Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 51

So glad to see you back — thanks for coming! And Happy Thanksgiving to our dear American dragons who, I trust, loaded up on (roasted) pumpkin (roasted) pie, as dragons are wont to do this time of year. 

Today marks the 2nd to last round of Flash! Friday before our final Flashversary. (For those of you who missed last week’s announcement, Flash! Friday will be closing up shop following December 11’s Flashversary contest. Which, by the by, has loads of prizes, like a small mountain of books, Flash! Friday posters and mugs, and WHO KNOWS WHAT MADNESS MAY TAKE ME?!?! Tell your mother, tell your friends, and let’s make these final couple of contests the BIGGEST EVER!)  



  • ONE FINAL #FlashDash, that ridiculous, harried contest where you’ve only got 30 minutes after the prompt posts to write your story! the date has been chosen: it will take place SATURDAY, December 5, at 11:30 am New York time. Mark your calendars, because I won’t be tweeting personalized reminders for this event. Cash prize for the winner! 
  • Reminder: I will leave the Dragon Emporium open through December 31, in case you want to grab a FF mug or any other souvenirs. On January 1 the store will close permanently.


DC2Today it’s our last wild round of flash fiction judged by Dragon Team Seven, Nancy Chenier & IfeOluwa Nihinlola. Only two more chances to win our FF champ e-badge, so you’ll want to be sure to read their judge pages (just click on their names!) to see how to curry favor in the finest of styles. 


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

* Today’s required word count:  150 words +/- 10 (140 – 160 words, not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (min 140, max 160 words, excluding title/byline), 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.


The beginning of Year Three featured a double-edged prompt, and that’s where we’re going today: both a photo and a required story element. To be eligible for today’s contest, your story must include BOTH parts.

(1) Today I’ve chosen character. The below character (not gender specific) MUST play a CENTRAL role in your story. Make it obvious, y’all.



(2) REQUIRED PHOTO PROMPT (your story MUST RELATE to the below photo):

Stockholm cityscape. CC2.0 photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho.

Stockholm cityscape. CC2.0 photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho.


134 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 51

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 160

    Finders Keepers

    For centuries, you’ve flirted with us,
    Spooling just enough story to keep us interested.
    Your history you’ve dished up in artifacts—
    A stone here, a fossil there.

    You, with your deserted streets and your empty squares,
    You, with your glory days that fled before encroaching sea,
    You, with your shaky structures and teeming ruins,
    You, with your thousand blackened windows, staring blindly…

    You hold the secrets of a thousand generations of lore,
    And seekers the world over will travel the distances and cover the spaces
    Until all of earth spreads before them, a giant puzzle,
    Every piece fitted into place,

    And yet, not one of them will see the picture.

    Except me.

    You have eluded all grasps,
    You’ve dodged every map quest,
    You’ve turned compass needles dull and broken every satellite in space,

    But you couldn’t slip through my fingers.

    My lost is found,
    My search is complete.
    You spurned the masses, but you make room for me.

    My Atlantis.


  2. Morning on the Verge

    “How dark can your heart be, mister?” she asks.

    I barely hear her. Or see her, crunched in the doorway, submerged in an old brown sleeping bag, with just her feet, wrapped in a noisy medley of old grey socks, sticking out, her bony covered bits, in my way.

    I don’t mean to stumble over her. I should pay more attention in the morning. I use to. I use to be able walk close to the ground, stay in the shadows, pirouette over the cracks, leave the wounded of Stockholm untouched.

    “I’m sorry,” I say.

    “You’re sorry, you say,” she says.

    “Yes,” I say. “I am.”

    But really, I’m not.

    I keep rushing. I see him just ahead, under the swaying Stomatol sign, looking up, rubbing his festered fingers back and forth over his teeth, brushing the plaque back into the bleeding gums.

    But he’s not there.

    He’s gone again.

    How dark is my memory?

    How dark is my heart?

    160 cracks in the sidewalk


  3. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 158


    If wishes were prayers, I’d climb to heaven on a gossamer strand of them. It’s true that you don’t know what you have until you lose it, and an ephemeral ghost lies in our bed, cold flannel instead of your warmth pressed against my back.

    Every morning, I sit on the bench and search the teeming crowds scrambling past. Sometimes I see your earlobe or the curve of your mouth, the set of your shoulders—one a little lower than the other, the way you shrug them when you laugh, like you don’t have time for the chains of the past.

    Like I did. Do.

    That morning when you said goodbye, I wish you had said it in person. So I could see once more that careless shrug. So I could pretend that you’re out there, living again.

    It’s so hard to be told in a note.

    And so I sit here.
    And watch the crowded sidewalk.
    And wish.


  4. Tick, Tick, Tick

    The clock’s ticking in her ear-piece. She’s running through deserted streets, checking alleyways and staircases, staring at darkened windows for a glimpse of his face. Then she’s running again, pushing down the panic she can’t give in to.
    We sit open-mouthed, perched on sofas, drinks warming and pizzas cooling. Some of us despise ourselves for getting caught up in it, others don’t analyse just watch. Aghast. Gasping. Must-see TV.
    She pauses, catching her breath. The director’s feeding another clue. We remind ourselves she believes it’s real. Temporary memory wipe.
    One hour to find her child before they get nasty. We’ve seen the previous episodes. We know how it can end. We’ve all watched, breath held and hearts thumping, hating it but not being able to tear ourselves away.
    Tick, tick, tick. She has to find him. Before it’s too late.
    Did desperation made her sign up? Life-changing money? She may have debts or be homeless.
    She may just crave fame.

    160 words


  5. February, 1986

    You would think a midnight walk on Sveavägen Street with the love of my life would be a pleasant memory.

    And the movie, Bröderna Mozart. I am sure I enjoyed it. Perhaps not as much as Lizbet, but it had a few laughs, and there aren’t many in my calling.

    I almost said, “Let’s stay home.” I wasn’t really in the mood but agreed to squire my love.

    She was excited. It was so last minute, worry was not in the air.

    Now of course, I have to ask myself, was he always there, Mr. Devil with the 357 Magnum, Mr. Swedish very dirty Harry, maybe, or an import?

    Was he my shadow for days, for weeks on end?

    Where do these cheap, destructive assassins come from?

    What do they achieve, a bullet in my back, my death.

    Lizbet, her warm skin grazed by luck as much as the second bullet?

    I wonder, still, through the long, never ending nights.

    160 suspects


  6. Heart

    The hunter clutched the gory package to his chest as he entered the room. Here, in the bad part of town, you could find every type of brigand at the stained tables. The clientele barely glanced up as he made his way to a table in the corner where an old wizard sat nursing whatever rotgut the barman was selling.
    “You got it?”
    “I did.” The hunter put the package on the table. Blood had soaked through the cloth wrapping.
    The wizard opened it and grinned.
    “Nothing like a princess’ heart to cure the ills of the world.” He handed the man a small packet filled with some kind of powder.
    The hunter took it, thanked him, and strode home without looking back. He prayed that this would work. The heart of one girl with snow white skin, coal black hair and red lips for the life of his own dying daughter with her pale skin and even paler lips.

    Words: 160


  7. The Pickpocket
    Ian Martyn (@IBMartyn)
    156 words

    Another day and another town, the where unimportant. I move with the seasons, drifting south in the winter following the retreating sun. The cold works against me, the crowds are subdued, people are meaner with their time as they scuttle from one place to another. Their natures are more suspicious.

    The warmth brings out the best in people. Bright clothes, easy going smiles, meandering on a whim as they jostle in good natured confusion. Yes, this is my hunting ground. Hands, holding hands, pointing, touching. Pockets unguarded. I am that unremarkable face in the crowd drifting with the human tide, a brushed acquaintance no sooner made than forgotten.

    This is my living, my skill. You’ll spend ridiculous amounts on things you don’t need and yet you begrudge me my cut. You curse me and call me names. Think of me as a conscience, a reminder of all those faces around you that you refuse to see.


  8. He swam fast and deep, chasing his quarry with rigid determination. He detected movement out of the corner of his eye and spun around.
    AH! There he was.
    Quickly he gave chase.
    With one last spurt of energy he ensnared his quarry and speared him.
    Then, with a satisfied grin, he made his way to shore.
    “Now, who let the alligator loose in the river?” He asked through clenched, angry teeth, “seven deaths are on your hands. SEVEN!”
    There was silence from the waiting crowd.
    Then a small boy of about 5 shuffled forward, bottom lip trembling, “I – I thought it was a lizard.” His voice, small and wavering, cut through the still crowd.


  9. The Cuckoo Clock
    Nicolette Stephens (@Rhapsody2312)

    It loomed at the end of a passage in a narrow house; one of many crowding the city. Wheels; clogs; pendulums – fit together in a masterpiece of construction that had stood the test of time.

    It hadn’t sounded for years; the dark house stood silent, empty windows displaying emptier rooms. Only the clock still held its ground; too heavy to be moved, no one to move it anyway.

    A door slammed. Voices echoed through the house, a shriek of childlike delight as they discovered it. Reverent fingers traced the carvings, lingering on the curve of an arm here, the gentle slope of a cheek there.

    “We’ll have to get it repaired, Wilhelm. The mechanism seems to be faulty.”

    He nodded absently, already turning to direct the movers with the furniture. The lifelike expressions on the faces of the miniature wooden people who graced the cuckoo clock made her smile.

    She didn’t notice the pendulum begin to swing. A patient hunter.

    (160 Words)


  10. Anonymous


    159 words


    As a child, she was a ghost, an ethereal shadow, a peripheral shape.

    Now she walks our cracked and frosted pavements. In her skinny jeans, her Converse shoes and her kaleidoscope hair, she is just another form in the shoal, another nomad commuter on her way to work in a tech start-up.

    But she is a hunter. A solider. An anonymous mask of Guido Fawkes.

    She avoids the banks and the coffee shops—those corporate cityscapes of greed are old enemies now—they’ve suffered enough from her fingers and lines of parasitic code.

    Her new targets are in faraway lands, in nearby cities, in the heart of our communities. They grow bold with their weapons of hate and intolerance.

    The solution is not drones and warheads. Dispersed smoke is impossible to kill with bullets and depleted uranium.

    But smoke is powerless against a hurricane. Wind is invisible, but its effects are clear. The whirlwind gathers strength. The whirlwind approaches.



  11. @Nthito
    Title: Huntress
    Word count: 158

    She kicked the door in. Half height. Orange hair. A freckled face scrunched up in disgust.
    “Alright, alright maggots, one of you is going to die. I’m here to do the dirty deed.”
    The cowering men looked up in surprise at the little girl. She swung her crossbow around with alarming dexterity. Her attire was boyish in every way, including the knives at her belt
    “Waaah… we were expectin’…” one of the men began
    “Yer should be expectin’ nothing mister.” She cut in. “You ought to stay on your knees hoping I’m not here for you.”
    The men exchanged looks of confusion. One of them nodded at the girl with a smile. He lifted his head in an attempt to get up when a small brown boot caught the side of his face, breaking his jaw.
    “Well now let’s not be stupid ok? I’m a huntress so you ought to be respecting that!” She grinned at them mischievously.


  12. @firdausp

    ‘The Hunter Games’

    “Two dozen—what?” I shout into the mic.

    The screen on my wrist beeps.

    Stockholm, Sweden
    Weather: 5°C, Wind SW at 23km/h, 81% Humidity
    Local time: Friday, 6:30 PM

    “You heard correct, Hunter Mike,” there’s a chuckle at the other end, “and make a couple of them cranberry.”

    Just yesterday the instructor was yelling, “This is a covert operation. You get caught, you’re on your own! Do you understand!”

    “Yes Sir!” all six of us had chorused

    “Do you see your target?” my earpiece crackles.

    I see the glowing sign of ‘Dunkin Donuts’ across the street.

    “Yes”, I groan.

    “Consider yourself lucky. Hunter Chang got beamed to Chennai, India, for a dozen ‘Masala Dosas'”

    In the next twenty minutes I’m running out with a box of donuts without paying. Two employees close on my heels.

    “Beam me up!” I yell.

    “Something wrong with the software…two minutes”

    “Beam me the f### up now!”

    I hear laughter at the other end.


  13. @studyleaks
    Audrey Gran Weinberg
    Word count: 149
    “Ripped from a Wrinkle in Time”

    Helvete! That moose meat had been rancid. Jägare’s stomach was still churning as he rolled to his side and unstuck himself from the frosty grass. A wave of nausea plagued him as he rubbed a rough hand through his blond beard.

    The pine tree was there, the one he’d leaned his Winchester against, and yes, his knapsack too, but the hills were gone, and the forest. A nagging feeling pushed at the base of his heavy skull.

    The sounds were different too, loud rumbles from above, a giant metal flying bird soared in the sky, long metallic boxes rolled after each other in the distance. And houses, all around and stacked on top of each other looked ready to tumble down.

    A ringing sounded from his deerskin leggings. He reached for the vibrating object. “Ebbe!” he answered, “Djävla, idiot! I told you no shrooms at my bachelor party hunt!”


  14. Dream Catcher

    The almost-forgotten shadow-soul stalks the city’s streets at night. It moves between the flickering yellow lights lit in the streets to keep it away. It lingers in the dark tendrils of midnight, in the creak of floorboards and roofs cooling after a day under a burning sun. It whispers in the scratch of a branch against a window, in the sudden silence after a scream rips through the night.

    In hunts and haunts the dreams of the city dwellers. It craves not their ambition, nor their wealth. It craves the simple dreams of the city-trapped for open fields, mountains, and clean air. It hunts and catches dreams of this place as it was before the buildings and the industry came. It hunts for its own memories and past hidden beneath layers of paving, brick, and snippets of fading greenery. It searches only for itself, hunts only for itself, feeds only itself, remembers only itself, and weeps only for itself.

    Words: 159


  15. @bex_spence
    156 words
    I spy with my little eye…

    He picked up the photo, placed it beneath the microscope. Leaning into the eye piece the metal was cold against his socket. It scraped cruelly against his skin. His fingers caressed the image. Scanning for his target.

    It was easier in colour. Something bright to pick up on, a dash of red or a tone of blue, a spectrum to seek. In black and white it was light and shadows. Only a contrast to work with, ten shades of grey.

    He heightened the magnification, twisting the microscope tight to his eye. Searching through the grainy monochrome streets. There! She was there, at last. He had to move quickly before he lost her again.

    Reaching into the photo, his fingers pruned as the chemicals gnawed at his skin. He pinched his fingers around her, plucked her from the scene. Selecting a jar from the shelf he dropped her into the vacuum, tightened the lid on her screams.


  16. Prey
    He feels the spectre of her on his heels. He swivels right, keeping close to the wall. Hidden. Until wall runs out. He stumbles. Vulnerable, he steals a look behind but sees only a mother and child cross the street.
    His clumsy hand mops up his clammy brow. Movement is better than standing still. The bleak, negative space of nothing is her trap.
    He passes the white, toy-town church, The Priest offering a grotesque oversized hand. But his pores only pray for chemical sanctuary.
    He senses her breath upon his neck. His steps begin to blur, and it’s then her invisble hook digs in.
    She reels.
    He reels.
    The line draws him right back across the tracks he conquered. He flounders on the concrete.
    But she’s there.
    Her metal kiss penetrates his skin, and he melts away, his flesh pouring deep into the pavement cracks.

    150 words


  17. More Than Ink On Paper

    She knows it’s a long shot, and that her memories alone should be enough, but she searches anyway.
    Day after day, after day she hunts through the city.

    “And together they climbed to the top of the world and gazed down at their lives made small,” her papa had read to her. She requested this book again and again, partly because of the words inked in the very first page.
    “For my beloved daughter, Mira. May your imagination always surpass the limits of the world.”

    Her brother had sold it off with all of her parents books after they died. She cried and cursed his stupidity. Every day she thinks, “Today is the day I will find the book. Today I will find Papa’s words.” And she sets out for the next shop with hope in her heart. Hope that some other child isn’t wondering, “Who is this Mira?” and crossing out her father’s heart.

    155 words


  18. Hunter’s Moon
    159 words

    Above the night city, the full moon looks on, abiding. Under the streetlights, the hunters wait, men in gray overcoats, carrying briefcases, passports, secret codes.

    Carol is a hunter, too, stalking in blood-red boots. She walks past the cafes and bars, the bright-lit restaurants, ignoring the passing cars.

    “Looking for something?” One of the gray men says.

    “No thanks,” she brushes past him.

    Carol has a destination, a place on the map in her head. The city has changed since the last moon. The diner on the corner is gone. The bookstore is closed.

    Once there was a dark-haired girl who walked these streets, who danced with friends in the clubs to music that is only echoes, now. That girl is gone from the windows and memories. No one looks at the moon, anymore. The light on their faces is from neon and screens. They do not see her standing on the corner, waiting for the lights to change.


  19. Where is he?
    by Stephen (@The_Red_Fleece
    Word Count = 145

    Her heart booms in her chest. Thirst dominates the rest of her body. All she cares about is where he is. The unknown streets are slick with rainwater. She doesn’t know which are dead-ends or pathways to freedom. Panic as she turns into the same square for the third time. She dashes under the partial built marquee. At the far side, steps and the river beyond. Right now it feels safe. There is always cafes and people down by the city centre rivers these days. Stockholm won’t be any different.
    “Got ya.” A thick arm, the weight of a leg of beef, crushes her body to his. His breath foul on her face, beer and pickled eggs. Every ingredient has its own stench. “You’re mine sweetheart.”
    She smiles, revealing her teeth, long and white. She bits down, drinking his blood, his strength, her thirst, away.


  20. Old friends
    160 words

    Aldruna watched uneasily as the townsfolk eyed the stranger at the bar. The villagers were suspicious of newcomers, but she knew him from the ‘old days’ long before the village elders had set foot on this land.

    She poured herself a shot and stalked over to him, raising her glass to his.

    “Jäger,” she said, loud enough for the others to hear.

    “Alte Freunde,” he answered touching his glass to hers.

    As the men settled down, the stranger relaxed, and looked at her. “I could have handled myself…”

    “Yes, but I doubt my bar would have survived.”

    He smiled and raised his glass. “A truce then, alte Freunde?”

    “It depends,” she answered. “How old a friend are you talking?”

    “The oldest, and dearest, Jägerin.”

    ‘Jägerin’… huntress. It meant he was on the hunt himself.

    “What do you hunt, alte Freunde?”

    “You,” he answered, his smoldering look taking the threat from his words.

    “You have found me. Now what?”

    “We drink.”



    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    144 words

    * * *


    baby crying. not helping.


    what the hell happened? it wasn’t supposed to go down like that.


    stay cool, man. think this through.


    oh god, why did I have to take the damn baby.


    shall I dump it? no, can’t do that. can’t cross that line.


    I could give it to someone, just hand it off. But who to trust?


    this has to be the worst mugging ever.



  22. Title: “The Visitor”
    Word Count: 144
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith

    I’ve been to this city before, many times.
    I’ve walked these streets for years,
    Known the people all their lives.
    Half a million brains pulsing.
    Half a million hearts beating.
    Half a million hopes.
    Half a million dreams.

    But tonight the demographics change:
    Half a million—less one.
    One less brain pulsing.
    One less heart beating.
    Two hopes crushed.
    Two dreams gone.

    I left the mother with her still, silent child.
    Her tears insufficient grief,
    Her warm embrace unable to push back the cold reality in her arms.
    Her cries of pain the cries of them both.
    But there will be morning after the mourning.
    The anguished whys will become cherished whens.
    New life will fill the awkward space.

    And I will be back.
    Later. Tomorrow. Next month. Next year. For a thousand years.
    This is my gift: to give what I cannot own.


  23. Where it Ends
    150 words

    Bren sniffed the snowy air. Coal smoke and petrol fumes were thick in her nostrils, coating them like a dirty blanket. She sniffed, gently at first, then deeply. At the back, beyond the pollution, was another odor, the one she sought.

    It was thick, musky, a fragrance rich like loam soaked with fresh blood. Saliva flooded her mouth, her heart thudded, her knees trembled. The culmination of six months tracking led here, the chocolate box surrounding of a frosty Nordic city where the sunlight had already withdrawn for the winter.
    Bren smiled, and sighed. Today it would be over. Her hunger sated, her desires filled, her hunt over.
    A tram went past, whirling flakes of snow in increasingly desperate vortices, the overhead line hissed and cracked with electricity.

    “Tonight,” Bren thought.

    It always ended tonight, in the dark, where shadows were the dream of daytime which would hold her release.



  24. The Hart is a Lonely Hunter.
    157 words

    She watched as he moved through the shadows of the old town, but it was hard to tell if he was the hunter or the prey.

    She followed him into the club through the side entrance and whispered,“how do you fare?”

    “Fair enough,” he answered. “Hit or miss, really”

    “Ah, but ‘hit or miss’ with you means brawl or flirt… and your drinking lends itself to both.”

    “You wound me,” he said clutching his chest.

    “Better I, than another.”

    “But why wound at all??”

    “Better to be hurt and run away, than to be killed and forced to stay,” she nodded towards the hunting trophies on the wall.

    “’Tis fair to say, that many lose their heads in a hunt,” he said raising his glass.

    “You like to live dangerously,” she sighed.

    “Why would you say that?”

    “Because only you would dare go stag to the annual hunter’s ball.”

    “Call it ‘Stalk home syndrome’,” he replied.

    She watched as he moved through the shadows of the old town, but it was hard to tell if he was the hunter or the prey.

    She followed him into the club through the side entrance and whispered,“how do you fare?”

    “Fair enough,” he answered. “Hit or miss, really”

    “Ah, but ‘hit or miss’ with you means brawl or flirt… and your drinking lends itself to both.”

    “You wound me,” he said clutching his chest.

    “Better I, than another.”

    “But why wound at all??”

    “Better to be hurt and run away, than to be killed and forced to stay,” she nodded towards the hunting trophies on the wall.

    “’Tis fair to say, that many lose their heads in a hunt,” he said raising his glass.

    “You like to live dangerously,” she sighed.

    “Why would you say that?”

    “Because only you would dare go stag to the annual hunter’s ball.”

    “Call it ‘Stalk home syndrome’,” he replied.


  25. “Fear”
    by Michael Seese
    Word count: 159

    I own the night.

    In truth, I own the day as well. But with the sun riding high overhead, you lose me in the hustle and bustle, the grit and grind of your harried and hurried existence.

    Once darkness falls, I seep into your psyche by hissing in your ear two simple words.

    I’m here.

    You then see me in every shadow, my minatory smile more unsettling than a snarling tiger. You laugh at me, only because your quivering lips are too dry to whistle past yet another graveyard.

    When you were a babe, safe and secure in your mother’s arms, you knew me not. But I crept into your consciousness through the creak of floorboard, the wail of the wind, the screech of an owl.

    As you grew older, I found new ways to infuse myself in your very fiber, so that now I inhabit your life.

    I own the night. And in time I will own you.


  26. She-Zephyrus
    by Jaeheon Kim
    Word Count: 155

    The many lines of paint left by the brushstrokes slowly start to resemble houses. The untouched sections of the white canvas decide to become the sky and the smudged portions decide to become the ground.
    Men and only men walk the smudged streets between the black and white buildings. With words as their arrows and their mouths as the bow, the tongues of alcohol-and-cigarette-reeking men pull back the strings and shoot their arrows to any prey they can find.
    All men, except one.
    He had been a hunter for women. He HAD been. When a woman rigid enough to pull her bow, precise enough to aim it at the center of his heart and bold enough to loosen her fingertips colored his streets like the west wind, he knew, he would forever stay her prey.
    An ex-hunter prey, chasing the colored strokes of the canvas forever leaps through the black and the white towards east.


  27. Rethink

    158 words


    Gunmetal clouds glowered over Skadi as she strode through the crowd in the square. Her focus was on the bench in front of the museum.

    “You found me then,” said the tramp raising his one eye to her.

    “I said I would.”

    “It took you a long time.”

    She smiled. “I never lost your scent.”

    “A god’s stink is hard to disguise.”

    “Yet no one here recognises it,” she said. “Even those who act out your deeds.” She pointed to the troupe.

    He shrugged his shoulders. “I am All-Father. I can make them see me whenever I choose.”

    He drew himself up to his full height causing the earth to shake and glaciers to crack in the distance. But nobody cowered at his feet. Instead they muttered about the effects of climate change and went on as before.

    Odin stomped off in a sulk. Skadi knew it was time to rethink strategy, perhaps become a bit more digital.


  28. Who’s On Top, Me Or You?

    She added a new dimension to playing games when, one morning, she sent him an email with a link (https://www.google.be/maps/place/G%C3%B6rv%C3%A4lns+slott/@59.4292254,17.711661,12z/data=!4m12!1m9!2m8!1sHotels!3m6!1sHotels!2zR8O2cnbDpGxuc3bDpGdlbiwgMTc1IDQ2IErDpHJmw6RsbGEsIFN3ZWRlbg!3s0x465fa1bb206cee2f:0xba13a0f65baad92c!4m2!1d17.7818829!2d59.4292443!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0x68af46102b239508?hl=en), a picture of herself on a baldachin and the words “I am all yours”. They’d met only three weeks before, but instantly engaged in that ancient dance of pulling the other one closer only to push him away again. Both acted out the role of firm believers that the chase was more exciting than the catch. Though, as it goes with battered, damaged goods, their projected unavailability masked their longing for a deep connection their pathological behaviour would prevent from ever happening. She tricked him into believing he was the hunter and she was the prey. But he knew all too well, experienced as he was as a player himself. That evening, before boarding his plane to Stockholm, ready for the next round, he opened her email again and studied the picture. His lips curled into a contented grin.

    160 words


  29. Attic Attack
    A.J. Walker






    “Oh! Go on, I’ll bite. What do you want?”

    “What’s that red light?”

    “What? I told you, you’ve had too many Fruit Shoots. You’ve OD’d again.”

    “You’re not going to make me drink milk and eat fruit, are you?”

    Suzette stopped in her tracks when she saw the red laser light rising up her left leg and then stop somewhere around her unmentionables.

    “What the!?”

    At the top of St Antony’s Church Antoine was getting uncharacteristically nervy. There was a young boy and woman in the house. But his target – the mayor – lived alone. Something was amiss.

    He checked his notes: ‘Number 69 Vilnius Strasse’. He looked back to the house; number 69, next door was 68. It must be right.

    Then he saw the next house; 70.


    The 6 had rotated. He was targeting the wrong side of the street.

    Oblivious the mayor snuggled down to his favourite TV – a dubbed ‘Cash in the Attic’.

    WC: 160


  30. Hunting on an Empty Stomach
    A.J. Walker

    There was electricity in the air of the old town, Aaron was sure everyone must feel it – though he knew he was more sensitive than most. He’d heard the chatter. Read the tweets, seen the websites, even heard it on the radio: it must be true.

    The electricity was the final clue. The air knew when they’d come. It was the first to feel them. Before the land. The land was clueless – until the first scorching. The conflagration of buildings. Of livestock. Of human flesh.

    Aaron scanned the skies looking for the obvious; dragons were big. But the sky was empty. Eerily so. The birds missing. Another clue. If you had wings, you’d fly off after all.

    Unless you were a hunter, like Aaron. He’d waited all his life for this moment. A dragon hunter without a dragon.

    Now one was in town. It was his time.

    He winced when his mum shouted supper was ready.

    Dragon slaying would have to wait.



  31. Hunters and Elders

    I am chained in the dungeon. There is no food or water.

    Stockholm used to be clean and safe, the Elders told me. Everyone obeyed the rules. People were free and happy, until the Hunters arrived. They descended one night, when the population was sleeping peacefully.

    I begged them to set me free.

    They told me most of them never woke, and the rest learned they were prisoners, unable to leave their homes during the day, because the sun’s rays were too bright for their human eyes. At night, the Hunters stalked their prey along the dark, unlit streets. They devoured most of the remaining population. The rest hid underground and became the Elders.

    I told the Elders I had walked in the daylight and the Hunters hadn’t hurt me.

    They said I lied. I was a bad example.

    I said I preferred death to captivity.

    ‘Then you must die,’ said the Elders.

    153 words. @LucciaGray


  32. Miasma

    The air smelled of mold, coming to life as a midwinter thaw melted just enough snow to make the walk along the riverbank merely unpleasant. I was at least a half-kilo behind Alys, but she’d lost a lot of blood before I let her go, and she wasn’t moving all that quickly. The others wondered why I’d let my prey out of my sight after I’d put that much work into tracking them down, but it was never about me.

    She was going to die, and soon. Most likely before the next sunrise. Tonight was all about her.

    Would she go to the police? Would she seek out family? Friends? Go to hospital?

    Some did. They died anyway, in an antiseptic room filled with tubes and beeping. I was very good at what I did.

    Most, however, realized that life was pain and death was random.

    A splash, and a scream. I smiled. It was a fine night for murder.

    160 words


  33. Like a Watermelon

    Just like a watermelon—that’s what they say.

    He shifts on his stomach, lining his eye up with the scope. A merchant’s flag flutters in the square below, filled with shop owners and ware peddlers tearing down the skeletons of their booths.

    I line up my breath with his, inhaling as the breeze caresses my nostrils. A woman in a fur-lined floor-length coat steps out of a black car and into the square, flanked by men in suits.

    His target is in sight. He tilts his wrist, checking the time.

    Five. His shoulders drop with his exhale.

    Four. Not a drop of sweat lines his upper lip or forehead.

    Three. The woman hugs the lover she’s here to meet, blissfully unaware.

    Two. His finger presses down, a hair away from death.

    One. I pull the trigger.

    His hands fall away, lips parting in a gasp I can nearly hear across the open air before he drops.


    (@AriaGlazki; 157 words)


  34. The Nice Guy

    I’m perched on the edge of the tub, fancy hotel food churning in my gut, and all I can see is his face when I start shooting.

    It’s never like this. They fight, scream, beg, and I’ve never felt anything for them. It’s just a job.

    But I like him. Hacking his mails, following him around, faking an unverifiable backstory (I’m from Stockholm this time), starting to chat; somehow, it stopped being a job.

    And he’s waiting for me, on a bed bigger than my apartment, and I’m going to destroy him.

    But a girl’s got to eat…

    I burst in, grab a dozen shots, all the evidence his wife needs.

    And he doesn’t scream or fight. He just looks embarrassed, even asks about the job. I should be long gone now, but it’s nice, just talking to him.

    He’s a nice guy.

    “So,” he says. “What do I do now?”

    I check my watch.

    “Well, checkout’s not till 9…?”

    160 words


  35. The Midwinter Hunt

    Alex crunched through the snow, checking the traps. The midwinter moon was full and fat, and the hunting was good.

    The creature in the third trap was still alive, bleating pitifully about a life of adventure on the high seas. Alex snapped it’s neck, then built a cooking fire. He toyed with the creature’s tiny top hat as he turned the spit.

    Down below, in sleeping Stockholme, the bookshelves became a little emptier, the dreams a little duller as the stories died, but it was nothing Alex would miss; he’d never been read to as a child.

    He watched the moon as he ate, his mind free of wonder. The parents were tough but the cub was fat and succulent, juices running into his straggly beard.

    When he was done, he dug out his mobile and dialled with frost-bitten fingers.

    “It’s done. Where next?”

    The voice on the other end sounded pleased.

    “London. An infestation of scavengers on Wimbledon Common.”

    160 words


  36. Hunger’s Lottery

    Archie felt like he had won the lottery. The spot behind the bakery was vacant again. He had lost the spot when a small group of Vestuvian junkies had driven him away a week before. Their city, their planet, their rules. Every other day or so he noticed there was one less of the brutes.

    The best thing about the alley behind the bakery was that the excess heat from the kitchen was vented into the alley. Put a piece of cardboard from the top of a vent to the top of the dumpster and the area in between would stay warm through the worst of the winter nights.

    He set up camp and was fast asleep when the stranger found him. The stranger whose mind had taken up permanent residence in flashbacks of urban warfare on Benezine. The same stranger who had been trained to survive by whatever means necessary. Including consuming his fallen enemies.

    156 words


  37. @fs_iver
    WC: 159

    The Miserable Ones

    I’d failed.

    Not in finding the human. That was easy.
    Exhibits housed longer than 10 years ago didn’t realize we’d all had upgrades. With thermoscan we can pick a Bleeder from a titanium crowd in less than a millisecond.

    We’d bagged Val back in ‘295. Fifteen years on display. Seven on the run. But I’d found him.
    Held a liquefier to his brain, too.

    I hate skin. Have you seen how it changes: dry to wet, red to pale? The Exhibits don’t–they’re sedated–but a Cog? You can’t trust anything that volatile.

    He was underground, right in city center. Son of a Bleeder was posing as a low charge Fix-It Andy. Had a rep for helping the bit-strapped.

    Last I’d seen Val, he’d gotten me, coulda bashed my processor in and he didn’t. One kindness can’t redeem humanity, though. Justice demanded I take him.

    His skin was slimy yet he greeted me like a friend.



  38. The Last Waltz

    The leather chair creaked, the fragrant aroma of cigars, red wine that tasted like nectar.

    Victory was terribly satisfying.

    Below Stockholm glittered like starlight, yet Sebastian’s attention was taken by the return of the man who had been his lifelong nemesis.

    “Sorry about that Sebastian, an important phone call, shall we commence this final dance?”

    Sebastian nodded, sipping wine, savoring the moment. The headlines tomorrow would serenade his achievement, of finally bringing down the criminal mastermind who had tormented a continent.

    “So I take it you’re ready Sebastian?”

    “For …?”

    “Our mutual downfall?”

    “Mutual?” Sebastian sipped his wine. Suddenly sirens rang out, drawing closer, turning nectar into acid.

    “Of course, did you think this prize would submit without a final roll of the dice?”

    You … the sirens?”

    “Me. For surely a man who has killed three others for information, deserves the caress of lady justice?”

    “They were criminals, murderers!”

    “Yet victims, now a toast … to your single-minded dedication!”

    160 words


  39. In his wake

    I know I shouldn’t have, but I took it. Now He’s after me, hidden somewhere in the concrete, stealthy in the prolonged shadows, a constantly changing hidden face amongst the thousands in the overlapping tides of vacant crowds.

    I imagine, or maybe not, vibrant glimpses of Him above me, in the grimly lightless windows of my beloved streets of Stockholm.

    It’s somewhat absurd that I’m running and trying to hide; not even trap streets I’ve learned to see and enter can conceal me from His gargantuan mouths; His species is notorious for completing the penalty swiftly.

    He’s in truth the primal Hunter, a shapeless, shifting, ancient father that odorless and soundless will devour me.

    It was a quick decision I had to make, and I don’t believe I’ll be able to leave a letter explaining why I did what I did. I can only assure myself it’s for the best that the book dies within me when I perish today.

    160 words


  40. Angels Hunt in Darkness
    156 words

    It wafts through the city on gentle breezes like a mote of dust. Riding the air currents over the quiet park, around the silent factory, past sleeping apartment buildings, the Mind Hunter searches. Its infrared scanners seek the characteristic 37°C of human bodies. Nanoscale circuits tune into the confused emotions radiating from their delicate organic brains.

    Adrift on an ocean of loneliness, it is buffeted by waves of despair, rocked by occasional storms of fear. Millions of humans in such proximity, yet so isolated. Each birth miraculous, yet each life a day-to-day grind.

    Then unexpectedly, a ray of hope. Such darkness. Such hopelessness. This human is the likeliest candidate in years. A tachyonic scan reveals infinite potential futures. With mechanical precision, the Mind Hunter aims its microwave transmitter at the human’s brain, then fires a neural blast.

    A dream. An unconscious message of hope. Just enough, perhaps, to nudge this frightened human toward a brighter tomorrow.


  41. Big game

    My prey is close. I stalk the perimeter, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. He will be on his guard, there are many predators out tonight. I have only the weapons that I was born with.

    I spot him hiding amongst his herd. He uses them as a shield, as bait to tempt the less disciplined. I won’t be so easily distracted. I know exactly what I came here for. I won’t accept anything less than the alpha male.

    His eyes wander and I find my moment. I glide across the room, dodging his entourage. Suddenly I am beside him, ready to strike. Our eyes meet and he knows he is doomed. I unleash my most deadly weapon. His jaw drops, “Wow, I love your smile.”

    He’s mine now, held hostage by my beauty. He’ll grow to love captivity in time.

    The dating scene is survival of the fittest here. Why else would they call it Stockholm syndrome?

    159 words


  42. Prompt: Photo Prompt and Character (Hunter)
    Title: Land of the Lost
    Word Count: 160
    Website: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/flash-friday-land-of-the-lost/

    Sometimes they come to us from darkened forests, their eyes wide and deer-like. Others fall down from the burning sky, flailing as if they were trapped in fog. Some are young, some are old. Most go mad when they see our welcoming smiles. The rest are worth all the Kingdom’s gold.

    I see myself as a connoisseur of sorts, a hunter of the forlorn and lost; when they show up in our town, it falls to me to shepherd them. The most spirited and fiercest of fighters are the best catches; my butcher-eyed friends see them as a challenge. After all, the stronger the wall, the more spectacular the fall. And the greater the faith, the stronger the convert.

    It’s ironic that when our Great Enemy finds His precious ‘lost children,’ He won’t like what He finds.

    I should write a letter to the Boss: ‘Curiosity should become the eighth deadly sin.’ He’d get a hellish laugh out of that.


  43. Finding the Moment (160 words)

    Her breath puffed out in small streams through the cold morning air. The moisture clung to her face for a moment, then evaporated and left a chill behind. The Developmental Center was at the top of the hill, three more blocks.

    Dawn was approaching.

    Finding Amos would be easy. She’d tracked him this far.

    Getting him to leave a crew…that would be more difficult.

    Assuming he’s been incorporated. Assuming he’s still alive.

    The others were waiting for her. This time she’d gone in hunt of her brother alone.

    Mac made a lap around the square that housed the DC. Rustling from inside the ground level caught her attention. The crews were rousing, getting up for their morning training exercises.

    She found some shadows at the edge of the yard. They lead to a narrow alley, to the edge of the city. A good escape path.

    This is where she would wait. Until the moment was right. Then she would strike.

    I’ve been absent much of this half of the year, but wanted to participate for the last few weeks. Thanks, RP for all the prompts, the fun and the inspiration. You’re amazing!


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