Fire&Ice: Sol 14/19

§ Foy says: On Saturday, NASA and SpaceX plan to launch a spacecraft dubbed “Resilience” in a second Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station. Go-time is set for 7:49 p.m. ET—well past bedtime for dragon hatchlings!—but with two solar-obsessed offspring, I foresee normalcy being scrubbed. 😀 

Speaking of launching, we’ve had mischief brewing here at Fire&Ice! ICYMI, Rebekah announced Monday that our submissionswindow to be featured as one of our Flash! Future authors is now OPEN to YOU.

Find guidelines here (with the What & the Where to submit) and please note that the deadline is November 20. Each of you has helped carry us through the end of 2020, and we couldn’t be more grateful! It would be our joy to share you and your words with the world. ❤    

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


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 an original story 1) based on the photo prompt and 2) including EITHER the fire dragon or ice dragon‘s 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 dragon’s element, and word count. That’s it!

Be sure to review the contest rules here.


JUDGES: Today’s judges are Nancy Chenier and David Shakes. Check out their bios on the Fire&Ice Judges page.



Each Fire&Ice prompt includes 1) a photo, 2) a required element (choose between the fire dragon or ice dragon’s offering), and 3) a specific word count. Your story must include all three requirements to be eligible to win.

Photo for Sol 14/19


“Sampling Pit.” Atacama Desert, Chile. Photo by NASA Ames. Read description here.

Fire & Ice Prompt

Required elements:

Fire dragon option: Include a statistician


Ice dragon option: Include an optimist

Today’s word count: 103 exactly

163 thoughts on “Fire&Ice: Sol 14/19

  1. A Tuesday morning.

    Blue skies out the window. Blue skies In his eyes. He touches my arm, says words I don’t hear. Numbers I can’t comprehend. Passes a tissue, I didn’t know I needed. I see them. There in his eyes. The people I know, the people I love, the ones that count. Looking at me. Expecting me to do something. To make it better. To fix what’s wrong. He reels off dates, statistics, holds my hands. Asks about mother, her mother. Like a slide show animation, they are there waving, smiling. He still talks numbers, risks, support groups. I smile, holding on. Waiting to leave.

    103 words

    Liked by 12 people

  2. A Hole in Wonder

    “How long, Carlos? It’s getting late. I should be heading home. Griselda can be impatient…”

    “Santos, my friend, you can always go home. This…this moment…this is one for the ages.”

    “I am confused. You say, one for the ages, but all I see is…a pit.”

    “Yes. A pit. A gaping orifice in the earth. But within this magnificent aperture, we might just see the story of time itself. The beginning.”

    “The beginning? What do you mean, Carlos? What beginning?”

    “You. Me. The creatures of the land. The fish in the sea. All we survey. The sky!”

    “Ah, Carlos. But dinner. What about dinner?”

    Ice dragon option: Include an optimist
    Today’s word count: 103 exactly

    Liked by 12 people

  3. Divine Calculation

    “Looks like you were wrong.”

    Alec pores over his charts. “This was definitely the spot.” He turns to Jackson. “You definitely dug 14.23 metres?”

    “Yes. All for nothing.”

    “At least we’ve dug out useable clay. 43.579 pi cubic metres, to be exact.”

    “Pie? I thought we were looking for water.” Jackson laughs. “That’s where we’ve been going wrong, lads.” The others are all silent.

    Alec lies on his belly and shines a torch deep into the pit.

    Jackson taps his foot. “What now?”

    “We wait and watch.”

    They all follow Alec’s beam of light. It picks up the tiniest rivulet of liquid silver.

    103 words (I’m hoping that numbers count as words!)
    Fire Dragon: Statistician and Ice Dragon: Optimist

    Liked by 13 people


    The apple shrank to the size of a plum, a cherry, a pomegranate seed…

    Professor Young’s voice broke the silence as, unblinking, they gawped at the brown pip that remained.

    ‘I knew it!’

    He shook the wrinkled map gripped in his fist.

    ‘The Mythical Waterless Well of Eternal Youth!’

    ‘Stop, Professor –’

    Too late. He had scrambled down.

    Before their eyes, his beard darkened and retracted. He became student, teen, child, baby, diminishing to a mere smear on the rock.

    His lunchbox was all that was left of him.

    ‘We’re gonna need an empty TicTac box and a long stick,’ said a voice.

    103 words
    Ice Dragon: Optimist

    Liked by 15 people

  5. Exit Strategy

    ‘Wind levels below 10mph. Probability of success 97… Wait, what’s that?’

    The meerkats rise to their hind legs, eyes fixed on the shadows above.

    ‘Humans! Scatter!’

    Gloved hands descend into the pit.

    ‘My cousin’s in a zoo. I’ve never met a sadder kat. I can’t do it. I won’t.’

    ‘Put the gun down, Gary. It’s not the way. Maeve, will it lift us all?’

    ‘Probability of success dropping- low fifties.’

    ‘Still good odds. Everyone in.’

    ‘T-minus, now!’

    Engines roar.

    ‘Hold me, Derek.’

    ‘Hold me back, Barbara.’

    Human hats and glasses scatter as the rocket climbs.

    ‘And you can keep your global warming, too!’

    Fire Dragon: Statistician
    Word Count: 103, of course! 🙂

    Liked by 10 people

  6. Danse Macarbe
    The consultant’s words soared like the opening sequence of her acclaimed Nutcracker, ‘We removed the tumour, but…’

    A but, from an optimist!
Her smile sank gracefully to his stage, part of his chorus. ‘How long?’ 

    He misunderstood. ‘I’d say a year.’
    To dance?’

    The space behind his eyes told her. Not even that.

    She scheduled everything in meticulous detail: the anniversary of her promotion to principal.
Standing by the bridge this audience was sparse: a sea-sharp wind deterred all but the hardy. One gasp as once 5000 had, following her jump.
The swirling currents enveloped her in one final rapturous acclaim.
    103 words

    Ice dragon option: optimist


    Liked by 11 people

  7. Buffet by numbers

    Put a big hole in the middle of nowhere. People will always look.
    They wouldn’t if they knew we were down here.
    Well, one of us is.

    7 adults.
    Average : 11 stone. The 2 females much lighter.
    Combined: 77 stone or 488.973 kilograms for you youngsters.
    Chance of being conscious after fall – 15% based on trial and error.
    Time to consume: 2 hours for the first. Much slower for subsequent meals. ( My therapist always said I need to savour the moment.)

    Don’t look behind you now, folks !

    Obviously, I’ll check the temperature before consumption.
    Nobody wants a Covid buffet. I’m not a savage.

    Fire dragon option – statistician
    103 words (I counted each number as a word- hope that’s right )

    Liked by 12 people


    “It probably fell in and couldn’t get out.”

    “What is it?”

    “Isn’t it obvious? Look at the shape and size. It’s a bear.”

    “Wait, it’s moving. The blanket is sliding on the floor.”

    “Oh My God!”

    “What’s HE doing here?”

    “Well it got canceled, didn’t it?”

    “Don’t just stand around. Get the rope ladder.”

    “We’ve got to get him out. There’s only a month left.”

    “I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if we hadn’t found him.”

    “We’re going to save the year. Think of all the children if—.”

    “Shush! I don’t even want to speculate about that scenario.”

    “Good afternoon, dear Santa.”

    @esthervdheuvel1 @Hills1S
    Word Count: 103
    Ice Dragon: optimist 🎅🏻

    Liked by 11 people

  9. Meat Soup

    Matias waited until the desert astronauts left for the night.

    It was Benji who dared him to go look into the pit, to see if Alonso de Ercilla was right that no bird, beast, nor tree or any vegetation existed there.

    His sandals crunched on the dry soil to nobody in particular.

    At the pit, he saw footprints from the astronauts, his own small within their frame. Dry or not, he slipped with a scream only the lichen, fungi and bacteria at the bottom heard.

    One way of looking at it, is that it was their first moist snack in a long time.

    Word count: 103 words.
    Element: Ice.

    Liked by 12 people

  10. The Numbers Game

    Jack squeezed the life from the snake, hurled it at the trio of boxes.

    “Better get moving Jackie-boy! You got about two minutes before you’re paralysed.”

    Jack looked up at the pit mouth, Peterson and his crew silhouetted against the Nevada sun. He swore at the Casino Boss and opened a random box, fingers already turning numb.
    He found himself staring down at Mary Peterson, looking a lot less lively than she had in his motel room.

    “You found the lady!”

    He closed the box softly.

    “Sorry babe.”

    Two boxes. One holding antivenom, one rigged to blow.

    Jack smiled.

    He liked those odds.

    103 words
    An optimist

    Liked by 10 people

  11. The Hold Searching Society

    45% of holes have something in them. I’ve crunched the numbers. Often it’s history of some kind. Treasures of many kinds. So I assembled a team, began to search.

    Maths geeks don’t normally do this sort of thing and it took a bit of getting used to. Somethings, though, I’ll never get used to.

    Our first body was so tiny, a baby, and so well preserved despite its ancient age. I remember us sitting about, silently hovering over her, tears in our eyes, each imagining a different scenario that ended this way. A life unlived until its death discovered and its story told.

    103 Words
    Fire dragon option: Include a statistician

    Liked by 10 people

  12. A sudden scream pierced the blue sky momentarily followed by an ominous silence broken only by quiet insatiable scribbling. Joe after the initial shock of his fall wasn’t worried about the impending wait for there was no doubt about them finding him eventually. The coordinates for all the sampling pits were all clearly marked, even this relatively new one.

    Joe was oblivious to time as he catalogued the new rocks and minerals. Shadows over his page made him glance up into the faces of the team. Happily it would still take time to fetch the equipment to haul him and the finds out.

    (Ice, 103 words @lindorfan)

    Liked by 11 people

  13. ~ Seedling ~

    Three hundred years, eight months, fifteen days and twenty hours.

    He’d calculated.

    That’s how long it would take for the seeds to grow into seedlings – tiny, young versions of the glorious galaxies they’d eventually be.

    Each seed, procured from the Inventor Colony in Alpha Centauri, would be nurtured by generations of scientists on Earth.

    Cultivated in indigenously developed Galactic Pits, astronauts would ferry the grown seedling and plant it in space, where in a few million years, it would mature into full-blown galaxy.

    It was an intricate, cumbersome process but he was fine with it.

    The universe took longer to build itself.


    103 Words (excluding title)
    A mix of statistician/optimist

    Liked by 11 people

  14. A-Hole

    As the seven of them gazed into the inky depths of the newly-drilled hole, Jessica fidgeted.

    “It’s not enough, is it? We should go deeper.”

    “Relax, it’s perfect.” Domingo gave her a shoulder a squeeze. “This’ll work, trust me.”

    “Yeah, Jess.” Juan nudged her. “Your hole’s plenty deep.”

    Jessica ignored his laughter, his leering gaze. She grit her teeth and sighed. Fucking tequila…

    “Who goes in?” said Samuel.

    “You guys can,” said Juan. “I already know my way around Jess’s hole.”

    As the six of them made their way back to camp, Domingo broke the silence. “So we’ll just say that Juan slipped?”

    Ice dragon
    103 words

    Liked by 9 people

  15. Oh, I always knew! I knew you’d be here!

    Aunt Jeannie, and Loraine, and Uncle Billy, look at you! Look at you all.

    I’ve pictured this so, so many times! I just can’t believe it. But there you are. Just let me get up there…

    Charlie, I always regretted I didn’t tell you how much I admire you, how much you changed my life.

    It is so good to see all of your faces. So I can tell you each how much I love…


    “He’s got a pulse!”

    “Sir? Can you hear me?”


    Wait! Billy? Loraine?

    “We thought we’d lost you.”


    103 words

    Liked by 12 people

    • That feeling of being wrenched away (again!) before you have a chance to tell someone passed you love them! Celebration for the living but perhaps not for the returned. Lovely story, Betsy.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Optimistic

    “Oh, shit… My head hurts… Where am I? It looks like some kind of hole under the ground… Last thing I remember I was comfortably on my way to… Wait… The engine broke down… Right, that was it… I swerved to the left… There was a blue planet… I must’ve lost consciousness when I entered its atmosphere… Guess I should be happy I survived the impact… Wait, something’s coming closer… Seven creatures… Staring down at me… Let me scan them… Humans? Oh, boy, just my luck. One of them is even smiling at me. That’s a tad optimistic. I’ll take him out first.”

    103 words
    Ice dragon: optimist

    Liked by 9 people

  17. Fuzzy after the Fall

    I love waking in the morning – feeling my consciousness moving from ‘out to lunch’ to ‘back in the driver’s seat.’ Absolutely thrilling to have yet another day to possibly change the world!

    Yet….Transition moving slowly today.

    Head pounding, eyes dry and scratchy.
    Where is my pillow? This feels like rock under my head?
    Mouth tastes of old nails and bad pennies.
    Good dental hygiene was performed last night?
    Fingers, toes, everything in between? No data available.
    I can’t feel my….?


    “Are you OK down there?”
    “Warren, speak to us!”
    “He’s not moving!”
    “Someone call 911!”

    Why don’t I remember the fall?

    103 words
    Ice Dragon Optimist

    Liked by 9 people

  18. Interstate

    The sinkhole had appeared in the middle of the interstate overnight, and swallowed a semi. A road crew was dispatched.

    Ray, the foreman, climbed down to investigate. They heard scrabbling, a splash, then nothing.

    Ray! Can you hear me, Ray! Their faces peered over the edge.

    Ray looked up at the cloudless blue sky. Where was the interstate? He was surrounded by green fields. A woman in armor was riding a brown horse.

    I knew it was a portal of some kind, Ray thought. I wonder where I am?

    The woman on the horse waved at him. He waved back and followed her.

    103 words

    Liked by 12 people

  19. Title: Statistically Speaking

    “What do you think? Tomb?”
    “Yeah, tomb.”
    “Gotta be.”
    “What else could it be but a tomb?”
    “Just think… We could have discovered a previously unknown tomb! Wow, all those incredible artifacts.”
    “We could make a fortune from museums bidding on them.”
    “Yeah, man, we could be, like, I have my own colony on Mars rich.”
    “I feel compelled to point out that, statistically speaking, if this is a tomb, there is a high probability that it has already been looted. Uh, guys? No, guys, wait! Don’t push me… Arrrrgggghhh!”
    “Statistically speaking, what are the odds he survived that?”
    “Don’t know.”
    “Who cares?”

    Fire dragon option (statistician)
    WC: 103

    Liked by 11 people

  20. Opti-mist Incorporated ™


    Dear weary 2020 traveller in life.
    There is a huge hole in your life. We can see it. Everyone can see it.
    We exist, ahem, to fill your hole.
    Are you fed up with leaders who have unnaturally orange skin?
    Do you dream of governments who aren’t killing people by making stuff up?

    Opti-mist Inc™ will fix this for you.
    With our Opti-mist 365 Daily Diet and Workout you can forget all these troubles.

    But that’s not all!
    No, the book also comes exclusively with instructions on how to ignore social media, switch off the news and go outside.

    Yours for 103 words.


    103 words

    Liked by 13 people

  21. ‘There’s someone behind you!’ Widow Twankey cried to the crowd, lifting up voluminous skirts—cheekily displaying bloomers.
    ‘They can’t see you,’ hissed Baron Hardup.
    ‘Oh, yes they can!’ The Widow glared from under three inches of face paint.
    ‘Oh, no they…
    ‘Jesus!’ Cursed the Princess, waving her arms in desperation.’
    ‘Ooh! I am knickered!’ The Widow screeched, elbowing the Baron in the ribs.
    ‘Shut up!’ Screamed the Princess, startling them both. ‘Before you say you meant knickered, because your breath is coming in short pants! Look! DO SOMETHING!’
    Shrieking and pointing for all their worth—the crowd finally looked down.

    103 words

    Liked by 9 people

  22. Oops (Title)

    The whole crew clustered around the hole, like a shaft, dropping down into the dark, dark earth.
    The team leader prepped the charge, primed it and dropped.
    After long moments a dull thud echoed up the hole that had appeared suddenly a few weeks before.
    Having been dispatched to investigate, the five male and two female crew leaned in, interested in preliminary results.
    Long minutes passed without reaction. Then a trembling began.

    With the rumbling of a thousand hungry bellies, flashing masses of teeth appeared. Seemingly closing up the dark pit, Larry quipped “Well fellas, odds are we are all about to die.”

    Fire Dragon: Statistician
    Word Count is 103

    Liked by 6 people

  23. Quick Time

    We’ll open it on my fortieth, Rob had said.

    The teenagers had laughed and buried the box, sailing it across time toward an unimaginably distant shore.

    They now stood on that shore. Around them were whispers from the past – old CDs, teen magazines, a Windows 95 t-shirt.

    And a photo of themselves – all smiles, hope and Rachel hair.

    Oddly, they were all hairier now. Well, apart from Jill, because of the treatment.

    “We’ll do it again,” said Jill suddenly. She placed her smartwatch into the empty box, then looked hard at the others. They nodded.

    “We’ll open it on my sixtieth,” she said.

    103 words
    Ice Dragon

    Liked by 8 people

  24. Everyone clustered around the dig site as the drill spun down. The analysts had come out to watch, which meant I could reach over and hold Cassie’s hand.

    “This could be it.”

    “At the low end of the Drake equation there’s still an infinitesimal chance of finding life,” Cassie replied.

    “Do you ever wonder why we’re afraid of the dark?” Robert stared downwards. “It’s not the lack of light, it’s what it could hide.”

    The final layer broke away. “Looks like a dud.”

    “Wait, something’s moving,” one of the techs yelled.

    As points of light appeared in the darkness I clutched Cassie’s hand.

    103 words
    Fire dragon: a statistician

    Liked by 7 people

    • Even an “infinitesimal chance” is still a chance and what if that life isn’t friendly? Love how you capture this very human sentiment in a simple hand squeeze.


  25. Cave Half-Full

    “Okay, calm down. everyone! Think.” I much preferred Dan as second-in-command.

    “We’re all fraked, Dan. He’s the only one with gear to get us outta this hellhole,” Dave stuffs his hands in his pockets. Empty.

    “Look, there’s no way to see if you’re all crowding out the only source of light.”

    “Possible he landed on his pack.” Lydia knelt.

    “Hook that lantern.” I react. “Lower it in.” That’s when I realize, I’m now second-in-command.

    He’s the best spelunker, I know.” Lydia’s light falters. “He might be clinging,” one last flicker, “partway down.”

    But the rest of us just can’t see the cave half-full.

    103 words
    The icy optimist

    Liked by 6 people

    • What a terrifying situation! I think I’d cling to hope, too, however irrational.

      “I much preferred Dan as second-in-command.” –> Really like how you’ve slipped in group dynamics in subtle hints like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. His parents smiled when Billy told them he was going to dig his way to China. “Just don’t dig up my rose bushes!”

    Billy didn’t dig up the rose bushes, but he did dig, and for much longer than anyone had expected. Years after people grew out of childish fancy, when they learned about the Earth’s molten core, he’d come home after school and dig for hours.

    When he graduated, he got a job digging holes, but no matter how hard he worked during the day, he returned to his backyard hole at night.

    And he never did dig up the rose bushes.

    103 words
    Ice dragon: optimist

    Liked by 5 people

  27. The Gambler

    Odds were that Carl the adrenaline-junkie would go first, or maybe Stan our hitch-hiker friend. Jed obsessively washed his hands, so no one thought it’d be him. Everyone loved Allen and Angie, who still drove the flower-painted van they’d bought in ‘78. Franklin always sneezed and ran low-grade fevers. Jenesee was the recluse; I was shocked to see her there.

    Odds were that I’d be last; I’d kept the records, plotted the odds, counted the numbers, laid the royal flush. Yet here I lay. I’d shot the moon; now my window leaked the sun, and the faces of my friends pitied the gambler.

    Word Count: 103
    Prompt: A statistician of sorts

    Liked by 6 people

      • Thanks, ma’am! 🙂 I admit to asking my husband for help with poker terminology, since I’ve never played. “What’s that thing where you win everything? Like… you lay down some cards and you get all the money?” *Stares. “A royal flush?” “That’s the one!” 😉


  28. Butterfly Wing

    My shadow stretches out, hurrying before me to the crash site.


    Mind racing with possibilities.

    My existence = 1 in 10 2,685,000

    That’s basically zero.

    Yet, here I stand at the edge of another improbability.

    The hole is deeper than seems possible.

    The asteroid actually hitting Earth was 0.41%.

    Another zero.

    Another cigarette burns.

    Two zeros x together = something unknowable.

    Tension envelops as we gather. Tabitha ignites a flare.

    Falling, a crimson hot star seeking reassurance.

    Illuminating an eye bigger than seems possible.

    Whose existence = 10 septillion.

    The slowest blink.

    A pupil that isn’t possibly real.

    Begins to come closer.

    103 words

    Liked by 7 people

  29. A Key Event in the Desert

    The desert heat was eating away at the not-so intrepid explorers. The Toyota Landcruiser, a few metres away, tantalised them with its air-con.

    Daniel looked at Sadie, who looked mightily annoyed. The others hadn’t seen Daniel throw the keys, but had worked out what happened.

    ‘What we going to do?’ Asked Pete.

    ‘We better go fishing.’ Said Suzi.

    They all looked into the giant hole. They could see the glint of the keys at the bottom.

    ‘We got anything we can use?’

    Suzi shrugged. ‘If I unwind my top into thread and use a hair grip I’ll be able to fish them out.’

    Ice Dragon: Suzi the Optimist

    Liked by 7 people

  30. *The First Thread*

    Just because the sun rose for a million yesterdays doesn’t entail it rising tomorrow—and the sun’s eye only penetrated so far.

    Overnight, a crooked finger of air had plumbed the bedrock like it was pudding, opening an irregular column. When people threw things in, no one heard anything hit the bottom. A geologist came to measure it— months later, he hadn’t finished.

    It grew clear the aperture traversed the earth’s core like an apple stem. Statisticians debated each other on the news, the sheer unlikeliness of an infinite cavity competing with growing evidence—and that was before the voices emerged from it.

    Word Count: 103
    Fire Dragon: Statisticians

    Liked by 7 people

  31. “Pitfalls”

    Two days wandering in the desert.
    Low on supplies.
    Gathered around the murky pit, we three:
    the optimist,
    the statistician,
    and me.

    The optimist peered into the abyss.
    “I’ll bet there’s water down there. If I jump just right, I’ll miss
    those rocks, and land with a graceful splash.”

    The statistician looked at him askance.
    “Are you crazy? Do you really think you can chance
    a foolhardy dive?
    I calculate your odds of staying alive at—”

    Two shoves with my boot.
    One bone-crunching crash.
    I now stood, alone.
    “Oh look!
    Two abandoned backpacks.
    Enough food and water to see me home.”

    Liked by 5 people

    • “Gathered around the murky pit, we three:
      the optimist,
      the statistician,
      and me.”

      I like how immediately it feels important–sinister!–that we aren’t told who this “me” is…are they the idealist…the killer…the survivalist? Sets up the ending well.


  32. Treasure

    “Big hole.”
    “How did it get here?”
    “What do you think is down there?”
    “Guarding his treasure.”
    “His treasure?”
    “Like in that there Hobbit book.”
    “You don’t really believe…”
    “Then jump down and get it!”
    “Not a Hobbit.”
    “Oh, come on!”
    “Any of y’all Hobbits?”
    “Nope!” “Nah!” “Huh-uh!”
    “Treasure? That dragon will be putty in my hands.”
    “You ain’t a Hobbit. Dragon’ll roast you.”
    “I’m going down there and get some treasure,” he said and jumped into the hole.
    They heard a scream and stepped back. Fire belched out of the hole.
    “Told him he wasn’t no Hobbit.”

    Ice Dragon: Optimist
    103 words exactly

    Liked by 5 people

  33. The First Question

    One in a million.

    That’s what I thought when I met Anna in Freshman Statistics. Half the class asked me homework questions, but never her. Mathematics. Biology. Geology. Everything came as naturally to Anna as a smile.

    Though I earned high marks, after graduation one question lingered. Unanswered. Unasked.

    They say your odds of making astronaut are one in ten thousand, but Anna had a future in mind. A vision of a new world.

    So did I.

    Now here we are on Mars. What are the odds?

    What are my odds?

    One in seven.

    If I can just ask her that one question.

    103 words
    A statistician

    Liked by 7 people

  34. The pit’s half empty.

    Dry air, feathers. A plucked chicken flutters overhead.

    “Dinner?” says Chez.

    “Not yet.” Bree picks her teeth with a razor talon.



    You’d think it was tourist season, the way the people strain to see the bottom. In the shadows fourteen feet below, furry bodies scurry. Snarl.

    “Back up, people.” Chez thrusts the crowd back.

    “Show’s on the hour.” Bree scoffs. “Freaking virgins.”

    “Think they’ll ever get out?” A man named Fred wipes his glasses, settles them on his fat nose.

    “Eventually,” says Chez.

    “In good time.” Bree flashes a toothy smile.

    Come morning, the pit’s half full.

    Ice dragon requirement: include an optimist

    Liked by 4 people

  35. The Package
    by Joey To

    The hole was deep enough.

    His grip tightened, the thick gloves scrunching the clear packaging. Inside was the letter. No, he shouldn’t read it again. That’s why he put on the suit and walked all the way here.

    But he stared at it as red sand hit his face-shield.

    He read it again. He had reserve oxygen, he had time.

    And then again.

    And again.

    The letter didn’t change, of course, just re-affirmed the obvious. She was gone.

    He sighed, dropped the letter into the hole, then backfilled it.

    Perhaps one day they will— The hole was deep enough, but not too deep.


    Word count: 103
    Required Element: ice dragon, an optimist (admittedly not much of one).


    Liked by 5 people

  36. Tools of the Trade

    You sure it’s down there?

    Where else could it be? We’ve checked every backpack. Everyone’s checked their cars. It’s got to be down there.

    Are you sure you didn’t leave it at the hotel?

    No, I remember glancing at it before we took the last set of samples.

    Surely you would have heard it fall?

    OK, you two. We can’t just keep standing here, talking. We have limited daylight. So, what’s the plan?

    All I know is I need my phone. It has all my notes from —

    Their conversation was interrupted by the sound of Luis Fonsi’s “Sola” rising from the pit.

    word count: 103
    ice dragon element: an optimist

    Liked by 4 people

  37. Hibernation was over. Then, overnight the dunes shifted, submerging him. He yawned but his stomach rumbled.

    Hear that? Carl said excitedly.
    What? Jen gritted her teeth.
    Thunder. Rain. Water! Carl grinned.
    Jen sighed at the clear sky. This treasure-hunt-disaster couldn’t end soon enough. If they didn’t find water soon she’d —
    Waterhole! Carl shrieked.
    The sides of the crater were slimy.
    There might even be gold, Carl grinned dropping a rope.

    His jaw hurt from the prolonged yawn, saliva collected at the back of his throat. Maybe he’d let them reach his gold-molar to hear their delighted squeals. He so enjoyed a happy meal.

    Exactly 103 words/ optimist

    Liked by 5 people

  38. Sol 14 is now closed! Thank you so much to all who entered–we’ll see you, as always, for Sunday’s Flash! Future, and Monday’s contest results. Thank you!


  39. Pingback: #FireIceFlash, week 14/19 – Project Gemini


    Any splognoop can trip and tumble into a wormhole.

    It takes a special kind of splognoop to trip and tumble into a wormhole when your species doesn’t wear shoes.

    But the specialist of the special splognoopii? We spend the transport in telling ourselves that today—when Boss is in for a progress check, and we’ve been tapped to lead because this is *our* area of expertise, and Galactic Alliance Grants is vetting applicants, we. will not. trip. and tumble. into the wormhole.

    Got this!

    Somehow, I take out several human observers, setting off an intergalactic war as I trip and tumble into a wormhole.

    103 words!
    Former Optimist?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Laughed out loud!! Isn’t that just how intergalactic wars work. 😀 Such fun worldbuilding—and “former optimist,” though technically not part of the story, made for a comedically tragic finish. Tightly constructed, and I absolutely LOVE the repetition of “tumble into the wormhole” which gave the story such a fun near-rhythm. What a fun & fresh read.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. She’d started digging because it gave her post-battle mind somewhere to go, and she used the dragonscale because–. Well.

    Hey, Dragon-claw, give us a smile!

    Early on, she’d stop, shade her eyes, oblige.

    Hey, Dragon-claw, want a boyfriend?

    Nowadays she just ignores them.

    Hey, Dragon-claw, find any treasure?

    Sometimes they start digging too. (Never for long.)

    Hey, Dragon-claw, you think you’re better than us!?

    Somebody hurls a –knife? She laughs, keeps digging.

    Time curls past.

    –Dragon-claw?? you still down there??

    She pauses, looks up from a dragon’s length down. For a moment the falling flowers wreath her hair like a crown.

    –103 belated ineligible words
    Ice dragon: gawking optimists

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, that final image is breath-taking…

      I love her dedication, her persistence, in the face of objectification, pedestaling, and then, of course inevitably, attack and derision. Soldier on, Dragon-claw. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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