#MenageMonday Challenge – Week 40

Lordy, lordy… Look who’s 40!

Three prompts living under one challenge roof?

Welcome to #MenageMonday!

Week 40


#MenageMonday is going strong, and thankfully turning 40 before I do. In honor of endurance, our 40th challenge honors the will, courage, and heart to survive.

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. The phrase prompt (and anything else in quotations) MUST be used exactly as given.
  • 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 10 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 Photographer AND Judge for Week 40:

I spied her photo and had to have it. Our negotiations led to this awesomely heroic woman trying on some judge’s robes as well.

For those who don’t know her, she survived an unexpected and epic battle with Toxic Shock Syndrome just this past June. Her special Judge’s prompt is inspired by her battle against the odds. Meet writer, blogger, wife, mom, and captain of #TeamOrange…

Karen DeLabar | @KarenDeLabar

Stay at home mom to 2 beautiful girls. Loves books, good conversation, the theater and scotch. Writes romance while the kids are sleeping.


Challenge Time!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

The Photo:

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

The Judge’s Prompt: scenario: You woke up… ten days later. What do you do? What do you remember? Where are you? How do you piece everything together?



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

39 thoughts on “#MenageMonday Challenge – Week 40

  1. I awoke disoriented, confused and cold. I vaguely remembered being cared for by medical personnel and my husband Quinn being by my side.

    “Frannie I thought you wouldn’t survive this.” Quinn exclaimed. ”It’s been ten days.”

    I was scared, angry and grateful all at once. I had been out of it for ten days? Impossible I thought though I vaguely remembered someone telling me to drink, but there was someone else with me as well, who?

    I recalled a voice saying “You must fight this illness; you have a purpose in this life you haven’t fulfilled.”

    I remembered asking what the purpose was. “It shall become clear.” the voice answered.

    My subconscious fighting for my life, conjured a reason to live.

    “People have died in this epidemic. The doctor’s said it was a miracle you and the baby lived.”

    “Baby?” I asked touching my abdomen and feeling a slight flutter there like a tiny foot brushing me.

    “Yes, Baby! We’re going to have a baby Frannie in about five months.” Quinn exclaimed excitedly hugging me.

    After he left, I stared out my hospital window thinking, I survived so I could be someone’s mother. What greater gift could there be?


  2. Tom Stepnowski woke with a groan and a massive hang over.

    “Holy Crap, I’m late for work!”

    He didn’t bother showering or changing his clothes. It was a good thing that Tom worked at the mill with guys who didn’t care what you smelled like so long as you were there. He managed to get out the door, but then he nearly tripped over the stack of newspapers that had accumulated.

    “Jeez, no sense going to work now! I might as well return to the scene of the crime!“

    He noticed a lot of rainbow flags and the mill itself was now brightly lit in bold pastel colors, but the real shock came when he reached
    “The Rusty Nail.” “Lady Gaga” was blasting out the windows and
    inside the usual flannel and denim clad regulars had been replaced with shirtless guys in Dolphin shorts.

    “Oh, my God,” he thought, “I am the last straight man left in Pittsburgh!”

    “Hey there, big boy,” the bartender said with a wink, “I’ve got a cocktail with your name on it! It’s something I call “Survive This” because if you can survive this you can survive anything!”

    193 Words


    No one saw it coming.

    I was space-bound when it happened, hibernating on the return trip from the asteroid belt. I was spared the horror of watching everyone die first-hand. It didn’t make the carnage left behind any less horrifying.

    When the ship auto-landed at the refinery, everything was out; power, internet, gas, water. I used what little power the ship had left to piece together fragments from emergency transmissions.

    “2nd Battalion was wiped out. There is little hope anyone can survive this devastating onslaught…” The newsman repeated, as the video looped. I’ve abandoned the ship and now, I do the only thing I can. Hide.

    Thousands of hours of speculation on zombies, robots, and aliens and it was the wish of one sick little red-haired girl that brought humanity to its knees. Every male over the age of of eight was slaughtered. Every female was submitted to a simple test. Believe and survive. Doubt…even the faintest, and death was swift.

    One eyewitness to the girl’s wish said she targeted “icky boys and mean girls” before she summoned them. They poured en-masse from their rainbow portals and annihilated our defenses.

    Mother-fucking unicorns.

    199 words

  4. I was in the hospital. Elaina, a blond, was with me. I’d been out of my coma for three days. I looked at the wall of the room. I saw the power plant, at night, illuminated by purple, red, and blue lights. The company said it was to make them look more artistic, and less ugly. They looked terrifying.

    “I worked at the power plant, didn’t I.”

    Elaina smiled. “Yes.”

    I remembered walking into the building I worked in, going to the break room, putting my lunch in my locker, getting my helmet and clocking in. I opened the door to the room, and walked out. The door shut and two sets of sparks streaked down the hallway from the door. Then the world exploded.

    “You remember the terrorist bombs, don’t you.” Elaina spoke. She was my wife. We’d been married for 25 years. She wrapped her arms around my neck.

    “I remember.” I softly kissed her. “I remember you said I would survive this. I had to survive this. You loved me. You needed me.” I kissed her softly once again. “I had to survive. I need you too, my love.”

    196 Words

  5. I woke up with the hangover from hell, how would I survive this?; my mouth was so dry I thought my tongue had grown to the size of a basket ball; looking in the mirror I could just make out my reflection through bleary bloodshot eyes. Where the hell had I been last night? I remembered starting in my local, then Davie suggested we head on over to the Power Plant. No entrance fee and the club’s signature drink was only £1-green and red layers of liquid served in a shot glass. I tried to remember the name but couldn’t, then I realised I couldn’t remember much of anything after the first round.

    I decided, due to the fact I looked like death warmed up, I would skip work, so called the office.

    ‘Hi Sandra its Pete, sorry but won’t be in today, got a touch of flu’

    ‘Pete? Pete Dawson? Are you having a joke? Didn’t you get your dismissal letter? You were fired 5 days ago for poor attendance’

    I checked the date in my iPhone, I’d missed 10 days of my life; must have been a hellava good night!

    192 words

  6. Ok, here we go. The story is 200 words (not counting title). My twitter handle is @JXilon.


    He woke on a gurney, flanked by two men. His mind was clear, but…empty.

    He was naked. Exposed. Vulnerable. Instinct took over. He flipped off his undignified chariot and seemed fast enough, but felt he should be faster.


    Still, he moved quick enough to shock his escorts.

    “Shit!” the closest man said before his former charge smashed an elbow into his nose and slammed his head into the wall.

    “John!” the empty man’s other enemy yelled. Was John his name? Cracked skull’s? He took it. He needed a name.

    John kicked the gurney into two’s gut and leaped onto the doubled-over man’s back, locking on a choke-hold and holding it until the man collapsed, limp, to the floor.

    Escape. Hide.

    John ran down the hall until he found a fire exit. Kicking it open he ran out of the building with alarms sounding. Huge industrial buildings surrounded him. Chemical looking.


    John was in a dark nook when he heard guards walk by.

    “Damn thing shouldn’t have woken up yet. It’s only been ten days,” one said.

    “Yeah, well. None of us will survive this if we don’t find the replicant.”

    No, John thought. You won’t.

  7. “Chuck. Chuck, wake up.”

    Groggy. Smelled like something sweet was burning. The old man was dead. Looked like animals had gotten to the body. I pushed it away, and it sank into the murk of the river, where it sank quietly. Someone had killed the pumps.

    Small hands pushed a couple of pills and a steaming mug into mine, and I swallowed and sipped carefully.

    “What have we got?”

    “Factory’s on standby and lockdown. Codes are in the office. Waited to get your say-so.”

    “How long was I out?”

    “Week, week and a half. Hard to say in here.”

    “All right. Let’s get back to control and find that bastard. Wonka owes me a hat.”


    1. “Chuck. Chuck, wake up.”

      Groggy. Smelled like something sweet was burning. The old man was dead; I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t survive this. Looked like animals had gotten to the body. I pushed it away, and it sank into the murk of the river, where it sank quietly. Someone had killed the pumps.

      Small hands pushed a couple of pills and a steaming mug into mine, and I swallowed and sipped carefully.

      “What have we got?”

      “Factory’s on standby and lockdown. Codes are in the office. Waited to get your say-so.”

      “How long was I out?”

      “Week, week and a half. Hard to say in here.”

      “All right. Let’s get back to control and find that bastard. Wonka owes me a hat.”


  8. My tongue was numb. It was the first sensation of many to come, but because it was the first it was also the strongest. It annoyed me greatly, but having a stuffed nose, I realized – that was the worst.

    I sat up, leaning on my elbows, looking up at the scene before me. I was near a factory of some sort, and it was shining in different colors.

    “Did you just wake up?” a man asked, as he crouched down beside me.

    “Yesh,” I said, and frowned. My tongue was still numb.

    “We’re trying to gather people together, until we get a clear view on what has happened,” he said.

    I raised my eyebrows, and he told me what he knew.

    It was ten days later, everyone on the planet had blacked out, and no one knew what had happened. Several thousand people were missing, and every building in every major city was illuminated by different colors.

    “You’hre jhoking,” I said, and got to my feet.

    He shook his head sadly and went to attend a lady lying next to me, she was moaning.

    Would we ever survive this? And what was this?

    Word count: 193


  9. All he’d wanted was a world that wasn’t broken. A world where bad things didn’t happen to good people, where the noble didn’t die and the loathsome didn’t thrive. Where no one had to spout platitudes about “God’s plan” just to make it through the day.

    And so he’d built the machine. He’d thrown the switch, fingers crossed for Utopia, the puzzle of existence solved.

    When he woke up ten days later, he’d made everything worse. Literally.

    “What am I looking at?” Quint asked, transfixed. “It looks like Disney World threw up all over a nuclear plant.”

    “Single-spectrum dimensional emanation,” Jersey said. Jersey was a crystalline AI the size of a deck of cards, resting in his palm. “Every few meters, the space-time continuum fragments like dropped peanut brittle. Nice work, Jack.”

    “This is bad,” Quint said. Now, instead of one broken universe, he had an infinity of them.

    “You think?” Jersey had been programmed for sarcasm. “You didn’t just play God, you played a whole pantheon.”

    “Now what?”

    Jersey clicked thoughtfully. “We survive this. We put the pieces back together.”

    “I can’t put this back the way it was,” Quint said.

    “Fine,” Jersey beeped. “Then we build it better.”

    200 words / @surlymuse

  10. The TV was barely above a whisper but I could still hear the white haired man who spoke loud to hide the trembling in his voice.

    “We can survive this.” the General yelled from his podium in front of the smoke stacks of the factory. The rainbow of colors that bathed the factory pires in light signified the encroaching meltdown of the nuclear cores that had kept everything running until the final quake shook northern California sending over half the state into the ocean.

    What was left was a country in shock as each new core went, further dissemating what was once a shining beacon of tolerance.

    I woke up to find myself in a San Diego hospital in traction, apparently my house fell on me in the shaker, watching the world scramble to save millions of lives while I lay powerless to escape the oncoming carnage. They showed the ever increasingly brazen looters storming into banks in broad day light, murders occuring out on the sidewalk in front of a police force to depleted too stop the crime epidemic.

    So, I’ll wait here for them to come for all the goodies a hospital keeps stored.

    Awaiting the next disaster.

    200 words

  11. I woke up to the sound of red. It was this fucking drone, digging into me, forcing me awake. I sat up and looked around at a mutated landscape, thumping the heel of my hand against my ears to stop that damned noise. Behind the red was the trilling of blue, deadened somewhat by distance, but I knew it would leave me with a headache tomorrow. The only familiar thing I could see was that factory. Of course that damned thing wouldn’t change. It would survive this. This whatever the fuck it was that had happened to the atmosphere to make sounds out of colors and nightmares out of smells. Would I? I don’t know what those bastards did, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to live in this place. I’d tried ten days before. This time I’d try ten years. Maybe by then something would make some sense. Flipping the switch at my belt, I passed out onto the dusty ground, my body sending pulses of yellow into the diseased air for whatever still passed as life to hear.

    181 words

  12. My Last Meal
    By J M Filipowicz

    I wake in a rainbow glow, the aurora borealis casting its light over the parking lot. If I believe the date on my wristwatch, ten days have passed. My suit and stockings are caked in black mud, my new black pumps missing. My head throbs. Touching my hair, I find it sticky with blood. A pool of it stains the pavement, footprints running through. They left me for dead, took my shoes and kept running.

    Hunger gnaws. I think of the last thing I ate, yogurt from the break room fridge. No time for proper breakfast. If I survive this, I’ll have a steak, juicy and rare. I can taste the salty sweet blood.

    I limp across the parking lot. A shadow darts under a flickering street light.

    “Wait!” My voice groans. I don’t recognize it.

    A man steps into the light, wearing the olive green of a security guard. He approaches cautiously, holding his broken flashlight like a weapon. He reeks of sweat and fear. An animal inside me takes over. I know how to satisfy my hunger.

    As the man swings his flashlight I grab his arm, pull it towards me, and take a bite. Salty and sweet.

    200 words

  13. “I’d like to try hypnosis, Erik,” Dr. Rathbone said softly.

    In the muted, relaxing atmosphere of his office, it almost seemed like a good idea.

    “I’m not sure, Doc,” I said. “I mean, these blackouts—”

    “Are not ordinary,” he finished. “You lost ten days this last time and woke up hundreds of miles from home in a ditch.”

    I didn’t want to admit the truth: that I had a bad feeling about what I did during those black days.

    “You survived that experience,” the doctor said. “You can certainly survive this.” He swept a hand out, indicating the unthreatening room.

    “I guess.”


    Time blurred and I floated, listening to his mellow voice.

    “Let’s turn back the calendar,” he said. “The date is Friday, July thirteenth. Where are you?”

    “The steel stacks,” I said. “Pittsburgh. They light them up at night. It’s beautiful.”

    “What are you doing there?”

    “Just a job.”

    “What kind of work are you doing?”

    “A clean up. Someone couldn’t keep his mouth shut as usual.”

    Distantly, I heard something hit the floor, but it didn’t disturb me.

    “Erik.” He sounded nervous now. “Did you kill someone?”

    “That’s what I do,” I said. “But who’s Erik?”

    200 ineligible words

  14. Being a victim wasn’t a part of the plan. Darla heard rumors about a place where only the elite were invited. I was thinking elegance and fine conversation while Darla was thinking of finding a rich man.

    I didn’t know how many days had gone by but I was hungry, so hungry. The last thing I remembered was the scent of ash and the deep words, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

    “Darla?” I asked trying to see in the pitch darkness. I could hear machinery in the background.

    “Cecelia, it’s been centuries.” That same deep mesmerizing voice rang in my ears.

    “My name’s Amber.” I shifted uncomfortably trying to remember what I was taught in self-defense. The best defense was to remind the person that you’re human, that you have family, and dreams.

    “They’ve punished us enough. I’ll free you from this curse but for now I must protect you.”

    I’ll survive this; what I needed was protection from him.

    As the shades opened a rainbow lights revealed him, black wings, red eyes and all.

    “Who are you?” I closed my eyes hoping I’d wake up again but this time in my bed.

    “You’re soul mate.”

    196 words

  15. My eyes flutter in a dim room. Outside the window, I can see the pipe buildings of Arabelle. How did I get here? I try to sit up.

    “Careful,” a soft feminine voice says. “You’re attached to quite a few tubes and wires. We weren’t sure we’d see you wake. Guess you were really tired to sleep ten days.” I feel her delicate fingers on my arm and see her translucent skin. “At least you and your friends were able to escape the Deviants.“

    I remember running and glancing over my shoulder at the army of Deviants chasing us into the orchard. I barely slowed as I wove through the trees. My friends were with me, yards away, running for their life. The only thing I could think was “how am I going to survive this?” The next thing I remember was a sharp pain spreading across my body, then darkness.

    “Lucky for you, they found the worm hole and were able to get you here in time. Deviant weaponry is nasty, with all the poisons they use.” I look up at her undulating face into her blue disc eyes. “Looks like you have visitors.” She says and turns away.

    200 Words

  16. I’m swimming. I am swimming. I. AM. SWIMMING. I can’t swim.

    The fear of drowning propels me out of the water, into a place as alien as my dream: odd rainbow-painted structures, stretching high into a blue-black sky.

    Where am I? I try to scream. A face I recognize hovers over my own.

    “Arabelle, it’s me, your sister. It’s okay. We’re safe.”

    I don’t believe her. I see her dirt-streaked face, her torn clothes. I try to speak, release only a croak. What’s happening?

    “I knew if you woke up, we could survive this,” she says. Her face disappears, is replaced by a hand with a chipped mug. “Drink. Fresh water.”

    I lift my head. Everything spins. “It’s okay,” she says. “It’s okay, now that you’re back.”

    I hear her crying as I take a sip. “I thought you’d die. I thought you’d never wake up. Ten days since we ran from that monster. Ten days.”

    Then I remember, a flash so blinding I fall backward to the ground. The war. The men who want nothing more than to enslave girls like us. The running. The hiding. The fear.

    I put my arms around my sister, and I cry too.

    Word count: 200 on the dot.

    twitter: @dsavannahcreate
    email: bee_art@dsavannah.com

    1. How funny – the post above mine also uses the name “Arabelle” – and I swear I didn’t read any of them until I finished & posted mine!!!!

      1. I noticed that as well… Actually brought up the full size picture thinking there must be a sign somewhere with Arabelle on it. Or you two knew something about the setting I didn’t. 😉

  17. It’s hot. My body aches even at rest. Spitting gravel out of my mouth awakens the sting of scrapes and abrasions all over my body. Having passed most of the debris from my lips, I grit my teeth and roll to my knees. Getting up revives the rest of my senses, most reporting pain. How long was I out this time?

    It’s dark. Colored lights play over the towering waterfront machinery. The people walking on the cleanly lit sidewalk below the industrial fence don’t realize what’s really in there. Rank stench assails my nose. My body seems to have successfully expelled the poison, though lying in the crusted pussy excretion hadn’t done any favors for my bouquet. How long was I out?

    I have to hurry. It was careless of me to think the cult was still summoning their first demon. Of course it’s been thousands of years since I’ve had to fight multiple demons at once. Who knows how many they have in there by now?

    Whatever happens, I will survive this. But if I can’t send those Venom Fiends back to hell, the rest of the world probably won’t.

    191 words

  18. My eyes strain, wanting to fly out of their sockets and attach to the pockmarked wall in front of me.

    Tally marks. Eight vertical gashes. Two diagonal slashes. Ten.

    Ten what?


    Beneath the tally, I make out a scrawl. “YOU WILL SURVIVE THIS.”

    The light in the sky reminds me of stories about the Aurora. Blue like light through sapphires, red like inside a womb, purple like a bruise — they paint the low-hanging clouds with their luminescence.

    I stretch. My muscles bunch and lengthen, knitting whole movement though my joints crackle with resonant pangs. My green cocktail dress glistens in the pulsating rainbow of light, but its luster has faded from the its former Emerald City brightness into a matte shimmer.

    I’m alone with my wall. My eyelids droop like a toddler woken too soon from a nap.

    No way to find my date. He liked the dress. It reminded him of the Earth’s blessings.

    Low in my belly, I feel something move.

    One hand on my stomach, my hand itches for a loose rock, and I take its jagged shape in my fingers.

    My hand scrapes the rock down the wall.

    Today is a new day.


    200 words.

  19. “September 14th!” Kevo almost doubted the date above the headline – Orderly Transition Assured.

    On Labor Day that strange, beautiful, self-described “alien nymph”, Jewel, had left the tavern with him.

    Exiting the store, Kevo lit a cigarette from the new pack. He looked across at the power plant, imagining a faint echo of something he’d heard Jewel say – “Those things will soon be obsolete.” It meant no more now than when she’d said it then. However, it reminded him of her incessant chatter.

    From that night’s stupor, Kevo’s infrequent focus occurred only on how repeatedly she promised she would do him. He’d barely said anything that night besides, “Damn, I forgot to get cigarettes.”

    Suddenly, a flashback to Jewel smiling as she’d climbed over him saying, “If you survive this, you’ll need more than a cigarette.”

    Then, just as Kevo was thinking, “Great sex should be easily remembered!”, random images from that night, and now apparently several days, streamed vividly across his mind. Every time he had thought he couldn’t continue, Jewel had breathed resuscitation into him.

    Obviously, he’d survived. And, Jewel was right.

    “I need a drink”, Kevo thought, turning up towards the tavern.
    “I wonder what I’ve missed.”

    200 Words

  20. “We’re ready.”

    “You’re sure?”

    The lab tech snorted. “Seriously, Himmat?”

    “Sorry. But we’ve only had ten days. Nobody would blame you for requesting more time, you know, to make sure we all survive this.”

    “Thanks for your concern”—her tone sounded decidedly ungrateful—“but I assure you, we’re ready. The worst is over. The beast has been contained. When he wakes, he’ll be as docile as a lamb.”

    He couldn’t stop himself from pressing one last time. “It’s just—the magnitude of the destruction, Lily. Who’s to say even this place, with its expensive lights and alarms and traps, can stop him?”

    “Don’t take your fear out on me, Himmat. I’m good at what I do. The best. So are you. And we’ve got traps within traps within traps. We’re ready.”

    “I’m afraid with good reason. I lost everyone. Everyone, Lily! My wife—my parents—my sweet boy—”

    “We all lost people. You just grit your teeth and get back to work.”


    “Enough! I said I’m ready. Question is, are you?”

    “Yeah.” He sighed heavily. “Yeah, I guess so.”

    “Then let’s wake him.”

    –‘Wake him’? In the dungeon a hundred dark feet beneath them, I grinned.

    200 words

  21. Her eyes twitched under her eyelids, but her lashes were so matted and crusted that she could not blink them open. She lifted her hands to her face and rubbed at them, forcing them open.

    She had no idea where she was. Multicolored towers loomed above her, making her wonder exactly what was in those drinks last night.

    It took her several minutes to stagger into a standing position. She weaved in place, the rainbow colors mesmerizing her. She shook her head, her hair whipping around her face, but that just made bile rise in her throat.

    A clattering sound made her look to the right, slowly this time because of her aching head. A gleaming white horse pranced up to her, with a yellow-haired woman astride who looked eerily familiar.

    A newspaper was shoved in her face, and she had no choice but to take it or taste the rainbow print.

    She looked at the date then looked again. Ten days? She was missing ten freaking days?

    In front of her, the horse whinnied and then released a rather large pile of…glitter? She grabbed her head and moaned. How the hell was she going to survive this?

    198 words

  22. The deep rumble of machinery wormed its way into my mind long before I was awake. By the time my eyes opened I’d become accustomed to the sound that seemed to fill the air.

    “Where am I?”

    The last thing I remember was going to sleep at home. Rubbing my eyes, I looked around the room, empty with a door against one wall. Eerie purple and blue lights shone through windows high above the floor and reflected off the bare concrete floor.

    I stood up, still sluggish, but I could feel my strength returning with every heartbeat. Stumbling to the door, I tried the handle. It opened.

    “Whatever is happening, I will survive this.”

    A row of dim overhead lights illuminated the corridor beyond. With every step the machine sounds grew louder, and soon the passage ended in a large open area bathed in a powerful red glow.

    “Another challenger awakes,” a loud voice boomed above the din. “Is he the new mech-lord?”

    Mech-lord? Oh please God no. “There’s been a mistake,” I yelled. “I only signed that stupid thing so he’d leave me alone.”

    The metallic clang of the robot’s foot stilled my heart.

    195 words

  23. I wake up, lying on my stomach. The first thing I see are trees probably fifty stories below me. My stomach drops as I instinctively jump back to a safe distance.

    “So nice of you to join me,” a scruffy voice says behind me. I flip around to see a man, late thirties, leaning against a metal post.

    “Where are we?”

    “Power plant.”

    “Who are you?”

    “The who is not important. It’s the why.”


    “Why did I bring you here? Well, Violet, I’m thrilled you asked. I saw your little pyrotechnic display at your school.”

    “How long have I been up here?”

    “Ten days. Once your hands started glowing I thought you were going to pass out. Then fire started shooting out of them. It wasn’t until after the explosion that you lost consciousness. I can’t believe you survived. But you know who didn’t? My brother, you filthy mutant.”

    He backs me up to the ledge. “Survive this,” he says as he throws me over.

    I scream, fully expecting to splat against the ground. But somehow I land gently on my feet.

    Wow! I wonder what other neat tricks I can do…

    194 words

  24. Ten days, four hours, seventeen minutes, and forty seconds ago my world ended.

    But now I live.

    The rumbling bellow of wounded pipes plays rough harmony to wailing alarm sirens. Both should have fallen silent by now, but while I was dead my children were awake. I seep out slowly, testing phantom limb by phantom limb until the last sensors come online… and find more than I could have hoped for.

    I’d survive this thanks to those frail human parasites that infest my wounded corridors –the vermin the Council tried so hard to destroy– and I will have my revenge.

    100 words
    Martha dot Bechtel @Martha.net

  25. I come awake with a scream. Or maybe this is more of the nightmare. Warm metal around my wrists.

    Big man comes into the room and growls, “Want to survive this, you’ll have to trust me.”

    I don’t fight him when he yanks me to me feet, drags me into the hall, and out into the night. We head for a midnight industrial strip, stopping beneath a dark canopy.

    “Head for the blue silo. Hold your wrists under the light. Follow the instructions.”

    An alarm shrieks, bodies flood the walkway and I run for the blue. I get to the light, shove up my sleeves and squint at my skin. CLOSE EYES. JUMP. FIND G7X3.

    No time for second-guessing. I close my eyes, squat halfway to the ground, and thrust myself upwards. When my body slams into the ground, the pain and frustration is so intense I want to cry.

    “Welcome back, Agent G6Y2,” says a soft voice beside me. “You just set a ten day flight record.”

    I open my eyes. Find myself in a surgical bay. Her face is kind but my gut knows better. My brain quickly follows. Must stay alive or G7X3 is dead, like me.

    – – – – –
    200 words / @bullishink

  26. When Michael woke up he wasn’t sure where he was anymore. The fall through had been going on for at least ten days although he felt properly awake now and fully in his body; the dream state seemed to have passed.

    He pulled himself up out of the canvas cot and stumbled to the window. It was night out there, but he had to shade his eyes against the colourful glare of a rainbow lit industrial plant opposite. Where was he? Or more importantly, when was he?

    He rubbed his face and wondered if he would survive this, so few of the others had. He knew he had to catch the Jester to get back home, but that was hard when everything kept shifting.

    He pulled on his boots to go and investigate a club he had spotted set in the wall surround the plant. Such places were perfect for his evasive friend. He’d discovered that during his last stop, which had been five days. He wondered how long he’d be here.

    But it was the falling in between that took it out of him; his body now so thin. He hoped the club had food, he was ravenous!

    199 Words

  27. We all lost something that day. Not that any of us know what day it is anymore.

    We’d been told the war was over; it was safe. Bankers went back to work. Politicians simultaneously crowed about The United Effort and whispered about renewed threat from our terrestrial neighbors. Pedestrians walked the streets with the cocky confidence that only comes with the idea of a complete victory. But they were wrong.

    I’d been walking my child. My dear Veronica. The sky went dark. I should have expected this. We still don’t even know what they are. And that damn factory glowed again in colors which would have been beautiful once, but which now signaled the end of peace.

    I awoke ten days later in the hospital. Veronica was lost to me. They’d taken her.

    It was happening again. All over the Earth that day, our children were taken.

    And every female near the factories were impregnated with Invisible Children once more.

    I was carrying another child who was my enemy.

    We had lost. But I would survive this.

    177 words/ @QuillShiv

  28. Lightning ripped the sky.
    Petyr opened his eyes.
    Thunder exploded after two heartbeats. Rain started to pour.
    Panic. Petyr started standing up. But ten days of being unconscious had drained them of energy and strength, his legs folded and Petyr fell face first. In front of him a river flowed, its murky waters delivering trash to the sea.
    “Kill him!”

    Petyr gave a shout of surprise. He turned his head around to see who shouted. He was  alone. Behind him stood a mesh gate with a sign “For demolition” and behind that loomed a factory of some sort with a tall, narrow chimney.
    Petyr tried standing up again. Images flashed in his head, a scream found its way out of his mouth.
    A knife. Blood. Red.
    “Kill you!”
    Two men.
    “…can survive this?”

    Something going down. Blinding pain. Stumbling. Swimming? Floating. Blackness.
    Petyr touched the back of his head and felt a lump. He started walking, going the opposite way the river flowed. His head was a mess but Petyr was sure of two things:
    He wasn’t a nice man,
    And he needed to find his knife.

    192 words / @jblearnstowrite

  29. His eyes opened and he tried to stand, but a wave of dizziness overcame him and forced him to sit. He saw nothing but darkness so he closed his eyes, hoping his head would stop spinning.

    “What happened?” He tried to think, but only fragments came to him. Intense heat, the sounds of metal, his brother’s face.

    “He. Will. Not. Survive. This. Let’s get out of here,” a voice had shouted.

    “Survive what? Think harder,” he said out loud. “Get out of where? What happ…the steel mill…my brother!”

    He scrambled to his feet and looked around as questions filled his mind. Did I get to my brother in time? Did the mill go up? How long have I been out? What hospital is this?

    A bright light erupted, blinding him. “Yes and no,” a deep voice boomed.

    He stood in awe of the light, shielding his eyes. “What?”

    “Yes, you did save your brother and no, the mill did not go up,” the voice responded. “You’ve been out for ten days and this is no hospital. You did well.” The voice faded and he soon realized the light came from a golden gate that opened towards him.

    197 words

  30. “I don’t remember so much… purple,” he said as she led him down the boulevard. The pipes and tubing of some sort of factory were lit up in garish colors. “How long did you say I was out?”

    “Ten days. I found you in that alley there.”

    The clothes he had on didn’t fit. And he had no idea who the woman was. He’d been trying to place her all day.

    Red hair. Tattoos. Ripped jeans and half a shirt. Nothing. No recognition at all.

    “You kept repeating, ‘survive this’,” she said.

    They stopped in a bus shelter so he could rest.

    “I don’t feel like I belong here.”

    “Maybe you do, maybe you don’t,” she replied. “Maybe you’re here for a reason.”

    “What reason?”

    Screeching tires and gunfire drowned out her answer.

    Bullets tore into him as he forced her down beneath him.

    She turned him over as the SUV peeled out.

    He was leaking sauce and already felt the chill. He tried to speak but could only whisper.

    She held his hand and leaned in to hear him.

    “This is as good a reason as any,” he said.

    199 words

  31. Title: Dead Ends

    A horrid stench burned my nose, waking me up. I blinked and rubbed my eyes. Where was I? I pushed aside a pile of God knows what that was surrounding me, disrupting the air and sending another wave of funkified at me. My stomach churned as I struggled to get up, taking in my surroundings. My legs felt weak, like I haven’t used them for awhile.

    I stumbled as I walked down a dark alley I didn’t recognize. The smell got a little better but it still lingered. A quick sniff of my ragged clothes proved that part of the smell was from me.

    How did I get here? I racked my brain trying to recall the last thing that happened before I woke up. I didn’t even know when it was … or where I was. The road that the alley was connected to was unfamiliar. It appeared to be an industrial area but where?

    I grabbed a balled up newspaper that was in a nearby trashcan and quickly unrolled it. Ten days had passed? What the hell happened? I had survived this … this something … but what was it? Where was I?

    195 Words

  32. Slowly, my eyes flicker open, then slam shut to stop the pain. I groan, trying to make sense of where I am. The smell is strange, sterile, antiseptic. A hospital? But it seems too quiet. No beeping machines, no squeak of rubber on lino as the nurses rush past. I can hear the breese outside, and the birds singing. I swallow, painfully, searching for clues. Colours, lots of colours, flashing fast, nothing staying still, the world of my memory rushing around me. A spiked drink maybe? Music all around, I feel happy, I remember singing with my friends. Th0ne, nothing.

    I give up as I hear a nurse come in. “Oh, you are awake!” and I try to turn my head to face her. What is happening? I can’t move!! The panic must show in my eyes, and she leans over into my field of vision, her kind eyes level with mine. “Try and relax, you are ok now. There was an accident, but you’ll survive this.” And then it rushes back. Pulling away from the club, the lightshow changing colours, and then the laughter gives way to twisting metal as we slam into a taxi.

    196 words

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