Category Archives: Fiction Writing

#finishthatthought – “Doomsday… Check!”

Alissa Leonard has created the Finish That Thought” Flash Fiction compo, which usually provides an opening line and some ‘special challenge’ words to include, and must be less than 500 words. This week’s compo opening line was “One minute remained on the timer.” and the special challenge words were: twin[s], doctor[s], and luminescent[scence].

Here is my story, if you don’t want to see it posted in its original place:

Doomsday… Check!

by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy) [272 words]

One minute remained on the timer.

“Bishop to Queen’s Knight Four. Check.”

The US President gently switched the ticking to the other side of the table. The left hand clock still had four, maybe five minutes before the minute hand would let the metal flag fall. Under the dim lights, the twin luminescent dials glowed ominously, as the Soviet Premier’s doctor fussed over him.

“Nyet, nyet!” the most powerful man in the World said, with an impatient wave. “Queen takes Bishop. I am surprised at you.” He started the right hand clock again.

“I like living close to the edge, Comrade. Knight to King’s Bishop Three. Check.”

Still time. Still a tiny sliver of the hand holding up the red flag.

“Ahh… Bishop takes knight. You are being kind to me, I think.” The second hand started its slow sweep again, like Death’s Scythe reaping.

“Rook to King eight. Check.” Only mere seconds must remain. With every tick of the Premier’s clock, the President’s flag bounced a little. The most powerful man of the Free World willed it to stay up just a little longer.

The Premier laid his hand on the chess clock, pausing both clocks. “I see now the game you are playing. Each sacrifice. Each attack. Each loss. All meaningless. All done just to…” he searched for the right words.

“…to keep the Red Flag flying!”

The Premier slapped the table, spilling both his vodka and the President’s Jack Daniels.

“And so… we talk disarmament, yes?”

The President looked at both clocks, then smiled. His opponent had not noticed the red flag had fallen.

“I think we have time.”

#fivesentencefiction – Limitless

Lillie McFerrin Writes

Lillie McFerrin hosts a Five Sentence Fiction competition on her blog. This week’s theme is Limitless.

Here is my entry:

Tiredness was to blame for the accident, but Paul Berry’s helmet reduced his injury to mere concussion as he left the plane for the last time.

The 500th consecutive jump would have given Berry a world record, if only he had fallen down instead of up.

Paul couldn’t believe it when he woke floating on a cloud, standing in the dock accused of breaking the Law of Gravity.

The surreal trial ended, given the overwhelming evidence against him, with the judge donning the black cap.

So, when Berry woke up the second time, sentence was quickly served.

#FiveSentenceFiction – Wisdom

Lillie McFerrin Writes

Lillie McFerrin hosts a Five Sentence Fiction competition on her blog. This week’s theme is Wisdom.

Here is my first ever attempt at one:

Who would have thought a dentist, all dentists in fact, would be the centre of the World’s largest Satanic conspiracy?

It’s safe to tell you, now you are restrained and the anaesthetic is working, so there is no point in struggling.

You see, God does nothing without a purpose, including giving you a set of apparently useless teeth, seats for your soul.

I simply extract them, hand them over to this useful little demon here, and you won’t even remember a thing.

They’re not called Wisdom Teeth for nothing, you know…

the definite article – a story for Jessica West that doesn’t contain ‘the’

the, Definite Article
None of it is real. Nothing here is real. Whether reality ever was, or if there ever was a definite article is not a question worth answering. I can see grass, gone to seed…

“gone to seed” seems a phrase I am familiar with. It seems a failure, a criticism, even though (I assume) it is what a grass plant wants (desires? yearns? exists?) to achieve.

…and other plants sprout from stony ground, which my memory (?) tells me is a clay, but with much humus – Is that a word? I’m imagining leaves dropped, decayed, broken apart by weather and insects and time, being churned into earth by worms – due, if apparent cause and effect are to be believed,…

They’re not!

…to all around me there being large trees. Some ancient. Some planted, seemingly, as a crop of some kind. These latter are coniferous, my internal voice is telling me. I wonder where all this information is coming from. Why whoever is sending it to me thinks it is so important for me to know these things. I can see it all. I can smell it. None of it is real.

Lambs with mothers reek of piss and droppings and – thank you inner voice – milk. A dog that displays knowledge of me sniffs me impatiently, as I smell it (her?) in turn. My voice tells me she (!) stinks of ‘dog’. She wanders away a short distance, as I have not done a thing I should have done. I assume that is what it is.

Cause and effect.

I hear short sharp sounds, rhythmic and repeated. My voice wants to label them as birds, and be done with it, moving on to another thing to classify. Hasty voice. Why can I not sit here all day, just listening? So many different sounds. All just ‘bird’ my voice repeats to me. Yet there are others.

A whirring fast moving one, which moves from ear to ear and back again.

Bees. Flies! Insects!!!

A low far off rumble that never stops, nor wavers in its distant origin, but changes subtly as I lie here; wherever ‘here’ is.

Buses. Lorries! Cars!!!

A persistent whisper, accompanied by hairs dancing on my arms and head.

Air. Breeze! Wind!!!

A dog – I think it is one I saw before. Just now, my voice tells me: Don’t you remember? – has come to me. Its sounds are not pleasant, like wind or birds or even far off vehicles – An odd word. Thank you, voice, for sharing it – sharper than bees, but higher in pitch than birds. It is scratching at my chest.

This harsh feeling is also unpleasant.

After a time, though, she stops – I need to remind myself that this dog and one I saw earlier are likely to be one animal. That makes sense to me. My voice seems happier that I have reached this conclusion – and sits down next to me. Sounds from her are longer now, but still uncomfortable. I wish she would stop and let me listen to birds and bees and far away vehicles. And wind. I seem to like wind. It is cooling, when I feel both hot and cold right now. Hot in my arms and legs. Cold on my back – Voice tells me that is because I am lying on wet earth – and both hot and cold in my head.

That seems wrong somehow. I do not want to think about that.

I feel warmth on one side of my face. Voice tells me that if I lie here for a long time, that warmth will burn me. What do I care, I reply. None of this is real. However, part of me would like that warming light on my back. My spine is aching, lying here unmoving. My voice tells me that this is normal; that I have a problem with my spine that won’t go away, that doctors cannot fix. I wish it was warm though, as it stops me from seeing and hearing and smelling all this non-stuff, all this ‘not real’.

This annoys me. I want to experience this ‘not inside me, but outside’ where nothing is real.

A dog is here – Yes, voice, it is probably identical if not startlingly similar to one who was here earlier – but this one is not making noises. I am cheered up by this ‘turn of events’…

‘turn of events’ seems such an odd thing for me to think. I wonder at my internal language. Something… a word? … is missing. I can feel a hole in my mind where it used to be. Like a Black Hole only being seen because of light being absent from nearby stars. Where did that word go? Was it alone when it left?

… but her wet nose is cold on my face, even while her breath is gusty warmth. An odd mix. A hot wetness runs down my cheek to meet it. This wetness is salty. I do not know if a dog’s wet nose is salty, but this new wet feeling, which started at my eyes, rolled into my mouth. That was salty. My voice tells me it should be salty, and that is perfectly normal. I am not sure that I believe this. I have a feeling that this salty wetness is not a good thing.

I think that, of all things here that are not real, this is one I would like to ignore right now. I think that is best.

A warmer wetness is spreading beneath my back as I lie here. It feels as if it is carrying my own heat away, but my spine seems less cold now, which is a blessing. In fact, warmness and that ache seem to all be mixing together. I can smell a sweetness from it, which seems familiar. My voice, finally, seems silent; not wanting to classify this one. All very strange. Yet peaceful. None of this is real. Not anymore. Not for me.

Footnote
This story was written in the style of a six minute story (flash fiction – see http://sixminutestory.com for details) with minimal editing, mostly just straight out writing from start to finish. The story doesn’t contain the word ‘the’ (apart from ironically in the title) as a deliberate exercise; I am reliably informed that this was the brilliant idea of Justin Arnold (@themightierpen on Twitter). It was also a challenge thrown down to me by Jessica West (@West1Jess on Twitter) in the full gaze of Galen Sandford (@galensanford) who runs @6minutestory and helps us flash fiction writers everywhere.