Friday, November 30, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--End of an Era

 Everything Changes  

"Are you sure you want to open that? Once you know, you can never go back."

"I have to know."

"Yes, but when? Now?"

"Why not now?"

"Why not in a day or two. Think about things first. Decide what you want, and what you'll do if it's not what you hoped."

"That's the difference between you and me. I don't start hoping until I know. How can I know what to hope for? Until I open it, there's just this big black hole of thoughts. It not only keeps me from making any progress with this, but it sucks in neighboring thoughts too, distracting me, keeping me form being productive at anything else! I need to do this."

"I guess we are different."

"You want me to open it but not tell you anything until you're ready?"

"No, I can't handle that kind of pressure. Not knowing is one thing, but not knowing and knowing you know? Insufferable."

"Fine. Do you need a minute?"

"Wait, now?"

"Yes, now!"

"...I'm ready."

"It's a girl."

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"Figureheads of State."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Battle Scars


He lay on his back in the center of a large slab table under several blindingly bright lights, trying to relax. The thin sheet barely shielded his body from the chill in the air, though at this point, the feeling was gone from his extremities anyway, so he didn't see how it mattered. As long as he could keep from shivering, it shouldn't affect their ability to address his wounds.

An attendant happened by with a tray of drinks. "How are you holding up?"
"Can you put the headphones in my ears? It helps me stay still."
"Of course," she smiled kindly, sympathetic to his situation. "Good luck with it today. Did you want me to adjust the glasses too?" "No, they're good. Thanks." "They'll be here soon. Press the button if you need me." Finally, the team of technichians arrived. He had come to know them well, and gave a slight nod at Caroline's gentle alert--her arm on his shoulder. "We're ready to begin, Adam. Remember it's imperative you keep as still as you can." "I know. We've done this enough times by now."

"You'll be fine," she comforted him. "Do you need anything to help you relax?" "I've got the music; I'm fine for now."

"Just say the word if you need anything. You remember my assistants?"

"Hey guys, good to be back. If anyone has to see this much of me, I'm glad it's you." The whole room chuckled. "I'm going to lift the sheet. We'll spend about thirty minutes mapping the incision points. Then we'll discuss the burns. Once we're confident in our plan, we'll begin. Please do fall asleep, if you can. Everything will go more smoothly." He did fall asleep, and awoke again nearly five hours later, stiff and sore, but amazed at his transformation; they had done it again. As impressive as their work was, he was quietly grateful this was that last day they were scheduled to reshoot the battle scenes, and for the rest of this year, or maybe his life, he'd never have to wear that much makeup again.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"end of an era."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Three Strikes

three leaf Clover


In a way, we were lucky.

They say the thing you spend time worrying about never happens to you. It’s lots of somethings much smaller, or rarely, something much, much worse. But sometimes, it’s exactly what you’ve worried about for years, and you’ve rehearsed how to react, how to help, a thousand times in your mind. It’s just that doing everything right doesn’t always amount to enough, in the end.

In a way, we were lucky.

They say most marriages don’t survive the death of a child, but ours was already long over. I can remember thinking that the infidelity and the divorce was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. 

How funny, he was always looking for ways to fix us, to undo the separation, to have his dad back, to call him 'ours' again. Ironic that he actually succeeded... that for a minute, she meant nothing to him, because she could not fathom his loss. I could. It was mine too.

In a way, we are lucky. 

He'll never have to see what we couldn't be without him.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"battle scars."

Read Esther's submission.
Read Jeffery's submission.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pictures of Parenting

 A man illustrates the weird things he finds himself having to say to his children. Find his Flickr here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday--Tall Order

Natural Selection


Narrow slits in the simple structure displayed the piercing light as the governing star rose on Nuven. He hadn't slept at all.

Deep breath. Eighteen intervals of training. You'd suppose he'd feel ready. He didn't.

He wasn't born a hero. They tried to make him one. Today all would see, once and for all, if they had done.

Gravity would be different there, they said. Bone density and DNA mutations over centuries of living here... there was no way to know how it would affect us all. "That's why we have to send you. We have to know if we can go back."

"We used to be taller, much taller," they explained. "According to our research..." the details of his training flitted through his mind on fast-forward. It was all best-guesses. It was all theory... and it would all be tested. On his body, on his mind, their hypotheses would be measured. He tried again to drown out the overwhelming sense of chaos ruling his thoughts.

The campaign to select a candidate for travel lasted fifty revolutions while they waited, patiently searching for the perfect choice: a completely average, unremarkable individual with nothing to lose. They'd found him. "If you succeed, if you arrive and report with great news; the rewards will be beyond measure!" They used their best development technologies to transform him. "An investment into our future!" all decried. He doubted they would get their money's worth.

He silently rose and dressed quickly, racing against the chill of the early morning. He would report early; there was no use delaying any longer. Whatever fate was written for him would reveal itself in precious few hours.

He passed through the tunnels, his pace deliberate, from the retaining quarters into the launch deck. The team preparing the vessel was already hard at work. NSH Kestrel was ready to fly, but as he boarded and took his place at the enveloping seat at it's center, he couldn't help but feel more like the field mouse than the falcon.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"three strikes."

Read Robert's submission.
Read Keri's submission.
Read Kindra's submission.

Read Jeffery's submission.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday -- Basketball Socks

Sir or Madam


When I was a kid, my dad had kind of a soft spot for traditions. Except, not the traditions you'd think. Other families did things because the parents' own family had done it, like Christmas trees and Turkey on Thanksgiving; my dad had a bit of a different experience in boyhood, having been raised in a small community (read: a seclusive cult on a mountain). So, when he became a father he had a lot of deciding to do. 'How does the rest of the world (not on the mountain) go about life? What are we gonna keep sacred around here?'

His answer: firsts. He tasted ice cream for the first time when Mom had a craving for it, pregnant with my older brother. Thirty six years old, the man had his first ice cream. After that, he was hooked. He wanted a new first all the time, and he wanted to be there for every first of ours. He stayed at home and Mom worked, so he could raise us, and witness and keep them all in his head--every first. And once he'd decided a first was worth celebrating, it became permanent.

My first Halloween to be old enough to choose my own costume was when I turned five. I went as a home-made dinosaur. We were almost ready to go when Dad instructed, "Son, you'll need a place to hold the candy. Grab a sock." I bolted back to the linen closet, knowing just what I'd choose; he had a set of three pair of long basketball socks for when he played with his buddies every first and third Saturday morning. I carefully laid all of them side by side, to see which had stretched the most, and chose the biggest one. I brought my selection back outside, where they were already waiting. Dad turned and beamed at me, paused a second, then beamed bigger. He took my sock, wrote my name in permanent marker across the rim, and passed it back to me, turning to lead us into the candy-grabbing adventure of our dreams. It wasn't until I saw James' pillow case, with his name also scribbled in Dad's handwriting across the side, that I realized he had said to choose a sack, not a sock. It was too late now, though. This was my first choice on my first Halloween, and I knew I would never escape it. He respected the firsts too much.

I guess that's how I got here. To manage your jelly bean factory, I would pull upon years of experience at never eating as much candy as I want.

Thank you for taking the time to read my cover letter. I hope you'll consider me for the position.

Want to make one of your own? Next week's prompt is, 

"tall order."

Read Kindra's submission.
Read Jenari's submission.
Read Jeffery's submission.
Read Keri's submission.

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