Monday, July 14, 2014


Welcome! I'm so glad you could join us again this week. I'm currently on vacation in Colorado, so if you can spread the word this week, that'd be great. I'll try to get online to remind people, but I may be away from internet for at least part of the day. Thanks for helping out! Now go check out the prompt for the week and get writing! :)

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, 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 Carlos Orozco
. Also known as @goldzco21. Read his winning tale from last week here! This is what he has to say about himself: I live in the Yakima Valley and work at a library with the community engagement team. I love me a good short story of any genre (I’m reading collections from Raymond Carver and Phillip K. Dick right now). No blog, but you can tweet me @goldzco21. I am currently on a flash fiction contest binge so feel free to drop a comment on my stuff if you see it. I love feedback.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-2 is:

[Many days had] gone by, and [he] remained [enslaved] in the [small cabin].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Change the weather as the story progresses. One weather change minimum.



  1. Faith and Failure

    Several minutes had gone by, and Denny remained suspended by the nylon safety rope. The rope had caught him, but since he had allowed it to get longer than was prudent he had fallen a father than normal. He was totally unprepared for the whiplash jerk of the rope, or for the resulting swing against the rock face.

    “Denny, are you all right?”

    His partners were watching from above, worry etching their faces. He had spent the first few minutes stopping the nosebleed he received from the impact.

    “I’ll live.”

    Nervous laughter raineded down through the open air above him. Denny looked up and realized the others were still climbing, moving further away from him. He hadn’t expected that.

    “Are you going to just leave me here?”

    The two men above glanced at each other knowingly.

    “We are not going to leave you. YOU are going to climb up here and go with us.” Denny did not like the way he emphasized ‘you.’

    “I can’t. I’m exhausted. I’m broken up.”

    “You said you were going to live. I believe you. Now let’s go.”

    Denny knew it was his responsibility to get himself out of this situation. It was his own failures that had caused him to slip, and it was his own lackadaisical attitude that caused his safety rope to be so long.

    Knowing these things did not give him the energy to climb the rope though. Since he had fallen from the center of the overhang, he was suspended in mid-air. To return to the group he had to clamber up the rope, and climb back over the rock he had already covered before the slip.

    “I can’t do it. Just send up the helicopter when you get back.”

    “Denny, you are under the overhang. How is the chopper going to reach you? Quit being a baby and come on.”

    Having said this, they disappeared up and over the rock Denny was hanging from.

    Another long minute passed and Denny attached the climb handle to the rope. Painfully he inched up to the rock. Previously he had half the safety anchors he needed. Now he was using twice as many as was needed. Previously he had muscled his way across the rock. Now he relied on the ropes to support his weight.

    Within a half hour he was rounding the point where he found the rest of the group waiting on him.

    “Glad you could join us.”

    “Thanks, your compassion is overwhelming. If I wasn’t so tired I would beat the snot out of you.”

    “Maybe, but today you became a real climber. Real climbers learn to trust their equipment, and not just their own strength and capability. Every real climber knows falls are inevitable, but they can stay vigilant to prevent disaster when a fall happens. Most of us learned the hard way, like you did today”

    478 words

    1. Bummer - first paragraph, the two words a father, was supposed to be simply one word. Farther.

      Isn't it funny how you can catch a mistake like that right after you press send?

  2. Chaos Storm

    It had been many hours, since he had been trapped within the small Shelter. The building was crowded by the mules, nervously stamping their feet, loudly braying their unease, and ripe with the stench of their droppings. The boy huddled in a corner, knees drawn up to his chest, arms wrapped tightly around them. He trembled as the Chaos Storm lashed the Shelter with its fury. He flinched at each massive explosion of thunder. Lightning strobed wildly in the tiny window casting weird shadows around the dark room. The heavy stone walls shuddered as the fiercly gusting winds wailed and howled, tearing at the structure.

    Zain Kutayen gently fingered the spot on his left arm that had been gashed by a flying splinter of wood. He knew that he'd been luckier than some of his companions. The Chaos Storm had struck without warning, cutting through the Exploratory Corps like a scythe through grain. Zain had seen a swirling funnel reach down and grasp the half-ton wagon Nekha Kalmon had been perched on, lift it into the air like a feather and toss it aside to smash to smithereens against the unyielding earth. Juova Vorvrak had been standing beneath a tall tree, when it and he were bisected by a spinning blade of metal. Modge Trydress was racing for safety when he stepped on a seemingly solid stone and was sucked down into it. He had time for but a single despairing scream before disappearing

    Zain had reacted as he had been so mercilessly drilled. Grabbing the halters of the mules and running for the nearest Shelter. He had pulled them inside, fastened them to the heavy staples embedded in the wall, slid the door shut, and dropped the bar engaging the protective shield. He could feel its steady, comforting hum through the floor. His stomach growled, numbly he fumbled a piece of journey bread from his pack and wolfed it down. He took several deep swallows from his canteen before recapping it and carefully settling it aside. The Chas Storm raged on. Exhaustion claimed him and Zain drifted into a restless sleep.

    The sudden silence woke him. Stiffly Zain stood, his entire body aching from the numerous bruises he had received and hobbled to the little window. He peered outside. Bright sunlight glared in his eyes. He lifted the bar and slowly edged the door open. Cautiously he emerged. Bright, clear blue sky greeted him. The ground as far as he could see had been scoured bare to the bedrock. Only the Shelters remained intact.

    "Zain is that you boy?" Captain Dokas Gukka yelled across the distance.

    "Yes sir, I've got the mules with me!"

    "Good job lad! Come help us sort things out."

    The final tally was grim, over twenty of the team had vanished without a trace, three were mortally wounded, five were walking wounded, and all of their supplies except for what the mules had been carrying were destroyed. Regretfully Captain Gukka ordered their return to Pyrefort.

    500 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

  3. The Waiting Room

    Half the day had gone by, and I remained sprawled across the thinly papered table in nothing but a stiff, backless nightshirt. Twice a woman in scrubs came to check on me and let me know the doctor would “be with me shortly.” I folded my hands over my abdomen and gazed at the florescent flickering over my head, silently counting the dead flies trapped inside. One, two, three, four, nope that one twitched, four, five, six...

    ‘That’s boring.’ I rolled my head to stare at the wall next to me and was surprised to see a window with a nice view of the parking lot. ‘That’s funny, I didn’t notice this room had a view when I walked in.’ I switched from flies to cars and made it to 17 before I couldn’t distinguish one from the other anymore. ‘The sun sure is hot today. I can see the heat just radiating off the hoods.’

    There was nothing more to see out there so I raised my head a little to look at the jungle print that ran around the bottom panel of the stark white room. ‘Aw, what a cute baby elephant. And monkeys, can’t forget the monkeys. Oh, and there’s a tiger, and a gazelle, and an orangutan, and a green snake all twisted up in the vines hanging between the palm trees. How nice.’

    I looked out my window again... and blinked. Storm clouds had rolled in and the rain battered the coloured leaves off the trees. ‘Wait... the leaves changed colour? It’s Fall? How long have I been in here? I’m imagining things.’ I went back to examining the wallpaper. ‘And there’s a whale, and a dolphin, and a jellyfish, and a lobster, and a starfish...’

    A sudden crash jolted me onto my rump and I consciously tugged the paper about my torso, exposing more and more of me the more I tried to right it. ‘Oh dear me, I hope no one’s in the parking lot...’ I frantically turned to the window only to find snow pelting the glass in large, smearing snowflakes. Snow?!? ‘All right, that does it-- this doctor is taking too dang long of a time getting here.’

    I swung myself off the table and started stumbling about the room in search of my clothes, but I couldn’t find them. Panic constricted my throat. When did they take my clothes? The walls caved in around me and stars clouded my vision as my world spun. Trapped in the doctor’s office! Hands emerged from the wall, hundreds of hands, grabbing my shoulders, groping my feet, and pulling me down, down, down into the dark abyss and there was nothing I could do. Years must have gone by and this... this was the end!

    “Ms. Keister, I’m sorry to keep you waiting...”

    I opened my eyes. There was no window, my clothes draped across the chair, and the parchment gown still covered as little as it ever did.

    “Dang right, you are.”

    Word Count: 499
    Special Challenge!

  4. The Yurt

    Twelve days have gone by, and I remain trapped in the yurt. The rampaging runoff from the recent deluge made Bear Creek transform into something to make Noah curse. Jillian wraps her arms around me and plays with my growing beard. Being trapped here has been a blessing. The impending trial separation — put off. The jealousy we each have of outsiders — eliminated. Instead we have no choice but to focus on each other, and whether or not we’re about be thrown to our deaths down the valley.
    The rain has stopped and a heavy fog has overtaken the valley. The creek looks to have peaked, but it hasn’t shrunk yet. Instead we have each other, a single book of poetry, and a big box of candles. Our electronics died on day three. The road was washed out on day six — we watched pieces of it pulled away. Our rented yurt is anchored into the massive rock face. Unless the creek goes up another two feet we’ll be safe.
    We are still working on the first bin from our emergency food supply. Tonight we have Liberty Soup, Louisiana Potatoes Al Gratin, and chocolate pudding. For all the provisions I had in the yurt I forgot a shave kit, not that I mind. Jillian seems to appreciate my growing beard. Jillian seems to favor me much more here than when we have all the outside distractions. We sleep huddled under blue emergency blankets on top of our folded out sleeping bags.
    Jillian says, “I am so happy we came here.” She nuzzles in, then says, “You were right. This is exactly what we need.”
    The feel of her skin is a wonder of life that I didn’t realize I missed. That’s what happens when our electronic addiction keeps us from seeing each other. When careers, social media, and whatever project we are working distracts us.
    “I never want the water to recede,” Jillian says.
    The crack of thunder up the mountain signals a new round of rainfall.
    I nod, and then say, “I’d be pretty happy to spend the rest of our days like this.”

    Word Count: 353
    Special Challenge accepted

  5. Many days had gone by and Chris remained imprisoned in the small cabin.

    No attempt at escape had succeeded, he was thwarted by his captor at every turn. It was utterly humiliating and downright depressing.

    Just what he was doing there, he had no idea. The last thing he remembered clearly was getting into his car and setting out to drive the ten miles of back roads to his girlfriend’s house. Maybe there was a faint memory involving a crash...or was that his imagination trying to fill in the blanks?

    Peering out of the small, cobweb-festooned window set high in the cabin wall gave Chris nothing other than an inkling that a storm was coming. Snow had flickered down all morning, taunting him with thoughts of freedom and snowball fights with Alison. Was she looking for him? Had she called the police by now? He squeezed his eyes shut and thrust thoughts of her away. Getting upset wouldn’t help, he needed to stay focused.

    Glaring out of the window, Chris saw that the clear blue skies which had followed the earlier snow were swiftly vanishing, ominous grey clouds gathering in the distance.

    The snap of the door being thrown open made him jump. Unashamed to show fear now, after having defiance met with very rough justice previously, Chris scrambled back into a corner and flattened himself against the wall.

    His captor; a tall, cadaverously featured man whom Chris had taken to calling the ChildCatcher, strode over the threshold and grinned. Two stumps of rotted teeth remained in his foul and pitted gums. Chris shuddered.

    “I’ve bought you a present, boy,” he said, glee evident in his tone. “Say ‘thank you’.”

    “Thank you,” Chris whispered, his stomach churning.

    A heap of what looked like rags hit the floor with a thump. The high-pitched whimper which came from it was definitely human.

    “Gonna pretty this gingerbread house right up,” the ChildCatcher went on. “There’s your Gretel. You two get friendly, y’hear?”

    With a leer which sent a shiver down Chris’ spine, the evil son of a bitch turned and left.

    Scrambling forward, Chris pulled at the bundle of rags. Blue eyes, huge and wet, blinked up at him.

    “What’s going on?” the girl whispered.

    “I don’t know,” Chris replied but sick realization formed in his gut. Gingerbread house? Gretel?

    “You know anything about fairy tales?” he asked, fear sour in his mouth.

    “Huh?” the girl sat up. “What the hell are you talking about? We need to get away from that psycho!”

    “Hansel and Gretel,” Chris said softly. “The witch caught ‘em, fattened them up and then...”

    “Ate them, or at least tried to.” The girl finished his sentence.

    Their eyes met, then they both shot to their feet.

    “We need to get out of here before he lights the damned oven!”

    - - -

    In the big cabin beside his gingerbread house, the ChildCatcher merrily whistled as he sharpened a knife. He’d eat well soon enough.

    495 words
    special challenge accepted

    (second attempt at posting, the first one seems to have vanished!)

  6. Hey guys. Thanks for giving me great pieces to judge. Winners and feedback were emailed to Alissa, so I imagine they will be up soon.Feel free to contact me whenever through twitter or email. Hope you guys and gals succeed in all your future writing endeavors.

    Carlos Orozco