Hungry Like the Wolf

July 9, 2012 at 10:45 PM | Posted in Fiction | 3 Comments
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I loved the idea of this Flash Fiction Challenge. We were to take a fairy tale and rewrite it in modern context. Or, at least, not in medieval context.
I can do that. I don’t even need a reason.
To see more of these stories, snort some faerie dust and fly on over here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Fairy Tale Upgrade

Ivan regained consciousness with a snort, and tried to sit up.  He found he could not.  His ears were ringing.  He opened his eyes and saw the remains of his ramshackle hideout had burned almost to the ground.  Embers fell from the frame and sizzled in the snow.  The dirty water made a trail to him, and the giant footprints in it led to Sergei, who now had one foot on Ivan’s neck.
“I told you I would find you, Tovarishch.”  Sergei’s voice boomed from his large frame with ease, but it barely penetrated Ivan’s ringing ears.  “You could have come back to the fold.  You were good soldat.  But now?  I work too hard.  This I do not forgive.”
With his last breath, Ivan muttered, “Svoloch…Svoloch…Svoloch…”
Sergei laughed.  “I am the bastard?  I did not betray the Motherland.”  His foot pressed hard on Ivan’s neck.  “Dosvidaniya, Tovarishch.”

Artur was camouflaged and high off the ground in a pine tree.  He had a good view of his log cabin, set back in isolated woods.   He would see Sergei Volka approach, and take him out.
Or, at the very least, remain hidden.  His pickup was in 17 hours.  If he could just make it until then—
He could be in Spain by Saturday.  Artur had always wanted to go to Spain.
Artur had a clear view of everything.  Except behind him.  He heard the whistle of mortar and instinctively ducked, not knowing the direction.  The rush of hot air right next to him almost blew him off his perch.
A chill went through Artur’s already frozen body when he heard Volka, without the aid of a loudspeaker.  “I see you up there, you little pig-man.  I never shoot a man in the back, not even traitorous swine.  Come down here–face me like a man!”
*Not on your fucking life* Artur said to himself.  What could he do?  Panic and cold affected his thinking.  “Come up here and get me, Colonel!”
The Colonel turned red with anger.  “You do not give orders to me, Sergeant!  You disgrace!  You come down or I will take you down—and the tree along with it!”
Artur felt the tree shake, and for a frozen-in-time moment he thought the Colonel was shaking the tree by hand and he could fee l it.  *But that’s not possible–*
It wasn’t possible.  The wind was blowing.  Volka had gone to retrieve a bazooka from his squad.  Artur started to yell as the Colonel raised the weapon.  “Hey!  I surrender!  I give!  You have me!  I surrender!  I’m coming down!  ”
Artur exploded in a flash, sending body parts and branches everywhere.  “Damn right you’re coming down.”

Pavel was breathless.  On the train he had spotted Volka’s squad in their special uniform with the wolf patch on their upper arm.  The crowd allowed him to gain some distance, but he never lost them.  First he ran, then stole a truck.  Now he ran again. He had not heard from his comrades and feared the worst.  With the rendezvous less than an hour away, he realized his fears were not as bad as the truth.  Volka the Wolf had got them.
He was in lowtown, near the river.  It was getting dark, which was better.  Only half a block until—
As he turned the corner, his eyes met the dark eyes of Colonel Volka.  Volka angrily lunged at him.  Pavel, taken by surprise, lost his balance and fell onto the wet bricks that had just started to re-ice.  Volka had over-reached, and Pavel was now under him.  He kicked the colonel’s midsection with both feet, launching him upside down into the street.  When Volka righted himself, Pavel was gone.
He radioed his squad, telling them to cordon the area.  He can’t go far.  It’s just these buildings…and the river.
Chyort!  The river is his way out!
Cursing and running, Sergei ignored the pain and the cold in single-minded pursuit of his prey.  When he finished this mission, he was going to have a beer and a nice sausage dinner—
Wait!  There—that stone storehouse near the dock.  The light betrayed a silhouette briefly in the window before going out.  It was just a flash, but with his senses on heightened alert, he was sure of it.  Smugly, Volka put his nose to the air.  *I can smell you, scared little piggy.*

Quickly he was at the stout little building.  It was solid stone and mortar, small window with bars and thick glass cubes.  The door was heavy, but it was the weakest point.  He pounded heavily on the door with his huge fist.  “I know you’re in there, Private!  Come out now.  This is over!”
The door was very thick, because the answer seemed to come from far away.  “No!”
“You open that door now…or I’ll break it down!”
“Please, Colonel!  I’m coming out.  Don’t hurt my children!”
The thought of fresh blood made Volka smile a wicked, toothy grin.  “Come out now, and no one gets hurt!”
“Please, Colonel!  I’m coming out.  Don’t hurt my children!”
“I’m losing patience!” Volka said, as he put the bazooka up to his shoulder.
“Please, Colonel!  I’m coming out.  Don’t hurt my children!”
Volka fired the weapon.  He may have been too close, but he loved to feel the heat from the mortar.  It tore through the door like tissue paper, and the fire warmed his skin.
The round continued on its path.  In his heightened state of awareness that Colonel Volka liked to brag about, he saw the reel-to-reel player and speakers next to the dynamite that was strapped to several large barrels of oil right before they exploded.
Pavel had escaped through the hatch to the basement, and down to the dock, where a barge was slowly going by.  Two more switches, and by morning he was in West Berlin.
Pavel went to work for a pig farmer, eventually marrying his daughter and keeping the farm in the family.

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Frog Day Afternoon

November 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM | Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment
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Chuck had another challenge.  I’m supposed to be doing something else, I’m sure of it.  But what the hell, it’s only a hundred words.  What can happen in a hundred words?  This week, he gave us five words, pick one and use it.  One of the words was “powder.”  I didn’t use that one.  I used “frog.”  To find out more, go check out his site.

 

I’m not going to kiss that frog.  I don’t care how many promises he makes.  Wishes he can grant.  Dreams he can fulfill.

His moist eyes beckon to me, with an amphibious come-hither.  A smile played upon his lips.  “Come on,” he croaked casually.  “What have you got to lose?”

“Besides my self-respect?  How about hygiene?”

The frog re-adjusted his footing on the log.  Frogs were fidgety creatures.  Have you noticed that?

“How many times have you met a magical talking frog?  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

I sighed.  I kissed him.

The man walked away.  Now I’m the frog.

 

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