Continuing my October daily flash fiction, the prompts can be found here.
Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!
Day 6: Ashes
Her hands were gray and black from the ashes. Spots of red here and there indicated that her palms had grown callous enough to blister and bleed, but she didn’t recall when. Her focus had been solely on digging through the volcanic ash, heedless of the smoke still lingering in the air. She had to find it. It was buried somewhere among the ashes, a solitary sapphire gemstone. She didn’t understand the significance of the stone, but her employer did. Giving up was not an option. She would either die trying to find it… Or die for not having it.
Day 7: Lightning
Lightning danced in her eyes, the hazel color flecked with spots of gold. It was difficult to keep up with her, always had been. Ideas sparked in her head and she ran with each one, and it was all he could do not to stumble after her from one adventure to the next. Ideas that were good, ideas that were bad… It mattered not. He would follow, seeking that electrical charge that coursed through her naturally, if only so he could touch a spark and maybe have some of the same magic — the same brilliant power — enter him as well.
Day 8: Seek
“What is it that you seek?” the sphinx asked, its eyes gazing at nothing. He stared at the creature blankly, not prepared for the question at all. He was prepared for riddles. He had studied countless books, both modern and history, of riddles that taught him how to think critically for when he inevitably faced the sphinx. To be given an existential question instead was causing his mind to scramble. And yet, seeking the sphinx for power and guidance was why he had gone on this journey in the first place. Perhaps the sphinx’s question was a riddle after all…
Day 9: Owl
He wished for his own wings. After exploring a world full of people born with fantastic wings — modeled after birds like eagles and insects like butterflies and mythical creatures like dragons — he wanted to fly. He decided he would like owl wings. Thick feathers with a decent wingspan so he could glide through the sky would be ideal. A snowy white owl would look handsome with his frame, or the tawny brown wings of a barn owl would be fun. As a symbol of wisdom, he figured an owl would be appropriate, despite the teasing he got from his friends.
Day 10: Pumpkin
The pumpkin had been hollowed out and given the traditional face of most jack o’lanturns, something that she had been doing since she was a young girl. With the top cut as a cover, she placed a small tealight candle inside, ready to help light up her front steps at night. Unfortunately, the squirrels had other plans. She knew they’d nibble on the pumpkin until she got rid of it, but she hadn’t expected to come home one night to see the cover tossed to the side and a squirrel curiously holding the candle in the middle of her yard…
Day 11: Professor
The new professor was the same age as him. He hadn’t believed she was the professor he was supposed to be aiding. He thought she was a student trying to pull an ill-guided prank. When he didn’t believe her at first (and for the second and third time they spoke), her cheeks turned crimson. He almost lost his job before it started. Despite the rough start, the week leading up to the start of the semester gave the pair time to clear the air. She was brilliant, and he vowed to be one of her best allies for the year.
Day 12: School
It was the most absurd school she had ever seen. When she saw the advertisement for an art teacher for the private school online, she figured she had nothing to lose by applying. Yet, the school was full of students roaming about instead of in classrooms, with teachers here and there providing quips of wisdom in the hallways as opposed to keeping order. She could even swore she saw one student holding fire in his hands, but dismissed it as a trick of the light. He must have had a match, or something that was surely against the school’s policies…
Well, hey, I was able to keep up with the September flash fiction. Let’s see how well I can do with the October flash fiction.
Originally, I was going to do the theme for October as Halloween, but I felt like that was a bit cliche. So I went with Harry Potter. Which is, admittedly, very similar, but a few fantasy elements were thrown into it instead of the generic skeleton, bat, etc.
As with the September prompts, I will be posting the flash fiction daily over on my Tumblr. This blog will see the responses every Sunday. Let me know if you ever try these prompts as well!
Part Four of my September Flash Fiction! The prompts can be found here. Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!
Day 22: Crunch
It was the crunch that made her shudder, the crunch that made her stomach somersault, the crunch that made her double-check her grip on her knife. There may have been safety in numbers during the end of the world, but her priority was herself whenever they came face-to-face with the distorted zombies. She felt awful that she could do nothing for him, that she could only crawl away with her own safety in mind as the zombies crunched down on flesh, but if the situation were reversed, she wouldn’t want him to pull any white knight heroics for her sake.
Day 23: Forage
They could forage for as long as they wanted during the day, but it was apparent every night that they could never find enough. “We need to leave,” was the general consensus. “There’s not enough food here any longer.” Still, the decision was made slowly, with backpacks and the few personal items they managed to save being meticulously packed away for days until there was no reason to stall any longer. As they looked back at the graves of perished friends while they shouldered their packs, they rationalized that their friends would have wanted them to move on and live.
Day 24: Crisp
The lines of Lee’s uniform were clean and crisp, as immaculate as he always needed to be. He took a deep breath as he stared at the mirror, praying that his eyes weren’t red-rimmed from grief. Despite the funeral, it wouldn’t do for the captain to be anything but stoic. He needed to be focused on his duty and keep his soldiers in line for the crowning ceremony. The country grieved for the fallen Crown Prince even as they scrutinized his brother, the next king. Lee may have failed the Crown Prince, but he would not with his brother.
Day 25: Gray
If there was one thing Carl never thought he would do in his life, it was following a wolf. The wolf was a young female, most likely trying to strike out on her own or was tossed out of her own pack for one reason or another. Upon finding him, she latched on, bonding to another outcast on the edges of the territory. Amid the tree line, the skyline was gray with the coming dawn, just like his mood. Nevertheless, he turned to follow the wolf when she barked for his attention to continue leading them through the trees.
Day 26: Maple
She understood why seasonal drinks were a thing, especially in the corporate world, but they were always a pain to create. A shot of this flavor here, sprinkles on this one, whipped cream at the bottom of the cup for that one… She was using precious brain space to memorize custom drink recipes rather than her spells. On the other hand, busying herself with creating complex drinks gave her a chance to test out spells. She smiled at the customer as she handed him his maple pecan latte, hoping that her confidence spell would mix well with the flavors.
Day 27: Blanket
“It’s the only one I have,” she said, shaking it. “Go ahead and take it.” The blanket, worn and thin, some of the corners fraying with use and time, was tossed to him. He murmured his thanks as he wrapped it around his shoulders. She went back to tending the campfire, the scent of roasting fish making his stomach nauseous. The fish was small, probably only enough for each of them to have a couple of bites, but he was willing to share his food if she was willing to share warmth. Sometimes war meant finding your own allies.
Day 28: Spice
The spice scent was so thick, he choked on the air as he entered the bazaar. Vendors hawked their wares, each competing for the attention of strangers wandering about. At the very least, his quarry was intelligent. It was difficult to distinguish his scent amid the bazaar’s chaos. Still, there was more than one way a werewolf could hunt down his prey. With a snarl to a vendor who had gotten a little too close, he stalked through the stalls, looking for anything out of place or any nooks that his prey could hide. He wouldn’t get away this time.
Part Three of my September Flash Fiction! The prompts can be found here. Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!
Day 15: Amber
The amber liquid burned as it slid down her throat and she suppressed a cough from the smokey taste. Pretending that it didn’t make her nauseous, she ordered another shot, hoping that she would be able to get buzzed sooner rather than later. Noticing the stain of color on the glass, she choked back a sob as her thumb wiped away the remnants of her coral pink lipstick from it. Her second shot and a glass of water plinked onto the counter, and she looked up at the bartender’s deep plum lipstick as the woman said, “He isn’t worth it.”
Day 16: Breezy
She laughed whenever the wind blew past them, making the strands of her hair that had escaped her ponytail dance. He hunched his shoulders against the wind, not as enthralled by the breezy day as she. He watched as she directed her face to the wind, apparently delighted at the weather, until a particularly strong gust billowed her jacket out behind her. She was almost knocked off her feet, but he reached over to wrap her jacket and his arms around her to keep her in place until the gust died down. They stayed hugging even past the strong wind.
Day 17: Fireside
They were sitting by the fireside, the crackling flames being a stark beacon against the dark trying to swallow the field they were camping in. He lay awake in his bedroll and stared up at the starless sky, only knowing where the sky and earth met with the help of the campfire. In the distance was the telltale wail of strange creature or a monster, his mind couldn’t decide which. A gloved hand gently ruffled his hair as his friend passed by, and he heard his friend whisper, “Close your eyes and get some rest. I’m on watch right now.”
Day 18: Woodlands
The woodlands were neverending. Sunlight streamed through the leafy treetops, making the woods sparkle. Skipping over a babbling brook that looked familiar, he soon found himself lost for the umpteenth time as he encountered another fork in the woods. He used to know the woods as well as he knew his mother’s favorite dress or his father’s favorite food, but even those memories were beginning to slip from him. While the woodlands were gorgeous and filled with all sorts of greenery and creatures, he didn’t fancy remaining lost for all eternity. He should have never given the fairy his name.
Day 19: Crackling
The fireball, sizzling and crackling, hovered above his hand as he stared at it in wonder. Now that he created the large flame, he wasn’t sure what to do with it. He glanced around, trying to find a target to singe to dispel his magic. A smirk curled on his lips as he spotted one of his classmates, his self-proclaimed rival when it came to the magical arts. With a whisper, he directed his fireball to the feet of his rival, finding delight in the indignant yelp that came from him. His rival needed a new pair of boots, anyway.
Day 20: Pecans
The litter of dragon hatchlings were named after various nuts which, considering Paul was training them, didn’t surprise Katie at all. Almond, Peanut, Pecans, Cashew, the quartet of dragons were a jumble of clumsy limbs as they chased after each other and played. She watched them for a few moments before asking how their training was going and that she was impressed that not too much in the yard seemed to be destroyed. Paul preened but then turned red when Pecans sneezed out a chunk of ice that froze over a patch of lilacs. “We’re working on it,” he said.
Day 21: Migrate
A flock of geese overhead flew past, loudly announcing their plans to fly south for the coming cold. Lily took a deep breath, her chin resting in her hands as she waited for the inevitable. It wasn’t a bad job, not really. Rather, it was tedious. Every year, Lily hoped she would have been promoted by the time the annual Frost had to be done, but to no avail. Sage called for her and Lily shook out her wings as she joined the other fairies near the beginning of the woodlands, wand in hand. As the fairies flew, ice followed.
Part Two of my September Flash Fiction! The prompts can be found here. Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!
Day 8: Harvest
Looking almost yellow, the harvest moon hung low in the sky and he paused a moment to gaze and appreciate the beauty of the night. At this time of the year when he was younger, he used to help out on his grandparents’ farm. Perhaps he’d be picking ears of corn before the first frost of the year came or being sure all of the chickens were gathered in the coop for the night. A crisp wind reminded him of where he was. He sighed as he began to dig up the grave again, harvesting a different crop that night.
Day 9: Pine Cones
There was a pile of pine cones at the side of their house, right in front of the stacked firewood. She wasn’t quite sure where they all came from, but there was enough there now that they were noticeable. A handful of pine cones dropped by a squirrel made sense. But a dozen pine cones gathered together? She was tempted to scatter them, hoping a rodent wasn’t trying to make a nest. Before she could, a cat popped out from beneath the firewood, followed by three kittens who immediately practiced their pouncing on the pine cones. The pine cones stayed.
Day 10: Quilt
The quilt was tightly crocheted, a perfect square with frilled edges. Woven with golden yellows and a touch of red, it was one of the favorite family blankets for cool autumn and winter nights. The colors have since faded with the years and she couldn’t remember how bright the quilt used to be, but she was sure she believed it had shone with the power of the sun when she was a girl. As she wrapped her newborn in the quilt, she hoped she would be able to instill that same secure feeling into her baby as she always had.
Day 11: Orange
He couldn’t have been less inconspicuous if he tried. The neon orange hat could be spotted miles away, even if she didn’t have a pair of binoculars trained on him. For a guy who had important government secrets and documents in his briefcase, he wasn’t trying to hide. It made her job easier. It was simple to catch up to him. She planned to grab the case when the next train dropped off its riders. Yet, when she rounded the corner of the station, there he was, grinning. He held up the briefcase and said, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Day 12: Rain
Her roommate was enthralled with the rain. She sighed while staring out the window like one who was awaiting her lover. When asked about it, all that she said was, “You can’t sense it? The magic in the air that the rain brings?” Her roommate chalked it up to it just her enjoying nature, returning to her coffee. Yet, it was only a few minutes before her roommate gasped and tugged her outside with glee. In the seconds it took to become soaked, she was yanked into a puddle with her roommate that was much too deep for the sidewalk.
Day 13: Scarecrow
A trail of straw emerged from the corn stalks through the backyard, took a detour to the barn, then into the house’s back door. She grabbed the axe next to the firewood, entering her home. The trail continued through the kitchen, seemed to grow into a suspicious pile by the bathroom mirror, before going into the living room. She gaped and nearly dropped the axe at seeing her scarecrow — previously inanimate — sitting on her sofa with her cat playing with the straw from his arms. He stared at her with his button eyes and said, “I don’t know what happened.”
Day 14: Cobweb
As intricate as a snowflake, the spider’s cobweb was a mesmerizing display of soft gauze weaved into a maze-like pattern. Dewdrops from the morning clung to the thin threads, twinkling in the sun like stars. The spider itself wasn’t seen, most likely tired from all the hard work it took to create such a detailed web with only instincts and the light of the moon to guide it. But it was also placed right outside of her back door. With a quiet apology, she took the vacuum to the web, destroying the spider’s night work in a matter of seconds.