Monday, December 16, 2013


It was the week before Christmas and all through the internet.... Oh, nevermind. We have a writing prompt for you!!!! Welcome to Finish That Thought #24! We will continue through the holidays, so be sure to follow the blog so you get an email telling you when it's gone live - it can be very difficult to remember with everything else going on. If no one shows up on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve...I won't take it personally (read: I will be utterly heartbroken), but hopefully you'll be here with amazing stories to share! So let's get this party started! If you'd like to compete for an optional Festive award, include "the week before [Christmas]" in your story. (I can't help it - we will probably have Festive awards for the next couple weeks!) Have at you then!

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. Check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #24 is:

It hit [him] then, what [he'd] forgotten.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Vacation, the color red.



  1. Safety First
    Special Challenge: Yes
    500 Words

    It hit him then, what he’d forgotten. In another fraction of a second, he’d be hit again, a victim of his own negligence.

    The time from the first impact—the moment the dead man’s lung had slipped from Colleen’s hands and splashed into the bloody soup congealing against his posterior rib cage—to the second—the moment spheres of human body fluid exploded against Scott’s open eyeball like tiny, disgusting, potentially infected water balloons—was about a second, but Scott experienced the scene in a kind of time warp. He watched as the droplets of admixed body fluids, commonly referred to as corpse juice by himself and the other dieners, arched out of the dead man’s chest cavity and catapulted toward his unshielded face in agonizing frame-by-frame-replay speed.

    There was no time to avoid the exposure, but there was plenty of time, eons, to consider the possible consequences. Hepatitis. HIV. Ebola. Okay, probably not Ebola. But hepatitis and HIV were definite possibilities.

    He saw himself tethered by an invisible chain of virions to hospitals and specialists for the rest of his life. An eternity of expensive medications with not-so-insignificant side effects. Possible organ failure. A transplant, if he was lucky, with its own special set of complications. Cancer. Death by overwhelming sepsis.

    He didn’t even want to think about his sex life. Already anemic, it would likely take a turn for the non-existent. How could he ever hope to find the courage to ask Colleen on a date? Ever take her on a Caribbean vacation? Ever make-love to her on the beach, if he were playing host to one or more of those hideous diseases?

    The corpse juice collided with Scott’s eye, coating the globe in an unspeakable liquid film and for a moment the whole world was red. Time returned to normal and Scott blinked furiously to clear his vision. When he could see he flung himself at the emergency eye-wash station and began flooding both of his eyeballs with water.

    “Oh my god, Scott! I’m so sorry!” Colleen dropped the lung back into the dead man’s chest and rushed to Scott’s side. “Are you all right?”

    He didn’t know. Might not know for months. “I’m fine. Just a bit of corpse juice. This isn’t the first time one of us has gotten splashed or stuck, and probably won’t be the last.”

    “I’m just so sorry. It slipped and I—”

    “Don’t worry about it, Colleen. It’s my own stupid fault for not putting on goggles.”

    “Well thank goodness he’s clean.”

    Scott pulled his face from the inverted waterfalls and stared at Colleen.

    “What do you mean he’s clean?”

    “No kidneys,” she said, “Organ donor. He’s clean.”

    “Oh, thank God, I’m not going to die.“ Scott said, sliding to the floor. Colleen sat down beside him.

    “I’m sorry, Scott. Really I am. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”

    “You could let me take you on a date.”

    Colleen laughed and winked. “Only if you promise to wear protection.”

  2. "Forgotten"

    It hit Jaime, then, what he’d forgotten. Then. Not a week earlier, when it might have done some good. THEN, that single, wretched instant, and not a thing he could do about it.

    It wasn’t like he hadn’t prepared. For years he’d trained: a year of wrestling; five years of marathoning and cross-country skiing. Even six months of ballet squeezed in (which, as a forty-year-old man, he’d had a tough time defending to his wife). And now at forty-three, he stood taller and more toned than his eye-rolling, hockey-playing (was it hockey?) teenaged son. He had upgraded himself from polo shirts to dark suits, at first; then double-breasted silks; now finally fitting himself in yellows and blues, sometimes even with sequins. He felt alive.

    They had sacrificed painstakingly, disregarding birthday presents and Easter baskets in saving for this glorious three weeks’ vacation.

    “It’ll be worth it; you’ll see!” Jaime said the week before Christmas to his son, who stared speechlessly at the empty floor beneath their artificial tree. Something unrecognizable sparked in the boy’s eyes for a moment before he shrugged and turned away. At some vague level Jaime suspected his son might feel a shade less supportive than he let on. The deposit is already paid, Jaime reminded him loudly and often, and there is no going back.

    In magnificent irony, time flew.

    Jaime’s wife and their silent son saw him and his three suitcases off at the airport. His packing list had stretched five pages. Necktie (narrow and black), check. Short jacket (shoulder pads! who knew!), check. Slippers, tights (tights!), hat (oh, agonizing beauty! white and broad-rimmed), check.

    Courage, check.

    Pure-hearted, unwavering dedication, check.

    Rebellion against the status quo, check, check, double check.

    Immortality and celebrity? His heart panged. He’d thought surely he’d at least had a shot at it, until now.

    Jaime took a deep breath. Six years of training. Five pages of reminders. How could he have forgotten?

    Across the arena the gates swung open, and his son’s black eyes flashed at him from the shadows. Jaime’s heart stopped, and he dropped his sword. The shadows shifted. No—not his son: the hulking form of a beast stepped into the sun, snorting and pawing the ground in undisguised fury. Without further deliberation it began running, its hooves cracking like lightning over the sand, closing the distance.

    Jaime stretched out naked hands toward his charging foe, and his son’s eyes raged at him again. NO! Not his son! This was a bull, fierce but familiar, something to be vanquished. He had trained for it. What was a forgotten (though fabulous) red cape by comparison?

    He ripped off his jacket; it was stiff, black, embroidered with gold, and it would do. Lifting his chin, he puffed out his chest, struck a pose, and stared defiantly at the bull.

    His son’s eyes glittered back.

    Then the bull bore down on him, and Jaime fell to his knees as understanding dawned.

    The cape was not the only thing he’d forgotten.

    500 words
    All challenges accepted

  3. Home Security
    184 words

    It hit him then, what he had forgotten.

    Before he left for vacation he had gotten a little note from the alarm company. They were going out of business. He had recently signed a year contract, but they would not be fulfilling that obligation nor would they be giving any refunds.

    He hated the thought of leaving the house unprotected, but he also didn’t have the money for both his vacation and a new alarm contract. What to do, what to do.

    Finally he had settled on his own home defense system. He attached a chain to the vaulted ceiling above the front door. The other end was drilled into his old red unused bowling ball. Opening the door without disarming it would set the ball in motion. It wouldn’t stop an intruder, but he assumed burglars with broken ribs wouldn’t be able to carry off as many of his possessions.

    He took his vacation. He temporarily forgot his cares and concerns. He came home rested. He was a happy man as he entered his house.

    It hit him then, what he had forgotten.