Bride White Dress

Flash Fiction: “Not ready…”

A new Flash Fiction challenge at Dude Write is open.

This is my submission.

As always, 500 words maximum.

This month’s prompt:

Bride

“Bride”, an image by Nicholas Hayward

She ran through the forest, ignoring the scrapes left on her exposed arms by the tree branches, the chilling air that sneaked through her thin dress and under her skin, the pain in her tired legs. She ran to get away as far as she could, to find a place to hide, to be by herself and try to make sense of it all.

How could this have happened? Was she not looking forward to this day? Was this not the most important event in her life so far?

She slowed her pace, trying to rein in the fleeting thoughts that flashed through her head. She recalled the disappointed faces of her family, the shock of her friends, the sight of him standing there without knowing how to react. She recalled the exact moment she felt nervous and weak in her knees, the moment she knew she couldn’t go through with it, the moment she simply said “I cannot do this!” and sprinted out of there without looking back.

She had failed them all. Each and every one of them had expected better of her: her mother, who went shopping with her for the dress; her friends, who prepared together with her and rehearsed this day to make sure it would be just perfect. Most importantly, she had failed him, who stood there ready to say the words, if only she could do the same. She knew this meant as much to him as it meant to her, if not more. Yes, she’d let him down the most.

She let bitter tears stream freely down her face as she sat down on the cold ground.

Maybe it wasn’t too late? Maybe she could still return? She’d tell them all it was just cold feet, that she’d had a moment of panic, that it was nothing. Surely they’d understand?

No.

She knew that the real answer was a lot simpler, yet a lot more painful to admit. In truth, she really wasn’t ready for this. She had only thought she was…

This realization somehow made her calmer, more determined. She got up and started walking further and further away from it all.

Perhaps one day, in the future, she would be ready to take the plunge. One day, she’d have the courage to follow through. One day…but not today.

Today, she would not be coming back.

Today, she would leave them all behind.

Today, her high school drama class would have to find someone else to play Juliet.

Black Scary Cat

Tarantino Movie Soup: “The Black”

Another week, another competition on Dude Write.

This time we’re playing the “Tarantino Movie Soup Game“. You know, the Tarantino Movie Soup Game? You don’t know the Tarantino Movie Soup Game?!

Damn, I wish I were given some sort of a rule book for this game, so I could explain how it works. Oh wait, I did get one, here it is:

Quentin-Taratino-Movie-Soup-Game-Table

Because I’m so progressive I didn’t make no old school sets of cards, yo. Instead I added a few of my own choices (good guy – Janitor, criminal – Tractor Driver, Genre – Documentary). Then I numbered all of the choices 1 through 9 and used this random number generator to pick the results. Yeah, I’m high tech as a mother farmer. This is what I got: Cat Hoarder, Mobster, Horror. Now, allow me to present…

THE BLACK

(a thriller-horror extravaganza with elements of mysticism and comedic dialogue)

Tango Sykes (Samuel L. Jackson) is a retired and slightly crazy Vietnam Veteran. Having failed at adjusting to civilian life he shuns most human contact and instead squats in an abandoned, dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of New York City…with 137 cats.

Richard “Le Bison” von Straffen (Christoph Waltz) is the godfather of a massive international mobster family, dealing in animal smuggling. He has ties to criminal networks in 83 separate countries and speaks over 100 languages fluently.

One day Tango comes across two mobsters with shovels trying to bury a barely alive black cat. He calmly convinces them to let the cat go by politely driving a shovel right through the throat of Mobster #1 and unleashing his 137 cats on Mobster #2. After the mobsters are “dealt with” (i.e. killed in the gruesomest ways possible) Tango picks up the black cat and takes it home. He now has 138 cats. He names the new cat “Mr. Black”, because the cat is black and Samuel L. Jackson is black and Tarantino loves metaphors and is all like “fuck subtlety!”.

Quentino Tarantino Holding Camera

Get it? I’m a director. I make movies. Movies filmed with cameras! (image source)

What Tango doesn’t know is that the new “cat” is actually Satan, who came to Earth in disguise to make preparations for Doomsday. Richard “Le Bison” had found the cat earlier in a remote village of Abaliget, Hungary. Because Richard is also fluent in “Devil-speak” he had managed to uncover Satan’s plans and sent two mobsters to bury the cat before it could transform. Thus, Tango has just unwittingly unchained (ha, “unchained”) unimaginable horror…

…Tango returns from his cat food shopping spree the next day to find that Mr. Black had taken his Satan form, brutally murdered all of Tango’s cats and used their innocent souls to open a portal and escape back to Hell. Tango, absolutely devastated, collapses by the mansion stairs.

He is found sobbing hopelessly on the ground by none other than Richard “Le Bison” von Straffen. Richard, realising that Satan cat knows too much about his criminal operations, is determined to bring Satan down once and for all. Richard wants to use Tango’s rage as a weapon and offers him a shaky alliance. Tango, blinded by his thirst for vengeance, agrees. Richard and Tango follow the still-open portal to Hell to face Satan.

FINAL SCENE (SCRIPT EXCERPT)

EXT. HELL – ETERNAL DARKNESS

FLAMES surround RICHARD and TANGO as they enter through the PORTAL. SATAN CAT is not visible but we hear his deafening ROAR. RICHARD shivers. TANGO is unaffected.

TANGO

Enough is enough! I’ve had it with this motherfucking cat in this motherfucking Hell!

RICHARD

(cocking his SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN with the face of a bulldog carved into it, because METAPHOR)

Vamonos!

TANGO

What?

RICHARD

Andiamo!

TANGO

Huh?

RICHARD

Allons-y!

TANGO

You’re fucking with me, right?

RICHARD

I was, yes. Let’s go!

TANGO and RICHARD walk through the FLAMES and come face to face with hundreds of SATAN’S MINIONS. RICHARD unleashes repeated blasts from his SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN, blowing MINIONS’ heads, limbs and tails clean off. TANGO doesn’t have a weapon and instead rips numerous MINIONS apart with his BARE HANDS, accompanying each attack with cringe-worthy puns.

TANGO

(twisting a head off of a minion)

Yeah, let’s twist again, like we did last summer!

(tearing two arms off of another minion)

I’m sorry I had to disarm you!

(slapping two minions across their faces with the torn-off arms of minion #2)

Watch out, I’m armed!

RICHARD

You can’t use the same pun twice!

TANGO

Try and stop me!

TANGO and RICHARD absolutely decimate all of the MINIONS, dousing the FLAMES with thousands of litres of BLOOD. As the FLAMES are extinguished we hear a loud CRY OF AGONY from SATAN CAT, followed by another deafening ROAR. RICHARD shivers. TANGO is enraged and thirsty for revenge.

TANGO

Show yourself, coward!

Suddenly, SATAN CAT materialises right behind RICHARD and drives its CLAW through his chest. RICHARD collapses, dropping his SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN.

TANGO

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

TANGO sprints towards SATAN CAT, leaps into the air and, upon landing, drives his fingers into SATAN CAT’S eyes! SATAN CAT screams and thrashes around, knocking TANGO backwards. TANGO gets back up and unleashes a torrent of punches, striking SATAN CAT in different places, each of them breaking with a loud CRUNCH.

Somehow SATAN CAT gets the upper hand and pins TANGO to the ground with its leg talons. TANGO struggles in vain to break its grip. SATAN CAT lifts its claws into the air, preparing to deliver the fatal blow. TANGO notices RICHARD’S SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN on the ground, grabs it, and, just as SATAN CAT is bringing his claws down TANGO drives the SHOTGUN into its eye, killing the monster.

Camera zooms onto the SHOTGUN protruding from SATAN CAT’S eye and offers a close up of the face of the bulldog carved into the SHOTGUN. METAPHOR!

TANGO

I bet you didn’t SEE that coming!

TANGO runs towards the PORTAL as HELL begins to collapse onto itself all around him. He makes it in time and jumps through the PORTAL right before it closes. HELL disintegrates.

TANGO

(dusting himself off)

Guess I won’t see you in hell, motherfucker!

ROLL CREDITS

Alien in a spaceship

Flash Fiction: “Search & Retrieve”

Entry into the February flash fiction round at Dude Write.

As always, 500 words max, using the following prompt:

Face On Mars

“Face on Mars”. Source: Wikipedia

The ship came out of hyperdrive about ten million kilometres from Mars. Doozor flipped on the stasis brakes, sending Fraz flying helplessly through the main cabin – all two thousand metres of it. Fortunately, Fraz managed to stop himself successfully. Less fortunately, he did so by colliding with two separate cargo containers and finally slamming into Navigator’s Chair occupied by Doozor.

“Ouch! A little warning next time?” Fraz was rubbing his head in several places at once.

“Of course. Next time I’ll make sure to give you a…heads up!” said Doozor’s left head, the snarky one.

“Very funny, you two-headed freak!”

“Well, on Earth they say that two heads are better than one,” Doozor quipped.

“On Earth,” Fraz parried, “they make furniture and useless decorations out of their only source of oxygen, so there’s that, too.”

“Touché,” said Doozor, which was Karoonian for “shut up already, you insufferable smart-ass.”

The way from Karoon to Mars had only taken a few thousand years, yet Fraz and Doozor still managed to thoroughly get on each other’s nerves. The ship was drifting through the remaining ten million kilometres to Mars’ surface. Doozor kept reading the Solar System & Surrounds article for more interesting tit-bits to share. After a while he turned to Fraz and said:

“Ha! Apparently, the Earthlings call it ‘A Face On Mars’ – you’re practically a celebrity out there!”

Fraz let out an apathetic snort. He was feeling tired, hungry, irritable and a very specific Karoonian word for “jet-lagged after travelling over a billion light years in one go”. All he wanted was to pick up what they came for and make it back to Karoon for dinner.

After a few short minutes Doozor parallel parked the ship next to Mars, inasmuch as one could parallel park something next to a spherical object and in the absence of other parked vehicles. Fraz made his way through the cabin and out onto the planet’s surface. It felt colder than the last time they stopped by, but sometimes all it took were a few millennia for temperatures to change noticeably. Without wasting time he strode over to what was now inexplicably dubbed by Earth residents “A Face On Mars”. He picked up the coin, tucked it in his pocket and sprinted back to the ship.

“Let’s go,” he said as he settled next to Doozor.

“Yeah, you’re welcome!” Doozor said “Next time you fetch your own damn coins. That thing’s not even worth anything!”

“It’s my grandma’s. It’s got sentimental value and all that.” Fraz was flipping the coin and catching it repeatedly, completely oblivious to the fact that it was this sort of carelessness that made him lose it in the first place.

“Yeah well, ‘sentimental value’ doesn’t pay for my fuel, does it?” Doozor pressed on.

Their bickering continued as the ship took off, did a quick loop around The Sun and started its journey back to Karoon.

They wouldn’t be visiting the Solar System again anytime soon.

Green Traffic Light

Flash Fiction: “A free man”

This is another entry for the flash fiction challenge at Dude Write.

The rules are, as always:

1. I have to use the given prompt

2. The piece has to be under 500 words.

This month’s prompt:

Yorkshire

Jack looked at his watch. Seconds were slowly creeping towards seven in the morning.

The money train would pass by the station at exactly 7:13. Just like it did every morning, week after week. Jack knew. He’d been watching. Calculating. Plotting.

Dry autumn leaves crumbled under his feet, as Jack paced impatiently along the tracks, trying to find the perfect spot for his ambush.

Today he was going to buy his freedom.

Jack lived in poverty for as long as he could remember. He’d stolen his first wallet at the age of 10. His steady descent from pickpocketing to bank robberies had only been punctuated by periods of incarceration. Today would change it all. No more living in and out of prison. No more money troubles.

After today he’d be a free man.

The money train didn’t have a scheduled stop at this station, but Jack would bring it to a halt. His plan was foolproof. He wouldn’t fail.

The location was perfect too. No residential buildings nearby. No witnesses. There’d be no people at the station at this hour. Passenger trains didn’t start running until well after 8 o’clock. The train tracks curved sharply away from the platform, so the train driver would have no chance of seeing Jack until too late. He’d have no time to sound the alarm.

7:08. The sun was crawling up through the cloudless sky. Jack stared into its weak September rays and smiled. This was surely a sign. Everything would go according to plan.

Jack recalled her last venomous words, thrown at him from behind a slammed door. “You’ll never amount to anything. You’re a coward!” she yelled. A coward! Ha! Let’s see what she’d have to say about him after today. Jack had been doing her bidding for far too long. He’d stolen anything she ever asked for. He’d threatened people’s lives, just so she could wear another pretty trinket. Because of her he’d served two years in prison. When he returned she slammed a door in his face and called him a coward.

Well, today wasn’t about her anymore. No, now he’d only be taking care of himself. Jack smiled again. He already felt free.

At 7:12 the railway signal turned green and Jack heard the faint whistle of the approaching money train. He walked calmly to his chosen spot on the tracks and lay down on his back. The train’s whistle grew louder as it sped towards the platform.

Jack glanced up at the sun once more and offered it his last smile.

The smile of a man truly free.

Specials Blackboard

I’m special

Hey, remember Dude Write? That was a trick question – of course you remember Dude Write. I write about them every other post. In fact, I mention Dude Write so often in my posts that I’m probably stealing Google search rankings from them. Take that, suckers!

What you may also remember is that they’ve been running a flash fiction contest on a monthly basis. This motivated me to write lots of flash fiction stories. OK, by “lots” I mean “exactly four”, but there’s really no need to be an ass about it!

What you probably don’t remember is that, due to relatively low turnout, DudeWrite’s flash fiction contest was “on hold” during November. In fact, it was on the verge of being cancelled altogether. I cried. I pleaded with Dude Write to not let it die. I cried some more, because I’m emotionally unstable and have poor impulse control.

Whatever, at least I’m man enough to admit it!

Then, last week, something wonderful happened. We had our first snow of the winter in Denmark! Snow is great – you can build snowmen, go skiing, have snowball fi…wait a second, this isn’t what I was going to write about. What I was going to say is that last week I was contacted by Scott Jung from Dude Write with a very special offer…an offer I couldn’t possibly refuse.

To make a long story short – you are now looking at Dude Write’s new “Special Editor for Flash Fiction”. That is, if you’re looking at that A4 picture of me you have by your computer screen (yeah…I know!). Otherwise you’re just reading about Dude Write’s new special editor.

The guys were even nice enough to officially introduce me today. So thanks guys, and…aaaahm…I’m sorry about that whole “Take that, suckers!” thing – it was totally taken out of context.

Looking forward to joining the existing dynamic trio of Dude Write editors and having lots of upscale rave parties, caviar fights and limo drag racing. That’s what being an editor means, right? Please tell me that’s what it means!

Dude in Black

Writing with the dudes…

Alright, so I’ve just submitted my recent post about creepy dolls to a site called Dude Write. It’s a new initiative to bring men in the blogosphere together into a sort of “Gentlemen’s Club”.

Except for it’s more like throwing the blogging men into a glass cage where we battle each other to the death while the rest of you watch. Except it’s not really a battle to the death and there’s no cage of any sort. OK, I’m pretty shitty at explaining this!

Here’s what happens: each dude submits one post of his into the weekly line up. All men read each other’s entries and then vote to pick the weekly winner. The winner gets fame, women and inordinate amounts of money. Then he wakes up and realises that all he actually got were some bragging rights and a fancy-ish banner to put on his site.

“OK, nobody told me there was going to be a heart and ‘victor’ isn’t even spelt correctly. What a joke!”

Anyways, I thought this would be a pretty cool opportunity to meet some fellow male bloggers. The premise of the Dude Write site is that the blogosphere is dominated by women. Judging from the ratio of women to men following and commenting on my blog, I tend to agree with that evaluation.

Take it easy, nobody said it was a bad thing. I like all my followers, regardless of their gender. So there’s no need to yell “sexism” and throw stuff at me, especially since I can’t see or hear you and throwing stuff at your computer will mess up your screen.

What about you? Do you agree? Are women running the blogging show? Is taking over the blogosphere just the first step in their elaborate world domination scheme ? Are men’s days of freedom numbered? Will all of us get shipped off into the giant underground forced labour camps women are building worldwide as we speak? Have I finally snapped and gone completely insane?