Monday, July 13, 2015


WOOHOO!!! Welcome back! I, like the contest, am now another year older, and I marvel at how fast time seems to move. As fast as, say, a horse race, perhaps...? Thanks for stopping by! Go check out the prompt and write something!

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.
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 Geoff Holme. Read his tale from last week here! Geoff is semi-retired, insofar as he does not have any paid employment. So he spends far too much time writing flash fiction which he discovered in September 2014. He lives in West Sussex, UK and is reachable on Twitter (@GeoffHolme)

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-2 is:

As they entered the [final furlong], the [jockey] realised that [something extraordinary] would have to happen if they were to [win].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include at least one name of a Grand National horse race winner.



  1. Miracles Do Happen
    (500 words)
    Special Challenge Accepted

    As they entered the cinema the two boys realized that a series of miraculous events would have to happen if they were to get away with sneaking in again. The ticket-takers were always on the lookout for them, and they’d dodged a particularly nasty aisle attendant more than once. But there’s no way Mickey would miss seeing National Velvet if he could help it.

    Ten-year-old Mickey loved horses. His father, an ex-jockey, often recounted the famous race of 1928 when Tipperary Tim won because forty-one of the forty-two entrants had taken a tumble. His father’s mount had been one of them. The injury he sustained that day had ended his career.

    Hard times followed, and with the war, they got even harder. Even the few cents to go to the cinema meant the family might not eat that day. And in 1941 the Grand National had been suspended. They hadn’t run a race in three years. Mickey just had to get in to see the film.

    He planned his strategy carefully. He and his friend, Trent, showed up on the day of the class field trip. Only kids whose parents could afford to send them got to go. The first miracle involved coming up with a way to play hooky from the class those who weren’t going to the cinema had to sit in. Easy, his dad needed help with the tinker trolley. The only work he’d found once he couldn’t ride anymore. Mickey played on the sympathy of a teacher who understood the hardship of growing up in the Liverpool slums.

    The next miracle involved promising to do homework and run errands for a number of kids. That way they wouldn’t rat him out when he mingled with the group outside the cinema. He’d use several of them for cover.

    Once inside, they’d break away from the group when the teacher did the head count. Hiding out in the loo wouldn’t be a problem. They only had to wait for the lights to dim to slip into the darkened theater. The first three parts of the plan worked.

    Mickey and Trent left the loo and strolled casually toward the theater doors. They figured as long as they acted like they belonged there, the less suspicious they’d look. Panic hit Mickey when he saw an aisle attendant with their back to them closing the doors. He really didn’t have a plan for getting past the ever vigilant mean guy who’d threatened them with torment if he caught them again.

    When the attendant turned, Mickey gasped. Dad! His father winked at him and motioned for him to come over.

    “Sneaking in again, lad?” he chuckled. “I know you like films and I hated that I couldn’t send you whenever you wanted to go. I’ve been trying to get a job here for the longest time. Just yesterday an attendant broke his leg and a spot opened up. And since I work here now, you can see all the films you like.”

  2. Concert Cure-all
    317 words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    As they entered the concert, she realized that something extraordinary would have to happen if they were to see the stage at all. Short people had horrible luck.

    She could stand on her chair, but the man behind them had already given her the stink-eye for balancing on the seat for only a second. Despite the fact that he was at least six feet tall, he “kindly” asked her to move.

    The thing with concerts was that you paid nearly a week’s salary to stare at the back of heads.

    Sarah didn’t mind, but Sarah was tall. “Can you see the pretty stage designs?”

    I clenched my teeth. “I can’t see anything.”

    Sarah rolled her eyes. “Don’t be such a spoilsport.

    The lights dimmed.

    “I’m not spoiling anything, I’m stating a fact.”

    The crowd cheered, we cheered, swept away by the evening’s momentum. The screams were deafening. Our floor level seats placed us in the center of the excitement as it ricocheted down from the upper levels down towards the stage.

    Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome to the stage Charity Cure-all!

    “She’s coming out!”

    I hopped on the tips of my toes. There will be sound, loud booming sound. I will get my joy from that sound. I tried to psych myself up, at least.

    All I saw was the t-shirt of Charity’s face in front of me.

    “Oh my god – do you see what she’s wearing?” Sarah asked.


    “It’s, oh my god, Jen! Look!”

    “I am looking, looking at –”

    Then it happened: something extraordinary. The stage started to rise inch by inch, higher and higher until Charity Cure-all could look over her fans from far above ground level.

    Charity Cure-all smiled from the edge of the stage, lights bouncing off the sequins from her octopus costume. It felt as if our eyes caught each other’s, she smiled, I screamed. “Let’s get this party started!”

  3. Deployed
    413 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    As they entered the last day of their deployment, Seaman Thompson realized that God himself would have to show up before he’d eat chow again. Ship’s galley food had done bad things to his system anyway.

    He worked his way up two decks of ladders after dropping his tray at the scullery window, a tired looking sailor snatching it away to be sprayed and washed a microsecond after he’d set it down.

    When he reached the hanger bay, it was buzzing with noise and activity. Mechanics sat on the wings of battleship grey jets with open toolboxes.

    A low tractor with a long, yellow tow bar backed toward the nose wheel of one aircraft flanked by sailors (not “shipmates”, no way) wearing an assortment of blue and yellow flight deck jerseys. He watched them absentmindedly as they attached the bar and prepped the jet to be moved to the flight deck for the Air Wing's fly-off. All of these jets would be gone – heading toward their respective bases – five hours from now.

    He deftly avoided tie down chains and huge, flat drip pans full of jet fuel and hydraulic fluid as he went. Sailors in a rainbow of jerseys hustled past him negotiating last minute repairs as he made his way through the various squadron’s aircraft.

    Reaching the end of the bay he pulled the bar on the dog hatch, stepped over the knee – knocker, and closed it back. Three ladders later he was one level below the flight deck.

    Opening another hatch, he stepped out into the sunlight, momentarily blinded, and into the catwalk surrounding the flight deck.

    He settled against the rail between two groups of jerseyed flight deck workers awaiting the start of flight operations. Everyone looked toward the western horizon where Virginia lay just out of sight. Anticipation made them as chatty as schoolgirls.

    The flight deck din faded as Thompson began a mental checklist, a forced smile on his face.

    Checklist complete, he glanced at the groups of sailors surrounding him and answered an off – hand question about what he was going to do first when he got off the boat.

    He’d said, “Eat five McDonald’s cheeseburgers.”

    His answer didn’t matter anyway. He was going to end this cruise before they reached the pier.

    His mind turned to the device in the metal cruise box in the boiler room and his hand instinctively dipped into the deep pockets of his working blue coveralls, wrapping around the cell phone.

    Jeff Stickler

  4. Papillon

    As they entered the final car, the duo realized that a miracle would have to happen if they were to find a seat.
    “I will hang on to the camera bag.”
    “Yeah, you do that, Buddy!” Ranji snapped while shoving the bulky suitcase on the overstuffed luggage rack. He kept one eye on the camera bag.
    “I can’t believe, we got it,” Buddy gloated.
    “Don’t count your eggs before they’re hatched.” Ranji’s voice had an edge that could have startled anyone, but Buddy maintained his calm. The days when Ranji controlled the operation were about to become a thing of the past. The image trapped in his camera was his ticket to freedom, the release from Ranji’s clutching claws. The three hours of cramped railway compartment was a small price to pay for the flight to the blue skies for the rest of his life. In spite of the bone-crashing swarm of people, his reverie continued uninterrupted until the very last stop. The entire compartment was vacated before Buddy could bring himself to let himself move. The camera bag was attached to his arm like the Humerus bone. It was an integral part of him.
    “Come on!” Ranji was already on the move before Buddy had a chance to inhale the brand new air of Edinburgh and exhale the stale London aura. Casting off the old feelings of inferiority was as difficult for Buddy as leaving the family behind. He didn’t know how to navigate the world without the good old shackles anchoring him to the ship of security – Ranji. But he had that damning image in his camera, his last chance for salvation. The December chill in Edinburgh air pierced through his bones, but his grip on the camera never loosened.
    Ranji never worried about the small flies like Buddy. The images in some silly camera could not keep the Papillon like him encaged. He could flutter away in the darkest of the clouds and the brightest of the sun. The lightness of his wings could outfly any hefty load. The spirit of his candor and liberty was unfathomable.
    The afternoon sky soon yielded to the dark ink of the winter night. The duo descended on the Waverly Bridge, and the stony steps led them to the Deacon Brodies Tavern. Unbeknownst to Buddy, Ranji had joined the ranks of Deacon Brodie, and there was no use of the images in Buddy’s puerile camera.
    The air burst with the foul odor, and the hunter and the prey melded into the one huge mass of red and rust. The colors on the Papillon painted the platform in red.

    1. 437 words

    2. I forgot to mention before. Special challenge accepted.

  5. Weight of Glory

    As they entered the final lap, Aldaniti the jockey realised that something magical would have to happen if they were to win.

    “Sprig of lazy in your red rum this morning?” said her dragon, raising a scaly teal brow. Aldaniti ignored him. Easy for him to chat when she was working her little polveir off.

    Real magic was out of the question, unfortunately: it was too unpredictable and the course itself already demanded so much of racers. Plus the Empress had forbidden its use, and asking “why not?” tended to get one’s head chopped off (as the rather vocal Caughoo wanderers and freetraders could have testified from personal experience, if only personal experience didn’t make testifying impossible).

    Inches groaned painfully past.

    Illusionists’ magic (perfectly legal) she thought she could manage, like maybe a wind grakle. Sure, she was no Drogheda, but she wasn’t a Peter Simple either. She risked a glance behind her. Twenty feet separated them from last place, enough distance that she’d probably escape a No-Playfair flag.

    “Come away, early mist!” she shouted across the heat-thick air. Continuing to edge them forward while flinging silver birch shavings and gold papillon glitter made even her bones ache. She struggled to remember why she’d thought this race was a good idea. Oh, right: her own lovely cottage and a fanfare-bursting highland wedding to the huntsman.

    The Huntsman.

    Renewed strength flowed through her muscles, and she growled to the grakle, “Comply or die!”

    “A rag trade jockey trying to win a Royal Athlete trophy ought to be able to grakle in her sleep,” murmured her dragon. He yawned and watched the wind toy with the shavings and glitter.

    “Don’t push it,” said Aldaniti, gritting her teeth. C’mon, wind. “This race is important for you, too.”

    “I was going to suggest Monty’s Pass,” observed the dragon several minutes later after nothing happened, “if only there were anyone close enough to pass.”

    Aldaniti reminded herself a dead dragon would definitely disqualify her.

    At last, mercifully, the wind caught the grakle and swirled the glittering mix into three thin, towering funnels. The funnels danced across the field, weaving in and out of the racers. The grakle couldn’t touch them (which would have been illegal), but more than one dragon went tumbling in the dirt as jockeys pulled up in surprise to look.

    Aldaniti moved forward a full foot, passing Lord Gyllene (served him right). Two feet. Three, and she passed Mr Frisk and the wild man from Borneo. More jockeys crumpled into piles left and right, bewildered by the grakle.

    Four feet: so long, Duke Gruder and Father O’Flynn.

    “That was,” said her dragon as they crept over the finish line. “I wish the Empress allowed winners to compete again.”

    “Oh?” said Aldanati, dropping him on his very large polveir and collapsing. The Huntsman had better be a god. “Go ask her why not.”

    480 late words

    Special Challenge accepted. Names used:

    Why Not
    Free Trader
    Peter Simple
    Come Away
    Early Mist
    Silver Birch
    Rag Trade
    Royal Athlete
    Little Polveir
    Comply Or Die
    Monty’s Pass
    Lord Gyllene
    Mr Frisk
    Father O’Flynn
    Lovely Cottage
    The Huntsman
    Highland wedding

    1. Of course the word "fun" got left out. HAHAHAHAA. How anti-Freudian.