Forward Rewind Forward

This story is based on the following image and writing prompt: 

Frosted Tamaracks flash fiction writing prompt by KS Brooks ALL RIGHTS RESERVED122911 peek
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks.

They wanted to rough it. There would be no phones, no computers, no contact with the outside world.

Trevor could see the glaring flaw in that plan now. Zack started having acute abdominal pain last night. This morning he was feverish and almost unresponsive. Whatever it was, they needed to get him to a hospital and quickly.

They crafted a makeshift stretcher to carry Zack several miles back to the trail head. When they got there, the car was gone…


The old Jeep must have exploded into a billion, microscopic, god-forsaken pieces. Trevor cursed, wishing for the eightieth time he’d brought his sat phone. “Well, bud, looks like I’m hiking for help.”

“I always knew it would end like this,” Zack whispered.

“Say what?” Trevor leaned close, ignoring his shaking hands–must be adrenaline.

“I’ve dreamt this a thousand times, bringing us here. I must die.”

The stress made Trevor feel pissed. “No, you must NOT die. We survived Iraq, we’ll survive this.”

“I’ve been here, seen this. I just didn’t believe it’d really happen. She’s gotta live…”

“Calm yourself, man. Just a little SNAFU. Do you remember how far to the nearest settlement?” Trevor hefted the stretcher, sweat congealing under his gear.

“She loves you,” Zack coughed. “I’ll sacrifice, to save her.”

“Shut up–you’re going home.”

Trevor’s terror subsided when Zack finally quieted. He fixated on pacing himself. Trevor doubted rescuers came by often, but he’d get Zack to safety.

But then Zack had to speak. “Be good to her. Like you’ve been good to me– Thanks, dude.”

“No goodbyes!” Trevor roared, plowing onward. But the stretcher jerked while Zack’s scream embedded shrapnel into Trevor’s bones.

Suddenly, Trevor noticed the keening began in his own throat, not Zack’s. And he was saturated by frost. Pine needles bored into him from below, concern plastering the familiar faces hovering above. Zack crouched besides his friend, his hand heating Trevor’s shoulder. “Dude, it’s all cool. We fight the same demon.”


Thank you, veterans, for your courage to look death in the eye and tell it to go fight someone its own size.

Originally written for the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge.

Also, attribution goes to the article, From “Irritable Heart” to “Shellshock”: How Post-Traumatic Stress Became a Disease, which influenced this post.

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Procrustean Homage

A late morning brilliance glimmered off his wings–A World War II bomber, its broken hull rewound outside time, repaired into strength defined.

 

The ace swooped low, approaching from the side; his attack narrowly missing the fountain’s spray and the top-hats of harried penguin- men.

 

But the streetwise urchins still held the fort, despite it being erected by neutral parties.

 

He warbled in harmony with the vibrating engine, revving its power. His proud mama had prepared him from day one for this. He’d already begun the victory song.

 

Zooming again, he plummeted straight for the square. The Sky Warrior aimed true. Ladies shrieked, felines’ pelts burned, and the pigeons shrilled, clamoring from their prime scrap-squirreling territory.
Advancing up the steps, the young ace somberly clawed the family name onto the memorial. Then rightfully taking his place mirroring the commemorative statue, the Sky Warrior stretched wide his wings, demanding veneration.

Stay Behind the Glass

Baxville strapped her twin pistols into her shoulder harness, whistling for her hounds. They tore from behind the Westward Factory, which was taller than night itself, but less illustrious than the competition–Southbend Incorporate–sitting pristinely on the corner.

The Hound of BakersvillesWithin seconds, sulfur and wet appreciative tongues descended on Baxville, but she pushed her adoring canines aside, striding across the fog- laden street, crimson under the Westward’s lighting. Baxville thudded on Southbend’s chiseled grand entrance like she was representing hell itself. “Lyon, we are going to duel this out once and for all!”

A girl in a white waistcoat peered through an angled window.

Baxville continued, “Your granddaddy cheated on that deal. You know it! Southbend is mine!”

“Well your daddy cheated on his wife, coming to the sweeter side.” The impeccable duchess smiled back coldly.

Baxville growled and her dogs assaulted the window; Lyon could be seen falling back–hard–onto the checkered tile. While Lyon recovered inside, Baxville pulled out a pistol and aimed at her own mirrored reflection.

Lyon was still muffled behind the glass: “Just because I get your inheritance too, doesn’t mean you get mine.”

“If you only knew what came with Westward,” Baxville sneered, “then you wouldn’t be so keen to take all.”

Lyon glared. “Oh, I know what comes with Westward: irrationality, daddy’s bones and loads of money.”

As always, Baxville fired at the diamond glass with a resounding crack, then turned back towards the factory, the Westward’s hounds behind her. Baxville only performed this defeating ritual hoping to force her half-sister’s salvation.


This was written for Flash! Friday Fiction

The Bastard’s New Job

This story was prompted by the following image:

Coliseum in Rome. CC2.0 photo by Vlad.
Coliseum in Rome. CC2.0 photo by Vlad.

 

 

Lezzone appeared, his bruised body an ‘X’ in the frame. He didn’t know it, but I’d already teleported directly behind him.

“Beat you again!” I barked, rubbing my swollen eye.

Startled, Lezzone almost toppled out of the elemental zone pod, which would have been ironic, even somewhat unfortunate. Down below was the space-continuum, a dizzying, never-ending cycle through the worlds–hell itself–and where his mam resided.

Lezzone moved from the wall he’d clutched, swiping at me, but I just ducked, laughed, and called behind me, “We have to clock in at 532 hours.” Scowling, Lezzone shouldered past me, and was the first to reach the cleaning room. He threw me a SpaceSuck; then grabbed one for himself.

It was his fault we were assigned to come this agonizingly close, even if Lezzone blamed me. If I told our Grams we’d finally been to the Eternal City, she’d call it a bluff–like the old days when an fighter would land, but never leave the airport before flying onward.

If Lezzone hadn’t opened his fat mouth about my mam like that! Now we had to come daily to sweep this god-forsaken place without leaving its stone walls.

Even so, I’d teleport to 134340 if I knew it could make me feel legit.


Written for Flash! Friday flash fiction

Compare E.S. Johnston’s story, My Boss, “Handsome Johnny”, written with the same prompt

 

Syzygy Enchantment; Syzygy Eclipse

The story was prompted by the following image:

Spying, 1972. CC3 photo by Daniel Teoli Jr.
Spying, 1972. CC3 photo by Daniel Teoli Jr.

 

“Boop, boopity-bloop,” my nails rattled, clutching the box while I jerked, gripping tightly to control this stone and my hopes in it.

“Don’t you mean ‘Beep, beepity-bleep?’ ” Harold asked, concerned.

“‘Boop’ works just as well as ‘beep.'”

“Are you sure?” Harold’s unibrow rose a smidgen.  You could call us brothers–thanks to our rabid family dynamics–so I knew he was nervous.

“It will work,” I assured, my faith living. We couldn’t keep living these monthly nights of terror.

Harold whimpered, “What if the Uncles find out?”

“Shut your chops so I can concentrate!” Relenting, I added, “We’ll bring something home from the butcher’s.”

Harold wrapped his fur-streaked arms around himself, rocking, waiting. I beeped and booped the incantation on the lycanthropy amulet.

Finally we heard the roar, that hopeful promise brewing. A flash banished the dusk while the city heedlessly moved around us. Searching for the russet moon, I tensely reached for Harold’s paws, but instead our smooth, calm palms collided, curse-free.

 

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This story was written for Flash! Friday flash fiction contest.

Manny-Claus

This short story is based on the following image:

Creative Commons License  Kevin Dooley via Compfight
Creative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

 

“Red hat down!”

“Scruffy and bloated!”

“Sleepy, ugly bruises on cheeks, blooming.”

 

That is how they describe me, warning the little mousies. As if I am criminal and they are the saints.

 

All I did was fluff their beds, cuddle their baby, and drink leftover milk, gorging on the cookies they had colored with sugar all night long.

 

But now I see my face on every newspaper and screen. It seems the public has an odd fascination with my infamy.

 

I didn’t mean to start a thing–I just thought I would leave a present or two (or three). You know, to make them smile when they awoke and found me missing cold. The stockings were for laughs, the tooting train was just an excuse while I lay in wait for the headlights to come back up the drive.

 

Unfortunately for me, I had to be the best babysitter ever.

 

This story was inspired by Flash! Friday flash fiction prompt. 

The Machinists’ Assessment

This story is inspired by the following image:

Image via The Angry Hourglass, courtesy of Ashwin Rao
Image via The Angry Hourglass, courtesy of Ashwin Rao

 

With a breathe of their own, the bright symbols beckoned me to solve their riddle. Four depictions, one with four pictures within. Then, the four letters. Lastly, four numbers, although missing the actual number four. My mind spun with varying combination pairs and algorithms, neurons firing.

 

I caught myself rubbing my hands, relishing the puzzle–yet how had I come alive dismantling such a vile thing?

 

The expensive suits stood waiting, gauging. The tall bony man picked his teeth with a curling fingernail, eyebrows raised, while the other’s eyes lustily raked me. As the balding letch smirked, Mr. Skeletal snapped his companion’s head back so quickly that none else but Grandfather and I would catch it.

 

But Grandfather was obviously distracted.

 

I added the detail to my internal clockwork: The tall man must share our rare DNA (but the letch–not so much). It explained why they had sought us out. Or just me–Grandfather’s chronograph had been unwinding, even if he wasn’t suspended from a hook in the air.

 

The sucker-punched man rose from crimson-splattered tiles I’d been trying to ignore. I focused inward. The green dials and gauges in my mind spun; I moved the squares like lightning strikes until they fell together so perfectly I wondered why I didn’t solve this riddle instantaneously.

 

In a blink I dangled from the domed ceiling, my long hair brushing grandfather’s face. I heard him inhale shakily as I typed in the code. I knew my coconut shampoo reminded him of charmed days, when he raised me with Mimi on that secluded beach.

 

Nostalgic, I felt a heart pin click. No–not now. I couldn’t allow myself to feel, time was too inconvenient to coddle grief.

 

The device registered the puzzle’s solution, shackles popping. I gently lifted grandfather off the hook protruding through his soft belly, slowly managing him down the crystalline walls.

 

Although I saw the test-administrators’ bloodied message scrawled on the glass, I didn’t mention it. In a nutshell: I’d passed; they’d kidnap me later. For now I relished grandfather’s broken-edged gears tearing at my skin as he reluctantly wound-down. I cradled him close and he breathed me in until he rested peacefully.

 

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Written for the The Angry Hourglass–Flash Frenzy Round 48