#MenageMonday Challenge – Week 50

It’s the countdown to the end of…

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Three prompts living under one challenge roof?

Welcome to #MenageMonday!

Week 50

*NOTE* – PLEASE READ THE RULES – If you miss a prompt, your entry will be disqualified.

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.
  • Because of the late start today, the challenge is open 12PM Monday and closes 12PM Tuesday, Eastern Time.
  • Generally speaking, the winners 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 49: Me

Unless I get some volunteers between now and the end, you’re likely stuck with me until week 52, when I definitely will have a judge. Sorry about your luck. 😉


Challenge Time!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

The Photo:

The Phrase: “tell [ ] again” (this can appear anywhere in the story)

The Judge’s Prompt: The story must include ‘breaking news’ of some kind that impacts your character(s)


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

20 thoughts on “#MenageMonday Challenge – Week 50

  1. The Here and Now

    The boy and the dog kept to the shade. He knew what would happen if he were ever caught, but the need to create…to beautify the ruins of what used to be…was greater than his fear of punishment.

    “Tell me again,” the dog’s voice was raspy in his mind. “Tell me what it used to be like in the Before.”

    “Grampa says there were trees everywhere, and grass. All kinds of nice things.”

    “I wish we lived in the Before.”

    “So do I, but if we did, you couldn’t talk to me or understand me.”

    The companions moved on to the small apartment where they lived with the boy’s grandfather. Pushing open the rusty screen door, the boy called out “Home, Grampa.”

    No answer came, but he could hear the radio. “This just in,” the announcer was saying. “The vandal that has been defiling our city has been caught. At this very moment, the Force is at his home, arresting him.”

    Eye wide, the boy stopped. He saw a large uniformed man enter the room, blood on his hands. A shot rang out, and the dog yelped, as the boy fell.

    Beauty surrounded him at last.

    200 Words {with title}

  2. I was lacing up my sneakers, ready to run out the door, when the ticker on the TV trailed: “Breaking: Dismembered body of second missing girl found near Beach Boulevard… Public advised to stay clear…” I paused, considering my options. I flicked the remote. I’d just stepped outside, about to close the door behind me, when I heard the phone ring. Only my mother called the landline. I thought about not picking up, but I knew she’d have seen the news just like I had. She’d be worried. She was getting old. Worrying was all she did, ‘cept for cutting coupons from the free papers and bitching over the fence to the old coot next door, who, lucky for him, was half-deaf anyways. “Sure, ma,” I said. “Listen – I won’t tell you again… I’m fine. Everything’s fine. Who in the heck is going to try and attack ME, for chrissakes!” I hung up and grabbed my tool-bag. This time I ran straight out before anything else could distract me. I had to get back down to the beach soon as. The third bitch was causing me problems. I was finding it much harder than usual to sever the damn head.

    200 words

  3. “Go Fish”

    It was hardly breaking news that things were all kinds of fucked-up chaos after the earthquake. Emergency services had their hands full with high-rise collapses and the utilities were trying to route power and water to the hospitals that were still standing and the other makeshift triage centers that pretty much anything bigger than a gas station turned into if the lights were on.

    The folks who could make a stand at home were holding up, after a fashion. Water, first aid supplies, ammo, spare gas, canned goods. The usual.

    But we were out of spades. Tell me again why nobody mentioned fucking shovels as part of a preparedness kit?

    You can only do so much with hearts, clubs, and diamonds.

    #124 (126 w/ title)

  4. “Dad, tell me the bridge story again.”

    I jumped from the ambulance and looked around. A boy and his dog were walking under an old bridge, graffiti marring the surfaces of collapsed buildings. Spotting the patient, I snapped into EMT mode.

    “Get back in the rig, Coby,” my partner ordered me. The patient was my husband, Jimmy.

    I shook my head, taking his pulse. “We’ve got to hurry. Start Narcan.”

    Any argument Hollister might’ve made fizzled as she realized how serious this was. Heroine was the culprit; if he didn’t die, I’d be surprised.

    “Dad didn’t die?”

    “No, but he did learn his lesson. Now, get on to school.”

    Eliza nodded, giving me a hug and a kiss before running for her teacher. I continued into Omaha, hoping work would be calm. Flipping on the radio, I caught a local news cast.

    “Breaking news: there’s been an accident on I-680 northbound. Looks like an ambulance is involved as well as—“

    The rest was drowned out by my phone. Gulping, I looked down and saw Sean calling.

    “It was Jimmy’s rig, Coby.”


    Hoping like hell my husband was all right, I sped toward Creighton. Ambulance accidents are never pretty.

    200 words

  5. New Dog, Old Tricks

    Most days, Kari didn’t regret deciding to slide off the grid into the shadowy haven L.A. offered to those with a desire for faceless anonymity.

    There was still enough cop in her to eye the rampant graffiti and know it as far more than artistic expression. It served as a territorial marker in a street lingo Kari knew well, which is why when she jogged, Pepper was along. She knew the LAPD K-9 Unit had to be pissed she’d left the job without bothering to return her partner to them. Oh, well.

    Something on the radio she wore snapped her back to the present. Another body found…tortured…sexually assaulted….anyone with information contact….it ended with the Major Case hotline number.

    Kari abandoned her run by heading for an area offering some privacy. Fishing out her phone, she hit the speed dial and waited to be routed to the detectives. She kept the call brief and her inquiry direct.
    “Tell me again, assholes. How many of these silly bitches do I have to kill before you figure out who I am and catch me? I only ask ‘cause I’m getting tired of this game and may just take my act on the road.”

    200 words @klingorengi


    “Well, Hayden, are you ready to be reasonable?” Job shoved his hands in his pockets.

    A snarl and glimmer of yellow eyes preceded the wolf’s emergence from the rubble of the ruined bridge. Job shook his head as the matted wolf circled him.

    “What are you going to do? I’m the only one who even knows who you are; let alone how to help you.”

    Hayden’s ears lay flat, though he stopped snarling.

    “You thought you could menace the prissy billionaire into changing you back? I’ll tell you again, when you involve my friends I get serious.”

    With a heavy sigh and obvious effort, the wolf managed to perk his ears up and sit in his best accommodating fashion.

    “Good,” Job wiped nervous sweat from his brow, “Now, uh… You probably haven’t been by the station, all things considered… I, well I lost the auction on the other statue.”

    Hayden was back on his feet, ears flat and fangs bared.

    “Wait! Wait! The sheik who bought the statue is showing it on his yacht tonight! We just need to sneak you on the ship, and I can change you back!”

    The shaggy wolf rolled his eyes and shook his head.

    200 words

    Not sure if I made ‘breaking’ news, but it’s my best shot.

  7. If it Bleeds, it Leads

    Murphy stood with his hands on his hips as he surveyed the sand beneath the dilapidated bridge. His K-9 buddy Ribbon stood beside him, ears up, head low. Cassie could feel the growl of the dog all the way from the parking lot.

    “Tell me again, where did they find her?”

    Det. Daniels grimaced. “She was half buried, head down, right next to the pilings.”

    “Shit. How old do you guestimate?”

    “No more than nine.”

    Cassie’s stomach rolled and she resisted the urge to vomit. “Was she one of his?”

    Daniels nodded. “She wore his brand on her right pectoral.” At that age, the girls hadn’t developed breasts yet. Sick bastard.

    “How long did the ME say she’d been there?”

    “Not long. The body hadn’t undergone much deterioration and there were no signs of nibbling. The tides move a lot of sand around here so she could get buried pretty fast.”

    Cassie almost asked more when she caught sight of the KTWT van pull up behind the ring of cop cars. “Shit.”

    “Damn, I thought we’d kept it quiet enough.”

    “Yeah, well, missing kid and body is breaking news. We really gotta get this guy.”

    “Don’t worry, Tucker. We will.”

    200 #WIP500 words (not including title)

  8. Title: Highway to Heaven

    “Tell that assfuck again that if he doesn’t show up in five minutes, I’m going to leave him here!” the captain barked as his crew ran underneath the remnants of an old highway overpass.

    His XO made a few rapid calls on his old satphone, one of the few remaining pieces of technology left after the Burn. As they reached the edge of the overpass, one of the seconds scouted ahead to look for any pockets of Burnouts -the half-crazed, mutated people that were permanently changed from the Burn.

    The XO’s tone went from stern inquiry to shock, and waved the captain back to where he was standing. He shut the satphone off and leaned against the cool concrete.

    “What? Did that fuckup manage to get lost on his way to the rendezvous point?” the captain scoffed.

    “No, he just blew up Orion.”


    “It’s destroyed! He played us, acting like an idiot, until he was able to get ahead of us and take them out. Orion was our refuel point. We don’t have enough stores to make it to Cassius.”

    “I know,” the captain said, keeping his voice low.

    “What are we going to do, Captain?”

    “I don’t know.”

    200 Words

  9. “Tell me again why we’re down here.” The taps of Stan’s cane echoed sullenly off the graffiti-ridden cement.

    “Shortcut. See? If we cut through the construction here, we should be able to rejoin the tour on the riverfront, here. If we go the long way around we’ll never catch up.” Leonard folded the map and slid it into his pocket.

    “You’re full of crap. You’re seventy-three years old. You couldn’t catch a slow-moving fart. Let’s go wait at the bus.”

    “Cram it, Stan. We wouldn’t even be here if you hadn’t needed your damn cigarettes.”

    “Shut up. Keep walking before we get mugged.”

    They walked silently through the dank shadows under the half-dismantled overpasses.

    Stan heard it first. “You hear that, Leonard? Sounds like a herd of yuppies chasing a—“

    A crowd of frantic people spilled around one of the old overpasses, yelling and running past them.

    “What’s all this now?” Stan grabbed a woman’s arm.

    “A boat hit the riverfront pedestrian bridge and it collapsed! A whole senior tour was on it—-oh, it was horrible!”

    Stan and Leonard exchanged a look.

    Then Stan snorted. “Ha, you old whiner! Now aren’t you glad I never quit smoking?”

    Meredith Smith-Lane
    199 words

  10. The jingle played and the graphics flashed across the screen as Jack Taylor’s smooth voice filled the kitchen with his trademark opening. “Good morning everyone, breaking news…”

    “Don’t cook them too long,” his son warned.

    Phil cursed under his breath after burning his fingers on the skillet. He used to love the morning. It wasn’t because of the news or Jack’s voice. Most of Jack’s lead stories were sensationalist like “Russian red pen invasion?” He missed the quiet of the house after his wife and son had left for the day. Getting his son up and ready for school was a headache.

    “Dad, I’m going to be late!”

    Phil flipped the eggs onto a plate and rushed them in front of his son.

    “Michelle, tell us again what you know,” Jack’s baritone boomed.

    “Good morning, Jack,” a female voice said. “Hundreds are feared dead as the Colston Bridge collapsed into the water a mere hour ago. A direct path to and from the airport, the bridge…”

    As the carnage appeared on the screen, the coffee mug slipped from Phil’s hand, shattering on the floor.

    “Dad, these eggs taste like rubber!” his son groaned. “When is mom coming home?”

    198 words – @hlpauff

  11. Travis jogged through the remnants of I-99, Barkly at his side. This was a daily routine for him, as he knew that exercise was vitally important for survival. Any day he could be forced to sprint ten miles or defend himself against the enemy.

    “I’m glad you’re here with me, Barkly. It seems I always tell you again and again, but without you life would really suck.”

    The mutt didn’t acknowledge the sentiments, but Travis knew their bond was mutual. They hunted together, ate together, slept together. Once Barkly had alerted him to a monster snooping around outside their makeshift sleeping quarters. Shortly thereafter Travis had stopped, just in the nick of time, Barkly from eating contaminated food.

    Life had been this way for months, ever since news broke of the alien invasion. As if one problem wasn’t enough. The aliens probably thought they’d land, kill off all of humanity, colonize. But they’d picked the absolute worst time, only weeks after the pandemic swept the world with a fury, turning ninety-nine percent of the population into mindless semi-corpses. The aliens contracted it as well.

    Every day Travis and Barkly ran, facing hellish challenges, but at least they had each other.

    200 words

  12. The sea was calm now, but not quiescent. Having won the most recent battle so thoroughly, it knew that it could wait, gathering its strength, until we forgot its power and rebuilt, and it could tell us again the folly of our ways. The sturdiest structures of man, monuments to hubris and dreams, had been no match for the tsunami, and neither had been the lies on which I’d lived my life.

    I was alone on the beach today. I had no life to rebuild, not like the rest of them. My name, my job, my feelings – all had been a myth, designed for one goal. She didn’t understand, of course. She couldn’t have understood why, when the wave was bearing down on us, my concern wasn’t for her, or for our children. Why I rushed to an abandoned factory in an old beach town, ignoring her frantic calls and texts. It wasn’t how I’d have chosen to break the news to her that she had married someone not of her world, but the Portal had to be protected, and even my magic was no match for the sea. 

    190 words

  13. It’s been five weeks of fruitless searching. It’s been five weeks of travelling across the badlands and through desolate cities. It’s been five weeks of fending off raiders and mutants and colonists. It’s been five weeks of pure hell but today everything will come to an end.

    I use my binoculars and I see him–five hundred meters in front. The boy still has his dog with him but both of them look gaunt. They might not have eaten for days. No surprise there. Food’s been harder and harder to get. I had to kill to get what little food I have in my pack.

    I get back on my motorcycle and I ride off towards the boy. I lost him once, I will not allow a second time. The boy’s turned his back from his destiny and it resulted in the near destruction of the planet. I’ve to tell him again how dangerous his running off is. There are a lot who desparately want his head chopped off. I’ve no other way but to tell him the truth. He’s the Messiah of this world and he’ll have to accept that fact. The entire planet depends on him.

    198 words

  14. Cool salty sea air filtered past them as they stood beneath the remains of the old bridge. Concrete pylons covered in graffiti lay desolate and stark against the white sandy beach. Sand swept up with the breeze, tickled the backs of their legs and they stood together in muted silence.

    The heartbreaking news she had just spoken, hung between them. Distressing words hovered, once spoken unable to be retracted.

    Like a pendulum of approaching doom, the words swung slowly as she watched for her reaction.

    The sound of sweet childish laughter drifted across them as young Rose giggled and played along the shoreline.

    “Oh Flo, tell me again. From the beginning” sighed Rose as she slowly sank to the sand.

    Tears began to flow, as she slowly recounted all they had endured to this point.

    135 words

  15. “Oh. My. God. Laura!” Lizzy came bounding into the apartment without even a knock and threw herself onto the sofa. “You will NEVER guess who I just saw!”

    “Probably not.” Laura continued to fold her clothes neatly and arrange them in piles on the coffee table.

    Lizzy sat up and leaned forward, “No, seriously! This is, like, a Stop The Presses kind of thing!” She smacked her gum and smiled.

    Laura put the shirt down and folded her hands, “Alright. What’s this breaking news?”

    Lizzy started bouncing, “Ok, I was walking Champ down by the broken overpass, you know, the one with the HUGE diamond graffiti – Oh, I want a diamond that big someday.”

    “They don’t make diamonds that big.”

    “Such a tragedy! Johnny once mentioned giving me a diamond – not the scumbag Johnny, the nice one.”

    “Please don’t tell me *again* about Johnny and the diamond! The walk? Remember?”

    “Oh, right! Anyway, this guy came up to me asking for some change. Try to guess who it was!”

    “Richard? Tommy? Jimmy? Bobby?…” With each guess Lizzy shook her head no and bit her lip. “Then who?”

    “Your dad.”

    Laura’s jaw dropped. She jumped up and ran out the door.

    200 words

  16. Estella walked her dog, Prince Harry, along the waterfront of the San Andreas Channel as it flowed past the remains of San Bernadino, where she lived. The channel ran from the Gulf of California to the San Francisco Bay. She remembered the channel’s birth. Starting with the breaking news on the radio. “Earthquakes are occurring all along the San Andreas fault. This is the big one!” The entire fault came undone, all at one time. No one had expected that.

    She liked the waterfront. The waterway was pretty. Of course, walking past the remains of the office buildings, hotels, shopping centers, and apartment buildings wasn’t so fun. Most were total losses. The graffiti artists in the area were doing their best to prettify them. But, broken, shattered concrete with rebar sticking out everywhere could only be made so pretty.

    She sighed. Looking toward the East. Toward the sunrise. Where the Apple and Yucca valleys used to be. There were now at the bottom of the channel. “So, Prince Harry. Tell me again. Why did people live in the valleys along the fault?” Prince Harry barked. And Estella walked, glad to be alive when so many others weren‘t.

    200 Words

  17. John tried to stop the memories crowding his mind as he jogged along the shoreline. He called to his dog Rufus to tell him again to leave the seagulls alone, trying to ignore them, but it didn’t work. The ruined buildings along the beach front always triggered them.

    He physically flinched at the screaming although it was only in his head, and was subjected to the images again as they played like a cinematic reel in his mind. The whole melee and panic that ensued after hearing the breaking news; how people clawed their way of the supermarket as the quake took hold; the pulling and pushing of each other, and fist fights as they tried to be the first out. People trampled underfoot; no ‘women and children’ first, no ‘help the less able’, just brutal, selfish, survival of the fittest, especially of those closest to the exit.

    He abhorred the images, especially how they left him feeling, which was glad that there hadn’t been many survivors and pleased that life was quieter now. But mostly he hated being reminded of how he’d managed to get out of there alive and having to admit his own part in it.

    199 Words

  18. “Tell me again.” Jane’s grip tightened around the tattered clothing of the small goblin that had made his way up. The moon shone done, highlighting the oily forehead. Or it could have been sweat.

    “I saw him, he was making his way to the torn down bridge, with all the graffiti. But there are some wild fae who call that territory their own. They don’t take well to strangers.”

    “How long ago did the boy leave?”

    “An hour, maybe two. He has a guard with him, a Phooka who takes the shape of a dog.”

    Jane mulled it over. “Why do you need my help when he has a Phooka?”

    “They have enchanted chains that could restrain it. The Queen says that she wants you to retrieve him personally.”

    “And why is that? She has all those guards that can handle more than I can. Why does she need me to pick up the little brat?” Jane was tired of being the errand girl. She had been promised a month off. Not even a week in and one of the Queens was going back.

    The goblin cleared his throat. “Umm…well, because this one is her son.”

    Jane stared. “Her son?”

    200 words

  19. The sky is a mottled gray back-lit by an orange haze. I’ve been holed up inside for weeks, tape covering the cracks in the windows, fabric stuffed in keyholes. I’m still breathing, though, so air must be coming in from somewhere.

    The scene is the same day in and day out, yet I still gaze through the smudged glass. Movement beneath the old collapsed E Street bridge has me staring with my mouth open. A boy and his dog amble along with a casual grace I no longer believed to be possible.

    The boy crouches down to examine something on the cracked pavement. He stuffs it into his pocket and continues on.

    I tap on the window to draw his attention, and he strolls over.

    “It’s dangerous out there!” I yell.

    He shrugs. “Breaking News, dude—it’s all over.”

    “What’s over?”



    “This is the final death rattle. May as well enjoy our last moments.”

    As if to punctuate his words, a mighty tremor shook the ground, rattling the windows in their frames.

    Steeling myself, I tore the tape off the front door and stepped outside.

    192 WIP words

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