Flash Fiction Challenge #1: Write With Blood

Flash Fiction Challenge #1: Write With Blood

Flash fiction: 500 to 1000 words of pure brilliance. That's what you're going to give me, right? A miniature story posted in these very comments. For this first challenge you're going to "write with blood." That's a quote from Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. I love the idea of it -- write with passion and purpose

Flash fiction: 500 to 1000 words of pure brilliance. That’s what you’re going to give me, right? A miniature story posted in these very comments.

For this first challenge you’re going to “write with blood.” That’s a quote from Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. I love the idea of it — write with passion and purpose — but I don’t recommend the book (not unless you want to make an animal-talking, super-loser Zarathustra comic with me, that is). You don’t need to go with what Nietzsche thought those words meant (he was wrong about everything else, why not this?), just let them resonate. Write with blood. 

I’ll leave the comments open indefinitely, but a Gizmo for everyone who gets their story in within a week. Double Gizmos for making it in under 24 hours.

gizmo gif

 

The purpose of this challenge is whatever you make of it: an opportunity to stretch yourself; a chance to let loose. *glitter toss* Write, write, write!

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  • Brenda Noiseux
    January 18, 2015, 4:19 pm

    Not quite 500 words, but here it is anyways. 🙂

    Shells

    Inspecting dusky red dirt on her fingertips, she didn’t remember leaving the cap off the red marker. Realizing her error, she glanced at the still shiny, if not shimmering, razor-sharp blade.

    Oh, she thought, raising a tired right hand to her forehead.

    A sudden distraction, brought her gaze to her ankle as a small wet bundle brushed her skin and shadows began purring proudly. A present, she thought. An offering. Poor little creature.

    Remembering her fingers, she held up her hand to the light. A few more drops had escaped to the table, pooling tiny lakes on the silver glean. Luckily, none had fallen on him. Staining was not an option and her bosses wouldn’t hesitate to black mark her behavior. It certainly wouldn’t be his blood as it had been drained elsewhere hours ago, long before he was brought here to her. She sighed as she reached for a bandage. The clock’s numbers judging from the wall. No break time for stitches. She needed to continue before she got too sloppy.

    She exhaled slowly, making the next incision, careful not to nick the organs. Severing their ties to the pallid flesh, she scooped them out with her hands, resting each in their new homes. The cavernous hole made the body look like a shell, ready for its next purpose. She stepped away to wash her hands, splashing water on her face.

    The mouse on the floor had to be removed. She pulled a rubber glove onto her right hand and carefully lifted the dead thing by its tail. The round hole in its torso made it look hollow, empty, somehow less than a mouse. She dropped it in the metal wastebin and closed the lid.

    She still had to drop her shell man off to her bosses. She unlocked the door, then the wheels and slowly started down the fluorescent lit corridor. Pictures of landscapes dotted the walls where windows should exist, but she didn’t stop to really view them. A wail came from a far off corner, but she keep her pace never changed.

    She rounded a corner, into a section where the light tapered off. There were no fixtures here; the light change was deliberate. Her index finger pressed the white doorbell and started to throb where the cut reminded her of its presence. Like clockwork, 16 seconds later, she heard faint footsteps from the other side.

    As the door creaked open and the soft blue light spilled into the hallway, she stepped back into the shadows and purred with relief.

    REPLY
  • Megan Purdy
    January 18, 2015, 7:15 am

    Hey man, I’m just handing out the Gizmos. It’s not MY fault if people feed them at inappropriate times and wreak havoc on their picturesque hometowns.

    REPLY
    • Deacon@Megan Purdy
      January 18, 2015, 11:39 am

      This is why we can’t have nice things.

      REPLY
      • Megan Purdy@Deacon
        January 18, 2015, 1:57 pm

        Do you want me to be the Gizmo Police, Deacon? Is this what we’ve come to? I believe in a free Gizmo market.

        REPLY
        • Ginnis Tonik@Megan Purdy
          January 31, 2015, 3:47 pm

          Megan, does that make you a gremlin libertarian?

          REPLY
  • Deacon
    January 17, 2015, 11:09 pm

    Megan, I’ve been looking and I am not sure if the Gizmo market is stable enough for you to be handing them out for payment/bribes/incentives/your wicked amusement.

    Also, depending on when said Gizmos are given out and the time difference from Canada to other parts of the world, it could easily be after midnight. And we ALL know what that means.

    REPLY
  • Deacon
    January 17, 2015, 10:44 pm

    “I don’t like it.”
    Grayson tapped the desk with his knuckles. Two times. Hard.
    Before he could complain more Smith reminded him.
    “But even down here she has rights. We knew this when we agreed to hold her in New Petak instead of Tartarus.”

    He sighed as he signed the paper, pressing his thumb to the pad and approving a visit for the most dangerous woman he ever laid eyes on.

    A day had passed before the alert began. A ship at top level and an elevator full of regret was on its way down.
    They were more than a mile beneath the waves. Then another two thousand feet down a trench and cut off from her sisters. Whatever power she had was of no use now and he told himself one guest wouldn’t be enough to help her.

    He greeted the group and gave the speech. From the dossier this man was her servant but barely fit the profile. Young, strong features of course, but the others were experts in their professions. Men and women of power. This was a street performer, just an officer in a defunct fan club. Hardly the top of his field. But this, Mitchell was hopelessly devoted to her.

    “No touching. Any touch ends the visit.
    No whispering. Any verbal communication we cannot clearly make out will be considered an infraction and terminate the visit. In fact I’m just hoping you wiggle your nose wrong and give me provocation to float your ass back to the surface. You understand?”

    He gave the slightest smile that could have easily been mistaken for a nervous twitch.

    When Grayson was satisfied with looking at the man they began the walk to the room.
    The visitation cell was so cold they could see the breath rise from their mouths as they crossed the threshold. White walls of bleached concrete and furniture to match. The antiseptic smell and the cold made for a harsh headache and Mitchell could tell it was all by design. Make it uncomfortable so you didn’t want to be here long. They wheeled her in and dropped her like laundry. Wet. Hard. Soiled. Her hands and feet wrapped in bloody rags her hair a rats nest of neglect.

    Mitchell fought back the urge to grab her and was calmed when he saw her smirk.

    A jumbled cage of metal and sutures held her jaw in place but he could make out words close enough to a joke about her outfit.
    No sooner than the guards stepped back, she lunged at him. Her hands grabbed his face smearing blood and locking on for a kiss. Alarms blared and soon Mitchell was drug from the room. The stun rods crackled as they struck her again and again and her pained screams filled the halls met by roars and protest from the others that lined the corridors.
    As Mitchell was pulled away they took care not to harm him until they met up with Grayson. He took no time explaining before striking the man with a solid slap.
    “Sir! We can’t hurt him there’ll be an inquiry.”
    “I barley scratched the son of a bitch.”
    “But his tooth, you knocked it out, it’s gone.”
    “Idiot. I didn’t hit him hard enough to…”

    He reached for his earpiece to alert them just as Mitchell’s laughter grew.
    “Give me eyes on her now! Where the hell is she?!?!” He yelled as he moved towards a screen in the corridor.
    He punched in a code to patch his earpiece to the wall.

    “Her cell sir we just ran the protocols. She’s locked down tight.” The voice came back frantically.

    Grayson yelled back. “She played us. Eyes now!”

    The screen nearest the men hummed to life and they stared in disbelief as Mitchell chanted behind them.
    “Write with blood. Write with blood.”
    Her room was empty not a trace of her.
    “What the hell happened? She’s got no tools, her freaking mouth is wired shut. She can barley talk let alone cast a spell. What happened?”

    “Sir,” Smith started as he pointed to a spot on the feed. A small speck, Mitchell’s tooth lay there. As the screen flickered something else could barley be made out. A pattern on the floor.

    “What the hell is that?” Smith asked in awe.
    Grayson slid against the wall, head in his hands.
    “It’s blood. Her blood. We missed it. She wasn’t just chewing her fingers. She was using the blood this whole damned time.”
    The others started in on Mitchell hoping to quiet him.

    “It’s a spell.” Grayson continued.

    Smith took a closer look.
    “What does it say?”

    “Travel without moving. She freaking teleported out of here and we just hand delivered her the last piece of the damned spell.
    Only thing I hate more than witches is a smart witch.
    Tell them to suit up. Hunt is on.”

    REPLY
  • Jamie Kingston
    January 17, 2015, 6:59 pm

    Blood is useful. It’s the stuff that flows through your body keeping it going. But beyond that, it’s gross. It’s sticky. It stinks. And it carries every damn miserable nasty disease that humanity has managed to stumble across from the moment we came down out the trees and started walking upright. Worse — there’s just something in us, something cruel and wrong, that enjoys spilling it, no matter how disgusting we find it once it’s pooled and cooled on the outside, taking life with it.

    That’s why I just hate running across messages in it. They’re even worse than fresh, wet, glistening disease-carrying blood. They’re full of pain, torment, and desperation. Messages written in blood show for the naked eye what are almost always someone’s last moments. The writing goes from the carefully penned letter of someone wanting their message to be legible, understandable, to the feeble, inarticulate squiggle of someone whose consciousness is fading, thoughts fluttering away to the nowhere and nothingness thoughts dissolve into when the light of the mind begins to flicker and falter.

    My friend Hank called me and I found the blood writing. His company was knocking down an old, 19th century building up on a hill, with a view to build something new — a hotel, a condominium building, something that would be done quickly and cheaply for the most profit. They got the wrecking ball swinging, but the operator suddenly shut down, jumped out the cab, handed in his hard hat and quit. Just like that. Any calls the company made to him were met without comment.

    Hank has the certifications to operate a wrecker, so they put him in it, and the way he told it to me over drinks and dinner, it was like he just got the feeling of someone begging him, from the deepest pool of their soul, not to wreck the building. Please not to wreck it. Hank is not the scare easy type, but he had ordered four shots of Johnnie Walker and done two of them just to get himself started talking. He’s not Sighted, so he couldn’t tell me any description but that it was someone who felt like they were in pain. Desperate. Terrified. And that it was very, seriously important to them that the building not be wrecked.

    I’m officially on the books as a consultant because I gotta eat too, but “supernaturally gifted busybody” is more an appropriate job description at this point in time. I do a bunch of research on the building, to see if anyone died there. If anything weird happened. Was anybody murdered or did anyone go missing? Nothing turned up on microfiche in the library. But that didn’t really mean anything. More in our stars, Horatio. I would have to go do the laying on of hands.

    I’m not certified to operate a wrecker, but since that’s where the guys got their wiggins on, I sat in the seat, to see if there were any impressions left to work from. Hank sits in his pickup, radio blasting hip hop, and nose in the paper, trying to pretend he doesn’t mind being here at a site he’s decided is haunted. I fidget in the seat, feeling nothing except annoyed. I shrug, and reach for the ignition key. The wrecker putters and sputters to life. Still nothing. I’m going to have to go the whole way to get the whole experience. I was afraid of that. I read a manual online just because I expected it might go down like this.

    I pull the lever that swings the wrecking ball back, and there it is. Despair and grief along with an imploration to not wreck the building — yet. “Yet” is important. Whatever the spirit or boogum is that’s haunting this boarded up, rotting old building, is okay with us wrecking it once whatever message it is trying to send is received.

    I go tell Hank that, and reach into my saddlebag. I have to go into the dilapidated old place, so I reach for what I brought: Black bandanna to keep dust and abandoned cobwebs out of my hair. Next I put on a pair of clear plastic goggles to keep dust out of my eyes. I tug on a pair of dollar store work gloves, and pull out the big Mag-Lite. “If I’m not back in an hour at most, call my cell.” I check the phone: the battery’s good. The bars are not. “Shit. If I’m not back in an hour at most, give me another hour, then go home.” I’ll get out or not without putting Hank in danger. He and his wife have a baby on the way. Hank wants to argue on principle but not sincerely. I give him the Stern Look, and he gusts a sigh, agreeing to my instructions. “Be careful,” he says, as if I need to be told that.

    It doesn’t take ten minutes. Whatever restless thing has been disturbed by the wrecking of the building it apparently wanted someone to come see why it wanted the building saved for a minute. I get a sense of gratitude the minute I pry a board free from a low window and wiggle in through the space. “Yeah, okay,” I mutter through half-parted lips. I pause to switch the bandanna from my hair to my face. I can wash my hair. “You’re welcome.”

    It’s a one in three. When you’ve got unruly dead and an old building, it’s either in a closet somewhere, the roof, or the basement. I have an app on my phone. It rolls the d3 and I get the roof. The spirit has other ideas, though. The minute I step foot on the old steel stairs, there’s a faint clanking from the basement. I take a step up, the clanking gets a little faster. Two steps up and it gets slower, but more insistent, somehow. So I’m getting cold by going up. Thanks, dead guy. Downstairs to the basement it is.

    The basement is full of old crap, like basements are. Crates are strewn haphazardly across the floor, faded paint barely visible through a patina of dust, the label of their contents long lost to time.

    I play the Hot Peas and Butter game with the spirit, since it seems happy enough to lead me to whatever is down here. There’s a boiler, but there’s nothing in the boiler room. There’s a little decroded card table and chairs I wouldn’t trust a toddler to sit in, but I’m cold if I go that way. There’s a locker room. Warmer, even without water in the pipes. Some lockers are in good condition despite their age. Some have doors that are hanging off. Some are rusted shut.

    This part, the spirit isn’t helping with. I got as much help as I’m getting. Something important is in the locker room; something that will be destroyed if the building is wrecked. But the spirit is either unwilling or unable to tell me which locker. I wish my cousin were here. She’s the one with the gift that’d let her see in living color what the hell the boogum is on about. I can just feel what it’s on about, sometimes talk to it if it has strength or words to use them. Not tonight. So I search the lockers, methodically, one by one. It takes the better part of the night before I find the bloodstains. Whoever this ghost was, they died bleeding out. In a corner. But once I touch the bloodstain, it’s like being on a runway. The droplets that fell are lit up to my eyes like tiny runway lights leading me to a locker at the far end of the room from the bloodstain. Wily guy — ‘cause I’m getting a sense of male now once I touch the bloodstain — tried to lead away from whatever he hid.

    I find the note folded tiny teeny sharp into a corner in the roof of a locker, and pluck it free after a lot of prying and gentle tugging. The spirit gives me a burst of triumph and gratitude, then vanishes. I can tell the note’s written in blood. But my battery is dying after playing locker hunt all night. The phone’s battery is still good, though, and once I make my way upstairs and out, I walk the half mile it takes to get me enough signal to call a cab. While I wait, I text Hank that they can go back to work.

    REPLY

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