#FlashMobWrites 1×19

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Nineteen

We’re back! Did you miss us?

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 PDT (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

Offspring and I are off for a day of food, fun, and music, capped by tonight’s Imagine Dragons concert. This happens to be my personal favorite from their newest album.

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: “get down with the”

Ruth Long: “you can’t fight the”

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

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45 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×19

  1. Until that moment, the prospect of killing him hadn’t iterated in my processors. But it didn’t shut down once he’d said it.

    Twitch seemed to reach a similar conclusion. “You can’t-”

    “Fight the entropy forever,” Mo interrupted. “I have no intention of doing so, but it strikes me that Jack has finally gotten an angle with some leverage. So, why don’t you share what you found so we can all make the most of it, hm? What did you and Lucy pry out of your little brother’s head?” He was looking at me speculatively, not as a tool, but as a partner or adversary he trusted just enough to deal with. Twitch, for her part, got back to business with an almost audible click, straightening up and unbraiding her hair, the better to let any processing heat dissipate.

    “Erzebet’s trip dirtside was more than just an alibi; Vlad had instructions to make some third-rail deals that will end up doing some financially exciting things to a lot of very important and interesting portfolios.” I’d already made some quiet investments of my own, as had Lucy, and shared the details of some of the less-subtle ones with a quick data squirt, watching Mo and Twitch make some of their own in response. No reason we couldn’t all profit from this, and, if it meant more in Mo’s account later, well.

    Twitch was smirking, probably in chat contact with Lucy, comparing notes and planning something depraved for a portion of the profits.

    “That’s the easy part, then,” Mo said, sipping his drink. “But that’s not enough. You don’t care if her scheme works out for her, so sabotaging it or making sure it goes into orbit don’t factor in, unless you want her owing you favors.” For a pure organic, Mo was awfully cagey when it came to getting how my processing threads.

    “No; not even enough leverage there with having put Humpty Dumpty together again, and she knows it. She probably even suspects I subcontracted the strike on her bot, which is why she used us in the first place. This isn’t about her or her stack of shares, it’s about Vlad. Or, what’s going to be left of him.”

    Twitch raised an eyebrow appraisingly; sadism was up her alley. Moixa just waited.

    “You said it yourself, you’ve got insurance on the Light’s ‘various properties,’ and until I buy myself out, that includes me. I’m going to take his chassis and use him as my personal parts bin. I’m going to need repair work by the time this is over, and I intend Lucy to cut him circuit from circuit to get them for me.”

    #437
    @etcet

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Unwelcome Guest

    The rest of the day progressed pretty well with Aiden helping stock the items they’d run low on. Sometimes he served customers and he interacted fairly well for the most part. Moira cautiously admitted she liked having him in the coffee shop and some of her tension retreated.

    But everything shifted at Happy Hour.

    One of the sinks in the men’s room had plugged and Aiden retreated with a wrench and bucket to fix it. Talia had her last massage of the day and Moira had her back to the front door, selecting a new play list for the PA system. The front door opened and closed, allowing a blast of cold air to dance around the interior. Moira shivered and hit play before she turned around to see who’d arrived.

    Sweet Goddess help me.

    Her body froze and cold seeped into her chest as her gaze met that of the man who’d arrived. He wore a light gray suit under his wool overcoat and white scarf. Pale blue eyes crinkled at the edges as they looked out over a beaked nose and his thin lips creased into a smile. Her hands tightened on a dish towel below the counter as he sauntered toward her.

    How the fuck did he find me?

    She swallowed against bile, clenching her jaw to hold it down as her stomach rebelled in panic and fury.

    You can’t fight the pain, gosling. You know you love it.

    He’d called her his silly goose, his little gosling, and at one time she believed he loved her. But those times had passed, and she knew the truth. He only loved pain, and the infliction of it on someone else. He got drunk on it, and that’s why she’d left him.

    Get down! With the thought fresh in her head, she dropped behind the display case as if picking something off the floor. It’s been two years. Why is he here? She swiped at the floor with the towel and rose, wishing she had more time to figure out a response.

    “Hello, Moira.”

    She almost pretended not to recognize him, but refused to take the coward’s way out.

    “Lenny. What brings you to Cloudburst.”

    “That should be obvious. Didn’t you get my flowers?” He gave her his patented slick smile.

    The flowers she’d tossed just that morning. No wonder they’d seemed poisonous.

    “Oh, those were from you? The note didn’t say.” She didn’t match his smile. “What do you want?”

    “Just what my note said. I want to make up for lost time.” His pale eyes flared with lust and desire, but it only turned her stomach.

    “I said no, Lenny. We broke up two years ago and I meant it. There was no time lost.”

    “Aw, come on, gosling. You know we had a great thing going there.” He tilted his head with a half smile. “I know you’ve missed me.”

    A tight smile quirked her mouth. “If I promise to miss you, will you go away?”

    500 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My mind went back to that night that I had walked into this room three years ago.
    As I came into that room everyone had come to a sudden hush.
    “They’ll just have to get used to us being together,” I whispered to Teresa.
    “They hate me, because I dropped the chosen one and took up with you.”
    “So I’m not the chosen one,” I jested.
    “That’s not what I was saying.” Teresa protested, “Oh great, Scarlet is coming over. I’m going to touch up my make-up, you handle her.”
    Every man in the room watched Teresa, as she walked to the washroom.
    Scarlet waved her hand in front of my face and stage whispered, “You can’t be serious.”
    “I love her.”
    “Sure I should just put my feelings aside and get down with the love. I can’t believe you’re dumping me, Elliot!”
    “Scarlet, I’m sorry I hurt you. You can’t fight the way you feel, but you’re going to have to accept my feelings for Teresa.”
    “Why her?”
    “Teresa is the one I’ve always waited for.”
    “We could have been like that,” Scarlet protested.
    “No we couldn’t have. I can’t manufacture feelings.”
    “You expect me to just forget my feelings?”
    “I care about you as a friend but that’s all but if you can’t distant yourself from your feelings than that’s over. Teresa comes first to me.”
    “Okay, I’ll try. I’ll even be nice to her.”
    “Teresa needs more than that can you smooth things over for her and introduce her to some people and make them think you like her?”
    “You don’t ask much Elliot.”
    “Please, Scarlet?”
    “Because I’m your friend I’ll do this but if she ever hurts you and lets you down I’m here understand?” Scarlet said.
    Scarlet had been true to her word she helped Teresa fit in. People had started to accept Teresa and introduce her into their inner circles. Scarlet met my friends. One day a year later the night before our wedding. I came home and Teresa was with George Rainer, my so-called best friend, the CEO of a huge company. Devastated I left.
    Now walking into that same room again all of society in that room but on my arm was the true love of my life my new wife as of fifteen minutes ago, Scarlet. Scarlet who had stood by me even when I foolishly thought I loved gold-digging Teresa. Scarlet had taken my broken heart and mended it. I had seen what I mistook, as just friendship as the cement of our relationship and I had worked to show Scarlet she wasn’t second best. Scarlet was gorgeous from head to toe, but her real beauty was inside and it shone through, in her smile and in her and her every action. She was my true destiny. I smiled and took her hand and kissed her. The whole room erupted with cheers. I was the luckiest guy in the room. Scarlet deserved happiness, I’d do everything to make it possible.
    500 words
    @SweetSheil

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Snake Eyes

    There is something about the desert at night, I discovered, as I caught up on some overdue zees in Ace Longworth’s comfy spare bed. There is absolutely nothing going on. And if there is, the prairie gophers, the lizards, the occasional snake are awfully bloody quiet about it. I guess they are just happy to get on with their creepy, crawly lives.

    Not much different than John Quarry and me.

    We had gone from rough riding our butts in a brutal boxcar heading nowhere in particular, all the way to three squares and a life of comfort and adventure. Or at least one night of hope.

    I had pretty given up on hope. The war had shattered most of my illusions about mankind. Coming home had finished off the rest. I had wanted to resume my old ways but I just couldn’t do it. I’d been in line to finish a history degree, teach at some Ivy League college, marry Louise Patterson, have an appropriate number of kids, live a life not dissimilar from my parents.

    Maybe someday! Now, our stopover in Crowbar City had presented an entirely unexpected twist. Quarry and I were in the shamus business.

    “Hey, Woody,” John called through the door, “Rise and shine.”

    “Be right with you, John,” I said.

    He was waiting for me on the landing.

    “You look rested,” he said.

    I smiled and replied, “Yeah, it beats a foxhole. So, I hope I don’t drag you down with what I don’t know about investigating.”

    “Woody, my friend, one thing I’ve learned in my rambunctious life is that you can’t fight the roll of the dice. I usually shoot snake eyes. Today, I guess you could say we’ve rolled private eyes. Let’s chow down and see what Ace has up his sleeve.”

    Ace and Gabi were already digging in.

    “Morning,” Ace offered. “Grab a chair, boys, and enjoy.”

    We did.

    After breakfast, we adjourned to Ace’s study.

    John outlined what he thought we might do.

    “Can you get me the police report on Hazel?”

    Ace reached for a large manila envelope. “I had it copied about a year ago. Hank Porter was our sheriff. He retired six months ago. The new fellow, Jackson Squires, was an MP at the Internment Camp. Married local. Decided to stay. Seems alright but he’s been pretty clear he has no interest in Hazel’s disappearance. Says lots of people just up and move on. Its crap, at least as it pertains to Hazel…”

    “Jack Squires doesn’t want to get buried in the past,” Gabi interjected. “Lucy, his wife, told me he has political ambitions. Hazel’s case would only benefit him if he can solve it. I guess he thinks he can’t.”

    “Or doesn’t want to,” Ace threw in.

    Quarry reviewed the file for 10 minutes and passed it to me.

    “There was a witness,” John asked.
    “Yup. Hap Granger. Not a friend.”

    “Then, I can use… persuasion?”

    “Feel free, John.”

    “I’ll try to be gentle, Ace.”

    500 points of persuasion
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I handed out the ultimatum: get clean, stay clean, or I would get a divorce. I was serious then. Now, as I comb the streets of Omaha, Nebraska two weeks later, I can’t do it. No way I’m getting a divorce.

    I spot him near a restaurant. My steps are whisper-quiet, not even the gravel under my shoes making a sound. He doesn’t see me. I’m half a foot away when he turns. Track marks line his arms, his nose is bleeding again.

    “Jimmy, it’s me. I’m not going to hurt you.”

    He grips the dumpster with long fingers, arms trembling. In two weeks, he’s dropped ten pounds. His blue eyes are dull, puffy, and they dart back and forth. He licks dry, chapped lips. It’s 90 degrees outside and he’s in jeans and a black hoodie.

    “What do you want?” his voice is like sandpaper. “Go away.”

    “I want to help you. I love you. Where’s your wedding ring?”

    He reaches into one dirt-covered pocket and pulls the gold band out. It’s gone dull. Unsteady steps bring him closer to me until the warm metal drops into my hand.

    “There.”

    I watch my husband walk away. You can’t fight the drugs, he told me once. I chase him, wrap my arms around him. His right arm trembles; he hasn’t taken his tremor medication.

    “I’m not going away. You don’t have to live like this. You can get clean, come home to me.”

    He breaks out of my hold and runs. I run after him. He darts down a main road, worn old tennis shoes pounding the sidewalk. By the time I catch up to him, he’s stolen a bottle of Jack Daniels and drank half of it.

    “Go away,” he shouts.

    “No, Jimmy, I won’t.” I pull my phone out of my pocket. “I’ll call in your theft. How about that? You spend the night in jail and then you see the judge. Maybe you’re lucky and he lets you go. Maybe you go back to prison. My husband, the prisoner. The one who worked with the cops not too long ago and got his record sealed so he could work. You’ve gotten clean before, do it again for me.”

    He sways on his feet, mid-summer sun beating down on us. A bead of sweat trickles into his mouth. He finishes the bottle, which crashes and shatters in the parking lot. Asphalt sticks to my shoes as I inch forward. He pulls a needle out of his pocket: it’s full of some kind of liquid. I dart forward and he hits the plunger. He collapses, his lips staining blue. I call 9-1-1 and start CPR. I’m not giving up. He’ll fight and this time, maybe he’ll win.

    @Aightball
    458 words

    Liked by 3 people

  6. – On Second Thought –

    You can’t fight the power? Best get down with the military co-op, the rebel forces, or whoever you think has the best chance of surviving. Notice how I said ‘surviving’ instead of ‘winning.’ Reason being, you can’t win against something like this. I don’t care how advanced our technology is, we’re not going to crack open the secrets of these Big Green invaders.

    My tech pal Scully thinks he can get into their craniums and deprogram them. My science pal Sula thinks she can get under their skin and deconstruct them. But me, I’m going low profile on this, straight to the underground. Anybody has a chance of breaking these suckers down to size, it’s Fatty McAdams and his Midnight Crew.

    Course, Fatty and me, we don’t see eye to eye. Haven’t since I bailed on him a few years back. But now we have a common enemy. Brought a little defense kit with me. Just in case. You never know how the Midnight Crew is going to interpret his orders. ‘Don’t hurt him too bad’ sounds like ‘no harm long as he’s still breathing’ to every one of those scary suckers. I know because I’ve seen it in action. You don’t get into the crew without breaking a few bones in tribute. And you don’t stay on the crew without living on the edge of sanity.

    So, I show up outside the plex, hoping I can ease my way inside because I don’t want to get blood on my new shirt, but two of Fatty’s ugliest enforcers step out to greet me. I’m just about to open my mouth and play the mental confusion card, when Fatty himself steps out, the last two buttons of his bowling shirt unfastened and his girth smiling in the breeze.

    Before any of us get a word in, one of those Big Green bastards swoops in snatches up one of the enforcers. I know an opening when I see one and I rush the beast. His eyes are blocked while he’s busy chewing and I slam the sharp end of the epipen into his unprotected chest. Hell no, I don’t know what I’m doing exactly or whether it will work but that’s sort of sums up my life, so I follow through. Miraculously, the serum in the epipen immediately effects the monster. Bubbles form across his green hide and burst open until its screaming and dissolving into a puddle of chartreuse puss.

    On the one hand, that’s great, because now I know how to kill the bastards. On the other hand, it sucks because I just used the one thing I had to protect myself against Fatty. He’s going to want to know what I did to save us and if I tell him the truth, he’ll know I came ready to kill him. Well, I’ll be damned. I guess sometimes it pays to face the music and fight the power after all.

    – – – – –
    489 ineligible words / @bullishink

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The Age of the Sea

    “I heard a story once,” she said. The water rippled across the sand to within an inch of her bare feet before it retreated back to the sea. “About a king who stood on the shore and commanded the waves to stop. He failed, of course. I imagine he got his boots wet when the tide came in.”

    The sailor did not reply. He lay on his back surrounded by a few shards of driftwood from his wrecked boat, his head tilted and his arms spread either side with fingers curled as if clawing the air. They always fought for those last few moments of life. Even as the sea pulled them down, they always fought.

    “You can’t fight the sea. It’s too big, too deep, too ancient. You would have been better to let it take you and spend those last few minutes in peace.”

    The few rags barely covered the tattoos on his skin, some like letters she could not yet read, an eye to ward off evil for all the good it had done him. His mouth was open and his eyes stared up into the azure of the cloudless sky. Instinctively she looked up too but only saw a single gull catching the thermals above the rocks at the edge of the bay.

    She slipped the silver rings from his fingers and threw them into the sea as an offering. Then she grabbed his wrists and dragged up the beach, her heels sinking into the sand. He was heavy. There was plenty of meat on him unlike the last catch who had been adrift for days and were all leathery skin and sinew. She left the dead sailor outside her cave, among the bones stripped of flesh and shattered for their marrow, and went back to collect the driftwood for the fire.

    The offering of the rings had been successful. A second ship already drifted along the horizon, a black scar under a sail brilliant white in the sun. The siren sang a soft melody of rising and falling notes, the magic woven around the music calling the ship towards the island and its rocks. As the ship drew closer the sailors took to their oars and pulled hard to keep the ship off the rocks, their mouths open and their muscles straining from the effort, two climbing the mast to pull down the sail billowing in the wind and dragging them closer, the helmsman chanting the rhythm faster and faster, but there was nothing they could do. The sea was too big, too deep and too ancient.

    @AvLaidlaw
    432 Words

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites 1×19 : Friction | My Soul's Tears

  9. The alarm screamed at 0430 hours, so I grabbed it and threw it across the room. Of course, some genius made it so it didn’t shatter when it hit the wall. It just made a quiet, “whap,” and fell to the floor.

    At 0435, it screamed like the token girl victim in a cheap horror movie. With it screaming like that, I had to get up, find it, and turn it off. “Fuckin’ geniuses…”

    I staggered to the bathroom for my morning pee, “Welcome to fuckin’ Monday.” Hell, I didn’t bother standing, I figured I’d miss as bad as I was swaying, so I sat down. Which meant the cat had to say hello and demand attention. He whined. “Roow. Mrow. Merowwww. Rrrow.” On and on he rambled as he marched in, and parked is but on my feet.

    “God, cat! Why you always gotta do that?”

    Next up was the shower. At 0445 in the morning, I stepped into the downpour of hot water, and winced. I heard my mother’s voice in my head, “Gotta use hot water, it’s what takes the dirt off.” And I heard my dad mumble, like he always did, “Listen to your mother.” Hell, I knew physics. I understood water was caustic, and cold water would strip away the dirt as effectively as hot, and how the soap’s only real purpose was to make you think it did something. But, you can’t fight the words of your parents, and the things they taught you. Hot water, lots of soap, more shampoo than my balding head needed, and lots more hot water to wash it all off.

    “At least I can feel my fuckin’ toes.” I wiggled them on the bath mat as I dried off. The cat, of course, wrapped himself around my ankles, and purred. “Great. Cat hair.”

    I got dressed. Black pants, socks and shoes. A white shirt, with a tie, and a black blazer. The only item that ever changed was the tie. “Monday. Hmm. What’s a good color for Monday?” I settled on maroon, “Closest thing I’ve got to blood…”

    Dad always said, “You gotta look sharp, like you take care of yourself, so people’ll think you can take care of the work they want you to do.” Like I said, you can’t fight the words of your parents.

    I looked in the mirror, “Professional!”

    Every Monday, breakfast was a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit, a pile of hash rounds, and a cup of coffee at the Hardee’s a mile from my apartment. From there I picked up the Starbucks mocha.

    At work, I parked my car in my usual space, then did an inventory of the parking lot to figure out who was already there. Before I headed in, I pulled two naproxen pills out of the bottle in my glove box, popped them in my mouth, and washed them down with a chug of mocha. “Take that, fuckin’ headache!”

    It was time to go to work.

    496 words
    @LurchMunster

    Liked by 3 people

  10. The Rhythm of the Fight
    337 words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    Ellen watched Kevin as he sat staring at his screen before going into what looked like a seizure.

    “Matt,” she yelled to Kevin’s work partner as she pulled out her phone to call 911.

    To her surprise Matt pulled the phone from her hands and eased her back into her seat.

    “He’s fine… really,” he said reassuringly as as he pointed to the earphones on Kevin’s head. “He’s working on a fight scene based on the sound track the direct has planned.”

    Ellen gave him a dubious look as she settled back in to wait. “It looks painful.”

    “Art sometimes is…”

    She watched as sometimes Keven sat there slack-jawed and others where it looked like he was conducting his own imaginary orchestra… albeit a rather spastic, disjointed orchestra.

    When Kevin’s muscles tightened, she expected the wors, and then saw him shaking his head.

    “It can’t be done he declared.”

    “Kev,” Matt called, his tone half comforting, half ‘get over it all ready.’

    “It can’t be done…”

    “That’s it? We’re going to tell the director… our boss… that the music he bought the rights to is useless?”

    “It’s not … useless… its just not good for fighting. Hell, it’s not even good for dancing.”

    Matt rolled his eyes. “I don’t know which of you is more of a prima donna these days…”

    “It has everything you need.”

    Kevin handed him the earphones. “Have you listened to the song?”

    “I don’t have to. Tanner bought the rights. It’s good enough for me.”

    “Of course it is, you aren’t trying to choreograph a fight to it.”

    “What’s so hard?”

    “You try coming up with a smooth, memorable… in a good way… fight scene… as done by a fusion of Flamenco, Baladi, and slam dancing… then we’ll talk.”

    “Don’t be such a drama queen,” Matt uged. “Why can’t you get down with the program?”

    Kevin pushed his head into the door jam as he spoke.

    “I don’t care what you say, you can’t fight the zombie hoard in 3/4 time”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lessons

    470 words
    Alicia VanNoy Call
    @callthewriter
    #FlashDogs

    Here are some things I’ve learned about shackles:

    They’re heavy.

    When the shackles are first clamped over your wrists with that clanging finality, you think, “All right, I can handle this.” But they pull with the weight of stones. Drag at your arms until raising your hand for water becomes an excruciating movement.

    They’re hot.

    These shackles, made special for prisoners of Her Majesty’s Galactic Armada, are made of iron. Not some light polymer, or a titanium alloy. Iron. When sandwiched between an infinite expanse of sand below and a scorching binary sun above, iron gets hot. You take to tearing strips of fabric from your clothing to insulate the metal. To protect your own blistering wrists.

    They’re abrasive.

    The constant friction of iron against your skin will wear it right off. Your arms will peel. The flesh will weep. Blood will drip from your fingers into the sand and cause the shackles to rust. The oxidized flakes and pus will start to smell. If you’re lucky your hands won’t turn black and fall off.

    Here are some things I’ve learned about our centurion.

    He’s disgraced.

    It’s the only reason he’s out here in this god-forsaken desert, marching us from one side to the other. It’s as much punishment for him as it is for us. And don’t think he doesn’t Let us know. Every. Damn. Second.

    He’s strong.

    I found this out when I fought back one night. His soldiers (read slave drivers) take their pick of the more desirable girls every night while he watches. It was in the first fortnight, when I still had some battle in my blood. I swung the shackle — heavy, remember? — at the soldier’s head. The centurion was on me in a second. He had me flipped over, knee pressed between my shoulder blades, my face shoved into the rough mat. I could smell the sweat and filth of a hundred prisoners before me, ground into the fibers.

    Our centurion leaned hard and pulled my head back, fingers clenched in my tangled hair. A sharp pain knifed up my spine. I gasped. He whispered low, so only I could hear, one word with lips that brushed my ear:

    “No.”

    Later, Mila kneaded my shoulders and then bathed my wounds with her own drinking water. Her shackles clinked in the darkness as I gazed up at a sky wheeling with stars. My eyes watered. I wiped at my cheeks, angry.

    She said, “You can’t fight. The only way across is through.”

    That was seven months ago. Months of trudging, scraping, bowing. Months of forgetting what made us human. Months of learning what this wasteland will make of us now.

    Tonight, when our centurion calls me to his tent, I will learn one more thing about him.

    I will learn if our centurion will bleed.

    Liked by 2 people

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