1. Lilly James Haro

    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

    Apr 26, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Kirkwall, Free Marches, Thedas

    Past Contest Flash Fiction Contest #20 - "Memory"

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Flash Fiction Contest Archives' started by Lilly James Haro, Mar 4, 2015.

    And the theme for Flash Fiction Contest #20 is “Memory”. Remember the word limit is 150-450 words and all entries must be posted anonymously in this thread by 6:00 pm EST March 21th. Make sure to include the number of words and any warnings. You can also make your entry private simply by clicking more functions before posting, and click the box that makes the post viewable by "Members Only."

    Good Luck!
  2. Zelee

    Zelee Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2 Days 6 Hours 23 Minutes (429 words)

    I don't know why I remember that hot summer day but I do. I was six and I remember needing my mother. For what exactly, I don't recall now, but to my young mind it was extremely important.

    My parents were building a greenhouse off the garage so logically I thought she would be there. A few moments and I would have my mother.

    Entering the garage was like walking into an oven. The air felt thick and closed off and I had to allow my eyes a second to adjust to the darkness. Blackout curtains covered all the windows. The only bit of light came from around the edges of an unfinished patchwork quilt we used to separate the main garage from a small storage room.

    I carefully picked my way through the familiar mess. Stepping over small stacks of lumber and around boxes piled to the ceiling. Nearing the back, a waft of clean air mixed with the smell of tools and used oil.

    When I pushed through the quilt, I felt relieved to be in the warm summer air again. Sunlight poured into the cramped room through the side door where the greenhouse was being built. I squinted for a moment until my eyes readjusted to the brightness.

    My heart sank when I realized it was not my mother who crouched among the unlayed pavers and steel I beams, but my father.

    "Where's mommy?" He didn't look up from his work when I spoke.

    "She had to go out."

    "When's she coming back?"

    "I don't know, whenever she gets here."

    Whenever she gets here... Those four words fell on me like the weight of the world. I felt the fear of not having my mother when I needed her rise up and squeeze my throat. I could hardly breathe. Tears were stinging the edges of my eyes but I remember not wanting my father to see me cry.

    I turned and retreated through the musty garage keeping my sobs quiet. I ran to the house, to the safety of my room and hid under the covers hugging my favorite teddy bear.

    Random memories like this keep appearing in my head now. I suppose that's what happens when you face an impending death. Some people are the lucky. Their lives flash before their eyes within a few precious moments and then it's done. I've had two days six hours and twenty-three minutes.

    They are coming for me now, I can hear them. Their heavy footsteps echo in the hall outside my door. It'll all be over soon.
  3. -oz

    -oz Active Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Likes Received:
    The Great Sandy Waste
    Thief [441 words]

    Detective Tucker walked around the steel table to stand next to the instrument panel. It was cold enough in the room to see his client’s breath. The unconscious man on the table would be the coldest of the three of them, if he could feel it, but the detective had no sympathy for the thief. He pushed a few buttons on the instrument panel and turned to his guest.

    “Mrs. White, the procedure I’m about to perform on this criminal will let me see his memories. If this doesn’t reveal where he hid your family necklace, I don’t know what will.”

    “Thank you Detective, you don’t realize how much this necklace means to me.”

    Tucker leaned forward and grabbed a few wires connected to the instrument panel. With modern advances they worked by contact; he didn’t have to drill to the man’s brain. After shaving away patches of hair, the nodes were securely taped onto his head. Tucker took the other wires and removed his wig. His client gasped as he plugged the nodes into his own skull. He had ports implanted years ago, when the technology wouldn’t allow skin contact alone. Even now, memories were still elusive to technology; they were designed exclusively for humans, which is why it took a direct connection between living brains to experience another's memories.

    “Please just have a seat and relax, Mrs. White, this will only take a moment. Try to remain quiet during the procedure.”

    Tucker pushed a few more buttons on the instrument panel to begin the procedure and took a few relaxing breaths. Exploring memories still took all of his concentration, despite how frequently he had done it. Slowly, he opened his mind to that of the criminal’s.

    It took a couple minutes, but he found the moment the criminal stole the necklace. Tucker paused. This was the most ornate necklace he had ever seen. Rubies, emeralds, even alexandrite were central to the design, but they served to highlight an exquisite vivid pink diamond, at least 50 carats. This necklace was worth a large fortune.

    Tucker watched him admire it before wrapping it up and sneaking out of the mansion. He skipped forward and watched where the thief put the necklace, realizing that this was only hours before he was apprehended. The necklace would still be there.

    He slowly untangled himself from the memory, and unplugged himself from the machine. After touching a few commands on the instrument panel, including the command to kill the patient, he blinked a couple times and looked sadly at Mrs. White.

    “I’m sorry ma’am, but something went wrong: he has no memory of your necklace.”
    Zelee likes this.
  4. idle

    idle Active Member

    Aug 1, 2012
    Likes Received:
    one of the hearts of Europe
    …And It’s Gone [307 words]

    Disturbing shapes peek from around the corner: a hint of a furry limb, of a tentacle, of too many eyes. Shadows flit across a red- and orange-tinted gloom, as if there’s a fire burning in a distance. But no warmth is coming from any direction.

    Everything is quiet.

    No, that isn’t true. There’s been a sound just recently, a disturbing clicking noise, and that means something is going to happen very soon, unless–

    Bernard opens his eyes. He grabs a pen and starts scribbling in a notebook already filled with his handwriting: a reddish darkness, many-limbed creatures, the cold. Words are hard to find, all images quickly pale as he struggles to capture the beautiful feeling of dread.

    He needs to keep the memory for a little longer, before it goes away completely.

    Bernard fumbles around hastily, looking for his MemoCap. He always keeps it on his bedside table, just for these occasions. The best writing tool ever developed! Put the cap on, press a button and your whole state of mind is recorded. So where is it?

    “Already wearing it, you fool,” says Ella, looking in through the bedroom door. “It’s half past ten and you’ve run it, like, fifteen times over.”

    Bernard feels the top of his head and sure, there it is, switched to replay.

    He scans through his notes. Some details of the creatures have already slipped from his memory, but there they are, recorded on his earlier attempts. Good. He’ll be able to use them. But there was something else, maybe a sound? It felt important. There’s nothing about it in the notes and not in his head, either. It’s gone the way of dreams again. He’ll have to try some more.

    He settles back against the pillow and presses a button on his cap.

    Disturbing shapes peek from around the corner…
  5. Lancie

    Lancie Contributing Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Birmingham, UK
    Forgetting Ms W (428 words)

    Florescent yellow light flooded my eyelids. I raised my arm across my face and sat up. A slow ache crossed my tense shoulders. Slowly, I peeled my eyes open and allowed them to adjust to room.

    It was small and perfectly square with a narrow metal door at a corner. One wall was mirrored and I paused, looking at my dishevelled hair and papery hospital gown. I was barefoot, though a piece of tape was wrapped around one of my ankles. I struggled to balance and read the tape.

    E. W. - 7/8/85 - 10/3/15.

    Dread began to gnaw at my stomach. I dropped my ankle and regained my footing on the cold tiles. I took a tentative step towards the mirror and tapped the glass.

    “Hello?” I called. “Anyone behind there?”

    I listened intently, but could only hear the humming of the light and my own racing heart.

    A crackling noise in the ceiling turned to a thin whine before the flat voice came through.

    “Good morning, Ms W.”

    I looked up, then back to the mirror.

    “Where am I?” I asked weakly. “Who are you?”

    “We are not able to disclose you’re location, Ms W. You will find a bag under the bed. Please put on the clothes provided and wait for the wardens. You are in no danger.”

    The speakers hissed and faded, taking the voice away with them.

    With shaking hands I pulled out jeans and black hooded sweatshirt, dressing carefully. Every now and then my eyes flicked to the mirror. Was it two-way? Was someone watching me change?

    Once dressed, I waited and paced exactly five steps from wall to wall. It didn’t take too long for the metal door to swing open. Two female wardens dressed in tan and black entered, followed by a small man in a grey suit with slicked black hair.

    “Mrs Watt,” he said and gestured for me to follow him. The female wardens remained silent but flanked me closely. We walked through a corridor of identical narrow metal doors and ascended in a small lift to a lobby area.

    We approached a desk manned by a fat, sullen clerk. She produced a file with E.W. written boldly across the front.

    “If you could please sign the form,” the suited man indicated.

    “Sign for what?”

    “Your release.”

    I deepened my frown but after a moment I scribbled my name. The man smiled a heavily practised smile.

    “Thank you, Ms W. You are now legally forgotten,” and with that, I was thrust out onto the street.
  6. Sam Mills

    Sam Mills New Member

    Feb 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Farewell (442 Words)

    “Why!” Jimmy punched the headstone as hard as he could. His hand hurt terribly from striking the stone with such force, but he barely noticed the pain. Physical pain was nothing in comparison to the pain stabbing into his soul like a rod of iron that still glowed red from the forge. “Why did he have to go, Uncle Ben? It’s not fair!”

    Uncle Ben laid his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “It’s a cruel world we live in, boy. Evil is abundant, and wicked men who seek to kill and to destroy live among us. Your father left because he felt that he must. In the battle against evil there can be no bystanders. As Edmund Burke said: ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’ Your father was a good man, and he was not one to stand by and do nothing so that the fiendish plots of cruel and immoral men may come to fruition. Your father loved you, Jimmy. He loved you more than anything in this entire world. He told me that as I held him. His last words were: ‘Tell my son I love him.’”

    Jimmy dropped his head as he placed his hands on top of the headstone. He could feel the dew of the early morning soaking through his trousers where he knelt in the freshly sprouted grass. “He should have stayed here with me. There are plenty of men to fight. One more would not have made a difference. And now he is gone.” Jimmy traced his fingers over the letters carved into the gravestone. “I wouldn’t even go to see him off. My last memory of him is the anger I felt towards him on the day he left. I didn’t say ‘goodbye,’ and now I’ll never be able to.” He did not try to stifle the tears that freely flowed down his cheeks.

    Uncle Ben knelt down beside the boy and placed his arm around his shoulders. “He understood. He knew how hard it was on you; it was just as hard for him to leave you. Remember him—not as the soldier going to war, but as the father you loved. Focus on the good times you shared with him, and cherish those memories with fondness. He still survives—living on in your heart and thoughts. His body may be gone, but his memory can never die.” Uncle Ben rose slowly. “I’ll give you two some time alone.” He looked down the gravestone and felt his eyes begin to water. His lower lip trembled and his voice cracked as he spoke, “Farewell, Brother.”
  7. BookLover

    BookLover Contributing Member

    Mar 31, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Be Present [450 words]

    “Now let's all listen to the running water and concentrate on our breath. Clear your mind and really be present.” The meditation master closed his eyes and sat quietly, as did the four people sitting around him with the exception of Chrissy. She glanced about. The others were all breathing deeply and looking serene, sitting cross legged in their bohemian clothing and yoga gear.

    She tried. She really did, but every time she closed her eyes all she could see was the look on Mrs. Harman's face. And every time she listened to the sound of her breath, all she could hear was the thump her car made that day she backed up.

    “Wow,” Chrissy nervously laughed. “Are anybody else's legs as cramped as mine?” Everyone opened their eyes and looked at her with annoyance, except the meditation master who looked up compassionately.

    “Chrissy,” he said, “You seem to have a lot of trouble with our daily meditations. You're making it too hard. It's a simple practice. You just have to clear your mind -”

    “How the hell does anyone clear their mind? That's impossible, right?”

    “Simply put all your mental energy into your breath. Let your concentration live there.”

    “I can't. This was a stupid idea. My psychologist thought this would help, but it doesn't. How can you people sit around thinking about nothing?”

    “I know exactly what you mean,” said a thin woman in her forties. “Often my thoughts drift back to my charity obligations. I have a huge charity dinner to plan, and I still haven't settled on the dessert! But when those thoughts intrude, I accept them, and then try to go back to my breathing.”

    Chrissy gave the woman a wide-eyed stare. “Those are the things that haunt your thoughts? Dessert and charity dinners? Oh, how it must be nice to be you! You want to know what I think about? Two years ago I backed my car out of my driveway, and I ran over my neighbors' one year old. I didn't see him. I ran him over like he was a dog in the street. Ever since that day I've had crippling depression and daily panic attacks. I can't work. I can't sleep. I'm on every medication known to man, and I slit my wrist twice.” Chrissy held up her bandaged arm. “And now I'm supposed to clear my mind and be present. Listen to water and my breath! I don't even want to breathe!” Chrissy stood and began to walk off. Her voice trailed after her, cracking in places. “It's a cute idea, this whole living in the present thing, but some of us have this thing called a memory.”
  8. Alley

    Alley Member

    Feb 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    In living memory (450 words)

    We both smile as we hear the click of the camera shutter. Our eyes wide open, our teeth bared at the stranger who agreed to take our picture. "For the family album", you said when handing the camera to the middle-aged man.

    As you hurry back down the pier to look at the picture, I relax my jaws, allowing the corners of my lips to slide back into their default position these days – setting my mouth in a firm line, far enough away from a scowl as to not give me away, but yet not quite able to convey that feeling of levity that you are striving for so hard.

    I watch you looking at the tiny screen on the back of the camera with our impromptu photographer, and try to judge how much longer we can stay out today. We already took the boat to the small island in the lake, and strolled around the gardens of the castle built there centuries ago. We had our picture taken with almost all of the statues, and I can feel the strain from all those smiles and the pressure of all the other emotions building up inside.
    I can see what you’re trying to do for me, and I try to go along with it. After all – if it’s exhausting for me, how much more exhausting must it be for you? But you want it so badly. I see you sitting there night after night scouring the guide books for the next great vista, for the next beautiful beach.

    When you turn around, you look satisfied and give me the thumbs up. The picture will do. I decide it will be the last for the day. I take a last look at the trail of light the sun casts onto the calm waters of the lake before I meet you back on firm ground. “I’m afraid I have a bit of a headache.”, I lie. You wouldn’t let me take us back to the hotel for your sake alone. You give me a concerned look before you consent and walk me back to the car, talking about all the things you planned for the next day. About all those memories we’re going to make.

    That’s what you are doing here: Making memories. You say it’s for me -- for when you are gone. And I can see how much you must love me. But part of it is for you. That part that made you scribble that note you left in one of the maps. “In living memory. Live a memory. Living in a memory.” I cried when I found it. That was the only time I cried on this trip.
  9. Frankovitch

    Frankovitch Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    Likes Received:
    The Opal (450 words)

    Josh was not a bad guy. He hadn’t been in a fight since high school, he was faithful to his wife, and hardly ever yelled at his kids. He went to church most Sundays, and called his parents every Thursday. He had a temper, though, which had gotten him fired half a year ago. When you’re on minimum wage you never really get to save up any money. Josh was not a bad guy, but when winter is approaching and you can’t afford coats for your children, morals will give way to practicality.

    He would try to only pick people without children who could afford losing whatever he stole, and he didn't take anything that could have sentimental value, apart from jewelry. He didn’t like it, but when one necklace could feed his family for two weeks, there really was no choice.

    Josh’s newest mark was a waterfront villa. Big garden so the neighbors wouldn’t notice him and an old gate with a broken lock on it. The only inhabitant was a haggard old man. Too old to work, but he left his house every day from 7 to 9 PM.

    Josh scanned the house for valuables as soon as he got through the lock on the front door. Most likely a house like this would be stocked with old and valuable.

    Josh gasped as he entered the living room. On a pedestal was a huge opal with blue flames licking up the sides. It seemed to suck all other light out of the room, so that the only two things in existence were Josh and the opal beckoning him towards it.

    It seemed alive, with colors emerging and disappearing at random. As he stepped forward and looked into it he somehow knew that it was also looking into him. It saw everything. He thought about his first girlfriend, about his grandfather teaching him to fish. He thought about the time his dog died and about his family’s annual vacation in Spain. As he did, the memories would turn into tiny shards that drifted from Josh and into the opal.

    What felt like hours later, he saw a copy of himself standing on the other side of the opal. The copy smiled sadly and told him that it would take good care of his wife and children. It told him that they had exchanged lives and that he was now old and dying of cancer. He had maybe six months left, and his only chance would be to somehow lure another person to the opal.

    Having told him this, the copy left the room, leaving an old broken man crying over the loss of a life he no longer remembered.

Share This Page