Flash Fiction Friday: Wire Pilgrimage

A sinister image for this week’s prompt. It conjured up connotations of death camps, suffering and gruesome horror movies. And I totally went with that! Bit of a post-apocalyptic spin, I feel, too. Open to interpretation anway.

Madison Wood’s response to her photo can be found over here.

Madison Woods, Barbed Wire, Flash Fiction Friday, 100 word challenges
Barbed Wire by Madison Woods

Wire Pilgrimage

The Monster’s Martyrs are bound into a single, agonised unit of pain and forced to walk ten miles together for the annual sacrifice. This year they used razor wire. I recognise my poor brother staggering amongst them. A few pray, some sob; my brother curses, lifts his head to swear at the sky so wounds pour again. Dried blood has patterned obscenely on his flayed skin. Their suffering makes His mouth water, I’m told. Shuddering, I hide in the shallow grave I dug by His rusted tower, clutching the grenade tight, awaiting His appearance. This will not happen again.

Flash Fiction Friday: Wire Pilgrimage

Flash Fiction Friday: Fishin’

Time to try again. I had a few distractions last week, but now I’m back on the horse, resaddling the old keyboard, hopping behind the monitor….you get the idea.

Also, this week I ended up proving to myself I don’t just have to write horror in response to these prompts. Horror is fun, but this is a different approach. Possibly it reflects my need for a quiet moment inbetween working at the day job, and writing for myself.

Madison Woods provided the prompt for this story with the photograph below, and her entry and everyone else’s can be found here! I’ll be checking them out later today and over this long, glorious Bank Holiday Easter weekend.

Sunrise at War Eagle flash fiction Friday prompt, Madison Woods
Sunrise at War Eagle by Madison Woods

Fishin’

Something rose up and flopped heavily while I dozed, my fishing rod doing all the hard work as bait dangled in the current, me and the worm both drifting. I woke immediately as multiple ripples worried the muddy sandbank and soaked my bare foot. Startled, I saw an otter scurry on to the opposite bank, squeaking indignantly. Then my rod snapped. I spotted a glimmering slice of gold curving through the water. As the low sun spread its evening shadows, the shining scales faded away and finally disappeared. A hell of a fish. Tomorrow, I’ll buy a bigger net.

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The rest of my entries for the Friday prompts, and for the Thursday challenges by Quill Shiv, are over here or please click on Writing Challenges on the links bar above. Happy reading!

Flash Fiction Friday: Fishin’

Flash Fiction Faction: The Loser

This week’s flash fiction faction entry, inspired by Quill Shiv’s wonderful weekly prompt (every Thursday) on her blog just over here. Do check out her entry and the others, too, listed in the comments section beneath.

Now. Made it! Last week was a bust, but this week, a story has come to me, and yet again, it’s begging to be turned into something longer. Think I’m storing these up as a sort of inner slush pile, to turn to in times of creative drought. Which leads me to the story below, totally planned, that. I hope you enjoy it, and any and all encouragement is gratefully received. A novel – or at least a collection – must emerge from 2012, but when it works (like now) this is fun all on its own!

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PROMPT: Truly the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. –Anonymous

The sun is unforgiving at this time of year. It drains the lakes, shrinks streams and kills crops. Inevitably, one at a time, the six villages of the Saluvian Valley come to beg the three sisters who live at the end of Oak Hump trail for their assistance.

Every year, the sisters make the clouds come and ease the suffering and death in the Valley.

But there is always a price.

My name is Cody, and this time I will pay. To live with them for one year is no hardship. After that, if I still live, I can go home. I try very hard not to think how young Geda looked after she returned just last week. I try very, very hard not to think at all.

They cackle triumphantly as they take me in, and while I wait, chained, in the back of their dingy hovel, I can hear their shrieking appeals to the weather gods to release the clouds. I lose track of time, but it seems to be only a short while before the drumbeat of rain hits their tin roof, and the endless impacting noise is sending the other trapped creatures hissing and fluttering against the bars of their cages.

Finally, the hags re-enter the hut, drenched through, their bones scrape starkly through blotched, naked skin, their wiry ash coloured hair is spread thinly across bad scalps. They surround me, and poke at me with clawed fingers. I could crush any of them with the slightest effort.

But, I have more sense than that.

“He’s got more fat on him than the last one,” the eldest, Makkala, noted as she takes the skin of my waist and pinches too hard, her evil yellow eyes glittering.

“He should last a good while.” the middle sister, Sanalla of the jealous green eyes, strands of ribbons in her knotted hair, chuckles and pulls at my upper arm and chest.

The third sister, named Doma, says nothing, but her blind eyes scare me the most, giving away nothing in their blank whiteness as she tugs on my backside and offers only a hollow ‘hah!’ noise from her toothless hole of a mouth.

“Not cringin’, boy?” Makkala sneers, and I shake my head. “Oh, you’re a brave one. Been a while since we had one of those. eh, sisters?”

I clench my fist but hold steady under their touch. I must not be weak. I remember the Innkeeper’s words. Do not show your fear.

“You’ll do,” Makkala pats me too hard on the side of the head, then says. “It might not be too hard on you, boy.”

But the three of them cackle anyway, and then hobble over to the stinking cauldron for plotting, brewing and eating.

They will starve me for a while, and then…and then…

I hope I do not end up serving them as a crow.

But my earlier hopes were similarly ignored.

Flash Fiction Faction: The Loser

Flash Fiction Friday: Dark and Deep

Madison Woods provided another great writing prompt this week and I’m happy to present my latest 100 word story based on one of her photos. Details about entering Flash Fiction Friday can be found over here.

Kind of went for my very first instincts this time. It still went through quite a few drafts (hope that shows, or doesn’t…) but I’m happy with the final result. Please feel free to comment with your responses to it, I always read them and make an effort to go through and read everyone else’s by the end of each weekend.

Don’t forget to also check out Madison Wood’s entry for the prompt on her blog, right here!

Flash Fiction Friday, Sunset White Branches, Madison Woods, 100 word stories, horror stories
Sunset White Branches photo by Madison Woods

Dark and Deep

Branches raked my arms. The forest is unforgiving. Trembling in the dark, I come again upon a stone marked with ancient carving. I sink to my knees before it and pray to my god, or theirs, to release me. My shotgun long lost, the creature’s blood is still sticky and pungent on my hands and neck.  My stomach growls. I am so thirsty. Exhausted, I soon fell fast asleep beneath the stone’s deep blue shadow. Waking at the touch of a leathery paw. The moon is shrouded. Powerful reek of animal filled my nostrils. I have no breath to plead…

Earlier Flash Fiction Friday Entries:

Send in Mitsy

Cellar Wall

Bloody Jewels

Reading the Bones

Broken Mushroom

Flash Fiction Faction (Thursday challenge run by Quill Shiv) Entries

Aunt Edie’s Bunker

Clouded

Flash Fiction Friday: Dark and Deep

Flash Fiction Friday: Send in Mitsy

I think Flash Fiction Friday is here to stay, I love it too much to miss one. Thank you Madison Woods! Had a busy day today but I’ve carved out the 100 words and I look forward to exploring everyone else’s writing over the weekend. The links to all of these can be found, under Madison’s entry for this week. Always worth checking out.

Thank you to all the lovely commentators on my entry for last week. Hopefully I got to all of your entries, too.

This week’s dog centric prompt (aww, check out Bobbie) set off a chain reaction of stories in my head. Several painkillers and many pages of illegible scribbling later, it seems that there’s no end of symbolism, meaning and narrative that dogs inspire into potential stories. Which is awesome. I think I could start a small collection of 100 word stories just on dogs. Really ended up having a lot to choose from.

But, the 100 word challenge restrictions as always are useful in whittling it all down to one story, and to its best moment. Hopefully, there’s a good result from all that just below:

Madison Wood's Flash Fiction Prompt - Bobbie - March 16 2012
Bobbie-Sue by Madison Woods

Send in Mitsy

The polished midnight gates of Hades are impossibly high and elegant. The three-headed beast snarling in front of them looks tiny. He isn’t. We barely come up to Cerberus’s panting chest as three drooling mouths snarl at us. Body parts gristle in his jaws.

I nod. “Send in Mitsy.”

Mitsy’s fluffy orange paws, each the size of a VW Beetle, pad silently across the cavern. Cerberus gives a confused whine.

Mitsy opens her four mouths and gives a big, interested “Mraaaowp”.

Then we let her loose.

It’s not really fair on Cerberus. But how else can I get Veronica back?

***

My other entries are listed below:

Cellar Wall

Bloody Jewels

Broken Mushroom

Reading the Bones

Also don’t forget to check out Quill Shiv’s fab new challenge, whose prompts vary from music, images and single words, over on her blog. Catch my two entries for that here (Clouded) and here (Aunt Edie’s bunker).

Flash Fiction Friday: Send in Mitsy

Flash Fiction Friday: Bloody Jewels

It’s that time again. I don’t know if almost three weeks almost in a row counts as a habit, but it can’t hurt. I think this is going pretty well. I was overwhelmed by the positive responses to ‘Reading the Bones’ last week, I had an unprecedented number of hits which I’m very pleased by.

So first, thank you Madison Woods!

Secondly, make sure you check out her story for this week, and all the others if you can (there will probably be lots!).

Thirdly, this time I will make sure I respond more thoroughly to everyone and check out all the others. I’m really excited to see how these Flash Fiction Fridays are catching on! Everyone who responds with feedback, or a like, or who even reads the thing, thank you!

My response this Friday has gone a bit Tales from the Crypt with a dash of…well, that would be spoiling it. See what you think. Also, the comments button is tucked away at the top of the post. I really must get this site rebooted. Still, early days.

I hope you enjoy the story!

Bloody Jewels

Jewels, Madison Woods, Flash Fiction Friday, Photo Prompt, 100 Word Stories, Tales From the Crypt, Horror Stories, short horror, jewel thieves
'Jewels' by Madison Woods
“Where are the real jewels, lady?” the thief snarled.

“You shot my husband,” she said, the carpet beneath the corpse turning ruby red.

“Tell me where they are!” He pressed the gun barrel hard against her forehead. Her emerald eyes blazed up at him.

“All right,” she said coldly, “Herbert, tell him where they are.”

“Under…the…fireplace…” A voice rattled.

The thief jerked round and something touched his foot. The hungry corpse immediately gnawed through his knee. The thief screamed and Mrs West kicked him backwards. She smiled. It was a long time since Herbert had enjoyed a good feed.

Flash Fiction Friday: Bloody Jewels

Flash Fiction Friday: Reading the Bones

I really enjoyed the 100 word challenge on Madison’s blog a couple of weeks ago. For that I produced a story about mushroom love – and hate. It worked out far better than I thought it would. Inspiration hit at the right moment, and I made it into three sets of 100 words, which rounded off a neat piece of very short fiction.

Normally, you see, I write extremely long stories, which can psyche me out slightly.

Sadly I didn’t get around to trying last week’s challenge, but I am submitting my 100 words quite early this time. It feels great! I’m hoping that these short challenges will become severely habit-forming as  they are a perfect mental break from working on longer pieces. I find it refreshing to do them and it’s enormous fun to read other people’s interpretations of the same image or writing prompt.

I love the way a complete story can be cribbed from such a concise number of words. If you like them can depend on how much you like open-ended narratives, although I personally prefer some resolution.

This is Madison’s entry for this week, Grave Digger. It’s great, so do take a look and  leave lovely comments there as well.

My own 100 words really feels like the opener for something much bigger. I’ve stuck to 100 words this time but I find it fascinating how the mind comes up with narrative – and restrictions (self-imposed or otherwise) often only aid this sort of creativity.

Anyway, please check it out below. I hope you like it. I’m looking forward to reading what you make of ‘Reading the Bones’:

Reading the Bones

Rattling the cup in her hands, the young seer tipped the cluster of ancient bones out onto the rock’s flattest surface and traced their outlines briskly with her fingertips.

“Very interesting,” she said. “It says that you are destined for great and amazing triumphs. That the world will bow at your feet. That the changes you wreak will be felt for eons to come. Your name will go down in history. And, also, something incredibly strange.”

“Strange how?” the witch’s guest enquired nervously.

“Well, according to this – these are your bones.”

The young otter looked at her in astonishment.

Flash Fiction Friday: Reading the Bones