Summer of Super Short Stories Week Two

Welcome to our second week of SSS 2! Below you will find a photo prompt and a line prompt. Use the picture to inspire you. The line prompt must be included somewhere in your story of 350 words or less. You can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on it.

Submit your story or stories (up to two) in the reply section to this post no later than Saturday at 6pm PST. Please include word count and Twitter handle/email/other identifiers at the beginning of the story. Winners will be announced next Tuesday. Please see our Contest Rules for more information.

***This week we have CONTENT RESTRICTIONS. Do not include MISOGYNY in your stories.***

Our Week Two judge, Tiffany Aldrich MacBain, has this to say:

“I read for a sense of completeness: are the details well chosen, and at the end of the story can I see why each is there, how it functions relative to the whole? I also like to be moved in some way: to look at or think about or feel about something in a way I hadn’t before.”

And her thoughts on grammar: “When grammar and sentence construction are at their best, the reader doesn’t notice them and gets lost in the story. Errors and over-styling can ruin that effect and make the reader aware that she’s reading a piece of writing (one that would benefit from another round of revision).”

Tiffany has little interest in reading about violence that does not serve the story.


And here are your prompts!

Use this five word phrase in any part of your story:

“I wanted more than silence

img_2296

Image credit: Img_2296 by Ozalee Meg flickr CC 2.0 
Image has not been altered from its original form.

 

22 thoughts on “Summer of Super Short Stories Week Two

  1. Holly Geely

    Discount
    @hollygeely
    220 words

    “Hey, Marzbex. Look what I got at the market,” Flipzit said.

    He led it in on a rope, tied to its wrist. I didn’t understand its physiology at the time, but I know it now.

    “What is that ugly, hairless thing?” I asked.

    “An Earthling. I know, I know, you wanted a Martian, but the Earthlings were on sale.”

    The Earthling only had two eyes and no facial hair, but I could still interpret the facial expression as fear.

    “Does this thing even have a translator? I’ve heard that Earth is terribly behind,” I said.

    Flipzit pretended not to hear me. I wanted more than silence.

    “Return it,” I said.

    Flipzit knew it was useless to argue with me. He tugged on the rope and tried to take the Earthling back out. It dropped to its knees and started wailing.

    Several hours later we had worked out a method of communication. The next day, the Earthling went to work in our fields. Two weeks ago, I started having a romantic affair with it.

    If Flipzit finds out, I’ll blame him for not getting a refund like I asked. The truth is, the Earthling is much more pleasant than the Martian would have been. Martian tentacles are not nearly as soft as Earthling skin.

    Thank Blropz the Earthling was on sale.

    Reply
    1. emilyemily Post author

      Such a great use of the prompts, Holly. And somewhat creepy. Reminds me a bit of the book Under the Skin by MIchael Faber.

      Reply
  2. Tim Stevenson

    Assistant
    @tallfiction
    213 words

    This was how it always went.
    The crowd hushed as the magician bound my wrists and ankles and pulled the velvet bag over my head.
    You could have heard a pin drop as he took the axes from his bag.
    It was never enough. I wanted more than silence, I wanted muted gasps, the muttering of “Oh God, no,” as the blades flew, but he wasn’t that good.
    The ropes fell from my hands with the first axe, my feet were freed with the second, and then, after he paused to mine the final ergs of disbelief from the audience, the last flew at my head.
    It hit home and stuck in the bag. Fake blood tricked down my neck as I fell.
    The audience sighed, a huff of realisation and disappointment as I toppled to the pavement, stiff plastic limbs at my sides. I bounced once.
    The magician had fished me out of a skip. Dolled me up, made me believable. Unveiling me in the sulphur gloom of twilight streets I was good enough to pass for real. That’s what I wanted, what I wanted more than silence. I needed the rest of what it is to be really alive. I needed to scream.
    Maybe then the crowd would finally applaud.

    Reply
  3. stephellis2013

    The Judgement of Solomon

    @el_Stevie
    346 words

    “Aaand … it’s a tie! Ladies and Gentlemen, this is totally unexpected. The votes have been cast, counted and re-counted. Our contestants are truly neck and neck, head-to-head, toe-to-toe. We are at an impasse.”

    Loud whoops and cheers erupt from the audience. The spotlight fans round, picks me out. I try to avoid it but it hovers determinedly over me, forcing me to blink up at its bright stare.

    “Come on down, sir,” says the host. “Judgement day is upon us. We await your decision.”

    I stumble down the steps, hunch into myself as far as possible, keep my head lowered. I do not look at the host nor at the competitors. I can’t.

    “Your name, sir?” asks the host.

    “Sol,” I reply.

    “Sol? Short for Solomon?”

    I nod.

    “An appropriate name for our presiding judge. Please take your seat, Solomon. Ladies and Gentlemen, Cooouurt is in Session!

    More cheers from the audience.

    I am directed to a raised chair from where I can look down at the two contestants. Their eyes widen in shocked surprise when they see me.

    “Our contestants have been locked in combat for years affecting all around them, including you, Solomon, their only son,” says the host. “What is your judgement on your two warring parents?”

    I stare at each of them in turn. Think of the endless arguments that tormented my sleep, the shouts and screams that terrified me in childhood. I wanted silence. They have no right to be my parents. It is I who will divorce them. My suffering must end, but theirs? I wanted more than silence. I wanted their suffering to continue.

    “And that is your decision? That they remain together?”

    “Why not?” I say. “They deserve each other but I don’t.”

    The audience applaud as I pass sentence.

    My parents try to speak but I ignore them. I have a new family waiting for me.

    The spotlight returns to the host.

    “And there you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen. The decision is binding. Case closed. Join us next week for another session of Faamileee Coourt!

    Reply
  4. A V Laidlaw

    @AvLaidlaw

    347 Words

    Eurydice

    I followed her into death. I followed the rocky pathways into Hades where the mist twisted into the shades of the dead watching me from the gloom in silence. But I wanted more than silence. I wanted to sing and play music again, my voice echoing through our house as she closed her eyes and smiled. Music was life to me and without it our house had become as lifeless as her tomb.

    She stood on the river bank, under a thorny tree with branches like dark bones, and did not recognise me. The old oracle had warned me of this – that the dead have no memories of the living just as the living only have memories of the dead. When I put my hand on hers, it felt as cold as it had when I found her with two red marks of a viper bite on her ankle. “We’ll have music again,” I said and despite the oracle’s warning I believe she smiled.

    I unhitched the rope from my belt and knotted it around her wrist. Then I tugged it gently and led her back along the paths. The oracle had also warned me not to glance back at her as we fled. So I looked ahead and felt for the tightness of the rope and listened for her faint footsteps on the dust as we climbed towards the shaft of sunlight that pierced the darkness.

    “We will have music.”

    As I stepped into the light, the rope snapped taut. Without thinking, I turned and saw her in the shadows, her eyes wide as if now she was about to step back into the light, she finally recognised me. Then she faded back into darkness and I was alone. The rope dropped to the ground where it lay on the grass coiled like a snake. It was the third warning the oracle had told me, the one ignored as I hurried out of the temple. Desire would not lead us through death, only love.

    Here at the entrance to the underworld, the birds did not sing.

    Reply
  5. mtdecker

    Ship bored
    350 words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    Becalmed.

    Bedraggled.

    Bee-bop-a-lula…

    My thoughts were interrupted by the crewman.

    The boat had a Captain, a First Mate, a Boatswain, a Second Mate… I guess they needed a spare in case the First Mate died of boredom… one crewman and me… oh, and a mechanic named Bob.

    While the officers met to work out how to do anything other than drift, they’d left the crewman in charge of making sure I didn’t do anything stupid.

    Its not like there was anywhere to wander off to… I mean… high seas…

    I sighed, looking at the crewman. “So what do you do for fun?”

    He laughed bitterly. “Boy did you pick the wrong ship.”

    Obviously

    I shrugged. I’d needed a break, and I wanted more than silence to keep me busy.

    Of course, with no wind in the sails and the outboard having given out after an hour it got quiet. It was even quieter once the crewman extinguished the radio when it caught fire. There wasn’t really much more than silence, and the occasional swearing from the mechanic.

    I sighed. “What do you do about the boredom?”

    “Invent games… practice knots… read.”

    Inventing games sounded like too much work, and I’d already read everything I had that I had, including the toothpaste tube. Twice. I cried at the end when the cavity prevention and whitening agents eloped.

    In the end, I asked about knots.

    The crewman smiled. I hoped that it was a ‘pleased to share’ smile and not an ‘I am going to have fun with this’ smile but you can never tell with these things, and by then it’s too late.

    I was in luck. The smile was two parts the former and only one part the later.

    In the end we had to give up.

    While my knots held the sail in place, they also held me, the boatswain, and a passing seagull in place. .

    “Well, I’ll give you this,” he said… you really put yourself into your work.”

    Yeah. Everyone loves a comedian. We’ll eat him first.

    Then hour three of my ordeal began.

    Reply
  6. voimaoy

    Climbing to the Moon
    @voimaoy
    335 words

    One night, I saw a white bird in the tree. It was the moon. “What are you doing up there?” I cried. “Please come down. Come down and play in the garden with the fireflies.” The lights were flashing on and off, a message of love. I could almost understand their language. The moon looked down and said nothing. I wanted more than silence.

    I sang to the moon, a love song. Words flew out of my mouth into the air. They whispered with the leaves. The moon looked at me and said nothing.

    “I know,” I said, “I will climb up to you.” I started up the tree, clinging to the branches. Startled, the moon moved higher in the sky, hanging just out of reach. I looked down at the garden, the roofs of all the houses, the lights in the windows. The moon floated silent above me, caught in ropes of clouds.

    “Don’t be afraid, ” I said. “I will free you. I’m coming, I’m on my way.” Hand over hand, I climbed up the rope, remembering to breathe in and out. Looking down, I could see the lights of the cities. The moon was so close, I could touch it.

    Once on the surface, I set to work quickly, my fingers loosening the knots. How did the moon get so tangled? At last, the rope fell away, stretching to the earth below. For a moment, I wondered if I could climb down again. But for now, I had the moon to explore. It’s like nothing they compare it to. It’s not a mirror or a porcelain vase.

    I was having a fine time walking on the moon, feeling so light and free. Too soon, it would be morning. I had to come back down to earth, all the cities and houses and trees growing closer and closer until I was home again, in the garden with the fireflies.

    I’ll go back, I promise. I look up at the moon, still and silent and waiting.

    Reply
    1. mtdecker

      I love this. (like I love everything of yours I’ve read) It’s beautiful. You have a vision in your stories that its always a joy to read.

      Reply
  7. Mark A. King

    Tying the knot

    @making_fiction

    214 words

    Before time was time, there was nothing. But I wanted more than silence.

    In the void of dark, the vacuum of being, I longed for her. Although I did not even know her name back then.

    I was death.

    She was life.

    Our unique love, our marriage, on different ends of a double-helix entwined-rope–started with a bang. The conjoining of elements. The cinereal-coloured kiss of carbon. The blessed swamps of amino acids.

    Not much of a love story, eh?

    But oh, how she moves. In the arid deserts she slithers, I watch her side-winder patterns etch curved waves on lifeless sand. In the skies she soars on thermal drafts, a dot of shadow on the bliss of eternal blue. Beneath the crushing oceans she is the luminous creatures that are more plentiful and bright than the stars of the firmament.

    She nurtures the spawn in stagnant ponds. She harbours dandelion seeds in the cracks in pavements.

    In the end, they always come back to me. But I never hold them for long. It is the faintest of kisses snatched in the dark silence.

    And when I’m done, she takes them from me. Her tender breath calls them, and they slide between the ends of entwined rope, holding on, changing as they go, longing to be reborn in her embrace.

    Reply
  8. stephanie kelley

    @stephlit
    276 words

    Broken bones are the foremost reason for disqualification from this game. I’ve had three of them so far. I expect to have more.
    The second most common is player death.
    I plan on avoiding that one.
    The audience doesn’t seem to mind the risk. They turn out in droves along with their coin. It’s their reaction that keeps me coming back.
    Basil dangles me above the moving platform with only one rope wrapped around my hand.
    “Steady!” I call out a warning to him. When I’m ready to drop, he has to let go immediately or I’ll miss my target.
    The bell rings. The crowd roars.
    I swivel so that I can see the five other pounders. I have sixty seconds to secure my spot in one of three circular nets in order to move on. The rest of the padded platform is less forgiving.
    “Place!” I’ve picked my net. It should be under me in ten seconds.
    The first pounder drops. She misses a net.
    The audience gasps then is silent.
    I can do better than that.
    “Break!”
    Basil lets go just as the pounder next to me drops.
    We’re going for the same net.
    The audience screams.
    I twist until I’m next to him, shoving him off course.
    He clips my jaw with his heel.
    My arm smacks the platform before the rest of my body falls safely into the net. The other pounder tumbles in on top of me. I push him off but his body is limp.
    I wanted more than silence and I got more. The audience jeers.
    I never planned on committing the third most common disqualification.
    Murder.

    Reply

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