#FlashMobWrites 1×15

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Fifteen

*JuNoWriMo Edition*

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 (or both!) 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: “catching in the sun”

Ruth Long: “wait for a sign”

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


34 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×15

  1. Lost and Found Kentucky Style

    Jaime wrote notes. “Do you have any names of the soldiers who went missing? Or of their commanding officer? Maybe I can get some other information about Bethany from them.”

    Stanton frowned. “Here’s the thing. The commanding officer was one of the ones gone missin’. I think his name was McMacken. That’s what the stablehand said. One of the missin’ did come back. A woman named Bryant, but she was whisked away pretty damn quick for debriefin’. I don’t know any of the other names.”

    “What were they there to do other than find your sister?” When the Chief raised his eyebrows, she shrugged. “There had to be something going on because what was so supernatural about one young woman going missing? Obviously there was some reason to bring in the SNAIFU.”

    Stanton lapsed into an intense, thoughtful silence, and Jaime tried to ignore how sexy it made him. He put all his energies into whatever he did and when it came to thinking, the intensity ramped up. God, why didn’t I go home with him after Chris’s wedding? He abruptly raised his gaze and swung it around the café as if looking for those who might be listening in. The hair on her arms raised in visceral awareness and she resisted the urge to smooth them down.

    “How ’bout we talk a walk along the pier? It’s pretty nice today.” He rose and stood by her chair, waiting for her to comply.

    It wasn’t nice out. It was windy as hell, but something about his secretiveness made her curious. What did he not want others to hear? She stood and followed him out into the windy morning. Fortunately, the sun took some of the chill out of the day and the enthusiasm of the college kids on spring break was catching. In the sun, the ships moored at the pier carried a majesty she never tired of, and she let the small joys of the day lift some of her tension. But none of her curiosity.

    Stanton led her to a bench set along the boardwalk facing the moored battleships under the shadows of some coconut palms. He settled onto it, crossed his legs, and reclined at apparent ease with everything. But Jaime didn’t buy it. He’d shaded his eyes with dark sunglasses, but she suspected he still scanned everywhere for listeners.

    Jaime was determined to wait for a sign they’d arrived at some aural safe haven and sat down beside him, closing her eyes and inhaling the salty air. The wind blew her hair around, but she’d given up caring. At this point, her hair was the least of her concerns.

    “The SNAIFU was brought in because there was somethin’ weird goin’ on in the grounds of the estate.”

    Stanton’s voice sounded casual, like they were discussing the dimensions of the ships in front of them, but his words set her heart to fluttering. Weird?


    “Yeah, things cleared up after the missin’ soldier came back.”

    498 #WIP500 words

    Liked by 5 people

  2. THE SPIRIT BOX by E.F. Olsson

    Bennett hadn’t expected the box to arrive so fast. It came within days of ordering it online. The brown box was small, light, and filled mostly with bubble wrap. The man who sold him the radio device inside told him to be careful with it. “If you don’t know what you’re doing with it, don’t do anything. Send it back. I’ll give you your money back. I don’t want you getting hurt by what you’re trying,” the man told him. “This is for the professionals.” But he sold it to Bennett anyway.

    Even with the warning and the jokes from his friends, Bennett knew that he wanted the spirit box. The guys on the TV ghost hunting shows used them. They made it seem easy and harmless. Once Jeremy died, Bennett tried anything he could to communicate with his older brother once more. This would do it.

    The spirit box was the size of a paperback book. It had an electronic display that flashed the AM radio stations. Bennett inserted the batteries and click the spirit box on – the display lit up in a green glow. Bennett hit the one button on the face of the device causing the stations to rapidly change along with a rapid burst of audio – a mix of people talking, a song, a commercial, and static. It sounded robotic.

    Bennett listened closely remembering what the man had told him. “Behind the noise of what’s on the radio, you’ll hear white noise. Say hello, call out for who you’re searching for, ask your questions. But always remember, when you’re done, say good-bye, wait for a sign, then shut it off. Bad spirits are always waiting to cross back over. If you don’t say good-bye, they’ll come out. You’ll regret it.”

    The display flashed the stations so fast it started to hurt Bennett’s eyes. The white noise finally hissed in the background. “Hello,” Bennett said. Nothing came across as the audio skipped by. “Jeremy?” Bennett could make out words from the distorted audio. Then a males voice bled through. “Who is this?” Bennett said.

    “Who. You. Seek.” The voice said in a metallic tone.

    Bennett’s face paled. “Jeremy?”

    “Yes,” the voice responded.

    “This is Jeremy?”


    “I miss you, Jeremy.”

    “I. Do. The. Same. Let. Me. Back. To. See. You.”

    “You’ll come out of the box?”

    “Yes. I. Come. Back. Out. To. See. Let. Me. Out.”

    “I don’t think I can do that.”

    “Let. Me. See. You. Out.”

    Bennent stepped away from the box. Next to him was the last photo he took with Jeremy before he was sent off overseas – Jeremy was in his military uniform as Bennent looked up at him. Bennett wiped away the tears that were forming. “No,” he said back to the spirit box.

    “I. Will. Come. For. You,” the voice said as a static hiss blurted out from the speakers. Bennett panicked and quickly pressed the power button. He popped out the batteries. The room was silent.

    “I didn’t say good-bye!”

    500 words

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Jake’s Legacy

    The freedom to merely stay in bed and navel gaze, or, more than gaze, perhaps reach out in a heightened state, a stimulated route, if welcomed, if her navel pleases, as it always beckons, if my finger can touch, can deftly stroke the soft skin of her belly; ah, that freedom is one of the 8 wonders of my world. Was!

    The thought is addicting, like a sharply-edged mescaline high or, like measles, catching. In the sun, the pleasure is always magnified.

    On certain summer days, days far before Jake, we would escape to the river, hike in for a couple of miles, find a sylvan patch of grass and sand, a sweet silt cocoon, built up, deep pools, chilled crystal-rich flow, sun chasing through the branches, illuminating hearts, wet water waving.

    But the downpour does not relent. It crashes against the eaves. The storm is unexpectedly ferocious, beyond metaphor, beyond measure.

    I know what needs to be said. I am no fool. At least, I am less foolish than I have been. Though I gape at the ceiling, almost as if I have x-ray vision, staring through Sonia’s suite above, the top floor of this old house, piercing the plywood, the asphalt shakes, soaring beyond the giant Arbutus tree whose limbs thrash the high gutters each and every storm, though I gaze into the galaxy above, I hesitate to journey into my own murky solar system, a jumble of aimless asteroids, alarming thoughts searing the air like bullets at a drunken anarchists firing range.

    Should I wait for a sign from Jeanne? If she sends one, will I even understand it?

    “Where are you?” she jostles me.

    I plummet from my heavenly perch.

    “Here! Here, I am,” I protest. “Every beautiful pound of me.”

    “Maybe, “she concedes divertingly, and then turns the screw with, “What does an average brain weigh, Wally?”

    I shift position, gaze upon her, expecting a good punch line. Teacher humour, I hope. More instructional than witty! There is, instead of a laugh line, a furrowed ridge of accumulating sorrow.

    “You got me. A couple of pounds…?”

    “Whatever it is, 2-3 pounds, it isn’t here in our bed.”

    Not being a fool, though apparently one 2-3 pound brain short of a full load, I understand that she has made a point. She knows I have been astral–travelling, anything to escape the death knell that seems to be tolling.

    It is a familiar two-step.

    “You listen to those bedraggled children you try and help. Here, with me, God, Wally, where the hell are you? Why can’t you talk to me?”

    Both steps are hers; I am at a loss. At this moment, even though I have been here before, I know this is the last dance. We have run our course.

    The long game now begins. So many others have arrived at this shadowy junction.

    Jake is only three.

    He is poised to bounce between two distinct worlds.

    This is Jake’s legacy.

    500 words precisely

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My tour of the druids’ wood was more like a highlight reel than an in-depth exploration. I didn’t know the way home, and these asshats were playing shit way too close to the vest for my comfort. When you’re in hostile territory for the foreseeable future, you get to know the ground, and fast. Some inner compass drew me east through the druids’ wood, and I let it.

    Hooray, I freed a bunch of tree hugging, leaf smoking shapeshifters from a couple centuries of cursed imprisonment. Double hooray, the forest was no longer colder than Thule Air Base in February. Those two things were great, brilliant even. Hooray, me.

    Being assigned to SNAIFU without a doubt expanded my operating definition of “possible.” So I believed. Had no reason not to. But believing led to questions of who, what, why, and where. Who had they pissed off enough to cast a population wide curse? What did this person or group gain? If the goal was to take the druids out of the game, why not just kill them? Genocide seemed a strategically sound, if morally abhorrent, solution, as opposed to a curse that could be broken. Which brought me to possibly the scariest question: Where was this unnamed threat now?

    It stuck in my craw, these unanswered things. The conversational sidesteps and outright deflections. As much as I wanted to believe two centuries was long enough to remove any imminent threat, I didn’t.

    The ground abruptly ended and I threw my weight backward, landing on my butt.

    “Jesus, Bryant.” My heart thumped in my chest like a super ball. “Get your head out of the clouds and pay some fucking attention.”

    I rolled my eyes up. I estimated maybe a half mile from my vantage to the far side of a deep valley, a sloping hillside instead of a sudden stop. Catching in the sun, a blackened scar of broken buildings and scorched earth cut through by streams of dark water marred the landscape. The ruins dug into the hillside like stone claws, dark and forbidding, even in the brilliant afternoon light. I dug my BX-3 binoculars out of my vest and scanned. Nature didn’t try to reclaim this land. If anything, the ruins spread out like a cancerous mass. In the middle, an ebony tower stood, strangely untouched by the ravages surrounding it.

    “Are you what no one is talking about?” I rolled onto my belly, keeping my profile low to the ground. “Good thing I’ve got time to wait for a sign. Show me what you’ve got.”

    The sun descended behind me and lights twinkled through the tree cover on the valley floor. People lived with this thing looming above them? A lone light flared to life in the tower. Dread lodged deep in my gut. Shit was about to get real, and I didn’t have my team. I didn’t even have a talking dog, or a mystic-spouting druid.

    “Hell, I’ll settle for Dryad Xena and her kill-first-question-later squad.”

    500 WIP words for Siobhan 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Illegal

    Multiple buildings, boasting broken windows, and absent tenants, rose into the sky. On the avenue, beneath a gray awning, three figures stood together, like a cluster of end-up cigarette butts in a pile full of recycled play sand. Their jaws askew at undead angles, their skin blackened in spots and whole sections. One picked at his flaking fingernails while another cracked his jaw. A third remained stoic. Each was wrapped in the same nondescript white uniforms, and a shadow shrouded them as the sun slipped behind the prison building next door. Their eyes were drawn to a figure standing on a corner of the intersection where the city’s only two roads met.

    In the kaleidoscope clothes that marked a convict, the stranger stepped into the sun puddle collecting in the midst of the empty thoroughfare. The flecks of gold in her hair caught the radiance, sparkling through the mahogany tresses. In a wash of ecstasy, blue eyes closed. The three heard, “It’s been so long,” expressed in a lilting sigh. The porcelain chin tilted upward, and she lifted her arms as though hugging the light.

    Twenty white-clad figures burst from the adjacent building. In an organized swarm, they poured into the interchange and down the steps to surround the escapee. A feedback squeal scraped against the quiet of the dead streets. Speakers boomed, “Please remain calm.” It repeated, “Please remain calm, and wait for a sign.”

    Flaking Fingernails said to Cracking Jaw, “It’s catching in the sun. Mama always said life is catching in the sun.” In the middle of the monochrome mob, the woman screamed as they dragged her into the institution.

    When the pewter doors closed, silencing off mid her wail, Stoic only commented, “Deserved it. Life is illegal here.”

    A long beep blared, followed by the scratchy words playing, “Resume normal activity. Feeding will occur in exactly sixty-three minutes.” The trio returned to their zombie street wanders, staggering passed the peeling billboard that read, “The Prison for Life – brought to you by Z-tech. Spreading un-death for the endurance of humanity.”

    343 Words

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Fossils

    A pale sun was shining but the wind whipped in across the sea.

    “Dad, it’s cold.”

    “Bracing.” Jon strode with a familiar crunch of shingle under his boots, towards the rocks broken from the cliffs by the spring storms. He picked up shards of mudstone and turned them over in his hands but they were blank and he tossed them back on the ground. When he’d been Oliver’s age, he spent hours on this beach hunting fossils to sell to the tourist shop in the village. Ammonites and heart-shaped echinoids and once small teeth the shopkeeper thought were from a plesiosaur.

    He clambered onto a boulder and found embedded in the dark mudstone the spiral of an ammonite as pale as bone. “Look at this.”

    Oliver pulled his hands from the pockets of his wind-cheater and jumped balanced and loose-limbed onto the boulder. “Is it a dinosaur?”


    “Are we going to find any dinosaurs?”

    “All this was covered by sea once.”

    Oliver brushed his fingers against the fossil then pulled them back quickly and put his hands back in his pockets. “We saw Jurassic Park. Dave’s got this massive t.v. It takes up one whole wall like the cinema. We had popcorn.”

    “Dave’s one of your school friends?”

    “One of Mum’s friends.”

    Jon didn’t say anything and the two of them sat on the boulder. Then Jon took his penknife out. “You want to take this home and show it to your friends?”

    Oliver shrugged. “Okay.”

    Jon started to chip away a shallow groove around the fossil, the tip of the penknife skidding over the stone and barely catching. In the sun and the shelter of the cliffs it became warm and he stopped to wipe the sweat from his face. He cleaned the grove out with his fingertips. It was only a few millimetres deep.

    Oliver had skipped from one rock to another and bent down to examine a rock pool. He looked so small and fragile against the cliffs and the swell of the sea. Jon hacked away at the stone harder, digging the tip of the penknife into the groove until the blade broke, the metal ringing off the stone as it tumbled to the ground. He tried to lever his fingers behind the fossil and pull it out but he only bruised his fingertips and broke his thumbnail. A drop of blood welled up. He sucked on his thumb then wrapped his handkerchief around it.

    The boy was standing on the shoreline now, watching the breakers roll up the beach and then back out again with a sigh. Jon though he must have looked the same all those years back, young and without a thought except to find the fossils on the beach. But the sea was always shifting, always changing as it rolled across the land ten retreated again. Everything changed. The only things that didn’t were these fossils and they had been dead a hundred million years.

    497 words excluding title

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Orbits

    I imagine Arecibo and Jodrell Bank turning their sightless eyes towards us, straining for a glimpse as we pass above, twined in each other’s arms.

    We’re still in the honeymoon phase, I guess. Young and healthy, we passed all the personality tests and had been together for the requisite two years. So we’re among the chosen few in this great experiment.

    Ethan joked that our ship should be called the Love Boat. We launched with nine other couples, but we barely had time to do more than make small talk before going to our pods, two by two. We were eighth to deploy. I hoped to see the others ahead of us, but by the time we settled into orbit they were already hiding in plain sight, one of a million points of winking light.

    I tell myself that it’s OK to be scared. All I have for guidance are a couple of old books on digidisc and a crackly film of old women laughing about how awful it was. ‘And he got stuck, but the midwife fetched the forceps, and we both gave an almighty heave and out he popped!’ Belly laughs all round. You can tell I’ve watched it a few times. But then she looks serious, and says ‘Back then, that was normal. The whatchacallems, the labrats, that was all to come.’

    If I keep still maybe he’ll think I’ve gone to sleep.

    He slides in next to me and a few seconds later strokes my shoulder. I can’t help tensing.

    After a minute, another tentative touch.

    ‘There’s no point,’ I snap. ‘Save yourself, why don’t you.’

    7am. The screen flickers and Daily Report comes on. No news from the other pods, and back home the latest air and water pollution tests are inconclusive. I don’t know why they bother. Whatever the problem is, I don’t think they can fix it. ‘We wait for a sign of better times to come,’ Commander Sanchez intones, his face rigid as a tombstone.

    I turn the screen off and say to Ethan, ‘We’re all doomed, the usual.’ He grins and hands me my morning coffee. I take a sip; it tastes of metal. I swallow although I want to spit it out, and wish I hadn’t as my stomach turns it down flat. I shove my beaker at Ethan and run for the bathroom.

    Panting I clutch my empty, echoing stomach, and realise what else I am clutching. Ethan is in the doorway, staring at me like I’ve done something amazing. I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand, and he cradles me in his arms.

    438 words

    Liked by 4 people


    Shadows cast by the buttes are catching in the sun as it sets. Darkness creeps across the desert floor, searching for us, desperate in its hunger.

    “Something’s out there.” Adele snags my hand and tugs me to a stop.

    How can I reassure her when she’s right? There is a something out there—a being older than time, far more deadly than any living creature, and it’s calling. My name whispers on the wind, seductive, wild, and wrong on so many levels. I rub at my arm with my free hand in a vain attempt to control the shivers dancing across my flesh.

    Wendigo. Evil incarnate. And not a manitou in sight to contain it. If I succumb to the lure, I’m lost. We’re lost, Adele and me. It wants me. As a werewolf, my energy will feed it far longer than Adele’s humanity. But if it takes me, she’ll be nothing more than dust. The hell if I let that happen. I will get her out of this damn desert and back to safety.

    “Caleb? Can you tell me what it is?”

    Worry coats her voice but she looks determined. She reminds me a lot of Sade in that regard. Only I never wanted to do the things with Sade I want to do with Adele. I wonder if Sade is on my trail. If she’s riding to our rescue, she’ll need more than the cavalry for backup if she is. I don’t think our usual little Scooby club can handle this big bad. I never believed there was anything in this realm or the others that a werewolf FBI agent, gargoyle Sentinel, fae warrior, and master vampire couldn’t defeat. Especially with my foster sis in the mix. Sade might be human and work for the Bureau like me, but she always commanded every incident. I’d even settle for that asshole dragon Drakon at this point.

    Too bad I’m on my own this time. If it was only my life on the line, I’d just meet that sucker out in the dark and make my sacrifice worth the price. But not if it means leaving Adele out here alone. She’s not going to die. Not on my watch.

    I give her hand a squeeze. “How’s your Native American mythology?”

    “What? Is that thing a thunderbird or something?”

    “I wish. It’s definitely in the or something category. I’m not positive but I think it’s a wendigo.”

    “Well…pistachios on a pita. That’s not good.”

    Not good? Understatement of the year. “The not good train already left the station headed smack dab into oh shit territory.”

    “How do we fight it?”

    There’s the rub. She’s human. She can’t fight her way out of a wet paper bag when it comes to supernatural critters.

    We don’t. You run. I fight.”

    “I’m not leaving you, Caleb. What did that pooka say? He told us to wait for a sign.”

    Yeah, and anybody who listens to a pooka deserves a sign. One that says STUPID!
    500 word redo (because I’m an idiot…!!!)

    497 words (because I’m an idiot…!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Letting Go

    We all have ghosts that haunt us: things we could have done; things we should have done; things we failed to do. They follow us around and there’s no escaping them because they’re spectres of our own creation. Trust me, even ghosts have ghosts.

    I used to think of the afterlife as some sort of celebration… a reunion with the greater whole, heaven if you will, but after everything I’ve seen I’ve realized that regrets weigh us down and the only way to be free of them is to let go.

    The only thing is,letting go isn’t in our nature. We hold on and the stronger the emotion the harder we hold on. Half the murders I’ve investigated were because someone couldn’t let go. They couldn’t let go of the anger; they couldn’t let go of hate. The worst are when they can’t let go of a person.

    Sometimes I think the insanity is catching.

    In the sun-lit streets everything is clear and vibrant, but in the shadows it’s a different story. People we think are one thing turn out to be something else entirely and you learn to judge them by the company they keep, and in this case by the ghosts that follow them.

    The particular weasel I’d been following was a Police Sergent when I’d known him: Detective Louie Cortez, had been a cop’s cop. He retired three years after he’d taken 2 million from the evidence locker, framed me, and made sure no-one would ever find me.

    Everyone just assumed I’d taken the money and with no further evidence there was no reason to suspect him. He kept his nose clean and never touched the cash until they’d stopped watching him. When he left the force he was pretty much set for life.

    That was until it turned out he hadn’t been as good at hiding things as he’d thought. A freak flash flood had washed a car into the lake and as the dive team went to recover the vehicle they’d found me and instead of leaving well enough alone he decided to make sure my case was never solved.

    Working the streets, you meet all kinds of unsavory types and he’d arranged a nasty little surprise for the cold case detective who ended up working my case.

    I’d been willing to let him slide, pay for it in the afterlife like the rest of us— but he went too far. She survived the encounter, barely – but I can’t say the same for Louie…

    The best part was when I materialized in his front seat. You should have seen the expression right before he hit the bridge abutment.

    He really should have learned to let go.

    454 words

    Liked by 2 people


    Wind whistles through the trees overhead and the grass beneath him is cool and damp. But the whistling is a barrage of bullets and the dampness is blood. Might be his. Can’t be sure. He’s lost a lot but so have the others.

    From his position, he can’t see what’s going on and more than the excruciating pain, that’s what’s grinding on his consciousness. The little he does know is enough to unman him. His troop is littered across the field. His radio is blown. His left leg is severed below the knee.

    He takes a couple deep breaths and rolls onto his right side. Agony washes over him and things go black for a few minutes. When he comes to, he tries again, takes two slow breaths and hauls himself up on his elbow. There’s no movement in the field and it’s so quiet his heartbeat is like thunder in his veins.

    Just as he’s about to collapse, he sees it, the glint of something metallic catching in the sun. It glints and stops. Glints and stops. Morse code. H. U. R. L. E. Y. His name. Someone is out there, alive, and signaling him. He fixes his eye on the tree nearest the glint, about forty yards south.

    Gritting his teeth, he sinks his elbow into the soft dirt and drags himself forward. Elbow, drag. Elbow, drag. Elbow, drag. He checks the pulse of each body he passes, speaks a word of remembrance, removes dogtags if possible, and moves on.

    No way to gauge his progress but he gets to the tree while the sun is still overhead. One of the medics is propped against the trunk of the tree, uniform soaked with blood, face blanched, and eyes glassy.

    “Sarge,” the medic greets him, mustering half a smile.

    “Chamberlin,” he says, fighting the urge to give in to the pain. “What can I do for you?”

    “Let’s not kid each other, sir. I haven’t got much time left but I think I can get that leg dressed before the clock runs out.”

    The enormity of the offer stuns him and he scrambles for an appropriate response. “Is there someone you’d like me to deliver a message to?”

    Chamberlin reaches for his medic’s bag. “Been thinking about that since the bullet struck but I’ve never been much good with words. Then I saw you out there and figured if I could get you patched up, that’d make about as fine a final memory as I could give my parents.”

    He reaches for the medic’s hand, grasps his palm with what little strength he has left. “I’ll go to see them myself, if I make it out of here.”

    “You will,” says the medic, with a tired smile. “I saved my battery power all afternoon and when I saw you were close enough to reach me, I switched on the radio and gave our extraction coordinates.”

    He wants to close his eyes to the sorrow and pain but holds it at bay and listens to Chamberlin’s chatter until he falls silent.

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / approx 500 ineligible words but word count tool is glitchy, le sigh

    Liked by 2 people

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