Flash! Friday: Vol 3, week 8


I crouched on the slender limb, willing the springy wood to settle. I’d be along soon, and while I was ponderously slow, even someone as dull as me would notice me bouncing up and down like a featherless vulture.

It took even longer than I’d expected for me to show, and when I finally staggered into view, I realized that my worries had been for naught. I’d imagined myself the vulture, but I was the carnivore, consuming the dripping haunch of some unfortunate creature in a gluttonous frenzy. Focused as I was on the meat and gristle clenched tightly in my sausagelike hands, I wouldn’t have noticed me unless I fell on my head.

Which, of course, I did, as soon as I passed beneath me. The worst part was coming into contact with my doughy flesh and feeling it give under my knees as I fell. I veritably bounced off the hardpacked dirt, but while I sprung easily to my feet, I was reduced to trying to roll over like an tortoise.

If this had been our first battle, I’d have assumed I was done, but me and I were locked in an eternal struggle, and I knew how strong I was. And, ohh, that meat smelled so good.


VisDare 82


Kelly stopped, her hand on the doorknob, but didn’t turn back to look at me. “You think you want me, that you want us, but you don’t even know who you are. Your whole life is out of focus.

“I’m going now. You should leave too. Go find yourself.”

I didn’t watch her go. But I didn’t want to stay home, either.

It was cold, so I walked quickly, turning or crossing the street with the serendipity of the stoplights. I knew where I was going. It didn’t matter how I got there.

The gentle breeze was enough to disturb the surface of the river, and the reflection of the world around me looked as hazy as a mirage over blacktop. My image, however, was still. I was in focus.

I didn’t know if they’d find me after I dove into the water, and I didn’t care. I’d found myself.


VisDare 81


(Note: Of course I broke the word count rule. It’s a tradition, after all.)

I stretched, banging my toe on the footboard. A few months ago, and I wouldn’t have come near it wearing flippers, but these days, I felt like someone was stretching me in my sleep.

Thankfully, it was summer, and I’d be able to get away with some cutoffs. Mom probably would be angry about that – all of my clothes went to my younger brother – but my only other option was hiding inside all summer, and that was intolerable.

When Dad had gotten relocated, the only plus was that we were within biking distance of the beach. I’d watched teenagers surfing in movies for years, and I wanted that life. But I was too young for the girls in bikinis and too big for the kids my age to play with.

I ignored the kids ignoring me and splashed through the water. At least alone, I could be Godzilla. Or maybe Gamera. But a shout broke through my reverie, and I turned to see a Frisbee sailing at me. A few months ago, it would have sailed over my head, but today, I plucked it out of the air with ease.

“Nice catch!” The girl who’d thrown it jogged over to me, her hand out and her bikini bright red. “Hi, I’m Melissa. You just move here?”


Flash! Friday, volume 3, week 5


“Thou Shalt Not Kill”

The angel smiled. “You’re not going to get into Heaven like this.”

“What am I supposed to do now? Will God free me from this post? Make my flesh impervious to fire?”

“That’s not how He works. He helps those who help themselves.”

“But I did everything I was asked to do. So many lives, so much pain. I was promised martyrdom.” I paused, not to fight back tears, for I had long ago lost the ability to cry. “I was promised peace.”

“Yes you were, but by whom? Not by Him, who has the power to grant such things.”

“You promised me.”

“Yes, I did.” He laughed. “Wisdom comes to us all, doesn’t it, even if it takes until our funeral pyre? Maybe you’re not quite as dumb as I thought.”

The torches came for me now, and the bonfire came alive. The last thing I smelled on this earth was brimstone, and He made sure I burned forever.


MWBB, week 2.32


We must have turned northward sometime in the night, because the sun burst through the bus window as soon as it refracted above the horizon, and with that, my rest was over. The girl next to me stirred, but stayed asleep, burying her head against my arm. The night before, she’d looked nauseated at the thought of having to sit next to me, but all the other seats were full and the doors had closed and we’d already pulled away from the station. Nobody else on the bus was making eye contact with her, either, as she pleaded silently for someone to throw themselves on the proverbial sword of my companionship, so she had to choice but to sit down and hope that whatever it was about me didn’t rub off on her. And now she was curled up against me like I was her protector. Any port in a storm, I guess.

The slow awakening of the rest of the passengers finally reached my seatmate, and she jerked herself awake, glaring at me accusingly. At the sight of my hands jammed deep into the pockets of my jacket, she reddened, albeit slightly. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. You’re not the first to give me that look.”

She looked down at her hands, then back up to me. “I, uh, need to go use the, y’know. Could you watch my bag?”

I nodded, and she got up to use the y’know. It’s funny, isn’t it, how we feel compelled to make up for perceived social slights by doing things that would be in another context pretty stupid, like asking a complete stranger to protect our possessions. She didn’t have anything worth stealing in there, not unless I needed some Lexapro, but the street value of that was crap.

Of course I looked.

Whatever bond we’d developed during our little interaction had waned by the time she came back from the bathroom, and it had completely dissipated by the time she’d muttered a quick thanks and I’d nodded.

The rest of the bus ride was quiet, the muted tones of uncomfortable people broken every so often by some big fat guy who didn’t understand that his laugh was a little jarring this early in the morning. Not for the first time, I wondered what it would feel like to kill someone. I was curious as to what that much fat looked like when sliced open – would it be like an untrimmed roast – but if I found out, they’d never leave me alone, and I wanted that more than I wanted to shut that fucker up.

I couldn’t remember where the bus was scheduled to stop next. Cheyenne? Minneapolis? Traverse City? I hoped it wasn’t Minneapolis. Too crowded. Probably should have looked at the ticket when I’d bought it. I watched for road signs, but there weren’t any, other than some rusted mile markers. 229. 230. 231.

At some point just after we passed 235, there was a thump, and the bus lurched to the side. The rapid fwap-fwap-fwap sound coming from the right rear of the bus was a jarring as the fat man’s laugh to most of the passengers, but I found it soothing. I’d be able to get off this dingy coffin on wheels before we got to anywhere too crowded. I needed air.

Once the bus stopped, we all got off – the driver, the fat man, the depressed girl next to me, and the rest of the human debris that rode buses to Cheyappolis City in the middle of the night. Most folks pulled out their phones and tried to call someone or another, but we were too far from anywhere for any of the calls to go through. The fat man made another joke, and most everyone laughed, nervous and edgy.

I shifted my grip on the knife I’d been clutching in my pocket. We were alone now, all of us together, and maybe soon, just me alone. I strode over to the depressed girl and slit her throat. It wasn’t her fault she’d had to sit next to me, and she’d been nice enough. She didn’t need to watch the rest.

But I’d do that laughing bastard last.