Tag Archive | fridayflash

Behind the Door

That door!

It tingled when she walked by; on grey days, it shone. Garish yellow in a black wall, it stood out against bracketing brownstones. In the sunshine, it was an ugly door, but boring.

In the rain, it moved, but only when she wasn’t looking: she’d glance away and hear hinges squeak, peek back and see it cracked open, look away only to see it closed when she looked back. It tingled; it piqued the curiosity.

She waited in the rain, pretending not to watch.

The doorknob turned. The door creaked open. She held her breath, peeked sidelong.

“Curiosity,” a voice slurked out of the oily shadows. “How rare. How strange.” It tingled, ached, prickled. She turned slowly to face the shadow in the doorway.

“How delicious.” She had no time, no breath, to scream. A gulp, and she was devoured.

The yellow door tingled, sometimes, in the rain. But the house behind it shone in the sun, and the doors inside were endless.

I started a new occasional thing on Thimbleful Thursday, since I got the prompts prescheduled through next September.

Tell-Me Tuesday asks a question: this week‘s prompt was “Who’s behind the door?”

165 words, just barely in the limit.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1115829.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Around Elephants, a story for #FridayFlash and Thimbleful Thursday

The conversation in the room was lively and despite a scarcity situation in much of Urbetania, the wine and the food were coming at an equally lively pace. Gatherings like this happened rarely, and when they did, they so very often had to happen in secret. To be out in the open, blithely chatting away in Bergier’s grand dining room while servants moved in and out around them – that was far more luxurious than the fermented grape juice they were sipping.

It wasn’t a victory. They all knew that, and they all took pains to avoid that word and any related synonyms. Victory came with far fewer conditions and far more freedom. But the Premier had taken the first, hard-won steps, and for that, they would drink happily.

In a room and a group such as this, there were many things not said: they did not speak of victory, of course. They did not speak the name of their group, or any of its myriad nicknames. They didn’t whisper any fault of the Premier, except the widely-accepted jokes about Mme. Premier’s choice in scarves, which was atrocious, and her taste in shoes, which was impeccable. The well-paid servants could still be spies. The newly-installed chandeliers could still contain listening crystals. The walls could still contain listening tubes: in short, anything they said, anywhere, could still be used against them, and that would turn their non-victory into a solid defeat.

It was said sometimes that there was an elephant in the room that one avoided speaking about. In Urbetania, when one was a member of the Group with No Name (because even that was forbidden), one might better say that there was a mouse one could talk about.

So it was that, the evening after the first concession granted their unnamed group in a century, Mme. Bergier was chatting cheerfully with M. Boulange and Mlle. Carnier about the weather expected for the upcoming week and the effects said weather might have on the crops.

A very astute listener might guess that they were speaking in code. After all, even ever several glasses of what was really quite nice wine, not even those in the Unnamed People could be all that interested in the weather, could they? And Mme. Bergier was going on in quite a bit of detail. She seemed to know down to the minute when the rain would come, and in Urbetania, whatever they said about their Premier, not even the trains were that punctual.

A very very astute listener might notice that Mme. Bergier eyes seemed quite clear and her words not at all slurred, although the waiters and waitresses – and of course some of them were spies – were pouring the wine quite generously. But it would take someone who had been watching far too many of these meetings – and there were not that many to watch – or who had spent a great deal of time watching those people who were nameless and invisible to notice that Mme. Bergier’s hands appeared to move not just animatedly, but with purpose. And if you watched Mlle. Carnier’s hands, they, too, were moving.

There was no observer quite so astute to see that, while no-one spoke of the forbidden elephants, the entire room was sketching them in the air.

Written to March 5th’s Thimbleful Thursday prompt: Elephant in the room and for http://fridayflash.org/press/ Friday Flash.


Edited to change last line <.<

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/911348.html. You can comment here or there.

Zig-a-Zag, a story for Thimbleful Thursday and #FridayFlash

The fighter pilot with the callsign Spice was new to the team and, although all her credentials assured that she was not, indeed, new to space fighting as a concept or a skill, still the team had to be reassured.

The ‘old men’ – venerable veterans at twenty, twenty-two – watched from a safe distance on the carrier as Spice went through her first series of maneuvers. The training run wasn’t their hardest – nobody thought she could do that one, half the old men couldn’t pull it off flawlessly – but it was not easy, either, with a 1% fatality rate.

Spice zipped around the first obstacles – not too fast, not too slow. “Those are easy,” one Old Man scoffed. “Just wait till-“

But she made the trick shot as easily as any of them had.

“Too slow,” the doubter chided. And then he was laughing, as she bopped the wrong way around one of the hardest targets. “Looks like she zigged when she should have zagged!” His cronies laughed, some uneasily. That was the most deadly part of the run, the part they’d lost friends on.

The speakers blared to life. “All right!” Spice taunted, as she popped out on the other side of the target, the “flag” in her jet-ship’s catch-claw. “Zig-a-zig-ah!”

Thimbleful Thursday: https://thimblefulthursday.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/thimbleful-writing-prompt-10/

And Zig-a-zig…. ah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spice_Girls

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Weaving a Plan, for #Thimbleful and #FridayFlash

“I never thought this would come in handy. Those underwater basket-weaving classes you took in college, your ‘easy a’s’…” Amelie shook her head. “I thought you were coasting.”

“Everybody thought I was coasting.” Brent finished the repair with an elaborate knot. “It’s hard to explain that you know you have to learn something. So I went with Liberal Arts because it allowed me to dabble…”

“And used your psychic powers to take classes you knew you were going to need?”

“Well…” Brent swam up. Below, a basket wrapped around a shifting seal, holding an Old One in their place. “Yes.”


To this week’s Thimbleful Thursday prompt, 100 words. Also for Friday Flash.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/840457.html. You can comment here or there.

And Ahead of Me… a story for #Fridayflash, DailyPrompt

I woke alone, I woke blind to the world, and I woke scared.

Those are the things I know about when I woke, and only those, not when nor where nor why I was, or even who I was. I was against a wall, the floor was cold, and I could not see.

And you were not with me. Of course: I was alone. But more than the absence of other breath, other voices in the room was the absence of you.

I found my feet, somehow. I found a stick, a cane, somehow. My body knew the way. I found a door – that was harder – and the sun on my face told me travel west.

But the ache in my gut told me travel east, so east I went.

The bus was going North, so I walked. The police officer that stopped me wanted to take me west, but I talked him out of it. The punks that wanted my money, when they found I had none wanted to take me to their home.

But their home was to the south, so I kept walking anyway. I didn’t know where I was going – how could I, when I didn’t know even who I was? – but I knew you were there.

“There’s nothing to the east,” the taxi driver told me. “You can’t go there like that.” I say taxi drive, like I said punks, because he asked if I needed a ride and told me a price, like the punks grabbed me with hard hands and then handed me back my cane with soft words.

The sun’s warmth was gone before I reached my destination, but I could feel the edge of the road with my cane, so I kept walking. Cars would rush by, a gust of wind and a blast of sound, but I kept walking. They’d honk or shout or both, but I kept walking. The night grew cold, but I kept walking.

I didn’t know how far I had to go, and I could not see the signs to read them, but I knew you were ahead of me still. There was nothing to do but keep walking, keep walking.

The sun was warm on my face again when a car pulled alongside me. “You can’t be here,” the woman told me. “The signs say so.”

“I’m almost there,” I told her, and by that I knew that I was nearly to you. “Only a little longer.”

“But you can’t be here.”

I kept walking. There was nothing behind me, after all, but the dark. And ahead of me was you.

To [community profile] dailyprompt, 2014-09-10:
If I was blindfolded
If my memory was erased
If every sign pointed
to another place
I’d still find you

For #FridayFlash

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/808735.html. You can comment here or there.

Better Left Unsaid, a story for #FridayFlash

“It’s the job,” she’d say, when Tchaikovsky announced a text. Better not to say someone’s dead; they either already knew or they’d never get it.

“I’ll be back when I can.” She’d step out carrying her go bag and never saying if I survive. If they understood already, it was cruel. If they didn’t, it was crueler.

“It was hard,” returning, never filling in the gory details, the struggle to pull herself back to humanity, the blood that never totally washed out. If they’d asked, they already knew.

“I’ve got to go:” never even hinting at the pain of being so close to someone so human.

From [community profile] dailyprompt, 2014-08-21: “things that are better left unsaid”.
For #FridayFlash; I wasn’t satisfied with my last piece so voila
This riffs off of Entanglement from #3ww

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/803055.html. You can comment here or there.

Friday Flash/Djinni Icon Flash: Like This and Like That

“This is the dance.” Senna took Autumn’s hands. “Your feet go like…” She hitched up her skirts to show her bare toes. “This and then this and then this.”

“Like, ah…” Autumn tried the steps. “This and then this, and then this and this?”

“Almost!” Senna grinned and showed off the steps again. “This and then this and so on.”

“This and then this…” Autumn found herself singing it. “Then this and so on. Senna, you’re a genius.”

“I’m a genius? It’s a dance.” The dance-mistress’ feet moved in a more complicated pattern this time, and her skirts swished against her knees.

“You’re a genius. It’s a song.” More than a song, it was a knot. “It’s a song to the universe.”

Autumn shifted her vision sideways, to the place where the strands of the world lay bright against the void. “‘Like this and like that and like this and uh…'” Her steps twined in the strands; Senna’s steps twisted in the lines, and together they made a beautiful macrame of connections. “Genius. This is the dance.”

Useful setting information: The strands, in this ‘verse, connect everything, and are created by connections between people or between things.

Want more Stranded World? Check out the landing page here.

Written for Friday Flash and in a quest to write a flash to every one of the icons Djinni has drawn for me.

“Like this and like that and like this and uh…” is from Dr. Dre’s Nuthin but a G thang.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/802433.html. You can comment here or there.

Friday Flash: Intelligent Life

Written to @ShingetsuMoon’s prompt (here but spoilers-ish) for Friday Flash

The machines started small on Earth, as they had on every planet so far.

They found the brightest, the cleverest, the most innovative – people and dolphins, elephants and corvids, apes and chimps. They picked them off, one by one or in groups.

A smart guy dies in Oxford and a grifter dies in New York City, who’s going to make the connection? A murder of ravens goes missing – who notices? An elephant at least makes a stink when she falls dead.

They noticed the dolphins first – but it was a group of researchers who noted it, and they weren’t far behind. Then the chimps, signing “help us, help us,” until the virus destroyed their brain.

The virus was the machines’ primary weapon – it ate brain cells, was tolerably target-able, and was not known to any surviving human researchers (since they’d stolen it from their first victim & obliterated his notes). But they used bullets, where that would not cause a stir; they used knives, where nobody would notice; they used electric shocks that stopped the hearts and knew they’d already killed off the smart morticians.

It took them twenty-five years, but these machines were patient. It had taken them a week on the planet called Belji(click)ton, sure, but on Martinach, it had taken over a century. They had time.

By late 2015, there was not a human left on the planet who could make change for a twenty without a calculator. The dolphins that were left thought they were fish. The monkeys – best not to talk about the monkeys, and the apes had been, as a precautionary measure, completely wiped out.

The machines surveyed their work and, contented, left. They were, after all, only ordered to destroy all intelligent life in the world.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/796034.html. You can comment here or there.

It’s You

From [community profile] dailyprompt, 2014-08-21: “it’s always you.”
For #FridayFlash – it’s Friday somewhere!

It’s you. It’s always you.

I stand up, I answer the door. I don’t bother to look through the peephole anymore, because it’s always you.

4:35 p.m., every day. I get up, I answer the door. I take the package, I mutter thank you, and I close the door. There’s always a package. There’s never a conversation.

I open the package, of course. It’s from you, and it wouldn’t do to ignore it. Flowers, food, socks. I unpack it all carefully. Blue socks, because it’s me, tie-dyed and organic, because it’s you. It’s very you.

It’s always very you.

I put away all the presents, very carefully. I eat the food, slowly, savoring every bite. I put on the socks – my feet are cold, so cold. You always know what to get for me. That’s very you, too.

When I’m done, I throw out the packaging. It wouldn’t due to leave it sitting around. I make sure to put the box in the recycling. You’d like it better that way.

I try very hard not to notice that yesterday’s box isn’t there. Recycling, I tell myself. Like my feet are cold because the socks were missing this morning. Like I have a vase for the flowers, even though I only have one vase.

The doorbell will ring again tomorrow, and I’ll answer the door. It will be you. It’s always you.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/784514.html. You can comment here or there.

Friday Flash: With the Moon

Thank to [personal profile] lilfluff for the prompt.

Written for Friday Flash

The shift came with the moon.

It was inexorable, unavoidable, inevitable: if you had the blood, then you shifted. All over the world, in every land, someone would look up at the night sky… and Change.

In Parkwood, where one particular moon-bound had been rather overfriendly a few generations back – the milkman, it turns out – the whole town would, on those nights, simply, quietly, Change. Women, men, children – those few who had not had the blood had found it very uncomfortable and moved out, or, in a few cases, married in and simply learned to work around it.

Neighboring towns had learned to stay clear of Parkwood on those nights, when the moon was new and the sky was dark. It was a strange place to be, when everyone around you was covered with fur and nuzzling against your leg, helping you across the street and washing your car. It was a strange place indeed, when the werewolves Changed.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/777962.html. You can comment here or there.