[Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest


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Post May 18, 2014, 11:10:27 PM

[Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

To vote, rank these stories by following the instructions in the post following this one and send it to me via PM:


The challenge was to write a superhero fiction flash story about a character who is invincible.


The following entries were received:



Killshot and the Russian

The bartender watched the brunette, the last patron propping up his bar, as she tipped her shot glass to her lips. With exaggerated care, she put the empty with others lined up in front of her.

"Get me a Glenmorangie with ice," she said without looking up.

"Lady, I think you've had enough."

"It's not for me," she said and flipped a bill onto the bar.

The bartender was reaching for the twenty when the door opened. The guy that came in clearly wasn't looking for a drink. "Emily Sutler?" He said as he reached into his pocket and flipped out his badge.

"Sit down, Tom," she said without looking around. "I already ordered your drink." The cop wavered, his badge still held out in front of him like a talisman. The bartender put a tumbler on the bar and scooped ice.

"Glenmorangie, right, on the rocks?"

"Emily Sutler?" the cop repeated, uncertain now. "Otherwise known as--"

"Killshot? Yeah, you got me. You always find me, Tom. Always."

"We've never met," said Tom putting his ID away, "You're under arrest for--"

She turned her head and fixed him with eyes like blue chips of ice, full of pain and sorrow. "Sit down, Tom," she repeated.

Not sure why, he sat next to her and watched as the bartender poured his drink. He picked it and took a sip, "How'd you know?"

"I'll tell you, if you tell me how you found me this time."

Tom shrugged, "I don't know what you mean by 'this time,' but it's obvious that the vigilante known as Killshot had to be linked to the Russian."

"Some people call me a hero, not a vigilante. So, I guess you know all about the Russian then."

"Boris Strugatsky, started off as a hustler in Vegas, before he got a taste for murder. Current body count, eight. A real extrovert for a serial, all his kills take place in public places and he's never been caught despite numerous encounters with Killshot or legitimate law enforcement."

"Funny how bullets never hit him, that he always gets away," said Emily

"That's because he has a partner, someone on the inside. He has you."

She laughed. It was the saddest sound he'd ever heard.

"You want to run that one by me, Tom."

"Killshot is nearly always there, usually in the nick of time. You've saved more than he's killed. And you too, always get away. You get off on being the hero, you two have some sick kind of deal."

"Thirty-two, Tom. I've saved thirty-two lives. What the hell makes you think I'm working with him?"

"You want to know how I found you? I traced his history all the way back to when he was a PhD student studying quantum physics at MIT and the accident in the High Energy Physics Department that injured Strugatsky and one other PhD student. You were that other student."

"And the rest, as they say, is history," she sighed. "So much history."

"You joined the FBI, highest marksmanship scores in the bureau's history, that was another clue. You started off in Major Crimes but switched to the Behavioural Analysis Unit about the same time that Strugatsky switched from hustling roulette to what he calls his public performance pieces."

"You got it all worked out, huh?"

"Maybe but I don't know what your secret is. The two of you are invincible, indestructible. Like you said, bullets always miss, you always get away."

"Want to know our secret? I'll show you. Got a coin?"

Tom pulled a nickel from his pocket and showed it to her.

"You flip it, and I'll call it."

Tom flipped the coin high up in the air.

"Heads," she said before he caught it and covered it with his palm. Tom lifted his hand, Jefferson's profile glinted in the light.

"Do it again," she said. Tom flipped it, Emily called it, over and over again, and every time she was right.

"How?" Tom asked as he examined the coin suspiciously.

"Time," she said, "We can rewind time. How many times did you flip that coin before you were convinced?"

Tom shrugged, "Ten times, at least."

"Wrong. You flipped it more than twenty. Every time I call it wrong, I rewind and try again. You don't remember the times I got it wrong, only I do. I remember everything before the rewind, everything that happened and then got undone."

"That's some super power," Tom said.

"It's a curse," Emily growled. "Strugatsky is an animal, he doesn't kill his victims once, he goes back and kills them over and over. I can only intervene in the ones he does publicly, the ones we know about. Who knows how many he's really killed. It's just a sick competition to him, a way to keep score."

"So the eight you didn't save, how come you don't fix that?"

"He found my Kryptonite, Tom. If I change too much, worse things happen."

"Like what?"

Tears welled up in Emily's lashes. "In another thread of time, you and I met over eight years ago. We fell in love, we got married."

"The hell..."

"Boris found out. I went back so many times but no matter what I changed or what I did, he kills you. The only way I can save you is never to have met you."

"Yeah, what about this time?"

"It's just, I miss you so much," she said as the tears ran down her cheeks. She leaned in close, her lips brushing his. "I'm sorry."

The bartender watched the brunette, the last patron propping up his bar, as she tipped her shot glass to her lips. With exaggerated care, she put the empty with others lined up in front of her.

She turned her head and watched the door for a moment as if expecting someone to come in and then, without a word, she flipped a bill onto the bar and left.

THE END



Still Regretful After All That Time...

At the point where a distinctively curved tree stood along the grueling path in the woods--its peculiar trunk more similar to worn bark than a typical local Piptadinia Africanum--the young hooded man named Kewullay smiled. He was a journalist and had been walking for days across that forested area in the Gola Rainforest National Park. A huge variety of plants, trees and wild animals lived there among those hills and valleys of Sierra Leone.

But finally what he had been searching for so long for was in sight. In front of him stood a meager building that was made up of one or maybe two rooms. Within that poor small house the man he wanted to find lived, according to all the research he had done during the past two years.

His heavy, filthy boots trudged up to the top of the mountain where the lonely building was built. The front door was open so he had no problem entering. As he went in, his chestnut eyes looked around and he immediately noticed the figure of a slender colored middle-aged man sitting at a table. His hair was graying and he seemed to be involved in deep thought as he stayed cross-legged on a very old chair, or maybe he was simply sleeping... As Kewullay made a gesture and introduced himself, the owner's dark pupils immediately came back to life and turned to the newcomer.

"You are Umaru Musu, aren't you: the Hero of Old Koinadugu? Let me introduce myself: I'm Kewullay Pujun, a journalist of the renowned African Weekly Magazine, maybe you've already heard of me..."

The other stared at him for a moment before stating, "You shouldn't be here; I want to be alone..."

"But you are an acclaimed war hero, and you acted very bravely in the past! You killed a lot of our country's war-time enemies, even against superior forces. Many said that you defeated a lot of soldiers by using your superpower!"

"You don't know anything, stranger."

But the journalist kept speaking. "You could have been a real hero during the following two bloody military coups, but you simply disappeared. Think about it: you are capable of completely wiping out all the delinquents that fill our city streets nowadays. Even though I don't fully understand your superpower, it could still be of help to the citizens, don't you think?"

The other simply remained in silence, a very sad expression on his bearded face.

"Alright, I see you don't want to cooperate. Well I must inform you that I am a well-known journalist and you are one of the most famous people who ever lived. So I'm going to tell everyone that I found your hide-out and soon people from all over the nation will come here in search of you, asking you to help them. So, you won't be able to stay in these woods anymore. You'll have to come out and do your duty; you'll have no choice!"

The man raised his eyes, which appeared to be filled with sorrow. "Please, don't do that," he said. "You don't understand!"

"Why should I allow you to remain here, far from the real world, when you could be a very useful part of our civilization? Don't you see?"

"It's you who doesn't understand," the other replied, his eyes becoming even sadder than before.

"Don't even try to stop me! I've made up my mind; you won't have any other choice but to help us..."

"Please, tone it down, young man. You seem to be threatening me, and that is very bad. You can't imagine how dangerous this discussion is."

"Why? You can try and stop me but there is no way you can make me forget about where you are. I'm not afraid of you. You're not a delinquent and you don't kill innocent people."

"You are a fool!" the hero cried out. "It's not me; I never wanted to kill anyone." And that being said, Umaru's body began to shake uncontrollably for a very brief time. Then suddenly a dark presence came out of the chest of the man and started moving towards the guest, soon reaching him and causing a very strange effect.

As his elongated, obscure extremities touched Kewullay, his heart was immediately affected and he started suffering because his heartbeat was so fast. It didn't take long before the journalist became red-faced, falling to the floor, having difficulty breathing. Only a minute went by before he finally lay on the ground, speechless and lifeless.

Things had gone badly once again. Things always went this way.

That stupid individual couldn't have known, but Umaru was well aware of the secret. It had never been him, but rather a strange presence residing in his chest since he reached adulthood that killed people. Because of some unknown reason that thing had always risen to protect him and to kill anyone who threatened him. The man had made a great use of it when he had fought against his country's endless wartime enemies, but he had never been able to get rid of the dark presence once the battles were finally over. And that unwanted power had become a real problem, as it had harmed innocent people, anyone that the presence thought might be a danger to him--whether it was the taxman or the neighbor that didn't let him sleep at night because of the music coming from his building nearby. Such a curse didn't distinguish between good and evil, it never did actually... That was why Umaru had finally quit civilization and had moved away, as he was unable to control such superpower. Being in a secluded place where he could live alone--far from any other living being--was the safest course of all!

In a way he was invincible, he had always been so. This didn't make him feel less regretful about all that however; nor could he do anything to stop it, unfortunately...

THE END



You Are Who You Eat

As he stirred the sauce, the sweat dripped off the top of his bandana and down to his chin. It was summer. The A/C compressor was compressing as hard as possible but the kitchen was still hot. It bothered him not. He was doing what he loved, cooking. He just sweat a lot.

"Frankie," Lord Francesco, Chef of the Gods, now a semi-retired immortal, was on sabbatical from The Heavens. He opened a small eatery on his favorite planet with its truly insane people. The eatery was a ten seat operation located on a side street just behind a strip mall, with parking for ten vehicles. He served weekday lunch only and served until the prepared meals were depleted. When he was out, he was out. On weekends he cooked for a food kitchen pro re nata. He had one assistant and his name plate read Number Two.

"If the Health Department ever saw you, they'd shut us down," yelled Number Two pointing to the sweat falling into the rich sweet tasting red sauces.

Frankie looked up from the pot of quick sauce he was stirring and said, "They will never see it. I will make sure of it; trust me. Now, go set the tables and tape today's offering in the window."

Number Two looked at the offering:
FRIDAY OFFERING:
Rigatoni pasta, w/sliced grilled salmon, in a sweet red sauce, w/ olives, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and artichokes, a small salad and a glass of Chianti, $15.00.

The perfume of the sauce was heavenly. Number Two knew the basic recipe by heart. It was just the little things that he was missing.

QUICK SAUCE

2 large 28 oz. cans imported Roma Tomatoes
(or equivalent fresh local organic)
1 small can paste
1 medium onion chopped
1 small shallot diced
4 to 6 cloves of Garlic crushed or diced
1 medium carrot diced
Various Italian spices, fresh only
Salt and pepper
Either 2 cups Marsala wine for sweet or Chianti for stronger fuller sauce
Olive oil and butter.

The tomatoes, paste and wine would be blended and placed in the "frig" for a day to ferment. The next day the other ingredients would be sautéed in the olive oil and butter. Then the tomato mixture, at room temperature, would be added and cooked uncovered at a medium low heat for about an hour. The whole mixture would be blended again and cooked for about another hour.

Number Two inhaled deeply. The dining room and kitchen smelled heavenly. Only one thing bothered Number Two. It was those spices that he was never sure about. Just how much and just where did Frankie get them. What was the secret? He knew he had a few more millennia of apprenticeship to undertake before all would be revealed and he would be allowed on his own. He'd just have to wait. And time? Time really meant nothing to him.

Frankie looked up at Number Two, wiped his brow and asked, "Gavone, what-are-you looking at? NOW Go set the tables, tape the offering on the window and get the fish ready."

"Yes, boss."

++++

The customers were queued up before 'Frankies' opened. On the door, in red letters, was nailed the notice:
First come, first served, no reservations.

As they entered and while being seated by Number Two one patron was heard to say, "You know, I feel better for days after I eat here."

His buddy replied, "Me too. We're lucky to even get a seat. It's Friday. I had to call in and say I had an AM business meeting so I could get here on time."

Another patron said, "Frankie cooks better than my wife and she'd kill me if she ever heard me say that."

"I don't know what it is, but this food is heavenly," added even another patron at another table.

The whole crowd gave a hearty laugh. The atmosphere was very warm and informal. The assembled patrons raised their glasses and in unison said "Salute" as they looked toward the kitchen.

Frankie came out, bowed, wiped his head, smiled and ducked back into the kitchen. He was preparing the Saturday meals for the food kitchens. You see, as only Frankie knew, the sweat from his brow dropped into the sauce. And a little bit of this god's DNA was absorbed by anyone who ate his food. It cured any disease. No one ever knew it, not even Number Two, yet. But everybody who ate it left of sounder mind and body than when they had entered.

As Frankie backed into the kitchen he heard someone state, "The food is a bit saltier today. It's still great. I wonder if he let his Number Two cook?" This was followed by laughter all around.

Number Two just shrugged. Frankie smiled and knew. He gave an extra dose for a few of them. In a sense he was an unknown secret superhero and that's how he wanted it for now.

THE END



And Loving It!

The Channel 12 Newsman stood in front of a county fair scene, interviewing a man and his wife. The small man in a white shirt with a navy-blue tie thrust a microphone in front of the middle-aged couple.

"So, Mr. & Mrs. Weise, did you actually see the bi-plane going down?"

"We were at the picnic table over there," the wife began, "watching the bi-plane doing loops in the sky, when suddenly it hit some kind of bird and it began to roll in the air wildly before bursting into flames and flying over the hill there!" The woman pointed in an easterly direction, not more than 100 feet from where the three of them stood.

"So you never actually saw it crash?"

"No," the husband burst in. "But we heard the crash--and there's no way anyone could have survived that. I know crews are looking for the wreckage, but there's no hope for the pilot, really!"

"So there you have it, dear viewers. Death at the Casey County Fair. This is Max True, signing…"

But before the newsperson could finish his sentence the camera panned to his left and zoomed onto a small smoky figure quickly walking over the hill. The photo-bomber was a man in his late 30s, not terribly tall but not short either. Long story short his looks were average except for the parts of his clothing that were still burning in small patches.

"Sir, sir," called out the reporter, bringing the smoky man the microphone. "Were you somehow involved in the crash?"

"Well, yes," answered the normal man, using his baseball cap to beat out the tiny flames still on his tee-shirt and blue jeans.

"Did you see the pilot, Mister... Mister..."

"My name is Sam Hill and of course I saw the pilot. I am the freaking pilot you idiot."

Mr. Weise rushed over to the smoky man. "But that's impossible! We saw your bi-plane burst into a ball of fire! No one could have survived that--let alone walk away from it!"

At this point, Sam Hill appeared to hear the sound of approaching sirens. "I hate to crash and run, but it's a mess back there, so see ya!" And with that, he waved to the camera and sprinted away from the cameraman.

For almost three seconds the newsman stood with a shocked expression so pure that it would go viral within 36 hours, each viewer wondering who in the sam-hill Sam Hill was.

At the same time that the Smoky Pilot (as he came to be known worldwide) was running for the hills in Casey County, two men at a local pub were less impressed with the goings on. "I can't believe that nut is still alive," said the tall, sturdy man, dressed in your standard super-hero spandex and cape.

"You're just angry because Susie Street liked him better than you," said the sidekick.

"Yes, Wally, she ran away with him, in spite of the fact that me, Trox the Triumphant, makes terrorists tremble at the sound of my tremendous name!" The superguy puffed up proudly, flexing his mighty muscles while turning on the barstool a bit so the other half-dozen customers in the bar could adore him. Wally the sidekick downed another slug of his beer, obviously unimpressed. "It was Sam's big hands--if you know what I mean," Trox said quietly, smirking at his friend.

"I never know what you mean," Wally the sidekick said bluntly.

2 weeks later:

The female interviewer sat across from the average looking man. "Let's start at the beginning then. When were you born?"

"1886--April 25th 1886."

"You must mean 1986."

"Nope, April 25th 1886, just like everyone else."

"Everyone else?"

"Yep, all the invincible superguys and supergals were born on April 25th 1886, don't ask me why--I don't know. You've seen the movies, you've read the comics--the writers didn't have to make up the stories, because all that stuff really happened. We're all invincible."

"Prove it to me," said the woman, crossing her arms.

"I'll do more than that," said Sam. "I'll show you that I'm invincible." At this point the man walked over to the far wall and pulled a rope. A 10 by 10 foot chunk of marble fell on him, completely pounding him into the floor. Ten seconds went past before the marble cube was pushed over, and out crawled the average looking guy, who took his seat by the reporter.

"Do you always have that block of stone ready?"

"It impresses the ladies, but I don't need to tell you that!" The man smiled, the woman smirked. "Really, that block is my limit. The other guys keep pushing the envelope, but not me. They all think: if I can jump 50 feet, why not to the moon, why not into space? Not me, I stay right here with my feet on the ground. I'm not tempting fate--I'll leave that for those other invincible dudes: Trox the Triumphant; Gus the Glorious; Drew the Dominator. I'm known as Mediocre Man for a reason."

"But then what do you do?--if you don't want to help save the world?"

A wide smile flashed across Sam's average face. "In one word: The Ladies. While all those other superguys are busy saving the planet from evil, I'm right here ready to show their ladies a good time. I tell them, ‘Drop that Hero, Get a Zero.'"

"Say what?"

"I know how to treat a woman; I give them all of my time. I'm never too busy doing the right thing to not do a lady right. I might be Mediocre in most things, but when it comes to good lovin'--I'm one super man. My motto is: Mediocre and lovin' it."

The reporter turned off her recorder and bolted for the door. "Mediocre and loving it, yeah, I got it. Thanks for your time."

"No, pretty lady, thank you for yours."

THE END



The Template

Please be advised: Class 5 threat in downtown. Subject identified: Kodiak. Alpha Prime and Dynamite Girl have been neutralized. The Shield has used Plan Omega and has failed; she is no longer viable. Please prepare for the deployment of The Template.

It was Agent Tucker's first day assigned to the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs. He was replacing a retiring agent whose assignment seemed to be some sort of babysitting project. He was reporting to the Senior Agent in Charge of the section, who also seemed to be the only other agent in the section. He reached the door to the office just as the loud speaker declared the alert about a Class 5 threat. He was just reaching for the doorknob when the door burst open. A human avalanche came through in a black suit. He was almost knocked down. The blur spoke to him.

"You must be Tucker. I'm Finch. Let's go; time is a factor. The Template isn't good with waiting and he is being loaded now."

"Huh?"

"Follow me!"

The young agent followed. "Did that announcement say Class 5? There's no such thing! Alpha Prime is a Class 4 Archangel and Dynamite Girl is a Class 4 Blaster; they don't get neutralized. One more thing, what is Plan Omega?"

"Keep up! Kodiak is the only Class 5 to ever appear. He is stronger and more damage resistant than anyone. He beat Alpha senseless and shrugged off Dynamite's full blasts. He then threw her into the suburbs. She might live. The Shield covered Kodiak in her strongest field while we exploded a tactical nuke inside with him. The strain put her into a coma. Kodiak was unharmed except for the loss of all of his body hair. Now he is angry and looks like a nine hundred pound naked mole rat. You and I are bringing The Template to the fight as the last resort."

"What is The Template?"

"Not what, who."

"Another hero. Won't the Class 5 just smash him?"

Finch snickered, "Unlikely."

"So we have a Class 5 then? Why didn't we just deploy him and why doesn't anyone know about him? I never heard of a hero called The Template. What's his deal?"

"We call him The Template. He calls himself Tim. He isn't a hero. He is hyperkinetic, meaning his brain connects in every way to every part of his body quicker than anything in existence. He is also mathematically in tune with Chaos Theory. He can see every possible outcome of every possible scenario within his five senses with one hundred percent accuracy. The classification system is moot in his case. He is the most powerful being in existence. The nature of his abilities also makes him agoraphobic and a pacifist. He isolates himself because he can see every outcome of everything he does right down to stepping on a bug. You and I are assigned to him. This means we sit around until something happens which makes him actually agree to leave his bunker. Then we drive his isolated transport to the scene and try to keep everyone and everything away from him so he doesn't freak out."

"The most powerful being alive is a shut-in?"

"Yup, sure is!"

"That doesn't seem very powerful to me."

They had just arrived at what looked like an armored car in the parking garage. The back section was completely isolated from the driver's compartment. Finch climbed in the driver's seat and started it. Tucker climbed into the passenger seat still waiting for a response.

"Power is a very relative thing as you will soon see."

"Yeah, sure."

Finch put the truck in gear and started out of the garage. He pressed a button on the dash and spoke, "You ok back there, Tim?"

The response was barely audible, "I think so. I think I may throw up. Please drive carefully. Don't hit the bugs. Obey all the speed limits please. Oh dear. . ." This was followed by retching sounds and vomiting.

Finch released the button. "It was like this the other two times he went out. Poor guy."

"Two times? How long you been doing this assignment?"

"I have been with Tim since he came to us. It has been almost fifteen years now."

"He has been out twice in fifteen years?"

"That's right. Here we are. Ground Zero. There is Kodiak just finishing up pummeling Captain Courage. I am just going to turn the back of the van towards the battle." He did a three point turn so the back was towards the villain.

Kodiak was huge, hairless and angry. He saw the truck and started towards it. Finch turned towards Tucker. "So, you go open the back doors, stand back so you don't creep out Tim and watch the action."

"Seriously? That thing is coming right for us!"

"Trust me. Just open the door for Tim and back off so he can lean out a bit."

Tucker exited the cab and went around to the back. Kodiak was getting close. He only had to come another hundred yards or so. He opened the cargo area and stepped back. A slight man about thirty, who was dressed in flannel pajamas, leaned just barely out of the back. He had vomit on the front of his pajama shirt. He threw one ball bearing to the left and one to the right. The first ricocheted twice and then popped into Kodiak's mouth. The second ricocheted three times and landed under his foot and he fell on his back. The little man went back in, closing the door behind him. Tucker watched as what he thought was the most powerful villain on earth asphyxiated in five minutes. He walked around to the cab and got in. He spoke to Finch but continued to look forward.

"What happens if Tim ever decides to go astray?"

Finch looked serious for a second. "Well then I suppose we all die, kiddo!"

THE END



Maximilian Black

"Chuck, this is Jimmy. Can you show him around?"

"Sure, whatever."

"Your shift starts now. Chuck will fill you in, but DON'T @$#! it up"

The squad leader of branch 27 leaves the two guarding a large steel cage with a thick steel door hinged at the bottom. There is a small opening for depositing food and other items for the prisoner.

"So..." Jimmy says, trying to think of something to chat about.

"Yeah." Chuck responds with a head nod.

"So, what are we guarding?"

"You don't know?"

"No, why?"

"Huh! You really don't know?"

"No." Jimmy opens a can of Campbell's chicken soup, and begins to eat the contents.

"Well, what we are guarding is indestructible, unstoppable, invincible..."

"What? Nothing is invincible." Jimmy continues to drink his cold can of Campbell's.

"Believe what you want to believe. I can tell you that he..." Chuck adamantly points to the steel cage behind Jimmy, "was blown up with C4 charge, a C4 charge that would take down a 10 story building. And guess what?"

"What?"

"Well, a foul smell permeated in the air, but he came charging in and prevented us from getting away with the goods. So, C4 did nothing, NOTHING!"

"A foul smell, huh? Well, maybe he buried it? That would dampen the charge," Jimmy says condescendingly, slurping his soup.

Chuck gives him a sidewards glare. "Ok, you know Ray? Our best sniper?"

"Yeah! Well, I know OF him."

"Well, he was on a job. Ready to take the kill shot. Just then he..." Chuck again points to the steel cage behind Jimmy, "walked in front of the target and, well, the armor piercing round hit him in the eye and shattered. He just looked around like a fly landed on his head."

"Whatever." Jimmy shakes his head in disbelief.

"Rumor has it, when he was a kid he was run over by an 18 wheeler. You know what happened?"

"What do I care?"

"You should. That 18 wheeler turned into an 8 wheeler, and he..." Chuck points once more to the steel cage, "just got up and ran around like he just scored the winning goal. Oh, and by the way, that 18 wheeler was carrying the biggest cache of illegal drugs we have ever acquired. Well, an 18 wheeler really can't really ride with only 8 wheels. So, the cops showed up, and it was over. He just smiled away. Damn, KIDS."

"Kids, huh! Don't like kids?"

"YEAH! I DON'T like kids anymore." Suddenly a loud bang is heard in the cage behind Jimmy. Then another bang. "Damn, he isn't happy. We have to keep him distracted. We have to keep him in here until the job is finished."

"What is he going to do? He is locked up," Jimmy points out. A loud bang echoes around the room.

"Have you not heard a word I have said, you cumquat? Quick! Find something to distract him with!"

"What... like what? A soup can?" Jimmy condescendingly replies.

"Yeah, good IDEA!"

"What?"

Chuck grabs the empty can of soup and throws it in the cage opening. The banging ceases. "Whew! Just a few more minutes, that is all we need." Chuck leans against the door of the cage exhausted by the sudden excitement.

"What is this job anyway?" Jimmy inquirers.

"Well, it is brilliant. Well, actually, it isn't all that brilliant. We are assassinating the owner of the largest diamond on earth, and then we are going to take it. Pretty simple really..." The cage door comes crashing forward crushing Chuck under its weight. Jimmy stares straight into the eyes of the individual held captive. He tries to compose himself, and reaches for his gun.

"BAAA."

Jimmy reaches his gun and empties his 9 bullet clip at the individual standing in front of him. The individual opens his mouth as the bullets fly towards him. He eats the bullets like M&M's. He then begins licking his lips like he just had a delicious snack.

"You must be Maximilian Black?" Jimmy says with a whimper. A large white goat stands in front of Jimmy with a defiant smile.

"BAAAAAAaaaaa."

Maximilian runs off in the direction of the exit. Jimmy stares in utter disbelief.

####

The squad leader of branch 27 grabs a cup of coffee from the break room, and turns on the shared company television. A news anchor appears on the screen.

"We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to report that there has been an assassination attempt on the owner of the largest recorded diamond, Aaron Pains. Luckily for him, Maximilian Black was there. Just in time. Maximilian took two bullets to the lower extremities, but will be just fine. Good old Max, he did get a little carried away, and ate the Diamond." The camera cuts to show Aaron Pains watching Max eat the diamond in one gulp. The camera cuts to a close up of Aaron Pains with a single tear forming in his eye. The camera cuts back to the anchor "We can only assume this was Max's way of protecting it from illegal hands." The television shot changes from the anchor to Maximilian licking his lips. Then appearing very pleased with himself, he smiles.

"BAAAaaaaa."

"Well, Mr. Pains will get that diamond back in a couple days. It won't be that painful, Mr. Pains, ha, ha, ha. Max is the one that just ate the largest diamond on earth. I now return you to our regularly scheduled program. This is Kirk Flatamer for WOCQ.

The squad leader finishes watching the news report, and he tries to comprehend what he just saw. The reality hits him like a ton of bricks. He loses control of his coffee, and it hits the ground.

"JIMMY!!!"

THE END



Rivals Never Die

The sweet cream cheese frosting barely electrified my taste buds before rubble was flying overhead. The crumbled building materials originated from an explosion at AT&T field. Bleacher seats, portions of rock, and metal flew out crashing into surrounding buildings. A section of wall crashed into the glass pyramids of the two aquariums next door to the stadium, propelling glass as well as heavy rock onto the streets below.

"Dezy,"

"I got it. Go, I'll help who I can."

"Thank you." I said, running behind the cupcake truck. Reaching into my pocket I pulled out a hockey puck sized crystal. Rays of the sun were soaked into the depth of the cerulean, "Water Crystal activate."

The essence of the immortal beings inside the aqua shell absorbed up my arm, turning it thick and lapis. The hair on my body disappeared replaced by a rough skin. Claws and talons grew from the tips of my fingers and toes bleached of any imperfection. New appendages grew into wings, horns, and extended from my tailbone. The wings grew to a wingspan of fourteen feet, foot tall horns like towers spired from my temples. The sodalite design created a breaking wave pattern on my wings as they stretched past the reach of my arm.

My eyes erupted into an indigo flame, plunging the world into a flickering tint.

Another wave of debris cascaded over my head, leaping into the air I smashed the debris clump with an open palm. A single flap propelled me across town to AT&T field. The young budding city was void of most skyscrapers making it easy to navigate. Below me people were helping each other, pulling people into buildings to avoid the falling rock. Buckets of water were brought to help the fish flopping on the blacktop. The short spurts that I blocked the sun the occasional pedestrian looked up. The truly religious ran into the nearest store while the open minded cheered and waved when they saw me.

Blue and red lights flashed along the street. The police. I happened to make a name for myself last year and they haven't left me alone since. Actually both of me. Most of them call me in this ego Aqua Devil or Serpentman, but I like the simple, Water Demon. Of course as I reached the stadium, the one officer who seems to hate me as Water Demon, and my human self was at the police barrier. Shrugging it off I used my enhanced sight to search for the cause of the destruction.

"No?"

"What's wrong, Anthony, you look like you've seen a ghost?"

Blain was right. My rival as a human and now as this immortal being. Hidden to the surrounding police hovering above the pitcher's mound Blain was a mirror image of myself if I was dipped in bleach and sprayed in blood. Of course he named himself Fire Demon because he has no original bone in his body.

"I thought I killed you."

"I'm hurt. But you're right, you almost did. In the abyss at the coldest trench in Hell I survived." Blain said tossing a chunk of twisted metal in his hand, "You know what it's like to be lonely and afraid? To have all hope lost? Of course not, you're Anthony."

"Just watch what you say, Fire Demon."

"Fire? Oh, I get it; don't worry, Anthony!"

"Shut up."

"What's wrong, Ant..."

I speared Blain, knocking us both into center field. A gauzier of dirt and grass sprayed into the air. As Blain's back hit the ground he pushed out his legs using his wings as a spring to flip me over his head. With the aid of my wings I straightened up and landed facing away from Blain.

"Oh I've missed this, Anthony. The fighting." Blain was explaining as I turned around, "Nothing is better than the ecstasy I get from punching you in the face." A left handed fist came across and slammed into my face. Before I could react I felt the outfield wall slamming into my back.

My neck jerked as I continued through the cement. Bouncing off the concrete under the overpass leaving the city, I stabbed my claws into ground and stopped. The small flames in my eyes erupted into a blazing inferno, embers leaping past my lids. Like a linebacker taking off of the line I flapped my wings and aimed at Blain. Slipping effortlessly through the demon size hole in the stadium Blain was waiting for me with his sword drawn. I didn't slow down, instead a swarm of blue embers materialized around my hand. In the second it took me to reach him a trident was swinging to catch the blade of his sword.

"You should have stayed in that abyss."

"How's Dezeray?" Blain grinned under the strain of our weapons as they clashed together again.

"She can still kick your ass."

Using the leverage of my longer weapon I swung out opening up Blain's guard and slicing his midsection with my claws. Squinting in the pain, Blain followed through with a head-butt. The force knocked me back and a searing pain sliced along my side. Blain's sword had opened a gash along my ribs. Standing out of reach from one another we tended to our wounds.

"You can't kill me in this realm, Blain."

"I don't want to kill you, Anthony."

"Then what do you want?"

"For you to be as miserable as I am."

"Impossible. I actually have friends."

"But as determined as you are to make the world a better place, I'm just as determined to make it unbearable for you to live in."

"I don't think you have it in you."

"I'm glad I know you better than you do."

Swinging my trident, I hoped to connect with Blain's neck, but hit air. He was gone, and I was left with an anxious nerve ticking in the back of my neck.

THE END



New York Fights Back

The alien barrage of New York City was relentless. The air-defense system instituted after 9/11 was updated many times. A High-Level-Energy-Gatling-Crystal System also called Phalanx III now stands atop the One World Trade Center, and during the past two days, it has proven itself against a foe that it wasn't intended for. Years ago, a close-in-weapon system known as the Phalanx rested atop the One World Trade Center waiting for more terrorists, and as its gun barrels pointed skyward and locked on to anything in its airspace, it seemed to shout "Just try me!" But times changed, and today Phalanx III a descendent of Phalanx continued the heritage.

"Send out another message!" Captain Cail said.

After a few minutes, Sergeant Grummons donned in a smoke-torn uniform reported to Captain Cail, "Nothing Sir. We just can't get a hold of him." Captain Cail didn't reply. He looked down, and stared at nothing.

"Where the hell is he? One time when the fate of the world is up for grabs, he doesn't show up!" Captain Cail said.

"Sir, Sargent America will be here! I don't know why or what, but whatever he's doing, I know he's helping out someone! I bet he's out of communications with us, but I'm sure he'll reconnect, soon."

"I hope you're right----Dear God---I hope you're right." Captain Cail said. Sargent America the invincible, the powerful, the only hope of saving the world now.

"Sir, Phalanx III has destroyed all the alien ships that got through the outer-orbital-ring defenses. I'm not sure Phalanx III can handle another wave of them, Sir. It breached all its operational-safety limits for the last hour. It can't handle much more!" Specialist Lee-Tong reported to Captain Cail.

Smoke, dust, and stench reeked over what was left of New York City, but atop the One World Trade Center, Phalanx III looked to the skies and waited. And the wait would not be too long, for Captain Cail received a message from Tactical Air Command: More Alien Ships will breach outer-ring defenses in 10 to 15 minutes--This is certain--Estimate 7 to 10 alien ships will attack New York afterwards.

Outside the command bunker, a hue floated over New York City. Sunlight penetrated the hue, and Captain Cail enjoyed that loll for a moment.

A message voiced itself in Captain Cail's head: "The children are safe up here in Canada--there isn't any aliens around--they say the aliens want New York City and nothing else. Is that true, Honey? Why just one city?" Julie Cail, the Captain's wife said.

"We don't know! I don't know. It doesn't make sense. For some reason they want to destroy New York City. Must be a strategy in their invasion plans. Who Knows? The only weapon standing between total destruction is our Phalanx III system, and it's been overloaded for the past hour. It can't last much longer. The air force can't get through the force field the aliens set up around the city! Phalanx III is our only hope-----I don't think the aliens had any intelligence about Phalanx III before they attacked," Captain Cail answered back in a thought transmission. "If Sargent America would only show up!"

"He'll be there, Honey! I know it! He must be doing something else," Julie said.

"Something else--Honey you make it sound like he's washing his car or doing his laundry!" Captain Cail said.

"Honey--I mean. Well, you know what I mean--he'll be there!" Julie said.

"With the short thought transmission over, Captain Cail switched his attention back to the battle, but before he could concentrate, Specialist Hoover dragged in a real-live alien that he captured!

"We will destroy your city and your world," the alien said.

"Why?" Captain Cail said.

The alien ignored the question then said, "Even your Sargent America will not tangle with us!" Give up now, and you will be placed high on this world's future occupational Council," the alien said.

Captain Cail had a quick answer that the alien to this day doesn't understand: "Stick It."

But with the last echo of 'Stick It' still reverberating in the bunker, the alien's armada broke through the outer-ring defenses and started their descent to New York City. As the silver ships became clearer, a sonic boom reverberated. Sergeant Grummons then screamed, "It's Sargent America!"

Phalanx III fired at each ship, but Captain Cail turned its selector to Cease Fire. Sargent America flew into one ship, that ship broke apart, the next alien ship he hit, exploded, and the next spun out of control, and the next....

Within 10 minutes all alien ships were destroyed, and Sargent America was standing before Captain Cail.

"Sir, all alien ships are withdrawing back into space," Sergeant Grummons said. And a few second later he announced, "They're all gone--went into some hyper-drive or a dimensional-shift zone--I don't know for sure but they're all gone.

"All except this one!" Captain Cail said. The captured alien gave an evil stare, but Captain Cail politely answered with "Don't worry--you'll have it very comfortable in the New York City Zoo. You can growl at all the other "Apes" we have there!"

"Sir, you know I'm a fire fighter," Sargent America said. "I was so engaged fighting that California Fire--never had one spring up so fast and spread like that one before--that I must have lost communications because of the extreme heat. If it wasn't for the coast guard signaling me when I got water, I still wouldn't know about this invasion."

"That is very interesting. And if the aliens got New York City, they would have used hostages to stop you then. Interesting. Yes, very interesting. I wonder who the firebugs were?" Captain Cail said. "They probably profiled you for years, and knew you also fought fires."

Captain Cail looked down at the alien and said, "Yes, I wonder who the firebugs were?"

THE END

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Post May 18, 2014, 11:11:40 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

To vote, rank this month's stories, favorite to least favorite. Each story will receive points based on its ranking. Also pick the one story that you feel best meets the challenge requirements and captures the spirit of the challenge. This story will get a small challenge bonus added to its point total. Send your rankings to me (davidsonhero) via Private Message (PM).

________________________________________

To help pick the winner of the contest by ranking the stories, you must first be a member of Aphelion's forum. If you are not already a member of Aphelion's forum, follow these steps to become one:

1) You'll find a register link at the top of the forum page. Follow the instructions there to create a user account.

2) Once your account is created, login and make an initial post in the forum. You must do this before you can send a PM. So once you're logged in, join in a discussion or just say hi in a thread.

3) Now you can rank the stories and send your rankings to me via PM. You can send a PM to me by clicking the PM button below my avatar (or depending on your board style, mouse over the green username by my avatar and a menu will pop up with an option to send a private message.)

One vote per user.

If I suspect a voter of being a false identity (i.e. a troll), I won't include their rankings in the total.


________________________________________

A contest entrant who does not rank the other stories will receive a deduction in their own score at the time of contest close.

Contest entrants will not receive any points for ranking their own story, so they can exclude their own story from their rankings. Contest entrants must choose a story other than their own for the story that they feel best meets the challenge requirements.

If two or more stories are tied at the end of voting, there will be a succession of one-day runoff votes until a single winner is chosen.

At the close of the voting I will announce the winner and post the scores of the top 1/3 of the stories. I will send each author a PM with the score for their own story.
________________________________________

Here are the titles of this month's stories in a randomly chosen order:

Killshot and the Russian

Still Regretful After All That Time...

You Are Who You Eat

And Loving It!

The Template

Maximilian Black

Rivals Never Die

New York Fights Back



+++++++++++++++ Ranking Form+++++++++++++++

Rank the above stories where 1 ) is your favorite story and 8 ) is your least favorite.

1 )
2 )
3 )
4 )
5 )
6 )
7 )
8 )

Also, select the one story that in your view best meets the challenge requirements and captures the spirit of the challenge to receive the challenge bonus:

__________________________________


Send the rankings to me, davidsonhero, in a PM.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Post May 18, 2014, 11:15:18 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Here are the eight super stories about invincible superheroes that were submitted for the May flash contest. Excelci... er... Enjoy!

John
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Post May 20, 2014, 06:43:28 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

My votes are already in... :D
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Post May 20, 2014, 12:30:45 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

My votes are in - which makes me a godlike creature, capable of dashing puny hopes. Eggs have no business dancing with stones!!
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

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Post May 21, 2014, 08:26:59 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Fossilized eggs do.
Tesla Lives!!!

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Post May 21, 2014, 11:59:08 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

cool stories hard to choose
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Post May 23, 2014, 08:24:34 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Fossilized eggs do.
Megawatts
Fossilized eggs ARE stones - with a history. Submit...
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
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Post May 23, 2014, 08:49:58 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

oolithus conversation has the potential for puns!
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post May 23, 2014, 09:35:45 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

There are two days left to read and rank the stories for the May contest. We have one story this time that has a solid lead, but I still need a couple of votes from authors. So it isn't quite over yet, and second place is being closely contested by the rest of the pack.
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Post May 24, 2014, 12:29:22 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

My votes are on the way.
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Post May 24, 2014, 09:32:10 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

My votes are in. Love to read Flash Fiction as I drink my coffee in the morning.
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Post May 25, 2014, 07:26:27 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

This is the last call for votes for the May flash contest. You have two and a half hours before voting ends. :)

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Post May 25, 2014, 10:35:04 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

And the winner of the I Am Invincible challenge for his story "Killshot and the Russian" is... I. Verse.
Congratulations, Verse, on your win!

I.Verse also wins the cash prize from our anonymous patron and this month's virtual ice gnome trophy. What a lucky dog.

Image

For the record, these were the authors of the entries for this month:

Killshot and the Russian by I. Verse
Still Regretful After All That Time... by Sergio Palumbo
You Are Who You Eat by Richard Tornello
And Loving It! by Michele Dutcher
The Template by Ed Sullivan
Maximilian Black by Herbert Chamberlain
Rivals Never Die by Alfred Muller
New York Fights Back by George T. Philibin



SCORES:

Following are the scores of the top 1/3. I will send each author a PM with the score for their own story.

Killshot and the Russian : 88.2
The Template : 71.4


Thank you, I. Verse, Sergio, Richard, Michele, Ed, Herbert, Alfred, and George, for participating this month. I. Verse's story dominated the contest this month. Most of the voters chose his story as their favorite. There was a struggle for second place, but Ed's story finally secured it. I found it interesting to see how everyone handled the problem of invincibility in their stories. Some of the stories were a little more humorous, some were more in a science fiction vein, and some were very faithful to the superhero stories of the comic books. All in all I thought the different approaches made for some interesting and entertaining reads.

I'd like to welcome Alfred Muller (aka Bull4491) to the flash contest this month. I hope he'll stick around and share some more of his stories with us in the future. 

Look for the Scheherazade 7 Challenge on June 1st (or maybe even the day before) along with the introduction of a new reusable story element.
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Post May 26, 2014, 01:44:40 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Congrats, Verse! It's been a while; nice to see you back in the game.

Ed, nice job this time.

There were indeed some unusual responses to the challenge.
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Post May 26, 2014, 02:27:58 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Verse, many congratulations for your win!!! :D :D

This month my preferred story was just Killshot and the Russian, but I gave the challenge bonus to And Loving It!!!
:D :D
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Post May 26, 2014, 07:37:39 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

congrats. Russian was the agreed family favorite.

RT
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Post May 26, 2014, 08:27:21 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Coming in second was bittersweet. Mostly because I too voted Killshot #1 on my list. Well I guess if you can't win you should at least have your favorite as a fan be the winner right? Congrats on a excellent piece Verse!
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post May 26, 2014, 10:09:36 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Congratulations to I. Verse! “Killshot” is a great blend of noir and time travel.
I enjoyed reading the wide variety of entries.
QW
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Post May 26, 2014, 12:01:25 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Verse, I do have to ask--how did you arrive at the name 'Boris Strugatsky'? I recognized it at once; he and his brother were a SF writing team, and I encountered one of their books (The Final Circle of Paradise) a long while back.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkady_and ... Strugatsky

Good stuff (theirs and yours).
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Post May 26, 2014, 03:32:27 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Thanks all for the votes and the praise. I was surprised as I was sure 'The Template' was a much better take on the superhero trope, at least that one got my top slot and vote for the bonus too.

As a small dog, cash isn't much use to me so I say let it ride until next month. What do you say, double or nothing?

:)
Doggerel is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value.
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Post May 26, 2014, 03:38:26 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Lester Curtis wrote:Verse, I do have to ask--how did you arrive at the name 'Boris Strugatsky'? I recognized it at once; he and his brother were a SF writing team, and I encountered one of their books (The Final Circle of Paradise) a long while back.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkady_and ... Strugatsky

Good stuff (theirs and yours).


Ah!

I read 'Roadside Picnic' just last month, I've been on something of a Russian fiction binge lately. I thought I plucked the name from thin air but obviously my subconscious was playing a trick on me.

:shock:
Doggerel is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value.

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Post May 26, 2014, 05:36:25 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Verse wrote:As a small dog, cash isn't much use to me so I say let it ride until next month. What do you say, double or nothing?

Sure, we can do that. Our anonymous patron just sent me the money for June's contest the other day. I can add your prize to it. We'll have a $40 prize for June then. Thank you, I. Verse. Super generous of you. :D

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Post May 26, 2014, 07:30:57 PM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Scheherazade 7? We are going to write Arabian Nights? Here we go!!!!!!!
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
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Post May 27, 2014, 09:07:00 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

Congrats Verse - I liked the Killshot story best as well. Seems we were mostly all agreed. Great job.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

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Post May 28, 2014, 12:39:23 AM

Re: [Poll] Vote: May '14 Flash Fiction Contest

EddieSullivan wrote:Scheherazade 7? We are going to write Arabian Nights? Here we go!!!!!!!

Yes, in a way... :D

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