July’s Zeroflash Competition Entries

Link to this month’s theme

BAD RABBIT

by Blessing Abu

We finally settled down to a bowl of hot cereal and a glass of milk and I knew it was only a matter of time before they’d be at each other’s throat. I patiently waited for the moment while I enjoyed my breakfast, eyeing them from the top of my bowl. I loved breakfast on the dining table just because of these two, my twin sisters. If my parents were at the table, it doesn’t get interesting at all because they’d have to behave or be shushed before they could start something.

“Mummy, Angel’s calling me a bad rabbit”. Mimi yelled from the dinning table.  Aha! The time had come. The moment I’ve been waiting for. Before you know it Mum is rushing out of the kitchen to scold Angel. I wonder why she bothers, she should be used to them by now just like me. I’ve gotten used to their dramas, look forward to them everyday. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Angel, why would you call your sister a bad rabbit, you better apologise to her now”. Mum cautioned.

Mum, I didn’t call her a bad rabbit”, Angel defended herself. For me, I thought I heard something of that nature –bad rabbit, but I wasn’t sure.

“But she said you did”, Mum said looking from Mimi to Angel.

“She was talking and eating at the same and I told her it was a bad habit” Angel said.

Mum looked at Mimi disappointingly, “Mimi”.

Am sorry mum, I thought I heard bad rabbit” Mimi said grudgingly.

Bad habit, bad rabbit, an insult was an insult no matter how you paint it, I was going to say. Mum just stopped the fun that only just began.

Breakfast with my sisters was always like this, fun.

One of Millions

by Jack Koebnig

@koebnig

‘Gum?’

Jason turned round but this time he held his tongue. He was still reeling from his last comment regarding Cathy’s choice in clothes: note to self, he thought, Cathy’s wardrobe is out of bounds. He switched his rocket-launcher to his other shoulder. Bloody thing weighs a ton!

‘Is that a question?’ Alice asked, ‘or an offer?’

‘What do you think?’ Blake said.

OUCH! Jason thought. Someone’s playing with fire.

‘I bet he’s stopped smoking,’ Cathy said, hitching up the worn seat of her yellow and green striped shorts.

Alice stopped, her bare feet submerged in an occupied rock pool. She didn’t seem to notice or care. ‘You’ve stopped smoking?’ she said. Blake nodded. To Jason he looked like a man taking a stance against something worthwhile. ‘Today?’ A crab with huge razor sharp pincers was approaching Alice’s foot. ‘Why?’

Blake didn’t have an answer. He couldn’t say it was for health reasons that would be laughable, especially under the circumstances. He shrugged and said: ‘Just have.’

‘Well don’t come running to me when you change your mind.’ Alice stepped out of the pool, oblivious to how close she’d come to losing a toe and continued along the edge of the beach. Cathy joined her and Alice pretty much wished she hadn’t; Cathy’s shorts were giving her a headache.

‘Here,’ Jason said, handing Blake a stick of gum. Blake took it, wishing it was a cigarette, stuffed it into his pocket and followed.

‘You know,’ Jason said, once they’d reached the spaceship they’d managed to shoot down, ‘we did get one.’

No one answered.

There were no words.

They were standing, side by side, inhaling the salt scented air, watching the blue sky turn black with the arrival of the alien invasion.

Goat Girl

                                                              by Brenda Anderson

On Christmas Eve, eager gift-givers sat down to wrap their purchases but found the boxes empty, the presents vanished. Worse, whole chunks of the universe had vanished, too.

Astronomers studied their readouts and found, to their horror, unmistakable teeth marks. “Only the Cosmic Goat leaves gaps like that. It’s gobbling everything up! Even regular goats are unstoppable. This is a disaster!”

They called in a goat expert, who assessed the evidence and turned pale. “I swear, this is Juba’s MO. That girl’s a monster. The local Day Care let her show the kiddies her goats. They ate everything in sight and started on the kiddies, before the staff intervened. We’ve locked her up.”

An investigator tracked Juba down and found her at work on the prison farm. He posed a question.

Juba listened carefully. “And in return for ridding the universe of this … goat, you’ll give me, what?”

“Your freedom.”

Juba nodded and found a place where no-one could eavesdrop or make any recordings. “OK, Daddy,” she cried, looking heavenwards. “Spit it out.”

“What? Why?” Her father’s voice sounded somber, remote.

“Because I’ve cut a deal.”

Her father sighed. “Fine, Juba. Just for you.” He spat out galaxies and star systems.

“And the rest,” said Juba. “Come on, give ‘em back their Christmases.”

A hailstorm of goods, baubles and tinsel covered Earth.

The Cosmic Goat coughed, politely. “And in return, I get what?”

“The constellation Capricorn, aka the Goat. Some might say it’s yours anyway. Enjoy.”

“I’ll do that. Leave me alone, now,” said her father.

Juba sighed. She’d better hit the road, and fast. Which corner of the known universe could she flee to? It would take a while for her father to consume Capricornus but she knew one thing.

Daddy would be back.

The Manse

by Hannah Clark

The theme was ‘Romance in the Manse.’ A tongue in cheek nod to the gentle hedonism of the whist players of the Heath Club.

The quince had been jellied. The ice crushed and divided, with herbs in one bowl and sweet almond essence in another. Gin floats delicately infused with rhubarb. Cheese warmed to the very temperature recommended and pumpkin-seeded flatbreads fanned out with aplomb on textured turquoise platters.

Yet as the party dissolved into tugged lips, lifted hems and frequent starbursts of oblivion, it dawned on Marcella that effort had been misplaced and her vast energy required redistribution. Sweat beaded the silk wallpaper. Hair pins scattered ancient floorboards. Fingers gripped the fringed edges of settees. The house breathed it all in.

In the morning, nestled amongst the drapes like bleary lovers, stained glasses with lipstick around the rims idled. The bathroom harboured quince smeared napkins and the occasional tooth printed cheese rind. The garden … Marcella did not dare look too long at the garden for what latex signs of rash decision-making and merriment she might find atop the Nordic mulch, and which if any might belong to her. There would be small terrors amongst the roses for sure.

The house had once again had its way.

The Beginning of the End

by Jody Kish

Dinosaurs were first. It lay dormant until the asteroid released It’s magnificent power over the creatures. Few living things survived. It had died off, only to become a stronger strain, morphed into an indestructible force—resting—and waiting, until ready to consume again.

It began again in a small Texas town; an insignificant asteroid barely noticed crashing into the barren land. No one could be prepared for what the virus was about to unleash. Humans were afraid of aliens from another planet, but It annihilated the aliens quickly, and now humans were on It’s mission of destruction.

Carried on the breeze, It eventually found It’s first victim. It snuck into a tear duct of the innocent man. Itching became scratching. Scratching became screaming and tearing of flesh, bloodied and crazed by the virus, he dropped to a heap on the dusty expanse—a torturous death of intestines exploding from his mouth, blood oozing out of each pore, until all that was left was a fly ridden lump of organs spewed on the desert floor. Even the flies succumbed to It’s power. The virus—a rolling force of death—each person meeting the same agonizing fate.

In a week, one became two; two became 2,000. Soon, Earth would become a blank canvas painted in blood and entrails to create It’s new world, again.

A crimson hue enveloped the dying expanse, as It spread quickly on the air breathed in by every living thing. It’s objective was survival, long after the last human dropped to their knees. Tainted drinking water, lakes, creeks; all became an incubator. Even the air was inevitably poisoned with It’s spores.

Another cleansing—only this time, humans were becoming extinct.

Do you have an itch? Do you feel It creeping under your skin?

It’s coming. You’re next.

The Opposite of Wonderland

by Mileva Anastasiadou

I went to greet the rabbit when it first appeared. It looked white and pure and decent. Only it wasn’t decent at all. It didn’t stay white for long either; it turned red the moment I offered my hand to properly introduce myself. Instead of shaking it, the rabbit ate my middle finger.

“You’re not Alice,” he said in a voice that sounded too hoarse for a rabbit. Not that I know how a rabbit’s voice sounds like. Obviously, rabbits don’t speak at all.

“This is not Wonderland either,” he mumbled.

I nodded. Wonderland was supposed to be underground somewhere and I could still see the sun.

“Are you all right?” my drug mate asked me. My hand was bleeding. It hurt bad too. Then again, it was the drugs, right? I was hallucinating. Or so I thought.

“You’re bleeding,” he cried and started to run around. He should have fetched me a bandage or something, yet I knew he wasn’t the useful kind of person, or the calm kind.

I wasn’t either. The rabbit looked at me in the eye, grinning, as if asking:

“Another fairytale gone bad?”

He stormed onto me, getting redder by the minute, biting my hands. I threw that red mass off me, yet I had only two fingers left by then. That rabbit was about to eat me alive. I had to run.

I ran and ran, until the sea. Rabbits can’t swim, right?

“Rabbits can’t speak either, you fool,” he said before grabbing my arm.

A life lesson indeed; that was the last time I relied on preconceptions. That was the last time I saw the rabbit. Or better, that’s the last thing I remember before he ate my eyes and then moved his teeth deeper into my brain.

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