Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 30

Wow, it's been a long time since we started up this shindig. We started in what, June? *checks* June 27th, 2015. That's 4 months to our anniversary today! That's kind of insane. And awesome. In case we don't tell you enough--

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. (And remember that your entry must begin with the prompt!)


"I'm just getting worse and worse."


  1. Title: Dizzy in the Camel (296 words)

    I'm just getting worse and worse. It was all so different six months ago. When Helen suggested hot yoga, I jumped at it. I'd seen those sylph-like celebrities - skin pulled tight across chiselled cheekbones and perfect washboard stomachs. Wanted a bit of that too and so I committed.

    The early mornings were tough at first. Crawling out of bed before dawn, glugging back spirulina shots and sweating through ninety minutes of pain ain't for the faint hearted, but soon my body changed and people began to notice.

    'The pounds are falling off you, babe!' they'd say when I was drying my hair after class.

    'Oh just a few.' I tried to play it down but inside I was beaming.

    And the more I did, the more I wanted to do. I upped my classes from five to seven and then to twice a day. My energy levels rocketed, more weight flew off and my skin glowed with vitality.

    That was then though. Now I feel dreadful. Now I go dizzy in the camel, long for sleep in the cat and wobble through the warrior.

    'Take a break from it love,' said Mum, when I told her. 'Twice a day is far too much. Your dad and I are worried about you. Oh and you're too thin.'

    And then that Tammy the other day.

    'Can't believe you've lost more weight,' she said and gave me a right nasty stare.

    Silly cow. I know she's just jealous. Too thin though. Too thin. I'm tired of hearing it. If I'm worse at yoga it's because I'm not doing enough. Simple as that. I'll pick it up again tomorrow. If I leave work half an hour early I'm sure I can squeeze in another class.

    Mary Thompson (@MaryRuth69)

  2. Chosen
    Maggie Akhurst
    300 words

    “I’m just getting worse and worse,” Selvyna huffed. “Whoever said ‘practise makes perfect’ is an outright liar.”

    “I guess it’s lucky that we’re not counting on you to save us all from the Immortal Plague, then,” Joss said airily. She snapped her fingers. “Oh, wait, yes we are!”

    Selvyna scowled at her. “For someone who’s supposed to be helping, you’re not doing a very good job.”

    Joss shrugged. “What’s the point? You’re useless. How could the Divine Spark choose you over me? I’ve always been better at both the theory and the practical lessons. When the Spark realises that it has made a mistake, I’ll be waiting. You’re on your own.”

    “I am not useless,” Selvyna fumed.

    “Fooled me.”

    Selvyna stalked to the edge of the flat roof-top and stared at the town spread out below. She couldn’t fathom why the Divine Spark had chosen her, a mere Initiate, rather than one of the Priestesses of the Cloister. Was the Spark capable of making mistakes? The High Priestess had said it was infallible, but Selvyna couldn’t help but feel that for once, it was wrong.

    She wasn’t sure she had what it took to save them.

    Rubbing her temple, she turned away from the view. The fear of failing everyone had been a constant companion ever since the Spark had chosen her several days ago. If she couldn’t master the complex prayers, chants and hand movements in the next two days, the entire population, save for a few thousand people, would be wiped out by the Immortal Plague.

    Her best chance was getting Joss to help her. Begging seemed appropriate.

    “Joss, please. I need your help. If I fail, we won’t be around to care about who was chosen.”

    Joss considered it for a moment. “So … no pressure, then?”

    1. Whoops, supposed to be practice with a 'c' in the second sentence! ;)

  3. Nthato Morakabi
    Title: Revenge
    Twitter: @Nthito
    Words: 299

    “I’m just getting worse and worse” she said, lowering her bow. The man beside her sighed.
    “You’re not concentrating. You’re too caught up in…”
    “Preparing myself to save the town? Yes, I know…”
    “You’re not some chosen one training to defeat a great evil. You’re part of the village and your duty is to do the best you can as part of us.”
    “Then why do you push me harder than the rest?”
    The man took the bow from her outstretched arms, easing the taut string back into position. The girl visibly relaxed as the bow left her hands.
    “What would you prefer to do then?” the man asked. He casually spun around, picking an arrow from the girl’s quiver, pulled the draw string with the arrow neatly in place and a moment later the arrow splintered through the chest of the man tied to the tree. His eyes stared up at the heavens as he slumped to the ground. Dead.
    The girl dropped to her knees and covered her face with her hands, feeling the rage and sadness sweep through her.
    She was an orphan now.
    “It is very simple my dear, I push you because if I don’t, the town will treat you like your family – as a traitor.” She continued to sob quietly into her hands, tears dripping from her palms to wet the ground below her.
    “I didn’t choose this!” she wailed.
    “No one did!” The man shouted back, “But your parents turned their back on us when they approached that witch.”
    The girl fought against the tears, but more than that she fought against the convulsing power flowing through her, ready to burst and kill the man appointed to train her. The man who just killed her father.
    But revenge would have to wait.

  4. Kelly Griffiths
    300 words

    Poker Face

    I’m just getting worse and worse, thought Avi. Her life depended on her ability to lie, with finesse.

    “Come again?” asked the auditor. He clearly wasn’t going for it, but she couldn’t retract her words. How long had they been at it, five hours?

    Avi slammed her gloved hand down on the table, “I told you, the C-line malfunctioned and I never left the system.” She still wore the bulky flight suit. NASA hadn’t even allowed her to change before investigating.

    “So how do you explain the 365 days of blank data on your flight recorder and your bio-data?” He asked, challenging her with his gaze, his fingers poised on the stylus, “Stasis would’ve kept you in hibernation.”

    Was he playing poker, or did they really have that kind of tech? Every year NASA came up with better pilot tracking. Her friends warned her this would happen. They trained her to lie in every imaginable scenario, but they couldn’t assure success. “The best lies are mostly true,” they said, “But you’ll have little truth to offer them.”

    “I don’t… I mean, I can’t. Maybe that malfunctioned too.” Avi was definitely getting worse at this game.

    The auditor looked at Avi and sighed. “I think we’re done here, Lieutenant.”

    “It’s about time,” Avi tried to keep playing, but her heart told her it was over.

    “We’re done, but you’re not. Get the T-95.”

    Truth serum.

    The truth was, Avi traveled to 3016 and managed to come back alive. She wasn’t the first, and she wouldn’t be the last. But the orders were always the same: Don’t reveal the mission. Under any circumstances. She brushed her finger against the tiny steel flake implanted in her suit. Insurance, they said. She had less than a minute to decide whether or not to kill herself.

  5. Words: 296

    Rain From a Clear Sky

    “I’m just getting worse and worse,” Ansgar moaned. “I want to die.”
    “You did not die on that battlefield and you are not going to die now that you are home,” his wife said with her back turned to him to hide her frightened expression. Surviving the wounds he sustained was unnatural.

    “Sister, you must weave the final strand,” Tomorrow said. She watched Ansgar in the reflection of the pool next to which she sat. “The thread has been cut.”
    “No.” Today still held the strand between her fingers, unwilling to weave the end of the thread into the tapestry.
    “Listen to your sister,” Yesterday said. Her hands and white dress were stained red and black with the dye of the cut threads. “His thread has already stained my hands. You must weave it. He cannot remain in the world of the living.”
    “This is his fate,” Tomorrow told Today.
    “Why should it be?” Today sobbed. “Did not enough die on that cursed battlefield? Can we not spare just one more?”
    “His time in the tapestry is done. There is no more space for him. If you leave him like that, he will start to move outside of it.”
    “He will become immortal?” There was hope in Today’s voice.
    “Not immortal,” Tomorrow said. She plunged her fingers into the pool. The ripples on the water revealed the future to them. “He will never heal. He will be haunted. He will become inhuman.”
    “Weave the thread, Sister,” Yesterday said.
    “But I love him,” Today whispered. Tears pooled in her eyes.
    “Then do right by him.”
    Tears dripped onto the tapestry as Today started to weave.

    Ansgar looked out the window. Rain poured from a clear blue sky. The world around him slowly started to fade. He smiled.

  6. Why Some Poets Should Stay in Bed

    I'm just getting worse and worse.
    If it wasn’t a burden, it’d be a curse,
    this urge to turn my life into verse,
    is a weight I depressingly nurse.

    I can barely remember a moment in time
    when I didn’t compulsively rhyme.
    At first it was all just a little sublime,
    cute, a quaint childhood paradigm.

    I rhythmically rolled into my teens,
    An irritating youth, so full of beans.
    Peers recoiled, saying, “Whoa, learn to screen.
    You’ve been guzzling too much caffeine.”

    And, as you might guess, I was often alone,
    A sad specimen left too much on my own,
    bearing the literary load I had grown,
    a doggerel of a poet with nary a bone.

    And then, my universe opened up wide,
    just as I dipped into a self-sullen slide,
    I found myself a romantic guide,
    a muse, a companion to share the ride.

    She, herself, composed adequate verse,
    perhaps a trifle too perverse,
    quite dark, themes for which I was averse,
    but still, I suppose it could’ve been worse.

    And it did of course spin out of control,
    her poems became as bleak as coal,
    our love suffered a terrible toll,
    and oh, what that did to my shattered soul.

    I had to escape, get beyond her reach,
    and sought the warmth of a tropical beach.
    To earn a living, I tried to teach
    but poems are a poor substitute for speech.

    The years went by like a speeding hearse,
    I am old with only a million poems in my purse.
    I know that there must be a better universe,
    to end this life gone from bad to verse.

    271 bits and pieces of poetic drivel

  7. 295 Words

    By SaraCodair

    "I'm just getting worse and worse," I say looking down at the black veins slowly creeping towards my heart.

    “You shouldn’t have let the demon bite you,” replies Raquel. Her dark eyes show no sympathy.

    “Was I supposed to just let it eat that kid?”

    She shrugs. “The ‘kid’ is a mortal.”

    “He’s only ten. He might have 90 years ahead of him.”

    “Nine decades pass in the blink of an eye. We endure when we are smart. Your decision wasn’t smart. You gave up eternity to allow some mortal a few decades. For all you know, he will get hit by a bus on his way home and perish in spite of you sacrifice.” Raquel picks of her bag and walks away.

    I sit down on a tree stump, watching her body move away with serpentine grace. However, even a being as cold as she cannot hide all emotion. Her fingers quiver, and her heels dig deep into the earth.

    As the sun goes down, the woods come alive. Owls hoot and hunt, competing with the bobcats and foxes for the small mice and voles scurrying across the forest floor.

    The poison continues to rise in me, turning my veins black. It doesn’t hurt. In fact, I can’t really feel much at all.

    “This will be a good death,” I say to the critters.

    It’s not right to endure forever. Here, my body will fade back to earth, feeding the never-ending cycle of life and death. I have no regret about my decision to save the boy.

    The crickets are singing by the time my chest goes numb and my heart stops beating. I’m prepared to cease when pain tears through my back. A blinding light consumes me as wings sprout from my spine.

  8. @firdausp
    (297 words)

    'What the soul sees'

    I was just getting worse, and worse. I realised this, because I felt the glass wall getting thicker and slightly blurry. I could still see myself hooked up to the medical equipments. Doctors and nurses were fiddling with my body.
    Was I dying? Nooo...but I guess I was.
    "Come on. You can pull through," I shouted with no sound, at my body, "it's not our time yet, fight!"
    Like a caged animal I paced restlessly, banging my fists on the wall.
    So this was it? This was how one died?
    The place I was in felt like vacuum. The wall between the living and the 'not so living' seemed to thicken every few minutes, or was it hours. I couldn't keep track of time. I tried desperately to find an exit, but there was none.
    Moving along the wall, my hands tracing the smooth glassy surface, I found myself outside the hospital. I spotted my wife sitting alone on a bench, her soft brown hair falling over her face as she leaned forward on her elbows. She looked so forlorn. I wanted to break through the wall and hold her, comfort her.
    Oh, how I missed her already.
    The wall was getting more blurry now. The glass was thickening fast. I rushed back to the hospital room and saw myself being given electric shocks.
    Suddenly, the wall just melted away and I felt myself propelled towards my body. Then, nothing.
    The next thing I knew was, the doctor looking into my eyes.
    I heard my wife's voice, "Is he going to be okay?"
    Why did I sense fear in her voice.
    "Yes," the doctor replied.
    "Oh," she said, and I heard a mixture of apprehension and disappointment, so clearly.
    Then, I remembered, she had pushed me!

  9. Ted Prokash
    The Reading - 300 words

    I’m just getting worse and worse. For a long while I’ve been adept at finding excuses for not facing the truth. I’ve become a master at distracting myself, finding distraction in another drink, in the transparent smile of some dumb poetry groupie. Willingly, I become a grinning idiot, swirling my drink like a sleaze. The man in me slumps brooding in a corner.

    And how long has this been going on? How long did I deceive myself before catching on to my own charade? I stare down into my glass (three fingers of Wild Turkey, if you must know) mystified, as if the glare from the room’s lone light bulb on the murky, brown liquid could illuminate my foggy past. A quick sweat breaks out under my arms.

    I’m sitting on a wooden stool, surrounded by shelves piled high with musty books. A heavy, dingy curtain separates me from the waiting throngs. Eric pops his head in from the other side. “How are we doing, Bill?”


    Eric smiles a smarmy smile. His eyes are getting foggy behind his glasses. Got a nice wine-buzz on, I figure. “Well . . . they’re ready whenever you are, man,” Eric says. He makes to withdraw.

    “Hold on!” The panicked edge in my own voice makes me cringe internally. Eternally. “About how many are there?”

    Eric smiles in a self-satisfied way. “Shit, I don’t know. It’s a small room. But it’s full. Break a leg, alright?” He withdraws.

    I pound back the last of the Wild Turkey and jump to my feet, bounce. Like a fighter who knows he’s due for an ass kicking. Fuck it. All you can do is go straight at it, with your chin out, and hope they miss. I take a big breath and pull open the curtain.

  10. 293 words

    The Linoleum Floor

    I’m just getting worse. And worse is the grand understatement of the century. It’s like calling brain cancer a small headache or kidney failure a minor inconvenience or uncontrollable urinary incontinence mildly embarrassing. You get the idea.

    Yesterday I felt something. Today, I don’t. Physically I ache all over. Legs, crotch, throat. Every microsecond nerve endings fire relentless barrages of pain signals into my brain. I mean, I don’t feel anything. Emotionally. I’m as empty as the plastic whiskey bottle on the table above me. As hollow as the open orange-ish bottle of anti-depressants rolling across the dingy linoleum floor.

    I’ve always hated this linoleum. The giant flower pattern with its big loops reminds me of a circus clown’s big, loopy bowtie. No, I’m not one of those people. Circus clowns don’t scare me. I just think they’re stupid. Big red shoes, big red noses and big, stupid, loopy bowties. Stupid.

    I remember the day dad installed the linoleum, kneeling on the kitchen floor for hours, the unlit cigarette dangling between his lips. (Mom wouldn’t let him smoke in the house.) I was seven. For days, the house smelled of oil and new plastic—only slightly less pungent than the stink when I amputated my GI Joe’s legs with a gas station lighter and watched them drip into the coffee table ashtray. I think dad hated the linoleum too. He left a week later.

    Then mom left. I mean, she was there, but she wasn’t. You get the idea.

    After fifteen years of dirty bare feet, muddy shoes and dog piss, the linoleum has held up remarkably well. Better than me anyway. Maybe in seven years the linoleum will be as bad off as I am. Who knows? I won’t be around to see it.