Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 22

Well, I'd say 'High Score!' for one #CrackedFlashFail right after another, but it's not really something to celebrate about! Not exactly a good way to start off the new year, LOL!

Okay, self-pity done. Deadline extended once again! Hope to see you


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: 2 PM PDT TOMORROW, SUNDAY! (Because we can't seem to get things out on time)

Results announced: Next Wednesday, likely around 10 pm - 11:59 pm!

Remember: The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. Use the prompt as the opening line to your piece (observe rule #2 up there).


"I'm not sure we have the same definition of 'safe'."


  1. Safe Love

    “I’m not sure we have the same definition of ‘safe’,” Charlotte said, with the superior tone she frequently uses on me. No matter the subject, her dismissive air often shoots me down in flames like I am some overly inflated Dirigible.

    Or perhaps my marginally sensitive ears are immune to any other pitch in her voice.

    I needed crisp verbal reinforcements.

    Sadly, they were in short supply.

    “Well, call me Hindenburg and watch me crash and burn,” I said, impetuously damn proud of my quick-off-the-mark wit, tinged with a touch of historical truth.

    I genuinely thought this metaphorical retort might catch her by surprize.

    It did, for all of about a second.

    Then her Amazon-green eyes flared wide, bright and skyward. A soft smirk of victory rippled along the ridges of her perfectly formed, plush-red lips and we both knew she had me.

    “Okay,” she continued, honing in with a killer thrust of logic, “Tell me I’m wrong. You wake up in the morning and your heart is beating, you think life can’t get much better. You’d never have gone up in a Zeppelin.”

    I could feel my head wagging back and forth like a fat dog’s tail. When I was a kid, I saw a news report on that terrible moment in 1937 when the Hindenburg attempted to moor in Lakehurst, New Jersey. A spark ignited leaking nitrogen and it burst into a blast furnace of flame. The image had haunted for me for years.

    And Charlotte knew that.

    To conquer my ridiculous fear, I even considered bungie-jumping.

    That’s where she and I first met. The Nanaimo River Bungie Palace.

    Of course, she jumped, I quivered...and promised I’d do it someday.

    Never did.

    By then I was in love.

    She deserved to have me safe and sound forever.

    300 rubbery words that leap off the page like frogs in a parade.

    1. At least she loves him as he is. Like the weaving in and out of Zeppelin references.

  2. "Safe Harbor" - 259 words - Molly Morrow - @mrmollymorrow -

    I’m not sure we have the same definition of ‘safe.’ Delia once held her baby boy over the railing of the Bremerton ferry and giggled hysterically before I scooped him back into my arms and held him inside of my coat for the rest of the ride. She said it made her dizzy, knowing she could drop the kid. Just knowing she had that power made her giddy. You’re sick I said. I would think Child Protective Services is on speed dial at this point. But it’s not my place. Nights when it rains and I’m alone in bed I close my eyes and see Delia running through the field behind our house in a spring-time monsoon, running like when we were kids. Before there was any shadow over our lives, before we had any feeling of danger, any run-in with a stranger to make the hair stand up on the back of our necks. I see her running with her hands outstretched like airplane wings, cutting through the braided grass. The rain comes down hard and the garden shed looks like it will fall over into the bay. We lock ourselves in and feel the thunder through the slatted boards and see the lightning like a flash from an old camera. Her face is bizarre and warped in the light, giggling in that same hysterical way, that same giddy dizzy way. She cups a hand to my ear and says she’ll never have kids, she’ll never get old – she’ll just roam the country like Odysseus after the storm.

  3. "Safe" - 298 words - David Novak - @dumbstupidfake

    "I'm not sure we have the same definition of 'safe'."

    Maybe you didn’t mean it as an insult, but there it was. And worse yet, you said it with that nonchalant look you always had. Like you could swing a sledgehammer and be fine with the foundation and the walls and the roof just crumbling all around you. That’s how I always kind of pictured you, when you weren’t around. Hammer in hand. Hardhat on. Shattering everything in the world. Walking through a path of your own destruction. A hundred and twelve pounds of raw energy.

    I crossed my arms and bit my lower lip, like I always did when I was trying to hold back all the words I really wanted to say. I counted to three. Exhaled slowly. Softly. Chose my words carefully. Just like always.

    “Safe,” I repeated. “Secure. Protected. Harmless. Reliable. Dependable. Trustworthy. What else could it mean?”

    You shrugged. “Boring.”

    And there it was.




    A soft exhale. And I left behind all those unspoken words in favor of the safe ones.

    “Just tell me what you’d like,” I said. Safe words.

    “That’s not how this should work,” you said.

    You were always honest with me.

    Since you’ve left, I haven’t bothered to pick up the pieces you left behind. All those shattered walls and cracked foundations and broken rooftops. I’ve left them there, exposed to the elements. To collect dust. To rot. I’ll let them lay there for just a little bit longer. As reminders.

    Every word you ever said, you swung as hard as you could. You made sure to shatter something. To leave an impact. Nothing was ever safe with you.

    It’s just now that I’m beginning to realize.

    Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

  4. @firdausp
    The Test
    (300 words)

    "I'm not sure we have the same definition of 'safe'."
    I mumbled.

    "Just sit tight, it'll be here any minute," she reassured.

    We sat on the edge of the railway bridge, our legs dangling over the murky waters, of the holy river Ganges, far below. The sun was low on the horizon, dusk was creeping up fast. The water would be freezing I knew, but I couldn't opt out now. She'd laugh and call me a sissy.

    "Can you swim?"

    I thought about the tube well and tank in my village where I'd go with the other boys to cool off during summer.


    "Good," she grinned, "because I can't."

    "What!" I shouted even as I heard the whistle of an approaching train.

    "Remember to catch a coin, okay?" She patted my head.

    I should never have run away from home, then I would never have met this crazy girl, scavenging for food, in the alley I was hiding in. I would not be on this stupid bridge to catch a coin thrown by passengers from a stupid train.

    The whistle got louder as the train thundered towards us.

    "Now!" She said and pushed me.

    Sucked in by the freezing water, I kicked about for dear life. Something hard hit my head as I spluttered to the surface.

    A coin?

    I couldn't be bothered to catch any, I was struggling to stay afloat. She was bobbing at a little distance. I needed to get to her.

    Stupid fool.

    She got to me before I could. Grabbing me, she swam to shore.

    "You can swim," I accused.

    "You passed the test, little one," she pressed a coin into my palm, "make a wish."

    I thought we might die of pneumonia, but what the heck, we had a coin and a wish.

  5. A Shock to the System

    292 words


    “I’m not sure we have the same definition of safe.”

    Jenna was surrounded on all sides by an enemy the sight and aroma of which would grind down even the strongest individual’s resolve.

    “You are safe,” repeated Ann firmly and handed Jenna a menu. “You’ll find that you can do nothing but order the healthy options. Try it.”

    Jenna looked at the starters, started to drool … a searing pain shot through her, her body immobilised for what seemed like an age.

    “What did you do?” she asked when she eventually regained her composure.

    “We have our ways at Desperate Times,” said Ann, nodding at the little gizmo on the table, her finger hovering a big red button.

    Jenna was confused, Ann had merely given her a garbled explanation and a fancy bracelet that she simply must wear. But the firm had come highly recommended and at twenty plus stone, she was desperate. Slightly unnerved, Jenna opted for the grapefruit. No pain, nothing. Okaaay. Then her thoughts turned to the mains. This time the assault was immediate as was the agony when she tried to voice her selection.

    “I don’t feel so well,” she whispered to Ann.

    “You’re fine,” said Ann. “Come on now, you need to face this.”

    Jenna tried again only to suffer even more intense pain. But when she chose the salad, nothing.

    “Now for dessert,” said Ann. “That’s the real test.”

    It took Jenna three attempts before she gave up and settled for the fruit bowl.

    “See, you did it,” said Ann putting the little box away, there would be no need to press any more buttons that evening. “Didn’t I promise you success?”

    And all Jenna could do was smile. Desperate times had called for desperate measures.

  6. "Safe Flight"
    by Patrick Stahl
    242 words

    “I’m not sure we have the same definition of ‘safe’, sir,” said Major Stronson.

    Admiral Yi brushed his hand across the full length of the rivet-less bucket the Air Force was calling the F-38 Sparrowhawk. “This is new tech, Major. Half the planes you were flying before came out in the 1970s.”

    “And we haven’t had problems with those planes since the 1980s. How many fatalities have we gotten just this month, sir?”

    “Never you mind that.” Admiral Yi patted the Sparrowhawk, activating its pressure sensors. The gray surface of the cage turned urine-yellow. “The Air Force wouldn’t have nicknamed it the Safe Flight without good reason. You have your orders and I expect them to be executed.”

    “It’s not my orders I’m worried about, Admiral Yi. It’s the Sparrowhawk’s.”

    “The Safe Flight’s.” Admiral Yi gave a toothy smile.

    “If it flies on auto-pilot, why does it need a gunner?”

    “Well it doesn’t have an auto-gunner, it has an auto-pilot.”

    Major Stronson took a deep breath and held it until his aerial vest warbled angrily at him to release the CO2 from his lungs. “Well, wish me luck.”

    “On behalf of the thirty-eight remaining states of America, we wish you all the luck we can give.”

    Major Stronson saluted Admiral Yi and coaxed his body into the Sparrowhawk’s coffin—or cockpit, as the Air Force insisted it be called—and prayed that it wouldn’t become his casket today or any day soon.

  7. The Society - 298 words - Andy Lavender - @andylvndr

    "I'm not sure we have the same definition of 'safe',” I said. “We’re in the middle of nowhere. Horror film directors would turn down this location as too scary.”
    Lisa laughed. “Nonsense. The house is round the next corner.” This wasn’t comforting. Since offering Lisa a drink four hours earlier every turn had taken me further from where I knew. She’d turned down the drink, but counter-offered a party. She had red hair and sugar skull candy tattoos; it was a no-brainer. We drove out of town towards the forest and each subsequent road shrank until the last turn brought a track with grass down the middle. The headlights had been the only illumination for miles.
    Lisa took an unsignposted sharp left. The wheels of her Ford squirmed as she fought to get traction on the muddy ruts beneath.
    Ahead a building undressed from the darkest shadows, first a window, then roof and door. Lisa parked next to a red pick-up and jumped out. I followed.
    The heavy wooden door yielded when Lisa pushed, and murmuring spilled out. The hallway was a cornucopia of reds, greens and golds. People swung round at our entrance and from the throng emerged a chubby man wearing a red suit and two sombreros.
    “Lisa,” he said and glanced at me dawdling in the doorway.
    “This is Josh. I thought he’d enjoy tonight, and we’d enjoy him too,” said Lisa.
    “Delighted, I’m Alastair,” he said, removing one of his sombreros and bowing. “Welcome to the Society.”
    “Thanks,” I said. “What’s the Society?”
    “Where friends drink, dance and indulge. We’ve the odd party game, impromptu singing, and occasional feasting on human flesh.”
    “That’s a joke? Right?”
    Alistair laughed. “Don’t worry, Josh. You won’t be around to see it. Let me introduce you to everyone.”

  8. “Safe Words”

    I'm not sure that she and I had the same definition of “safe.” I saw it as an adjective. A synonym for “protected.” She, ever the literalist, preferred the noun. In the sense of “something you drop from a tall building onto someone's head.” Things with her were black and white like that.

    At least until Technicolor came along, that is.

    We met on the set. She was the star, of course. I was but a lowly “grip.” I wouldn't have expected her to give me the time of day. But somehow she found me in that bustling beehive. Once she locked her emerald orbs on me, I knew the die had been cast. Those glorious gams glided her over. Her come-on had all the fire of her hair.

    My grip has turned many a best boy into a man, honey-bunny.”

    How could I resist a line like that?

    “Um,” I managed, my inner Romeo failing me.

    “Let's go,” she commanded.

    We hopped over to her place, a nice spread in The Hills. I should say their place. I knew she was married. Everyone did. Everyone also knew it didn't matter. Still, I asked. The last thing I wanted was to be on the wrong end of an oversized hammer, or a seltzer spray. She said he was away, on location in Albuquerque, or somewhere.

    “I hope you’re a better lover than a driver,” she purred, leading me to the bedroom.

    It was, in a word… Quick.

    Back down on the street, I contemplated her parting words.

    “I'm not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”

    As the plummeting metal cube eclipsed the sun, the cold, hard (literally) reality hit me.

    My affair with the conniving, curvaceous Jessica Rabbit truly was a one-night stand.

    1. Wonderful, enjoyed the use of the noun version of 'safe' in this one. (Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a favourite film of mine.)

  9. Sisterly Love
    @Liana Challender
    300 words

    “I'm not sure we have the same definition of 'safe' Julia,” I scoffed at my older sister and crossed my arms on my chest. “Remember what happened the last time you tried something so stupid.” I smiled thinking how much trouble she would be in if she didn’t pull this off.
    “Shut up, moron. I swear you are scared of your own shadow to be fourteen.” Julia finished her hair and makeup and packed some items in her bag. She flung it over her shoulder. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be back later. Just help me out the window.”
    Can I push you? I thought to myself. I glared my eyes at my sister, her long blond hair falling on her back and the strap to her bag tangled in her hair. Ha-ha, this ought to be good.
    I walked over to her already climbing out the window. “Don’t tell Mom,” she growled.
    “You’re nuts.” I looked down to the ground. It had to be more than ten feet.
    “I can jump it hanging from the window,” Julia said sitting on the window sill. “It’s safe enough.”
    “Whatever.” I grabbed my phone off the bed and made sure video was ready. This would definitely go on Youtube if something happened to her.
    She went over the window sill and her body dangled in the air. So did her tote bag, but from her hair and pulling her head back. It was the most hilarious thing I ever saw. I pushed my video button and leaned out the window.
    “Help me, you twit,” she squirmed and screamed. “I will KILL you if you…”
    My phone fell out of my hand and accidentally hit her in the face. “Oops, my bad,” I laughed. She fell on her butt and flipped me off.