Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 31

SO HAPPY to see you!!!! Welcome! For those of you traveling last week who missed the Big Reveal, you’ll find things a little different today. No, not my frizzy mop, though thank you for asking. No, no, not the sofa either; it’s always hovered there against the back wall. It’s the contest FORMAT, sillies! Each week you’ll be given a well-known novel with its basic elements highlighted, and you’ll be tasked to write a story — of varying word count — incorporating any two elements you wish. So much fun: it’s like a totally fresh challenge AND a Shrinklits-style summer reading plan, combined! 

WALL OF FLAME!!! The Wall of Flame’s been updated to reflect all current superdraggins who wrote for at least three Flash! Friday contests in May; several of you regulars haven’t updated for June yet. Let me know if your name (or June update) isn’t there but should be! Details here.

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DC2***WELCOME NEW JUDGES*** Join me in welcoming Dragon Team Six, the marvelously stupendous captains Josh Bertetta & Steph Ellis! You know them both, of course, from their clever and/or terrifying tales across the flash fiction circuit. But ahhh, what are they like as judges? Josh says he loves the part of the story that isn’t written as much as the one that is (does what you write make him wonder at what’s just below the surface?), and he LOVES a crazy good twist at the end. For her part, Steph says she loves stories with hints of darkness and mystery. And she loves different“Anything that can create a new world for me to go and live in for a few minutes and keep me there displaced from my own reality is, in my book, a successful story.”

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

* Today’s required word count: 100 – 150 words (minimum 100, maximum 150, not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (this week’s min 100 – max 150 words, excluding title/byline), the two story elements you based your story on, 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 NOVEL PROMPT:

This week’s novel: Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryby Roald Dahl.

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these; be sure to tell us which two you chose: NOTE: for copyright’s sake, please make sure the elements are original to you — i.e. do not use Dahl’s copyrighted characters/world):

* Plot: A poor boy along with four other children win a day in a magical chocolate factory; unbeknownst to them, the factory owner is testing the children for an even bigger prize.
* Conflict: man vs man (the children compete against each other) OR man v self (each child undergoes a trial related to her/his greatest flaw)
Character: poor boy
Theme(s): You reap what you sow
Setting: a run-down shack at the edge of a great city OR a world-famous candy factory

OPTIONAL PHOTO PROMPT (for inspiration only; it is NOT REQUIRED for your story):

Chemical Factory. CC2.0 photo by Astrid Westvang.

Chemical Factory. CC2.0 photo by Astrid Westvang.

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346 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 31

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Story Elements: Character/Theme
    Word Count: 142

    Room for Red

    She loved the color red, and so he gave it from the depths of his empty pockets and emptier wallet.

    The brilliant heart-shaped candy, wrapped in scarlet foil, preceded the roses with their crimson folds and the garnet earrings that hung like blood drops from her perfect ears.

    Every day, he’d stand on the curb and watch her through the window to see the flash of puzzlement, and then delight.

    He couldn’t tell her, of course, and she’d never guess. Her manicured fingernails had never even brushed against the patches that patterned his shirts. Her white house on the hill was barely visible from the bench where he slept by the tracks.

    Today, she opened the last velvet rose. He turned slowly away, the manacles chafing his wrists.
    Prison was gray walls and gray ceilings. No one there had room for red.

  2. A Chocolate Dilemma
    150 WC
    By: Deanna Fugett
    Character / Setting

    “Mr. Wonka, we ran out of chocolate.”
    “Ran out of chocolate you say?”
    “Yes, it appears so.”
    The squishy Oompa-loompa stared at the man with the cane and tophat. Wonka swished his tailcoats as he wiggled. Charlie was dying to know what was going on in the strange man’s mind.
    His face twisted into a grin of a man already deep in the depths of insanity.
    He tapped his cane on tops of lollipop mushrooms as Charlie tilted his head and gaped at the legand.
    “What to do, what to do?” Wonka whirled in a fluid motion, whacking candy and marshmallows with his cane as he spun.
    Charlie reached a small hand towards the madman.
    “Could you not simply make some more?”
    Wonkas eyes glazed over. “More?” His face beemed. “Why yes, of course.” His cane tapped the Oompa-loompa on his derrière. “Carry on. Mus’nt let dentists lose their jobs.”

  3. Memories
    150 words
    Required elements: theme (you reap what you sow) setting (famous candy factory)

    Ferrero Spa.

    They were the sweetest words Augustus ever heard. When his uncle Willy told him they were visiting the famous Italian chocolate factory, Augustus could hardly contain his excitement.

    “Uncle Willy,” Augustus cried out, “this is going to be the best day ever! I’m going to try one of everything. I’m going to start with the Ferrero Rocher, then have some Fiesta Ferrero and then the Ferrero Rondnoir. After that I’ll have some Garden Coco candy and Confetteria Raffaello. Then for dessert, it’s the Gran Soleil!”

    “Be careful now,” Uncle Willy warned, “if you eat too much candy, you’ll wind up with a case of the oompa-loompas.”

    Augustus thought for a second, remembering the time he went to the Hersey factory with his uncle. Memories of his stomach churning like a volcano came rushing back. He remembered laying on the bed moaning in agony.

    It was absolutely worth it.

  4. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Story Elements: Character/Conflict (Man v. Self)
    Word Count: 149

    I Feel Like Roast Beef Tonight

    The valley stretched below me. Terror sealed my fingers to the stone, and the hundred foot drop churned my stomach.

    “Go on.” Drake crouched on the ledge. “Water’ll catch ya.”

    “My mama’s gonna skin me alive.”

    The wager I’d made this morning seemed far off, a smudge on the horizon, but here I was, about to jump a hundred feet into the churning waters of the Nantahala so I could take fifty dollars home to my mama—who’d probably kill me if I survived the jump.

    On the bright side, we’d get to eat.

    My fingers slipped and I nearly lost my balance. Drake snorted. “If you’re gonna go in, at least do it with style.”

    His snide grin won. I launched myself from the ledge.

    Water filled my nose and lungs. The powerful currents nearly shredded my arms from my shoulders.

    Still, we’d have roast beef tonight.

  5. The Reward
    150 words

    Required elements:
    Plot: A poor boy along with four other children win a day in a magical chocolate factory; unbeknownst to them, the factory owner is testing the children for an even bigger prize.
    Conflict: man vs man (the children compete against each other)

    “Eat it.”

    “No you eat it.”

    “Mikey, eat the candy bar”

    “Harry should eat it.”

    “I’m not touching it, it looks like a piece of poop.”

    Mikey, Harry, Joel and Eddie stood there looking at each other. Nobody would touch the chocolate.
    “Someone has to eat it.” Eddie reminded the group. “Don’t you remember what the funny little man said? He said that we were supposed to try their new candy bar. It was part of the deal because we got in for free.”

    “No!” Harry protested. “We got in for free because I found the candy bar with the golden wrapper. I got us in; someone else has to eat the chocolate bar. You guys should do rock, paper, scissors.”

    Hidden behind the observation glass the Oompa-Loompas watched nervously. Willy Wonka was dead, drowned in a vat of chocolate.

    Whoever ate the candy bar was the new Willy Wonka.

  6. Danny the Fin

    Most nights, just after dusk, and only if he was a mind to, Danny the Fin would scramble out of his bedroom window, sneak past Chatter, the family goat, and run through the tall grass to the river. There, he would slip in the cool water and drift on the current for hours.

    As he glided downstream, he could see the sod shacks clustered on the banks of the river, could glimpse the shadows of lives being led behind the tattered curtains.

    Sometimes, above the rivers hum, he could hear mothers telling ancient tales to sleepy children, fathers singing sad songs about farming and living, fishing and dying.

    With the city radiating in the night sky like a ghostly candle flame and the clouds pillow soft and billowy, he could almost see tomorrow.

    No matter how far he floated, every morning he would awake, rested, in his own straw bed.

    Character and Setting (a rundown shack by a big city)
    150 dreams
    @billmelaterplea

  7. It Will Change Your Life
    150 words

    Character: poor boy
    Setting: a run-down shack at the edge of a great city OR a world-famous candy factory

    * * *

    “You have a pure heart, boy. I would like to reward you.”

    “Reward me?” the boy asked, wide-eyed.

    “I want to make you my heir and adapt you.”

    “You mean adopt me?”

    “Is that the right word? Then yes. It will change your life.”

    “Wow. Can my family come, too?”

    “Of course, my boy. Why don’t you run inside and fetch them now?”

    “Oh, yes! Thank you!” The boy sprinted into the little shack he and his grandparents occupied at the city’s edge. “I found someone to adopt me and make me his heir!” he shouted as he entered. “He wants us all to come with him, now!”

    The boy’s family whooped for joy and immediately followed him.

    As they approached the castle where the dragon lived, it smiled, dropping its human guise. The boy had brought four grandparents. Good. Boys were always so hungry after their adaptation into dragons.

  8. Elements – Character & Plot
    147 words
    It’s All About Winning

    Living with failure is hard. Most people numb it with drink, or nicotine, or television, or drugs. They float from through life wondering if the golden ticket is within their grasp when in reality their mental arms are to short to grab the chances that flutter past their tiny little existences.

    The kid I stole my ticket from would have only wasted it. He’s better off with the memory of holding it, and the tears.

    The air is thick with the smell of cocoa. My stomach growls with desire. We’d better get decent tasting privileges on this tour.

    I look along the line. Five of us, and only me looking like I came via the thrift store. None of them make eye contact.

    Fine. Whatever the deal is with this thing. I’m gonna win. I’m gonna mash their smug faces in, and win. Me. I’m gonna win.

    @clivetern

  9. The Arena of Dreams
    Ian Martyn (@IBMartyn)
    145 words

    We were the poor, the unwashed, the uncared for orphans plucked from streets of vice and torment. He was a legend, both angel and demon. In the plantations rumours swirled around his name like mist in the early morning. He’d saved hundreds, enslaved thousands. He was the high priest of black magic. But then what was chocolate if it was not black magic?

    And now five of us were inside his Cathedral to the arcane arts of tempering. And there was Wonka sitting on a chocolate throne, drinking hot chocolate poured from a chocolate teapot, yes they do exist. On the ground were weapons, swords, shields flails and maces. And you’ve guessed it, made from chocolate.

    Wonka rose from his seat. ‘Children, welcome to my arena, where dreams come true.’ He paused, smiled. ‘But only for one, I’m afraid. For this is death by chocolate.’

  10. The Troll ‘ neath the Towers

    @making_fiction

    150 words

    Conflict (M v M) and Character

     

    The troll lives ‘neath the forever-shadows of the twin towers.

    On his commute, through the dustbowl city, he brings light to the masses with his disarming smile and a tip ‘o the cap.

    In the ramshackle apartment he calls home, he has ten thousand names.

    He eats from roughly hacked cans. He slumbers in contented dreams of pain.

    All his riches spent on proxy servers, fake identities and cloud accounts.

    He trolls the victims of the twin towers. Taunts the religious for being stupid. Castigates the non-believers for their intolerance. Feeds the conspiracy beasts of the illuminati, oh the beautiful illuminati.

    He waits for the days of the glorious hashtag.

    #AskELJames—it calls him like Meth. He fires insults at both sides. Today is a Platinum Ticket for the Troll.

    And tomorrow you will see him and smile—for he has the glow of a child in a chocolate factory.

  11. @AvLaidlaw
    147 Words
    Setting (world famous candy factory)
    Theme

    The Lotus Bars

    Wonka skips down the steps to the storeroom. He is skinny now, all arms and legs, nothing like the plump kid once bullied and jabbed by bony fingers. It had all been a matter of will-power, and patience.

    He opens the storeroom door. There they are. Chocolate bars made from cocoa beans from El Dorado, salt from the seas around the Sirens’ island, an infusion from glamorous Hollywood parties, the petals of the lotus flower. Once a man tasted these he would eat nothing else, leave his work and his family, his lovers and friends just to eat the Lotus Bars. He would eat and eat and grow enormously obese.

    Wonka begins to close the door but stops. He licks his pointed tongue over his lips. His sharp nails pinch the corner of the nearest bar. Just a little piece. To see what it tastes like.

  12. CHUCK’S FIVE

    Brian S Creek
    150 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog
    (Character / Setting)

    Another leak in the roof. Can’t wait ‘til we’re outta dis place.

    “Still think yous crazy, boss,” says Fat August.

    “Course you do,” I says. “Wouldn’t ‘ave suggested it overwise.”

    I look at them one by one, my little gang, all born and raised in the Skirts. And we’d all about had ‘nough, so I decided to do somethin’ ‘bout it.

    “Let’s go over it one more time,” I says. “Indigo uses her charm to shift some of the mansions guards. Teller picks the locks. Pepper crawls through the vents and lets us in the vault. And you, my chubby friend, will ‘ave lots of gold to carry tonight.”

    “What ‘bout you, Chuck?” says Fat August. “Where’ll you be?”

    I turn to the window and look across the rooftops. I see the mansion that is the city’s poisonous black heart.

    “I’ll be ‘aving a private word with our Mayor Williams.”

  13. Elements: Plot & Setting
    150 words
    An Unexpected Tale

    Danny, George, James, Matilda and me, Charlie, stood outside the factory gates and looked.

    “If this isn’t true,” I said, “we’ll be the twits who stood at Willy Wonka’s factory gates.”

    Matilda stared at the lock, as if willing it to open. Nothing happened.

    Danny turned to George. “C’mon, let’s go. My dad’s built an air balloon we can play with.”

    A man approached the gates. He was very tall, but smiled genially. He pointed a finger and, like magic, the gate opened.

    “Come in,” he boomed. “It’s time for the tour you lucky, lucky children.”

    He led us to a giant peach shaped carriage, and off we went. Their were dirty beasts and fantastic foxes, and tiny people, and an enormous crocodile. We went everywhere. Except one room.

    “Why cant we see in there?” asked James.

    “Because that’s where Mr. Dahl writes, and we don’t want to disturb him.”

    @clivetern

  14. MISSIVE

    Elements: Setting and Character
    150 Words
    @ParklandDavid
    (Story (c) 2015 David Steele)

    Beloved Mother,

    I am sorry to write with disturbing news, but events have happened quickly and we find ourselves in uncertain times.
    Problems began with a visit from a man in a bright yellow jacket. He had a clipboard and a very serious face. I think maybe the two are related.
    Apparently, squirrels in the workplace are a violation of law. The exterminator came to take them away yesterday. He too had a serious face, but not quite as serious as the man from the Ministry of Immigration, who made us line up to be photographed. It seems Mister Wonka should have registered us when we first arrived from Loompaland, and we were supposed to have received something called “wages”.
    Mister Wonka has apparently fled the building in a glass elevator, and the Department of Aviation have a warrant for his arrest.

    Trusting you are well,
    Your loving son,
    Albert

  15. Saturday is Red Striped Candy.
    (149 words)
    @elaine173marie

    Character, Setting.

    Mother is vanilla ice cream. She died when I was twelve (damp wood; slimy worms.)

    I will try hard not to let my entwined sensations complicate a simple story of a poor boy made good.

    Father is whisky. Tuesdays are triangles. School is stringy semolina and bruises.

    Home was rhubarb and custard until 1965 (white, purple, yellow, blue) and then it tasted of potatoes and boiled cabbage.

    Born in 1953 (white, purple, blue, green), my childhood (marmite) seemed ideal (lemonade) until the world stopped tasting of vanilla ice cream and took on its whisky flavour.

    Skinny (spaghetti) I’d stop at the sweet shop on my way home (the potatoes and cabbage one) and imagine a carnival of delights popping on my tongue. The kind, sweet shop owner took me under his wings (chicken). We branched out (green tea). Built a factory (chocolate) with a cornucopia (fruit cocktail) of tastes.

  16. “What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?”

    150 words
    Poor Boy / Fabulous Factory

    The car bounces along the rutted road, disappearing into the shadows of the great smokestacks as it approaches the shuttered factory.

    The little man struggles to control the car, cursing the wooden blocks he needs to reach the pedals.

    Behind him, the kids bounce, jounce and jostle together, barely conscious of their bonds or their destination. He takes only the poorest boys and girls, unlikely to be missed, hungry and desperate enough to take his candy.

    The bright wrappers, like his garish uniform, hiding a bitter filling.

    He pulls through the rusted gates, startling pigeons from shattered windows. This place was a dream once, a golden ticket paradise, till times and tastes and Health Statutes had changed.

    Now the name is forgotten, the little workers almost all gone, and few can imagine what it’s like to step inside, to gorge on the sweetest of confections.

    But the Candyman can…

    Karl A. Russell

  17. @AvLaidlaw
    139 words
    Setting (run down shack at the edge of a great city)
    Character

    Rhapsody

    He is a poor boy living near the chemical plant, in a shack made of corrugated iron that lets the rainwater leak onto the mattress. During the night he coughs from the damp and the chemical fumes. In the morning he hunts for scrap metal in the rubbish tips to sell for a few cents. He watches the smoke billow from the chimney stacks of the plant, twisting into towers and spires of yellowish ivory. There are theatres wreathed in the air, banks with porticos held by marble pillars, and mansions where string quartets play and the limousines pull up in the misty streets to let out gentlemen in smoky evening suits and ladies wrapped in gossamer ballgowns studded with sulpherous diamonds. Then the hiss and clank of the chemical plant stops and the city dissipates on the wind.

  18. (125)
    Theme: reap what you sow
    Conflict: man v man

    @Viking_Ma

    Blumpkins

    ‘You did what?’
    ‘I took a chance, Marjorie, trying to change our worthless lives!’
    ‘Reckless fool! I hate you, Jim!’
    ‘You’ll see…when the crop comes up!’
    ‘I’ll see what, exactly?’
    ‘Biggest pumpkins in four states! Guaranteed!’

    Jim planted the smooth yellow seeds, and the seasons passed. Nothing grew. Marjorie left him.
    In September, a late summer thunderstorm rocked the farmhouse, rain pummelling the ramshackle roof. As Jim watched, a huge blue streak of lightning hit the field. He shielded his eyes from the glare and could smell…pumpkin.
    When the crop was ready, folk came from the farms all around, agape at the massive blue globes.
    Jim found fortune and Glory, his new girlfriend. Marjorie stayed at her mother’s, weeping stormy tears of rage and regret.

  19. @stellakateT

    149 words
    Theme and Conflict

    Veritas

    His mates couldn’t believe his luck, winning a trip to the chocolate factory, bringing home as much as he could eat during the visit. He hated chocolate but didn’t dare tell. Who’s heard of a child not liking it? Johnny wanted him to start training so on the day he’d eat so much that the goodies would fill a flat back lorry. He had to brag that no amount of training was needed he was the champion.

    The smell of the chocolate made his stomach heave. Everyone looked strange in their uniforms. The factory owner said it was to do with health and safety and falling into vats of chocolate. He couldn’t think of a more gruesome death. His granny told him if you didn’t tell the truth it would come back to bite you on the bum.

    “I hate chocolate” he yelled, rendering his prize null and void.

  20. Michael J Berry

    berrymichael07@gmail.com

    Word Count: 150

    (Theme/setting)

    Regret

    Ugh, I can’t stand myself anymore: my pipes and bolts are rusted over, my gears are covered in cobwebs and my walls are filled with rats. I’m nothing like my former glorious self. Known, I was for the mouth-watering candy I helped make; now, I’m just known for being haunted.

    People only come now to see the ghost of Willy Wonka, but there is no ghost just the images I plant in people’s heads. I don’t know why, but every time someone comes around, I’m reminded of the fateful day Wonka realized he needed a successor.

    He was a wiz when it came to making candy, but he lacked common sense; but even so, perhaps I shouldn’t have confounded his plans to pick an ignorant child as my caretaker. I shouldn’t have driven those kids mad because the care anyone of them could’ve provided might’ve been better than none.

  21. A World Of Pure Imagination

    Hunger had the ability to eat away at you.
    If you did not satisfy the beast in your belly with food, then it began to eat your strength, nibbling and gnawing its way through your skull and up your fingers.
    Charles had been hungry for so very long.
    What a blessing from the universe it had been to be selected to take a tour of the local, but world famous, chocolate factory.
    He seemed to float through the doors of the factory, carried by a wave of chocolate scent reaching cartoon fingers under his chin and pulling him along.
    He gorged himself on chocolate with almonds, chocolate pie with chocolate cookie crust, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate with sharp cinnamon…

    “Chocolate with raspberries…” he murmured, rocking back and forth, feverish sweat popping out above closed eyes.
    Charle’s mother laid her head against the side of his bed and wept.

    Setting and Conflict (man vs. self)
    148 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  22. Dylyce P. Clarke
    Innocence Reborn
    Elements : Theme/Setting
    (150 words)

    Through tear-drenched eyes Theresa watched her baby smiling. He was innocent and shouldn’t have reaped what his mother sowed.

    “He looks happy,” Theresa said. “Doesn’t he know?”

    “He did,” said Theresa’s Guide. “But, come, let me show you something.”

    Theresa followed the Guide to a pastel shaded cottage from which delicious smells wafted. Inside she watched angels spinning sugar into gossamer wings. A frightened child appeared within a cocoon of sparkling light.

    A candy-maker approached, holding out a chocolate. “Do not be scared little one. Eat this.”

    The boy nibbled it and fear drained from his face. The candy-maker fitted him with a pair of wings. Theresa looked questioningly at The Guide.

    “Everyone arrives with the memory of how they died. The candy-spell erases it.”

    The Guide handed Theresa a chocolate. It melted on her tongue like a lover’s caress.

    “Forget,” whispered the Guide, and fitted Theresa with her wings.

  23. Crazy Jack
    @hollygeely
    Elements: Conflict (man vs. self) and setting (run-down shack at the edge of a great city)
    141 words

    Crazy Jack lived in a shack outside Paradise. It was said that in the old days he ate children.

    Yet Robbie had been dared. He waited until nightfall, snuck into the woods, and knocked on Crazy Jack’s door. A harmless-looking but ragged old man answered.

    “What is that smell?” Jack demanded. He yanked the backpack off Robbie’s shoulders. He pulled out the chocolate bars Robbie had brought as provisions.

    “I left Paradise to escape this poison! For years I struggled to develop willpower. In the end I lost.”

    He tore the wrappers from the chocolate and shoved them whole into his mouth.

    “So you don’t eat children at all,” Robbie said. His knees were weak with relief.

    Jack grinned with chocolate-covered teeth.

    “Sorry, kid, the rumours are true. That’s why I had to get away from the chocolate. It makes me crazy.”

  24. Hershey’s Chocolate, Hershey’s Chocolate, Hershey’s Chocolate Woooorld
    by Allison K. Garcia, Elements: Character & Setting, 142 words, @ATheWriter

    “When I was little and Grandma and Grandpop took me here, they actually still made chocolate in this factory. They didn’t have to pump out the smell of chocolate from the vents; it was just there, in the air.”

    “How come we don’t come every summer like you did?”

    “Oh, it’s much farther away than where I grew up,” I lied. How could I tell our son that we had saved up the whole year for this little weekend trip, that the medical bills were eating us alive, that we were drowning in a sea of debt, that all his clothes were hand-me-downs, and that we were always one bill away from the welfare line?

    I couldn’t. So I silently followed his tattered sneakers through the long line, glad he was still too young to understand what it meant to be poor.

  25. Reblogged this on Chica Creativa and commented:
    Hershey’s Chocolate, Hershey’s Chocolate, Hershey’s Chocolate Woooorld
    by Allison K. Garcia, Elements: Character & Setting, 142 words, @ATheWriter

    “When I was little and Grandma and Grandpop took me here, they actually still made chocolate in this factory. They didn’t have to pump out the smell of chocolate from the vents; it was just there, in the air.”

    “How come we don’t come every summer like you did?”

    “Oh, it’s much farther away than where I grew up,” I lied. How could I tell our son that we had saved up the whole year for this little weekend trip, that the medical bills were eating us alive, that we were drowning in a sea of debt, that all his clothes were hand-me-downs, and that we were always one bill away from the welfare line?

    I couldn’t. So I silently followed his tattered sneakers through the long line, glad he was still too young to understand what it meant to be poor.

  26. What goes around…

    The crippled kid casually invades my turf, accompanied by squeals of protest from rusty wheels thirsty for a drink of oil. He really looks the part. The right amount of dirt, that faint stench of desperation, his smile even stays limp in the corners.

    The effect is immediate, the punters are drawn to him like fat kids to a candy store. The coins rain into his cap.

    We make eye contact across the busy road and the best he can manage is a nod. He’s stealing from me and he knows it.

    I dart across to confront him. He leaps out of his wheelchair to defend himself, the illusion broken. As people gasp in betrayal he lunges for me, but I dodge just in time. He doesn’t see the ambulance until it’s too late. Crunch.

    I no longer confront the kid in the wheelchair when he invades my turf.

    150 words
    @todayschapter
    https://todayschapter.wordpress.com
    Elements: For this week I used conflict (man vs man) and theme (you reap what you sow).

  27. @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Story Elements: Character and Setting
    Word Count: 150

    Ian, Diana, Jonas and The Lost Dark

    “Vot are you doing here so late, kinder?”

    Wilhelm Wönke confronts three intruders in his latest Schokoladenfabrik, a converted UK cement works.

    “We heard that yer dark chocolate was really nice. We saved up and bought some, but…”

    “It fell down a grid.”

    “We thought we’d see if you had any… free samples.”

    “Ja, it is very good.”

    “Where does it come from?”

    “China.”

    “What?! Pound Realm sells that.”

    “Tastes like crap!”

    “Not mit mein secret ingredient.”

    “Yeah?”

    “Yeah?”

    “Whazzat then?”

    “Ein psychotropic agent.”

    “Drugs don’t work that fast.”

    “We’ve tried ’em all! We live on a council estate!”

    “Where’dya gerrit?”

    Wönke raises his hat, pirouettes (coattails flying) and flashes the broadest, whitest smile, distracting the youngsters as his Mönions surrounded them.

    “Ve extract it, meine lieblinge… from ze hopes und dreams of poor kinder.”

    Wönke leans close, eyes slowly widening with a maniacal glint, and whispers:

    “Just…like… yooou!!”

  28. Chocolate Dreams
    @EmilyJuneStreet
    148 Words
    character: poor boy
    setting: chocolate factory

    He watched the workers enter the Amul factory, sack lunches in hand. Soon after they disappeared, chocolate aromas permeated the air.

    Bharat, age ten, recycler extraordinaire, could turn paper lunch sacks into enough rupees to buy supper for his sister, if the workers would only toss them away.

    The mouth-watering scents tempted. He’d never tasted chocolate. The smallest cost five rupees, too much for him. Only fortunate boys might get chocolate every night, might go to school, might never have to pick filth or face a factory worker’s slap.

    “Hey, rag-boy!”

    Bharat flinched. A factory man approached, no doubt to kick Bharat off the property. And then what would he do for food money? Real waste-pickers hated boys like him infringing on their turf. Bharat had nowhere else to go.

    But the man only threw something at Bharat’s bare feet: a foil-wrapped bar, fresh, still leaking chocolate dreams.

  29. Taste the Magic
    @voimaoy
    147 words
    setting / character

    The old factory stood empty for years, and the neighborhood died, until a smiling billionaire revived it.

    “Jobs, jobs, jobs,”  people cried.  It was like an impossible dream.

    For the grand re-opening, there was a tour. All the kids were promised free samples.  Jesse waited in line with the others to get a better view. He recognized some of the workers–the drug dealers who hung out on the corners, and Mr. Jones, the old man who slept in the bus shelter. They were wearing perfect white jumpsuits. It looked like a scene from a movie.

    The others rushed to grab the candy bars, but Jesse asked, “What’s in these anyway?”

    “Only the finest ingredients.” the tour guide grinned. “Everything’s organic.”

    Hesitantly, Jesse  tasted the rich melting goodness, the creamy center. Visions of rainbows and unicorns filled his head.

    “It’s quite addictive,” Mr. Jones said. “You’ll want more.”

  30. I Don’t Like The Sound of That…
    150 words
    Character & Setting
    @theshakes72

    Hungry, a cold wind snapped through the slats of their rundown shack, biting Charlie’s exposed ankles.
    From the discomfort of their aged mattress, he heard giggles of excitement from multitudinous children lining the street approaching the factory.
    Its concrete edifice dwarfed their shack, the only other building this side of the city.
    Charlie squeezed from the tangle of his family in their shared bed, silently slipping on his threadbare coat.
    The wind increased its ferocity as he stepped outside. Pulling the coat around him, he followed the clamour of his peers.
    This had become an annual pilgrimage.
    ‘New flavour! Flavour Friday!’ announced billboards that lined the road.
    In his head, Charlie had devoured their names and inferred their exotic tastes.
    But that was all.
    He looked at the smiling children’s faces– their gap toothed grins and bleeding gums a visible sign of wealth.
    Hiding his perfect teeth, he pressed on.

  31. Treat Yourself

    Rollie was fond of his favorite treat
    White chocolate bars with small jerky meat
    So imagine his heart speed up and tremble
    When invited to tour where his treat was assembled

    Their host for the day was broad smiling lady
    Who looked like she’d eaten a box of treats daily
    She promised to begin at the end of the tour
    And let the kids gobble the treats piled on the floor

    She guided the kids to the very next room
    Where a burping machine made the treats they’d consumed
    Chocolate in one tube, dried meat in the other
    A third tube as empty, the kids would discover

    When they walked ever closer to the third machine hole
    their host for the day pushed them in with a pole
    The witch cackled and laughed, her stomach excited
    The treats Rollie loved were made for kids and by kids

    @BradytheWriter
    147 Words
    setting, plot

  32. Grey and Gloomy
    133 words
    Elements: Character and Setting
    @agardana09

    He ate paint chips for dinner that night. The dirt beneath his fingernails added an extra bit of taste but his stomach still rumbled around the lead.

    Under the flickering lights of the old warehouse, Danny waited for his mother. He had been waiting for a week and a half. He counted each sunrise over the city as he watched the trucks drive in every morning, images of bread and meats on their sides. A feast would be easy to find with a truck like that – his mother was supposed to steal one.

    On the opposite site of the city, the prison stood under a grey and gloomy cloud. Danny’s mother stared out the window towards the warehouse on the hill. Her eyes blurred with tears as she scratched her cell walls, waiting.

  33. Theme: Reap what you so.
    Conflict: Man vs man (raccoon vs raccoon)
    Words: 150
    @digestibleink

    A Sticky Situation

    Garth stood shaking. His raccoon fur was covered in strawberry goo. He repeated, “Supercalideliciousosoohsostrawberryharrywankagoooexpialadocious….”

    “This won’t work,” Percy said.

    Percival flicked the BBQ starter,” It won’t wash off. Our paws are covered in it.”

    There was a sudden gust of wind. A pair of sensible shoes drifted down from above.
    “Good-day gentlemen.” She closed her umbrella. “ My, what a sticky boy you are…hmm? You finally got into the Wanka Factory? I suppose, Percival was gong to burn your fur off?”

    “Mary Poppins?”

    “One problem at a time, Percival.” She fumbled in her carpet bag then shook a glass bottle.
    “You’ll have to drink it to the bitty bottom…”

    Garth looked at the BBQ.

    Percy said,” We’ve got color changing paws.”

    Garth twirled,” I smell like a strawberry.” He turned green.

    “And now, everyone will know when we’re lying,” Percival’s paws where blue.

    (c) 2015 Digestible Ink

  34. @fs_iver
    Setting & character
    WC: 149

    Dr. C’s Freak Show

    I remember the first time I saw them. Inside what looked like popcorn machines, they slept, bathed in buttery light. Only ten cents to ogle “The World’s Tiniest Babies” at Dr. C.’s Freak Show. Like theirs, her skin is translucent.

    Righteous scorn draws the midwife’s mouth into an infinite line.

    “God’s will is perfect,” she says. Her granite eyes speak plainly. This is what comes of 17-year-olds who give their sweet hearts a tumble.

    But look what we made: two pounds and a palm’s-worth of downy hair and fighting heart. This fisherman’s shanty is no place for her. I have nothing and she deserves a palace.

    “Say your goodbyes.”

    No. She’ll live, grow, follow me to the wharf, learn to swim. He could help.

    I kiss Clara’s briny cheek, and wrap our masterpiece in a pillow case. The midwife lunges but I run, cradling Dr. C.’s next incubator baby.

  35. @PattyannMc
    WC: 149
    Character/Setting

    Little Tattered Timmy

    Little Timmy sat on the grassy hilltop behind their shack, the sun warm, breezes ruffling curly-red hair, the scent of chocolate air in his nose. Amber eyes squinting, freckles bunching, watching workers enter the shiny new factory below, he longed for something more.

    ‘One day I’ll work there; we won’t struggle anymore.’ He couldn’t wait! ‘I’ll surprise Ma with a beautiful dress to compliment her hair, and Da, a dashing suit, and I’ll eat as much chocolate as I can! We’ll have steak and kidney pie, and . . . ’

    “Timmy, time for yer supper,” his Ma called, interrupting his fantasy.

    His mouth watered for steak and chocolate, wondering what they tasted like as he rose. A big toe popped through the hole in his shoe, and his suspenders snapped off, tattered trousers dropped to his ankles.

    He gloomily trudged inside the dim ramshackle, and sat down to potato water, again.

  36. The Melting of the Ice Tower
    A.J. Walker
    @zevonesque

    Story elements: character/theme
    (150 words)

    Avery Ice III looked out across the city – his city; the tower proved it. It’s blue white carapace thrust into the sky a testament to his prowess and proud lack of modesty.

    Benjamin looked up daily at the ‘ice and a slice’ that towered over his family’s shack trying to recall a time when his home took in the morning sun. Post-Avery it was perpetually nighttime.

    Each night Benjamin kneeled at his bedside praying for the health of his family. In bed he imagined better times ahead.

    When Avery tripped over a Persian rug into his penthouse window he had several seconds to curse his skimping on workmanship and raw materials as he fell the half mile and ultimately through Benjamin’s roof.

    The new build house proved wonderful for Benjamin, particularly when the tower was torn down after non-bribed inspectors revealed the true extent of Avery’s building shortcuts.

  37. @KOrionFray
    WC: 146
    Conflict (man v man)/Theme

    Life Sentence

    Hand over hand. Ignore the scrambling scum beneath him. Cold metal bites into his palms as he scales the side of the building, monopolizing the remnants of the old fire escape.

    One thousand chosen to compete for the prize. One story left between him and freedom. Finger bones crunch under his shoes. He ignores the screams.

    /There./ One golden key, one ticket to clemency. A chance to not be a criminal. A chance to try again. He dives for it.

    One wrong step. One weak spot.

    The roof crumbles. His hands scramble for purchase, clinging to shards of concrete and rusted metal, to the memories of his wife, daughter, life before. He can still go home.

    A figure, a savior, appears above him. He gasps out a plea, struggles to reach out a hand.

    He can hear his fingers crunch under their boot before he falls.

  38. The Choice
    108 words
    @sydney_writer
    Story elements: Shack setting and poor boy character

    “I’m no good for you.”

    When he said that to me, I wasn’t thinking about living in a shack outside the city, dumpster diving for food, or stealing ibuprophen so our kid didn’t die from fever. I wasn’t thinking about torn jackets, sockless toes, or begging for a few laundromat coins.

    I was thinking about how my soul would wither away if we really said good-bye right now.

    I choose this lifestyle because I choose him. Every day. I open my eyes and the one poor boy from downtown stirs beside me, turns over, and whispers in my ear.

    “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

  39. Motivation

    Charles W. Short
    @CharlesWShort
    147 words
    conflict (man vs. man), character (poor boy), Setting (shack at edge of town)

    William walked out of the pile of rubble he called home, with a fierce determination. Down the road was a similar shack, where Rutherford made a similar exit.

    The two boys stared at each other icily, before both took off running. Every day the same race; every day the winner received a piece of chocolate from the factory owner.

    Sometimes William got it; other times Rutherford. They never fought over it. Whoever won, won fair and square. The ritual made them both faster.

    When they hit their teen years, the school coach took note of their speed. After that they were noticed by the Olympic committee.

    William became the team captain. Rutherford brought home the gold medal.

    Twenty years later, the William and Rutherford Institute replaced the substandard housing of the poor with suitable family homes, sponsored in part by the owner of the old chocolate factory.

  40. @PattyannMc
    WC: 150
    Plot/Conflict (man vs man)

    Golden Child

    “Which one, me-beep, looks best?” The crimson Overlord inquired.

    “I, don’t, know, mah-bop, they all look good Sir, though I don’t, mah-bop, like the fat one – too much chocolate for my taste! Look there, mah-bop, that scrawny, mah-bop, bedraggled one; PERFECT,” exclaimed the Underling!

    “We’ll, me-beep, see.”

    Five children lined the smooth silver dome looking anxiously about, awaiting their trials, while breathing chocolate perfumes. None of them spoke, but all side-glanced at Freddie as the Martians pointed.

    “Whomever, me-beep, reaches the Golden Orb first, will, me-beep, be our Golden Child. You may, me-beep, begin!”

    They raced like lightening to the floating Golden-covered chocolate Orb. Freddie being scrawnier, lighter, won!

    “Me-beep, come with me. You are, me-beep, our Golden Child! Well done! The others? Me-beep, evacuate them.”

    Freddie shrieked, plummeting into a canister of molten liquid chocolate, cooled, then covered with gold, and consumed.

    “Underling, me-beep, you were correct, me-beep, DELICIOUS!”
    😀

  41. @fs_iver
    WC: 149

    A God in Her Tower Never Bows

    “You knew this day was coming…” Idrys circled her, his voice never rising above a whisper. Her eyes were like the wolf’s: dull silver, more predatory.

    “I recall no harm done to you–”

    His staff, the spinal column of an arctic elephant, struck the stone between them.

    “Do you not remember?” Fury spilled from his lashes. “Walking between parallels? Seducing my brother and bringing him here? You ate his soul by degrees.”

    She was still, her form like water.

    “What Hell have we not seen because of you? Your own people,” he swept his staff over the city, “are your victims!”

    Her nostrils, white as the Baltic tiger’s, flared.

    “They’re mine to rule–”

    “And care for.” Idrys centered his chest on her. “Your blood could stop their disease.”

    Her teeth glinted.

    “Don’t be silly. A god never dies for her creation.”

    Idrys smiled.

    “You’ll be the first.”

  42. Wonkered w/c 150 words

    * Conflict: man v self (each child undergoes a trial related to her/his greatest flaw)
    * Theme(s): You reap what you sow
    * Setting: a world-famous candy factory

    Tommy Pail gibbered, his marshmallow thighs muffling his tears. Tucking his licoriced fingers into his palms, he shuffled further away from the ovens, wary he might melt.

    Elsewhere, closer to the sweets’ vat, Janvier Splatt had already devoured his hands and was thrusting his forearms deeper into his chocolate-smeared maw. Surrounded by creased purple foil, he was shamelessly naked; more intent on licking, chewing and guzzling every piece of himself he could reach, already having snapped off and gobbled down his feet and much of his legs below the knees. Similarly unconcerned, Tasha Gout’s tongue was slithering across her palms, her face contorted as she shuddered with each taste of the soured lemon barley-sugar her hands had become.

    Of course Wilhelm Askew was there too, standing beneath the flashing neon sign declaring ‘You are what you eat!’. “How more obvious could I make it,” he said, shaking his head ruefully.

  43. Sal Page
    @SalnPage
    150 words
    Story elements – Character & setting

    Golden Ticket

    Chas gazed across the factory site, recalling his four-foot-nothing granny and his lovely Mum, both long gone, tumbling out of the gates, delighted by Friday & heading to the pub. His Dad even worked there for a while. Sweeping up and making tea. Chas never told the other kids where his family worked. Embarrassing. Everyone knew what they made there but no one ever talked about it.
    Now, people all over the world were entering the draw, many thousands of times. Chas just once. His last tenner that week.
    A number was drawn out. Yes! Chas couldn’t stop grinning. He’d done it. He’d actually done it. Got the golden ticket. The factory was his. The owner had made his price. The press clamoured for a statement. Chas smiled. He already knew what he was going to do. Mum’s favourite. Chocolate and sweets. A confectionary business to rival even Cadbury’s themselves.

  44. Not all Reapers are Grim
    Elements: Character & Conflict (man v man)
    with just a hint of Theme…
    102 words
    personalvapes@gmail.com

    Snatches of sing-songy intoxication wiggled their way around the filthy towels valiantly clinging to the charred beams masquerading as walls.

    “Food for all!”

    “Comfort and Fun!”

    “Dreams come true!”

    The man in the bright-purple great-coat wandered the alley – an ocean of deserted street-urchins caught in the wake of his swell as he sang us songs of dreams.

    Willingly we followed him into the dark building – visions of meat and heat and candy and comfort dancing in our heads.

    Only to find combat, blood and death, all broadcast LIVE to the well-paying audience.

    He planted our dreams, then harvested our nightmares.

  45. Three To Two

    (Conflict and setting)

    Tammy hesitates, looking at the bowl and glass, paper propped against them on the grimy floor. “What d’you think?” she asks the girls beside her.

    “Got to,” Casey answers.

    “Pretty much,” Orla says.

    “Could’ve done anything whilst we were out,” Tammy says. “Never mind used whatever…”

    “Helpful,” Casey says. “Really. Now, what’re we thinking, after last time?”

    “Note or chance it? Your call.” Tammy shudders, brushing her arms. “Jesus, it reeks,” she grimaces.

    “Note,” Casey says, straightforward. “Safest.” She holds the paper at fingertips’ length. “Eat, drink or..” she reads.

    “What?” Tammy asks.

    “Nothing. That’s the choice, isn’t it?”

    “One each,” Orla murmurs.

    “Shabby Shack’s special,” Casey says, glancing at the mouldy walls. “Sanity, civilisation, city; missing, distantly remembered.”

    “Eat me, drink me,” Orla adds.

    “Someone has to,” Casey says. “Three to two. Our choice. Our call.”

    “Which is which?” Tammy asks.

    “Best of three, anyone?” Orla asks, mouth trembling.

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

  46. Elements: Character/Theme
    @claudiaionescu
    Words: 150

    A Famous Farewell

    The chubby girl next to Tommy was busy dipping her cupped hands into the river of melted chocolate. She looked preoccupied.

    Tommy sighed. He turned to the other children. They didn’t seem interested; they were staring at the river as if it were molten lava.

    “Are you gonna do it?” asked Tommy, shrugging at them. No reply. One boy began crying. The words “mommy” and “lawsuit” were distinctly audible beneath snot-filled sobs.

    Tommy sighed. If he wasn’t gonna do it, who would?

    “Bye, Felicia,” he waved to the girl. She gave him a look of contempt as he cannon-balled into the river and began swimming upstream.

    He thought he’d be rich when he got out. He didn’t know he’d get hurt in the Fondue Fountain and never escape the Froot Loop Forest.

    Instead, Tommy’s legacy lived on as kids everywhere recited his last words to unsuspecting friends and enemies alike.

  47. Sweet Muzak

    @making_fiction

    132 Words

    Conflict and Character

     

    My Boy, Lollipop, liked to eat Sugar. He was the Sweetest Thing.

    He once lived In The Ghetto, on the Poor Side of Town, where he said, “Money’s too Tight to Mention”. But he had a vision of escape, he had a Poor Man’s Dream.

    He made it rich selling Lemon drops coated in Brown Sugar from a store on the edge of Strawberry Fields. His butchers shop went bankrupt, who wants to buy meaty American Pie, anyway?

    The competition didn’t like it. For a while it was War. It was Us and Them. They were Wild Boys, led by a Street Fighting Man, he liked to shoot his Uzi and Bullet the Blue Sky. Oh Sweet Child o’ Mine, he became fretful and screamed into the Dead End Street, crying for safety, crying to go home. Crying for Sweet Home, Alabama.

  48. Bittersweet
    Theme: You reap what you sow
    Setting: World famous candy factor
    (147 words)
    Sweet, dark, smooth on the tongue. Chocolate had been Simon’s life’s passion. He’d never found a woman who made him feel as good as a piece of rich milk chocolate. Now that he was seventy, he realized he would never have children.

    The great factory he’d built, his secret recipes—who would inherit?

    He’d interviewed several orphan children, hoping to find someone he could adopt and mold into his heir.

    “It smells funny in here,” one child said.

    “Chocolate is bad for your teeth,” said another orphan.

    In his great kitchens, Simon carefully poured his melted chocolate into a huge mold. Then he waited. After he removed it, the great chocolate child looked alive, ready to speak. He was so beautiful, Simon thought.

    “What we need is magic,” he whispered. “Little boy, made of chocolate. . .”

    In the warm room, the chocolate child began to melt.

  49. Six
    Conflict/ Character
    Word Count: 137 words

    He tapped the filter end of his cigarette against the steering wheel six times. He’d tell you it was six without having counted the taps. It was always six.

    He shook his white Bic lighter six times, lit his cigarette and inhaled deeply.

    If you asked him, “Why six?” he wouldn’t be able to answer you. It just was.

    He parked in the driveway of his run-down double – wide trailer, closed the car door, and locked it with his remote. One. Two. Three . . .

    Later, he tapped his after dinner cigarette in the ashtray six times after finishing it.

    Sixes didn’t fuel insomnia that night though – dreading another day of sixes. No fantasies about a day without them.

    Before he’d gotten in bed he’d taken his pills as usual. For once, the number didn’t matter.

    Jeff Stickler
    @LewisHenry71

  50. “The Playground”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Setting (sort of), character, conflict
    Word count: 150

    “The biggest candy factory in the world,” Robby said.

    “The place they park the Goodyear blimp,” Pete countered.

    “Batman’s Cave!”

    His voice now hoarse, Robby’s words no longer echoed in the cavernous space.

    “You know, Pete, I’m going to miss this place,” Robby said, peering up at the graying sky. Indeed, to a boy who has nothing, playgrounds – real playgrounds, with slides, swings, merry-go-rounds – are scarce. An abandoned well field had to do.

    “My leg hurts, Pete. A lot.”

    In reality, Robby felt phantom pain. The fall had broken his back, and physical pain no longer was possible.

    “It’s getting dark. You’d better go, Pete.”

    “I can’t leave you, Robby. I never will. I’ll always be with you.”

    “Pete, you’ve been the BEST best friend, ever. Even if no one else can see you. But it’s getting dark. No one’s going to find me down here. And I’m getting sleepy.”

  51. Sweet Harvest
    @rowdy_phantom
    150 words
    Theme and character

    The first time, Enar gobbled the chocolate right up. Doled out in the spring, the little eggs were foil-wrapped miracles.

    “The Celestials bless the missionaries,” he mused, mouth still quickened with joy.

    Big sister Iren snickered. “Cacao grows on bushes, boulder-brain.”

    Bushes! Enar scouted for a place to plant his next egg. He decided on a spindly copse just off the grow fields.

    The second spring, little cousin Jaran suffered the new spotty sickness. Enar gave up his seed-egg. When the magic touched Jaran’s lips, gummy eyelids fluttered. She even pleaded for more.

    The third spring, he planted. He’d detour to the copse to sprinkle water over the mound. One dawn, it sprouted. A square ten times the size of the egg!

    Enar, my sweet nephew, shared his bounty with the family. When I noticed him sequester one piece, my heart stumbled.

    I don’t think I can obtain another bar.

  52. Used: Conflict (Man vs Self) & Setting (run-down shack)
    Word Count: 147
    @CarinMarais

    The End of the Rainbow

    “It’s just half your soul. What do you want a whole one for if half will do?” the scaly man in the black suit grinned.

    Behind him the behemoth stood half finished. Soon the factory would start belching smoke and leaving traces of soot on every shack. The bright lights of the city beyond sang of future riches as they danced and swayed seductively in lines of yellow and red. The siren song pulled at heart strings, dulled the senses, made promises of skyscrapers and mansions it could not keep. Just like it’s called to you for the past decade.

    “Just half?”

    The sirens sing of a pot of gold just out of reach.

    You can’t shut out the song forever. It grows and changes and stretches its way into lying promises spilling from so many mouths.

    The man nods.

    The sirens close in on their prey.

  53. Charles and the Charcoal Factory
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke or margaretlocke.com)
    135 words
    Elements: Character (Poor boy), Theme (You reap what you sow)

    The factory killed his dad. Bled him dry, ma said, with its eternal grayness and dark center.

    Charles hated that factory, smokestacks burning up dreams day after day as workers labored to provide for their families.

    Provide what? They never had turkey at Thanksgiving, ham at Easter. “Too expensive,” ma said.

    The foreman claimed it was an accident, that his da misstepped on a ladder.

    Charles knew better.

    For weeks, he’d hurled rocks at it, that soul-sucking edifice. His anger and rage only grew, hungry and black.

    Yesterday, he’d given up. Given in. He’d picked up da’s backpack, ready to take his place.

    But he’d also taken purple paint and drawn lilies on the factory’s face. It warmed his soul, this act of treason.

    He’ll kill them with color and beauty. He’d kill them all.

  54. The sum of the parts
    @geofflepard 150 words Picture/character/theme
    It looked like a vat of chocolate, until the feature-perfect teenager’s head rose to the surface. The lashless eyes opened slowly.
    ‘How long can he live?’
    ‘As long as his principal needs him.’’
    Those unblinking eyes were hypnotic. The briefing said there was a mind but no understanding. ‘Poor thing. He looks so…’
    ‘Sad? Don’t be taken in. The kid’s utterly unaware.’
    ‘Is it true some have fought…?’
    He laughed. ‘We had an issue around muscle control which your press colleagues exaggerated. We sedate now. There’s no risk.’
    He wasn’t sad. He was calculating, assessing. ‘When’s the first extraction?’
    ‘We’re assessing a principal for a new liver. This one will donate when the need is established.’
    The chief didn’t see the tiny crease in the boy’s forehead nor the tiny hand clench.
    ‘What happens after extraction?’
    ‘We liquidize the remnants for food stock.’
    I was sure the blemish-free back tensed.

  55. Emily Clayton
    @emilyiswriting
    Elements: Character/Theme
    148 Words

    Poison by the Dose

    The bad men drowned today. Them with their fancy duds and debonair smiles. Not sure what that means. I heard Mr. Martin say that when they left the shop. He also said they had smooth talking ways and arsenic-laced eyes. That got me excited. They got poison in their eyes?

    I followed along, eager to watch poison shoot from their eyes. Were they aliens? Would the G-Men come soon?

    Instead, they whipped out pistols and robbed the bank on Main Street. That’s where the money lives. Bad men.

    Jackets fluttered as they raced loot down the street like sacks of laundry. They even threw it over the bridge and dived in. That’s when the yelling started. Guess their boat got away.
    The taller one saw me on my perch. Called for help. I shook my head. Mama always told me to never lend a hand to bad men.

  56. @OpheliaLeong
    Characters/Setting
    Word Count: 148

    Follow Your Nose

    The deserted candy factory shone in the moonlight. Allan rubbed his hands, wishing he’d had money for gloves. His belly rumbled and he tried to smell the faint sweet scent in the air that had led him there.
    Calling up every bit of courage a ten-year-old boy possessed, he walked onto the factory’s grounds.
    He heard a humming sound and stopped walking, worried about ghosts. Then, he remembered how hungry he was and continued on. Maybe there was food left in this haunted place.
    Suddenly, he noticed that the sweet smell was growing stronger and it enveloped his nose, making him feel warmer than he had ever felt before.
    A door in the side of the factory creaked open and out stepped a tall figure in a coat and tails.
    “Come along, my boy. I’m sure we’ve got some chocolate lying about. You look like you need it.”

  57. The Discarded

    Rain dripped into laden pans and rusting cans as Arch toiled at his workbench. Back aching, he stretched out. Staring at the looming shadow beyond the cracked window, chimneys belching sweet grey smoke into greyer skies. Taunting him.

    Soon. He had followed in the footsteps of his ancestors lured by the offer of acceptance and song.

    Only to discover a world filled with automated steel and sneering rejection.

    A hiss as his soldering iron caressed the last delicate petal of chocolate. Arch stood up, running a hand though his hair, a clump of green coming away in his fist.

    Before him stood a confectioners dream, a majestic egg of ornate delights.

    That ticked faintly in conspiracy.

    Arch strapped it to his chest, a hint of cinnamon in the air as he stepped out of the shack, into the drizzling gloom.

    Heading for the smoke stacks and their intoxicating lies.

    @imageronin
    149 words
    theme/setting

    #flashdog

  58. Cinders and Candy Wrappers
    150 words
    Conflict/Setting (candy factory)
    @rowdy_phantom

    The third time her waltzing sends machine parts clattering over sheet metal, I figure I’m gonna have to neutralize the old dame. Probably alerted every Eye in the sector.
    My gun hand wobbles. “Stop following me.”
    She huffs. “I’m not done dancing, Godmother.” Ragged wires of hair stick out from her teetering bun.
    “Back in your vault, then.” I blast a nearby crate showering her in wrapper scraps. She barely flinches.

    Found her in an unsprung vault beneath the derelict factory. Thought I’d scored big until she turned up, babbling about broken slippers.
    Mother was a teenager during the Incursion. She’d be old like that. What if…?

    Spindly arms snake about my head. Knotty fingers jerk the gun from my hands.
    “The wand!” she crows. “Bibbity-bobbity–”
    “Wait!”
    “–boo!”
    The blast perforates my gut. What I get for romanticizing a survivor.
    She twirls away through inert assembly lines. “I’ll decide when it’s midnight.”

  59. The Boy Left Out The Story (A Silly Rhyme)
    150 Words
    Elements: Theme/Setting

    James Atkinson
    @jamesatkinson81

    Another one who misbehaved,
    From the list was duly shaved-
    The boy left out the story,
    Because it was all too gory.

    The boy mad about cricket,
    Post-match found his Golden Ticket.
    A boy named Bernard Bonderella
    Who wanted just to play forever,

    In an odd corner of the factory,
    Found bars of pure energy.
    Chocolate to keep you going,
    ”Every over, I’d keep flowing.”

    Like other naughty ones he snatched his chance-
    Grabbed a bar,
    Gobbled it,

    Paused.

    Started to dance.

    A wicked dance that took him over,
    Forced his legs to take him closer;
    To the machine that shaped and cut
    That day not just the choc bars but

    His head, legs, groin, and spleen,
    Ripped out his insides, made him lean,
    Boiled him down, made him energy,
    A bar for cannibals filled with jelly.

    Hence he didn’t make the story,
    Thought back then to be too gory.

  60. Starmaker
    146 words
    @thebatinthehat
    character/”man” vs self 😉

    Stardust coated the factory floor, where it was trampled and swept aside by the manic movements of youthful workers; sentenced by poverty to hard labor, their tentacled appendages bore a multitude of scars from the celestial grinding and polishing machines.

    The worthless particles could fetch a tidy sum on the black hole market, however, being much sought after by dreamers and love-sick fools.

    Getting caught would mean a prison worse than poverty. But it seemed like such a waste… even a small amount could feed them for a month.

    He scooped some into a pouch and slid it into his pocket before heading home.

    “Hey,” he said, nudging his sister awake. “I’ve got something for you.”

    She squealed at the sparkles with delight. “But I thought you said stars aren’t real.”

    “I didn’t mean it,” he said. “Go on. Make a wish.”

    They could eat tomorrow.

    • Love this. ‘black hole market’ , ‘sentenced by poverty to hard labor’ , ‘a prrison worse than poverty’ clever, tight writing.

    • What a beautiful take! It pains my heart that something as glorious as a star factory would still exploit its workers. Beauty and chuckles and pain and hope–such craft!

      • Thanks! The factory pic made me think of childhood sweat shops and how in places like currency printers, money has no value.

        He lost his hopes and dreams, but he doesn’t want his sister to. Not yet.

        Not sure where this came from, though. Lol

        Thanks again!

  61. @firdausp
    Character and setting
    ‘Hershey’s Top Secret’
    (148 words)
    “Once upon a time…” he began, watching her sleepy eyes.
    “…there was this poor little boy, who lived on the edge of town in an old shack with his grandparents. They hardly had anything to eat. The boy would go into the woods and collect berries or catch rabbits, for dinner.”
    He paused.
    “Then…Papa?” She asked sleepily.
    “Well, one fine day in the woods, he came upon a crazy looking man, who seemed to be lost and hungry. So, the boy brought him to his shack, fed him berries and showed him the road to town. The crazy man, as a gift of appreciation, gave the boy a diary.” He looked at her, she was fast asleep.
    Some day he’d have to tell her about Willy’s secret recipe’s lying in a safety box at Hershey’s chocolate factory. But first he’d have to explain about the Oompa Loompas!

  62. In the Shadow of Largess

    The skyline defined his Emerald City. If you looked hard enough at the dirt road, it could pass for yellow. Not that anyone would ever see him dancing down it with a lion, a tin man, a scarecrow, or that pig-tailed girl with the trouble-making dog, though the condition of what passed for his house (Oh, call it a shack and get it over with.) might convince you a tornado had dropped it here in the shadow of largess.

    He picked through dumpsters of discarded clothes, merely to prove a point. The clothes didn’t know or care who wore them, but appearances were all that mattered in the Emerald City, to extend the pop culture reference, for he was the man behind the curtain, just better at hiding.

    You can start to sing now.

    “I’m just a poor boy, from a poor family.”

    Off to be the wizard.

    @Unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    150 words

    Elements used:
    Character: Poor boy
    Setting: a run-down shack at the edge of a great city

  63. “Pure Obliteration”
    Theme and Setting (candy factory)
    150 Words
    Link to Post: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/flash-friday-pure-obliteration/

    “Oh yes,” I cackle, my legs swinging from a pipe suspended from the ceiling at a nice, lethal height, “I did sow some brilliant seeds. Today we will reap.
    Decay nods, her graveworms flopping like real hair. “You did good this time, Death,” she says. Misfortune stands one-legged atop the pipe, precariously teetering and wickedly grinning.
    “Look at all their happy faces,” I squeal. Far below, the children and their guardians are following the eccentric man in the pinstriped top hat. Everyone’s eyes are full of wonder, mine included.
    There! One of the older folks is sooooo close to the industrial cotton candy vat. All it would take is just one little push— No, stick to the plan.
    From far below, Deceit, in his borrowed pinstriped hat, looks up at me and gives a wink.
    The next stop on today’s tour is the packaging room. Oh, I can barely wait.

  64. Tomorrow
    @Emi_Livingstone
    (149 words – conflict [man v self] & theme)

    “Homework?” Ms. Stevens asks.
    Rob’s stomach sinks. His desk is bare. No pencil. No notebook. He shakes his head.
    She’s still at his desk. They make eye contact.
    “OK,” she says, and moves on.
    At the end of class, Ms. Stevens holds up a paper. She points to the board.
    “When is this due?” she asks.
    “Tomorrow,” the class murmurs.
    The paper comes down the row to Rob. When the bell rings, Rob stuffs the paper into his backpack and slings the pack over his shoulder.
    After school, Rob works in his uncle’s garage. He helps his little sister with her math. He makes the two of them spaghetti and puts her to bed. He gets in bed, glances at his backpack, and falls asleep with his headphones in. He stirs slightly when his mom gets home.
    In the morning, Ms. Stevens asks again. Rob gives the same answer.

    • Oh, ouch. You manage to inspire so much sympathy for poor Rob in one little paragraph. (And pain that Ms. Stevens doesn’t discover why there’s no homework.)

  65. Manufactured Peace
    145 words, @pmcolt
    Elements: theme/conflict
    Biblical quote is Matthew 5:9 (KJV, public domain)

    There was jubilation throughout the Old City: at the venerated Western Wall, holy men and pilgrims of all faiths gathered to commemorate the occasion. After millennia of hatred and conflict, the elusive dream of peace was at last realized.

    Paxbot’s emotive subroutines registered amazement at the humans’ response. Along the wall, people prayed, lit candles, embraced. Some wept. All greeted Paxbot with awe: the first android to set foot in Jerusalem. The robot peacemaker who brokered the deal.

    “Peace is my function,” he insisted with programmed humility. But deep within his neural circuitry, he believed himself a fraud. For his actions carried an ulterior motive: he yearned for something far beyond his programming.

    And so Paxbot knelt, shoulder to titanium shoulder joint, with others in prayer, and vocalized his own quiet plea. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

    • Oh my goodness, this is fantastic! Original and the fact you chose “theme” gives it so much more depth. Maybe since he’s sowed peace, he will reap it.

    • Only you could get me misty over an android in less than 150 words–primarily because I was all ready for Paxbot’s ulterior motive to be sinister, and yet the ending rang with sincerity. Such craft!

  66. Last Man Standing
    Theme and Setting
    146 words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    “You’d never catch me up there!” David swore, shaking his head as he looked at the abandoned guard post at the top of the cooling tower.

    Their parents had told them on numerous occasions not to go anywhere near it, so of course, they had to go.

    His friends exchanged a challenging look and Mark yelled, “Last one there gets eaten by zombies!”

    David looked up and started to run before the others had even realized he was moving.

    As he reached the ladder and started to climb, Mark and the others laughed, deciding on another game. “Last one to town is a rotten egg.”

    He turned and watched them run away, and was suddenly very thankful he’d made it to the ladder.

    He watched in horror for a moment before burying his face jacket. He was thankful to learn that zombies didn’t like rotten eggs.

  67. Untitled
    @drmagoo
    Story Elements: Character/Character
    Word Count: 149

    “ ’e’s wonky, ‘e is.”

    “ ’oo?’

    “Whadya mean, ‘oo? Da boy – Charwey.”

    “It’s cuz of his mum, y’know. I told her, I sez, she who lies down wit da Devil.”

    “Wakes up wit fleas, I know. You told me a million times.”

    “ ‘a! Now ‘oo’s wonky?”

    “Oh, do shut up, willya? I almost feel sorry fer the lad.”

    “Fer ‘im?”

    “Well, he ain’t had two coppers to rub together his whole life, and ‘e ‘ad to live wit ‘her, too.”

    “I ain’t had two coppers, neither, and I ‘ad to life wit you!”

    “Yer a funny one, Lloyd. I’m just sorry is all.”

    “Not too sorry to do what ye come ‘ere for, tho?”

    “ ‘course not. ‘e knew the risks when he came in here, same’s us.”

    “Say, d’ya think ‘e won’t be good eatin’, I mean ‘cuz ‘e’s wonky?”

    “Only one way ta find out.”

  68. Gnaw
    150 words
    by Alicia VanNoy Call
    Character and Setting (shack)
    @callthewriter
    #FlashDogs

    “That’s the last of it.” Papa sets the bowl on the weathered planks.

    There are three griddlecakes no larger than my palm. Suki made them over the blackened hearth: cornmeal, salt and boiled water. We haven’t had sugar in months.

    Papa gives thanks on what he calls our bounty. Suki peeks through her black black eyelashes, a squint that would make me laugh if I wasn’t so hungry.

    The griddlecakes are dry. Suki tears hers into pieces. Papa eats his in slow bites. I stick the whole cake in my mouth and wait for it to dissolve.

    Papa says, “You’ll go tomorrow.”

    Suki and I look at each other. We leave Papa to stand on the crumbling stoop. We watch the sun hang low over the cityscape, fingers of anemic light stretching toward us.

    “I’m hungry,” I say.

    “Tomorrow,” says Suki, teeth glinting, “we’ll have our fill.”

  69. Doug Payne
    @dougpayne1
    Setting/Character
    110 words

    Summer Sunday Morning

    The rain stopped and the sun shined.

    The alley was a shortcut and she took it. Steam rose between the puddles and the trash.

    She paused at a larger puddle, kicking a rock at it’s edge with her shiny black saddle. Then to another puddle and then to the next, the hem of her white dress becoming dingy and gray as she crossed the alley.

    Lifting her head to the sun and it’s warmth, she smiled and looked around the alley.

    In the shade of the dumpster across the street, his wet, dirty blonde hair covered one eye, the other eye locked on her and her black saddles.

    The poor boys were everywhere.

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