Category Archives: Flash Fiction Friday

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15-Mar-2019

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A Tidy Ogre vs a Unicorn Horn

Most ogres live in swamps. Or cesspools. Or mud pits. Or in places the locals call “hollers.”

Yorg was not like other ogres. Yes, he looked like them—tall in stature and plentiful in width with green skin—but that’s as far as it went.

Instead of wearing rags or furs, Yorg preferred to wear fitted jackets with cravats and breeches. Specially cobbled shoes adorned his feet, and while other ogres seeped the stench of outhouse, Yorg smelled of lavender or roses.

Yorg had moved out of the “holler” as soon as he could crawl. He’d made his way up to the top of a mountain and claimed it as his home. A couple of trolls had thought he’d violated their territory, but after a civil conversation involving a sharp rock and some well-placed strikes, the trolls had agreed to move around to the other side of the peak.

A sparkling waterfall ran next to Yorg’s house and filled a small pond nearby. He’d spent years cutting and fitting the stones that now made up his abode. The pieces fit together so nicely that he didn’t need moss or mud to fill the cracks. A long porch ran on the west side of his home, and on it sat a beautifully carved rocking chair and table. Yorg spent many evenings sitting in the chair, watching the sun set on the valley below. He rarely thought about his family or the other ogres as he sipped his hot tea from a porcelain cup.

One day, as the sun’s rays stretched across the valley in a last effort to keep light on the land, Yorg noticed several figures coming up the trail to his house. While it wasn’t unheard of to have visitors, Yorg was not expecting anyone for at least a week.

Perhaps they were travelers. Some braved the trail—along with the promise of a civilized ogre at the end of it—for the privileged of having tea with Yorg and seeing his house. Once a month a merchant came to drop off books and supplies, but he’d been there last week.

Yorg frowned and watched as the shadows grew larger, and took the shape of ogres.

It was more likely for a human to visit than an ogre. Yorg placed his cup on the matching saucer with a little tink, then he reached around the back of his chair to make certain he had his spear handy. While fighting wasn’t his first reaction, or even the second, Yorg could hold his own against any creature.

The ogres arrived just as the sun’s rays slipped past the edge of the horizon, leaving the mountainside in a disconcerting shade of gray. Yorg recognized them at once. The one on the lead—a wide brute wearing nothing but a loincloth and a satchel—was his younger brother, Grak. The other two were Grak’s friends.

Most of Yorg’s family had decided to ignore him, but Grak came up a few times a year. Yorg returned his hand from behind his chair to his side and stood.

“Brother!” Grak waved a meaty arm.

“Grak,” Yorg said. He stepped off the porch and met the ogres in the soft, even grass.

The smell proceeded the trio, and Yorg forced himself not to wrinkle his nose. He held out a hand and Grak took it and squeezed.

Younger brothers. Always trying to impress.

“You so fancy,” Grak said.

Yorg forced a smile. “How have you been?”

“We good.” He nodded. His friends nodded. Most ogres didn’t bother to learn a lot of language skills. Instead they relied on grunts, shrugs and punching things.

Grak usually wanted something. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

It took Grak a moment to work the meaning of the words out. Yorg could practically see his brain churning to put it all together.

After a few seconds, he grunted. “Brought you something.”

“You brought me something?” Yorg narrowed his eyes in suspicion. Grak had never done that.

“Found it in the woods.” The two friends nodded. Grak reached into his satchel.

Yorg took a step away and balled his fists.

Then Grak pulled out a long, thin spike the length of Yorg’s forearm. It twisted together from a wider base to a pointed top and glowed in the gray of twilight.

Yorg stared at it, then at his brother. “Where did you get this?”

“Woods.” He shrugged.

His friends shrugged.

Grak held it out. “It fancy. You like fancy.”

“I do like fancy,” Yorg said. “However, this is a unicorn horn. Are you sure you want to give it to me?”

Grak pointed between him and his friends. “We fight over it. You take.”

Yorg then noticed the bruises, scratches and fresh blood on the ogres. “Alright.” He held out his hand, wondering what sort of display he should make for it.

Grak gave Yorg the horn, which felt cool to the touch. Then he waved. “We go.”

“Already?” Yorg asked. Usually Grak would stay for dinner.

“Mom need me.”

“Well, tell her hello.”

Grak waved and led his two friends away.

Yorg watched them go. “How odd,” he said. He took the horn into his house and set it on the table. The faint glow continued. When Yorg shut the door he found that the horn had left a trail of…glitter.

A growl rose up in Yorg’s throat.

“Glitter.” The word dripped with disdain.

Just then he heard howling laughter from Grak and his friends.

He’d done this on purpose.

Yorg would be cleaning up glitter for weeks.

He ground his teeth. He hated ogres.

***

My hubby always says that glitter is the herpes of crafting. He’s not wrong.

Maybe I should have made this about the Ides of March, but didn’t notice it was the 15th until I’d already written it. Ah well.

Character – A Tidy Ogre

Random Object – A Unicorn Horn

Setting – High on a Mountain


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8-Mar-2019

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A Rebellious Giant is…Nice?

“You are in so much trouble,” Botag said in a sing-song voice as I passed her at the frying station.

“Called to the bosses office. So busted,” Fokus said as he pounded out meat patties.

“Maybe the boss is going to tell us what a good job we’ve been doing,” I said.

My entire crew let out a scoff.

“Yeah right.”

“When was the last time any of us got a compliment?”

I path the air with my massive hands. “Come on, guys, you are doing a great job.”

“Duh.”

“Course.”

I chuckled as I emerged from the smoke-ridden kitchen and into the hallway in the back. I figured I shouldn’t go and see the boss with my greasy apron on, so I dropped it by my locker, smoothed my red shirt and walked to the bosses door.

Black letters on a shiny plaque read, “Manager.” I raised my knuckles and gently knocked.

A voice shot through the door. “My grandmother knocks louder than that!”

That meant enter, so I turned the knob and went inside.

Like all things giant, the space held only the essentials—one chair for the manager and one chair for the employee—both could be jammed under the doorknob to keep invaders out, one desk with a metal top that could deflect crossbow bolts, magic spells and grease fires, a set sharpened weapons along the wall behind the desk, a barred window and a filing cabinet in the corner that probably held extra arrows, rope and a sharpener.

My boss, Kutius, glared at me from under his bushy, red eyebrows. He’d trimmed his beard to accentuate the frown. “Sit!” His voice boomed like a war drum.

I did.

Kutius continued to glower. That’s what giants did. There were levels of glowering and glaring that you learned from infancy. The look my boss was giving me said something akin to, “I will disembowel you.”

I smiled.

This caused the glower to turn into a glare.

“What can I do for you, boss?” I asked.

Smiling at a giant was bad for your health. Some considered it a direct threat—like animals bearing their teeth—while others took it as an insult. If you could smile in their presence they weren’t mean enough.

Kutius made fists with his meaty hands, took a deep breath and then straightened in his chair.

That’s right. My father was the king, and I had a head on my boss. If it came down to a fight, I would win. Not to mention harming me would bring the king’s wrath.

Let’s not forget that my father thinks I’m crazy, but whatever. His problem.

After a dizzying array of frowns and grinding teeth, Kutius grunted. “Your shift has been the most productive this month.”

“That’s great!” Another smile. I pretended that I’d realized I’d done something wrong, and forced my lips down. “I mean, that’s great for business.”

My boss nodded.

I knew this, of course, and I was interested in what Kutius would do about it.

“Good for business, but your workers are…” he eyed me. “Happy.”

“Happy?” I asked with a stupid, confused expression on my face.

My boss leveraged his massive bulk out of his chair. “Yes. I caught two of them talking and smiling yesterday.”

“Did it slow down production?” I asked.

“No.” He came around to stare down at me. A classic giant intimidation trick. Didn’t this guy remember that I grew up with six older brothers, three sisters and the king? Not to mention my mother. “But it concerns me.”

“Good numbers concern you?” I probably shouldn’t have said that.

Kutius’ eyes narrowed, and he came to stand in front of me. He put his hands on the armrests of my chair and leaned down until we were eye to eye. “What have you done to them?”

I blinked. “Done to them?”

“Giants don’t go around smiling. They don’t talk to one another for fun.”

“Huh. I’ve never noticed.”

My boss’ hands tightened on the armrests, and the wood groaned under the stress. “Did you use a spell on them?” His breath smelled like one of our burgers with extra garlic.

“Magic? Me? Of course not. You’ve seen what happens when our family uses magic.”

I had him there. He continued to stare into my eyes hoping to catch me in a lie, but the part about magic was all too real. Let’s just say my brothers and I destroyed a whole wing of the palace with a single fairy spell that was only supposed to give our sisters warts.

“You’re doing something to them.”

I let a grin play on my lips. “Perhaps they like being complimented and told they’re doing a good job.”

“Giants don’t need words of affirmation.”

“How can you be so sure?” I asked.

His voice turned into a growl. “It’s not our way.”

“It seems to be working.”

More glowering. More arm rest groaning. More teeth grinding.

I raised my eyebrows. “If that’s all, the lunch rush is coming. I should get back.”

Kutius leaned closer. “I’ll figure out what you’re doing.”

“Just trying to make you some money.”

Now he really looked like he wanted to punch me, but he stood up and pointed at the door. “Go.”

I did. I even gave him a little wave as I left. My apron was still in my locker. As I pulled it out I caught a silver glimmer tucked in my jacket pocket. I pushed the unicorn horn back in.

No, I wasn’t using a magic spell, but it was amazing what just a few specs of unicorn horn dust would do for a giant’s mood.

“Are you fired?” Fokus asked when I got back to the kitchen.

“Naw.” I shrugged. “The boss just wanted to thank us for doing such a good job.”

My crew snorted, but I caught them exchanging excited glances.

***

This one cracked me up! I want to write more. 🙂

Character – Gentle Giant

Random Item – Unicorn Horn

Setting – Fast Food Restaurant


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1-Mar-2019

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The Downfall of the Big Bad Hamster

There were once three tiny mice. Brothers who wanted to leave their tiny closet in the castle and move into a coveted bedroom. Their other brothers scoffed and their sisters rolled their eyes, but these three had a dream.

The problem was that a mean, peg-legged hamster lived in the bedroom. He was bigger than the mice, and the humans much preferred the hamster to the mice.

“Probably because of his adorable little brown face,” the youngest brother lamented.

“But he has a peg leg! What’s cute about that?” the middle brother asked.

“I think the humans feel sorry for him,” the oldest said.

“What are we going to do about it?”

The oldest and wisest of the brothers spoke. “I have a plan.”

The other two listened and nodded their tiny heads and wiggled their pink noses.

“It might work,” the middle brother said.

“It’s going to work,” the oldest said. “Now let’s get to it.”

The mice spent the rest of the day gathering what they would need. The youngest made the harrowing journey to the kitchen. The middle brother managed to get into the library and the oldest spent the day watching the hamster and selecting the best places for their plan. When the others returned, triumphant from their journeys, the oldest pointed out their targets.

The youngest grinned. “Perfect.”

“This hamster is going down!”

“Remember,” the oldest said, “we have to act afraid.”

His brothers agreed, and that night they began their plan.

By the next morning, the brothers had each moved into a prime crack in the walls of the bedroom.

The youngest had selected a spot near the fireplace so he would always be warm. He had just snuggled down in his bed made out of shredded paper and scraps from the kitchen when he heard the sound.

Slap, slap, slap, thump.

Slap, slap, slap, thump.

A shiver ran down the mouse’s spine, and he began to shake. However, he was determined to stick to the plan, so he stuck his nose out of his hole.

Slap, slap, slap, thump.

The fuzzy brown hamster with his peg leg stood not far away. His big black eyes stared at the mouse, and his nose wiggled as he sniffed.

The mouse smiled. “Hello.”

The hamster frowned. “Tiny mouse, get out of my space.”

The mouse straightened. “This is my house, this is my place.”

“Then I’ll munch and I’ll crunch and I’ll eat it away.”

Before the mouse could talk back, the hamster began nibbling on the mouse’s house. He screeched and ran to his brother’s house.

“Did it work?” the middle brother said.

“Like a charm.”

It didn’t take long before they heard the herald.

Slap, slap, slap, thump.

Slap, slap, slap, thump.

The hamster, now a little more round than before, glared as the two mice cowered. “Tiny mouse, get out of my space.”

The brothers spoke together. “This is our house, this is our place.”

“Then I’ll munch and I’ll crunch and I’ll eat it away.”

The mice could hardly keep from laughing as the hamster ate their home. They scampered to the oldest brother’s abode and reported the events.

“Just as we planned,” the oldest brother said. “We will wait.”

This time took a bit longer.

Slap, slap, slap, thump.

Slap, slap, slap, thump.

“I warned you twice,” the hamster said. “This time I will not be nice.”

The middle brother laughed. “He can hardly walk.”

Which was true, the hamster had eaten so much that his once little belly now scraped along the floor.

“Why are you so mean?” the three mice cried. “Why can’t you share this place?”

“Because it is mine!” the hamster squeaked.

This time they got no warning, the hamster just started eating.

The mice ran back to the closet, and heard the hamster laughing.

“Do you think it will work?” the youngest asked.

The oldest cleaned his whiskers. “By the time he is finished eating all of that he will be so full he won’t be able to walk. Then he’ll lie down and by the time he realizes that we fed him poison it will be too late.”

“It serves him right,” the youngest said. “For being so greedy.”

“True,” the middle agreed. “No one made him eat it.”

***

I was so tempted to make this whole thing rhyme, but I have a lot to write today!

Character – The Big Bad Hamster

Random Object – Peg Leg

Setting – Castle


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22-Feb-2019

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Not every elf can be Orlando Bloom.

The high elf Lysanthir paced back and forth. His blue bathrobe and dreadlocks fluttering in a breeze he created himself. “You been training yer whole life for this.” He stopped and squinted at me. “You ready, Rolim?”

I nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Lysanthir’s mismatched eyes narrowed even more. “You got the colander?”

“Yes, sir,” I said again as I held up the once shiny metal bowl with holes punched in it. The light from the bug zapper filtered through the holes creating twisting patterns on the packed dirt at my feet.

“Good. Good.” The high elf waggled a finger with a chipped nail at the end at me. “You know what happens if you fail.”

I nodded.

“We’re trusting you not to screw it up.”

“I won’t.”

He eyed me, then straightened. “Get to it.” He dismissed me with the wave of his hand.

The other elves watched from their ratty camping chairs as I walked by. A few gave me thumbs up. Others shook their heads and sharpened arrowheads.

They thought I would fail.

Well, I wasn’t going to fail. Not at this. I squared my shoulders and turned to walk backward so I could see them all. “I will return!”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, my heel hit a root in the dirt road. My arms pinwheeled, the colander went flying and I fell on my butt with a hollow thump.

Shame burned through me as I scrambled to my feet and retrieved the colander. Lucky for me there was no damage to it.

“Why are we sendin’ him?” someone muttered.

“That there idiot is the last member of the moon clan.”

“We’re doomed.”

I decided to ignore them. This time I kept my gaze forward and managed to get through the rest of the woods without incident.

A tingle ran through my body, and I knew that the barrier was close. I slowed and waited until I could see the wall that stood between our world and the mortal world. It shimmered and moved like a smooth lake in the sunshine. Beyond lay a different place.

I’d been to the human world before, so I took a breath and walked through the barrier. It felt like a blast of cold water followed by a hot room.

Summer was almost upon the human world. Moisture hung in the air and the full moon moved slowly across the black sky above.

I glanced around at the park. I stood at the edge of some trees. A meadow of short grass led down to a slab of stone that housed metal tables with umbrellas. A quick inspection assured me that no humans were close by, so I jogged toward the slab.

Just as the high elf had said, the moon was almost in the right place. I got to the slab—a perfectly round stone almost twenty feet across—and started pulling the tables out of the way. Someone had chained them down, and I had to break them free. I grabbed a chain and yanked.

“Oops.”

I’d pulled a leg off of one of the tables.

“Sorry,” I muttered as I tossed it all onto the grass.

When that was done, I glanced up at the moon and then went to stand in the center of the slab. As soon as I got there blue light gathered beneath my feet and began to spread out in a pattern of knots, patterns and a language now forgotten. I stayed there until the whole thing pulsed with light.

Almost all of it. I’d neglected to move a chain all the way off. I stepped out of the middle and the light faded. I kicked the chain out of the way and went back. By then the moon hung directly above me. I lifted the colander over my head.

The moonlight concentrated into a single beam which then rained down on the colander. I looked at the ground and found the moonlight shooting through the holes in the colander and onto the ground. It only took me a moment to  align them and the glowing pattern.

A smile spread my lips.

They thought I would fail.

Not going to happen.

I took a breath and muttered the words I’d been practicing for months. They flowed off of my tongue, and I was almost finished when something landed on the colander.

A large black bird sat perched on the edge, which sent the pattern out of balance. The bird cocked it’s head at me.

“Shoo!” I said, shaking the colander.

The bird squawked and opened its wings to steady itself but did not leave.

“Go on, shoo!” I shook harder.

This time it flew away, but came right back.

“Get away.” I waved my hands.

The bird circled me.

“This is important,” I said.

It regarded me, and finally flew toward the trees.

I sighed in relief and then resumed my position. The patterns aligned once again, and I started to say the words.

But instead of fading away, as the light should have, it grew brighter.

“No, no, no.” I said. It was only then that I noticed the extra hole in the colander. Moonlight shot through it and hit a portion of the pattern that wasn’t supposed to get light.

The slab beneath my feet shuddered.

“Oh no,” I said.

A horn sounded from the woods, and I turned in that direction.

The whole of the elf army stood at the edge of the forest, ready for battle.

The stone beneath me bucked, and I tumbled off if it, the colander still in my hand. I hit my head and by the time I shook it off, Lysanthir stood above me, arrayed in all of his battle glory.

“Thank you, Rolim. You have done our realm a great service.”

I shook my head.

Lysanthir waved a hand. “Kill him.”

***
I think I watched The Umbrella Academy too fast. Now everything is about the apocalypse.

Character – Clumsy Elf

Random Object – Colander

Setting – A City Park


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