Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Farewell, Dolly, My Love

This is Day 3 of the 15 Habits of Great Writers workshop.  We were to get up two hours earlier than usual and write non-stop–no reading email or scanning news, just write.  It’s a lucky thing my dogs woke me at 6:15 am because my husband forgot.  I dragged myself out of bed, then remembered why I was getting up and got all happy.  I couldn’t wait to get to my computer because, for once, what I was writing was just for me. 

We could write anything we wanted, and I decided it would take too long to sort out my long-neglected WIP, so I wrote a flash fiction story instead.  It took me 1.5 hours to write it and proof it.  It is just under 1,000 words, and I thought you would like to see it.

~~~

Farewell, Dolly, My Love

by Sandra Bell Kirchman 

Sighing, Benny walked up the steps of his front porch and sat down at the top.  She’d said no.  How could she have turned him down?  After all the practising he had done, the right way to court a lady, the affection he had showered her with.  Surely, she had known his intentions.  How unkind of her to keep on receiving his suit and his little presents, then rejecting him.  Anger stirred briefly.  She’d said she was considering her options but had decided to eliminate Benny as a prospect.  He was too short, she’d said.

Anger dissolved as fast as it had come.  No use getting mad.  She was right; he was short…she was taller at the shoulders than he by a couple of inches.  Height or lack of it never mattered to him, but he guessed females were different.  He stared across the park to her house, wondering what she was doing now.  The sun shone like a beacon of hope, ignoring his broken heart.  She was probably sunning herself in her backyard.  She loved finding a good sunspot to lie down in and let the heat bake her bones.

The favored suitor was likely that Frenchie down the street, what was his name?  Monsoor Pee-air?  Some silly thing like that.  Benny had seen him running in the park, quite the athletic jerk, always running and jumping and showing off.  But he was taller than Dolly.  Such a shallow thing to break his heart over.

Used under CC license from Roland’s Photostream – Roland Tanglao

He got up, shook himself to clear his mind, deciding against going into the house just yet.  He didn’t want to face anyone, least of all his family.  If they sensed he was going through some kind of crisis, they would turn themselves inside out trying to help.  He couldn’t face that sort of sympathy right now.

Trotting around to the backyard, he found his quiet spot under the burr oak tree right at the end of the yard.  The property backed onto a golf course, separated only by a chain fence.  Fortunately, no one was playing.  Too early on a Monday morning probably.  He was surrounded by quiet green, which soothed his spirit.

He sat and tried not to think of Dolly, the way her eyes shone when she was happy, the blonde sleekness of her, the cute uptilt of her nose.  He shook his head.  This was not what he wanted to be contemplating.  People who noticed said it was puppy love and how cute was that?  Benny knew differently.  Puppy love, be darned.

And now his heart was in two pieces, still beating in his chest but leaving him less than fully alive.

Mom appeared on the back step and called, “Benny, come here.  Mom has breakfast for you.”

The last thing in the world Benny wanted was food.  He considered not going in.  Without her glasses, Mom was nearsighted as three blind mice and wouldn’t see him if he stayed still.

“Benny, where are you?” Mom called again.  Benny heard the irritation in her voice and remembered she had an early doctor’s appointment that morning.  He didn’t want to upset her.  Even if he had said goodbye to Dolly’s feeble “I hope we can still be friends” speech, he still had Mom and Jeff and Chris and his friend Angus a few doors down.  Well, Angus was just Angus, and Jeff and Chris were still kids, but Mom was the best person in the whole world.

Slowly, he got to his feet and shook himself, then ambled up the path to the back door.

“There you are!” Mom exclaimed.  “You haven’t been out all night, have you?  You look bedraggled.”

Benny didn’t say anything.  He walked past Mom into the house.  He walked passed his breakfast and into the living room, reached the couch and lay down.  Mom followed him and stood in the doorway for a few moments watching him with a worried look.

Then, grabbing her purse, she hurried to the back part of the house.  Benny lay still.  He could hear her talking to Jeff, the oldest boy.

“You’re in charge for a couple of hours, honey,” she said.  “Make sure Chris eats his breakfast.  And keep an eye on Benny, will you?  He seems out of sorts…hope he’s not coming down with something.”

“Sure, Mom,” Jeff replied.

Jeff was a good kid.  Benny had helped raise him the last few years.  Mom needed lots of help, because Dad had been really sick at the time.  He knew they all sort of depended on him.

As if he knew Benny had been thinking about him, which was a relief from not thinking about Dolly, Jeff came into the living room.  He patted him on the back and murmured, “What’s the problem, old fella?  Got spring fever?”

Old?  Him, old?  It hadn’t occurred to him that people might view him as old.  Maybe that’s why Dolly had spurned him…but no, she had said he was too short, not too old.

Jeff scratched behind his ear and Benny couldn’t help wriggling with pleasure.  His ears were nearly always itchy because of the hair that grew inside them.  He loved having them scratched.

“You’ll be all right, Benny,” Jeff assured him.  “Just relax and have a nap.  Your breakfast will still be there when you get up.”

Benny sighed, sat up and scratched a rib itch, then stood and circled for a moment, looking for the perfect spot.  He found it and lay down, nose tucked neatly under his tail.  He could not think of Dolly later.

Copyright © 2012 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
All rights reserved.
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Once Upon a Mirror Dreary

I finally made it under the wire.  This is an entry for Ken Broad’s Fictional Campfire blog.  His challenge was to write a story about an antique object that was fit for Halloween.  He requested that we try to keep it under 500 words.  I’m sorry that I didn’t accomplish that, but Priscilla told me she’d bite me if I wrote such a few  words.  I’m not ready to be … well, vampirized.  Warning:  At least three people have reported being “creeped out” by this story.  Caveat lector (Let the reader beware)! 

 

Once Upon A Mirror Dreary
© 2011 by Sandra Bell Kirchman

There was something special about it.

“You’ll scare her half to death, Jack,” Priscilla declared.

“Think so?”

“Honestly, look at yourself…with all those little bits of flesh still on the bones, hollow eyes, drooling head.

Jack Porter grimaced, as he looked down at himself.  He hadn’t thought of how he looked; he was just responding to the pull from…from her.  He struggled to stay where he was; without a real body it wasn’t easy.

“What can I do?” he asked in a hoarse voice.

As Priscilla thought, he admired how the moon shone on her head, making it look like silver.

“How about getting a mask and covering the rest of you up with a blanket of some kind,” she said after a minute.  “You could look like an Indian or something.  After all, Halloween’s in a couple of days.”

Jack groaned.  “I can’t wait that long.”

Priscilla eyed him curiously.  “Why not?  It’s just 48 hours.”

The concept of time was fading from Jack’s memory, but the urgency of the pull was real.

“I don’t know why.  I just know I have to go now.”

“Well, go ahead and scare her then, for all I care.”

“Nooo,” Jack cried.  “I can’t hurt her.  I…love her…  I think.”

“Well, it’s murder staying on this plane so you better make up your mind pretty quick.”  Priscilla stomped off down the street, her black outfit bristling with indignation.

Jack stood in the shade of the big cedar bushes and thought.  Not having brains was proving bothersome, but finally he had an idea.  Flicking a worm out of one eyehole he walked slowly after Priscilla.

“What about if we make her think today is Halloween?” he said to Priscilla, who was hungrily eyeing a drunk staggering down the street after a late night of partying.

“Nope,” Priscilla replied, licking her lips.  “With radio and TV, she won’t believe anything you tell her.  Better come up with something, Jack.  You know I have to leave before sunrise.  Say, can I drink your wife’s blood after you’re finished with her?”

Jack stared at her, his dried eyeballs nearly falling out of his head.  He rescued one and let the other go.  He couldn’t see out of them anyhow, so no use being sentimental.

“No, you certainly can’t.  I won’t let anything happen to her.”

Priscilla licked her lips hungrily.

“Well, it wouldn’t be so bad,” the vampire coaxed.  “She would be undead then and could join you.”

Jack just shook his head so vigorously that the lobe of his left ear flapped off.

Priscilla got sulky.  “I wish I’d never agreed to help you, even if I did eat your brains.  They were still fresh and you didn’t need them anymore.

Jack silently started walking towards Norma’s house.  He wasn’t sure how long after the funeral it was, but he just had to see her one more time and let her know…what?  He had forgotten what he was going for.  Then he dimly thought perhaps it wasn’t really her he had to see.  He wanted to, of course.  After all  she had been his loving wife for…well, a lot of years anyhow.  But being dead…or rather, undead, changed things, changed priorities.

“Wait,” Priscilla called.

“I have an idea,” Jack replied.  “The mirror will help.  All we have to do is get into the house without being spotted.

Jack’s frail memory still managed to get them into the house quietly enough that the sleeping Norma didn’t hear them.  Jack led the way to the little room that he and Norma had laughingly called his office.  It had actually been an ironing room and had only been big enough for an ironing board, a shelf, and a laundry basket.

“What kind of a mirror?” Priscilla asked in a whisper.

“You’ll see.  It was a present from Norma’s great-grandfather, who got it from some weird antique shop called Sahara…no…Shannara…um…Sayonara.  Well, something like that.  They say it’s over 200 years old and has…uh…certain qualities.  Ah, here it is!”

Jack held up a mirror.  About the size of a tall picture, it had a frame, beautifully carved and scrolled out of wood, which had then been artfully gilded.  Sceptically, Priscilla peered into the mirror; then uttered a little shriek, sticking her fist into her mouth to try to muffle it.

 “Ha ha, I told you it would do the trick.”

Priscilla looked pale.  ”I haven’t seen myself like that for nearly a hundred years.”  Cautiously, Jack peered around the mirror and laughed again.  It was hard to recognize the sophisticated vampire not sporting her Gap black gown and strappy Gucci shoes.  Instead, the mirror showed her as a teenager, complete with bobby socks, saddle shoes, poodle skirt and sweater set.  Her white blond hair was tied back in a pony tail, and she laughed with delight as she danced with friends.

Priscilla smiled fondly at the image.  “We drank the blood of small children back then.  Why does it show me at this time of my life?”

“It shows the best you ever looked in life or death,” he replied.  “Don’t know why, unless that antique shop sold enchanted stuff.  Or maybe Norma’s great granddad was some kind of wizard or…that kind of stuff runs in the family.”

“It does?”  Priscilla gazed nervously around her.  “That mirror what you came for?  Let’s get out of here.”

“No, no,” Jack replied.  “I want to see that Norma’s all right.  After all, it’s a full moon tonight.”

Jack wandered down the hall towards where he fuzzily remembered the master bedroom to be.

Priscilla trotted after him.  “Full moon?  What’s that got to do with any–?”

A full-throated snarl from the bedroom cut her off.

“Ah!” Jack exclaimed as a silver-grey wolf the size of a Bengal tiger erupted through the doorway.  “That’s what I had forgotten.”  He cackled gleefully as the wolf dived at the fleeing Priscilla.  It growled at the terrified vampire, then efficiently slashed her throat.  Its hungry tongue lapped greedily, as blood poured from the sliced arteries in Priscilla’s neck.  The vampire’s eyes were dull and unresponsive.

“To think I used to believe you couldn’t kill a vampire,” Jack exclaimed happily.

“We are the Werefolk,” Norma replied.  “It comes with practice.”  She smiled a toothy smile. “The mirror’s done its job, as usual.  Put it back, love, so I can properly thank you for bringing me another delicious meal.”

Draggin’ Dragon

I promised Ken Broad at Fictional Campfire that I would write a flash fiction story according to one of the pictures he offered last Super Snap.  It’s a little late, but here it is.

Draggin’ Dragon
by Sandra Bell Kirchman 

They tricked me!  I went to the cliff on the night of the full moon, as usual, for my monthly rightful tribute of a delicious young virgin.  Also as usual, there she was, in mouth-watering loveliness…fresh, unspoiled, tender flesh.

And then…I can hardly speak of it…excuse me for a moment.  HE WIPES AWAY A TEAR.  Just as I was reaching for her, she was somehow pulled out of my grasp and one of their damned warriors appeared.  They are always encased in metal, which gets into my teeth and gives me terrible indigestion, so I avoid eating them if possible.

They kept jamming it into my buttocks.

However, this fellow was as annoying as a broken wing vane.  He kept jabbing at me with his spear.   Puny thing, really fit only for a toothpick, but annoying all the same.  If he stuck it in my eye, it could cause me real trouble.

Then…oh, the infamy of it all!  Excuse me again.  HE WIPES AWAY ANOTHER TEAR.  You’d think after 100 years that these…these PEOPLE would just stick to our bargain.  One young virgin a month in exchange for my protection.  I haven’t eaten beef on the hoof for a century.  Think of that, how faithfully I kept to the bargain.

But there these treacherous humans were, jamming one of their flimsy warcrafts into my buttocks!  A dozen or so were poking at me with all manner of sharp instruments.  Methinks in the past hundred years, they have improved their metal, damn their eyes, since these stings almost hurt.  And I certainly was not going to swallow all these flesh in a can.  Terminal indigestion!  But they were trying to provoke me.

As I swung my head around, I could see in the distance another of their abominable warcraft pulling from shore and heading for me with obvious nefarious intent.

So then came the decision.  One has to admire their courage.  If the positions were reversed, I don’t know if I would attack me like that.  One swipe of my tail would take out the first craft and I would then crunch the second craft in two.  Thus the dilemma.  Do I give them one more chance to honor their commitment to me, or do I wipe them out and feast for a month?  What to do? What to do?

I had pretty much decided to give them one more chance.  After all, despite their treachery tonight, they had honoured their commitment for 100 years.  That would be…let me see…twelve hundred fresh young virgins.  And I have to admit, every single one of them was tasty.

So I turned around and gave them a warning bellow.  That’s when their perfidy became vicious.  There was an explosion, lots of smoke and agonizing pain in my right eye.  I bellowed again, this time in distress, swung my head involuntarily and backed away, inadvertently swamping the near warcraft.

 I also accidentally knocked the one fellow off the cliff.  I didn’t even see him splat on the rocks below.  My eye was bleeding and the anguish of the wound overcame me.  Who would have thought these miserable creatures would have developed explosives in a mere century! I am ashamed to say, I fled.

Now I sit in my cave, contemplating the sins of these humans.  I could call on relatives and friends to go and punish these mutineers as they so richly deserve.  But then said friends and relatives might finally find my treasure.  Or I could go myself and risk having my other eye shot out.  HE SHUDDERS.

 Or I could rest for a hundred years and perhaps heal my eye in the process.  It’s been an eon since I’ve had a really good sleep.  HE YAWNS.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
All rights reserved.

Despair

Oatmeal and cornflakes Christmas cookies

"So I make him cookies when my husband is gone..." Image via Wikipedia

Once again, Fantasyfic writer Eric Esteb has written a chilling flash fiction story that still gives me the shivers.  He has kindly offered to let me post it here for him as a guest writer.  Thanks, Eric.

* * *
Despair

by Eric Esteb

Despair is a man who lives on my street.

I believe in being a good neighbor, and my husband is gone on business a lot, and toddlers aren’t the great company you might expect. He seems lonely, when I see him (which isn’t often to be honest) I feel his nature wash over me. It drives the others on the street away, even the local teens, bored and wasted on hormones leave him alone, but it just makes me want to talk to him.

Despair is middle-aged and lives alone. I’ve never seen a woman coming or going, early in the morning when the sprinklers run, and when it’s day time he only ever wears the same ratty looking robe and unkempt, spotty beard. At night he wears an old black suit but the beard stays.

He’s the kind of person you might worry about… you know when you read in the paper about a neighbor noticing a funny smell coming from someone’s garage. Sometimes I worry I’m going to be that person, telling the paper, “I’m as shocked as anybody! I thought he was just quiet, if I had known he was in such a bad way I would have helped!”

So I make him cookies when my husband is gone and leave them on his door step with his paper (which I pull out of his unwatered rose-bush) on the weekends.

Only recently has he started taking them. He leaves the platter on my doorstep when he leaves his house late at night. I seem to be getting through to him, and im happy but there is something else. Something in the pit of my stomach twists, when I drop my son off at day care, or make love to husband or have tea with my girlfriends it’s like a part of me isn’t there any longer.

I don’t know if I’m going to keep making the cookies to leave the man named Despair just a few doors down from mine.

People say cookies are made with love. I know this is going to sound crazy but it’s almost like he’s taking that little bit of myself that gets baked into those little cookies and taking it for himself. What would the reporter from the paper say when someone complains of a bad smell and they get around to asking me why I quit. “It was your cookies keeping him going Debra.”

“It’s what he lived for.”

So I guess I can spare a little more of myself. I want to be a good neighbor.

428 words
Copyright (c) 2011 by Eric Esteb
All rights reserved.

Dark

The Cave

Image via Wikipedia

We have a guest blogger today who has become fascinated with flash fiction.  His name is Eric Esteb, and he is a screenwriter by profession.  He is also a member of the writers at my FantasyFic forum.  Two of his wonderful stories were accepted as part of the anthology, Birth of a Unicorn and Other Stories, edited by me and published by FantasyFic Publishing.
This is Eric’s first foray into our blogosphere, so please make him welcome.
* * *
Dark
by Eric Esteb
“There are spiders in there.””So? Are you scared?” Erin asked mockingly.

“No, I’m not scared,” Arnie swallowed hard and looked into the darkness of the hole under the old dead tree. He was smart enough to know that Erin and her friends had brought him here to torment him, but he’d come because he had always fancied her, throw in the fact that she had developed earlier than all the other girls in his class and…

His current predicament was a foregone conclusion. He turned and looked at Erin; she nodded for him to go.

“If you’re just gonna chicken out Arnie, tell us now so we can get out of the sun.”

“I just need to bring out a rock?”

The girl smiled. “Yep! To prove you went all the way in.”

It was dark in the cave, too dark to see after Arnie had gone around a bend in the path. The air was humid and heavy, somewhere, deeper within the cave it sounded like the earth was breathing.

Hands slick with mud Arnie groped his way along the sweating walls of the narrow cavern. After a few minutes the ground evened out and the path widened. Suddenly Arnie’s hand fell upon a sturdy wooden fence. The wood felt old but strong.

He felt his way along the fence until he came to a gate barred from his side. Arnie hesitated a moment at the gate but thoughts of Erin’s T-shirt cascaded into his head. Arnie hefted the heavy plank barring the gate, let it fall to the muddy ground and opened the gate with a creak. He winced, but after nothing bad happened he continued on through.

The breathing stopped but he felt less alone than he did a moment ago. He continued on into the absolute blackness until he found the far wall. He still needed a rock, though now it felt like something was watching him.

He blundered along until his feet fell on stone. He stepped up onto an altar and felt around in the darkness for something to take up to the girls.

“Ouch!” His voice sounded far away in that dank cavern. His hand fell onto something sharp. Something metal. Arnie touched it more carefully and realized it was a sword buried in the ground. He wrapped his hand around the grip and the blade began to glow blue.

He looked about, sensing something had been living there and, with horror, that it was no longer in its prison.

Outside, far away Arnie heard the girls scream.

Something deep down within him told him what to do. Part of him, the reader, the geek, the outcast always knew.

Arnie pulled the sword from the bed rock and rushed through the darkness to the light.

465 words
Copyright (c) 2011 Eric Esteb.  All rights reserved.