Monday, October 21, 2013


Our judge seems to be courting suspense with this sentence. (I could be totally wrong, but...) Are you going to give it to him (have us cowering in the corner or shaking in our boots?), or toss expectations out the window and make us laugh or cry or sigh in contentedness instead? It's up to you! How would you finish this thought???

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
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

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 Eric Martell also known as @drmagoo. Go check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #16 is:

The light flickered, then went out.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

A transformation, a broken window, and a note



  1. Monster's Story
    496 Words (after much editing); Special Challenge accepted

    “The light flickered, then went out,” Monster's painted fingernails tapped on the laptop keyboard; he kept them too long. “The darkness inhabited the writer's room like a disease, obfuscating everything and insinuating itself into the tiniest of crevasses and interstices.”

    Monster liked the darkness, but not absolute darkness. Some light was necessary to create the shadows that spurred his imagination.

    Of course, Monster was not his given name. It was a nom de plume that he used not only for his writings, but also as the identity that his goth alter-ego assumed.

    Monster opened a desk drawer and retrieved a fat red candle, relishing this opportunity to light it while he worked.

    “Using a wooden match, the writer struck a flame and gazed as it ate wood. He gently lowered the match to the wick, anticipating and savoring that moment when the waxy string caught the incendiary's heat and flared with a boost of light.”

    The twittering candle next to his laptop mouse sizzled momentarily and a flash brightened a corner of the note Monster had found wedged through the vent of his locker. 'The arbor in Greatwood Park. Tuesday, the silver hour.'

    “He felt a tingle itch his arm. He scratched at it and sat down at his typewriter again, intent on the story he was trying to compose, but worried that the tingle was a harbinger.

    “The writer's main character was Ellen, a petite freshman who didn't fit in. She had tried to, but her pathetic attempts only jettisoned her farther from that core of popularity that seemed to draw everyone but the obliviously delirious.

    “With the words almost spewing out, the writer reengaged with his ancient equipment and plonked the keys, 'She turned the corner at the huge elm tree and glided down a side path, subconsciously skirting a cluster of kids. Arriving at the gazebo, she glanced nervously around, still unsure if she should do this.

    “'Yes, she would. She fingered the scissors she had brought to cut a lock of her hair away. He had said he would need it. He had said once he got that, given a couple days, she would feel it and it would happen.'

    “The writer jerked his leg. That feeling, that a bug or something has grazed your calf, gripped him mid-thought and he almost knocked the lit candle into the pile of finished papers he had sitting next to the typewriter.

    “When he reached for it, it was gone, a phantom finger-fondling. But the writer knew the change was coming. It was as certain as whneeeee...”

    Monster jerked at his laptop. A sensation like a millipede's dozens of tiny legs skittered up the skin over his spine. The feeling was creepy but also shiveringly pleasurable. The tingle spread around his torso and up his neck. It began to take control and his flat palm broke his bedroom window as it jerked uncontrollably. The change had begun.

  2. Footsteps
    459 words; special challenge attempted

    The light flickered, then went out. Marilyn gasped, but didn't cry out, like she had grown used to the steadily worsening conditions. I can only marvel at the adaptability of the young – and mourn what the child had grown accustomed to.

    It was hard the first days. Being separated from your parents will do that, especially when you can't explain what happened to them. Not in any real sense. Not that children will understand.

    We sit and stare out at the night sky, fuzzy pin-prick stars visible through the cracked pane, and Marilyn presses her small body against mine. I wrap my arms around her for warmth, but I couldn't say if I'm the one giving or receiving.

    The damp is the worst. Makes the chill sink to your bones, my ma used to say.

    She's the one told us to come here, to be quiet and still, and for heaven's sake, don't cry when the footsteps come. And they always come.

    There's a dozen of us in this hidey-hole, and another two or three dozen scattered around the small spaces in the old apartment complex. Ours is the largest, and I'm the oldest - got all the smallest kids with me, cause they do better when they can cling to each other. I feel guilty taking this attic spot, though. High up and the others down there in windowless spaces, waiting, hiding, between us and them.

    Them with guns.

    Them with gasses.

    Them with fire in their eyes that don't care for anyone, even bright-eyed four-year-olds clutching teddies, like Marilyn.

    Only we lost her teddy days ago, moving to this building. And there is no going back. Only forward.

    Marilyn sighs, like she's sleeping, finally. I take out the warn piece of paper, and spread it open on the floor next to me. Too dark to read, but the words haven't changed. I know the instructions by heart, like I can feel the ink on the page - take the little ones, run, hide, don't look back, don't make a sound, and always, always be alert for the footsteps.

    Words to not get caught by.

    Only we're getting tired. Food is harder to come by, and the little ones are dead-eyed, worse than our parents ever were. Cold and tired.

    Tomorrow is their holy day, sunrise to sunset. The only day it's safe to move, but you gotta be quick, you gotta be quiet, and you gotta not leave a trace when you move.

    And we lost Marilyn's teddy.

    And I didn't get word from the other groups in the building today.

    And the footsteps are getting closer, louder, thumping like the beating of Marilyn's heart pressed against mine.

    And I don't think we'll be running anymore.

  3. @SarahAisling
    474 words
    Special challenge accepted

    The lights flickered, then went out. Sandy left her darkened computer and stalked across the room with Jerry's words playing in her head. If you can't afford to lose your work, get a UPS for your computer. The words, delivered with Jerry's usual exasperated sigh and rubbing of the temples, had incited the rebel in her.

    Chilly air swept into the room as she opened the French doors, causing the filmy white curtains to twist in a ghostly dance around her. Sandy untangled herself and stepped onto the balcony to take in the street below. Darkness pervaded even in the distance. Had the whole world shut down?

    The moon cast a baleful glow through the mist, a mocking witness to the transformation of the earth below.

    An explosion of shattered glass followed by a string of colorful expletives came from next door.

    “What the ever lovin' . . .” Another crash. “Son of a . . . full moon.”

    Sandy gazed down at her new neighbor and caught the tough-looking biker staring back.

    “Pardon my language, Miss. I just f—um, messed up the paint job on my bike . . . and put my hand through a window.” Blood dripped from his gesturing hand.

    “You're bleeding!”


    “Come around to the patio. I'll bandage it for you.”

    He tipped his leather cap. “That's real nice of you after the earful you just heard. I'm Sam, by the way.” Sam picked his way across the side yard, careful not to trample the border of flowers.


    Sandy grabbed some medical supplies and met Sam on the patio. He towered over her, had a vine of tattoos decorating both arms, massive shoulders, and black leather from head to toe, but Sam's face was open and friendly.

    Before Jerry left her last week, he'd written a scathing note to the neighborhood association complaining about the “riffraff” they'd allowed to move in next door.

    “Are you afraid of me?” Sam asked when Sandy's hands tensed while wrapping his large hand.

    “No, why?”

    “Tension in those delicate hands and that little line on your forehead.”

    Sandy closed her eyes and breathed deeply. “Just thinking of something unpleasant that happened, but it's over now. Sorry.”

    “The scowling man?”

    “What?” Sandy looked up at him, surprised.

    “You're better off without him. You're too pretty to look sad all the time.”

    “I am, huh?”

    They shared a laugh. With no idea what was happening in the world, the two of them talked well into the night, thoroughly enjoying one another's company.

    Sometimes good things come out of bad. Sandy didn't even care about the chapter she might have lost when the power cut out, and she might have whispered, “Screw you, Jerry,” under her breath—for a variety of reasons.

  4. Apocalypse Denouement

    The light flickered, then went out. That was fine with Coltrane. He hadn’t really expected the utilities and associated amenities to last forever anyway. It had been a week…maybe more…since he’d last had contact with another uninfected human being and so, he supposed, the darkness might almost be as much a blessing as a harbinger of the end for him.
    It didn’t matter how many film festivals you’d been to, how many graphic novels you read, how many survivalist books you’d had in your, admittedly, unusual home library, nothing really prepared anyone to accept the stark reality the Apocalypse had actually come.
    He’d been on the run from the hordes for probably six weeks before he stumbled upon what, he’d thought, was the silver lining in the unbroken bank of steel-gray clouds that had overtaken the skies, the light at the end of a long, black, unbroken tunnel that seemed to lead nowhere good…her name had been Jacie.
    She was the kind of woman he’d sought all his life and never come close to finding until his life was, for all intents and purposes, over and done with. She was tough, smart, savvy and had the greatest set of natural endowments he’d ever encountered outside of a DVD. When you added in her unmatched survival skills, unquestioned marksmanship and the fact she actually thought he was “cute’. Coltrane was ready to imagine the Apocalypse might not have been such a raw deal after all.
    That had all changed three days ago. He’d been asleep and she’d been on guard. He had been feeling more tired than he had in his entire life and hadn’t argued when she told him to rack out for as long as he needed to…that she wasn’t all that sleepy. A scream…the unexpected crash of broken glass and the unmistakable sound of the walkers feeding jangled his senses and brought him bolt upright.
    The last he saw of her was her boot heels as she was dragged through the jagged wreckage of the window frame and into the writhing mass of rotting feeders. He’d emptied the clips of every weapon he possessed and liked to think he might have been able to take her down before the virus had a chance to change her into one of…them. Sadly, he hadn’t had the luxury of waiting around to find out. His only choice had been to get gone or get eaten. It wasn’t really much of a choice.
    Alone in darkness, of an electrical and a metaphorical nature, he simply didn’t have any momentum or desire to drag it out for even a single day more and he wept. It was okay to cry in the dark since nobody could see you do it. It would have been nice to leave a note of some sort for whomever might come upon his cold remains and his bullet-blasted brain. But, in the final analysis, there wasn’t really anything left to say, now was there?

    496 words @klingorengi

  5. I think I missed the deadline but ehh...I tried