Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash. Enjoy the challenge. And when in doubt: just keep writing!
Beware the Rules that Lurk
Judge this week: Ronel
Word count: 300 words max
How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle and blog if you’ve got ‘em!). One entry per person.
Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT!
Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon.
Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories, they’re for inspiration (and sometimes our amusement)).
It took us three days before we started seeing shapes in the fog.
It took us three days before we started seeing shapes in the fog. The trip had started out well, Captain Puce determined to cross the Crest Sea. Swirls of copper and bronze colors, that were typical of this region, flowed steadily past the ship. The ship was on her maiden voyage and had been commissioned by a wealthy sheik called Pulga. Pulga lived 3 continents over, on Croup, and was keen to learn the whereabouts of the Psýllos inhabitants that lived on an island here. The weather had been calm thus far and it was expected to stay that way. The Crest sea was not going to co-operate it seemed. Clusters of stars began shooting out of the water sending sparks colliding with the hull. On deck it was indeed a rare sight, as spouting rainbows trailed the stars. The waves began to swell and move from side to side gaining in size and power. A creature unlike any other rose up and knocked the ship over. Captain Marc and his men went overboard trying to grab what they could to stay afloat. The storm stopped as soon as it began. They swam and floated for days until seeing these shapes. Captain Puce realized that they had over shot their mark and were trailing towards the Ear islands, a dangerous place indeed. They could only stare in horror as a white poison storm approached.
“Rex! Rex! Come here boy.” Jesse laughed as Rex, his cocker spaniel, showered him with drops of water. Jesse’s mom came out and laughed at the sight. “Now that you have given Rex a bath, don’t forget to put flea powder behind his ears.”
Adrift South of the Queen Charlottes: The Tale of the Louisa MayReplyDelete
It took up three days before we started seeing shapes in the fog. Even then, they were indistinct shapes, formless, meaningless.
“What are they?” asked a voice from the stern of the lifeboat.
“It’s all pea soup to me,” chimed in James Haughty, our second mate, who was never known to say anything original.
As we’d run dangerously low on provisions, Haughty’s mention of soup was singularly ill-timed.
“Keerist, Jimmy, shut ye trap,” piped in Claghorn, our chief cook and bottle-washer. “Ye know Split Pea is one of my specialties and this devils muck is certainly not it.”
I suppose that then all eleven of us began to have hot-soup thoughts and sad recall of the ten men who went down with the Louisa May. The storm had come up suddenly, a monstrous typhoon that took us broadside and sunk the tanker in a deadly jiffy.
“So, what the hell are they? The shapes. What are they?” The same anxious voice bellowed from the stern again. Boggs. It must be. A kid, really.
“Tell ‘em, Chief,” said Haughty as he worked his way up to mutiny. “Okay, I will, then. They’re Fog Zombies, Boggs. Nature having us on. They’re whatever’s in your mind. They’ll be the last thing you see before you sink into the cold briny.”
“Pay no attention to Haughty, Boggs,” I said. “There’ll be no more drownings on my watch.”
As I said this, I felt a shiver run up my spine. No matter our fate, the Louisa May would become as poisonous a term as the Exxon Valdez. And, in death, Captain Harold Murray would be forever condemned.
The oil we spilled would layer the land and suffocate the creatures.
‘What are those shapes?’ I wondered, as we drifted further out to sea, to our oblivion.
300 black moments on the high seas
Good story Bill. I like it :)Delete
I see I messed up us and used up the third word in...Delete
It took us three days before we started seeing shapes in the fog. Three days without sleep. Three days in the sole company of like-minded folk desperate enough to get involved in the kind of medical research that’s advertised on the dark web. Three days with nothing to eat but the meal-replacement bars laced with Dr Hoffmann’s experimental drug.
Pioneers. That’s what he called us every night before he sent us out into the graveyard. But he always remained on the other side of the door. Two dropped out immediately, refused to enter the graveyard. We lost five more over the next two nights, leaving only three of us: Tim with the lazy eye, a homeless woman called Mary, and me, who thought doing this would solve all my problems.
I thought this would be easy. On the first two nights, there was nothing but mind-crushing boredom, but on the third, as I said, shapes, no more than that, hazy and distant.
It’s day four.
“Pioneers,” Dr Hoffmann says. I’m not listening to the rest, because there’s another sound; it gets louder when he opens the door. Tim steps out first, cautiously, and I follow. I’m so exhausted it’s more of a shuffle than a step. I can hear Mary begging not to go, but then her voice if lost among others, a thousand people all talking at once: “I slept with my brother’s wife.” “I stole from the church.” “I slipped poison into my husband’s tea.”
The voices started to take on shape. People, long dead, confessing their sins, over and over. That’s when I realise where I am. Purgatory. I back away towards the sanctuary. I reach for the door, but my hand passes right through it. I want to call for help, but instead I confess.
by Amberlee Dawn
It took three days before we started seeing shapes in the fog. They’d told us The Hundred left nothing but fog between Old and New Hope, but potholes beside the Walkway spoke of the Grace that once controlled there.
Other than Nolan’s occasional monologue, the steady drip off my cloak’s hood had long since become my entertainment. As my feet shadowed the movement of the rope, the crystalline spheres collected and shimmered, swaying hypnotically until they disappeared into the muck below.
I slid my hand along my connector, testing the sores on my waist. I had to be careful not to pull Shanna down. Nolan had not been kind last time, and the in the damp, poultices simply became added muck on my boots.
“Not too much longer, now. A new start at New Hope.” Wispy vapors swallowed my words.
Midday passed as the shapes developed into vague geometrics. We’d awakened yesterday to find our supply bags littering a mile of the Walkway. Not a bite of hard-tack remained. Some had muttered about returning to Old Hope, but Nolan had taken care of that. By daybreak, the hunger that licked our throats was the grounding that moved us toward our goal.
As we neared the city, our noses registered the day’s baking before our eyes encountered the gate. The group swelled to a run, senses omitting the muffled thud as Michel fell onto the pallet where we’d laid the others the day before. We hailed the guards as the gate lurched into sight.
A croaking cheer arose as the gates began to lift. As one, we entered New Hope, breathing the filtered air as the guard approached and the Retainer bowed. He greeted us by saying “Protocol. You understand.”
The air shimmered as gossamer enclosed us. Then all was dark.
It took us three days before we started seeing shapes in the fog.
All very well for Sonny Morecambe down the allotment of a Saturday telling us all we should take lessons, hone our skills, master the craft. But he didn’t reckon for the near-blindness of Eddie, the danger of handing him anything remotely sharp and the ensuing damage that would accrue with each attempt. Sonny also didn’t appreciate the fact that I can’t tell left from right unless I’m talking bulbs – the light kind – lefty loosey, righty tighty – you know the rhyme.
We tried. We really did – two days of non-stop lessons, poring over books, googling the right conditions, the correct tools, the appropriate season. When is it ever the appropriate season to make a good stab of killing oneself trying to do community service?
And of course, the weather threw its oar in. In winter, I’m the slippers and cuppa hot toddy by the fire person. Outside is alien from November to February. But out there we were, with Sonny cracking his leader whip, goading us on, ignoring our complaints, our tears, our promises to be slaves for a week – anything other than this.
‘Oh, quit your whining, lads. Anyone would think I was asking you to pave the road with your bare hands or something. Just a little help to the local community now – won’t kill ye, will it?’
‘Damn right, it’ll kill us, I groaned under my breath, carefully out of Sonny’s hearing.’
‘Hey, look at old Eddie here, he’s getting the hang of it now. About time, Eddie. The three days is almost up. It’s judging tomorrow. Christ, look, there’s a fog rolling in. Ah lads, don’t let a little fog ruin the day.’
On Wednesday, didn’t Eddie go and win the Parish Topiary Trophy.