Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Friday, October 9, 2009

Flash Fiction Friday (dinosaurs/breath/delete key)

Okay, so Flash Fiction Friday sounds cooler. Movie Madlibs will have to be scootched elsewhere.

So, I've been posting on Flashy Fiction, and it's so much fun. (I have a strange sense of humor, though.) They give you a prompt, and you write something to coincide. I was thinking that hunting all over for things I'd written would be a pain, so I'd just bring my stuff back here on Friday. You should definitely go check it out, though. They're really talented... and it's fun.

I don't plan to post every day, but it only takes about ten or fifteen minutes if I get an idea.


Tuesday was a three word salad... so three words had to be in your piece (dinosaur, unlabeled, hotel) :

"Order! Order! Order!" I shouted excitedly at Jack who held the room service menu. "I heard that Madonna stayed here last week. Someone in the lobby said that."

Putting out my hand to admire my new wedding ring, I wished we could have stayed more than one night in the hotel, but even one night... was amazing. Who knew how Jack had even managed one night in the secrecy-shrouded hotel simply known as "There"? It was "the place" to be. Her bridesmaids had been super jealous when she'd told them.

"I don't know what to order," Jack said, gesturing at the menu. "It has names but no descriptions."

"It's totally too hip for descriptions," I said, snatching the menu from his hand. Okay... that was weird. No prices... sure, but the names weren't even that descriptive.

"Is that why? It's too hip... really?" he asked skeptically. "Jen, we're not going to have any idea what we're eating."

"It's an adventure."

"It's weird. I know you wanted to stay here, but don't you find it odd that everything is so generic? Everything is either white or black or unlabeled. I feel like I'm drowning in the sheer mediocrity. The beds aren't comfortable really, either. It's odd."

I frowned at him. Sure... the place was a little weird, but it wasn't that bad, and this was our first night as a married couple. "This is supposed to be fun, Jack." There was just a hint of a whine in my voice, partly because he was right.

Sighing, he said, "Well, you're the adventurer. You order. I promise I'll love it, because I love you." He leaned over and kissed my temple.

It made me smile. It didn't matter. We were together. That was all that mattered."Beef AuPain?" I asked, pointing to an item on the menu.

"Great. I have no idea what it is. Sounds painful."

I hit him. He could be so sweet and dorky at the same time.

"Hopefully, it's not something weird like horse, but really, it could be ferret or... a dinosaur for all we know," he said, smiling.

"If it's ferret will you still eat it?" I asked, picking up the phone.

"Yes, just make sure they have ketchup," he said, getting up to go take a shower.

"Hurry," I said.

"You got it." Sure enough... the water turned on within seconds. It was nice to be loved.

I went to dial room service but there was already someone speaking on the connection, and they didn't seem aware that I could hear them. Weird. I waited for an appropriate time to let them know.

"How are the subjects in room 214 doing?" the voice asked.

"Male has gone to take a shower. We're about to drop the water temperature to see his reaction," another voice replied.

Jack gave a shout from the bathroom, and I felt my breath catch. What on earth? A shiver went up my arms that had nothing to do with the coldness of the room... though the room did seem to be abnormally cold.

"How are they dealing with the complete lack of product placement and absence of comfort?" the first voice questioned.

"As with other subjects, they've chosen to disregard it when told that a famous celebrity stayed there," came the reply.

There was a snort before the voice said, "They're such a sheep. I noticed that 125 hasn't located the 'strange smell' after more than 48 hours. They're much more dedicated then previous subjects put through that test. How is room 326 coping with the low freqency noise disturbances?"


Thursday was a quote:

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." – Anonymous

It was too soon, and I was too high risk. Flying to be there... to hold his hand one last time would be impossible. This life inside me was taking my last chance away to be with him. In a hospital room with my grandmother beside him, his breathing stopped and stilled. I felt it that moment... even before the call.

It was ironic that I went to full-term and had to be induced. A horrible type of irony. A month and a half after his funeral, I was pushing out his great grandson... healthy... fine... perfect. My son opened his eyes and took that first breath. In that instant, I realized that nothing had been stolen from me. Life is always a gift.

They say my son has an old soul, and you can see it in his eyes. All I know is that from his last breath to my son's first breath... was the only time I missed my grandfather.


Friday was a story beginning:

My fingers were shaking and I shoved them into the pockets of my coat. She wasn't here yet. I glanced over my shoulder and wondered what would happen if she didn't show. I wondered if I'd be able to stay alive if I didn't get it. Then across the street, I saw her get out of a cab.


"Debbie," I yelled and dodged between cars to reach her before she opened the club's door.

She stopped, her hand on the door, but she didn't look at me. Debbie was too good... too perfect for me, and I should have recognized that long ago. If I hadn't been valuable in other ways, she'd have simply looked beyond me that day after the curtain fell. "Hello, Robert," she purred when I finally reached her side.

Turning, she stood underneath the awning, pulling her coat tighter around her. I stood outside... in the rain, loathe to be any closer to her than I had to be. Drops of rain slid down my face from my sopping hair. It was a lousy day in my lousy life, but I still wanted to see the morning.

"It's Mike," I corrected her, as if we both didn't know. It was a game with her... it was all a game.

"That's right," she said.

"Do you have it?" I asked.

She didn't answer. She smiled... a toothy, considering type of smile. Games. Why did it always have to be games? This was my life... and a whole lot of money.

"I left the prototype where you said to, and I was supposed to carry something back to them so they'd know to pay me... and not kill me. The token. I need the token." My voice sounded hoarse... I hadn't been sleeping well.

Raising a thin, shaped eyebrow, she said, "You did well, Mike. We might have use for your... special talents again." Reaching into her purse, Debbie pulled out something that she handed to me. A small, black square. It looked stark and decisive against the pale skin of my open hand.

"A delete key?" I asked, shocked. "I'm supposed to hand over a delete key to them?"

"That's right."

"They won't kill me if I give them this... they'll pay me what you said they would?" I asked. A delete key... pried from an old keyboard? This was going to seal the deal with the devil I'd made when I agreed to this?

"Ironic, no?" She kissed the tip of her fingers before pressing them to my lips. "I have to get ready for my next performance."

My hands were still shaking as I stared at the delete key. Rain pooled around it in the palm of my hand. Could I really trust her, or was she just handing me my own death sentence to carry?

Her laugh was throaty, and she left saying, "Goodbye, darling."

A delete key? It was a game with her, and no matter what happened to me, she'd already won.


  1. I'm in awe of your writing abilities. I really liked the first one. Totally relate to the second one. Intrigued by the third.

  2. Thank you. It reminds me a little of being in creative writing classes again. I loved that, but I was a complete groupie for those classes... it probably throws me into a special section of geek.

  3. Wendy, I'm so glad you've joined the fun at Flashy! Your writing is terrific!!!! ;)

  4. I'm also in awe. You write so fast and CLEAN! They were all good, and I liked the way you used references to death and birth in the same sentence in the second one. Impactful writing as usual :)

  5. Thanks, Diana and Deb.

    Diana, to be honest, my OCD deserves the credit for both the fast and clean aspects of my writing. The clean aspect is compulsive, but my OCD also guarantees that I have a million thoughts in my head, planning... worrying... sorting. It's part of why I can't sleep at night. I don't know if you've ever read the book "Speed of Dark" but it's about an Autistic adult who is given the opportunity to be "cured" and it makes you evaluate what is a "flaw" or "disorder" and what is positive and part of your personality.

    I find it a little disconcerting to think that I might actually be miserable without my OCD. It's a strange sort of curse. It also means that I have to create a perfect balance with the meds I'm on. The idea of my head not being crammed full... terrifies me. Twice a month (due to hormones) I go through about a twelve hour total writing black-out where my head just feels foggy, and I just can't write. I panic and worry, "What if I can never write again?" Usually, I try to sleep through the hours.

    Anyway, I tend to believe that a good portion of writers have some sort of "issue" that contributes as much to their writing as natural talent. My motto is: "All the great ones were crazy."

  6. Wow, Wendy! You're amazing. If I joined a challenge like that I would never get anything done on my lonely WIP or my hungry blog.

    I'll definitely check out that book, "Speed of Dark." I'm always looking for ways to better understand my son's thought processes and, frankly, I've been called OCD by more than one person.