Fire&Ice: Sol 1/19

WELCOME, welcome, dragons and fledglings alike! We’re so glad you’re here. Fire&Ice is, like its mother dragon Flash! Friday, a weekly international flash fiction writing contest. You’ll find the details below (don’t worry; it’s easy & you’ll catch on fast!). Note that this contest will run a scant 19 sols, every Friday from August 14 – December 18. Today is Sol 1/19.

Who Are We??? You are right to be suspicious, especially if you wrote for FF back in the day and the memories are setting you trembling. Or if you’re from #VSS365 and wondering what these dragons and #FlashDogs are all about. I’m Rebekah Postupak, your fire dragon and general rabble-rouser, and my partner-in-mischief is the shimmering ice dragon Deborah Foy. It’s our privilege hosting Fire&Ice, a dragons’ lair of glowing story-embers to reignite the flash community and uplift spirits in this year that has been a year.

What’s New/Different? We’ve a whole dragon weyr at your service: twelve magnificent power-writers of flash (two each week) to judge your stories, and a valiant crew of dragon-minions to prep your stories so the weyr can judge blind. In addition to the weekly contest (Fridays) and results (Mondays), you will also find Flash! Future (Sundays, where we rave about current favorite writers & writerly things) and Flash! Past (Wednesdays, where we update you on some of our favorite Flash! Friday heroes). Come often! Read! Write! Comment!

QUESTIONS? Tweet us at @FlashFridayFic, shoot us a note here, or tap any of the judges.

§ Rebekah says: This contest is for you. Yes, you! Thank you for coming. Your voice, your words, are magic; you are the very lifeblood of this community. Welcome and welcome back, beloveds, from the bottom of my heart. I can’t wait to soar through these few precious sols together.

§ Foy says: Welcome, brave writers! It is my happiness and my honor to serve you in the coming months. Whether you’re new to flash or an old FlashDog with new fire in your belly, you are found family. Let us encourage you, support you, and share your words with the world. We need you now more than ever.

♦♦♦♦♦

Fire&Ice Guidelines: 

Time: The Fire&Ice contest is open between exactly 12:01am to 11:59pm on Fridays, Washington DC time (check the current time here). Entries submitted outside of this window are welcome, but will be incinerated ineligible to win.

How to Play: Write and submit (in the comments on this post) an original story 1) based on the photo prompt and 2) including EITHER the fire or ice requirement. Pay attention to the 3) varying word count constraints! Story titles (optional) are not included in the word limit. At the end of your story, add your name or twitter handle, whether you chose the fire or ice element, and word count. That’s it!

Contest Results/Prizes: Results will post Monday morning, Washington DC time. Your prize? A sizzling F&I e-badge, our glacial admiration, and white-fire blazes of social media glory.

Those Pesky Rules: Your entry must consist of your own original work. Stories violating copyright in any way will be deleted. This is a general audience contest (no minimum/maximum/mandatory Earth age to play), so please no gratuitous sex or profanity.

Read & Comment! Making supportive comments on each other’s stories is the very heart of the Flash! Friday/Fire&Ice community. Read something you like? Tell the writer so! Be specific. Be authentic. Be kind. ♥ All writers of all levels are welcome here.

♦♦♦

Judges: Today’s judges are Craig Anderson and Sinéad O’Hart. Check out their bios on the Fire&Ice Judges page.

♦♦♦

AND HERE IS YOUR PROMPT:

Each Fire&Ice prompt includes 1) a photo, 2) a required element (choose between fire OR ice), and 3) a specific word count. Your story must meet all three requirements to be eligible to win.

Photo for Sol 1/19

 

800px-Hope_Bay-2016-Trinity_Peninsula–Arena_Glacier_03

“Arena Glacier” Antarctic Peninsula. CC3.0 photo by Godot13

Fire & Ice Prompt

Required element (choose one):

include something in the air

OR

include something in the water

Today’s word count: between 150-160 (inclusive)

661 thoughts on “Fire&Ice: Sol 1/19

  1. In Memoriam

    Her eyes were dark, cold, and barren, as though she had slumbered too long and rested too deep amid her treasure troves. She’d hoarded her wealth in her coffin of frigid water and she’d reveled in the feathered ice that softened her lair.

    When they came, they were red with heat and fire. They explored her gates with their instruments. They brought with them florid flames and flashes of color. They shattered her brittle face with their spiked feet, and their hot breaths brushed frozen tears from her face.

    They say anger is hot, but her fury burned cold as a shrieking blizzard. The secrets she dredged from the deep boiled to the surface and covered them in their own hated medicine. Their groans lasted far into the night until the thick ice covered them with pity and brought her peace. They smiled at her beneath the ice, in memoriam.

    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 150
    Ice Element

    Liked by 28 people

  2. Night Fire

    It’s in the air tonight. Wafting in from somewhere, skipping through the night trees, skimming across the sound.
    It’s unsettling.
    From somewhere beyond my sight, it comes, maybe from up in the hills, somewhere out of my failed sight.
    Where there’s smoke, they say, there’s…
    And there’s plenty of it.
    The middle of summer.
    We burn like purgatory.
    We burn for work.
    We burn for life.
    We burn always for love.
    Arsonists abound.
    We are our own arsonists.
    “You smell that?” she asks.
    I’m thinking something else. Of course, I catch a whiff, but you know how it is, there is something else pressing in on your mind, weighing you down like an anchor.
    You’re ice block frozen.
    But you need to acknowledge.
    You can’t avoid that.
    “Yeah. It shouldn’t be.”
    “I know that,” she spats.
    Spats.
    “Go take a look.”
    So, I go.
    Outside, it’s there.
    Somewhere.
    I can’t tell.
    It’s like my brain’s on fire.

    @billmelaterplea
    157 words
    fire element

    Liked by 19 people

  3. Reflection

    The wind howled, in a temper. Stopped. And cried again. He sat waiting. Soon. It was his time soon. The bodies sat with him, but there was no one there. No one home. He was the last of the expedition. The last they’d come for. Still. The sudden silence piercing. His heart pounding. The echoes like a drum beat as he walked his final line. He looked around. Into the water. Saw the faces of his family. His wife and daughter, laughing as they played catch in the yard. Beneath the cherry tree, the blossom falling. Petals popped up from the deep. He plucked one from the darkness. Felt it soft in his hand. He looked once more, his family smiling as they cradled the new baby he’d left behind. His boy. He reached out his arm. Reached to touch them. His hand breached the surface, and he was gone.

    @bex_spence
    Word Count: 150
    Ice Element

    Liked by 19 people

  4. In the cave, a murmuring sound resonates. He lifts his head and yawns. Was he dreaming, hallucinating? It couldn’t be. They’d left him years ago in this solitary glacier, alone with the tales. Why would they come back?

    “Mark, steer to the left. We’re close now,” David says.

    “I’m so excited, Deborah. It was a brilliant idea going back to the source,” Rebekah says, as she grabs Nancy’s shoulder.

    Craig frowns and drops his shoulders. “I doubt he’s alive.”

    “Don’t be so pessimistic. Eric, Karl and Tamara don’t think he is, but Voima, AJ and Sinéad are positive,” replies Betsy.

    “What about you, Stephanie? Do you think he’s still around?”

    Suddenly the sky darkens, out of nowhere a storm appears, lighting strikes and the dinghy nearly capsizes, dropping the crew in the ice cold water.

    In the cavern, he jumps to his feet and gallops to the exit. Wow! They’re back!
    The Flashdog howls, excited for another season.

    @esthervdheuvel1
    158 words
    ice element

    Liked by 24 people

  5. The Return

    He recoiled from his reflection in the mirrored glass of the towers.

    The city ahead was a behemoth, white, punctuated with grey, like an iceberg. The window-slit eyes questioning him.

    Why had he returned?

    The dried crimson stains on his threadbare overcoat were reminders of his injuries.

    The faint smell of ozone in his nostrils—a storm was coming. He clung to his coat in the bitter-tart crosswind.

    Like an iceberg, his visible scars were just the edges.

    Hidden were jagged memories; of what his father did to him.

    And, now, he returns home.

    Home?

    To bury his father.

    And the road ahead feels like the ocean; immense, callous, and dark.

    But above… the sky.

    Cerulean blue. The colour of new beginnings.

    The sky is vast and infinite. It dwarfs the iceberg city. Crushes the black ocean.

    Above, a solitary bird, as free as hope itself. It is stretched like a dragon, wings unfurled, it flies.

    It glides.

    @making_fiction #flashdogs #vss365

    158 words

    Fire element

    It’s amazing to be back. I’ve missed you.

    Liked by 25 people

  6. The air was bitterly still and cold.
    We were seated on the boat silently
    The motor the only sound as it propelled us without hold
    Gazing at the glacier growing closer imminently.

    Upon sighting a cave
    Some of the crew silently stood
    We gazed at the glacier stave
    Each of us strove to believe we understood.

    We captured memories in our minds
    Recalling every paper we’d studied
    Staring at the cave we continued to find
    Recalling papers we’d muddied.

    The glacier a bigger magnitude here
    Nothing we could recall though about caves
    Why were they formed here?
    Intently focused we missed the silent waves.

    Not one penguin did we see
    The waiting ship saw the return
    Of the empty dinghy.
    Our story wasn’t told in turn.

    I, the last fragment of our crew
    Whispering our tale to those who see the caves.
    My only company in lieu_
    The thing in the water making silent waves.

    160 words (inclusive)
    Twitter: @lindorfan

    Liked by 18 people

  7. I’m not one usually given over to nostalgic thoughts, but damn, it’s good to see everyone’s words again. So much has happened. No. There are far more important things to do right now. Here’s my entry. Hugs for you all, Avalina. x

    ————–

    SOMETHING IN THE WATER

    “Come in, Ben, are you ready, over?” A mushy crackle. “I’m ready, over.”

    All seven participants removed their mugs, their fingers numbed, breath icy. The explosion was at first understated; as if swamped by expectation until suddenly a blast hit their eyes, ear-drums and chests. Some fell into the water and some held fast to the mugs, oddly for balance. The rain of Smirnoff Ice made everyone hold their mug aloft – wild, crazy grins as the slush puppy like sludge filled their cups and unfortunately, also the boat. No-one answered the cries of their fallen comrades, as they too would soon join them but not without first reliving an age long lost; of throaty bars, thudding music, hot flesh; the beautiful stench of life; the aching reminiscence. They were told not to fall as a fate far worse than death lurked in the deep; but after the final taste of nectar, many gave themselves willingly.

    157 words
    ice element
    @KreskaWorld
    #flashdog

    ————–

    Liked by 20 people

  8. Castaways

    Two hours had passed since the eight of us had abandoned ship. It shouldn’t have happened, but it had: an iceberg had pierced our hull. We barely had time to board a zodiac and sail away.

    There was no mention of those we had left behind. Or the limited amount of emergency rations and fuel our boat carried. Or the fact that, so close to the Pole, our compass was useless. Or the absence of any officer among us. Or that we had no radio or satellite phone.

    But for the last half hour, after crossing that weird mist curtain, our silence was different.

    The cold, the ever present ice, clutched more than our bodies. It grabbed our hearts and souls, and it filled them with fear.

    For the frozen coast in front of us shouldn’t have been there. And neither should the shapes we saw moving within the frigid waters.

    @VicenteLRuiz
    151 words
    Somethingin the water

    Liked by 21 people

  9. Like all those who came before, he sailed the placid river of my soul. All was still. He thought himself safe atop the icy depths, where my sight followed his every move, as he stared into the frozen cavern. Unknown to him, the crystallised palace had lured him into its glittering maw.
    He sought a fire long extinguished. Even within the core, the final flickering flames had given way to the biting frost. The blizzard of torment whipped through the darkness, lashing at the flesh, clawing at the bones, seeking out the soul which could melt away the pain. He lurched away from the frigid tendrils before they could burn scars into his being.
    What had once been a beautiful sight, now gave way to the dark embrace of an igloo. Should he stay, he would surely suffocate, as the passage to freedom closed against the outside world – his memory a shard on the palace walls.

    Name: Erin Robinson (@flossybunny)
    Ice
    Word count: 156

    Liked by 16 people

  10. Wavebound

    It’s not true that a binding spell is unnatural, of course nothing can be separate from nature. Not even me. Thousands of years I’ve slept, shivering and impaled by icicles, they’ve almost become a part of me. If the ancestors had known, they might have tried the banishing spell, or worse, but their education was less than mine. Water has memory of course, but it also creates memories. I’ve been there in the dreams and terrors of those beings made of water. Every drop they drink is part of my message, although sometimes I’m too cold to think. Each drip, each drop, I’m getting warmer, playing the long game.
    They come in their boats measuring the blinding whiteness that encased me. Sometimes I can feel their desires and I ache to fulfil them, a little exchange of soul here and there. It won’t be long I whisper through the waves.

    @sam_c4rr
    Ice element
    151 words

    Liked by 15 people

  11. Come Back
    Her toes were frozen inside her soaked boots. The numbness had passed, now there was nothing. The icy walls shielded her from the cold winds, but it wasn’t enough. She looked out across the sea through her glacial cave. The shivering had stopped, shards of ice sticking to her jacket and hair like crystals. She could barely move her fingers.

    Everyone was gone. She didn’t know how many escaped the ship.

    It didn’t matter; the sea and ice would claim another soul.

    Her hot tears turned to ice, and she lay her head on the cold ground.

    “Close your eyes and sleep.” She could hear her mother’s voice.

    “I’m sorry, Mom.”

    “Hello! Is anyone alive out there?” A voice cried.

    A haze of red drifted across the water. “Hello?” The voice cried again.

    “Hello,” she whispered. They drifted across the way, their calls fading.

    “Come back,” she squeaked, but they didn’t turn around.

    “Sleep.”

    “Please-“

    157 words

    Liked by 18 people

  12. HUNTERS

    A discordant ache squeezed through the bulk as they got close; the men gripped their heads in agony. The sound yawned again, horribly elongated this time, and silver shards tumbled out of the chasm.

    A moment of pure silence gave relief, but then, from the cavity, came the echo of a haunting strain which wrapped them like silk into its frozen web.

    The vessel rocked as Carl sprang to his feet. ‘Get to the edge. We can climb up.’

    Mesmerised, one by one, they were swallowed by the gaping mouth, unaware of the sharp air slicing their faces. The peril.

    Around their boat, pale faces appeared, white-lashed, diamond-haired, winged fins veined with silver. As one, they pulled it down, breaking the skin of the water for just a moment. A soft wave slid into the hole.

    Meanwhile, the ecstatic crew trudged deeper towards the beautiful song, oblivious of the anoraks frozen into the ice walls, like blood spots.

    @helen_laycock
    158 words
    Ice element

    Liked by 18 people

  13. No lapping of water, no cracking of ice, the silence is ominous. We had abandoned our world to undertake this odyssey, to search for something ancient and mystical. Only now, mesmerized by glinting majesty, do we feel our mortality.

    Creeping through the centuries, the glacier gathered memories of beast and man – the chatter of whales, the roar of polar bears, the cries of dying men. Did it gaze in wonder at ships anchored by frozen seas, at dirigibles buzzing in the sky, at the myriad of Captain Ahabs compelled by burning obsession?

    Humanity evolved and the age of the machine was upon us. We ransack nature, pollute the elements, poison life itself. In the absence of supplication, restitution is required. O deep darksome depths, unfurl and swirl, release leviathan judgement! Amid rusty wrecks, lost treasure, and dissolved bones, something uncoils. The Hyperborean existed before mankind, it will exist after mankind, but it must feed.

    @Giacomin_Mark13
    Word count: 155
    Ice element

    Liked by 16 people

  14. Pearl

    What melts above, melts below—and much is unknown about the latter. What we don’t know, we make stories for, and those that come true, we call science. Mermaids become manatees; unicorns become narwhals—but science hasn’t caught all of the monsters.

    They tell stories about dragons in the East, where they are creatures of the water, and their souls take the form of pearls. In one long-forgotten story, a princess challenged her suitors to collect one such pearl for a necklace. Only a nameless stranger succeeded, and she accepted his proposal in the face of much protest, whereupon he revealed himself to be a dragon, and the pearl his soul.

    He took her to the land of dragons, deep under the polar glaciers. All of the dragons attended the wedding—they feasted and feted and floated in dance, and then they slept. They have been sleeping ever since. When their icy dreamland melts, they’ll wake up.

    @IpsaHerself
    157 words
    Ice Element (in the water)

    Liked by 17 people

  15. Gastabud

    Through crystalline shards, strange light pulsates. Each in the boat would swear it in time with their heartbeat – and who’s to say their hearts don’t beat as one?
    They watch, record, hold phones to awed faces. They congratulate one another for being here, for being first – and who’s to say they don’t deserve it?
    The closer they get, the faster the pulsating – the faster hearts beat.
    “It’s better than drugs!’” one exclaims, makeup perfect beneath her heavy hood.
    “It’s all about the money, honey,” another grins, perfectly toothed.
    Sven pulls on thick diving gear and abandons them to their reverie.
    “It’s so…sculptural.” He’s not heard that one before. He’ll remember that one for the tavern, he thinks, backflipping into icy waters.
    In the crystal caverns, lights intensify. Beneath the waters, a giant shape looms.
    The immense darkness of the creature’s maw is the antithesis to its glowing tail, now pulled free of the ice.
    It feasts.

    David Shakes
    @TheShakes72
    157 words
    Ice, ice baby

    Liked by 16 people

    • Hey Shakes!!
      Love this – and so fine to see you writing here 🙂
      Particularly love this line ‘Each in the boat would swear it in time with their heartbeat – and who’s to say their hearts don’t beat as one?’ – gorgeous!
      Frances

      Liked by 2 people

    • A beast’s gotta eat. 😉
      After all I’ve seen this year, I now firmly believe the stories and movies that have us go grinning and ‘Gramming to our deaths are the truest.
      @deborah_the_foy

      Liked by 1 person

    • What lies beneath, eh? You just know this is not going to end well. A great set-up with a novel misdirection caused by the creature’s own body. Excellent as always.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome back, brother. These short forms are great for just putting it out there, nothing wasted, no padding, just the essence of great storytelling. I loved this bit, “…and who’s to say their hearts don’t beat as one?” This is another entire story waiting to be told.

      Liked by 1 person

    • So cynical! Yes, they’re about to get chomped by the angler fish from hell, but at least their make-up’s on point 😆 Great to read you again Shakes!

      Like

    • I think “sculptural” might be my new favorite term. I’m going to use it from here one out. “Kids, eat your carrots; they’re very sculptural. What do you mean, you don’t like vegetables? They’re sculptural for your health.” Etc.

      All aside: you managed the dialogue here seamlessly. I love how smoothly this goes down. 🙂

      Like

    • The diver in cahoots with (or at least away of) the monster. Love the image of an angler fish using light lures to draw in prey–and, in your glorious economy of characterization, you deftly have us not feel particularly sorry for that prey.

      Like

  16. ‘Once, We Were Water’ (Title)

    First, the ice had been dust. Suspended in nothing, swirling through cosmos, coalescing in shudders of impact and traction.

    Next, the ice was water, mother of life, spluttering steam amidst the primordial maelstrom. Thought was born of its depths millennia before it entered our minds.

    And this essence of existence never left. Titans stand in stasis, slumped over our earth like woeful apostles, like icons from the epics, prostrate to the infinities they fared from.

    We decided to kill them. Not even the massive weight of our interstellar ancestry stands in the way of human ‘progress’.

    It seems folly now, that we had not the sense to know we met our maker. We thought ourselves special, but infact we were tainted. A corruption of carbon and metals and gas, a mutation of the purity of that perfect place between H, 2 and O.

    With each drop back into the ocean, ancient fury filled Gaia. Water we were, once more.

    @ProsSpeaks

    ‘Ice’, incase it wasn’t obvious 😉

    159 words.

    I hope any who read this enjoy it, and understand its message.

    Liked by 17 people

  17. Karrok surfaced slowly, this child of ice and water, her strange silvery eyes glowing as she watched the humans search for a place to land their craft. She could feel their fear vibrating through the air; cystallising into icy shards of despair as they pitted sinew against the might of the glacial current, that licked and sliced relentlessly at their resolve. Eating. Gnawing.

    She felt the heavens undulate around her. Ragnor was on the move. What hope for these weakened shreds of mortality, if he found them, and gave them a taste of his biting breath.
    What did she care? These destroyers of the skies—whose flying crafts set the clouds to flame, threatening her very existence as she helplessly watched her world crumbling. Dying.

    A haunting melody pierced her thoughts. Remember who you are—child of ice and water. Of truth. Of morality. A flash of quicksilver; she dived into the deep. Rising gracefully underneath the craft—she pulled.

    @BrittleWindowz [160 words] [Ice : In the water]

    Liked by 17 people

  18. The Session

    Spencer’s calm honey voice that grates like sandpaper breaks the stillness.

    “Kate, imagine you’re in the ocean on a boat what do you see?”

    I want to lie, but at this point I’m doubting lying is much of an option.

    “A glacier, there’s other people here, dressed in red.”

    “Ah yes”, I crack my eyes open, Kevin is chewing his pencil thoughtfully, acting like any of this really matters.

    “Good, anything else?”

    I look down,beneath my feet rocking back and forth are a number of dirty metal cylinders, each emblazoned with the same letters.

    Him.

    “No, nothing.”

    “Okay Kate, now I need you to take a deep breath, feel the air fill your lungs.”

    Ice cold touches my lips, my hands work fast, releasing each and every valve.

    The others watch nodding in agreement.

    “And now breathe out Kate and let go of everything.”

    I flick my father’s Zippo into life and the world blossoms into orange.

    Word Count 159
    @imageronin/@edisonarcane
    #flashdogs
    to quote the Shakes “ice, ice baby.”
    #missedyouguys

    Liked by 17 people

  19. Breaching the Womb of the Ice Maiden

    We should’ve aborted when we arrived, the entrance to the glacier cave was melted and torn, but Zak and Peter insisted—the whole ice-shelf would be gone by next year, they said, and they wanted selfies in the Ice Womb itself.

    From the boat we saw them disappear into the cavern, then our screen we saw Zak and Peter ascending into white-blue, into the blue-blue where they posed lewdly with the ice clitoris, then into deep blue, static, then the feed cut.

    We waited forty minutes, should we follow? Too risky. The ice clanged and sung around us as we retold prophecies we’d heard about the Womb of the Ice Maiden.

    The sun set, we waited silent and cold on the dark sea. The ice sung at a higher pitch.

    At dawn, a roaring furious gush of ice-water spewed Peter into the sea. We waited as long as we could, really we did, but only Peter’s helmet ever surfaced.

    (159 words)
    Ice element
    @feclarkart on twitter (I don’t have access to the internet at home due to storms and no mobile reception, we are locked down again so can’t go out much – please bear with me if I am slow to answer – best to all. xx)

    Liked by 17 people

  20. She dreams of fire and ice, there is no other way of cracking the stone,
    How else can a soul be freed from the home the fates have made for it.
    The contradiction is the pain of a triangle, the midpoint,
    A field in which her heart is slain.
    She likens it to dawn, she likens it to the ways of new Gods,
    Immature things, that man will remember in poems,
    That man will remember on the iced walls of caves
    And women will not remember at all.
    Her memories are of stone, not of pebbles which came after,
    Vector clones, intrusive flecks of hardness,
    Pretending heroism and roundness, in their search to replicate love.
    They are weak things, she can break them open with a dream
    But they have no heart, their emotions are sand,
    That wicked friend of the hour glass, that conspiracist
    Holding water in its mouth, a liquid fallacy.

    @darklordmatabu

    Liked by 16 people

  21. Unlikely

    “You worry too much,” said Mark.

    He knew what she was thinking, eyeing the glacier, waiting for a chunk to drop and crush them. Amanda turned her gaze away, fixed them instead on Ville, their guide. Standing up at the rudder, describing the wonders of their surroundings, she pictured him tumbling into the water, overturning the boat – drowning them all. Then Joanna opposite began to ask questions. She looked feverish, had a cough. Even here, they could still catch Covid.

    So many ways to die. All logical, all plausible.

    “All unlikely,” said Mark. “We’re too far from the glacier, the boat’s too well-balanced and we’ve all been vaccinated. Next thing you’ll say is we could get eaten by a sea monster.”

    Amanda laughed and relaxed. She was being ridiculous. There was as much chance of that happening as Jormungand appearing.

    Beneath them, a serpent looked up and let go of its tail, opened its mouth …

    Stephanie Ellis
    @el_Stevie
    (156 words)
    ice

    Liked by 22 people

  22. The Bliss of Solitude

    Jeff doesn’t shovel the snow off his pathway. Or off anywhere else. In a hut in the Antarctic there seems little point. He keeps his small square bathroom window permanently open, though. If you lived on dried fish so would you. He has a skylight in his bedroom, up a small flight of ice stairs.

    His front door is kept clear too, so that his pet penguin Petunia can slide gleefully down the path to her morning swim.

    Oh, and for deliveries.

    Jeff is a loner. He is not an idiot. He buys clothing and toiletries. He buys books and box-sets. The room on the bottom left is his wine cellar.

    One of his Amazon purchases was a small drone. He launches this now, guiding it silently out over the peace-piercing, diesel-coughing dinghy. Beneath the drone’s Release and Drop device sways a large bag of guano and fish-guts.

    Jeff does not like carol singers.

    Tinman
    154 words
    Fire: in the air

    Liked by 21 people

  23. And All The Sea Were Gin

    “Magnificent, isn’t it?”

    Every time he speaks, which is blessedly rarely, it’s to say something so anodyne he might have selected it randomly from a book of uncontroversial phrases. If there’s no such book, it’s because he’s never roused himself to write it.

    This trip was supposed to heal, but all that’s changed is the air between us is even colder, and the constant background noise of our lives—the grinding, the cracking—has become briefly real.

    He’s right, though. It is magnificent. There’s a void within the glacier that could be a dragon’s lair, but it’s empty. The beast has flown. I half hope to feel hot breath on my neck as a monster swoops in to hasten the collapse of a crumbling edifice.

    A honeymooner scrambles for the perfect Instagrammable selfie, rocking the boat. I cling to the gunwale. She fumbles her phone, drops it, and wails as it sinks into darkness.

    “Yes. Magnificent.”

    Pony trekking tomorrow.

    @marshawritesit
    Element: ice
    Word count: 157

    Liked by 17 people

  24. Crackle

    Under arctic skies and the crackling glaciers nearby, Henry suffocated with her disappointment 9,000 miles away.

    His sleeping bag had become his body bag as the air pressed in on him.

    It was Joe’s idea. Get away, far away, and do something adventurous. Stepping foot onto a remote continent should have been a victory, but his failure in her stepping out lingered.

    That last look followed him here, like a tick, patient and quiet on his skin.

    To starve the tick, it was fine with him to be subsumed into the frozen graveyard, discovered decades later as an archaeological oddity.

    Or maybe never — that’s fine, too.

    He wondered how many other wayward bones he rested on, other empty vessels that voyaged far beyond home to get away, and find a final resting place with comfortable ice sheets.

    Even with one more breath, her image was there; those brown, penetrating eyes.

    Another glacial crackle broke her hold on him.

    @brett_milam
    Word Count: 160 words.
    Element: Fire.

    Liked by 14 people

  25. (Untitled)

    “They’re coming! Is everybody warmed up? Cecil?”

    “Yeah, I’m awake. What’s the song?”

    “Has anybody heard from Barbara?”

    “Barbara! Wake up! First tourists of the day.”

    “Seriously? It’s too early.”

    BUUUUURRRRPPP

    “Nice of you to join, Barbara. I hope you got that out of your system. We are the singing ice caves, not the… gross burping ice caves.”

    “What’s the song?”

    “Burping would bring in a lot of tourists I bet.”

    “Anyway! Let’s start with Good Vibrations. Everybody okay with that?”

    “You just like that one because it’s low. I have to belt the whole time.”

    “It’s not my fault, Doug. You’re small. You make high notes. It’s physics.”

    “Everybody hum a C, okay? Get warmed up.”

    “Ha! Ice caves warming up. That’s funny.”

    “They’re almost here!”

    “Aw, bless em. Look how small they are in their little red jackets.”

    “Look at it this way – we’re musicians, but at least we don’t have to go on tour.”

    “And one, and…”

    ——-

    @betsystreeter
    160 words
    Element: Ice, something in the air

    Liked by 14 people

  26. Title: It is What It Is

    The virus didn’t take us after all. The asteroid did.

    The amateur astronomer who spotted it had searched the heavens for years and found his sign of God. He stayed silent and waited for the redemptive cleansing.

    Nuclear winter froze half the planet, and some of us chose the ice.

    The skies cleared, the planet re-warmed, and our ice fortresses floated on calm, bountiful waters. In the nooks and crannies of our frozen homes, we prospered, content.

    Until the red-robed monks appeared. The land had survivors, too, and a new religion. The monks wanted to convert us, but the color of their robes bespoke what they really sought.

    We’d kept a sample of the World-Killer virus; one of us volunteered to carry it. When the monks’ neared, he called to them, “Take me! I want to know the word of truth!”

    They welcomed him into their boat and headed home.

    Small sacrifices for a greater good and plenty of volunteers.

    @unspywriter
    Something in the water
    160 words

    Liked by 13 people

  27. Arctic (156 words)
    By: Allison K. Garcia

    She sits, arms crossed, like an arctic glacier. She is impenetrable, unmoving. The air around her tingles with frozen particles. I cannot breathe. Each inhalation stings.
    I explore for any chink in her icy armor. I must find my way inside again. That is the only safe place. Outside is death itself.
    I have a conversation with her in my head.
    “Why am I outside?”
    “Same reason as always.”
    We both have our shit. Things from our past that have marked us. Sometimes we are knee-deep before we realize.
    “How can I melt an entrance?”
    “That’s not how it works. Stop trying to fix it.”
    I always try. Being outside is torture. “Sometimes talking helps.”
    I realize the words escaped my mouth as she turns to me. A spark of light returns to her eyes. That fire will allow me back in.
    I sit in my boat on the icy depths and wait for warmth again.

    Liked by 12 people

  28. Two Halves Make A Hole

    “Fire melts ice,” you said, holding the cube over the candle, hot wax sizzling and popping with each bead of water’s blow.

    “Ah, but ice can stop fire, too. It’s simply a matter of ratios. How much of one to the other.”

    Droplets assaulted the flame directly now. It sputtered and went out, white smoke coiling upward toward its creator.

    You laughed, shaking your fingertips free of the liquid still suspended from them, the corners of your eyes crinkling into familiar ravines. “True. Guess it’s good you’re my better half, then. Equals.”

    But were never equal. Never good. We consumed each other, each in our own way.

    You seared me.

    I drowned you.

    I give thanks now. For fire has no lasting form. Ice does. And no matter how long they search for you, they’ll never find you.

    The Phoenix births from flames’ ashes, they say.

    Not this time. This time, I rise.

    Margaret Locke
    @Margaret_Locke
    153 words
    Fire AND Ice

    Liked by 16 people

  29. Burning Ice

    You have a fever, a woman’s voice said. Here, drink this.
    Water, flowing. Clarity returns.

    Where am I?

    You are here. with us. Where did you come from?

    I remember a ship, I remember cliffs of ice towering above us. I remember walking.

    That was years ago. It is a world of fire, now. Everything is burning.

    How did I get here?

    We found you, encased in ice.

    Yes, I was walking, I remember. I stopped to pick up a rock. It looked like a meteorite. There were lines like rivers in the ice. I heard rumbling, thunder. I remember falling.

    How is she, Doc? Another voice, a man’s voice.

    She’ll be all right. The portal is shaky though. We’d better get moving, soon.

    I don’t understand, I said. What happened?

    Your world ended, years ago. We travel through time portals in the rocks. Like that one you were holding when we found you.

    156 words
    ice

    Liked by 20 people

  30. And once, we were men on a quest to conquer virgin lands.
    At the beginning, we were a party of ten, on two boats that were the horses on which we knights strode lakes and rivers and seas, laying anchor on shores and peninsulas and islands that called out to us. We surveyed the lands, set up our posts, spent a few days ashore, and even held a bonfire on the last night of our stay where we chose a name for our find. We lovingly called the last one Blue Cliff, inspired by the translucent blue cliffs of ice that framed the land on all sides. But that was before one of the cliffs spoke.
    We are now six, scared and scarred, on the sole surviving boat, and hopefully a kinder, gentler land will find us. And no, we shall never speak of what exactly happened to the other four.

    @ArvindIyer15
    Word Count – 157
    Ice Element

    Liked by 18 people

  31. The creature that sat at the foot of a drift higher than she could see was the last of its kind. Not that she knew that. What she did know was that she was dying. Not from the cold, and not from the snow, though they weren’t helping. The invisible thing that killed the rest of her pack had come through the air for her. With a shudder, she put her head on her forepaws and died. The snow did as it always does, burying her deep for years beyond counting.
    ———-
    Gunning my truck around the corner, I roared when I saw clouds of black smoke behind me. The thrill of the power was such a rush. I didn’t see the smoke rise to the upper atmosphere. I didn’t see the carbon dioxide help keep the Earth warmer. And I didn’t see the creature – with her invisible killer – emerge from the melting icecaps.

    But soon enough, I saw the end.

    160 words
    @drmag00
    Something in the air

    Liked by 13 people

  32. Visitors

    Forever is a long time to sleep alone, floating in the cold. Time has very little meaning to me anymore, but I know a lot of it has passed since the last time I felt a disturbance in my waters. But here come bodies. Warm. Soft. Small. Noisy.

    I push my limbs upwards through the ice and dark water. Eight bodies clustered tight together. Eight little hearts tapping inside their brittle shells like a creature about to be born.

    My limbs crest the surface of the water. The warmth of the sun hurts after so long in the cold.

    The bodies make a shrill sound. My limbs cut it short, dragging them and their little vessel low. Into the dark. Into the cold.

    It’s quiet and still once more. Gentle waves washing against my icy home, lulling me back to my endless forever sleep. I wait alone and dream of nothing.

    151 Words
    Ice
    @gallaetha_matt

    Liked by 16 people

  33. Pingback: Fire Ice Flash Week 1 – Project Gemini

  34. Stay With Me

    The memories of my words hung frozen in the air. We’d all tried to describe the iceberg, but none had been able to capture its sheer magnitude and beauty.
    “I’ll never be able to fit this in one photo,” Pat said.
    “I wish I could go climb it,” Clarke said.
    I heard someone call my name and whipped my head around.
    “Shh – listen.” The frozen word hung in the air for a moment. Everyone paused, looking at me.
    “What? I didn’t hear anything.” Pat started snapping away with his camera again.
    I looked around. None of the other tourists seemed to have heard it either. All were talking and taking selfies.
    The ice groaned and heaved as it started to flip over.
    “Stay with me,” the waters whispered.
    I stared into the dark depths, saw her face etched within wrinkled shadows. She smiled and then reached up to me. And knew I would never leave.

    Ice element
    Words: 158
    @CarinMarais

    Liked by 12 people

  35. The End

    Sidney had always wanted to go to the Antarctic since she was a child. It was the bleakness: the desert ice: the isolation. She hated hot weather so it seemed attractive on multiple levels. Now here she was on her fourth visit – previously she’d been meteorite hunting with the British Antarctic Survey, which had led her to opportunities monitoring glacier retreat and penguin colonies.

    Now the continent was getting warmer and it was so easy to get to that isolation was difficult: it was not what it was. Sidney resolved this would be her last trip. This stint as expedition leader to a bunch of half-arsed tourists, here to see ‘the last glacier in the Southern Hemisphere,’ was the worst.

    As they approached the terminus of the glacier she pointed up to the cave. “They call that Dragon’s Lair, but I just call it The End. Seems more appropriate.”

    Then came the beating wings of a long dormant beast.

    ____
    Fire
    WC: 160
    @zevonesque

    Liked by 14 people

  36. Clean Plate [155 words]

    “So, it’s decided,” Old Claw declared.

    More of those tasteless things floated by the den, yammering.

    “But they aren’t fat seals,” Little White lamented.

    “Look for ones with a red, white and blue patch on their coat,” suggested Mother. “They’re fatter!”

    “But all that clothing to peel,” Limper moaned.

    “True,” Old Claw admitted, “they’re difficult to eat. But when they come the seals disappear. Ice recedes. If we’re right, eating them now brings seals later.”

    Another tour boat floated closer, parka-bundled passengers entertained by guides. “Look, folks! Polar bears descending from that ice cave! Don’t worry, though. They hunt seals, not us.”

    The bears splashed loudly into the water and moved towards the inflatable.

    “Uh, I guess we ought to get moving,” the guide said, trying to start the small motor.

    The bears drew closer, filling the tourists’ iPhone screens.

    The motor sputtered but never started. It was, as expected, a terrible meal.

    Liked by 10 people

    • Lovely characterisation with the bears’ names, just right that Old Claw is the voice of wisdom, Mother has the sensible suggestion for making the best of it, the youngsters whining – an instantly recogniseable family dynamic.

      Like

  37. A Fleeting Glimpse of the Truth

    It was him, the guy standing in the lifeboat. She could tell by his stance. Enlarging the photo his dark brown eyes spoke to her more than his words and actions ever did. He truly loved her. He told her so. She’d searched for years to find him. His mother would text her every birthday and Christmas he failed to celebrate. His mother truly loved him. She would send her the photo; she’d know what to do.

    It was in an old copy of a magazine he loved to read. She’d found it at the back of the wardrobe hidden behind his hiking boots next to the survey map showing a red jagged cross. Ice ran through her veins as she tried to remember. An ice pick stabbed her heart rhythmically. He truly loved her. He told her so. That day she just didn’t believe him anymore. Then he was gone like a summer breeze. The bruises stayed longer.

    @stellakateT
    159 words
    Ice element

    Liked by 12 people

  38. The gentle lap of water against the side of the boat perhaps, lulled me to sleep.
    I heard him then. “Hush! Don’t tell.” What was he doing here?
    The nudge to my ribs was harsh; I yelped.
    “You fell asleep!” My stepmom accused, a single eyebrow raised.
    “Growpbd…” I mumbled frantically gesturing to the sky. My tongue was frozen, I must have slept with my mouth open.
    “Eh what?”
    “Groowwp…”
    She rolled her eyes. I hated family vacation. Who goes to Antarctica?
    We had stopped at the iceberg cave, the portal to our world. My father was busy tying the boat. I stretched out my tongue and tried to speak again.
    Then the fat Growpwaddle dropped from the sky right onto our boat taking us down.
    I spluttered to the surface feeling like an ice-cube.
    Stepmom bobbed beside me. “You could have warned us about your silly friend!” she yelled over the cackling of the prankster.

    @firdausp
    Word count: 156
    Ice / something in the sky

    Liked by 13 people

  39. “Check the GPS and compass again.”

    “See if we’re still sunbathing in Marrakesh?” he spits back, colder than the icebergs. “Ha! Now, we’re on the Drakensberg mountains. And the compass is still spinning faster than a politician.”

    “Right! We’ll use the sun, okay?”

    “Fine.”

    We sail…a direction lightening our spirits, and the sun is so beautiful. Although…shouldn’t it hurt to look at it? Creamy and soft…like warm blankets. There are vague shouts about a large iceberg…a cave: a we’ll crash!

    I see it now. A slit in a huge chunk of ancient ice…and something in the water, but our saviour sun is right there! So close to it now.

    ‘Oh please! I’m here…I’m coming.’

    There are screams, the tremendous crack of ice splitting, shouts of ‘it’s a mouth!’.

    But the light is so beautiful. I aim for it, pick up speed, weeping with joy as the vast, thick limb upon which my sun sits guides us home.

    @sian_ink
    Word count: 157
    Ice element.

    Liked by 13 people

  40. Last one

    Ice wailed. The crew of the Snow Queen passed around a blood-smeared can of beans.
    “I’m fine.”
    “We need to clean the wound.”
    “I said I’m fine.”
    Lifeboat hadn’t moved for hours. The air was still. Crowded with icy needles. Here on ice night switched on with a snap. They weren’t ready. A hand pointed to the cave.
    “Maybe –“
    “Are you out of your mind?”
    A breeze silenced the chatter. Forced them to cover their mouths. It reeked of decayed corpses.
    “Eww.”
    “Shh, you hear that?”
    A distant rumble escaped the cave.
    “Ice.”
    “Yeah.”
    Empty can of beans fell on the ground.
    “Last one.”
    Hungry eyes followed as it rolled to join its empty friends. Another rumble. Another corpse-filled breeze. A scrawny man retched over the boat.
    “I don’t like this.”
    “Shut up.”
    “The air –“
    “Shut it. We are not alone.”
    Fire wrapped in a shadow melted the ice.

    Snap.

    @raijori
    150 words
    Fire element

    Liked by 13 people

  41. “The Right to Cold”*
    I learned hate the day my brother fell through the ice. Hate that lodges a shard in your heart, poisoning your blood with every arterial pump. My parents and the villagers spoke of the terrible “accident.” But they knew it, too. His death wasn’t fate or bad luck. It was murder, but I’d never see his killers punished. I did not know their names or faces. But I knew their crimes, and I hated them for it.
    Ice is life. Our grandfather’s words echoed in my ears like the drums of war. Without it, our people would’ve never known the life-giving richness of the creatures swimming below. But the ice is dying, as surely as my brother turned blue and sunk to unknown depths. Their killers, the same. Poisoners of the earth and sky, living plastic, disposable lives thousands of miles away.
    They think they’re untouchable. But the ice will have her revenge when she drowns them all.

    *Credit to Sheila Watt-Cloutier, indigenous activist and inventor of this term

    Liked by 11 people

  42. “You know what it’s like to be cold Jimmy? I’m not talking about those winter days in Wisconsin. I mean deep cold, so cold your soul freezes into a small ball, so cold that mist pools on top of open water, so…”
    “Damn it Bill, you do that to every new guy.” I interrupted. “We’ve trained him up and he’s worked in plenty of cold spots before or we wouldn’t have hired him.” I turned to the kid. “Hey kid, it’s not going to be that bad. You’ll be fine. C’mon, let’s get the boat in the water.”
    Jimmy looked at Bill and subconsciously shivered. I was going to have a talk with Bill. It was hard enough recruiting photographers for this goddamned job. But the world won’t believe it without proof.
    We made our way to the zodiac. Jimmy picked up the cold weather camera and smiled. That’s when we heard the leathery wings beat the air behind us.

    @Jay_Tay_13
    160 words

    Liked by 10 people

  43. TRANSIT

    Calving – the process by which part of a glacier cleaves away to form an iceberg, growler or bergy bits:

    She thinks about this between contractions. Wills the baby to cleave from her in a rush. A growler in the birthing pool.

    Calf – back portion of the lower human leg:

    He massaged her calves for her every night in the final trimester, to stave off the cramp that woke her in the night, tiny fists of pain balled under her skin. She is inhabited by aliens.

    Calf love – another term for first love:
    She leans her head against the side of the pool. The midwife tells her to rest, she’s transitioning. And it’s true. She’s softening her edges where the water laps against her, letting go.

    Making calf eyes – an adoring look at the object of your affections:
    The baby’s lashes are long and damp and soon its ink-blue eyes will turn to brown. Every moment of life a transition.

    @RachaelDunlop
    159 words, ice

    Liked by 12 people

  44. Not Now, Any More

    “It’s nothing.” Higher pitched than Fire had heard her, he recognised the timbre. His blood froze, ice instantaneous, nails grating grooves into the chalky mortar beneath his curled fingertips.

    “Sure?”

    The boy’s breath caught and held.

    “Sure I’m sure.” The girl’s reply was pat, barely a beat betraying her. “Why would it be?”

    “Sure you’re sure, Addy?” Stepping around the corner from the brick, Fire met her dark eyes with his own, keeping them somewhat, somehow, steady. Soon, salt would fall, to flow. Still, he ignored the group gathered around her, though they were silent, watching, players played. He had shown her how to swim against the tide. Tension teased the moment, airborne back and forth, before Addy blinked, breaking their gaze.

    Fire sighed. “Fair dos. Your choice, I guess.” He shook his head. “And you had one,” he added, helplessly. His head turned before he could gauge any reaction. He suspected it didn’t matter. Not now, any more, anyway.

    @FallIntoFiction

    160 words
    Ice

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh Addy, you silly girl. I’ve read this several times over, looking for clues as to what she’s agreed to and I’m still unsure, but the palpable sense of menace is enough to make me sad for her. Great touch that Fire seems so regretful too, but she had her chance to say no.

      Like

  45. The Last Redoubt

    Zira stood chewing plankton jerky, killing time. She already knew the ‘berg was melting, but if the passengers aboard The Greta thought the survey dinghy was returning too soon they’d riot. Three thousand people fighting onboard a 500-berth ship… No thanks. So she waited.

    But every failed survey whispered of things lost beneath the waters; Dogs. Bookstores. Sunlit leaves. Even if they hadn’t been distracted by the virus when the waves came, there was nowhere to go. Taking to the seas just delayed the inevitable by one miserable decade.

    She looked down at the icy water. Would the old world reach up to catch her? She closed her eyes. Thought of grass. Stepped forwards…

    Then Rochette screamed. Zira turned, guilty, but he was looking up to something new in the sky, a bird too small to traverse the limitless waters.

    A nesting bird.

    Zira watched it as she raced her team to the dinghy, willing it to lead them home.

    @Karl_A_Russell
    160 words
    Everything in the water
    Hope in the air

    Liked by 10 people

  46. The Awakening

    Are you sure this is a good idea? Dean said.

    The four men were standing in the dinghy, flamethrowers in hand, but their heart sinking into their stomach. One spike of ice can already be intimidating, let alone a mountain full of them.

    It needs to be woken up, Jerry said. It’s been way too long. The people need their 150 to 160 word flash fiction back. The writers maybe even more. They’ve been craving for it for years. Remember that Bart Van Goethem guy? With his meta stuff? He’ll be one happy chap.

    Dean didn’t seem to be too sure. Not about the flamethrowers and certainly not about Bart Van Goethem’s stories.

    C’mon guys, let’s melt this sucker and liberate the beast, Jerry said.

    Behind them a bubble popped at the surface. Then two. The men didn’t get the time to turn around and wonder what that otherworldly rumble was that shot up from the deep.

    @bartvangoethem
    Word count: 157
    Something in the water

    Liked by 9 people

  47. Octave in Ice

    “It’s a singing night!” you announce.
    We climb the ice under curtains of light. On the shelf, our heartbeats echo the glacier’s pulse, our lips trace her whispered song.

    Terrible howls dragged across the bay. Dead fish washed ashore. Villagers brought orphans to the Red Adept for selection.

    A whine reaches us, a sound so tiny it’s a tickle in my jawbone.
    “A boat!” We clamber down to the tablestones.

    The Red Adept navigated the floes. The glacial wall rose above, teethed in uncalved bergs. In the bow, a child huddled in furs.

    The boat’s a red blur, then a white streak. Left behind, a furry squiggle slows into the shape of a girl. She’s a knowing one, like us. We teach her the song.

    On the quay, the adept scowls against the squall. Interminable wails, louder than ever.

    We know heat is betrayal, the singe of rejection. But Mother’s kisses are cool. We lullaby together in her snowy arms.

    Nancy Chenier
    160 words
    Fire Element: something in the air
    @ncscrawls

    Liked by 8 people

    • So many chilling contrasts here–the red against the ice, the rejecting warmth against the loving cool (LOVE how you flipped that), the uncalved ice against the “birthed” rejected girl. It’s a harrowing, horrifying scene, vocal and visceral. Nicely done. (Of course I’m hoping the sequel features a harrowing, horrifying scene of revenge of the girls with their magic 😀 )

      Liked by 1 person

    • With the apocalyptic imagery of the opening paragraphs, I was waiting for the sacrifice to meet a grisly, glacial end, but you subverted expectations and finished up with a beautifully tender image. Fantastic.

      Liked by 1 person

  48. Frozen Air

    In a dinghy under the sheer cliffs of a glacier we searched for survivors. We all pointed at the holes, planned searches of the ice caves. Never did we think that it was in the air itself.

    My crew all went in the same way, one by one. First their eyes would freeze, their stares fixed into the distance as their screams began. Then their noses would fill with ice, their lips would harden, crack and then break before the frost worked along their tongue, changing their screams into something more horrible as its edge deadened and it went flat. Finally their throats were closed and the screaming ended alongside their life. Before their bodies rested lifeless, all this ice thawed and evaporated as if never there.

    Once only I remained, my ear turned cold and I heard them.

    A cold, hard whisper chilled me to my core and told me to leave. “We are here now. Never return.”

    159 Words
    Fire Element
    @jamesatkinson81

    Liked by 9 people

  49. The boat cleaves softly through the Arctic water, rocking gently.
    Frozen, spiteful air is beginning to gnaw through her coat.
    Billy doesn’t seem to mind. Billy would, he had proudly told her, have been happy in a T-shirt.
    He jabs a pink, ungloved finger at a hollow crevice in the side of an iceberg. ‘Lookit mommy! Do you think something hatched from there?’
    She smiles mysteriously, and says ‘Maybe’ in her special mothering voice.
    Billy likes that. He points out some birds next. And then-
    ‘Mommy, what’s that in the water?’
    She peers over the side. The ocean is a churning mass of black and green, so deep and clear it almost looks like living glass. The dull reflection of the boat ripples on its surface.
    So does hers. So does her son’s.
    And so does something else’s. An inch to her right, where no one else is standing.
    Something so much colder than the air closes around her throat.

    @250Fiction
    160 words
    Ice Element: something in the water

    Liked by 11 people