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    "Don't do it... Please, we can make it on our own we don't need this. Please Syd, I can sell my mother's ring I can thin out the soup, not this," Eve was pleading her husband, tears beginning trickle down her cheeks.
    He glared her in the eyes with an iron look. "I need to do this. The little one shouldn't come into this world starving." He put his hand on her full belly. "You're eight months in, Eve." There was no changing his mind. He turned around and began walking away.
    "You don't even remember our first date anymore," Eve whispered as Syd left, slamming the door after him.
    It was true. No matter how hard Syd tried, he could not remember his first date with Eve. Nor their first kiss. The thoughts ran chills along his spine.

    The black market was crowded to the point where you had to push your way through the streams of people shouting and exchanging money and goods over each other's heads. Syd saw people of all ethnicities, genders, and even children as trying to earn a buck to pay for dinner. People like Syd. Poor people. People without an alternative.
    On the stands, in contrast, stood the rich ones. Those that wanted more out of life. They were wearing white and black with their trimmed, clean and smug faces. All of them were advertising their own price, "ten dollars per memory, twenty for your first memory. Come one come all." Syd despised them to the point where he wanted to kill them. And yet, they had what he needed. Money. Money for Eve and the baby.
    "I want to sell all my memories," Syd yelled out as loud as he could. The market went silent and everyone seemed to be looking at Syd. The moneybags had hungry looks in their faces and suddenly they all began to yell.
    "A hundred bucks!" one yelled.
    "Two hundred!" another one screamed.
    Some began to grab him. "I'll give your family a new house. Let them live with me. How would you like that?"
    "Don't listen to him. I own a farm. I could feed your family bread and meat for the rest of your lives. Sell me your memories."
    They were grabbing Syd, pulling in his clothes snapping remarks at each other while the poor began to yell at each other and fight. The black market filled with screams and yells and in the midsts of it all Syd stood still, making his decision and enjoying the memories while they lasted.

    The door was swung open and Eve looked up. "Syd, thank God you're back I was so worried that..."
    A man looked back at her with a grand smile as he ran over to take her in his arms.
    Eve stepped away from him with her hands protectively in front of her. "Get away from me. I don't know you." The man was tall with an angular face just like Syd, but his skin was darker and his eyes were all wrong. Behind the man's ear was the tip of a USB.
    "What's wrong, Eve? Don't you remember? It's me. Syd!"
FFM #16
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She's finally done it, Dani realized as lightning streaked across the sky, the damn writer had lost the last bit of grey matter keeping her from the cuckoo bin. The forecaster had predicted rain, but not this kind of rain. The first drop to hit the pavement was six feet tall of glistening, rippling sex beast. He should have died instantly, but since the writer was out of her vulcan mind, he landed gently beside the first and just as shirtless.

“Love me,” he said, holding out a hand.

Dani groaned, pretending not to look. This was so wrong.

All around the world, people stopped to watch this mysterious rain. Traffic stalled. Inside, the forecaster who had predicted a wonderful summer shower hid in his office, studying the readouts. It just wasn't possible. Men don't fall from the sky like rain.

“You've done it now,” Dani shouted, “Don't pretend you can't hear me. I know you're typing this right now. You have to stop this.”

Kaleen, the writer, ignored her and continued to type away. More rain fell. More gorgeous men appeared in the story. Everywhere Dani turned, another one smiled at her. Everywhere. So many men, so many beautiful men.

Meanwhile, the weather forecaster heard a knock at his door. His boss opened it without waiting for a response. The forecaster knew what was coming. He'd fucked up. His career was over.

Outside, Dani backed into a corner. The crowd around her had grown. Something was wrong with them. They smiled, eyes vacant.

“Love me.”
Yes, that is my favorite song. I know. I know. My word counter tells me this is exactly 256 words.
day 24 of ffm: fav.me/d7s1dy5

Challenge #10: Crowdsourcing

All of today's challenge elements were suggested/inspired by OTHER FLASH FICTION MONTH PARTICIPANTS! Go flashers! (Translation: you have people to blame today.)

Element ONE: DEPTH OF FIELD:- "Photographers and filmmakers use a technique called "depth of field." Write a scene in which you move back and forth between two "fields of action." Have two things going on at once-- one involving your characters in the fore ground and a second having to do with the background." Suggested byTwin-Earth
Element TWO: ALL IN A NAME:-"The name of your favorite song is now the name of your story. Write the story without quoting the song." Suggested by FieryDownpour479 
Element THREE: MR GORBACHEV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL:- "One of the challenges should totally include breaking the fourth wall. That would be fun to write." Suggested by Lexi-Cat 
Element FOUR: BREVITY IS THE SOUL OF WIT:- Maximum length: 256 words (that's 4^4)."i'd also like to push for a word count based challenge because i love those haha. economy of words is a difficult thing to master but it's so much fun trying." Suggested by TheFellDragon 
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    There are so many days
    when humanity frightens
    the most compassionate
    person away

    it takes only a knife
    or a word or a gun, and

    oh god,
    we scare so easy.

    I'm tired of living
    without faith,
    without promise,

    I'm tired of not believing
    in tomorrow.

    There may not be a god above
    but believer or not,
    there are so many
    reasons to love

    I'm not giving up
    I'm not letting go;

    I'm going to dream
    and one day
    perhaps I will fly

    and I will believe
    the best of people
    until it kills me,

    because the moment
    that you give up
    is the moment
    you become the problem.
I wasn't feeling very pleased with this piece originally, but chromeantennae convinced me (thank you, Ricky. <3). I think this was a very important piece for me to write.

:heart:

written through july, 2014
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They are waiting for him in the water.

He can see their faces – pale and fish-bitten, so swollen with water that the tide might slough them from their skulls at any moment. Their eyes are dark and hollow, but he can see the emotions swirling in their depths: love and lust and loneliness, despair, longing. They claw at him with rotted hands. Always they stay below the surface of the water; never do they reach out into the air.

He looks from one waterlogged face to another, naming them. Emma, Jamie, Kathryn, Elsie – little Elsie – she was his first, in her fluttery white dress. He remembers the flowers she was holding, roses in pale yellow and white. The petals fluttered about her in the breeze – now her dress is fluttering beneath the waves, ragged and torn, and her little mouth forms his name in silence.

She was his first, and an accident. He had never meant for it to happen. But it happened all the same; and she looked so lonely there, a single white rose buried in the blue, that he went looking for others.

He has a bouquet now. They are white and graceful, though some of them are little more than bones by now. They reach up to him as though to pull him down, longing for his warmth.

Someday I will come to you, he promises, blowing kisses into the deep. But he isn't ready to join his white roses just yet. Until the day when he lays his life aside, he stays away from the water. He never enters it, never touches it. He only watches.

And they reach up to him with water-worn fingers, waiting.
Written for Flash Fiction Month 2014, day 16.

This one turned out surprisingly well, considering.

The rest of today's stories can be found here.

Wordcount: 281.

NamelessShe has written a response to this here.

If you've enjoyed this story, you may be interested in the e-book collection of all my FFM stories this year.
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    “If you thought it was alright to be a zombie...” Bruce pumped his shotgun for emphasis, “you were dead wrong.”

    “Aaah!” yelled the zombie. “Not the face! Not the face!”

    Bruce jumped in surprise, accidentally pulling the trigger, but only after he had also made an ungainly flailing motion with the shotgun. The result was that he not only missed the zombie, but the recoil caught him completely by surprise, prompting further flailing. All in all, it didn’t really fit with the badass action hero persona he had been trying to cultivate since the start of the zombie apocalypse.

    “Stop! I’m not a zombie!”

    Whether or not this was true, the slightly-rotten figure in front of Bruce was cowering, and since he had already ticked “shoot first” off his mental list, this seemed like a good time to start asking questions. “What are you, then?”

    “Would you believe that I’m a guy with really, really bad eczema?”

    Bruce looked him up and down. There was a worm poking out of his forehead, waving around comically. “No.”

    “Elaborate Halloween costume?”

    “No.”

    “Undercover secret agent trying to bust a zombie crime ring?”

    Bruce pumped the shotgun again.

    “Okay okay!” The zombie put his hands up. Or rather, one hand and a decomposing forearm. “I may have exaggerated my non-zombie qualities. Strictly speaking, that is to say, one way of looking at it would be that—that’s a great shirt you’re wearing, by the way—I am actually a zombie. Kind of.”

    “What does ‘kind of’ mean, exactly?”

    “It means I am, you know, a member of the zombie community, but I’m not a braindead monster. I’m an intelligent zombie.”

    “That sounds really dangerous.”

    “Wait wait wait!” The zombie waved his hand in a “seriously, please don’t shoot my face off” kind of way. “I can help you! I know how the zombie apocalypse started.”

    “How?” Bruce wasn’t sure if this was something he actually needed to hear, or if it was just a ploy to delay the face-shooting.

    “I may have kind of slightly—seriously, love the shirt—maybe started the whole thing. Please don’t get mad!”

    Bruce honestly wasn’t mad. For one thing, if what the zombie said was true, it could be extremely important. For another, Bruce was kind of enjoying the zombie apocalypse. It had explosions and witty one-liners. “How?” he asked again.

    “Alright. You know the Necronomicon?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Well, I got hold of a copy, right?”

    “Right.”

    “And I covered it with foil...”

    “Okay.”

    “And I put it in the microwave.”

    “Alright.” Bruce took a moment to process this. “Why, exactly?”

    “Look, I said I was an intelligent zombie. I didn’t say I was intelligent before I became a zombie.”

    “So what do you do now that you’re an intelligent zombie?”

    “I read,” the zombie shrugged. “I paint...pretty much anything to get the slime-like brain juices flowing, really. I’ve got a lovely collection of pressed flowers if you’d like to see.”

    “You’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and you’re pressing flowers?” Bruce gave him a look. “That’s stupid.”

    “Hey, I’ll have you know that zombie apocalypses leave you with a lot of time to fill when you’re undead. And pressing flowers is nowhere near as stupid as letting a gang of zombies sneak up on you.”

    “Wait, what?” Bruce turned. Sure enough, a big group of shamblers was making its way slowly down the hallway towards him. “Oh no. Oh no no no.” They were on the third floor, and the mass of zombies had already blocked off the only route to the stairs. Rushing forwards to a fire door in the middle of the hall—the closest thing to a choke point there was—Bruce started firing at the crowd.

    BLAM!

    Splat.

    BLAM!

    Splat.

    BLAM!

    Splat.

    Click.

    Click click click.

    He really wished he’d had more than four shells.

    The intelligent zombie stepped forward. “May I?”

    Putting a hand out to stop the first zombie that reached the narrow doorway, he waited until the second was also trying to get through. He pushed back against these two zombies until those behind them had begun to pile up in the doorway. The intelligent zombie slowly stepped away, leaving a big pile of less than intelligent zombies all trying—and failing—to get through the door at once.

    The intelligent zombie smiled, though it looked pretty messed up because he had no lips. “I got the idea from The Three Stooges.”

    “Wow,” said Bruce, genuinely impressed. “That is intelligent.”

    “Sure is.” The intelligent zombie sank its teeth into Bruce’s scalp. “More brains for me!”

Flash Fiction Month, Day 1, Challenge #1: Write a story featuring, or inspired by, one or more of the usernames of your fellow FFM 2014 participants.

Just in case you couldn't guess, the username I picked for this story is none other than IntelligentZombie. I took inspiration not only from her username, but her sign-up comment in particular.

If you've enjoyed this story, you can find the rest of today's flash fiction here, and my work from Flash Fiction Month 2012 and 2013 collected in OCR is Not the Only Font and Red Herring respectively.
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Magnolia and Bertie were sitting side by side in bed, reading.

Magnolia put down her Georgette Heyer and turned to her husband. “Do you think the romance has gone out of our marriage?”

“Hmm..?” said Bertie, flicking through his copy of Aeroplane Weekly.

“We never seem to do anything together any more,” said Magnolia. She put her book away on her bedside table. “Why don’t we go out for a meal on Saturday? That new Chinese restaurant seems promising. We could have sweet and sour chicken or some nice stir-fried pork.”

She looked into the middle- distance. “Oh, I can just smell it…” She paused. “Hang on, I can smell it.”

She put her hand on her husband’s arm and he looked up at her. “Do you smell that?” she asked. “Someone cooking?”

“Don’t be daft,” said Bertie, going back to his reading.

“It seems to be coming from…” Magnolia got out of bed and padded over to the fitted wardrobes.

She had a thorough sniff and then opened the wardrobe that contained her husband’s clothes. An attractive young woman looked up from where she was making a stir-fry over a primer stove in the midst of Bertie’s shirts and trousers.

“Oh, hello,” she said brightly.

“Hello…” said Magnolia. She turned to Bertie. “There’s a young woman making a stir-fry in your wardrobe…”

“Hello, Bertie!” said the young woman waving. Magnolia looked at Bertie.

“Ah,” he said, “perhaps I’d better introduce you.”

He got out of bed and came over to his wife.

“Magnolia, this is Clare. Clare, this is my wife Magnolia.”

“Lovely,” said Magnolia. “Clare, if you’ll just excuse us a moment.”

“Of course,” said Clare, and Magnolia shut the wardrobe door again.

She turned and raised her eyebrows at her husband. He smiled weakly.

“Look, I just didn’t want to worry you yet,” he said. “My hours are being reduced at work, so there’ll be less money coming in. Clare’s one of our freelancers and she was looking for somewhere to rent. It seemed a perfect arrangement.”

“But she’s living in our bedroom wardrobe,” said Magnolia.

“Oh, we’ll soon get used to it,” said Bertie.




And they did. Their lodger was very little trouble. Although Clare worked from home Magnolia rarely saw her, the only sign of her presence being the sound of typing when Magnolia went into the bedroom. There was the housewarming party Clare threw in the wardrobe that went on till two in the morning but apart from that she was no bother at all.

But… Magnolia started to notice little changes in Bertie’s behaviour. Was he dressing just a bit more smartly? Had he lost just a touch of weight? He never worked late any more—always keen to be home. And he now insisted on helping out by hoovering upstairs and putting away his own clothes.

“I have to go away for a weekend conference,” said Bertie. “You don’t mind, do you?”

“I suppose it’ll give me a chance to get to know Clare better…” said Magnolia.

“Oh, no—she’s coming too,” said Bertie.

Surely he and Clare weren’t..? No, she must be getting it wrong.




Bertie had said he and Clare would have left by the time Magnolia got back with the shopping but she knocked on Clare’s wardrobe door to check.

As expected, there wasn’t any answer. Magnolia turned away and glanced down at the carpet. Bertie certainly wasn’t doing a very thorough job with the hoovering, even though she could always hear the vacuum cleaner droning on for ages. She decided to take the opportunity to do a proper clean without having to hurt her husband’s feelings.

She nipped down and went towards the cupboard under the stairs. And stopped. Was that music? Conversation..? She yanked the cupboard door open.

There they were: Bertie and Clare having a romantic, candlelight dinner.

They stared at her in shock and Magnolia stared back.

“How could you?” she cried. “No wonder you wanted her to move in!”

“It wasn’t like that!” said Bertie. “It’s just… every morning I’d open my cupboard and there was her smiling face. She’d help me to colour co-ordinate my outfits and… one thing just led to another.”

Magnolia shook with anger. “I’m leaving you! No, you’re leaving me! I want you both out of my house immediately!”

“Yes. Yes, of course,” said Bertie. “I’ll move into Clare’s wardrobe.”

The two of them shamefacedly left the cupboard and started making their way up the stairs.




Clare and Bertie lay together in the wardrobe and listened to Magnolia sobbing.

Clare wiped the tears from her own eyes. “I feel awful about this.”

“Me too,” said Bertie giving her a hug.

“But I am relieved it’s all out in the open.” She looked at Bertie. “There’s something I haven’t told you. I’m… pregnant.”

Bertie beamed. “Oh, that’s wonderful!”

Clare managed to smile a little. “I’m worried though.” She indicated their living quarters. “Are we going to have enough space?”

“It’ll be fine,” said Bertie. “We can knock through and use the chest of drawers as a nursery.”
847 words.

Well, this is just odd... I'm hoping to do better tomorrow ^^"


Written for Flash Fiction Month 2014: Day 14.

I used cjpolodo's prompt: Honey, what's that smell coming from the closet?
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I can almost feel your skin,
When your hand almost brushed against mine again.
We almost took a picture of just us two
And we almost got away with it too.

You almost stared at me for more than a moment,
And I nearly blushed before I noticed
How you almost smiled just for me
So that it was you that I would almost see.

Every time we're almost alone,
I think there is something you and I both know.
If we can somehow have a little more time
Maybe one day our hands can almost intertwine.

If we could almost kiss that'd be great too,
Because then you would almost love me like I almost love you.
Wrote this yesterday to avoid writer's block.

As always you can watch me for similar poems :)
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Down by the lake, a child stands overlooking the water. Her dark hair is damp from a drizzle of rain not long passed, and her shoulders are lightly hunched beneath a pink jacket. Her small hands cup something tenderly as she seats herself on the grassy knoll by the water's edge. Once settled, she carefully tips the object into her lap, creating a bowl with her dress.

Her hands dip quickly into pockets and pull out items that she lays beside her with reverence: a crumpled sheet of paper, a pen, and a lighter. She ignores the pen and lighter for now, smoothing the paper and folding it attentively. Spiders drop from the trees above and she periodically swats them without giving it much thought.

When she is finished, she holds up a paper boat and examines it. Satisfied, she uses the pen to mark it with what she feels is an appropriate name, leaning sideways to avoid spilling the object from her dress. She holds the boat up again and nods in solemn satisfaction, slipping the pen back into her pocket.

"It's time," she announces to the world at large, and oh-so-carefully discharges the object back into her small hand before collecting the lighter and rising. "Butterflies are like tiny Gods," she says to the thing in her hand. "So it is that I dub thee Lionheart and place you inside the boat 'The King' for your Viking funeral, as all true Gods should be honoured."

She almost drops the lighter, lowering the insect to the boat, but catches it just in time. She gently brushes the dying spiders off her jacket before setting the body on fire. "Farewell," she intones, giving the boat a nudge further into the open water. "Fare well, dear Lionheart, and may your soul join us in eternity."
Day: 4
Word count: 304

Today I've used a text prompt from IntelligentZombie ("She gently brushed the dying spiders off of her jacket, then set the body on fire.") and a music prompt suggested by Bansini (www.youtube.com/watch?v=A76a_L…. I hope it's okay that I changed the exact wording of the prompt slightly.

Read other day 4 submissions here: fav.me/d7p4e47
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His socks blinked at him. Jim hunched his shoulders. The socks tried to mimic the motion but since they had no shoulders they just kind of bunched up a little. Captain Bob, as usual, was not impressed.

“It's life, Jim, but not life as we know it.”

“Shut up, Bob, this is serious.”

Captain Bob gave him a look that made him immediately regret his outburst. It was the “I'm your superior officer and I have the airlock codes, so no one will think twice if they see your body suddenly floating in space “ look.

“So am I,” Captain Bob said, “Stop leaving your dirty uniforms next to the radiation shields. It's an old ship, there's bound to be some spill off.”

The socks agreed.

But it wasn't until his uniform pants tried to bite him that Jim truly learned his lesson. He spent the rest of the voyage in the laundry room, learning how to operate the machines. Captain Bob was still not impressed.  
This is my favorite challenge. Day 19 of flash fiction month: fav.me/d7r6yb7
Bullet; BlueElement ONE: SCIENCE FICTION:- Your story must be written in the science fiction genre.  We're taking a broad brush approach here.  If you're asking "does this count as Sci-Fi?" it probably does.

Bullet; BlueElement TWO: KLINGONS ON THE STARBOARD BOW:-Your story must, at some stage, feature the phrase "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it."

Bullet; BlueElement THREE: TOKENISM:- Your story must feature at least one non-human character.  What counts as human?  That's up to you.
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It has been three months since we heard from the mainland.

Speculation abounds. Some catastrophe has befallen them there: a plague has ended them, perhaps, or a war, or something so dreadful that we cannot even imagine it. We are left here to starve, slowly, as we wait for news and supplies.

~

At noon we saw a boat on the horizon.

Through the spyglass we saw that its occupant was a lone boy, and that his skin was patterned with lesions. Sula saw something in his eyes, he said, though he would not speak more clearly of it; but he was so shaken by the sight that he begged us to shoot the boat down at a distance.

We were without choice but to obey. We pitied the boy, perhaps, but if he carried a plague – as indeed he must have – any show of mercy might have doomed us. We fired the cannon as soon as he came within range.

At nightfall we burned the flotsam brought in by the tide. There was no sign of the boy's body. With luck the current carried it away, to be eaten by the fish.

~

Sula woke with fever this morning, sweating in rivers, and he would not open his eyes. He begged for a blindfold; we gave one to him.

~

Sula's skin has sprouted lesions like those of the boy in the boat. We placed him under quarantine, though we cannot think how any infection might have reached him. The doctor can do but little: we are in greatest need of supplies.

~

The doctor fled two days ago, without a word to any of us.

Where he went, and why, we can only guess. Our island is small enough, but there has been no sign of him. Either he is hiding in the forest or he has drowned himself; but what reason has he to do either?

We dare not enter Sula's cabin. Without the doctor's aid, without food or medicine, he has scant hope of recovery: and perhaps it would be merciful to kill him, but we dare not risk infection.

~

There have been sounds from Sula's cabin, loud and terrible, impossible to ignore. He cries and moans with his pain, but sometimes his cries turn to wailing, and sometimes his wails turn to snarls and growls: it is as though there were a beast in his cabin, clawing at the walls with the effort to escape. We cannot walk past without shuddering. The fever must have turned him to madness; but what more can we do but to keep him confined?

There are those who say we ought to burn his cabin: it would be the safest and most merciful course. But we do not quite dare. He may yet recover; there is no reason to suspect infection from the mainland. The boy in the boat never reached us.

~

The sounds have stopped.

In the silence, we whispered and wondered. Is he dead then? Has he recovered? He would not respond to our knocks, and we dared not open the door.

We cannot retrieve his body. We dare not risk infection, and the stench from his cabin is nigh unbearable. If he does not respond to our knocks within three days, we shall burn it to the ground: that is all the pyre he will have. We will say the rites over his ashes.

~

Three days have passed with no answer from Sula; we had no choice but to believe him dead. When night fell we went to set his cabin alight.

We saw his door standing open, and the cabin empty. He has left his quarantine.

Beside the door we saw his blindfold, abandoned.

~

Help me. I saw Sula. In the dark of the trees, too dark to see – too dark to see – hidden there among the trees, hidden in the darkness – I saw his eyes.
Written for Flash Fiction Month 2014, day 25.

The rest of today's stories can be found here.

Wordcount: 437 647, not counting the tildes.

Augmented4th has written a response to this here.

Edit 13.08.2014: The most thorough revision any of my FFM pieces is likely to get. Smoothed over quite a bit of awkward wording, built up a bit more atmosphere (thanks to Oreramar and neurotype for suggestions), and was a bit more deliberate about what I did with the tenses (thanks to dragoeniex).

If you've enjoyed this story, you may be interested in the e-book collection of all my FFM stories this year.
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