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

Rose Petals Spinning in Space [1,040 words]

This short story is posted in Science Fiction.

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It’s time for another of Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenges, and this week’s is pretty bizarre. Fairy Tales, Remixed.

I hope you enjoy!

Rose Petals Spinning in Space

by Rick Cook Jr

She was awake for two years all by herself, running system diagnostics, maintaining the ship, checking the garden to ensure the water tubes nourished the plants and flowers. The tulips grew, but the roses never bloomed. Continue reading

Whispering Luck [2,500 words]

This short story is posted in Supernatural.

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Time for another piece of fiction prompted by Chuck Wendig’s weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s is titled “The Who, The Where, and the Uh-Oh”.

Whispering Luck

by Rick Cook Jr

The day they killed me was the day Lucky Joe’s stopped being so lucky.

I could tell you the story of how I died, but let’s just say I was doing something stupid and dangerous against just pure dangerous and I lost.

But I’m still here. Locked to Lucky Joe’s, or so it would seem. If you remember Beetlejuice, you have some idea of what happens when I try to leave. Only instead of badly-animated graboids it’s a keening, wailing, sucking darkness.

Sometimes, like now, I stand at the doors to the outside world, staring at the blank abyss, and I want to step in. My brother must be beyond that. Maybe my first girlfriend who I’d later found out died in a bombing in Iraq. My grandparents, my ancestors.

Or maybe it is just the nothing it looks like. Continue reading

Minotaur Kid’s Club [2,066 words]

This short story is posted in Fantasy.

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It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything at all, but new year and all that. Time to start fresh with a new short story response to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge, Roll For Title. Twice as long as the word limit, but I really don’t adhere to that very often.

Minotaur Kid’s Club

by Rick Cook Jr.

“This is it, this time, I can feel it, guys!” Marth whispered, his voice cracking. He was in the back, by torchlight reading yet another map to the Labyrinth. Corley huffed. Wenda wrung her hands together.

They rounded a corner in the sewer tunnels, finding another long, straight stretch. The tunnel walls sagged and crumbled, forlorn with age. Continue reading

The First Line Was The Last [890 words][nsfw-drugs]

This short story is posted in Fiction, Short Stories, and Writing Prompts.

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The First Line Was The Last

by Rick Cook Jr

Once upon a time, there was a story so short, it was only a single line. That line danced up the straw into my nose, a churning whirlwind of promise. I leaned back, snorting and coughing, holding my nose shut against the tingling urge to sneeze all that powder back out. Everyone around me laughed as I started to sniff. I didn’t feel anything different, except a pleasant numbing sensation. It tasted funny, in the back of my throat. Continue reading