Ten Little Chapters Flash Fiction Challenge

On Chuck Wendig’s blog, he does weekly flash fiction prompts. I decided to take a stab at it this week. The challenge this time was to create story of less than 1000 words, but to make it 10 chapters long. As usual I made my task a little harder and decided to kill 10 people in my story as well. I decided to call it Ten Little Deaths. I hope you enjoy it.


Chapter 1

They had all promised to keep in touch, but ten people with disparate lives and no real connections didn’t have much hope of that. They’d all just happened to be on the same subway car when an explosion collapsed the tunnel. James was certain that it had been a group hallucination. He’d read about those in a science magazine one time. He’d gone about his life as if it had been just another bad day. He’d married his fiancee and had two beautiful children. He kissed his children goodnight and slid into bed beside his wife. His last thoughts were that if he didn’t wake the next day, he wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Chapter 2

Molly reached up one last time with her pick and heaved. It had been an amazing ten years since the subway accident. She could tell that some of them didn’t believe that their lives would be over in a decade. She did. She hadn’t wasted a single fucking minute of those years, even though she’d only been sixteen years old. She patted her tattoo of Mt. Everest and smiled. Ten years of raising hell and traveling the world culminated in her being on the world’s tallest mountain when she collapsed with a smile on her face.

Chapter 3

“Thanks, man,” said David, paying the vendor and handing a hot dog to his date. “So, a crappy movie and crappy food. I really know how to treat a lady.”

“I love crappy movies, and hot dogs are one of my favorite foods.” She took a bite and truly seemed to enjoy it.

David smiled and turned the corner into the park, leading his date on one of his favorite walks in the city. A large blocky figure loomed in their path. Shots rang out before David understood they were being mugged. “May tenth?” he asked pointing to his watch. His date looked confused and then nodded. “Fuck…”


Chapter 4

“Another day, another occult store…” Juliet pulled open the door and sighed. At least it would be the last one. Either it would work or it wouldn’t matter. This one had come highly recommended. Strangely it was in the middle of nowhere in the northern California redwoods.

As usual, this place reeked of patchouli, but there was something else on the air. Something wrong.

The man stepping through the beaded curtain was the source. He smelled of brimstone and death, just like he had that day.

“Sorry luv, couldn’t let you squirm your way out of our deal.”


Chapter 5

“Wanna go again?” asked, Ayu, her chest still heaving from their last bout of lovemaking.

“You are insatiable, aren’t you?” said Ana, her pail white hand raising goosebumps on Ayu’s dark skin as she lightly traced her thigh.

“Well, we’ve only had ten years together. We’ve spent enough of that time out of the bed. I want to go out with a bang.” Ayu smirked and waited.

“Oh, that’s terrible! For that pun I’m making you do me first!”

“Gladly!” said Ayu, pouncing on Ana.

Neither of them even noticed when the car crashed through their bedroom wall.


Chapter 6

Mia wrote dozens of different drafts and deleted them all. Finally she decided to keep it simple. Use the insurance money to change the world. Sorry I couldn’t be there to see it happen. I’ll miss you all.

She printed it off and sealed it in with her Will.

It was time for one last walk through the poor neighborhood she was trying so desperately to save. She assumed that someone would finally be desperate enough to take her life for the money in her pocket. She didn’t blame them.

She was wrong. It was a drunk, rich, asshole in a Mercedes.


Chapter 7

“I think it was those tacos on Cinco de Mayo,” said Daniel, gasping for breath. “That’s the last time I eat at a Mexican place called ‘El Baño’.”


Chapter 8

“‘El Baño?’ What the hell are you talking about?” Liam chuckled and then broke into a coughing fit. “That place was called Su Casa, and it was amazing food. You know damn well it was that demon that killed us, right?”

There was no answer. “Daniel?”

“I loved you too, you idiot.”


Chapter 9

“Mom? What’s wrong?” asked Leah, her lip trembling.

“Nothing, Sweetie. I just need some rest. Grandma will take care of you while I sleep.”

“Don’t lie to me. I know you’re dying.”

“You always were a smart one, maybe that’s how you do it.”

“Do what, Mom?”

“Save the world,” said Joanna, closing her eyes with a sigh.

“I don’t think so. I’m sorry I never showed you before. I didn’t want to scare you.” Tears rolling down her cheeks, Leah scooped her mother up in her tiny arms and flew out the window.


Chapter 10

“Everybody just calm down,” hissed Joanna. “You’re scaring my baby. Rescue crews will be down here soon enough.”

“They will love, but not in time for your baby,” said the well-dressed man that she didn’t remember seeing on the subway car before. “And you’re right, I wasn’t on this car before just now.”

“How did you know–”

“Because I’m a demon, love, and I’ve got a proposition for you. All of you as a matter of fact.” He turned his all black gaze to each of them in succession and all doubt left their minds.

“You can choose to do nothing and rescue crews will come to save you and you can live the rest of your natural lives. Only the child will die. Or you can live ten years more and save the babe. The choice is up to you.”

In the end it was no choice at all.

“You’ve chosen wisely, kiddos. That child will be the savior of all mankind.”

“But you’re a demon, why would you?”

“The Apocalypse isn’t my department.”


Be Yourself Or Die

So, I’m pretty much tired of not being myself. I talk to my wife about it because she has a more advanced case of it than I do. But the truth is, I hide who I am in order to fit in too. The truth is, when you aren’t being yourself, you might as well already be dead. The Bene Gesserits said long before me.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I’m a geek, I’m vegan, I fucking love Amanda Palmer and the ukulele, I feel sorry for people who “don’t like to read”, I’m a writer and a dreamer. I love long rambling text posts that nobody will probably ever read.



Like many thousands of other people I participated in NaNoWriMo this year with the lofty goal of writing 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. I’m proud to say that I am a winner this year having hit 50,000 words on November 27th. This is my first NaNo win and my third attempt. I guess the third time is actually the charm sometimes. I guess it’s a cliche for a reason :)

I’m still haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that I’ve written something this long. Last year’s attempt never made it to the 45k mark and I did work on it some throughout the year. I think this year worked much better for me for a few reasons.

1) I had a good idea where I wanted the story to end up before I started writing. It kept my driving forward in a way that writing by the seat of my pants never could.

2) I made very good use of the local NaNo community in Tucson. I went to multiple write-ins every week. I posted on the forums, and in the Tucson NaNo Facebook group, despite my hatred for FB.

3) I used the attendance of write-ins as an incentive. I would not go to a write-in unless I made at least 75% of my writing goal for the day. It meant that write-ins were just fun social time for me and helped me meet and get to know some great people.

4) I refused to let myself settle for less words than my goal. I took two days off from NaNo, but they were on purpose. I also made sure that I was ahead of the goal count to so that I wasn’t getting behind by not writing.

So, those are the ways I managed to bang out more words on one story in a month than I’ve ever written before. Now the question is, can I keep it going? I’ve set a goal for myself to write 1300 words per day which rounds out to about 40,000 words a month depending on its length. That should hopefully allow me to finish up this novel (50k isn’t nearly the end) and move on to something else with the beginning of the new year.

What this all means is that I’m now officially putting on my big boy writer pants and going after my dreams of being a published author. I think 30 sounds like a good age to get a contract signed, don’t you?

Marriage on Opposite Sides of the Technological Divide

I just read a post on Google+ about senior citizens not wanting more new gadgets. It was all about getting a cell phone and getting signed up for Twitter and stuff. It was mildly amusing and grumpy, but not really important enough to explain further. What amused me is the way this curmudgeonly attitude toward technology made me reflect on its role in my life.
This is the comment I posted in response:
“If I ever start talking like this I want somebody to grab the largest tech object still in existence and bash me in the head until I stop twitching. You’ll take my gadgets away from me when you pry them out of my cold dead hands!

My wife on the other hand is a very reluctant tech adopter. She is just now very slowly learning to admit that the MP3 player is superior to the personal CD player. She absolutely hates learning new gadgets. I find the thrill of learning a new gadget to be as addictive as any drug.

I restrain myself from bugging her to upgrade her outdated tech and she tries not to snicker when my bleeding edge device malfunctions and makes me scream. We both still think that our own way is a bit better, but in the end realize that there are benefits to each way of thinking. And…I just realized that this unwittingly became an explanation for how to make a marriage work. Heh.”

Our differing viewpoints on tech and gadgets fascinates me. There are endless options in the world of technology and to some extent they define our personalities. I’d love to hear from you folks about how you and your partners differ. Does it cause strife or bring you closer together? If you’re single does someone’s opinion on technology factor into your decision to pursue a relationship?

Happy Birthday #Amwriting!

For the uninitiated, #amwriting is a Twitter hashtag, created by the lovely Johanna Harness. It’s a continuously running Twitter chat that is an endless font of inspiration for writers. I think I found #amwriting just after it was created. If it weren’t for Johanna and all the other early adopters I never would have participated in NaNoWriMo that year.

That NaNoWriMo was the starting point for my return to the world of writing. I hadn’t written anything to speak of since about the 6th grade, though I had done some pretty extensive roleplaying and character building. The camaraderie and encouragement I found on Twitter that November was nothing short of life changing.

As anyone can tell you that’s faced down NaNoWriMo it’s quite a daunting task. Many times I was reminded of a great Stephen King quote.

“Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

I don’t think I could have found the courage to keep going if it weren’t for #amwriting and my wife, who constantly reminded me that writing is what I want to do with my life. It was a simple matter of prioritization and writing needed to come first. Once I put writing on the top of my list I began to arrange the rest of my life. Now, instead of working a 9-5 job and scratching out a bit of writing when life allows I’m traveling full time with my wife and working on my writing for hours every day.

I won’t go as far as to say that I wouldn’t be here without #amwriting, but I will say that it was one of the first steps on a very long journey. I don’t know if I’ve every properly thanked the people of #amwriting, Johanna in particular, properly, but I hope this post will serve. Thank you.

This post is part of a blog party to celebrate #amwriting’s second birthday. Happy birthday!

To continue the celebration, head over to L.S. Taylor’s blog and read her happy birthday post.