Flash Friday – ‘Duel’

Typhoon Maid Thursday. CC photo by Shuji Moriwaki. Image sourced: flashfriday.wordpress.com

Typhoon Maid Thursday. CC photo by Shuji Moriwaki.
Image sourced: flashfriday.wordpress.com


He hadn’t noticed me leaving.

Kazuhiko, I mean. We’d been kissing until Emiko arrived, in her corset and fishnets. He’d been like a flame-blind moth for her, then. They all had.

It was a stupid party, anyway. Masahiro decided we should wear black and bring an emblem of death; I took grandfather’s gas mask, and it had gone down well, at first. Now, it felt stupid.

Emiko’d brought nothing. Of course. But nobody’d noticed.

I walked right to the cliff’s edge. Mist beaded on my skin and clothes, hiding my tears.

The scream made me drop grandfather’s mask.

It took me forever to stumble back. I called out, but everyone was gone. Except one. A stranger on the ground. I hurried to his side, and turned him, and the blood…

Kazuhiko’s knife – his death-emblem – stuck from the boy’s neck. Without thinking, I pulled it free, and threw it into the bushes.

Nameless blood lay heavy on my skin.


Wow. So, this week’s Flash Friday challenge was to write a sub-160 word story based on the image prompt (a wonderful picture of a pensive Japanese woman, or perhaps a teenage girl, gazing out over a mist-covered bay), and the ‘Dragon’s Bidding’, or required element, which was to ‘include a death.’

I think, all in all, I didn’t do too badly.

These challenges are fiendish. Who needs brain training when you have flash fiction, eh? Sometimes, I worry about developing things like dementia as I get older (it’s in my family, so don’t think I’m being overly cautious by considering such a fate at my tender *ahem* age); however, I think doing a couple of writing challenges a week is a great way to keep the brain nimble. It helps with writing, of course, but it also just helps in general, with synapses and biochemicals and what have you. It gets the imagination flowing, but there’s direction and focus to it – you can’t just go off on a ramble through the dictionary. You have to hit the targets. That’s why I love it.

This week, the first thing that struck me about the image was that the girl – or woman – was a personification of a typhoon. The image is entitled ‘Typhoon Maid Thursday’, and our Dragoness, Rebekah, mentioned that she wished to dedicate this week’s writing to the victims of two typhoons, both of which fell on this day during the 1950s. However, I have long learned that the first idea to strike your head is rarely the one to go with – for if it strikes you, straight off, it’s going to strike ten other people too. So, I thought again. Something about the woman’s posture made me think she was pensive, sad, lonely – hurt, even. So then, why is she dressed so strangely? What’s with the gas mask? Who is she?

And the story came from there.

And I realise now that I haven’t mentioned typhoons. I got so caught up in my own tale that I forgot entirely about the typhoon bit until after I’d written and posted my entry. So it goes. I may have been slightly off with my focus this week, then, but I wrote a story I liked, it was hard work to get it to fit within the word count, and I’m pleased with it. It’s not perfect. But it’s not bad, considering I wrote it in the space of half an hour while distracted with other stuff.

Are you going to have a go this week? Yes? Excellent! Well, you know what to do. Head on over to Flash! Friday, drop your story in the hat, and make sure not to mention I sent you. No – seriously. You don’t even know me, right? Right.

And good luck, my darlings. Fly!

2 thoughts on “Flash Friday – ‘Duel’

  1. Maurice A. Barry

    Nice one…again. I’m here sitting on the deck behind my house. It’s clearly fall, as evidenced by more and more blood red on the trees. The wind is fairly high, stirring the brittle leaves. It’s around 12 C and I’m glad I have a shell on over my shirt.
    But I’m also chuckling to myself thinking of what the first draft might look like id Disney ever contracted you to write one of those mushy nothing books they always push out after movies.
    If it even happens, kindly send me a copy 🙂

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Thanks, Maurice. The weather where you are sounds beautiful; thanks for the imagery!

      And re, the Disney thing? I reckon, somehow, it’s unlikely. 😀 But I’m sure I can turn on the schmaltz when I need to. (Also, Disney have dark and scary villains, yeah? Sure they do). 🙂


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