Saturday, January 21, 2017

Cracked Flash Year 2, Week 23

Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash Fiction!

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!

Beware the Rules.

Judge This Week: Ronel

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.

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).)

She pulled back the curtain, bracing herself for the horror that would come.


  1. The Door, The Wall, The Stairs
    Benjamin Langley
    250 words

    She pulled back the curtain, bracing herself for the horror that would come. When the nurse had revealed the name, Dr Henrietta Winters had shuddered. Mary Newman. Third visit in as many weeks. First time, Mary had walked into a door. The cut just over her cheekbone had needed six stitches. Next, Mary tripped and collided with a wall. It was like someone had inserted a golf ball between her skin and her skull on her forehead above her right eye, which was bloodshot, and lost in a purple sea. On both occasions the injuries seemed inconsistent with the story, but Mary had been adamant that it was true, and Henrietta had done nothing.

    Dr Winters looked down at the details. Fallen down the stairs. Her face was going to a calamity. She pictured steak after a session with a meat tenderiser.

    She pulled back the curtain, and blocking her view of Mary was the door, the wall, the stairs. “She fell down the stairs,” he said, his face red. Dr Winters glanced down. His fists were redder.

    This time, she would not do nothing.

    When the police arrived, Dr Winters had finished the stitches and had cleaned up the cuts as best she could. She knew that it was going to be horrific, but when she reflected upon it later, she couldn't decide what was more horrific, the look that the wall gave his wife that suggested she'd pay, or that look of utter desolation that Mary gave Henrietta.

  2. Foresight
    Marj Crockett
    297 words

    “She pulled back the curtain, bracing herself for the horror that would come.”

    The prompt stared at her as much as she stared at it.

    They were words. Words on a piece of paper. Meaningless… words. The sentence made her shrug with indifference.

    Never before had she come across this feeling. Well, she’d read about it but had concluded that it only happened to others. She was hip and cool; a star in the ascendant. A genius they said. Celeste Chariman – the hottest author in town. New York Times best seller, topping the Amazon book list across the board.

    Right now? A lost soul.

    The void that she felt inside frightened her. There were no words, nothing. All the images that usually flooded in deserted her. A blank space: a blank white space.

    Her eyes cracked open: daylight peeped in from behind the blind. A smile of relief. It was a dream, only a dream. No, a nightmare!

    “Celeste, honey” a voice called. A voice that seemed familiar, but she could not remember whose.

    “Celeste, are you up yet?”

    She faltered over her reply. She couldn’t work out if she was “up”. Stretching out the kinks of the night felt good.

    “Yes. No. I'm not sure” she shouted.

    "You asked me to wake you so you could work on your script," the voice continued. "Coffee?"

    "Sure. I'll be down in a minute."

    Celeste dragged herself out of bed and strolled over to her computer. Might as well get started: it would take a few minutes for the coffee to be ready.

    The screen glowed bright with the last thing she’d written last night.

    PLOT DEVICE - how would I react?

    “She pulled back the curtain, bracing herself for the horror that would come.”

    Words came there none.

  3. Word count: 267

    Teenage obsession

    She pulled back the curtain, bracing herself for the horror that would come. The bathroom scale loomed ominously in the corner. Could she muster up the courage to stand on it this week? She had exercised like a demon in the hopes of exorcising the fat cells trapped beneath the skin, like innocent souls. Only they were not so innocent. Cookies, chips and sweets filled the desires of the flesh then stayed on as a reminder of shame.

    Beads of water ran down her face as she began her approach, like a dead woman walking. She had to reach her goal this week otherwise she would have to fight in a higher weight class tomorrow. Then she would be the lightest person in her division.

    “Not going to happen, nah-uh!” she thought as she mentally prepared herself and threw up a quick prayer. She stepped on, and waited, holding her breath as though it made her lighter. Which of course it didn’t. The scale stopped at sixty- point-two kilograms. Three hundred grams overweight. She slumped down on the floor and began to cry. She wondered, as she lay there blubbering, if the tears running out of her body and down her cheeks, would make any difference at all to her weight.

    Eventually someone knocked on the door gently. It was her mom.
    “I hope you’re not using the scale honey. It’s inaccurate by about half a kilo.”

    She bolted upright. “Whaaaaat?” she yelped. She unlocked the door and ran past her mom, almost knocking her over in the process. “FOOD! I’ve got to get food!” she cried.

  4. New Management (299)
    By Sara Codair

    She pulled back the curtain, bracing herself for the horror that would come once sun illuminated the office.

    Half eaten big-macs and empty fry cartons littered the floor. Plastic rings from six-packs of coke hung around statues’ heads like nooses. Paper work was stacked five feet in the air. Portraits of past presidents were covered with posters of scantily clad models.

    Tears dripped down her copper cheeks as she cleaned the mess her new boss made of the once pristine office. She held her composure until she came across the model replica of the Wall on the gold-plated coffee table. Her nieces still lived south of the border and had no intention of leaving their home behind for a country run a “gringo-nazi-asshat.” She feared the wall meant she would never see them again.

    She didn’t know how long she cried for, but she didn’t stop until she heard foot steps and the chirping phone that meant the president's tweets were getting liked. She scrambled to her feet, struggling to stop her tears. She didn’t get them all cleaned up in time.

    “Marie, why is a pretty little lady like you crying?” said her new boss.

    “My name is Paula.”

    “Right. Paully. Why are you crying?”

    Paula considered telling him the truth and quitting, but she was a fighter. She’d cleaned this office for three different presidents. She forced her lips into a charming smile and batted her eyes at the monster. “That wall is beautiful. It will keep us safe from men like my ex-husband.”

    “That’s the spirit.” Grinning, he patted her rump.

    She wanted to kick him in the balls, but instead, she kept her mouth shut and gathered her cleaning supplies while plotting ways to use her position in the White House to get him impeached.

  5. Curtains (300 choice words)

    She pulled back the curtain, bracing for the horror that would come. As her hand grasped the cord and slowly pulled it towards her, her imagination revved up.

    “I’m not good at this,” she said.

    Blankenship, lips scrunched like those of a drunken Jersey Cow, pulled his thumb out of his right ear and asked, “Pardon?”

    “I said…”

    “It doesn’t matter what you said, Missy. “Pull the damn cord. How hard can it be?”

    “Well, when you put it that way, of course it’s a simple task. I’ve been pulling blinds for years, as well as the occasional curtain.”

    “There, that’s the spirit. Buck up and recognize your litany of skills.”

    She looked at him as his snarky bovine lips offered false praise. Does he think I am so thick that his sarcasm would miss its mark, she wondered? Still, he’s paying the piper. It’s his tune he’s calling me to play. Whoa, she mused, where did that old herring come from?

    And then she remembered. She’d answered the ad. “Democratic Engagement-Play a part in a fun experiment. And perhaps survive.”

    Blankenship’s firm called her She went for the interview.

    “It’s a promotional stunt for a new internet show. We pay you $5,000. You could use the money?”

    She resisted answering, “Duh!” and instead replied, “Sure can.”

    She accepted even though she was vague on the concept. She signed the waiver releasing them from all liability.

    “A standard form,” he’d emphasized.

    The cameras were rolling. Inside the cage, she stood, hand on the curtains cord, pulling it slowly. “And the cage. Why is it necessary?”

    “A precaution. Nothing more.”

    Another last-minute thought occurred.

    “Oh, I meant to ask the name of the show,” she said, as she pulled the cord.

    “Why,” Blankenship answered quickly, “It’s THE LADY OR THE TIGER.”

  6. Alva Holland
    299 words

    The Day of Reckoning

    She pulled back the curtain, bracing herself for the horror that would come.

    She knew she’d used the wrong shade of orange. His skin turned out the same colour as the tufting mass on the top of his head. His bulbous lips were gross. His ears stuck out. His eyes shone glassy-like, small and beady as if he were on something, something taking him high above the importance of the day. His hands were small and pudgy, the thumbs pointing upwards and straining to reach the top of his index finger, normally easy to do but restricted in him by poor genes.

    How could it have turned out so wrong?

    As the curtain moved, she knew that no-one would be happy. But what could they do. The deed was done now, done for months. There was no going back. Four years they’d have to suffer this horror, until it was replaced.

    What about his family? Could she dare to think she got that right at least? Nope, she thought as she peeked behind the curtain. The little lad is innocent but I still managed to make him look uncomfortable and out of place. His mother lopes, awkward, trying to be someone or something she is not. She hangs around with a threatening air and a grimace. Where was the togetherness?

    Oh! the horror of it. No one will like it.

    The curtain was drawn back fully, exposing the oil painting of the newly arrived family to the Big House. She hoped the crowd wouldn’t notice her name in the corner. She should have used a pen name. The curator wasn’t interested in the creator, just the creation.

    He announced:

    ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our new addition to the Zoo Museum.

    Father, mother and youngling - orangutans in oils.’

  7. @firdausp
    (298 words)

    Alternate reality

    She pulled back the curtain, her eyes tightly shut. She felt the warmth of the sun on her face. Bracing herself for the horror that would come, she slowly opened her eyes.
    Nothing could have prepared her for the devastation before her. For as far as her eyes could travel, she only saw scattered bodies, some tangled in twisted metal of cars and lampposts and other debris. Buildings and houses had been flattened. They stood like jagged concrete stumps in the distance.
    Her breath came out in gasps. The stench of the rot nauseating her. She rushed back to the trapdoor in the corner of the room from where she had just crawled out; her safe haven for the past few weeks or months, she couldn't remember. She had been too scared to come out. Her meagre rations had almost depleted. The air underground had begun to get unbearable to breathe. She shut the trapdoor behind her and sat on the steps leading down. For a long time she sat there, she had run out of tears and ideas. Finally she gathered some courage and climbed back out. She had to find other survivors.
    As she stepped out of the house she heard a consisting beeping sound. Then voices, a little muffled, but she could make out what they were saying.
    "She's coming back, she's coming back!"
    "Check her vitals."
    "Everything seems okay."
    She heard someone calling her name. A familiar voice very far away. She felt her vision blur. She rubbed her eyes. When she opened them again she saw her husband leaning over her.
    "Welcome back," he smiled with tears in his eyes.
    "What the—" she tried to speak, her throat parched.
    "Shhh..." he cut her off, "it's okay, you've been asleep for a long time."

  8. That should read *a constant beeping sound*

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