Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 45

A very merry Friday to y’all! Thanks so much for joining us for yet another novel round of flash. We’re just two months out from our whoop-de-doo #Flashversary party (as well as all the contest changes coming in Year Four; what, you feared you’d be stuck with novels forever?!); you may wish, even now, to be ironing your party frocks and shoring up your chocolate. Thanks to those of you who’ve already donated books to the mega prize tub. Keep ’em coming, please! Contact me here if you’re up for adding your brilliant novel to the cause, and thanks!

Judge applications for the first tour of Year Four will open next week. As you know, judges are the heart of this place; I’d be a lonely, dull babbler without them. Please seriously (or hilariously) consider throwing your hat in the ring to take a turn as a Dragon Captain. Advance details here.

Meanwhile, we’ve packed the next several weeks with lots of new #Spotlight interviews. And don’t forget tomorrow’s another episode of #Pyro, where you can submit stories to be posted anonymously and critiqued honestly. I’ve really loved the participation so far. Please keep submitting & keep critiquing! Y’all are the ones who’ll keep this new feature going. Did I say thanks yet? Cuz, thanks


DC2We’re doing a fancy switcharoo today: you’ll see Dragon Team Eight next week, which means we’ve got Dragon Team Five up today. For you newbies, that means you’re facing the mad judging skillz of Holly Geely and Foy Iver.  I can’t imagine a more perfect team for today’s prompt, given their combined dark, poetic lyricism and quirky, witty hilarity. Whether you take the novel in a direction shadowed or light, we’ve got a judge for that.      


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

* Today’s required word count:  100 words +/- 25 (75 – 125 words, not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (min 75, max 125 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.


Today in a brilliant marriage of form and theme, and to the great relief of Literature students everywhere, we’re daring to condense one of the world’s densest novels into a flurry of flash (which is where many students feel it belongs anyway). That’s right: today we’re tackling Moby Dickthe blubber-infused tale of a raging, peg-legged sea captain bent on avenging himself on the white whale responsible for his injury. (Reminder: you are not required to have read this novel to write stories inspired by its elements. Second collective sigh of relief.) 

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; and remember please do not use copyrighted characters). 

* Conflict: man v self, man v nature (not gender specific)
Character (choose at least one): a wooden-legged sea captain, a pacifist forced to help with someone else’s revenge, an easygoing storyteller oblivious to danger, a chief’s son/prince working on a ship, a mighty whale.
Theme (choose one): revenge, fate v free will, the power of Nature, friendship, the cost of obsession
Setting (choose one): a whaling ship, a sea port, an island, the middle of the ocean

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

Naufragos/Shipwrecked. CC2.0 photo by Luis Marina.

Naufragos/Shipwrecked. CC2.0 photo by Luis Marina.

234 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 45

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 92
    Story Elements: Conflict (Man v. Self)/Character (pacifist forced to kill)


    My handiwork lies before me, a latticework of bones upon bones. Skeletons lie on a sea of sand; dry currents swallow them in waves of heat, eaten by the desert sun, parched, decayed, brittle.

    I stand on the shore with the blood creasing my fingertips and survey their grave.

    The bones I’ve placed rise from their crypts to torment me, and in the gaping mouths of their effigies, my own voice mocks me.

    Their empty eyes mirror my soul, and it’s no longer their black sockets that devour me…

    But my own.


  2. Against the Undertow of Deep Time
    120 words, @pmcolt
    Man vs. nature, the power of nature

    “I’ve cheated death!” As the negentropic field faded, Darien surveyed the lava tube. His eyes widened. How long?


    It was far too late. A magma flow had crashed through the wall untold ages ago, crushing her negentropy field. Even her bones had long since turned to dust. Thousands of years? Millions? The Pu-224 power core — half-life 80 million years — felt cool against his hand.

    Climbing out of the lava tube, Darien saw waves crashing upon a barren shoreline. No advanced civilization here. No cure. No utopia. No happily ever after. Blackness pressed against his eyeballs. He gasped. There was no oxygen!

    “I’ve cheated only myself.” He collapsed to the eroded shore. Salty waves washed away his tears. “You win.”


  3. Whale Tales

    “So, you say that a large sea creature sank your ship?”

    “Argh, no me matey,” the wooden legged sea captain replied. “It was the sea itself that sank me ship. She was a terrible creature, angry and raging. Waves as big as mountains broke over me bow as the sea tried to rip me out of the wheelhouse. The sea was taking revenge on me last night, but I fought me hardest, I raged back against the waves. I fought until me ship was torn apart.

    The coast guardsman wrapped a blanked around the drenched captain.

    “So how did you lose your leg Captain Wilky?”

    The salty old sea dog smiled and his eyes twinkled. “Now that me matey, is a whale of a tale.”

    Required elements: character (wooden legged sea captain) Theme (revenge)
    225 words

    Liked by 1 person

  4. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 110
    Character: an easygoing storyteller oblivious to danger
    Theme: friendship

    Whale Meat Again






    L8RS, DUDE!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Conflict: man v nature
    Setting : the middle of the ocean
    121 whales of regret

    Sea Enemy
    I have been cast adrift in the Senicide Sea,
    bobbling like a fumbling bumbling bee,
    flailing the waves, swallowing water,
    a father, the slave of a most treacherous daughter.

    My hoary bones chilled on the bitterest sea,
    bound to an unceasing migrancy,
    shackled in irons, a sinister sail,
    out of the frying pan; into the whale.

    The Captain’s as mad as a preposterous shark,
    circling the imaginary blood of a lark,
    a stump of a man with an irascible brain,
    a leg end of wood with no trace of grain.

    He steers into the rash and itinerant wind,
    guilty of nothing, for he has never sinned.
    In his rootless soul, a fleshly-burnt brand,
    A cargo deboned, doomed to never make land.


  6. Never the Bride
    118 words, @pmcolt
    setting: an island, theme: revenge

    There he stands, by the preacher, oceanside. Immaculate tuxedo and perfect blond hair glowing with sunlight.

    White dress. White gloves. Lanolin smooth skin. Her cherry lips quiver. Today they would tie the knot on the shores of this island paradise. My revenge on her will be black as its sands, treacherous as its tides.

    How green his eyes! Like the hills of the Emerald Isle. We were so young and innocent, he and I. Together we kindled a flame that burns my heart like the devil’s brand.

    Struggle all you want; the knot won’t come untied. No one can hear you. A shame to stain red such a lovely dress, but honey, you can’t have him. He’s mine.


  7. @AvLaidlaw
    108 Words
    Character – Easygoing storyteller oblivious to danger
    Setting – The middle of the ocean.


    Dear All,

    Lovely cruise. Weather sunny (wait till you see my tan – jealous). Company good. Service excellent with fun and games – yesterday they arranged a fake pirate attack! The actors playing the pirates were brilliant! Cutlasses and eye patches and everything. Had some of us scared silly. I took the special excursion in the row boat – “walking the plank” looked so fun but didn’t want to get wet!

    But snafu with the navigation so it’s my turn to keep an eye out for the cruise ship. 😦

    Tonight we’re having a barbecue on the boat. Local delicacy called “long pig”. Told them I was veggie.



  8. @CP_Blackburn
    Word Count: 125
    Story Elements: Character (easygoing story teller), Setting (Whaling Ship)

    The Storm in the Calm

    “Barbados. Flying fish. Whole clouds of ‘em. A cat’s dream. Why would any man ever leave?”
    “Will you shut up. Grab a line. Any line.”
    The last wave had almost broken The Heron in two.
    “And there was this lass. Wouldn’t give me the time of day, mind you, not with these barnacled hands. But that didn’t make her any lighter on the eyes, there in that sundress, a southerly breeze in her—”
    “We get through this, Ramirez, and I’ll gut you alive.”
    “I’ve always sought after the opposite. Calm in a storm, a tempest on a sunny day. There’ve been but a few overlapping windows in my life, sonny mine. You’ll see it for an instant before I make a storm of your salvation.”


  9. (125)
    Power of Nature

    The Whales’ revenge

    Whale was angry. Another ruddy whaling ship had pricked him with a spear, and now he resembled a waterlogged porcupine. The streams of the sea boinged the spears as he swam, and even flip-reversing and breaching wouldn’t shift the buggers.
    It was time for the famous Whales’ Revenge, a manoeuvre not attempted since 1642 when that daft sod was sailing into everything.
    He sang and the eerie whallooping sounds attracted friends and family from all over.
    They swam strongly in a massive circle, creating an enormous whirlpool which sucked in the closest ten whaling ships. The men fell to their doom as the hulls splintered like matchsticks. They wailed in horror at the whales, and Whale was extra-satisfied when the whirling waters plucked his quills.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. @bex_spence
    89 words
    power of nature, ocean

    Take a breath.

    The ocean breathed. Waves resting and rising, breaking against his skin. His head bobbed in the great blue. Blue above and below, surrounding him. Embracing his form. The boat was long lost to the deep, yet he clung to the wheel. Treading the ocean, steering his course. On the horizon the skies turned grey, dark to black. The waves crashed, rising to a crescendo. Fret in his mouth, salt in his eyes. Like jaws the waves engulfed him, swallowed him down. Part of the ocean, soul of the sea.


  11. @tim_kimber
    man vs nature
    wooden-legged sea captain
    122 words

    Nabel’s Nemesis

    “Garr,” he said, ruminatively. “Thar ain’t a blight more wretched than losin’ yer pin, mate. Aye, it’s a grim, ghastly life with a log for a leg, that it be.”

    “I’m sure,” said the sales clerk, continuing to stack the tins of paint.

    “T’were a sailor’s-dozen years ago I lost it – my flesh ‘n’ bone shank – to a dastardly blasted shark – garr! – that great famished fiend, I’ll ne’er forget its eyes…”

    “I’m sorry sir, but, you’ve been telling me your life’s tale for two hours now; if there isn’t anything I can help you with, I really must get back to work.”

    “Garr, of course laddy. Jus’ one t’ing, before ye return to yer skivvying.”


    “Do ye ‘ave anythin’ fer woodworm?”

    Liked by 1 person


    The ravages could be shored up no more. Soft light and distance failed to conceal what she had fretted and fought against for decades.

    She screamed for the alchemist, the surgeon, thrusting plastic and promises. On a desperate quest she sent them: the colostrum of the great white beast, heart of a unicorn, eye of a condor.

    A year and a day they were away, adventuring far.

    While she cowered in her ivory tower, alone in shame, shielded from the world and its fearsome sun. Starving for the past.

    They returned to find her desiccated corpse. Light as a butterfly.

    Many had thought she had passed long since. They covered her face in the coffin, talked of the beauty of her youth.

    122 words
    CONFLICT: Man vs nature
    THEME: The cost of obsession


  13. The Survivor
    Ian Martyn (@IBMartyn)
    96 words
    Conflict and Theme

    The storm raged for hours that passed like days, relentless in its desire to remove us from this world. We set out to plunder the ocean, instead we angered a capricious god with our all too human arrogance. I thought I was dead, perhaps I am. Is this hell? It doesn’t look like heaven. The ship is gone, my shipmates are gone and I’m just one piece flotsam washed up with all the others. Why me? Should I be grateful or fearful? What games do deities like to play with the souls of mere mortals?


  14. Wyler’s Anomaly
    125 words
    man v.self
    fate v. free will

    Who is he, my mirror, my double, always one jump ahead? I chased him from world to world, only to find he had been there and gone, leaving spare parts for me to find.

    Is he the future me? I can see his ship out there. Didn’t he try to warn me of the temporal flux surrounding the event horizon of rotating black holes?

    Perhaps that is my fate, to be bound in a loop that began in my garage when he took the stembolt of my FTL drive that afternoon in August, 2164. What’s Wyler’s Anomaly, I said. He smiled and left.

    My name is Tom Wyler and I curse the man that brought me here. I am never alone. I can never go home.



    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    125 words

    Theme: Revenge
    Setting: An island

    * * *

    Mick Doby was no quitter.

    After nine months, the search teams were grounded, the unfound were mourned, and the tragedy of the ‘SS Bentley Rich’ had faded from the headlines.

    But Mick knew she was still out there because she was a fighter. So he would never give up searching.

    Mick was rich, one of the richest. He spent months flying his private helicopter out over the blank canvas of the ocean. And then one day he was rewarded. A small island, a message on the beach, a woman waving.

    With the rotor blades still spinning, he ran across the sand to where she stood.

    And then he shot her in the head.

    He could sleep peaceful now, knowing that the bitch was definitely dead.

    Liked by 1 person


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    121 words

    Conflict: Man vs Nature
    Theme: The power of nature

    * * *

    They’re called BALAENA SPATIUM. It means space whale.

    They have a reputation for being peaceful creatures, but that ain’t true. The scientists on Earth can argue until they’re blue in the face; I’ve seen first-hand what one of those monsters can do.

    That’s why I hunt them now.

    Earth says what I’m doing is illegal, but the black market has demand. And demand pays.

    I’m not doing it for the money, though. That’s just a beautiful side effect. I’m doing it because they wiped out my home on Recentia Glow’s second moon. I’m doing it because I know that they’re smarter than we thought. I’m doing it because they’re slowly heading for Earth.

    I’m doing it before they wipe us out.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You can’t Ignore Me
    Word Count: 125
    Man v Self and The Cost of Obsession

    Don’t go to sleep yet, sweet one.

    Silly naive girl. You can’t ignore that nagging feeling you have.

    Get out of bed and check the front door.




    What about the stove? Go back down and make sure it’s off. You don’t want the house to burn down, do you?

    That’s a good girl.

    Lift those heavy lids, my darling. You didn’t say your prayers. You know that if you don’t say them just right your family’s deaths will be your fault.

    Come on, start over. You drifted off a bit.

    Start again.

    No! No! No!

    You said the names in the wrong order.

    Start again.

    That’s better.

    Check the clock.


    You have to be up at six.

    I’ll see you then.


  18. Appetite
    119 words
    Men versus nature
    Middle of ocean

    Light tore at his eyelids.
    ‘Don’t struggle, the knots’ll only get tighter.’
    Merciless white throbbed at his parched, disoriented brain, ‘What’s happening?’
    ‘We’ve used up our stores, lad. The sea makes fools of men like us. She’s led us astray, so it’s time to ration.’
    The young man bucked and writhed, rope biting at his scrawny wrists as terror rose.
    ‘Now, now. Listen. I’ll be as fair as I can. I fully intend to keep you alive for as long as possible; give you a fighting chance. But make no mistake. I. Need. To. Fill. This crushing emptiness at my centre. Believe me, if there was another way…’ he said as he tugged at the young man’s left foot.


  19. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 122
    Story Elements: Setting (island)/Theme (Fate v. Free Will)


    I am an island in a sea of difference.

    The tides crash upon my shore, carrying snide murmurs of debris from humanity; currents of disdain pockmark my sand, sifting through my defenses.

    Does Fate allow a choice? I struggle to flee, but my roots go deep, and I cannot move, though tsunamis threaten and whirlpools circle, digging deep to the very heart of me.

    My only escape lies in destruction, desolation, devastation, and like the yin-yang of light and dark, hope swallows the blackness that yawns around me.

    When the wave comes, I duck under it and shatter myself.
    I take my freedom in the stillness that comes from a calm sea,

    And the crashing surf swirls to the West and Beyond.


  20. Free

    I am held, cradled, carried.
    There is some effort required. Little undulating flutters to keep my head above water. For now.
    In this moment, the pain diminishes, salty water taking the weight of me.

    There is movement below me. The feeling comes upon me like the inkling of an approaching storm.

    I open my eyes as a wave pushes me aside and then I am face to eye with a sleek mountain.
    “Sister. I feel your pain call through the water.”
    “Brother, I can’t live like this much longer. Not as I do on the land,” I reply.
    “I’ll wait with you if you like.”
    “What a wonderful last adventure,” I say, and close my eyes to the sun, palm against his thick grey slope.

    125 words
    mighty whale, middle of the ocean


  21. A Blank Scroll

    Countless waves of golden pages like Hawthorn writing on glass with a diamond; a window into a breaching soul that surfaces momentarily to breath beauty and then surrenders into a body of still water. A large white whale collapsed onto a headstone carved as a blank scroll. A life that amounted to nothing, he felt.

    No sales.

    No recognition.


    I hold his 50,000 first edition in my hands as I stand over his grave in late October. Trees anchor the sky with a dark evening hush. The ripples of a parchment with a pen harpoon of death cascading in frozen marble ecstasy.

    Revenge is a dish best served cold.

    (110 words)
    Revenge/a mighty whale


  22. The Mighty Whale That Skims The Apocalyptic Skies


    Character: A mighty whale

    Theme: The cost of obsession

    125 words


    I have hunted it for too long.

    It has taken everything from me. Devoured my health and consumed my sanity.

    I know it better than my family—they have long since left me. I know it better than myself.

    When I close my eyes, I see the retinal imprint of the bloated behemoth airship, skimming the vermillion-stained apocalyptic skies.

    The sky-whale watches me from above the clockwork towers. I stalk it in the shadows of the mercurial minarets. I hide between the steam-driven pistons of the abattoirs, gunpowder spear in hand.

    It is my enemy, friend, brother and nemesis. It is my saviour.

    Our wounds are never mortal. I am a hunter that cannot destroy.

    What would I live for if it did not exist?



  23. “I know it better than my family” – a great line to show the length of the obsession.

    I loved this steam-punk take on the prompt with all the little details that flesh out the world (gunpowder spear) and it end’s on a sad, lonely question.


  24. @firdausp
    (123 words)
    ‘The Innocent Whale’

    Captain Wood limped across the deck. His wooden leg thudded along with him. He dreaded this voyage, but he had a reputation to hold. The white whale had been sighted, and who but him, to go after it.

    “Captain, a moment please,” a young deck hand came up to him.

    “May I ask a few questions for my journal?”

    He nodded.

    “Aren’t you afraid of this whale that bit off your leg? It must have been very painful.”

    Captain Wood shut his eyes remembering. Falling down the bar steps—drunk. The snap of his bone still so clear.

    “Yes it was.”

    He would let the second story take deeper root. It gained him respect.

    “What do I call you son?”

    “Call me Ishmael.”

    A wooden-legged sea captain/ a whaling ship


  25. The Natural
    125 words
    * Character: a pacifist forced to help with someone else’s revenge
    * Setting: an island

    The wet sand didn’t leave a trace of my passage, my newly-acquired paws carrying me lightly through the ocean mist for another trip around my new home. I was still the only one on the island, and cats can’t frickin’ swim. The Sea Queen didn’t mess around when she was angry.

    I hadn’t wanted to kill the beast. When the Captain had shoved the crossbow, slick with her blood, into my hands, I’d objected, but who could refuse her? Heck, I didn’t even step on bugs – how was I to kill something that majestic? I even tried to miss, but I was so inexperienced that I ended up hitting it right between the eyes.

    And then I washed up here. Wherever here was.


  26. Coffee Brings Clarity

    Thick rain blankets the diner’s windows. Steven reaches for his coffee mug with his left hand, a yellowed letter clutched in his right.

    “Shoot.” There’s a gnat floating in there. He pokes at it, but it evades him.

    “What’ll it be, then?” the gnat says.

    “What? C’mon, you’ll drown,” Steven says, trying again. No luck.

    “Tell her,” the gnat says.

    Stiff fingers tighten around the letter.

    “This is it, Steve-O,” the gnat says. “The big enchilada. You’re not well. There’s no time. Tell her how you feel.”

    “Fine, okay,” Steven says. “Now will you come out of there?”


    The rescued gnat dries out on the formica. Steven signals for his check.

    The rain slows, and the window glass begins to clear.

    124 words
    Diner = Island, Rain = Ocean, Gnat = Oblivious storyteller
    (for bonus points Gnat = island of attention also, for bonus bonus points Steven’s shyness = his wooden leg)


  27. @AvLaidaw
    110 Words
    Conflict – Men vs Nature
    Character – Mighty Whale(s)

    Memento Mori

    As dawn broke, we discovered the beached whales. The children stopped running and stood, clenched fists and silent open mouths. A woman sobbed. The men walked around the whales and muttered that something should be done and sketched intricate plans in the sand to drag the whales back into the sea. But the whales, their black bodies like wounds in the world, were too heavy to move. So we watched them pant in the salt spray. We watched the flies settled on their skin. We watched their great eyes close. There was nothing we could do.

    Their bones still lie on the shore, but we do not talk of them.


  28. The Framework Bird and the Ringing Singing Tree


    Conflict: Man vs self

    Theme: The power of nature

    125 words


    She is but a jumble of blunt shapes encased in scrawny skin.

    She is a framework bird.

    In her stomach, the emptiness of self-loathing. In her mouth, the tang of acid reflux, the sour aftertaste of self-induced sickness.

    She walks away from the whisperers. The airbrushed magazines. The imperfect reflections that stalk her.

    She hops in the swaying heathland. Treads the foothills of stubble fields. Flitters beneath skies of wonder and fear.

    She sits beneath the Ringing Singing Tree. Warped trunk and jutting boughs, its canopy holding up the sky. Its metallic tubes howl in the crosswinds, and ping in the pitter-patter rains.

    In the winds and rain, she is accepted.

    Beneath the Ringing Singing Tree is where the framework bird heals her wings.



    The old man leans his peg leg up by the cabin door and settles down to work.

    Knife on bone. Faces of children, ancestors, a faithful dog. In order of appearance. A cast of characters, a storyboard in carved lines and rubbed ink.

    Outside storm-lashed waves leap onto black rocks, expire, hiss. A hulking carcass rolls forward, then back, rocking as if asleep on the rough sand. Coming closer bit by bit.

    The old man looks out the window. “Aye, whale, when time comes I’ll carve your life story on your dried bones. But for now, I must keep to mine own.”

    He turns over the tibia-bone, adds the delicate outline of a beached whale. The latest chapter, but not the last.


    124 words
    Themes: Wooden-legged sea captain, Power of nature


  30. the cost of obsession/an island
    124 words

    No one knew where she was. She’d landed this morning in Puerto Rico. Paradise. She’d maxed out her last active credit card to fly here, to buy the tickets, the backstage passes. Her phone buzzed in her pocket for the millionth time as the few lucky fans allowed backstage erupted in cheers. The singer rushed past, shaking hands. His hand brushed hers.

    “Thank you all!”

    The fans were informed he wouldn’t be coming back out. A chorus of boos and groans sounded around her. Finally, she checked her phone. The most recent text message contained a picture of her sister cradling her new nephew, born two weeks early.

    She moved her hand, the one that he’d touched, to her lips as her stomach fell.


  31. * Character: a wooden-legged sea captain.
    * Theme: revenge

    125 bloody stumps


    “Well, lad, you buy Old Cap Felix a flagon of fiery rum, I’ll tell ya more tales than the devil knows.”

    The old toothless pirate looks like he could suck the flesh off of fresh road kill.

    I order a barrel of the toxic brew.

    “Good lad. It was thirty years if it was a day. We was off Jamaica, seeking our fortune, any rich man’s vessel that might strike our fancy. We fancied wrong. We was the hunted. All me men were killed. I was weighted down on me left leg, tossed to be fish food. The monstrous Octi snagged the weighted leg, tore and shredded her till she was bloody stump.

    BUT I rose like the phoenix to squash them mercenary buggers.”


  32. The Wild Weather Turtle

    I wanted to show the world island life but plans changed once I heard the presenter’s name. Dougie didn’t recognise me. He’d mocked my upbringing. A third to my first. Walked into his television job.
    ‘Dressed as a turtle on live television. Call my agent!’
    ‘A ceremony. Appease the gods.’
    Coconut shells from neck to knees, the turtle waddled towards the sea. Banana leaf headpiece. Lime crocs.
    He fell and floundered, legs akimbo.
    Following instructions, Dougie struggled on. Quite impressive. Thunder, lightning, twists of water. The waiting fish guts now seemed silly. I sealed my eyes against the rain.

    Rosy after-storm air. Sewn-together coconut shells and one lime croc bobbing on the surface. Dougie’s still in his costume.
    Our island’s now on the map.

    Theme : revenge
    Setting : an island

    125 words


  33. @carolrosalind
    WC 125
    Power of nature / a sea port

    And Finally Local News …

    @dick_moby51 There’s a whale blocking the car park,
    must have been swept inland during last night’s storms.
    Sort out body removal with council TODAY!
    16/10/2015, 07:32

    ‘How long is it going to take?’
    ‘Look mate, there’s procedures to follow.’
    ‘Don’t call me mate …’
    ‘Local radio’s arrived,’ whispers secretary.
    ‘That’s ALL I need! Okay… what procedures?’
    ‘Well, after the autopsy, ground’ll need cleaning, There’ll be enough oil to fill a drum.’

    LOCAL RADIO 20:34
    Earlier today a whale was discovered washed up on West Beach. Local police have cordoned off the area and are advising the public to stay away.
    Unconfirmed reports suggest that the whale’s stomach contained the bottom half of a leg.


  34. 125 words
    Character: wooden legged captain
    Setting: middle of the ocean

    The Mass Grave

    The ship rocked roughly as the choppy waves of the Mediterranean crashed against the sides. The people huddled and prayed: “Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.”

    The water and the voices created a desperate symphony against the backdrop of turbulence and abandonment. The rhythmic clomping of my captain’s rotting wooden leg was a crude percussion as he limped through the throng to the ledge. Lifting a bottle to his chapped lips, he gazed into the surrounding emptiness.

    We were forgotten and alone then, and we were forgotten and alone when the hungry waves consumed the ship. The screams pierced the night, but the shattering Mediterranean devoured the voices, stories, and lives. And yet it wasn’t the sea that I blamed as we sunk into our unmarked grave.


  35. Words: 125
    Chosen: Character (captain), setting (port)

    After the Sea Monsters

    White sand littered with the night’s detritus of shells and seaweed was crushed by the captain’s wooden leg as he walked. Anchored within sight was Drakeklou; the last ship that he would be the captain of. Beside him his elderly dragon hobbled over the sand and smelled the air, her warm breath a swirling mist. She, too, yearned for open air, endless waters, and the thrill of fighting the sea monsters that would otherwise drag the tall ships to the crushing depths.

    “One last trip, hey, old girl,” he said softly, leaning against her to rest his injured leg. “One last adventure before all three of us retire.”

    She lowered her head, her imagination letting her soar over the waters just like every other morning.


  36. Theme: Cost of obsession
    Setting: an island

    At Any Cost

    They left me.

    Dozens of years of research brought my team here. The sound of the ocean, the sandy beaches and devastating cliff faces, the squawks of local avifauna… None of that matters.

    They followed me, yes, but they couldn’t see that.

    The Fibonacci sequence, Occam’s razor, Knot theory—it’s all about the numbers. They did it for credit, for research…for resumes, or a trip to the island.

    Blind, oh so blind.

    Vines bend to my fingers’ will, and I etch my numbers into the sand, surrounded by the stench of flesh.

    I’m always there—almost there. I’ll find it.

    They didn’t believe.

    (103 words; @AriaGlazki)


  37. “Fireworks”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Conflict (man v self); Theme (the cost of obsession)
    Word count: 124 (NOTE: the em dashes add 2 to my word count)

    Your hands won’t stop shaking. Had you eaten anything in the past three days you’d be vomiting. Instead, unseen tentacles twist your empty guts like a worn dishrag.

    Your wife begged you to give them up. The drugs. But you wouldn’t. You couldn’t. And now more shit than you even knew existed is hitting fans all around you.

    The flashing red and blue fireworks detonate inside your ragged eyeballs. The police yell, ordering you to drop the gun. But you can’t. Your hands are shaking. Were they not, the bullet – your last bullet – would not have missed. And it would be you, not your wife, lying on the lawn.

    So you can’t put the gun down. You need the police to finish the job.


  38. “Retreat”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Character (a pacifist forced to help with someone else’s revenge; Theme (fate v free will)
    Word count: 125

    With a sarcophagal WHOOSH the transport doors closed and the flight toward our destinies began. Hurtling through hollow space, I cast glances at the others and hoped fate would be kind. My hands cradled the key to my own escape.

    A lost cause. A lost war. New recruits plucked from their mothers’ wombs and fed to the fray. Across the galaxy the enemy waited, lurking in the murky waters of the planet Octopoda. Only a miracle could save them. A miracle named…

    Alas, the war would have to wait. We slid into the Times Square station, and readied to battle the forces of capitalism. I slipped the fresh-smelling book into my briefcase and marched onto the platform, oblivious to the severed tentacles beneath my feet.


  39. Pressed

    121 words

    Elements: conflict, fate v free will


    I could not return home. I could only watch from the shadows as the bailiffs moved in. My wife’s screams and the cries of my children echoed down the street but I remained hidden. Even as she sank to her knees in front of the enforcers I stayed back.

    The money they needed, the money I’d promised was in my pocket.

    It would have been so easy to step out into the light, pay my debts. And I wanted to. You have to believe that. I needed to remain invisible for a little longer, just until the pressgang had passed. Then I could do the right thing. And I almost managed it. Until I felt the hand on my shoulder …


  40. Song of Victory

    They think we do not remember, that the murder of our elders is something we do not understand. We have seen the ocean turn red. We mourn gutted carcasses pushed back into the water. We swim with them, devoid of the layer of fat which keeps us warm in the depths, as they spiral into the deep dark. We sing them to their rest.

    And we remember.

    To one of them, the gutters, their floating slaughter houses seem mighty, but they are not as strong as we. We are seventy tons of muscle and flesh, slow but powerful. As they have gutted us, we gut them, but we do not sing their carcasses to rest.

    The song we sing is one of victory.

    @Unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    123 Words
    Theme: Revenge
    Setting: The middle of the ocean


  41. @stellakateT
    105 words
    Character: The Mighty Whale
    Theme: The Cost of Obsession

    For the love of God I’ve swum the seven seas to avoid him.
    I’ve gone to places that I shouldn’t have been. I’ve been on television when I tried to enter the Thames. I’ve gone hungry. I’ve lost mates. I’ve had campaigns named after me.

    If I could turn time back I would never have tasted human flesh. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, tasteless and stringy. He’s a man on a mission. I see vengeance in his eyes. Which one of us will end our days here beached in the sun. It won’t be me, The Great Whale. I fear no one.


  42. The Whale
    Character: A mighty whale
    Theme: The cost of obsession
    Word count: 122
    [No Twitter handle]

    People love whale watching. I enter the casino and all gazes turn toward see me with my entourage of pneumatic girls and fast friends. I bet big and play big. Casino whales attract crowds who enviously watch them feast on comps and credit.

    But even whales must return to their cold home waters. She picked me up late at the New Bedford airport.

    “How was the ‘conference?’” She asked, her sarcasm mocking my flimsy lies.

    “Boring as usual,” I fibbed, ignoring her tone. “All good here?”

    “The Security and Exchange Commission investigator called, twice. He has more questions.”

    We drove on in frosty silence, my hangover throbbing. That investigator. He’s whale watching too, and carefully maneuvering into harpoon range.


  43. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 125
    Elements: Character (Whale) / Setting (Middle of the Ocean)

    Title: The Story of the Beluga Whale (or how you found me)

    Waves carried his yearning until it was nothing more than a whisper carried shore to shore.

    ‘The sea is a thief’ he thought, before plumbing its depths, then finally resting, amongst ghost pot lanterns, on the lulling ocean floor.


    But one night, when the moon was full and the tide was high, the waves sprayed the last echo of his voice out into the sky.

    His loneliness was piercing as a gull cry.

    The moon slipped its skin and dived into the ocean.

    Suddenly, the sea was full of stars and the air above full of the booming, breaching timpani of a thousand moon white whales.

    And for the first time, in its deepest reaches, my heart was full of whalesong.


  44. Teak That: The Comeback
    A.J. Walker

    Eric the pirate captain had a taste for the finer things; only the finest jewelry, the most special wines and food cooked with the rarest of spices would do – it was easy when you didn’t have to pay.

    His favourite acquisition was the teak leg he’d taken from some loopy French speaking guy. Eric couldn’t speak the lingo, all he’d heard him say – before his cutlass had intervened – was that he was a doctor.

    The exquisitely carved leg fitted Eric perfectly. He thought it could have been made for him.

    The black leg was enchanted for the man had been a witchdoctor; his last words a curse. The leg inexorably took over Eric like a fungus on rotting wood.

    He became a dead man walking.

    WC: 125
    Character: wooden legged sea captain
    Theme: revenge


  45. The Raft

    Menacing silhouettes surged beneath their treacherous raft. Zacariah’s stump itched, his movement causing the raft to lurch. Dr Smyth glared.

    Thankfully he needed Zacariah.

    Days earlier they had met on the deck of the liner. Discussing the new lives awaiting them, the dreams they would fulfill.

    The nightmare began that night, the liner sinking as a handful of survivors fled in a holed boat. A rocky atoll reached as water soaked their waists.

    That night they prayed, seeking Zacariah’s reassurance. He offered wine, pretending to partake as the doctor instructed.

    At sunrise they fashioned their raft from his flock.

    Setting sail.

    Yet the fish kept nibbling away. Threatening salvation.

    Requiring further sacrifice.

    The Doctor held up the belt.

    Zacariah stretched out his remaining leg.

    124 words

    man v nature, middle of ocean


  46. @TJBlake93

    The Awakening (111 words)

    Awakening from a forced sleep I feel a cooling breeze and an itchy sensation on my face.
    Listening to the distant breaking waves I imagine a perfectly shaped glowing pellet. It closes in and expands into a burning planet above me. Spotting the curling flames descend from the orb I watch on as they slither across night sky, generating a portal to the inside of a volcano. The peaceful and unaffected sea water lights up and reflects the fierce and tender bloodshot sky. I feel escalating footsteps numbly thudding around me, and then I remember.

    Opening my eyes I stare across the deserted sandy island. They said this day was coming.

    Conflict: man v nature. Setting: an island


  47. Digging Up an Island
    A.J. Walker

    The sands of Southport go on forever; it is a cursed place. They hold secrets which will never be revealed – for these are the sands of non-time.

    It is said that Mad McVicar from Tuebrook had taken the powders one Saturday evening and for four nights had visions of the island of Atlantis being hidden beneath these sands. ‘Where better to hide an island but beneath the sand?’ she’d said – but to be fair she was a bit mad.

    Still, I’d grown up with grandma’s tales – for I am Sandy McVicar. Right now, as I stand with my trusty treasure seeking spade, I wish she’d told me about the treacherous tides hereabouts as – like Atlantis – I’m now to be swallowed by this infinite beach.

    Setting: An island (onland)
    Character: Easy going story teller oblivious to danger


  48. Emily Clayton
    elements: conflict/theme
    124 words

    Honey Highlights in C Minor

    I can stop this. Today. I won’t end up like my old man.

    Brave words, kiddo, but we both know you’ll never burn off your daddy’s genes. Give in. Let us take control. We’re bursting with song, a rich arpeggio guaranteed to ignite.

    I shake my head, fending off the rumbling tones sinking heady chords into my eardrum. My trembling fingers curl up towards my scalp, seeking threads of chestnut. Honey highlights.

    Steady pulses heighten, shifting into glissando. The notes turn staccato, and they…won’t…back…down.

    Thumb and index latch on, gripping, ripping free.

    Mirror reflects bare patches. Flaking skin.

    Another piece of hair flutters groundward. Worthless, like my daddy before me. I kick the gravestone. Just look where his obsession took him.


  49. Humanity vs Survival
    Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)
    Elements: Man vs Man (well woman vs man) & Captain with wooden leg
    Word Count 122

    “Ready?” The Captain’s voice the calm before what was coming next. Her wooden leg clicks down the distance to our target, a horse and cart with a single oil drum led by old man.
    ‘Horse first then the man’, the captain’s orders barks over and over in my head. I’ve given up adding ‘if necessary’. We need the oil for survival. Humanity ended with the oil fields.
    The Captain’s gun cracks the air and the horse. The old man hobbles away for his life. Her second shot fells him. Blood stinks up the air. My job is to check the barrel. I pop the top to find red numbers ticking down. We’ve been tricked. I make it just. The Captain doesn’t.


  50. And the Whale
    125 words
    Man vs. nature. A mighty whale. An island.

    On the calendar, it’s a sunny yellow circle. A day I’d postpone forever if I could. Added to it now, in resolute green letters, is a name.

    I swallow hard.

    She waddles up behind me whistling that damn Raffi song.

    “Very funny.” I cough over the last syllable. Megs wears levity like water wings, but what good are inflatable cuffs against a hurricane?

    “I’m… dead serious.” Her tune shifts to the Jaws theme.

    I chuckle because the alternative is gargantuan. Part of me wants it though, needs the sea monster to surface and devour us already.

    She sways into the cove of my arms. I’m the island. With my face over her shoulder, she won’t see the grief swamping my eyes.

    “Jonah it is, then.”


  51. Donne In
    Margaret Locke (margaretlocke.com or @Margaret_Locke)
    112 words

    Theme: Revenge, the cost of obsession
    Setting: An island

    No man is an island, Donne said. Maybe. But it sure as hell sucks to be marooned on one.

    One thousand four hundred and thirty seven days, I’ve watched the gulls crash into each other, fighting over the same fish, never giving quarter. One thousand four hundred and thirty seven days, I’ve thought back to that night, that splitting of fate, forking of destiny.

    If only I’d gone left when you turned right. If only we’d never met, never touched, never tangled. You’d still be alive, and I wouldn’t have spent one thousand four hundred and thirty seven days ruing his temper, my passivity, and his damn boat that dropped me here.


  52. Loki

    Elements: revenge, setting (middle of ocean)

    120 words


    Crimson tears fall from sightless eyes as wasted muscles pull at oars carved from the bones of my enemy. Flesh pounds the beat on the flayed drum, every stroke measured by the weight of betrayal. Yet they smile, my merry crew. Their blade-etched grins laugh at the endless sea, delight in the journey I have devised.

    Hear me now Odin. Your time has come.

    Free from poison-dripped pain I summon my family, see my serpent-son ride the waves at my side. Already, the horizon is bathed in Ragnarok’s fire, its flames as fierce as our hate, driving us on to the end of times.

    I throw back my head and howl at the moon. And my wolf-son howls in return.


  53. She, an Island
    124 words

    Every hump in the ocean looks like the back of something. A whale. Her third-grade teacher. She’s been on the island so long that living, dead and impossible blend. Leviathans arch their necks, silhouetted in the orange horizon, and rescue boats hulk in the purple dusk.

    She knows her island’s borders, the caramel slush where ocean laps land. Space just big enough to keep her dry.

    Sometimes she dreams of before —seasons, faces. The storm . . . the great whale. Did he split the boat, or did she cling to his slippery back?

    “Meds, Anne,” the nurse says, handing her the cup.

    After she’s swallowed, the whale surfaces in the deeper blue.

    Someday, she thinks, he will take her to a better island.

    Elements: man v self
    Character : A whale
    Setting :An island


  54. Hobson’s Choice

    An island, fate v free will 109 words @geofflepard

    He watched her grow inch by inch, hiding her joy in simple tasks.
    He watched him shrink inch by inch, pain etched loudly on his features.
    The snow fell, soft and quiet, insulating and entombing.
    Every day he dug a path to the jetty; every day he returned defeated.
    On the day the food ran out he saw the ship, battling against the constant storm.
    ‘We can take one.’
    Indoors he explained to them that his father would go, even if any treatment was likely too late.
    He knew they wanted an explanation, but how could he tell them. He couldn’t imagine any hope if deprived of her joy.


  55. Oh, I know I can’t go a week without a tweak, but can this one be my second entry, please, Lovely Dragoness?

    The Siren
    100 words
    Man versus self and nature/ middle of a type of ocean/ free will

    Are you frightened of Her?
    Does she call to you?
    Through the blue waves of sound.
    Into the layers of your sleep?
    Deeper. She is my consciousness.
    Are you lost, then?
    How can you say so? Lost to us?
    Yet anchored.
    She offers you more than this?
    This is pain. Her promises reach beyond the delights of any seductress.
    She is temptress!
    She is the fluid pathway to my tranquility.
    Be with us. This is home.
    Not like this. Not as I am.
    We love you. We take you as you are.
    Be content. For look how I ride infinity!


  56. @ecjlewis
    124 words
    Characters: a pacifist, a prince, a sea captain (though without the wooden leg)
    Theme: revenge
    Photo prompt


    “Bo, me lad,” Cap’n said, rubbing calloused palms together, “we’ll get a pretty ransom for this prince, oh yes. Watch him.”

    I watched, poorly, as the ship slept. I awoke to glittering eyes and a cold blade against my throat.

    Cap’n was snoring in his bunk. The prince plunged in his knife, opening the exposed neck ear to ear. The snores turned to choking gargles, then ceased.

    We stuffed the body into a barrel, watched it tumble into the sea. A quick iron grip on my ankles and I was falling after it.

    Even containing a body, barrels float.

    The sea didn’t claim me; is it my fate then to die on this lonely spit of sand, with only a dead man for company?


  57. Son of a beach

    Here I am, the last gasps escaping me, sand in one eye and sky in the other. I just want one last glance at my true love.

    I hear his voice on the breeze, “She’s a beauty. Didn’t even need the harpoon, she chased me right onto the beach.”

    He’s here! I wonder if he will notice me?
    “She’s massive! Wonder why she beached?”

    I knew I should have lost some weight. Why do those giant squid have to taste so good?

    I can feel him, he’s climbing me. This is it! My first kiss. Who cares if it’s with a human. I see his silhouette and I know that he’s here to rescue me.

    I don’t see the spear until it’s too late.


    125 words
    themes: a mighty whale, the cost of obsession


  58. The Ark

    I am all alone and the depths are not kind anymore. The world, all of it is wasted and I am one in my heavy swim. I’ve missed the surface, but I cannot go there because I’m sinking ever so rapidly. I am a crying vessel; I decay with a fading song that cannot stir the interlocking black I’ve come to call my path, my future, my grave. There is no hope, and like the world I will become a hollow remnant.

    I longed for my consciousness to survive inside the last breathing creature in this space below, thus giving life a chance to renew, but I failed to alter its suicidal drive.

    We plunge into the ever welcoming darkness together.

    We die so alone.

    125 words

    Themes: the middle of the ocean; a mighty whale.


  59. Reading Tea Leaves at Starbucks


    Sea reflects space/stars that swim in a swell of magisterial bursts of light waves. Full white moon meanders under the surface and sometimes only a crescent can be seen breaching. Floating in liquid space you feel God presence. Out here, amidst shared reflections, you’re caught among worlds like prayer clasped between two hands. My ship tossed like a twig. Sails snap hard as electricity against expectation. Riding monster energy, I feel free will has nothing to do with what one does, but rather in what one is. A place of being. A lightning flash pulling across water like rower toward a nonexistent shore. Inside, everything breaks on the sides of my small cup. My fate resides inside the small faith of her random sighs.


    (125 words)
    Fate vs. free will/the middle of an ocean


  60. Title: “Obsession”
    Word Count: 101
    Prompts: a wooden-legged sea captain; the cost of obsession
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith

    The dried up corn cob bounced and hit Captain Isaac’s wooden leg.

    “Dammit,” he said to himself. “Too hard.” He picked another cob from the bucket. A knock broke his concentration.

    “What do you want?” he cried at the young man who poked his head around the door.

    “Sorry sir,” he said, “but there’s pirates. What do we do?”

    “Wait!” the captain shouted. The lad disappeared back behind the door. From outside he heard another thunk, and a yell of frustration.

    The lad’s tall companion looked down at him. “Captain’s useless at corn hole. Why don’t you tell him you cheated?”


  61. DJ Chapman 10-16-15
    WC = 115, Character: Leviathan, Setting: Middle of the ocean of……….

    Roiling tops, undulating surges of stiff chaff splash upon me within this fanning golden sea. I bisect the onslaught of myriad tons of liquid tassels breaking about my gleaming body. My fins execute perfect fluid mechanical movements as I scroll through my life task, slicing a clean swath and leaving no ripples in my wake.

    And from my dorsal a constant spray fills the gaping gills of minuscule traveling companions in this yellow ocean. Once sated, they float away to join other minions, clustering in small schools and disappearing into flecks churned up in the sunlit main.

    A shore rises on near approaching horizon. My order complete, I lie fallow until the next grain harvest.


  62. Title: Boneyard
    Setting: The Middle of the Ocean
    Theme: Power of Nature
    Word Count: 125
    Website: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/flash-friday-boneyard/

    My father told me that there used to be an ocean here, beneath our feet. But I don’t believe him. Oceans just seem so impossible. All that water and all that life taking up so much space. Where did all the people live before the salt-soaked Endless Land formed in its stead?

    I ask if oceans ever existed. This makes my father sad for a reason I can’t figure out. He bends down and picks up one tiny bone. A fish bone, he tells me.

    “There’s still more?” I say. “I thought I got them all.”

    My father pats the huge ribs of the whale’s skeleton that’s become our house.

    “That’s what we thought when the oceans were still around. That there’d always be more.”


  63. Monday after the Third Sunday in June
    125 words
    Mighty whale, cost of obsession

    This year’s whale heaved itself from a hedge and lolled into the bike lane, bowling me off my three-speed. It was a day late.

    The cute barista, who’d always hearted my latte foam, smirked at the fluke and leafed me instead.

    “Don’t flatter yourself,” I grumbled only to be drowned out by blowhole spit.

    I speed-dialed Aunt Rose.

    “Whale?” she asked upon answering.

    My daddy issues breached right on my head. “Yeah.”

    “That narcissistic jackal doesn’t deserve your neuroses. This one time he…”

    The harpoon of Rose’s mighty scorn pierced throat pleats.

    With a well aimed “count your bastard blessings you didn’t pollute your lungs with shared air,” the cetacean lobtailed a recycling bin and vanished.

    “Auntie, you’re the best.”

    “Until next year, dear.”


  64. When You’re Older
    87 words
    Elements: Easy going story teller oblivious of danger/ The cost of obsession

    “You can’t tell me that after all that, the whale actually saved your life.”

    “Good, that’s not what I’m telling you. I’m telling you that that whale was my life, and after all that, I found out that life was worth living.”

    “How can that be?”

    The man stared out the window. Every day was a gift. How can you explain that to someone trained to see the worst in the world, and worse report it?

    “Mr. Melville?”

    Herman smiled knowingly. “You’ll understand, when you’re older, son.”


  65. Existence (125 words)

    Elements: Man vs. self, island setting, picture prompt

    I woke up today. Probably went to bed two moons ago, but I’ve lost track and the moon’s light can’t penetrate my black curtains.

    Just kicking the can, as if kicking it isn’t kicking myself.

    I’m stranded on an island nobody can see or get to. I send up the occasional smoke signal, like when I retrieved the mail the other day; my neighbor was outside and waved to me. I couldn’t get my hand up. But that was my biggest accomplishment of September.

    I was happy about that.

    But today, I woke up. And that’s something.

    From behind my curtains, I see the cul-de-sac below. A small kid peddled a classic Big Wheel.

    I remembered those, back before the island developed within.

    Hmm, yeah.


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