Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 39

My heart is full.

This week you beautiful writers soared from every corner of the earth to surround Flash! Friday dragon Beth Peterson as she shuffled off her battered mortal coil. Your songs and poems and stories and jokes made her laugh, made us weep, shoved aside the shadows to fill her hospital room with love. Thank you for lifting her (and me!) up in prayers and a magnificent tapestry of kindness (and even, at times, the exceedingly crucial burgers, coffee, and diet coke).

We read, it is said, to know we are not alone. In my faith too, I know I am not alone. This week you proved in tangible ways that even in writing, we are not alone. Oh my darlings. Never alone.

Today’s contest is therefore dedicated to our precious Beth Peterson: December 29, 1960 – September 2, 2015. Let hers be the spirit that launches a thousand new stories into the world. Such a cunning dragon, to boldly leave us with the treasure of having known her. I love you, dear girl. Be at peace.    

♦♦♦♦♦

DC2Serving as Beth’s dragon captains this week and judging your fine tales are the quick-witted and fearless duo of Josh Bertetta and Steph Ellis. Josh finds himself craving hints of backstory and getting slammed by unexpected twists this week, whereas I can hear Steph begging for mad worldbuilding. I’ve assured them y’all are QUITE up to the task!     

          ♦♦♦♦♦

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

* Today’s required word count: 150 words exactly  (not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (this week 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 or forgetful, be sure 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 inspiration, reaching far, far back in time: The Iliad, Homer’s 3,000-year-old epic tale of the spectacular clash of gods and heroes surrounding the fall of the city of Troy.

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these elements; be sure to tell us which two you chose. Reminder: please remember the Flash! Friday guidelines with regard to content). 

* Conflict: man v man (not gender specific)
Character (choose one): a prideful superhero, a hot-tempered king, a mighty warrior, a soothsayer, the most beautiful woman in the world, the kidnapped daughter of a priest
Theme (choose one): the glory of war, mortality, fate vs free will, friendship
Setting: a besieged city

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

Male body builder Maurice Deriaz, 1906. PD photo.

Male body builder Maurice Deriaz, 1906. CC4.0 photo from La Culture Physique, courtesy of Wellcome Images.

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233 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 39

  1. @betsystreeter
    Friendship, Man v Man
    150 words

    WATER AND FIRE

    A sooty hand extends downward, taut muscles stretch from the elbow. I take it and stand.

    The arena is empty, the sky sinking Parrish blue to a blackened purple. The townspeople left satisfied with the victory, seeing me lying here face down, extinguished.

    On my feet, but I do not straighten. I am getting old, friend. I know that you are, too. Your once sharp blue eyes now glisten through a smear of grey.

    On to the next town, then, we heft our things over our wide backs and stride over field and river. They are expecting us.

    We will circle one another, rabid shouts raining down. I will look into your face.

    I will see the secret hint of a smile in those blue-grey eyes.

    We move slower now, but the show is still wild, and barbaric, and breathtaking.

    Tomorrow maybe I win, and then I help you up.

  2. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 150
    Story Elements: Setting (besieged city)/Theme (mortality)

    In Passing

    The relentless siege presses on, a smothering burden too heavy for your spare structure, your shaky turrets that pierce the sky. Your walls are weathered; cracks streak your battlements.

    They come, stronger than you knew. Their arrows pierce your exterior, and poison courses through the thoroughfares and channels that wend their way to the heart of you. Crows circle far above, diving to strip the parapets clean. Visitors flee, afraid of the darkness that spreads inside.

    The last crow flies; the last person runs, and there is nothing left.
    Soon, the light fades; darkness encroaches from beyond.

    And in the stillness, in the silence of night, you heed the call from behind the veil. Your tower folds, surrendering to the elements, a slow collapse, a still fall.

    Fast, fast into the rising light you go, a chariot on the wings of the dawn, and the darkness clutches an empty shell.

  3. Character: a hot-tempered king,
    Setting: a besieged city
    150 acts of folly

    Migration

    “I will not have it, Reprah. Peasants! The Bedraggled! The Homeless of the earth! Occupying the soul of our great city as if it was theirs! IT IS NOT THEIRS!”

    “The planet is aflame,” my Liege. “Humanity has been cast adrift. Wars! Famine! Oppression! They have to go somewhere.”

    “They can go to blazes, Reprah, where they belong. I am King. I will protect my Kingdom. This rabble are like fleas on a dog. You cannot stop an infestation with understanding.”

    “My Liege, they are many. The highways are bursting with desperate humanity. To consider impeding them…it is folly…they will crush us all.”

    “Folly? You think my actions folly?”

    “No, my Liege. I am only advising caution.”

    “Bah. We will throw them in prison. They will soon learn that there is no place for them here.”

    “I fear history will have a different view, my Liege.”

    “I MAKE history, Reprah.”

  4. The tale of Harold and Arnold
    Ian Martyn (@IBMartyn)
    150 words
    Character and conflict

    Harold was the perfection of masculine manhood. Musculature sculpted to such perfection that sculptors used him as the model for… well their sculptures. But then as the annual sculpting Apollo competition dawned a rival appeared, Arnold. Harold and Arnold strutted and posed for the artists, but it was too close to call. They raced, cracked walnuts with little fingers, held two, yes two, Vestal Virgins in each hand. But each test of strength, agility, grace, speed and poise ended the same way, a dead heat.

    But through it all friendship blossomed. They massaged each other tired limbs, they swapped rubbing oil recipes and toga patterns. Arnold and Harold became inseparable. Until Helen appeared. Both fell instantly in love with this vision of feminine charm. They fought for days, and nights. They battled to a standstill. A draw.

    Helen smiled. ‘You don’t have to fight over me boys. Meet my twin,’

  5. Procrustean Homage
    _________

    A late morning brilliance glimmered off his wings–A World War II bomber, its broken hull rewound outside time, repaired into strength defined.

    The ace swooped low, approaching from the side; his attack narrowly missing the fountain’s spray and the top-hats of harried penguin-men.

    But the streetwise urchins still held the fort, despite it being erected by neutral parties.

    He warbled in harmony with the vibrating engine, revving its power. His proud mama had prepared him for this from day one. He’d already begun the victory song.

    Zooming again, he plummeted straight for the square. The Sky Warrior aimed true. Ladies shrieked, felines’ pelts burned, and the pigeons shrilled, clamoring from their prime scrap-squirreling territory.

    Advancing up the steps, the young ace somberly clawed the family name onto the memorial. Then rightfully taking his place mirroring the commemorative statue, the Sky Warrior stretched wide his wings, demanding veneration.

    _________
    Besieged city (setting), glory of war (theme), a mighty warrior (character)
    Word Count: 150
    Elisa @averageadvocate

  6. 150
    The most beautiful woman in the world
    A city under siege
    @Viking_Ma

    War was declared. The castle hunkered down. The people trudged, mud-splattered on skin and soul.
    Miriam was a rare flower, skin brighter, hair darker, lips fuller. Her father wrote to the King, offering her as a way to peace. Food ran low, and the meat maggot-spoiled. The King grew desperate, and called for Miriam to be veiled and offered out to the rebel leader.
    Silks of rainbow hues wrapped her, gold tied around her neck and clipped to her ears. Unshed tears shimmered in her green eyes, as her father bade her goodbye. An arrow was shot from the castle, and a reply shot back. They accepted the bride-bribe.
    Peace returned to the castle, and stories were told of the green-eyed sorceress who had ended the war.
    As for Miriam, she had captured the rebel leader Esteban. They galloped together on dusty horses, hands clasped, laughing up at the stars.

  7. The Seeds We Sow

    Time!

    A barefoot Sylph ghosted down the corridor, dust lifting in pools of candlelight with each step. From the vantage of a tower she gazed out across the myriad burning stars that were the army. The beast had consumed the city, much like the ocean swallowed a rock. She could hear the voices, raised in song, carrying across the wall into the city.

    Her city.

    Within walls that promised sanctuary but offered only imprisonment the gods had walked. Casting death with every step. And the cause, love, the kind that broke promises, caused wars.

    Sylph dropped down from the ramparts. Wrapping the cloak of reflection around her. The same dance she had performed from another city.

    Soldiers drank heavy, ignorant of her movement towards the ornate tent at the centre of their carnival.

    No guards, her chance.

    He was sat inside, pouring over plans.

    Now!

    “Father we need to talk.”

    @imageronin
    150 words
    #fdhowl

    • I really enjoyed the structure of this piece. The slow build up, the rising tension and then -BAMN! – not quite what we were expecting.

      There’s some great description here too. I especially like how you paint the encamped army; “The beast had consumed the city, much like the ocean swallowed a rock.”

      Excellent.

  8. The Origin Story
    Character: superhero
    Setting: besieged city
    150 words

    My nemesis has shrouded the city in a grey pall.

    I watch from an alleyway as she creeps about her business. She appears insignificant, even commonplace, and that is the basis of her insidious power. She has brainwashed the citizens. They view her leaching, her daily depredations, as normal. But I am learning her ways, and I will defeat her.

    This time she has gone too far. I stand at the edge of the twin abysses her invasion has created, gazing into their depths. What nightmare accomplice lurks below? Our citizens are in danger!

    I sneeze, twice, and pluck at the damp crotch of my costume. Be strong! I tell myself. I am DryMan, and I will save Mancunia from this endless plague of rain! I will lift this veil of mist even if it brings about the end of days! And I will not let chafing hold me back!

  9. The Phoenix

    She might be the most beautiful woman in the world, but she bore an ugly truth.

    Alicia smoothed the ‘Miss World’ sash with perfectly manicured talons and proudly placed it in the deposit box, alongside her other prizes. The prom queen crown, Harvard degree certificate and, lining the bottom, the cheerleader shirt.

    She had worked hard for each one; a daily investment of time, practice and planning until she had earned her place as the best; the most intelleignet; the most popular, and now, the most beautiful.

    It started in high school, while Stacey Simmons was being taken to hospital after a stack of chairs somehow toppled on top of her and crushed her perfect tibia; so badly that from that day onwards, she always walked with a limp. As the blonde bitches rushed forward, ‘barf-bag’ Alicia smiled as she crept into the girls’ locker-room and claimed her first trophy.

    150 words
    Conflict & Character
    @_sarahmiles_

  10. A BEAUTIFUL FACE OFF

    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    150 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Conflict: (wo)man vs (wo)man
    Character: The most beautiful woman

    * * *

    There used to be a time when you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing my face. Posters, billboards, magazines, television. I was the face of my generation. You want eye liner? Let me show you which brand. You want a new dress? Let me show you how good it can look.

    But then she came along. Big blue eyes, perfect lips, and a tight little butt. She was me turned up to eleven. And she was younger.

    It didn’t take long before I lost the deals and the adoration. Eventually I lost my mind. I’d spent every waking hour being beautiful for the world and then suddenly, everybody stopped looking.

    I fell into an abyss; drink, drugs, sex.

    When I eventually came out the other side, it wasn’t because of loved ones or some magical epiphany. I came back for one thing; revenge.

    I’m going to take that bitch’s face away.

  11. The View from Here
    (150 words)

    Man v man and
    city beseiged
    @elaine173marie

    When the light goes out on the 19th floor, all light is extinguished in the tower block,  leaving rows up and across of blind eyes overseeing the ramshackle city.

    Seeing eyes look up; they have no wish to observe the carpet of corpses on the streets below.

    The view from here beguiled Carly once- the city’s geometric layers, patterns she hadn’t known existed until the giant raised her onto its concrete shoulders.

    The baby sleeps, thank God. He’s been a good little boy- quiet. Martin keeps guard for now. They’ll do it in shifts.

    The end of the world came fast.There was no warning. It was the simplest of things.

    They didn’t need a weapon. They didn’t need a disease. They didn’t need the undead. They just needed to convince people that any one of those things existed, and the patterns blurred and bled, the kaleidescope stuck on red.

  12. Theme: fate vs free will. Setting: a besieged city
    150 Words

    For You, With Hate
    .

    I’m alone here. Rocks rain from the skies and strike at my prison. Once my home, now the object of another’s destructive desire. I sent my family away. They walk now, miles away, heading for sanctuary in another land. Saddle bags of possessions and streams of tears as their mother burns.

    The prince saw me in the street and had me in an alley. Shame upon my family. I had his child. She walks for freedom now. He breaks the city for my resistance to give him his child.

    I could have left, I should have left. The prince will walk right past my house, my hiding place. It’s the only way to the treasury. When he walks past, I will leave my hiding place and plunge my knife into his heart, the way I slaughtered the chickens.

    I could have left. But the opportunity for vengeance was too great.

  13. THE FALL OF NEW YORK CITY

    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    150 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Character: A prideful superhero
    Setting: A besieged city

    * * *

    The blue-skinned man was the mightiest hero our world had ever seen.

    No one knew who he was or where he came from, but he was the miracle the human race needed. Wars averted. Robberies foiled. Disasters halted. Cat’s rescued. He protected us selflessly.

    And then one day the spaceships arrived. Hovering over New York, the city our hero called his home, they demanded we hand him over.

    He refused to go. On his planet he was a nobody, a face lost in a crowd of average citizens. Here, on planet Earth, where our atmosphere gave him super strength and the ability to fly, he was a respected hero, an icon.

    The battle lasted days. New York was razed to the ground.

    Eventually our hero was taken away in chains. We were left to pick up the pieces.

    The blue-skinned man was the biggest disaster our world had ever seen.

  14. Friendship, the kidnapped daughter of a priest

    The Priestess of Dael

    We sail for the coast of Morai. She sits in the brig, her tiny face screwed up as she screams. Not our usual procedure, kidnapping babies, but she is worth a large sum of gold.
    *
    Our contact in Morai has been butchered. The little prisoner is now ours. The crew want to leave her here. But she could be useful.
    *
    She grows more every day. Morai was good to us, but now the islands of Tuate beckon, their lords and ladies decked in shimmering prizes.
    *
    She drives the point through his heart, her skirts divided into two separate sections to make fighting easier. How her father would weep to see his beloved daughter as she is now, free from the shackles of his plans.
    *
    Here is the city of Dael. She has been the best of friends. She must leave me now that she is home.

    150 Words

  15. @AvLaidlaw
    150 words
    Setting: a besieged city
    Character: a soothsayer

    Cassandra

    I tell them the city will fall. I tell them over and over that the threads from the past weave the future, that their palaces and towers will burn to nothing but ashes and smoke from their funeral pyres. But these are brutal men with bloodied swords who cannot conceive of a lost battle. They think themselves blessed by the gods when in truth there is no blessing, only fate.

    They laugh.

    So I turn my prophecy from the destinies of cities to smaller things, a game of dice in the tavern. The soldiers, starved and battle scarred, are too eager to bet their gold against my few hunks of stale bread. The dice clatter across the table-top. I drop the dirty coins into my pouch without a shiver of conscience; what good is money when the future is nothing but dust?

    Soon I’ll have enough, and then I’ll run.

  16. Erin McCabe

    @disturbiakiss

    150 words

    Setting: A besieged city.

    Theme: The glory of war / friendship

    A mission of remission.

    The ruins of my city are not earth-cracked or bomb-scorched.
    The damage runs deeper than that.
    Terrorised screams and desperate prayers do not rancour the air.
    The silence alone speaks volumes.
    The streets are entirely devoid of heavy artillery.
    The illusion of control covers up our chaos.
    A city under siege, we lost ourselves in a battle we did not fully accept was taking place.
    In tiny increments our humanity was washed away by waves of apathy and indifference.
    Your people cry, your children die and yet we do nothing.
    We choose to view you as something other than ourselves, if indeed we notice you at all.
    This ignorance is not bliss, it is a consuming cancer and everything around us is designed to keep us sick.

    Hopefully friends, once you get over our border and pour into the heart of our soul-poor city, you can change all of this.

  17. Golgotha

    @making_fiction

    Character: A hot-tempered king. Setting: A besieged city.

    Word count: 150

     

    They call him many names; some call him the rightful king.

    In the besieged city of Jerusalem, the citizens are but vermin – crushed and exploited by the empire.

    The rebellious are dealt with by the onslaught of stones, by forty lashes minus one – the whips barbed with rusty metal, with birdclaw, with the crooked teeth of dogs. The survivors nailed to trees and left as carrion – a warning sign.

    The king in power has no authority in their eyes, but what can they do, only hope for a messiah?

    Caesar; a king, self-proclaimed god, ruler of spite and progression at the expense of everything – for the glory of the mighty empire.

    And beneath aubergine skies, the waterfall tears of close women fall on unforgiving furnace soils.

    The man with many names dies at the place of the skull, Golgotha.

    The king is dead. Long live the king?

  18. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 150
    Story Elements: Character (most beautiful woman in the world)/Theme (friendship)

    Cold Comfort

    It’s a heavy responsibility, being the most beautiful woman in the world, but someone has to do it. The line of admirers is long, and one gets tired—resting on my balcony like a slab of beef in the marketplace. They dance for me, they sing for me. Who will win my favor? they ask. One notable man teaches himself to play the mandolin and sits beneath my window with it, plucking it for all the world like a chicken that squawks with each tug.

    In spite of their raptures, their proclamations of love and desire, no one tries scaling the wall to where I sit, smiling and empty, grooming myself for the masses. Their laughter tickles the air, their comradeship warms the atmosphere.

    It’s cold up here on my pedestal. The trouble with vanity is that there is only room for one in the mirror. All the rest are shadows.

  19. Title: “Journey’s End”
    Elements: man vs. man/kidnapped daughter of a priest
    Word Count: 148
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith.com

    The ropes chafed around Eleanor’s wrists as the carriage wheels hit rocks and dips in the road. She bit against the large handkerchief tied around her mouth. It was too big, and any noise she made was absorbed in the material.

    “Hail Mary, full of grace…” The words came instinctively to mind, wrought into her synapses from twenty-three years attending every Mass her adopted father conducted. She shook her head to blank them out. “Lord forgive me and help me!” replaced them.

    She knew this day would come ever since that trip to Germany. Ever since she chanced upon that pamphlet by Doctor Luther. Ever since his words undermined everything her father had taught her about the Church.

    Faced with the choice, magistrate or her new faith, there really wasn’t a choice.

    And faced with life or death, she now knew which could only truly give her life.

  20. The Unfortunate Malfunction
    @hollygeely
    Elements: conflict (man vs. man), setting (a besieged city)
    150 words
    Apologies: next week, no puns…maybe

    The guard at the gate wore a shapeless dress.

    (That was Steve’s first clue.)

    “Who goes there?”

    “Steve!” No, wait; Steve was not an ancient Greek name. “Uh…Steveacles!” Close enough.

    “How came you to this city in wartime?”

    Steve’s time machine had malfunctioned. He’d been on his way to the gold rush. He wasn’t dressed for a war zone.

    “I took a wrong turn.”

    “There are only two cities upon Ill Island.”

    Oh. Not Greece. He’d overshot and gone straight into fiction. That explained why the guard spoke English.

    “Our two cities are at war. Man slaughters man, woman slaughters woman, and other variations thereof. We have abandoned our humanity. So, how came you to this city?”

    “Er…I’m here to see my girlfriend?”

    “Indeed? Come through, then.”

    “Thanks!”

    THWAP!

    The arrow knocked Steveacles on his butt.

    His last thought was that he never should have trusted fake Greeks wearing shifts.

  21. EYE-COMMS TO THE GODS

    “Darn, not again,” Jericho peers down through cloud. Hovering lower; the heat and pollution burn his throat.

    No-way could he admit to dropping another eye-comms, he’d never hear the end of it.

    Far below, Faroe is engrossed in his walking-prayer. The device falls at his feet. Cautiously he picks it up, licks, tastes sparkles.

    Jericho, horrified, spots him.

    Faroe continues walking, holding the treasure in front of him, like an offering.

    His city is in lockdown, he had disobeyed curfew again. Soon they would be pushed back into the scarlet oceans.

    The object glows and vibrates in his hands. Truly, a sign from the Gods.

    Inspired, Faroe begins to climb an ocean viewing platform. At the top, facing the incoming tides, he holds up his sign to skies.

    “Cheers mate,” Jericho swoops, grabbing his eye-comms.

    “Damn you superheroes, no use to anyone,” Faroe sinks to his knees.

    The Gods snigger.

    150 words
    @feclarkart
    character: a prideful superhero
    setting: a besieged city

  22. Title: Glory
    Words: 150
    @RTayaket
    Elements: a mighty warrior / mortality

    One word rang through his mind: Glory. They would write stories with his name and mothers would name their sons after him. The gods would take his glorious body and hang his silhouette in the stars.

    Two words rang through his mind: Glory and Pain. They would write stories with his name but ignore the suffering. Mothers would name their sons after him unknowingly cursing the babes. The gods would take his crumpled body to the heavens and relieve his mortal suffering.

    Three words rang through his mind: Glory and Pain and Fear. The stories would live on with his name, and mothers would honor him by naming their sons after him. But the pain in his soul could never be forgotten. And an overwhelming fear settled into his bones and crushed his every waking thought.

    One word silenced all other words: Death. The Death bell tolled the final ring.

  23. Rise
    150 words
    Character: A prideful superhero
    Theme: Mortality

    The Gods will proclaim that it was my own hubris that brought me low and it is no lie. My pride is my own, unlike the gifts that they have laid upon my shoulders.

    What they will never say is that my pride was not wrought by my own actions.

    My pride stems from the sweat and blood that my fellow man has shed in defence of our homes. My pride springs from the screams of our women, given freely in childbirth and on the battlefield.

    The Gods will say that my fall was my punishment but they will never speak of the moment that I rose, like Icarus, no longer bolstered by their capricious support.

    They will speak of the smell of my wings as they burned but they will not tell of my smile.

    For I fear nothing, not death, nor pain and least of all the fall.

  24. @fs_iver
    WC: 150
    Conflict: Man v. Man
    Character: A mighty warrior
    Setting: Besieged “city”
    Theme: Mortality
    *In honor of dragons who answered the call, and one in particular. Forgive the artistic license.

    Let Me Not Die Ingloriously

    Sounds trying to fit shapes. Voices, one constant, the others changing, fill the void.

    “I won’t have this moving on alone business. Not after everything. And it’s no use pretending you can’t hear. I saw that twitch of a smile, cheeky woman.”

    The city is falling from within; a white horse warring against its fellow soldiers.

    “Let me read this one! It’s beautiful.”

    -Tales warm as honey-

    Pain swells as systems fail.

    “Hear how we love you?”

    -Jazz notes and drums curl into funky music-

    The spirit is strong but they are legion.

    -A song unending dances from electric notes to strummed chords then soft words of leaving you and I-

    Red walls dissolve; waters that once quenched corporal thirst now drown the organism.

    -“One with Himself I cannot die/My soul is purchased by His blood”-

    The city’s heart is breached.

    “Not long now, Dear. How about another song?”

  25. http://rightplacerighttim.com
    http://twitter.com/tim_kimber

    The Divine Alliance
    (150 words)

    “They hide behind high walls, Hector,” the King of the Achaeans said. “Walls, higher than mortal man may make them.”

    “Yes, my lord.”

    Diomedes scowled at the mountain; it pierced the Heavens, beset by clouds. “Our common enemy hides, up there.”

    “My lord,” Hector began, choosing his words, “I thank you for this alliance. Your actions delivered Troy… from ruin. You were right to turn against Agamemnon, Menelaus.”

    “Their pride was their folly.”

    “Indeed. And tales of your encounters with…” he could not say the words.

    “Love and War,” he grinned.

    “…but this? Is this not pride? Is this not folly?”

    Diomedes considered his ally, and turned to face their amassed legions. “Hector, look at what we wield: Trojans, Achaeans, Myrmidons. I drew divine blood; tell me what thousands might accomplish? No – I will not stop until their tyranny is avenged. We’ll march on Olympus, and have glory, above all.”

  26. The City of Gold
    @voimaoy
    150 words
    hero/besieged city/mortality

    Sea birds flew over the city by the sparkling waves.  Bodies lay fallen on the sand.  War is over, cried the birds.

    Darius cried for his comrades, tears of salt and sea. The City of Gold was theirs, now.
    Inside the gates, his victorious army roamed through the streets of the city, carrying vases and candlesticks, treasures of jewels. The people didn’t try to stop them.  They were a sad group of women and children, old men and boys.

    “Where is your army?” Darius asked.

    “We have no army,” an old woman answered.

    “Isn’t this the legendary City of Gold, the gateway to glory?”

    “So it is, and was, and will be.  All of this is an illusion, no more than sunlight on waves.”

    “I don’t understand,”  he blinked back salt. The sand tasted gritty in his mouth. Around him, the City of Gold was melting, floating away on the waves.

  27. @stellakateT
    150 words
    Conflict: man versus man
    Character: mighty warrior

    Te Deum

    Arguing who’s God was mightier, whose army was the bravest, what hue the sky was. We bombarded each other with fire arms, pestilence, disease and death. We’d plot and plan to conquer, desperate not to show our weaknesses, only our strengths pushing us forward.

    I demanded all to answer and smote those who refused through ignorance or apathy to say who was more respected, him or me? I stood strong and heeded no one. The wise old woman Eve tried to show me the error of my ways. She put terrifying visions in my head but I learnt to blank them out.

    It was man verses man until Nature finally ran out of patience. Earth was drained of its essence. I had won the final battle and lost the war. The Apocalypse soon to be unleashed, God save us all I prayed. Whose God it was I no longer cared!

  28. War Prize
    @EmilyJuneStreet
    character: kidnapped daughter of priest OR mighty warrior
    conflict: man vs. man

    Achilles killed my father first—my father, a priest who held no weapons as he prayed in his temple for our burning city.

    (I will never forget the blood, no matter how many promises you make.)

    Next he slaughtered my husband.

    (I did not love Mynes, but he cared for his people. He was a better man than you.)

    Then my brothers came to defend me. I asked them to save themselves, but in Lyrnessus traditions ran deep, and men would rather die than see an enemy steal their women.

    (You murdered my brothers. And yet you ask me to smile when you come to me.)

    Bound, I was taken from all I knew. Achilles said he would marry me, and this would show me honor.

    (I should have sunk a dagger into your heart that first night. I knew even then your honor would bathe the world in blood.)

  29. Unanswered (or Two Kinds)
    Mortality, Fate vs. Free Will
    WC: 150
    berrymichael07@gmail.com

    “How can God let good people suffer and die? He controls everything: fate, death, free-will, everything.”

    Tom stared at his feet. He dangled them over the dock, making ripples in the crystal water while he contemplated, Daniel’s question. The sun neared the horizon and the mountain’s shadow crept towards the lake.

    “I don’t know,” he answered, “you should ask him that.”

    At this, Daniel grimaced and shook his head. “I can’t see how you can agree with dad.” Tom was quiet for a while. The shadow was over the lake.

    “I guess I entertain the possibility of God being like some of your protagonist: the ones where everyone justly misunderstands them. We know so little that I just don’t think it’s wise to make those assumptions.” Quietness prevailed.

    “Given the Bible, I think we know enough,” Daniel said, ending the discussion. The sun had set. The shadow had consumed them.

  30. The Memories of Them
    by Joey To

    You see us?

    No? You should be able to though we are like shadows. You just don’t bother. I assure you, we are present, some as old as the oldest foundations. As for me: been around long enough.

    Hell, I’ve certainly seen plenty. Saw enough when I stood amongst you all, let alone now. The smiles, the kind words, the civility…

    All veneer.

    And it doesn’t hide the blood and sweat and tears. Not mine, nor hers nor any other soul’s in this city.

    Still don’t see us? Well, that’s your choice. Whilst you swarm this place like termites, we dart between your every whisper, every leer, every plot.

    You are all marked, starting with the one at the top. That’s you, by the way. You’re mine. Don’t worry, the war will be waged not only top-down but also bottom-up. Your legion will not escape.

    We shadows have long memories.

    Word Count: 150
    Setting: a besieged city
    Conflict: man v man (not solely the singular but includes this)
    Character: a hot-tempered king (or at least loosely referring to a leader of sorts)
    Theme: mortality

    Website: http://www.joeytoey.com/

  31. Character: the most beautiful woman in the world
    Theme: mortality
    150 memories
    @billmelaterplea

    Milk Maid

    Course, she was such a beauty. And I, I so longed for her. Her father worked her too hard, I thought, as he drove that horse pulled milk wagon through the neighbourhood with her, sitting by his side, him no doubt proud to have such a beauty of a rose by his side, both of them, grabbing milk and butter and cheese and covering off the streets.

    Back then, ’51 or ’52, they’d be making deliveries almost before the sun came up. Most mornings, if I remembered, I’d be scrambling outta bed, peeking out from behind the blinds, just hoping to catch a glimpse, her in her overalls, magnificently efficient, her red hair, tied up but bushy, you know, hair that seemed so thick and rich.

    Crazy, eh!

    And then she wasn’t there. Got the polio. Couldn’t breathe anymore. Gone.

    Her old dad, he kept delivering. Me, I stopped watching.

  32. The Mighty Warrior’s Demise
    150 words
    @agardana09

    Setting: Besieged City; Character: Mighty Warrior

    I’m burning. The city presses down with each explosion as concrete blocks stack one, on top of another, on top of me. I’ve trained my whole life for this moment. I am a Mighty Warrior; I even have a belt that says so. But none of that seems to matter this morning. We were all taken by surprise.

    “Help!” A scream comes from underneath. It’s burning below, like it’s burning above. The screaming continues and I try to move –to be the hero. I grasp the nearest bit of fallen stone and pull it to the side. It all moves too fast and more stones fall into its place, crushing. The screaming stops.

    I’m going to die here.

    I trained to be a Mighty Warrior and during that training I often wondered, “how will I die?” I pictured grand battles, I pictured victory. The weight of the stone presses closer…

    • Nicely done, I like the take on the prompt. I think it’s true that there is a percieved glory to battle but the way soldiers meet their end can be very different. it’s not like those staged battle scenes in movies.

  33. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 150
    Elements: Woman v Woman / Fate v Free Will / Most beautiful girl in the world

    Title: Becoming

    Early afternoon shafts of sunlight filter through the shutters, waking her up. Exhaling and, for a second, watching motes of dust eddying in and out of the slanting shadows, she gathers herself, eases into the bathroom.

    Today will be a good day.

    Catching sight of herself in the mirror, her gaze fixes on her nakedness. “Today, I will become a better person. Not for anyone, but for myself.”

    She draws herself up, momentarily confident, proud.

    Like last night.

    Punctured, jaw clenching, eyes reddening. “I needed the money, besides, I ‘m the most beautiful girl in the world. That’s what he said.”

    No matter.

    Returning to the room. The needle.

    You have a choice.

    Staring, “Today, I will become a better person. Not for anyone, but for myself”

    This is not my choice.

    Submitting, “Today, I will become a better person. Not for anyone, but for myself”

    I have no choice

  34. The Pink Dawn

    “Papa, it’s too dark, I can’t see anything.”
    “Just hold on to Mama. Quick. The boat will leave without us if we are not there soon.”

    I clutch Mama’s dress, and she pulls me up. I am propped on her hip and Sheena is snuggled against her chest in a knapsack. We are warm and safe in Mama’s hug. Mama isn’t crying now. Her face is stern like when she wants us to focus on our homework. The school is closed. Mama says the rebels took over it. I don’t know what rebel means. She just hushes me if I ask.

    Mama and Papa walk for hours in the dark, and then the dawn opens her eyes, and they are all pink. It’s nice! I am warm in Mama’s hug.

    I’ve never seen so many people. They push and shove.

    Water’s under my toes. Is that Sheena floating? I’m ice-cold.

    150 words
    Story Elements – Conflict, Setting.

  35. The Glory of War
    (150 words)

    I know now it was all a lie. The so-called glory of war is a myth.

    There’s nothing glorious about holding a dying friend in your arms, knowing that his wife will ask if he suffered. It’s going to be hard to lie to her, tell her that he went peacefully, when in reality he begged to live.

    The act of taking a life becomes dirty when you search the body of a fallen enemy and find pictures of his wife and children. It creates a sick feeling when you see the faces of your children in his pictures. Some blood can never be washed from your hands.

    As my patrol moves through the city that has been destroyed by the relentless artillery and constant airstrikes, I’m tortured by one crystal clear truth and overwhelmed by one deep desire.

    There is no glory in war.

    I want to go home.

    Conflict: man vs man
    Theme: glory of war

  36. The Final Silence before our Final Silence
    150 words on the nose
    personalvapes@gmail.com

    The curling tendrils of early-morning mist stretch ethereal fingers toward our solid city walls – transforming the flat, grassy verve to a shrouded hollow haunted by the ghosts of struggles past.

    This curtain of fog gently ripples despite the stillness of the air. A shadow briefly stains the diaphanous veil and quickly withdraws. A sudden pinprick of light from a determined sunbeam glances off a metal point before retreating back into beclouded, concealing arms.

    The unmistakable scent of a standing army creeps from this miasmatic fugue to enshroud our fair city in its loathsome embrace. The ammonia smell of horses; the acrid stench of dung fires; and the sour tang of unwashed, leather and metal-clad men.

    Today is the day the grass will be stained red with blood, as we settle our disagreements over a woman the only way we know how.

    Through violence.
    Through death.
    Through the glory of war.

    Theme and Setting: War and the Besieged City

  37. Skimpy Skirmishes

    Over the course of human history, some great battles have taken place. Heroes were born when warriors defied impossible odds to emerge victorious. Tears have flowed for the bravery and sacrifice of other warriors, who stood and fought to the end.

    We remember how 300 Spartans defied the odds.

    The horrors of mud filled trenches and No Man’s Land are a grim reminders of the war that was supposed to end all wars.

    It was only recently we remembered places like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    However, not all battles are filled with blood soaked heroism.

    Some battles are comprised of dudes posing in their underwear. They strut across the stage and flex their muscles, seeking glory

    To the winner belong the spoils of war. A lucrative promotional deal with a protein supplement company, magazine shoot, legions of fans and a swanky new speedo await the victor.

    Not all war is hell.

    150 words
    Man vs man/glory of war

  38. Emily Dickinson for President

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The great land became corrupt with greed and envy and almost all of the 7. Pride was the force that the aspiring king wielded with a digital age Achilles at his side; his Achilles could make mice into mountains and kill great men.

    What beauty did we want returned? The beauty we were mostly responsible for destroying?

    A sword flickered an enticing gem in our direction; soul commercial?

    People wanted a leader. Someone who could give the mighty country a great voice. But Achilles could not be defeated, except in one way; I turned my television off and threw my device away.

    I went to my small public library where poetry turned me into heaven’s ephemera of stars.

    Later, I heard that the presidency was auctioned off on eBay. Trump sniped it at the last moment from Gates.

    I will save the currency of my heart vote for Emily Dickinson.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    (150 words. A prideful superhero/A besieged city)

  39. Ancient Lights
    Man v Man / War / Besieged
    @carolrosalind
    W/C 150
    They say an English man’s home is his castle and my neighbour’s was certainly well fortified – to the extent that he stole nearly all my light. The ground floor’s went first followed by my bedroom’s until the sun only breached his defences in my bathroom.
    The conifer wall had been a constant source of tension between us. I spent my weekends constantly battling the overhang and surreptitiously snipping the tops while he spent his weekends basking in my sunlight.
    Trimming back my legal entitlement was never enough, I needed to ally myself to a much greater power. So during his holiday I hacked into the living wall leaving it lopsided and waited for forces to align.
    The following day I woke to brilliant sunshine, the devastation was obvious from my window. His defences had fallen like dominoes, brought down by last nights gales. Victory was mine at last – and Nature’s.

  40. Immortal Beloved
    149 words
    man vs fate
    most beautiful woman in the world

    When he saw her, he knew he had to have her. No matter the price. The problem was, she belonged to someone powerful who had no desire to let her go.

    That left scheming. Plotting. The idea of defeat was unacceptable: she would be his.

    “Why don’t you just fall in love with another beauty? “his friends asked. “This will result in disaster.”

    “Because it is my fate. Love at first sight,” he insisted.

    “Why do you think she loves you?” someone replied with a laugh.

    “How could she not?”

    “But how would you know?”

    “All women are a mystery.”

    “You know she will destroy you.”

    “But I will be happy in my shattered pieces.”

    In the end, she cost him everything.

    He lost his job. His friends. And his liberty.

    But for one precious hour he had owned the “Mona Lisa.”

    She had smiled only for him.

  41. Grandma Said
    @elaine173marie
    Fate versus free will/ soothsayer
    (150 words)

    Grandma said she could predict the future, said the devil lived in Gabe, said I was plain enough to get the right type of man, said Pa would be home some day, tail between his legs.

    Only some of that came true. Pa never returned home. Gabe did end up in jail. But I couldn’t help thinking that having a no-good Pa, or being the target of Grandma’s sharp words that stung like paper cuts, or both, might have had a hand in making Gabe’s wrists fit for cuffing.

    I did marry a good man who told me I was beautiful; I reckoned he was probably being polite. Grandma never saw the war coming that snatched him from our Little Gabe and me.
    I can’t claim to pull the threads of the future through the eye of Time, but I swear Little Gabe will feel my words like kisses.

  42. Chosen: Character (soothsayer), Conflict (man vs man)
    Words: 150
    @CarinMarais

    The Last Fork in the Road

    “It was always meant to end here,” the soothsayer croaked and drooled blood. “No matter which road you took the meandering paths would always lead here to the last fork in the road. All the battles you’ve won, all those you have sent to the slaughter, every choice led you here. In one world I survive the encounter. In another you are a loved king.”

    “You will hold your tongue!”

    “My words to you were fated from the beginning. This would be your defining moment. Do you choose to be remembered as a tyrant or as a merciful king who spared the beloved prince? This is your final choice, brother.”

    The king stepped up to the bloodstained prince. “I choose memory. Kill the traitor,” the king ordered.

    “Then I, too, will be remembered with you. Cast in the role of the martyr. History is a funny thing in the end.”

  43. Chosen: Theme (mortality), Character (prideful superhero)
    Words: 150
    @CarinMarais

    A Curse Upon Me

    Perhaps “superhero” was a better description, the professor mused as he stared at the red and black artwork of a man fighting and killing a minotaur.

    “The minotaur guarded the fountain of eternal life,” he told the class. Some were playing games on their laptops while the others seemed half comatose. “The hero drank the water and attained years beyond measure.”

    “Why’s that bad?” one student asked.

    “Only he could drink of it. And he would live forever. Growing old a year a century. He would outlive all his family, offspring, and friends. Even lovers. He realised too late that the fountain’s gift was really a curse.”

    Now I stand here old, decrepit, and forgotten, he thought. My beauty gone, my power lost. Staring at half-forgotten drawings of the foolish deeds of my youth. When all I wanted to do was get the attention of the girl I loved.

  44. @bartvangoethem
    150 words
    The most beautiful woman in the world/besieged city

    The Chosen One

    One thousand men had tried and failed. Some swung a battering ram for days on end. But the gate was too massive. Others lit up the skies with a million fiery arrows. But the walls were too high. The most audacious men engaged in close combat. Armed with only a sledge hammer they hacked away at the seemingly unbreakable bricks. Or they climbed high, till they disappeared out of sight, only to come crashing down seconds later.

    One morning, when the troops at the foot of the fortress still snored loudly, Adonis snuck out of his tent. In the night a messenger had handed him The Key. He was The Chosen One. When he turned The Key in the gate, it opened with a thunderous sound. Adonis entered. He was now in the heart of the most beautiful woman in the world. It belonged to him and to him alone.

  45. Friendship Takes Me AND You
    friendship, most beautiful woman in the world
    150 words
    @sydney_writer

    She broke girl code.
    As soon as I was out of the country, she seduced my fiancé.
    I never expected a stab from my best friend. Her betrayal stings deeper than his. I sit across from her, sink into the couch, try to talk.
    But she won’t say a word.
    As if we’d never been best friends.
    Her fingernails click away on keys and the laptop’s blue screen reflects off her glasses.
    “I’m sorry for everything,” I say.
    She lifts her chin—a response—my heart patters. Her face brightens, not at me, but at a new person behind me. My ex friend slams her laptop shut, pushes off the couch, and brushes by me without a glance.
    “Darling!” She trots out the door.
    I tighten my fists. The world’s once most beautiful woman walks away from me for the last time. But not before I whisper.
    “I forgive you…”

  46. Helen of Troy
    and the Anti-War Love Song

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Her movements flowed from avenue of light that pulsed through her body in momentary flickers of sun rage, explosion of illumination came from her eyes that she blinks creating a year in a conversation.

    This presence envelopes with tranquil serenade; her song capable of raising a cobra from basket with hypnotic venom.

    Body of her water joined like a record album rippling out in grooved seance. Not science. A turntable of air you balance on and sing.

    Sample lovers with a kiss, food for potential devouring. I wait turn at soft guillotine.

    The hour was early with dawn cutting the tape of the horizon as I waited at a cafe.

    “Love is the removal of distance” – oddly enough, I remember that scrawled in a restroom on a plane.

    I see myself through you, at the same time that you see yourself through me.

    This is how wars are not fought.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    (150 words. The most beautiful woman in the world/Friendship)

  47. Superman – 150 words
    Chosen elements: mortality, a prideful superhero
    @howdylauren

    After years of meticulous, painful training, callused hands and torn muscles were now polished for his reveal. He was the epitome of the optimal man, the embodiment of perfection. Rather, he was more than a man; he was superhuman, and the crowd, as promised, had gathered to see the strongest man alive.

    The superman took the stage proudly; nerves were for the weak, he had always said. Striking a pose, the crowd yowled, with a murky distinction between awe and horror.

    For the grand demonstration of his rumored strength, he reached down to grasp the barbell at his feet and lifted it with ease, to the ecstasy of the onlookers.

    Attendees later reported their shock when they heard of what happened only months later. Superman found dead in his bathroom, a gun in one hand and a pair of tweezers in the the other, gray hairs strewn across the sink.

  48. We Might Be Choosing Ruin

    Mae stood and stared at the ruins of a city.
    “From the moment these stones were set, they were destined for ruin. Can that be true?” Mae turned and found a woman with long knotted black hair next to her.
    “In hindsight you can’t help but the see a path and call it fate,” the woman said.
    “When you meet the green-eyed poet you’ll think your path led you to him. You’ll think it doubly so because I told you about him. But these stones were not fated to fall, and neither are you.”
    The woman walked away with a nod.

    When green-eyed Tom heard the story months later he asked, “Wouldn’t it be a fine thing to be fated to love you?”
    “Wouldn’t it be better to choose?” Mae asked.
    Neither had an answer and they began to allow the question itself to be break them apart.

    @CaseyCaseRose
    150 words
    Character Soothsayer, Theme Fate vs. Free Will

  49. Late Again, Eh?
    150 words.
    Chosen elements: A mighty warrior, the glory of war.
    [No twitter account]

    The Inn door creaked. Chainmail sang against breastplate.

    “Innkeeper! Tell me of the great battle!”

    The innkeeper inquired, “What battle, nobleman?”

    “Father told mother of the mighty battle here in defense of the King. Father, God rest him, helped defeat many enemy knights and preserve our Kingdom.”

    “You don’t say,” said the innkeeper. “Well, our King once fought here, aye, but in a drunken brawl. A muddy fistfight just outside, and if’n your Dad was here, he was likely passed out drunk.”

    The Knight paused, then advised, “Innkeeper, you’ll memorize the ballad lauding my father’s glorious victory, and you’ll sing it to your customers.” He placed his hand on his sword’s pommel.

    The innkeeper sighed. “Of course, Sir.”

    And thus the hill upon which the inn sat became known for its epic battle.

    The inn still stands. They’ll lie for you too, if you need to explain why you’re late.

    • Nice, I’m reminded of King Robert from Game of Thrones by this.(the drunken brawling king, lol) I really like the last line.

  50. @AvLaidlaw
    150 Words
    Conflict: Man vs Woman
    Character: Hot-tempered King

    The Man Who Would Be The King

    “I want a cheeseburger.”

    No way. The cholesterol for starters. And the calories. He barely squeezes into the jumpsuit these days, looks like a spangely balloon about to pop. I put a salad on the table and his goes about as red as the beetroot.

    “Darn it, woman. I need a cheeseburger.” He flaps a lettuce leaf. “The King didn’t eat no rabbit food. “

    “Elvis didn’t make fifty.”

    He flicks his black quiff- dyed of course – and grabs those big sunglasses. Las Vegas years. He’d get a hernia to impersonate Elvis from those early days. “Got to get into character.”

    “You always are, love. The very best.”

    He checks himself in the mirror, curls his lip and sings, “you ain’t nothing but a hound dog.”

    And I’m a girl again, watching the original on television, gyrating his hips and making me feel things a good girl shouldn’t feel.

  51. @fs_iver
    WC: 150
    Conflict & Fate vs Free will

    The Train from Budapest: In Which History Repeats Itself

    Andor jams the shutter release as authorities strike the man across the temple.

    Click.

    Andor pushing his spine upright. All around him no one moves. Blood smears the tracks, the man’s head pushed into metal; his wife is crumpled beside him, her teeth exposed in a soundless scream; the officers, frozen above them.

    Encapsulated chaos.

    “Odd lookin’, innit?”

    A man in a moon-dust Alexander Amosu picks his way through bodies.

    “Gets me every time.”

    “Who’re you?” Andor’s tongue is unused to English.

    “Doesn’t matter.”

    The Amosu Suit smiles like he’s hiding diamonds behind his teeth.

    “I’ll have that.”

    He takes the camera, flips it, and pops out the digital memory piece.

    “What?!”

    “We’ve got changes. All these –” his finger circles the station –“they’re dead. Can’t have contrary
    evidence.”

    He crushes it.

    “I’ll know!”

    “Will you?”

    Suit shrugs.

    “Humans forget the quickest.”

    He tips his forehead.

    “Don’t you?”

  52. Emily Clayton
    @emilyiswriting
    elements: theme, setting
    150 words

    The Gateway

    They say if you love something, you should let it fly free. I grabbed my avian ally, opened the windows, and let it soar. It hovered for one moment, then flapped to freedom on the coattails of those gloomy grey clouds.

    Circling back, I grabbed my woollen blanket and my thick winter cloak. I loved their warmth. Time to fly. They fluttered in the chill air, drifting on the mist that snaked its way into my heart. A blast ricocheted, and soaring fabric screamed. Garments of companionship plummeted towards crimson sand marred by the patter of frantic feet.

    The cries around me, the city in flames, went unnoticed.

    My glassy eyes spotted Carina cowering in the corner. “Sweet friend,” I said with a slur. “We must be free.” I grabbed her slender wrist and let her fly.

    She may have screamed, but I was already searching for the next symbol.

  53. @Emmaleene1
    Character: Soothsayer
    Setting : A besieged city
    150 words

    The Soothsayer

    Flames lick the sky ravenously and ribbons of smoke entwine to inform the gods that ours is a city under siege. Begrudgingly attractive, our city is aware of its own shortcomings, built on the ability to embrace failure.
    Eyes sting and weep as I squint to witness the attempts of the rebels to release us from the leash of an invisible king, his greed tempered by privilege. Their dignity dismissing the danger, daring to dream of the impossible.
    After the inevitable executions and disintegration of monuments, I will bring possibilities here.
    I survive at an angle to the moment, at the edge of the endeavour. I bide my time quietly to insinuate my way into the future, etch out the living words from the soot of the dead. I will unwrap from the debris, a redemptive language, to recover the meaning of our existence, to resonate in an enduring dimension.

  54. @firdausp
    Supersouls
    (150 words)
    She kneels, her head bowed over a broken wooden sword and a tattered paper shield. Her torn cape hangs heavy from her shoulders. She’s weary from a battle so long, she can hardly remember.
    She looks down at her city from the high tower she’s perched on. It had been besieged for a long time. She had fought hard to keep the enemy outside its gates, but today like a horde of ants they scale its walls. Her heart weeps at the devastation and destruction.
    A band on her hand illuminates with a message, ‘Mission over. Report to Mothership immediately.’
    She switches her beacon on. A beam of light displays her dragon across the night sky. She blinks it twice, then starts to ascend.
    Suddenly the sky comes alive with a mesh of beams, beacons from other cities, a tribute to the parting hero.
    Goodbye brave soul, you fought well!

    A besieged city (body)
    Superhero (soul)
    Mortality
    A tribute to Beth Peterson. I’m sure she fought well. Be at peace now.

  55. “Besieged”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Theme (the glory of war) and Setting
    Word count: EXACTLY 150

    The day started with morale low, and sinking rapidly. News filtered through the ranks that the attack was imminent. Through the haze, we could just make out the enemy, moving freely outside the walls.

    Many among the populace tried to go about their business, swimming through their daily routines, seeing sanctuary in their little bubbles. I could not.

    An uneasy silence settled upon us, slithering across our skin. Then, a wave of dread washed over as he advanced. Closer. Closer. The women huddled in the castle. I thought about my children, safe in their school. For now. At that moment I vowed to fight to the bitter end… la fin amère. The sky opened. Terror rippled through the city as the aerial assault commenced.

    “Have no fear, my brothers!” I yelled. “We will rise above this.”

    Tumbling rounds began drifting down.

    Rounds? Ooh! Shrimp flakes AND algae wafers!

    “We surrender!”

  56. @jenstone4485
    150 words
    Character- Soothsayer
    Theme- Fate vs. Free Will

    Perseus’s Prophecy
    The Oracle entered her chamber, silk robes soaked with sweat. She had barely recovered from her last divination and now she consulted for the King of Argos, who nervously paced the temple atrium. Sitting on her bench, the grate at her feet opened; the noxious waters spewed up their hallucinogenic vapours.
    As she inhaled deeply, the room spun and her agitated visitor grew more anxious. She spoke the wisdom of the Gods, advice sought by royalty and peasants alike; her words scribbled by a novice and passed to the priest for interpretation, who then gave the message to her waiting client. Whether they followed that advice would be up to them, but the Will of the Gods wasn’t so easy to avert. The priest’s voice drifted into her stupor.
    “If His Majesty wants a male heir then he shall have one; from your daughter but it will cost your life.”

  57. Taking To Task

    “Hmph,” Bear said. “I’ll take your task and show you.”

    “So be it,” Skrymnir said, with a smile and gesture. “Best my lady, if you will. A feat of strength, from a noted one.”

    “Arm wrestle a girl?” Bear asked, looking the man straight in the eye.

    “See it as you will,” Skrymnir responded. “Thought I wouldn’t speak too loud – anger gives strength even when supposedly lacking. We are great to one another, several steps removed.”

    “Great great grandmother, is it?” Bear asked. “Does she earn her keep so?”

    “No need,” Skrymnir answered. “All are indebted to her already.” He smiled at his own words. “Hel,” he introduced her.

    Bear nodded briefly, holding out a clenched fist. Seconds later, he huffed, the bowed woman’s hand holding his down. “Impossible!”

    “Clearly not,” Skrymnir said, laughing.

    “How?” Bear growled.

    “None defeat her,” the other man said simply. “Death over all. Loss guaranteed.”

    @FallIntoFiction

    (150 words)

    Conflict
    A mighty warrior

  58. Captain Oblivious
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke or margaretlocke.com)
    150 words

    Character: Prideful superhero, most beautiful woman in the world
    Theme: Friendship

    How can she not love me? Am I not manly enough? Do these guns not bring all the girls to my yard? Is she not impressed by the size of my … thighs?

    Every day, I don this cape, save this city, and what do I get in return? Nothing. Barely a glance, rarely a nod, those magnificent eyes always sweeping past me to something — someone? — beyond.

    I could best Superman in strength, Spiderman in dexterity, the Hulk in armwrestling. She doesn’t care.

    Let Captain America have his shield, Batman his Batmobile, Ironman his ridiculous suit. I’m greater than all of them combined.

    And yet, she’s captured me as if with that blasted lasso, this Wonder Woman.

    She insists we’re friends. Superfriends.

    Ha. As if that’d ever be enough.

    Robin says Cheetah’s more than an archenemy to her. Liar. He just wants in my tights.

    As I want in hers.

  59. Character: a hot tempered king
    Setting: besieged city.

    Somewhere He’d Rather Be
    A.J. Walker

    King Chesney the First (indeed the one and only) was an angry young king at the best of times. Whilst there was nobody he’d rather be he did find it difficult sometimes when he couldn’t get what he wanted.

    “Don’t they know who I am?”

    “You’re the king. King Chesney, my lord.”

    “It’s gotta count for something, hasn’t it?” said the king, his face growing a worrying shade of puce.

    “And it does sire.”

    “So, it’s Friday. It’s five to five and what does that mean?”

    “Cracker bread I’m afraid. It’s all that’s left in the city.”

    Chesney harrumphed.

    “I’m the king. Friday’s it’s always fish.”

    “I know my lord. And in normal times before the war it was ever thus. But…”

    “Are you saying those nasty chaps outside the city aren’t letting fish in?”

    “Well yes sire. In fact nothing.”

    “You mean… curry night tomorrow may be cancelled too?”

    (150 words – of course)
    @zevonesque

  60. Battle of the Bands
    Setting: A besieged City
    Conflict: Man vs Man
    150 words

    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    Monica sipped her drink and watched the first of the bands take the stage. First she studied the showmanship as each band played. Listening for false notes she began to notice an undercurrent that seemed to tie the performances together.

    It wasn’t until the afternoon, when the bands began playing side by side that she noticed the ‘conversation’ behind the lyrics.

    ‘Satisfaction’ was played in answer to the other’s ‘Baby Hold on to me.’

    At first she wasn’t sure, thinking it was her imagination but when it was down to the top two bands, she was sure.

    “Hit me with your best shot,” led to “Tears in heaven,” which was met with strains of “You’re no good, you’re no good…”

    As the City’s ‘Battle of the Bands’ drew to its close, she listened and laughed.

    “Nobody wants to know you now”
    “Everybody loves me baby”
    “Dream on”
    “Wrong, wrong, wrong”

  61. Good news and bad news

    The door burst open to reveal five men, all brandishing wickedly curved swords. They rushed in, ready for a fight, but they stopped when they saw the beautiful woman draped in a nightgown. One of the men sneered, “I thought this was the chamber of their mightiest warrior? I guess he’s popped out. We’d better stay here incase he comes back…”

    One by one they sheathed their weapons, before slowly surrounding her. They all stared intently, licking their lips. She smiled, “Gentlemen, I’m afraid it will not end well for you if try any funny business.”

    “Your fella’s not here to save you. Best not to struggle, we don’t want to hurt you.”
    The young lady laughed, “I was afraid you’d say that. The good news is you’re in the right chamber. Here’s the bad news…”

    The men didn’t see the dagger in her hand before it was too late.

    150 words
    @todayschapter
    Themes: man vs man, a mighty warrior

  62. Creeping Beauty
    Character – most beautiful woman in the world / Theme – mortality
    150 words
    @nzstelter

    The rose wilted as it grew, its petals crumbling into her wiry hands. She breathed in its momentary beauty before its scent soured. She studied her reflection. She, whose face had launched a thousand ships, who now suffered the indignity of lines crawling like cobwebs across her once smooth visage.

    The corpses of her lovers lay rotting in the soil. Her beauty had not entirely fled, aided by tricks and candlelight. Time yet for one last encounter. Cocooned in her quarters, she paid no heed to the men storming the city. Her suitor awaited.

    She slid underneath silken sheets.

    “Bring in the soldier.” No amount of honey would reanimate her sultry tone.

    He struggled. Once they’d have died to bed her.

    “Seduce me, good sir, lest you wish to meet an early death.” Her crooked teeth glinted in the half-light. “It would be a pity for one so pretty.”

  63. Character: a soothsayer
    Setting: a besieged city
    150 words
    @ecjlewis

    THE FRUSTRATIONS OF GALANTHIS (A.K.A. FLUFFY)

    If only they’d listen. I tell them again and again: there are bad things coming! But they say only, “oh, does Fluffy want her din-dins?” or “Fluffy wants an ear scratch, don’t you, Fluff-cat!”

    Of course I want an ear scratch.

    But that’s beside the point. Bad things! Evil spirits! Set loose from the underworld to overrun the cities and possess the clueless humans.

    The young one in my adoptive family, Hilary, she’s usually a bit more perceptive than the adults. But even she looks where I’m staring so intently at the growing shadows and says, “silly cat, there’s nothing there”. Then she tickles me under the chin, distracting me. (It’s impossible to keep your eyes open whilst being tickled under the chin.)

    Well, I did my best. The shades are gathering in the ceilings, waiting to drift down and turn this city into hell on earth.

    I’m outta here.

  64. Cassandra Said There’d Be Days Like This
    (character and setting) 150 words, @pmcolt

    “You never take me anywhere!”

    I shudder at the voice that could sink a thousand ships. “Because, dear Helen,” I mutter through gritted teeth, “the city is encircled by my enemies.”

    “Excuses, excuses.” Helen primps her silky hair and checks her reflection in a palace mirror. Her handmaid fans her with a palm frond. “My first husband took me places. And our anniversary is coming up.”

    I nod grimly. “Ten long years.”

    “Ten months, jerk.” She scowls. “When we eloped, you promised you’d show me Paris.”

    “Yeah, that was a lame pun.”

    My fastest messenger arrives. “I relayed your message to the Spartan king. He said she’s your problem now.”

    “Nuts!” I politely decline when the handmaid brings me walnuts. Inside the palace, the most beautiful woman in the world demands my time. Outside, the collected armies of the Greeks demand my head.

    “I think I’ll take a little walk.”

    • There’s a lot going on with this one – on the surface, you’ve got some silliness (the voice that could sink a thousand ships) – but underneath this tongue-in-cheek caustic wit, you’ve got a couple of life lessons (be careful what you wish for/beauty is only skin deep).

      That’s a lot of meaning to pack into 150 words. Very well done.

  65. The Art of Sandcastles

    Sandcastles were an art. She had perfected the art since she was a little girl. When she got older, she taught a class on sandcastle building for the locals to enjoy as well as tourists.

    She married a soldier who thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. When he died in battle she built a monument out of sand for her fallen hero. It was as big as a house and she decided to move in.

    A hurricane crawled up the coast. Her home slowly melted around her flowing like lava back to where it came.

    Nothing remained but an American flag and a purple heart that she held in her hands. She dug a hole deep in the sand and buried her feelings. She placed a discharged shell on top so he could always hear the sound of her voice though the close whisper of caressing waves.

    150 words
    Mortality – The most beautiful woman in the world

  66. SCALE
    DJ Chapman, 09-04-15
    WC = 150, Elements: Character – prideful one, Conflict – man v man

    Months have fallen away since I last felt the arms of my large family. Dad sent me to live with Grandmamelle in the capital, to “mature” and to learn “elder respect.”
    My prideful and unthinking mouth has been my mother’s bane, with gross interruptions of the expected family quietude. I have taken delight in her dismay, for her ears have stretched to react to brash and haughty statements. Tones and overtones, mixed with sarcasm and body English weighed heavily, too, upon my dad, the family fulcrum. Love held a tenuous sway on this scale, with the mother and daughter challenges tipping each pan haphazardly.
    “You didn’t have to have me,” oft repeated, and loudly, precipitated my banishment.
    And on Mercury’s winged offspring I happily escaped within my father’s harsh order………afar.
    After twelve months without my palate plague, my mother recovered. And she asked Dad and Grandmamelle for my return…….sans lingua.

  67. Conflict and Character
    127 words

    “I should have known they would hide their finest treasures in the temple.”

    She kept her chin down, letting her hair become a cascading curtain over her face. He believed she was cowed. It worked to her advantage, so she didn’t correct him.

    “And look at you.” His calloused hand gripped her chin, forcing her to face him. “Tsk. So lovely. Such a waste to lock you in here with the priests and sages.”

    Her fists clenched, but she forced her face to remain neutral. She slid one hand into her tunic suggestively, earning an appreciative leer from the blood-stained soldier. Her fingers closed around the dagger strapped between her breasts, and a fierce smile split her lips as she gave him an eyeful of sharpened steel.

  68. For What Is a Man If He Does Not Break His Own Heart
    @drmagoo
    150 words
    Story Elements: Conflict: man v man
    Character: a soothsayer

    The silver coins clinked as they dropped in the old man’s hand. “You will be betrayed.”

    She was beautiful when she lied.

    I added more coins. “Twice.”

    “I love you,” she said.

    “The first time will be by a woman.” His heavily accented voice was barely above a whisper.

    She wrapped her arms around me, her lips doing the magic they did to disengage my frontal lobe. She needen’t have bothered. I was all hers.

    The tea was strong, and smelled of juniper, but after a sip, his voice was steadier. “The second time you will be betrayed will be by a man.”

    Her hand was warm, and her eyes did a masterful job at pretending like I was the only man in her world.

    His eyes locked on mine.

    She watched as I went down on one knee.

    “That man will be you.”

    “Will you marry me, my love?”

  69. Combination Lock

    The fortress was spellbinding. She drew the unwanted attention of every would-be-conqueror who caught a glimpse of her. The battlements were made of cotton the color of lilacs. The ramparts were festooned in white lace. Above these the main tower displayed a tapestry of ebony locks and the deadlights glowed with an entrancing amber light.

    She was well defended, first by the archers of sarcasm and wit. Those who received a volley of these darts almost always skittered away with fresh scars. Within the turrets were two catapults, clenched and ready to strike. Lower in the works were two rams, the effective application of which had crumpled more persistent invaders. On the rare occasion these defenses proved inadequate, numerous alliances rose to her defense.

    Most decided victory was too costly. Helen waited for the man with the right combination of courage, commitment and self-sacrifice to win her heart.

    * Conflict: man v man (not gender specific)
    * Character: the most beautiful woman in the world
    * Theme: the glory of war (or not)
    * Setting: a besieged city (or not)
    150 words exactly if counting would-be-conqueror as three words
    @CharlesWShort

  70. Title: “Action Man!”
    Character: A Prideful Superhero
    Setting: A Besieged City
    Word Count: 150
    Website: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/flash-friday-action-man/

    Action Man! Man of Action! And Reaction!

    Action: Whiskey enters the body.

    Reaction: A bus is ACCIDENTALLY melted by my freaking eye lasers.

    Action: A tired superhero just wanted a night to himself and Jack Daniel!

    Reaction: Center City goes to the dogs! Everyone grabs a pitchfork. “Death to the mutant freak!” they bitch!

    Action: More freaking eye lasers! More whiskey! Ungrateful sods, I’d like to see one of THEM save a screaming old woman (there always HAS to be one) from a burning building. Or drink a whole gallon of whiskey without dying. I guess I’m just a super-man.

    Reaction: Somehow the internet gets ahold of my laser-filled glory. Superheroes from “Wonder Archer,” to “Miss Almost-Late” to “Sir Always-Comically-the-Third-Wheel” come to end my reign of relaxation. I mean, “terror.”

    Action: I calmly get another bottle of my friend Jack and look to the blurry sky for the coming stormclouds.

  71. Dearly Deported

    by Connie Kuykendall
    @CurledCrusader

    150 words (humor)
    Character: A prideful superhero
    Setting: A besieged city
    Conflict: Man v man

    “President Trump is deporting you.”

    Muse blinked at the NSA goon with biceps as big as her head. “But I protected D.C. from hackers, blackouts, plagues.”

    “The President thanks you for your service but is uncomfortable with your acute intelligence and beauty.”

    “He’s deporting people who are smarter and prettier?” She threw her cape at the goon. “Fine. I’ll gladly retire to the Amazon. I won’t miss Spandex or Batman swooping in and taking credit for my work.”

    Her eyes teared as she surveyed the National Mall, its museums and monuments lay in rubble, patrolled by drones. Americans were holed up in their homes, praying to mobile devices for safety.

    “I’m a big fan, Muse, can we take a selfie?”

    Ridiculous. She had to do something. When he put his arm around her, she grabbed his gun.

    “We aliens might be criminals, but I will save the country from itself.”

  72. The Tired Omen

    “The Omen says, the day will be bloody, but when the dust has settles, our city’s flag will fly.” The old woman said hoarsely.

    “You’re certain?” The General asked.

    She glared. “Quite. I prepared the potion with your hair and fed it to the Omen before inducing a trance state. This always produces readable futures in men of his line.”

    They looked to the naked man on the pedestal. Every muscle was engaged, straining, holding a statuesque pose. Still, his face betrayed no discomfort.

    “The most prominent vein, tendons that twitch, flow of perspiration- all quite revealing. Well, that’s my reading. Off with you. Defend our city.”

    Once he left the tent the woman clapped her hands. Trance broken, the man’s body loosened and collapsed.

    “Sometimes I think army service would be better than this.” He said, gasping

    “I know dear, but remember your reading. It’s Omen or cannon fodder.”

    150 words
    @acmarkz
    Soothsayer
    Beseiged City
    Fate vs. Free Will

  73. 150 Words
    @bloggingbaker
    A mighty warrior
    Mortality

    Afferte Mihi Siderum

    The battle is o’er, this life once so sweet
    Now cooling inside, its heat but a fading thought.
    I grasped it well, I know, but darkness wins in time.
    So why fight when night consumes all?
    Why heed heaven’s righteous call?
    This helmet I don when evil laughs, spits
    Upon good men, good women, and innocence,
    Did it cover my eyes too well that I could not see?
    What paths I’ve not taken? What words I’ve left unsaid?
    What love unseen?
    The dark’s cold hand says nothing.
    So is silence the lesson now? No sounds?
    You rob me of everything! Here I lie in filth
    Blood is all around, mine all mine.
    Can you not bring me a child’s laughter? Or a kind
    Whisper?
    Something to sooth my spent heart?
    Your quiet speaks to me plainly, “Finished.”
    And I must answer, “Come to me, night.
    I pray there be stars.”

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