August 9- August 22, 2018 Flash Fiction Contest “Travel”

Theme: Travel

You take a trip to any location you choose. Describe the scenery, the people, and the social system in the city/country that you have traveled to.

Word Count: 1,200

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All stories are fall under general copyright laws. No part may be reproduced without the express consent of the respective author.

Story Submission Rules:
  1. One story per author. You may post more than one but only the first story will qualify for voting.
  2. Stories must be in English, unpublished and your own work.
  3. Stories must fit into a single comment box and must stay within the word limit set for each contest.

Voting starts Wednesday morning at 9:00am PDT / 12:00pm EST / 10:30pm IST / 5:00pm WET/GMT/ 4:00am AEDT (Thursday) and ends the same time on Thursday / 4:00am AEDT (Friday).

  • You may vote only once.
  • You cannot vote for yourself.

***the next writing prompt will be chosen by Amy Meyer per the Writing Prompt Roster.

To be included in the “writing prompt roster”, you must have submitted two stories in the last sixty days. The roster is alphabetical and can be found here.

See How to Participate for complete rules and disclaimers.

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9 thoughts on “August 9- August 22, 2018 Flash Fiction Contest “Travel”

  • August 10, 2018 at 11:17 am

    The Inexplicable Journey of Life:
    “Gimme a call once you get to Jaigaon,” my wife entreated me, looking as bewitching as ever.
    I tried to hug her. She pushed me away then.“Get aboard, you oldie. Can’t you see the guard flagging the signal?”
    Her worry had barely registered when I found myself standing on the footboard of the slow-moving Alipur-bound Kanchan Kanya Express. The flashes of lightning overhead looked ominious. I kept waving at her but soon her face got lost behind commuters running helter-skelter for God knows what.
    I stood at the door for a while before making my way back.There were daily passengers cramming the coach but they would get down nearby. I sqeezed myself in between them on the seat. A bald headed man in his late thirties, caught my attention. He asked one of them to be aware of where he kept his feet. They were gone soon and I could look around for a proper take of my co-passengers. There were two young chaps on the window seats on my left. One of them would take the upper berth later,I presumed. That left us four for the six inside berths. I stretched out my legs as scenes from the last one month started replaying in my mind. I worried for the safe return of my wife while the intermittent rain continued splashing the window panes.
    When the elderly couple was done with their dinner.I looked at the man.He was quite bulky and thick-set. He wore thick glasses and, at that point, stretched out his hand to his wife, sitting near the window on my right. The lady, surrounded by all kinds of bag and baggage,dug into a gray handbag and brought out a small bottle. She poured a few tiny balls on her palm and offered them to him.
    The train was whizzing past a sea of shadowy figures in the darkness of the night outside. After a while,I got up and asked the lady if she would mind terribly if I pulled down the bunk from the back and retired for the night. I was dead beat and slept like a log the moment I hit the middle berth.

    The first rays of the sun were hurting my eyes. I got down yawning and headed to the loo. The woman from an adjacent coach was in front carrying a wild child, throwing her arms and legs about
    When I was back I felt sorry to see the lady craning her neck out from under the bunk. To save her the discomfort, I asked her if she would like me to lower the bunk. She looked at her hand mirror, tucked the lock behind her ear before picking up her handbag and bed sheet. It was only then I noticed her strikingly good looks. I sat down beside her. Soon the bearded chap in half pants and T-shirt, climbed down from the upper berth and sat beside me. His friend by the window sprang to mind then and was found sound asleep on the upper berth opposite. The train at that moment was trooping in at NJP junction station. The young chap got off the train, came back soon holding two cups of steaming tea.
    “Hey, Dwip, get up. We’re at NJP.” His friend murmured out something incomprehensible.
    “Get up,man.I brought special tea for you.”
    When the chap realized that his friend was not interested, he imitated, “You don’t drink tea? I’ll leave it on the window sill then.”
    Some time passed while the engine of the train was being replaced at the junction. Normally, I prefer not to take tea from those bluffing vendors but I couldn’t help asking for the neglected cup. The lad gleefully offered it. Later, when I took a ten rupee note out of my purse to offer to him, he looked hesitant and discomfitured. The train started moving again and I went back to dozing off and on. Soon,it arrived at Siliguri Town. The sight of the bulky man asking for something from a stall outside, caught my eye. I felt worried. The train didn’t halt for long here. He’d find it hard to get back in the train unless he hurried. Luckily, he was back in the nick of time holding two water bottles under his arms.
    “Why did you buy two bottles. Will you never change? Always showing off.” his wife shot at him.
    “I thought you asked me for two bottles,” he replied handing one to her while sitting down.
    “Why should I do that? I ain’t nuts like you. Now where do I put the bottle when we can’t carry a thing more? Stupid.” She was pretentiously upset.
    “You’re always like that. Never satisfied. Blabbering non-stop. Had I brought one,you would’ve fussed for two.”
    I kept looking secretly from one to another,wondering about the intricacies of married life.I couldn’t tell for the life of me, who, of the two, was right.The rhythmic movement brought a temporary lull in the compartment.
    After sometime, the man called someone from his mobile. “No we’ve reached a place called (he turned to ask me the name) New Malbazar. How far is Alipur from here? No,you don’t have to send the car. We can find our way out.”
    He’d hardly hung up when his wife hissed at him,“Why did you ask them not to send the car on a horrible day like this?”
    “There’ll be auto-rickshaws outside the station. Why to trouble them unnecessarily?” he shot back.
    “It might help. Your son-in-law has some duties to his in-laws as well, doesn’t he? Tell her to send the car. We can’t look for a cab on an ill-fated day like this,” she jabbered. He took out his mobile again and started scrolling down. Despite their numerous arguments. their compatibility was for all to see. I noticed the woman tucking the water bottle in the netted bag behind.
    “God! The woman is smart. She’s leaving it like that not to overburden her husband. We can take a leaf out of their book on Understanding and Love,” I whispered.

    The train was late by an hour, so I rushed to Bhutan gate. I switched off my mobile to keep the battery going. The continuous rain made my quarter messy when I finally sneaked in at around seven in the evening. I’d a quick shower before clicking to SIM 2 as the mobile came alive in my hand. There were 34 miss calls from my wife! I called back. She was hysterical.
    “Thank God,you’re still alive,” she cried out.
    “What do you mean?”
    “Don’t you know? The train you’re travelling in was struck by lightning. Some 16 people died I stood shell-shocked, stunned by the news. As I fidgeted with the remote to get to Prime Time News on NDTV, the sight of the derailed train with local rescuers bringing out the injured, numbed me into some disbelief and stupor, as the newscaster read out about a husband whose debarred body was still covering the body of his wife underneath.
    The End.

  • August 10, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Just checking in for prompts

  • August 10, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Interesting storyRaj(?) That is what the r in rnb stands for, isn’t it? Anyway, you have lots of detail, and I must say the writing has either improved greatly, or I’m getting used to your style. But, personally, I see a big change. Some spacing problems after sentences and so on, but nothing I can’t manage, although I wish you would proofread just a tad better. If you ever get serious about writing and try to submit it somewhere, that’s a big no-no. Grammar they can edit. Sloppiness costs them time and you money.

    You took me on a journey on a train in India and I was fascinated by the closeness and apparent intimacy that was blatantly displayed by all parties. I was also fascinated by the various differences of travel there and the train travel I’ve done in the US, Europe and Australia, which were all very similar.

    This is by far the best character development you done in my humble opinion, and while you still ‘tell’ far more than you ‘show’, you’ve shown great improvement to my way of thinking. Here’s an example of tell vs show:

    He was quite bulky and thick-set. He wore thick glasses and, at that point, stretched out his hand to his wife, sitting near the window on my right. This is all tell.

    This could be fixed by showing:

    Light glistened off his thick glasses, and due to his girth, had difficulty as he stretched his hand out toward his wife, sitting neat the window on my right.

    It shows his willingness to reach out to his wife, even though it is difficult, and the sentence, ‘he wore thick glasses’ is fixed nicely by showing light glistening from them which is action, show vs tell. I may have even eliminated some of it, such as is it important where she is? Does her being on your right and by the window have anything to do with the story? I guess another question is why is she not sitting next to him? Or is it by design they sit across from each other. That may be important to your character development, too, to show that.

    Just one thing regarding the ending story. It is a classic tale, retold by you rather well, I think, but my questions are what is a debarred body and is the wife still alive? If she is, you need to relate that, (and possibly a candid line of hers regarding her ‘late’ husband); but if she’s dead (the word ‘body’ doesn’t always mean dead), we need to know that about both of them. I have to assume at this point both are dead, but if she is still alive, I think that would be a much better ending and gives meaning to the ‘love’ that was so evident in spite of their constant sniping at each other.

    All in all, rnb, I liked your story and especially like the improvement.

    • August 10, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you, Roy. Anything from you means a lot for me. The interest you have always shown in me is so heart warming.
      Yours is a long one and there are quite a lot of points for me to note down. I definitely will. But right now let me reply to you since I’ll be busy the whole day today with the essay contest to select the best five from our school.
      Firstly, the ‘r’ in rnb doesn’t stand for ‘Raj’ but Rathin which in English would mean ‘the chariot of Indra, the Hindu God’. My late parents realized right after my birth the amount of running I’d have to do my entire life in a hurry. You must have seen how I am fated to chariot my wheel in a hurry, always.
      Secondly, the story is entirely original. I came back on the 31st of last month and was fascinated by the couple in the train. I am sorry about the ending though. Initially I made them get off somewhere before me. Finally, when the word count crossed 1684, I had to delete some interesting parts which I ought not to have. Had I been a good human being, I’d have rather sacrificed myself in the story. But that would be trying to impress the reader, wouldn’t it, Roy?
      They were sitting across from each other as both of them were aged and must have got the lower berths as a result. I do like your suggestion about editing, something I have been doing for the last 30 years in the capacity of a teacher or even before that, as I worked as a sub editor for a bilingual magazine before I landed up being a teacher. I also appreciate your idea about ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’. . I’d definitely keep that in mind. To tell you honestly, Roy, I don’t know if I’ve been doing the right thing by contributing to this sight. Some 16 or 20 of us writing, doesn’t make this platform an exciting prospect, does it. But I love it as I feel there are some wonderful people like you. What I should be doing rather is write to some place for the financial aspect f it. In other words, I need to earn by writing, though I ain’t sure if I am god enough. I have never been money-crazy. But recently when my daughter got through the entrance test for the MBBS and told me she wouldn’t go for it, knowing my financial status – I was in for the shock of my life. I realized the mistake I have made all my life by not saving enough. The friend who joined on the same day as I did, has a two-storied house not far from Kolkata! I could easily write about these characters.
      Anyway, thanks for your attempt at making a better writer of me. I really appreciate that. See, I don’t even bother to edit my reply to you right now as I’d be doing that the whole day today.
      The day is slowly breaking out. I can hear the early birds chirping. It is time for me to have a peek outside at my friends – the majestic mountains. Nothing soothes my soul as the very sight of them does. It is gonna be a long day, mate. Pray for me. Love you forever.

    • August 12, 2018 at 4:47 am

      Ken, are you implying that I come across as somewhat untethered to earthbound reality?
      I’ve asked around, and it seems you may have a point …

  • August 12, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Inter dimensional


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