Tinfoil Swords – Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fic Challenge

I did it… but I’m not big on it. I have two different endings to the same story. I need to practice FF more, I think. But I will post it anyway because failures are just as important as successes.

If you don’t know what the challenge was you can check it out here.

Without further procrastination, here is my 1000ish word mess. lol

Tinfoil Swords

It was never fully dark in the apartment. The neon-chemical glare of the outside world always seemed to creep its way in. It didn’t seem to matter how many boards Stanley nailed to the peeling window frames, or how many newsprint sheets she stuck to the glass with rape tape. The light still snuck in.

And it wasn’t clean light. She wouldn’t have minded it if was the crisp white linen light that you get in shopping malls. No, it was grimy light. Not light at all. It was light in the same way mud was water. Or mud was dirt. It was neither of those things. Mud light.

Thud thud thud. “Stanley!”

Stanley looked at her wristwatch. Mickey’s hands told her it was 3:33 am which meant it was actually 2:33 am. She hadn’t yet changed it after daylight savings had stopped and she had zero intentions of changing it now.

She stood up on her bed to patch another hole the mud light was getting through. Duct tape in hand. She called it rape tape. She knew this wasn’t a very PC thing to say. But it was out of habit now. She loved the ripping sound it made as she tore a new piece free from its sticky bonds.

Thud thud thud. “Stanley!”

Throwing the roll of tape to the floor, Stanley heard the scatter of the floor-rats as it hit. She slapped the piece of tape over the light leak, making the room a little darker, a little safer.

Jumping off her bed’s loft, completely bypassing the ladder and slowly walking towards her front door, she felt the grit on the floorboards beneath her feet. Navigating her way through her apartment easily as it was still not absolutely dark, light was still getting in somewhere.

Thud thud thud. “Stanley!”

Stanley swept her shaggy cropped hair back from her face and held it in place as she peered through the dirty peephole. Skinny bloke he was, lean like a skinless lamb shank, all hard bone and bare, stringy muscle. Shaved head with homemade tattoos across his scalp, the kind that mum used to make with broken pens and sewing needles, he bobbed and scratched outside her door.

“Alright, Obsi. I’m right here,” said Stanley.

She slid off the chain with a slack clank, then unbolted the latch, clicked the dead bolt, removed the chair from under the door knob then turned the key. She opened the door.
Obsi, the junkie, burst into the room. He always seemed to fill the room up to overflowing. He could never be a good thief because he was downright shit at sneaking up on people. He was too loud, too bold, too much. He was the only honest junkie in town and Stanley’s favourite person.

“Mate, Stanley, Mate,” said Obsi, scratching at the addiction under his skin.

Stanley closed the door and relocked everything.

“Stanley, Mate,” said Obsi.

Stanley replaced the chair under the doorknob.

“I got nothin for ya, Obsi. You know that, son,” said Stanley, sounding just like her father.
She sat on the floor. She had a couch but it only had one seat. There was a guest in her house and that seat was his, if he chose to take it. Which he wouldn’t. Obsi never sat down.

“Nah, Nah, I dun want nothin,” said Obsi, pacing. Then he stopped pacing. He looked down at her coffee table. “What’s all this then.” He bent down and picked up the rat. It had a hat on. A pirate one. And a tiny sword Stanley had made from tinfoil and a bit of wood she’d chipped from a loose floorboard near her bed.

“It’s ma new hobby,” said Stanley, picking at the nail on her big toe.

“Gross. Why? Why, mate, why?” asked Obsi, putting down the little creature Stanley had caught, killed and stuffed, two days ago.

“I’m bored, Obsi. I ain’t gettin no stuff no more so I got no business. Gotta keep ma brain sharp.”

“So, ya thought taxidermy?” asked Obsi, wiping the rat off his hands onto his cargo pants.

“Yeah. Pretty much. They’re cute, don’t ya fink?” said Stanley. There was more than one rat of course. A whole month’s worth of dead rats, dressed up in Stanley-made costumes.

“Can I do some fin for ya, Obsi?”

He fixed the rat he had put down so it lined up with all the others. “Look, I know you’re out, Stanley, I know this, but I still need some, you know. And I … I just don’t trust no one else. Can you … introduce me to your maker?”

Stanley stopped picking at her big toe. The length of the toenail and its curvature towards her cuticle was suddenly not as important as it had once seemed. “My maker?” she asked. The question she had been dreading.

Obsi looked down at his hand. The small green cross on the webbing between his thumb and forefinger seemed as important to him as her toenail had seemed to her just moments ago.

Then he looked up at her.

His eyes so dark and clean in the grim neon light that crept in from the nowhere. Were they grey? Were they brown? They could be blue, but she couldn’t tell. They were a sweet shape though. Animal like. Sweet. Honest.

Stanley shrugged and jumped up, unfurling from her cross-legged position. “Alright,” she said.

*insert ending 1*

Obsi paced in front of the door, impatiently waiting like a dog wanting walkies.
Stanley picked something up off the floor.

“You sure you wanna do this, Obsi?” Stanley asked.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said.

Stanley sighed.

She loved the ripping sound the rape tape made as she pulled out a fresh strip.
Up close, she could see his eyes were actually green. She was pretty sure she had some beads that colour. She’d had to use the wrong colour on her maker. The two would look nice next to each other with their tinfoil swords.

*insert ending 2*

She slid off the chain with a slack clank, then unbolted the latch, clicked the dead bolt, removed the chair from under the door knob then turned the key. She opened the door.
He was already behind her. His energy at her back, his warm breath on her shoulder.

She looked at him as he rubbed a tattooed hand over his shaved scalp.

“You sure you wanna do this, Obsi?” Stanley asked.

In the proximity of the doorway, she could see his eyes were actually green.

“It’s okay. I can protect you,” he whispered.

Yeah … I’m not proud of it. It is what it is. I feel that I like the characters. I prefer the nice Stanley and Obsi. And I feel that they have more to tell (obviously, because both endings are not really endings at all)

I think my problem is that I get myself way too caught up in the story in my head and it gets too big and everything turns into a fucking novel.

Feel free to pick apart my work. Be unkind if you wish. lol jokes. I couldn’t handle too much unkindness. But I am fully aware that this is not my best work. It’s not my worst either. I’m pretty sure I wrote a terible story when I was twelve about a boy loosing his retainer down the loo and his dad was so pissed with him he had to go and break into the sewerage treatment plant to find it… I think that was shittier than this. lol

Hugs xxx

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Kenzie says:

    I liked it, the characters are interesting and really well drawn. I don’t think either of the endings fits quite right, but as you said it seemed to be getting away from you and you had to finish it *somehow* that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks beautiful!
      I definitely need to practice FF more often.
      I was not happy with either ending, also. Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Taxidermy is an interesting process, and I would’ve loved this more had you described her in the act of stuffing one of her rat creations for an extra creep factor. Fastening a crystal to the rat king’s crown, arming the musketeer with his foil, giving the murderer her mini meat cleaver Stanley herself melted from a half dollar her extremist ex-coworker gave to her because he sucks at poker… Little details like that go a long way to not just reveal a hobby, but could also hold undertones of your character’s personality traits. Maybe Stanley made the murderer mouse to refrain from murdering her ex-coworker for real? Who knows, let you mind run wild.

    Focusing on the tape and boarded windows felt like a tool to set the scene with its description, and then move on to the taxidermy. I have a hard time wrapping up a quick description of the scene, so I’m always paranoid about concise settings that give you the colors of the scene while your character and their actions/dialogue move the story along, and not the other way around.

    I’m not a constant flash writer, but I definitely agree when you start thinking about a story, especially one challenged to be written under 1,000-words. You instinctively build upon your character(s) backstory, and how they came to be in the moment you’re writing about them. The flash I just did was that way, and it took me longer to write because I was dumb enough to fall to Google and Wikipedia and considered asking my Hungarian friend for translation help. That’s when I stopped and had to sigh at myself, and just finish the damn story.

    BICHOK, my friend.
    (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! This would have been great! I think the one week time restraint was also not helpful in my head. I rushed. But I also watched way too many YouTube videos on how to taxidermy. I wanted to do more. 1000 words, as it was an eternity in high school when trying to write a assignment, it is the blink of an eye as I writer.
      Thank you so much for your feedback, you gorgeous human!

      Like

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