Friday, August 30, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Shape of an Ape.

My next submission is at   Indies Unlimited.

The beginning of the story was provided by the administrator of the website:

Shape-shifting can be a tricky business. It doesn’t always go as quickly or as smoothly as I’d like.

It’s a tremendous help that humans share about 95 % of our DNA with other animals. That gives the elixir a jump start.

Whatever it is you change into though, it is very important to remember you have to get back to the lab to take the antidote, or you get stuck in your new form.

It’s also important not to get captured by zookeepers. I seem to be in a spot of trouble…

Below is the entry that I submitted:

You see, I have lost my keys to the lab and am in need of some assistance. I know you are just the night janitor, but if you would be so kind as to let me into the lab, I would be most grateful. You do understand what I am asking, don’t you?

It was apparent he did not comprehend my primitive vocalizations. He only understood that I was in his territory and may be a threat. I had to think of something fast, lest I be left to live out my days in this furry body.

Spying the keys hanging from his belt loop, I immediately lurched forward to grasp what must certainly include a master key to my lab. Down the corridor, I ran towards the science department. The janitor, being too overweight to catch me, gave up the chase a few hundred yards from my lab entrance.

According to my calculations, I had less than five minutes to find the key that fits the lock. Since none were labeled, this might be cutting it close. With just a minute to spare, the last key on the ring turned the lock and I was in the lab.

But, someone had already taken the last dose of the antidote. My college-aged lab assistant was sitting in my chair with the empty bottle in his hand. I really should have fired him a long time ago. Now, I think I will just kill him.

The Vote:

I came in fifth place.  Well, it really was not my best work.  Had a hard time getting into the groove of it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Bird in the Water

My next submission is at Indies Unlimited.

The beginning of the story was provided by the administrator of the website:

The XD 880 was to be the first stealth passenger airliner. The idea was to make it harder for hostiles to use surface-to-air missiles to bring down civilian flights.

The technology was there. On some level, I suppose it only made sense.

After all, air control would still be able to track the plane locations from the transmitter beacon, right? They would have, as long as the transmitter beacon didn’t malfunction. But of course it did.

The rescue teams set out with only a general idea of the crash site from eyewitness reports. We were three days into the effort when team 12 found the first piece of flotsam. That was when the mystery began to unravel. Nothing was what it seemed

Below is the entry that I submitted:

“Roger that. Team 12 has located debris field. Over.”  The marine radio crackled.

The first piece of wreckage was very odd.  It was a dark gray tail panel with half of a white star barely legible on the rusted material.  It seemed to be from an older plane, nothing like the lightweight tail panels of the XD 880.

Team 12 continued their slow trolling towards more debris which bobbed aimlessly in the waters ahead of them.  Several other panels, similar to the first one were located just a few hundred yards from their bow. 

“Team 12 to base, we have a strange find here. Five tail panels found. No XD 880 debris. Over.”

“Roger, Team 12, proceed with caution.  Over.”

Team 12 wearily motored forward to an unusual spot in the water. 

The waves began to crash in a circular motion and pulled team 12’s rescue boat inward toward the center of the whirlpool.  The engine strained under the load, then could no longer power against the gravitational pull of the vortex. The boat became hopelessly caught in a downward spiral.

The next day, the news reported that rescue efforts for the XD 880 had been called off.  No survivors or wreckage were found after an exhaustive four day search. 

The news neglected to disclose that the debris from Flight 19 (the “Lost Patrol” from 1945) had been found in the same vicinity of the last known coordinates of the XD 880 – in the center of the Bermuda Triangle.

The Vote:

And the winner is .... Yours Truly:

Thanks to everyone who voted for my little story.  It will be published in an anthology of other short stories in e-book format in the first part of 2014.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Jump

My next attempt at writing something to be viewed by the public was completed last week.  It was through a website called Indies Unlimited.

The beginning of the story was provided by the administrator of the website:

The prison was on an island with vicious impenetrable jungle on one side and on the other, a 200 foot cliff that stood above a savage surf. The inmates called it the Freedom Jump.

No one had ever escaped from the island, but that didn’t mean it was impossible to find freedom. Death is, after all, a kind of freedom.

Ramone had managed to tunnel below the walls of the main prison and had made his way to the Freedom Jump. But he had a plan that involved something other than death.
He had dreamed of making this jump for years and planned every minute detail.  Nearing the ledge, he felt something change in the core of his being as his heart fluttered and his stomach did somersaults.

Below is the entry that I submitted:

An ancient potion passed down from his grandmother was sure to work.  He had tried it on the cockroaches that were everyday visitors to his cell and it had transformed them to butterflies just like his grandmother had predicted.  

With a quick gulp from his flask, the honey flavored concoction burned as he swallowed it. He felt a warm fullness in his heart and with that, sprung from the ledge like an Olympic diver attempting to capture a gold medal.  

As he spread out his arms into the oncoming sea breeze, the transformation of his body started to overtake him.  Just a few feet from the rocks and to freedom, the change was complete. Beautiful wings in shades of blue, black and yellow appeared where he once had arms and hands. He furiously flapped with all of the strength he could muster. But, not able to break the law of gravity, Ramone crashed into the jagged-edged boulders that lined the beach.

“Ramone!  Dude, wake up!”  Julio shouted.
“Man, you’ve been sleeping on the floor for hours, we thought you were dead.” His brother continued.

 Ramone woke to the sweet taste of honey in his mouth and the familiar aroma of his grandma’s biscuits and gravy.  Now to determine how to eat with wings …

The Vote:

Came in a very strong third place.  Competition is fierce, but I will keep trying.  Thanks to everyone who voted for my story.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Dominator

My first attempt at writing something to be viewed by the public was completed last week.  It was through a website called Indies Unlimited.

The beginning of the story was provided by the administrator of the website:

On the ranch, there was one pasture we called the far-back. It was 260 acres of good grazing, but it was well away from the house. The far-back was over a little ridge and a devil to get to if the creek was up.  My grandfather was always worried about the wild horses getting in there with the cattle. He said they’d eat the forage and bring in disease. There was no arguing with him on the issue. He made a point of running them off whenever he found them there.

When I got older, he’d send me out there alone. The main problem by then had been the coyotes. We’d lost a lot of calves to those vermin. I always took the rifle, but never once managed to get off a clear shot. The coyotes were just a little too quick for me.

At age sixteen with little else but girls and coyotes on my mind, I’d long quit worrying about the handful of wild horses. One day, I saw a little foal out there. He just looked back at me without a trace of fear. I know it sounds strange, but I felt an instant liking for him. There was something about the way he carried himself. He didn’t take any guff off the other foals, and asserted himself at every opportunity. I called him Dominator.

I didn’t know it yet, but Dominator would be the key to solving our coyote problem. That horse was a warrior and absolutely hated coyotes.I guess you could say he saved the ranch.

The first day I saw him in action was the first day I thought I had a clear shot…
Below is the entry that I submitted:

Drawing nearer, my perfect shot was obstructed by a dark flash of fur. Before I could react, the coyote was on top of me. The rifle flew from my hands and all I could do was let out a horrific moan as I crashed to the ground.

The coyote attacked for what seemed like an eternity, first my arms then my legs. One final lunge for my jugular and I knew it was the end for me. I closed my eyes and hoped that my death would be quick and painless.

In that very instant, I felt the coyote get thrown off of me with such an incredible amount of force, I knew it had to be my grandfather coming to the rescue. I opened my eyes not to my grandfather, but to Dominator. He and the coyote landed with a heavy thud next to my rifle. I reached for the rifle and took aim. Mercilessly, the trigger jammed.

The coyote seemed to be winning this bout with Dominator and I could not bear to watch him get killed by this beast.

The gunshots that came next startled me. There was no mistaking the sound of my grandfather’s rifle. The coyote was lifeless on the ground, with Dominator standing above him. As my grandfather and I inched closer, we realized the coyote’s neck was broken.

Dominator had won the battle before the last shot was ever fired.

The Vote:

I ended up tied for third place.  Not bad for a first attempt.

And so it begins ...

     I used to write poetry, prose and verse.  But, somewhere along the way, these things were put aside and I no longer indulged in them. Now, as I am nearing the half-century mark in age, I have come to realize just  how important writing is to me.

     Join me in the process as I hone my long lost writing skills - one word and one day at a time.