With that in mind, all the #flashfiction I wrote this week was for my WIP The Bone Flute. The first challenge I entered was the Undead Christmas Spectacular for #MenageMonday. We had the following photo, the phrase "the more the merrier", and the themes of Christmas and Undead to construct a story of up to 500 words.
“Did you celebrate Christmas in Hungary when you –” Rain gestured at his body braced in the passenger seat of her car. “You know, when you weren’t like this.”
Jozsef slanted her a dry look. “Of course.” Then chagrin killed his sarcasm. “Marika celebrated the Goddess’ Solstice, but the celebrations were the same. Giving thanks, offering gifts, and goodwill to our neighbors. All the things Christmas is about.”
Sunlight blinded him as Rain steered the car into the setting sun. The road appeared to run straight to the mountains, capped in white and blue shadows. Odd branchless trees with broad fronds sprouting from their tops lined the roadway, some draped with lines of colorful baubles. They reminded him of the strings of lanterns his family would hang from the eaves of their home.
“Where are we going?”
“I thought we’d take a walk in zip code 89129. The people over there always have the best Christmas decorations.”
Most of the houses had something in their yards and strung along their rooflines. One little blue house had odd white structures vaguely resembling some four-legged animal as well as a strange covered wagon. Lumpy red and white cloth bunched on the ground, looking for all the world like Christmas casualties on a field of green. Was the white one supposed to be a snowman?
“Something’s wrong with their decorations,” he remarked.
Rain looked to where he pointed and laughed. “No, just wait until it gets dark. Those are balloons. They rise up like the undead to stand after sunset. And the reindeer and horse-and-cart light up, too. You’ll see when it gets dark.”
“The undead? You mean like me?”
“You’re a ghost, not a vampire.”
“Would you think of me as alive?” He fervently hoped it was so.
Rain watched the road for a few moments, her thoughts scrolling across her face too quickly for him to read.
“No, not precisely alive, but certainly not completely dead. I mean, when you’re dead, the soul leaves. But your soul is still here, with me. That makes me all the more the merrier.” Her smile warmed his insubstantial heart.
The sun dipped behind the jagged mountains as Rain parked the car in a faintly glowing neighborhood. Bright lights sparkled as the breeze shook the fronded trees lining the street. Jozsef sifted himself onto the sidewalk as she got out.
“Jozsef, would you, um…” Rain trailed off, her expression uncertain. She took a deep breath. “Would you hold my hand while we walk?”
Delight bloomed in his chest even while his mind told him not to get too attached. He just needed her to end his curse and he’d be free of this unlife. “I’d be honored, my lady.”
She held out her hand, but he took her arm and tucked it against his side, her presence making him solid once more. Pleasure filled him and he smiled. She wanted to hold his hand, but he wanted to hold her heart. Tonight, he’d win it.
I won for the Most Romantic Story and I wrote 500 words for my WIP! :)
I also entered #MotivationMonday and we had to write a story up to 500 words from the following first line "That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!"
“That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!” Rain looked up from her bills as Heath strode into the room with a scowl across his face. “And I don’t have any extra batteries. Do you have a flashlight I can borrow?”
“Why do you need a flashlight? Doesn’t the light in the garage work?”
Heath gave her a conciliatory shrug. “It’s still too dark to see what needs to be done to fix the water heater.”
Unease slithered up Rain’s spine. Why was so much going wrong in her house? It had been fine until a few months ago. Was Jozsef right and Heath was actually sabotaging it? She stuffed her worries down and gave Heath a grimace.
“I think I have one you can use.”
She rose and strode to her hutch, scrounging through a drawer to find a purple mini Mag-Lite. She rotated the head and nearly blinded herself. “This one works.”
“Could you come into the garage and hold it for me? I really need both my hands.”
She scanned his face, looking for the source of her disquiet, but his expression showed only hopeful patience.
“Okay, I guess I could.”
He preceded her through the fire door, holding it open as she stepped through. It slammed shut behind her, making her jump, but Heath had already moved into the corner where the water heater stood.
“Here, can you shine it right here?” He pointed toward the back of the alcove. “I need to get to the pipes back there.”
“Right there. Here, stand here and shine it into the corner, there.” He positioned her to one side and pointed.
She frowned at the mass of pipes, bending down to look closer. It almost looked like they’d been cut…
“Do you see the problem, Rain?” Heath asked in a chilling voice.
“I think so.”
“It should be obvious. It’s right there in front of you.”
She turned to look back at him just as something struck the back of her head, shooting stars through her vision. A scream of protest and pain echoed in the empty garage as she fell against the totes stacked behind her.
“It was always right in front of you, Rain.” Heath’s face suffused with rage swam in her wavering vision.
“What are you doing –”
“You’re mine and always will be. He’ll never have you!”
Her head roiled in agony as he opened the garage door and retreated to his truck parked out front. She had to get to the phone, dial 911. Rain tried to roll her body onto all-fours, but dizziness hit her so hard, nausea swelled up her throat.
“Don’t worry, Rain,” Heath soothed as he wrapped a thick, muffling blanket around her body, covering her head. “I’ll take care of you and make it all better. I’ve always taken care of you, haven’t I?”Her blood ran cold when she understood Jozsef had been right about Heath and she’d never be able to tell him as the darkness sucked her under.
I won Honorable Mention and creeped out the judge. This is also from my WIP The Bone Flute.
On Tuesday, I continued with The Bone Flute for #TuesdayTales and we had the word Snickerdoodle and the following photo to make a story with only 100 words.
Rain snuggled closer to Jozsef’s side, amazed at how solid and warm he felt as they walked through the glittering neighborhood. Who knew a ghost could feel so real?
The scent of snickerdoodles floated in the cold evening air as they passed a house with inflatable decorations and fogged windows.
Rain laughed. “What do you think they’re doing in there?”
Jozsef tipped his head and smirked. “Judging by the heart on the glass, I think I can guess.” Then he kissed her forehead. “Shall I take you home and make my own attempt?”
Excitement zinged through her. “Oh, yes, please.”
So that's the #flashfiction for the week. I hope you've enjoyed the little parts of this story slowly emerging. 1100 words written on my WIP and I even won for the bits. :) Happy reading!