Monday, December 2, 2013


Oh yeah! NaNoWriMo is over and a new month has begun! Did I win? Um... Well... I'd say that I did. I plan on writing a blog post about my NaNo experience, but that's not THIS post! Today we're here to write some flash fiction! Shake those novels out of your heads and jump into something new and fresh and SHORT. :) I can't wait to see what you come up with for this prompt! Go write!

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
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

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 Kate Julicher also known as @KateJulicher. Read her winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #22 is:

There was only one thing left to do.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:




  1. Sacrifice
    448 Words, Special Challenge accepted

    There was only one thing left to do. Chu Kuo stared at the last flickers of the tiny fire as they ate the last log like the decision that slowly consumed his heart. On the pallet beside him, Si, his only son slept hard. They had traveled long for 3 days, and though Kuo was also exhausted, his restless heart would not let him sleep. So he jabbed at the fire with a stick and sloshed in his sorrow.

    Dawn broke painfully slowly; the rose glow saturating the sky infinitesimally while the sun hid behind a battalion of clouds that whipped by to the east. Kuo stepped to Si to rouse him, but could not. Instead he watched Si's sleeping form and burned the image of his tranquil face in his mind.

    The sun finally blazed through as the clouds broke rank. Si awoke with a start; the day of sacrifice had begun.

    Trudging up the last mountain together, a gentle breeze sifted through rock crevasses and cooled their faces. Once narrow and treacherous to many generations of the Chu family, the road was now wide enough to admit the moderate amount of tourists who were daring enough to make the trek to this ancient site.

    “Stay close, Si,” Kuo reproved. Though the roads had been modernized, the drop-offs were still treacherous to an animated, vigorous boy and Kuo did not need to draw attention. The sanctified chasm of Lei Gong was now just ahead and its bridge was guarded against their ancient practice.

    For two hundred years a sacred bond bound the Chu family to their god, Lei Gong. He had promised Kuo's ancestors a prosperous and favored lineage. His blessings had never been ostentatious or gratuitous; they were steady and true. The Chu family had thrived, and despite China's cultural revolution and one-child policy, the name remained strong and substantial.

    Lei Gong's demand was an offering every thirty years.

    But Si was Kuo's only child. The Chu heritage would end here unless Lei Gong would work.

    Grasping Si's hand feverishly, Kuo inconspicuously stepped onto the bridge. The bridge was ancient and ornate, sculpted by craftsmen and suspended across the width of a deep chasm that was bottomless to the human eye. They stood by the firm, thick stone railing; Kuo was firm and resolute, his hands steady, though inside his stomach and soul shook.

    On the precipice now, no other option in sight, he grasped his son and prepared. Without warning, before the deed could be done, a hand drove into his shoulder and he toppled, grasping vainly for the edge. As he plummeted down, a whispery voice tickled his ear, “Lei Gong has provided.”

  2. There was only one thing left to do, and then I’d hand over the keys to the new owners. The Johnstons had lived at 223 East Park Street for more than a hundred years, but I would be the last. The promotion was too important to me, and there wasn’t anything keeping me here anymore other than memories and fear. And that box in the basement.

    I’d saved it for last, though it was clearly the most important. But I couldn’t trust something like this to the movers. It’s not that what was in the box was fragile, anything but, really. Even the stoutest trees could be felled, however, when struck in the right place, and that box was my right place.

    I could have – maybe even should have – disposed of what was in the box long ago. We’d been together so long, though, that I never really considered it. Not seriously, at any rate. I knew how, of course – it wasn’t that hard, when it came right down to it. No one would ever find my wife’s body. I hadn’t wanted to get rid of her like that, but she found us in the basement one day when I thought she was at work, and that was that.

    Even after all these years, I expected the box to be heavier than it was, but memories didn’t really have physical weight. I carried it easily up the stairs and out to the truck, where I’d left a place for it on the floor of the front passenger seat.

    The last task done now, I shook Bob and Lisa’s hands and prepared to hop into the truck. They’d be good owners for this home, and maybe a new family history would be written here. For me, the last chapter was done. I looked down at the box and smiled, putting the truck into gear. We’d begin a new story in our new home, my sister and I.

    326 disturbingly creepy words

  3. Ricochet
    Special challenge accepted
    317 words

    There was only one thing left to do. I reached back behind my head and pressed a button. A wave of dizziness swept over me, but it passed quickly.

    This was not the first time I had turned on the Implanted Tactical Operative Assistant, commonly called ITOA, but it was still overwhelming. Now as a SWAT sniper I could put a bullet into a dime, from 300 yards, with a ricochet. All I have to do is focus on the spot. ITOA works with the massive computational power of my brain, and it can link to any internet capable device for additional data.

    I was happy to get it after World War Three started, not the expected nuclear holocaust, but instead a massive global gang war. It started with Russian and Chinese Mafia fighting for the ghettoes of India. But it quickly spread. Smaller gangs no longer exist and five massive illegal crime syndicates were setting the whole world on fire.

    The current situation is an all-out attack on the barrio outside of Los Angeles. The Russian Mafia is starving the Crypts financially. No customers leads to no cash flow and another gang is defeated.

    Over the next twenty minutes I took out a couple dozen guerillas. I used an existing camera in an atm, and bounced the shots off a steel wrecking ball. One man, the last of his unit, grabbed a hostage. I waited for him to move his head back just a little for a clearer shot.

    That was when I noticed his scar. It was just like mine. It was inevitable that sooner or later they would get a hold of ITOA too. I put a bullet through the little computer implant. The girl settled down on her tush crying.

    I saw a security camera on the building next door turning toward me. A sinking feeling came over me. It didn’t last long.

  4. @weylyn42 ; 498 words ; Special Challenge Accepted

    The Final Step

    There was only one thing left to do.

    Garrison looked at the ancient page, squinting, as if he could will the words to materialize, but the brittle paper had flaked away.

    “What’s the last step?” Miranda whispered, holding the flask over the lamp that burned oil crafted from midnight plucked lilacs and maiden’s tears.

    “Ah – It’s missing.”

    “What?” She peered over his shoulder.

    Garrison scrambled to grab the flask, to keep it in the blue-green flame. Removal from heat prematurely could be disastrous – his eyebrows still hadn’t grown back from the last potion, and that one was child’s play compared to the droughts in the tome they'd found in his professor’s effects.

    He sucked in a breath, and slipped his left hand into a glove and transferred the hot metal from his right hand, sucking on fingers to ease the burn.

    “Why’d you pick a spell that’s missing the last step?”

    “I didn’t. I mean, it was there when I looked at it earlier, but the pages are so old. It must have broken off when I opened to it again.”

    Miranda bit her lip, eyes darting between the page and the heating metal.

    “What do we do?”

    “We don’t stop,” Garrison said, raising his bald brow. “The combination of chrysanthemum and toad spittle…”

    Miranda’s eyes grew wide, and she shook her head. “Stupid, stupid. I should’ve looked at the spell before we started. We can’t stop.”

    “I know.”

    Miranda nudged Garrison’s arm down slightly. “Three and a half inches from the base,” she said, and let out a slow breath as he settled the flask to the proper height.

    “I could go get Lori,” she said.

    “And get expelled?”

    She shook her head, frowning. “You don’t remember what it was?”

    “I looked at so many spells, I couldn’t tell you which steps belonged to which.”

    “Well, there’s gotta be some kind of pattern, right? We can look at the last step of the other spells, especially the ones that have similar ingredients, or similar effects?”

    “And what, pick one at random?” he looked at the book, dubious.

    “Pick the most likely one.”

    Garrison sighed, and adjusted his hand up slightly. “Hurry."


    There was only one thing left to do, and after fifteen minutes, Miranda was confident it wasn’t thirteen different steps she’d found. That narrowed the possibilities down to nine. Pages crumbled as she flipped through the ancient book, and sweat was beading on Garrison’s brow. The lamp oil was burning low, and if the flame died without the spell being completed, she was fairly sure that even with fire suppression system there wouldn’t be enough to salvage in the remains of the room.

    Setting her chin high, she grabbed the bottle of dust bunnies from the shelf, and shook one into her hand.

    “Are you sure,” Garrison asked as she held the creature over the open lip of the flask.

    Miranda shook her head, planted a kiss on his cheek, and opened her fingers.

  5. There was only one thing left to do. That was laugh. So laugh I did. I’m sure the neighbors thought I’d gone insane. And I probably had. At least for a little while.

    It was frickin’ cold. Snowing, too. The day before Christmas. December 24th. And I was standing outside my house, in my pajamas, my fuzzy house shoes, and my bathrobe. Watching the house burn to the ground.

    Stupid cats. It was all their fault. I’d been watching the NORAD Santa Claus report. You know. The radar tracking of Santa NORAD does every year. I know. I’m all grown up. I know there’s not really a Santa. But I started watching the NORAD feed on the ‘Net when I was a kid. Dad was so proud of it. “See, Son! We can track Santa! You can get an idea of when he’ll reach our neighborhood!” He patiently explained how Santa never came when children were awake, so we could use the NORAD radar tracking system to figure out when we all needed to go to bed, so Santa could visit us.

    Yeah. I fell for it. Hell, I was only 5. Santa was God back then. “Dear Santa, I want a new table computer. And a smart phone. And a Playstation 4.” And it was like God heard, and granted wishes.

    Took me several years to figure out it was Mom and Dad, and not Santa. But I still watched the NORAD feed every year. And I still felt that same tingle of excitement I felt when I was five.

    Of course, the cats watched the lights on the tree. I don’t know which one of them found the cord and managed to short it out, causing the spark that set the tree on fire. I just heard a crashing noise, and smelled smoke. “Jesus, what have you idiots done now!” I got up to find out what they’d done, expecting to see the tree pulled over, and lots of the glass ornaments on it broken, booby trapping the carpet.

    I sure didn’t expect to see the tree glowing orange, red, yellow. But it was. I remember my words when I saw it. “Holy shit!” Yeah. I know. Original.

    I grabbed my phone, dialed 911, and screamed, “Fire! The damn tree’s on fire!”

    Have you ever tried to speak rationally about where you are, and what’s going on, when you’re watching your Living Room go up in smoke? “Get everyone out of the house. The fire department is on its way.”

    Everyone was me, and my three cats. They were waiting patiently by the front door. We all made it outside, and stood there, in the snow, waiting for the fire department.

    Like I said. There was only one thing left to do. Decide if I wanted to laugh, or cry. So, I laughed. Like an insane maniac. As I watched my home go up in smoke.

    Damn cats.

    490 Words

  6. Smart-Attack
    497 words

    There was only one thing left to do.

    Shelly unscrewed the lid and swallowed two mouthfuls of cherry wine. She’d chosen that particular bottle, hoping it would taste like kool-aid. It didn’t. Her entire face puckered and Shelly set the bottle on the counter so her hands would be free to flap at her face as if she were a southern belle with a sudden case of the vapours. The moment passed, and Shelly couldn’t help but wonder why anybody would ingest alcohol voluntarily, let alone to excess.

    She eyed the wine. She’d consumed less than a quarter of the bottle. She frowned. Shelly had been instructed to consume at least half a bottle that evening, working her way up to two bottles a night over the course of a week. It seemed an impossible task. Shelly gagged down an additional three mouthfuls. It was like any medicine, choke it down and get it over with.

    The alcohol was a supernova in her belly, propelling waves of heat through miles of soft tissue. Shelly took the remaining wine, wove her way into the living room and sat down beside a pile of books in front of the fire. She picked up a medical pamphlet and giggled. It wasn’t funny, but the neurotoxin was making her giddy. Shelly read the pamphlet for probably the hundredth time that day.

    Malignant Cerebral Hypertrophy, commonly known as Hyperintellectualism, is a rare pathologic state of knowledge acquisition in which affected individuals compulsively amass knowledge such that their brain assumes the phenotype of a tumor. The pseudotumor preferentially utilizes body energy stores resulting in symptoms typically associated with malignancy ie: fatigue, weight loss, and night sweats.

    First line treatment consists of behavioral modification, including withdrawal of stimulating activities (ie: cessation of reading) and substituting less intense undertakings. Video games and movies are both safe, effective alternatives. In more advanced cases, medical intervention may be necessary, requiring administration of alcohol, marijuana or other medications previously considered “recreational.” Rarely, surgery may be required.

    If left untreated, MCH is universally fatal.

    Shelly let the pamphlet flutter to the floor. Live dumb or die smart. What kind of choice was that? She swallowed another mouthful of cherry wine. It didn’t taste as awful as it had half an hour ago. She grabbed a book from the pile. The Collected Works of William Shakespeare.

    “Sorry, Bill. But it’s either you or me. You understand.” Shelly tossed the book into the fire. She wept as pages curled and all the bard’s magnificent wordsmithery was reduced to ash. He was followed by Chaucer. Sagan. Poe. And Darwin. Shelly fed books into the fire until the wine bottle and bookshelves were empty.

    Just after ten, as she watched the last traces of Grey’s Anatomy transforming into black carbon, Shelly’s phone vibrated. A text message from her mother read: How’d it go at the doctor’s this afternoon?

    Shelly typed back: Remember when you said I was too smart for my own good?