Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 49

So glad to see you again! If you’re spending these November days frantically eking out a 50,000 novel, let me say Way to go! and Write all those wordy words! to you. And whether you are or not, thank you so much for taking a few minutes to share a few words here with us. We like words a lot, particularly when they’re lined up in tidy rows telling some clever tale or other — which means there’s no better place for a writer to be on Fridays than here. HELLO! and THANK YOU for coming!

Y’all had me laughing this week with #Pyro; there I was, ready to bag the poor dying thing, but your comments kept squeaking in, slowly, surprisingly, as the weekend unfolded, until we wound up with a rather respectable looking set of critiques!!! Go take a look if you haven’t already: the story’s a great read, and seeing others’ critiques is a blast too, as it’s a rare and fantastic opportunity to get readers’ honest opinions on a story. So, yes, at least for now, we’ll keep going; please stop back by tomorrow for another fine tale and a shot at practicing your lovely critique skills. And thanks.


DC2This year seems to have flown, as time is wont to do, the rascal. Which means, I’m sorry to say, that today is the final round for the powerhouse judging duo of Dragon Team Five, Foy S. Iver and Holly Geely. We’ve loved having you two at the helm! One more turn, dearests. Thank you for everything.          


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

* Today’s required word count:  100 words +/- 1 (99- 101 words, not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (min 99, max 101 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.


Writing is a journey, as is life. In keeping with that, as we also wind down our Year Three novel prompts, today it’s my great privilege to present for your dining/writing pleasure the dark, triumphant, terrifying, heart-pounding, spirit-lifting novel that is preacher John Bunyan‘s powerful allegory Pilgrim’s ProgressProgress follows the adventures of eager, oft-stumbling but good-hearted Christian as he leaves his doomed native land in a quest to reach the glorious golden shores of the Celestial City. 

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 man, man v self (not gender specific)
Character (choose at least one): a pilgrim; Beelzebub; a man whose mission is to help others; someone who talks too much; someone who loses his/her life for standing up for what is right; a corrupt mayor; someone whose primary purpose in life is avoiding hardship; a cheat
Theme (choose one): salvation; good v evil; the value of true friendship; the dangers of temptation
Setting (choose one): a doomed city; a corrupt and wealthy city; a long road; a palace guarded by lions

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

Young hiker @ Gibson Ranch Regional Park. CC2.0 photo by Ray Bouknight.

Young hiker @ Gibson Ranch Regional Park. CC2.0 photo by Ray Bouknight.


176 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 49

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 101
    Story Elements: Character (pilgrim)/Theme (salvation)

    The Place Between

    The road finds your feet, guiding you through tangling roots, showing you your destination.

    Wooden splinters etch the beams; strains of angelic harmonies thread your ears. You reach for it, but fear stays your fingers. Despair weights your arms; darkness dulls your sight. Doubt tumbles like thunderheads. Is the cross real, or an elusive dream that transports you to the heights of angels before crushing you in wakeful fog?

    When you touch the wood, peace trades places with doubt. In the meadow, trees sigh over your rest. Your soul lifts from your body, the weight of a petal on a breeze.


  2. Lucifer’s Apprentice

    The back door to Hell’s city hall creaked.

    Dead men’s nails, drawn down a chalkboard, splotted the air.

    “I will have you, sinner. I will possess you,” he spewed.

    Beelzebub was in good form that night. I hadn’t seen him as joyous since the day Lucifer took him under his wing.

    “I am the greatest, Beelzebuddy. You, on the other hand, will always be number 2 on the charts. Can you handle that?”

    Of course, Bee, he asked me to call him Bee, was okay with sloppy seconds.

    As he always said, “the devil made me do it.”

    Character :Beelzebub;
    Theme: the value of true friendship
    100 devilish words


  3. Word Count: 101 words
    Story Elements: A corrupt Mayor; Good vs. Evil

    Mission Unaccomplished

    He asks where the Oppositions reside – I hold my trembling lips. If I am not to tell our location, two bullets will be my receipt – one for my head and the other for my heart. You told me you needed a few more days before the attack; you assigned me to keep an eye inside.

    I got caught.

    I flinch when the corrupt Mayor slams his glass on the table. “Tell me…” A gun ticks before blood scatters around my thigh. My tears, howl, pain, and infidelity mingle.


    Soldiers assemble their guns and a thousand footsteps surface.

    Please forgive me.


  4. Words: 101
    Chosen: Character, setting

    The Last Relic

    “The pilgrim’s road is ten thousand steps,” the priest had said and asked for volunteers. One stepped from the crowd.
    “I shall take the relic,” he said. And all knew that he was lost to them. Some sobbed openly.

    The Pilgrim stumbled along and reached the last hill. With him pilgrims from other towns and cities walked, all seeking salvation for their people.
    When he placed the last piece of the relic on the altar, lightning struck and thunder shouted from the sky. The pilgrims smiled even as their life force was drained and they turned to stone.

    Rain had come.


  5. @firdausp
    (100 words)
    ‘A page torn from a pilgrim’s journal’

    Today, my backpack seemed heavier, my shoes were falling apart, and a rough trail lay ahead.
    Hope came along (she has this tendency to disappear sometimes)
    “Something good lies ahead, just follow Faith,” she promised.
    I know when she fibs, but today she looked earnest.
    I followed them, lagging behind, blistered feet hurting from all the walking.
    I didn’t realise, until I was neck deep in the quagmire of despair.
    Hope gave me a hand, but Faith pulled me out without a word (upset I’d strayed).
    “Wow! You could move mountains,” I tried to joke.
    Faith smiled,”Maybe I can.”

    Pilgrim/a long road


  6. Revolving Door
    101 words.
    Story elements – A pilgrim and dangers of temptation

    Miss Clean is leaving the building.
    Her whole life is out there, waiting for her, now that she’s straightened out.
    Sunshine on chrome doors; welcoming her back to the land of the living.
    “Hey, babe,” Mr Cramps sits in the lobby shadows, reading yesterday’s paper. “I missed you.”
    She walks past him. Pretending not to hear, but he’s on his feet before she gets to the door.
    “You missed me too, right?”
    Mr Cramps smells of heady nights. She could stand here all day just looking into those dark eyes.
    “Some,” she says. She’ll allow him that.
    That scent.
    She lingers.


  7. The Long Path
    by Joey To

    The sun hides behind two looming silhouettes of towers and battlements.

    No one told me there’re two cities. Typical. East or West?

    As I ponder, hoofbeats rumble. I shuffle aside… then four ladies stop, their insignia apparent, the last rider seemingly sad.

    “Good evening, pilgrim,” says Temperance.

    I nod. “Your ladyship, which is Salus?”

    “By name, the westerly one,” answers Prudence. “I advise keeping your distance.”

    “What you seek is further west,” adds Fortitude, handing me a waterskin. “Another forty days’ walk.”

    I sigh. “Why?”

    The last rider’s eyes flash. She’s Justice. “These two cities have rejected us. Neither has long.”

    Word Count: 101
    Character: a pilgrim.
    Setting: doomed/corrupt cities, a long road.

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


  8. @bex_spence
    100 words
    Damned city, true friendship

    Walking in the dark

    The darkness was rolling in. Thick and heavy it consumed the town. His small figure fought against the tide of people. Rising and falling in their rush to escape.

    His eyes were searching. Seeking her familiar shape. Blinking through pain, the dust stinging, as black clouds consumed above and below.

    Upon the winds a delicate music carried hope. He knew it was his friend. Getting closer he heard her voice cracking, her effervescent light fading out.

    Reaching the tower he called her name, she smiled as he grasped her hand. Around them the world crumbled. Hand in hand they fell.


    • Becky, your word count exceeds this week’s tight constraints!
      [ And, since we are doing the grammarian thing… “Sweeping his hair back” is a dangling modifier 😀 ]


      • Thanks Geoff. Feeling rather silly.

        Rebekah could ‘sweeping his hair back’ please be removed, making the sentence His eyes were searching. Thanks


  9. Resna
    Words : 101
    Story elements : Beelzebub and man v man (in argument)
    Save the world.
    “I’m a Storyteller!”

    “And that’s another name for a liar.” Beelzebub replied.

    “Depends on how you see it. I’m gonna save the world!”

    “That’s what all humans say.”

    “But I’ve got plans. I’m gonna write the best book! And all the money I earn from it, I’ll donate! Won’t that be enough to save the world from poverty?”

    “Funny, isn’t it? How this amount of money already exists in the world, yet poverty persists?”

    “People can be greedy.”

    “People are who you wish to save. Why save someone you don`t know?”

    “Just… because.” The kid replied with a toothless smile.


  10. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 101
    Theme: the dangers of temptation
    Character: a pilgrim

    A Stranger In This World

    Father was a born-again Christian who believed the Old Testament was literally true. The Fall of Man had afflicted mankind ever since: my mother’s fornication begat her dying in childbirth.

    He bought a remote smallholding in the Highlands, stocked it like a survivalist – a Garden of Eden. He taught me to read and write, using the King James Bible.We lived frugally for many years.

    One night, now using a cane and able to move only slowly, he tripped on the stairs and experienced his own Fall of Man.

    Next day, I buried him, packed a rucksack and began my pilgrimage.


  11. Stone steps for giant feet; each one he hauls himself up. They vanish into swirling cloud, red-lit, tendrils feeling towards him. Passing the great brass lions, not to look lest they see him in return. Cloud-fingers pulling; his quest, holy and pure, the only strength that can force forward progress. Faith protects him against the fire, girded in glory. Finally the great challenge, the face of evil himself. He must look! Eyes burn into his, a voice, nowhere and everywhere: “WHY HAVE YOU COME?” Words are torn from his throat, barely a croak, “To… serve thee, my dread master.”

    Bill Owens
    Word Count: 99
    Conflict: man v self
    Characters: a pilgrim, Beelzebub
    Theme: the dangers of temptation
    Setting: a palace guarded by lions


  12. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 101
    Story Elements: Conflict (man v. man)/Theme (value of true friendship)/Character (Pilgrim)


    Once upon a meandering roadway, while discussing gossiping hearsay,
    Chaucer’s pilgrims stopped to picnic high upon a grassy knoll.
    Thus they chatted long and labored—
    Grasses matted while they savored
    Other friendships so long favored—
    Favored by another soul.

    “I love some more than others,” Pilgrim swore upon his soul.
    Enmity shall play a role.

    Pilgrims screamed in jealous rages, rioting in envious cages.
    As they fought, they tumbled down from high upon the grassy knoll.
    Spitting, scratching, gouging fighting
    Reined supreme along with biting.
    Discord seeds cast the lighting—
    Lighting of a darkened soul.

    Hatred crushed the friendship role.


  13. I wear the herringbone coat you saved to buy. It smells of soap and good advice.  The left boot rubs at my heel on the upward motion, a disagreeable metronome marking my pace.
    A martyr to your feet, I laugh.
    The flowers are awkward in my hand. I am humming Wagner’s march before I recognise it. This time, I have only round, plump tears to accompany me, but
    I search out a crisp, clean handkerchief from your dependable pockets.
    Following your footsteps. Succesor. Making the pilgrimage you no longer can; I tend the grave, and place Mum’s flowers down.

    99 words
    True friendship between husband/ wife and daughter/father


  14. She Walks

    “Do we have a destination?”
    Not yet.
    Right foot bare, left foot bare, step after step, always forward.
    “Why are we still walking?”
    Ashes, concrete, ashes, bone.
    “Do you remember…”
    I try not to.
    Standing still for a moment in order to look behind.
    “It’s beautiful.”
    It is. And isn’t that enough?
    A lush trail of green, new soft tendrils, fluttering blue petals, slowly spreading out from foot print shapes.
    “I suppose.”
    Right, left, green behind, grey ahead.
    “When was the last time we saw another person?”
    It’s hard to remember.
    “Do we have a destination?”
    Not yet.

    99 words
    a pilgrim, salvation


  15. Heartbeat in THX Sound

    He was making progress. Moved slowly. He’d been waiting his whole life, it seemed.

    The madness of it all.

    It was good vs. evil. Each had their disguise. Each had their weapon.

    A sign above glittered with promise and innuendo. Language leaking like soft perfect jewelry. The excitement mounting every day, every hour.

    Some sick, unable to go on. Others, talked of past their stories keeping them going; memories so strong they became prophecy.

    Darkness waited to be entered and elaborated upon. Soft chairs. Dimming lights. Popcorn bouquet of buttoned down sunshine.

    Then birth explosion.

    “In a galaxy far far away…”

    (101 words)
    A long road, Good vs. evil


  16. Title: “The Farmer’s Gift”
    Word Count: 99
    Prompts: a pilgrim/salvation
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith

    Jarro held his breath as he entered the Sacred Temple of Kootu. With quiet reverence, he approached the stone altar.

    “What is your business?” said Norvux the Priest.

    “I have traveled far to bring an offering for the protection of my soul,” said Jarro, dropping a large sack on the altar.

    “What is this?” Norvux grumbled.

    “I’s jus’ a simple farmer, your holiness, but I can bring no better gift.” He opened the sack. It was filled with dirt, topped with a layer of small green spheres. The priest frowned.

    “I bring peas on earth, your honor,” Jarro smiled.


  17. 101 words
    a long road/salvation


    I hit a squirrel on the way to the Buddhist monastery.

    On the long curved driveway lined with beautiful trees. My kid babbled in the back seat.

    And then, bam.

    First thing that popped into my head was, “Impermanence.”

    Then I thought that was funny.

    Then I thought, maybe that’s not funny. Would the monks think it’s funny?

    I realized I had no idea.

    I’m not good at Buddhism. Or religion. When do you be quiet, when do you laugh? I sit in the wrong places.

    But I felt that life’s end. Still do.

    That’s what I got to work with.


  18. Cross the moat

    The stone lions on the bridge across the moat stared forward, mouths slightly open, showing pointed teeth and the shadows beyond.

    Ay felt eyes on his back, shining from the jungle with anticipation and fear. Pass the lions. Reach the palace. The others will follow. There are no other guards. Cross the moat and you reach salvation, for you, your family, your village.

    He stood and began to run. The head of one of the lions began to grind round towards him, dust falling from its flexing muscles. Ay ran and ran and ran. The lion leapt, jaws open.

    99 words
    salvation and lions


  19. The Young King

    “Are we nearly there yet?” The young King’s complaint caused a murmur amongst the men carrying him.

    His senior advisor leaned over, “Your grace, the enemy stronghold is around this corner. It’s guarded by ninjas and a pack of hungry lions.”
    “No big deal, we have plenty of men. I will not rest until my Father is avenged!” He puffed out his tiny chest.

    “Very good sire. Which armour shall I prepare?”
    “Yes, to go into battle. The King always leads the charge.”

    There was a pause before the King declared, “change of plans, turn back, all is forgiven.”

    100 words
    Themes: someone whose primary purpose in life is avoiding hardship; a palace guarded by lions


  20. Madame Mayor,

    “Madame Mayor, your council beckons. You can’t keep them waiting much longer.”

    “Are they still antsy, Ptolemy? Oh, I wish they demonstrated some patience.”

    “Chomping at their various bits and pieces of legislation, your Honor. But mostly…well, Councilor Blowwinkle failed to enter the chamber, I’m afraid. And Councilor Trumpet lost a pinkie to Lucifer.”

    “That is disheartening…both were nimble men. Trumpet still is, I suppose. My administration prides itself on bipartisanship. Which pinkie did Councilor Trumpet lose?”

    “The left hand…tried swatting Lucifer.”

    “Perhaps my plans to guard city hall with Lions was premature?”

    ”The late Councilor Blowwinkle would agree, your Honor.”

    Character: a corrupt mayor;
    Setting : a palace guarded by lions
    101 municipal bylaws-not counting the title


  21. Autobiography
    Margaret Locke (margaretlocke.com or @Margaret_Locke)
    101 words

    Character: Someone whose primary purpose in life is avoiding hardship
    Theme: The dangers of temptation

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

    But what if you don’t wanna take it? What if every inch of you screams out, “Stay still, avoid discomfort?” Avoid change.

    What if temptation surrounds you, luring you into stuffing your face, into adorning the couch, at all hours. What then?

    Inertia is the ultimate pull. Ironic, that, the drive to do nothing. Movement requires energy, energy requires calories, calories equal donuts. Or something.

    I put on the walking shoes anyway. I don’t want to. But I do. One small step for this woman, one giant step for health.


  22. Just a Domestic

    101 words

    Elements: character (Beelzebub), setting (palace guarded by lions)

    Shaggy manes triggered watery eyes and itching skin. At least she hadn’t changed the locks – although he still had to pass the cats. She knew his weakness.

    Beelzebub was furious. Just because he’d forgotten their anniversary. Didn’t she realize how overworked he was, what with the Middle East and everything? And he’d brought flowers.

    Oh, she was clever … but not that clever. He sent in his drones to bombard the lions with eau de catnip. The felines turned and followed unresistingly all the way to Purgatory. The palace was now unguarded.

    Beelzebub opened the door. “Hi honey, I’m home.”



    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    99 words

    Character: Beelzebub
    Setting: A doomed city

    * * *

    I enter the city, the dirty city, and feel misery spill in my wake.

    The vagrants and scum who call this place home watch me with distain as I pass through their dark streets and head towards the heart of the city. I stare back, challenging, daring.

    Soon I find who I’m looking for.

    The security is false, easily swept away before me. These men, these Gods of steel and concrete feel fear for the first time in their pathetic lives. I like fear.

    I enter their court.

    They think they are evil.

    I laugh.

    My name is evil.


  24. Rescue

    Last time was a moat swarming with serpentine terrors. The time before that, sentient briars. Now, there are lions.

    This paladin, resplendent in porphyry, is the kingdom’s darling. Claws tear his charger out from under him. My heart falters.

    Long ago, he would’ve had my favor, but long experience crystallizes into wisdom. Once the hero attains his prize, he goes to Herculean lengths to safeguard it.

    My lioness pads toward me on bloodied paws. Her muzzle smears gore across my gown. We quit the Keep together.

    Once upon a someday, the maiden is not the prize. That someday starts today.

    100 words
    Setting: palace guarded by lions
    Conflict: man v. man


  25. Big Storm Coming
    100 words
    talker / doomed city

    She came to the city by the sparkling waves. On the road were cats and dogs going the other way.

    “Why have you come here?” Guards stood frowning by the gate.

    “Please let me in,” she begged. “I have come to give you a warning. There is a big storm coming. You can read it in the clouds. Even your statues are weeping.”

    “You talk too much,” the guards laughed. “Look at the sky! Go away.”

    The ground began shaking like a boat in the midst of a storm. In the city, the buildings crashed, like ships against the rocks.


  26. What happens in Vegas…

    At a beautiful Las Vegas hotel, there was so much eye candy that his soul would need its wisdom teeth extracted. Gold sparkling everywhere like perfect cavities. Beautiful woman served drinks and moved like snakes between venom.

    He checked into his room.

    A figure appeared.

    “You can have anything you want for your soul.”

    “I want to win!”

    Later that evening, after accumulating fortune, he retired.

    A knock at the door.

    Beelzebub brought in, handcuffed.

    “Is that the man?”

    Beelzebub nodded.

    The man was thrown out of the hotel and stripped of earnings.

    “You shouldn’t have helped the devil win.”


    (101 words)
    Beelzabub/A corrupt and wealthy city


  27. Emily Clayton
    101 words
    elements: character/theme


    You lost ’cause I lied. I stole, and you died. I watched the life trickle, watched your breath slow and your glow fade. You looked at me once with understanding, like you knew this was how it had to end.

    It was the promise that drew me to the flame. The beast I discovered too late.

    I was selfish. I admit it. A true swindler. Just a few faked signatures, a few false rumours, and the land was mine.

    I never thought you’d get in the way of the bullet, the one aimed for my heart that wound up in yours.


  28. A Certain Invitation

    Glancing at the bodies surrounding him, Murray knows he’s in tonight; dead cert.


    Eyelashes flutter, wide pupils illuminated. Murray’s head tilts, mouth twitching. The woman’s hand warms his own, drawing him closer. “Y’ever wait for an invite? Caution’s a virtue.”

    “Overrated,” she smiles. “I’ll take my chances.”

    “You issue your invites.”

    Her dark hair is close, lips parted. “Take it how you will.”

    “I will,” Murray says, leaning in. The woman’s body sags slightly in his arms, before straightening, as Murray, instead, falls.

    “Never got her name,” the woman says. “Guess Murray’ll do ‘til taking another. Talked me into it.”


    (101 words)

    Someone who talks too much
    The dangers of temptation


  29. @AverageAdvocate
    Word Count: 101
    Theme (salvation); Character (a cheat); Setting (a long road)

    Renegade city; a long walk home.
    You foisted your burdens
    On your old man, “the Gnome.”
    Stealing your birthright
    You exchanged it for play
    (You weren’t really sorry
    ‘Til they wrapped you in chains).
    If only you’d noticed,
    They were the kings of the game;
    Swindling just like you,
    Now you were burnt by the flames!
    Forced in a gutter, eating its slop,
    ‘Till you rose from rueful ashes
    Only to crawl to the household sweatshop.
    The journey was heavy
    Like the guilt that you bore.
    But the Gnome’s magic was mercy
    and his sprint towards you founded more than folklore.


  30. The Mountain and the Valley


    Conflict: Man v man and man v self

    Character: a pilgrim

    101 words


    He was once the mountain.

    Formidable and strong.

    Now he is the valley. A sunken depression.

    Through the lens of the crosshairs, through the limb-taking IEDs—he lives a daily war with his enemy and a war with himself.

    Fear and bravery are two brothers he can’t tell apart.

    He is a pilgrim of freedom and his enemy one of faith.

    Home is faraway, but she waits.

    He counts; the shots, the lost friends, the mortar-fire, the days.

    He thumbs the laminated picture in his pocket.

    He once thought she was the beautiful valleys of home.

    But she is the mountain.


  31. written in the wind

    she crawls towards the balled up paper, just out of stubby fingers’ reach; it skip-rolls-skip-rolls on the long path ahead; until, folding into wings, it flies- she rises on wobbly legs; it makes itself arrow sharp now; her limbs strengthen; the pace quickens; outstretched arms long; she chases here and there as it points; at last, at greater height; it slows; she prefers this steady rhythm; there are others on the road a while, crawling,
    stumbling, chasing… ; alone again; she drifts; it drifts; wind-worn; she embraces journey’s end, eyes kissed closed by the touch of paper snow.

    101 words
    Long path (of life)


  32. Hansel and Gretel – the reboot


    Theme: The dangers of temptation

    Setting: A doomed city

    101 words


    No more roads of sweets. No more gingerbread houses.

    No. No. No.

    Hansel carries his tab. Gretel her phone.

    Into the digital city they are called by forces more powerful than dinner, than homework, than craggy witches in a forest of sweets.

    Their parents communicate through semaphore, through screams, through threats and banishments. But they are rebuffed by the temptation of touchscreen. They are old, so old. What do they know? One of them is even over thirty!

    Life exists in pixels, in likes, in numbers of views and thumbs-up, in stars that have turned into hearts. Gotta love those hearts.


  33. True Love

    a long road/ the value of true friendship
    99 words

    “Do you think he followed us?”

    “He didn’t.”

    She touched the side of her face, still blue-black and tender from her husband’s last drunken tirade. I turned the car onto the highway, the road that would lead us to a new life.

    “But he had a tracker in my car. Maybe he put one in yours too. Or in your phone.”

    “He didn’t.” I put my hand on hers. “Trust me. We’re safe.” I quickly moved my hand away so she wouldn’t see the drops of dried blood on my sleeve. I was certain no one is following us.


  34. With a Single Step

    I hesitate before the gate while you stand on the road beyond, beckoning me to follow. Do I have the courage to leave?

    I look back. This violent, poisoned place is my home. I’ll be destroyed in its collapse, but I crave the comfort of its familiarity. Here, I know who I am.

    On the road with you, I see only possibilities: glimmers of hope, glimpses of who I might become, hints of unseen dangers.

    The joy you’ve kindled within me has woken a desire in my heart that won’t be denied. I take your hand and step through the gate.

    101 words
    conflict (man v self)
    Setting (a doomed city)


  35. “Sacrifices”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Conflict (man vs. self); Theme (the value of true friendship)
    Word count: 101

    “You take it, Mike. Save yourself. I’m a goner anyway.”

    Jacob was right. I just hoped my face wouldn’t betray my concurrence.

    At 10, we played war. Fifteen years removed, this was no game. Our enemy treated prisoners like shit. Wounded prisoners worse. He’d last a week if he was lucky. Two if he wasn’t.

    “Hell, I was hurt worse that time you winged me hunting in Harper’s Woods. We’ll make it.”

    Above us, gravel crunched under foot.

    “Take it!”

    “No. I’m not leaving you.”

    I kissed my best friend’s forehead, aimed through the tears, and gave him our last bullet.


  36. “One And One”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Character (Beelzebub); Theme (good v evil AND/OR the dangers of temptation)
    Word count: 100

    “Come on, lucky sevens!”

    Einstein’s opinion notwithstanding, God does play dice. And at the moment, He was losing.


    Satan smiled. Satan always smiled.

    The Creator rolled. The Prince Of Darkness waved his hand, freezing the bones in mid-air.

    “I’ll make you a deal. You’ve already lost love, music, art. And now you’re wagering the animals. I’ll give all that back. In exchange for one thing.”


    “Man, of course.”

    “You’re on!”

    The dice resumed their rendezvous with destiny.

    “Snake eyes. You lose, old friend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to go for a stroll in my Garden.”


  37. @firdausp
    (101 words)
    Charred Apples

    Still clutching the charred apple, I ran. Maybe if I concentrated hard and counted my steps, I’d be able to drown out my mother’s sobs, the sight of my brother’s crimson chest, the overturned wheelchair as my father lay wailing on the floor near his body.
    The revolutionaries said, change would come. The city burned in a display of spectacular fireworks, but not the one we wanted. I looked at the charred apple—freedom came at a heavy price.
    I ran until smoke refused air into my lungs. Then I joined my brother and we ran together, around the ruined city.

    A doomed city/ man vs man


  38. Second Chance
    A.J. Walker

    I have been lucky to have this second chance. I was cruel in a previous life. But I am born again.

    I walk this path, to the Palace of the Blessed Sparrow, to give my thanks to god for my good fortune; saving my soul.

    Each step I take is but a fraction of the journey. And I have blisters on blisters on blisters. Hobbling like an old man, the pain is acid real. But like nothing compared to what I have inflicted: in my previous life.

    On arrival I’m to take a new name. A Christian name. My rebirth complete.


    WC: 101
    a pilgrim; a long road


  39. Harper and the Lions
    WC: 100
    Man v. Self // A Palace Guarded by Lions

    “I am a lion charmer,” Harper repeats to herself, crouched behind the bush with shaking hands. “I have trained for this mission. I alone am small enough.”
    Five lions walk along the gate. At the height of her training, she charmed fifteen of them to do her bidding, but here she falters. There is no safety net and there is no other option; her parents’ lives are on the line.
    With one last breath, Harper’s throat opens and her song begins.
    Five pairs of eyes turn her direction. She moves passed their frozen forms and through the iron bars, victorious.


  40. A Resourceful Son-In-Law

    I had journeyed for days to claim my prize. Many brave warriors had been slain before me.
    The Princess awaited the valiant warrior who would kill the lions and enter her Palace, but I reached her by killing some cats, which I threw at the lions’ feet.
    Inside the Throne Room, her father smiled. “At last, a resourceful son-in-law.”
    ‘Thank you, your majesty. I’m honoured.’
    ‘The ceremony will begin at once.’
    I watched as a very pregnant, deformed woman strode to my side.
    ‘I have no doubt that you are clever enough to save us from bankruptcy, too,’ said the King.

    (99 words)
    Character: a cheat.
    Setting: a palace guarded by lions.


  41. Title = Another
    by Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)
    Word Count = 100
    *Character: a corrupt mayor; someone whose primary purpose in life is avoiding hardship;
    *Setting (choose one): a doomed city;

    The Mayor watched the frak bombs decorate the city from her official residence high on the hill. Fire and flame danced amongst the tower blocks.
    “Beautiful isn’t it?” she addressed Manfred, her man servant, who entered the balcony carrying a fresh tray of tea and cake. He wanted to scream his reply but his family’s safety was more important. He murmured recognition before standing behind her, by the door, as he’d been trained to do. A silent tear stained his face for every flash and bang. Another life, another person, dead. Another piece of silver for the Mayor’s bank account.


  42. Amoeboid Eremite’s Lament
    99 words

    God is Unity
    Nature corrupts with its dyads
    Eschew division.

    Purity is in the waters, they say,
    Yet my long liquid hermitage
    Hasn’t cleansed my thoughts

    They say, too, the urge gets easier to resist,


    The need to populate my loneliness
    Shudders through my cytoplasm.

    The mocking moons in their dual dance
    Ooze across the sky.
    The psalmody of our One daystar cannot mute
    The taunting of wanton satellites.

    Divide, they chide, divide

    Under light and darkness, I strain
    against that which would desecrate
    my singular celibacy.

    Quivering prophase
    –Such lust cleaves our devotion!–
    My mitotic sin.

    man (?) vs. self
    dangers of temptation


  43. A Pair ofTrainers
    A.J. Walker

    ‘How much further, father?’

    ‘Stop. No, don’t stop walking. Stop talking.’

    ‘But my feet hurt and I’m hungry.’

    ‘Listen to yourself. What suffering? It’s all in your head.’

    ‘You say let the road rise to my feet, but it won’t. I’m having to move my legs.’

    ‘Of course, son. But in your head believe it’s the road taking the strain.’

    ‘It’s not! I’ve only short legs, and cheap trainers.’

    ‘Cheap trainers dig again?’

    ‘Well, they are.’

    ‘Right, I’m sure the pilgrimage isn’t ready for you yet. Maybe next year.’

    At the garden gate they turned back. The teapot was still warm.


    WC: 101
    (young) man v self; pilgrims


  44. The Lonesome Road
    Elements: Theme(Salvation), Character (Pilgrim)

    101 words

    Good and Evil walked together last night, down that lonesome winding road. They talked about the weather that spring— as the seasons did unfold.

    The dark and the light were illusions so bright that the shadows danced all around.

    “The truth is a lie,” the first one said, but the other rebuked him and laughed.

    “The lie is a truth that some will believe, but a lie is a lie just the same.”

    And so we walked neath the high walled keep past the citadel of the damned,

    Reports all say only one man passed: the devil,the angel and me.


  45. Pilgrim / Dangers of temptation
    WC 100

    Tweeted Temptation

    They advertised a new range. I dismissed it at first. My diet didn’t allow for it, and it was a bit of a pilgrimage to get there, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. My tastebuds were calling out to try those new flavours.

    Then they started tweeting me, enticing me with offers of free samples, if I could get there today. After a thirty minute walk, a train journey, followed by a bus ride, I finally arrived.

    My mouth watered as I entered the shop and breathed in the aroma of chocolate.
    ‘Help yourself,’ said the assistant.


  46. The Friend
    Anne Shepard

    I wish I could dream a dream, I thought, trudging on. No time to look up. No time for anything but walking. I had almost forgotten my destination.
    The road was desolate, with spare patches of grass failing in what could have been attempts to cheer me.
    I carried a load I hated. Disappointments, challenges, all transformed into ugly stones, all balanced carefully on my back.
    I stumbled. Some of my stones fell. I stooped to get them. Didn’t mean to look up, but as I adjusted my load, I did.
    Beside me was another load-carrier. We walked on together.

    Conflict: Man vs. self
    Setting: A long road


  47. The Fall of the Centre
    100 words
    Character: a pilgrim
    Setting: a long road

    My feet no longer bled; the suppurating wounds had long since become cauterized by the sun-baked road. There had been many of us once upon a time, but as I approached the city of the dead, I was the last still drawing breath. The endless parade of those who fell still rang in my ears, the concussion of corpses falling on clay the song the world sang as I completed my journey.

    And then there was naught left of me but a shell, slouching but not falling. I was but the vessel. The one I carried was the true pilgrim.


  48. THORNS
    DJ Chapman
    WC = 100, 11-13-15, Character: One avoiding hardship, Setting: A long road

    “Beware the alkali flats, Adam.” Ainsworth closed the bois d’arc mat gate behind the traveler. “Burns one like hell; and no amount of repentance to stop it.”

    “Keep to the map; the heathens will dissuade you.” Ainsworth had heard the tales. He believed God lead the way to the Promised Land, through the highlands and the low. He had yet to venture along the path of Glory, to suffer the indignities and pain of pilgrimage.

    Ainsworth trimmed the thicket of bois d’arc, turning the thorns outward, and tossing the hedgeapples beyond the kingly stronghold.

    Adam picked up one: Adam’s apple.


  49. Lonely Pilgrim, Long Road
    101 words, @pmcolt

    Winter. Frozen earth crunches beneath my boots. My breath lingers in front of my face. And the wind is bitter cold.

    Bare branches reach heavenward in prayer to the blanket of clouds that promises a blessing of snow. The faintest strip of grass demarks the roadway from the woods, yet the road leads me on.

    Better days I’ve left behind me. My pack is heavy on my shoulders; my soles are worn to nothing. Perhaps better days will come in the miles ahead.

    Wherever I stop, people ask me where I’m going. The road is here; I’m going to follow it.


  50. Title: Refuge in Audacity
    Theme: Salvation
    Setting: A palace guarded by lions
    Word Count: 101
    Website: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/flash-friday-refuge-in-audacity/

    A great sound in the underground, my father and the dragon fight for the fate of the princess. But I don’t need stinking Prince Charmless to rescue me. The front door’s unlocked and the world’s ahead. Behind me, the swords and fire disappear as I fade into the forest.

    The gravel crunches helloes at me and the trees are gnarled like my favourite grandparent (wish you were still here, grandma). At the end of the path, a crypt I think it’s called, has brave golden lions guarding it.

    It’s not much of a castle, all alone out here, but it’s mine.


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