Dream-Worlds Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Lifestyles and Pastimes > Publishing the DreamWorlds > The Word Smithy
  New Posts New Posts
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Calendar   Register Register  Login Login

National Flash Fiction Day 2014

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
  Topic Search Topic Search  Topic Options Topic Options
Jano View Drop Down
Site Manager
Site Manager
Avatar
alias author Jan Hawke

Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Location: Dunheved Kernow
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7985
  Quote Jano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: National Flash Fiction Day 2014
    Posted: 19 Jun 2014 at 5:36pm
I know we have some Drabble fans on here so I'm guessing that it's bigger cousin - flash fiction (a short story of 500 words or less) will spark some interest too?

Anyway - the UK's National Flash Fiction Day is on  21st June and I thought I'd join in the Flash Flood celebration before the midnight (GMT) deadline tonight with a trio that I did recently for an impromptu blog comedy contest (I didn't win because I wasn't funny enough... Tongue). So I've spruced them up and trimmed them down a bit and here they are with new titles now I don't have to be funny (too much Wink) in case they don't make the 'director's cut' for Saturday...

The Dead Path

 

The raven did not really notice that there was only the one juicy eyeball to pick at on the fresh corpse. Ravens are not too fussy about such things and rarely look a gift cadaver in the mouth. Or, indeed, the eye socket.

Dwarves however have a head for such details and the one responsible for this particular raven's dinner was currently several leagues away, contemplating the dire consequences of killing a demi-god. Grimhald was tucked away in the darkest corner of the grubby tavern, slowly drinking cloudy, bitter ale from a dirty, dull mug and morosely reflecting on the litany of bad decisions he had made this day, that had culminated in the death of his master Pech, the Godsmith.

The other drinkers, the usual odd bods, warriors and were-folk were giving the miserable dwarf a wide berth. Almost as though they knew he was already walking the Dead Path as he sat in silence, taking desultory tugs at the pewter tankard then rolling the sour tasting brew slowly around his mouth, reluctant to swallow it despite the dry burning in his aching throat. For the hundredth time Grimhald's grimy hand went to his satchel, fingers caressing the huge fire-diamond that had brought this dreadful geas down upon him. Outside the light was failing. She would come when it was full dark. Leyra. Pech's night guardian.

Why? Why this stone? Grimhald had worked with the god gems for years and never been tempted once. Why this one? Yes, it was humongous. Almost as big as his own head, but really they had no value outside of Pech's forge. Fire-diamonds were forbidden to mortals and only Pech and his two brothers knew where to mine them. It wasn't easy working for Pech though.
   "Grimhald! Be quick now you slothful goit..."
Pech was not the most forbearing person. 
He had hurried over with a bucketful of the glistening ruddy gems as usual and then back to his corner of the forge.  Maybe it had been the contempt in Pech's voice. Something had snapped anyway.  He'd picked up the next big rock and struck at it with his chisel as he had done so many times before.  Usually the ore shattered to release dozens of raw stones.  This time it merely chipped off the top of the chalky surface like he'd been peeling an egg.  And there it was.  One rough translucent stone with the trailing amber glittering within.  It had to be his.  So he had run and Pech had pursued.  He had not meant to kill him.

She was waiting patiently for him when the tavern turned out.  Leyra.  Grimhald came out, last of all.  He knew she would be there, so it was best not to prolong things.  She flamed.  He fried.

The dragon carefully raked over the ashes for the fire-diamond, then returned to the cyclops' forge where Pech's surviving brothers were waiting. It would not do to keep the gods waiting too long for their thunderbolts.

* * *

 

Classic

 

What a stupid mess! Cally spun around in the tiny cot, tangling long legs in thin, yet still too warm sheets. The Undine's Dream's soporific creaking wasn't causing her sleeplessness. She was used to the on-board noises after nearly a week becalmed in the horse latitudes, somewhere south-west of the Azores, bound more or less for Bermuda. Her days and nights distinguished only by the passage of light and heat, except in this constantly muggy twilight below deck. Cally looked blearily across the galley at the oven's clock. Four a.m. She might as well go on deck and read the boring bloody book. The gibbous moon shone bright so she wouldn't waste battery power.

She nestled down on seat cushions in the well before the tiller, until she found her place. Lorcan's abandoned hardback of The Odyssey was the sovereign cure for insomnia and maybe, in the slightly cooler air, it might help her unwind. She'd nearly finished with all this unwanted spare time. The irony of Odysseus' infatuation with Calypso was not lost on her and she smiled bitterly as her eyes rose to the moon path on the silky, dark blue horizon.
Bloody nympho Bajans!

One mad yacht club party she'd wanted to pass on. Lying Lorcan jumped ship and she'd sailed away forlorn and heart-broken back into this broken dream of the gap year to end them all; crewing newly-built luxury yachts to their owners around the world thanks to the family's boatyard contacts.

"Don't be bloody daft, Caoilainn! You can't go by yourself - you'll be lost in no time!"

To hell with him! Kelly too. The empty-headed, pneumatic bint!
Well she hadn't gotten lost. Unfortunately though, she'd run out of fuel as she'd left in such a fizz that she forgot they were low. Then the wind had dumped her too.

Stinging tears came unexpectedly. She'd not got over being mad yet.
    "Aaaaaarghhhh!"
Cally's frustrated scream rang hollow and insignificant into the still ocean night. Scrambling up, moaning incoherently, she flung the book high and hard and yelled again. There should have been a splash, but there wasn't. Just a muffled thud several yards off the bow.
   "Owww!"
The voice rasped in outraged shock. Then there was splashing as several somethings fell into the ocean.

    "Name's Dylan."
Cally could still barely speak as she handed the beautiful silver-eyed, copper-haired youth a steaming mug of tea. The tendrils still dripped from his unexpected dunking. She'd guiltily let him come aboard when he'd splutteringly told her the book 'bomb' had also caused his entire supply of tea bags to fall overboard with him. He grinned at her as he warmed his hands on the beverage.

"Hey - these things happen in the Bermuda Triangle! But that's where transatlantic row boats have the advantage over sail - I could tow you?"

"Won't that spoil your single-handed status?"

"Nah! The publicity'll be great. Lone oarsman rescues damsel in distress, etc... It'll be epic!"

* * *

  

The Toxicity of Urbane Folklore (A Lament for All Dethroned Evil Queens)

 

She examined herself in the looking-glass minutely. Skin like silk with nary a wrinkle nor crows foot to mar the creamy contours of a face that had surely only just left the first bloom of womanhood. Clear, glistening eyes, autumn-hued and redolent of sultry evenings on some wafting, cypress-clad hillside, as the sun sank into swirling somnolence. Brows like the clean, feathering length of gull's wings, stroked in sepia flowing from the finest quill.

Lips like... Her gaze slid to the array of artifice on the palette before her; fingers reaching out speculatively, seeking out the softest and most luscious shades of roseate plum that would echo the rich velvet adorning her décolletage and offset the artistry of her exquisite manicure. She stroked a scimitar nail sensuously across the cremes and glosses in their casings. Savouring the decision. En feu. Yes, for tonight she would blaze a comet trail across the firmament, devastating her guests with shock and awe. Remind them that she would inevitably eclipse any who challenged her sway as the consummate hostess. Deftly she outlined succulent bows, parting them slightly as she slicked on costly filmy layers of moisture, until her mouth glistened like be-dewed fruits that spoke of delicious, illicit, lingering bliss.

The hair needed no thought or attention for it had been tended to by artisans so skilled and cunning that sly silver and golden filigree twined within the burnished honeyed glory that had always been her trademark and shone like polished wood-grain in the softly lit boudoir. How much brighter would be its gleaming as she made her entrance on the staircase, under the full arcing brilliance of the monstrous crystal chandeliers.

Again she scrutinised her reflection, solemnly, slowly appraising. She was no longer mistress of this bastion, but there would be none more queenly here on this night of her son's nuptials. She might have smiled once at the flawless face that stared back at her, but this was a weakness she would no longer indulge. A flimsy throwaway of a gesture that was now beneath her, as surely as it was beyond her. What truck had she with grinning apes or laughing libertines? They were beneath her radar, detracting from her dignified grandeur and the tsunami of her personality that swept all before her, even now in her widowed twilight.

She stood, eyes never leaving the enormous mirror that almost reached to the opulent gilded ceiling. Nothing more to be done, for she was perfection. Her body lush but not profligate: she worked hard at ensuring her figure was as toned and sculpted as some remote classical caryatid. A foundation on which a dynasty had been laid. Her life and lissom form were works of art.

She did not speak aloud, but inwardly she recited the invocation that now served her iron regimen in these final, desert years.

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall
Keep me thin, don't let me fall.
Sculpt me firm in living rock,
Smooth my lines with fine botox.


That's all folks! Wink  

Feel free to comment and/or add your own 'flashes' in here (or start your own thread if you'd rather) - I'll be posting some of the ones I like from the 'Flood' over the next few days LOL

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one
will do ~ Thomas Jefferson
Back to Top
Saranna View Drop Down
Dreamcatcher
Dreamcatcher
Avatar

Joined: 06 Jun 2009
Location: Grey Havens
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3173
  Quote Saranna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2014 at 9:26am
Neat!  All excellent, medear.  My one small quibble is that in English English one says 'the oven clock', not 'oven's', but that's what you get from a pedant! 

I think I own't have time, unless I get some tomorrow.  500 words is a really tricky length, well done on crafting three such different tales!
Death comes to all
But great achievements raise a monument
Which shall endure until the sun grows cold.
- George Fabricius, 'In Praise of Georgius Agricola'
Back to Top
Jano View Drop Down
Site Manager
Site Manager
Avatar
alias author Jan Hawke

Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Location: Dunheved Kernow
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7985
  Quote Jano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2014 at 1:21pm
'Fraid the deadline for submission's gone now m'dear but it's still a nice little exercise to try and write to the limit. I actually wrote them for another impromptu blog contest and 'they' (Tara) weren't too fussed at keeping it to the 500 words so Classic and Toxicity both needed hefty pruning - good workout for when I'm wearing the editor's cap Wink
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one
will do ~ Thomas Jefferson
Back to Top
Galen View Drop Down
Dreamcatcher
Dreamcatcher
Avatar
Teacher and Bard

Joined: 10 Nov 2008
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3632
  Quote Galen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2014 at 1:50pm
When things get a bit calmer, I want to get back to drabbles and maybe some of these to try and get my writing restarted.  Need to be able to stay awake after work first.  Hope you guys are great and good luck Jan.
Dance like no one's watching!
Back to Top
Jano View Drop Down
Site Manager
Site Manager
Avatar
alias author Jan Hawke

Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Location: Dunheved Kernow
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7985
  Quote Jano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2014 at 3:24pm
Hi hon - I think I like these more than drabbles even as you can get let the prose breathe a bit more Wink

Here's the first one from the Flash Flood that took my eye

Originally posted by FLASH FLOOD

'Eric' by Darren Seeley
Everyone said Eric was too nice.
Every afternoon he would walk through Victory Park to his favourite bench by the pond and bougainvillea.  From his vantage point he watched the birds come and go across the water.  He would doff his cap to passers-by and smile and make funny faces at the children in prams.  
On Sundays, he collected lists from the elderly people in his building and spent the day doing their shopping, making sure they had everything they could need.  Mrs Wilberforce said he was like the son she never had.
It had been years since Mary had gone but he still felt her inside, giving him strength. They said he'd never quite come to terms with it, never looked comfortable again in his own skin, which like his overcoat on his ever diminishing frame had become too big for him.
Alone at night, he sat by the kitchen table and scratched at the coffee stains and pushed crumbs into the gaps where the wood was split. His hands trembled, trying to get at something and though he didn't know it, all the while he made a low humming noise with his lips as if he were unconsciously trying to dissolve the silence and fill his head with something other than his own thoughts.
Eric would imagine Mary opposite him, smiling over the top of her cup and reading him crossword clues from the newspaper. Her brown hair would fall around her face and even now he would reach out to touch it, gently, feel it slip around his fingers and watch her lips purse coyly as she shied away from his attention.
Eric thought Mary was beautiful, and when he looked into her eyes he found answers to questions he didn't even realise he had asked.
He didn't do crosswords anymore, hadn't for a while.  He wasn't able to concentrate so much these days, and the last time he'd held a pen in the post office, it had shook so much he couldn't write his own name.  He found it difficult to remember things.
But Eric used to be a fireman and there he had learned how to do CPR.  Two weeks ago, a man had collapsed in Victory Park.  Eric remembered everything, and down on the grass, surrounded by a small crowd of concerned onlookers, he had saved the man's life. For a moment he believed that Mary hadn’t died in the car he was driving and finally he could live in this world again without drink and be good for something, rather than nothing.



The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one
will do ~ Thomas Jefferson
Back to Top
Jano View Drop Down
Site Manager
Site Manager
Avatar
alias author Jan Hawke

Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Location: Dunheved Kernow
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7985
  Quote Jano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2014 at 3:33pm
And another 'cos it's so good (am putting the time of posting on the site from now on as well as these are getting buried Smile)

Originally posted by FLASH FLOOD

'A Dedication to the Words That Have to Come Out' by Jane Roberts

They close down the libraries, shelf by shelf, binary system by binary system. They don’t ask the people. They don’t ask the books. Tomes become entombed. Angry. Until the inevitable moment. The dawn of literary awakening arrives and zombified words eschew their interment and rise up. The cohorts of words – armies of sentences – march out onto the streets, catatonic with rage, lonely from expulsion. Words waiting to love, words wanting to express themselves, words longing to abuse someone. Words intent on reclaiming their audience. Critical imperatives lurk by train stations ready to pounce upon the weary commuter. Didactic Shock Syndrome rashes like a plague through the failing schools of the cityscape. Vulgar words mix with jocular Fescennine Verse by sodium-gilded dustbin areas, conjuring a gradatio of degradation around regimented wheelie bins. Words with no home in polite dictionaries flow out past the end of the train tracks to suburbia and beyond. And in the historic market towns, street corners enjoy the enjambment of poetry stretching – over the cracks in the cobbles and crazy paving. Over-extending the metre of its legs like a cheap madam to make itself seen to the letter. Whilst courtly elegiacs woo in the unlikely tryst spots of furtive lovers where “Shall I compare thee...” caresses “Shazza luvs Jojo”.Catharsis and jubilation sigh and riot – all punctuated with a bunting of exclamation marks – on the newsstand billboards. Bulletins, nay bullets of flash are fired – projectile from aerosols – indiscriminately around the underpasses; tower blocks are papier-mâché-ed with posters of announcements at their foundations; blood-red decrees of gangland respect and menace; a tattooed panoply of epanalepsis – “stay true, brethren, blood, in these bleak times, stay true” – monopolises the scarred rib cages of buses. Then, amid the anger, amid the love, a swell of words bubbling in the lethargic tide of a river becomes illiterate: confuzzled, confplexed and puzused. An unbearable dissonance. All because they closed the libraries. All because – in whatever way possible – the words had to come out.

Posted by at  
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one
will do ~ Thomas Jefferson
Back to Top
Jano View Drop Down
Site Manager
Site Manager
Avatar
alias author Jan Hawke

Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Location: Dunheved Kernow
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7985
  Quote Jano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2014 at 4:52pm
these are addictive!

Originally posted by FLASH FLOOD

'The New Dog' by Collette Lord


In Chester’s Wood Muffin spotted a deer, and raced after it wrenching his lead out of the boy’s hand. Jason set off in pursuit. What would mum and dad say if he returned without the dog from his first solo outing with their new pet?
He stopped. Listened. Thought he could hear a quiet whimpering. Easing himself through the dense bracken, he found himself falling into a deep warren, encapsulated in the arms of a rainbow. Jason landed with a soft thud on a carpet of green cake. Shafts of sugary light dripped honey sandwiches, as custard tarts floated tantalisingly past his mouth. As he stood up he heard a squeaky voice.
‘Tea?’ enquired the dormouse.
‘No he wants coffee?’ shrilled the Queen of Hearts.
‘Give him milk then,’ shouted the King of Spades.
‘I don’t want tea. Thank you. I’m looking for my dog, Muffin. Have you seen him please?’ Jason asked. A young blonde girl who was plaiting the back legs of a blue caterpillar glared at him.
‘I’ll get in real trouble if I’m not back with dad’s dog for supper.’
‘You eat dog for supper? Really?’ asked the Mad March Hare.
‘I don’t know why that’s weird, eating dog, Lewis did,’ said the Queen as she put a pink donut under her crown.
‘Lewis who?’ asked the King, drinking tea from a thimble.
‘Caroll - Lewis bleeding Caroll’ snapped Alice. ‘He hated dogs. Came here years ago he did, stole all our dogs for his Chow Mein Café. Should have called it Setter Snack Bar or Basset Bistro if you ask me. Then, cheeky ghet, pinches our life-style as well, steals our ideas, without a by-your-leave, no copyright fees, no contract, no nuffink. Then disappears into my Vanish Me bottle and we ain’t never seen him since. And he stole the dormouses’s darning mushroom. Famous writers? Stuff ‘em, thieves, the lot of ‘em, they don’t blinking care for no other bugger’s careers. Our wonderland story was ready for publishing. Rabbit Hole Press were going to print. They’d have paid us squillions, we’d all have been in the blooming Caribbean by now.’
‘Tea?’ asked the dormouse of no one in particular.
Jason retreated behind a giant dandelion. But before he could decide what to do next, the rainbow swooshed around him again, snuggling him up into its silky cocoon.

Back in Chester’s Wood, Muffin was asleep under a bush, and leapt up excitedly licking Jason’s face.
‘Where did you go with the dog darling?’ mum asked, watching TV.
‘Wonderland.’ He said quietly.
‘Yes dear, that’s nice. Have you put him in his kennel?’
‘Yes, mum.’
‘Night night dear. Oh, your biology kit’s ready for tomorrow, don’t forget you need a little mammal for dissection class.’

Behind her back, Jason grinned, as he felt the warm little body struggling to get out of his inside pocket. He gave her the customary peck. “Yes mum, I’ve got it covered, night night.”



Posted by FlashFlood Admin     at 01:40
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one
will do ~ Thomas Jefferson
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.031 seconds.

We are a non-profit making site. We are not affiliated with any company, studio, institution, industry or official fan organisation for any copyrighted material featured on this site.
Content posted on the site remains the property of the original owner/artist and is used in compliance with the fair use/dealing clause of the copyright act.
Header framework art ~ where not attributed on the graphic, design & original content remain © dream-worlds.net 2009-2011
Terms of Use