New Micro Fiction: Padded Walls

Note: As some of you know, I often participate in a weekly writing contest called “Cracked Flash Fiction Competition.” The following piece won this week. I owe this weeks judge, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, a big thank you for catching my typos and still choosing my story in spite of the,.

Padded Walls

By Sara Codair

“When this is over, I want my sanity back,” said Elena as matter-of-factly as one could say anything when wearing a straightjacket in a padded room.

The padded walls spread their crusty purple lips, revealing row upon row of pointy yellow teeth and laughed.

“I mean it.” She waggled her pointer finger at the ceiling.

“Who says it will ever be over?” The wall’s lips cracked as it spoke.

“Who said I was talking to you,” retorted Elena, tearing her eyes away from the ceiling so she could glare at the wall.

Black blood dripped out of the wall’s cracked lip, trickling down to the floor. “No one leaves here alive.”

Elena laughed. The sound was harsher, more maniacal than it had been two weeks ago.

“You do not believe?” asked the wall.

“You’re the reason I’m here.” She crouched down, wriggling in the straightjacket that was not nearly as tight as the orderlies thought, thankful for all the months she’d trained prior to taking this assignment.

“You can’t do that,” said the wall.

Elena arched one eyebrow as she shrugged off the jacket and used it to wipe up the black blood.

The wall opened its mouth and screamed. Elena didn’t flinch. It inhaled, sucking in air so hard her hair blew towards its maw. She closed her eyes, cleared her mind of the all the drug-induced hallucinations she’d had during her stay Frommington Hospital, waiting for the wall to show its true face.

She whispered words of power in the ancient tongue. The blood soaked jacket caught fire. The wall screamed as it burned with the jacket. The door opened as orderlies rushed in to put out the fire. Elena charged through them and strolled out of the burning hospital like she owned the place.

Micro Fiction: The Importance of a Clean Windshield

The Importance of a Clean Windshield

By Sara Codair

“Scrape that off before you make the jump.” Dad’s voice crackled through the com. Like everything Iris’ family owned, it was utterly obsolete.

He faded to static. Iris imagined him lecturing her on the dangers of bringing organic, terrestrial material, like pollen and bird shit, into hyperspace.

“Will do,” she said before turning on her craft’s wipers. Just to be safe, she set to the whole ship vibrating.

“Make sure you don’t miss anything,” crackled Dad.

“I love you, Dad. I’ll be fine, and I’ll let you know as soon as I revert to real time.” Iris punched the coordinates for Great Red Eight. She was going to be attending university there and studying materials engineering, but as she prepped for light speed, all she could think about was the party scene, and what it would finally be like to make a life for herself away from her family’s antiques and eccentricities.

As the home-made hyper drive hummed to life and the stars stretched into lines in her space-craft’s windshield, Iris couldn’t help thinking of each glowing streak as a potentially awesome path her life could take. With hope brewing in her brain, Iris set an alarm to wake her shortly before reverting to real time and drifted off to sleep.

***

Iris woke to urgent beeping. It wasn’t the alarm she set, but one alerting her to premature real-time reversion. Blinking sleep away, she stared at the controls, holding her breath until she realized she was only seconds away from her planned reversion point.

“That could’ve been worse,” she sighed, adjusting her course.

The ship hit resistance that shouldn’t exist in space. She peered through the view screens. A giant Osprey was pushing her craft away from Red Eight.

“So much for escaping eccentricity,” she muttered before radioing for emergency assistance.

Micro Fiction: Mr. Meowsker’s Bright Idea

Here is a little story, inspired by a prompt from Cracked Flash, to start your week:

Mr. Meowsker’s Bright Idea

By Sara Codair

“You’re my favorite monster,” said Annnaly, running her fingers over Gruffer’s fluffy face. Her black cat, Meowsker’s, was perched on here shoulder. He leaned forward licked the bridge of Gruffer’s nose.

Gruffer made a noise – a cross between a grunt and a huff. It was the only sound he ever made, but Annnaly imagined that if he was capable of human speech, he would be saying “Was?”

Nerves twined through her chest like poison ivy. She leaned her forehead against his, cupping his flat face in her hands. “The government says I can’t keep you. The made monster collections illegal. They…they want me to put you down.”

Tears streamed out of Annnaly’s eyes, dragging a river of black and blue cosmetic sludge from her face to Gruffer’s. She held his face, sobbing, not caring that Mr. Meowsker climbed off of her and onto Gruffer. She didn’t know what he did until she felt two enormous paws patting her back.

Looking up, she saw Mr. Meowsker proudly perched on Gruffer’s hear with his restrains dangling from his mouth. A smile cracked across her lips. “You brilliant feline.”

Mr. Meowsker purred like a motorcycle.

When the inspectors came to make sure Annnaly, the lady with the largest monster collection on the planet, had put down all her monsters, they were greeted by a hoard of hungry teeth and claws, not the taxidermied monster-corpses they expected.

Annaly wanted to taxidermy the inspectors and keep them as trophies, mementos from the first day of the coup, but there was literally nothing left by the time the monsters were done with them.

Dystopian Gardens / Micro-Fiction:Lying in the Dirt

I’ve noticed that whenever a writing prompt leads me to some kind of dystopian or post-apocalyptic story, there is always nature or garden imagery. It happened with the prompt that inspired me to a story that grew into “Necromantic Buzz.” It happened with a piece of flash fiction that was published in Burning Waters Magazine, and  happened again in this week’s cracked flash competition. My story didn’t win, but it was an honorable mention.

I’m starting to think this is my way of smothering fear with hope. The political turmoil and climate problems make me fear some kind of societal upset or end of the world as we know it is coming. I’ve placed my hope for the future in nature’s resilience, and in local, sustainable food.

While the following story isn’t directly about food or an apocalypse, it is packed with garden imagery and hints at some kind of corporatism
gone wrong.

Micro-Fiction:Lying in the Dirt

By Sara Codair

“You lied to me?” Carrots hung from Donn’s hands like the flop over ears of a pathetic puppy. “Why lie about that?”

Susie shrugged, watching the way Donn’s fingers curled around the carrots. His nails dug through the dirt and pierced the bright orange beneath. His eyes widened. He pursed his lips.

“I just couldn’t disappoint you.”

“Well, you did.” Donn looked at the red boxes brimming with carrot tops, the cucumbers climbing a white trellis and tomatoes bursting out of their cages. “If you told me, I could’ve helped.”

“How?” Susie looked down the driveway, where the bank men were coming to take the keys, the house, and its contents.

“I have a few secrets of my own.”

He placed the carrots on the potting table, picked up a shovel, and zigzagged through the labyrinth-like garden to a spot where nothing was growing. He dug. The bank man came with his suit and guns.

“Sir and madam, you must vacate the property.”

Donn laughed and kept digging.

The man crossed his arms. “Unless you can produce 200,000 Cred in the next 60 seconds, you are leaving.”

“Give me five minutes and I’ll give you 250,000.”

He watched as Donn dug until he hit a wooden box, brushed it off, opened it, and pulled out stacks of green bills. “Now, what is the conversion rate for old USD these days?”

The man gulped. “This morning, a single was fetching a 1,000 on the market.”

Donn handed a banded stack to the to man. “Here are 20 for your bank, and 5 to keep. Get off my property. I’ll expect the deed tomorrow.”

The man scurried off. Donn glared at Susie. “Next time you have problems, tell me.”

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A win on Cracked Flash with “Survival 101”

Cracked Flash’s writing prompts have been part of my weekly writing routine on and off for about a year now. Over the summer, I had stopped writing for them because I was judging. They had a brief hiatus in the fall. When they started up, it took me a few weeks to work in back into the routine. The few pieces I wrote were political rants pretending to be stories. Last week, I wrote a real story, and it won.

Here is it:

Survival 101

By Sara Codair

“Try a different one.” Joe frowned as the wriggling worm fell into the bucket of dirt.

I arched my eyebrows. “A worm is a worm.”

“The fat ones are juicier and slower. Easier to hook, more likely to attract fish.”

I sighed. “I don’t even like fish.”

“Would you rather eat the worm?”

“I’d rather eat nuts berries.” I gazed at the sun glistening on deep blue, vibrant leaves with orange-tinted tips and wispy seeds forming atop grass.

“Those’ll be hard to come by next month.” Joe dug weathered fingers into the bucket, pulling out a short worm barely able to wriggle, and handed it to me. “You want to survive, don’t you?”

“I used to be vegan.” My stomach wriggled like the obese worm, half-heartedly threatening to eject raspberries.

Joe’s laughter shook the remains of his shrunken belly. “Just hook the damned worm.”

Despite its protest, my stomach knew food was hard to come by, and held the berries while I jabbed the rusty, barbed metal into the worm, scrunching it like I was forcing a new curtain onto an old rod.

“That’s the spirit. Plant your feet and cast like I showed you.”

I obeyed. My tortured worm plopped into the shimmery blue. I watched the ripples grow as they approached shore. “What now?”

“Now we wait.” Joe lowered his raisen-like body onto a silvery rock. “We wait and we pray.”

I nodded, but remained standing. Winged-insects flittered across the water close to shore. A water-strider fell victim to a frog blending his body with a rotten log. A dragon fly landed on my nose, its wings tickling a smile out of my face. The last scientist I met said the human population might never recover. Nature, though, was doing just fine.

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See the original post here: http://crackedflash.blogspot.com/2017/02/year-2-week-25-results.html#comment-form

Micro Fiction: Bullet Hole in a Yellow Window

Bullet Hole in a Yellow Window

By Sara Codair

Congealed sugar crystals.

Bubbles captured in amber.

Spider webs waiting to trap unsuspecting flies.

A perfectly round path to another world where your blood isn’t splattered all over the sofa, sinking into the deepest part of the cushion staining pure white stuffing red.

In that other world you’re still smiling at me, laughing with me and loving everything about me. In that other world, I’m free to love you out in the open, free to live a hundred years by your side.

“You have the right to remain silent,” says the man in this world, encircling my wrist in metal.

###

I wrote this story for the 100 word story photo challenge back in August. They never posted a winner for August, but you can see the photo here if you want: https://www.facebook.com/100wordstory/photos/a.374368579247657.94462.213141275370389/1298620266822479/?type=3&theater

Micro Fiction: Garden Wars

This piece of micro fiction has been hiding in various files on my hard drive, but I have finally wrangled it onto the internet were it can be seen by more than just lonly gigabytes.

Garden Wars

By  Sara Codair

The garden is city for faeries so small they’re invisible to the naked eye.

DSC_0683Scientist would be dumbfounded if they held their microscope here and saw the buzz of activity happening beneath the stems. There is a whole economy flourishing in the garden: The Allium Folk are trading pollen stock with the Peony People and warring with the Hydrangea Colony.

Last year, the Allium Folk lost a war the Lupine Ladies, but hope to gain some new territory from their inferior blue neighbors. The Hydrangea Colony may be wide, but its people are short and stunted. They have quite a few prisoners of war already, and might have conquered the whole bush, had it not been for the Fly Siege.

Thankfully, the Spider showed mercy and saved them from the dreaded flies. However, they must offer a sacrifice, or they will be his food tomorrow.

The blue prisoners will suit his needs just fine.

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©2016 Sara Codair

If I Could Trap Time in a Bubble

I wrote this piece for 100 Word Story’s monthly photo challenge. It didn’t win, but I still like it.

If I Could Trap Time in a Bubble

By Sara Codair

I never appreciated what I had then: A bed to sleep in. Green grass to cool my heels. Food in the pantry, a stove to cook it on and a table just big enough for two.

If I only I could have captured that moment, frozen it in time and saved it in a bubble; it passed all to quickly. We worked and studied and worked and studied. We moved to the city where pollution and concrete killed the grass. By the time we had enough to money to retire and just enjoy life, they had found a mass on your lung.

Now memories are blurred like gasoline breaking into rainbows on top of still water. I’m back in one of those apartments, with a tiny stove and a table just big enough for two. But there isn’t much to eat these days, and when I do eat, I miss you.

###

If your curious about who did win, you can read that story here.

 

 

Micro Fiction: The Lament of Mr. Whiskers

The Lament of Mr. Whiskers

 by Sara Codair

“I think I preferred your old hobby,” said Mr. Whiskers. With his sleek, black fur and yellow eyes, he looked like a mini-panther.

His human rubbed his head and scratched under his chin until he purred.

“You’re such a handsome boy,” said the human.

“I appreciate the massage and compliments, but I do not think you understood me. I said I think I preferred your old hobby.”

“You’re a talkative little guy today,” said the human, intensifying the rub.

Mr. Whiskers meowed in frustration. The human never understood him.

“What’s wrong?” cooed the human.

“You,” hissed Mr. Whiskers. He swatted the human, with his sharp claws out.

“Ouch!” The human jerked his hand away and sucked on his bleeding finger.

“Serves you right,” muttered Mr. Whiskers as he stalked away.

He hissed at the litter of fluffy kittens as he walked by, letting them know that if they dared swat his tale, he would scratch and bite them. They cowered behind the couch cushion.

Pleased with himself, Mr. Whiskers leapt on top of the mini bar and took a bath. Rescuing kittens was a noble hobby, but one that he would prefer not to happen in his own territory. He really wished the human had just stuck to knitting. Those balls of yarn had been so much fun to bat around the house.

©2016 Sara Codair

Originally written for Cracked Flash

Flash Fiction: At Last

The following piece of flash fiction was originally published on Cracked Flash and was the runner up for their week 44 competition. I made some revisions based on the feedback I received from the judges.

At Last

By Sara Codair

The sword fell out of Lenora’s hand. It was over. After years of slaving away on the battlefield her ex-husband, the emperor, was finally dead. His head lay on the ground next to her fallen sword. She expected to feel some sense of excitement or victory, but she was empty, too tired to muster the smallest smile.

After fighting for years without victory, she had all but lost hope, believing the Gods were against her until the mysterious army of white knight appeared out of nowhere. These allies beat back the enemy legions and paved a way for her to reach the emperor and finally slay him. Now, she was watching blood pour out of his corpse like sand in an hourglass.

As the last of the emperor’s blood soaked into the ground, the landscape broke down. Bodies and vultures, mud and murder, armor and arms dissolved into tiny little squares.

Lenora looked down at herself. She still appeared solid. Crouching, she waved a calloused, gauntlet-clad hand through her enemy’s corpse. It went right through his pixelated body to a stone floor.

She choked on her next breath. She’d grown accustomed to the stench of blood, death and sweat, but it’d been a lifetime since she smelt melting plastic mingling with coffee and beer. It was terrible and beautiful and she sucked in as much of it as she could.

“It worked,” shouted a voice as foreign and familiar as the smell.

The battlefield was nothing more than fading dots dirtying the floor of a room filled with screens, wires and video game controllers. Two men rushed towards her. They bore no armor or weapons, and wore only ripped jeans and t-shirts.

“Nora!” shouted one of the men. “Thank God you’re back. Are you alright?”

“Ray,” she whispered as memories long buried broke through the dungeon doors. She ran towards him, all but collapsing in her lover’s arms.

“I love you,” she said inhaling the stale beer and coffee that clung to his breath.

“I love you too. You’re home now. You’re safe.”

She clung to him, crying to tears of relief to be out of the virtual hell her ex-husband had trapped her in. She was back in the real world. She was finally free.

© 2016 Sara Codair