Tuesday, 4 August 2015

NYC Flash Fiction Competition 2015

I really must pay more attention to my blog. It's not that I am not eager to keep it updated but I always seem to lose my password or login details. I promise to try harder.

I post today - my entry to Challenge #1 in the NYC Flash Fiction Competition.

The prompts were as follows

Genre - Adventure/Action
Location - Underwater Cave
Item - Dumbbell

This was really tough. Those who know my writing - will realise that the genre is completely out of my comfort zone. I can only say that my response is - Random.. So here goes. Your feedback would be appreciated.


Josh seeks Sarah, his childhood friend, who has disappeared without trace. But will the psychic’s ramblings lead him to what he wishes to find?

                                                               Seeking Adventure

Josh seeks Sarah, his childhood friend, who has disappeared without trace. But will the psychic’s ramblings lead him to what he wishes to find?

  ‘Your lady, she seeks adventure,’ the psychic whispered to Josh as her untamed eyes peered into the depths of her crystal ball. 

‘Adventure?’  That didn’t sound like Sarah, Josh thought, as he shifted in his seat, impatient now to continue his quest.

He was wasting time for what did he expect to gain from listening to the ramblings of this crazy woman? But he knew – it was desperation. That’s what had brought him here. For it had been a week since his childhood friend, Sarah, had disappeared.  

‘Trust the dumb…’ The woman’s pupils zig zagged and she grabbed his wrist.  Her fingers burned into his skin and he snatched his arm back, before lurching out of his seat. In his hurry he tripped head first through the coin curtains, which kept the psychic’s den, private.

Cold air punched him hard in the face as he stared around the fairground.  What had she said? Trust the dumbbell?  The dumbbell?  She really was raving he thought, berating himself for losing focus.
He weaved through the crowds. And as he weaved, his neck itched and his heart tangled.He could hear the tap, tap of hurried footsteps, matching his own and he had the distinct impression he was being followed.  He glanced over his shoulder to see a wall of candyfloss – faces buried in the sticky pink mess.  Dread churned his stomach as he tried to run faster – his legs the consistency of blancmange.  

Staggering breathless he came to a halt.  Before him stood a giant man, cut into the rock. His legs astride what appeared to be the entrance of a cave.  Josh raised his eyes, following the rise of the stone warrior… higher and higher to where his raised hands stretched a dumbbell across the cloud flecked sky.  The bell at each end - a globe – a spinning atlas - and the words emblazoned on the shaft, read ‘WELCOME TO THE UNDERWORLD’.  

‘Listen to the dumbbell,’ Josh whispered as the psychics words came back to him now.  Was this what she had meant? But he didn’t have time to contemplate the meaning for the owner of the tip tapping heels, pushed through the throng of candyfloss, and bustled him in amongst her skirts, clacking her castanets in his ears. 

‘Hey, what’re doing,’ Josh yelled as net and lace swallowed him up and he felt himself being pushed towards the gaping mouth of the cave - the skirts only spitting him out once the cave door had groaned shut.

‘Shush, you must follow me.’

‘I’m not following you, he spat as he looked around. The walls were slimy wet. The smell like stagnant water, reminding him of the water he and Sarah had kept tadpoles in, as children.

The woman clicked her castanets and shimmied her hips around him. ‘Come, Mister, I can lead you where you need to go.’   The woman giggled, her mouth drooping like an elongated music quaver. Was she drunk? Josh wondered

She led him around the warrior’s legs and towards the sound of bubbling water.   The pit steamed and the water gurgled.   ‘In here look Mister, you must jump in here.’ She tried to wink her lazy eye and Josh backed away, aghast. He watched her jump - her scarlet skirts rising like a giant Portuguese man of war, before she sank.

She must be drunk, Josh thought, or plain dumb…..dumb?  Dumbelle?  ‘Trust the dumb belle.’  Is that what the crazy woman had meant?

As Josh jumped into the steaming water he only briefly wondered which one of them was dumb. For no sooner had his head disappeared beneath the surface he felt himself being sucked into an underwater world. The woman’s flowing skirts drawing him like a vacuum, through the water.
He strained his eyes trying to look through the whirl of bubbles. He gashed his arm against the wall of the cave and saw his blood spill. It weaved upward, up through the warrior’s narrow leg.   He too, weaved upwards, the walls growing wider, the spinning slower, until he felt his body lurch over a rock, and he found himself in a theatre like cave.

The water was rancid and he realised they were in the warrior’s stomach, sloshing about, in water, the colour of bile.  He fought not to gag and he wondered how long he would be able to hold his breath.
The woman beckoned him on. Pointing to what looked like a library of ribs before beginning to climb. His own feet slipped, but he managed to lodge them against the barnacles that had stuck fast. The waters grew still, as if the warrior too, held his breath, but too soon came the belch that thrust them both into one of the warrior’s muscular arms.  Now they swam with ease. The depth of water beneath them pushed them higher until they were raised out through the spout of the warrior’s fingers and into the shaft of the dumbbell.

Josh gasped for breath and looked around for the dumb belle. But as he slithered like an eel across the shaft, he realised she had gone. He shook his head and cleared his ears, hearing now, the grunt and grind of an army and the groan of a treadwheel turning. Still unable to stand he pushed his way towards the deafening noise, his feet slipping across the rubbery surface until he skidded into the spinning globe.

‘Josh, you found me,’ Sarah shrieked with excitement as she spun towards him.

‘Sarah, what on earth are you doing up here?’ He made to grab her but the incessant turning made him giddy.

‘Seeing the world, of course.’ She flung her arms wide as if offering him the globe.


‘But nothing Josh, when the fair moves on, I’ll be going with it.’

‘You’re running away?’

‘Well, isn’t that what one does, with the fair?’

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