I'll admit I got a late start this week, but last night I went to sleep watching croc handlers so this is what you get ;)  Remember the only necessary part of the prompt is the sentence, the picture is just for fun.

The Judge

Here's a little bit about last week's winner and this week's judge Ryan Strohman from his website

"I’m an author of two ebooks, Project Utopia and Paradox, that could be classified as Sci Fi Techno Action Thrillers.  I enjoy working out (martial arts, running, and weightlifting), but I also eat too much.  I work as an IT Manager for an employee benefits consulting firm.  I also own a side business, Strohman Technology Consulting Services, that specializes in small-business and residential technology consulting and computer services.  I am married to a wonderful lady named Lisa, and we have a two-year-old little devil named Adam.  I’ve been getting hooked lately on #FlashFiction.  Oh yeah, I’m pretty awesome."

The Prompt

I'll never forget that smile.

The Rules

  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!

1/29/2012 10:54:29 pm

Just to be sure: is the prompt only the phrase, or must the photo also be used?

1/29/2012 10:59:17 pm

Just the opening sentence. The picture is just for fun.

1/29/2012 11:00:49 pm

Okay. Thanks. Just wanted to make sure I didn't leave it out if it were necessary.

1/29/2012 10:55:40 pm

I’ll never forget that smile, it was totally a crocodile grin if I ever saw one, when the kittens finally left the incubation chamber. My colleague was ecstatic to say the least. I must admit, I was pleased as well. Those kittens were starting to make me feel nervous.

* * * *

Deep under the crust of Venus, the kittens broke free from the chamber. The fluffiness of the kittens would make anyone stop and gush—if they only knew the truth. By the thousands, they made their way to the surface of Venus.

One by one, the kittens began to disappear from Venus. In the search of food, they found a wormhole that transported them to Earth. They sniffed the air in the new atmosphere and knew they would find sustenance here.

The farmer sat on the porch with his wife in the cooling evening. The summer was a hot one and he was glad that it was coming to an end. They sipped lemonade in silence, wishing for a breeze. A fluffy orange kitten scampered across the sidewalk leading to the steps of the porch.

“Thelma must’ve had her kittens,” the farmer said.

“This is the first I’ve seen any sign of them,” his wife replied. “I wonder how many she had.”

A grey kitten bounced across the sidewalk from the direction the orange one went. Soon, six kittens played in the grass in front of the farmhouse. The farmer and his wife laughed and smiled with delight.

“Looks like a nice litter,” the farmer’s wife said after a while. “They should help to keep the mice down this winter.”

“Yap, they should,” he said watching the kittens frolic in the lawn. His brow creased. “What’s wrong with that one’s face?” He pointed at a black and white kitten.

“I think it’s just its markings; he’s very cute.”

A kitten climbed the side of the porch, unknown to the farmer and his wife. It sniffed the air and its tail quivered with delight of the smell. It crept under the rocking chair, ears twitching at every sound. It sat behind the bare legs and sniffed. The kitten lunged with claws unsheathed and mouth open. The farmer’s wife jumped up screaming. The silver kitten wrapped its legs around her with claws digging into her flesh and teeth ripping meat from her calf.

The kittens in the lawn froze for an instant, and then smelled the blood. In seconds, not short of a hundred kittens swarmed up the stairs. They leapt forward, piercing the flesh of the farmer with dagger-sharp claws and teeth as he stood in shock at the top of the steps. The farmer’s wife shook her leg in a feeble attempt to shake the kitten free of her. The other kittens were on her in seconds. The farmer and his wife fell to the floor of the porch—knocking over the small table and two rocking chairs. The kittens feasted on their warm flesh.

498 Words

1/29/2012 11:03:27 pm

I think I own some of those cats :)

1/30/2012 10:10:54 pm

This reminds me of an older Sluggy Freelance comic where there were carniviorous kittens. :D

1/30/2012 01:38:28 am

I'll never forget.

That smile hung in the air like a Cheshire Cat moon, a known but unreachable distance away. Part of it, sure was the drugs -- going down for the long sleep, the peripheral neural pathways were the first to succumb, leaving you as nothing but a brain in your own corpse until you came back up.

It made zombies seem like a reasonable thing to believe in -- long sleep storage was pretty much the perfect snack, being a fresh brain in an immobilized body, without the power to do more than panic internally.

But the smile remained above me, even as my eyes lost the power to focus and the face around it faded to a soft blur. And when I woke next, whoever was behind it would be centuries dead.

We devour the living to fuel our travels, and only the barest slivers of them remain, like the rim of a crescent moon, smiling.


1/30/2012 06:28:52 am

I’ll never forget that smile. She had a strange smile anyway, one that seemed to float up out of the darkness and turmoil of her inner life at odd moments. Once I saw it after she’d been struck by a carriage, standing too close to the street. Rushing to her side I feared she’d been killed.

By the time I reached her that airy smile had surfaced and she herself seemed to bob to her feet. Even as I worked my kerchief to staunch the flow of blood from her head, she asked me if I’d happened to notice the horse had been worried about something. She supposed it must have been very important, because according to her the horse wasn’t even aware of the boy sneaking a ride on the back of the carriage.

Other times the smile made sense, perhaps when she had been given something delicious to eat; or when I spoke to her of the wonders of our Lord. She always smiled when I spoke to her matters of faith. Yet it was always the same smile, through good or ill. Never did I see her frown or pout, only on occasion to part the impassive veil with that same smile. The last time I saw her smile was completely unlike the times before. I think for once she looked truly happy, her eyes bright and smiling with her face.

I’ll never forget that smile. The smile she gave when she told me she was going to meet God.

253 words

1/30/2012 10:02:08 am

Title: Letters of Love
<i>I’ll never forget that smile, or the way you laugh,</i> Alana’s grandmother, Evelyn, said in one of the many letters she had written to Alana before she died. Alana continued to read as her eyes began to water. With a shaking hand, she wiped away the tears before they fell, and read on.

Alana discovered the letters in a box one day when she was going through her grandmother’s things in Evelyn’s old roll-top desk. It was just a seemingly ordinary cardboard box except it had Alana’s name written on it in her grandmother’s familiar looping script. Curious, she opened the box and was overwhelmed with what she found.

There were so many letters, spanning nearly twenty-five years. It looked like Evelyn wrote several a year, sometimes more depending on what happened. It looked like she started writing them the year Alana’s parents died and Evelyn began raising her, ending just days before Evelyn passed away.

A good portion of the letters were stories about Alana’s childhood, anecdotes that Evelyn wanted to remember and preserve. Alana found herself laughing then crying as she read. Her grandmother had a keen sense of humor that came out very clearly in her written thoughts.

Some of the letters were about Alana’s mother and father, two people that Alana knew very little about. When she realized the letter was about them, she dropped everything else and poured through her grandmother’s words.

Evelyn told her about Cecilia growing up, sometimes pausing in her story to make a commentary on how alike Alana and Cecilia were at that age. Alana smiled, thinking on how precocious her mother must’ve been.

She read on, going through several years’ worth of letters before she realized how late it had gotten. Alana would have continued reading, except a familiar voice called from the first floor.

“I’m up here, David,” she called out, her voice catching at the end before she could stop it.

His heavy footsteps made quick work of the stairs and he was in her bedroom before she had gotten much farther down the page she was reading. He burst in and rushed over to her side.

“Alana, are you okay? It sounded like you were upset.” He gently touched the side of her face, his expression wavering from concern to confusion.

She smiled as fresh tears pricked the corners of her eyes. “I’m fine. I found some letters from my grandmother, telling me about me and my parents.”

David smiled and used the pads of his thumbs to wipe away the last bits of her tears.

“They must be very special letters.”

“They are,” she agreed.

“Are you still up for dinner?”

Her smile brightened as she carefully packed the letters back up. “Yes, please.” The not-so-quiet growl of her stomach agreed, making them both laugh.

469 words of #WIP500 goodness.

1/30/2012 10:03:22 am

The <i>s were to make that italics - can you fix that since the html wasn't needed?

1/30/2012 10:13:10 pm

“I’ll never forget that smile, no matter how many times I close my eyes.” Icaru stared at the small man who helped him with the wax seals on the food packages.”

The man cackled like a hyena, glancing at the younger man from the corners of his eyes. It was the shadows of the room and the fact that he worked with lye that reddened his skin. His eyes were reddened from the smoke in the forge. “You will be glad to see it when you leave, I break you free. I make sure you can fly again, yes?”

“I guess so. You know what you’re talking about, Benni?”

“Yes, yes, Benni know lots. Benni help you out a lot. You owe Benni once on other side, yes?”

“Yes, once I get over there, I will make sure that you come with. It can’t be good for you, working down in the forges.”

The little man nodded and gave a jagged toothed grin, pushing the food at Icaru and staring at the chains that kept the winged man in place. “You hide that, I be back tonight. When guards no so many. I get key. Then you fly.”

“Yes, I’ll wait for you.” Icaru settled back in the area that he was changed. He had thought that the city would be helpful and all it had gotten him was imprisonment. The little man with the red rimmed eyes and the crooked smile was welcome company.

Icaru flexed his wings again and stretched them slowly. The bones ached but they were better before. The people who had been in awe had pet his wings. And then it changed to greed as they all fought over him, leaping on him and snapping the bone.

When the guards had broken it up, he thought he would be safe but all it had done was put him down in the dungeon where he couldn’t see the light. Icaru leaned his head back and glanced up at the sooty ceiling. He had a need to feel the warmth of the sun on his skin. Feel the wind through his wings. He was feeling stagnant in the dark with only the fires and the stench of burning material. His feathers felt heavy, oily. They were filthy.

He leaned his head back, intending to take a small nap but must have slept more because he jerked away when his shoulder was being shook violently.

Benni was there, shaking his shoulder. “Come, come.” He waved a filthy hand at Icaru and unlocked the chains that were wrapped around his legs.

Icaru moved stiffly to his feet. The other man danced in place, waving his hand to urge the winged man on faster. The keep was quiet and the guards were sleeping at their posts.

The dark of the sky beckoned him when he could smell the fresh air and not the filtered. His wings quivered with excitement.

Benni bounced around him, grinning that crooked smile.

497 words
#WIP500 goodness


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