Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 22

We are still looking for another once-a-month judge on the team, or a handful of guest judges. Other than participating in the competition a few times, there are no prerequisites to being a judge here -- if you're interested, email us at!

Have some rules c:

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 Wednesday afternoon. (For real this time)

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 amusement).)


The captain of the guard watched silently as two figures moved through the shadows.


  1. Word count: 296

    SERE-ious Danger

    The captain of the guard watched silently as two figures moved through the shadows. The moonlight gave away their positions, but only just. He dragged deeply on his cigarette, the red tip alerting the shadows to his presence. They half waved at him, grinning, and all you could see were pearly whites through the black paint on their faces. He nodded and settled down to watch as they slipped through the doors of the barracks.

    An explosion rocked Amos right out of bed. He dropped down and instinctively rolled under the bed. His heart was hammering away in his chest as he tried to assess the situation. Immediately he realized that tear gas was filling the room. They were all in danger. He could hear his mates calling out and coughing. Gun shots filled the air as smoke billowed around them. He began to crawl towards a window, choking on the gas that would render him unconscious if he didn’t get fresh air. So focused was he on getting air that he didn’t notice a moving shadow to his right. Too late he looked up to see a boot come crashing down on his face. Everything went black.

    A drop of water fell on his face. He wiped it away as he continued sleeping. His bed was somewhat uncomfortable and he shifted his weight. Pain shot up the side of his face as a bucket of water was dumped on him. Birds in nearby trees flew off in fright. He tried to open his eyes. He touched his face gingerly and realized that one eye was swollen shut. He gazed around him and saw he was in a makeshift cage with his mates. A voice behind him made his blood run cold.

    “Welcome to SERE training.”

  2. Bungalow Sal’s Good Time for Half the Price Emporium

    The captain of the guard watched silently as two figures moved through the silence.

    “What are those two up to?” he asked his subaltern, a rather witless fellow from Chihuahua, the most northern state in the Country.

    “They seem to be heading somewhere, Sir.”

    “Yes. You may be right, Lieutenant. Good call. The question is …where?”

    “Well, if I had to make a guess, I would say they are heading beyond the gate, over the hill, and down in the valley to Bungalow Sal’s Good Time for Half the Price Emporium.”

    The captain of the guard did a double take and gave some thought to re-evaluating the Lieutenant’s value. “Pretty specific assessment, Lieutenant. Do you know something I don’t?”

    The Lieutenant gave the captain of the guard a quick lookover. Maybe he had underestimated the career officer’s mental agility.

    “Well, Sir, I have it on reasonably good authority that Bungalow Sal has purchased a giant screen to show the inauguration. I am not the only soldier from Chihuahua. At least a dozen of our troop are. We are all so damn curious.”

    “Am I missing something here?”

    "Sir, word has spread that The Wall…”

    “The Wall?”

    “The Trump Wall, Sir.”

    “Ah, that Wall. What about it?”

    “That Trump plans to start building it on January 20th. His first campaign promise was to build the Wall. You know what rumours in the military are like…they want to see what’s happening…”

    “But we have big screen T.V’s in the barracks.”

    “Sir, I think we want to be together, to get drunk together, to cry together…to just be with our people if it happens. Some still think it won’t.”

    “Do you?”

    “He will build it.”

    “Well Lieutenant, he is one crazy hombre. Why don’t you join them.

    You’re relieved."

    “Gracias, Sir."

    300 cross border moments

  3. Be Better(296 words)
    by Sara Codair

    Eli, the captain of the guard, watched two figures silently move through the shadows. Ey unholstered eir blaster then stalked after them. Eir heart raced as they approached the supply house. The manager reported canned goods and medicine stolen, but no one had caught the culprit. Eli suspected that was because eir investigators pitied the fools who lived outside the compound.

    The figures walked right past the supply house into the scrapyard. Nothing was reported stolen from there, though they rarely inventoried it since no one used cars. It was too dangerous for Eli’s people to leave the compound.

    Ey followed the thieves right up to a rusty carcass of a pickup truck and waited until their heads vanished into the hood. Ey aimed eir blaster. “Freeze! Put your hands where I can see them.”

    The two figures turned. Judging by their wrinkles, stubbly pale skin and flat chests, Eli guessed they were two middle aged white men - the kind of people that made it too dangerous for eir to live in out in the world.

    “Please don’t shoot.” Both men dropped to their knees. “The government has gone nuts. We need your help.”

    “Get off my property!” Eli undid the safety.

    “Please let me take this. I’ll pay you back with labor. I have no money, my truck is broken, and my daughter needs to get to a hospital. She’s has a major infection.”

    Part of Eli wanted to send the men away, reject them in the same way society had rejected eir, but as ey watched them look at her like they were praying to some forgotten god, ey couldn’t do it. “Take the part and bring your daughter here. We have doctors, and could use some help turning over the fields next week.”

    1. Huh, I've never seen non-binary pronouns done like that. I think it's growing on me

    2. This was the first time I wrote a story using them. I've been researching them for myself, but they never quite feel right. This one seemed a little more natural than some of the more common ones, so I tried it with the prompt.

    3. I'm glad these replies were posted. I've never heard of non-binary pronouns before - I thought it was some kind of keyboard malfuntion! :-D

  4. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 296

    The Reluctant Dragon-keeper of Drabenvord

    The captain of the guard, Zaphim Klyndwr, watched silently as two figures moved through the shadows, one guiding the other by the arm. Glathenor the street shoemaker seemed to be in deep intrigue with Llandryff, the purblind dreamcatcher. The captain followed stealthily, determined to discover the content of their discourse.

    “These troublesome visions have plagued me for several nights,” said Glathenor. “Consequently, I have sought your interpretation, Master Llandryff.”

    The venerable dreamcatcher let out a murmur of contemplation. “Our primitive progenitors considered the spheres that were revealed to you in your vision to be thaumatoliths, magic stones, appearing mysteriously each Walden-tide under the waning gibbous moons in the sheltered cove east of Jelador, only to vanish a sennight later.

    “It was Olbanir the Bowman that you envisaged as he spied the pelagic dragon Aesaphyl rise from her saltwater realm and deposit her precious eggs in the silvered sands. He drew a diamond-tipped arrow from his leathern quiver and fired it, piercing the creature’s heart.” A long, crackly sigh escaped the oneiromancer’s chest.

    “King Staurbyx VI has decreed that what he calls “the scourge of dragons” shall be cleared from the land. Aesaphyl’s brood will perish without intervention.”

    On hearing these words, the eavesdropper stepped from his concealment and cried, “I, Zaphim Klyndwr, Captain of the Royal Guard, command you to halt!”

    Llandryff seized the shoemaker by the elbow and whispered, “Carpe diem, Glathenor, eldest son of Ezzredir! You must journey to Jelador to recover these fosterlings and nurture them! I will delay the captain.”

    “But I…”

    “GO! GO!”
    Glathenor ducked into the darkness, while Llandryff confronted the captain.

    “Stand aside, old man!”

    “I cannot do that if you mean harm to Aesaphyl’s offspring.” The dreamcatcher grasped the captain’s tunic, but received Klyndwr’s sword into his side.

  5. Freedom
    By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    57 words

    The captain of the guard watched silently as two figures moved through the shadows. He fervently hoped that they would be successful.

    Once they were out of sight, he sighed softly. Now there was nothing left but to wait.

    When dawn streaked the sky with red, the captain of the guard knew that the tyrant-king was dead.

  6. The Refugees. Word count, 299

    The captain of the guard watched silently as two figures moved through the shadows.

    With only Ral, the smallest moon risen, there was plenty of shadow. The two moved quickly, keeping to the trees and covering their tracks. For creatures with such poor night vision, they were doing better than most he had seen. If he hadn’t observed them leaving the work house, K’Tal might not have noticed them at all.

    K’Tal felt sorry for them. They’d fought valiantly despite the huge technological gap. Ultimately and inevitably losing the war they hadn’t started. Now, they were refugees on a planet far from home, quasi-prisoners, subject to persecution and discrimination. It was no wonder they were being surreptitious, it wasn’t safe for humans out at night. K’Tal wouldn’t share his sympathy publicly of course. He had a reputation and a career to consider.

    There was a crackle in K’Tal’s ear, a disturbance in the temporary housing area they had assigned the aliens. With a flick of his tail he sped off, picking up a detachment of guards from the garrison. They arrived at sector 15 to find a group of thugs beating a couple of humans they had caught. The humans were no match for the S’Leth’s claws and thick scales, and were in a pretty bad way by the time order was restored. The medics arrived and stabilised the patients, preparing to take them to the hospital tree. K’Tal turned his attention to the ruffians. Not unknown to him, they were not likely to receive more than a verbal warning even for this latest infringement. The best he could do was keep them chained up at the rocks overnight.

    K’Tal sat down to summarise his notes, he wondered just how long the planet known as Earth would be uninhabitable.

    by Quentin Christensen
    Twitter: @qchristensen