On August 6, 2016, the WRITE EDIT WRITE Writers & Readers Group had their first challenge to write a flash fiction or flash essay piece of 250 words or less. The following are the unedited responses from the group.
by Katrina Robinson
I hated the way he looked at me, with a curled lip and narrowed eyes. Always watching, waiting for me to trip up.
“You clumsy bitch!” and the accompanying slap.
“Getting too big for your britches, ain’t ya?” and a shove.
Sometimes there was no dialogue—just a kick or push or punch or, as I got older, a pinch or grab or squeeze.
For years, he stared at me with bloodshot, jaundiced eyes; and for years, I kept my head down and did what I was supposed to. I endured the beatings, the molestation, the verbal destruction.
And then, on my nineteenth birthday, God answered my prayers. Daddy had a stroke.
He still watched me from his wheelchair, his crooked mouth drooling and his eyes rolling with rage and frustration.
But last night, I awoke from a dream—a nightmare, really, and one I’ve had time and time again—of him on top of me, his breath rank and his weight crushing and his hands groping like an animal’s claws.
I stood and put on my robe, grabbing something off my dresser as I passed. I walked to his bedroom.
He woke up when I plunged the sewing scissors into his left eye, and the garbled screams that ripped from his throat made me smile.
He hasn’t stopped crying and moaning since. It’s been a few hours, and I know I should clean up the blood…but I can’t stop staring at him, my eyes narrowed and mad giggles bubbling up through my lips.
CHLOE, THE MIGHTY HUNTER
by Jo Weber
Chloe hadn’t always been our cat. In fact, she changed hands more than once.
In 2002, or thereabouts my third grandson had just been born.
What possessed my daughter to do this I have no clue, but shortly thereafter, Jack being only two or three months old at the time, she and her sister (my other daughter) had gone to the mall and fell in love with this scrawny little thing. They were told she was six weeks old, but I highly doubted that and here she was. She barely fit in their cupped hands. Her legs were spindly and still wobbly. She hopped around like most kittens do and then would fall back on her haunches. She wasn’t a cute kitten and kittens are generally cute. I looked on and shook my head.
In my opinion, my daughter Tina( and her husband) do not do well with pets. She(they) get them and ignore them. She(they) already had this enormous German Shepard, they had special ordered from Germany. They spent thousands on this highly trained dog, name Dach that they hardly interacted with.
However this isn’t about Dach. Chloe and Dach did however, get along beautifully. There were times we’d find the kitten curled up with him, the two of them finding comfort in one another. Smart kitten that she was, she stayed close to Dach because my daughter’s second child, Matt would seek her out and torment her. He was four.
Fortunately for Chloe that would change a year later at Christmas.
She came to us in a box at Christmas in 2003, I believe it was the following year. The box the kids brought in, held gingerly, was highly suspect. My grandson Matt the tormentor was chomping at the bit. “Hurry grandma, poppa, open your present, it’s gray and it, it moves!!!” he announced.
by Lisa Wood
The blaze licked her toes. They’d pay dearly for her suffering. Fire could not kill a witch, temporarily incapacitate her maybe, but never kill her.
The flames climbed her legs like hungry ants. It wasn’t like she’d done something so terribly awful. A wicked smile quirked up the corner of her lip as she recalled the moans of passion incited by her doing. She’d matched up many-a-soul to their true mate; maybe a few of them had a previous claim. She’d only felt it was right to ensure they found their one true love.
The fire found her heart, hidden deep within the cavern of her chest. She’d known her one true love. Known him and lost him in as many days as it takes a baby to learn to toddle. Her anger crackled with the fire. They’d paid just as she’d make these poor naive ones pay.
She knew the fire as it met her brain, and the citizens of Lotham would soon know the fire too. This she vowed as she felt herself being incinerated. This was nothing. The world would never remember Lotham. She would burn them off the face of the Earth. The memory of Lotham would be cremated and spread so thinly across the history of the world that no modern human would remember them. She felt the particles of her being blazing, and she let them go away from her; they spread across the village and it burned as did all of its occupants.
by Samantha Beardon
I step through the kitchen door and freeze unable to move, as my eyes swivel rounding and I can feel them widen in amazement. My breath suddenly expels in a huge whoosh, I gasp, and realise I had been holding my breath. I force myself to walk further into the kitchen, looking around I am hardly able to believe my eyes. The kitchen is in chaos it looks as if it has been ransacked. The contents of the drawers and cupboards are strewn over the floor. Not only the physical things, somebody has upended all the cereal, pasta and rice onto the table. In fact it looks as every package might have been upended and dumped on the floor, the air is full of visible particles and I am starting to sneeze. The cupboard doors are hanging open and the drawers are all on the floor. I never seen so much devastation. I swivel around to try to identify if the electrical items are still in the room or whether they have been stolen. I am presuming we must have been burgled, although it looks like a very inept job. I am thinking whoever did this was totally crazy, as this seems almost like the place being systematically trashed, rather than a burglar doing a methodical search for valuables. Everything appears to be here as far as I can see, although I am loathe to disturb the scene. Microwave, music centre, clock are all laying abandoned in the midst of the devastation. I feel rooted to the spot, I rub my face trying to subdue the dust and feel a tremor from my hand, I can hear a low-pitched whining noise and as I look around for the source I realise it’s coming from me. I take some deep breaths and decide to check the rest of the house. Then I think, what if the intruder is still in the house? They could harm me. I get out my phone and speed dial Carol, then I look around the kitchen for something to protect myself with, if there is an intruder. I discard the thought of one of the kitchen knives as too lethal and spy a nice robust frying pan that would inflict damage hopefully of the non-lethal sort if I were threatened.
by Lee Balan
One hundred hungry tigers were twisted into a Gordian Knot somewhere on the other side of the continent. This puzzle stupefied scientists and wise men. One day, a young scribe realized it was all an illusion… that’s when everything fell apart. The knot was holding it all together — then, there was nothing. Time for new beginnings.
THE POST OFFICE BOX
by Pam Schloesser-Canepa
Tussling with the dog. That was Jasmine’s story, this time. The scar would dissipate in a week, she knew. It did hurt. This was so unfair, yet, all too familiar.
Driving to work, Jasmine noticed she’d inadvertently put on one navy blue shoe and one black. An understandable mistake; they were almost identical, and those colors were close. I wonder if anyone will notice? She realized the light had turned. I sure don’t need a ticket.
To her left was the post office. Darn, I forgot that electric bill. Rick will lose it. Do I go back? She worried it might make her late, yet she didn’t need one more fight about the mail.
Her thoughts drifted to the invitation that had arrived the week before, for her ten year high school reunion. Of course, with a four month old baby and a full-time job, she hadn’t seriously considered. Still, she had thought of going.
“You just want to see all your old boyfriends! You wench!” Rick had screamed, holding the baby in his arms.
“No, Rick, don’t worry, I don’t need to go.” That’s how it always went. Keeping the peace. When she never received any in return.
Abruptly, she pulled into the post office. “I need a post office box,” she announced to the clerk. JUST for me.
With receipt of the key, she found the assigned box. It was cool inside. She imagined fitting inside of it, this doorway to distant places.
by Elizabeth Ann Mitchell
“Christine, please pay attention to your spinning. It is a disaster, yet you refuse to learn. You must use both your hands in rhythm.” Christine thought, Synchronicity, like Papa explained about the celestial spheres.
Her mother continued her rant, “Your father thinks because I did not bear him a boy, he can make you into one, stuffing your head full of Latin and science. How we will ever find a husband for you, I do not know!”
Stifling a yawn at the perennial subject, Christine searched through her Latin. Oscitate, yes, that’s yawning, she smiled to herself. And that hole in my spun fiber, that’s lacuna. Out loud, she said dutifully, “Yes, maman, I will try harder.” She picked up more roving to bear out her promise.
She loved her maman, but she wanted to be a scientist like her father. She wanted to discover whether the pestilence that had ravaged the world was due to the conjunction of three planets, as some thought, or from a miasma, a mala aria in her native Italian. She would be as famous as her father, some day, and not for her spinning. She would be a new sort of woman.
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