Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Results of Flash Fiction Challenge #3

Last Friday, the results of my recent flash fiction challenge were posted all around the Internet. I’ve enjoyed reading a few of them and will be reading the others shortly. If you haven’t given feedback to at least the person who gave you your prompt and the person you gave a prompt to, please get around to that soon. It’s an important aspect of these challenges.
Now, this time around, we had a bunch of people partake in the challenge. I am very happy to present to you the collection. These short stories only take a few minutes to read; I encourage you to check them out!

Flash Fiction by Olivia

"The Thief's Blade" by Katie Grace

"Ready" by Emmarayne

Flash Fiction by FaithSong

"Name for Name" by Caiti Marie

"One Chance" by Athelas

Flash Fiction by Ana

"Confrontation" by Sierra

"White Bird" by Leanne

"Cold, Blinding Light" by Leinad

"In His Eye" by Me

Thanks to everyone who participated in this challenge! I enjoyed writing with all of you, and I look forward to doing it again!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Flash Fiction–In His Eye

Hey, everyone! I realize I’m a bit late in getting this posted. Part of that is because I finished writing it today and part of it is because I was handling other people’s stories. However, it is completed, and it’s at exactly 1000 words. So, there you have it. I received my prompt from Leinad, who told me to write from the perspective of facing an imminent natural disaster. I may have strayed just slightly from your intent, Leinad. You’ll have to let me know.

For everyone who participated, remember to read and give feedback to the person who gave you your prompt and the person you gave a prompt to. Feel free to comment on any of the other stories, as well.

Anyway, here you go. I hope you enjoy it!

In His Eye Cover

Broken. I feel incredibly broken.

The sky is that clear blue that says lazy summer afternoon. The air’s damp on my skin, like every childhood summer.

I’m not home, though.

I should run, find safety. I’m not sure my legs work, though. They’ve stopped shaking, but my right leg pulses oddly. I glance down.


The two-foot wood fragment sticking through might explain it. How did that get there? My vision goes fuzzy. I grasp for the wall. Slowly, it clears and I blink. The pulsing in my leg seems distant, as if it’s not actually connected to me. Yet everything screams pain.


I should find shelter. This calm won’t last. Yet could anything be safe in this? Maybe I should just sleep it off… No! I shake my head. I can’t lose focus or I’ll die. But maybe that’s – stop it! It’s my wound talking. Wait, am I bleeding?!

The wood is bending when I look down. No, wait… It’s not bending. My vision’s weird again. I squint. My leg’s not bleeding much, but brownish-red stuff coats my thigh around the wood. Should I pull it out? No, something tells me that’s a bad idea. It would make the bleeding worse…or better…or something. I don’t remember.

The whole street dips in front of me. Whoa. It looks like a blanket being shaken out. Up and down, up and down… My stomach lurches. Uh oh.

I have to focus.

My leg cramps, sending me to the wet, debris-strewn sidewalk. Fire races through my leg. Something squeaks across the road. A door?

A woman’s voice. “See, it’s over!”

My throat constricts. No, it’s not.

A frown fills my face. Why didn’t she hear me? Didn’t I yell it? Heat rushes up my neck. I didn’t even say it. I try again. My mouth opens, but no sound escapes. What’s happening to me?! My throat tightens even further. No. Breath, just breathe. My heart rate slows slightly. My vision clears. Now I can clearly see the woman. Her face is lifted to the sky, smiling. She must not have really seen the street.

She certainly hasn’t seen me.

I need to get her attention. My hand flutters. Gritting my teeth, I slap it against the wall. The sound I imagined was much louder than that. I frown.

“Help me.” A whisper.

I close my eyes, wincing. What else can I do? Won’t anyone see me? Flexing my leg, I try to stand. A wave of pain rolls up my body, and my vision goes gray.

“No.” Just a whimper, a dot of sound masked by the wind.

Wait, wind? When did that start again? It barrels down the street, bringing an icy chill to my cheeks. I moan.

The eye of the hurricane is gone.

Raindrops speckle my cheek, joined by tears. Across the street, the woman gasps and scuttles inside. My mouth twists. The rain falls harder. The wind screams pound my body.

I’m going to die.

What a week to be sick. If I hadn’t been laid up for six days, maybe I would’ve realized a hurricane was coming. The broken TV, lack of Internet, and non-smartphone didn’t help either. A furious gust pins me against the wall. For a moment, I can’t breathe. The tears come harder. I can’t do this again. I was fairly sheltered from the first half, until the wind jerked me out of the alley and into the street.

It’s quickly ramping up again. The scream erupts in my ears, not my voice, but the unnatural voice of Nature itself. The one remaining tree along this street bends parallel to the ground, its leaves sailing away. A tire tumbles down the street, half rolling and half flying. It just misses me.

Shaking, I blink away sharp slants of rain. More just take their place. I have to get out of here. I touch my leg. Can I even stand? I doubt it, but I have to try. Angling my body away from the wind, I kneel on my uninjured leg. Gritting my teeth, I place my right foot on the ground. Pain races through my thigh. Something slams into my back.

Grunting, I nearly collapse. My leg’s gone numb.

You can do this.

With a scream, I push up. An answering shriek comes from the buffeting wind. I sidestep a couple feet, groaning. Then I lunge forward, one step, then another. I’m off the sidewalk. I’m stumbling in an odd zig-zag, pushed by the wind, even as I move forward. Every gasping breath brings a mouthful of water. I choke.

My gaze focuses on the door where the woman disappeared. So close. My right leg collapses.


I skid down the street, fighting for balance. Now the door’s to my left. I’ll never make it.

You’ll be fine.

I jerk, nearly falling again. Who was that? Dropping my head, I drag my screaming leg forward. I’m going farther right with every second. I can’t do this.

Keep going.

One more step. I’m bent nearly as much as that tree. Surely I’ll break.

A rumbling sounds behind me. What? A high-pitched whine joins the wind’s scream. I turn. The skyscraper is trembling. My eyes widen. My stomach drops. The glass shatters.


As I lunge, the rain becomes a waterfall of slicing shards. I don’t even hear my own scream as I fall to the ground. A thousand stings hit my body. I can’t feel my leg.

Everything goes black.

Sunshine warms my face. Grunting, I move my stiff arms. My leg beats a drumbeat underneath me. Remembering pain, I grimace. Then I frown. It’s not windy anymore. There’s no rain. Turning my head, I spot a huge rock to my right. My stomach tightens.

I would’ve been standing there if I hadn’t jumped.

If I hadn’t been told to jump.

A voice calls, “There’s someone over there!”

I glance to the sky, squinting. Then my eyes close again as a smile touches my lips.

White Bird–Leanne’s Flash Fiction

Leanne was given a picture prompt from Pinterest by Ana. You can find it here. Her story tops out at 995 words. Here you go!

“White Bird” by Leanne

A sharp crack echoes through the trees and into the sky. I stop midstride and stop singing. People don’t hunt in this pathetic patch of forest, but that defiantly sounded like a gunshot.

I glance around the small clearing, and into the trees beyond. There’s nothing and no one.

“Let me go.” The voice is soft but fierce.

There’s a sudden gust of wind that sounds like a scream. Another gunshot and suddenly there’s a boy crouching in the clearing as though he just jumped out of the sky.

He doesn’t look friendly. His skin is pale and his clothes are black. I’ve never seen him around here before. He gets to his feet slowly, and looks around.

He catches sight of me, and turns. I don’t move.

“So, you brought a friend?” He says, looking right at me, but I don’t think he’s talking to me. His eyes are a deep brown, and there’s a touch of a smile on his lips.

“Leave the human out of this.” The first voice says again, and then I see her, a girl slowly standing up in the grass. She’s as pale as him, but with hair the colour of the edge of a sunset. She’s small and fragile, but with something like steel in her eyes.

“She can see us.” the boy says.

“Humans can’t see us,” the girl says in a slightly scornful voice, glancing at me.

The boy raises an eyebrow, the same smile tilting his lips, walking toward me carefully, like I’m a wild creature.

I don’t like how this is going.

The girl’s gaze slips off of me and onto the boy, several paces in front of her now. She stands quite still, holding her hand out to him, her eyes closed. He moves closer to me again, making a soft soothing noise that does nothing to calm me.

I step back.

He lunges forward and grabs me.

A blast and a flash of white, and both of us are torn into the sky.

I can feel the empty air beneath me, the leaf strewn ground below that, and he’s still gripping my arm, his hand warm and sticky from sweat, my heart beating far faster than I ever thought it could go.

He yells something, and a gust of wind throws us both to the ground. I land on my hands and knees, the impact pulling me from his grip. I roll over quickly, and get to my feet.

The girl and the boy are both standing facing each other, one hand reached out to each other, almost touching, but the space in-between in blazing white. Both of their faces are cold and hard as they glare at each other.

They seem to have forgotten about me. I make a dash for the trees and drop to the ground behind some bushes, hidden. I lay still for several long moments, but there’s not a sound from the clearing. Air slowly returns to my lungs, and I inch up to sitting, peering through the foliage.

They’re still locked in their silent, intense battle, but the girl looks to be losing. She’s on one knee, and I can see sweat glistening on her face. Her glare has cracked into more of a grimace.

I watch, unsure of what to do. Unsure of what is happening at all. I should help the girl, she looks like she needs it, but she just tossed me into the air, and what can I do anyway, against the powers they have?

Her leg trembles and she’s on both knees now. I stand up, slide my backpack off my shoulder and pull out a book.

He smiles now, and lets his hand drop.

She falls down.

I throw the book at him, for all the good that does, and run toward the girl. She’s lying on the ground, eyes closed, paler than ever. I crouch beside her, not sure what to do, if she’s actually hurt or not.

The boy screams.

I jump to my feet and turn around, and almost fall back down.

The book has exploded. It’s lying on the ground, pages open, streams of black swirling out of it, attacking the boy. He’s screaming, raising his arms to protect his face, but the black—it looks like inky words—swirls in a vortex around him.


The girl stands up and holds my arm, staring at the sight intently. She reaches out her hand, flashing white light, but it merely deflects off of the words.

He’s fading. The words tighten around him, and he appears to give up, falling to his knees. He’s already translucent at the edges.

His eyes meet mine, and they are wide and afraid.

Then he’s gone. The words swirl for a moment longer, and then gently flutter back down to the pages.

The air holds still, suffocating in the silence. The girl lets go of my arm and picks up the book. I stand still, blinking, not all the way believing what happened.

“It’s your journal,” the girl says, flipping through the pages and handing it back to me. “That’s why it worked.”

I take it from her. “What happened to him?”

The girl shrugs. “I don’t know. I don’t know why it happened at all. You’re not supposed to...” she stares past me into the sky and waves her hand. Four birds appear; not real birds, white outlines of them. They flutter around her head.

I stare at her. “Who are you?”

She meets my gaze, frowning slightly. The birds tug at her hair. “I’m the Impossible. He was the Nothing. Who are you?”

“I...” I don’t know what to say.

“Here.” The girl slides a thin band off her finger and shoves it into my hands. “Take this. If you see him again, call me. I’ll be back.”

I take the ring.

She smiles slightly at me, and then whispers up at the white birds. “Carry me away.”

Confrontation–Sierra’s Flash Fiction

Sierra received a the following prompt from Emmarayne Redding:

He pressed his fingertips together and looked at me with cold eyes. "You are not," he said. "You are not, and you never have been."
I blanched, unable to believe what I'd just heard. My eyes filling with tears, I took a sharp breath. "How can you say that? After everything we've been through... how?"

She was allowed to use it however she liked, and she ended up using 656 words.

So, without further ado, here is Sierra’s flash fiction:

“Confrontation” by Sierra Blasko

I made my way down the long hallway, my footsteps slow and measured. I was not looking forward to what was ahead. But I had to know. I needed answers, explanations, something.

I passed several people, but they mostly ignored me as they reached their own offices.

I stopped outside the office belonging to Mr. Verrad.

“Is Mr. Verrad here?” I asked one of the two guards stationed at the door, willing my voice to come out confidently.

One guard disappeared inside, then reemerged. With a small nod, he opened the door and ushered me inside.

“Mr. Verrad?” I stood nervously inside the doorway. “Can… can I talk to you for a minute?”

I took his silence as affirmation and timidly entered the office. Mr. Verrad was seated behind his desk, just like always. And just like always, I perched awkwardly on the red leather chair in front of him.

I hesitated before saying again, "Mr. Verrad?"

He glanced up at me impatiently. "What is it?"

"I... I just had a question," I stammered, "About... um, you know... what... Mark said."

Mr. Verrad's eyes returned to the folder and the miscellaneous pages in his hands. "What about it?"

"Well," I took a deep breath, then forged on ahead, "You know, what he said about... about you and Mr. Johnson, and how... you were lying to me, and, and my gift..."

I stopped and tried to collect my thoughts. "I guess what I'm trying to ask," I said, speaking more slowly now, "Is... is whether it was true, all that stuff you said, or... or if it was all just lies... to make me help you."

Mr. Verrad didn't move, speak, or in any way acknowledge the fact that I was still standing there.

Long minutes passed and I began to grow even more nervous than I had been before. "Well?" I finally broke the silence, though I'm ashamed to admit that my voice shook a little. "Am... Am I gifted, like you said?"

He finally looked up from his reports; actually looked at me. Silence pervaded the room, like the heaviness in the air right before a big storm. Setting the folders down on the desk, Mr. Verrad leaned forward.

He pressed his fingertips together and looked at me with cold eyes. "You are not," he said. "You are not, and you never have been."

I blanched, unable to believe what I'd just heard. My eyes filling with tears, I took a sharp breath. "How can you say that? After everything we've been through... how?"

“It was a mistake. I have no further information to disclose at this time.” Mr. Verrad looked back down at his desk, silently dismissing me. I wasn’t done.

“But you said... you told me... I- I-” My voice rose in pitch and volume, but I didn’t care.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the doors in the corridor being pulled shut.

“I’m sorry, Miss Daniels, but I’m afraid I must ask you to leave.”

“How could it be a mistake? How?!” I shouted, flinging the words at him. Mr. Verrad didn’t even flinch.

“You’re causing a scene and disturbing the entire floor. If you don’t leave voluntarily, I will have security remove you from the building.”

“Please,” I pleaded, “I just want answers. Anything. Anything.”

Mr. Verrad shook his head and pushed a small button on the desk.

“How could this happen?” I sobbed as the guards appeared behind me. They took my arms and guided me firmly towards the door. “No! I need to know!”

Mr. Verrad’s indifference infuriated me. I fought and managed to free one arm, but the guard on my right caught me as I lunged forward. They pulled me between them, out of the room and back down the hall I had just come through.

The last thing I saw was Mr. Verrad standing up, crossing the room, and calmly shutting the door.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Deepest Depths: When Unrealistic Expectations Fall Through

A quick note for everyone participating in the flash fiction challenge: I hope it’s going well for everyone! Remember, they’re due one week from today by 3pm Central Time. I’ll be linking to everyone’s stories within a couple days after the 27th. I look forward to reading them!

Expectations. They’re our benchmarks – our projections of how something should be and our standard to compare the reality against.

Expectations can be deadly.

My life has been, in many ways, defined by expectations set far from where they should be. The results always hurt.

Unrealistic Expectations

Have you ever held conversations in your head, playing both parts in what you hope will be a future reality? I have. I expect him to ask me out, when all I really get is a “Hey.” I imagine us having a long, deep talk, and he ends up avoiding me. Maybe you’ve never experienced this before, but these things have definitely happened to me. I set myself up for catastrophic disappointment with my expectations.

‘Cause, see, that’s the thing: unrealistic expectations bring disappointment.

Ultimately, I think we tie our expectations to our emotions. Or at least I do. When my brain says, “Hey, there’s not much to go on here,” my heart takes off with wild projections of hope, dragging my expectations along with it. When I don’t keep that in check, my life goes quickly off kilter.

Now, I realize that I’ve mostly referenced romantic situations so far, but I’ve let my expectations drag me down in other areas, as well. I expect stellar marks on my paper, but I get comments that I wasn’t prepared for. I expect immense blogging success, but the numbers don’t follow through. I’ve been disappointed plenty of times, and it’s usually tied to my unrealistic expectations.

I can’t always tint the world through  what I want to see. Hope is a beautiful thing, but I can’t let it cloud what’s real. Maybe what I need to do is be honest with myself, both about myself and about my world. Idealism doesn’t always work.

Expectations aren’t always bad, though. The dictionary defines “expectation” as “something expected, a thing looked forward to.” Pretty innocuous on it’s own. Some expectations are important to have. Expecting someone to follow through on their promises is a good thing. Recognizing that they may not is also important. As I said above, expectations are our benchmarks. They help us evaluate events and formulate new strategies. It’s not the act of expecting that’s so bad. Instead, trouble comes when we twist reality and fit our expectations to something that’s not real.

Sometimes relationships fall apart. Sometimes people don’t say what we wanted them to. And sometimes it hurts.

Yet I have one expectation that will never fall short. I expect that God will always be with me. That will never fall short because this isn’t my projection. He told me so. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). He will always love me (Romans 8:38-39). He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11). He hears my cries (Romans 8:26). These are expectations that I know will be fulfilled. Because they’re not some emotional fantasy I’m hoping for.

They’re real.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kick-Off for Flash Fiction Challenge #3

Hey, everyone, it’s here! Time to kick-off the flash fiction challenge for March 2015! I’d like to thank each and every one of you who has chosen to participate and who spread the word. Thanks to you, we have a total of eleven participants, which is way more than either of my other challenges. I’m very excited!

So, to review, this challenge includes:

  • A writing prompt someone gives to you
  • A writing prompt you give to someone else
  • Feedback for each of the participants by the various participants

“Flash fiction” is a genre of short fiction, generally around 500 words, but examples can be up to 1000 words. In our challenge, the maximum length will be 1000 words, but each person may assign a shorter length with their prompt. Prompts can be anything from a concept to a sentence starter to a picture, etc. If it can prompt a story, you can use it. Here are your partners. Clicking on the name will lead you to the person’s blog, except for a couple exceptions, which will be explained below.

I will give a prompt to Olivia Flewelling

Olivia will give a prompt to Ana 

Ana will give a prompt to Leanne

Leanne will give a prompt to Emmarayn Redding (Rayne Speryll)

Emmarayn will give a prompt to Sierra

Sierra will give a prompt to Katie Grace

Katie will give a prompt to Faith Song

Faith will give a prompt to Caiti Marie

Caiti will give a prompt to Athelas Hale

Athelas will give a prompt to Leinad

Leinad will give a prompt to me

A note on those exceptions:

Leanne and Sierra do not have blogs, so I will be posting both of their stories here on The Ink Loft. For those of you giving them prompts (Ana and Emmarayn), just comment on this post, making it clear who the comment is directed at. They will be able to comment on your blogs, though, so there shouldn’t be any problems.

All right, as always, no profanity, graphic violence, or sexual scenes. Find your partner and give them their prompt, along with a word count of your choice (but no more than 1000 words). Except for the exceptions I’ve noted, you may just visit your partner’s blog and comment on their most recent post. Assign their prompt before you start work on your own flash fiction. You will have two weeks to write your story. It should be posted on Friday, March 27th, before 3pm Central Time. Then you’ll give feedback to the person who gave you a prompt and the person you gave a prompt to. I’ll remind you about that on the 27th. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or email me at rachelleoneilwriter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Good luck, everyone! I look forward to reading your stories!