Flash in a flash is back.
Get a timer, set it for 120 seconds and when and ONLY when you are ready to do the challenge, scroll to the very end of the post to see the one word prompt. Write hard and fast until your time is up.
If you want to join in, post your flash in the comments or in a post and link back here. Mine is at the bottom under the word.
Please note I am extremely slow at responding to comments at the moment. I moderate everything. I do read everything, but expect a delay.
Now to last times responders.
First in Allie, with this brilliantly horrible twist
Jenny pulled on a pair of rubber boots. The paperwork in the van had announced that the house’s late owner had been a hoarder. She’d seen a few places like that and had learned the hard way to dress with some extra protection before making her inspection. Somedays she didn’t know why they bothered with the process. In almost all cases the building wound up being condemned.
The door squealed like a cat in heat as Jenny made her way inside. The scent of sulfur and old urine assaulted her nostrils. “How do people live like this,” she muttered.
“According to the niece’s statement, her aunt claimed that unless she continued to collect dolls as ‘vessels,’ the house’s demons would start taking people instead.”
Jenny shook her head at her partner’s words, but there was no denying the mountain of dolls that met them in the center of the room. However she was surprised to see a clear path around the dolls. Most hoards filled every available space, but this collection was an island. She took a step closer. The dolls’ eyes opened. Her partner screamed and Jenny knew no more.
Judy in next with this equally hideous and brilliant poem
I drifted towards the island
Thankful to have arrived
Waves gently coaxed me onwards
From the shipwreck, I’d survived
As I took in my surroundings
And admired the scenic view
I noticed that everything was miniature,
The trees, and houses too!
The silence was oppressive
Like the world had held its breath
But the foetid smell of rotting flesh
Was an ominous portent of death.
“MAMA” drilled right through me
What the hell was that?
A head rolled downwards towards my feet
Vomited then spat!
Oh, God, that looks like a dolly
Wow, this place is weird
A puking, talking little doll
Whose body has disappeared!
I look around unsettled
As shivers go up my spine
Then the baby dolls head
Starts to scream and whine
A sharp pain in my temple
By a rock that has been thrown
By a severed doll’s arm
That picked up a stone.
Disjointed limbs and torsos
Appear from all around
Silent in their combat
Unable to make a sound.
I found myself surrounded
Then legs kicked me to the floor
The arms tore mine out of its socket
I was a mess of blood and gore.
You humans treat us dollies
Like you just don’t care
Yanking our arms and legs off
And cutting all our hair
This is now our payback
Any humans come our way
We’ll see just how you like it
When the dolls come out to play!
Next in Ritu with a cracking twist
It was meant to be my dream holiday. I had been saving for so long, and finally, I got off the plane.
Mattel Island. It was a little-known island in the cluster of Hawaiian islands. Perfect, I thought. An unspoiled place for me to truly relax.
I hailed a cab outside the airport and one soon stopped. The driver was a handsome young man, with a fixed smile on his face. “Where to, Miss?”
I gave him the name of the hotel and we drove off.
Looking out of the window I saw some of the locals going about their business.
There sure were some attractive folk out there, on this island!
Reaching the hotel, I paid the driver, who I had named Ken, after the infamous doll.
The reception was quiet, and I strolled over to the desk. As the receptionist looked up, brushing her blonde hair from her face, I was struck by how perfect she looked, almost like Barbie.
Then it hit me. Pretty much everyone I had seen seemed to have that plastic perfection look about them…
It was like landing on an Island of dolls!
Then she remembered the name of the island.
Next in Geoffle with an equally twisted ending
She remembered two things from her first day as a minister – all political careers end in failure and nothing’s forgotten more quickly than a reshuffled minister. And here she was being reshuffled to let ‘Big Beast’ Bertrand Collins back in now he had won a by election.
Elise felt cheated. The PM’s oily sincerity while his people analysed her, checking for signs of rebellion. He hadn’t stayed in power for so long without such checks. And Elise couldn’t – didn’t want to – hide her disappointment. ‘Take a break,’ he said. ‘Use our island. Be pampered.’
Here she was, in tropical splendour. All sorts of fun and now this. They were to take a cast of her, like at Tussauds. She’d noticed the figurines already, lifelike if a little chilling. Maybe they seemed out of place here.
They wrapped her, while she sipped a cocktail and dozed.
Her brain felt fried. How could she be still wrapped up and why were they carrying her downstairs?
As the men tilted her upright she realised the awful truth and what it was about the eyes of the figurines that has so disturbed her.
Jade M. Wong up next, with a tail the kids shouldn’t read!
Past the cypress tree, down the creek,
Chrysanthemums will mark the gate,
Would you like to join our playdate?”
“A playdate? Sounds fun! Will there be cookies?”
“No cookies for breakfast, Emmi. Go wash up, now.”
“Okay, mummy,” Emmi giggled, taking the stairs two at a time, her auburn curls escaping from her ponytail with every skip.
“We’ll have cookies, we’ll have cakes,
We’ll swim all day in the pretty lake,
We’re starting soon, so don’t be late,
Would you like to join our playdate?”
“Yes, but there’s no lake here, silly,” Emmi replied, as she peeked outside the bathroom window. “Oh!”
There, like a mirage under the sweltering city sun, stood a wooden gate entwined with colorful chrysanthemums. Beyond, Emmi could see a thin, sparkling creek, disappearing into the distance. And waving to her, with skin as flawless as porcelain, were doll-like girls, singing a song only Emmi could hear.
“Mummy, I’m going on a playdate with the dolls!”
“The what? Emmi!” Her mother exclaimed, dropping plates with a clatter as she tried to catch her daughter. She tore open the backdoor just in time to see the ends of Emmi’s red curls vanishing into thin air.
Lori Carlson in next with a beautifully emotive piece
“I see you’ve found another one.”
I nod at the old woman sitting on her porch smoking a pipe. I don’t linger to chat. I have to get on with my job. It’s an important one, but most people say it’s creepy. I don’t care though.
I trudge on through the mud. Reach the small island in the center of the swamp. A solitary tree stands to one side. I tie the limp figure on a low branch. Light a candle. Say a prayer.
The Government keeps promising us a vaccine, but it’s been ten years now since the plight. Keep trying, they say. Maybe the virus will work its way out of the gene pool. Forget about what’s lost. I refuse to forget.
I walk down the alley back toward my home. A window opens. An object falls to the ground. I bend down and pick it up. A discarded doll. Another child has died.
Next in Bré, with this creepy little piece
He only takes the normal girls. The plain ones, ugly you could say. He makes us pretty though.
He takes us in the dark of night, or in a quiet park perhaps. That’s when our journey starts. The island is beautiful, remote. One way on or off; his boat. We go to his workshop.
He examines us, our flaws, our potential. He chooses our new clothes. Pretty cotton and lace dresses with bright colours. He styles our hair. Pigtails, maybe curls. Then the exciting part. His eyes light up as he begins. Drawing on freckles, rouge on our cheeks. A little lippy, but never too much.
Then we meet the others. All so pretty. Drinking tea, playing in the garden, cooking. We were brought from all over. Missouri, Oklahoma, Missisipi and even Louisiana. A new one comes every week.
In fact here he comes with a new doll to play with now.
Last but by no means least, Jane with this chilling piece.
The agent cut the motor and helped her out of the dinghy. John jumped out behind her, and the agent tied up the little boat. There were no other boats on the jetty. She gazed at the woodland ahead, the placid brilliance of the lake behind her, and sighed deeply.
“Gorgeous, isn’t it?” The estate agent smiled with all his teeth.
“I can hardly believe we’re really doing this,” she said, her voice drifting on the breeze, and her fingers reached out for John’s hand.
“A dream come true,” he echoed.
“Let me show you the property,” the estate agent said, setting off along the ride lined with beech trees. The alley ended in a meadow that looked as though it had once been a tended lawn. Here and there, flowering shrubs cascaded wildly from the confines of what had once been strict beds. The agent put down his briefcase carefully in the grass and waved one arm from horizon to horizon.
“The property stretches from the wall over there to the right, and as far as the wall you can just see through the trees to the left. This is where the architect has planned the house. The garden will run down to the beech wood and the driveway, and from the first floor you’ll have an unobstructed view of the lake.”
“Wouldn’t it be more logical to put the house up there, at the highest point?” John pointed to the top of the rising ground. “We could see the lake from the ground floor too then, have a terrace looking right down on it.”
A faint look of unease flitted across the estate agent’s face before it was replaced by a smile. He shook his head. “Land’s not been cleared there yet. You’d have to wait until the…investigations were over to start building. Could be a while, and in any case, that section of the property hasn’t been checked for seismic activity, subsidence, flooding—”
“Flooding?” John raised an eyebrow.
The agent grinned. “I admit, it’s not an obvious problem, but you know, the regulations.”
“Can we look?” she asked, already moving up the hill.
“Certainly,” the agent hurried to catch her up. “But there’s nothing to see.”
There wasn’t much left of the building, just the foundations, cellars, some of the retaining walls and a lot of charred timber. John whistled.
“Must have been quite a fire.”
“Terrible,” the agent agreed. “The architect has prepared plans for this section too. Gardens and a summer house.”
The estate agent smiled evasively and shrugged. “Nobody knows. And nobody…survived to give any clues.”
“That’s why the investigation is still going on?”
“I expect it’s just a formality now.” The estate agent opened his briefcase. “I have the plans here, if you’d like to have a look?”
She wandered off again, not wanting to stand still, just staring. Something in the air that she found oppressive made her fidgety. There was a low stone building, an outhouse of sorts, looked to be still intact. Poppies and cornflowers and various climbing plants grew up to the walls as if they’d been sown there. A little garden. Like the kind she had had when…She unlatched the door and it swung open. The room was bare stone walls and stone flagged floor. It was full of boxes. The sense of oppression increased, the air, heavy, full of vibrations. She listened. It was almost like voices. She took a step backwards. Looking over her shoulder, she saw John and the estate agent making their way towards her. It was their voices she had heard obviously. She stepped into the dark room and peered into the nearest of the boxes. She gave a gasp. John’s hand on her shoulder steadied her. The estate agent appeared at her side, his face white in the gloom.
“It’s probably not a good idea to—”
She interrupted him. “What’s all…this?” She swept a hand around the room and bent to open the box fully. “These?”
Dozens of dolls, some dressed, some not, all sizes, hair colours, all with fluttering eyelids and big glass eyes, gazed at her.
“The house, it was an orphanage. Didn’t you know?”
As the estate agent shepherded them out into the sunlight, she thought she heard the pattering of feet on stone flags, and a breath of laughter followed her down to the beech ride.
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Even as I stood there, blowtorch in hand, door leering at me, I knew I was slipping down a bad road. I gritted my teeth and braced myself. We all had choices, this was mine. I flicked the switch on the blowtorch making flames erupt out of the end. Flames touched the door handle and I grinned as I watched it melt the lock. Then I set light to the door frame, stood back and watched the house burn.