Monday, January 12, 2015


Welcome back! A new week, a new judge, a new opportunity for you to share your stories with us. So come, check out the prompt, and get started!

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. (Allowable alterations listed below)
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 DB Foy. Read her winning tale from last week here! Foy grew up writing fantasy with minimal plagiarism and poems full of whimsy. As puberty set in, her rhymes turned tormented and her stories existential. Thankfully, finding the other half of her orange cleared that up. Next came four years of professors demanding words bound by MLA and APA which sucked every bead of ink out of her. A recent transfusion administered by the Shenandoah Valley Writers has her poetry pink and her fiction flash. Steer clear of her ramblings by not clicking on this link and definitely don’t follow @db_foy on Twitter (she hasn’t figured out how to work it out yet).

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-28 is:

No one expects to watch [the world implode], [atoms] splitting, [time] melting, but here [I am].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include 3 of the following – A vat of soup, the Milky Way, crayons, Pad Thai, AC/DC, a copier machine, or a word in any language other than English.  



  1. Rainbow' End (500 words, plus all the special challenges ;-)
    By @DoctorMikeReddy

    No one expects to watch the World implode, atoms splitting, time melting, but here I am, watching the Milky Way unravel like a pot of melting crayons used for some child's art project. "Cach!"

    Enfys looked up from the pan of cawl she was stirring. "Beth sy'n bod?"

    "Talk in bloody English, mon!" I must have cursed out loud. "Haliwr…" I muttered under my breath.

    "Well, you started it." she said, abandoning the lamb broth. "Dos i chwarae efo dy nain!"

    "Gog!" A cheap shot, her being from Flint. "It's 'mam gi' down hee're, slebog." Now we were hammer and tonging it, my valleys' drawl was creeping in, the here having the customary two syllables.

    "Mae dy fam yn llyfu cociau mul!" she spat back.

    "Dyna sy'n digwydd, hyd y gwelaf fi…" I solemnly agreed. We both sniggered.

    "What is it then?" she asked, handing me a steaming bowl. The steam unravelled too, reminding me of the simulation I had just completed.

    "From this run, when our unexpected neighbour galaxy hits, it's the same result. This whole arm…" I felt her arm wrap round my waste, but carried on only slightly distracted. "… of which our dear Sun is a poor cousin will be ejected by the merging. Basically, we're done for."

    I ran the simulation summary, the result of hours of remote super computer run time, compressed to a three minute video on my laptop. Compared to the distant powerhouse it was as useful as a broken photocopier, but the sat dish kept us connected, with only a few seconds lag to show we weren't on campus. The whole set up in the wooden shack powered by alternating a solar panel and a small wind turbine, routed through an inverter and an AC/DC converter. Enfys liked being remote. Independent. Far away from people, like the untouchable rainbow that was her name. Her parents' first prophetic gift.

    After the stream of data had buffered, the whole catastrophe played out again on the small screen. I could see the swirling devastation reflected in Enfys' deep green eyes, like little constellations trapped in a snow globe. I hugged her back.

    "Strange to think how beautiful such destruction can be." She sighed. "How long have we got?"

    "Hard to say, really. About two hundred million years, give or take. Unless something smaller and worse happens beforehand."

    "Time enough to eat your cawl then" she reminded me. "It's not getting any hotter."

    Enfys. Love. Couldn't have explained the laws of thermodynamics any better myself." I giggled.

    Behind me, the computer stopped streaming. I turned, bemused by the 'Server unavailable' error. What could take out a satellite and the microwave link?

    "Pad Thai for tea," Enfys carried on, "if you get in enough wood for the…" She stopped, seeing I was in my 'IT support mode', distracted by the failing tech. "Beth sy'n… what's wrong?"

    "Cach!" I cried again. The hypocritical Welsh being overlooked.. "Byta fe. Eat your cawl," I said "There's not much time."

  2. No one expects to watch the world implode, atoms splitting, time melting but here I am. The intensity is over whelming and I can hardly breathe. I can hear people screaming in anticipation and just when I reach that point, the point when you can't take it anymore, the arena quietens, things become suddenly serene and an image of the milky way floats past my eyes.

    I peak at it, still mistrusting, BOOM. I crouch back down. I hear music. I love it. I look up. The members of AC/DC charge the stage and break straight in "Hotel, Motel". My favorite song, I sing along. "It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll."

    This is the best moment of my life and worth the wait. I have never seen effects like this before in my life. The stage looks like a nuclear explosion and the sound is deafening.

    I look at the seat to my left. My three year old daughter is sitting, totally unperturbed by the glory of the concert. She has her 'my little Pony' back pack sitting at her feet and a coloring book on her lap. She is scribbling in bright crayons.

    "What has mummy taught you?" I question her.

    She looks at me with wide eyes.

    "Dis is weal music and if I wanna roll with muma I need to rock wif AC/DC." She tried to yell above the music.

    "Exactly, now put down your crayons, get out of your seat and dance with me."


    1. Oops sorry I forgot.. less than 300 words and special challenge accepted

  3. Je Suis Charlie

    No one expects to hear the world implode, atoms splitting, time melting, but here I am. I’m hiding under a desk; a vat of tomato soup comes crashing down from the desk of Stephane, the thick fluid mixing with the blood that is staining the carpet. I look over to the copier machine, and I see one of my colleagues trying to slide behind the machine, looking for cover in vain.

    I look down at my own shaking hands, peering out through the seams of the desk, as I see the terrorist raising his gun at someone. I can’t see the victim’s face, but I hear his pleading, then his scream, and finally the sound of gunfire: I know someone else has died. The moment is so slow that I know the hands on the clock must have stopped or melted away: 11:47. I think about the dirty dishes in my sink that I didn’t have time to wash this morning. I think about my son who will be orphaned if I don’t come home tonight. I cover my mouth to prevent the sob that wants to escape. I must keep quiet, so the masked men don’t find me. I must keep quiet, so I can go home to my house tonight, and wrap my arms around my son, whisper in his ears, “Je te aime.”

    I gaze through the small cracks; from my position under the desk I can see the black boots of a man: the terrorist. He has the gun pointed downwards, and walks by my hiding place. I crouch down lower, trying to make myself as small as possible, so he doesn’t find me. The man walks away, and I hear him shouting something to someone else. Who is it? I don’t understand the words they are saying. I hear their heavy boots stomping on the carpet, but my eye is trained on the tomato soup, mixing into the pile of blood 500 feet from where I’m hiding.

    A few minutes pass, but it feels like an eternity. I start to move a little bit, and I turn, still crouched underneath my desk to see a hand being offered from above. My whole body is shaking, as I place my fingers into hers, and she pulls me up into an embrace. We stay there, my co-worker and I, someone I barely know locked together in distress, crying in one another’s arms. Our worlds will never be the same.

    When we pull apart, I see it’s the girl who was desperately trying to hide behind the copier.

    Tears are streaming down her face, a line of mascara creeping down her cheek, like the blood trail across the floor.

    “C’est fini.”

    Special Challenge Accepted
    Word Count: 453

  4. Big Bangs in Small Spaces
    @geofflepard 499 words
    Special challenge accepted
    ‘No one expects to watch the world implode, atoms splitting, time melting, but here we are.’
    My breath makes strands in the chill air; sharp sounds perforate the expectation.
    ‘In twenty minutes you will witness the end and beginning of everything.’ The voice intones, priest-like, calling the worshipful to prayer.
    I hold my eyes unblinking, open to every experience, absorbing every detail. The cathedral high vault stretches beyond my capacity to imagine. Faith alone tells me the rock roof is a kilometre away.
    Everyone is space suited, uniforms for this science fiction world in blue and orange. Those in the know wear beanies and bobbles and one, incongruously, sports a Scooby Doo. The frivolity is at odds with the seriousness of the moment.
    A voice next to me, hushed yet booming says, ‘The end of the world is nigh.’ Giggles; sub atomic snigger-waves chipping at the carapace of pomposity. We know we are the privileged few, humble hacks given access to the inner sanction of extraordinary achievement; and yet an irreverence for experts pervades the group, bringing out our inner thirteen year olds.
    Scalding arc lights guide us towards the control hub, a daunting room proving how prescient early James Bond movies were. We settle on banquets of a functional grey, ubiquitous tablets perched on tense laps, eyes unglued darting between the unintelligible screens and the quiet frenzy of the expectant scientists.
    ‘And now ladies and gentlemen…’
    The moment, pregnant with history, is dully utilitarian. A simple left click. The screens mimic our blinking and the once unimaginable becomes commonplace in front of our eyes. Colours swirl like a vat of soup while, down below the men and women of the future, doctrinaire in their convictions, study the proof of their exclusive theology. Black holes absorb Lilliputian worlds while steroidal quarks beast neutrino particles in a time and space unknown to my reality.
    My fingers flicker, deceiving the keypad into recording this moment, this replication of the very beginning of the beginning. I watch as the beginning oscillates and becomes the end from which the beginning reforms and re-ends; a cosmic déjà vu on repeat.
    Bangs bigger than this have occurred but no one before has watched. Space, time and all the other dimensions known, unknown and unknowable squeeze in and out of themselves gaining and losing enough weight to unbalance the Milky Way.
    The excitement, up here, amongst we scribes, the prosaic and the perfunctory, is tempered by our ignorance. I crave that voice, prepared to supplicate myself as the price of further enlightenment, but I am left to my own inadequately trained imagination. I have witnessed a remaking of the point that led to the here and now and the same point towards which we hurtle inexorably. I have seen the sweep of history, felt myself a small piece of a continuum. I am humbled. I understand, at last. I am full of wonder.
    I nod, save my 500 words and mail it to my editor.

  5. Exchanges

    No one expects to watch the world implode, atoms splitting, time melting, but here I am. My own personal Pralaya, Ragnarok, Armageddon.
    “We want different things, Gordon.”
    I chase prawns and noodles round my bowl. It isn’t a great Pad Thai, too much tamarind in the sauce for me. Right now, though, the only thing I can taste is bile.
    “I don’t know what you want me to say, Mia.”
    “You could stop prodding those noodles and look at me. We could talk properly.”
    “What about? There’s not much more you can say, and I really don’t want to speak at all.”
    The restaurant is busy, though not full. Our tense silence is masked by the background hum of other diners, of meals being delivered and empty plates collected. A waiter goes past carrying a vat of soup. Even staring at my bowl I can feel his pitying gaze.
    “Look,” Mia says, “it’s best that I go.”
    She does. I look up when she turns away from the table. Three years of my life is walking away and collecting her coat from the cloakroom. If I had pencil or crayons I’d draw a picture of her swaying away from me to give to the children she’ll have with whoever she’s leaving to be with. They’d laugh that their wide hipped momma once had a figure.
    I’m being a jerk.
    She exits without looking back once. Time continues to slide in perverted contortions and each beat of my heart sparks a little flash of elemental particles in my retina. I lean back and the box rests against my ribs, just where the thump-thump of life is. Maybe I can trade it for a nice watch.

    286 words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    1. Clive--this is perfection. Spectacular story, every word.

  6. Peace and Quiet
    By Anna Elizabeth
    wc - 307

    No one expects to watch the world implode, atoms splitting, time melting, but here I am. I'd like to be able to say it's beautiful, and don't get me wrong it is, but it's so much more than that.

    This isn't just the world ending, it's billions of years worth of evolution and development, love and heartbreak, trends, cults, fame, fortune and loss. So for it all to end just like that. It's sad, it's heartbreaking it leaves an empty hole.

    Not just in space, the Milky Way, but my heart too. The earth was my home, I had a life, love and a family. Just one wrong move ends all that, and I get to watch it happen.

    Not once, but twice.

    AC/DC's Highway to Hell jumped Sam out of his world and he scrabbled for his phone. He took a deep breath as he saw the callers name.

    "Hi honey! How long was I this time?" Sam held his breath, long fingers drumming on the hard wood writing desk.

    "Five hours!" His wife, Lila, growled humerously. "We were meant to have lunch!"

    "Did! Left over Pad Thai!"

    "Together!" Lila sighed.

    Sam could see Lila's face, his wife had probably just rolled her eyes. "Ahh...sorry dear...tomorrow maybe?"

    "No now! Stop your writing, and come back to the house! I like your company Sam!" Lila sighed.

    "I've had almost forty years of your company, a couple of hours won't hurt..."

    "Lunch, now!"

    "It's three o'clock!"

    "Now Samuel Jones! Walk up to the kitchen from your man cave and eat lunch with me!"

    "Okay..." Sam sighed, a weary smile on his face.

    "I'll see you in five!"

    Hanging up the phone Sam chuckled, he shut his notebook and pocketed his phone.

    "It would be a lot quieter at the end of the world, methinks."

    1. Ooh! accept the special challenge!! Sorry! I forgot to put it in!

  7. The End

    No one expects to see the world implode, time splitting, reality melting, but here I am, standing on the brink of oblivion, watching as millions of galaxies smash together, watching as the entire universe boils like an enormous vat of soup. Stars blink out like old Christmas lights and the entire fabric of time is obliterated around me like a crayon left out in the sun. But the sun is dying. I watch as it fades away into blackness, along with the rest of the Milky Way.

    Soon, so soon, the very surface under me would be hurled into the void. The ground shakes and the edges trail off into nothingness. Calmly, I turn my back on the view; I turn my back on the death of everything I’ve known. I walk silently across the volcanic rock. A blinding flash of light flares all around me, but I hardly notice. I stop in the middle of my pinnacle of safety, but I know that it, too, is temporary. I stare into the never-ending blackness of space. I am alone and helpless, resigned to my fate. I feel the ground beneath me breaking apart, but I ignore it. I ignore everything. I ignore the sudden loss of ground and gravity, and stare blankly at the black around me. I’m falling--or am I? I cannot tell. I slowly turn my head, searching for a spot of light or a speck of dust, but nothing appears. I feel something tugging me incessantly onwards, never ceasing, never faltering. I do not feel hot or cold, in fact I feel nothing at all. I strain my ears for the slightest whisper or the faintest breath, but I hear none, not even my own. Now I realize. I am falling, but to where I do not know.

    Suddenly, a ray of light penetrates the suffocating darkness and casts it asunder. I hear the faint sound of wind in the distance and feel the cool air of morning. I catch the faint smell of dew on a breeze. I notice a tingling sensation at my back. I touch the ground lightly with my hand and feel grass tickling my palm. Color floods back to me and my vision clears. A sea blue sky soars above me. I am in a field, a green field, in a cool morning in spring. I remember the darkness and catastrophe, but there is not a fault to be seen in this new landscape. Maybe I dreamed it all, or maybe it was real. I might never know, but what I do know is that I’ll never forget it; I’ll never let it fade.

    (445 words; special challenge accepted)
    nrivershen [ at ]

  8. Lord of the Fly

    No one expects to watch their ship sink, decks splitting, Lido deck melting, but here we sit. Yeah, that’s right. Postcard-perfect paradise at our backs, cruise ship taking a dive in front of us.

    “Anybody’s mobile work?” says Simon. He makes “mobile” rhyme with “virile.” I decide right off that he’ll be our leader. The way he says “mobile” instead of cell? That’s not English. That’s the language of Shakespeare and Benedict Cumberbatch.

    We obediently check our phones. I sneak a quick glance at Four Pictures One Word while I’m at it; this round’s beyond me. Maybe Simon, being British, is also good at words and can help me, in private, later on. In a vat of chocolate soup, under a glowing Milky Way, somebody playing the violin from a discreet distance.

    Nobody’s “mobile” has a signal. Simon scrunches up his face real tight like he’s working on Plan B. Even scrunched up, he’s cute. Probably the British thing again.

    An old married couple behind me is bickering about something, in a way that’s sort of cute now but will make us feel like killing them in three or four days. Simon reminds me vaguely of James Bond, at least in the way he talks, and I mentally assign him the task. He will kill them, but in a gentleman-like manner, and he will feel quite terrible about it later.

    It will be my job to assuage the pain.

    Assuage does not sound like an American word. At least, no American I know has ever used such a word. Simon will doubtless be proud that I know it.

    “Maybe somebody should head inland to look for water,” says some other random guy without a British accent. “I’m happy to go along, since I made Eagle scount.”

    I hear “blah blah blah blah blah I don’t have a British accent” and discount whatever he just said.

    Settling back in the sand, I close my eyes and sigh with contentment. To think my friends warned me being Cruise Director would be a bore.

    341 words
    Yes challenge

    1. PS. This story is dedicated to my beloved Margaret Locke. And Benedict Cumberbatch.

    2. Rebekah, I have a British accent. We should do this together as an audio flash :-)

    500 Words exactly
    Special Challenge: accepted

    No one expects to watch the world implode, atoms splitting, the earth’s crust melting, but here Kate was. Her throat burned, her eyes watered, hot lava made its way down her esophagus. Desperate, she chugged the glass of water, forgetting to act demure for a moment.

    “Don’t,” Akaash warned her. “It will only make it worse.”

    She smiled through the pain, placing the glass reluctantly back on the starched white tablecloth. Akaash tore a piece of bread – naan – he called it. He claimed this would help. His hand brushed her fingers, and the pain dissipated.

    “It’s really good,” she offered brightly. “It’s a new experience for me.” She dipped a piece of bread into something yellow that looked like a vat of soup.

    “Let’s hope,” he took her hand, “It’s a night of new experiences.”

    She had met Akaash at uni. He was bouncing a football off his knee standing in a group of friends. He shyly approached her, asking if she was new, where she was from - the typical banter of the study abroad. The conversation quickly segued into an exchange of places to explore around London, and he told her that she simply must see Southall.

    He gushed. “It’s just like the streets of Mumbai. They sell chai – tea – on the streets, and the restaurants are the best outside of India. Do you like curry?” If she’d been less attracted to him, she would have answered that the most exotic thing ever to assault her taste buds was frozen Pad Thai from Kroger. Instead, she mumbled something about it sounding delicious, and before she knew it he asked her out for Saturday.

    The restaurant smelled enticing and heavy with perfume. Reds, yellows, oranges popped in her eyes like a fresh box of crayons. She loved it. She became mesmerized by the high pitched sitar music that flowed through the lounge. Akaash had ordered all in Hindi. She was happy to let him take control, feeling confident he would make good choices.

    He was the son of a wealthy real estate developer, and had two older siblings who both had families of their own. Arranged marriages, he mentioned. Kate nodded, envisioning the women with the exotic beauty she envied, gilded in gold, wearing billowy material in dazzling colors with delicate sandals and shy smiles. She felt suddenly gawky and very American, but one comment from Akaash about her ‘deadly’ eyes and her confidence returned.

    That night, she slipped from the bed where he lay sleeping soundly. She made her way into the bathroom where she turned the cold tap full blast, cupping her hands and drinking to ease the insatiable burning in her stomach. She examined herself in the mirror, an experienced woman in nothing but an AC/DC t-shirt.

    Three months later, during Christmas vacation, Akaash went home to India. He came back engaged. When he told Kate they were in Pizza Hut having vegetarian stuffed crust; nice plain American food. But she was burned none the less.