Friday, March 24, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 32!

Judge: Kelly

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! (3/25 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).)


"There it was again: another letter."


  1. Angelique Pacheco

    Word Count: 299

    Mary quite contrary

    "There it was again: another letter." She sighed as she deposited the letter in the bowl by the door. She made herself some tea and sat down in her favorite room. The rich yellow hues of the polished wood shone brightly in contrast to the dark grey clouds that were threatening to storm at any moment.

    Eight months ago, Kelly had moved in to care for her grandmother who was ailing. After a brief spell her grandmother had gone on to her eternal rest. The house had been willed to her and she stayed on. Letters started arriving, addressed to a Mary Broad. Kelly had never heard that name before but coincidentally, her middle name was Mary.

    The storm knocked out the power. Kelly sat in darkness, her heart thumping in her chest. She was afraid of the dark. She lit a candle and made her way to the basement to find the antiquated fuse box. Shadows jumped and danced in unison, growing shy as the light gained strength. She replaced the fuse. Her hand brushed something that was stuffed into the side of the box. She yanked a few times and pulled it out. It was a scrapbook of sorts, old and dusty. She took it upstairs. She read all night, incredulity growing with every page she turned. Her grandmother was Mary Broad.

    Mary Broad was a young girl who was caught stealing a hat and was sent to Botany Bay as a prisoner. She survived horrific conditions on the ship and feared the new, unknown country. She plotted and executed an escape by boat with her two children and some friends. Kelly grabbed the letters in the bowl and read them. They were from Captain Watkin Tench, the man my grandmother loved but had to leave behind.

  2. 300 bits of mail
    Bill Engleson

    Travelling Through Time

    There it was again: another letter. The handwriting was the same as the others. There was little doubt. The signs were there. His name. His address. His postal code.

    It was his letter.

    As with all the others, more than two dozen in three years, the return address was a different, distant city. He had never travelled much. Was that the point of the sender? To toxify his indolence, his lack of curiosity.

    He came by it honestly. “Stay close to home, Hiram,” his mother had regularly admonished. “You know where you are here. Who to trust. You know your place.”

    His father had been a traveller. Farm implements. He had been constantly on the road.

    One day, near Hiram’s tenth birthday, whilst playing on the old swing that his father had built a few years earlier, a glorious swing hanging from a sturdy oak tree, a letter had arrived.

    His mother had opened it, read the few brief lines, crushed down on a chair at the kitchen table and buried her sobbing head in her arms.

    That evening, she gathered Hiram and his older sister, Ina, around her in the parlour and shared the news. Their father would be travelling forever. He sent his love but he did not intend to return.

    A shroud of loss descended on his family. Perhaps it was always there. Perhaps they had always been smothered by its weight.

    A year and some small fraction of time later, Ina left home. She kept in touch for a while but eventually disintegrated from his world.

    He stayed, company for his mother, caring for her as she withered in an accelerated middle age until she was as brittle as old newsprint.

    Afterwards, he just waited for time to run out.

    And for the next, meaningless letter.

    1. Great story, Bill. (If he had been waiting for 'the next meaningless tweet', I think we could have guessed the source...)

  3. @GeoffHolme
    300 words

    Don’t Try This At Home, Kids!

    There it was again! Another letter… ‘O’ this time.


    “Oh, puh-lease!” I’d moaned. “Do we have to?”

    “Come on, love,” Annie, my wife, had cajoled. “We always have a séance when we meet up with Barry and Cynthia.”

    “Just a bit of fun, mate,” Barry had said.

    “Don't be a spoilsport, Del,” Cynthia had added.

    Three to one. If I’d dug my heels in, I’d have looked a complete curmudgeon. I’d sighed and prayed they got bored more quickly this year.

    Annie found the Ouija board, Cynthia took a tumbler from the shelf.

    We’d all squeezed around the table in the caravan, Annie and myself on one side, opposite Cynthia and Barry. Each of us had placed a forefinger on the upturned glass.

    “Is there anyone there?” Annie had asked in an eery voice, to get us in the mood.


    Then, slowly, the glass had begun to move towards the YES box.

    “That was you, Barry!” I’d said.

    “No it wasn't. I'd have had to pull the glass; much easier to push it! Annie?”

    “Let's just go with it,” said Cynthia. “Who’s there?”

    The glass had glided across the board again… to the letter ‘D’…


    After ‘O’ came ‘R', ‘I’… then the glass stopped at ‘S’.

    “'Doris',” said Annie. “Anyone know a Doris?”

    The others each shook their head. I swallowed hard, then snatched my finger from the tumbler.

    “This is stupid!” I barked. “Let’s play cards instead.”

    They were so stunned by my violent outburst that they agreed.

    After we’d played a few hands of rummy, and drained the last of the gin, everyone was more relaxed. Barry found his digital camera to record the evening.

    But after he took a shot of me, he glanced at the screen… then slowly passed the camera to the others, grim-faced.

  4. "You've got mail"
    Marj Crockett
    292 words

    "There it was again: another letter." Sean sighed, "This is getting beyond a joke."

    Alice looked at him and asked "From the same place?"

    Since they'd moved into the apartment, each week they got mail, old fashioned mail, in the lobby post box. High quality paper envelopes, written in ink. Yet each time they opened the envelope, there was nothing there. Sean grimaced and nodded, always a sign he was thinking.

    "What do we do, Sean?" Alice asked. "It's only an envelope."

    "That's not the point and you know it. We only came here because it's remote." Sean replied, "Nobody should know we are here."

    At first the envelope was only addressed to him. After the fourth week, her name appeared as well. It was getting creepy. Alice shivered.

    "Come here, Al. I know you're scared, but we'll be all right. I'll make sure of that." Sean hugged her, trying to push away his fears as well as hers. He didn't succeed.

    The Feds had come too close to catching them after the last robbery. They'd left too many bodies behind: killing the kids had been a mistake. Too many headlines and photographs splashed all over front pages. The offer of the apartment had come at the right time. Time to hide.

    "I'll go make dinner." Alice said, walking towards the kitchen.

    Sean felt the slip of paper in his pocket again. He went to the bathroom, took it out to read. His hands started shaking.

    Elegant handwriting in blood red ink:

    "I know where you are. I am coming for you. The world isn't big enough for you to hide in. You killed my children. Big mistake."

    At the bottom was a one word signature: Lucifer.

    The name of their landlord.

  5. Letters

    There it was again: another letter, sitting pale and innocuous in her mail box. Marie doesn't open this one. They've all been the same, full of flattery and obsession. She starts to tear it to pieces over the trashcan some fastidious neighbor has placed near the mailbox enclave but pauses just as the envelope gives, slips it into her purse instead.

    She'll try the police again tomorrow. They kept the last three letters. Somewhere, in a file with her restraining order, she thinks, tucked away on a dark dusty shelf for all the good it's done her. But, surely, letters four through six will mean they can do something else, something more.

    Plan in mind, she straightens her spine, retrieves the rest of her mail and takes the three flights of stairs to her apartment. She locks the deadbolt and chain behind her, lays her forehead against the door and breathes in the cool scent of home, the sweet warmth of vanilla candles—did she leave one burning?— the sharp tang of meat searing—

    She jerks upright, fights the sudden animal-reflex to freeze, and turns just as a figure steps into her kitchen doorway. Tall and broad and seeming to block all the afternoon sunlight, he leans against the frame, one of her wine glasses dangling from his fingers, and says, "Good evening, Marie. Did you get my letters?"

  6. @firdausp
    (300 words)

    The letter

    There it was again: another letter.

    It sat like a sore thumb beside the bowl of fruits on the dining table.

    A familiar white envelope with my father's company logo in gold. My name and address was neatly hand printed on it. I was surprised it wasn't typed this time. I recognised his writing immediately.

    Another cheque, I assumed. I had torn the previous ones. Wasn't he getting the message, when I didn't withdraw the money, that I didn't want him and his money in my life.

    Amina was busy in the kitchen I could tell from the pungent smell of garlic and oil filling the room. She must have garnished the daal, and forgot to switch on the exhaust fan as usual.

    I walked into the kitchen and saw my pretty, pregnant wife in her pyjamas and my oversized tee shirt. Her fingers buried deep in the dough she was kneading.

    How could anyone be mean to such a kind soul. My father had called her a money digger to her face. I would never forgive him.

    Amina glanced up at me cautiously as I approached.

    "Another letter..." she sighed.

    "Yes I saw."

    "He's trying to reach out, you know."

    I remained silent.

    "It's been two years, at least give him a call."

    "No!" I almost yelled and she visibly flinched.

    "I'm sorry" I mumbled.

    She just sighed.

    Dinner was quiet. The envelope still lay in the exact spot. Amina kept glancing up at me.

    Suddenly she got up, picked up the envelope, tore it open and pulled out a single sheet of paper. I watched how her eyes shone with tears as she read.

    "Now what has he done—" I sprang to my feet snatching it from her.

    It read:

    Dear Amina,
    I am so sorry.