RSS Feed

Tag Archives: flash fiction

The Epoch of a Reporter #flashfiction

300 words
News Reporter; Newsroom; Steampunk


There’s a constant clacking from Cindy O’Toole’s typer in the other room, followed by the hiss and clang of the carriage setting back in place. A haze of smoke sits in the newsroom like a cloud of sulphur from the cigs in everyone’s mouth. We all puff endlessly.
It is otherwise silent – even Ben Johnson from the funnies has no quips to the rolling film that plays on the wall behind Editor Ken Dunham. Dunham’s bulky arms, usually crossed, hang by his sides in defeat.
As the film flickers to an end, he swivels to us, skin sicky pale.
“That’s… that’s all we have.” He says, tired eyes falling on each of us with the languidness of a dying ticker. “Who wants to report it?”
We sit silent. Glances are diverted to feet, blank notepads or the wall peppered with past editions of trivial occurrences here in New Melwell. Nothing this big.
“No one?” Dunham asks, before letting out a long sigh that billows smoke from the almost smouldered smoke in his mouth. He pulls it out and stabs it into the tray on the table.
Silence.
“I will.” I finally say, and there’s an almost audible relief across the newsroom.
“Davis. You sure you’re up for it? This… this is some bad shit for a greeny.”
I shrug. “Ain’t nobody signing up so…”
Dunham thinks for a moment, scans the room and sees no one coming to my rescue. He snaps the film from the tripod and slides it across the table.
“Detective John Falon is the guy to talk to.”
I nod. I know.
It had taken a while for my murders to be big enough for the newsroom. Now I could cover my own story while keeping abreast of the city bobby.
I hid my smile.


 

Advertisements

#FlashFiction: Fees and Bodies Must Fall

“Fees and Bodies Must Fall” was my entry for Microcosms Fic for this past Friday. The prompt was:

(Gonzo) Journalist / House Party / Crime


You would think the blood spatter, taste of copper, and underlying stench of faecal matter would ward me and the others off 17 Mahogany Drive that hot July afternoon. It wouldn’t. Journalists are the curious type and like the proverbial cat, death is part of the gig. Confetti is still strewn about the leather couch, right next to a Ms. Davidson, 22, student at the University of Johannesburg. We look over the shoulders of a police squadron on site led by a Constable Gumede who is all frowns and glares.

“This isn’t a puppet show,” he growls. But we know it is. And not because we can see the threads of bed sheets hanging off the balcony, angling Ms Davidson across the couch like a modern-day Death of Marat. It’s because we know the M.O. That this is the third victim in the repertoire of a man we journos have affectionately labelled The Neoclassic Killer. Just the previous month, a house party in the pseudo-glitzy Parktown area revealed students from Wits University arranged as The Death of Socrates. Bed sheets and all.

It’s difficult to remain objective when faced with the surrealism that our city has a serial killer. The fear radiating through our bones. Poisoning our hearts. Lining our street poles with headlines screaming murder at each corner. Yet we must remain objective so we may assess the situation without emotion. To notice that the killer targets these students not based on any merit of their own but the continuous protests sweeping our streets; Fees Must Fall – which Ms Davidson led as an advocate of.

I am not a prophet, it’s not in my job title, but as more pledges rise, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next classic we see, is The Oath of The Horatii. And death.

Friday Fiction: The Dance of Death

Prompt courtesy of Chasing Dreams Publishing – Monday Writing Prompt

Prompt: They danced through the stars

Word Limit: 250 words


They danced through the stars. Moonlit wisps coiling through vast expanse as amber-scarlet flares belched stagnant pale tendrils into the gaping abyss.

“Engine failure. Engine Failure” Droned the monotony of the ship’s A.I.

Red blossomed across the deck in incessant flashes as wailing sirens echoed off the walls. The control panel shimmered with lights, illuminating the captain’s chair and halo of gold-red-gold tresses pressed against cheek and forehead, the captain sweating against pulsing lights.

“Estimated crash time?” She asked quietly into the attached headset.

“At this rate I’d say a steady seventeen minutes and… about 23 seconds. Unless you get some balancé Cap.” The voice replied with just a hint of smile in its gruffness.

“Just keep those cannons ready.” The captain replied, a ghost of smile touching her lips.

“Better bring this crash-ballet to its finale.”

As though summoned by the remark, the emptiness of space shimmered in colossal prism-tinged glare. Then they were wholly and completely surrounded.

Allegro, captain. Allegro.”

Trails of fire followed the diving ship as streaks of light boomed from the surrounding angular prisms of enemy forces. With as much elegance and grace a blazing ship could afford, the captain pirouetted through interminable fire,

“Fouetté!”

The ship spiralled, cannon extending outwards in explosive bursts of successive fire, tucking in to reload and extend once more for a repeat performance.

“Inbound photon torpedo.” A.I notified them. Hands and hearts froze. Silence pervaded.

“It’s been a pleasure dancing with you Cap.”

“Always Jarvis.” Tears trickling down, “Always.”


 

Friday Fiction: The Man and the Mice

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Inventor, setting: Laboratory, and genre: Fable.


A Man sought to build a machine, to cure an illness that beset his child. He dug a hole as big as a room below his house and turned it into a laboratory. 

Many days and nights he spent there. Toiling away in the hopes of finding a cure. Yet when he finally concocted one, he feared it would kill his child if untested. 

He noticed then, many Mice that roamed about the laboratory in search of food. 

“Mice. Pray I ask thee a favour.”

The Mice, having seen the man’s compassion for his child, approached the Man without fear,

“Man, what asketh thee?”

“Merely of your labour as my assistants. My child is sick and I require your tenacious perseverance to find a cure.”

“And what shall be our fee?”

“I will build for thee a house of glass, where I shall feed you, provide water, and build you a wheel for leisure. You shall want for nothing.”

“That would please us greatly.” The Mice replied, feeling pleased at having to no longer scrounge for food.

The Man made true on his promise, and built a large house of glass with bowls filled with food, and bowls filled with water. Wheels and tunnels traversed the house where the Mice roamed freely. Beds of hay allowed the mice to repose without fear.

Then, the time came for the Mice to assist the Man, and aghast they watched a fellow Mouse pulled from the bottom of the cage, for that is what is was, and onto a metal platform to be punctured by a needle full of the supposed cure. 

The Mouse died in agony. When the Mice complained, the Man replied

“Sometimes you must sacrifice the many, for the one.”


Totally loved writing this. If you’d like to see the thought process behind this weeks Microcosmsfic, come read it on my Pareon page. It’s free to read so please come check it out.

Friday Fiction: ‘Til Proven Innocent

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Business Person Transport : Car Genre: Crime


Schultz-Werner Automobil were renowned for their reliable vehicles – German engineering at its finest. The death of corporate magnate, Herr Michael Götze, came as a shock, more so when the story revealed that he’d died in a SW Automobil sedan. Once the coroner confirmed he’d died before the crash of a crushed oesophagus, however, the media was in uproar.

I was in uproar. 

Herr Götze had promised to appoint me next-in-line at SWA before we helped move him along to the next life. Only it seemed someone else had beat me to it.

A hurried board meeting was called by the higher-ups that same evening of the crash, where they duly informed us that Herr Götze’s Will had been amended earlier that day and the details would only be revealed in the next official meeting where his successor would be named.

“Aren’t you his successor?” Julian whispered to me as we somberly stalked out of the board room. As usual, he carried a stench of aftershave that bordered on toilet spray.

“How do you know that?” I hushed back at him.

“Everybody knows. You were his favourite.” he placed a hand on my shoulder, “They think you did it.”

It was then I noticed that stares from the solemn employees around us, suspicion drawn on their furrowed brow.

“Well I didn’t.”

Julian shrugged, then ambled off hurriedly as though my supposed guilt was contagious.

I arrived home to find the door ajar. I’d seen enough movies to know I should probably call the police. Twenty minutes later two bulky officers pushed through the door before me to a condemning sight. Frau Götze sat in a pool of her own blood, her husband’s tape recorder in her hand. The one we used to plan his death.

I had been set up.

 

Friday Fiction: Frank

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Marshal’s Sidekick Setting: Dodge City Genre: Horror


Frank Reynolds, Marshal of Dodge City, died with an arrow to the eye. The same arrow pinned to my pillow where turning my head had brought it to my attention. I immediately rolled off the bed and hauled the rifle from under the bed onto my shoulder with the speed of a viper.

Nothing stirred.

Bella was not in bed and it churned my gut like butter. How had I not heard the intruder enter nor Bella leave? I rose quickly, assessing the wooden shaft lodged within the feathered padding. The arrow was adorned in intricate gold and emerald fletching from our Indian neighbours. I recognized the design like I would Ma’s face. I, Frank’s second-man, was the one who drew the bow after all.

A screech resounded from the front room. I dashed out to a feverish Isabella standing under the streaming sunlight cascading her shimmering, tilted silhouette. Her frock was in disarray, bonnet clutched to fluttering bosom as she gazed at the floor. Her bare feet stood in a viscous pool of yolk-hued liquid.

“Bella, what’s going on?”

“Frank?”

Her voice gurgled as though under water.

“Bella? It’s me, William.”

I stepped closer, avoiding the spillage. Iced pins prickled my chest. I fought the thrum rattling my bones – smoothed the aroused hairs along my nape with trembling hand.

“William?”

She began a slow swivel, golden rays refining her locks to dazzling white tresses. The first thing the glare revealed was the braided tongue-like cord, and the dangling pulped egg that was her eye.  My gut lurched with the stench wafting from the gaping abyss that was the rest of her cragged, hollowed face.

“He’s coming Will.” a greyed tongue languidly dripped yolk rivulets to the floor. The muck broiled, a single eye floating to the surface. Frank.

Friday Fiction: Birth of a Villain

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Sarcastic Butler Setting: Skyscraper Genre: Memoir


torre-cajasol-786180_1280

The staples in his abdomen had ripped out again, this time purposefully. Master “Gestirn” Goldstein barely flinched as he removed blood drenched, clear plastic bags from his bulging gut. The carpeted floor of the penthouse loft was covered in vital fluids. Schneider Skyscrapers were going to need a good clean-up crew. As a butler, I cringed.

“Pass me the tray.” He wheezed.

I of course obliged, manoeuvring past dead FBI agents strewn about the sparse room to the tray angled awkwardly in one man’s skull.

“Will you be serving me then, for once?”

Master Goldstein merely smiled, and watched amused as I struggled to remove the tray. It was difficult with all the blood. It was also lodged quite deep.

“I didn’t know you took drugs, Kristoff.”

“Only when you’re around, Sir. I may need some after this.”

“You’ll get used to it eventually.” Master Goldstein stood then, skin flapping over the spandex pants he wore – the only item of clothing on him. He had no intestines.

“Well yes, when you were a caped crusader for justice. Who are you now, Robbing Hood?”

He laughed as he casually removed the tray from the man’s skull. His laugh was a breathy, whistling sound from the constrictions in his body; an internal scar and his arch nemesis’ greatest achievement.

“I’ve found other ways to make a living now. A new body with a new function. I’ve been brought back to life.”

“Well that’s good for you Master Franken-Stein.”

Master Goldstein placed the bags on the tray, crushed powder in some, pills in others.

“Franken-Stein. I like it.” He swept a gnarled hand through what was left of his golden mane. The charred scars of his face made him look like the monster he was becoming – or perhaps, had already become.


I may have missed the memoir part. *laughs nervously

Friday Fiction: Confessional

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: I’ve Always Been Crazy Setting: Village Genre: Crime


confessional-122763_1280

“It’s getting worse Father.”

Francois knelt within the narrow confines of the confessional. Sweat trickled down his temples but his clasped hands shivered uncontrollably.

“The Lord knows our struggles. He sees all and knows all. He will never give you more than you can handle.” The voice replied from beyond the wooden grating separating confessor from absolution.

“I understand that Father but… I literally felt as though my hands were wrapped around her neck and…  and I was squeezing. Squeezing. Squeezing! Her neck…” Francois’s whole body began to shiver. Sweat continued to trail down into his collar, while a hollowness suffused his chest and clutched at his heart.

“It was merely a dream my child, perhaps manifestations of impure thoughts you harbour towards her or her sinful occupation?”

“I don’t even know her.”

“And yet you recall her with clarity? The Lord said, if you hate your brother in your heart then you have similarly committed murder. Do you hate her?”

“No Father! I… may have seen her once? Maybe?”

“Are you certain my child? You are safe in the house of the Lord.”

“I…” Francois searched his memories and could recall nothing concrete. A flash of someone but it was hazy. Fragmented. “Perhaps I’ve always been crazy Father.”

“Ephesians tells us our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the forces of darkness.” A sombre silence filled the air. “Pray ten Hail Mary’s. Tonight, I will visit again for special communion.”

The priest’s door clicked open and suddenly a familiar scent filled Francois’ nose. He looked out the glass portal of the confessional and watched the priest slip a tattered blouse into his vestments. A familiar blouse. He shook his head and turned back to prayer, the suspicion overshadowed by his guilt. He soon forgot about the blouse.

Friday Fiction: The AGA

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Songwriter Setting: Village Genre: Aga Saga


agacooker_02

Vanessa sneered at the aged AGA. A bulky, 3-door cooker sitting against the kitchen wall like a squalid interloper. It’s front creame-coloured door was peeling to reveal the shiny metallic interior. From the back, a pipe ran along the wall and attached to the black bent-tube boiler built into the wall.

“Shall you fix it then?”

The village Engineer wiped his forehead with a grimy handkerchief.

“I’ll try my best mam. We been doin’ more Aether-boiler jobs than steam… and this is very old.”

“Well I ask you do to more than just try. This is an heirloom sir, it best be fixed.”

“Of course, mam.”

She saw the scowl creasing his wrinkled face, smudged with soot like the lower-class civil servant he was.

“I’ll be in the Drawing Room. Find me when it is done.”

She whirled away in a flurry of ruffles flaring from her crinoline. Like an inverted rose, the scarlet dress flared around her hips, silk crawling up to the high-collar styled with intricate golden gears. Although the daughter of the Royal Engineer – she drew no correlation between her father and the man in her kitchen.

“Must you always be so rude, Vanessa?” mother asked without lifting her head, seated with a cello angled away from her knees.

“Is he not below us?”

“Your privileged ancestry began with a man very much like him.”

Vanessa glided across the carpeted floor and gazed out the window. The village, once further away, now loomed closer. Threatening to overtake.

“Do we not come from a family of cabaret singers, song writers and… whatever it is you do mother.”

Mother raised her eyes and sighed,

“Much like the AGA you despise so, the future catches up to us. Apart from your class, what shall you offer to it?”

Friday Fiction: Memoir of a Failed Father

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Sheriff Setting: Blockade Genre: Memoir


“Ya’ll gonna go back, aint yer?” Sheriff Mac asked. I clutched Delilah and Josiah near me. No wind blew that night. The stars had winked out of existence and the moon was but an ethereal shadow. The clouds though. The clouds swam scarlet. Humming. Right into our bones.

“Do yer know what it is Sheriff?” I asked, our eyes gazing up.

“Nah-ah. Them federal boys set up blockade up by Westpoint.” He raised a trembling hand towards the dark hill. Its apex sat directly below the rolling mass.

“Is why I’m telling yer tah go back, Jonathan. Let it clear. T‘morrow er’thing will be back to normal.”

But it wasn’t.

Not two hours after we’d left the Sheriff did it begin to rain. Not softly either. It poured. Bashing against the roof and windows like the house was being peppered with large pebbles. Josey. My poor Josey. When he turned eight we had converted the attic into his own room and he’d been there 3 years then. It hit him first. The rain.

I still remember his screams. Horrid, high pitched wails that crawled along the walls. We rushed up, Delilah and I, not even realising the dark patches along the ceiling. I was there first. I remember that. Delilah stumbled in after then her screams joined Josey’s.  The ceiling had serrated where water poured in, drenching my boy. Where there was once hair now dripped skin and melted clumps of hair. Half his pink, smoking face sagged.  He’d raised fingers but the skin had burnt off. I could see the bone.

Delilah pushed past me to wrap Josey in a blanket and then they were running. Josey never made it far. Delilah… she carried him until she too dribbled away.

I cowered in the basement. A poltroon. A failure.

Lorraine Ambers

Writer & Queen of Daydreams

AllthingsUncanny

Goodbye, good night's sleep.

SAM's Book Reviews

Books Old & New

xolisilesite

Personal blog

The Parisshian Legacy... And other things

Anything my little heart desires

Chhotewrites

CHHOTE THEE POET

Young Author

With new Ink.

A.A. Frias

Author of fantasy and young adult fiction

Write for the King

The writings of a Christian college student and her publishing journey

Trebles On My Mind

A blog about crochet, knitting, and other stuff

Danger Kit

- Poetry -

Thoughts of a Bored Writer

My writing. Mostly.

lou rasmus

DEAD RED FISH - debut novel on Amazon

Melody Chen

Word-Experimentalist

Life

Literature & Lifestyle

The tears of chained words

The words left unsaid, pouring out as poetry.

The Official Blog of Horror and Fantasy Writer Lionel Ray Green

"Life is horror and fantasy, not necessarily in that order."