in which to perform the impossible. While falling.

Either way, after a few weeks at a very comfy 200ish words, today we’re plunging very-nearly-but-not-quite to the wriggle-your-toes-in-the-mud depths. Be bold. Arrogant, even.  Have fun. Write brilliantly.

Just make sure you’re quick about it. 

(As ever, here are the contest guidelines. Read fast.)

This week’s brief contest is hastily judged by SVW member Patricia McCommas. (Be sure to check out her judge page to find out what kind of writing makes her gleefully chase her tail. Short version: she loves a complete story and unexpected twists.)

Special NoteOn occasion you may see an entry with this tag: **Flash! Friday Judge’s Entry: For your reading pleasure.** Pay attention to those stories! They are written by members of our elite team of judges. Although ineligible to win, these stories will introduce you to the styles and tastes of our marvelous judging staff.

And now for the low-down:

Word limit: 75-word story (5-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (70 – 80 words, 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 Providence, Rhode Island time)

Winners: will post tomorrow (Saturday)

Prize: A hurriedly assembled e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a rapidly personalized winner’s page here at FF, a desperately rushed 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME racing like a hamster across the wheel of the world. 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/tips on how to beat a dragon in a 5k (PS. That’s a joke. You can’t.).  And now for your prompt:

Mount Seceda in the Dolomites. Photo by Wolfgang Moroder, WikiCommons.

Mount Seceda in the Dolomites. Photo by Wolfgang Moroder, WikiCommons.

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208 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 34

  1. Remedy – 74 words
    @todayschapter

    Billy pressed his face against the glass to control the shaking. The other kids pointed and laughed, assuming he was afraid of heights. That wasn’t what scared him, it was the crushing confines of the cable car. Everyone pressed in together in that stupid flying box. He only endured this torture for the view at the top. It was the perfect remedy, a long expanse of space as far as his eyes could see…

  2. Economy – 75 words
    @jtvancouver

    He’d expected the journey to be a bit quicker, a bit smoother and well, if he were honest, a bit more luxurious. Having a private gondola was nice of course, but tradition dictated there be a touch of velvet, a herald of trumpets’ flourishes, and a well-practiced choir of angels doing their thing in the background. Nothing ostentatious, mind you. He decided that when he arrived, he’d have a word with the head man, Peter.

    • I read this twice before I got it! Bravo to you, well written, creative, unexpected. I was a little thrown by the tense of “flourishes” in the second line, “a herald of trumpets’ flourishes.” Try reading the sentence over without “flourishes” and see how it reads to you. Other than that, I love your creative angle to the pic.

    • A creative take on the prompt Jo-Anne. I love the idea of Peter being the ‘head man’ with whom one has words with. Quite right too. You’d expect your final journey to be a little more grand.

      • Not sure about you, Jo-Anne, but I tried not to read any other comments/stories before writing my own, then go back and look at them. So, already being in a heaven mood, I enjoyed recognising the early clues in your story. The Peter reference finished it off really well without semaphoring the ‘true’ meaning. I had a similar issue with my cable car attendants. Angelo is fairly obvious, but I thought I’d get away with it because it was early in the story. Nick was more subtle, but hopefully readers would have twigged by then.

        I guess we were both after an “Oh God!” reaction.

  3. Untrodden Sorrow

    The romance of fluffy field clouds and soft cold snow in lovers’ paradise! She had dreamt of this place since childhood. The gondola, carrying the young couple in its arms, swayed gently. The favorable breeze whispered enigmatic love notes in her ears. The fresh snowfall was imminent. In that magical moment, his smiling eyes met hers. She suddenly welled up. These were not the eyes of the man that her heart hungered for. He was lost to the sea.

    79 words
    @needanidplease

  4. “Ascension”
    By Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy) [80 words]

    Angelo only ever did the upward journey. Then he’d return to the terminus. Not everyone would board the cable car. On the way up they would press faces to windows, straining to see their destination. Not everyone would get off at the top. Those headed back down would not press their faces to the glass. They knew where they were going below the clouds. By the time Nick boarded the car for the downward trip they would all be screaming.

    • Love the idea of this story. Giving those individuals doomed to hell a quick glimpse into what could have been is original. While reading this story a few times, I heard, “Ascending Down” as a potential title. In order to be considered for the contest, you must stay within the 75 word limit established by Rebekah. From the line, “They knew where they were going below the clouds,” you could cut out “below the clouds” for a more dramatic impact while cutting three words. Your last line has a tense foopah; “they would” doesn’t quite match, “By the time Nick boarded…” Consider revising with something like, “When Nick boarded the car for the downward trip, the other passengers were screaming.” This also cuts an additional three words which would bring your total word count to 74.

      • Ok, will do. However, the 75 does allow +/-5 and many will use that; if leeway is permitted it would be unfair to harshly criticise, but if it is important to you, for the challenge, I will oblige. I’m not sure I would (sic) like to remove the final ‘would’ as it keeps the tense, but I will consider it now. And reference to the clouds seems important to the picture prompt, but again I’ll see it as constructive criticism and an editing challenge.

        It IS really good to get instant feedback. Thank you

      • You are correct…5-word leeway. Sorry. I’m still on my first cup of coffee and three hours of sleep.

      • Revised version [75 words]

        Angelo only ever did the upward journey, then returned to the terminus. Not everyone would board the cable car. On the way up they would press faces to windows, straining to see their destination. Not everyone would get off at the top. Those headed back down would not press their faces to the glass. The remaining passengers knew where they were going. By the time Nick boarded for the downward trip they would be screaming.


        Fin

        And yes, I did like the idea of showing the ‘remainder’ what they were missing, as well as providing a clue as to why no all those at the terminus would board the cable car. Glad you liked it.

      • I love instant feedback. And you are correct, my comments are meant strictly as constructive feedback. Because of my membership at Writer’s Village University, I’ve learned how to read with the intent of offering constructive feedback for the writer’s benefit. I know it helps me when I post for feedback. It’s like getting free editing and a bit of an insight as to how your story comes across to a reader. I’ve been able to tighten up the chapters I’ve written in my WIP novel because of the feedback I receive. Invaluable, I think. And just so you know, my comments are just my opinion. It does not make them right, although I strive for that. I think what threw me was “boarded” followed by “would.” It stopped the flow for me. But I love your story. Hope that helps.

      • You could also use “were” in place of “would.” That would take of it nicely. Love your revised version.

      • Yes, but I did want to get across the idea that this was happening over and over again, whereas “were” might imply a one off. Thank you for taking the time with all of us, focusing on the fine details of language, grammar and form.

  5. @StephenWilds
    “Bliss” – 80 words

    He kept his lips pursed tightly, and other things properly clenched. Eric tried not to shake from the cold as the shaky metal box moved over the mountainside, swaying in the wind. A hand slapped him hard on his back. Ginger was laughing before he even jumped. She had a cruel side about her, and Eric’s usual competitive nature fueled it. He was shut down, no snide remarks, not even a peep really since they had reached the base. Bliss.

  6. One last time – 77 words
    @IBMartyn

    He watched the car descend, taking with it his wife, his children and many of those he had loved and who had loved him. Beneath that blanket of cloud their lives would carry on. They would remember him on special days or perhaps when the world was quiet for a few seconds. The thought made him smile. The last of his ashes blew east, leading the way. He set off to walk his mountains one last time.

  7. Slowly, steadily, unfailingly I carry them up the barren mountainside. A precious load of eager people, the air around me electric with sweet anticipation of the promised ‘view of a lifetime’. When I bring them down, they are subdued, appetites have been satiated, ready to go back to their lives.

    But there is always one who sees beyond the view, one who is changed forever.

    Always one who notices who carried them.

    Such is the lot of an angel.

    79 words
    @dragonsflypoppy

  8. Memo (21)
    Pick out ring at jeweller’s
    Hypnotherapy: Dr. C’s 5pm
    Julie’s 7pm.

    (22)
    Buy Dr. C’s ‘Acrophobia : Being Above Fear in 39 Steps’
    Phone and check if ring is ready
    Borrow Mark’s ski-ing paraphernalia

    (23)
    Tickets!
    NB. PICK UP RING!!!
    Read Steps 18-39 of Dr. C’s Book
    Surprise Julie 6 am tomorrow.

    (24a)
    Get deposit back on ring.

    (24b)
    Buy Dr.C’s ‘How to Cope When Your Best Friend Cheats with Your Girlfriend in 46 Easy Steps’

  9. Word count: 78 Words
    @NadaNightStar

    Yikes!

    On her birthday, Mark took his girlfriend, Paige, to a hotel where they went to the beach, and enjoyed a romantic lunch overlooking the man-made waterfalls.
    “For this next treat, I have to blindfold you.”
    Paige was excited not knowing what to expect as he guided her and sat her down.
    It took a second after Mark removed the blindfold, then Paige screamed past the top of her lungs.
    Mark continues to have terrible hearing to this day.

  10. I had to…
    71 words, @chriswhitewrite

    The clouds swelled, looming up, swimming toward us as the gondola’s little engines hummed, purring above our heads. The cable snapped, with a neat twang! – the fall seemed to take forever, and to end in an instant.

    We fell, tumbling, skidding, crashing into the mountain’s jagged teeth, stones; tearing and rending the gondala’s walls, shattering glass and bone alike.

    When we woke…when I woke…I was hungry.

    I had to…

    Forgive me.

  11. Freedom – 69 words
    @StaceyJMcIntosh

    Reaching the top of the mountain, she looked down, seeing nothing but a sea of cloud. The view was reminiscent of the high cliffs that opened out to the ocean, back home. Unlike the other times, she refused to let the fear claim her, she would embrace it, and stepping off the side, she let herself fall, and for the first time ever, she felt completely and utterly free.

  12. Above the Cloud
    By: Allison K. Garcia
    (80 words)

    Giovanni breathed in deeply, filling his lungs with crisp, mountain air. A certain calm silence surrounded him. The only sound was the wind. It whipped around him, mingling the thin air with Ana’s perfume. He smiled and reached out for her arm, his boots crunching the snow as he turned.

    “Oh, Giovanni,” Ana sighed. “It’s amazing up here. I have never seen anything so wonderful in my life.”

    He didn’t need to see to know how beautiful this place was.

  13. Thud! – 80 words
    @zevonesque

    The cable car had stopped abruptly thirty minutes earlier. The two occupants were now settling into frightened as their emotion of choice.

    Anthony pressed the buzzer urgently again, hoping for at least some static in reply. Nothing.

    ‘This is beyond funny now,’ he exclaimed.

    A resonating thud came from the roof of the carriage, which suddenly started to rock violently.

    Christopher choked pointing at a massive talon overhanging the window. Then its single tap sent glass shattering across the cabin.

  14. “Isn’t it beautiful?” she exclaimed, finger pushed hard against the glossy picture of the cable car.

    “It’s hard to breath at that altitude.” He replied, clearly unenthused.

    “Imagine the views!”

    “They’re mostly obscured by clouds.”

    “But to be so isolated and free, wouldn’t it be romantic?”

    “I prefer city breaks, less likely to die on a mountain pass.”

    “I suppose.” Her deflation served only as a further reminder that dating sights cannot adequately gauge compatibility.

  15. Vigil

    What on earth’s that noise? An engine? No. A motor. The cable car’s finally breaking through the clouds, bright as heaven’s foothills. Clean, pure air bursts into my lungs in deep, regular breaths. The coldness hisses through my teeth, sounding so like skis through snow. I lift my face to the sun, feeling my soul rising.

    Up I go, ready at last.

    I open my eyes.

    ‘Sarah! Darling, can you hear us?’ ‘Doctor! Someone get a doctor, now! She’s waking!’

    @SJOHart
    80 words, exclusive of title. The first section (up to quotation marks) is supposed to be in italics, but I can’t get it to work.

  16. **Flash! Friday Judge’s Entry: For your reading pleasure.**

    ~~~ The First Lesson ~~~

    Gleaming mountain peaks crested out of the morning clouds like frozen ocean waves of stone. My hands clenched the railing of the cable car as ripples went up my spine and made my scalp tingle. Did I really know what I was doing?

    The monk at the top of the mountain greeted me silently and led me to the Abbot. “You came up by cable or the stairs?”

    “Cable, sir.”

    “Go back down and come up properly.”

    ©2013 Beth E Peterson #PotterBeth
    77 words

      • Title, just right. Good first sentence, but “frozen ocean” might have been enough, or something that implied stone, like “petrified” perhaps? Second sentence has “my” in three times, which might be a big much.
        I’d rather have had a flavour of the Abbot than the description of the monk being “at the top of the mountain”, but the ending dialogue was perfect.

      • I love the ‘D’oh’ moment at the end, and I love the imagery, but I have to agree with DoctorMikeReddy, “frozen ocean waves of stone” just doesn’t quite flow. “Frozen waves of stone” has a nice rhythm to it. Given the word limit, you’ve managed an amazing amount of description in there.

    • Beth, this is an excellent piece on physical discipline as a means of spiritual refinement. Your last line totally brings the story together. It reminds me a little of the disciplined training Uma Thurman had to do in “Kill Bill.” Well written with a strong life message of, “Just because it’s easy, doesn’t make it right.” In addition to your vivid descriptive imagery, I did not find any grammatical or punctuation errors.

  17. Options

    She flung wide the door of the trolley and allowed the cleansing wintry air to wash over her. It was, at that moment, she realized she feared death far less than she did the prospect of continuing to live.

    Yet before she could act, Nathaniel’s strong arms enfolded her, the velvet down of his powerful wings soft against her skin.

    His voice soft but insistent, spoke only six words to her before he vanished, “There is always a better way.”

    80 words @klingorengi

  18. And Then There Were None
    By Lisa McCourt Hollar

    Ignoring the other nine passengers, Susan stared at her book, trying to read. The creaking wheels and the motor grinding as it strained to move the old trolley distracted her. Who in their right mind lived on top of a mountain?

    The car lurched and she dropped her book. Looking out the window at the dizzying scene below, she hugged her stomach. On second thought, who in their right mind accepted an invitation to dinner on top of a mountain?

    Word Count: 80
    @jezri1

  19. Escape
    79 Words
    @mishmhem

    Martin smiled, letting his breath out slowly as the cable car made its descent. They were almost through. He was tired of all this sneaking, but if he truly wanted to be free he had to do this.

    He fought to remain calm when they reached the bottom and the guards demanded their papers.

    As he crossed the border he heard one of them mutter: ‘Damn tourists…don’t they read? The papers are only free to read inside the restaurant”

  20. S’no goat

    ***
    “Could this ski-lift go any slower?”

    “Don’t worry, they can’t catch us now; we’re way ahead of them.”

    “Hey, check out the goat over there on the mountain.”

    “Where?”

    “Over there man; can’t you see it?”

    “No…oh wait, now I see it. Is that thing braying at us?”

    “Oh yeah…got a big mouth hasn’t it?”

    “Hold on, what’s that coming out of its throat?”

    “I don’t know…”

    “…kind of looks like a…”

    “…missile!”

    “Get down!”

    ***

    @theimaginator20
    75 words

  21. The word came over the radiograph early that morning.

    Strike!

    The first in the history of the Interomniversal Federation of Sprites, Local 3. Eons of following the rules without so much as a coffee break since the Pleistocene had left the rank and file little choice but to call for a work stoppage.

    ———

    “What keeps the gondola up in the air, Mommy?” This was Timmy first ride, and he was scared.

    “Sprites, honey. And they’ll never let us fall.”

    79 words
    @drmagoo

  22. She set down her ropes, adjusted her head cam and waited.
    The magnificent Cloud-Wing Hawk swerved across her breath-taking view. It soared and curved then ascended beyond sight.
    She sighed, frustrated, as the crammed gondola rose from beneath the ocean of cloud, its affluent straining to see the rarity.
    The car lurched beneath its weight. The sickening screech of folding, splintering metal made her turn and she caught the footage no one wanted to see.

    (75 Words)
    @LastKrystallos

  23. He extends a clammy mitt toward her, but she shrinks away into the unseen future outside the window, outside the mountains. Never mind. He stuffs his hands between his knees and waits. She folds herself tighter against the wall, legs crossed.

    The lift lunges upward, refusing to commit to any certain speed.

    “You will jump,” she says. “And you will say nothing.”

    He squeezes his burning red eyelids shut and his dead daughter’s face appears again.

    76 words
    @betsystreeter

  24. Jump (77 words)

    The cable car jolted to a stop. Nick looked out and saw warlocks cutting the cable.
    “We have to go! Now!” He shouted to Lucy.
    Nick ripped open the door and helped Lucy onto roof.
    Lucy glanced back as more of the cable unraveled. The car swayed, and she peered at the canyon far below. The wind blasted her.
    “Jump!” Nick shouted.
    “Are you insane?!” Lucy yelled.
    SNAP!
    “Trust me!” He took her hand and they leaped.

  25. Broken Promise
    79 words
    @lastwordy

    I couldn’t shoot her.

    I know it’s what you’re supposed to do. I’d promised I would, the afternoon of the first confirmed news story, just as she’d promised me. I swore on my mother’s grave, on my wedding ring, “I will do it.”

    But when it finally happened, I couldn’t. So I brought her here — tied and gagged, I brought her — and I locked her in, and pulled the lever.

    We honeymooned here. I’ll remember. Even if she can’t.

  26. For Anna

    The cable car burst through the boiling clouds and ascended to the chalet. Last year he’d come with Anna, his most beautiful wife. Now he made the journey alone. Anna would never travel to their getaway again. She had died too young.

    The car bumped to a stop.

    “You have reached your destination, Sir,” the driver said.

    “Are you mad? We’re only three-quarters there.”

    The driver smiled. “Anna sent me.”

    The door beneath his feet opened.

    (76 words)

  27. An Accident

    “Boss, we’ve got a stopper. Car 23, near the top. Some old biddy on the emergency channel.”
    “OK Jim. Anyone else with her?”
    “Records show just her and hubby, boss. Shall I go to Code Red?”
    “We’ll have to Jim. Can’t afford to send a maintenance crew all the way up there, too expensive. When you’re ready, drop the car, then put out the usual press release about a terrible accident, you know the drill.

    75 words
    @mj51day

  28. Since they are so short… I’ll enter a second on (I’ve only written 4 🙂 )

    Good Eats
    78 words
    @mishmhem

    The skiers stood in a line, waiting for a ride to the top of the mountain. Martin was surprised when the descending car’s doors opened, and no one was on board.

    When he asked the tour guide why this was, she smiled and explained, “The food is too good.”

    Her words came back to him when he made it to the top and they were herded towards a waiting dragon’s mouth.

    He fought, refusing to be ‘good’ food.

  29. The second relief team was lucky. Their car got stuck a hundred or so feet above the ground. They’d already been rescued.

    We hadn’t been so lucky. We were 1,100 miles above the ground, on our space elevator ride to the geosynchronous station when it got stuck. Air wasn’t a problem. It came through the cables. The agency radioed, “It’ll take three days to reach you.”

    Three days. In an elevator. Without a restroom.

    75 Words
    @LurchMunster

  30. The Birthday Present
    75 words

    “It’s beautiful dad. Thanks for bringing me!”
    “You’re welcome. I thought you’d love the view.”
    “It is the best birthday present I could have asked for.”
    “Hey, you only turn 10 once.”
    “Is it supposed to be making that sound dad? It seems like it is getting louder.”
    “I’m sure it’s fine.”
    The crack sounded like a gun shot or maybe an explosion. There wasn’t time to decide. The gondola fell. There were no survivors.

  31. Silent Night

    John sat in his cable car, drumming his fingers impatiently. His Christmas ski trip was ruined. The power had gone out hours ago, and those idiots couldn’t get it fixed. John glanced up the cable, looking to see what was happening out there. The lights were out, and nothing was moving. A shadowy blur appeared on the end of the cable. It slid down silently, heading towards John’s car. The shattering glass was the last thing heard upon that mountain.

  32. Snap!

    “Happy anniversary!” Ben exclaimed as the car ascended through wispy clouds, revealing crisp blue skies. “I’m so glad you had hypnotherapy to do this. It means so much to me.” He kissed her hand as she pressed her face against the glass, beaming from ear to ear at the majesty surrounding her. “Of course, all I have to do is snap my fingers. . . . . You’d have a heart attack . . . . . It would be the perfect murder.” She laughed nervously. Snap. . . .

    78
    @Lizzie_Loodles

    Bit late this week . . . . and sooo many to read going by the 95 comments!!!! Eek.

  33. So here we are, poised on the brink of success and scared to take that leap of faith. After much soul searching and brainstorming, Sam decided his team need to get physical for their ideas were floundering, so he organised a team exercise.

    So here they all were in their cable cars at the top of a mountain into which Sam had wired radios.

    After a short speech he waited a while before whispering GO !

  34. Three walked in, 80 words, @alexbrightsmith

    I couldn’t blame him for his interest. Three men had walked into that cable car, myself, his son, and Paul Peterson. Two walked out, reporting a tragic accident.
    I wondered if it would help him if I described his son’s gambling debts and Peterson’s gangland connections, but with my broken neck and wired jaw I couldn’t tell him anything, and I doubt his son will ever find the courage to explain his willingness to be an accessory to attempted murder.

  35. Title: growing old sedate, without regrets!
    Word count :78
    Twitter : charley_001

    All her life she’d followed the rules and done exactly what was expected of her.

    Lately she had begun having regrets! Although her mind was astute as ever the body said dream on!

    After many months of reminiscence she decided she must do something daring.

    After travelling up through the clouds she waited while the rather handsome instructor checked her safety gear before climbing out onto the rail under the car, waiting for the thrill of her life.

  36. Title: She Still Thinks of Me
    It was a beautiful view from the cable car. However, rising above the clouds seemed less majestic when you’re handcuffed to your explosives fanatic ex. This is why we broke up.
    Once reaching the top, we depart our empty car and look down from the peak. Just like my kidnapper, the view is beautiful, but terrifying. She turns to me, kisses me passionately, and unlocks my handcuffs. She said I had to push her off. I reluctantly did.
    @JSHyena – 78 words

  37. Staying Safe

    The tram screeched as it began its descent.
    One.

    It took 30 seconds to reach the bottom.
    Two.

    Luke shut his eyes.
    Three.

    He didn’t have to watch it fly above the snowy valley.
    Four.

    Breathe.
    Five…Six…Seven…Eight.

    This tram was one of the fastest in the world.
    Nine.

    Twenty-three passengers.
    Ten…Eleven…Twelve.

    He forced his eyes open.
    Thirteen.

    His exhale steamed from his mouth.
    Fourteen.

    Luke pressed the button.
    Fifteen.

    Flames erupted in the ice-cold air.

    (77 words; @AriaGlazki)

  38. Conquering Fears
    @solimond

    The clouds were a white fluffy blanket stretching as far as Vanessa could see, touched red and orange as the sun started to set. Her fingers were clutched around the handle. Everyone has gone to the top of the mountain to sky down. She tried, she really did. She had dropped to the snow. She couldn’t ski down the maountain.

    She was going to wait at the lodge. Maybe next time. Sixth time is the charm.

  39. Mountain hiking in the Dolomiti, my breath blending with the clouds. Swirling crystalline snowflakes enshrouded me and the ancient path. In the foreground, a hazy vision appeared of three men, two apparently hunting the one with bows and arrows. The wounded man collided with me, felling us in the frozen rubble.

    I awoke, descending from Bolzano, to the excited conversations of the tram passengers: discovered in the glacier, a 5,000 year old man killed by exsanguination from an arrow.

    WC = 79

  40. “One small step…”
    @kmc_roa
    77…

    This is how we live now. Once we climbed great heights on space shuttles, strapped to Saturn 5 rockets. We charted the depths of the oceans, and reached across the solar system with probes. We landed on Mars, walked on the Moon. We reached higher than Icarus, our wings unfurled.

    Then the Sun erupted, throwing us back in time. It took us 60 years to get power restored. But we’re on our way again. On our way…

  41. Sanctioned

    “The plan?”

    “Descend into the fog, follow the river, head west to the desert.”

    “Then?”

    “I kill them.”

    “How?”

    “Quietly.”

    “Continue.”

    “I leave no trail.”

    “And?”

    “No evidence.”

    The Master nodded, his face grave. The assassin bowed.

    “You have great power, Leona. Your reign will soon begin.”

    Master Kiernan paused, retrieving a blade.

    “It belongs to you now.”

    Leona sheathed the blade, dark eyes staring into steel. Leona lifted her hood in silence.

    Her time had come.

    77 Words
    @nXgWVteacher

  42. Nothing like making it last minute, right? Here’s my entry
    Title: Empty Nest
    Word count: 79 words.
    Twitter: @WendyStrain

    It was empty, just like the past three weeks. The cars kept spinning in their circuits, coming up and going down. The one with the dead man appeared a few times a day but even the vultures wouldn’t touch his corrupted flesh. She supposed she should go below the cloud cover to find out what was happening, but she didn’t know if she cared all that much. What really mattered was the humans had stopped corrupting her territory.

  43. End of the Race

    Melissa grinned. Just her and that fool Aaron left in the race, and all she had to do was be the first down the mountain.
    She had seen Aaron run for the hiking trail, but there was no way he was going to run faster than the cable car she was on.
    As she looked around, she suddenly saw an unpleasant sight – Aaron, parasailing down to the town below.

    @ctperry744
    70 words, without title

  44. And now that it’s past closing time… I present the other stories I wrote …

    – This was actually the first one I thought of, but stole the beginning for another entry:

    Secret Mission
    Martin smiled and let his breath out slowly as the cable car made its descent. They were almost home free. He fought to remain calm when they reached the bottom and soldiers swarmed in demanding their papers. Then they were through.

    An hour later they were in the General’s office with the secret documents they’d “retrieved.”

    “Do you have them?”

    Martin smiled and handed over the enemy’s recipe for streusel

    – This next one didn’t really have a catching ending so it was never one I thought of posting to the contest –

    Conundrum
    Martin watched the cable car and shook his head.

    Every day the people on the mountain went down to the valley then the people of the valley would step into the gondola to be taken up the mountain. Every night it was the same thing in reverse.

    “Wouldn’t it be easier,” he asked. “If they just stayed where they were?”

    “No”

    Martin stared at his companion until he elaborated.

    “Then we’d be out of a job.”

    Cable Car to Nowhere

    Samantha watched as the gondola broke through the clouds and smiled. Sunlight filled the car and the view was breath taking.

    It had been a last minute decision to go, and she was glad she’d made it. She looked up to see where they were going and felt ice-cold fear burn through her.

    The cable stretched out for miles ahead of them, but there was nothing there.

    “Next time” a voice over the loudspeaker hissed. “Make reservations.”

    Death by Cable Car

    “I’m telling you, the clues are all there.”

    “How can you possibly believe that he murdered a woman with a cable car? They’re in Sacramento,” Amy sputtered .

    “So?”

    “The cable car is obviously in the Dolomites, so, it doesn’t work that way.”

    He flipped open the envelope and cried in triumph. “Ha! I told you… Col. Mustard in the Library with the Gondola.”

    That was the last time Amy agreed to play ‘Clue’ with The Doctor.

    So Close…

    David fixed his gaze on the next rise hoping it would afford him a glimpse of humanity. It had been five days since his plane crashed and with no food or water and a damaged transceiver he’d had no choice but to hike out.

    When he crested the hill and found nothing but more mountains, he fixed his hopes on the next.

    His body was found the next day when the cable car made its first run of the day.

    That was fun! Thank you!

  45. “Solution”

    “I’m aafrraaid of heights!” Sarah squealed.

    Jesse looked at her calmly. “Don’t worry. It’s all taken care of.”

    The cable car, looking down on a fearsome view, clunked into service. Without any hesitation, the vehicle began speeding, faster and faster, down the thin metal coil. The noise was deafening; the feel was horrible.

    “What’s happening?!” Sarah said.

    “I cut the brakes,” responded Jesse.

    “Why!”

    “Heights bother you. This is quicker. Simple.”
    _______________________________________
    Twitter: Scott L Vannatter
    @SVBookman

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