Category Archives: Flash Fiction Friday

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2-Nov-2018

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Sibling Rivalry at its Finest

The grinding of a key being inserted into a lock sounded, and the brass door knob jiggled.

I swallowed.

I knew what would come through the door. I knew I might be in a world of hurt when my mother let my sister back inside. However, the expression of rage on Lydia’s cherubic face had been worth it. The screaming she’d done through the windows, and the threats she’d promised to deliver. All worth it.

Worth it because she’d announced to the whole school that I’d been planning to ask Maddie Jones to the winter dance. She’d announced it after she’d taken my pants and had made me run through the school to my locker in my gym shorts.

I hadn’t even felt bad when I’d locked her outside without a coat. It was barely freezing, and she’d been wearing long sleeves.

Her shrieking voice penetrated the steel and wood of the door. “He left me out here to die!”

“You’re fine,” my mother said.

Mother had begun taking a neutral stance in our little war. Although sometimes she sided with Lydia just because she was the girl.

“You need to ground him!”

The knob turned, and the door opened with a hiss.

I sat on the couch, doing homework.

My mother gave me an exasperated glare as she dropped her keys on the table. “Scott, what do you have to say for yourself?”

“Why don’t you ask Lydia what happened to my pants during school yesterday?”

Lydia, who had her mouth open to retaliate, closed her jaw with a click.

Mother shook her head. “Chores. Now.”

I jumped to my feet. “Gladly.”

“Of course,” Lydia said. She walked around our mother and patted my cheek with her freezing-cold fingers. Her steely eyes bore into mine and her fingernails bit into my skin.

I arranged my face into a bored expression.

Lydia mouthed three words, “Circle of life.” Then she walked away.

“Right back atcha,” I said.

“What was that?” my mother asked.

“Nothing.”

***

This one is a little short, but I liked it!

Genre – Suspense / Thriller

Character – The Fool

Setting – The Holidays

Random Object – Door Knob

Theme – Circle of Life


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26-Oct-2018

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A Hanged Man and a Grudge

Thick mist rolled over the orange pumpkins and between their wandering vines. It hovered close to the ground, spreading as if searching, but for what for I could never say. Yellow light from the nearby modern gas lantern caught edges of the mist frosting each swirl as it crawled outward.

What I could see that no one else could was the ghostly whisper of the gallows that had once stood where the pumpkins now lay. Tall and crooked, I could almost hear the creaking of the wooden beams as the limp forms of the hanged had swung back and forth. Back and forth.

I never saw the crowds that used to gather, their appetite for death more sinister than any criminal, but I never forgot their cheers as each of the damned were brought to the noose, and then sent to their deaths.

And for what? A bit of food? A stolen wallet? All to feed our families?

Was there truly any reason for a person to face eternity in the hell that I did? That we did?

The others rose from the ground, leaving the mist undisturbed. They looked around at the pumpkins then turned their attention to me.

We didn’t need to speak. This had been our existence for more generations than any of us cared to count. I nodded, and the others began prowling through the patch, sniffing the pumpkins and the ground. Relishing in the scent of live humans. Taking in the energy of the children who had come earlier. Their innocence. Their joy.

I didn’t bother. I’d already gathered what I needed.

I always sat close to the surface of reality, those bustling around brushing my awareness and filling me with energy.

Energy that I converted into hate.

Hate for those who had taken what was mine. Hate for those who hadn’t stopped them but had stopped me from taking what I needed to keep my family alive.

My wife. Our children.

Our baby.

Her little cries still echoed in my mind, and even now I squeezed my eyes shut and balled my hands into fists in order to try to exorcise the noise from my mind. But it had been seared into my conscious as I’d been dragged away from my wife—heavy with our third child, holding our baby and covered with sores from a plague.

She’d deserved to live. Our children had deserved a chance at life. Deserved to grow strong, marry and have children of their own.

Instead, I’d been hanged and they’d died. Horribly. Alone.

A low growl came from my throat, and the others skittered away.

I looked down at the pumpkin at my feet. I’d spent years working out who had sent me to the gallows, and more years hunting down their scents. And now I had them. The man’s great-great-great granddaughter had come by in the afternoon. She’d squealed at the sight of this great, round, orange pumpkin with its twisted stem and pronounced lines. She’d hugged it and made her mother promise to come and get it tomorrow.

Hundreds of years had gone by since my death, but I would never forget and I would never forgive.

The others had begun to disappear, their translucent forms melting into their chosen vessels.

I glanced at mine, and another growl escaped. The few others who didn’t have enough energy to leave, sunk back into the ground.

This pumpkin would take me to their house. Into their lives.

The young girl would be giddy, and then she would begin to fear. Fear that something was amiss. Fear that there was a monster in her closet or under her bed. Fear that she was not safe.

Her parents would tell her not to worry, but they would be wrong, and the little girl would be right.

The parent’s wouldn’t realize the truth until far too late.

I smiled and willed myself into the pumpkin, my intangible form bleeding into the sinewy fibers.

At last, someone would pay. At last, I would be able to rest.

***

This is why I don’t go to pumpkin patches.

Genre – Horror

Character – Hanged Man

Random Object – Gas Lantern

Setting – Pumpkin Patch


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19-Oct-2018

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Desperate Housewife Gone Awry

The woman—a throwback of a 50’s television show complete with a vintage dress and bright red lipstick—clapped her hands. “It’s wonderful!”

I turned off the Kirby vacuum and smiled. “As I said, it can shampoo carpets as well as clean hardwood or tile floors.” I glanced around the spotless living area. “Although, I must say that you’re not giving me much of a challenge here.”

The woman, Stacey, laughed. “Oh, Mr. Owens, you are so sweet.”

She seemed mildly interested, but I was sure if I could really dazzle her she would buy. “Is there someplace that you haven’t cleaned lately?”

“I’d be embarrassed to show you.”

I turned on my southern charm and grinned. “What about under a bed?”

Her glistening red lips formed an O, and I knew I had her.

“They’re often neglected, but the hand cleaning attachment will make it easy for you to keep all of those hard to reach places as sparkling as this room.”

Stacey giggled. “Why Mr. Owens, I do believe you are attempting to sweet talk me.”

“I’m just trying to make your life more manageable, ma’am.” I winked. They almost always fell for the wink.

“Well then.” She stood. “Follow me.”

By the time I’d unplugged the Kirby and started after her, she was through the kitchen and half-way up the winding stairs that led to the balcony above. I tried to keep my eyes off of her swaying hips, but she made it difficult as her knee-length skirt gave me a glimpse of what lay beneath as she ascended.

I easily pulled the heavy vacuum up to the next floor and down the hall to where Stacey waited. She gave me a dazzling smile and motioned to the first door.

“You sure you’ve got a challenge for me in there?”

“Oh yes, Mr. Owens.” She brushed her hand along my arm as I went by.

It had been a while since I’d encountered a desperate housewife, but I wasn’t completely opposed to the idea. Especially with a woman who looked like this one.

A twin bed covered with a meticulously arranged blue and white comforter and matching pillows, lay along the far wall. Wood dressers in rich colors sat on the other walls. Light streamed in through sheer curtains, revealing that even the corners of the carved dressers didn’t harbor dust.

I looked at Stacey. “You’re teasing me again.”

“Oh no.” She brushed by me, this time trailing her fingers down my back. She sat on the end of the bed and crossed her legs. “Have a look. I assure you it needs some work.”

My pocketbook needed the sale, but my body was starting to wonder if its needs came first. I took a breath and got on my hands and knees. I lifted the bed skirt.

Dust lay thick on the off-white carpet, and darker spots marked items on the floor. I looked up—ignoring the fact that she’d swiveled her legs around to my side of the bed—and smiled.

“Is this a sufficient challenge for you?”

“Yes, ma’am.” I got to my feet, found the plug and then popped open the front of the unit. I retrieved the hose and hooked it up. Stacey watched me, her eyes exploring every move I made and every inch of my body.

I cleared my throat. “With this, you can easily get under the bed.”

Stacey nodded. “I can see that.”

“You have a few things under there,” I said. “I’d rather not try to suck them up. May I move the bed to retrieve them?”

“If you like,” she said as she stood. Her lips spread into a smile. This time her fingers trailed along my chest down to the button on my pants. They stopped, and she stared at me.

I ordered myself to focus and stepped away. Before I could give into the yearning, I grabbed the bed and pulled one corner away from the wall.

A pencil sat nestled in the crack between the molding and the carpet. A purple notebook lay not far away, and the tip of what looked like a butter knife glinted in the light. I reached down and retrieved both the pencil and the notebook. When I straightened, I found Stacey standing close. Watching.

“Are these yours?” he asked.

“Oh, probably.” She took the items, and when her fingers touched my skin I shivered. “What else is down there?”

I swung the bed a little farther and frowned. Spots of rust covered the butter knife. I didn’t recognize the pattern on the handle. A dark spot about the size of a basketball stained carpet underneath the knife.

“There we go,” I said. “I can help with that.”

Stacey leaned over to get a better look, the front of her body pressing against me. “I wonder where that came from.”

“Probably a juice box,” I said. “Let me vacuum this and then I’ll clean it.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Stacey said.

I straightened and looked at her. “It’s my pleasure.”

She stayed pressed against me. Her fingers traced down my arm and found the knife. “You really shouldn’t bother.”

“Ma’am, I’m sure we can—”

Stacey ripped the knife from my grasp. Before I could react, she pulled the comforter off the bed, then pushed me back onto it.

I caught a single glimpse of the bare mattress underneath. A rust-colored stain the size of my torso covered the middle.

“What is this?” I asked, but Stacey straddled me. Somehow her scant weight kept me pinned in place.

She leaned down, her lips an inch from mine. “I don’t much like salesmen, and I haven’t killed anyone in a while.”

Before I could reply or react, a sharp pain blossomed in my side. Blood poured from the wound, and I suddenly understood that the stain on the carpet was blood. Blood that had seeped through the mattress.

I was going to die.

***

It took me a second to come up with an idea for this one, and I had to stretch the setting a bit. Still, glad to see my morbidity hasn’t waned.

Genre – Horror

Character – Kirby Vacuum Salesman

Random Object – Rusty Butter Knife

Setting – Under a Bed


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12-Oct-2018

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There’s always an evil twin

Color, light, sound and the smell of marinara sauce, bread and cheese filled every inch of the building. Other kids laughed and screamed while the adults watched. Some of them with more enthusiasm than others.

I picked up the huge piece of cheese pizza in my little hands and bit off the sagging end. The greasy juice touched my tongue, and I smiled as I chewed.

Next to me, my twin sister Julie, scowled at her own pizza.

“It’s good,” I said through my food.

She turned her scowl on me. My enthusiastic chewing slowed, and I had to fight to swallow.

“I want cookies.”

“Mom said to eat what they served us.”

Julie’s scowl turned into a glower, a contrast to our matching pink dresses and pigtails with bows. “I want cookies.” Her one blue eye and one brown eye stared into mine.

“Maybe we’ll have cake later.”

“I don’t want cake.”

Mom had told me to ignore Julie if she tried to pressure me, so I turned back to my pizza and took another bite. The hair on the back of my neck prickled like I’d just gone out into the cold, but I didn’t turn back to Julie.

I knew what she wanted, and I wasn’t going to do it.

Mom said I didn’t have to.

“Julie, Jackie,” Mira’s mom said as she made her way around the table. She handed me a plastic card—like mom’s credit cards. “These will let you play the games. I’ll show you how to do it when you’re finished eating. Can you put those in your pouch?”

I wiped my hands on the napkin next to my plate and took the purple card from the woman. I carefully slipped it into the little crocheted green pouch that hung around my neck. Mira’s mom had made the pouches so we could keep everything safe.

“Thank you,” I said.

“You’re welcome,” Mira’s mom said with a huge smile. “And one for you, Julie.”

Julie took the card and shoved it in her pouch, still glaring.

I kicked her under the table.

“Thank you,” Julie said in a flat voice.

Mira’s mom smiled again, already moving on to the next little girl.

“I don’t want to play stupid games,” Julie said.

I ignored her and joined the conversation with the rest of the girls.

“I’m going to play skee ball. My dad showed me how to get lots of point.”

“I’m going to crawl up into the car.”

“When does the band play?”

I looked around as I chewed. Games—most of which I didn’t know how to play—filled one side of the room. A small play land ran above that, and a stage sat at the end of our table.

“What do you want to do, Jackie?” Mira asked.

I blinked. “Uh.” I ducked my head. “I want to watch the show.”

“Boring,” one of the girls proclaimed.

“Maybe to you,” Mira said.

Julie kicked me under the table and leaned closer. “They hate us.”

I invoked the meanest thing I could think of and said, “Shut up.” If Julie told mom I’d said that, I would be in trouble.

“Watch this,” Julie said. Her scowl turned into an evil grin, and she sat up. “Hey Mira, can I come play games with you?”

I caught Mira’s mother giving her a stern look.

Mira looked from her best friends, to Julie, then to her mom. “Of course. We can all play.”

“Okay,” Julie said with a fake smile.

We finished our food and then Jackie dragged me to the game area with the others.

“I don’t want to play,” I said.

“Just try one,” Julie said. “Mom would want you to.”

I looked at the colorful carpet. Mom would want me to. So I stepped up to a skee ball machine, touched my card to it like Mira’s mom showed us, then watched as the balls dropped down into the slot.

I sighed and picked one up. The wood felt smooth but the ball felt heavy.

“Go on, you can do it,” Julie said in my ear.

I grit my teeth, swiveled my arm back and then launched the ball forward.

It bounced.

I cringed.

The ball made it up and over the bump at the end of the track, but just barely. It didn’t make it into the 10 point area.

The other girls laughed.

“Try again,” Julie said.

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “You do it.”

“This is your game,” Julie said.

I ground my teeth and tried again, with the same result.

Mira’s other friends laughed again.

Burning shame filled me, and I stepped away. “I’m going back to the table.”

Julie caught me by the elbow. “You can stop them.”

I blinked, trying to hold back tears, and shook my head.

“Stay until I finish your game, then I’ll go back with you.”

I nodded, and wiped my nose.

Julie was good at games. She would show them. But she didn’t. She did as bad as I did, and the girls laughed at her too.

“Freaks,” one of Mira’s friends said. “Your eyes don’t match. Must make you stupid.”

Julie’s eyes filled with tears, and anger swelled inside of me.

I’d promised mom not to do this, but she’d promised that we would have a good time. If she could lie, I could too.

I let the anger build, and once it felt like it was going to blow the top of my head off, I let it go and imagined a rubber ducky.

The girl who had been laughing the loudest turned first. Her glittery-shoe-wearing best friend screamed, and she turned second.

Mira’s mom ran over. “What happened?”

The other girls screamed as Mira turned.

“You show them,” Julie said. I looked at her and expected to see her crying, but she was smiling. “You show them.”

***

It’s not hard to come up with something creepy when I get these four options:

Genre – Horror

Character – 7 (ish) Year Old Twin Girls

Setting – ChuckECheese

Random Item – Rubber Ducky


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