Monday, August 18, 2014


Hiya! Welcome back! I'm so tired from my weekend at GenCon Indy that I think I should still be sleeping...for several days. :) Ah well, someone had to get the kiddos to school this morning. (It was a GREAT time, if you were wondering - I highly recommend it.) That said, you're here to check out the new prompt and write a story, so I won't keep you any longer. Enjoy! I look forward to reading what your creative minds grow from this little seed.

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 Rebekah Postupak. Also known as @postupak and @flashfridayfic. Read her winning tale from last week here! Check out her blog and Flash! Friday flash fiction contest here. Rebekah's flash fiction obsession has been getting her into trouble since 2012. She keeps it in line by running her own contest at Flash! Friday and writing for awesome contests like #FinishThatThought as often as possible.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-7 is:

Two vials lay before [me], the fate of [the kingdom] in [my] hands.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include an accidental death.



  1. 490 words
    Special challenge not accepted, sorry.

    Two vials lay before me, the fate of the kingdom in my hands. I slipped both into my pockets, the poison on my left side, the love draught on my right, and picked up my serving tray.

    I almost made it to the feast without anyone seeing me, but my father caught me by the door. “No mistakes, Hana,” he said. “This is our chance.”

    I nodded and slipped inside. Father followed me, going to his own place with the other counts. Tonight, the king was entertaining the Esterwall princess. Every noble in the land was here. Including - especially - Prince Joshua.

    I hadn’t seen him in two years, since he’d gone off to command soldiers at the frontier. Now, with the war won and a peace treaty in the making, he was back in his glory. Oh, how he’d grown. I moved along the tables, pouring wine, staying invisible, staring at Joshua. He had a beard now, and a scar that made his handsome face even more rugged. Our eyes met across the room. His widened. After a moment, he turned back to the foreign princess beside him, his smile gone.

    I made it to the high table and served the princess. She ignored me, laughing at something Joshua said. I turned and poured Joshua’s wine. He looked at me again. I could tell he wanted to speak. I wanted to talk to him, too, desperately. But I knew better. He was the prince. I was a nobleman’s bastard, given a place as a serving maid.

    But not forever. Not after tonight. My father had a plan. I waited.

    Father scratched his nose with two fingers. The signal. I plunged my hand into my left pocket. Poison for the king’s cup, then slip both vials — the empty poison and the full love draught — into the foreign princess’s bag. When the king died, the nobles would find both. There would be war, our heroic prince taking the lead. Father would become the vizier. I would be legitimized. I might even, someday, dream of marrying well… even marrying Joshua…

    “Do it,” Joshua hissed. I started and jumped back. He had only glanced at me for an instant. Had he really spoken?

    Of course. This wasn’t father’s plan at all. Joshua had tired of waiting for his inheritance. He didn’t want to marry this foreign girl. He wanted to conquer.

    I leaned over the king’s place and poured him wine. Then I turned back to Joshua and the princess. I poured the love potion into Joshua’s cup, then backed away.

    He didn’t notice. I hurried across the room, the sealed vial of poison burning in my pocket, as Joshua raised his goblet in toast to the princess. My heart pounded. I wanted to vomit. All my dreams were ashes in my mouth.

    But I still had my role to play. My father was thirsty.

    I had just the draught for him.

  2. Poison Princess

    Two vials lay before me, the fate of the Kingdom in my hands. I weighed them against each other, so slender and lethal, filled with potential. One a poison, the other a cure, which future would I choose?

    I'd been raised a Princess of the Blood, nurtured on politics and intrigue, schooled in the uses of power and privilege, trained to never let my emotions overrule my head. My aching heart cried out for retribution, my mind saw the ways I might ease the plight of my conquered people. Which duty was greater, the one I owed my subjects or the one I owed myself?

    The choice was hard but generations of service to the Throne of Frissia demanded it. I popped the cork on a vial. I tossed the contents down my throat. I grimaced at the sickly sweet aftertaste. I raised the second vial, smashing it against the unyielding marble floor.

    Before I could react a grey rat oozed out from the wainscoting and lapped at the puddle. Within moments it lay twitching and writhing on the floor. I wiped up the remaining droplets, tossing the moisture laden rags and the rat's body into the fire. Carefully, I waved the fumes away.

    I straightened my finery and rang the bell, summoning my attendants. My Ladies in Waiting bustled in. Briskly, they draped me with the Crown Jewels. "It is time Your Highness." Chancellor Leibensperger announced from the doorway. I laid my hand on his offered arm and swept out of my room for the last time.

    The Royal Cathedral was packed with the armed guards of the enemy, and the remains of my Nobility and Gentry, even a few of the peasants had managed to squeeze in to witness the ceremony. Thick clouds of incense wafted over me as the ArchPriest droned his way through the joint rituals of wedding and coronation. "I present to you, Their Imperial Majesties, Ruperto Boisse-kilgo II of Malimar and his wife Princess Melisande."

    My new husband gave me a quick brutal kiss, bruising my lips. I plastered a neutral expression on my face and turned to greet my people. A forced cheer rocked the groined apse. "Now our Kingdoms are one! You made the right choice Princess. I can't wait to taste your honey, little bee." He growled coarsely in my ear making a play on the meaning of my name.

    "You are my husband, I shall not resist you. Enough of my people have already perished in this fruitless war." I replied.

    He responded by giving me a deeper, longer kiss. I opened my mouth to him meekly, letting him sweep his tongue inside. He stood tall on the daïs while he accepted the pledges of loyalty. The ceremony had just finished when he suddenly began choking, his face turning red. Concerned aides ran to help him to no avail. He managed to gasped out, "wife, what have you done?"

    "Me? Why I've poisoned you husband. This honey bee has a fatal sting." I smiled sweetly as he died.

    500 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

  3. Two vials lay before me, the fate of the princesses in my hands. I picked up a test strip and placed a drop from the first vial on it. The strip instantly turned a shade of blue reminiscent of the peafowl that roamed the palace grounds.

    I let out a low whistle; I had not seen this shade once in all my years as the Royal Blood Tester.

    Prince Engleheardt's blood is 98% blue, I marveled, though I should have guessed. Engleheardt, the heir of a large kingdom in the East, had ridden into town atop an impressive steed and had, during the Suitor's Ball, charmed the King's eldest daughter to the point of immediate engagement.

    I picked up the other vial of blood and grimaced, thinking of its owner. Prince Halfreich was the crudely mannered heir of a small kingdom near the Sea. He'd arrived at the Suitor's Ball on a salt-encrusted, sway-backed horse. Inexplicably, the King's second-eldest daughter had found him irresistible.

    I guessed his blood would test somewhere in the 15-25% mark - still royalty, but barely. I dropped his blood onto the strip and waited.

    This is a day for firsts, I thought, as the test strip did not change color at all. Never before had I gotten a negative result for a suitor's blue-blood test.

    I rushed to inform the King of the results. Everyone was shocked by my findings. Even the scoundrel Halfreich had the nerve to feign surprise. The King ordered his immediate execution and he was carried away in chains.

    I scurried back to my lab. As I cleaned up my testing materials, the roar of the satisfied crowd reached my ears; the impostor “Prince” had been dispatched. As I moved to toss the vials into the fire, I noticed a detail which had previously escaped me.

    The blood I had tested as Prince Halfreich's belonged, instead, to our palace chambermaid, and was due to be tested for pregnancy.
    My eyes flew to the window, as though someone in the blood-thirsty crowd might have seen my mistake through it, but that was impossible, as my lab was on the second floor. I hastened to locate Prince Halfreich's true sample so that I could dispose of it. Finding it, I moved toward the fire, but couldn't resist testing, first, to confirm what I most feared would be true.

    The moment the drop of blood hit the test-strip, it bloomed into an indigo blue.

    Word Count 410
    Challenge Not Accepted

  4. Two vials lay before me, the fate of dinner in my hands. It wasn’t that the stew was bad, but it sure wasn’t special. And it needed to be special, what with my fiancée’s boss coming over for dinner. I was so lost in thought that I didn’t know that Callie had entered the kitchen until I felt her wrap her arms around me and kiss the back of my neck.

    “She's going to love it.” I just grunted and continued staring at the vials. Of course she’d say that, it was her job in times like this to keep me from flying off the wall. Callie stepped back, grabbing my arm, using the leverage to turn me around. “Okay, what’s the problem? Does it need salt?”

    I shook my head. “No. You know I’ve got a sixth sense for that kind of thing.”

    “Oregano? Thyme? Fresh parsley? No? What is it, then?”

    Tears came to my eyes. “I don’t know if I can do this, Callie.”

    “Oh, Mark. I know you can.” She wiped a tear from my cheek and kissed away the salt. “We’ve been planning this for so long, and we can only make it work together. You’re my guy.”

    I swallowed and closed my eyes. This time when Callie spoke, there was a hint of steel in her voice. “Don’t go soft on me now, Mark. My whole career is going to be affected by how this evening goes. If you couldn’t handle this, you should have told me a lot sooner. It’s way too late to back out now. Buddy, if I could dig a grave without cracking a nail, you can finish this meal. You’re not getting squeamish and thinking of doing anything stupid, I assume.”

    “No, sweetie, that’s not it. I’ve just never intentionally killed anyone with my cooking before.”

    “So? Why does it matter if it’s a bullet or a stew?”

    This time it was my turn to hone the edge in my voice. “Because it does. Because I’m not a marksman, or a trained sniper. I am, however, a James Beard award winning chef.”

    “Are you worried that she won’t like it? She’ll be dead. Who cares?”

    “I care. I want her last thought to be ‘I’m going to die, but this was the best food I’ve ever eaten.’”

    Callie stepped back and smiled. “I do love you, you know.”

    “I know.”

    “So, how can I help?”

    “Here’s the thing. I know how every herb, every condiment, every spice tastes. I know how to weave them together to create masterpieces. But I just don’t know what arsenic or strychnine tastes like, and I can’t decide which one would really complement the other flavors.”

    452 words
    No Special Challenge

  5. Title: Game
    Words: 500 words
    Challenge: Accepted

    Two vials lay before the contestants, the fate of the tournament in their hands. They stood slightly away from the vials. The game was simple. Drink a vial to transform. Defeat your opponent by pinning him to the ground. Thirty minutes until the effects of the vials wear off. Contestants never knew which vial was which – one would transform a contestant into a flameless, winged dragon. The other vial would transform a contestant into a fire-breathing, spiked tailed, flightless dragon. Each contestant wore colored uniforms, including helmet. When the bodies transformed, the colors of the uniform remained the same on the dragons so the audience could know which contestant was which.

    The announcer raised his arms and anxious silence filled the audience. “Contestant one – Matthias, blue. Contestant two – Scaldor, red.” The audience roared applause and several exchanged coins, placing their bets. Helmets covered the contestants’ faces but it was obvious both looked straight ahead at the vials. “Let the game begin!” shouted the announcer, firing a gun.

    The contestants sprinted. Scaldor was faster and grabbed one vial leaving the other for Matthias. Both humans convulsed as their bodies transformed. From the contortion a red dragon emitted a flame and shortly thereafter a blue dragon took to the skies.

    Matthias swooped down upon his prey looking to end the game in a quick pin. But Scaldor rolled away and emitted a stream of fire that glanced off the flying dragon as he re-ascended. The blue dragon circled above, just out of fire range and the red dragon put his back to a wall to maintain visibility of his opponent. Matthias took advantage of Scaldor’s position and rammed into the rock face of the wall, cascading boulders upon Scaldor. Scaldor dodged and Matthias swooped again. Scaldor was ready and swung his tail up just as the talons cut into his skin. The tail cut open the blue dragon’s wing and forced him to release his opponent in a wobbly retreat. Scaldor openly bled from his back but stayed focused. Back and forth they went, each taking advantages and then being forced to retreat.

    Tournament time was running down. Matthias flew as high as he could with his one good wing in order to gain more speed flying down. Scaldor backed up to a wall just as Matthias bulleted from the sky. Scaldor managed to evade being pinned but Matthias’ talon closed around his leg and both dragons somersaulted on the ground. Scaldor moved slightly hoping Matthias was not right on top of him to pin. But he was stuck. The red dragon’s tail was impaled into the blue dragon’s chest.

    Time was up. Both contestants contorted back into humans. Scaldor, hunched over with a bleeding back, crawled over to Matthias. Matthias lay perfectly still as dark blood spread across his chest. Scaldor removed both their helmets and the screams from the audience grew louder. The contestants’ faces were identical.

    “I’m sorry brother,” Scaldor whispered. “It was just supposed to be a game.”

  6. Title: Y2K_B

    Two vials lay before me, the fate of Ireland in my hands.

    I guess it started in 1982, with that bloody awful Prince track, 1999.

    By Millennium Eve it was the theme tune. A party a thousand years in the making. Apocalypse – you’re having a laugh. Get the booze in! Have a few days off. Race the time-zones by flying round the world in Concorde.

    I knew differently. I’d had a vision. Alcohol poisoning can cause hallucinations, or visions, as I like to call them.

    Sure, it’s not unheard of to have visions if you’re a man of the cloth, like I am. But, I’m not that type. I look in the mirror and see a chunky failure, a polystyrene man robbed of his best years.

    The Millennium bug…what a con. Perfect excuse for IT contractors to make ten grand a week, right? I mean jets falling from the sky, traffic light failures, electrical blackouts and toasters exploding; everyone thought it was funny. Not me…I prepared…

    • Food
    • Water supplies, filters, desalination equipment
    • Electricity generators, fuel, clothing
    • Alcohol and ‘medicinal’ drugs
    • Weapons, lots and lots of weapons

    On the night, I watch; cold comfort provided by my remote detachment from the events. Armageddon filtered to me via my Millennium-silver TV set. A front-row ticket for the worst show ever seen: The Apocalypse.

    As the clock struck in Australia, the planes started to fall. By time it reached Russia we’d heard the stories about the electrocuting toasters and power-cuts. Blenders and cookers, turned killer. More accidental deaths in an a few hours than a small war. Poor Mrs Kinsella and the videocassette machine.

    Midnight Eastern Europe there was no more Prince music, instead their world filled with the sounds of screaming and looting. By time midnight reached Ireland the fires were our lights, the curfews our only protection.

    We’re never far from our primitive routes. Neighbour killing neighbour over a bottle of ketchup.

    This place is no longer a place of God. I remember the sky-gorging mountains, once topped in powdery snow, glowing in the sunset like delicate pink icing – now I only see the boarded-up stained-glass windows. My CCTV now shows the sacred mountains though a grainy filter, I only see people-shaped-shadows and burnt metal; upturned and hollowed out like shellfish.

    My faith was once the very fabric of my DNA, my parishioners adored me; foolishly, they still do. They think I’ve saved them from the apocalypse - little do they know. My faith is a parasite and I detest their pathetic and mundane lives.

    In one vial poison, I place it in the Chalice with the wine. In one vial harmless liquid, I place this in the other Chalice. I swirl them with extra vigour as I bless them.

    I get one, my flock the other. I’ve mixed them up, I have no way of telling which is which.

    For the first time in years I put my faith in God.

    491 Words
    Special Challenge – Yes, of course. Enjoy.

  7. Two vials lay before me, the fate of humanity rested in my hands. I stared across the room, at the wall of computers, and the black dragon. It wasn’t a real dragon, like from fantasy books. It was a robot. The most advanced robot ever produced.

    I was about to bring that robot to life. All I had to do was drink the contents of the red vial, and then connect the cable to the port on the back of my head. That would duplicate all my neural pathways in the dragons neural network, and I’d become the dragon.

    If I drank the contents of the blue vial, I’d join my great-granddaughter beyond the veil of life.

    I remembered my great-granddaughter. She’d been three, with curly red hair, and neon blue eyes. she was the love of my life, the last joy I’d ever known. On the day she was born, all the money in the world became meaningless.

    On the day she died, I knew I’d extract the life from those who’d caused her death. They’d tried to kill me. They’d missed. I watched her race ahead of me, “Come on, Gray-Ganpa! Run!” She’d reached the car and pulled the door handle.

    And she was gone.

    It took ten days for me to wake up. I’d promised her no one would die that way again. I’d promised her I’d find those who killed her. But, I was too old. And too injured. And I was going to die. Six months, or six weeks, no one knew.

    I made a plan. Money didn’t matter. I had more money than I’d ever need. I bought the best. And had the dragon put together. I pretended I was doing something good. Providing a way for people to live almost forever. To escape the bounds of their mortal bodies, by copying their essence into the computers in robots.

    I’d be the first. A human heart and soul moved into a robot made of replaceable, repairable, upgradable parts. As long as I could afford to repair myself, I’d keep living. And I’d have the chance to bring death to those who’d brought it to my great-granddaughter.

    I would change all the rules of life and death.

    I drank from the red, and reached for the plug. I would become a dragon. And change everything.

    Revenge would be mine.

    395 Words

  8. Two vials lie before me, the fate of the Fürstentum in my hands. My eyes focus on the five minutes remaining on the game clock. My nerves are calm as I regard the vials. One has a thick, sugary liquid the shade of shellac. The other has a honey brown liquid with flakes of bark.

    I open the vial with the bark and add three dashes to the mixing bowl before us.

    The Burgomaster pauses for effect. Making us wait is not wise considering either Lieselotte or I shall be the next Prinz. He announces, “Walther is successful. The strudel now has vanilla.”

    Gentle murmurs bounce within the chamber. None of the observers are crass enough to root for either competitor.

    The gears in clock reset as I smack my side of the game clock.

    Junkerin Lieselotte regards me with perched lips. I can’t tell if she holds me in amusement or contempt. Her hazel eyes regard me again — she is about to repeat her offer. She whispered it when Hans looked unstoppable. Those pretty strawberry lips asked if I wished to double my chances.

    The Gräfin, I mean former Gräfin since she lost her title when Prinz Friedrich died, hadn’t realized I was baiting Hans. I waited until he grew confident before finishing him.

    It’s a shame Hans competed — I liked him. But those are the rules. Lose the succession competition and be forever banished from our lands.

    “Walther,” she asks.

    “Are we on a first name basis now Junkerin?”

    If she flinches inside she is great at not showing it. The Burgomaster sets a puzzle of our flag in front of her.

    “There is a fifty percent chance that you’ll leave forever. Do you want this?” She looks over her glasses at me. She’s sophisticated for nineteen.

    “There’s an equal chance that you will leave.” I flash confidence at her. On Hans I needed to counter, but I need to press Lieselotte into a mistake.

    “Accept my offer and we live in the castle to rule. It’s a better life than exile.” She places pieces while she talks.

    “I have no feelings for you.”

    “And I none for you,” she says looking at her pieces. “Most marriages for convince lack those. You may have dalliances on the side once we have heirs.”

    I must have gasped.

    “I will have royal children. With you, if you accept.”

    She completes her puzzle.

    My next challenge is to create a passable marzipan. I have many talents, but I am a horrible confectioner. I try not to look disappointed as I tell her, “I accept. When shall we?”

    “Only the priest can marry us.” Lieselotte says.

    The priest arrives and stands at the top of the grand staircase. His speech eats half my allotted time. He walks down to finish the ceremony but trips. The doctors try, but he has passed.

    Lieselotte’s eyes pass to the game clock. “It wasn’t meant to be.”

    She must know I’ll never finish in time.

    499 Words
    Challenge Accepted

  9. Puppies for Sale – Very Unique

    Two vials lay before me, the fate of the kingdom in my hands. The vials contain DNA encryptors. Once injected into an organism its DNA would forever be able to be read, revealing whatever secret message was now encoded in their cells. The technology is highly efficient, a normal sized man could have about six encyclopedias hidden in their body.

    The method was developed for spies. Information could be smuggled out of a country by an operative, and if detected, no amount of searching was going to disclose the data. But like everything else in the spy game, it was only useful when you alone possess it. Now border scanners in well developed countries can detect when a person has had their DNA altered in this manner.

    This was a most unfortunate development for those agents who had at some point in their past been DNA encrypted. Now if they leave the country, they might as well carry a flashing sign saying, “Government Asset.”

    So when the technology became obsolete, it also became public knowledge. At that point private enterprise could occassionally make use of the method. It became a tool of corporate spies. And it is used by whoever needs to move or preserve information that is secret or illegal.

    Hence it came to us. It is a way to preserve the secrets of our community. We have been named as public enemies. It has become illegal to meet together, dangerous to know us, and punishable by death to tell our truths. But we believe in our cause; we believe in our King.

    But how will we preserve our heritage, our way of life, and most of all—our message to the world? These two vials, they hold the keys to our kingdom. And cell groups all over the world need to receive the data encrypted in them.

    So it was up to me to develop a plan. And plan I did. Today I begin filling orders as a dog breeder. I will insist that they always be purchased in pairs, a male and a female. And for those who understand the secret, one puppy will be named Old Testament and the other New Testament.

    366 words