Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week 5.
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!“ Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in a form and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm EDT on June 18th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.
I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on June 19th.
Here is the prompt image and ENTRIES 1-2 and 3…For #Week 5.
Entries 4 and 5 will be featured tomorrow.
#1 …This contribution by Gwen Plano:
My contribution is a Tanka poem, a 31 syllable poem known for its five lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. The photo prompt is the figure in the bottom left corner.
#2 … This contribution by Karen Ingalls.
For this challenge, I have written my first Haiku poem, which is a short form of Japanese poetry. It consists of three lines, with seventeen syllables divided into 5/7/5 syllables. I hope you enjoy it.
Karen Ingalls can be found on
#3. My own contribution:
“Our audience will arrive soon, my pretty one. We must give them a show they’ll always remember.” The man looked down at her from his perch on the step ladder, “What are those grey eyes of yours asking?” His voice dropped to a cracked whisper, “Tell me.”
“ Look, I’m really sorry, but I don’t think this is my kind of assignment. I’ll give back the modeling fee. ”
The man’s laugh echoed around the basement studio. The sound made Holly shiver. “Not your kind of assignment? Trust me, my pretty one, this assignment will make you quite famous.”
Holly’s voice was tight with fear, “I’m leaving now.” Holly stood and took a close look at the ties that bound her. “These bindings need to be removed.”
“Oh, no, no you can’t go now. You’re about to be launched on the worldwide stage.”
“I said these need to be undone. Please, I, … I’m already late. I have a two-year-old daughter waiting. I just want to go home.”
“She’ll get to brag about her famous mommy.” The man turned his head and caught the beam of a flashlight shafting through the small window just below the ceiling. “Ah, perfect. Our audience has arrived.”
Holly dropped to her knees, “Please, please… whatever this is it’s not too late to stop! Please?”
She looked up to discover the gun he now held aimed at her.
“It’s far, far, too late, my pretty one. The ball’s already in play.” His voice was soft and somehow wistful.
Holly grew silent, scrambling to think clearly through the adrenaline-fuelled fear.
She heard the heavy thud of a door upstairs being rammed open, and the boots overhead moved towards the basement stairs.
“Here they come!” The Puppeteer flicked on another spotlight and illuminated his stage; he moved with assured steps to stand behind his living marionette. Holly felt the gun barrel of the Glock placed against her left temple. She moaned in fear.
Seconds later the basement door was forced open, “FBI … Drop the weapon! Do it now!”
“Oh, no…no, I don’t think so. You aren’t about to risk me getting a shot off before your bullets take me out of play. You can’t let ‘The Puppeteer’ add another victim to the list. You’d kiss goodbye any hope of furthering your career. He laughed. “I believe that gives me the advantage.”
“Let’s calm this situation the fuck down. What is it you want?”
“Ah, of course, and you’d be the hostage negotiator?”
“Declan O’Connor. Talk to me. Let’s all walk away from this with no bloodshed. Now, what will it take for you to cut her loose and let her walk over here?”
“Oh, nothing much. I’m thinking a Presidential Pardon would suit me nicely. My very own ‘get out of jail free’ card.”
“Not about to happen. Not with the sixteen females you’ve butchered. Now ask me for something I can do.”
“I don’t need anything else. Pity. She’s quite pretty.”
Declan O’Connor whispered into his mouthpiece, “Do it now!”
The Puppeteer screamed as the sniper’s bullet came through the small window and removed three fingers and the gun from his right hand.
“NO! NO! You, damned fools! You are meant to kill me! There’s no glory in this.”
Declan O’Connor now cradled a sobbing Holly in his arms, he looked over as his men took charge of their prisoner. “We’d already figured you didn’t plan on this ending well. Sixteen cases and you have never made a mistake that could lead us straight to you. Except for this time.” Declan gave Holly’s shoulder a squeeze as the paramedics helped the shaking woman onto a stretcher.
He walked over to man the press had labeled The Puppeteer as another paramedic dressed his wound. “Pity you didn’t commit one of your atrocities in a state that still upholds the death penalty. But, in many ways, it’s far more satisfying to know you’ll do life without any hope of parole. The best news is that we’ll see to it that you’ll do that time in the general population of a maximum-security facility.”
“I’ll plead insanity.”
“Nah … won’t happen. Every psychologist and psychiatrist that has read the case files will testify that these murders were at the hand of someone sufficiently in charge of his faculties to plan meticulously and enact pre-meditated murder. I for one look forward to seeing you live to enjoy your sentence, for as long as it takes for another inmate to kill you. They all have sisters’ mothers and sweethearts. Pity is you won’t last awfully long.
The Puppeteer began screaming as he was shackled and shoved into the waiting van.
Declan addressed his team. “Great work, people. Let’s meet up for drinks after the debriefing. I’m buying!”
Holly said a grateful prayer that night as she cradled her daughter in her arms.
I look forward to sharing entries 4 and 5 with you tomorrow.
Thanks so much for stopping by. The Challenge Photo-Prompt for Week #6 will be posted on Saturday, June 27th.
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