I’ve said before and I’ll likely say it again. Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds poses the best Flash Fiction challenges on the interweb, and they need to be submitted on a Friday. So his challenge this week was to choose from a list of 10 reader-generated sentences to use as your first line. I chose one but then for added bonus points, in a competition that has none, I used the themes and lines from a number of the other sentences.
Hopefully this goes some way to explaining the strange and somewhat dark story I’ve produced. I really do like rabbits and orangutans, in fact we’re planning a trip to Borneo as we speak.
Here’s the link to the Flash Fiction and below are the sentences I used for inspiration and in the story were:
“Once upon a time, there was a story so short, it was only a single line.”
“Life was easier before killing all the rabbits.”
“They never did find the orangutan.”
“Truth be told, I’m not sure any of them are actually dead.”
“Cristobal climbed the ladder of arteries to the first universe that looked like it held more wonders and mysteries than the last.”
“And then, being mindful not to spill my tea, I eased into the tartan embrace of Endolyn Muirden’s least offensive armchair, and settled back to watch him die.”
And someone named Squishy had this which I loved “That plan didn’t fly, superhero, and now we’re short a bazooka.” But didn’t use, so I stole his/her name instead.
So I’d like to say enjoy, but perhaps appreciate would be a better:
Those dastardly rabbits!
Once upon a time, there was a story so short, it was only a single line. This isn’t that story, in fact it’s barely even related to that story. And, while I’m not usually a betting man, I’ll wager that pretty soon you will be wishing this story was far more like that single line anecdote. But your wishes are nothing compared to Endolyn’s, if wishes were rabbits then Endolyn would…well he’d still be in a dire way, his life was easier before all the rabbits were killed. Let’s face it, who’s wouldn’t be?
And now that Cristobal and the Tartan Embrace Crew had discovered the fluffy fatalities, well the fall is turning out to be far worse than when he’d killed the orangutan. Cristobal had said they’d all be ruined when they couldn’t find the stupid great beast, they had contracts to fulfil, powerful families that were expecting certain things, and the orangutan was key to the fortunes of the entire crew.
Endolyn hadn’t said a word, he certainly wasn’t going to confess that he’d given the beast enough Xanax to kill a… well you know. The crew members all had different theories, Squishy reckoned the big orange primate had hopped the next box car back to Borneo and little Pearl thought he was freaking out campers in the mountains out west. The truth was Endolyn had wrestled the carcass into a wheelbarrow and sold it to that shifty-eyed horse dealer that smelled of cheese. And he’d not regretted it for a second. He’d hated that damn orang-utan.
But the rabbits, well they’d been different. There was no hiding what had happened to them, this time he hadn’t done the killing, but he was certainly shouldering all the blame. Endolyn had been trying to help, to prepare an extravaganza, a fantastical wonderment. He’d spent so many evenings sewing by candlelight, his fingertips were crisscrossed and pinpricked, his head ached and his eyes burned, but the outfits had been exquisite.
He’d finally finished them all, a perfect replica of each of the Tartan Embrace Crew, seven bunny rabbit doppelgangers. Endolyn had known that Cristobal would be impressed, that together they could say the words, make the potions that would raise the little animals onto two legs, teach them words. The powerful families would be spell bound, the accolades would flow, and so would the gold. And it would all be thanks to Endolyn.
But it all went wrong and he was in serious trouble, is there a word more serious than serious? Cos that’s the kind of trouble Endolyn was in. It was unthinkable what had happened to the rabbits. Sure he’d killed an orang-utan, but really he’d only put it into a really really really deep sleep. What someone, or something, had done to the rabbits was plain wrong.
Endolyn had been so very tired. Wrangling the rabbits into the tiny costumes, mini laces, fuzzy feet jammed into narrow brocade sleeves. So tired. He’d really needed to sleep, so he’d taken one of the orangutan’s Xanax. Maybe two, he honestly had no idea. All he cared about was the sleep. Heavy, dreamless, sleep of the innocent.
And what he’d woken to. God’s be good. Those poor little creatures. But think of Endolyn, he’d woken amongst them. It didn’t look good, it really didn’t.
Little Pearl had a scream that could shatter glass, that’s what actually woke him. Squishy brought up his breakfast. Squishy, the one they used to perform the acts none of the others could bring themselves to speak of.
The bodies of those little rabbits, a monstrous tableau. Oh I can’t describe it. About now is where you’re probably harking back to that earlier promise of a one line story. Endolyn sure is.
See the main problem was being discovered, sleeping soundly, amongst the grotesquely and painstakingly displayed carcasses of tiny teeny replicas of his fellow crew members. And to compound his complicity, he had overlooked one outfit, he’d forgotten to fashion a mini version of himself.
Even he had to admit it looked bad.
Really, really bad.
Endolyn was flummoxed, beyond comprehending, barely able to form thoughts let alone words. Not that it mattered, no one had asked him anything, his part in the atrocity didn’t seem to be an active one. And he hadn’t even been active in the atrocity itself. However, he was sure to be central to the outcome.
Cristobal had turned a colour Endolyn hadn’t known was even possible. Someone had slapped Little Pearl to stop the screaming. Squishy was sitting in the broken glass in the doorway, head on his knees, eyes tightly closed. The others were yelling, calling the authorities.
The noise really was quite distracting. No one was looking at the rabbits any longer. Would you? Who would look at something like that for any longer than absolutely necessary?
But Endolyn was looking at the rabbits. He was so terribly confused, so desperately trying to make sense of the senseless.
So he was the only one who saw.
You see, his needlework had been religiously accurate. And Squishy would be the first to tell you that the collar on his show outfit hurt him, in fact he said it loudly and often, whether anyone was listening or not. And Endolyn saw it. He saw rabbit-Squishy twitch, it’s eyes flicked open and it stretched, lifting its head away from the painful collar.
Those little bastards.
‘You know what,’ the only person looking in Endolyn’s direction was Little Pearl and she was temporarily deaf from her glass shattering scream.
‘Truth be told, I’m not sure any of them are actually dead.’