Friday Night Flash – 3/24/2017

We were at it again in Rhetoric Askew on Facebook. We challenged our members to give us their flash based on a visual prompt and the results were amazing. We struggled with the decision, but in the end, two winners emerged. Here are the winning entries:


The Box by Wim Verveen

Frantically his hands shoved away the sand. Continuously he sifted through the grains and small pebbles. Once in a while he paused and gazed at the walls. The man appeared to be locked in a large blend stone room with no doors or windows. One star shaped lamp in the middle of the ceiling illuminated the room. A shiver ripped through his body when his hands touched a metal object. Slowly it gave up its sandy hiding place. When the man opened his fist it revealed a golden key. His fingers slipped over the markings. The man turned sideways and glanced momentarily towards a pile of similar looking keys.

“The one, finally the one.” He muttered.

With trembling hands, he hurried towards a large oak table. It was rough by design and was of a considerable age judging by the coloring of the wood and its shape.

The table was covered in markings. Ancient symbols most people would only vaguely recognize. There were runes scattered over the top. Hieroglyphs on the sides. Sumerian symbols scattered all over. Some of the symbols were even older, none of them recognizable. On the table stood a metal box.

The man sat down on a bench and covered his head with his hands. He sobbed for several minutes before he reached out and grabbed the small box. Instead of pulling it towards him directly, he moved it in a specific pattern. Increasingly the box glowed more pronounced with every symbol it touched. When he finally placed it before him his face was illuminated by a golden brilliance.

“Please. Gods of all the times. Let this be the one.”

He pointed the key towards the box, aiming for a small keyhole. Easily it slid inside unobstructed. A smile developed on his face as he watched the metal move. He stopped breathing when it stopped into place. He closed his eyes, one tear dripped down when he began turning it. Slowly the key made an entire turn.
“No, No please no!”

He stood up and staggered backwards towards the wall. The box began to tremble. The vibrations moved into the table and finally the sand.

“Why? Why me?”

A white flash blocked out all perception.

Inside the room the man set on his knees. The sand covered the entire floor leaving only the table with a small box. After a while the man stopped crying and began to dig into the sand uncovering one key after the other. One by one he began checking the keys, he shook his head with each of them and tossed them on a pile.



Wim Verveen started his career in biology before he became an IT professional, consultant, and Director at Ormer ICT. He has written many articles for magazines on IT related subjects. Wim likes to write stories focusing on social interaction while trying to find new and surprising angles to current themes. Wim lives in the Netherlands. You can find more of Wim’s work on Amazon.


Poetry by Samantha Beardon

Far back in time, a kingdom flourished,
Its ruler fair and benign, he sat upon
a gilded throne, his acumen divine,
Until the day he sent his knights, on an
inadvertent crime,where they stole the key
to the vault of the Gods, on a raid for special wine.

Far back in time, a kingdom flourished,
Its ruler fair and benign, he sat upon
a gilded throne, his acumen divine,
Until the time of the wrath of the gods,
when chaos ruled all time, the key to the vault
went missing, a regular paradigm.

Far back in time, a kingdom flourished,
Its ruler fair and benign, he sat upon
a gilded throne, his acumen divine,
He sent his subjects searching in deserts,
Far and wide, the key is buried in the dirt,
The king is totally frantic he even built a shrine.

Far back in time, a kingdom flourished,
Its ruler fair and benign, he sat upon
a gilded throne, his acumen divine,
Until the day of the catastrophic event,
That wiped his kingdom out, and spread destruction
From the Gods, the volcano was a sign.

Far back in time, a kingdom flourished,
Its ruler fair and benign, he sat upon
a gilded throne, his acumen divine,
Now archeologists explore the land,
They search for treasure all, one digs in the dirt
and brings out a key, hear the king repine.




Samantha is a Writer and Silk Painter in England, United Kingdom. Loves to read History, historical novels, fantasy and some romance. Doing a fine arts course. Paints silk mostly wearable art. Loves games particularly Scrabble and word games, plays at every opportunity online and at home. Interested in relationships and what makes people who they are in general. First novel Converging Lives, first poetry book Caught in Passion.

Web site which showcases poetry, relationship issues, and progress with the novel.


Our Honorable Mentions this week are:


Untitled by Curtis Deeter

She’d opened a lot of doors over the years. Some opened towards her, some away. Some revolved around and around. Some slid open soundlessly and automatically as she approached.
Some didn’t open at all. Those doors she usually smacked her face on, especially the doors made of glass – fragile and virtually invisible in the right light. She smacked them hard, leaving her head spinning for days.

Her favorite door opened into a room, walls painted blue with wisps of cloud sponged here and there, which reminded her to always keep the heavens high above her head. The flower-pedal fan blades, swirling just behind a golden light, threw shadows onto those walls, but she knew that even shadows disappear when the sun comes out.

It wasn’t the door that was her favorite. Not really. It was what it opened to. A chest of stuffed animals. A plastic dresser drawer overflowing with Legos. A twin-sized bunk bed and a glow-in-the-dark universe on the ceiling. The two tiny faces peeked out from under the covers, giggling and whispering through the night.
“Shh,” she’d say from the other side of the door, but she couldn’t hide her own laughter. “Go back to sleep.”
Bleary-eyed the next morning, over coffee, she’d pour juice and butter toast just as those same two faces came tumbling down the stairs. Then, somehow, the room would seem so much brighter.

Some doors close, too, and sometimes it’s best to just turn the key and walk away. Sometimes, when the hinges rust and creak, and the cobwebs start to take over, it’s best to never look back into those dark, dark rooms.
She knows this now, but will occasionally stop just at the threshold of the room that was the best room in the house, in the whole wide universe, and think of all the doors she’d opened and closed over the years. Maybe she’d come to one of them again. Maybe she’d find a few keys that she lost in the back of the junk drawer long ago. Maybe, just maybe…

But not this door. Never this lock.


jl courtney –

move into the light [dazed]
and find
heaven an angler fish
kingdom’s keys
a movie prop
soundless crowds press—pull
lost shattered stained
in the icy wait


Smoke Signals by Esther Rohm

“Your report’s wrong,” Nora accosts me after her smoking break. Ash and loss chug from the weathered slash of her mouth.

She trades discontents and cigarettes with her smoking buddy, Janet, who complains to Kevin in payroll of the work Nora sloughs off in piles to her.

Kevin listens because Janet’s buttonholes strain and he is hoping to cheat on his wife.

My mouth is only mildly curious when I risk glances at the smokers huddled outdoors in twos and threes, near but not within the designated smoking area.

Their alliances hang thickly even in the nonsmoking section. Their break room murmurs die when I interrupt with my lunch meat sandwich; their deadpan eyes critique my stance at the copier when they pass me in pairs.

I’ve imagined borrowing their brazenness when one of my mistakes goes viral. I’ve never made it as far as trying.

To Janet’s rote how-are-you in the hall, I say it’s a Thursday; her shrug grants me it’s not Friday, but contends it’s at least not Monday. I cut my smile in half, conceding agreement.

“Your report was wrong today,” Janet says. I promise myself I will one day forget all their names.


The Key to Nowhere – Kelly Clendenning

I couldn’t believe I lost it. A key that goes no place but an heirloom none-the-less. Grandma gave it to me when her breath came in rasps and I was worried each one would be its last. How could I have been such an idiot as to lose it?!

She had told me that it had belonged to her Mama for their old house. A house in Scotland that no longer existed but held “home”.

I pushed my hair back. It is red like Grandma’s. Something else she gave me before she died. I gave one last look under the bed before lifting it up, a frustrated cry bursting forth.

I ran out the door towards the garden I had shared with her for a good fifteen years of my life after mama died when I was five from cancer. Lung cancer is the silent killer in our family. I wonder if twenty is too young to get it even if I avoid smoking cigarettes like the rest.

I felt the white stone bench beneath me and remembered the crying I did here after my first break-up. The laughter we had when Grandma would share stories of her crazy youth. The meaningful talks about life, plants, and stars.

I missed her more than my own mama. I don’t know if that’s shameful or not.

I saw something glimmer then. It was right at the leg of the bench. I felt energy course through me as I dug into the dirt. Surprise drew a gasp from my lips and relief brought tears.

This key. This blasted key that led to nowhere was found. My grandmother was found.




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