#5MinuteFiction Week 74

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 directly reference today’s prompt: So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain?

(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, Sarah E Olson, @saraheolson 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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22 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week 74

  1. I have nothing to offer today; too lost in the places other people take me with a simple grouping of words.

    Truth and pain and beauty, all at once, all the same.
    Leah Petersen recently posted..Karma, Solidarity, and the Bad Part of the Review I Wrote for YouMy Profile

  2. Nicole says:

    The churning in Zelda’s gut spelled doom to the tiny fly perched on the rounded rim of coffee. I didn’t matter that Zelda sat in the middle of a crowded coffee shop, nor did her stomach care that she’d just ordered the Triple Play breakfast, replete with pancakes, sausage, and white gravy-laden toast.


    The thing that ordered her intestines into a tight nautical knot of panic was the email that had just landed in the inbox of her Blackberry.

    Great news! Your number has come up in the statewide lotto. Report to camp tomorrow morning at six sharp.

    Here’s your first clue: So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain?

    That sounded ominous.

    Nicole recently posted..What’s In a Name? Naming Your CharactersMy Profile

  3. The twang of chords lead to the intro for Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. The swirling shapes danced on the computer screen as the the slow song played over my music player.

    So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain?

    I dropped my head down, chin to chest, swaying in to the lulling beat. I really wanted that cigarette, now. The darkness enveloped me. I’ll never really know what she thought.

    I shouldn’t have gotten upset.

    She’s gone now. There’s nothing left.


  4. DL Thurston says:

    So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain? And you think you can tell the difference between a fluffy little bunny and a shit hole of a demon that’s looking to suck the soul right out of your body and leave you an empty husk? Because I’ve been out there, and I’m telling you, this is a fucked up world, and most of you aren’t even seeing past the veneer.

    Do you want the truth? Truth is I’ve tangled with the worst that has crawled up out of the oceans of this world, I’ve pushed back again things that have come from beyond the stars looking to control the minds of men. I’ve been on the front line of a war that you don’t even know is being fought, seen men be grateful when they die because it’s better than the hell that prisoners would go through.

    I’ve seen men lose their very fucking minds right in front of me, seen the pain on their face as sanity is stripped away from them like so much clothing, leaving them bare and naked to the reality that you just can’t deal with. I can’t deal with it either, but I’ve got to deal with it. I’ve got to do something to save pink delicate little fucks like yourself, because I’ve already seen too much. I already know to much. And that’s the burden I’ve got to bare for the rest of my life.

    Do you understand? The rest of my fucking life.

    I don’t say this because I want thanks, I say this because you need to understand that the simple little world you woke up to this morning is a lie and the nightmares that you’ll have tonight are so much closer to the truth. So you should just live your little life and not think about what I have to think about, because you just can’t handle it.

    I’ve had to make decisions that can cost men their lives, their sanity, and their souls. And I’ve had to make them without thinking, without feeling, without caring about the results. Because I can’t afford to. All I need is for you to make one god damn decision in your meaningless piffle of a life.

    So I’m asking you again. Do you want fries with that?

    DL Thurston recently posted..Flashathon Hour 5 Prompt: from Leah PetersenMy Profile

  5. Alli (@Slytherin_Pixie) says:

    Ryan sat back in his chair with the glass of wine he’d poured himself. He’d never cared for Riesling, but it had been her favorite. And today, he needed to be reminded. By all accounts, sitting in the bedroom with a glass of wine he didn’t even like, listening to a song that did nothing but drag up painful memories was ill advised. Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” had been their song, they’d drank Riesling at their wedding because it was what she wanted, and he’d be damned if he didn’t relive it all on the anniversary of his wife’s death.
    “Darling… You need to let me go.” His head shot up, looking into the blue eyes he thought he’d never see again. He shivered as she stroked his cheek as she always had. “You need to keep living.” And then she was gone. Ryan sat there for a moment, smelling her perfume before throwing the glass against the wall as he sobbed. He didn’t want to let her go.

  6. Mal leaned back on his puffy cloud of a chair and rested his head in his hand. His wife was on the video screen, making their son lunch. It must have been Sunday because Bobby was wearing his church clothes, feet dangling over the edge of the kitchen stool while Debra cut the PB&J into triangles. It was enough for him to see them every once in a while, whenever he got his break. But that was all part of the plan, and he hated that. But then again, that was all part of the plan too.

    A gentle cloud passed in front of the sun, casting a shadow over his little patch of comfort. Mal sighed. That was the signal. “How I wish you were here,” he whispered to the screen as it cut off, just as Bobby was taking his first bite. He pushed himself out of the cloud and walked across open air. A doorway slid open in front of him and a blast of terrific heat slammed him in the face. He passed through the open frame and back into burning brimstone, and the door slid shut behind him.

  7. redshirt6 says:

    Pink Floyd blared from the radio as I texted, So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain? and I remembered the days of a summer lost, the years gone by, my memories ravaged by time.

    And who the hell would have thought I’d be here now on the back of a military half-ton heading south to liberate Atlanta? Man how the world has changed.

    They said it could never happen in North America like it did in the middle east. Hell, that was over twenty years ago. I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone could think that could have influenced the U.S. and Canada today. But I’m no historian.

    I know you don’t think that what I’m doing is the right thing. I know that you think joining up was the same thing as giving in. But when I see the videos with all of those people. Old people, children. All of them literally starving in the streets while the fatcats hole up in their high rises. I sympathise with them. Yeah, I want order again. I want stability in the world. But I think the only way we get there is by cutting out the cancer while we can, before the government is back in charge. So I’m going. I hope you’ll be there when I get back. If I get back.

    Wish you were here.


  8. So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain?
    Cause it looks to me you’ve got nothin’ to lose and everything to gain.
    Born broke and hungry, life kicked you down
    As you ran away from it all, city to town
    Your heaven’s anonymity, your hell is being known
    But that ain’t no way to survive … all alone.
    Buck up and deal, toss your troubles behind
    Cause livin’ calls for friends, healthy spirit and mind.

    twitter: @alanagarrigues
    Alana Garrigues recently posted..Evaluate and Speculate (Occupy Wall Street) – writercize #121My Profile

  9. John Hancock says:

    “So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain?”
    Grant scanned the subway car, looking for the voice. There were at least three candidates.
    One elderly black matron with a wild patterned dress looked like the kind of woman that could belt out a song like that. At least, Grant thought so.
    A rod thin teenage wisp clung to the silvered pole as the car shifted along the track. He met Grant’s eyes. Narrowed. his unwashed hair was stuffed under one of those caps that looks like it was from alpaca fibers and bought in Peru. Probably bought on the lower east side instead. Grant moved on.
    A blind man with reflective shades and a white cane decorated with a red ribbon that wound up and down its length turned to Grant, nodded.

    Nope. none of these.

    “Rufus rufus I been thinking, life would be so easy then….” Grant whipped around behind him and finally found the singer. A short boy of about 12, ethnicity unclear. Could be a mix of several different lines, all culminating in one perfect package.

    Making his way hand over hand, politely pushing other passengers out of the way, Grant moved down to the part of the subway car where the young man sat by himself, with shoes made out of bread sleeves.

    “This seat taken?”
    “This seat here… ok, I’ll just sit here, then.” Grant tried to sound friendly and non-threatening.

    The boy scooted away slightly, eyeing him suspiciously.

    From his mind, Grant projected: ” I heard you singing…. in your mind.”

    Like a bolt of lightning, the boy shot up and dashed down the subway car, making rabbit holes in the empty spaces between the commuters.

    Since Grant had made the first thread, he didn’t need to chase Stephan, the boy radiated his name like a neon light.

    “Go ahead and run, little man,” Grant thought furiously, “But we WILL catch you”.

    Someone elbowed Grant in the shoulder and he looked up, flashed his MindCrimes division badge and made a circle of emptiness as he walked after the boy. No one dared get in his way.
    John Hancock recently posted..Grokdad: http://twitpic.com/75dfeu . @MelissaEGilbert here is your drawing! if you like it, please retweet to your followers. It was an honor to draw you.My Profile

  10. An emailed entry:

    A man sat back in a poppasan chair, his long hair hanging down in gentle curls. His fingers nimbly rolled a burning joint between his fingers as Pink Floyd played in the background.

    He was trying to relax the best way he could, with good music and some good weed. It wasn’t working. The stress of the past few days were just too much, even for his favorite batch of sweet sticky.

    Most people couldn’t tell when he looked like this, with his long hair down and his favorite raggedy clothes on, that he was really a high priced sniper. People just saw an old stoner, which worked out well as his targets never saw him before he gave them a good dose of lead poisoning.

    “… So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain? …” the stereo blared, fitting his mood as he considered his latest assignment.

    He was starting to doubt his career path. His targets were not typical ones, not political marks or millionaire businessmen, but obscure people who seemingly have done nothing wrong.

    When he first started, he thought he was doing something good, getting rid of bad people, but now the lines between heaven and hell were blurring.

    The man took another drag of his joint and thougth.

    Leah Petersen recently posted..Review of Gabriel’s Return by Steve UmsteadMy Profile

  11. Monocle says:

    **So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain?**

    The psychedelics of the laser show got decidedly mellow with Floyd, and Rose turned to me to kibbitz. Then the light changed.

    “Oh, my God, Tori, what did you do?!”

    I grinned at her, having gotten exactly the effect I’d been after.

    “Let me see!”

    In the changing lighting she reached for me and pushed my head to the side. I obliged and pulled my hair out of the way.

    **Do you think you can tell. A walk on part in the war,**

    The pulsing laser cut again to black light and Rose gasped.

    “Jesus, Tor! A chain? And eek! Around your wrist too!”

    She grabbed at my wrist to pull the backlight tattoo closer for a better view.

    “Whatever possessed you?!”

    “Cal,” I replied looking over at him. He was talking Rose’s beau-of-the-week, and gave me a wink and a leer. “Cal possesses me.”

    “Fuck, Tor. Let me guess – both wrists?”

    “Yes,” I showed her, “And both ankles.”

    She looked at me like I was crazy, but also maybe with a little something else. Something wistful I used to have.

    **We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl**

    “Did it hurt?”

    “Damn straight it did. The neck felt like the guy was unzipping my head from my body.”

    Rose looked over at my Cal with narrowed eyes the next time the UV lights came on.

    “Doesn’t seem fair. He doesn’t have anything to show he’s yours.”

    I smiled.

    “Oh, yes he does.”

    She looked back at me and I grinned. Her eyes widened.

    **What have we found**


    “Yes. And I bet it hurt more than my neck did. And he did it first.”

    **Wish you were here**

    Now there was a look in her eyes I’d never seen before. Can you be sad and hungry at the same time? Oh, Yes.

    “Can… Can I see?”

    “Rose!” I feign shock badly. I was still grinning. “Ask him. After this.”

    Floyd was over and the lighting changed with the beat, accelerating to something danceable and strobed.

    And Cal was reaching to take what was his to the dance floor.

    Monocle recently posted..25/10/11 – meaningMy Profile

  12. “So, you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain?”

    The Pink Floyd song played loud on the radio and Chuck drove. He slammed his foot down on the accelerator, feeling the wind blow into his sunglass covered face, and laughed. It was a bitter sound, free from mirth.

    “Yeah, I can tell,” he said to the radio. “I can tell because right now, I am in so much pain there is no other conclusion than that this is Hell.”

    He swung the car around the curve of the mountain, nearly coming up to the railing.

    “And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?” the song continued.

    “Ha! Turns out my ‘hero’ wasn’t much of a hero at all,” he said. “Fucking coward.”

    He pulled around another curve and then slammed on the brake and nearly dragged the car into a roadside lookout spot. He jumped out of the car, the engine running and the song continuing to play.

    “We’re just two souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,” the song continued.

    Chuck walked over to the railing and looked down the clif. The view was truly stunning, the city far below, the horizon stretching off to infinity, the blue sky with nary a cloud.

    “Fuck you, David!” he called to the ether. “Fuck you for leaving me! Fuck you for going off to that damned war, anyway!”

    He fell to the ground then, crying, and he couldn’t stop.

    “Fuck you… for dying.”

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  13. Stephanie says:

    So it ends.
    You try to
    Think, but you can’t.
    You want to start over.
    Can anyone blame you? You
    Tell them, but they don’t hear. The
    Heaven promised dissipates. Falling
    From such heights kills, opens the gates of
    Hell. The lights flicker
    Blue and White. No more
    Skies to gaze upon. The cell which separates you
    From life offers you nothing but

  14. Lynn says:

    So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain?

    I know that space. It’s when you’ve run out of ideas, options, and realize you’d’ve been better not knowing about them in the first place.

    It’s a relief, a dropping of boundary and responsibility. A grace, a simplicity in the vast wasteland of futility.

    I know it when I see it on the faces of people as a I see them get off the train for home, their children running into their arms, or them, walking home alone.

  15. Time’s up! See you all at 2:00 with the finalists!
    Leah Petersen recently posted..The Prodigal’s Foole – Lots of My #FridayReadsMy Profile

  16. Kaolin says:

    Wih You Were Here

    They’re the cutest things, you wouldn’t believe. They tackled me when I arrived through the portal, showering me with petals and love. I was a little afraid, I’ll be honest, but they were so soft! Every touch was a soothing plush purr. I hardly minded the scratches, or the itching.

    They’re dancing, now, like nothing you’ve ever seen. The voices are so beautiful it’s horrific. The tears are coming freely now, as they sing.

    “So, you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain?”

    I think I’m starting to bleed. To burn. Wish you were here, you bastard!


  17. Oops, one more emailed entry:

    Magda cried out, squeezing her eyes shut, tears leaving wet tracks across her cheeks; he body arching up off the cold of the metal table. Only the leather straps held her down. Panting, covered in sweat, the chill air made her skin ripple with goosebumps.

    “So you think you can tell heaven from hell, blue skies from pain,” he said, his voice coming from everywhere and nowhere at once, “You don’t know anything!” The last was said almost as a shriek of frustration that rose in tandem with Magda’s own scream bouncing off sterile walls, a hollow cavernous echo.

    Magda could hear the machinery’s humming grow louder as he leaned over her. His breath warm and smelling of apples. She remembered apples, the crisp texture and sharp crunch, and the sweet, sweet juices.
    “Tell me! What else is there? Tell me what it looks like,” the formless voice demanded.

    His words jarred her, pulled her back into the neverending nightmare. Magda shook her head, wishing for words but all that came forth was a whimper. It was hopeless. She didn’t have the answer. She wished to whatever God still floated in the blackness of space that she did, but no…

    No blue skies, or trees, or fish or birds. Just pain and the questions. Always the questions. What did it look like? But Magda didn’t know; she’d never known. Her eyes had been taken from her too many years before.


  18. Whoo hoo! This week, I’m experimenting with horror. Hmm, what does it mean if your own writing makes you queasy. 🙁 -d

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  19. redshirt6 says:

    Holy Cao! What amazingly cool responses to today’s prompt!!!


  20. Son of a…

    I totally forgot you changed the time! Damn it!
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  21. Angelia Humphrey says:

    “Yes. It’s when you’ve run out of ideas, options, and realize you’d’ve been better not knowing about them in the first place. He fell to the ground then, crying, and he couldn’t stop. What amazingly cool responses to today’s prompt!!!
    Angelia Humphrey recently posted..Gout TipsMy Profile

  22. Ghena says:

    I have nothing to say about it. But, I’ll appreciate it a lot. I really enjoy reading the comments above and I got some ideas on it. Thanks for sharing.
    Ghena recently posted..puffy eyes from cryingMy Profile

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