“Yes?” The man grasped at his mane of white, wispy hair. He pulled it to his eye for inspection. “What about it?”
My gaze was not the only one that moved towards him. I was the only one that stepped forward and asked the question we were all thinking. We were a lost tour group in a cave and there was a man perched behind the railing with a tall, triangular hat and billowing robes.
“Is your name Merlin?” I ask.
The man pulled a twisted pipe out of his chest pocket. “Sometimes.”
“Can you help us get out of here?”
He kicked away from the cavern and in two long paces he was leaning against the railing that kept us from the cave’s natural terrors. He leaned over so our eyes met. I wondered, briefly, if he was one of those terrors.
“How old are you?” he asked, instead of answering my question.
“What does that matter?”
“You’re tiny, are you an undeveloped human or have I been here for longer than I thought?”
“I’m not undeveloped, or whatever, I’m twelve!”
“Well, that explains it them.”
I wanted to kick him, but kicking people was not the way to get what I wanted. “We need help.”
“So you’ve said,” his eyes narrowed, he blew a tendril of smoke into the space between us. “You’re very brave for asking.”
I step back. “Why? Are you dangerous?”
“Sometimes,” he winked then put his pipe back in his pocket and pulled out a long, long, wand, far too long to fit in a pocket. “But I will help you.”
With a flick of his wand, the cave around us fell away. I flinched at the light, hand rising to my eye in instinct. When I lowered it, he was gone.
“Raise the flag!” The order comes from across the valley where my Commander’s foot rests on the corpse of our greatest enemy.
I am still out of breath from the sprint. My boots are marred with blood and bone, shrapnel bites into my side but the heavy weight of the bag across my shoulder grounds me to this cliff. I have to raise the flag.
With the flag comes true victory. Placing it is an honor bestowed upon me because of my size and strength: small and mighty. I alone climb the highest mountain and plant our emblem for the world to see.
I reach into the bag and – it’s empty. The flag is missing.
It is then that I remember the fabric draped over the trunk in the center of my tent. Set to dry after a ceremonial cleaning. My heard races, the grounds troops have turned towards my direction. They all start shouting, “Raise the flag!”
I hang my head. Small and mighty and forgetful.
Inspired by: Cracked Flash Year 1, Week 26
It had been three weeks since their mother brought home the drum set and Linus was still not a rock star. He couldn’t believe it, after a full twenty days of practice and everything.
In the next room over, separated by an inch of plywood, Margaret had a headache. She missed silence.
“Is this life now, Momma?” The woman continued to pour cereal into two bowls, her back turned. She could not hear her daughter. Margaret noticed her mother’s neon pink earplugs and thumped her head forward, letting it hit the granite counter with a bang.
No one in the house heard her over Linus’ drum set. With her head pressed against the cool stone, she clenched her eyes closed. It was time for a plan.
Their family computer lived in the kitchen. She was not allowed to use it while eating so she scarfed down each bite of cereal, finishing her breakfast before Linus even entered the kitchen. She ignored him when he entered the room, even though he said hi and pulled one of her pigtails.
“What’s up with her?” He asked their mother. The ear-plugged woman turned on her heel and left the kitchen without a response. He had gone unheard, as well.
Margaret cherished the silence; she even tried to type softly on the keyboard to not break its precious relief. After reading one webpage, she had a plan. While Linus tapped, tapped, tapped, on the granite counter, Margaret slid from her chair and ran down the hallway to the playroom that now acted as a music studio.
In the doorway she stood face to face with the drum set, her nemesis.
Her eyes zeroed in to the corner where her teddy sat on a wooden rocking chair. The pudgy bear was about the size of the main drum and a worthy sacrifice. She snatched him up and ran behind the instrument.
For a moment a thought hung in the air. She tightened her hand around the bear and thought how easy it would be—how simple—to lift her foot and slam it into the largest drum. She would get in trouble, sure, but she would win. Their mother would not buy a second drum set and there would be no more waking up to the blaring drum beat. But then she remembered Linus, sitting on the counter tapping his beat. She tried to recall the last time she had seen her brother so dedicated to something and pictured his heart breaking at the sight of the broken instrument. She lowered her foot.
Instead, she returned to her plan. She pushed the bear into the large space behind the drum, smushing him until he fit into the round instrument. She didn’t have long. Linus ate his cereal quickly because he liked to slurp down the milk, so Margaret raced to their art supplies box.
She grabbed tape and construction paper. After writing a message on the paper she taped it to the metal rim of the drum and stepped back to admire her handy work. The paper wall kept teddy in his place and the message read loud and clear:
“Remove this teddy and your drum set will pay. Love, Margaret.”
She ran from the room and returned to the computer, fingers twirling in her hair as she tried to pretend everything was normal. Linus still sat at the counter tap, tap, tapping. She held her breath when he finally pushed away from his bowl and walked to the playroom. She heard, and promptly ignored, when he called her name.
Her breath held still until she heard the drum, no longer a bang but a soft thumping beat, hardly able to penetrate the walls. It was only then that Margaret leaned back against the desk chair and smiled. Success.
Check out more Adventures with Linus and Margaret!
Lela loved her feathered comforter. She loved the way the cotton brushed against her skin, how its heavy weight kept away the cold. But Lela did not have her feathered comforter. It was wrapped around her husband’s body, held there by the unyielding strength of a sleeping man.
In the darkness of their room, in the dead of night, with only the lamplight casting across their bed Lela realized, she wanted the comforter more than her husband.
Herman loved his life. When he placed his head on the pillow every night it was simple – he was happy with his wife, his choices, his bedding. Even though the comforter was well-worn and had belonged to Lela back before they were married, it smelled like them mixed together. He breathed in the sweet smell with every REM cycled breath.
In the darkness of their room, in the dead of night, with only the lamplight casting across their bed Herman realized, in the depths of his sleep, that he wanted to keep this comforter and the mix of their smell forever.
Inspired by The Daily Post’s Third Rate Romance
BadPoet™ took one last look in the mirror. Not for the first time, he cursed his model’s programming. His wrinkles were coming in nicely as was his receding hairline.
“Today you will evoke emotion,” he told his reflection before letting his eye slip to the window. He contemplated the passing planet.
Today will be different.
On the flight deck there was a dais. On the dais stood BadPoet™ and, surrounding him, was the flight crew curled in laughter.
Today was not different.
“And in the dying light,
We hold on for our might,
Against the sight,
of our frights.”
“The only fright here is this awful poem,” the second-in-command boosted. “Captain, I love our new jester.”
The word stung. He tried to balm it with the fact that laughter was a physical reaction of the emotion ‘happiness’. He evoked that response – he did it.
The thought lifted his spirits up and until the rehydratable tomato hit him in the face.
Character: A talking rooster; Theme: Justice
“No one wakes up on time anymore,” Rob the Rooster told the horizon, perched on his spot on top of the hill. “I could crow from sunup to sundown and, still, everyone would wake up to their vibrating gadgets.”
Rob did not want to be replaced. Rob wanted to rule the waking hour.
“A plan is what this Rooster needs,” Rob considered under the fine morning glow.
He needed to get inside the gadgets. The humans had a constant connection with them. If he could control the devices, then his job of Waking Up The World (on time) would be massively successful.
Rob the Rooster needed a hacker.
Good thing his best friend is a Worm™.
It was easy to devise the plan, easier than resisting the urge to eat his friend. Worm™may be a genius – but he was still a worm.
If his friend noticed the inner conflict, it didn’t stop him from slithering into the nearest Wi-Fi hub and doing his magic.
The next morning, when the sun rose at 5:43 am, Rob the Rooster heard the echoing sounds of vibrating gadgets all throughout the land – his job was done here.
A Flash!Friday Tale:
Those kisses used to be mine.
As she bends, I catch a glimpse down her blouse. The sight of her breasts used to spark hot arousal but now they bring only anguish. Instead, I let my eyes fall on her soft, warm, loving lips as they caress the bare cheek of my heir.
I should not be envious, but I am. He gets her attention now, he gets her time. I get half-forgotten smiles.
She looks at me, Henry on her hip, her words callous. I barely hear them. Her mouth twists in disgust at my silence, or maybe at the mere sight of me.
“Were you listening?” She demands.
I nod. “Of course.”
Then she leaves with him. The door slams in her wake and I am left alone, again.
The detective cleared his throat. “I am the Great –”
“We know who you are.” The Master of the House interrupted.
“That’s why we invited you to sit on our couch.” The Lady supplied.
The detective’s hands tightened around his tools of deduction. “You must let me finish my introduction.”
The Lady’s eyes slipped into slits of displeasure. “We must do no such thing.”
“We called you here to solve a murder, not stroke your ego.” The Master stood.
“We will proceed immediately to the scene of the crime.”
“But you do not understand, my introduction incites fear in the spirits.”
The Lady looked to her husband. “You said he was sane.”
The Master flushed. “All detectives are eccentric.”
The detective continued murmuring his introduction as he followed the Master towards the kitchen, where remnants of murder remained untouched.
“What did you say, lad?” The Master asked.
“I am beginning my investigation. Continue onwards.”
The Master detested anyone ordering him around his own house. But, with his wife waiting in the sitting room, he did not feel the need to exert his superiority. Instead, he watched the detective crouch to his knees and investigate the carcass.
It all seemed above-board until the detective removed a straw from his pocket and began slurping the blood.
“Now, what is this?” The Master demanded.
“You want me to solve your murder?”
“Of course. But surely –“
“I am the Great –”
“I’ll just return to the sitting room,” the Master interrupted again.
He suddenly felt defeated in his very own kitchen.
A Flash!Friday Tale: Conflict: man vs man; Character (choose one): arrogant detective