#WIPflash – Week 5


Welcome to #WIPflash!

Week 5


General Rules:

  • This is a Flash Fiction EXCERPT challenge. Your story should contribute to a Work in Progress (no one will come to reclaim your winner’s badge if you write a standalone tale, it’s just the principle of the thing).
  • Open: Friday 12:00pm Eastern Time.
  • Close: Saturday 5:00pm (17:00) Eastern Time.
  • Word count: minimum of 100 words, maximum of 500 words.
  • Include your word count (or be excluded from judging).
  • Post your story into the comments of this post.
  • Please include your Twitter handle or email.
  • Generally speaking, winners will be revealed Saturday night or Sunday (depending on judge’s time zone, the number and length of entries, how much sleep I’ve had, Mercury retrograde, etc.).


  • You will be provided a choice of prompts.
  • Anything in quotations ” ” must be used as given.
  • Incorporate any or all of the prompts into your excerpt/story.
  • Note which prompt(s) you chose.


  • Winner
  • Honorable Mentions (up to 3)
  • Judge


Our Judge for Week 5:

Author, founding member of the Hot Mojave Knights author/reader event, flash fiction host, and she finds time to be a wife and mom, too…


Siobhan Muir | @SiobhanMuir

Her Devoted VampireQueen Bitch


Challenge Time!

The Prompts. Do with them what you will and show us what your WIP is made of…

  1. “this just sucks”
  2. desert
  3. “no justification”
  4. an unusual winter


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


7 thoughts on “#WIPflash – Week 5

  1. The weather had worsened as the day wore on and Maia swore she’d never seen snow as deep or as constant as they’d experienced this winter. Great time to travel looking for someone. This just sucks. For all we know she could be buried out there under the drifts.

    Maia had no idea where they’d gone after they’d left the forest and started to climb. Her attention had been centered on the constant drag of her skirts through the snow and the bone-breaking chill. She only knew they’d arrived somewhere when she ran into Quinn’s snow-shrouded back.

    “Oh, sorry.” Maia raised her gaze from the unrelenting white and gaped.
    Gray veined walls of marble mirrored the cliffside, so well camouflaged she could barely make out the outline of the door. Snow flurries disguised the odd scrollwork on the portal and an eerie feeling skittered down her back as Quinn grasped the hidden latch and yanked. Despite the air of abandonment, the door swung open on silent hinges.

    “Inside, now.”

    He didn’t have to tell her twice. She trudged past him and he pulled the door shut, closing them in a deafening silence. Not even the scream of the wind cut the thick quiet. The air smelled stale and dry as if the door hadn’t been opened in unmeasured time.

    “Where are we?”

    Her voice echoed and Quinn struck a match, the hiss bouncing off the vaulted ceiling.

    “It appears to be a sepulcher.”

    Maia swallowed against bile as she took in the hideous construction before her. Skulls and limb bones of humans created a macabre chandelier and garlands around the ceiling. Four pillars topped by cherubs drew supplicants toward an altar in an alcove. A single angel stood upon a carved pedestal bearing a trumpet and a sword.

    “Gods above, this place is creepy.”

    “There’s no justification for that assessment.”

    Maia swung toward Quinn with surprise. “What do you mean ‘no justification’?” She waved at the morbid décor. “Those are human skulls. They were people once.”

    Quinn shrugged, his expression serene. “They’re dead. The soul has long fled and they’re nothing but bones. No vengeful spirits, no walking dead. Just old bones gathering dust. Quite peaceful, actually.”

    He’s lost his mind.

    He caught her look and raised his eyebrows. “Certainly better than being out in the howling wind.”

    “I’m not convinced of that.” She glanced up at the bone chandelier. “Who do you think built this place and…that?”

    “Have you done no research of this world, Princess?”

    “I’ve been a lamp, remember?”

    “And enlightenment didn’t come with it?”

    Maia stared at him and he cracked one of his rare smiles. “You know, you should be careful. If you start making more jokes, you could be in danger of becoming friendly.”

    “We wouldn’t want that.” Quinn lit a torch resting in a sconce on the wall.

    Maia huffed a laugh. “Definitely not.” Then her levity died. “Ugh. Are those rib bones on the arch?”



    495 ineligible #WIP500 words
    Prompts 1, 3, 4, and 5

  2. “Fuuuuck. My head.”

    The weak groan brought the world back to me in a rush of pain. “Welsh?”

    “The fuck you think it is?” he said.

    I considered the very cold, damp form wedged at my back.

    “Man, they clubbed you, too? Bad enough they got the drop on me.”

    “No,” I said. “They shot me.”

    “Oh. Well, that’s alright then.”

    “I’m going to chalk that sentiment up to head trauma.”

    “Okay, I get we’re in the trunk of a car. But what is that smell?” Welsh shifted, jostling me with a flurry of knees and elbows. He clipped me in the jaw hard enough to have me seeing stars in the dark and made contact with Kait. “What the hell? Aw, that’s not right. They stashed us with the girl?”

    Judging by the noise and bone jarring ups and downs, we were well off the beaten path. Definitely off the paved one.

    “This just sucks.” Welsh kept on bitching. “And how the fuck am I the little spoon in this love fest here? This shit always happens with your psychic girl, Murray. How come she never finds the missing somewhere normal? Like an estranged relative’s? Or Wal-Mart?”

    “Shut up a minute, would you?” A tension headache grew. I squirmed around, trying to free a hand. Pain shot across the right side of my body. I did my best to ignore it, grateful for the pain. It meant I was alive and Carson’s babysitters for Kait weren’t the best when it came to dispatching the opposition. It meant we’d have a fighting chance when they opened the trunk. “We need to get our shit together here. We’re gonna have one shot when this trunk opens.”

    “I’m not waiting to find out if they open it,” Welsh muttered. “They’ll probably just dump the car with us in it.”

    “Ever the optimist, partner,” I said.

    “Realist,” he said. “Told you the psychic was bad news.”

    “Riley. Her name is Riley.”

    “And you’ve had a hard on for since you met her,” he said. “Yeah, I know.”

    I didn’t bother denying the charge. “Then do me a favor,” I said. “Shut the hell up unless you’re working on a way out of here.”

    “See now,” Welsh said. “You’re monkey in the middle here. But me? I’m at the front. And I’m pretty skilled at finding my way around in the dark.”

    “I’ve heard the stories.” I groaned as the car kept bouncing along.

    “Got it.”

    “Got what?”

    “The trunk release.”

    “No shit?”

    “No shit.” I could hear Welsh’s smile. “Ready to get out of here, partner?”

    433 ineligible #WIP500 words
    Prompt 1

  3. He gave me my instructions patiently and slowly, enunciating each word like I was a foreigner or maybe a deaf person, and it made me feel like either slapping him or taking copious notes. But since I am both an old lady and a coward I did neither, and merely stood there staring at him when he’d finished, my mouth slightly agape. (Was I drooling? Goodness, I hope not.)

    “So this one,” I said, wiping my mouth and pointing to the contraption hanging awkwardly on the wall, “this one does the stairs and the drapes?”

    “No, you’re thinking of the red combo unit over there that sucks and brushes, Mrs. Mason,” said the boy, adding volume. “This grey one here, this just sucks. Think of it like a regular vacuum.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry. You probably explained that already.” I couldn’t quite tell if I was being stupid on purpose, though it’s not like I had no justification. This was my first day at my first real job since Henry died. I’d spiffied up, painted my nails Vixen Red and got lipstick to match. Don’t know why, since at this hour of the morning, it was only me and pock-faced T-Dog. I also don’t know how a 20-year-old kid could be named T-Dog, which sounds like a county fair food you’d try on a dare, or how I ended up on this uncharacteristically warm January day getting ready to clean the Shakespeare & Co. Theater Supply Shop carpets when I ought to have been home sharing coffee with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

    In the paper Shakespeare & Co. had said, “Theater Job; Early and Easy Hours; Minimum Experience Required.” Since I’d once played Tiny Tim in an all-girls school production (“Ollie McPherson’s stirring Tiny Tim brought This Reporter to tears”), I thought I might legitimately qualify for a theater job (especially as Master Kim had graciously but firmly removed me from his tae kwondo class after the last incident, and I needed a new hobby. Why not a stint on the stage?).

    But it turned out the ad meant cleaning experience, and since I’d been married to a military man and had raised two boys and a girl, in the end I offered more “experience” than anyone else and they hired me.

    But why we needed four gangly machines just for vacuuming and cleaning drapes and back corners mystified me. Was the shop’s dust as prolific as the Mojave? Ah well. I pushed the squealing grey machine across the floor, grinning and remembering my daughter’s room when she was a teen, a minor nuclear disaster zone.

    And daydreamed my way right into a stack of Alas, Poor Yoricks, Realistic Skulls For Your Every Stage Need.

    The Yoricks tumbled, one by one at first, then in a raging mob, across the floor. In surprise I tripped and crushed several into powder.

    T-Dog stared at me in disgust as the skulls rolled, and one truth blossomed: four machines weren’t going to be enough.

    All 5, because–why not?

  4. It had been later that night that the big trip up had happened. When steaming drunk Sue had talked about the last time she had slept with Steve. She had bragged about how she had just wanted to see if he would take her back one last time and he had.

    When Lizzy had asked her what she was talking about, Sue had covered her mouth and giggled, feigning embarrassment.

    “Shouldn’t have said that, should I? You were away in Ibiza at the time with your mates – you’d only been seeing him a couple of weeks and you hadn’t slept with him yet, so I thought, why not?” And Sue’s giggle turned into a full hearty laugh.

    Lizzy felt like she’d just been whacked across the face. She could no longer hear the deafening rave music in the bar, or the babble of shouted conversation from everyone around her. She could only hear Sue’s laughter, which had always had a filthy tone to it as though someone had just made a dirty joke.

    She stood looking at Sue, a sneer emerging on her face. Then Sue had said exactly the wrong thing; she’d stopped laughing and, looking at Lizzy coldly, said, “What?’

    That was it; Lizzy went for her. She grabbed Sue’s hair on either side of her head and yanked her off the stool she was sitting on. Then she continued to drag her out of the bar this way, kicking and screaming.

    Once out on the street, Lizzy had flung Sue across the bonnet of a parked car. And when she struggled back up onto her feet Lizzy had swung at her with a full fist and punched her clean across the face. The black-eye and bruised cheekbone it had left had been visible for several weeks after.

    In the end the other girls pulled her off Sue and, along with their friendship and the holiday, the fight was over. Lizzy had packed her stuff that night and gone to the airport and stayed there until their flight had left 24 hours later.

    Lizzy could still remember the satisfied sensation she’d had when she’d seen the state of Sue’s face at the boarding gate – she’d even had to stifle a smile. Sue had given her a black look, and when she’d stepped forward to speak to Lizzy the other girls had quickly flanked her, making sure there wasn’t going to be another fight before they boarded.

    Sue had had tears in her eyes when she had spoken, but all Lizzy could remember her saying was “there was no justification for what you did!” Lizzy had chosen not to respond, and in fact hadn’t spoken to Sue since.

    She had no plans on speaking to her now either, not that she would be allowed to anyway, there was no fraternising when you were a prisoner.

    Prompt 4 (worked in nicely)

    476 Words

  5. Dead Sea Games: Kidnapped

    Ellethea’s sword slashed through the air towards my face. I thrust the batons up over my head and caught the blade an inch above my hair.

    The woman across from me grimaced then growled. She whipped the blade back and then came at me. Right. Left. High. Low. She forced me backward through the room. Every attempt to strike back met with empty air. I was too far away and it was impossible to close the distance without taking a blow.

    The next slash came in and I slammed it down with what was left of my strength. The sword sparked as it hit the concrete floor and I spun inside her guard, only to find the tip of the sword against my throat.

    “Dammit!” I swore.

    Ellethea stepped back and wiped the sweat from her brow. At least I made her sweat. You have to take the small victories.

    “You’re slow on your left side and you’re too used to fighting with knives. You misjudge the striking distances, over and over again.”

    “We’ve been here for hours. Why can’t we just go over there?” I dropped the batons on the floor and walked over to the tinted windows. The stylish steel and glass modern building across the way looked abandoned.

    “Because they’re still in there,” Ellethea sheathed her sword and paced. “There’s no justification for taking unnecessary risks. Besides, sparring was your idea. I was content to sit and chat.”

    Which is exactly why I suggested sparring. Small talk with a strange—and beautiful—older woman? This just sucks.

    260 words
    Prompt 1, 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *