A thousand offered truths can’t dethrone a much needed lie #hangtenstories 167 (thousand)
And to my despair, while you cough in your cot, I realise, we are your betrayers, a great infector, passing on a sickly world #horrorprompt
Humans in their arrogance and apathy have become such transparent vessels: easier for us demons to spot the juiciest morsels #horrorprompt
‘When did you lose yours?’
‘Be 4 years now’
‘Yeah. Happens at any age’
‘Can’t say how helpful this Golfing Widows #brigade has been’
Wrapped in cotton, bound in hopes, a life’s innocent debut #hangtenstories 172 (debut)
She spun her silk, a sticky film on skin, then called her ever-hungry brood. She always said I’d be a good provider #horrorprompt
Doesn’t matter about the blood, the smell, the buzzing flies, ‘cos it’s like they kept saying: I’m always dreaming #nHorror
This propensity for seeing the worst doesn’t preclude seeing beauty #hangtenstories 163 (propensity)
Don’t rise too high; oxygen is so thin up there. #hangtenstories 165 (oxygen)
My youngest dreams: told me one about how she can tell how old a ghost is by looking at one…no wait, my bad, that wasn’t a dream #nHorror
This week’s winner of Ad Hoc Flash Fiction was Debbi Voisey with Breaking Bad . This piece was pitched just right to inspire the range of emotions surrounding the scene. Great writing. All the stories in that round were wonderful reads.
I managed to get a snippet into Ad Hoc Flash Fiction, last week. Here is my entry.
Queen of her Own Country
Around her comes the muted buzz of unfamiliar chatter, sounds that shouldn’t be there, invading her space, the world she’d crafted with each harsh word and angry thump. This is her realm—beloved and well-defended, battle-scarred, littered with the corpses of valiant hopes. She’d forged mountain ranges of tasks to keep between her and him…deep valleys of excuses to hide in.
But now these…trespassers were here, ruining the carefully manicured landscape with unfamiliar cairns of concern, altering her topography…her soothing gradients with attempts at excavating her. Why were they here, eroding her? Oh, yes. He was dead: car accident.
When they finally left, with words of consolation for her loss, she said goodbye as one would to those extradited and barred for re-entry, and twisted the lock as one would lay a hand on the bible, swearing upon it some oath: never would she relinquish sovereignty again.
Microcosmsfic was another great collection of stories, and the prompt and theme were especially good: Greek mythology.
Special mentions went to Eloise with Sugar Is Bad for You. This was a lovely tale, and I can’t help but feel that sugar may have been bad for two kids, but ultimately terminal for one witch.
Honourable mentions went to:
Orozco with Final Crime
Bill Engleson with Merle the Mule Cooper; Private Dick to the Lesser Gods. The Case of the Missing Virgin
Runner up went to Alva Holland with It’s My River and I’ll Stare If I Want To. I loved the petulance in this piece and the twist on the myth.
There were two Community Picks this week:
Nthato Morakabi with The Daughters of Nereus
Carin Marais with The Sisters’ Oath
These two had a lovely mythic quality to them.
And the winner was Damhnait Monaghan with I Was A Teenage River Nymph. Again, the nymphs are venting and it’s great!
My entry was:
Endlessly Seeking Autumn
You ask why I do this?
He’d pulled me from the sea. He could’ve sailed past. I know he wishes he had. But he rescued me. I have vague recollections from my delirium of him shifting between an old wiry sailor and…something else. A being wrapped in darkness, serpents of fire licking at his skin like doting pets, and eyes deeper than the ocean.
When I’d recovered, he was uncompanionable; out of frustration, I’d asked why he’d bothered.
“Neglect is a demeaning death no one deserves.”
“But you wish you hadn’t?”
He refused to speak much after that. He fed me beans and tinned peaches, but he never ate as far as I could tell. And he forbade me from taking food from one crate.
When I got sick of the sea and the unending humidity under constant clouds, I asked when we’d dock.
“So much ocean now; not enough land,” he replied in way of an answer. Since the poles melted, far too much.
Then I broke his rule. I was tired of beans and peaches, so I opened the crate. Inside were round, smooth red-skinned fruit, and within, ruby droplets of such sweetness it made me cry. I ate two before he found me. He’d glared at my stained fingers as though I’d slaughtered something.
The next morning, we docked; when I tried to apologise, he just grinned horribly.
“In your greed, mortals flooded my rivers, rusted shut the doors, locked her out. You deserve to suffer her mother’s unending, radiant joy.” And he threw the crate on the floor at my feet. “Eat the rest and be damned.”
This is why I keep coming to the quay. I offer to replace the stolen pomegranates, praying he’ll collect and finally make a mother grieve so this Summer ends.
And finally, I have one in this month’s Zeroflash competition.
She eyed the vacuum-sealed pack with distaste, but Adam shook it, as though tempting a puppy to play. At her frown, he stopped and placed it carefully, strategically, on the table next to their marriage application form. Her gaze flickered between pack and papers: gene refinement therapy and permission.
“We won’t be progenitors together, Ellie,” he said cautiously. “The tests are so rigorous these days. Beth and Mark were denied marriage. Apparently, Beth has an undisclosed genetic flaw that could cause colour-blindness.” He leant forwards, a pleading tone seeping in. “So Mark’s going to be reassigned a refined wife and Beth will face criminal charges for decep—”
“I get it!” she snapped out, rising from the chair, turning her back. “We know I’m flawed.”
“Oh, babe…that’s not what I meant.”
“I know,” she responded numbly, hollowing herself out on the edge of unspoken yet well thought out plans.
She busied herself, allowing her thoughts to calm, making drink supplement number twelve; even when mixing tablets in hot water, there was something soothing in the ritual of making tea.
“Look at the logic,” he pleaded gently. “We can’t stay together as we are.”
“As I am,” she corrected harshly, staring down into the dark tea. Her reflected face fragmenting, distorting, on its agitated surface; some sort of prediction, she thought lightheadedly: a reflection of her broken code or the subsuming of her into some unknown refined one.
Adam stood, carrying the pack over and whispered in her ear, “Do the therapy, and we can stay together…have a child. So many have already. Two injections, then your genome’s replaced with each forced cell division. You’ll be refined in a matter of days, and we can stay together.”
And this is how we conquered the human race; we turned them into us.