Zer0flash Fiction: Absolute Camouflage

Assignment from Zer0flash: create spine-tingling flash fiction inspired by this tranquil video of a dam in Cambridge.

Absolute Camouflage 

The lake floor was crusted over with garbage and cans and the slimy brown bones of a dying tree. Long, leafy willow locks writhed over the water’s edge, and even the gentlest breeze could slough off a confetti of brittle branches.

In the shade crouched a grasshopper, stock-still until a boot slammed into the spongy ground beside him. Startled, the creature performed his usual crescent jump. Not even the boot-owner noticed: at the highest point of the arc the insect crashed into an invisible obstacle. His cracked and oozing exoskeleton plopped into the water.

No one noticed the frogs either. Right off the lily pads a phantom hand plucked their shiny bodies and squeezed until their insides burst from their mouths in a sticky cornucopia. Ducks dipped their iridescent heads, popped their spade-shaped tail feathers into the air where they bobbed on the surface. And were abruptly sucked down.

You’d have to be looking dead on or you’d miss it.

At sunrise a jogger noticed swan feathers floating like opals on the dark ripples. He shrugged and continued on his way. Later,  Jimmy came with his mum to float his paper wax boat. By then the feathers were blown to the shoreline. Jimmy pushed them into the mud with his shoe.

When he got too close to the edge, chilly water seeped into his shoes. His boat, his very own creation, gloriously heaved and dipped. With a bounce he tugged on his mum’s coat, thrilled by his own awesomeness.

Then he frowned and yanked hard on his mother. The vessel caught a gust of wind and headed toward the curling punch of overflowing water.  Just before the boat crumpled under the force, Jimmy’s mum snatched it and held it high. The water reached her thighs.

“It’s ok, Jimmy,” she said.




Say It: A Halloween Horror Story

“That’s quite a costume, young ma– … er… are you a boy, or a girl? I can’t tell under all that make up.”

The childlike thing shook a head, but made no answer. The widow Hann held upwards of $37 worth of chocolate in her lap, and she wasn’t giving it up to rude, ungrateful children who couldn’t be bothered to answer a simple question. Theses kids were getting more and more ill-mannered every year.

The zombie child reached a veined, pinkish hand into the bowl.

Mrs. Hann snatched it away. “Not so fast.”

The costume was stunning. Or the paint was still wet. It glistened in the inconstant light of Mrs. Hann’s tiki torches and carved pumpkin display. “Say ‘Trick or treat first.'”

It shook its head more violently. A low guttural sound issued from lips that dripped red paint and saliva.

“Just say it.” The mother instructed, sloshing a glass of some alcoholic elixir. It wafted around the two of them like a third apparition.

“It.” The little monster said and reached again.

The sass.

Mrs. Hann clutched the ceramic pumpkin to her breast. Not a single piece would leave this bowl, not while blood flowed through her veins. This kid deserved a swift kick in the a–

“Trick or treat,” said a ragged, sexless, ageless voice. Mrs. Hann narrowed her eyes. The zombie smiled a huge smile full of baby teeth, strait and white as a fence. There was no choice but to offer the bounty.

“What do you say?” Mrs. Hann reminded.


Mrs. Hann’s mouth was in an “O.” First, in shock at such brazen, deplorable behavior. The mother had already started down the sidewalk to the next house, and the waif scuttled after her.

The next little gang of ingrates skipped up the driveway. “Trick or treat!”

Mrs. Hann hadn’t recovered her speech. The children helped themselves, squealing in delight.

But the squeals turned to shrieks, then to shrill siren screams. The children were the first to see, and they yanked their hands, sending the bowl and its contents flying. Wrapped candy projectiles flew up like a bees from the lap of Mrs. Hann. The ceramic bowl slid off her ample thighs and shattered, sending orange and white shrapnel skidding.

Neighbors drifted over, curious at the uproar. Some children retreated, the ones who saw. Others cautiously maneuvered for a better look at widow Hann, whose mouth still hinged open, whose eyes drooped, wider and wider, until one by one they fell from their sockets with an almost merry pop! ….and dangled from the optic nerves like jewelry. The tiki torches flamed high, many feet into the night sky, revealing Mrs. Hann as a driftwood being: cracked and grey and greying further. Until not a drop of blood flowed in her veins.

This flash made me $25 in the GNB Writers Block Halloween Contest! I’m grateful for the opportunity to have fun writing. The cash is icing.