Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 46

Hurray, hurray, it’s Friday! Which means after a cruel six days of separation, I finally get to see y’all again. Thank you for being here, as we start winding down the last few weeks of Year Three. What a GREAT year! And what a marvelous privilege it’s been getting to know Year Three’s eight dragon teams. Y’all have knocked my socks off.

Speaking of dragon teams!!!! Judge applications for the first part of Year Four are NOW OPEN! The application’s pretty simple: contact info, and then a few sample stories for you to comment on, so we can get a feel for how you approach judging. We’re looking for eight new judges to begin mid-December. Won’t you join us?? Details here. [Questions? Email me here.] The deadline’s in two weeks, Nov 13.

Final notes: a reminder that I’m looking for FF community books to add to our giant Flashversary prize bucket (let me know, please!). And tomorrow’s another fiery edition of #Pyro; please send in your <500 word story for critiquing! The comments so far have been detailed and supportive, start to finish. Love it. Thank you! 

♦♦♦♦♦

DC2Up at bat today is Dragon Team Eight, which means, of course, A.J. Walker and Voima Oy. A.J., I’m told, keeps a year-round apartment in Wonderland, so please keep a lookout for him today as you journey through his realm. The poetic Voima is equally comfortable there, as one who has a special passion for scifi and fantasy and experimentation in stories. Once again the judge/novel pairing appears to be a perfect match!         

          ♦♦♦♦♦

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

* Today’s required word count:  250 words +/- 10 (240 – 260 words, not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (min 240, max 260 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:

Today we abandon the terrifying dark depths of the sea in favor of a cheerful Walrus. “The time has come,” the Walrus says, “to talk of many things. Of shoes and ships — and sealing wax — of cabbages and kings.”  This is Lewis Carroll’s walrus friend, of course, and today we leap with him down the rabbit hole into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, that gloriously bizarre, comedic, hallucinogenic, riddling tale of a young girl’s fall into a magical world.

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 society; man v man; man v logic (not gender specific, and I made that last one up Just Because)
Character (choose at least one): a curious girl; a violent, capricious ruler; an odd cat; an extremely ugly and angry duchess; a rude host; a man on trial for minor theft.
Theme (choose one): childhood, nonsense, logic, justice, nature, death
Setting (choose one): Victorian England, a dream world

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

"Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit - Who Killed Time?" CC2.0 photo by Brandon Warren

“Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit – Who Killed Time?” CC2.0 photo by Brandon Warren

Advertisements

100 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 46

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 252
    Story Elements: Setting (a dream world)/Theme (nonsense)

    Nightmares

    At midnight, all things become real.

    At midnight, the world stops and resets itself, shedding its cloak of passing motorists and squalling children and people just in from the office for a quick bite before dashing off to their beds to begin it all over again.

    At midnight, the cacophony hums to a still stop, and with a slow tick of a clock, begins again as second by second by second, shadows become substance and echoes become battering rams and running becomes slow motion terror.

    That’s what midnight is.

    I wake into my midnight, and the world of sun and fire becomes the deep shade on the horizon as I step into the moonlight of my fancy. The first minutes are pleasant, but the blackness intrudes as I roam farther afield into thorny pastures of paranoia where I can never escape the spiders that scuttle between my toes, or through forests of dread where the haunted faces of those I love die unnatural deaths.

    Comfort flees far from me, and yawning, aching silence swallows my strangled screams so no one hears them, not even an echo. I cry into the void, and fall and fall and fall forever downward and beyond…

    Into the red pit below that flashes.

    Red,

    Black,

    Red,

    Black,

    Red.

    I peel my eyes open to see the blinking numbers proclaiming the time. Midnight has fled, and morning shadows stretch across my bed. My dreams fade into the darkness, biding their time.

    At midnight, all things become real again.

  2. Title: “The Girl and the Toad”
    Word Count: 242
    Prompts: man vs. logic/a curious girl
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith

    ‘Twas Friday, and the slivey child
    Did gamble up the greerish moor.
    The fog betoke her view afar,
    Her clothes a-filth, her footing sore.

    “Where goes thee hence?” a voice said loud,
    She turned about on barefoot heel.
    And from the deepening, densing cloud,
    Did see a toad upon a wheel.

    “I go to find my home,” said she,
    A tear escaping blue-green eye.
    “I went exploring in the woods,
    But then my compass spun awry.”

    “Fear not thy soul,” said warty toad,
    “For ‘tis my lot to help the lost.”
    “Thank thee sir,” the girl replied.
    “But not,” said toad, “without a cost.”

    From neath his cloak a sword he pulled,
    It gleamed and glowered in the moon.
    “Take this blade and serve me well,
    “And home will be your respite soon.”

    “What dread, dread task can else it be?”
    Said girl, with weightedness of chest.
    “What horror thing must I commit,
    Before I find my homeful rest?”

    “I am mere toad,” the toady said,
    “And you have gently heard my plea.
    “Now get thee hence with blade in hand,
    “And slay my foe, and set me free.”

    “What words of follysome blathering spew!”
    the girl with tortured brow did spit.
    “No blood have I upon my hands,
    “And will have none henceforth to wit.”

    And with these words she parted hence,
    To fall upon the living dead.
    She screamed as scabby fingers clawed,
    And woke to find herself in bed.

  3. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 259
    Story Elements: Character (a rude host)/Theme (justice… for the sister, anyway)

    Guest List

    “Good evening, I’m here for—”

    “My sister’s party. I heard you were coming.”

    “Er… may I come in?”

    “Don’t know why you’d want to. You’d be in nobody’s way in your own place.”

    “Well, I had hoped to—”

    “Drink my booze? Yeah, sure, while you’re at it, you could invite the rest of the neighborhood. See how quickly you can deflate my bank account.”

    “Well, no, I meant—”

    “You know, you’d get a lot further in life if you’d just say what you mean the first time without mumbling nonsense words. Come in if you must.”

    “Thank you. I brought a gift for your sister—”

    “Nothing for me, I see.”

    “Well, it would be difficult to share. It’s a—”

    “Piece of crap jewelry. I can see the ring box, do you think I’m blind? Obviously, I’m not standing here staring over your head because I can’t see you. I know a ring when I see it. So… you expect me to open it up? Try it on? See if it’ll fit my pinky?”

    “No, I want—”

    “You want to give it directly to my sister, I suppose, like the rude spawn you are. You bypass me to get to her.”

    “It’s more of a wedding present.”

    “A—what?”

    “A wedding present.”

    “I heard you the first time. You don’t have to repeat it like I’m deaf.”

    “You just asked—”

    “I know what I asked. Why under the stars did you bring a wedding present?”

    “This. Is. A. Wedding. And I’m the groom.”

  4. Until the End of Time
    256 words, @pmcolt
    character: an odd cat
    theme: death

    Ever since toddlerhood, when Maria opened every tuna tin, and Purrsia anointed Maria her true master, the two had shared a special bond. Maria knew the spot behind the ears where her fluffy feline loved to be scratched, and Purrsia knew Maria’s every mood.

    From dim childhood memories into the bright shining future, time marched relentlessly. Tock forever follows tick, and tick tock. Little girls become young women, take fancy to young men, and promise forever. Little kittens become fat old cats, and shed fur on fancy dresses. It was the way of the world: predictable as the sunrise, everlasting as words carved in stone, unavoidable as bullets from a gun.

    Maria held the hymnal open, but her blue eyes rolled off the blurred lyrics. The words failed to focus, like writing in a dream. So she mouthed along silently to the somber organ music, swaying like a metronome to the steady measure of the choir.

    Alone in a crowded church, when she meant to be front and center and wearing white. Instead, her dress and veil were black like the preacher’s vestments. The sound of gunshots haunted her waking dreams. Purrsia had cuddled in her lap all morning, kneading, rubbing her whiskers sympathetically against her longtime master. White furs intertwined with black fabric such that tears could not wash them away.

    The sun set beneath the stone-strewn hillside, and her heart sank into the ground. Maria had always believed there would be new sunrises, but in this marble garden she had seen her future end.

    • Love this description of the unbreakable bond between the cat and her owner and its power in such tragic circumstances.

  5. TWINKLE, TWINKLE, MR SPIFFY

    Star sparkles on his paws and a rakishly torn left ear, Mr Spiffy – for that had been his name always – gazed back at earth.

    Stowed away on an intergalactic schooner, each day at 10.33 internal spiffy-time, he would press his front paws against a portal window and flash the receding earth.

    Back on earth, the feline world wondered at Spiffy in the sky, while the human population conjured old prophecies and lies.

    When he could see his home planet no more, he flashed at his appointed time out of contrariness. Sadness overcame him, he yowled to the darkness.

    “What have we here?” Mr Spiffy turned and glared; the human had found him.

    The human’s mission was a long and solo one, destination unclear. Hurtling through the cosmos, he began to unravel. Lamented his past, cried for his children, he settled into telling old tales, over and over to his captive audience of one.

    As the twinkle star crossed the path of the Zeeper, an alignment was made, casting a spell borne of the deepest wishes of both parties; the silent and the dravelling.

    “Curioser and curioser,” Mr Spiffy’s voice rang out, deep and rich. He had had it with the human’s tales, his dreams had been haunted by giant white rabbits and spiteful old clocks.

    “You can talk!”

    “Indeed I can. Off with your head.”

    As they journeyed through the out there beyond, they became fast friends, talking of dreams and daemons, of longings and friends.

    If you can guess spiffy-time, perhaps you might see, Mr Spiffy twinkling.

    260 words
    Character: an odd cat
    Theme: nonsense
    @feclarkart

  6. The River Beneath The Clouds
    @lizhedgecock
    Character: a curious girl
    Setting: Victorian England
    251 words

    Alice was dreaming. He could tell by the way her eyelids twitched, but he couldn’t tell what sort of dream it was. A puff of wind caught the basket and rocked Alice into a deeper sleep.

    At breakfast, Alice started as the teacup touched her lips. ‘Now I remember, Papa! I dreamed I was having a picnic by the river that you told me about.’

    ‘The river beneath the clouds?’

    ‘Yes. The water sparkled, and there were white flowers in the green grass. And there was tea, and bread-and-butter, just like here. And my companions were a cat and a rabbit!’

    He laughed. ‘Was I there too, Alice?’

    ‘No.’ Alice frowned as she tried to pull the dream back from where it floated, just out of reach. ‘I don’t think you were invited.’

    ‘Never mind,’ he smiled, ignoring the sharp pull on his heartstrings.

    ‘Can we descend to the riverbank, Papa?’ Alice tried to look over the side of the basket, but even on tiptoe she couldn’t see.

    He held a finger in the air. ‘The wind is unfavourable today, Alice. Perhaps tomorrow. Besides, it is time for your lesson. Can you repeat the poem we learnt yesterday, about the bee?’

    ‘Yes, Papa.’ Alice began to recite. She could have been speaking nonsense for all he knew. His mind choked its way through the smog that blanketed London, and his heart sank into the stinking, oozing Thames as he wondered how much longer they could float above it all.

  7. The Burial
    (241 words)
    @elaine173marie
    (Death; a curious/untypical girl; man verus society)

    They buried her inside a dull, wooden box that looked like it would never contain her. They took care to ensure she journeyed like an Egyptian queen, every object that signified her spirit going, too. 
    Grief gripped me as I watched the killer stilletos that gave her confidence, and a gentle sway at her hips, make their final exit. The chiffon skirts that barely veiled her secrets were folded away alongside them. The hot, red lipstick that smiled like Marilyn went as well.
    I imagined her on another side somewhere, blowing a red kiss with a heart-shaped mouth. Through that door she was happy, carefree; times were different. That, I think, made me saddest of all.
    Dad told me to be a man about it, spat stringy venom at my tears.
    ‘Men don’t cry!’ He said, straight-faced, straight-backed; his stern, unbendable rules running through his spine.
    Mum made strong tea and trembled as she poured. No one spoke. But silence would always to be our guest, until we buried dad.
    He went in his Sunday best, pocket watch tucked tight, measuring every moment he would miss; no one missing him.
    I found myself in mum and dad’s room, not long after, staring up at her coffin. Mum dusted down the old, wooden box and invited Aliss to the table.
    That night, I left a heart-shaped kiss on mum’s cheek and took care to hang Aliss’ chiffon skirts in my wardrobe.  

  8. @bex_spence
    theme – death, character – curious girl
    260 words

    Chasing dreams

    With his fitted black waistcoat and glimmering pocket watch the rabbit by the coffins could have been mistaken for another mourner. His ears were slightly longer, his nose rather twitchy, but his costume was overall rather fitting.

    As the late morning sun cast through the window, it caught the sequins upon his garments. Light sparkling through the room. Alice sat and watched him. The ceremonies hadn’t yet started and she was feeling restless. She was sure the rabbit winked at her and as he disappeared behind the flower arrangements she quickly followed.

    Tripping on her long black skirt, she hitched the hem and chased him out to the garden.

    ‘Wait, little rabbit wait for me’

    He turned, and ran faster. Into the woods at the far end of the estate. Alice followed him deep into the darkness. Past toadstool and fairy rings, enchanted magic she once would have loved. Days spent dreaming with her sister and mother, days lost in time.

    She stopped. As she had the day she found them.

    Silhouetted her father was before her, wringing the rabbit in his hand. She heard the crack, the fatal crunch. He tossed it flimsily aside, strode toward Alice.

    ‘Chasing dreams again?’

    The rabbit lay discarded in the shadows. Another body in the woods. There was no more dreamland, no more adventures. She turned, ran through the trees.

    He was there, ‘It’s time to grow up Alice’

    She didn’t want to grow up. Not yet.

    She ran, falling as tears welled, they were gone and she was alone. Alone with him.

  9. A Tale of One City

    @making_fiction

    Theme: Death. Setting: Victorian England

    251 words

     

    In the mists, under the soft flickering glow of the Whitechapel street lamps, Jack stalks his victims. He is dressed in finery; gloved hands, top hat and cane. He carries a bag. He is a professional—an off-duty police officer, journalist, or doctor, perhaps.

    In the exhaust fumes, between the amber sodium-pools of the M25 lorry-park, Jac stalks her victims. She is dressed how they like it; costumes, role-playing. She carries a bag. She is a professional—a nurse, an office worker, or something younger, perhaps.

    They come here to ply their trade, to provide a service as old as time. He has come here to terrorise a city.

    She comes to ply her trade, to provide a service as old as time. So they think.

    A tip o’ the hat to the ladies. A nod ‘n’ wink to the passing gentlemen. Life is good. Life is good.

    A skip through the lorry-park, a flash of skin to her client. A nod ‘n’ wink to the other lorry drivers. They smile. They smile.

    He goes unnoticed. For this is the norm on an evening like this.

    She goes unnoticed. For this is the norm on an evening like this.

    The Whitechapel streets smell of waste, detritus and animal dung. Bag opened and task done; Jack disappears into the night.

    The lorry-park smells of coffee, burgers and cigarettes. Bag opened and task done; Jac disappears into the night.

    He taunts the police with letters.

    She taunts the authorities with tweets and memes.

  10. Name: Smudge (aka @dazmb)
    Words: 250
    Elements: Character (ugly, angry, duchess / odd cat)
    Theme: (a trifling) nonsense, (a cat’s) nature

    Title: Dear Diary

    6.24am:
    Duchess appears in the kitchen. Makes an ignorant yowling noise at me and two cups of tea. She vanishes back upstairs.

    6.45am:
    Hairy comes down. Scratches my ear. Sets table for breakfast.

    7.03am:
    Duchess reappears. Hairy and Duchess take it in turns to yell at Vlad to get dressed for school and downstairs.

    7.05am
    There is a certain tension in the air. I’m not a cat for nothing.

    7.14am
    Breakfast descends into a shouting match. Something’s lost and Duchess is not happy. She’s thinks its Hairy’s fault, but judging by the smirk on his face, it’s Vlad’s.

    7.20am
    Honestly, these people are just so angry. I put it down to their general ugliness. It must be hard for them to be happy with faces like that.

    7.25am
    The wholesale rejection of value systems continues. Sigh contentedly at my reflection in the patio doors.

    7.45am
    Grudging kisses are dished out. Hairy goes off to work with a slam of the door.

    7.56am
    Vlad leaves for school with a slam of the door.

    8.05am
    Duchess clears kitchen table, finds whatever she’s lost lying on Vlad’s chair. Says something that makes my whiskers blush, then leaves for work with a slam of the door.

    9.00am
    Pad to the front door. Sniff the air to make sure they’re really gone.

    Then, with an inward smile as big as the Cheshire Cat’s, I take the tiniest of tiny pees on the door mat, before slipping out the cat flap and making mental note to be back in time for tea.

  11. A Solitary Girl

    She rises in the morning, ribbons in her hair and then glides backward through the doorway across the glitter on the floor.
    In the library she bids the books good morning while the chipmunks serve her raspberry jam spoons and elderberry tea.
    And then the day unfolds much like any other.
    She looks for lost buttons in between book pages, inside a butter churn, and under a dog.
    She sits in the garden, painting pastoral scenes on acorns with the wrens and toads who nod agreeably at her work, with only the wrens painting acorns of their own.
    She organizes a game of hide and seek back inside the castle, a time-consuming challenge in searching for the mice and one that leaves the bear sad as he is always found first, no curtain or coat rack enough to conceal his form.
    Gaming concluded she serves a late lunch, bowls of crackling fireworks and plates of diced apples.
    A drowsiness settles over the group and the need for a nap pulls them all into a pile on the floor, nesting in a pile of gowns and cloaks that don’t belong to anyone. A chipmunk sighs, as the bear begins to snore, and a lynx rests its chin on the belly of the dog.
    At twilight lightning bugs appear and rouse the sleeping party. It’s time to dance and bake cinnamon cookies, and sing away another night without ever once wondering how she came to live here.

    @CaseyRoseFrank
    246 words
    Childhood, A Dream World

  12. Character : an odd cat
    Theme : nonsense

    Lancashire Cat Soup

    It was Ally’s first day. Cook stirred the soup with an umbrella.
    ‘If you see any scruples stamp on them but put the mauve moose slippers on first.’
    Cook talked of lassoing concussed coconuts and how the hot dogs liked their bubble baths. Ally was surprised to see her drag a fossilised origami parrot from her nose. All rather puzzling.
    ‘A hobbyhorse of mine, the fairy cakes. Those fairies are a night-stallion to catch.’ She opened the umbrella. ‘Don’t think you can compromise with dragonflies. Dragonflies taste of puddles and pyjama cords so why would you? And pull the wings off first. For decoration at the end, you know.’
    From a basket on the table Ally could hear mewing and scratching. Cook tipped it up and a cat tumbled into the bubbling pan. ‘A Lancashire cat will make your soup extra cheesey.’
    She gave the pan another stir with a violin bow and the cat dissolved away to nothing. Just its beaming grin remained, floating among the strawberries, mushrooms and tiddleywinks.
    ‘Look out for the Bombay ducks quacking at the door. Fairly harmless. Just squeeze past them.’
    Ally wasn’t at all surprised when the Lancashire cat’s grin spoke to her. Quite sensibly, if a little gurgley.
    ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. That’s what I say.’
    Good advice. Within a week, Ally was lollypopping towards cook and handing her a squeeze box, a toothbrush and a modest elbow of brie. She’d do a seven-foot grimace as ecstatically as she could muster then tip another Lancashire cat into the soup.

    @SalnPage
    260 words
    #FlashDog

  13. Wonderland

    “Spare change please?”

    Cheshire huddled in the doorway, mumbling his litany at the passing knees, occasionally looking up for eye contact but finding none. He was fading from visibility, worn thin by the friction of countless gazes sliding roughly across him.

    “Any change please?”

    Three doors down, Dor drowsed beneath her rotten quilt. She’d been sleeping rough since her firm went to zero hours contracts and her landlord went to zero hours rentals. She slept most of the time, retreating to a dream world, and she barely stirred even when the bizzies moved her along.

    “Any spare change lad?”

    Up the other way, Mads muttered a stream of garbled nonsense. He looked comical, wrapped in two overcoats and wearing three bobble hats of various sizes and colours, but the suits gave him a wide berth. He’d been nicked for stealing out of date bread from the bins behind Asda, and he’d never been right since.

    “Spare any change please?”

    Across the road, bathed in the flickering light of a Television shop display, a young girl watched the cars slide by in an endless, circular race that no-one ever won. She was blonde, maybe 12 years old, and she didn’t have to wait long before one of the cars slowed and stopped alongside her. Then she was off down the rabbit hole.

    “Any change love?”

    Cheshire watched the silent TVs. The ticker feed talked about another drop in unemployment, a budget increase for the welfare state, a distant war. On screen, the Prime Minister took tea with the Queen.

    “Any change?”

    @Karl_A_Russell
    260 words
    man v society (or society v man)
    A man on trial for petty theft

  14. Alicia’s Dreams of the Future

    Alicia was asleep. The café on the corner but fifty times bigger and smelling of spinach. She was greeted by a kipper in a herring-bone suit who galloped her towards the mile-long tea table. The host’s face was pancake pallid, her clothes like ill-fitting curtains. She indicated a tiny sugar bowl chair Alicia had no chance of fitting her bottom into.
    ‘Make yourself useful. Pour the tea.’
    Alicia poured tea into pewter thimbles and helped herself from a platter of sad jamless tarts. Her host glanced up.
    ‘I suppose you want to know the future.’
    ‘No. Why? Do you tell fortunes?’
    ‘For a poem, yes.’
    Alicia swallowed the dry tart, downed her thimble of tea and began.

    ‘I poured the tea, I ate the tart,
    sitting like a horse and cart.
    I poured the tart, I ate the tea,
    lying down like a jumping flea.
    I tea’d the tart, I poured the eight,
    leaping up like a dinner plate.
    I tea’d the eight, I tarted the poor,
    emptying the pot then pouring more.’

    ‘Now will you tell my fortune?’
    ‘Certainly. If you stay here long enough your name will be used for a hair accessory for ever more. The Alicia band. For keeping your fringe off your face.’
    Alicia considered this for all of ten seconds. She had big plans: travelling the world, inventing something everyone needed, planting a forest, having two boys and two girls, writing a beautiful book – that silly poem was just the start – and living happily ever after.
    ‘No thanks. Think I’ll wake up now.’

    @SalnPage
    260 words
    #FlashDog

  15. A Summer Walk Along the Shore
    C.Centner
    256 words.
    Character: A curious girl
    Themes: Nature, Death
    No Twitter Handle

    Yoga discipline helped Irene remain calm in her pressure suit. Breathe slowly, with purpose. Relax all unnecessary muscles. Just a few more kilometers to the basecamp and safety.

    She had abandoned the excursion vehicle in the ditch after wasting hours trying to extricate it. She should have struck out for basecamp earlier, leaving ample oxygen for the trek. Now it would be a close call. It’s not as though the vehicle carried any treasures. Irene hadn’t found any exciting geologic samples; nobody ever had. Dead Mars, forever lifeless.

    She didn’t feel her ankle break; only the impossible twist of the joint as her boot slid into an ancient gully. Irene tumbled to the bottom of the hill and knew instantly it would be where she would remain.

    She brushed the umbra dirt from her cracked visor. A new tone, a small hiss, joined the orchestra of automated suit warnings. Oxygen escaping, taking her life with it.

    Painfully she sat upright and realized, to her surprise, that she felt no terror. She’d likely die here but she’d eventually be found, and that gave her strange comfort. At least her family would have closure.

    The alarms and hiss slowly receded into a comforting haze as the oxygen tanks emptied.

    Looking groggily at her twisted ankle she noticed an odd rock. Irene picked it up, brushed it clean, and laughed at the irony. Despite the helmet, she was unable to resist the urge to press the ancient seashell against her ear, and hear the vanished oceans roar.

  16. Fairy Lawyer
    (Iike Fairy Godmother, only better)
    @hollygeely
    254 words
    Elements: character – man on trial for minor theft; theme – nonsense

    “I can’t stay here,” the criminal said. He tugged at already patchy hair. “I gotta water the flowers, man.”

    “We may be able to arrange a plea bargain,” the lawyer said.

    “For what? What am I being charged with?”

    “Stealing her heart,” the lawyer said.

    They grinned like maniacs, pointed at each other, and said, “Aaaaayyyyyy!”

    “But seriously, she’s going to need that back,” the lawyer said. He glanced at his notes. “Says here she’s mostly clockwork now, and that means she’s lost her inability to love.”

    The criminal flipped the table. The lawyer, trapped underneath it, continued to sip his tea.

    “Why do you think I did it?” the criminal said. “I don’t want her to love anyone but me! Just lawyer this already. I’m not staying in jail. I need to be out of here by the full moon.”

    “Werewolf?”

    “Math final.”

    “There are many at your university who would love to see you gone,” the lawyer said.

    “They’re all pigs, anyway.”

    “True, but you shouldn’t have gone to Hog School if that bothered you.”

    “Okay, you have a point, but I’m not worried about that. Can you get me out of here, or not?”

    “You’re in luck,” the lawyer said.

    “Yeah?”

    “There’s clause in your gardener’s agreement that’s going to help you.”

    “A clause?”

    “No, claws.” The lawyer lifted the cage and released the people-eating lion. It devoured its way through the jailhouse while the criminal rode its back to freedom.

    The lawyer stripped naked and ate some cupcakes.

    THE END

  17. Daughter
    @terry_jenn
    240 words
    a curious girl/a dream world

    The girl’s dark ponytail spills over her pink over-filled backpack, slapping softly against it as she skips down the road.

    “Where are you going?” I ask her, matching her stride.

    She looks at me with big, dark brown eyes. My grandmother’s eyes. She knows who I am.

    “I’m running away to California. I want to swim with the dolphins.”

    “Do you know how to swim?” She can’t be more than five.

    She shrugs. “I’ll learn.”

    “Can I come?”

    She stops walking and turns her little body to face mine. “Do YOU swim?”

    I shrug. “I can learn.” I smile, and she puts her sticky little hand in mine.

    I look down at our feet and am surprised to see sand between our toes, a surging ocean before us. We run to the waves and dive into them, still holding hands. A family of dolphins swims toward us, welcoming us. The baby nuzzles the little girl’s cheek and she laughs. I can hear it, her laughter, floating through the water. It’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. I see a bright light up ahead…

    A car alarm goes off outside, and I’m startled awake. I’m alone in my dark bedroom. I swallow another sleeping pill, hoping it will silence the dull ache in my lower abdomen that has stolen my sleep since the day she left me. I lay back down and pray for pleasant dreams, hoping she’ll come back.

  18. Jack of Nonsense
    by Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)
    http://www.theredfleece.co.uk
    Word Count = 254 Words

    “Are they true? The stories?”
    The blue fire curls and straightens in the dark. Jack almost cuddles the flame to keep warm. He is sure the trees are moving in closer too.
    “What stories?” The words float down from the bright red tree, nearest to Jack, long and deliberate, like a cat toying with a mouse. “This land has many stories.”
    “The one about her? The girl who brought nonsense back?”
    “Oh her.” The cat gives an impossibly large smile. Around him the flowers lean in to listen. “Yesssss, of course they are true like ravens and writing desks. But nonsense has always been here. Not even the Queen of Hearts could stop that. She had no more control over logic as I do over…well…” His voice trails off into the blue tinged darkness.
    “Over what?” Jack swots away a rocking house fly.
    “What indeed? The war was about jam tarts and rose paint, not the nonsense you mean.” The smile grows larger.
    “Jam Tarts? But the Queen of Hearts was capricious. Off with their head and all that.” Jack runs his finger along his throat.
    “All leaders say that. I lost mine,” The cat’s head rolls onto his paws. He plucks off his ear and holds it out into the night. “You’ll be losing yours’ soon I hear.”
    In the near distance comes the thump, thump, thump of a marching army. Jack grabs his spade headed spear. It’ll be useless against the army of Chessmen approaching. The Cheshire Cat disappears into a wink.

    Story Elements
    * Character (choose at least one): capricious ruler; an odd cat;
    * Theme (choose one): nonsense, justice, nature, death

  19. Not All Who Wonder Are Lost

    She remembered falling in a hole. Shelves flew by. At the bottom of the hole, a hall. Doors. Tables. Rabbits.
    Duchesses. Pepper. Mad Hatters. Dormice. Teacups.
    A caterpillar smoking a hookah.
    A white rabbit with a pocket watch, strangely like her grandfather’s.
    The doctors were baffled. The police were mystified. When Alice emerged from the woods, there was joy. After two months, her parents had given up hope. Bad things happened to little girls of twelve. Very bad things.
    But here was Alice, looking well and babbling about playing croquet with a flamingo. About babies turned into screaming pigs.
    “PTSD,” said the doctors.
    “Someone had her on drugs,” said the police.
    “Can you describe this Mad Hatter?” asked Inspector Green.
    “He wore a hat. With a price tag on it. And of course, he was utterly mad,” said Alice.
    “How about March Hare? Big fellow ? About how old?”
    “It’s so hard to tell the age of hares. They grow fast, you know. He might have been a year old, or five years old. Do you know how long hares live?”
    “I do not,” said Inspector Green, bewildered.
    “Neither do I. I think the Caterpillar was old. For a caterpillar. He seemed very wise.”
    “Ah. An older gentleman? What did he look like?”
    “Fat, green. A bilious shade of lime. I can’t imagine what sort of butterfly he will become. Because you know, he will have to. Become something with wings eventually,” Alice said dreamily.
    “Wings?”
    “Because that is what caterpillars do, Inspector. Really, you ask the oddest questions.”

    259 words
    Nonsense
    man v logic
    dreamworld

  20. Character: a curious girl; an odd cat
    Theme: childhood
    256 trips to the mews
    @billmelaterplea

    Griselda Schmear, where are you?

    “Griselda Schmear, where are you, you scatterbrained little tart?”

    My throat rankles at the fierce burble of uncharacteristic anger meowing out of me.

    Why does she place me in this position?

    I NEED WHAT I NEED WHEN I NEED IT!

    She is well aware of that.

    “G R I S E L D A!” I give it another go.

    What a waste of my time,” I muse.

    I claw at her favourite wicker chair, scratch the springy thready fur of it.

    She has the hearing of…awk… ugh…that hairy little lhaso apso who trails after her these days…like
    a ridiculous kitten.

    How I despise myself when I think positive doggy thoughts?

    “G R I S E L D A,” I repeat.

    I could shout and warble ‘til the skies parted and Grisy would pay me no heed.

    I know she can hear me.

    She’s likely run off into the apple orchard with that sweaty runt, flinging herself into the tall grass
    hugging that crapso anthill.

    Tail puffing like a wasp sting.

    Am I so transparent?

    My tell, let me tell you. Which is of no use, of course.

    “G R I S E L D A!”
    I am not one to repeat myself.

    Too often.

    Ah, bollocks, I’m off my game.

    She cares not a whit about me, my hay fever….I snort and sneeze…

    Playing. That’s all she ever thinks of.

    Her brain will puppy-wither but try and tell her that.

    “G R I S E L D A!”

    What’s a sweet-natured old puss to do?

  21. Panacea
    255 words
    Theme: justice, nonsense
    Conflict: Man vs logic (cognitive dissonance), man vs man
    @rowdy_phantom

    The liquid in the vial catches the light just so, and you swear its an otherworldly glow. The power reaches out to you. Inevitably, you reach back. I slip it back in its velvet pouch.

    You glance over my merry expression and see a shadowy scowl. My shea-butter hands appear as clutches of gnarled twigs. My reluctance is an obstacle to your desires—an obstacle that must be overcome.

    I name a price far above its worth. I hope it will sway you because I have an inkling as to what you really need. True to your nature, you slap crisp cash on my counter.

    Later, after imbibing the potion, you rage when your true love—Natasha, is it? The gal who doodles palm trees on memo pads—doesn’t swoon over you. Then, you remember the admonition I gave in my sweetest honeyed voice (only you heard it in a threatening rasp):

    “It’ll give what you need, not what you want.”

    You believe those things are the same. You need Natasha, and you go about proving it. Never mind that she’s married with a pair of puppy-eyed children. Never mind that she can reveal certain corporate secrets—and, because of the stalking, does so.

    In prison, you curse me, the hag in her dungeon. But time stitches years into your skin and humility into your brain. One day, strolling the grounds, the difference between want and need dawns upon you with an otherworldly light.

    It’s the first good laugh you’ve had in decades.

  22. The Tenth Circle

    (OR

    01010100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01010100 01100101 01101110 01110100 01101000 00100000 01000011 01101001 01110010 01100011 01101100 01100101)

    Elements: conflict (man v logic), theme (logic, death)

    248 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    “You surely see the logic of your situation?” said the demon.

    Jacob watched the ones and zeroes streaming endlessly across the screen. “Yeeees.”

    “Well then you must know we can’t let you through this particular gate.”

    “I still don’t …,” said Jacob. He looked around. This wasn’t quite what he’d expected.

    “Look,” said the demon patiently. “This ticket says ‘Admit one AND guest.”

    “So?”

    “This is an OR gate. Your ticket allows you entry via an AND gate only.”

    “Where do I find this AND gate then?” asked Jacob.

    “Over there,” said the guard. “But they won’t let you through.”

    “Why not?”

    “No, not NOT, AND, NOT is back the other way. You need AND but there’s only one of you.”

    “I couldn’t bring my plus one,” said Jacob. “I didn’t use enough poison. Doesn’t matter though, does it?”

    “Of course it matters. You made a deal. You can’t be both a one AND a zero. You’ve got to be one OR the other.”

    “Well I satisfy that argument,” said Jacob. “So I can go through this gate.”

    “No. If you couldn’t find a plus one that means you’re a zero. So you’re not one OR the other any more.”

    “So I could go through a NOT gate because I am zero AND NOT one?”

    “You could but your ticket says AND,” said the demon.

    “We could spend an eternity arguing about this,” said Jacob angrily.

    “And that’s exactly what you’ve got,” grinned the demon. “Hell, isn’t it?”

  23. HOW TO SAY GOODBYE (WHEN NOTHING FEELS REAL ANYMORE)

    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    258 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    theme: death
    setting: dreamworld

    * * *

    “Max! Where are you?”

    A laugh. A whisper. A draft.

    “I’m right here.”

    “Christ! Max, please, don’t sneak up like that.”

    A heart beating fast. So surprised.

    “You shouldn’t have followed me, Laura. Not here.”

    “I had to, you know I did. You need to come home. It’s not safe here anymore.”

    A rumble in the distance. Shadows shift.

    “Safe. Laura, this is the safest place I can be.”

    “No, it’s not. Dr Verum says you’re dying. You’re stretching your mind too much and it’s killing you.”

    “Ridiculous. I’m far from dying, my dear Laura. In fact, I’ve never felt so alive. Tell our good friend, Dr Verum, that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’m not going back. This is where I belong now.”

    Mountains crumble into the sea. Forests grow where once was desert.

    “Max, please.”

    “Laura, you need to let go. You need to forgive yourself for what happened.”

    “But-”

    “Leave me here. I’ve no place in the real world anymore. It’s all pain, and loss, and misery. I’ll never be anything worthwhile.

    A castle builds, brick by brick. Clouds part. Two suns rise from slumber.

    “It’s not real.”

    “I know that. But I don’t want real anymore. Real hurts too much.”

    “I can’t leave you here.”

    Tears. Love?

    “You must. I’m a prisoner up there and I’ll never be normal. But in here, I can be strong I can be fast, and I can live out all my dreams.”

    A touch. A kiss.

    “Go home Laura. Please. You know where to find me.”

  24. Heavy is the Head
    A violent ruler (character) in Victorian England (setting)
    253 words
    personalvapes@gmail.com

    The teeth…destroyed me.

    For starters – there are way too many of them peeking from behind thin, lined lips.

    For two – they’re an odd shade of citrine stained pink. I’d imagine a heavy smoker’s/red wine imbiber’s teeth would look like these in the twilight of their lives – ivories tarnished with a lifetime of tannins and tars. At least, I hope the source is so mundane.

    For three – they…gleam. The illumination isn’t apparent until eyes start to wander toward the other features, but once the pointed chin, powdered curls, or intricate brocading and lacework of the newest bodice become slightly more interesting – an errant sunbeam bursts from nowhere; creating a shimmer which draws the eyes like a lodestone. Even in the midst of a completely closed room, the curtains drawn against any natural intrusion of light – this brilliance appears to instantly captivate awareness.

    Lastly, and most disturbing…they are no longer human teeth. Long, sharp and pointed – they are the incisors of a predatory beast.

    My handmaidens assure me my teeth are perfect – small and white and square. The courtiers stare at my mouth when they believe I’m not looking – yet say naught over what they are fixated on.
    Nobody understands why I’ve shattered the mirrors – why I’ve dented all the metal, and why the curtains are always drawn tight.

    And everyone grows more terrified as my temperament increasingly matches the predatory snarl twisted on my face.

    How does that saying go? “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown?”
    It isn’t the head…it’s the teeth.

  25. Catfish
    ————

    Alice was a very sad Catfish. She swirled through the labyrinth of her lake and emerged at the waters surface poking her nose and whiskers toward the sky; she could see kittens playing on a bright green lawn that spilled toward her home.

    Alice wanted to be a cat.

    At night she would stare up at stars that would bleed through her water with a dreamy intensity that penetrated down to her bed and pray to be a feline.

    Every morning she moved as aerodynamic as a wish through a flowing blue till she reached the edge. She looked around and was caught off guard as a net was brought down. “Look mom! I got one!”

    Alice was brought to a mysterious place. But she was very happy because now they would see she was one of them. She was placed in a large tank. The cats stuck their paws in and tried to eat her. Didn’t they know she was a cat, also? She started to cry. Her tears like sheep in snow got lost in the desolate rectangle of water. Everyday she was fed fish food that scattered on top in a brown mess like a shipwreck.

    “Heather, that catfish is too big for the tank!” She checked her figure in the glass. Was she too big? Then she was thrown back in the lake and she quickly swam home.

    Her adventure taught her one thing; it was better to be a small Catfish in a big lake than to be a big cat in a lonely tank.

    (260 Words)
    An odd cat-fish/catfish vs. cat

  26. 255 words
    @betsystreeter
    Themes: Dream World, Death

    THE SOLITARY PURSUIT OF NOTHINGNESS

    What do I lose when I lose myself? Nothing.

    The leaden key weighs down both of my hands. I hoist upward with all my strength, turn and twist and the world – my world, your world – clicks open. I leave the tiny bottle behind for next time.

    I was once too afraid to come here. I recoiled from eyes embedded in ugly faces, and teeth jutting out of jaws and masses of skin and hair way too close. Closing in.

    Now I am all glee and anticipation, skipping. Here is a hand in a striped glove beckoning me forward, fingers curled upward in a grin.

    Here is my mother’s skull, but why? She is still using it. Maybe I borrowed it for the occasion. A decoration on the inside.

    I press my own skull downward into the pillow, diving to the deepest darkness. To smudge out all with the thickest blackest ink, pull closed the velvety curtain. Release. I always lie on my side.

    What shall we do today? I push through thick wet ugly thought strands, now branches of trees and then only air. Here is where I know I will finally find you.

    Will we run in circles, hands clasped, until we fall? Will I tell you a story about my dog, how he came at Christmas, how he stuck his nose through the hole in the fence and frightened the girl on the other side?

    Let us stay here forever, and pull in our arms and legs and never touch anything ever again.

  27. “Wanderland”
    Character Institutionalized Disabled Person/Disabled Body – Able Mind WC 259

    I can’t help it; I am a wanderer. I tend to roam.

    Tic-tic-tic-tic.

    Exploring roads I’ve never walked, I run free. Following dirt roads chasing after dusty crowds to the one who calls me, I answer wordless.

    Tic-tic-tic-tic

    He invites me to follow him. Walking through tumoil silenced by his peace, we leave the crowd amazed by their fullness from the meal he provides. Stepping in his footsteps, I find his words of truth. I share these words.

    Tic-tic-tic-tic.

    Following in faith, I do not know where I roam. Coming to a stream, I feel the cool water as it washes around my legs. Not even slippery rocks can trip me.

    He delights in the mothers and children gathered there. His love smiles at me and a blind man asks me to come see the light as I dance with crippled legs.

    My guide speaks, “Roam the world – have courage – know the truth and voice it.”

    Tic-tic-tic-tic.

    My chair’s belt keeps me from sliding into His arms, completely, wheels locked, voice paralyzed.

    An old clock mounted on yellowed walls beacons white-round above a traffic jam of wheelchairs. Neighbors lined up. Some are rebels kicked juxtaposed to normality. Some never move. Everyone is traveling, minds wandering.

    The clock sets the steady beat of life against the white noise of a television; a life that exist in wandering.

    Tic-tic-tic-tic.

    The orderly looks irritable. Maybe, it’s his bowels.

    I sing my song of wandering into my lover’s ear. I tend to roam in life’s time, tic-tic-tic-tic.

  28. Grandma in La-la-land

    “I’ve popped over to see Grandma and I think she’s having one of her episodes again.”
    “What makes you say that?”
    “She’s in the garden with her head jammed in a rabbit hole, shouting about being late for a date. Considering Grandpa’s been dead for five years I’m not exactly sure who she’s going out with, but apparently he lives underground.”

    “Oh dear, that doesn’t sound good. Has she asked about the cat yet?”
    “Cat? I haven’t seen a cat.”
    “Apparently it’s invisible. If she mentions it just tell her it ran away. She made us all search for hours to try and find the darn thing. It got so bad I almost borrowed Mr. Whiskers from next door just to make her stop.”

    “Ok, got it, don’t mention cats. Anything else I should know?”
    “Yeah, hide the hat stand. Last time we popped by she’d dragged it into the kitchen and was having a tea party with it. It was completely mad.”

    “Have you ever tried snapping her out of it? I could get out the playing cards, that always cheers her up.”
    “Trust me, don’t do that. We tried that before and she absolutely lost it when I played the Queen of hearts. She started running around, threatening to chop off our heads!”

    “Erm, I’m going to have to call you back.”
    “Why? What’s happened now?”
    “She’s cramming handfuls of wild mushrooms in her mouth and wobbling around on her knees pretending she’s tiny!”

    “Might be time to put her in a home…”
    “You think!”

    257 words
    @todayschapter
    Themes: Man vs logic, nonsense

  29. Greeting At The Gates Of Horn and Ivory

    Penny’s eyes open and she rubs the grit at the corners of her eyes, surveying the darkness; the pitch of the cave opposite. A rhythmic sawing snores from within.

    “Our little lady,” a voice interjects behind and Penny whirls, quickly.

    “Frightful,” she says, quiet, seeing the three men, together.

    “Close enough,” the man responds, extending an extraordinarily long arm. “We welcome you, our guest, once more.”

    “Choose,” the black-winged one says, his serpentine coils a pressure at her ankles.

    “Lose,” the craggy faced man says, raising his crusted eyebrow.

    “All the same to us,” the first adds, lips twitching. “We can play again tomorrow, when you’re willing?”

    “I’d rather go home,” Penny says. “If you’re willing?”

    “Clever kitten,” he replies.

    “Still – no,” the second continues.

    “You know the rules,” the third adds.

    Penny looks beyond them, where the water streams, to the shadowed gates, shaded white.

    “Will you see what is?” the final man asks, his light eyes piercing the dark edges nudging towards them. “Quickly!”

    Penny looks at both gates, focusing, seeing clear horn and ivory.

    “Little lady learns,” Phobetor says.

    Penny nods, lips tight. “I guess.”

    “Not good enough. Nearly,” Phobetor responds. “Try again.”

    “Why do we wake sleeping?” Phantasos asks.

    “Whilst you walk wakeful dreaming?” Morpheus questions.

    “Do you have your answer now?”

    Penny nods again, mouth screwed shut, glancing at the two doorways.

    “Did we ever tell you anything you didn’t already know, in reality?” they chorus, shaking their heads.
    Penny walks slowly towards the transparent horn and into a truth constructed of carefully considered lies.

    @FallIntoFiction

    260 words

    Man v logic
    A dream world

  30. @AvLaidlaw
    258 Words
    Character – A violent, capricious ruler
    Theme – Nature / Death

    A Modern Ozymandias

    The Great Leader watches all his children with stone eyes and loves them with a stone heart. His statue stands on every street. His portrait hangs in every home. It’s always been so. There was never a time before the Great Leader.

    In the sleet of a March morning, we hear rumours, fragments of whispers, the muttering of a tramp so wretched on vodka that even the police don’t bother him, that the Great Leader is dead. I do not listen. I am pure. The police will not find the shadow of treason in my thoughts. They will not knock on my door in the cold of the winter’s night.

    “Dead.” The tramp shouts. People hurry past him, reciting the party slogans like an invocation to ward off evil. A young man, a student with a bundle of state-approved textbooks, crosses the street to flee the madman.

    “Dead!” The two policemen at the corner of Central Street glance at each other, scarcely meeting each other’s gaze. This is intolerable. Something must be done. Their jackboots wade through the slush. They hesitate before the doorway where the tramp shelters. He stinks of booze and rotting teeth. His matted beard has fleas.

    “Dead.” The tramp points a quivering bony finger towards the statue of the Great Leader. A pigeon has landed on the Great Leader’s head and now fans its tail. A second pigeon swoops down and the two strut around each other. In a flurry of feathers and cooing, more pigeons land until the statue is covered.

    Someone laughs.

  31. “Only Death”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Theme (death); Setting (a dream world)
    Word count: 253
    She knows only death.

    Once, there was sunlight.
    And rubbed noses.
    And pink cottony blankets.
    And caresses.
    And a little orange turtle that raced round her head, chasing the music.
    And tickles.
    And giggles.
    And a sweet smell of roses and milk.
    And a full belly.
    And warmth.

    But now, only darkness.
    And a tattered shroud of gray.
    And a thrumming roar of unsympathetic wind caterwauling a dissonant threnody.
    And a belly always empty, though not yearning for food.
    And coldness.

    And yet, there is love. Somehow, love swims around her, through her. Love she can feel. Love she can taste. Love that hurts.

    Because it hurts them.

    On this, the tenth anniversary of her death, she sees her parents standing before her verdant grave. She laughs at the irony of the inscription.

    “Baby Sophia.”

    I’m not a baby anymore.

    And yet she still is. And always will be, to them. Frozen in infancy, frozen in time.

    She wishes she could reach out. Reach out and touch them. Comfort them. Do the things that they, no doubt, must have done before her breath was snatched away as she lay in her crib one sunny afternoon.

    She longs to tell them everything will be fine. And that one day, they all will be together. Words she always assumed they’d want to hear.

    It’s only death. It’s not bad. You’ll see. Some day.

    But every time she whispers them in her mother’s ear, it only brings a new flood of tears.

    To both their eyes.

  32. “A Monotribe”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Character (an odd cat); Setting (a dream world)
    Word count: 257

    “A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

    Shall we split the difference, then?

    “Fine.”

    Therefore, it is 2 1/2.

    “No. 2:30.”

    No. 2 1/2.

    “But half an hour is 30 minutes. Ergo and quod erat demonstrandum, 2:30. Check, and mate.”

    But what if minutes are not our measure?

    “What other measure would we use? We are speaking of time.”

    Of course we are.

    Cheshire teeth grinned. Alex sighed. He knew that a conversation with this one often devolved, flailing toward an incomprehensible jabberwocky.

    “Go on.”

    Benjamin Franklin said time is money. Our currency system, as are most in the known universe, is base 100. Half of 100 is 50. So it very well may be 2:50. Or consider that times flies when you’re having fun. The inverse implication would be that it crawls when you’re not. So is time a bird, or a baby? Or a baby bird? Regardless, I would hate to divide either of those in half. Time is an arrow, flying on the straight and narrow, and it chills me to the marrow to see it wound a sparrow. Or, time is a thief, who steals my briefs, and –

    “I think you’ve said enough.”

    “Speaking of enough, that’s all we have time for today, Alex,” said Dr. Lewis. “I’m glad to see we’re down to two. That’s real progress. I look forward to the day only one of you is lying on my couch.”

  33. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

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

    The first time it happened, I was 8. I was tucked in bed reading my favorite book when my tongue swelled up to the size of a cow’s, like the giant tongues I had seen in the glass display case at the neighborhood deli. At the same time, the far wall of my bedroom began to recede, becoming a tiny white rectangle floating somewhere in the distance. I was intrigued, I remember, but not afraid.

    I had Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. People with Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AWS) perceive parts of their body to be changing size, small or large.

    The syndrome’s name is commonly attributed to English psychiatrist John Todd, who in 1955 described his adult patients’ illusions of corporal and objective distortions in a paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. 

    Now, I was driving to my job late at night. I felt myself grow, reaching beyond my car. I became larger and larger till my head was in the heavens and my heart was bigger than a stop sign beating years of pauses. I saw how small we all were with my head in space. I felt the peace of being one with the stars. Time stopped, started, took a left turn and then a right. Was frozen. Couldn’t find my home through clouds. Could see all the bleeding wars and violence coagulating all at once into a long bandage of unfettered eternity.

    Then I arrived. As I woke. My boss standing over me with a big hat.

    “Your break is over!”

    I felt two inches tall.

    (260 words)
    Man vs. disease/a dream world

  34. Tea Time

    It’s almost noon. Why has no one brought me tea? Don’t they know that I always have tea at noon?

    “You there! In the white coat! Bring me tea! I demand that you bring me tea! And change your uniform immediately, I demand that you wear the waistcoat, hat and tie that you were issued.”

    Such an intolerable situation to be in. This is my table, and I can sit here without an invitation. It’s the others who need to be invited. If I could, I would have them all put to death. I know the queen. She’s do it in a heartbeat. She isn’t as kind and forgiving as I am.

    “Guardsman! Convene the court and be quick about it! This is an outrage! Do you see this pocket watch in my lap? The last owner thought he could escape me! Yes, thought he was a little creature that could scurry and hide! But he no longer has his watch or his head! Now convene the court and bring me tea!”

    Such a strange world. Gone are the lush meadows and deep forests. There are no mushrooms anywhere. They used to grow so big. Where are the gardens? Where is the sea? There is no wonder to this horrid land.

    “You there, you can help me. Yes, you can. You have the look of a bloodhound about you. I bet you can find your way to anywhere. Get me home and I shall reward with a place at court. ”

    It’s well past noon. Where is my tea?

    258 words
    Themes: angry duchess/dream world

  35. Man v Society / Death

    WC 255

    @carolrosalind

    Only Trying to Help!

    The sound of a siren is growing louder by the second as it gains ground behind me. My pace increases and when a police car draws level, I gulp down a mouthful of air. This is all I need. I really don’t want to have to explain why I’m dressed like this, but to my relief the police car ignores me and weaves away through the traffic. I change my route and hurry over the bridge. The sooner I get home the better.

    Out of the corner of my eye I notice a man huddled against the stone wall. As I walk towards him he throws one leg over the parapet.
    ‘What are you doing?’ I shout.
    ‘Go away, leave me alone.’

    I move closer, hearing music wafting upwards as a party boat approaches the bridge. It must be the night for fancy-dress because the drunken passengers on deck are all dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland. They look up and notice us.
    ‘Jump – Jump – Jump,’ they chant.
    ‘No, don’t do it!’ I say, edging towards him.
    ‘Who are you?’ He asks, eyeing me suspiciously.

    The music starts to fade as the boat begins to pass beneath us.
    I decide to try and grab him. Unfortunately my actions have the opposite effect and he tumbles over the edge with a look of horror on his face. I glance over into the dark water, looking for a sign of him, catching my reflection, and that’s when I remember I’m dressed as a white rabbit.

  36. 1=0.9999999999999999999999999999

    Paper pressed to my welcoming tongue.

    A pipette administers an exquisite emerald jewel atop.

    A momentary fragment explodes, marzipan and turtle tears.

    Thhhhheeee woooooooorrrlld slllllooooooowwwwws, tiiiimmmmme beeeecooommming frrracccttturrrrree ….

    I’m in a room h3art pounding staccato strobes cutting shadows out of darkn3ss grinding clawing w3 dance to a bass line that oblit3rates all I tast3 doorb3lls on my lips out of the darkn355 thou5and5 of 3y35 5taring drawing clo53r a door op3n5 l1ght 5p1ll1ng out ra1nbow5 5pl1t a5und3r 1nto a r3alm of 4or35t5 and d3ad l3av35 1 5tand h3r3 1n the glad3 a can0py of jad3 4lutt3r1ng 1n a 8r33z3 that d035n’t t0uch my 5kin draw1ng 8r3ath3 3m1tt1ng a 5cr3am that p13rc35 the 5ky

    Evrytin Speeeeedddddss uuuuuuuuppppppp

    mine into deep gazes eye its head turns dragon the ahead door the on hold I cuttlefish a like touch my under flickering scales crimson dragon a becoming tree the barbs and splinters at clawing hands climb light purple playing music high up opens door a pressing teasing inspect fingers tree a in knot a trees dead between off dances and sniggers she vanilla and rust mouth and tongue between it popping head her of out eye last the gouging out reach I blinded other the eye single a wings bejewelled into sculpted face angel’s an crosses butterfly A

    Everything sto ….








    A scarlet dragon statue resplendent in front of me.

    The rest of the tribe already leaving, returning to a realm of fast food and short lives.

    I wait a moment, craving to return.

    Yet my escape is already fading into dust.

    @imageronin
    258 words
    nonsense/dreamworld

  37. @betsystreeter
    255 words
    Themes: Curious Girl, Dream World

    FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT THE BUREAU OF DREAM LEAKAGE

    Ka-Chunk.

    The line shuffles forward. A glass door swings open, there’s a blast of frigid air, the door closes.

    Once inside, coats are peeled off and scarves loosened.

    Somebody screams. Someone else crouches on the floor, whimpering.

    This is the busy season. Something about the holidays brings it out in people.

    Ka-Chunk.

    Marty is third in line. The fellow in front of him keeps swatting around his own face. Just misses Marty’s nose with his elbow.

    “Sorry,” the man says. “Killer bees.”

    Marty smiles and nods and steps back a bit.

    Ka-Chunk. Killer bee man goes in. As the door shuts Marty hears: “Good day sir, how can we help you?”

    The door shuts. Voices.

    A girl tugs at Marty’s coat. “Mine’s a big, terrible dog. Keeps chasing me,” she declares. “Tries to bite me.”

    “Oh, that’s scary,” Marty says. “You’ll want that back in dream-space quickly, I’d guess.”

    “Yeah,” the girl says, glancing around nervously. “What’s yours?”

    “Monster,” Marty says. “With a fear of the dark. Quite a rumpus. Wrecking my house.”

    “Aw, that’s sad,” the girl says. “Suppose you could help it?”

    “Help it?” Marty asks.

    “Yeah, maybe the monster just needs help. You know, to not be afraid.”

    Marty considers this.

    Ka-chunk.

    The door opens. Bee man exits, looking relieved. “Next!”

    But Marty steps out of line. “You know, I think I’ll try it,” he says to the girl. “Thanks.”

    The girl smiles. “Good luck, sir,” she says.

    “You too,” Marty says, smiling back. “And, sweet dreams.”

  38. Story Elements: Character (a curious girl) Theme (nonsense)

    Oysters

    “Have you ever seen oysters?”
    Bianca, the curious girl, laughed at the walrus. “The Underground is full of them, or how did you get onto this platform?”
    “I mean real oysters, the ones with pearls.”
    Bianca giggled. “I’m not supposed to talk to strangers, especially if they’re mad.”
    “I’m not a stranger. I’m a Prince, and I’m certainly not mad.”
    Could it be true, she thought. Have I found my Prince, at last?
    “A witch cast a spell on me, that’s why I look like a walrus, but I told you, I’m a Prince.”
    “What did you do to make her angry?”
    “I ate all the oysters, so she lost all her pearls.”
    “That was nasty of you.”
    “I was hungry. So, do you want to see the pearls?”
    “I’m getting on the next train.”
    “I’m afraid there are no more trains today.”
    Bianca looked around and watched as the platform was swarming with walruses waiting for trains.
    “The trains are on strike. They miss the oysters.”
    Bianca cried so much the station flooded and they floated onto a log boat in Hyde Park.
    “So, do you want to see my pearl oysters or not?”
    Curious Bianca nodded, and he tied her up with strings of pearls until she looked like a pearl mummy.
    “There you are, Snow White. Got you! I’ll take you back to your wicked stepmother with all her pearls, and she’ll remove my spell.”
    “You’re supposed to save me, you stupid Prince!”
    “You’re as mad as a hatter if you think I’m a Prince.”

    @LucciaGray
    Word Count: 258

  39. @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Word Count: 260

    White Rabbit (1967)

    the visible spectrum fades to monochrome and the infinitesimal grains in the slender sandglass that chronologically limits my every move cascade as the regimented ranks and files of the chequered board skew and expand to fill the empty plain to vanishing points in all directions defying the logic and proportion of this world writ small but leaving the men in miniature to chase albino rabbits from square to square trying to stay upright and evade a certain one who drains the tequila from its bottle and peers one-eyed down its neck at the hookah-smoking cat and (surrealist) pillow at its base and thus the tight knight (for it is he) is walking backwards and colliding with his opposite number magically melding into a melange of white and black light and shade that the lowly peons studiously ignore and surreptitiously gyre and gimble around not noticing that he lifts his head and rises R-I-S-E-S towards me the ash white skeletal features beneath his raven black top hat looming scarily before my face as he gesticulates with his ivory staff while he instructs me how to make my next move but in a whisper avoiding the minatory attention of the well-read queen who in her role as literary arbiter pores over pages of flash fiction occasionally sighing or cackling dementedly and pausing only when disturbed to command everyone in earshot to remember what the Dormouse said (meaning nothing) and thus eliciting complete silen-

    “She’s gone completely silent…Grace… Grace! Oh, man! Ingesting magic mushrooms after dropping LSD was a really bad move.”

  40. LIFE IN A SMALL PAWN
    WC = 240, Conflict: man v logic, Theme: logic
    DJ Chapman 9-23-15
    Stealth and sidewinding ceased, and there he stood, splendor giving way to the melting of power in check. My strategic, forward march avoiding “en passant,” with the walk of royalty seething in my blood, took me to the C7. The Black King on C8 and my own liege surrounding me, I did not yield.

    The captured queen screeched her own misbegotten rules to squelch the end game. She hurled epithets, cleaving thought and sensibility with her acid remarks. Chained underlings, driven to obey, toppled in feeble attempts to follow their queen and destroy concentration at the checkmate.

    I have reached the eighth level; I out of the original eight have arrived, victorious. No drugs, no potions, no incantations; just the deft carving by my creator: a slip of his knife and my royal self was morphed of habit and height; from crown to cap; from scepter to scabbard and sword.

    I realize my potential as oak strength plants lineage against dastardly usurping opportunity. My game strength surges with my uncle the King at my back. I check mate on the battle field in a formal ceremony.

    The Black relinquishes in the time limit. My cap then grows to princely proportions within the haze of the Game Master’s opiate smoke, billowing about each time he speaks. And he, the Master, quotes himself as the players nod off:

    “’Twas lotten, and the Vanne did hyne when ka pawn brined botley. Ka pawn!”

  41. Title: Judgment Day
    Character: A Man on Trial for Minor Theft
    Theme: Justice
    Word Count: 260
    Website: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/flash-friday-judgment-day/

    “This man,” the defendant cried, pointing at me, “took something priceless from me that I’ll never get back!”

    The sanity in the room is sucked up there’s so many people gasping. Every person in this room is a woman, stunning and glowing with an inner kind of radiance, like the sun behind a cloud. I know all them all. And they all know me to the point where this whole courtroom is just one big jury box.

    And I don’t think I’ll like the jury’s verdict.

    I stand up. “But Your Honour,” I plead to my first ex-wife, She looks ravishing in that white robe, “she gave it to me willingly!”

    The walls are lined with broken clocks. All of their hands point down, like a Roman Caesar sentencing a gladiator. And they chime, pummeling and divine until they hurt my ears. I sit down. The judge never even had to touch Her gavel.

    “I’ll never get the time back that you stole from me,” the defendant says, glaring at me. Does she even have a lawyer? Maybe everybody here is, as well. Do I have a lawyer? Nope, just beautiful faces reflecting light like sheet ghosts from my past.

    “I think you’re overreacting here,” I say. I meant to charismatically laugh but it died in my throat. “We all had fun, right? Better to have loved and lost than never at all?”

    “You’ve never lost an hour,” the judge says, Her hand going for the gavel with Godly grace. “So for all your loving, its time you lost some.”

  42. Absent in Absentia
    242 words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs
    Elements: A man on trial for a minor theft; logic

    Looking out across the courtroom Stanford Travis knew he was about to lose his case. The jury, the spectators, even the court reporters— thought his client was guilty.

    He didn’t blame them. His case would have been a lot stronger if his client had actually bothered to show.

    The JudgeBot for its part sat staring at him… expectantly.

    “I would remind you,” the Bot stated after a minute’s silence. “That should your client fail to appear before this court— he will be tried in absentia, once changed – the charges cannot be changed back.”

    All Travis could do was nod and eye his phone.

    “The court will take a five minute recess,” the Bot announced, before focusing on the hapless lawyer. “I suggest you use that time to find your client— or we will.”

    Five minutes or five hours, wasn’t going to make a difference and Travis knew it. Still he called every number.

    When the JudgeBot rolled back into the courtroom, and saw him sitting alone, it declared that the defendant would be tried in absentia.”

    As the court files were updated, Travis stood and took a small bow.

    “Sir?” The Bot asked.

    Travis stepped forward and whispered something to the Bot, then sat back down.

    “Gentlemen,” the Bot declared with a resigned sigh. “This case is a mistrial. It seems, one can only be tried in absentia if they are… indeed… not here.”

    “Case of State vs Travis is hereby dismissed.”

  43. @firdausp
    (256 words)
    Can you think

    Its rude to stare

    She sat on her bed mouth open eyes wide as saucers Then she began to giggle

    The clock put his hands on his hips
    Its rude to laugh at someone too

    She put her chubby fingers over her mouth still giggling

    If you promise not to scream I might show you something

    You’re funny she continued giggling

    Are we over the giggling bout yet Clock rolled his eyes

    She got up from her bed
    Now show me what you wanted to I wont scream

    Clock rubbed his hands and clapped

    Now watch

    The pink walls of her bedroom slid into the ground The roof opened up exposing a clear blue sky And they were standing in a meadow

    Welcome to wonderland Clock grinned

    She could see grass for miles

    But whats so wonderful about it Its just grass she sounded disappointed

    That is the magic What you think will appear

    Ohhh She exclaimed

    Did you just think of a giant Mcburger because one is walking right up to us

    She giggled

    I see a field of toffee too And is that a birthday parade for you He laughed

    Suddenly Clock became alert

    I hear your mother coming

    All at once she was back in her bed with the clock in her hand

    Her mother came inside

    I see you found your Grandfathers clock She smiled tucking her in

    Goodnight sweetheart She kissed her pink cheeks and left the room

    So are we going to sleep or back to wonderland

    Wonderland she shrieked

    Sort of curious girl wonderland
    a lot of nonsense

    Punctuations did not want to participate in the nonsense Please bear with me

  44. Character: an odd cat
    Theme: childhood

    Sam lay on the rug in front of the hearth, soaking in the heat of the fire and dreaming of what might be in the packages under the tree behind her. Of course she’d get at least a couple presents that were nothing but clothes—socks and underwear and probably a new sweater. Her dad was practical that way.

    She sighed and rolled over to stare at the twinkling tree with its skirt of gifts that spread out under the branches. What she really wanted to know was whether Nannie had bought her the cat figurine. It was so strange and wonderful. Shining ceramic and painted like a circus. It was posed in a leap, its front paws stretching up to catch something unseen. And it’s eyes! Little green jewels. Well, probably glass, but still. They glittered and shone like gems. She chewed her lip. If only she could have that cat for her attic room. It would watch over her as she laid awake in the middle of the night.

    Tears burned in her eyes, smearing the tree into blur of indistinguishable lights and darks. She didn’t blink them away. Why bother? More would just come.

    But in the next moment, a soft padding of furry feet, and a gentle ‘mrow’, made her turn her gaze away from the tree. Skoodic pushed her wet nose into Sam’s hair, sniffing. She meowed again, adding a purr that seemed to make her speech a question.

    “No, I’m not alright,” Sam whispered, “I miss Mommy.”

    Skoodic sat down, purring and winking and Sam laid her head close to the cat’s belly, letting the rumbling purr drive away the ache in her chest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s