Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 26

Judge This Week: 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, PDT!

Results announced: Next Wednesday (late afternoon).

Remember: The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Photo prompts are added for inspiration only (and our amusement) and do not have to be included in your entry)


"Raise the flag!"

(Si's better at the meme/picture thing than I am, but hey, pictures!)


  1. Spring

    295 words


    “Raise the flag!”

    The order was barked across the empty parade ground. Its solitary occupant a youth, struggling with the flagpole.

    “I don’t know why you bother dear,” said the Major’s wife, allowing her attention to drift towards the dying flowers wilting on the trelliswork. She would have to do something about that soon, she thought, perhaps after the heatwave had passed. The sun’s glare and the scorching temperature addled her brain, made it hard to think straight.

    “Standards, m’dear, standards,” said the Major gruffly. He watched as the boy valiantly battled to raise the flag. He would have to do something about that soon he thought, when it wasn’t so damned hot, when his head wasn’t so damned fuzzy. “Time for parade, m’dear,” he said, offering her his arm, ignoring her long-suffering sigh as she roused her arthritic body.

    The boy shaded his eyes against the sun, watched as his grandparents walked slowly across the garden. The sun’s warmth caressed his cheek. Above him, the sheets billowed gently in the breeze, brilliant white against cornflower blue.

    He went over to his Gran, led her to her favourite seat by the roses. They were just beginning to bloom. The Major joined them after he had finished his orders of the day. The three sat silently. The Major’s wife thinking how quickly her son was growing; the Major wondering if his boy would follow in his footsteps; the boy turning his face to the sun once more, hoping that perhaps, just for today, they would remember who he was, tell him the stories about his father he had waited so long to hear.

    Yet they remained silent; the only sound that of Spring going about its business, pushing the young forward, letting the old die back.

  2. Mountain View

    “Raise the flag, Garth! Sound the alarm! Damn it! Do SOMETHING!”

    Sheila is screaming, vibrating with anxiety. She lives much of her life deep in the brambled woods of worry. How dark it must be for her.

    I lift my right hand from two o’clock and touch her shoulder. My intention is to calm her, to reassure. Instead, my spontaneous gesture startles her. Her skin is sensitive to touch. I know this. Her very being is irritable. I know this as well. I know that any sudden movement, even a soothing stroke on the fabric that sheathes the tender flesh of her shoulder will engender an exacting rebuke.

    “Two hands, Garth! Two hands!” Her voice breaks as she yells her severe command.

    She is correct of course. The anxious usually are.

    I lift my right hand and return it to the wheel. I quickly glance in the rear-view. The blue panel van is close behind. I see the driver’s face. No one cuts him off. Ever! His fury seethes. I am very aware of rage. I live with it every day. It sits ever by my side.

    “Is he still there? He’s still there, isn’t he? I knew it. Oh Garth, what have you done?”

    He has sped up, fender slammed on fender.

    What have I done? In my frenzied rush, I have taken us to the abyss.

    “Anytime this afternoon, Mr. Kerber,” Doctor Hodgson had said. “Any time before 5:00 p.m. We’ll process Sheila, settle her in and Mountain View will give you the respite you need.”

    Our family physician had made the referral. “Garth, your blood pressure is through the roof. You can’t go on like this.”

    He was right. But in my dither, I had cut the van off.

    He rams us hard.

    I lose all control.

    300 moments on the road

  3. Small and Mighty
    167 Words

    “Raise the flag!” The order comes from across the valley where my Commander’s foot rests on the corpse of our greatest enemy.

    I am still out of breath from the sprint. My boots are marred with blood and bone, shrapnel bites into my side but the heavy weight of the bag across my shoulder grounds me to this cliff. I have to raise the flag.

    With the flag comes true victory. Placing it is an honor bestowed upon me because of my size and strength: small and mighty. I alone climb the highest mountain and plant our emblem for the world to see.

    I reach into the bag and – it’s empty. The flag is missing.

    It is then that I remember the fabric draped over the trunk in the center of my tent. Set to dry after a ceremonial cleaning. My heard races, the grounds troops have turned towards my direction. They all start shouting, “Raise the flag!”

    I hang my head. Small and mighty and forgetful.

  4. @firdausp
    (296 words)

    'Being Death'

    "Raise the flag!"

    The girl was shouting at a skinny boy, who was struggling with the rope of the flagpole, as the speedboat cut across the turquoise waters towards shore.

    "Raise the distress flag! The red one you idiot!" she screamed.

    Then she went to work on the young boy lying on his back turning slighty blue.

    Death stood at a distance, waiting for the minutes to tick by. She brought out an ancient watch from the folds of the midnight blue gown, that draped gracefully down her slender frame, and glanced at it.

    Five minutes left.

    She was getting impatient. It had been a long hard day, what with all the bombs exploding and people killing for no reason. Even with all the new recruits her job was gruelling.

    Three minutes left.

    Huffing with impatience, she watched the girl desperately give the boy mouth to mouth resuscitation and then pump his chest. He was quite blue by now.

    "Please God!" The girl wailed looking up to the sky.

    One minute left.

    Death's eyes burned red with excitement. Her skin pale, as pale as death can be, quivered from the anticipation of consuming a soul.

    Five minutes left.

    Five minutes? Five minutes!

    She looked up to the sky and groaned.

    Make up your mind!

    The speedboat had reached shore and a team of paramedics were attending to the boy.

    One hour left.

    She was going to be late for her date. Damn.

    Death sat impatiently in the ambulance. The girl was holding the boys hand, crying.

    Seventy four years, six months and twenty three hours left.

    Death wanted to cry in frustration.

    With a sign, she dissolved into an invisible mist heading straight for her date.

    She had a lot of explaining to do to the Devil.

    1. That should say sigh not sign. I think I shouldn't write while walking my dog. Bad editing. *sighing in frustration*

  5. Words: 298

    All That Is Left

    “Raise the flag!”
    Children laughed and played on a disused fishing boat stranded on the white beach sand, oblivious to the worry of their mothers and grandmothers. These had made their way down to the beach in the morning as soon as the storm led up. They kept their eyes on the horizon, pointedly ignoring the remnants of the storm’s memory hurled onto the beach. There were no bodies between the clumps of driftwood and seaweed and that was all they needed for the sliver of hope they carried in their breasts like a faltering flame in the wind blowing from the sea.
    Annalene sat on one of the damp rocks between the dunes. From here she could see the deceptively calm horizon. She didn’t want to see the seaweed, broken mussel shells, and wood that would mock her own memory of the days after the storm that only gave her her Hans and her young Pieter back after four days in the brine. And now she was waiting for the sea to give her Christiaan back to her - perhaps dead, perhaps alive.
    On her lap was a ball of wool the colour of the sea on a calm day and her hands moved deftly to weave the yarn into a sweater that would keep Christiaan warm when he went out fishing. The knit and purl stitches formed beneath her loving fingers and she felt as if she was weaving a prayer into every one, counting the stitches in the back of her mind. Please bring him back, please give him back, he is all I’ve left, don’t take him. After a while she wondered if she was starting to pray to the sea.
    Then a cry. “A flag!” one woman called. “A flag on the horizon!”

  6. Random Firing Blanks
    31 words

    Raise the flag
    Praise the lag
    Phrase the rag
    Tell me what you want to hear
    show me what you hold dear
    But please, please ,please…
    Start with ‘Raise the flag’

  7. Shoot
    by Liana Challender
    300 words

    “Raise the flag! Raise the flag, you moron!” the burly, red-faced man barked at Gabe.

    “The only moron in this place is you… you freakin’ a--.”

    Gabe’s girlfriend, Madison, turned around to them. “Now boys, go to your corners. We don’t need that crap tonight.”

    They both stood face-to-face. Gabe’s fists were balled up so tight his fingernails left ridges in his hand. “You do it. I don’t think you will. ”

    Madison pushed Gabe towards the women’s bathroom. “You need to chill out and go get a drink. I will let you go back out there but only if you behave.” She pointed her finger to his chest and smiled teasingly at him. Her emerald eyes made Gabe blush and look away. She could always calm him down.

    “So, let’s do this then. I’ll get a shot and meet you back up there.” Gabe pushed past her and headed toward the bartender. He looked at his phone and threw back his shot of Jack. He headed towards his girlfriend at the front of the pub.

    Madison held out Gabe's set of darts arm-length to him as he got up closer. "You got this baby." Gabe walked over and assumed his position.

    "Moron, Shoot." the man said again. Gabe winked at Madison and threw his dart hitting the wall. The man snickered and turned his head to his friend drinking a beer laughing. Gabe quickly threw out his second dart and hit the sitting man in the arm. “What the--?” Gabe threw the last and smacked him in the forehead.

    “Quit waving that flag over your head, you idiot. Here’s your cheese fries, ” the waitress said. She shook her head wondering why the owners put flags with no use on the tables where a bunch of drunk college kids would be.

  8. Stormwatcher (258 words)
    by Stephen Lodge

    This village, where once I ran barefoot, laughing, shouting down lanes by fields where farmers ploughed, is empty now and still. How long have I been from these roads? How many lands have known my footsteps? How many chilled nights have I spent huddled on deck beneath an uncaring moon?

    I feel in the sea breezes on my back the building of an offshore storm, creeping mists suggest soon light will pass me by. I dare not think of what will be left of our farmhouse.

    The Haunted Poacher stands at the crossroads, desolate. The signboard swinging precariously even in this relatively gentle breeze and creaking with each movement. The bench outside where my father and his cohorts sat drinking now lies crushed.

    The ship had sailed into Bermuda so we could take on supplies. It was there that we received word of the dragon attacks in the south of England. We heard of the bravery. We never doubted it. They raised the flag and they ran with it. They went in search of these monsters, they knew the land well but, of course, in time, the population was decimated by these beasts. Not just here, oh no. Everywhere around these parts. The places I passed through on my way from the harbour now lie eerily quiet. Not a church bell to be heard, not the bleating of sheep, no barking dogs. No familiar voices. My parents, my brothers, all lost in the attacks.

    I put down by bag. Stretched. Took in deep breaths until the sobbing came.