Flash Fiction February Excerpts

Not as easy as it looks…

Day 1: Date Night.

Sandra’s dress was Very Peri through and through, all the way to the floor. The front had somewhat of a sash and several tasteful folds. Still enough to cover her ample cleavage, and hold several shuriken, throwing knives, nage teppo, and probably a derringer knowing her. I wonder who designed this dress, because it was stylish and still managed to hold enough weaponry to take down a rival gang.

In case anyone is wondering.

#FlashFicFeb

Day 2: Focus.

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Downtown Brown is coming for you, Charlie!

Charlie kept thinking to himself, “Gotta keep punchin. Gotta keep swingin. Gotta get my guard back up.”

Then there was a loud thump on his left ear. Was that a foot? Is this MMA? Is that the ceiling?

Charlie thought back to his first ever day of boxing. It was a private lesson in his dad’s buddy’s basement gym. He did a little weight training and learned about cardio. He never even strapped the gloves on the first day. Dad’s pal Jim was an expert trainer, though. Charlie remembered thinking about all the trophies on the wall.

“Speed. Power. Focus.” Jim’s words echoed in Charlie’s head from a later lesson.

Wait. Focus? Where are we? Oh, Jeez! That’s the ref. Gotta get up. Gotta stay focused.

Charlie struggled to his feet and shook off some of the many cobwebs. “Gotta stay focused,” he thought.

He answered the ref’s request to continue with a big nod, trying to appear as coherent as possible. For whatever reason, the ref was convinced Charlie was okay to continue. Although the ref did politely remind Charlie that one more of those and he was going to call it.

Charlie’s opponent was a big dude named Downtown Brown. The guy had a wicked right hook. In fairness, the guy had a wicked everything. Charlie was puzzled how this guy wasn’t considered a heavyweight.

Charlie came back out swinging. This time he could hear his trainer, Jim’s oldest son, yelling “Stick and move! Don’t try to stand your ground or this guy’s gonna kill ya!”

He was right. Charlie remembered the fight footage of Downtown Brown’s last three fights. All knockouts. All within the first two rounds. What round was it? Third, maybe? That last punch came in through Charlie’s defenses like a hot knife through butter.

A large red glove connected dead center of Charlie’s face, and everything went black. The mat came right up to greet Charlie’s motionless body. The white towel flew up over the top rope from Charlie’s corner, and everyone rushed in to make sure Charlie was still alive.

Day 3: Stars. A Star Trek fanfic.

“Coming into normal space in three, two… one,” said Lt. Peter Schilling.

“Status report?” replied Captain Langley, clutching her coffee cup. She silently prayed this was the one.

Envok answered in his usual logical manner “All systems are functioning within normal parameters. Jump complete, Captain.”

Taking a sip of her coffee, “Prob drive?” Langley asked.

“We are at reality status .09, Captain,” said Dr Anton Markov, Chief Science Officer.

Captain Langley sighed and sunk back into her leather chair. 32 successful jumps, but still not anywhere near their base reality. She once again regretted ever installing an experimental new drive on board the USS Archer C. Admittedly, it was better than patrolling for Borg or slugging it out with the Romulans. Or was it?

Taking another sip of her favorite comfort beverage, she said, “Begin resetting the Probability Drive for next jump. Set the clock for 24 hours. Sensors on full sweep. Main view screen on.”

At least it was .09 reality. This meant the ship wasn’t floating in cotton candy or surrounded by house cats. Of the 32 jumps, about a third of them ended in something truly bizarre. Dr Markov installed this insidious nonsense building on Montgomery Scott’s Trans Warp theory. The problem is, it didn’t work the way it was intended to. Later, it turned out the simulations were manipulated by Markov and the drive itself, having taken on some sort of sentience of its own.

The main viewer flickered on. The bridge crew was treated to a spectacular view of deep space. Langley asked, Okay. What’s out there?”

Enamored with the view, Chief Navigation Officer Borell replied, “Stars.”

Day 4: Legend.

I have to say, these prompts have been fantastic! I could do much longer stories based on any of these so far. This is fun! Today is only an excerpt, though:

Three shaggy, long-bearded men sat around the campfire after another long day of trekking through the woods in search of a legendary dragon and its treasure. It was that time of night, after dinner but before bed when tales of daring and epic deeds would be told. Each man, starting with Ulric will tell one thing that makes him more noteworthy than other men.

Day 5: Fight!

I’ve been on a Rangers kick.

I had so many choices for this one. This prompt could have led easily to three or four more stories. I ended up going with a little Power Rangers Fan Fic:

Punch/block and a short front snap kick sent the putty flying. It exploded when it hit the ground. Their boss, a very large man, more a small giant, laughed heartily at them. He had a large belt adorned with what appeared to be championship title awards. Whatever ogre they were up against, this guy meant business. There was a veritable army of putties between Xander and the boss man.

Day 6: Oath.

Reginald finally thought of something to say in his polite, reserved manner, “My oaths bind me to a higher calling, rogue.”

Thael pretended to be wounded. “Holy crap! He spoke,”

“Now that’s enough! It’s one thing to make fun of me with your jests, fool. I will not have you offending the priestess, too.” Sir Reginald said, getting a little red faced.

“What, you take an oath to her, too? Whaddya marri..mmrmf.” Jessie reached over and clamped a hand over Thael’s mouth to keep him from really getting in trouble.

Day 7: Storm.

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It only got worse from the start. The clouds formed seemingly out of nowhere. A calm, quiet East Coast afternoon turned into an utter disaster within a few short minutes. Surprisingly, it wasn’t even a hurricane.

“Note to Zordon: Windshield wipers.” Trent said over group comms.

Day 8: Weapon.

The Peregrine’s sole defensive mechanism was her belly mounted mass driver cannon. Peregrine’s mecha could hold off the Dragons for a while, but the main gun was either going to have to stop the enemy cold or the Peregrine’s bridge crew was going to have to perform some kind of magic trick to get them out of this jam unscathed.

Day 9: Anonymity.

This was one of the tougher days of the challenge. I spun it into a story about my superhero RPG campaign world. I like to call it the JCU after DC Universe. It all started back when I was running DC Heroes back in the 1980’s and has grown from there.

A little set up on this one. It revolves around a character I named Satellite. He’s a cybernetic vigilante who has constant AI communication with a satellite in low Earth orbit capable of materializing and teleporting equipment down to him. The character was actually inspired by Jem and the Holograms with a little bit of Remington Steele thrown in. Here’s the excerpt:

One of the best parts of being a masked vigilante, aside from slugging it out with supervillains every other day, is that no one knows who’s under the mask. I mean, really for all anyone truly knows, I could be anyone under this face plate. Walk up to anyone on the street out of costume and say, “I’m the Manhattan Marauder,” and you’re gonna get laughed at.

Today’s adventure actually started out that way. I was walking downtown to meet a contact in the robbery case I’d been following. I stopped at a little convenience store on the corner for a cup of coffee. When I walked out, I was watching a blue streak going by in the sky, probably a cape, and I tripped over a homeless man.

Day 10: Street Art

This is what needed to be fixed with magic.

James tapped the button on his helmet and said, “HQ? Hey. It’s me. All clear on that situation with Atomic Mass. He’s headed back to Meta Jail. Is, uh, Silver Sorceress around?”

“This is Night Raven. Patching you through now. What’d you do this time, James?” “Well,” he said hesitantly, “You remember that really nice mural on the wall at 6th and Jordan? Yeah? Well, I might’ve sorta put a guy through it today…”

“She is gonna hex you, James,” Night Raven replied sternly in her angry mom voice. “We’re not your personal cleanup crew!”

“I heard the whole thing.” Silver Sorceress said, sounding very annoyed. “Can’t we do this the old fashioned way?!?”

Day 11 Music.

“Macie to Seven-Two actual. Your beacon is on. Exfil in ten minutes. Acknowledge,” crackled to life over the comms.

“This is Seven-Two Actual. Acknowledged.” Gunny said into his comms. “Thanks Mace.”

Gunny switched his comms to team, “All right you apes! She’s playing our song. Form up on me. On the bounce!”

The old song “Puttin on the Ritz” began playing. A ten minute countdown timer appeared in the corner of everyone’s HUD. Once the music stopped, the skid was sky lifted and anyone not on board was going to have a long walk home. The Fightin 72ndth had never left a trooper behind, at least not a live one.

Day 12: Danger!

I have found a door loosely buried under about a quarter inch of dirt. I brushed away enough that I could see markings. It’s a door, wooden veneer over wood? Metal? Can’t say for sure yet. Has to be at least eight feet tall. Someone painted it brown to help it blend in with the side of the hill. There’s a caduceus painted on it in a lighter shade of brown. Doubt there’s anything medical going on here.

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Word to the wise, there are at least twelve tribes we know of on Earth. Their signs are all snake or dragon related. Ouroboros, Caduceus, Hydra (Similar to Tree of Life?) and Amphisbaena we know for sure mark some of their entrances. If you see those markings, they ain’t gang bangers so stay away!

Day 13: Lush

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“Recon Five-Two to Peregrine: No signs of anything going on above the canopy. No signs of sentients or civilization. Zero cities, buildings, or ruins. We may have hit the jackpot on this one. Preparing to go below the canopy.” Lt Parker signaled back to the ship in orbit.

She slid the lever from “Gerwalk” to “Soldier” and her mech responded in kind. She felt the cockpit shift and she was now vertical facing out of the vehicle’s cockpit into green for miles. There was so much green you could mix paint all day and still not come up with as many shades of green as what lay before her. She fired her stabilizing thrusters and found a good place to set down.

Day 14: City. Power Rangers RPG Lightning Force Fanfic.

“Ever wonder why us?” Lori said plainly as they looked across from Team Lightning Megazord’s cockpit and the giant green acid monster.

It was the latest threat to Bennett’s Cove. The scenario had played itself out as so many times before. The Rangers morphed, beat the putties and the big bad until it exploded brilliantly. Then things went completely sideways. Instead of simply vanishing, the Green Blob Monster sprayed goo everywhere.

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Des Moines, Iowa.

The Triumvirate ship was nice enough to beam down putties for the blobs to infect, turning them into larger bubblegum acid monsters. The Rangers called down the lightning and their Zords appeared. They managed to corral the blobs in a construction site after a few failed splattering messes wrecked parts of the nightclub and resort areas of town.

“We’re the chosen ones. The teenagers with attitude that we’re always hearing about,” Brock said casually.
“No, I mean, why Bennett’s Cove and not, like Des Moines, Iowa, or Venice Beach. Why here?” she asked with her yellow helmet turning toward the team.

Trent muttered under his breath, “What the heck is in Des Moines, Iowa, and where is it?”

Day 15: Desert

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“Ever have a really good bowl of fried ice cream?” Conrad Baker asked.

“We’re out here in the God-forsaken middle of nowhere desert and you’re talking about frying something?” Thompson replied.

Thompson came from Mars, where apparently some Earth customs hadn’t quite translated so well. The whole 72nd broke the rule about getting to know the new guy because Thompson was sorta dumb, but loveable. No one could stay mad at him for more than a minute, not even Gunny.

“Nah, dude.” Lewis chimed in, “It’s only kinda fried. See, ya take some cinnamon ice cream and roll it in a mixture of brown sugar, flour and a little more cinnamon. Then you dunk it in the fryer for like thirty seconds and serve it in a cinnamon churro shell. Cover that in chocolate syrup, whip cream and throw a cherry on top.”

“Lewis knows his desserts,” Baker added.

Day 16: Mountain

The group stopped in a magically lit room. In the middle of the floor stood an armor stand covered in a suit of light blue full plate armor. The shoulders were raised with uneven jagged points on it Rust or some other brownish red powdery substance coated the jagged shoulders and joints of the armor.

What was perhaps more disturbing was the dwarven skeleton sitting in front of the stand. There was a quill pen and bottle of ink on the floor next to it. A dusty, closed tome lay in its lap. The skeleton’s empty eye sockets stared blankly down at the book.

“Well, Sir Darius, we climbed ya mountain,” Matthias quipped.

“Ignorant peasant.” Sir Darius replied. We have fought our way down countless fathoms of dirt through golems, elementals, and demons to find this suit of armor. I still firmly believe we are in the incorrect location.”

Day 17: Mood

Today is the epitome of indifference. Flash Fiction? I’m not sure how fictitious this is going to be. Let’s just be free.

We’re free from facts. Facts jut get in the way of saying what we want to say always trying to validate, and prove how right we are. So, maybe this is fiction of sorts. You can’t prove it didn’t happen, right?

We’re free from voice. Many times, we write in third person. How’s about we just cut out the middle person and have a conversation for a change, okay?

I’m just in the mood to kinda fly free form today. It’s just the way things have been. Letting go is a key to joy, peace and happiness. That’s not the same as, “I don’t care.”

It’s the same as, “I’m not going to get riled up about anything.”

Truthfully, what is there to get riled up about? We see various characters get riled up over things all the time. We thrive on drama and action in the fictional world. In the real world, we tend to shy away from it, at least in terms of interactions with other beings.

Poke around. Explore. Have fun. That’s the kind of action and adventure I’m in the mood for.

The mind is an expansive and sensuous place. Run around in it. Do cool stuff. That’s my whole story today. Have a good one!

Snoopy (Left) and his brother Nemo.

Day 18: Color

“Ever notice there’s no orange Ranger?” Lori asked out of nowhere.

“There’s no checkered or plaid Ranger, either. What’s the point?” Brock asked.

The Morphin Grid responds to curiousity.

Suddenly Alpha Four chimed in on the comms, “We mustn’t speak of such things, children.”

Everyone stopped, with their respective jaws dropping. Xander tapped his comm off and on once to make sure he heard it correctly. Did Alphour really just say they can’t discuss Ranger colors?

Xander added into the discussion, trying to bait Alphour a little, “From my research on the Morphin grid, apparently alternate Earths throughout the multiverse have Orange, Teal, Gray, and Purple Rangers. It’s possible, I guess.”

Day 19: Senses

Captain Warnke received her tray with teacup and scone from the slender, young, blonde assistant. “Much appreciated,” she said quietly to her page. “That will be all,” she said, taking a sip of tea.

The entire bridge smelled of warm, buttered scone. The scent of the steamy tea cut through the buttered scone aroma and cleared the captain’s sinuses. She sniffed a little, taking in the aroma. Warnke was fond of Darjeeling tea. She had been drinking it since she was a child.

“No.” Warnke said in her British accent. “No. I’ll fly a Hawk with a tow line attached to the Columbus. If I don’t make it, none of this will matter anyway. Ready a Hawk. Haines is in charge while I’m out.”

Day 20: Dream

I intend to live in a cabin; near a lake; in the woods; with a view of the mountains; where I can sit in a hand built wooden chair next to a stone fire pit where I cook many delicious meals. I will befriend as many animals as I can. I will walk around the lake at least once per day.

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I want to be within an hour’s walking distance of a small town. Other than electrical and water, my cabin will be mostly off the grid. I only need to go into town to use the WiFi occasionally and buy supplies. I might get one of those fancy recumbent tricycles if I get tired of walking. My car is going to be parked and probably covered most of the time.

I want to enjoy fresh air at night outdoors as often as possible. I want to watch the sun rise and set next to the lake. I’ll watch the geese and the ducks come and go. With some luck I’ll even get to see the deer occasionally, and maybe a raccoon. I don’t hunt or fish anymore, so they have nothing to fear from me.

Day 21: Creature

“Uh, I’m gonna need all hands on deck for this one. Something huge just crawled out of the bay near the docks and started tearing up the place.” Brock said calmly into his wrist communicator.

Another Lightning Force Fanfic.

It had three heads and was covered in scales from head to toe. The scales bristled with the metallic sheen of armor. It had two giant lobster like claws and a long tail ending in fins. Its unforgiving red eyes seemed to be looking for something. Whatever this was, wherever it came from, it was determined to wreck everything until if found its prize.

The thing roared from its middle and left heads while a massive blast of lightning erupted from the right head, splitting a nearby warehouse in half and setting the building on fire. Brock was halfway afraid of this monster. The Rangers had fought several such beasts, just usually not up front.

“Hey, uh, Alpha? Since I don’t see any putties and there was no little dude, any chance we can let the military handle this one? Maybe they can ram it with a battleship or nuke it from orbit or something?”

Day 22: Machine

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It had been a day since they would have been declared overdue. As far as they knew, the escape pod’s beacon was active. Barnes kept vigil, watching out the small, foggy window for any sign of movement beyond passing debris. The pod had a rudimentary maneuvering thruster and a small computer for calculating atmospheric landings, not that there was a planet anywhere near wherever they were to land on.

Barnes was still reeling from everything that happened prior to grabbing the lieutenant and punching out in the first escape pod they found. When it all happened, she was clearly as bewildered as he was. Secretly he thought she would have rather been stuck in the escape pod with anyone other than the balding, middle aged engineer with a cheesy black mustache and pot belly. He wouldn’t harm a fly, but he wasn’t much for conversation aside from crosswords, conspiracies, and engineering.

She stirred a little in her sleep. Barnes figured she was probably having a dream about the accident. It was enough to give anyone a major case of PTSD, he reckoned. Even he was still pretty shocky after what had gone down.

Day 23: Explore (Star Trek Fan Fiction.)

Captain’s Log, Supplemental: Captain Asuka Daniels-Langley USS Archer-C. It has been 27 days since the malfunctioning Probability Drive dumped us out of warp space into a part of the galaxy that doesn’t appear to be on any standard star charts or maps, we possess. Since we have a little time before the engines can be calibrated for the next jump home, I thought it would be a good time to have a look around.

We’ve found a fifteen planet system with potential for sentient life on at least two of the planets and a few of the accompanying moons. I’m taking us to the fifth planet in the system. It registers as Class M and appears to have sign of technological advancements as well as cities. End update.
 

Day 24: Home

Fall weather aside, I will say it’s very liberating being out on the open country roads alone. It gets a little brisk at night, but it hasn’t been too bad. That’s what stocking caps and coats are for, right? I literally slept under a bridge one night, alone. I thought maybe some of the local wildlife was watching me from across the creek, but they didn’t bother me any. It’s kinda like having neighbors.

I love it when people say, “Aren’t you a little old to be bicycling across country?” I chuckle at that. How old do you have to be? Just because you haven’t seen me before doesn’t mean I’m not just another local out getting some exercise. Except for small Minnesota towns where the locals all know each other, I guess.

I miss the cats a little. There was no way to take them with me, though. I see a stray every once in a while, but it’s not the same. Just makes me think of mine.

Day 25: Belief (Star Trek Fan Fiction.)

What had become an old, familiar ping on the Science Officer’s station could be heard. Captain Langley set her tea down on its tray. She took a deep breath. In the back of her mind, she kept saying, “This is going to be the one. This is the one. We’re going to make it this time.”

“Main viewer on. Status report,” she said in her calmest captain’s voice.

XO Envok started to reply, but the tale on the main viewer was evident. They had come out of warp right in front of a Borg cube. Everyone’s jaw dropped except for Captain Langley. She clenched her teeth and slammed her fist down on her armrest.

“Damn it!” she exclaimed.

Before she could utter another sentence, an all too familiar voice came over the comms on all frequencies and all channels. “Attention USS Archer-C. Power down your engines and shields. Prepare to be boarded. You have one minute to comply. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

Day 26: Magic (Power Rangers Fan Fiction)

“So, this ‘Lokeen’ guy is a sorcerer?” Rose said, inquisitively.

Xander thought for a moment and said, “It’s highly unlikely magic really exists. Sleight of hand tricks and optical illusions are as close as we get to real magic.”

Liv scoffed. The group’s resident mystic looked clearly perturbed. “Shows how much you’ve been paying attention. Think about it,” she said.

“Liv’s right guys,” Brock replied. “If you think about it, we have a device that covers us in a special armor and enhances our physical skills and fighting talents. How is that not magic?”

“And we ride around on sentient machines that have a personality of their own. How do you explain that without magic?” Trent added.

“That’s exactly right,” Xander said. “A famous science fiction writer once said, “’Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,’ so it’s all just technology. Lokeen is probably just a scientist who got extremely lucky.”

Day 27: Plane in the Woods

Plane in the woods.

“Ross, get down here. You’re not going to believe this.” Lt Parker said calmly into her comms. She scanned the fuselage of the wreck with her spotlight, her mech walking cautiously around the trees toward the nose of the craft. “Come down on my signal. I’m not joking.”

Charles Ross was never one to question the LT; True, he had his share of bad luck with planetside landings, but so far this particular forest world was different. Plenty of vegetation; no significant signs of fauna. This was their second tour planetside searching for signs of sentient life or civilization.

“Recon Five-Two to Peregrine,” Lt Parker said over the comms. “I’ve got an anomalous situation down here. It appears to be a downed civilian airliner. Requesting permission to investigate. Over.”

A minute or two later the comms buzzed to life. “Recon, this is Peregrine. Did you say, ‘civilian airliner?’ Over.”

Lt Parker cleared her throat and repeated her message. “Yes. It’s an old civilian jet aircraft. Can’t make out the serial numbers. Appears intact. Requesting permission to take a closer look.”

Day 28: Beginnings

What do we have for characters? Checking the email. Oh, a paladin, a cleric, a barbarian, a thief, and a warlock. Real stealthy bunch there (chuckling.) The holy rollers in the party will eat the undead for breakfast. Highlight and delete…

Encounter 1 (In media res:) The group is narrowly crushed by the giant’s boulder as it smashes through the caravan they are accompanying. They have somehow gotten roped into guarding the princess as she travels on her diplomatic mission to…

He trails off in thought as he takes another drink of soda. There’s no way we’re gonna talk Ed (the barbarian’s player) and Kevin (the thief’s player) into going along with anything royal. Delete all that.

Encounter 1: You all meet at the friggin inn.

Encounter 2: Kobolds.

Gary sighs. Too cliched. They’re all going to call him out on it. Gotta come up with something fresh. Think, Gary. Think.

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