Tag Archives: flash fiction challenge

New Year, New Start

Hello all,


I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year (for our Occidental friends. The Chinese have to wait a little longer I’m afraid).

Mine was… less than ideal. This has been the worst December I can remember. BUT! It is time to put that all behind me and get back into the swing of things. So, new year means new challenges both for myself and others. You know what that means…


Another Flash-Fiction challenge! Yes!


This month’s theme is rebirth. It could be of a person (literal or metaphorical rebirth), a group or social unit, or the world after the turning of the seasons. That is up to the writer. As always, try to keep it at or below 500 words, although a tiny bit over won’t disqualify you from winning the prize.

What is the prize, you ask? Why, a genuine There By Candlelight 100% Authentic often-imitated-never-duplicated Noprize! Yes, you too can win absolutely nothing for participating in this contest! Be the envy of your neighbors.



Theme: Rebirth

Length: 500 words

Due Date: January 31, 2012

Location: Post it on your own site and link it here, or post it here in the comments section, or write it on post-it notes in your bedroom and just tell us you did it. Whatever works for you.

Anyways, that’s it for now. Talk to you later, and good luck with your own endeavors and/or new year’s resolutions.


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The Castle of the Sultan

In response to Ozlem Yikici’s Triptych Turkish Delights flash fiction challenge.

Sabiha sits primly on the edge of the couch in her room, waiting.

Two days prior, Davran and the American, Sam, are shaking hands. The bet is decided, the prize and conditions set. The of sundown two days hence, they will leave the hotel at the same time. Then, anything goes. The first one to reach Sabiha wins her hand. Listening to all of this, Sabiha wonders if she has a say in the matter. Her eyes stray to the handsome American, Sam, with his shaved face his hot, eager eyes. She needn’t look at Davran, she has known him all her life. For the first time she can remember, there is the possibility that she will not marry him. She wonders at how hard her heart is racing.

The sun has been down for half an hour. Davran made his way to the base of the cliff wall. The trees have long been cut away some six meters from the wall, giving the guards atop a clear view down. Still, the bends in the wall allow for occasional blind spots, spots Davran well knows from his days as a boy. Above him, he can hear the sounds of music and people talking. It sounds like a party.

Davran dips his hand into the bag of chalk hanging from his belt. He rubs his fingertips together, finds a grip, and begins his ascent. He has timed it carefully, knowing from long experience exactly how long it takes the guard to make a circuit. He knows the times where he will be vulnerable to detection, when he must stop and wait, clinging to the side of the wall like a tick on the ear of a goat.

The guard has passed. Davran climbs again. He smiles to himself, knowing that there is no way that the American, Sam, could possibly make this ascent at the same speed. Davran has the advantage of location knowledge, and of experience doing this exact thing. Granted, it has been over a decade and he has put on a few pounds, but the upstart American, Sam, with his shining teeth and his shaved chin, does not know the way.

Davran breathes hard at the top. The way was long and difficult, and he schools himself against looking down. He will not fall. He has done this before. The guard’s footsteps retreat, and Davran slips over the top. Now it is a simple matter of staying in the shadows, behind the trees until he reaches the house proper. There, he blends in with the serving staff as they rush too and fro delivering drinks and food and warm, damp towels to the party guests.

Sabiha’s door is in front of him, and he pushes it open in triumph. His grin fades. Sabiha sits primly on the edge of the couch in her room, waiting. And with her is the American, Sam.

Sam’s perfect white teeth gleam as he smiles at Davran. “Let me guess, you went up the wall?” He makes a vague gesture towards the rest of the house, the music and the food and the people. “I just asked Sabiha for an invitation to the party.”

Davran’s head hangs in defeat. His hand inches back to where he keeps a pistol tucked into the waistband of his trousers.


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Update 10/20/2011

Sorry I haven’t been posting every day (you may all cheer now). Doing back-end stuff for The Writer’s Bloc has been taking up a large chunk of my time, as has rewriting Blood: Fury and reading critiques of Still-Life, with Snowflake.

Hopefully that will all slow down now, and I can move on and get back to pestering everyone with daily nonsense.

There’s still time to enter our Flash Fiction Challenge for Octobrrr.

And if you haven’t done so yet, head by Haley’s site and enter her contest. You could win a prize.

Octobrrr horror for your amusement.

(Week) Night of the Living Dead

The Windows, My Eyes

The Creature Over the Bed

The Venice Accord

Il Masque

Starlight on the Water

Sarahann’s Warning by Ozlem Yikici


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(Week) Night of the Living Dead

In response to my own flash-fiction challenge, Sunday in the Park with Freddie.

“Hey, deadboy, isn’t it past your bedtime?”

The jeers mocked me as I shuffled down the street. I slowly turned my head to look, and as I suspected, it was Bret and his football jock buddies. They were hanging around outside the coffee shop on Main, looking all clean and neat in their letterman jackets and copious hair product. I tried to avoid looking down at myself in comparison, but it was inevitable. Old jeans with more holes than fabric, sneakers a size too small that only fit because my big toes had fallen off last summer during the school camping trip, a moldy tee shirt with faded print reading Bite Me. Yeah, I’m so ironically hip it hurts.

They knew they were safe, mocking me. They were right, it was a week night and I was late getting home. I didn’t have time to chase them down. Mom was already going to be mad at me. The only silver lining was that, since her larynx had rotted away, she has to write out her complaints. Hopefully she’ll accidentally chop off her fingers soon.

Stupid Bret and his stupid friends. Just because they still had pulses, they thought they were so special. Part of the ‘clean,’ as the living liked to style themselves. As if we could help being dirty. YOU try living your life with maggots in your nostrils and gangrene slowly eating away at your limbs and tell me how clean YOU manage to stay after a few years.

The worst part was that these jerks used to be my friends. I used to be on the team, till that damned cheerleader from Penn Hills bit me. Now, all they did wa

Still, sometimes you have to put in appearances. As they hooted and laughed at me, I turned suddenly towards them. Well, as suddenly as I could. My left leg had been feeling fairly fragile lately, I didn’t want to risk snapping an ankle. Getting to homeroom on time was hard enough as it was, I didn’t need that kind of complication.

There was no way I could possibly catch them, by myself, at my speed. Still, it was gratifying to see the smug expressions vanish as they scrambled to their feet. The table clattered over, spilling their drinks as they struggled to get clear of the roped-off dining area with the signs declaring that it was for ‘Breathers Only.’  The alarm on their faces was almost worth the price of admission as I opened my mouth wide and pantomimed biting them.

They bolted. I smiled gingerly and continued on my way home. It was a week night, and I had to study for that algebra test tomorrow.


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The Windows, My Eyes

In response to Haley Whitehall’s October Flash Fiction Horror Contest.

The killer took shelter in the old, abandoned Whitehall house. The police gathered in the overgrown weeds outside to discuss an entrance plan rather than simply rushing in. After all, the killer was still armed with the knife he had used to murder his partner.

The house looked haunted and decripit in the moonlight, every window long shattered and what paint remained was colorless and dull. No one had entered the house since the last owners killed themselves twelve years ago. The police fingered their guns nervously.

Caution was thrown to the wind when someone inside the house screamed, high pitched and shrill. “Crap, someone lives there?” Officer Armstong found herself running forward with the rest, bursting through the door sagging forlornly on one hinge. “Spread out.”

The police fanned out, weapons at the ready. Floorboards creaked and broken glass crunched underfoot as they searched for the killer and the source of the scream. Armstrong took the surprisngly intact stairs to the second floor, followed shortly by Harrison.

In the second room, they found the body. It wore the clothes of the killer, and even held the same knife, although the body was years old: desiccated and bony. Before Armstrong had a chance to process this, another scream came from downstairs.

She and Harrison rushed back down, to find Hamilton in the doorway of the kitchen. Just beyond was another body, similar to the first. Only this one was wearing a police uniform. The service weapon was clearly visible in the light spilling in through the delicately-paned French window.

“What the hell?” Armstrong whispered softly, crouching down to turn the body over. The nametag said it was Officer Mayer. Everyone stared at the body in mute horror.

Behind them, the front door quietly shut. No one had entered the house since the last owners killed themselves twelve years ago, and it was hungry.


Detectives Lansdale and McCoy met up at the car. “What do you have?” Lansdale asked his partner.

“A bunch of liars,” McCoy snorted, looking at two empty police cruisers parked in front of the Whitehall house. “The neighbors keep claiming that place has been abandoned for years. If that’s the case, who has been mowing the lawn? Who has been washing the windows?”

Lansdale nodded, looking at the house. “For that matter, if it’s abandoned, who is that little girl waving at us from the second story? I think she wants to tell us something. Let’s go inside.”


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The Creature Over the Bed

Billy tried to ignore it for as long as he could. The shuffling, the breathing. It was the Creature, he was sure of it. The Creature over the Bed. He had heard it every night for going on three weeks. Always the same. The night would start off well enough, sometimes he was even able to grab a little sleep. But then it would start. There would be a stomping sound, then a loud groaning creak. Harsh whispers he couldn’t quite make out would issue from thin air. Finally, the shuffling and the breathing. The horrid, horrible, ghastly breathing.

Billy was too old to believe in monsters, or so he told himself night after night. And  yet he would lie there, wide awake with is eyes screwed shut. Maybe if he didn’t look over the edge of the bed, then the Creature couldn’t get him. This was his only solace, the only hope he had to cling to during those long, lonely nights.

There was tangible proof, also. Sometimes when Billy woke up in the morning, things would be moved around. Sometimes it was an old pair of shoes, or sometimes it was an old, splintery Louisville Slugger, but things would not be where they were left the night before.

Billy tried speaking to Sioned about it once, but she was too busy with the laundry. “Oi, lad, these clothes’ll nay wash themselves!” she teased him, and he never spoke with her about it again.

He tried talking to Angus about the issue. He found Angus at breakfast, eating his usual bowl of honey-laced porridge, and his mouth was full and somewhat sticky, so he could do naught but shrug helplessly. He tried to talk to Angus again later, but found him busy with his tools, too intent on resoling an old boot to be of much help.

Billy thought about trying to talk to Old Man Jake, but if he had to be honest with himself, Billy would admit that Old Man Jake scared him almost as much as the Creature did. So there would be no help from that angle.

In the end, he talked about it with Alice, as usual. She was his closest confidant, despite being only a girl. She was the only one in the house who had time for him. When he asked her about it, she smiled shyly and told him she had all the time in the world for him. So he told her about the Creature and his restless nights and the horrible heavy breathing.

Alice listened closely, toying with the hem of her white nightshirt. As he finished his tale, she thought for a moment and then whispered, “You must confront it. It is the only way you’ll ever be safe. Bring a flashlight, and just… confront it.”

Billy struggled with this advice for a couple of days before snapping. He brought the flashlight, and lay there, waiting. Once he heard the voices and then the shuffling, Billy leapt out and shone his light at the Creature.

“Mo-om!” the Creature yelled, “Come cuick! The Thing Under the Bed has a flashlight!!!!”

In response to my own Flash Fiction challenge, Sunday in the park with Freddie. Come on folks, let’s see what you have.

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Il Masque

In response to Sonia G. Medieros‘ October Flash-Fiction challenge: Masks.

I remember the first time I saw her. We were walking in opposite directions along Dearborn. She was going north towards Harrison, and I was going south towards Polk. I saw her through the ocean of lunch-time pedestrians. She shone like the sun, red and gold and radiant.

In a world full of Bautas, Donna Gattas, and Medico Della Pestes, she was a brilliant gold Luna Lux with crimson filigree and feathers.

The richness extended to her dress, a low-cut, off-the-shoulder scarlet affair that stopped just an inch above her knees. Stockings, heeled sandals, and full-length opera gloves of gold lame completed the ensemble.

I stopped and stared, awestruck by her beauty. She nodded politely but sweetly as she passed by, evidently well aware of her effect on men. I turned to follow her, but the press of bodies around me slowed me down and she turned the corner. As if someone had flipped the switch that controls the sun, the color and light went out of the world in that instant.

I spent every lunch for the next six months on that street, looking for her. There was no question of me simply missing her; with a face like that, she would be impossible. She was too vibrant, too colorful in a city of drabness, to miss. Six months I spent looking for her every lunch break, to no avail.

At work, I would search the internet for her. Surely she must be unique, I thought. The filigree, the tiny little ruby cluster dangling from from the gentle curve of the top of her face, the crimson feathers. Surely there couldn’t be another girl out there with a face that incredible. Looks like that were fairly common in Brazil and some of your larger Columbian cities, but all my searching turned up nothing in the States.

After a time, I began to despair. Then I grew angry. What right did she have to walk around just once, setting my heart afire, and then vanish. I stopped looking for her at lunch. I stopped searching the internet for her. In time, I was able to convince myself that I had forgotten about her. In more time, I was able to start looking at other women without comparing them too negatively to my phoenix-colored Luna Lux.

I began to date. Casually at first, but then I began spending more and more time with Susan, a cute little black-and-brown Gatta. After two years, we married. Another three years passed before we had our first child, and by that time I was a junior Senior Editor. We had moved out to the suburbs, and I took the L in to work each day. Our child was born in April, a sweet little Volto/Moretta in gray and silver with blue highlights.

Today, I had to pick my daughter up from kindergarten, as her mother was busy late with a client. And I saw her again, my brilliant Luna. She was a teacher at my daughter’s school. A few of her feathers had begun to droop, but she was still as beautiful as I remembered.

And that, officer, is why I may have had a little too much to drink tonight.


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