Sunday, May 20, 2012

Flash Fiction Bogfest: A Choice at the Crossroads




Today through the 23rd is the Second Flash Fiction Blogfest sponsored by Cherie Reich.  You can see all the entries HERE.

Below is my 300-word piece of flash fiction -- a riff on the old Robert Johnson legend, with a minor allusion to Faust.  I hope you enjoy it.


A Choice at the Crossroads

Lightning flashed; the jagged bolt behind Vince was reflected in Mel's dark sunglasses.

Perfect, thought Vince as a pulsating rumble of thunder swept over the two men. Almost like the crazy guy had planned it.

Come on, it's going to rain,” Vince said. “Let's get back into the car. This is asinine. Why the Hell are we way out here on these back roads anyway?”

Mel smiled, a sneer almost as jagged as the lightning. “This is my little salute to tradition. I think a rural setting always works best when it's time to collect on an arrangement like ours.” He snorted. “I do appreciate some old-fashioned ways. It was no coincidence that I first approached you in Indianapolis.” He bobbed his head slightly, as if he were winking. His glasses were so black that Vince couldn't tell. “It is the Crossroads of America, after all.”

What are you talking about? You're insane. I knew I never should have left the club with you.”

Oh don't play coy with me, Vince. I kept my part of the deal - Mel Phisto always does. You were nothing when I met you. You could barely play two chords. Now you're Mister Bigshot, the idol of millions of pimply-faced kids struggling to learn the guitar. Who do think made that happen?”

So what do you want, then? My freaking soul?” Vince laughed.

The sneer returned. “No, Vince. That's too easy. Now days, everyone's so self-centered there's no sport in that deal. Instead, someone close to you will die and I'll take them.”

Another bolt of lightning flashed across the sky. Mel removed his sunglasses. His eyes were as black as the glasses had been. “And you get to decide who.”



49 comments:

Clare said...

Oh this was utterly chilling. Mel is evil. I loved it. You did a wonderful job of describing so much tension with so few words.

Tara Tyler said...

excellent! *strums fingers together*
nicely done!

stu said...

This is nicely sinister.

Donna B. McNicol said...

Nicely twisted dark tale...well done!

Summer Ross said...

Very creepy, I love that last line.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great writing! The ending was so dark and fitting. Good job!

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you for entering my 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest! The six finalists will be announced on Friday, May 25th. I will further comment on your entry on Thursday.

Laura said...

So creepy. I love how you left the open ending to, such a difficult choice to make.

Von L Cid said...

His eyes make it. Good job, man. I could totally see him sliding his glasses up exposing blackness. Awesome.

Gina said...

Awesome! I loved the ending, very cool. I wish you the best of luck. Voting starts the 28th, right? I'll be voting for you, my friend!

Nicole said...

Nicely done! That was a great last line, and you kept the tone and tension throughout. Love it!

LTM said...

ahh! Love those down at the crossroads stories. Sold his soul... nope, sold someone else's soul to the devil so he could play guitar! :D awesome.

Angeline Trevena said...

Oooooh, so unexpected, loved it.

Christine Rains said...

Dark and chilling. A nice twist too. And it's true. Imagine how many people would sell their souls if they could! Well done.

Milo James Fowler said...

Wow -- awesome finish. Nice work, Chris!

M Pepper Langlinais said...

I really enjoyed this one!

~PepperWords

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

This is great. Good writing. Vince should've been a little smarter and found out the terms of the deal before he signed up. ;)

mshatch said...

ooh, I LIKED this!

Heather Murphy said...

Oh, this is good! Who does he choose???

Janel Gradowski said...

Nice atmosphere and how cruel of Mel. Very creepy bad guy!

Crystal Collier said...

Yup, it was the end. Great twist there, and man does it suck to be Vince.

Andrea Teagan said...

Oh man, great twist at the end there. I was chilled to the bone! :)

Andrea

Nicole Zoltack said...

Not to repeat everyone but the perfect word to describe this is chilling. Loved the twist at the end.

Michael Pierce said...

That's not a responsibility I'd want bestowed upon me. Great climax!

Julie DeGuia said...

That devil Mel! Great ending.

Sylvia van Bruggen said...

That was deliciously evil. Loved the ending!

Danielle B. said...

Goosebumps! *shivers*
The suspense. I'm dying to know who he'll pick.

Chris Fries said...

To all:

Wow!!! Thank you all so much for your kind words -- I really, really appreciate them! Once we get to the end of this blogfest, I'll tell you all a little more about where and when this story came to me, and some other related details. ;^)


@Clare: Thank you very much!

@Tara: Lol -- I loved the finger-strumming! Thanks!

@Stu: Thank you -- I really appreciate it!

@Donna: "Nice, twisted, and dark" -- exactly what I was going for, LOL! Thank you so much!

@Summer: Thanks! I'm so happy you enjoyed it!

@Tyrean: I really appreciate your kind comment -- it means a lot to me!

@Cherie: Glad to have entered -- it's been a lot of fun. Thank you very much for hosting this blogfest!

@Laura: Thanks -- I originally had a little more at the end, but had to cut and condense to get under the word count. Glad it still worked out,

@Von: Thank you very much! I'm happy you could see what I was trying to describe.

@Gina: Awww, thank you! You're too sweet, my friend!

@Nicole: I really appreciate your comment, Nicole!

@LTM: LOL -- we guitarists are ruthless... Thank you so much, Leigh!

@Angeline: Thank you very much!

@Christine: Yeah -- I'm convinced it's the only explanation for the popularity of the Khardasians, Jersey Shore, and others, lol! But having to choose between people you love? Now that might be harder, even for them. Maybe? Thank you very much for the comment!

@Milo: Thank you so much -- I really appreciate your comment and support!

@Pepper: Thanks! I'm very happy you enjoyed it!

@Amy: I'm almost certain Mel might have hid a few of the collection details from Vince... ;^) Thank you very much for your kind words!

@mshatch: Thanks! I'm glad you did -- it means a lot to me!

@Heather: Now that's the tough question. Visit later in the week once Cherie picks her finalists and I'll give you a few more details about the story... Thank you very much for your comment and kind words!

@Janel: I really appreciate that!

@Crystal: LOL! Yeah, it does. Thank you very much!

@Andrea: Well I'm very, very happy you liked it! Thanks!

@Nicole: That's ok -- you can repeat any positive word you'd like, lol! I'm extremely glad you enjoyed it. Thank you so much!

@Michael: Yeah -- it's a very tough choice ahead for Vince. ;^) Thank you so much for the kind words!

@Julie: LOL -- Mel is a devil! Or at least one of the chief demons: "Mel Phisto" aka "Mephisto" aka "Mephistopheles." ;^) Thank you for your comment!

@Sylvia: Thank you so much!

@Danielle: I can tell you Vince won't have an easy choice, lol! Thank very much!

Charity Bradford said...

There are some wonderful images here. And what a choice to have to make!

One of my favorite lines was, "Mel smiled, a sneer almost as jagged as the lightning."

Nephylim said...

How deliciously evil. I loved it. our souls are so corrupted even the Devil won't take them.

Oooh I wonder what happens next, who he chooses.

Rek said...

That's as chilling as evil can be...who will Vince decide to give up for his life and soul. Well done tale, intriguing twist in the end.

farawayeyes said...

Oh, that is creepy, seriously sinister and very good.

Diego Green said...

I always thought simply trading away one's soul for fame and fortune was a little too easy of a deal. Mel's is much better, a fair price for cheating the system. Question is, what kind of man is Vince, how will this choice affect him?

Elise Fallson said...

Dark, evil, sinister...LOVE IT! (:

Chris Fries said...

@Charity: Thank you very much! And yeah, I like that line., too. ;^)

@Nephylim: Thank you! And that decision is a tough one! Visit later this week for more info... ;^)

@Rek: I really appreciate your kind words! And see what I said to Nephylim above for more about Vince's decison. ;^)

@farawayeyes: Thank you so much!

@Diego: Ah yes -- that is the question. See this blog for later in the week for more details... Thank you so much for your kind comment!

@Elise: Thanks! I greatly appreciate that!

nutschell said...

ooh creepy! i love the twist at the end.
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Misha Gericke said...

OMG loved the twist at the end! Mel sounds diabolical.

Mina Lobo said...

Oh, snap! What a fabulous twist! I hope this story continues. I'll also second the kudos on the great lines, like that jagged lightning sneer business. Really terrific. :-)
Some Dark Romantic

T said...

Ok, I am not going to lie, I got a total "Supernatural" vibe from this piece... you know, the TV show... and yes, I am probably too old to be watching the CW network, but that's not the point! I love, love, love crossroads related stories... making deals with a demon is a riveting subject. Even though this is a common subject, you've given it a fresh spin. I really loved the fact that you pointed out that most souls are not worth taking these days. Fantastic job. Of all the entries I've read in this contest, this is definitely one of my favorites.

Chris Fries said...

@nutschell: Thank you very much!

@Misha: Thanks -- I really appreciate it!

@Mina: Thank you so very much! And as I've been hinting to in earlier comment replies -- this scene has a larger context, and I'll talk about that more in a few days... ;^)

@T: Well, thank you for your extremely kind words! I'm very happy that you enjoyed it -- it means a lot ot me!

Jamie Gibbs said...

Mel Phisto - love it :D An awesome twist on the classic deal, good stuff :)

Cherie Reich said...

Mel Phisto! I love it. I wonder who Vince will decide to kill. Great job!

I'll announce the finalists tomorrow.

Ed Motler said...

Loved the dialogue and the ending. Well done!

Chris Fries said...

@Jamie: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed!

@Cherie: Thanks for your kind words and again for hosting this blogfest! I know it was very hard to pick only six finalists out of all the fabulous entries!

@Ed: Thank you very much!

Anna Smith said...

Getting to decide who might not be such a bad thing! Nicely done :)

Mina Lobo said...

Hey, Chris - thou hast been tagged with the Lucky 7 Meme! Click here to read all about it! :-)

Medeia Sharif said...

That is so wicked. Great piece, Chris.

Cherie Larkins said...

Oooh, loved it!

Chris Fries said...

@Anna: LOL! Maybe, but it'll be a hard decision for Vince, belive me.

@Mina: Thanks! I just posted about it!

@Medeia: Thank you very much!

@Cherie: Well thanks! I really appreciate that!