Last week's winner wanted to see your take on this prompt and I agreed so here we go without further ado

The Judge

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"Author of techno-thriller novels Project Utopia and Paradox, IT
operative, overweight runner and martial artist, proud papa, and all
around cool guy." I've also lately been addicted to claw/crane
machines.

I have a bunch of material in the works, but I don't really have
anything ready to promote at the moment other than my blog,
http://rastrohman.blogspot.com, which is a hodgepodge of ranting and
raving about life, parenting, writing, etc.


The Prompt

"[She/He] stumbled away from the fiery wreckage"

Here's some food for thought:
  • Is the wreckage literal or figurative?
  • Did she cause the flame or did something or someone else?
  • How does she feel about the incident?
You have 500 words, show us something we've never seen before!

The Rules

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  1. The story must start from the prompt.  This means the prompt must be the
    first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

Sample Entry

It’s Like Rain
By Wakefield Mahon

She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage, bits of the plane scattered across the field.  Dazed and disoriented, Kyra wandered through row upon row of tall summer corn. It all happened so fast; something like a bolt of lightning rocked the plane and electricity went out.  The section of seats in front of her was ripped out through a gaping hole in the side of the plane.  By the time she heard the first scream, as second explosion engulfed the plane in flames as they hit the ground.  She tried to search for fellow survivors but the searing heat drove her away.

“I need to go back.  Someone might be alive and need my help.” 

She steeled her nerves and returned to the crash site.  With the crops above high her head, she couldn’t see the wreckage. The heat felt like it was coming from every direction, but the blackest smoke came from one particular area and she made her way over passing bits of plane and bits of passenger along the way.

Finally she found  the clearing where most of the corn had burned away.  There is no way anyone else could have survived.  Her throat caught in her chest. 

“Is this what survivor’s guilt feels like?  How did I survive?  I was adopted and I don’t remember my childhood, maybe I’m a superhero.  Maybe a super-villain knew I was on the plane and thought they could take me out.  If I could l fly I wouldn’t have to ride in airplanes.  My first flight is to marry a guy I met on the internet this happens.  It figures.”

Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic” went through her head and Kyra started laughing.  The smoke from the wreckage turned her laugh into a coughing fit which only made her laugh even more. 

“Man what an idiot, I am.”

She tried to catch her breath and reached down to soothe her aching belly but her hand was blocked by the fuselage. It had pinned her to the ground, crushing her rib cage.  The rain began to fall and Kyra closed her eyes and smiled.

351 Words
@WakefieldMahon

8/6/2012 03:55:53 am

She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage broken and bruised but not burnt. How was that possible? Elaine didn’t know, but then she didn’t understand a lot of things about today.
Some men had kidnapped Elaine off the street and she didn’t even know them. They kept asking her questions about where Elaine was born and who were her parents? She was a foundling she didn’t know the answer. They continued driving Elaine away further away from her home into the desert. She begged them to tell her where they were taking her but was met with only silence. The PlastiCuffs the men used on her chaffed her wrists and ankles. They didn’t cover her eyes so it was obvious to her at the time that they wouldn’t ever her go. Elaine pleaded telling them she would forget all about all of this, if they’d just let her go but the questions began again.
“Do you suffer from blackouts? Lapsed time? Do things move around you without the use of arms? Do you have any unusual unexplained abilities?”. All while one drove the van and the other two yelled these questions.
Elaine had no idea of how to answer. One of the three men started hitting her, she grew frightened and then very angry. Before she even knew what was happening the cuffs melted from her arms and legs and fire shot out from her fingertips. Fire from her fingertips... no one could do that and yet she had done just that.
The fire continued growing in size and the van blew up throwing her free. She was alive and she had not a scratch on her. She had done the impossible that is why these men wanted but who were they? Were any of them alive? Elaine stumbled over to the wreckage. With great remorse she realized all but one of them were dead .Elaine advanced on the third one carefully, than realized he too was dying.
“What did you want with me?” Elaine asked him
“You were genetically engineered by government scientists to be the perfect super soldier. You have abilities that normal humans don’t. We were hired to retrieve you now that you’re an adult.” The man answered.
She left him to die shortly after that. Elaine walked to the next town caught a bus to the nearest big city. She then went to the nearest drugstore, where she bought hair dye to change the colour of her hair to flame red. Elaine took a driver’s test in the name of a dead child and then got a passport and flying to Alaska to hide. She lives there still so if you see a woman with flame red hair who always seems to have unexplained fires, you’ve found Elaine.
Don’t approach her if you value your life she’s very dangerous and deadly accurate. I know because I was the driver of that van.
486 words
@SweetSheil

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8/6/2012 05:08:14 am

Title: For Always
She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage that was her life after she met me. Does she realize that it wasn’t until me that all her real problems began? I suppose it didn’t matter whether she did or not; at least it shouldn’t have.
“Rathe…” She moved her hand towards mine. Elsa remained staring in the opposite direction still thinking, still processing, and still deciding whether she should run or stay.
I couldn’t contain myself any longer I had to say something, anything. “Don’t leave.” Squeezing her hand I knew then I never wanted to let her go.
Whether that meant the end for either of us; I didn’t care.
She was mine.
“For always?” Elsa turned her head. Hope filled her opal eyes.
“Until the end.” When that would be I didn’t know but, for the first time in a long time, I hoped as she had hoped that it would be ‘for always’.
155 words
@theglitterlady

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8/6/2012 08:25:45 am

She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage, looking back to see if she could help. Although three of them were too deep inside and already completely engulfed, a single arm jutted through the windshield lying motionless.

Maybe there was still some hope.

Maybe there was still some life.

She raced over to the driver's side and grabbed the arm. At first, she was able to move it a little, but the steering wheel kept the driver pinned. No matter how much she pulled she couldn't dislodge him from the car and she could tell that he, too, was gone.

The sirens that had been distant now filled the scene with their shrieks. As the firefighters extinguished the blaze, the paramedics pried her away from her own futile efforts and began cutting the lifeless family out of the vehicle.

"When we got here," said one EMT, "she was trying to pull out the driver, but it was already too late. As it is, she's the only survivor."

"Poor girl," said another, "now she has nobody left. Do you suppose they'll find a good home for her?"

"Are you kidding - a dog like that with a story like this? She'll probably be adopted within 24 hours! "

206 Words
@LupusAnthropos

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8/6/2012 10:50:43 am

From The Ashes Arisen

She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage of the only relationship she’d ever known. She supposed, in terms of the indignities suffered by countless billions of people, she was being dramatic. Or was she?

After three gut-wrenchingly long years of abuse and debasement, she felt she’d been seared to her inner core. She’d been scoured clean of joy, of laughter and, possibly, of hope. She thought herself less a person than an object. She had no sense of self-worth because objects were simply…things... to be done with as their owner saw fit.

She’d been with him since she was 15. He had money. He had a car. He had plans for the future that included her. What she’d come to find out about, when it was too late for her to run, were the things he had that weren’t apparent but were quite concealed.
He had a wicked coke habit and an uncontrolled drinking problem. He had a mean streak a mile wide and very hard fists and feet. He was sexually sadistic, leaving her body scarred to achieve his gratification. He had so very many undesirable aspects she could scarce believe she’d ever found him appealing.

She believed she’d seen the worst he had to offer when the most disturbing feature of his twisted nature emerged. It was a rare occasion when he’d deigned to take her out somewhere. Even now, she flushed recalling the reason for his largesse. The night before, he’d sodomized her so enthusiastically she’d required a trip to the E.R.

At the restaurant, she’d made the, unwitting, mistake of politely smiling at the male server. She’d learned how very bad an error that had been when he had her securely behind closed doors.
It is an unfortunate truism that truly dysfunctional personalities rationalize their behavior with the specious belief everyone around them is every bit as dysfunctional as they are. He’d accused her of being a whore using her wiles to try and seduce the lecherous bastard server. Then, the beating began.

He’d beaten her before and she’d been astonished by the severity of physical assault he was capable of. Those beatings were as nothing compared to the harm he inflicted upon her that night.

He’d finally left her alone and gone to sleep, secure in the knowledge she was both too cowed and too crippled to do much of anything while he slept. As in so many other ways, in this he was wrong.

It is also a truism that no matter how beaten down an animal may be, somewhere within them remains the call to be free. She heard the call that night. First crawling, later stumbling, she left behind her all she’d been in the desire to be something more.

Emotionally burned she might be and, yet, from those ashes would arise a wondrous phoenix with the power and the right to fly proud and free. She spread her wings that night and flew away gaining speed and strength as she flew.

500 words @klingorengi

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8/6/2012 12:15:47 pm

She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage, bare as the day she was born. My experience with humans suggested she was at most nine years old, if she was in fact human. Ebon-black hair in pigtails gave her a playful appearance, while her fiery eyes prompted brief hesitation in even my heart. Ultimately my vows overcame personal misgivings and the pleas of my congregation.

I left quarantine to help the child who fell from the sky. I prayed I could save her without contaminating our sanctuary. Being personally immune to the plague made my inability to treat it that much more painful. In my desperation to save the Star Child I could have never imagined the full significance her coming would hold for our embattled world.

The child seemed disoriented, but unharmed and capable of speaking and understanding our language. I urged her to return with me to the sanctuary. She was the one who noticed the Plague Bearers descending upon us. Even as I moved to defend the child, she drew a metal club more than three times the size of my beam-blade as if from thin air.

I delivered the mercy of mortality to three of the fiends with my laser as I had with too many of my congregation who had become infected. The Star Child dispatched the other twenty. It was then I realized our world had been changed by her arrival.

Like me, she was immune to the plague, and together we finally had the strength to strike at its heart.


256 words
@DavidALudwig

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8/6/2012 11:23:38 pm

He stumbled away from the fiery wreckage, his thoughts in a snarly mess.

Fifteen years had passed since the last time he’d seen her, and she’d been so happy, so carefree. Now, she was a broken mess, an angry broken mess.

His heart clutched in agony as he remembered how she’d looked; her pale blonde hair against her chalky-white face. She had a constant worry-wrinkle on her forehead, one he wanted to remove. But how could he? He wasn’t allowed to tell her anything.

“She needs to remember before she can cross,” he’d said.
He remembered the words, but his heart had gone deaf.

He watched her all day, keeping an eye on things. The nurses and caretakers were all made from the same vicious material, and he wanted to throttle them all.

Their eyes met in secret, and he realized she knew he’d been watching her.

His heart-rate picked up speed and he swiftly darted from the corner he’d been standing. He was allowed to talk to her, just not say anything revealing. Could he do that? Talk to her and not mention their past?

It took all night, but come morning he’d decided. He would go up to her, talk to her, and find out if she really was the broken mess she looked to be.

He waited in the cafeteria for her to show. She didn’t. He became increasingly worried as the room emptied, and eventually he was called to the office. He hated this place, the pretend-job he had to hold, and this world.

“You’re re-assigned to the nightshift. They’ll tell you what to do,” the boss-lady said, and then he was whisked down a corridor.

He felt the same strange tug in his soul that he’d felt the first time he’d arrived here. He looked through a small window on one of the doors, and there she was.

She was on the floor drawing. It was an intricate piece, but he couldn’t see what it was. Something inside him took over, curiosity perhaps; if so it was a perverse one.

He opened the door before he had a chance to change his mind, and she seemed to expect him.

“Hi Brenna. I thought you’d never show up,” she said.

Shock nearly floored him, both her words, and the drawing. She’d drawn him entering the room, with her on the floor drawing. It looked like a perfect picture taken of this exact moment.

“I remember you,” she said, and then she stood up.

Her eyes were sparkling green, and something inside him melted.

“And I remember you,” he replied, stretching his arms towards her.

It won’t be long until we can cross now, he thought, and then he kissed her worry-wrinkle.

@ChessnySilth
Word Count: 455

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Rebekah Postupak
8/6/2012 11:52:06 pm

She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage. No, not stumbled (it only counts if someone sees you fall): skipped. Giddiness exuded from every bound. Everything had gone beautifully, so beautifully, and according to her perfect plan.

The fire still raged now, but she had lingered as long as she dared. People would be coming soon, people and their silly red trucks, spraying ounces of wet hope on her masterpiece. Would they show the same disdain for the Mona Lisa? the pretty box embracing the tiny wrapped body of the boy Pharaoh? the gorgeous, winding caves of Lascaux?

Once at a safe distance, quiet as death she stretched open her wings, first one, then the other. Gray moonlight caught in their ridges—ethereal! she thought, impressed with herself; even regal—as she plunged into the frosty air.

She soared silently, circling one last time over the glowing, breathing despair of her magnificent handiwork, and was suddenly reminded of another night’s work, long ago. That was the night her nemesis had turned friend, as he faithfully kept his oath and stayed away, the roars of his drunken laughter harmonizing with her own joyful roars as the city melted into embers.

Tonight’s work was no Rome, and its caesar no Nero. She glanced back one final time, thin, dark smoke weeding its way out from her toothless grin, in delicate counterpoint to the thick billows pushing up from below. No, not Rome; but ahhhh. It would do.

For now.

246 words
@postupak

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8/7/2012 12:27:12 am

She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage, and hoped once again that he had miraculously survived. She could still smell his cologne – deep and musky with a hint of spice. He always knew when she was around, he could sense her somehow. Was that his specialty? Could he negate the specialty of others, or just sense that someone was there? No. He definitely hadn’t seen her. He had been trying to get her to give herself away with sound or movement. It had almost worked – cornered in the room, intoxicated by his scent, and overwhelmed by his proximity – She had been so close to reaching out and touching him.

Then Raptor had entered the room, or Marcus as the man called him. It was odd to think of him having a real name – Raptor fit him so well. She wished Raptor had said the man’s name, but it would only add to her already overactive fantasies, so it was probably better she didn’t know. She had practically sprinted out of the room and then out of the building, pushing the button as she exited. Probably too soon – her leg was starting to tell her that it had been injured now that the adrenaline was wearing off – but Raptor had escaped every other time she had blown him up. It was uncanny.

She finally fell to her hands and knees two blocks away. It was then that the agony in her leg overcame rational thought. Only reflexes kept her dragging herself away. She had to get to the pick-up point. She dared a look down at her leg and wished she hadn’t. It was bad. She whimpered. Definitely too soon.

She could smell him. Was she dreaming? She looked around and he was crouched in the shadow of the building to her right.

“I’m here to help. Please. You’re hurt. Let me help.”

How did he know she was here? She was still invisible. And, oh, she wanted his help. She didn’t know if she could go on.

“Please. I know you’re injured. I just want to help.”

He was just trying to get her to give up her position. He worked for the enemy. He wasn’t to be trusted.

“This isn’t some trick. I promise I won’t hurt you. You need help.”

How did he even know that?

“There’s a trail of blood! I don’t even know how you’re still conscious. Please! Drop your invisibility so I can help.”

He was right. Her brain was getting fuzzy from the loss of blood. He must’ve been able to sense her indecision because he crawled forward with his hand outstretched. Let herself die, or put herself in enemy hands? She looked up into his eyes and couldn’t think of him as her enemy anymore – Raptor, yes…this man? No.

She phased back in to the visible world.

His smile broke like sunshine over her. “You’re as beautiful as I imagined…and you’re going to have to trust me.”

“I don’t even know your name.”


@lissajean7
500 words

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Robin Abess
8/7/2012 12:31:50 am

Fires Of Love

She stumbled away from the fiery wreckage of her marriage one cold winter’s night. She took nothing but the clothes on her back, her purse and the bruises from the beating Aaron had given her. Tears ran down her cheeks, turning to rivers of ice, and her heart pounded as she made her way toward the path in the woods. She was numb, not just from the freezing temperature, but from the thought that she was never going to feel him to touch her again. Snow crunched beneath her boots as she made her way through frozen trees, slipping on patches of ice, but managing to stay upright somehow. She tried to go slowly, but couldn’t. She needed to get to Molly’s as soon as possible.

Cresting the hill, she saw her refuge and sprinted forward. In moments, her knuckles rapped twice on the wooden back door, and it was opened. The heat and light from the kitchen was almost overwhelming after the chill outside and she felt herself swaying forward as her sister’s arms reached out for her.

“Annie, darling…” Molly’s tone was horrified, both at her sister’s appearance and the fact she wore no coat. She helped her to a seat, and knelt before her, reaching up to gently touch the battered face. “Oh, Sweetie…” The tears were melting now, dripping off Annie’s cheeks, to fall on her sister’s warm hands. Molly’s jaw tightened. “That’s it. You’re not going back this time. I don’t care what you say.”

Annie’s teeth chattered as her body began to warm, and slowly she nodded. “You’re right about that, Sissy. I’m not going back. There’s nothing to go back to…”

“I’ve been telling you that…”

“No…I mean literally. There’s nothing left…”

Molly stopped, looking at her sister closely. A small smile was beginning to play over Annie’s bruised lips.

“What…are you saying?”

Annie laughed, a note of hysteria bubbling in the sound. “Come and see.”

She rose and walked toward the back door, and Molly found herself following, grabbing her coat automatically off the hook by the door. Annie led her back through the cold woods, still coatless. Not a word was spoken, but when they stepped from between the trees, Molly gasped. Flames still burned where Annie’s house had stood, though it was apparent the fire had been burning for quite some time.

“Oh Annie…” Molly turned to her younger sister, who had a rapt expression on her bruised features.

“I warned him,” Annie said softly, watching the flames dance. “He didn’t listen. I put a pill in his drink and when he fell asleep, I poured gasoline over him and lit a match. Then I ran away.” She giggled wildly, then suddenly, her face contorted in pain. “Oh my God..Aaron…he’s in the house. We have to save him!” Pulling away from her sister, she stumbled forward, back toward the blaze.

“Annie, no! Come back!” Molly tried to grab her, but fell. Helplessly, she watched her sister disappear into the flames.

500 words {without title}
@Angelique_Rider

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8/7/2012 01:35:53 am

Burning Evil
By Lisa McCourt Hollar

Hannah stumbled away from the fiery wreckage, a blast of hot air searing at her back as one more explosion erupted. Falling to the ground, she looked back at the home she had shared with her family for the past seven years. She and Don had bought it and moved in right after their wedding. No Honeymoon… she was already eight months pregnant with John and not in the mood for travel.

Around her, people screamed, pointing at the house and gasping in horror. John, whose seventh birthday is tomorrow, stood at the window, engulfed in flames. Someone put their arms around Hannah, trying to pull her farther from the inferno, but she yanked free and stood, watching her son. The same person that had tried to pull Hannah away now yelled at her that she shouldn’t be seeing this, as if she could just look away; as if she could avoid the outcome of what she had done.

John had always been a willful child. At first Hannah had thought it was because he was a boy. Her own brothers’ had been obstinate, so she wasn’t worried. If she stuck to her guns, eventually he would become the obedient child she knew he could be.

His behavior got worse and over the years she had shed many tears over his behavior. When she found their dog dead, John standing over the body, she knew he had killed him. When the neighbor’s cat disappeared, she had no delusions that he was innocent. When little Katie Thompson went missing last week, she had hoped he was. Then she found Katie’s underwear under John’s mattress. She wanted to deny it. She asked John about them, but he didn’t answer her, pretending she wasn’t even in the room.
She showed the underwear to her husband.

“Hannah, John could have gotten those anywhere; don’t go borrowing trouble assuming they belong to Katie.”

“But Don, they have her name written in them.”

“Maybe he found them.”

“We should call the police.”

“Didn’t I just say not to go borrowing trouble?”

Hannah relented and kept quiet. A few days later, a smell led her to their basement where she found Katie. John was there with her…doing things to her body no seven year old should be doing to anyone’s body, let alone a corpse.

Don still wanted her to be quiet.

“They will take him away Hannah. Do you want to see our son put behind bars? They treat seven year olds like adults in cases like this.”

“But Don, he’s sick. He needs help.”

“He needs us, Hannah.”

She didn’t know how John knew, but she was pregnant again. She’d found the pictures in her room that he had drawn, Mommy with a swollen belly and a knife sticking out of her. Another of a baby, its arms ripped off and being devoured by Johnny. He was evil and now, watching her son burn, Hannah knew she had done the right thing.

Word Count: 497

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8/7/2012 04:36:29 am

Oh. My. Word. That was....that was... Wow. Just wow.

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