#FlashMobWrites 1×40

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Forty

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).

NaNoWriMo is done for another year. To all those who attempted, succeeded, or cheered on your fellow writers, we salute you. It’s been a good while since we handed out a prize to our winner, so to celebrate 40 weeks and the close of NaNo, we’re giving a one-month subscription to One Stop For Writers (@onestop4writers).

one stop

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: “shape this world”

Ruth Long: “lay your bones”

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


50 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×40

  1. I heard Christmas chime at six a.m. at our local church and I rushed from my bed to stare out the window. Being ten I had endured much taunting; as I steadfastly protested those around me who insisted there was no Santa Claus. I just wanted to shape this world into believers as I waited by the window.
    My cousin, Annalise whimpered in her sleep and I paused for a moment. She’d been through so much having to move in with us. Her parents were both dead her mother, my mother’s sister Annie having died a year ago from cancer and her father six months ago in a traffic accident. Annalise deserved some joy but my dad had lost his job and my mom was too sick to work. They couldn’t get her what she wanted for Christmas. We’d be lucky to have a Christmas at all as my parents struggled to pay the bills.
    Annalise didn’t ask for much but she wanted something special from Santa Claus I’d seen her letter but it was hard to understand what she wrote and she wouldn’t tell me what it said. There had to be Santa Claus, because if there wasn’t then Annalise would be disappointed and I couldn’t take that unhappiness for Annalise anymore.
    I know my mother would have said, “Lay your bones down and go to sleep,” but I couldn’t. I saw the snow floating softly down and the wind starting to pick up and for a moment I doubted that Santa Claus could reach us.
    As I searched the sky I first heard sleigh bells faint in the distance. Then to my watchful eyes I perceived the sight in the distance of a brownish object in the sky followed by several others. Surely this was him?
    I still didn’t see him but I heard the doorbell ring. I heard my mother rush to the front door and I rushed down the stairs and saw my mother struggling with a huge box left on the doorstep.
    She brought the box in and in it was cooler with a turkey and all the fixings for Christmas dinner. There was also two wrapped presents inside one with my name on it and one with Annalise’s name on it. Annalise soon appeared behind me.
    Mother and father allowed us to open our presents that were addressed to us from Santa Claus.
    Annalise opened hers first and in it a Lego Elsa Sparkling Ice Castle. Annalise squealed with joy and insisted that Santa had brought to her exactly what she asked for. I opened my present and found an Inside Out Deluxe Figure Set. My mother cried tears of joy and my father smiled something I had not seen in a long time.
    I knew I would have a story to tell all those naysayers who said there was no Santa; for Santa had come bringing Christmas joy and he had made our Christmas one of the best ever.
    496 words

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Homeward, the Hills

    Ace had a serviceable map. He also had a decommissioned jeep which, he said, “should hold up…unless it don’t.”

    He drove us back to his ranch, outfitted the jeep, a gnarly old hunk of junk war machinery, with gas, water, two rifles, food and, an afterthought, two vintage W W 1 issue sleeping bags.

    “Our new Senator doesn’t get phone reception,” he reinforced. “Strange duck, really. Bit of a recluse. And the road is a bitch. But gear grinder here,” he smiled, pointing to his army surplus jeep, “should get you there…and back,” he said, smiling again and crossing his fingers like a kid you like but don’t trust. “It’s a couple of hours drive, minimum. A little bumpy once you climb out of the desert.”

    “This is a lot of supplies, Ace, for a simple day trip,” I said.

    “Yeah, well, like I said, the road’s a bitch. Shape this world is in, best to always be prepared.”

    We signalled goodbye and began our expedition.

    I was behind the wheel.

    That alone was reason enough to worry.

    The first half hour was blood-blistering hot and dusty. The jeep was intermittently wheezing away like it had a hole in its lungs. The death rattle was getting on my nerves.

    “You have any mechanical skills, John?” I asked.

    “I guess we’ll find out if this donkey explodes, Woody.”

    “I hope it’s more reliable than it sounds. Back in town, you said we weren’t in Luciano’s league. What do we do about him?”

    “I’ve been thinking about that. Steamrollers like Lucky Luciano, I can’t imagine they work alone. It’s all about who owes who.”

    John was silent for a time. Then his brain clicked in again.

    “We know how Luciano came to know about Crowbar City, Woody…Hazel’s suspicion about his role in Thelma Todd’s death. But what stirred him to underwrite the land scheme? Why would he be interested in this particular backwater?”

    “The gambling opportunities,” I took a shot. “Big profits if it all works out.”

    “Yeah,” Quarry agreed, “But there must have been an inside man, someone local. Someone who owed him bigtime. Or someone who has his marker.”


    “No. Hap’s the other side of the coin. Hap’s a weasel but he’s strictly a small time rodent. No. Think about it. The internment camp. It brought a whole new element to town.”

    “The internees?”

    “Maybe. You know about the Yakusa?”

    “Yakoosa..? No. What’s that?”

    “Japanese mobsters. Like the Cosa Nostra. An unlikely option. Or, maybe, hate to think it, someone in the military. All sorts of Rounders’ signed up. Yours truly, for one. Gangsters salute the flag just like your average Joe Schmoe.”

    We drove on. The heat bubbled. Sipping water, damp-ragging our necks and brows, nothing cooled us for long. One false move and the sun could lay your bones out on the sandy desert griddle and sizzle your ribs to dust.

    Two hours in, we hit the mountain road and the sweet, shaded hills.

    500 blasts of desert heat

    Liked by 3 people

  3. A Little Pampering

    Zamora had gotten the coffee machine set up and happily burbling when Greg appeared in the kitchen in a snug black t-shirt and sweats sitting low on his hips. Holy shit, does he have to look like sex-walking? Despite his injury, he’d kept up with his physical therapy and gym workouts, and the man remained beautiful. Which reminds me, I need to do energy manipulation on his arm.

    “We should work on your arm while the coffee brews.” She wanted to make sure he was strong. She needed him to be in good shape. This world had gotten out of sync with her sense of safety and she needed to do something to reestablish it.

    Greg stopped in front of her with his hands on her arms. “Hey, this is supposed to be about taking care of you. Why don’t you sit down on the couch, wrap up in that fluffy blanket, and I’ll bring you your coffee. Let me take care of you.”

    As much as she wanted to curl up in a ball and do nothing, she needed to keep herself focused or she’d melt down like she did in the shower.

    “Working on your arm keeps me focused and is taking care of me.” She smiled to take the bite out of her words. “I need to touch you, to reassure myself you’re here and I’m safe.”

    “Oh, inkheart. Come here.” Greg wrapped his arms around her and she let herself be cuddled to his chest. He smelled like heat, clean cotton, and the special musk that was all Greg. “I’ve got you. I’m here, and you’re safe. I’ll always have your back.”

    God, she wanted that. She wanted to wake up every day and have him in her house, drinking coffee, strutting his hard-bodied stuff around like he belonged there. I want him as my permanent partner. She wouldn’t say marriage as he’d just come out of one, and she didn’t think a traditional marriage would work for her. But having him there every day to talk to, to cuddle with, to fuck. God, I so want that.

    She pushed back from him and throttled her wishful thinking. “Come on, let me work on your arm.”

    The coffee machine dinged its completion and he nodded. “I’ll pour us some coffee and we can get started. Then I’m pampering you.”

    “Heh, you already do.”

    “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, inkheart.” Greg winked at her and poured two cups of black gold into matching mugs. “I figure you can work on my arm, then I’m gonna lay your bones so well, you won’t be able to remember your name.”

    “I thought the line was ‘jump your bones’.” She smirked as she took her coffee to the couch and set it down beside the candles already on the table.

    “I’m supposed to be recovering from an injury. Jumping isn’t an option tonight.”

    482 #WIP500 words

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked my husband for the hundredth time.

    He looked at me and smiled, but it was a scared smile. I saw that look in his eyes. Even after all these years he thought he could fool me with his false bravado. I knew him better than that, but I thought it was endearing that he tried to hide his fear. I sensed his fear. I tasted it on him every time we kissed our final kisses.

    “I’m very sure,” he said as he pulled off his boxers and dropped it onto the floor. His body was thin and frail. The illness was taking over quickly and he had no more fight left in him. Every movement he made caused him pain. He was used to it. I wasn’t.

    “Come here,” I said, “Lay your bones on me.”

    “Are you sure?” he said as he crawled onto the bed. I kept my naked legs together, straight down the middle of the comforter.

    I pulled him onto me, our skin pressed close. I felt his immediate warmth, his clammy hands on my neck. His breath was shallow. I knew he did not have much time left so I wrapped my bare arms around his neck and pressed my palms onto his bony shoulders. “Just keep breathing.”

    “I love you,” he said to me as I pulled him tighter into my body. My nails pressed into his skin.

    “Keep saying it,” I said as I squeezed harder. His body began to sink down, deeper and deeper into mine. I peered over his shoulder, at the still ceiling fan, the blades still crusted with dust. He promised he was going to clean it.

    “I love you,” he said as his face sunk into my chest. I gently pulled his hair and kissed the very edge of his forehead.

    “Yes,” I said, “I love you too. Keep saying it. It’ll be over soon. You’ll feel so much better. You’ll sleep. You won’t hurt anymore”

    I kept my eyes on the ceiling. I did not want to look at him, as his entire body, head to toe, sunk into mine. I felt the last strands of his hair as the weight pulled me down. There was the pressure, the hurt, his illness, and the love. There was always love. His hair, one dark hair was left between my breasts. I held it between my fingers and I remained very still on the bed. For a long time.

    Until. The alarm went off. Sunlight filled the room. I smiled to myself because I had saved him. He was a part of me, forever. I pressed my hand against my chest and I felt the heart beats.

    458 words

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  5. The Beast Within

    I slouched in the door, watching. “How’s he doin’, Dancer?”

    “Hangin’ in, Lucky. Fuckers ripped him up.”

    Hooking my thumbs in my front pockets, my jeans pulled low on my hips. It was that or give in to my wolf, claws out. “He knew the risk when he accepted the full patch. We all do. Where’s his girl?”

    “The old ladies have her.”

    That was Dancer’s way of saying he wanted nothing to do with that situation. The man in the bed groaned. I stepped into the room and closed the door so no one else could hear.

    “Be easy, Cowboy.” Dancer touched the injured Nightrider’s shoulder.

    “Emily?” Cowboy’s voice was a tortured whisper but he fought to sit up.

    “Lay still, man, else you’ll tear the fuckin’ stitches.” Dancer forced the other Wolf back onto the pillows.

    I was beside the bed a step later to hold him down. “She’s fine, Cowboy. Gemma’s takin’ care of her.”

    Cowboy breathed easier. “The fuckers didn’t get her.”

    “No, they didn’t get her. You did your job.”

    I winced as Cowboy’s deep, racking cough brought up blood. I grabbed a towel, wiped his mouth.
    Dancer fixed me with a hard stare. “You know what you have to do.”

    “I wish the Russian was here.”

    “Cowboy’ll be dead before he could get here. You’re Alpha for a reason, Luc. He’ll heal faster in wolf form. You have to rip out his beast.”

    “I can’t.”

    My second in command glanced up, eyes glinting feral red in the low light. “He’s in bad shape. This world will lay your bones bare. And shred your soul in the process.”

    “He knew that comin’ in. Knew what it meant to accept the full patch. It’s the same for all of us.”
    “Damn ya, Luc. Ya fought t’be feckin’ President, t’be the top Wolf. Ya have the power. Ya can’t walk away from this now. ‘Tis yer duty.”

    When Dancer’s accent came out I knew I was in fuckin’ trouble. My skin itched, my wolf wanting out. Was I strong enough? Ripping a man’s beast was dangerous. I could kill Cowboy as easy as heal him. But Dance was right. I had no choice.

    Reaching deep, I pulled the power, directed it toward Cowboy. He writhed, but I couldn’t think about his injuries. I found his wolf and yanked. His transformation started. Sweat rolled down my spine. I fought our animals even as someone screamed. Couldn’t think about that. Had to hold Cowboy. Had to control the beast—his and mine.

    Spots formed before my eyes. I blacked out. Dancer had me, held me up. My claws shredded the mattress. A woman sobbed. Emily. Then arms circled my waist, a cheek pressed against my back. The scent of orange and ginger. Gemma.

    “It’s done, love. Come back to me. Come home, Luc.”

    My vision cleared. Cowboy, in wolf form was curled up on the bed, asleep. Healing. I let go. My wolf receded. I came home to Gemma.
    500 Wolfy Nightrider words

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  6. Pigment.

    She walked towards her next class, alone in a packed hallway. No one noticed her. Long copper hair hung down her back. She wondered if she changed it’s colour, right here and now, if anyone would see her. Of the girls most were blonde, a sprinkling of brunettes. But none saw her.

    One girl noticed her. But Alex didn’t want her to. She’d dropped ink on Alex’s favourite top, sprayed it over her. And dared her to say something. She knew even if she had said something the teacher would believe Taylor. Just an accident.

    Taylor Roberts was the schools super hero. Taylor could fly, she could shoot beams form her eyes. She was a celebrity. Taylor could do anything. Especially if that meant being a bitch to others.

    Nothing like being told you could shape the world to over inflate your ego.

    Alex walked into the girls rest room and looked down at her top, it now had an angry black blotch in the middle of it. One that for most would never come out. Touching her finger to it the blotch started to move as if it were being sucked off into her finger. Once it was gone and her finger was black she lifted her arm. Looking at it she closed her eyes.

    The ink started to swirl around her hand, then down into her arm. Swirling around it formed pictures. Opening her eyes Alex willed it to form flowers. Touching her hand to a red tap fixture that colour slipped up onto her arm too. Before slipping around to the flowers and turning them a deep red. Turning her arm a little she could see that she now had a red rose tattoo. Smiling softly she touched the fixture again and the red slipped back down to it.

    The black moved down to her hand and onto her nails turning each one a silken black. Alex turned and walked out of the rest room and headed towards the sports hall. That was where Taylor was ninety percent of the time. That’s where the easily impressed jocks were. As she entered she could see them crowded around her. Showing off her flat belly. She could see her lower back tattoo, a swirling pattern with a dolphin in the centre.

    Keeping her head down she walked straight towards them. She brushed Taylor, just enough to have a seconds contact with her skin.

    “Watch it looser. Or I’ll burn you to a crisp,” she sneered as she jabbed a finger at Alex.

    “Umm sorry Talor. Sorry..”

    “Get lost,” she said. Her eyes started to flash, power building up in them.

    Alex ran at that.

    As she got out of the school she turned and grinned. She looked at her hand. The black gone from it now. She wondered how long it was going to take before someone noticed that Taylor’s trendy tattoo now had queen bitch written in beautiful italic letters instead of a dolphin.

    494 words


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  7. Ascension

    The catechism states that Crafter Jillek is the one to shape this world, yet Jillek was no god, “merely” human like you or I. There is proof both in scripture and observable by heathen and faithful alike that the title passes regularly from one person to another. Why else would evil and suffering exist? What other explanation could there be for the multitude of iniquities inflicted upon us?

    How else could your death be explained?

    The language of the temporal anomaly that is the cornerstone of our belief is hard for children to follow. But much like it is for any religion the faith of those born and raised in scripture is a different beast to that who are more seasoned and nuanced in their fervor. You entered the fold late, and so your eyes were open to truths any of us cannot see, for we were blinded by the rituals we were taught. Best beloved, you showed the way in word, deed and by your failures, too. Though it is I who am the priest, my homilies will be all the weaker after your passing.

    No multitude pays homage to your internment; my speech goes unheard. But surely that is as it should be. Jilllek after Jillek we are told makes innumerous small changes, each successive change building on or reshaping the previous like filigree eternally refined. Who better for such a task than you my love?

    This libation, this bread, this cloth, I place in your grave, mine dear heart. I weep to lay your bones out in the cold ground. I pray that you ascend and become the next Jillek, so that the world is reforged once again kinder and calmer. Always. Forever. I miss you. My words make a mockery of all those other times I’ve recited them as required by my post, this time I truly mean them.I miss you and need you with me. Forever. Always. But we need you more.

    327 words

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The Shape Of Destiny

    First day back from Bereavement Leave is rough. The lunch hour rolls around and I don’t have the stomach for it. Get up and head for the break room anyway. No need to advertise my discomfort.

    In route, I make an unexpected stop in the doorway of the Communications Office. The receptionist there is always ready with a smile and easy chit-chat. And I could use a friend. Of my own gender. Without ties to my private life.

    With a shrug, I say, “If you don’t have lunch plans, Margie, I could use some company.”

    Surprise chases the initial fear from her eyes. “I’m free in ten.”

    “I was thinking the deli on the corner.”

    “Sure,” she says, hesitation in her eyes but warmth in her smile. “If you don’t mind ordering for me, I’ll take the #3 on rye.”

    “No problem,” I say, the words feeling cold on my tongue. Damn it, I need to up my humanity game.

    Outside, the sun feels good on my skin and the autumn breeze improves my mood. I’ve ordered and found us seats on the patio by the time Margie arrives.

    I listen to her chat while I eat and make an effort to pay attention and nod when it seems appropriate.

    After twenty minutes of artful conversation, she says, “Why are we having lunch together, Gia?”

    “I needed some friendly company.”

    “By ‘friendly’ you mean someone who hasn’t pried into your life outside the office.”

    She’s sharp. This friendship might just work out. “You’re the only person who hasn’t.”

    “Far as I can see,” she says, reaching for her ice tea, “your lifestyle doesn’t affect your job.”

    “My father never loved anything so much as riding. Round. That was the shape of his world. One smooth circle until it came to us, the daughters, sisters, and wives. He couldn’t understand why we’d want to shape this world when he’d already handed it to us on an aluminum spoke.”

    “My daddy wanted me to be a cop like he and my brother. I went through the academy but after graduation, I admitted to myself it just wasn’t my thing. Broke his heart when I went into communications.” She glances at her watch, reaches for her wallet, and passes me a ten. “That should cover my tab. And for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t mind trying this lunch thing again.”

    That catches me off guard. “Really? Because I’m no good at it.”

    “It’ll get easier. You just need to learn to trust people outside the club.”

    Yeah, this is exactly what I need. A friend. A smart, tough, insightful friend.

    We laugh and chat on the way back to the office and part ways at the elevator, Margie heading up to the second floor Communications hub and me taking the ground floor south hall to my cubicle inside the Glendon County Sheriff Department Human Resources office.

    – – – – –
    492 ineligible words

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  9. Omaha is coated in a quarter inch-thick blanket of ice. To make matters worse, people are still out driving and consequently, running into each other.

    Technically, my shift ended at 6:15 tonight. But, because I couldn’t make it home, I got asked to help the night shift out. I didn’t feel right saying no, as people have covered me before when I couldn’t get into work. Thus, me and a night shift paramedic, Matthew, are creeping down the concrete ramp that leads from ER to 30th St.

    “Why anyone would be out in this weather is beyond me,” Matthew mutters. “I get that emergency people have to be out, but I’d sleep at work rather than try to slide home.”

    I shrug, gently braking. “I know. Let’s hope it’s not a bad accident.”

    Earlier, as the ice first started sticking, we had a terrible interstate wreck. Three semis collided when they hit the suddenly icy interstate at seventy miles per hour. Last I knew all of the drivers were out of surgery and in ICU.

    “Up there,” Matthew says pointing out the window. “I see OPD.”

    Sure enough, red and blue flashing lights illuminate the darkened cab of the truck. I creep to a stop, grateful to the city crews for all the salt and sand on the roads. Two cars had hit head on, their front ends accordioned beyond recognition. I make sure my ice cleats are in place then jump out of the rig.

    “I’ll grab the stretcher.”

    I nod to Matthew as I approach an officer on scene. “What’ve we got?”

    “Basic head on collision,” he says. “I’ve got officers in each car keeping the drivers calm. No passengers in either vehicle. They slid through stop signs. Pretty sure at least one has a broken leg.”

    From the looks of the cars, I’ll be surprised if someone didn’t break a leg. Another ambulance from Creighton arrives on scene. I drop my bag beside the car and look inside. One female, pale and crying, with several bruises on her arms and face gazes back at me. An officer kneels on her back seat, holding her neck.

    “Ma’am, my name is Jimmy. Where’s your pain?”

    “My back and neck,” she says. I glance at her legs and mentally blanche: just as well she can’t feel that fracture. Lay your bones with me runs through my head. “All right. I’m going to put this collar on your neck. It’s going to be uncomfortable.”

    The officer assists me and by the time I’m done, Matthew has the stretcher. Fire fighters go to work cutting her car open. Ten minutes later, they help us get her out the back window. I immediately splint her left leg.

    “I’ll sit in back with her,” Matthew says.

    “Keep her calm and see if they want her to have pain medication,” I tell him.

    With direction from the officers, I carefully turn the rig around and creep back to base. Ice storms can go to hell.

    500 words

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Caretakers
    347 words

    I stalked the halls, rage filling my mind until all hints of the song were gone and I was like them, only unlike them— I actually had the power to bring everything back to center.

    “Shape this world, or shape the next – those are your choices,” the elders’ voices rang through the keep.

    All I felt was pain and rage. How could they expect me to make something good out of all of this?

    Before I could give the thought voice, they answered.

    “Poison seeds, make poisoned worlds. We cannot control what people do with the world they are given— but we can choose to give them something with potential. We owe it to them.”

    “They destroyed everything she built for them,” I answered before thinking.

    And when she went to stop them, they killed her. Of all the worlds my beautiful Genie made— theirs was the one she loved the most, and they had destroyed her as callously as they had destroyed the world she gave them.

    “The do not deserve a world worth living in.”

    “That is not your decision to make.”

    “I have bones to make,” was my growled response.

    “You must lay your bones down, if we are to survive.”

    I blinked, I think until that moment I hadn’t thought about what my outbursts— what my grief was doing to the others. With me in discord with them— I was causing the harmony to fracture.

    If I continued down this path, more than the human worlds would be lost— we would lose everything that made us. The union of spirit, the harmony of souls… the music of creation… shattered.

    That thought sobered me. In not caring for them— I risked the whole of creation— but if I could bring Genie back…

    I calmed. “What must we do to restore their world?

    I could feel the elders smile as I calmed and asked the question they needed me to ask.

    “First,” they answered. “We must bring back Genie…”

    The first step of creation— is to care, and Genie cares more than any of us.


    Liked by 2 people

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