Lean and Mean Prize- Flash Fiction Challenge 09/02/19

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Thread: Lean and Mean Prize- Flash Fiction Challenge 09/02/19

  1. #1

    Lean and Mean Prize- Flash Fiction Challenge 09/02/19

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    *Please read this post entirely before submitting a story to the challenge*

    This week’s contest opens as soon as the clock turns to Monday, US Central Standard Time (12:01 a.m.)

    It closes at the very end of the next Sunday, US Central Standard Time (11:59 p.m.)

    This week’s prompt: The Afterlife


    Each week’s winner will receive a $5 Amazon gift voucher, upon providing their email address to Ma'am by (PM) Private Message.


    Contests will run weekly for one year, providing there’s enough interest to keep them going.

    Stories can be up to 1,000 words, not including the title. Any that go over that will be disqualified.


    One entry per person.

    In the interests of fairness this is an anonymous challenge.
    Your entry must be submitted anonymously and therefore should be PMed to me, Ma'am, so that I may post it for you. Please be sure to indicate in your PM on which board you prefer your work posted, PUBLIC orSECURE. I am responsible for linking all entries posted on the secure board to public board.

    ***VERY IMPORTANT*** Kindly make sure your entry is properly formatted and error free before you PM it to me as you will be unable to edit your work once I have posted it. If your work requires a disclaimer, please inform me in your submission PM.


    Do not post comments in this thread

    If you would like to retain your first publication rights remember to request your entry be posted on the dedicated secure challenge board “Lean and Mean' Prize Flash Fiction.”

    Likes and comments are not allowed on the contest threads until the challenge has closed.However, comments, chit-chat and general banter IS allowed in the Challenge Café.Please include the appropriate “warnings” with your story title, if appropriate, for language, sex, violence, etc. Erotica, sexually explicit stories (pornography), or fanfic is not allowed.

    As per WF rules:

    All work entered in the challenge must be your own.

    Obscene Material and Gratuitous Violence:
    Such material is not allowed. What is considered overtly pornographic or otherwise obscene is decided by the staff and is not open to debate. It will be removed immediately. Any description or depiction of child sexual abuse is not only considered obscene, it is a reportable crime in many jurisdictions. Repeat offenders will be permanently banned.

    Strong or explicit language, Mature themes Disclaimers:
    Infrequent and context-appropriate strong language and mature themes are allowed and a warning must be included with the entry.

    Post Titles:
    Post titles must be G rated, which means strong language or descriptions of violence or sexual activities are not permitted.Stories must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. US Central Time on the Sunday night that the week’s contest ends. Entries submitted after this time will disqualified.


    As soon as a weekly contest closes to entries, a poll will be posted and voting begins.

    Voting is open to all WF members.

    Voting for your own story is NOT allowed. Doing so will result in disqualification.

    In the event of a tie, a second vote will be held to determine the winner.


    Please refer to the prompt thread for the full list of prompts.
    Last edited by Ma'am; September 2nd, 2019 at 05:01 PM.

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  5. #5

    The Dazzling Darkness
    (Language and Violence Warnings)


  6. #6

    Life 2

    Like a number of homeless people in the winter of ’23, Billy Skudge died of hypothermia. His last sight was of snowflakes settling in his scraggly grey beard, while Chicagoans passed by with heads down and thoughts turned inwards, uncaring.

    He’d seen it all before, in a lifetime of disappointments. Figures, was his last thought.


    “… think he’s back with us. Brad? My darling, can you hear me?”

    “Wh-what?” Billy struggled to open his eyes. Something was very different. He was no longer cold, for starters. More than that, though – his bones were free of stiffness, his muscles of soreness. Beyond a little fogginess of the brain, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so good. He got his eyes open, blinking against the light. “Where am I? Hospital?”

    “No,” came a female voice at his elbow, melodic and accented. “I would never let you face this in a Merging Institute like a common man. “You’re in your home.”

    “Let him look around,” said an elderly man from the far side of the room. “His new memories may be overwhelming him.”

    Billy’s vision was clear now, and everything he saw was beautiful. He was in a bedroom that might easily have graced the most opulent palace in the world, full of vast murals and elegant curtains. These last were drawn aside to show yellow sands and blue seas. At his side sat a young woman of scintillating allure – hair like spun silk, skin a natural golden brown.

    “Who are you?” he asked, heart pounding. “Is this a dream?”

    A gentle laugh from the opposite side of the room. “No dream.” A man in a white coat stepped forwards. “I’m Dr. Carter. Welcome to your second life! From your point of view, I imagine you’ve just died, Yes? You remember? Well, that was thirty years ago. At that moment, your soul crossed the veil into Earth 2, and joined a new body. It’s the same for everyone – you live your early years with no knowledge of who you were back on Earth 1. Then, on the occasion of your thirtieth birthday, the memories flood back, and you become the merger of two lifetimes of experiences.”

    This was all rather a lot to take in. And yet, his surroundings did seem familiar now, as he looked at them. He’d slept in this bed before; he’d seen this woman before.

    The walls were tumbling in his mind. “Nova! Nova Iniesta – you’re my wife. We’re actors. And me, I’m…” Heart racing now, he scrambled out of bed and dashed to an elegant full-length mirror across the room.

    “Don’t overstrain yourself,” cautioned the doctor, but Billy barely heard him. He stood with mouth open, staring at the handsome, square-jawed features which greeted him in the looking glass. He was tanned and muscular; his blond hair and blue eyes, he now remembered, had graced magazine covers the world over.

    “Brad Rockman! That’s me! I’m the biggest star in the world … I’m worth billions! Ha!” He rubbed at his chest; it was giving him a little pain, but he hardly cared. “Finally, I’m getting what I’ve always deserved, Billy Skudge is dead, dead, dead and there’s only Brad and I’m perfect and you’re perfect, and my life’s perfect and my body’s perfect!”

    “That last one isn’t quite true,” said the doctor, holding up a cautioning hand. “If your memories are returning, you’ll know that you’re susceptible to cardiac complaints, and the merging of memories increases the risk of- please don’t do that!”

    Brad was cartwheeling along the plush carpet of his bedroom, exulting in his body, a body that was young and strong. Then he spotted Nova again, and began to think about exulting in her body too. First, though, he needed to lie down, as there was a squeezing in his chest and a strange feeling inside him, as though his insides were filling up with water.

    Both Nova and Carter ran to him, horror on their faces. He was aware of the doctor opening up a medical bag and rummaging frantically inside, of tears running down Nova’s dimpled cheeks.

    Don’t worry, he said. This is the life I’ve earned. It’s not going to be taken away from me now.

    But the words sounded only in his head, and when he blinked his eyes to clear them, they didn’t open again.


    Brad groaned and opened his eyes; with an effort, he forced himself to sit up, clammy sheets falling away onto the floor. First impressions of his newest location were less than positive. Crowded, dingy, cold. There were people groaning and coughing all about him, while a handful of overworked nurses moved from bed to bed, speaking in low, professional turns.

    A sign opposite him declared, “Detroit Merging Institute,” and below that, “Welcome to your third life please remain where you are until your memories return.”

    Brad’s memories were returning already. His fat, bulging stomach looked familiar, as did his tobacco-stained fingers. The name Fred Dibbins felt like it fit him – he could recall it being shouted at him in shrill feminine tones.

    With a sigh, Fred sank back into his bed.

    “Figures,” he said.

  7. #7

    Persephone's Shame

    1,000 words

    Persephone watched with her husband as the mortal stole in through the river Acheron and into the underworld. She laughed as the mortal fooled Charon, gasped at how she distracted Cerberus with bones from the divine table and quivered as the mortal faced the Erinyes. Hades seemed amused at the incursion, though she knew he would not tolerate it for long.
    This mortal will now never know death, Persephone thought, even though she will come to wish for it. Despite the futility of the labour, she could not help but admire the mortal’s bravery. As foolish as this woman was, it would be a shame to see her blighted by her husband. She would just have to turn her head when the time came.
    Tomyris limped onwards through the world of shadow. If she stopped now, even for a second, she feared the terror of the Erinyes would catch up to her.

    “Who dares disturb my domain?” a chill voice broke through the darkness.

    “I am Tomyris and shall have my child returned.”

    Laughter rang out as a large hall faded into sight. All around were statues of the Olympians: here Hephaustus at his forge, there Athena with her bronze shield. High upon a balcony, lording above them all stood a figure, still laughing as he began to speak.

    “So you are the mortal who carried Zeus’ child. I should have known, you have something about you.”

    “He stole my chastity, but he gave me a child in return. I will have her back.”

    “Hera gave the child to me. Her soul will be sacrificed to placate Hera’s wrath. Mine will be a deal harder to calm.”

    As he spoke he swept an arm before him and a pyre appeared. Atop was a cradle, from which a baby wailed.

    “She is mine!” screamed Tomyris as she launched herself towards the pyre. No flames yet kindled, she had time.

    Hades leapt down and charged towards her. Tomyris took her double-headed axe and with a swing and a clash met the twin prongs of Hades’ bident.

    “Such audacity for a mortal.” Hades said as he swung the bident towards Tomyris who rolled out of the way with a finger span to spare. Any mortal would have left himself exposed after such a move, but Hades was grounded, preventing Tomyris from countering. Instead she circled, hoping that time or fate would intervene on here behalf.

    “The dead do not well tolerate the glow of life among them,” said Hades, at ease, “I will let them finish you after I have had my fill.”

    He lunged faster than Tomyris could react, the butt of the bident crashing into her ribs, sending her sprawling. Despite the pain of shattered ribs she leapt back to her feet, just in time to parry another blow.

    Blows were traded; the uneven exchange of a beggar and a merchant at market. Sometimes she blocked or dodged, other times the blows landed cruelly. The fight lasted for what seemed eons to Tomyris, but was but the blinking of an eye to the gods. Then, after one riposte she landed too close to Hades. Fingers of ice pierced through her leather jerkin to seize her breast and with the other hand he brought down the bident. Flesh ripped from her chest.

    Tomyris collapsed to the floor. Her scream was met by that of her baby, and she found the strength to regain her feet, blood gushing down her. Hades had turned his back upon her, sauntering towards the pyre with a faggot in hand. She threw her axe at his back. Apparently he expected nothing from her, for the twin blades crashed into his shoulder, sending the flame scattering to the floor.

    “Such insolence,” Hades roared as he turned and flew toward her. The bident soared up to crash down upon her: Tomyris could only raise her arm in paltry defence. But instead of sundering her arm, there was a clash. A bronze shield had appeared in her arm, protecting her from the fatal blow.

    “Enough!” came a voice, as Persephone stepped between Tomyris and Hades.

    “What madness is this that causes a wife to disobey her husband.”

    “A madness I should have known long ago.” replied Persephone, both thrilled and terrified by her open defiance. “You cannot defeat this mortal.”

    “Cannot defeat her? Are you blind my dear wife? But for your ill-advised intervention she would already be vanquished.”

    “Vanquish her body you might. Flail her spirit. Trample her mind. But her heart is indomitable. Look how she rises from every blow. I never thought to see a phoenix bless the underworld.” Persephone admired the strength of this mortal, even if her flesh could not match her spirit. It was not madness but shame that spurred Persephone to intervene.

    “Your praise is irrelevant. She has intruded upon my domain, and she will pay.”

    “Your domain? I think not, my dear husband. Hera intruded upon my domain by bringing the child here. I will now exert my will upon my domain.”

    They locked eyes, Hades with his chest out. But this time she would not bend. If a mortal could stand up to him, how much more so should she.

    Hades looked away first. “Hera will not tolerate this. You will have to deal with her alone.”

    “Fine. It is time Hera turned her wrath to her husband instead of blaming the women he defiles.”

    Persephone turned to Tomyris, pride preventing her from sighing before the mortal.

    “Go now and take your child. Hera’s vengeance will be upon you, but so too my blessing. Take the cradle, like all things taken from the underworld, it will be invisible above, even to Hera.”

    Persephone watched as the battered and bleeding Tomyris rose to her feet, climbed the pyre and took her child, putting it to her remaining breast, even as the other still bled, and bowed in gratitude. Tomyris left the underworld, her body utterly broken, her spirit utterly triumphant.

  8. #8
    This week's challenge is now closed.

    I'll put its voting poll up as soon as that function is enabled.

    ETA: The voting poll is up now. Good luck, everyone.

    Also, please vote!
    Last edited by Ma'am; September 9th, 2019 at 07:17 AM. Reason: update


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