#5MinuteFiction Week 73

What is 5MinuteFiction, you say? It’s an adrenaline-fueled, instant-gratification sort of writing contest. Sound fun? Great! Get in there and get dirty!

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose or poetry in any style or genre

* You must BEGIN your entry with today’s prompt: More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.

(Note: The prompt is the word. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)

* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 12:45. That gives you 5 minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.

At the close of the contest, this week’s guest judge, Kaolin Fire@kaolinfire will nominate five finalists.

I’ll put the nominees in a poll, and at 9:00 EDT tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.


For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, “like” my Facebook Page, or follow me on twitter. Or follow us on twitter with the #5MinuteFiction hashtag.

What’s the prize? Well, nothing, obviously. But we’ll all agree to tweet and/or blog about the winner of today’s contest so their fame and fortune will be assured.

A Few Notes:

* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.

* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.

* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

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20 thoughts on “#5MinuteFiction Week 73”

  1. “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.” Our tour guide warned as our small passenger jeep drove through the rocky terrain. Long, green roots draped over rocks and other trees. The dark green leaves, made way to bright orange and yellow flowers that looked like bird beaks.

    A strong odor, emanated from one of them the plants we past. “Don’t touch that!” the guide called out to the young boy who was about to reach out of the barred windows. “Many of these plants are poisonous. You’ll never tell which.”

    My husband inched his lips close to my ear. “Sheesh! He’s laying it on a little thick, don’t you think? It’s just the Six Flags Safari for crying out loud. You’d think we were at Jurassic Park.”

    I smile.

    Our guide continues. “And over to your left…”

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  2. More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.

    Women on the other hand, rule supreme. Hot and warm, giving birth to life in abundance, the jungle is ours. No man enters except by our sufferance.

    This one I was unsure of. He was beautiful, of that there was no doubt. Almost pretty with the perfect features of a sculptor’s indulgence, yet thick and strong, with hands calloused from honest work.

    He stood at the boundary, knee bent in the traditional gesture of submission and supplication. I watched him. A frisson of something primal, deeper and older than the jungle itself, rippled down my spine. A power I couldn’t name emanated from him like an odor, and the scent was heady and rich.

    I did not allow him to see or hear my approach, but when I appeared suddenly before him, he did not startle or show fear.

    “My Lady,” he said in a velvety voice and I shuddered.

    “What are you?” I breathed. “What are you doing to me?”

    A smile flickered at the side of his mouth, his eyes warming, drawing me in.

    “Shall I show you?” rising to his feet.

    His touch was hot as the jungle, his lips lush as the ferns, and I closed my eyes.
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  3. “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.” His words were spoken slowly, in a beautifully deep voice designed to tell stories.

    “But surely the beauty is worth the danger?” I asked.

    Stunning images of green canopies filled with the tittering of birds filled my mind. The ground would be damp underfoot, as I had always imagined it. The air would be thick with humidity, making me feel as though I was swimming instead of walking.

    “It might be, but the danger is by far greater than you are imagining.” The images in my mind shattered, scattering about into a thousand pieces. “There are beasts there that would eat you whole. Giant bats with a yearning for blood. Great river monsters whose eyes watch you everywhere you go.”

    Those shattered images slowly reformed, coming together again to form a different picture. One filled with lurking dangers and hidden fears.

    “And now it’s time for bed.”

    “But, daddy! I want to hear more!” I protested. “Can’t you tell me more?”

    “Maybe tomorrow, sweetheart.”

    Tomorrow the stories would be scarier still. Tomorrow was Halloween, and my dad had the best scary stories in the world.


  4. “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. Or woman, I suppose. Though it might pity perhaps a small child, maybe one only a few years old, because really, the jungle isn’t a horrible monster, now is it?” In the control room the engineer’s hand went up. “No good?”

    “Can we just stick to the script?”

    The narrator took a drink of water, “I just thought maybe we could go a different direction with this one. Everyone’s seen all those grand mastery of nature documentaries, and I think they might be quite sick of them. Look, we’ve got an imposing jungle, we’re going to show how everything in there could kill a man. Then we’re going to show penguins looking after eggs. Always penguins looking after eggs.”

    The engineer pulled back from the studio mic rubbed a frustrated hand down his face, then leaned forward again. “Look, I don’t write the script, I’m just here to get the recording. Can we start again?”



    “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. In direct contrast with Mr. T who is know to pity–”


    “Still no good?”

    “Look, we’ve only got three more studio days and another hour of programming after this to dub. You were fine through the first three episodes. Now please. Just the script.”

    “Just the script.”

    “Yes. Rolling.”

    “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. And yet, even here man has found a foothold, building platforms in the trees. And constructing radios and television sets out of coconuts, much like the Professor on Gilligan–”


    “Come on, just a little of that.”

    “No. We’re getting this, then I’m going home, and I’m going to drink. Read it. Please.”


    “Alright. David Attenborough, take five. Rolling.”

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  5. More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. Fortunately, I’m not a man.

    And, if you believe that bullshit, I’ll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.

    I push back my sweaty bangs with the back of one hand, realizing I’ve just spread the muck from who knows what across my face. Oh, well…I’m sure there’s a spa somewhere in Europe that sells ecomuck facials for high prices. I’m ahead of the curve now. Yay, me!

    Heap lot of good that’s going to do me since I still have to hike three hours through the overgrown garden of Eden that is between me and civilization according to my iPhone ‘where the hell am I’ app.

    I glance down and realize I’m only at 55% battery without a power source in sight and promptly shut it off. I take a tentative step, babying my twisted knee. At least I was the lucky one. I hobbled away from the crash site.

    Come to Costa Pacifica! See the world in a new way!

    Yeah, see the world while upside-down in a Range Rover that had been driven by a drunk tour guide who may or may not have seen the washed out road.

    Damn torrential rains.

    Damn washed out road.

    Damn beautiful jungle.



  6. More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. Lecherous beasts and treacherous chasms
    A jungle alone smells of darkness.
    Clawing through vineyards
    So unlike those you grew up in
    You do it to stay alive.
    No time for hope
    No time for dreams
    Space is open just for what seems
    To be a frosty freeze away from reality.
    The sounds move within you
    They tickle your blood
    But tickling’s not what gets you out of here.
    Fortified once more,
    You grab on to a tree’s lifeline
    You pray to a God only you know
    Bending your knees, you swing forth too quickly
    But hope it will get you through door
    Number 3.

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  7. “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.”

    “You should have told me that before we came.” I hacked at another vine with my machete getting nowhere. “Couldn’t they give us sharp machetes?”

    “That would be irresponsible.”

    Of course. Just give the kids these old dull things so they can pretend to get a jungle experience. It wasn’t even a real jungle, just a simulation on the schools holoroom. I turned off the computer narration so there were no more voices in my head and turned back to the vine.

    I pulled at it, finally snapping it from the tree , freeing the path in front of me. I snorted. Some vine if it can be pulled off that easy. Wimpy. No wonder there aren’t any more jungles left. I walked a few more feet smacking at the mosquitoes as they buzzed around me. Could they really suck my blood if they were just holograms? I didn’t want to find out. I’d been bit by one once when we went to earth on holiday to visit my grandparents. It had itched like crazy. I felt a sting and looked down at a mosquito nestled in my arm. Apparently they could. Who goes on field trips to the jungle anyway.

  8. “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.”

    Jake grinned widely, watching as his sprite stood on top of the digitized crocodile.

    He was so close, SO close, to getting a perfect score. No one was there to witness it, but then, no one could stop him, either. Only the tiny webcam was recording what would happen next.

    113,600 points in 19 minutes, and he was about to make the last jump.

    So close.

    And then the power went dead. The game went off. So did the camera, which was a blessing on its own.

    It is a pitiful thing, to watch a gamer cry.

    Such are the pitfalls of Pitfall.


  9. “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.” Renee whispered to herself, remembering her uncle telling her the quote before she left on this trip. She looked around to take in the beauty of the Indian Jungle. Off in the distance she could hear an elephant trumpeting for it’s herd. She had come to this beautiful, dangerous place to study the behaviors of the Asian Tiger. Now that she was here, Renee wondered if she made the right decision.

    “Mistress, please follow me this way.” Daman, her Indian guide, motioned for her follow him. They followed a narrow, almost non-existent path. He was taking her to a special camp deep with in the forest where many researchers lived. “Please watch your step, Miss. You don’t want to step on a Viper.”

    Renee looked at the ground around her and saw a black snake move in to the under brush. They continued on in silence for over an hour. Renee was deep in her thoughts when Daman stopped in his tracks. She ran right in to his rigid form. He stood still and didn’t make a noise. Renee was scared but also curious as to what would make Daman freeze.

    She slowly moved to look around Daman’s large body. There she saw the most beautiful Asian Tiger. It’s green eyes just stared at her, as if trying to read her. After a few moments of staring at each other, the tiger bowed it’s head slightly, as if to acknowledge the travelers. Then he bounded off in to the jungle.

    Renee knew that she would be seeing him again, and very soon.
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  10. Title: Hunger

    More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man, especially a man who enters unprepared. This is where Sergio found himself, knee-deep in a mire and unable to extricate himself. As he tried to reach for branches or vines, anything to pull him out, the jungle waited, patient as it was old, until Sergio tired of his feeble attempts.

    The jungle was hungry, the vines could practically taste the nourishment that his fleshy body would provide. The small animals and insects jittered in excitement. Soon it would be time to feed. Soon it would be time for Sergio to scream.



  11. More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. Rachel would laugh when her father would quote that phrase ominously as she readied her photography gear, reminding him that she was a woman. She was safe.

    How very far she was from safe now.

    Rachel curled up painfully on her side, a thorn digging into the soft flesh of her thigh. She was too weak to move away from the plant. She cradled her injured arm to her chest, protecting it from the pounding rain. Each needle-sharp drop of water drilled bullets of pain through the broken limb and made her vision wash with black wooziness.

    She could not pass out.

    Though time seemed irrelevant now, she guessed that she had fallen into the tiger trap about ten hours ago. Her leg was broken and she thought her shoulder was dislocated as well. It was possible that her lower arm was broken as well.

    Rachel had yelled herself hoarse calling for help. It was pointless and she gave up when she saw the green eyes of a predator sniffing around at the top of the large hole. She was only calling more trouble to herself with her cries.

    Now in the pitch black of night, she confronted what might be inevitable. She could die. Alone, wet and cold, broken and in pain, at the bottom of a pit in the jungle.

    This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.

    Something moved above her, a shuffling sound that reminded her of feet dragging through fallen leaves. Her heart leapt. What were the chances? She sat up straighter than she had all day, ignoring the throbbing pain and willing the black-out away.

    “Hello? Is anyone up there? I’m hurt and I need help!”

    The shuffling stopped and then rapid footsteps approached the top of the pit. I’m saved, she thought jubilantly.

    “Oh thank God!” she cried.

    Her voice cut off in her throat as piercing, red eyes peered over the side of the hole. It was a man, if one could call it that, with razor sharp teeth and blood dripping from the its mouth. As the man-beast leapt into the hole with Rachel and licked its lips, her mind blanked in terror. The last coherent thought to pass through her mind before the creature bit into her neck was about her father and what his face would look like when someone told him that his daughter was another victim of the jungle’s harsh judgment.


  12. “More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.” A baritone voice wafted up to the limb on which Selka sat. She rolled her eyes.
    The tour guides were getting worse and worse, the Company was scraping the barrel. Then again, she wasn’t shocked, they’d been cutting corners for months now. Maintenance on the jungle had practically ground to a halt, and Selka and her sisters couldn’t keep up with the problems anymore.
    The group moved into position beneath her, she could barely see them through the lush green fronds that separated them. She took a deep breath and stepped off the limb into thin air. She tucked herself into a tight ball, waiting for the wires to take hold and slow her descent.
    When she was halfway to the group of babbling tourists she began to worry. She couldn’t feel the familiar tug at the harness around her waist. Three-fourths of the way to the ground and she felt a slight hitch, but not nearly enough resistance to stop her.
    She closed her eyes the instant before she hit, and decided that the jungle pities no woman either.

  13. More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. A woman however might just have a chance.

    Anne hated the skirts that tangled around her legs, but Lord Westhawk forbade her trousers; he in fact made it a stipulation of her joining this adventure. His prudishness hadn’t saved him from the water fever. Only his wealth and title provided him with the means to continue, albeit on a litter carried by locals. A proper gentleman, he complained and wheezed his way along the river.

    Anne never complained. Not only wasn’t it ladylike, it wasn’t going to give her any advantage. And an advantage was what she needed to reach the temple said to be built of gems and precious metals. A library, lost among the jungle, seeking to protect its secrets from Westhawk’s ilk. And from her.

    Because if the research was right, there was a book that would change the world.

    One by one, the jungle took them. A crocodile here, a quicksand there. Sibling rivalry and spoiled food and fear, dark blue vines that were serpents, and finally, the last native guide just laid down and died. Like a lamb lost, he set down the litter he dragged and bleated himself into the final sleep.

    At the doors of the temple, the great lost library, Anne leaned down to whisper in Lord Westhawk’s ear. “When the secret of the Amazons is mine, your son will pay for what he did to my sister.”


    “Deny what you will. He broke her heart.”

    “Just like a woman,” Westhawk spat, “to destroy a man for love.”

    “It is better than what you have done. You destroyed their relationship for pride, just as you did everyone on this expedition.”

    “Except for you.”

    “No, not me. For I was destroyed the moment my sister flung herself from the tower.”

  14. More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man.

    This jungle was beautiful indeed. Lush, green, alive. But you had to be an integral part of that life not to be consumed by it in short order. One by one, the survey party had to retreat to the confines of the ship medical bay. Minor abrasions became immediately infected. Mild allergies triggered extreme – and in two cases fatal – reactions to local pollens.

    So, Arno had to wonder, why was he so apparently unaffected? His responsibilities piled on as the able-bodied of the team fell by the wayside. In a matter of days he graduated from tech, to expedition botanist, to second in command. Captain Rit, even bedridden with spiderwebbed infection spreading across his abdomen wouldn’t stop working, or allow the mission to be aborted.

    Arno, and the one more or less uncorroded sentry drone were pushing through to a section of the green that orbital survey sensors had not been able to penetrate. ‘Metal in the trees’ Tevel had said, but there’d be no elucidating on that, as Tevel had coughed up his lungs three days ago.

    When Arno broke through the last vine barrier, he found a clearing – Three hundred meters across, roofed by branches and wide leaves. And, at last, proof positive that the Jungle was not completely wild, and this world not barren of sentient life. It was beauty of a different sort, to a land who’d signed up to explore the universe.

    There would be even less pity here, however.

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  15. More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. It’s vines, weeds, and infestation of animals cannot be taken lightly. It’s snakes will hang you. It’s bugs will poison you. It doesn’t matter if you’re among the Indiana Jones of the world…you can die out here.

    Joe looked around him, shielding his eyes from the blinding sun. Even the sun out here can kill a man. It will roast you slowly, like you’re on a spit, and feed you to the wolves.

    It takes strength, discipline, and courage to come out here. Here? You need more than a cold beer. Oh, no. You need brains. You need guts! Because, out in the jungle? It takes prisoners. And it has no mercy.


    Joe smiled, laughing cynically, while hoisting himself into his vehicle. The jungle was no force for the likes of Joe. Joe was a hero. He could handle anything.

    “Honey. Honey? Honey!”

    Joe turned and looked at his wife, who tapped her foot impatiently on the porch. “This isn’t the end of the honey do list. Aren’t you going to cut the grass?”

    He smiled at his wife, while sitting on his riding mower. “You bet your sweet lips, Jessica.”

    The mower started up with a roar, and Joe attacked the tall grass in front of his house.

  16. Emailed entry:

    More dangerous than it is beautiful, the jungle pities no man. The words from my old teacher echoed through my head as I gazed down at the bones tangled in the green vines. They were decades old.

    “Ellie, I think this is from the 1920s.” Carlos said, his voice barely hiding his excitement. He poked around the thick weave of greenery, wary of potentially deadly inhabitants – snakes, birds, spiders, even frogs. He held aloft an old canteen; metal with almost all the leather rotted from it, “E.L.D.” He read, “What do you think it means?”

    I wiped the sweat off my face with a grimy hand and eyed the initials barely visible on the cap. It was almost ironic that the initials of the lost long-gone flyer were the same as my own. “That we should leave this wreck of a plane and its inhabitants and keep moving.” I said abruptly gazing skyward. There were only a few hours left of daylight

    Later, as we continued through the jungle, our machetes dulling along with our hope for rescue, I wondered if it was ironic so much as prophetic.

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  17. Even as she struggled to breathe, she couldn’t help but see the beauty in her surroundings. The lush green of the foliage, the bright colors of the flowers and the occasional bird that swooped past. Even the awesome power and majesty of the waterfall that beat down on her shoulders and pushed her under the rock pool once more. Panic filled her again, as it had when she first started getting sucked under, when she felt her foot get caught in the plants at the bottom. She struggled to get free, but it was no use- she was stuck. Her lungs burned as her oxygen got used up in her struggling. Instinct took over and she breathed in, water filling her lungs instead of the air they needed. As she lost consciousness, she saw how the sunlight filtered into the water around her, making it sparkle. Even in her last moments she was surrounded by beauty.

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