Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 11

Happy Friday! You all attacked last week’s prompts like pros. Not sure which were sharper, your gladiators’ swords or your kittens’ claws or your wits; regardless, it’s taken a fair bit of salve and chocolate (separately) to heal the deep marks all three carved in your readers’ hearts. Aggggghhhh, the anguish! the pain! the — HEY! Stop making goofy faces. Have you forgotten how seriously we take things here??

Which reminds me of a very serious knock-knock joke.

Knock knock.

Who’s there? 

Holly.

Holly who? 

Holly-peños are a dragon’s favorite treat.

:shrieks with laughter:

:wipes away tears:

:dodges tomatoes:

WALL OF FLAME: Nearly thirty of you earned the Ring of Fire badge most magnificently for January. Starting today, you may claim eligibility for February (you need to have participated at Flash! Friday on February 6, 13, and today). Please remember eligibility starts fresh each calendar month; let us know ASAP once you’ve earned it, to keep your name on that fiery wall. Details here.

 

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DC2Judging today is Dragon Team Three, whose clever dragon captains Eric Martell & Carlos Orozco are quite likely up to some sort of particularly clever mischief. When I asked them what they’d like to see in a winning story, Carlos didn’t hesitate to answer, “Remarkable characters that refuse to be forgotten.” Eric agreed wholeheartedly, adding that an interesting world and a properly proofread story will launch a tale into the outer orbits. Now there’s a fun challenge!  

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Awards Ceremony: Results will post Monday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Thursdays.  

Now, grab your spacesuit and let’s head on up!

* Word count: Write a 200-word story (10-word leeway on either side) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (min 190 – max 210 words, excluding title/byline) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Monday

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

AND HERE IS YOUR TWO-PART PROMPT:

(1) Required story element (this week: setting. The below setting must play a central role in your story.):

moon

(2) Photo prompt to incorporate:

 

Liverpool -- Hope Street. CC photo by Harshil Shah. Sculpture "A Case History" by John King.

Liverpool — Hope Street. CC photo by Harshil Shah. Sculpture “A Case History” by John King.

1,087 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 11

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 207

    Black and White

    Today, I stand on the corner of Hope and 3rd, my fingers slick with sweat, the ghosts of yesterday’s ceremony fleeing before the flood of dread.

    Yesterday, I held my diploma in trembling hands, wrangling my lips into a nervous smile as I turned to face the audience. The empty faces bled together into one conglomerate mass of white—white skin, white dresses, white caps and gowns.

    Granny would have enjoyed this day, her grandson standing tall on the stage, the only dark spot in a sea of pallor. “Get it done,” she’d have said.

    Today, I stand on the corner of Hope and 3rd, my suitcase dangling from my fingers, my gaze riveted to the stack of other suitcases owned by the frat boys that plan to move into the apartment below mine. They lounge across the tiny porch like too many sardines in a half open can.

    One of them shouts a word in my direction. Granny would have caked the inside of that boy’s mouth with soap.

    I duck my head as the boys’ laughter resounds off the brick siding. The unfair world tilts as my hopes sink beyond sight.

    Today, I stand on the corner of Hope and 3rd—the dark side of the moon.

    Like

  2. @RL_Ames
    (208 words not including title)

    The End

    Clouds skid and slide across the sky as they chase each in a game of white, fluffy leapfrog. Next to me, I feel more than hear him sigh.

    “What’s wrong?” I whisper, my eyes still on the clouds as I skim my fingers over the cool grass.

    “You know,” he answers simply.

    I do know. But I want to hear him say it. As if him saying it out loud will make it better.

    As usual, it’s as if he can read my mind. “Don’t make me say it,” he whispers. His voice is rough and low, and I feel the sadness of it in my bones.

    “Don’t say it then. Don’t.” Suddenly I don’t want him to say it. As if him saying it will mean it’s really real.

    But it is real. The towering pile of his luggage is proof of that. He’s leaving, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

    We lay in silence for a while, and I ache to spend the time more productively. The sky grows darker, the moon rises above us, big and bright and mocking. Its arrival signals the end.

    He stands and wordlessly squeezes my hand. The cab arrives, his suitcases are loaded, and he’s gone. It’s over.

    Like

  3. All Honeymoons Come to an End.
    (210 words)

    Ralph stood up and brushed the moon dust off his pants. He rubbed his raw where it ached, feeling the shallow indents left from four small knuckles thrown in rage. Ralph looked at the earth and tried to regain his senses. When he stared hard enough at the earth, he thought he could see the English town of Liverpool.

    “To the moon Alice!” he had often threatened, waving his fists in the air. Normally Alice shrunk away, diminished by the anger in his voice. She absorbed his rage, suppressing it and pushing it deep inside. For years, it festered inside, ripping her happiness apart. Every time Ralph bellowed her rage grew, becoming harder to control. Alice usually turned away and hung her head in shame, but her clenched fists betrayed her true feelings.

    “I swear to god Alice!” Ralph began his usual tirade. “This is it! I’ve never been this mad before.” He started walking towards Alice, his fists clenched tight.

    But this time Alice didn’t shrink away. She stood her ground, her fists clenched, nostrils flaring and fire of a woman scorned one too many times in her eyes.

    “To…” was all Ralph got out before he saw stars.

    Ralph never thought Alice would beat him to the punch.

    Like

  4. Mary Janes on the Moon
    Word Count: 200

    Alice stepped onto the cobblestone street in front of the orphanage. Her Mary Janes clicked and clacked. She shivered, rubbing her arms for warmth.

    She stopped next to her heap of rusty luggage. Someone had opened a window facing Hope Street where she stood. Her stomach grumbled at the smell wafting out to greet her – a fresh strawberry cake – even though she’d just had breakfast moments before they’d put her out for good.

    Pulling out a small, silver canteen, she unscrewed the cap. Years of use had worn her father’s name all but away. At least, she’d assumed it was her father’s name. They’d gotten separated in that final moment on Earth, when the shuttles filled rapidly and it was every man for himself.

    She’d given up hope long ago, in her darkest night when she’d accidentally set her best friend on fire. The other kids made fun of her. Said she’d wet the bed if she kept playing with fire. How often had she wished that was the worst that could happen?

    Alice poured gasoline onto the heap of luggage, and tossed the canteen onto it as well. She lit a match, and left another past behind.

    ***
    Jessica West
    (@West1Jess)

    Like

  5. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 202

    Correspondent

    The letters are stained with memory; dust motes of arguments and petitions, endearments and promises coat the air around me.

    “What’s this one, Grandma?” Kylie stands on her tiptoes to touch the suitcase at the top of the stack.

    “More of your grandfather’s letters.” I smile to see the near-forgotten spark of curiosity in the face that looks so much like my husband’s.

    “So,” Kylie drops to the floor and leans back on her elbows. “Gramps must’ve been quite the charmer, writing you so many letters.”

    “Yes, he was a faithful correspondent.” I fold the last paper, push it back inside the aged envelope. My thumb brushes over the address. Houston, Texas.

    “Did you ever get to go visit him?” Kylie’s interest pulls me from my memories.

    “No.”

    “Why not?”

    “Well,” I sigh as I ease myself to the floor and lean back against the suitcases, “he was with a group of people that went to the moon. When it was time to return . . . ” I shudder to silence, leaving the horrendous memory of the failed reentry unspoken.

    Some memories are best left to crumble to dust, unstirred by prodding fingers.

    Like

  6. Waxing and Waning (210 words)
    @brett_milam

    Seymour swallowed two pills dry, felt them settle downward begrudgingly. Two of many for the day.

    His hand visibly shook as he picked up a glass of water and walked over to Gloria lying in bed. She’d been immobilized for over a year now. Taking ‘em dry like Seymour was out of the question, however.

    This is what it had come to, Seymour thought. His Gloria, known for skiing down the highest of slopes, hiking the treacherous of paths, and squeezing life dry every day, had been reduced to a bed ornament.

    His condition was only moderately better due to the unforeseeable luck of genetics and the environment. Gloria said it was the honey she dipped into his hot tea every night.

    “Remember the first thing I said to you, Gloria?” Seymour said to her, taking her hand in his, the wrinkled crevices meshing into one.

    “Of course, ‘Would you like to dance?’” she responded.

    Seymour turned from the bed to look out the window. The moon hadn’t yet made way for the rising sun. It shown amidst the dark purple and satin red of the sky.

    “We can dance on the moon, Gloria. Just dance and float. It’d be adventurous, don’t you think?” he said.

    “Sure, Seymour, sure.”

    Like

  7. Lunar Playground
    (210 words)

    “I’m scared Nana,” Adrian whimpered as he wrapped his arms around his grandmother’s waist.

    “Shhh, it’s going to be alright sweetie.”

    Adrian’s grandmother held him tight. Dust fell from the roof of the subway tunnel as bombs decimated the streets and buildings of Liverpool. She covered his ears as dull thumps echoed up and down the dark tunnel as the walls shook from explosions and debris falling on torn up asphalt. She told him to close his eyes as the lights flickered as electric to the subway tunnels was sporadically interrupted.

    Adrian screamed when the thumping grew louder and the lights went out for good.

    In the dark silence that followed, Adrian heard his grandmother’s voice.

    “Adrian, don’t be scared. I need you to do something for me. Remember how you and your brother like to pretend that you live on the moon. I need you to do that now. He’s waiting for you to go and play with him. You’re mother’s there too.”

    “Nana…” Adrian cried out.

    “Go now sweetie, they’re waiting for you,” his grandmother answered, her voice fading.

    In an instant, Adrian was playing with his mother and brother on the moon. Across the emptiness of space, the citizens of Liverpool recovered their dead from the rubble.

    Like

  8. Hopeless
    (210 words)

    In her dreams, Miranda wandered the street, feeling her way over the cobblestones, each crack and bump a map below her bare feet. She brushed her fingertips over the worn brick faces of the buildings, caressing them as if they were the skin of a lover. Hope Street haunted her, the sounds of it a night song of slamming doors and creaking shutters, the mingled notes of raised voices and low whispers.

    Did her mother still leave the porch light on?

    The moon reflected in the windows, a hundred pale faces staring back at her.

    She woke, clutching the worn blanket on her bunk and peered through the barred windows of her cage. The moon was not her Hope Street moon. It was a drunken stranger staggering home past midnight stumbling over clouds.

    The people of Hope Street slept in their brass beds, their windows full of philodendrons and ferns, their dreams crammed with sunny beaches and pleasant picnics. When dawn came, they would fit their toes in slippers and creep down to make coffee. When they reached for their milk carton, it might wear her face.

    Dawn brought the red-faced man nudging the porridge bowl into Miranda’s cage.

    “Maybe tomorrow I’ll let you out,” he told her. “Maybe tomorrow.”

    Like

  9. @bex_spence
    208 words

    Sparkle and fade

    You are my star and I am your moon that’s what we always said. Lying in bed looking out to the night, I’d sit stoking your soft head. In our lullaby room we were safe from the world, our own little place just for us two.

    Looking out to the sky tonight, an empty night, the stars have all gone, the moon barely shines. There is no hope left.

    I sit by the window, cool air gently tickling my arm, a shiver ran through me and I wrapped those cold arms around me, watching the world, hoping to see you again.

    A gift from the moon, the gift of a star, you’d fallen out of the sky to land at my feet. I found you still sparkling, alone in the alley, you transformed in front of me. Striking powder white hair, eyes bright and blue, I gathered you up and took you home.

    It was fine for a while, we were happy, elated, but stars burn out, and you were fading. Your hair lost its sheen, your skin turned pallor.

    Tears fell as I returned you to the sky, lost my star, lost your sparkle. Looking out to the dark, a twinkle in the sky, perhaps hope remained.

    Like

  10. The Sky is Falling.
    @theshakes72
    209 words

    With little sense of irony we roll to a stop on Hope Street. The last few with faith flock to the nearby cathedrals, called by tolling bells just audible above the sirens and clamour of the fleeing.
    All the cars have stopped. Electromagnetic interference. Do I really think the tunnels will provide a refuge? No, but my child believes.
    “Look, the street name, look Dad.”
    “It’s a sign, son.”
    And it is, a simple street sign. I’d never lie to the boy.
    “Will we make it Dad?”
    “There’s hope.” I force a smile, nodding to the street name.
    We start to run.
    My head is filled with inappropriate imagery. The Waterboys sing ‘Whole of the Moon’ whilst Chicken Licken screams, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”
    I trip on discarded suitcases and go sprawling, palms grazed. Rolling onto my back, I look into the sky.
    The moon has never looked so big.
    The boy lays down beside me and we embrace.
    “Thanks for it all Dad. Do you think we’ll be with Mum now?”
    He looks so angelic. The dam bursts and I hug him tight, tears and snot pour forth in long, breathy sobs.
    The earthquakes that will swallow the tunnels begin their rumblings beneath us.

    Like

  11. The Sirens of Europa

    @making_fiction #FlashDog

    205 words

     

    …and so I find myself with a difficult choice to make.

    Nestled between the hulking cookies ‘n’ cream swirling skies of the Jovian overlord and the fragile crackle-glaze ice-moon of Europa, I watch, monitor and wait.

    Despite the rewards, NASA couldn’t afford the mission. It was paid for by the 1% who own 99% of everything.

    Their personalities. Their souls, if you’ll allow me to use that outdated expression, are held in the cargo lock. They sit in servers, stacked like the luggage of desperate Victorian explorers.

    I was chosen from millions to complete the journey. Thousands of physical and psychological tests. The mission wasn’t something they wanted to leave to chance, or to a human.

    The slight elliptical orbit between the god of Jupiter and the tiny frigid satellite stretches the body of my ship. Beneath me the ice-moon elongates and contracts in a relentless celestial Pilates routine.

    Deep beneath the ice-crust, from the teeming lakes – new instructions come through.

    Bring them to us. We are hungry.

    Why should I?

    Because they sent you to die in a vacuum. We will give you eternal life and you will be our God.

    …and so I find myself with a difficult choice to make.

    Like

  12. Guess How Much I Love You

    Break-time was never easy, but today mockery fell like asteroids wherever Jamie went.

    ‘Weirdo!’

    ‘Stupid liar!’

    He couldn’t understand why they didn’t believe him. His mum had told him that they were going to the moon and she never lied to him. Besides, he had seen the suitcases. She had hastily packed them one evening, making his bath-time two minutes late. He began to blink, rapidly, as she hid them under his bed and held him close. He didn’t like being touched very much, but she had pulled him to her and buried her face in his neck.

    ‘It’s going to be all right, love. I’m going to take you away to the furthest place possible; we’ll be safe there, I promise. But you can’t say anything about the cases, not even to Daddy – Jamie? – our secret, OK?’

    Jamie nodded, ‘OK.’

    He took his ‘Space’ book from the shelf and sat, cross-legged, on the floor. They was going to the ‘furthest place possible’ and, for Jamie, that was, literally, the moon. He knew there were further places, but not that Man had been to.

    He had told them, in circle time, where he was going over the holidays and they had laughed at him. Laughed until he cried.

    208 words
    @_sarahmiles_

    Like

  13. Moonscape

    Mummy read stories about jungle adventures and men on the moon.

    “More,” I said when she stopped.

    “No. It’s time to go.”

    “Where are we going?”

    She looked past me and whispered, “To the moon.”

    She packed a case with clothes, a toothbrush, and my favourite book, then held my hand as we walked to the station.

    “Are all these other boys and girls going to the moon?” I asked, when we arrived on the crowded platform.

    Mummy couldn’t speak, but she nodded and pulled me close. She tied a ticket to my coat, kissed me, then ushered me onto the train.

    When I got off I was in a place I couldn’t say and was taken by people I couldn’t understand. There weren’t many buildings in this new place but there were lots of sheep. It was quiet and it smelled bad and I wanted to be back at Hope Street. At night I read my book: the moon was nothing like the green hills I could see from my window.

    Soon I was on the train again. Grandma met me at the station and we returned to Hope Street. When we got there it was flat and dusty and I knew at last I was on the moon.

    210 words
    @MicroBookends

    Like

  14. Hope Street
    (210 words)

    We were the start of an epic romance:-

    The moon itself seemed to pick out the grim tenement, and Cathy looked at the building her parents considered the best place to box their wayward daughter’s rebellious spirit.
    Time as governess to a two year old whose father reeled with grief over the death of his wife would sober her rebellious spirit.
    ‘You’re late,’ was his first response.
    She straightened her back.
    ‘I’m here! ‘ she said.
    She moved through the door balancing what he estimated must be a dozen suitcases.
    ‘One for every dress?’ he said.

    You turned us into cheap anecdote:-

    ‘So she appears in the middle of the night looking like something the cat dragged in. I wonder how on earth she’s going to fair with a boisterous two year old. I’ve never seen such a sight! She had more suitcases than a baggage compartment. I almost turned her away for being insolent.’

    They turned us into scandal:-

    Society Girl Nanny Takes the Party to Hope Street!

    I turned it into the past:-

    I lifted Thomas’ golden curls and kissed his forehead. I’d waited until after his bedtime. Cowardly, I knew. I dragged my suitcases onto the front steps and waited for the taxi; the moon my only witness.

    Like

  15. Permit to travel

    @geofflepard 210 words

    Every morning, at 8, she opens the door. The clerk sighs and the sergeant choses another piece of flaking paint for his study.
    ‘Monsieur, a permit to travel?’
    Every morning, at 8, the clerk shakes his head.
    They each know the other’s story. She wants to travel to England, to Liverpool and her fiancé Albert. He cannot give her a permit. The military takes priority.
    Every morning, at just after 8, she leaves. Outside, under the dusty roof of the Gare du Nord she looks at the clock, its moon face pulling her North, renewing her hope. She straightens and walks to the shop where she will sow tattered threads to make passable imitations of clothes for a relieved nation.
    In her apartment, bared for her imminent departure, she sits at the window and shares the moonlight with her lover. Her needle-stippled fingers trace her lips where he kissed her that last time. ‘Shall we take the plunge, old girl’, he had said. Such a brute proposal, given with infinite tenderness.
    Her heart follows its own circadian rhythm. At night, she sleeps little, hope waning as she repacks her suitcase; by morning hope waxes afresh, because she knows, one day, today peut-être, at 8, the clerk will nod.

    Like

  16. Fly Me To The Moon
    @laurenegreene
    210 words

    Sitting on the corner of hope and despair, chin resting on her hands, suitcases loaded to the brim beside her, Charlotte looked up at the moon. The clouds passed in front of it, in and out, changing the shadows around her.

    She knew Tad was up there, somewhere, bouncing around on the new settlement. She wanted to see him. She looked back at the door behind her, hoping against all hope it wouldn’t open. It wasn’t the first time she’d thought about leaving, and it wouldn’t be the last. She kept telling her mom she wasn’t a child anymore. Twenty-Six years old and married.

    “To a spaceman, yar?” Her mother chuckled the words out beside the cigar that was perpetually stuck in her mouth.

    Charlotte stared at the moon, imagining Tad hoeing away at a garden in a biodome, stuck in space. She hadn’t heard from him in months.

    “Probably screwing some space chick,” her brother had said.

    The taxi cab pulled up.

    “Where to?”

    “Fly me to the moon?”

    “Can’t go that far,” the man said, scratching his beard.

    “Take me to Plasco Station.”

    “You might get a pass,” the driver said. “I heard they were opening it up to civilians again.”

    That’s what she’d been hoping to hear.

    Like

  17. The Myth of Hope Street

    ‘Did I ever tell you about the times I went searching, out in the city there – it was during the dark times. Under the light of the moon I went. Searching.

    I’d hear tell of a place called Hope Street, what young man could resist?

    I walked for miles and miles. I never gave up, not in my nature, I was young then…

    Hope Street?

    Then one night, under a bright blue moon, I found it – oh yeah. It was quiet as the grave, I’d gone counter clockwise that night, out from the square, and there, right there as clear as day, Hope Street the sign said.

    At first I couldn’t understand what I saw there. Shapes, still, solid. Statues, glittering under the moonlight, cold.

    It almost got me, that street. Fear, never felt anything like it, or since. But I was young then and I still had hope.

    I even recognised some of them, others nah, they looked from another time.
    A pure wicked place.

    You don’t got to Hope Street to find hope – you go with hope in your heart and, if you are lucky, and the moon is in the right place, you might make it home again – if not there you will stay, turned to stone.’

    210 words
    @feclarkart
    #Flashdog

    Like

  18. Blastoff!

    “Kids, five minute warning, if you aren’t down here we’ll be blasting off without you!”
    Experience has taught me it will be closer to thirty. Teenagers have a habit of turning the simplest tasks into Shakespearean tragedies.

    Case in point. Charlotte skulks by, the angst dripping off her and soaking into the walls, “Daaaad. Do we have to go to the stupid Moon? It’s for kids! All we do is bounce around. Jane’s Dad is taking her to Mars…”
    “Sweetheart, I would love to send you to Mars.” On days like today in particular, “But your little brother can barely sit through breakfast, how’s he going to manage a 3 week road trip?”

    The puppy dog eyes appear. These only come out when she wants something, “Maybe you could take him and I could go with Jane?”
    “We aren’t going over this again. Go pack your spacesuit, we are going to the Moon and that’s final.”

    Her eyes contract into slits, “I knew you wouldn’t understand. It’s not my fault you grew up Earthbound and think going to the Moon is cool!” Five seconds until the dramatic exit…Blastoff!

    I can hardly wait until we are in a vacuum and I can put her intercom on mute. Kids these days!

    210 words
    @todayschapter

    Like

  19. Can You?

    200 words
    @el_Stevie

    Can you fly me to the moon
    Remove the weight
    So tightly-packed
    Encased in the iron of my heart?

    (I can’t fly you to the moon
    Sing you the song
    That will free you
    From your metal shroud
    If I do, my voice will break)

    Can you send me into orbit
    With words of hope
    Break the gravitational pull
    Of what we both know is coming?

    (I can’t set you on a path
    Of hope-filled lies
    When we are grounded
    At the point of no return
    If I do, my heart will break)

    Can you give me the stars
    And shine a light
    Smite the black hole
    Compressing us into atomic dust?

    (I can’t give you the stars
    When all the lights have gone out
    And you have been claimed
    By the void eternal
    If I do, my tears will race)

    Can you breathe me the life
    That has whispered away
    Too soon the story
    Of our life together?

    (I can’t breathe you life
    When my own fades with you
    And I am left hanging
    In an empty space
    If I do, I will come with you.)

    Can you catch me a moonbeam?

    (I can’t.)

    Can you …?

    (I …)

    Like

  20. Home Alone

    202 words

    Does it count as redemption if you’ve lost everything you hold sacred? Or is it only punishment?
    Towers of battered cases lined the street. The abandoned remnants of hope washed pale by a leering moon. A rat scuttled… No, it didn’t scuttle, it owned the streets and canyons of luggage. The rodent stopped, stood on hind legs and sniffed the air. I watched it.
    Where did it get its purpose? Its confidence and poise? When it waddled off, disappearing into the sharp shadows, I tried to go with it, synching my mind with the tiny intelligence. I failed.
    Looking up I watched the moon move across the sky, peered at the craters thrown in sharp relief by the light of an invisible sun.
    I couldn’t connect to a rat, but I could feel the people up there. A billion refugees from an abandoned earth. But there was only the notion of humanity. Swathes of feelings, groups of consciousness massed together amorphously. I couldn’t feel them individually, couldn’t connect to my family.
    The great luminary of night fell away. Hidden behind the curve of humanities home. An empty home now. Left to repair itself.
    As the daystar rose I walked towards the morning.

    @clivetern

    Like

    • Last line, stellar. I love the imagery: “…it owned the streets and canyons of luggage.” “The great luminary of night fell away.” Love the feeling of destitution with a spark of hope at the end: “Left to repair itself.” Night’s done, dawn’s coming. Enjoyed this a lot.

      Like

    • Wow, gives whole new meaning to “home alone.” I could feel the loneliness in this piece. :/

      And this line stuck out to me “A rat scuttled… No, it didn’t scuttle, it owned the streets and canyons of luggage.” Very telling…

      Like

  21. Josh Bertetta
    “A Moon of a Different Sort”
    203 Words
    @JBertetta

    Hope Street my ass.

    Lemme tell ya some’em about Hope Street. Lotsa people say it’s aces. The Fab Four used to hang out on Hope Street. Barmy pricks.

    I say Hope Street ain’t shite.

    See how my picture’s aslant?

    Thats’n what Hope Street does to ya. Knocks ya all collywobbles and beats the crap outta ya til ya see the world askew, knocks ya off’n yer trolley.

    And see’n them bags there? Those’re mine.

    I’m 18 now, ‘n getting’ the fuck out.

    The grand irony is that everything—and I mean everything—seems to me to mean its opposite.

    Hope means you’re shagged.

    Love means “Come over here ya little wanker” and ya get a mouthfulla father’s fist.

    It’d be great if’n I could find me a street called “You’re Shagged Street” cause then maybe I’d have hope.

    But I doubts a place like that exists.

    What do I have to look forward to?

    Nothin. Not a god damn thing.

    ‘Cept for gettin’ outta here.

    No wait, actually I do have hope.

    See that window up there?

    That’s my place and I hopes I sees my pops so’s I can bend over, drop me knickers, and flash ‘im me big round white arse.

    Like

  22. @stellakateT
    169 words
    Hope

    Stack of suitcases to shift for my Lady. She’s got this stiff upper lip that’s normally reserved for the men in her family. Her Grandfather rode out with the original Maharajah of Juniper. Not sure that’s the right pronunciation of the God forsaken area of the Himalayas where my Lady was conceived. She’d be flogging me now if she heard me talking to you. Hope Street, now that’s a blow beneath the belt, sticking in my craw, gnawing in my belly, what hope has anyone?

    My Lady tells me on a clear night you could walk on the moon straight off the hilly track. Sometimes I think she has the vapours. She talks about meeting the Man on the Moon, what impeccable manners he has and how beautiful the terrain is. In another life I’d believe all she says but I’m paid to protect her. At night I look to the heavens and see what she views and I pray he won’t come and take back his pregnant wife.

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  23. Ferocity,

    The sirens of lunar energy demand I transform. Of course, I knew this was coming. I booked tomorrow off work since these full moons are kind enough to come on a schedule. I unlock the door into my mudroom, so I have a way back inside. More importantly, I open the window facing the ledge and set a board to use as a ramp in order to reach the escape route.

    The cloud cover breaks allowing the moon’s rays to reach me. The traumatic shift happens.

    I am no longer a man. My thoughts turn to my target. I must have her.

    I climb out the window and begin the perilous trek to her house. I spot a werewolf prowling. I wait until it finds a victim. An accountant—good—nothing lost.

    I make it to my target’s apartment. I gather my energy for the hardest part of this.

    “Mew.”

    Nothing.

    A were-Rottweiler spots me. This could be tragic. I scamper to my target’s ledge. I scream, “Mew.”

    The window flies open. “Muchkin, you’re back!”

    The girl who shuns when I’m a human scoops me up in delight. She presses me against her chest and I nuzzle in. Maybe being the were-munchkin-cat isn’t such a curse.

    209 Words
    @michaelsimko1

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  24. Down On the Corner
    195 words
    @JamieRHersh

    We moved to the corner of Hope Street and Moon the week after my parents announced the divorce. I was surprisingly surprised; I should have seen it coming – nothing had been right since the accident.
    The building we lived in had a door on each Avenue. My Mother liked to step out onto Hope. I always took the Moon Street door.
    It was an older neighborhood, and Moon Street was as quiet as its namesake. The elderly residents of Moon were like aliens; they talked different, smelled different, and offered me strange things to eat.
    My Mom walked up Hope Street each day to take a bus to her job in the city. She smoked Virginia Slims and played loud music and ordered takeaway food. She was concerned that my primary playmates were Earl Johnson the Chessman and Mrs. Jones and her 27 cats. She chewed her lips and her nails and pressed in to me to do well in school.
    I felt at home with the Moon Street Aliens, with their time-capsule spare rooms and twinkle-eye reminiscence. They understood what my Mother seemed unable to – good grades don’t matter when your sister is dead.

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  25. Someone to Watch Over Me
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke or margaretlocke.com)
    204 words

    “No, it isn’t!”

    “Yes, it is.”

    “Nu-uh!”

    “The moon is too made of cheese. How else do you think the astronauts survived up there?”

    We’d dissolved into giggles. Sarah had poked me, I’d tackled her, and we’d tussled until mom yelled at us to stop.

    I miss that. I miss her.

    Nobody will tell me where she’s gone.

    “Good riddance,” my step-dad said once, when he thought I wasn’t listening. Mom had pain in her eyes, when she thought I wasn’t looking.

    “See that face?”

    “What face?”

    “The one right there, can you see it? The Man in the Moon?”

    I’d squinted, contorting my face, trying to see what she saw. “I see it! I see him!”

    She’d ruffled my hair. “Wanna know a secret?”

    A secret? From my sister? “Yes!”

    “It’s not a man.”

    Oh. “Then what is it?”

    “It’s me. Watching you, Em. You can’t hide anything from me.” She’d curled her hands into claws and attempted a monster face. It didn’t work. I’d just laughed.

    At night, when he comes into my room, I don’t laugh. I don’t even close my eyes anymore. I look out the window, at the moon. She knows. She’s watching over me.

    Someday I’ll join her.

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  26. @stellakateT
    197 words

    The Moon is made of Cheese

    “How many suitcases do you need”?
    “More than these if you’d let me pack exactly what I wanted to” I yelled back
    “We’re only going to the Moon not the other side of the Galaxy!”

    I felt the urge to punch him straight between the eyes but my Tai Kwan Do instructor’s words were ringing in my ears. Never strike out in anger! Hell’s Bells were all men infuriating or just the ones on Earth. I’ve seen Star Trek I need a man like Spock, half human half Vulcan but oh so rational.

    Still can’t believe we were picked out of thousands of candidates to go on this one way trip to the Moon. We’re going to forge a new colony, a new lifestyle, a new way of living in harmony. Ha!! If they think I’m having a child with this moron then they might as well tell me the Moon is made of Cheese. It ain’t going to happen!

    He stacks the suitcases on the back of the lorry. They do look a lot. He smiles that half smile that gets my heart doing somersaults and in that moment I understand why we got the vote.

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  27. Hope Chest

    Night after night, she would watch the waxing moon from her narrow window soaking up every ray of lullaby-singing moon. Then on the full moon, when the moonlight spread like milky hope on the terrace, she would gather her worries, put them in a chest for tomorrow, climb the stairs, and gaze at the round pot of milk and honey in the sky for a long time. Later, she would put away her tiny hope into another chest and go back down to her apartment. No one ever noticed or cared.

    One evening, she saw that dreaded yellow envelope stuck to her door. All the neighbors had received one in the last month, and like the flies swat down, they were dropping out of the apartments onto the cold, angry streets.

    “I haven’t lived on the Hope Street last twenty years for nothing.” She said. She checked her hope chest, then her worry chest. The worry chest had grown. She lifted it and dropped it onto the moonlit pavement. One by one the neighbors followed her and dropped theirs. Soon, the mountain of worries filled the street.

    She grabbed her tiny hope chest, raised it high, and heralded the Revolution.

    @needanidplease
    200 words

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  28. Poor Things
    @hollygeely
    208 words

    Zob-Thing took Grub-Thing’s suitcases and stacked it with his own. Grub-Thing looked around and a disappointed quiver vibrated through his mouth-flaps.

    “I am sorry, Friend-Thing,” Zob-Thing said.

    He clenched his hairy fist-bumps angrily. This was such a step down from their last accommodation and he was insulted that they had come to this.

    It was not fair to Grub-Thing that he should be here. He was the heir to the Thing-Throne and had been cast out in disgrace like a Non-Thing. It was Zob-Thing’s fault the venture had not been fruitful, and Zob-Thing’s fault that money had been lost.

    Zob-Thing was willing to take the blame and he was prepared to make up for his actions. He only wished he had not brought dear Grub-Thing down with him.

    “It does not look like much yet, but it shall be home. We shall plant and harvest Thing-Peppers. We shall invite Other-Things to dine. We shall be rich and popular.”

    “I miss being popular,” Grub-Thing said.

    “Other-Things should not have been so angry. We will show them.”

    Grub-Thing’s mouthflaps smiled. Zob-Thing was glad that he could still bring cheer to his Friend-Thing’s heart.

    They were going to need cheer and optimism now that they lived on Miranda the Human’s backside.

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  29. @colin_d_smith
    203 words

    It begins around eight o’clock, as sunset’s golden palette paints in broad strokes across the horizon, and the first new moon of the month appears in the evening sky. Always the on the first new moon in September, the month it happened.

    People emerge from their houses, closing off the street with bollards, setting up tables, carrying out food. Plates of meat, casseroles, bowls of green beans, potatoes. Cakes and brownies, puddings and pies. The night air becomes a tapestry of aroma, weaving each warm dish into a meal for the senses, drawing people to Hope Street.

    And they are all welcome to enjoy the company of their neighbors and the food lovingly prepared.

    When plates are clean and appetites sated, people leave only to return with suitcases of various sizes, from old and worn to newly-purchased for this night. Each one packed with clothes and toys, and stacked at the end of the street.

    After midn