Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 29

So, how was everyone's Celebrate-The-Beheading-Of-Some-Dude-With-Candy Day? Anyone still hung over on cheap chocolate? No? Me neither.

Seriously, Si is so much better at these than me. 
She has the meme magic!

Judge This Week: Rin

Word count:
300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this

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).


Dust. All around her was dust.


  1. Strike

    300 words


    Dust. All around her was dust. But Janet had to stick to her guns no matter the cost. She gritted her teeth and entered the kitchen, the sink was piled high with unwashed crockery; filthy pots and pans adorned the draining board; food had been left out to rot and decompose. A slight rustling came from one of the cupboards. Mice? Rats? Her fists clenched. No. She would not give in. Not this time.

    She backed out and returned to the sitting room, debated as to whether to open the curtains or not. She decided to keep them closed, the darkness could hide a multitude of sins, all of which she preferred not to deal with right now. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t warned them.

    Janet slipped on her coat, picked up her purse and car keys and left the house.

    “Still on strike?” asked the waitress sympathetically.

    “Yes,” sighed Janet.

    “I don’t know how you do it,” said the waitress, placing her breakfast in front of her and pouring coffee. “I know I wouldn’t be able to hold out for as long as you have. How long has it been now?”

    “A month,” said Janet.

    “And they just ignore it?”

    “Doesn’t seem to affect them in the slightest. They just sit and smile ...”

    “What are you going to do?”

    “To be honest, I’ve thought about leaving,” said Janet as the waitress sat down opposite her and joined her for what was now their usual chat. “But I don’t know. I mean they’re family. I have to take care of them.”

    “Perhaps you should stick a bomb under them,” said the waitress with a smile.

    “Perhaps,” said Janet, thinking it would get rid of the evidence, wipe the stupid grins off their mouldering faces once and for all.

  2. At the end I'm not sure what is going on, but I like the idea of a woman on strike from housework.

  3. Wind Mage
    By Sara Codair
    297 Words

    Dust. All around her was dust that clogged her lungs and burned her eyes.

    She grinned in spite of the discomfort. Bits of pink insulation floated like feathers of fallen angels. Blood spattered chunks of concrete, shattered glass, and splintered wood littered the ground. Drywall dust coated the earth like snow.

    “That was efficient,” she said as she walked through the wasteland and admired her work. There was an art to her devastation. Mangled pieces of human were everywhere, but none were breathing.

    For a long time, the only sound she heard was that of creaking wood and settling rubble. After an hour, she heard a scratchy hiss from the inside of an overturned sofa.

    She moved closer and heard a rumbling feline growl.

    Her grin grew. Her lips to cracked and bled. She kept walking until a black blur darted out, swiped her leg with enough force to draw blood, and vanished under a pile of roof beams and sheathing.

    She followed. It hissed and growled, but this time, she was ready. When the feline attacked, she scooped it up in her dusty arms. It sunk its teeth into her shoulder and its claws across her chest. She savored the stinging release until the cat ceased struggling and began licking the blood its claws had released.

    It purred.

    “Good boy.” She stroked its fur and carried it towards the setting sun. “What town should we hit next?”

    “Meow Meow Meow.”

    “Good idea. Those stinky humans will regret cutting your balls out.”

    The cat purred and nuzzled her throat while she gathered the winds to aim at the next town. It was a smaller target than she would have liked, but she wanted to please her new found feline friend. After all, he was her only friend.

  4. STORM

    Dust. All around her is dust. How safe she feels, the granules orbiting about her as if she is the universe and they are a gritty solar system.

    Dust. She lifts up from the earth, twirling, dervishing, rotating like a soft, supple dreidel.

    She had not thought it would be like this.

    “Momma! Momma, the cellar…”

    Aaron, always a panicky child, runs to her, his round face pleading, his eyes questioning her. Challenging. They are Wade’s eyes. The fear and the anger, running parallel.

    “You drive me nuts, Nelle. Nuts. Christ, it’s not like I’m asking for the moon. Meals on time. A clean house. Simple shit, Nelle.”

    His fury has lost its punch. There is only so much rage one can absorb. She is a sponge for the wrath of others. Her father, cut from the same stiff cloth as Wade, men of impulse, men centered on themselves, men with no clear message beyond the ticking time bomb of force.

    “Momma!” She reaches out to Aaron, cradles him. Too tightly.

    “It’ll be okay, baby. It’ll be fine.”

    Aaron pulls away from her embrace, grabs her arm, pulls. “The cellar,” he yells. “Now!”

    The lightness comforts her. She tumbles, imagines it is much like it would be in a dryer, looping, pirouetting, dancing in the warm air. The dust drains into her, flecks rest on her closed eyelids, each grain pushing tenderly back, quietening the moment.

    Her legs lock. Aaron stumbles, careens back into her arms. She wraps her arms tightly around him, offering her strength, her love. He starts to flail, cry, scream. “We’ll die, Momma. Die.”

    He is ten. Death is not real for children. It has never been real for her.

    The roof dissolves.

    Her lungs empty.

    She and Aaron are dust once again.

    297 specks of dust

  5. Hell is Empty and all the Devils are Here
    297 words. Dave @ParkInkSpot
    Dust. All around her was dust.

    Anomaly held her eyes shut and stooped on the sand, trying to still the coughing and feebly filter air through her cupped hands. The tempest raged on, and her simple bra and panties did nothing to reduce the sandpaper abrasions on her bare skin.

    She drew the deepest breath she could manage and held it, concentrating on calm. Meditation techniques learned at the Facility helped push back the terror and control her coughing.

    This dust storm was enormous even by west Texas standards. Oh yes, she could feel the immense power within it, the static potential from all of those countless trillions of wind-driven particulates rubbing against one another.

    Anomaly focused and took control of the free electron soup, and she felt the snap of incoming power come leaping at her command. It was a trivial matter to apply an electrostatic charge to her skin surface, and she felt cleaner immediately when the dust and sand was repelled away and fell to earth. A few more coughs cleared her throat and lungs.

    She stood, and expanded the charged bubble around her. The field blocked the blown dust at the charge horizon, and she stood watching the sandstorm unfolding from a bubble of clear air inside it.

    “Put your hands up. You’re coming back to the Facility with me, freak.”

    Anomaly half-raised her hands and turned very slowly, making no sudden moves.

    The corporate mercenary stood atop a nearby hillock pointing a large-caliber automatic rifle her direction, its red laser pointer targeting dot dancing across her stomach.

    She raised her hands fully, stepping closer.

    “Sure officer, I’ll come along quietly.”

    She could feel the delicious high-energy electron trails coursing throughout his armor and servos. That combat armor power supply would prove remarkably convenient.

  6. Lost City
    Maggie Akhurst
    299 words

    Dust. All around her was dust.

    This couldn’t be right. In the failing light of the day, she scanned the area. She hadn’t travelled all this way to find only dust. The legends had said there was a whole city to be found here. A city full of breathtaking riches, with towering structures of unimaginable beauty.

    But there was only the dust. Kacy refused to believe that this was all that was left. Shrugging her pack off her shoulders, she knelt and pulled out her charts, maps and reference books. It had taken years of research to narrow down the location of the mythical city of Faelin. She was positive she’d finally figured it out. Perhaps she’d missed something?

    Consulting an ancient map, she cross-referenced it with a modern one. She was definitely in the right place. Flipping to a page in one of the old tomes, she re-read a passage.

    “Above a lake, on mountain’s edge,
    Find the stone of Hero’s Pledge.
    When starlight is to the world imparted
    Faelin appears to the worthy-hearted.”

    She glanced to her left. An image had been carved onto the boulder beside her. It had almost weathered away over the centuries, but the outline of a man kneeling, offering up a sword was still visible. That was the ‘Hero’s Pledge’ part of the riddle.

    Gazing at the twilight sky, she saw the first stars of the night twinkling. That was the starlight required by the riddle. So where was the city?

    She bit her lip. Was she not ‘worthy-hearted’? What was considered a worthy heart?

    A shimmer caught her attention. She stared as a glowing mist began solidifying rapidly before her. She rose giddily to her feet. It was here! She had found the lost city of Faelin!

  7. Neeps
    Iona Winter
    (252 words)

    ‘What’s a neep?’ I whisper.
    ‘A turnip,’ he replied.
    ‘A root vegetable.’

    I should know, but most of the old knowledge has disappeared—like dust, all around me. Underground is where we live. Turnips don’t grow here.

    People reject the past.

    ‘Look forward, not back’ the slogans say. They want us to forget where we’re from—lost in a place where meaning has yet to be created.

    Beneath the bed, hidden in a suitcase live my memories.

    ‘Don’t let anyone catch you,’ he warns.
    ‘I won’t.’

    We have microchips implanted beneath our skin—our movements monitored like dogs. They say it’s for security, so nobody can steal your identity. But what are the chances of that?

    The chips are mandatory. If you refuse you’re sent outside to ‘think about it’. Most people never come back. It’s impossible to live above ground.

    I have flashbacks.
    Bare feet on green grass. Watching birds fly. Rain on my face. Being able to see the horizon.
    But we do not speak of these things.

    I was locked away, with toxins forced into my veins. Enough to silence me, after the third time.
    Adjusting has always been difficult.

    Who will pass on these memories if I forget?

    On my way to the factory, where I sit for hours and read other people’s words to be regurgitated for mass consumption, I imagine what a turnip looks like.

    I am grateful for the freedom to dream.
    It is the one thing they have not yet removed from me.

    1. Thinking about neeps while reading other people's words? That's a turnip for the books :-)

  8. Words: 229

    Dust to Dust to Life

    Dust. All around her was dust. It was piled on the stone shelves and against the walls of living stone. Ripples had been left in the gray dust as the waves of time had swept through the great library where books had been kept safe for thousands of years. It had been an impenetrable fortress until today when at last the outer wall gave way under the relentless onslaught.

    Waves of time had raced up the hill on which the library stood. Higher and higher the iridescent waves raced, breaking over one another until they reached the great wooden doors. These were turned to dust first. The books followed. First one by one, then shelf by shelf.

    Now Kaylah stood trapped at the back of the library gazing upon the total destruction the waves had wrought. Soon - all too soon - the waves would lap at her feet and she, too, would become nothing more than dust.

    A spark of light caught her eye. On the wall letters were appearing as if written by an invisible hand. One by one letters were carved into the stone. Each letter glowed with white light from within and shed stone dust to mingle with that of the wrecked books.

    Kaylah smiled. “In the beginning,” she read aloud and laughed even though the waves of time had reached her. The library would live again.

  9. Benjamin Langley - 299 words – Mother Knows Best Twitter: B_J_Langley

    Dust. All around her is dust. So Simone scrubs the floor with a homemade solution of borax, white vinegar and lemon juice, using a brand new toothbrush. She rinses it under hot running water, before dipping it back into her cleaning fluid. But her cupboard full of hydrochloric acid, ammonia, Tri-Sodium Phosphate, peroxide and a host of solvents, detergents and enzymes and all of the scrubbing, cleaning and dusting; all of the calluses and sores; they don’t change a thing.

    Once, the rings on the cooker were islands in a brown sea of hardened spills. The sink was full of dishes in murky water, which were wiped only with a filthy rag before being put back into grubby cupboards. But that wasn’t all that was different. Once, it was noisy. Now the house is clean, but quiet. But it’s all too late. Jason’s dead, aged six.

    “No wonder he always got a stomach upset,” her mother would say as she trailed a finger along a dusty shelf. But when Jason was struggling for breath, and her mother cried out that the filthy house had made him ill, she was wrong. When Jason’s nervous system was attacked by clostridium botulinum she blamed the unhygienic kitchen. She was wrong.

    Her mother, who’d canned her own produce all of her adult life, didn’t know what lurked in those bulging cans in her cellar. Her mother didn’t need to be told how to can in a hygienic manner, she’d done it all her life.

    So Simone scrubs and she cleans to punish herself, thinking mother knows best. She dusts and she polishes unaware that it would have made no difference at all. And whilst she holds herself to blame for the death of her son the sores and calluses weep, because she cannot.

  10. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 31


    Dust. All around her was dust:
    The old vacuum cleaner was bust.
    Could have beaten the rug,
    But she just gave a shrug
    When her bloke shook his head in disgust.

  11. @firdausp
    (300 words)

    'Dust and colours'

    'Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust', Aly heard the priest say as she watched her stepmother's body being lowered into the grave.
    Now there was dust all around her!
    Aly smirked inwards.
    She remembered how the dead woman cringed at the sight of even a little dust in the house. How Aly was never allowed to run around barefoot. Her clothes were expected to be spotless.
    Now take that witch!
    She put on a sorrowful expression so no one would suspect her evil thoughts.
    Her father held her hand and she felt him tremble.
    Of course he would be sad. His wife was always so sweet to him. What would he know about the thrashings and punishments. The days she was sent to sleep without food.
    What had she done other than bring home a dirty puppy, and once she'd cut up the witch's favourite dress to try to fit into it.
    Aly hated the dull colours she was forced to wear. She was eight, colours were her life.

    It had been a boring day and Aly had to do her homework. But as usual, she was wandering around the house trying to delay, when she came upon her stepmother standing at the head of the staircase, talking on the phone. She had caught the end of the conversation.
    ...don't worry, I know how to take care of a problem child. I'll pack her off to boarding school," the witch had laughed.
    Blind rage had overcome Aly. She didn't remember pushing the woman, but the next thing she saw was her lying at the bottom, very still. Aly had crept back to her room.

    Now holding her father's hand she thought about the different colours of handprints she'd made on her bedroom walls.
    Colours were coming home.

  12. I'm a little late for this week. Will try next week! :-)