The following are my stories, all written in just 24 hours as part of Flash Fiction Day 2016 (I’ll be updating it over the course of the event). If you’re looking for all the other stories written for this event, then that link will have them all. If not, you may as well read on!
“Gnome-slave!” The White Witch clapped her hands.
The witch rolled her eyes. “Gnome-slave, I am the malevolent ruler of an enchanted land, and you are the trusted servant who sits at my right hand. When I summon you, it is a thing of great import. Do not simply say ‘yeah’ in response.”
“Sorry,” said the gnome, hurriedly. “I mean: ‘Yeah, yer maj?’”
The witch rolled her eyes again. It wasn’t perfect, but it would have to do: on this day her minion’s sloppy throneroom etiquette was the least of her concerns. “Gnome-slave, I have received word that certain Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve have chanced upon my realm, transported through the ensorcelled wardrobe of the tales of old.”
“Yeah?” said the gnome, again. Then he spotted the witch’s expression. “That is, ‘ow portentious an’ wotnot. Do continue.”
“This threat to my enduring rule cannot be…”
“’Ang on, you lost me. Wot are Daughters of Adam and Sons of Eve again? Only I always thought that was children.”
“Yes.” The White Witch stared at her Gnome-slave like he was an idiot. Which he was. “Children.”
“Okey-dokey. ‘Ow many children are we talkin’ ‘ere?”
The witch let out a not particularly regal sigh. “The prophecy foretells two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve.”
“Riiiiiiiiight…” the gnome scratched his beard. “You do know that’s like, four, tops?”
“I’m the malevolent ruler of an enchanted land! I know what two plus two is!”
“Okay! Okay! It’s just…malevolent ruler, magic powers, enchanted nation ruled from throne of ice…” the gnome made a weighing gesture with his hands “…four children.”
The White Witch stared icily at him. More icily than usual, even.
“Just sayin’, I know who my money would be on. Four hundred million children, an’ things might be different, but I’ve seen you petrify a minotaur. That’s got to be like twelve chiddlers right there.” He shrugged. “I think yer worrying over nothing.”
“I’m not worrying,” said the witch, through gritted teeth. “I have a plan. I shall ply one of these Sons of Adam with enchanted Turkish delight…”
“Okay. This is already sounding eviller than most of yer plans…”
“…and use him to draw the others into this enchanted land, whereupon I shall destroy them all in one fell swoop.”
“’Ang on,” said the gnome. “Yer worried that four children are gonna come here ‘an overthrow you?”
“Yes. I shall lure them through the wardrobe, and then I shall smite them.”
“Yeah. So yer plan to deal with these four children comin’ through that wardrobe…is to encourage them to come through that wardrobe?”
The witch rolled her hand in a “moving on” gesture. “Whereupon I shall smite them.” Some people just could not see the bigger picture.
“Could you not just board up the wardrobe?”
The gnome lifted one hand. “What do you conventionally expect to see at the back of a wardrobe? Boards.” He lifted the other hand. “What do you see if you board up the back of a wardrobe? Boards.” He smashed his two hands together repeatedly.
“It’s more reliable an’ less creepy than magic sweets.”
“It would appear so.”
“I mean, what are they gonna do? I don’t think those kids even live in that house. They’re not gonna go around smashin’ up big bits of furniture. They’d get in trouble!”
“Alright. Get the boards.”
“Frankly, I’m kinda surprised you didn’t think of it yerself.”
“It may be an effective solution, but it is crude and non-magical nevertheless.” The White Witch stuck her nose in the air. “My mind is occupied with more important matters.”
The gnome went off to find a hammer.
“And I’m not creepy,” added the witch. “Shut up.”
“I trust I have your attention, gentlemen?”
The man on the big screen looked about the assembled mass of important people, making Commander Grayson wonder why they’d installed a camera in the war room. Now that he thought about it, it seemed like something of a security risk.
“In my hand I hold a remote detonator. It is rigged to activate upon my command, or after twenty four hours have elapsed: whichever is sooner. Upon activation, it will set off a thirty kilogram charge of semtex hidden somewhere in this butterfly sanctuary.”
“Hold on,” said Commander Grayson, raising a finger. “Butterfly sanctuary?”
“That’s right, gentlemen. Three hundred acres of pristine meadowland; one thirty-kilogram bomb. There isn’t time to search it all.” The figure on screen neatly formed his hands into the finger arch of evil. “Therefore, I offer you a choice: place sixteen million dollars in my account by noon tomorrow, or I unleash thirty thousand grams of plastic explosive upon something worth far more than money: the peaceful quietude of nature.”
“Wait.” Commander Grayson still wasn’t a hundred percent sure he had got this right. “A butterfly sanctuary?”
“Yes,” said the diabolical criminal, unimpressed. “The very place that Woodland Afficionado called ‘a really nice way to spend an afternoon.’ I trust you’ll make the right decision.”
Commander Grayson stared about at all the other important people who had been brought here to oversee the negotiations. “A butterfly sanctuary?”
“Yes,” said the man on screen, emphatically. “I believe I have made that abundantly clear. If you do not meet my demands, literally dozens of defenceless butterflies will pay the price. I trust I don’t need to explain the gravity of this situation.”
“Yes, but…” Commander Grayson was convinced that he must have overlooked some detail here. “A…a butterfly sanctuary?”
“Are there any people there?” asked a nearby hostage specialist.
“There should be! It’s a beautiful day out.” The terrorist looked about in dismay. “Kids today, with their iBoxes and the Facebook. They just don’t appreciate what really matters in life.”
“So there aren’t any people there.”
“No. There are, however, lots and lots of butterflies. Now, do we have an agreement, or do I have to use this?” he waved the detonator menacingly.
The assembled persons of importance conferred briefly.
“No.” Commander Grayson passed on their decision. “We are not prepared to negotiate with you on this matter.”
“Oh.” The man on the screen raised an eyebrow. “Very well. I didn’t want to have to do this, but clearly you leave me no choice.”
The terrorist stooped out of view of the camera. Commander Grayson waited for the bang.
The terrorist reappeared. “In my left hand, I hold a particularly mouth-watering cream cake. In my right, I hold a certain quantity of fiery salsa…in a squeezy bottle. You will transfer the money to me, or one will meet the other. Choose.”
The crowd in the war room did not dignify this with an answer.
There was quite a pause.
“Honestly!” cried the man on the big screen, exasperated. “And you think I’m the monster!”
Once upon a time there was a chubbling flubbleguffin named Thwibbert.
Thwibbert lived in a hollowed-out astroturf hill with all his flubbleguffin friends. They had all kinds of silly adventures but never encountered more than mild peril. Thwibbert and his friends were all very happy.
“This story sucks,” said Crumblebuff, who was a grumpier flubbleguffin than most. “There’s no conflict in it.”
Thwibbert wasn’t sure that “conflict” was really something to strive for, but it would be rude to disagree so Thwibbert and all the other flubbleguffins bought as much Sudafed as they could and cooked it up into crystal meth.
The resulting five series of violence and drug abuse earned the flubbleguffins several Golden Globes Awards, but Thwibbert couldn’t help but feel that the CBeebies Bedtime Hour was never quite the same again.
“Aww,” said me. “It’s great that so many people are joining in this year, but it doesn’t leave me much time to come up with stories. Not even frivolous meta-stories that just get cheap laughs by referencing things I’ve just written.”
“I am the one who knocks!” bellowed Thwibbert, bursting into the room without knocking.
“See? I’m not even sure this one makes sense.”
“Oh no!” cried the first mate. “A whirlpool!”
“That’s not just a whirlpool,” said Odysseus. “That’s a WHERLPERL!”
“Oh no!” cried the second mate. “A choir of sirens!”
“Those aren’t just sirens,” said Odysseus. “Those are SERERNS.”
“Oh no!” cried the second mate. “A flock of harpies!”
“Those aren’t just harpies,” said Odysseus. “Those are HERPERS.”
“Cunning Odysseus,” said the first, second and third mates in unison. “What does this mean?”
There was a rumble from beneath the ocean.
A trerdernt-wielding figure sprang forth from the waves. “I ERM PERSERDERN,” bellowed Perserdern, “GERD ERF DA ERCERN!”
“We have attracted the ire of the ERMAHGERDS.”
“Ugh,” said the first mate. “That last story was terrible.”
Just then, another vessel approached Odysseus’ ship.
“Hello,” said the captain, cracking a sheepish, gold-toothed grin. “We’re the Pirates of Penance, and we’re very, very sorry.”
“Why?” asked Odysseus. “Did you write it?”
“No,” said the captain, apologetically, “some jerk did. It’s just that, being the Pirates of Penance, we are in general very, very sorry.”
“Yeah,” said the pirate captain. “Sorry.”
“Sorry!” said the piratical first mate.
“Sorry!” said the piratical second mate.
“Sorry!” said the piratical third mate.
“I’m not sure why we even came over here,” stammered the pirate captain. “It must be a frightful imposition, and naturally we do apologise, completely and profusely.”
“It’s not on,” agreed the various mates in unison.
“Quite.” The pirate captain wrung his admiral’s hat in his hands. “It’s totally unacceptable, us coming here and troubling you with our unwarranted apologies when you’ve got all your comically misspelled nautical hazards to contend with. No doubt we’ve caused no end of bother for PERSERDERN as well.”
“ERTS QERT ERLRERGHT!” bellowed Perserdern, giving a dismissive flap of his mighty wrist.
“No, no.” The pirate captain hid his face behind his admiral’s hat, shying away from the others in shame. “It’s not alright. It’s not alright at all. I daresay somebody should teach us a lesson.”
Just then, yet another vessel approached the ships of Odysseus and the Pirates of Penance.
“Yarhar!” shouted a gargantuan figure with lots of muscles and almost no clothes. “It is I, Girth Loinhammer, Legendary Pirate Captain (in training)! I, fearsome pirate (in training) that I am, will stop at nothing to get my hands on your booty!” He pointed a rusty cutlass about the watching crowd. “Know that I am not afraid to get my hands dirty, and have much experience dealing with seamen! Truly, I shall make you beg for mercy.”
“How convenient!” cried the pirate captain. “You see, we’ve all been very, very naughty…”
“What?” Girth Loinhammer dropped his cutlass in a hurry. “No. Oh, no! I can see where this is going. I’m out of here!”
Making a mighty leap from the deck of Odysseus’ ship, Girth grabbed the taloned feet of two mythical bird-women hovering nearby. Squaking complaints, they carried him swiftly away up into the sky.
“Ha!” laughed the pirate captain, shielding his eyes from the sun. “Looks like he just caught harpies.”
Everybody stared at him in dismay.
The first rule of Knight Club is that you do not talk about Knight Club.
The second rule of Knight Club is that you DO NOT talk about Knight Club.
The third rule of Knight Club is no horses in the communal kitchen. It’s unsanitary.
“What has it got in its pockets, precious?” hissed the creature by the lake.
“Not crystal meth, that’s for sure!” said Bilbo Dirtbaggins, hurriedly.
Good, nodded Thwibbert, rubbing his hands together. Good. The halfling’s response was airtight.
With the hobbits on their side, taking care of distribution, the flubbleguffins would soon have the one crime ring to rule them all.
S.O.S. in bottle: no return address.
There was something marvellous about watching Doctor Stankenfrein perform his work. Something almost…supernatural. E. Gore (just Eugene to his friends, of which he had none) watched enraptured as the doctor tinkered with some minute and delicate feature of his creation, his face bathed in an ethereal glow.
“Yes…” breathed Stankenfrein as he leaved even closer to the still form on the table, his long, hooked nose almost brushing the mouldering clothes. “Yes, I am so nearly there, E. Gore! So many things are falling into place!”
E. Gore shuffled just an inch towards the steel table, neck craning as far as his hunched back would allow. “Is it d-d-d-done, master?” he stuttered. “Is t-t-t-tonight the night?”
“Patience, E. Gore.” Doctor Stankenfrein raised a bleach-white hand. “We are close, yes…so close. And yet a single false move…” slowly, smoothly, his hand descended towards the corpse, “and we are undone…”
E. Gore chanced another tentative step towards the doctor and his work. There was a peculiar energy in the room, and not just because of the sparking Van de Graaff generators banked up against the wall of the laboratory. It was the energy of discovery! The energy of that which nature strove to keep hidden, and the scientist strove to uncover. The energy inherent in those arcane forces that wise men dismissed as fantasy, but great men knew to be true!
Ever so gently, Doctor Stankenfrein passed the tip of his finger over some crucial component: the last step in this grand plan.
“Eureka!” he bellowed, leaping from his chair. His unkempt hair leapt about, moved by the force of his exuberance. “They said I was mad! They said that it couldn’t be done! And yet here! Look here! The very proof is in my hand!” He held aloft his iPhone.
E. Gore was nonplussed.
“Level one thousand, eight hundred and twenty of Candy Crush Saga beaten!” Tears welled in the doctor’s eyes. “What a time to be alive!”