Tuesday, August 13, 2013


SO SORRY!!! I thought I had scheduled this to start at midnight...yeah, apparently not! Oops! NOTE: I will keep this open until 9am Eastern Wednesday morning so everyone has a chance to get something in. If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Jeff Hollar also known as @klingorengi. Go check out his blog here (where he has a flash fiction contest called Monday Mixer!). Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #6 is:

Her mind was seized with a sense of [terror] so intense she [wept].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include the words:

 AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF (...finally)!!!


  1. 436 words, penname24@gmail.com


    Her mind was seized with a terror so intense she wept. Her head was down, barely touching the wood of the next pew, and she stifled her crying to a sniffle and a few quick intakes of breath. Her hands trembled on the seat next to her thighs. Everyone's eyes were closed, but her's were squeezed tightly. A few tears popped out but she quickly and stiffly eliminated them.

    The Fear was overpowering. Really, she had been afraid all her life. (Wasn't everyone?) Fear is the state of the human condition. What if I am unable to make any friends? What if I do something to upset the friends I have? What if I cannot find my car? What if my internet stops working? What if I make a mistake at school? What if I make a mistake at work? What if I lose my job? What if I cannot get another? What if I can't pay the bills? What if I lose my house? What if I get cancer? What if I lose my child? What if a tornado or a hurricane or a fire or a plague devastates my family and community? Her fear ran from the mundane to the profound.

    Luckily, humankind has created many ways of handling the Fears of a random and uncontrollable world. Insurance promises protection from unforeseen catastrophe. People look to government to rule and provide for them and thereby gain some control. Science and rationalism seeks to understand the world through human capacity and mitigate its uncertainties. But none of these can fully allay mankind's Fears. No amount of insurance can stop the storm; no amount of regulatory oversight can stop corruption; and no human understanding can tell if there is an immortal soul. No, there must be more.

    So, she's going to stand up. She is going to walk forward. She is going to kneel at the altar. She is going to go to God, and seek there what nothing else can offer. She will spend her life attempting to satisfy her God. She will obey, hoping He will be pleased and bless her. She will do the rituals of church and Bible study and prayer, hoping He will see her devotion and love her. She will go on mission for Him, seeking to lead others to her Savior. She will attempt to control her God and kill her Fear.

    She pushes aside her worry of what others will think and shakily stands. She steadies herself, takes several deep breaths, controls herself. And, unaware that God promises no easy life, she walks forward to disappointment and emptiness.

  2. Her mind was seized with a sense of terror so intense she wept. Just past the quivering silver stiletto in her face, Kadie saw the junkie's eyes, windows into a soul that was living horrors of its own.

    She had laughed when she got the can of mace her mother had sent. She sorely regretted leaving it on the kitchen counter. Kadie had no protection now, not from him or the rain. He had jerked her umbrella out of her hand so he could push her back against the bricks.

    He leaned in close, but not quite touching her. His breath reeked of the recent vomit he hadn't bothered to brush away. His intended order sounded more like a whimpering plea, "Give me the bag."

    She blinked at the childish whine of his voice, sending a furious flush through his pale face. "I said give it to me!"

    She jumped, then jerked to take the strap from across her torso. As her hand came up, it bumped his arm. His fist slammed into her throat.

    "Don't fight, just give me the bag!" His knuckles ground into her throat, she couldn't tell him she was trying to comply. Tears raced against the rain pouring over her face as she struggled to get a breath. The world was turning grey. Kadie gazed at dark windows behind the junkie through a grimy screen. She closed her eyes.

    The pressure against her windpipe lifted to be replaced by sharp pain in the side of her neck. The rain pouring over her left shoulder was suddenly much warmer.

    She opened her eyes to watch him cut the beige strap of her favorite Nine West purse, and jerk it from her. She collapsed to the soaked street, and watched him run off into the night. She felt something spreading beneath her, coming from her pants. Oddly, the warm fluids reminded her of gravy, and she died wondering who would turn off the crock pot at her desolate apartment.

    Word Count: 333
    Special Challenge: Accepted

    1. Well written but incredibly disturbing. :O

    2. Reminiscent of "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" by Paul Weller, sung by The Jam...

    3. Spare, taut and direct. I found the second sentence particularly striking. Well wrapped up at the end.

    4. Thank you all for reading, and for your replies.

      Mike, I just listened to that song on YouTube. I guess now my little story has a soundtrack. ;) Except theirs ends a little better, I think. At least the guy goes home to his wife after being mugged. Poor Kadie doesn't have anyone to go home to and is killed. The two stories are very similar, though.

      Speaking of a story having a soundtrack.... aaand, I'm off in a whole new direction. I'll let you know if anything comes of it. Thanks for yet more inspiration, Mike.

    5. Woa! That was intense! Excellent :D

    6. Jess, I think you better listen to that song again and study the lyrics. It really doesn't end the way you think…

  3. The End
    “Her mind was seized with a sense of terror so intense she wept.” Veronica snapped, pointing an accusatory finger at her co-worker. “She WEPT, Amanda! I had clients in reception! They heard everything!”

    Any time Veronica stormed into her office, Amanda Colfax knew that it meant a very loud conversation.

    “Woa, slow down.” Amanda said, bracing herself for the impending headache. “What happened?”

    “Mrs. Colfax, it was…” the receptionist began.

    “It was a mockery of our profession. The D.A. is coming for the Bronson case and could have been there. Thank God he wasn’t.”

    “Veronica, please.” Amanda said, raising a diplomatic arm. “Susan, what is she talking about?”

    Susan shifted her weight. Amanda had known Susan for many years and knew that she was a bit shy and timid. For the past 9 years, Susan welcomed clients with a sunny, warm disposition that most people didn’t.

    “Well….you see….”

    Veronica rolled her eyes and folded her arms. “Yeah, you tell her.”

    Susan mustered up a tiny bit of courage and said, “Something very strange happened to me, Mrs. Colfax. You aren’t going to believe me.”

    “Try me.”

    “Well…I had a sort of experience. I don’t know what I was actually doing during this time, but I had a vision.”

    That was not what Amanda was expecting to hear and she found herself bewildered. “A vision?” she hoped that she heard wrong.

    Susan nodded. “I saw…the end.” She said.

    Veronica snorted. “She’s totally schizo. While she was having this vision, she went nuts! She kept screaming about the end coming lookin’ all…Emily Rose. Then she grabbed some gentlemen’s umbrella and just started banging it on everything!”

    “Good gravy…I did all that…” Susan breathed.

    “Yes you did!” Veronica snapped. She turned to Amanda with an attitude. “Is it your policy to hire incompetent psychos? Did you pull her off the street or something?”
    No matter what Susan did, the last comment made Amanda’s blood boil and she bolted up out of her chair. “If you ever speak about any one of my employees like that or question my judgment, I’m going to snatch one of those ridiculously expensive stilettos right off your foot and beat you with it!”

    Veronica stepped back, shut her mouth, and nodded.

    When Amanda was satisfied that she would be silent, she turned to Susan. “You said you had a vision? Do you understand…how that sounds?”

    Susan nodded. “I know, I know; but it so real. First, there was this weird eclipse and then there was…was like…fire rain…and then explosions…and people going crazy.” A bead of sweat trickled down the side of her face. “I saw the end, Mrs. Colfax.”

    Amanda looked down and tried to think of a way to excuse Susan’s behavior.

    Just then there was a knock at the door. Justin, another receptionist, burst inside and before anyone could react, opened the blinds.

    Amanda looked and nearly fainted. “An…eclipse?”

    They all looked at each other just as it began to rain fire.

    Word Count: 496
    Special Challenge Accepted

  4. The Pathetic Dyspathetic

    Her mind was seized with a sense of magic so intense she sneezed. And sneezed again. Saphron howled in misery and chucked a silver stiletto at the wall where it left a pointy little dent. You’d think after six months in Akdira she’d have enjoyed at least one day of respite, but alas. If someone so much as changed a neighbor into a newt, Saphron’s nose would burst in a flower of tickles. Mid-level spells sent her to bed with dizziness, and full-blown High Magic performed within a twenty-mile radius caused painful, violet, fabric-staining hives. Akdira was neither magic-free nor anything like the idyllic community promised in four-part harmony by the singing travel brochure (“True Paradise for Ag-ed Folks/With lives that aren’t so hot/Come rest your spells, O Wretched Ones/Whose Magic’s Gone to Pot”).

    “You’re going to live with old fairies?” groaned Saphron’s elf friends when she’d told them. “Within a month you’ll die of utter insanity. Or worse, boredom.”

    “Plus, they smell funny,” said Saphron’s six-year-old neighbor, a squeaking phoenix whose tail feathers hadn’t budded yet.

    “Take gravy. They’re dry and stringy, if you ask me,” sniffed her butcher, whom she hadn’t asked, as the butcher was a smallish dragon whose rather public history included several embarrassing encounters with fairies.

    Saphron had only grit her teeth at the doomsayers and finished packing her purple-splotched gowns. Magic was a part of everyday life everywhere; there was no escape, no matter how severely allergic one was. This retirement community offered her her first glimmer of hope.

    Sadly, a glimmer was as far as it went, as it turned out elderly fairies are exactly like young fairies, except deafer and moodier.

    “Helb be,” said Saphron later that sneezy morning, sneezing again and blowing her nose violently.

    The fairy doctor, an elderly, bald female wearing an emerald-studded tiara, frowned and stopped her examination. “I am not sure what you think I can do for a spluttering non-old non-fairy.”

    “Iz nod od burpose,” protested Saphron. “Subbudy just walked od wadder.”

    “That’s hardly your affair,” said the doctor, stuffing her tools—which appeared to be limited to a croquet mallet and an umbrella—quite forcefully back into her black bag. “I should hope the citizens of Akdira feel at liberty to walk on water, or fly to the moon if they wish, without securing your permission first.”

    “Ub course,” Saphron said hurriedly. “It’s only—I fear deir bagic bight kill be.”

    The doctor, now at the door, paused. “Kill you?” She hummed in interest, filling the room with sparkles.

    Saphron sneezed. “I cad barely stand ub. And I’b albost cobbletely burble.”

    “Hmm. You’ve tried potions?”



    “Yes. A dightbare.”

    “You’ve tried Earth, I presume?”

    Saphron stared. “What?”

    “Earth. The unmagical world.”

    “Dere’s ad udbagical world??”

    “Foolish child. Here’s my travel agent’s card. Call him.” The doctor adjusted her tiara and smiled, a real smile, and hope glimmered again in Saphron’s heart.

    Perhaps, at long last, there would be peace for this sick, exhausted yeti.

    500 words
    Special Challenge? Yeah, baby!

    1. hahahaha! Unless you ask the dolphins.

    2. A wonderful, surprising opening sentence, leading to a whimsical and involving tale with a strong sense of 'world' and a sharp twist. Good stuff!

  5. "For Better and Worse"
    by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy) [500 words, special challenge accepted]

    Her mind was seized with a sense of terror so intense she wept. "I can't…" she sobbed, "I can't marry him. Not like this!" As if to emphasise the point she gestured to her fine white gown.

    "It's just nerves," I soothed, "Ok, it's a bit tight. You've put on a few pounds. That's all. I was a 'little' plump when I got married."

    "More than a lit…" her Father started then decided not to finish the thought. "Sally, you look lovely. And before you ask, no the stiletto heels do not make you look taller than Geoff."

    "I'm TALLER than Geoff! Oh God, it gets worse!" the bride to be burst into tears.

    "We'll done, Bill. Here, take this…" I thrust an umbrella into his unexpecting hands. "…and find somewhere for it!" I shoved him out of the changing room, grabbed some tissues from her handbag and turned to face a despondent daughter.

    "What is it?" I asked, mopping tear filled mascara from the girl's cheeks. A waste of money that make over was. The uncharitable thought only consoled by the fact Sally had insisted she paid for everything herself. Geoff not being 'financially' able to contribute. No gravy train of a rich husband for my little girl. Not yet anyway. It was all tied up in trust funds until he had produced an heir.

    Sally was too soft, like her father. Sadly, it also meant my 'mother's duty' of meddling had been neatly side-stepped. Not paying for the thing had removed the 'gratitude', the one bit of leverage a woman could have used to justify interference. It was deeply frustrating.

    Sally took the tissue, folded it, then wiped her face with the fresh side. "It's because I'm in white, Mother. It's a sacrilege. I'm not a virgin. I'm carrying Geoff's baby… That's why the dress is tight." She looked up into my eyes with a pathetic search for disapproval. "You must hate me now."

    Now? Why just now? I had only become pregnant to keep her father from leaving me. There were times when I wasn't sure the bargain had been worth it. Stupid brat wasn't even his! And he hadn't been that great a catch after all, since I had inherited far more money from a relative than his entire family had. Thank God for the Pre-Nup! Now it was all about appearances. We both had impeccable reputations to maintain. Pillars of the community, and all that.

    "Let me tell you something. You weren't premature, like your Father believes. I paid a doctor off. I was three months pregnant when I walked down the aisle. And you have an heir. Geoff will be pleased!"

    "Three? I thought you had a 'whirlwind romance?"

    "Oh… three… yes. Anyway…"

    "Dad… are you hearing this?"

    Why was she speaking into the bouquet?

    "We got her! Proof of infidelity prior to marriage. The Pre-Nup's invalid. You can take the bitch to the cleaners. And YOU'RE paying for the wedding."

    1. Dr Mike Reddy! Your story is so good I guess I shouldn't even bother entering mine! :(

      Great stuff, seriously!

    2. No! That would be terrible! Please do enter yours!

    3. What!?!? I didn't see that coming! I have to say, once again, you get my vote!

    4. Nice one Mike! The dialogue passages work particularly well. Thanks

  6. "The return"

    By Megha Nayar (@vvordyvvise). 500 words, Special challenge accepted.

    Her mind was seized with a sense of euphoria so intense she jumped in delight. At least a dozen passersby turned around in amusement, wondering what could have prompted so much uninhibited excitement in this pig-tailed eight-year old. But today was her day. After months of patiently waiting for the tide to turn, she had finally witnessed evidence that winter was fading out, and sunshine was flooding in. She pressed the broken umbrella shut, pleated the cloth neatly and tied it in place with a rubber band.

    When Sophie walked in through the kitchen entrance, she smelt onion-tomato gravy on the stove. Her mother was bent over the cutting board with her worn-out black knife, chopping olives, bell peppers and jalapenos with precision. There was something unusual about the kitchen air today – it seemed less grimy and more lemony, the odour of the stale washcloth replaced with the promise of an aromatic meal coming up.

    “Mummy! Are you making pasta today?”

    “Yes baby. Just the way you like it – with tomatoes, cheese and lots of veggies.”

    “Mum, you know, today’s the best day for a pasta treat!”

    “Why? What is so special about today?”

    “Daddy is coming home.”

    “So what is new there? He comes home every day.”

    “No. Today, he is coming home to you.”

    Anne looked her at big little daughter, the glow on her face suggesting something magical was about to happen. She wanted to take this with a pinch of salt and steel herself against disappointment, but something told her today was indeed going to be different.

    “What makes you say so? Did you see something unusual?”

    “Yes, Mum. The Games period got cancelled because it rained hard and the playground was all slush. So I left school early and went to Daddy’s office today – I just felt like it. I hid under his window, because I wanted to see them together. I wanted to hear what they say to each other. I was afraid they may kiss each other, but I still went.

    I know you won’t like this, but I wanted to know what Aunty says that you can’t. I wanted to see if she looks better than you, or if she wears stilettos. Daddy always says she is someone to talk to - I wanted to know what they talk about.”

    “And… what did you discover?”

    “They were fighting, Mummy! And Aunty was crying. Daddy was saying something about cheating, signing papers, and all. Then she said something and Daddy shouted louder. And then he picked up his briefcase and began to walk towards the door. I hid behind the wall.”


    “He got into the car and started off. He will be here soon!”

    Anne said nothing. She looked at her hands – dry and lifeless as a bone.

    “Mummy,” Sophie drew closer, placing her hand on her mother’s arm, “Can you also make some stew today? Daddy likes that.”

    “No, baby. We’re having pasta today. Let Daddy get used to what he has.”

    1. And I'm glad I didn't read yours before I wrote mine. TIP: Submit first then read after.

    2. Haha! Thanks, that's sweet of you. I am new to this party and you guys are so good at coming up with unconventional situations, it scares me. Lots of catching up to do!

  7. Win Some, Lose Some

    Her mind was seized with a sense of elation so intense she screamed silently.

    It had begun as just another morning, indistinguishable from most of the others since she had run away.
    Her growling stomach had woken her. Millie had squirmed out from under the dumpster and tripped over the holdall, measuring her length on the heedless asphalt.
    She cursed her skinned knees and the world in general before balefully regarding the cause of her fall.
    Black leather, scuffed like welfare’s salvaged shoes, sadly soaking up the driving dawn rain, it mocked her. The street light caught the glint of the brass zipper and her anger was washed away in a stream mixed of curiosity and avarice.
    Millie grabbed the worn handles, the wet leather slimy in her grasping fingers, and trudged and splashed towards the bus station, praying just once she would find a discarded umbrella that had not already blown inside out.
    An early morning sheen of diesel fumes hung heavy in the air as the first buses coughed asthmatically into life, prodded awake by their sullen drivers.
    Millie’s arm muscles shook by the time she could finally drop the bag.
    She pulled open the zip. Wraps of green paper fell from the bag, some crinkled from the night’s soaking, and swirled around her feet like a pack of damp eager puppies.
    Millie fell to her knees, ignoring the scrapes scrabbling to round up all the one hundred dollar bills, stuffing them back into the holdall.

    “Hi Millie? You want breakfast?”
    Wayne, the night manager, called across the forecourt.
    “Oh, hi Wayne. No thanks... just got back from a night at the Waldorf – couldn’t eat another thing!” she waved him away.
    One hundred dollar bills... thousands of them in a bag that size!
    She felt faint.
    she had to to get somewhere to think this through. A hotel room. No they’d never let her in looking like this, after all the doormen had moved her on months ago, before her wardrobe became so... street chic.
    Should she buy some clothes? No. Nowhere open yet.
    With that kind of cash she could get them to open. Hell Once she was fixed up she would get a guy to pay a call on Jeff and return with interest all he had given her in the...
    No. Why bother with that low life?
    From now on her life was different. From here on it was all gravy Baby...
    “You want to give me my bag back sweetheart?”
    Rain slick hair, sharp suit, and sharp eyes - but the stiletto looked sharper.
    Millie backed away, leaving the predator the kill for himself.
    He zipped the bag and strutted off, heading uptown.
    Millie’s tears were indistinguishable from the rain running down her face.
    The she noticed a green corner peeking out from beneath the sole of her tennis shoe.
    “Hey Wayne! Maybe I’ll have that breakfast after all – it’s on me this time!”
    Carefully peeling off the sodden bill, Millie began to whistle.

    500 words

    Challenge accepted

  8. Millie seems quite philosophical. A positive outlook.