Monday, September 23, 2013


We're back! Another week has flown by! I swear, they've been moving faster than normal recently! I'm really excited to see what you do with this prompt today! 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

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 Chris White also known as @chriswhitewrite. Go check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #12 is:

The sky burned.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include a predator vs. prey situation



  1. From Tinman
    Word Count: 84 (I know it's short, I just couldn't resist it)
    Special Challenge not taken

    The sky burned.
    The explosion that had preceded the inferno had been deafening. A Big Bang, in fact.
    Gabriel and God stared in astonishment. A feather fell slowly, like a snowflake, from Gabriel’s smouldering wings. God’s face was blackened, cartoonlike, while smoke drifted in wisps from his beard.
    “Was that supposed to happen?” asked Gabriel, once his ears had stopped ringing.
    God looked down at his blueprint. “Damn,” he said. “er, if you’ll pardon the expression. I was supposed to use nitrogen, not nitro-glycerine.”

    1. I quite liked this story, Tinman - I liked the light-touch, and the concept. Great story.

    2. Pure genius!!! You just KNOW issues like this were glossed over in Scripture... hahaha. There's a reason why all the other planets are screwed up!

  2. The sky burned.
    She blinked and squinted, but it was still too much to take. How did others live in such brightness?
    All seemed quiet now, but she kept her senses on full alert. This place was never safe, not for her kind.
    She took another tentative step into the wide open space, feeling overwhelmingly exposed. Death came in a hundred forms here; as any number of loud onslaughts, or silent stalkings, or soundless assaults from that burning sky.
    She only came out here when the situation was desperate. But what could be more desperate than her drought-starved children hidden below? She could hear them crying out to her now, but the only way she could help them was to leave them behind and go in search of food.
    Her ears, oh so sensitive, heard nothing above ground which sounded promising or threatening. The first kind of silence disheartened her; the second terrified her. The loud enemies she could easily avoid, but the stillness seemed to scream at her that the Silent Death had even now fixed its gaze on her.
    But starvation was another form of silent death, and it was the only one she could do anything about. So she took another step, and another, and now she stood fully exposed, still blinking under that blazing canopy.
    Now that she was visible, she knew no greater caution than the speedy completion of her task. So she began her hunt, every sense on high alert.
    Her first kill went into her own belly. She felt bad about that, but she rationalized that she could hunt better if she weren’t starving herself.
    She needed several minutes to find her next prey, though it didn’t help that she had to freeze every few seconds and check for enemies before resuming.
    When she made her second kill, she dragged it down below to her children and gave it all to them. She would have liked to have stayed there, to have relished the sight of their feast. But she didn’t dare. She knew that the sky would continue to burn more and more with each passing minute, until she would no longer be able to keep her eyes open.
    Her enemies, accustomed to life above ground, would have no such difficulties. So out she went again, repeating her cautious exit into the world of the Burning Eye. It still stood low in the sky, but she knew that when it got a little higher, one particular enemy would come out.
    She made two more small kills and brought them down. Her children no longer cried, though they still needed more to eat. She would risk one more trip.
    Something eclipsed the sun at the entrance to her hiding place. The smell drove her back. Terror gripped her.
    “Come on, Sadie,” she heard. The enemy moved away, and the voice continued, like it did every morning. “You’ll never catch that mole!”
    She would venture out no more today.
    This was Sadie’s yard.

    499 words
    Special Challenge accepted

    1. A tight character piece, this. I loved the line, "But starvation was another form of silent death..." although I think that the second-to-last (penultimate?) paragraph was a little confusing. It's a dog, right?

  3. The sky burned.

    Young Jenny Palmer cowered in her garage, her sweaty hands clutching her violet jeans and her auburn hair whipping in the early evening apocalypse.

    Droplets of molten, magmatic poison seared outward from the great beast's rumbling maw and spewed forth chaotically, sprinkling and fizzing downward to the houses of suburban Oklahoma City like the aftermath of a grand firework display.

    Catercorner and two houses down, Jenny's sixth-grade schoolmate, Delia Carter, clutched the sill of her second-story bedroom window, scratching it with her newly painted fingernails. (Saturday-Disco-Fever orange)

    Chunks of fire-bathed rock and bone collapsed roofs and blazed a trail of carnage through their neighborhood, setting houses ablaze and potholing the streets. The massive dragon sucked air in and let out a roar that set off local seismometers, shaking the earth and felling the unsteady.

    The scaly bulk of destructive force glided down and level with the homes and as it passed 5643 Holly Bloom Lane, Jenny let out a massive tween scream and threw her hands, each finger trembling. The screech truncated as her father yanked her arm and pulled her inside the house. Together they jumbled down the crooked basement steps, seeking some safety.

    The dragon's dark blue hues blended with the dusky sky, but his golden tints glimmered with every fire-blasted breath, looking every bit like a swarm of swift fireflies. He slowed; his navigation was receiving mixed signals. He had missed something.

    Delia saw the tip of the dragon's tail as it floated gently by her window. Horror stricken, she stumbled off the chair she had been kneeling on and hit the edge of her desk, spilling Material-Girl burgundy on her pajama-ed leg.

    She had been sitting at her desk, next to her window at 5652 Holly Bloom, trying to determine what shade best shouted demure, cute and Delia all at once. Burgundy had come close, but just didn't speak up enough. Now she was torn between Geranium and Saturday-Disco-Fever. That doe-eyed jerk, Jenny up the street, had told all the girls in Mrs. Morgan's second period English class that Ricky Ballen had said that she, Delia!, was too plain-Jane compared to Jenny and that was why, if he had a choice, he'd probably go with Jenny.

    But Delia, aside from one quick scream of outrage, had controlled herself when her best friend, Morgan Sinclair, had reported the news. Now, in her room, however, she had given full vent to her rage, posting “Some ppl are just so fake” on facebook. She thought about de-friending Jenny, but then she wouldn't see the post, which she would certainly know was about her.

    A song came on the radio: “I could start fires with what I feel for you.”

    “Darn right,” said Delia as she scrunched her eyes and concentrated on her rage. Deep inside, she felt something respond. A flare of bright light flashed and Delia's own unwitting vengeance was born.

    1. Rats - terrible - My email is "",
      Word count is 487.
      The special challenge is accepted and
      The title is: "Delia's Dragon, or How Delia Discovered Her Ancient Powers"

    2. paragraph 6 should be "threw out her hands"

    3. Awesome! I've been wondering how to write a kaiju story lately (my attempt here: The Babies are Hungry ) and this story nailed it. I liked the rhythm in this piece and I loved the nail polish name (Saturday-Disco-Fever.)

      Something that stuck for me was "Young Jenny Palmer..." I feel like the "young" is unnecessary, and there's something about giving both her first and last names. But I did really enjoy your story.

      Also, what does "catercorner" mean?

    4. Thanks for your thoughts. Catercorner is the same as kitty-corner, across and to the side.

  4. “The sky burned!” One of the knights sat up in his bed. Burns, open wounds, and charred flesh covered nearly half his body. He should not have been able to move. That he was sitting and screaming showed the terror he’d experienced when the invaders attacked.

    Eyela placed her hand on his shoulder, “Calm, young one. Calm.” Her fairy magic flowed through her fingertips. Nano-machines in the soldier’s blood and organs responded to Eyela’s request, and released an ocean of endorphins into his blood, deadening the intense pain he was in. They also released GABA into his blood. It quickly spread through his body. The soldier fell asleep.

    Eyela closed her eyes. “Mystica, wherever you are, I hope you find your way here soon.” She looked around the great hall of the castle. Wooden cots were everywhere, with wounded soldiers, women and children filling them all. When they ran out of cots, they used mats on the floor.

    The sky had indeed burned. She had no other way to describe it. She closed her eyes, and tried to calm herself, placing her hands on the cold stone of the wall, and remembering. Her winged soldiers, taking to the sky to defend the kingdom from the attacking aliens. Except no aliens appeared. Just a streak of black cutting across the sky, leaving a trail of white smoke behind it.

    It moved so rapidly, no one could shoot it down. When the black streak got over the kingdom, maybe 100 feet above the ground, it exploded. But it was an explosion unlike any the fairies had ever known. The explosion sprayed some strange substance through the air. A secondary explosion rapidly followed, igniting that substance.

    The sky burned, it’s flames consuming everything it touched. Soldiers fell from the sky, trailing fire behind them. Many of them died before they reached the ground. Others died when the ground stopped their falls. So few survived.

    Houses, shops, carts, carriages, trees, and everything else on the ground erupted into flames. Nearly a third of the kingdom burned. Whole families burned to ash by the flame. An entire wing of the castle was nothing but charred stone walls, a burned out husk of what it had been.

    She heard a voice in her head, “It was a fuel-air bomb.” It was the machines. They explained how it released a fine mist of highly flammable fuel into the air, using an explosive shock wave to spread it over an area, and then a primary explosive to ignite the fuel, and spread it even further with a second shock wave. They explained how the oxygen in the air helped the fuel burn. How the fire sucked the oxygen out of the air, so the fairies couldn’t breathe, How the flames and fuel burned everything they touched.

    Eyela knew the invading humans were dangerous, but she’d never expected such violence and cruelty. That they would burn everything to the ground for no reason made no sense to her.

    The machines interrupted her thoughts, “We have informed the White Witch.”

    Indeed they had, for Mystica simply appeared in the midst of the injured. Eyela said nothing. She knew the machines had told Mystica everything. She watched as Mystica called on the white magic. White clouds appeared throughout the room. They fell on the injured, and slowly soaked into the bodies. As they did, Eyela watched their burned, broken bodies heal.

    White Magic indeed. She understood it was the machines following Mystica’s commands, using available subatomic particles, and atoms to repair the damaged bodies filling the room. Within seconds, all the injured healed. Much to Eyela’s relief, they all slept.

    Eyela watched as Mystica scanned the room, tears falling from her eyes. She wished she could answer the one question she saw in Mystica’s haunted eyes. “Why?”

    But she knew there was no why. There was only war. And the news of more places where the sky burned.

    657 Words

    1. Yeah, yeah. I know. Disqualified. 657 is a bit more than 500. But, it's all I could come up with that actually worked. So, break the rules it does.

    2. I like this story, and it sucks that it's disqualified - although I feel like it could have worked as a fantasy story or as a scifi story, but the combination of the two felt unnecessary to me. There's something utterly horrific about the firebombing of the faerie kingdom (and it's probably true "...there was no why. There was only war."

  5. Retribution Comes

    The sky burned with a coruscating maelstrom of gases and vapors consistent with the biosphere of almost any humanoid-based world. The sensor suite of Bren’s singleship catalogued such in an efficient if unnecessary litany of other atmospheric data as he left the bleakness of space and entered the periphery of the ruined planet. Had any semblance of softness still held sway within the soul of the rangy pilot, he would have wept for the destruction. Yet, much like those gases, the gentler aspects of his nature had been just as ruthlessly burned away a very long time ago.

    With a practiced pass of his hand, he engaged the small vessel’s chameleon cloak and dove through the thick blanket of cloud and smoke that obscured all view of the terrain below. Having witnessed similar destruction and desolation on half a hundred other worlds, he knew what to expect but his continued survival was testament to the value of following protocols.

    That the insectoid Cholgachi conquerors had come to this world was beyond question. On the looping course he had taken in-system, he had detected multiple ion trails of their craft and felt the discarded remains of missile pod magazines and empty external munitions housings pinging off his shields. They had come in their might and sounded the death knells of yet another civilization. Were Bren in luck, enough of them would remain planet-side to allow him to exact fitting revenge on behalf of those who had fallen beneath the merciless claws of their inhuman feet.

    Completing a circuit of the planetary surface, he found all major population centers decimated, all native power emissions stilled and the biometric monitors showed only isolated pockets of activity above the levels associated with livestock, wildlife and other associated lesser life forms. A second sensor screen gave him readouts indicating the Cholgachi elements detected. There were four complete Cohorts on-planet with an additional two full Wings of airborne assault and shock troops conducting ground sweep operations over those isolated pockets of survivors.

    Bren fed all available data into the singleship’s battlecomp with an eye towards preserving the most viable clustering of humanoids left. He knew he would only have time for an extremely limited and cursory operation and so could scarce afford to squander his efforts on any but those most able to take advantage of whatever respite he could offer. Selecting the coordinates from those presented to him, he braced himself for the blood and carnage he knew awaited and settled into his final approach trajectory.

    The low foothills surrounding the city smoldered fitfully but showed no sign of ongoing combat. The residents had fallen back within their environs, no doubt praying their familiarity with it would lengthen their chances of survival against the merciless onslaught. Sadly, Bren knew their hopes were slim. Suiting up and checking all of his weapons for full preparedness, he left he went to provide the prey with a predator of their own to finish the battle they could not.

    500 words @klingorengi

    1. It's nice to think that there's someone trying to protect us, and nice also to think that our future destruction might not be at our own hands. I like the way you described the smouldering foothills, and the prayers of the guerrillas.

  6. The Dollhouse

    The sky burned above me, its smoldering rays spotlighting my transgression.

    I was going to get out of here.

    Mr. Harvey had seemed a nice enough sponsor, telling her of his manor, its grandeur, its security.

    We were children of the alleys: runaways with no end in mind, save finding something to eat or finding a place to shelter.

    Mr. Harvey’s manor was our salvation: a prescription for the lost.

    Kaylee and I had been staying at a local shelter for girls. We didn’t have it as bad as some: we were just looking for our place, and it most certainly wasn’t anywhere we’d been.

    We were thrilled when we heard Mr. Harvey had offered to foster us until we found ourselves a permanent home, Kaylee and I both aware we would live as royalty under his roof. And, for the first few days, we were royals: Mr. Harvey instructed his staff to cook our favorites, clothe us in the most up-and-coming fashion, and keep our interests ahead of all else.

    He changed.

    On the sixth night at the manor, I overheard Mr. Harvey tell Kaylee that that evening his maid would be assisting her, providing Kaylee with a new dress and curls. Kaylee, always loving such femininity, responded to Mr. Harvey’s request with pleasure.

    When Kaylee resurfaced a few minutes before dinner, her skin was powder white, her eyes lined, lashes curled, lips red. The dress cut low, ruffling around the neckline. Kaylee looked inhuman.

    “This is not a good idea,” I whispered, eying up and down the hall, “Kaylee, you can’t do this. This is twisted.”

    “Oh, nonsense, Mira. He just appreciates a lady.”

    “Kaylee, did you see yourself? You look like a damned porcelain doll!”

    “You know what Mira? This is so like you—overly paranoid, jealous. Look at what we have here! If Mr. Harvey wants me dressed like a doll, I don’t care. He’s given me more than anyone I’ve ever known.”

    With that, Kaylee went to Mr. Harvey.

    She never returned from dinner.

    Panicked, I made my way to Mr. Harvey’s gardens, finding a place in the hedged fence I thought I could squeeze through.

    Dawn was approaching. I knew if I stayed in the wooded area along the road I could use the cover to hide.

    With that thought, I ran.

    I’d made it to the end of the drive when I heard the whir of imminent doom: Mr. Harvey’s Cadillac approached.

    I kept running. .

    The Cadillac came to a screeching halt, fishtailing slightly. From its depths, Mr. Harvey surfaced, a criminal grin smearing his face. He moved slowly, methodically.

    I realized Kaylee was not the first. He had done this before.

    “Mira, my little doll,” he sneered.

    I swallowed.

    “Come on, dear. It’s time to play…”

    There was nowhere to go. I didn’t know these woods. I didn’t know how far the next house could be.

    No one would hear me scream.

    Mr. Harvey had won.

    495 Words
    Challenge Accepted

    1. Excellently creepy. And I can almost picture nice old Mr Harvey...

  7. 53 Seconds

    The sky burned with a bright golden magenta and dying embers beneath an ashen cloud. Fragments of broken buildings and incinerated flesh littered the valley floor like a black boiling tar.

    A steady stream of smoldering forms limped and lurched in the darkness like a silent procession of ghosts, heading towards a river whose waters churned with death.

    Firestorms raged in all directions. Gusts of wind ripped through the desolation and carried off pieces of men.

    “Help me.” The words were in her mind but her mouth refused to say them. She could feel her tongue, but her tongue could not feel her teeth. She felt the weight of debris pinning her down, but could not feel her legs.

    The last she remembered, she was talking to her sister, in her room. She didn’t know what happened. A bright yellow flash, a deafening boom…. Nothing looked the same anymore. Everything she knew, her mother, father, sister, neighbors, school, the fountain at the turn of the block…

    Black rain poured from the sky, adding to the nightmarish scene. She pulled herself forward inch by inch, her mouth burning of thirst. She tried to drink a handful of precipitation, but choked on the taste of ash and sprayed it all over her charred arms.

    A few agonizing moments later, she managed to free herself from the rubble. Only then could she see the severity of her situation. Her legs were shattered and burned black as coal. Her body was naked and charred from head to toe, skin hanging from her face, arms, and chest, and she was completely numb.

    Pulling herself facedown along the burning ruins, she made her way toward the river. The wind-driven flames drew ever closer. Her arms stroked the ground with increasing speed, racing the inferno behind her. Her nostrils filled with the smell of her own burning flesh as she inched closer and closer until finally rolling into the steaming sooty water.

    Through the light of flames, she could make out the river was choked full burnt carcasses of what remained of bodies. She reached for the nearest one and hugged onto it tightly. For the first moment since it began, she could focus her thoughts on what had happened. It couldn’t have been more than a minute or two, the time between talking to her sister and the end of everything. Nothing she could see was alive. The only sounds were crackling of fires and howls of the wind. Blackness consumed her world. Blackness, and death.

    Later she learned the truth while recovering in a hospital, that she was right. It was 53 seconds.

    438 words
    Challenge Accepted

    1. Ran out of time on this one, and didn't have time to reread before submitting. I need some fairy dust to fix the next-to-last paragraph by adding an "of" to make the first sentence read "she could make out the river was coked full OF burnt carcasses..."

      Also, I need a major dust-cloud to remove the final two-sentence paragraph. The story works better without it....

    2. Nothing like an apocalypse... you're right about the last paragraph, too. And I loved this line in particular: "Gusts of wind ripped through the desolation and carried off pieces of men." I'd go with "Through the light of flames, she could make out the river, choked with the burnt carcasses, with what remained of bodies."

    3. Thanks Chris. Yeah, I wish I'd had more time with this one before submitting. Thanks for bearing with it anyway!