#FlashMobWrites 1×35

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Thirty-Five

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: “keep chasing all”

Ruth Long: “spider sent from”

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

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20 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×35

  1. Gophers

    Gabi offered us brandy when we got back. Midnight had just clocked out. I was still a few sheets to the wind.

    “A little unsteady, eh, Woody,” Gabi teased, as John piloted me into her living room.

    John, still clearly in possession of his faculties, accepted a thimble full of the liqueur.

    “I’m surprized you’re still up,” he told her. “Don’t you hit the griddle grind at some ungodly hour?”

    That got a smile. “Keep it under your hat,” she said, playing with a popular, perhaps still necessary piece of wartime sloganeering. “So, how was Hap’s poker game?”

    We gave her an abbreviated synopsis. “There are more questions than answers,” I grumbled.

    “Forgive Woody,” John kibitzed. “He’s discovering that truth is like a gopher. The furry buggers burrow in a little deeper every time you try to trap them.”

    We had no particular reason to trust Gabi but we gambled that she knew next to nothing about the land buying consortium.

    “Gabi,” he dove in, “Did you know your aunt was involved with Hap and Ace and others is some scheme to procure the internment camp land after the war?”

    There, I thought, one big question about to be snatched from the wily rodent.

    She looked like someone had smacked her.

    John followed up. “Let me tell you exactly what we know and what we don’t.”

    This took him about fifteen minutes. “As for tomorrow…today I guess, we’ll keep chasing all the leads we are given. Even if it feels like we are stepping on our own toes. Mayor Shelby is first on the menu in the morning and then out to see Ace.”

    “Ace has always been swell…to me,” Gabi said, softly, “to Hazel and to me. Friends. Closer, even. I know they had their… secrets. And I‘m not surprized they were still in business together. They always mixed it up…love, business, adventure. But with Hap? That is a bombshell.”

    She had no idea what “Vegas,” “Seagull,” or “Luck,” or “Lucky,” might refer to, aside from the obvious. “Ace made his movies in a number of places, as you know. Hollywood, of course, here, as well as Las Vegas, New Mexico. As for Nevada, he may have gone. It never came up.”

    “This… consortium,” she then asked, “Who else is part of it?”

    “Hopefully, Ace will tells us…in the morning.”

    The three of us dragged our respective asses to bed.

    Later on, I thought I heard Quarry and Gabi talking.

    Comforting night voices.

    The sort a child hears.

    The sort that keep demons and one monstrous spider sent from Los Alamos at bay.

    Quarry roused me early. “Gabi’s invited us to chow down before bracing the Mayor.”

    Which sounded quite civilized.

    After a filling diner breakfast, we arrived at Hollis Shelby’s office shortly before nine.

    “He must be in,” his Secretary said. “I haven’t seen him. I’ll check.”

    She opened his door.

    “No!….NO!” she screamed.

    We hurried in.

    Hollis Shelby, sprawled forward on his desk, was drawing dead.

    500 last hands
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Only Temporary

    Greg pulled into a parking spot at the shopping center. He didn’t know why he should be so comfortable with Zamora or her home, but he didn’t want to ruin it with inappropriate affection. He wanted to get it right with her.

    Wait, what? Get what right? They weren’t dating or involved.

    Greg mentally smacked his head and locked the vehicle as they got out. Keep your focus on the end goal. Which was…what? Moving on with his life and returning to the SEALs when he’d healed. He’d accepted her hospitality for a short time, a temporary fix until he got a place on base.

    “So I’m going to get my shopping done and I’ll meet you back at Think Ink.”

    She hoisted her bag onto her shoulder and stuffed her hands in her Capri pockets. “All right. Sounds good. Thanks for the ride down here.”

    “Not a problem. See you soon.”

    He didn’t mean to stand there and watch her ass as she sauntered away, but the woman’s physique captivated him in ways no one else’s had. She had curves, beautiful ones that made his mouth water, and yet he liked her personality, the smart, no-nonsense person who lived in her hot body.

    Get a move on, Killian. He shook his head and forced himself to head toward the stores. The day had warmed up and the clouds cleared from the sky. He was glad he’d left his sweatshirt at the house as the sun beat down on his shoulders. It would be a warm one despite it only being the beginning of May.

    Greg jerked his awareness toward what he needed to be doing, but it kept sliding back to Zamora and how at ease he felt around her. He’d never been comfortable around woman to start, though he had a reputation of being a ladies’ man. Yeah, when Retro’s bad boy stepped out of the way. It always took Greg a while to get to know women. Oh, he’d slept with them, sure, but know them? Not so much.

    But he’d spent two nights in Zamora’s company and he wanted to know more about her. He wanted to know what made her smile rather than keep chasing all the Navy bunnies who trolled for SEALs at the bars. Zamora didn’t need a man to take care of her, and it made her fucking sexy. His ex-wife always needed him, but not like a self-sufficient person. More like a stop-gap in her own insecurities.

    To be honest, he’d picked her for her body and the interest she’d shown in him. He’d grown to like her, but he had his job as a SEAL, and he’d thought she understood what that meant. He suspected Zamora knew and he’d have a hard time convincing her to be with him.

    But that doesn’t matter because I’m just staying at her place for a short time. He ignored the niggle of sorrow at the idea of moving out of her space.

    499 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Jimmy Rickliefs taught his daughter something important: all spiders are poisonous and all spiders are going to kill you.

    Unfortunately, his daughter liked spiders. And for Halloween this year, his four-year-old wanted to turn her wheelchair into an eight-legged, poisonous creature. A spider sent from hell to eat him for breakfast.

    He solicited the help of his brother, Harrison. His brother knew some costume people in Los Angeles and claimed they owed him a favor or two. The Saturday before Halloween, Harrison picked up Jimmy and Grace, and drove them down to his house in LA.

    “Okay, so I explained that you need a cool spider costume that’s lightweight and fits over the wheelchair. I think you’ll like what they came up with,” Harrison babbled excitedly. “Gracie, you’re going to be the best looking tarantula ever!”

    She clapped. “I got a mask?” she asked. “I need fangs!”

    Harrison grinned. “You have the best mask ever with the best fangs ever. Come on, guys!”

    Jimmy slowly got out of car, gripping the door with one hand and his cane in the other. A near-fatal crash had left him weak, and if it weren’t for the brace on his right leg, he wouldn’t be able to walk. Grace had been born twelve weeks early and been diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was two months old.

    Once they were inside, Jimmy’s jaw dropped: Harrison’s dining room had been transformed into a special effects studio. Tarps covered the floor, sheets covered his hundred-year-old oak dining table, and bright lights shone from mirrors. Grace’s eyes widened.

    “This is Grace. Please, make her look fabulous!” Harrison said. “Jimmy, you’re with me.”

    Jimmy followed his brother. “Where are we going?”

    “Well, you’re going out with the kids in your chair, right?” Jimmy nodded. “Your wheelchair has to look cool, too. I talked to my friends and they came up with something for you.”

    Jimmy grinned as he sat down in his wheelchair. Someone lowered a cloud over him. It was painted black and bolts of lightning surrounded his chair.

    “Now, on Halloween night, we’ll have your face painted white and you’ll wear a black wig. You’re going as a rainstorm.”

    “I love it!” he said.

    He tested his chair to make sure nothing would get caught in the wheels, pleased when it all worked.

    “So, we’ll leave all the pieces here for now. When Roger and I come up next week, we’ll bring our friends and your costumes.”

    Jimmy stood, still amazed at the work that had been done. “Let’s see how Grace is doing.”

    They walked into the dining room and Jimmy shrieked. Eight legs surrounded Grace’s wheelchair. Her headrest was part of the body of the spider. Fangs protruded from her mouth and her head was covered in fuzzy black cloth.

    “Look daddy! I’m a spider! Grr!” Grace said.

    “Eeek!” he shrieked. “Scary!”

    She grinned. “Thank you, Harry.”

    “Any time, love.”

    Jimmy smiled. Maybe there was one spider in the world he could love.

    @Aightball
    500 words

    Liked by 4 people

  4. @AvLaidlaw
    428 words.

    A Present From Jen

    The spider sent from Jen hesitates, quivering as it tastes my pheromones in the air. I sit in the armchair with a burning cigarette balanced between my fingers and watch it lope towards me. Its legs extend in pairs rippling in a rhythm neither fully mechanical nor biological and drag the swollen body, the size of my clenched fist, across the carpet. I take a last drag on the cigarette and stub it out in the ashtray. The smoke dissipates, leaving a thin smear of unreality across the room.

    The tip of the spider’s leg touched my bare toe. I want to flinch but Jen told me not to fight it. “You got to go with the flow,” she said. She’s an old hippy at heart. I press my foot hard against the floor. The spider brushes on my skin, produces a sympathetic tickle in my throat. I start counting my breaths to slow them down.

    I met Jen in a coffee shop in Shoreditch, one of those places that fancies itself a successor to the Left Bank in Paris or New York’s SoHo from the sixties. “I’m an artist,” she said.
    I shrugged, heard that too many times before.

    “No. A real one. Biomechanical automatons, a little bit of genetics, a little bit of electronics. Got the idea when I was studying arachnids.” Turned out she had a doctorate in biology from Cambridge.

    “A real smarty then.”

    It was her turn to shrug.

    I’d been dating on and off since the divorce. Lately it had been more off, tired of all the signals and rituals of the mating dance. We’re only animals, no matter how we try to fool ourselves with the illusions of civilisation: all those symphonies and paintings and poems no more than a peacock’s tail. But Jen, braless under her tie-dyed t-shirt, a row of rings glinting in her right earlobe, had an ease with her body. I thought she might be fun.

    “At some point,” I said, “we’re going to, aren’t we?”

    “So you want to cut the crap?”

    “Yeah. It’s all bullshit anyway, isn’t it?”

    “You mean love.”

    “Love is for kids. Hormones to get you over the embarrassment of sex.”

    “A cynic.”

    “A grown-up.”

    She laughed, a real full-voiced laugh. “Go home and wait. I’ll have something a bit… different for you.”

    The spider inches over my foot, heavier than I expected, the tips of its legs hard but without the coldness of metal. This is a living thing. I know that now. It starts to spin its cocoon around me.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Regrets

    The Russian faced the room, flanked by Hardass, Easy, and me. Representatives from every local chapter of the motorcycle club stared back at us, waiting. The alpha Wolf energy in the room electrified the atmosphere and the air stank of burning tires. Rage. The Nightriders were entitled.

    Russki glanced my way. “Show them.”

    I grabbed the corner of the plastic tarp covering the conference table and jerked it off. Nobody made a sound but the fury ramped up so high the temperature in church turned frigid.

    “This is Spider, sent from the Hell Dogs as a warning.” Russki’s deadly voice dropped into the well of seething anger.

    A man rose to his feet. “I’m Ripper, president of the Mizzippee chapter,” he drawled. “Spider was mine. Went missin’ from Biloxi ’bout two weeks ago. Dropped right the fuck off the radar. Now I know why.”

    Ripper’s face was devoid of emotion as he struggled to keep from shifting. Growls and snarls edged in around the silence. I covered the body. Spider was a brother. We would treat him with respect in death.

    “The Hell Dogs are without honor. They attack our women. Our children.” Every eye remained glued on the Russian’s face as he spoke. “We keep chasing all Hell Dogs and every club that thinks to align with them. We will not stop until we wipe them from the face of the earth. Until Fallen Angel is strung up for my personal attention.”

    A low murmur ran through the Wolves. The Russian—before he challenged and killed Brick McIntire, the former national president of the Nightriders—worked for the Russian mob. He’d been an enforcer, assassin, a Wolf well-versed in the intricate art of torture. No one wanted to be the focus of Russki’s talents.

    My nose flared as more scents wafted in the closed air—the acrid sulfur from matches struck and blown out of frustration, the hot pepper sauce of determination. Every man in this room was an Alpha Wolf. Not one of them would hesitate to fight to the death.

    Another fragrance tickled my consciousness, a teasing memory not even ten years could repress. Violets and brown sugar. I shoved thoughts of her away. I had no time for what-might-have-beens. My brothers and I were in a life-and-death fight. Too many innocents had already been hurt. Even if I knew where to find her…I severed that train of thought, grimacing as the stench of rotten eggs—my own guilt—washed over me.

    Easy’s gaze cut to me, his brows pulled together. I gave him a headshake to divert his concern. Carolina. She might as well be dead to me. It had been my fault. All of it.

    The Russian caught my attention. Time to do my job. I raised my fist. “We ride. We hunt. We kill. Nightriders forever. Forever Nightriders.” A hundred voices echoed my challenge.

    My name is Gravedigger and I come by it honestly.
    ****
    500 words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Your Usage May Vary.
    399 words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    Ethan watched as his best friend struck out with Nadine for the third time in as many nights. He let his breath out slowly and shook his head.

    “You are hopeless,” he told Mike as he heaved himself into the bar stool and took a pull from his beer.

    “Let me give you some sound advice, before you make a very big mistake,” he added as Mike stared him.

    “Do enlighten my oh Obi-Wan.”

    “You keep chasing, all you’re going to find is a lifetime of regret.”

    “But…”

    “No ‘but’s you stop chasing— find out if she’s leading you, or you’re following her.”

    “What’s the difference?” Mike asked with a slight frown.

    “Difference is… If she’s leading… then she wants you to follow.”

    “And if she’s not, and I’m just following her?”

    “Then it gets all kinds of confusing and from what I’ve seen it usually ends in restraining orders being issued.”

    Mike gave his friend a surprised look and then shook his head. “I don’t think I should be taking love advice from a man who’s had a restraining order filed against them… kinda says ‘you’re doin’ it wrong’ to me.”

    “Dude, no… the order was not against me… I had to file against him after he went all 50 shades of creepy on me.”

    “So that’s a thing now?” Mike asked

    “What?”

    “The title of a book is now a noun?”

    “Or a verb… it really depends on usage, and if you add ‘ly’ to the end… it can be an adverb.

    “Has anyone every told you, you were totally random most of the time.”

    “Nah, I think they figure it’s pretty much a given and just roll with it.”

    “So what would you have me do? Ignore Nadine?”

    “Not ignore. Let her call the next shot.”

    “But what if she doesn’t call it?”

    “Then you have your answer, and you’ve saved yourself some major embarrassment, not to mention legal fees.”

    “Legal fees? Really?”

    “If she files against you, yes. Trust me, in the long run, you place your cards on the table and if she’s not willing to accept ‘em… move on.”

    Mike sighed and watched as Nadine greeted her friends and moved to one of the booths. “Trust me.”

    “You do know, almost everything I regret, started with that phrase.”

    “Perhaps you need some new opening lines.”

    Mike nodded and sighed. “And a dictionary.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. @jasonlefthand
    469 words

    “I don’t like this,” Margaret said, as she stared out the small kitchen window. Her worried look made her husband angry. She was always worried, he thought. Anxiety ran in her family and it made her shake like the runt of the litter.

    “You never like anything,” Jim said. He puffed from his pipe as he sat on his stool in the middle of the neat dining room. In the other room, he heard their three children playing quietly. Jim liked quiet. Kids running around the house set the ends of his nerves aflame.

    “Oh, Jim,” Margaret said, “Which one do we send? Which one? Oh, I can’t decide which one to send.”

    Jim puffed away. Smoke rose to the low hanging ceiling. His stomach growled. It was for a good cause, he thought. He patted his gut. He knew of other families who starved, but he was going to grow fat that winter. He was sure of it.

    “Tiffany,” Jim said, “She’s the fattest one.”

    “Oh, Tiffany,” Margaret said as she dabbed her tears. Jim believed all that worrying made her look ten years older than she really was. He didn’t like it, but he did not say anything to her.

    There was a knock at the front door. Margaret jumped as she looked at Jim. He returned her look, and then begrudgingly got off his stool to answer the door. The children didn’t seem to notice they had a caller. They were busy pushing little blocks of wood back and forth.

    Jim knew who it was.

    He opened the door and before him was a huge black spider with a little bowler perched atop his head. His many eyes, although alien, looked genial. He had a large notebook in one arm, a pen in another, a pocket watch in another, a little flag with the noble spider crest in another.

    “I am the collection spider sent from the castle,” he said. Behind the big spider, Jim noticed spider soldiers. They stood side by side, long rifles rested against their bulbous bodies.

    “I know,” Jim said, “You’ve come to collect.”

    The spider scribbled something into his notebook. “That is correct, Mr. Little Legs. I’m sure you want to have plenty of food for the next few years.”

    “This is wrong!” Margaret cried out from the kitchen. Jim looked over his shoulder, angry that his wife spoke out.

    The spider cleared his insect throat. “This is how things work. And besides, isn’t it fun to make more children for more food? Pleasure and survival. That’s my motto.”

    Jim agreed. More kids meant food.

    “Tiffany,” Jim said, “Get your coat. You’re going for a ride.”

    “Where am I going?” Tiffany said excitedly. Her hair still held their curls.

    “To the castle, sweetheart,” Jim said, “You’re going to meet the queen.”

    Liked by 2 people

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