Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 17

OH my goodness. Today is big, HUGE! Today kicks off our brand new trifecta of perfection judge panel, consisting of Pratibha Kelapure, Alissa Leonard, and Jess West. You probably know them already from their stellar writing here at FF; I can’t wait for you to get to know them now as judges.

But first: speaking of Trifecta, many of you have participated these past couple of years with the weekly contest machine known by that very name. They’ve offered tiny snippet contests for the weekends and larger chunk contests during the week. They’ve offered support and encouragement, and at every turn, for two and a half years, they have planted their feet mountaintop, waving flags and launching fireworks and throwing parties in support of writers everywhere. Their phenomenal team has been an inspiration and motivator for me and hundreds of others.

THANK YOU, Trifecta, for the part you have played in the writerly world. You’ve been awesome. You’ll be missed. We are forever grateful!

 ♦♦♦♦♦

And now for happier news: join me in welcoming judge Pratibha Kelapure!  She considers her life a bit of a zigzag, but don’t let that throw you off; her writing here at FF alone has netted a sparkly handful of awards, and one of her stories was featured on Flash Points. As for what she’s looking for in a winning story, she says, I like stories exploring human psyche because the human mind is still an unexplored frontier.  I look for fleshed out characters and a flowing narrative that delivers a nice punch on the first reading.  You can write in any genre that comes naturally to you based on the prompt. Your characters can be from any universe. Give me your authentic take and make me think.

Awards Ceremony: Results will post Sunday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own stuff sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays “just for fun.”   

Now let’s get to it!

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 flame-written 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 instructed to do so, e.g. “include the names ‘Abbott and Costello'”):

 

friendship

***Today’s Prompt:

 

Fire breathers @ Singapore Night Safari. CC photo by Paul Williams.

Fire breathers @ Singapore Night Safari. CC photo by Paul Williams.

Advertisements

93 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 17

  1. The Life of the Party
    @CharlesWShort
    150 Words

    Life is meant to be a show, so burn bright, and hot. Choose your shape, and expect nothing more than to frighten some and entertain others. If you are destined to burn out fast, do it with a flourish. After all what are we other than just a flashing of heat and light. Life is meant to short, hot and lonely. So I made a show of it; took on the face of a lion.

    Rising up into the air, I found I was not alone. Beside me was another of like kind, but she was so much more fair. Not garish or extravagant, as I had chosen to be. She simply took the shape of a flower, a humble chrysanthemum.

    We lived our short lives, together. We loved without speaking. We publicly exhibited our passion in brilliant flames. And when we died, we died happy to have been friends.

  2. @StephenWilds
    “Patience” – 160 words

    “They say that some Cindrachian twins can fall in sync when they are in the womb, causing their powers over the flames to manifest before birth has even occurred. In some cases this concludes with the twins burning through the mother’s stomach.”
    “Oh Hera,” the nurse gasped, calling out the goddesses’ name as a blessing.
    Alexandria went back to her book by the bed of her fallen brother. She flipped to the next page, even though she was sure their conversation was not done. The young nurse was still looking over the bandaged and gelled body of the fallen soldier.
    “Lady Alexandria, that explains his injuries somewhat, and the fierceness of these creatures you mentioned, but it does not answer my question of why you wait here night after night. Surely you know that we will alert you if his condition changes.”
    “I do,” Alexandria nodded, “but when Darius wakes, he will not wish to wait around for his revenge.”

  3. The Sun Makers
    Ian Martyn (www.martynfiction.com)
    153 words

    You take for granted that the sun rises every day to warm your world and fill your hearts with joy. You mark its passage across the heavens with your hours and minutes. You sit on beaches sipping at drinks and holding hands, watching as it burns the clouds then sinks, to be extinguished by the ocean. Then you sleep in the sure and certain knowledge that you, your family and friends will wake once again to its life giving force.

    You believe that this is all a cosmic, magical free show provided by some benevolent god. But we know better. We are not so arrogant, so negligent as to assume that sun rise will follow sun set of its own volition. As that day’s ball of incandescence falls and the sea consumes we ready ourselves. For we are the guardians of planet earth. We are born of fire. We are the sun makers.

  4. We Don’t Talk Anymore
    (147 words)
    We’ve co-ordinated ourselves so that we are rarely in the same room, even when we are.
    Our taciturn rhythm- placing down, picking up, standing up,
    sitting down, walking in, walking out, leaving out, holding in- plays on and on.
    I’ve sort of forgotten what the unforgivable issues are,
    and now I’m left tripping over trivia: THAT tinny laugh you do with your mother on the phone,
    THAT tune you hum, THAT tie you wear with THAT shirt.

    Those cold shoulders used to half the burden, those averted eyes held my secrets.
    And I was the woman to whom you told the stuff you wouldn’t tell the guys.

    But we don’t talk anymore, and if we do we rage and shout! We sear the air with spite.
    Spraying vitriol hits its target every time (for we know each other)
    and the wounds go deeper than our flesh.

  5. The Fire Festival

    ***

    The Baron smiled, sipped sweet rice wine.

    The month-long Fire Festival was in full swing; the vast city was filled with incandescence like the life-blood of a dragon spreading its mighty wings across the land.

    Walls, turrets and ledges adorned with torches and colourful paper lanterns cast light and shadow flickering and writhing upon minstrels singing and prancing, filling the air with pounding drums, the sounds of flutes and a variety of stringed instruments.

    Dancers, willowy forms scantily clad in bright, flowing silks leapt and pirouetted through the air. As they did so, they sprayed oil from their mouths in elaborate patterns which they set alight with flaming batons, drawing gasps of awe from the crowds lining the streets.

    In two weeks, the Guild of the Dragon would fill the imperial palace with camaraderie, fire dancers, fire shapers, musicians and other performers.

    Money would flow into Guild coffers.

    Yes, thought the Baron, this could be the most profitable year yet.

    ***

    @theimaginator20

    160 words

  6. Jack

    Sometimes Jack had scorch marks on his clothes.

    “Everything all right, Jack?” I would say, and he’d just nod and smile, vacantly.

    Poor old Jack. Everyone at work just avoided him, of course, but I did my best to look out for him.

    One day, concerned and (I admit) curious, I decided to follow Jack after work.

    He walked and walked, right out into the woods, finally stopping in a clearing and sitting down. I watched to see what he’d do, but he just sat, gazing up at the trees.

    Eventually, I crept slowly away. He was obviously okay today.

    And then I heard a roar, and felt a flash of intense heat.

    I dashed back to the clearing, and found Jack standing there with his scorched clothes smouldering.

    “Everything… all right, Jack?” I said.

    He was staring at my jacket. I followed his gaze: scorch marks.

    “No worries, Jack,” I grinned. “Come on. How about a cold one?”

    @Donnellanjacki
    159 words

  7. A Burning Desire
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke or margaretlocke.com)
    156 words

    “Just friends,” he insisted. He wasn’t ready for anything more, not after the last one.

    I wanted to prove it to him, show him that I’d be there for him, show him that I would do anything for him. Not like her. She wouldn’t even eat Mexican food. Claimed it was too hot. Ha.

    And so here I find myself, bursting into flames, although not the way I imagined. This is taking the spark of desire a bit too far, don’t you think?

    On the other hand, did you SEE his abs?

    I know I’m a little soft and squishy – not the type you’d think would do this. “Better suited for a desk job,” mom always said.

    I’ll show her. I’ll show them all. I’m on fire for this man.

    I just hope I don’t end up with a scalded spirit. Because Lord knows I’m going to have one hell of a case of heartburn.

  8. Swallow

    Swallow. Even though it’s a thornbush, a crow, a handful of sand. Swallow it right back, fast, and bury it deep.

    Friday. Soon as it gets to eight o’clock, it’ll be the doorbell.

    ‘Carla!’ Dad shouts. But I’m already halfway up the hallway.

    I open the door.

    ‘Well, well. Dessert already, is it?’ He laughs, quietly. He sucks his glistening lip and looks at me.

    ‘Dad’s in the TV room,’ I say, stepping back to let him in.

    ‘Yeah,’ he chuckles, glancing around. Then he hands me his coat and leans in, his body warm and wiry. He breathes deeply, hauling me in, my hair, my skin, and then he laughs and walks away. ‘All right, mate!’ I hear, faintly, and hands slapping in greeting. ‘Beer?’

    I hang his coat.

    Swallow it, the hatred and the fear. Swallow it until you have enough. Swallow it until it’s fire, and then open your mouth and burn the world.

    @SJOHart
    158 words

    • Wow. There is so much I like about this. The physical description- thornbush, crow, sand- of emotional pain she is burying is so clever and so tragic. The dialogue is great as it makes me really dislike this man. Very powerful piece.

  9. *** Judge’s Entry for your reading pleasure only. (Ineligible to win.) ***

    Reign of Change II
    by @West1Jess
    160 Words

    The transformation was complete. Standing before the fountain that contained the mercurial fluid, Estrella stretched her new, white wings. Her skin, once the comforting hue of lava, now glistened with a metallic sheen.

    At collection barrels scattered throughout her village, Estrella prepared the unusual rains. One by one, her people drank their portion of the mercury -each experiencing the same change she had- until only two were left.

    The fire breathers shared an uneasy glance. Isa and Alejo joined hands, and looked to Estrella for reassurance. Their elaborate displays at the monthly celebrations had always been their way to show gratitude. What would they do now?

    They drank the last of the cool, silver liquid.

    Alejo and Isa grew wings, as the others had, and their skin turned silver, but then hardened into flexible diamond plating. The two strongest and bravest of Estrella’s people would become her protectors.

    The wind whispered of the need that had brought about evolution -War.

  10. Sheds of Love

    He stands there, muscular with tattoos that tell the story of his life. I’m the chubby one on his left. The sisterhood drool over him, marvelling at his fire eating skills. They never give me a look, as shallow as their waistlines. I want to burn their hair extensions, breast enlargements and all their falseness.

    Think I was about seven when I first breathed fire begging my Dad to make me a dragon just like him, my mum nearly fainted. Dad and I laughed like drains when he had to hose down the shed roof when I burped in the wrong direction. He loved the circus, mum couldn’t wait to run away live in a house with doors and locks. Dad just waned away; his lungs engulfed with cancer.

    I was sixteen when I ran back home, met a boy. We’re an act now, best of friends. One day I hope he’ll teach our daughter to set sheds on fire.

    160 words
    @stellakateT

  11. “Spring Break”

    “Once in a lifetime” was a phrase too often trotted out by those who at the tender age of twenty-one could hardly know what a lifetime would hold.
    It was a phrase used to soften the sharp edges of costly adventures, so you could anticipate that even your future self would find that the thrill had outweighed the cost.
    But the brochures that Kira and Magda looked over, that blared the phrase in bold electric yellow font, did have pictures of places and things that demonstrated the failure of their imagination.
    Walking fish, lemur-like creatures smiling and braiding tourist’s hair, people who drank fire from pockets of flame in the night sky.
    To spend a month traveling the universe, to make the unknown known, would perhaps only be obtainable once. And to do it with the kind of friend who understood that awed silence could be the greatest reverence paid to the performances of life was ideal.

    159 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  12. For Friendship’s Sake

    Daeng drew in a deep breath and gouted out a huge mouthful of flame that shot skyward. The watching crowd oohed and ahhed.

    “You are such a show-off!” Chantara thought sourly, matching her feat. The things you did for your oldest friend. The assembled mass of humanity stank bitterly of pheromones, sweat, and alcohol. She had been against Daeng’s plan from the start.

    “Don’t be such a sourpuss.” Daeng chided her. “This show will ensure that we dine well, at least for tonight.”

    “I’m sorry, you’re right.” Chantara acknowledged. Their traditional food sources had been in short supply in recent years. Mainly because of the increasing incursions into their habitats by Men. It was only just that Men pay the price for their heedless slaughter and destruction.

    The two bowed, accepting the applause of their enthraled audience. They selected their prey, a pair of pleasingly plump women who waddled forward eagerly. “See, it was easy!” Daeng exclaimed. The hungry dragons gulped down their meal.

    160 Words emilykarn@yahoo.com

  13. A Betting Friendship

    Lee rocks his head from side to side trying to relieve the tension in his neck. “How long have we known each other?” he whispers as he leads them out on the stage.

    Meeca’s shoulders bob up and down. “Like ten years,” she paints a smile waving to the audience. “Why?” she says out of the corner of her mouth.

    “Don’t forget to use extra solution this time. Your fire’s height has been extremely weak lately.”

    “I know. You’ve told me a thousand times just this morning.” Meeca places the solution and fire stick up near her mouth. The musical cue is played and warmth rushes over her face as the fire ignites above. They bow to the applause and walk off.

    “So we’re friends?”

    “Of course.”

    “Wrong–True friends don’t let their friends wear string underwear out on stage.”

    Meeca holds in a giggle, “You’re a big boy. You lost that bet all by yourself.”

    words 156
    @meganbesing
    meganbesing.com

  14. The Downtrodden
    @DreampunkGeek
    146 Words

    Advertisements for luxuries they could never afford flash above head. Neon reds and yellows flicker incessantly, wrapping around sky scrapers that block the sun. Sickly artificial light glows below the smog cloud.

    Manic drumbeats echo from lonely parking lots.

    Willow and Dane dance in sync, creating their own warm light amidst the gloom. Sweaty bodies dodge and spin fireballs with grace and trust born from too many hours spent together. His eyes catch hers a moment before violently sweeping a torch at her feet. She vaults over it, tucking her arms in and controlling the balls of fire attached to chains around her wrists. With a flourish, she spins and lets loose the chains in a blinding arc of light and movement.

    The crowd cheers and raises their own torches.

    They say a revolution is coming to bring back the sun.

    They say it starts tonight.

  15. ‘Friendly Fire’

    These bodies, these shells are of no more use. We’ve burned the world – engulfed it in flame and dined on its charred remains.
    Our friendship has never shone brighter. The destruction we’ve wrought bringing us closer than I’d ever dare imagine…
    We’re a pyroclastic flow – cutting a beautiful path through pleasant valleys of suburban complacency (he says).
    The other patients at the clinic? We’ve burned them in their beds.
    I’ve watched their last moments as bodies contort and mouths stretch wide. The living flames rush in and pluck the essence of them – carrying souls into the ether on smoky tendrils. It’s beautiful.
    They’ll thank us when we join them (he says)…
    I realise he’s only used my pyrophilia to befriend me. His own predilections are far darker.
    But I was lonely. Is that enough?
    The kerosene burns in my throat.
    I swallow a match…
    THIS is burning!
    I know two things:
    I’m cured.
    I’m sorry.

    160 words
    @theshakes72

  16. “Eternal Flame” by Tinman
    159 words
    @TinmanDoneBadly

    His flame went higher, because boys are like that. It was the pyrotechnic equivalent of seeing who could pee furthest out into the snow.

    It spoilt the synchronicity of the act – hers formed the perfect mushroom she’d been trying to achieve, his looked as if a dragon had just eaten a chilli burrito. They couldn’t even wear matching outfits, because he kept forgetting not to bow to audience applause before he’d finished blowing off.

    That’s why he wore a flame-retardant loincloth. There are limits to how much you should be willing to suffer for your art.

    Ambition told her to go solo, or to find another co-performer whose lifelong dream was to spit burning oil through a gap in their teeth, but loyalty told her otherwise.

    They were melded, more firmly than soldered iron, by their years on the road together.

    He might sometimes scorch the hairs off his chest, but it was her heart he set on fire.

  17. Refuge

    I pulled up to the estate on Magnolia. Granddaddy was so proud of this place. His tobacco crops paid for it. I was so glad he wasn’t there to see it like that.

    “Ma’am, sorry to bother you, miss. I’m jes so tore up about this. ” There, next to me, was a white haired black man who was well into his ’90’s.

    “This house meant the world to me,” he choked out.

    Then the old man grabbed my hand.

    “Wha?”

    “Miss, this here key was given to me by your Grandaddy. He told me if I ever needed to, me an’ my kids an’ my wife could let ourselves in to hide out.”

    And with that, I was alone again, sifting through the remains when a soot covered photo of Grandaddy with his arm draped on the shoulder of a black man peered up at me.

    “Well, ah’ll be… ”

    160 words

    @peacesong464

  18. The Fire Dancer
    158 words
    @jujitsuelf

    As a boy I played with matches. Fire was beautiful to me. Its shape, its smell, the snapping crackle as it devoured a log in the fireplace. Fire obsessed me, consumed me, driving all wish for anything else from my head.

    I suppose it was inevitable that school would be a complete failure. Nothing interested me. Except science, sometimes we used Bunsen burners and I could hear the flame whispering to me, begging me to come and play.

    People said I would grow out of it. Why, though? The fire was my only friend. It danced for me, laughed with me and spoke in crackling tongues only I could understand.

    Now people watch me spit flames into the sky and say I’m a marvel, a true artist. They’re wrong, I don’t control the fire, I play with it. It loves me, just as I love it in return. At heart, I’m still just a boy playing with matches.

  19. Fever
    160
    @acmarkz

    My eyes cracked and I immediately regretted it. My head continued to spin as it had since the onset of symptoms. I could feel sweat trickle down my face, but couldn’t muster the strength to wipe my forehead.

    In brief moments of lucidity my thoughts went to Jessica. Her parents were among the first wave. She couldn’t lose me too.

    There was motion to my right. Someone laid a body next to me on the tarp that was my makeshift bed.

    “Yeah…” a deep voice sighed. “This girl started showing symptoms last night. We’re estimating about 60% of the county is infected.”

    “Oh, God.” a female voice replied. Papers shuffled. “Jessica Warren.”

    There was a hand on my forehead. “Fever breaking?”

    She must have shook her head, “no”. Their voices faded as they left the CDC tent.

    Laboriously, I dragged my arm across the space between myself and Jessica. After some searching, I found her hand and clasped it.

  20. You’ll Always Exist (At The Edge Of My Mind)
    159 words

    Dalia had been friends with Mark for as long as she could remember, so long in fact that she’d forgotten exactly when they’d met.

    She never understood why her family had hated Mark on sight and while he never said anything about it Dalia knew that it hurt him every time that they stared through him like he was nothing.

    In retaliation she stopped speaking to them all.

    Mark was the one that she’d told about the smell of gasoline in the changing room and when he promised to speak with the director about it Dalia put the matter from her mind.

    Dalia’s eyes met Mark’s as she started her routine and it wasn’t until someone screamed that she noticed the fire licking at her skin.

    The crowd surged to their feet as time seemed to slow and then a woman went crashing through the space where Mark had stood…but Mark wasn’t there.

    Maybe he’d never truly been there.

  21. Everything at a Price
    153 words

    We’re the best in the business, Antonio and I. We’ve been working together for years now.

    Antonio’s the showman, the crowd-pleaser, the one everyone comes to see. He knows he looks good in that damned loincloth and he’s not the slightest bit shy about flaunting his looks and tattoos. I’m less of a show-off. Well, I suppose I am a bit of a show-off, I do spend my life breathing fire. But I’m not in Antonio’s league as far as ego goes.

    He spits out a long stream of flame, I copy him a moment later. Naturally his flame is higher and bigger than mine. Typical man, size matters, eh?

    The last of the kerosene burns up above us and we smile for the crowd. Antonio cocks an eyebrow and holds out a hand.

    “You want more flames?” he asks our audience. They nod and scream. He laughs. “Ten dollars.”

  22. “Wedding Bell Reds”
    Michael Seese
    @MSeeseTweets
    159 words

    “ ‘I’m Burning For You?’ ‘Light My Fire?’ ”

    “Nice songs. But too fast,” said Ashley.

    “You’re right,” said Blaise.

    Poof! The piece of paper went up in smoke.

    “That’s it,” she blurted out. “How about ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes?’ It’s pretty, and slow. Perfect for our first dance.”

    “Then it’s settled.”

    “Now about the menu… Spicy chili?”

    “Can’t be too hot.”

    “Baked Alaska?”

    “Yes. Though technically don’t we want Bombe Alaska?”

    “Right,” Ashley said.

    “I’ll have to make sure the bartender can do flaming rum shots. That was the drink at my fraternity. All the brothers loved it.”

    “About that…” she said carefully, so as to not dampen Blaise’s spirits. “Are you going to invite the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?”

    “I have to,” Blaise said. “He’s my best friend.”

    “Yeah. But remember what happened at our cookout last summer?”

    “Oh, yeah. Ouch.”

    (Author’s note: if nothing else, I deserve the Ironman Award. I had rotator cuff surgery 7 hours ago.)

  23. Arson

    ‘….we walked, no we strutted into that room and it was ours!’

    Yours, love. It was yours.

    ‘We’ve always been a force to be reckoned with. Do you remember that time…?’

    I remember all of it. You were magnificent. Always.

    Friends since five and united in life, we were a pair, a couple, a friendship to outshine all others. She roared the plumed flame, I stood behind, fuelling her, but together we were twinned fire, bright and fierce and mesmerising.

    I look to her now; my force, my power, my energy. I wonder what I am without her. A smouldering coal with no flame to ignite me.

    There is no heat, but the flame is not extinguished. Not yet.

    A final flicker lights her eyes and I hold her hand and I watch her die.

    The fire goes out in both of us.

    143 Words
    @_sarahmiles_

  24. “Purge”
    by Kristen Falso-Capaldi
    @Kristenafc
    160 words

    The demolition is tomorrow.

    It’s the last house standing. We’ve watched them fall one by one since the airport seized the land.

    Today the two of us hold hands the way we did then. Best friends after all these years.

    She was the one who kept me from burning it down that time with him sleeping in it.

    Because I didn’t care that he thought the war was still going on. That he drank to forget the sizzle of land mines and men disappearing like vapor through tall grass.

    I didn’t care because it was his hands around my neck, not the enemy’s. Never the enemy’s.

    I wanted to watch it rise up like a pyre. I welcomed the consequences.

    She stopped me then. My best friend.

    Today, she reaches deep into her pocket and pulls out the matches. I lift the gas can.

    The house is empty, but it will never be empty.

    “Time to purge,” we say together.

  25. Anything You Can Do

    You’ve always had to be first.

    Better.

    Even in nursery, it was you leading the games and me following.

    Your mum laughed at me, called me a puppy, trotting at your heels, copying you in everything.

    You wanted braids, I got them too.

    New band posters on your walls? Mine too.

    Boys? Oh yes…

    Nobody understands how it feels, trying to make my own way and finding you there a split second before me.

    Doing it better.

    The fastest runner, the best swimmer, the only girl to try firebreathing on that Circus
    Skills workshop we both went on.

    Even when we joined the dating forum – just for laughs, of course – I had to choose another screen name because you got it first.

    So now here I am, staring at scraps of your blouse, left behind in my shackles, because I even got your cast off psychopath…

    He said you lasted three days.

    I’d be happier losing this one.

    @Karl_A_Russell
    160 words

  26. Chris Milam @Blukris
    Retribution (159 words)

    Abigail sat across from me, one tanned leg crossed elegantly over the other. Her tangerine sundress paired nicely with those indecipherable sapphire eyes. Toss in her mahogany curls, black-tipped slender fingers and a charming mean streak and it becomes obvious how our initial friendship grew more carnal over time.

    As she stood and doused me in gasoline, I struggled against the expertly tied chartreuse scarves binding me to the concrete pole in the basement.

    She sat back down and lit a Kool Mild.

    “Want a drag, Henry?”

    “I’ll pass, baby.”

    “So be it. Humor me, was she worth it?”

    The most invigorating sex I’ve ever experienced in my life. Feral yet ethereal. Worthy of a sonnet.

    “It meant nothing. She was quite boring to be honest. I thought about you the whole time.”

    She flashes her predatory smile. Teeth-bared, not teeth-gleaming.

    “That’s sweet, so charming and manipulative. You sure you don’t want a quick drag before I toss it?”

  27. Fire Dragons

    (151 Words)

    They made her think of dragons. Warm breath touching her skin, even though she stood back in the crowd, bodies pressed against hers all bidding to get a better look.

    The fire itself looked like liquid heat, dancing feral and fierce, but they didn’t look as though they were afraid of it. They knew how to control it, tame it and subdue it into what they wanted.

    The show ended, applause erupting from the crowd, spilling its own warmth over the performers. She cheers along with the rest, watching them bow, and for a moment thinks she catches their eyes, gets to bask in their light, and then it’s gone again, extinguished like the flames.

    The crowd moves off and she lets herself be carried along by the tide. The performers were dragons after all. Exotic and untouchable. And mere mortals can only suffer their glory for so long.

  28. THE UNIVERSE ROARED

    “You wish to take my daughter as wife?”
    “Yes.”
    “How are you good enough?”
    “I cannot defeat you in a contest of knowledge, nor in strength or skill, but by wit what is it I conceal from you?”
    “Conceal from me?” the Universe roared. “Nothing!”
    “Are you sure?”
    “This is a deceit. How can I know? This is trickery for which you will -”
    “My Lord, I would not attempt to trick you. It is a stone disk; one side red, the other green. I bet you the price of your daughter that when it falls on that planet, I can tell which side up it will land.”
    “Ha! Go on then, but when you lose -“
    “I will not lose.”
    “I admire your arrogance. It will land red side up -“
    “Green.”

    “My daughter can easily swallow a star. Can you?”
    “Yes.”
    “Then swallow and be a man. If you succeed, Eve will be with you.”

    @CliveNewnham – 157 words

  29. Not One Without the Other
    by A J Walker

    You should know that lifeless ash isn’t the only result of fire. It doesn’t just consume, it can reform, change states. It can build new stars and planets, creating new forms from elements to compounds – to life itself. You, you are born of fire.

    Fire breeds possibilities.

    So it is that there are two fire gods who stand astride the universe building such new possibilities together. Their friendship closer than any lovers, or the closest of siblings. Their love for each other transcends mere carnal urges and barely controllable emotions. Their fire breathing into the blank page emptiness is both art and cookery to them, or from another view point it is chemistry and physics. Whatever, their art is creation, pulsing heat and rhythm through the universe, moulding worlds and galaxies in brilliant spurts.

    Through their enduring strength of togetherness their heat pulses and burns through everything, they create light from dark. There is not one without the other.

    (159 words)
    @zevonesque

  30. Transcendence
    (153)
    Walking out into the field, Vosco held Tylene’s hand tight in his own. Stopping in the center, they gazed up as the moon rose, casting its pale light upon the two.

    A slight breeze ruffled ebony hair and raised goosebumps on exposed flesh.

    Dark eyes caught and held “Are you ready?”

    Tylene nodded, a faint smile of anticipation upon her lips. “It’s been fun, but it’s time to move on.”

    Vosco flashed a grin, excitement tinging his voice. “See you on the other side?”

    “Count on it.” She squeezed his hand once before they stepped away from each other.

    Amidst the wildflowers, arms akimbo, they tilted their heads back.

    The moon hit its apex and tongues of flame shot from their mouths: souls made visible as they passed on to the next adventure, together in death as they they’d been in life, each secure in the knowledge that they’d see one another soon.

  31. In the Ashes of the Flame

    Mica looked at the destruction around him as it was swallowed by the night. In the dark, he could pretend he was standing on the beach, a tropical drink in hand. Anything was better than the ash and smoke that surrounded him.

    The day before he had let his demons loose: outraged he had breathed fire until it threatened to consume him, and his friends had answered in kind.

    There was no way to take back what was said—no way to undo what had been done. In time, he knew, scar tissue would grow and they would move on—but now the injuries were too fresh, the victory too bitter.

    He stood for a long time, praying his friends would return, but even as he waited, he knew he stood alone.

    He bowed his head, and finally understood: no one ever really won a flame war.

    147 words
    @mishmhem

  32. ‘Miko Island’ (160 words) — Tom O’Connell /@Conveniently_So

    It was Saturday night. Kyle had brought me to Miko Island to see the fire breathers. We pushed through a sea of half-naked teenagers. I wondered if I was the only divorcee in attendance. Could they smell it on me?

    We drank in the moonlight, trading non sequiturs with Kyle’s stoner friends, my discomfort metre peaking.

    Kyle led me across the dunes towards a distant bonfire.

    ‘I don’t know about this …’

    My words scattered on the wind, lost in the dissonance of club beats and bongo drumming.

    ‘I know!’ Kyle shouted. ‘Isn’t it great?’

    We emerged, centre stage, absorbed by a throbbing mass of skin, sweat and glow sticks. The air was charged. David had never brought me anywhere like this.

    The fire breathers, on a raised mound, moved like flowing water. They were the beating heart. Their flames surged, like beacons opening the night.

    We cheered, lost in the majesty.

    Hands linked, Kyle and I began to dance.

  33. “Darkness Shrouds My Fiery Love No Longer”
    160 words
    Patrick Stahl / @patrickjstahl

    Barton moved his hand closer to Sarah’s, careful not to touch. He threw it against his hip as she turned her head.

    “Where are we going, Bart?” she asked, giggling.

    “Over to Old Wesley’s field. I heard one of his cows bore a calf yesterday.” Barton shivered. “I know how much you like animals.”

    Sarah frowned, but the spark in her eyes betrayed the expression. Her green irises shone in the night, thin, glowing bands around massive black pupils. “Cold?”
    Barton attempted to remoisten his mouth. “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that?” His face burned.

    “Barty, which one of us is the pyro mage here?” Sarah rubbed her hands together, closed her eyes, and blew into her cupped palms. A flame uncoiled from them like a serpent, dancing around Barton and dying in the same motion. “Better?”

    Barton shook his head. “No.” He placed his sweat-drenched hand on top of Sarah’s—still warm—and said, “Now I’m better.”

  34. I Need to Stop Thinking
    (160 words)

    Time is weird. Sometimes, it drags along, and sometimes, I disappears like smoke. And no matter how hard you try, you never get more time. The more time that passes, the less you have.

    People spend their entire lives worrying about time –or rather, running out of time. It consumes them, and they don’t even notice. I sure didn’t.

    I spend a lot of time thinking –it’s not like I have anything else to do. I had time, and now I don’t. It’s so simple, yet too complex to understand. Where does time go? It seems like only yesterday that I had friends, a job, a house, a family.

    Now I’m alone, and it’s dark. I don’t like being alone. It leaves time to think. What even is thinking? Why do we think? Why are people even capable of thought?

    God, I need to stop thinking. If I’d known it would be this awful, I would have been cremated instead.

  35. A Match
    @brett_milam (160)

    As it happens, our friendship started in a peculiar way. I was 11, ball-dropping age, when I came across Hunter in the playground.

    He was hard to miss because all the kids in our class were surrounding him.

    There he sat among the onlookers with a box of matches. Not sure where he procured that, maybe his dad or mom, although I heard they’re both dead.

    Without a word, he opened the box, slid a match out, and struck it against the strike strip and the small flame danced in front of us. Then with one quick motion, he swallowed it — the entire match.

    Kids are cruel, smoldering shit piles. Naturally, they laughed at him.

    But I thought it was the coolest. I pushed my way through the crowd, sat cross-legged down next to him and extended my hand.

    He gave me a match. I struck, then ate.

    “My parents are dead, too,” I said, as he swallowed another.

  36. Burning Questions

    Carla and Diego were meant for each other. A spark kindled when they met. Then the two fire breathers kissed, and mingled air became a raging blazing white hot furnace of passion. It was frightening. It took hours for them to cool down.
    “I can’t do this,” she told Diego. “I’m terrified. It’s out of control, our relationship. We will destroy each other. One of us, maybe both of us, will be toasted cinders in the wind.”
    “But I love you,” Diego said. “What is desire without the threat of losing yourself?”
    “I can’t,” Carla said. “Let’s just be friends. To breathe fire is frightening enough. We’re too combustible.”
    “You can’t love a normal man,” he said. “You’ll burn him alive. And I can’t love a normal woman. You’re damning us both to be alone.”
    They stood side by side, letting the fire pour from their mouths into the night, her flames forming a nuclear cloud of final determination.
    (159 words)

  37. Improve Me, Sword-Eater
    (160 words)

    The two friends made sure no one was eavesdropping outside their carnival tent.

    “How am I going to get by once I’m healed?” asked the dwarf known as The Gruesome Monkey. He looked at his pustulant sores in a mirror. The disease made him money, but there was no denying it was killing him.

    “Don’t worry about livelihood,” said Kal a.k.a. Steelthroat. “Now stay put—I’m going to get the medicine.”

    “It’s here?” gasped the midget.

    Kal smiled. “Turns out a fellow in our troupe has what you need.”

    “How much?”

    “A fortune. But I’d gladly pay double. Don’t worry, my new routine will have the marks coughing up rubies.”

    “Gonna swallow a scimitar?”

    “Breathe fire,” Kal said, and left.

    After a great whoosh and blast of heat from outside, before cheering ceased, Kal returned to the tent. “Here. You drink this,” he told the dwarf. He unraveled an oily rag, revealing a bottle of Colonel Witchdoctor’s Olde-Tyme Wonder Tonic.

  38. The Blazing Row

    I don’t remember what started it, perhaps his throwaway comment about the cute new girl at the office, or my casual suggestion that he should get a haircut. I just know that it didn’t fizzle out like it usually does. Our relationship had been carefully nurtured from the sprig of friendship into a dense forest of love and commitment, but the argument rampages through it like an out of control forest fire. Decades old trees are felled with a handful of carefully chosen words, each selected for their ability to burn. We circle warily, spitting fire at each other like duelling dragons. Lines are crossed, things are said that can never be taken back. When there is nothing left to say he flies away, leaving only smoke and ashes in his wake. I weep, trying to extinguishing the flames, but this earth is scorched beyond repair. Nothing will grow here for a very long time.

    155 words
    @todayschapter

    • We saw the same thing in the prompt, but our stories still manage to be quite different, I think. Your imagery is excellent. Really enjoyed.

  39. LONGEVITY

    Oxidation: the bane of all organic and inorganic things in this universe. What would the lives of certain humans be like if the function of atoms, molecules, and cells were controlled by the individuals themselves? A camaraderie of the parts and the whole, not bound by natural rules.

    Such kinds do exist. They travel incognito, mostly as circus carnies or volcanologists. Their release of fire parallels their emotions, simultaneously shortening cellular telomeres that control longevity.

    He met her on Kilauea Volcano. Both had left previous lovers in turmoil and in anger, the very perturbations that had caused them to flee to the camouflage of earthen fire. Their meetings kindled passion over time. However, she wept tears of sulfur in rivulets, blending with the mount’s alluvial trails of rich new soil. She heaved flames of searing sadness upon hearing that his telomeres had been gradually shortened by his own past, unbridled emotions; that he had burned out.

    WC = 157 excluding title

  40. Best Friends Forever
    (157 words)

    We’ve known each other all lives. Not just neighbors, more than friends, closer than cousins: the two of us were sisters at our souls.

    She gave me chicken pox when I was five. Out of kindergarten for a week, I burned with fever, slathered calamine, and scratched miserably. We played and laughed all afternoon.

    At sixteen, she was burning rubber when that state trooper pulled her. I paid her fine so she could pay for prom; we’d been chasing a hottie in a convertible, anyway.

    Stories such as these were the crucible that forged our lasting friendship. For her, I would walk through fire.

    Freshman year, she called me. She had met The One. She was drawn to him like a moth to flame. He was exotic. He was amazing. He was passionate. He was a fire that burned inside her and threatened to consume her very being.

    He was my boyfriend.

    We are no longer friends.

  41. Stopping by on the 5th day of the #atozchallenge while looking for fellow writers. Congratulations on your blog. I know you are going to make new blogging friends this month. I’m writing about gardening and related topics and having a wonderful time. If you have time or interest, come and visit.

  42. The Plunge

    The darkness swallowed them up. As they felt the shifting mass juddering beneath their feet, their hands grew closer entwined, their breath caught sharply in their collective throat.

    The world seemed to twist and then turn, the movement both dizzying and terrifying all at once: it was motion without end. Wind rushed past in a raging torrent, screaming a prayer to the skies: All will be well, all will be well.

    As if the world was ending, as if the continents themselves had suddenly upheaved and come crashing down, they felt themselves stop. A sharp clicking sound was sounding out, loud enough to rattle their bones, and as they gasped for breath, they ascended.

    ‘Here it comes,’ she said, and he could tell she was smiling in the darkness.

    Flames roared out in front of them, close enough to kiss. The rollercoaster jerked, jerked, jerked again, and then plunged back over the edge.

    @darkmooninorbit
    (153 words)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s