Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flash Fiction Friday (fun in caves, gooey sweet, that lovely moon, poetry)

Are you visiting Flashy Fiction yet? If not, for shame. Creativity overload. Seriously.

I've brought my week's contributions back. I know the poem is overly sentimental, but what can I say?

Actually, I will apologize for the second story which is so thoroughly sweet that some of you may need to check your sugar levels after so we don't have any sugar shock.

Okay, for the newbs, there is a daily prompt--be it a picture, some words, a quote, whatever--that our stories/poems/whatever must be based on. You write for twenty minutes or less and slap it up for everyone to praise and blow kisses at. There is some serious brilliancy going on over there on a daily basis. Come join.

Here are my contributions both humble and neurotic for this week:

I told Joe that when I crashed, I really crashed. My mom said I could sleep through anything.

Having pulled all-nighter upon all-nighter trying to get that project done, I just wanted somewhere to sleep and make the world go away.

I tried my room... that so didn't happen. Even the lock wasn't a deterrant to my younger siblings. Next, I tried the backseat of my car, but my mom still came tapping to ask me if I wanted her to take a message about a phone call. Geez, Mom... really? No, I'm sleeping out in my car in hopes that someone will call me.

Then, the sun decided to creep across the sky and paint my face in heat. What the freaking hell?

Finally, I slid into the front seat and drove. My eyes kept closing, but I needed some place safe and quiet to sleep... somewhere that no one could find me. The cave!

Joe had told me about this cave that stoners used to use before they grew up and got real jobs. He'd taken me, there and it was perfect. I even had my sleeping bag in the back. I could sleep in the cave and then get up for a brand-new day on Wednesday after a full twenty-four hour sleep. It would be glorious. I didn't even care if there were bats and bugs... as long as I got sleep that wasn't interrupted by people or sunlight.

When I arrived at the small, rocky hill that hid the cave, I stocked my knapsack with all the emergency crap my mom insisted I carry everywhere with me and threw the sleeping bag under my arm. The cave took a bit of time to find... it was rarely used for a reason. I crawled carefully through the narrow tunnel before immerging in the wide room. Dark, cool, quiet paradise. A large, flat rock seemed like it was made to be a bed... well, as much as rocks ever could. I rolled the end of the sleeping bag beneath my head slightly for a pillow.

I was asleep within minutes.

When I awoke, I had to push rocks off my sleeping bag. They were small, but holy crap! I needed to warn Joe that the cave was seriously not structurally-sound. I was lucky I hadn't been killed!

As I crawled out of the cave, my muscles felt tight from sleeping so long in the same spot, and I stopped to arch periodically. I might look like some hump-backed mutant for the day, but at least I'd be awake and alive. I should probably still pick up a six-pack of coke on my way.
Caffeine and sugar would do me good.

I pulled myself out of the cave, and the air had a funky, sweet smell to it. Gross. Pulling my shirt over the lower portion of my face, I surveyed the surrounding area.


It was gone. The city... the valley... buildings... my car... All gone. It was as if a meteor had hit the spot I once lived and worked and everything. My everything was gone.I started walking and then running until I hit the city limits.

Gone. It was all gone. I'd slept through the end of the world.

"There are several possible answers to that question."-The Book of Matches

"There are several possible answers to that question," he said.

"Are there? If there are, then maybe the question was wrong," I said. Why? Was I a glutton for punishment? Was it his blue eyes? Maybe his hedge-hog spiked hair.... I'd always had a bit of a thing for guys that wore glasses--was that it? Maybe I just liked guys that weren't interested in me.

"Well, honestly, I've already been asked to the dance," he said, working on the next problem in the row.

"Why did you tell me you didn't have a date?" I asked.

"Well, I said no when she asked," he explained. "You skipped a step on the fourth equation, but you arrived at the right answer." He tapped the answer.

So, in my mind, the step didn't matter, but this is where our thought processes diverged. Wrinkling up my nose, I considered this predicament. My friends were going to mock the hell out of me. I'd asked him... Brent... and he was so far outside my social status in their minds, and now he was stalling before saying no. Why had I asked? Hopefully, he wouldn't think it was funny to tell people I'd asked and he'd said no.

"Why do you want to go with me?" he asked, moving on to the next problem.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. "Forget I asked," I said. "Look, I have practice." I tried to take my homework from him. I didn't need to actually wait around for him to reject me.

He slapped a hand down on the paper and looked at me. "Is this like some sort of social experiment?"

Blinking in shock, I said, "NO!"

His eyes narrowed. "Then... what? You were seriously asking me to the dance? No joke?"

"You know what... keep the homework. Turn it in for me tomorrow," I said, picking up my backpack, and fleeing.

What had I been thinking? My friends had already teased me for having a crush on him. He caught up with me at my car. I'd totally lied about practice, but I was fairly certain he knew that.

"Jill, wait," he yelled. "I'm sorry. I just... you're you, and I'm me. I thought it had to be a joke."

"Yeah, because I always joke around when I ask someone a million times smarter than me to a dance," I said sarcastically, not meeting his eyes.

"You're a cheerleader," he pointed out. The way he said it... hurt. It was like I was on this whole different level. He was probably guessing I got by on my looks or I'd gone the rounds of the football jocks.

Tossing the backpack inside the car, I whirled on him. "Look, I'll ask for a different tutor. We can forget this ever happened. You're smart. I'm not. I get it... okay?"

"That's not it. I don't think that... at all," he said.

"I'm not a slut," I stated. "Is that the problem?"

He blinked. Okay, clearly that hadn't been what he'd been thinking either. Wow, Jill, could you make this any more awkward?

"Yes," he said.

Whoa! Wow. He thought I was a slut? I had managed to make this a lot more awkward. I would have assumed he'd lie.

My face must have conveyed my shock, because he frowned in concern. Shaking his head quickly, Brent said, "No, I don't think that. I was saying that yes... I'd love to go to the dance with you."


He nodded.

"You're not just saying that out of pity?" I asked.

He laughed and said, "You're about to take a member of Marching Band to a girl's choice dance, and you think I might be doing it out of pity?" I felt flattered by his amusement.

"You don't think I'm stupid?" I clarified.

"I guarantee that up until you asked me to the dance doubts of your intelligence had never crossed my mind," he said.

"Okay," I said, getting into my car.

"Okay," he agreed. "I'm going with Jill Conner to a dance."

I was taking my math tutor to a dance. Wow.

Through my fingers I could see the clouds passing my window. The electric gridwork between the panes of glass ensured my safety. Or maybe theirs.

Through my fingers I could see the clouds passing my window. The electric gridwork between the panes of glass ensured my safety. Or maybe theirs.

"It's a cold night," the man in the next cell comments.

"The sun hasn't quite set," I tell him.

"The moon will rise, the clouds will clear, and it will be a cold night. I can feel it," he corrects, rolling his eyes. He can be so smug, but I like that about him.

We have a glass wall between us--without the gridwork, and I'm not sure what that means, but there is a small metal window through which we can talk.

"This will be your first time, but you'll grow accustomed to the moon and its phases," he says. He's been saying strange things like this all day.

A commotion outside our cubed enclosures drew my attention. The men in coats had come and gone all day. Now they were back. The last week they'd done nothing more than bring food each day, and now they brought clipboards and new faces.

"Tiberius," the speaker above us said, and I could see a tall, thin man speaking into a box near the front metal door. "Now that you have a female of your kind, we'll have more questions."

A female of his kind? They'd grabbed me from my cell and shot me full of some sort of drug that stung in my veins for the first two days. I knew they were expecting something to happen and that's why I was on display, but I was tempted to go hide in the bathroom of my cube for the night. At least there, the scientists and the man beside me called Tiberius couldn't sit and stare at me.

"Holy Shite," Tiberius says, scowling. "They think they've got the Discovery Channel, and they'll get to see some Wild Kingdom mating."

"Between us?" I ask. "There is a wall between us. You must be some kind of stud if they think that'll happen."

He grins and says, "That's not a problem."


"Why do you think the walls are electric besides the one between us?" he asks, leaning against the outside wall that was mostly stone aside from the window.

"I have no idea what to think. Nothing has made sense since I arrived," I say, sliding down to sit on the floor. I'd spent much of the first week alternating between screaming and swearing. Still, the food wasn't bad, and Tiberius was good company. Besides, I was supposed to be serving another nickel for armed robbery. This place was better than that place... somewhat.

"You find her acceptable?" the scientist asks Tiberius.

Eww. I look up at him. I'm not sure there is a right answer to this question.

"She'll do," Tiberius says, grinning.

Well, that wasn't a bad answer. He wasn't so bad himself. Still, he'd have a fight on his hands if he tried anything in front of the white coats--even if he could get through the glass wall. The white coats nod and wander off toward a small kitchen where our meals are prepared. A coffee dispenser has been percolating there for the last forty minutes.

Tiberius leans down and whispers, "In three minutes, the moon will crest the mountains. Your skin will begin to sting. Stand to the opposite wall and wait until I can get us out of here. The pain will lessen when we're in direct moonlight."

"We're getting out of here?" I raise an eyebrow. I like his smugness because he usually is right--this time, though....

"Of course."


"First, I'll break this glass wall between us with my claws."

"Claws?" I repeat.

He nods and his mouth twitches like he is amused. "If the window wasn't so high, I'd break through there. Instead, I'll break through our kennel's front and possibly kill a few of the white coats, and we'll be gone."

Kennel? Weird choice of words. This was all weird, though.

"Right," I say, equally amused. "You've been able to break through that electric fence all this time, and you just didn't feel like it?"

"Well, I do have to wait for a full moon... and they mentioned they'd be getting me a female right after I arrived."

My skin began stinging.


William and Jess boarded the train
It was the twenty-first century
and they were insane.

Most cars were vacant of people and wealth
and their faces were visible
well...so much for stealth.

They'd talked about masks and possibly guns
one brought some whisky
the other raisins.

But wait! Oh alas! Their plan was in ruins.
The treat they'd been snarfing
was actually prunes.

This was so much worse than forgetting the guns
now they were miserably sick
--so ill with the runs.


  1. Wow. I beat the system! Woo woo! I figured out how to add line breaks in a post with a picture. I mean, it only took like an hour of scouring the internet, and editing the HTML code, but I did it. Woo woo!

    There is probably a much easier way, but I don't want to hear it.

  2. I can't wait to read this but all I can say is I'm SWAMPED with tomorrow's bday bash preparations, even though this place is supposed to take care of everything, I'm NOT that kind of mom. Must go pick up kids from my brothers care

  3. Wendy, thanks for touting Flashy! Yes, we do have some serious brilliance going on there, you being one of those bright stars! I know I already gushed about your Oct.21 story but I need to do it again. That story grabbed me with the tone and mood you set. Also, I'm a sucker for the paranormal. :)

  4. Ahh shucks, Deb. I'm blushing clear to my hobbit toes. (I've recently discovered that my toes grow hair now. It's disgusting and another thing to shave.)

    Di, I'm not that kind of mom either--my micromanaging isn't just for my characters. You'll be so relieved when this is all over.

  5. Hi again, and yes-yes-yes, it will be a huge relief. I have eight hours and roughly 40 minutes until party time and I can't wait to start and finish this. I think what hit me hardest was partly the fact that two parents at my son's preschool, who didn't rsvp by the date I put on the invite, told me yesterday that they were very excited about the party... one day before... so I panicked and wondered how many other parents who didn't rsvp were going to show, especially considering we invited all the girls in my daughter's class. I had to order the pizzas by 3pm yesterday, and also I only had a few extra goodie bags and I didn't want kids to go without. So everything I thought was planned out seemed wrong. I had to go to the party store again and they didn't have one of the same little toys I'd gotten for the original goodie bags and it made me crazy to think that there would be 8 bags with one of the toys being different than the other 24 bags because kids might notice or so I tell myself, and of course candy, which I would have to count out and all this took me a lot longer than it should have. Could you imagine if I wasn't doing it a party place that supposedly takes care of everything? Ha!

  6. Oh wow, that long comment should have been a post on my own blog. I'm sorry I hijacked your comments section.

    Anyway, I'm relaxing my brain for a bit.

    I LOVE that story about the guy in the cave. I could have kept reading all the way through to a three hundred page novel. What a pleasure, and you wrote that in twenty minutes? Deb is right on about you, you shine! Anyway, I always love your imagery, like the sun painting his face with heat, nice :)

    The cheerleader story, awwwwww!!!! Not too sweet, just awesome! I smiled the whole way through :) :) I love how it turns the typical perception of cheerleaders around; they're not all confident social butterflies. I hafta admit it threw a few high school memories my way :)

    Hahahaha on the poem! A couple of poor planners and the digestion-botched robbery... have you thought of a title? Thievery for Dummies: Chapter One- Leave Your Snacks at Home, or 101 Examples of When Liquor and Fiber Don't Mix

  7. Wendy is snort laughing. Actually, you somehow managed to skip the story that Deb was talking about, Di. That's okay, though. You sound like a mess of "prizes being the same" and "ACK! Why don't people RSVP?"

    You know, if it's at a "place" and not a casual party, people that don't RSVP shouldn't be let in. That should be the rule. It's like a "10 Virgins" thing. (As in the biblical parable--not anything else that might come to your fevah-ed brain.)

  8. Oh and "101 Examples of When Liquor and Fiber Don't Mix."