#Menage Monday Challenge – Week 29

Three prompts living under one challenge roof?

Welcome to #MenageMonday!

Week 29

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.
  • Generally speaking, the winner will be revealed Tuesday evening, 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 29:

Librarian, programmer, aspiring writer, avid reader, comic book nerd, husband and father. He loves Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal, and anything else he finds…


M. Andrew Patterson

I am totally stoked to announce that Andrew is part of the #Grim5Next Anthology project and I am the writer working on part two of the story he began. If you haven’t heard of this project, check it out and be sure to keep an eye out for info as we get closer to completion.


Challenge Time!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

The Photo:

The Phrase: “anywhere but here” (this can appear anywhere in the story)

The Judge’s Prompt: a library (setting)


And we’re off. The clock is ticking. Good writing and good luck!

25 thoughts on “#Menage Monday Challenge – Week 29

  1. “His wife wasn’t exactly a librarian, you know.” The waggled eyebrows implied any number of insouciant things about what had gone on in Lot’s household, up to and possibly including bestiality with a whole host of zoo animals, sculptures of which filled the courtyard.

    “We could be looking for a new house anywhere.”

    “But here,” he continued, “we have some fairly impressive salt figures, wouldn’t you agree?”

    “You are a sick bitch, Maurice. They call us ‘sodomites,’ because of this town, you know.” Taking his hand in mine, I rubbed his knuckles against three days’ stubble on my chin to watch his eyes light up.


  2. Pat and Dee followed Eva into the library. They watched from afar as she proceeded across the expansive room and into the maze of shelves.

    “I’m telling you, Pat, she’s an idiot. Did you see the sign she put up last week on Maple? She had it facing the wrong way! Nobody would have even known it was an open house!”

    Pat nodded as they crept through the archives until they finally found her, casually skimming a few books.

    “I would expect her to be anywhere but here. I mean, she’s dumber than a block of cheese. And I still can’t believe Henry hired her. Who hires their mistress?”

    “Dee, just shut up before she hears us!”

    They waited, huddled together, watching silently. When she finally turned to leave, Dee began to follow her, but Pat pulled her back.

    “Let’s see what she was looking at.”

    The duo furtively skittered down the aisle, then gasped as they saw the books: “Sugar Daddy Murderer”, “A Killing Affair”, “Homicide 101.”

    “God, we have to tell Henry!”

    Eva spied them surreptitiously as they fled, smiled, then made her way to the real estate self-help section. Who were the idiots now?

    197 words

  3. Andrew Hamm and Jerry Benedict, a.k.a. “Ham and Eggs” were hanging out at the library as usual after school. And as usual, they weren’t there to study.

    “Hey Jer, what’s up with the “Open House” sign at lot #200 in the Skyview Cemetery?” Drew tried to ask nonchalantly.

    “Hell if I know, but what I’ve heard scares the shit out of me!” Jerry said, his adams apple doing jumping jacks, making his voice sound as though he’d swallowed something 100 proof. “Besides, who is whacked enough to advertise a grave site?”

    Without exchanging words, they headed to the cemetery.

    Just four blocks up the street, they stopped a safe distance from the recently opened grave, but not from the smell. Their macabre curiosity won over their fright and they moved closer, to look into the grave.

    “Something was buried here,” came a whisper on the wind.

    Both boys crashed into each other in their haste to escape. Their collision stopped them both dead in their tracks.

    “Holy Fuck!” exploded from both mouths.

    Although stunned, Drew quickly added, “If you have to bury me after this, do it anywhere but here!

    “It’s still here”, whispered the wind, but no one heard.

    200 words

  4. It had been her favorite part of the house. Jacob wandered the room, with its custom-made bookshelves and volume upon volume of books. They would be sold at auction, everything from a very old edition of Moby Dick to last year’s newest bodice-rippers.

    He wanted to be anywhere but here – in this place at this moment, and in this mood. He wrestled with himself almost every waking hour, trying to deny what he was. However, in a lifetime measuring centuries, you gathered precious few friends. Those you did find, you protected. His failure to protect Amy tore through him, wrenching on his sanity.

    He had warned Alan. Jacob had told the man that he knew about the past run-ins with domestic relations. Apparently Alan had thought Jacob was joking when he’d laid the threat down – harm Amy, and it was worth his life.

    The demon within demanded human flesh. Jacob had always grappled with the infernal’s need. Just enough to survive, no more. Today would not be about survival. It would be about revenge. And there would not be enough left of that waste of genes to even mar the carpets when people came for the open house later.

    199 words
    Nance P

    1. (Really. REALLY? *sigh* Apparently I didn’t go all the way to the bottom when I “signed” it… Oi.)

  5. “It is on the market… They are doing an Open House today!” Kara paced through his office in the library, practically wearing a hole in his Goddamn new carpet. “What the Fuck are we going to do, Harold?”
    He really hated when she acted melodramatic. She was really beautiful to look at, but sometimes it just wasn’t worth the headache.
    “Kara… Get a grip. They aren’t going to find anything. In fact, having a bunch of people tromping all over the land will probably help our cover, rather than hurt it!”
    “How can you be so calm about this?” Her voice was starting to raise a few octaves, making his skin crawl. Her face was flushed and her eyes were large and round, seeming to take over her face. He really hated her in that moment.
    He pushed back from his desk and walked purposefully around his desk and right up to her, until they were practically nose to nose.
    “Cut the shit, Kara. If you can calm the fuck down and be cool, no one will get suspicious. If you keep acting like you are guilty, people will eventually figure it out!’
    “Where are you going?”
    “Anywhere but here…”

    200 Words

  6. I drove through the cookie cutter neighborhood with its manicured lawns and nondescript mailboxes, each house the same except for whether there was one garage or two.

    The red and white open house sign stood out against the freshly cut grass. As I got out of the car I turned to the house across the street, the drapes sliding closed as if someone had been watching me.

    The feeling of someone watching me grew as I walked to the door. Once inside, I moved quietly through the rooms and finally into the library. The floor-to-ceiling shelves lined three of the four walls, while a large window covered the other. The room was empty save for a folded piece of paper in the middle of the floor. I picked it up, unfolding the crisp sheet, and read the words aloud.

    “Anywhere but here.”

    I walked to the large window and looked down to see a group of neighbors march toward the house, the men dressed in crisp white shirts and khakis, the women in June Cleaver dresses. As if sensing my stare they all turned to me, their eyes black and vacant.

    God I hate the suburbs.

    196 words

    (moved from Rules page -CM)

  7. “Damn it Harry, we should tone it down. It would be nice to have things go back to normal.”
    “Nothing will be normal again Anne. We’re losing our house.”
    “Well at least they can’t get into the library. They have no idea it’s there beyond the wall.”
    “I thought your secret library room was ridiculous, but now I’m glad.”
    “Who would have thought we’d be hanging out in library for our eternity?”
    “I’m not. We’ll scare these people away too. A few things moving and they’ll run.”
    “Wait until after they buy, there’s an open house today.”
    “Okay you win.”

  8. oops above was the other draft.Here is the revised

    “Damn it Harry, we should tone it down things could go back to normal.”
    “Nothing will be normal again Anne. We’re losing our house.”
    “Well at least they can’t get into the library. They have no idea it’s there beyond the wall.”
    “I thought your secret library room was ridiculous but now I’m glad.”
    “Who would have thought we’d be hanging out in library for eternity?”
    “I’m not. We’ll scare these people away too. A few things moving and they’ll run. They can live anywhere but here.”
    “Wait until after they buy, there’s an open house today.”
    “Okay you win.”
    100 words

  9. “Where will you go?” Amy’s brow furrowed with sisterly worry, but after what she’d seen the other night, I knew she wouldn’t argue.

    “Anywhere, but here.” I leaned over, pushing the sign’s steel wires into soft ground.

    The macabre images in my head seemed unreal in daylight, the white house deceptively demure with its steep steps flanked by stone lions, its Parthenonian pillars, and its tall windows sandwiched between black shutters. The realtor told us it was once a library. He was misinformed.

    It belonged to a professor of the occult, no longer among the living. I stumbled upon his horrific collection of formaldehyde jars and insane ramblings while cleaning out the lofty attic. That’s when the trouble started. I guess I disturbed something that day – something primal, fanged and inhuman. Now, it hates me.

    I swear if I told anyone what really happened the night John disappeared, I’d be wearing a straight-jacket. Amy, too, though she did convince me to report John missing.

    I look down at the sign reading ‘Open House.’ It really should read ‘Haunted House’ but there’s no truth in advertising anymore.

    186 words

  10. Staring out the library windows, I spotted the small red and white sign staked into the ground declaring an Open House “today.” I wondered if it really meant today, or if it had been forgotten from some other today.

    “What day you suppose “today” is, Bren?”

    Brenna looked up from some tome likely drier than the Sahara. “It’s Saturday, moron.”

    “No, I mean—” I shut my mouth at the look on her face. “Never mind.”

    I left her to her books and wandered among the stacks, running my fingers along plastic sheathed spines. I didn’t ask why I had to be here with her. I knew my obligation. I shouldered the blame for her carelessness and the lion’s share of responsibility for my now crippled sister.

    I snagged a book whose cover promised epic adventure and snuck deeper into the library, finding a shadowy nook to hide with my treasure. I touched reverent fingers to the heroic figures painted in brilliant colors.

    “Take me somewhere,” I whispered.

    Where would you go? they seemed to answer.

    “Anywhere but here.” I opened to the first chapter.

    Come with us.

    In my mind, I slipped quietly away from my world.

    198 words

  11. The aroma of old paper filled her nose. It had been a long time since she had been in here and the dim corridor was how she remembered it as a child. She needed to find answers before it was too late. The Librarian gave her a firm lipped smile.

    The micro-fiche machine whirred through the pages. The memory of the sign remained vivid in her mind with the neatly printed “TODAY LOT #200” and the white tape hiding something—she never found the sign again. After she came home that was all she could tell anyone. Therapists told her that her sub-conscience held back the other memories.

    She stopped the machine at the Real Estate listings and skimmed across them, looking at the pictures of houses. She smiled. There it is. The memories forced themselves out. Such a pretty house, she had to see inside. The man that greeted her at the door allowed her to go room-to-room without him. The inside was pretty too, everything done perfectly like a dollhouse. It was perfect. She withdrew from the memory that finally returned her and looked at the address.

    “Anywhere but here,” she thought, “such a dreadful neighborhood.”

    198 Words

  12. “I don’t know what you want me to do about it,” Kerri kicked her feet and spun around in the swivel chair.

    A cascade of thumps from back in the stacks was punctuated by a pitiful groan.

    Susan responded with her own exasperated groan, “Just, get him out of here! Please!”

    Kerri shrugged, unconcerned for the clatter behind her, “You’re the one who asked to borrow my books for showing the library. How was I supposed to know we’d need to use them on the day of the open house?”

    “Found book!” The Professor shuffled back into view. Clearly the worse for wear after being on the receiving end of a couple book-alanches.

    Kerri grinned, “Great! It’ll take him a while to read it, but then we’ll know how to handle the situation over at the cemetery.”

    “Fine!” Susan threw her hands up, “Anywhere but here! I don’t want any potential home-buyers hearing even a whisper about the zombie infestation—let alone seeing one reading in their library!”

    Kerri hopped to her feet, “Come on, Professor! I guess you’ll have to read it back at the mansion.”

    Adjusting his over-large glasses, the putrescent Professor nodded and shuffled after his mistress.

    200 words

  13. “I’m not sure we should do this.” Barney looked at the bound book with Witchcraft in silver on the front of the book cover. He didn’t know were Steph got it and why the library had books on witchcraft spells. “This is still a bad idea. Can’t we do this anywhere but here?”

    She smacked him upside the head, adjusting the bit of black veil she had on her hat. “I read that this will release the spirit so that he can be free.”

    “Is the clothing really necessary.” Bernard looked at his own clothing as they walked into the trailer park towards Lot 200. It was one big lot of metallic buildings shining the moonlight back. “And it’s your fault if we get busted for doing this.”

    “Shut up and come on.” She teetered on the four inch heels that immediately sunk into the grass when they came to the empty lot. She coughed and wiggled her fingers at him for the book and yanked it out of his hands and opened it to the bookmarked spot.

    They had been dealing with one skeleton. They were surprised by all the other ones that showed up to pull them down.

    200 words

  14. “Tom, are you all right?”

    The boy jerked and looked around as if he’d been caught doing something naughty. When he saw Drake, relief flooded his face and he nodded.

    “Yes, Mr. MacGregor.”

    “Did you enjoy reading the books?”

    “Yes, sir. Dr. Cantora helped me with some of them. Will she come back to the Library soon?”

    Drake sat down in one of the kiddie chairs beside the book-strewn table. “I don’t know, Tom. She’s pretty busy. But I hope she will.”

    “Me, too. I like her. She’s special.” Then he looked Drake in the eye with subtle intensity that had the hair on the back of his neck rising in warning. “Did you make her mad?”

    Drake sighed and dropped his chin. “Yes, I do believe I did.”


    How could he explain to a four year old? “I wasn’t as grateful as I should’ve been.” He paused again. “Shall we go find her and apologize?”
    The boy didn’t hesitate. “Yes. Where should we go?”

    “Anywhere but here,” Drake muttered, gathering up the books. “I’ll bet she’s at the clinic. Get your coat and we’ll go.”

    187 #WIP500 words

  15. “No Felix, anywhere but here.”

    “Don’t be silly Aaron. You have to start somewhere. Besides, it’s an open house.”

    “Yeah, but this isn’t a house, it’s a library. And, of all the places on earth, you know that this here library is probably the last place where I should show up.”

    “I like the irony of it. Everyone is welcome. It’s almost like they were expecting your return. ”

    “Only an idiot would expect me for anything.” Aaron said, continuing his lifelong habit of belittling himself. Then adding, “Especially around here, since the last time I was here, it killed me.”

    “Well, that was your own fault. Nobody tries to rob a library anyway.”

    “Yeah, but I actually thought about it, and I was trying to leave.”

    “Through the basement?”

    “I’d have been alright, except for that sign. What it say?”

    “Excavate here.” Felix laughed. “What made you think the library would have an ‘escape’ route?”

    “It’s not my fault I can’t read.”

    “That’s okay Aaron. You have to haunt this library for at least a decade. Maybe while you’re here you can learn.”

    “Like that’s gonna happen.” Aaron said, as with perplexed resignation he followed Felix up the steps.

    200 Words

  16. The sign read, “Open House, Lot 200“. An arrow pointing the way. My autistic mind took that sign literally. “I’ve never seen an open house. I wonder what it is.” So, I followed the arrow.

    Past other signs that said, “anywhere but here,” and had arrows pointing at houses, buildings, or stores. One pointed to a public restroom. Another to a car wash. Next to each sign was another sign that said, “Open House, Lot 200“ and another arrow pointing the way.

    I began to think I’d never find the end of the trail. Maybe I was dreaming. But one last sign read, “Here!” and had an arrow pointing through the front door of a library.

    “Dip! That’s not an open house… That’s a library…” So, I went inside. And asked what the open house was.

    The lady I asked told me, “We’re welcoming people to the library. So they can learn what’s here, and what we’re all about.”

    I started laughing. “Oh!” I proclaimed, as my literal mind realized what kind of open house it was. Oh, the joys of my autistic mind, and it’s literal ways.

    196 Words

  17. Moving Day

    John and Emma sat at the dilapidated table in the public library, flipping through Real Estate magazines.

    “You’ll have to choose, Emma. They’re starting.”

    “I know, John. Don’t rush me, this is a big decision. We only get one shot at this.”

    “Look, there…” John pointed his finger toward the picture on the left page. “…an open house at lot #200. We could check it out.”

    “That’s got to be in a subdivision. Let’s find something bigger.” Emma said with a squish to her face.

    “A farm house has lots of space. Plus, there won’t be any neighbors to bother us. How about here?” John pointed optimistically.

    “Here?” Emma said as she pressed he finger to the picture. “No. Anywhere but here. It’s a church.”

    “Damn. I liked the windows. How ‘bout the white three story over there. I like it.”

    “Yea. Me, too.”

    John and Emma floated toward their new home as the wrecking ball caved in the north wall of their previous, library residence.”

    John laughed. “I still liked the church.”

    Emma shook her head. “You know the rules. We can’t move into some other ghost’s house. I’m pretty sure the church has a ghost of its own.”

    200 Words – @acenance

  18. “Killer House on the Market–See Details Inside”

    In the house, the owner tried to scream, fingers scrabbling across the carpet for a hold. She kicked free of her captor and got to the window in time to see a couple on the sidewalk, but was yanked away before she could get their attention. The curtains barely moved despite her terrified attempts.


    Yisel crossed her arms as her boyfriend continued to do calf raises on the curb. She thought she’d seen the curtains move, but guess not.

    “Come on,” she said, nodding toward to the library across the street. “The Open House is clearly not open yet. Let’s wait in the library.”

    Drake made a face at her but followed her as she turned and walked away. As soon as they entered the big double-doors, Drake grabbed his chest. “Dear God, anywhere but here, Yisel. It’s like a cemetery. I could die of boredom before the torture of a terrible Open House.” He splayed his hands out. “Save me now.”

    “I like the quiet,” she whispered, ignoring him for new arrivals.

    She knew he didn’t like domestic work like shopping for carpets or furniture or shelving, but one more Open House wouldn’t kill him.

    Would it?


  19. Title: Checking In

    After spending several days in the city private archives, Alana and David turned their search to the Wardville Public Library. As they approached, there seemed to be a lot of people there for a weekday evening. Alana passed through a large crowd of people and discovered the reason. There was a big “Open House” banner draped across the top of the main entrance.

    “Ah, I had forgotten about the renovations,” David murmured as he guided her through another group of people. “They just finished a 5.5 million dollar renovation bringing the library out of the stone age and into the 21st century.”

    Alana chuckled and continued her way to the main entrance. Just as her hands touched the steel and glass door, she was hit by another blast of voices and a flash of a vision. She shook her head to clear it and grasped her pendant tightly.

    “Anywhere but here,” she whispered, her voice tight with fear.

    David wrapped his arm around her and looked around for anything suspicious. “Come on, maybe it will be better inside. They can’t be everywhere, can they?”

    184 Words of #WIPy goodness!!!!

  20. “What the hell are you looking at?” Jerry shouted, looking up from his laptop.

    Kyle whipped around to yell at Jerry, but stopped, remembering that no one came to the library on Sundays.

    “Just looking at this house for sale across the way. There’s an open house and a lot of people have gone in,” Kyle responded, glancing at Jerry before turning back to the window.

    “Don’t you have a paper to write?” Jerry asked, reaching into his bag searching for his headphones. “And quit being a weirdo. What’s the big deal anyway?”

    “No one has come out yet.”

    “It’s a big house,” Jerry sighed. “If someone is going to buy it, they’re going to take the time to walk around and…never mind. Go look at the house from somewhere else.”


    “Anywhere but here,” Jerry muttered under his breath.

    He hated working with Kyle when he was like this. He would become obsessed with the stupidest things and swear there was foul play involved. Anytime the old library creaked, Kyle thought it was ghosts coming for vengeance.

    Jerry was about to plug in his headphones when he heard dozens of people screaming in pain.

    “Oh my God!” Kyle yelled.

    200 words- @hlpauff

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