Flash FictionWe haven’t heard from Jimmy and Glenn in a while, so this week’s story revisits the duo’s dark antics. The plot is pretty much the same. I see myself writing more of these, but I don’t see any big changes in theme or resolution.

Jimmy and Glenn are going to keep right on doing that terrible thing they do.

There’s something weirdly reassuring about their consistency. I’m not big on formulaic fiction, but these super short stories are the exception to the rule. I like knowing what’s going to happen, and I like listening to them talk about it with the same kind of casual indifference you or I might discuss the weather.

That’s good, old fashion psychopathology right there.

If you’d like to read the previous two stories, you can find “Martial Bliss” here, and “Lazy Sally” here.

The prompt, once again, comes from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘miracle’, ‘spoon’, and ‘still’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

Enjoy.

fair enough

“You know what your problem is, Jimmy boy? You keep expecting a miracle.”

“I’m a romantic,” Jimmy said.

Glenn laughed.

“I’m serious,” Jimmy snapped. “I still believe in love.”

“Hey, I get it. Who doesn’t want a slice of heaven?”

“Right. I just haven’t found mine yet.”

They finished tying cinder blocks to the tarp roll, hefting it over the railing. The mass plopped into the water below, sinking unceremoniously.

“I’m just tired of this shit,” Glenn said.

“It’s not fun for me, either, man.”

“You’re digging the next grave with a spoon. Alone.”

Jimmy nodded. “Fair enough.”

Flash FictionI’m taking a one-week break from my series focused on the theme of waiting. There’s only one story left, and I have a rough idea of what it will be, but it simply wasn’t ready today.

When a story is like that, sort of there, but not really, I know better than to push. There are times when you can work anyway, and there are times when it’s better to turn to another project and wait for the first to decide it wants to be written.

Instead, this week I bring you a brief, grim tale based on the following prompt from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘bake’, ‘feather’, and ‘tough’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

Enjoy.

plunked clean

Her bone fingers moved fast, rending feather from skin.

“This is the tough part,” she said. “If you don’t plunk ‘em clean, don’t matter how you bake ‘em.”

From across the room her guest watched in silence.

“You will eat,” the witch said. “Heaping spoon-fulls. This meat pie’s for you.”

Only a snarled lip.

The witch shrugged. “All you harpies are the same. Weak stomachs. But ya see the trouble I’m goin’ to, cookin’ up your young ‘un. You will eat.”

“And you will die,” came the response, laced with the anger of righteous indignation and the promise of retribution.

Flash FictionThere are a lot of things I like about writing prompts. Here’s one.

Sometimes the prompt is merely a hoop to jump through. An exercise in creative story-telling. And sometimes the prompt makes the story.

I didn’t have any particular idea what story I was going to tell today, but when I read the prompt the story unfolded for me. I saw her, my lead character, creeping along the hallway of a deserted building. I could sense the danger nearby, and I knew immediately that she was looking for something that would keep her safe, even if only temporarily.

All of that from three words.

Which is why I feel all writers, no matter how novice or experienced, should use writing prompts on a regular basis. They wake up the mind.

The story below is the fifth in an unplanned, unconventional series I’m writing centered around the theme of waiting. The prompt is from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘conjure’, ‘shadow’, and ‘shy’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

Oh, and it’s October. Expect darker things in coming weeks.

the waiting 5

She was like a shy fox, sliding along corridors on silent, bare feet. She knew what she needed.

Three cockroaches. One page from an unread book. Two threads from a dead man’s clothes. And blood. But she already had that.

Simple means for a simple conjuring. A spell to hide her. A way to wait out the long, lonely night.

She cast her incantation and vanished in a veil of darkness. She became a shadow among shadows.

The living dead would walk right past her. No sight. No scent.

And she was safe.

For one more night.

Flash FictionI’m having too much fun with this whole thematic thing to stop, so here’s story number 3 on the concept of waiting.

As I mentioned last week, these stories aren’t a part of a traditional series. The characters, plots and moods are totally different. The only thing that’s the same is that all of them incorporate the idea of a period of waiting.

And what a powerful theme that is. Waiting can be pleasant or torturous. It’s fun to explore in horror and fantasy because it lends itself to so much.

Like the last two weeks, the prompt for this story is from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘fancy’, ‘taunt’, and ‘visit’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

the waiting 3

It was an unexpected visit, but she didn’t mind.

Xavier, his manner fanciful, bowed deeply in her doorway, one hand already on the hilt of his sword.

She nodded in his direction. It wasn’t the formal greeting he wanted, but vampires can be so tiresome with their old-world ways.

He stood, frowning. She retrieved her rapier. Neither spoke as they took up positions.

Any other hunter would have fled at the sight of him. Any other vampire would have slipped into the night rather than face her.

She raised a hand, beckoning him. Taunting him.

She was smiling.

Flash FictionThis is a thematic sequel to last week’s story.

There’s no plot bridge. The two tales are in no way related, beyond a similar motif. They’re both about waiting.

I’ve never done this before – taken a theme and explored it from different angles. It’s interesting to write completely different pieces that are about the same concept. Especially THIS concept.

Waiting can mean so many things.

It’s also indicative of where I am in life. I’m in a holding pattern of sorts. Waiting. I suppose writing about others waiting is my brain’s way of tackling that topic.

Ah, the intricacies of the human mind.

The prompt is, once more, from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘chafe’, ‘French’, and ‘voyage’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, waiting only for good things in pleasant places.

the waiting 2

The cords chafe, but she struggles. The French man said he’d be back with food.

Fuck that. Fuck his food. Fuck him.

She just wants to go home. This particular trip stopped being fun the minute she bumped into him outside the hostel. Vacation over. Voyage finished. Trek done.

His cigarette breath turned out to be one of the more pleasant things about him. The unpleasant could fill a book. She knew.

Footsteps on the stairs. He comes.

Fuck.

All she can do is sit and wait, hands bound. All she can do is endure.

Flash FictionSomething short and simple this week. Nothing more than a scene, really.

I have an idea for a fresh take on a well-known fable, and I may try to tackle that next week. No promises. We’ll see.

This little bit of fiction, however, was written based on a promote from our friends over at The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘fob’, ‘indigo’, and ‘prevent’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

Enjoy!

the waiting 1

He deposits his watch in the pocket of his vest. His indigo vest. He wore his best, but she isn’t here.

Bouncing on his toes, he wonders if he should have seen this coming. If he could have prevented it. She’s flighty. He should have known better.

She made promises, such magical promises – wealth, power, knowledge, and the greatest prize of all. Herself.

He was on time. He had the fob, an enchanted trinket meant to draw her to him. But she was a pookha, and they are not to be trusted.

So he waits. Alone. And she frolics elsewhere.

Flash FictionThey’re back.

If you’ve not read the first story about Glenn and Jimmy, check out “Martial Bliss” by clicking here.

This is one of my favorite kinds of horror. It’s truly horrific, the things these men do. They’re most definitely bad men. Vile. Evil. Without redemption. Linking their lack of character to a fundamental state of ignorance is both gratifying and fun.

For what is Evil if not ignorance of the overwhelming power of all things good?

Whoa! I went all deep. Sorry to slip into philosophy on a Friday afternoon. My bad.

(I bet you’ll recover just fine.)

The prompt for this morbid little thing comes from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘bramble’, ‘drift’, and ‘sally’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

lazy sally

“She was a lazy Sally.”

“Lazy Susan, you mean.”

“Her name was Sally,” Jimmy said.

“You’re an idiot.”

Jimmy ignored him, pushing his way through the bramble patch to the spot.

“Anyway,” Glenn continued, “I thought you was done with this.”

“I swear, I didn’t mean to.”

She was half buried in a snow drift, the left side of her face nothing but shards of bone.

“What, like you slipped and fell on her with a chainsaw?”

“Damn it, G. She was fucking lazy. I can’t abide that. She wouldn’t even make me toast.”

“Well, man’s gotta have toast.”

Flash FictionI’m a broken record lately when it comes to flash fiction. My standard intro is something along the lines of, “No long intro. Just straight to the story.”

I’d like to write a longer intro this week. Hell, I’d like to write a longer story, but I have a social engagement tonight and I’m all out of time. Such is life.

This week’s prompt is from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘archer’, ‘lid’, and ‘whinny’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

at the ready

Archers on the wall. The king’s personal guard stands ready, mounted just behind the portcullis.

In a swirl of smoke and fire, he arrives. There’s treachery in his eyes, this wayward wizard who slips in and out of shadow.

A single horse whinnies and he turns to the king’s guard. With a gesture they all drop dead.

Taking a small box from his robes, he unclasps the lid and sets it on the ground.

“Pandora sends her regards,” he says before disappearing into mist.

Later that day blood fiends are spotted in the courtyard.

The king himself is among them.

Flash FictionNo long intro. Just straight to the fiction.

After all, it is a holiday weekend. Which reminds me, be safe, people. Tragedy belongs in our fiction. Best to avoid it in your celebratory fun this weekend.

Speaking of fiction, (and completely ignoring that I did, in fact, just include a brief intro…)

The prompt for this week’s story comes to us from The Prediction:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘grant’, ‘stodge’, and ‘volume’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

dependence day

“A dodgy idea, independence.”

Charles was well into an unrequested soliloquy.

“Granted, your countrymen worship the notion. Stodging yourselves on hotdogs and cheap beer, watching fireworks set to classical music. But I rather like dependence.”

He paused. The volume of his voice slipped so low it was barely audible. He licked her neck.

“Like now. I can kill, feed, or birth. I am dependent on you, and you are most certainly dependent on me. Is there not beauty in that?”

She closed her eyes tight.

“Come,” he said, still whispering. “Which shall it be? Life? Death? Or a gift?”

Flash FictionThe great thing about having multiple fiction projects going is that if you’re not feeling one, you can roll to another.

I really wanted to continue the series I’m working on today. I even started the next part, but it just wasn’t flowing. The story is there, but not ready. So I decided to opt for some 100-word flash fiction, instead.

This prompt, courtesy of The Prediction, was tough:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above (‘bliss’, ‘south’, and ‘Tudor’) in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction.

And yes, I know King Henry VIII didn’t ‘kill all his wives.’ Jimmy and Glen don’t have the advantage of my ed-u-ma-cation.

marital bliss

“Not tutor, you moron. Tudor.”

Glen huffed. “Fine. Too-door. Whatever. What’s your point?”

“He was a king. Killed all his wives,” Jimmy said.

“King ‘o what?”

“England.”

“This is South Carolina.”

“So?”

“So, this ain’t England. You ain’t a king. You can’t kill every woman you wish you hadn’t married.”

Jimmy nodded concession.

“You ain’t gonna find marital bliss like this, Jimbo,” Glen continued.

Jimmy shrugged.

“Maybe not.”

“Next time try counseling.”

“Sure, sure.”

“Or Oprah. She’s always giving out advice.”

“Yeah, okay. But…”

Jimmy motioned toward the ground.

Glen signed.

“Yeah, I can help you bury this one first.”