Monday, May 25, 2015


Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Thanks for joining us for the fun this week. I have family over for the holiday weekend in the USA, so I'll leave it at that. Go check out the prompt and have fun with it!

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 (exclusive of title)
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
8. Only one entry judged per round. If you write/post more than one story, you need to indicate which you would like judged. If you fail to indicate, it will be the first one posted.

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 Ashley Gardana. Read her winning tale from last week here! Ashley Gardana spends her time writing short fiction, poetry, fanfic and wrestling with a novel. She always loved writing, even when "forced" to apply that love to countless hours of academic papers. Then she found NaNoWriMo in 2012 and started indulging her desire to write fiction everyday. Nothing's been the same since! She currently resides in DC. Follow her @agardana09 and check out her blog on

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-47 is:

The [portrait] fell [from the wall] and [nobody] heard it.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include an animal.



  1. Cycle's End
    Word Count: 297
    Special Challenge Accepted

    The portrait falls from the wall and nobody hears it. Even when the glass shatters, sending shards flying amongst the chaos, not one person notices.

    "They are so panicked. Can't we stop them?"

    "Not this time. This has to play out."

    "It's just so cruel. She's so worried."

    "She loves you, it's to be expected."

    "Please! Stop!" My wife's voice is raspy, as if she had been yelling for hours. The tears on her pale face are too much for me to handle.

    "Send me back. I can't leave her. Please, send me back."

    "Your time has ended as was written from the beginning."

    I watch as the highly trained staff rushes around my lifeless body; they labor in vain. As my wife tries to get near me a nurse grabs her by the waist with cat-like reflexes, pulling her away.

    "Everything's going to be OK. Just let them do their job Ma'am."

    "NO!" That knowing look she gets glimmers in her eyes. It's over. It was bound to happen sooner or later. One can only have so many heart attacks before the heart just gives up, too tired to beat life in this worn out, old body. She slips through the woman's grasp, my wife is scrappy for 74, and places herself in-between me and doctors. Silence settles in the room. The doctors take a much-needed breather as they watch her crawl onto the gurney with me. With her hand on my still heart and her lips on my forehead, oh how I wish I could feel her gentle kiss, she took a deep, shaky breath.

    "I love you," she said to my vacant face, then she looked up at the ceiling as if she knew just where I was watching over her, "until we meet again."

    1. At the end of the big paragraph it should real takes not took.

    2. I can't even spell right in my corrections.

      At the end of the big paragraph it should read takes not took.

      Thank you. :)

  2. The Cavalier's Relief.

    @geofflepard 500 words

    The portrait fell from the wall and nobody heard it; but when Mildred Jameson came in to clean, they certainly heard her scream. First to arrive was Polly Mint the art historian, employed to analyse the Old Masters. She made no sound beyond a gurgle as she covered her mouth with her hand. Next came Dennis Talbot, the tour guide. His shock was expressed less demonstrably but with a greater Anglo-Saxon slant. Finally Colonel Stateman manoeuvred his stiff legged gate through the narrow door.
    'What on earth?'
    'It was like that when I came in,' a weeping Mrs Jameson insisted. Polly murmured something soothing.
    The Colonel shuffled forward. 'Is this... I mean can this be the original?'
    Polly's professionalism took over. She push the sleeves of her cream jacket above her elbows and crouched by the picture. After what seemed like an eternity she stood up, wobbling a little. 'I'd need to do some tests but yes this is the original Cavalier's Relief. Or an extraordinarily brilliant copy.' She coughed. 'Part copy, of course.'
    The Colonel mustered all his sixty two years of sangfroid and moved to stand in front of the picture. 'Alright, we have an, erm, incident. Polly will do a proper check. Mrs Jameson, are you up to cleaning the mess?'
    Mildred Jameson hadn't been able to take her gaze from the picture. She nodded and said, 'But wheres he gone Colonel?'
    Colonel Stateman swallowed. His army training has taught him a lot about difficult situations, keeping calm under extreme pressure and how to handle the unexpected but nothing in his fourteen years of regular service had covered the desertion of a painted Cavalier.
    'It's the prophesy, ain't it?'
    Everyone looked at Dennis, his eyes oddly backlit.
    'Now we don't know that, Dennis.'
    'Stands to reason. 200th anniversary.' He puffed out his chest, deepening his voice, 'I will return and the relief will be great.' Dennis looked around, nodding at Mildred's horrified expression and Polly's dead white complexion.
    'I expect there's a perfectly good reason. Look.' The Colonel pointed to a damp patch on the wall behind where the painting had hung. 'What's that?'
    Mrs Jameson was used to stains; she thought if it as her specialist subject. She approached the offending mark and sniffed. 'Urine,' she said confidentially. 'I'll get my things.'
    Dennis, one minute in his trance like state, pulled himself together. 'Must be a leak from the second floor bathroom. I'll go and check the plumbing.'
    Polly looked at the Colonel. 'I'd better check the work rooms, you know?'
    The Colonel let them go. Once the last footstep had faded, he reached forward and turned the painting round. Skulking in the corner, the Cavalier looked sheepish.
    The Colonel smiled. 'It's alright old fellow. 200 years without a pee, eh? Reminds me of '57. Didn't dare go for eons - sniffer dogs, awful brutes. You've done bloody well to hang on. Now quick smart, back to the front and we'll say no more about it.'

  3. The Mask

    485 Words

    The face fell, slinking to the ground with only the night to hear it. The mask scowled up at its former hanging place, a darkened corner, unnoticed and unremarked by those who now occupied the building; a relic handed down to each generation, its story gradually fading as memories died. But no one thought to get rid of it.

    The mask glared at its current resting place, an even darker corner where nobody would find it, only the rats who scurried hither and thither during the early hours. A scratching sound indicated one was nearby, moving closer, closer. Perhaps …

    The mask sent its voice out into the velvet, a soft caress that drew the creature over to its side where it sniffed and poked at the leather, moving it in such a way that it was visible to anyone who should walk by. The rat did not try to bite it. The voice had advised it would be better not to.

    “Hey mum, look at this!” A youth’s hands picked it up and it found itself speeding through the air, towards light, so much light after such a long time in the darkness.

    “Ugh, Tommy what have you got there?” The woman reached for the mask but the boy gripped it firmly, grinning at his trophy.

    “It’s just the thing for Halloween!”

    The woman looked doubtful. “It’s that alright. Just like the rest of this house.” She turned her tired eyes on their dust-laden, wood-rotted surroundings. Moving in had been a condition of her husband receiving his inheritance; however he spent his time commuting with stopovers and hot baths in nice hotels whilst she had to deal with the reality of washing out of a bucket. She had more things to worry about than a bit of leather.

    “Just make sure you give it a clean before you wear it,” she said and turned back to the millstone round her neck.

    Tommy ran to the kitchen, waited for the water to run clear and then gently sponged the face free from its grimy coat.

    “You’ll certainly scare old Misery Guts at school,” chuckled Tommy as he studied the mask, thinking about its effect on his hated French teacher. The mask’s grin seemed to grow wider. Tommy could resist no longer. He put it on and the day vanished.

    “Tommy, tea!”

    It was already dark outside. Time had passed quickly as she tackled chore after chore leaving Tommy to his own devices. She had spotted him flitting from room to room now and then, apparently occupied in exploring his new surroundings, his initial disgust about lack of internet and being bored long forgotten.

    Footsteps behind her.

    “Tommy …”

    An evil face etched in leather grinned at her. But the eyes behind it weren’t Tommy’s, nor was it his voice that spoke. In his hand a silver blade glittered in the candlelight.

    “Dinner time,” whispered the stranger.

  4. Time Lapse
    497 words

    The memory falls from her dozing head and only her husband hears it. It shushes down the sleeve of her housecoat and whispers onto the shag.

    Edgar hefts himself out of the armchair. "Third one this week," he notes, but quietly so as not to wake her. He scurries (as much as ninety-year-old legs can scurry) to retrieve it before it dissipates.

    "Let’s see what we’ve got here." He scoops up the gossamer ball, careful to keep all the wisps together. What lies tangled in the filaments of Hannah’s memory spins through his own. Loose tuxedo pants sagging around his borrowed shoes. A lopsided tier cake. Sunlight glistening on the lake. A minister whose voice could lull a tornado to sleep. Oh, and of course, a dapple gray horse crapping on red carpet.

    "Oh, Hannah." He let the emotions swim over him as he cupped the happiest day of his life in shaky hands.

    Edgar had been expecting this one since he’d slipped their first date in the knitting basket: the roller skating rink and the shared cherry lemonade tucked sweetly between plum and cream skeins of yarn and held down with the needles that no longer fit in her hands. It’s probably his imagination, but her affections for him have seemed a touch frayed after that.

    He needs somewhere special to put this one, but he’s running out of reliquaries.

    He keeps the snippets of the children in the conservatory. Their births swaddled in her favorite orchids: sunburst yellow for Janey’s, magenta for Randolph’s. First steps traipsed among the snapdragons, first words sprinkled over the kitchen herbs, first school days cavorting through the candy tufts, graduations twined around cherry tomato stems. Sweethearts and heartbreaks in with the roses. Randolph’s volatile toddlerhood and Janey’s tricky adolescence draped with clematis.

    The few bits she’d shed of her childhood, he secreted into her bathroom. Family picnics and summer creeks warmed her linens. He’d strewn the shower rod with school dances and slumber parties.

    Hannah snorts, her eyes blinking open as if she’s staring into a noonday sun. Edgar fumbles the memory into the pocket of his terrycloth robe. With neither their first date nor their wedding day, who might he be to her?


    He releases a held breath. "Can I get you something, love? Tea?"

    "That would be wonder—" Her brow furrows.


    "We’ve been together, how many years now?"

    "Sixty," he says—and the wrong word might shatter all sixty of them.

    "Yes, well, that’s a lot of bridge water." She frowns, as if trying to fill in the values missing from the total. "And I’m probably just acting the old biddy…"

    He captures her hands--it might be the last time she lets him. "My old biddy."

    She takes a deep breath. "I really think we should have a formal ceremony already." She smiles. A smile that makes him fall in love all over again.

    "As long as you don’t make me ride a horse."

  5. Emily Clayton
    Special Challenge Accepted
    228 words

    Ode to the Night

    The mouse falls from the ceiling, and no one hears it scream.

    Rata-tat rata-tat.

    The cat is on the prowl, sharp dagger claws tapping out their death march on the creaking, warping hardwood floors. Joanie and Marcel, proud owners of the little blue bungalow at 148 Peppertree Lane, are spending the night with Uncle Marvin. Beatrix the cat is in charge.

    She's a mean one, that Beatrix. Hissing and spitting, a veritable demon in disguise. The only person she adores, Auntie Jess, now takes up residence at Country Meadows Nursing Home. Kitty cats are the ghostly plague stalking the corners of those dank insipid green halls. How the feral cats got in, no one knew. They didn't last long, not with Beatrix around.

    Rata-tat rata-tat.

    Mrs. Willowby, of room 233, died of heart failure. Severed cat heads lined her doorway.

    Beatrix had to leave.

    Now she stalks the halls of the pretty blue home with the rose garden in bloom. It's bright, fragrant, and cheerful. She hates this place. Except at night.

    Scurry scurry through the walls. The mouse smells death. It's name is Beatrix.

    Brown fur tumbles, rumbles down the dusty winding crevices. Hallways morph and blur. Faster, faster, the pattering of pink feet on ageing joists.

    A bright light.



    The mouse, caught by the tail, struggles to break free.

    Beatrix smells supper.

    Rata-tat rata-tat.

  6. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 45
    Special Challenge Accepted... Possibly

    "The room fell silent, and, when the pin was dropped, everybody heard it. QED," said the wise old owl.

    “Bravo!” said the robin.

    "Are birds animals, then?" asked the starling.

    "Oh, no!" said the wise old owl. "I think you'll find we're all rather civilised."

  7. I dashed off the above entry late last night. Having re-read it today, I see that the line "Are birds animals, then?" doesn't really make sense within the context of the story itself, without knowledge of the Special Challenge.
    Therefore, I present this amended and extended version - in full knowledge that it is way too late as an entry in the contest

    Word Count: 117
    Special Challenge Accepted... Possibly


    "The room fell silent, and, when the pin was dropped, everybody heard it. QED," said the wise old owl.

    “Bravo!” said the robin.

    "Good show!" said the sparrow.

    "Well done!" said the woodpecker.

    "Are there any more questions for our most learned and erudite guest?" asked the magpie, who was acting as master of ceremonies.

    "I have something," said the starling, "that has, for a long time, been on my mind. To wit, –"

    (At this point, the wise old owl - thinking that a female owl was calling - almost blurted out 'to-woo!' in response but stopped himself just in time.)

    "– are birds animals?"

    "Oh, no!" replied the wise old owl. "I think you'll find we're all rather civilised."