Saturday, July 11, 2015

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 3

I have to admit: we three were probably less than optimistic about making it this far. We want to thank Steph Ellis, Geoff Holmes, and MT Decker for their continual support and participation. We hope to see even more people for round three of the CFFC! 

Take a looksy through the full rules if you haven't already!

Judges This Week: Rin and Si

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, PDT!

Results announced: Next Wednesday!

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


The crunch of broken glass underfoot was her only warning that she wasn't alone.


  1. Party Time
    299 words
    David Shakes

    The crunch of broken glass underfoot is the only warning she is not alone, but it gives her time to slip, unnoticed, into the darker recesses of the warehouse.
    This had been her sanctuary and now it's being violated. More heavy footfalls join the first. They've smashed a window to gain every and are spreading through the building (her building!) like a virus.
    Deep, gruff voices half whisper in a language she knows but with too many words that are unfamiliar.
    How long since she's been outside? She cannot recall.
    The voices stay a long time. There is a grinding whir of noise from somewhere just before the warehouse is flooded in an intense light. Its sodium sting still hurts her eyes, even when she screws them shut against the glare.
    The light that pollutes this place is nothing to what follows. Heavy things are lifted in. More clanking of glass and banging and nailing and voices much raised now.
    Such a cacophony! She covers her ears, a gesture only. The noise simply intensifies. She blacks out.
    Later, she is awoken by a rhythmic pulse that reverberates through her very core.
    Her once peaceful sanctuary is now filled with the human beings she sought to avoid. They drink and dance and cavort beneath flashing neon to a never changing bass beat.
    She emerges from her hiding space and unfurls herself. She's hidden herself these long years to protect these pathetic creatures from her own impulses and desire - yet here they are, offering themselves unto her.
    What else could this strange, monotonous, colour-drenched gathering be but a ritual?
    She walks confidently into the crowd.
    "Hey, " begins one reveller in a chemical slur," Great costume dude! "
    She returns an impossible grin, all teeth and naked intent.
    Party time.

    1. (We lack a way to edit the post directly, but the typo has been noted. "They've smashed a window to gain every" should read as "They've smashed a window to gain entry".)

    2. I love the phrase '... all teeth and naked intent' it sense shivers up my spine. Very well done, and good morning!

    3. Nice to see you here, Shakes! What a great start to the contest. I too found '... all teeth and naked intent' a stand-out phrase.
      (I must learn not to read critically the first time: 'More heavy footfalls...' had me thinking "Why didn't he say 'Heavier footfalls...'?” before I finished the sentence! :-D )

    4. Great story. Once I realised a rave was going on, I backed her every step of the way; monotonous is the perfect word for that music (for me anyway, apologies to all those who may like it). Darkly deserved ending.

  2. Glass Ceiling

    298 words


    The crunch of broken glass was her only warning that she wasn’t alone. The shard of noise however, was a mere splinter of what was to come. Behind her, in their hundreds, in their thousands, they would follow; fighting, feeding off each other, gaining strength and power with every battle.

    For the moment though, Melanie was an army of one, the Forlorn Hope. Ranged against her was the board of directors: Marketing, Accounts, Finance, Creativity, HR. She was Innovation.

    Coffee was brought in. The Chairman looked expectantly at her. Melanie poured her own cup, ignored them. The men frowned at each other, not quite knowing how to react. Their cups remained empty.

    The Chairman led them through the agenda, ticking off profits, reorganisation, bonuses, any other business …

    It was at this point that Melanie spoke up; drew their attention to the number of women at managerial level.

    They looked puzzled. “Is there a problem?” asked the Finance Director. “We’ve always made it policy to have the right man for the job. And besides, we’ve employed you.” His tone was dismissive.

    Melanie thought of the stocks she had bought in the company recently.

    “If that’s all, my dear?” said the Chairman. “Moving on. I have one more point. Apparently we have a new major stockholder. His identity is unknown as yet but I’m expecting Mrs McDonald to ring through any minute now. I’m sure he’ll be a company man. Thought I’d invite him to the club, introduce him to people. Apologies Melanie, but I’m afraid it’s men only.”

    She smiled sweetly. “Oh I doubt I’ll miss anything.”

    The phone rang.

    Melanie watched in satisfaction as the Chairman’s expression paled and the roof caved in on his world. Glass was cascading everywhere and the cuts were already being felt.

    1. sometimes, it's so satisfying to hear little minds go 'crunch' I love that last line!

    2. I love the ending. Great story.

  3. @AvLaidlaw

    299 Words


    A crunch from broken glass underfoot warns her.

    She is not alone.

    She squeezes into the corner of the room, pulls her knees up against her chest and wraps her arms around herself. The wall is hot against her back, burning through her thin cotton dress. The room is dark except for the patch of dull streetlight through the broken window.

    Something flickers in the window frame. The glass crunches again under heavy boots.

    Become small. Become a mouse that hides away in the darkest corners. She holds her breath.

    The darkness falls silent.

    She breathes out.

    A torch flashes in the window. Its beam trailed across the far wall, tracing over the scorch marks and the burnt wallpaper.

    She never meant that to happen. She would say a prayer, one of the prayers she heard at school, but she is afraid that God might hear her, that her guilt might call attention to herself. Her mouth is dry and she tries to gulp but the air is stuck in her throat. She closes her eyes. Her body shivers no matter how tightly she squeezes herself. Become small.

    A man’s voice. “An explosion.”

    A second man. “Gas or the other?”

    “Smells like sulphur. Better call the Witchfinder’s Office.”

    “They won’t be happy if it’s gas.”

    She opens her opens, only partly, as if the distorted view means this is not really happening. The torch lies on the windowsill. Behind it, against the redness of the streetlights, a shadow looms and fills the window.

    Become small so they cannot see you.

    The shadow pushes through the window and takes the torch. It swings the torch light around the room, the light falling on her, blinding her.



    “Nothing, a mouse.”

    The mouse scurries away, into the darkest corner.

    1. "Become a mouse," indeed. I liked the claustrophobic feel to this -- very well done!

    2. Love this. From the trying to be a mouse to actually becoming one due to her witchy powers was a great idea. There is also that element of innocence and sadness to this, she never meant it to happen, would've prayed if she could, but she can't, she has to hide, be a mouse.

  4. Josh Bertetta
    296 Words

    The crunch of broken glass underfoot was her only warning that she wasn’t alone.

    They say the camera, what, puts on ten pounds?

    Then how many pounds would she have put on? Good thing those pounds were “would” pounds, for Clarissa stayed in shape and when the tabloids and the tweeters reprimanded her for those few extra pounds around the hips—God forbid they go to her breasts—she shed them asap.

    But then there were those other things Clarissa, former child actor, could not shed. There was, of course, the pressure to always don her smile, to please her fans, her agent, her parents. She wasn’t allowed to be angry. Wasn’t allowed to be sad. Always having to be on top. Always having to say “yes” when she wanted to say “no.”

    But Clarissa couldn’t say no. Not to the interviews. Not to the roles. Not to the fame.

    And eventually, not to the drugs.

    And finally, not—after the money dried up—to the men.

    Because she needed the men to get the money to get the drugs.

    In order to forget.

    It was the sound of syringes and pipes cracking that followed her down the dim corridor, though she took care to watch her steps.

    She turned, and saw.

    Saw where all that weight went.

    Everything she’d pushed down, shoved down, first with smiles, then with “yesses,” then with the drugs and the men. Everything she’d disowned and cut off from herself. All the inner beauty, the self-respect, the self-esteem, and the self-love.

    It went to her shadow, once behind her, now, cut off from her and facing her, looming large and reaching out.

    It gave her a choice:

    Keep seeking her fix to forget, or welcome the divorced parts and fix herself.

    1. Excellent. Sad and tragic descent into addiction, abuse and loss of self-respect but her shadow brings her hope, choice. I hope she takes it.

  5. For Tomorrow We Shall Surely Die
    285 words

    The crunch of broken glass underfoot was the only sign that she wasn't alone: Calia smiled, her stride strengthening with resolve. She could hear the others taking up arms and following her.

    Today they would finally do something about the warlord’s enforcers. No longer would they stand meekly by while the men took what they wanted.

    It was time they, and the warlord remembered just who these nameless villagers were.

    She could hear more footsteps behind her as word spread. She lost herself in the moment, and was therefore surprised when her father rushed in and grabbed her arm.

    “They will kill you and lay waste to this village as a reminder to the other villages,” he hissed. “You cannot defy them and live.”

    Calia turned towards him, and her look alone made him let go.

    “A life of fear is no life. They have taken Mika… to their temple. If we do not stop them now— it will only get worse.”

    “It is a small price to pay for peace.”

    “This,” she said gesturing around her. “This is peace? Cowering in fear; pleading for what is ours by right? They don’t take because they need, they take because they can, and they enjoy watching us suffer. They are the ones who need a reminder. We put the Warlord into power— we can take it away again.”

    “There are too many of them…”

    Calia nodded. “We will take the night, and they will have no choice but to attack.”


    “We know we will die for what we do tonight. But for one night, we will remember who we are, and tomorrow… we shall fall, but we will be the stones that start the avalanche.”

  6. Shattered
    Word Count: 238

    The crunch of broken glass had been her only warning that she hadn't been alone. As she looked down at her porcelain heart, now laying shattered on the ground, she noticed it was not as empty as she once thought. Among the shards broken memories lay, forgotten moments tucked away in the deepest hollows. A long glance. Kind words. Laughter in the break room. Common interests shared. Inside jokes. Nights out amongst other colleagues. Long conversations between cubical barriers. She was surprised to see all these scenes play before her eyes, disappearing one by one.

    She wept.

    Why had she never noticed these things before? Hindsight is 20/20 they say. The crystal clear images continued to show her what she had taken for granted. Regret began to fill the void in her love stared chest, hardening, a lump of coal. Skin grew over the wound, tears sealing her flesh, leaving a scar, a reminder of what she could have had. She shut the spell book and threw it at the useless pile on the ground, cursing herself. What had she done? Who had she become?

    As the last memory showed his face she fell to the floor, begging him to stay. The image denied her and faded away, leaving her empty.

    It was over.

    Reluctantly she swept the broken pieces of who she once was under the carpet, crushing them underfoot.

    She would never be the same again.

    1. *correction: Love starved heart

  7. Literary Ambition

    Word Count: 299

    The crunch of broken glass underfoot was her only warning that she wasn't alone.

    Brenda had thought of the new opening line on the bus home from the office. But, after typing it into a document on her laptop, she didn't know how to proceed.

    She opened the lower drawer of the desk, and lifted out the bourbon and the tumbler. Maybe a drink would get the creative juices flowing.

    Colin said she was a second-rate scribbler, made third-rate by the booze.

    "Screw you, Colin! You’ve no idea about the creative process. You're a goddamn accountant, for chrissakes!"

    She'd finally thrown him out of the house that she'd inherited when her mother died, and changed the locks. She and Mittens would get along just fine alone. She'd finally be able to finish her serial killer novel without him constantly undermining her self-confidence.

    She took a gulp of the liquor and turned back to the laptop.


    She finished the novel and sent the manuscript off to a publisher. They loved it! It was published and became a No. 1 best seller. She did the round of all the major late-night chat shows.

    Soon movie producers were lining up to take out an option. She was asked to adapt it into a screenplay. When Gerard Butler was cast in the lead role, she nearly fainted: he oozed so much testosterone that she had to avoid being on set while she was ovulating.

    Her life turned out the way she'd always drea...

    A noise awoke her: the cat up to mischief, no doubt. She'd fallen asleep, slumped on the desk. The house was in darkness; in the glow of the laptop screen, the cursor blinking at her reproachfully.

    The crunch of broken glass underfoot was her only warning that she wasn't alone.

  8. Is it too late for a correction? 'She'd finally be able to finish her serial killer novel...' should be 'She'd be able to finish her serial killer novel at last..'