Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Not the Marrying Kind ~Dice Games week 4

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Here is my Flash Fiction prompt for week four of Dice Games

 4 – Make a deal with the Devil

 

Not The Marrying Kind

The years alone hurt. The solitude of the ancient house created a dull buzz over her senses. Meredity poised in front of the full length mirror examining her choices. Red was so obvious. The black made her feel obtuse. What did one wear to an audience with the Devil? Inspiration struck, she ran up the rickety steps -skipping the creaking fifteenth- and tore up the hidden staircase into the attic. A few dusty minutes later she emerged with a wide grin on her face and the perfect solution draped over her arm. Yes, this will do nicely.

The basement was still cold, damp and dreary, there wasn’t much to do about it, honestly a Witch had to keep up some sense of propriety. Image was everything. No, it would never do to take those that saught her service down into a basement of pastel drapery and frilly embroidered pillows no matter how much she wanted to spruce up the place. Clients had certain expectations. When she crossed the threshold her nose perked up, sure she could still detect a faint tinge of singe on the air.

Careful not to marr her poufed skirt, Meredity drew a circle on the pounded earth floor, worn hard as granite over decades of frequent use. She brushed her hands together admiring her handy work. He’d do well to be impressed with that, every line and arch was perfect. She lit black candles for mischeif, red for seduction, a purple to gather the spirits around her. Twigs of rowan burned around the stench of hemlock and lemongrass.

A deep pulse sounded from above followed by eleven others; the witching hour. Meredity’s voice filled the cavernous space as she chanted the spell she had created. The light dimmed, thick shadows skittered up the walls, inside her circle a form took  shape. Excitement trilled through her. With the last note of her spell, the form was solid, the lights regained their luminescence.

“This had better be good.” The words rolled from a taut mouth. Meredity sucked in her breath as she looked at her future. He was so tall, with wide shoulders, a thick mane of black hair all shrouded in a devil-may-care attitude. She giggled at that, covering her mouth with her hand. “What’s so funny?”

“Oh, nothing.” She replied. Meredity smoothed her skirt as she sat down.

“Well, what do you want? If it’s something stupid so help your God, you’ll be dead by sunrise.” She could see he was uncomfortable in the circle, his long spiked tail kept getting zapped against the confines of her spell sending blue-white sparks shooting off behind him. It had to have stung but he seemed not to notice.

“It’s not my God, my lord, but my Goddess and I’m fairly certain I don’t have to worry about that. Once you hear my idea I can let you out of the circle but I think it’s best we play this with caution. Don’t you agree?” His narrow eyes narrowed further and lines creased between them as he studied her. He focused on her dress and she beamed. “Do you like it? I picked it out specially for you.”

“It’s…different.” He begrudgingly acknowleged. It was that moment, that one right there, that she knew she had the upper hand and it made up for the nearly unbearable itchiness of the miles of crenoline housed under the pink embroidered dress. It had been her mother’s very special party dress in the human world.

“Now I think it’s time we got down to business, yes? Then we can get you out of that horrid circle. I have tea ready in the parlor upstairs. I’d hate to think it’d get cold because you won’t listen to reason.” The scowl returned bringing with it puckered lips. He crossed his arms over his chest. “Alright then. I am lonely-”

“Ah, so you want me to make the man you want love you? I’m not a matchmaker, I’m the Devil.”

“No. That’s not it at all. Now, if you’d please be quiet.” He opened his mouth but she held up her hand to silence him. “I am lonely and, after many proven hypothesis’ have determined you are as well. I’m a practical sort of Witch and I’ve concluded, after many successful tests, that there is no reason for both of us to continue-”

“What tests?”

“This is going to be a very long night if you consistently interrupt me. But, if you I must know, I have interviewed several of your closest confidantes and servants. And I have…sturdied myself for your, um…preferences.” Meredity cursed herself -though she didn’t really because that would be counterproductive- for stumbling. She had this all planned out., there was no reason for her embarassment now. It showed weakness when she could ill afford it. “Anyway, as I was saying, I think we should get married.”

“Who?”

“Don’t be dense. Me. You. Us. I think it’s only logical, a mighty fair trade, you get a lovely little bride and I get a husband that can actually keep up with me. It’s not easy, you know, being the Daughter of Blood. I break so many of them.”

He laughed. He laughed so hard he held his sides in pain, tears streamed down his red-tinged skin. “Oh, little Witch,” he said between gulping breaths as he regained his composure. “I haven’t been this amused in longer than I can recall. What makes you think that I would marry you? I’m the Devil, my dear, not the marrying kind.”

“Well. If that is how you feel, my lord, I suppose I’ll have to progress to Plan B. I’m afraid you won’t like this very much but I think you’ll thank me once you come to your senses.” The air tingled, the lights dimmed and the invisible forcefield sparkled. “You’ll have a little time to think about your future, I’ll be back in a few weeks to see if you’ve changed your mind. Toodles for now, the tea is getting cold.”

Meredity sipped her tea with a small smile on her lips. The screaming would die down eventually, soon he’d see the error of his ways. Maybe she’d keep him like a pet, visit him when she was feeling maudlin. Perhaps this was for the best. Oh, yes, it could be quite fun to have the Devil in her basement.

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What is Flash Fiction and Why do I write it

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What it is…

To be completely honest, I just learned what flash fiction is a few months ago. I kept seeing the hashtag on Twitter and -as most of my journeys start- was curious. To summarize, it is a short story based on certain criteria. The rules for Flash Fiction are considerably different depending on who is hosting the challenge. Word count limits, prompts, frequency, well, you get the point.

So far I have be challenged with photos, dialogue prompts, scenario prompts, have had 200 word limits and no word limits and everything in between. Right now I’m participating in Dice Games which is a weekly prompt for September. I’ve also done the first challenge for Writer’s Campaign which was the shortest at 200 words, this month.

 Why I write it…

Other than the fact that it is just plain fun to meet these writing challenges the reason I continue writing them is to stretch my writing muscles. Flash Fiction is a wonderful tool for writing.

This month I was challenged with writing Sci-fi, which is a genre very unfamiliar to me. I really had a nail-biting time with it to the point that it almost became un-fun. It gave me the ability to look at the piece, realize why I was having a hard time with it and change my approach so that it wasn’t so frustrating. Writing should be fun and that challenge helped me to discover that, even out of my comfort zone.

I also made personal challenges such as writing completely from a male perspective, something I do not really ever do. I’ve also been allowed to play around with imagery, descriptions, and voices without having to commit to a large project. I find myself snatching pieces of my flash fiction for use in my novels. Or learning to turn a phrase successfully -or more likely Un-successfully- without fear of ruining a three thousand word chapter.

It’s given me an opportunity to put into practice some of the writing techniques I’ve been learning and I hope that even these shorter pieces show progression of my craft. I can tell that while I’m writing, the delete key comes into play quite often as I realize that I am making novice mistakes. It’s also given me the challenge to be concise. Wordiness can bog a reader down. I’ve come to see where my writing needs to be cut, be able to do those cuts, when I have limited words available.

I also hope that I entertain those that stumble across my blog with these easily, and quickly, digestable stories.

 

ROW80 goals

This is the last week for round three of ROW80. I have been writing more than I had before I joined and plan to participate in the next round. I have learned so much over the course of these weeks that I couldn’t have duplicated had I been on my own. Finding Flash Fiction challenges was only one small piece. The journey to becoming a successful writer is long and there is no real set goal for completion. Every day is another day to practice, to learn, to write. To make connections with others that are on the same path even though they’re on seperate journeys.

Thanks to all the ROW80 fellows that have visited my blog through this round. I hope to see you next time.

Dice Games week 3

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Go here if you’re completely confused as to what this flash fiction challenge is. This is my prompt for this week (and it’s also my birthday today!) This is soo hard for me because I do not write Sci-Fi. I’ve been procrastinating this piece for much of two weeks. I hope you enjoy me stepping out of my comfort zone 🙂

5 – So they finally discovered life on Mars, and now the Aliens are mighty pissed off.

 

Even Aliens have losers

It was all over the news. Every channel was playing it. The monumental moment when a white clad human encountered a living, breathing Alien. The entire city was breathless, waiting for the consequences, the fall out. The decades of speculation were over, now they all knew. There were no backseys this time.

How could  he have been so stupid?

Everyone knew that Mortimer Plinkston was a drunk, a louse, a no good member of society but now his name and face were plastered everywhere like a celebrity. Up and down the streets people were discussing, arguing, contemplating everything Mortimer. His fifteen-minutes of fame were burning hard and fast like a meteorite streaking across the sky. It didn’t help that I was his only living relative. Every minute of every day someone was bugging me, asking about Mortimer. The question on everyone’s lips was “Why?”

 “If the humans ever let him go, I guess we can ask him then.” I replied and then shut myself up in my house and wished them all away. Fifteen minutes can be a really, really long time.

Once the shock died down, once it was realized that the humans wouldn’t be bringing Mortimer back, the usual pitiful distain that accompanied that waste of a being, turned into a seething rage. It didn’t matter any more that Mortimer had once stolen a Berestbinger and smashed it into the Mayor’s house. Or that he was semi-respectfully “removed” from the opening of the History museum by armed guards for pissing on an irreplacable painting. Or that he had been out on bail when the humans landed for something completely unrelated.

It only mattered that Mortimer Ubeki Plinkston, son of the Bitch that he was, had been stolen. Galhem only knew what those barbarians were doing to the poor, poor soul now.

And Galhem help those infantile humans for their stupidity because when the People of the Republic of Mars got angry, bodies hit the floor.

I watched the fighter pods launch from my second story window. The dome above us opened to show the studded veil of black universe beyond. There was a reason we didn’t want to be found. As non-confrontational as we were, there were lines that didn’t get crossed.

I watched the news, the reports came in fast and unapologetic. I felt a sad kind of pity for the humans as I watched their planet be systematically distroyed. I wondered how they’d feel if they knew it was all because Mortimer was a loser that couldn’t hold his liquor.

Blood Witcher ~ Dice Games Flash Fiction

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Week two I *rolled* a one! Rules, must use prompt, under 1k words.  Here’s my prompt from Lady Antimony

1- “Sometimes its easier just to let them die…”

Blood Witcher

The rain came down in big wet sheets. It splashed across the window endlessly washing the landscape into a impressionistic vision. Meredity was bored beyond belief trapped by nature in the big, dark house on the hill. She leaned her head in her hand watching the sky rivers pour down, tracing symbols in the thick dust of the window ledge, listening to the mechanical tick leading the hands of the clock in dance. If only they would let her join.

But she was already past twelve and had nothing to show for it.

Nothing but a small spark from her fingertips when she was actually able to make a snap. It wasn’t her fault her mother -Goddess rest her soul- bred her off a Normal. It wasn’t her fault either, that her mother died and left her to the tender mercies of Aunt Gretched. And it surely wasn’t her fault that Aunt Gretched hated her for taking after her father, whoever he was.

She could feel the chanting through the floorboards even up here in the tower room. She could feel the thick beat of power through her stockinged feet. It called to her, quietly, softly but every time she tried to answer disaster struck, and struck as hard as the lightening out her window.

The moon was hidden but that too, fat and ripe behind the angry clouds called down to her. Tonight was special. Tonight was the Equinox. Tonight was the night for invoking the Goddess, she could feel it pulse around her with the beat of chanting. It was the pulse of power.

Quietly, she made her way down the bare wood staircase, careful to skip the fifteenth step, the one that creaked. It was nearly black in the hallways leading to the deep basement. She had seen it only once, a large cavernous space dug out from beneath the old mansion’s foundation. It made her feel as though she was wrapped in a cocoon, embraced in the Goddess’s womb.  And she had been beaten soundly for her curiosity. Meredity was afraid, she was sure even her black curls trembled, but she was being pulled and pushed by the Earth and the Sky and there was nothing for it.

The chanting grew louder, thickening the air. The cloying scent of a smudge stick coated her throat; rosemary, sage, lavender. She knew the smell, knew the symbols, the words, the motions but without the magic it meant nothing. Why did the Goddess refuse her offerings? Why, out of the entire line of Witchers that went back so far as before the Egyptians, went back to Mesopotamia where they traveled in tribes wearing animal pelts and spoke in grunts and gestures, was Meredity the very first female to be born without the gift?

Light broke through the basement door, a thick firey outline that stunk of tallow. And that too, called to her. By the time her hands touched the worn, cold wood of the entrance door, her cells were screaming, with what she did not know. The chanting continued, rose, crested, flew on the wind that swirled around her weaving through her curls and whipped her nightdress against her legs. She stood there lost in time, lost in the rhythm, filled with something too amazing to put into words. She felt a stab of pain in her stomach, then a thick hot gush between her legs. Blood stained her clothes. The chanting abruptly stopped. The viscious feel of the air became empty, the pushing and pulling stopped but she remained full. Something new was inside her now. Something different, changing.

The door moved beneath her hands, opened to reveal the firelight contorted face of her aunt and the four fellow witches of Gretched’s coven. They pulled her inside the cavelike room, tossing her to the floor.

“Punish her Lady Gretched. Teach her the glory of the Goddess she dares spy upon.” Tall and spindly, Veronica hissed.

“She’s bleeding, if ever there was a time to kill her it is now. She is past Reconning. There is no use for her.” Voiced Melissa, sliding up next to Veronica.

“Sometimes its easier just to let them die in the cradle.” Gretched’s growl carried over the chatter of the others. She raised her hand to cast.

“Yes,” Meredity replied easily getting to her feet, still so filled to the brim she was spilling over. “Sometimes it is.” She snapped her fingers and Veronica was set ablaze.

“Oh Goddess, why? Why choose this retched beast?” Gretched cried out, never sparing a glance for her coven sister now writhing on the dirt floor the blue flames eating her alive.

“Merciful Meredity, that’s what they’ll call you.” Melissa fell to her knees at Meredity’s feet, the blood still flowed into the ground, absorbed by the dirt. My offering, finally She accepts it. “You are our queen. Please, oh powerful one, Daughter of Blood, spare me my ignorance.”

“The Goddess shall spare you if she deems it so.” Meredity snapped her fingers again and this time, like acid etching a tin-type Melissa melted into a globulous puddle of screams. “She deems it not.”

The other witch had slunk into the shadows but a snap sent her violently to her death leaving only Melissa and her Aunt Gretched eye to eye. Gretched wildly signaled for the Goddess but each of her spells was refused. The magic seeped from her, no, was pulled from her across the floor and into her niece.

“Well played little Goddess.” The flames engulfed her but she did not scream.

“I wouldn’t have had it so, Aunt.” Meridity said somberly as the last ember died.

Writer’s Campaign Challenge ~ Not Yet

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I had posted about this last week, this is the platform-building campaign to help social network writers. There are a lot of people participating in this. This first challenge has the following rules:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

There are additional challenges like making it exactly 200 words and using “…the door swung shut.” as the last words. I met each of these challenges.

 

Not Yet

The door swung open fueled by my fears, slammed back against the whitewashed wall. He stood there, just on the other side. A figured robed in light, peered down his Roman nose at me. I fell to my knees. My mouth spilled a million excuses but he never spoke. Dark gaze flicked past me, I turned to see. The bed, the doctors, the limp hand splashing red drops. I wanted to go to him, rush through the door, but he shook his head. “It’s not your time. Not yet.” His lips never moved, the sound in my head. I cried, I wanted to go, to see what lay beyond. I begged, on my knees but he never came forward. Slowly silence was invaded with rushed sounds, harsh ringings, desperate urging voices. He took a step back, another and another. The tears dried. I got up, walked to the table. My face was a mash of blood and pulp and still the doctors worked. I lay down, closed my eyes, felt prickling as I sank back into my skin. Harsh ringing turned to steady beats. I opened my eyes, my true eyes, looking up at the harsh lights and the door swung shut.

Midnight Wounded ~ Dice Games Flash Fiction

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I stumbled upon a new Flash Fiction prompt that uses dice to determine your weekly writing topic. There are 6 choices and I don’t have a die so I closed my eyes, spun in my vintage metal chair and pointed at the screen. It worked well. My first prompt’s story is below, the goal is roughly 1000 words, so longer than my other Flash Fiction challenges. This still only came out to about 500. I really enjoy these types of writing as I’m able to experiment with different writing styles, points of view, genres as well as flexing those writing tools.

For September 5th this is my prompt, though I changed “was” to “is”. I hope that’s okay. Yes, I realize first out the gate and already I’m breaking rules. That’s just how I roll.

2 – “There was something decidedly odd about that child…”

 

Midnight Wounded

The motorway lit up like a Christmas tree. Burning trails of twinkling lights. It’s nights like these that get remembered. Nights like this that change lives. Searing themselves as brands into souls. Triggered memories, young feelings crawling over old skin, bringing back the moment in it’s entirety. But you weren’t there. You don’t know that things haven’t been easy.

Did you ever even care? Are you coming home with me tonight? I shouldn’t ask but I can’t help myself.

I heard what they said. I remember. Whispers, vocies from the other room, speaking as though I couldn’t understand their language. A little boy, only wanted to dance, to be free and wild untouched by the long arm of responsibility. Impossible.

“There is something decidedly odd with that child…”

Is it because you were jealous? You weren’t there. I waited for you. In that secret tree with pilfered amber liquid sloshing promises. But you never came. I still feel the bite of bark beneath me, the heat from my embarassed face, the scent of oleander on buffeting breeze. The sharp ache when I realized you wouldn’t come. I burried the bottle there, small drops clinging to the rim. The tree remembers.

My friend told me he saw you there, dancing under the bright club lights. I drank some more.

“Such a little thing,” you say, “Suit yourself, it’s said and done.” And you wonder how I can sit across from you now not trusting you. I heard what they said and you never disagreed. You were so hard to please. So, very hard to please. Where were you? Where did you go on floral scented nights? And the bells rang. And I went home.

“He’s not right…”

I fell in love that summer. Above the twinkling lights, experimenting with cigarettes and sex in the back seat of stolen cars, fumbling hands hidden beneath schoolgirl skirts. Running hard in midnight fields to capture thoughts, feeling, branding everything we could fast and hard into our souls. Not knowing those would be the last. That those would have to feed us until we died. Even with the pain from your betrayal still breaking my heart as I stood outside your door. I should have known but I lost it. I gave it. I freed it.

“There is something wrong with him…”

You smell like I remember. Rose water carefully applied. Another brand to soul, another secret memory. Are you lonely, too? I can’t stop thinking in past tense even as you’re here with me now. I gave up sleep to come here. I gave up more than I will tell. I don’t mind them now. I don’t mind the talk, the things they say, but I minded them then and I can’t erase those scars. The one where you didn’t speak. Something is still worrying me tonight.

Did you ever really love me? No, don’t come closer. I feel it next to me. This gaping hole. Had your love ever filled it? Is this, now, because of love? I can’t remember your love though I tried to hold on. Now it sits next to me, just out of reach, this emptiness that you maybe once filled. The impression of your love or what I imagined it to be. I don’t want to wake up knowing there is no future. Only burnings to be remembered. I don’t want to wake up alone again tonight.

I haven’t said too much, have I? These are things I should keep to myself. No, it’s fine. Don’t ruin the apology with excuses.

So, say it. We’re old friends. Say what you came to say. I’m listening. My soul is ready for branding once again.

A Well Respected Gentleman – Flash Fiction

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Here is another bit of Flash Fiction. While the rules this time allowed for up to 1500 words, I kept this under 500. Though this was posted August 8th and set for a one week time limit (and I am late again.) I went ahead with the prompt anyway since it seems they’re also late and the new weeks prompt isn’t up yet.

 

A Well Respected Gentleman

By C.M. Cipriani

Ruphert Charlesdale Taloo Eldecott Grossbender Moneymunger the third, well known in social and political circles as Mungsy to his esteemed friends, prided himself with his ability to learn a variety of topics which leant toward a charming disposition and the uncanny ability to blend seamlessly into said various circles. Not only was he a fabulous dresser, frequently known to set trends lasting up to three full weeks, his home was equally impressive with the finest silks and brocades brought over from such exotic places as China and France and Taiwan. Mungsy never had a hair out of place nor would a solitary blond hair he possesed even suggest itself to such undecorous circumstances. Which made it quite easy to maintain the vissage of a consistently proper gentleman such as himself.

For to be sure, if one could not even manage obedience over ones own self how could one be expected to lead his fellows and the lower classes? Simply put, he could not.

But it was on this particularly dreary day in May that Mungsy found himself quite out of sorts with a particularly horrendous case of bed head. No matter what punishments, brandishments or bribes he contrived the affected swoop of hair just would not obey and curved his ear quite unbecomingly. He briefly considered snipping off the offender but the resulting out growth would surely be most off putting. It was bad enough his nose wasn’t put on quite straight, but one worked with what one had, crooked noses aside.

After nearly two hours and the combined assistance of his butler, Beezly, acting as coiffer -a position the man greatly despised- Ruphert et. al the third, realized he was late for his ambassatorial meeting with his fellow dignitaries of state. Therefore, he sent ’round cards to each of the representatives with long flowing script in delightfully wordy phrases calling on all his learned abilites filling no less than two full pages each telling them, in shortened terms, he was not feeling quite the thing.

Sure that Lady Penningsly Apron Balerdash, with her red stringy hair and round rouge splotches on her cheeks, would be most offended for their regular tea was something she most looked forward to. Though her biscuits were always the same and also quite plasticy and her tea never did seem to quench a parched throat, one might hedge to say it was nearly non-existent. The tea set, on the other hand, was quite a lovely China, handpainted by their monarch, Sally, even if her nasty little brother, Billy had broken the delicate biscuit tray last week. He was always running amok. It was a relief of the senses he was delt the blow of a stern and fitting time-out.  

Mungsy gave one last scathing look to the perpertrating lock, doffed his apparel and resigned himself, a good book and a torch for a full day in bed. For if one wasn’t able to meet obligatory needs, there was no reason to waste the day away with idle nonsense.

And that is just what he did.

“Day 164: Cozied Up” by Snugg LePup (Flickr)