#FlashMobWrites 1×29

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Twenty-Nine

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

NSFW: For one very rousing F-bomb and a potentially unsettling visual theme. 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: “echoes in the halls”

Ruth Long: “I am the hungry”

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


38 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×29

  1. If
    322 words

    Silence echoes in the halls, but there is no-one to hear it. Creepers cover the windows, and if you were inside the green light would remind you of diving off the reef.

    The school closed long ago. If you could see the clocks you would know that the power went off at 2:46pm precisely, as it did in the rest of the town. In the school, though, it was never switched back on. The official reasons for this are recorded in file 237J/132.4, stored at the town hall, which has now been archived.

    If you look at a local newspaper from back then the hysteria will leap off the cheap paper and choke you faster than the fumes of printers’ ink. Ten More Students Sent Home With Virus. School ‘Breeding Ground’ For Killer Disease. The illness was identified at school, and so everyone thought it came from the school.

    Silly people.

    They burned the bodies and closed the school, and congratulated themselves too early. I waited a decent interval, and then continued with my work. They said at school that I didn’t apply myself, that I was easily distracted. My parents took that to mean that I wouldn’t amount to anything, and drove the message home, glad to be relieved of the burden of college tuition.

    You’d be surprised how far you can go with a basic store cupboard and the internet. Maybe that was the real virus.

    Drop, drop, drop. Three out of five; milkshake Russian Roulette. I balance the tray on my palm and swing over to the table of preppy students. One of them looks as if she doesn’t quite belong – her skirt’s a copy, her pearl earrings sing mini-mart – and I’m glad when she takes an innocent drink. So does the girl next to her. The rest are guilty as hell.

    Different town, different strain, different name, same reasons. Maybe I’ll see you sometime.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Remains

    The grubby, deserted remains of Crowbar City’s Internment Camp was a stark reminder of the ugliness of war. Or fear of foreigners. It took a lot of contagious fear to round up old men, women and kids and force march them to a place like this.

    John stopped the station wagon some distance from the gate to the camp.

    “Always like to dip my tootsies in the pool before I take the plunge,” he said.

    I nodded. Whether he had learned caution in the war or earlier in the bleak back alleys of Chicago, his home town, he seemed to me to be waging a considered battle with the known and unknown demons of Crowbar City.

    I certainly felt that something grim and sinister was simmering here at the edge of the world. Oh, I know it wasn’t that close to the edge of eternity. Some dark force imposed the Internment Camp on the people here. After the dirty thirties, there was a hunger for opportunity. I could well imagine what a boon to the community coffers this place must have been.

    A lone sentry stood guard at the entrance. The decommissioned camp must still have residual value to someone.

    “Now that we’re here, I wouldn’t mind taking a look inside,” John said. “Let’s have a talk with that young fellow.”

    We hopped back into the Woody and made a beeline to the sentry’s post.

    We pulled up at the gate and got out. The soldier, or perhaps Boy Scout, because he looked younger then I believe I could ever have been, was carrying a 22 long, holding it tight across his dull brown, slightly piss-yellow, khaki chest.

    The large neckerchief was the giveaway. He really was a Baden-Powell trooper.

    “Afternoon, son,” John began.

    The boy, maybe fifteen, on the verge of losing his prepubescent pudge, looked ill-prepared to engage in conversation with an adult, particularly one with the black, world-weary eyes of John Quarry.

    “Sirrrrr…,” he tried to respond.

    “Easy, boy. The war’s over. No need to be afraid.”

    “It’s….pri…private property, sir,” the boy managed to ejaculate a full sentence.

    “That’s fine. Any chance of poking around.”

    “My fa…father would have to say you could…”

    “Well, let’s ask him. Who is he?”

    “He’s Mister Hapwell Granger, sir.”

    Bobby Granger, guard and offspring, agreed to call his daddy. Granger had no problem with our request.

    As we strolled through the vacant camp, a prison less than a year earlier, small cyclones swirled up the deserts dregs.

    “Old jails are never as quiet as they seem,” John lamented. “They always echo of loss. Echoes in the halls, the creaks in the floors, the grime-covered windows. The voices scream forever. It never ends.”

    “Let’s get out of here, John,” I said. “Hazel Twigg isn’t one of those voices.”

    He nodded. “Probably. But this hell hole holds some secrets.”

    We drove back to Gabi’s. A fine dinner with a vibrant young woman would rid us, momentarily, of the bitter taste of internment.

    500 internees

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Plan B

    Adele held her breath, fervently wishing she wasn’t human so she could stop breathing and her heart wouldn’t thud against the walls of her chest like fists pounding on a closed casket.

    “I am the hungry wolf at the door, the boogie man in the closet, the monster under the bed. I am every nightmare haunting the dreams of humans.”

    Something that might have been supernatural laughter bounced off the canyon walls sounding like echoes in the halls of the gods. Only there were no gods. Not in this world. There was only her, abject fear stripping away her humanity, leaving a brittle husk behind.

    “Come out and play, little human.”

    Her skin prickled, the monster’s magic crawling along her flesh like ants streaming to a picnic. Where was Caleb? Her breath caught in her chest as she remembered, choking on a sob. Gone. That thing out there had snatched him, torn him to pieces and flung the parts into the sky where the wind swept him away, beyond the horizon. She was alone. Defenseless. All she could do was remain huddled here in the back reaches of this narrow cave, the passage too small for the creature outside. Surely these ancient sandstone rocks could withstand the wendigo’s assault. Surely the creature would tire of hunting her and would wander off in search of other prey.

    No. She couldn’t let it. As long as it stayed here, torturing her ears and her psyche, it wasn’t out there, unleashing its power on people far more innocent than she. Something slithered over her foot and she scrabbled backwards, hands over her mouth to stifle the scream building in her soul. Snake. Or lizard. Something else scrapped across the sandy floor, brushed against her leg, something hard and round. She reached for it, found the hard shell. A turtle?

    A hard shudder rattled her very bones. The fetishes. Lizard. Snake. Turtle. Bear. Wolf. Each had been a sacrifice. And now it was her turn. Deer. Forest dweller. Coy. Or rather McCoy—son of the forest, only not a son, a daughter. All the other victims had been male. She had to stay alive. And she had to figure out a way to kill that thing out there. Or stop the magic. Accomplishing one was about as plausible as the other.

    She shared this claustrophobic space with a lizard, a snake, and a turtle. There wasn’t room for the bear or the wolf and wouldn’t that be just lovely? Maybe the predators would fight over which one got to eat her. Golden eyes blinked at her in the dark between her position and the mouth of the cave. A shaggy brown wolf padded toward her, tongue lolling from the side of his mouth. Eyes far too knowledgeable watched her. Hope she didn’t dare acknowledge flared, a match in the midnight depths of this night.

    “Caleb?” The wolf pressed close, snuffled her cheek. “Please tell me you have a plan.”

    495 Words

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Reconciliation

    Chayse woke to the unfamiliar sense of contentment and damn near complete darkness. Despite the odd occurrence, panic didn’t come. Instead, he felt safe, warm, and secure, as if no danger threatened him in this place. Where the hell am I?

    A soft snort and matching sigh clued him in to the presence of company in the bed with him. Did I spend the night with Aislynn? The idea shocked him enough he didn’t even move when she cuddled up next to him, her arm curling around his chest. He hadn’t slept in anyone’s bed but the pitiful excuse for a sleeping place in his empty one-bedroom apartment. He’d had sex, but never stayed. Especially after Celine.

    But lying there with Aislynn wrapped around him, he found himself content, settled. Love had pushed out the fear and he lay there listening to the echoes in the halls of his heart. It bounced off the walls, rebounding and growing with every passing minute. Only one dark corner reminded him something needed to change.

    He had to talk to and reconcile with his brother.

    He didn’t know how he’d do that yet, but being snuggled with Aislynn kept the unease at bay.

    “I can hear you thinking all the way over here in my own head.” Her sleepy voice made him smile.

    “Oh yeah? That’s pretty good. What am I thinking?”

    “I don’t know, but it’s loud. Why don’t you tell me and I’ll think about getting up to really talk to you.”

    He chuckled. “I was thinking about Nik and what I have to say to him.”

    “Mm-hmm. What do you have to say, Chayse?” She propped her head up on one hand and surveyed him with her silver-gray eyes.

    He took a deep breath. “I have to apologize to him for not coming to him for help when I’d finally gotten away from Celine, and for not explaining to him why I’d cut him off in the first place.”

    “That sounds like a good thing to do, especially since you’ve both True Mated me and I’ve true mated you.”

    He nodded. Yeah, things have gotten complicated. “Hopefully, it shows how strong I am. The hungry part of me wanted Celine all to myself, but the other part knew I had to shield Nik from her or risk losing everything, including my soul. I didn’t want to hurt him, but she was toxic.”

    “And now she’s gone.”

    “Thank the Goddess.”

    409 #WIP500 words

    Liked by 3 people

  5. There were always echoes in the station’s halls, no matter how much fractal sound-deadening coating was sprayed on every non-trafficked surface like so much nanotube moss. It did double duty as a passive air filtration system, cutting down on the amount of space lost to ventilation ducts, air pumps, and their attendant cruft, but it made the innumerable conduits and joints look like the unswept corners of a prison barbershop. The low-traffic zones got more of it, which made them quieter, but traversing them was like being swallowed by a matte black tube of dirty wool. Decadently festooned with Spanish moss it wasn’t, but none of us were there for the atmosphere no matter how sparkly clean, with just a whiff of carbon, it might have been.

    Being a matte grey mechanical against that background had its advantages. The element of surprise, for one. Erzebet was walking slowly along the center of the passage, her navy cowl back, her hands hidden in the folds of the pass-through pocket in the abdomen of her jumpsuit, when I tossed a bolt at her feet, where it struck with a dull clank. To her credit, she didn’t jump. Much.

    “What’s there?” She scowled, in all likelihood as much at her nerves as to try and figure out what I’d thrown.

    “I am.” The hungry filters swallowed up the badly-modulated sound almost immediately, making me sound even less human. I didn’t speak to anyone who wasn’t at least half ‘bot often, but the effect on Erzebet was nearly as sublime as the bolt.

    She flinched, but took a half step closer, and then relaxed when she spotted me as I stepped away from the wall and into the middle of the corridor. “Oh. Is that all this is? Some noir theatre as stage dressing? Going to blackmail me now? Tell me you know all my secrets? Where’s your friend, the half-bit twist?”

    Twitch was actually about three meters behind her, slung from the ceiling in Lucy’s affectionate but businesslike grasp, but I wasn’t about to mention it. “She’s hanging around somewhere, I’m sure. I wanted to talk business. Leverage. I don’t think I’ve iterated precisely what you have planned for the main shareholders’ meeting, but I don’t need to. I’m tired of being someone else’s thing, so I have a proposal. Yes, I could blackmail you with what Vlad had in his cores, but, as a hedge against that, I’m willing to make a deal. I profit enough from your power play, and I get what I want. You let me in on more of the specifics, and I can make it work even better for you. We both better our positions. And then I give you back what I took, encryption-hashed to prove it wasn’t archived.”

    She laughed, and I caught a warning flicker from Lucy a split-second too late.


    Liked by 3 people

  6. Time Out

    One twenty-three. Watch stopped. Breathing stopped. Heart stopped. I stopped. What the fuck happened, I whispered, but no one heard. No one was listening. No one was paying attention, too busy celebrating far down below me, I imagined. No one knew it happened. I’m alone up here, and no one even knows that I’m still thinking, seeing, hearing, feeling.

    I knew it was coming, going to happen, inevitable. I had that terrible sensation come over me; you know, that sensation when you just know this is it. One minute, all systems were go, my capsule pointed in the correct position for re-entry and they thought it was blackout time, time to celebrate. It wasn’t. It was – KABOOM time! Everything blew up in my face. The capsule erupted in flames and then . . . BOOM! The liquid O2 ignited and that was that.

    I felt my body, hot as hells fire, frying. Helmet melted, the plastic faceplate soldered to my face, I breathed molten plastic into my nose. My suit caught, flames burned through the American flag on my sleeve, burned through my -300 degree spacesuit, burned through my flesh, then the explosion; I blew apart into the four corners of nothingness. I’m still thinking, talking, hearing, and feeling. Pieces of me are suspended in this despicable vacuum, I can’t breathe, but what of it. I’m dead. I didn’t survive. I can plainly see my blood hovering like teardrops in suspended animation. I can see my flesh clumped in red-splattered peachy splotches across the midnight landscape. Shredded, burned pieces of my spacesuit hover around me, but I question, what is me? If I’m dead, why do I still have hearing? Why can I think? Why do I still – feel? Is this hell?

    My earpiece must still be in my ear floating out here somewhere, their voices down below bouncing from a satellite. Chaos erupted in Mission Control. People screaming, their voices echo in the halls of my mind, “What the fuck happened? Where is she? Somebody figure this out?”

    No one will figure it out. There’s nothing left to see, nothing left to retrieve, and nothing left of me. I am the hungry. I want to live, I want to –











    We are a GO for launch –

    My eyes flash open, my chest heaves in and out, sweat pouring out of my pores, my heart galloping, thunder roars in my ears.

    I hear Med screaming in my earpiece, “Cancel. I say again, ABORT, ABORT! Astronaut is in distress. I repeat, ABORT, Astronaut is in distress!”

    The rocket thrusters wind down, people in chaos in my earpiece, I hear pounding feet running across the metal gangplank. The door to my capsule blasts open, hands grabbing me, pulling me out of my seat. Screaming, “What the hell happened? Are you alright?”

    I’m mumbling, “I’m dead, I’m dead.”

    They’re shouting, “You’re gonna be okay, just breathe slowly in and out. Let’s take a time out . . .”

    WC: 498

    Liked by 4 people

      • Thanks a mil, Ruth! I know I ought to be socializing more, and I want to apologize to everyone for not engaging more. Days just get busier and busier, lots of personal issues to resolve, other people’s drama . . . Hoping things will settle down once this month is past us. Just wanted to let you know why I haven’t been engaging more, if at all, and I’m incredibly grateful for all the kind comments! It’s the fire in my engine right now. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Electricity

    The curtains billowed. Fabric, floor to ceilings, and ceilings twelve-foot high. They were blue velvet, but sophisticated, like the rest of the room. It was the size of a grand hall with three exterior walls. Each with three French-door windows, all open, all draped in that dusked colored velvet. Nine exits, entrances into a lavish, private garden in full bloom. Mahogany panels filled in the small spaces that weren’t windows.

    It was late afternoon, and the electricity was off, or maybe no one had bothered to turn on the lights. A storm gathered on the horizon, so it could be either. The wind blew, the drapes expanded in an uplift like the wings of a plane. Even the curtains were too regal to flutter.

    Standing in that room, he felt power, distilled to one hundred proof. Not his own, yet to stand in that room and be filled with awe instead of fear in the presence of this coming tempest, it required a competing power, complimenting equilibrium.

    He stood in the middle of the room. There was little furniture but the room didn’t seem sparse. It opened south, west, and north with the storm rolling in from the west. A rectangular table filled the southern third of the room, maybe of the same mahogany, with twelve matching high-backed wooden chairs. It felt like a library, but there were no books.

    He heard the peals of thunder but saw no flashes. The clouds tumbled, sweeping the sky. He stood with the wind in tension with his body. Drops of moisture speckled his face. For the first time in months, maybe years, he could breathe. He needed an equal force pushing against to hold him up. For the duration of the storm, he was resurrected.

    In a moment’s lull, he heard echoes in the halls within the house. Footsteps. He knew she was listening, waiting. The door didn’t open, but aware of her presence, it punctured the moment. Deflated, he brought a chair to the center of the room, sat wearily, and closed his eyes.

    He had no idea how to revive his career. He knew his pain hurt her more than it hurt him, but all he could do was wait. Wait for the world to shift, wait for it to open its arms, its doors. Accept him, embrace him. He couldn’t fight. He just had to wait.

    Lightning surged in sharp veins, electric blue against charcoal. Grandeur. Grey sky ambience. The curtains seemed to have enough power in their lift to dislodge the room from its foundation and lunge it into the atmosphere. It was the apex of dramatic theatre. He forgot her presence. The fullness of his spirit filled him, and he rested. He would pick up his burden on the other side of the storm. And he knew when he passed her in the hall, he’d see the heaviness in her eyes more than he would actually feel it.

    492 words
    By Diane Johnson
    Twitter @SheExclaimed

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Sandwiches and Sunburns

    Laughter echoes in the halls and Paul chases after it, slowing as the walls give way to a large living area that leads to a verandah overlooking the lake. He pauses inside the open french doors and takes in the sun-dappled scene.

    Eugenia is in an oversized wicker chair, its dark hues and stern form softened by several oyster colored pillows featuring leaf prints. A string of soft lights lines the upper balcony beams and sheer curtains flutter against each post, moored in place with sturdy canvas ties.

    A child occupies her lap and a book occupies her hands. “And then the little fox said, ‘I am the -‘”

    “I am the hungry, Nana,” the boy says, putting a palm to Eugenia’s cheek.

    She chuckles. “You ate a sandwich and apple thirty minutes ago, Liam.”

    “Well, then maybe I am the thirsty,” he giggles, cheeks pink and dimpled, blue eyes flashing with a familial mischief Gideon recognizes. “My tummy doesn’t always speak the same language we do.”

    She closes the book and tousles the auburn curls. “In that case, I suppose we need to find an interpreter. Do you think Mr. Snapple and Mr. Cheese-it can help?”

    He puts his chin on her shoulder and looks into the house. “Or maybe the Tall Man.”

    “I don’t think I know him,” she says, standing and putting him on her hip. “You’ll have to introduce me.”

    Liam frowns, just a little. “Nana, if you don’t know the Tall Man, why is he in our lake cabin?”

    Her unguarded smile, when she turns and sees Paul, is uncomfortably precious to him. “I know him, moppet, but by a different name. This is my co-worker, Detective Gideon. Remember? I told you he was going to drop off some work.”

    “No work, Nana. Snapple and swimming. That’s what the Tall Man and me want.”

    Paul frowns, just a little. “Haven’t been swimming in ages. Not sure I remember how to float.”

    Liam wriggles out of Eugenia’s arms. “I’ll teach you. I’m four and I’ve known how to float for ages.”

    “For ages? Are you sure about that?”

    Eugenia frowns, just a little. “You’re welcome to stay and swim with us but the only swim trunks we have are a child’s size five.”

    “Fish don’t need swim trunks, Nana. Come on, Tall Man. We’ll leave our clothes on the rocks and Nana will bring us towels when we’re ready for them.”

    Paul glances at her. “A little help? I’m not comfortable with -”


    “No. Well, yes, but I was going to say children.”

    “Fortunately for you, Liam doesn’t think he’s a child. The two of you will have great fun. Just be sensible with the sunscreen. Don’t want to sunburn your pri-”

    “Understood,” he says, choking and holding up a hand.

    Liam drops into a runner’s stance. “I am the wind. Race you to the water.”

    Eugenia’s laughter echoes down the halls as she goes to the mud room for beach towels and extra sunscreen.

    – – – – –
    498 ineligible words

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Aldon Smith counted as his drummer, Jimmy Rickliefs, pumped both kick drums, arms flying between cymbals and snares and toms. The band’s three-ton angel, Julia, tilted into her harness and rose above the drummer, tattered wings flapping. She tilted into her harness and flew over the crowed, as Aldon sang.

    Tattered Angel, fallen from above
    Tattered Angel, from the heavens to the pit
    Love lost, shattered, echoes in the halls

    Jimmy’s feet rolled on the kick drums, and his hands flew around his kit, leading up to one hell of a drum fill. Aldon stepped onto the riser.

    Tattered Angel, from the heavens to the pit,
    A heartbeat lost, turned black, your time
    On earth cut short, love lost, shattered,
    Echoes in the halls.

    Aldon darted off stage to let the band finish the song while Julia flew backward over the drums and clicked into her lift. Aldon accepted a towel to wipe the sweat from his face. The crowd roared and Aldon walked back on stage. He jumped on an ego riser and glanced at the set list.

    “All right, Brazil, we have time for one more!” The fans cheered. “I need this whole fucking place jumping up and down with me, right now.” He started jumping as Jimmy counted the song in. “Hey! Hey!”

    Ten thousand people jumped in unison with Aldon. Jimmy’s right foot kept a steady kick drum beat while his left hand started a slow roll on the snare. He hit the bell of his ride on every other beat. His feet did alternating rhythm on the kick drum, his hands rolling steady. Then, he stopped. Aldon counted in his head as Jimmy blasted into a fast run of sixteenths on the kick drum with matching roll on the snare. In a change from the norm, Jimmy took lead vocals on this one.

    Beast, stalking the night, beast stealing souls at first sight
    Beast, taker of souls, bringing men to their knees, heart of black
    Beast, master, taker of souls, bringing men to their knees
    Beast, heart of black, soul of night, take me while I sleep

    Aldon took the chorus:

    Heart of black, soul of night, the Beast lurks in men’s hearts
    Taker of souls, bringing men to their knees, to their knees.

    The song ended and the lights went out. When they came back up, Aldon bowed. “Thank you, Brazil! We’re almost ready to write a new album and then we’ll come back!”

    While Jimmy threw drum sticks and the guitar players and bassist threw picks, Aldon tossed some setlists. Finally, they all took a bow and walked off stage. Aldon handed his in-ears over, then clapped Jimmy on the shoulder.

    “Great job up there. We should end with Beast more often.”

    Jimmy nodded. “My throat would appreciate that.” He yawned. “I hope we have a break after this.”

    Aldon nodded. “We do.”

    He walked into the dressing room and collapsed onto the couch. He was ready to go home.

    497 words

    Liked by 5 people

  10. All That’s Left

    Dry for wet; day for night, we’ve got to flip this thing around. Death in dying, life for living. Our metaphors are mixed and there is no going back.

    I am gone, long gone, but my cry, it echoes in the halls and it’s ringing in my ears as I try to run away.

    You say you love me, but all you do is haunt me ‘till I find the path that leads away.

    You track me down, but the truth of the matter never changes. I’m not your lover, I’m not your friend— all I really am is gone, long gone and there is no going back.

    You steamroll through my life like a moment in the sun, but trust me when I tell you I’ve been burned enough before.

    You like the chase, but you simply cannot see. We substitute the truth for the illusions that we crave, Dry for wet, day for night we can fix it in post.

    Life is not the movies. Never has, never will. We stand in line, but we never get our fill. We substitute our feelings for bits of dialog, but nothing every changes and there is no going back.

    I am the hungry, you are the feast. I am the famine— you are the beast. It’s simile, its metaphor its allusion to illusion ‘cause we’re too afraid to cry and God forbid we tell the truth.

    Hide the truth behind deception and couch it in lie. It’s our modus operandi, it’s our fading battle cry.

    I would stop this crazy ride, if there ever was a choice but dancing in the shadows is how we find our voice.

    I would leave, if I could, but I am gone, long gone and there is no going back. We are who we are, not who we try to be. We see who we were and there is no going back. We are gone, long gone, just a faded memory.

    Wet for dry, day for night— we can fix it, but it will never change. We are who we are, and what we are is gone.

    I watch as you read, but you will never see- you love who I was, but we can never be. For the me you want is gone, and I am all that’s left.

    396 Words

    Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s