Tag Archives: Flash fiction

312. You won’t go gently

“You won’t go gently”, the doctor tells the boy. “It will be hell.”

He’d go into details, but the kid would never fathom it. He’s just too young. Not that the disease cares. It has taken his parents. Soon it will take the boy.

Though the virus is decimating the population, the kids are still best off. They will last three weeks, sometimes a full month. But how comforting is that when bursting ulcers will eventually destroy you from within as your glands swell and cut off all oxygen to your lungs?

Yet not a frown is seen on the boy’s face. His gaze doesn’t look at the doctor at all but towards the window. And he smiles.

When there is nothing left to salvage, what is there to do but laugh it off?

The doctor gestures in the motley gang behind the glass.

“Send in the clowns!” he yells.

In the boy’s eyes, they’re already there.

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311. See them run

See them run, pushing the boundaries of their weary bodies.

Smell their toiling sweat.

Watch them suffer.

Somehow they have convinced themselves there is still time. If the messenger is intercepted, they reason, perhaps the inevitability of it all is suspended. Perhaps they, their sons and brothers won’t have to enlist in an unwinnable war. Perhaps their families won’t starve from hunger this winter.

Have they not noticed the machinery is already turning? Do they not understand that wars are not started or avoided by scraps of paper but by pieces on a politician’s chess board and that the sacrificing of pawns has already begun?

Surely they can hear the thunder of the cannons behind the hills, they can see the black smoke rising? Or do they simply block out the impending conflict? Do they cling to fantasy, rather than acknowledge the reality of war?

See them run, still.

Watch how they delude themselves with visions of peace.

The fools.

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310. Cancer for sale

‘Cancer for sale’.

The sign on the lawn was written in crude, childish letters, which puzzled me even more than the message itself. As my next client had cancelled, leaving me with an idle hour, I decided to walk up to the door, knock, and ask what the sign meant.

It took a while for someone to arrive. Some cluttering and muttering was audible, followed by a slow shuffle, as of someone dragging a bag of sand behind them, before the door was opened and a small girl came peeking through the askew door with big, inquisitive eyes.

“Mummy and daddy aren’t home,” she said off the bat.

“Did you write that?” I asked.

She nodded.

“What does it mean?”

“It means what it means.”

“It says you sell cancer.”

“Then that’s what it means. You interested, mister?”

I was, I suppose, if only to quell the nagging enigma.

She flung open the door completely.

“You can park your keester on the couch. I’ll be right back.”

Though her face had not been different from that of any other girl, her body showed a wear and tear uncommon at her age. The dragging sound, heard before, came from her club foot. It wasn’t yet prevalent on the quaint picture that hung on the living room wall however, that saw her posing with a thirty-something couple, feigning a smile.

“Head’s up, mister.”

I turned around and in a reflex caught the green, glowing rod. Its radioactive energy soared through me like instant lightning.

“What have you done?” I yelled in agony, as I sunk to my knees and caught the pungent odour emanating from under the floorboards.

“I gave you what you wanted,” she said, her gloved hand picking up the rod.

“That’ll be 50 bucks.”

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309. Don’t worry, we have abandoned anal probing long ago

“Don’t worry, we have abandoned anal probing long ago,” the alien comforted him.

Hogan breathed a sigh of relief. The first thing that had sprung to mind after the tractor beam had swooped him up from the corn field were those stories the National Inquirer ran about abductees and their ordeal.

Still, Hogan was not quite confident yet that the alien meant no harm. He was still lying on his belly on a cold operating table after all, his hands and feet firmly strapped to the sides to prohibit any movement.

“Why did you take me?” Hogan asked.

“Oh, we like Ohio,” the alien said. “You are a friendly people. Don’t make much fuss. Once we beamed up a New Yorker. Never again, I can tell you that. Never. Again.”

Hogan heard clattering metal but from his position could not make out what exactly caused the sound.

“You weren’t lying about the probing, were you?”

“Would an advanced race like ours really travel light years just to ram a rod up an Ohio farmer’s anus?”

The clattering continued.

“So why did you travel to Earth?”

“To test a theory.”

“What theory?”

“If I told you, that would ruin it.”

The sound of metal on metal. Again.

“About that anal probing…” he said.

“We’re not doing that, I told you.”

Hogan’s nerves weren’t settling, despite the alien’s soothing voice.

“Then what are you doing?”

“I can’t tell you.”

Yet more clattering. Hogan snapped.

“For the love of God, I think I’d actually prefer to have that probe up my ass!”

The alien smiled, turned towards his colleague and collected the hundred credits.

“Told you they actually like this,” he said as he prepared the big metal rod for insertion.

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308. Straighten your back!

Straighten your back! Lift up your chin! Don’t slouch there in the corner, like a discarded bag of rice. Where is the proud man that I once knew? What has made him retreat in this lonesome corner, huddled up into a scared little ball?

Forget not that your name is still Shinzo Katana, warrior of Kyoto, scourge of the dark shoguns. Must I remind you of your legacy, of the victories you booked against vast ronin armies, of the statues people raised in your honour, of the flowers thrown at your feet, whose scent still fills these streets?

The man in the corner, his knees pulled up, his back arched in disillusionment, did not look up. He had heard these words before. He was fully aware of his fall from grace and the effort it would take to rise once more. But he had consigned himself to his state of depression. He no longer had the energy to fight.

You are down, but you are not out. Rise again, Shinzo. Leave this pit of despair you have dug for yourself. Soar back into society and into the hearts of the people. Fulfil your destiny. Be a warrior.

Shinzo shook his head. His decision had been made.

I cannot tolerate this. Your demeanour trickles down to me. And I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want to walk in a proud posture. I want to hold my chin up high. I want to break free from the shackles you impose on me.

“Go then,” Shinzo said. “I set you free.”

Farewell, my warrior. I’ll miss you. And I wish you well.

The dark blot at his feet detached itself, leaving Shinzo Katana – ironically, and for lack of a better phrase – a shadow of his former self.

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307. In the bowels of the Deep Web

In the bowels of the Deep Web, Paisley Jones was lost, with no place to crawl but deeper into its dark secrets. She was sure no-one else would be as thorough to find out the truth about her, but she was taking no chances, so further she crawled into murky digital waters, fishing for the information that could bury her and her career.

She had ventured further from the surface than she had originally intended, collecting along the way every piece of information that could be harmful, then destroying it. There were more of them than she had envisioned and the deeper she swam, the more snippets she encountered.

Her safety line had been cut long ago. Chances were she herself would not be returning to the calm surface. That she would be lost down here forever, along with her secrets. Most likely someone would come looking for her. Perhaps parts of her and her history would eventually float up to the surface and get caught in one of the millions of nets that littered the digital sea. Perhaps they finally would unravel her secret.

The snippets of truth flew by so amply and damning now that they clung to her, weighing her down and impeding her ability to annihilate them. They dragged her deeper and deeper until she was powerless to fight them.


He googled her name. There were no matches.

He tried again. And again.

But to the internet she was a ghost.

From experience he knew this was not a good sign. If an applicant was willing to erase every bit of information about her, it mostly meant she had something to hide.

He crossed out her name.

Soon Paisley Jones would be forgotten altogether.

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306. Eons of rain

Eons of rain had chiselled the Mountains of Vardez into a majestic labyrinth that provided a safe haven for petty thieves, smugglers and outlaws. Cairfax Munroe was one of them, a charismatic con man who had cheated naive villagers out of their inheritance.

The footsteps of his pursuers ricocheted against the cave walls as if to make ominously clear that escaping their wrath was impossible. But Cairfax knew these hollow halls would protect him. And indeed, the sounds subsided, until just the echo of his own breath remained.

As he counted his bounty, the yellow bolts of a violent thunderstorm raging outside lit the dusky caves in erratic intervals. Cairfax did not get worried until the lightning slowed down and then stopped altogether, even as the thunderclaps still boomed regularly above.


That night the infant son of a conned villager was treated to a new nursery rhyme.

The Mountains of Vardez,
A comfortable womb.
The Mountains of Vardez,
Yet sometimes a tomb.

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305. The green streaks

The green streaks in an otherwise silver-grey head of hair were perhaps the clearest indication Kendra liked to live the bohemian life. If that was not enough of a hint, the cutesy kitsch of her eighties outfit did the job.

Kendra had her own vintage shop, in one of the smallest – cosiest, she insisted – properties in a cul-de-sac of a sort-of side-lane of the second busiest street in town. Which meant that hardly a customer passed by.

To kill the time Kendra had taken up smoking, but she’d sworn not to overindulge in the bad habit. She never did. Case in point: she was a vegetarian at home, but not on restaurant. A ‘flexitarian’. One not able to distribute the tobacco confidently in the cigarette paper and roll it into a decent cigarette, alas.

The guy who walked by as she leant against the doorpost failing the cigarette test once more did not look the type who could help her out. His Saville Row suit, his timely trimmed five o’clock shadow, his squeaky Italian shoes. Everything about him screamed square, dull and uppity.

“I think I can be of assistance,” he nevertheless said, and before Kendra could reply, he rolled an impeccable cigarette, lit it for her and went back on his merry way.

She looked like the kind of person that just wanted to live her own, uncomplicated life, so he never said he liked her green streaks.

He looked like he’d never be interested in a girl like her, so she didn’t dare run after him to tell him he had lovely eyes.

Yet, her shop location in mind, Kendra smiled.

As did the guy, as he reached the end of the cul-de-sac and realized he had no choice but to walk back towards her shop.

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302. Our lives depended on it

Our lives depended on it, so we ran, through bushes, through hedges, through thorns, until our feet were more scar than flesh. We ran from the dogs’ barks, distant but closing in. If we looked back, we could probably see their foaming mouths. But look back we’d sworn we never would. Never again.

Ezekiel knew the way. He had fled before. Or tried. We’d have to reach the abandoned gate on the river bank. There we could swim to our freedom.

Between the withered trees the white stone gateway summoned us. We sprinted as fast our shackles would allow us. Every bone in our body, every muscle hurt. But we felt no pain. We could smell a long desired freedom. We could taste it.

Only when we walked through the gate, crying for joy, did we notice the dinghy on the river and Mister Boss, cocking his gun.

Freedom, while it lasted, would taste as sweet as freshly drawn blood.



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Pick your favourite story (2): heroes vs. villains

Today’s two stories feature heroes and villains. Which of these tales would you like to see included in the print edition of my 101 best flash fiction stories? Your vote counts!

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