Friday, December 2, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 19!

Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash! Many thanks to those who participated last time around.


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!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT! 

Results announced: Next Tuesday afternoon. (Well, I'm going to try for Tuesday)

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)).


"What do we do with them?"


  1. Jeff Rowlands

    Circles by Jeff Rowlands

    292 words

    “What do we do with them?”

    “It’s a pair of oars stupid, not rocket science”

    They don’t sit well in my hands. This is not going to be easy. I wish I was better coordinated.

    He balances on his seat trying his best not to take over. He won’t manage.

    My already battered confidence suffers under his crudely assessing gaze. I circle, creating our own tempest on the river.

    Tourists amble along riverside walkways. I am now entertainment. They smirk and gawp. I try my best thousand yard stare and attempt to concentrate on the rhythm of my rowing but the boat flounders.

    Tutting and huffing, he stands, heads towards me. “God you’re useless, give them here”. He tries to shove me out of the way. I don’t budge. He can’t always get his own way although a kind word and I may compromise.

    “Come on, stubborn cow. Give the oars to somebody competent.”

    Pig. He stamps and the boat wobbles a little. He stumbles. I laugh. A murderous look. Who has the oars baby? I give him a shove to let him know. The look of shock is delightful. He staggers to the edge of the boat. Slips. He’s going overboard. My pleasure. Oh cripes, did he just hit his head? Is that my fault or an accident?

    A surprise current catches him, separating us rapidly. Distant hands frantically gesture, sinking down into the water.

    A pleasure cruise rounds the bend in the river looming down on us. Closer and closer. A blast of horns, feverish shouting over loud jaunty reggae.

    A quick glance away from the big beast, nothing behind me anymore. Help me. More horns, noise, shouts, screams. I close my eyes and wait for metal to hit wood.

    1. Sorry, I forgot to eat my twitter handle.

      It is @jeffnuggets


    2. It's all cool! I remembered yours from past competitions c:

  2. Word count: 300
    Double Trouble

    “What do we do with them?” I asked, panic crossing my features. I had never felt so helpless in my life.

    It had all begun this morning. The pain caused me to pack a bag with alarming speed and drive to the hospital veering all over the ice-covered road as I prayed non-stop all the way there. Once we arrived, I was told to wait and I paced up and down the hallways as I tried to prepare myself mentally for what was to come. I observed the procedure all clad in scrubs. The screaming, the tearing apart of flesh and the blood all made me nauseous and dizzy and I wanted to bolt from the room. I stayed instead. I experienced all this as I waited for it to be over. And then, like the burst of a wave, they were there. Twin girls, pink-faced and squalling, unhappy to be plucked from what used to be their home. They had little arms that flailed like octopi and they were so delicate that I was afraid I would break them. I began to worry. What if they rolled off the bed? What if they got sick? What if they choked on their milk? What if they cried and I didn’t know why? What if I was such a bad parent that they died? My breathing became fast, my heart thumping so hard I could feel it in my throat.

    My wife looked up at me, a serene smile lighting up her face. She looked radiant and peaceful. She spoke quietly. “We take them home and we raise them and love them.” I nodded, my heart reacting to my wife’s calm, and my heart beat slowed. I could do this. With her at my side I could do anything.

    1. Hey Angie! Do you have a Twitter handle, perchance?

    2. No worries :) I just thought I had seen you around on Twitter, haha

    3. LOL! I hope they're well behaved if they're going around looking like me :)

  3. Alva Holland
    358 words

    Drawing a Future

    ‘What do we do with them?’

    Asu’s round black eyes widened when he saw the array of objects on the table. He thought ‘weapons’ but dreamt ‘art.’ Sharp spear-shapes usually meant pain.

    ‘These are pencils, Asu. We draw. We make pictures.’

    Asu picked up one of the pencils, held it in his fist, lead pointing down and he stabbed the page. The lead broke. Asu’s eyes filled with tears.

    ‘They don’t work. Nothing works for me.’

    ‘Asu, let me show you.’

    Diane placed a green pencil in Asu’s tiny hand and coaxed his skinny fingers around it, loosening his tight grip as she spoke.

    ‘Gently hold the pencil. Now press softly on the paper. Move your hand to the right, like this, and back. See! You’ve drawn green grass.’

    Asu peered at the small circle of green in the centre of the pencil bottom.

    ‘How does it get in there?’ he asked.

    ‘I’ll explain that later,’ Diane said, smiling at the little inquisitive boy. ‘Let’s draw a house on the grass.’

    ‘What’s a house?’ asked Asu.

    ‘A place to live, shelter for family.’

    Diane held Asu’s hand again and started to draw a straight line for a wall. Asu dragged the pencil sideways. Diane let his hand go. He drew another sideways line joining the first.

    ‘House!’ Asu exclaimed.

    ‘Well, close enough, Asu, that’s a tent, but that’s also shelter for family. Good boy.’

    Asu spotted a red pencil in the pile on the table. He grabbed it and scribbled all over the crudely-drawn tent. ‘No family now,’ he said, and his face crumpled.

    Diane held the little boy’s hand as he cried. Asu had a long way to go but Diane was determined the little mite would grow up knowing a better world than he had seen so far.

    1. Sorry, my word count is 300, not 358. Thanks.

    2. This is so beautiful and sad and true in some parts of the world. I like this piece. :)

    3. Great take on the prompt, Alva, wonderfully capturing the grim zeitgeist, but with an optimistic ending.

  4. Nicolette Stephens
    300 Words

    Hands of Man

    “What do I do with them?” His innocent smile broke my heart.

    “I’m sorry, I can’t do this!”

    “I don’t understand.” His words haunted me as I fled the hospital room.


    "In other news, recent breakthroughs in the field of Prosthetics has seen the development of human hands with manual dexterity equal to-"

    I switched off the TV, unable to bear another report on the medical miracle that had turned out to be my personal hell. Switching on the CD player next to the bed, I lifted his cold, lifeless hand. I closed my eyes against tears as music filled the room.


    “Play it again!” My brother laughed at my enthusiastic demand, pushing away from the baby grand.

    “You’ve heard it three times already, Sonia!”

    “I’m your biggest fan, Jude!” I pouted.

    “And I’d be less of a musician without you, darling. But I have a date, so I’ll see you later.” He kissed my forehead, ruffling my hair with his slender fingers before leaving the room. When the front door closed, I surreptitiously removed the recorder from under the piano bench. Jude never let anyone else hear his compositions, but I knew if he ever did, he’d be more famous than he was playing other people’s work.

    I’d been listening to the recording for the twelfth time when my phone rang.


    “I’m sorry Ms Hamlin. Your brother sustained severe injuries. We’ve had to amputate both limbs at the elbows in order to prevent further nerve damage. We’re keeping him in a medical coma to allow time for his brain to recover. We’re unsure how much cognitive function he’ll retain. Can we call someone?”

    “It’s just me and Jude.”


    I woke when he moved. I lifted my head to see him smiling at me.

    “Pretty noise.”

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Kim Davis
    Word Count: 296


    “What do we do with them?”

    “Who cares?” Doug was digging through the box looking for chocolate and cookies. Canned vegetables he sat off to the side, impatient but aware that he’d be back for those later.

    “They’re kind of pretty.” Tommy rifled through the pages of the book. Neigher book was of any use to him or Dougie. They couldn’t read. Whoever had left the box of goodies had stuck the two books in too.

    “Whoa, Dougie! Look at this!” He’d come to an illustration. It was a line drawing of a naked woman. She was holding a piece of fruit and talking to a giant snake hanging down from a tree branch.

    Doug stopped his rummaging to take a look. He whistled. “Nice one!”

    “I know, right?” Tommy was running his hand over the image slowly and smiling.

    Doug reached for the book but Tommy snatched it away just in time. “It’s my book,” he said. There’s another one. You can have that one.”

    The older brother grabbed the other book, flipping quickly through the pages looking for pictures. He threw it down in disgust when he couldn’t find any. “Nothing. Gimme that one.”


    Doug grabbed at the book but Tommy held on. When the two boys rolled apart to catch their breath, Tommy still held the part of the book that contained the drawing, but Doug hadn’t come away empty handed. He puffed out his chest as he stood up and sneered, saying, “I got more pages than you!” He wagged a big handful of tissue-thin, gilt-edged pages under Tommy’s nose.

    “So.” Tommy caressed the drawing.

    “Don’t ask me for any next time you want to wipe your butt.”

    Tommy stuck his tongue out.

  7. Elliot P. McGee

    Word Count: 299 (excl. title)

    Two Stones One Mind

    "What do we do with 'em?"

    Two small stones of an indistinguishable variety sat upon the oddly flat rock within the mouth of a cave. Ug and Ig, bedecked in their finest leopard skin loincloths, stared particularly dumbfounded at their latest acquisition, picked up by Ig, the brainier of the two, on their latest expedition beyond the cave.

    "I haven't the foggiest, Ug." Ig leaned in closer to inspect the two stones ridged with fine markings along the spherical edges. The stones were a stark black, almost as if light was absent within the stones themselves.

    Ug leaned on a rather monstrous club stained with various colours nobody would like to know the origins of. "We could always throw 'em. That's what I normally do with stones when I find 'em."

    Ig looked at his compatriot with what could pass as pity, "Of course we could throw them, Ug, but what would be the point. There has to be something to these stones beyond mere projectiles."

    A slightly sodden and mildewed pamphlet of goatskin lay next to the precious stones. Ig had found both the stones and the pamphlet neatly packaged several yards from their cave when they had left to hunt this morning, returning to inspect the prize whilst a large antelope was roasting on a spit across the fire. Ug slowly turned the spit from time to time, eyeing the stones.

    "I'm saying they is for throwing."

    "Perhaps we should consult the goatskin."

    Ig began to flip through the goatskin pamphlet and found to his dismay it was written in Unguli (to the uninitiated Unguli is to this particular brand of caveman what Chinese is to the common American).

    Frustrated Ig threw the pamphlet and stones into the flames.

    Ug chuckled. "Told you they is for throwing."

  8. Nthato Morakabi
    300 words

    "What do we do with them?" He asked. Moonlight illuminated her high cheekbones like spotlights and she pursed thin lips into a line.
    “Kill ‘em.”
    He turned towards her. Shocked.
    “They are just babies.”
    “Do I look like I care?”
    He blew air out of his nose, turning away with arms folded. The plastic bag rustled like forbidden whispers.
    “How about leaving them at the convent?”
    “How about drowning their abnormalities before they breed?”
    “For crying out loud woman! They are mutant babies not psychopaths… which I may add, tend to be human.”
    She narrowed her eyes like a blind old woman, leaning until her dark hair fell over her face. She looked like a female Edward Scissorhands.
    “You’re not one of those pro-mutant plebs, are you?”
    “What?” he said a little too quickly, waving his hands like broken elevator doors. “Not at all, I’m just saying their harmless.”
    “Hmmmm.” She lifted her head then peered down at the wiggling forms, “Harmless right now.”
    “Maybe their mutant power is to cure cancer… or make people less lactose intolerant.”
    “Or be gods and we would be powerless to stop them.”
    “I think you’re exaggerating just –“
    She pulled the sleeve of her shirt up to reveal sinewy scar running along her arm,
    “My father, drunk as a skunk, decided he’d try and trace my veins with a broken beer bottle. My little brother decided to see what dad’s brains looked like. He stared until dad’s head exploded. In the end little brother couldn’t stop a bullet between the eyes.”
    He stared disbelievingly at her.
    “Well I ‘m glad your brother’s dead.” He said, lifting the packet. “To the pier with them then. Better safe than sorry.”
    She watched him go, then raised a finger to her wide forehead,
    *Phase one complete*

  9. Guard Duty

    by Cassandra Day and friends

    "What do we do with them?" I ask

    "Well, our orders are to guard them and keep them from killing one another until the general comes back." Replies my best friend, Nick

    "How do they expect us to do that?" I wondered, looking over the mess of smelly, dirty and disheveled captives. They crawled around unable to speak, grasping aimlessly and even without control over their bowels. Yuck. It seems as if insanity has already begun.

    "We're going to need some backup."

    "Well, In the meantime let's start the process of interrogating them and assigning them numbers, we don't want to get too attached." Says Nick

    After what felt like hours of interrogating and organizing, the long awaited backup arrives.

    "Can't you boys do anything without my help?" Askes my sister.

    "Nevermind that, you can take prisoner 0020."

    "Prisoner 0020? James they're not criminals they're just sweet little bundles of joy, but I do believe this one needs a diaper change."

    160 words

  10. The Neighbours

    “What do we do with them? My God, they’re multiplying like rabbits.”

    Georgina stares out the side window at Colin and Mary Hennessey’s house. I confess that Georgie does tend to exaggerate. Rabbits reproduce like…rabbits. Yes, they seem to want to have their fair share of baby bunnies, but to compare rabbits with the family oriented Hennessey’s next door is over the top even for her. And not a little unkind.

    “Sweetie, Marge Hennessey is pregnant with her third child.”

    I state this with assuredness. Colin told me so.

    “She’s almost thirty.” I say this as if procreation hits a wall at the big 3 0. “She’s not a giant, hormonally charged rabbit. She’s just having her third child.”

    “You idiot,” she fires back. “You think she’s going to stop?”

    Before I can formulate even an incredibly weak answer, Georgie blasts off with, “You better believe she’s not. That woman wants to repopulate the earth…WITH…” and this comes with a cheese-curdling shriek, “more of her own kind.”

    Don’t get me wrong. I love Georgie with all my energy. It takes quite a lot to love a woman of strong and awkward opinions. She has never been one to hold back her impulsive volleys of venom. I love her raw honesty. Some days, however, ever love and tolerance have their limits. Our neighbourhood can’t afford another War of Words.

    “Georgie, I love you but you’d better curb your tongue.”

    She gives me a skin-melting stare. It tells me…and the world…nobody messes with Georgina Tulip. And I have. I have drawn a line that she will cross at will.

    “I DON’T LIKE THEM. My life is quiet and you’d better be rid of them."

    Once again, I start the gossip.

    Gossip and neighbourly hate knives will drive them out.

    It’s worked before.

    300 suburban tales, told in whispers

  11. Never Eat The Soup At A Dinner Party With Dirty Floors

    What do we do with them?

    Pick 'em up, rinse 'em off and put 'em back in the soup. Nobody will know.

    They might.

    They won't.

    But the floor--it's really dirty.

    A little grit never killed anyone.

    Yeah, but what if the soup tastes too earthy and gritty?

    Tell them it's the cumin.

    There's no cumin in the recipe.

    Then it's the fresh ground pepper.

    Okay. What about the cat hair?


    71 words
    Matt Lashley

  12. T. O. Davis
    298 words


    “What do we do with them?”
    “Chuck you ask the dumbest questions.”
    “I want to be thorough,” Chuck said and picked up one of the jars; its amber light flashed across his face illuminating the lines and grey hairs. He put the jar back among the others.
    “I’ll spare you some time. The red jars go into separate bins. We don’t want an incident like last time, right?”
    Chuck nodded. It was a terrible incident. The acrid-burnt-hair-rubber smell had lasted for days after the explosion. Coworkers he had known for years had been vaporized. Williams had been on his lunch break when the blast wave hit. His shadow is still in the breakroom.
    “I know how to sort things, Dobbs,” Chuck said. He used Matt’s last name to let him know not only did he, Chuck, outrank him, but that he meant business.
    “Do you now,” Dobbs said, and smiled.
    “What happens to these jars after sorting?”
    “Collectors don’t got to know, Chuck, and that’s SOP,” Dobbs said, and pulled a tray of jars out. Blue light filled the room and then it was gone as Dobbs slid the tray back into containment.
    “I know; everybody knows, but haven’t you ever wondered?”
    Dobbs was holding a purple jar. He twirled it in his hands, examining the rich chemical light. He shrugged and placed it back. “All I know is I’m paid to sort the jars, not ask questions.”
    Chuck scratched his beard. There was a tinkling noise like glass being fractured; it was mixed in with the cooling fans and servers humming and the air-exchange system hissing. His hands felt heavy and warm; there was a crackle over the radio, but it was too late. All they could do was watch as the blast wave moved towards them.

  13. Many thanks, Angie and Geoff for your lovely positive comments.