Flash Fiction: The Final Two Hundred Words

Here we are at the end, week five (of five) for this odd task in Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge.

In summary:

  • Four weeks ago, I (and many others) wrote a 200 word fraction of a story, intended to be the first 1/5 of a story.
  • Three weeks ago, everyone took someone else’s first 200 word fragments and wrote a second 200 word addition.
  • Two weeks ago, everyone took two other people’s first 200 and second 200 word fragments and wrote a third 200 word middle section.
  • Last week, everyone took three other people’s first, second and third 200 word fragments and wrote a fourth 200 word section.
  • This week, I’ll take the first 800 words created by four other folks and add my final 200 words.

In previous weeks we were instructed to not work on any story we had worked on previously. This week we have the option of completing the story that we started four weeks ago. Since I was fortunate enough to have my original piece picked up and enhanced each week, I’ll see if I can bring it to an end.

My thanks to Michael D. Woods, Liz Neering, and Kyra Dune who took my original story and ran with it. Michael also gave the story its title. My thanks as well as Angela Carina Barry who also picked it up and took it in a different direction in Week Two, even though it didn’t get picked up further by anyone (as far as I know, at least) in Weeks Three or Four.

As always, comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated.

WINTER TAKES ALL (THE FINAL TWO HUNDRED WORDS)

(First segment written by Paul Willett and posted here.)

The first time I saw it snowing in Los Angeles it was the sixth day of a three-day juice cleanse. Snow was definitely not something one normally saw down in the basin, at least, not then.

Because of my need to purify my body and aura, the news and media, filled with nothing but anger and pain, had been cast away along with the other toxins. My base aural color had always been a lavender or sky blue. Recently though, it had started to get muddied and dark. I would have thought my third eye would have seen the unusual weather coming, but it didn’t, so I was caught off guard.

When I first saw the falling flakes I thought I might have overdone the cleanse. Last time I had seen Elvis riding an ostrich on the seventh day. My transmundane counselor had resolved the issue with some orange juice, chocolate, and a sandwich, but that solution didn’t work on the weather. It was still snowing on the pier.

In Santa Monica we only got three inches, but of course it was more than enough to spread gridlock all the way to Riverside. Then, of course, things got much worse.

(Second segment written by Michael D. Woods and posted here.)

Wolves sprinted northward along the shoulder of the Interstate. Spectral at first, their forms quickly firmed from fog to massive, grey-white beasts, all fur and fang. Screaming people climbed from cars and ran eastward, away from the pack. The pack, on the other hand, paid little mind to the panicked masses.

I finished my sandwich, tipped back the last of my orange juice, and glanced over longingly at the waiting chocolate. Damn it. Opening the car door, I stepped out and manifested my Third Eye. My gaze followed the wolves, past the traffic, beyond the mundane. And there, further north, a silver radiance fluoresced from sky to soil, the obvious beacon guiding the will of these dire wolves.

Gridlock held my Taurus in its palsied grip so I opted for a more direct mode of travel. Delicately, I pulled along the seam of my own aura. With practiced ease, I unthreaded the edge and stepped beyond it into–

My third eye slammed shut, transcendental tears splashing my cheeks. Before me, what had once been a paradise of color and fragrance was now a blighted wasteland of ash. And in the distance a brilliant wound ripped the world from Heaven to Hell.

(Third segment written by Liz Neering and posted here.)

The wolves were moving towards the rift. With my newly clear vision I saw the beasts for what they were: I saw them in all their terrible glory, fearsome and monstrous and beyond mortal comprehension. Their spirits resonated with my own, their primal power dragging me, and the aura around me, back into darkness. I gasped for breath, but nothing came; it caught in my throat, hard as a stone.

I walked on.

With each step my legs felt weaker. I looked back, only to see my footprints were unsteady, of varying depths and direction. I looked back to the rift, attempting to regain my bearings. But the rift had shifted, now, its silvery light coming from somewhere else altogether. I stopped, then turned to each point of the compass, making my signs of respect and power each time. At first the familiarity of ritual calmed me. But my troubled aura confirmed what I already knew.

I was lost.

I heard the howling of the wolves around me, harsh and cold and wind. Snow flurries kicked up at the sound of their voices. Winter closed around me, and true darkness followed close behind.

(Fourth segment written by Kyra Dune and posted here.)

With my mundane senses in a whirl, I had no choice but to force my third eye to reopen.  A sharp lance of red-tinted pain shot through my head, but gradually the world around me came into focus.  Once it did, I almost wished to close my eye again and reside in darkness once more. Better that than to continue staring into the grinning visage of a wolf which was not a wolf at all.

Oh, it still looked like a wolf, for the most part, only it kept shimmering to show me glimpses of something otherworldly beneath the guise. Something ghastly. But though I was desperate to look away, I dare not.  I had the feeling if I showed the least hint of weakness the grinning monstrosity before me would gladly rip my head off.

I mentally chanted a mantra for peace and serenity, drew my aura more tightly around myself, and stood to face the beast. If I was going to die in that place then at least I could do so on my own two feet and with some dignity.

(Fifth segment written by Paul Willett)

“Are you not afraid to die, pitiful, ephemeral mortal?”

“Of course I am,” I answered. “Fear of a thing does not mean that it must be avoided.”

The wolf howled with laughter, a painful and cruel wail that erased all humor and joy from the universe. “You will be the first to die, while I destroy your world. You are too ignorant to even understand why you are dying. You see before you the path to immortality, yet you cannot go on that simple journey.”

“You are arrogant, demon. It’s not that I cannot grasp immortality, it is that I choose not to. Immortal, you are incapable of understanding the power of sacrifice. Without that you cannot love. Without that you cannot truly live. Slay me and accept your fate.”

The demon sprang into my welcoming embrace, ripping out my throat as I consumed him. My tears fell, my blood spilled, my pain enveloped his being. I joined with it. We neutralized each other, complimented each other, fulfilled each other – combined.

Together we left our worlds behind, collapsing to an infinitesimal point, dropping through the fabric of spacetime, emerging on the far side, blossoming, exploding outward, creating a new universe.

1 Comment

Filed under Science Fiction, Writing

One response to “Flash Fiction: The Final Two Hundred Words

  1. Pingback: Jersey City Dead: A Joint Writing Project | Michael D Woods

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