Friday, February 24, 2017

Sharks in the Desert Writing contest

Yes I have been pried out of New York City.
Yes, this is so rare as to be noteworthy.
Yes, a shark is gamboling about in a freshwater swimming pool.
Yes, there are innocent, unwary writers coming to see her.

What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing! It's all going to be lots and lots of fun!
(For ME!)
(That sound you hear is diabolical shark laughter and jaw chomping!)

To distract you from the carnage about to unfold, let's have a writing contest!

 The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:

pry
jet
blue  
desert
gnaw


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.
Thus: pry/ Grand Old Opry is ok, but pry/osprey is not

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again.  It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!"  This is grounds for disqualification.

8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

12. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.


Contest opens: 2/25/17 10am (Eastern Shark Time)

Contest closes: 2/26/17 10am (Eastern Shark Time


If you're wondering what day and time it is in NYC right now: click here.



If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's an .xls spread sheet here http://www.colindsmith.com/TreasureChest/

(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!


GO!!! (SORRRY, I'm late!!!  I meant to turn on comments but forgot! Thankfully, I was reminded at the conference!)


Rats! Too Late! Contest closed!
 

49 comments:

JD Horn said...

Buried to the neck, he gnawed sand as one eye watched the trail of a jet scarring blue desert sky.

His mama always warned him not to pry.

Marie McKay said...

Mother met me at a blissful, little place where the tea cups were sky-blue, and the sky was jet-black. When I spoke about the children, all grown-up, she punctuated my sentences with oh mys as soft as clouds.

She was never one to pry, so when she held my hand with its calluses and gnawed finger nails, I explained how Frank had deserted me.

She asked when; I said a lifetime ago.

She poured another hot tea, cherubs of steam curling into the air. We'd take our time over this cup.

We had eternity.

Barbara Lund said...

I heard in the middle of the night and came home the next day.
(Is it the next day if you don’t sleep?)
JetBlue flew out my brothers and sisters for free – Bless them! –
From New York and Chicago and California to the high desert of Utah.
We had to pry his parents and fiancé away from the casket to lay him to rest.
Copious amounts of alcohol finally released the tears of the most stoic.
The next day, we ignored the gnawing question –
Will it be me next?
And went back to work.

Timothy Lowe said...

Hands pinned, face broken, I was sent to the doctor. His lens could summon God from stone. Peering down through a single blue eye, he went to work.

He was a precise psychiatrist, prying into my insides, spilling my guts. Finding out what made me tick.

I was a hard case. He went in with some intricate tools, removed my problematic parts, jettisoning them like trash. He almost got my insides to align. Awaiting the final gear, I dared to hope.

But then a wealthier customer arrived. I was deserted. Laid open. Bare.

I still blame him.

Stupid fucking Rolex.

PAH said...

The engines fail.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner screams toward blue ocean.

No. Brown desert.

No... Blue ocean.

Passengers gnaw at fingernails, hurl prayers up to heaven.

The jet lands safely. A miracle. The passengers sigh relief.

The pilot munches a PB&J.

The jet screams toward blue ocean again.

The passengers pry open the hatch, ready to jump.

This is it.


Timmy's mom yells from downstairs. Something about a mess left in the kitchen.

The jet lands safely on Timmy's dresser.

224 lives were saved today, because a grape jelly spill and a peanut butter knife left in the sink.

Beth said...

“Let’s go, horse-with-no-name.”

“His name’s Blue.” The cowboy gnawed his mustache. “And he’s a mule.”

“What a coincidence.”

“You sure you –”

“I’m sure.” Must be tough -- living without a sense of humor. “Onward, JetBlue.” The rented beast plodded forward.

Desert sun pierced my hat brim. GPS coordinates eventually led us to a saggy saguaro. Sure enough, a cavity down low held cash. I made the exchange. Pulled a cactus needle from my hip. Ryan better appreciate this.

Genuine NYC bagels in the desert, squirreled away so his gluten-obsessed wife would never know. My brother owed me big.

Steve Forti said...

He first saw her blue eyes from across the office. “I'm gonna marry that girl.”
Five months later, the ring adorned her hand.
She waited while he jetted off to war.
Three kids, nine grandkids, six great.
Sixty years of marriage.
Three years in the home, remembering him less each day, until some not at all. But his love never deserted.
He cradled her hand, once spry, now frail. Watched her gasp those final breaths.
“She can still hear,” the nurse said, her voice benign. A wistful smile. He knew.
“In a heartbeat,” he whispered. “Worth every second.”

S.D.King said...


“Why you lookin’ so blue, DarlaMae?”

“Daddy, I ain’t never gonna get these vocabularity words.”

“I’ll help.. spry.”

“What Mama uses when the lard’s gone.”

“G-Naw. ”

“Means ‘Gee, No I won’t.'”

“Jettison”

“Everybody knows Jetti’s son is Buford. He’s cute.”

“Desert”

“What the preacher says if he hammers his thumb, ‘Sure does hurt.’

“Awl”

“Same as Spry but it pours,” she sobbed. “Daddy, I’m quitting school.”

“Did you get the job at the fillin’ station?”

“Me and Bufords getting married. I’m ‘spectin’.”

“Well, Buford makes good money at Walmart. You can homeschool the baby.”

“Just think – me – a teacher!”

firdaus said...

I had to pry open my eyes with a shark tooth, the lids had been sewn together with fishbone and weeds. Memories gnawed at my rapidly fading consciousness. I came up with blank screens. Lying supine, the blistering sand scorching my back, a harsh reminder of the punishing desert, I buried my face in the faded denim of the blue sky, my eyes gorging on the coolness, until I felt a jet zip past my face. My hand came up to swat it away; the desert gnat dodged and buzzed, my arm fell back in a heap of bones.

Amanda Wade said...

My mouth seemed like a desert, so dry with anticipation. My nails gnawed into my seat at the upper level of the theatre, a wrench would have to pry them off. I was surprised my skin hadn’t turned blue from blood that had to have stopped being fed with oxygen. Yet, if only my springing heart would jettison me onto the stage, casting me deeper into the glorious delirium of fandom. It wasn’t until I heard Ed Sullivan’s voice that I gasped back to the surface of reality as he announced, “Ladies and Gentleman….The Beatles!”

Richelle Elberg said...

They huddled under the mesquite throughout the blue sky hours. Third day. Cross the desert at night, sleep days. Nearly there now; border agents shouted in the distance.
Jets passed overhead, chem trails stretching and shifting and pointing the way. A murder of crows cawed and swooped. Fear gnawed, acid rose in his throat.
“Tonight?” the girl asked.
He didn’t respond.
“I don’t mean to pry.”
“You didn’t have to come.”
“Where else would I go?”
“Back to Indiana.”
“I’ll go with you.”
She was silent for a time.
“How will we cross the wall?”
“Other illegals, Americans, will help.”

dellcartoons said...

My shark of an agent looked at my latest work. Said all the characters' last names were too 'on the nose'.

My characters:
Sprildman: Spry old man
Jett: Jet pilot
Bloo: Depressed artist, paints using mostly shades of blue
Sara Dezzirt: Geologist specializing in the Sahara Desert
Naw: Rat-like man constantly gnawing on carrot sticks

Real people don't have names like that, she said. My agent, who handles books, works with writers and editors, and spends what little free time she has curled up with a book. I asked, "QOTKU, what's your last name?"

The names stayed.

Colin Smith said...

Sky Blue: My marriage dreams; My new eye color.
Sap Green: Her read of me; My eye shadow.
Jet Black: Her new BMW; My new hair.
Red Oak: The J.P.’s office desk where I signed my life away; The town where I had a pharmacist design a way out.
Desert Sands: Hotel where our bodies lay; Place where her body lies.
Cheap Rye: Her shoe color; My last breakfast in poverty.
Morning Shadow: Song covered by The Pancakes, playing when she left; Covered by theatrical pancake before I left.
Vengeance Red: Color of her purse where she keeps her passport.

Mark Ellis said...

The ink-jet printer slid flyers into a bin, each warm page gnawing against the thread of hope for Robert’s return after ten days overdue in the high desert.
They’d called off the search, and now only scrubby towns and cold blue sky would be Stef’s companions as she sought the man she’d argued with, and swore she never wanted to see again if he skipped their anniversary for another backpacking trek.
Prying herself off the counter at Mailboxes USA, she resisted the impulse to dial best friend Millie, who had her own problems, and had been strangely unsupportive of late.

Michael Seese said...

Blue.

The color we painted her room, because pink was for “other girls.”

Blue.

The color of the toy laser rifle even G.I. Joe couldn't pry from her hands.

Blue.

The color of the homecoming dress slipped over her football uniform seconds before they announced her name.

Blue.

The color of a perfect sky, marred only by that damned jet’s contrail.

Blue.

The color of sorrow, subtly gnawing at the edges of the brave words mailed from some desert hellhole.

Blue.

The color of the bittersweet triangle of cloth they handed me as Taps drove home the grief.

Galen Surlak said...

Unexpectedly, God sits next to me on a jet. He says nothing, but I’m sure it’s Him. Out of the blue, I ask, “Hate to pry, but are you God?”

“Yes.”


He raises two fingers. “You get two questions.”

“Two?”

“Yes. One left.”

I hesitate. What should I ask?

“Try writing down those that gnaw at you.”

I do. I question evil, the future, heaven, hell and more. Ten minutes later, for giggles, I add one more to the massive list: What should I have for desert?

“Dessert has two S’s” he says.

“You sure?”

He nods and then vanishes.

Kate Higgins said...

Beware you spry young'uns; I'm a warnin' ya. I heerd them tell-tale of a varmint known as the blue-finned Gritshark* what swum yonder atween them mountains in that gol-darned landlocked beach called Arizonie!

It'll scent its quarry across a good piece of desert – chawin' 'n' gnawin' 'n' spittin' out them queries that ain't fittin'. It'll chuck semi-colons back at yer sorry mug. Geez, it can even git a whiff of a dad-blasted colon** through a sandstorm!

No sirree, don't you mess with that there Gritshark or you'll be hog-tied n' ditched in Carkoonie.


*a.k.a. Jetreid Shark
**it tolerates Colins

Rachel McCauley said...


“Give these to Mrs. Creek.”

As I leave, Bertha adds. “Say the blue ones.”

In her room, Mrs. Creek stares at a picture with newlyweds standing next to a jet. An illustration on how time gnaws away at youth and beauty until they cease to exist.

“Mrs. Creek, I have your medications.”

“How about Pryor’s?”

“Pryor?”

She motions to a deserted chair.

After composing myself, I answer, “His are the blue pills.”

Later I ask Bertha, “Why do we care for a ghost?”

“Because having her believing he’s here is better than her knowing he’s not.”

stacy said...

They took Juan yesterday. He went for one of his long desert drives, and that’s where they picked him up. Hope he had his birth certificate. We carry ours in our wallets now, right next to our driver’s licenses.

We carry all the papers we can now, except for passports. We don’t want anyone getting the notion we’re going anywhere. You couldn’t pry me out of my neighborhood now with a free ticket on JetBlue. But I’m pretty sure Juan had his birth cert. We expect to see him in three days. Perhaps then, this gnawing feeling will go away.

Craig F said...

We had a little house on the edge of the desert. A place where the jet trails were the only thing that marred the blue, blue sky.

I told her daily that I loved her and nothing could pry me away from her. I had to make a supply run and when I returned she was missing. Then I found the present she left for me.

It was her gnawed off leg. It was very tasty with a nice Chianti and some Fava Beans.

Mallory Love said...


Requested a room with a view. Got a poster of the Nevada desert plastered over the brick wall across the alley instead. So, I keep my attention on the hallway where the orderlies wheel my fellow inmates around.

Eloise, a spry, blue-haired bitch, blocks the doorway.

"Where is it?" she hisses.

I gnaw on jello, staring at her.

"Delores saw you take it."

When I stay silent, curses jet from her mouth.

"You won't get away with this!"

Then she's gone.

Checking for spies, I pull the iPad from under my pillow.

Search for "beaches."

Finally got my view.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Etu served the white-skinned woman but his loyalty remained to the galaxies gleaming in the dark desert sky.

“What’s this?” she prodded the fire-grilled meat.

Flames winked from the gem encrusted hath panjas, she dared to wear.

Stone-faced, he replied, “Lamb luetic, memsahib.”

Her glance at him prying, a bite she gathered.

Then set it down, her voice quite pensive, “Your name,” she wiped her fingertips clean, “So familiar.”

She paused.

“This ‘hajj,’ Etu…”

His conscience gnawed.

Too late. Too late.

Milky-white galaxy swirling overhead unfurl spiral arms of shadowy dust lanes and fuchsia birthing stars.

He ached.

Scott Whitehead said...

A desert mouse scurried between the boy’s legs. It slowed and stopped in the road. The boy was intrigued: the mouse seemed entirely unaware he could be a threat.

The rodent sprang forward to continue on when a spry fox leaped from a bush and caught the blue-gray mouse, first in its paws and then in its teeth. Before gnawing its prize, the fox gazed at the boy as if to tell him something with its jetted stare.

“It’s a foretoken,” said a raspy voice behind the boy, startling him. The fox ran away, its soddened-red snout dropping the mouse.

Megan V said...

One.
One jet.
One jet and one pry bar.
One jet, one pry bar, and one open door.
One jet, one pry bar, one open door, and one great blue desert.
One jet, one pry bar, one open door, one great blue desert, and one crisp crumbling raft.
One jet, one pry bar, one open door, one great blue desert, one crisp crumbling raft, and one slightly gnawed appendage.
One jet, one pry bar, one open door, one great blue desert, one crisp crumbling raft, one slightly gnawed appendage, and one glorious light in the night.
ONE!
“We got one!”

Kathy Joyce said...

Dawn. On the deserted jetty, six spry blue-haired ladies align, awaiting an unheard signal. I watch, binoculars so high-powered I can see pimply goose-flesh sagging around their knobby knees from a thousand yards out. Three mornings a week, wearing matching skirted bathing suits, they dive synchronously into the chilly St. Clair river that separates Port Huron, Michigan from Sarnia, Canada.

It’s a lousy posting for a young Border Patrol agent hoping for action.

They bob like awlworts for twenty minutes, emerge and dry off as a gaggle, and clamor into a waiting van. Excitement over.

Wait! Did I count seven?

Sherry Howard said...

She chuckles and sips poolside rye,
not so spry, a big dose of wry
newbies quake after no real shuteye,
her greatest joy is to scarify
she jettisons YA and sci-fi
gnaws to torment and terrify
flies queries like planes in blue sky
but—a goal besides desert scarify,
one writer to transmogrify
before she hops back on that red-eye
she needs to play with the small fry
give them hope they can syllabify
a bestseller set in Shanghai
teach them how to intensify
rarify, entertain, terrify.
She gives the best a tiny tigereye:
this—we know each other by.



Steph Ellis said...

Jet-robed nomads crawl across shifting sands
A grotesque crow land-bound beneath the blue
A many-mouthed scavenger unlike any other.

Their eyes pry the gloom of abandoned hovels
Seeking the sustenance of sinners
The heady incense which brings dreams and madness
… and escape

But they find only grains in the dirt
The remains of the dead – both animal and human
Starvation does not discriminate
And the day leaves them gnawing the bone of deserted life.

DLM said...

Smooth, ensconsed, and safe. Comfortable. Desolate. Warm.

Oppressive.

Deserted. Alone. Imprisoned.

Hungry.

Wanted … crunch, and edge, and contrast, and cold. Wanted … out.

No chink to pry. No way to gnaw out.

The urgency was physical.

Kick. Strain. Peck. Hours, it took; eternity.

Jettisoned.

Blue sky. It was terrifying.

Most beautiful thing in the world – the whole world: outside the egg.

flashfriday said...

“What a fluffy cutie!” people would say, though sometimes wondering, as it bit their arms off, whether Fred’s pet really was a St Bernard.

But Fred always apologized so endearingly, nobody stayed mad, even as it gnawed on their motorcycles (“Whoopsadaisy!”) or heirloom quilts (“Uh-oh!”) or bouncing, blue-eyed babies (“Yikes-a-mighty!”).

“Naughtykins!” would laugh a red-faced Fred, prying jagged teeth free from injured skin or cotton or chrome. “That wasn’t your breakfast ATALL!”

It wasn’t until Fred died in a jet-crash, deserting them quite irreversibly, that they discovered not only was it not a St Bernard--it wasn’t even imaginary (“Oh-no-la-lolly!”)!

Dena Pawling said...


The bright blue sky filled with the signatures of jets and the dusty Iraqi desert filled with the bodies of brothers. Corporal Morgan, 23yo, grit his teeth and focused his thoughts on his wife. Pain gnawed him to the core as he inched his battered hand to his chest. He fumbled with his bloody uniform pocket, and extracted a pen and a photo. Baby Benjamin, two weeks old. He kissed him through the tears. Prying off the cap with his teeth, he scribbled on the back.

Love you forever. Daddy.

Yes, you can love someone you've never met.

Semper fi.

Jamie Hershberger said...

I sat in the deserted Jet Blue terminal, gnawing the end of my pencil. My story pitch was due to my editor in just 12 hours, and, despite a weekend's worth of Muse persuit in Miami, I still had nothing exciting to submit.
"Excuse me," an elderly man said, pointing at an abandoned black backpack. "I don't mean to pry, but is that yours?"
I looked in the direction of his pointing finger.
My pulse quickened, and I scribbled furiously in my notebook the Headline for a nightmare I hoped would come true - "Backpack Bomb Scare at Local Airport"

Amy Johnson said...

So close. Two thousand miles behind us. Just cross the desert, and Mikey and I can stay with my old college roommate—the only other family I have. Michael’s not family. Not anymore.

I roll down my sleeves, keep my sunglasses on, pay with cash. Two apples, six bottles of water.

The check engine light gnaws at me. So close. A jet soars across the cloudless blue sky. Freedom.

Smoke from under the hood.

“I’ve called for a tow, officer.” Another squad car.

“Exit the vehicle, please, ma’am.”

The female cop prying Mikey from me.

Michael is always so close.

Nate Wilson said...

"He sprayed you?"

"With one of those new Jango Fett--sorry, new-fangled jet power washers. Called me impure."

"You should've reported him."

"I did. That's why he chopped down spry moose. My spruce. From my daughter's memorial garden. He said it defiled his yard."

"Wow."

"Prejudice brings out people's shoe trades. Er, true shades."

"Yet, if it's his house..."

"I know. And he had me wino saver. Sign a waiver. When I rented the place from the affluent buck. Dammit. Abluent f--"

"I get it. So, you're here to lodge another complaint?"

"What? No. Biz hottie's in try monk."

Same Ghost said...

I pry the ring off my finger in the Jet Blue lounge. I leave it on the cocktail napkin next to my empty glass. I raise my hand to the woman at the other end of the bar. Her eyes are chilled hunger.

A twenty covers the bill, and covers up the ring.

I leave the lounge and head for the gate.

I think, Next time.

The southwestern desert stretches beyond the window.

I scratch the absence gnawing at my knuckle.

Might as well leave it here, in good company, with all the other uncashed rainchecks.

Tell Bailey said...

A single jet flying clear through blue skies.

Turbulence, red lights, oxygen masks.

A single additional survivor who is always talking, questioning, prying.

Rubber raft. Surrounded by liquid desert. Endless water, none to drink.

Borrowed water. Its red and thick. Gnawed from flesh.

A single survivor. Listening to the droning of the ocean, growing thirsty again. Already lonely.

katie said...

Pry her blue eyes out and throw them into the desert.

It says that?

Yes, that, and then it says to gnaw on the femur and bury it under a green plant no smaller than four feet.

All that? Are you sure you're reading the right text? Is any of that autocorrect?

No, it's right! Come on, you pry; I'll gnaw.

Did they take the car or the jet?

Jet and we only have a few hours left.

They both get so superstitious!

Well, it's worked before. Three Oscars between them.



Sherin Nicole said...

They jettisoned into the vast darkness. This part of the universe was not deserted, only unexplored, perhaps dangerous.

Back on earth, the land made fertile by their blood had been pried from their spry brown fingers. The cold gnawed from inside, the icy burn of exile from country, then world. So they drifted in a spacecraft made of castoffs, refugees given just enough technology to exit the atmosphere, to be planet-less.

Their scientists debated whether their children could endure long enough to return to the blue planet one day. If so, then, and only then, they would be aliens.

RKeelan said...

It always gnawed at me, seeing her couped up in Professor Rastlin's aquarium.

She had jet black eyes and sapphire blue hair and scales like millicarat emeralds. She was like--like a flower in a desert.

I opened my ziploc bag. A little water splashed onto the floor. Too much cheap rye at lunch.

"Are you sure this is big enough?"

"It'll do for a short trip." Her voice always filled the room, no matter her size. "What about Professor Rastlin?"

He now had a blot like a megacarat ruby on his clean white lab coat.

Scott G said...

We were jetsetters, she and I, always meeting in exotic places.

We made love on the beach next to the crystal-blue waters of the Caribbean. We dined in a Gobi Desert oasis, holding hands as the sun set over the pyramids. We danced at the Grand Ole Opry, and gnawed on turkey legs at the London Shakespeare Festival.

We planned our next adventure and parted with a soft kiss.

When I walked through the door, the kids jumped in my arms and my wife kissed my cheek and whispered in my ear. “Pack your bags. You’re going on a trip.”

Just Jan said...

Unshaved, underfed
(once upon a time)
You came to me.
I mistook the fire in your baby blues for passion.
But the ice water that flowed in your veins never melted
And your heart remained a desert
Where love couldn’t bloom.

I think of you often
(until death do us part)
And I tremble,
For the blood that jets through her body is yours.
As I pry the knife from her grasp yet again
Fear gnaws, like a dog with a bone.
Will I have to kill our daughter, too?

John Davis Frain said...

Frain hit .204 last season. Hands of stone – can’t use him on defense. Still, signed another multi-million-dollar contract. Gnaws at me.

He’d caught me with Martinez. One fucking time, and he’s got pictures.

First day of spring training in the desert. Last day of Frain’s blackmail. Martinez spryly takes the mound. Frain leads off. Order him to bunt.

Martinez knows the blueprint. Comes in high and tight with his 106-mph turbojet fastball. I flash a mirror in Frain’s eyes as Mr. Rawlings smashes into his temple.

Always told Frain to keep his eye on the ball.

“You’re out,” I whisper.

Chhaya Patel said...

I pry open the window. Rose-Dust is waiting. She’s taking me to the “Arabian Desert”.

Dusty and I first met at Elmhurst hospital. My brothers had jetted-off upon tripping me and Dusty offered her hand. She gave me her Superman comic and said, “Only a man of steel can command steel to walk for him.” My leg-braces became my friends.

Inside the sandbox Dusty finds a Heineken bottle. We slip our wishes inside the bottle. When the bottle turns blue our wishes will come true, she says.

Dusty’s wish: one more day with me.
My wish… still gnaws at me.

Chhaya Patel said...

I pry open the window. Rose-Dust is waiting. She’s taking me to the “Arabian Desert”.

Dusty and I first met at Elmhurst hospital. My brothers had jetted-off upon tripping me and Dusty offered her hand. She gave me her Superman comic and said, “Only a man of steel can command steel to walk for him.” My leg-braces became my friends.

Inside the sandbox Dusty finds a Heineken bottle. We slip our wishes inside the bottle. “When the bottle turns blue our wishes will come true,” she says.

Dusty’s wish: one more day with me.
My wish… still gnaws at me.

Kimber said...

The whistle sounded. Mukhtar jetted into the blue desert sky. Hood off, he saw the rabbit a kilometer away. Beyond that, freedom.

He landed at their rendezvous, started gnawing his bonds, prying them from his ankles. He saw Fatima.

Didn’t she see him? She was trained to see and capture, as she’d done his heart. So why was she diving toward the rabbit?

Fatima didn’t want to escape. She wanted to win, for that human. Mukhtar spied his flat face, dumb smile, shaded by a red-checked keffiyeh. So soft.

Mukhtar launched, gleaming talons unfurling. There was new prey to hunt.

Kae Ridwyn said...

It was her look that settled it: her cold blue eyes; jet black brows arched; that ‘you’re pathetic’ expression on her face which gnawed at him; ate him up inside. He knew she was thinking of leaving. But she’d never desert him; he’d see her dead and buried first.

It was the latest fashion, her friends all told her. She wasn’t sure she agreed; she felt like she looked permanently surprised. But fashion was fashion, so the brow shape remained. At least her clear blue eyes were her best feature…

Tonight, he decided. Away from prying eyes. He’d show her.

Holli said...

I thought, "They'll have to pry me out of here," as I eased into the hot tub.

The jets of blue water were just starting to help my aching muscles, strained by the workouts at the desert spa, when a woman on a cellphone walked over, took off her fanny pack and pink bathrobe and splashed into the tub.

I was about to gnaw my hand off to stop myself from grabbing the phone when she dropped it into the water, yanked it out, then ran off, bellowing that she needed a bowl of rice to put it in.

Jason Magnason said...

“Knock. Knock.”
Looking up from the letter I’m writing, I gnaw on the last few lines.
“Sign here please.”
Opening the large desert colored envelope I pull out two Jet Blue airline tickets. On a posted note, in blood red ink, is scrawled the words “Freedom”. Gun in hand, the mirror exposes my weakness, the black eye, and swollen face. Footsteps.
“Who’s fuckin knocking at this hour?!” Red anger pry’s the fear from my heart. “What the fuck…?”
Shattering pieces of silence fall to the floor. The guns artistic hand drawing a masterpiece of death.

ChelseaL said...

"Prythee, mayden. Jettison thy cudgel and tarry."

"Nay. I am bounde for the blue desert, to baske beneath the lover's moone."

(Quotation marks mine. Separation of words mine. Punctuation hadn't yet developed.)

I touched the page—smudged and shriveled from centuries of raindrops, gnawed by Medieval mice. In my work, I've seen many such leaves—none, however, so rare: dialog including a female character. My well-protected fingers held the first Anglo-Norman novel inscribed on paper.

Antiquarian. Handler of vanished tomes. So I wished. "Life happens." (Emphasis mine.) Instead, I clean out the dwellings of the companionless dead. (Artifact mine.)

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Rob, my best friend, lifts the bottle. “Here,” he says, “have a gulp. Rye whisky’ll cure what ails ya.”

“Jesus! Are you smiling?” I shake my head and stare back down at the blueprints. When I take my hands away, the ends furl together. Perfect. Now I can use them to jettison my shattered dreams. Right down the tube.

“She gets everything,” I mutter. “Unbelievable.” I walk to the window and shove my hands in my pockets. My painfully empty pockets.

“You get to keep your girlfriend.” Rob pauses. Then smirks. “And you get to gnaw on your just deserts.”