Tagged: challenge

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.

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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

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 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

Lethe

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 9

Challenge #4: Write a story featuring at least one petty deity, but no well known ones. It must include at least one of the following elements: spectacular shoes, a coin flip, moving vehicles, a rite of passage, coconuts. Also, at least one of these: no shoes allowed, strange definitions of justice, revolving doors, something forgotten, fables.

She appeared suddenly, without fanfare, standing barefoot between the lanes of speeding traffic. Cars honked angrily, vans swerved, yet they seemed not to concern her even as her robe whipped in their wake.

“You have forgotten your gods,” she announced, quite calmly. “You have consigned them to oblivion: only I remain. Tell me then, what is my name?”

The people on the street waved and yelled. A construction worker in a hi-vis vest looked left and right, preparing to rush out and lead her to the pavement, but suddenly there were no      or      in the road. There was no         at all.

“You have forgotten your gods,” she said again. “I am all that’s left. Tell me then, what is my name?”

In a nearby greengrocers’ shop, the green plastic tray between the mangoes and the coconuts suddenly stood empty. The grocer stared at it. That tray had held­        , surely? The sign read: “       ’  – 4 for £1.”

“Are you Athena?” asked the grocer, his voice trembling. Two more       stood empty: the          and the         were now gone too.

“No,” replied the goddess. “I am not Athena: those who are not paid tribute are forever lost.”

Gradually, it        on those gathered that there were neither        on the trees nor       in the sky. No      blew through the streets, and the     was silent. Continue reading

It Came From Urfulon Gamma!

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 6

Challenge #3*: Write a story involving a cryptid with a fairly common vocation, ideally paid in cryptocurrency. The story must also include romance, and optionally may take place in a world where humans are considered cryptids.

Xuurbla packed her thoomgraver back in its case, making sure to snap the klaafkap back in place over the delicate phneel. She would finalise the gravings on her own time. It had been an easy session—a half-phase’s work for a full-phase’s cryptoquota—and, more than that, one last chance to spend the cycle with Zenbor. The thoomgravings of him would be a significant boost to the channel’s appeal-metrics, and it wasn’t hard to see why: he had the biggest, blankest eyes and largest cranium of anyone she had ever met. Yet he wasn’t self-absorbed, like so many of the other brand-amplifiers she had worked with in the past. He took a genuine interest in her work, but didn’t make demands. She wondered if he would stay in touch. She hoped he would.

The dim-phase was violent with anisotropic pressure that cycle, and the buurtflam stalks swayed in its influence as Xuurbla piloted her vediflorp down the long agricultural transit-route that connected her family enclosure to the central economic activity zone. One patch of buurtflam in particular veritably thrashed about due to the atmospheric disturbance. Except…

Xuurbla stopped the vediflorp, retrieved her thoomgraver from the dorsal carrier and took it from the case. Parting the stalks with stubby, metal-capped fingers, a most peculiar figure stepped forth from the buurtflam. It had two arms and walked on two legs like a person, but the entire surface of its face was taken up by one giant, golden eye. Its skin, ridged and puffy, was a hideous bleach-white. All in all it had the look of something that had crawled forth from the pitch-black deep, or else descended from the pitch-black hollow far above. Slowly, careful to make no sudden movements, Xuurbla raised her thoomgraver and advanced a fresh allotment of phneel. Continue reading

Flash Fiction Day 2019

Stories written for Flash Fiction Day 2018: I’ll be updating this post throughout the day if you want to keep up. If you’d like to get involved with this event yourself, you can sign up here! As long as it’s still June 15th in your time zone, it’s not too late!


23:29

1

“Stop evildoer!” cried Sharkman, as his amazing shark tail propelled him swiftly after the ne’er-do-well’s jet-ski.

“No thanks,” said the evildoer, doing an epic jump over a really big wave before skidding to a halt on the beach. “You can’t follow me on land.”

“Mhhhhhh hmmmmmph faaaaaah!” cried a voice(?) from nearby.

The villain turned. There stood a figure with the head of a shark and the body of a man. He struck a heroic pose, his face set in an expression of…well, it was a shark face so it wasn’t particularly expressive.

“What?”

“Mhhhhh hmmmmmmph faaaaah!” the figure repeated.

“He says ‘Not so fast!’” explained yet another newcomer. “For while Sharkman fights crime at sea, Manshark fights it on the land!”

“And who are you?” the criminal demanded.

“I’m Mansharkman. My superpower is the ability to interpret Manshark.”

“And here’s his sharky sidekick!” cried Sharkman, holding aloft a flapping sharky form. “Mansharkmanshark!”

“Okay, yeah, no.” The criminal threw up his hands. “This is clearly one of those stories that just degenerates into recursive nonsense, and I’d rather give myself up than have to sit through it.”

“Awww,” harrumphed Mansharkmansharksharkmanmanmansharkmansharksharkmanman. “You’re no fun!”

23:54

The Official Flash Fiction Day 2019 Blog Post

It’s that time of year again! Somewhere in the world it is June 15th, and so (for the people living there) Flash Fiction Day has begun. If it’s June 15th where you are, you may start writing too.

If you haven’t signed up already, it’s not too late! Simply leave a comment on this post and I’ll add your name to the list.

Here’s the plan for the day:

  1. The event begins at the very start of June 15th, your local time. You can start writing any time after that.
  2. Write your first piece of flash fiction. Maximum 1,000 words, minimum 1 word. (I have read every conceivable 0 word story and am now bored of the genre.)
  3. Publish a blog post (or equivalent) titled “Flash Fiction Day Submissions” (or something more imaginative) containing that story.
  4. Post a link to your post in the comments below. I’ll approve it and add the link next to your name as quickly as possible.
  5. Write more stories! Edit those new stories into to your FFD post (possibly with a note to say what time you started/finished them). You should end up with something that looks a little like this. All your stories must be available through the one link you give me – I will not be sitting around all day adding second/third/fourth/fifteenth links for every single participant.
  6. That’s it! All your stories for the day are available in one place where readers can easily find them.
  7. When June 15th ends, so does the event. Of course, you’re free to stop writing earlier if you like.

And here are the people who’ll be doing it!

Damon L. Wakes (Flash Fiction Day 2019)

doodlerTM

GDeyke (Flash Fiction Day (2019))

KiriHearts (Flash Fiction Day 2019)

OneWithTheStars (Kaleidascope 2019)

WindySilver (Flash Fiction Day 2019, June 15th: My entries)

June 15th: Flash Fiction Day 2019

June 15th is Flash Fiction Day and, as always, I’m running my unofficial flash fiction marathon. This Saturday, write as many very short stories as you can and win the satisfaction of having written as many very short stories as you could.

(One story is fine. In fact, it’s one more than most people manage.)

Here’s how the whole event will play out:

Before June 15th:

  1. Comment on this post letting me know you want to take part.
  2. I put together an “official” Flash Fiction Day post listing all the participants.

On June 15th:

  1. The event begins at the very start of June 15th, your local time. You can start writing any time after that.
  2. Write your first piece of flash fiction. Maximum 1,000 words, minimum 1 word. (I have read every conceivable 0 word story and am now bored of the genre.)
  3. Publish a blog post (or equivalent) titled “Flash Fiction Day Submissions” (or something more imaginative) containing that story.
  4. Post a link to your post on my official FFD post (not this sign-up one). I’ll approve it and add the link next to your name as quickly as possible.
  5. Write more stories! Edit those new stories into to your FFD post (possibly with a note to say what time you started/finished them). You should end up with something that looks a little like this. All your stories must be available through the one link you give me – I will not be sitting around all day adding second/third/fourth/fifteenth links for every single participant.
  6. That’s it! All your stories for the day are available in one place where readers can easily find them.
  7. When June 15th ends, so does the event. Of course, you’re free to stop writing earlier if you like.

Apologies for the extra bold text this time around – it’s just there to add clarity. Every year I have to re-explain the process to at least one person who’s got things mixed up, and it eats up time that’s already stretched between running the event and writing my own stories for it. Please feel free to ask questions if you’ve got them, but ideally get them out of the way before the 15th (and ideally check the example linked above before asking)!

Have fun, and remember to get some tactical sleepytime even if you’re planning to write a whole lot of stories!

Ultraviolent Unicorn Deathmatch of Destiny 2: Aquatic Boogaloo

Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 31

Challenge #14: Write a story that includes a criminal character and is not set on dry land. It may be a 369er, an epistolary narrative, or a work of interactive fiction.

A hyperlinked version of this story is available here.

1

You are Wishes O’Houlihan, top agent of the International Leprechaun Police. Riding atop your mighty steed – a unicorn with a chainsaw for a horn – you are unstoppable.

Your mission is to take down Captain Blokebeard, the most notorious pirate of the North Specific.

…but how?

Parachute in! 2

Speedboat chase! 3

Launch yourself from a cannon! 4 Continue reading