Flash Fiction Friday 017 – Let There Be Light

Tom was huddled in his office. On every free surface, candles burned brightly. Their flickering lights danced over his face, giving him a manic appearance that matched his mood

Outside, night hung over the city. Gas lamps burned dimly; winds fluttered across the moon. Hooves clattered on cobblestone; the womp of beaten air grew steadily louder. Shutters and windows closed for the night; screams erupted from the streets.

It was the same every night. The mouth people came with the fading light and took their sacrifices. They didn’t care who the people were as long as they were alive.

The only thing these moth people feared was the light. Candles were barely bright enough to be of any good, and fires required constant attention. That was why Tom kept himself locked in his office under the mad gleam of desperation.

The door to his office burst open, amid he spun towards it in terror and shock. “Damn it, Edison. How much longer?” Tom breathed a sigh of relief as the mayor’s aide walked in. “You’ve tried nearly a thousand different things by now.”

Edison nodded, a sense of calm coming over him like it always did when he was explaining something. “Yes, and I have found a thousand ways it wouldn’t work. Tell the mayor I’m close. We’ll soon be safe.”

A shot rang out from behind Tom’s door. It was followed by a scream that quickly died away in a wet gurgle. The aide paled and backed further into Edison’s office. “T…tomorrow morning will be fine.” With a bracing breath, he rounded on Tom. “But this light bulb thing had better be what you promise.”

Edison smiled to himself as he turned back to his work. “Trust me Steve. It’ll change the world.”

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Flash Fiction Friday 016 – The Burbonville Sermon

The entire town of Burbonville, Kentucky had come out for the announcement. The United States had entered the Great War. There was a mixture of tears and crying from the members of the small village. As for Tim…well he wasn’t quite sure what to think.

Gerry kept attacking US ships. At least that’s what the papers had said, and Pa always maintained that if someone punches you in the face…Well sometimes you just have to punch them back. The Army also sounded like a good idea to Tim. Couldn’t be any worse than sharecropping.

On the other hand, he didn’t really want to go half way ‘cross the world. He and his girl were getting on well. If he left, there was no telling when he would see her again…or if. That was a very chilling thought. Tim had never really had a reason to question his mortality before, and yet here he was, standing alone in a crowd of people as he wondered if he would make it back.

He was pulled from his thoughts by a sudden hush in the crowd. Some old drifter had wandered into the middle of the townsfolk and started talking. Tim had missed the first part of what the drifter was saying, but it soon became clear that this man was some form of preacher. The little bit Tim could hear from the back included a lot of “sinners” and “hellfire” and “damnation.”

Curious, Tim pushed closer to the front. The preacher man was getting right firey with his words, lifting his bible high above his head before swopping his arm down to shake it at the ground. As the man spoke, clouds began to gather overhead. The sudden appearance of dark clouds was quite odd for what had been a mild spring day.

“And the Lord speaks to us! Calling out to us! Urging us to do our sacred duty before darkness over takes us.” Shadows fell on the ground at the preachers words.

“The Kaiser and his minions. They serve the old ways. They have no interest in the new covenants as they blow away their friends and enemies.” A cold wind swept across the crowd, cutting through the sundresses and light shirts.

“It is an old enemy that rises up, rearing his horned head once again! He seeks the blood and destruction of all peoples and systems and he uses the Kaiser to do it! And what will you do?” The preacher jabbed a finger at the crowd. “Will you sit here and do nothing? Content in your false peace? Lord as my witness, the true believer must fight!”

Thunder crashed with his final word and lightning lit the sky. The preacher stood there a moment, panting, before making a final prayer and walking off. As he left, the storm quickly dissipated and the town was left in sunlight once again.

There were murmurs from the townsfolk at the strange preacher, but he was soon forgotten. The one person who didn’t forget was Tim. The crash of thunder shook his soul while the word “GO” echoed in his mind. He knew what the message was and he knew what he had to do. He couldn’t stay in Burbonville. It was time for him to go over there.

This week’s story was a rashomon. Be sure to check out D.L. Spartan or #flashomon on Twitter to find more points of view from the Burbonville Sermon.

If you liked this, please drop me a comment or share with your friends. Don’t forget to follow us here, or on Facebook or Twitter so you don’t miss the weekly fantasies I destroy my sanity to build for you. If you want, make sure you sign up for our newsletter and as a special thanks, you’ll receive a short story for free. And as always, I mustache y’all to stay fantastical.

Flash Fiction Friday 003 – Speed Demon

High above the desert, there lurks a demon. This demon preys on those who try to out run it.

High above the Mojave Desert, the test pilot was being chased by a demon. He and the other test pilots all knew that a demon lived up in that bright, blue sky. They all just assumed that they were chasing it, not the other way around. Who would have thought that the sound barrier was guarded by a malicious spirit?

The Bell X-1 was not very maneuverable. She was built for one purpose and that was to go fast. Going fast was all that the pilot could do now that he looked out the side of the cockpit and saw the black form racing alongside his plane. A smokey claw reached out towards the plane, grasping at its wing as the pilot willed her to fly faster.

Mach .8

The only hope he had was to try and outrun this demon. How was he going to do that though? How does a person outrun a speed demon?

Mach .85

The gauges continued to inch further ahead. The desert floor was a blur beneath him. God, he was really burning up the speedometer. It didn’t matter, though. The demon had managed to grab a hold of his wing and hold on to his bird, causing her to shimmy and shake wildly.

Mach .9

It was all the pilot could do to hold her steady. The poor plane continued to shimmy as the demon crawled its way from wing towards the canopy. Just a little further to go, and hopefully he would be able to shake this thing off.

Mach .95

Red eyes stared through the canopy at him. Despite the speed, the demon clung on and looked at the contender with malice and contempt.

Mach .97

A shadowy hand passed through the canopy and reached out towards the pilot. He felt the white-hot burn in his side as the claw gripped him, but he couldn’t tell if it was the demon or the cracked ribs he was flying with. If it was the ribs…well…he didn’t let those stop him from taking off, he’d be damned if he’d let them stop him from beating this demon.

Mach .99

A dry cackle erupted in the cockpit. A second clawed hand reached out towards the pilot’s face, easily engulfing his head. His breathing became short and his head began to swim. So close…he was so close.

An explosion rang out on the ground below, the force of it causing the bystanders to shiver with the implication. There was nothing but static on the portable radio that they had set up. Another pilot lost….

Just then, a crackle was heard from the radio. After a few seconds, it was followed by another crackle and a pop. At last, the voice of Chuck Yeager came across, reading a speed of Mach 1. Cries of joy flew from the lips of the bystanders.

High above them, Yeager thought of those last several minutes. He had just managed to punch his plane through the sound barrier. As the boom of breaking the sound barrier exploded below, the demon lost its grip on the Bell X-1 and slid off. Yeager could see it attempt to catch him again, but its monstrous size had already shrunk greatly. Never again would this particular demon pose a threat to him or his fellow pilots.

Of course, he knew better to include this in his final report. Instead, the sheer velocity caused him to black out from a lack of oxygen, but that was the official report. Anyone who had ever tested new equipment knew that more demons were lurking out there, waiting for their chance to strike until they get beaten just like the sound demon.

 

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