Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 4

WELCOME to 2014! Don’t let the fancy new number for the year intimidate or limit you; I’m a big believer in fresh starts on a daily basis. Where I’d be without them, actually, I can’t imagine. It’s the same reason Monday is my favorite day of the week (please forgive the implied disloyalty to Fridays; I still love Fridays too, MWAH!)–each time Monday rolls around, we’re offered a clean slate, a week bursting with potential, a generous gaggle of days at our disposal. May we use them wisely!  

AND NOW I’m beside myself with glee to introduce to you the fourth and final judge on our brand new, first quarter rotating panel of judges: Nillu Nasser Stelter! She’s a keen eye for top-notch writing and can’t wait to get her judgy hands on this week’s stories. Check out her judge page to leave her a friendly FF hello and to scope out what she’s looking for in a winning entry.

Remember! We now have a required extra challenge with the weekly prompt, called the Dragon’s Bidding. The element (inscribed in the dragon’s own bejeweled pendant) changes every week and must be a thematic component in your story. Note that you do not need to include the exact word in your story unless instructed to do so (e.g. “include the word ‘honorificabilitudinitatibus'”).  

Also remember: Results post Sunday evenings. Flash Points, a feature in which a particularly outstanding FF story is highlighted, posts on occasional Mondays. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner will post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own stuff sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays “just for fun.” On the menu this week is delivery pizza, just because. If you don’t see your favorite topping, please let me know. 

Your turn!

Word limit150 word story (10- word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Sunday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name inscribed on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity. 

***Today’s Dragon’s Bidding (required element to incorporate somewhere in your story; does not need to be the exact word unless that is specified):


***Today’s Prompt:

Clot Bey in Egyptian army uniform teaching the first modern Anatomy lesson at Abu-Zaabal, Egypt in 20 June 1829. Public domain.

Clot Bey in Egyptian army uniform teaching the first modern Anatomy lesson at Abu-Zaabal, Egypt in 20 June 1829. Public domain.

94 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 4

  1. A Sheep in Wolves clothing

    I sit, quietly making notes. The other students laugh and joke around me, they are barely paying attention. The class is to teach them how to kill, where to strike, how to maximize suffering. It is wasted on them, they are young and foolish, convinced they are invincible.

    The teacher scans the room, looking for his next victim. He catches my eye and points, “You boy, how would you treat a knife wound?”
    I shrug, feigning indifference. He tuts disapprovingly, “Your attitude is unacceptable. See me after class.”
    I blush and shrink in my seat.

    After class I try to slink away but he corners me, “You are no soldier. Why are you here?”
    I panic and blurt out the answer, “I am going to be a doctor, I want to travel to far away lands and save peoples lives.”
    He smiles knowingly, “Well young lady, your secret is safe with me. So how would you treat a knife wound?”

    160 words


  2. The Lesson (155 words)

    ‘Gentleman, may I ask that you step forward so as to better see today’s lesson.’

    Captain Bey watched as the assembled students, professors and what he could only assume were voyeurs gently ushered forward. The heat inside the lecture room was oppressive, the air thick with incense and flies.

    ‘As you can see we have our specimen for the autopsy presented here on this stretcher. However, before I proceed can anyone identify what error may affect the outcome of our autopsy today?’

    There was respectful silence. Then one of the professor’s spoke out.

    ‘Are the correct tools present?’

    ‘Indeed, anyone else?’

    A student, timidly raised his hand.

    ‘The lighting … ?’

    ‘Is perfectly acceptable, no gentlemen the issue is that the specimen is very much alive!’

    The crowd gasped, they could now see that the body was moving, straining against hidden bonds.

    ‘Fear not, such issues are easily rectified’. The captain raised his scalpel.


  3. Fresh Bodies (Word count: 157)

    A flash of knotted beard and soiled gallibaya caught Gahiji’s attention. He tapped Kafele’s shoulder, jerking his head toward Abu-Zaabal’s storage area. The pair ghosted out of Clot Bey’s lesson to investigate any possible threat to their master, Khedive Muhammed Ali Pasha.

    “…must flee!” floated from the morgue and into Ghaiji’s straining ears. The stench of decay and unwashed bodies assaulted him, but he fought through to reach the entrance.

    Two filthy men stood over a fresh corpse, dirt from the grave still dribbling from its naked extremities. “Mamluk filth!” Gahiji growled. “You dare defile the bodies of the faithful?”

    The dregs of his master’s enemies fell to their knees, trying to stave off death with denials, prayers, and foul breath.

    Gahiji, white teeth bright against the tan of his skin, glanced at Kafele. “If Master Bey needs corpses, he shall have them, eh?”

    Kafele matched his predatory grin as the ring of steel unsheathing echoed doom.


  4. WHO AM I?

    First thing I felt was my skin – dry like tanned leather, then my nose kicked in. Whether it is my body I cannot tell, but something smells like death.

    Who am I? Where am I?

    I dig into my mind for answers but draw out images mangled into something I find difficult to string together into any form of coherence.

    I open my eyelids only to shut them back immediately. My eyeballs hurt like I wiped them with the body of a porcupine but I need answers, so I overcome the barrier of pain and open my eyes again.

    Beside me is a man, dressed in flowing robes like the others with a white cloth wrapped around his pale skinned head, swinging his arms in wide arcs above my head. I follow his hands and notice the bones hanging on a wooden pole.

    Something scares me more than the bones: I’m the only dark-skinned man here.

    @ifemmanuel (156 words)


  5. One Red Finger

    The anatomy room was hot, expectant. All had come to see the wonder of Clot Bey, to learn from the master. I had secured a front row seat, and I fought to hold it amid the jostling.

    The subject – barely dead – lay mere feet away. Silently, I thanked him for his sacrifice.

    Then, dreamlike, our teacher appeared. My body strained, keen, eager. His very stride was an instruction. His fingers touched the scalpel and raised it, bright as heaven’s dart.

    But the blade trembled as it fell, kissing the corpse’s skin uncertainly, tentatively.

    Confused, I searched our teacher’s face. Too late, I saw the unnatural flash in his eyes and the cracking, lolloping grin.

    Shouting, I rose to my feet, pointing at the impostor in the body of Clot Bey. In a single blink, the human shell fell away to reveal the fiery carapace beneath.

    Amid the screaming tumult, the demon smiled at me, beckoning with one red finger.

    159 words, not including title


  6. @StephenWilds
    “Scholarly Work” – 149

    “Careful now, the timing must be impeccable,” Dr. Chera said to those around him, edging the scalpel closer to the exposed heart in the chest cavity. He took great care to only cut at the part he had previously marked, pausing only to look up at the man in the chair at his operating table. “As you see here, Head Master Tenu, though our patient has been near death for over twenty-four hours, his body still fights to protect the heart and keep it going with every last fiber. But…”

    Chera cut the heart deep, and from it a bright wisp of light spiraled upwards, darting frantically left, then right. The assistant, who had been waiting, patient, watchful, pulled the handle on the large box, sucking the light in with a faint whimper.

    “With my procedure,” he said with a smile, “I have discovered where it hides the soul.”


  7. Discovering Your Inner Mummy
    By: Allison K. Garcia
    160 words

    I didn’t volunteer. He never asked me. As one of the physician’s slaves, I suppose he didn’t have to. He had used his slaves for other “discoveries,” leaving them blind, crippled, diseased, and occasionally cured.

    This time, he’d gone too far.

    I stared over at the large audience of white men, quivering in anticipation. I glanced behind me at the tray of scalpels and other sharp instruments. I was a goner.

    I lay still on the table as the lesson began. He started by pointing out and naming everything on the outside of the body, and I mean everything. I thought I’d die of boredom. How many parts did the human body have anyway?

    “I will now give our subject an injection to paralyze him. This way we can see what happens inside a live body.”

    A guard held me down, as the crowd oohed, and after a few excruciating minutes, I hovered above, doomed to watch until the end.


  8. Time Scene Investigation

    ‘The subject’s length and weight logged, it’s time to look for any distinguishing marks. If you note, the body has been tattooed with elaborate English lettering: APPLE. The hands are soft and the nails manicured. The flabby middle…’ Clot said prodding the subject’s stomach,’…reveals this man has never done a day’s hard work in his thirty years.’ A short burst of laughter relieved the tension in the putrid air.
    Clot continued, ‘This, I have no explanation for: his thumb and index finger, on his right hand, are slimmer than his other digits. His spine is curved through poor posture. This might indicate his occupation, but I have no idea what that might be. What I have discovered from the marks around his neck is that he was murdered!’

    Ray tapped at the miniscule screen setting the machine for 201 years back to the future. Apple would have grieved by then, and he might stand a chance with her.

    159 words.


  9. Old coot

    “Ladies, gents, it’s time to commence our anatomy lesson. First, we shall discuss about Queen Cleopatra and Marc Antonius.”
    “Your Excellency, that is entirely another topic.”
    “Shush now, Squire James. We shall parlay about their bodily parts and about their attractiveness.”
    “Like I said, your Worshipness, that is another matter for another class.”
    “What nonsense are you babbling there? Is it not what anatomy is about?”
    “Nay. That is sexual education.”
    “Well then, perhaps we should change subject instead. Fellow students, do you agree?”
    “Your magnificence, even if they all agree, and they are, we have been solicited for anatomy, not sexual education.”
    “Blithering curmudgeon, why must I always do as you please?”
    “But your Extravaganceness, I am merely obeying what you have besought.”
    “Bah. Where have we remained? Ah, yes. Queen Cleopatra and Marc Antonius were…”
    “No, you silly boy. They were not guards.”
    “These two gents are.”

    150 words


  10. The Body (159 words)
    Ian Martyn

    ‘Just think about it for a second, it’s perfect.’

    Abudullah shook his head. ‘Come on who’s going to believe it. It doesn’t even look real.’

    Osama waved a hand over the “body”. ‘Soft focus, shaky camera, remember it must appear as if it’s illicit footage. Then it’s on the youtube and Beni’s your uncle. The tourists will be flocking in.’

    Abdullah glanced round for allies, but all he saw were eager faces. Local business men who were already counting the increased sales in their heads. ‘So, where did we “discover” it?’

    Osama tapped a long, manicured finger to the side of his nose. ‘In the desert.’

    ‘Is that it! In the desert.’

    Osama laughed. ‘But that’s the clever bit. With the shifting dunes we’ve every excuse for not being precise about the location.’

    ‘I don’t know, I still don’t like it.’

    ‘Look, if it’s good enough for Roswell its good enough for us.’ The audience nodded their enthusiastic support.


  11. Misdirection

    The atmosphere crackled, like the newly tamed electricity, as the nervous audience filled the theatre. At the focal point of the room the assistant drew back a sheet revealing the body of a young man; there was a collective intake of breath.

    The Frenchman, Clot Bey, stepped forward resplendent in his Egyptian army uniform, armed with just a glistening scalpel. He scanned the crowd of doctors, excited by his upcoming performance, then paused with theatrical timing.

    ‘Always, we make the first incision here,’ Clot Bey announced before slicing the skin with sharp precision.

    Some men fainted, whilst others battled to stay focussed on the cold science.

    Over the hours of instruction Clot presented the anatomy of man as a structural template. Using sleight of hand and misdirection he took the opportunity to remove all evidence of his murder. The cruel truth of Clot Bey hidden forever.

    Clot would return the next month for another group of trainees, with another body.

    (160 words)


  12. Food for Thought
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke)
    157 Words

    “Broccoli,” the student declared, gesturing toward the skeleton hanging from a wooden rack.

    “Broccoli? You’re claiming broccoli killed this man?”

    “Yes. That was my brother. He always told our mother if she made him eat his broccoli, he’d die. Last week he finally tried a piece to appease her and keeled over dead, instantly nothing but bones.”

    The master physician raised his eyebrow and leaned back in his chair. “Interesting. Tell me then, how did the Moor on the table die?”

    “Oh, that’s no Moor,” insisted the student. “That’s my neighbor, Rasheed.”

    Both eyebrows shot up now. “Rasheed was not dark skinned!”

    “I know,” the student replied. “He overimbibed.”

    “Overimbibed? You think this skin discoloration was the result of alcohol?”

    “No. Sweets. His wife told me he ate an entire cake last night. She’d warned him too much would kill him. Guess she was right. What we have here is a clear case of death by chocolate.”


  13. Never Doubt A Studious Man
    160 words

    Come here young man. Yes you, who else is standing there?

    You look like the studious type…oh a doctor you say? I knew many a doctor back in my day. They weren’t very good, mind you, but they all had the look about them like they couldn’t wait to embark on some new discovery in the name of science.

    So did you ever read about the first anatomy lesson? Not that one, the one that happened in Egypt.

    What, never? Well I’m not surprised; anyone who would have written about it is dead.

    Of course I know the full story I wouldn’t be offering it if I didn’t, now would I? You youngsters nowadays not even a hint of common sense.

    Well I guess it couldn’t have been all that different from the ones they teach today.

    Do I look like a doctor? Didn’t I just say I know the story? Look I even have the scars to prove it.


  14. The Last Place You Look

    The body stank. I mean, I was prepared for something, but I was in the tenth row and I could hardly breathe. I had no idea how the surgeon was able to stand it, and I didn’t really want to find out. If they’d dug up any other corpse from the graveyard, I wouldn’t even be here, but I just had to know.

    The surgeon explained what he was doing as he sliced a line from Roger’s navel to his throat. There was no blood – it had all drained out when he’d died – but all sorts of other things came spilling out. It was fascinating, to learn about all of the parts my brother had had inside him, and I involuntarily rubbed my belly, trying to see if I could feel what I was seeing.

    Suddenly the surgeon stopped, and pulled out something that gleamed dimly in the light of the tent.

    Yep. I knew I’d left my watch somewhere.

    160 words


  15. Soul Searching

    His ancestors eviscerated the dead to aid their spirits in the afterlife. Ini-herit eviscerated the dead in search of the spirit, that he might ensnare it during life. Medicine worked miracles, transplanting organs to cure physical disease. It followed that one might transplant souls to cure spiritual disease.

    Indeed there was a plague of spiritual disease spreading like a shadow across the earth. Greed. Hate. Apathy. And violence. So much violence… Ini-herit was determined to discover the key to this sickness. He would find the human spirit and cure it. If, however, the human condition proved terminal, he would use its corrupt essence to summon Ammit. If Ini-herit could not cure the wicked, the Destroyer would consume them without remorse.

    Ini-herit slid his blade into soft, unblemished flesh. Still warm. Still pink. It broke his heart, but the search for salvation must begin with the innocent. To defeat the darkness he must harvest souls that still burgeoned with light.

    159 words


  16. Rising Waters
    @love8rockets word count: 168

    They clamored for attention, each question more valid than the next.

    “What will we do if the waters rise?” cried a young boy out of turn.

    “Waters? Are you talking about the birth sac?” the Master asked.

    “No the flood water—outside, sir.” The young boy bowed and backed away.

    The Master’s assistant stood and walked to the window, he watched momentarily then turned to the class. “The boy is right, the waters are rising!”

    The class rushed to the window, only to discover for themselves.
    “The water’s breeching the wall,” a student yelled out.

    “What do we do?”
    The assistants rushed to their master, who couldn’t walk, so they lifted him.
    “We will carry you to the highest tower.”

    “Wait,” the master said.
    “There’s no time, we must take you out of here,” said a student.

    “There’s no need to worry, you can put me down,” the master said. “Save yourselves!”

    “We will not go without you.”

    “But I am bred of whale and mermaid,” said the Master.


  17. The King And His Men Stole The Queen From Her Bed
    160 words

    The only thing that shattered the silence of the room was the low voice of the man that sat at the front.

    Each twist of the scalpel was explained and each new section of flesh documented but that was not what had captivated his students.

    Men died every day and the image of blood and guts was an almost familiar one, especially to the soldiers amongst the group. No, what held their attention was the specimen.

    This was no ordinary discovery, not another attempt to explain the human body.

    This was a desecration.

    They had taken the queen from her bed, stolen her from the catacombs that had kept her safe for centuries.

    It was sacrilege, but they couldn’t look away.

    Maybe if they had they would have seen the lengthening shadows stretching across the far wall even as the sun remained stationery in the sky.

    They might even have heard the screams on the wind, but they didn’t…not yet.


  18. The Lover

    I’d managed to get a place in the grand hall to witness the great Clot Bey carry out one of his famous anatomy lessons. From where I stood I could just make out the prone body laid out on the table. I was so pleased to see him there.

    When the call had first gone out for a fresh corpse for this event, I’d immediately thought of Anhur, my unfaithful wife’s lover. Following him after one of their late night trysts had been easy. Dragging his dead, yet still warm body and leaving it outside the hospital mortuary had been more arduous but none the less satisfying.

    I watched as the great teacher began slicing open Anhur’s body. Soon the knife wound I had inflicted would be just one of many. I’ve heard that for his next lesson our wonderful Clot Bey is looking for a female corpse. I have just the right person in mind.

    156 words


  19. Unwitting
    @CharlesWShort http://www.charleswshort.com
    159 words

    I am so glad Damien invited me to join his secret society, I used to think he despised me.

    But so far it’s lame. No blood oaths, no secret handshakes. How in the world do they keep their secrets if they don’t make inductees promise not to tell?

    This club seriously needs to turn up the cool factor. So far the only interesting thing was the ceremonial washing. And that was more creepy than fun. Now if it had been done by college girls instead of chanting old men—that would have been worth it.

    This white gauze robe they gave me is way too “breezy.”

    Oh, maybe it’s getting better. High priest what’s-his-name is speaking about Damien atoning for some failure with a blood sacrifice? Ha ha! Damien’s in trouble!

    Oops, almost missed my cue. I am supposed to lay down on that marble slab.

    Wow, that is the coolest knife I have ever seen!

    Wonder what’s next?


  20. Praise be to the Master, all knowledge comes from him
    159 Words

    “And what, students, is this?” Pulling back the corpse’s parchment skin, the Master pointed to the vertebra.

    “The ajbu adh-dhanab,” the students whispered. “The resurrection bone.”

    With deft motions, the Master severed the cartilage and withered roots of nerves. He twisted the ajbu adh-dhanab from its setting and placed it like a pink almond upon the table. “But what is it, truly?”

    “It is the most precious bone.”

    “It cannot be burned or broken.”

    “It is the seed of life after death.”

    The Master’s anatomy hammer smashed down, chipping the bone and scattering pieces across the marble floor.

    “Here is something more precious than life after death.”

    The Master removed his fez and lay on the table next to the cadaver. His assistant stood above and lightly placed the thin, fine blade between the Master’s brows.

    “Wait,” cried a pupil.

    But at the first incision, such a golden light poured forth that all fell silent and averted their eyes.


  21. The world within
    @dieterrogiers – 160 words

    Their entire world had gathered around the black corpse now, as a 19th Century physician cut open its chest and debated its anatomy with half a dozen colleagues.

    They were perplexed that – bar the colour of his skin – the man on the table was physiologically identical to them. He was not, as they had thought after murdering him upon first sighting, a demon. But where had he come from? And why?

    The mystery had them arguing the most magical of explanations until a young man emerged from the shadows and pointed upwards, to the luminous hole in the ceiling that had watched over them for all existence.

    “What if it isn’t just a light source,” he said. “What if it’s a portal?”

    Soon ladders were being built, ropes were being flung and adventurers found their courage.

    And thus was ushered in the Age if Discovery for the inhabitants of the living history boxes on the shelves of the 12-year-old’s room.


  22. Discovery – A Carolyn Adventure
    154 Words

    Carolyn’s initial discovery of the boy’s presence slowly registered and she took in his appearance. He was young, probably eight to ten, average height and weight, blonde with just a touch of curl in his longish hair. His clothes and face were both dirty showed some signs of age and wear. His voice was the usual small-child high with just a hint of the local accent.

    “Ma’am, are you alright?” He quietly took a step backward, evidently thinking about a possible need to flee.

    Carolyn shot her arm out, nearly scaring the child into the act she was trying to stop.
    “No, I mean, yes, I’m okay. I was just really surprised. You’re the first person I’ve seen in weeks.”

    “My Dad will be here in a minute or so. W…we haven’t seen anyone either.”

    With that statement, a snapping sound issued and from the woods walked, in Carolyn’s eyes, one very good-looking man.


  23. “Discovery”
    Kristen Falso-Capaldi
    157 words

    Allyson listened to Steven’s heart through the plastic stethoscope, and he was cured.
    She grabbed his hand and led him away then, off on another adventure, another discovery. She lifted a boulder, and they screamed as thousands of silver bugs scurried away.

    Now, she stands over him in his morphine sleep; the cold metal touches his chest and his eyelids flicker. He doesn’t see the real doctor, the graying, grim old man.

    “Allyson,” he says. “Do you remember the silver bugs—?” His eyes close.

    Allyson died swimming in the lake the summer they were 15. They weren’t even friends by that time.

    Why Allyson? Not his grandfather, whom he’d adored, or his mother, who’d adored him. But Allyson, the mischievous little girl with the plastic stethoscope who cured him once then pulled him by the hand.

    He feels his spirit drawn to hers like dust particles into a vacuum. He wonders what she has to show him.


  24. Body and Soul
    148 words

    Clot Bey’s research grant was almost gone.

    All he had discovered so far was that it is possible to hang someone from a very small gallows, and he felt that this was unlikely to earn him the doctorate he sought. Having heard that the Sultan of Abu-Zaabal was interested in anatomy he had already come to him once seeking funding, only to find that the Sultan’s interest extended only to the anatomy of his many young wives.

    What the Sultan did have, however, was a keen love of music, though with very exacting standards.

    It was said that he wouldn’t get out of bed for less than a tenor.

    So Clot Bey had returned to re-present his case, this time accompanied by the Abu-Zaabal Gospel Choir. In glorious, beautiful harmony they sang, as Clot pointed out, that the hip-bone is connected to the thigh-bone.

    He got his money.


  25. Afterlife

    Clot turned to his incredulous audience.
    ‘That’s impossible!’
    ‘Settle down, Gentleman. Allow me to elucidate. After many, many examinations of this nature, I have noted a pattern emerge. I have brought a number of specimens with me today to clarify this matter for you. If you look at Specimens 50 to 70, you can see a cavity just beneath the heart that seems, when the body is in this state, to serve no purpose at all.’
    ‘And this proves its function? Ridiculous.’
    ‘Hear me out, please, Gentlemen. However, if you look at Specimen 32, here. 33, here. 34, here. There is no such cavity.’
    The room twitched with agitation. Aggression was rising. Clot knew he must be concise.
    ‘What we must ask is -what do these specimens, without the cavity, have in common?- Well, Sirs, they are, all of them, Politicians!’
    ‘Of course!’
    ‘Ergo, Gentlemen, this is where the soul is kept until it departs the body.’

    159 words


  26. Transformation (160 Words)

    The Master faces the crowd. “The marvels of the human body lie here.” He points behind him to the hanging skeleton. “Bone.” He raises his hand. “Flesh and sinew.”

    He unveils the body on the table behind him.

    The crowd murmurs and watches him slice into the body. Thin and brown as a coffee bean, the cadaver was but a slave, yet in death he has become an instrument of learning.

    Soft light shines through the domed ceiling. Silence descends.

    “Notice that his teeth are broken, from violence, I believe.” The Master peels back the skin of the chest from the y-shaped incision he has made. “His clavicle was broken here on the left. He probably toiled for many years in great pain. See here, three broken ribs from a hard blow. We can discover much here.”

    The Master touches the man’s head reverently. “Caleb is now our teacher. Let us learn from him. Let us worship at his altar.”


  27. “Surprise In The Abdominal Cavity”
    159 words

    I closed the eyes of the big-nosed cadaver before starting my work. His amber irises looked so pitiful. I almost felt bad for the foreign slave. “At least it’s not a vivisection,” I muttered.

    “In order to study the human body, we must look far beneath the skin,” I said, glancing up at my class of two hundred field-medic trainees.

    The ivory handle of my scalpel felt deathly cold on my palm. I plunged the point a few millimeters from the cadaver’s sternum. My brow furrowed as the dried skin resisted. I cleared my throat and tugged the scalpel down the length of the cadaver’s torso. “To begin a basic human dissection, carve an opening from the sternum to the pelvis, accessing most vital organs.”

    I placed my hands at the center of the incision. “Peel back the skin and—”

    My scalpel clattered on the marble floor. “No liver. One kidney; blue,” I said, fitfully. “Alien. It’s alien.”


  28. “Weary”

    Standing with the knife in his hand, the captain found himself fatigued.

    Today was important. Everybody knew that, and he’d be fooling himself if he didn’t have some sort of an idea. Who better to show the masses our true forms, our true insides, than a man who had buried more bodies than he could count? It only makes sense.

    And yet, the captain did everything in his power to keep his composure.

    “Prepare…” was the only word he could whisper as dozens of people stood behind him, beside him, waiting. He could feel their anticipation, their dread, and even some of their glee.

    They were strangers to death. He was its best friend, many times on the battlefield. He no longer wanted its friendship. But this isn’t just about him anymore.

    “Prepare…” as he gently pressed the tip of the knife at the base of the lifeless man’s neck. Then he worked his way down.


  29. Exploratory Surgery
    (160 words)

    The professor’s hand trembled as he raised the scalpel, but he harrumphed loudly, daring his students to comment, and none did; they wanted this chance to glimpse the forbidden truth just as greatly as him.

    “At last, we begin.”

    The incision drew a murmur from the crowd and a ruby rivulet from the yielding flesh. Then silence reigned as the professor laid bare the mysteries of life, but the blood ran on.

    He sliced subcutaneous fat, isolated arteries and excised organs for hours. When he wearied, his students continued, gaining in enthusiasm what they lacked in precision. Using knives, fingers, even teeth, they ploughed furrows into the flesh, carving out great gobbets of wet, red meat, until the floor was awash.

    Fittingly, the professor himself made the final cut.

    Peering through the tear, he saw the great silver blade suspended above them, and the giant, Bey, holding it in trembling, tree trunk fingers.

    “It’s true,” the professor whispered. “The outside…”



  30. “Devolution”

    All eyes trained on the dark cadaver in the center of the hall, I was the only voyeur not surprised when the great skylight above darkened and foreign figures began to crawl into the room, scudding along the ceiling.

    See, the figures were only so foreign. Yes, they were oddly reminiscent of the splayed corpse in the center of our midst.


    I’ve always thought our kind brutish.

    With very little responsibility, we find ourselves negligent.

    With very little power, we find ourselves tyrants.

    With very little knowledge, we find ourselves savage and destructive.

    We humans simply cannot function well in masses. Our collective is dim, our instincts dulled–often nonexistent beneath the cultures we’ve developed; while rich, most customs restrain us in our minds, our spirits, shackling us tight to the mere bones of ideals.

    And so–I wasn’t surprised when the beings landed to reclaim their fallen and extinguish the lives they’d just discovered, as we did when we discovered them.

    w/c 160 w/o title


  31. Habeas Corpus

    Dr. Bey nodded.

    His assistant pushed the rolling table nearer the gurney nearly tripping as the cadaver was uncovered. With trembling fingers, he helped the doctor bathe the torso in preparation for the first incision.

    Ignoring him, Dr Bey addressed the doctors overseeing the demonstration. “Gentlemen, in order to learn more about the human body, we must first understand how it is put together. Only then can we extrapolate how to keep a person healthy.” Fingers snapped twice. “Scalpel.”

    He frowned as Nathaniel audibly swallowed and stared, face paling. “Scalpel!”

    Shaking, Nathaniel handed over the instrument, almost slicing his fingers in the process. “Stupid boy,” Bey hissed. “Pull yourself together.”

    Wild eyes flashed before Nathaniel bolted.

    The door swung from his passing. Confused, Bey shook his head and turned to the gurney. “Shall we begin, gentlemen?”

    Terrified, Nathaniel raced away. It wouldn’t due to get caught when the doctor realized the corpse actually wasn’t.


  32. S. Todd Strader
    159 words

    Anatomy: A Lesson in Identification

    “Fascinating!” I stood next to Yazid. We grew up together he a butcher’s son, I a lantern maker. We’d been trouble makers. Now we were medical students.

    At the fore Mr. Clot, renowned physician of the West, splayed a cadaver in show.

    Yazid was serious about studies. I was better known in taverns.

    “What is Mr. Clot saying?” Yazid brushed his ear. Am I a fly?

    “Here we see bruising of the Tibia… ”

    “Remember the time I jumped the roof; cracked my shin? ”


    “…a large laceration severing the left renal artery.”

    “Probably a sword. Did I tell you about the other day? She was a Damask rose. How was I to know she was married!” Then I noticed Yazid’s tears. I looked again at the cadaver. Something seemed familiar. Recognition?

    I pushed through the crowd. Please Mr. Clot. I meant no disrespect to such an imminent man. I had to see… the man on the table was me.


  33. In Pursuit of Knowledge

    They were learned men, all. They had come from cities, small villages, and wandering tribes. Some had gone to school to be physicians. Others had learned from tribal healers, but, to a man, they were interested in what this Frenchman, Clot, could teach them.

    He must have diplomatic genius, to have gathered men from disparate tribes who would otherwise have slit each others’ throats on sight. The opportunity to be better healers overcame any blood vengeance. The truce would be temporary, I am certain. I doubt it will last much beyond the theater, as he calls it, as if some drama were to occur.

    The drama, however, happened before this anatomy class began. Clot preferred the body to be dissected be fresh, and he asked no questions when one appeared.

    “Let the lesson begin!” he declared.

    My killer is in this room. I wonder, when it is his turn to examine my splayed body, will he recognize my face?

    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    159 words


  34. “Smile” by Mary Cain (Word Count: 156)

    The man in green robes slowly pulled away the white linens, the heavy scent of decay rising up from the body. The men near by covered their noses, some reciting a prayer, others whispering to each other as they all gazed at the charred corpse.

    Bumps along the body, like pebbles along the road, riddled the skin, forming a layer like hardened tar. Blotches of red tender flesh reeked of blood and puss. The hands were completely devoid of skin, the white bone exposed.

    As the Head Physician continued to lecture the men about the anatomical structure, the man in green robes could not stop staring at the face. For having suffered a painful death, the corpse’s face appeared calm, at peace.

    Was he…smiling?

    A loud crack echoed throughout the chamber, silencing the Physician.

    “The hand! It-“ someone cried.

    “Well, this is a surprise.”

    The Head Physician gasped as the corpse turned to him and smiled.


  35. @BaseballMama621

    (159 words)

    I remember how scared I was the day I learned Anatomy. I was certain I would forget everything the instant I left the room. I wrote down as much as I could, but he spoke so quickly I know I missed many things. I had too many things on my mind. So many things to worry about that some of his words escaped me. I learned everything later. It wasn’t too difficult to make my way through training and testing without all of the information available to everyone else.

    Still, I worried because I was a fraud hiding my true identity, which remained a secret until years later when I was trapped by the killer searching for the royal family. I was safe in my role as a doctor until he grabbed me as a hostage and I was discovered.

    A doctor as a hostage could help him escape.

    The granddaughter of a king could yield so much more.


  36. Blood

    No, no, no! It can’t be discover the organs day already. I hate this. This is just wrong.
    I can do this, I have to do this. I must pass this course.
    “No, no, I’m fine sitting back here.”
    “Yes, yes, you may have my front row seat.”
    “I’m sure.”
    “Yes, yes what an honor. You are quite welcome.”
    Ack! Must not gag. Alright, just don’t look directly at it.
    No, I do not want to see the fatal laceration. Who in their right mind…
    Please, don’t lift the sheet. Please, don’t! Oh my eyes.
    Alright. I’m alright. Urgh. Yep. That’s my lunch. Swallow, just swallow. Yuck. Okay. I’m Okay.
    Now breathe, breathe. Yes, in through my nose out through my mouth.
    Happy thoughts, happy…
    Oh, it’s getting warm in here.
    Wow! That’s a lot of red stuff dripping down.
    Yep, that’s a lot of… a lot of…THUD!

    148 words


  37. Heredity Simile
    (160 words)

    “Time travel is impossible. But all circumstances birth records that persist not unlike smoke from spent fires. While asleep we may perceive them.”

    “Bologna,” muttered the man trying to situate his wired head on a pillow. He considered the doctor, in his Hawaiian shirt, a quack.

    “I assure you,” the doctor said, adjusting dials, “seeing ancestors is plain.”

    After being lulled by tranquil seagulls the man found himself inside a roughhewn dwelling. Firs and hemlocks were beyond its windows; in sunlight, a woman sat weaving with her back to him.

    She shuddered, turned, and, seeming to see him, screamed. Before her face contorted in terror the man thought it lovely, and thought: “Home.”

    He awoke, gasping, taking in the sleep lab. An orthodox-looking doctor glanced up from his desk.

    The man went outside and made a phone call.

    “Mom…for your retirement…a cabin, say, in the Adirondacks. You should look into renting one. It’d suit you.”

    “Funny. I’ve always dreamt that.”


  38. Simple Mechanics

    “So you see, we are composed of interlocking parts, hoses and valves, pumps and compressors, surrounding a central tract of connecting tubes where food goes in and waste goes out. No more than that.”

    The room lay quiet. Egyptian scholars, adorned ornately according to their time, surrounded a corpse, dissected and stretched across a cloth in grotesque disfigurement.

    “When the body breathes its last, the soul escapes. Perhaps inside this very room, now, the soul seeks to return but it cannot. The connection is severed.”

    Candles flickered and the wind began to howl. The living crowded and craned for a view of the dead. Optics captured images, neurons fired, pulses raced, oxygen expanded lungs and gases exchanged, vocal chords vibrated and cartilage percussed.

    “The heart, in the palm of my hand, no bigger than your fist.”

    Hope in the hand, a fisted will. Emotions rose, passions inflamed.

    The soul was silent.

    151 words


  39. “You can’t bring bodies in here!” The white turban clad man lunged toward the crackling, burnt corpse, waving his arms about, “You would risk the burning?”
    “Now, calm down. Rashad,” A tall, elderly man held his hands out defensively.
    Rashad stiffened.
    “You don’t understand, it’s not a disease at all! We discovered no change in the physiology of the cells! The body has burnt to a crisp from the inside.”
    Murmurs erupted.
    “Indeed! Look!” His wrinkled hands pointed to the center of the husk of a chest, something pale and luminescent shining through.. Breaking apart the dead man’s hollow charcoal ribs, he pulled out a slick pearly orb.
    “What do you suppose it is?”
    Rashad stood, boiling, his eyes fixed on the elder’s face.
    “These must be inside the bodies of dozens of our citizens!”
    “Don’t you see?” Rashad stated in a steely, hoarse voice slowly rising, glowing. “They weren’t chosen!”


  40. “Okay students you now have to learn heart incision” Mr.Abu Musa’s voice echoed in the spacious room with around 100 students but pin drop silence.
    He took a sharp knife and quite professionally started piercing that dead body’s chest. Many students covered their eyes with hands and many felt even more excited. Soon the chest was wide open.
    A cold sensation ran down his spine as he gazed inside. His face turned pale as if his soul was squeezed out of his body.He stood stiff, lifeless.
    “Come have a look” His voice trembled as he finally spoke after some minutes.No one was ready to go near as they were already scared of their teacher’s expressions.
    He pointed at me with a stiff trembling finger and red eyes. I advanced and stared inside. It took me five seconds to discover the mystic and I fell down unconsciously…..
    The black heart inside the dead body was beating fast…..
    word count: 154


  41. Hi Lala, and welcome to Flash! Friday! Although stories are always welcome here no matter the day, unfortunately the contest itself is over for the week (it ended 9h ago at 11:59pm Washington DC time). However, you’ll find people always come back to read & comment on stories throughout the week. I know they’ll enjoy reading yours–that was a creepily surprising end!!! Thanks so much for sharing your story here. I hope to see you again next Friday.


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