Flash Fiction Challenge: “Frog Powder Seagull Tower Scissors”

And here we are again.

It is time, my little scrunchies, to conjure for the world another dab, another dollop, of some flash fiction.

Once again, you have five words to play with:

Frog

Powder

Seagull

Tower

Scissors.

You need to choose only one of those five words.

Yes, that’s right. Only one.

That one word must feature prominently in your fiction, whether directly or as a clear and forthright inspiration. You do not have 1,000 words but rather, you have 100. A hundred words, no more. That way, nobody will be taken away from NaNoWriMo if they’re participating for more than a mere handful of words.

Any genre will do.

Post your entries into the comment section below.

You’ve got till Friday, Black Friday, to turn in your entries. By noon EST.

I’m going to pick my favorite out of the bunch. That person will get both SHOTGUN GRAVY and IRREGULAR CREATURES as e-books. I’ll pick the winner sometime that following weekend.

Get to writing, fictioneers.

75 comments

  • I suspect that NaNo is sucking away at all my joy-joy (and that’s not a euphamism). Anyway, here it is…

    Sherri held the scissors in her hand. The painful memories of her childhood flashing in her mind. He would punch and kick her, and cut off all her hair. She was always ‘his whore’ and she hated the things he had made her do.

    He was downstairs now eating his dinner. She smiled when she thought of him clutching his stomach and turning purple as death came for him. She wondered who would find her, and if they would care that she was gone.

    She sat on her bed and laughed softly before drawing the blade lengthwise down each wrist.

  • The tower stood black against the twilight, a slender figure silhouetted against the light flickering at the top. He laughed at his own fortune. Those losers would be so jealous when he walked in with his bride.

    “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!”

    Golden strands shimmered down the side of the tower. He grabbed a fistful and dragged himself upward. Inside, he caught his breath and looked around. She lay on the ground, her neck bent at a gruesome angle.

    A noise behind him, he turned just in time to see the flames escaping the mouth of the dragon.

  • The Gulls

    The seagulls swooped, perched and buried their faces. I could see coiled things hanging from their mouths. No doubt, they were relishing every aspect of this unexpected meal.

    The shape that lay beneath them on the sand, of human size and form, failed even to twitch under the assault. I dashed across the sand towards it, prompted by a sense of duty.

    The gulls scattered only by feet when I stepped into their midst.

    “Frank, wake up!” I shouted. An empty vodka bottle lay beside the homeless man. “The birds are eating all your damned curly fries! You’ll starve, dummy!”

    http://lindsaymawson.blogspot.com/2011/11/so-our-flash-fiction-challenge-this.html

  • They should have given an Oscar to the guy who wrote Finding Nemo. The cartoon movie with the fish, you know? Guy’s better than Shakespeare. You know why? The seagulls.

    Every flapping, slapping, crawling thing in that movie had a smart mouth and too much to say, but this genius reduces the language of an entire species down to just one word—mine. Wow.

    That’s a writer. That’s a guy who cuts through the bullshit tells you straight: ugly fuckin’ bird’s gonna eat your heart out. That’s the power in a word; the right word.

    Mine.

    You, asshole, are mine.

  • I walked in on him while he was eating it. It was unpleasant, to say the least. I mean, you think he would have at least the decency to lock, or at least close, the door while eating such vile repast.

    Yet no, there he was. Door open, brazen as could be; chewing away at his grisly feast. It was a sight to render a grown man speechless, or give a grown man a wish to be sightless. The sight of Jim Henson eating frog legs was too horrifying for me to even comprehend.

  • She loved feeding baking soda dusted crackers to the seagulls at the beach, making them go “boom.” She cackled every time as they soared away the cracker, seized up mid-air and thudded to the ground, bellies bloated, orange legs twitching.

    But the seagulls were catching on and, worse, evolving.

    Mad with grief, they cawed to other flocks across the bay. The white sands darkened as their numbers filled the sky as the plea was answered by other flocks. They gathered above the girl’s clueless head. Like one body, they dove into a shrieking arc.

    She ran, but not far.

    http://barelyok.com/flash-fiction-challenge-frog-powder-seagull-tower-scissors.html

  • Thanks for the challenge, Mr. Wendig! My entry:

    Sorcerers promised love, treasures, and — most of all — wholeness —
    — Oaths they swore on the sacred texts of storybooks and fairytales.
    She believed. She hoped. She stubbornly persisted —
    — Through countless kisses bestowed in her quest to find the missing.
    Finally she found her prince transformed –
    — Only to discover she preferred the company of frogs.

  • Kids are curious about everything, and I was no different. I wanted to know how seagulls could fly and how frogs could swim. So, I experimented, I dissected.
    With scissors in hand, I set out to catch my first specimen. I held the squishy body tight in hand as I pulled its legs open and closed like a spring, which was my first observation. Next came the experiment: could the frog still swim without its legs?
    It was like cutting string, two snips. I put the frog back in the water and watched as it floated away. It didn’t sink!

  • Lazily scissoring around the tower, seagulls float high in the sky, following ancient patterns to the sound of the sea. Grounded, the young boy stares at the desiccated frog which has been keeping him company then back to the waves, waiting patiently.

    She’ll come back, he knows. She always keeps her promises.

    The frog crumbles a bit more under the wind’s gentle touch, powdered remains drifting down the rocks and tumbling through the cracks until they settle on the waves. The dust glitters with the touch of the sun. The unseen reflection of whitened bones gleam in the depths below.

  • Only run with scissors when you want to get hurt, she once told me. Whoever would actually want to get hurt, I asked myself, as I indulged in that first kiss. Oh, those scissors will gut you when you fall. She tried to warn me that everyone ends up hating her, and I was a fool not to listen. Slicing through my pages of emotions, she was more of a killer than a cropper, never cutting me into a beautiful design, but into a cruel, tantalizing chaos, never showing mercy, smiling as she went, wielding and rending my very soul.

  • She gasped and pointed to the fifty-story office tower in front of her, five-sided and smoky blue, the roof sliced at an angle. The tower now occupied the space where Kiddyworld used to be. The amusement park was already decaying when she was young, tightly-wound roller coasters pivoting roughly on aging tracks, spinning cars loudly creaking as ancient spidery arms flung terrified children in jerking circles. She, however, remembered the park as a glowing, whirling paradise. But now that the tower had plopped itself down on top of Kiddyworld, she knew the child inside her was gone as well.

  • [[never thought I could do this but…here it is]

    The Tower

    She stood in the Tower doorway, hands and feet bloodied, body aching. She ignored the darkness behind. Climbing the Tower mattered. If she was the last, it was all on her.

    Don’t look up. Just move.

    Halfway up the spiraling stone stairway, she stumbled.

    Concentrate. Next step up.

    The humming grew louder, though voices or machinery she could not tell.

    Nearly at the top of the stairs, the door stood closed, a challenge.

    Just ask, the sage had said. How does one ask a door?

    She knocked. Once, then again.

    The door opened.

    The world Burned.

  • “WARK.”
    She opened her eyes.
    Seagull. Flat, golden eye. The pristine white of its head and neck were streaked with blood and she stared uncomprehendingly for a moment before she remembered.
    “Fuck.”
    She sat up, ignoring the sick thud of her head, and shoved herself to her feet.
    She saw the wreck, caught in a tangle of wind-twisted trees fifty feet up, and knew immediately that Greg was dead. He hung out the busted windshield, bloody and still.
    The seagull landed heavily on his shoulder and cocked its head at her.
    The smile felt ugly on her lips.
    “Eat up,” she said.

  • Gravin stood at the precipice and looked at all he had created. This land and its inhabitants all owed their lives to his graphite. That baseless black powder spread thinly and thickly upon the blank canvas. Throwing a final handfull of his powdery medium into the air ; he watched as it conjealed and flowed into a familiar shape.

    Stepping back from the black archway, Gravin gave a wry smile and with a deep breath he closed his eyes and exhaled across his picture, to once again play start anew.

  • Powder.

    ‘Skin white as snowdrops. Crow-black hair. Blood-red lips.’ She recites the litany as she brushes. Stroke after stroke the words fill her, bitter as poison.

    She piles lustrous blonde locks to a pompadour. Fetches the powder. Her hands shake. Bone-deep fury.

    ‘Mirror, mirror,’ she snaps. ‘Liar, liar.’

    Blonde fades to ashen white. Powder hazes the air, fills her lungs. It burns, white fire, hot needles. She chokes, and fire becomes constriction, suffocation.

    Footsteps echo across marble. Snowdrop-pale skin reflects in the mirror. Soft fingers caress her cheek.

    A blood-red mouth by her ear whispers, ‘Who’s the fairest of them all?’

  • The pile of rubble had been left unattended for months. As if we’d care even the many sheets of such rough statistics could be counted as waste or should remain filed on each of their own precious stash. Jim warned of a fire hazard. Lucy called it a forgotten past. Although, the entire office was drowning under a silent fear. It was threatening our vision, duties and a few claustrophobic senses. The moods soon collapsed. Only then were the useless but still shiny scissors found in some of our drawers. Eye contacts and there we went. On a rampage for true fractions and residuals of nothingness. The vacuum of garbage cans liberated each of us the next morning. Gone, said Jimmy.

  • He meant to take a powder, another run at it, despite “it” not looking so good. Snow blinded, clutching one pole (the other one missing, as well as one glove, one boot, one ski), he clung to the precipice, on one leg swaying, while in the distance Sally (lovely Sally!) leaped and flapped, her whole body a semaphore. (Was she trying to tell him something or just making fun of him?) Just then Quizno flashed by, tall and handsome, followed by Sam, Rick, and Schlomo, laying down a single trail of powder like a bright zigzaggy arrow pointing toward oblivion.

  • Riddip.

    Oh, God. Not the frog again.

    Riddip.

    He always shows up when something’s going wrong, like he wants to make it worse. He does.

    Riddip.

    I know he’s sitting on the top of the couch, right behind me.

    Riddip.

    Maybe if I close my eyes, he’ll go away this time.

    Riddip.

    No, of course not. That would be too easy. What do you want from me, frog?

    Riddip.

    I’m going to need the shovel again, aren’t I?

    RiddIP.

    Great. Guess I’ll get the hacksaw, too. And a tarp. Bodies are hard to move.

    RiddIP.

    There really was no frog.

  • She hated the name they gave her; as if she were one of those goddamn American gladiators. Being 6 ‘3 at seventeen was a curse for Morgan Claudia Ericson. But now, they couldn’t call her Morgan, or Mae even; she would have liked that. Hell, she found it cute when the smart cookies in the jar noticed. Instead, they called her Tower. It was even worse when she wore her long black hair down. She was further mocked for it being the wrong color. Still, she had an ace up her sleeve; four year scholarship in computer science on her desk.

  • He meant to take a powder, another run at it, despite “it” not looking so good. Snow blinded, clutching one pole (the other one missing, as well as one glove, one boot, one ski), he clung to the precipice, one leg swaying, while in the distance Sally (lovely Sally!) leaped and flapped, her whole body a semaphore. (Was she trying to tell him something or just making fun of him?) Just then Quizno flashed by, tall and handsome, followed by Sam, Rick, and Schlomo, laying down a single trail of powder like a bright zigzaggy arrow pointing toward oblivion.

  • The reflection in the mirror doesn’t lie; but when Jack applied the powder to his cheek, that rule shattered like a glass table under the heavy application of a brick. No seams, no odd blotches, nor any sign of who had taken his seat a few hours ago. He looked weathered. He looked tired.

    He looked like his grandmother.

    Jack worked his mouth to test how well this design held. He took another breath, catching the faint scent of lotion and latex.

    His reflection always lied.

    And people paid him good money to be the best of liars.

  • Dear Father,
    We finally reached Maryland and saw Rebs for the first time. There was some serious fighting, it was gruesome, but Lt Col Chamberlain says to think about the higher purpose. We need to keep the Union together, that’s why all us boys of the 20th Maine are doing this. “Keep the powder dry!” Echoes in my head, but we were kept in reserve and never got to fire a shot. Tomorrow we’re supposed to be moving south, past a town called Sharpsburg …more marching. Heard someone say we got General Lee on the run now. Love to mother.

  • Denna looked at the forbidden scissors in her right hand. Her mother banished all of the dangerous cutting blades from the house four years ago. Denna could remember that day clearly now with the weapon in her hand, right down to the rotting smell.

    She found her mother rocking back and forth curled in a ball on the floor, with scissors in her right hand. Lying on the floor, next to her was Denna’s father. His body frozen and yet he was still creating a mess on the carpet.

    Denna clinched the scissors tightly and grinned. “The bastard deserved it.”

  • Billy and the Timely Scissors

    Billy never questioned how the scissors he found cut up Time, he was too preoccupied being a complete dick about it. He used the scissors on the lives of people he disliked. He’d cut out the last three times they paid their rent, leaving them homeless. He’d cut out the last ten dentist trips they had, leaving them with horrible toothaches, really mean shit like that.

    One day, he sneezed and accidentally cut out when his parents met. The scissors dropped to the floor. The end.

  • The pair reached the top of the dune and beheld more dunes.

    “Michaud?”

    “Forde?”

    “We only have enough water for one of us to return. Or both of us to die halfway there…”

    “No, one of us must warn them.”

    “What d’you recommend? Arm wrestlin’?”

    “No, I think something less taxing. Rochambeau?”

    “Fair dinkum.”

    “Is that a ‘yes’?”

    “Oui.”

    “Very well then, let us begin.”

    Two fists sat in two palms. Michaud counted.

    “Roh. Sham. Bo.”

    “Bugger.”

    The Australian had paper, the Frenchman scissors. Forde handed his canteen
    to Michaud. Michaud turned and walked away.

  • Edie sat alongside her daddy on the great mound of granite that overlooked the churning river rapids. When he told her that her rocky perch belonged to the Canadian Shield, she somehow felt both ancient and fresh as the spray of droplets that tickled her nose. She pointed to a seagull that dipped and rose below them. Wasn’t nature elegant? her daddy said. And when the seagull kissed the water’s surface, a set of jagged teeth snapped from the depths and the bird was gone. Edie gripped the mossy rock with her bare toes, suddenly afraid of falling.

  • The air is cold, speeding past my ears so fast it’s making them ache, go numb – sting even. I didn’t expect this, had it all planned out and shit. Thought it would be more spiritual, more enlightening. I think I was wrong, and now it’s a little too late. Pretty though; the sky above the tower so black with rain it looks like a moody shot on an old 8mm.

    Oh, I’m rolling, didn’t plan for that either… loss of co-ordination. Hello traffic-jam on 184th & Swan; horrific as usual. I’m about to be road kill, so totally not cool.

  • The tower was empty when he arrived.

    The prince was confused, looking around and above him, calling out the name of the woman who he knew was trapped there. Yes, he had taken his time getting to her, needing to do other duties before but she should have still been there.

    He waited, expecting her to come to the window and call for him to save her from her prison.

    Eventually, someone walked by, a young woman with closely cropped hair. She studied him for a moment then laughed. “You wouldn’t have been worth the wait anyway,” she said grinning.

  • A terrifying bellow broke the silence of the swamp. He stopped and turned. It was close. Blood dripped from a gash on his forehead and over his eyes. As he shook it away, he could just make out a huge, grotesque figure on the horizon. It was jumping left, right, ever closer. He could no longer run. His left arm was useless. His right hand held the only protection he had; a viol of fluid which glowed purple through the fog. The noise ceased. He looked up into flaming gold eyes of the craven beast. “Hello frog,” he said.

  • FROG

    Frog ate another worm. The pond seemed smaller this year, and the blue sky dazzled through the wire mesh which kept the herons off.

    The house was closed. But he saw the soft warm light, the shapes of people moving inside.

    He sat quietly, trying not to ripple the algae-covered surface. Sometimes he saw a figure at the window – a flash of blonde hair.

    With that came the memory of perfume. After dinner they’d come and throw the leftovers over the mesh. Then he’d eat properly.

    Frog ate another worm. Maybe they’d stay awhile this time.

    He missed his mom.

  • I wrote this before reading any of the others. To me it seems obvious, so I wonder if anyone else considered this theme:

    Frog Day Afternoon

    I’m not going to kiss that frog. I don’t care how many promises he makes. Wishes he can grant. Dreams he can fulfill.
    His moist eyes beckon to me, with an amphibious come-hither. A smile played upon his lips. “Come on,” he croaked casually. “What have you got to lose?”
    “Besides my self-respect? How about hygiene?”
    The frog re-adjusted his footing on the log. Frogs were fidgety creatures. Have you noticed that?
    “How many times have you met a magical talking frog? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
    I sighed. I kissed him.
    The man walked away. Now I’m the frog.

  • http://kathlynhawley.blogspot.com/2011/11/flash-fiction-challenge-seagull.html

    Here’s mine. A little Seagull, a little vampires, a little crazy mother:

    Beth hadn’t asked for a seagull for Christmas, but she got one. Her insane mother always gave the strangest gifts and liked to stab things with chopsticks. Well, at least Beth had free fowl for dinner. Except neither knew the seagull killed by chopsticks to the heart had been a vampire in daylight flight form. So when Beth was found December 26th with her blood drained, no one could blame her mother. Beth ate a vampire seagull for Christmas dinner and she became dinner herself. Her mother got her revenge by doing what she liked best, stabbing more things with chopsticks. And eating a lot of seagulls.

  • Octofroggies

    Taylor Smith, inventor of the Octofroggy, has died today. She was found face down in her second floor apartment, in a nest of newspapers and octo-slime.
    “She died doing what she loved,” said an unidentified spokesperson for the beloved pet inventor. “Recently she completed a military assignment involving bats and piranhas. Flying radar with teeth. Freeth. But her greatest love was the Octofrog. In accordance with her last wishes, notwithstanding the bylaws of the City of F——–, she will rest on the nest until the new batch hatches. The world will not see her like again.”

  • “I have refined all the collective world knowledge into this very fine powder,” the senior scientist said to his lab assistant. “Ingesting it in its entirety should create new neuropathways in my brain and I will see the world from a million new perspectives and achieve greater understanding,” he said.

    The lab assistant stared at the single gram of the orange powder sitting on the scale, “How do you intend to ingest it?” the assistant asked.

    “I will mix it in with water and drink it,” the scientist said, “Stopper it in that vial.”

    The assistant began scooping and sneezed.

  • One Shot

    You knew it’d be tough from the horrible instant the vindictive witch did her thing — poof.

    A frog? Seriously?

    Four ounces, three inches long, slimy as hell. How the fuck you supposed to get a princess to kiss you?

    Seven years it took but now everything’s lined up. This is it. You look good. You’ve talked it up to her and she’s ready.

    Just the one sweet kiss, and you’re back, baby.

    You get one shot.

    Don’t get distracted by the goddam bugs. Do not do it. Eat a fly, and she’ll never believe you’re anything but a frog.

    http://warnerkirby.blogs.com/clintonaut/2011/11/one-shot.html

  • Used it as a part of my current #WIP (#NaNoWriMo):

    “The bus pulled up into the Worker’s Park right on the outskirts of Aberdeen, it hugged the main road and the Washkah River. He got off the bus and smelled wet wood. Across the river there was the logging industry. He watched some of the largest seagulls he had ever seen roosting on an old pier that was nothing but vertical, sea-hammered logs. He was going to have to leave the gulls and find his way over to his new potential summer job.”

  • The Tower
    I looked up at The Tower and I was terrified.
    I was such a fool. What had possessed me to challenge this veteran of the wrestling ring to his crown as champion?
    Maybe Bella was right maybe they did spike your drinks here.
    All I had was one diet coke and next thing I know I’m jumping up and down on my seat at the back of the arena shouting ‘Pick me. I’ll go next. I’ll beat him to a pulp’
    Who was I kidding?

  • Flora flew out of the tower, satisfied with a job well done. The princess was arranged very prettily in her bed, perfectly displayed for that handsome prince.

    Time to go tell the King and Queen the good news; the princess was asleep. The silly thing would be woken by the prince, think she was in love, and the alliance would be solidified.

    She didn’t notice anything amiss until she got to the King and Queen in the throne room.
    “Uh oh,” she breathed. Something had gone very wrong with her spell. She was going to need a different prince.

  • They had their run-ins with scissors, only this time, things went bad. Their nights grew cold and coarse. One day, he arrived home with another pair of scissors and it was the last straw; she couldn’t take it anymore. “I’m leaving,” she announced and married the butcher from the next village, a year later giving birth to twins. He made a name for himself sharpening the prized Nakiri knives of famous chefs. Years later she received a package with a pair of scissors wrapped in newspaper. There was no note, no return address. She fell to the ground, crying, inconsolable.

  • Flash fiction is fun! 🙂 Usually I try to discourage ambiguity in the things I’m writing, but it seems like you have to heavily utilize implication for only 100 words…

    Jayne watched the frog as it jumped along the path outside the woman’s home, remembering the noise they had made when he was younger and had carefully removed their limbs with kitchen shears stolen from his mother. He wondered, standing there, what had drawn him to that, much as he wondered what drew him to the women he manipulated into making their own noises. The sun gazed in the window, and he greeted it with a smile, looking then to the motionless woman lying in the bed a room over, remembering.

  • “I will get your son,” the police officer said. “He was turning tricks to buy more drugs. His teeth are ruined. The drug does that.”
    Fifteen year old Tim appeared, emaciated, covered in sores.
    “Help me!” he begged into my relieved embrace. “I never want to touch those powders again.”
    For years he didn’t.
    Today his wife phoned. “Tim never showed at work yesterday. He emptied our bank account. He sold the car. The police found a bag of meth with a note.”
    Where are you this time? How could you leave your son?

  • The soldier emerged from the water, as silently as possible. The fort was made to repel entire armies, not one man.

    He crept through the corridors, storerooms and shadows. Every step brought him closer to his goal.

    The general was bent over his map. The one who’d killed the soldier’s friends, and then ordered his home put to the torch.

    The soldier drew his pistol. He moved as slowly and quietly as possible. He took aim, drew back the hammer, pulled the trigger.

    Nothing happened.

    The general turned and guards rushed in. The soldier regarded his weapon.

    Wet powder.

  • (Second Entry) – Tower

    Andrew gazed up at the tall dark brick wall before him. He believed in his cause whole-heartedly as he reached out to find a sturdy ledge to hold his weight. At about twenty-two feet up he began feeling the pain rising in his arms and thighs, but he pushed himself further up with thoughts of victory and freedom for his people. In thirty feet he could have climbed over the rail to release the down weight for the front gate, but instead pain entered his left shoulder blade and his world faded into the darkness that is the Black Tower.

  • She hadn’t known it would be so hard to simply reach the tower. She touched the dark, cold stone of the wall, and stepped across the threshold.

    When her water and the simple food she’d brought were gone, she drank the rainwater puddled on the steps and kept climbing.

    At the top was a ladder that extended through a hole in the sky. After so long on the dark stairs, the golden sunlight pouring down from the world above was intoxicating.

    She climbed the ladder into the next world. On the distant horizon was a dark tower.

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