Twitter Fiction, October 2020

For years, I’ve resisted joining Twitter, as I didn’t have much to tweet about. Then, I discovered Twitter Fiction, and I finally had a reason to sign up. I started up in October, during the #writetober2020 challenge (in which one-word prompts are given for each day of the month and you write a story in 50 words or less based on that prompt).

For those interested, I have my Twitter account linked on this blog’s homepage. Or, you can look me up @flashfictionist. Flash fiction is a different kind of writing challenge from writing novels. Some of the stories are just so-so, but I think I’ve managed to forge some special nuggets as well 😉 At the end of each month, I will be sharing my full collection of Twitter stories for the month. October’s is late, but here it is:

(Note: If you’re short on time, I have bolded the titles of my favorites.)

SCROLL

The parchment crackles, freed from its millennial rest inside the large green bottle.

Miranda places books on the corners as I hold them down. We read the scroll together. –Or would, if we could decipher hieroglyphics.

Whose bright idea was it to create a thousand-year time capsule anyway?

DISGUISE

The creature entered the room. It sniffed.

Candy.

It grabbed some tissues and shoved one up each nostril.

Better.

Mouth open and salivating, it mingled with the crowd.

“Wow! Cool costume!”

The creature grinned. That was the best thing about Halloween parties: Nobody expected you to come as yourself…

CRICKET

The boy held up his jar with pride. “It’s a cricket!”

Within, the cricket’s little heart raced as the kindergarteners passed him around inside his glass prison. One insect couldn’t do much, but he prayed to the cricket god for vengeance:

Send a swarm to plague them…

KEY

“Put this under your pillow, and you’ll travel to a fantastic world every time you dream.”

I take the old key from Grandma, heft its weight and admire its tarnished beauty. But Grandma doesn’t know me that well if she thinks I need a key to unlock my imagination.

BOW

“Mommy, can you help me?”

I take the proffered ribbon from your tiny hand, gather your silken hair, and tie an expert bow around the ponytail. I watch you skip out the door.

My hands are empty; only my mind holds the memory.

You tie your own ribbons now.

ORANGE

Grief is a strange thing– a fruit bowl of memories, sour and sweet. I never know, until I peel the outer layer and take a bite, whether I’ll get one or the other. But all fruit grows sweeter when allowed to ripen.

Memories are like that, too.

JOURNEY

There goes a hero– a man who gave his life in defense of his clan. He’ll surely be welcome among the other great warriors in Valhalla.

Unfortunately for Vlad, he was too busy searching for his lost sword on the battlefield to notice that his body had left without him.

FOUND

Police searched the riverbank for a week, hoping to find the missing clue to help identify Sara’s killer. Mr. Dunn strolled the same riverbank and found a hammer with “FM” carved into the handle. 

He knew the hammer’s owner, so he rinsed it off and put it in his pocket.

TREE

You think the trees have spirits

And oh, my lad, ’tis true–

Spirits green and ageless

Arrayed before your view.

You hasten to embrace each one–

But oh, if you only knew,

The trees are happy to be hugged

By anyone else but you.

WHISPER

She huddled in the corner, arms over her head. She covered her ears, but still the whispers penetrated her mind. You don’t belong here. Come with us. Be one with us. Leave it all behind. For days she’d heard the call. Her greatest fear was that someday she would listen.

ETERNAL

When Jacob Sykes was sentenced to life in prison for theft and muder, nobody then knew the consequence of that verdict. Because nobody had truly believed that the old vial– recovered from an ancient tomb– which the man had stolen from a museum, contained the last known drops of immortality.

BOAT

The drum beats. I heave to the rhythm. Perspiration trickles down my face to fall in great droplets at my feet until I have no sweat left. I join in the chorus of grunts and groans from my fellow galley slaves. There’s no merriment here.

What nightmare is this?

SACRIFICE

I would give up my livelihood, my home, my clothing, my food and drink. Bit by bit, I would sacrifice my body– inside and out– for your love. But when you ask me for my reason, I walk away from it all.

My mind is my own.

SPELL

“The rain stopped! Just like that!”

“I told you it would.”

“How so?”

“It was magic! I have this old book, see…”

“You reading that book stopped the rain?”

“Yes!”

“When you said ‘wait for a spell,’ I thought you were just telling me to be patient.”

“That helps, too…”

WOLF

Darn you New Moon. Orion’s legs and arms lengthened; he flexed his ten fingers as they grew– the only part he liked. Standing erect, he sighed as he pulled on jeans and a t-shirt; he missed his furry body already– not to mention his keen senses. 

Being a were-human sucked.

VANISH

For years, she’d blamed her inattention for the random vanishings. Deep down she knew the truth. But rather than risk being committed, she carried on. 

One day she stepped into the shower, and came out into the space where all her things were hiding. 

At least she found her robe.

MAP

For years the old hermit lived atop the mountain, the world laid out below. Villagers thought him a wise seer. He was a seer alright– He saw so much he would never have seen from the valley. That was why he stayed– because he was terrified to leave.

CHEER

“Picture perfect!” Coach gushed, admiring the squad’s human pyramid. But as soon as she turned her back, the girls collapsed in a heap. Stuck beneath, Maya contemplated the parallels between her physical position and her emotional state. But she pasted on a smile as she rose again.

ENTWINE

You encircle me and squeeze; I gasp at the pressure. My spine shudders with combined pleasure and aversion as you slither up my back. Your eyes meet mine and I fall under your hypnotic spell. 

Mother always warned me not to get involved with a viper.

Too late.

MILLENNIUM 

When Grandpa learned he’d won a lifetime supply of milk, he was thrilled. He didn’t know the Sweepstakes was run by a race who lived for millennia, or that the “milk” came from a Seralon Spitcow. 

That, kids, is why you can’t have “regular milk” to drink like everyone else. 

GRAVE

“You know the story about the teeny-tiny woman who finds the teeny-tiny bone?”

“Yeah…what about it?”

“You ever wonder what the bone belonged to?”

“You mean who?”

“No, what. Was it a mole? Or a rat? Or a fox?”

“Don’t be ridiculous; animals can’t talk.”

CUP

The last I saw you, we sat together, sharing milk and cookies. I laughed at your white moustache, until you wiped it with your sleeve. You said “I love you!” as you dashed outside to play.

I never have moved your cup. It waits for you, just as I do.

RIVER

River of water

River of gold

River of turbulence 

River so bold

River of youthfulness 

Too swift to hold

River of loneliness 

Still and cold

River of heartache

We drink when we’re old

But our river of joy

Will outlast the world

EPHEMERAL

They said the pain wouldn’t last.

They were wrong.

They said I’d wonder where the time had gone.

But I know where it is. I put it under my pillow. Now when I sleep, I dream of a new life.

Only I never remember any of it when I wake.

FALL

Peter Fisk would fall for anything. Pranks. Scam phone calls. Fake news. He fell for the woman who lived next door, and eventually asked her to marry him. Thinking to tease him, she told him she’d rather marry a fish. 

That night, he “fell” head first into the river.

FORBIDDEN

Mom said, “Eat your peas.” He didn’t. 

Dad said, “Take out the trash.” He played instead.

Big Sis said, “Stay out of my room!” He snuck in every chance he got.

Grandma said, “Never let yourself be caught with a broom in your hands.” He hasn’t stopped sweeping in weeks.

BLOOM

Bloom where you’re planted was the wisdom of the flowers. Why waste time? The wild seedlings didn’t listen; they floated on the breeze. They weren’t going to sprout just anywhere. When they finally did settle, people traveled for miles to witness the ephemeral beauty of a desert in bloom.

LISTEN

‘Twixt sleep and waking, a hurricane roared in my ears; I live in Arizona. The next week, I napped to voices conversing; I live alone. I concluded I must have superhuman hearing, if I could learn how to use it.

I sleep all day now, waiting to become a hero. 

MONSTER

They searched the deceased Jekyll’s house and found one last dose of his infamous potion. A few wanted to destroy it, but more reasoned: As the doctor had been a good man, his results were not definitive. 

They dosed a serial killer instead; he murdered them all with kindness.

HILL

They’d always lived under the hill, each day delving deeper to make space for a spreading population. The queen grew in size and influence, until the day when a new hill appeared to challenge her supremacy.

The children playing in the yard settled the conflict with a well-aimed garden hose.

MOON

“Daddy, why is there a face in the moon?”

“It’s God’s reflection.”

“The moon’s a mirror?”

“In a way.”

“Can I see my ‘flection?”

“Perhaps. If you got close enough.”

“Did the aster-nots see theirs?”

“I’ve never asked them.”

“That’s okay. I’m going to find out for myself someday.”

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