Flash! Friday for Aug. 14: Crackle

If you’re not familiar with what Flash! Friday is, here’s the explainer. But in short, it’s a fun weekly contest of flash fiction writers, where each week a new picture prompt, “element” prompt (based on fire and ice), and a limited word count is given, and writers have 24 hours to submit their story. By Monday, the judges pick a winner.

The Aug. 14 prompt was this picture:

“Arena Glacier” Antarctic Peninsula. CC3.0 photo by Godot13.

The additional prompt was a requirement to either include something in the air (fire) or include something in the water (ice). The word count was between 150-160 words.

My entry generously received a shout-out from one of the judges, Sinéad O’Hart, who said she loved the “closing image” and called it a brilliant story. Thank you, Sinéad!

You can read the full results here.

My entry had a word count of 160 words and used the element of fire. Here is my entry:

Under arctic skies and the crackling glaciers nearby, Henry suffocated with her disappointment 9,000 miles away.

His sleeping bag had become his body bag as the air pressed in on him.

It was Joe’s idea. Get away, far away, and do something adventurous. Stepping foot onto a remote continent should have been a victory, but his failure in her stepping out lingered.

That last look followed him here, like a tick, patient and quiet on his skin.

To starve the tick, it was fine with him to be subsumed into the frozen graveyard, discovered decades later as an archaeological oddity.

Or maybe never — that’s fine, too.

He wondered how many other wayward bones he rested on, other empty vessels that voyaged far beyond home to get away, and find a final resting place with comfortable ice sheets.

Even with one more breath, her image was there; those brown, penetrating eyes.

Another glacial crackle broke her hold on him.

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