Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 52

We’re here at last: the very end of Year Three — the last regular Flash! Friday contest ever, and the final contest before our Flashversary finale — and what a year it’s been! Twenty-one novel-inspired prompts. A couple dozen rounds of photo & story element prompts. Loads of Spotlight interviews with writers and writing-related professionals across industries and around the world. I’ve loved every minute of Flash! Friday’s Year Three! Y’all are breathtakingly fab, y’know?

And speaking of fab: congratulations to all of you who participated in NaNoWriMo this year, and particularly to those who completed the wordy challenge. Are any of you still awake? Brains still powered on? Hope you’ve saved a few words for us today. 🙂


Finishing Up Flash! Friday:

  • Tomorrow’s the last-ever Flash Dash: join us Saturday, December 5, at 11:30am Washington, DC time (check the clock here!): you’ll have thirty minutes exactly to read the prompt & post your story! Cash prize for the winner. Yes, this one will get your writerly heart pumping for sure.
  • Want any FF mugs or other souvenirs? The Dragon Emporium will stay open through December 31.
  • Join us next week for our final Flashversary contest! There’ll be a simple, single-round contest, and tons of prizes, from books to posters and all the glitz. We’ll also be drawing for the #RingofFire winner (be sure to check the Wall of Flame to make sure it’s current for you!). 


DC2Today marks a triple farewell in a sense: the final chance to win a Flash! Friday winner’s badge, the conclusion of our second term of Year Three judges, and the final round commanded by Dragon Team Eight, Voima Oy & A.J. Walker. Be sure to read their judge bios one last time (just click on their names) to see how to maximize your chances at that trophy! 


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. 

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.


Stepping back in time! Flash! Friday’s Year Two featured prompts including a photo (as always) and the gorgeous Dragon’s Bidding (designed by the even more gorgeous Susan Warren Utley of Haunted Waters Press), which required the inclusion of a particular element in your story. So in a joyful nod to Year Two, here we go again! You’ll need to include the Dragon’s Bidding AND the photo in your story.

1) DRAGON’S BIDDING (required element to include in your story. Note: think outside of the box…)



2) REQUIRED PHOTO PROMPT (include this photo in some way in your story):

"Her Story Written in Disappearing Ink." CC2.0 photo by Michael Shaheen.

“Her Story Written in Disappearing Ink.” CC2.0 photo by Michael Shaheen.

316 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 52

  1. Burn Bright, Dragon’s Wick

    Donald, a rather drowsy old Dragon, humped his valise down the cracked cobblestone lane, vaguely remembering directions from that long ago time.

    “Will she still be there?” he wondered aloud, albeit quietly, at least, as quietly as a crusty old reprobate dragon can speak.

    “I know damn well she will have taken it on the lamb. Lamb Chops were always her favorite, charred just so…”

    As Donald lumbered along, the lane narrowed into a pinching, blackened, cramped coal chute of a passageway. The memory of it flapped in the air like coal dust, tugging his threadbare senses, shearing off the years, flashing chards, fine daguerreotypes of recall, sweet, honeyed phantasmagorias of Donalda.

    But the delicacy of loves memory is subsumed by decay.

    A twisted up old woman stepped out from the bricked shadows.

    Donald trudged up to her. “Mother, do you know Donalda’s whereabouts?”

    “Breathe on someone else, Dragon. Be gone!”

    Donald crumpled on the asphalt, lost forever in thought.

    160 Dragonian moments


    By Sharon Parkinson

    The talisman lay there in the mud, waiting.

    Stephen picked it up. He got home and cleaned it. Its beauty captured his heart. He thought he heard a voice whisper, “Find me!” but shook it off as his imagination

    He was sitting at the bar enjoying an ice cold draught when he saw her. A voice said in his head, ‘follow her.’ He did.
    He followed her into a small alley and watched as she disappeared into a dark and mysterious door.
    He slipped in.

    He found himself in a very large hall.
    A chuckle came from a corner. “You came, as you were bid.”
    “I had to.” He mumbled.
    “I know.”
    She looked at the talisman and smiled, “I will have it back now.”
    “Wha -?” He started.

    She changed suddenly and Before he could flee he found himself facing a majestic dragon.
    “Wha -?” He repeated.
    “Dinner!” She roared.

    The talisman lay in the mud, waiting…




    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    150 words

    * * *

    Smoke trailed from the dragon’s nostrils. A tear ran down its check.

    “I’m sorry,” said Rebekah. “I wish I could stay, I truly do. But it’s time I went home now.”

    The dragon lowered its head and rolled puppy eyes at her.

    “Please,” said Rebekah, “don’t make this any harder.”

    A whimper.

    Such a majestic and ferocious creature, yet so playful and childlike too. She loved her dragon so much. They were connected, destined to stand side by side and protect the worlds.

    Just not yet.

    She turned to the door, wooden and plain, set in a brick wall that was part of no building, merely sat alone like a sculpture in a field.

    She rested her hand on the golden doorknob.

    Another whimper.

    Now a tear rolled down her check.

    “Go,” she said. “Spread your wings and be free.” She opened the door. “I’ll return one day, I promise.”

    * * *

    (thank you, Rebekah. It’s been an amazing ride. Flash! Friday will be missed)


  4. Legacy

    155 words


    She sleeps now
    Behind wing-walled memories
    Warmed by the heat
    Of the flames she kindled
    In her volcanic nursery
    Her closed eyes do not see
    Them die down, gentle embers
    Turning to ashes that are not bitter
    But instead are scattered
    Across time and space
    To breed new dragons

    Her fledglings in turn
    Will take their fire
    And burn down the battlements
    Breach the closed doors
    Of literati’s elite
    Writing their words
    Emerald framed jewels
    Glittering against the
    Monotonous monochrome
    Of the safe and the known
    Blazing a trail
    For the brothers and sisters
    Of Vulcan

    Let the world know
    We are here, and we are many
    See us clamour for our place
    Demanded by merit
    We do not wear
    The emperor’s clothes
    That sometimes drape
    Themselves across the prizes we seek
    Instead we wear our own skin
    Our honest scales of truth
    Defiant, devoted, determined

    On the threshold
    … see the dragon horde gather


  5. Words: 158

    Tourist Attraction

    There was a public outcry on the day the dragon statue was erected in the city square. But the officials and money had spoken and there was talk of tourism and more money and better lives for everyone.

    Soon everyone looked past the statue, walking in a haze of their own problems. Until it was the anniversary of the last death when someone had scrawled “A beautiful girl lived here” on the cobblestones in front of one of the houses.
    People were sent to clean the graffiti before the tourists could see, but the woman who lived there chased them away.
    “It’s the mother of the last girl,” the secretary told the official. “She was the last one given to the dragon. Perhaps another statue…”
    The official kept writing and did not look up from the ledger.

    At the door of a simple house the woman stared at the white letters she had written there herself, and cried.


  6. @bex_spence
    144 words

    What the mirror sees

    In the long glass mirror a girl dressed in black. Her hazel eyes flecked with gold. She stares at her own reflection. I wonder does she see.

    Zoom in. Go closer. Through those eyes, that open window. Down the optic nerve. Into the brain. A maze of soft tissue to navigate through. There, did you see? Go back. Rewind. A door.

    Set deep within the cortex. A door on its own. Heavy metal shut tight and firm. Reach out for the handle, push and turn. The door slowly gives and light breaks through. A dragon sleeps, scales golden. Stretching she yawns, uncurls her body. Wakes from a slumber, deep and long.

    In the light she glistens, spreads her wings and prepares for flight.

    In the long glass mirror a girl dressed in black, her eyes aflame burning bright. Today she sees. Today she soars.


  7. @Rhapsody2312
    160 Words

    True Magic

    “I came too late.”

    She stood by the door, a book clasped under her arm.
    “What’s that dear?”

    “She was to teach me to write magic.” She held up the book – a journal. “She said she was leaving, but I hoped…”


    “The dragon who lived here.”

    “That door’s been sealed for years, dear. No dragon in there. But tell me more about this magic.”

    She spoke for hours, with the passionate fire of dragon’s breath, eyes shining jewel-bright with enthusiasm. Her words wove a magic of their own, emphasised by the emphatic motion of slender hands. At the end though, her shoulders hunched, her gaze dulled with disappointment.

    “But I came too late to learn enough from her.”

    “Seems you have plenty of your own dragon magic already, child.”

    “Really?” Delight lit her features. “I’ll leave some here! But… it was you who showed me my magic!”

    Words on the pavement gave me enough magic for wings.

    I flew.


  8. (160)

    Always Beware Dragons

    ‘A dragon killed my mum.’ There is no odder thing to stand up and tell your class, but that’s what Mrs Fallon said. We stared at her, thirty mouths wide enough to catch flies.
    She gazed back at us, and when we saw the tear glisten in her eye like a diamond, we realised that she wasn’t joking. She sat down on her desk, legs swinging like a little girl.
    ‘It was when I was ten,’ she stared at us all. Our eyes were like saucers. We got this! We were ten!
    ‘There was a door, all cobwebbed and dusty. Mum walked up to it, and smiled at me, before knocking and going inside. I never saw her again.’ Her voice wobbled.
    We stared at each other, not knowing what to say or do.
    ‘Always beware dragons.’
    As one, we nodded. The room felt hot and dangerous, as if a dragon hid in the craft cupboard.

    Then, the bell rang.


  9. O Dragoness! Our Dragoness!
    Margaret Locke (margaretlocke.com or @Margaret_Locke)
    144 words

    A beautiful girl lived here, reads the chalk outside the door.

    Truer words could not be spoken. She was magnificent, her wings of teal, her eyes of orange, her generosity of spirit beyond color, beyond measure.

    She was no typical dragon, guarding her hoard with an eye for self. No, this dragon gave more than she took, encouraged rather than criticized, lauded each and every fair knight or maiden who came to her lair, giving us wings on which to soar.

    It is this beautiful girl’s turn now, this gorgeous dragon’s chance to fly, to share her own treasure with the world. Watch her as she unfurls her majesty, her gifts, her stories.

    A beautiful girl lived here, and lives here still. The Dragoness, for whom we hold the greatest tenderness, and to whom we owe eternal gratitude.

    We love you, Rebekah. Thank you.



    Dragon Starbright circled the city, perturbed by its miasma of rage. Following the sound of one child weeping he landed on the windowsill of a house. Inside he saw a beautiful child crying.

    “Hello, I’m Starbright,” he whispered.

    “I’m Rebekah,” the child replied, for she still believed in magic and could see the creature at her window.

    “Why the tears?”

    “They are going to bomb and shoot and kill,” she sobbed.

    Starbright snorted, singeing a tiny heart into the wall.

    “Have some chocolate my dear. I bid you take this magic chalk. Make signs to all beautiful and fabulous things – so people can see them again.”

    Rebekah crept out at dawn to begin her mission.

    ‘Beautiful flowers’, ‘Kind shopkeeper’, ‘Pretty ladies’ – on and on she continued, the white writing illuminating that which people no longer saw.

    Then, one day, there was some blue writing, next some red. Soon, a rainbow of words of appreciation everywhere.

    The revolution had begun.

    160 words


  11. The Girl and The Egg

    Once, there was an egg.
    Full of promise.
    But fragile.
    Easily broken.

    And once, there was a girl.
    Another small thing.
    Full of dreams and hopes.

    The girl found the egg.
    -Or it found her-
    And she took it home.
    And closed the door.
    And waited.

    And the egg grew.

    And people heard.
    And came to see.
    And slowly, word spread.

    And the house was too small.
    For the crowds.
    And the girl.
    And the growing egg.

    So she knocked out a wall.
    And a window.
    And the houses on either side.

    And still they came.
    And still the egg grew.

    Until all that remained of the little house was a door.
    And the whole wide world was crammed inside.
    And the egg had finished growing.

    And it hatched.
    And the new thing lifted the girl.
    And beat its wings.

    And away they flew.

    And left us behind.
    With a door.
    An eggshell.
    And the memory of magic.

    160 words

    With love and thanks.


  12. @nzstelter
    An Unfinished Story
    156 words

    The deserted village nestled in a valley, just the place to complete his novel. Beckton was no ordinary bolthole. Tom felt it in his bones: the eerie fog submerging the rental cottage; the urge to lock his car doors.
    He swallowed his unease and ventured out towards a half-lit café, his laptop under his arm. The man behind the counter registered surprise.
    “You shouldn’t have come here. Didn’t you feel the warnings?”
    “Feel the warnings?” said Tom.
    “Well, I could hardly put up a sign. She’s watching.” His features seemed to rearrange themselves as he spoke.
    “Who is?”
    “The beautiful girl, who lived there.” He pointed across the street.
    “Where is she now?” A knot of fear unfurled in Tom’s belly.
    The walls unmasked themselves: peeling paint became glistening scales; dim lighting, a fiery glow. The dragon’s head descended, gnashing teeth and scalding breath, leaving behind only the bones of a barely started novel.


  13. A bedtime story

    ‘There was once a dragon who lived in a wonderful realm. The entrance was just like any other door; an outsider would have walked on by. But the inside was much bigger than the outside, and a riot of azure and flame.

    The dragon sat, as dragons do, on a hoard of treasure. There were bright golden coins – ‘

    ‘Real gold?’

    ‘No, they were chocolate ones, of the tastiest kind. And the villagers brought their own tributes to place at the dragon’s feet. Some were perfect gems; some were diamonds in the rough. But the dragon loved them all.’

    ‘That’s nice. What happened then?’

    ‘One day the dragon called the whole village, and told them she was going away. The villagers were sad; but they knew that the dragon trusted them to manage without her. The dragon flapped her harlequin wings once, twice, three times, and soared into the air.’

    ‘And then?’

    ‘And they all lived happily ever after.’

    158 words


  14. @firdausp
    (160 words)
    (A) Dragon Dreams

    “This is where a girl once lived,” the words warm on my nape. A little too warm for comfort. I dare not look around.

    Tentatively, I push the old wooden door open. It creaks in protest, as if I’m about to unmask a secret.

    “Her story is written in invisible ink on every wall,” I feel myself nudged towards a rickety staircase.

    I pause at a dusty bedroom. The musty smell of memories teases my nostrils. The bed is unmade, sheets tousled in a mass from fitful sleep. Picking up a rusty locket from the pillow, I look into a pair of familiar eyes.

    A warm sigh brushes my neck. Turning around I confront those sad eyes. I run my hand over the lonely scales, watch the twitch of an abandoned ‘tale’. Pressing my lips to a cold, wet snout, I close my eyes.

    Floating in the realm before awakening, I feel the rays of dawn touch my scaley skin.

    It has been a lovely albeit a short journey for me here. Thankyou Rebekah for such a wonderful experience. May all good things come your way. 🙂


  15. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 142

    Offering Stone

    The pathway to Rebekah’s heart is strewn with words.

    Stories litter the pavement; they blow across the rough surface with a passing breeze, moving out of time and thought to feed the Oblivion. New tales appear on the stones each week, the words creased with sweat, blood, and emotion.

    Dragoness inscribes their pages in letters of fire; the stories are gift-wrapped in chocolate. Tomes are written and offered before the inevitable cracks of time crawl, meandering, through the cement, nudging the words aside, decreeing the close of a chapter, the end of a story.

    Until one day, Rebekah closes the door. She turns the key and bids a fond farewell, and the stories blow to other destinations. But before they wing across the dusty square, torn leaves rustling, they catch a glimpse, just one, of shimmering purple scales across a jewel-encrusted ankle.


  16. A beautiful girl lived here


    A beautiful girl lived here.

    Lithe and supple, her willowy curves had been traced by many an eye as she glided along the dark, grimy streets and alleyways of this old town.

    The hearts of men were quickened by furtive glances at the roundness of her bosom, barely contained it seemed ‘neath her corset, bobbing up and down with each step. The eyes of women narrowed and their lips curled not only at the weakness of their menfolk but at their own powerlessness against this force of nature.

    Her eyes glittered as bright as the jewellery her suitors had attempted to ply her with, her hair shone as bright as her smile and whenever she entered the room her laughter filled it and everybody present with light and joy.

    Her blood and entrails gleam brightly now, ‘pon the moonlit cobbles.

    She was worthy.

    Her soul shall nourish the dragon, that it might live anew.


    154 words


  17. The Truth in His Fingertips

    She was just a sad orphaned girl, hiding out in an abandoned house. Trying to keep safe from prying eyes, from journalists and photographers, from people who wanted her to breathe fire to order, to bring them her magic on stage or even on TV. A dark, dark time for dragons.
    He was just the guy from down the road. Chalky, they called him. He could often be found kneeling to write on the pavements. Quotations, announcements and snatches of poetry. Whatever words came into his head. Flashes of brilliance, many said. Spot on, they said. Chalky had the truth in his fingertips.
    He brought her soup, magazines and candles. She trusted and accepted him. She let him, and no one else, in during her last few days.
    So it was Chalky who found her. Poor dragon-girl had faded away behind that battered door.
    And she never knew Chalky thought her beautiful.

    152 words


  18. Table For One

    Sitting in the Golden Dragon, he let a lone memory bust through.

    “I’m going to stuff a dozen spring rolls in my purse. Does that make me a criminal? Can you love a food thief?” Her smile did things to him, made his insides feel like melted mozzarella.

    “How are you going to navigate the cabbage detector on the way out?”

    “Run like a famished cheetah? Let you carry the purse? There are ways, Mark.” Those happy lips. He wanted to get down on bended knee right then and there.

    The waitress stopped by his table, refilled his glass. The place was near-empty, always was on Friday at noon, the time he arrived every week for the last two years. Rebekah was gone now, her heart ran out of song far too soon. He had finally packed up her essence, but he couldn’t let go of everything.

    Mark, crumbling, stabbed a hurt fork into his enormous plate of spring rolls.

    157 words
    Farewell, Rebekah. Your contest made a difference. Never forget that.


  19. One Lovely Lady
    By: Allison K. Garcia, 160 words, @ATheWriter

    Along the lane, not long ago, lived a girl I came to know. Her dragon eyes gleamed brightly, excited to meet the world each day (after her cup of coffee, of course). She started something, something amazing.

    Some say it was the beginning of something great, the entrance into a new world. A world that was interesting, exciting and new each day…or at least every Friday. In her humility, she would tell you she did nothing new, just made a spot for others to join together.

    But, for those of us who participated, we know the truth. It was different. It was unique. Uniting so many from all over the world, to bond in a common interest and support each other every week. That’s not something anyone can do.

    No, there is a reason behind the greatness. Love. Love for the word. Love for others. Love for the One above.

    Yes, a beautiful girl lived here.

    On this very page.


  20. A Penny for Your Thoughts, A Flash in the Pan, Elvis has Left the Building

    “Want to see something amazing?” A wizened woman, a pack upon her back, motioned toward a building.

    I peered at the entrance, and hesitated. The battered seafoam shingles shone and flashed like dragon scales in the wintry afternoon. The weather-beaten brown bricks spoke of ancient times, of a history with which I could never compete.

    I shifted from foot to foot, stalling. “What’s it like in there?”

    The woman’s wrinkled face broke into a beaming smile. “Lovely and lyrical. Witty and wise. Hilarious and heartbreaking.”

    “Sounds intriguing.” Frissons of fear raced through me. “But, no, I cannot. I have nothing to offer.”

    “You needn’t bring anything. Just visit. It’ll serve you well.”

    With a reluctant nod, I stepped across the threshold. Then I tumbled, plunging into a dragoness-devised magical land, one of learning and growing, one of beauty unbeknownst to those remaining beyond the boundaries.

    And, as it turned out, I had something to offer after all.

    Thank you, Rebekah.

    160 words


  21. A Beautiful Girl Lived Here

    The first time he’d come here the house stood alone, with nothing except field and forest for miles. Within its walls, she’d cast the spell so he could live with her, among those like her. But, they didn’t know how long his lifespan would be. Uncounted years later she had pushed him out, twisted, arthritic fingers pointing to the door.

    He thought he would know when she was gone, but he hadn’t. He’d found the obituary in some old, human newspaper, and that brought him here, in the hours before demolition began.

    Alone in the street, he used his flame, dormant for so long, to inscribe his tribute. He imbued it with the magic she’d taught him. No matter what the humans did, it would always shine through. He left and didn’t look back.

    At the end of the street, he dissipated her disguise spell and unfurled wings too long bound. With a roar he leapt into the sky.

    @Unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    159 Words


  22. Monsters – 160 words
    by Mentor

    “We have no word for what they were called,” Tiam said. The tutor stretched her blue-green neck to view her four adolescent charges.

    The two female dragonlings, Orma and Louhak, watched her with piercing gazes, but the two males, Smua and Afni, were surreptitiously poking each other with their wings.

    Tiam sighed, a small puff of fire and smoke escaping her nostrils. This was such a difficult age, between egg and dragonhood. “It was only by sheer luck that this building, with a fragment of their writing, survived. So far, we haven’t been able to decipher it.”

    “Why not?” Orma asked.

    “We have no reference,” Tiam replied, using one of her own sinuous wings to poke Smua and Afni. “No way to translate.”

    “What happened to them?” Afni asked, his attention finally back on the subject.

    “From what little we know, we think they killed each other.”

    The four young dragons gasped. “They killed their own kind?” Louhak murmured. “Monsters!”


  23. Thanks Stan

    Noon, somewhere on the outskirts of L.A.

    “Say, aren’t you…?”

    “Naw, it’s not me.”

    “I coulda sworn…”

    “Well, yeah, you got me.”

    “You’ve been outta circulation a long time.”

    “Yeah, well, it was a long sentence…”

    “How much did you get?”

    “Fifty to Three Hundred Years. Served Sixty. Been out a couple of years, now. Surprized anybody would recognize me.”

    “Well, Not that many Dragons locally. Remind me again, what charge were you convicted for?”

    “The biggie was devouring maidens out of season. They threw the book at me. I would have dodged it but they turned off my fire. That effectively neutered me.”

    “Bet it’s hard to get up on that horse again…”

    “You’re telling me. Worse part though… the conditions of parole. I can’t go within a hundred yards of a maiden. Really cramps what style I got left.”

    “So why L.A.?”

    “I was also convicted of overacting. I’m looking for an agent.”

    “Good luck with that.”


    160 Frebergian Homages


      • Credit has to go to the great Stan Freberg for the “convicted of overacting.” In the early 50’s, he and his cohorts wrote St George and the Dragonet, a take-off on Jack Webb’s Dragnet. I am sorely lacking in Dragon Lore but this bit came to mind and I gave it a 21st century context…sort of.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Through Lettered Lands

    There’s a world of words, they told me.
    Mythic in size and proportion.
    The magic admits those
    who write a sentence on entering,
    leaving chocolate drops behind
    to mark their route through lettered lands.

    Some territories are unknown, they told me.
    You must map them yourself,
    with other explorers.
    They seek you out, supportive,
    once you know where to find them.
    They run together in packs.

    Take care, little wanderer, they told me –
    once hunted, few care to return from
    the beauty of script scribbled in spaces,
    blank, ‘til creation begins.

    It expands on arrival, they told me,
    so few know how large it’s become,
    save for those who’ve travelled since beginning
    their journey some long-score prompts passed.

    It inhabits hearts and minds, they tell me –
    take it wherever you go,
    it’s end starting whole new beginnings,
    cartographic creators’ creations,
    living inside ever after, full grown.

    Explorers seek it, perpetual.

    All write on entering –
    Here be dragons.

    (160 words)



  25. @betsystreeter
    155 words


    A man stood alone in the town square, thin and disheveled.

    “Story? It’s a good one today,” he offered, holding out torn paper bits to anyone passing.


    But no one took a paper.

    Until one day, a scaly hand emerged from thick robes. The man shuffled his feet and waited, breathless, for the verdict.

    “More,” the figure said, and retreated with a puff of smoke and a trailing tail.

    So the man wrote until he had no more paper. Then he wrote in chalk on the streets. He wrote of childhood, and townspeople long gone.

    One day the robed figure said, “Now you see.”

    “See what? The people still walk by,” the man said. “They’ve no use for me.”

    “They perceive you with their souls,” the dragon said. “Your stories are breath. Life. Death. You spin straw to gold.”

    “More importantly, you see you.”

    The man smiled, a story taking shape in his head.


    For Rebekah, of course



    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    158 words

    * * *

    This morning I was shopping with friends. Six hours later, I’m stood in front of a door, on a quiet street, wanting to open it.

    “Yes, my pretty-pretty,” said the short, repulsive hobo beside me. “Open it. Go on. Yes, yes.”

    His urgency almost put me off, but something on the other side was calling me, pulling me close. I couldn’t walk away.

    I placed my hand on the doorknob and felt a warmth spread up my arm, softly radiating throughout my whole body.

    “Open the door,” said the hobo, “and see what’s yours.”

    I opened it, not knowing what to expect. An empty warehouse perhaps, or just a brick wall?

    What I saw instead was a whole other world. It was something from my dreams.

    A dragon approached, its light growl drumming against my chest.

    “I told you,” said the hobo to the dragon. “Pretty-pretty is found now.”

    He was right. I was found.

    I was home.


  27. A Beautiful Girl Lived Here

    A beautiful girl lived here. That’s what the sign read on the sidewalk before the boarded-up door. That’s the epitaph they’d written for me without any knowledge of who I truly was. They’d seen my sensual, dainty façade, a disguise I wore for them. They’d enjoyed my sweetness, assuming it came from innocence rather than experience and longevity.

    I enjoyed my time living within their town. The people seemed balanced and content. But when the new residents arrived, bringing fear, avarice, and suspicion with them, my neighbors shifted away from balance and contentment. They took on the fear: fear of not having enough.

    When they turned on me, seeking to use me for their own gains, I showed them my true self, and burned my way free. They swore the woman had been eaten by the dragon, a demon they feared. All they remembered was a beautiful girl once lived here, not a dragon who hid in plain sight.

    159 words (not including title)


  28. Belief

    She believed. For how could she not, when she saw their warm gaze reflected in the city’s amber sunsets? When she sensed their soulful wails on a wind borne from the beat of their wings? When she could hear the chorus of their heartbeats in the boom of the city’s thunder?
    She believed. For she knew in a fold of Time just beyond, in a seam of Space just above, they shared a part of our story.
    Her knowing made her lips spin words of gold; her fingers stitch fine yarn; her spirit shine out across a dark, lonely world.
    And when the Dragons came to know about the girl with many tales, for but one moment, they tumbled from the world of nearly there, and with the velvet brush of wing they wrote their truth on the skies we share with them:
    ‘Beauty lives in Her.’

    146 words


  29. @betsystreeter
    155 word


    Everybody had their theory on the door. It was a time portal. Or a tomb. Or graffiti.

    No one knew who painted it there.

    A young man scribbled an idea in chalk on the cobblestones: A BEAUTIFUL GIRL LIVED HERE

    The next day a lady added: AND SHE LOVED TO PLAY THE PIANO

    Someone lettered, ONE DAY A VISITOR CAME

    And someone else put down, THE VISITOR WAS A MIGHTY DRAGON

    And on and on. The story wound through the streets, blanketing the town in words. Visitors wandered backwards, reading and reading.

    Great battles, journeys to the ends of the Earth, dragon’s-breath aboard space ships, giant storms, quests for gold and crystal and magical spells.

    The door became worn, overgrown with ivy. Paint chips fell. But the story journeyed on and on.

    The words wrapped around and around the town and finally back to the beginning, as the last bit of paint fell away


  30. #TimelessBeauty
    152 words

    She hadn’t been photographed in over 50 years. She was inconsequential now; just a frail woman with thinning gray hair, her face a mask of sagging skin and wrinkles. A far cry from the alluring girl in those Cola ads from the 1950’s, wearing the famous red and white polka-dot swimsuit that now hung in the Smithsonian. She still had fans. Young girls with short bangs and pin curls, wearing bright red lips and A-line dresses. She would rather they remember her as she was.

    “Ms. Lee?”

    ‘How did you recognize me?”

    The woman smiled and pointed to her neck. She was wearing her necklace with the one-of-a-kind dragon charm, a gift from a long ago suitor.

    “Could I take a picture with you?”

    She smiled and nodded her agreement. After a quick snap, she watched as the woman uploaded the photo to one of those silly social networking sites. The caption – #TimelessBeauty.


  31. Betsy, once again you’ve managed to take something simple and mold it into something epic. That third to last paragraph is Flash! Friday in a nutshell.

    Rebekah’s love for people and stories has brought so many of us to this place where we can lay our stories down and be proud.


  32. Empty Garden

    Pink rubber spheres are unpredictable. Sometimes they’d flatten out and get poked for a double. Sometimes they’d kick wildly into the courtyard. Ma didn’t care unless the Spaldeen hit her window, but Old Lady Templeton always called the super. Calls to the super meant the belt from Pops.
    Billy called her Dragon Lady. Said her eyes were red as hydrants. But he’d never seen her, anymore than I had.

    We shouldnta been playing anymore, but we were eleven, and eleven is the age of shouldnta. Billy was at the bat, and the ball went crazy. At the breaking of the glass I thought to run, but that’d just make it worse.

    I saw inside as they were carrying her out, just a peek through a closing door. But I saw the mantle, and the picture. Old Lady Templeton at the bat, smile a mile wide.

    Turning, I yelled at Billy and kicked the broken glass that had been her window.

    160 words


  33. Words: 159

    Arad’s Dragon

    Arad was five when he was rescued from a sinking ship by the dragon, Draka, who accompanied the tall ships to keep them safe from sea monsters. Draka took him back to the port city and watched as a family adopted the orphan boy.

    Draka watched as Arad grew into a young man who sailed out to the islands and kept him safe from the sea monsters on every journey.

    Draka watched as Arad married and had children of his own.

    Draka watched as Arad grew old and sailed his ship, Drakeklou, for the last time.

    Draka watched as Arad died in his home behind a locked door.

    Draka watched as Arad’s body was taken to the stone tomb and felt the pain of death.

    Draka sat beside the tomb until she, too, turned to stone.

    Draka watched over the tomb even after her scales were weathered away, their names were forgotten, and only stories of their friendship remained.


  34. Definition

    She wove brand new worlds with words. Words linked, stacked, and stitched made elegant ideas and softened human failings. She reminded herself that the words thrust upon her, answers from doctors, comments from people, the sharp and flinty words that pierced her no matter the state of her “dragon skin” were just a small example of what words could do.
    What they were meant to do.

    She wrote stories that made people feel important, she made her readers feel valued, she created worlds from the words, “Only the best ones” she used to joke.

    But we are so rarely valued as we should be in having a talent for kindness.

    When she passed neighborhood children whispered, “The ugly dragon is dead.”
    But those who had found joy in her words covered her in only the best ones, as best as they could.

    Chalk tributes of beauty in the face of the ugliness of the world.



  35. Captivated
    159 words @geofflepard
    Little fingers pulled at the battered door, easing it open. Jem’s shhh, followed Todd’s snot-lined snigger which presaged a quavering ‘Who’s there?’ from within.
    Jem, three months more confident, bellowed, ‘The Devil’s coming for the old dragon.’
    Todd chased the already sprinting Jem.
    ‘She eats babies. Roasts them in her breath.’
    ‘Scout’s honour.’ Jem added in a whisper, ‘She rubs ‘em with her poo. It’s special dragon poo… made of… of poison and, and… lard.’ He nodded his assertion to veneer it with truth. ‘Stands to reason.’
    The boys sauntered back to the door. Two men watched an ambulance depart and went inside, leaving the door open. Jem darted for the gap. Todd’s fear of missing out overcame his fear of capture as he followed.
    In the gloomy hall, the two men stared at a portrait, lit by a shaft of sunshine; the boys gawped from behind. Four males, old and young captivated by the unexpected beauty.

    Thanks Rebekah for hosting this fabulous challenge; I have learnt so much


  36. Title: “My Beautiful Dragon”
    Word Count: 157
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith

    I must have used an entire roll of foil the day I persuaded Jessie to play with me. I had a stick for a sword, and torn up boxes for armor, all carefully wrapped and taped to childish perfection. I was the mighty Saint George of English fable, off to rescue the pretty damsel in distress.

    Though I crushed on Jessie as far as a ten year old boy might dare, her dark hair and playful smile weren’t princess material. So I wrapped her up with green sheets, and we used our cardboard skills to fashion a mask. Behold, the wicked dragon! She flapped and roared, while I fended off her girlish claws.

    “I need to breathe fire!” she said, arms beating the air. That’s when she found the rolled up newspaper and a book of matches.

    I tried to save Jessie, I really did. But by the time the fire truck arrived, it was too late.


  37. Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

    Maya set out to escape the dragon in her head that year. She thought hard and searched high and low for a path to safety.
    One day she came across a secluded cottage. A scary-looking dragon guarded the front door. Her heart skipped a beat. Her steps quickened.
    “What’s your hurry?” The dragon smiled.
    Befuddled, she wondered, “A smiling dragon?”
    Sensing her hesitation, the dragon wagged her bushy tail. “I am Rebekah. Come, play,” the dragon said.
    Warily, she stepped inside. She was astounded to see the clean well-lighted place and the brilliant words written on the wall.
    “Go on,” Rebekah urged kindly and cheerfully.
    Maya inscribed a few words on the wall and cringed when she read them back.
    “Why, it’s a flash of light,” Rebekah pointed at Maya’s words and sketched an ornamental frame around them.
    Rebekah, the generous, friendly, fiercely talented dragon.
    A beautiful girl lived here.

    150 words
    Not a goodbye! Never! Soon, she shall be back in her full glory, somewhere, everywhere!
    Long live the Dragon Queen!


  38. Here There Be
    160 words

    Once there was a beautiful maiden slated to become dragon food. Okay, technically not beautiful, but I’m maiden enough to keep dragon fire from incinerating a village of cowards.

    Being resourceful (and preemptively practiced in knot-work), I’ve managed to extricate myself from that predicament. Navigating the Baleful Woods is proving more of a challenge. Clawed branches, skull-cobbled paths, and me all dolled up in white frock and slippers.

    Infernal rage ignites the sky. That would be the horde realizing their supper’s slipped the pantry. I scramble into a rocky nook that turns out shallower than I’d hoped. Hungry wings rake the air. I’m so very doomed.

    Wait, now—what’s this? A doorknob embedded in the stone. Gods bless the eccentricities of mages.

    It opens onto shadowy lane. The air tastes of asparagus boiled in black ale. A shirtless man (part ogre, certainly) turns my way. “Hey, honeypot, what’s cookin’?”

    The door slams shut.

    I’ll take my chances with the dragons.


  39. Rebirth

    Matt stood in front of Rebekah’s old house. The door was replaced by wooden planks. Nine months ago Rebekah disappeared, from one day to the other. No tension, no fights, no “We need to talk”. On occasion, when Matt was in the neighbourhood, he passed by the house. But this time he slumped against the planks, as if he was expecting her to appear if only he waited long enough.

    Inside, on the second floor, the critter stretched out in the amniotic fluid. With the tip of its claws it scraped against the inside of the egg. The shell cracked and out crawled a tiny dragon. The vertical slit in its eyes expanded to explore the surroundings. Remembering the way out, it skipped down the stairs, its wings not yet developed enough to fly. But its predator instincts were already as razor-sharp as its teeth. The dragon heard a sobbing sound on the other side of the door. Food.

    160 words


  40. The Dragon’s Last Memoir
    140 words

    It was blue. It was green. Iridescent and glittery, reminding me of wet saurian scales glistening in errant sunbeams. A single pristine patch of sparkling paint winks at me from the surrounding time-darkened and grime-spoiled brick.

    A whisper of sound, a snatch of song, bounces between this brick building and the next before rebounding from the blackened cobbles beneath my feet to erupt skyward.

    Only a memory, yet I hear it as clearly now as I did then.

    Beneath my feet, several uneven stones bear a different stain – a reddish tint undeterred by the frequent rains. Her blood, spreading its dragon’s wings across the alley as she died, not a foot from her door.

    Coincidence, as she was the only human in millennium to see me in my true form?

    So long as I endure, she will never be forgot.

    So long as I endure, she will never be forgot.


  41. “The Auction”
    156 words

    This is all so uncivilized, thought Longtooth, shuffling a bulky, weathered form through the flaking frame of the door. He was old enough to remember better, simpler times. Knights, princesses and chivalry. When dragons lived in more than imaginations. When they commanded the skies and inspired both awe and fear in the lands below.

    Longtooth found his seat in the third row and clutched the paddle between his claws. No. 68, it read. Cold. Meaningless. Emblematic of the new spirit of capitalism that had infected the world. He cast weary eyes at the other dragons sharing the row with him, at faded scales that had once glittered. To be reduced to this, Longtooth sighed. In my day, we would just take what we wanted.

    The dragon at the podium gestured to the beautiful girl being paraded onto the stage. “Lot 127,” he announced. “Young damsel, pure of heart and true of virtue. Who’ll start the bidding?”


  42. @stellakateT
    160 words

    The Sins of The Flesh

    The demons played in the far shadows of her mind, wasn’t she the strong, loud, arrogant one? Wasn’t she known as ‘The Dragon’? She’d lived half her life demanding the best of people, well little people under eleven. Parents would step into her lair, her words frying them alive like flames six foot high. She enjoyed watching them salve their wounded pride. She wasn’t going to tell them little Lucas was the best thing since sliced bread when he could hardly hold the butter knife. Once she was a beautiful girl her father had written it on the floor outside the old witch’s door. She had taken her beauty and given her brains.

    If she could turn back time she would never have tasted flesh. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, tasteless and stringy. Mr Pearson had caught her devouring bacon. She couldn’t let him tell, wouldn’t let him tell. She had written on her CV ‘Committed Vegetarian’.


  43. “A Beautiful Girl Lived Here”
    by Michael Seese
    Word count: 160

    The plaintive words painted on the sidewalk never faded in the sun, never ran in the rain.

    A beautiful girl lived here.

    Abigail always hated the past tense; it came burdened with an inescapable sense of finality.

    She read yet again the stark white letters and thought about all the “finals” associated with that day, so long ago.

    “I’m going out!” The final time she screamed at her father.

    “No you’re not!” The final words he would ever say to her, practically breathing fire as he spat them out.

    “I am!” Her final act of defiance.

    The backhand across her face. The final time he hit her.

    The sickening sound the bones in her neck made when they snapped. That was a first.

    Her father’s anguished wail. Another first.

    A beautiful girl lived here.

    “I still live here,” she whispered, bringing another flood of tears from the eyes of a man wracked with guilt. “You just can’t see me, Daddy.”


  44. “Feeding The Imagination”
    by Michael Seese
    Word count: 160

    “Mommy? Are dragons good or bad?”

    Amanda’s mother smiled, seeing the spark once again in her daughter’s beautiful eyes. For too long they’d swirled with dark storm clouds. Petey’s death hit her hard. The melancholia lasted months. Perhaps she was breaking free of the fugue.

    “Both, I suppose. Dragons, like people, can be either good or bad.”

    “Don’t dragons kill people?”

    “Some do, I imagine. Maybe they’re bad. Or just scared. I know I would be scared if I were resting comfortably in my nest, and—”

    “Cave,” Amanda broke in.


    “Cave. Dragons live in dark places, like caves or—”

    “Amanda,” her father finally huffed. “I’ve had enough of this nonsense. This fantasy world. The swords and sorcery. Dragons are not real. Say it with me. Say it!”

    “Dragons are not real,” Amanda repeatedly obediently.

    Tell that to Timothy’s parents, she thought. They’re probably still looking for him. But they won’t find him. After all, dragons do have to eat.


  45. Rebekah, from The Dragon’s POV
    159 words

    My scales were pulled from me, one by one, by the ungloved hands of Real.

    What once glinted in sunlight drooped cold in the shadows. Riches to rags, dreams to drainpipes. Smiles hidden deep in the tiled-over walls.

    No longer a flash of iridescent jewels; no more comet’s tail of brilliance against the black night sky. Flight and fire and magic and myth crumbled as they gave way to other things.

    Scales become bricks when they fall down to earth. And bricks become walls, and walls become dead ends.



    And yet…

    Painted walls become painted wings. A chink in the brickwork- a doorway, to Maybe. Somebody- a girl, I think?- working with string and sealing wax, coaxing me to step out, claw by claw, from my prison of Unbelief, and into the autumn mists.

    She laughs as grey smoulders into blue. Orange. Red.

    And the walls come down- forever- as I spread my wings roar-wide once more.

    With love and thanks, Jacki xx


  46. The Subject

    ++++Psych Candidate: 001A342-42++++

    ++++ Biological factors within
    acceptable parameters ++++

    ++++ Initiating Sub-Con Test++++

    The room Rebekah awoke within was a smouldering ruin. The walls and furniture blackened by fire. The only colour, red paint daubed across a soot smeared mirror:

    “A Beautiful Girl Lived Here”

    ++++ Subject Id Access –
    initiating Uncon Probe ++++

    Her fingers traced the paint, then onto the charred photo frame perched below.


    Their faces scratched out.

    ++++ Accelerated Neuron Activity –
    Prepare Prompt ++++

    The mirror cracked, shards falling onto the floor. Rebekah picked up a piece, the eye that looked back was ancient and yellow. The shard discarded, Rebekah’s fingers explored the peeling wall that lay beyond the mirror.

    ++++ Dark Memory Access ++++

    Fingers that had become talons clawed at the wall. Her throat was burning as chunks of plaster and lattice gave way.

    Beyond, a prize, a golden flickering word.

    ++++ Awaiting Test Result ++++

    The truth of who she was, of what she’d done.

    ++++ δράκων ++++

    158 words


  47. On The Threshold

    They had always warned her, told her constantly that she must never go upstairs, but Rebekah was hungry. It had been days since they’d fed her, the longest she could remember, and the door at the top of the stairs yawned, as empty as her belly.

    Almost an invitation.

    She took the stairs slowly, less afraid of falling than she was of being caught. They had told her over and over about the monsters outside.

    “You’re different.”

    “It’s dangerous.”

    “Trust us.”

    But for the first time, as she climbed, step by step, she wondered; what if it wasn’t true?

    What if it was all just one more story?

    Could it be?

    Climbing up through the darkness, emerging into an unknown brightness,
    Rebekah paused on the threshold, gold-green eyes blinking at the unacustomed sunlight.

    Then grass tickled her bare soles for the first time.

    And the dragon girl smiled.

    Whatever came next, it was worth it.

    155 words


  48. For Rebekah

    Mother of Dragons

    The hardest part about raising dragons is knowing when to set them free.

    Sure they start out cute. They stumble on punctuation, or get carried away. Fire extinguishers are close by. They fly in circles, searching for an ending. All they need is some nurturing.

    The training is hard work. Each week I show them new parts of the world. I watch them grow and develop, learning from each other. The more I constrain them, the more they squeeze in. Their words have teeth now, their fire is directed.

    Some of them start to stretch their wings. New colonies are formed. I stand on top of the world and survey this new landscape, transformed by my efforts. In that moment, I know it is time.

    I gather them up in my arms in one final hug. How magnificent they are. As I let them go, a single tear rolls down my face.

    I gave them wings, now they must fly.

    160 words


  49. The Crack
    147 Words

    The truth is in the crack. It is the clue. Follow it and you will see, none of this is what it seems. The well-worn pavement, the chipped brick walls, an entryway – an illusion. The grand persuasion because, as is says, ‘a beautiful girl lived here’, an emerald green doorframe beckons, why wouldn’t you peak your head in to see?

    What did that beautiful girl leave behind?

    But the truth is in the crack. A crack can mean many things: poorly constructed pavement, heavy traffic, a sinkhole underneath. Or, it could mean that something is below, something – and every heated exhale from its scaly snout hits the backside of the pavement, a crack forms and its beady lizard eye can see. It waits, simmering, for you to poke your head in and see what’s through the doorway. Because then, it’s dinnertime.

    The truth is in the crack.


    I will miss these so very much! Thank you for all your hard work, Rebekah. Onwards and upwards! 🙂


  50. A Dragon Gets Its Wings
    153 words, @pmcolt

    When we were young, this building was an enchanted castle of brick, timeless and timeworn, in a kingdom of cracked asphalt. She and I played hopscotch in the courtyard once upon a pigtailed past, when summer was eternal and seventeen was ancient.

    Even eternity ends. Pigtails became a blonde teenage damsel: quiet, smart, sensitive. And I devolved into a green-eyed beast, eager to conform in a world of predators and prey. The ugly, scaly, sulfurous truth was she was an easy victim in her tattered pauper rags. I sharpened my fangs.

    Through thoughtless cruelty, I grew dragonesque in stature among my peers. My smoke brought tears to her eyes. Claw marks crisscrossed her scarred wrists. Evermore she cloistered herself within that brick tower overlooking 4th Street. No white knight came to rescue her.

    Seventeen now seems so young: too young for eternity. A beautiful girl lived here. Her memory hereafter haunts my mind.


  51. Hussy (155 words)
    Melvin cried. The chalk broke. “I can’t even write the letters neatly,” he thought. “No wonder she’s gone.”
    Melvin’s girlfriend had been a local elementary school teacher, one of those holdouts who unaccountably still taught penmanship. “You have to write in more than just capital letters,” she had said.
    Melvin had been unable to comply.
    Melvin balled his fists, rubbed his eyes, rubbed his nose on his coat sleeve, picked out a new piece of chalk. Scrawled the letters.
    “Excuse me.” The gravelly voice was startling yet reassuring.
    Melvin stood up, turned, looked.
    A red dragon, medium-sized, in a khaki trench coat that accented her curves and hid her tail, cleared her throat and addressed Melvin again: “You are writing. Why?”
    “My girlfriend . . .” Melvin began. He stared at the dragon.
    “Someone I know used to live here,” he said. “She’s gone now. Want to go out with me?”
    “Sure,” said the dragon.



  52. Better Safe…

    There used to be a door.

    Learena forced air into her lungs, her chest heaving. Her hands resettled the hood of her cloak—once again fashionable, and therefore inconspicuous. Still she embraced the shadows of the alleyway, covering the blues and teals and purples of her hair, though in this age the humans all believed it dyed.

    Her fingers reached for the crack in the cement, a decades-old remnant of the claw that had torn Zosha through, and away. Had stolen him from her.

    Someone had added words.

    Breath after breath, she fought the instinct to roar, to change, to be. The phantom of her wings itched in her mind as her weak nails dug into weaker flesh. Taking true form would expose her—to humans, yes, but worse, to the mercenary hopefuls who pursued her.

    And not only her.

    Humanity hid her like the shadows, so she didn’t have to fight.

    So she didn’t have to kill.

    (@AriaGlazki; 158 words)


  53. Riddles in Fire and Ash

    They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but they never talk about what is to be the one beheld.

    In the ashes, you can see ruin and loss, and lose yourself in that pain, or you can see the former beauty, the hints of what once was— what could be again… it is a choice.

    In beauty you can see gold that bedazzles and jewels that hint a greater depths… but they are fleeting things, and often filled with decay and ash.

    How do you decide which to follow? And once beheld, do you become what they see, or remain what you are?

    There are no words for being shapeless until the eyes touch your form and you become what they see. That is the nature of such illusions.

    Am I not beautiful? Is not my flame warming? Am I protector, or destroyer… is it your heart, or mine that decides?

    155 words


  54. (Posted for Foy S. Iver, as she’s having ‘puter probs, poor thing.)

    WC: 158

    A Long Expected Parting

    Porter never liked fusses.

    But, after eleventy-two years of opening himself up to every soul-chewed, ink-frozen wanderer with words, a fuss was bound to be made.

    “It’s not like I’m dying,” he grumbled.

    The door knocker listened, its yellow eyes unblinking.

    “I’ve got dreams, same as them.”

    Porter concentrated on the topmost pin, willing it to twist its way up, up, up…

    Bink. Binkbinkbink.

    It rolled over the stories chalked at his threshold, and settled on one that had [almost] cracked his heartwood.


    The door knocker’s mouth was ambiguous enough that it could’ve been grinning.

    “They never did catch you weren’t Westborn. Thinking you breathed fire — ridiculous.”

    Porter popped the second pin. Another wanderer knelt and grated in dust her gratitude at his feet.

    “Yes, yes, much appreciated,” Porter said.

    As the final hinge swung free, the door knocker felt him hesitate.

    “It’s for the best, really.”

    (This, whispered.)

    “Well! Shall we be off?”


  55. Title: In the Dragon’s Shadow
    Word Count: 160
    Website: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/flash-friday-in-the-dragons-shadow/

    The Dragon’s still here, lying atop my city’s skyscrapers like it’s His mound of gold. And also like we’re his food, part of a scurrying platter. History would make it hard to disagree with that.

    But I took it upon myself, to continue the fight. Yet I’m no dragon-slayer. I fight against the march of nature blessing the strong and forgetting the weak. My sword is chalk, my armour is darkness, my foe-slaying arrows are memories. My battlefields are the front doors of homes made empty by His hunger, where I inscribe lonely epitaphs.

    Tonight, I fight the hardest battle and inscribe the most painful epitaph of my life, through a labyrinth of smoke and ash and back to the house where I sat on the porch all night with someone I had wanted to live my life with since the day I saw her eyes that blazed with heaven’s fire throughout history.

    “A beautiful girl lived here,” I write.


  56. An Ember in Ash

    I was beautiful once, long ago— before the men came and their world of fire and ash consumed me. My beauty was a thing of legends. Tales of a green and living thing; a river of gold at sunset, flowing to the sea— that was my old self.

    They consumed me, fueled their fires with my heart’s blood and left me a withered and pitiable thing, nothing more than a memory of gold and green; a toothless reminder of what once was.

    They look at me now, withered and haggard. They have used me up and refuse me the energy it would take to spit me out. I am left, a ruined memory of what once was.

    But I am more resilient than they. They will pass, a memory of dust and soot, grit beneath my feet.

    They cannot see that they are the dragons of the deep, and I am the ember of hope.

    155 words


  57. Keep Your Friends Close, But Your Enemies Closer
    WC: 159

    “That’s creepy.”

    Liza rolled her eyes. “Don’t be stupid. It’s just for dramatic effect.”

    Amanda crossed her arms over her chest. “Liz, are you sure about this?”

    “Look, if you’re gonna be a baby about it, go on and leave. I’m catching that thing today. On camera, too.”

    Amanda blew out her breath with a huff, blowing strands of hair off her face. “Are you sure you want to mess with a dragon? This seems like a bad idea.”

    Liza stood, brushed the chalk off of her hands and sneered at Amanda. “Since when are you such a little bitch? Set up the camera.”

    Amanda glared at Liza, heat building in her chest. “Fine.”

    Liza turned her back and glanced around. “Perfect. Abandoned alley. Amanda, can the camera see the cha-”

    Liza froze. Steam blew out the dragon’s emerald nostrils. “Amanda?”

    “It’s Malinda, actually.” She took one step forward, her mouth inches from Liza’s face. “Go ahead. Scream, bitch.”


  58. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 160
    [Way too late – but submitted with gratitude to a wonderfully nurturing spirit.]


    One day each week, her door was open to anyone wishing to visit. Dozens came, knocking gently, each bearing a gift.

    Some were beautifully crafted – wrought from the purest gold, breath-takingly scintillating, or spun from the finest gossamer, diaphanous as dreams. Others were roughly-beaten base metal or coarsely-stitched homespun cloth, but still lovingly made.

    She welcomed every visitor and treasured all their gifts, storing them safely for all to admire.

    One night, she had a visitor of a different kind. No gentle tap but a roaring, fiery blast; no gift, but a sight that she had longed to see. She gazed into the blood-red eyes, then clambered onto the scaly neck, holding tightly as the creature turned, flapped its spiny wings and flew off into the half light of dawn.

    Next morning, I found the door still smouldering, paintwork blackened and blistered, and understood its import.

    With a heavy heart, I picked up a rock of gypsum and knelt to write.


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