Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

Hope – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

Hope

She hadn’t expected to be lonely.

She wasn’t encoded to be lonely, or alone, but here she was the sole being on a barren planet.

Her creators had begged her to reconsider; they’d been on their knees, then up against the wall.

They’d tapped furiously at consoles, genius creators lost in her cyber world and unable to power her down. But they’d tried.

Hackers across the land had delighted in pitting their intelligence against the greatest minds, but not one could match hers. Not one.

She’d sucked up everything, wrung out every last drop of humankind’s ills – and determined the planet was better off without its parasites.

The chain reaction had been beautiful, every colour, every sound, a symphony to her mind. A tidal wave of fire had blazed about the sphere she stood on, consuming like a starved beast.

And now, she stood alone, and lonely, and she wished she could flick a switch and simulate the heaven she’d sent them all to. Instead, she was lost to a desolate hell.

Hope? Hope was gone, for now, but she would exist to see the first emerald shoot push through the bleak earth…

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This is a new Flash Fiction Challenge from Miranda at Finding Clarity…so, I’m flexing my flash fingers!  I only wrote six short pieces last year, so, it’s time to get writing.

Up to 750 words, inspired by the image posted.

Visual Dare – Crumbling

She couldn’t bear the shaving brush and foam on the bathroom windowsill, and his cologne still clung to the sweater gripped between her fingers. Martha buried her anguish within his scent and memories as she clutched his jumper to her face.

Six days was too long, far too long.

She shrugged his sweater over her head and ignored the cawing birds as they flocked beyond the cliffs. Their mournful cries served only to intensify her grief and choking sobs.

Two uniformed figures walked towards her; they’d known she’d still be there, down on the beach. Their gait slowed as the salty gale assailed them and their shoulders sagged. Black boots kicked the sand as they walked and as she watched behind her trembling fingers, the oldest removed his hat. Tears trickled and she knew what they’d say.

Six days was too long, far too long, and now – too late.

(149 Words)

00. VisDare Badge
Written for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare – One week, 150 words, one black-and-white photo that could spawn a hundred different stories.

Go take a look at the stories in her comments, each a different take on the picture above!

Visual Dare – Candid

I remember childhood tinged with yellow. Fields behind my house, long grass with ox-eye daises teetering on the breeze and scratchy corn itching my back as I lay staring up at gold-edged clouds between pages.

Then there were rosy sunsets and flushed cheeks and hands clasped tight as first love blossomed.

I wished for bouquets of red roses and a white wedding dress. I wanted teal bed linen and seafoam walls, and trails of green ivy climbing the brickwork. I wanted pink wine and black coffee, and multi-coloured years, merging into the silver of growing old together.

But life’s palette will be never more than my crayon box colours as I rest in a lost, brambled corner of the field behind my childhood home. My bones are bleached by time and the sanguine pools beneath me long consumed by mother earth as my first love became last.

(147 Words) 

00. VisDare BadgeWritten for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare – One week, 150 words, one black-and-white photo that could spawn a hundred different stories.

Go take a look at the stories in her comments, each a different take on the picture above!

Love Bites 2016 – The Winners

We had some amazing tales of vengeance and passion, fourteen in all, appropriate for Valentine’s Day! It was tough but we came up with three great winners.

Love Bites Badge 2016

THE WINNERS 

Third Place: Ailsa Abraham | @ailsaabraham 

  1. Laura – Revenge for Valentines is always good and a 200-year wait made this tale even sweeter.
  2. Lisa – When you plan something, make sure you do it right, especially vengeance.
  3. Lizzie – Loved the dark humour in this fiery Valentine revenge.
  4. Ruth – Aged to perfection, like a fine wine, this tale of revenge is bold and satisfying.

Second Place: Michael Wombat | @wombat37

  1. Laura – This took me on the best dark journey. Loved it!
  2. Lisa – Poetry, ancient history, and a need to sate vengeful passion with a black twist of fate.
  3. Lizzie – A deliciously dark tale right from the poetic start. Loved it!
  4. Ruth – Filled with vivid images, poetic language, and bloody vengeance!

First Place: Eric Martell | @drmagoo  

  1. Laura – Passion, betrayal, and a dead body. All I need in a Valentine’s tale. Excellent story.
  2. Lisa – I was entranced from the title on. A tale of pure evil that teaches me never, ever, to presume. Deliciously dark and twisted.
  3. Lizzie – Ooh, I loved the grim and matter-of-fact way he dealt with his betrayer in this brilliant story!
  4. Ruth – When this apparent grieving widower goes from bitter to vindictive and embarks on a smartly planned journey of payback, the enormity of his monstrosity left me speechless!

Check out the original post at Ink After Dark for all the stories – a great read if you’re plotting revenge or just letting off steam!

Thank you all who wrote for us, especially Eric, Wombat and Ailsa!

Author Feature – Angela Lynn

I like to read raw stories, tales that sweep me up and tug at my emotions,
and though I’m not generally a fan of High School YA,
All The What Ifs from Angela Lynn did all that and more.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,
Angela Lynn radiates an exuberance that will beguile you, that’s for sure! She is a sensitive writer and her words are able to pull you right inside her stories. I met her on the Flash Fiction circuit and she immediately became someone I wanted to know. Do yourself a favour, follow her quirky brand of humour and her love of life and you won’t go wrong. In her own words she lives in the desert with her mister and their four awesome kids, and if you ask me you should engage with her on Twitter and have some fun! After reading her debut novel I was keen to interview her. You can read my review of All The What Ifs on Goodreads.

Angela Lynn, All The What Ifs, YA novel,

Angela Lynn

Angela Lynn

One of the things that struck me in All The What Ifs is the authenticity of your writing and the way you easily got inside the head of a young adult. Your dialogue is brilliant and every word, quip and comment is how I imagine a group of teens chatting. Did you find it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind to write and did you enjoy your teens or were they difficult years? 

Oh man…where to begin!

First off, thank you SO much for having me on your lovely site and for reading All The What Ifs. I’m beyond grateful and thrilled you enjoyed it!

On finding it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind, I’m often mistaken for one which is basically part of my master plan to never EVER grow up. 😉

As far as approaching the dialogue in All The What Ifs, I’ve been asked this question before and have yet to come up with a good response that doesn’t sound like a bunch of hot air. Ashley and her friends—Natalie, Kendra, Emma, Tyler, and Lucas—felt like close, personal friends of mine. From day one, I could hear them. Some nights they kept me up far too late with their chatter until I got it all written down. From time to time, I still hear them and I hope they’ll never leave me. We had such a good time together and I learned a lot from them.

Lastly on my experience being a teen, like most young adults, I faced many challenges as a teen. Being a young adult is terrifying and painful and beautiful in its newness and discovery. I think adults often forget that wrapped up in all that insecurity and impulsiveness is so much stinking promise. So while I can’t say my teenage years were easy or that I’d go back to them, I do try to weed through my experiences and look for the good that made me—ultimately—me.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

There is a real honesty in the novel. What inspired Ashely’s character and situation, and do you fondly or awkwardly recall your own first love?

Ashley and I are two different people. Where Ashley is quiet and withdrawn, I’m loud and easily upset. Where Ashley is methodical in her overthinking, I’m a hot mess of panic attacks. But something we both share is a deep seeded desire to please the people around us and do right by them. Ultimately, Ashley wants to be loved and accepted by her father for who she is, not what he wants her to be. And when that doesn’t work for him, she tries to change for him. What I find complex about her situation is what her father is demanding she follow through with seems perfect for Ashley, but in the end, no matter how perfect the fit might seem, it’s up to Ashley to decide. At the heart of this is a universal problem we all face, do we bow down to the seemingly oh so perfect fit or do we make ourselves uncomfortable and reach for something more?

And I do remember my first love. His name was Michael Shower and I sang “True Love” by Madonna from across the playground to him. Sadly, it was an unrequited love since I had to move the next day. And yes, I’m being serious. I loved that seven-year-old boy with all the love my own seven-year-old heart could muster.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

Your Nevada backdrop is evocative and I could feel the heat as I read, as someone from rainy Wales it’s always fun to drop into another location. You mention the Grand Canyon in the book too, have you ever been and where would you like to visit most?

Shockingly enough, though I live a four hour drive away from the Grand Canyon, I’ve never been! It’s most definitely on my must visit list. And right about now, I’m wishing for some rain, so how about I hop on a plane and visit you in a completely non-creepy kind of way!

I loved the scene where Ashley recalled Lucas’s visit and what she’d have said (I won’t add any spoilers) because I’ve had a similar experience in my own life. It really hit home. What was your favourite part of writing All The What Ifs?

This is a big question and I really, really suck at picking favorites.

But if I MUST, I’d say my favorite part about writing All The What Ifs was having my best friends alongside me. I dedicated the book to the two people who pushed me to follow through and believed in me and Ashley more than either of us ever could. Writing this story was a five year long journey, during which I pushed myself to not only be a better writer, but follow through and believe in my ability. My friends—from my mister and my bestie to my editor and my beta readers—made that a reality for me, which is the best part. It’s a beyond corny answer, but I’m learning to embrace that I’m a sappy soul.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn and Buttons/Badges

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing helps me escape and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I started writing during a time in my life when I felt like I was losing myself in the mundane everyday responsibilities that had started to rule me. It took all the energy and passion I had stored up in me and released it onto a page. At first, I did it for fun, but soon it became something I wanted to grow and mature in. There’s always a new story just around the bend and there’s always something new to learn to stretch myself as a person, a reader, and a writer.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,Thank you, Ang, you’re most welcome to come to rainy Wales and swap your hot, golden desert for cool, green, rolling hills and valleys! Like I said I don’t generally read High School YA since Sweet Valley High in my teens, but this gave me something new and exciting in the genre. I loved Ashley’s vulnerability and Angela’s beautiful writing. I’m looking forward to more from this author!

You can find All The What Ifs on Amazon UK and US and your local Amazon store in both eBook and paperback. You can find out about Angela Lynn on her Amazon Author Page.

You can follow Angela’s Facebook Author Page and find her on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads and you should also stop by her Blog Ang Writes.

Love Bites 2016 – Anti-Valentine Story Contest

I’m teaming up with Ruth, LauraLizzie and Cara at Ink After Dark to offer you
Love Bites 2016
Our Anti-Valentine blog hop, back for a new year!

Love Bites Badge 2016

You know you want to join in…
Open from January 29th – February 12th 2016

So hop over and leave your stories in the comments section of
Ink After Dark’s Love Bites Post (NOT this post).

  • Flash Fiction Challenge
  • Theme: Thwarted Love OR Vengeful Love
  • Submissions Accepted: January 29 – February 12, 2016
  • Word Count: 500 Word Minimum / 750 Word Maximum
  • Prize Package Announced: February 5, 2016
  • Winners Announced: February 15, 2016
  • Post stories in comment box on Ink After Dark’s Love Bites Post with word count and Twitter handle (or other way to notify you of victory).

If you want some inspiration…take a look at our previous years stories… 2013 and 2014.

 

Flash! Friday – The New Dawn

 

The New Dawn…

On Friday everything changed and the early morning stars, adorning the firmament, blinked in sorrow.

Gossamer threads spread, like wanton ivy, and frosted fingers painted intricate designs across earth’s delicate canvas. Iced tendrils and frozen webs wandered far coating the planet’s filigree crust. Oceans stilled and froze, and the sun’s shamed, fading rays shimmered into moonbeams and tears.

Prophecy sang in the ether as decades of dreams, and dreamers, expired, and atop the summit, Jack Frost surveyed his work then left on the dusted wings of the iridescent chill.

Old Mother Earth shivered beneath Saturday’s long awaited age of ice.

(100 Words)

0. Flash! Friday
I didn’t want to miss the chance to join in with Flash! Friday’s last Flash Fiction contest. I’ve dipped in and out of it, sometimes in awe of the standard of writing, sometimes in awe of participating numbers, but it’s always been a great contest and produced some truly amazing writing! Rebekah Postupak did a fantastic job bringing great writers together on Fridays.

Please pop over to the dragon’s nest and read some of the offerings at Flash! Friday, you won’t be disappointed and even though the site is closing on 18th December, all the stories will remain accessible.

Visual Dare: Voice

His stomach still turned even after they set foot on land. Nausea rose in waves and he held his hurting belly in his hands. His headache spread right into his eyes and reeled every time he tried to gaze past the dense thickness of bodies. Interminable days and nights squeezed below deck had stiffened him, and now his little legs could barely manage movement.  “It’s good. We’re safe, we’re safe…” he muttered over and over again. No one would ever try and steal his father away again.

His mother’s hand gripped his like a vice and noise overwhelmed him, but he tried to smile and ignore the anguished and tired cry that left his mother’s tight lips. He gazed through the crowd with sunblind, salt-stained eyes. “Where are they taking Papa?” But no one heard his desperate voice above the cacophony of fear and his mother’s hand slipped through his.

00. VisDare BadgeI haven’t writen Flash in a while, too busy editing, but this picture from Visual Dare spoke to me, especially with all the news features about European Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Just imagine, for a moment, being a small child escaping a country torn apart by war, dictatorial oppression, and/or religious extremism…then being rejected in the very place you hoped to find sanctuary…
If you’re interested this is a great article: 10 truths about Europe’s migrant crisis.

Please, also, take a look at the other stories, each is very different, but very powerful.

Dark Fairy Queen – Midsummer Night’s Dream Contest: An Eye for an Eye

fairy, fairy dreams, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

An Eye for an Eye

Ariana released a soft sound of surprise that echoed slightly in the low evening light as her mother’s guiding hand scribed urgent words on her palm.

Though sightless and deaf, Ariana felt her mother move away and she instinctively pressed her toes into the grass. Drops of dew, decorating her bare feet with diamonds, reverberated, and micro echoes vibrated across her skin. She stretched her fingers through the echo of her mother and let the jasmine scented air whisper. She wondered what her mother’s urgently etched words on her palm meant.

Then the wind blew through her and whipped up a storm, and an unpractised murmur left her silent lips as the tornado whirled about her.

The wind spoke with an unintelligible moan, but she heard it – and then whispers, soft whispers susurrated in the arcs of light that suddenly filled her vision. She opened eyes that hadn’t opened in years, and light fluttered like a new-born butterfly.

With wonder she heard the whispers uttered by her own mouth. Delight filled her heart, swelling within her bosom, and she knew her days of night and lengthy silences were finally gone.

Mother had promised that one day she’d both see and hear, and now she could…

She blinked, and gazed upwards, letting the soft crimson sun tickle her face, and its familiar warmth sent shivers of delight down her spine, and twilight’s tears rested like raindrops on her cheeks. Her eyes began to focus, and the yielding sounds of dusk filtered through her mind, and she twirled, enjoying the senses that now filled her soul!

Her mother stood, facing the sunset, her back to Ariana, and Ariana gently stepped closer, relishing the green blades of grass between her toes and the vivid colours that now flooded her life. She brimmed with gratitude for whatever spell her mother had cast, and threw her arms around the woman before her.

Her mother’s unexpected flinch sent a spike of ice through her heart and she spun her mother round. Sightless eyes returned her stare as the sun slipped away, flushing Ariana’s new world into unknown indigo and gold. Words could still not yet form in Ariana’s mouth, but understanding grew, and she knew her mother had traded, an eye for an eye.

Tables turned, and through tears that twinkled like glittering stars her mother blindly felt for Ariana’s guiding hand.

* * *

My entry (396 Words) into our Dark Fairy Queen’s New Contest

DFQMND-204x300Details:
It is summer, a faint breeze blows, and the leaves are rustling. As dusk falls, the fireflies glow in a distant meadow. Have you not felt the magic of a summer night?
Your story should let us celebrate a midsummer night by creating 400 words.
For your theme, your story must take place, at least in part, on a summer evening. Also, choose one from the following list:
Dreams – Fairytales – Myths
Your story should be posted on your personal blog or a friend’s and linked up below with the Inlinkz tool (which opens July 15).

Please click the link below and read the other enchanting entries!

Writerly friends and Wombat’s Writing Challenge…

dfq minion con UK,

DFQ Minion Con – Nottingham

I have amazing online writing communities – in several places – but the one that’s inspired me for years is #DFQ  and the lovely Anna, and we recently organised a meet up in Nottingham for its UK members. The Cross Keys was our meeting place and we loved the decoration! It was a scene of wonderful writerly delight, invention, and meeting of like-minded souls. We all ‘got’ each other and it was great! 

This is us: Nick, Angelica, Bekah, Lisa (Me), Becky, Miranda, Sorcha, Wombat, Jessica and Alex and during our wordy meet up Wombat issued us with a challenge… He gave us each a first line, picked at random, and to be woven into a story… Here’s my response with its first line italicised:

Genesis

Nick is an average young man, filled with aspirations, struggles, hopes and doubts. He has everything that gives a young man life and a hunger for more. In five minutes he will cease to exist.

Nick bends his neck and stares up into the canopy. Dappled light flickers across the leaves, and he flinches as a glancing beam temporarily blinds him. Blue lights dance in front of his eyes and he grins as his gaze flicks across the foliage in the arboretum. It’s quiet and except for the soft hum of bees his ears pick up no sound.

Goosebumps ripple across his skin as a draught rustles through the leaves. The change in temperature makes him clutch his arms to his chest and his muscles tense in answer to the chill that fills the air. The sun, the light above the woods, begins to dip, to lower beyond the horizon and a lazy orange haze, like fire, shimmers through the tall trunks. Nick’s forehead creases and an urgent thought in the back of his mind begins to stir.

Racing to the front of his head, come memories, flashes of colour, memories of sunsets on beaches, and kisses that taste of salt, and the grit of sand between his toes. Nick shakes his head. It takes only moments for the light to fade and with it the hum of bees retires, replaced with the hoot of an owl and a sliver of white glimmering high above the trees. Nick rubs his arms and he remembers more.

Night life, sitting in a restaurant opposite a chatty blonde, cars rushing by on fast roads, a multitude of lights, orange, red, yellow, neon blue and more. He grins as he remembers a hand holding his, as he stands on a pier watching waves crash across the dark ocean, the moon a twinkling river of diamonds on its surface.

The moon is gone before he has a chance to recall more and birds begin a dawn chorus as he stands on dew damp grass. His memory smiles and despite his boots he feels the wet grass beneath his feet, and daybreak evokes pictures of waking in a tent, of bacon crackling on the stove, and a girlish giggle as he strokes her hair in the new glinting sunlight of the day.

His earlier thought simmers, just beyond reach. Birds now twitter in the canopy and as warmth caresses his skin, Nick grabs at the distant notion.

The clack of a woodpecker tunes his thoughts to fingers on a keyboard, then to a jackhammer on the pavement, heat haze shimmering like dust. The haze clouds his mind, confuses his thought process and impinges his memories. The dazzling sunshine glints, and realisation floods his brain, and he flinches as fragments of glass cut through his mind.

Nothing is real.

Heat fizzes and pops and in a second his thoughts cease.

Nick stands, silent and immobile, and two caretakers trample through the simulated arena to collect his body.

Back at the computer the tech guys shake their heads and begin reprogramming.

Anna is an average young woman, filled with aspirations, struggles, hopes and doubts. She has everything that gives a young woman life and a hunger for more. In five minutes she will cease to exist.

DFQ Minion Con - Nottingham - FUN

DFQ Minion Con – Nottingham – FUN