Category Archives: 500 Club

Light the Candles

Carrot CakeJess lines the candles on the cake. First lining the sides with all twenty-three candles. Then randomly across the top, careful to cover up holes. Maybe it’s because she can’t decide. Or maybe it’s because she likes the excuse to lick the knife after filling the holes. Either way she sets and resets the candles until she’s convinced the cake looks like Swiss cheese under a layer of cream cheese icing.

Carrot cake was always his favorite. The texture of it made it hard for Jess to swallow, but Milo could shovel it down and be licking his plate all the while staring at Jess’s plate. He knew she would give it to him. She always did.

She spells his name with the candles.

Twenty-three years, but Jess had only been around for the last three. And what a three years. Excitement? Oh, yes. More than her fair share, she was sure.

He stole her heart the first time they met, and he refused to give it back. Not that she ever really wanted it back. She did wonder at times if she had stolen his equally. That’s usually never the case, is it.

She groups three candles in the center and places the rest to the edges.

Of course he stole more than that. Never from her. Well, nothing important, anyway. She learned too. Teaching might not have been his strong point, but she caught on easy enough. A trinket here. A snack there.

Without a doubt it always differed on what they stole. Milo thought it all should be his. No, that’s not it. He thought it all was his. it might be in your pocket, but it belonged to him. It was only a question on whether or not he thought he needed it at the moment.

Jess thought of it more like a game. A small game. If it interested her, she took it. Sometimes she would walk out of a store and not even realize until she got home that she had something new in her purse or pocket. Usually she only did it when he could see.

It was for him after all. She imagined it felt like lifting her skirt or opening her blouse where only he could see. Though she would never do that. That would be indecent.

She puts the candles in a straight line, one hiding behind the other. She almost lights them then.

Almost.

Jess watched Milo steal lots of things. Watches, cars, cash. Sometimes he even stole them for her. Not that she wanted them. Just him.

She always remembered his birthday. None of the other dates. Not the other stolen hearts. Not the last job. Not the media coverage. Why would she want to remember that? She even thought about adding more candles.

No. Twenty-three was the number. No other.

The knife clatters on the table. Done filling holes, Jess lights the candles. This year ending with them in the shape of a heart. A rather lopsided heart with one hump larger that the other, but unmistakably a heart.

***

This little piece of flash fiction differs from my usual brand of story. I took the prompts from the last 500 Club (I’ll let you decide which prompt I used), and decided to just go where the story took me. I think I might be as surprised as you to find a story devoid of ghosts, demons, aliens, action, or dialogue. I think it’s good enough to share though. Feel free to let me know what you think. It’s all for fun, but there’s no reason I can’t turn it into a learning experience.

Advertisements

Lights Behind

I think the blog is in need of some new fiction. Here’s a little some’in’-some’in’ I whipped up just for me, but decided to share with whoever wanted to read.

Lights Behind

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking from the sealed case on the passenger seat to the rear view mirror now filled with glowing lights, Vince knew this was going to end badly. He looked up in time to slam on his brakes. A sea of red brake lights filled the freeway. If the glowing lights behind him were confined to the ground like he was, he might have a chance of getting away.

Vince pulled onto the shoulder and tromped his foot on the gas.

Tammy yelled from the backseat, a leg flying up as he swerved the car.

“Watch it, Vince!”

“Maybe if you wore a seatbelt…”

“How the hell am I supposed to work this thing strapped in?”

Vince didn’t answer. He had a million responses to that, but knew better than to be baited into it. Instead he concentrated on the road ahead, and the lights from behind. If he didn’t get off this freeway now, the two of them only have seconds left.

The clank of latching bolts and sliding metal came from the backseat. Then the twang of a spring and something shot past him to ricochet off the windshield.

“Dammit,” he groaned into the steering wheel. “I can’t drive and put the thing together. If you couldn’t do it, you should’ve let me.”

“The hell is that supposed to–” she cut herself off. “No don’t tell me. Your almighty-ness would be more than I could take.”

Up ahead, a car began to pull onto the shoulder. Whether they had the same idea he had, or one of those jack asses that got off on blocking the way didn’t matter. Vince clipped fenders with the driver and sent a shower of sparks up along the guard rail in the process.

A variety of swears and curses came form the back in the midst of falling metallic pieces. Always dropping something. Couldn’t blame it on the pregnancy this time. Couldn’t tell her otherwise. Couldn’t so this or that.

Well, the fuck he could.

The off ramp came up quick and just as full of slow or stopped cars as the freeway. With more luck than skill, Vince jerked and spun the wheel to maneuver the old Chevy around and through traffic, though he’d never admit it to Tammy.

“I can still get this.”

He could hear her scrambling in the back seat reaching for parts. He didn’t bother with the piece that shot up front. He knew she wouldn’t get it together in time. His eyes dropped an instant down to the case in the passenger seat.

“You can’t do this.”

His voice barely audible over the revving engine.

“What? Just give me a… Dammit! Stop swerving!”

“I said,” and Vince took a deep breath, “you. Can’t. Do. THIS!”

Vince tugged the wheel had to the left and skidded to a stop beneath the underpass. Almost before the car stopped, he kicked his door open and stepped out. He hurried to the passenger side, but didn’t run. The look of blame, hurt, and yes, hatred, pierced his heart.

The lights started to fill the little underpass. Left, right, overhead. He knew there was no getting away. She knew it too. But this time it wasn’t up to her.

He yanked open the door and grabbed the case. As he flipped the latches open and stuck a hand inside. He couldn’t look at her.

“I’m done. With your way.”

I wrote this piece of flash fiction based on the prompts given at The Parking Lot Confessional. It’s been a while since I’ve played along, and frankly, I needed a little push to get me writing tonight. I chose the first prompt, but I think I managed both in one shot. It might not be pretty. It might not be great. But what it is, is writing. Getting the words out as I was thinking them. No revisions. Just raw thought and creation. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

When You Don’t Need It

In a quest to get back on the writing wagon, I’m starting small by writing 500 words from the prompt at my other site, The Parking Lot Confessional. I’m going to free form this one. I won’t know where it’s going until I write it. Should be interesting, or it could be crap. If that’s the case, you’ll never know because I won’t publish it. Okay, time to quit stalling.

Finish This Opener:

When You Don’t Need It

Jeff’s hand shook on the handle. It was all about breaking the habit, right? Habit breaking or no, he didn’t know if he’d open it. He let go of the handle.

Grabbed it again.

And let go.

Even with his hand off the handle, he could feel where the smooth finish left a cool tingle in the palm of his hand. A simple handle, wood like the rest of the box. Simple yet complex. Where the handle joined the box, Jeff couldn’t make out a single seam. He had spent hours tracing with his fingers and eyes the carvings that covered the box. The sweeping marks curled and crashed into one another, disappeared, started and flowed with such grace and intent. He found it hard to believe that someone had carved it. In fact it was easier for him to believe that it came into existence just as it was.

The whole thing could fit on Jeff’s lap, as it was now. He didn’t even notice his hand back on the handle, applying the gentlest of pressures. The lid lifted a mere millimeter, revealing a crack that couldn’t be seen when shut. The opening wasn’t straight, either. It flowed with carvings, and in some places, hidden behind them.

Jeff quickly released the handle. The lid didn’t click back into place so much as sighed as it settled, the seam disappearing once again.

He hadn’t been alone the first time he opened it. Hester showed the box to him a month ago.

Had it really been a month already? He wondered how time could move so fast when up to that point, the days had crept by. It did change things. Without a doubt, it changed things. Didn’t Hester warn him in the beginning? Something like, “Prepare for the nothing you never knew you needed.”

“What? You’re not making sense again, Hess.”

Jeff had been getting frustrated with Hester for the last couple of weeks. His gibbering like an idiot progressively backslid into the ravings of a gloom and doomist. Like the guys on the corner willing to knock a man to the ground to prove God’s love could kick the crap out of non-believers, Hess started to get overly physical to get across points nobody understood.

“I know. I know,” Hess said almost apologetically. “That’s my fault. How could you understand if you haven’t seen? I couldn’t before. Couldn’t bear the thought of showing people. Nobody would get it.”

He got agitated and what began as a twitch in his shoulder, turned into a localized seizure that he fought under control. Had that been when Jeff started to write off his friend? He thought so, but he could think of a reason quick enough to get out, to leave his once-friend’s apartment.

And that’s when Hester pulled out the box. The beautiful, terrifying box.

That was the last time he saw his once-friend. He remembered brushing the carvings in reverence, grabbing hold of the handle, and lifting the lid. He could remember the contours of the box, what was inside, what wasn’t inside.

But he couldn’t remember what happened to his once-friend. Maybe if he looked in box. Looking would help him remember. Sure it would. Just one more time…

Meh. It isn’t my best, but it’s something. And this something is more than I’ve done in far too long. So I’ll take it. I think I might even have more to it. We’ll see.

Downing Station

It’s been far too long since I’ve participated in a 500 Club writing prompt. The writing’s clunky, and story is, well… I’ll let you decide. I’m presenting it as I wrote it. Only a spell check was used. I need to get back into the flow of writing daily, and these prompts are always a great source for getting things going.

Downing Station

In an ideal world, Rollie would’ve flung rockets into space. This wasn’t an ideal world. Far from it. Instead he sat at his terminal and watched the sky, his monitor a window to his expanse of sky.

No one else watched the same sector. It was his, and his alone.

He pushed his dark-rimmed glasses back up his nose and exhales a sigh of extreme boredom. The number to the side of the screen as blinked the same number for over an hour now: 17-0.

He thought about the change in technology since he’d started work here. Joysticks and keyboards. Then a track pad replaced the joystick. Soon touch screens replaced those. Track screens begat touch screens. Despite the monitor being able to “know” where Rollie was looking, they still required him to hit a button to launch. That was until the next batch of software eliminated false launches. Now all he had to do was look at the screen.

Rollie was sure they didn’t even need someone to man the launchers anymore. It was the perfect deterrent.

A soft, unassuming beep brought his attention back to the screen. A black dot enter the bottom-left portion of his sector followed by a white pluming contrail. As he stared at the object, the screen zoomed in on the head of the plume. A solo jumper. Looked like a converted 2052 model. He could see a vibration in the left wing that could have been a fatal flaw if he made it to the stratosphere.

A red box blinked and locked in on the jumper. A bright red line shot through his screen, intersected the 2052, and Rollie watched as flaming debris rained down and off his screen. The number changed.

18-0.

“Nice work Rollie.” The disembodied voice responded. He gave his expected thanks.

“We the people thank you even in our misguided attempts.”

Misguided indeed.

He should be flinging his fellow man far from the hell hole of a rock. Help them reach the out stretches of space. Not pull their leash.

Every citizen is required to yearly operate the Downing Station. A yearly reminder of what will happen if they try to leave.

How is the planet to get better if we all just leave it? We need to clean up our own messes. It would be irresponsible to spread our bad habits. We must change before we can expand.

The mantra of the Planetary CEO burns in his ears like the brand on his hand.

He chose to work here on a daily basis for several reasons. Selflessly he thought it might reduce the amount of other needing to be subjugated to this. Selfishly, he hoped it would show him away to get around it. The only insights he got were from the system upgrades. Unfortunately, the upgrades showed only the holes that were just patched. As hard as he tried, he could find the loop-hole, bug, or work-around before the system did and corrected.

A soft, unassuming beep brought his attention back to the screen.

Fifty-Three

What’s this? I haven’t posted in months, and now I have TWO in the same day? Yep.

I haven’t played in the 500 Club in far too long. The last set of prompts really got the wheels turning. So not only did I participate, I incorporated both prompts. So here it is:

Fifty-Three

Sam opened the paper to the classified, something he hasn’t done in years, and nearly dropped his coffee when he read,

Sam

If you can read this, please help! There’s no time to waste. You know where to find us.

Continue reading Fifty-Three