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January 29, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Choose Your Motif

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: , — Eva Therese @ 7:09 pm

Challenge is, a usual, courtesy of Chuck Wendig and can be found here. My random picks were: Blood as motif, Supernatural Romance as subgenre and A King’s Bedroom as setting. I had a lot of fun with it, even though I kinda had to cheat with the king’s bedroom thing and you’ll have to imagine that the romance hasn’t started yet.

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Flash fiction challenge – choose your motif

A wail pierced the peaceful summer afternoon. Ben turned and saw that the sound came from a small child – it was impossible to tell whether it was a boy or a girl – who had tripped and fallen. The child’s mother rushed to its side and pulled it to its feet. On the left knee small pinpricks of blood were visible and quickly growing, like rosebuds preparing to bloom. Then the blood was obscured from view, as the mother dabbed at the wound with a paper napkin.
Ben turned and went inside. The air-conditioning was cranked up to max and made him shiver after the warmth outside. He found a custodian, a woman who eyed him curiously as she showed him the way to the manager, Mr. North’s, office.
The office was even cooler than the rest of the building, yet Mr. North was sweating. He was a huge man, almost as wide as he was tall. He gave a grunt as he raised to offer Ben a wet handshake and another grunt as he almost fell down back in his chair.
He asked Ben to take a seat and then he stapled fat, ringed fingers and looked shrewdly at Ben over the tips. It was an appraising look, as if he tried to reconcile how Ben looked with what he was supposed to be.
It was a look Ben was used to, but it still made him move uncomfortably in the chair. He cleared his throat to break the silence, the ventured: “You have a ghost, I understand?”
Mr. North nodded slowly, the movement adding and subtracting double chins. Still he said nothing.
“The ghost of Elvis?” asked Ben in a lame attempt at a joke. The staring was making him sweat in spite of the cold.
Mr. North gave a grunt. “Of course not! If that had been the case, we could probably have made money of it. But we have no idea who this is.” He scratched a couple of his chins thoughtfully. “Those who have been closest to it, claims that it is the ghost of a women. Can’t give adequate reason for why they think so, mind you, but there you have it.”
Ben took out a notebook and a pen. “I will need to know, when the ghost was first observed.”
“It was first reported around two months ago, but one of the custodians claims that she had felt it before that. That there had been weird cold spots.”
Ben didn’t find this hard to believe, but he doubted whether it didn’t have more to do with the air conditioning. Still, he dutifully noted this information as well..
“I should like to see the haunted room,” he ventured.
Mr. North gave him a hard look, as if to say that he had expected this, but was not happy about it. Then he got to his feet and started waddling towards the door.
Ben followed him down the corridors, since there was no way they could walk side by side.
Mr. North stopped to catch his breath, then he pointed into a room. “There,” he wheezed. “Elvis Presley’s bedroom.” He made a grand gesture with his left hand, the right was clutching the door frame.
Ben went inside with a look that he hoped was suitably impressed. He scanned the room looking for anything out of the ordinary. “Was this where he died?”
Mr. North gave a snort and Ben turned around, worried that the stroll down the corridor had been too much for him. But the manager simply looked annoyed. “Of course not. He died in the bathroom. Don’t you know your history?”
Ben muttered something about this particular detail having slipped his mind and went back to looking around. There was nothing unusual to see, but there hardly ever were. He turned back to Mr. North. “You say that the ghost shows up at all times?”
Mr. North nodded. “At all times. If there’s any pattern to it, we have yet to discover it. But it’s almost always in this room.”
“There’s two possibilities; one is that the ghost is haunting the place where it died, but I suppose you would have told me if there had been any deaths in this room?”
“Of course.”
“The other is, that the ghost is haunting this room because it meant something to it, when it was alive. It might have come here often. Does this ring a bell with you?”
Mr. North mulled this over. “Can’t say that it do. We haven’t lost any custodians recently, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
Ben nodded grimly. “I suppose there’s no way around it. I’ll have to spend the night.”
“What? Sleep in Elvis’ bedroom? Unheard of!
“I don’t plan to sleep,” answered Ben. He had started pulling out drawers and looking inside. I plan to stay wide awake and hopefully I’ll make contact with the ghost.” He looked up and smiled at Mr. North. “Find out what keeps it here. If I’m really lucky, the ghost and I can be out of your hair in a couple of days.”
Mr. North grumbled something, but finally he said. “All right. What do you need?”

January 20, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Photos of Impossible Places

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: — Eva Therese @ 10:47 am

This is just me kicking about a character and some concepts from an idea I have. The prompt for the writing challenge can be found here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/01/18/flash-fiction-challenge-photos-of-impossible-places/
And my chosen photo of a place was Tunnel of Love, Kleven.

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Amelia heard the roar of the engine, growing steadily louder and then there was the screech of the brakes as the train slowed down to stop at the platform.
There was movement in the crowd surrounding her, as people bent down to pick up their belongings and get ready to board the train.
She felt a push at her back, hard enough to send her stumbling a step forward. She was going to turn around and tell whoever it was, to be more careful, but another push hit her and sent her forward, screaming and with flailing arms, right in front of the train. The last sound she heard was the piercing note of the horn. Her last thought was, that it had been no accident. She had been pushed on purpose.
She thought she heard the click-clack sound, as the train went by. Then she realised that it was not a train, but the beat of her own heart. She opened her eyes. There was bright green above her, green on each side of her. She blinked a couple of times and the green became leaves on trees.
She got up and looked around. Where was she? She could see train tracks; they looked odd, running through a green tunnel like this, but the platform was nowhere to be seen and she was all alone.
Perhaps she was dead. She found the chilling thought hard to dismiss. This tunnel could lead to Heaven, although that didn’t make the train tracks seem less odd. Maybe the pastor was wrong about the state of the world, if enough souls were going to Heaven, that they needed trains to carry them in. She gave a small giggle, that ended in a sob. She didn’t want to go to Heaven, she wanted to go home.
She looked down both sides of the green corridor. Maybe one direction lead to Heaven and the other lead back to the world, but they both looked the same.
She looked from side to side again and almost jumped out of her skin. A woman stood just a few meters from her. She could not have come though the tunnel, Amelia would have seen her, and the greenery on either side was too dense to move through without making noise.
The woman – actually she looked more like a girl, though she was taller than Amelia – smiled at her. She hardly looked like an angel. She was wearing trousers and a sleeveless shirt, made of a shiny white material and decorated with two black stripes. The whole thing struck Amelia as being a bit indecent. “Are you an angel?” she blurted out.
The girl seemed slightly taken aback by the question. “No.”
“Then I’m not dead?”
“No, you’re not. There’s been a sort of accident and you’ve taken a fall though time.”
“Time?”
“About 20 years or so. Oh, and about half a mile east as well.” When Amelia only stared at her, she added: “Due to the movements of the Earth, you see.”
Amelia didn’t see. Not at all. But she nodded anyway. “How does one fall though time?” she asked.
The girl stapled her fingers with a serious expression. “Imagine a vinyl record.” She broke off and looked at Amelia with a frown. “You know what that is, right?”
“Of course,” Amelia answered, a little indignantly.
“Good. That’s the easiest way to explain it, you see. So you know, when you play a song on a vinyl record and the needle moves though the groove? But sometimes it skips back or ahead. That is what has happened to you.” She beamed a smile.
Amelia felt faint. “Oh,” was all she managed to answer. She looked around. “So this is the train track in 20 years time? It’s hard to imagine. It’s so beautiful.” She felt herself blush. “I thought it was a pathway to Heaven.”
“It’s a bit overwhelming, I know. But don’t worry. I’m here to take you home.”
“Home?” said Amelia, painfully aware that repeating everything like this, made her sound stupid. Then several thoughts struck her at once. “There was a train and I fell and … I can’t go home. Will I be dead? Someone pushed me! I can’t go home just yet.” She ended on a pleading note.
The girl cocked her head to one side. The smile was gone, making her look older and – strangely enough – kinder. “You won’t be dead. The train passes over you, but doesn’t hit you.”
Amelia wrung her hands. “But someone pushed me in front of the train. I don’t know who. Or why. Can’t you tell me who would want to kill me?”
A wind had picked up, making the leaves rustle. Outside the tunnel, the sun came out and its light, filtered through the leaves of the overhead branches, made a pattern of green on the face of the girl.
“I can’t tell you,” the girl said. “And even if I could, you won’t remember anything of our conversation. You wont even remember coming here.”
“But I …”
“You will have to find the answers to your questions yourself, same as everyone else.”
Amelia looked at the pattern of light and shadow on the girls face and thought that she did actually look like an angel; a cool and distant seraph. “Will you at least tell me your name,” she asked. “Even if I won’t remember it.”
The girl told her her name.
Amelia heard the click-clack sound as the train went over her, the squeal of the brakes. She opened her eyes, but got dust in them and had to close them again. Strangely, she was not afraid. Just lie still, she told herself. The train will pass over you and you will be fine. She didn’t know how, she just knew it.

January 10, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Spin the Wheel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Eva Therese @ 7:35 pm

The prompt for the challenge can be found here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/01/04/flash-fiction-challenge-spin-the-wheel/

My specific prompts, chosen randomly, were:
Subgenre: Superhero
Setting: On the surface of a comet
Must Feature: Magical foodstuff

The comet roared towards Earth. In about five minutes it would enter the plants atmosphere and begin to burn, but for now, it was still relatively safe to stand on and she enjoyed the ride. Sanjay smiled in anticipation of the death toll and the chaos that would follow. It would be …
“Stop this dastardly deed, you villain!” boomed a voice behind her.
Sanjay turned.
Behind her stood a masked man. He was dressed in a green and silver costume with the underpants on the outside, the mark of superheroes everywhere. He wasn’t wearing any kind of spacesuit so she guessed that he was protected by a forcefield and that he had some kind of magnetic shoes, that allowed him to stand on the comet. Pretty standard equipment really.
She lifted an eyebrow, almost always the gesture of a supervillian and said: “And who might you be?”
The masked man straightened a bit. “I … am Noodle Man.”
She frowned. “I can’t say I ever heard … Wait, it does ring a bell. You got your powers from eating a bowl of noodles.”
“Yeah. Are you gonna make something of it?”
“Why would I? I’ve heard of worse ways to get your powers, than from radioactive foodstuff.”
The air seemed to go out of him. He rubbed the back of his neck. “They were magical noodles. But, yeah, I suppose so. I just get a lot of …But this isn’t about me.” He cleared his throat and spoke again in the booming voice. “You will no succeed with your evil plan, for I, Noodle Man, am here to stop you!”
“Oh, yeah? What are you going to do?”
“I am going to stop you, of course.”
“Yes, but how? Just announcing that you plan to do so, isn’t going to get the job done, you know?”
He didn’t answer. His hand started moving towards the back of his neck again, but he caught himself and jerked it back down.
She sighed impatiently. “You’re really not very good at this, are you?”
“Well, it’s my first real …”
“Just barging in like this, without having any idea what you’re going to do, is going to get you laughed at, more than having a stupid origin story ever could. Honestly! At least you could have sneaked up on me, rather than yelling about your intent.”
Noodle Man had red spots on his cheeks under the mask, from anger or embarrassment; she guessed a combination of both.
“There’s no reason to be rude, you know! I’m doing my best!”
“Well, your best isn’t good enough!”
“Oh and I suppose you got everything right the first time, when you decided to become a supervillain, little Miss Perfect!”
“I didn’t have to. It was enough, that I could make all the heroes do even worse than me.”
“And another thing … Wait, what do you mean by that?”
She stared at him incredulously. “Don’t tell me that you decided to go after a supervillain without even researching what her powers are?”
“Well, I …”
“That’s not just stupid, that’s pants-on-backwards-stupid!”
“There wasn’t exactly time, you know! I was told that a giant comet was hurtling towards Earth and that I was the only one free to stop it. I didn’t pause to check wikipedia. But what are your powers then?”
She smirked. “Self-doubt. As in, the ability to inflict it on others.”
“Oh,” he said.
“Oh,” she replied. She looked over her shoulder at the controls. Still about a minute until the comet entered Earth’s atmosphere. Then, out of idle curiosity, she asked: “What are your powers?”
“Distraction.”
Her eyebrows went up in actual surprise. “Distraction?”
“Yes, distraction. As in, I come barging in shouting and waving my arms and then people feel compelled to look at me and talk to me, while my partner gets into position and take them out with a ranged weapon, from a safe distance. She doesn’t have any super powers by the way, she’s just a really good shot.”
Sanjay’s throat had suddenly gone dry. “Oh,” she managed to croak.
Noodle Man nodded. “Oh,” he agreed.
Then the shot hit her in the back and everything went black.

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