Five Minute Fiction

Five Minute Fiction is here!


Leah Peterson (my publisher-sibling at DMP) hosts a contest on her blog every Tuesday called FIVE MINUTE FICTION. The idea is to take a prompt and write a short based on the prompt for FIVE MINUTES ONLY. Then you post it and either Leah or a guest judge decides which are his/her five favourites. Then the community votes for the winner among those five favourites, and the winner… wins!

Only tomorrow, the contest is migrating HERE!

Yup, that’s right, the Five Minute Fiction contest being hosted by me. Cool, eh?

So how does it work?

Tomorrow, at 1:30 EST, I will edit this blog entry. Yes, this blog entry right here. And I will edit it so that underneath of this explanationy stuff, there will be a ONE WORD prompt and a PICTURE.  But I won’t do it until 1:30.

It’ll be up for 15 minutes (5 minutes to write, 10 minutes for life/technology issues, etc.).  At 1:30, you can start to write. Then at 1:35 you have to stop and post your short in the comments section below. (I’ve turned off the moderating comment feature for the day).

When it hits 1:45, I will pick 5 finalists out of the participants. Sometime in the next 24 I will put up all 5 finalists and a poll for you to vote for your favourites. On Wednesdy,  a winner will be announced!

The prize for winning? KNOWING YOU ARE AWESOME.

And of course, check out the other four rocking hosts for the 5 Minute Fiction Blog Tour.

March 8: Claire Legrand, @clairelegrand (<<Author of  The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls)

March 15: Monica Bustamante Wagner, @Monica_BW (<<recently signed with the fabulous Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary!)

March 22: Richard Wood, @rbwood (<<host of the awesomesaucian The Word Count podcast!)

March 29: J. M. Frey, @scifrey (<<author of the upcoming sci-fi novel TRIPTYCH!) OH, HEY LOOK, IT’S ME!

April 5: Sam Adamson, @FutureNostalgic (<<one of the authors involved in the holycrapamazing The Splintered Lands collaborative writing project!)


Story Prompt:



Steampunk Watch by Jezebel Charms - click on picture to be taken to the shop. Why yes, this IS my oh-so-subtle way of saying that I want one.



JM FreyFive Minute Fiction


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  • #5MinuteFiction Blog Tour Week 4 | Write Me! - March 29, 2011

    […] Head Over There at Warp Speed! […]

  • Aden - March 29, 2011

    In the manner of a few seconds the sky opened up right in the center of a field. It turned various shades of pink and purple, highlighted with swirling lights and veils of mist. In the manner of another few seconds two figures fell from the opened hole in the sky and hit the ground with a very forceful thump. Just as quick as the sky opened, it closed again. Gone was the beautiful colors and swirling lights. It was only replaced with a dark carpet of blueish black and dotted with stars.
    The two men that hit the ground started to pick themselves up. Dusting off stray pieces of dirt and hay, they started to take in their surroundings. They were stuck smack dab in the middle of rural…well rural somewhere. As far as the eye could see, trees, fields and maybe if they were lucky that glow in the distance was ligths from a house.
    With a sigh, one of the two men pulled a watch from his pocket. When he clicked open the cover a small amount of green light illuminated an annoyed face.
    “That didn’t quite work out as planned now did it?”

    “It’s hard to tell. We could be in any time, any decade, or dimension for that matter. Rural fields are pretty universal”

    “Well then let’s try to make our way towards that light.”

    Without looking around, or paying much more attention the two men started in the direction of the light. Not even noticing the large shadow circling the sky above them.

  • Allison Mosier @slytherin_pixie - March 29, 2011

    It had been a decade since he’d talked to her. Ever since she’d left that note on the nightstand that she couldn’t be with him any more. But he’d finally found her.

    He watched the house from under his umbrella, rain beating down over his graying head as he waited for her to come out, for him to declare his love to her; because it had never faded, not once over the years. He looked down at his watch, then back up, only to see… her. He gave a sharp gasp as he saw her; she hadn’t aged a day. She still looked to be in her early twenties, no gray in her hair, no lines to mar her beautiful face. Her eyes met his for a moment, pain showing in them, and she quickly turned to walk away, blond hair streaming out behind her. He understood now. She hadn’t left because she didn’t love him, she left because she couldn’t bear to see him grow old and die.

  • Corinne O'Flynn - March 29, 2011

    The newscaster’s voice droned from the TV. No amount of makeup could hide his sunken eyes and missing teeth. “Scientists have located the source of the bat-killing fungus. They blame decades of overuse of pesticides and antibiotics that allowed this super-spore to develop and ultimately wipe out the world’s bat population. Efforts to create a test-tube bat are still progressing.”

    It all started with the bats. Nobody gave it much thought when bats started dying around the world. “Good Riddance!” The voice of the people was unanimous and clear. I mean, who really cared about bats? Unless it was wearing a rubber suit and saving Gothem from the evil of the world, bats were rarely the topic of conversation.

    But people cared now. It’s all anyone can talk about. The bats. I’d give my eyes to have the bats back.

    The food chain is a funny thing. From the lowliest flea all the way up to man himself – we’re all connected. See, it’s the bats of the world that control the rodent and insect population. When the bats died off it wasn’t a trickle effect, it was a tidal wave.

    Worldwide crop failure due to insect infestation came first. A plague of locusts, indeed. Then came the rats. Disease spread through cities from the abundance of rodents. Medicines ran out. Rats and mice no longer hid in the dark recesses.

    The grocery ran out of food months ago. Nobody leaves their homes anymore. We’re down to our last cans of fruit cocktail. It’s hard to keep a family of six fed when the world is dying.

    I walked into the bathroom and stared at my reflection in the mirror. Funny how you get used to seeing yourself waste away. I used to be so afraid of nuclear war. And here starvation would be the end of us all. I’d lost another tooth this morning. That made three this week.

    I turned off the TV and curled up next to my wife and kids in our bed. I joined them mid-prayer for the miracle we knew would never come.


  • Leah Petersen - March 29, 2011

    Had it been two decades? Three? It was hard to remember. Time slid through his fingers and fuzzed around the edges anymore.

    Four? What year had it been? What year was it now? What year was it where he’d come from? Where she had been. What the hell did they drink in that century he’d just jumped from? This had to be the worst hangover ever.

    Paul looked around. A chill mist rose from thick green hills. There was no one to be seen. No buildings cutting into the slope, roads snaking around it. The top of the hill was empty. No big house where she’d lived and where she’d loved him.


    Paul eased himself back into the fetid cabin of the time-machine, and began punching buttons.

  • Sunny - March 29, 2011

    He took small bites out of time. When he’d been young he’d gobbled entire decades, glutting himself on the riff of jazz, the swish of bellbottom jeans, the new perspective of Picasso. Drowning his senses keeping up on all fronts, being with all that he could be.

    It was tiring.

    Now instead of downing time like he was at his first Octoborfest, he sipped, savoured mere days, hours a perfect minute. Let time swish around his mouth like a single malt scotch, itself distilled time in a bottle.

    Yes he missed flotsam and jetsam of boy band names and Oscar winners, but his memories, his memories were held like flies in amber. Perfect. Captured. His.

  • Aden - March 29, 2011

    Drat! Once again forgot my Twitter name! @adenpenn Sorry!

  • Christopher Blanchard - March 29, 2011

    It happened about three decades ago. Yes, that long. I can still remember it like it was yesterday, though.

    There it stood, the empty church. I know now, of course, that it wasn’t abandoned as we thought then, but that it was going through renovations. But we were kids, in elementary school. To us, it was abandoned. And not just abandoned, haunted. And it stood just on the other side of the wire fence, across the grass field behind our school.

    My two friends and I stared at it. We’d been talking about the building for weeks now. It’s tall spires and dark interior and smashed out windows beckoning to us. We could even see the cobwebs from here. This place called to us, and that call sent shivers down our spines. Well, mine, anyway. Derik didn’t fear anything, standing there in his Fonzy-like leather jacket. He looked at me, and I shook my head, seeing the twinkle in his eyes.

    “Yes,” he said.

    I looked to Chris, our other friend, who shared my name, for support. Surely, he would see reason.

    “Yes?” he said.

    “Today,” Derik said, smiling, “We go in.”

    “Oh,” Chris said. He turned to look back at me, and I shook my head. I was terrified, I could see the ghosts of dead priests waving their bibles at me and the hell fire that would consume me if I entered an abandoned church was behind them, in the broken window. I didn’t want to go there. But Chris wanted to be everything that Derik was. So he straightened up, narrowed his eyes and looked back towards the church.

    “Today,” he repeated, and took a step forward. “We go in.”

    I just knew I was going to hell for this.


  • Narielle Living - March 29, 2011

    “Have you achieved what we asked for in the Decade Project?”
    The question startled her out of her thoughts. All eyes turned toward Victoria as she fumbled for an answer, fingering the watch hidden inside her heavy coat.
    The problem was not that she didn’t know, the problem was that she wouldn’t tell. Not yet.
    “We need for you to tell us who the father is in order to gauge if the project was a success. If phase I was successful , we can move to phase II.”
    Attached to the watch was a key, the key that she used when meeting him. But she had already decided to betray the group and betray the project. They must never know about the key, or the fact that she was carrying the child they so desperately wanted.
    “No. My contact with the subject was minimal.”
    The contempt in the voice of the project leader was obvious. “Victoria, we understand you’ve been under some pressure. But your lies will only lead to your death. Now, would you like to change your answer?”
    To change her answer would mean the death of a planet. To stay with her lie would mean the death of her.

  • BronwynK - March 29, 2011

    “We have been avoiding this since my brother got to the farm this afternoon. But we need to talk about us, and how my rodeo career will affect us.” Chase started, lowering his gaze to their joined hands. Maggi felt her stomach drop. She knew that he was going to tell her that he wasn’t ready to retire and settle down.

    “I came home to Dillon because it was time for me to face the things that I ran away from.” Chase cleared his throat, and lifted his gaze. “It has taken me ten years to come to terms with my part in my parents’ death. And it has taken that long for me not to be mad at you.” Chase pulled Maggi on to his lap and wrapped his arms around her.

    “No matter how hard I have tried to forget you and what we had, I always wake up still loving you.” Chase whispered against her hair. “I have tried booze and other women, but it doesn’t help. I wake up the next morning feeling like I betrayed you.”

    “Why did you stay away for over a decade, then?” Maggi asked quietly.

    “Because I was afraid that you didn’t share those feelings any longer. I screwed up when I left here.” Chase admitted quietly. “There are a couple of reasons why I left, but one was because of you.”

    “Me?” Maggi asked, trying to pull away to look at him. Chase tightened his hold on her.

    “Yes, you.” Chase took a deep breath before continuing. “Do you remember your high school graduation?”

    “I will never forget that day.” She whispered. “You asked me to marry you and I stupidly said no because I wanted to continue my education beyond high school.”

    “I was so hurt that you said no. I was convinced that you didn’t actually love me.” Chase paused, playing with her fingers.

    “I have always loved you, Chase.”

  • @bobbystips - March 29, 2011

    “I was just crossing the road and it hit me.”
    “You look well for someone who’s been in a traffic accident.”
    “Don’t be a dick. No, I mean it was March 29th, the anniversary of Shep’s death. He was my dog as a kid.”
    “How long since he, well, passed away?”
    “It was a decade ago.”
    “Do you mean ten years?”
    “Yeah, a decade.”
    “That’s not how decades work. Yes, they’re 10 years, but they’re a set amount of time, like the nineties or the nineteen twenties. You can’t just use decade for any period of ten years.”
    “That sort of thing is exactly why you don’t have a girlfriend.”

  • Mehry Inett - March 29, 2011

    It was bad enough, Christa thought, that her mother-in-law had caught her ‘having a moment’ in the bath with a shampoo bottle. She cursed Miles for the tenth time since arriving at the hotel for inviting his mother on vacation. But this? This was something else.

    She stared at the pillow, hoping the thing would go away. It was black and gold and about ten inches long. Black plastic was beginning to show through the decayed ridges at the side. It was slightly curved at the tip, like a banana. There was a folded note beneath, on hotel letterhead. The handwriting was spidery and elegant:

    “Chrissie, darling, I just couldn’t bear the thought of you using that awful bottle. This is Marvin. He’s served me faithfully for decades. Just give him a wash when you’re done. Pattie Vanderveldt.”

    Christa pressed a pillow over her face. She wasn’t sure what was worse – the idea that her mother-in-law would lend out her own much-used vibrator, or that she had critiqued Christa’s masturbation technique. And “Marvin”? Wasn’t that the name of Miles’s first pet dog?

    She could just throw it away and deny all knowledge. A maid might have taken it. But that wouldn’t work. Christa could picture the aged Mrs V telling the hotel manager in her loudest voice, “Black and gold and about ten inches and it’s called Marvin. He’s been with the Vanderveldt family for generations and now my daughter-in-law has lost him.” And the guests in the lobby would look at her and wonder where she managed to lose ten inches of fake cock.

    ‘Marvin’ went in the bottom of the suitcase, next to Miles’s anniversary present, a pair of tin cufflinks. He had got her a tin can opener. Some joke – that was what he thought of her after ten years of marriage. Perhaps Mrs V was on to something.

  • Aisling Weaver - March 29, 2011


    She waited.

    And waited. Marking time off in same manner as so many before her; by the height of her children, the lines on her face, the thinness of her lips. Life was life. You bore the weight of it until it crushed you to dust.

    Until the day she took the youngest to the carnival. This’ll be the last, she thought, watching the wondering gaze give way to jaded knowledge.

    Her threadbare soul frayed further. She watched the ferris wheel track its orbit, the tilt-a-whirl spew forth its victims, the man at the scale guessing weights.

    “Come on up, try your luck!” called the hawker. She drifted closer, listening to his practice banter. One after another men, women, children, fell victim to his smooth ways. Until his gaze fell on her, oily, sliding over her in blatant evaluation. “Try your luck, little lady?” His smile oozed charm and greed. Her stomach turned.

    “I don’t think so,” she deferred, and he stepped forward, trying again.

    A hand hit the center of his chest hard enough he exhaled audibly. A cloud of anger raced across his features, quickly dispelled. He spun away and Sarah turned her gaze away.

    “Hey.” The voice was husky and soft and tugged at all the places in Sarah’s carefully knit lie of a life. She caught back a sob and stiffened her spine.

    Another decade of her sentence waited. Another before she could visit the carnival again, a free woman, and answer all of the questions in that voice with a fervent yes.

    Until . . .

    She wove through the crowd, finding her youngest son throwing darts at balloons. Watched them pop, one by one, like her dreams.


  • Nicole Wolverton - March 29, 2011

    Grandma Peepee’s voice held the shape of spiraled conch shells, the grit of aged whiskey, and the wisdom of William Shatner.

    Believe it.

    She told me once when I was ten, just a decade old, that she shook her bubbies at old men to make a buck when she was young. I’d stared at the front of her dress, horrified, but then she’d shimmied her shoulders and yelled out a staccato rhythm, heehawing her loud donkey bray of a laugh. I’d handed her a dollar, and she kissed me, leaving a bright red lipstick mark in the middle of my forehead.

    “You’re a good egg, Vince,” she’d crowed.

    My eyes felt like boiled eggs, scrubbed raw by the wind and the grit blowing fast against my eyes and skin. The bridge swayed beneath me, sending my stomach ricocheting back and forth. I looked just like any other guy catching a smoke break – sucking down the tar and fire into Cajun-blackened lungs – to the people in the cars racing past.

    Grandpa P died yesterday as her confused rooster crowed to welcome in the static violet of dusk.

    “Goin’ to meet my maker!” she’d crowed in that voice of hers, full of character even through the wheezing. “Vince, I’ve got a plan.”

    She’d pulled me down and whispered her demands, the smell of Ben-Gay and denture cream curling up around my cheeks.

    And now, here I was . . . ready to do as she asked. I gathered up the edges of the extra-strength garbage bag – strong like an over the shoulder boulder holder, according to Grandma P – grunting to shoulder her dead weight. She fell and fell and fell, plop, into the river, just like she’d asked.

    “Bye, Grandma,” I called, thinking of that dollar.

  • Narielle Living - March 29, 2011

    oops, I didn’t realize we were supposed to leave twitter names… @NarielleLiving

  • S.P. Bowers - March 29, 2011

    I hadn’t known it would take so long. Not too long, never too long, but longer than I thought. The young have no concept of time. Waiting fifteen minutes is an eternity, and they cannot even fathom a decade. I wonder if I had I understood the vagaries of time would I still would have chosen this path? It’s hard to say.

    Now time is nothing. I have all the time in the world. And no time at all. There is nothing left for me. My quest is finished, and in the effort of achieving I made no other plans. Now there is nothing. Nothing in which to fill my time, but not enough to start over. I am lost.

  • Serena - March 29, 2011

    In Sarah’s cupped hands, she held a timepiece. It had seen better days, but it was not like the flimsy plastic models that were on the market now. It had belonged to her Great-Grandfather, the only thing he had when he came to America other than the clothes on his back. It had been passed down from son to son until her father failed to have a son, and so it was given to her instead. Sarah squeezed her eyes shut and tightened her grip on the timepiece. It dug into her cold hands, its ticking muffled by her palms.

    “It’s a fair price,” the gruff old man said. He didn’t look up from his collection of shiny golden watches that he polished with great care. “Take it or leave it.”

    Sarah’s hands uncurled around the timepiece and looked down at it with a sigh. Her vision blurred as she stared at it, the last thing she had that connected her to her family. As if on cue, her stomach grumbled angrily. With a great deal of delicacy, Sarah placed the timepiece on the glass cabinet that separated the shop owner from grubby little orphans like her. Wordlessly, she extended her hand. The shop owner reached into a tiny little leather sack and chose three miserly brass coins to drop onto her palm. “Now get out,” He said, grabbing the watch with a flicker of triumph in his greedy little eyes.

  • Jules Carey - March 29, 2011

    It was his muse. It was his nemesis. It was the reason he got out of bed every day. It caused his divorce. It plagued his nightmares.

    For almost a decade now, Simon was tormented for an way to make his love arrive. He had stared at her on his computer screen by day, and dreamed of her each night. It was ridiculous to love a computer program. He knew that no matter how complicated his computer simulation got, it would never give him the satisfaction of holding her body of flesh and blood. Even with the dangers of creating Frankenstein’s monster ever present in his head, he pushed forward with the goal of making her real.

    The last night he ever tried, Simon sat around his equipment frustrated and drunk. Screaming with rage when his latest attempts failed, he threw the bottle of whiskey at the machines, watching it shatter. He knew it was over as he watched a years of electronics spark and pop like a lightening storm around him. He remembered the jolt that threw him to the floor but nothing else. When he awoke his world was hazed and dark.

    “Don’t worry,” her voice sung to him, “it will all get clearer with time.”

    He stood but his body no longer felt tangible, real. Again, her voice came to him.

    “Silly human man,” she laughed, “The answer was in front of you always. I grew tired of waiting for you to find it. I hope you don’t mind. You couldn’t bring me to you, so I brought you to me.”

    Her face was before him. Without thinking, he took her face in his hands. No more waiting.

  • Serena - March 29, 2011

    Forgot to say my twitter handle is @serenalawless

  • Jillian Kuhlmann - March 29, 2011

    She liked her numbers divisible by twos and fives. The chocolate candies she’d sort by color, the sweating minutes later lifting weights for having gorged herself – two weights, five pounds each – the assorted and impractical pillows tossed on the couch where she slept and he had, too, patterns discordant but number consistently two or five or ten.

    Ten had been the best. Ten pillows tucked around her body to mimic his now, big but soft and slight. Ten years together when she’d had her sweets and eaten him, too. She counted his limbs, fingers, toes like she might that of a baby. Her healthy boy, between her two legs.

    Ten years and she could not replace him, but eleven would’ve made her mad.

  • Jules Carey - March 29, 2011

    I forgot my twitter name again. @julescarey Not hard to remember really…

  • Tauisha Nicole (@shells2003) - March 29, 2011

    He walked into the poorly decorated gym, looking around at everyone sipping on punch and mingling. It had been more than a decade since he’s seen most of these people.

    And Roger didn’t even want to be here.

    High School Reunion? As if this is how he imagined spending his Saturday Night. He didn’t even want to be in this blasted building when he had to be.

    But, noooo. Even his friends thought it would be stupid not to go.

    The same friends who nearly had his hide for missing out on prom.

    Roger felt like the same zit covered, tuba playing boy that he was while here before. No matter how successfull he’d gotten in his life, being here was like starting back at zero.

    So, why is he here?

    He went over to the punch bowl to get a glass. Eyes were following him everywhere he went, almost as if they were trying to place him somehow. Not that anyone would really know who he was to them.

    They may know who he is now, though.

    “Ex-excuse me,” someone walked over, hands shaking.

    He looked over the blonde hair, the baby weight, and even a few wrinkles. “Yeah?” he sighed, not sure who they were, either.

    “But…couldn’t help but notice…aren’t you…Steve Jones?”

    He sighed inwardly. Steve Jones…the big time actor who also sings. His meal ticket, if you will. But, see a decade ago, he was Roger Palmer.

    And even now, nobody cared about Roger Palmer.

    He smiled bitterly. “Yeah. Ya got me.”

    The attention after that was too unbearble for words. But, then again, so was being Roger Palmer. So, what did it matter?

    He should have never come.

  • Leah Petersen - March 29, 2011

    Heh. Forgot my handle too.


  • Five Minute Fiction ~ Waiting » Swirling Currents - March 29, 2011

    […] The following was written in answer to this week’s weekly prompt for Leah Petersen’s Five Minute Fiction challenge.  There’s a blog tour going on, so this week it was at J.M. Frey’s place. […]

  • Jillian Kuhlmann - March 29, 2011

    Goodness. Me, too. @jtotheill

  • Finally got it together to do #FiveMinuteFiction « Mehry Inett - March 29, 2011

    […] Peterson‘s Twitter contest #5MinuteFiction. It was hosted today at the lovely web home of JM Frey and I writted some more about Christa and Miles who are rapidly turning into my favourite […]

  • Sunny - March 29, 2011

    Opps my twitter is @FannishSunny

  • Five Minute Fiction :: Waiting » Swirling Currents - March 30, 2011

    […] following was written in response to yesterday’s Five Minute Fiction Challenge.  Normally found on the site of the challenge’s mastermind, Leah Petersen, the challenge is […]

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