Weekly Challenge #380 – Spark

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 SPARK.

We’ve got stories by:

The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of GRACE.

Use the Share buttons at the end of the post to spam your social networks. This obligatory cat photo should help make the Internet go faster:

Hidden kitten

Finally, if there are any errors or corrections, please let me know, and I’ll fix them as soon as possible.


TOM

A Well Defined Relationship Part 9

Timmy made his way across the lobby. The kid behind the counter was just a few years older than he. “What you got?” asked the kid, his LED nameplate flashing SPARKY. Tim laid down a Silvian Wheel. Sparky shook his head,” Sorry, Pilgrim two Cubes.” Organic Replicating Programming Cubes were the wealth that had made Anonymous the Knights of Templar of the Outer Rim. Over Sparky’s shoulder Tim saw his John Wayne Altar bathed in the pulsing glow of a Jacob’s ladder. He started whistling “She wore a yellow ribbon.”

“THE PROFIT,” yelled Sparky

“May the Duke be with you.”

LIZZIE

“Perish the thought!” said his mother alarmed, when he showed her the website. But the thought refused to perish. This particular thought seemed rather appealing to Johnny, the geeky kid. He always wanted to be one of the cool boys. The expectation of partying all the time made him walk boldly to the pub where the cool boys hung out. There was a bit of pushing and shoving, which he thought was quite inconsiderate, but, after that, all he could remember was seeing beautiful sparks flying in the air and not so cool boys screaming. It was an explosive party.

JEFFREY

Sparks Fly
by Jeffrey Fischer

Cliche though it was, sparks *did* fly when Al met Bernice’s eyes and their hands touched. True, the sparks were from the static buildup on the carpet in the dry dance hall, but from that moment on they were inseparable.

When, after more than 60 years of marriage, he died during the coldest December that anyone could recall, Bernice was paralyzed by grief. At the funeral, she finally brought herself to say goodbye the only way she could: by scuffing her feet on the carpet, touching his cold hand, and seeing sparks fly one last time.

Shaken, Not Stirred
by Jeffrey Fischer

The Professor tightened one last bolt before stepping back to admire his handiwork. The spark of genius! he thought. Now to test his masterpiece. He pulled the lever and watched as gears whirred and set various components into motion. Faster and more precise than any human hands, the machine set about its mission. With one final clank, the equipment shut off.

“Mwa-ha-ha,” the Professor cackled. “With this device I shall rule the world!”

He picked up the glass. Sipped. Ah, the perfect martini, down to the olive garnish. Now for the next step: an option to make a Manhattan instead.

RICHARD

#1 – Night Freight

Quickly, George jumped down to examine the nearest container, it was chained shut, which suited him fine.

Grabbing a metal bar from the floor, he began to prise the doors open, desperately trying to make as little noise as possible, knowing it could attract unwelcome attention and spark who knows what trouble?

Finally, he was inside, jamming the doors shut behind him. Exhausted, he settled down to sleep.

He was awoken by the groaning of metal and an enormous shudder, as the shipping container tilted crazily and began to sway from side to side.

What the hell was happening now?

#2 – Chemistry

Doc. Schwartz was always trying to spark our interest in chemistry, but the odds were very much against him – we were more interested in carving our names on the lab desks and setting fire to the gas taps.

It didn’t help that he was completely hopeless at chemistry – almost every experiment was either a total flop, or so utterly pointless that we lost the will to live before it was over.

That was until he tried to demonstrate the explosive properties of hydrogen!

The explosion sent both the school and Doc. Schwartz into orbit… now, that definitely got our attention!

#3 – Wildfire

The fires had raged for over a week now, relentlessly destroying towns and communities in their path and claiming innocent lives – they were the worst experienced for as long as anyone could remember.

The cause, according to official sources, was almost certainly a spark from a careless camper’s barbecue – such devastation from such a tiny source of ignition.

It never ceased to amaze me that people could be such idiots when the conditions were as dry as these.

‘When will they learn?’, I thought to myself, walking away, whilst absent-mindedly tossing my cigarette into a handy patch of undergrowth…

#4 – Twinkle Twinkle

Twinkle, twinkle, little star; how we wondered what you are.

And how we watched your spark of light, growing ever brighter every night;

As astronomers, each day by day, carefully tracked your route across the Milky Way;

Your presence grew until scientists knew, the shocking truth that you brought with you;

For you were no star, but a glowing rock – a meteorite that held a shock;

For your route now known, it was clear to all, that upon the earth you would finally fall;

That tiny spark would bring death to all: the end of life… the final curtain call.

SERENDIPITY

“Hi! Long time, no see!”, I exclaimed, giving the guy a huge hug.

To be honest, I didn’t recognise him at all, and judging by his expression, there was no spark of recognition on his part either.

It had been like that all evening – I hated reunions at the best of times, but this was dreadful – so far I’d not spotted anyone remotely familiar. Still, thirty years is a long time.

It was only when I nipped outside, I spotted the sign above the door: ‘Office Supplies Conference’… ‘Class of ’76 Reunion’ was across the hall and down the corridor!

CLIFF

My grandfather was a spark. That’s the nickname they gave telegraph operators back in the old days. He’d spend his days sending the private messages of others around the country. What no one realized was that the sparks would often add their own postscript to the telegrams they sent. When a well dressed man came into the office and sent a marriage proposal to the daughter of a powerful industrialist, Grandpa sent the message and added an instruction to the spark on the other end. “Advise her to say no stop/ he is cheap bastard stop/ no tip full stop/”
___________________________
When a civilization was found, it was pounded until life was obliterated. Worlds with simple life were poisoned until sterile. The last world that the robotic probe had visited had been covered in single celled creatures. Seemingly harmless but one day, they could evolve into a threat. The world was bathed in radiation until everything was dead. This world was no threat however; a barren sea and empty rocks. The probe removed it from the list of worlds to watch and blasted off, shedding passengers from the previous stop, tiny sparks of life that would someday challenge the stars themselves.

SINGH

1

When Ivan Seow saw a hand-sized bag on the side table he couldn’t resist grabbing it. There was a camera inside. Conscience told him to hand it in, but the tag attached read: Journey beyond your expectations. Use me and upload to freecamera.blogspot.com. Afterwards, relinquish me at any airport. ‘Timesparks’ was written on the flipside. Ivan accessed the site on his phone. Yes, there was a blog and this was the password.

Now his flight was being called. He quickly popped the camera into his bag, intending to use and pass it on, honouring the instructions.

2

Aunty Ming Xia lived in Caulfield. She had fed Ivan so amply he wanted to show his appreciation. “Let me take your photo, Aunty.”

Next morning he got a train to Flinders Station. Killing time, Ivan clicked random shots — a punk girl with rainbow hair, an indigenous man dunking donuts at a stand-up cafe. He snapped Melbourne’s rush-hour trams appreciating their slow historical charm. After his meeting, Ivan got someone to photograph him with his client.

Back at Aunty’s, checking the blog, it said he could only upload five pics. Ivan selected the best.

3

He liked the portraits and the street shots, but wasn’t expecting what uploaded in their place. The city of trams became a Melbourne of futuristic flying shuttles. Uploading Aunty revealed a Chinese lady in Nineteenth Century blue silk robes. The rainbow punk girl morphed into a Marie Antoinette-style aristocrat, her high coiffure ribboned with rosettes and central sun brooch. The indigenous donut man — now an Aboriginal on one leg balanced by a spear was offering the welcome gift of gum leaves.

Ivan studied more closely. No travel shots anywhere – just history and incomprehensible futures.

4

Not all the pictures were pleasant. There were also scenes of poverty, starvation and panoramas of chaos. The photograph of himself and his Melbourne client seemed privileged by comparison. He recognised his own face in the Chinese waiter accidentally upending a cocktails tray over a colonial man puffing on his cigar.

Modern Singapore hadn’t prepared him for these time-bending images. Were they sparks from the past, glimpses into the future — reincarnation evidence through ultimate time-lapse photography?

That night he taxied to Tullamarine Airport and discretely left the camera on a bar top before joining his flight home.

5

Ivan lost the Melbourne contract and some office prestige. Was this connected to the blog? As Regional Manager he travelled more, and luckily, business improved in other sectors.

Meanwhile, he studied world civilisations’, the engineering feats and natural resources needed to create such epic structures. He also read up on projected technological ‘toys of progress’. Flying cars were coming. He imagined them against Singapore’s Astro Boy skyline.

From time to time Ivan checked out the blogsite too. Yes, the camera was still travelling, uploading provocative posts under the common ID – Spark.

With economic balance shifting in Asia’s favour, would greed breed global reprisals?

6

Thus, Ivan’s sleep was disturbed. He saw India dying of famine, China’s robot armies on the move. Checking the blog the next day he was shocked the camera had also gone to the Subcontinent, documenting both past palaces and grandeur alongside future turmoil. He saw eruptions in Indonesia, mass death in Africa, civil disobedience in Europe, US annexation of Canada. Weeks later he dreamed of Dubai with its offshore Palm Islands – 520 kms of artificial archipelago in the Persian Gulf. He checked the blog again. Sure enough, here were post-tsunami pictures showing how the sea had taken back human reclamation projects.

7

Ivan went to Bangkok, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and elsewhere. He compared present realities with the blog images’ shifting futures: some cities would thrive; others would take a dive. Headlines of acute global problems made Ivan feel both socially impotent and vicariously responsible. Did the bizarre blog mirror or orchestrate mayhem? Countries’ fortunes were on a roller coaster. The postings reminded him how one era’s wretched coolies become another age’s industry captains.

Next, Ivan was sent to Taiwan for an IT networking conference. Afterwards, he took a bus from Taipei to Yangming National Park.

8

Ivan climbed Grass Mountain and breathed. Returning he found thousands of Papillion butterflies feeding on and fertilising pink azaleas.

Somewhat revived, he headed straight for Taoyuan International.

Having time and needing coffee he found an airport cafe. Sitting, there was something lumpy on the padded booth seat. He retrieved it. Not here! Surely, it couldn’t be — the camera? Or were zip-bags circulating en masse through the world?

Wanting no unlucky Melbourne replay, Ivan stretched, depositing it gingerly on the next table.

Soon, a Caucasian woman sat. She was unzipping it! Ivan didn’t wait to see whether or not she would pop it into her bag.

ZACKMANN

He pulled over in front of the girl pushing her motorcycle wearing a Sparks Nevada shirt.

He said “I saw the sparks from your tire rim. Would you like a ride into town? I think with my back seat down your bike is small enough to fit in my Chevy Spark.”

“Do you promise you’re not crazy?”

“Well, I promise I am not a threat. May I buy you dinner?”

“Are you trying to spark me?”

“Not in the traditional in front of the fireplace way. It’s a Spare the Air Day.”

He was crazy but she felt that spark.

BONCHANCE AND SEVI

John leaned back in his chair closing his eyes pushing away the thought of tomorrow’s presentation.
A successful bid will guarantee a sweet commission and a major bonus. His reward? A first class flight to Alaska, for a month long walking tour.
He looked forward to his sharp metal knife making a spark against ancient stone, and then coaxing the fire to warm him.

His scotch arrived. He noticed the red head smile from a couple of tables away, he returned the beam.
He rose and approached the woman. Time to coax a flame from this intriguing initial spark.

NORVAL JOE

Long John Silver slept with his muzzle on his paws while Missy nursed the five Boarder Collie-Weiner Dog mixed puppies. The Dollie-Cockle puppies were cute with their longish hair and stubby legs, and their sire and dame were quite comfortable with each other as well.
Dergle wondered if he would ever find someone with whom he could be so happy. He looked up and saw Finklestien eyeing him with a Mona Lisa half smile. A spark puffed into flame in his heart. Wanda was only a few years older than himself and a right fine looking woman at that.

JUSTIN

Private Fenton scrambled to gain purchase, but he continued to slide down, rocks scraping against his battle armor. He struck a ledge and he tumbled until he landed on his back.

Cacophony warnings blared as his armor didn’t respond when he tried to move. Sparks popped from joints as servos whined. Then an orc stood over him, slugga aimed at his eye.Then its jaw exploded.

Captain Grigg thudded beside Fenton, bolt pistol smoking. “Trying to be a dreadnought already, Private?” He thumped off, Pistol blasting. A techmarine started repairs, shaking his head. “I just serviced this suit, you know.”

STEVEN THE NUCLEAR MAN

His cry echoed from the shattered wreckage of the car. “Nothing!”

His son shook his shoulders. “Dad, I called 911.”

The man shook off the boy’s embrace. “Those fools! They’ll be too late!” He bent over againaudac, orange cables trailing from gloved hands to the car battery. “Too late, do you hear?”

“Dad. It won’t – ” His son broke off, sobbing.

“It must!” He leaned forward again – he’d lost track how many times – and sparks flew.

But as his wife’s chest refused to move, as her heart refused to beat, Doctor Frankenstein refused to give up.

KIM

The Knife at the Bottom of the Bottle

Spark. Warmth. Heat. Ignition.
The Amaretto down my throat to
The engine, my bruised heart,
my depressant dipped mind.
One, two, three glasses.
Enough for tickets to ride when I
Want a one way for a non-friend.
Four, five, six, glasses.
Fill the tank because I’ll need more courage once its done.
Seven, eight, nine,
and Lady Macbeth would be proud
of the grip I have on the butcher’s knife.
I’m a greased machine without breaks,
but with a Purpose.
Kill.
Lift, stab, breathe.
His blood coats the floor,
and the cherry fumes lift like fog from my lungs.
Exhaust.

REDGODDESS

Movies have given women a false sense of romance and created an obsession with love at first sight. After years of watching princesses kiss slimy frogs, with the power to grant happy endings, we now expect every relationship to ignite with an infinite spark. We tell ourselves, “If it’s the one, I’ll feel it instantly.” Lola sensed that connection months after meeting her lover. With all the grandiose gifts and the spontaneous weekend get aways,she remembers the almost missed intimate gestures. The moment she discovered that “thing” between them was in their shared quietness. Often, she secretly watches him while cooking their favorite meals. She then sneaks back into bed and pretend to be in deep sleep. His gaze reveals more than words and the heat that burns when apart. He still looks at her in wonder and his appetite for her expands with time. In essence, they fuel the spark with constant kindness.

MUNSI

Helping

By Christopher Munroe

The place is a powder keg.

No, seriously, I’ve filled your home with gunpowder.

I’ve also saturated the floors, walls and furniature in kerosene, because why not? If you’re going to do something, go all the way.

Speaking of…

…there we go. Now you’re covered in kerosene too. The slightest spark would turn this whole place into an inferno.

Because the time has come for you to quit smoking. I promised I’d help, and by god I’ve taken my duty seriously.

Gotta run, tho’, I’m meeting people later. You hang out here, not smoking.

Let me know how it goes…

TURA

“Igor, the Spark!” I shouted to my hunchbacked assistant. He grasped the great switch with both hands and wrenched it closed. Blue lightning crackled between the generators and the machine at the centre of the laboratory. Water flashed into superheated steam and hissed through intricate pipework into the extraction chamber, from which slowly oozed a thick, black, almost living fluid.

One by one, the generators shut down, their task completed.

I approached the machine, unscrewed the collection vessel and drained its contents in a single gulp. “Ahaha!” I exclaimed. “The true, the perfect coffee! Now I shall conquer the world!”

PLANET Z

Dad said that Sparky ran away to join the Doggy Circus.

But I know that’s a load of crap.

Sparky’s been sick for a while. The Doggy Circus doesn’t audition sick, old dogs.

I know what really happened when Dad took Sparky to the vet.

Sparky’s in the Dog Army. He’s going to sniff out land mines and bombs so that he can save a soldier’s life by giving up his own.

I’m so proud of Sparky, and I will always remember him.

That is… assuming that he joined our country’s Dog Army and not the enemy.

Bad dog, Sparky!

3 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #380 – Spark”

  1. Richard had some good stories, as usual. I really got a laugh out of Serendipity’s piece, though. Yet another reason I don’t want to go to any reunions… I can see myself making that mistake, and I’d certainly try to bluff my way through a room of people I don’t recognize.

  2. Hey-yo! ^_^

    Yep, first time doing this. Heard about the podcast on the Friday before and thought I’d give it a shot.

    Glad you liked the “Autumn for Trees” picture!

  3. Baltimore. Amtrack to New York, MARC train to DC or northern parts of state (minor league park in Aberdeen), Camden Yards, Museums, Science Center, Fells Point, Inner Harbor, and if you come from 18th-21st, could show you the city meself a bit. Or you could do guest spot in person on WtF a Broadcast. Bus and Light Rail, though if you want to use Light Rail this is a good spot to be able to walk to it: http://www.hotels.com/ho220127/chase-suite-hotel-hunt-valley-cockeysville-united-states/#maps. I like the east side of town better, though that means bus. No idea what it would cost to fly from TX, though I think my bud who lived in Austin said it was 4-500.

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