#MenageMonday Challenge – Week Five


Three prompts living under one challenge roof?

Welcome to #MenageMonday!

Week Five

Rules Recap

  • This is a Flash Fiction challenge. Your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 200 words.
  • Incorporate each of the three prompts into your story.
  • Post your story into the comments of this post.
  • Include your word count (or be excluded from judging).
  • Please include your Twitter handle or email.
  • The contest opens at 7 A.M. and closes at 8 P.M. Eastern Time.
  • The winner will be revealed Tuesday morning, huzzah!

So what do you get for all your time and effort, you ask? Badges, of course. (What, you thought this was a funded operation?) #MenageMonday awards THREE (squeeee!) badges each week:

  • There is the undisputed CHAMP. Rather self explanatory.
  • There is the JUDGE’S PET, for best use of the Judge’s prompt.
  • Last but not least, the JUDGE gets a badge, because Judges need love, too.


Our Judge for Week Five:

Competitor and Week One Champ turned Judge, it’s none other than…


D. Ryan Leask (blog)

D. Ryan is the author of Counting Down the Storm, a “well-written hard-hitting novella that hits the mark on several fronts.” He also runs the Thursday branch of our #WeekInFlashFiction, #3ForThursday. This super cool challenge features 3 prompts delivered at (all times EST) 11:00am (special prompt), 12:00pm (sentence/phrase), and 1:00pm (word). There are different ways to play, so be sure to check out the rules.


Challenge Time!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

The Photo: (click on it for the full-res effect)

The Phrase: “nothing left to” (this can appear anywhere in the story)

The Judge’s Prompt: Break out your dictionaries, gang (I had to, just to make sure there were enough options to go around) – The story MUST have a title (not included in word count) that contains a word starting with the letter “X.” It’s tough, but it’s a freebie as far as your count goes, and I have faith in your deviant and endless creativity. Make me proud. 😉

The clock is ticking. Good writing and good luck!

16 thoughts on “#MenageMonday Challenge – Week Five

  1. Xenophobia

    Nothing left to do. I finished sandbagging today. I can’t get out. The highway’s submerged except for a “No U-turn” sign, sticking above the water as if there were cars to warn.

    It’s still raining.

    They’ve tracked me for years, since the scuba diving trip in Belize. They almost got me that day, but I made it to shore, turned and looked – and saw fifty pairs of eyes, half-hidden in the surf, saying: Don’t think you’ve escaped. You haven’t.

    I’ve seen them many times since. I thought it was only oceans, until I saw one watching me from a river as I crossed a bridge. It was submerged like a crocodile, only its unblinking eyes and the top of its head visible, long hair swirling in the current. I kept walking, didn’t look back. Don’t let them know you’re afraid.

    I thought I was safe, a thousand miles from the ocean, no rivers, lakes, ponds nearby. But now water is seeping through the sandbags, lapping against my door.

    I sit, shotgun across my lap, as night falls. Their eyes reflect the streetlight’s glow. There must be a hundred of them, waiting until the water comes in.

    I’m ready for them.

    Word count = 200!
    Gordon Bonnet

  2. Xenogenesis

    My hands gripped the windowsill as I stared out at the rainy night, trying to ignore the words the doctors had told me. It was always raining. Hell, Noah had nothing on us now. I remembered when it started raining, over two decades ago. We’d been so thrilled at the end of the drought, but it had never really stopped.

    Water now covered most of our country and the population had started to adapt. At least that’s what the doctors’ explanation was for my newborn son. Gill slits, webbed digits, and extra long zygapophyses on his vertebral column between his shoulder blades made him look like some sort of xenobiological discovery. It was weird and frightening, and my wife hadn’t stopped crying since his birth two weeks ago. There was nothing left to be done; plastic surgery wouldn’t work. To change any of Dolph’s features would kill him. The doctors insisted he was a perfect mutation to the new aquatic world.

    “Look at it this way,” Dr. Waters offered softly. “He’ll be terrific at swimming lessons and an ace at water sports.”

    I turned just in time to see her adjust her collar. Holy Shit! Were those gill slits?

    199 Words

  3. Xerox
    It had to be a dream, this couldn’t be my hometown .Nothing left to the once beautiful cobblestone downtown area, just water as far as the eye could see. Mother Nature caused all this in just a few hours. I’d been homesick and had driven incessantly to reach my destination hearing nothing of a hurricane or rain. I dropped off quickly to sleep in my hotel room. Why was I even here? I knew no one here not really… anymore. Maybe I should see if Bob my once boyfriend was okay? He probably had a bunch of rug rats by now. But hell I had no idea where he lived now with his wife Melanie. I’d be lucky to get out of town with a rowboat. I ventured outside knee deep in water luckily I had my rubber boots. Wait a minute rubber boots? I didn’t have rubber boots. Then I heard a booming voice overhead like a giant looking into a terrarium. This one is done. I need more subjects to study whether this planet is viable. This Xerox just isn’t working, the subject is too aware of her surroundings. Get me a male of the species.
    199 words

  4. Xanadu- Ode to Breathe

    Like rust beneath the surface of a drowning city I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my remaining days. If ever a piece of iron could be living it was when water and air corrode it. Only then is it more than just metal; it breathes. I am just a robot in the monotonous routine of the world just waiting to live. It’s unfortunately that only when we are dying do we truly start to expand and fill our iron lungs with air. Protecting myself from the elements is what preserves my embalmed body but I am not afraid of oxygen anymore.

    There is nothing left to indulge in but to risk my existence to another.

    “When I met you my world stopped, for just a moment. When our eyes met I knew that I was no longer numb to the world. No longer blinded by the incoherent goals of my days I know now. Will you drown with me? In the ocean of our love?”

    Will you drown with me?

    You make me breathe.

    I am alive.

    184 words (including the title)

  5. Xanadu

    He paced with zeal along the long dry corridor in his underground lab.

    This was it.

    Years in the making. He now had the precise genetically engineered xerophyte that would allow him to take over the world. His paradise. His Xanadu.

    “Ha, ha, ha,” he could not help but to give an evil laugh.

    He would hold the key now, with his xerophilous plants. No other plants could survive in the conditions he was about to create. He would hold the monopoly. He would own the worldwide rights on all remaining living foliage able to live in extreme dehydration.

    He had dedicated his life to this. Studying Xeriscaping for decades, his lab was an immaculate environment for drought resistant plants.

    In the process, he had developed his own xeroderma. But the scaly skin was worth it. It was worth it!

    Now, with nothing left to lose – and everything to gain – he flipped the switch.

    Let the world wide desert begin!

    No, something was wrong. Horribly wrong! He meant to flip the switch down, not up!

    No! His lab began to flood with water pouring in from the streets above.

    “Nooooooooo” he yelled as the waves drowned him away.

    200 words
    (ps – sorry for the simillar title glitterlady!)

  6. Case file 17239-C: The Xenomorphic Effect

    Technically, the case was closed.

    “Son of a Bitch!” Mick hated technicalities.
    He skimmed the highlights from his case 5 years ago…

    Victim: 23 yo Caucasian female.
    No trauma.
    Drugs: Negative.
    Lungs: Clear.
    No apparent suicide.
    Physical condition: Excellent.
    “For a dead person,” he muttered.
    Cause of death: Unknown.

    Her body had been identified and released to her family.
    He’d been at the crime-scene that night. They found her body floating in 3 feet of water.

    “Yeah, you still keep me up at night,” he told a photo of the victim.
    Hell, she’d nearly cost him his job…maybe his sanity.

    Mick had had his girlfriend examine the crime-scene photos. She was a photographer, but she was also a xerographer.
    “A fresh set of eyes,” he’d told the chief.
    I’d seen some of the weird shit she’d done with those photos. Something looked…not quite right.
    She’d explained that anything was xenomorphically possible.
    (Her) long story short…a xenomorphic species could extract DNA at will from their victim and – genetically alter their own structure – or copy it.

    I can’t sleep.

    What if I’m a result of xenomorphic genetics?
    What if you are?

    If so, there’s nothing left to explain…is there?

    200 Words

  7. Xenophile

    There had been no rain that day. The river had wound its way as normal. In all there was no indication of what was to come, save for the one old yaya who didn’t speak English very well having to be sedated a little earlier than usual that day.

    By noon the sapphire tide had left the whole town ankle deep in water. Even as the water continued to rise as from an invisible wellspring the people found they could move as easily through the water as the air it was displacing. Cars still ran even as the water worked its way up into their engines, and it was the children who first discovered they could breathe under this water.

    By dusk a confused national guard was mobilizing to address unworried reports of an unexplainable flash-flood. As the liquid assumed its final dome shape around the town, fed by the river, the people had nothing left to do but bid welcome to their naiad owners.

    165 words

  8. Xenogenesis – Home*Auto*Business*Life*Health

    She slithered through the flood-waters shooting out her brood. The creature was normally satisfied to release her babies in the green waters of the lake but it was a treat to be able to share her young with the world. Each one was different from the next. The land creatures would be impressed with them.

    A woman sat in her car facing the flooded intersection. She needed to get gas and get to work; she could not be late. There was nothing left to do. She eased her foot onto the accelerator and began her trek through the water.

    In the middle of the intersection, the front wheels of the car rose out of the water and thudded down. What the hell was that? She thought and pushed down on the accelerator. Her car would not move forward. It bobbed back and forth in the water like a teeter-totter. She looked down at an angle through the side window. The passenger window shattered. The woman turned her startled face to the noise. The creature’s maw opened revealing thousands on pointed teeth and lunged toward the woman.

    186 words

  9. Xanthippe

    “How the hell?” Julie said stopping the car and looking at her mother sitting in the passenger seat. “A left back there on Fourth Street shouldn’t have taken me to the water streets.”

    Her mother gave her a disapproving look. They had to pick-up the package before midnight. Water cars splashed their wake at them. Julie turned on the dome light and looked at the map.

    “Crap, I should’ve taken a right on Fourth. The map must’ve been upside down when I looked at it before. I guess there’s nothing left to do but turn around.”

    “The water isn’t that deep; can’t you just go up to that Shell Station so I can use the phone?” Julie’s mother growled. “I need to be at the pick-up spot in eight minutes.”

    “No mother I can’t, I didn’t bring the water car.” Julie snapped.

    142 words (this was my original entry then I decided on the previous entry)

  10. Title: “We’re Gonna Need an XL Boat”

    Every little bit helps, Gerome typed, and transmitted that week’s “Experience Life” fitness column, a day late and no clichés short.

    A peek out the blinds. Did they know he was here?

    ’Course not. “They” thought he was a financial whiz still high on the hog living in his energy-efficient now-bank-owned McMansion — which is why he also had the “Green and Lean” Q&A and the “Bet Your Bottom Dollar” blog gigs.

    Still high. You bet. Hog? What can I say.

    After his etched Swavorski “Advice Columnist of the Year” award, there was nothing left to pawn.

    He’d disregarded the evacuation advice. Not so much disregarded as knew it was a joke to imagine leaving his cocoon of six years, even darkening the threshold with his 600-pound heft. He could barely negotiate the bedbug-ridden hotel mattress.

    Another peek out. With the floodwaters so high and rising, he doubted Domino’s or Peapod could get through. He gnawed the cheese and pepperoni stuck to boxes piled nearby. Briefly considered how the boxes themselves tasted.

    Dozing to DVR’d “Biggest Loser” episodes, he was stirred by the choppers’ thwock-thwock. No, someone busting in the door! The yellow-slickered man barked, “Sarge! Got a Michelin man!”

    200 words

  11. Xanthodont

    The scene in the hotel was more than Detective Johnson could handle. She ran out of the room gagging and holding her hand over her mouth. Lieutenant Scott shook his head in disgust, but his stomach clenched and turned at the sight before him.
    In sharp contrast to the flooded streets of the city, the hotel room was as hot as the desert. Blood splattered the walls, highlighted by the flickering light in the center of the room, which created a strobe like effect.
    One bed held what used to be a young woman, her blond hair now highlighted pink by the blood seeping from her skull. Her thin body was bent and broken, with bones protruding out from different directions.
    Across the other bed lay a man unlike anything the Lt had ever seen. Not that you could really call the creature a man. His torso was blown off; leaving a large bulbous head which was taken up, almost entirely, by dirty, dank, yellow, razor sharp teeth.
    As the Lt turned to check on his detective, a loud noise turned his attention to the window. When the gargoyle flew in, there was nothing left to do but scream…

    199 words

  12. Xeric Dreams

    It only rained at night…every night…for three weeks.
    Jack tripped over the dog-cat-bird thing, that Jimmy called Felix, as he tiptoed through the hallway. It growled-squawked-hissed as it ran away. His wife, Susan, was peering through a crack in their son’s bedroom door, watching him sleep.
    “Think it worked?” he asked.
    She looked over her shoulder at him and shrugged.
    “I was showing him pictures of our trip to Arizona again.” She flashed a weak smile. “He liked the cacti.”
    “We should have just left it to nature. It would have rained eventually,” John said.
    “But maybe not before this farming town was bankrupt,” she countered.
    Babe Ruth was sitting on the couch when they went back to the living room, bouncing a baseball back and forth between his hands. “Can Jimmy play now?” he asked.
    “Maybe when he wakes up,” John said.
    They heard the first pitter patters of rain hitting the porch awning. Susan looked at Jack and frowned, nothing left to say.
    A cactus holding an umbrella appeared in the corner of the room.
    “Got a picture book on the MidEast we can try tomorrow,” John sighed.
    “That Noah’s Ark story really stuck with him,” Susan said.

    200 words

    Cara, please dump that first one. I spaced on the phrase. Been a little out of sorts lately.


    It seemed like yesterday… walking laps around the crib, bouncing her up and down quickly, whispering sweet lullabies into her ear. Her beautiful newborn was such a handful. She had wished the time away, wanting to get some sleep, but now she would give up her left arm to be there, giving anything to slip back into time and feel that pillowing skin nuzzle against her cheek.

    The desert where xerophilous shrubbery thrived turned into a ravenous river in mere moments. Why the hell she let Jeff talk her into this adventure was beyond comprehension, and deciding that Susie would be better off back in the camp with the other kids was absurd. She glanced over at the blanket and basket, and thought no wonder he was so adamant. The raft exploded with a thunderous roar. Water came gushing in from all sides. Jennifer grabbed the paddle and lathered the water feverishly.

    “What are you trying to do? We’re going down, start blowing into this life preserver!”

    “I’ve got to get back to the camp! Susie will be so scared,” explained Jennifer.

    “There’s nothing left to do, but to swim your fucking ass off!”


    195 words

  14. Xavier Roberts

    She laughed when he told her his name. There was very little to laugh about, but she needed the distraction from the fact that she was about to drown.
    Keeping that in mind, she focused her attention on the man who was making his way to her. He was trying to talk to her, but the rushing water was too loud. Then she realized he was asking her name.
    “Katey Tyler!” she yelled back as loudly as possible.
    “Nice to meet you, Katey Tyler!” he yelled back once he got closer with his rope.
    The water was rising, getting so cold her teeth started chattering. “X-Xavier Roberts, huh?”
    “Are you making fun of my name, Katey Tyler?” She could tell he felt the cold, too, and was trying to keep his mind off of it.
    “It’s just funny.”
    “Why so?” he asked, tying the rope around her waist.
    “Because your name is written on the asses of many a children’s toy.”
    “What?” he laughed.
    “Xavier Roberts. Cabbage Patch Kids?”
    He shook his head. “Tell me about it when we hit dry land.”
    There was nothing left to say as she attached herself to him so they could head for safety.

    200 words

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