Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 31
Challenge #13: Write a story involving a character who is somewhere they shouldn’t be but doesn’t seem to mind. It must also include the following words: satchel, cookie, penguin, tuque, vixen, marbles, sunglasses.
There was a crackle of lightning. A ball of light appeared and slowly grew, vaporising part of a lighting rig and leaving the cut edges glowing molten orange. A figure appeared, kneeling, in the epicentre of the event.
Richard Nixon shielded his eyes, partly because of the fierce light and partly because—as expected—the figure was completely nude. He nodded for his aide to take the next step, and the aide nodded in response, sunglasses flashing in the studio spotlights.
The aide approached the figure and handed over a simple robe, which was gratefully accepted.
“James Cameron,” said the President. “Do you know where you are? And…when you are?”
“Oh, yeah!” The filmmaker looked around the sound stage in awe. “I remember watching this when I was fourteen! I had no idea it was faked, though. That’s some spectacular work! Who did it?”
“If all goes to plan,” said Richard Nixon, significantly, “you.” Continue reading
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.”
“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
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 23
“Do you exschpect me to talk?”
“No, Mr. Bont, I expect you to watch this PowerPoint presentation detailing my elaborate scheme to hold the world to ransom.” Eugene Stelios Boccali directed his laser pointer towards the large screen hanging from the wall and clicked a button to bring up the presentation.
“Thatsh a relief,” said George Bont, international super-spy. “I wash worried that the laysher might have been for something elshe.” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 8
“Welcome…” announced that Attenborough guy. Not David Attenborough. The other one. “…to Jurassic Pork!”
“Oink,” said the park’s only exhibit, contentedly.
“What makes this Jurassic, exactly?” asked Sam Neill.
“Didn’t you hear?” asked…I think it’s Rupert? Rupert Attenborough. “This pig—this specific pig lounging in its own filth right in front of you right now—has been back in time. To the Jurassic period.”
“Does…does it do anything?”
“It’ll absolutely hoover up apples!” Rupert threw one to the pig, who did indeed snaffle it with great enjoyment. There was much crunching, and a great deal of piggy grunting. Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 4
“Haven’t we already done time travel before?” asked Captain Redundancy, inquisitively.
“Only once,” answered Tautology Boy. “Three years go, in 2015.”
“Good, good.” Captain Redundancy nodded. “Nice and redundant. So what year is it now?”
“67,000,000 BC,” said Private Paradox, swinging his machete through the thick Cretaceous foliage. “We appear to have…what’s the word?”
“Overshot?” suggested Tautology Boy. “Jumped? Skipped? Missed?” The vengeful masked avenger’s sidekick was rather good with synonyms.
“Overshot?” suggested Captain Redundancy himself, since it seemed the most likely option.
“No,” said Private Paradox. “What I was going to say was ‘…deliberately travelled millions of years into the past because my promise of a redundant expedition through time was in fact a ruse devised to ensure you would furnish me with the enriched phlebotinum necessary to make this journey through time and step on a butterfly.’” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2017, Day 16
“Okay, so here’s how we’ll do it: there’s this robot apocalypse and the robots go back in time to kill the leader of the human resistance before he’s born.”
“Wouldn’t work,” said Zara. “If they go back in time and kill him, he never starts leading the resistance in the first place.”
“Yeah. I know. That’s the point.”
“But then how do the robots know to go back in time and pre-kill him? I mean, they’ve got no reason to kill him if he’s already been dead for years.”
“Okay.” Callum took a deep breath. “Same situation, but the good guys send a good robot to go back in time and stop the bad one from killing the guy. Only it turns out that the remains of the bad robot are what let humankind build evil robots in the first place.”
“Still wouldn’t work. If the evil robots have to go back in time for evil robots to be invented, who invents evil robots the first time around?” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 18
Challenge #8: Write a story set during or in the wake of a disaster, featuring an anachronism.
There was a blinding flash of light, and a deafening bang.
“Well,” said Gaius Ofonius Tigellinus, squinting out over the burning ruins of Rome, “there goes the distillery.”
Emperor Nero didn’t say anything. He just kept singing. Badly.
There was another blinding flash of light, and another deafening bang, this time right beside the two betogaed figures on the palace roof.
“Ahh!” yelled Tigellinus. “By Pluto’s purple pectorals, what was that?”
“Hic!” said Nero. “Hic! Hic! Hic! Hic!”
Tigellinus wasn’t sure if he had developed a case of the hiccups or was just stuttering in Latin.
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 17
There was a blinding flash of light, and a deafening bang.
The entirety of the the Quantum Trans-chronometrical League of Scientists stared in surprise.
Adolf Hitler stared back.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he began, with the aid of a futuristic-looking translation device, “not more than a minute ago—in my time—I was presented with a glorious device capable of transporting me one hundred years into the future of my very own thousand year Reich, now destined to…why are you all covered in disgusting red goo?”
The first two rows of the auditorium hastily shuffled back.
A few seconds later, Hitler exploded.
“Huh,” said one of the delegates, peeling a fragment of toothbrush moustache from his glasses. “It would appear that one can use time travel to kill Hitler after all.”
If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:
Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 16
“So we are agreed. If any member of the Quantum Trans-chronometrical League of Scientists is successful in developing human time travel…”
“Ah!” Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev thrust a hand into the air.
“Forwards doesn’t count!” The chairman banged his gavel on the podium thrice for emphasis. “If any member of the League is successful in developing human time travel, they will make their way to this location, at this time…” he checked his watch. “…nnnnnnow!”
Absolutely nothing happened.
“Well, that’s most disappointing.” The chairman leafed carefully through his notes, selected the next seventy-three pages precisely, tapped them straight on the wooden surface before him, and chucked them in the bin. “However, I understand that there have been numerous insightful developments in the study of relativistic aberration of cosmic rays at velocities approaching ten percent of the speed of light. If you will all turn to page eight hundred and six of your…”
There was a blinding flash of light, and a deafening bang. Continue reading
The End of It
Splurge took a moment to confirm that the armchair was his own. Yes indeed, everything seemed normal. Then, suddenly, he noticed the chiming of the eBay clock coming from his kitchen. Ding…ding…ding…ding…he held his breath…ding…ding…ding…ding…ding…ding.
Nothing happened. Splurge waited a full two minutes just to make sure, but nope, still nothing happened. “Oh frabjous day!” he exclaimed, jumping up and clicking his heels together. “Calloh! Callay!”
He ran around in happy little circles. “My shop!” he cried to himself, suddenly. “It’s not boarded up! Those are the floorboards where the Ghost of Christmas Presents stood. And that…that spot on the wall is where the Ghost of Christmas Past stuck his ghostly gum!” He was actually a little disappointed to see that it had gone. He ran to the window and threw it open. “It’s not a post-apocalyptic wasteland! I’m not a dictator after all! Glorious! Quite glorious!”
“Yerwha?” asked a youth out on the street, perplexed by Splurge’s sudden public display of insanity.
“You there, boy,” said Splurge. “What day is this?”
“What day is this?”
“Today, sir? Why, it’s Christmas Day.”
“Is it really!?!” Splurge was astounded. He’d been away for very nearly two months.”
“I mean Halloween. Sorry, I was looking at your shop.”
“What?” Splurge looked down. Even in the daytime, there was a little pool of festive light shining on the pavement, because of course he’d never turned off the display. “Oh, of course you were! Of course you were. Ah-tee-hee-hee! It’s quite garish, isn’t it. Yes, quite awful. It simply has to go. I tell you what. Do you know the hardware shop on Bridge Lane?”
“I should think I do.”
“Of course, of course! I tell you what. Go down there and rent the biggest woodchipper they have, and I’ll give you twenty pence.”
Splurge grinned. “Come back with it in less than five minutes…and I’ll give you half a pound!”
The young man made an obscene gesture and walked off.
“What a remarkable lad!” said Scrooge, watching him make his way down the pavement. “A delightful lad!” and he skipped merrily down the stairs to the shop floor.
“I will do as the spirits asked,” he said, tearing down a cluster of crumpled foil snowflakes. “I will observe all the holidays that I can,” he swept the singing penguin off the counter, “and keep all of them in my heart.” Thoughtfully, he crumpled up a paper cut-out of Father Christmas that he had pinned to the back wall. “But only at the appropriate time of year!”
The young man from the pavement never came back with Splurge’s woodchipper, probably because the reward offered had been so insultingly small. Thinking back, Splurge wasn’t totally sure why he’d suggested it. He blamed years and years of watching the same old Christmas movies every year. It was probably for the best, though: in hindsight, Splurge would definitely still want to put on a big display (only, maybe not till December. Late November at the earliest).
“Oh my!” exclaimed Splurge, halfway through rolling up an inflatable snowman. The head stared accusingly at him as he tried to squoosh the last of the air out of it. “I must pay a visit to Brad Crockett! I must set things right with him, yes…” And he skipped out of the shop without even bothering to get dressed, though luckily for all involved he was still wearing the same clothes he’d had on the day before, so it didn’t really matter and I don’t know why I bother mentioning it, to be honest.
There was no bell or knocker at Crockett’s Costumes and Capers, but fortunately it was a shop so Splurge just walked in and went up to the counter.
“Mister Splurge!” said Brad, surprised. “What brings you here today?”
“Well.” Splurge put on an air of smug satisfaction. “I thought about what you said yesterday, about my October Christmas display competing with your Halloween sales, and do you know what I thought?”
“Um…” the colour drained from Crockett’s face a little. “No? What?”
“I thought I should try harder!” Splurge jabbed a pudgy finger in the air. “I thought I should set up a really huge display! And what’s more, I thought that I should organise a big, last-minute event!”
Crockett went quite white. “Oh.”
“And do you know what else I thought, Mister Crockett?” Mrs Crocket here came downstairs to see what all the noise was about. “Do you know what I thought?” Splurge let the words hang there. “I thought you might be able to provide me with some fake cobwebs.”
“You eh…fake…cobwebs, Mister Splurge?”
“Yes!” cried Splurge. “Fake cobwebs!” He quietened down. “I’ve been a fool, Brad. All these years I’ve been drawing Christmas out longer and longer, and you know what? I didn’t need to. Sure, it’s good for shifting CDs as gifts. Sure no other occasion’s quite as big. But there are other occasions, Brad, and I want to keep them.”
Splurge was better than his word. Together, he and the Crocketts had a spooky (and unusually profitable) Halloween, partly thanks to the crowd that gathered when police arrived to investigate a report of a madman leaning out a window in the area. Less than a week later they had a toasty bonfire night. After that came a reasonably quiet Saint Andrew’s Day. And after that (though not before its proper time) came a very merry Christmas: the merriest, indeed, that any of that happy group had ever had.
And may you have a Merry Christmas too.