Flash Fiction/Short Stories

Flash Fiction – The Day Darlene Went To Heaven

Darlene was right, always. She had known it since she was small. Now she was grown and had a mission. Everyone else needed to know how right she was. Sharing her knowledge and superior opinion became her life’s mission.

Political debate on Facebook? She was there.  An argument on Twitter about tolerance? Oh yeah, her favorite. Religion? Darlene’s was the one true way, so she never missed one of those. Is the dress white or blue? Ha! She would drown the ones who guessed wrong in comments.

Of course, she wasn’t a troll. Only someone who was wrong could be a troll in her opinion, and everyone knew her views were correct. At least they would. She wouldn’t stop until they did.

Wasn’t that was life was all about? Making sure everyone followed the correct path and thought in the right way. These were the things she said to herself often.

She was congratulating herself on a successful online rant the day she stepped in front of a bus. Her disappointment was profound. Darlene couldn’t believe it was her time. There were still so many people she needed to put in their place.

Alas, he couldn’t stop as her spirit floated up to heaven. She landed on a fluffy cloud in front of Saint Peter. She glanced around and saw that the pearly gates looked exactly the way they should. Peter, however, did not. She told him so, and for his benefit, she went into detail of how he was supposed to look.

When she finished, she found a bench, crossed her arms, and waited for him to put things right.

Peter sighed and stared at his lists for a time. Finally, an idea struck him. He made her a special place, full of only people like her. It only took an hour for her to come to him saying she set all the others right and she begged to go to the other place to fix it as well.

It only took thirty minutes for the ruler of the other place to implore Peter to take her back. It took Peter only a moment to decide it wasn’t her time. He put her back on earth early in the morning of the day she was supposed to die. He started a Twitter fight about celebrities in politics to keep her home.

As far as Peter is concerned, Darlene will live forever.

 

Rough draft 400 words


This story isn’t from a prompt. I wrote the bones of it a few weeks ago and today I decided to do some minor revision and post it. There was something I didn’t quite like about it but I didn’t know what.

I finally realized there were a lot of repeated words and punctuation issues (thanks, Grammarly). Once these were fixed I noticed a few problems with the way it flowed so I revised them. I’m still calling it a rough draft because it’s not ‘perfect.’

Flash Fiction – The Wind

Clouds rushed to rest over the fresh gravesite of the wizard Clavius. Duncan found it appropriate and thanked the wind as he cast the last handful of dirt onto the pile. Only a brief rustling of leaves near his feet answered, but he knew the wind appreciated his words.

When taking control of the elements he was always careful to show the proper respect. He liked to think he learned from others’ mistakes. Too many weather wizards died because of their indifferent arrogance. He refused to be like the ones who came before him, like the one lying in the grave at his feet.

In the dead wizard’s case, angry fire killed him. The man should have known better. One can only force an elemental for a short time before it would turn on you. If you asked politely and thanked it, there was a good chance you would survive.

Duncan rarely forced nature to do his bidding. In the few emergencies when he’d taken control of an elemental without asking permission, he apologized profusely and made the proper sacrifices to appease them. Most knew he wouldn’t abuse them and were understanding As long as he didn’t do it often, he would be safe.

Clavius hadn’t bothered. He forced the same fire elemental to kill thieves in the poor district several times. Fire cannot be contained for long and many had died. The wizard hadn’t cared but the fire did. The last time he tried to use it, along with help from the wind, the elemental broke his control and turned on the man. Duncan wasn’t present but heard the man’s cries from across the village.

Fool.

As Duncan stood over the grave of his biggest rival at the Conclave, he smiled in satisfaction. Unlike the dead man, he had asked permission before he sent the wind to help the fire. Clavius, like all wizards, had been an evil bastard, but Duncan was the worst. He would continue to be courteous to the elements so he could take out the rest of his rivals and rule the Conclave.

When he left the cemetery, he noted the wind elemental followed. He smiled grimly and headed back to his rooms to make his plans.

Rough draft 362 words


It’s not much of a story but I think it will be if I ever sit down and fix it. For now, I want to get ideas out of my head and on paper.

I’m trying to get back into writing most days. Not writing for an entire week, and losing my favorite aunt, took its toll on my habits. I’m still grieving but time is starting to do its job.

Flash fiction, and a lot of it is my goal right now. However, wizard Duncan (who needs a name change), fascinates me. He can control the elements/elementals but prefers wind. He’s not a nice guy, but he’s polite to the forces he controls. He needs a good protagonist and a goal. I feel a longer story brewing.

Oh, and this story is not the result of a writing prompt. I sat down to write and thought about the wind and ideas started flowing out of my fingers. Like I said, it’s not much of a story but writing it made me feel like me again.

Flash Fiction – Feylan

Feylan Hepirath noted when she started feeling weighed down but kept her mind on the task at hand. It was odd when the gash over her eye stopped bleeding but she was grateful to see clearly again.

Slash, stab, parry, repeat – she made her way through the enemy. Somehow she made it to the opposing commander. She didn’t want to guess how many she’d killed to get there. When she took his head, the rest of his men fled.

She turned to her own troops and signaled to let them go. As one, the soldiers dropped to one knee and bowed their heads for a moment. When they rose, every eye was on her. What were they doing?

As the battle rage left her, Feylan became aware of the change. She lifted an arm and saw she wore gauntlets instead of her regular leather gloves. Her eyes searched her entire body and found it covered in shining silver armor. Never had she seen a brighter set of the magic armor one could only earn by acts of ultimate selflessness, nobility of spirit, and bravery. It was no wonder she’d felt both heavier and stronger while fighting. For a time, she’d been untouchable. The armor must have healed her but she didn’t want to take off the glove to touch her eyebrow.

She could believe it. She’d only witnessed one other person gain their armor, though there were several in the realm. Still, it was rare to be chosen.

Shifting her gaze back to her hand, she studied the design carved into the metal. Shock coursed through her as she realized the rank the design indicated.

Oh hells, she didn’t have time to deal with it. There was a war to win, independence to be won. Still, she would take advantage of it to help her people. Using her new title, she signaled for her soldiers to quit the field. They needed the rest and apparently, there was a coronation to plan.

Feylan the Great, first queen of Hepirath, led her people to victory and freedom. She ruled for many years and had numerous adventures, but those are tales for another day.


This story was inspired by a picture prompt use in my writing group. It was a close-up of a woman’s face. She was wearing a helmet and the hilt of a sword covered her nose and mouth. So all you could see were the armor, the sword, and her eyes.

I jotted down two different ideas on Sunday when I first saw the photo and let them germinate for a while. I wasn’t sure which direction I would go.

Today, when I pulled out my notebook, I knew what I wanted to write. This is the first thing I’ve written (besides a blog post) since before last Sunday. After the week I had, I’m happy to be writing again.


WR

Flash Fiction – It’s Not the Fire That Kills You

The smell of smoke woke him. For a moment he thought he must be dreaming. His recurring nightmare of dying in a fire flashed through his mind. His first cough assured him he was awake. He threw the blanket off and jumped out of bed.
 
In the dark, he groped for the ever present clothes on the floor. They were not there. Cursing himself for not only going to bed drunk but also sleeping nude, he made his way to the closet.
 
It only took two steps for the coughing to stop him. Remembering that smoke rose, he crouched and made his way to the door. He grabbed the handle. It wasn’t hot but neither would it turn. He coughed again as the smoke coming in from under the door filled his lungs.
 
He turned and crawled to the window. It wouldn’t budge. He grabbed his desk chair and swung it at the glass but it he was too weak to break it.
 
Not knowing what else to do, he lay on the floor and waited to die. He thought of all the things he wished he’d said and done. All his regrets crowded his mind. Topmost was his decision to cheat on the love of his life. Sure she was crazy but he’d promised he would never hurt her. Before he lost consciousness he voiced his apology, one he knew she would never hear.
 
The smoke coalesced over his body. He opened one eye and almost thought he could see a face. I forgive you, he heard before the air in the room cleared. A dream then, he realized as he drifted off to sleep again.
 
When his alarm went off at seven he was surprised to find himself naked on the floor. His girlfriend wouldn’t take his calls and he never cheated another lover ever again.
Rough draft 313 words


This story is the result of a picture prompt that I wasn’t sure I could post. It showed a woman’s face mostly obscured by smoke or fog.

Flash Fiction(s) – Forest Fire & The Witch

Forest Fire

She saw the blazing inferno creeping toward her. Smoke filled the air so she could barely see the forest animals racing past her to escape. She couldn’t move, the flames already surrounded her.

Fire seared her skin and she spared a moment of worry for the treasured tattoo she’d worn for the last fifty years: K + J. It was a reminder of a gentler time.

As the heat rose she released her children, hundreds per cone. They had waited twenty years for this fire to free them. The flames were painful but the joy she felt as she watched the seeds spread in all directions sustained her. She would survive as she always did.

It would be many years before her offspring were tall enough to touch the sky but the forest would grow stronger because of her momentary suffering.

Rough draft 141 words

 

The Witch

“No.”

“But Gregor, she’s a redhead!” Thalen complained and lowered his short throwing knife.

“It doesn’t matter,” his brother replied, hands on his hips. “You gave your word, no more killing.”

“Surely this one is an exception. She’s clearly a witch.”

“Stop it. Remember what we talked about? Not everyone with red hair can use magic.”

“But she’s the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen. Surely it’s to entice us, then murder us!”

“No. Well, yes. She could tempt us, but it’s up to us to resist. She hasn’t shown any signs of having the power. Besides, killing is wrong if it’s not a witch. You know this. We both promised to stop assuming beautiful women with fiery hair are evil.” Gregor gave his brother that superior look Thalen hated so much.

“She has dimples,” the younger man added quietly.

Gregor’s face lost all expression and he handed Thalen his crossbow. “Here, this will work better than your baby knife.”

“I thought you said we couldn’t.”

“Dimples, brother. You’re either going to have to kill her or marry her.”

Thalen smiled and took aim. The witch turned and met his eyes.

The wedding was lovely.

Rough draft 194 words


The one word prompts I used for these two stories were: Sear and Dimples. I wrote a few more stories but need to get them typed up. I’ll post them soon.

Flash Fiction(s) – The Smudge & Ashes

The following are two flash fiction stories written using one word writing prompts: smudge and ash. I’m putting them together for two reasons. One, they are both very short. Two, I don’t want to overload everyone with too many posts.I intend to write a new story almost every day so hopefully they will add up and putting them together seems more reasonable. There will be no planned themes for the pieces I put into each post. As you’ll see these two pieces couldn’t be more different.


The Smudge

There it was – the smudge. She’d known the risk, yet convinced herself the precious work was safe in her betrothed’s hands.

As Frederick read the words she’d painstakingly set down on the thick parchment she fidgeted and fretted.

When he handed it back he praised her lavishly. She could see the pride in his eyes; he meant every word. Her heart swelled with love for him. But the smudge drew her eyes.

Later she rewrote her poem from memory. Regret filled her. It would be impossible to salvage the original. The blood would never come out and parchment was expensive.

Rough draft: 100 words


Ashes

Aur stood over the ashes of her lost home. Together, her and her life mate had built it with hard work and love. Zef selected only the highest quality materials and she brightened it with the finest decorations. It had been strong and beautiful. She hadn’t been dissatisfied to see the envy in her neighbor’s eyes when they admired the home’s perfection.

Now as Aur surveyed the destruction she couldn’t help but miss it. She turned, expecting Zef to be there to commiserate with her but he was somewhere in the ashes.

So, even though it saddened her to think of how things were before the fire, she stayed, and waited. Today was the third day and her patience would soon be rewarded. The ashes stirred and she could see a hint of light peeking through. Aur moved back quickly; she knew from long experience what would happen.

The remains of the nest exploded, debris barely missing her. Zef rose out of the ashes and spread his fiery wings. Aur stared in awe, as she had countless times before.

Zef shook himself and turned to her. “You look beautiful, my dear.”

She rolled her eyes. They both knew she looked a mess so close to her time. “Always the funny guy. Now, it’s my turn. Only the best wood, mind you. Go,” she said and shooed him away. With a beaky grin he flew off to fulfill his mate’s request.

Aur flew down to her stash tree and retrieved the silver thread, colorful buttons, and bits of shiny metal she kept there. This will do nicely, she thought. Then she prepared to die, yet again.

Rough draft: 275 words

Flash Fiction – The Cycle – (and a short writing update)

Thunder always brought the pain. The agony let her know she still existed so she welcomed it. She had lost herself, that much she knew, but little else.

From her high perch she would see the parched ground and exult. It seemed her exultation somehow touched the clouds. They would gather near her and loosen their heavy burden on the earth below. As her delight grew, the clouds shared her excitement and become massive storms. Then with each lightning strike she would scream in empathy for the stricken ground.

For a time she would remember she was the thunder, the lightning, the clouds – all of it. Then the skies would clear and she would be lost, forgetting her nature. So she would resume her vigil and wonder when the thunder would bring the pain again.

Rough draft 134 words


The above piece is a result of one of my goals for this year. My plan is to use various writing prompts to write something everyday. Well, it’s more accurate to say every day I write since I’m not always able to do it daily, though I intend to try.

My prompt sources are numerous. I have a couple of books, tons of blogs to draw from, and the prompts I come up with for Write Anything Wednesday. There are also many different types of prompts to use. One word, a phrase, character ideas, settings, even picture prompts. I have no interest in the ones requiring me to use several words in a story. If this kind sparks an idea, I’ll write it but I won’t force myself to use the actual words. I won’t be searching for these.

For the flash fiction I wrote today (in eight minutes), I used a one word prompt meant to get you warmed up. It’s not much of a story but it woke up my muse so I have no complaints. The story I wrote on Sunday was also the result of a one word prompt. They are working for me so I will keep trying them first before moving on to other types.

I will probably post most of these efforts, even when I don’t love them, because it serves as self-accountability for me. Perhaps I’ll group them up in twos and threes and post them together so I don’t overload everyone.

Any thoughts about any of the writing I post are always welcome.


Photo by Ryan McGuire

Flash Fiction – Peaches

She was perfect. Her beauty turned many heads. With bright green eyes and lustrous and long brown hair it was no surprise. Long legs always shown to her best advantage and an hourglass figure insured she kept the attention.

However, her looks were only a bonus. The true beauty was her mind and heart. I’ve never met a more brilliant person. She could do complex math in her head and her problem solving skills were near legendary. There was nothing she didn’t excel at. Painting, writing, sculpting – she could do it all.

Even better, she had a kind word and a smile for everyone. She was caring and just temperamental enough to keep life interesting. In return she was well loved.

The aroma of peaches always surrounded her. The fruit matched her personality: overly sweet, cloying, and pervasive.  I could still smell it as I pushed her body into the hole I spent an hour digging. What else could I do after I discovered she stole my boyfriend?

I always did hate peaches.


This story came from a writing prompt I didn’t expect to work for me: Peaches. Normally single word prompts do nothing for me. In fact when I first saw it, I thought I wouldn’t be able to use it. My second thought was I had always hated peaches and suddenly a story seed was planted.

It didn’t take very long for it to grow. I wrote down everything that came to me in a spiral then put it away for a day. This morning I started typing it up and it evolved into its current incarnation.

I’m so glad I didn’t let my bias against this type of word prompt stop me. I’ll still always despise the prompts that require you use a list of 3-5 words!

To any peach lovers out there, no offense. It turns out I’m allergic to peaches so it was justifiable that I hated them my whole life.

Rough draft 174 words

WR

Flash Fiction – Morning Chores

Breena loved fetching water every morning. The river called to her. When she was a child, her mother got the daily water, but she developed a limp and the well got fouled.

Momma couldn’t walk the quarter-mile to the river’s edge without pain so Breena took over the chore. She was young and strong so she didn’t mind the extra distance. Besides, once she rounded the first bend no one could see her daily commune with the water spirits.

She didn’t want her mother to know everything she did. Life was hard enough since Poppa died. The older woman didn’t need her oldest daughter’s future worrying her. At least they got by, Breena thought. Life wasn’t full of luxury but in the ways that counted, their lives were far better.

That morning as she gathered mud in the pail she made especially for the job, she thought back to the night they were forced to stop using water from the well. She could remember Momma screaming, nothing new when Poppa came home after drinking with his friends. This time the yells were different. She never knew why, but Breena raced into the kitchen to find her mother unconscious on the floor, with her leg twisted under her.

Uncomfortable with the direction of her thoughts, she shook them off and finished up her first bucket. She filled the second with water and headed back home. She stopped only to dump the mud into the well. Silently thanking the water spirits for the gift, she looked down into the deep hole and reflected on her part in ruining it.

She smiled when she realized Momma never once asked her what happened to Poppa.

 


Rough draft 281 words

WR

Flash Fiction – A Good Neighbor

“Dan, I need your help,” Becky asked. “I know you’re always doing things for me but this time it’s really important.”

She said some variation of that every time. We both knew I would help so I grabbed a coat, put my gloves on, and pulled my hat down over my ears. Becky waited patiently but as soon as I stepped onto the porch she grabbed my hand and half dragged me next door to her house.

Her garage door was open but she went around the side of the house toward the backyard. She let go of my hand to open the gate and stood back to let me enter first. Her expression was my first hint of something strange going on. I walked into the yard and waited while she closed the gate. She took her time making sure it was locked.

She didn’t take my hand this time but led me to the small shed on the back of the property. As we walked, oddly without much haste after the mad dash to get here.

I glanced around and saw the snow was disturbed, but only in the middle of the yard. In fact, there was a trail of footsteps and something else, maybe something being dragged, from the house to the shed. Well, whatever she needed me to do, it wasn’t the heavy lifting.

We reached the shed and she stopped and stared at me. “You know I would never try to hurt anyone right?”

“Yes, of course. What is going on here Becky?” I asked with a sinking feeling. What was she about to involve me in? Had she finally knocked off her sorry husband?

She pulled open the wide door. Of all the things I thought she could have shown me, what I saw wouldn’t have made the list.

“What the hell? Becky, are you crazy?”

“Once I show him to everyone, no one will think I’m crazy ever again.”

I rushed over the man lying on the ground. He wasn’t dead, only unconscious. His face was covered in scratches and bruises.

“Why the hell is this man in your shed?”

“He tried to break into the house.”

“Why didn’t you call the police?”

“I tried that last time and while I was on the phone he got away. I wasn’t taking any chances.”

“How did he get all jacked up?”

“I caught him by surprise. I heard him making noise downstairs and was able to sneak up on him. I hit him with my frying pan, punched him a few times and tied him up, then I dragged him out here. I didn’t want to scare the kids.”

I shook my head. Guilt hit me as I remembered how I hadn’t believed her, no one had. Still, this was ridiculous.

“You can’t just keep a man tied up in your shed, Becky. Is that why you brought me here? I can take him to the police station.”

“Like hell you can! He’s staying right there. I need you to watch him while I get everyone else here. I’m not risking him getting away again.”

“Everyone else?”

“Yeah, all the people who didn’t believe me before.”

I groaned. It would take her to gather that many people. “Becky. Stop this. You can’t keep him here. You can’t break the law just to prove a point. Just take a picture and we’ll let him go. If you’re lucky he won’t press charges.”

Her face brightened with a huge smile. “Photographs, yes! I hadn’t thought of that. Watch him while I go get my camera.” She ran off.

As soon as she was gone I untied the man. When he opened his eyes I asked if he was okay. He assured me he was.

“You weren’t knocked out at all were you?”

“No.”

“Why did you let her do this to you?”

“Because she needed to catch me.”

Huh. “I don’t understand.”

“It’s her Christmas present this year.”

“To catch you, tie you up, and beat you?” I asked, surprised.

He chuckled. “Well, I didn’t expect her to assault me, but yes, to finally get her proof.”

“Will this put her on the naughty list for next year?”

He nodded. “Definitely.”

“Good.” It was the strangest conversation of my life.

A moment later Becky returned with her camera. She screamed when she saw Santa untied but calmed down when I assured her he wouldn’t leave until she got her photos. He even smiled in a few of them. He wisely refused when she asked if he would let her tie him up again so show off what she did.

“What now?” she asked when she was done.

“You go on back to bed. I’ll make sure he gets back to work.”

She strutted back to her house happily. I led Santa back to the house and helped him load the presents dropped when Becky attacked him. We went up on the roof and he introduced me to his reindeer. Before he left I explained UPS and FedEx to him, then I went home and went to bed.

If not for Becky’s pictures, which she showed off regularly, I would have thought it was all a dream. Oh and Santa must have listened because the next year Becky’s gift was on her porch instead of under her tree. It was a lump of coal. She also shows it off all the time.


 

This was born of a writing prompt from Today’s Author:

For 20 years he helped his neighbor whenever she called, but this time she was asking for too much.

I was supposed to be editing but it wasn’t going very well so I started looking up prompts. I found this one and my first thought was the prompt seemed to call for a body. So of course I didn’t do that, but I wanted to. So I went with a live person instead of a dead one and out came this ridiculous piece of fiction. It has Santa and snow, therefore, we’re going to call it a Christmas story.

Also, I thought it would be much shorter but I didn’t know the ending when I started so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Rough draft: 900 words


WR