Category Archives: Flash Fiction

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

Flash (Essay) Friday: little town, oregon

We lived in a tiny town on the coast of Oregon for only a year, but I miss it a lot. It seemed to rain all the time, yet I never used an umbrella. Clouds sat on the ground, so walking to work was hazy and misty, like a dream. Sometimes the wind whipped the rain right up your nose and you had to cover your face to avoid choking. We lived a five minute walk from the beach, down a steep hill that at the end of an hour’s walk we had to climb back up. At the beginning of the year, I thought I would die. At the end, I was chattering all the way up to the house. I forgave that little town everything for the tidal pools, the ocean vistas, and the consistently cool weather.

Flash Fiction Friday: Are You a Girl?

“Where’s my robot? I’m cold and I’m thirsty.”

“She’s coming, Grans,” said Carloni.

The small, pink and blue android strolled into the room with a blanket under one arm and a steaming mug in the other hand.

“Ah, thank you, Lazonea.”

“My pleasure, Grans.”

Grans smiled. She would take all the grandkids she could, and her android lived to please her, though one must ignore the fact that they were programmed to do so and simply enjoy.

“Lazonea, are you a girl?”

The android tilted her head and replied, “I’m not sure,” and tilting her head the other way, continued, “what that means.”

Carloni eyed Grans with a frown, “Grans, androids aren’t girls or boys. That was eons ago. Androids are androids.”

Grans’ face went slack. She turned to Carloni, “Are you a girl?”

Her grandchild came to her side, knelt by her chair, and spoke softly, “Grans, I told you, gender went out of fashion 50 years ago, before I was born. I’m not a gender. You’re one of the last females.”

“I’m so confused,” said Grans as tears welled in her eyes.

Carloni held her hands and placed their head on her lap.

Flash Fiction Friday: Nothing Much

Sam slung his backpack over his left shoulder, hearing his mom’s voice in his head to carry it properly, but he didn’t worry about shoulder problems—he was young. Waving goodbye to Paolo, he flung open the school door and bounced down the stairs to freedom and grabbed his phone out of his backpocket. He texted Paolo about their plans later on, and what did his best friend think of Lili, the new girl—should he ask her out? Sam loved those girl next door types. As he walked down the sidewalk, a car lurched off the street and into the front steps of the school, knocking down seven students, the driver barely conscious from a stroke. Turning left onto Baker, Sam received a text from his cousin about the weekend family cookout, if he wanted to do something afterward. They passed ideas back and forth by thumbs while Sam waited at 4th Avenue for the light to change. With the little bird signal for the blind announcing it was safe, Sam continued on without looking up. He walked past a cop arguing with an old lady about the pothole in front of her house. She was giving him the evil eye gesture and speaking in a foreign language. Just before making a left turn onto Seburn Street, his mother’s text made him stop. A millisecond later, a skateboarder whooshed in front of him, causing his hair to lift in the skater’s direction. His dad had broken his leg at work and was laid up on the couch. Sam had to stop at the convenience store on 4th Avenue to get his dad some ibuprofen. He kept walking—a horn blared at him. In the store, he walked through water to pick up the medicine and put money on the counter without looking around. The cashier apologized for the water line break and could he just leave the store already, whilst waiting on the phone to the owner. Sam snatched up the medicine and walked back to Seburn, a right turn now to head home. He dropped his backpack on his dad, who hollered at him to put it away, walked past the kitchen, where he greeted his mom, and answered her question about his day, “Nope, nothing much happened today.”