Category Archives: Flash Fiction Friday

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13-July-2018

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To all the moms out there who have resisted the urge to duct tape their children to the wall.

“Moooommm!”

The voice slithered from the next room, carrying with it all of the whining that a seven year old could pack into a single-syllable word.

“Karen’s shoe is on my side.”

The other voice joined the first, making the position of a shoe sound as if the fate of the world balanced on it and would crumble to dust if the situation was not resolved.

I ignored them.

We had a system. We had rules. We had thirty minutes of non-whining so that I wouldn’t duct tape their mouths shut and toss them outside into the rising snow banks.

“You took it!”

“I did not, you threw it over here last night.”

“Nu-uh!”

“Uh-hu!”

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.

Thirty minutes. Thirty sets of sixty seconds all in a row. That’s all I asked.

Apparently it was too much.

My husband’s voice came into my mind. “They’re just kids.”

When was the last time he had spent more than a few hours alone with them? He was in for a sinister surprise next week when I went on a girl’s trip with my sisters. Four whole days. Two seven-year-olds.

The image of his harried face as well as the panicked phone calls—which I would ignore unless there was a trip to the hospital involved—brought a genuine smile to my face. The tightness in my chest eased, and  I opened my eyes.

Nineteen more minutes.

I snuggled into the couch and refocused on my book. A romantic murder mystery with a supposed twist at the end. Unfortunately, I’d read the same paragraph six times already, and found myself on round seven.

“Leave that alone! Moooommmm!”

The good feelings evaporated.

They got one warning. This was it. I took a breath and controlled my voice. “Karen, Jackie, it’s quiet time for twenty five more minutes.”

“Eighteen,” Jackie said.

“You’ve talked to me several times, which means I add five minutes for each one. You’re lucky it isn’t back to thirty.”

A serious bout of whispering broke out.

I sighed. That should hold them for a bit.

I started that same stupid paragraph again, but skipped it and plowed through the next one. The investigator was finally getting on the right track for the murderer, but I suspected that the love interest had done it. There were only so many characters in the book, and one of them had to be guilty.

A blissful ten minutes passed. I was just getting to the juicy bits, when the whispering escalated into talking and then into yelling.

“That’s mine!”

“Nu-uh, yours is yellow. Mine is green.”

“They’re both green you idiot!”

I stopped reading and wondered where Karen had picked that up.

“You’re an idiot,” Jackie shot back. “And get your blanket on your side of the room!”

“It is on my side of the room. See! Get your feet off of my side.”

“This is my side!”

There was a thump, followed by a whimper that turned into a wail.

I took another deep breath and closed my book.

“Moooommmmm!” they both said in tandem. Then a string of words broke out, and I lost track of who was accusing whom of what.

This was the fourth day in a row that they’d gotten into a fight during quiet time.

Obviously this called for drastic action. So I moved to the junk drawer and rummaged around until I found the pink and orange striped duct tape as well as a tape measure.

The cries of accusation continued as I pulled the scissors out as well. It was amazing how much I could tune out if I didn’t care.

I’d done all of this in almost complete silence, so when I appeared in the doorway, both of my girls stopped screaming and gaped at me with their mouths opened.

“There seems to be a problem.” I stepped into the room. “A problem that I think I can solve.”

They watched me. Wary. Like small animals when a cat or a dog was prowling around.

I pulled the duct tape and it unrolled with the familiar zip sound.

“Mom?” Jackie asked with fear in her eyes.

“Are you going to duct tape us and throw us outside?” Karen asked.

“Oh no.” I smiled. “We’re going to split your room perfectly in half.” I handed the end of the tape measure to Jackie. “Take that to the wall, please.”

***

This made me giggle!

Genre – Comedy

Character – Someone in Charge

Setting – Earth

Random Object – Tape Measure

Theme – War


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6-July-2018

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I’ve always known that scrapbook shops were sketchy.

Snip.

The woman whimpered as I cut the last of her dark, curly hair down to her scalp. Sweat ran down her face, and every inch of her body trembled. She’d wet the gag in her mouth with both tears and spit. But her eyes. There was still defiance in her brown eyes.

I smiled. “Honey, you have one more chance to tell me what I want to know.” I leaned close. “I suggest you take it.”

Her breathing sped up, and her eyes darted around my scrapbooking shop. They found the rack of fancy scissors and focused  on it, as if she could will a pair to fly from there into my back.

“You’re not going to find anything here to help you,” I said. “No one will hear you scream, and your life will be wasted.” I put my hand on her cheek, my red, manicured nails stroking her face. “But if you tell me what I want to know, this all stops.”

The determination in her eyes cracked. Just for a moment. When it snapped back I smiled, knowing I was making progress. The less I had to cut off of her the less I would have to clean up before morning.

The scissors in my other hand glinted in the light as I raised them. “All you have to do is tell me about your family.”

At the mention of her family, she growled something through the gag.

“What was that?” I asked, leaning closer. “Are you ready to talk?”

The steely look in her eyes told me that she was not.

I sighed. “Well then, I guess we do this my way.”

The torture was simply a means to an end. I needed more children before tomorrow night. This woman had been into my shop several times over the past month, and while she brought plenty of pictures of her family, she didn’t look at them like other people.

Some adored their children so much that it was all I could do to get a word in edgewise after I asked them about a picture. Others answered sparingly, but still with passion. But there were a select few whose love didn’t penetrate all the way into their soul.

I still didn’t know why it happened. The very act of bearing a child should seal the bond between parent and child, but for some it did not.

This was one of those women. She smiled and spoke of her kids as if they were the family pets. Accomplishments were showered with lavish parties and expensive gifts—a compensation for the lack of real love in her heart. She spent as much time away from them as she could, while pretending to miss them.

She didn’t deserve them.

I knew the woman was an architect, so I moved the scissors—an old, heavy pair that could cut through bone—down to the index finger on her right hand.

“Nice nails,” I said. “Where did you get them done?”

She stared at me as if I had grown an extra nose.

“Well, your next appointment will be shorter.” I opened the scissors with a tiny squeak and slid them around her finger.

Her hand tried to cringe away, but the straps on the table held her fast. She thrashed, but didn’t get anywhere.

The woman let out a string of grunts and words.

I sighed, pulled the scissors away and looked into her wide eyes. “What was that.”

She shook her head and spoke. The gag kept the words garbled.

“Why don’t you just nod yes or shake no. Will you surrender your children to me?”

The defiance snapped back into place, and she shook her head.

“Perhaps I underestimated you,” I said.

Snip.

The woman screamed.

No one heard.

***

I should probably watch or read something light and fluffy soon.

Genre – Horror

Character – Villain

Setting – In a Shop

Random Object – Scissors

Theme – Family


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29-Jun-2018

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Finally got to use the sparkly donation can with a boa!

Viktor strolled along deck yellow six with his two lackeys, Crystal and Jayson. He sneered at the adults who stopped at all of the little booths to ooh and ahh at the little trinkets or baked goods that the other kids had brought to sell today.

“Where are you going for the trip this year?” one man with a red beard and a blue robe asked.

The little girl running the stand beamed. “Ganymede.”

“To see the wildlife preserves?”

“Yes, sir.” Her smile faded as Viktor caught her eye.

He held up two fingers and mouthed, “Twenty percent.”

She swallowed and looked away.

Viktor laughed. Crystal and Jayson joined in. It was kind of annoying that they laughed every time he did, even when they had no idea what the joke was. But Crystal was tough and Jayson was smart and Viktor would be an idiot to make them angry.

A chime sounded from Viktor’s DPad. This brought a smile to his lips. Someone had paid him. Good. One less kid for him to have to bully.

“Over there,” Crystal said, pointing. Her blue eyes blazed.

Viktor followed the gesture and found three of the new kids packing up some sort of woven hats along with a very shiny donation jar and a feather boa.

“Have they paid?” Crystal asked.

“No,” Jayson said.

“Time to have a chat,” Viktor said. He led the way through the crowd of adults—almost getting squished by a couple of fat guys—and went to stand in front of the three kids.

Viktor recognized the oldest. “Grant, you guys finished?”

Grant’s dark eyes grew wide. “Oh, hey Viktor. Uh, yeah, we’re packing up.”

“I can see that,” Viktor said, stepping closer. “I assume you were on your way to pay me.”

“Pay you?”

Grant’s companions were a boy and a girl. Both had red hair and green eyes. They had to be siblings. It was difficult to tell which one was older.

It was the girl who had spoken. Her eyes narrowed as she studied Viktor and she folded her arms across her flat chest. “Excuse me?”

Viktor hadn’t had the chance to introduce himself. He’d been hoping that Grant would have told these kids the arrangement. So he crossed his arms over his chest and glared down at the girl. “I run this place. If you want to sell stuff, you pay me twenty percent.”

The girl continued to glare. “This is a school function.”

He leaned forward and poked her in the arm. “I’m the boss on this deck. You do what I say.”

Her brother took a step forward, but the girl held out her hand. “No.”

It had been a long time since Viktor had had to enforce his rules. “No?”

“Do you need ear replacements?”

Crystal always liked a good fight, so Viktor waved his hand.

The burly girl grinned and she moved toward the table with her hands out, obviously ready to overturn it.

But the red-headed brother stepped into her path. “I don’t think so.”

Crystal frowned. Everyone knew she came from a high-G planet. You didn’t mess with her.

The boy held his ground. He jerked his chin. “Get lost.”

Crystal leaned in. She had to bend  a little to see him eye to eye. “What did you say?”

Like his sister, the boy didn’t lose his composure. “I said, get lost.”

“You gonna make me?”

“If you want.”

Viktor looked at Grant, but he was standing there with his mouth open looking like a stupid fish.

Crystal wasn’t the brains of the operation, and she could only take so many things that sounded like insults. So she grabbed for the boy.

But he slipped through her grasp and danced away.

“You’re going to have to be faster than that,” he said to Crystal.

Crystal growled and went after him again.

Viktor started toward the fray, but he felt something wrap around his arms and chest. He looked down and then at the girl, who had lassoed the blue feather boa around him.

“Uh-uh,” she said, waggling a finger. “Let Kess have his fun.”

Viktor looked back at Crystal, who was circling the boy, Kess.

One minute they were squaring off, and the next Crystal was on the ground and Kess had a knee on her chest.

The girl sighed. “Too bad, he’s been looking for a challenge.”

Viktor glared. “Who are you?”

“We’re the new kids on the ship, and I suggest that you leave us alone.” She pulled him toward her with the boa. “And all of these other kids too. If you don’t, you’ll find out what I can really do with this boa.”

Viktor swallowed. The girl’s face was flush, but her eyes were bright. His breath caught in his throat as she moved closer.

“And you won’t like it,” she said.

But Viktor thought he might. He just might.

***

Well, there you go.

Genre – Comedy

Character – Villain

Setting – On  a Ship

Random Object – Sparkly Donation Can with a Boa

Theme – None


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22-Jun-2018

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A real-life Cinderella story…but not.

The prince stuck his head outside the carriage. “Faster!”

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes as the driver flicked the electric reigns. The carriage shot forward as the mechanical horses sped up.

Good thing the glass slipper-left foot-that sat atop the pillow on my lap was magnetically locked in place, or it would have tumbled off onto the floor and shattered into a thousand pieces. But as it was, it sat upon the red, velvet pillow in perfect position, catching the light that emanated from the fabric, making it look like a rare jewel.

The prince pulled himself back into the carriage and looked at me. His blue eyes sparkled as only enhanced tech could, and the nanites in his blond hair writhed like snakes as it righted itself from the windblown look he had just acquired. “This is very exciting!”

“Yes, my lord,” I said with as big of a smile as I could muster. It took everything I had not to itch under the ridiculous hat I was wearing, not to mention the tight-bottomed, knee-high knickers in a horrible shade of yellow. And even though men wearing white hose was a fashion thing right now, I wished someone had warned me to shave my legs first.

“I can’t believe she ran away like that,” the prince said. “And after we had danced so many times.”

I hadn’t been at the ball the night before. I’d had a test in microbes that I had thankfully passed. My boss had been very understanding, and had found this role for me to play.

Being a professional role player for Real Life Fantasies had been the best job I could have gotten while I was at university. The hours were flexible, the job was never the same twice, and it didn’t hurt that I was naturally handsome. At least that’s what the profiler had said when I’d gone looking for a job.

The carriage went up on two wheels as the driver took a corner at break-neck speed.

“Huzzah!” the prince cried.

I’d looked him up before I got on board. The typical rich kid who needed something more distracting than having more money than sense and not knowing what to do with his long, lonely days. Still, he seemed to be having a good time, and the more he liked the adventure, the bigger the tip he would leave.

We were finally close enough for the tracking device to kick in. The slipper turned on the cushion, the toe pointing the direction we were supposed to go.

“My lord,” I said, pointing.

He let out a gasp and stuck his head out the window again. “Left! Go left!”

I couldn’t help the smile that broke out on my face. This guy was killing me.

“Where too now?” the prince asked me.

“Straight.”

“Forward!” he said with glee, not bothering to bring his head back in through the window, and paying no attention to the drones that zipped by us.

The slipper waivered, and then twisted.

“Go right!” I said.

The prince relayed the order, and the carriage careened down a new street.

The neighborhood didn’t hold the class of where the price came from, but it certainly wasn’t bad. Much better than where I came from. Medium to large sized houses that all sported floating gardens, extravagant fountains all behind decorative, but security, fences.

The slipper angled.

“Slow down,” I said.

The prince pulled himself back in to let his hair go back to normal.  He watched the slipper as we slowed, and then stopped in front of the house where it started to sparkle.

“This is it,” he said. The nervous energy in his voice was genuine. He smoothed his jacket and checked his cuff links. “How do I look?”

“Perfect,” I said.

The driver came around and opened the door. I stepped out first, carrying the slipper. The prince came behind me and led the way to the golden fence.

“Hello!” the prince shouted in an excited voice.

The waist high gate swung open. The prince looked over his shoulder at me, smiled, then went through.

I could easily describe his steps up the floating path to the front door as skipping. I followed, watching to make sure the gravity wells would keep him on the stones if he lost his balance.

The slipper began to shine so brightly that I had to avert my eyes.

We got to the gilded  double doors and the prince straightened his clothes again. He looked at me, cleared his throat, and then knocked.

We waited.

The prince rocked back and forth, going up on his toes and coming back down. He looked at me. He looked at the door. He looked at the slipper and then back at me.

When the door finally opened, the prince almost jumped off the porch.

A servant answered. A woman.

The prince let out a gasp.

I narrowed my eyes and spoke in a clear voice. “By high command, we are to fit this slipper to each woman in every household in the realm.”

The servant smiled. “Of course. Please, come in.”

She moved out of the way and I beckoned the prince in before me.

Two twittering women, both had obviously been augmented to be less than attractive, glided down the nearby winding stairs.

The prince walked into the entry hall. As I passed the servant I muttered, “What are you doing here?”

“Same as you,” she said with a wink. “Just making some money.”

I sighed. At least it was the prince who had to woo my ex-fiancé. Good thing this wasn’t for real. He wouldn’t stand a chance.

***

Oh great, this one feels like it’s part of a much bigger story. Figures.

Genre – Sci Fi

Character – Side Character

Setting – In a City

Random Object – Slipper-Left Foot

Theme – Overcoming the odds


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