The Judge

Lets give a warm welcome to last week's winner and first time judge David A Ludwig.
Find out more about this great storyteller and the Lost Girls Society on his website:
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Check out is artwork on DeviantArt
And of course you can follow him on Twitter:!/DavidALudwig

The Prompt

This week's prompt is inspired by the great Charles Dickens.  As always, we're looking for surprises,  You don't have to talk about Marley, you don't even have to write a horror story, but you do have to start from this prompt:
"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!"

The Rules

  1. Story must continue from the prompt. (This means the prompt is the first sentence of 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.
  6. Have fun!
12/19/2011 01:18:03 am

“That’s just great. Now my flashlight doesn’t work!” I sighed realizing I couldn’t have expected my smart phone to keep lighting my way the whole night. It’s not like those batteries really last all that long but one time I read a news article about a kid that used their music pod to be found by search parties and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to wave my phone around hoping for help.
The red light blinked a few times warning me of the battery’s impending death. Sooner than I liked I was in darkness seeing spots and shadows. The map showed all I had to do was go straight through the forest and pop out the other side near a gas station but I didn’t realize how many miles were represented in one square inch of paper.
I lied still on the ground feeling the twigs prickle at my back and the throbbing of my ankle increase. The sounds of rustling bushes and tree leaves had me searching my surroundings for anything but I could only smell a mustiness that comes just before the rain.
I thought my night couldn’t get any worse but then I heard the distinct sound of heavy breath near my face. It was heated and it took in my scent then circled my body.
Was I prepared to defend myself? I patted around slowly for a stick to grab onto.
A deep and loud howl burst from beside me.
Strong arms lifted me from where I waited to be rescued I just didn’t realize it would be something so wild. His eyes glowed yellow staring into the darkness before I could feel a sticky liquid sliding down my forehead and along my cheek.
My consciousness was fading and my fate was unknown.

297 words

Ryan Strohman
12/19/2011 01:56:53 am

“That’s just great. Now my flashlight doesn’t work!”
Hunter and Mackenzie sat on the top stair, Hunter banging the broken flashlight against the palm of his hand, while Mackenzie stared down at the Christmas tree. The house was quiet, but the time was approaching midnight, and their intentions were to finally see this mystery man, Santa Claus.
Every year they would put out milk and cookies, and every year when they’d wakeup their treats would be devoured. Their presents would be there, waiting for them under the tree, this mysterious jolly man having entered their house in the middle of the night to deposit them. Mackenzie still believed, but Hunter didn’t buy it.
He knew the fat man didn’t come down the chimney. Mom and Dad had told them he did, but he knew better. There was no way a man that big would fit down their chimney. Besides, he’d seen Dad clean it out one year, ashes and creosote falling from the narrow opening, and Hunter doubted that even he could fit through that hole.
They waited impatiently, Mackenzie squirming like she had to pee, but they would not let this fat man enter their house without being spotted this year. They would remain on their perch all night until either they saw him or, as Hunter had begun to suspect, their parents woke up to place the hidden gifts and eat the suspect cookies.
“Shhh, Mackenzie! Stop squirming. I think I hear someone outside!”
They both froze, staring at the door, as the knob turned and it opened slowly.
The man that entered definitely was not Santa. He was wiry, dressed all in black, a ski mask covering his face. As Hunter stared in horror, a second bigger man entered dressed in similar clothing. Hunter caught site of the metallic flash of silver in the first man’s hand, a gun, and began standing slowly, pulling at his sister’s arm to silently follow.
“I thought you said they wouldn’t be home this year,” whispered the first burglar, looking around suspiciously.
Hunter pulled at his sister, but she was too young to understand. Just as he feared, she blurted out, “They don’t look anything at all like Santa!”
The two men jumped at the sound of the girl’s voice, then quickly turned and scurried out the door. Relieved, Hunter held his sister back, waiting ten, fifteen seconds, then vaulted down the stairs and slammed the door shut, locking the deadbolt. He then ran back up the stairs, grabbed Mackenzie’s arm, and ran into their parent’s bedroom.
“Mom, Dad, Mackenzie just saved Christmas! We were waiting for Santa, and she just scared off two burglars!”
Their parents stirred only slightly. Mom realized they were excited, but this one was a little over the top. The minds of children. Casting a sleepy eye in their direction, she uttered “That’s nice, kids. Go back to bed or Santa won’t come this year.”

489 words

12/19/2011 02:14:50 am

"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!" Dale smacked it with his hand a couple of times and tried to wave it in my face.

Which, if I thought about it, was a near approximation of our sex life.

Dropping into the office holiday party from the HVAC ducts dressed as reindeer was precisely the half-baked notion Dale got off on, and I did not.

That was uncomfortably akin to our sex life, too.

Fortunately, I was able to work my way bakward, and regain the top of the filing cabinet in Record Room D we'd climbed up to begin our clandestine approach.

"My horns are too big! I'm stuck in here, dammit. Marlene..."

That, on the other hand, was about as far from an indictment of our sex life as I could imagine. Besides, my name was Marnie.

Dale probably expected me to make for the Property Administrator's office or call the fire department. Instead, I took a leisurely stroll by the punch bowl, made out with Jake from Property Admin, and went home for some quality "me time" with a favorite firefighter-centric web site.

When the office reopened the first Tuesday in January, the entire staff gagged at the stench of rotting bacon wafting throughout.

12/19/2011 02:55:18 am

"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!" The exclamation of defeat with the situation came out as a high pitched whine from the tiny elf working under the giant red sleigh.

“Calm down Richard, we’ll get it.” Came the answer from his equally tiny partner standing by the sleigh, handing him tools.

Richard rolled out quickly with an angry look.

“Easy for you to say Chuck! You aren’t the one about to be guilty of single handedly ruining Christmas.”

“I would hardly say you have as of yet ruined Christmas.” He said, sipping on a cup of some hot beverage and smiling.

“Sometimes you upbeatedness makes me want to hurl my cookies.” Richard answered sticking out his tongue.

“You better not waste those cookies, Marie wouldn’t be happy with you.”

“Bah what does she know?” He said as he rolled back under the sleigh having finally gotten the flashlight to illuminate the situation.

“You know this kind of reminds me of the Rudolph incident.”

“That’s stupid Chuck. No Christmas tree lit reindeer is going to fix it this.” He said getting angrier all the time. “I just can’t figure out why the engine won’t run!”

“Did you check the flux capacitor?” Chuck answered holding back a giggle.

“Really funny, yuck yuck, You should go to amateur night down at the Laughing Pixie.” His voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Maybe I will grouchy pants.”

“Don’t call me grouchy pants!”

“Fine fine, calm down Crabby McCrabster. This close to Christmas and you’re all mean!”

The clip clop of hooves entering the room caused Chuck to look up and smile as the older reindeer entered the hangar. The reindeers nose glowed bright red casting light even into the darkest corners of the room.

“What seems to be the problem here fellas?” Said Rudolph

Chuck snapped to attention as the High General Of The Reindeer Fleet addressed him directly. Richard quickly drew his legs under the sleigh in hopes of not being noticed.

“Sir, the Sleigh’s stabilizing engine isn’t running but we are working on the problem.”

“We?” Rudolph said as he frowned and then noticed the wiggling legs under the vehicle that was trying in vain to stay hidden. “Understood.”

The reindeer walked slowly around the sleigh looking at the gauges.

“Did you check the fuel level?”

The silence from the two elf mechanics answered his question. Chuck sheepishly went around and added gas to the tank.

He climbed into the cab with his eyes closed half hoping that the engine still would not turn over.

It roared to life.

“Good.” Rudolph said as he marched back out of the hangar.

When he was gone Richard rolled slowly out and looked at his partner frowning but Chuck just smiled in return.

“Exactly like the Rudolph situation.”

“Shut it Chuck, just shut it.”


12/19/2011 03:13:21 am

"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!" Rain looked up from her bills as Heath strode into the room with a scowl across his face. “And I don’t have any extra batteries. Do you have a flashlight I can borrow?”

“Why do you need a flashlight? Doesn’t the light in the garage work?”

Heath gave her a conciliatory shrug. “It’s still too dark to see what needs to be done to fix the water heater.”

Unease slithered up Rain’s spine. Why was so much going wrong in her house? It had been fine until a few months ago. Was Jozsef right and Heath was actually sabotaging it? She stuffed her worries down and gave Heath a grimace.

“I think I have one you can use.”

She rose and strode to her hutch, scrounging through a drawer to find a purple mini Mag-Lite. She rotated the head and nearly blinded herself. “This one works.”

“Could you come into the garage and hold it for me? I really need both my hands.”

She scanned his face, looking for the source of her disquiet, but his expression showed only hopeful patience.
“Okay, I guess I could.”

“Great. Thanks.”

He preceded her through the fire door, holding it open as she stepped through. It slammed shut behind her, making her jump, but Heath had already moved into the corner where the water heater stood.
“Here, can you shine it right here?” He pointed toward the back of the alcove. “I need to get to the pipes back there.”


“Right there. Here, stand here and shine it into the corner, there.” He positioned her to one side and pointed.

She frowned at the mass of pipes, bending down to look closer. It almost looked like they’d been cut…

“Do you see the problem, Rain?” Heath asked in a chilling voice.

“I think so.”

“It should be obvious. It’s right there in front of you.”

She turned to look back at him just as something struck the back of her head, shooting stars through her vision. A scream of protest and pain echoed in the empty garage as she fell against the totes stacked behind her.

“It was always right in front of you, Rain.” Heath’s face suffused with rage swam in her wavering vision.

“What are you doing –”

“You’re mine and always will be. He’ll never have you!”

Her head roiled in agony as he opened the garage door and retreated to his truck parked out front. She had to get to the phone, dial 911. Rain tried to roll her body onto all-fours, but dizziness hit her so hard, nausea swelled up her throat.

“Don’t worry, Rain,” Heath soothed as he wrapped a thick, muffling blanket around her body, covering her head. “I’ll take care of you and make it all better. I’ve always taken care of you, haven’t I?”

Her blood ran cold when she understood Jozsef had been right about Heath and she’d never be able to tell him as the darkness sucked her under.

498 words

From my paranormal romance WIP The Bone Flute.

12/19/2011 03:24:46 am

"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!"

Marley tapped the useless flashlight against a stalactite as a spate of half-mumbled profanity dribbled from his mouth.

Estella stepped over a puddle of algae and touched the flashlight with the tip of her staff. A vigorous yellow flame crackled to life atop the flashlight's lens.

"Thanks," Marley muttered as he held the torch above his head.

"Helps to have a sorceress when you're half a mile underground, doesn't it?"

"Not like I had a choice, but ok."

"Don't get pissy," Estella sniped as she followed Marley through a narrow cleft of limestone. "I'm not the one who salted the Arch-mage's gargoyle."

"Don't believe everything you hear, Estella."

"It wasn't you, then?"

"You sorcs are worse than middle schoolers, you know that?"

Marley offered Estella a hand as she slid over a slimy outcropping and onto a flat shelf overlooking a shadow-choked cavern. He waved the torch in a circle, squinting into the darkness. A pair of sigil-carved doors towered eight stories over the cavern.

"Well," he whispered, "that's the most hellish thing I've seen since Thursday."

"Did you bring the Codex?"

"No, I'm lugging a backpack full of bricks in case, you know, we wanted to build a patio down here."

Marley pulled off his rucksack and unzipped it at Estella's feet, producing a heavy leather-bound text.

Estella steadied her staff in the crook of her elbow as she crouched down over the book.

"Crap. Umbra-cyrilic. Haven't read Umbra since grad school."

Marley held the text open on his knee as Estella concentrated on the glyphs.

"Ah nee mo lah zen... Kah lee zen zo..."

A deep thundering noise rushed from the cave behind them. Marley lifted a brow at Estella.

"Hear that?"

"Hush. You want this gate open or what?"

"Thought I heard something."

"Ah nee mo..."

The thundering noise lifted into a lusty growl as footsteps pounded the stone.

Estella winced. "Please tell me that's your stomach."

"That's my stomach," he whispered, straightening up.

"Are you lying?"

"What do you think?"

Estella spun around and whipped her staff into the air, firing a bolt of blue-white lightning through the limestone cleft. The bolt knifed into the face of a lumbering creature with black scales and fangs. Its eyes narrowed as it pulled itself through the opening.


"Shut up!"

She summoned an orb of fire, which rolled harmlessly off the creature's scales. Ice. Acid. No effect.

Estella squinted as the creature's footfalls pounded closer and closer.

One short, sharp clap of sound pounded her chest, and the creature collapsed at her feet with a single shuttering whimper of pain. Estella looked over to Marley, who pointed his nine-millimeter at the monster's head and fired a second shot into its brain.

"You ok?" he asked.

She nodded.

"The hell is that thing?"

Estella sighed as she turned back to the gate.

"The Arch-Mage's gargoyle."

484 words

12/19/2011 05:18:41 am

"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!" I said, looking down the attic opening.

Jed looked up at me and smirked. Why did I always have to come up here? The Christmas decorations are his but I always get stuck pulling them down from the dusty attic. He definitely was good at manipulating me into doing things. He disappeared for a minute and returned, shining the bright light into my dark adjusted eyes.

“Very funny,” I said. “Climb up the ladder and bring it to me.”

The light bounced up and down. Something was not right. Normally, Jed would be talking my ear off but he did not say a word as he made his way up the ladder. I crawled back into the darkness to give him space to come through the opening in the attic floor. The light hovered above the opening; its brightness made the shadows of the rafters stretch in impossible angles around me.

“You’ve been a naughty, naughty boy,” he said, but it was not quite Jed’s voice.

What the hell? Was he trying to do impressions now?

“Give me the flashlight,” I snapped and reached my hand toward the light.

“You need to pay for what you have done.”

“Oh aren’t you just the comedian,” I said getting perturbed with the game Jed played. “Just give me the damn flashlight.”

I crawled closer to the attic opening. I was going to punch him. He’s the one who wanted the Christmas decorations but I had to be the one to get them down. I glanced down through the opening and saw the top of the ladder. Jed did not stand on it, no one stood on it. I think I squeaked like a girl because I do not think whatever held the light made the sound.

I tried to scoot away from the light but before I knew it I rushed forward into the Electronics Store with the mob of shoppers. I pushed and swung my arms from side to side, that thing-a-ma-bob was mine. I did not care who I hurt, I had to have it. I had to be the first in line.

“See what you did?” the voice said.
I flung my head to the right. The light bounced in the air next to me.

“I got it fair and square,” I defended. “They could wait until after the Christmas rush.”

“But the child it was to go to would not get to enjoy the simple pleasure of it, as he died the day after Christmas last year.”

I swallowed hard and tried to rationalize it in my mind. Whatever retort I came up with sounded flat.

“Really, he died?”

“Nah,” Jed said through bits of laughter. “You’re really a sucker sometimes.” He handed me the flashlight and I noticed that he stood on the rafters in the floor. “Don’t forget Rudolph this year,” he continued. “I’ll make you come back up if you do.”

494 Words

12/19/2011 05:43:21 am

“That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!”

“What’s a flashlight?” I ask. A greenish glow floods through the porthole, colouring the titanium floor.

Atticus holds up an irregular cylinder. “An antique,” he says. “From the second millennium. Our ancestors used them to see in the dark. Before genetically enhanced vision, of course.” His golden eyes scan the device as he turns it over in his hand. “The magnetic field from the nebula keeps screwing with the electronics.”

“Your thingamajig is a thousand years old, Atty. Maybe it just broke.”

His expression sinks as he contemplates this possibility. “No, it worked this morning,” he says finally. “Besides, the engines and waste disposal are malfunctioning too.”

“What!?” I make an effort not to scream at him and my voice comes out as a raspy hiss. “Are you saying that we are stranded in the middle of a nebula, without a functioning toilet, and you are worried about your goddamned antique?” Funny thing is, I used to dream about being stranded alone with Atticus. Of course that was before I spent enough time with him to realize how weird he is. His interest in twenty-first century gadgetry is the tip of a very large iceberg.

“Don’t be mad. We’ll get the engines online.”

“Toilets first,” I say.

“Right, of course.” He sets his antique down on the table, and rushes to the lavatory. I follow him, clutching a toolbox.

“You’ll probably need these,” I say. Holding up the tools. Atticus is wedged behind the toilet. He doesn’t answer.

Typical, he never hears me when he’s working. “Atty?” I tap him.

He sits up suddenly, grasps my arm. His eyes widen. “Run,” he says.

“What? Why?”

The nebula’s green glow emanates from the toilet. I don’t ask again. I get out, slamming the lavatory door behind me.

There’s nowhere to go. I press my back against the far wall and stare at that lavatory door. Something bangs on the other side.

“Atticus?” I call.

I can’t leave him in there, I decide. Slowly I move towards the door and yank it open. Atticus falls into my arms.

“You shouldn’t have done that," he gasps. "Now we’re both goners.”

He’s right. We’re dead. “There was never anything I could have done, Atty.”

He touches my cheek. “I’m sorry I never told you how much I...” his body goes limp.

The air is thick and green. The flashlight roles off the table.


12/19/2011 05:48:44 am

"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!" Bennie smacked the flashlight against her hand as she peered into the opne doorway of the dark house. She knew there were some lights on before she left. And they were out now so the box must have blown again. If she knew that the electrician wouldn’t cost more than she had at the moment, that problem would have been fixed. But no, she decided to buy a fixer upper.

THAT was a stupid idea. The house, while roomy and quiet on its acre of land, was proving to be a royal pain in her ass. She made a face and decided to go in. She knew there was a lantern in the kitchen. She would just have to feel her way.

A deep breathe in and she put an arm out and felt along the wall. It seemed a lot darker inside than it had when she was standing on the porch waffling about going in. She took baby steps in and paused when her fingers brushed against fabric. Boards creaked.

She caught her breath, not sure if she should keep moving forward or do what her brain was telling her to do and run screaming from the house like a little girl. There was a whisper of fabric and then the lights came on, blinding her and leaving her blinking.

There was someone standing in front of her. She threw out a punch, her fist connecting with someone. There was a curse and the form stumbled back.

“HAPPY BIRTH-!” There were some gasps.

When Bennie blinked the white dots out of her eye, she saw all her friends, the balloons, the banner and the birthday cake in the living room. Then she looked down and saw her boyfriend cradling his nose. She cringed. “Sorry, honey.”

305 words

12/19/2011 06:01:31 am

"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!"

He threw the offending object across the floor and heard it drop and roll down the stairs. The ghost of Christmas past had been haunting him all year, stuck on him like glue. He’d tried to shake it, but it was there everywhere he looked.

Ferreting in his pockets, he turned up a lighter and struck it in the cool air. A few more steps and the top of the crumbling lighthouse was his. The scent of the sea foam hit him in the face with the kiss of an impatient lover. At least the water element was pleased to see him.

He looked out across the joyful waters, topped white with the manes of charging horses in the glad glow of the moon. The lighter extinguished, it stuffed in his pocket to lay forgotten until he deigned to return down the dark spiral steps.

Lashes shuttered, cutting off all but the salty scents and the drumbeat of the waves staccato upon the trembling rocks.

This was where he’d spent last Christmas with her. She’d sung to him from the serene sea below, lulling his senses and begging him to join her in the brine. Her memory dogged his every step from last year until this. He wondered why he’d walked away, but knew that it was because she’d told him to.

He wished she would appear again, knowing that she couldn’t for if she did he would dive to his death to be with her.

Every Christmas carol and every glittery bauble served as stale reminders of his love for the water queen. Eating had become superfluous and drinking a tainted pleasure. His Christmas wish was to have her in his arms. His water queen. His ghost of Christmas past.

Her voice carried on the breeze, a slow hum of Christmas carols in choir trim, backed by a chorus of nymphs.

“There is nothing more I want, my darling, than to be with you. You have bewitched me.” He sighed. “If only you could complete me…”

Words: 345

12/19/2011 07:55:41 am

“That’s just great. Now my flashlight doesn’t work!” I threw the offensive failure of cheap technology and cheaper batteries with all my strength. I listened to it bounce through the woods alongside the road with a wince of politically correct guilt. “Littering is the least of your worries, Bryant.”

I added it to the bottom of the growing list. Below the overheated transmission, below the lack of cell signal, civilization, or light. Below another Christmas alone, this one spent freezing to death if I didn’t get a move on.

The damning phone call from Marley still rang in my ears three days after the fact. My sister called me a work-obsessed Scrooge, never finding time for family. I needed to make time this year, she’d told me. Before it was too late. I didn’t exactly think Mom and Dad were knocking on Death’s door, but I got the point. That didn’t mean I could do anything about it, but I put in the same request for leave I put in every year, never thinking I would get the time approved for once.

I hadn’t stayed around long enough for anyone to change their minds, hauling ass with my weekend bag and last-minute presents from the PX. I made the trip in near-blizzard conditions, in the same ancient Mustang Mach 1 I’d driven to basic training. The poor beast proved no match against the near zero temps and deepening snow.

I pulled all the clothes from my bag on, topping everything with my white winter coat, giving me a puffy Michelin Ma’am look. As long as Dad didn’t mistake me for a Christmas bandit and bust out his shotgun, I’d be good. The layers of clothes made walking more difficult, but soon enough the sky brightened with the welcoming flash of colored lights. Ghosts of Christmas Past danced around me—memories of snow angels, caroling, sledding, wood fires warming the chilly living room as Marley and I tore into presents.

With a smile, I crested the last hill, only then noticing the flashing lights were only red and blue. My steps slowed, but a sharp-eyed uniform spotted me. In seconds I was on my knees in the snow, fingers locked behind my head.

“Who are you?” the cop demanded.

“Staff Sergeant Circe Bryant, United States Army. I’m on leave for Christmas, officer. This is my family’s home.” Bone-chilling fear made my voice tight. “What’s going on here?”

He didn’t answer me, just hollered, “I got the other daughter!”

A swarm of people surrounded me, helpful hands getting me back on my feet.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, Sergeant,” the sheriff said with a weary sigh. “Your sister—”

A muscle spasm started in my cheek. “What did she do?”

“We’d like to ask you some questions.”

“No,” I whispered. “No. It’s not supposed to be this way. I’m the soldier.” Soldiers didn’t get told their families were dead. Families got told their soldiers were dead. “<i>Why?</i>”

“She left a note.”

500 words

12/19/2011 11:54:29 am

Title: Can I Get a Re-do?

“That’s just great. Now my flashlight doesn’t work!” I muttered as I was encased in darkness. This was just par for course with how my day was going.

It all started out when I woke up an hour late for work. As I scrambled through my morning routine, everything that could go wrong did: the hot water ran out midway through my shower, I got soap in my eye, the sole of my shoe separated from the upper as I slipped them on, and the coffee burned. That really irked me. A good cup of coffee could make any crappy morning better.

On my way work, I got stuck in road construction and the freeway became a parking lot. The minutes ticked by as I became later and later for work. My cell phone rang as I stared at the break lights of the car in front of me. It was my boss. I cringed on how that conversation was going to go.

All I heard was a fizzy static as I put the phone to my ear. When I pulled it away from the and looked at it, the screen of my cell phone was fried, the color and picture all distorted.

“Great,” I said to myself in disgust as traffic finally opened up and I started down the road again.

At work, I was treated to much of the same. My computer gave me the BSOD, my printer jammed, and phone calls that weren’t meant for me kept getting transferred to my desk.

When I left work for the day, I noticed one of the tires of my car was flat. While stuck in that construction zone on the way to work, I picked up a nail. I was just glad that it hadn’t blown my tire while I was still driving.

Finally at home, I breathed a sigh of relief. Surely, now that I was at home, nothing else could happen.

I was wrong.

I was in the middle of making when the power went out. When I poked my head out the window, it was apparent that I wasn’t the only one. I shrugged my shoulders and found my flashlight and some candles ... except I couldn’t find any matches or a lighter.

Chocking it up to how the well the day had gone so far, I shuffled off to my bedroom to try to read by flashlight. It was too early to go to bed, but there wasn’t much else I could do without power. Sure I could get on my laptop, but without power, my wireless router didn’t work either, negating Internet surfing.

I was in the middle of a rather engaging chapter of my book when the wan light of my flashlight became to sputter, waver, then completely stop. Shrouded in darkness, I tossed my book on the floor and stared up at the ceiling.

All in all, I should’ve just stayed in bed and called it a day.

496 words

12/19/2011 04:43:50 pm

"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!”
said Ebenezer in his pitch-black room.
“What are the beasts that, in my closet, lurk?”

A spectre peered out from within the murk.
Said Jacob Marley’s ghost amid the gloom,
"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!”

“YOUR flashlight, eh? You clumsy, undead jerk!
I wish you would just crawl back to your tomb!
What are the beasts that, in my closet, lurk?”

Marley replied, “My task I shall not shirk:
to show your life, beginning from the womb.
That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!”

“I know your tale,” Scrooge said and gave a smirk,
“Ghosts past and now and next proclaim my doom.
What are the beasts that, in my closet, lurk?

“Okay. You win. I’ll help that lowly clerk
and Tiny Tim, as well. Now leave me! Zoom!
That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!
What are the beasts that, in my closet, lurk?”

159 words as an experiment in the villanelle form.

12/19/2011 09:51:45 pm

In honor of some of my flash fiction friends I've contemplated a new novel. This scene fits in well. ;)

“That’s just great. Now my flashlight doesn’t work!” Meg frowned.
"That's alright," Chris said. "I've got a lighter. Guess you're glad I smoke now, huh?"
Meg rolled her eyes. "Your smug grin isn't any more attractive by firelight, although I do believe I can see the nicotine stains on your teeth."
"Will you two lovebirds knock it off?" Cara said. "We have serious business to attend. Did you get the documents Sam?"
"Of course I did. Logs from an old website from the Free Days called Twitter."
"How did you get access to a social networking site? I swear Sam, if you got the FIS on our trail."
"Free Information society," Chris snickered. "What a joke."
"It's no joke that people who cross them have a habit of disappearing," Meg said. "I didn't come all the way out to the middle of the woods to be tracked down and hauled off."
"Relax," Sam said. "I know a guy that knows a guy. This stuff is totally untraceable."
Cara read the printed pages. "Most of this is garbage and advertisements. People talking about what they had for dinner."
Chris dropped his trademark smile. "They never knew how lucky they were to have free communication."
"Wait," Cara said. "These names keep coming up about independent publishing."
Meg looked. "Are you sure you aren't just picking these out because this girl has the same first name?"
"Well sure that's what caught my attention, but think about it. These people wrote whatever they felt like writing. They didn't worry about the big publishing companies."
"And how successful were they?" Chris asked.
"I don't know," Cara said. "But that's not the point. They were pioneers in free speech."
"I think you are giving them a little bit too much credit," Sam said.
"Cara's right," Meg said. Something in the clarity of her voice caught everyone off guard. "I mean why are we out here in the first place?"
"Because the FIS cameras and microphones don't extend this far," Chris said.
"Because we want things to change and these people represent what we need to do,” Meg said.
“And in order to make that happen,” Cara nodded at Sam.
Sam went to his truck, brought out four cases and opened them.
“Keyboards?” Chris asked.
“Not quite,” Sam said. “These are typewriters.”
Meg chewed her lower lip. “Just having these in our possession could get us arrested.”
“How do they connect to the internet?” Chris asked.
“They don’t,” Cara said. “We are going to have to distribute information the old fashioned way if we are going to get around the FIS.”
“Ooh clandestine operations,” Meg said.
Sam grinned. “My mother would be so proud.”
“So how about code names or at least a name for the organization?”
“How about the Real Free Information Society?” Chris offered.
Meg looked up from the log transcripts. “I’ve got a better, more ironic name: Camp Duct Tape. You can call me Siobhan from now on. What do you think about that?”

500 words

12/20/2011 12:57:57 am

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

“That’s just great. Now my flashlight doesn’t work!”
“Put away the flashlight, Buddy.” Santa said. “You don’t want to wake up any of the children, do you?”
“No, I guess not. It’s just,” Buddy shook the flashlight again and peered into the darkness of the living room beyond the glow of the Christmas tree. “Something’s not right. Do you smell something, Santa?”
Santa worked quickly, placing presents and baubles under the tree for the good little Jones children. Jimmy and Sally and even little Suzy were going to have a wonderful glow of delight on their faces when they saw the bounty of St. Nick.
“All I smell is pines needles, Buddy.” Santa said. “They really need to water this thing, it’s going brown already.”
“It smells like… all the milk and cookies went rotten.” Buddy wrinkled his nose.
Santa pulled up his belt and slung the sack over his shoulder and took a whiff. “You’re right. That’s awful. And there are no cookies. Or milk! What kind of kids don’t leave Ol’ Santa a snack on Christmas night?”
The huge house, filled with lights and stockings and the trappings of Christmas cheer, wasn’t cheerful at all. It was quiet and the air was stale and unmoving. The pleasant scent of the Christmas tree was hiding something. Just underneath the pine, was the smell of something foul. Something corrupt and rotted.
“Santa, I’m scared. Can we go now?” Buddy backed up towards the fireplace.
Santa took a curved candy cane from his belt and clicked on a hidden button. Bright white light spilled into the room in a warm cone. He swept the light over the living room and dining room. Nothing.
A thin scraping sound came from somewhere upstairs. Three thumps in quick succession made Santa jump in his skin.
“The kids… they must be awake.” Santa whispered.
They were at the top of the stairs now. Buddy stood behind Santa and pulled on his red velvet coat.
“Santa, please. Let’s go!” Buddy was trembling now. The fireplace escape never looked so appealing.
Santa’s light moved slowly up the bannister. He was terrified of what he would see at the top, but he couldn’t stop himself.
Santa’s light fixed on the top of the stairs and Buddy screamed in horror.


12/20/2011 12:59:18 am

Oh yeah...

404 words



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