Welcome to the 100 Word Stories podcast at oneadayuntilthedayidie.com. I’m your host, Laurence Simon.
This is Weekly Challenge, where I post a topic and then challenge you to come up with a 100 word story based on that topic.
The topic this week was Black.
And we’ve got stories by a lot of people:
- Claire Voiant
- Serendipidy Haven
- Erika Dorland
- Tura Brezoianu
- Cliff – Uncle Monster
- Steven Saus
- Bonchance and Sevi
- Norval Joe
- Frej Wasastjerna
- Planet Z
The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of Switch.
And if you want to spam your social networks with this episode, use the Share buttons at the end of the post… this obligatory cat photo should help make the Internet go faster:
He left me with a black eye and a loose tooth. I picked the fight during half time. We stood face to face, and he said something about removing his jacket, and pow! One to the mouth with a quick, straight right, and a left jab to the eye. One-two! I stood there, stunned, more embarrassed than hurt. He was a country boy, and his dad or his big brother taught him the trick that caused me to lose two front teeth at thirteen. I walked away, head down, staying in the shadows of the stadium lights, crying and embarrassed.
Black is the color of my true love’s hair, although it is getting very thin. She does everything she can to thicken it up, or treat it to give it more body and cover, but I can still see the bare and thinning patches. I want to suggest she get a smart hat, or silk scarf, but then I would have to explain why, and it would be too awkward or embarrassing for both of us. She never says anything about the patches of dry skin or little rashes that pop up on my face so often. Bless this woman.
The black ones are favorites. Yellow, second. When I was a kid, I used to put a black one in one nostril and a yellow one in the other, and go on about my play. After the jelly beans warmed, the sweet smell of licorice and lemon filled my nose. Folks would give me a sidelong glance, but never say anything. When I went into Mister Fong’s store to get a soda, I had forgotten the jewels in my nostrils. He was a quiet, polite man, and didn’t say anything, although he offered a hankie after I bought my drink.
The edge of the room at the ceiling was covered with a smoky swath of black mold. Deadly I heard, or at least not good to breathe. We got the house cheap, but had to rip out all the interior walls and insulation. You could wring water out of the fiberglass. Some of the studs were rotten, and had to be removed. Wire was re-rerouted, and some replaced. The seller was a deacon in the church, and when he and his wife signed the contract, they smiled warmly and gave us the fine, gold Parker they signed the contract with.
The car came to an abrupt halt and he glowered at me, before exiting, slamming the door behind him in the blackest of his black moods.
It was my fault we were late of course, why could I never be ready on time? This time though, it was intentional – payback for the affair that he thought I didn’t know about. The same affair that had driven me into the arms of Marco.
Almost dragging me into the restaurant, we were led to our table – the waiter, hovering anxiously, could obviously sense the tension.
“It’s our anniversary!”, I explained, smiling broadly.
I ordered the garlic mushrooms, eliciting a snide comment about their effect on anniversary kisses. I can’t remember the last time we kissed and meant it, garlic or not.
He settled for prawn cocktail – I knew he would… so predictable, and oh, so boring. I’ve never known someone so black and white; and you can forget any shades of grey!
We ate in stony silence, as my thoughts turned to Marco and the week in Europe we’d planned – I smiled at the thought of the tickets in my clutch bag, resting on the table, right in front of his eyes.
The main courses arrived – my venison cooked to perfection, whilst he wouldn’t have noticed if his seafood linguine was half-cooked and cold, such was the relish with which he wolfed it down!
Ten minutes later, and he was looking decidedly queasy, no doubt thanks to the rat poison lacing his black, squid ink pasta sauce. The idiot just sat there, too damn proud to make a fuss.
I asked him if he was alright, only to receive a withering look. Well, what did I care anyway?
The waiter appeared, clearing our plates away and slipping me a surreptitious wink.
“I’ll order for you”.
He was in no state to argue; I signalled our waiter – Marco – and pointed to the menu – “This please, and black coffee”.
The desserts arrived – his looked good enough to eat – I’d spent hours preparing it while he was in work.
I could see he was struggling: a panic-stricken look filled his face as the battery acid sorbet worked its way into his system. Desperately, he grabbed his strychnine-laced espresso, downing it in one…
He’d never complain about my cooking again!
“I’m just going to powder my nose”, I murmured, slipping from my seat…
Leave the Light On
Blackness had never been my friend. As a child I had multiple rituals to keep it at bay. The closet door had to be ajar exactly ¼ inch. Bedroom door ½ inch to maintain the respective glow from each space which grayed the heart of blackness. The radio had to be tuned to Music Till Dawn. A sheet had to be on top of the navy blanket covering face, feet, and hand. As a child I thought Monsters hide in the black. These rings of early warning keep me safe. At 60 I’ve learned the Monsters hide in the white.
by Jeffrey Fischer
I staggered, a look of shock on my face. The bastard had shot me! Oddly, I felt no pain. The coward took a last look at me, stuffed the gun down his waistband, and fled. I tried to pull my Glock, but found that I couldn’t move my arm. Instead, I toppled over backward, hitting my head on two bar stools before landing on the floor, sticky with spilled drinks.
I stared at the ceiling, the soft recessed lights boring into my eyes. I couldn’t blink, I couldn’t move, I could only look at those lights, now starting to dim. Fade to black. It was closing time.
The Usual Tipple
by Jeffrey Fischer
The two strangers sat next to one another at the otherwise empty bar. They started talking, as men sometimes do.
“I’ll get the next around,” Ray, in an usually generous mood, said, signalling to the bartender. “What’s yours?”
Gary said, “Johnnie Black.” The bartender reached for the bottle and poured, then pushed the glass toward Gary. He took a sip.
Ray hoped his credit card wouldn’t be rejected. He kicked himself for not finding out what Gary was drinking before impulsively offering to buy the round.
“If you don’t mind my asking, what makes the Black Label so good?”
Gary considered the question for a moment. “Well, there’s the smooth, smoky taste, but…”
“But I’d be a liar if I didn’t say it tastes especially fine when someone else is paying.”
I Finally Get Around to Endorsing an Energy Drink
By Christopher Munroe
I am thirsty.
Life is empty.
Why? Why isn’t there an energy drink for me?
Bev-rage, an energy drink by Goths, for Goths, is finally available, assuming you can face the conformists at your local store.
Available in three flavors, Black as Night Black Current, Black as the Raven’s Wing Black Cherry and Black as my Soul Salt-Cola, Bev-rage provides the energy you need for moping, writing poetry, or just sitting alone listening to old Cure records through oversized headphones.
All the activities a Goth might need energy for…
Bev-rage, buy it.
Quench your existential thirst.
The blackness of coffee
From lips to ears and back again sad memories were whispered. Silver spoons in coffee mugs clinked in the background.
A door opened. Heads turned and the room froze.
Mum walked in.
As she took a seat several voices nervously tumbled over each other.
“He’ll be missed.”
“We all loved him”.
“He’s at peace.”
Mum smiled wanly.
“Have a coffee. You’ll feel better,” suggested Aunty Joan. The others nodded.
While she sat sipping her coffee an ocean of tears tracked crookedly down Mum’s cheeks.
My family thinks the blackness of coffee cures everything … but it doesn’t.
“Don’t touch the button, Cindy,” commanded Tommy to his cousin.
“You’ll be sucked into that keyhole,” he pointed at the pantry door.
“What’s inside the keyhole?”
“A box…” Tommy was enjoying this.
“What’s inside the box?”
“A black hole,” Tommy replied.
“What’s in the black hole?”
Tommy thought nothing, but reconsidered, because Cindy was full of questions these days.
“How can I be there if I am here?”
That’s when Cindy pressed the button.
“Where’s Tommy?”asked her aunt when she realized the kids were too silent.
“In the black hole… perhaps with me.”
His irises expanded in the candlelight while she considered that all eyes have black centers.
Windows to the soul, she thought on an inhale as he fingered her chin.
Wicks crackled, held transfixed in the bittersweet burn of their siren flames. Vague memories of a preacher’s sermon on abstinence rippled across her tongue in a fleeting attempt at resistance, but the night swelled with instinct as the lovers pulsated toward midnight.
The blackness between stars howled like a wolf and caressed her soul with slick onyx fingers. Craving midnight’s touch, she sacrificed herself to the hypnotic burn of dark hours.
Her first memories were of auras.
Shifting, sparkling, brightly colored emanations …
each singularly unique!
Each a window to the soul from which it radiated.
She loved to meet the people with the bright auras,
and had learned to avoid those who had lost their sparkle and shine!
She saw him as he walked toward her.
She stopped in her tracks, her mouth open wide.
His aura had no color, no sparkle … no emanation.
It sucked from the auras of others …
An aura so BLACK!!!
She knew she faced a demon!
She shrank back …
Just a child
I remember the blacksmith. He was actually black, the only black man we’d ever seen. He called himself Jack, but it can’t have been his real name. Where did he come from? How did he fetch up there? He told some tall tales to us children, but he never really said.
One day the King’s men came, demanding one man from every village. Later, they would take more. One lad volunteered (dead now, of course), but they insisted on taking Jack as well. I think they knew who he was.
I never saw him again. I don’t know what he’d done, back wherever he had called home. His story is gone, ground into the mud like so many others, in the war.
So glad it is the new year and all the apocalypses of 2012 have been avoided. I was very disappointed that several times I received emails from a certain electronics store telling me it is like Black Friday all over again. The Email reads like a horror version of Groundhog’s Day in which you relive the worst shopping experiences of your life. Day after day of standing in long lines in subzero weather to not be able to buy anything you came in for because nothing in the ad is stocked. Does reminding us of this pain really increase sales?
My senior year of college, I interned at a newspaper staffed by a bunch of salty old guys who were far from politically correct. After the unfortunate article about Senator Ruiz, the board of directors insisted that the newspaper install censoring software. All offensive language was sanitized before publication. The journalists loved it. They didn’t have to monitor themselves anymore. Lazy writing and bad habits were cleaned up automatically. Even the editors stopped relying on their own judgment. It all fell apart when the headline on the local section proclaimed “After years of debt, city firmly in the African American”.
STEVEN THE NUCLEAR MAN
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY
The third minute ends, and everyone’s heart takes a beat.
If it can. For some, the strain is too much. Others were flying, driving, swimming, and are now smears on the landscape.
Everyone else is alive again.
There were no gates. No fires. No waiting virgins, or cycles, or wheels, or reincarnation.
Just black. Absence. Nothing. No feelings, no sensation, no joy, no fear.
But now, three minutes after everyone’s heart stopped, they know what waits.
And no matter how hard they pray in stone boxes, worship the planet among the plants, praise someone, anyone’s glory, they know.
BONCHANCE ND SEVI
White by Severina Halostar and Bonchance Longfall
This is the season of my discontent.
Everywhere I turn there is a white horizon.
The ability to discern objects from this desert of frozen water has long since left.
Shutting eyes tightly, feebly fighting off the blinding whiteness bestows red relief only for a moment.
Exhausted from my body’s endeavour to transform energy to heat,
through endless shivering, saps all remaining vigour and the cold sinks deeper into my soul.
As I lay in my bed of white covered in a sky of pale,
I embrace the bitter cold. I feel slumber taking me.
Gradually, all fades to black.
Colonial Marine Arnie was separated from his squad, if there was a squad left. The corridor was long, lights flickered. Sweat beaded on his forehead and dripped down onto his rifle, which pointed the way into every dark corner.
Arnie looked up. Something was above him, in the girders and the wires, he knew it. No reason or rhyme, he just knew it. Every few yards, he looked up, but nothing.
He looked up again, and all he saw was teeth. He backpedaled, screaming until the gun clicked empty, leaving only himself, and an alien corpse smoldering in the corridor.
“You know. Maybe we slipped through a black hole. We were getting really close to the galactic center,” Borle Phlegmbburn suggested.
“I wouldn’t think so,” Flerdy Torquespindle replied sarcastically. “First of all, you’re supposed to spend eternity, falling over the brink into the black hole, while your final seconds stretch out infinitely. Besides, we would either be blasted back out as light energy or consumed in the hole.”
Flerdy entered data into his ship’s computer.
“What are you doing?” Borle asked.
“I’m backing up. Maybe I can reverse this weird jump if we just go back the way we came.”
Leopold gazed into the depths of her eyes. Two solid black pools reflected his own image back to him. His insecurity and doubt were blatantly obvious, even with his images in miniature. He loved her, yet he was incapable of telling her so.
There was aristocracy in her line and nothing but mundane commoners in his. Her sire Lord Willhelm Pookie Schnapps and her dam, Princess Magdalena Frankfurt Wiseburger.
And his parents, they just called them Shultz and Helga; how plebeian.
She would be the queen of the show, and he, just a plain, old, black and tan weiner dog.
Black. That was all he saw. Black space, pricked by stars. Even Zeta Reticuli was eclipsed by Beachball.
He took his binoculars, set them to maximum amplification and high magnification, and swept the starfields.
He flipped his fighter upside down to scan the other half of the sky. Still nothing.
An IR scan: again, nothing.
The enemy ship was too far away and too cold…
Or not. He had an idea. He scanned Beachball in IR.
There! The silhouette of an enemy fighter, cold against the warm planet!
He aimed carefully and fired.
An explosion, then the blackness returned.
Singing the Black Dog
I have been bitten by the black dog, the one frothing at the mouth for no reason. Yes, she left the india-inked note on my table with a black rose; and now the madness does not stop. All I have is her heartless black rose of a poem that makes me froth at the mouth each time it sings inside me:
Down we lie
on the grass each night
and hear the snap of firelight
you nestle back – I am your piece of turf
we face the crash of the surf
how long can we lie
under black sky
I take my coffee black.
No, not without sugar, cream, or milk.
Black. As in solid black.
Pour some ink in there. As long as it’s black.
Got some paint? Better be watercolor. Because tempera and house paint are way too thick for coffee.
Take a step back.
Does that look black enough?
Then turn out the lights. Board up the windows, and put blankets over the boards.
Not dark enough?
Then cover your eyes with cotton and wrap a scarf around your head.
Shit. I tipped over the coffee mug.
Have you got a flashlight?