FLASHVERSARY IS HERE!

WELCOME TO FLASHVERSARY! This is my day to give back to you, dear Flash! Friday family, as thanks for your faithful support of and participation in this contest. YOU are the ones who have made Flash! Friday the glorious madhouse it is, a safe and fun place to share writing and grow as writers. Thank you, beloved dragons, for all you’ve done to craft such a supportive, talented, hilarious, angst-ridden, adrenaline-bursting, (dragon tolerating) loving community. My thanks to those who have judged and are about to; to last year’s 42 winners; to the guest judges; to those who support me behind the scenes; to those who support FF financially; to the many hundreds of you who return so faithfully to comment on others’ stories as well as share your own. Our second year has been ASTOUNDING, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Today is for you.

Another round of thanks goes to the incredibly talented team over at Flash Fiction Online, particularly Anna Yeatts and Suzanne Vincent, who, out of their love for flash fiction and awesome writing, are graciously giving of their time and expertise to Flashversary. (More about them when we reach the finalists’ stage!) For now: we are honored and so very grateful!

♦♦♦♦♦

FLASH! FRIDAY PRIZE BOX

Grand Dragon Champion

-a Flashversary poster printed with your winning story,
-a Flash! Friday commemorative poster,
-a Flash! Friday commemorative item (choose from a key chain, pendant, or magnet),
-a one-year digital subscription to all three Splickety imprints (Splickety Prime, Splickety Love, Havok),
-a Splickety prize basket including every back issue of Splickety’s magazines, a copy of the Splickety 2014 anthology, and a copy of the Splickety staff’s “how to write flash fiction” ebook
-a one-year subscription to Flash Fiction Online,
-a critique of a story or excerpt of your writing up to 2,000 words by Flash Fiction Online Editor-in-Chief Suzanne Vincent & Publisher Anna Yeatts, and
-fast-tracked consideration for publication in Flash Fiction Online

1st Runner Up:  One Flashversary poster printed with your winning story, a Flash! Friday commemorative poster, a FF commemorative item (choose from a key chain, pendant, or magnet), a one year subscription to the Splickety imprint of your choosing, and a one year subscription to Flash Fiction Online  

2nd Runner Up: A Flash! Friday commemorative poster, a FF commemorative item (choose from a key chain, pendant, or magnet), and a one year subscription to the Splickety imprint of your choosing  

3rd Runner Up: A Flash! Friday commemorative poster and a one year subscription to the Splickety imprint of your choosing

Honorable Mentions: A Flash! Friday commemorative poster

* TOP TEN FINALISTS: personal critiques on your entry from the Flash Fiction Online judging team

♦♦♦♦♦

FLASHVERSARY TIME!

(Questions? Tweet @FlashFridayFic or contact Flash! Friday here.)

ROUND ONE RULESOpen to ALL WRITERS. 

* Limit one entry per person, submitted as a comment to this post. Note: Proofread carefully; no corrections or changes can be made to your entry once you submit it. Normal content restrictions apply (short version: no erotica, no fanfic).
* Submission window: Round One is open from 12:01am Friday, Dec 5, until 11:59pm Saturday, Dec 6 Washington, DC time (48 hours)
* What happens next: The Flash! Friday judging team (led by Rebekah) will choose the top 25 stories to move on as semifinalists (the stories will be judged blind).  

ROUND TWO RULES: Open to SEMIFINALISTS ONLY. Limit one entry per person.

* Submission window: Round Two will present a new prompt and be open from 12:00pm (noon) Sunday, Dec 7, until 12:00pm (noon) Tuesday, Dec 9 (48 hours). Semifinalists will submit a new (second) story to compete in Round Two.
* Notes: (1) Semifinalists who are unable to submit a second story will have their Round One story considered alone. (2) If a Round One story is particularly excellent, the Flash! Friday judging team reserves the right to offer that writer the opportunity to submit their Round One story as their semifinalist entry and skip submitting a second story.
* What happens next: The Flash! Friday judging team (led by Rebekah) will choose the top 10 stories written by the Semifinalists (including both Round One and Round Two entries, thus giving each semifinalist up to 2 chances) to move on as finalists.

FINAL ROUND: On Dec 10 the top 10 finalists as chosen by the Flash! Friday judging team will be announced here at Flash! Friday and submitted stripped of identifying information to the Flash Fiction Online judging team where final winners will be determined.

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: December 16, 2014 at 8:00am Washington, DC time 

♦♦♦♦♦

 

Round One Word Count: 150 words exactly, no more, no less. 

How to Enter: Post your entry (one per writer) here in the comments. Include your word count (150 words exactly, exclusive of title/byline) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one (if not, be sure to link your email address or some way for us to contact you). Be sure to proofread; once your entry is submitted, no changes/corrections are able to be made.

ROUND ONE SUBMISSION WINDOW: From 12:01am Friday, Dec 5, until 11:59pm Saturday, Dec 6 Washington, DC time (48 hours). 

**And now for your Round One prompt!** 

Let’s see what you, in your own genre and style (see the guidelines for content restrictions), can do with (dragon)fire. NO DRAGON’S BIDDING to direct you. Just you, your Muse, and 150 words. Now go set the world on fire. Again. ♥

Red Sunset. CC2.0 photo by Petteri Sulonen.

Red Sunset. CC2.0 photo by Petteri Sulonen.

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741 thoughts on “FLASHVERSARY IS HERE!

  1. Anger:

    They said that dragons aren’t real — morons.

    The rancid smell of burn rubber assails my nose and makes my eyes feel like they are going to glue shut. The sky basks in a saffron glow as the warehouse district burns.

    Hallie warned us for weeks about the impending dragon attacks. Everyone, sans me, thought she was mad. Thanks jerks, now where can I get kebabs since the Afghan place was just melted by winged fury?

    From my hiding spot in the storm sewer I track the three dragon’s methodical progress. Goodbye department store.

    Through the scope on my thirty-aught-six I see the intelligence in their eyes and the anger in their snarls. Their emotions control me. I know their pain.

    A well-placed shot in the eye may stop one, but I won’t fire.

    I want to experience what they feel.

    Sometimes we have to let the world burn.

    —-

    151 Words
    @michaelsimko1

    • Yes, my firefighter fire was a bungling electrician who jimmy rigged a moonshine operation in the backyard shed.

      Maybe, I use this knowledge to my advantage.

      Yes, he and the rest of my wayward family are vanishing into smoke. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

      Maybe, mine or theirs, who is to say? The origin of the fire will be identified as faulty wiring.

      Yes, my draconian hatred dissipates with every talon of the glistening, furious flames.

      Yes, revenge reigns. I am being set free from the raucous ravages of the past.

      Yes, my city of dreams, Manhattan, steadfastly watches as my family of horrors playfully paints the scintillating skyline a sickly shade of burnt orange.

      No, after countless years of abuse I do not feel any remorse.

      Yes, I am free for now.

      Any other questions, Detective Cordell? I would like to get back to watching the light show.

  2. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 150

    Inferno

    She danced on the subway tracks to Lady in Red.

    I remember her closed eyes, her parted lips, one arm raised high, while the other wrapped around her waist, wandering a path that no one else trod.

    When we visited the cliffs, she begged me to spend the night with her on the edge beneath the stars, timing our kisses to the crash of the waves far below.

    She sang kareoke in the middle of Times Square, her iPod blaring the music to the mass of humanity.
    She sang her own song in the midst of the monotony of everyone else’s.
    She sang her heart, because she was the maestro, the leading lady, the forest fire in world of candles.

    I cower in my shell now that she’s gone. I wander beside the subway tracks, and wish for the inferno of her soul to warm the frozen cowardice of mine.

  3. Ian Martyn
    @IBMartyn
    150 words

    A Mother’s Wrath

    That’s right, feed the flames my flawed children. Let the fires of hatred burn in your souls. Embark on this one last planet sweeping tide of madness and destruction. Oh, how it pains me to admit that I gave birth to such selfish beings. I presented you with Eden, suckled you, nurtured your growth. You stripped it of its glory, covered it in concrete and destroyed the creatures that I placed in your care just as you turned on yourselves. How could you repay your mother with such mindless greed?

    So, you leave me no choice. I will wipe away the ugliness you have wrought on my world. I will erase all memory of your existence. Out of the ashes my failure a new garden will emerge filled with the savage beauty that is my nature. And finally, I will put behind me the experiment that was the human race.

  4. Gunpowder Treason and Plot

    ‘Penny for the Guy!’

    ‘Please, mate. Penny for the Guy?’

    An elderly man stops, smiling. ‘Comes around quick, eh?’

    ‘Hopin’ we’ll raise loads this year,’ says John. ‘For the new statue, an’ that.’ He wipes his running nose on his sleeve.

    ‘Good lads. I’m sure St Fawkes would be proud.’

    He’s barely turned and gone two steps when the air shreds with a boom. Then a gust of flame, like a dragon awakening in the bowels of the city, gushes along the skyline. Faintly, we hear screaming.

    ‘My God,’ says the old geezer, stumbling back. ‘My God. Virgin preserve us!’

    ‘What’s goin’ on?’ John gets to his feet. ‘Is it –’

    We spin as another explosion cuts off his words. All along the river, we watch London burn.

    ‘The Recusants,’ whispers the old man. ‘Finally. We are repaid in our own coin.’ Orange flames dance in his wide, wet eyes.

    @SJOHart
    150 words
    #flashdog

  5. Snellopy
    @Snellopy
    150 Words

    Revenge

    It was hard to tell what burned hotter: my hatred for this city, or the flames that consumed it.

    No it wasn’t. It was my rage. I was sure there would be parts of this wretched town that would escape the conflagration no matter how hard we fought for our freedom.

    Budget cuts meant that the camps were understaffed and under-equipped. It wouldn’t have mattered, the violence that boiled within those of us corralled could only be contained for so long. Screams and cries were an unpleasant counterpoint to the ruination occurring, but at least it wasn’t my people that were mewling, begging for leniency that didn’t exist.

    We wouldn’t win, but it didn’t matter. None of us would be spared. But that had been your plan all along, we were only hastening the inevitable. At least this way we got to make our mark. To hurt your kind back.

  6. Jay Dee Archer
    @jaydeejapan
    150 words

    The Dragons of Mount Fuji

    They said there were no dragons. I now know this is not true.

    I’m safe in my steel and concrete apartment building. Smoke is rising from the mountain. The smouldering city around me is covered in a grey ash. But it wasn’t like this yesterday.

    It started with a rumble. The dragons awoke with a roar and burst from the mountain surrounded by smoke from their fire. Lightning electrified the smoke. I didn’t know dragons could do that.

    The announcements over loudspeakers, TV warnings, and our cell phones told us to close all windows and doors and stay inside. I stayed inside for hours watching the news. That’s all there was on TV. Fires ravaged the city. Ash obscured the view. The dragons were magnificent.

    I couldn’t wait any longer. I opened the storm shutter. It was so grey! But there it was. I knew then that dragons were real.

  7. Bluff Cove 8th June 1982

    @geofflepard 150 words

    He pressed his hands to his head, squeezing out the moment. A voice from a lifetime ago. ‘Go! Now!’ He ran, boots unholy on metal. Each bulkhead snapped him back, away from safety. One terrified mirror stopped him, mouthing his echo. Water, swirling now from cracks beneath his consciousness forced him on; calf deep, rising for his throat.
    Sight stolen by smoke he fumbled upwards towards both death and freedom; the deck both sanctuary and a pitiless hell. Men, his friends, moments and millennia before screamed pointless commands as the shell sent his leg cartwheeling to despair. Someone held him hard, mouthed lifeless directions and tossed him over the side.
    Water, life-giving balm no more, tore at his fire-seared face with talons of cooling hate, cauterising all hope; he wished an end without encore.
    More hands pulled him back, gasping, gawping. Silent screams confirming this was rescue with no mercy.

  8. Fire storm
    150 words
    @bex_spence

    Fire cascaded from the sky. Molten spheres falling, setting the world alight. The land was poisoned, pits of sulpher burning. Desolate buildings the only protection from the apocolyptic storm. The remaining humans gathered within the partial structures, clothes tattered, skin charred. Struggling survivors.

    Outside the world was consumed by heat, engulfed in flames. An earth rattling roar filled the air. Looking through the space that was once a window, the survivors saw darkness.

    Huge black scales connected to the hardest metal. Impenetrable fusion of organic and mechanical. Ridiculous and sublime, dragon hybrid machines. Rulers of air and land intent on destruction.

    The survivors huddled, they had done well. It had been days since the first fire storm. Here they were the last few of their kind. Hands on shoulders they stood strong. A large glass gleaming amber eye filled the vacant window space. Time was up, the end had begun.

  9. A Woman Scorned
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke or margaretlocke.com)
    150 words

    Her heart burned with the rage of a million fires, consuming every memory, every last bit of love she’d had left.

    He’d promised her – promised her – eternal devotion. A lifetime of happiness. A bond that could never be severed.

    Hah.

    What would he say now, if he could see the havoc she’d wreaked? This path of destruction, fueled by wrath so intense it would scorch the sun?

    He never would. She’d made sure of that. Let his ashes smolder in the ruins. Of their bond. Of his betrayal. Of this city.

    Never again would a man hold such power over her.

    She knew she was catering to the stereotype. Vengeful woman, wronged by man, seeks retribution. So be it.

    Daddy issues, they’d said. An unnatural attachment. Whatever. He shouldn’t have remarried; he was hers alone.

    Hell hath no fury, they say. But it does have a new daughter.

  10. Middle Earth’s Dragons

    WC: 150

    They say that when you see Dragon Fire, you never forget.

    They say that in Middle Earth stories. No one believes in dragons. Dragons are just part of someone’s imagination. Where did ‘someone’ get that dragon? No one answers me that.

    But you and I, we know where dragons are. Through fiery smoke, they feed our imaginations, stroke the blaze already inside us and send us out again.

    If you dare not to believe us, then go follow your dwarves to their Erebor so they can fight their fake dragon. What does Smaug know of dragons?

    They say that when you see Dragon Fire, you never forget.

    I say, who can forget?

    For it is Dragon Fire that has built up this world. It is Dragon Fire that has fed the imagination of anyone who did anything new and unusual.

    There is no dragon? Look around!

    There is your dragon!

  11. @avalina_kreska
    #flashdog
    (150 words)

    MithRan-Soa

    When you’re a young dragon, you count your scales and dream. Today, he is ‘MithRan-Soa’ – an adult – liberated from mother’s vigilant eye – wing – judgment. He stands alone.

    Something was building deep inside…a fusillade of fireballs burst forth like fiery arrows from obnoxious Gods, laying waste to his chimera of fear, kissing with crimson lips the flames embraced the township, surpassing all expectations, his roar, a cenotaph to his Majesty.

    Time is medicine for a suppurating wound; the pain of leaving Mother – now he will choose a female. She, a balsam for his scars, would heal what later only the love of his offspring could rend.

    The raging fire in his belly, now all but small, silent coal, he loosened his grip, taking to the air on burnished wings. For in daylight, the air moves aside for prowess, but the dark night weakens and consumes the pride of all.

  12. Erin McCabe
    @disturbiakiss
    160 words

    Majesty

    “Mouse!”

    No longer sleeping at the end of her bed and now filling half the barn, the name seemed ridiculous.

    “Mouse, they’re coming!”

    She pointed tiny trembling hands toward the terrifying rumble of military footfall. As strategically paced thuds swiftly transformed into clamorous cacophony, I knew our time was up.

    Bursting from the barn in a fury of splinters, I rained searing, bitter flame down upon them all.
    Instantly the surrounding buildings spectacularly combusted, their destruction forming tall tinder pyres which plumed thick dark smoke and blocked out the sun.

    Feeling the sting of a spear pierce my side, I rose up and took flight, to travel far from the fray.
    The soldiers cheered; they had driven off the young dragon.
    In their celebration and under the cover of caustic darkness, they failed to see the child that disappeared into the woods, the child that would, in years to come, help me deliver a glorious end to their inglorious empire.

  13. Erin McCabe
    @disturbiakiss
    160 words

    Majesty

    “Mouse!”

    No longer sleeping at the end of her bed and now filling half the barn, the name seemed ridiculous.

    “Mouse, they’re coming!”

    She pointed tiny trembling hands toward the terrifying rumble of military footfall. As strategically paced thuds swiftly transformed into clamorous cacophony, I knew our time was up.

    Bursting from the barn in a fury of splinters, I rained searing, bitter flame down upon them all. Instantly the surrounding buildings spectacularly combusted, their destruction forming tall tinder pyres which plumed thick dark smoke and blocked out the sun.

    Feeling the sting of a spear pierce my side, I rose up and took flight, to travel far from the fray.

    The soldiers cheered; they had driven off the young dragon.

    In their celebration and under the cover of caustic darkness, they failed to see the child that disappeared into the woods, the child that would, in years to come, help me deliver a glorious end to their inglorious empire.

  14. Yikes, double post, sorry! (Please remove the first one if possible, they are exactly the same but admittedlty and unintendedly it looks like the spacing is a bit better on the second one). Ha ha!, thanks!

    • Erin, thanks, this is a wonderful entry. On behalf of the Dragoness this morning (since she’s supposed to be reading these stories blind), I’m sending the stories to her minus the names as they come in. However, if you wouldn’t mind, could you go revisit the instructions for this week, which are a little different than normal. The word count must be 150 words exactly, no more, no less. If you wish to resubmit, that would be fine. I’ll send it on then. 🙂

  15. Resubmit. Sorry, didn’t see the rules were to keep to 150. (Looks at ground with shame):

    —-

    Anger:

    They said that dragons aren’t real — morons.

    The rancid smell of burn rubber assails my nose and makes my eyes feel like they are going to glue shut. The sky basks in a saffron glow as the warehouse district burns.

    Hallie warned us for weeks about the impending dragon attacks. Everyone, sans me, thought she was mad. Thanks jerks, now where can I get kebabs since the Afghan place was just melted by winged fury?

    From my hiding spot in the storm sewer I track the three dragon’s methodical progress. Goodbye department store.

    Through the scope on my thirty-aught-six I see the intelligence in their eyes and the anger in their snarls. Their emotions control me. I know their pain.

    A well-placed shot in the eye may stop one, but I won’t fire.

    I want to experience what they feel.

    Sometimes the world has to burn.

    149 Words
    @michaelsimko1

  16. Finding Soren
    by Katrina Ray-Saulis

    The flames roared. She repeated the name low, occasionally yelling it down the cobblestoned streets.
    “Soren! SorenSorenSorenSorenSoren Soren!” She pulled her skirts in tight, the flames warming her cheeks. She screamed as a beam fell. She looked under every porch, down every alley. She knew her mother would be frantic, looking for her in the crowd of evacuated bakers, blacksmiths and grocers.
    “Soren Soren Soren.” An image flooded her mind. A broken window box. She ran down streets she’d known her whole life, chunks of burning charcoal falling around her. She didn’t even have to look, her hand found him easily under the window box. She hugged the orange cat close, his eyes wide.
    She clamored over crates in the alley and ran toward the cooler air of the sea. She coughed violently. She walked into the crowd with Soren, her community standing on the beach, watching their home burn.

    @kraysaulis

  17. Warming up

    What a wonderful day for a burning, she thought, rubbing her hands against the cold and stretching her wings.

    The sun was high in the sky, but the city below her rays was cold and silent. It had been deserted for days. There had been no more movement since the Rumble. The Rumble that she had caused. Buildings had toppled, cracked and split. She’d quite enjoyed the birthday ruckus. Who knew that an underground hatching could be so destructive?

    Well. They shouldn’t have built that metropolis on top of her egg, then, should they?

    She folded her wings back in, before they got too cold. She padded forward and cleared her throat. She took a deep breath and focused. With all her might, she breathed out.

    Triumphantly, she watched a single spark skitter and catch.

    After all, one good spark is all it takes to set the world on fire.

    Sandra C. Hessels
    @creativedifrnce
    Word count: 150

  18. Katie Morford
    @KLMorford
    149 words

    Grandfather said dragons are like the sun. Constant. Brilliantly shining. Bringing heat and life where their clawed feet tread. Holding back the cold night of space. If occasionally a spark escaped and set a building ablaze, well, it’s a small price to pay.

    I remember waking in my grandparent’s one-room cabin, shivering beneath my blankets. My breath rose in frosty clouds like dragon steam. I puffed, pretending to be Garond, the grumpy dragon over our section.

    Grandmama’s teacup clattered in its saucer, the cabin shuddering at Garond’s approach, and fire swept down the chimney and across the icy hearth, igniting the wood left in readiness. Grandmama clucked and swung her dented tea-kettle over the flames.

    Now the dragons are gone. Snuffed out. The world is cold and dark. Moonlight glimmers through the cabin’s broken window. I breathe, the moisture freezing, and watch the last ember in the hearth die.

  19. Reblogged this on Rereading Jane Eyre and commented:
    Hi to all my followers. As you know, I’ve been taking part in Flash Friday almost every week since last June. This Friday is Flashiversary, a special edition. Have a look and join in! By the way, have a wonderful weekend 💖

  20. Fingertips and Holy Fire
    150 words
    Van Demal
    @Van_Demal

    Oh, my beautiful boy! So pale, the candle too weak to lend your skin life’s glow. I heard the ghost of your summons, the muffled stroke against the bell, and Vespers not quite done. Not big enough, old enough to weigh the call as clamour. No, the whisper always was your censure.
    But how cold you looked, your toes curled, braced against a bridge of air. Did the bell-rope sting as it straightened?

    It’s the courage I lacked, you see, to step forward and ease your burden. I thought to comfort you only, give succour. How the smoke blackened the candle, the wax warping; one cannot feel its heat but be tainted. You’d think these vestments would resist any flame. There aren’t tears enough to douse this desire.
    I’ll wait a little longer with you, my beautiful boy. We’ll see from where my courage comes; no less than I deserve.

  21. Resubmit to fit with 150 word count (Thought it was 160 sorry!)

    Erin McCabe
    150 words
    @disturbiakiss

    Majesty

    “Mouse!”

    No longer sleeping at the end of her bed and now filling half the barn, the name seemed ridiculous.

    “They’re coming!”

    She pointed tiny trembling hands toward the terrifying rumble of military footfall. Strategically paced thuds swiftly transformed into clamorous cacophony, signaling our time was up.

    Bursting from the barn in a fury of splinters, I rained searing, bitter flame down upon them. Instantly the surrounding buildings spectacularly combusted, forming tall tinder pyres which plumed thick dark smoke, blocking out the sun.

    Feeling a spear pierce my side, I rose up and took flight, to travel far from the fray.

    The soldiers cheered; they had driven off the young dragon.

    In their celebration and under the cover of caustic darkness, they failed to see the child that disappeared into the woods, the child that would, in years to come, help me deliver a glorious end to their inglorious empire.

  22. Katie Morford
    @KLMorford
    150 words

    Grandfather said dragons are like the sun. Constant. Brilliantly shining. Bringing heat and life where their clawed feet tread. Holding back the cold night of space. If occasionally a spark escaped and set a building ablaze, well, it’s a small price to pay.

    I remember waking in my grandparent’s one-room cabin, shivering beneath my blankets. My breath rose in frosty clouds like dragon steam. I puffed, pretending to be Garond, the grumpy dragon over our section.

    Grandmama’s teacup clattered in its saucer, the cabin shuddering at Garond’s approach, and fire swept down the chimney and across the icy hearth, igniting the wood left in readiness. Grandmama clucked and swung her dented tea-kettle over the flames.

    Now the dragons are gone. Snuffed out. The world is cold and dark again. Moonlight glimmers through the cabin’s broken window. I breathe, the moisture freezing, and watch the last ember in the hearth die.

  23. Cardinal Spark

    Once the roof collapsed into the bigger fire below there was zero chance of saving the building. Henry considered all of the devotion that had gone into building the congregation up to the point where a capital campaign for the church would even be feasible. He had lost his commitment to his faith long ago, but thought this building would be a final gift to the believers he’d shepherded over the decade.

    Watching his church burn, Henry knew this was the retribution for his sins. He threw his clerical collar into the embers of one of the pews and watched it curl. The cinders kicked up again. A gold wedding ring had been thrown into the fire in the same place. He looked over and remembered Sheila was with him. She rested her head on his cheek and whispered into his hear “Do you like what I’ve done for us?”

    150 Words
    @BradyTheWriter

  24. Cardinal Spark

    Once the roof collapsed into the bigger fire below there was zero chance of saving the building. Henry considered all of the devotion that had gone into building the congregation up to the point where a capital campaign for the church would even be feasible. He had lost his commitment to his faith long ago, but thought this building would be a final gift to the believers he’d shepherded over the decade.

    Watching his church burn, Henry knew this was the retribution for his sins. He threw his clerical collar into the embers of one of the pews and watched it curl. The cinders kicked up again. A gold wedding ring had been thrown into the fire in the same place. He looked over and remembered Sheila was with him. She rested her head on his cheek and whispered into his ear “Do you like what I’ve done for us?”

    150 Words
    @BradyTheWriter

  25. Hunting
    150 words
    Robert J Becraft, castlewrks@aol.com

    “Marshmallows!” screamed in his mind. He breathed deeply, the stench of burning wood filled his nostrils as the heat from the fire below billowed around him, buffeting him on its violent drafts.

    Nothing.

    He sucked in deeply, the rage within built to a tremendous crescendo, and fire spewed from his nostrils, engulfing more of the buildings. He drifted upwards, letting the conflagration build below him. As he felt the lift wane, he twisted at the crest of his arch and glided back over the newly inflamed area gathering speed.

    “OH!” peaked his senses, a growing scent focused his intent.

    “Joy! Rapture!”, filled his head as he tucked and rolled, honing in on the spot the scent was originating from, droll dripping like the fire.

    CRUNCH! His hide crumpled under the searing burn of a ballista bolt.

    Falling, he died. The wizard watched in triumph, “that is how you hunt dragons!”

  26. Enough
    @EmilyJuneStreet
    150 words

    Tommy O’Brien had had enough. He hid his supplies in the church’s narthex and headed to the vestry to change into his altar boy robes, checking that he wasn’t too early.

    Too early was when the unspeakable happened.

    Too early was Ryan Lynch, sniffling outside the vestry, shocked and empty-eyed—a look Tommy knew too well.

    “Get outta here, Ryan.” Tommy’s face hardened. “I mean it. Is the priest here?” He gestured at the closed vestry door. He would not call the man Father.

    Ryan nodded, wide-eyed.

    “Anyone else?

    “No.”

    “Then get lost.”

    After Ryan departed, Tommy returned to the narthex and opened his jugs of fire-starting fluid.

    No more cloying, dirty fingers.

    Tommy poured generously throughout the front nave.

    No more admonitions to keep God’s little secrets.

    He stepped into the church entrance.

    No more sin and shame and silence.

    He struck a match.

    Threw it.

    He’d had enough.

  27. Foy, d.b.
    @db_foy
    Word Count: 150

    Angels Twice Fallen

    White bone protrudes from black rubble. Touching a phalanx, I read the corpse then scribble on none-combustible paper.

    Female, 5, Hannah K.

    Above, fire curls along the rooftops, belching smoke into air.
    Light creating darkness.
    Even my skin, charred by millennia of hellfire, shrinks from this heat.
    Abaddon’s, at least, is a righteous flame.

    This is unholy.
    Its smell, putrid, fueled by human iniquities: avarice, hatred, self-regard.

    “How’d it start?” Seir watches the destruction, bewildered.
    This is his first Gathering.

    “Insurance fraud.”

    Mortals scream and scurry, wasting half-empty buckets of precious water on the unquenchable. By nightfall everything will be flame-eaten.

    “One mortal’s greed cost 37 souls.”

    Demons? Maybe we used to be, when their fear fed us.
    These days, we’re nothing more than Collectors.

    “Does His Majesty need help?”

    I snort. Beelzebub has harvested souls since man could expire.
    He reveals in it.

    “We just do the bookkeeping, Seir.”

  28. Resubmit for sneaky misspelling.

    Foy, d.b.
    @db_foy
    Word Count: 150

    Angels Twice Fallen

    White bone protrudes from black rubble. Touching a phalanx, I read the corpse then scribble on none-combustible paper.

    Female, 5, Hannah K.

    Above, fire curls along the rooftops, belching smoke into air.
    Light creating darkness.
    Even my skin, charred by millennia of hellfire, shrinks from this heat.
    Abaddon’s, at least, is a righteous flame.

    This is unholy.
    Its smell, putrid, fueled by human iniquities: avarice, hatred, self-regard.

    “How’d it start?” Seir watches the destruction, bewildered.
    This is his first Gathering.

    “Insurance fraud.”

    Mortals scream and scurry, wasting half-empty buckets of precious water on the unquenchable. By nightfall everything will be flame-eaten.

    “One mortal’s greed cost 37 souls.”

    Demons? Maybe we used to be, when their fear fed us.
    These days, we’re nothing more than Collectors.

    “Does His Majesty need help?”

    I snort. Beelzebub has harvested souls since man could expire.
    He revels in it.

    “We just do the bookkeeping, Seir.”

  29. MAGGIE’S LEFT HAND

    They say blood from the left hand travels straight to the heart.

    “Did you notice anything unusual Monday morning, ma’am?”

    “No, Samuel was late for school and left in a rush. We didn’t speak.”

    “What about his demeanor – did he seem agitated? Upset?”

    “Not really, like I said, he rushed out.”

    “Any fights with other students, problems with teachers?”

    “Not that I know of.”

    Maggie’s pulse pounds in her left wrist and her forehead. Her arm aches.

    The officer stands. “Thank you for speaking with us, Mrs. McCabe. You understand, we have to piece together what happened at the school – no one is accusing your son. You understand…”

    “Yes, thank you.”

    “We’re very sorry for your loss.”

    “Thank you.”

    The officer nods and makes his exit. The screen door slams shut.

    Maggie peels open her stiffened fingers. The crumpled journal page expands.

    I WILL BURN YOU ALL DOWN.

    ———-
    @betsystreeter
    150 words

  30. Hot and Cold
    @hollygeely
    150 words

    The fire roared with a ferocity that matched the pain in Sammun’s heart. Flames hungrily devoured buildings as they ran. Sammun whispered his brother’s name in the smoke.

    “Stop narrating,” Elwyn said.

    “I’m almost done.”

    The screams were not those of innocents. Those who had not partaken of Oscar’s beating had stood by to watch. They had restrained Sammun while he tried to help.

    Behind them, the city burned.

    “You’re such a minstrel.”

    “I have to record this. You didn’t have to come.”

    “You know I did.”

    Elwyn’s eyes filled with tears. His beloved Oscar’s only crime had been trying to leave the cult he was born into, so that he might be with his one true love.

    “Stop it, Sammun.”

    “They say revenge leads to regret,” Sammun said.

    Elwyn thought of Oscar’s broken body, cold underground. The fire’s heat washed away his pain. He was certain “they” were wrong.

  31. Fury
    (150 words)

    His fever burns tonight. They see it blister on his brow. They see its dark flash behind his eyes. On nights like these, soft shod, he advances up the hall.

    His oily hair makes marks on both their pillows. Questions to Mama in the morning will go unanswered. Their spirits wholly crushed, beads of sweat send up their involuntary petition, and each of them – especially the older of the two – feels the shame of wishing him on the other. Feeling the heat of Hell on her cheeks, she imagines herself incendiary: igniting, her flames tearing up his desire; cauterising, pain a fading ember.

    When they’ve run out of hope and hall, they feign sleep – clumps of bedcover eaten up in their small hands.
    His wet breath is just outside. He takes a moment to himself, left or right, tonight …?

    But in a blaze of glorious fury, his elder daughter strikes.

  32. Witches and Dragons
    @voimaoy
    150 words

    It had been a hot, dry summer, and even one tiny spark could start a fire. In the towns made of wood, the people blamed the witches. In the cities of stone, they blamed the dragons.

    A river of fire flowed down the narrow streets, as the people marched with torches. “Kill the witches!” Boots and pounding on the closed wooden doors. They found no witches, only sleepy families in night clothes. Her family was one of them. Her mother held her close before she sent her away.

    Wordless, everyone watched the tongues of fire lick at the rooftops. Some saw witches in the smoke, some saw dragons flying.

    She held the hand of a stranger as they climbed the rocks. Flowers of fire bloomed behind them. Ahead were the rising mountains. In her mind, she could see the way, hidden in the mist. Here, they would find the dragons.

  33. Phoenix in the Flames

    Beneath her skin sweat glands went into overdrive, clambering to offload the body’s heat. Overactive olfactory nerves jolted her awake and she turned her head. Orangey red glow. An aroma of something melting (human flesh?) hit her and she baulked, retching into the darkness. In the flash and flicker of the flames memories started to trickle back – Kit saying it would be okay, her mother’s last kiss, the unbelievable booms and bluster of the explosions.

    She tried to rise, pushing at the ground to lever herself up. Swirls of nausea caught at her throat. Questions flew around unanswered. Unanswerable; where was Kit? Her mother? Anyone.

    Impossible to go towards the burning buildings. The heat was volcanic strength. Shimmer and haze. Crackles and bangs of the shifting structures. She squinted through the smoke – was that something moving?

    She peered, her eyes straining in the crisp dry air.
    Yes.
    A shape.
    Kit.

    150 words
    @pamjplumb

  34. Onslaught
    Greg Duncan
    @gregduncan8
    Word Count: 150

    Too late, oh no, too late! My God, I should have been here sooner, no one to warn them. Alex slumped against a nearby tree, his thoughts a confused anguished jumble. If only I could have run a little faster! He rubbed his red weary eyes with ash covered hands. He had run as fast as he could, hoping against hope that he’d be able to get there first. As he stared into the burning rubble, he wondered if it had been quick. Had they seen anything coming? Were they able to hide? Could someone still be alive in there? If only… If only…
    As his initial shock began to fade, Alex could feel another emotion begin to well within him, sheer unadulterated rage, the kind of anger only quelled by blood revenge. As his hand tightened on the hilt of his sword, he knew exactly what he must do.

  35. Good Eats
    (150 words)

    Once upon a time I enjoyed camping. It was fun drive to a nearby park, get the hookups done and awning out, set a fire in the fire pit, and meet the folks next door. Weekends away with all the comforts of home.

    I miss that.

    Now, because the grid is no more, and public services have all but shut down, it’s all hand-pumping water and no TV. Permanent rough camping, for pure survival. No stores are open; if you don’t kill it or pick it you just don’t eat. Life is heavy.

    We don’t even know who we’re fighting anymore. It used to be ‘Them,’ but now I fear it’s more ‘us,’ which is what they wanted in the first place. Let us annihilate ourselves, then this planet will be ripe for the picking.

    We’re the fat luscious low-hanging fruit for a voracious hunger. They have won. It’s over.

  36. “Human Essence”
    John Mark Miller – 100 words
    @JohnMark_Miller

    Scorching heat seared his back as Seth stumbled into the courtyard of the Intergalactic Observatory. It seemed the entire planet was in flames, and according to holonet reports, this would be true soon enough.

    The crazy part was, they had known. The minute Earth had opened communication with a higher species the United Government had predicted an attack, but never this.

    Their planet…charred to ash.

    Their race…obliterated.

    Seth ignited the Phoenix Rocket and sent it blazing into the sky. It held historical records of mankind’s greatest accomplishments – on a single microchip. Perhaps, eons later, man would be remembered.

    And reborn.

    • (Ack! How did I miss this about the word count? I’m sending off this resubmission… my only hope!)

      “Human Essence”
      John Mark Miller – 150 words
      @JohnMark_Miller

      Scorching heat seared his back as Seth stumbled into the courtyard of the Intergalactic Observatory. It seemed the entire planet was in flames, and according to holonet reports, this would be true soon enough. Seth held his breath, fighting the urge to inhale the venomous fumes.

      The crazy part was, they had known. The minute Earth had opened communication with a higher species, the masses had feared aggression. The United Government had predicted an attack, but never this.

      Their planet…charred to ash.

      Their race…obliterated.

      Seth made it to the hangar at last and entered the launch codes. Once ignited the Phoenix Rocket blazed into the sky, carrying with it the hope of mankind. It held historical records of mankind’s greatest discoveries and achievements – the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, paintings and compositions – all on a thumb-sized microchip. Perhaps, eons later, it would be discovered. Perhaps they would be remembered.

      And reborn.

  37. Dragon Lore 101
    Evan Montegarde
    150 words

    Egbert knew raising a dragon hatchling was a bad idea. Typically they grow up, very up. But he thought it was an immense newt anyway.

    As Newt matured there were incendiary issues: the consumption of the church was unfortunate, torching of the brothel beyond forgiveness, but the incineration of the pub, well, Newt had to die.

    “Kill, kill,” the mob chanted until Newt unleashed a fury of searing flame and fleeing appeared the more appropriate response.

    Egbert glumly entered exile.

    After many decades, Egbert learned his homeland was besieged by the barbarous Throg, Newt and Egbert flew into action. The mere sight of the massive dragon sent the incredulous Throg fleeing in panic. They had been taught in their rigorous schools that all fantasy was a crock.

    The elated populous fell about the dragon and old man in glee; and from that day, Dragon Lore warranted four semesters in Throgia.

  38. A Shadow in the Blackness
    @chriswhitewrite – 150 words, exactly

    The smoke rose. Flames licked at houses stacked like kindling – such beautiful colours – and screams rang out, cut off by the sudden, jolting

    crash

    of falling timber and collapsed masonry. The heat pushes gently at the membranes of my wings, granting me flight, and the once-cold iron that bound my ankles warms and warps, bending as I pull my legs free. I rake at the cobblestones beneath my feet, gouging loose the stones, and bellow into the night – my guards are busy, struggling to douse the orange tongues I cast about myself, my shield – and I let the warmth take me, carrying me upward into the night.

    I am a shadow in the blackness, a scar on the night sky.

    They flock to the church, scared little birds, watching their village burn.

    I swoop, wings folded back.

    I am death, I am destruction.

    I am vengeance.

  39. Seeds of Vengeance

    To keep breathing now seems hopeless.

    It was me they were supposed to punish—to burn. But they didn’t.
    In return for my speech, I paid a grander price than what my meaningless life could offer.

    The ropes dug into my flesh as the regiment tied me to a pole, the very place where I raised our town’s flag. It flapped in the breeze, proclaiming the need for a reawakening—for returned freedoms. But that emblem only lasted until the sun rose.

    Forced to watch from the tower, I was protected from the heat below. But not from the screams, from the smell of scorched flesh.

    My friends. My family. My town. Gone.

    They were my reasons why I spoke out against King James in the beginning.
    He thought killing many over one would end the revolt.
    But sparing me was a miscalculation.

    I’m choosing life.
    Because life brings revenge.

    @meganbesing
    150 words

  40. The Devil is in the Details
    @mfieldswriter
    150 Words

    The fire didn’t bother her, it was the wooden spool smoking in the foreground—what was it doing there?

    “Why’d you put that in?” Lucinda tapped her pencil on the print, leaving little divots in the paper while Shelly fidgeted beside her desk. So annoying.

    “Well, I thought you said you wanted something round in flames.”

    Lucinda dropped her pencil and considered the pitiful excuse for an intern taking up space in her office.

    “I said something around the flames. Not round. I don’t want a picture of just fire, that’s my point.”

    Shelly dropped her eyes. “Oh.”

    “Jesus. Just get it out of there.” Lucinda flung the print at Shelly and watched with satisfaction as the girl scrabbled to catch it.

    This client demanded nothing less than perfection. She was advertising Hell after all. She shouted after Shelly’s retreating form.

    “Take out the telephone poles while you’re at it!”

  41. Pyromaniac
    personalvapes@gmail.com
    150 words

    Flame.
    Orange against black. Subtle licks of cerulean, scarlet, saffron and emerald flare into being to vanish in an instant without a trace. Elongated fingers of incandescence stretch into the void to momentarily paint their essence onto the obsidian night sky.

    Inferno.
    It is alive with movement – sliding, shifting, waving, weaving – its hypnotic, primal dance both beautiful and terrible as it crafts a timeless, mesmerizing, elemental ballet of destruction.

    Blaze.
    The voice of combustion, a low, throaty growling howl of clean air transformed to sweltering luminescence, whispering secret desires into the ears of those who worship it.

    Immolation.
    They listen, comprehending the flare’s song in that most primitive portion of the brain. They stare, glassy-eyed and slack-jawed, into the complex twisting leap and swirl of the living flame. They are powerless to resist the compelling demands of spark, ember, pyre.

    Intentional.
    Some men just need to watch the world burn.

  42. Fire consumed her childhood home, eating away at the memories held within its walls, the immense brightness of the flames flaring intensely against the dark of the night. Her mouth lifted up in a small smile at the sight. No longer would the horrors within that wretched place haunt her, for he was finally gone, lost in the inferno. She turned her head at the sound of sirens coming up the drive and clenched her small fist tightly against the box of matches inside it, putting on the face of a child stricken by fear. No one would suspect her in this, for in their eyes, she was an innocent. Pure. Incapable of murder. A fierce anger rose in her heart at the word. Murder was too good for him. The man who beat her. The man who raped her. The man everyone revered. Now Hell would be his punishment.

    @bookwormattack

    150 words

  43. Cleansing
    @AFOdom
    150 words

    “It’s burning!” Sasha’s hood fell as she ran to me, revealing clean skin.

    “I see that.”

    “What shall we do, Mother?”

    “Nothing.”

    “They’ll die!”

    “That’s the point.”

    “But… what… I don’t…”

    Idiot. She’d lit the overfilled sconces herself. Enforcing blind obedience had resulted in a dirth of critical thinking.

    I watched the flames lick their way up the towers.

    “We could have saved them.” Her eyes watered. “Brought them back.”

    I slapped her, and she stumbled. “Don’t be daft. You cannot save what has already died once.”

    Sasha held her cheek and sniveled. “But Father Henry said –”

    I slapped her again. Harder. She yelped, dropping to her knees. “That’s why he’s burning in there, you child.”

    “But the baby –”

    “Bit him. He should have listened and thrown it in the hearthfire at the start.”

    Sasha glared at me, spitting words through her tears. “You are brutal.”

    “And alive.”

  44. @stellakateT
    150 words

    Flames of Life

    The fire crackled and danced, illuminating the night with huge vermillion flames. It wasn’t the first time she seen fire fall from the sky. She was eleven when she saw the bombs falling, hitting the ground with a deafening force. They were searching for her kind. She’d breathed fire as a tiny child begging her Dad to make her a dragon just like him. Her Mum didn’t understand their primeval need but when others sought to destroy her family she fought courageously but lost faith in her own mankind.

    Tonight shadows on the floorboards belly dance in circular movements, empty plates, mugs upturned, knives and forks scattered. She stands proud and waits, the party is finally over. The battle is lost but the war is not won. Everyone celebrating tonight would get her wish to be reborn by fire. She feels herself disintergrate, a thousand smithereens exploding into new life.

  45. OUT OF THE FIRE

    Brian S Creek
    150 words
    @Brian S Creek
    #FlashDog

    How much longer do I keep searching?

    The sun drops below the burning rooftops as the chaos soaked city pushes its smoking blanket into the sky.

    If I was alone I would never give up looking for her but my boy needs me now. He’s been the centre of my universe for the last two years and now it seems I will be the centre of his.

    “Be smart,” Sarah would say. “Do whatever it takes to protect our son.”

    Easier said than done during the end of the world.

    I’m drowning in uncertainty, scared that these fires are burning far beyond the city and scared that my boy won’t love me. Sarah was the person he’d go to first. He loved her before he knew what love was.

    The wind changes. The smoke turns its attention to us.

    I squeeze my son tight and walk away from our home.

  46. For He’s a Jolly Good Dragon

    “You overdid it, Jerry. As usual.”

    “What? Give me a break, Dean.”

    “These nice folks bring you a cake for your second birthday and look what you do.”

    “Hey, it’s my party and I spit fire if I want to.”

    “The candles were already lit, Jerry.”

    “Okay, so maybe I wanted to add a little pizzazz to the festive atmosphere.”

    “Seriously? Is that your explanation for incinerating over 300 people on a market square? With everything else on it? For over decades dragons and humans have been living together peacefully. And now this.”

    “I’m sorry, Dean.”

    “There’s no excuse for being an idiot, Jerry.”

    “Is that the sound of sirens?”

    “What do you think? The cavalry is coming. Time to go in hiding again. And while we’re flying away, don’t snap at the helicopters, okay? You’ve already made a big enough mess as it is. Happy birthday, Jerry. Happy birthday.”

    150 words
    @bartvangoethem
    #flashdog

  47. Showdown
    150 words

    Luna’s jet ripped through the smoke, but it wasn’t fast enough. Thousands had already burned. “No more! Tonight, Orochi dies!”

    She rolled to dodge a tongue of flame from the mechanical wyrm, and fired a missile straight down its maw to little effect. She was relieved to see impacts on two of the monster’s other heads.

    “Adam! Michiru! Formation Alpha!”

    All three screamed “Combine! Guardian Susanoo!” as three machines became one unbelievable warrior.

    Orochi ignored the steel samurai and spat a fireball at the hospital. Susanoo dashed into the projectile’s path and drew the Sword of Storms. The flames danced around the heavenly blade until it glowed red. The blades on the robot’s left gauntlet extended and were connected by a plasma bowstring. The trio fired their sword as an arrow straight into the fusion reactor that was the dragon’s heart. The beast fell to Earth, into its own inferno.

  48. Into the Night.

    We shake our fists at the monsters, fire our futile bullets. Overhead they stream, screaming ‘Burn’, dropping nascent napalm upon us. Tossed in explosions, we burst into flame.
    Yet I live. I know this because my fingers claw at the scorched earth; and I feel the remnant heat of combusted clothing. Hand by hand I drag my bruised, blood-slicked body away from the tyrant’s rain.
    I’d run, just in time; should have done sooner.
    I can smell… bacon?
    Oh, that it might rain… real rain. Water.
    Instead, beneath the blackened crust that I scrape, there is only dust. We can’t drink dust; can’t eat it.
    Streets of broken houses mock through the drifting fumes. I push on, the way littered with bodies; and guns.
    And a flask.
    I drink… a little; no waste. It is water.
    Crawl on, near the flame, don’t be seen; into the night.
    I will survive.

    @CliveNewnham – 150 words

  49. “My Dresden”
    by Michael Seese
    150 words

    The war is almost over.

    I stand among the ashes that once were my future, and ask the questions that don’t want to be answered.

    Why?

    Why me?

    Iron vultures circle overhead, ogling their target. The bombardment leaves me blind, deaf, and tasting steel. Wave after wave have made me weak, numb, tired.

    So tired.

    There is no pain greater than watching, helpless, as your childhood crumbles. But I no longer possess the strength for depression. Anger bled from me long ago. I’ve come to accept that the world has given up on me. It’s moved on. I should do the same.

    My parents call me their “brave little soldier.” They don’t understand how the chemotherapy turns my insides to mush, and the radiation treatments set my brain on fire. So I say I’m doing fine. For their sake.

    The war is almost over. I look forward to the surrender.

  50. Nightmare
    (WC 157)

    An alarm clock, “Tic-toc-toc-tic-tic-toc,” that dali-fies into the head of one-eyed lop-eared cat, hiss-yowling.

    A door ups from nowhere, until it’s so tall, the knob could not be reached.

    But under the door, I see the city; flames frantically dancing like the natives from a 60’s Tarzan movie. Above, the sky are dressed scarily beautiful in a sooty orange kissed robe.

    “Wake-up, it’s a dream.” Good dream, I feel it and taste it.

    Cat ears become bells. The alarm clock rings with a hiss-yowling scream, “Tic-toc-toc- tic, wake-up, wake-up!”

    Sitting up, I breath something like hot burning dirt.

    “Fire! Fire!”

    I crawl to the door. My mother, nightgown at her waist, hurdles me while carrying the baby. My father bursts through a screened window in saggy yellowed boxers and a t-shirt, my brother wrapped safely in a blanket.

    Forgotten in the panic, I hide in the bushes, scared that someone will see me in my briefs..

    • Hi William! Thanks for your awesome story! I don’t want to leave this out of the competition, it looks great, but would you be able to edit it back to 150 words exactly per the instructions at the top of the page? I will then send it on to the Dragoness for her fiery observation. 🙂 Thanks!

      • Nightmare
        (WC 150)

        An alarm clock, “Tic-toc-toc-tic-tic-toc,” dali-fies into the head of one-eyed lop-eared cat, hiss-yowling.

        A door ups from nowhere, until it’s so tall, the knob can’t be reached.

        But under the door, I see the city; flames frantically dancing like the natives from a 60’s Tarzan movie. Above, the sky is dressed scarily beautiful in a sooty orange kissed robe.

        “Wake-up, it’s a dream.” Good dream, I feel it and taste it.

        Cat ears become alarm clock bells that ring in a hiss-yowling scream, “Tic-toc-toc-tic, wake-up, wake-up!”

        Sitting up, I breathe something like hot burning dirt.

        “Fire! Fire!”

        I crawl outside. My mother, nightgown at her waist, hurdles me, while carrying the baby. My father bursts through a screened window, superman in saggy yellowed boxers and a t-shirt, my brother wrapped safely in a blanket.

        Forgotten in panic, I hide in the bushes, scared someone will see me in my briefs.

  51. Memories Ignite

    A murder of crows sliced the silence. A poetic caw, but not a metaphor.

    Days spent as a stranger in her own freckled flesh and glasses too large for her face were recalled in an instant. Falling off her bicycle, flunking weekly spelling assignments, she’d done little right in her youth.

    Concealing the outward appearance of her imperfections became necessary. Self-taught makeup application and contact lenses facilitated the transformation. Her practiced smile plastered to reveal nothing; a mask for crooked teeth.

    Her misused armor trapped the enemy inside.

    Books became her Trojan horse. She tucked notes in margins and memorized vexatious vocabulary for the pop quizzes her father adored.

    Memories clung as pyre of her past.

    “Stupid, stupid, stupid—” The delayed match, her father’s raucous words struck.

    Smoke, like her childhood, left a grimy film and permeated the paint used to conceal.

    She was burning, burning with self-loathing.

    150 words
    @blackinkpinkdsk

  52. Fading embers, by Mark Driskill
    Word Count 150
    “Not again! Elvin, I warned you to hold your breath when diving inverted! Now look!” Alva, the dragon master, burned her eyes into his.
    “This is the fourth village you’ve incinerated this week!”
    “Elvin, please don’t sob. Ugh!”
    Is anything more pitiful than a snotting, blubbering dragon? Alva and Elvin surveyed the charred ruins. The sun melting into the smoldering horizon leaving a ghost-like silhouette of a shire turned crematorium.
    Alva’s blackened hands stroked the dragonet to sleep. One charcoal tear etched down her cracked cheek bone moistening the ash below. Elvin was her final student, after 127 years of training dragons. “No more.”
    She ached for poor Elvin. He would never join the proud ranks of the dragon warriors. He was dying, just like the ruins before them. Alva reached down with a gentle kiss and said goodbye. Then taking her final breath, they both faded into the night.

  53. “The Runner”
    By M. J. Kelley (@themjkelley)
    149 words

    In the morning, skeletal buildings puffed smoke from their charred innards. He ran between them, wearing yellow shorts, his shoelaces lime.

    Rubble littered and buried the streets. Distant gunshots echoed.

    He ran before soldiers sitting on a tank, their heads rising from breakfast plates.

    In the plaza, his cleats crunched blackened tourist trinkets. He shuddered.

    He ran by the park, its trees leafless, their trunks black masts against an overcast canopy.

    He passed the perfume shop, its scents now blended into one foul odor, glass bottles merged into twisted, ashen sculptures.

    He vomited in an alley, hiding so soldiers wouldn’t see.

    Endorphin high, he flew along the canal, throwing forward his numb, rubberized legs. The canal held nothing. He had ordered it drained.

    “Remove the water. Burn the city,” he had ordered.

    He ran on, lungs heavy with soot. Charred drapes rippled overhead. He swore they whispered his name.

  54. Nightmare
    (WC 150)

    An alarm clock, “Tic-toc-toc-tic-tic-toc,” dali-fies into the head of one-eyed lop-eared cat, hiss-yowling.

    A door ups from nowhere, until it’s so tall, the knob can’t be reached.

    But under the door, I see the city; flames frantically dancing like the natives from a 60’s Tarzan movie. Above, the sky is dressed scarily beautiful in a sooty orange kissed robe.

    “Wake-up, it’s a dream.” Good dream, I feel it and taste it.

    Cat ears become alarm clock bells that ring in a hiss-yowling scream, “Tic-toc-toc-tic, wake-up, wake-up!”

    Sitting up, I breathe something like hot burning dirt.

    “Fire! Fire!”

    I crawl outside. My mother, nightgown at her waist, hurdles me, while carrying the baby. My father bursts through a screened window, superman in saggy yellowed boxers and a t-shirt, my brother wrapped safely in a blanket.

    Forgotten in panic, I hide in the bushes, scared someone will see me in my briefs.

  55. Fire with Fire

    Double-glazed windows smother the raging howl outside. Embered glows push past elephant curtains to tickle your cheeks. You sleep through the horror that will soon find us.

    Heroes are not born. They’re carved from necessity.

    When the abomination hunched over the horizon, I knew I couldn’t keep running. The dark alien fire blistered the sky and ravaged the land. Worse yet: it sank imperceptibly into flesh to devour the tiny flicker of human soul and increase itself.

    Filling street cleaners with gasoline, detonating gas stations, torching structures—all necessities, heroic or not. Fire to break open flesh and release the sparks before the black flames could get at them. I released thousands.

    Thousands were easy compared to this. In the nursery, surrounded by circus animals. Dark fire on our threshold. Petrol stings the air. Necessity is harder when it has a face. Yours, sheltered in sleep. Mine, lit by match-light.

    Nancy Chenier
    150 words
    @rowdy_phantom

  56. “Egoistically so”

    These hands – look at them; coal fingers writing uneven lines, words fading black to grey, to a transparent ask for help.

    Slow down; follow the parched lips as they spit ashes which hide diamonds. Feel the smoked skin radiate longing and fear the heat of it.

    Stare into smoke-filled eyes, tempest clouds orbiting a depth that is frightening; they cry tears which vanish.

    That raging, bright flame which curls the hair, touch it.

    A touch…

    Perhaps that would make you a little like me, so you could understand ill fate told as sin, a child of Man accused the monster in the corner of your life; maybe if you had held a hand you wouldn’t have to gasp and watch me burn, that red bottle of gasoline at my feet, the flames in my mouth; like a dragon breathing out all of me for you.

    See, sense, inhale, savor.

    150 words
    @Raptamei

  57. Kate
    @gorgeous_jaan
    149 words

    Amber flares and bloody hell
    At the place my home once were
    I am burning it myself
    For the better I should say
    I was born here
    Fell in love
    Here I also lost my heart…
    I met Djinn one summer night
    He seduced me with his eyes
    Fire mixed with sparkling ice
    Smile was promising delight
    Who could knew he was my knight
    Guardian of dragon’s light
    I was carrying deep within
    Our meeting was pure sin
    This forbidden spicy love
    Lasted ninety summer nights…
    We met under cherry tree
    Where we shared our first real kiss
    After that we shared much more
    Opening a whole new world…
    People thought he took my soul
    Stupid creatures feared unknown
    I was their princess after all
    Now I’m burning my own home…
    I will never forgive or forget
    The despair that I felt
    When my lover was caught in lamp…

      • Thank you for kind words 🙂 Glad you enjoyed ^_^ I can add title if there is still time for it 🙂 Sorry that I haven’t read accurately at first =)

      • I got it all wrong again *blush* sorry… I’m new to such contests :/ I fixed it dividing I’m into I am (from the 3rd try I got it) Thanks a lot for your message & sorry I couldn’t do it right from the first time ^_^

    • Lovely, Kate, as always. Though I knew from the start it would not end well, I’d still hoped. Those last three lines really ring true. I don’t mind when my protagonist takes a turn as the “bad guy”. And I’m so happy to see you here! 🙂

      • Thanks, Jess 🙂 Your words mean a lot to me ^_^ Glad you enjoyed & maybe there is still hope for them to be together one day – I want to think so 😉 & I’m actually quite excited when protagonists balance on the scales of being good & bad at the same time and you are left to decide it on your own who he/she really is 🙂
        I’m happy I was able to join you here too 😉

  58. Divided Loyalties.

    Ash and embers drifted on an autumn breeze driven by the monasteries flames. Where hot sparks fell on abandoned barley they flared anew, devouring crops which sustained life, instead of that succoured by it.
    On a small crest the King’s men sat on their horses and watched the conflagration.
    “He’ll be pleased,” said Malachi.
    “Yar, he will,” Thomas responded.
    “Another nest of filth cleared.”
    “Yar.” Thomas spat.
    Malachi grinned. “So long as we get food and coin, ay.”
    Thomas nodded. An ember the size of a florin lit on his shoulder and he brushed it away urgently, not wanting his cloak to ignite. “Food and coin, yar.”
    Near the transept door a figure writhed in flames.
    “Filthy Papist,” muttered Thomas.
    The sun dropped below the horizon leaving flames to haunt the dark. Malachi watched the remote figure shudder its last. He stuck his short sword deep into Thomas, and genuflected.

    @clivetern

    150 words

  59. “Hellfire” by Mary Cain (word count 150)

    Scorching heat replaced the summer breeze, and the scent of roses and candy melted into poisonous fumes, black smoke seeking to devour the sun. The sirens blared out amid the screams and gunfire. Another bang in the distance shook the earth as the girl started to run.

    Her heart pounded against her chest, and her throat tightened as the smoke wrapped its dark form around her small neck.

    The brick building to her right rumbled as a crescendo of booms echoed through the town. She froze when the next boom hit closer, then again.

    A blast slammed into her, knocking her to the ground.

    “You get her?” a rough voice said.

    “Like shootin’ fish in a barrel.”

    “Let’s move on then.”

    As they stomped away, the girl opened her eyes. She saw the gravel path to the sewer and began crawling.

  60. Heel
    @Jim_M848
    150 words.

    Ash isn’t a man, it’s not pieces of a man. If it was, I had him in my pocket.

    In the office again, she immediately saw the intruder on his desk and lifted my device like Yorick. Feigned confusion secreted true perplexion, “A snow globe?” she fluttered laughingly then playfully shook it.

    “Fire globe”

    It ignited.

    Her breath caught with the tiny building inside. As it swam in flames her eyes engulfed, her stomach lengthened. She drew taller as by a noose at her neck, chewed something she didn’t have.

    I studied the nails on my left hand. Right on holster, ready.

    “Mum….” she started.

    She smiled at me in that way like soon all of tomorrow will just be yesterday, what does this matter?

    She’d burnt him. Why else would she be back in my life?

    The words above the rainbow above the waterfall read ‘Today WILL. BE. Different’.

  61. The Fire This Time

    We should have left earth before it started to burn. No, before the ones left behind burned it.

    We had decades to figure it out, and that should have been enough. That would have been enough except for those who denied the science. They wanted it to burn, to fulfill prophesy.

    The first obvious fact was everyone couldn’t go, and we tried to be fair in the choosing. Rules look good on paper, but the truth is money rules all. However, the one-percent will find wealth means nothing in cryo-sleep.

    Before we all close our eyes to wake a century or two or seven from now on a new earth, one it’ll take us some time to burn, we left the communications channels open to remind us what we’d done. We listened to the earth dying.

    But, oh God, when we sleep, will we still hear the screaming?

    Maggie Duncan
    @unspywriter

  62. Declan Rules
    (150 words, entry 2)

    Declan really wanted the bad thing, the thing Daddy liked the least of all the things Daddy didn’t like about Declan. But Declan couldn’t help it, and the older he got the more he wanted it. It made him feel good in a way nothing, not even food or sleep, could.

    Declan couldn’t fight the bad thing. It’s not easy to fight something as strong as cigar smoke and dense as peat. Declan was as dense as peat himself, but no match for the bad thing. It had to be done.

    Declan crouched behind the church, reached into his pants, and pulled out the bad thing. So pretty in the afternoon light, so dangerous in his hand. Declan wanted it to go off, to burst, to sear in delicious shame. The bad thing was going to happen, Declan had no control.

    He lit the match, and set yet another fire.

  63. Burn With Me
    (150 words)

    They demanded I repent when I had done no wrong. Dragged from my home at the city’s edge, starved, and beaten, but still I would not give them the satisfaction. As the magistrate tied my hands and gave me one final chance at redemption, a laugh pushed painfully through swollen lips was my only answer.

    They called me heathen, demon, witch.

    The magistrate grinned down, eyes fulgid with excitement, not pity nor the slightest regret, “Fire is the purest way to die.”

    But I knew the truth. There was nothing pure about fire. Skin and hair would sizzle and crack, eyes would melt, and no scream would ever seem enough to match the pain.

    They lit my pyre and smoke began to fill my lungs. I died before the worst of it. But this town will not be so lucky. One last whispered spell and they all burn with me.

    ~Taryn Noelle Kloeden
    @tnkloeden

  64. “Phoenix”
    150 words

    Mom couldn’t stop crying. As if her tears could abate the flames. Even as they devoured what was once the kitchen the firemen knew there wasn’t any hope. We stood watching.
    It wasn’t the house she lamented but the pictures. Years of her family, lost. Nothing left to remember them, to remember him.

    Much like the surgery that failed to save Dad, sometimes the good had to be sacrificed to remove the bad. They’d promised to repair the damage, a clean slate…a new life. But sometimes the infection’s too great. Instead of a slowly removing the bandage, the sting of a fast pull is best.

    Smoke—flecks of memories—veiled the sun as I pulled out my phone. I snapped photos, as many as I could. We’d gather up the ashes, put them on a new mantle somewhere far away. Like a phoenix, burn away the old to start again.

  65. A Time to Reap

    I have made of my home a wasteland. Where once there was beauty, I have wrought ruin. Where once fields teemed with life, I have sown salt and lye. The gently flowing stream, laced with arsenic. The air, sulfur and brimstone. And I have done so proudly, for I serve a noble cause. My marriage bed, a crucifictorium; I drove the nails in without hesitation. The nursery, an abattoir; I gave thanks for each that I was given leave to save. And everyone went willingly, from the mayor, on his knees in prayer, to my wife, weeping tears of ecstasy, to the youngest, calling out in a language beyond words, welcoming her ascent into her home of eternal love. My only regret was that I would never hear their words of gratitude, for that was not my fate. I was called but to reap, and I did so with joy.

    150 words
    @drmagoo
    #FlashDogs

  66. 150 Words
    @colin_d_smith

    Mary had been dreading this day for twenty years.

    She gripped Tony’s hand as she stood in front of the old farmhouse again. It hadn’t changed in all that time.

    “What’s this about, Mary?”

    Tears spilled down her cheeks.

    “I’m so sorry, Tony,” she said. “I should have told you.”

    The farmhouse suddenly burst into flames. Within seconds thick smoke billowed into the night sky, making an orange haze of the moonlight.

    “What the…?” Tony said, backing away from the heat. Mary didn’t move.

    “It’s time,” she said.

    “For what?”

    “I was so young, so stupid. I’m sorry. But I thought it was the only way I could win your love.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I—I made a deal. And now…”

    The flames swelled. Tony released Mary’s hand to shield his eyes.

    Just as suddenly, the flames disappeared, leaving a charred building.

    And Mary’s lifeless body on the ground.

  67. Conflagration
    150 words
    @thebatinthehat

    They locked the parishioners in the church before setting it ablaze. Death would come swiftly – not soon enough for the poor souls trapped within, but faster than it would for her.

    The intensity of the smoke assailed her senses, stinging her eyes and nose, the heat blowing back her hair like a volcanic breeze.

    This was what the city needed. Cleansed by fire, it would be made anew. Born again.

    Or so they said.

    She was to be their token sacrifice, left to starve, a martyr to the thousands before her murdered in the name of conquest.

    The metal chains binding her seared into her skin. Lips chapped, lungs burning, her eyes were too dry for tears, even as the worshipers’ wailing waned, their panicked prayers left unanswered.

    Soon, their bodies would become one with the smoldering rubble that was their tomb.

    If only she could be so lucky.

  68. Flames of Fortune

    150 words

    “It might be cancer.” The doctor’s defeated tone tears my heart and crushes my world.

    Fear’s fire consumes me. The day-to-day structures in my life—work duties, appointments, household tasks—burn and deteriorate into dust. Nothing matters except my loved ones. Will I be yanked away? So much remains undone, unshared. Why had I delayed?

    Darkness smothers us, day after endless day, as we wait for the verdict. We clasp hands, our souls desperate and clinging. And then, for us, sun blazes through the blackness.

    Not this time. Not now.

    With a sob and a sigh and a shout of gratitude, I gather my loves in my arms. Cleansing tears course down my cheeks. Looking up, my eyes skip past the incinerated ruins of the unimportant and settle on the miracle of love and opportunity reborn.

    I am fortunate. Life is new again, but I will never forget those flames.

  69. Gambit
    150 words
    @AoftheA

    The necromancer’s ritual had freed the dragon from her Northern Wastes captivity. It couldn’t be undone. He had enlisted her aid to conquer our City, becoming our overlords. Despite having beheaded the necromancer for treason – it was inevitable.

    The priests insisted their incantations would protect us, powerful enough under normal circumstances. This dragon, though, characterized no normal circumstance. As Protector, I couldn’t rely on magic, or our insufficient defenses. Ballistas? Trebuchets? Spears? All futile against this adversary.

    Atop the Keep watch, I observed flames consume the harbor, black smoke rising into the red-tinged sky. Gauzy clouds of ash shrouded the Temple Towers, soon to be devoured by the spreading conflagration.

    I faced my captain. “All citizens are sequestered below?” He nodded. “Then finish the burn.”

    My gambit hinged on one premise: the Northern Wastes Ice Dragon abhorred fire. Destroying the City was my only hope in saving its people.

  70. Title: Burn
    Words: 150
    @Rtayaket
    #flashdogs

    It was not a dark and stormy night. It was just a regular Tuesday. The world cried black tears of smog as the roaring fire consumed the town. The flames licked its lips relishing in the taste of the scorched earth. Everything was black and red. It was beautiful.

    When the black clouds cleared, the survivors of the burned town argued and cried for the heads of different suspects. Some cried to kill all the dragons. Some pointed out certain women and cried witch. Others screamed out that it was the drunken smithy, asleep at the furnace again. They all tried their best to put something or someone at fault in order to create a reasonable explanation for the chaos that had occurred.

    The corner of the empty matchbox in my pocket dug into my leg. All this just because I wanted to see the world in a different color.

  71. Fourteen Hours (150 Words)

    They came without warning and turned our streets into boiling seas of fire. The wind became a poison cloud choked with ash and glittering sparks.

    We hid in cellars, in shelters, but were crushed. Too many bodies. Too little air. Outside, the roaring of white-hot death.

    No escape. Only the stench of shriveling skin, cracking bones.

    Through one strategic decision, we became a perfect example of the horrors of war, a symbol of destruction.

    Historians will argue about us. Writers will immortalize us. But we are forever gone.

    Did we deserve it?

    We cannot answer. We know only the dark silence of the grave. We will not share our thoughts.

    Our city will rise, whole and restored, like a Phoenix from the ashes. Memorials will mark our passing, but we will speak to no mortal of that night.

    February 13, 1945. Shrove Tuesday. When the mouth of hell consumed us.

    @sarahcain78

  72. Shame burns, white hot, in my chest as I walk across the parking lot to my car, my heart pounding so hard it feels as though it might bust through my ribcage. When will I learn to keep my mouth shut?

    I buckle my seatbelt, put the key in the ignition and sit, replaying the past ten minutes. I check my watch. Sure enough, just ten minutes ago I was gainfully employed. Just last night at dinner we were talking about how great it was that I have kept this job for nearly 3 months. So much for that.

    My phone buzzes – a text. I peek inside my purse: “Good day?”

    I don’t answer. Let him believe in me for a few more minutes.

    Finally, I turn the key and drive away. I avoid the rear view mirror. No need to look. Some day I will leave a bridge intact.
    @velzyswife

  73. “Burn!” they cried, and she burned. Hair flashing as it caught fire, embers shooting up. “Burn!”

    “The books!” they cried, and threw them on the pyre. She shrieked, the agony of the flames, the flashes of the paper, the curling of the pages, the embers shooting up before her eyes.

    “Burn!” they cried with glee as she choked and howled and moaned, and the pages floated up into the air, carrying the fire with them.

    “Burn!” cried a malevolent voice, the voice of hate and fear. As the books shed their pages, so did the pages shed their flames onto the rooftops, passing on the message to the thatch. “Burn!”

    And so she burned, surrounded by her books in death as she had been in life, and the town square followed suit. “Burn!” they had cried, urged on by the malevolent voice of hate and fear, and so they did.

  74. Burning Question (150 words)

    All they can see is fire. I’m sure it will be days they realize I’m inside.

    Conflagration attracts attention. On any planet, creatures love to watch things burn. I’m not sure why, but it always draws a crowd. That’s how it works, the brilliant synergy. The spontaneous combustion of my craft hitting water summons the resources I need to regenerate.

    Perfect.

    I’m sure there are hundreds gathering on the shores of this quaint primitive collective, watching the spectacle of fire on the water, the red and orange tongues of flame lapping the night sky.

    Will there be whisperings of dragons?

    On planets like this, there are always fables of winged beasts breathing fire, falling from the sky.

    As I devour my prey, those masses fleeing on the shore, hoping to somehow escape my massive jaws, I cannot help but wonder. Am I a dragon?

    No.

    Dragons don’t exist.

    I do.

  75. Bunmi Oke
    @bunmi_oke
    150 words

    HALL OF FLAMES

    Who shalt extinguish this fiery tale
    Of a kingdom brought to her knees,
    Or scale that fire-wall of the fairy tale
    To rescue helpless burning babies?

    Wars we men
    blindly engage in
    all ’cause o’ women
    Cost kings their reign.

    Why they let the sun go down on their wrath
    Is something I remain unable to understand
    Now, who would kindly help solve this math
    Of how a house divided against itself’d stand?

    Too dear a cost, I say; oh, too pyrrhic a victory
    All for prestige… for pride… for fame. Shame!
    Names they tried immortalize all go valedictory,
    Razed to ashes in the city’s huge hall of flames.

    “Too much smudge encircling the inflamed ball in the night sky there. Makes the moon seem like it’s hemorrhaging somewhat. Temper your brushstrokes a lil’ next time, champion. Congrats!”
    “Will do, Sir,” beaming and gladly receiving my Medieval Poetry-Painting winner award.

  76. @johndotpy

    High On Fire

    The flames burn bright on my retinas, but not bright enough for me to deflect my gaze. The heat feels warm against my skin, but not hot enough to melt the frozen heart I cradle within. The screams were never audible, that unfortunate cacophony of living beings at the loss of their material things.

    The smoke, acrid and raw as it bleeds from the earth, chokes the last of the life out of this concrete husk. There are no oxygen masks for the foxes, the cats, the others that dance padded foot across this disintegrating membrane of progress.

    A momentary lapse in judgement meets a momentary lapse of time. I look for the source, the spark, the moment it began. Bits flip but my retinas succumb, lenses crack, and wires melt.

    You say I will burn.

    I say you will live.

    We know you will build me all over again.

  77. Let it Burn

    150 words
    @el_Stevie

    Fingers itched, twitched, inched their way towards the forbidden as Haydn’s addiction growled its hunger for the warm embrace, the flickering tongue that spoke the only language he understood. A test to see if all those months of aversion therapy had worked? Whatever.

    Dr David Forman watched from the shadows, already thinking of exotic climes, forgetting the pile of Final Demands on his desk, the empty petrol cans.

    Laura Forman waited patiently in the car, oblivious to the slow leak in her fuel line trailing back to the side entrance where she had parked earlier. Michael had said it would only take a minute to force the institution into lockdown. A widow so young! She laughed.

    Someone else also waited, someone who grew stronger on death and deceit; someone born of a darkness that grew ever more powerful. Tonight it was he who would be fed.

    Haydn struck the match.

  78. Kate
    @gorgeous_jaan
    150 words

    Amberheart

    Amber flares and bloody hell
    At the place my home once were
    I am burning it myself
    For the better I should say
    I was born here
    Fell in love
    Here I also lost my heart…
    I met Djinn one summer night
    He seduced me with his eyes
    Fire mixed with sparkling ice
    Smile was promising delight
    Who could knew he was my knight
    Guardian of dragon’s light
    I was carrying deep within
    Our meeting was pure sin
    This forbidden spicy love
    Lasted ninety summer nights…
    We met under cherry tree
    Where we shared our first real kiss
    After that we shared much more
    Opening a whole new world…
    People thought he took my soul
    Stupid creatures feared unknown
    I was their princess after all
    Now I’m burning my own home…
    I will never forgive or forget
    The despair that I felt
    When my lover was caught in lamp…

  79. Kate
    @gorgeous_jaan
    150 words

    Amberheart

    Amber flares and bloody hell
    At the place my home once were
    I am burning it myself
    For the better I should say
    I was born here
    Fell in love
    Here I also lost my heart…
    I met Djinn one summer night
    He seduced me with his eyes
    Fire mixed with sparkling ice
    Smile was promising delight
    Who could knew he was my knight
    Guardian of dragon’s light
    I was carrying deep within
    Our meeting was pure sin
    This forbidden spicy love
    Lasted ninety summer nights…
    We met under cherry tree
    Where we shared our first real kiss
    After that we shared much more
    Opening a whole new world…
    People thought he took my soul
    Stupid creatures feared unknown
    I was their princess after all
    Now I am burning my own home…
    I will never forgive or forget
    The despair that I felt
    When my lover was caught in lamp…

  80. A Flicker of Hope

    I was born as a flicker in a small gas lamp, used to keep away the damp.
    A tarnished table worn with age, wobbled enough to break my cage.
    An open window caused a breeze, gave me the life to grow with ease.
    I soon got larger, bolder, certain. I found my way into the curtains.
    The ceiling held on slightly longer, but it soon fell unto my hunger.
    The creatures felt the blast of heat, they suddenly leapt onto their feet.
    They grabbed their buckets filled with water, their dark intention was my slaughter.
    At first I withered, tried to hide. They sought to keep me trapped inside.
    They thought this battle was one-sided, they didn’t know I had divided.
    I quietly crept across the roof, doing my best to hide the truth.
    My time here’s brief, my goal is slight. I simply want to burn the night.

    150 words
    @todayschapter

  81. IT’S LIFE, AND LIFE ONLY

    That is one big lump of a mumsy clumsy log. The branches and stumps have been sheared. It is neat and smooth with a tufted velvety sheen. But did you really think it a good idea, when you wanted to make a dragging log? Now it is a pushing log.

    Beware the delicate flowers, do not crush the trees or toes. It is no tangerine. With a smile it lightens, frowning adds the weight – no, do not wait, go!

    Go! Look to the distance. See the flames splitting the dark sky. They stay in the same place and yet they recede as you advance. Drag drag that log, do not push. You need to spear the road. Float, sprint, stumble, kneel and arise and move along.

    Jostle the throng. Climb the bridges, slide the deserts, tumble the down. Drag on the log. Drag on the fire. Sleep till dusk.

    150 words
    @lloydyes

  82. Fire and Ice
    150 words
    @UK_MJ

    Fire is cold. Did you know that?

    Everyone thinks of heat. Of char. Of scald and sizzle and smoke. But they’re wrong.

    Fire is cold.

    It creeps up on you, the cold. One minute you’re just curious and basking in the warmth cast off by the flames and the next . . .

    The next minute, you’re falling . . . falling . . . falling . . .

    And then you are the flame, roaring unheard in the explosion of the holocaust, and the lovely heat is gone and the real shock is that fire is cold.

    It’s the cold that burns. Like a tongue on an icy flagpole or a fingertip on a frozen pipe.

    Do you know what hurts?

    The melting.

    The pain comes when the thawing begins. Watching the cracks that start at your toes and spread out and don’t stop until your body crumbles into small pieces and you disappear.

    Fire is cold.

    And that’s the truth.

  83. C. James Dawson
    150 words

    Malignant

    The seams of my heart rip open. I scream with the agony. Tendrils of flame searing my soul like the flames that now scorch the sky. I burn the house. Her body still inside. So young, so innocent, this world so unfair. The house is cursed. This world is cursed. She was so delicate and precious laying there with her eyes closed, beyond pale, her last few breaths wheezing in and out so slow. She was everything. I watched her slip away, helpless in this cruel place to stop it. She wanted to be cremated. So young, so precious. I couldn’t move her. Nobody had the right to move her. I had to burn it. She needed her final wish and I needed this place gone. So I burn it. I wish I could burn the world. Such hate and anger seethe. Defeated. Broken. My angel should not burn alone…

  84. Wicca woman

    She set my heart – no, not that – my body on fire the first moment I saw her. The wicca woman with the black eyes, and even darker heart. Just as flames pay no heed to whatever’s in their path, she took everything I had. When there was nothing left, neither was she.

    I sit amongst the embers of my marriage and silence deafens me where once children’s laughter filled the air.

    I clutch a photograph of my wife like a small child clings to his teddy, yearning for comfort. In my other hand a smudged glass of scotch takes the edge off my pain as I kick away the empty pill bottle at my feet. I give up the fight and allow the swirling black smoke of guilt to choke me one final time.

    As my throat tightens I feel a cool familiar hand upon mine.

    She’s there! Then….darkness.

    @dragonsflypoppy
    150 words

  85. Title: Burning Love
    150 words

    Mother always told me I was a passionate child. Temperamental. Fiery, even. Nothing like little Amber. Sweet, quiet, tender-hearted Amber. She let me boss her around when we were kids, did you know that? I could say anything, and she would do it. And not only that, she would smile and say in that sugary voice of hers, “Anything for you, dear sister.” I almost pitied her.

    I guess it comes as no surprise that my pity soon turned to burning hatred, as naturally, she was my rival for mother’s affections. I was passionate and strong-willed, mother would say with that distant gleam in her eye, but Amber, oh little Amber, she was just a dear little thing. I was strong, but little Amber needed to be coddled, protected, loved. And she was.

    It’s no matter now. The deed is done. Mother will see how hot my fire can burn.

  86. @CJaiFerry
    150 words

    Trust

    The tears were like acid on Tara’s cheeks, stripping away the soot and shame as they slowly evaporated, the crusty saline tugging on her skin.

    The bodies were buried under the heat of the fire, but the sweet, stinging smell of charred flesh was still caught in the back of her throat. They were her people, her community, and she had watched each one of them fighting the disease, shriveling into skeletal visions, their skin puckering as they waved her closer, leering through the spittle and blindness to beg her to use her death sticks.

    And never had she breathed into their muddied thoughts that she’d been the one to bear the plague, bringing it into their homes.

    Tara turned from the flames, a heatless breeze biting at her now-dry cheeks. She brushed a lock from her temple, her steps steadied, and she headed to the next unquestioning town.

  87. Ash: (147 words)

    The world burned.

    Ash, for that was his name, grinned, his long teeth sliding out from their sheaths. They sought to destroy him with fire? Those fragile air-breathers? Fools.

    Moving quickly up from the undercroft, he punched his way through the steel-bound door, exiting into the nave of the unconsecrated church where he lived. The windows had already fallen in, the lead strips holding them together already melted, and beyond them the night skies were vividly red with the light from the flames. The few remaining pews to the rear were all ablaze, their coverings and its stuffing belching forth thick dark clouds of toxins. But that meant nothing to him. He didn’t need to breathe and cared little for any of this. It was all disposable, so long as he prevailed.

    And prevail he would.

    At least, as long as men had blood in their veins.

  88. Ash: 150 words

    The world burned around him.

    Ash, for that was his name, grinned, his long teeth sliding out from their sheaths. They sought to destroy him with fire? Those fragile air-breathers? Fools.

    Moving quickly up from the undercroft, he punched his way through the steel-bound door, exiting into the nave of the unconsecrated church where he lived. The windows had already fallen in, the lead strips holding them together quick to melt, and beyond them the night skies were vividly red with the light from the flames. The few remaining pews to the rear were all ablaze, their coverings and its stuffing belching forth thick dark clouds of toxins. But that meant nothing to him. He didn’t need to breathe and cared little for any of this. It was all disposable, so long as he prevailed.

    And prevail he would.

    At least, as long as men had blood in their veins.

  89. An All-Consuming Fire
    By: Allison K. García
    150 words

    Everyone told me to let it go. So many years had passed, they said. Just forgive and forget.

    But I couldn’t.

    The pain seared fresh. The memory of it burned into my brain like a brand. The anger scorched my insides, eating away at my humanity, charring my soul until it was nothing but ash.

    The blazing fire could not be contained. No amount of time was enough, no treatment strong enough, no person wise enough.

    The problem is, the fire won’t go out until you’re ready to let it die. And I was never ready. So it kept burning.

    After decades of hate blistered my heart, my body, my mind, and my soul, it finally consumed me. I never forgave. I never even tried. I held onto it with my dying breath.

    But I should have listened to them. In the end, I only traded one fire for another.

  90. Born To Burn

    My name is Benjamin. This is a goodbye of sorts. You may have seen my work on the news over the years. You won’t grieve for me.

    Fire was my morning coffee, my lady in lingerie. It sparked the blood. I thought about infernos in the shower. I forged an alliance with gasoline, an incendiary relationship. And when I ached, I struck a match.

    I derived no pleasure from carnage. I felt vacant when a church became embers of charred salvation. When the molotov cocktails splashed on the grinning do-gooders, their terror didn’t captivate me, it was the machinations of the blaze; the manner in which it pursued its quarry. There was beauty in the way fire slithered, a deceptive gyration, like a supple ballerina contorting her body.

    My mind is incurable and hell awaits. Tonight, I seek a combustible untethering. The flame will taste the skin of its lover.

    @Blukris
    150 words

  91. Saving Rain (Not necessarily the end title…if I make it into a novel :))
    By Jennifer L. Faust
    150 words (took a bit of doing to get it to that!! I think this might be the start of another story :-O lol)

    No. No! How could this be? Eleanor gripped one child’s arm and heard others screaming. Please, God. Please! Help us!

    Eleanor shouted for her mother and father, the orphanage patrons. No answer came.

    Smoke danced around her face, filling her eyes and nostrils. She coughed. “Children! Children, can you hear me!”

    “Miss Ellie?” Voices replied. “The door won’t open.”

    Dear Lord, are we to die here? Please I beg, Thee. Save the children!

    A gentle rain began and the fire sizzled to a steaming mist.

    “Thank You, Father. Thank You!” Eleanor whispered.

    “Lady Eleanor!” A deep voice called.

    “Sir Timothy! God has saved us!” Eleanor smiled. “Help me free the children.”

    With Sir Timothy and his men pushing on the door, it opened easily. The children spilled out in joyous celebration. Eleanor watched with tears blurring her vision. Indeed, it was bittersweet.

  92. Escalation
    by Alissa Leonard
    @lissajean7
    150 words

    They set the fire on purpose.

    To contain.

    To protect.

    A few, upset, protested peacefully. When that fateful spark jumped, no one could’ve predicted the damage. Destruction. Devastation. Smoldering embers of rubble that once held people’s lives and livelihoods.

    Vitriolic hate spurted from both sides. Blame surged hot, spreading faster than fire. Virulent voices spewed condemnation, pointing fingers and vilifying everyone.

    The next fire may have been an accident.

    But not the next.

    Or the next.

    Soon the world was burning. Retaliation. Revenge. Retribution.

    Ash and smoke choked our throats and our bodies smeared with soot as we scrabbled through the blackened wreckage. Searching. Seeking. Scouring. Scrutinizing. Sifting. To find the grain of truth. The right. The side.

    But there was nothing.

    Nothing left.

    Nothing gained.

    Listless among the ruins, the ravages of what remain, we dream of refreshment.

    Water.

    A deluge to quench the fires raging out of control.

  93. Those of us who lived in the North-Eastern Hemisphere survived the day the comet hit Earth. Those who lived elsewhere and died were the lucky ones.

    The vertigo from the planet’s increased rate of rotation was bad, and none of us were immune to it. The extreme shift also made our days and nights shorter, only four hours of light and two hours of dark. Government and businesses everywhere collapsed within a week. People didn’t have time to sleep much less work.

    After a few years we found a new routine. By then, severe droughts had damaged the land to the extent that growing food was impossible. Water was scarce. The animal population had suffered just as much as the humans had.

    The roaches, though, survived.

    Rain dissipated as it fell. Fires broke out spontaneously. Eventually we realized we weren’t just spinning faster, but hurtling our way to the sun.

    And the World Continues to Turn
    by Jessica West (@West1Jess)
    Word Count: 150 on the nose

  94. Eradication

    Silhouettes shifted behind boarded windows. Hands thrust beseechingly into night air. Galen, patting his pocket, turned away, unable to stomach these final moments.

    “Doctor, are you sure?”

    The general held the detonator in his hand. Galen reached out, trembling fingers grasping the device. Omnipotence reasserted itself as Galen toyed with the trigger. Voices carried on the wind pleaded for mercy.

    “Doctor? The Senate awaits your presence.”

    Galen nodded, gazing a final time at the shadows of his patients.

    Charges bloomed like flowers; fire devouring the darkness.

    Screams filled the night. Galen followed the General through the ranks of soldiers cheering at the eradication of the plague.

    Galen had been foolish, had nearly lost everything over pride. They had been so close to finding out the truth. The origin of this vanquished pandemic.

    Galen patted his pocket again, feeling the vial safe within.

    The last precious drops of his finest creation.

    150 words
    @imageronin
    #flashdog

  95. Too Little, Too Late
    150 Words
    @CaseyCaseRose

    I did this.
    “What’s one life compared to thousands?”
    But I wouldn’t let them chain me down, give me up, pay a debt.
    I had a life to live yet, a life that would smile kindly upon my beauty.
    My fair hair and new spring blossom face was meant to see wishes granted not sacrifices made.
    I did this.
    At the last moment I refused to be the offering. I used sugar sweet words, flutters of long dark lashes, and silent gems of tears to snake my way out the guard’s hands and away to my beautiful life.
    I did this.
    I traded my life for a thousand others.
    The fire came down and the screams began. I could smell cooking flesh.
    A vengeful appetite unappeased. Denied a meal of the virtuous creating a blind rage.
    I did this.
    I killed them.
    I walk into the fire.
    Eaten at last.

  96. Whether I Will Or No

    It is cramped and confined, inhabiting my contortions, as my bottle bobs along, wave on wave. We have journeyed a while in close companionship, my glass prison and I. I am curled into its spaces; smokeless fire tendrils, seeking escape from their lead stoppered confines. Whether I will or no, we are destined to travel together. Cocooned amidst my walls, we wait; one with another. I slumber awhile amidst my dreaming whilst we tread our waters together. I have lived long upon it.

    Separation is unexpected – the sudden release of pressure. I raise myself into large limbed being; blazing blue, before a wide eyed gaze of wonder. “Speak,” I say. “We must bargain, you and I. You can ask but thrice.”

    Instructed; we sit, whilst the boy considers well what he wishes. Practised in waiting, I am patient with his silence. Whimsy alone rules my will now I am free.

    (150 words)

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

  97. Danse Macabre
    150 words

    ‘Suffer not a witch to live’, those were the words that Maria’s family had lived by and when the new Padre arrived Maria hadn’t hesitated to label Sophia as one of the damned.

    The roof’s tiles were cool beneath Maria’s bare feet as she lurched forward.

    Maria would never have known Sophia’s secret if the little girl hadn’t taken to following her around so that she could watch her dance.

    Maria’s limbs jerked into a rough pirouette as the tiles heated beneath her feet. The first one was perfect, the second one was not but the sound of her bones shattering was hidden beneath the screams echoing from the building below her.

    Maria had expected the Padre to send Sophia away. She’d clung to the hope even as they strung Sophia up.

    The flames roared as they engulfed the church but Maria didn’t stop dancing.

    She hoped Sophia was watching.

  98. Inferno
    @lizhedgecock
    150 words

    The Thames rocks me to sleep, but dragon-breath is on me and I have to slay it.

    Atop the moss-slimed stairs London is tiger-striped with fire. But the flames, humble servants, retreat before me.

    I weave through the alley-maze black as Newgate’s knocker, stumbling and sliding on dung-smeared cobbles. My feet sing with pain, but I keep chasing the fire.

    My front door is open. A strip of flame becomes a crimson carpet leading me to the dragon in its den. I fling my arms around it and squeeze it into a ball, tight, tight, until all that is left is a lucifer, Dragon brand. I snuff its life out and slide the match into its box and Mama’s secret place beside the stove.

    I awaken drowning in a river of tears, again. Martha holds me, and we cry for our lost families, and ourselves.

  99. Burning Away Sins

    Soon the library would be ashes. Scattered dragon tear stones burst into flame as she spoke the words of a dead language. She could feel the fire devouring wood and parchment, melting jewelled bindings, erasing words, charms, incantations. Remnants of written pages fluttered in the wind. In a bag hidden beneath her cloak was one last copy of the knowledge. Her brothers and sisters were silent statues in the flame-shadows. Together they had sworn to destroy all they had wrought by calling on powers and beings they could not control. Now they would clean the slate with fire, burn the knowledge, strip away the memories. Burn away their sins? Maybe there could be atonement in forgetfulness.

    She felt the weight of the book and her broken oath. One last sin to keep the knowledge alive, but hidden away. To bring light in the darkest time. That could be her absolution.

    Words: 150
    http://www.hersenskim.blogspot.com
    @CarinMarais

  100. Father Like Fire
    150 words
    @goldzco21
    #Flashdog-Anthology Dec.13

    Flame ends lick the lumber of the town’s houses before they devour them. The blaze levels buildings and chases the now refugees off its territory. I sit on street curb and watch the heat and smoke rise from the smoldering rooftops. It looks just like the ends of the cigars that eternally dangled from Father’s lips.

    The blurred church spires reaching toward the heavens also remind me of Father. He would kneel before Mom, reaching out to her, pleading for forgiveness, and apologizing for the drunken beating of the week.

    This inferno is so much like him. I hear Father’s knuckles cracking in the fire. I dreaded that sound. It was the precursor to the sobs that would quietly escape the bathroom after Mom tucked me in, face covered in dried blood and bruises. The only hope I see in this disaster is that fire consumes itself, just like Father.

  101. A Study in the Lack of Self-control
    @CharlesWShort
    160 words

    Rourke looked past his shackled counselee to a sign.

    A man who does not control his temper
    is like a city whose wall is broken down. (Proverbs 25:28)

    Other signs were placed in the client’s view; Take Responsibility or Life is Precious.

    Proverbs 25:28 was for Rourke himself.

    Thereby Rourke controlled his breathing, as his client explained why he felt justified in setting the fire. He was mad at God, whom he insisted, did not exist.

    Rourke maintained composure, as the client complained that God had not answered his prayers. He had become neither rich, famous, irresistible to women, nor able to fly.

    Rourke listened silently as the man recalled his revenge. He set a brush fire behind a church neighboring his apartments, but wind spread the fire backwards, consuming his own precious stuff.

    Hundreds of people died, including the client’s own family.

    Thanks to his sign, Rourke did not strangle the client. He did, however, recommend the death penalty.

    • Charles, thanks so much for posting your wonderful piece! This week, the rules are slightly different. The word count this week needs to be exactly 150 words, no more, no less. Would you like to edit and resubmit? We’d love to keep your piece in the running! 🙂

    • A Study in the Lack of Self-control
      @CharlesWShort
      150 words

      Rourke looked beyond his shackled counselee.

      A man who does not control his temper
      is like a city whose wall is broken down. (Proverbs 25:28)

      Other signs were placed in the client’s view; Take Responsibility and Life is Precious.

      Proverbs 25:28 was for Rourke himself.

      Thereby Rourke said nothing, as the client explained why he felt justified in setting the fire. He was mad at God, whom he insisted, did not exist.

      Rourke maintained composure, as the client complained that God had not answered his prayers. He had become neither rich, famous, irresistible to women, nor able to fly.

      Rourke listened stalwartly as the man celebrated his revenge, setting a brush fire behind a church neighboring his apartments. Only the wind reversed the flames, consuming his own precious stuff.

      Hundreds of people died, including the client’s own family.

      Remembering his sign, Rourke remained poised. He calmly recommended the death penalty.

  102. Bad Moon Rising

    He heard a loud boom. Stunned, he watched the abandoned warehouse explode. Chills ran through his spine; black smoke filled his lungs, and a wicked coughing fit brought him to his knees. A thousand bees stung his eyes. When he was finally able to see, a million serpentine tongues of orange lapped the horizon. A deafening crackle of the fire filled the air.

    “Hold it right there!” In the distance, a commanding voice ordered someone. He took a few stumbling steps forward to see.
    “Show me your hands, you firebug.” He still couldn’t see whom the officer was talking to.
    He fumbled to fetch his ‘kerchief from his pocket.

    Bad moon rose.

    “Hold it!” he heard.
    Suddenly he became aware of his undesirable look that masked his innocence.
    “Are you talking to me?” He stuttered.
    Look of antipathy in the officer’s eyes startled him.

    A single gunshot pierced his heart.

    150 words
    @needanidplease

  103. Bookworms

    They come like worms from the ground after a downpour, and gather outside the public library. The ringleader, a woman of late years and early intellect, calls out names from a list.

    Orwell Salinger Steinbeck

    Toadies scuttle inside. They return, pursued by futile alarms and timid librarians, with steeples of books balanced between hand and chin, and cast them on the ground. A match is held against the pages, but the word is obstinate and the flame won’t catch.

    Huxley Nabokov Burgess

    The pyre is doused in fuel and flames take hold. Words that have ignited my mind, charred my heart, and branded deep messages on my soul, spiral upwards on shivering air.

    Bradbury Vonnegut Lee

    The group, distracted by their own beautiful brutality, don’t notice my approach. I douse myself in fuel, collect matches from the ground, and create a pyre of my own. I have their attention now.

    150 words
    @MicroBookends

    • I thought of Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451 immediately and then saw his name being called. I like your description of the woman ‘of late years and early intellect’ immediately implying stupidity and ignorance. I also like the way you describe the strength of the written word in that ‘the word is obstinate and the flame won’t catch’. Great story.

    • Wow. Love the title. Love the opening image. Love the description of the woman – “a woman of late years and early intellect.” And that’s barely scratching the surface! The listing of author’s names is so effective. And that last paragraph! This is great.

  104. One Day

    The day had started like any other. Everyone awoke early.
    Then, we heard the alarm. I remember my mother taking us to the shelters below the fortress.
    There shouldn’t have been a fight today; it was a day to bury the dead.
    But the enemy didn’t see us as worthy of such a day. They wanted us finished once and for all.
    The alarm resounded. Quickly, almost mechanically, we scrambled to the shelters.
    I don’t recall what happened after we were sealed in. There was the sound of clashing steel. Then, silence.

    ***

    The day had started like any other.
    However, the alarm had sounded early. It wasn’t meant to. Not that day.

    Later, when we came out of our homes, the smoke rose from the distance, the fortress was aflame and there was the smell of burning flesh in the air.

    I knew I’d never see my cousins again.

    Nada Adel Sobhi
    @NadaNightStar

  105. Concrete Proof
    A.J. Walker

    Bogdan ignored the chill in his knees from the concrete floor as he lit the final candle – his altar complete. The candles flickered their sacred light; he felt their power.

    As it became 23rd August Bogdan turned to his god.

    “I’ve come to honour you, as required this day. There’s only I, but the day will come when you’re revered once more and the false gods and their followers will burn.”

    “This sombre smelter could not be more apt for your new temple.”

    He stepped forward to pick up a fallen candle. A flame dropped to the floor, which started to burn.

    Bogan tried to extinguish the fire.

    “Vulcan! Concrete cannot burn, or is your power truly that great?”

    Decades of seeping oils had given the concrete a unique frightening property. Amid the impossible flames and choking smoke Bogdan knelt down before his god and let the fire consume him.

    (150 words)
    @zevonesque

    #FlashDogs

  106. Engulfed

    They say fire is a part of rebirth. I pray they are right as he guides me onto the dance floor. The heat my Prince is radiating fills me with a new life I never thought I could have again. My last prince turned out to be a monster, leaving a pile of embers in his destructive wake.
    As my Prince whirls me around to face him, his hand on my lower back, I feel the burn deepen in my cheeks. He grins mischievously as he lifts my hand to his lips, scorching it with a subtle kiss.
    I feel the place where my heart used to be reviving and I bite my lower lip. I welcome the incineration his touch is bringing upon me.
    “My Love.” He breathes, the power from his urgent lips holds me in my own personal pyre and my soul cries out from the flames.

    150 words
    @MiraDayAuthor

  107. Fair Ray Tale of New York

    @Making_Fiction #ExcitedFlashDog

    150 words

    Your amber locks dance into the suburban New York skyline.

    I wipe the residue of accelerant from my hands and onto my grubby fatigues. Experience tells me the smells will linger under my fingernails for days to come.

    Your movement is that of a ghost, an apparition, a fair ray of light echoing in the sunken night sky. A tale is born before humanity. A tale of death, of life, of warmth and never-ending cold.

    I watch. Unblinking eyes focused entirely on you in the abandoned warehouse. In peripheral vision, voyeur skeletal towers gape open-mouthed.

    You long to multiply, like all living things. Our bright children spark into the inky night; swarming parasites devouring darkness.

    I long to embrace you, but that can never be.

    You cascade and reflect on my bloodshot eyes. I will leave you when you are old. For my new love is only a matchstick away.