Week 18 Flash Fiction Challenge: Gold Fever

Photo by K.S. Brooks

Only two members of the expedition made it this far. Two turned back—two died along the way. These last two alone made it to the lost city of Quixtelopotec.

For a thousand years, the warriors of this fierce tribe tossed the golden jewelry of their vanquished enemies down this well as sacrifice to their God of War.

There will be riches beyond imagination. Far more than the two can carry, yet each will want it all. What happens next?

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 Pacific Time on Tuesday, May 1st, 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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4 thoughts on “Week 18 Flash Fiction Challenge: Gold Fever”

  1. Finally, the end was in sight. The treasure of Quixtelopotec would be ours.

    Wilkinson and Sanders followed me as I climbed over the remains of the last crumbling wall to reveal the gaping maw of the sacrificial pit. So many had died here, and you could feel their presence almost pushing them back from the edge.

    “There it is, my friends!” I rejoiced. “We’ve found it! The pit of Acolmiztli!”

    “And about damn time!” Wilkinson remarked. Sanders similarly nodded his head as he caught his breath.

    “Oh, ye of little faith,” I told my skeptical companions. “I knew it was here. And I know what lies inside it. Riches beyond compare! The Aztecs made sure their sacrifices were dressed for the occasion. When I think of the precious stones and gold that is down there…”

    “Thinking isn’t getting it.” Wilkinson said moving forward to the pit. “Let’s collect what we can and get back to Mazatlan.”

    Wilkinson looked down into the darkness of the pit. The darkness looked back at him.

    “What the hell?” Wilkinson said, right before a tentacle of shadow enveloped him. There was a sharp scream that was cut off in mid-breath. Then the darkness slid back down into the pit. Leaving a very white human skeleton that hung in mid-air for a second before collapsing forward into the pit.

    Sanders turned to run and another scream was stopped prematurely, another skeleton falling to the ground.

    I was too stunned to move. Then I saw the darkness.

  2. Seeking visions of maps to that vaunted lost fortress, en route two explorers pick jungle fungi whose deadly magic works, leaving treasures for surviving comrades.

    Two prefer seacoasts with margueritas and senoritas, steal the provisions, sneak off. Blisters from their boots so infected, even leeches ineffective, Aztec swords amputate their feet. They swim toward Texas, sharks sniffing behind—

    More treasures for two survivors. Tattooed biceps pumped to discourage investigations of Mafia DNAs, Jose Uno and Jose Dos trek on, find–

    Treasures down a well?

    Tourist trash. Coke cans gleam. Winds swirls Wriggly Spearmint wrappers, poisonous leaves, banana-leaf condoms from Aztec priests whose squash blossoms garnished hearts of captured virgins sacrificed, delicacies barbecued over perpetual flames from underground gas.

    Weakened by hunger, the Joses crave frankfurters.

    They stir the water with bougainvillea branches. Frogs claw up, slide back one step for each two up, finally surface. The Joses visualize frogs’ legs broiled on spits—

    Pale frogs living in dark water, bodies blend with gray courtyard stones.

    Glints of gold! Gold bracelets encircle fat frog necks, rings ring claws, gold necklaces interlink!

    The Joses grab air—

    Frogs hop into the jungle so quickly only slime oils their bare hands.

    Jose Uno pushes Duo into the well, pursues frogs—

    Jose Duo dives down, teeth grab necklaces, he swallows muddy water but emerges, frog eggs dripping down his chin. Nourished, he remains in the fortress, survives, until gold chains strangle him.

    Jungle vines strangle Jose Uno.

    Frogs return to the well, redecorate themselves.

  3. In the shadows of the stone columns the big cat waited. Kisin had brought only one gift this time, for the weak amongst them had either lost spirit and quit, or lost their lives. This is how it always went. Kisin possessed a mortal, assembled a quest, and the strongest made it here driven by greed.

    God L watched the two men, one he knew as the current incarnation of Kisin. He could feel the body heat of the two humans as they stood over the pit of gold. The one calm and confident. The other excited by his schemes to claim treasure beyond imagining. He must take care to take his prey down without stopping his pathetic heart.

    The two men walked toward the columns, intent on their conversation about their treasure. Unlike Kisin, God L never bothered to learn the languages of humans. All cats speak the same language.

    As they neared the column behind which the great cat sat poised and ready, Kisin nodded once before guiding his guest around to face the pit. God L sprang the instant the stranger's back was turned to him. His powerful claws pinning his shoulders, pressing him toward the floor at the same time his fangs severed his spinal column between the second and third cervical vertebra.

    Kisin swiftly removed the still beating heart, tossing it to God L. “Till next time, amigo,” Kisin smiled. The sound of purring filled the ruins.

  4. Lance yanked another gold bracelet off a skeleton and slipped it onto his arm, then slapped Miquel on the back. “Those superstitious fools who turned back are going to kick themselves when we return to town.”

    Miquel placed a crown on his head and smiled. “Max and Renato died in an accident, not because of some Mayan curse. Nacon, god of war, be damned. Now we’re the lords of Quixtelopotec.”

    Hours later, Miquel hauled the last bag of treasure up from the sacrificial pit and held his hand out to Lance, a knife concealed behind his back. It wasn’t much of a struggle.

    “Blasphemer! You will die for your sacrilege!”

    Miquel spun around, his face frozen in shock as a stone masked figure stepped into view. He backed away, slipping on Lance’s blood. Renato pulled the mask from his face as Miquel fell into the pit. Now the treasure was all his. Killing Max and frightening the others was easy. He whistled at he loaded the loot onto the pack mules.

    “Blasphemer!” the voice reverberated off the stone ruins, shaking dirt and debris loose around Renato. He looked around. Did the others sneak back? He paled as a figure marched out of the rock wall shaking a stone mallet over his head. “You, who dare to steal from Nacon, shall pay with your blood.”

    His former companions, eyes black and hollow grabbed him with ethereal hands. He could only scream as he fell into the darkness.

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