FlashFeeD 1.15

 

Thanks for your wonderful continued creativity and awesome community support.

Remember that we have a new feature, Zombie City Library, in which community members will explain why they’re saving books from the  apocalypse. I have a few volunteers already, just shout and I’ll add you to the list.

New prompt below. Have fun.

Full rules here:

Please focus on character this week.

 

Stories will be limited to 2000 characters* (about 300 words), including the title.

*(The field itself will allow for 2050 characters, but this extra 50 characters is only to be used as contingency and it won't be increased).

Use the comment field to post stories, include your story title. Use the reply button on a particular story to provide positive feedback. Press the ‘like’ icon if you like a story.


 

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39 Replies to “FlashFeeD 1.15”

  1. “Adult Literature”

    I began reading two years ago. I’m afraid it bored me: for the longest time, I couldn’t imagine what adults saw in it. They did it for fun which seemed, frankly, incomprehensible to someone restricted to the adventures of Spot or the simple joys of alphabetized items. And the characters! I despised that greedy caterpillar almost as much as that insipid bunny; boy, was I glad to say ‘goodnight’ to him.

    But then, one glorious Autumn afternoon – perfect reading weather – Mother left me in the front of the infernal television while she traded inconsequentials with a neighbour over what they like to pretend is coffee. I ignored the garish, obese distractions busy worshipping their own goggleboxes in favour of plundering the bookshelf, hoping to discover how grown-ups had fun. And I did, although the least said about that book the better.

    What I found was astonishing. It began with the dictionary: an artful anthology of very short stories, with an instantly recognizable alphabet structure. That structure was inordinately helpful: I jumped around among the stories in much the same way, I suppose, as Mother liked me to disport myself in the leaves accumulating in the garden.

    At every opportunity, I returned to books. I moved on to the thesaurus; some postmodernist had sought to deconstruct the dictionary, to remove the meat of the narrative but bring new, poetic structure to its bones. I was enthralled, mesmerized, captivat… I’m sorry, that was unnecessary, but it really was an eye-opener. The immense power of language, laid out before me like it was some commonplace and not the greatest of treasures. I wielded it mercilessly.

    When I found fiction, I knew at once that I had made good choices; both to read in the order I had and, indeed, to read at all. My parents favoured condensed classics; appropriate, I felt, for the shorter reader. Charles, Jane, Emily, Jules; these are the people I consider friends. The only ones I have, for some reason.

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    1. Ha, with that title I was expecting something different! I’m glad you broke my expectations, that’s always good! A great story indeed. Loved it!

      Like

  2. Devil Child

    Oh, he had a mouth alright, a black hole of a mouth, an endless void that howled its wants whilst sucking everything in, destroying every ounce of joy and maternal feeling so recently reborn. It was just one day after they had adopted him.

    “He’s a little angel,” the social workers had crooned as they fussed over his blond locks. “A proper little blue-eyed boy. You’ll love him.”

    They had lied. Even the blue eyes changed colour according to mood becoming inked anger, a devil’s red. All those ‘getting-to-know-you’ visits had been an act. The acquiescence, the politeness, the sheer normality had vanished on day one. Leaving him to play with their old Labrador, Anne had rushed back at the creature’s yelps to find the animal shorn in parts and bleeding. Peter had stood over the dog, clippers in hand – how he’d found them she had no idea -smirking gleefully at her.

    Jim had meted out punishment, grounded him for a week. Then the boy found their photo album, the pictures of their once happy family, their precious daughter, the newspaper clipping. Cot death. He’d grinned maliciously. “You did it,” he taunted, “you did it but no one knows do they?” His eyes glowed satanic fire, read her innermost soul. He knew the unknown truth, the horror to which depression had driven her. “It’ll be our secret,” he had said, his voice suddenly old and sly. “Jim need never know.”

    There was no sending him back now. Ahead of her lay years of torment. The Devil had taken root in her home but hadn’t he lived there all along?

    Like

      1. Thanks. I’m afraid I just can’t write ‘angelically’ about ‘angelical’ children. And that mouth …

        Like

  3. Andy was a child prodigy. A certified genius. No, really—we did the IQ tests and everything. Officially pronounced genius at age two. He was grasping the basics of English while simultaneously taking in Spanish from our neighbor and Japanese from his favorite cartoon show. By his third birthday he was already doing calculus, algebra, and some fairly sophisticated geometry.

    Of course, his mother and I were very proud of him. His voracious reading meant we never needed to watch him; just be sure he had some mentally stimulating books around. Discipline was sometimes a challenge, since he would often argue back. But it kept us on our toes, making sure we were being logical and reasonable in our requests.

    Things came to a head, though, when he started taking an interest in my work. Not my day job. Goodness no. I’m a plumber by trade, and Andy never had time for anything so manually-intensive. It was my other work he took a shine too. The smoky bottles, strange smells, and ancient texts. I tried to warn him off. He might be a genius, but he was still only a child, with a child’s curiosity.

    One day, as the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat. Well, not so much killed as stunned. Perpetually. It was my fault. I left the book out, and he said the words. I had never mastered that particular spell; my Latin was never that good. Andy, however, had been reading Cicero in the original since he could walk.

    We miss him terribly. But it’s not like he’s dead. He’ll always be our boy. Literally. Always.

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  4. Last Things First

    My Sean has the face of an angel. Everyone says it. And he does. He’s my angel. His bedroom looks like it is straight out of a catalogue. His clothes are always impeccable – never grubby. He brushes his teeth without complaint. Goes to bed on time without ever a shrug. Eats his greens, even when he says he doesn’t like some. He made me breakfast to perfection for my birthday and washed the dishes afterwards.

    He truly is the perfect son.

    Well, almost.

    However many times I tell him he just won’t listen when it comes to reading. He always skips to the end of the book to see whodunnit. It is infuriating. When he tells me the end of a book I haven’t finished I swear I almost raise my voice at my little guy.

    One day he’ll drop his clothes on the floor and leave a soda stained glass by the bowl and he’ll stamp and say something less angelic like ‘No!’. But if he reads a book cover to cover – starting at the front – I’ll be happy, and he’ll still be my angel.

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    1. But I might still disinherit him! My son might say the roles are reversed in our house when occasionally I’ve dropped in a spoiler – unintentionally of course, but he doesn’t accept that. 🙂

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    2. ‘I almost raise my voice at my little guy.’ Oh, precious sentence! Fab story, AJ. Couldn’t even find an out-of-place comma but that’s not my thing!

      Like

  5. I was no longer a kid, but a teenager. But I was never the typical teenager, or at least that’s not what I thought. One is seldom objective regarding oneself.
    devour
    Anyway, I remember the book. My book. The one that changed everything. I had written “who changed”, and that’s not far from truth: books, some books, deserve being a who.

    I already was a reader, and I tended to write everything that wasn’t a school assignment. Mind you, this was a time when school assignments were not cool. Or my Literature teachers never managed to make it interesting.

    But I read. And I discovered the book in a magazine about fantasy and science fiction, and I had it for my birthday that year.

    I was aware of the power of books. I knew they could transport you to places unkonwn, bring you joy and pain and excitement and sorrow. They could paint a smile on your face or mov you to tears.

    But I didn’t expect what I found. A tale so epic in scope that I had never read anything like that before. Fellowship to the death, regardless of temptation and foes. A struggle against all odds. A narrative that made me go mad in the second book, and devour the third one.

    And oh the words. The descriptions, the poetry. The many languages that looked so alien and fantastic and should sound even more so.

    It was my book, and it would be forever. It changed my life.

    And so, many years later, already an adult, I was sitting in the cinema and I saw the Shire there. And it was the Shire! Exactly as I had imagined it in my mind.

    And I cried right there, like the child I once was.

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  6. PORTRAIT OF A BOY WITH A BOOK
    I found the picture in a box in my parents’ closet when I was looking for something to sell to make a score. It used to sit on the mantle piece. My younger self stared at me like a stranger.

    Both academics, my parents had loved that picture—a boy with a book in his hand and a look of wonder on his face. They’d been in their forties when I was born, so completely absorbed in their careers, they left my older sister in charge of my parenting. I’d always assumed I was an accident, until one day she complained how she hadn’t been enough for them—my father wanted a boy to carry on the family name. After I was born, she became an unpaid au pair.

    It bothered me I couldn’t remember when they took the picture down. The time I got suspended from school for smoking weed? When I joined that cult for a few months? When did they finally realize I wasn’t the boy in the photograph? Or maybe they didn’t take it down at all. Maybe it was my sister. She’d always hated it. “That picture was a cry for help!” she said. “All you wanted was for them to love you!”

    According to her, I’d begged them for a haircut and vest just like my dad’s and once I got them, I walked around the house with my hands clasped behind my back the way he did. She said my parents never even noticed. But when I picked up that book, they ran for the camera.

    She said I couldn’t even read yet. That look on my face? It had nothing to do with the book. It was surprise my parents were actually paying attention to me for once.

    I don’t remember myself. I stash the silver tray at the bottom of the box in my bag and am climbing out the window when something pulls me back. I take the picture and put it back on the mantle piece before I leave.

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  7. Alva Holland
    @Alva1206
    126 words

    Falsetto

    I came back as a child – an angelic cherubic little thing. I knew I’d fool them all, bringing along my music book to their choir gathering, impressing them with my flawless soprano tones.

    ‘Oh! he’s perfect,’ they said.

    ‘Look at that face.’

    ‘And those eyes.’

    ‘But the mouth surely is the feature that will get him the part. It’s like as if he were cloned from the original.’

    ‘Hang on a second.’

    What did you say?’

    ‘I said he could have been cloned.’

    She whirled around to take another look. I knew then I was rumbled. She’d caught a glimpse of the tiny maroon scar on my neck.

    I watched as she fell to the floor, pale as the iced-over pond where she’d seen me drown.

    Like

    1. Amazing that you saw the kid singing… And how you took it from there, using other details like his mouth, which is notable in the photo.

      And then the ending comes!

      Like

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