Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #151: The Spelling Bee

Image Credit: Darius Bashar at

For the visually challenged writer, the photo shows a woman sitting at a desk writing something down in a notebook. She’s sitting inside and is framed by a window.

Hazel sat back in her chair, glaring out of the window, whilst feral kids charged about, yelling at the tops of their voices. If she wasn’t so drained, she would have done something about them ages ago. But she had little left to give.

Why were some mother’s so ruddy useless? Couldn’t they teach their annoying progeny better manners than this? But no, they sat around, laughing and gossiping while their ankle-biters ran riot. So much for taking a quiet moment to recharge herself.

She grimaced as one brat barrelled into her table, sending a wave of hot chocolate spattering across her notebook. Hazel got him when he pelted past again. She itched to do worse but could only clench a fist and smother a grin as the rug-rat tumbled arse over tip on the hardwood floor.

One of the mother’s, his presumably, darted over and hoisted him to his feet. Hazel made a shooing motion and tilted her head. The woman paused for a second, then loudly informed her friends she was taking Charlie home. There was a flurry of kisses and goodbyes, and she left with another child in tow.

Hazel concentrated, and within minutes they’d all gone, leaving messy tables and upturned chairs. The soothing sounds of gentle conversation, interspersed with the delicate clinks of cutlery on china, washed over her. She smiled with relief: this was just what she needed. Hazel closed her eyes and flexed her right hand: Nothing happened. She frowned and tried the left hand. It wouldn’t move.

“Not working, is it!” A gleeful voice whispered behind her. “And it won’t, not while I’ve got strength in my body.”

Hazel struggled to turn around.

“Oh, no, you don’t!” The unseen speaker continued. “You ain’t going anywhere until you pay me for loss of earnings.”

“What are you talking about?” Hazel spoke with great effort.

“The Mummy Club. They were good for another fifty quid this afternoon, but thanks to you, they’ve all buggered off.”

“Sorry,” Hazel panted; it really was getting harder to talk. “If you release me, I can go to a cash point.”

“I don’t want your money.” Hazel felt a light pressure on the back of her neck. “You’re not the only one who knows the art of regenerative assimilation.”

A low hum filled her ears, and her vision faded. “You’ll be fine in a minute or two. Just don’t expect to do anything like this for a very long time.”

The last thing Hazel heard before she lost consciousness was the voice hissing: “And that’ll teach you to pick on children.”

Flash fiction inspired by:
RDP Monday prompt: spatter
Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge 151
Ritu Bhathal’s prompt of chocolate for JusJoJan 10th Jan 2022

Flash Fiction: Synapse Collapse

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My dad said I would see some terrible sights if I became a paramedic. He should know he used to drive ambulances in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. And he was right. The things I saw, the things that can happen to the human body, are beyond words. Beyond comprehension.

The carnage is timeless but not the changes in people’s behaviour. Some things have stayed the same. You can always find the accident spot. Night or day, there will be a ring of people standing around the wrecked car or the wino lying unconscious on the pavement. When a crowd gathers, you know something bad has happened or is about to.

But now, people don’t stand around looking helpless. They whip out their mobile phones and capture the dying moments of strangers for posterity. What is wrong with these people? And their anger when I push them out of my way to get to the casualty. Do mobiles emit poisonous waves that damage the neurons and send the wrong signals?

It’s a lovely thought that if, rather than rushing to your aid, these fine folk will film you. Not everyone, those with a remnant of human dignity among the bystanders, will be just as fast to the scene ready to help, struggling through the crowd taking photos. These idiots don’t care about your life or your right to dignity. A picture no longer tells a thousand words: it gets a thousand likes.

Written using these daily prompts:
Three Things Challenge (RING, THROUGH, FAST)
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (Remnant)
Ragtag Daily Prompt (Neuron)

Picture This

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Flash fiction inspired by the following prompts
Rag Tag Daily Prompt (Fog)
Word of the Day Challenge (Tribute)

Two years and I still miss her. Only now can I face the attic, where I dumped the things she left behind.

I search for Meg’s digital camera. I want the last photograph of her, the one I took the night she went.

We argued, I can’t remember why, and Meg walked out of the party and out of my life.

If I hadn’t been drunk, she wouldn’t have left and wouldn’t have been in the taxi when it lost control in the fog.

Meg is smiling at me in the picture. My heart breaks all over again.

One Night Stunned

“You wanna drink, little lady?”
As she turned to reject his advances, her homely face lit up with a smiling welcome. Woah, but this guy was sexy as hell.
“How about a Slow Comfortable Screw?” she said, giving him her best Lauren Bacall look. “Or Sex on the Beach?”
“You bodacious little strumpet!” He laughed and lifted her hand to his lips.
Hot breath sent her erogenous zones into overdrive.
“Grab your coat,” she gasped. “You’ve pulled.”
Twenty minutes later, she was pregnant.
Shame he furnished her with a fake phone number.

Written using these daily prompts:
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (pregnant)

Ragtag Daily Prompt (erogenous)
Three Things Challenge (homely, welcome, smiling)
Word of the Day Challenge (furnish)
Your Daily Word Prompt (bodacious)

Snake Oil

“Your basic facial cleanser will only literally remove the top layer of dirt,” she gave me what I can only describe as a plastic smile.

I responded with a sour one, her punishment for using the word “literally.”

“After all,” she continued, “you don’t want nasty clogged pores, do you?”

“At my age? That’s the least of my worries.”

She faltered for a second but rallied magnificently. “It’s never too late to change your beauty regime. After all, you only reap what you sow.”

“I smoked for twenty years and I work outdoors.”

“But our new improved formula has a higher percentage of barmecide than any other product on the market.” She paused dramatically. “It will remove ten times the grime—”

“So does soap and water.”

She stared me into silence and then leaned forward so I could smell her minty fresh breath. “Never, ever use soap! It builds up and stops your skin from breathing.”

“I have lungs for that job.”

“Not with all that smoking.” Her eyes narrowed and the plastic smile melted into a sneer. “But, if you will just shut up and listen, we can help turn back time.”

I snorted and earned a brittle frown.

She waved a sheaf of papers at me. “Our market research was a total success and led to universal acclaim. All the women reported improved tone and fewer wrinkles.”

That caught my attention. “Really?”

“Within a week according to the test groups.”

“I’ll take four bottles.” I reached for my handbag. “What did you say this stuff was called again?”

“L’Huile de Serpent.”

Written using these daily prompts:
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (basic)
Ragtag Daily Prompt (cleanser)
Three Things Challenge (build, reap, late)
The Daily Spur (percentage),
Word of the Day Challenge (barmecide)
Your Daily Word Prompt (acclaim)