Monday Story Prompt #Writing #Challenge

Write a micro or flash story (or if you prefer, a poem) around the following prompt:

Main Character

Lab assistant

Situation

Gets amnesia

Prop

Guitar pick

 

Post your story or poem in the comment section below. Deadline: This Friday, June 14th

No minimum words but try to keep it under 750 words.

Have fun!

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Animivorator #Flash #Fiction

Dark gray clouds hung heavy in the sky like a blanket of wispy fog partially covering the treeline in the distance.

Kurt’s day didn’t start off on a positive note as he trudged along the heavily cracked road.

“I’m so sorry Mr. Buxton, I’m unable to work today due to an aging car that I can’t fix because the wage you’re paying me royally sucks!” he muttered as his brown eyes pandered ahead of each step, hands deep inside the pockets of the long black coat, “of all days to break down, it had to be today.”

“What’s so special about today?”

Kurt jumped and swerved around to see where the voice came from.

There was an old man standing well off the side of the road nearly encased in shadows. His clothes were tattered, his salt n’ pepper hair oily and unkempt. Kurt noticed a strange looking box that he held in his gnarly hands.

“Excuse me, sir, are you alright?” Kurt asked as he stepped slowly to the man.

The elder’s pale face only partially visible save the eyes which were hidden under the lid of a baseball hat with its emblem long worn off.

“Sir?” Kurt now stood a mere yard from  him. The wooden parcel appeared very, very old. Its craftsmanship told Kurt it came from a time long since past. The box wasn’t perfectly squared. No, it held more of a rectangular shape which reminded him of a–coffin.

“What’s so special about today?” the man asked again. His croaky voice carried an unrecognizable accent.

An icy breeze swept over them. Kurt’s body shivered as he buried his hands deeper in the wool pockets.

“Um, I have a presentation to make,” Kurt let out a sigh of frustration as the breath came out in a wavy mist and drifted upwards briefly before dissipating.

“One you really do not want to make,” the man stated as he continued to stand still.

Kurt cocked his head at this strange person before replying, “You’re right, I don’t really give a damn about the presentation.”

“What if I could take away the misery you call your life and give you one with a true purpose?” the man’s tone was an eloquent one.

Kurt straightened as he considered the man’s offer. The breeze suddenly halted as if nature was holding its breath.

Shrugging, Kurt said, “Sure, whatever.”

The man’s lips curled upwards ever so slightly, “Care to see what’s inside?”

Kurt glanced to the peculiar box, “Okay.”

As he took a step forward, the wind let out a whistling moan which caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand up.

He paused.

“There is nothing to fear,” the voice crooned.

Kurt watched as the lid slowly rose releasing a familiar scent.

Cinnamon.

“Come a bit closer,” the smile on the man’s lips grew when Kurt took another step, “and behold your future.”

As Kurt stood over the box, the first thing he noticed was that there were movements inside.

Was there something alive in there?

Blinking, he peered even closer.

At first, he thought he was looking at a box full of the old-fashioned clothespins painted grayish-white. He then realized that the tops held faces.

“What the hell?”

His mouth dropped when he noticed that these “clothespins’ were all looking up at him. With their rapidly fluttering eyes.

Black. Soulless.

“My god, what kind of freak are you?” He stammered as he attempted to take a step back, but a sharp coldness cascaded through his body when he discovered he could not move.

His boots remained planted in the dirty snow, his eyes on the ghostly stick figures.

“What kind of sick game is this?” Spit spewed from his lips.

With a joker’s grin, the man let out a soft, menacing chuckle, “My dear sir, I assure you that this is no game,” the interior now completely exposed, “it is futile to resist. Give in, and fulfill your chosen purpose.”

The more Kurt tried to move his head, or even a leg, the louder the drumming grew in his chest. His face, red with sweat beads rolling down the sides, he opened his mouth and let out an anguished roar that only the trees heard.

Panting, Kurt closed his eyes, fighting back the hot tears, “wh-wh-who the hell are you?”

“The name is Reike,” the man pushed up on the hat’s lid revealing a taunt face that held eyes that were like coals, and a mark engraved in his forehead – of a full moon with an eye in its center.

“And your soul now belongs to me!”

Story written for the Mid-Week Flash Challenge

In the Seams Of Being – Part Two #Suspense

My body feels like it is being cupped by something cool but heavy with a sour musky scent. Did I fall asleep in the tub again? My head tips to one side but only for mere millimeters before it met resistance.

I can not see anything. Are my eyes still closed?

I order my right hand to rise up to touch my face, but it will not budge. It is stuck under something…it almost feels like either a thick pilty blanket, or dirt.

It is at this moment I realize how difficult it is to breathe. Something is sitting on top of my chest.

“Do not try to move,” the man’s back to my left ear, “it would be useless.”

A grunt emanates from my lips as I try to move my arms anyway. He’s right, it is useless. I try to force the eyelids to open, but it is like they are barred by something strong like steel.

My heart is pounding causing my chest to ache.

What is he doing to me? Why doesn’t he just kill me and get it over with?

Something metallic clunk heavily to the ground quite close to my head as I feel the breeze from it.

“Well, if you really must know,” more clinking and motion of some kind, “I just buried you in oh about three feet of clay, but left your head uncovered so you can still breathe.”

I hear him grunting with more clinking noises.

“I’m going to set up somewhere nearby, bring out some popcorn and watch the fun,” he let out a croaky laugh, “not so much for you I’m afraid.”

The crunching of rubber soles fill my ears as they tread over the ground quickly fading away until the only thing I hear is the sound of my shaky breathing.

I attempt to wiggle my body one more time to see if I could budge the dirt-filled cover on top of me, but a sharp, fiery pain shoots through my bowels causing me to cry out.

Gasping, I can feel the tears trickling down my face.

Damn! Damn! Why is he doing this?

The fire is burning so hot it feels like thousands of pins are ripping through my innards. My lungs are spasming as I try to gulp in air but just can’t get any. My head, spinning…spinning out of control.

Oh god, I’m not ready to die.

“Lexi.”

It came so faintly, I nearly did not hear my name being whispered.

“Lexi.”

That voice…why does it seems so familiar?

“I’m right here, Lex.”

For the first time, I finally am able to open my eyes. The scenery around me is different somehow. The tall pine trees now obscured by layers of mist. My eyes glance all around and zeroed in on a human form encased within the fog.

My mouth opens as I attempt to ask for its identity, but nothing would come. Just the shuddering wheezes.

“I am here. You are not alone, sis.”

My brows crinkle together as I ponder on the boy’s words. I’m the only child unless–no, that is not possible. Can’t be.

Jax?

The name forms a vivid image in my head of a boy with a shaggy blonde mop on his head and a face loaded with brown and red freckles. The green eyes mirrored my own.

You can’t be here. You’re dead.

To be continued…

Didn’t catch the beginning?  Here’s Part One.

In the Seams of Being #Suspense

The breeze. Its touch on my skin is warm, the scent sweet and rich with pine and lavender.

The songs of robins, sparrows and blue jays fill my ears as they flutter from tree limb to tree limb.

I feel strange though. As if the world has shifted, unnaturally. There is nothing solid under my feet, but the smell of dirt is so close to my face.

If I really concentrate, I’d swear the earth’s under my back.

My nostrils detect another smell. One that’s metallic–like rusted iron. I’m trying to move my head but it will not budge. My body has become one solid leadening object that refuses my mental orders.

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I move?

The lids of my eyes are heavy as they slowly slide down. Soon, all I see is the blackness which is being accompanied by an iciness that goes straight to the bones.

The chirpings of the birds are fading. I feel a pull in that I want to fly away with them.

Oh please, don’t leave me!

Instead, my head feels like it’s sinking while spinning around and around like some child’s toy top. Like a slithering blanket, a deep chill spreads through my legs, and soon it’s creeping for my hips.

Flashes of images filter through my mind. Of faces and places, I can no longer name.

Just as the icy tendrils slid towards the sternum area, a loud snap rang through my head as my eyes sprang open.

A moaning wheeze escapes my mouth and it is at this moment I finally realize what is truly going on…

I’m dying.

Confusion fills my mind.

What happened to me? How did I get here?

Only to be answered with images of shining metal objects as I heard my skin ripping like a zipper followed by fire.

Through the billowing fog, I quickly become aware of the burning pain in my gut as my mouth fills with the thick salty liquid.

“I see you’re still hanging on,” a man’s voice whispers near my left ear.

Choking on my own blood, I’m trying to find this man. He has to be standing right beside me, but my eyes no longer see anything. It is as if I’m in a tiny room and someone has turned off the lights.

Something hits the ground disturbing the dirt just enough that I felt the movement under my left leg. Then I catch a whiff of him.

Rotten fish.

“No one will be looking for you,” I hear him say, “they all think you’ve gone on your retreat in the mountains!”

He guffawed as sounds of metal and wooden objects clinking together echoing over me, and another rumbling thud to the ground.

“Your boyfriend won’t miss you either!” I can hear the creaking of rubber soles, “he’s fishing with his Army buddies the next state over.” He lets out a sigh that tells me just how sick this man really is, “Yeah, it’s just you and I — soon to be just me. Ha!”

Suddenly, an awful stench washes over my face as I feel him pressing against my shoulder.

“You know the longer you hold on, the more painful it’ll be,” he pauses for a second, “but, I hope you do ‘cause I have special plans just for you!”

 

 

*End of Part One*

At the Crossroads #IWSG #Writing

Have you ever gone through a period of time when no matter how hard you tried to do something, or in my case – complete a novel, you just can’t quite get there?

For years and years, I believed I was meant to be a fiction writer especially of suspenseful (and at times, horror) stories.  I still enjoy writing these stuff, but there’s a growing part of me that keeps telling me to shift my focus/attention to poetry and essays. I’ve resisted, well I tried to anyway, against this quiet tugging until recently.

In February and April of this year, I’ve participated in various month-long blogging/writing challenges where my original intentions were to focus on flash/micro fiction (suspense/horror kinds) and maybe sprinkle a few poems in there.

Well, I ended up writing mainly poetry. It wasn’t planned. It just happened that way.

As I wrote these poems, it occurred to me how the muse had tricked me (by the way, I’m nicknaming her “Trickster” from now on). All through these two months, whenever I picked up a pen (hovered my fingers over the keyboard), my first instinct was to write poetry – not fiction.

Wow…it hit me then (specifically, during the last week of April). I might have already said this in a guest post I wrote for another blog, but never truly believed in my heart at the time — I’m a writer of many things, but the essence of me is a poet.

Okay, I will admit that the Trickster (formerly known at “muse”) had been right all along — but…

Now what?

10 Films Based On Short Stories

Are all movies produced from screenplays only?

Nope.

Many have been inspired by novels. Think Harry Potter and Twilight. But, did you know that there are a large number inspired by short stories?

Here are a few just to give you an idea:

Sleepy Hollow – based on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Birds – based on Daphne du Maurier’s story with the same name

Minority Report – based on Philip K. Dick’s story with the same name

I, Robot – inspired by a collection of short stories by Issac Asimov of the same name

Candyman – based on Clive Barker’s collection of stories in the Books of Blood

They Live – based on Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In the Morning

Dark Water – based on Koji Suzuki’s Floating Water

Screamers – based on Philip K. Dick’s Second Variety

The Thing – based on John W. Campbell Jr.’s Who Goes There?

In my next post, how does a short story get selected to be a film?

Why Writers Should Keep Writing

 

Some reasons as to why you should stay committed to your writing:

 

“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
Peter Handke

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” —Albert Camus

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
Ernest Hemingway

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”
John Updike, WD

“I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art.”
Andre Dubus III, WD

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”
Ray Bradbury, WD

“Writers live twice.” —Natalie Goldberg

“Tears are words that need to be written.”
Paulo Coelho

“A day will come when the story inside you will want to breathe on it’s own. That’s when you’ll start writing.”
Sarah Noffke

“When we share our stories, what it does is, it opens up our hearts for other people to share their stories. And it gives us the sense that we are not alone on this journey.”
Janine Shepherd

 

An Insecured Writer’s Rambles: Will My Writing Have Meaning?

 

*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like to participate.

 

Just celebrated a birthday last month. My 48th one. I’m finding it difficult to believe that I am almost the big 5-0 when most of the time my mind thinks I’m still in my 20’s.

Where on earth did the time go?

I can clearly remember my parents saying the same thing to me when they were in their 40’s.  The sad reality is, my father’s no longer with us. He passed away in 2014. He was only 67.

In my eyes, he was the true steward of God using his carpentry skills (he was so gifted with his hands especially in woodworking, crafting beautiful things) and his time for the church.  Those who knew my father always commented on how cheerful he was, all smiles and loved to whistle tunes from the 60’s as he worked.

Now, I’m looking at myself and wondering, what will people remember about me when I am gone from this earth? How have I used my talent/gift and time to reach others?

After a lifetime with disabilities (hearing and vision loss), I still struggle with my self-worth and whether my writing has any value (especially when most of what I write, both poetry and fiction, tend to be dark). It doesn’t help either when my husband and son think of my writing as just a “hobby” or “fantasy writing.”  And it also doesn’t help when my husband have discouraged me from ever publishing books since I am on disability benefits (there are other factors for his paranoia other than this one reason) when I have many, many stories and poetry within that I wish to share with the world.  So, I have resorted to having my short fiction and poetry published in non-paying zines a few times each year with the remaining items posted on this blog.

Is this me experiencing the dreaded “mid-life crisis?”  Is this me being vain as I worried if all that I’ve written will be lost forever once I am no longer here? How will people remember me? Just a woman who is so and so wife and mother?

I have been given this gift (writing) for a reason, and I don’t want to squander it.  So, no matter what, I will continue to write what’s on my heart and mind through whatever means I can find in the hope of reaching those who need reaching.

 

The Man On The Wire (Flash Fiction)

 

*Image taken from Finding Clarity for this week’s Flash Challenge (click on image for original post)

 

*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like to participate.

I was walking home one dreary day, after the graveyard shift at the Medical Center, when I turned left on 3rd Crane Ave and stopped dead in my tracks. Up above sat a man on the electric wire. He appeared to be completely engrossed in the early morning’s newspaper and accompanied by a silvery-black raven. There was an umbrella dangling on the wire between them. His appearance struck me as a bit odd with haggard clothing, and a top hat.

Glancing around, there was no other soul loitering on the street. I closed my eyes thinking that perhaps the shadows cast by the rising sun were playing tricks on me. When I reopened them and peered up, lo and behold, they were still there.

I crossed my arms and pondered for a moment. I’d been working the graveyard shift all week long so perhaps I was just hallucinating. Yes, that seemed like the most logical reason.

As my arms dropped to my sides, I walked on pretending not to see them.

All was going well until…

By the time I heard the blaring of the horn, I felt my body careening into the air and a second later, landing on the cold, wet pavement with such a force, my sneakers shot off and tumbled down the sidewalk.

As I lied there in a sprawling heap, I watched as the man tucked the folded newspaper under one arm, and with the other, held the opened umbrella over his head, and drifted up into the gray sky with the raven following close behind.

Before the darkness took over, the man transformed into a creature with white wings.

 

 

 

#WEPFF Requisition (Science Fiction #Story)

Pixabay

*Author’s Note: This post will serve a dual purpose. One, to satisfy the word prompt for today’s Write28Days Challenge (Glory). Second, to participate in WEP’s February’s Story Challenge (theme: 28 Days). 

 

Requisition

 

Glory fingered a loose strand of black hair as her green eyes stared outwards. A warm breeze caressed her petite body as she sat on the wooden steps of the white porch. The air carried a mild scent of sweet honeysuckle which she slowly breathed in.

“Enjoying your final day?” Came a husky voice from behind.

She turned partially towards her housemate, an aging, thin man, sitting in the rocker, and nodded, “Yes.”

He leaned back as he took in the mountainous view spread before them.

“It’s a shame you couldn’t be granted another twenty-eight days here,” he said as his colorless eyes scanned the horizon’s deep purple and pink hues, “it makes no sense at all as to why they couldn’t allow you to remain here indefinitely.”

“You know that’s not how it works,” she muttered as her arms wrapped around her knees.

“Yes, but it is unfair, not to mention unjust,” the man tapped a finger on the chair’s armrest.

With a shrug, she replied, “I’m just grateful to have had this one last wish before it’s all over with. I mean, goodness, I had the chance to see all of my friends and family, to say my good-byes…even if none of it was real…it was nice.  Really nice.”

The man scowled as he nodded, “Yes…yes.”

“I know you try to understand, Jessup, and I appreciate it very much,” Glory said as she glanced down the expansive meadow where she could see the shadowy forms of buildings that made up her childhood town, “but you don’t have to stay any longer.”

Jessup let out a long exhale, “Yes, but it doesn’t feel right to leave you to -eh- to face your end.”

She smiled, “You are too thoughtful, but I will be okay.”

His eyes swept over her before he bowed his head, “As you wish,” and within seconds, his body dissipated into a thin cloud of mist.

Glory studied the empty chair for a moment before returning her attention to the sky. The streaks of purple and pink were quickly transitioning to layers of dark blue and black.  The usual nightly orbs obscured by a looming menace in the heavens where billowing sinister clouds barely concealed an enormous fiery mass barreling towards her.

A shiver ran through her body as she closed her eyes.

Will I feel any pain? She wondered as waves of heated air brushed over her.

The earth beneath her rumbled as the roar grew louder and louder until her body shuddered right off the porch, and on the rolling ground.

Crackling and sizzling filled her ears as she opened one eye to see where the fire was when she realized the sounds were coming from her skin.

Just as the burning grew unbearable, everything went dark.

*****

 

Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep.

The blipping line on the monitor instantly became a steady line.

A tall man in a white jacket stood staring at the screen for several moments, the bushy brows burrowing which revealed the deep lines around his brown eyes.

“Dr. Cruz?” came a woman’s voice from the nearby console.

“I will never get used to this,” he said, “extinguishing lives all for what? Profit? So that our government can repay its debts?”

“No, it’s mankind’s next step in its evolutionary process. It has also helped science learn much about the human’s consciousness,” the same woman replied.

He bowed his head for a long moment, eyes closed as he pondered on her words. Then, he shook it.

“Those are just the Company’s taglines.  We are nothing more than an assembling line for repurposing human bodies for those who can afford them. For the few who want to extend their own selfish, futile lives.”

“Dr. Cruz,” the woman’s tone now stern, “I wish to remind you that everything said and done here are being carefully monitored.”

He clenched his jaw, “Time of conscious death, 23:02,” his fingers tapped hard on the blue-lighted tablet’s screen.

To his left, the woman in a white jacket turned to focus her attention on the various displays of electronic devices in front of her.

“Closing the file for collateral number 230645 aka Gloria Swann,” she said as she pressed on the glowing screen, “body already prepped and ready for shipment to recipient number 02A02,”