Flash Fiction Friday: Horror-off Challenge #3 – The Pilfered Penguin

The vile furless mammals filed into the sterile, white room as we sat huddled together under bright lights that burned our vision.  We nervously watched our tormentors as they entered the room, bearing their fangs with glee.  The 28 of us were brought here to be their entertainment.

We were born on a far away land.  Life was peaceful.  Our only worry were the random rouge seals that managed to slip through the crack in the glacier that protected our oasis.  We enjoyed our lives and loved our home.  On a crisp cold and lazy afternoon, after a ritual swim and meal, the members of my rookery were trapped in nets and transported to this hot, landlocked world where our pure glacial sea was just a distant memory.

Cooing noises brought my attention back to the present.  The ugly mammals circled while making annoying sounds.  One of the smaller mammals yelled, threatening to run at us, until larger one pull it back.  A bucket of cold, stale, dead fish clatters as it is set on the ground by a mammal who feeds us.  The youngest of our group, hiding at the center of our cluster, chirped in fear.  We have no way to console him for we all will fall victim to these creatures.   At the same time everyday, we are put on display to be poked and fondled.  Little mammals scream at us.  The larger ones kick us if we nip at the little monsters.  Day in and day out it is the same abuse.

Over the time of our imprisionment, hatred for these beasts has grown.  They stole us from our home and force us to be slaves to mammals who get joy from touching us.  If I could, I would kill every one of these creatures and wouldn’t care if that meant I would starve to death alone in my enclosure, never finding freedom.  Revenge would be achieved and my family could escape.

One of the mammals who took us  from our home was the “keeper” for the day.  I despised him the most for he was the one who stepped on my mate, instantly snapping her neck as he tried to capture me.  I over heard him telling one of the other captors that her murder was an “accident”…

“Oh my, aren’t you just the cutest?  I could just eat you up.”  An old female mammal said as she towered over me, interrupting my dreams of pecking holes in the “keepers” dead face with my beak.  She bent over and lifted me from the ground with one of her paws, effectively hitting me with an extraordinarily large cloth bag draped across her body in the process.  A caw of surprise escaped me.  My family looked at me with concern.  The old mammal was the first to cross the line.  Now all the other mammals saw it as an opportunity to grab one of us.  The “keeper” tried to keep things under control, but there was only one of him and we were out numbered by these disgusting creatures.  I watched in horror as my sister was picked up by two monsters who looked identical.  They each had one of her wings in their hands and were tugging in opposite directions.  If this old beast did not have me captured in her claw, I would kill the both of them.  Alas, there was nothing I could do.  Nothing any of us could do.  We were all swept up into the demonic paws of these mammals.

I hated her, this old mammal.  Almost as much as the “keeper”.  A foul odor escaped her mouth as she breathed heavily on me.  Her breath smelled like fish were rotting in her teeth.  Revolted, I watched as the upper set shifted and moved  behind her lip.   It was as of though her teeth were not connected and somehow floating in her mouth.  The mammal repulsed me, her skin was folded and falling from her body.  She was ugliest mammal that I had ever seen.

The old beast rubbed her face on my feathers.  My nicely preened feathers were left caked with a clay-like film.

“You are all mine.” She said with a serious smile, showing off her big obnoxious teeth.  Dropping the stick that she held in her other paw, she reached for the large bag that hung across her amorphous body.  The stick clattered to the ground.  No one but my family noticed the noise.  Terror filled their eyes as they realized that there was nothing they could do to save me.  This beast was going to take me away from those I loved.

“Now be a good little penguin and be quiet.  You are going somewhere very special.”  She puckered her lips and lifted me to her face.  I had interpreted her actions incorrectly.  She wasn’t going to abscond me.  This old beast was going to eat me!  The mammals were reckless, but not to this extent.  Never has one of our tormentors tried to eat us.

The sagging flesh of her neck wobbled as her head came closer.  She locked her big, blue eyes onto me.  Her claws, which looked frail, squeezed me so hard, I feared that I may explode.  Her eyes were all I could focus on, and oh how she stared at me with those ugly orbs with the whites that were filled with little red worms.

The eyes of fish were soft and mushy.  My sharp beak had no trouble pulling them from the sockets.  I knew what must be done to prevent from being eaten by this old beast.

I bit first.

– If you have enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out my Flash Fiction Library. –

This week’s Prompt:  I bit first.


This FF is dedicated to Chris… and he knows why.  I will post a link to Chris’ submission when it is posted, until then please enjoy his other FF pieces.  You can also follow us both at The Sarcastic Muse



Next week, I will be taking a break from the Horror-off Flash Fiction Challenge due to traveling and spending time with family for the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.  
I will return with a new piece on December the 5th! 


If you would like to join in on the Horror-Off Flash Fiction Challenge,  be warned – there are rules:

  1. You don’t talk about Horror-Off

  2. Stories must be flash fiction (1K words or less)

  3. Stories must have conflict, character, and resolution

  4. Stories should be in the horror/fantasy/sci-fi/spec fic genre

  5. Prompts are to be posted on the Flash Fiction blog post (post or link to your FF submission in the comment section below )

  6. This is just for fun and scares, so don’t expect any prizes.

  7. You don’t talk about Horror-Off… except when you talk about it

Follow these rules and write a wicked FF piece.  Fifi says do it… do it now… OR ELSE!

Flash Fiction Friday: Horror-off Challenge #2 – Thread of Time

Eon pulls at the thread and the universe alters.  Time skips ahead in a blink of an eye.  All living things who bear witness to the shift fail notice that for a brief moment — time speeds up.  A portion of their lives fast-forwarded.   Eon is bored with this new era and pulls at the thread again.  Time once more progresses, landing on another uneventful period.  No war, no famine, no disasters.  The entirety of the Universe is at peace, all civilizations and realms are in harmony.  Discord does not exist during this era.

Oh, how Eon groans at the lull.  All this balance is intolerable.  Strife, sadness, and hate are what keeps time sated.  Time maintains a steady pace in his hands when the Universe is depressed.  A slow continuous speed — tic, tic, tic.  Eon observes all suffering and despair with amusement.  Those are the eras that he wish lasted forever for it made the living beings more satisfying.

The living show their true nature when they are distressed or depressed.  They release their inner monsters, showing true faces to the creators of the cosmos.  With each face revealed, their vulnerability is relished.  Exposure yields energy, which is rich and delectable during the harrowing seasons.  The essence of life is consumed by the Gods, enabling their immortal existence.   The thread that binds life lays slack in Eon’s fingers during these eras.

Time must flow slowly so that the Reapers can collect every last bit of despondent energy.  As the keeper of time, Eon must maintain the harvest period.  He remains in control if the Gods’ hunger is sated.  Famine grows from balance, for that enables the living to hoard their energies.  They become selfish little beings, clinging on to their vitality as fuel for their happiness; not sharing life with the Gods that created them.  The ignorance and self-serving  drives Eon to anger.  He punishes them by pulling on the thread, speeding up their time, only stopping when the Fates play a hand in favor of the Gods.

Another pull lands the Universe in the pit of war.  Worlds versus worlds; battles taken to the stars.  Eon smiles, his existence is secure.  He watches them all, the puppet master of their lifespan.  The lives of many are intertwined, driven by one single thread of time.

– If you have enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out my Flash Fiction Library. –

This week’s Prompt:  The lives of many are intertwined.


Click here to see Chris Musgrave’s Horror-off FF Challenge post, Weaver.  You can also follow us both at The Sarcastic Muse


If you would like to join in on the Horror-Off Flash Fiction Challenge,  be warned – there are rules:

  1. You don’t talk about Horror-Off

  2. Stories must be flash fiction (1K words or less)

  3. Stories must have conflict, character, and resolution

  4. Stories should be in the horror/fantasy/sci-fi/spec fic genre

  5. Prompts are to be posted on the Flash Fiction blog post (post or link to your FF submission in the comment section below )

  6. This is just for fun and scares, so don’t expect any prizes.

  7. You don’t talk about Horror-Off… except when you talk about it

Follow these rules and write a wicked FF piece.  That will deter Fifi from appearing at your house, threatening you to write.   Trust me, you don’t want that happening.  Especially if you don’t have cookies…

Flash Fiction Friday: Horror-off Challenge #1 – Pay Attention!

Within your lifetime, you have walked past thirty-six murderers.  Indeed a harrowing fact that is always ignored, pushed from memory the instant that it is heard.  No one wants to acknowledge that they are in close proximity to one who has stolen life, let alone thirty-six.

However, this fact should be something that you are aware of.  Something that you fear.  The fear will keep you guarded, safe, protected.  Each passing encounter with a murderer should be met with a knowing glance.  Acknowledgement is the key to keep your blood in your veins, skin intact, heart beating.

The reason the thirty-six exist is because you let your guard down.  You are vulnerable, ignorant to the facts that walk past you on the sidewalk, stand behind you in the grocery store, sit next to you on the bus.

Open your eyes and absorb your surroundings.  Analyze everything.  Stop making it so easy to be abducted, to be prey, to be slaughtered.  You make it all too easy for me to be number thirty-seven and the last person you encounter.

– If you have enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out my Flash Fiction Library. –

Chris Musgrave, my Sarcastic Muse partner-in-horror, and I are having a Horror-off Flash Fiction Challenge.  Tune in every Friday to watch the blood fly in the ring as we duke it out over Flash Fiction.  If you feel brave enough, please join in – at your own risk.

Here is Chris’ entry:

Nature vs. Nurture

In your lifetime, you’ve walked past thirty-six murderers. Isn’t that astounding? Thirty-six murderers. I’ll bet every one of them looked you up and down, maybe gave you a little smile, all the while fantasising about butchering you in as many ways as will make your head spin.

They can be very creative creatures, murderers. Some prefer knives, others use their hands, and others still dream of methods you would never even think possible. It’s frightening really.

While you are living your life in blissful ignorance, someone somewhere is enjoying the thrill of the hunt. Someone is breaking into another’s house or snatching an unsuspecting victim from the street. The really malicious, and there are a few, lure you to them. The skill that must take. You have to give them a little credit for that. One minute you’re laughing at the possibility of taking advantage of an infirm gent who just wants the best deal on his car; the next you’re bound and gagged in his basement. There’s a kind of irony in that, don’t you think?

People fascinate me. What makes one person become a doctor or a lawyer and another relish in the joy of extinguishing a life? Ever heard of the old nature versus nurture debate? I’m no expert but I’ve heard enough evidence to suggest it could go either way. Not convinced about the influence of videogames though. If videogames warped our minds, we’d all be running around gravity-defying landscapes collecting gold rings and saving woodland creatures. Amaright?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes! What is it that makes one human being want to kill another? Why are some of us hardwired to violence? How do killers choose their victims? How do they refine their technique? So many questions and so little time. I suppose no one will ever know for certain, not even them.

Still, it doesn’t change the fact that, in your life to date, you’ve walked past thirty-six murderers. I can’t let you make that thirty-seven.

This week’s prompt:  Within your lifetime, you have walked past thirty-six murderers. 

If you enjoyed this Flash Fiction piece, be sure to check out my other works.

The Hunger for Hallowe’en



Tonight is a sacred night.  Tonight they will come.  The little souls full of joy, their bags full of candy.   It waits in the shadow of a bush, mouth moistening at the thought of a tender foot or lean arm.  Chocolate makes the taste oh so much sweeter.

The time for the feast is near.  Down the street the first flock comes into view.  The littlest soul is an angel dusted in pink and white.  She raps on a door and shouts “Trick or Treat”.  It shudders in anticipation, memories of its past feasts.  The ritual has been in place for centuries and a plan for this meal forms in its mind.  Its eyes will target the wee pink one, her energy beckoning.  In an act of independence, the little soul will leave behind the bigger ones to walk on her own.  Proud footsteps will lead away from her protective group, pink tutu bouncing with each step as she unwraps a candy bar.  The toe of her little pink shoe will touch its shadow.  Her white, glittery angel wings will disappear into darkness, leaving only a candy wrapper on the ground.

As a larger female soul screams out, terrified by the little one’s the absence, others will search the vicinity.  But no remains shall be found.  Sated, it will recede deeper into the shadows until next year.

Sharp fangs protrude over its lips as the corners of its mouth curl upwards.  The congregation of souls continue on their course.  The smallest one sings a song as she skips along ahead of the others, pink tutu and white wings bouncing as she nears the shadows with each step.  Salivation drips from its maw.

It is time.  This is is Hallowe’en


Wishing you and your family a Happy Halloween.  Be safe and don’t step in any shadows while Trick-or-Treating.

Amanda Headlee, October 31, 2014

– If you have enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out my Flash Fiction Library. –

The Companion

I stand on the edge of time, watching, waiting, preparing for your name to appear next on my list.  I count down the seconds until I can see you, to hold your hand or give you a gentle touch on your shoulder.  You and I are destined to meet.  It has been written in the stars across the eons.  I am the one who is going to take you on an extraordinary journey across time and space.  All within an instant, together we shall watch this universe’s time pass from the beginning until its end — you shall see it all.

Your reason for joining me on this trip is no business of mine nor is your past.  For now, I am merely your guardian for this brief moment, escorting you to your destination.  I do not care who you were or where you had been, I am content to reside with your current self for the duration of this journey.

You may ask of me, “But where are we heading?”
“We are traveling through the stars until your destination comes into view.” I will reply.
“So you do not know where I am going?”
I will solemnly answer, “It is not for me to know where you are heading.  I am only here to escort you there.”
“How do you know where to take me if you do not know where to go?”
I will look at you and draw your soul into my arms. “Deep within yourself, you know your destiny.  It has been determined since the day your body was brought into life.  In your subconscious, you know the location of your final destination.  I am only with you to ensure safe passage.”
“Final destination?”  You will pause, just like the others before you have. “You mean I am dead?”
“You are a soul without a vessel.  Your body expired on the plane of Earth.”

  • Amanda Headlee, 2014

– If you have enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out my Flash Fiction Library. –

Upon first catching a glimpse of the picture above, a story started to spin in my head.  The above is a story that came from those spinning thoughts.  Maybe one day it will expand into something more.

My challenge to you today, is to write a flash fiction story using this picture as a prompt.  The story in no way has to reflect what is in the picture, so allow your imagine and creativity to soar.  It will be interesting to see what you are able to conjure up.

Please keep the word limit under 500 words, and paste your story in the comment section below.

NOTE: This is a grammar free zone today.  This is merely an exercise to get those creative juices flowing.