Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Friday original

Be Quiet…Don’t Breathe

Suhatra can move only her eyes. In her peripheral vision, she watches him flip switches like a mad scientist. Frankenstein images come to her, unbidden, terribly unwanted. The tingling begins in her fingers, moving up. This is so nerve-wracking, she’s afraid of farting right out loud. This thought causes her to make the tiniest little hiccough. He spins and leans into her face. “Be quiet. Don’t breathe. We’re very nearly ready to begin.”

He explains the anesthetic effect of the ionization process. The tingling continues, spreading throughout her body, then down to her toes. When it reaches her face, she absolutely, positively wants to scream, “Stop!” She lies completely still, keeping her eyes open, waiting for the cue to focus on that dot on the ceiling. This is supposed to hold her eyes in place long enough for the molecular rearranging to settle her new features without error.

The horror stories she’s heard. Wandering eyes causing a living nightmare of a cubist face make her want to focus now. Yet she’s been told that everything must be still at once, no breathing even. The eyes must focus on the dot at the proper time, as concentration may wane if held too long. She wants no cubist look, just to walk free again as an unrecognized individual. He whispers, so as not to disturb her stillness, “it’s time now to focus on the dot. In 7 seconds, your molecules will rearrange to create a new you. You won’t recognize yourself. Ready . . . 7 . . . 6 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Voila! You are no longer gorgeous. You are normal. Normal, I say. Sit up, dear. Look. Look.”

Flashback Flash Fiction Friday (sending old stuff out to the universe, because I’m on vacation)

I Started A Joke

It was only a joke.

I know. You told me.

I didn’t know you had done anything.

I didn’t know if I had done anything.

I didn’t mean to hurt you.

And yet here you still are.

(Nurse) “I can actually see two people having a conversation.”

(Doctor) “Now that they’ve finally met, we can work on integration.”

Flashback Flash Fiction Friday (sending old stuff out to the universe, because I’m on vacation)

Drew’s Cousin

Drew stood on the beach, savoring the moment. He was still processing that he was doing exactly what he wanted, and at only 19, starting his chosen career. At 19. He sent his thanks out to the Universe as loud as he could.

“Thank you!” he screamed out across the ocean.

“Yo, bud. What’s up with that?”

His new best friend and right hand man seemed intrigued at his fervor.

“Counting my blessings, friend.”

“Cool.” They hung together side by side absorbing the moment.

“Who’s that chick? Is she with us? I thought I knew everyone.”

Drew responded by waving and yelling, “Hey, Linda!” To Garret, he explained, “It’s my cousin.”

As Linda came closer, Garrett stood taller, straightened his t-shirt, and pressed back his hair.

“No way, man. She’s off limits.”

“Why? She’s hot.”

“The less you say to her, the better. She won’t understand. Her brain takes things literally.”

Watching the staircase tilting in the wind, Linda whispered to herself, “I’m not going up there again. It’s too scary.”

“Why would you? It’s dangerous,” responded a voice from the crowd.

Drew had said every scene could be viewed from the top, yet Linda hesitated. She’d been torn between the years of her mother admonishing her to never touch the stairs and her favorite cousin including her in his movie production.

“No, I can’t do it today.” Tears raged behind her eyes as she raced home to release them into the comfort of her own pillow.

“Hey, brah, your aunt’s on the phone. Does she want you to come to the big house? Shall we hold our breath as we tremble in fear for you?”

“Nah, she’s not like that. Maybe we should quiet down a little, though. Can you pass that around?”

“Sure thing.”

His crew watched as Drew’s face transformed into a visage of ultimatum expectation. After replacing the phone, he scanned the group.

“Did anyone do something I need to know about?”

Quiet faces with wide eyes stared back at him with no sign of guilt.

“Tremble in fear, my friends.”

The longest mile, he thought, as he walked from the carriage house through the dusk to see his aunt. He entered and went toward the light to stand in the doorway of the front room.

“I trusted you.”

Her voice slashed his brain. With no clue to his transgression, Drew considered a general apology, but determined that it was too soon.

“I’m sorry.” Automatic response. He mentally crossed fingers that he didn’t just imply guilt.

“Sit.” He took a chair nearest the egress, eyeing his aunt carefully. Her eyes seemingly riveted to the fireplace, she stated in a soft, yet damning voice, “You broke that trust.”

“What can I do?”

“You’re ignorant of your egregious error.” He stared at the fire with her. Tears brimmed his eyes. “My daughter climbed one of those rickety staircasees every time your crew hit the beach to film.”

“Why?” Names raced through his mind. Who would tell her to do that?

“At your request, Drew, according to her.”

“What? I never . . . fuck . . .”

“Please, Drew. There will be no fucking in this conversation. We’re both educated adults with intelligent vocabularies.”

“Yes, Aunt _____.”

“Those staircases have remained on the beach for over five decades, the last two against my wishes.”

“I know, I know. They’re from that movie. They bring tourists.”

“Tourists.” She said it the way he’d said ‘fuck.’

Flashback Flash Fiction Friday (sending old stuff out to the universe, because I’m on vacation)

Black Mambas Attack

South Africa

Tuesday, December 14, two black mambas attacked Dr. P–, biology researcher with the University of S–, as he was observing the behavior of the reptiles. Black mambas are normally shy, and they will turn away from human contact. When they feel cornered, they can rear up four feet in an attempt to frighten an attacker.

In a rare event, two snakes worked in a tag team effort to bring down a human being. Dr. P–’s assistants, L– and J–, biology students at the university, watched the first snake bite him on the left thigh, then chase the researcher toward them, when they saw a second snake bite his other thigh. Dr. P– first told them to help him to the car, but at the second snake’s appearance, urged them to run.

The two assistants stated that they sat in the car, and every time they opened the door, one of the two snakes would race toward them. The most deadly snake in the world, the black mamba’s bite is 100% fatal without antivenin within minutes. Therefore, it was too late to help Dr. P– when they arrived with help an hour later.

Dr. P– was the procurer of reptile species for the university’s natural history museum. He also produced articles for their scientific journal on reptile behavior, including a recent article on antivenin procedures. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Flash Fiction Friday Guest Author I.V. Olokita

Israeli author I.V. Olokita has translated his flash fiction “Three Stories” so that I might share it on my blogblogblog. Enjoy! Look for an Artist Interview with this wonderful author soon!

Three Stories

I.V. Olokita

Three stories stand between you and the end of this day. Three more stories, and if everything goes according to plan, you’ll exit the elevator, enter your home within a step and a half, to your prince charming who is waiting for you at the same spot for the last eight years. You married him at the age of twenty and wanted to have a child right away, but this job, this important job, you got in a far-away city forced you to push back the decision to turn the passive into active by making the dream to have children come true. Meanwhile, he’s scratching his balls, and waits for you to come back from work every day, bearing baskets of money. You’re not angry with him, just disappointed in yourself that out of all the places in the world, you compromised for a house in the suburbs, and couldn’t convince him to move to the big city.

Stomping your feet, you think—Just three more stories and this awful day will be over. It’s not the work that’s killing you every day; it’s the drive, the long distances, and the long line for the elevator, especially during the summer. Sometimes you feel like you stew in your own juice. You know there are surveillance cameras everywhere, but it doesn’t bother you. If there’s an unpleasant smell, you’ll make sure that it’s not you, and even if there are zillions of other people at the elevator, you’ll still spray your cologne all over yourself peacefully. They can go fuck themselves; it’s definitely better than their stench.

You smile. Theoretically, the elevator’s screen shows that you’ve reached your story, and the door will open in a few seconds, you know that it’s the end now—you’ve finally arrived. So you smile. The door opens while exciting scripts are running through your mind of how you’ll enter your home, how he’ll run toward you and scoop your body into his arms. Maybe later he’ll take you to bed to make a dream of yours come true, or he’s prepared a romantic dinner to make it up to you for the awful day you had, although it wasn’t his fault. Your smile widens a little more, and your eyes are closing when the elevator door completes its divide for you. Taking one more step with your head bowed, you suddenly stop.

You’ve never loved any girl. In the locker rooms at school, you were always one of those who said “yuck,” but this woman that stands in front of you now—her smile does something completely different to you. For a moment, you can’t take your eyes off her, and you lower your gaze again. I wish I had such a lovely smile—you think to yourself, and fall in love with her even more. It all happens so quickly; she throws a shy “hello,” and enters the elevator in your place, and the door slides closed. You’re left there, standing alone, right at the entrance to your home, and you think if only you had the courage to shoot your hand into the closing gap between the doors and ride down the three stories with her.

But you don’t have that kind of courage. You just go home. He sits there in his briefs on the couch and doesn’t even mutter “hello” to you. The remainder of the shy smile you had is wiped off your face. You remember that during the last few years, there were countless smiles wiped off your pretty face. Once upon a time, it was different. Eight years ago you had an alluring smile, just like the woman from the elevator, and now all you have left are the scripts running through your mind during the three-story ride on the elevator. You think again about the smile of the woman and fall further in love with it, hoping you’ll meet her again tomorrow at one of the three stories on the elevator.

You don’t know, or maybe just don’t care, that this smile she wears, is the smile you lost a long time ago.

Flash Fiction Friday: Day Job

“Have you ever been in a lockdown?”

I raise my hand. It was a code yellow years ago at my first elementary school. A man with a gun was walking around the neighboring school. Police had it under control within the hour. No injuries. A domestic dispute. A disgruntled husband.

Evan from HR then explains, “When there’s a lockdown, you’ll hear lockdown, lockdown, lockdown,” as he counts on his fingers, “lockdown, lockdown, lockdown,” and once again, “lockdown, lockdown, lockdown. Nine times to make sure everyone hears and reacts, especially those in noisy environments, such as the cafeteria and the gym.”

No sound, not even one of the squeaky chairs, breaks through his pause for emphasis. We’re rapt.

He continues, “Lock the door. Now is the time to make you and the children. Invisible. Search the room for another egress, most likely windows, should the door be breached. If an active shooter is coming through your door, and you have no choice of flight, you must fight. Pick up a chair and”—here he positions himself to the side of the door, feigning holding a chair over his head—“come hard and heavy. He won’t be expecting it.”

My horror grows with each word. I am now planning to take a self-defense course. Most likely, though, I will take a lengthy nap when I return home, and try to pretend our world doesn’t now include active shooter training for substitute teachers.

And yet there’s more. Evan lets us know that the natural instinct to gather students together must be ignored should we find ourselves outside during a lockdown. “Run, scatter, make a wide range of moving targets. Run into the woods. Hide in the ditch. Hide under bushes. Hide behind houses. Run. Scatter. Hide.”

Then it gets even worse, and I want to walk out, but I know I would be the only one. I don’t need this job. What’s the likelihood, really?

Evan adamantly states, “Once you lock that door, do not touch it. You will hear things. You must remain quiet. Invisible. If you hear me tell you to open the door, don’t do it. If the principal asks you to open the door, don’t do it. If you hear a student screaming to be let in, don’t touch that door. You don’t know who might be behind that employee or student. If you touch that door, you’ve compromised yourself and all the students in that room.”

So I’m really looking forward to working with children again…with just a little pinging in my brain of such current events and unlikelihoods happening. I won’t even allow myself to think about narcan, which I consider the holy grail of fuckening.

Flash Fiction Friday: A Fish of a Different Color

Jake pulled on the line reeling out. “I got one!”

“I see that.” I placed my pole in the holder and moved over toward him. He gets so excited, no matter how old we get. The kids are all grown and having kids of their own, but Jake still acts like a kid at Christmas every time he hooks a fish. I love going fishing with this man.

He grabbed the fish, a decent size, not one I could name. It was a color and shape I couldn’t quite place.

“What is it, Jake?”

He held it up and looked closer, the fish inexplicably still in his hands.

And then it spoke, “I will give you three wishes if you throw me back.”

We froze, gawping at it.

Finally, I took a breath and whispered, “Did you hear that?”

Jake nodded.

We looked at each other and frowned.

Jake stated firmly, “I wish this fish to be gone.”

I swear the fish grinned before it replied, “You cannot wish me out of exi—Aaaaaaaah!”

Jake threw it as far as possible.

I hugged my man hard and whispered, “Thank you,” into his ear.

He sighed and retorted, “That shit never works out well.”

Prompt: surviving the second great purge

They destroyed the cities first, which made sense. The noise, light, and material pollution invaded their dens. Hearing a dragon cough is bowel-freezing, heart-stopping. They snort freaking fire! This is how they razed the cities, breathed fire onto them until they were ashes. No more pollution. It was a purge the ruralites cheered.

Last week, the second purge took the small towns. Prevention? Nobody knows. But we’re staying on our farms and practicing total self-sufficiency.

Original composition “Whisper Me This” by special guest Brandon Schafer for novel by Kerry Anne King launching August 1

I’ll have to admit that the initial idea to write the song itself was not my own; it was the Viking’s. He wanted to know if perhaps I could write a song with the words from the book and play it at Mom’s next book signing. I was excited to take on the challenge, of course. As most of my friends and family know, I usually write hard rock songs, so it was a bit of a challenge to do justice to the words written in “Whisper Me This.” I had a guitar idea I had been playing around with earlier in the year that I ended up adapting to be the verse of the song. After this, the melody and cello part rang in my head as soon as I had figured out the general chord progressions.

The recording process was painless as Jimmy Hill of Amplified Wax took us through his flawless process of recording an acoustic song. It took about four hours to track the guitars, cellos, and vocals. I was fortunate enough to convince Keadrin Cain to join me in the studio as I had heard she was the best cello player in the area. Upon entering the studio, I found out that she was also able to sing. I immediately recruited her for harmonies. The harmonies were written in the studio with the help of Jimmy.

I’ve always felt self conscious of my voice, I still find myself picking apart my vocals and wishing I could fix several things. But Keadrin’s voice is such a perfect complement to mine that it makes me forget I even hate my voice. Overall, I’m exceptionally proud of the song and I think it represents the book well. I’m so excited to share it with everyone!

-Brandon