#FlashMobWrites 1×39

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Thirty-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

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: “don’t have enough rain”

Ruth Long: “flicker out”

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


31 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×39

  1. The earth parched, great rivets where the last rains had come had carved out holes in the dried dirt. Soil rose and blew across empty fields filling the air with a fine powder that filled the nostrils with fine particles and left a layer of grime over everything. The sky was dark with the winds of change as static electricity built in the air and the air kept raising the land in to small funnels pummelling across the earth raising more and more loam into the lungs and into everything including the remaining food. The beast whips higher and higher ripping across the plains killing animals filling them with sand. Nothing seemed to grow in the once fertile plains. Bellies ached with growing hunger. It seems the end of the world when we can’t see two feet in front of our faces and the internet is gone and travel is impossible.
    “We don’t have enough rain,” grandfather complained.
    “You’re a fool father. The Earth takes back her planet we’re about to flicker out,” father sniped.
    “At least I didn’t raise a boy that sits with his nose in a book,” grandfather exclaimed then stormed away to his room.
    Me, I just scoured the history books look for a reason that had happened before, but with millenniums of history to scour it would be hard to pinpoint a time when this had occurred before “I’ve got it.” I cried, “This happened once in the nineteen hundred and thirties. The government responded by getting farmers to rotate crops that planting trees and shrubs around your fields and this helps in keeping down the crust or upper soil from flying.”
    “Where are we to get these shrubs? Everything is dying,” my father responded.
    “We can use the Christmas farm trees to block the farm,” grandfather commented.
    “But that’s all the stock we have left,” father complained.
    Despite my father’s complaint we dig up the trees put them in the truck taking them to the edge of the property our faces covered lest we breathe in the silt. We spend hours planting the trees using some remaining water to feed them. The dust has stopped somewhat by the trees and we are sheltered, but grandfather passes away..
    Father and I pray hard we will be redeemed and saved by the trees .Morning comes and the air around us is clear our own oasis, the sun breaking through. We begin growing food and soon our bellies are full again. Rain comes and washes away the soil and dust. We venture forth and find neighbours have perished far and wide. The world as we know is truly gone as if a nuclear bomb has ended it all. We travel to the city and I find her, Arusha who has survived. We are of different cultures, but she is intelligent, a former librarian with books and she can cook. She soon becomes my bride. Life goes on, as we share our joy with children. God is good.

    500 words

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Hurricanes
    It doesn’t take long for the cloud to become a storm and the storm to bring more rain, but there just never seems to be enough here, anyway. Standing beneath the overhang, cigarette between my lips, gripped loose in shaking fingers, I don’t even know what to say to her anymore.
    “Did you really do it?”
    “Can’t you just go look for yourself?”
    When I was seven, I watched a bug drown in the rain by the windowsill in my bedroom, dressed in socks and shirt and shorts. The beetle was caught up in the roots of a plant as the pot began to fill, not enough soil packed in. Mom never did know how to let the seeds she planted sprout correctly. I was no exception.
    I watched it struggle; I watched it flip; I watched it tremble and I watched it sink before floating back up to the top, only movement caused by the miniature, oceanic waves created by every falling drop of the hurricane about to take out the tree I’d climbed for years that had sat, planted, down in the dirt of the front lawn for so very long.
    I had no way of knowing my sister was about to become the beetle; I had no way of knowing the plant would soon just be like so many trees. It happened later, on the rooftop, mom’s torn jacket made into a flag to signal helicopters that came through not long after, clinging to pieces of the carport and wondering why the rain couldn’t seem to wash her tears away. I realized, in some poetic, cosmic way, I’d already seen this happen – I’d already known before.
    And now I stand here, still knowing the skies don’t have enough rain to wash the blood away from where the twisted metal caught into my mother’s veins as she climbed, ripped herself open to set herself free. And I wonder if what’s on the floor of Karen’s apartment is just another drowning beetle, the blood clinging to my fingertips just another cup of rain. Things that don’t go together are connecting, snapping straight into my brain. Dead ends and pathways snake around the cerebellum.
    I stood there in the rubble, three months after the rain, and wondered if I’d find my sister someplace else, some other day. I wondered if life does anything after the drowning, or if we all just flicker out, the sound of our own lungs breathing water and hands banging against the ceiling as the pressure jets us up to our crushing, flooding death becoming the last thing that we ever know.
    You watch it all disintegrate, and you know nothing can truly stay permanent, not even smoke that coats your lungs. Her husband didn’t love her, anyway.
    “I’m thinking we should leave,” I say, cigarette burnt away, another lighting itself.
    “I’m thinking you’re right,” she says, and the cab can’t come fast enough to get us both away.


    Liked by 4 people

  3. Saving Grace

    He was a man who would never wear a suit and tie. He was a man who would never succumb to the trappings of civilization. Wild. Fierce. Powerful in ways that made women sigh all the way down to their deeply feminine cores. This man would keep his woman safe, bring meat to the cave, and fuck her into oblivion. Danger gathered around him like shadows at midnight. I was always a little afraid of him. But never enough to walk away.

    What happened was all my fault. If I’d been the one strong enough, brave enough to leave, I wouldn’t be standing here gazing at the faces around me. No one looked at me. I stood at the back, listening to the rain tap on my umbrella.

    Nothing made sense. Not how we met. How he came to possess me. How I surrendered to him heart and soul. How his touch devoured me like flames. How, in the end, the light of his love would flicker out, leaving me in the dark.

    “You don’t belong here.”

    I glanced at the woman who had sidled up next to me. She obviously did, with her spiked hair and patched leather jacket. Property of Easy, the patches said, the words hugging the leaping wolf with the comet’s tail. She was right. I wasn’t a Nightrider’s property. Not anymore. I didn’t belong, but I’d been unable to stay away.

    We’d parted badly, he and I, him ripping my heart from my chest when he roared away on his Harley without a backward glance. I’d heard the news from a little bird far too happy at sharing news guaranteed to shred my heart. Again.

    So there I stood, hiding under my umbrella though the rain gave way to drizzle, watching to see if it was true. Tall, he could see over the crowd. His eyes found me like a heat-seeking missile. He saw me, but his expression never changed. That told me all I needed to know. He was done with me. Irrevocably.

    Someone spoke to him and his gaze slid away. Freed from his spell, I turned, walked with an unsteady gait I blamed on the uneven terrain back to my car. I watched my feet, unwilling to trip and fall, furthering my embarrassment. I stopped when I saw the black motorcycle boots. Tilting both the umbrella and my head, I looked up. I’d been a cherished possession when I’d been his.

    He brushed two knuckles across my wet cheek as he breathed my name. “Grace.”

    In self-defense, I said the first thing that came to mind. “Don’t have enough rain to hide the tears.”

    “Do you miss me so much, kotenok?”

    I couldn’t answer so I stepped around him, determined to leave.

    “Always you lied to yourself, but you could never lie to me.”

    Truth, that, but I kept walking, telling one final lie to myself—that I could walk away. From my destiny. From Sergei.
    496 words from The Russian’s story

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Regroup

    Noon was an hour away but the Crowbar City sun, a fiery furnace hovering above our heads, was hotter than Hades. Or a Pittsburgh smelter.

    While Quarry, Ace and I pondered next steps, a crowd began to congregate outside of the municipal City Hall. Word had spread about the untimely passing of Mayor Hollis Shelby.

    “I need shade,” I blurted.

    “Hungry?” Ace asked.

    We both said no.

    “I’m still feasting off the fat of some fine cooking,” I beamed.

    “Been eating some excellent meals,” John agreed.

    “Okay,” Ace proposed, “Maybe Gabi will let us dally at her hacienda.”

    As we headed out, a conspicuous voice grabbed our attention.

    “Folks, thanks’ for coming out, for your concern. I gotta confirm what you may have heard. Our beloved Mayor Shelby is dead.”

    A few “oh, no’s” and other expressions of sorrow skimmed over the small crowd like a surge of sour wind.

    “How’d he die, Hap?” someone asked.

    “Don’t know. Sherriff Squires hasn’t said. I know I never had any reason to believe that Holly’s light would flicker out anytime soon. So it’s a troubling surprise to me. Jack will do a thorough investigation, I’m sure. May take some time. We’ll know what there’s to know when we know it. Like always.Until then, well, one of our two Councilmen will step up and be acting Mayor.”

    “Who you favoring, Hap?” another voice asked.

    “Why Pete Stoddart, that’s up to them. They’re both good men and true. Though I suppose they might ask my advice…I love to give advice, you know that? On behalf of Holly’s family and our town, thanks for coming out and showing your love…”

    The crowd started to drift off.

    We headed for the Grill. Gabi was fine with the idea so we hustled over to her house and bivouaced on the back patio.

    “Ace,” John reiterated our tenuous position in the local pecking order, “Woody and me, we’re just passing through. Hell, we’re vagabonds. We could have easily by-passed Crowbar City as if it never existed. But we didn’t. You saw something in us. We can pry open that mouldy old suitcase of yours but you have to stop holding back.”

    “It was stupid of me to not mention it. I suppose I was hoping you might find something else…anything else.”

    “Are you still part of it, Ace?” I asked, “Still invested…?”

    From Ace’s down in the dumps eyes, I could see I had touched another part of his ever darkening soul…

    “Hell,” groaned Quarry. “Look…”

    “The land deal is still viable,” Ace jumped in. “If Hazel was here, I’d be out of it. But she ain’t. Until she is, I’m playing the hand. I’m not getting any younger. I’m stretched about as far as a man can be…”

    Quarry rubbed his eyes. “Seeing as Luciano is out of our league, the Senator is our next step. Know where he might be, Ace?”

    “Yeah! He’s got a place way back in the hills.”

    “Got a map, Ace?”

    500 moments of reconsideration

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “Next time, stay around the corner, K.”

    “Like hell.” Next time. Christ.

    “It’s the easy road. Might even be the high one. Shit’s messy down here.”

    “Shit’s messy everywhere. They’d have found a prettier name for it otherwise.”

    Her smile doesn’t reach her eyes. “Just let me flicker out and this is done. No more questions no one can answer. No more stuffing your integrity in a box so you can babysit a murderer and still look at yourself in the mirror.”

    “My reflection and I get along just fine, Laszlo.” She’s covered in first degree frostbite. Fucking frostbite. In Florida. I rub my thumb along the side of her undamaged hand. “Not sure how you expect me to ignore what’s right in front of me and maintain a healthy relationship with my conscience.”

    “Seems to work for everyone else.”

    “Good thing I’m me, then.”

    “Then maybe I’m the one who’ll sleep easier.”

    This, I believe.

    “You can walk, K. I promise I won’t haunt you.” Her pinky hooks around my thumb, belying her words, and wrecking me in the process.

    You already do.

    She lifts her face to me, her white sage eyes pleading.

    Maybe I’m a fool. Maybe there’s no maybe about it. I shouldn’t even be considering innocence and Maxima Laszlo in the same thought.

    “We do have one answer, Max.” Though it falls on the ‘fucking insane’ end of the believability scale.

    “I don’t understand.”

    “He got sloppy.”

    “He?” Her pupils dilate. A shiver runs through her and she groans softly. Pain or fear, I can’t say which, but I’d guess both.

    “He, she—we’ll know soon enough, I hope.”

    Her gaze drops away from me as she draws her knees up, wraps her arms around her shins.

    “There’s proof, Laszlo.” Her absolute silence tells me more than she can possibly realize. I pull up the photo gallery on my cell phone and show her. She flinches back. “Dr. Malloy got prints.”

    “From my skin?” She snorts and her control snaps with one spat, “Bullshit.”

    “I said the same.” I stow the phone in my pocket. “I mean, either someone is alive and skulking through the plumbing of LCI, or something less—corporeal—took a shot at you.”

    I’m not sure what response I expected, but tears aren’t it. Her face reddens and the waterworks flow. She grinds the heels of her hands against her eyes, but the tears keep coming.

    “You can’t believe any of this,” she whispers.

    “Maybe I can.” I mentally will her to tell me the truth as she understands it.

    “You don’t have enough rain in those eyes to convince our dear Special Agent to be your white knight, Laszlo.”

    Julia’s derisive tone—directed at me—busts the moment, and I kiss the budding trust in Max’s gaze goodbye.

    “Warden Habersham.” Max shuts down in a blink, expression flat. “I expect he believes me as much as you do.”

    “I guarantee that’s not true,” I promise.

    Max frowns. “It should be.”

    500 WIP words

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I bounced our youngest in my arms, trying to quell her cries. I was making a bottle as quick as I could. The TV blared in the background and then my cell started ringing.

    “For fucks sake,” I muttered. I grabbed the phone with one hand and the bottle with the other, shaking the formula and trying not to drop Priscilla. “What?”

    “Love you, too,” my husband said. “I’m staying at work tonight. The roads are a sheet of ice.”

    I switched hands and popped the bottle in the baby’s mouth. An ice storm was hitting tonight; of course it would strand my husband at work.

    “All right. Are you sure you won’t drive out of it?”

    He sighed. “I’m sure. I checked the road conditions map, and it’s all a sheet of ice.”

    “That’s fine. Do we have the generator ready to go?”

    Priscilla’s bottle hit the floor and she started to wail. I grabbed it as fast as I could and got it back in her mouth.

    “Yes. It’s right inside the garage, you just have to turn it on. I’ll make it home as soon as the roads clear.”

    “I love you. Stay safe of you go out tonight.”

    We hung up and I sighed. I could more than handle both girls, but if we lost power, I had to keep Priscilla’s oxygen on.

    “Well, it’s just the three of us tonight, Villa,” I sad. “Guess we better get your sister up.”

    The TV switched to a local weather man, so I turned up.

    “This area in the pink is where the ice is falling. Omaha already has a good layer on the power lines. I’ve seen the lights tend to flicker out here in the last few minutes. Best advice is stay home.”

    I shut the TV off and sighed. I’d have to make it to the generator at least. And with Thanksgiving tomorrow, too. Just our luck, it was our turn to host. Our families were coming out at Christmas, but we were still expecting a house full of friends for dinner.

    “Well, Cilla, I’d better get supper figured out and then wake your sister from her nap.”

    I burped the baby, then put her in her swing for some chill time. The lights flickered and I glanced outside. A thick layer of ice coated the trees and what I could see of the power lines beyond that. There were two sides to living in BFE Iowa; losing power was a serious downside right now. Our youngest was waiting for heart surgery and needed oxygen around the clock.

    No more did I pull out some chicken for supper than the lights went out. With a sigh, I made sure Priscilla was okay in her swing, then pulled on my boots. I snapped my ice grippers on and started out. With luck, the lights would be back on in minutes instead of days.

    Liked by 3 people


    *Midlands, England / 1919*

    The streetlamps were cold and dark and the sky was a canopy of cruel steel blue when Siobhan left her house and ran down the street, the sheer hem of her pale nightdress trailing behind her like a ghost.

    The scent of gunpowder and the screech of metal followed her to the end of the block, to a house whose brick front was indistinguishable from any other on the street.

    A man with a stern jaw and heavy brows answered the door. “You shouldn’t be here.”

    “Please,” she said, keeping her tone neutral. “Five minutes. That’s all I’m asking.”

    Kerwin McDermott remained in the doorway, blocking her. “He’s not going to like it.”

    She glanced up the street, expecting to find him watching them. “No, but he’ll allow it.”

    “True. Inis would never forgive us for turning you away, today of all days,” he said, pushing the door wide and moving back to let her enter.

    Without stopping to greet those gathered in the crowded living room, she hurried up the stairs and into the first bedroom.

    Inis was propped up, dark hair slick with sweat and coiled into a loose knot, a newborn at her breast. “Siobhan.”

    The other women in the room looked away from Siobhan but that didn’t deter her from perching on the side of the bed and kissing the baby’s forehead. “She’s beautiful.”

    “We named her Aibhlinn, after my mother. I wish …” Inis lifted Siobhan’s hand to her cheek. “I wish I could name you godmother, the way we planned when we were girls.”

    Behind them, Kerwin cleared his throat and the other women scattered. “It’s time.”

    Siobhan hugged Innis and the baby, and rose. “I’ll see you again, soon. I promise.”

    Inis looked at her husband. “Walk her home, my love. Make sure she’s safe.”

    Kerwin nodded, more out of respect than agreement. Siobhan Reilly had no need of an escort. She was safe wherever she went. The Moran family saw to that, just as they saw to her limited welcome among their kith and kin.

    Back downstairs, at the front door, she nodded to Kerwin. “Thank you.”

    And this time, when she glanced down the street, he was there. Coat pulled close and cap pulled low. Clothes as dark as his countenance. He followed her, his presence, even at a distance, as charged with tension as the storm clouds overhead.

    She didn’t look back until she reached her own doorway. He never made eye contact, just kept walking. Lightening split the sky as she went into the house and rain struck the pane as she closed the door.

    A voice in the dark entry made her jump. “You bear my ring and my name, and still, he can’t leave you in peace.”

    She slid out of her damp robe and nightdress. “Deegan, we don’t have enough rain, enough water, enough soap to wash the Morans out of my life. Even if we did, I don’t have the strength to do it. Inis was my closest friend. My only friend now. Yes, I went to see her baby. Yes, her brother followed me. But I came home to you. I always come home to you.”

    He reached for her, hands warm and voice rough. “And I’ll welcome you home for as long as he allows me to draw breath.”

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 500+ WIP words

    Liked by 2 people

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