Weekly Challenge #395 – Burning

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 BURNING.

We’ve got stories by:

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

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:

Fluffy orange boy

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

MAGGY – NO RECORDING

Her heart was burning with longing as the cold wind
swept her hair. It was his voice. It had to
be. The rain pelted towards her like an iron sheet
pushing her back. The more she ran the more it
crashed against her. Her frozen feet were burning as she
determined to reach him. He would be waiting, she knew.
There was a roaring, louder and louder. Closer, closer it
came. Silence. Squeek of breaks. The train stopped with a
jolt.

He looked down at the lifeless body on the tracks.
‘My darling,’ he murmured, and jumped down from the engine.

MUNSI

Celebration

By Christopher Munroe

Welcome! Glad you could make it!

Come in, you’re the first to arrive, but I’m sure everyone will be here soon enough.

Have a seat.

We have a great evening planned, there’ll be games later, Mitch over there is a tremendous bartender and, while you haven’t met most of the people who’ll be here yet, once you do I’m sure you’ll love them.

And, at the stroke of midnight, we’re burning the Wicker Man.

No word yet as to who will be inside the Wicker Man. I’ll keep you posted as that’s worked out. In the meantime, have a drink…

JEFFREY

Dangerous Liaisons
by Jeffrey Fischer

Rob felt a burning sensation in his nether regions. Although he ignored it, hoping the feeling would go away, it persisted. Finally, he saw a doctor, who identified the problem as a case of the clap, prescribed antibiotics, and sent Rob on his way.

When his girlfriend, Monica, had a similar burning sensation, she was puzzled until one Sunday morning, looking for two aspirin and some Pepto, she encountered Rob’s antibiotics and put two and two together.

Monica broke up with Rob that morning. He didn’t notice for several weeks that she had taken apart his remaining pills, flushed the antibiotics down the toilet, and put the pills back together again. For Rob, it was a real head-scratcher.

Both Ends
by Jeffrey Fischer

The expression “burning a candle at both ends” never made sense to Phil, who decided to conduct an experiment. He took a standard household candle into his dorm room. He used a lighter to melt the other end, jammed a wick into the soft wax, and lit both ends, then took the candle in his hands and watched it burn.

As the candle dwindled, Phil wondered how he could put it down to avoid being burned. He ended up throwing the candle into a corner, where a stack of magazines caught fire. The entire dorm burned down – at both ends, you might say.

TOM

1 Dancing on the Bubble

It was the 90’s the last wave of unbridled money was flowing through the
streets of Silicon Valley. Jack was surfing in the middle of a prefect
storm. A gaming company wanted a video portal on their website. The
company was 30 days old, astonishingly over capitalized. The Kids had no
idea that a generation before the VC were the bad guys. Jack had and they
still were. Knee deep in ashes, the burn rate had reached golden time.
Jack managed to get out the door before the padlock. The gravy days of
tech writing were gone with the wind.

2 A Well Defined Relationship Part 24

Doc Proctor cut through the crowd like a knife. “Hell of a way to answer
an advertisement, Mrs. Parsons!” “Sorry Sir.” “Smith you coming with?”
“Seem so sir.” “NICE WORK TIMMY. How long before the reconstitution?” “Six
minutes.” “Who’s flying that thing?” Sparky nodded. The doc motioned him
to get behind the altar and pull the FSM with him. The entire company
followed suit. Doc Proctor drove his fist into the altar. A brilliant
flame rose. It burnt so bright the Pastafarites backed away. Banister
pulled The Voyage over the Tiber. “What about the priest?” “Drop him in
Wynn’s pool.”

3 A God Damn Forest Gump Life

In the late 70’s I worked for a bakery that delivered barked goods to San
Francisco shops. Got to know some of the folk in the art scene. One of
thous folk said “you got to check out the show at Baker Beach. At the time
it had all the trapping of any Santa Cruz beach party too much beer,
smoke, fire, and Dead, so I went just once. Same friend asked me to come
with when they took the party out to Black Rock. I told him I wasn’t going
to drive 120 miles to watch a burning man.

4 Loud

My music tastes have always been on the eclectic side. If a singer’s vocal
presentation was 5 degrees off center their record went into my
collection. In my 45 days a title of unmeasurable joy was produced by the
oddest name band I had ever heard The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The Who
was loud, Arthur Brown was louder. Fire was released in 1968 and surely as
a times they were a changing it went to number two on Billboard. Parents
hated it kids loved it. Beginning with “I am the god of hellfire” end
with “You’re Gonna Burn!!”

JULIE

I was full of pulchritude and lacked punctuality.

It was all staged, of course.

They sewed me in my naked dress,

Trotted me out,

The trollop offering.

My cotton-candy hair,

Even the white ermine was fake.

Peter Lawford had a few before we took the stage.

I had a few too.

He asked for a blowjob.

That limey skank.

I knew what was up.

I went through the motions and gestures,

Sang my silly words off key—

Ignored the crowd.

Don’t judge me.

For all the things you’ve done,

To me,

I thank you so much.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

RICHARD

#1 – Escape in the night

Keeping to the shadows, George and Emily fled towards the river. Suddenly, a massive explosion rocked the camp, the concussion throwing them to the ground. A huge fireball erupted behind them and George felt his hair singe.

Fort Hope was ablaze, burning fiercely, the flames already reaching towards them.

“Run!”, shouted George, and they took off as if all the hounds of hell were following.

Then, without warning, they were falling – George braced himself for the impact, but instead experienced the sudden shock of ice-cold water.

Spluttering and gasping, his head broke the surface… they had found the river.

#2 – Roma Invicta!

We sat on the hillside and watched the city burning in the valley below; men, women and children surrounded us, shocked and sobbing… senators, priests, common folk and gladiators – all of us equal in our loss.

Rufus Dramaticus, one of my most loyal and trusted legionaries, made his way slowly through the crowd, saluted and knelt before me:

“Ceasar… the people are lost – they look to their emperor for succour?”

“Are they?”, I replied, “But what on earth can I do?”

Then I spotted my fiddle…

“How about I lead everyone in a nice rousing singalong? That’ll revive the spirits!”

#3 – Burning Man

My tickets for burning man arrived this morning – yep, that’s right, I’m going to be spending a week in the Nevada desert, communing with nature, soaking up the atmosphere and generally escaping the rat race and everything it means.

Mainly though, I’ll be going for the art – there’s nothing like self-expression, be it through sculpture, handicrafts or performance, to show just how creative we humans can be.

Actually, if I’m honest, that’s not the real reason I’m going…

I’m really going because I want to see all those girls wandering round, wearing body paint, and not a lot else!

CLIFF

Doctor Perkins had a cancellation so I was able to get in with only a few hours notice. The receptionist asked me what my problem was, but I wouldn’t tell her. Since Perkins was a urologist, I’m sure she was used to men being shy about sharing. Soon, the doctor and I were alone in the exam room.
“What brings you to see me today?”
“Well, doc, I’m kind of embarrassed.”
“No reason to be. I’m a professional. You can tell me.”
“Ok. You’ve been sleeping with my wife.”
They caught me burning the office down with Perkins body inside.

Their ships were tiny, a mere ten feet across. They were still the most feared armada in the galaxy. They had weapons that could level cities. They had a star drive that could take them across a light year in a heartbeat and across the galaxy faster than you could get through airport security. They had ravaged a thousand worlds and Earth was next. However, a slight miscalculation by the Chief Navigator brought the fleet out too close to our world. Before they could change course, they plummeted through our atmosphere, burning as they fell. Damn pretty meteor shower though.

ZACKMANN

Father, Miss Cheerilee said “A robot doesn’t actually know it’s a robot. They’re programed to respond the same way we do. Upon learning the truth about itself it would would probably go into a violent existential rampage through the town.”

“Honey, if our guest says something that sounds odd like prOject instead of project or Initiate sequence one, it is because he grew up in a different country but he’s definitely not a robot.”

“Dearest, no fireplace tonight because illegal to have fire on cold days.”
“Oh, Spare the Air Day and not because fire might melt our human guest.”

SERENDIPITY

Can you smell burning?

That wasn’t the deal!

I thought I’d made it perfectly clear that I wanted the ducking stool – the point being, it’s pretty easy to fake drowning, and then I can just sneak away when nobody’s looking.

Hold my breath. Play dead. Escape with my life.

But burning at the stake is another matter entirely!

How the heck am I supposed to escape from this? Unless you have a secret plan to get me out of this fix, I’m toast… quite literally!

You’ve let me down badly – you’re far, far worse than a witch: you’re a complete bitch!

DR FRAN

What makes a visionary?

Philip Rosedale, clad in plastic bag cape, and sporting beads, looked up from his laptop at the playa in Burning Man, and saw a user-created world. He thought: Hmmmm, I can do something with that.

Thus was born Second Life™, the great virtual world experiment that still appeals to a niche of about a million people. Yes, the losers, the folks on the autistic spectrum, the odd, and the unloved are there. Philip is not.

Randy Nomeind looked up from his bong at the playa in Burning Man, and yelled: BOOBIES! He created nothing at all.

SPATE

Dreams

I awoke from a dream and reached over but you were gone. Then I remembered.

I sleep alone now.

And under the weight of this empty bed on a cold November night, I have again been forced to reconcile with the unpalatable conclusions:

I know that what was, is now not.

And that which once burned with life has turned to dry ash.

I accept that twenty-two years became the limit of forever and that I will never really hear your voice or feel your touch again.

You will not return.

But when will you be gone from my dreams?

LIZZIE

The old man threw his books out the window, one by one. No one loves books anymore, he thought. He walked downstairs and lit up the first book, turning it left and right, watching its hardcover burn slowly. Suddenly a kid walked up to him. “Don’t burn it. I’ll keep it for you.” The old man’s eyes teared up. He put the fire out and sat on the floor. The kid sat beside him, holding the half burnt book like a treasure. Many others joined them, each grabbing a book. The old man was never so happy to be wrong.

KATHARINA

Burning by Katharina Bordet

Flames were trying to burst out through the windows of the two-storey house in the cul-de-sac. Leo looked at it in astonishment, whilst from afar, the sirens were blaring louder as they were coming near. Quicker than the sirens, his parents’ car arrived, coming to a screeching halt next to the boy. Leo looked around to see his mother jumping out of the car and running towards him, a look of sheer panic in her face.

“What happened, did you do this Leo?“ she shouted at him.

“But… you told me to clean out the house, mum!“

SEVI, REDGODDESS, and BONCHANCE

Burning by Severina, RedGoddess and Bc

Harry huddled in his cubicle and slowly arranged the 3 pieces of paper.
He gingerly taped the fragile pieces together into one and began to study it.
Harry was unsure why he was chosen to solve this mystery but all the same it was a challenge that excited him.
The faded trail on the map, ended in a 3-way split. He knew that the wrong turn could lead to a disaster.

Which path to take was the burning question.
The next day, Harry strapped on his gear and scaled down the storm drain to find his buried pot of gold.

NORVAL JOE

Dergle patted long john silver on the head, loaded shells into his shotgun and left a candle burning in the front window.
Wiener dog man would not be made to look like a fool. He pulled the eared hoodie over his head and strapped the dog nose to his face.
Call him a super hero, or call him a vigilante, he had a job to do and a promise to keep.
He walked down the street to Widow Finklestien’s.
“You have ten minutes to release her and her dogs, or I’m coming in.”
The eco-terrorists had taken the wrong hostages.

DANNY

Welcome to “Florida This Week.” Topping the BURNING issues of the week: Adolf Hitler gets thrown out of the Florida Republican Party for not being conservative enough. Robert Jones, leader of the KKK of North Carolina, had the following to say; “Well, we don’t have no way of judging who exactly we’re directing our beliefs at.” Jones has recently come under fire for mistakenly attempting to promote KKK membership among the predominantly black community of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, stuffing mailboxes with hundreds of fliers with the words “Our Race Is Our Nation” and a symbol of a hooded klansman..

JUSTIN

Gordon Freeman peered around the corner. Two zombies were tearing into a hapless soul who had wandered into Ravenholm. He stepped into the street and aimed the sawblade it held and fired. The blade spun through the air and sheared one zombie in half and dismembered the other. From beside him he heard the gurgle of more zombies. He backpedaled away from them and saw three fuel barrels. He pulled out his Glock and fired a few precious rounds. Flames exploded over the zombies and they stumbled about screeching until they fell into heaps of guttering flesh onto the ground.

TURA

In the Burning World the seasons are defined by the flames. In the Fire season, a man may not venture with impunity beyond the safe places. Then the Gasp, when the fumes that burst from the sand do not ignite, but suffocate. In the Cool, the venting ceases and one fears only the slow burning of the raging sun. Then the Blow, deadliest of all, when deep cataclysms open new vents, and we must find safe ground again before the Fire.

Our stories say that this world was created by the mad demon Frak, as our punishment for worshipping him.

SINGH

Foreign Madam and the White Yogi, a verse novel in progress by Chapter 20.

20.1

The last bus left in a cloud of diesel grey

as they returned from the burning ghat of the dead.
He felt quite bad that he would end this day

without his Margot next to him on a bed.

Hardly apart since raising that first sweat
on a sunken sofa in sundown grapevine light
with a backyard view where parrots pirouette,
Australia was the boat they’d burned that night.

Barhai glad of a struggling face upset
offered him a bed at the speed of light.
“You stay with us.” Too late to feel regret
the darkening sky helped Yogi say “Alright.”

20.2

Brijpal Chauhaan came up for dinner too.
He was the history buff among them, glad

to hear his high-pitched voice pull rank.

“So, Yogi ji, you like our Mahabharat.”

Youth in blemished white spoke from the couch,
with feet tucked up, hiding his cut knee.
“I have read it yeah, in English, a translation.”
Then added: “Bigger than the Iliad.”
Chauhaan eye-browed his Chairman. Barhai winked.
They felt the thrill of history acknowledged.

Yes! by a foreigner, someone from the West
from whom they sought approval, yet despised.
They had not deemed Australia to be south.
Chauhaan went on.

20.3

“It is our greatest book
without a doubt. The story of our race
and still for us, alive. This is the place
where it began. Hastinapur, the capital
is so close by. We could even go tomorrow.”

‘That would be great, but my wife is all alone.
She’ll be worried already, that I haven’t returned.”

“Of course, Sadhu Sahib,” Barhai added.

“We all are family men. Your duty’s clear.
Yes, right now she is too much worrying.

In a strange land, one should be vigilant.

Tomorrow is Sunday. Rest the knee, you must.
“Chauhaan, you send your car for Yogi Mrs.”

20.4

The leader and his deputy knew each other.

“A small service, Yogi ji, if you allow.”
“Of course, he must,” said Barhai, pushing on
with a host’s prerogative. “She is truly doing
noble work with the children. Please allow us

to show appreciation and share our home.

Mrs Barhai will be thrilled on meeting her.”

Yogi succumbed again. The air-conditioning

was softening his tired brain and bones:

come on, slow down, just take a little break.
He thought of Margot with that block of soap
scrubbing his white chola at the hand-pump.

He smiled with some relief. “Okay. Thanks.”

20.5

Then Barhai barked in Hindi, “Khana banao.”

“Ji Swami,” chimed a voice through clanging pots.

“Indian food you like?” “Very Much”

“Now Chauhaan, tell us something now.”
The history buff lit up. He cleared his throat,

then paused: “Perhaps we shouldn’t start on

Mahabharat here.” “Why not?” Asked Yogi.
“It is the story of discord in the home

and splitting of the atom of the nation.

Ramayan is a ghee lamp sharing light,
Mahabharat is the wick snuffed out at the end.”

“Come. That’s superstition,” Barhai said.
“Twenty crore watch it on Doordarshan

and still the nation hasn’t split your atom.”

20.6

“Twenty crore?” asked Yogi. “Two hundred million,”

said the man of rupees. Then told how

from week to week, at nine on Sunday morning
India stopped to quaff down myth like milk

from the sacred teat of new technology,

skyline satellite dishes, ham-wired, poking

above slums, bazaars, the colonies, mosques and mandirs,

the public spaces emptied, all at home

seated, reverent as inside the temple

through far darshan’s audience with the past

on national television. “It is tomorrow.

You will see,” Barhai added. “Well

we will take our dinner. Hungry, Yogi?”

“Yes,’’ he said, a growling dog in his gut.

20.7

They tore up steam balloons of roti
scooping deep the seas of chilli,
lady fingers, chopped green bhindi,
something cabbage, fried and windy,

deep brown dhal thick with hours,
aloo gobi’s hidden powers,

paneer slabs swimming cream,
floating in the Indian Dream.

Barhai, a man of chicken meat
went pure veg tonight, discreet,

while Chauhaan, scion of care

sniffed and tested with despair

spooning past the globs of ghee

gold whirlpools of high B.P.

Then the sweet dish, food for brain –

rice cream kheer came again and again.
Yogi’s robe earned its battle stain

a victim of the gravy train.

20. 8

“Don’t worry for the washing, Sadhu Sahib.’

Barhai called the servant to bring kurta
and white pajama as a sleeping suit.

“Thanks Chauhaan,” he said in advance for
Margot’s early car and gave a note.

Dear Margot, you must be anxious. Sorry.
Skinned my knee. Am resting up at Barhai’s.

Waiting. Yogi. P.S. Bring guitar.

Note pocketed, Chauhaan said: “Right Sir!”
descending stairs like bass notes on a keyboard.

It was time to shake the hand of his host and close
the door. But he felt like a rock. Food overload?

Laying down he sank in a dream of water.

20.9

darkness is poison stone body creepers

arms tied ankles rope-burnt thinking unwinds

reels out an oxygen lifeline bubbles bubbles

serpents swim scarlet green injecting venom

straight to bottom and through to another place

creepers break cobra hoods smash like tree roots

slither cold tunnel jewelled walls emerald cavern

the thousand thousand coils of serpentry

turning human with honeyed speech

poison is nectar each bite a burning antidote

each bite one hundred elephants of strength

after each fang clasp strange transference upsurge

sunlight kingdom surface breaking

awake in the mind asleep in the body

laying until the lotus-pink of dawn

20.10

When he woke, Yogi’s robe was clean
upon the chair. Showering, he changed
remembering the poison night. But noises
lured him via sprinkled scent of rosewater

in a front room spread with cotton sheets of white.

The ceiling fan spread air-con cool, but squeezed

too close, the men swabbed sweaty necks.

A girl passed round a tray of clinking glasses.

Barhai made way for Yogi, pride of place.

Garlanded with marigolds, red-sareed

Sri Lakshmi blessed all with wealth from her

pink lotus, framed above the television.
Herded together, ladies covered heads

as the picture tube fizzed into holy life.

PLANET Z

Long ago, I worked at the same TV station as a famous reporter.

Most people knew him for doing good deeds for the Houston community. But he was utterly cruel and vicious to his editor, producer, and the rest of the news staff.

The last thing I said to him was: “You attack the people you utterly depend on, and you know they will never fight back. When you burn in hell, you will burn brighter than anybody else, and you’ll be proud of that, you monster.”

He thanked me, and smiled his shit-eating grin.

He’s dead now.

And burning.

13 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #395 – Burning”

  1. I learned something important this week, which is that I shouldn’t listen to the podcast while on the subway. Some of the stories make more sense when I can hear all the words, not just half of them. (Fortunately, I can read the bits I missed.)

    One of the parts I did hear was the question of how Sevi, Bonchance, and Redgoddess could write a third of a word each. I suspect it’s not that they get a third of a word; instead, they draw lots and the winner gets to pick the extra word. I think “gingerly” was that word.

  2. You know what I love about the Weekly Challenge? It’s the creative ways people use the prompt. Not just in the story telling, but in how they interpret the prompt. My favorite weeks are the ones when there is a prompt that can be used in a multitude of ways.

    This week was no exception and I love it. Thanks to the creative folks who keep coming back. You really are an inspiration.

  3. I’ve never been here before. I’m listening to the podcast about burning…I love the sound of the typewriter in the background.And I don’t think they make bacon-fragranced incense because it would be toooooo distracting!

  4. I found it odd that a person telling me it is wrong to buy blood diamond was totally okay with me buying blood oranges

  5. Didn’t Hemingway write six word stories? Maybe you should try 50 or 75 word stories. Lets face it. At 100 words, there’s a lot of filler in some of the stories.

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