#FlashMobWrites 1×06

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Six

Come one, come all! This is an open flash fiction challenge with a musical inspiration, hosted by authors Cara Michaels (formerly of #MenageMonday, #WIPflash, and#RaceTheDate) and Ruth Long (of the wicked fun #LoveBites and #DirtyGoggles challenges).

Mob Rules

  • The challenge begins: Fridays @ Noon EDT (Eastern USA)
  • And ends: Saturday @ Midnight PST (Pacific USA)
  • Word count: 300-500 (no less, no more)
  • We love you and wish to heap praises (and random prizes) on you, so be sure to include your name (no, it doesn’t have to be your real name) and a way for us to get in touch (Twitter handles are encouraged)
  • A prompt choice is offered by each judge. Choose one and include it in your story as given.
    • The prompt may be split between sentences, but no order change or dropping words.
    • Words may be added before or after, not in the middle.

The Inspiration

For your musical enjoyment only. You do not need to reference the video or song themes in any way for your story.

The Prompts

Cara Michaels: “playing the waiting game”

Ruth Long: “keep the fire burning”

Now pick your prompt and post your story in the comments below!


33 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×06

  1. “Keep the fire burning!” I screamed. I could hear the hysterics in my strained voice, while I watched Gretel’s lanky frame stop sweeping the floor to stroke the fire. I wasn’t too sure she’d be more than a morsel in my meat pie or meet the requirements as told by the witches’ council.

    Like for a succulent pig, the fire needed to be just right, to crisp the skin, and leave the inside tender and moist, palatable.

    My mouth unwillingly watered at that thought.

    The gods often decided on pressing one’s fate, providing opportunities that forced an action. So it was today upon my return home.

    Like scavengers seeking roadkill, the children had pounced on my house with voracious appetites, nibbling at everything in sight until moving on to the life-size gingerbread man within their reach.

    I watched them rip his head off. The snapping of the cookie, the sounds of crunching combined with their smacking bites.

    My eyes began to tear up.

    Robert had been special. He wasn’t just a gingerbread man. Before the curse, he had been my mate, and it was only due to my absence in locating a cure at the Witches’ Rock that I missed the gods’ wrath.

    Having discovered the cure, I was now forced to decide. I hated what I had to do, but if I wished to remain human, I ‘d have to do the most inhuman of acts.

    Shaking my head and I offered a silent prayer. I knew I had to focus on the task at hand.

    I gripped my arthame and eased closer to Gretel.

    “You’ve done enough.“ They were the of best words I could offer.

    “Mistress, what will you do with us?” Gretel turned and dropped the broom before the stoked oven fire, leaving the door ajar.

    I didn’t know the correct answer, and maybe she felt my hesitation.

    Fingering the key at my neck, I removed it and placed it in her small palm.

    If being a part of humanity meant becoming inhuman, then it was a cost too much, a price no one should ever have to pay.

    “Take this key, and run… leave these woods with your brother, and head back towards the village. If you stay, you will wind up in a pot or in a hot oven, and little girl, you need not have such a ghastly ending.”

    I pushed her toward her brother’s cage. “Look away, and don’t return,” I said.

    I waited and watched them leave, and as the sun began its descent, I clinched my knife’s handle for dear life. no time to pause or second guess, I sliced into my skin, cutting through thick arteries.

    As my blood poured out onto the dirt floor, my extremities began to turn from skin to hardened gingerbread.
    Stumbling backwards toward the hot oven, I pasted one last smile on my face and fell into the fire.

    It was better to become burnt sugar than to be a damned soul.

    498 Words

    Liked by 6 people

  2. A Fairy Invitation

    Drake had almost convinced himself to pick up the phone when Gemini, their local human-sized fairy without wings, stepped through the Archive doors. She always wore something flowing and diaphanous, even in the winter months. She wore her hair in a traditional pixie cut and her bright turquoise eyes seemed to hold a wisdom that her sparkly personality belied.

    “Good afternoon, Drake. I have something for you.” Gemini grinned widely and held out an iridescent envelope.

    “Thank you. What is it?” He took the envelope and little sparks fell off in twinkling cascades, care of her magic.

    “It’s an invitation.” Gemini bounced a little, her excitement infectious. “Open it.”

    Drake pulled apart the flap and lifted out the creamy invitation decorated with autumn leaves. The metallic gold print reflected in the Archive’s lights, highlighting the words “engagement party” and “Gemini Sidhe” and “Bruce Boulderson”.

    “Are you engaged, Gemini? To the sheriff?”

    “Yes!” She twirled in a circle and more of the twinkling sparks filled the room. “And you’re invited. We’d love for you to be there tomorrow night.” She pointed at the card. “It’ll be held at the Ironwood Café from nine to midnight. Even if you have to come late, we’ll keep the fire burning for you.”

    “Thank you, Gemini. That’s very kind.” He gave her a real smile. “Congratulations and felicitations to you and Bruce. I’d be delighted to be there. Have you invited Dr. Cantora?”

    Drake thought he’d kept his voice even and merely inquiring, but Gemini’s smile turned knowing and she nodded. “Oh yes. The clinic was one of my first stops today. Aliandra said she’d be there.” Gemini winked. “Just in case you wanted to know.”

    “Ah, yes, of course. Thank you.” Drake glanced down at the invitation once again.

    “You’re welcome.” She winked again. “All right, I must be off. I have to invite the rest of the Elder Races. See you tomorrow.” The fairy whirled away in a swish of diaphanous skirts and sailed out the door.

    Drake leaned back in his chair, tapping the invitation on his thigh. He stared at the phone and wondered if he should call Aliandra. It has been two days. Despite his busy schedule, he couldn’t stop thinking about her and the amazing thing she did with her teeth and tongue on his cock. It’s only been two days. He knew she’d been busy and didn’t want to intrude. And more than likely she’ll be at the party…if she doesn’t avoid it because I’m there. They hadn’t parted on bad terms, but she’d made no more effort to see him than he had to see her. Now he was stuck playing the waiting game and indecision gnawed at him.

    To hell with it. Drake rose and threw himself into the archives to organize some documents, ignoring the voice calling him a coward.

    492 words

    Liked by 5 people


    They were still an hour’s ride from home when the sun began to slide behind the Orinda Mountains. Meant they’d be crossing the river when dusk was in full bloom.

    There was a reason the territory was called Darklan. Things crept and cawed beneath the blood red moon.

    That she was one of those things was of no comfort. She alone could not protect her companions and horses. Her fingers worried the amulet tucked safely beneath her traveling cloak.

    Barjean looked around the nose of the dun horse walking between them. “Tell me we have half a chance.”

    Without pause, Darslan said, “You have half a chance.”

    “Nice try. You know how it goes. We go together or not at all.”

    “You want to know our chances of making it home alive? A battalion to one. That’s the good news.”

    “We have about ten minutes to figure out how to up our odds,” Barjean said, glancing back at the three children mounted on two horses.

    Frustration writhed through her veins. Or maybe it was something else, something that needed to stay tamped down as long as possible. “Okay. We’re not going to waste time playing the waiting game. The Darkens will expect us to move lightly, be cautious, try to get past the river without giving ourselves away.”

    “I don’t like where this is going, Darslan.”

    “You didn’t like the way it going before, either. You’re not giving me much room to work here,” Darslan said, shoving the cloak-hood off her hair, hoping the breeze would cool her rising temper.

    “Sorry if it seems like I’m hassling you. Must be the lack of food today. And ale. Yes, there’s been a serious shortage of ale today. Go ahead. Carry on with the details of your contrary plan. Might as well hear you.”

    “Our best hope is for you to take your horse and the two smallest and charge across the water.”

    “And what? You and the tall kids will hang back and host a dinner party for the barbarians?”

    “Something like that. Only they’ll be on the menu.”

    “You’re not going to conjure in front of the children, are you?”

    “Only if you want to live.”

    “Do I want to live? Only if this ravenous thirst is quenched, well and good, before sunrise.”

    Darslan chuckled. “You lead the surprise charge. I’ll cover you.”

    “Guess we have a plan. When you can’t go with smart, go with batshit crazy.”

    “That’s what works best for us? No reason to change it up now.”

    Barjean sighed. “Fine. We’ll do it your way. But after, when we get to the other side alive, you are going to owe me a fornight’s worth of ale.”

    Darslan stroked her horse’s flank. He was her most precious posession, a gift from her father two years before. And in a handful of minutes, she’d trade his life for the life of three strangers. And if that wasn’t batshit crazy, she didn’t know what was.

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 496 ineligible words

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Tusks

    As the sun-summoner of the Long Grass Tribe, N’gok should have had a seat at the clanmeet. But womenfolk were forbidden to enter the Cave of Elders so she languished outside. Those of her caste from the other tribes were within. Deciding on the upcoming challenge. Undoubtedly they would be trying to make it difficult for her, but she didn’t care. Long after dark figures began to emerge from the cave, and her eyes sought out Gorn. He stopped briefly and put a consoling hand on her shoulder.


    She had expected as much. The traditional hunting spears were something that was also taboo for her kind. Though she did her best not to show it, N’gok was elated. She had no intention of killing even one mammoth. She had a better plan, one that would bring glory to the Long Grass Tribe – if it succeeded.

    The other sun-summoners went to the hunting lodge but her steps led her to the tent of the medicine man. She explained the rite she had in mind and he grinned a toothless smile at her wisdom. Capering about his tent he chanted to himself, gathering the magics she would need. After preparing a poultice of foul smelling herbs, he daubed her liberally with it before braiding her hair with feathers.

    “I shall keep the fire burning. Be safe on your soul walk, and follow the smoke home.”

    N’gok thanked him and made herself comfortable on his furs. She drank down the gourd he handed her. She almost retched at the foul chunks that jostled and bumped against the back of her throat before the stupor took her. For three days she lay there, moaning incoherently and wracked by convulsions until finally she returned to herself.

    Gratefully she drank a skin of water and chewed some dried fruit.

    “Let them have their puny spears, for I have found the mammoth’s graveyard and our tusks will be without number. The Long Grass Tribe will have the Sunlord’s favour!”

    333 words

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Unseen Influences

    “Here’s another one. This one’s going to be a win for me!”

    The two of them looked down onto the superstore aisle, the roof of the building magically made transparent to them both. The horned one with the full body blush and barbed tail frowned slightly, exerting a little influence to guide her in his favour…

    “Kathleen! Stop that now!” The mother with the trolley ripped the tube of fresh mints out from her daughter’s grasp, pushing it back onto the display but missing the abduction of the chocolate bar when her back was turned. She was tired, she had a headache, she was in a rush, she was… “Kathleen? What’s that around your mouth? Oh, no!”

    Snatching the half-eaten candy bar away from its sticky brown hand and thrusting it into the far corner of trolley, Amy swore under her breath, ignoring her daughter’s tears. The last thing she needed was madam here going hyperactive on a sugar rush and giving her ex yet another thing to shout her down for. Pushing the trolley forward again, she swerved away from the rest of the candy display, steering a course toward to the cleaning products and pets’ food racks. Surely she’d not be able to find anything to eat there.

    She was almost clear of the store when something happened again. She was digging into her purse, looking for her loyalty card, when she saw her at it again. The same half-eaten chocolate bar back up to her face again. Grabbing it again, the mother jammed it into her pocket, knowing it’d be safest there.

    The horned one grinned, laughing as they watched her walking through the doors out into the parking area, her illegal contraband unpaid for in her pocket. His face fell when she managed to reach her car and then drive away without the appearance of a brace of sturdy serge-suited security staff, both of them keen to escort her to a back room in the store.

    The angel shrugged. “Electronic CCTV cameras. So unreliable. They’re either not pointing where you need them or they’re picking up interference from the motors in the air-conditioning units. Pfft. Man-made systems, eh?”

    His companion scowled, flicking away a mote of ash, petulantly. “I thought I could at least have got her to smack the kid. Either that or get her arrested for shop lifting. That’d have been worth at least fifty to five thousand damnation points. I was counting on that kid to push her over the edge, one way or another.”

    Azrael patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, we’ve still plenty of time and opportunities before the last trumpet. Lots of time to keep on playing the waiting game!”

    (451 words)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. -30-

    By the time I had gotten word that life had soured for Harry Lemon, I had missed his funeral.

    Fortunately, the former hacks of The Daily Examiner, the ones who still had some ink in their veins, managed to pull together a wake at our old watering hole, Chubb’s Oasis.

    I generally hated these sorts of get-togethers. Few of us were still in the game. Harry was the last to keep the fire burning. The rest of us were scraping by on crappy pensions and any modest memories we had that were worth resurrecting.

    Harry had hung on, mostly writing obits, and taking on other low-stress assignments that no one else had the patience for. There was always need of a stringer who could tell a smart, snappy yarn.

    The party was in full swing by the time I arrived. Chub had put us memorialists in the back room.

    “Hey Scotty,” Janine bellowed out to me, “you’re finally here…and alive and kicking.”

    “Barely, Jan… You’re looking…well-preserved.” Janine had always been wiry and wound-up. No doubt that was a by-product of her chain smoking. We all smoked then but she was the type to light a new one from the embers of one still dangling from her rosy-red lips.

    I settled in, shaking hands and hugging old friends, each of us revealing a little bit of how time had treated us. All of us had pretty much the same old tales about Harry. It was all familiar ground and not a little heartbreaking. His stories were ours; our lost dreams, his.

    Finally, the evening was drawing to a close. Hank Fleming, who helmed the city desk for most of my time, took the floor.

    “Friends, I know that Harry would have loved to have been here. In a way he is. Just before he clocked out, he gave me this to read should the occasion warrant.”

    Hank had a soft, rich voice.

    I, Harry Lemon, went to my reward sometime after writing my obituary. I was born in cold water flat in Detroit in 1937. A midwife, Sadie Appleman, assisted at my birth. My parents, Molly and Fred Lemon, managed to stick it out until I was ten. Their love withered. Fred hi-tailed it in `47. Raising 4 kids became Mom`s primary job. She kept us going. We moved to Salt Lake City and found kinship with the Mormons. I was never religious but that community saved our bacon.

    I never married. I almost asked you, Janine, but I couldn’t have afforded the cost of your ciggies. And who in their right mind wants to hitch up with an ink slinger?

    “You all were my family. I could never let you go. No choice, now. Anyway, I had a great run. See you sometime, maybe. ”

    Hank sat down. There may have been a dry eye in the house. Certainly not mine! I hugged Janine and walked out into the night, sad, but somehow, just a little more complete.

    499 words

    Liked by 2 people

  7. For a straight fortnight I’ve combed the streets with my church, handing out blankets to the homeless, convincing some to come to a shelter. I thought I saw Jimmy last night but when the man came with us to the shelter, I realized he was too short.

    Why I married Jimmy, I’ll never understand. I guess love doesn’t always know when to say no. I should’ve known better than to get attached. It’s the most important rule of first responders: don’t get attached. But I did. And I married him. And this is the fourth time in our marriage that he’s left me for drugs, alcohol, and the streets of Omaha, Nebraska.

    Tonight, our group would go out for the last time, giving blankets to the homeless as winter temperatures plummeted below zero. After tonight, another church group would take over volunteer duties. My husband’s picture had been distributed to all of them and all promised to let me know if he was found. I’m playing the waiting game now.

    I shrug into my winter coat. I have long johns on under my clothes, plus an extra shirt. I get my boots on and then my hat, gloves, and scarf. After a short prayer, I get into my truck and drive into Mondamin, Iowa, ready to meet with the volunteers for tonight.

    “Good evening.” Pastor Nichols stands in the center of the group, bundled to his eyeballs. A gold cross is pinned to his black coat and catches the orange street light. “Tonight we’re going to cover a six block run in South Omaha, around X Street. It’s a rougher part of town with a high homeless population, lots of abandoned buildings. Members of the Omaha Police Department are going to volunteer as well. They’ve been collecting blankets for a few weeks and want to help. The goal, as always, is to get people into shelters for the night. Several shelter reps will be along and have transportation for the folks if they choose to go. Any questions?” We shake our heads. “Okay, then, into the van, please.”

    I climb in and huddle near a window, wondering if this will finally be the night I find him. And if I find him, what then? Drag him off to rehab? Scream and yell at him for making me worry?

    “It’s pretty cold out tonight, so that’s why we have a shorter area to cover. We’ll be as quick as we can and there will be coffee and hot cocoa at the van when we’re done.”

    I tune out Pastor Nichols, as we arrive in Downtown Omaha. Once we park, I grab a box of blankets, pair up with Beatrice and start walking. If I find him tonight, I’ll try to remember that I love him.

    464 words

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Nightwatch
    471 words
    by Alicia VanNoy Call

    Time slows down in the dark watches of the night.

    As I sit with my shot gun leaning on one shoulder — no shells, no shots, practically useless — eyelids heavy under the press of shadows, the fire burns low.

    I rouse myself once, twice, to feed the flames. It flares yellow for a while, but always dies to a glow again. I shake sleep off. Adjust the skins around my shoulders. I slap my own cheeks.

    How long has Astrid been gone?

    The forest has grown silent all around, until I could almost be convinced I am alone. Until I could almost believe that shadows sleep in the dead of night. But then I rise to add another log to the fire or t eat some snow to keep myself awake and I hear it.

    I hear them slithering, whispering. The dim clack of their claws. The raw slide of swollen tongues over protruding teeth.

    They’re watching me.

    They hide in the shadows. Keep to the darkness. And the fire holds them at bay.

    “The flames,” Astrid said. “The flames will keep you safe.”

    But it’s just me now. And I have no shells. And only one stake, sharpened to a point.

    And I’m so tired.

    My eyelids droop.

    I can hear the darkness hiss.

    I put my feet close to the fire, to keep myself awake. My boots start to steam, but the heat makes me sleepy. And I’m so tired. And the forest is gentle, with a soothing darkness to lull me


    sleep. . .

    . . .

    Something tugging at my leg like the drag of tide on my feet when finally came to the sea. When we walked along the beach and the water washed up over our feet and sucked away again and tugged at our toes like its tugging now and

    Astrid screams and I’m sitting up as she slams into the creature tugging at
    my boot, needle teeth and saliva lacquered over the leather. It scrabbles against her, claws raking her cheek. I’m shaking off the blur of sleep and the shadows are writhing at the edge of the clearing.

    Astrid holds the creature by the throat. It’s sinking its claws into her
    arms. She yanks the stake, black and hardened with the blood of a hundred kills, from her belt. She raises it with a yell and plunges it into the creature’s chest. It shrieks, convulses, and then goes still.

    Astrid rises as the sun bursts over a hill. The shadows shorten, draw back, and disappear. We are alone. Astrid stalks toward me, hands black and dripping.

    “I told you,” she shouts, “to keep the fire BURNING!”

    Fear harshes her voice. She drops to the ground and grabs me into a fierce

    “I’m sorry,” I say into her hair.

    “I know,” she sighs. “I know.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Fire Beads

    The guard changed like clockwork and every transfer ended with “Keep the fire burning!” Only, there is no fire. No fire pit. No sign of a fire. Not unless you looked in our eyes. We handed off the spear decorated with feathers and beads in colors of red and orange. It was symbolic, and it hid the truth.

    The crash site behind us had become our camp, our home base, our hope. The beacon would send the signal but it might take a while to reach friendly stars. For now, we had to hold our ground. The initial scout revealed an indigenous population that was fearful of our small group. We were much more advanced. They were aggressive hunters and gatherers with weapons and tools had what appeared to be iron roughly formed into useful shapes, crude but still deadly.

    The spear was from the first kill, one we tried to avoid. However, we were backed into a corner. When we fired our weapon, the others backed off. They were afraid. We took the spear and traded it off symbolically to remind the enemy.

    The guard pulled on the goggles that allowed us to see much further and accuracy. The ship’s computer communicated directly with the wearer like a monitor, analyzing the field and catching irregularities that we might miss. My partner tonight was Kamryn and she was fierce. I would not have to worry about weaknesses on our patrols.

    The patrols started uneventful. Kamryn told me about her family. I talked about my wife. “Amyrn!” The sound of alarm in her voice caught my attention. Yes, there was movement in the eastern quadrant. I radioed the ship but we were a short distance away. It would take them a few minutes to reach us.

    “Ready your weapon, Kamryn,” I ordered as I did the same. The dark shadows gathering around us were very foreboding.

    “We need fire! Real fire! To light up the night sky.” The ship must have been monitoring our talk because a flare was sent out past us towards the eastern horizon. We realized now that this was not the same enemy. Indeed, they were coming upon us riding horses and in much more organized movements.

    “Fall back!” We stepped away from the enemy but did not take our eyes off of them. They were gathering quickly and I was not sure if we would make it to the ship…or if it would offer refuge. We were vastly outnumbered by an organized threat. We did not understand the politics of this world. If we used a mass weapon, it could greatly affect the indigenous populations.

    I felt a hand on my shoulder. The commander stood beside me ascertaining our options. He dropped an expletive. “That’s the Ryorn! So much for encrypted codes.” It was not the indigenous people. We retreated to our ship and shut the doors. A flash lit up the sky and burned the enemy in their tracks. The fires would burn for days.

    500 words

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Don’t take candy from strangers

    Reagan twisted the bit of napkin in her hands under the table. They were on the upper level of the club where more luxurious seating was to be had. No one else was up there besides some of the bouncers and her ‘host’. She flinched from the strobe lights that bounced back and forth. They were the only thing offering illumination of the area. Different colors flickered over the man’s face. He didn’t look over at the crowd or the other dancers. His focus was on Reagan alone.

    “So, what do I call you? I only know you by ‘firebug’. I don’t think that is very polite to call someone. I am Sauvageon.” The French word rolled of his tongue. “Or as some people have taken to shortening it to Savage.” He gave her a wolfish grin.

    “Um, I don’t think I should say anything. I really should get going.” She pushed the chair back to stand up.

    “Sit. Down.” The temperature dropped at the change in his tone. “They don’t call me Savage because I am a nice guy. I want you to talk to me. Tell me your name? What do they have on you, hmm? You seem a little too-“ He paused and let out a slow breath. “-mousy for them. Not someone that would typically be on their payroll.”

    “I was in need of some money and they are helping me.” Reagan gave a tight smile.

    “Ah, I see. Are you sure it’s a job that you want to deal with? A lot of it is playing the waiting game. Especially when it comes to who is in power.”

    Reagan gave Savage a blank look. “What?”

    “So you really are under the radar with a lot of things. When you play with some big boys, you should do a little more research in who you borrow money from. Guilt by association. It can be quite a strain. Other parties that might object to your boss will take their anger out of you. I’m sure that you could find some other way to satisfy whatever debt is being held over you.” His lips curled up slowly.

    “I’m afraid I don’t have any information that would make me a valuable target.”

    “Then you are a pawn in the game. Easily sacrificed. You should rectify that. I would hate to see such an innocent taken out because she willingly remains ignorant. I can help you correct that. How about a dinner date. We can meet at Rombala’s and talk about it.”

    The napkin in her fingers shredded. “What? A date?” Her brow furrowed. “Why?”

    “Everyone should at least know the pieces on the game instead of walking in blind.” His eyes slide away from her and the smile turned into a smirk. “Your guard dog is here.”

    She looked over her shoulder to see Wrench glowering at Savage.

    “You can go. Here. A gift for you.” He reached behind him and pulled a flower from out of nowhere.

    499 words

    Liked by 3 people

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