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The End?

February 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Pretty much if it weren’t for Chuck Wendig, I would never write anything. This past week he had a Three Haikus Tell One Story challenge over on Terribleminds. I thought it would be fun to write a story with some misdirection. My goal was for the story to appear to be about one thing, only to have the reader find out things weren’t what they seemed. I think I accomplished that quite well.

The End?

It happened like this:
One moment they weren’t here,
And the next, they were.

The invaders came,
They saw, they conquered, and then
They laid down and died.

In just an eye’s blink
We were defeated. Again.
CONTINUE? YES / NO

© Avri Burger 2013

Categories: Fiction

Harold and the Fountain

March 17, 2012 1 comment

So, I completely forgot that the week before I wrote Moments Are Forever, Chuck Hogan had run a Short Short Story Contest over at Terribleminds. Just how short, you might ask? Try no more than five sentences, with a total of 100 words or less. Not so simple, eh? Anyway, I enjoyed the challenge, and it was much harder getting my story into five sentences than I had anticipated. I also never gave it a title, so something simple will have to do now. I hope you all enjoy!

Harold and the Fountain

After decades of searching, Harold had finally found the Fountain of Youth. His oft-ridiculed theory had proven correct: it was clearly alien in origin. The warm, viscous liquid soothed his ancient limbs as he waded into the shallow pool, and he sighed with relief as his whole body began to tingle. Several moments later, he gasped in horror upon realizing his heart had ceased beating. A pulsing light mocked him from across the basin, and, with the last of his strength, Harold lunged for the button.

© Avri Burger 2012

Categories: Fiction Tags:

Moments Are Forever

March 7, 2012 2 comments

I wrote this short story for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge of this week. The theme was to pull up a random song, the title of which would be the title of your story. The story was limited to 1000 words or less. The song my player came up with was “Moments Are Forever” by Moon Project. To see Chuck’s detailed instruction and for links to other entries, head on over to the contest blog on his terribleminds website.

Moments Are Forever

There was a time when Sarah would never have considered visiting a fortune teller. She used to believe that palm reading was bunk; that tarot cards were nothing more than a fancy, oversized deck of drawings; and that Ouija boards had a remarkable tendency to only answer you with what you were thinking. But now all that had changed. Now she had to believe they were all real, legitimate ways to connect with the spirit world. If they weren’t, she would never be able to contact Joe. She would never be able to find where her beloved, dead husband had hidden the $10 million. That son of a bitch.

She still remembered the morning after they “acquired” the money like it was yesterday: Joe had slept-in so late, it was as if he had been up the entire night—which, it turned out, he had. Sarah was horrified when Joe told her that he had stashed the cash “in a safe place” for a while. He said they needed to lay low for a bit, before they packed up and started off on a new life. Also, he didn’t trust her with the location of the money. Yet. A week later, the bastard died of heart attack in his sleep.

That was five years ago. Five long, agonizing years of her tearing the house apart, digging up the entire back yard, and visiting every medium she could find in the tri-state area—all of them hacks. But now, after all that time, Sarah was finally optimistic about this next visit. Her last reading, done by an old hunch-backed woman, was fairly accurate for a change. However, when the psychic failed to contact Joe, she returned Sarah’s money. “Go see my sister,” she said, holding out a card. “She is much better at this than I am.”

A slight chill trickled down Sarah’s spine as she descended into the cramped, musty basement room located in a run-down part of town. The place looked much like all the others, with the exception that it had no windows whatsoever. Looking around, she saw numerous framed pictures of sad-looking people hanging unevenly on the walls. Not a great recommendation, she thought. Sarah decided it was too creepy and was just about to leave, when she heard the rustle of a bead curtain behind her.

She was greeted by Madame Rosa, an ancient woman who looked exactly like her less-successful sister. Rosa was a pleasant lady and a perfect counterpoint to the odd decor. Moments later, they were seated in the center of the room, the fortune teller quickly overturning the cards of her craft onto the round table.

“Your dead husband hid from you something you hold dear,” Rosa said after studying the cards. It was not a question.

“Well, yes,” Sarah, shocked, replied. “Yes, I am looking for something. Shortly before he died, my husband hid my mother’s heirloom ring to teach me a lesson,” she lied. “You see, I was going to sell it.”

“And now you are hoping I can help you contact your husband’s spirit, so that you may discover the ring’s location.” Again, it was not a question. “There is a way it can be done, but I must warn you: it is not always successful, and it is certainly not safe. And, it is very expensive.”

“I don’t care how much it costs,” Sarah blurted out. “I’ll pay anything to speak to Joe. Anything.

“I must prepare something for you to drink,” Rosa said, and retreated through the bead curtain. She returned a few moments later, and led Sarah over to a reclining chair near the wall. “After you drink this, you will start to feel heavy. You will then close your eyes and think of the most vivid moment you can remember of your Joe. When you no longer feel heavy, you may open your eyes. If it worked, you will be living in that memory for a short while. It does not last long, so do not waste your time.”

Sarah greedily grabbed the offered mug and quickly gulped down its contents. She only had a few seconds to dwell on the particularly grotesque taste of the liquid before she felt like a ton of bricks was pushing her into the chair. Though the pressure continued to mount, Sarah found she was able to think with greater clarity than she ever had before. She easily envisioned that morning from five years ago and moments later the pressure released.

Sarah opened her eyes. There was the jerk, still sleeping at noon. She walked over to the bed, picked up the glass of water on the night table, and dumped it on his head. Joe spluttered and pushed himself up, but before he could say anything, Sarah slapped him. Hard. “Wake up, you creep!” she yelled. “You’ve been dead for five years, now tell me where the money is!”

Joe started to smile, then flinched when Sarah raised her hand again. “In the shed!” he blurted out. “There’s a false floor under the lawnmower!” Sarah grinned in triumph, then fell to the floor as the world shook violently.

When the shaking subsided, Sarah noticed some movement out of the corner of her eye. She walked over to a mirror and, instead of her own reflection, saw Rosa’s face—impossibly large. “I thank you for finding me that money. More importantly, I thank you for your donation to my picture collection. Now, go enjoy your most precious of moments . . . FOREVER!”

© Avri Burger 2012

Categories: Fiction Tags: ,