Now what?

Right. So I actually finished something I started. Now what? Do I keep this for flash fiction challenges only? Ostensibly if I’m producing half decent stories I’ll eventually want to try to sell some of them. Would there be some kind of issue with posting them on a blog? Who knows.

Perhaps I’ll just wait until I finish something else and see how I feel then.

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Flash Fiction Challenge: 200 Words at a Time: Part 4

This is the fourth week that Chuck Wendig has run this particular challenge. Over the course of five weeks it will produce a bunch of 1,000 word stories written by five people each. This particular story was started by Liz Neering, and continued by aspeed and Kyra Dune. The last 200 words are mine.

Devil’s Night

Isa stood in the deer blind, the tip of her rifle pointed through the narrow slat out towards the forest beyond. To her teammate she looked like a stranger, a bundle of cold-weather clothing with only a thin strip of brown skin showing between scarf and snow goggles. The brown strip turned to face him, black eyes a shadow behind polarized plastic.

 

“I fucking hate these sneaking missions,” she said. “I just want to shoot something. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask.”

 

Tyler snorted. Behind the heavy fur lining of his coat, he opened his mouth to speak, sending a puff of white into the air. But whatever he meant to say was lost in the sudden crunch of snow, the snapping of evergreen boughs. The hunters’ eyes snapped back to the woods.

 

Lumbering out from the treeline was a massive creature, wrapped in battered leather, dragging a heavy metal ball and chain. Blood dripped from its mouth and hands. Its head turned as it scanned the field. The hunters drew close together, crowding around the blind’s small opening.

 

“I can shoot it, right?” Isa hissed. “It’s far enough away. The others won’t hear.” Tyler shouldered into her, shaking his head. But neither moved the muzzles of their rifles, and neither took their eyes off the beast.

—–

 

Isa then saw a flash out of the corner of her eye, a swift movement that almost made her flinch, and was enough to tear her eyes away from her target. “What the hell was that?”

 

“What was what?” Tyler asked.

 

She pulled out her binoculars and scanned the shadows where she had seen it. Right now she saw nothing but darkness. “I think we have a secondary contact,” she said, even though she had no visual confirmation. After a while, instinct took over, and her instinct told her they were being watched, even though they were well hidden in the blind. The problem was, the blind wasn’t camouflage from everything. Just most things.

 

Tyler snickered. “Getting nervous?”

 

She tapped her earpiece, and said, “Team two, come in.” They were higher up the range, and theoretically had a better vantage point.

 

Normally communication was instantaneous. But there was nothing but a white noise hiss over the line. “Team two, respond.”

 

Now Tyler’s eyes flicked towards hers, his jaw tightening in annoyance. He hit his own earpiece. “Team two, report.”

 

Nothing. That wasn’t good.

 

There was an odd thunk on the roof of the blind, followed by a dry scritching. Isa’s stomach burned, and she tightened her grip on her rifle. Something was on top of them. 

 

—–

 

“Still think it’s just my nerves?” Isa asked through clenched teeth.

 

Tyler eyed the roof. “No. And I don’t think we better wait around for Team two, either.” He moved toward the door.

 

“Whoa, wait a minute.” Isa grabbed his arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”

 

“I thought you wanted to shoot something.”

 

“Yeah, but I don’t want to get killed in the process. You have no idea what’s up there.”

 

The scritching sounded again, followed by a squealing sound which could only be strips of the tin roof being peeled off. “I don’t know about you,” Tyler said, “but I don’t like the idea of being stuck in here like a sardine in a can. At least outside we have some room to maneuver.”

 

Isa hesitated, then gave a brisk nod. With both hands firmly grasping her rifle, she followed Tyler out the door.

 

—–

As they cleared the door Isa breathed a relieved sigh that they hadn’t picked an elevated blind, then almost choked on the same sigh. Though she could see strips of roof coming free of the structure she couldn’t see anything peeling them.

“Sweet,” she muttered. “Not only are we sent to this frickin’ fairy tale land, but the targets are invisible.”

 She motioned to Tyler to aim at the roof then leaned down to gather some of the loose snow that surrounded them. She held up her fingers to count three, then tossed the snowball at the roof and raised her own weapon. Whatever it was on the roof, the size of a small dog, bat wings spread, was briefly visible when the particles hit. It turned to face them, screeched, then noticed the red dots of Isa and Tyler’s laser sights steady on it’s chest. Before they could fire it disappeared, leaving a cloud of mist floating to the tin roof. They looked around, making sure it hadn’t popped up to bite them in the ass.

Isa’s earpiece crackled.

“Team one, come in.” She moved to respond, but stopped when Tyler grabbed her arm and she got a whiff of fresh blood and rancid leather.

They’d been flushed.

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Flash Fiction: 200 Words at a Time, Part Three

Round three of Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: 200 Words at a Time. The first 200 words were by Meagan Wilson and the second 200 were by Wanderer. The third batch are by me.

“Yes, this penthouse view is quite breathtaking,” I turned to the luscious blonde before me, “but not nearly as lovely as—”
A thunder clap, and then I was standing in a small, glowing circle, surrounded by a gaggle of chanting fools in robes.
“Oh great Sorasel im Palat, lord of fire and darkness, fell devourer of the innocent, conqueror of—” Arcane symbols covered the speaker’s robes, nearly obscuring the heavy crimson fabric.
“Yes, yes, get on with it.” I gestured with my gin martini.
He paused, then finished in a post-pubescent squeak, “We invoke thy true name and bid thee do our will.”
“Oh you do, do you? Well I want you to send me back. I was having a smashing time, and that girl may not have two brain cells to rub together, but she looked quite likely to do some rubbing together. If you know what I mean.”
The robe-wearers shuffled, and whispered amongst themselves. The leader piped up again.
“O great Sorasel im—“
“Stop that, stop that,” I interrupted. “Only my dad calls me that. I prefer my middle name. If you must speak, call me Stewart.”
More shuffling and whispering from my summoners.

—————-

         “Oh great and mighty…Stewart….” the leader—whose pasty face was mostly spots—began again. “We bind thee to our will.”
I took a sip of my martini—extra dirty, extra olives—and raised an eyebrow at the little prat. Summoners used to know what they were doing. I looked at the floor where their demon trap was sloppily drawn with what smelled unmistakably like fresh, store-bought spray paint. I sighed. What happened to the blood of a virgin? Or even the vital fluids of an unwilling Christian priest?
I noticed their silence; I could practically smell their fear—a mixture of piss and that foul deodorant that promised them flocks of women. I took another gulp of the martini—it was perfect. Almost as flawless as my blonde client who was no doubt currently working her minimal intelligence into a sweat in an effort to find me.
“Well? Get on with it.”
“We bound you, oh great Sora—er—Stewart.”
“I heard that part. So,” I made sure to smile with all of my teeth. “You’ve bound me. Congratulations. Now, what do you plan to do?”
“Jaime, this was your idea.” One of the other robed figures poked the leader.

————–

“Yes…Jaime? You masterminded this escapade?” I drained the martini, and stared directly at Jaime.

“Oh great Stewart, we sumoned you because…um…” Jamie looked sheepish. “We want to get laid, like, a lot.” The chuckleheads voiced their agreement with grunts and high fives.

“You seriously summoned me because you want sex? Personal hygiene and asking a girl on a date didn’t work, so you decided ‘Meh. Let’s just summon a demon’?” A couple of them laughed, but were quickly silent.

“Well, you’ve taken the trouble to bring me here, and I’m bound to your will, but just because I’m feeling generous, I’m going to give you a short primer on demon invocation.” They looked at each other warily.

“There are five elements of a proper invocation. Three you have managed admirably. You have consecrated the space. I personally would have used something a little more visceral, but there’s no accounting for taste. I’m here, so obviously you have successfully invoked me, and of course, you have bound me to your will.” I looked down my nose at Jaime.

“The fourth element, however, is constraint. You must constrain the actions of the demon. That, my young friends, you have not done.”

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Flash Fiction–200 words at a time–Part Two

Here’s the next instalment of Chuck Wendig’s 200 Words At A Time challenge.

I chose the 200 words written by Athena, so the first 200 of this are hers, the next 200 are mine.

Blurred, crystalline shapes whined into view.

Rebecca blinked, but otherwise kept still while she assessed the damage. The glass had exploded inward, which bothered her less because it had knocked her down, and more because exploded inward was a contradiction. She didn’t like that.

Her habit had protected her ears and God had protected her eyes. Her hands hadn’t been so well looked after.

She put a cautious, bleeding hand on a pile of glass cubes, another on bare concrete, and started to push herself up. For the first and – she hoped – only time, she was glad Mother Superior insisted on those ugly, thick-soled shoes. Her stilettos never would have gained traction.

A hand appeared in front of her. She took it without questioning its origin. It was strong, warm, masculine. She was happy to allow the man to help her stand, to accept her glasses as he handed them back. For a second, Rebecca let herself believe she might escape. She put her glasses on.

She started, which startled the man. His one hand hung awkwardly in the air, as if he was still waiting for her to take her glasses; the other rested on his gun.

—————————————————————————

“You should go, sister” he said. “You can get out the back. I think it’s still clear.” His voice was deep, pitched so low she almost didn’t hear what he said. She looked around, saw where her bag had landed in the blast, and retrieved it. The man had lowered his hand, but still looked at her.

“Thank you,” she said, and ran out the back into a deserted alley. The city was strangely silent, she thought, then realized that the blast had nearly deafened her. That was why she could barely hear the man. She stopped, backed against a brick wall next to a dumpster, and reached into her bag. She found the Walther PPK’s grip, ran her thumb across its engraved Lorraine cross, and said a short prayer. She tucked the bag behind the dumpster, took a deep breath and sprinted out of the alley and toward the storefront.

Drawing up short of the corner she heard isolated bursts of gunfire. This, she thought, was not what she expected when she entered her postulancy. Still, all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Good old Romans.

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More flash fiction

Janet Reid, literary agent, occasionally holds flash fiction challenges. I was happy to be pointed in that direction and took part in one the other night.

The challenge was to write a story of less than 100 words, containing the words heroic, alert, caring, lot and flammable. Here’s what I posted.

“Don’t take heroic measures,” we told them. Mom wasn’t going to make it to Alert Bay, much less to Royal Vic. Our local paramedics are a caring lot, not jaded like some in the city, so they did what they could until they could do no more. Jerry, the teacher who doubles as a mortician, asked when he could pick her up, if we needed anything.
“We’ll let you know. Soon.”
We took her to the beach, laid her on the sand, and looked for anything flammable that could help light driftwood.
She would have a right and proper burial.

I’ve been doing flash fiction challenges for the last little while as a way of flexing muscles I haven’t used for a while, and because they’re fun, but I suppose I need to actually finish a writing project that I’ve started.

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November 25, 2013 · 12:21

Flash Fiction Challenge: 200 Words At A Time, Part One

This is part of another flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig at terribleminds. The task this week is to write the first 200 words of a story. Next week, and the three weeks after that, you grab someone else’s partial story and add 200 words until there are a bunch of 1,000 word stories written by five people each. Sounds like fun. Here’s my first installment, which I’m thinking of as “Blackout” but who knows what the next four people will come up with, if anyone even picks it.

The text message wouldn’t send.

                That was the first clue that something was wrong. It didn’t seem like a clue at first. It just seemed like she’d lost connectivity, which happened in some parts of the city. A quick look at the screen showed “No Service” at the top left corner. She turned off the phone, hoping that she’d get a signal once it re-started, and she could let Dave know she’d be late because the bus hadn’t come on time. While waiting she looked up, and noticed that while she’d been occupied with the phone the city had gone dark. Street lights were dark. The condos across the street were dark. The traffic lights at Kingsway and Edmonds were dark, and there was, in fact, no traffic at all.

                There must have been an accident somewhere, she thought. A bus hit a pole or something, so there’s no power and traffic is stopped. It was a clear night, and the full moon lit the streets, so she decided to walk to the train station. Ten or fifteen minutes on foot beat waiting for a bus that might never come.

                She’d almost reached the station when she saw the rats.

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Random Song Title

One Fair Summer Evening

We ate dinner outside that night. Sometimes we would dine with the guests of our backpacker’s hostel, but this was just for family.

Evening breezes tempered what remained of the day’s heat, but it was still warm enough for shirtsleeves and sundresses. Father and Uncle Ezra carried the big table out to the lawn behind the main building, Abel set up the sunshades and I carried condiments and side dishes out from the kitchen. Everything was set on the red checked tablecloth, casually but with a certain ritual formality.

Grandpa, of course, was master of the barbecue, presiding over that huge grill like a priest, orb and sceptre replaced with a flipper and a tub of secret recipe barbecue sauce. He never told us what part of the recipe was secret, but I know he added herbs from a corner of his garden to give it an astringent tang that barely made it past the chipotle. Grandpa did the best barbecue in the family, maybe in the whole county. I asked him once why he didn’t enter it in the county fair, but he just looked at me for a minute.

“Girl,” he drawled, “some things are just meant for family. You hear?” I liked it best when it was just family. Mother and Auntie Miriam are good cooks, but when we ate with the guests it was all vegetarian or vegan food. That was why a lot of them came. Our hostel was not very big, and not luxurious, but it was clean, and we only served locally grown, cruelty-free food. A lot of it we grew ourselves, in the back garden, and people who said they were “conscious” about what they ate made sure to stop. Word got around. We didn’t even advertise anywhere, but these folks kept coming from the west, east, north. Folks came from everywhere. I liked talking with them, finding out where they came from and what they did for a living. They all had good stories, of their neighbourhoods in the city, of the interesting people in their families, and where they’d traveled before ending up at our place, usually on the way to somewhere more exciting.

Occasionally we’d have guests who didn’t have a plan where they would go next. They’d come from Europe, or Japan, or Canada and they would just travel where the wind took them. Abel and I would sit down with them in the guest lounge and talk their ear off about all the places, and what it must be like to have that kind of money, and nobody expecting them back any time soon. Some of those times I’d just get a faraway look in my eyes, and if Abel wasn’t around I’d ask if they were looking for some company. Things aren’t very exciting here, after all, and you need to make your own fun.

I remember some of these folks fondly, and I keep mementos of some of them. Sometimes I’ll have a business card, or a little photo. There was a young man from Norway here this past week. He told me lovely stories about Vikings and frost giants and fierce winters. I didn’t want to forget him, so when I cleaned his room the other day I kept his iPod and a gold ring. Now I can listen to his music, and look at the pictures of his travels and, when I put on the ring, pretend I married him and we traveled around the world together, staying at places like this and moving along to the next stop.

I didn’t tell anyone, but as I sat at the table, with my family, caressed by a warm evening breeze, I played with the ring inside a pocket of my dress, slipping it on and off my fingers until Grandpa brought over the meat for dinner. I was surrounded by perfect summer smells; cut grass, fresh biscuits and Grandpa’s barbecue. Mother handed me a plate of meat, the perfect pale Northern skin browned and tender. I put the ring back in my pocket, cut easily into the flesh, and once again took him into my mouth.

Having our family together on a summer evening was wonderful, but I loved foreign food the best.

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In which I post from Word.

You know, this whole WordPress thing has potential. I can totally see myself keeping a themed blog here, maybe customizing the space a bit.

Right now, however, I’m just testing the capability of making a post from Microsoft Word, as a patron has booked time for me to show him about blogging. What aspect of blogging I have no idea. It just says blogging. And he’s late, so perhaps this is just me being an autodidact.

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Just seeing if I can embed video…

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Part the First: Figuring Things Out.

Okay. This is my first post in this WordPress blog. I have used various different blogging platforms and software in the past, but it looks like this is one of things I’ll be showing people how to use when my job explodes into something new in a couple of months.

So far I’ve been able to change a few appearance settings, create an About page, and make this post. Next I need to figure out posting photos and embedding video, those being the keys to the new jobbiness. There are quite a number of platforms and web apps I plan to explore in the near future. I’ve already used Flickr and Youtube, but will be doing some work with Tumblr and Vimeo. Should be fun.

Later, gators.

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