#FlashMobWrites 1×36

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Thirty-Six

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: “a city starved”

Ruth Long: “holding out for”

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

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48 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×36

  1. Mission Impossible

    “What do you see?”

    Houston Grey glanced at the woman crouched beside him. The rooftops of the French Quarter surrounded the two of them like a pitching sea clashing on the craggy rock of the roof they occupied. “Does it matter?”

    “Yes, Grey, it does.”

    “Philosophy has nothing to do with this mission, Carpenter.”

    “Au contraire, big guy. It has everything to do with it. Why are we here? And I don’t mean in the existential sense.”

    “I can’t speak for you but I’m here to do a job. If I do it right, there’s a pardon waiting for me.”

    “Altruistic you’re not.”

    “If you’re holding out for a hero, babe, I ain’t it.”

    “That’s not what I heard.”

    “Don’t believe everything you hear.”

    Maggie Carpenter returned her gaze to the cityscape before them. She heard so much more than he suspected. She’d watched his last mission in Afghanistan unfold from her desk in the CIA. She knew secrets he only hoped to discover. And yes, he’d been screwed. They both had. Now her fate was tied to his.

    “I see a city starved by its own excesses. I see booze and sex, drugs and rock and roll cut with the blues.”

    “Didn’t realize you were a poet, Carpenter. You should sit in a coffee shop somewhere and write bad prose you can publish in obscure literary magazines. Or just drink coffee and try to look pretty.”

    “Didn’t realize you were such a hard case. Oh, wait. Yes, I did. It was part of the briefing file. Right there on page three. ‘Subject Grey is a hardass misanthrope, antihero, and all-round dick.”

    “What you see is what you get, babe. I don’t like you. You don’t like me. I’m not here to win Mr. Congeniality because the only thing I give a fuck about is clearing my name and getting some semblance of a real life back.”

    “And a presidential pardon will do that?”

    “Hell yeah. What about you, sweetcheeks? You just here for the shits and grins?”

    “Your briefing packet was as complete as mine. You know I was the Company’s sacrificial lamb. Yes, I’d like to get some of my own back, but there’s a bigger picture here. There are terrorists out there, looking to cripple this city. Right in the middle of freaking Mardi Gras. And I don’t have a bloody clue how to find them, much less stop them. So tell me, Houston Hardcase Grey, what’s your plan?”

    “Don’t have one.”

    “Great.”

    “You just need to trust me.”

    “Trust you? Sure. That’s sooo much easier done that said. Not!”

    He swiveled to face her. “Look, Maggie. We don’t have a choice. We’ll figure it out even if we have to fly by the seats of our pants. I’m a special operator trained by Uncle Sam’s best. You’re a CIA analyst with a brain like an encyclopedia. We’ll figure it out because the alternative is unacceptable.”

    “Welcome to Mission Impossible.”

    “Time to make it Mission Accomplished.”
    ****
    500 words (from a new project on the drawing board)
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 6 people

    • Very fun, very accomplished flash fiction mission quite possible, Silver. Particularly like “Subject Grey is a hardass misanthrope, antihero, and all-round dick.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Maggie’s favorite saying at the moment is, “Houston, we have a problem.” He’s going to throttle her before too long. 😉 As background, he’s Army Green Beret court-martialed and in Leavenworth. She’s a disgraced CIA analyst. Their “handler” has set them loose in New Orleans to prevent a terrorist attack during Mardi Gras. It’s an idea that’s been rolling around the empty spaces in my head for awhile. Thought I’d bring it out to play. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Cara. This could be a fun project if I can work it into the schedule and the prompts were perfect for it. Even if I couldn’t resist that “holding out for a hero.” *bwahahaha* 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Vacuum

    I had once been raw to understand death, courage, fear. If war had taught me anything, it was how irrevocably the curtains can be drawn shut.

    We had hoped to learn something from Hollis Shelby. There had been a wistful wisdom in his sad, puffy eyes. Maybe he and Hazel had once percolated. Whatever had been between them, he had shown a glimmer of sorrow that even Hap Granger’s bullying bluster couldn’t restrain.

    We waited by Mona Parker’s desk. After the police were called, she made coffee. We belatedly stumbled through introductions.

    Mona was the perfect hostess for a sudden death vigil. She had a dated, Louise Brook’s bob, a few weather-traced wrinkles, dark ancient eyes that seemed dismally elegiac for a woman of forty.

    Or thirty.

    I couldn’t tell.

    Quarry called Ace and filled him in. Ace said he’d meet us outside the Mayor’s office. Events were spiraling out of control. We were stuck in a small corrupt city starved for, suddenly starving for a moral compass.

    “Oh my God,” Mona snapped my daze, as if startled by something other than discovering a dead body…

    “What?” Quarry asked. “Are you okay, Mona?”

    “”Holly…Mayor Shelby…he’s the…was the coroner…”

    I nodded, remembering Hap’s introduction last night. “I’m sure the Sheriff will know what to do,” I said, somewhat off the cuff. I had no idea how efficient Jackson Squires was.

    It was a brief wait. In less than three minutes, an air-raid like siren pierced the air. Moments later, Squires and three others rushed in and began to take charge.

    They processed the scene for an hour. Mona made fresh coffee for one and all. Eventually, two deputies carted the remains of Mayor Hollis Shelby from his office.

    “You two have anything to tell me?” Squires asked in the magnetic manner we were becoming accustomed to.

    I shook my head. John said, “No. We had hoped to talk about Hazel Twigg with the Mayor. Guess that won’t happen now.”

    “Right!” Squires said. “I suppose you fellows will be moving on?” he dug deeper.

    “Not quite yet.” Quarry clarified.

    “Oh, too bad.”

    “Yeah,” Quarry softly replied.

    Squires dismissed us and said to Mona, “Mona, you gonna be okay?”

    She looked bewildered. “Where are you taking him, Jackson?”

    “To the State Capitol. Full autopsy. It looks like it was his heart but the State Police can give it their comprehensive attention.”

    With that, we were given the bum’s rush.

    Half an hour later, Ace Longworth found us loitering on a bench outside City Hall.

    “Holly was a good Mayor. Maybe a bit too much under Hap’s thumb but he could be his own man when he needed to be.”

    “I’m sure he was,” John said, “but we were holding out for a bit of enlightenment about Hazel’s fate. I’m sure he knew something.”

    “Whatever it was, the coffin’s sealed on that revelation,” I said with funereal insight.

    “Ace,” Quarry got down to brass tacks, “We think you’ve been holding out on us.”

    500 awkward moments after an unexpected death
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The Wash is full of grit, bile and unpleasant smells. What it lacks in light, it makes up for in filth. Gray buildings rise high enough to block the moonlight, arching over the streets until only a sliver of cloud cover is visible. Even pigeons don’t fly overhead. I can’t say I blame them.

    It’s misting, covering the streets with a glaze reflected from the occasional functioning streetlight. It’s always misting or fogged over, making this avoided part of the city look like a rat encased in Lucite. It’s a city within a city, a city starved for the innocent to consume.

    I call it home, not that anyone cares.

    Peeking out from the shadow of the alley across my vantage point is a man, at least he thinks he is. Occasionally a smile creases his face, revealing gold teeth like a jeweled barracuda.

    He’s dangerous and on my turf. I don’t like fish, no matter how they’re decorated. Strike one.

    He stands with one foot poised against the brick, coiled to strike. A predator holding out for the young brunette with a limp. She reeks of easy prey.

    She’s not pretty in the conventional sense, but I like her smile. It’s a small ray of light in the tomb. She serves me coffee every day, strong, black and served without questions. If he succeeds, I’d have to go somewhere else, somewhere less convenient. Strike two.

    Also, I hate being inconvenienced. Strike three.

    I stick to the shadows and approach from behind the Chinese restaurant’s dumpster. My footsteps are silent. He doesn’t turn.

    The shuffling footsteps approach, slow and lame. Twelve-hour days on her feet, too tired for caution. His muscles tense as a right hand tightens around the grip of a silver blade.

    She can’t know what lurks in the gloom. I’m addicted to her sunlight as much as the primo bean-juice. When you don’t have much, the little things count.

    This has to be handled quickly, quietly, and without her knowing it ever happened.

    My specialty.

    “Tsst.” I hiss with him three feet away.

    He’s good, wiry and fast. The blade arcs backwards toward me before he even turns his head. He overestimates his lunge though, and it’s all I need.

    The same second my large left hand covers his mouth, my right clamps on his wrist. I continue the motion around an upward until the knife is sunk to the hilt in his side.

    He tenses again and tries to break free. A minute later he’s limp. I let him drop to the filth, a fitting feast for the rats.

    The shuffling steps are close. I step forward into the light. She turns with a start then lets out a slow breath of relief.

    “Oh…high.” She smiles tentatively. “I’ve never seen you at night.”

    “See you tomorrow.” I mock tipping a hat then add. “Be safe.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “Reagan called this country a shining city on a hill, but it’s a city starved for love.”

    “What the fuck you talkin about, Jonny? I give you love.” Belinda’s eyes hadn’t been clear since anyone gave a shit who Reagan was had died, but I didn’t spend time with her because of her eyes.

    “You don’t give me love, you give me head.” To be honest, I didn’t spend time with her for that, either. I had about as much affection for her as I did for the stomach flu, but she never bitched about letting me shove it in, and it was at least a half-step above jerking off, at least when I was sober enough to remember.

    Belinda snorted, then hawked something green and oozy on the ground. “Fuck you.”

    “Not on a dare, you disease-ridden twat.”

    “Tommy don’t seem to mind my twat. He said I’m the best he’s ever had.” Of course I knew about Tommy. And Sean. And Mikey. What, was she supposed to be holding out for twoo wuv? This whole place was a glob of oozy phlegm on the skin of the world, and someday, someone would come by with a snotrag and put us out of our misery.

    “Tommy’s too young to know better.”

    “And you’re too old to have standards.”

    “Says somethin that I won’t fuck you then, doesn’t it?”

    She gave me that shit-eating grin I’d liked so much when I’d first met her in Dylan’s and now wanted to slap off her face. “Jonny, you’re too damned smart for your own good. Pleasure comes when it comes. What the fuck is the rest of it about?”

    “Decency. Why did we stop thinking that there was such a thing as basic fucking decency?”

    “Decency’s a rich cunt’s word. When you’ve got enough money that people are nice to you cuz they want some. That’s your decency. But it’s still shit.”

    “Watch your mouth. My mother was one of those rich cunts. And so was my wife. My daughter, too – at least she probably is now.”

    Belinda cackled. “You, a daddy? You had all that, what the fuck you doing here with me?”

    “Had a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack, went out for a ride and never went back.” The room had started to dim, though it was still mid-morning. I stumbled over to the counter. All the good stuff was gone, but I didn’t want the good stuff. I drained a third of the bottle and waited for the light to come back. The world swam, but I didn’t think it’d be going black today. I was gonna need to leave soon, or I’d do it again.

    To her credit, Belinda stayed quiet while I fought the darkness. When the tears came, she put her arm around me and spoke with something that I could pretend was compassion.

    “Come back to bed, Jonny. Let me love you.” I took her hand, and she took me. Fuck the shining city.

    500 words
    @drmagoo

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Don’t Hold Back

    “Hot damn, your breasts are beautiful.”

    Zamora glanced down at her chest encased in plain white cotton. “In a plain white bra?”

    “The bra is just window dressing, inkheart. I’ve been dreaming of your breasts since I met you in the hospital.” Greg licked his lips. “Oh, God, I’ve wanted to taste these forever.” He sealed his mouth over one of her chilled nipples and her eyes rolled back in her head.

    “Oh, yeah, that feels so good.” She grabbed his head and dug her fingers into his short hair to hold him there as she sat on the bed. “Yeah, suck on my tits. I love your mouth there.”

    He growled and switched from one nipple to the other. Her nipples weren’t the most sensitive, but the heat of his mouth on her skin turned her on. He massaged the neglected breast while he feasted on her nipple, and she reveled in his touch.

    He hummed below his breath as he slid from the hot little peak to the rounded underside of her breast. Hot, slick pleasure curled through her chest and zinged between her legs, making her pussy clench. She whimpered and writhed under his ministrations as he sank lower on her body.

    “Let’s get you out of those wet shorts.” Greg gave her a hot look as he peeled the wet denim off. “Oh, sweet Jesus, you’re not wearing underwear.”

    Zamora chuckled. “Not while washing the car. I hate when my ass gets soaked and it just sits there.”

    “And that doesn’t happen with your wet shorts?” He tossed the soaked cloth away and knelt between her legs.

    “The denim doesn’t cling like the cotton. I hate them riding up.”

    “We can’t have that.” He dipped his head between her legs and her world went white with hot, slick pleasure.

    “Oh my God.”

    He swiped his tongue through her folds and flicked her clit with the tip, sending electricity all throughout her body. She moaned and writhed, grasping his head with her hands. He rumbled his own groan against her flesh, making her gasp at the vibrations.

    He licked and slurped with abandon, as if he couldn’t get enough of her. His hands slid over her hips, tracing the lines of her tattoos. The hibiscus flower had never felt so luxurious as it did under his fingers. When he peeled her nether lips apart she realized she wouldn’t be holding out for long.

    “Come for me, inkheart. Don’t hold back.” He dropped his head and suckled hard on her clit.

    Her orgasm exploded out of nowhere, surging through her and flinging her mind out into the starry cosmos. She flew with it, crying out her joy and pleasure. Greg hummed against her flesh, slurping up her release with approval and relish.

    At last she settled back onto the bed and opened her eyes to stare down her body at him. He shot her a smile, something reminiscent of the cat with the canary, and licked his lips.

    500 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 4 people

  6. There’s a clock high on the wall, the kind found in any public institution. Bland face, crisp numbers, and a second hand tirelessly ticking away the moments of my life.

    I slump back in the hard plastic chair. It’s hell on my aching body, but hopefully projects the appropriate ‘I don’t give a shit’ air I’m going for. The unknown is about the only constant around here, so I have plenty of practice faking indifference.

    I’m not holding out for a miracle or salvation to walk through the door.

    So I’m not disappointed when the door opens.

    “I was starting to think my visitor was just Deputy Johnson’s way of fucking with me.”

    “No, ma’am.” The man who enters wears his military background like a steel rod up his ass. Jesus, his posture makes me hurt more than this chair. “I am not fucking with you.”

    His dark hair is short and just as upright as the rest of him. I see his scalp peeking through the stark cut. The shock of his eyes—sand and sea swirled together, edged by lines of time and humor—dings my nonchalant armor.

    “Good to know.” I lick my lips and swallow hard as he crosses the room.

    He sets an expandable file stuffed with papers and photos on the table before pulling out his seat. He doesn’t scrape the chair along the floor, he lifts and places it.

    “I hope you don’t expect me to sit like you,” I say. There, that sounds appropriately snarky.

    “No, ma’am.”

    Maybe his eyes are a lie. I see no evidence of a sense of humor. Or irritation. Anger. Normal, breathing human type responses.

    “I’m Special Agent Kasprzak.” He presents his ID, and I absorb the dizzying array of consonants.

    “Special K.” I nod. “Got it.”

    “I’m with the FBI.”

    “Congratulations.”

    There’s a spark in his eyes. Ah, there you are.

    “I’m here to talk to you about Ronnie James David,” he says. “The man you murdered.”

    “I didn’t kill him,” I say.

    “Your prison sentence suggests otherwise, Ms. László.”

    “I’m not saying he didn’t maybe deserve it, but if he did, I don’t know why.” I drum my fingers on the table. “Being a twat in the relationship department isn’t exactly a reason for a shotgun blast to the face.”

    “Miami is a city starved for reason.” He draws the contents of the file out. “What’s one more person killing for shits and giggles?”

    “Is that the technical term for it?”

    The corner of his mouth twitches upward, the movement quickly stilled.

    The blood drains from my face in one sharp downward drop as he spreads out a dozen pictures. Photos of me and Ronnie. Sometimes together, sometimes not.

    “We were under surveillance?”

    “No,” K says. “He was. Your presence was incidental.”

    “His face was blown off in my apartment, Special K. That’s not incidental.” I cover my mouth. It’s the only way I know to keep from screaming. “What the fuck did he do?”

    @caramichaels
    500 WIP words

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I didn’t know what I was holding out for. Him to come find me? Him to care this time? The last time I ran, and made an addict out of myself, it was just the two of us. Now, we had kids. How did he explain this to the kids? Eliza might’ve understood; she was seven. But her sister wouldn’t. She was five.

    I leaned against one of the concrete walls that held up Creighton University Hospital. I could walk in right now and be tossed into rehab. Or, I could walk away; find another hit, another joint, another dime bag. Inside, I’d get back on my psych meds and get clean. Outside, I’d snort another six lines, smoke another rock, huff whatever I could find.

    I pulled myself up taller. The world swayed, left, right, it tried to turn in a circle, but my brain couldn’t do a circle. It was a fixed object in my skull. Something warm crept down my face. I wiped it away: blood. My nose was bleeding again. I hugged the wall and walked to the back parking lot. I spotted his truck. Okay, inside was certain death.

    I couldn’t walk away. The blistering sun warmed my shoulders, but I shivered. It was summer, but I had a fever. I wrapped my arms around a pillar, which held up an awning. I closed my eyes, my breath slowing to a crawl. I slid down the pillar, so close to the doors.

    “I’ll kill him.”

    That voice. Deep, angry, blistering. Jacoby. He’d found me. Did he care? Was he going to kill me?

    “Then you’d be a single dad.”

    A light alto voice, tight, but kind. I recognized that voice. Did she care? Would she care? Or would she help him hide my body?

    “I’m already a single dad. I could’ve forgiven him before the kids, but I can’t do that now. I can’t forgive him.”

    I cracked my eyes open. Hollister’s green eyes stared back at me, lined and hard. She turned to leave, then turned back.

    “You broke his heart this time,” she said. Her hard look faltered. “You scared the kids. Now, he has to tell them about you. Lying here in ICU, fighting off an infection you probably got from a dirty needle. What the hell were you thinking, Jimmy?”

    I shrugged. My head swam and I pulled in a breath. “I don’t know. What does an addict ever think?”

    She rubbed her face. “Once the infection has cleared, you’re off to rehab. Again. Don’t fuck up this time.”

    She walked out. I raised my trembling hands to my face and pulled in a deep breath. Don’t fuck this up. Right. An addict always fucked up.

    @Aightball
    455 words

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The Bloodless

    She bleeds life, like a dying flame, like a city starved, and as the drops fall on the dusty cool ground beneath the diseased oak, her naïvety veined and fleshed, she knows the time has come. To end it all.

    But the end requires the beginning, for the Worms of Darkness feed only on memories of completion.

    A fresh slice across her wrists scents the tainted air. Two more ruby drops fall, soaking the sand with a savoury metallic splash. The red bubbles and churns. The red deepens and hisses. The red morphs black, as black as her eyes and as jaded as her soul. She never should have come back. Maybe he’d still be hers.

    The sands ripple. They like that.

    The Worms of Darkness goad her on. More. Send us more.

    They’re in control. They feed off suffering, off memories of pain. They’ve been known to keep the suicidal in suspended states until their appetites were sated. No quick deaths allowed. Long. Drawn-out. Sinister. Those were the nightmares of worth. Those were the nightmares demanding release.

    She pulls memories one by one, once fresh, now rancid with spite.

    We were happy. He loved me. We laughed. We danced. We dined on love. On that last night, he said he’d wait for me. Said there was no one else for him. That bastard. He lied to me. Fed me what I wanted to hear. Told me he was holding out for me. How long had he strayed? Pleased another? Laughed and smiled and danced with someone other than me?

    She draws another crimson line across her skin.

    The Worms of Darkness are writhing now. They rise from the soil, hot sand trembling in their wake. Long, fat black bodies glimmer on the moonlit surface, leaving sticky secretions and an odour of loss.

    We will take you now, they hiss. We are satisfied. They latch onto her wrist, sucking the life, the memories, the pain.

    She feels cold as the poisonous secretions swim through her veins. Sleep comes, her eyelids grow heavy. Shadows engulf the oak as her body becomes just another corpse for the soil.

    The Worms of Darkness sink below the ground, belching pain into their lair, nearly full with the nightmares of life and the pulsing release of death.

    Emily Clayton
    @emilyiswriting
    382 words

    Liked by 3 people

  9. A Full House and the Zydeco Queen
    374 wods

    Philip David Farmer watched the inky black water of the Mississip flow beneath the Zydeco Queen, her paddles churning their way through the night. He wasn’t sure if they were pulling the water or pushing her forward, but the end was the same— he was drawing nearer his end.

    He’d come on this boat to gamble, but everything had changed when he met Renee Debois. He was still gambling, but he was playing for higher stakes than he’d ever played before.

    Renee was not your typical gambler, she wasn’t even your typical performer. She dealt cards like a musician, every turn a movement that seemed to echo the phrase of some song only she could hear.

    Philip found himself wanting to hear that music- to drown in it. That, the smell of hand rolled tobacco, and old money were a heady mix.

    He wasn’t sure what he had been thinking, betting against the bank, betting against Renee when all he wanted to do was be the focus of her gaze… when he got it, he wished he’d been anywhere else.

    The look she gave him had been darker than the Mississip, and far colder.

    Against all odds, he’d drawn a full house, but Renee had been holding out for a flush straight. Everything would have been fine if Rene hadn’t gotten her straight – and his full house hadn’t included the same king of hearts she held in her hand.

    Only thing was— for a change… he hadn’t been cheating. Now his reputation was cathing up with him and he was about to be bannned from the Zydeco Queen… while she was still mid river.

    The paddles had never looked so threatening, and there was no way anyone was going to believe that Renee had cheated. It had to have been him.

    He should have known his luck had been too good. Should have folded and got off at the last port of call, but he’d been too enthralled and he lost sight of the target.

    Then he saw the final port of call and understood. He wasn’t being thrown off- he’d passed the test and found his hime in a city starved of mores.

    He was home, whether he wanted to be or not.

    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites Week 1×36 : Fanfare | My Soul's Tears

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