Touch, Color

248 words to create a character, as per Chuck Wendig’s most recent Flash Fiction Challenge.


They quarantined me when I turned someone purple. Then they started paying me. I could try to explain it, but that would require knowing the first damned thing about it.

It just started one day in a most indelicate position. Mid-coitus, if you prefer a polite term. I tend not to. When you can’t even touch yourself without becoming cerulean blue or neon pink, you kind of stop giving a shit about social nicety.

They flew me to Hollywood first, and I can’t even tell you how many rainbow dogs are running around now.

Once Paris got wind the fashion industry just about shackled me to the runway. Oh, they paid well for their dazzling dresses and wild lavender hairdos, but I don’t even know how many bottles of hand sanitizer I go through in a day. They cart it around in a suitcase, and even though it dries quickly my hands always look splotched with paint.

I get to touch a lot of beautiful people, though.

Scientists have poked me, prodded me, biopsies. You name it and they’ve done it. All the equipment is in a lab somewhere, untouched. Turns out people aren’t too fond of a CAT Scan machine that’s blood red inside and out.

I don’t know. It has its upsides. Coloring Easter eggs has never been easier. I’ll never have to work again with the obscene millions they pay to be yellow, orange, midnight blue.

But no one wants to sleep with a freak.

Weeping Thief

For best reading, turn on some instrumental scary music from Youtube, turn down the lights, and listen carefully for the call of the Weeping Thief.

Updated 2015-10-31: If you want to hear this tale told instead of reading it, head on over to Blurry Photos and feast your ears upon Ghost Stories 4, where it is featured as one of their submitted stories!


Weeping Thief

by Rick Cook Jr

The Weeping Thief is outside my inn door and I don’t know what to do.

How she knows me as a wanted man, a robber of banks, is unimportant. She is here. The Weeping Thief has come.

I know the stories. I could call out, but she’d silence me before help arrived. I could barricade the door but she’d find another way in. I could arm myself with flintlock or saber, but she’s impervious and relentless.

The song that children sing drifts out from under the door, a woman’s voice and yet somehow thin, translucent:

The Weeping Thief is come
to sweep away your dreams,
when night forever falls
no one will hear your screams.
Continue reading

Little Sister

Well, how about this? Something a little unexpected from the blog’s usual schedule, some of that tasty fiction writing I’ve been harping about all year long.

Another flash fiction challenge from over yonder on Chuck Wendig’s blog, the Random Song Title Challenge, in which we get a random song from some kind of playlist somewhere, and run with that song title as the title of a story.

I did the random thing, and Shuffled through my collection of 20,000 MP3s for a few minutes until I hit Jewel’s “Little Sister”. And this is what came up. Hope you enjoy.


Little Sister

by Rick Cook Jr.

He would often watch the girls on the playground, remembering his little sister, missing her.

She is on the park bench next to him, often is on days like this. Continue reading

The Things We Love May Fight For Us

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and tense situations, with some disturbing imagery and sexually suggestive themes.

6,400 words.


 The Things We Love May Fight For Us

by Rick Cook Jr.

Tracy woke in darkness, buried under the crushing weight of corpses. She tried to cry out, to struggle, but couldn’t move, couldn’t use her power to save herself. Where was Shane? What had awakened them?

She shifted and tried once more to break free of the bodies of her companions, managed to thrust a fist up into nothing. A hand grabbed her by the wrist and yanked, so that she came tumbling up out of the bodies into harsh red light.

They weren’t corpses. They were her friends and enemies, piled and forgotten into a box last year when Olivia had grown too old for them. A box of forgotten toys. Continue reading

Reaper’s Pincushion

Time for another writing prompt! This one’s from Chuck Wendig again, Let Fate Choose Your Title.


Reaper’s Pincushion

by Rick Cook Jr.

I hate it when it’s the pediatric wing. But the job’s the job and I’m not ready to give it up yet. Continue reading

Against Me [1,500 words]

Another flash fiction prompt from Chuck Wendig, this time smashing a couple subgenres together and writing a story about it.

I rolled “Parallel Universe” and “Revenge”!


Against Me

by Rick Cook Jr

I watch myself getting a ticket and smile.

The me I’m watching isn’t me, in the strictest sense, of course. No one but me could ever be me. But the other me is pretty close, and pretty close is close enough.

The whole “alternate dimensions” theory, string theory, ten dimensions, quantum entanglement, what-have-you: it’s not infinite. More like trinary. There are two other worlds out there, running parallel to our own. Ours seems to be in the middle. Continue reading

The Deciding Factor

Been a good long while, but I’m back with a writing prompt from Reddit:

You have died. While waiting to be judged, you are offered the chance to clear one entry from your file before the decision is made.

There were no other parameters so I took a couple small liberties, as I am known to do. Hope you enjoy!


The Deciding Factor

by Rick Cook Jr.

I was staring at a physical manifestation of all the deeds of my life. It was curious, in that it seemed much smaller than I expected, maybe the size of a petty criminal’s rap sheet. As I flipped through the pages and came to what should have been the end of this small file of paper, the pages just kept being there to turn. And the stack of read pages never grew larger as I flipped pages onto it. Curious.

“Clear an entry? What’s that mean?” I asked. Continue reading

Carbon Empathy

Today’s Flash Fiction comes to you thanks to two people: Chuck Wendig for the prompt, and JC Hemphill for the opening line.

The challenge was to choose an opening line from the submissions on the previous week’s prompt challenge (there were quite a number to choose from), and write a flash fiction piece of 1,000 words or so using that line as our opening line. So everything but the first line in today’s story is original by me. I’d really like to thank JC Hemphill for the excellent sentence and I hope a dozen people write flash fiction using it. There were a lot of good ones to choose from, but this one caught my fancy more than the others. So let’s get this party started, eh?

Carbon Empathy

by Rick Cook Jr.

“I met a man made of smoke today.”

I almost slammed on the brakes when my five-year-old son said that. As it was I practically drove off into a ditch less than two blocks from the school after his first day. The front tire bumped the curb, I over-corrected into oncoming traffic and my heart skipped a beat as we dodged a plumber’s van and righted us in our proper place.

“A man made of smoke?” I asked. We had run from one of them before, and I thought we’d given them the final slip.

“Yeah, he was walking around at recess talking to everybody, asking questions.”

I grabbed my cell phone and dialed home. “What kinds of questions, sport?” Continue reading

An Artist’s Legacy [430 words]

This is in response to a writing prompt over at Reddit, in /r/writingprompts. As of this posting it was the highest rated story for that particular prompt. The prompt was simply “In this world, you can instantaneously teach somebody a new skill and trade or give them a precious memory of yours, but once you give it away, you lose it yourself.”

An Artist’s Legacy

by Rick Cook Jr

I’m old and my time is coming to an end. The Department of Traded Skills has advertisements everywhere, targeted at people like me.

Sell your experience on the DoTS market! Apprentice and Journeyman rates comparable to your experience! Master rates pending evaluation!

Don’t want to wait for those drum lessons? Shred like Neil Peart in a fraction of the time! In the fine print it reads: Results not guaranteed to make you a rock star.

Somewhere out there Mozart still composes. Continue reading

The Terminator [1,100 words]

Fair warning, this is less a story and more a narrative. An angry, cursing, rambling, narrative about drinking and fighting. Seriously, lots of swearing. It’s also for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge of the week A Drink with a Story, A Story with a Drink.

The Terminator

by Rick Cook Jr

I’ve never been able to fight, let’s just get that out of the way right now. The number of times I’ve curled up into a ball to avoid the worst of the kicks is equal to the number of times I’ve gotten into a fight.

I tried to learn karate, or… judo, or something. I don’t know. It was hard. The sensei or whatever was a real dick. I quit and then took a piss in his gas tank. Well, I tried. Just ended up with a kidney punch and piss all over my karate outfit. Continue reading