Tag Archives: flash fiction competitions

Flash Friday – ‘Cornered’

Georgian writers Ilia Chavchavadze and Ivane Machabeli playing chess, 1873 St Petersburg. Public domain photo. NOTE: despite careful license checks, the earlier photo inadvertently violated copyright and has been removed. Thank you and apologies.

Georgian writers Ilia Chavchavadze and Ivane Machabeli playing chess, 1873 St Petersburg. Public domain photo. NOTE: despite careful license checks, the earlier photo inadvertently violated copyright and has been removed. Thank you and apologies.

Cornered

It’s like every move I make, he moves, you know, like he’s trying to, I dunno, match me or something, like I can’t even have a thought without him finding a way to criticise or pull it to pieces or tell me I’m wrong, somehow, and no matter how much I try to plan things out or think before I speak, that light, that light comes on behind his eyes as soon as I open my mouth and I know, I just know he already has an answer, already has a laugh brewing ready to spill over me like blood, and I hate him so much that it makes my heart hurt, knowing that if Mum was still here he wouldn’t dare talk to me like this but it’s just us, just me and him, locked in this stalemate with no way out, so it’s up to me to make one, whatever way I can. Right?

**

I decided today to try something different and write my entire story – or, well, nearly! – all in one sentence. It’s not a new idea, but it’s not something I’ve ever really tried before. I also wanted to take a non-obvious look at the prompt (we were given a big hint over on Flash! Friday not to use the word ‘chess’, so I tried to get away from that completely while still using the ideas of mind-games, strategy and being outfoxed by a superior player). I’m not sure why I got the ‘voice’ I did; I imagine it as a teenager, whether boy or girl is up to you, but maybe it was the mention of Bobby Fischer’s age (15) which did it. I don’t know. I’m unhappy with the finished product, as always, but maybe it will please the judges this week (though I’m not holding my breath!); perhaps I’ll even try to write a second piece, also something I’ve never done before.

Who knows.

Anyway, all I know is: it’s practically the weekend, and so it’s time to slow down a bit and do a little stretching. Lord knows, I need a break! Whether I’ll get one or not, now – that’s the question. My wish for you all is that you have a peaceful and happy end to your week, wherein you do much reading and imagining and happifying of your brain, and I’ll see y’all here tomorrow for a book review. Godspeed, lieblings.

**EDIT**

So, yeah. I did write a second story this week. You wanna read it? Well, okay then.

The Player

Ah, yes. There it is. The tilting head. The flashing smile, hints of dimple, and the oh-so-casual brushing away of the single golden lock trailing across her forehead. The tiny sigh, the puckered lip, and the thousand-yard stare that fixes, cajoles and accuses all in one.

I do not yield.

For little do you know I fenced in college, darling, and before that I was undisputed checkers champion from grades one through four, inclusive. I was unseated on a technicality when my time to fall eventually came, but I took it gracefully. Ish.

I know about strategy.

So I make my final move, place the winning piece, lay down the unmovable law, but therein lies my fatal mistake. I forget about the power play.

Maaaaa-Ma!

My wife scoops in, sweeping up the enemy – who pauses in her wailing to shoot me a triumphant look – and I wonder why I’m the only one who worries that we’re raising a new Machiavelli.

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

Duel

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!