Over this weekend, I’m delighted to share with you the top three stories of the Year-end Special Competition at the Flash Fiction Group I host on Scribblers.
Flash Fiction at Scribblers
The prompt was The End and The Beginning, with a 1000 word limit.
Here’s story Number 1 by Matteon, M.E. Lucas :
Just Another Conversation
The weather Gods are frantic with their hailstorm task. The bouncy-ball-sized ice smash downwards through the flashing clouds. It’s a surprise they don’t crash into each other. I guess that’s why they are the Gods.
D.Q. Parker-Braithwaite Jr is deep in conversation, I expect he hasn’t even noticed the prostrate pedestrians in the street below his window, hands and heads bloodied and bruised from large frozen water droplets.
‘Oh, go on then, have your say mister bossy-pantaloons-ideas-man!’ He says.
‘You can’t do that, you know you can’t,’ comes the reply.
‘Will you stop being so bossy.’
‘You’re starting it at the end!’
‘Yyyyes,’ he breathes, ‘at the end. What’s your point?’
‘What do you mean at the end exactly?’
‘No! I don’t think I do.’
‘It’s a time frame thing,’ he starts to explain, ‘a reminder of what’s to come. A snap shot of action to pique the interest the reader.’
‘Well, it could be action from any decent part of the story. So, why end it before you’ve started?’
It was an honest enough question. And D.Q. has an answer, he’d researched the structure.
‘Wwwwell,’ more lengthiness, ‘you introduce all the characters at a really interesting climax.’
‘Then you’ve nowhere to go?’
‘But you have to explain how you got there.’
‘Who cares, the reader now knows what’s going to happen.’
‘The reader will care, and no, you forget that bit anyways.’
‘So, why add it, if you forget about it.’
‘No, no, you don’t completely forget, only your recent memory, it becomes ingrained into your subconscious, and then at the end of the novel all re-revealed, your head pops and thinks Woah, what the hell! I remember this now, that’s amazing! And you suddenly realise what’s happened, and how it happened, and why it happened, and who it happened to, and when—’
‘That’s a lot of happening.’
‘Yeah, that’s the best part, it all comes crashing back to the readers memory, conscious and subconscious mind collide in a planet sized imaginational vortex of—‘
‘If … you can pull it off.’
‘If I can pull it off?’
‘Oh man, don’t bring me down, I had this. All meticulously planned, interweaving the back story of my MC, his family, ex-lover, current love interest, the protagonist ulterior motive, and the—‘
‘Yap, yap, yap, too much woof of back story blunders. Action! That’s what you need, action, more action, platefuls of … restaurants full of … shopping malls full of, no, city centres exploding with action.’
‘If it works, big bangs, shards of sugar glass, why not?’
‘I don’t have a mall in this WIP.’
‘Then put one in.’
D.Q. ponders the inclusion of a high street shopping mall, the plush new finishes, free WiFi, ice-cream counter, could it work with the antagonists sweet tooth?
‘No, you plonker, I was being metaphorical. Just get with the action ASAP.’
‘Which is the end bit, at the start in this case.’
‘And! The best part is I can use a great piece of writing twice; at the start and then splice it in at the end.’
‘You really think so?’
‘Sure, dude, why the hell not?’
‘Because readers aren’t morons, some are pretty intelligent, and reading the same thing twice will feel odd, especially if you made them forget it by stuffing it into the old subconsciousness.’
He has a point, D.Q. thinks. He reaches out for his drink of half-drunk coffee in his favourite Hogwarts auto-stirring magic mug. He takes a long gulp of cold coffee until his cheeks are full, swallows, and gasps for air.
‘It’ll be ok,’ he says after inhaling enough oxygen to get his brain in gear.
‘It won’t, there’ll be queries.’
‘Such as, ‘… I’m having a Neo two glitching cats moment …’ or ‘… did the author write this bit twice? That’s a bit cheap …’ or ‘… I’m sure I’ve read this before, what a waste of my precious reading time …’ then they’ll close it and bin it, just paragraphs from the end. Chastising it as plagiarism!’
‘Well, your it’s your decision I suppose.’
‘It is my decision, thanks, and I’ll thank you not to interfere.’
‘Interfering now, am I? Well there’s gratitude for you, interfering indeed.’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘Yeah, you’re the boss and if I don’t like it then …’
‘Oh, don’t start that again.’
‘Yes, again, you always start with the boss nonsense.’
‘You mean the bit I started with.’
‘Yes, you started, you know, you where moaning at the start, telling me how to plan this novel, telling me I’m being bossy, when it’s you who are the bossy one, and now we’ve gone full donut back to the start-line again.’
‘Back to the beginning, huh?’
‘Like your story!’
‘Like my, no, you cheeky sod, not like my—‘
‘Yes, like your start stop end beginning twisty turny finish ending tale of repetition.’
‘You see, or rather you didn’t see it coming. And now it’s here it’s a bit of a—‘ there’s silence as D.Q. makes a movement behind his writing desk. ‘What are you doing with that large jewel encrusted dwarves sword?’
‘Direction. Wait it’s too damn heavy. Ahhhh, this is a much better description.’
‘What the, where did you get that from?’
‘It’s an old one of yours, don’t you remember?’
‘Wait! Yes, let me see, of course. Ultra-pulse photon-clasp automatic firearm with omni-rotator and eyeball recog. That was a while ago. Let me just—‘
‘No! Oh, ho, ho, no you don’t, not this time. Prepare to meet your make, er, your imaginator!’
He points his weapon and the gun lets out a loud Zzzzongping, quickly followed by a ftomb!
‘Bet you didn’t see that coming did you, mate? Change in the plot, see. Little twist. Playing on the end-beginning-end-beginning-end sequence with a drop of sufficient darkness to make the reader—‘
D.Q. peers over the top of his glasses. Then stands and gazes down from his messy paper covered work surface, to the unfolding scene on the shaggy carpet.
‘Are you alright?’
There is no answer.
Matteon, M.E. Lucas, is a regular contributor to the Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers.
Matteon AKA M.E. Lucas is a fifty-something (but not too many) architect, who attempts flash fiction and poetry on a regular basis. He began his escape into storytelling through the sci-fi comic 2000AD as a young boy, however, only wrote his first fiction five years ago following the death of his father. He has finished one novel, but seems content to keep on re-editing it!
M E Lucas Blog www.melucas.uk
If you wish to take a look at the other great stories of the Year-End Special, here’s the link to the thread:
Or better still, come and join our bi-monthly Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Newcomers are always welcome. Here’s the link to the current thread:
Flash Fiction January 2018