on writing

Flash Fiction Contest! Blind Judge TBA

Credit: Gustavo Centurion

There’s nothing like a contest to draw out great stories. Blogging friends, here’s the challenge. You have until Friday, October 12th at the stroke of midnight to craft an amazing piece of flash fiction. My middle & high school students are being forced to enter assigned this contest, so consider it the literary version of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader. Don’t be fooled into thinking my peeps are easy prey. Many of them have been with me for years and are quite masterful.

More entrants make for a better contest and will foster an appreciation for flash. So please, give my blind judge an afternoon’s worth of fabulous reading. Join the fun and post an entry in the comment section. The only rules are to keep it under 300 words and keep it clean. I’ll announce the winners on Wednesday, October 17th in a post showcasing the winning entries.

Prompts for the idea-challenged:

  • 1st line: X [insert name] was known for stealing Y [insert thing].
  • Picture (write a flash about these two lovebirds):
Credit: Jean-Philippe Delberghe
  • Character/genre/setting. Pick three and go! Or do these: sailor/memoir/water treatment plant
  • Anything you want

Pssst. Students who follow my blog… You have quite the heads up for our assignment next week. I hope you’ll not tell, but use the extra time to make a flash of epic greatness.

 

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43 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Contest! Blind Judge TBA”

    1. Wow! I never heard you read before. Makes me want to try it. I like the idea of not having my face on there, just the voice. Thank you for playing along (and what a “delicious” story it is! Yes…can I get the written copy pasted in the comment field? Thank you, Keith.

      1. Sure will.
        All my recent poems and most other posts are on my YouTube channel so I’m approaching 1,000 recordings.
        I don’t mind my face being out there but my songs/poems are about the words, not my singing!
        (FOR SURE!)

  1. Stealing Hearts and Minds
    Jane was known for stealing hearts: She also liked to collect other body parts, but hearts were her hands down favorite. She longed for romance hot as a five-alarm-fire, a boyfriend so salsa that he was off the Scoville-Chili-Pepper-Scale. Her fruitless search for a boy that swept her off her feet left Jane feeling dead and empty inside. She knew the warm, loving embrace of a custom-made-mensch was just what the cardiologist ordered, and since her search for a proper boy-born-of-woman had proven fruitless the ghoul, er girl, decided to create the perfect boyfriend, bit-by-bit and piece-by-piece.

    It started innocently enough, a stolen glance, a stolen kiss, but soon Jane went from misdemeanor infractions to major felonies; breaking into hospitals and stealing dialysis patients’ kidneys, cataract sufferers’ eyeballs and tipplers’ livers. Her constructive surgery had been slow, but she finally had her golem, her synergistic masterpiece that was far greater than the sum of her stolen and quilted parts. Jane had her mensch and he was fine as frog-fur, a cover that’s known to be mighty fine.

    Having leapfrogged over obstacles, tonight she and her made-man Verde Greenia were stepping out for the first time. She’d selected a romantic French restaurant that featured spécialités du tuyau guaranteed to get libidinous juices flowing. The evening began with  champagne and oysters-on-the-half-shell and would end with juicy-juicy-mangoes, figs and dark chocolate. Jane ordered Quiche Lorraine while Verde selected cerveaux.

    Verde was perfectly attentive, a boy literally made to order, and dinner was sublime. Dinner was sublime that is until the main course arrived. It was then that Verde grunted, “Brains!” and lopped off the top of Jane’s head and devoured her cerveuax, proving once again that no matter how charming the zombie, brains are always at the top of his mind.

  2. The elusive they say opposites attract. Herman didn’t know who they were.
    He looked over his phantom face in the mirror. The stitches holding his smile broke. Rotten teeth were a turn-off for most women.
    “What sort of zombie puts a profile on a dating site?”
    It was done on a dare. Who says the undead can’t have a life? Ed, ever a charmer and a drunk in this half-afterlife, told Herman he would be happier if he went out more. Halloween was coming. She would think Herman was a brilliant costume.
    This she was as elusive as the they who made ridiculous claims like opposites attract.
    Herman pulled up to her house in his 1966 Chevy on Halloween. She glowed with the setting sun as she stepped outside like an angel meant to take him to Heaven.
    Heaven isn’t for zombies who eat brains, even reformed zombies, thought Herman. If he had a beating heart, it would have thumped out of his tattered chest beneath his new clothes.
    “The clothes,” said Ed, “were important. You can’t go around looking completely dead.”
    He already rigid body stiffened as he remembered his manners, exited the car, and opened the passenger door.
    The light of Heaven shone down with her smile. “Happy Halloween…Herman.”
    “Hello, Brenda.” He shouldn’t have gorged on a stray cat’s brains before coming here, a chunk of grey matter lodged in his throat. “Where to?”
    “You look like a vintage kinda guy. There’s a malt shop in town. You know it?”
    He nodded.
    A little while later, they shared a table and a strawberry shake. She leaned into him and took his hand. He twitched, trying to pull away.
    Yet she was as cold as him.
    She giggled. “Don’t worry, Herman. It’s Halloween. This is all a costume.”

    Title: Halloween Date Night
    300 words exactly (not including title)

    1. Thank you! People have done it both ways. If you only post to your blog and don’t put it in the comments, make sure you link back to me (as opposed to just tagging) so I get your entry. Yay! Happy writing!

  3. Jane was known for stealing money from the men she went on blind dates with. That was her favorite pastime and one that she became increasingly excellent at as time had progressed.

    The dusk of Halloween night fell on her doorstep as she walked the three blocks to the restaurant where she met her prey. Tonight’s victim, she met on social media, requested that they come in costume to celebrate the night of the dead. Something about the man’s request halted her from replying to his message. It wasn’t until she noticed the watch on his wrist in his profile picture, was a Rolex and ignited her lust for more monetary value.

    She spotted him right away.

    He was in corpse paint sitting in a two-seater booth, the only man in a costume.

    “Hello,” He greeted.

    He was handsome, even with the thick paint covering his face.

    There conversation was easy, he was polite, gentle even. He stuck to one beer and didn’t look past her to the television screen while she was talking.

    After dinner, they shared a chocolate shake and she fought her impulse to pick his pockets. He was different, she thought. She waited for him to ask her on another date but found him unwilling to pick up the hints.

    “Would you like to see me for a second time?” she asked.

    For the first time in a long time, she was blushing with hopes of a future.

    He turned to her and smiled, “This is the second time I’ve seen you.”

    She laughed, “No it isn’t.”

    He laughed and goosebumps splintered her arms as fangs grew inside his mouth, “You stole from me on our first date, and now I will steal your soul.”

  4. Title: Sam
    94 words

    Sam was known for stealing time.

    Out from under our noses.

    He was beyond proficient.

    Distractions were his weapon of choice.

    Bright, flashy, and colorful, were his specialty.

    Calling to his victims in that monotonous voice.

    Bips, bops, bings, rings.

    Stealing seconds, minutes, hours.

    Swiftly, unobtrusively.

    The tiny pick-pocket in your pocket.

    Sam is still stealing our time.

    Out from under our noses.

    He is beyond proficient.

    Beware of his distractions.

    Bright, flashy, colorful.

    He calls you – his victim.

    Stealing your seconds, minutes, hours.

    Swiftly, unobtrusively.

    Can you silence the pick-pocket in your pocket?

  5. Blå was known for stealing time. She looked at it with great jealousy she didn’t have enough according to her so she craved more. Blå was a being of great power with her ability to master magic. Hunger thrived in her like a crow clawing for scraps. She was never satisfied so she stole time from her kingdom. Life would drain from the peasants and fuel her. It didn’t matter that she was 8000+ years old the hunger for life still thrived.

    If anybody tried to fight Blå in her obviously cruel life stealing ritual she would make life miserable for everyone in her kingdom. Blå was only seeking one thing in life and that was to never see the end, she was terrified of what lay beyond deaths cold grip.

    “What is the purpose of being here Lina,” said Blå.

    “I’m not sure mum many people have lots of ideas I think the purpose is to live a good meaningful life with God.”

    “Now Lina you know  God isn’t real and I don’t like anyone trying to spread lies if anyone is God it’s me because I am the oldest and strongest.”

    “You are the oldest and maybe even the wisest but nothing can compare to the almighty knowledge of God I’m sorry but there’s just nothing you can do to be a god.”

    “Well, you have to just see how good your almighty God is at protecting you from me.”

    Blå trusted towards Lisa and snatched her off the ground. She held Lisa up with one hand and started stealing her time. after Blå was satisfied she dropped her but Lisa was just a grey corpse with sunken eyes and not a last breath.

  6. Picture

    “He was the only guy who gets me!” I said with a loud tone, “I love him.”
    “Betty you don’t love him, you’re just a teenager.” My mom said back to me, “you are not allowed to see him again!”
    when she said that It just made me want to see him more. I locked myself in my room with the kye that my mom tries to hide from me but I always find. I put my pillows under my blankets so my mom would think I’m sleeping.
    opening my window I could see the slightest bit of ‘Pop’s Diner’ which is the Diner where he and I would seek off to most weekends and share our favorite pink milkshake.
    Once I got out of my window and climb down the tree I ran to the Diner I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. When I got there I could see him sitting at our booth waiting for me. The Diner was empty except for Pop and me because we were the only two who knew the love of my life even existed.

  7. I sat down to write a story of 300 words and wrote 296 that left me both empty and fulfilled. I hope you like it.

    The Light of Our World

    Malee struck a match and held the flame beneath the soaked twine until the fire danced along the ring. The sides of the simple box lantern glowed revealing the markings written on each side. Each side held a name and each name held a lifetime of memories. For each of them were a part of her.

    Preeda had died when they were young. All Malee could remember of her oldest and favorite sister was a joyful smile. Every memory contained those perfectly white teeth smiling. The thought of them spread warmth throughout Malee’s now weathered features. She found her smile again, but it was never as big as Preeda’s.

    Sunan was the was the name of her child who had never seen sunlight. He was her second son. He passed away, softly, in a another hospital room while Malee sat in her own and listened to doctors tell her she would never have another child.

    Arthit, her first-born, passed away in a truck accident while returning home from work late one night. Malee had been on her way to visit him in America and meet her future daughter-in-law. Instead of a wedding, she spent the two weeks arranging his funeral. She had not seen Arthit in two years.

    Somchai was with her as they buried both of their sons. He gave her strength enough to endure that heartbreak while he endured the loss of his sons alone. God tested her when Somchai died. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

    Malee lifted the lantern and let it slowly drift into the sky joining the thousands of others that bore the memories of the living. Bright stars against the night. She knew that, as the lanterns crossed beyond her world, her family would find their names and know that she was okay.

    1. Dang it. Found a typo. That’s what happens when you only look it over once before posting. Kelly, would you mind correcting it? “a another hospital room” to just “another hospital room” in paragraph 3. I’d prefer your students not think of me as noob to this whole writing thing.

  8. This entry is written (brilliantly!) by Anna Marsick

    Love Wins
    *Ping* goes my phone. I lay on my bed, pillow sodden with tears. I flip over, refusing to acknowledge that deplorable dimwit who sources my rueful feelings. One minute I’m in love, the next I’m drowning in my tears. I still can’t believe he didn’t take me to homecoming because he had to work out. I hate relationships.

    *Ping* I roll my eyes, ignoring it and muttering, “Not accepting apologies today, buddy. Go flirt with your dumbbells. They’re probably smarter than me anyway.” Suddenly, I hear a *thunk, thunk, THUD* at my window. Spooked, I spring off my bed.

    “Oww!” I scream-whisper, creeping to the window, seizing a pink slipper that will protect me from the predator who’s summoned me. Heart pounding, I cautiously peer out of my window into the gloomy night and am greeted by a rock hitting my forehead. “Stand down!” I yelp, “I have a weapon, and I’m not afraid to strike!”

    “Hi, Baby! Come out here!” replies the hooligan. “What in the? Myles? What are you… never mind. Go away.” I begin to shut my window as he bellows, “Wait! I’m sorry. I’m a bad boyfriend. Let me make it up to you. Please. Come out here, dance with me under the stars. I made a playlist and brought a dress for you… I love and care about you.”

    “That’s cute. Bye,” I say, shaking my head and preparing to retreat. I steal one last glance at his face. Aw man. The pleading gaze in his eyes causes me to cave in. I gingerly climb out of my window, into his arms. Expeditiously, I slip into the dress, and we become one under the stars… united in rhythm. As we sway to the music, he murmurs, “I love you.” I love relationships.

  9. The winding road stretched out before me. My eyelids grew heavy and began to close. Ring, ring, ring. I struggled to find my phone in my cluttered car full of everything to last me the summer in California. “Ah, there it is, “I said as I grabbed my phone out from under some pool floaties. “Hello,”

    “Hey, honey! How’s the drive going?” Bella asked.

    “It’s going well,” I answered, “Pretty boring though, but only an hour left so I’ll live,” I chuckled.

    “Well good, I hope you’re enjoying your last hour of boredom and relaxation because I have every minute full of activities planned,”

    “Haha okay sounds fun, I’ll see you soon,” I said smiling.

    “Okay, be safe,”

    ” Of course, love you bye,”

    Just as I hung up, blazing headlights shone into my eyes. They were coming straight at me. I tried to swerve around them but instead, I found my self no longer on the road. I had driven straight through the railings and now, plummeting off the cliff. before I could comprehend what was happening, I felt my head snapped back at the impact of my car hitting the water.

    Farther and farther it sunk in. Frantic, I looked around unsure of how I could escape when I spotted the pool floaties on the passenger seat. At this point, the water was up to my shins. I unfastened my seatbelt and hurried to grab the floaties. The water rose higher and higher into the car every second. I was finding hard to breathe in the panic. I grabbed my phone and thrust it up at the sunroof but the glass didn’t break. I felt the water at my neck and I tried one more hit but it was no use. I was trapped.

  10. The Last Halloween

    “This is going to be awesome!” My friend Jeremy exclaimed. ” It’s going to be the greatest Halloween ever!”

    “I agree; let’s make it the best,” I replied. After I donned my Dr. Frankenstein costume, we left.

    It was a warm evening. Kids were everywhere, shouting and observing their prizes. The sunset was beautiful, an explosion of pink and yellow in the sky.

    The first 5 houses we visited were generous, giving us Hershey bars and King-Sized Reese’s. As we were strolling, we came across a hideous creature, who fell in step with us after Jeremy remarked how he completed my Frankenstein apparel. The monster’s makeup was almost perfect, and his yellow eyes glimmered in the dusk. He wasn’t talkative, just keeping in step with me and munching on chocolate.

    Soon, the moon came out, often hidden by dark clouds scudding across the sky. A chilly wind started to blow, and rain sprinkled down. Jeremy departed for home, tired.The monster and I kept on, gathering candy.

    I left the monster when I realized the time. I would have to take the shortcut through the woods to make it home before midnight.

    I was nearly home when I bumped into something large.

    It wasn’t a tree.

    The monster-man.

    A lightning flash divulged a ragged rip in his cloak, revealing a mottled chest, metal pieces poking from green flesh.The sight paralyzed me with fear.

    He was real.

    Thunder boomed like artillery fire. I screamed as he seized me and hissed, “Curse you, Frankenstein! You have come back from the grave to cause me anguish!”

    “But Frankenstein-”

    “All who bear the name Frankenstein deserve to die, to have no happiness here!” His eyes blazed with rage as the thunder crackled. “I end this once and for all!”

    I felt his fingers close around my neck.

    (I had 300 not counting the title)

  11. The Creation

    Nova was know for stealing parts, body parts. She had been collecting for months. In search of the perfect components to piece together her creation. After years of flawed and failed relationships, she had concluded the only way to attain the man of her dream was to create him. Piece by piece, she laid him out in front of her. The gigantic from stretched out across the table as she completed the final touches. At last, he was finished.

    Her heart swelled as she gazed at her product. His handsome figure sent shivers up her spine. The sun had now set, leaving only a sliver of moonlight to creep in through the window. She stood over the motionless corpse, admiring his many features. It was time. She did a final check for imperfection before sending the electric shock through his lifeless frame.

    The creature remain still. It’s inanimate figure sprawled on the cold stone floor. Defeat crept into Nova’s mind. Suddenly, the body convulsed. Electricity surged through his veins. She stood in awe as his deep set eyes slowly opened.

    “He’s alive,” her whisper filled the cold night air.

  12. Goodbye Jason

    “Fine! Goodbye Jason! It’s over! Leave me alone!” I screamed, my face contorted and red with anger. I turned around and stomped down the street, tears streaming down my face. My feet carried me home and I sank into bed, sobbing. I picked myself up and left some time later, walking out the door and heading for the woods. I stared at my feet, stumbling through the brambles. Frost covered every bush and branch, giving the forest an eerie aura as the cold crawled down my spine. I was on edge, looking over my shoulder every few seconds and getting startled by the slightest sound. I looked up and saw my old treehouse. Jason and I made it in 3rd grade. As I approached it, I noticed something hanging from one of the branches supporting it. It was a person. I knew who it was. I knew it was my fault.

  13. Title: Identity 

    “Ibzen Abimbola was known for stealing identities. But the way that he stole them was most intriguing. He wouldn’t steal just anyone. He would analyze a person’s whole career, relations, money, and assets. Then he would stalk the person through their phone then, pounce. This may sound like what all identity thieves do, but something was off about this man.” Atlas set down his cup of coffee, looked me straight in the eye and said: “Our organization needs to find this man, and stop him.”

    “Well, of course, we do if what you say is true,” I said feeling a tiny twinge of annoyance towards my companion.

    “Do you want me to tell you what’s strange about this identity thief?”

    “Of course!” I replied a little forcefully.

    “He wouldn’t steal peoples identity. He would become them.”

    “Become them?” I asked feeling uneasy “How?”

    “I don’t know!” Yelled atlas throwing his cup of coffee against the wall “He’s like a phantom, becoming different people, infiltrating companies and destroying credibility”

    “Do we have any idea of what his motives and endgame is?”

    “Did I not just tell you that I don’t know,” he said unable to hide his impatience “We do have a lead, however, to his whereabouts. Merlin said that he’s here in London as well”

    “Let’s go try and find him then,” I said, now feeling that familiar tingle that I got when we were about to catch a criminal

    Atlas got up and came around the table towards me. As he turned toward me I thought I saw a red glint in his eye, but as he faced me I thought I had imagined it. His face contorted and the skin around his hands and neck peeled away to reveal a terrifying underneath. 

    “Who are you?” I asked, terrified

    “We, are Ghost”

  14. 287 words.
    Therapy Dog / Fiction / City

    My mind excelled in areas similar to these. The humans bustling from shop to shop, the fragrance of unhealthy food, and the racket of motion from every which way. The noises varied from a woman speaking with her colleague to a taxi screeching to a halt. I strolled across the hectic sidewalk, remaining near my companion. He used to be uneasy of the unknown streets, but we’ve grown fond of them. Our daily walk helped us improve together. 

    Of course, not all was pleasant. My companion didn’t witness the stares we received or the whispers following, but I did. Some days we walked with confidence, while others we struggled with the monumental obstacles. The world consisted of people good and bad. It wasn’t complicated to recognize the difference. On one challenging walk, a young boy pretended to trip my companion, simply to gain laughter from his friends. I growled at them until each was out of sight. 

    The morning of our last walk, the street was busier than usual. My mind stayed on high alert as we strolled up to the crosswalk. My companion and I started stepping across the street in a leisurely manner. All was fine; until the screeching came. The impact tore me to the ground, skidding across the concrete. The urgent voices rang out before everything went black. 

    The day of our last walk continuously disturbs me. My heart yearns for the kindness I found in my companion, but that morning in the bustling city was my last few moments with him. I had failed in sustaining his safety. The therapy in our relationship worked both ways. My reason in life was gone, and among it took my loving companion away from me.

  15. Finding Love

    Paige always loved going to her favorite diner for a rootbeer float. This day was different as she walked in she noticed that everybody was on the left side on the restaurant. As she turned her head to the right someone caught her eye, there was a man sitting all by himself in the corner booth. Paige decided to walk over to the left side and ask what’s going on.
    “Hey, why is everyone over here” Paige asked.
    “Don’t you see the creature over there? He’s creepy.” A stranger replied.
    Paige went to the counter and ordered a rootbeer float, then she went over to the man to talk to him.
    “Hi, I’m Paige. Why are you sitting alone?”
    “Hi, I’m Frank. Everyone thinks I’m ugly, but really I just have a skin condition. It makes my skin green, no one likes talking to me because I don’t look normal. What are you drinking?”
    “That’s sad, people these days can be so judgmental. This is a rootbeer float, have you ever had one?”
    “No, are they good? Maybe I’ll order one.”
    “They are very good.”
    Frank ordered a rootbeer float, that’s how Paige and Frank began there friendship. Going to this diner to get a rootbeer float became a tradition, after a few months their friendship turned into a romance. One night when Paige and Frank ordered a rootbeer float Frank slipped a ring onto the straw, When Paige saw the ring she immediately started to cry.
    “Will you marry me?” Frank asked
    “Of course I will.” Paige replied
    After the two got married they still went back to the same diner and got one rootbeer float with two straws.

  16. Title: Directions

    126 words

    “Dude, we are not asking the dragon for directions.”

    “Oh come on, he looks like a helpful guy.”

    “No way.”

    “Excuse me, sir.”

    “Dude…”

    “Don’t worry I speak dragon.”

    A deep grumble slipped from the scaly mass.

    “Yes, I don’t mean to disturb you but could you show us the way to the information center, we’re a bit lost.”

    The monster blinked open one huge, yellow eye to address the small stranger.  A sigh slithered from his snakey lips envolping them in smoke.  The wary young man groped his way about in the mystical lighting, shiny and smoky from the throat of a beast.  Suddenly, a voice rang out behind him.

    “Oscar says the information center is this way.”
    “Oscar ?”

    “The dragon, I told you he looked helpful.”

  17. Title: Busted
    206 words
    Joseph was known for stealing toys. He was always stealing them from the kids on the playground at school, but his parents knew nothing about it. Even though they had heard rumors from parents of kids at the school about him stealing, they never thought anything of the rumors because he acted like a perfect angel at home. Every day he’d come home with a handful of toys, and hide them in his backpack so his parents wouldn’t see. One day at recess, he was busy picking up more toys that didn’t belong to him, and putting them in his backpack. When all of a sudden, he heard a voice behind him;
    “Joseph! What are you doing!?”
    Joseph quickly turned around to see his mother, standing there in disgust.
    “Mom! what are you doing here?” Joseph asked, clearly shaken.
    “I came here because you forgot your lunch at home.” She replied “I can barely believe my eyes right now! I never imagined you would be a thief. When you get home later, you can best believe you’ll be punished and you will return all the toys you stole. Understand?”
    “Yes,” was all he managed to say before his mother stormed off in front of his eyes.

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