Monday, March 9, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-36




Welcome, welcome! I'm so glad you could join us again this week. I am prepared to be wowed. You all bring your A-game every week, so I'm not worried. Go check out the prompt and get writing. :)



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

Rules:
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 or @flashfridayfic. Read her winning tale from last week here! Check out her blog here. Rebekah's flash fiction obsession has only grown worse since she stumbled across it in 2012, and these days you can usually find her skulking about over at Flash! Friday. She's currently doing battle with an extremely ill-behaved YA novel retelling of Sleeping Beauty (who knew there were so many ways to describe a nap?!) and other nefarious projects. She is deeply grateful to all of you for tolerating her as judge this week and hopes your Muses are more compliant than hers. 




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-36 is:



If only [I'd] gotten here ten minutes earlier.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


I'm feeling grammatical today! Include at least one word starting with each letter of the alphabet. (i.e. a word starting with 'a', a word starting with 'b', etc)



 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!









4 comments:

  1. The Instigator
    @laurenegreene
    478 words
    Special Challenge Accepted (if names count!)

    If only we’d gotten there ten minutes earlier.

    “Bear plus food do not mix,” my wife said, when she saw the ravaged campsite.

    We’d been watching the sunrise at the top of the peak when the bear attacked. While the sun spread its glorious hues of ultra violet rays over the earth, the bear tore into the freeze-dried packs my wife, unknowingly, had left out beside our packs.

    “Rats, I wonder where it came from.”

    “Oh, I don’t know, let’s see, the zoo. We’re in the middle of the freaking
    Appalachian Mountains, Jessica.”

    “Jeez, Quint, you don’t have to yell at me.”

    We had decided to take this trip, a two week hike in the Appalachians, as a way to repair our marriage, but instead of the bonding experience we had been looking for, the vacation had mirrored our tumultuous relationship.

    “Maybe we should call Lyle to come pick us up,” Jessica said. She had the map spread out, sitting cross-legged in the dirt in front of the tent. A torn half empty bag of freeze dried beans stood by her Merrells.

    “I’d never get in the car with that guy again, xenophobe that he is.”

    “Oh come on, Quint. He’s harmless. What’s our other choice?”

    “We stop in the town up the road, buy more food and keep going.”

    “Isn’t that what we’ve been doing this whole time, keeping it going, despite a clear lack of sustenance?”

    I hated when Jessica got all hoity toity on me and created analogies about our relationship. It was a side effect of her psychological practice. Psychologists have their own disease: know-everything-itis. She was staring through the map instead of at it. I sat down on the dirt next to her, and offered up the comfort of my arm, but she scooted further away from me. The Great Divide. Hurt pride, but I shook it off. I’d gotten so good at doing that.

    “Here, this little town. Kunkletown. Funny little name, and not too far.”


    “I wonder if they have cell service there,” Jessica said, as she folded the map and stuffed it into her back pack.

    “Why?” I asked, but she just shook her head.

    We wordlessly took the tent down and packed our bags. Stillness rose between us, like the quiet of the sunrise, only an hour before. In that moment, hope had sprung to me like the dawn of the new day, but the bear had dashed all of that making the tension stand between us like an unwanted lover.

    Kunkletown was a nice little town. I stayed there, getting myself together for two days after Jessica left with Lyle. I thought maybe I could move to this little town that housed only a church, a few houses and a general store. Then, maybe I could find the hope I had lost in one moment on the trail.

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  2. Messages Left
    499 words
    @rowdy_phantom
    Special challenge complete!

    If only I’d gotten here ten minutes earlier.

    11:59 My apartment building trembles like a chihuahua in a thunderstorm.

    11:58 I jab the call back button for the unknown number. It goes straight to voicemail. Before I can leave a message, telling him of his mistake, the line goes dead.

    11:57 I fumble through my "recents" list. Like in an effed-up dream, my thumbs are suddenly too big and clumsy for the task.

    11:56 In the middle of my manager’s recorded rant about the illegibility of some Xerox scan I’d forwarded, it hits me that I’m not watching an armageddon movie. The multiply-medalled talking head with veins straining across his forehead is not an actor. The “Zero Hour” countdown is not a plot-device. The sirens are coming from outside and they do not signal a drill.

    11:55 From the kitchen, I can just barely hear the TV. The end-of-the-world sirens in the movie are replaced by a familiar voice. They must have some tragic love story as a sub-plot to appeal to a wide demographic, because that actor sounds just like wrong-number break-up dude. Gruff and leaden.

    11:54 After I drain my glass, I wonder if the relationship might have been saved if the schmuck had reached the right number. Ah, well, that’s life. I need a refill before I get to my manager’s "crucial" messages.

    11:53 The next few messages are more from Mr. Sad Sack. Blah, blah, trust, blah, disappointed, blah, broken promises, blah, final this, final that. Talk about desperate. Just let her go, man. Fate’s doing him a favor diverting his calls to me.

    11:52 Press 1 for your messages. First message. "This is my last call," says a man’s voice gruff with John Wayne stoicism but weighted with heartbreak. "If I don’t hear from you in fifteen minutes, I’ll assume we’re done."
    Break up by phone. "Wow, bud, sucks to be you right now." I laugh, but it’s pure sympathetic sardonicism. I got dumped by text twice. I toast all the schmucks out there casting pathetic messages into the ethers.

    11:51 The text message is from an unknown number: Farewell, and for a second I think I’m fired. Nah, at Mr. Tanisk’s level of eloquence, he’d think "farewell" is something to throw coins in while wishing for winning lotto numbers. My voicemail is showing an ugly queue of messages.
    I flip on some armageddon movie so it lava-lamps into my den. I’m going to need spiritual support to face an impatient litany of regional-manager cruciality. Vodka and lemon.

    11:50 I get the door unlocked and hear my forgotten cell phone buzzing from the nightstand, where I’d left it this morning and caught all kinds of hell for it at work. I go fetch it since apparently the regional manager left a message "of crucial urgency" on it, so crucial that he couldn’t share it with me in person when he dropped by in the afternoon. How badly do I need a life change?

    ReplyDelete
  3. A Perfect Spiral

    498 words
    by Alicia VanNoy Call
    @callthewriter


    If only I'd gone out there ten minutes earlier.

    The body was warm. Electric-blue light still coming off of her like steam. She lay on her side, legs splayed between the refuse of soggy cardboard and Hefty bags, mane tangled across the wet asphalt. My hand was red where I had checked for her pulse. She smelled like lilacs.

    I knew she was dead -- eyes glazed and staring skyward -- but I stood in the drizzle, blood pooling around my wingtips, and called for an ambulance.

    Homicide showed up first.

    They brought me a poncho, Ramirez and Campbell. I shrugged into the filmy plastic and pulled the hood up.

    We huddled in the rain while Ramirez asked questions. Forensics marked and bagged and photographed. From here I could see the muck embedded in her silvery hooves.

    "And you came out here to take a leak?" Ramirez said.

    I was watching the photographer as he moved around her, the flash brilliant and then dark, like lightning strikes across the knotted mane, the shredded throat. The raw gouge in her forehead where her horn, a perfect spiral, should have been.

    "Bryant."

    I looked at Ramirez, but my eyes drifted back to her. The effervescent aura had vanished. At this angle, she was just a dead horse.

    "Talk to him later," Campbell said. "He's in shock."

    Rain tapped on the hood of my poncho. I watched drops gather and stream on the plastic over my folded arms.

    "C'mon, Bryant," said Ramirez. "Let's get some coffee."

    +

    Campbell drove me home, after they bagged my shoes as evidence.

    That night I dreamed of the alley. I leaned on the wet brick, fumbling with my fly, three beers and two bourbons finally fuzzy in my brain. Last call was in five minutes. Then I saw her, shoved behind the dumpster, gleaming amid the piled rubbish. I stumbled away from the wall, bladder forgotten.

    "This is my body," she said in the dream. Her throat gaped -- a scarlet gash between her eyes seeped into her corn-silk forelock. "This is my blood."

    I looked down at my hand, the one I'd pressed to her neck. It gleamed red.

    +

    The next day, at my monthly appointment, the doctor knitted his brows over my test results, compared them to the vitals the nurse had taken. He asked me if I'd been trying any homeopathic remedies.

    "Unicorn blood," I found myself saying. I told him about the night before.

    "That'll do it," he said.

    He was saying something about healing properties. That I would be feeling better and better.

    +

    I walked past there tonight. I went in and sat at the bar, the television blaring. It turns out Ramirez and Campbell were there. They called me over. I bought us a round.

    We sat in silence, not drinking, until the ice in my scotch melted away, and condensation pooled around the glass, and I said good night to Ramirez and Campbell and walked home in the dark.

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  4. Sweet Extinction,

    If only I’d gotten here ten minutes earlier. Then I could convinced father into starting the attack under my command before Gabriel returned.

    Alas, father wanted to wait for our gifted general. His precious second son, the one he sired from the faerie queen before plucking her wings.

    But, I am the rightful heir to the throne. Strong Orc and Ogre blood courses through my veins. I know the war songs. I even look like our army.

    Challenge for leadership--that is what I’d love to do. That is what I will do as soon as dear father passes from this world. Until then, I’ll continue to stack the army with my followers.

    “Death to the Elves,” my army chants.

    Elven Extinction is our goal. After so many years of their abuse we have gathered the numbers.

    “Finish them off,” Gabriel shouts in his weak fairy voice. The troops moan. The army refuses to budge.

    “Go!” I command.

    “Hurrah,” my army shouts back.

    “I don’t know how you have such command of the troops,” Gabriel says.

    “Jump in. That’s the key. You want the army to respect you, then you need to be in the front ranks when we breach the Elven walls.” Come my little bastard brother—take the bait.

    “Keep with me,” Gabriel shouts. “I will lead us to victory.” Gabriel runs to the front of the line.

    Lucky days!

    May the all mother have mercy upon my upcoming reign.

    No. Father stops him. Now father waves me over.

    “Only my luck.”

    Perhaps we’ll both attack. We all know I’m twice the general Gabriel is.
    Despite father’s age, only a fool would challenge him. But, I can impress him.

    Queen Shekinah, my youngest sibling’s mother, rides with father.

    “Racknog,” Shekinah says. “We need you. Come here.”

    Surely one does not disobey father’s current choice for queen.

    “Troubles for brother?” I ask harshly. Ogres, like father, do not appreciate subtlety.

    “Understand this. If your brother dies-“ His threat hangs in the air. I stare back waiting to see if he’ll voice it. He loves that boy, but he respects me.

    Vulgarities fly at me, but from Shekinah. I absorb her insults. We both know what would happen to her if I become King.

    “Would you like me to take the Elven stronghold for you?” I ask father.

    Xiphoid flumes rise from the Elves’ last stronghold. Father nods at me.

    “Your wish is my command, my King.” With a whistle I rally the forces loyal to me. But they delay. Some of them are fighting each other. “What is the meaning of this?” I demand from my lieutenant.

    “Zed sir.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “The goblins swear the keyword is zed. The Ogres claim its zee. And to make matters words, the Germans say it’s zi.

    “Zed? I’m not sure I want to live in a world where that’s a letter.”

    Brother is doing well in his fight. Goodbye my throne.

    “Uff da. We may as well kill the elves.”

    498 Words
    @michaelsimko1

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