Fire&Ice: Sol 18/19

§ Foy says: Just yesterday was Sol 1; we were soaring into clear skies, the wind beneath us, fire in our throats, and all the demons of 2020 to devour. In the blink of a dragon’s third eyelid, we find ourselves here, Sol 18, demons dispelled, flames preserved to a low glow in the belly, and the final descent with our beloved dragon judges Betsy StreeterKarl A. Russell begun. Over the past 17 weeks, y’all have written (more than!) 112,000 shimmery new words, explored unfamiliar genres, and introduced us to characters both freshly-birthed and long-ago hatched. We’ve found joy in all of it! Thank you. ♥

Next week is the Fire&Ice FINALE spectacular. Special judges. Special challenges. Special prizes. We can’t wait to see you!           

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 Karl Russell and Betsy Streeter. 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 18/19

Joy. Pompidou Centre, Paris. CC3.0 photo by Rupert Menneer.

Fire & Ice PromptRequired elements:

Fire dragon option: Include a chef


Ice dragon option: Include an interstellar voyager

Today’s word count: 81 exactly

80 thoughts on “Fire&Ice: Sol 18/19

  1. So, Sous Chef Me

    “I used to brag I was a chef. Fancied up my resume. Put on airs. Truth is, I was strictly short-order. Gave an honest day’s work, though. My specialty? Omelettes. Louis Smollett, he owned the Fried Brains, kept on saying, Johnny, nobody eats omelettes at midnight. Cook something else. Burgers. I told him, what I do, a little onion, mushroom, cream cheese If I got it and the kicker, anchovies. Stir ‘em up with three, four eggs, its like an orgasm.”

    Fire dragon option: a chef
    81 words

    Liked by 10 people

  2. Like Lucy

    Like Lucy. Do you remember her stall? She’d offer psychiatric help for 5c. Well they come to me, I don’t even have a sign. Just cooking on my stall. Yet somehow they come. The old. The young. The inbetween. I cook and listen. They eat. Sometimes. Mostly they talk. To the scent of frying onions. The smell of garlic, spices. Spill their hearts upon my skillet. Hot and raw. I turn the meat. Add the oil. The que longer, each day.

    Fire dragon: a chef
    81 words

    Liked by 13 people

  3. Wet cardboard

    He’s gathered. Piled. Stacked. Carefully placed. His home. For one night, at least.

    He shuts out the light. The twinkle of Christmas reflected in puddles. The twinkle of a life once lived.

    All look but none see. Empty boxes filled with life. A life that brought joy, brought celebration.

    Hands reach into the makeshift home. The coffee smells just as sweet as he remembers.

    He knows he is safe here. For one night, at least.

    Wet cardboard is easier to crush.

    Fire dragon: a chef
    81 words

    Liked by 14 people

  4. Renzo mio amico.
    If you could see me now. Chasing the shadows of your ancestors. My feet tracing their steps. My heart beating in their space.
    These streets are alive. I feel its rhythms as it swells and heaves under the weight of a thousand smiles.
    Sweet smells weaving a tempting tapestry and I feel such joy that I can barely breathe.
    How have I not lived before? Not danced to the melody of a city?
    How I yearn to stay.

    81 words
    Interstellar voyager

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Cardboard Empires

    Morning commuters and black umbrellas congaed by Fidget’s spot.

    Yet he remained oblivious to their stampede and chinking coins.

    Preoccupied instead with the hag across the road. Nonchalantly leaning against the Cash Convertor window.

    Special brew and spliff.

    M16 poking from her bed roll.

    They’d found him.

    The exiled Prince.

    Hiding in this backwater planet.

    Fidget stood, damp blanket falling from his shoulders.

    Drawing father’s sword out from his coat.

    Sprinting through the screams.

    Blade ready.

    As she trained her gun.

    81 words
    Interstellar Voyager

    Liked by 9 people

  6. Dear Pandemic

    An interstellar voyager is immersed in time and space.
    Oh, how far we have travelled without moving.
    You have robbed us of time. Of love. Of lives. Of possibilities.
    Moments forever gone.
    A thief of space. We are separated when an embrace of a loved one has never meant more.
    My mirror shows my lines, my age, my hair.

    I smile.

    Our appearance is no longer everything.
    A small battle we have won.
    And now, we have a war to win.


    81 words

    Liked by 11 people

  7. Food of Love

    What do they say about love and a man’s stomach? She’s tried to create mouth-watering dishes but the kitchen is her nemesis. It laughs at her attempts, hides the perfect ingredients, and it burns everything she pulls out of the oven. It hates her. He laughs. She will lose him. The wild hair, the bushiest eyebrows, and the lazy way he smiles at her. She won’t. She could let him cook but she is her mother’s daughter. She’ll cast a spell.

    81 words
    Fire dragon: Chef

    Liked by 9 people

  8. Colin the Maître Pâtissier

    Out of nowhere the man from Fermanagh appeared on the Paris patisserie scene, heralded as a sugar coated genius touched by the hand of god. He joked that it wasn’t god given, quite the opposite; he’d sold his soul to the devil at the Lisnaskea crossroads for his sweet gift. His mother said he couldn’t boil an egg, his father said nothing – as was his wont.

    Wherever Colin’s singular skills arose be thankful for the joy he brings – and be in no doubt his Dacquoise is to die for.

    WC: 81
    Fire Dragon: chef

    Liked by 8 people


    ‘Hey, Franco!’

    He looked up to see his old friend, Albert, wheeling a stack of luggage up the ornate steps of The Carabache.

    Franco raised his right hand, covering the tear in his trousers with the left.

    ‘Still feeding the five thousand?’ Albert didn’t wait for an answer as he was swallowed up by the revolving glass of the hotel.

    Franco’s world flipped, too… Steam. Scraping. Slicing. Shouting. Savouring.

    Yes, he whispered, throwing crumbs to the greedy pigeons. Still feeding them.

    81 words
    Fire Dragon: Chef

    Liked by 11 people

  10. The Lost Traveller Found

    How did I feel? How to explain?

    Stuck on Earth for decades, ship destroyed on landing, sending homemade signals daily, longing for this moment…

    Yet I’d had another life. One that fell apart when she discovered my secret. I went into hiding but she kept that secret. And, because of that, I’d started to think more of her than home.

    And so what I thought when they found me, in front of the Pompidou Centre, was… that’s where we got engaged.

    81 Words
    Ice dragon option: Include an interstellar voyager

    Liked by 10 people

  11. The Visitor

    After the fall of Arecibo, Professor Hilbert continued his work in Washington, DC., searching for life on other worlds. In the spring of 2022, he saw a woman outside his office.

    The woman spoke to him in a strange language, and he understood that she was from somewhere else. There were no flying saucers. She had come through a portal in the subway.

    They walked around the city. They shared a submarine sandwich.

    Thank you, she said. How beautiful, the cherry blossoms.

    81 words
    ice dragon–interstellar voyager

    Liked by 11 people

    • Still reeling from seeing the crush of that magnificent telescope. I love how you move this from the collapse of a monument to technology to appreciation of something so simple (and perfect) as cherry blossoms, totally undermining the tragedy, and recasting the telescope ruin as a bit of an Ozymandias tale–but it’s not a total indictment of human creations since subway sandwiches are appreciated too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! I love the way your mind works! Yes, I’m sad about Arecibo, too. I don’t know why the visitor came by subway portal. I thought the photo looked like a wild professor type. Yes, It’s a different first contact, but they do agree on the sandwiches.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Last Supper

    “Late supper delivery from The Vine.”

    Bartholomew grinned. He loved these little perks. Special treats to keep his five-star ratings coming. This one, obviously recompense for his complaint about his most recent meal. There’d been nothing wrong with it but he had a reputation to keep up. That the chef lost his job was not his concern.

    Only as he finished his meal did Bartholomew read the card, notice someone had changed the label heading from ‘Late Supper’ to ‘Last Supper.’

    81 words
    Fire element: chef

    Liked by 10 people

  13. ~The Letter~

    Dear Iuri,

    I write to you from the wondrous planet of Terra, and what we have been looking for– the missing piece to build our Bridge of Emotions spanning a thousand stars– is right here!

    We’ve found cosmodazzle in varying levels across planets..why, the mildest form of it– laughter– was from here.

    But the people here also do something else, Iuri. They cry.

    I’m bringing it with me. When you taste the tears, you’ll know what I mean.



    81 words (excluding title)
    Interstellar voyager

    Liked by 13 people

  14. “Seeing Beyond the Veil”

    The old man knew he was dying, but still he smiled. He’d seen his wife go, two of his children, and one of his grandchildren.

    Pain wracked his body, but still he smiled. It would be over shortly.

    The light in his eyes grew dimmer each day, but still he smiled. He saw something no one else could see.

    They’d be coming for him soon, as they had for the others.

    He smiled as he thought of home, and the stars.

    81 words
    ice dragon – interstellar voyager

    Liked by 11 people

  15. Pingback: #FireIceFlash, week 18/19 – Project Gemini

  16. No one would accuse the affable homeless man outside of the building of being anything else. Not that most folks walking in that building would have much cause to accuse him of anything else. They had big important jobs to do. Jobs taking people to the stars. Jobs that required thought, and board rooms, and research, and everything but the people skills necessary to notice that man

    Consequently, not one employee recognized him when he was introduced as the new CEO.
    81 words
    Ice Dragon – Interstellar voyager, kinda LOL

    Liked by 9 people

  17. Memory created a smile as he sipped the hot chocolate bought by the patient waiting reporters watching. The minutes ticked by and they, as kindly as possible, pressed him for an answer.
    “Thanks, I just went back to my warm kitchen”
    “So you were a renowned chef, what happened?”
    “I don’t know about renowned, we did ok and were always busy until the poisoned fish platter closed us down ”
    “Ok thankyou for your time.” The reporter signaled that everyone withdraw quickly.

    Fire, 81 words. @lindorfan

    Liked by 8 people

  18. ~Gelato in Winter~

    Progress ground to a halt after the grand opening. Gelato in Winter – a stupid idea.

    The bitter air perforated both my joy and my profits, but the money wasn’t important.

    What mattered was consumption.

    Lactic acid – the perfect reagent.

    Dissolved in frozen cream, our tincture slid down the throats of the unwitting with moans of delight.

    So distracted, their minds, ripe for control.

    True, Stage One may have taken slightly longer than planned.

    But I’ve always enjoyed a summer invasion.

    Word Count: 81
    Ice Dragon: Interstellar Voyager

    Liked by 11 people

  19. Commander of Cheer

    The hat ripped off in warp drive leaving patches of barren head and scattered silvery strands. His wrapping-paper eyes still gleeful below brows scorched orbiting Kelt-9b.

    A cardinal flight suit displayed his rank, Commander of Cheer. His beard sheared by the Kepplerians claiming keepsakes, the Great Giver returned to face an undecorated street of masks.

    He’d landed his sleigh well past curfew which alerted the local authorities, who promptly placed him under fourteen-day isolation. Christmas was officially under quarantine that year.

    81 words exactly
    Ice: interstellar voyager

    Liked by 11 people

  20. Over The Top

    He had not expected the sheer joy of hair.

    Smooth of skin and featureless of feature, his like have no body part that they can grow, trim, or colour purely on a whim, no body part that shouts so vividly about the spirit within.

    So he has been blond, brunette and burgundy. He has been bald, bearded and bobbed. He spent one day with a purple comb-over and a handlebar moustache.

    He is far from home. He feels he’s worth it.

    81 words
    Ice dragon prompt

    Liked by 8 people

  21. What’s The Secret of Happiness?

    Matt Stills was ready to do his street interviews. An older gentleman, bald, white beard, didn’t walk, but strode towards him. Matt cleared his throat, asked “Sir, what’s the secret of happiness?” and pointed his microphone in the man’s direction. Without batting an eyelash, without even stopping, he responded “Travel between the stars as much as you can”, with the most content smile Matt had ever seen in his life. It left him perplexed. The next day he quit his job.

    81 words
    Ice dragon: interstellar voyager

    Liked by 12 people

  22. Relativity

    Before Gram’s expedition, we made cranberry-oatmeal cookies (never raisins).

    After launch, Mom glared into the night sky. She made it her mission to be here for me. She stopped looking up altogether.

    But I had Gram’s wayfairing heart. I never got to see if Mom sent her tears to the stars after me.

    With faster tech, I got back before Gram, aged past her.

    We shared her cookie from that century-old batch. We gazed at the clouds and talked about Mom.

    81 words
    Ice element: interstellar voyager

    Liked by 12 people

  23. Silence (Title)

    Sound fades away from me. The visible shifts to the black and white, with hints of grey in our lives. Alone, surrounded with the mass moving in strange patterns, discernible by themselves. I feel the heat here, so different than endless black cold. They all are so different, each one similar, yet not.
    I long for my home, emptiness filled with all the echoes of creation. Instead, I find myself, heavy and barely functional. It is too hot here for me.

    Fire Dragon: Interstellar Voyager
    Word Count is 81

    Liked by 9 people

  24. Until you can ‘cordon blue’ a can of beans and keep the lid for a weapon, or become a chemist just to make boiling water with a live wire and a bowl, don’t dare pass judgement on me. I can create a banquet for under twenty pence. If I was sober, they’d knight me. Gordon Ramsay my arse! Try having no pay, no cooking utensils and have a whole wing pay you in ‘snout’ for your creation. Harder to cook homeless.

    Liked by 9 people

  25. Ode to the Crows Feet

    Odes have been written in spades,
    To flowers,
    To blushing maidens,
    Even memorably an ode to an ode…
    But no one
    Has ever written an ode
    To the lines that
    Record the smiles
    That track
    From the corners of
    Weathered eyes
    That have gazed
    Into a hundred thousand suns,
    Weathered countless voyages
    Among a hundred thousand worlds,
    And found not one,
    So, to them:
    To the crows feet,
    An ode.
    May you forever be the testament
    Of the seasoned traveler.

    Word Count: 81 Exactly
    Prompt: Interstellar Voyager

    Liked by 9 people

  26. The Unseen

    I stretched out, plotting murders from a place nobody could see. I was sent, like a wisp of smoke from a cigarette lit long ago, to kill.

    His bronchioles made me the wolf in the woods, but I have no teeth, only replication.

    For now, I nestled into this specimen of typical age, typical background, and a rather putrid case of typical joy.

    They of such grandiose imagination failed to orient it in the other direction. The molecular.

    To the unseen.

    Word Count: 81 words.
    Element: Ice.

    Liked by 9 people

  27. Mars and Venus on Vacation

    “Finally!” Zabrox dried his hands on his apron. “The sauce is waiting for that.”

    Beeblephod dumped her canvas bag onto the floor. “I hate this mask-wearing, social distancing stuff. Going to the store is such a pain.”

    “If we’d visited Earth when I wanted, we wouldn’t have this problem. But no-ooo…you wanted to wait for cheaper teleports.” He opened the bag, scowled. “This is old.

    “Yes, dear, I know. Ralph here’s the only one I could get close enough to.”

    81 words
    both prompts

    Liked by 8 people

  28. ~Opening Bid~

    The old man says his people have always been moving, since the beginning, since all they were was spin in the drift.

    He looks down at his sneakers, one of them coming apart, loose tongue. Says he comes from a long way off, that his currency doesn’t work here. He brandishes a square piece of metal, asks what you’ll give for it.

    It’s only after you’ve named your price that you come to understand it’s a color you’ve never seen before.

    81 words
    Ice Dragon: Insterstellar Voyager

    Liked by 9 people

  29. I’m the bitter wind ruffling his hair,
    the air he inhales-
    his eyes sauntering
    into fancy restaurants
    with chefs balancing
    their tall white toques
    preparing pretty dishes
    on prettier china

    I’m his long sigh,
    the gasp he takes
    sitting on his cardboard box
    choking on dry bread

    I was once a moment
    that held up his smile
    filling creases
    of his wrinkled cheeks

    I’m now the ever expanding
    distance between you all
    (tired of being
    stretched so thin)

    I say stop!

    Words: 81/ chef

    Liked by 9 people

  30. Home

    So, Norte Dame was charred. What mattered to Pierre was the hot, yeasty smell of baguettes. The yowling orange tabby in the alley. The honking cacophony of taxis.

    A gamine young woman jostled past him,Chanel No.5 lingering in the dawn. Rain kissed his hair, slicked his nose.

    Someone yelled merde. He followed the perfume of coffee.

    They showed him the galaxy, but now he was home and all he wanted was a latte. Would his old coins be enough?

    81 words
    Space traveler option

    Liked by 7 people

  31. My warship landed in the place they call the “Cuyahoga Valley National Park.”

    Fighting the brambles and briars and brown bears and rabid beavers, I found civilization, a place they call “Cleveland.”

    “Take me to your leader,” I said to the wobbly biped adorned in brown and orange. He bent over, and emitted from his mouth a curious liquid.

    “TAILGATE PARTY!” he said, handing me a cylindrical metal object.

    Four hours, and nine cylindrical objects later, I called off the invasion.

    Liked by 8 people

  32. Last Transmission From The Celebrity Chef Dispatched To A Small Blue Planet To Serve Man To Our Invasion Fleet

    So cosmopolitan, this planet the natives call “La Terre”. Variety beyond comprehension! Baguettes, soupe à l’oignon, coq au vin, steak frites, crème brûlée: all this in one building of one city! It’s called “restaurant” — one visit will restore your faith in the gastronomic gods of the galaxy.

    A being could spend a lifetime here; from what I’ve heard, most of the natives do. Come experience the “joie de vivre” that’s kept me coming back for 81 Terran years!

    Bon appétit!

    81 words
    An interstellar voyager

    Liked by 8 people

  33. Jupiter Flower

    You debate opening the attachment. Flick your eyes to expand the update instead.

    “Hey, Nonna, we miss you.”

    Skim-scroll to check for family obits. Gian may pass soon but grandkids and great grandkids are thriving.

    Gian. Your arms remember the weight of him.

    The image waits.

    You won’t get used to this. To outlive your children is cruel, but to be out-aged by them?

    Your gaze hovers long enough. It opens.

    Across your vision, his smile blooms like a Jupiter flower.

    Interstellar voyager
    81 ineligible words

    Liked by 10 people

  34. Adieu
    He taught us so much more than cooking. He taught patience, gentleness, and humility. Who ever heard of a humble chef? He knows that he has a gift. So does everyone else, so he feels no need to constantly remind them. Bocuses d’Or and Michelin stars are very nice, but Chef Martin prized smiles much more highly. The joy that his creations brought to awe-struck diners. That his impartation of wisdom brought to grateful students. Adieu, Monsieur Matin! Et Bon Appétit!
    81 words

    Liked by 8 people

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