Weekly Flash Fiction Competition: Losing It All

Photo by K.S. Brooks

She came to the casino to gamble. She gambled and lost. She lost everything. She ended her own life right there in the ladies room.

No one cared.

They are about to care.  Your character came here with a purpose. They took her from him and now he’s going to take something back.

In 250 words or less, tell me a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Mountain Standard Time on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012.

On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted.

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Photograph by K.S. Brooks, used here with the photographer’s permission. Copying or reproduction of any kind without express consent is prohibited. All rights reserved.

For a more detailed explanation of the contest & its workings, please see the post called “Writing Exercises Return with a Twist” from 12/24/11.

By participating in this exercise the contestants agree to the rules of the contest and waive any and all further considerations or permissions otherwise required for any winning entries to be published by Indies Unlimited as an e-book, showcasing all the photos and with the winning expositions credited appropriately and accordingly.

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11 thoughts on “Weekly Flash Fiction Competition: Losing It All”

  1. The neon lighting should have made the place look exciting. Perhaps to most, it would. Not him. He knew the secrets within those shining walls.

    Two entrances—both led to the loss of souls. It was time for that to end. No more young men and women would get sucked in with lights and illusion of glamor. Not if he could stop it. Tonight he was going to do just that.

    Evan stood outside the entrance, his arms folded across this chest. Soon there would be lines of people waiting to enter the exclusive club. They didn’t know just how exclusive it was. With his expanded vision, he could see the markings outside the building—those markings normally kept beings like him out.

    Tonight that would change. At last, he had the means to get past their entrance. When he was finished, the cost could well be his own life.

    That was fine with him. It had been so long since he’d felt any emotion other than hatred. He’d once been an angel. Centuries ago he’d come to Earth and fallen in love with a beautiful young woman. Per the Heavenly order, an angel could give up their wings, and live on Earth.

    Though still immortal, he was no longer an angel. He’d given everything up for Mary, and the vile creatures behind these gilded walls had taken her from him. Tonight, he’d save her soul—even if it killed him.

    And it likely would. The wait was finally over.

  2. They killed her! Not literally; not by hand. But they were responsible. Ben was furious! He´d lost her, but knew exactly how to get revenge.

    Two black suits were watching him from security surveillance. ”Sad story,” the tall one said, ”she´d been trafficked from North Korea and forced into prostitution.”

    His colleague shuddered. ”Nasty,” he replied, ”keeping these women in debt, they can never repay. That´s probably why she was here. To win her freedom at the black jack table.”

    Ben remembered her puppy eyes. Her girly voice haunted him. ”Daddy,” she called.

    Colorful lights flashed in front if him; as if the casino owners were taunting him for his loss. Gent´s to the right, ladies to the left.

    ”What´s that guy doing?” the tall one asked and pointed to an Asian, about 50 years old.

    In the rest room Ben found the hidden panel. Two knocks and he was able to remove it and grab the wooden box.

    Suddenly a dozen uniforms rushed in and secured the room. A tall detective pointed a gun right at him. ”Drop the box,” the officer commanded. ”It´s mob money,” Ben tried, ”dirty money… waiting for a whitewash at the casino.” ”We know,” the officer replied.

    A few moments later, the two police officers were at a café. ”Good thing, we caught him,” the tall one said, ”with $30.000 he could´ve easily bought himself a new girl in North Korea.”

    ”Yeah,” his colleague replied sarcastically, ”1 trafficker down, a billion more to go”

  3. Stripped

    Thirteen hours since Eneth had learned about the death. He had been driving ever since. He didn’t fix on the particulars. Leave that to the blue hairs at the diner. He didn’t even want to think about it. So, he didn’t. He didn’t cotton to the stories – the Ruthie who’d gone to Vegas. He didn’t care about the whispers of drugs and the neon nightclubs. He was going to find the real Ruthie, and the scratch of the wool blanket on his jeans, the struggle of the old Ford pickup, the raindrops – those sounds were what mattered. Listen.

    He’d been hearing about it for years. Ever since Ruthie left so fast…like a nighttime train, a whistle in the morning fog. The town liked to talk about it. Pregnant. Abortion. Stripping. Drugging. And now this, like a horse fly buzz – one last shot, desperation – cool, dead frog skin in a Casino bathroom. The blue hairs talked and the folks at church talked. Hell, they talked right in front of him. And not just about that. He wasn’t stupid. They didn’t know. He heard.

    They hadn’t known Ruthie. Saturday morning Ruthie with cartoons and a cereal smile. Summertime Ruthie running barefoot through the sawgrass. Legs and feet scratched up and then cooling in the old Mill stream. He shook his head. She was coming home. Finally. He’d even prayed on it and his God was nothing, empty – he’d prayed. Let them talk. Ruthie was coming home. To stay.

  4. He couldn’t believe she died by her own hand, not over money. Not the woman he knew and loved. His footsteps were muffled by the carpet as he wound his way through the maze of machines, flashing lights, clinking coins and cheering customers. No one noticed when he entered the ladies room. He needed to see for himself the spot where she’d left this earth.

    The cold tile held no answers for him. All evidence of her ever existing in this room had been erased. He backed out and back into the pulsing, vibrating, magic of the room which had held her captive for so long. He could feel her all around him. She may have died on the ladies room floor, but the casino floor claimed her soul long before she breathed her last breath.

    Time to go to work. Slowly he walked back through the casino, and stopped. He’d spotted a target. He reached the machine leaned in close, resting his arm against the one arm bandit.

    “Having any luck?”

    “Not really.” She shrugged and wearily turned back putting another dollar in the slot.

    “Well, good luck.”

    He pushed off. No one else should lose tonight, not the way she had, time for a win. Behind him, the bells, lights and sirens go off; he never looked back. Tonight the screams that follow him into his dreams will bring a smile.

  5. She looks smaller, he thought, standing over the corpse.

    Dark hair fanned out around her face and shoulders, once-ruby lips drained of color, she looked like a creepy mannequin some careless bitch pushed over during a clearance sale.

    He surveyed the too-flowery lotions on the ladies room counter, the discreetly packaged “feminine products,” the trappings femaleness he’d scoffed at until her. He washed his hands even though he didn’t kill her.

    She killed herself.

    Because of them.

    The flashing, neon lights.

    They drew her like a moth then stung her like killer bees, causing an anaphylaxis of the soul that the epinephrine of his love couldn’t remedy.

    He pushes out of the restroom and back onto the casino floor, swept toward them on a tide of humanity and sweat.

    Girls, Girls, Girls!

    Pai Gao!




    He covered his face with his hands; through his skin, his bones, he could feel them pulsating, reaching.

    Coming for him.


    His shouting didn’t draw much attention amidst the casino’s chaos, but his blood did when he threw himself at the lights, shattering them with his weight and his desperation. “You killed her,” he screamed, beating the bulbs with ruined fists.

    As two, huge security guards grabbed hold of his arms and dragged him, kicking and screaming, toward a tiny back room, he saw her, smiling from beside the doors. The doors leading outside.

    She lifted one hand in a gesture of thanks before drifting through glass and toward freedom.

  6. It's going to be easy. You're going to finished it in no time Ernie, they said. Shit! I'm here for almost two hours now and I'm freezing cold in this body. Ernie shook his fist to the sky. Pieces of turd! Just now Ernie noticed a beeping sound. 9 points left. He looked at his wrist. What the hell?! 8 points left. Ernie took a deep breath and calmed himself.

    The street was now empty. The building he had watched was still shimmering with neon lightings and the two humans in black suits which guarded the two entrances were still expressionless as ever.

    It's time. Ernie straightened his jacket and crossed the street.

    "Sorry kid, under 18 ain't allowed here." The humans crossed their arms and motioned Ernie to pass along.

    "What do you mean under 18? I'm a hundred year old today."

    They laughed. "Nice try kid, but it's way pass your bed time."

    "Moron!!" Ernie cursed. 7 points left.

    They just stared at Ernie. Motionless. Damn, it's not working. 6 points left. Ernie pondered a while then produced an ID card.

    They scrutinized the card and glanced at Ernie. After a moment of indiscernible talks, the guards stepped aside and let Ernie passed.

    Ernie trotted to the right entrance. "Gentlemen".

    "You're going the wrong way, Lady." One of the guard grabbed hold of Ernie's shoulder.

    Bingo! Ernie turned and opened his jacket. The guards cursed like there was no tomorrow. 100 points left.

    It's easy after all.

  7. At MeiWah Restaurant ten minutes before a poetry reading up the street, I notice that I’ve forgotten my burgeoning bag of books, left by the front door at home. I am desperate how to wing it—I don’t memorize my own work because I am always revising, even work long in print.I could kill my publisher for not printing my book yet, I would have remembered copies.

    Then I remember: Before my first book came out, a plane flew me west to a mountain side for a writers’ conference where I was to give a crucial reading: Major Literary Lions would be present.

    I climbed the trail that led from the highway and tarmac in the valley, unbuckled my backpack, realized: my manuscript stayed on the plane…

    There I stood: no manuscrpt. And in the smoky glow I was utterly naked. A dream of psychological import.

    Still, printed there on the program, I was Slated to Read. Campfires lighted the slope, throngs settled around them to hear me.

    Prettier then, still I was not inclined to strip for free. Somehow I carried it off.

    What a relief when a real publisher printed my book, my first, in hard copies and soft: I could hold my head high, keep my clothes on.

    That publisher made enough from his other books to retire to Florida, now is lost.

    Wide awake for my bookless reading tonight, what is the drill?

  8. She was only eighteen. Enticed by the neon lights, the Vegas Strip was perfect for this con-artist, or so she thought. Daphne came to Vegas with her bad-ass boyfriend Jake, several years older than her. With his leather jacket, and his studded collar, they rode to Vegas on his Harley. Upon arrival the environment just enveloped her. She was totally absorbed by the glitz and glamour of the strip. Jumping from casino to casino they conned people out of thousands. Jake would layout the plan, Daphne would carry it out. She was the type of gal that turned heads as she walked by. Dark mahogany hair, voluptuous bosom with significant cleavage always showing, and her slender but curvy body…it was the perfect plan. Beguile the men in the casino, and Jake would rob them blind. Until that one night, Daphne lost everything. She was so utterly distraught she took her own life. Waiting for her, Jake walked into the ladies room and found her right there on the floor. The anger surged through his veins as if it were his life force. He knew who was responsible. Daphne played the wrong the guy, and he made sure to wipe her out of everything. Now Jake would hunt down Vincenzo Tucci. He was going to make him pay for taking the one thing he wanted more than money, Daphne. He would make Vincenzo pay with his own life. A life for a life, to Jake, it was only fair.

  9. “One.”

    A man walks into the private suite.

    Neon lights flash, reflecting off the curved mirrored walls near the restroom where she died. The last messages from my little sister were of her new friends taking her gambling.


    The second saunters in and picks up a glass of champagne. He smiles at the first and sits. Soft music plays in the background.


    A third enters.

    She was an innocent flower plucked for their pleasure. They didn’t care about her, only her wealth. They took it and her pride.




    The casino owner enters the suite, my sister’s ‘friends’ on each arm. House odds weren’t enough for him. I lean casually against the wall near the slots. All the pieces are in place, their smug swaggering visible on the hidden cameras. I push a button on my iPhone and bells ring throughout the casino, followed by cheers. Guests scoop armfuls of tokens from the clanging machines.

    A moment later the owner gets a call and I see his face turn red. I start the second app. and my voice echoes in the suite.

    “Gina sends her regards.”

    The men and women look at each other, confused, then frightened. They know what happened. Shards of glass and fuel fly through the room as the champagne bottles explode. I silence the phone as the room erupts in flames and the cameras melt. No one notices as I walk out with the rest of the gambling zombies.

  10. No one cared! Even through tears, I saw the rushing water, which dragged her from my life. The giant neon M, symbolic of money, sucked her down the drain. I can’t bring her back, but I can revenge her loss.

    I no longer care about anything. I realize now the one thing in my life that meant anything was taken. If I had only known what ‘losing’ would do to her…I wouldn't have exposed her. I’m responsible. She couldn’t handle losing what she believed was everything we had. But, we had much more.

    Why did I let her do it?

    I convinced myself it would work, and then I convinced her. She was skeptical, but I was the consummate salesman and she conceded the system worked.

    It took us weeks to prepare, and to convert everything we owned to cash.

    After hours at the table, our system siphoned their money. Monika maneuvered her bets like she had done this for years. Periodically, when the chip color changed in front of her, she looked over and smiled.

    I mentally counted our winnings, but realized I thought of everything except when to stop. She was drowning in the flow of money. I left to consider our exit strategy, but when I returned, she was gone.

    Shamefully, the course that makes sense right now is to take the other half of our money…the high-value chips in my pocket, along with our system, and seize the only thing that they care about – their money.

  11. “Call me when you get back……I miss you…….I’m sorry.” The message replayed in his head a thousand times. The stupid recording fiddled with his mind, pushing the buttons he never knew existed. Her sweet voice, a far… far cry from the ruthless deeds that personified a life worthy of death.

    A sad hollow pit grew wider, swallowing whole every level headed thought that crossed his mind. The emptiness tugged and pulled, his grief graciously expanding. Yet now as he stood alone, her memory a few days old, he knew that his distaste for her would always remain.

    The unnecessary stretch of her ludicrous name, ‘Isabella Melodina’, the foul temper guarding her selfish motives, the way she used him, pleasing her own ‘sweet–evil’ convenience. Yet, the taste of her skin, it tasted like heaven, the pleasure of her body, a fine work of art, compelled him against his will to overlook the shallow oversights, neglect the insecurities.

    His lame leg screamed for mercy as the weight threatened to enhance its handicap. When the mood was right and her crazy capers exhausted their strength, she would often stay with him for days, smothering him with newly found care and affection. Her soft hands often massaged his useless limb, false promises gently whispered here and there.

    It was time to move on. He adjusted the straps; the bomb was ticking, encouraging him to recover his lost soul. Hell or Heaven, the place didn’t matter as long as she was his again

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