Friday, April 21, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 36

Judge: 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 (4/22)!

Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon. (Mars will try and have it up by Wednesday in the hopes that it will be ready on Thursday)

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).)


He leaned against the tree with a sigh.


  1. 300 golden apple moments

    A Moment in the Orchard

    “He leaned against the tree with a sigh. I had to look away from him, Clarence. It was so sad.”

    As Maisie described Morris, her shoulders drooping, the flat listless tone, her thin arms hanging by her side, it lent an air of repressive sorrow.

    Still, she was increasingly using wrong words to describe things. I didn’t want to challenge her but I did feel the urge to test her understanding.

    “I saw him too, Maise. You meant he was leaning against the tree with a scythe, right?”

    She looked up slowly, reaching with her eyes for clarity within.

    “I know he had a scythe, darling. He was clearing a bit of grass. That was what Georgie would do this time every year. If she were still here. Maybe he sensed that she was still…here. That memory could have caught him unawares. So, he was sighing…”

    And I smiled, of course. Maisie was absolutely right. It had been a year to the day that Georgie had died in that spot, that overgrown orchard that she had cared for, so early that day when I had stumbled across her, stumbled or planned, and I had been engulfed by something that was always there. Some longing for her.

    Georgina and Morris Lang had bought the old Farley place five years earlier. Immediately their energy, and especially Georgie’s effervescence, won us over. But slowly, over time, unfamiliar thoughts crept into my mind. Their relative youth, my increasing age, the slow loss of Maisie’s capacity, all of it took me into a dark world.

    That morning, a year ago, I acted.

    With ugly haste.

    With toxic results.

    “Clarence,” Maisie interjected, “you were with her that morning…right?”

    “No,” I refuted, “No! That was a different morning. Remember?”

    For both our sakes, I prayed she would.

  2. Summoned!
    Marj Crockett
    297 words

    He leaned against the tree with a sigh, his offer of help rejected.

    Across the clearing, the apprentice mumbled as she marked a circle on the ground.

    "Bone meal should do. It's quite stable." she muttered.

    "Do you...?"

    "No, I can manage."

    "I want to help."

    "NO! I said I can manage!"

    He sighed again. This was not going well.

    She started pacing again, criss-crossing the circle, and forming lines until the pentagram was complete.

    Wiping her hands, she picked up her bag of magical artefacts. After rooting inside, she pulled out a stick with feathers on. Next came the wax figure that would be what she was going to summon.

    From where he was standing, the model didn't look all that inspiring, but he knew not to interfere now. She would have to work it through to the end. Oh well, we'll see what she gets he thought, another sigh escaping. His reward for this was a glare from the girl.

    She chanted the summoning spell. She danced complicated steps, twisting and turning, moving round the pentagram. No real words reached his ears, only a string of sound that sawed into his brain. An awkward sound: something wasn't quite right.

    "Shula..." he said. But it was too late.

    Smoke filled circle, followed by popping and hissing. Which god she had summoned would not be clear for a moment or two. A breeze sprung up from nowhere, the smoke disappeared.

    He heard a bark. A bark?

    "Shula... which god have you summoned?" he asked.

    "I don't know," Shula replied, "I thought I said the words right, but something... happened."

    "Which god?"

    "God? You wanted me to summon a god?" Shula gulped, "I thought you said dog!"

    The creature on the ground wagged its tail and barked again.

  3. Beware A Travelling Salesman's In Expensive Clothes
    by Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)
    299 words

    I leaned against the tree with a sigh. Well it wasn’t much of a tree anymore, more a charred lump, like everything else around me. The reasons smoked gently in front of me.
    I'd purchased the three eggs off a rather over the top gentlemen a couple of nights ago at the weekly market. His stall was new. They stand out more and this one certainly did. The gold and purple silks flowed over polished tent poles covered in delicately cravings of Eastern dragons fighting Samurai with drawn katana. His main ware was supposed dragon eggs, cheap as well. Symbols, the language of the Eastern dragons the salesman claimed in a tone , as if everyone knees there were thousands of known dragon languages around the world. This ludicrous fact mixed with robes too expensive and clean for a travelling salesmen, said this man was clearly a charlatan. However his eggs were pretty and there was a space above my hearth needing filled.
    On the morning of their forth day in my home, I found them split in two. I rang the servant bell hard demanding to know which one had carried out such a foul act. None of them opened up and I sent them away to think up a suitable punishment. Fortunately for both my staff and I – a gentleman of my standing does not punish his servants for innocent deeds – I saw the fire embers swim. Through the ash, three small lizard heads appeared from the white-silver flakes. A match head of flame rolled out of the largest one’s mouth alighting last night's fire. I've never heard a lizard giggle. Each note of merriment resulted in more fire and before too long i found myself in my present situation sighing against a charred lump of tree.

  4. AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe
    297 words


    He leaned against the tree with a sigh of despair, or perhaps resignation, but not sadness. A hint of sadness perhaps, understandably, because he hadn’t found his one main reason for living. He didn’t even know what he truly wanted in life. But, he loved riding. His horse was his friend and the giant tree by the river in the forest his bliss.

    He enjoyed the outdoors. In his presence, nature came alive and he became not only a willing witness but a happy participant. He was happier when the fairies came out to play.

    “Fairies? What fairies?” he asked aloud. “Fairies don’t exist. I’m hallucinating.”

    “Those fairies on the riverbank,” a voice replied. He turned, stunned. She continued, “You see them. They must be real.” Her eyes twinkled.

    “Um, ah, I’m,” he stammered. “I’m dreaming. I’m sure.”

    She touched his arm. “These?” she gestured all around. “All real.” She smiled. “I’m Mary.”

    He gawked at her, looked around, nodded at the fairies, and shook his head. “I’m sorry,” he said finally. “I’m Alejandro.”

    Hours passed. They chatted like they’ve known each other for years.

    Some fairies brought flowers. Alejandro picked one and gave to Mary. He suddenly felt alive.

    “I like you.” Mary stroked his cheek.

    He was smiling lovingly. “I do—” Alejandro was cut short abruptly.

    There stood an extra-ordinarily tall man with leaf-shaped ears, crystal blue eyes and golden hair. He sparkled as the sun shone on him directly. “Mary is mine,” he declared.

    “No, Marcos!” Mary glared at him. “I’m not yours.” She raised her hands, pointed at Marcos, above her head. He stood transfixed.

    Mary urged Alejandro to leave. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she whispered.

    Riding away, Alejandro looked back to see Mary release blinding lights. Marcos vanished. Into the limbo.