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  1. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Past Contest Flash Fiction Contest #40 -- Theme: Hitchhiker

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Flash Fiction Contest' started by thirdwind, Feb 14, 2017.

    The theme for this contest, courtesy of @Scot, is hitchhiker. You are free to interpret the theme however you wish, but please make sure your story takes the theme into account in some way.

    The entries can be no longer than 500 words. Please post the entries directly in this thread. All entries will automatically be anonymized by the system. The deadline for submission is February 28.

    Good luck to everyone who enters! Hopefully the info above covers everything, but if you have additional questions/comments, please post them here or PM me.
     
  2. PurpleLotusRebirthMatrix

    PurpleLotusRebirthMatrix Member

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    When I saw him on the side of the rode, I knew something was off. But, my hands pulled off to the shoulder, seemingly, of their own accord.Everything about this man was strange. His eyes were too big, his mouth was too small and he had fingers that seemed a caricature of a woman's.

    "where you headed?"

    "Nevada."

    "Get in."

    "Why did I say that? I'm not going to Nevada."

    "Good ol' human empathy."

    He had answered a question I asked in my thoughts, I assumed by coincidence. But, the way he said 'human' made me shiver. It was too late for me too change my mind, he had already made himself comfortable. He tuned the radio to a classic rock music station: It Came Out of the Sky by Creedence Clearwater Revival played as I drove down the rode. I drove all night to the sounds of the 60's and 70's, not uttering a word to my strange companion.

    "Stop. This is the place."

    I pulled to the shoulder and looked around. It was the middle of nowhere, a faceless patch of desert that looked no different then the two hundred others that we had already passed.

    "Thanks for the ride, Claire." he said as he got out of the car.

    I hadn't told him my name.

    "Wait, are you an alien or something?"

    He looked back at me, with an expression that told me not to ask questions I already knew the answer to.


     
  3. Samunderthelights

    Samunderthelights Member

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    The End of the Road

    I knew I was going to end my life that day. The day I saw you standing on the side of the road, trying to hitch a ride. My parents had always warned me about people like you. But what was the worst that could happen now?

    You thanked me as I let you into my car. Not once did you ask me where I was going. We simply drove off. In the silence, I was planning my death. My original idea had been to book a hotel and do it there. But I didn’t want to traumatise the people who worked there. So I needed to come up with a new idea.

    The sky was turning a dark shade of red and orange as I realised that you still hadn’t said a word. When would you leave my car? Were you planning on leaving at all? I looked at you in my rear view mirror, and saw you staring at me. There were tears in your eyes. So many things that I wanted to ask you, right there and then. But I didn’t know you. I hadn’t even asked your name.

    As we drove on through the night, and I knew I had passed into a new day, a strange sensation came over me. I knew I had to get rid of you. I had failed because of you. My life hadn’t ended. And I still didn’t know how, or where I was going to end it. I couldn’t think while you were in my car. I needed you to go away.

    I stopped the car, and told you I couldn’t take you with me any farther. You nodded, but didn’t leave. You simply looked at me. It felt as though you were staring straight into my soul. Who were you? How could you to do that to me?

    As I asked you to leave, you looked away, at the rising sun. The sky that morning was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen, the colours so intense… It felt like my skin was on fire, and I could feel tears falling down my face. I had failed, because of you. I was still here, because you had gotten into my car. Because of you, I was now seeing this. This beauty, this pure, natural beauty that made me feel like I couldn’t breathe.

    I looked at you, and you smiled.

    “A new day.”
     
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  4. Bill Chester

    Bill Chester Active Member

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    Scotch Village Resident (500 words)


    There was that young guy with the long grey beard again. I’d always been reluctant to pick him up because he looked smelly.

    But he was pleasant enough when he got into the car and he didn't smell at all.

    “You live around here?” I asked.

    He looked straight ahead as we talked. “I live in that house on the hill with the Keep Out signs on either side of the entryway, down in Scotch Village,” he said.

    “I’ve often wondered about those signs,” I said. “Sounds very unneighbourly.”

    “Meant to be. Bunch of tiny-minded, hypocritical, stupid bastards in that town. I didn’t know what I was gittin’ into when I bought that place.”

    That hasn’t been my impression. Those folk in Scotch Village are okay.

    I looked over to see that his hands were tight fists on his lap. “What’s going on?” I asked.

    “My dog. Sweetest little pit bull you’d ever meet. People blame him... Sometimes he barks a lot.”

    “So they object? Why is your dog barking so much? Do you tie him up, maybe?”

    “Only between midnight and five in the morning. I can’t trust him in the house when I’m sleepin’, you know.”

    “So, that’s your dog I hear in the night?" I lived a mile away and could never identify where the sound was coming from. "He sounds very distressed, the way he repeats that same woof,woof,woof—woof pattern without ever stopping. Sometimes I hear coyotes taunting him. He sounds excessively agitated when that happens.”

    “Oh, he can handle a few coyotes. They can’t git to him, anyway.”

    He got off at the convenience/liquor store. Gotta git some rum for his sore foot.

    ***

    That infernal dog has kept me awake so many nights. All because of that stupid hippie. I had to do something, both for the dog and myself. And for the poor folks in Scotch Village.

    I pulled into his driveway the next day, going right past the Keep Out signs. He ran out of his door with a shotgun in his hands. His pit bull was beside him, looking anything but sweet.

    “I gave you a lift yesterday, don’t you remember me?” I asked.

    “No, I never seen your face before. Now git off my property or I’ll shoot you!”

    I backed out of his driveway, which wasn’t really a driveway, just an opening from the road onto his lawn. He didn’t own a vehicle, obviously.

    ***

    I picked him up again a couple of days later. He didn’t remember me coming to his house or that I’d picked him up last week.

    We rode in silence for a few minutes.

    “How’s your dog doing?” I asked.

    “Oh, he’s the sweetest little thing you’d ever meet, man” he said. He looked straight ahead as he talked. “Goddamn people in that fucking town don’t like him, though. Small-minded hypocrites, bastards. Drop me off at the liquor store, man. I gotta git some rum for my sore foot.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  5. Formalized

    Formalized Member

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    The Last of Me.

    I shuddered. Another day, another dollar, I told myself. Repeating this over and over as I got in my dusty black Ford usually helped to calm me down on the days where something of this nature was demanded of me, but today was to no avail. "C'mon, J," I scolded myself, "it's just this last time. Stop being a wimp." I started from my thoughts as a text came through, my phone blaring its obnoxious tone. Collecting myself, I stared at the screen.

    4:03PM: [BLOCKED NUMBER]
    don't forget our deal.
    4:03PM: [BLOCKED NUMBER]
    youre gonna do it right.

    God, the lack of grammar annoyed me almost more than the threatening messages themselves. I typed up a quick response; I didn't have time for distraction.
    4:04PM: [J]
    Yes.

    Putting my phone on silent, I revved the engine. Dundundundundundun dun dun. The beat matched my mantra- as well as my thundering heart. Visions of merged trees flashed in my peripherals, faces of those I knew left behind in the dust of the speeding car. Focusing on the road took my attention away from my dread and I forced my car to its top speed until I was long gone from everything I knew. Reaching my destination well within the time served me well- the boss would be pleased.

    Sitting back, I observed my surroundings. Tall forests lined both sides of the narrow roads, the horizon seemingly void of any other life. No signs of houses, of
    shops. The perfect place.
    Another day, another dollar.
    Another day, another dollar.
    Another day, another dollar.


    It didn't take long for some lonely straggler to come crawling by. I stuck my head through the window. "Going somewhere?" I asked, as friendly as possible. She just stared at me- probably at my messy, tawny hair- before choosing her response. "Yes."
    She had a pretty thin and tall stature, her stark red hair tied high above her in a bun. Her face was lined with freckles, broken only by a prominent scar, but I did not comment on it. She looked pretty familiar, but I didn't comment on that either as she came over to my car. "Grab a seat, I'll take you there. You look exhausted!"
    After a moment of sceptical hesitation, she opened the door and jumped in. Perfect. "Where are you headed?"
    "Lisbrioth Avenue." The lady replied flatly, and I typed it into the satnav as she spelled it out for me. Only five minutes away.
    "Get ready.
    She stayed silent through the ride and I reciprocated. Conversation was overrated. Eventually, though, she let out a muffled murmur. "You drove past my stop..."
    I locked the doors.
    Tick, tock.
    Looked at her.
    Another day, another dollar.
    Pulled a gun.
    She screamed.
    This is the last time.
    Shot her twice.

    Her lifeless form slumped in her seat, hair blanketed in blood. It was then that I remembered her.
    She was the boss's wife.
     
  6. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You Aint the Only One

    The reflective strip along the bottom of the man’s coat caught Jensen’s eye as he sped down I-10 toward California. Jensen pulled to the shoulder a good distance in front of the man and sat, brakes glowing bright red in the absence of light save the moon.

    The man walked slowly to the car. Jensen pressed on the middle of his steering wheel, and the cheap twang of the horn blared into the desert. The man continued at the same pace. When he reached the window, Jensen leaned over the console and rolled it down half way.

    Where ya headed, Jensen said.

    No wheres imparticular. Just headin.

    You just walkin to nowhere?

    I could.

    Well, get on in. I’ll take ya as far as I’m goin if that’s alright with you, Jensen said.

    If yous offerin.

    And leave you walkin in the middle of nowhere? Damn near two in the morning? I couldn’t call myself a good Samaritan if I’d done that.

    The man sat hunched over with his bag between his feet on the floor board and Jensen pulled back into the lane, slammed his foot on the accelerator.

    How long you been out walkin?

    A while.

    Jensen looked at the back of his hand and spotted a glob of partially congealed blood glistening in the moonlight. He pulled his hand off the wheel and wiped it on side of his jeans, then shot a glance at his passenger who seemed not to notice.

    Name’s Jensen. Nice to meet you.

    Likewise.

    You got a name?

    Yup.

    The wind howled through the half open passenger window.

    Care to tell me what it is? Common decency and all.

    Mick.

    A man of few words huh?

    My line of work aint need much yappin.

    And what is it you do?

    Car salesman.

    Jensen snorted as he laughed, but Mick’s mouth stayed a thin line like a scar across his face.

    They drove in silence. Mick hadn’t budged a centimeter.

    When they got through the next town and back onto an empty highway, Jensen slowly reached down the side of his seat, inch by inch. He pulled the lever to release the trunk, and the wind slammed it against its hinges.

    Shit, Jensen said, and he steered to the shoulder. Let me just get this closed.

    Mick nodded.

    Jensen got out of the car and closed the trunk. He bent down and pulled the long bowie knife from the sheath strapped to his calf and wiped the old blood on his jeans. He strode to Mick’s door and flung it open and told Mick to get out of the car and put his hands behind his head, but when Jensen looked down, the muzzle of a revolver was trained on his crotch. Mick pulled the trigger.

    You ain’t the only one been huntin these parts, Mick said and put a bullet between Jensen’s eyes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  7. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Contributing Member

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    Tina and Tony go to Washington [498 words]



    “Hey, Joey, how about a lift?”

    “What are you guys still doing here?” Joey looked at his scalp in the mirror. “This new shampoo was supposed to kill all of you.”

    The lice laughed. It looked like all of them. Tina, Tony, Randy, Gina, Mike…. He recognized Mike by the spot on his thorax. He hadn’t gotten around to naming the others yet. They kept disappearing beneath the part in his hair.

    “I’m not supposed to talk to you anymore. Doctor Greene said so.”

    “Bah, what’s she know?” Tina said.

    “Yeah,” Tony said. “We just need a ride to Washington.”

    “Washington?”

    “We need to see the president.”

    “Why?” Joey tried to squish him but Tony dodged easily.

    “We want his hair.”

    “We’ve never seen anything like it!”

    “No way.” Joey grabbed the special shampoo and started the shower. “Uh-uh. I’m not hearing any of this.”

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

    The medication was supposed to help with the somnambulism but Joey still wandered downstairs that night. Tina and Tony had nestled in either ear and whispered to him about Washington. Whispered about the hair. Joey’s eyes never opened. Even as his feet shuffled around the maze of furniture and over the slats of moonlight pooling across the carpet.

    He came to his desk, opened his laptop, and bought a plane ticket. Then he went back to bed.

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

    The flight attendant stopped along the aisle. “Excuse me, sir, is there a reason you’re wearing a shower cap?”

    “Dry scalp,” Tina whispered.

    “Yeah,” Tony said. “Airplanes make your head itch.

    “Dry scalp,” Joey said. “Airplanes make my head itch.”

    “And we don’t want to be sucked into the atmosphere either,” Tina said but Joey didn’t repeat that. He didn’t want the flight attendant to think he was bonkers.

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

    Joey was a little late getting to the inauguration but Tina had an inside man ready to lead him toward the front of the Mall.

    “Now’s our chance,” Tina said. “Follow me!”

    She jumped and the lice followed. Joey watched them go. He knew a part of him would always miss them, even if he had no memory of how he got to Washington.

    “I see it,” Tina said when the president’s hair appeared above the podium. “I see it!”

    It was like a folded shark fin in the sun. It was amber waves of grain. The lice flew for it, hopping from head to head across the Mall, screaming in exaltation.

    “What mystery!”

    “What proportion!”

    “Is it real?”

    “I want to nibble at its golden stalks!”

    “I want to lay my eggs and raise my children in it!”

    Closer and closer. Over bobs, weaves, bald spots and red-mesh hats that didn’t fit anyone properly. They lost Mike along the way. Gina and Randy fell to their deaths when a cross breeze blew them off course. But Tina led them faster, climbing the Capitol bunting and the assembled dignitaries.

    “This is it!” she cried as the impossible coiffure consumed their horizon. “Let’s make head lice great again!”
     
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  8. ChaseTheSun

    ChaseTheSun Contributing Member

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    My First Time (500 words)

    Big Boss spoke to me personally. “Make sure no harm comes to him. He has earned sanctuary. Many are out to claim him for their own, but his allegiance is pledged. Are you up to the task?”

    I had bowed slightly and kept a poker face until I left his office. Then I had broken into a celebratory dance and hopped around the main reception room in a most undignified manner. This was my big break! My chance to prove myself and ensure a lifetime of important missions. My colleagues didn’t pay me and my celebration much mind. I think they never really took me seriously, anyway. Being ignored was normal. But I’d show them. I’d show them I had what it takes to work for the Boss.

    I took off at lightning speed.

    When I got to Andrew Quint’s place, I let myself in quietly and wandered through rooms until I found him.

    “Hey,” I said quietly. “Well done. You ready?” He was sitting in a chair in the corner and he looked at me with a quiet sadness in his eyes.

    “Is this it, then?” He asked.

    “Yeah. Off to HQ. Big Boss has granted you sanctuary. He says you were one of the department’s best agents.”

    He smiled and looked around the small lounge room. “Let me just say goodbye to this place and then we can be on our way.”

    When we arrived at HQ, I escorted him towards Boss’s Office. As we walked through each room, cheers erupted as ex-agents welcomed the arrival of another hardworking colleague.

    We knocked on the Office door and Andrew Owen Mattheson Quint stared when the Big Boss – whose missions he had executed his entire life – stood to shake his hand.

    “Welcome, Andrew. You have – ” Big Boss stopped and frowned. “Who’s this?”

    “What?” I spun around to see a second person step out from behind Andrew Quint.

    “Who are you?” asked my boss.

    The person shrugged and looked uncomfortable. “Nobody. Where are we?”

    Big Boss turned and looked at me, eyebrows raised. “Can you explain?”

    I stared.

    Big Boss sighed. “You sustained a hitch-hiker. Gabriel, we talked about this.”

    My heart sank.

    “I’m sorry, Gabriel,” said my Boss. “I’ll have to put you back on admin for the time being.”

    He patted my shoulder encouragingly, then turned to the hitch-hiker. “Please wait here. You will be escorted back to Earth in just a moment.”

    I returned to my desk and slumped in my chair. Shortly, Raziel came by and perched on the edge of my desk, looking at me quizzically. “God asked me to come over. What’s the go?”

    I sighed. “Some lousy hitchhiker jumps on the bottom of my cloud, and here I am. You saw them laughing at me. Nobody will ever take me seriously.”

    The senior angel grinned. “Occupational hazard. Don’t worry. I’ll teach you some hitchhiker evasion tactics. One day, you’ll get so good at this, the name Gabriel will be the stuff of legends.”
     
  9. Anna100

    Anna100 Active Member

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    Hiking companion (494)

    He sat looking at the silent grey mountains, listening to the sounds of nature. The melting snow sparkled in the morning sun. And now that it was spring, the pink flowers sprouted from every tree, coloring the slopes in a pastel wash. The dark bark was chipping off as he moved his leg to reposition himself and leaning on a branch, some flower petals fell softly to the ground.

    He had been sitting in this ancient tree for the longest time. Now, though, he realised that it probably wasn't the best place to be. Nobody ever went up in these mountains. They were too remote and rugged. And there were only animal trails.

    The gentle sound of a bell rang through the quiet mountain. He opened his eyes and let them wander through the pink sea of petals. Then he slided down the tree and slumped down in the yellow grass, crouched, listening for more sounds before he stood up.

    Something red moved between the trees. A small bear-bell jingled as the hiker moved over rocks and through thorny bushes and white grass, to where he was hiding behind a tree, making himself as thin as the trunk. After taking a few deep breaths and waiting for the hiker to approach, he stepped out in the open and the hiker stopped dead in his tracks, almost loosing his walking stick.

    «Sorry, you scared me. Coming out of nowhere like that.» The hiker smiled.

    «Didn't mean to scare you.» And he sincerely meant that. «Do you mind if I tag along?»

    «No, no, please join me. There's not a lot of people up here,» the hiker said and eyed him up and down. He then added: «You've had a lot of sun, haven't you?»

    He smiled and they continued to walk up the mountain. It was so quiet, not a lot of birds, not even a faint breeze. They traversed a small stream, the crystal water running between blue rocks. The hiker talked to him as he walked, and he only looked up when he glanced at him over his shoulder or when he rested his weary legs. Pearls of sweat gathered on his neck.

    «Do you know about the stories of this valley?»

    «No, I don't think I do.»

    The hiker continued. «Well, it's said that there are spirits up here that takes the shape of humans and stand in the trail waiting for people to pass by. Then they latch onto them. The locals call them hitchhikers.» He laughed. «I probably had it in the back of my mind when you showed up and that's why you startled me.»

    They walked on. Through the wild weeds and between the black trees. The landscape became washed out, like a ruined painting. The hiker's backpack was getting heavier and his steps slower. He rested on the rocks and leaned on the trees. He stopped and looked over his shoulder, his face suddenly pale and drained.
     
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