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Thread: Flash Fiction Challenge - 500 Words or less

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewclunn View Post
    Awake again I see. Unable to sleep? Such a silent empty night. So as you lie therepondering the night and letting your mind dig deep into dark places,which you know you'd do well to keep it from, what have you found? Perhaps you've found that life is nothing but waiting. Countlesspeople, all waiting for something, but many unsure of what it isthey're waiting for. Think of all the time you’re wasting rightnow. You sleep a third of your life away you know. So much time,gone. You'll never get it back. Life's too short for that. Life'stoo short for anything. But still, how many hours, how many yearsare wasted on nothing? Lying awake right now, what good is it? Life's too long when it's left so empty.


    Oh, good, so nowyou're filling the silence with your nearly inaudible muttering. Does the sound of your own voice comfort you? What is it you whispersoftly to yourself so no one else can hear, even though we both knowyou're the only one here? Perhaps you feel alone in crowds or evenamong friends, but this is different. It is the dark of night, andyou are alone, so keep speaking. Since the shadows you cast as youtoss about provide you no comfort, maybe your crazed ranting will. Do you wonder if others feel like this? Of course they do, but thatis no comfort. They wouldn't want to understand becauseunderstanding would make them as empty as you are now.


    Do you ever surpriseyourself anymore? What is it you're after? All those childhoodfantasies are smashed and you know the world for what it is. It is acold place, full of those who have no clue what they're doing, andthose who lie to themselves for comfort. People all trying to painttheir dull gray lives with brilliant distractions. Filling theirtime so they forget and don't have to face moments like this. So yousearch, don't you? You search for something you can feel; somethingtoo real to deny, which will make you feel alive. Nothing like thatexists.


    And those ramblingsyou're muttering, these are those ramblings. Does saying “You”instead of “I” somehow make you feel less self-centered? That’sthe rub isn’t it? That despite knowing how pointless and emptyyour life is, you can’t help but naval gaze and be totally andcompletely absorbed with your own petty problems and miseries... evenas you feel guilty for it. Don’t worry though, tomorrow you’llforget all about this. Your hunger, a catchy song, the monotonousgrind of your life. Something will distract you. Be glad you sleepso much time away. If you were awake to always think these thoughts,I doubt you'd stay sane very long. Good night.
    Hi Andrew,

    I'm not sure if it's appropriate to give feedback to the Flash Fictions (Pip?), but your piece is here in front of me, so I'll say a few words, in case you're thinking of developing this.

    I know you were going for a relaxed, rambling voice, but to me, it's not really needed. We see you're lying awake in bed, and assume your thoughts will be rambling. You'd only need to give that amount of words to establishing a voice if it was unusual; a serial-killer trying to stop himself going out onto the night streets, Einstein coming up with a new theory, a child frightened of something but we never find out what, a person in great physical pain etc.

    Here's the first paragraph (the words you don't need are in red):

    Awake again I see. Unable to sleep? Such a silent empty night. So as you lie there pondering the night, and letting your mind dig deep into dark places,which you know you'd do well to keep it from, what have you found? Perhaps you've found that life is nothing but waiting. Countless people, all waiting for something, but many unsure of what it is they're waiting for. Think of all the time you’re wasting right now. You sleep a third of your life away you know. So much time, gone. You'll never get it back. Life's too short for that. Life's too short for anything. But still, how many hours, how many years are wasted on nothing? Lying awake right now, what good is it? Life's too long when it's left so empty.

    33 excess words.

    Without them, you'll have a lot more room for story.

    Obviously, at this length, you can't have anything complex. And you meant it to be a musing type of piece. But I'd love to see it really be about something. At the moment, the loneliness feels too general. Maybe you haven't put your real self fully into it? But you haven't created another character, either. So, you're having to fall back on fuzzy concepts like 'childhood dreams being smashed', 'people living grey lives' and so on.

    One or two details could make all the difference.

    Imagine, for instance, this person has been bereaved and, a year later, is still unable to remove their loved one's belongings from the bedroom.

    See how few words it would take to insert that story? There'd be no time for generalities, because the true and urgent details would be pressing to come through.

    Anyway, things to think about. You're a talented writer. Hope this helps.

  2. #12
    I don't think it would be appropriate to really respond, or do another draft until after judging and all that, so I'll just let this sit until after that point.
    Nature is awesome.
    Translate this to Japanese
    syllables unchanged

  3. #13
    Crime Scene - 500 words


    The city streets are dark and murky just like the coffee at Old Lil’s Diner and near as cold. A light rain cries from ashen skies causing an annoying steady drip from the brim of his fedora. He hates nights like these but then he hates most nights. But here he was; another crime scene, another body in a crumpled heap amongst the garbage of a desolate alleyway. Lighting a cigarette he gazes on the lifeless mass now sprawled on the ground at his feet; blonde, slender, just like the others. Fancy dress, expensive jewelry, must be nice, but not this time, he thinks as moisture seeps through holes in his shoes, saturating his socks. It is an awful feeling, but not one he is unfamiliar with.

    It is nights like this that cause him to question why he does this. Others would have been home from the office long ago, kissing the wife, having a home-cooked meal, maybe a few beers, then off to sleep in their broken in recliners. But not him, the streets at these ungodly hours were his office and he hated it, but it’s what he does. He takes one last long draw from his smoke then twists the end until the orange ember falls to the wet ground, hissing as turns black.

    His slate grey eyes dart back and forth, observing the grisly scene in more detail than most. He searches for clues left behind, anything that might lead them to the killer. A chilled gust of wind finds the alley; he pulls his trench coat a little tighter around his body. Her purse, one of those designer names which he can barely pronounce lies on the pavement near the corpse. He shakes his head in disgust. Why do they have to flaunt their money? Don’t they know some don’t appreciate them rubbing it in their faces all of time? He recalls having similar thoughts at the last crime scene. Will they never learn?

    No, robbery wasn’t the motive; that would be evident to anyone with half a brain. Then why kill? That was always the question that battered his thoughts. Why was murder always the solution, when he figured that one out then maybe it would all make sense?

    The swish of tires against the damp pavement averts his eyes to the street. He makes a mental note; gray Ford, white walls, dent in the left fender. He checks his watch, 11:59 pm; it is almost tomorrow. Another day in this miserable city was about to arrive and for what, another dead body found in this crime ridden metropolis. One of these days he was going to give all of this up, yeah sure, one of these days.

    Returning his gaze back to the body of the young woman, he sees the fear still showing in the expression on her face and he likes it. “Wrong place, wrong time my love,” he mumbles then exits the alley in search of his next victim.
    Last edited by Chris Green; July 21st, 2017 at 06:32 PM.

  4. #14
    So is this over?
    Nature is awesome.
    Translate this to Japanese
    syllables unchanged

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewclunn View Post
    So is this over?
    Nope keep going.
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  6. #16
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    The Water Boy - 500 Words

    Glenn jumped up and down, cheering the team as they scored a touchdown. “Yeah. Yeah” he cried. “Way to go boys!” As the team headed for the sidelines, he turned and grabbed the five gallon water jug and a handful of cups. He hadn’t been on the team long, but he felt like he was a part of it now.

    As the players walked by and grabbed cups of water, he slapped them on the back. “Great play!” “Way to score!” “I’m proud of you.”

    Most of the players paid him little attention, but the fullback, Tom Davis, pumped his fist, and said, “Thanks, Glenn. I really appreciate what you do.”

    Glenn’s face lit up. He grinned from ear to ear. Very few ever talked to him like that. He turned to Tom and said, “You’re the best. Go get ‘em!”

    Ever since he’d been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, he felt different, set apart from the rest. When the coach suggested he might try being the water boy, he hesitated, unsure if he could do the job without spilling. And he didn’t want to spill. It would draw attention.

    He spent hours and hours practicing, picking up the jug, carrying it over to the sideline, setting it on the table, and pouring cup after cup after cup of water. Eventually, he managed to coordinate his jerky movements with the sway of the jug, almost like a ballerina doing a pirouette.

    Tom watched him after practice, admiring his persistence. Now that Glenn was the official water boy for the team, Tom made it a point to speak to him and encourage him. The truth was, Glenn inspired Tom to be a better player. Seeing Glenn work so hard to get the water dispensing right drove Tom to be a better player. He began staying late after practice and doing reps until Glenn finished his practice. Then, they would walk together to the locker room, talking along the way.

    One day Tom decided that the next touchdown he scored, he would give the ball to Glenn. That night, the game was really tough. They were having a hard time moving the ball, and possessions were precious. The score was 7-3 against them when the fourth quarter rolled around. Tom looked over at the sidelines. Glenn was jumping up and down, cheering his heart out, willing the team to score.

    The call was a trap play, a gambit usually good for two or three yards at best. As Tom hit the hole, he saw a linebacker headed his way. He lowered his head and bulled through the guy, coming out the other end, ball still safely tucked away. He ran hard, harder than he’d ever run in his life. Three broken tackles later, he had an open field to the end zone. As he crossed the line, the crowd roaring, he held up the ball and pointed at Glenn. “This is for you, Glenn!” he shouted. “This is for you!”
    Old retired guy working to fulfill a lifelong dream to be a published fiction author.
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  7. #17

    Because apparently not Crazy enough

    In respectful imitation of escorial.

    Once, when Geezer had been tarrying again at the Old Country Home -- up there in Absalom Town on the Neshilo -- he had got himself somehow into the habit of daily perambulations.

    One byproduct of the atomization of public communication is that the strange attractor at the heart of its chaos is more readily apparent … and the shape revealed makes any Lovecraftian Old One seem a familiar pet.

    When he made this silly writing invocation sitting over at the lakepark at a warped picnic table -- using the mechanical pencil and pocket notepad he'd decided to carry again -- an eagle briefly appeared. Not soaring but cruising steadily at low elevation.

    As if running to harbor before a squall.

    To sit outdoors in short sleeves and straw brim on a surprisingly-freshening-August-day and write meteorological metaphors of the original enervation he considered a proper occupation of retirement, although mostly it seemed unnecessarily strenuous.

    His instructors of fiction writing had discouraged the description of weather, but surely the fluid dynamics of the planet's atmosphere were of as much mythic account as any other demigod -- in the shaping of the hero's life?

    Anyone caught, however observationally, in the trendings of social media cannot help see the vagaries of the windmind on the sail of history.

    Overhead, the ox-bow currents of August's meandering jet-stream painted the bowl of the firmament in waves of gray and pale blue.

    On the way back, summer's heat returned when he got into the shelter of the bluff's south face. Climbing the shortcut back, only a few chest pangs bothered him.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  8. #18
    She looked at him, fear seeping deep into her bones, now. He begged, pleaded for this woman's mercy. He cried for her to be patient with him; a little longer was all he needed, and with patience he already wore her so thin of. Down on his knees, he was begging like a lost soul praying to their angel for guidance.
    She cried on the inside. Yes, she was definitely crying with him. He didn't know it though, how conflicted her mind had been in that moment. A taste of devine imperfections was never something she could resist, even knowing the burning after taste that followed. He was a fucked up masterpiece, and beautiful, to her. She knew the things he could give her; things that were wildly ambitious. But, flashes of past memories caressed the finer spaces of her soul and it was then she remembered all the pain and suffering he inflicted. For years, she was drowning along with him and she had willingly done so. He never seen or cared to understand the depth she went for him. So, she knelt down in front of him, wiping the tears from her face she hadn't known even escaped. With a soft whisper she told him, "When darkness falls, my love, the moon will light it's way; as it always will. But, it is never there for long because it needs to rest, too. The moon disappears to recharge for another night of a quiet fight. When darkness falls, promise me this, that you'll look up to the moon and think of me. Think of me as the guiding light who protects and quietly fights for you. But also know, I must stray to a distance that also protects me. Like the moon. Know that I'm looking at it, too. And when you no longer see me in the flesh, think of me... on the inside. Search deep inside yourself, for memories--not lost, but hidden and confined. Open up and feel. Please, my love?" She stood, letting go of his hands. He cried, cusping his face. She turned to walk, tears began to fall. But she never looked back. She had to save herself.

  9. #19

    When the Mud dries (418 words) (Language Warning)

    When the Mud dries

    “I can’t believe that it’s come to this,” thought Jesse Lee. “I’m gonna die in this shithole, alone, with no one to shed a tear or offer me any comfort when the end comes. I’m scared shitless! Oh shit! What if God really exists? If He, She, or whatever it is, does, then that means there’s a Heaven and a goddamn Hell as well. If there is, I’m fucked. I’ll be thrown in hell to burn in hellfire or freeze in the Ice Mountains. What a cosmic joke, to be dying in excruciating pain in the middle of nowhere with my guts hanging out only to be plagued with eternal damnation rather than the sweet nothingness of oblivion. What’s a sin infested girl to do? Wait! Wait! That Old Catholic in me recalls God’s ‘Catch 22’. I think I have a way into heaven. I’ll plead for redemption. If He’s as all merciful as they say He is, then He’s got no choice but to forgive me if I’m sincere. Right now with hell facing me for eternity, I’m as fucking sincere as I’ll ever be.”

    In a strained and pained voice barely above a whisper, Jesse said,Oh God, please forgive me for my sins. I’m truly sorry for being a whore, killer and a mean assed bitch. I’ve led a corrupt life and enjoyed every bit of it, but have now seen the error of my ways. I beg of you, don’t send me to the devil’s house; let me sing along with the angels and lick on your divine mother fucking toes till the end of time.”

    The Angel of Death stared into God’s light and said, “Which road do I take her on ‘My Grace’. She’s led a scandalous and debauched life. She’s even said that she enjoyed every bit of it. I see no regret in her soul for a life poorly led and she makes no bones about why she’s asking for redemption. But she is sincere even though her reasoning is self serving. Normally I’d slot her to hell but her plea has some teeth to it. I’m in a quandary and need you to make the final decision on this one.”

    God’s light flickered for a moment and then IT’s light shone bright. In a melodic and sonorous voice GOD said, “Send her to my house. My toes haven’t been licked in eons.”

    God’s laughter was heard throughout all the heavens and hells in the Multi-verse.
    Nature weeps, the devil sings
    at mans greed and pride
    and what it brings

    Just lots of useless
    little things

  10. #20
    The Probe (422 words)

    "So, you want to tell me exactly what it is I am looking at?"

    "A freighter pick it up about three cycles ago, they thought it was a piece of debris." Nallon looked at the strange object that hung from one of the service cranes in the hanger, it was slightly larger than he was tall, pocked and pitted with micro-craters from deep space ice crystals. Two long, flat panels protruded from two sides of the object, and another side was adorned in a dish. "It's obviously some kind of probe." He said, looking at Kalo, who was Turing the probe around on its mount.

    "Our job isn't to inspect every random bit of junk that gets hurled into space." Nallon said, irritated that his time was being taken up by this seemingly pointless task.

    "I know sir, but it's not the probe that's interesting, it's what's on it, and why I requested your presence here." Kalo replied, adjusting the probe so that it's far side was now facing Nallon. "Have a look at this." Kallon said, and pointed at a dull golden plate mounted onto the probe. Nallon gave it a closer look, the disk depicted two bipedal beings, completely bald but for a patch on their heads. The being on the right had odd swellings on its chest, and had a longer patch of hair. The left being seemed to have its upper limb raised in some sort of gesture.

    "Ugly suckers, aren't they?" He said, directing his three eyes at Kalo, "Do you suppose it is a greeting?" Kalo help up one of his upper arms and made a Y-shape with the three claws of his hand. "Every young Glorkin knows that this is the greeting gesture, sir." He said. "Whoever these...aliens are, they do not seem to know proper Glorkin etiquette."

    "Then they are not blessed, it would seem to me." Kallon said, crossing his mandibles in smugness. "Kalo, I want everyone at their stations, I want the FTL drives spun up and I want all our fighters fueled and ready. We are going to pay these aliens a visit." Kallon then proceeded out of the hanger and towards the bridge. Kalos noticed several workers had stopped their tasks to listen to the conversation. "All you, you heard the Captain, get to work, we have an invasion to carry out." He said, trying his best to disguise the unease he felt in himself, somehow he believed that these aliens would not submit to Glorkin law without a fight.




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