Saturday, February 25, 2017

Year 2, Week 28

Welcome to this week's Cracked Flash Fiction. I hail from northeast Ohio and am freshly returned from a Caribbean cruise, so of course I've got ships, boats, and customs on my mind. :)

Judge This Week: Kelly Griffiths

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.  Thanks :)

Deadline: 12 AM SUNDAY (2/26) PST
Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon/evening.
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).  Have fun!


"You can't bring that on board."


  1. Purple Sparks
    By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    121 words

    ‘You can’t bring that on board!’

    Jess looked around worriedly and then stared into the man’s eyes: ‘I can bring it on board.’

    ‘No. You can’t,’ the crewman said with a quick shake of his head.

    Sighing softly, Jess looked around once more, making sure that they were alone.

    She punched him in the face and he crumpled to the ground.

    ‘See, Sophie, of course I can bring you on board,’ Jess said to the small dragon trailing her. ‘Besides, this ship is as fireproof as can be.’

    She grinned as purple sparks flew from the dragon’s snout. On their way to their cabin, the two of them walked beneath the banner welcoming witches and familiars to the Annual Magic Cruise.

  2. Word Count: 300

    Sisters of Mercy

    “You can’t bring that on board!” Sally hissed at Miriam.

    “Watch me,” I sneered and stuffed the whiskey bottle deeper into my bag.

    There was a knock at the door. Sister Nancy stood there quivering like a leaf. “Mother Catherine will see you now.”

    We followed her down the damp corridor as we made our way towards the decks.

    “Where are we going?” I asked.

    “To the poopdeck,” she replied timidly.

    “Whaaaat?” She blushed furiously as I giggled softly to myself. I always got the novices with that one.

    Sally and I arrived at Mother Catherine’s cabin and stepped inside. The room was bare but for a bed and an old wooden crate on the floor. Mother Catherine smiled at me and looked at Sally.

    “Well? Will she do?”

    “Don’t know, “I replied, “Didn’t ask.” I flopped down on the bed and ripped my headpiece off. Sally looked aghast at this.

    Mother Catherine walked over to Sally and put out her hand. “When we’re here in my room, call me Cat.”

    Sally, looking dumbfounded, shook her hand back.

    “Right then. Should we get started?”

    “Yup!” I yelled as I sat facing the table. “C’mon Sally! Sit your ass down next to me.”

    Catherine went over to the cupboard and brought over an ashtray and cigarettes. She lit one up and passed it to me. I rooted around in my bag and pulled out the whiskey and some plastic cups. Cat offered a cigarette to Sally and I held out a cup.

    “But what are we doing here?” she stammered.

    “Same thing we do every night until we get to Normandy. Play cards, drink and smoke the nights away. There’ll be plenty of time to be pious when we do last rights on the battlefields.”

    Sally grinned as she sat down, ready.

  3. 300 words on the road beyond

    The Day the Train Swallowed Me Away

    “You can’t bring that on board.”

    It is 6:00 am. I am alone at the Wainwright Station.

    Pastor Scrivens had offered to take me. “Leave with Srivens, Wilhelm,” my father had said. “We have said our goodbyes. To see you depart on that dreadful machine would break our hearts.”

    It will be my first train ride.

    I, of course, grind to a full halt at the conductor’s directive. I have always been respectful, painfully deferential to authority. It was the way I was raised, taught to appreciate the wisdom of my parents, my teachers, the elders who had lived through much turmoil, disruption, loss.

    The Conductor is imposing, decked out in tangles of gold braid and a brilliantly orange uniform.

    “But…” I begin to politely ask why.

    “Country boys,” the conductor laments, as if to say I am not the first of my sort he has encountered.

    When Pastor Scrivens came for me, he had suggested I might want to leave Orwell behind. “There may be no room for Orwell at University, Wilhelm. You will be consumed by learning, crammed into some tiny cubicle to study, to sleep. Orwell will suffer.”

    I would have none of it. Though untested in the world, I believed that Orwell would be a touchstone, a link to my roots. Yes, I did fear that I would lose myself in the city, in a community of thinkers. I would need some living, breathing memory of my real life.

    “Pshaw!” I said.

    Pastor Scrivens looked bemused. “They never listen,” he’d said

    Now, I confess my sins to the Conductor. “I am a lonely farm boy, sir. He’s quite small. I will keep him close.”

    I sense a softening position.

    “Hells Belles, boy,” the Conductor says, “Bring the damn pig aboard. They can only fire me once.”

  4. "Its The Rules"
    By Marcus Brook
    299 words

    “You can't bring than on board,” stated the flight attendant.

    He looked at the bottle he was holding, “But its just Coke. I only bought it two minutes ago from that machine over there.” He waved his arm towards the rank of overpriced vending machines against the far wall.

    “Regardless, Sir,” she replied firmly, “Its the rules.”

    He sighed, “May I drink it here then?”

    “I guess that's OK,” she allowed.

    Stepping aside, he unscrewed the cap and drank. Once the bottle was empty her attracted the attendant's attention and, placed the empty in the bin.

    “Thank you for your understanding Sir” she smiled as she checked his passport and boarding card.

    “You're only doing your job.” he smiled. Would she be on the flight? He hoped not, she had a beautiful smile.

    He turned, then grimaced to himself as he walked on gingerly down the air-bridge towards the plane. The irritated, raw skin around his crotch was getting steadily worse, and his back was starting to itch like fury. Everywhere his cotton underpants and vest touched his skin he felt a burning sensation that was growing by the minute. He'd washed them three times to remove any residue, keeping the temperature down to a cool 80F. He laughed to himself, 'How environmentally conscious of me.'

    Clearly it hadn't been enough.

    'I'll know better next time,' he thought, then dwelt on the irony for a moment; whatever the outcome of his trip, it was highly unlikely there'd be a next time.

    Still, on the bright side; he knew this skin condition wouldn't be troubling him much longer.

    He just wished there had been something nicer than a cocktail of concentrated acids, that he could have used to turn his underwear into explosives.

  5. "No Doudou"
    by Patrick Stahl
    299 words

    “You can’t bring that on board,” said the dock-boy, crouching down. “Well, I guess you could, but I wouldn’t.”

    Corinne looked at the boy with her sad green eyes. “No doudou?”

    “I’m afraid not.” The boy rubbed a thumb against my daughter’s worn yellow rabbit. “They’re afraid of them, I think. Us French, we can believe in anything. A toy even. As long as you have your doudou, you’ll never as scared of them as they’d like you to be.”

    A tall male on the deck of the ship growled down at the dock-boy in his native language. Or Earthly language, I suppose. It sounded nearly identical to Norwegian, but at the same time distinctly alien. They hadn’t been able to conform their mouths perfectly to any language of humans, so after rounding up all the Norwegians—stowing them aboard ships to toss them off in Greenland—they’d stolen their tongue too. I thought I could hear a touch of French to their accent now.

    The dock-boy grabbed a hold of Corinne’s doudou, and she relented with a whimper.

    “Take care of my doudou,” said Corinne. It was a demand, not a request.

    “I will.” The boy patted my daughter on the head. “And when you return, I’ll give it back.” He looked up at me. “What’s your name?”

    “Chef de Bataillon Armel Lebrun. My daughter is Corinne.”

    The boy’s eyes dropped. “The military has failed then?”

    I gave the boy a faint smile and mussed up his hair. As the male on deck began shouting at us anew, I picked up Corinne and trudged up the gangplank. Halfway to the top, I turned, patted a hidden object at my thigh, and put a finger to the side of my nose.

    It was not a time for softness indeed.

    1. Just for the sake of clarity, there should’ve been a “be” in “As long as you have your doudou, you’ll never __ as scared of them as they’d like you to be.” That would’ve been word #300.

  6. "The Black Dog" by Irene Halpin Long
    282 words

    "You can't bring that on board"

    These were her mother's words. Caged in Laura's mind. Squeezing anxiety through her veins.

    Laura sat up in bed. Her toes circled between the duvet and the mattress, as if they were searching for a solution too.

    How would she hide it? Why couldn't she tell Declan? He's find out anyway if he ever saw her take her medication. She recalled the conversation she had that morning in her parent's kitchen.

    "Mother, you're over-reacting. Times are changing", Laura said.

    Same responses.

    "Get on with it".
    "Get fixed".
    "Live normally like everyone else and for God's sake, do it before you marry Declan so he never finds out".

    Her mother. The eternal talker. All sound muted as Laura stared at her mother's ever moving lips. For the first time, she noticed how tiny her mother's ears were.

    "Laura, are you listening? Laura!"

    "Yes, Mother, of course! Of course I'm listening. You're right. Absolutely. I mustn't tell him I'm depressed".

    Wait for it. Relieved smile. Apron adjustment. Obligatory invite to supper tonight followed by apologetic refusal.

    It was when she returned home, she got straight into bed. Her sanctuary. Her toes had now stopped circling. She reached into her bedside locker and pulled out a pen and some paper.

    "Dear Declan,

    I love you.

    I'm depressed. But I'm still me. I'm still here, somewhere. I know you well enough to know that this won't change anything.

    I need to say something that you might not fully understand. Please don't think less of me. It's about my mother. We should move abroad. Move away. When it comes to our future happiness, we just can't bring her on board..."

    1. Hi there,
      I used to use the name "Loren Cadhla Long" as a pen name a long time ago but now I use my real name - Irene Halpin Long. I forgot to change it before I started typing my story so when I published on your blog, the old name came up.

    2. Ok... thanks for letting me know. :)

  7. @firdausp
    (258 words)

    Raising Hope

    "You can't bring that on board." I muttered, a little annoyed.

    "I can't leave him behind," the dirty old man mumbled snuggling the little puppy closer to his chest, "I'm all he's got."

    His voice had taken a pleading tone.

    "There isn't enough space already," I began trying my best to remain unaffected by the sad puppy eyes.

    He looked at the overloaded boat and sighed.

    "Look, I don't have any luggage like the others. This is all I'm carrying. I can pay a little more if you want," he tried to bargain.

    "It's dangerous out there, no guarantee that we'll reach shore. Why put the little one at risk?"

    As if on cue, there was a loud explosion in the distance. Black smoke mushroomed over the distant trees.

    The man and the puppy looked at me. I had nothing more to say.

    "Okay, but he's your responsibility." I raised my hands, palms facing him.

    The man nodded, his beard wobbled as he muttered his thanks and climbed aboard.

    There were disgruntled snorts from some on board and a few delighted squeals from the children. I heard a little boy ask the puppy's name.

    "Hope," smiled the old man.

    It was going to be a rough ride across an angry sea, but we had Hope on board.

    Several days later, while delivering another load of refugees to the camp, I saw the man, huddled under a tree, feeding the puppy from his meagre ration. He saw me and waved.

    I waved back, somehow feeling good about the world.

    1. Shucks I'm late. My internet was acting up. Will the kind judge let me sneak in please. 😊

    2. Hi Firdaus, Thanks for entering, but as I'm new I feel more compelled than ever to be a rule-follower. I hope you'll enter again!

    3. This is really good! I only just happened to see the prompt and had something similar on my mind when I read yours! :) (Obviously am not entering this one as I've seen it way past the deadline). Good job on this!

  8. The grey mist

    294 words

    " You can't bring that on board" he bellowed. The line snaked behind me, all waiting to board the ship, a ticket to a holiday or new life. I looked at him, eyes widened with what I hoped was a doe eyed appearance, " But sir it has to come with me". He looked at me, with a mixture of disdain and resignation that made the lines in the corner of his eyes crinkle further " there's no way you can bring that with you, either you get rid of it or you walk off".

    I could hear the groans from behind me. The weather had turned from a grey sky to a mist of rain that drenched you to your core. The woman behind me audibly moaned as her child began to wiggle and wrench from her arms. " Is there nothing we can do, can I not just put it my bag and pretend you haven't seen it?" I said with my most persuasive tone. He looked at me witheringly, this wasn't the first time such a package had tried to come on board. It was at this point the child behind me let out a screeching wail, clearly the rain and waiting had finally pushed them to their tipping point. The woman, obviously the mother, struggling to restrain the wet and frustrated child muttered " for Christ's sake just let her on, it's not like you need to charge for an extra person" as she yanked the child closer to her chest.

    He tried to stand firm as the drizzle turned to sheets of rain that flowed from his eyelashes down his cheeks. Finally, relenting he said "just get on board, but make sure you don't throw those ashes overboard, its illegal and a dust hazard".