Monday, June 16, 2014


And we're back for another round of shenanigans! (I love that word!) Welcome! I'm glad you're joining us today. :) Check out the prompt below and submit your story in the comments; easy as pie... Mmmmmm, pie..... Now, off with you! Write like the wind!

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 Mark Ethridge
, also known as @LurchMunster. Go check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #50 is:

Dead ants [were everywhere].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:




  1. Dead Ants

    Dead ants littered the lawn.

    Looked like hail, he said, tiny little black specks of hail, so thick on the ground you couldn’t walk without crunching.

    Well, I want to go to the butcher’s, I said, because I need a leg of lamb for Sunday.

    Not going out now, he said, not with these ants all over everywhere. Why don’t you just call the butcher, and he can bring it up here himself later.

    I’d wanted to stop by Rosie’s on the way, I said, to see how she was getting on after her surgery.

    You just talked to her this morning, didn’t you?

    She was sleeping, I said, least that’s what her daughter told me. So can I go?

    Ground’s not fit for walking on, he said. Wait til I can get the cleanup crew here.

    I don’t mind ants, I said.

    The mess is too big, he said. Please don’t make me mad. I thought we were doing better at that.

    I’m not trying to make you mad, I said. I just want to go to the butcher’s, and I want to see Rosie.

    Of course, he said. You can go whenever you want. Just not now.

    Please don’t look like that, you’re scaring me.

    I’m not looking like anything. You’re staying here, that’s all. I have some people coming to clean things up, then you can go.

    Why don’t you let me clean up the ants? I could do it; I’m already good at keeping the house clean.

    Mostly clean, he said.

    What did I miss? Never a spot of dirt on the floor. I dare you to find one, I said.

    Well, I guess since you ask, it’s the milk.

    The milk?

    Last week you put the milk backwards in the fridge.


    Yes, he said. So the handle was facing sideways instead of out. It’s a small thing, I know, but when you grab for the milk, you want the handle facing out.

    When did I do that?

    Tuesday, after lunch, he said. I happened to see it was 12:43.

    At 12:43 I was chopping wood out back, like always, I said. From 12:31 until 12:57, like clockwork, twenty-six minutes of chopping.

    Don’t worry, he said. I’m sure you won’t let it happen again, now that you know.

    Of course not, I said. Please don’t be mad.

    I’m not mad. You said it wouldn’t happen again, right? So we’re fine.

    Thank you, I said.

    Now, enough about the dead ants, he said. Why don’t you go on back to your room and read for a while. I’ll give you the all clear.

    Thank you for looking out for me, I said.

    You’re my Rapunzel, he said. It’s my job to keep you safe here in your tower.

    Thank you, I said again.

    I hummed as I walked past the window. The grass was bright and green and fresh mowed. It would smell nice tomorrow on my way to the butcher.

    495 seriously messed up words

  2. Emmy Bear

    “Dead ants were everywhere. Their tiny decaying bodies littered every surface. They covered the ground and spilled from the ceiling. Black dots of death tumbled down the walls adding to the ever growing pile of rotten flesh. I felt like I was drowning in minuscule legs as they filled my nostrils and clogged my lungs. Escape. I needed to escape.

    I started walking—no, wading—through the destruction raining down around me. The smell of doom and decay was cloying at my sensitive nose. The noise of skittering legs scrambling over other dead crawlers filled my ears, and the noise grated against my brain setting my teeth on edge.

    I sunk to the ground with my hands clasped against my ears; I just wanted the noise to stop. And that’s how they found me, in the foetal position being swallowed by dead bugs. I remember thinking how relieved I was that someone was pulling me from that moving grave, but then I saw who—or what—had found me.

    More black, only bigger, so much bigger, and fuzzy, but not the cuddly kind of fuzzy, the kind that makes you want to wash. My horror filled eyes flickered back and forth over all eight of it’s spindly legs. I watched the colour drain from my already greying skin in all of it’s glassy mirror like eyes, the soulless inky black hypnotising me with fear. I was so afraid Em.” I shiver against your chest as I recount my nightmare.

    “Hush now, love. It was just a dream.” His muscular arms wrap around me almost twice making me feel so small and safe.

    “It felt so real. Christ, I can still feel them crawling all over me.” My shivers increase to trembling, my teeth starting to rattle together from the force of my juddering.

    Em pulls me impossibly closer squeezing those big arms around my little frame. The thump, thump, thump of his heart begins to calm me. His chest is warm against my cheek, and the rhythmic pulsing just under his smooth skin is lulling me back into sleep. As my eyelids start to droop again I see those arachnid eyes staring into my soul, and I bolt upright before I can slip back into my nightmare.

    I hear you sigh a little—not from impatience or anger, but from worry—as you run your fingers through my golden hair. “You’re not going to sleep anytime soon, Rosie. Let me run you a bath, we’ll get soapy and then we’ll get sleepy.” His boyish grin pulls a small smile from me.

    Em’s always been good at that, at making me smile, it’s why I fell in love with him. It had been so long since I smiled when he first found me that I had almost forgotten how to. But he warmed my soul and pieced my heart back together so he had somewhere to live. I’ll be forever grateful to my big cuddly Emmy bear.

    Word count 495
    Special challenge accepted

  3. Battlefield: Abandoned House
    Dead ants were everywhere. The army of corpses lay in windrows oozing ichor and twitching body parts were strewn about. The abandoned old house had become a battleground. The menacing interior was dim, musty, dusty, and literally crawling. The spiders held the heights, beady eyes staring malevolently, dangling on silken cords from above. Their sticky cobwebs swagged the corners and tented the ceilings. The walls were festooned with writhing clumps of insects. They swirled, parting and gathering, forming a living Kaleidoscope. A battalion of cockroaches scurried forth from the rusted water pipes. They rumbled around like tiny tanks, antenna waving. Grasshoppers and crickets leapt and bounded, chirping their calls. Bees, wasps, and flies buzzed and hummed evilly, darting around the rooms. Silverfish, millipedes, centipedes, beetles, and other things scuttled across the warped wooden floors. Hidden termites gnawed loudly.

    "More bug spray Joyce!" The realtor hollered to his assistant, stomping his feet. The flashlight he held jinked randomly as he swatted his hands wildly.

    Her purse banged against her side as twisting and turning she obeyed him. PHIST! PHIST! PHIST! Dozens of insects fell before her, bodies curling and twitching. "It's not working Mr. Simmons." She paused to vigorously shake the bottle of Raid. PHIST! PHIST! PHIST! She sprayed, spreading the chemical cloud, continuing the slaughter. "There are too many of them!" She shuddered, brushing a spider from her hair. Fumes stung her eyes and choked her lungs, causing her to cough.

    A bee dive-bombed Mr. Simmons, dangerously close to his face. "I'm allergic to bees!" He yelled.

    "Then let's get out of here before you get stung."

    Quickly they retreated to the safety of the lawn. Panting heavily and sweating nervously Mr. Simmons stared at the house. "That is the worst infestation I've ever seen! I'll never sell it unless.." He fell silent pondering the situation. Minutes later he straightened up. "Joyce, call the exterminator." He ordered decisively.

    "Yes sir!" She replied, dialing her cell phone enthusiastically.

    326 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

  4. Why You Should Not Listen to a LoTR Soundtrack and Write Flash Fiction at The Same Time

    Dead ants, that’s what they’d be soon enough, but not right now. Clove watched with fascination as thousands—no, millions—of ants marched in neat little rows down the hallway of her apartment. Like the hoards of an invading army, each tiny soldier wielding a crumb twice their size, they traipsed through enemy territory to headquarters.

    Clove pulled her head back and quietly closed the bedroom door on the invaders. She wandered over to her wardrobe. Hanging inside was a black suit and a cat-eared mask. The silky cloth slid easily over her clothes and zippered up the side. The mask fit snugly over her head. She glanced at herself in the door’s full-length mirror and purred at her reflection. A black gloved hand with cat claws reached up to remove the spray can of pesticide and a gas mask from the top shelf.

    “Purrrfect, darling, you look simply divine,” she murmured to herself as she caressed the reflection’s masked face. She was ready.

    With a kick from her stiletto boot, the bedroom door flung open, scattering hundreds of ants off their course.

    “Prrrreparrre to die!” she screeched, aiming the spray can and pushing down the nozzle. A grey, misty substance billowed out. As the toxic gas filled the lungs of its enemies, they crumpled one by one into writhing balls of agony. Clove turned left and right as she slowly made her way down the long hallway, spreading the deadly poison and crunching dying ants under her heels as she went.

    It was then she noticed the ants increasing in size the farther along she went. Though they were still affected by the toxic fumes, crunching them under heel was no longer an option. Some of them even came up to her knees!

    “Die, you ants!” she hollered in frustration as she sprayed, kicked, and trampled the juicy bodies. “Die, die, die!”

    Then she saw it. The ant general. Almost as tall as herself and with spindly legs like a spider, it slowly turned to face her as she approached. She faltered a step, the spray can momentarily ceasing its steady stream of death, and launched herself at the hideous creature. It screamed with rage as the poison burnt its flesh, but it did not go down.

    The ant turned on her in an instant, dislodging the can from Clove’s paws. They were forced into hand-to-hand combat. Duck, weave, kick, punch, block, kick. One punch from the ant sent Clove flying into the wall, knocking the air from her lungs. She sat gasping and gagging until she staggered to her feet again. She would not be defeated by an ant!

    “I. AM. CATWOMAN!”

    With her strength renewed, Clove unleashed her claws on the beast and scraped, scratched, and tore the beast apart until it was an oozing, decapitated mess on her floor. She bent down to retrieve her spray can, gave the general one last puff of poison, and sauntered triumphantly back to her room.

    She was victorious.
    Word Count: 499
    Special Challenge

    1. In particular, this soundtrack:

  5. On The March

    Dead ants were everywhere but I was more perturbed by the living ones. I’d stopped swatting them off the kitchen counter, the ones that dared to transfer themselves on to my body were squashed with a scream, mine not theirs. It was an invasion, the march of a conquering army.

    I looked everywhere to find what was attracting them. No spilt sweet substances. They were coming from underneath the back door and heading straight up the kitchen cabinets and the live ones were disappearing into the corner of the internal wall.

    What was making them die on the journey? Where were they going? What was the purpose? Mum had always said I had a scientific brain and asked too many questions.
    Remembering the time I did a school project on Did Mothers always know best? My conclusion was no.

    Where was Jake when you needed him? Out with his mates, drinks after work, I was an independent woman I’d solve this mystery without him. He wasn’t the best flatmate, when that huge tarantula ran across the floor he was standing on the sofa with me, screaming too.

    Standing with the sledge hammer firmly in my left hand I began to hit the corner of the wall. I’d often wondered why Jake kept a hammer like this under the stairs. He’s such a puny little guy. My muscles are more honed than his.

    It didn’t take much strength to shatter the plaster board but it took all my strength not to pass out. The sunken eyes beseeched me, the bones of the skeleton rattled me, the ants were feasting on the remains of its flesh.

    “So you’ve met Jolene?”

    I jumped at the sound of Jake’s gentle voice behind me.

    “I knew one day you’d get to meet her”

    298 words
    Challenge accepted

  6. Dead ants were everywhere. Spiders were caught up in the deluge of horror. The Darkness enjoyed the rush of power that came from having control over organic things – be it insects or humans. It had been so long since It had been able to kill a human. It was bored and turned its attention to the wildlife in the woods. Darkness felt a rumble within itself, which would have been a laugh if Darkness had a throat.
    Marie sighed as she walked through the center of town. Civilized towns and cities created centers with fountains and flagpoles. But the unorganized territory R2-TR2, locally known as Moose Falls, didn’t warrant a fountain or monument at its center. Only ashes from the last bonfire colored the exact epicenter of Moose Falls.
    “Life is so unfair,” the twenty-six-year-old thought as she scuffed her hiking boots along the path. “Because of a silly curse, I can’t leave town to go to school.”
    The family curse, in place for nearly 400 years, stated Pierre Pelletier and his ancestors could not leave this area. The first wife of Pierre was a witch and cursed Pierre. He slept with a young Pasmaquoddy woman during the blizzard of 1654. Sophie learned of the short relationship and cursed them both to live together in the wilderness of western Maine. A Darkness guarded the area, drummed up by Sophie and lasting for hundreds of years after her death.
    Pierre learned with broken bones he couldn’t leave the area. A hardship for a fur trapper used to walking a territory several hundreds of miles. Through the years, family members tried to leave and were killed outright by the Darkness. It had been decades since the last death by Darkness.
    Noise of an obvious outsider interrupted Marie’s train of thought. Such a racket, enough to raise the Darkness? A man about her age and a foot taller than Marie stumbled his way into the area across the clearing.
    Marie froze in her train of thought and in mid-step.
    “Hello, sexy stranger. You’re not from here,” Marie thought. “Wait! He’s not from around here! Well, we’ll find out now if the Darkness is real.”
    “What are you doing here?” Marie shouted. “Who are you, and how did you find us?!”
    “Um, I’m Eric,” the man said. “I don’t suppose that this is part of the Appalachian Trail? I think I’m lost.”
    Marie walked toward him, sure that the Darkness already noticed this stranger in town.
    “He’s as good as dead,” Marie thought. “I guess it’d be neighborly to make his passing less gruesome.”
    Marie saw the Darkness gathering its power into a mass just behind Eric, in the trees on the edge of town. She stood on tiptoe, leaned into Eric, and kissed him. The kiss lasted just a few seconds until Marie no longer felt his solid structure in her arms. She looked down and saw ashes amid a landscape of dead ants and spiders.
    The curse – people don’t leave and strangers don’t live.

    502 words
    Challenge accepted

  7. The Question and The Queen

    Dead ants were strung together, black beads with antennae that sometimes snapped off as the necklace swung against the queen's chest. Strand over strand they draped her sinewy neck. Bright beetle broaches dotted her chest and shoulders, and sharp legged spiders dangled from silver hooks in her ears. Bright green praying mantises with hind legs intertwined made a circlet on top of the thick ropes of black hair that swooped along the top of her head.
    Her wrinkled skin retained a light caramel color that spoke of the people above that she had once belonged to, now bleached by her many years in these caverns below.
    She drew in a rattling breath and all the creatures on her seemed to be alive once more.
    “What do you come here to ask me, child?”
    Amaya was surprised by the power of the voice and the crispness of her words, expecting something less substantial.
    “Your highness, your majesty,” she began, uncertain of everything, particularly how to address the queen, “I want to train to become a dragonfly rider. I have been told that it is possible because of my sex.”
    Amaya squared her shoulders and took a deep breath.
    “I answered that it is a woman who commands the fleet and all those who ride and so my gender should be no issue. The head officer told me that I should take the matter to you. To be honest I almost did not, your highness, I do not want to trouble you, but I can’t walk away without having tried.”
    Amaya heard the rasping sound of dried wing on wing as the skirts of the queen’s dress moved, the queen sitting forward and squinting at her.
    “Do you think that the qualifications for either job are the same? That because I am in charge of the fleet I am well suited to flying? Or that any of the riders are then equally suited to rule?” the queen asked.
    “No, your majesty,” Amaya said quickly.
    “What has gender to do with it, child? Rulers are rulers because they are born to it, and riders because of their skill, they are mutually independent,” the queen said, tenting her long fingers together, sharp nails clicking against their opposite.
    Amaya had nothing to say in reply.
    There was a muffled silence in the room of hard dirt floors, walls, and ceiling.
    “Perhaps there is something in my phrasing though,” the queen said, rasping in breath and cloth as she resettled herself, “What has gender to do with it?”
    The queen peered at Amaya with concentrated black eyes.
    “Go, be a rider, tell your captain I give permission. And perhaps we will answer my question.”
    Amaya gave a small involuntary gasp of surprise that her dreams had been answered, no matter what eventual cost may come with them.
    “Thank you, your highness,” she said as she bowed and backed out of the room and began her climb back up to the surface and eventually the sky.

    499 words
    Special Challenge Accepted

  8. Dead ants lined the path to the spiders' lair. It had been a long time coming. The new garden, rich with produce and food, drew bugs from many species, and with them came conflict. The ants, colonizing wherever they went, claimed the bounty of the land for their Queen, confident that this garden would be no different than the ones before, and would provide great wealth and prosperity.

    We spiders felt differently.

    This was our territory, and no line of ants on parade, all dressed in their fiery red coats, would ever convince us otherwise. They planned to take us by surprise, but their ridiculous insistence on mustering full strength before marching in long lines to do battle gave us just the time we needed to establish our defenses. With webs strung across every path leading to our nest, we scattered throughout the foliage to await the battle we knew would soon come. The ants did not keep us waiting. Barely had the sun dried the dew from our webs when the tromp of thousands of feet and the plucky singing of “The ants go marching two by two, hurrah! Hurrah!” could be heard from down the row. All eyes were on the path as the line of ants, armed with rocks and sticks and pincers, advanced steadily on our position.

    Still we waited, holding our attack until the last possible second… and then it happened. The first row of ants, still singing loudly, stumbled into our webs. We swooped in from the sides as the next wave of ants, forced forward by their kinsmen behind them, launched their pebbles and twigs at our webs in a valiant effort to push through. Striking simultaneously at a dozen points along the column, we retreated again to the foliage before the ants had a chance to know what hit them.

    The disarray and confusion that followed was truly astonishing to behold. With the leaders stuck squirming in the webs, and their neat lines so randomly broken, the ants lost any semblance of discipline and scattered in an attempt to escape the perceived hordes they encountered. Though vastly outnumbered, our knowledge of the paths lent us the advantage, and we continued to shower the retreating company with streamers of sticky webs from the shadows, decimating their numbers while protecting our own. All the way to the edge of the garden we drove them, not ceasing until they had returned to the sea or grass from whence they had come. This battle was ours. They may return, or others like them, but the many ants dead along the path stand as a warning that will not soon be ignored.

    445 Words
    Challenge Accepted