I’ve already gotten quite a bit of interest for Flash Fiction Fridays! I’m so excited to share them with you here. Last week, the challenge was to include the word “grass” somewhere into your story. Before I attach those stories, remember to check the bottom of this post for the next challenge.
Flash Fiction #1
Untitled by Elissa Daye
Too often, she had stared out the windows, watching the world as it passed her by. Sara felt like a child stuck on a slow motion merry-go-round that would not stop, and while the world turned quickly around her, she could not help the foggy haze that filtered everywhere around her. She was aware of the living around her as much as the dead that rose from the shadows. She longed to cross the boundaries that had shut her in, to fling her arms up into the wide open air as the green blades of grass tickled the bottoms of her feet, but wishing was for the living, something she had not been for quite some time.
A rattling sound shattered the silence, as the perpetually clinking chains thumped onto the dusty floorboards. Her body cringed, as the darkness approached and a silent scream formed inside her and she felt like a quiet moth flitting dangerously close to candle light. But unlike that fragile creature heading for the flame, Sara was quite versed in the evil that resided within this house. It had trapped her here long ago, and sucked the life from her body one day at a time, until nothing remained but the spirit that had once held all her pieces together. It was dark and evil, and it had no name that she knew of, but she had taken to calling it Joseph, for its black void seemed much more male and menacing like other males that had crashed into her life.
Her spirit fluttered away from the window and descended to the floor below. Her eyes could see every grain of wood, nail, and screw when she passed through the solid barrier which often made her feel like some super hero with special powers, or it used to. The newness had worn off quite some time ago and she was now left with the knowledge that nothing could bring back the life she had once known.
When Sara had first become a spirit that walked the afterlife, she had been confused, lost, and alone with a burning desire to try to understand why this had happened to her. Time passed quickly for the dead, much more quickly than one might assume when your state of conscience never seemed to turn off. Her memories of her life before were barely enough to keep her company. At times, she wished that someone else shared her eternity with her, but Sara knew that for this to happen Joseph would have to kill again and Sara was not entirely sure what would happen to her if he did. Would she ascend to the heavens free at last, or would her soul be snuffed out like a cigarette on the bottom of his tarnished heel?
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Flash Fiction #2
by Fran Orenstein
We must have passed the old yellowed house a zillion times on our morning run and never paused once. In fact I didn’t remember ever seeing it. Today, I skidded to a stop and stared at the sign rising from the grass, rubbing my eyes in case they were programmed for deception that morning, but the sign still stared back.
Mary Ann finally realized I wasn’t running beside her and looked back jogging in place. “What’s wrong?”
I bent over laughing until tears ran down my face.
Mary Ann backed up and looked at me like I was crazy, then followed my pointing finger toward the sign on the grass.
Gasping I managed to say, “Wife Wanted: Inquire Within.” We looked at each other and she joined the hysterics. It was one of those moments that grabs you and doesn’t let go.
When I could speak let alone breathe, I gasped, “Is that for real.”
Mary Ann shook her head. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Who advertises for a wife with a lawn sign?”
“Maybe it’s a new match-up ad ploy, *Lawn Signs.com.”
“Get real, it’s a small audience for an ad, especially on a dead-end street.”
“You’re so serious. It’s got to be a joke.”
“I don’t know; people get desperate.”
I looked up at the house. “The place is kind of shabby. It needs a paint job and you can barely see the glass on the windows for the dirt.”
“That’s to deter the snoops like us.”
“Must be some old geezer who never learned to keep house, because his mother or wife did it all for him.”
Mary Ann closed her eyes and intoned. “No, I can see him now, a hot young hunk who can’t be bothered.”
I punched her arm. “Watch it, you’re taken, remember?”
Mary Ann waved her arms and lifted her feet. “I don’t hear any chains rattling, do you?”
“Do you think he’s a Bluebeard advertising for wife # 5?” She hiccupped. That set us off again.
When I could breathe, I said, “No, he’s probably a descendent of Henry the Eighth.”
“I bet there’s a chopping block on the patio and it’s not for steak.”
Our giggles cut off as the door opened and an elderly woman peered out at us. “Either of you interested?”
MaryAnn leaned over. “I guess it’s not Henry or Blue.”
Stifling my laughter, I said, “Clever sign.”
“Well, I hate housework, cooking, laundry and all that crap, so I thought a nice wife would be the ticket. I mean it could be a nice husband, but he’d have to be into all that wifely stuff. Been there, done that four times already and men just don’t measure up to a good wife. And forget the love and sex business. So you interested in applying?”
“Uh, no ma’am. She’s my wife,” I said pointing to MaryAnn.
“And she’s mine,” MaryAnn said grabbing my hand trying to pull me down the street.
The woman shrugged. “So? I’m not advertising for sex and love, just somebody to do wifely things.”
Mary Ann and I looked at each other and tried to stifle our laughter, but I lost it and bent over the grass clutching my stomach.
The woman carefully negotiated the steps and came down the walk. “Don’t you throw up on my grass, then it’ll be a mess to mow. Do you do that by the way?”
Mary Ann managed to speak despite the giggles. “No, Maam, we hire somebody to mow the lawn and take care of the garden.”
“Can’t afford that, I need a wife. I’ll pay with room and board, so if you hear of anybody who would like that kind of arrangement, just send her or even him over. Meanwhile, you’re crushing my grass.”
I looked down at the dandelion and crabgrass lawn and stepped back, pulling Mary Ann away and back up the street retracing our steps. “I think it’s time to change the route starting tomorrow.” As we jogged in the direction of home, I looked back over my shoulder at a weed-strewn empty lot with a lone oak tree. “What did you put in the coffee this morning?”
Mary Ann shrugged. “Hazelnut-flavored cream, why?”
I rolled my eyes; must have been some potent cream. “Nothing, nothing at all.”
Follow Fran Orenstein at www.franorenstein.com
Flash Fiction #3
“Did you know (name here) got a letter about having dead patches in his grass?’ I asked Kat on our walk around The Community.
“I haven’t talked to him in a little while, but it doesn’t surprise me. He has had those brown spots for some time, and it seems they keep multiplying.”
“I am guessing it is a rabbit infestation, but it’s not like he can put a fence around his front yard.” I duck and weave a back hand from Katrina. We know there is a house up here that has been approved for a fence around their front yard so my statement is completely false. “I mean, a functional fence, not a pretty fence,” I smirk and duck again.
“Oh Mag, what am I going to do with you?” She shakes her fist at me as we continue on to Thoreau. “You know darn well they would never approve a functional fence for the front yard. That would be unsightly.”
“So true, Kat, but on the other hand, removing the rabbit population from a front yard therefore having green grass would raise the property values. So why shouldn’t they approve it?”
“Do YOU want to see a metal fence or a picket fence with chicken wire on it in the name of green grass?” She countered me.
“No, all I’m saying is — HOLY SHIT!!!”
“WHAT?” What the heck is wrong with you?” Kat snapped. I can’t talk. I just point and stare. There it is. The worst type of vandalism I have seen so far here in The Community. This is way worse than the time we saw the hooker laying half naked in the street strung out on Meth. “Oh. My. Gosh!” And now Kat’s jaw had dropped open as far as mine.
I find a way to suck in my drool and close my mouth. I am beginning to process what I see. (name here)’s yard is torn up. All of the brown patches are fully intact. All of the green grass has been torn out and flipped upside down in place.
“Who would do such a thing? Who would do something so awful to (name here)’s yard?” Kat is rambling.
“This is,” I gasp for air, “fantastic!” I can’t stop laughing. This is some sight. While I am trying to suck in air between belly laughs, I try to walk closer to the yard. I can’t tell if my laughs are from pure hilarity or nervous anxiety. I manage to calm my breathing down enough to focus in on the yard.
My eyes are seeing it more clearly now. The grass was not torn out like sod where it could be flipped and placed back in. Oh no, this is in little bits and pieces and somehow it is all green side down. The only time I have ever seen anything like this was when the pigs that live up the street were chewing on their own grass. They like to pull up, eat a little of the roots and then move on to a new clump. This is methodical.
“Who has time to do something like that?” I ponder out loud.
“Why in the world would anyone do such a thing?” Kat asks now that her jaw is working again.
“I’m not sure who would do it, but don’t you find it a bit hiliarious and a bit terrifying?” I ask as I start slowly stepping away from the property. “Let’s go,” I say in a hurried whisper and tug on Kat’s hand.
How long has it been since we touched?
“Kat. Please.” I wave my hand rapidly for her to come to me. “Let’s get out of here.”
She finally turns to me and I realize what I just said has sunk in. I think she’s terrified there are thugs in the neighborhood.
“What… what… what will they do next?” she slowly walked toward me. She was staring off into space like a zombie. I was able to wrap my arm around her shoulder and get her walking at a closer to normal pace. We walked in silence for some time.
“I’m sure it was just kids playing a prank. Doesn’t a teenager live there?” I was trying to calm her down by playing it off as no big deal. “Too bad this isn’t security guy’s block. I bet he would have had some great footage on that!” I try to lighten her mood.
It’s not working. I squeeze her a little tighter to give her comfort. Who am I kidding? This gives me more comfort than it gives her.
Follow Michele at her blog The Involuntary House Wife.