July 2018 Flash Challenge - The Stories


Writing challenges, flash fiction, interesting anecdotes, amusements, and general miscellanea.

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Which story do you prefer?

Poll ended at August 04, 2018, 10:25:47 PM

The Only Thing He Can Do...
0
No votes
Best Served Cold
1
14%
The Arch
3
43%
Thunder and Lightning
3
43%
 
Total votes : 7
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Post July 21, 2018, 10:25:47 PM

July 2018 Flash Challenge - The Stories

Good day and welcome to the Stories in the July challenge. I will post the four entries in separate posts below, in no particular order. Please vote for your favourite using the attached buttons.
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Post July 21, 2018, 10:27:30 PM

The Only Thing He Can Do...

The Only Thing He Can Do

by Sergio ‘ente per ente’ Palumbo

The pond situated in the middle of the Civic Gardens, at that late hour of the evening, was bereft of the usual crowd of locals and tourists that came every day to feed the fish. People would walk here beginning in the morning, especially in summertime, to look at the colorful creatures that rose to the pond’s surface to find the food thrown at them. There were mainly Goldfish, the best-known pond fish in the world. They felt quite at home here, growing at times to a length of 14 inches.

The blond-haired woman and her husband were accustomed to ending up here during their walk around the gardens, along with Delmar - their 5-year-old son. This was a very pleasant place where they could practice using their combined abilities - though this was a secret that had to remain unknown to everyone.

The middle-aged woman, had a peculiar power that she had developed four years ago: she was able to heal fish in the pond which had fallen ill or had been hurt. This was why she came here from time to time, to check and see if those small creatures in the water were healthy, or if some of them needed some healing. At times the fish got sick by eating something that tourists threw into the pond which wasn’t meant for them.

Her husband, too, had a special ability, and his power allowed him to strengthen the oldest fish and revive their color, making them appear to be young again, although he certainly could not turn those old fish into younger creatures, anyway. Neither of them could actually rejuvenate animals or other living beings.

They didn’t know how they had gotten their powers. Maybe, having worked for years at a military base whose hangars were the site of secret tests on a new form of energy had caused their powers. They had never told anyone about that, of course, as they didn’t want to become the next target of other tests that might be done in those same hangars in the future. They had simply resigned, a few years ago, and found other jobs. The plausible excuse they had come up with at that time was that the woman was already pregnant and they wanted a safer place to raise their son.

Their jobs at the base weren’t very important anyway, so their dismissal didn’t attract much attention.

However, they had later discovered their son had some strange powers, too. But his secret ability was very different from theirs.

So, that was why they had come back to this pond today, after having been there earlier in the afternoon. As the mother approached the surface of the pond and saw a few dying fish, she knew what she had to do. She immediately touched the creatures that looked almost dead to heal them. After her, the man completed her task by touching the same fish to invigorate them and give them a better appearance.

Then the two looked at each other and a moment of deep silence followed.

“Maybe we should stop coming here, my dear…Or prevent our son from coming here,” the woman told her husband.

“Yes, sooner or later we might be noticed, which would be unfortunate,” the husband nodded.

“Did you try talking to Delmar? Maybe training him would stop this. After all, our powers didn’t work perfectly in the beginning…”

“It’s different for him, dear. His power isn’t like ours…” the man replied, in a sad tone.

“Yes, I know. But we should try again, anyway. He’s our only son!”

“A son that has the power to drain life from fish and other animals, and make them die in a matter of hours. My god, what kind of power is that? A damn’ curse? Is it a terrible outcome of the strange energy we were subjected to while working in that base?” the husband asked, noticing too late that he was speaking at the top of his voice.

“Please, dear, lower your tone…we don’t want anybody to hear us,” the mother eyed him.

“Yes, I know, of course. But we must do something…”

“Well, there’s another thing that worries me. Do you remember how things started with us? Our powers weren’t as powerful as they are today…we had difficulty at first completely healing the fish. The effects of our power only lasted a few minutes… It has taken us four years to learn how to completely remove the bad energy from animals that our son comes in contact with.”

“Maybe he just needs time. In the next months, or years, Delmar will change, and perhaps his powers will take a turn for the better…” the husband said, though his words didn’t sound convincing even to himself.

“What if that doesn’t happen? I mean, what if his powers continue to grow and he can kill living beings just by looking at them, or by thinking about them, instead of by only touching the surface of their bodies as he did with the fish today?”

“I don’t know, my dear. In any case, if you are afraid, you’d better stay away from his touch…really we should all stay clear of him,” the man sadly concluded.

The woman stared at her husband in silence for a few moments, then thought of that old quote that went, more or less, this way: ‘It's love when someone can touch you without using their hands.’ That boy, as a matter of fact, might one day be able to reach people from a distance and kill them without touching their bodies, if his powers kept developing, or changed in an expected way. The woman wasn’t sure she could heal all of his targets on time using her capabilities…

Sooner or later they would both be forced to deal with it, regretfully…the big problem was exactly how to do that.
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Post July 21, 2018, 10:31:44 PM

Best Served Cold

Best Served Cold

By Iain Muir

“That bitch!”

Caesar Alexander Rex Lux (“Carl” to his friends) looked up from where he was lounging on his bed in his room at the Gretta Garbo School for Wayward Boys and Girls, and put his tablet down.

Maisie flounced into the room, waving a reading tablet, and it was always fun to watch Maisie flounce. She insisted on wearing what she claimed was the battle armour of her people: a variation on the chainmail bikini which brought to mind a quote from Kipling: “nothing much before, and rather less than ‘arf o’ that behind.” It was completely impractical for combat, unless you counted the distraction factor of waiting for the inevitable wardrobe malfunction. The girl needed a sports bra, not two triangles of chainmail links.

“What has your mother done now?” he drawled. To describe Maisie’s relationship with her mother as ‘strained’ was like describing the Atlantic, over which the cloaked carrier which was their school hung, as ‘damp.’

“It’s not my mother,” Maisie exclaimed, “It’s yours! Have you read her memoirs? The bit where she blames you for her failure to conquer the world?”

“Oh, that!” said Carl. “Nothing I haven’t heard over the dinner table for oh, the last sixteen years. How the rush of hormones when she got knocked up distracted her from fulfilling her true destiny. The fact that she chose to have unprotected sex with Dad while he was her prisoner and clamped to a lab table doesn’t seem to enter into her calculations.”

“Yeah, that’s like, what, rules six and twenty-six?” The Evil Overlord List was required reading at Garbo’s, the premier college for the children of despots, super-villains, world destroyers and necromancers.

“And forty-two and forty-three, but let’s not go there. Look, I knew she had found a publisher, and she’s been reading extracts from her ravings to us for years. I know she’s a lunatic, but she’s my mom. I mean, she would never have tried to take over the world with an army of mutated Komodo Dragons if she was exactly stable, you know?”

Maisie sighed. “Yeah, I suppose so. But are you just gonna letter get away with this? If you don’t at least try and get revenge, you’ll be marked down in Megalomania and Narcisism.”

Carl grinned. His perfect teeth he’d inherited from his World Piece Agent father, his flaming red hair from his mother, and his fashion sense from Rule 29. The grin was pure malice. He picked up his tablet and waved it at Maisie.

“Have a look at the books trending on Nile.com.”

Maisie frowned, but looked down at the forgotten tablet in her hand. She stabbed at an icon and entered a search query. She raised her eyebrows.

’Dragontamer: My life with the Komodo Queen’ she said. She looked up at Carl “by Carl Lux?”

“Yep. It started out as something my therapist wanted me to do: write about my feelings!” He snorted. “Then, when Mum finally got a publisher, I thought ‘why not?’ They jumped at the chance to get ‘the inside story on life with a super-villain.’ Seems they were right about the public lapping up that stuff, particularly when they launched it the same day as Mum’s memoirs.”

“You’re outselling her two to one!”

“I know. Payback’s a bitch, right?”
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Post July 21, 2018, 10:33:56 PM

The Arch

The Arch

By Robin B. Lipinski

The Stanley family was alpha-core to the maximum. Saving worlds. Helping old people cross the street. Keeping the Universe crime free… Yes, they were indeed the pinnacle of human achievement.

For generations past counting, the Stanley family had participated in the evolution and advancement of greatness for the species.

“Bling! Bop! Boom!” Large pieces of granite were flying from the face of the mountain while Bob Stanley was busy carving a bust larger than the Presidents on Mount Rushmore. This bust was a dedication to his wife, Marsha.

“Oh Bob, you rascal!” Marsha exclaimed while in a bed of a hospital located in their hometown of Cincinnati. She lay there looking at a hologram of Super Hero Husband, Bob, while he flew around at a blurry speed carving a very sexy and good looking representative carving of his Amazon wife.

For you honey… Anything!”

Marsha blushed and the two continued to converse while Bob continued adding embellishments. Far below his carving, people with camera’s were in awe of Bob. Bob was indeed the coolest super hero ever.

“So, how is Mike? Any progress yet? Bob questioned his wife.

“No. Nothing yet. But, he should be able to show his talents soon.”

Bob was used to results. He was used to action and quick decisions. For him, his son Mike had been a bit of a disappoint lately. After all, the Stanley’s had a reputation to uphold.

It did not take much longer for Bob to finish the very, very, nice… carving of a woman that any man would drool as she was indeed, b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! After he put the final touch on the carving he zoomed quickly to be with Marsha as she lay in bed.

Arriving at the hospital, he briskly walked past the flashing lights of camera’s as onlookers gasped and took his picture. Some people even asked for his autograph, of which he quickly provided; flourishing form of writing that in and of itself, was priceless artwork.

Entering Marsha’s room he asked, “Any progress?”

With a sigh and a bit of a worried look upon her face she said, “No. Here, take a look for yourself.”

Bob rarely saw the look he now saw on his wife’s face. It concerned him as he walked to the other side of the bed.

It was there he saw his newborn son, Mike. A baby true, but a Stanley none-the-less. It had been almost two hours since his birth and he still had not done anything spectacular.

Both parents were not only disappointed, they also were becoming agitated. Another whole five minutes and Mike just lay their cooing with saliva oozing out of his mouth.

“I don’t know what to say honey, this has never happened before.” And that was true, as their first child had been a girl named, Jane. Now, Jane was something when she was born. She literally flew out of the womb and it took two doctors and a nurse to catch the flying tot as she was trying to fly out the window to chase birds.

“Do you think I did something wrong Bob? Maybe I should have eaten a higher protein diet?”

“No honey, I think…” Suddenly Bob was interrupted as little Mike showed the world his power!

“WHOOSH!” It was amazing! Such a tiny little baby let loose with such a powerful stream of, uhm, well… you know… that it blew a hole through the ceiling, ricocheting of a jet flying overhead and then zoomed off into space where it blew apart an orbiting satellite.

Little Mike then returned to drooling and cooing leaving two very happy parents to smile.

“Oh Bob, he’s just like you!” Marsha beemed.

“I’m so proud of you honey. You did good!” Bob’s face was red with joy and relief. For a few hours, it looked dismal, but now, it was indeed, great.

The Stanley tradition had been upheld. Soon, Mike would grow along with his talent… And all was good.
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Post July 21, 2018, 10:35:02 PM

Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and Lightning

By N. J. Kailhofer

"Blue!" Lightning insisted, punching his fraternal twin in the shoulder.

Like any four-year old, Thunder wasn't about to take anything from his brother. "Green!" Squinting his brown eyes beneath his tight black hair, Thunder pushed back, giving it all he had. A monumental blast of sound threw sandy-haired Lightning across the living room and into the drywall next to their family portrait.

Lightning bounced out of the crumbling wall, hurling electricity back. It struck Thunder, tossing him to the opposite wall. He collapsed in a heap, but only for a moment. Scrambling to his feet, Thunder looked down at his chest to see a blackened circle in the middle of his favorite shirt. It reeked of ozone and melted fabric. He looked back up, now really mad.

Before he could launch himself at Lightning, his mother, Seraphina, captured him in an immobilizing bubble. Almost simultaneously, their father, Captain Might, had Lightning by the scruff of the neck.

"That's enough!" Might shouted, loud enough to shake the rafters. "No powers in the house!"

***"

High school years were not much of an improvement.

"It's your brother's track meet, Thunder. You're going. You know, this is just like when your mother and I--"

"Seriously, Dad?" Thunder complained across the dinner table in a dark green t-shirt with a white 'T' on it. "Are you really going to tell us that story about how you and Mom fell in love in the middle of a battle with each other? Again?"

Might blushed, but their mother scolded, "It's true, you know. We were fighting hard, and your father never liked to hit a woman, but I gave him no choice."

"Yep." Might nodded. "Not that it was a good idea, mind you. It's still never right to hit a woman. You hear me?"

Their mother smiled. "It really made me mad."

"She took out her big guns, then--"

Lightning, wearing a bright blue sweatshirt with a lightning bolt printed on it, rolled his eyes and interrupted, "--She started kicking your butt. She was about to finish you off and then realized she didn't want to hurt you. Yadda, yadda, you got married and the two of us were born."

Both the boys made that exasperated noise that only teenagers can make.

Seraphina stabbed out a finger to immobilize both boys. "Quiet! You boys just don't understand how alike the two of you really are. Every since you were little, you've been fighting like cats and dogs, but you know you love each other."

Thunder chortled, shocking his mother that he could still move, but Lightning was still frozen. Thunder set a small device on the oak tabletop. "That doesn't work anymore, Mom. I built this in electronics class."

His dad's hand snatched the device, crushing it. Immediately, Thunder was frozen again. "None of that!"

His mother stood. "In time, you will learn that you need each other. You're both grounded."

With a snap of her wrist, Seraphina teleported both the boys to their respective rooms.

***

College days only fueled their rivalry. Their school didn't know how to handle them, so they were both put in the same special needs dormatory. Unfortunately, their rooms were across the hall from each other.

Thunder opened his door to see Lightning coming out of his room with a stacked blonde in an extra-tight, blue sweater. Thunder smiled wanly and called, "Hey, Sarah, come see the latest one my muscle-bound, goodie two-shoes brother dug up at some sorority house."

Behind Thunder, an equally-built redhead in a polo shirt that matched Thunder's in dark green color and strong smell of incense judged the blonde in one glance. "Sad", she said.

The blonde stiffened. "What?"

The redhead feigned sympathy. "Oh, honey, I bet your brain feels brand new, since it's never been used."

The blonde flipped her off.

"C'mon, Babe," Lightning said, steering his girl down the hall. "Villains are always sore losers."

***

A sudden jab snapped Thunder's head back, despite his dark green, electrically-resistant armor and helmet. His brother demanded, "What made you think you could take over a whole continent?"

Thunder cackled. "Oh, C'mon. Australia is such a little continent. Who'd notice?"

Thunder winked in his monocle viewfinder, initiating the startup cycle of his sonic death ray hidden high on the hill above them. Immediately, the turret holding the business end of the long ray gun turned slowly, raising and lowering the barrel of the gun in preparation to fire at any target chosen in Thunder's viewfinder.

Lightning watched his brother coldly. "I can't believe you finally turned all the way evil. It's the ultimate betrayal to our family. Dad would have been so sad, but I will stop you."

A sword of white-hot electricity sprang to life from Lightning's hand. "Lightning will stop Thunder forever."

Thunder was taken aback. "I didn't know you could do that."

"Hey!" Thunder realized. "This is really about you, not me. Beating me is all you've ever wanted. You'd save the country, get a parade, and everyone would know that you finally beat me. You'd be the best."

He paused.

"But I won't make it that easy for you." Thunder removed his monocle and threw it away from them. "I just turned off my death ray."

He took off his utility belt, dropping it at his feet. Then he unbuckled hs armor and removed that as well. "No gizmos or devious devices. I won't fight you."

"No fight... no victory. No parade." Thunder did his very best villain's laugh. "We're alone here. No one will see Lightning is the best."

Lightning shook with frustration in his bright-blue superhero's costume. He glanced at the electricity sword still pulsing in his hand and looked back at his brother's smug smile.

"I want that parade," Lightning said.

***

Two women waited in Sydney at the reviewing stand for the motorcade to arrive. One was a fabulous blonde in a long, blue dress. Next to her was a redhead.


She wore black.
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Post July 23, 2018, 06:29:02 AM

Re: July 2018 Flash Challenge - The Stories

My vote is in...eh,eh :D

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Post July 27, 2018, 09:32:15 AM

Re: July 2018 Flash Challenge - The Stories

Got my vote in! Good ones!
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