‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #40. Entry Part 1) By John Howell @HowellWave and Part 2) by Suzanne Burke @pursoot #IARTG #WritingPrompt #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Parts 1) and 2) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021.  Week #40.
Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1)By John Howell and Entry 2) My own contribution.
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 any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.


This one-line contribution by John Howell.

“These are not the kind of masks the CDC had in mind.”

 John Howell can be reached here …

Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell


Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

Here is my own contribution.


“And now for the pièce de resistance!”

“God, Nigel, I love your enthusiasm, but your French accent is appalling.” Monique laughed delightedly at the crushed expression on his beautifully chiselled face. “Don’t sulk, you’ll get frown lines.”

“Just put the damned mask on. You become almost lovable when you wear it.”

“Meow! Save those claws for later this evening when the boredom sets in. I do enjoy watching you play with your victims.”

“As I enjoy watching you become one.”

They were both laughing as they descended the stairs into the ballroom. This charity auction always drew the high-rollers. All vying with each other to become the most generous, the most talked about and photographed person at the event for the headlines the following morning.

This was Nigel and Monique’s favorite playground in spring.


Monique’s gown was superbly designed to show off her wonderful body, the cut was daring yet still left the admirer curious and hungry to see more of it. Her glorious mane of raven hair was swept up into soft curls and allowed to fall way past her satin shoulders.

Nigel handed her a glass of Dom Perignon, and they stood side by side carefully observing the crowd.

Monique’s attention was drawn to the group of people now entering, “Ah, there he is.”

“Are you ready?”

“Always.” She laughed and moved across to replenish her champagne, then stood back a little and sipped at it quietly. She appeared to pay no attention to the man now surrounded by adoring females. Several of whom were sizing him up like prime roast on a platter.

It hadn’t taken long for his body language to give off signals of displeasure. His shoulders stiffened, and he placed his glass down on the waiters tray a little harder than strictly necessary. She caught him looking around for an escape route. She watched on as Nigel moved across to them. “Mitchell, may I have a word, in private?”

The man didn’t know him, but grabbed at the chance, “Of course.” He shrugged at the women. “Sorry, but duty calls. I’ll catch up with you all later.”

Monique left the ballroom as Nigel and he moved together and found a small space standing back from the crowd. “So, who are you?” Mitchell asked.

“I’m the guy who just bailed you out of an uncomfortable situation.”

Mitchell laughed, “I didn’t know I was that obvious. Thanks. What’s your name?”

“Nigel.” He grinned, “You want a real drink? I found a secluded bar earlier, and I need whiskey to get me through another one of these things.”

“Whiskey sounds good to me. Lead on.”


The two men entered the bar area and Nigel closed the door behind them. He grabbed a bottle of 12-year-old scotch from the bar and poured them both a good measure.

Mitchell nodded his thanks, and the drink was gone in an instant. “Make the next one a double.”

Nigel again prepared the drink, then sat on a leather couch and lit up a cigarette. He offered the other man the packet.

“No thanks. My wife will handle the smell of alcohol, but cigarette smoke is a no, no. and arriving home smelling of perfume yet again would land me in a divorce court.” He winked at Nigel.

Nigel laughed on cue and waited while Mitchell threw back another drink and seated himself a little unsteadily alongside his new friend.

Ten minutes later and the man was laughing and incoherent, courtesy of the Rohypnol Nigel had laced his drink with.

Monique joined them, removed her equipment from her satin clutch bag and set to work.


It took exactly forty-five minutes for Monique and Nigel to be satisfied with their photographic efforts. Still images of Mitchell and Monique wrapped in a lover’s embrace showed his face contorted with pleasure. His mask had been removed. The accompanying video had him enjoying the attentions of a woman and a male who remained masked throughout. Mitchell awakened in his hotel room the following morning with no memory of what had transpired. There was a note pinned to his shirt. “You will receive a package at your hotel at 10.a.m, Failure to comply with the instructions will result in copies of the images being sent to your wife and then released to the public.”


CNN: Breaking News.

In a move that has clearly shocked political pundits we can confirm that Senator Mitchell James has withdrawn from the New York Gubernatorial race. Unconfirmed sources site ill health as a reason. More as it comes to hand.


Monique and her husband Nigel stood on their balcony overlooking Central Park. They sipped their champagne. “I think it’s time we retired to the house in The Hamptons.”



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41 thoughts on “‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #40. Entry Part 1) By John Howell @HowellWave and Part 2) by Suzanne Burke @pursoot #IARTG #WritingPrompt #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction

  1. John’s one liner is brilliant. I had to google CDC all the way from South Africa 🙂 Centers for Disease Control! Good one, John 🙂

    Soooz, your flash fiction made me wonder how many news of ‘ill health’ are really just it. I enjoyed the high life you described, it had me wonder what will happen. Your two crooks are quite entertaining and oh so funny (“You become almost lovable” – ha ha) until the Rohypnol comes out. And everything changed, as if their masks suddenly fell.

    A bitter sweet ending, I’d say. Lovely read for a Friday afternoon 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. John’s one-liners are so entertaining and always make me smile. My muse had some fun with Monique and Nigel! Masks always reminded of “The Stranger” a marvelous song from Billy Joel, Here’s the link just for fun.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I did not know this song, Soooz. It’s like a prelude to a psychological thriller 😉
        Your story had humor, and that was welcoming infusion.

        I’m a cliché (to use the proper French accent – ha ha) when it comes to masks, I think of the Phantom of the Opera.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad I introduced you to the song, Pat. I had to laugh at your comment, no prizes for guessing what song ranks high in my playlist whenever I begin work on a new psychological thriller! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe if the CDC created masks as pretty as this one, more people WOULD wear them! lol.
    I wonder how many politicians lose their careers just like this, Soooz? He must never have been taught stranger-danger 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So true, John:) Although I wouldn’t mind one that has this bling.

    Good story, Soooz:) It makes me wonder how many are set up in this fashion? Fun couple those with some great lines that added the humor into this. Of course, they could have been saving the world from a really bad person too…lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I must admit I kinda liked my bad guys in this one. 😆🙄 I like the idea of them saving the world from a doer of dastardly deeds. (I’ve been reading Shakespeare!) 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. John’s one-liner is highly timely. What a creative mind that man has!

    And, Soooz, your story was great as always. And also timely, given all the things that happen in the world today!

    Liked by 2 people

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