Monday, August 17, 2015


It's mid-August, and this year continues to soar past at an alarming rate! Someone needs to push the pause button, or something. At the same time, there are several games coming out that I'm super excited about and I wish it was two weeks from now (Disney Infinity 3.0)...or six weeks from now (Lego Dimensions)...or Christmas so I can afford all the things by asking someone else to buy them for me - oh wait, that's what my children do; I'm an adult (interest in children's video games notwithstanding). Sigh. Now that I have rambled horribly, go check out the prompt and write something amazing!

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 (PG-13)
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 Michael Simko. Read his winning tale from last week here! Michael Simko holds a third-degree blackbelt in snarkjitsu. He's a glorified secretary who records the antics of the voices in his head, and then steals their credit. Michael writes Flash, shorts, and novels. He is a father of two young children who demand constant stories. He apologizes if Scooby-Doo and Ninja Turtle references litter his fiction, but that's a dad-win as far as he's concerned. Michael tweets @MichaelSimko1, but it's advised that you don't try to find him there.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-7 is:

Preamble: This week's FTT takes inspiration from seeing both Chuck Wendig and Alissa at GenCon. (I'm not sure how to take this...) Remember, the rating for this contest is PG-13.

Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Paint a vivid picture without describing color (e.g. no red, no salmon, no "the color of blood exposed to air")



  1. Hateful Victory
    498 words

    Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor. Back then I got kidnapped every other week. If someone had put one of those so-and-so’s out of my misery I would have been happy to let them.

    This time I felt differently. The dead man was heavy, and he stank.

    “Good sir, I’d appreciate it if you helped me up,” I said.


    What a jerk.

    The man refusing to move the corpse that pinned me down was the one responsible for my predicament. He’d barged in and cut down my kidnapper.. At first I had assumed he was here to rescue me, but he’d abandoned me under the dead weight (goodness, I’m hilarious). He fiddled with the deceased kidnapper’s computer.

    “My family will pay you for me,” I said.

    “I’m not here for money. Shut your rich piehole.”

    I heard the furious clicking of buttons.

    “Hey, rich kid. Do you know the password?”

    “Try ‘great stinking heaps of money.’ That usually works,” I said.

    “Yes! I’m in!”

    His victory dance lacked finesse. It was appalling.

    “What are you looking for, anyway?” I asked.

    “That’s irrelevant. I’m in a good mood, though, so I’ll let you go.”

    He removed the crushing corpse and I wasted no time with my retreat. I heard the man laughing but I didn’t stop to look back.

    I’ve never stopped regretting that.

    He’s on TV. He’s just announced his intent to blow the community to oblivion. He doesn’t like “spoiled rich garbage people.”

    “I collected all your security codes while you played your little game, and I’ve planted explosive everywhere.”

    By “game” he means the kidnappings. It’s more popular among the young people. Kidnap one of your rivals and demand money from their family. None of us need the extra money, but whoever can negotiate the most is regarded as a hero.

    I never kidnapped, I was only the kidnappee. I would have taken to the streets with the poor if I didn’t fear my family would kill me for it.

    There’s a statue in the background of the message. I recognize it.

    I run.

    The bridge arcs over the statue from our locked community to theirs. He’s filming himself with broadcasting equipment (probably stolen).


    “You can’t stop me, rich freak!”

    “I don’t intend to! I want to blow them all up!”

    The gate opens under my touch. I’ll never know how he found the first security code, but I will always admire his ambition.

    He kisses me.

    “I hoped you’d be different,” he says.

    He hands me the trigger. One click is all it will take.

    I push him off the bridge.

    I can’t let a poor man get away with hurting any of us; he must pay for his crimes, no matter how I wish to go with him.

    I take a bow before the camera. I am a hero.

    I press the button.

    I’m not a poor man, I’m a rich one; and I’ve won the game.

  2. @AuthorSheri
    WC- 403

    Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captor. I mean anyone would right? Except, except he wasn’t really my captor was he? It was all just a game. I wanted the money my father was hiding from my mom in the divorce. I figured I’d get my boyfriend to pretend to kidnap me, ransom me to my dad for all those offshore accounts he likes to pretend we don’t know about. How was I supposed to now he’d hire some ex cop private detective who took his job so seriously? Now I’m standing here staring down at the pool of blood seeping out of my John. My John who loved books as much as me, my John who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

    “This is all your fault.” I shouted at daddy dearest as he tried to pull me away from the scene, always trying to keep himself clean. Never wanting to be part of the dirty work. “I hate you!!” I screamed at him and ran.

    “You little psycho. This is your fault, not mine.” He shouted out after me, but I just kept running. I had to get away from him. I knew it was a stupid plan, but I never would have imagined it playing out like that. Poor John. I had to stop running as the sobs choked me.

    “I swear John. I swear I’ll make him pay for this. All these years being a good little girl for daddy has taught me enough. I’ll make him pay.” I swore to the heavens since I couldn’t actually tell John. But he would know. I would make him pay for killing the only good thing in my life. What good is it being the daughter of a mob boss, if I can’t at least get a gun when I wanted one?

    One phone call was all it took, too simple really. With the gun in my hand I waited for the man I would no longer call my dad to come out of his office. His stupid goons didn’t look at me twice, just a short smile as I walked up to their boss. But they looked again when they heard the shots ring out. One of them knocked the gun out of my hand, but it was too late. He was dead.

    “I’m free now.” It was the last thing I thought before my world went dark.

  3. @QEisenacher
    496 words
    Special Challenge accepted

    Wax and Wane

    Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captor. But these weren’t normal circumstances, and this - I very much doubted - was going to be any kind of normal rescue.

    The man’s body lay on the floor, arms and legs askew as if he’d simply dropped where he stood. Which he had, actually. A bullet in the back will do that to you, I guess.

    I shuffled away from the wall, cutting a wide circle around him, as if he might reach out at any moment and snatch at my bare ankle. I nearly tripped over my bowl, still boasting my meager breakfast. A chunk of bread. Some dried meat I’d learned not to examine too closely before working it between my teeth.

    My stomach growled as I approached the door. Hunger warred with shock. I reached down, snatched up the bread, scraped the mold off the edge with my thumbnail and shoved it all in my mouth at once.

    The sound of footsteps reached my ears, ringing on the concrete in the corridor. I’d been in the corridor, once. With a bag over my head and the party end of a Glock pressed between my shoulderblades. Still chewing on the hunk of bread, I stuck my head around the door, my eyes blinking at the electric light.

    A mistake, that. One person in this room had already been shot, and I thought it a good idea to thrust my head into view like an eager meerkat? I stepped back again, and slowly… so slowly, pushed the door shut with the edge of my foot. Whether a rescue or a revolution, I didn’t feel a particular eagerness to join them.

    While my tongue poked at my teeth, digging out the last of the bread, another set of footsteps approached her door. I closed my eyes, wished for a tin cup of water, and wondered when my desires had become so simple. A cup of water. Food without maggots. Maybe a night spent without rats chewing on my toes or hearing someone scream. Just the simple things, really.

    I watched the door, hoping that whoever was on the other side would walk by, but there was the chatter of voices before the door swung open on hinges that shrieked their need for oil.

    “Sir?” A man stood in the doorway, a man I didn’t recognize. His boots bore scuffs, and his hair was thin and unwashed. His eyes widened when he saw me, his posture changed, and he raised a bruised and bleeding hand in a sharp salute. “Sir!” he said again. “We’ve done it. We’ve won. The men… We can return you to the palace immediately.”

    I raised my own hand, not to mimic his salute, but to wipe a few bread crumbs from the corner of my mouth. “Well done,” I sighed, and tried to guess how long until their need for a new villain would return me to my favorite cell.

  4. @MelinaGillies
    498 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor. In this case, however, it was proving to be quite problematic.

    "What do you mean we cannae get you out?"

    The muffled Scottish brogue dissipated to a tinny whisper by the time it reached my ears through the thick, steel door.
    "The only way in is through voice command, ye great heaving idiot!" my own thick accent bounced back, assailing my ears as it rung through the small cell, "The man you just killed was an American spy!"


    "Yeah, Oh." I slink down the door into a crumpled heap. My throat constricts and I know if it were bright enough to see, my eyes would be seeing spots from lack of oxygen.

    Complete darkness envelopes me, and I no longer know if my eyes are open or closed. I no longer care.

    The yawning expanse of nothingness around me swallows me up whole. My waning heartbeat pounds pathetically and the sound reverberates back to mock me. Thump, thump, thump, it pounds from the outside in, and I wonder for a moment if it's the dark cell which is really keeping me alive and not my own flesh and blood.

    I get the sickly feeling that I'm floating and stretch my arms out to feel the comfort of something solid beneath my palms. My fingertips reach the cool concrete, but it the relief is temporary, as the coolness creeps up my arms to create a bone-deep chill throughout my weakened structure. Even the heat of my tears doesn't warm me up. I begin to shake.


    The walls are mocking me.

    "Dammit Bridget! Can you hear me Lass?"

    I hear nothing over my chattering teeth. The intermittent hammering fills my head to the point where I think I might explode. No manner of training had prepared me for this. I welcome death with the fervor I had once applied to life and close my eyes.

    A sharp shaft of lights sears through my closed eyelids and I can see the tiny veins weaving across my vision. I'm annoyed at death for using such a strong beam of light. My chattering teeth have stilled and I can no longer hear the echo of my heart in the small chamber.
    I feel the strong arms of God pass around my body and cradle me like a child. I am ready—but part of me wonders why God smells like cheap ale and cigarettes.

    "Bridget, ye daft wee girl, open your eyes—you're not dead."

    "Yes I am."

    The husky laugh of my Uncle Albert rings through my cell, though the sound is carried off on the breath of fresh air which caresses my cheek.

    "I'll say this for yon American villain. He may build fancy voice doors, but he cannae build an impenetrable wall to save his life."

    I smile, and feel the sting as my dry lips crack.

    "I want to go home."

    "Aye Lass—let's get you there."

  5. An Unwelcome Rescue
    496 words
    Special Challenge Accepted (I think!)

    Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captor. There’s two words for it: Stockholm Syndrome. I can’t explain it, but after a few months with him I felt just like Goldie Hawn falling for Kurt Russell in "Overboard."

    Tied to the wall, sitting on a stained mattress, the tears wouldn’t stop falling as he laid flayed open on the cold tile floor. The men, my rescuers, mistook my sobs for tears of joy. I couldn’t understand a word they said, because thoughts of Milton swam through my head and how I fell in love with him over one hundred and seventy-two days tied up in a dusty basement.

    “She’s in shock.” One of the men said.

    Guts spilled from Milton’s body and a vivid memory popped into my mind of my dad cleaning a fish when I was a girl. Who carried a bayonet around in this day and age anyway? A drop of water fell on my head from the rusted pipe on the ceiling, and I sobbed louder.

    “Oh Milton. I can’t believe you’re gone.”

    He looked like a teddy bear whose stuffing had been removed. And maybe that was the best way to describe Milton anyway. Rough around the edges, but soft on the inside. Lord, aren’t we all soft on the inside?

    “She’s crying for him.” Officer One laughed as he leaned on his sword.

    “Shutup, man. She needs help.”

    I couldn’t take my eyes off the rag doll figure sprawled in front of me. The officer sawed through the rope that had dug a ravine on my wrist with his bloody bayonet. I fell onto the dirty mattress pressed my nose against the moldy fabric and inhaled Milton’s smell—sweet and sour all rolled into one. A little bit of him still left in the world. The tears wouldn’t stop, and I felt crazy for crying for him. After all, I’d hated him for months, until one day I loved him.

    “She’s pregnant, man,” Officer One said.

    “Such a shame. Ruined her life. I’ll call the ambulance,” Officer Two said.

    “For him?” I asked, in between sobs. “Because you killed him. An
    ambulance won’t help. Why’d you go and do a thing like that?”

    I stumbled to my feet, weak after a week of disuse and slid onto my knees on the sticky substance on the slick floor. I crawled toward Milton and threw myself on him, kissing the toupee on his head.

    “What the heck, man?” Officer One asked.

    “Seriously. I heard about this,” Officer Two said. “It’s when the victim falls in love with her captor. More common than you might think.”

    “That’s really effed up,” Officer One said. “Is the ambulance coming?”

    “On their way. I told them no need to hurry.”

    “Maybe you should have called a psychiatrist instead.”

    I kissed Milton’s feet and then I tried to put his innards back inside his abdominal cavity as if I could make us both whole again.

  6. Now What?
    Word Count: 499

    Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor. Her dead eyes will haunt me for the rest of my days, but that isn’t the issue here. No, I had fallen in love with her. I’m a stupid statistic of the Stockholm syndrome. And even knowing this, I can’t bring myself to be happy.

    She gave my life meaning. My meaning was to please her, and now she is gone.

    “Mam, can you identify the victim?” The police officer asks me, his walkie-talkie statics into the empty night.

    They don’t know. They don’t know she took me from my boring undergrad and whisked me into her whirlwind of a life – Paris, Morocco, Tokyo.

    A flash to the beatings too, her tornado like bursts of anger that left me bruised and sometimes broken as I shuffled to find us another hotel room.

    There had been moments I could have escaped but then where would I be? Later, a slap would hit my face and knock a tooth loose and I’d remember standing in the middle of some million-person city and think, “if I had only disappeared when I had the chance.”

    But my captor needed me, she needed me the way anyone needs their lover. She chose me, I was special – in her eyes.

    The eyes that now stare blankly towards the summer night sky.

    “I just met her tonight,” I lie.

    “Did you hear any noises? See what took this woman down?”

    We had just left the bar. The rain poured down our bodies – horrible weather for an ambush. We ran three blocks, laughing, drunk, until she pushed me to the wall and kissed me hard. It was beautiful, the feeling of having her eyes on me alone, her lips on mine, I’d never been enamored by a woman – by anyone – until my captor found me.

    She kissed me, tugged at my hair, and then the bullet came. I will forever wonder if she was shielding me from it’s blast.

    “What brought you out tonight?” The officer continues his questioning.

    I shrug. “Bar hopping.”

    “And that’s where you met this woman?”

    No one in the bar knew anything about us, no one would refute it. So, I nod in agreement.

    “Did you hear anything?”

    “A loud bang. A bullet, I guess, and then –“ I gesture to my dress, soaked wet with water and blood.
    The police officer looks around, towards vantage points before breaking the static and sending a message through his walkie-talkie.

    “Check the rooftops, we may have a sniper.” The officer waits for a response then turns back to my captor. “Someone had a bone to pick with this gal.”

    I shrug again, keeping the emotion from my face.

    “You’re free to go.” The officer states, slowly, assessing me with his eyes. “Unless you want to come down to the station.”

    I shake my head. I wonder where I’d go next. What life would be worth living after my captor and her violent love?

  7. Cyndi Pauwels

    458 words, with the Special Challenge (I'm showing my age!)

    Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor. Not that there’s anything “normal” about being held hostage in a half-buried bunker with the only outside light a reflection of a “sailor’s delight” sunset. But out of the forty-two of us he hijacked on the cross-town bus, he kept me – the gimp. None of the others looked back as they scrambled out the door when he agreed to release them. For the first time in my life, I was the chosen one.

    I didn’t care when I found out it was because I knew the passwords for the bank’s security system. Photographic memory comes in handy, and I’d just changed the codes that morning. He obviously knew our routine, knew my job duties, even knew which bus I rode into downtown from my drab walk-up in the low-rent district.

    The bunker was fitted out just for me – no steps, once we were inside. A special monitor for my bad eyes. Over-sized roller-ball mouse for the claw that passes for my right hand. Things I’d had to fight the bank to provide when they hired me to meet their diversity quota. The refrigerator was stocked with my favorites, too, and the microwave was just the right height.

    He wanted me to be comfortable while we – I mean he, of course – broke into the system. The bank wouldn’t miss me before Monday morning. I doubt if anyone connected my disappearance to my job anyway. I’m the kind of person it’s easier to overlook.

    I got him past the firewall and he took it from there. First-rate hacker he was. I learned a lot watching over his shoulder in the few hours he poked around looking for just the right accounts to access. He didn’t care that I watched. Probably intended to leave me there after he siphoned enough funds and made his getaway.

    But somewhere in those forty-eight hours together, we bonded. We amped up the dollar amount a bit, spread it around at my suggestion. He was so grateful for the idea. When he went out to get Chinese food to celebrate our – his – success, he got careless and left his laptop logged in.

    Like I said, I’m a quick learner. I sent his girlfriend an email from his account to break things off so we could be together. “Soul mates,” he’d said. She’d have to get over it.

    I never expected her to drop a dime on him so fast. The cops were waiting for him when he left the restaurant. Who’d have guessed she was the cashier there? The online news feed said it was quite a gun battle.

    Too bad he locked me in when he left. And the electric generator is just about…

  8. The Walls

    Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor. But I couldn’t feel any sense of relief. Instead of the doors opening to let the free morning air come in, the walls were closing in on me. My knees felt weak. My head spun, and I collapsed on the cool floor.

    When I came to the harsh rays of sun, made hotter by the window glass, pierced my skin. The smell of rotten flesh filled the stale air around me. I sat around waiting for my food and water, but no one came. Not even the curly-haired cook who always winked at me while bringing my tray. She sometimes used to sneak some juicy steak and apple pie for me. I wonder if she is the one who killed my captor. I had not seen anyone else since I was brought here by those thugs with dark capes. Could it be one of them?

    I waited and waited. I stared at the corpse and the blood on the walls until the streaks turned dry and crusty. The albino eyes of the corpse stared back at me. I wasn’t afraid to lock eyes with him while he was alive, and I wasn’t afraid now. I knew someone would come around soon and open the door.

    I banged on the door, pounded on the walls. I called out the cook. Not one peep came from anywhere. I threw myself against the door, but my feeble body wasn’t a match for the cast iron. So, I just waited.

    Many suns and moons rose and set.

    I was acutely aware of the thirst now. The blood streaks formed the strange shadows on the wall at night. The albino eyes seemed to flicker in the moonlight. I began to feel the sharp pain in my shoulder. My head was hot like a red-hot iron. My mind raced like a horse without the rein. The captor’s sneering face flashed before my eyes. The flash of mockery in his eyes struck me like a jolt. I leaped and grabbed his head between my iron shackles and squeezed his neck until the last flicker of sneer was snuffed out from his eyes. I roared; the cook peeked through the window. Her eyes bulged, and she ran. Actually, that surprised me; I thought she liked me.

    So now, I wait. I wait to be released from the prison walls of the brick and mortar and the walls of my uncertain conscience.

    414 words

  9. The Part of Being a Space Pirate No One Tells You About
    485 Words

    Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor. In fact, when I saw the alien ship descending to the surface of the planet I’d been using as my pirates hideout, the hope flashed through my mind. The idea seemed unlikely. I figured the bounty hunter had invited them. Perhaps it was a social call, or maybe he was about to sell me into slavery.

    That wasn’t what happened. Instead they formed a ground assault on his position. Twenty soldiers slowly surrounded the man with his single energy displacement weapon. He did manage to kill several of them, but eventually they got a crippling shot into his energy pack with their old-fashioned projectile weapons. Then they restrained him with something like strapping tape.

    Dreaming of release from the ionic net that held me, I was feeling pretty good. The feeling didn’t last.

    Another alien hobbled out of their ship. This one was short and fat. He walked up to my former captor and poked his belly, then his arms, finally he selected a leg and lopped it off with a heavy knife.

    The sight was gruesome. The aliens tied a rope around the stump stopping the bleeding but they did nothing to ease his pain. He pled for mercy, but we both knew they didn’t understand a word of it.

    My eyes unwillingly watching the fat little one, as he prepared the man’s leg. He skinned it, deboned it, and then diced it up before starting a fire and skewering the pieces. Shortly the meal must have been done, because he gave a buzzing signal and a group of little orange aliens came out of the ship to eat.

    When they finished they all motioned to the fat one before returning inside. I couldn’t tell if they were complaining or congratulating, but I knew they were talking about that man’s leg.

    It had been a horrible thing to watch, and I was glad it was over. Only it wasn’t. The fat little cook went back over, took the other leg and started again. Thankfully the bounty hunter was too deep in shock to keep screaming. Another group came out to eat.

    My mind was now turning on a math problem. Given the size of the ship and the size of the aliens, how many more shifts of eaters could it produce?

    About a half hour later they started on his arms. The poor man was unconscious, and frankly I wished I was too. After the arms they skinned the torso, first preparing the flesh, then the entrails. Finally the head was prepared. Each time a different group of aliens emerged to feast.

    Now he’s gone, except for the bones. Now they are looking at me. Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor. I suppose I gave up on normal circumstances back when I decided to live outside the law.

  10. @studyleaks
    word count: 497
    special challenge accepted.

    Service with a Grimace
    By Audrey Gran Weinberg

    Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captor. I fished out my mobile phone from the electricity cabinet, dusting it off and blowing away a small spider.

    “Yeah?” His voice grated more than usual today.
    “Yeah? Yeah? Is that how I’ve asked you to answer the phone?” I asked.
    “Sorry man,” he replied.
    “Why did I ever send you to that customer service course if this is how you answer the phone?”
    “Ok, man,” he said.
    “Say it correctly please.” I asked.
    “Assassins International, How can I help you?”
    “Almost right, what about your name?”
    “Uh, George?”
    “No, Not your real name! You wanna go back to jail? I told you – call yourself Derek.”

    I heard a sigh on the other side of the line, so pushed on towards the reason for my call.
    “George, listen. You bloody well screwed up this time.”
    “She’s dead, right?”
    “Yes, she certainly is, but that’s…” I said.
    “And disposed of?” I could hear the pride in his voice. Disposal was one of his assets. His past experience in over-the-counter untraceable acids had certainly come in handy in the past.
    “Yes, well done, George, but really I am positive that I told you it was different this time.”
    “Oh, did’ya?”
    This time I sighed.

    The woman had called us up, and asked for something a bit different than our usual service.
    “Sorry?” I’d asked. “You sure about this?”
    “Yes,” she said. “I don’t want someone else killed. In fact, no one at all. But I do want your men to catch me, eventually, to punish me, and why not throw in a little light torture as well…”

    It was an unorthodox request and I’d hesitated before agreeing.
    “You’ll still be kidnapping me, though, right? A bit of rough stuff?” I asked. After all, I wasn’t in it just for the money.

    “Yes, of course, but after your guys hunt me down, can you ask them to tie me up too? I’m quite the Houdini,” she said.

    My captor had listened well to my initial instructions, before she’d taped my mouth shut and blindfolded me, and she’d dragged me from apartment to apartment, as I’d suggested, sneaking in just as the real estate agent was about to lock up. It was a pretty good way of hiding, especially in a big city with lots of places on the market. Besides, that meant we always had a bathroom and mostly running water as well.

    I glanced out the window now. The rain just wouldn’t let up.

    “Derek, uh, George, why the hell?...” Ugh, it was useless. It was all about damage control now.

    “Wait, George. You got her to sign the contract, right?”
    “Yeah, sure.” Paper crackled through the line. “Here it is. Says, ‘I, name of client, do agree to take full responsibility…’”
    “Wait, wait, wait…” I shouted. “Does it actually say ‘name of client’?”
    “Are you some sort of moron, George?”
    “Damn it, George! You’re fired!”

  11. @OpheliaLeong
    499 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    Among The Dragons

    Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captors. However, despite what others think, the dragons weren’t my captors. They were my family and I didn’t want anyone to kill them or save me.
    The dragons took me in when I was a few years old. If not exactly maternal creatures, they cared for me in their own smoky way. Tendrils of smoke curling from upturned grins, sparks of flame crackling in the night, eyes glazing over and sated with hunger. That was the language I learned.
    But when the hunters came, they hefted their swords and attacked my family.
    “You should be glad we’ve come!” one of the bearded men informed me. “They told us you needed help! We’ll save ye, lassie!”
    I glared at the brutes, wishing that my throat burned with a storm of flame.
    My Dragon-Mother roared at them, swishing her about her scaly tail. Dragon-Brother pushed me behind him, and his wings spread out like a storm cloud covering the sky. I grabbed a pointed stick and waited with the nestlings. The baby dragons mewled in fear and leaked fire out of their mouths.
    I caressed their patchy hides, and looked back at the fight. The men were still, unable to take their eyes off my Dragon-Mother and Dragon-Brother. My Dragon-Father circled overhead, his wings deadly silent as he watched. I knew the hunters wouldn’t make it.
    Dragon-Mother opened her mouth wide and a fireball leaped out, like it had a mind of it’s own, and engulfed the hunters before they could do anything.
    Without realizing it, I flinched. I knew I wasn’t a dragon, yet I let those hunters, who were of my own kind, get burned to death. What did that make me?
    Dragon-Brother whistled at me and nudged me with his wings. ‘Tinteela,’ he Thought to me, ‘those humans were no good. They would have harmed you, had you left with them.’
    ‘He’s right,’ Thought Dragon-Father, who had finally swooped down. ‘You are one of us now, Tinteela. You needn’t be worried.’
    I wrapped my arms around Dragon-Father’s snout, breathing in his scent of burnt pine. ‘You have all shown me such care and helped me grow up. I am forever indebted to you all. Yet, perhaps it is best I seek out my own kind. I don’t want more hunters coming here after hearing the stories about me.’
    The dragons were silent for a moment and their great eyes, deeper than wells, gazed at me. My heart lurched.
    ‘Perhaps it is time for our nestling to discover herself,’ Dragon-Mother Thought to us all.
    I stood there and shivered at the thought of a life amongst humans; did I have enough strength to protect the dragons I loved from bloodthirsty hunters?
    A nestling waddled over to me and nuzzled my cheek. As I threw my arms around her small dragon body, I realized that my love for them will be my greatest strength.

  12. Love Makes You Do Funny Things
    498 words, special challenge accepted
    Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captor. That’s par for the psychosis—under normal circumstances, I’m glad to see nearly anyone die.

    Have you ever heard of a Chelsea Grin? Take a mouth and slice a two-inch gash outward from either corner. Now torture your victim until they scream. Your victim’s screaming tears open more flesh, leaving him with a very permanent “grin.” Heath Ledger's Joker had a Chelsea Grin. Nurse Rosetta says my grin is most disturbing whenever I’m thinking about someone dying.

    Nurse Rosetta needs to live.

    Disinfectant pervades the entire Institute. That inescapable “hospital” odor clings to every surface and lives in every fabric seat cover, every gown and lab coat. The smell of urinal cake and sharp, acrid artificial pine trails behind each of the orderlies on their rounds.

    The buzz and flicker of ancient fluorescents struggle to keep the hallways dimly lit. Shadows lurk in every corner, and only the harsh spotlight glare of the nurse’s station lamp separates shape from void in the farthest limits of the hall. Closed doors badged with corroded brass numbers face each other across the corridor every thirty feet. I know that all of them are empty, save mine.

    Each night I hear Nurse Rosetta’s heels click clicking up and down the tile of that hallway several times, on some unknowable Nurse Rounds mission. At the end of every night, she stops in and checks on me, inspects my chart, and takes careful notes. Each night my eyes lock on the swell of her breasts, dive into the hollow of that glorious cleavage, just the briefest flash when she stoops to replace the clipboard.

    Those uniform, sharp creases are perfectly starched and ironed with the attention to detail that no one but a Nurse still takes. I want to lick her nylon seams. I’d cut those clinical buttons free and tear at the garters that hold the nylons hugging those perfect thighs. My tumescence rages and I moan against the gag, imagining those proud nipples freed from the pushup bra. My limbs lock against the restraints, and the leather creaks with my need.

    Nurse Rosetta only pats my cheek, and her eyes sparkle at my helplessness and my hopeless, helpless, impossible longing. Some nights she rewards me with extra hip-sway when she leaves the room, I am certain. I know that she knows.

    The procedure is only hours away now. Nanobot brain surgery, infinitesimal machines seeking out my “harmful” thoughts and “dangerous” emotions, eradicating the nodes and areas where they are born.

    The court mandated this treatment after Millie’s husband. Never again will I seek out an ex-lover’s new spouse, slice him up and seal him in baggies. The tortured memories of that night will have to go. Too bad, I liked Donald. Millie’s already had her treatment; she drools and doesn’t remember me.

    Nurse Rosetta will remember me, won’t you Rosie? Just one night, away from the institute, I promise you will.

  13. Nothing Personal
    by Nancy Chenier @rowdy_phantom
    500 words

    Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captor. This scenario, though, put me in mind of frying pans and fires.

    Through a geranium-scented haze, the human rescue team came at me in hazmat suits. I found myself communicating with face screens that barked orders at each other in hollow Darth-Vader speak. That is if you can call my requests and their aggressive ignoring of me communicating. They hefted me from my floral "containment tub" like I was a sack of turnips.

    "I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, fellas, but take it easy."

    My heroes responded by slapping a gas mask on me.

    Okay, I’ll shut up, then.

    I squirmed to get comfortable on the stiff metal frame, but they lashed me down with enough straps to subdue an enraged hydra.

    Once in the helicopter and well out of the AI transporter range, the masks came off.

    The team leader announced, "ETA to the MTF: 0933."

    "MTF?" I yell-asked. Being in the helicopter was as deafening as the inside of an industrial washing machine.

    Team leader flicked an annoyed glance at me, but didn’t say anything. The rest of my thin-lipped saviors looked straight ahead, their gazes very studiously avoiding my face and my swollen abdomen.

    MTF turned out to be some kind of military hospital plunked down in the middle of a desert. A gust as arid as my rescuers barged in when the door slid open. A new team swept me across the tarmac, into the bunker-like buildings, and through fluorescent-banded corridors. Isopropyl fumes impaled my nostrils.

    "It must’ve been horrible for you," a nurse noted. She locked my feet into stirrups and cranked my legs apart. "All those awful machines."

    It was the first time since my rescue anyone bothered to address me. An awkward moment for sympathy, but I’d take it.

    "You’d be surprised," I admitted. The strolls through the compound’s dizzyingly lush terrarium, the lavender-and-sweet-almond-oil massages done with surprisingly supple “hands”, the dulcimer music that played during nap time, the mild yet tasty meals I never had to cook myself.

    That was the wrong answer. Despite the facemask, the nurse’s scowl pulled down in papery creases. She continued to prep me in silence.

    A cadre of doctors bustled in. The nurse drew a curtain across my chest, blocking me from my bump. Two armed soldiers took station at the door. A tray of instruments glinted under the sterile light.

    "Wait." I pulled at the wrist restraints. "I’m only second trimester."

    Dry pronouncements of "hybrid" and "dissection" made me twist my face away from the descending an oxygen mask.

    "He’s human!" I insisted. Gloved hands clamped the sides of my head. I held my breath as long as I could. I sobbed the cloying air into my lungs.

    At that moment, a familiar prickle rose the hair along my arms. A lurid wash of light engulfed me. My next sob was one of relief as I welcomed the trip back to the frying pan.

  14. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 488


    Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor.

    Ha! Did I really just write 'Under normal circumstances'? As if being kidnapped and held against my will, in a concrete bunker, underneath a detached house, in a remote location, in an enchanted forest (not really... I made up that last bit...must be low blood sugar...) for 11 years, 8 months, 13 days and 7 hours (roughly) had happened to me on numerous previous occasions?

    The bunker is well appointed: soft, comfortable bed, sofa, a wardrobe full of clothes in my size, a separate wet room. There’s a kitchen diner with a table and chairs, and a laundry room. I also have lots of books, a radio and a TV.

    My captor told me to call him Sebastian. At first, I was afraid of him, but he never did anything to harm me, never tried to force his attentions on me. In fact, he was kind, courteous and considerate. He seemed to derive pleasure simply from looking after me. He only appeared at weekends, bringing enough provisions to last the week. He liked to talk to me about his week, and asked how I had spent my time; sarcasm or silences would make him sad and withdrawn, and he would soon leave. Since he was the only human contact I had, it became preferable to converse civilly with him.

    Oh, I know what you’re probably thinking: Stockholm syndrome. Nothing could be further from the truth. I loathed him for what he had done and longed for the day when I might be free of this nightmare existence.

    Before leaving on Sunday evening, he would ask if I needed anything. He was very embarrassed the first time I told him that I needed sanitary towels; after that, I asked for a notebook and pens, so that I could make lists for him. That enabled me to keep a diary. And to write this final note.

    Last weekend, for the first time, he didn’t show up.

    A few days later, on the local TV news there was a report of scaffolding falling from a lorry and through the windscreen of an overtaking car, killing the driver. The driver’s licence was in the name of Colin Butterworth but the photo they showed was, to my profound shock, of Sebastian. The police were appealing for anyone who knew him - family or friends - to get in touch with them.

    Over the months and years, I’ve often thought about and cried for my family and friends, believing that, after all this time, they will have abandoned any notion of seeing me again and assumed that I am dead. I soon will be, unless someone can quickly figure out that Colin Butterworth had an alter ego, and where he spent his weekends.

    And that's the reason why I'm not jumping for joy that someone killed my captor. That and the low blood sugar.

  15. Under normal circumstances, I'd be glad that someone killed my captor. I looked at the idiot who killed him, and could do nothing but laugh. Crying would have been out of the question. First show no fear. I wasn’t fearful, I was devastated. Sorrowful. Distraught.
    “Thank you?” My benefactor questioned.
    I laughed again.
    “I’m missing something. What’s so funny?”
    Funny? He was standing in an ill-fitting Zoot suit with that smirk of conquest on his slacked face and thought I should thank him.
    “I don’t think so,” I said.
    “I saved your miserable life.” With a grunt he took a step closer
    I knew what he thought me, which left me more to wonder why he’d saved me. Then I got it. “What do you get out of this?”
    “Saving you?” His smile grew.
    I stepped back through the river flowing from the globs of intestines and brain matter slopping down the walls of the alley. Where the visera hit the glass littered flooring, which by the way wasn’t hot, it melted. I’d never seen a human body disintegrate like that.
    He ignored my second request pulling out a vacuum from his backpack. After attaching a 5-inch hose, he started sucking up the slop. What looked like a thick stew slurped into the glass bottle screwed to the bottom of the vacuum.
    That’s when I noticed the patch on his shoulder. MCU-Magic Control Unit. I knew he belonged to NASA- Not Another Stinting Asshat_ which confirmed what I suspected all along. Daddy dearest wasn’t just one with his magic, which I’d inherited, he also wasn’t a simple rebel hog, anarchist. It also told me, I was probably the idiots prize. He hadn’t rescued me, he’d captured another outlaw for the governments newest “PET” project. PET, Paranormal Energy Tracking.
    He’d finished removing all evidence of Daddy dearest and turned to face me. I swallowed.
    “Three hundred quill. That’s my payment for—” he motioned to the contents slashing around in the bottle.
    I swallowed again.
    “Three hundred thousand for you.”
    Before I he could lift the battle axe he’d used to disembody my dear ol’ dad, I silently loosed a thread of truth and justice and watched as he transformed into the reptilian slime ball employed by NASA in the quest to take over the world. But I had my own employment to fulfill. Removing a cube from my back pocket, I tossed it to the ground, stepping back as I watched it shift and surround the creature.
    Once he was caged, I reached through the bars and took the bottle from his hand. “Well,” I said after kissing the bottle and wiping a tear from my eye. “Your plan worked. Only problem is you didn’t survive to claim your payment.”
    Dad and I had never been on the same page in our methods. And he never treated me like the loving child I’d always tried to be. But we had an understanding. Magic and freedom was worth dying for.

    500 words

  16. Dark Matters - Andra Jenkin

    Under normal circumstances I’d be glad that someone killed my captor, but now the guard was dead, a bribe was out of the question. Instead it looked like I’d be next in the unofficial prison fight club.
    Authorities might care about the death of the guard, but I was more interested in the prisoner who felled him. He was an ugly brute, tall, built like a brick out house, and smelt like one too.
    We sized each other up, neither one impressed if his sneer was anything to go by. He threw a wild haymaker and I ducked, turned and kicked him in the arse. Might as well provide a show while I pissed him off.
    It worked. He was furious. I pulled a pen out of my pocket. “En guarde.”
    “That’s not a weapon.”
    “You say potato.”
    “Must you be so literal?” I didn’t wait for his reply, Shakespearean though it may have been. “Is there any chance we can forget this so I don’t have to kill you? It’s a new suit.”
    “No chance, I’m the¬—”
    I leapt, foot on the knee, kick sideways to break, foot to the liver as he fell, knee to chest, he was on the ground now, and pen (still mighty) in the open mouth and straight through the brain.
    My suit was still clean.
    Other prisoners avoided eye contact. Good. Fight club’s over. I grabbed the guard’s keys and climbed the ladder to let myself out of Thetford jail’s dank hole.
    “Coming lads?” I left the gate open. Aside from Out-house breath, the poor sods were in for debt, or they’d have bribed the guard. There were no jail regulations in 1765.
    With this lot free I had a chance to fix my machine. I was reluctant to go back down the ladder, but needs must.
    Now where was she? Probably folded up in space-time, frightened.
    I whistled, so she knew it was me. “Come on old girl, the bad men have left.”
    A small squeak set my teeth on edge. She was cross.
    A complicated horseless steam-punk carriage appeared. It wasn’t representational, just the way my brain perceived her. No idea why. Above a lowly pilot’s pay grade. I picked up the reins and an alarm sounded.
    “I know. But what do you want me to do about it?”
    A diagnostic hologram appeared. She wanted a few materials, all fine except the last of course.
    I crept up the ladder. It was a ghost town. The escape of the inmates had instigated a mass exodus. It was a doddle to nip to the smithy and pick up the metals. No point searching for the last item. Stupid time travel.
    “I’m not happy about this.” There was enough dark matter in my jacket to make it look awesome or fix a time machine, but not both. I handed it over.
    The familiar sound of the time machine powering up filled my ears.
    “Come on girl, let’s go home.”

    500 words
    special challenge accepted