Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Wolf Band

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 19

Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood was walking through the forest towards her grandmother’s cottage when she saw a wolf coming the other way along the path. Her mother had warned her to be careful of wolves, and so she stepped off the trail and hid in the shade of a sturdy conifer.

But evidently she did not step quickly enough, for the wolf called out: “Who’s there? Are you the Big Bad Wolf?”

This seemed a very strange question indeed, and since she had been spotted anyway Little Red Riding Hood returned to the path.

“No,” she said. “I thought you were—the Big Bad Wolf, I mean.”

“Oh!” the wolf laughed. “No, though people get us mixed up all the time. I’m the Big Band Wolf, you see, and this is my Big Wolf Band.” Continue reading

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The Oracle

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 18

Challenge  #8: Produce a story in collaboration with two other writers. Each section of the collaboration must focus primarily on a different sense and, optionally, the story must take the form of a 369er.

This story was produced in collaboration with squanpie and snickiedude.

It was an honour to tend the Oracle. To stand beneath its gaze, even merely to sweep the floor. To look upon the opulence of its temple, even merely to dust those gilded relics. Were he tending the house of a merchant, Johann would have resented days wasted indoors. But here, he enjoyed being hidden from the world: the three eyes of the Oracle the only eyes upon him.

***

The forlorn human stood alone before the Oracle, heart racing and blood roaring through her ears of flesh. When she spoke, her voice cracked as she begged for guidance. And the Oracle was kind, its crackling voice delivering the wooden yet sweet music of her heart’s desire to Amory’s ears, the clicks of its jaw like ancient rhythms. Amory’s breath hitched, and thuds echoed when knees met the floor.

***

Seated high in the gallery, Hester raised her hand as the supplicant crawled forwards. On the temple floor below, the Oracle mirrored her movement.

The supplicant held the Oracle’s hand and kissed its fingers. All Hester felt was the tightness of her rings controlling those invisible puppet strings.

Only Hester noticed the tears trickling down her cheeks in well worn tracks as far below, the Oracle bowed its head.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

Wilson’s Snack Pies: They’re Delicious!

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 17

“Password?” grunted the bouncer through the metal shutter.

“Charlton Heston.”

There was the sound of a bolt being drawn. The door swung open.

Grant tipped his hat and made his way down towards the basement, the “Oontz, oontz, oontz” of the music getting louder with every step.

Larry was at the bar as always, eating a Wilson’s Snack Pie: “Scrumptious Steak,” it looked like.

“I’m after some information,” said Grant.

“Aren’t you always?”

“Well I’m not here for the twelve-dollar mojitos.”

“Two-for-one on Fridays,” Larry pointed out. “But point taken. What is it this time?”

“Missing person.” He slid the photo across the bar. “You know anyone who might know something?”

“Not here, but try the docks. I hear Big Martha’s having trouble shifting her merchandise: if one of her competitors has anything to do with this disappearance, I’m sure she’d be only too happy to send you their way.” Continue reading

The ALF/Elf Thing

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 16

Challenge #7: Write a story in which an item is used in an unusal manner. The story must take place while characters are having a drink.

“Let ElfCon 2019 begin!” cried Legolas, raising the Horn of Gondor high above his head.

He then lowered the instrument to his lips and began to quaff Tesco own-brand prosecco from it.

“Chug! Chug! Chug!” chanted Snap, Crackle, and Pop, each waving a tiny stein.

All around the Mercian Suite of the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre, hundreds of elves (and one very enthusiastic Will Ferrell) gathered to swap shoemaking anecdotes and archery lifehacks. Drizzt Do’Urden was available for autographs, and The North Pole Workers’ Union had as strong a presence as ever. A good time was had by all.

Then the doors banged open.

“What up, space fans?” bellowed the newcomer. “It’s me, Gordon Shumway! I’ve flown all the way from Melmac, and boy are my arms tired!” He belched. “Haaa! I kill me.” Continue reading

A Wretched Hive of Scum and Pedantry

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 15

“This is the ship that did the Sselek run in less than twelve parsecs.”

“Isn’t a parsec a unit of distance rather than time?”

“Come now, Buke,” put in Ken Benobi. “I’m sure that what this dashing space-rogue means is that he managed to take a particularly dangerous shortcut, and that completing the journey without needing to travel any farther is a demonstration of his skill.”

“Okay, but even if you take that to be the case, isn’t it kind of weird for the pilot of an interstellar spacecraft to boast about a twelve-parsec journey? Twelve parsecs wouldn’t get you beyond the closest handful of stars. I mean, we say we want him to take us to the other side of the country, and his response is ‘I can drive to the corner shop really, really fast.’ Are we sure we want to hire this guy?”

“I’m sure he’s quite capable of—”

“Also he’s wearing an unwashed pair of Y-fronts on his head.”

Ken Benobi took a moment to study the cantina patron’s curious choice of headgear before turning to Buke Skytalker. “Okay, you know what? Maybe we should ask around. I mean, it never hurts to have options…”

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

Refusing the Call

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 14

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Her name was Bolba Biggins and she was very annoyed because just this week she had been obliged to answer the door for one wizard, thirteen dwarves, and sixty-seven RSVPs to some old geezer’s eleventy-first birthday party. Fortunately, the sixty-eigth item of post to come to her door was the paperwork necessary to change her name by deed poll.

She trusted that “Harrie Pottar” would not have to put up with any unwanted letters of this sort.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need References

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 13

Challenge #6*: Write a story involving time travel at least two hundred years into the past, featuring something that was previously dead. The story must also include two well defined choices, only one of which may be answered verbally. Optionally, the ending must reveal whether or not the travellers return to their original time.

“My word, Binklestock—we’ve done it! Two-hundred and seventy years to the second.”

“Super,” said Professor Binklestock, without even a hint of enthusiasm. Nobody was ever quite the same after reanimation, but the university was getting short of staff and this was the simplest solution. “Now what? Where do we even begin?”

“We begin with what we know: the first wave landed in this place at this time.”

“Larry.”

“What?”

“Larry.”

“What?”

“Larry.”

“WHAT?”

“I’m dead tired.”

Professor Wurthord squinted at her. She’d never used to crack jokes, and he wasn’t sure she’d started. Continue reading

The Wizard and the Sundry Others

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 12

Long ago in a land far distant, there lived a travelling wizard sworn to serve all creatures. One day, this wizard came to hear of a troll beneath a bridge who was threatening travellers out of their coin. And so he resolved to find this troll, and see if he might be made to reconsider his wicked ways.

“Great troll,” he began. “Much have I been told of your violent ways: let the people of these lands pass by in peace, or I shall use my magic to banish you.”

But “Whoah, woah, woah,” said the Troll. “I’m not the bad guy here: this bridge was built by the trolls of Trollheim. I’m just collecting the toll on behalf of our king.”

So the wizard resolved to travel to Trollheim, in the hopes that the king might be made to reconsider his greedy ways. Continue reading

The King and the Golden Serpent

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 11

Challenge #5: Write a story including a plan that fails because of an unforseen and inherent flaw. It must include a character and setting based on two tarot cards chosen at random from the Major Arcana. Optionally, a phone call must be made at some point.

My two cards were Temperance and Wheel of Fortune.

Far away, in a time not yet remembered, there lived a king who delighted in all precious things. His crown was forged of platinum, and gemstones of cut trinitite adorned his hands.

Twenty-two knights served this king, and twenty-two he sent out on a journey, when news reached his ears of a distant land where dwelt a serpent with horns of gold. The wastes were home to many strange creatures—atom-bred—and he wished to have a horn from this beast as a drinking vessel.

The knights readied their steeds, and a crowd gathered to witness the spectacle. These were strange animals with hides of iron and chrome: they ate no food, and would drink nothing but the pungent water drawn from the deepest well. Each of these creatures stood twice as tall as a man, save for two: the steed of the first knight, for whom the wastes had long been home, and the steed of the twenty-first, who had once been his squire. These two were no larger than cattle, seeming dwarfed even by the meagre provisions that they carried.

The journey began, and those knights at the front of the party spurred their steeds on as fast as they would go. Dust rose from the earth and smoke rose from their mouths. All were eager to claim the serpent’s horn, and with it the king’s favour. Yet some settled for a slower pace, among them the first and the twenty-first. Continue reading

Steamed Hams, but It’s a Homeric Epic

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 10

O Muse! Sing of Seymour, and his crazy explanations. Seymour, his boasts so outlandish that Chalmers must eat of the lotus ere he suffer them. Verily, when the superintendent hears the principal’s exaggerations, the city shall be riven with strife.

Our tale begins at the end of a great journey: Chalmers arrives, despite his directions.

In way of tribute, Seymour promises an unforgettable luncheon.

But hubris begets nemesis. Seymour cries to the gods: his roast is ruined! Flames like dogs’ tongues lick the fatted meat.

Yet Seymour was devilish—delightfully so—and soon devised a plot. As Prometheus set out meagre bones as an offering to mighty Zeus, so would he purchase fast food and disguise it as his own! Continue reading