Flash Fiction Friday: Story #8

Flash Fiction Friday # 8 prompt:

This week’s Flash Fiction prompt is brought to you by crazy Matt D of Fireflies in the Clouds fame.

99 Word Horror Contest sponsored by Matt D

Write 99 words on Halloween or Horror. Not 98, not 100, and the title doesn’t count.

“A Binding Ceremony”

Jack fought the urge to scratch his neck. He could barely breathe through the mask, but Layla had insisted he wear it for the ceremony – her family’s tradition.

Then he heard the priest say, “… pronounce you husband and wife.” Relief. Finally, he could take the mask off and kiss his bride.

Jack gave a tug. Nothing. He moved his fingers to the edges. Nothing!

His panicked feeling grew. Where was the seam!

Someone brushed his shoulder. He turned around. His new mother-in-law smiled at him, her mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.

“Welcome to the family,” she growled.

(This is 99 words according to Word 2003.)

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Flash Fiction Friday: Story #7

The future home of Story #7 in which a romantic story revolves around an alien, parasitic, first love triangle and cooties. Yes, that’s right. Cooties. Let’s call it an Intergalactic Romantic Comedy.

Flash Fiction Friday: Story #6

Flash Fiction Friday # 6 prompt:

Write a story between 400 – 500 words based in the most famous television series that never was… Hiatus.

I am so excited about this challenge. I can’t believe I get to write fanfiction about my favorite show of all time. As some of you might or might not know, I am the biggest Hiatus fan ever. Well… okay… not as big as the nu… er… guy who started the Save Hiatus website, but I’ve loved every episode that was ever aired, and I even have some of the non-aired episodes downloaded on to my computer. That’s right. Eat your heart out. I have the ones about the Zombie Wars that forced the first crew of the A.D. Venture to head off into space. I am so cool. Anyways, that’s what my fanfiction is all about. Hope you like it. Save Hiatus!

(And yes, I suck. This is much longer than 500 words, but I just couldn’t cut anymore.)

“In Space, Women Are More Dangerous Than Guns”

LeAnne Wilkes had spent most of the morning sleeping in and then watching her favorite series on the Net when the first reports of the zombie attacks began streaming into the small embedded chip behind her left ear and into her neural link. At first, she hadn’t believed any of it. One of her colleagues from the Space Corp Recruitment Office had to be playing a trick on her. Or, perhaps it had been one of the new “Scrots”, Space Corp Trainees, messing with her transmitter. She had quickly flipped to the News Net to find more information. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. People being torn a part and running every which way, trying to get away from the walking dead. LeAnne had seen enough late night horror movies to know what she needed to do. Without changing out of her sheer, almost see-through nightgown, she grabbed her boots and the baseball bat her younger brother had once jokingly said would save her life and headed out the door to the one place she figured would be safe — Space Corps Headquarters.

Now, LeAnne found herself huddled among a rag-tag band group on board the spaceship “A.D. Venture” barrelling away from the only home they had ever known – Earth. What worried LeAnne now wasn’t the fact that they had no idea where they were heading or that the man who seemed to be leading them would have been tagged as “unfit” to join the Corp, but that she could have sworn she’d seen a young boy with a bite wound on his neck come aboard while everyone else had rushed through the bulkhead doors.

Clutching her prized bat close to her chest, she pushed her way through the throng toward the outskirts. She didn’t want to be caught in the crowd with the boy. Twice she felt hands grope her chest and butt and twice she pushed her bat into a few crotches. “Glad to know we still got our priorities,” she muttered under her breath.

As she emerged from the crowd, she looked for signs of the boy. Nothing. All she saw were the scared faces of her fellow passengers. “But where were the two men who had lead them inside the ship,” she wondered. She headed back down the hallway they had all just come. She hoped the two were down there and still alive.

LeAnne hadn’t gotten far when she heard the muffled screams and rushed toward the sounds brandishing her bat. She turned the corner and beaned one of the two men. She could see the other struggling for his life with a small figure. The boy was no longer human; he had turned.

“What the hell! Huh.” said the man she just knocked down.

She looked at him as he rubbed the growing bump on his head and looked up at her. It was a look she’d seen a thousand times before. The look of someone in love.

“Herschel, this is no time to be getting some tail. Help me. The kid’s a freakin’ vampire” screamed the other man.

“Oh right, huh.” Herschel said as he turned his attentions back to his friend.

LeAnne watched in amazement as Herschel stood up and pulled out a gun from his waistband. He aimed it at the small figure, ready to fire.

“Was he an idiot?” she thought. Bringing a gun on a spaceship. LeAnne knocked him to the ground once again and swung her bat at the boy’s body. Its small zombie body slammed against the outer bulkhead doors.

For a moment, she thought she had killed it, but she watched in horror as it shook its head and sprung at her. She swung the bat again, this time hitting the head. She kept swinging until its head was a bloody mass. She could feel the breakfast she had eating just that morning rise in her throat, but she forced it back down. She turned and faced the two stunned men.

“Why the hell did you knock me down? I could have shot it in the head. Huh.”

“Huh?” LeAnne replied dumbfounded. Didn’t the idiot realize shooting a gun on a spaceship was dangerous.

“Are you stupid? Huh.” asked Herschel, not so sure that the vision he saw in front of him was smart.

“Don’t worry. That’s just how he talks. My name is Motorhead, and he’s Herschel Jackson,” said the man she had just saved. He slowly stood up and took her free hand.

“Thanks for saving my ass.” He shook it vigorously, and LeAnne couldn’t help, but think he was doing it to see her chest shake a bit.

“Sure. No problem.”

“Why did you knock him down?” he asked as he checked his neck.

“You can’t just go shooting a gun on a spaceship. A bullet goes through the hull, and blam, we’d all be dead.”

“Ah, yeah. Good thinking then. Huh.” Herschel said sheepishly. Maybe she wasn’t so dumb after all.

“Yeah. Good thinking.” LeAnne took a better look at the man she had dubbed an idiot. It dawned on her where she had seen him before. He and Motorhead had been the ones she had seen outside the Space Corps Headquarters when she had heard the gunshot. They were also the ones who had gotten them inside the spaceship.

“My name is LeAnne,” she held out her hand to shake Herschel’s hand. Herschel took it and shook it vigorously, his eyes staring straight down.

LeAnne frowned. Now that the present danger had passed, she needed to find a better outfit to wear, preferably one that covered her better. LeAnne pulled her nightgown tight over her chest and adjusted the bat in her hand.

“Well boys, I am gonna find me some decent clothes and checkout the Flight Nav.”

“The Flight Nav? Huh.” LeAnne could see that Herschel looked a bit confused. This wasn’t boding well for the rest of the people on board.

“Yeah, the place where the automatic flight sequencer is. We have no idea where this bucket of bolts is taking us. And, I for one would like to find out.”

“That sounds like a pretty good idea. I could help you out with that,” said Motorhead. Suddenly, he teetered forward right into LeAnne’s chest. He quickly pushed himself off. Smack. LeAnne hit him with her hand holding the bat. He went teetering the other way and slid down the wall, unconscious.

“Hey. What the hell is that? Huh.” said Herschel as he kneeled down to check on Motorhead.

“That was my reaction to someone gettin’ fresh…”

“No… no. The ship’s rocking back and forth. Huh.” LeAnne watched Herschel steady himself. It dawned on her that Motorhead might not have meant to fall face first into her chest.

“Why ain’t you shakin’? Well, much anyways. Huh.” LeAnne could see the growing smirk cover Herschel’s face as he eyed her chest. She pulled her nightgown even tighter.

“I’m used to all this. I was getting ready to head into space in one of these in a few months. Guess I got the early pass. ” LeAnne chuckled and tapped one of the pipes that jutted out of the wall.

“We practiced in simulators all the time.”

“Really. So you know what’s happening then?” asked Motorhead, who was just waking up from her smack.

“Well…” for the first time LeAnne was at a loss. “I think. I think it might be…” She wracked her brain for an answer. She was sure she’d been through a simulation like this before.

“Well hurry up and figure it out. I think I am gonna be sick.” LeAnne could see Motorhead turning green. Suddenly, she knew what was happening. She dropped her bat and began running for the Flight Nav.

“Where the hell are you going? Huh.” Herschel yelled at her. She could hear both of them scrambling to keep up with her. She passed the huddled masses and rounded the corner to where the ship’s crew would have steered the ship. She quickly surveyed the Comm area and sat in the Nav seat. She ran her fingertips across the panel and the ship’s viewing screen flashed to life.

She pointed to the screen. “It’s an ion storm, boys. Hang on. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”

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Flash Fiction Friday: Story #5

Flash Fiction Friday # 5 prompt:

Write a story less than 1,000 words based on the picture below:

Flash Fiction #5 Prompt - Snake Mask Picture

“Medusa’s Child”

Ellie sat in front of her computer terminal, her eyes watered from her unblinking gaze. The code on the screen listed endlessly as she slowly scrolled through it searching for the failing section. It was her needle in the proverbial haystack.

“Almost got it,” she said to no one as she leaned back and rubbed her eyes. She had been alone in the lab for awhile, but she hadn’t noticed up until a few hours before when hunger pains had finally forced her to retreat from the glow of the screen. Her dinner had been a bag of stale pretzels she was sure had not seen natural light since the early days of C and a cup of hot tea from the student lounge down the hall. Let the others rot their brains with soda and potato chips.

It had pained her to leave even for those few moments; the program was her life – her academic life. Yet, she had hoped that the few moments staring at something other than her code would bring new focus. But, there had been nothing. No eureka moment. No flashes of light other than the incessant flickering of the fluorescent ones above. There had to be something she wasn’t seeing.

Ellie hunched forward again to pick through the code in front of her. She could hear her mother’s voice telling her she needed to sit up straight and, while she was at it, brush her hair. She unconsciously ran her free hand through the matted mess. Suddenly, she saw it and a twinge of understanding lit her eyes. Her fingers began typing furiously, every now and then hitting two keys simultaneously, insuring nothing would be lost. She could not afford to lose it, not like the last time.

Hours passed before Ellie finally pushed her chair away from the terminal in triumph. She stroked the keyboard one last time to save it. This time she was done and all her work would pay off. Had to pay off. No one believed that mixing artificial intelligence, aspects of virtual reality and game theory, and above all mythology was worthy of her time, especially not the professors who had seen her brilliance in her freshman year. They called it “a game”, but she knew it was more than just game.

The title on the screen stared back at her. Medusa’s Child. She smiled to herself. It was silly, but the idea of naming her pride and joy after one of her favorite myths was just too delicious to pass up. She thought it was a fitting name since her program’s inaugural debut was the myth about Medusa and Perseus. However, it wasn’t Perseus and his gods that interested her. It was Medusa and her sister Gorgons.

“Now she would give the myth a better ending,” she thought.

Ellie got up and stretched her legs. She turned to the row of locked cabinets on the opposite side of the lab. The program was ready. She was ready. Why not.

She walked toward her marked cabinet and pulled out the painted key she kept around her neck on a silver chain. She inserted it and heard the small click. Opening the door, she saw the shadow of a nondescript thing – a burlap sack. Ellie pulled it out and placed it on the counter before her. She looked around the room. For some odd reason, she felt someone watching her, but dismissed it as nerves.

“I’m alone. No one can stop me. I’ll be fine.” She couldn’t help, but repeat the words over and over to herself as she lifted the object out of the sack, using it as a cushion. In front of her, was the ugliest mask she had ever seen. She had thought it a novelty item when she had bought it in the Greek Isles so long ago. The vacation had been her mother’s present to her for finishing her first year of college; something she had not been able to accomplish due to Ellie’s birth. But, since then, Ellie had discovered the mask held secrets.

Ellie looked over the mask. The jumble of snakes that jutted out of the green-tinged head stared at her. She carefully examined a small pack of electronics she had attached to the mask’s backside, making sure it was secure. She picked up the mask and stared into the large, bottomless eyes in the front. She stuck out her tongue, mimicking its facial expression as she carried it over to her terminal.

Balancing the mask in one arm, she reached around the terminal to the jumble of wires at the back. She couldn’t help, but notice the similarities between her terminal and the mask. She had hid behind the machine for most of her time at the college, never allowing others get close. The mask acted in the same way.

She hooked the wires to the electronic interface and punched a couple of keys. She waited for the last dialogue box to appear before placing the mask over her head. She felt her hair catch in the back, but with one good tug, it was on. She winced as some them were pulled out.

At first, Ellie panicked. She hadn’t thought about the lack of eye holes. “Thank goodness there was a hole for breathing,” she thought, but she could feel the claustrophobia setting in. She awkwardly searched her keyboard with one hand while the other balanced the mask on her shoulders. It wasn’t a heavy thing, but the halo of snakes made it cumbersome. She felt for the “Enter” key and took a deep breath. “Here goes everything.”

Ellie pushed the button.

The next morning the cleaning crew found Ellie slumped over the terminal unconscious and barely breathing. The mask had falling unto the floor opposite the monitor. Small scratch marks were found along its bottom edge. They called for an ambulance, and as the EMTs worked on her, they discovered small bite marks all around her neck.

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Flash Fiction Friday: Story #4 (Coming Soon)

This will remain blank for now. Story coming soon.

Flash Fiction Friday: Story #3

Flash Fiction Friday Prompt #3 (750 – 1,000 words):

“…write the very worst short story, between 750 and 1000 words, you can. Must contain at least three of the following words: putrefy, jewellery, encephalogram, aardvark, banana, and zombie. Extra points for using all of them. Yes, I know I’m evil, why do you ask? 😀

Cliches are nearly required, as are excessive use of adverbs, sentence fragments, run on sentences… Extra points if you include the opening phrase “It was a dark and stormy night…“”

“It’s Always Better to Take the Gun”

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

“You cannot start the log that way!”

“Why can’t I? Huh.”

“Well for one thing, we are in space.”

“So what? Huh.”

“There is no night in space.”

“Well duh. Space is dark. Night is dark. And, we did go through an ion storm. Huh.”

“You’re an idiot,” Motorhead said angrily. He hated when Herschel said anything that made any sense. Well sense to an aardvark, but sense none the less. And, he hated that he almost always ended anything he said with ‘Huh’. It was as if he was challenging someone to a duel.

“Um… excuse me. Who is the one that saved your butt? Huh.”

“You did.”

“That’s right. So let me finish my captain’s log. Huh.”

Motorhead shook his head and walked to the bulkhead doors, he waited for them to open. They always took a second more than normal to open and what seemed like milliseconds to close. He was sure the doors had it in for the people on the ship. Finally, they opened up, and he quickly strode through the archways. Swoosh. Slam. He barely had enough time to get his heels through.

“Hah. Not this day. Not again.”

Motorhead continued down the ship’s hallways toward his bunk, limping slightly from his second time through the doors.

He entered his bunk and flopped into his cot. He thought about how he had ended up on a spaceship with Herschel Jackson as his captain. The story Herschel was recounting in his log was incredible, but the story of how they met was better. In fact, he could remember it like it was yesterday. Technically, it had only been yesterday in ship’s time. Thank god for near faster than light space travel.

The day had started out as any other, except that he had decided to sign up for the Space Corp. Their ads always stated,”have an adventure over several lifetimes”. He had wanted to find a way off of Earth, because Debbie, his girlfriend, had been pressing him for a certain piece of jewellery that always followed a certain question that he was definitely not ready to pop.

He had shown up early, expecting to be the first in line, but he hadn’t been. He had ended up being the sixty-third in line. Herschel had been sixty-second, but had stepped out to get a banana from a vendor on the corner and had returned to stand behind him as the new sixty-third.

Herschel had struck up a conversation with him. Talking about how he hoped for some kind of adventure to the stars. He had asked him if he was prepared for the numerous tests they would give them, including the encephalogram to check for mental diseases. His answer had been something about how no one was prepared for that inquisition. Herschel had agreed.

Just then, they had both noticed the vendor acting a bit odd. He had been throwing his bunches of bananas at a group of unruly customers who were mindlessly walking into his fruit cart.

“What the heck?”

“Don’t know? Huh.”

Huh?”

“Those people look like…”

“Look like what?”

“They look like zombies. Huh.”

Suddenly, the sixty-first person in line had turned around and lunged for him with his mouth open and the flesh from his face putrefied and falling off.

Suddenly, Motorhead heard a gun blast next to his ear. He had jumped, his ear ringing. He felt a tug from behind. He swung, hitting air.

“Hey. I was saving your life. Huh” Staring in his face was a huge smoking gun with Herschel attached to the end of it.

“Where the heck did you get that?” Motorhead had sputtered, his heart racing, but he hadn’t been sure if it had been the gun blast or that he had almost become zombie food.

“We’d better get moving. The blast scared them, but I think they might be coming back. Huh.”

“Yes. Yes, of course. Where should we go?” Motorhead had not been sure if he should follow a man who carried a gun on his person when no one had carried a weapon since they had been prohibited by the Acts of 2091.

They had run around the Space Corp Headquarters looking for an entrance when Herschel had gotten the idea to confiscate a spaceship. He had said that it had to be safer in space than on Earth. Such logic could not have been argued with when there had been zombies chasing them.

They had headed for the spaceports, not knowing how they would get inside a ship, much less fly one, but they hadn’t had to worry. They had found several people thinking the same way, but none of them had gotten up the courage to go inside.

It had been Herschel who had stepped up, once again. He pushed a big red button and the door opened. They had just begun heading inside when…

Swoosh. Splat. The second person got flattened by the door.

“Well. No worries. We’ll just have to hold the button. Huh.”

Herschel had then motioned for him to walk through.

“Show them that there isn’t anything to fear, Motorhead. Huh.”

“Oh sure, nothing to worry about,” he said as he had tentatively walked through the archway.

Suddenly, the zombies appeared and everyone chucked their fears, running through the doors to safety. Perhaps if they hadn’t, they would have noticed the little boy with the bite wound.

With the last of the passengers through, Herschel calmly let go of the red button and walked slowly through the archway. Amazingly enough, the doors held.

“Herschel, can I ask you something?” he had asked curiously.

“Sure. Huh”

“Why do you have a gun? ”

“Oh,” He had pulled the gun out, brandishing it. “I always found it better to take the gun rather than the cannoli. Huh.”

Just then, the doors swooshed shut inches from his butt just as the first of the zombies headed up the ramp.

(Posted 09/15/06 @ 2:23 AM)

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Flash Fiction Friday: Story #2

Flash Fiction Friday # 2 prompt (1,000 word limit):

Flash Fiction #2 Prompt - Totem Pole Picture

“The Nature of Faith” (edited)

The crisp mountain air caused Rain to pause, drawing a quick breath. Her visit to the mountains had been a spur of the moment decision. Just the night before, she had been working at the hospital, staring at one anguished-filled face after another. She could not bear to make one more speech for the dying. Every time reminded her of her first day as an intern. The chief resident had pulled her aside after they had lost the little girl and had told her this would be the worst it would get. That it would get easier. But, it hadn’t, not after years of residency and now a fellowship. The dead still spoke to her. It was the living that no longer said anything.

She continued her climb to the outlook. With every step, she hoped the feeling of sadness would dissipate, but now that she was here, among her mountains, her grandmother’s mountains, the heavy feeling remained.

She looked out at the endless range of mountain tops. “How did Bryce do it?” she thought. How could he face the relatives, who begged with their eyes for miracles to save their loved ones, and give them hope when there was none? She no longer had the strength or the faith to do it, perhaps she never did.

Rain sat, dangling her feet over the edge of the cliff. Heights had never bothered her. Since childhood, her dreams had been filled with soaring, like an eagle above the clouds. She closed her eyes and raised her arms. She leaned forward as far as she dared.

“What if I just let go?” What if I lean just a bit more? Suddenly, she heard music. Soft and lilting like a flute. Her eyes fluttered open and she pushed herself away from the danger of her thoughts.

Okay, what the heck is that!” She cocked her head and listened, but there was nothing. The mysterious music was gone as unexpectedly as it appeared.

“Oh great, now I’m hearing things out of thin air,” she chuckled. The chuckle turned into a laugh. Of course, she was hearing things out of thin air. What were the spirits of the dead? She had seen and spoken with them since she was a little girl, but as she had grown up, she had turned her back on her gifts. That, even more than leaving the mountains to go to medical school, had broken her grandmother’s heart.

Rain’s laugh became a stifled sob at the thought of her grandmother, White Cloud. How could she have forgotten everything she had known? Yet, the dead still spoke to her, still clamored for her attention no matter what she did — all but one. The one she had hoped for above all else.

Why hadn’t she come?

Once again, she heard the music. She turned around trying to find its source. She stopped and found herself facing the woods along the cliff’s edge. She walked toward the trees and brushed the leaves and branches aside. She expected it to be more difficult, but the branches moved easily, revealing a hidden path. The music continued playing, growing louder.

“The trees must have been muffling the sound,” she said as she took the first step. It made her think of the wardrobe and Narnia.

“This must have been what Lucy felt,” she thought.

Rain followed the path upwards. Every now and then she could see the light on her right peak through the trees. She knew the sheer drop of the cliff was on that side. She concentrated on her feet, one foot in front of the other. She couldn’t afford a wrong step. No one knew she was up here, but Bryce. She had never told him of the walks with her grandmother up the mountains to find the spirits.

Memories of her grandmother caused her heart to ache. Memories filled with the smells and sounds of nature, and the song her grandmother had sung to her on the nights when she would wake from the frightening dream of the wolf with the razor sharp teeth. Rain remembered how she had held her, cradling her head in her lap and stroking her hair. She would hum the wordless tune in her ear, and Rain felt the fear wash away.

Once, she had asked her grandmother why the song did not have words. She had smiled and said that the words were not meant to be spoken. “But then how do you know what the song means,” she had insisted. Her grandmother had cupped her face in her sandpapered hands. “The song is different for everyone. It is not the same for you or for me. It means what it means.” Rain recalled how she had turned her face in anger. She had wanted a simple answer, like the science in her schoolbooks. Her grandmother had given her the old-ways answer. What good was that?

Rain made a final push through the last of the branches. She found herself on another outlook area. She blinked to readjust her eyes. In front of her stood an ancient totem pole with an eagle on top and a wolf on the bottom. She walked toward it, passed the small alter of rocks at its base. Her fingers ran across the old wood, tracing the grain and paint that represented the old symbols of the earth and sky. She saw the image of the beaver in the belly of the wolf. She knew these symbols of her youth.

The music was stronger now, more distinct. She recognized it; it was the song her grandmother had sung to her when she was a child. Rain knew why she had not seen her grandmother’s spirit after she had died in her hospital room. White Cloud had been so afraid to be there, but she had looked past her fears to spend her last days with Rain. Her grandmother had returned home.

And now, so had she.

(Posted 09/07/06 @ 5:26 pm)

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