Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September Flash Fiction Carnival

Hello again!

I'm sorry for the delay in starting this month's flash fiction carnival. Things got a little busy and I did not have time to put this together.

If you're new to the Flash Fiction Carnivals, please see the FAQ and read Virginia's introductory post and the sidebar.

The theme for this month's carnival is:

   Memories    

You have from Wed, Sep 10th, through the end of Sat, Sep 27th, to finish your stories.

All genres and all writers are welcome.
To participate in the September FFC:

  • Write a 500-1000 word flash story based on the theme: Memories.

  • Post it on your blog.

  • Put a comment here, with a link to your story. Add a short bio or note.Leave your email address.(See the March FFC announcement for why an email address is needed).

  • If you do not have a blog, send me your story and I will post it here.

  • Read and comment on the stories after they have been posted, which should be in the order that they are received.




That's it really. Sharpen your pencils and start writing.
And thanks for playing!

Friday, August 1, 2008

August Flash Fiction Carnival

Hello again!

This is Glenn D'mello, your host for the August Flash Fiction Carnival.

If you're new to the Flash Fiction Carnivals, please see the FAQ and read Virginia's introductory post and the sidebar.

The theme for this month's carnival is:

   Cheap    
You have from Fri, Aug 1st, through the end of Sat, Aug 23rd, to finish your stories.

All genres and all writers are welcome.
To participate in the August FFC:

  • Write a 500-1000 word flash story based on the theme: Cheap.

  • Post it on your blog.

  • Put a comment here, with a link to your story. Add a short bio or note.Leave your email address.(See the March FFC announcement for why an email address is needed).

  • If you do not have a blog, send me your story and I will post it here.

  • Read and comment on the stories after they have been posted, which should be in the order that they are received.




That's it really. Sharpen your pencils and start writing.
And thanks for playing!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

July FFC: Thanks for participating

And here are the stories:



The Day After Independence Day by L.J. Janik.

L. J. gives us a glimpse of the lengths some people go to make the holidays a success.

In Dependence Day by Bunnygirl.

Bunnygirl asks: isn't it time to start celebrating our dependence on each other? in a piece set in the world of Steal Tomorrow.


Stay tuned for next month's FFC right here on this blog.



Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July Flash Fiction Carnival

Hello again!

This is Glenn D'mello, your host for the July Flash Fiction Carnival.

If you're new to the Flash Fiction Carnivals, please see the FAQ and read Virginia's introductory post and the sidebar.

The theme for this month's carnival is:

   Holiday    
You have from Wed, Jul 2nd, through the end of Sat, Jul 19th, to finish your stories.

All genres and all writers are welcome.
To participate in the July FFC:

  • Write a 500-1000 word flash story based on the theme: Holiday.

  • Post it on your blog.

  • Put a comment here, with a link to your story. Add a short bio or note.Leave your email address.(See the March FFC announcement for why an email address is needed).

  • If you do not have a blog, send me your story and I will post it here.

  • Read and comment on the stories after they have been posted, which should be in the order that they are received.




That's it really. Sharpen your pencils and start writing.
And thanks for playing!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June FFC: Thanks for participating!

And here are the stories:



Breakfast by Susan Helene Gottfried.
Susan shows us why the no shirt, no service rule was instituted at a free breakfast buffet in this story from Trevor's Song Era.


Oatmeal by Glenn D'mello.
Glenn tells the tale of an unnamed character's introduction to a breakfast staple.

Stay tuned for next month's FFC right here on this blog.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

June Flash Fiction Carnival

Hello!

This is Glenn D'mello, your host for the June Flash Fiction Carnival.

If you're new to the Flash Fiction Carnivals, please see the FAQ and read Virginia's introductory post and the sidebar.

The theme for this month's carnival is:


Breakfast




You have from Sun, Jun 1st, through the end of Sat, June 21st, to finish your stories.


All genres and all writers are welcome.


To participate in the June FFC:

  • Write a 500-1000 word flash story based on the theme: Breakfast.

  • Post it on your blog.

  • Put a comment here, with a link to your story. Add a short bio or note.Leave your email address.(See the March FFC announcement for why an email address is needed).

  • If you do not have a blog, send me your story and I will post it here.

  • Read and comment on the stories after they have been posted, which should be in the order that they are received.




That's it really. Sharpen your pencils and start writing.


Thanks for playing!

Note: the story does not have to deal with breakfast. You can choose to write about anything around breakfast. For instance, you may choose to write about the hour before breakfast, or the view from a kitchen window or a 24 hour diner. Write about anything that moves your pen when you hear (and think of) breakfast.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Moderators / Admins Still Needed!

The wonderful and talented Susan Helene Gottfried of West of Mars has agreed to help with some of our future flash fiction carnivals. I've been told that the lovely Gwen Mitchell will also assist, but we could use a few more volunteers to rotate duties.

This isn't a very onerous gig-- just think of a theme, post the theme and deadline, then post the links to the stories. Think of it as a good deed and easy karma!

Leave a comment if you want to help, especially if you can organize a carnival in the May-through-August period, which promises to be a little hectic for me and Susan.

Thanks!

Friday, April 18, 2008

April FFC: Elements: Earth, Sky, Fire, Water

Thanks for your patience, everyone. I also want to thank our writers for participating this month. It's a crazy one for both me and BunnyGirl, so we're just glad that you folks are still coming around and writing with us.

The beautiful and talented Ms Gwen Mitchell will be hosting the May FFC in her Writer's Retreat blog as BG and I will be really feeling the craziness of our work lives then. I aim to be back on board fully by the middle of May and BG hopes to be back in time for a Father's Day holiday FFC. If anyone wants to volunteer to run/host June's main FFC, please send me an email ASAP.

The theme, of course, for this month was the Elements: Fire, Water, Sky, and Earth.

Now then, in the order in which I received them:

God Has Given Me This Beautiful Thing by Mr Alex Watson (Please read and comment on this one first as I won't be able to moderate comments reliably for a few days after Monday morning due to circumstances beyond my control. VLee)

Reacquaintance by Kathleen Oxley

Turbulence by Susan Helene Gottfried

The Day After by Susan Helene Gottfried

Rain (a flashlet) by Susan Helene Gottfried

Chapeau by Susan Helene Gottfried

The Planter Box by Evilynne

In a Dry Land by Ann Pino

Muse by Andrea King

Elementary by A. Catherine Noon

The Element of Fire by Eaton Bennett

The Power of the Eclipse by ElizabethAnne

Please read everyone's flash and comment on those open to it. Feedback is our friend, after all.

Thanks again for joining us!

April FFC: Mr Alex Watson: God Has Given Me This Beautiful Thing

Mr Watson included an author's note which I feel should be read prior to reading his flash: This piece takes place during the Rhodesian Bush War (1964-1979), also known as the Second Chimurenga, in which various guerilla organizations sought to overthrow the white minority government of Rhodesia in southern Africa and replace it with a majority government. ZANLA was one such guerilla group, and the Rhodesian African Rifles they faced in battle were mostly comprised of black soldiers loyal to the government. The fighting ended with the negotiated Lancaster House Agreement in 1979, which led to the creation of the state now known as Zimbabwe.

Edward Matesi was changing into his uniform when the knock came. His wife had answered it, their one-year-old in tow; a quick whispered conversation later, Edward found himself face to face with Joseph Nkama.

"Have you heard, Comrade Matesi, about our great victory?" Nkama said, flashing his winning smile. "The department store in Salisbury smoldering from our firebombs, many too afraid to leave their houses!"

"I have heard," Matesi said, "of the women and children who were there, wounded and killed. Many were burned alive."

"ZANLA regrets that such is necessary," said Nkama, "but that does not change the fact that it is necessary. The Rhodesians will not submit unless such things become a fixture of their daily lives."

Matesi donned his cap, emblazoned with the emblem of the Rhodesia African Rifles. "If you say so, Comrade Nkama."

"Do you know who carried out that attack?" Nkama continued. "It was Ndabaningi. He was also placed in the RAR to aid the Second Chimurenga. And aid us he has."

"This is all very well and good," said Matesi. "I too aid you. I pass information along to the ZANLA. I sell weapons to the ZANLA. In this Ndabaningi and I are brothers. So I do not understand why you have come here speaking of things I already know and things I already do."

"The time has come to move beyond such things, Comrade Matesi," Nkama said. "All are to aid the struggle now, not only through information or weapons, but through direct action. The time has come for you to renounce your membership in the RAR, and to do so with a forceful attack, a trial by fire."

"I have to man a checkpoint in the bush," Matesi said. "Nothing but two privates with me who would run like sheep at the first sign of any gunfire. What do you expect me to do?"

Nkama opened the parcel that he was carrying, and removed a Soviet-made hand grenade. "One car," he said. "Incinerate one Rhodesian car, and you will have done ZANLA an inestimable service. Cleanse the enemy with righteous fire."

Matesi hesitated for a moment, then accepted the weapon and thrust it into his pack.

"Good," Nkama said. "I look forward to reading of your victory in tomorrow's papers."

Once he arrived at his post, Matesi had made up his mind: he would do as he was asked, if only to stop Nkama's badgering. He knew that, for all the man's smiles, he was dangerous.

For some time, it seemed as if there would be no opportunities at all that day. Matesi and his men were relegated to guarding a wooden pole set across a dusty and deserted dirt road. The only cars that passed were local busses, laden with villagers who were already sympathetic to ZANLA.

Turning the grenade over in his hands—it was small enough to be concealed in one palm—Matesi ruminated on his attack. A wealthy farmer's car, perhaps, or a Rhodesian Army officer on an inspection tour. The privates were like dry sticks; they'd burn with whatever blaze was put to them. Matesi fully expected them to open fire when and if he did, and to follow him into ZANLA service.

When a personal car finally did appear, Matesi was relieved to see that it did in fact carry Rhodesians. He motioned for it to halt and walked up, grenade in hand.

"Where are you going today, sir?" he asked.

The driver stuck his head out; the man was freckled and flaxen-blond. "Bulawayo, eventually," he said. "Taking the family in to pick up some things at the druggist."

The word "family" gave Matesi momentary pause. But no, the beaming wife in the passenger seat made no difference. She too was Rhodesian, and as Ndabaningi had drawn no distinctions, neither should he.

"We're getting some asthma medicine!" a voice said from the back seat. Matesi looked over and saw a young girl there, hair in pigtails. She was clutching a black knit doll with spindly strings for arms and legs, and Matesi had a brief, stabbing thought of his young ones at home.

"That's a fine doll you have there," Matesi said. One quick pull, a toss, and then three seconds.

"Thank you," the girl said. "Her name is Fabunni Zene. Mummy says that means ' God has given me this beautiful thing' in Swahili."

"But we do not speak Swahili in Rhodesia," Matesi said. His hand trembled as he regarded Fabunni. So much like his daughter's…

"Mummy says that more people in Africa speak it than anything else!" the girl said. "That's why Fabunni chose it, to be a part of Africa."

Matesi pulled the pin; there was nothing save the dead-man's switch between that moment and an inferno. The car, and all its occupants, would be purged from Zimbabwean soil with primal fire.

The girl leaned closer to Matesi, as if to deliver a secret. "She has a pet llama," she said. "And one day she's going to grow up and make everybody get along."

"Don't bother the guard with your doll," the woman said. "He's busy."

"No, madam, it's fine." It was now or never; the man was becoming impatient. Matesi looked into the doll's wide, dark button eyes.

"Ncube!" he cried. "Raise the gate and let this man through." One of the privates moved toward the mechanism.

"But don't you need to see my identification?" the man asked.

"No. Go now," Matesi grunted. The car was lost is a cloud of dust a few moments later.

Returning to the guard shack, Matesi re-inserted the grenade's pin and dropped in the weapons locker. It would not burn today.

"Everything all right, boss?" Ncube asked. "You spent more time talking to that girl than the driver!"

Matesi sighed. "God has given me this beautiful thing," he said. "I don't know what is right any more."

Saturday, April 5, 2008

April FFC Theme Announcement: Earth, Fire, Water, Air - The Elements

Sorry for the delay. Big changes are occurring in my life and as I could not find a host for April, I got behind.

At any rate, the rules for the April FFC are as follows:

1. There is a shorter writing span of TEN DAYS rather than two weeks. I apologize for this, but that is how it needs to be for this month. Hopefully May will be more normal. At any rate, your flash to be hosted here in the FFC blog or the link to your flash must be sent to me via the FFC email address by midnight on April 15th. Yes, I know that's Tax Day in the US, but my schedule is such that I have no choice. I will have the links and stories posted no later than noon on the 18th. I will try to post them earlier, but barring disaster, it shouldn't be any later.

2. Word limit is 1000 words. Please proofread for spelling and grammar. We are not your Mama or your English teacher. Thanks.

3. Your entry must be verifiable as belonging to YOU. Please submit via your main ISP email address if you are a new participant. The only Gmail entrants we'll accept will be those coming from previous participants or those with credible referrals. Yahoo email is acceptable, but only just. We are sorry if this inconveniences you, but for legal reasons it is necessary. I, as admin, must be able to verify who you are. And yes, the information will remain confidential.

4. I guess you're wondering what the theme is, huh?

THE ELEMENTS: Earth, Water, Fire, Air

Use them all or only use one. You can even do one flash per element and submit each one on its own. However you are inspired is what you need to do.

I chose this theme because of all the weird weather that comes with Spring.

What are you waiting for? Go WRITE!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Flash Fiction Carnival


Ah, Spring! When a writer’s thoughts turn to…Flash Fiction!

Okay, so it’s not Spring yet in everyone’s corner of the world, but if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s definitely around the corner, and here are a few new stories to get you in the mood:

Redemption by Eaton Bennett

Approach of Spring by Susan Helene Gottfried

Easter Eggs by Susan Helene Gottfried

Saying Goodbye by Heather Heinzer

First Sign of Spring by ~Liz~

Illuminated by Gwen Mitchell

Spring by Catherine Noon

Easter Eve by Kathleen Oxley

Paid in Full by Ann Pino

This is a short list, so do try to leave comments as you go visiting! And if you have a story that didn't make today's 10 pm cutoff, don't worry! I'll post stragglers throughout the weekend, as time permits.

Happy Springtime Wishes to All!

Friday, March 14, 2008

March FFC: Letters and/or Numbers

When I chose the theme Letters and/or Numbers, I wasn't sure if I'd get much response. I couldn't have been more wrong. We ended up with a baker's dozen and at least a third of those I credit to Gwen Mitchell's influence. So THANKS, GWEN! You helped make this month's FFC a success.

Four stories are being hosted here at the FFC 2008 blog. Comments are open, so please share your thoughts. The authors of the remaining pieces have opted to host their works at their respective blogs. Please visit as many as you can and respond to those with open comments. Please be constructive not destructive, but do be honest.

Now then, Ladies and Gentlemen, in alphabetical order by title, I present the March Flash Fiction Carnival: Letters and/or Numbers --


Carve Me, Carve You by Virginia Lee

Conversation With a Friend Over Coffee, Part 2: Snuffed Out by DT Kelly

Flight 1580 by Kathleen Oxley

Keeping Score by Gwen Mitchell

The Knockoff by Richard Badalamente

Letter G (the early days) by Susan Helene Gottfried

Numbers and Letters by Benjamin Solah

Numerology by orion_mk3

Regret by Eaton Bennett

Sacrificing Her Child by Padma Narayanaswamy

Untitled by A. Catherine Noon

Untitled by ElizabethAnne

The Written Word by Ann Pino (aka: BunnyGirl)


March FFC: orion_mk3: Numerology

Numerology
by orion_mk3


The man was seated on the concrete lip of a planter, as he often was, paying no attention to the passing students and merrily belting out a tune with harmonica and washboard. The board at his feet often contained a message—Carrie could recall it saying "time well wasted" a few weeks ago, and the other day it had read "the devil always leaves the porch light on."

Today, though, there was nothing but a large inkjet-bright "2."

"I've been meaning to ask," Carrie said to her friend Amy as they neared the player. "Who's that?"

Amy shrugged. "One of the weirdoes big colleges invariably attract. Whenever the weather's good, he's out here banging and blowing like a trumpet in a trash compactor."

"Yeah, I've seen him a few times. But where's he from?" She noted his ill-fitting thrift store clothing. "Is he homeless?"

"I dunno."

"I'll ask him," Carrie said, veering toward the player.

"Carrie, don't!" Amy hissed. "He's probably crazy or diseased or both."

"Now, now, what's the first thing Dr. Himmel said in SCWK 102? Every encounter is an opportunity to help the invisible."

"Whatever you say," Amy sighed. "Just don't go getting yourself on 'America's Most Wanted' as the tragic victim." She kept walking.

Carrie politely waited until the one-man band had stopped playing, and sat down next to him.

"Hello," he said. "Lovely afternoon, isn't it?"

"It is!" Carrie said, beaming her best smile. "What brings you out here today, Mr…?"

"I'm just a humble instrumentalist," he replied. "And today I'm playing in honor of the number 2."

"Why 2?" Carrie asked. She thought she detected a fixation; maybe the man was schizophrenic.

"Because it's truly wonderful," the instrumantalist replied. "2's prime, so just about anything can be reduced to it that isn't prime itself. Go on, give me a number."

"88," Carrie answered, thinking of piano keys.

"2 times 44 is 88, 2 times 22 is 44, 2 times 11 is 22, and then you're down to primes! Just 2 and 11 left.”

"I see." Revising her initial estimate, Carrie settled on delusion with a hint of autism thrown in for flavor—that was the instrumentalist's problem, no question.

"2's the razor that separates every number in existence into evens and odds, even though it's a very odd prime number in and of itself!” he continued. “Every number in the world's got to be pounded against 2 to see which way it breaks!"

Delusions of grandeur, too; the inflating of everyday events to hyperbolic proportions. Carrie nodded, mentally refining her diagnosis.

"At the same time, 2 is the smallest base you can use to display a meaningful number. Binary—1's and 0's, you know—is base 2, but 2 isn't even present! In fact, it's the surest sign you're out of binary country, where there's no such thing as 2."

"Hm," Carrie murmured. Definitely some kind of delusion, compounded by strange and impossible claims. No such thing as 2? Maybe it had been stolen by the one world government or the black helicopters.

"And how's this for a trick? What's 2+2?"

"4." Maybe there was some sort of childhood trauma, a root cause.

"2 x 2?"

"4 again." Add obsessive compulsion to the mix.

"2-squared?"

"Still 4." Perhaps a trauma on a day with a prominent 2?

The instrumentalist laughed. "Only number in the world that's true for. But what's the square root of two?"

Carrie only remembered a smattering of roots from high school. "I don't know."

"Exactly! No one does for sure. The square root of two is an irrational number, a decimal that goes on forever without repeating."

The instrumentalist spread his hands, smiling; Carrie saw her chance. "So why do you know so much about 2? Did something bad happen when you were 2, or on the 2nd of some month? I'm here to talk if you need it."

"No, no, nothing of the sort," the instrumentalist laughed. "I did my thesis on the divisibility of irrational numbers by 2, especially Pythagorian and Erd├Ás-Borwein constants."

Carrie blinked. "Thesis?" It was more serious than she thought; the man was a former academic fallen to insanity, like Kaczynski but hopefully without explosives.

"Yes, I did it at this very university in 1977; they offered me a research position as a result."

"Ah," Carrie said, hoping to probe deeper into the man's psyche. "Why'd you leave?"

"I didn't," the instrumentalist grinned.

"Y-you mean…?"

The man handed Carrie a piece of paper; unfolded, she saw it was a mathematics PhD. "Doesn't do me much good on the wall, does it?" he said. "I like to keep it on my person."

"But…but why the harmonica, the washboard, and the signs?"

"Great conversation starters," the instrumentalist replied. "And before you know it, you've learned something. Just look at how much you now know about the number 2. Every meeting is an opportunity to enlighten the ignorant, after all."

He leaned in closer. "And, just between you and me, I enjoy messing with people's perceptions a little; you learn a lot about what people are really like. And I love to play before an audience, too, even though I'm not terribly good even with years of practice."

Carrie couldn't think of a response.

"Don't say much, do you young lady?"

"I…I have to go now. I have class," Carrie said, standing. Every now and then, of course, there were people that just couldn't be helped. Yes, that was it—the instrumentalist's psychoses were so deeply rooted that there was nothing she could do. Best to write him off as a lost cause and move on, of course. She'd tried, after all, and couldn't very well be expected to make much of a difference in ten minutes.

"Of course!" The instrumentalist waved. "Come back next week. I think the sign'll say 'time's an allusion' then, or maybe 'space is infinitely spaced.' You'll get a kick out of those, you bet!"


--------------------------------------------------------------------








In orion_mk3's own words: I'm a former student and teacher of literature who's driven by some inner madness to pen things at irregular intervals. I work it in between classes and during long stretches in the campus library.

March FFC: Richard Badalamente: The Knockoff

THE KNOCKOFF

by Richard Badalamente





Molly hung her purse over the ear on the back of her chair rail, making sure the Gucci logo was on the outside where everyone could see it.

Janice stared at the purse. Hmm, nine hundred bucks.

The bus boy came to the table with water. Molly kept talking while she checked him out. As he was walking away she turned to Janice and said in a stage whisper, “Nice butt.”

Janice raised a manicured eyebrow and smiled with just half her mouth.

Molly rose from her chair. “I have to pee so bad my crowns are rusting.”She took her purse from the back of the chair.

“I’ll watch your purse, if you’d like,” said Janice.

“Are you kidding? I’ve got my face in there,” Molly said, striking a dramatic pose, before turning and heading towards the Ladies.

Janice watched momentarily, then rose quickly and said to Molly’s retreating back, “I’ll go with you.”

Molly didn’t even turn around. Just raised her hand in acknowledgement. Janice made a show about checking her make up once in the Ladies, while Molly set her purse on the tile counter and headed for a stall.

As soon as Janice heard the tinkle of Molly’s stream, she grabbed Molly’s purse and holding the clasp so it wouldn’t make a snapping noise, she opened it. She checked the printing on the label, ran her thumb across it. She heard Molly’s stream stop and heard toilet paper being pulled from the roll. She hurriedly checked the label. The printing was clean. No misspellings as far as she could tell. She started to pull at it and that’s when the side pocket flipped open and she saw the gun.

The next sequence of events seemed to happen in slow motion for Janice. The purse fell from her fingers, hit the edge of the counter, turned over and spilled its contents to the floor; compact, lipstick, eye shadow pencil, wallet, and then the gun. Janice watched as the gun fell to the floor, hitting on its handle and going off with an ear shattering report that reverberated off the bathroom walls.

“Uh, oh,” was all Janice could manage.

She stared dumbstruck at the ugly, matte-black pistol lying on the tile floor next to a spinning lipstick -- Bubblegum pink. Then she heard a moan and a thud and looked at the door to the stall directly across from her. There was a neat, round hole in the door and beneath it Janice could see Molly’s elbow and the back of her head.

She picked up the purse. The label had pulled loose.

“Hah!” she said, “It is a knockoff!”







----------------------------------------------------------------------------




Richard Badalamente writes fiction and non-fiction, sometimes confusing the two, especially when writing about politics. He completed a 120,000-word novel last year only to realize he’d have a better chance getting two 60,000-word novels published. He’s also written a novella, a novelette, numerous short stories, and many poems, some of which have actually been published. “The Knockoff” is his first foray into flash fiction. Per Richard, "It was fun."

March FFC: Padma Narayanaswamy: Sacrificing Her Child

Sacrificing Her Child

by Padma Narayanaswamy




Sita has no other alternative but to kill her son. The child who has suckled her breast drinking the very blood of her life has to be put away. She looked the last time at him.

He has taken after her, and looked pretty handsome for his age. He was just a toddler and looked at her with a confidence that a child has for his mother that she will protect him from evil and bad things in this cruel world. The child 's look at her, is what it hurt the most.

Her child was born to her after visiting so many temples and after so many prayers. He was the apple of her eye. He used to follow her holding the end of her sari, whenever she visited the nearby forest to pluck the leaves of the medicine trees, which grew there and watch her grind and give to the sickly poor persons who visited her in search of any cure for their ailments. She used to tell the future of some of her clients.

How happy she was with her husband? It looked just as if it was yesterday when her husband Ram brought to his village. He was quite handsome and hard working. They owned a small plot of land, not much just about three acres. He used to grow vegetables and wheat on their land. He also planted some of the herbal trees for her.

After two summers of marriage people began to talk her as barren. She than went with her husband and performed many pujas (rites performed by the Hindus ) .One of the elders suggested to her to tie a cradle on the banyan tree and circumvent the tree every Friday. To her joy she conceived and her joy knew no bounds.

However destiny started playing in her life. Her healthy husband suddenly took ill. She gave him her medicines. Finding that he became more ill, she took him to hospitals. There they diagnosed him with TB.

She became aware that he was finally dying. One night she dreamt that her husband was dragged away from her by Yama (a black figure riding a buffalo). She has to do something to save her sindoor. (Vermillion applied by Indian women in the parting of their hair to show their married status)

Being a widow is the most tragic part for any Indian woman. Being a witch she found that she could stop her husband dying if she could sacrifice the blood of a child to Goddess Kali (Indian Goddess). She has to somehow retain her sindoor as she cannot treat the sick, as she would lose the respect of the villagers and they would not come to her if she is a widow.

She than decided that she had no option, but to sacrifice her child to please the Goddess. She grinded some sleeping herbs and gave it to the child. She took the sleeping child to the Kali Temple at night. While it lay she cut the head and fell into a swoon.

The next day the villagers found a torso of a child, the head some distances away and a woman’s body near the temple and handed it over to the police.


***
From the author: I am Padma Narayanaswamy an Indian Freelance writer and Journalist. I am Passionate in all genres of writing and I have written a lot of short stories, poems, plays and a film script . I am a middle age lady with two grown up sons. My husband is working in a Bank. I aim to be a successful writer with the help of forums like (FFC 2008) and CC and I am sure I will succeed.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring Theme Carnival!

Is it Spring yet where you are? If not, it will be soon and what better time than now to start thinking about March holidays and the start of a bright new season?









Here are a few Spring Holiday Themes to get you thinking:

* Vernal (Spring) Equinox
* Spring Break
* St Patrick's Day
* Easter

Of course, you may have other holidays you're celebrating this month or the changing of the season might be inspiring you to write some other springtime tale. Any seasonally appropriate story is fine for this carnival. And don't forget it's also Women's History Month, so bring on your strong female characters!

Submit your flash fiction piece of 1,000 words or less no later than 10:00pm Friday, March 21 and it'll be posted sometime before the next morning. I'll post stragglers through the weekend of March 22-23 on an ad hoc basis.

If you are posting your story on your own website or blog, send the permalink via EMAIL. If you prefer your story be hosted here, send it as text in the body of an EMAIL and we'll get it posted. Do NOT post links to stories in the comments. If we do not have an email from your email address, we will not post a link to your story. This is a new rule necessitated by our need to confirm that we have full permission of the author to link to and/or post the author's work. This is non-negotiable. No link or story will be posted if the FFC admins cannot confirm its origin. No IP address, no participation. Thanks in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

Now get writing!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

March FFC Theme Announcement: Letters & Numbers

First off, please excuse my not getting this posted sooner. I went to bed early last evening and actually managed to sleep through the night for once.

Now then, the theme for March is LETTERS and/or NUMBERS.

By letters, I mean alphabet letters. This can take you anywhere you can imagine and follow any genre. The numbers can be numerals of any flavor. Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, Mayan ones. Or even some system you create yourself.

The only limits to this topic are the ones you impose on yourself, so BE FREE!

Now for the nitty gritty:

1. You have two weeks to write and submit. I must receive a link to your story in your blog or elsewhere or en email containing the text for your story to be hosted here at the FFC blog by
12 pm US Eastern Standard Time on March 12th. Email your links and stories to me.

2. All genres and all writers are welcome.

3. Word count should NOT exceed 1000 words.

4. Please PROOFREAD before you send us a story to be hosted. I'm usually pretty nice about hollering at folks, but sometimes (like now) I have other things I'm doing and cannot be your mama or your English teacher.

That's about it. Please ask any questions in the comments. You are likely NOT the only one who has your question.

Ah, one more thing. Do NOT post links to stories in the comments. If I do not have an email from your email address, I will not post a link to your story. This is a new rule necessitated by our need to confirm that we have full permission of the author to link to and/or post the author's work. This is non-negotiable. No link or story will be posted if the FFC admins cannot confirm its origin. No IP address, no participation. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

Now then, GO WRITE!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FFC Hosts Needed!

DO YOU CRAVE POWER?

Are you interested in having a group of writers follow your lead? Do you feel up to the challenge of creating a theme for the next Flash Fiction Carnival? Finally, are you willing to put forth the time and effort to promote the FFC you host and gather the permalinks and stories to be hosted here at the FFC 2008 blog and then post them on the expected day? Shoot me an email and volunteer!

Seriously, we need hosts for the coming months. Also, if you are interested in hosting special FFCs, send me a proposal and I'll discuss it with my advisors (yes, I do have advisors) and if it flies we'll give it a go. As of now, I'm thinking that after a while I'd like to offer up themes for micro-flashes to be delivered in 24 hours. Traffic to our little FFC 2008 blog is increasing daily and as interest grows, hopefully the number of writers will as well.

Meanwhile, I have a theme in mind for March if no one else wants to do one. I do not know, as yet, if BunnyGirl is planning a St. Patrick's themed flash, but she'll let us know before long I'm sure. At any rate, I'll be posting the theme for March one week from tomorrow on the 27th and there will be a full two weeks to write this time. Cowardice did way better than I was afraid it might with only a week, but I do wonder how many more folks would have participated if they'd had the full fourteen days.

So holler if you want to host. Or, if you like, you can just send me some theme ideas. I'm open to suggestions.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Flash Fiction

Welcome to the Valentine's Day Flash Fiction Carnival!

As humorist Will Cuppy pointed out, "love...is very peculiar and could well do with more study."

So here's your chance! Whether you're a romantic, a cynic or just a wee bit strange, we have goodies for you!

Today's tales include stories of love lost...

Moonlight's Gift by Thomma Lyn

A Standing Appointment by Gwen Mitchell

Love Everlasting by jerzegurl

...love affirmed...

A Valentine's Short by Kathleen Oxley

Hands by Susan Helene Gottfried

Lovesong by Genevieve K. Waller

...love not quite found...

This Rugged Road by Lee Ann S. Murphy

Love Not Wisely by Bunnygirl

...a light-hearted fling...

The Afternoon Boyfriend by Bunnygirl

...and stranger things... some love, some a bit more sinister...

Shademoss Asks the Ancient Oak by L.J. Janik

Dangerous Type by AlannahJoy

Valentine’s at Castle Dracuul by William Skye


Do you have a Valentine-themed story? Post your link in the comments before 5 pm Central Time today, February 14, or email to uhamp "at" yahoo "dot" com, and I'll try to sneak you into the posting lineup!

Please comment on the linked stories, where comments are allowed. It's understood that not all themes appeal to all folks, so contributors are asked to comment on at least six out of the twelve stories posted here. (Don't worry-- your previous comments on older posts do count toward your quota!) Those of you who are just visiting, we'd appreciate your comment love, too. It is Valentine's Day, after all!

Have a happy one, and keep your mitts out of the chocolate!

Valentine’s at Castle Dracuul

by William Skye

In a cloud-shrouded sky, the sliver of a winter moon hid from the dark below. On an icy ridge an ancient castle stood hard by, shouldering the weight of time and snow.

Within, cold gray dust lay. Earth dust, moon dust, grave dust. Dust that was old when Carthage fell. Nothing moved in the cold still air save a gentle rippling in the mirrored hall.

A faint glow brightened; the castle’s mistress entered the great hall carrying a candelabra and a gold box. Before her, terrified creatures fled, and following padded her retinue of cats. She strode on long, thin legs, barely touching the carpet which rose to gentle each step. Her black hair streamed behind and her pale features were marked by malice and passion.

As sharp waves of moonlight pierced the aged windows the candelabra appeared to float from mirror to mirror. She paused at the hall table where a note stood folded. She set down the candelabra and read.

“Karyan, my darling, my sweet,” the note read, “I will hurry to you tonight as soon as I am able. Please wait upon my return. All my devotions, VCD.

“P.S. I have you a little present in the study.”

She pressed the gold box to her chest and felt her heart beat against it. She thought of him, so strong, so handsome, so, so thrilling. She sighed, her heart skipping. Her chest burned, thinking of his dark eyes.

The study! She took up the candelabra and continued down the hall, clutching the carved gold box. Cockroaches and mice ran frantically ahead, cats languidly followed.

Three mice darted left toward a cat, then with mousy shrieks ran right. A second cat leapt to block them and they stopped, frozen, in Karyan’s path. She halted. The crouching cats eyed the mice, and their mistress. She laughed, pointing at the mice.

“Dance,” she said.

The mice, two grays and a fat piebald, ran in a little circle, first one way, then the other. Then each chased its tail, demented cogs in a living wheel. Like circus tumblers they then bowled each other over, over, over. The cats hissed and howled their disapproval.

“Dance!” she commanded.

The mice leapt over one another’s backs, and bounded in the air. Rising on their hind legs they held forepaws. They spun, they kicked the air, they rolled. The cats wailed.

“We are not amused,” she said, with a voice like wasps wings. The trio huddled, trembling. She pointed at the fat one, freezing it, and to the others whispered, “Run!”

Run the two grays did, one left, one right. Each to the claws of a waiting cat and was torn apart. She felt her heart race. She addressed the fat piebald.

“You were the worst. What, you want mercy? You carry life inside you? Warm, bleeding life? Am I to be moved by this?” Thoughts of torture and pain filled her, but she tired of the game.

With a slight motion of her finger the litter grew, and grew, and devoured the piebald from within. Clawing their way out they furiously attacked one another. Rippling, the blood red carpet pulled the remains into itself.

Gliding up the stairs her thoughts returned to him. A candle set a cobweb alight. The study doors opened, stirring the must of moldering books, decay, of things old and forgotten.

There on the center table was as small blue vial and a crystal bud vase holding a three stem rose. She swept to it, set down her burdens, gently grasped the vase.

One bloom was fully open, one beginning to unfold, the third a bud. A petal drooped. This she touched, and it dissolved into a drop of blood on her finger. Green eyes wide she stared at the red black globe. She closed her eyes and placed her finger in her mouth.

Ecstasy! Oh blood, oh blood, how she hungered. The flavor of life filled her mouth. Panting, her heart racing, she could not contain herself. She placed the open blossom in her mouth and bit. She was overwhelmed by the rich, perfumed, viscous fluid. She held it in her mouth, rolled it with her black tongue, and finally, slowly swallowed. Her chest burned.

Recovering from her swoon she heard the faint rustle of wings in the air. Turning, she stared into the deep, black eyes of her lover, her Count.

He looked at the rose and smiled a faint, cruel smile. “You have pollen on your lips, my dear.”

“Oh Vlad, Vlad, it is lovely. A blood rose for Valentine’s. So thoughtful. Thank you, my darling.”

“I am pleased you are pleased. And this?” he said, handing her the vial. “Open it my pet.”

She unstopped the bottle and puff of vapor emerged. A child’s scream echoed in the study.

“Vlad, my love. A blood rose and baby’s breath. How you spoil me!,” she said, kissing his cheek. She picked up the ornately carved box. “My darling, this is for you. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

He grasped the box but she did not let go. She stared into his eyes. Deep, deep within she saw the eternity of stars and the depths of the grave. Overawed, she looked at her feet, then slowly lifted her gaze again to his.

“I have never loved before. I have never given my heart to any man. I want you to know how faithful I am to you, how much, how much you mean to me. This was very difficult for me to acquire, but it was the only thing I could give you to show you my love, my total devotion. I want you to have this.”

He touched her hair, she playfully bit at his hand. Vlad, Count Dracuul, lifted the lid and turned the box to the light. Within, resting on consecrated earth, beat Karyan’s heart.

He closed the box. “Thank you, my precious. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Lovesong

by Genevieve K. Waller

It was cold, snowy, wet. Again. Stella and Luke didn't have big plans, each having spent the past 12 hours working downtown at their respective offices, and via cell phone they decided to get Thai for dinner at the BYOB place close to home. They agreed to drop their stuff off at the condo, grab beers from the fridge, and walk the three blocks to the restaurant. Never mind that it was Valentine's Day. For Stella, the greasy noodles and spicy curry were comfort food to ward of the bitterness of a Chicago winter. And they needed the walk after being stuck inside at their desks all day.

The place was as dingy as ever. Grease clung to the fake woodwork, and the dim room smelled like overcooked broccoli and spices. A draft blew in every time someone opened the door and threatened to blow out the single, weakly flickering tea light on each table. A thin layer of frost lined the bottom of the wide front windows that faced the busy sidewalk. Textiles with hand sewn motifs – trees, birds, fields – sat between layers of heavy square glass, decorating each tabletop. The chairs were something out of a keynote speech at a national convention held in a nondescript assembly hall – black cushions, gold metal frames. The drinking glasses didn't match, and were scratched and chipped at their bottoms.

But tonight, Stella and Luke didn't complain. Tonight the waitress had actually brought them glasses and a bottle opener on their first request.

"I didn't realize this place actually had a waitress," Luke joked, raising an eyebrow in mock surprise.

"You do realize, however, that tonight -- Valentine's night, my beloved -- I'm going for comfort over romance, right?" Stella asked him. "Look around. This is most definitely not a romantic place. It's a place for lonely people to eat inconspicuously by themselves, a place that does a great takeout business. In fact, if we're really honest with ourselves, I think we'd agreed that it's the kind of place you don't want much brighter than this for fear of how it'd really look."

Luke nodded. "But it's still our place," he said.

It was true. In their quickly gentrifying neighborhood, the Thai restaurant was a relic of their early love. As decrepit as the place was, it had been a key location of their dates, during which conversations eventually turned serious, and which now found them in this newly married life. Given the significance of the place, they didn't mind too much if, on occasion, something was floating among the ice in their water glasses.

"Here's to us…there's no one better," she said, raising her glass as another couple entered the restaurant. Stella looked over her arm and could see a woman helping a man through the heavy door. Both of them were at the tail end of middle age, bundled against the weather in heavy wool coats, hats, gloves, scarves.

The woman returned Stella's gaze directly. She had a gray-white mane of hair that made Stella think of Susan Sontag on her old book jacket photos, before the ones of her while she was suffering a nearly insufferable death from cancer. The woman nodded at Stella, and then turned into the restaurant where she and the man slid into a booth to sit across from each other.

Then, without even taking her coat off, the woman gently took the man's hand. She leaned closer to him. Took a breath and smiled, then began to sing. And Stella immediately thought the voice that came from her should have been singing to a crowd in a smoky cabaret downtown, crooning to a crowd of Valentine's Day revelers.

"My funny Valentine…

Sweet, funny, Valentine...

You make me smile when skies are gray…."

She sang the whole song. The waitress held back, unsure of what to do. Another couple entering the restaurant stopped stamping the snow off their feet and stood still in the doorway. The woman never took her eyes off her companion, even when her voice gave a Katharine Hepburn warble, although that happened only once.

And then she was finished. She let go of his hand, and smiled again at him. There was no obvious reaction from him, and Stella couldn't see the man's face. She knew it would be obnoxious to get up and take a look at him, or to tell the woman that she had an amazing voice.

The restaurant's action picked up: customers entered, the cook called out orders, silverware clinked against plates, the phone kept ringing.

Stella looked at Luke. He was taking a sip of beer but she could tell her was smiling at her. She realized her mouth was wide open.

"Happy Valentine's Day," he said, as she closed her mouth and picked up her glass for a sip of beer.

Stella looked at Luke then, and hoped that someday, after many years filled with both the more and the less of life and love, that she could sing that song to him and mean it the way the woman meant it. And she wanted Luke to hear it the way she wanted him to hear it, the way she hoped the man she could not see had heard it tonight. Dingy place or not. She wanted to sing "My Funny Valentine" with the same expression of joy and passion. Like there was no one else in the room, no one else anywhere on a cold, snowy Chicago night but the two of them.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

February FFC: Cowardice

Welcome to the February Flash Fiction Carnival. I want to thank the writers who ran with the theme and sent in stories after just a week of writing time. I had no idea if this theme would work or not, but I'm very gratified that you all gave it a go.


HOORAY!

Now then, to business. Two stories are being hosted here at the FFC 2008 blog and the others are posted in the respective author's blog. Please read all of the flashes and make comments where they are open. As we have fewer than ten writers for this theme, commenting should not be an overwhelming task. I know I don't need to remind you, but it's my job so to do, please be constructive with your comments NOT destructive. Comments in this blog are now being moderated and will likely remain so indefinitely. I apologize for this inconvenience, but I promise that I will post comments with as much alacrity as I can muster.

In order of receipt, I present to you the flashers bold enough to address COWARDICE:

Cowardice by Unfocused Me in The Unfocused Life

A Tough Decision by Kathleen Oxley in Kathleen Oxley Erotica

Five Simple Words by Gwen Mitchell in Gwen Mitchell Fiction

15-and-4 by Arachne Jericho in Spontaneous Derivation

A Wee Bit Afeared by BenBradley at Absolute Write's blogging forum.

Good Enough, Close Enough by Genevieve Waller in FFC 2008

Going Home by Alannah Joy in AlannahJoy's Medazzaland

The Artifice of Sisterhood by Virginia Lee in FFC 2008

February FFC: Genevieve Waller: Good Enough, Close Enough

Good Enough, Close Enough
by Genevieve Waller


"Robert, we have to leave as soon as possible. Tonight. They know you're here and they're going to be coming for us soon."

"I know, but I just can't decide which ones to take."

"You can't take any of them. Don't you realize that by now? Most of those images are too incriminating to survive. At the very least, they'll confiscate the negatives as we try to get out of here. At the most, they'll destroy them in front of your eyes. Probably burn them to ashes. And then throw you in prison. You can't take them with us."

"But I've worked so hard to get these. Don't you remember how it was? The Republicans wouldn't take me seriously when I first got to Spain. They thought I wanted to photograph their sunlight, their women. They placed bets on whether I'd keep up with their soldiering, whether I'd handle all the running and fighting and death. But I proved them wrong and won them over. And I've shown the world their story, as sad and violent as it's been."

"That's all true, Robert. But we're going to be on a ship for something like seven hours. The water, the salt. They'll be destroyed. You've got to leave them here."

"But who could I possibly trust with them?"

"What about Ricardo? He's not suspect. He's not Jewish. He's been a diplomat long enough to know how situations like these develop into chaos. With the war coming, I doubt he'll stay here in France much longer. He can take the negatives with him when he leaves."

"You're right, although if we waited until tomorrow night to leave, I could get them all together safely. Plus, I've only met the man once or twice. Would he remember me? Would he even agree to take them? How do I get them to him? And how would I get them back?"

"You're already asking too many questions. I'll contact his girlfriend. She's with him almost every night and if they're not together now she'll at least know where to find him. Quickly. I'm sure he'll do it. I saw him last week at the bar and he went on for almost an hour about how much he loves your photos, your philosophy."

"You're sure about this man?"

"I can't really think of anyone else on such short notice. Robert, look at all of this. There are so many here. Can't you leave some behind?"

"I don't think so."

"But…. But, I can't wait."

"What?"

"I want to leave tonight. I was hoping you'd decide quickly about the negatives and go with me. I've already got tickets for the two of us on the last ship out. I have to be on it, with or without you. I can't stay here. I can't do this any longer. Soon they aren't going to let me leave unless I start helping them."

"But you've just said you'd help me save these negatives. They're all I've got to show for the last three years of my life."

"I will help you, Robert. By contacting Ricardo's girlfriend. But I've got to go. They're after me as well, you know, for the photos I took in the cities while you were out in the countryside."

"Please. Stay. Just one more night. We'll leave together then."

"It's not a chance I can take. I'll make the call. That's good enough, isn't it? Then I've got to pack."

"I don't think I'll ever see you again, then."

"I don't think you will. That's something I realized when I started this conversation. But it's all the help I can give you."

"Then just make that call. And go."

Friday, February 1, 2008

February FFC Theme Announcement

The February FFC is LIVE ! ! !


COWARDICE


I'm changing things up a bit for this FFC because of BunnyGirl's Valentine's FFC. Here we go:


1. You have SEVEN DAYS to write. The deadline is MIDNIGHT, February 7th, Eastern Standard Time.


2. The word count should NOT exceed 750 words, but 500 would be better.


3. Any genre is acceptable. Use this opportunity to stretch a bit if you wish. Get out of your comfort zone or try something new. It's entirely up to you.


4. EDIT your story before hitting send if you expect us to host it here at the FFC 2008 blog. We are not your mama nor your English teacher. What you send us is what we will post. I can assure you, however, if something is horribly wrong and it's not too late for you to fix it, I will send you an email to see if you want to edit your piece. I'm nice that way. I will not, however, fix it for you.


5. Comments are optional. We STRONGLY recommend that you open your story up to comments because constructive feedback is always a good thing, however, if you're new to this sort of thing and uncomfortable with that, it's okay to not have comments.


6. You ARE expected, however, to comment on the stories that are open for them. The rule of thumb is that you comment on at least 1/2 of the stories unless we have more than a dozen. Then you have to do at least eight, being careful to select stories with the fewest comments first. We want everyone who wants it to have feedback. NOTE: We can close comments on your story that is hosted here if you wish. We'd prefer to leave our comments open, but understand if you would prefer them closed.


7. Send your permalinks or flashes to me. If you want your story hosted here in the FFC 2008 blog, please include a brief biography.


That's it. Please ask any questions you have in the comments below. The odds are you aren't the only person with that question.

Thanks for playing!




NOTE: The FFC 2008 blog reserves the right to refuse to host or post any stories from certain parties. This is not a democracy. Thanks.