Race the Date #5

 

26 Hours | 300 Words | 1 Globetrotting Prompt

 

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Please welcome our judge, writer and Flash!Friday hostess (who is celebrating her one year “flashversary” this week) with the mostest, Rebekah Postupak:

Rebekah

 

About Race the Date:

  • The challenge runs for 26 hours, from 0500 EST on Monday until 0700 EST on Tuesday.

  • Prompts are inspired by the different time zones.

  • Minimum word count is 100 words, maximum is 300 words.

  • Include your word count (mandatory) and Twitter handle (recommended).

  • Generally speaking, a winners blog will be posted by Wednesday evening (EST).

  • Race the Date awards an overall Winner and up to three Honorable Mentions.

 

 

Why 26 hours? Barring daylights savings time tomfoolery, the challenge is set to begin when UTC+14 (the first time zone to roll into any given day) begins a new day and ends when the last time zone, UTC-12, begins that same date.

This week’s globetrotting prompt is inspired by UTC+10:

Yakutsk, the coldest city on Earth, is located in UTC+10. The record low? -64.4 °C (-83.9 °F).

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The Prompt: Ice age, hell freezes over, whatever; your story must prominently feature something seriously cold

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Post your story in the comments below. The clock is ticking. Good writing and good luck!

21 thoughts on “Race the Date #5

  1. Lenora ranged ahead of us, the norm when she tracked. We’d learned to stay a short distance behind her when she’d started tracking a rogue black bear one day and ended up following one of us instead. She said we messed up her internal sensors. I had my theories on why, but whatever worked. And this always worked.

    But watching her today… something was off.

    “You okay, Len?”

    “Fine. Just—is it chilly to anyone else?”

    “Chilly?” Mitchell snorted. “It’s ninety in the shade. My sweat is sweating.”

    “Weird ass trail. Why the hell is it cold?” Len didn’t mean for us to hear her us now. Not that she meant for us not to, so much as she spoke to herself. “I’m chasing aboni—abomba—big, cold, things. You’re sweaty. I’m cold. Never gonna get warm.”

    “What the hell?” I glanced between my teammates.

    Diaz shrugged and Mitchell shook their heads.

    “This is Florida, not Yakutsk.” Len fumbled her rifle, barely catching the strap before it hit the ground.

    I pointed at Diaz and he picked up his pace to catch up to Len.

    “Tongue’s fuzzy.” She kept on going. “‘m I drunk? Don’ ‘member drinkin’.”

    “You lose the trail, Len?” I asked.

    “No. It’s close.” She mumbled something more. It sounded like “I think” but her words slurred. A visible shiver racked her frame.

    Diaz got within two feet of her and jerked back.

    “She’s freezing.” Eyes wide, he turned my way. “What the hell is this? I can feel it from here.”

    I raced the twenty feet to them, grabbing Len by the arms. Touching her felt like plunging into ice water. The shock raced up my arms and I let go with a gasp, shaking my stinging hands.

    “You burn,” she whimpered. “Why do you burn?”

    @caramichaels
    300 WIP-ish words

  2. Cold
    300 words
    @Donnellanjacki

    “Are you cold?” he asks, and I shake my frozen head, because no-one else seems to be, and I’m probably the one who’s best dressed for this hike. “No, I’m really not!”

    I sense him watching me, and add a dash of cool heroine to my stride.

    “Are you cold?” he asks, putting a protective arm around the pale gooseflesh that thrills between my veil and the rim of my bodice. A strapless dress was a brave choice for a winter wedding but when I saw it, I knew I had to have it.

    I blush, and glow.

    “Are you cold?” he asks, starting to pull the sheets up, flinching with shock as I kick them off and yell, “No of course I’m not cold you damn frickin’ idiot, just get the hell away from me!”

    I see the midwife flip him a sympathetic grin as she gently wipes the sweat from my brow.

    “Aren’t you cold?” he asks, as she leaves the house swathed lightly in heels and straps and tight denim. I laugh and tell him that’s what they’re wearing these days, as I slip a scarf into her bag under rolling gold-frosted eyes, and kiss her goodbye.

    “Are you cold?” he asks, but before I need answer Tommy shouts “I’ll get the blanky, Grandpa!” and he comes and snuggles with us by the fire, and we wait for his mom and dad to arrive back frosted from their day on the slopes.

    “Cold,” some of them think, the ones that quickly withdraw their hands as if they’ve touched something hot. His hand does not withdraw, but stays and rests on mine, and his eyes flicker and shine like candle flames in the chill chapel shadows. And he’s smiling, warmly, and he’s whispering, gently: “No. You’re really not.”

  3. It started slowly, the freezing over of hell. The temperature dropped from a balmy 250 degrees in level one to a frigid zero in the span of a few hours. The temperature in level ten had hit zero by the end of the day. Satan stalked to the control room, pitch fork frozen to his hand. Clad in only a pair of boxers decorated with race cars, his teeth chattered, goose bumps blossomed on his pale skin. Icicles hung from his carefully groomed and sharpened horns.

    His hooves skidded on the ice and he hit the ground, pitch fork ripping painfully from his hand as a bruise the size of the pearly gates blossomed on his bottom. He bit his lower lip, sucking in a deep breath. Pain coursed through his lower half, curling his toes. He gingerly stood, holding the wall to continue his walk to the control room.

    “Oh this is getting out of hand,” he muttered to himself. His eyes watered as his bruised bottom once again tangled with its icy foe. “I give up.”

    The cold seeped through the thin fabric of his race car boxers, caressing his bruised butt with pain relief. He carefully slid along the ice, his hooves finally kicking open the door to the thankfully warm control room. He pulled himself to his full height.

    “Who the heavens turned off the climate control!?”

    Two fallen angels startled, wings fluttering. Shaking hands flew over controls, pale faces dripped with sweat. Finally, two pairs of blue eyes looked up, blinking.

    “I believe it was your wife, sir. She was having hot flashes.”

    Shaking his head, Satan stalked from the room, cursing his wife when his sore, bruised butt collided with the frigid walkway once again. Oh, she was going to pay for this!

    299 words
    @Aightball

  4. Tamzin flexed her fingers. The blue tinge wouldn’t go away. Any mirrors in the keep were covered up in her wing and she could hear the wind blowing as the shutters were left open. Anyone who would want to come visit her would bundle up in heavy leathers and thick furs.

    She sneered, kicking at a frosted chair. They always spoke of true love saving a person. How the prince would save the princess in distress.

    Well, screw that. The princes were too afraid to get close to her. The last one who had been there only got a little frostbite. It wasn’t like he needed that finger anyway. He wasn’t a warrior.

    “Useless, they are all useless.”

    Her parents wished she would disappear, lavishing their attention on her younger sisters, no one could figure out the solution to her curse. And they shoved her into an unforgotten wing so they didn’t have to deal with her.

    The more she thought about it, the more it made her angry. She picked up a tray and whipped it against the wall, where it broke into brittle pieces of metal. If there wasn’t anyone who would save her, it was time to save herself.

    She pulled off the stiffened dress that was covering up the pair of dragonskin leathers she was wearing. It was the only clothing that hadn’t stiffened from the cold. The first place she was going to look was in the frozen hills of the dragons to the west.

    Time for this princess to do her own rescuing.

    259 words
    @solimond

  5. Joshua pulled up his hood, the balaclava not as effective without it. His GPS told him it wasn’t far now. He pondered how it still worked, but then the satellites were up there weren’t they, oblivious to the ice age going on down here.

    The familiar beeping sound echoed out in the icy desert, Joshua pulled the shovel off the sled and started digging until he heard a loud thwang. He fell to his knees and used the tip of the shovel to tap on the metal. Then he listened. Nothing. He dug it out some more until he could stand on it and jumped up and down. The roof gave a little, but he knew it wouldn’t break.

    Then he heard it; a shuffling, and a muffled voice. He cupped his hands round his mouth and put it against the surface. “Hello in there.”

    A feint, “Hello” came back.

    “Which ways up, man?”

    He heard a tapping on the underside that then ran off in front of him, and followed it at a loping run. He dug where it stopped, revealing a wheel. It started turning until it popped and a voice called, “Quick!”

    He dropped down into the hull of the submarine and embraced Charlie, who said, “I knew those prep trips up to the North Pole would pay off. Did you find it?”

    Joshua nodded and pulled it out of his pocket. It looked lifeless and shrivelled, but Charlie took it and rushed off. Joshua pulled his coat off and followed Charlie to their bio garden in the tail, and watched him planted it in a little pot under a heat lamp.

    “How long do you reckon?”

    “A couple of weeks. Man, it’ll be good to get stoned again!”

    Joshua laughed and gave him a high five.

    300 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

  6. The longest winter

    “Woe, woe the great city of Babylon. For in this hour your judgment has come.”
    “It’s not how it goes.”

    The trench coated man looked at his companion, a white haired tall man in a long black coat, grey scarf wrapped around his neck. He was clicking his lighter repeatedly, but the flame refused to burn and the cigarette fell from his lips. They stood on the verge of civilization and the back alleys of a blurry downtown shithole.

    “Have you ever read the Bible?”
    “Not really sir, no.”
    The older man stepped forward, lifting a yellow police line.
    “You might wanna skip it.”

    Red and blue dispersed on the vague snow cover that still crawled on the pavement in the alley leading to a small park.
    The wooden fence was kicked down and in the midst of all a half-dressed body laid.
    The Inspector knelt.

    “I’ve never seen anything like this” said his partner.
    “Mm, neither have I.”

    The girl’s lips were sealed with ice, and so were her hands; ice cobwebs sealing her skin with the concrete. Her entire body was a translucent color, a pale blue covered with a thin layer of ice. Like in a cocoon. The Inspector removed his glove, his fingers tracing the contours of the girls face. She was cold, so very cold. Her last expression preserved perfectly under the frozen mask.

    The Inspector stared across the dark park, and a distant freezing breeze responded back. It made him shiver. A door had cracked open somewhere very far away, and a chill ran loose, ice-skating inbetween worlds, blowing death kisses, making chaos. The winds howled stronger and the night became colder. The old Inspector turned his collar to the cold storm approaching. It was going to be the longest winter.

    300 words
    @Raptamei

  7. Lily dug as fast as her arms would allow, shoveling great drifts of snow behind her. The hikers she and her partner Randy had come to rescue stayed out of the way. Everyone wore exhaustion and fear wrapped around them like moth-eaten blankets.

    “Have you radioed in?” Her breath plumed in the snowy air before her.

    “Yeah, but I lose signal about half way through.” Randy shoved the radio into his back and bent to help her dig the snow fort. “They know we’re not coming in tonight, but they can’t send out the helicopter in this storm.”

    “Did you give them our position?”

    He shook his head with a grimace. “That’s when the signal cut out every time.” He glanced over his shoulder at the huddled hikers. “How long do you think this storm will last?”

    Ever since her boyfriend Zach Snow had rescued her from a similar storm over a year ago, Lily had an uncanny storm sense. Too bad it worked too late today. She scanned the flake-filled landscape and took a deep breath through her nose. Scents of Ice Demons, dank ice and fresh snow, having some sort of spring fling filled her awareness. She bit her lip. More than likely they were only just getting revved up.

    “This one’s going to be bad. Three days at least.” She dug harder. “And we’re going to have a ton of snow dumped on us.”

    Randy swore under his breath. “Then we better get this tent up and the stove running. Do we have enough fuel for three days?”

    “Let’s hope so.” She prayed they did. If not, they’re going to find five frozen bodies in the tent. Not the way she envisioned her first season as Search and Rescue. I wish Zach was here.

    297 WIP words
    @SiobhanMuir

  8. I pried open the blankets covering the windows and shivered at the sight of the frost on the glass. It hadn’t gotten above freezing out there in more years than I could remember, and houses in New Orleans weren’t built for eternal winter. I’d done the best I could, but it was a losing battle. The only thing that had kept me alive was that the war had killed so many people that those of us were still left had access to a seemingly endless supply of frozen goods. But it was colder this year than last, and the cloud of fallout wasn’t getting any thinner.

    Scraping off the frost, I caught sight of what had been making the noise that drew me to the window. Wading through the waist-deep snow was a young woman, not nearly dressed warmly enough for the weather, carrying a screaming child in her arms. They weren’t going to get much further if they didn’t get inside, and there weren’t any houses with anything resembling heat other than mine in the neighborhood. I stood as still as I could, afraid that any movement might draw her attention.

    The light was fading, but it was still bright enough to see her drop to her knees, and then fall over. The child she had been carrying feel into a drift, and it was too small to get up. I could still hear its cries, although they were thin and reedy in the wind. There was no movement from the snow, and by the time it was fully dark, the street was silent again. I’d go outside tomorrow and retrieve their bodies. It was getting so hard to find food.

    282 words
    @drmagoo

  9. Hypothesis

    “You know, in some cultures they cut off your hand for stealing.” Daniel paced up and down the rows of incubators and centrifuges. During the day, as many as thirty investigators might be working in the lab at any given time, but now it was deserted, and Daniel’s voice echoed off white boards and epoxy resin countertops making it impossible to tell exactly where he was.

    Richard’s irresistible cobalt eyes ricocheted inside their bony sockets like a pair of tandem pinballs. They were the only things he could move. His wrists and ankles were securely fastened to his chair with zip ties, and his mouth was stuffed with filter paper and secured with several strips of rainbow lab tape.

    “But you didn’t steal with your hands. Did you, Richard?” Daniel stepped from behind a tower of deionized water. He wore a face shield, safety goggles and insulated gloves. In one hand he carried a coffee-can sized container labeled LN2, in the other a glass pipette.

    “No,” Daniel said, “You seduced my lab assistant with greedy eyes that lapped up my research proposals when her back was turned.” He set the container on the counter; the lower half had sprouted a lawn of frost.

    “I don’t think losing your hand would do much to stop you from stealing again.” Daniel removed the lid; frigid fog boiled over the edges. He placed the pipette into the container and drew up 6 ml of clear, bubbling fluid. Richard’s eyes bulged like rubber stops under high pressure.

    “But I suspect a few drops of liquid nitrogen on those icy blue peepers might just do the trick.” Daniel peeled back Richard’s eyelids and positioned the pipette above the first writhing globe.

    “As we are both men of science, let’s test that hypothesis. Shall we?”

    300 words
    @LadyHazmat

  10. Infernal Inspiration (A Comedy)
    294 Words
    @GordonBWhite

    The Poet came home a little late, very drunk, and a with a moderate amount of some woman’s lipstick on his cap and collar. He tried to play it cool, but the woman who’d been waiting for him would have none.

    “You treacherous bastard!” With a grand sweep of her arm, she cleared the table to the crash of earthenware and spaghetti puttanesca.

    “Wait a second, Bee, I just, you see.” But her fiery hair was already burning out the doorway, into the chilly evening and the pale marble alleys of Florence.

    “Damn it,” he said, staring at the red sauce all over the carpet. “Damn me.” The spray had even reached his bookshelf.
    He was also out of wine.

    The Poet waited until he was no longer drunk, just tired, but she didn’t come home that night. After the cathedral bells, he gave up and crawled into his lonely bed.

    He didn’t even bother to build a fire that night. “For my sins, I don’t deserve a flame,” the Poet sighed. “Cold hearts should freeze to preserve their shame.”

    Covers to the chin, he convinced himself that he could see his breath forming like little clouds over the Cupola that his stomach made. The night was unbearably chilly. Without her, the sheets were like ice. A rigid, frigid prison.

    He wiggled his stiff little toes. One of them, he was sure, had fallen off with the cold, leaving just nine.

    He closed his eyes.

    “Oh, a woe is mine that none can quell,” he muttered. “Poor traitorous Dante, colder than hell.”

    His eyes sprung open.

    Thrashing out from under the blankets, he grabbed his quill and (actual) mole-skin (from the tannery) from the bedside table. Almost like divine inspiration, his poem began to flow.

  11. Naked Ice
    293 words
    @CharlesWShort

    Jack worked for a small water company up in the mountains. Checking a pump house at 13000 feet, he left the truck running, the temperature outside was about thirty below.

    As he approached the building he heard a boom. He looked up in time to see the roof blown back and a strong stream of water from a burst pipe shooting into the air. He ran for the building and shut down the pumps, but he had gotten soaked. He must get back to the heat of his truck.

    His clothes were frozen stiff, and he was shivering so badly he could barely walk. He had to slog through the slush of the water spill. When he tried opening the door he found the water had frozen it solid.

    The passenger door might be unlocked. He prayed it was and he thanked God when the door swung open. He struggled in and lay exhausted on the seat. Wanting to take a nap, he closed his eyes, but then jerked them open realizing he was slipping into hypothermia. The frozen layers were still working against him.

    He worked off the coat. It seemed to be a hundred pounds with all the ice, then the shirt, the jeans. A few minutes later he was nude and finally feeling warmth from the air around him. He felt silly, but was glad to be alive.

    It took twenty minutes for his clothes to thaw, although they were still soaked. If he had left them on he would have died. Before getting on the highway again he put on a single layer, wrung out as much as possible.

    He couldn’t wait for Jenny to ask how his day had gone. Today, he had quite a story to tell.

  12. The Smooth Valley
    (208 words)
    @zevonesque

    John has been met by silence, his words just left to hang there. No-one will tell him what’s in the valley. It’s shown on the map as almost blank, a little topography, but the aerial photographs show an isolated valley with mysterious buildings and great mounds of earth. John decides he needs to go and see it for himself.

    The car is packed – along with John there’s the driver, a man from the state owned company, a man from a ministry and two men who never speak and who haven’t been introduced. Outside the car there’s nothing for John to see – to judge where they are, or how fast they’re getting there. The cassette machine is broken, so the only sounds are the struggling heating fans and of the snow sloughing into the windows. It’s -40C outside and there’s an almost complete white out, but the blue sky above shows John that this is old snow – dry snow that has lain for months – the steppe winds are whipping the drifts in a reworked snowstorm as the sun shines just metres above.

    There is no topography today, it appears like icing on a cake. The valley – the men in the car – protected by the season.

  13. Ice Fishing
    @vb holmes
    298 words

    Harry used a walking stick once he stepped onto the frozen lake. An old man, he didn’t want to slip and break a hip. He touched the cell phone in his pocket and thought about the old days; back when he and the boys would meet at the rickety fishing shack they froze into the ice each year. It was a two-holer: he and Dutch shared one hole; Fritz and Tony, the other. There was always plenty of beer; baloney and cheese on rye, and Twinkies.

    Boy, it got cold sitting there waiting for a bite.

    He remembered the day Tony snagged a fifteen-pounder. They celebrated ’til two in the morning, lost the fish and caught hell when they got home.

    Harry’s boys set up the shed this year. He opened the door and readied his gear. No more sitting on ice-cold benches; he had a rocking chair now, and a down quilt. His son-in-law cut the solitary hole. The ultimate concession to old age was two heated bun warmers; one for his backside, the other for his feet. He was glad the boys couldn’t see him now.

    Man, he missed the old days.

    Harry tossed aside the comforter and heated cushions and felt the cold work its way into his feet, up his legs, through his torso and down his arms. He removed his gloves and marveled at how quickly his fingers began to tingle and fall numb.

    Yes, he really did miss the old days. But he wasn’t ready to give up the present. He retrieved the hot seats, wound the quilt around his legs and mentally toasted the boys with a beer. Can’t chance any booze these days; might break something on the way back to the car.

    Especially if he’s carrying a fifteen-pounder.

  14. Race the Date is now closed. Thank you all for writing and making week five a success. Stay tuned for the winners post and I’ll hope to see you all next week!

    1. Thank you for hosting this… I tried to come up with something, but when I got home all I wanted to do was sleep.

      I’m going to blame NaNo! Hope to have something for you next week

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