Flash fiction challenges such as Five Sentence Fiction has kept me writing and improved my craft, so I serve up some here every Tuesday. Since every one likes choices I’m providing you with two weekly writing prompts. You can participate in either one, or double your pleasure by trying your hand at both. Submit your efforts any time between now and next Tuesday.
The Standard Prompt will always consist of a two-word prompt to be used as inspiration. The Non-Standard Prompt will change from week to week. Sometimes it will be a visual prompt, sometimes a first sentence or phrase, sometimes a scenario, etc. The limit for the Two for Tuesday Standard Prompts is 200 words and the Non Standard Prompt has a minimum of 200 words but no limit allowing for more in depth explorations. Use the little blue link thing below to submit your link or leave an entry in the comments section.
Don’t forget to check out the other entries.
Here is this week’s two-fer:
You have lots of creative leeway. The limit is 200 words. The words can be used:
- simply as a point of inspiration and do not have to be used directly
- they can be included exactly as provided
- or each word can be used independently of each other (for example if Death Row was the prompt instead of crafting a story about an inmate on the way to the gallows, you might write something like: Despite feeling like death from an excess of cheap vodka consumed the night before, Evelyn moved on to planting her next row of spinach).
This week for the alternative prompt, write a story about the Grim Reaper on vacation. As per usual with the Non-standard prompt there is no word limit (to allow for more in depth explorations) but there is a minimum of 200 words.
For those who like to write first and read later, be forewarned, my own effort follows. Once again, I have attempted to combine both prompts into one story.
Grim Reaper’s wife—Dour is her name—was puttering in the kitchen, blackening dinner to the perfect charcoal consistency. Grim tossed back a second shot of Absinth and Drain-o . “Bad day at the office, dear?” she asked.
“By heaven and hell, yes.” His voice bubbled and rattled like lug nuts boiling in molasses. The words bounced off the blackened walls reverberating with a dark menace.
“You’re echoing, dear. No need for that here. Use your ‘inside voice’ please.” She was waving an acetylene torch over the black lumps in the iron skillet to bring up their ashy finish. The rim of the pan glowed orange and the smell of brimstone filled the air.
“Dinner smells inspired, my little vulture. And you look ravished. I could eat you whole.” He made little slurping noises and his teeth clicked like a thousand writhing beetles.
“Grim, you silver-tongued devil.” A dark shadow raised across her face. “You make me blush. There will be plenty of time for all of that later. Why don’t you turn on the telly? Dinner won’t be ready for another 45 minutes.” Grim flounced down into his chair kicking up a black cloud and pressed the ‘on’ button on the remote. The TV screen flickered to life—tuned to dead air between channels—filling the den with a bit of white noise fizzing and fluttering like a swarm of termites.
He pulled the stack of brochures from the end table. They curled and flaked to ash at the edges beneath his touch. Death Valley. Hell’s Kitchen. Black Forest. Dead Sea. Hells Canyon. Purgatory Falls. Decisions, decisions. He was looking forward to a break from all of that soul harvesting, finger pointing and banshee wailing. Grim poured another Absinth and Drain-o savoring this one with slow sips, a lovely bitter burn all the way down. He sighed. A whole week without that damnable robe and scythe.
He got up to leave the room. Dour turned around and asked, “Where are you going?”
“Never you mind, my curious bat, I have a little surprise for you.”
When he returned he stepped up behind her quiet as death. “Well, what do you think? Does this make me look fat?” Dour turned to find her husband comically modeling a bilious yellow Hawaiian shirt, acid green shorts and blood red sandals. She doubled over and sprayed hot spittle everywhere in a loud and spirited cackle. Tears of laughter bunched in her eyes and his image swam in front of her like a brightly colored specter. When she had regained the capacity to speak she said through a dying chuckle, “Lord, deliver me. Grim, you absolutely kill me!”
“That’s what they all say, my lovely viper. That’s what they all say,” he replied with a sharp toothy grin and they both threw back their heads and let loose a throaty howl.