Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 1

Welcome, welcome, friends. We're very excited to have you here at the start of something awesome and beautiful, whether you're here for the writing or just the reading (we invite you all to the writing!). This is the premiere of the Cracked Flash Fiction Competition!

Judges This Week: Si and Mars

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). Only one entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight tonight!

Winner(s) announced: Next Wednesday!

Remember: The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition.


He heard the whispers all around him.

And off you go! See you at the other side~!


  1. Taken

    Steph Ellis

    298 words

    He heard the whispers all around him; every branch, every leaf murmured their protest at his invasion but with defences weakened there was nothing they could do to stop his progress.

    Colm leaned his axe, death-bladed, against the base of an old oak trunk and walked around the clearing. The trees trembled at his touch, dreading the choice he would make, so many had been taken in the past. They could sense a finality in his movements, an end that was coming, just as their brothers had fallen in the world beyond.

    Fading gold danced its way through the canopy as the sun went down, leaving only gloom and Colm’s wandering shadow. His thoughts had returned to the wasteland beyond. Only obeying orders. A poor excuse and now extinction drew nearer.

    Defiantly, he raised his axe and cracked it hard against the old oak. The shaft splintered in his hand sending its head thudding uselessly to the ground. Colm collected the pieces and buried them deep beneath gnarled roots and creeping vines.

    He moved swiftly in the gathering darkness. There wasn’t much time before the sun rose again. He scooped out loose soil to form a shallow bed, created a blanket from leaf and fern and lay down in offering.

    As a child his grandmother had told him of the tree spirits, of the perils of falling asleep amongst them in the dead of night.

    Do not close your eyes, she had warned. They will suck out your soul, drain the life from your body and you will be trapped, forever their servant.

    The memory of her voice slipped from his grasp as he felt the pull of tendrils drawing him deep, deeper into the soil. But Colm smiled as he was taken. He had joined the resistance.

    1. Damn! That was a really great story. Wish I’d thought of that. :-D

    2. Beautiful and Haunting: very well done!

  2. Geoff Holme
    Word Count: 299

    An Author’s Life For Me

    I hear the whispers.

    All around me - or is it just in my head? - voices speak in hushed tones:

    -New flash fiction contest? He just isn’t up to it…
    -He’s reached his peak: four stories in the new Flash Dogs anthology…
    -‘Peak’? ‘Base camp’ would be an overstatement...
    -He couldn’t even write his own name on the gizmo when he took deliver of the paperback volumes...
    -After reading stories by the real authors, he discovered how pathetic his efforts were and simply lost the plot...
    -Crashed and burned!

    I’ll show them! Just need an idea, plot outline, twist in the tail... Then submit… before the closing time!

    (Don’t panic! Check when that is…)

    Arrrgh! The bozos running this excuse for a flash fiction contest say “Submissions close at 11:59 PM PST...”! ‘Pacific Daylight Time’ is effective at the moment in most places in the PT zone. How do I know what time zone they’re really in? Their Twitter account location is ‘everywhere’! Thanks a bunch, jerks!

    (Calm down, Geoff… Remember: be diplomatic when you point out this monumental cock-up.)

    If they really meant ‘PDT’, then it’s... almost 7:55 am over there! A third of the allotted time… gone!

    (Why didn’t you check out this blog sooner, you idiot!)

    You can still do it. Just… don’t update the blog and look at other entries; you know that reinforces your inferiority complex…

    Anyway, there’s always just a few entries for new contests. Word doesn’t get round… Everyone has better things to do with a summer weekend...

    (Be sensible! These are authors; sunshine and fresh air hold no appeal.)

    How long to go now? I’ll update the blog and peek to see when the last post was made…

    (Damn! That was a really great story. Wish I’d thought of that.)

    1. "Their Twitter account location is ‘everywhere’! Thanks a bunch, jerks!" XDD Sorry! Si lives down in California, I live up in Washington, and Rin lives over in Arkansas.

      Thanks for pointing the time confusion out. I thought I'd thought of everything in the rules, but apparently not. We're running on Seattle, WA time. *goes to add clock to page*

    2. I have often felt that way about other writers in contests and that "I'll never pull that off again" Lightning doesn't strike twice, let alone a 5th time.

      Oddly the timezone thing worked to my advantage. I ended up volunteering to take a trip- It was supposed to be to the middle of the state and back (WV)... and I would have been home by 9. Things changed, I ended up home after midnight. I was sad, because I wanted to write for this and I liked the song prompt on FlashMob. and then I was looking at the posts and I had a trickle of hope. Looked at the rules and saw Pacific... I had a little extra time.

      Put those voices to rest. You are a writer. Better yet, put them to work!

  3. Ha, ha, loved it. I too am always in total confusion over time zones and also feeling inferior to the other writers in the Solstice anthologies so I completely relate to the above. :)

    1. Paradoxically, being out of my comfort zone is the topic I feel most comfortable writing about!

  4. Si, Mars, Rin? Sounds like, if you say them in the right (wrong?) order, you might get banished to the 5th Dimension...
    Strangely enough, Seattle WA is my default city when I need to find the time in the PT zone on World Clock.
    Thanks for another great flash fiction contest and good luck with it.
    [ Just to be absolutely, 100% clear: that was a rant with my tongue firmly in my cheek. :-D ]

    1. Legend whispers that if you stand in front of a mirror and chant "Si, Mars, Rin" three times while slowly flapping your arms, the Great Moth Flavio will appear to you, resplendent in fire.

      Legend does not say what happens IF Flavio the Death Moth shows up.

      He leaves no witnesses, so say the rumors.

  5. Amy Wood

    292 words


    He heard the whispers all around him, echoing in every town, every street, every tavern.

    ‘That’s him, that’s the man who killed Louis Du Bois. He’s dangerous, a madman. Don’t let him catch you looking.’

    Philippe LaSalle was many things but a madman he was not.

    Du Bois’ death had been an unlucky sword thrust during an illegal duel in Toulouse. There’d been nothing premeditated about the actual event. No insane bloodlust coloured his thoughts despite what the rumours said. Duels were dangerous things, death stalked them with a ready scythe. For combatants to kill one another was the whole point, it wasn’t unusual. Why there was so much furore over this duel, Philippe wasn’t sure.

    Perhaps it was the small matter of Du Bois being the first advisor to the king that fuelled the rumour-mill fires. Or maybe it was that the queen herself had put out a bounty on Philippe’s head, prompting people to question exactly how close her relationship with Du Bois had been.

    ‘That’s him, that’s LaSalle. Don’t look at him, he’s insane.’

    Philippe ducked into a ramshackle church, basking in the heavy silence. No faithful sat in the worn pews yet and the peace was palpable. He sank onto a low wooden bench and looked at the stained glass window, a tiny riot of colour, pristine and unblemished in the gloom. His fists unclenched and the breath in his chest came easier. The quiet was a blessing.

    A tall priest walked to the little confessional, his head bowed in solemn thought. Acting on impulse, Philippe followed him and sat in the tiny box, his knees wedged awkwardly into the narrow space.

    He sighed, a weight lifting from his heart.

    “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

    1. Nice piece of historical fiction. Hope the church gives him sanctuary as well as absolution.

    2. I was thinking the same thing.

    3. You know, for how much I love swashbuckling, and historical fiction and the three musketeers... I've never thought of trying them for flash. I think because of all the political intrigue that goes with it. I love the imagery and the haunted feeling. Very well done!

  6. Katsumi
    277 words


    He heard voices all around him as members of the council consulted in low tones with each other.

    Sighing, he stood up, straightening his tie and readjusting his glasses. He leaned forward over the table, putting weight down on his fists as his frustration grew by the second. “Quiet down or a decision might never be made,” he said over the other council members.

    “My king, I believe that we cannot come to a decision about such an action. It would be fatal to the kingdom. Is there not any other choice?” his first advisor asked, rising from his seat.

    The king sadly shook his head. “If there is one other choice, it is far from this world,” he said.

    “Ah, but there is one other choice,” a third man rose from his seat, then jumped up onto the table, “you could forfeit the crown to me.” This man pulled a small gun from his pocket, pointing it towards the king.

    Every person stood still and silent, fearing that if they moved or spoke that it would be the end of their king.

    “Lien, what are you doing?” the king asked, eyes wide and focused on the weapon.

    “Ending the reign of the Pendragons,” Lien said, pulling the trigger. A loud banging sound echoed through the room as a golden light emitted from the barrel of the gun for a split second. Moments later, the king laid in nothing more than a pile of ash. Lien smiled as he suddenly felt like he just became the most powerful man in the kingdom.

    “I will lead you into a new era!” he shouted seconds before his own death.

    1. Proving once again that King killing is a very dangerous sport. Well done, but I want to know so much more with this.

    2. "Regicide" is the technical term, though not quite so alliterative. :-D

  7. Closing in
    264 words

    “I can hear the whispers all around me, and they’re getting closer… I don’t know how much longer I can last.”

    Evan listened to his brother’s voice, and could almost picture him hunched over his phone, talking urgently, in the hopes that his message would reach him in time.

    Time. Time was against him now, and he knew it.

    Evan ran, his breath catching in his chest as the voices echoed in his mind.

    Deputy Sark and Matthews’ voices were the loudest, but they only came in pieces.

    “Regret to inform you.” “Killed just off the interstate in Idaho.” “Need you to identify the body…”

    He was numb. He’d been numb then, but now he could hear them as they ran with the hounds, hot on his trail.

    He’d been stupid enough to play the message in front of them, and then they’d told him they’d need his phone as evidence.

    The last thing he remembered was telling them that it was on the server, not on the phone, and that he could forward it to them.

    Then he’d woken up in the middle of the woods, with no idea where he was… and the whispers, telling him to run; telling him that if they found him he’d be dead. He couldn’t make out the words, but their intent was clear.

    He ran for all he was worth, but the hounds had his scent and he knew it was only a matter of time before they found him: he could hear their whispers all around him, as he ran and they were getting closer.