Category Archives: Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

Taking part in Thain in Vain’s excellent Flash Fiction challenge!

Know This

I’m telling you this story because you are the only people I can trust not to judge me. Ever since we first met, when your eyes met my own, I knew we had a connection. You looked at me with such trust that I felt some of the walls I’d built around my heart crumbling and falling away.

We’ve known each other for long enough for me to tell you the truth. This may be hard to hear, but knowing this will save you a great deal of heartache in the future.

There are bad people out there, some closer than you think. Even people who were meant to love and protect you will be the ones who’ll hurt you the most. Who knows what drives the darkness in their hearts, but know now that your trust and respect should be earned by those around you. Make sure that, whoever you open your heart to, you choose wisely, for once a heart has been broken it can never be truly mended. Those scars will stay with you for the rest of your life, fading with time, but a painful reminder of past hurts.

For some, you will never be good enough, no matter what you do. There are people in this life who want to hurt you for no good reason. Don’t give them the time of day and NEVER let them know that their cruel words have left their mark. Look those people in the eye and know that you are better than they will ever be.

Life is full of mistakes, but learning from them is what counts. Trust me, I’ve made a few of my own. When something goes wrong, use the experience to do better in the future. Don’t blame yourself for mistakes made, for that is how we learn and grow as people. Have courage in your convictions and stand up for what you know is right. Your heart is pure and untainted – keep it that way.

Time is precious so spend it with the ones you love and don’t be afraid to tell them how much they mean to you. Live and love with all of your heart; you can be anything you want to be.

You’ll grow, get older and probably outgrow my company, but know this: I will be with you every step of the way, teaching you, guiding you, supporting you to be the best that you can possibly be. I’ll be there for every birthday, every Christmas and every life event in between.

I’ll be there to remind you of your aunt and how much she loved you, how delighted she would be in the progress that you’ve made and everything you’ll ever achieve. I can never replace her, but I can try to fill some of the void that her passing caused.

She’ll live on through us all – in our hearts, in our minds and in our memories.

 


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 52 prompt: Start your story with: “I’m telling you this story because you are the only person I can trust not to judge me . . .”

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

About An Hour Ago

Insomnia2I barely remember the journey to work, although my colleagues later told me that I must have driven myself there under my own steam. I don’t remember getting out of the car or sitting on the stairs and crying my eyes out, but I must have done.

Somehow I ended up back at home with no recollection of how I’d gotten there. I was alone in my cold and dark flat, alone and with no one but my own shadow to keep me company, sobbing my eyes out yet not even knowing why.

I was tired, so very tired that even sleep escaped me. Night after night I lay on my bed in the dark, praying that sleep would take me in its gentle embrace and carry me away to a place where my mind could rest.

Just a few hours of rest. Was that too much to ask for?

Nights turned into weeks, until insomnia became my newest traveling companion. It didn’t matter where I went, insomnia would follow me like a hunting dog on the scent of a rabbit.

Insomnia stuck to me like mud on my shoes and no matter how much I tried to shake and shrug him off, still he clung to me, sinking his claws into my mind and refusing to let go.

Lying in bed in the dark of night, exhaustion brings a strange sort of madness with it. Have you ever felt so tired that you cannot sleep?

When your body and mind crave for a rest that is impossible to achieve, your brain begins to play subtle tricks on you. Paranoia begins to take hold, fighting insomnia and exhaustion for dominance in your wearied body, pulling you in different directions until you feel as if you’re being torn apart.

You question what people say to you, convinced that they’re looking down on you, judging you, mocking you behind your back. You hear noises, even when there is nothing but you and the aching silence of the dead of night. Shadows on walls begin to move, convincing you that you are not alone in your tortured solitude.

During your waking hours, sleep taunts you, convincing you that you’ll be able to rest, if only you’d lay your weary body down for a moment. Lured by the chance of quelling the disquiet within you do as sleep commands, only to find that it was a trick, a lie.

The day is not made for sleeping. Reality taunts you, mocking you for believing that you’ll ever find peace. The day is made for living, but your nights are not made for sleeping either. Your nights are made for you reliving every mistake you’ve ever made, every person you’ve ever hurt and every promise you ever broke.

There is no escape. This is your reality.

About an hour ago, I took matters into my own hands. Waiting for the narcotics to take effect, I pray that, tonight, I can rest.


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 50 prompt: About an hour ago.

 

 

 

 

11 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

The Continuation of Ken and Barbie

7193835090_ccf4f53f88_zBarbie sat breathless on the ground as she admire how Ken had ripped GI Joe’s head clean from his shoulders, tossing it aside as if it were nothing more than garbage.

“Wow, Kenny….that was – “

“Beet you didn’t think I had it in me, did you? Who’s got no balls now?” Ken smirked as he flopped down beside Barbie, not even caring that he was missing an arm and that one of his legs was bent at a very strange angle.

Ken’s shirt was torn, his pants stained with mud and his hair sticking up in all directions. He looked nothing like he normally did, but Barbie found her plasticky insides twitching at the thought of seeing Ken completely naked.

“It makes you horny, doesn’t it?” Ken smirked as he awkwardly turned onto his side and laid a stiff plastic hand on Barbie’s face, one that she immediately placed a soft kiss on.

“You’re my hero, Ken,” she gushed, moving herself close enough so that their bodies touched.

It wasn’t long before both of them were as naked as the day they’d been manufactured, giving in to passion as their non-articulating limbs moved awkwardly as both tried to gain the upper hand in the sensuous duel.

Having done his business, Ken rolled off Barbie and placed his remaining arm behind his head, gazing up at the sky above. “We’re good together, Barb. If you and I stick together the world could be our oyster.”

Now it was Barbie’s turn to lay on her side, her fingerless hand moving up and down Ken’s chest. “I think I love you, Ken….”

“KEN! You cheating bastard!”

Storming her way through a melee of severed limbs and kicking GI Joe’s head out of the way, Cindy stomped toward the two young lovers.

Ken tried to grab his shirt with his one remaining arm but found it pinned under Cindy’s shiny red high heel shoes.

“Babe,” he tried to placate her, giving her a strained smile. “I can explain everything,” he pleaded, wincing as Cindy’s heel dug into his arm.

“I always knew you had a wandering eye, but what the hell are you doing with this whore? Don’t you know that most of Mattel World has already slept with her? She’s probably got some sort of disease you know…”

Barbie felt compelled to defend her honour. “Hey, take that back you little tramp!”

Cindy stared, laughing humourlessly. “Please, at least all of my parts are my own.” Cindy wiggled her plastic ass as if to reinforce the point.

Climbing to her feet, Barbie snarled in Cindy’s face. “Maybe if you weren’t such a plain Jane then Ken wouldn’t have come to me!”

“Ladies,” Ken interjected, “Can’t we try to work this out?”

“Shut up, Ken!” both women shouted at the same time.

Watching as Barbie and Cindy rolled around in the mud, Ken couldn’t help but find himself aroused. Just what was it about fighting on Mattel World that made everyone horny?


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 48 prompt: Revisit a favourite character from one of your past #FFC52 stories and write a new story about this character using the word “oyster” somewhere in it.

 

 

 

 

25 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

Semper Fi

I saw her standing there, waiting in line for her skinny mocha, just like she does every day. She always comes in at the same time, dressed in her work clothes and looking impatient as the people in front of her dither over which drink they’ll have today.

I know her order, it’s always the same. I even hear her say those words in my dreams sometimes. I watch as she inches closer to the front of the queue, wishing that she’d turn round and see me. Just once.

It’s not asking for much, is it? For this beautiful woman, the girl of my dreams to turn around and make eye contact with me?

They never do.

I’m the kind of person that others will go out of their way not to look at. My face is the kind that small children’s nightmares are made of. I know that folks try their best to not even look in my general direction and I’ve learned to live with that and accept it for what it is.

It’s taken me years to even work up the courage to step foot outside me own front door. How can someone like me be afraid of going outside?

It was never like that before, not until I got blown up on a routine patrol, that is. My unit was patrolling a small village when one of our unit stepped on something he shouldn’t have. I tried my best to get to him in time but it was too late. The right side of my body, mainly my face, took the worst of the blast.

I don’t remember anything until I woke in a hospital in Germany. After that, it was just a vague blur of sights, sounds and smells until they flew me back home.

The first time I saw my reflection in a mirror, I reacted so badly that the doctors had to sedate me. Despite months of treatments and countless operations, I still look hideous.

I don’t know why I chose the coffee shop to spend my days, but it seemed as good a place as any. I used to come here before…..before half my face got blown away. I doubt anyone recognised me from the man I used to be.

I smile as she makes it to the front of the queue, feeling a frisson of excitement as I hear her make her order. I watch her from beneath the brim of my hat, pretending that I’m reading the paper instead. Suddenly, both my wildest dream and worst nightmare collide as she makes eye contact with me for just a second. I do my best to hide my face as she walks toward me, fully expecting her to shout something awful.

Her hand on my chin takes me by surprise as she lifts my head gently. Placing a kiss on my scarred face, she whispers. “Semper Fi, lieutenant. God bless you.”

 

woman-drinking-coffee


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 46 prompt: Study a stranger the next time you are in a coffee shop, on a bus or subway, in a queue. Write a story involving this stranger. You can make it a tragedy, comedy, horror, Sci-fi, mystery — whatever suits your style. Go!

Dedicated to every soldier from every war. We will remember you.

 

 

 

 

23 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

Boris The Terrible

I walked through the front door with a face like a slapped ass and was enough to make my husband recoil from me as his nose picked up on the malodorous olfactory presence I’d brought into the house with me.

“It was Boris,” I replied, shrugging off my coat, nodding gratefully when Colin took it and hung it up. Those three words were loaded with meaning. Colin simply nodded, moving toward me before thinking better of it.

“Is there anything I can do?” Colin asked me timidly, knowing full well that I was primed and ready to explode at any given moment. Boris would be the end of me – I could sense it.

It was Colin’s fault that we had to deal with Boris in the first place. What kind of stupid man would agree to take on such a stinking beast?

I knew why. It was because lily-livered little Colin was scared of his boss.

If Mr Parkin told him to jump, Colin would ask him how high and whether he’d also like cream and sugar in his coffee. Colin was a sycophant when it came to his boss and would rather risk the wrath of his wife than disappointing the jumped up, bespectacled asswipe who paid his wages.

“Run me a bath,” I told him with ice in my voice. The glare I gave him leaving him in no doubt that I was angry with him.

Colin nodded his head quickly. “Of course, my dear. Let me go and do that for you.” He ran upstairs quicker than a cop at a donut shop, no doubt eager to avoid me as much as possible until I’d calmed down.

I threw my purse on the side as I entered the kitchen, a deep sigh leaving my body as I realised the sticky residue had found its way onto my beautiful cashmere sweater that I’d bought only last week.

I’d make it clear to Colin that I expected him to buy me another sweater and to punish his foolishness I would make sure that it was twice as expensive as the one that Boris had ruined.

The thought of Boris set my teeth on edge. He might have been one of God’s creatures, but the damn thing stunk worse than a cesspit. Sure, he was all fur and large soulful eyes, but beneath that exterior lurked a beast if his odour was anything go by.

I felt a throbbing in one of the fingers on my left hand and looked at it with disinterest until I noticed that it was bleeding.

Boris had bit me!

I could hear the water running in the bathroom upstairs and felt a momentary twinge of guilt. I shook the thought away, knowing that I did what I had to. Colin would find a way of explaining it to his boss.

That bastard of a hamster had peed on me and then bit me.

My hand slipped.

It fell.

I trod on it.

Oops….


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 44 prompt: “You smell terrible. What happened?”

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

There’s Something About Lisa….

I walked past that damn painting every day. I worked for Mrs Steinem – a miserable old widow. She lived in an old house up on the hill on the edge of town – talk about a cliché.

I didn’t like the old lady, but the money was good. As long as I could pay my rent and bills, I was happy.

Steinem had money. Maybe the reason she had so much was that she hated to spend it. The knock-off painting in the hallway a case in point.

Surely the old woman could afford the real thing, not some imitation which was clearly a knock off. Granted, I was no expert, but even I could tell that the painting was fake.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something ‘off’ about the painting – especially the way the eyes followed me when I moved through darkened hallway. Steinem was a tight-fisted old mare, refusing to pay for lighting, except for one spotlight beneath that painting.

It made the painting seem dark and disturbing with Mona Lisa’s face taking on a sinister appearance. Maybe it was a trick of the light, but I could’ve sworn that those carefully-placed hands moved when I walked past.

Mrs Steinem was dying. It wouldn’t be long before she would be reunited with her husband. As her breath rattled through overworked lungs, she still had the ability to make me flinch when her papery hands reached out to me.

I often asked her about her husband, but those beady eyes of hers would always avoid my gaze. For whatever reason, the old woman was reluctant to talk of her husband and how he’d died.

If she was protective of the memories of her husband, she was even more protective of that damn painting, even admonishing me once for asking if the decorators could take it down to redo the wallpaper in the hall.

“Never touch it!” she hissed.

Her eyes warned me not to argue.

She died three days ago.

I was asked to start drawing up an inventory of Mrs Steinem’s belongings so they could be valued and then auctioned off.

As I walked past the painting, realising that nothing could stop me taking the wretched thing down now.

I felt a sharp pain as my hand made contact with the painting and then….nothing.

I woke up sometime later, watching men and women in suits with clipboards looking appreciatively at me. I tried to move but couldn’t. I screamed yet nothing came out of my mouth.

I heard a voice beside me.

“It’s no use. You’re trapped here.”

My eyes shot to the left, next to me was someone I recognised from Mrs Steinem’s collection of photographs – her husband.

“I loved her, you know,” he said, his voice sad. “She was a witch, but I loved her.” I felt something crawling its way around my neck. “You can be my wife now.”

I felt a malevolent presence consume me.

I screamed.

Trapped – forever.


Written is response to Thain in Vain’s Week 43 prompt: Let’s write a scary story! Use this picture as your inspiration!

mona-lisa-8

 

 

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

All’s Fair in Love and War

Fighting had always made Barbie horny.

She and her band of merry Mattel World freedom fighters had defeated the Toy Patrol, forcing them back to the boring and plain toy box that they’d come from.

Somewhere along the way, that idiot Ken had gone missing. He’d run headlong into the skirmish without a second thought to his safety, his stiff hair not moving even a fraction as he ran awkwardly with straight legs into the smoky melee up ahead.

That had been the last she’d seen of him. What if her Ken had died, sacrificing himself for the woman he loved?

He was gorgeous, more than any woman could hope for, yet he was such a boring pain in the ass!

But he didn’t deserve to die.

She heard footsteps to her right, glancing up to see GI Joe, man of action, lower himself down to the ground next to her, his rifle strapped to one shoulder and an ammo belt across his chest.

“How you holding up?” Joe asked, brushing dried mud and melted plastic from his combat pants.

Even after fighting for her life, Barbie still looked as beautiful as the day she was made. Not a hair out of place, her appearance was perfect. “We won, didn’t we?” she asked, turning her head awkwardly to look at Joe.

“Sure did, babe.”

“Ken…..I think he died.”

Joe lifted a muscled arm, pulling her closer to his solid chest. She found herself intoxicated by the heady combination of plastic, gunpowder and a scent she couldn’t quite put her clumpy fingers on.

Ken wouldn’t mind, he was dead after all.

Maybe it had been the adrenaline coursing through her at the time, but she jumped on Joe as if he were the last toy on the planet.

Each of them tore at the Velcro fastenings on the other’s clothes until they were completely naked – in all their pre-formed glory.

“Barbie….you look – “ Joe began, only to be silenced by Barbie’s hand on his lips.

“Kiss me, Joe.”

And he did just that, pressing his large forehead and chin against her plasticky face, arms and legs moving awkwardly as Joe climbed on top of her. She wasn’t sure if it was Joe’s rifle she could feel, or some other appendage of his….

As their ardour cooled, Barbie felt ashamed for forgetting Ken so easily. Maybe her next incarnation would be ‘Street Hooker Barbie’ with removable panties and spreadable legs….

“Babe,” Joe began, his voice husky in the afterglow of their lovemaking. “You were – “

He didn’t have time to finish the sentence before Barbie heard him yelp. Looking up to find a bedraggled Ken hauling Joe further from her reach, one arm missing and a leg that looked wonky.

She screamed as Ken pulled at Joe’s head with all his might until it came away from his body with a resounding ‘pop’.

Barbie gasped in shock.

Maybe Ken did have some balls after all.

Barbie-and-Ken


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 42 prompt: Continue any other author’s story already posted to #FFC52 over the past 41 weeks. My story is a shameful attempt to write a continuation to the wonderful ‘Toy Patrol’ by Kate Loveton and was inspired by the musing of whether Ken had any ‘workable parts’ in his….erm….crotch area…. Please check Kate’s wonderful blog out if you haven’t already!

 

 

 

 

 

32 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge, Starting out

All I Need Is You

It had been a great night as I finally met up with the man I’d been talking to online for months. It was even better that he hadn’t turned out to be some sort of creepy letch either.

We’d met by chance on an internet forum, finding that we shared a lot of the same interests and passions. We progressed from instant messages, to emails and then flirty texts.

Last night had been the first time that I’d met him in the flesh. To say that I’d been nervous beforehand would have been an understatement.

I needn’t have worried. My date turned out to be just as charming and handsome as I’d imagined him to be from his profile picture. There was nothing weird or socially inept about him. He was funny and engaging, and it didn’t hurt that he only had eyes for me.

We ate, drank, and laughed throughout the evening, finishing a wonderful date with a chaste kiss and a promise to meet again soon.

When I slept, I dreamed of him. I was already planning what we’d do on our next date. Although I was no fool and certainly didn’t believe in love at first sight, I knew I was smitten with him.

I woke this morning to find his text message:

Hey beautiful, had a great time last night. Let’s do it again soon x

Was he thinking about me as much as I was about him?

As I showered and dressed I thought about him and how it would be so good to have him undressing me, in my shower….

I had to stop those kinds of thoughts if I wanted to get to work on time!

Grabbing a travel mug of coffee, I got in my car and started the long commute to my office. It was a good job that I knew the route as well as I did as I don’t think I paid attention to where I was going the whole time I was in the car.

This man was consuming my every waking thought. I must have been imagining it when I saw his lean figure walking in my direction. I was still in the car, a mere 500 yards from my office. He must have recognised me to as he stopped and waved.

I pulled over.

“Hi,” he said, giving me his gorgeous smile.

“Hi.”

“Going to work?” he asked.

I shook my head. “Get in.”

“Where are we going?”

“I don’t care, as long as I’m with you,” I replied.

cute-couple-car-holding-hands-lovers-love_largeHe smiled and got in, buckling his seat belt as I leaned over to kiss him before pulling the car from the curb.

“You’ll be late for work,” he told me, gently chiding me for my impetuousness yet eager to be as impulsive as I was.

“No work. Not today.”

Work, money, bills – none of that seemed to matter when you were in love.

We drove and never looked back.


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 40 prompt: While driving to work one morning, you decide to drive past the office and keep on driving.

 

21 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

A Measure of Success

“Hey, I’ve just managed to snag us a great new client!”

I tried to hide my disinterest as Charlie bounded into the room, clutching several creased pages in his hands.

Our business had suffered lately and we were barely making ends meet. The loss of several key clients to a rival firm had almost caused us to go under. Both Charlie and I knew that we’d have to pull something pretty major out of the bag to keep us afloat.

“That’s great,” I replied, not looking up from the spreadsheet that contained our profit and loss margins. It was just a shame that there were far more losses than profits.

“I’m serious, Tony.”

I only looked up when Charlie parked his considerable ass on the side of my desk, a movement that caused the end furthest from him to lift slightly from the floor.

I took a deep breath and prepared myself to feel decidedly underwhelmed by Charlie’s news. “Who is it then?” I asked.

“He’s called George,” Charlie began.

“And?”

“He works in politics.”

I couldn’t help it, I groaned audibly. Politicians were always the worst people to represent; they wouldn’t know what good public relations were if it smacked them in the face with an AK-47.

Politicians were a bunch of slippery, sneaky, deceitful liars. There was a reason that the public hated them: they were always full of bullshit.

“Don’t look at me like that, Tony.”

Charlie’s face fell as his eyes caught sight of my frown.

“I met up with George today and he’s a real stand-up guy. Full of that old-boy Texan charm – he’ll be hit, I know he will.”

Things had started out well enough, until George found himself in a position of great power. It didn’t matter how many speech writers we employed, George would always manage to screw up even the simplest of presentations.

Sure, George was popular with the public – but for all the wrong reasons.

We were a PR company; it’s not good business to have your star client being lampooned in the national media day after day. There came a point where I stopped turning up to the speeches and rallies, I even gave up on attending any of the interviews he gave.

It astonished me that a man as well-educated and from such good stock could come across as a complete idiot when it came to the media and the things he said. I wondered if it was just an act, a way to fool his detractors into thinking he was easy prey.

george-w-bush“The misunderestimated me,” he’d told one interviewer – a woman who couldn’t keep the amused smirk from her face.

We were at war with a foreign country and the best answer he could come up with was, “This is still a dangerous world. It’s a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental losses.”

The irony of it was the mental losses were all mine. I swear, good old George could drive a man to drink.

 

 

 


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 39 prompt: A public relations (PR) firm’s newest client is a PR nightmare.

8 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge

Infinite Jest

yorick

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.”

I scowled at Claude Preston, the man who thought he was God’s gift to theatre.

I’d known Claude since high school. He’d always been the type of person who had to be the best at everything. Claude seemed to make it his life’s work to outdo me in every way.

When we graduated, Claude went his way and I went mine and never the twain shall meet, as they say….

Until twenty years later when Claude Preston III returned to his Alabama country roots, returning home to the small town we both grew up in.

Two decades had done little to dispel the tension between us. As soon as I clapped eyes on his disgustingly handsome face, I felt anger that I thought had long since been buried.

His natural facial expression was one of smugness. Claude had the kind of face that I could gladly punch. All day, every day.

I’d always been interested in the dramatic arts and I’d joined the local theatre group many years ago, working my way up from inexperienced understudy to leading man.

Until Claude Preston came home.

I’m sure the man did it just to spite me. Not once in all our years at school had Claude shown any kind of interest in acting. In fact, he’d often mocked me for taking part in the school productions, calling me a cissy for wanting to do something so ‘feminine’.

I had no doubt that, given half a chance, Claude would happily plot my timely demise and run away with my dear wife, Gertie.

Was it jealousy that caused Claude to covet everything that I had?

The man was better at everything than I was, yet I had one thing that he didn’t: my beloved Gertie.

I could see it in his eyes as we traded lines during our last dress rehearsal before our production was due to open. Time was running out for our company to be ready for opening night, we needed to be sure that all our costumes and props were in good working order.

My scenes with Claude finished, I watched the rest of the rehearsal from the side of the stage, keeping my eye on the props box to my left.

I watched the fencing scene with anticipation, willing Claude’s opposite number to gain the upper hand in the battle. Back and forth they went; thrust, thrust, parry.

Another thrust. Then another. And then…..a decidedly wet sound, followed by a groan.

Claude fell to his knees, clutching his chest, wailing in agony.

The fencing swords were props, not the real thing. Claude should have been fine, regardless of whether the sword made contact with his body.

My eyes fell on the black bag by my side, hiding the prop swords that I swapped for the genuine thing.

I felt no guilt for my deed.

The ghost who visited my dreams made me do it.


Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 37 prompt: Infinite Jest

 

8 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction 52 Challenge