Flash Friday- “Reincarnation”

I have neglected to post my last several (dozen) works of flash fiction, but that stops today! Here was my first place winning entry to March 20th’s flash friday prompt. You can also check out my winner’s interview here.

Reincarnation

“Energy is not created nor destroyed, all that there ever was, so there is now.” Dr. Howard scratched the words ‘Conservation of energy’ across the dusty blackboard. Physics, the only class I ever failed.

The sky is above me. But it’s not all puffy clouds and soaring birds. Smog paints the stratosphere in jaundiced hues. There are power lines and buildings framing my spotted vision.

Last time the sky was cerulean. And I wasn’t alone. There were men all around, sporting musket holes, and trading groans.

But the time before, the sky was black. So were my robes, my hair, my blade’s sheath. I never saw the arrow coming, but I did feel it burrow into my chest. Blood welled, leaking with each shuttering thump of my foolish heart.

“The atoms in your body were forged in stars, breathed by mammoths. All that you are will never disappear. It will merely change shape.”

Warped sirens. The cold pull of blood-loss sinking me into the asphalt. I’ll be the headline on the 6:00 news. ‘Twenty Year Old Stabbed in Broad Daylight’.

Knife, musket, arrow. Burning in the heart of stars, raining, freezing, digesting, growing, decaying. I feel it all.

All that there ever was, so there is now.

 

Thanks for reading!

Flash Friday: “The Second”

I was pretty excited by this past week’s flash friday. The picture below combined with the prompt of friendship served as inspiration. I hope you will enjoy my take that examines a specific kind of friendship, that between a brother and sister.

 

“Hamilton-Burr Duel, After the Painting by J. Mund.” Illustration from Beacon Lights of History, by John Lord, 1902. Public domain image.
“Hamilton-Burr Duel, After the Painting by J. Mund.” Illustration from Beacon Lights of History, by John Lord, 1902. Public domain image.

 

The Second
(160 words)

They’d always looked so much alike. When the family awoke to find Eric gone, stolen away into the promise of life, when it had seemed their humiliation complete, it had been easy to slip into the stiff white coat he’d left behind.

To the appointed place, fingers gripping a pistol they’d never been trained to handle. But victory mattered not. Indeed it would mean a loss far more unendurable than death.

Even Frederick was too frenzied to spot the differences- hair a tinge lighter, lips ever so fuller. Not daring to speak, the contestant in white nodded when asked if prepared.

Ten paces, a solitary shot, and a white coat drenched red.

“My god.” The doctor dropped the corpse’s too delicate wrist.
“No!” Frederick’s knees betrayed him. He knew those lips.
“It seems the reason for this feud has ended it.”
“Why…”
“She may have loved you, Lord Elworth, but she loved her brother more.”

 

Thanks for reading!

Flash Friday- “Why White Men Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Teach History by Angelina Hunt”

The inspiration for the fourth of July edition of flash friday was the festive image below along with the prompt “include a woman”.  I couldn’t resist having a little fun with this one, if you couldn’t tell from the title!

 

Writing the Declaration of Independence. Painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863 – 1930). Public domain photo.
Writing the Declaration of Independence. Painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863 – 1930). Public domain photo.

 

Why White Men Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Teach History By Angelina Hunt
(155 Words)

I was two cans of redbull, a pack of twizzlers, and an embarrassing amount of oreos in, and still, nothing. The blankness of my laptop’s screen hummed away, mocking me. Two hours until the paper was due, and the only sentence I’d written (and deleted) thus far was:

“I hold these truths to be self-evident, that the founding fathers were a bunch of sexist, racist pigs…”

Couldn’t imagine my Ben Franklin worshiping, Revolutionary War re-enacting, American History professor would like that too much.

I needed at least a B on this assignment to pass the class, but somehow found it difficult to write 5-7 pages on, as Professor Wilson put it, “The great men that freed our nation from tyranny.”

Well freed, the white, land-owning, male nation anyway.

Time was ticking away, I’d run out of snacks, and I think the lack of sleep was really getting to me when I finally started writing.

 

Thanks for reading!

Flash Friday- “Re-grow, Together”

This week’s prompt over at flash friday was “friendship” along with the picture below. Hope you enjoy my take on it!

 

Rose Biodo, Philadelphia, 10 years old. Working 3 summers, minds baby and carries berries, two pecks at a time.” Photo by Lewis Hine, National Archives public domain.
Rose Biodo, Philadelphia, 10 years old. Working 3 summers, minds baby and carries berries, two pecks at a time.” Photo by Lewis Hine, National Archives public domain.

 

Re-Grow, Together

There was a time, mama says, when people feared that nothing would ever grow again. A decade of winter. Soil burned and poisoned. The inescapable mantle of ash strangling even the hardiest of green life. Most of the people died with them. Starvation, disease, or maybe just heartbreak. They did not realize it til it was gone, but this planet is the first and truest friend we’ll ever have.

It started slow, mama says, around the time I was born. As I fought for life, brave little chutes were fighting too. They battled toxins, and faced down darkness til at last they pierced the surface. Blades of grass, then wildflowers, even berries. Tiny, shrunken things at first, more grit than fruit. But miracles nonetheless.

Now the berry patches are vast, the fruit tart but meaty. There’s so many I dare to harvest two whole crates full. But we’ll make sure to plant the seeds, this time nothing goes to waste.

 

Thanks for reading!

Flash Friday- “The Old Ones”

This week over at flash friday we had to write a story that included a fire based on the picture below. Hope you enjoy my piece!

 

Bell Tower of Guadalest, Costa Blanca, Spain. CC photo by Anguskirk.
Bell Tower of Guadalest, Costa Blanca, Spain. CC photo by Anguskirk.

 

The Old Ones

At first, the whispering came only at night. As I sunk beneath the shroud of sleep, the sylvan terrors gripped me with antediluvian power- and I was lost to Their will. The draught the surgeon prescribed helped, sending me to an oblivion even the Old Ones could not reach. But either it lost its efficacy or They grew in boldness, for it was not long until They called again.

With each passing age, human achievements multiplied- fire, bronze, masonry, farming. Gone were the days where we lived in fearful reverence of the creatures that came before. I don’t know why They chose me to remind my fellow men of the creeping, gnarled gods lurking just beyond the firelight.

I try to resist, but a cowardly heart poisons my resolve. First, the belltower my family has stewarded these many years. The whispers guide me- awaken the flames, lock the doors, relish the screams. I turn toward the village, torch in hand.

Thanks for reading!

Flash Friday- “Bounty”

I was extremely excited by this past week’s flash friday. I had been hoping to write some sci-fi and here was the perfect prompt, this picture along with the idea of “an unpaid bill”. My piece, “Bounty” was given an honorable mention this week! According to the judge, “This one entertained my world-building mind so much…. it made me laugh and filled me with so many questions.” Not bad considering I wrote, cut-down, and posted it in about 30 minutes in order to make the deadline… Hope you enjoy!

Letter boxes, Area 51. Public domain photo by MartinStr.
Letter boxes, Area 51. Public domain photo by MartinStr.

Bounty

Taryn Noelle Kloeden

“WANTED DEAD, ALIVE, OR IN STASIS:

Interstellar fugitive Gorilaxis”

I glance up from the screen implanted in my wrist and into the yellow dwarf this planet called a sun. 110 degrees was considered hot here. My biosensors ping as soon as I cross the threshold of “Eddie’s”. Humans were voluntarily ingesting ethyl alcohol. Talk about a primitive planet.

I approach the female serving “refreshments”. My cloaker must’ve been working, because she didn’t scream.
“You seen this…man?” I slide her the picture.
“Clancy? With prosthetics, takes pictures with tourists for 50 bucks a pop? He’s got a double-wide by Medlin’s place. 10 miles down the highway.”
“Thank you.” I consider incinerating the place. Might give me an edge on the competition. But probably not worth the fine for killing a Class D species.
“Would you remind him he “forgot” to settle up his tab.”
I make a note to add petty theft to his list of offenses.

 

As always, thanks for reading!

Flash Friday: “Lesson Learned”

Here is my submission to this past week’s Flash Friday contest. The theme/idea to include was “comeuppance” and the image prompt is pictured below. This week, I was given a “special mention” for language!

Berlin, Rückkehr Emil Jannings aus Amerika
Emil Jannings in Berlin. Creative Commons photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-07770.

Lesson Learned

The wind pounds against my ears, like hundreds of desperate fists once had on bank doors. What were bloody knuckles when your future had been traded and drained to nothing?

How far away the days before the crash seemed. 1929. Back when shoes shined and flowers bloomed. When my wife smiled so wide I thought her face might freeze. But that was before I lost her family’s money to a Tuesday blacker than any mourner’s garb. They say money isn’t everything, but it sure seems important when you can’t afford a loaf of bread.

I could have stopped, I could have kept something, anything, out of the market. But my greed outfoxed my moderation and my wits. I did not understand then what I do now: that the higher you climb, the farther you have to fall.

I will not repeat that sin. I have climbed high enough, and this time I do not fall. I jump.

 

Thanks for reading!

Flash Friday: “Lunacy”

Hello! So I occasionally participate in a weekly “microfiction” contest called Flash Friday. Each week we are given a visual prompt and a concept on which to base our stories. This week’s concept was “coming of age” and the image was Past and Present No 2, by Augustust Leopold Egg, 1858. This week my story was given an “honorable mention”!

 

Past and Present No 2, by Augustust Leopold Egg, 1858. Public domain photo.
Past and Present No 2, by Augustust Leopold Egg, 1858. Public domain photo.

 

“Lunacy”

(159 words)

The moon glowed, a jealous re-telling of the sun’s daily journey. How many nights had Cassandra spent in its company alone, unable to quiet her mind long enough to find the sweet oblivion of sleep? And how many of those nights had Marianne snored and dreamed the time away?

But tonight was different.

Marianne wailed and bawled and screeched. Her breath came and went in frantic huffs as she threw herself over Cassandra’s legs. For the first time, she had to endure the harshness of reality.

“How could anyone be so cruel, sister?”

Cassandra did not answer.

“To be murdered in the street like some common criminal! When h-he had- we had everything to live for! And now… what do I have?”

Cassandra’s gaze did not break from the moon’s gleam. She recalled how the whites of his eyes had flashed in the dark, wide with disbelief, shining in pain.

“Why sweet sister, you have me.”

 

Thanks for reading!

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