February 2- February 15, 2017 Flash Fiction Contest “Sequels”

This post is for STORIES related to the Contest theme: “Sequels.”

The link to the LinkedIn Comment Thread can be found here.


This post is for STORIES related to the Contest theme: “Sequels”.

Requirements:
Based on the winner of the last contest, “Dreamcatcher (Here is a link to the story). Write the next chapter of that winning story. Can be any genre, as long as it carries on the story.
Limit: 1000 words.

 

Critiques, comments and feedback are encouraged on the LinkedIn Comment Thread; non story comments here will be deleted.

The point of these friendly contests is to hone our craft and create successful stories within a predefined set of limitations. There is no monetary compensation.

Please Note: comments may be considered “published” in regards to other contest requirements.

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 Stories must be in English, unpublished and your own work.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 also must be within the required word count  of 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 Ken Cartisano 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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6 thoughts on “February 2- February 15, 2017 Flash Fiction Contest “Sequels”

  • February 10, 2017 at 9:47 pm
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    THE RETURN

    The screams were mine now; “It’s coming!” Jack had said. And it was my fault. My screams cut through the night like shards of glass on fine black silk. It would be here soon.

    “Gail! Gail!”

    Jack’s voice – desperate but at the same time reassuring; it meant he was alive. I stopped screaming, but my body was shaking. I tried to stop it but it was shaking out of control. And there was a pressure on my upper arms, hurting like crazy.

    “Gail! Gail! Wake up, for God’s sake!”

    I opened my eyes. Jack was kneeling astride me on the bed, gripping my arms.

    “Gail! Oh my goodness. Thank God! What … what in hell’s name were you dreaming?!”

    “Jack? Where– “

    I pushed him off me and raised myself up on my elbows. A surge of light and warmth entered me: our bedroom, on a beautiful sunny morning.

    “Jack! Oh my darling!”

    I grabbed him and he got the longest and most heart-felt hug I’d ever given him. He hugged me back and we spent precious moments intertwined, both brimming with relief.

    Over breakfast I explained the dream, and Jack listened intently; he was always a good listener, but I was especially thankful for it that morning. When I’d finished, he left it a minute or so before he spoke.

    “But it’s true – you do have a dreamcatcher pendant, don’t you?”

    And it hit me; yes, I had bought one, just the day before. I rushed upstairs and retrieved it from the bedside cabinet. I brought it down and we inspected it on the kitchen table. It looked innocuous enough, but I somehow felt its power – a kind of vibration through the wood of the table. Jack felt it too.

    “You know, Gail. I’m not a superstitious guy, but you’ve got to take that back where you bought it from.”

    “It was a flea market. It’s only on every Sunday.”

    “Well, we can’t wait till next Sunday. Who was it that sold it to you?”

    The stall had had a name above it, and I racked my brains to remember.

    “Gorse! It was a man called Gorse! From Needle Valley!”

    Jack turned on his lap-top and googled the name.

    “He’s got a store down there, look.”

    There was a photo of the man who owned the store, and sure enough – it was the guy who’d sold me the dreamcatcher.

    Jack already had his jacket on and had grabbed the car keys.

    “Let’s go!”

    On the way there, Jack turned to me.

    “Have you ever seen ‘Night of the Demon’?”

    “No, I don’t think so. Why?”

    “A man – Dana Andrews – receives an evil spell from a guy and he’s chased by a demon. The only way he can save himself is to give the spell back … but the guy has to take it voluntarily or it won’t work.”

    “So?”

    “So what if this Gorse guy doesn’t want to take the dreamcatcher back?”

    “I hadn’t thought of that. What can we do?”

    “Well, put your sunglasses on … and my baseball cap.”

    When we got to the store, Jack stayed in the car. I went in – in the disguise Jack had suggested. I could see that Gorse was behind the counter, serving a customer. I picked up a leather bookmark and took it to the counter. When Gorse was free, he said good morning to me – there was no recognition – and rang the bookmark up. I handed him a ten-dollar bill, folded. He took it from me … and as soon as he did, he felt what was inside the fold, opened the bill and saw it.

    He dropped it on the counter and backed away.

    “No! No!”

    I turned and hurried out of the store without looking round. As we drove off, Gorse burst out of the door and was shouting something. It sounded like “Not good”, or “No good”.

    “That’s right!” I thought. “It’s not good for you, and I’m sorry, but you passed that thing on to me and so I’m only reciprocating. May God have mercy on you.”

    We didn’t stick around to converse with him but sped out of the town, and Jack didn’t take his foot off the gas until we were several miles away. It was a lovely drive back. We stopped off for dinner on the way – candlelit, very romantic – and then we were home. Our bedroom, which had been the scene of horrors that morning, was now a haven of welcome gentleness, and our love-making reflected the mood.

    Afterwards, wrapped in Jack’s arms, I drifted into sublime, healing sleep. At least that’s how it was until a shrill scream tore through the night. Not a cry of joy and merriment …

    .

    Reply
  • February 11, 2017 at 7:51 am
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    Vicissitude

    “And now it’s yours.”

    Jack’s words float around me like the rolling mist that has hunted us down night after night. I look down at the dreamcatcher necklace on the floor, dried mud starting to flake from the fine thread, specks of gold starting to shine through the brown.

    I snap my head up as a moment of realisation hit me. It was like all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fitting together, although the picture wasn’t of a quaint countryside filled with white and yellow flowers. It was dark, and cold, and threatening.

    Jake knelt at my side, pushing strands of loose hair over my ear and eyeing me curiously. “What is it?” he whispers.

    A breath catches in my throat. “We’ve been here before,” I say softly.

    “What are you talking about?”

    I stare off into the distance, through the opening of the cubicle to the far end of the hallway, to a door with large letters printed on it. “I remember,” I start. “We came here because the lights keep us safe because they keep the dark away. I remember a howl …” I look into his eyes. A single tear rolls down my cheek. “Oh god, we’re going to die. Every time, we die!” I bury my head into Jack’s shoulder, the weight of impending execution too much for me to bare.

    A howl pierces the air. The Bog Dog’s call so menacingly clear I could feel their hot breath on my neck.

    “They’re coming,” I hiss, “They’ll find us.”

    Jack fought my grasp as he repositions himself to the window.

    “What are you doing?” I say frantically. “They’ll see you?”

    Jack holds a finger to his lips, gripped the ledge and pulled himself up. The world outside, bathed in neon yellow from the business sign, was still, the last shriek of terror having dissipated into the night many minutes ago.

    “You said we were safe in the light.”

    “Yes,” I say, searching my memory as if a movie was playing out in front of my eyes. “But then … but then the light goes out.”

    There was a loud click and the world outside the window goes dark, the blackness swallowing the soft hue in a moment that left Jack blinking. He stares at his reflection and then squints.

    “Wait,” he says, holding out a hand. “I think I see something.”

    Suddenly, two large Bog Dogs jump up at the window. With paws the size of a human head, they flash their sharp, long teeth. Saliva flew as they try to ravage on our souls. They bark and growl, sending a guttural roar into the room.

    Jack falls backwards onto his hands. The doomed hounds pad the glass with their paws, their extended claws etching long scratch marks in the surface.

    I pull at Jack’s shirt. “We need to go.”

    “Do you think it will hold?” he said, his chest heaving, his limbs locked.

    Suddenly, there was a crack and the glass splinters, a spider web working its way along the glass with the Bog Dog’s big black paw pads at its epicentre.

    I desperately pull at Jack’s shirt. “C’mon,” I cry, staring at the black, snarling beasts, “We need to go.”
    Jack pushes his shoes to the carpet, trying several times to gain purchase before grip took hold and he turns his back on the predators. I pull him away from the window, through the cubicle and into the hallway.

    The loud sound of glass shattering follows us, shadowed by a snarl and heavy footsteps. My heart beats wildly out of control as we run for the door with “Emergency Exit” printed on it. A long metal bar runs across it, and with Jack a hand hold behind, I lunge at it.

    The door swings open with ease and we run into the open darkness. The moon is like a lighthouse steering us away from a rocky shoreline. We run. First over an open area behind the building and then through the trees, the sound of galloping hooves close behind.

    We make our way to a clearing. I jerk Jack behind me, whipping out a mobile phone from my pocket and holding it up. A brilliant light streams forward from the device, illuminating the area like a solar flare. In the void behind the reach of the light flame, at the tree line, the dogs stood at attention, snarling at the luminance.

    “Was this in one of your dreams too?” Jack asks, clutching me with one hand while desperately searching his pants pockets for any type of weapon.

    “No,” I say defiantly. “This is new. We need to stand out ground.”

    As I look into the yellow eyes of the beast in the unknown, Jack checks behind himself.

    “How long can we keep doing this?”

    Without warning, the salivating hounds keel, whimpering slightly as a dark mist approaches. It hovers at the edge of the stream of light, with each attempt to venture forward thwarted.

    “Leave me alone.” I hold up the dreamcatcher necklace and say, “If this is what you want, take it.” I throw it towards the transparent hunter.

    The object glows with intensity as it lands on the soft ground, the light fading like embers starved of oxygen.

    My phone beeps, the light extinguishing as darkness instantly envelopes us like a blanket.

    “No! … nooo!” I cry.

    The shadowy form wafts forward, the two snarling dogs in tow, biting the air.

    A voice swells forward. “You may have bought this dreamcatcher, but this is not your nightmare.”

    The beings set upon us, flesh ripping from bone as teeth sinks into muscle and membrane.

    I wake with a start, the local band finishing a song to an exuberant applause, and immediately attempt to grab reality.

    Gail looks at me. I feel a trickle of sweat on my forehead.

    “Are you okay, baby?” she asks softly.

    I grab her by the arm as a throaty howl encases us.

    Reply
  • February 12, 2017 at 6:16 pm
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    You Don’t Know Jack.
    © 2017 By Ken Cartisano (February)

    In Our Previous Episode… (by Catherine Garrett)

    An urgency to run sweeps over me, and my legs and arms twitch. I want to charge out of here and find someplace safe, but where?

    “Shh,” Jack says again.

    “It was… just a dream,” I stammer, and Jack covers my mouth with his hand.

    “You bought someone’s nightmare.” He hugs me. “And now it’s yours.”

    ____________

    I pulled Jack’s hand away from my mouth. “Wait a minute,” I said. “This is one of those conscious dreams, where you know you’re dreaming.”

    Jack cringed. “Not so loud,” he hissed.

    But Jack’s mention of the dreamcatcher I had purchased was a reference to the real world, an actual event, which contrasted sharply with the events we were experiencing here, now, in this strange, distorted dreamscape.

    “This is a dream Jack. And if it is, then we can’t be hurt.”

    Jack said nothing.

    “I can do anything I want.”

    Jack grudgingly agreed—yes, it was something called lucid dreaming, were one is aware of the fact that they are dreaming. But he didn’t understand how he or I could direct the dream, he just knew we were dreaming. None of what we were experiencing was real.

    “Why don’t we just…” And then I remembered the dogs. I hate dogs, even imaginary ones.

    Jack considered the situation for a few moments, and then came up with a suggestion. “If you can do anything you want,” he said, “then why don’t you wake up—and get us both out of here?”

    So that’s what I did.

    ___________

    It was already mid-morning. The sun was streaming through the window, illuminating a few dust motes in their endless dance with gravity. A mockingbird was going through a repertoire of songs just outside her open window. The scent of freshly brewed coffee wafted in from the kitchen accompanied by the clink of utensils being hastily placed in the silverware drawer by Gail’s husband Frank, an early riser.

    ‘What a dream,’ she thought. It seemed so real, more thrilling than frightening, she now realized. She fingered the dreamcatcher hanging from the chain around her neck. While it was true that her dreams had become more vivid since her purchase of the charm, this was the first time she’d had anything like a nightmare.

    She pushed herself reluctantly out of bed, put on her favorite robe and went to the kitchen, where Frank dutifully offered her a cup of coffee. She sat down and took a sip.

    “You want bacon, or sausage with your eggs?”

    She shrugged. “I don’t care. Whatever you’re having is fine with me.”

    There was a knock on the door, which was odd. She had a puzzled look on her face when her husband Frank glanced her way and smiled. “Would you get that? It’s probably the neighbor.”

    “You met one of the neighbors already?” She and Frank had just moved in a few days ago; a fine old house in the country with lots of windows and a big yard, but in need of some cleaning.

    “Yeah, real nice guy. He was walking his dog when I went out to check the mail. He said a letter addressed to us was left in his mail slot. Told me he’d bring it over.”

    Gail got up to answer the door. “Well I hope he didn’t bring it with him.”

    “The letter?”

    “No—the dog, you idiot.”

    Frank needed no reminder of her irrational fear of dogs. But it gave him pause. “Well—I didn’t mention it, but I doubt he’d be thoughtless enough to presume we’d want his dog in our house.”

    Gail turned the deadbolt and unfastened the security chain on the front door.

    “It had the craziest name,” Frank called out from the kitchen. “I think it was Bog.” He spoke those last words to himself. “A dog named Bog.”

    Frank heard the door open, a muffled exchange of words and then the neighbor’s voice calling his name in alarm. He rushed into the living room and saw his wife slumped in his neighbor’s arms. Her robe was half open, exposing one of her tanned legs nearly to her hip. He reached for her arm but the neighbor lifted her easily.

    “Where should I put her?”

    “Bring her over here,” he said. “On the couch.”

    The neighbor managed to deposit her limp form on the couch while her husband propped her head up on a pillow.

    “What happened?” Frank demanded.

    “I-I don’t know. She just collapsed.”

    Frank wasn’t satisfied. “What did you say to her? I heard voices.”

    “Huh?”

    “I heard one of you say something. What did you say?”

    The neighbor looked baffled. “I don’t know, just your usual greeting.”

    “You said more than that.”

    The neighbor scratched his head. “I just—I don’t know. Something like, ‘Hi, you must be Gail? My name is Jack?’ That’s it, Frank; and then she fainted.”

    Reply
  • February 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm
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    Rob & Dave Have a Theory
    By Alice Nelson ©2017

    Jack and I sat in the offices of radio station 780 The Talk, waiting to appear on the Rob & Dave Show. We came to discuss the Black Mist incident that took place at Cascade Park just one week before.

    Since that night, I had fallen into a deep depression, I felt as if it were all my fault.

    “There was no way you could’ve known, honey,” Jack said. “And you’re here to sound a warning to anyone who may have found the necklace.”

    “It doesn’t change what happened,” I said solemnly.

    Just then, Mark Ruby, the show’s producer, popped his head into the room, “Five minutes guys,” he said, leaving as quickly as he came.

    I stiffened, nervous about going on and admitting what I’d done. But dear sweet Jack patted my hand, “It’ll be alright Gail,” he said, “It’ll be alright.”

    **********************

    “Hello folks, and welcome to The Conspiracy Theory with Rob & Dave. I’m Dave, and today we are going to discuss what’s being called the Black Mist of Cascade Park. If you’ve been vacationing in a cave and hadn’t heard the biggest story to hit this town since the Mayor’s sex change operation, well listen closely. During the summer concert series in the park, witnesses claim to have seen a black mist appear out of nowhere, followed by wild dogs that tore twelve unlucky souls to shreds. Officials have confirmed that twelve people died in the commotion, but do you know what they’re telling us?”

    “What are they saying, Dave?”

    “That none of it happened. It was mass hysteria caused by a chemical leak.”

    “Unbelievable,” Rob says. “So authorities actually want us to believe that over 200 people imagined all of it because they were high on some leaking chemical? And that twelve people died as a result of being heavily exposed to this leak?”

    “And what about the bodies? Family members have not been able to bury their loved ones because they’ve been told by authorities that the bodies are contaminated and can’t be released. I smell a cover up Rob.”

    “Well Dave, maybe our guests can clear up this mystery. Welcome to the studio, Jack, and Gail Saunders. Thank you for coming on the show. Jack and Gail have a firsthand account of what happened that night, and may even know the true cause of it all. Please, tell us your story.”

    “Well,” I began, “The concert was over, and Jack and I were sitting on a blanket enjoying the warm night. It happened so suddenly, we hardly had time to react. I heard a scream that gave me chills, then the black mist rolled in, followed by an eerie silence. Then I heard a low deep growl coming from the mist. Not long after, a pack of black dogs started towards us, and that’s when we ran for our lives.”

    “What happened next Gail?”

    “It was like a stampede. We tried to escape, but there seemed to be no way out. The dogs were snatching people right next to us, so Jack and I climbed up an embankment and hid inside The Atlas Travel Agency. We waited there until the mist disappeared.”

    “Officials are saying there was no mist and no dogs.”

    “Well, they’re lying,” Jack said. “We came on your show because we knew you’d listen. What happened at Cascade Park wasn’t due to any chemical leak, “he paused and looked at me before continuing, “But because of a cursed necklace my wife was wearing.”

    “This is no joke folks, we did our research,” Dave said. “The necklace Gail wore was a dreamcatcher talisman made by a small Powhatan tribe called Metench Atemos, translated to mean Hidden Witch. This talisman was used against the tribe’s enemies, and according to what we found, the only way to stop the curse is to destroy the talisman.”

    “That’s why we’re here Rob.” I said, “We threw the necklace on the floor at the travel agency, and it must be found and destroyed to prevent this from happening again.”

    “What happens if it’s not destroyed, Gail?” Dave asked.

    “Well, if someone else finds it, the curse follows them, and what happened at Cascade Park could be repeated.”

    “And if it isn’t found?” Rob asked.

    “Then the curse remains with me.”

    “Since you haven’t experienced the black mist again—“

    “¬—then someone else may have found the necklace,” I concluded.

    “Why did you throw the necklace away Gail?” Rob asked.

    “We had no idea until days later about the talisman story, then it was too late.” Jack held my hand.

    “We have a picture of the necklace on our site, so our listeners will know what to be on the lookout for. Rob and I also found out that this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened. There have been several documented cases over the last one hundred and fifty years, of a black mist being associated with some kind of talisman.”

    “Thank you, Gail and Jack. Now let’s take a few calls from— oh my God what is that?” Dave sat frozen.

    The familiar mist rolled in under the studio door, Rob and Dave tried to run but were gone before anyone could help. Jack and I were able to escape into the booth with producer Mark, but the mist found us there as well. Before I could stop him, Jack pushed me out the back door and shut it behind him. I could hear the terrifying noises of bones being crushed, and the painful screams as their flesh was being ripped apart.

    Then there was silence.

    I screamed Jack’s name, as the mist blew under the door and past me, fading as it went, the low menacing growl of the dogs diminishing with it. Then I was alone.

    **********************

    I continue looking for the necklace —for Jack. As of today, I still haven’t found it.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2017 at 10:42 am
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    Guilty Tears by Carrie Zylka

    Gail woke up covered in sweat. It was the sixth night in a row. She looked over at Jack, snoring lightly and wanted to punch him in frustration.

    A previous dream had figured out the problem. In her dream Jack had told her that the Dreamcatcher pendant she’d purchased from a flea market was the root of the nightly nightmare.

    Yesterday she’d taken it and donated it to Goodwill. Assuming that if she’d rid herself of the nightmare generator she’d be in the clear.

    Waking up from the nightmare yet again had shown her how wrong she was.

    She wiped her hand across her face. Today was the Saturday flea market, she needed to find that vendor and get answers.

    She spent the morning fretting; she tried to drink her coffee but blanched when she sipped it, cold as ice. How long had she been staring off into space?

    Finally the clock from the living room struck the 9 o’clock hour. She grabbed her keys and purse and raced out the door, blowing stoplights in her haste to get to Goodwill.

    She walked to the jewelry area and there, gleaming against the white satin was the beautiful Dreamcatcher pendant. Not wanting to argue with the attendant she paid the twelve dollars and hurried from the store.

    What Gail would not, could not, have possibly known was that the pendant was cursed by an evil witch long dead. The parameters of the magic required payment of some sort to pass the nightmare along. By donating it to Goodwill, the cursed nightmares remained with her until someone purchased it.

    In her hand the pendant felt oily and evil, she gritted her teeth and drove to the flea market.

    She moved through the throngs of people, hurrying to where the vendor’s table was.
    And stopped dead.

    Instead of a table with trinkets and jewelry manned by an old woman, a booth hawking lamps stood.

    “Excuse me sir.” She said of the sleepy young man. “Last week there was a woman selling jewelry and such, do you know where I could find her? Is there a directory of some sort?”

    “I’m sorry ma’am, I’m pretty sure I know who you’re talking about and she’s not here anymore. This market has a waiting list and I only got this booth because she gave hers up.”

    Gail nearly burst into tears. “But…I need to give this back to her…I need to find her…” Her face began turning red as she fought back tears.

    “What is it?” The man asked peering at the necklace in her hand.

    “It’s a Dreamcatcher, but it’s giving me nightmares. I was hoping to give it back to the lady who sold it to me.”

    “My girlfriend loves old Native American stuff, can I see it?”

    She nodded and handed it to him. Feeling guilty as she did so. “I will happily give it to you.”

    The young man turned the pendant over in his hands. “I think she would love this. How much do you want for it?”

    “You can have it, just take it.”

    “No, that wouldn’t be right. I have to give you something for it. How about $5.00?”

    “Sure, fine!” She almost cried out. Her conscience was screaming at her and she knew she had to get out of there before her guilt made her grab it back.

    The man fished out and handed over a five dollar bill. “Thanks lady, my girlfriend is going to love it!”

    Gail shuddered as she took the cash from him, she shoved it in her purse, turned and fled.

    She allowed the tears to stream down her face.

    Tears of relief and of guilt.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Thank you for reading through this week’s stories, this thread is now closed. Please go to http://fiction.wwocz.net/blog/voting-2017-sequels/ and cast your votes no later than 9:00am Pacific Standard Time tomorrow (Thursday).

    Please note: your email address will never be disclosed, shared or sold, but may be used for administrative purposes.

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