First of all, I’m sorry the title swore at you. It and I are tired.
So here’s something I haven’t tried before.
There’s a dude out there goes by the name of Chuck Wendig. And while I haven’t read tons of his work one of his pieces was partly the inspiration behind Joes Soul so. Well if I wore hats I’d tip it towards him.
Anyways he’s got this blog right? Terrible Minds. S’not bad. I’ve been munching through a lot of his posts regarding writing and how its art and its inspiring to say the least. Then he throws down this gauntlet of a flash fiction challenge. You go to this flickr site, pick an image from a random selector and write a 1000 word max piece inspired by the pic, post it on your blog with a link to said pic and then link it to his site.
What’s the prize? Fuck knows. Is it a ploy to funnel more traffic to his site? Probably. Will it at least let people see what I can do? Doubt it but hey, it’s like artificially inseminating a cow with a turkey baster isn’t it. You’ll never know if you’re good at it till you give it a try.
So after that colourfully pointless analogy I give you.
As inspired by the image bellow.
Alone the island sat, surrounded by its brother islands who all were in turn encompassed by darkness. On occasion, between the islands, tall green grass shot from fractures in the black and reached skyward.
It was from this sky that it came. Gently it descended till it touched the hills peaks. From there it did not stop. Pressure built compressing the hills. Water flowed forth from beneath the crushing pressure. The sole landed slowly, fully compressing the island until all water held within bled onto the darkness. The sole palpated, making the new ocean recede and expand.
Suddenly, another ocean. A tsunami. Breaching the calm of the newborn waters.
Waves buffeted by waves forced water back upon the crushing creator and sprayed bits of broken leaves and mud and shit all up Abes soft soled boots.
He scowled looking at the young man next to him, the bringer of bad tides. All combat boots and black fatigues. Heavy feet with a heavy stomp to match the heavy rocks in his head.
“You ok old man? Need a rest or something?”
Abe just shook his head and looked back to the asphalt.
He crouched low and prodded at a sodden pile of leaves in front of the one he squashed with his foot moments ago. He then turned his attention to the winding path that lead up the hill. Piles of leaves clumped wetly around the decorative roadside curbing. All lichen coated and cracked from decades of neglect.
When society went to shit, nature reclaimed the land that man had abused. But it wasn’t until you visited where the rich and vain once resided that you saw what time and regrowth can do to a place.
Marcus crouched down next to the old loon trying to see what was gripping his attention so hard.
As soon as he reached the bottom Abe sprung back up, looking down at Marcus.
“C’mon kid aint no time to rest, you’re wasting daylight.” He made his way up the path, avoiding the slippery piles of leaves washed down by the rain. “Would you get your rear in gear? We gotta get to the check point or Rosco will bail on us.” He kept muttering under his breath as he walked the cracked and broken excuse for a road.
Marcus stood and gripped the stock of his assault rifle. “I swear if this crack pot didn’t know where the loot was I’d drop him right now.”
The duo reached the ‘Check point’, a rusted out Mini Cooper slowly being eaten by the earth.
Marcus dumped his pack on the roof and sat his rifle on the ground, leaning on the carcass of the car, eliciting a groan as he inspected the target. An old fashioned gated community.
The road they travelled terminated at an enormous iron double security gate, extra bars had been welded into place judging by the varying state of rust. Eight foot walls flanked the gates and run the entire perimeter.
He made silent calculations. Scaling the wall would be easy, the cracks and grass outcroppings would help. He could take out any stray animals that had snuck in from the top of the wall. Only tricky part was opening the gate for the old man and his friend. After that it was just a matter of letting them lead him to the loot, getting each one alone then putting a round in their skulls. Maybe some in Abes gut first. To say thanks for the screw around.
Abe sat shotgun in the car, rifling through the glove compartment.
“So what the intel old man? Any survivors or squatters I should know about.”
Abe sucked his teeth and kept searching.
“Where’s your buddy at anyway? I mean, I’m not complaining. Two way split sounds better to me.”
“Y’know why nobody goes after these places son?”
Marcus smirked, so it was son now? “I don’t. But I know you’re about to tell me.”
“See, fore you were pumped outta yer daddys dick, places like this was where rich and fancy folk lived. Shut away from the resta us cause they was scared of us takin their stuff. When the world turned ta shit and it came every man fer himself they got extra scared.”
Marcus kept smiling, picking up his rifle and aiming at the fence, checking through the scope. “Sounds fascinating pops. So bigger walls, more security, keeps everything safe after they die.”
Abe leaned over in his seat and started scooping up handfuls of wet leaves and dirt. “Eh, kinda. Problem is they couldn’t hire people. So they turned ta attack dogs.”
Marcus blanched. An enormous dark shape skulked past the gates. “No shit. But that was decades ago right?”
The older man begun rubbing the freshly wetted detritus all over his face and body. “Mmhm. Mind you there were a lot of em. Plus there’s plenty of meat on well fed rich folk. Sons of bitches just love the smell of old meat. And fear.”
More shapes moved behind the gate, Marcus switched the safety off on the rifle and started to make his way around the Mini. He’d made it to the trunk when Abe piped up again.
“Wouldn’t believe what a few decades of inbreedin an eatin yer own family does to a mutt. They get mighty strong and mighty mean.”
The shapes had amassed to a snarling undulating black singularity, blocking the view between the bars. Marcus rested his finger on the trigger when he heard a thump and caught the whiff of rotted meat.
“Would ya look at that, Roscos finally turned up.” Abe yanked at the lever opening the trunk of the Mini revealing a mangled body stealing Marcus’ attention. In the distance the buzz of an electric motor and squealing of metal signalled the gate opening.
The last thing Marcus saw before the jaws clamped around his face was the old man sprinting from the roadside and between the empty gates.