#FlashMobWrites 1×26

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Twenty-Six

Half a year? What?? Where the hell does time even go? It seems like we blinked and all of a sudden like, this challenge is no longer a newborn. We’re six months old!

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: “love winds up”

Ruth Long: “I was watching”

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

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39 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×26

  1. 1936

    A hum of hungry humanity sizzled throughout the Grill; a bee’s nest of Sunday brunchers, buzzing in familiar order. Even though the clatter and the clanging of all the munchers, made for a terrible racket, Gabi couldn’t help but hear Hap’s stinger’s tongue snap the air with slapdash, yet no doubt well-orchestrated, barbs.

    She had been a surly teenager. No argument with that assessment. Except that it came from Hap Granger. Whatever she had been, or was now, was none of his concern.

    But surly she had once been.

    When Hazel disappeared, she was inconsolable. Ace had been her greatest comfort. He’d always been like a father to her in much the same way that Hazel had been her mother.

    One way that she had eventually eased out of her depression over the loss, the unexplained disappearance of Hazel Twigg was to try and remember all the highlights of life with her “aunt.”Hazel.

    Much of it was anecdotal. After her mother, Aveola, suddenly passed in 1931, Gabi had gone to live with Hazel, who had been for her, up to then, a will o’ the wisp, a bright light occasionally passing through her world.

    Hollywood was magic. Hazel had been managing Ace’s career. By the early thirties, it was on a downswing. There was always work, though. Ace accepted his lesser stardom with humour and grace. He’d bought his Crowbar City ranch before the crash of 29 so was fond of saying “if you got land, you’re richer than most.”

    At that same time, Ace helped Hazel buy her home in Crowbar City as well as an office building that would eventually be home to the Crowbar City Grill.

    Though they frequently travelled between the two distinct worlds, hectic Hollywood and mostly unflappable Crowbar City, Gabi favoured the excitement of tinsel town.

    Hazel and Ace knew everyone. Shortly after moving in with Hazel, they went to a party thrown for Thelma Todd and Zazu Pitts. From that day on, Hazel became a close confidant of the brilliant young comedienne. In return, Thelma infected Hazel with her dreams of becoming a restaurateur.

    “I don’t mind being called the ice cream blonde, Haze. Everyone can get a good lick at me,” Thelma had joked.

    “Tender ears, Toddy,” Hazel had replied, pointing directly at Gabi.

    “Sorry kiddo,” Thelma said. “Anyway, I know it will all end someday. Looks go. Love winds up. Or down. Everything gets lost. I need something of my own. I’d like a flashy place, good food, lots of life…”

    In 1934, they attended the grand opening of Thelma’s fancy Sidewalk Cafe up in Pacific Palisades. Hazel was hooked. Her dreams were smaller than Thelma’s but they were there.

    Suddenly, on December 16th, 1935, Thelma died.

    The inquest said accident.

    “No,” said Hazel. “No. I don’t believe it.”

    “Keep your thoughts to yourself,” Ace had warned.

    By the end of January ‘36, they were living permanently in Crowbar City.

    By summer, the Crowbar City Grill was a going concern.

    500 movie stars
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The weight of the leather ball balanced in his palm. Marcus Love smoothed his thumb over the stitching, clearing his mind and planning the strategy of the throw.

    His opponent batted left, and Marcus adjusted his stance and trajectory. The roar of the crowed dulled into a background echo as he hyper-focused on the task before him. The batter licked his bottom lip, and Marcus stepped back, wound up, and pitched.

    “Strike!”

    On autopilot, he lifted his glove, and the familiar “thump” resounded of the ball finding its home.

    The batter squinted at Marcus, guessing at his next pitch? Or maybe re-evaluating him as an opponent?

    Marcus lifted his gaze to the family seating section, and the stunning blonde in turquoise, his wife Leah. As if the universe brought them together, they made eye contact and she flashed him a smile. With two fingers on her right hand, she tapped her chest above her heart and then gestured toward him.

    “Love winds up, and throws the pitch … Strike!”

    Thump.

    Two balls down, and one left to go. The runner on second inched out, and Marcus turned to throw to the second-baseman. The runner leaped, face-first, spewing up a cloud of dust. Safe.

    Thump.

    Like the beat of his heart. Leah stood, cheering for him, although he couldn’t hear a word she was saying over the fans, and his own blood pumping. It all came down to one more pitch.

    The second-based runner dusted off his pants, and stepped away again. Marcus tucked his gloved hand behind the small of his back, surveying the field. He refocusing his energy on the ball, infusing it with his energy and willing it to go where he wants, and he lets go.

    Time stalls, and he watches it swirl, cutting through the air. The batter swings, and misses. Thump.

    “Strike!”

    @LouisaBacio
    307 words

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Cogs and Levers
    @lizhedgecock
    355 ticks

    ‘Oh not again, Sarah…’ Mum churned her tea with a spoon.

    ‘What do you mean, not again?’ I should have left it, but I didn’t feel like backing down.

    ‘You know …’ Mum paused, waiting for me to help her out. ‘Your relationships, they just seem to fizzle out. They don’t go anywhere.’

    ‘Well, maybe this one wasn’t meant to go anywhere. I’m not doing all the running.’

    Mum kept stirring away, and I watched a speck of tea circle like a shark. Then she placed her spoon in the flowered saucer. ‘Does it matter who phones who, who plans dates?’ She pointed to a carriage clock on the tearoom mantelpiece. ‘That clock needs help to keep going, to keep telling the right time. Does it matter who winds it?’

    I snorted. ‘My love life is not a clock, Mum!’

    ‘No, it isn’t.’ She frowned at me. ‘Any fool can get a clock going again. If you cared enough about any of these men, you’d make the effort. Love winds up.’

    The clock was an elaborate brass affair with its guts on show. I watched the cogs and levers doing their thing and making the second hand tick round. I remembered, when I was at home, Mum fussing around Dad. All the cooking, cleaning and laundry, of course, but also buying his socks and underpants, laying his suit out in the morning, fetching the newspaper like a dog. I don’t think Dad made a cup of tea in his whole life. I sipped from my own cooling teacup.

    ‘And what about children? You’re not getting any younger, Sarah.’

    Was she winding me up on purpose? ’Mum, loads of women have kids in their thirties. It’s not a problem.’ I imagined my reproductive machinery as a disordered heap of rusty metal. ‘Anyway, I’m not even sure I want kids.’

    Mum looked away and bit the end off her chocolate eclair. I looked at my Viennese whirl. I didn’t want it now.

    I checked my phone. James hadn’t texted.

    I glared at the clock as we left. I bet all those shiny brass cogs were only for show.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The heated strains of an argument drew me along the hallway, guided by oh-so-tasteful recessed lighting. I paused at each door, waiting to get caught snooping. I recognized Graham’s deep baritone, and Herself’s waspy alto.

    “…disassociate with that Iris.”

    “I’m not going to do that, Grandmother. This investigation is important. I will see it through, for Mariele’s sake if nothing more.”

    I plastered myself to the wall outside.

    “She is no kind of company for a future Earl to keep.”

    “I can always renounce,” he said. “I’m sure the Queen and Parliament won’t mind a title fading away.”

    “You disrespectful—” She made a low sound, something between a growl and a groan. “I told your mother nothing good would come of marrying a commoner. I don’t enjoy being so thoroughly right.”

    My stomach dropped, but the viper wasn’t done.

    “Your breeding shows, Lindhurst.” She hrumphed. “You’re not even worthy of bearing that name. Taking a common job. Carrying on with an Iris.”

    “What exactly is wrong with Kelly?” he asked. “Other than her not having a dusty old title, of course.”

    His calm tone tore at me. How often had he heard a tirade just like this? I peeked around the corner of the door. If they saw me, fine.

    But they didn’t. They were too focused on each other.

    “You earned your title, Grandmother? Is that how it went?” Graham made a show of studying his nails before wagging a finger at the old battle axe. “No, no. You married it. Exemplary work. I’m sure history will laud all the effort you put into bagging a count.”

    “Don’t you dare speak of your Grandfather that way.” A spark of humanity flared to life in the Countess’ face. Her weathered blue eyes shimmered with tears. “He was a good man.”

    “I’m a good man, too, Grandmother,” Graham said softly. “At least, that’s my goal. When my days are done, if all anyone has to say about me is that I was good, then I’ve lived my life well.”

    Her tears spilled over.

    “You won’t live long enough if you keep on this track. That woman will be your death.”

    “Funny thing is, I’d already be dead if not for her.”

    The Countess sucked in a sharp breath.

    “Mariele would have killed me, and you would be attending two funerals.”

    “You’re falling in love with her.”

    “No,” he said. “The fall is over.”

    I spun back to my hiding spot and squeezed my eyes shut. He couldn’t mean… could he? My stomach tumbled. I might faint. Or puke.

    Just as I made to flee, Graham’s warmth and scent surrounded me. He wrapped an arm around me and ushered me back along the hall.

    “Quickly now,” he whispered. “Before she realizes you’ve been standing out here far too long.”

    “I didn’t mean to—I mean—did you know I was watching the whole time?”

    “And here I thought you’d be more interested to know if I meant what I said.”

    @caramichaels
    499 WIP words

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Survival of the Fittest

    I woke up in the cage. Wasn’t the first time. Been awhile since I lost my shit so bad the brothers had to lock me down. Gravedigger hunkered on his heels in front of me and passed a bottle of cold water through the bars.

    “Wanna tell me what the fuck happened?” His expression was cold and the four claw marks across his chest hadn’t quite healed.

    Fuck. I’d fought him? Digger was the Nightriders’ enforcer. I was gawddamned lucky to still be breathing. “I was watching out for Ginny.”

    “Yeah, we know. I had a provisional on her. He saw you, called for reinforcements.”

    I scrubbed my hands over my face. “He hit her. Her old man. Some Hell Dogs were there, drinking. He told her to service them.”

    Digger grimaced but didn’t say anything.

    “Ginny tried to get away. He grabbed her hair, forced her to her knees. Fuck, Dig. They were out there in front of the trailer with their fuckin’ dicks wagging in her face. She fought. He hit her again. Took her down.” I swallowed the dry heave surging up from my gut. “He was gonna rape his own daughter.”

    “Your wolf lost his shit.”

    “Yeah.”

    “You’re damn lucky the provisional is one of us.”

    “Yeah.”

    “That all you got to say for yourself?”

    “She okay?”

    “No. She’s fucked up. She’s at Doc’s clinic. Says she should be in ICU but understands why we couldn’t take her there.”

    I couldn’t breathe. Had I hurt her? I didn’t think that was possible. My wolf was a monster and I didn’t always remember what I did in wolf form but he’d never hurt Ginny. Ginny was ours.

    “One of the Dogs shot you, took you down.” Only then did I realize I had a bandage above my hip bone. Digger continued, “They were fucking you up, along with Ginny. You shifted, took out the Dogs and her old man before we could get there. The provisional knew better than to get in the middle.”

    “Did…was it me? Did I hurt her? You?”

    “Wolf nailed me while Doc worked you.” He shrugged it off. “She’s not on you. One of the Dogs did her with a knife.

    My wolf snarled, fighting to get loose. Good thing I was still in the cage.

    “Gotta know, bro. Have you mated her?”

    I shook my head. I’d never even kissed her, but I knew. She was my mate. My wolf had known the first time he got a whiff of her.

    Digger wrapped his hand around mine where I griped the bar. “She might not make it.”

    I howled, started to shift. Digger’s touch kept me human. Barely.

    “Dammit, Hardy. I really wish this wasn’t on you. Love? It fucks you up. Love winds up shredding your heart because there’s not a gawddamned thing you can do when it’s taken away.”

    True that. I let my wolf take over. One of us had to survive, and wolves don’t commit suicide.

    ****
    500 words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 2 people

  6. @PattyannMc
    WC: 500

    The Depression

    Love winds up ripping your heart out if you’re lucky, and if you’re not, it shreds your soul in scarlet agony.

    I was a lucky one. I had a great job with a major oil company so my position was solid when the Stock Market went belly-up in ʼ29. It was a real stinkeroo back then. Some people lost everything. Most of them ended up on skid row, but I managed ta keep my moola.

    It was 1932 when my life changed. I went ta a clip joint with a friend, and that’s where I met her, my Gladys. Damn! She was this itsy-bitsy little thing with doe eyes, blonde rings pinned up nice and neat, and a killer-diller smile! Did I mention she was curvaceous as hell!

    I was watching her most of the night while the raggy was playin’ in the background; if I remember right, it was ‘I’m Yours’ by Bert Lown and the Biltmore Hotel Orchestra. I had ta find my cojones ta ask her ta dance, and I was a bit swacked. Too many extra-dirty Martinis, but I don’t think I woulda asked her ta dance if it hadn’t been for the liquid courage. I really thought she’d turn me down, maybe thinkin’ I was a baddy or a goof, but ta my surprise, she said yes. What a hoo-ha we had the rest of that night, my head in a tizzy the whole time!

    I just couldn’t believe my dumb luck winning her! And let me tell ya, that gal had moxie! My baby was my lil devil and she gave me a run for my money while we were datin’. I was never addicted ta love before I met her, but after, I was a slave ta it.

    I asked her ta shack-up a year later and I was slaphappy as a clam when she said yes, and allowed me put a bauble on her finger. I’m a little embarrassed to tell ya, when the big day came ʼround, standin’ there, sayin’ our vows; I got all schmaltzy and had ta stop three times ta wipe my eyes. She thought it was funny; me standin’ there cryin’, but her eyeballs were misty too, and we had a good laugh over it on our honeymoon. I sailed her to gay Paris! She was starry-eyed over the experience; we both were.

    We went back every year on our anniversary, except for this last one. I just couldn’t manage it by myself; too many memories eating me up alive as it is. We had a great life, my Gladys and me. Almost sixty-five years of great! Oh, we had our moments, like everyone else, but ta get through rough times; I just closed my eyes at the scary parts.

    Since she died a few months back, I’m feelin’ depression I didn’t know I could feel; my soul’s in shreds. These days, I just wait for my turn, so I can hold my lil devil again.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites 1×26 : Baby Was The Devil | My Soul's Tears

  8. I was watching the rain fall from the gray sheet of clouds in the sky. There were no gaps, no details, no distinction between clouds; just a long sheet of gray hanging in the sky as far as I could see.

    The mountain was my escape, my release, the place my soul breathed and my heart beat. I scaled it every chance I got, stood on its peak, looked at the world, the trees, the clouds, the sky. It was my home. My secret place. My haven.

    “You have 24 hours. We’ll see you when you return.” 24 hours of freedom from the violence, the destruction, the death. A single day of escape, of life, of remembering. For me, that meant a trip to the mountain. That mean a chance to feel the air flow through my fingers and across my palms. To feel myself breathe, my lungs expanding and contracting. To feel the ground beneath my feet. To remember the gift of being alive, and how precious, how priceless that gift was.

    I held my hands before me, palms to the sky, closed my eyes, and felt the rain as it fell.

    There was no forgiveness for me. No plans, no dreams, no hopes. Tomorrow would bring the truth back to my life. Tomorrow I’d don my armor again, and walk through the darkness of the world. Tomorrow I’d once more be part of the solution to the problems people couldn’t solve by peaceful means.

    As the rain fell, buried memories floated to the surface of my mind. It had been a decade since Cynthia had died. All I remembered was searing pain, agony, as if my beating heart got ripped from chest. The day I learned of her death was the day I lost my ability to love. I had not cared for anyone since.

    Three years later, I died. I took a katana, razor-sharp, and tracked down the man who took Cynthia from my world. He’d raped her. Violated her. Abused her. And got away with it. He was rich. She was nobody.

    I hacked him to bits with the katana. I lost count of how many times the blade sliced into his body. That was the deal. I kill the man who took the only person I ever loved from my life, and instead of jail for murder, I became an Armor.

    I left a suicide note and the katana with his remains, took my car, drove too fast on a mountain road, didn’t make that turn, and sailed, car and all, into the abyss. They found some of the car’s remains. They never found any of me.

    As the rain fell, I wondered my heart would ever feel anything again. I knew the truth. I was Armor 17. My heart was on its own. I could feel the rain, the breeze. All the things a body feels, physically.

    Nothing else mattered.

    Except the violence.

    486 Words
    @LurchMunster

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I was watching the Feds, as they kept their guns trained on us. My hands shook, my mind whirling with indecision. I glanced at Aaron, licked my dry lips. He shook his head, his gun steady on the window sill.

    “If you come out now, you make it out alive.”

    “Don’t do it,” Aaron whispered.

    I turned back to the window. Dust particles floated in the fading sunlight, settling on my skin. I itched an irritated spot on my arm. My knees ached as I shifted, the gun tight against my shoulder. Lt. Michealson lumbered to the front of the pack. His bullet proof vest was covered in the fading sunlight, the bullhorn at his thick lips.

    “If you come out now, we can go through drug court. That keeps you out of prison.”

    Behind us were millions of dollars in street drugs, money we intended to live on. In front of us was certain death.

    “Are you going to die for what’s in there? What about Jacoby? Come out and no one gets hurt. If you refuse, you will be shot.”

    I put one foot on the ground, one aching knee relieved of its slight burden. Aaron touched my arm. There was a wedding ring in my pocket; I was going to sell it and get a new one with Aaron. I pulled out the dull gold band. It was cold, heavy in my hand. I licked my lips.

    Aaron’s eyes were so dilated they were black. Sweat ran down his cheek. I reached over and wiped it away. His skin was so soft. “I’ll kill you if you leave me.”

    “If we die tonight, they seize the drugs and the building. If we walk out of here tonight, they seize the drugs and the building. It’s over. We lost. We can’t fight the Feds,” I told him.

    His gun waivered, his finger hooked into the trigger. Tracks marks bulged on his arms, his hair stringy and sweaty. His high was wearing off, his courage dwindling. His eyes swept outside.

    “45-2, Aaron,” I said. “Those are not good odds. Don’t lose your life tonight over drugs.”

    I put my gun down. My bone-thin knees cracked as I stood and raised my hands out the window. Michealson caught my eye as he waved to the people behind him. As a unit, the guns lowered. Police officers rushed the building. My lungs seized up on me.

    “I love you,” Aaron said. An officer was putting him in cuffs.

    I walked away, hands secure behind my back. Thick August humidity stole what little air I had. Michealson met me outside and took my arm.

    “You stress me out, kid.”

    The officers walked toward the squad car with me but Michealson stopped them.

    “He’s going to ER first. Can’t you see he’s having an asthma attack you idiots?”

    They shoved me in the white Crown Vic with the tinted windows. One officer sat with me, one with Michealson. This time, he drove faster.

    @Aightball
    500 words

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Four Four Two

    His father owned the auto shop forty years before passing it down to him. Folks didn’t see monkey-wrenching as much of a career, but he hadn’t ever wanted to do anything else. In the ten years since he’d taken over the shop, he’d expanded the business to include a towing service and restoration of classic cars.

    That’s what brought Elizabeth Mulgrew to his office this morning. Towing and restoration. She leaned up against the doorframe, keeping her back to the sun. “I don’t want you to do the work. I want you to work with me.”

    Tempting, but it wasn’t going to happen. “I appreciate the sentiment but my liability insurance prohibits civilians -”

    She crossed her arms. “I’m not a civilian.”

    Wrong choice of words. “No, you’re not. But I can’t let customers work in my shop.”

    “Look, that car is the only thing I have left of him. When I got stateside last week, first thing they told me, before I made it to debriefing, is that the car was in the wrecking yard and he was in the morgue. If I don’t get that car restored, love winds up being a joke, justice ends up being a charade.”

    Nothing could take the sting out of that kind of homecoming. He looked across the hood of the jeep, waiting for her to continue.

    “I got a bullet with the name of that drunk driver on it. Thing is, they took my weapons before we got on the plane to come home.”

    Couldn’t hold out any longer. And it wasn’t because the car in question was her brother’s pristine, numbers matching, Oldsmobile 442. Or because she was a veteran. Or because she was grieving. Shit no. It was because his heart wasn’t made of stone. “Hey, if you’re serious about this, I’ll give you four hours every Sunday morning. In my driveway. You supply coffee. I’ll supply the tools.”

    Her hand shook and the keys jangled against the car door. “You sure?”

    “No. But I’ll keep my word. And I’ll keep at it as long as you do. If you have the grit, I have the time. Last house on the left out Culver Drive. I’ll roll up the garage door at five this Sunday. If you’re there, we’ll work. If not, I’ll drop the car in your yard and wash my hands of it and you.”

    Didn’t mean to sound like a hardass but getting under a car with a woman, this woman in particular, wasn’t something he did lightly. He headed to the shop. Best to get back in neutral territory before things got dicey.

    “Hey, Barclay” she called out to his retreating back. “Would you mind holding onto this for me?”

    He turned in time to catch the oblong shiny object skipping through the air. A bullet. With a name scratched onto it. He dropped it into his pocket, fished out a key ring, and tossed it to her. “I think you’ll find this is a fair trade.”

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 498 ineligible words

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’m sorry this is so late. Out of town family makes it hard to get writing time.

    Hunter Becomes the Hunted

    “I’m sorry I wasn’t here, Moira.” He didn’t say anything about it being a repeated pattern. “If I was watching, maybe he wouldn’t have approached.”

    Moira shook her head. “No, he isn’t like that. He might’ve been furtive at first, but eventually he’d view you as competition to be removed.” She grimaced. “I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I’ve seen him do that with others. With anyone who’d become my friend while I lived in Denver. He’d slowly separate me from them and make it seem as if they didn’t want to see me. I believed him at the time, but now with the gift of distance, I can see what he did.”

    Anger suffused her expression. “This is my home town and my family. These are my friends. He’s going to try to take me away from you all, and when that doesn’t work, he’ll see you as threats.” She rubbed her hands over her face. “I don’t want him here, I don’t want him in my life. When he is, love winds up being lost.”

    Aiden’s own anger kindled as he crouched in front of her. “No love is going to be lost. You have too many people here who know and love you.”

    “You don’t know him, Aiden. He’s a master manipulator, and so smooth. He makes everyone believe he’s this good, kind, generous man, but he’s selfish. He only does “nice” things to get what he wants. And right now that’s me.”

    “But we’re one step ahead of him. We know how he is before he tries to use his wiles on us.” Talia raised her chin. “I know you, Moira, and I saw how you were when you returned to Cloudburst. He’ll never convince me, but we need to tell Lt. Fitzroy. There’s something special about him and he’s wiser than your average cop. Please, Moira. At least let him keep an eye out for Lenny.” She snapped her fingers. “I bet the bastard’s been caught by our security cameras. Now we’ll know what he looks like.”

    “You already do, Talia. He delivered the flowers yesterday.”

    Talia blinked. “That was him? The guy in the nice suit and overcoat with the scarf?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Damn, he was slick. All pleasant and friendly.” Talia shook her head. “If he wasn’t on the cameras today than he definitely was on them yesterday.”

    @SiobhanMuir
    396 #WIP500 words

    Liked by 2 people

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